For many witches, the various forms of sympathetic magick are some of the most common practices of their witchcraft. Sympathetic magick takes one of two forms, either the form of “similarity” or the form of “contagion”.
With similarity, a witch’s spells, or items used in spells, such as trees, plants, herbs, stones, metals, etc. which have their own specific properties, are applied to a desired outcome for a person, event, animal, place, or thing. The magick is used to apply the intent behind the witch’s spell to work its similarity from the spell toward the exact focus of the spell. Such as, in casting a spell to end a drought, words, actions and intentions are directed, in addition to the items used, to achieve an end to the drought, even as the witch sprinkles the ground around their feet with water.
With contagion, items previously in contact with a person, animal, or place, retain the link they have with the person, animal, or place, such as in the case of hair trimmings, fingernail clippings, or clothing worn by a person, or items owned by them and exposed to their presence for some time. A simple use for contagious magick like this is the use of poppets. The same goes for animals, including their collars (for pets) their bedding or even their remains after they cross over. For places, it is common to use dirt from a specific location in a spell. Stones, plants, and other natural matter typically have, not only a link to the place they were harvested, but also unique properties of their own that must be considered when used in spell casting.
Whether using sympathetic magick for divination, to bring someone safety or something, to locate a lost object, bring an enemy low, or raise a friend from troubles, there are various ways to achieve each desired effect. Finding the right method to suit the individual witch is a matter of personal preference. Some witches prefer to use nothing more than verbal spells or signals from their hands and/or body, while others may prefer to construct a complex magickal working including a handcrafted spell, written on parchment in a special ink, performed inside a sacred circle, at an altar, with herbs, stones, colored candles, etc. decorated in magickal symbols and anointed with a specific oil that suits their purpose, possibly with other accoutrement designed to strengthen or weave layers into their spell work. Every witch has a preference for each type of spell they cast.
Sympathetic magick has been practiced and its history traced back to many locations all around the world for millennia. From ancient cannibalistic societies who believed eating the dead flesh of their conquered enemies would give them power over the enemies, or even steal the power a specific defeated enemy possessed, to ancient cave drawings of hunting believed by some to be ancient spells cast for luck in the hunt, examples abound. Even the common pagan practice of ritualistic sex to bring about greater fertility for crops and animals is a form of sympathetic magick.
Sympathetic magick has existed for thousands of years and is still practiced by millions of witches, today. As the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. As such, if a new witch intends to start using witchcraft in their lives, a good place to start is with sympathetic magick.