From Caroline’s Salon Archives…
Apparently a number of you feel as if being under a “spell” – or several of them, as the case may be – is a real part of your life. And it is. Most people never stop to consider how easily influenced they are but others, preferring to believe that they are immune to that sort of thing. But what’s even more insidious is that – shifting to the personal voice – the people who qualify as Spell-casters in our lives hardly qualify for holding that kind of power over us. Give that serious thought for a moment. Isn’t that an eye-opener?
Breaking a spell takes immense conscious effort, especially if the source of that spell is a person with whom you have a complex relationship. By complex, I mean that the relationship can be loving, competitive, aggressive, approval-based or enmeshed with your physical support system. Or the person could be deceased. But before we get to how to break spells, we need to chat for a minute about the Spell-caster archetype in general: What is a Spell-caster? How do you spot one? How can you tell when you are being put under a spell? How do you protect yourself? And are YOU a Spell-caster?
Many archetypes have some of the same “ingredients” or characteristics, as those of you know who have studied Sacred Contracts with me. But all archetypes have one thing in common: They are communicators of patterns of power, and power is the name of the game on this planet. Everything you do, say, think, respond to with people, wear, buy or don’t buy, has something to do with the way you calculate power in the world that exists behind your eyes. Every word you speak and the tone of voice you decide to use when speaking those words are the finished products of power calculations done rapidly while you are evaluating an outcome that you want to achieve. Your archetypes are the patterns through which you engage not only your own personal power, but everyone else’s as well. So, with that in mind, it is not inaccurate to state that all relationships, whether personal or professional, intimate or casual, are influenced by our personal power issues. The way we express those power issues varies, of course, and one way to understand the nature of your own power issues is to understand your individual archetypal patterns. That said, I know that many reading this article would wonder if everyone has a Spell-caster archetype.
No, not every person is a full-on Spell-caster. People who produce “spin” for a living, swaying the opinion of the public, for example, embody the Spell-caster, for example. Cult leaders are quintessential Spell-casters as are charismatic political leaders who promise the public that they can create a whole new world out of thin air for them. Con-artists are masterful Spell-casters, casting spells that eclipse a person’s common sense. And though most people are not thoroughbred Spell-casters, everyone has what it takes to cast a spell – sometimes knowingly and sometimes unconsciously. We are all more than capable of falling under a spell – that’s for sure. So, it is in your best interest that you sharpen your “archetypal wits” and learn how to recognize when a spell has been released into your psychic airwaves – and by whom. Or conversely, when you’ve begun a bit of spell-casting of your own.
The Spell-caster, by its very nature, is involved with power manipulation. Usually, for example, when I mention the Divine Child archetype or the Hermit or Healer archetypes in class, people do not automatically associate power and manipulation with those. Yet, all archetypes have shadow sides to them, and so each archetype holds the potential of negative power manipulation by outside influences – especially when we ourselves are unaware of our own shadow. For example, many people identify with the Healer archetype but rarely have I heard a person discuss working with the “shadow side of their healer archetype.” In fact, many are surprised when I mention such a thing, as if somehow the Healer archetype is associated with purity, grace, and only good will. Not so – at all. And when a person shuns the idea of investigating their own shadow or negative side of any personal archetypal pattern, that part of their unconscious becomes prey to negative influences in the collective, such as the words or teachings of a Spell-caster or Shape-shifter. (Please note that the term ‘negative’ when used about archetypes refers to “all that is unknown or yet to be known’ in you. Negative is not meant to imply dark, bad, wrong, etc. Yet, it is often the ‘unknown’ parts of ourselves that contain our fear-based behaviors and it is those behaviors that do the most damage in our lives. When we identify the ‘unknown’ aspects of ourselves, we harness that power consciously, absorbing its potency into our conscious, creative nature.
Though shadow characteristics are rarely associated with archetypes such as the Healer and Divine Child, other archetypes are hard-pressed to find a positive association. For example, when people are introduced to archetypes like the Trickster, the Prostitute, the Saboteur, the Victim, the Bully, the Addict, the Gambler, or the Spell-caster, they rarely think of any positive characteristics of power. I must work double-time to “break the spells” people are under when it comes to their associations with these archetypes. So many people, for instance, still have trouble grasping the lesson of self-empowerment that is represented by the Prostitute: Striving for true empowerment to gain full control of the creative authority of your soul – and the power of your choices. Negotiating your power away to others for physical security in any form is the same as putting a part of your creative soul in bondage.
