One of the questions I get asked more often is “How do you know a spell will work?” - and my answer is always the same: I don’t.
In our tradition (I’m specifying this because it could be completely different for other faiths and other practitioners), a spell is a petition to the Spirits – be it Orishas, Saints, the Dead, or whatever form of Spirit we work with.
Our responsibility as practitioners is, first of all, to have a good relationship with the Spirits who work with us, by honouring and respecting them, by educating about them to other potential followers, and by giving example with our own work and life; and, of course, to learn what kind of offerings and elements they prefer when work is performed. On the other hand, our responsibility towards our customers is to perform the work petitioned by them in a timely and professional manner, always using the best materials and always searching for more and better options for the work.
Once the spell is performed, is it out of our hands and into the Spirits’ hands. As you can imagine, I cannot predict if your petition will be granted or not, because Spirits have the same free will we have. We are not Fairy Godmothers – we do not grant wishes, and we do not give orders to the Spirits. If you have faith in the Spirits and their work, usually you get what you have petitioned, even if you don’t work with the particular Spirit we have worked with; the Spirit’s payment for the work have always been included in the spell itself, keeping you from having to make offerings to said Spirit.
But sometimes, no matter how much we try, or how well the spell is made, petitions are not granted. Why is that? Some people use the argument that the customer’s anxiety about the petition can block the work, but I do not like blaming the customer because:
a) Spirits are not that weak that anxiety can block them;
b) if you were not anxious about something, you wouldn’t be ordering a spell in the first place.
Anxiety is implicit on every single spell. Certainly, anxiety IS a block for magic – the more you focus on something, the less you let the magic work by itself, because you’re influencing the outcome instead of letting it happen as it should – but, believe me, no matter how anxious you are, the power of your anxiety is never bigger than the power of the Spirit.
The second most common argument is the spellworker’s failure. Of course, we can fail, we are human and don’t know everything! But honestly, I believe that if you have a good, respectful relationship with a Spirit, that Spirit can grant a petition even if we have made a mistake choosing an ingredient or a offering – the very simple reason to believe this is that Spirits are not stupid! The Spirits we work with are kind, generous and loving – and we have had proof after proof of that.
To be honest, the most simple answer is the true one – that the thing the petitioner has asked was not good for him/her, for reasons that we cannot see, but the Spirits can. This is a very difficult truth to accept, both for the customer and the spellworker, specially when we can’t see why having the petition granted could be bad for the petitioner. On this situation, I always side with the petitioner, because I know well how it feels to need something desperately and have it denied time after time. Believe me, the Spirits have endured a few “why don’t you give this person a baby/a husband/ a job???” rants on our customers’ behalf!
I don’t think I have to remind this to you, my readers, because I am sure you are as authentic as can be – but there is a high chance of your petition not being granted if you just pretend to use the Spirits as a miracle vending machine and have no true faith in them. From time to time, someone who has no relationship with the Spirits, no faith at all and no knowledge of how spellwork works comes to us with their petition. Although we treat those petitions with the same care as we do with the rest, because we are not here to judge anybody, the success rate is much lower. We cannot force Spirits to do what they don’t want to do!
For the exact same reasons, customers who go the extra mile and make their own offerings or search for information about the Spirits we work with (even including them in their personal worship), get the highest result scores of all. That means your attitude matters, and can help the best outcome to happen – your LOVE for the Spirits, your faith and interest, can do more good than your anxiety can damage.
Likewise, being active and positive about your petition ( like, for example, submitting resumes and going to interviews if your petition is about finding a job ) matters too. There is a fable that speaks of a man whose carriage was stuck in a muddy road, and screamed for Hercules’ help. Hercules appeared before him and started helping the man pull the carriage – the carriage started slowly moving out of the mud. When the man saw Hercules’ strength, he stopped pulling and let the God do the work alone. Hercules noticed, and said “If you want help, I will give it to you; if you want me to do your work for you, I won’t help you”, and disappeared, leaving the man’s carriage stuck in the mud.
That is, very much, my view of the petitioner’s influence on the outcome of spells. While not always it is possible to work directly towards the goal of the spell, because there are many different types of petition, there is always someone to whom you can do good to – you can volunteer, donate to charities, or simply speak of the Spirits to someone who may be in need of their help. Kind actions, kind thoughts and kind words are like good luck seeds – the more you plant, the more you will reap.
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