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To Know, to Will, to Dare and to Keep Silent

  by Estelle Daniels

This phrase contains the successful ingredients for a good spell. It is borrowed from Ceremonial Magick. But what does it mean?

To Know – means to know what you are doing, intellectually and practically. To have knowledge of spellwork, magick, what may work best in your situation, what you are able to handle, are comfortable with, how to execute what you want. Most importantly, to know what you want to accomplish. The more concise you can make your statement of purpose, the better and more effective your spell will be. To gain world peace, is a noble goal, but one which is beyond the scope of most practitioners. To keep drug pushers off my block, is a more realistic goal which can be accomplished. Avoid "not" or "can't". Rather than "a workplace which is not abusive and harassing", try "a workplace which is healthy, pleasant and happy." You have to filter all spells through your younger self, which has the attention span and intellect of a three-year-old. Often the words not or can't get filtered out, and a spell can backfire because the message received was workplace, abusive and harassing. Keep books on spells as idea books, read through them and adapt. 75% of the work in a spell comes before you start putting up the circle. Research and assembly of materials take up most of the time. If it's worth doing a spell, it's worth putting in the time to do it right. Good preparation is certainly part of To Know.

To Will – refers to the magickal will. What is that really? It is to be able to generate enough emotional and psychic energy to accomplish your purpose. You can be very learned and have all the spell work lore in your head and be perfectly practiced, but you have to put your own emotional energy into the thing, or it won't go anywhere. We all know people who have the ideas and talk a blue streak about doing this and that project, but when it comes down to it, they have little enthusiasm for actually accomplishing anything. The will is the energy battery you draw from when you raise the power for the spell. If that battery is drained, or never got charged in the first place, the thing won't go. Simple as that. That's the Will.

To Dare – means to have the gumption to actually get off your couch and do it. You can be learned, and burn with intensity, but until and unless you actually go get the stuff, do the research and preparation and do the spell, nothing will happen. Sounds pretty basic, doesn't it? Well it is, and this is where many spells die. Talk is cheap. Action and investing time and energy are what count. Until you act, the spell will be nothing more than a particularly vivid daydream. Yes, thoughts are real and can have an effect upon the world, but for an effective spell, you have to go through the motions. You don't have to wait until you have your own private temple and the bestest altar and a perfect relationship with your Deities. You can make do with a few basics. Intent is the key here. Intent comes under Will and Dare. Are you making the best of your time, energy and resources? If you can't afford actual granulated Frankincense, charcoal and a brazier, a stick of frankincense incense will do. If you don't have your own permanent stone altar, a nice altar cloth spread over a convenient surface will suffice.

To Keep Silent – is the last ingredient and just as important as the other three. You have to be able to understand what you want and what you're doing, have the energy to make it happen, have the gumption to get up and actually do what's necessary and then, once accomplished, Shut Up About It. I have seen wonderful spells executed, only to never come to fruition because the person couldn't keep quiet. There are a number of reasons. First you have to let the spell go to accomplish the purpose. If you are constantly talking and dwelling on it, you haven't let it go. You are still tied to it and are in effect calling it back every time you mention or brag or discuss it. Second, there are people who may not like the idea of your doing a spell, how you did it, what materials you used, what color robes you wore, which books you read, or who your grandmother was and where she came from. They may hinder your spell by either consciously or subconsciously trying to stop it. There are even a rare few people who will go home and actively craft a counter-spell and most of them think they are doing the world, and you a favor. Others may just pray against you or think bad thoughts about you or your spell. Any and all of these can blunt or deflect a spell's energies. Third, it's just bad form to talk about specific spells that haven't run their course. You can upset people generally. Many have antiquated notions about spells and what they are meant to do. You can give people an inflated idea of your opinion of yourself and your influence in the world. You never know who will hear about it through the grapevine and how it will be distorted. What is meaningful and important to you may be considered trivial by someone else, or it may just sound that way if you aren't clear and your audience not paying close attention to grasp your intent. You can talk about spells you did in the past if the occasion arises in a teaching or information sharing situation, but Keep Silent is otherwise the best maxim. If you say nothing, you are 100% assured your words will not be misunderstood.

So there it is. To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent: a simple maxim, which carries a lot of weight and wisdom. Following these four "rules" can do much to increase your magical effectiveness. 

Blessed Be.

© 1999, 2003 Estelle Daniels, all rights reserved.