When Spells Don’t Work – Trouble-Shooting Magick

troubleshooting magick - why spells don't work

For those new to magick and spells, it can be frustrating when your spells just don’t seem to work, no matter what you do. It can be incredibly disheartening when you put the time and effort into performing a ritual or spell without any results – especially if it’s something that you really want!

A lot of people who cast spells without results think that they may have carried out the spell instructions wrong somehow, but this is actually rarely the case. Contrary to popular belief, the ingredients, tools, moon and planetary phases aren’t the most important thing in casting a successful spell (although they certainly play a role).

The truth is, the most important component in a magick spell is you.  And this is good news, because it makes it a lot easier to trouble-shoot magick.

Trouble-Shooting Magick – 7 Reasons Why Your Spells Aren’t Working

There are seven common mistakes that people often make when trying to cast spells, and we’ve compiled them all – along with some simple solutions to the problems – in our magick trouble-shooting guide.  Once you’ve pinpointed the mistakes you’re making, you can finally start seeing your spells work more consistently!

Without further ado, here are the seven most common reasons why spells fail, and how to solve these problems:

1. Untrained Magickal Skills

As mentioned before, getting into a magickal state of mind is a skill that needs some training. If you already have a meditation practice, you’re halfway there. The aim is to learn to have the right balance of relaxation and focus to get into the state of mind where you can consciously affect energy.

How to Train Your Magickal Skills – Relax and Focus!

The first thing you want to do, if you don’t already, is learn how to get your mind into a relaxed state. Most magickal practitioners have a regular meditation practice, which teaches your body and mind how to relax deeply without falling asleep.

If you find it difficult to meditate at first, you can start off using guided meditations, or binaural beats which are formulated to get your brain waves into a relaxed alpha state. However, once it becomes easier for you to meditate, it’s best to learn how to do it without any external tools.

The next thing to do is to learn how to focus and direct energy during this deep relaxation. Energy follows thought, so a simple exercise you can start with is to focus your attention on different parts of your body, and see if you feel a tingling or warming sensation after focusing on that body part for a while. It may be hard at first, or it may feel like you are imagining things, but you will become better with practice!

Once you can feel energy in your body, you can move onto more complex energy practises. Google is your friend here – there are tons of methods you can try out. If you’d like a more structured approach, The Essence of Magick has exercises to help you expand your ability to manipulate energy, as well as an in-depth explanation of how magick works.

2. Wanting the Impossible or Improbable

As nice as it would be to levitate or become invisible, magick works with the laws of physics. The way magick works is that it increases the probability of anything that is possible.

Take lottery spells as an example. Many people cast spells to try and win the lottery. And they may be successful in increasing the probability of actually winning the lottery – but if the odds of winning before casting the spell are one in a million, and your spell increases the probability to one in a thousand, the odds are still against you.

This isn’t to say that big goals like these aren’t possible. A woman named Cynthia Stafford won $112 million in the lottery, and attributed her success to her Law of Attraction practices (which is like magick without the ritual). However, it took her four months of intensive work to get to that point.

How to Make Your Magickal Goals Realistic – Keep it General!

Magick likes to work through the path of least resistance – so your job is to be as general as possible, so that the Universe can choose the best path for your results to occur.

For example, perhaps the easiest way for you to make money is to get a promotion, or to find a brilliant business idea, so don’t limit the Universe by saying that you only want the magick to come through the lottery. Just focus on the fact that you want money to come to you in a joyful, easy way, and trust that the Universe knows best how to deliver this to you.

As another example, you may think you want a certain person to fall in love with you – but what you are really after is the feeling of being in a wonderful relationship with someone you are madly in love with. Perhaps your current crush would be terrible for you if you really were in a relationship, and there is someone that you haven’t met yet that you’d have an amazing relationship with, someone who would make you forget your crush in a heartbeat because they’re so wonderful. So don’t focus on the specific person – focus more generally, and the Universe will have more chances to give you what you truly desire!

