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word, formula, or incantationincantation,
set formula, spoken or sung, for the purpose of working magic. An incantation is normally an invocation to beneficent supernatural spirits for aid, protection, or inspiration. It may also serve as a charm or spell to ward off the effects of evil spirits.
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 believed to have magical powers. The spell can be used for evil or good ends; if evil, it is a technique of sorcery. Many authorities believe that the spell was the precursor of prayer. In Teutonic lore, the spell was a form of exercising occult power and was sometimes used to summon the spirits of departed heroes to give prophetic utterances. Once cast, the spell was supposed to remain in force until broken by a counterspell or exorcism.
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A witch conjuring demons, along with a demonic cat and dog, in order to divine the future, 1688. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A spell is part of an act of magic, the essence of the actual working of the magic. While magic itself is causing something to happen that you want to happen, a spell is the ritual act of bringing about the desired result.

A ritual is made up of "things said" (legomena) and "things done" (dromena). A spell is usually the legomena of the ritual. Important to a spell are rhythm and rhyme. Many spells are chanted, or even sung, and they have a regular beat to them, usually with the words rhyming. This is to bring about a trance-like state in the practitioner, aiding in the visualization of the goal and helping build the power needed to project to that goal.

Not all spells rhyme, however. Prayers are actually spells. They are desires directed to deity, with thoughts aimed toward the accomplishment of the desire. Prayers are usually made up of words coming directly from the heart, with little thought of rhyming what is said. The feeling expressed is powerful and compensates for the lack of rhyme. Prayers are the least dynamic of spells yet can still be surprisingly effective.

In Wicca, spells are usually cast from within the ritual Circle. This is to protect the spell caster from any negative feedback. Witches may not perform negative magic, but binding spells are generally viewed as being in a "gray area," where the person at whom the spell is directed is neither helped nor harmed. Binding spells are used when it is deemed necessary to stop someone from talking (especially from giving away Craft or magical secrets). Most such binding spells involve the use of a poppet to represent the recipient, although they can be done with no more than a photograph or even a brief example of the person's handwriting. If a poppet is used, it may be of wax, cloth, clay, or similar material. No physical harm comes to the person, but he or she is restricted in words and/or actions regarding the object of the rite.


a verbal formula considered as having magical force


References in periodicals archive ?
Apart from casting the money spells on oneself, some money spells allow you to cast the spell on behalf of another person.
As will be seen, detailed investigation of children's spelling approximations highlighted subtle evidence of changes in spelling that provide a window on children's thinking about how to decode and spell words by building morpheme knowledge into their spelling production.
I like to spell place names and people's names correctly, although I concede that standardised spelling is a recent development.
Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, & Johnston, 2012) is now being questioned, based on a growing body of research that demonstrates students' capacity to draw on phonology, orthography and morphology from the early years of learning to spell (see e.
8220;We wanted to update the Oxford Dictionaries Spelling Challenge because we have seen how much Oxford Dictionaries Online users enjoy word challenges, word games, and learning how to spell interesting words.
Sanjay Tripathy, EVP and Head, Marketing & Direct Channels, HDFC Life said "I am delighted with the overwhelming response received in Bhopal, for HDFC Life Spell Bee - India Spells 2011.
Simply put: To use spell-check, one needs to know how to spell, just as one must know how to find the correct spelling in a paper dictionary or thesaurus - an existing writing assessment resource.
The competition is inviting entrants of all ages to make their own magic spell.
The magic spell entered modern English in the late 16th century from Old and Middle English; the spell that inspires debate among educators entered English in the 14th century from the French spoken in medieval England.
1) Spell "ONE" on S-T-E placing them on the bottom of the stack and remove the R and place it face down on the table.
Asked to spell the word "horsy," Stephen gave the judges "h-o-r-s-e-y," which was ruled incorrect.
From package stores that spell bottles and wine incorrectly, to legal briefs that seemingly with each passing year have more glaring spelling mistakes, to the national news network MSNBC, which spelled Binghamton, N.