Emotion is what fuels magical practice because spell work begins with what you want to have happen. If you cannot feel, then you cannot want and feeling is emotion. All intense emotion is high energy and you can, with rational thought and careful planning, direct all the intensity of that energy toward your goal. Passion will spike energy right off the meter, whether that passion comes from lust, anger, fear, or exultation. High emotion of all kinds: love, fear, sadness, anger, frustration, etc, can fuel your magical energy like a stoked furnace. But should you?
As most people are aware, high emotion can render us unreasonable and irrational, which is not the optimal mindset for magical work. The competent and responsible magical practitioner objectively determines whether they are in a mentally stable place to approach spell work. The primary question regarding high emotion is motivation and intent. If you are using your magical energy to create a positive outcome for yourself or others, then that is a pure intention and you should move forward with confidence. If you are using your energy to get revenge on someone else, it may not be a good time to go into ritual.
Hormonal shifts can play with our emotions and cause us to have unbalanced reactions to situation for both males and females. Fatigue, illness, or intoxication can compromise our good judgment and weaken our magical push. Ideally, we want to go into any magical working with a level head and a spirit that is full of strong intention fueled by positive emotion. That positive emotion often takes the form of faith and magical confidence, which may not successfully root until we have a history of optimal results from our magical work.
To perform effective spell work, we do not have to live in a world of rainbows, puppy dogs, and roses. We should make sure, however, that when we go into ritual, we are pure of intent and thinking clearly, which many of us do not embody when we are working with strong emotions.
I have found that the most motivating emotions tend to be anger and fear. I am as guilty as the next person of going into ritual full of angry emotion, crying the ugly cry, embracing my rage, and appealing to my favorite goddess, “I…want…you…to…KILL HIM!” Likewise, Christians sometimes go into prayer filled with righteous indignation over a wrong done to them. When we are wronged, we want the world to be right again and that course correction feels incomplete without some kind of balance and retribution.
Some paths teach that we should completely eschew the gray or dark side of magic, walking only in the light and deflecting any negative feelings or retribution magic. It is to each person to decide what works for them in that respect and I believe the healthy place is somewhere in the middle. We must not live in a world of fear and retaliation, but we also must be no one’s doormat. The other side of that is “To thy own self be true.” If you are an experienced practitioner, then you likely know your boundaries in terms of emotional involvement in your magic and should honor them. Is it acceptable to stretch boundaries for one’s own magical growth at times? Absolutely! The heat of the moment, however, is not always the best time to decide those things. If you are a newcomer to magic, the draw for reactionary magic will usually be quite strong and the best advice is “baby steps.” Do not go from Bibbity Bobbity Boo to putting the whole castle to sleep and raising up a wall of thorns around the place just because you felt a strong feeling.
When Z. Budapest said, “A Witch who cannot curse, cannot heal,” my impression is that she was not saying that we must all curse people to be balanced. She was wisely pointing out that we must know and understand the accountability of both sides of the coin and have the willingness and ability to take care of ourselves magically. Only you know that reasonable balance.
Sometimes, a medical healer has to cut away necrotic tissue to allow healthy tissue to grow. A fever makes us feel terrible, but the increased body temperature can burn away a virus or bacterial infection. In magic, we have to know how to make the tough choices in order to be a competent practitioner. Even the Goddess sometimes destroys in order to create.
When we are full of emotion to the point that we cannot make good choices, it is like drunk dialing the Goddess. (Spoiler: Not a good plan.) If there is a case where you are wronged in some way and feel the need to lend your magical energy to right the wrong, carefully consider your intention and motivations before taking action. Often, the karma bus is already barreling down the track to course correct.
Always consider what the experience has taught you about the capabilities and intentions of the other person and whether your influence is even required in the matter. Could their actions have been an honest mistake or were they deliberate and malicious? Is malice known or merely presumed on your part? Knowing the truth of what a person is capable of doing is a valuable tool.
Talk to a magical peer that you respect and get their objective opinion about how to proceed. If a day passes and you still feel compelled, then move carefully and with directed intent, willing to accept any karmic blow back that you incur. (Newton Law #3 – “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”) (Katrina amendment “…so be judicious about what you put out there to create reaction”).
Fear is the brother to anger. In fact, it is said that anger is always fear, frustration, or hurt in disguise and I am inclined to believe that is true. Fear and worry are antitheses to faith and directly state, “I do not trust the Process/the Goddess/God to have my best interest in mind.” Fear says we reject our destiny and instead choose to flip the Monopoly board and go home. Fear is, of course, a normal reaction but certainly not a healthy place to live for any length of time. Deep breathing and careful consideration of past times when we were fearful and had a positive outcome can be helpful.
Fear can be useful when it curtails reckless behavior or alerts us to danger. Fear can cause incredible acts of strength and accomplishment, so it not always a negative emotion. When fear motivates us to take positive actions to safety, it can be a life saver. When it takes us on a downward spiral into depression and rejection of necessary changes, it can be debilitating. Performing magic from a position of fear works the same way. For instance, if we are walking late at night in a dangerous area and we put up protective shields around us, we are using wise precautions. If we work magic to prevent a beloved but dysfunctional relationship from ending because we fear being alone, we hinder our own progress.
Opportunity often takes the form of change and disruption and I encourage my clients to open their minds to new possibilities instead of locking their thoughts into worst case scenario outcomes. Rarely does the worst actually happen and we can manifest what we fear most by focusing our energy and intention in that direction. Instead, I recommend creating strong focus points of positive outcomes through journaling, vision board, or intense meditation. Fear lies and insists that the worst possible outcome of any situation is what is coming for us and distracts us from the wealth of other possible directions the trajectory could take.
Neutrality and objective openness allow us to accept all possible outcomes and not feed energy into the worst; therefore, any magic done in the face of fear should come from a position of faith rather than from panic. For more info on how to manage difficult life circumstances, see my previous post on When Bad Sh!t Happens. In most cases of high intensity emotion, I find that lending energy to the “best possible outcome” and “greatest good” usually covers all bases and creates an advantageous result.