3. Limiting Beliefs

This is perhaps one of the most common reasons that a spell doesn’t work. You might cast a spell for wealth, but if you subconsciously feel that you don’t deserve it, or that it’s not possible for you to have it, then your mind will work against you.

When you cast a spell successfully, you send out a powerful beam of intent. If there are no subconscious beliefs standing in your way, you will draw the result towards you like a magnet. But often, there are obstacles in the way – we don’t believe we can have it, we don’t feel deserving, or have another subconscious belief that hinders us. Perhaps we worry, and doubt that the spell has worked. These are all blockages in the path.

How to Get Rid of Your Limiting Beliefs and Keep the Path Open

First of all, we need to find those pesky limiting beliefs. Again, it’s important to have a meditation practice. When we learn how to meditate and be still within ourselves, we notice what’s going on inside more. We feel if our energy is off about something, and those subconscious beliefs are more able to come to the surface.

Another way to find limiting beliefs is journalling. It’s important not to censor yourself, and just write continuously, whatever pops into your head.

It can be a good idea to start with these prompts:

  • How would my life change if I got my desire?
  • Are there any downsides to having my desire?
  • Do I believe that I deserve to have my desire?
  • Do I believe it’s possible to have my desire?
  • What was I taught about this desire as a young child? (for example, taking the subject of money again, you may have been taught that rich people are greedy, or that wanting money is a selfish desire)

Once you have found the limiting beliefs, you need to work on clearing them. The good news is that just becoming aware of them is half the job done! There are a few belief clearing techniques you can use.

A simple exercise is to think about the belief, and see what you feel in your body. If you have practised your energy techniques, you will immediately feel a constriction or pain, usually somewhere in your torso, when you think of a limiting belief.

Now your job is to just sit with that feeling of discomfort without judging it or needing it to go away – it sounds like the opposite of what you need to be doing, but this limiting belief is actually a manifestation of stuck energy in your body. The more we struggle against it mentally, the more we constrict the flow of energy. If you instead relax into it and accept it, you will find that those energy channels that have been constricted so long start loosening up, and the energy will start flowing again.

This may take some practice, because it feels unnatural – we want to resist bad feelings, not accept them! But what you resist, persists. When we accept and relax, the stuck energy can flow freely.

If you would like more emotional clearing exercises see The Essence of Magick.

4. Unclear intent

So we’ve covered the fact that magick needs focus – this is another aspect of it, and it also ties into the previous part about limiting beliefs. Sometimes we don’t realise that we aren’t fully clear on our intent.

Again, let’s bring up the example of wanting a relationship with someone you have a crush on. Which would you prefer:

  • A relationship with this person – even if it ends up being terrible
  • A relationship with someone else that is everything you’ve ever wished for?

If you’re focusing on the person, but you deep down want the relationship, then your intent is not clear. Or perhaps you’re focusing on the relationship, but you’re not clear on exactly what a great relationship looks like.

How to Make Your Intent Crystal Clear

A great way to get really in tune with your desires is to journal about what you want. This is why, in our magick spells section, so many of the spells require you to write a list or a few paragraphs about your desire before performing the spell.

Describe your desire in as much detail as you can, get really clear on it. What would your life look like when you have it? Take the time to daydream and visualise. Feel free to add details, but to keep things general (as mentioned in no. 2), focus on the feeling that these things would invoke in you, rather than being strict about having things a certain way. This is also a skill – learning what the core of your desire is.

For example:

  • Instead of saying “I want a partner with blond hair, brown eyes, and amazing body” make it general by saying: “I want someone that I am deliciously attracted to”.

When you write out your list of desires, see if you’re restricting yourself or misdirecting your intent by being focused on certain details, when it’s actually the feeling you’re after.

5. Doubting Magick / Lack of Confidence in Your Magickal Abilities

This is similar to the part about limiting beliefs, because a doubt that magick really works, or that you can perform it successfully, is in fact a limiting belief. You can treat these beliefs in the same way as other limiting beliefs, but there are also other ways to quickly improve your belief in magick.

