I recently had a spell misfire, so to speak. I asked for something very specific. While I didn’t get what I asked for exactly, I got something appropriate. It’s made think about why magick fails. Now, I’m not saying that I am a powerful witch who can turn you into a frog with a wave of my little finger, but I tend to have good results with my magick.
Anyone who has a magickal practice has experienced success with magick. Otherwise, why even bother practicing magick at all? However, we’ve also experienced situations when our magick fails. During these times it’s easy to lose faith in our practice and become skeptical or feel resentment of our path. Personally, I think there are several reasons why our magickal attempts sometimes fail.
Intent is a huge catalyst for magick and sometimes our efforts may not be enough to cause change in the material world. For example, if I wanted to cast a spell to be draw a new lover to me, simply lighting a red candle isn’t enough. Even if lit a hundred red candles for seven days in a row, it might not be enough to draw the lover to me. Magick must be fueled with intent and energy must be released in order for any magickal application to be successful. My rule of thumb is that if you can finish a magickal operation without grounding or without feeling that inner “click” of connection, you’re intent and effort may not be enough to cause change.
On the other hand, too much intent can sometimes cause magick to fail as well. Recently, I worked magick in order to ensure a particular outcome in a personal situation (I know this is vague, but I promise the details aren’t important). Each day, I left offerings for my patrons and my ancestors. I prayed for it each day and worked several spells to ensure success. Needless to say, the situation didn’t end as planned. To be fair, the result wasn’t as bad as they could have been, but it definitely wasn’t my best case scenario. My reasoning for this is that I didn’t allow the initial spell long enough to manifest. To illustrate this, consider my situation as being a bucket. When I add water (magick) to the situation, it can only hold so much. When bucket after bucket of water is added, the original water is displaced and overflows. What splashes out causes change, but not the focused change I wanted. In other words, practice magick that supports the original spell, but not magick to replace the original spell. For example, if I cast a spell for love, I may cast another spell to clear the path or to make me more receptive to that lover, but not to draw the lover to me.
Skill also plays a role in magick. Without the ability to create, manipulate, and release energy, your spells won’t have enough “oomph” to cause change. I’ve seen several witches forgo the initial magickal practice and jump into the more substantial magickal practices. Some people use esoteric ingredients without understanding why they are using them. In fact, magickal accoutrements are simply toys without a clear and focused understanding of how magick works.
Another hurdle in magickal success is the lack of mundane follow through. For example, if you cast a spell to draw a job to you, you have to do the mundane work of applying for jobs. I seems silly to have to say this, but some people think magick does all the work. Magick is subtle. We use magick to tip the scales in our favor.
The hardest reason to accept, at least for me, when magick fails is that the Universe is simply saying “no.” Sometimes that things we ask for aren’t best for us. Sometimes what we’re asking for will stop us from learning a lesson or prevent us from receiving an even bigger gift in the future. Our Gods know what’s best for us and sometimes it’s not what we want.
When magick fails, I think following up with a divinatory working can help shed light on the matter. It can tell us where our magick was misguided or hindered. This information is helpful for us to use in future workings and to avoid any resentment towards our craft that we may feel.