Magic Works Because You Intend It To
“Tia Dalma handed Jack a glass jar filled with…dirt.
‘Davy Jones cannot make port,’ she said. ‘Cannot step on land but once every ten years. Land is where you are safe, Jack Sparrow, and so you will carry land with you.’
Jack held up the jar. ‘Dirt. This is a jar of dirt.’
‘Yes,’ the mysterious priestess purred.
‘Is the jar of dirt going to help?’ Jack asked, eyebrow cocked.
She held out her hand. ‘If you don't want it, give it back.’
‘No!’ Jack said, gripping the jar.
Tia Dalma smiled. ‘Then it helps.’"
Those who have walked the Path for any amount of time will ask questions—either to those who they see as their mentors or to themselves—about magic, the Craft, and spells: how does it work? How do I know it'll work? And what makes it work?
The answers to these questions, I believe, lie in the above exchange. The “jar of dirt” holds power for Tia Dalma, and now she has transferred that power to Captain Jack. Although it is just a movie, this scene always struck me as a good illustration of the mechanisms of spell working and the Craft by demonstrating a clear concept: magic works because you intend it to.
What do I mean “intend”? Well, before the candle is lit, circle cast, or sage waved, a magical work is about intent. What is your intention by practicing magic in a particular instance? What outcome are you looking for? Have you considered all the mundane aspects of your situation before you set flame to wick, blade to air?
We make a million little decisions every day, and most of them are probably without even any conscious thought. But when our intent is established over a certain thing, then all of our decisions surrounding that thing—both conscious and unconscious—will serve that intent.
And that intent can be, oddly enough, a negative thing, even against our conscious hopes. A jar of dirt is a form of protection in our example above, but maybe you’re holding onto something that isn’t good for you. For instance, I’m writing this on a Friday, and it also happens to be the 13th day of the month. Do you feel Friday the 13th is a day of good luck or bad? If you feel it is a day of bad luck, does something always seem to go haywire on this day for you? If you believe that something will go wrong on this particular day, chances are pretty good that it will. But maybe chance has nothing to do with it; maybe you’ve set your intent in that way.
Unfortunately, we can’t control all the aspects of situations; free will and other people’s intent also have a role. But each of us must look at the situations in our lives, set our intent, and find our “jar of dirt.”
- Llyfr Glas