The intent of the Spell-caster archetype is to control a person’s psyche, emotions, and decision-making processes to influence any opportunity for personal empowerment, no matter how grand or insignificant. Mind you, the reasons behind this need to control are not necessarily personal. Controlling another person with a spell is, quite often, just a game for a Spell-caster. Romantic spells come to mind as prime-time game material. Casting romantic spells is a business; indeed, the entire romance industry works hard at casting romantic spells. Just look at those insipid beach scenes and tacky poolside settings that show up in commercials. (Just the thought of going to one of those resorts – my God! I would rather hold my own head under water for seven minutes than endure one of those places.) Nonetheless, those commercials are attempting to cast romantic spells. (Who falls for those??? Who are those people?)
Now then, here are some of the major characteristics of the Spell-caster archetype:
- It always has to be right about matters of personal empowerment regarding you or someone else.
- Often a Spell-caster will revert to “warnings” or the bad experiences of other people as a way of getting the upper hand when it comes to decisions.
- A Spell-caster will often refer to the opinions of other people as a way of leveraging greater authority.
- A Spell-caster can communicate a spell through words as well as tone of voice or a simple facial expression.
- The Spell-caster archetype often works in unison with another archetypal pattern. For example, your mother or father, husband or wife, boss or best friend or lover can also be the dominant Spell-caster in your life.
- Spell-casters will always deny that they are casting a spell. Frequently they speak about “only having your best interests at heart.” They can be well-seasoned manipulators.
- Spell-casters are skilled at creating atmospheres of fear if their goal of control requires it. Conversely, they can create atmospheres in which you are so taken care of and nurtured that you leave yourself wide open for a spell out of gratitude.
- Spell-casters often speak about the severe or dismal consequences to a decision you want to make as a way of preventing you from moving forward.
Now that I’ve painted a fairly unattractive portrait of Spell-casters, here’s something to give a thought to: Not all spells are negative. Some spells should not be broken at all. The spell of hope that something can change when you know it probably won’t, for example, is a spell that should never be broken. Hope, of course, is not always a spell and I don’t mean to imply that at all. Hope is a power that is a magnet for grace, and the combination of grace and hope is the alchemy that creates miracles. Yet, there are circumstances in which “hope” and realism need to dialog just a bit. I am thinking of a couple I know who have a child with cerebral palsy. It truly would take a miracle for this boy to gain the use of his legs, much less his body, and while I believe endlessly in miracles, I am also a bit practical about the parameters of miracles and how rare it is that the gods have actually lifted a person out of a wheel chair (though it has happened). But rare or not, the grace that comes from hope must never be blocked. And perhaps at the end of the day, determining the difference between a spell and the unyielding power of hope is no more than a word game. What matters in the long run is whether the influence is positive.
Speaking of positive influence, here are the characteristics of the positive Spell-caster:
- Spell-casters can often provide a person with a positive image or visualization, planting seeds of hope on barren ground.
- Spell-casters can make you believe that you can accomplish goals greater than you would have ever imagined before.
- Spell-casters can help you to see your world through a positive lens.
- Spell-casters can help you to focus on what is good in someone and eclipse the negative.
The authors who wrote about Camelot and Neverland, Bag End and Wonderland were all Spell-casters who created their magical literature specifically with the intention to cast spells of enchantment over their readers. Walt Disney was perhaps America’s greatest Spell-caster of all. But now, back down to earth and you.
Now that you have an idea of what the Spell-caster archetype is like in general – and remember, this description is one that needs to be shaped to fit the people or spells you have in mind – we need to talk about how to break spells. In my opinion, any thought-form that controls you rather than you controlling it is, in some sense, a spell. From that perspective, some of the fears that control you can be considered spells. Some of your fears are probably rooted in horrible experiences, and don’t quite qualify for authentic spells. Spells, for the most part, are not based upon your personal experience. They are fears that have been downloaded into your psyche by another person for the sake of controlling you. The fear of hell and damnation is a spell perpetrated by fundamentalists for the sake of control (although I have to hand it to the Catholic Church -- they did a good job on that one, too). A spell is irrational; you may not have any reason to have a certain fear, you just have it. Superstitions are most certainly spells. And those nonsense emails you receive that tell you to forward this message to your closest 15,000 friends and within 3 days something good will happen to you – oh, come on. That, my dears, is email spell casting at its best. And if you forward that garbage, you are participating in casting spells and scaring people into thinking that something awful is going to happen to them unless they forward that trash. Delete that stuff.
