Why Didn’t My Spell Work? 6 Things to Try When Magick Goes Wrong

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It’s no fun to admit, but sometimes spells don’t go as planned.

We’re expecting major results and yet all of our magickal efforts seem to fizzle out.

While I can’t guarantee that every spell will work perfectly, there are absolutely things you can try when your magick goes wrong. Before you give up entirely, try these troubleshooting tips for spells that don’t seem to be working.

Let’s get started!

Tip #1: Double Check Your Spell

Before you decide that your spell didn’t work, you should always go back and double check that you performed the ritual exactly as described.

If you find that you’ve skipped an important step or accidentally omitted an item, that’s likely the cause of your problems.

And if so, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about! We’ve all done it—probably more than once.

Magick is an exciting practice, and we’re all tempted to gloss over all those little details in order to get to the fun stuff. But I promise you this—we spell writers include everything for a reason. For a well-crafted spell to be successful, it’s extremely important that you’re following all of its instructions to a T.

If you find that this is the case with you, double check your ingredients and steps and give it another try!

Tip #2: Give the Spell Time to Work

Witchcraft and instant gratification just don’t mix.

Even the most powerful Wiccans need to give the universe time and space to work its magick after performing a spell.

So, if you’re worried that the spell you tried didn’t work, it could be a simple matter of patience. Although we want to see immediate results, that usually isn’t the way things play out.

Some spells come with a timeline, so always follow that if it’s given. However, most spells don’t have any time frame attached, which makes things a little trickier.

Although some spells will work faster than others, the general rule of thumb is that you should give magick a month to start working—to get more specific, you should give your magick a full lunar cycle to work.

This ends up being between 27 and 28 days.

Using this framework, it’s possible to go weeks before you begin to see results. If you stay patient and confident in your abilities, there’s a good chance your magick just needs a little extra time to mature!

Tip #3: Add Correspondences to Your Spell

So you’ve followed all the steps and you’ve given your spell plenty of time but it still doesn’t work.

Now what?

Your first goal should be to enhance what’s already present in the spell. This means adding in new, related correspondences into the mix without removing any originals.

If you’re unfamiliar with correspondences, here’s your crash course.

They are basically items and concepts that possess certain types of spiritual energy. To take a common example, red often corresponds with love and romance.

Correspondences are the building blocks of spells, and if your magick isn’t working as planned, you first need to see if you can reinforce your “structure” with more, related correspondences.

How to Add Correspondences

To show you what I’m talking about, let’s come up with a hypothetical spell we can enhance—a candle magick spell for divination powers.

Let’s say that the ritual itself was very thorough, but there weren’t any instructions on when to perform it. That’s the first place I would start looking to add related correspondences—the time of day, week, or month that enhances my original intention.

Saturdays and the new phase of the moon are both ideal for performing divination, so I would aim for those (both, if possible) when looking for enhancements to my original spell.

Things to Avoid

Be careful not to go overboard with this process!

When you’re looking for things to add to your original spell, go for quality over quantity. It’s true that your magick may need an additional spiritual boost, but if you start adding every correspondence that comes to mind, you’re likely to weigh down the spell with too much.

When you’re troubleshooting spells, I always recommend adding one or two new correspondences that you feel are absolutely crucial.

Look for any glaring deficiencies first and aim to address them.

Tip #4: Streamline Your Spell

Within the world of witchcraft, it’s absolutely possible to have too much of a good thing. And spells that are overly complex, too long, or too full of correspondences are likely to be less effective than spells that are focused and efficient.

If you tried tip #3 and couldn’t find any obvious correspondences to add, you might be dealing with the opposite situation—the need to cut away unnecessary elements of a spell.

Sometimes there’s just so much going on that your intention (which is the whole point of magick) gets lost in the noise.

As a spell writer I’ll be the first to admit it’s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment. And while it would never be my first suggestion, you absolutely have the right to edit and pare down spells that someone else wrote—the whole point is finding what works for you.

How to Streamline Your Spell

All that being said, you shouldn’t just start hacking away at your spell if it’s not working! You’ve got to have a plan of action.

First, look for correspondences that you’ve struggled with in the past. For example, sage is generally great for banishing negative energy, but if it never seems to work for you then replace it with a different herb or eliminate that step entirely.

Next, look for places where things get a little too long and drawn out. Maybe the ritual is too wordy and needs revised? Maybe there are too many steps that are simply repeating the same intention?

There are lots of ways to approach editing a spell, but really this tip (and all the others) come down to one thing: the courage to experiment.

You’re rarely going to make things worse by changing up a spell or ritual, but there’s always the chance you could make them much better by doing so!

Tip #5: Try a Different Spell with a Similar Intention

As much as I hate the saying, there is absolutely more than one way to skin a cat in the world of Wicca.

Just because one love spell was a dud doesn’t mean they all will be! If you’re not seeing the results you want, it might be time to abandon ship and start fresh with a completely different ritual.

Sometimes a different spell better aligns with your own personal spiritual energies. Other times, it’s just the benefit of trying something different that helps you achieve the results you want. Regardless of the cause, you almost always have multiple magickal options for achieving your intention.

If you’ve tried a spell, tried making changes to that spell, and you’re still not seeing the results you want, my best advice is to go back to the drawing board.

Ask yourself this question: while keeping my intention the same, what’s another way to approach this problem magickally?

Tip #6: Allow the Universe to Tell You No

Sometimes, no matter how many spells we try, our current magickal intention is just not meant to be.

The wrong place, the wrong time, the wrong people—there are numerous reasons why the universe might not be giving you what you want. And when those times come (and rest assured, they will!), sometimes the best thing you can do is just accept it.

If you’ve tried everything else on this list and you’re still not seeing results, you might be facing a situation like this.

This doesn’t mean that you’ve failed, and it doesn’t mean that the answer will always be no—but it does mean that the universe is telling you, “Not at this time and in this way.”

That can be a tough lesson to learn, but it’s an important one in both witchcraft and the rest of your life. By learning which paths don’t work, you can better focus your time and energy on those paths that do.

Learn More About How Magick Works

If you’d like more information on spells and how they work in Wicca, be sure to check out our article on How Wiccan Magic Works. It will take you through the basics of spiritual energy and how we use witchcraft to harness and manipulate that energy.

If you’re tired of trying other people’s spells and are ready to craft your own, you’ll definitely want to check out How to Create a Real Spell Book. It takes you through the process of spell writing from start to finish and comes with plenty of correspondence charts to get you started. Click here to find out more!

Regardless of where you go from here, it was a honor to share this small part of your spiritual journey.

Blessed be!


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