Two Irish Army Officers dressed in traditional Celtic dress, accompanied by Irish wolfhounds at the Tailteann Games - a sporting and Gaelic revival festival and Ireland’s attempt to outdo the Olympic Games, 1924
“But then came the Tongues on that terrible day. Steadfast as winter, they entered the fray. And all heard the music of Alduin’s doom. The sweet song of Skyrim, the sky-shattering Thu’um.” ~ “Tale of the Tongues,” by Malukah
One of the things that I really enjoy doing when it comes to my research is looking for patterns that span not just history, but cultures as well. Some tend to be rather archetypal, such as certain gods and spirits. But there’s one pattern that I’m surprised doesn’t get more attention in witchcraft: the power of the voice.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of witches out there who encourage chanting, singing, and prayer. But more often than not, the emphasis of the magic involved comes from the music or the other aspects of the spell. What I’m talking about is magic from the voice with no other influence.
As I’ve mentioned multiple times in previous articles, when you break magic down to its ultimate basics, it is composed of very simple yet powerful principles. First is intent. Magic is meant to help take a witch’s intent, focus it, and channel it into reality. As such, I’ve often said that as long as your intent is in the right place, you really can’t mess up a spell.
The second is visualization. Many goal-setting tutorials and witches often say that one of the keys to successfully reaching a goal or casting a spell is being able to see the outcome in your mind’s eye. For instance, when I’m working my morning self-improvement coffee spell, I not only have the intent and desire to better myself, but can also see where I want to be by the end of the day (smiling brighter or complimenting more or feeling more confident). The more specific and detailed the visualization and the better that visualization is held (some spells call for holding a visualization for an extended period of time), the more effective it tends to be.
And the third is energy in two forms: the first being the energy put into the spell itself, and the second being the mundane and practical work put into achieving a goal. Being able to feel the energy around you and within you, and then make use of it is a huge key to setting spells in motion. When combined with intent and visualization, it forms a spell. So when working a spell to get a job, it may seem a bit like this: You have the intent, need, and desire to get employment at a place you know you’ll love your job (let’s say cooking). You visualize yourself cooking for a living, being happy as you do so with great coworkers and decent paychecks. You see yourself shaking hands with a manager who is congratulating you on getting the job. Then, you focus your energy toward that goal and light a candle that you may have dressed or set up. You hold the visualization and intent for a while, and then you set of to put in applications and resumes (jobs don’t come out of nowhere).
That particular spell got me a great job in a matter of 48 hours.
So here’s the question. Say you have the visualization, intent, and energy. You know that all of the other components to a spell generally serve to help focus those three concepts, but you don’t want to craft a wand or use a candle or burn incense. Could you cast a spell by simply using your voice?
The answer is a resounding YES. And this is something that has been seen in quite a few cultures. Most prominently those cultures which have valued oral tradition over written. One of the best examples of this would be that of the Irish Celts. Though there was an established writing system (a runic form of writing called Ogham), it was almost never used to record lore or tales. Instead, the stories were passed down from one generation to the next by the druids - or priests. Irish culture held the belief that the voice was powerful in and of itself. Words had the ability to influence a person’s mind if used the right way, were capable of helping one person understand another’s thoughts and emotions, and could weave mental images in the form of stories and poetry and song.
This concept is even held in many religious establishments. Take, for instance, Christianity. Regardless of denomination, the belief is that prayer is a way of speaking to God, either directly or via an intermediary such as a saint or the Virgin Mary. The only requirements of this kind of prayer come down to intent, visualization, and energy focus (prayer often becomes its own way of channeling energy). For most denominations, there is no other ingredient to such a practice than a voice (though some, such as Catholicism may incorporate rosaries and prayer beads). Many witches, including myself, would say that as a result, prayer is a form of casting a spell. It has all the core ingredients of spellcasting, and like paganism may on occasion involve an added ingredient while also appealing to a higher power.
Today, the media continues the concept of how powerful words can be. Especially where fantasy gaming comes to play. In games such as Dungeons and Dragons, bards are storytellers and entertainers whose words can become so powerful as to shape reality and work spells (a concept that actually makes sense, as historically bards are the ones who spread news and passed history down through the ages… if a bard were to change the story, history would remember the new version if it caught on).
Or, if we want a game that is more prominently known than D&D, we’ll look at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In this installment of the Elder Scrolls series, one of the driving forces of the storyline is the hero’s use of the Thu’um, or Voice. According to the lore, the dragons were capable of waging war simply by having a conversation. The Voice was powerful enough to be a world-shaping force. Seeking to end the dragons’ reign of oppression, the people of Skyrim learned how to harness the Thu’um for themselves and waged war against the dragons using words as weapons instead of relying on steel. Thus Alduin (the leader of the dragons prophesied to consume the world; a spirit powerful enough to arguably be called a deity) was defeated by the Nords until the events of the game.
So there is precedence for using one’s voice or words as a vehicle for spellcasting. This, of course, leads to the question of how a witch can use her voice to work a spell. The easiest and most common method is through affirmations. Part of my coffee spell mentioned above is to say an affirmation that works with my intent: “I am confident in my abilities.”
Say you need to cleanse a space or your home. One of my friends’ grandmothers was known for her ability to clear a home of unwanted or negative energy and spirits simply by walking from room to room and talking to her god out loud. Her intent and her ability to see the energy be pushed away and out of the home, coupled by talking as a focus was a great way of cleansing. This same concept can be done on your own. For instance, when cleansing a home, I could walk from room to room, maintaining visualization and channeling my energy and intent, while using my voice as the vehicle for change. Thus I might say something to the effect of “All darkness and negativity in this room is cleansed and illuminated, for I hold in my heart the light of the fires of Brigid and the strength of the Morrigan. It is my will and desire that this place be cleansed and made pure, and as it is in my heart, so too shall it be in this room.”
Many examples given of vocal spellcasting make use of a relationship between the witch and a deity, but this isn’t required. Using my example in the last paragraph, you could say something such as “All darkness and negativity in this room is cleansed and driven away. I hold in my heart the will and the power of my spirit. It is my will and desire that this place be cleansed, and as it is in my heart, so too shall it be in this room.”
The benefits of working with vocal spellcasting are several-fold. First, it is inexpensive. And by inexpensive, I mean to say free. You don’t need to spend money to talk. Then there’s the fact that it can be discreet. If you have a moment of privacy and work a spell, when someone enters the room later, there’s no residual incense or candle smoke, and no ingredients that may have been forgotten. If you’re talking quietly and someone shows up and asks what you’re doing, you could say that you’re praying and they may leave so as to respect your privacy.
Then there’s the fact that working with your voice is a great way of affirming your personal power and magic. Much of witchcraft today can sometimes be lost in the ingredients to a spell - “I must have rosemary added to this moon water so that it’ll be good for protection.” In truth, the power of that water comes from you. Yes, the rosemary and the moon add to its potency, but most of that energy is from your intent and visualization. Working with your voice helps further affirm that you are in control of your life and that you are a powerful and beautiful individual.
So consider the magic of your own voice. How can you use it in your day-to-day life to work spells of your own?
Blessed Be! )O(
Witchy Tips! -When working with your voice for any spell, speak with confidence. Be proud of the work you’re doing and know that you are a force to be reckoned with. -Don’t limit yourself to just talking. Singing, laughing, crying, and even screaming all add power to your voice! -When creating new spells that don’t initially involve using your voice, consider incorporating a chant or affirmation that can help you further cement your magic.