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Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

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Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby RosieMoonflower » Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:55 am

I have never formally studied Wicca, but I am interested in learning things that I will incorporate into my own path. But, could someone tell me the difference between a prayer, a spell, and a ritual? My guess is that a prayer is talking to God and/or asking for something. A ritual, I think, is having a set of actions that you complete to get God's attention. So, is a spell just a prayer plus a ritual? Thank you all!
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Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby Siona » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:38 am

So, it probably depends a bit on who you ask, but for me a prayer is communing with a deity, having a conversation with them, that sort of thing. A ritual is an informal or formal act to honor something, celebrate something, etc. This can be anything from worshiping a deity (and so would likely include prayer), or celebrating the seasons - which for some does not involve deity, honoring the ancestors, or any number of things. A spell is where you focus your energy to achieve a particular goal, such as healing, protection, or prosperity. For me a spell also does not have to include a deity, as many often rely on their own energy, or other natural deities, rather than just asking a deity for what's needed.

The thing is, though, there can be overlap. There can be a ritual which includes prayer and spellwork, or a spell that includes prayer, so the boundaries aren't always very hard.
I sing of you, blessed, night-winged Dream, Messenger of things to come, greatest prophet to mortals, in the quiet of sweet sleep you come silently and speak to the soul.
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Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby AnaisStar » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:56 am

Siona gave a perfect breakdown in my opinion.

I also think that a prayer is a sort of spell in a way. Usually when people pray they are asking for assistance in a situation and/or for a particular outcome in a situation. Similar to the intent of a spell.

But as Siona said I think prayer as more communication to the deity/divine/whatever. A spell can involve many different aspects such as tools, candles, moon phases etc.

To me a ritual is something more set, a little more "rules", and usually for a particular reason: initiation, celebrating, honoring deity, etc.

In my path it looks like this (as an example)

Prayer - I chant mantras to each deity I work. It is a way to call them, honor them, thank them etc.

Spell - depending on my intention I may do a simple candle spell, or use herbs or crystals etc. For instance for protection I might just make a quick mojo bag with some protective herbs and crystals. It's usually a simple task, with a few tools, and I might just do it at the kitchen counter

Ritual - I reserve these for bigger workings that I feel I need to really take the time to concentrate. For instance my main deity is Lakshmi from the Hindu pantheon. She has a few celebration dates. The big one is Diwali. This past diwali I did a big ritual to honor her and also included a spell for prosperity. In Hinduism, we do this for different times/things and they are called pujas (which just means ritual).

For her puja/ritual I set up a temporary altar for her (she has a permanent one, but I wanted a special one that was larger for this celebration ritual). I had candles for her, and then did a big ritual/puja asking to be blessed with abundance and prosperity, chanted, did symbolic things like bathing her feet, anointed her with an oil I created just for her, dressed and blessed a candle to her for prosperity, and left her offerings. It was a big to do that took a lot of time to set up and perform.
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Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby SpiritTalker » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:28 pm

To me a prayer is contemplative union with the Divine Essence, expressing need & trusting the Divine Will for the best outcome; a spell is to do magic to cause change in accordance with will; ritual is a repeatable set of actions to honor, celebrate or commemorate an event. And there's bound to be overlap.
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Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby Shekinah » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:54 pm

Tis, of course, a matter of opinion: Prayer smacks of Christianity or any of the formal religions that most Witches wish to leave in the ashes of past ignorance. A prayer is an informal supplication either silent or verbal usually without any mental imagery or emotional content and therefore most likely will never reach the realm of Spirit.

A spell, to me, is an attempt to employ paranormal abilities to influence someone or something. Generally a spell hovers on the edge of our Wiccan Rede "an ye do no harm" A spell may not leave the target individual an option to exercise free will. Personally I do not like Spell casting exactly for this reason.

A Ritual in Witchcraft magick is a formal preparation of sacred space, conjuring appropriate mental imagery, opening a portal between worlds and releasing one's intention to influence probabilities.
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Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby SnowCat » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:54 pm

I ask permission before doing any spell work. I ask for the circumstances to change, rather than influencing a person.
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Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby RoccoR » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:34 am

Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?
⁜→ ✪ et al,

An outstanding piece of advice!

SnowCat wrote:I ask permission before doing any spell work. I ask for the circumstances to change, rather than influencing a person.


v/r
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Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby RoccoR » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:30 pm

Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?
⁜→ et al,

◈ PRAYER:
    Prayer, in the general notion, is an articulation in meaning, petition, request, or pleading. In the strict sense, it is the expression of one’s desires for self and others to the Supreme Being's power from whom come all good things, natural or supernatural.
◈ SPELLS:
    The written or spoken formula of words or symbols - that is supposed to be capable of a supernatural effect.
◈ RITUALS:
    Rituals are in a language for saying things which are felt to be true and important but which are not susceptible to a "statement in scientific terms.’’ Ritual can be dogmatic (laid down in principles and procedures as incontrovertibly proper) and repeatable by all believers. --- OR --- The ritual can be independently established and activated for recognition purposes by the various supernatural entities or powers.

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Re: Prayers vs. Spells vs. Rituals?

Postby barker » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:46 am

Heart vs Throat vs Eye - Unite the 3 and you get a "will".
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