It’s fair to ask, “How do I begin to break a spell if I don’t even know I’ve been put under one?” Spells are often thought of as being a force active within your unconscious, and for the most part they are. Even if you are conscious that you are under a spell, you can be quite unaware of how deeply its roots are simultaneously penetrating into your unconscious. For example, you may get to the point where you can admit that you are under the “socially weight-conscious obsession” spell that makes you constantly chant the “socially weight-conscious obsession” mantra before eating anything with sugar: “I know I really shouldn’t, but . . .” (For God’s sake, will you please just eat the goodie and enjoy it???? Who cares if you shouldn’t? You think the person sitting opposite you gives two cents as to whether you should eat that dessert – as if they aren’t wise to the mantra-game?) So, you can admit that you are under this spell, but I can tell you that you have no idea how deep the root lines of the spell go into the cell tissue of your self-esteem, self-image, fear of criticism, and need for approval, which, of course, explains why spells are so difficult to break.
Identify a spell you are under. Refer to the list of examples I provided in the previous Salon as a guide for identifying one of your spells, because that article makes a great launching pad.
This next step is very important: You have to “make a conscious effort to become conscious” of the power of this spell, and likewise you have to make a conscious effort to challenge the authority of the spell. It’s not enough to say, “I know this or that is a spell.” So what? Knowing something will NEVER change a thing -- and I’m not just referring to breaking a spell. That is a truth you can apply to the whole of your life. Knowing something will change nothing whatsoever. Who cares what you know? It’s the application of knowledge or information that changes things. Knowledge is a noun; applying it is a verb. Making a conscious effort to become conscious of the power and influence of the spell you are under requires that you write out every detail that comes to mind. So writing a description of how and in what ways this spell controls you is the first and the most important part of breaking a spell. Think of this task as if you were drawing poison out of a wound; you have to do it consciously and you have to get all the poison. If you do this right, you’ll need to sit with the task more than once, because the first time, you’ll list two or three observations of how a spell controls you, but you’ll only be listing the obvious. You have to think, you have to observe a spell in action to fully appreciate its power in your system. Once you’ve listed the basics, then:
Go into the observation mode. The third step of spell breaking is all about observing the behavior and power of the spell you’re under. Observation is the way in which you put conscious distance between you and the power of the spell. You want to note what circumstances or what relationship dynamics activate your receptivity to the power of the spell.
And you want to observe your vulnerability to the Spell-caster. NOTE: even if your Spell-caster is not physically around you (deceased or living away, for instance), you can observe whether other people “carry” the influence of that person in your life. If you are divorced, for example, you will often associate your ex-mate with certain people; thus, those individuals carry the spell(s) you thought you had divorced yourself from by divorcing your mate. You want to observe why and how you become vulnerable to the other person. Are you looking for approval? Are you getting into a power play? Are you looking for attention? Are they looking for your attention but you won’t comply? Do they activate jealousy or competition in you or do they make you feel like a failure? Do you make them feel jealous? Observe the power dynamics that make you vulnerable to a spell. I can promise you this much – whatever power dynamics you identify with one person will apply to the other people in your life with whom you have a “spell-bound” relationship. After observing your power dynamics and your vulnerability, then…
Return to your writing pad and answer this question: How will my life change if I break this spell? Believe it or not, you can like being tied to another person through a spell, even a negative one. You can like the fact that someone actually believes that he or she “can’t live without you,” even when he or she would discover that with or without you, life would go on. And you may want to remain under such a spell yourself, fearing that if you broke that romantic spell, it might just break for your mate as well. (Mind you, breaking that spell does not mean the end of loving your mate. It simply marks an upgrade in conscious maturity and the need to possess another person for the sake of your own safety.) So you have to make conscious how your life would change if you broke with the controlling power of a spell, because to break a spell means that you have to step into that decision-making void and take charge of the energy that a spell automatically directed in your life. Spells put a hold on decision-making: What’s to decide? Nothing changes or can change when you’re under a spell. (Ever eat in a restaurant with someone who is under a food spell? Honestly, they are such bores. I don’t care what someone wants to or has to eat, but why make it public? Keep your particulars to yourself. I don’t care if a person can or cannot eat salt, sugar, butter, wheat, rice, meat, etc. I never sit down in a restaurant and announce to the people I am eating dinner with, “Hey, I don’t have any food restrictions. Why, I can eat wheat and dairy and rice and sugar and isn’t that grand? I don’t have any allergies or anything. Isn’t that just grand?” But these people never eat this or that, because four thousand years ago they read an article by someone they don’t even know who said there is too much mercury in this fish or too much fat in that. But, like, there’s no poison in their psychic stress level over the menu, right? Duh.) Back to the point -- you have to take a serious look at whether or not you want to upgrade your decision-making authority and increase your degree of personal empowerment.
