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Incantations: Making Magic with Sound

An incantation is a chant for making magic. Usually, an incantation consists of a sequence of words, and sometimes syllables or other sounds. Although many grimoires, spell books, and other collections of magical formulas and rituals contain incantations that are to be done as part of a magical operation, few include any instructions on how to do the incantation, other than perhaps the number of times it is to be repeated. Here is my guide to working with incantations to increase their effectiveness and ways of developing various aspects of your voice as a magical tool.

Before attempting to make magic with an incantation, become familiar with it. Practice the pronunciation of its words. This is especially important for long incantations and those that are in a language other than the one you use in daily life. Continue practicing until you can say it smoothly.

Next, explore the rhythm of the incantation. Experiment with different ways of putting emphasis on some of its component words and syllables. Select the rhythmic pattern that best allows you to move energy with the incantation.

Now, work with its pace. Practice saying the incantation slowly, at a moderate pace, and quickly. Changing the pace of an incantation can increase its power and is an excellent way to direct energy with it.

Next, work with volume. Speak the incantation softly and then grow louder with each repeating. Notice how the energy of the chant changes from whisper to shout. Discover the volume that works best for your voice and the setting where you will be doing the magical ritual.

Explore the use of tone as you speak the incantation. Try saying it in the lower part of your vocal range, in mid-range, and near the top of your range. Select the part of your range that seems to work best with the incantation and its purpose and makes it possible for you to say the incantation repeatedly without straining your voice.

Progress from experimenting with tonal range to melody. Most incantations increase in power when sung. It is not necessary to be a skilled singer or to have perfect pitch to use melody with incantations. Begin your melodic explorations by singing all the words on the same note. Next, try singing the chant using two or more notes, and then let some possible tunes emerge. Select the melodic pattern that is the most energetic.

Whenever possible, commit the incantation to memory. Memorize not only its words but your discovered optimal pattern of rhythm, pace, volume, tone, and melody. Once these preparations are done, proceed with performing the ritual that includes the incantation. Focus on the intention of the magic as you do the ritual and incantation. Build energy as you repeatedly chant the incantation. Let your spiritual self, the Divine within, guide you in your process of making magic with chanting and intuitively work with pace, volume, and other factors that you explored as part of preparations.

Intuitively sense the optimal duration for the chanting. Continue to raise and direct power for the intended purpose until you sense it is time to peak the energy and send it off. Do so and then become silent. In the silence that follows the incantation, visualize the intended goal being achieved. When you are done with the ritual, describe what you did and what you learned from this in your magical workbook. Apply what you have learned to your future work with incantations.

Selena Fox
Circle Sanctuary, Wisconsin


Selena Fox is founder of the Circle Craft tradition, a form of the Wiccan religion that blends together old and new Pagan folkways, multicultural shamanism, ecospirituality, and transpersonal psychology. Selena presents Circle Craft workshops in her speaking travels and at the monthly Craftway Circle study group at Circle Land. Some of the material in this article was adapted from her Craftway Circle workshop on Incantations.