The other day my High Priestess said something rather brilliant. I mean, she says brilliant things quite a lot, but unfortunately I am not often able to share them due to my oaths. However, this time I am able to share some of her thoughts on healing magic:
Magic rarely works miracles, that’s not to say it can’t, but miracles by their very nature are rare and not to be relied upon. One of the biggest problems that witches often have is not understanding where best to apply their magical leverage. Magic is a subtle art; it is most effective when applied in a nuanced fashion, rather than just fired at the problem head on.
The most important thing to remember, and it should go without saying, is that magic, or any other alternative remedy, is no substitute for proper licensed medical treatment. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t matter how much magic you do, things will probably still end badly.
So, with that out of the way, when it comes to healing, you generally have three possible areas you can target with a spell:
- The Patient/Subject
- The Treatment/Environment
- The Disease/Object
Over the course of her years in the Craft, and having worked a number of healing spells, my High Priestess has noted that spells that focus on targets 1&2 are invariably more effective than those that focus on number 3. A common disease, which witches sadly often have to work on, is cancer. Many make the mistake of trying to magically attack the cancer and remove it from the body. My HPS has done this before and it didn’t work. The issue is that cancer is not a disease that enters the body from outside, but rather a mutation of the body itself. Therefore, you are far better off working on number 1, the subject. The most effective treatment for cancer is chemotherapy, but this is incredibly unpleasant to undergo, and can be damaging to the physical and mental health of the patient. Thus, a spell to help strengthen their body and mind whilst they undergo chemo is the most useful thing you can do.
One could complement this with a spell focused on number 2, the treatment, or more specifically, the doctor administering it. Many people have problems with crap doctors and accessing the appropriate medical care, so targeting these issues could help the healing process immensely. This sort of spell is also useful in the case of surgery. If a patient is undergoing surgery, neither they nor their ailment have much agency over the outcome. The person who does, however, is the surgeon. It is their actions that will determine the success of the operation, and in some cases the survival of the patient. Therefore, a spell to make sure that they are at the top of their game would be the most useful thing you could do.
You’ll note that both of these approaches focus on people rather than things. This is because magic is most effective at altering the minds of others, irrespective of whether or not they know a spell has been cast. This is why spells for jobs, love, and healing are often easier than weather magic. I have observed this too in my own spells.
Finally, if you have done spells for both the patient and the doctors, then maybe a spell aimed at the disease could be useful, if it makes sense for the ailment in question. Personally, I think this is best for things like accelerating the recovery from injuries, and the sort of stuff you get traditional folk charms for e.g. setting breaks and stopping the flow of blood. Although, none of that is a good replacement for medical intervention of course.
This model does not only need to be applied to physical healing; it works just well for other aims, such as love magic. In this case the subject is the witch, or client, who desires love. The treatment or environment would be the possible ways of meeting a partner. The object would be the person the love spell aims to attract (this could be a specific person or just a general desire for a partner). Speaking from personal experience, I cast a love spell to get a boyfriend and, whilst I have had several suitable young men approach me, none of them have become anything long term. This suggests that I would be better off focusing my magic on the subject, myself, and changing those things about me that are stopping it working out. I shared this with my High Priestess and she agreed that, invariably, this is the better approach.
To conclude, when considering a magical approach to the problem, working on yourself and the people involved is often more effective than targeting non-sentient issues. I hope I have done my High Priestess’ thoughts justice, and that you find them as insightful as I have.
Published by: Tom McArthur
Tom McArthur is a Classicist, witch and theatre kid. He belongs to a Gardnerian coven, as well as having a highly syncretic (read: eclectic) personal practice. The ancient world has a huge influence on his magical work as he works extensively with the Greek Magical Papyri and has a magical relationship with a number of Greco-Egyptian deities. Otherwise his interests include Wicca and other forms of witchcraft, folk magic, Goetia, entheogens, and mysticism.