Many magicians divide it into two main categories: white magic (sometimes referred to as the right-handed path) and black magic (sometimes referred to as the left-handed path). However, the precise definition of both is often debated. The most accepted differentiation is that white magic is associated with positivity and healing, while black magic brings negativity and harm. Other believers hold that white magic is practiced for the benefit of others, while black magic is for the personal benefit of the practitioner. Still others claim that black magic is any type of magic that breaks prevailing social mores and taboos. Regardless, the actual practice of white magic varies significantly between belief systems, schools of thought, and even individual practitioners.
Your altar can be any raised surface wide enough to hold your Book of Shadows and your choice of ritual items. This can be a side table, a bedside table, a shelf or a large chest of drawers. Some practitioners prefer a circular altar as it is easier to move around when within a ritual circle. Others prefer square or rectangular altars for practical reasons, such as ease of storage. For White Magic in particular, you may want to choose a wooden altar that is more in tune with nature. You could even use a specific type of wood associated with the specific type of spell.
Make sure you pick a spot that’s a generally quiet spot where you can concentrate best. Some traditions hold that the altar must be placed either north or east, depending on the school of thought. For white magic, you may want to place your altar in a spot with plenty of natural light. You could also place it in a symbolic positive place associated with creation, such as in your kitchen.
These symbols should be placed side by side and in the center of your altar. Your symbolic items can represent either the Horned God and the Mother Goddess or deities of your personal choice from a specific pantheon. Some choose different colored candles that represent their deities. Others buy statues made in the likeness of their deities. Still, others seek out specific objects that have meaning for their deities, usually derived from myth and tradition.
Many traditions include symbols of the four elements arranged around the altar according to the four cardinal points of the compass. To perform White Magic, use white versions of these items, or light-colored versions (i.e., white wine instead of red wine). Earth in the North: Represented by a pentagram, stones, salt, food and/or plants. A yellow or green candle is placed at the edge. Fire in the South: Represented by oil, ritual knives, and/or a candle snuffer. Place a red candle on the edge. Air in the East: Represented by incense, feathers, a bell and/or your wand. Place a yellow or blue candle on the edge. Water in the West: Represented by a bowl of water, shells, a goblet or glass of wine, and/or a cauldron. A blue or green candle is placed on the edge.
Always have a clear goal in mind when casting. Don’t forget that White Magic is generally positive and intended for the benefit of others. White magic stimulates healing, growth, contentment, peace, etc. Many believe that a key aspect of white magic is that it cannot undermine another person’s will. For example, if you follow this principle, you should not cast a love spell on a specific person to force them to love you. Instead, a love spell in white magic would involve drawing an unknown person to you (or the person who asked you to cast the spell), possibly with certain desired qualities.
The details of items are generally considered secondary to their importance to you, the wizard. Take them from your culture or from the traditions and symbols of your coven. Specific herbs and figurines are welcome. You can add as many items as you like as long as they don’t clutter up your altar. To continue with the example of a white magic love spell, place representations of the qualities you desire in a lover. Add pepper or a dash of spice if you want something passionate. Intelligence could be represented by a statue of an owl. Some saffron could represent a suitor who is content or balanced.
Create a circle around your altar and stand inside before beginning your spell. The circle can be made out of chalk, string, rocks, twigs, salt, or any other object you can make one out of. Look at your altar. If you’re casting with other people, hold hands and face the center of the circle.
Use the items on your altar to clear your mind and focus on your goal. You can use either a wand or a ceremonial knife to channel your focus. Point to each symbolic object. Think about how each relates to the spell you’re casting. Pray to your deities for guidance and help.
These are not always necessary for a spell, but many practitioners use them. You can learn these either through research or directly from another believer. You could even make your own spell and write it in your Book of Shadows. It’s good to memorize everything you need to know before you start, but you can also read it directly from your book. In white magic, do not perform acts that are violent or symbolize violence. Similarly, don’t speak negatively or use hateful words.
If you are a Wiccan, consider joining a convention in your area and asking other members for guidance. You could ask to borrow or read a Book of Shadows owned by the Coven or one of its members. From there you can copy spells into a blank notebook to craft your own personal Book of Shadows. Many Wiccans and some other pagans or neo-pagans believe in the Law of Three or the Trinity Law. This is the belief that whatever good (or bad) you do through magic, you get it back three times. Most magicians agree that the will and belief of the caster are the most important aspects of a spell, not the details of the ritual. Many argue that specific tools, words, and ingredients are unnecessary and just methods to channel focus. Reach out to other believers through websites and online forums. Many Wiccans and other neo-pagans post their personal spells online for others to read and possibly incorporate into their rituals. Some Wiccans consider any collection of personally significant items to be “natural altars” suitable for use in ritual. Typical examples of this can be your bedside table, your desk, or a mantelpiece.
Read our blog to learn more on how to practice white magic.