Types of Magic
Over the years, several types of magic have proven to be especially effective: sympathetic, natural, ceremonial, and sexual. All are useful for spells, but some require more preparation or skill than others. Elements from one type can sometimes be used with other types.
Both natural and sympathetic magic could also be termed folk magic, and are used by Wiccans and Asatruar. Wiccans may occasionally use ceremonial magic or use tools from ceremonial magic with natural magic, but it's more popular among Thelemites and members of orders like Ordo Templis Orientis and the Golden Dawn. Sex magic is practiced mostly by Wiccans.
A glamour is a spell to alter the appearance of something, but it does not cause a physical change. Instead the change is in how others perceive it. For example, if an attacker was approaching you, you could cast a glamour to make yourself vanish from his field of vision, but you wouldn't really be invisible.
Sympathetic magic is the oldest form of magic, the form used by prehistoric peoples. This type of magic uses objects or actions to represent the desired objects or actions. For example, if you want it to rain, sprinkle water or run your shower.
Sympathetic magic seems simple, but in reality it can be difficult. Effecting change by example and will alone requires a deep connection to nature and the gods. The ancient hunters who re-enacted the hunt were using sympathetic magic, but they had a much stronger connection to the earth than modern people who live in homes with electricity and buy food in stores.
Natural magic uses many of the tools and techniques mentioned in the chapters on Wicca to effect change. An effective natural magic spell will include the right colors and should be held during a propitious moon phase, day of the week, or within the right astrological sign. Candles are especially useful for directing and focusing energy. Drumming, dancing, and chanting are powerful methods for raising energy.
Natural magic is suitable for any purpose. For example, if you have received an unexpected bill and have trouble coming up with the funds, you could burn a green candle, mark a copy of the bill with money oil, ask the gods to help you pay it, visualize yourself paying it, and then burn it to send your request to the universe. If you want to add sympathetic magic to this spell, you could write “paid” on the bill as a symbol of your intention.
Ceremonial magic is the most complicated type of magic. A ceremonial magician attempts to gain control over other nonhuman entities and instruct them to do his or her will. Control is acquired via strict and elaborate sets of steps that vary according to the practitioner's purpose.
While ceremonial magic relies on some of the tools of natural magic, such as colored cords, oils, or candles, each of the tools adheres to specific requirements. In natural magic, practitioners can change the words to suit their own purposes or use a different colored cord in a pinch. Ceremonial magic doesn't allow for such variations.
In 1531, Henry Cornelius Agrippa published Three Books of Occult Philosophy, a compendium of natural and ceremonial magic techniques and theory. It has since been reprinted, with notes to help you understand the old terms and associations.
Sex magic is commonly used with natural magic, but it can be used exclusively. During sex magic, the magician's arousal raises and focuses energy. That energy is released at orgasm and from there it merges with the energy of the universe to bring the practitioner's desire to fruition. Sex magic can be done solo, or with a partner. When performing sex magic with a partner, it is best to reach simultaneous orgasm, but it's not necessary.
Sex magic can be used for a sex-related goal like the conception of a child, but it can also be used for any other purpose, like buying a house. If you are doing sex magic with a partner, your goal should be something you both desire. If you're working toward a personal goal, masturbation would be a better option. Be aware that the energy raised and released during sex magic is very potent. Use an additional method of birth control if you and your partner don't want to conceive.
If you want to combine sex magic and natural magic, burn colored candles associated with your goal and do the spell during the appropriate moon phase and on the right day of the week. You can also burn incenses or anoint each other with oils suited to your goal. Unless you invoke your matron and patron deities, any gods you call should be related to your purpose.