Judika Illes on Spells

orig. in Sunday Stew Nov. 1, 2015

Judika it’s so wonderful to have you with us and thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to answer a couple questions for The Sunday Stew.

I’m so excited about your new book Encyclopedia Of Witchcraft. I notice you mentioned that your favorite holiday is Halloween expand on that and why? We all love Halloween!

A=Thank you, Danette. It’s really hard for me to explain why, as, for me, it’s always been about very visceral reactions. The first time I saw a deck of Tarot cards, I just loved them— -and still do. Similarly, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t live Halloween. It’s just how I’m wired. Who wouldn’t love a holiday devoted to magic? I’m aware that there are people who don’t love Halloween, but it’s hard for me to envision.

What inspires you to start a new book or to choose the subject?

A=One book tends to lead to another. My first published book, which is currently available under the title Pure Magic derives from a chapter in a yet-unpublished earlier book. My next book, Magic When You Need It stems from a line in Pure Magic—- that sentence was the seed. I have tons of books in my head— both fiction and non-fiction. Hopefully some will emerge from my head and onto paper.

I love in your book Pure Magic when you said “There is only one ingredient in your magic work that brooks no substitutions and that is you, your energy, your presence. You are the most vital component of any enchantment.” What is your favorite spell that you’ve ever done?

A=I don’t know if I have one favorite spell. I really like the process of spell casting. I don’t always do things the same way twice. I like the fluidity and the spontaneity. I love lunar spells. I love concocting magical oils and waters. There is an invocation of Michael Archangel that I love: a friend taught it to me a long time ago and I have variations in several of my books. You surround yourself with the light of Michael’s flaming sword and I have found it extremely beneficial.

Wow I remember being amazed at the sheer immensity and size of the Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells, I had to have it. Is there one spell that’s your favorite for it’s power and/or simplicity?

A=One of the things I loved about writing the Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells was that I had the opportunity to include variations of spells. I didn’t have to pick just one version of a spell, for instance. I revel in the sheer variety and number of spells. 5000 Spells is a big book, but, still, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’d love to write a second volume someday. I actually have a very deep fondness for complicated multi-step poetic spells. But, realistically, the simplest spells are the most easily accessible: invoking the power of the moon, for instance. I love working with the elements: potions crafted from storm water, for instance or using earth gathered from significant places.

How did you imbue magic in your day to day life besides doing rituals?

A=Magic potentially permeates every daily action. For example, if you cook for family or loved ones, pay attention to which direction you stir the spoon. You can bless and empower the food to promote good health and happiness. After a while, after you gain a level of expertise, magic stops being what you do and instead evolves into who you are.

What was your first spell you ever did?

A=Can’t remember. It’s a long time ago. Probably something to do with the moon. I have vivid memories of when I first crafted specific potions or formulas: Four Thieves Vinegar, for instance, or Fiery Wall of Protection, because I was already an adult. I recall when I first encountered Tarot cards: that was a lightning bolt of love. But I played at spells as a young child in the same manner that if you let children be, they will innately begin constructing altars and tableaux. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t fascinated by spell casting.

Do you remember when you knew you are a witch?

A=I have always identified with witches. I write about this in my book, Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: even when I was a very small child listening to fairy tales, I always identified with the witch. Even though I consciously understood that I was often supposed to be afraid of the witch, that wasn’t my reaction. I loved the stories where the witches were powerful and despised the ones where I sensed that the witches were being defamed— Hansel and Gretel, for example. I write about this more extensively in Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, but I used to dread the annual television appearance of The Wizard of Oz because I understood that movie to be about killing witches.

I love your books Encyclopedia of Spirits, and Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints and Sages. Who are some of your favorite spirits to work with, or favorite?

A=Too many to mention without fear of leaving someone out! But here goes! The archangels, of course, and Lilith. Hekate and Artemis. Juno. The orishas Papa Legba, Ogun, Yemaya, and Oshun. Numerous mermaid and sea spirits. Simbi. I love Saint Martha in all her incarnations, Saint Anthony of Padua, and Saint Expedite, who have helped and rescued me so many times.

Places of power and sacred sites are always fascinating, and I wonder of all your travels, is there a place that you found exudes Magic or is very powerfull that you may have come across?

A=So many places! The older I get, the more I become aware of the power and spirit of Place. The land itself radiates the power. I find Los Angeles with its mountains and valleys and ocean to be immensely powerful. You can really feel that magical undercurrent in New Orleans, which just pulses with power. Niagara Falls is awe-inspiring, all that water and mist. Kilauea in Hawaii, home of Madame Pele, the volcano goddess. I should have mentioned her when answering the previous question! I was privileged to visit Glastonbury, England a few years ago and that is another exceptionally powerful place, especially, for me, the Tor and the White Well.

Judika Illes is an independent scholar, educator, and author of several books of folklore, folkways, and mythology about the subjects of magic, the occult, divination, diverse spiritual traditions, witchcraft, and the paranormal. She is the author of four popular encyclopedias: The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft. The Encyclopedia of Spirits, and the brand new Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages. Her other books include Pure Magic, Magic When You Need It, and The Weiser Field Guide to Witches as well as The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal (published under the alias Judith Joyce). Judika’s frequent radio appearances include Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, Ripley Radio Oddcast, Fangoria Radio, the Hilly Rose Show and the X-Zone with Rob McConnell. She has been featured in publications including The Witches’ Almanac, The Spirit Guide to Spellcraft (Australia), and Prediction Magazine (UK). – See more at: http://judikailles.com/

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