Science and Magic

Since the beginning of civilizations, people have been trying to understand the world around us. Anything that didn’t have an obvious explanation was often attributed to the gods, magic, or curses. As more and more scientific discoveries were made, the natural occurrences previously explained away as magic or the will of the gods now had very real explanations based in scientific fact.

People have developed a few explanations for magic as we know it today, but it is still largely a mystery that we attribute to vague concepts such as personal will, energy manifestation, and personal perceptions shaping reality. I’m not saying that magic works less because there’s no solid explanation, or that the ideas of how it works are any less accurate just because we don’t understand them. I love all of the different theories of how magic works, and I think part of it’s power and mystery is that we really don’t know for sure.

While I think we will never truly be able to understand how magic works in a universal, scientific way, there still seems to be some universal laws that govern magic along with everything else. For a couple of years, now, I have been trying to understand magic in a little more of a scientific way, at least as it pertains to my own practice. I’ve found that there are a few scientific elements and laws that can be related to my magic to help my craft evolve and become as efficient as possible.

The Scientific Method

If you expect to have consistent results in anything, it’s vital to perform tests and adjust your process as needed to get the desired results. When we create a new spell, we can follow the scientific method to help us develop consistent results.

  1. Start with your goals and record your intention for the spell.
  2. Build your spell step by step. Write down your exact plan including the equipment and tools you’ll need, as well as the incantation you’ll use during the spell.
  3. Test your spell and record the results. Write down how the spell went, how you felt afterwards, and any results you notice. Keep an eye out for your spell manifesting and record when and how it happens. Remember, your spell might not manifest how you originally intended, so don’t assume it didn’t work just because it didn’t come out how you planned.
  4. Adjust your spell as needed. Maybe the results were too off from your original intention so you need to change some elements. In my experience, this comes down to how specific you get with your correspondences and incantation. Focus on your intentions in very specific wording, including how it will happen and what effect it will have on your life. You can also use correspondences that are a little more specific. For example, if you’re doing a spell to bring love into your life, make sure you’re thinking about what kind of love. If you’re looking for romantic love, maybe use a pink candle (love) and a red candle (passion) together rather than a pink by itself.

Know your intention, build and test your spell, record the results, and adjust as needed. Most importantly, write down everything so you can properly keep track of what worked and what didn’t. The key to the scientific method is recording everything you do from hypothesis to the end results.

Newton’s 3rd Law

Every action in nature has an equal and opposite reaction.

Sir Isaac Newton

The Wiccan 3 Fold Law has a similar premise as Newton’s 3rd law, only it amplifies the effect of every action a witch makes by three. I’m not Wiccan, so I don’t follow the Rede or the 3 Fold Law, but I do believe there is merit in the idea that everything we do will have an “equal and opposite reaction” in our lives.

The general language of Newton’s 3rd Law fits this concept quite well, I think. It doesn’t imply that there will be a direct opposite reaction as a result of the action, meaning that when we work a spell the opposite reaction might not necessarily come back at us, but it will happen regardless. The smaller the spell, the smaller the opposite effect will be, and the more dramatic the spell the more dramatic the effect will be.

An example of this could be you’re working a job spell to help you land a new job. Congratulations, the spell worked and you’re officially starting your new dream job! However, the reaction of the spell could be that someone else loses their job. Could be someone you know, or a total stranger. It’s the price you pay for the spell to work, and it’s important to know from step one that you’re willing to pay it.

This is not meant to scare you, or to make you over think every simple spell you do. I do plenty of little menial spells without really thinking twice because I know that the action is small so the reaction will be equally small. But the bigger, more intense spells will take a toll and will have a significantly larger reaction, so I always consider these spells carefully to make sure they’re worth it.

The 1st Law of Thermodynamics

Law of Conservation of Energy

Based on the name, this might not sound too familiar, but I’m sure you’ve heard it before:

Energy cannot be created or destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.

Einstein

Einstein was talking about literal energy, not the metaphysical, but it still applies. The energy for our spells has to come from somewhere, and usually, it comes from us. That’s why it’s suggested to cleanse before and after bigger spells or rituals. It’s self care and helps you build up necessary energy or replenish what was used.

Using other objects or tools could be a way to borrow energy for your spell as well. This can come from working with plants, animals (dead or alive), or deities. Really anything that you feel has a spirit or specific energy that can be harnessed – some witches will use minerals or their natural surroundings for their purposes.

I say “used” with the utmost respect, because you’re actually borrowing energy from something else to enact your will onto the world. With this in mind, it’s respectful to ask for the energy and assistance from what (or who) ever you’re working with rather than just taking it. You should also end the spell with thanks to those who helped you and lent the power needed to bring forth your intentions. Simple words of thanks work for some spirits, while others require offerings. Know what you’re working with and what that spirit requires so you can maintain a healthy working relationship with them.

I am endlessly fascinated by how scientific concepts and theories can be applied to magic, and I would love to explore the topic more. I will be adding more articles and blog posts in the future to this series, so let me know which scientific concepts you’d like to be explored within magic and the occult!