Imagine you’re riding home in the car after a long day. You turn on the radio, and you hear it: The first few notes of a song you love. The artist starts to sing and you know every word. You’re instantly revived. You turn up the volume and forget about your troubles for a moment because it’s time to sing and dance in your seat until the next red light. You’re not just sitting in your car doing the same boring thing for the hundredth time. Suddenly, your heart speeds up, the rhythm catches you and you feel great!
Music as a magical medium is nothing new. Witches have long turned to music to not only set the mood but also as part of their craft. Because although candles and incense do a great job of making a ritual feel witchy, music is different. Some say music and the physical effect it has on us is magic unto itself. Not a difficult concept to accept, especially when you think about your favorite song and how it has the ability to make you remember, make you feel, and make you get up and dance. This is the spell music casts on all of us.
The Magical History of Music
Modern society may not treat music as a magical thing now, but once music was considered to be one of the highest forms of magic. When someone sang or played an instrument, it was often to honor the gods or tell a mythical story. In Medieval Ireland and England, a bard was a poet who weaved magical tales with his music. Often a bard played an instrument like a harp while singing tales of older times. The bards and musicians carried on the knowledge of their people.
If we look back to ancient times, drums and other instruments were used to celebrate holy days, invoke trance-like states, or announce the start of a battle. The people in ancient times who sang, danced, and made music were once thought of as spiritually-gifted individuals. Music’s history is a magical one. We have only to look back in the pages of time.
Music Magik Today
Music magick is still alive and well in modern times. We might not see it in the mainstream music industry, but it’s there if we dig a little deeper. First – think of the way music makes you feel. One simple song can invoke feelings of joy, sorrow, laughter, and essentially every emotion under the sun. One simple song can whisk us away to a past moment of our lives whether good or bad. Music can also be used in mental and physical therapy to aid in healing the body, mind, and soul. We can use the emotions felt through music and its unique, fluid energy in our magick. We can make music witchcraft.
Choosing Music for Magick
When selecting a piece for any of the following ideas, allow your intuition to guide you.
Music is a chemical reaction in the brain, and it acts uniquely on everyone.
It doesn’t need to be “witchy” to be magical. Yes, you can use jazz. You can use 80’s hair metal. You can use classical or southern hip hop or Spanish flamenco guitar.
Your choice is uniquely yours—just like your spellcraft.
All that matters is the mood and tone that it sets for you.
To induce trance
The use of music to induce altered states of consciousness is a universal phenomenon.
Some people swear by particular rhythms and specific techniques. But most trance-inducing music uses steady, progressive rhythms with low variation. Still, I recommend whatever works for you.
Try sitting in a quiet room at a time when you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and imagine synchronizing some part of yourself—your breath, your heartbeat, even the speed of your thoughts—with the rhythm of your chosen music.
Be patient. The most trancework is built over time, and you will discover you improve with practice.
To set a mood for ritual or spell work
We all know, intuitively and well, the experience of music moving us to profound emotion, evoking long-forgotten memories, and even changing our perception of time and space.
There is an entire branch of psychology called psychoacoustics that examines the effects of music on the mental state.
Use this change in perception to fuel your spell work by playing a piece before your spell that sets a particular tone.
For example, an old, throaty love song before a romance spell, or a calming instrumental before a healing ritual, acts as an introduction to the mood you want to set for your spell.
To build power
Instead of using music before your spell, try using it during the ritual to build power.
Power building is the process of generating spiritual energy in order to fuel your intentions and energize your magic. To use music for this purpose, I recommend making your own!
If you sing, try singing something softly and then growing louder. And if you don’t sing, try drumming. Start with a slow, steady rhythm and build to something faster.
When you reach the apex of your music, stop it suddenly and imagine releasing the energy into a spell poppet, jar, or even just the center of your altar space.
To unite the bonds of sisterhood
If you work in a coven, try using music to unify your group before ritual work.
Music acts as a kind of tuning fork to integrate different personal energies for a collective purpose like a group ritual. Keep it simple. Allow one (brave, bold) person in your group to initiate the sound and then encourage everyone else to join in whenever they feel called. Let them use their voices, personal instruments, or anything they can use to make rhythms and add their energy.
Don’t worry if it sounds like a mess at first. That’s the point. You guys are all beginning a ritual from different places. Just allow this energy to build and blend until you feel like you’re on the same wavelength.
With practice, you will find that you fall more quickly into your roles over time, and “synching up” your energies come more naturally.
To enhance a ritual bath
If you use ritual baths for cleansing or healing, consider incorporating music into the experience to promote a sense of peace and calm. Choose simple, relaxing pieces and simply notice how they affect your breathing, heart rate, and energy.
In grieving rituals
Music is especially powerful as a healing tool in grief and grieving rituals.
Choose musical selections that help you to move grief through you and allow you to experience it fully in order to heal and release yourself from the sadness and longing of this phase in life.
Ambient Music To Try In Your Next Ritual
Here’s my favorite ambient music to use during ritual:
- World music: Norse, Germanic, Egyptian, Celtic, etc.
- Celtic flutes
- Native American flutes
- Shamanic drumming
- Tibetan singing bowls
- Gregorian chants
- Chakra tones
Can you use modern music in ritual and magick?
I’ve heard of plenty of witches and magical practitioners using modern music (rock/pop/rap) in their magic. Music magick has no limitations, so don’t put a limitation on yours. Try what you feel drawn to. For instance, many witches LOVE the music of Stevie Nicks. Play a Stevie Nicks album during your next ritual and see how the energy affects you and the ritual’s results. Here are some other modern musicians and bands to try during ritual:
- Florence and the Machine
- Chelsea Wolfe
- Corvus Corax
- Sarah Hester Ross
- Damh the Bard
- Kate Bush
- Fleetwood Mac
- Stevie Nicks
- Princess Nokia (song Brujas)
- The Craft soundtrack
- Ibeyi (River and Oya)
- Adrian Von Ziegler
- Peter Gundry
- Loreena McKennitt
- Reggae bands like Sublime, Dirty Heads, Etc.
- Moonlight Scorpio
Casting Spells with Music
In addition to setting a tone with music magick in ritual, casting spells with music is something else you can try. This form of music witchcraft is especially powerful if you can play an instrument or sing well. But you don’t have to have musical talent to make music magick. Try writing a spell and instead of saying the words, chant them over and over. Pick a favorite tune and put the words of the spell to that song. Then sing them for your spell. You may find the music invokes a stronger sense of energy from within and stirs up the energies around you both outside and in the home. Casting spells with music requires just a little thought and practice. Here are some ideas:
Songs for Intention: Personal Empowerment & Strength
Need a boost of confidence or strength? Cast a spell using the song Roar by Katy Perry. Feeling called to cast a spell for personal empowerment and claiming your truth? Play or sing Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. You can play and sing these songs while performing candle magic or any other kind of magick OR you can literally use the song and the energies associated to cast the spell.
Songs for Intention: Money & Abundance
There are SO many songs you could play during your next money spells. Any song to do with money and a positive outlook on money will work wonders. Again, choose a song you connect with. Some money songs include Pink Floyd’s Money, ACDC’s Moneytalks, Material Girl by Madonna, Glamorous by Fergie, Fehu by Wardruna, Money (That’s What I Want) by the Supremes, etc.
Music Magick: It’s All About Intention & Energy
Think of the message you’re sending when you are casting spells with music. