Humans are creative by nature. To disagree is to deny everything that humanity has created: art, literature, science, religion, culture, sports, politics. Need I go on? Of course, not everyone is an artist or a writer, but you don’t have to be in order to possess creativity. Something as little as picking out what to wear, or choosing a color to paint your bedroom with, nevertheless emerges from a creative place known as self-expression. That’s right. You’re still special.
Humans left the wilderness because we were essentially bored and can’t help but tinker with stuff. Overall, we have an innate desire to know that can rarely be satisfied with the same answers. That’s why we have all the things that make up civilization and more. Think about how ideas can become reality, how everything around you is the result of the human ability to conceptualize and create. It’s almost as if those who practice magic aren’t the only magical people.
This is why I believe magic and creativity go hand in hand, and it’s no wonder “witch” is joined with “craft.” Witches tend to make altars, wands, elixirs, poppets, spell jars, and more. We’re pretty crafty in general, but we don’t always have to do things the old-fashioned way.
Unfortunately, elitism is strong among a number of magical practitioners. Traditionalists often shun experimental and imaginative thought that I believe is essential to magic. What else did crafters in primitive times have to work with besides the land? Yes, it’s home to many spirits and undoubtedly spans a magical history, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of witchcraft. Plenty of witches find success in modern ideas, such as working with technology and spirits of fiction. Just like nature, magic adapts and evolves.
One thing I’ve especially learned about magic is that it’s anything but predictable. Even if you do everything right and you know it, a surprise could be right around the corner that flips your results. There are so many factors to speculate that the only way to keep up is to be studious as well as creative.
Know what draws you and what doesn’t.
Becoming in tune with what speaks to you is the first step to successful magic, regardless of whether it’s found in lore or fiction. A connection is a connection. Not everyone connects with the old ways and ancient spirits. Not everyone connects with modern ideas and fictional spirits. Some practitioners don’t connect with, let alone believe in, the spiritual aspect of witchcraft at all.
How do you know what exactly draws you? Simple. Make a list of your interests and inspirations and narrow them down, starting with your favorite. Research all you need to know and brainstorm ways to use that information in spells. Your practice is yours, and the more personalized it is, the more potent.
What about the things that don’t draw you? Rarely is the subject addressed, but it’s equally important to know to avoid negative results. For example, almost all witchcraft sources advocate herbs and crystals and other natural ingredients, but if you don’t connect with nature, there’s no point in trying to work with it. You don’t have to fix that. You’re simply different, and that’s something to be embraced. If anyone tells you otherwise, tell them to go suck a free-range egg.
Commune with your tools and ingredients.
Animism is the ancient belief that everything, animate and inanimate, has a spiritual essence and thus is alive in its own unique way. If you’re into the idea, establishing a connection with the things of your craft can surely expand your magical understanding. You’ll learn about them in ways that will fill in the blanks of your spell work. Just make sure none of what you plan to use is toxic, unless you have the experience to handle such.
Communing with tools and ingredients is an intuitive art that takes time and practice to grasp like any other. Be open and pay attention to the impressions you get from things. Talk to them, verbally or mentally. Are they friendly, curious, or cautious? Do they feel male, female, both, or neither? What else do they tell you? Don’t force it. Don’t expect anything. Just listen. The languages of objects can range from coherent words and sentences to colors and symbols.
As someone who basically utilizes the imagination as an otherworldly gateway, I have a hard time not interpreting most of my craft items. My tarot decks, for example, each have a distinct personality. Even between cards that aren’t quite compatible, I can manage to draw a link as a sort of mediator, working out their differences and including complementary ingredients. I listen as well as interact. The chain of events leading to the results are bound to be different, but that’s what makes this kind of work interesting. With animism, a spell becomes more than just an arrangement of materials imbued with a wish.
If you’re an artist of any sort, consider incorporating the respective tools.
Art is pretty dang close to magic. To convey one’s thoughts and feelings through an artistic medium takes not just study and practice, but also visualization and figurative thinking. Magic is the same story. The latter two aren’t always necessary, as there are non-imaginative methods such as worship and casting with bodily movements, but there’s no doubt about the imagination having a magical impact.
If you draw, you can illustrate spells, giving life to a scene that represents your intention. If you write, you can cast them in the form of storytelling, crafting your goal through settings, characters, and symbolism. The artistic-magical possibilities are endless. When you’ve finished a piece, focus on it. Get immersed. Play music to really set the mood, unless you’re the musician, in which case, play the song. Whatever your pursuit, get into your work as if you’re casting a spell—because you are!
Even if art isn’t your forte, you can put that habit of daydreaming to good use by utilizing visualization in your practice. Have you ever played pretend as a kid? Well, you can totally do it again as a means of interacting with the magical world—if you live alone, that is, otherwise you’ll have some explaining to do.
Try something new.
Nobody has to stay in one lane. Someone working pop culture magic could also work with nature spirits or the gods, if they’re interested. Curiosity won’t kill you as long as you do your research and be respectful. Some entities might have a problem sharing your magical space with anime figurines. Others, not so much. Sometimes they won’t respond. Other times they’ll let you know through signs and senses.
Implementing new ideas allows your craft to grow and magical discoveries to be made. Breakthroughs don’t happen by repeating the same methods and practices. You don’t have to try everything, nor do anything that makes you too uncomfortable, but it might help to venture from the familiar once in a blue moon.
Witches, magicians, and other practitioners experience about as many differences as they do similarities altogether. At the end of the day, magic, like art, is personal and unique to every practicing individual. So, how creative do you get with your craft? What makes it different and yours? Feel free to comment and add some crafty insight of your own!