How to Start Believing You can Successfully Cast Spells

First off – start simple! Go for goals that are very believable to you. Don’t go straight for the double pay-rise – start off with a spell to find coins on the street. It can be hard to start small if you’re eager to start manifesting your biggest desires, but you will be able to manifest the really big things faster once you have built up your belief!

The second thing is to start a magickal journal, if you don’t have one already. Many witches are very detailed in their journals – describing the rituals they’ve done, what the moon phase was and what their state of mind was during the casting, etc. You can go as detailed as you want, but the most important thing is to record your successes. It doesn’t matter how small they are! Did you cast a spell for money and then find a penny on the street? Write it down! Did you cast a spell for love, and have someone you found attractive smile at you in the street? Write it down!

When you acknowledge even the small things, you are acknowledging that the spell is working, and telling the Universe “thank you, I want more of this please!” This is why so many spiritual paths emphasise the power of gratitude journaling. By noticing the good things that are happening, you increase their frequency. And, as a bonus, you start noticing that your magick is really working. This is how the magickal path goes. Of course, there is such a thing as beginner’s luck, but for most of us, the results are small to start with, and gradually grow as our belief in our powers grows.

6. The Spell Doesn’t Resonate with You

This is a problem that we can run into when we use other people’s spells, and it’s really easy to fix! The problem is a lot of people think that you need to follow every spell by the letter, or it won’t work. The truth is that your state of mind is the most important thing, and the spellwork is there to create that state of mind.

How to Make Spells Resonate with You

Change it, tweak it to your liking, or write your own! Feel free to substitute ingredients that you don’t have for others that are readily available to you. Witchcraft is such a personal path, and most successful witches have experimented a lot to get to their level of success. So don’t be afraid of playing around a bit and using your creativity!

If you want to create your own spells and want some guidance, The Essence of Magick contains a whole chapter on how to create your own spells, and it also provides explanations for the pre-written spells provided in the book, so that you can see why certain tools or actions were chosen, which will make it easier for you to adjust other spells to your liking.

7. Your Everyday State of Mind Contradicts the Spellwork

A lot of people will cast spells successfully, and then spend the rest of their day thinking negative thoughts about their life. If you cast a spell to find a new job, and spend the rest of the day thinking about how much you hate your current job, you are sending out a “vibe” that identifies you as a person who is in a job they hate. The whole point of casting the spell was to have the strong intent of being a person who has a job that they love. So you need to keep this frame of mind even in your mundane, everyday life.

How to Align Your Everyday State of Mind with your Magickal Intent

This problem can be approached from several angles. You can do the energy clearing work that you learnt in Step 3 for limiting beliefs. Improving your belief in your magick, as in Step 5 will also improve your daily state of mind, as you will know that your situation has started changing as soon as you cast the spell, even if you don’t see the tangible results yet.

Another very simple but powerful method is to start appreciating where you are. If you have cast a spell for a problem area of your life, look for the good things in that area. Your job may be mostly terrible, but perhaps you have a colleague that you really get along with, or it’s located in a perfect part of town for you. Look for even the tiniest things to appreciate about your current situation. As you start focusing on these positive things, your mind will find more for you. That’s a part of magick too – what you give your attention to, increases.

Don’t be afraid that if you appreciate your undesirable situation, you’ll have to stay in it. The Universe actually works in the opposite way – the more you complain and think negatively about it, the worse it will get – and the more you think positively about it, the more experiences the Universe will bring you that match those positive thoughts (such as a new, even better job!)


We hope that this trouble-shooting guide has helped point you in the right direction. If you want to know more about how magick works on an energy level, and want more tips and exercises to increase your magickal skills, check out The Essence of Magick, which elaborates on many of the things that this guide has just mentioned briefly.

We wish you the best in your magickal endeavours, and hope that you realise just how powerful you can be 🙂

Karin is an artist, mystic and writer . She also runs her own business making orgonite – healing jewellery and décor, which you can find at orgoniseyourself.com

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