Assuming you are saying yes to that question, your next step is a baby-big step: Select one spell interaction and create a conscious opposing behavior. If you have a need for someone’s approval (which, by the way, you will likely never get, because that’s part of the archetype), select just one part of your dynamic with that person that you are willing to do battle with. Imagine, for example, that you need a person to acknowledge you on a constant basis as a way of feeling good about yourself. Step fully into the way you feel when you are ignored. Get into the sensation of that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you feel rejected, and then imagine your whole world tumbling out of control. Exaggerate it and make yourself really experience dread. And then – shift instantly, rapidly in the opposite direction. Picture yourself completely transcendent of any need for that person whatsoever. You aren’t feeling anger or the absence of love. You are simply feeling full and empowered. Whether alone or with this person, you are fine and can survive as you are. Tell yourself you are separating from the person’s approval, and the next time your vulnerabilities kick in while dealing with this person, tell yourself, “I am detaching for a moment. I can feel my energies leaving my system and I am breathing that back into my wholeness. I am choosing not to become vulnerable to this person. I bless this person but I will not negotiate my spirit to or for this individual.” You can do this little “prayer-ate” in two seconds while conversing with the person. Just slip into that thought-form and consciously withdraw from the influence of that person. Open your eyes and notice that you are just fine. And not only are you fine, you are liberated. Now here’s the hard part.
No power plays are allowed. Power plays come from the shadow side of pride, and it’s a powerful shadow. A Spell-caster counts on your greatest vulnerability, which is your susceptibility to a power play. It is very, very difficult to detach from power plays, because they often drop from a conscious interaction between you and someone else to a second-chakra tug-of-war, and the second chakra is hardly a center of consciousness. Your second chakra is an irrational power center. It is your panic button, your “fight or flight” mechanism. It’s the “I knew better…but I couldn’t help it” behavioral center of your psyche. Ultimately, any power play with someone else is actually between you and your pride. But win just once and a spell is broken, because the other person recognizes immediately that the power response he or she is accustomed to having with you is absent.
You’ll know when a spell is broken, because you can immediately sense the psychic freedom. It’s not unlike being in a high state of fear and then having someone come to the rescue. There’s nothing like it.
I could write endlessly about how a person’s world changes when a spell is broken, but that is a truth that has to be experienced. Your entire world changes, not just because you have ended the influence of a toxic thought- form within your psyche, but also because of the consequences of having closed down an entire system of power from operating within the whole of your life. Just imagine what your life would be like if something or someone that had a negative controlling influence over you no longer had that power? The freedom you would experience is immeasurable.
The other consequence of this exercise is that you will become quite sharp-eyed at recognizing spells and Spell-casters in your life – not to mention when you are doing a little spell casting yourself. I know one woman whose mother was a champion Spell-caster, one of the best I’ve ever met. Her style was magnificent. She worked like this. When she and her daughter went shopping and her daughter picked out an outfit, the mother would say, “You don’t want that.” Then the daughter would say, “I don’t?”
“No,” the mother would reply. “You don’t like that color. You want this one.” It worked nine out of ten times. Finally the day came when the daughter told her mom that she preferred shopping alone and her mom went into a tailspin and started to cast a guilt spell. The daughter caved in several times before she could stand on her own. It isn’t easy breaking spells, but it’s worse realizing you’re under one and living with it anyway.
From a different perspective, spells and their influence penetrate the whole of your Sacred Contract. I’ve seen people bypass relationships that I believe were meant to descend into physical form, because of a spell that said they couldn’t pursue a relationship that was too risky or too radical for their tribal standards. Their Contract with the individual remained engaged, but as a regret that endured a lifetime. It became one of those “what might have been” sorrows that just never go away, which is one way a Contract plays out when you lack the courage to make the choices that will bring the Contract into physical form. But spells can block so many of your Contracts. Every year as I prepare to teach a new class on Sacred Contracts, I include new material that I have decided to introduce because I can see the need for it, and the archetype of Spell-casters is a subject that certainly requires its own lecture.
I hope you will take the time to do some spell breaking as a result of this Salon. Even one broken spell generates enough power to change the whole of your life.
God bless you all,