“Vikram and the Vampire” or “Tales of Hindu Devilry” adapted by Richard Frances Burton, illustrated by Ernest Griset, 1870

In ancient Sanskrit texts, several possible forms of the use of Vâc, or magical sound, are mentioned. It is possible to reach this sacred speech in physically heard sound, in its subtler form of words articulated in a silent manner, or in the subtlest form, without articulation at all. The last one of these is the counterpart of Nâda, or the Sound of Silence, heard by the yogic practitioner in their chamber of the heart, giving an actual theophany for the realized cosmos of harmony.

But the use of meditation with its lessening of outer dynamism is not natural to every Occidental temperament. To those not inclined to turn off the external sensory apparatus, the use of Vâc may take different forms in spell and prayer practices. Since these practices work mainly under the seven principle celestial powers, I will suggest how each of these powers might be linked to different applications of magic speech in practice.


Reading spells and prayers aloud with a normal voice is the most common and easiest choice and often the best one since it also escapes the snare of theatrics most easily. Yet even in this case, one should not simply pronounce the words with no idea of their inner power without trying to find the consciousness of the words, names, and their rhythms being joined to their logoi, or patterns of mental power. The magician is not seeking to impress anyone – not the spirits nor the possible human listeners – but the spell text must be given inner emphasis, meaning spirit. In most languages, the word for spirit and breath used to be, and sometimes even today remains to be, one and the same, and in spell or prayer work, this is seen in a way by how one’s breath is used to give soul to the formulas. Thus, normal audible speech doesn’t mean dull and disinterested speech, but intelligible, reverent, and presented with the feeling of inner meaning and respect. This use falls under Jupiter, the celestial power of regulation, balanced leadership, and the ability to keep oneself under control in a dynamic, positive movement.


Invocation is the demanding, powerful use of voice. It can be loud or simply authoritative and may or may not use rhythms and emotions. Even with these differences, it is usually easy to distinguish between invocation and other forms of spells and prayers. Any other type of the use of voice can be understood in communication between people, but invocation is something that cannot (should not) ever be used that way: it is a peculiar form of addressing non-human entities and seeking union with them. Invocation is an inducing, mesmerizing form of communication and works under Mars.


The use of pathos in voice means the acting out of the contacted power’s corresponding emotions. An empathized Saturnal spell or prayer would be given in a voice filled with heaviness and sorrow, while a spell or prayer to Venus would be joyful and light, and so on. Also, it might be the separate words or sentences one should emphasize regarding their meaning and place in prayer, rather than the prayer as a whole. One takes the emotions to one’s voice to join with one’s object of adoration or magical goal. This work is guided by Mercury, the deity of actors and illusionists, as well as the actual unity of feelings in buddhi.


By recitation, I mean when minimal notes are used but given rhythmically. The whole spell might be given using only a single note or making just a few changes in chosen places. Recitation is a form of prayer one can hear used, for example, in the Greek-Catholic (Eastern Orthodox) Christian Church. This form of spell or prayer working is solemn and makes it easier to take the practice apart from any exoteric surroundings. It works under the dominance of the Sun.


There are some who prefer to give their prayers and perhaps even spells completely silently. Perhaps they are in a place where others might hear their working and get disturbed, or perhaps their voice is temporarily or even permanently damaged. Silent speech requires more – or different kinds – of focusing since there are no actual sounds to carry one’s focus. Silent speech works under Saturn. We should note this is the counterpart of Nâda, or the soundless sound of nature, heard in Anâhata – one’s aetheric heart. Today one might say that one can find such a union in a state of flow, where words are transcended, and spiritual action becomes spontaneous.


Spells and prayers can be sung using any melodies fit for the text. The singing of prayers is well known in Judeo-Christian religious practices, Psalms, for example, and similar practices exist in other religions. The keynote given in esoteric instructions can be used for the song, or prayer may follow one’s intuition. Singing as an ancient art form belongs under the beauty and harmony of Venus.


Whispered prayer or spell works in the middle ground between normal and silent speech. It is intimate, can be romantically inciting, and has a strong effect in certain situations. This form of magical working falls under the Moon, the most mystical and enthralling of the celestial influencers.

In a lengthier ritual, especially one of an evocative nature, where spirits are contacted for the first time and beseeched to appear, the spell formulas might be presented several times, using different forms of addressing in turn.

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