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Can Spells Backfire?
By Jean Silver | Submitted On November 18, 2008


From novice to adept, ceremonial magician to witch, everyone worries about the unintended consequences of magick. One unintended consequence is that a spell may backfire. Backfiring spells may have a myriad of different causes. They may also have an assortment of different results, from the benign to disastrous. Arming yourself with the facts about backfiring spells is the first step to protecting yourself from them.

What causes a spell to backfire?

The most common cause of a backfiring spell is an inexperienced spell caster. Someone untrained in the magickal arts is sure to cause spells to backfire. With the advent of the Internet and do-it-yourself books about magick, it has become increasingly common for the uninitiated to dabble in casting. As a result, unintended results from backfiring spells have risen. The first step, therefore, in preventing a spell from backfiring is to find an experienced spellcaster or become competently trained in magick. Note that the latter option will realistically take years, so if you intend to become a witch, magician, or spell caster, be prepared for a long journey.

The second most common reason a spell backfires is junk magick. What I mean by junk magick is that the spell is essentially cosmic junk. Spells that combine incompatible or opposing energies, for example, are more likely to backfire than those that combine compatible energies. Incompatible material ingredients are also likely to make a spell backfire. The famous occultist Henry Cornelius Agrippa discussed the compatibilities and incompatibilities of physical materials and energy in depth; anyone seeking an extensive list of these should refer to his Three Books of Occult Philosophy.

Just as the Internet has facilitated a rise in inexperienced do-it-yourself casters, it has also disseminated countless junk spells. Anyone can look up detailed instructions on casting spells, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) most of these are junk spells. Far from being inert, however, these spells often result in unintended consequences and backfiring. The combination of inexperienced casters using junk spells is a particularly bad one, and it is easy to see how success rarely arises out of such a combination.

Opposing magicks is an extant, but rarer, cause of spell backfiring. This is best illustrated with an example. If an individual casts a curse on someone shielded with a protection spell, this will factor into the curse being more likely to backfire. The two factors mentioned above - experience of the caster and harmony of the magick - are typically what will effect the success of two contested spells. The more powerful the caster and the better the spell, the more likely it will be to succeed over an opposing spell.

The type of spell will also affect the likelihood of backfiring. Not to be confused with junk magick, this refers to harmonious spells of different types. For example, curses are more likely to backfire than protection spells. Factors that influence this include the difficulty of the spell and if the spells is meant to manipulate others in any fashion. The more difficult it is to cast the spell, the more likely it will be to backfire. And if your spell has to contest the will of another, the more likely it is to backfire.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of what causes spells to backfire, but simply the most common causes. Astrological sign, location, time of day, and even the caster's mood can influence the degree to which a spell might backfire. Understanding all potential influences and compensating for them is a monumental task, highlighting the necessity of spell casting experience.

What happens when a spell backfires?

One result of a backfiring spell is that it simply won't work. This is the most benign of consequences, in that it doesn't result in any adverse effects for the caster. When inexperienced spell casters find that magick doesn't work for them, it is often the result of a backfiring spell. While this is no consequence to be alarmed about, it is important to note that this is not the only potential result of a backfiring spell.

A spell that backfires may also cause the opposite result of the initial intention. For example, a love spell that backfires might cause the intended target to dislike the caster. Rather than causing love as initially intended, the backfired love spell instead caused dislike or hate. The implications here are profound; a backfired curse could harm the caster, while a backfired protection spell could make you even more vulnerable.

Backfired spells may also cause harm. In contrast to causing the opposite result of the spell, all backfired spells have the potential to harm the caster. This is because energy is inherently volatile, and the manipulation of any type of energy is potentially dangerous. Even seemingly harmless spells such as those intended to protect may backfire and harm an inexperienced caster.

Yikes! How do I avoid spell backfires?

The only sure way to avoid spell backfires is experience and training. Professional witches, ceremonial magicians, and occultists all undergo an initiation and years of training before actually casting spells. There is virtually no danger and risk of backfiring if the caster is experienced. Therefore, individuals should seek out trained magical professionals rather than take the do-it-yourself approach.

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