Placebo Effect in Witchcraft

9113 1 - Placebo Effect in Witchcraft

This time I wanted to take a bit of a step back and talk about what is witchcraft and how, in my understanding, works. We all have our very own perspective of how things work, not just with witchcraft, but with the universe.

The way we understand this universe is unique to each individual, and the way we believe how things work, we create our own reality. You could say that there are as many versions of the universe as the number of people on this planet. It doesn’t matter if what we believe is right or wrong, but these beliefs affect our own existence on an individual basis and in turn we create a version of the universe that works for us.

And so, this is my reality when it comes to understanding how witchcraft works. We don’t just weave our fingers and light sputters around them to weave the magic (although that would be very cool). We light our candles, burn incense, use symbols and herbs, and many many more ingredients in our practices, but there is a lot of work going on in the background.

In my understanding, there are two parts that make up spells and any other magic we weave. The energy that we put into our workings, which we give from our own energy or from other sources, and symbolism, whether those are symbols, colours, changing the mood of the room and whatnot.

The energy we need to create our magic is the essential part, of what we create our desired outcome. But there is something else that needs to be present in order to take that energy and take it from A to B. And this is where symbolism has its share of the working. Through the symbolisms we use in our craft, are a way to communicate to our subconscious our desired outcome (our intent would also be a way to communicate to our subconscious this outcome).

Our subconscious mind is actually believed by many to be very powerful on its own accord. There is knowledge beyond imagination stored in there and humans have access to use only 10% of our brain on an average. The remaining 90% is our subconscious. We sometimes get a glimpse of the remaining through dreaming or hypnotherapy and whatnot, but we can’t actually use it on demand. So, as witches, we learn to communicate to it through visuals and symbols so it can understand what we want to achieve.

We have the universal laws by which we abide by, of which I have briefly written about in a previous blog post, The Universal Law of Equivalent Exchange. However, our subconscious mind is the medium of which communications our desire to the universe through these laws. Without the use of our subconscious mind, magic would potentially not be possible. Following our actions, believing that our workings will work is paramount to their success.

One could say that this is quintessentially a placebo effect. And maybe that is somewhat accurate.

We have the preconception that relating magic to placebo effect invalidates our practice and makes it unreal. However, I personally don’t see it that way.

Placebo effect is a beneficial effect produced by a placebo drug or treatment, which cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must, therefore, be due to the patient’s belief in that treatment.

This is exactly what a spell needs for it to work. Essentially, believing that a result will happen, in turn, brings the result in question take a physical form. By no way, I think this means that witchcraft isn’t real. In fact, this may be a good way to explain it scientifically.

At the end of the day, a mind is a powerful tool and just because it starts in our mind, it doesn’t make it any less real. If spells mean that we, ironically, consciously communicate with our subconscious, then so be it. Let’s call it a placebo. That doesn’t make it any less real, and it certainly doesn’t invalidate practices that have been around for centuries.

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  1. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”

    J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)

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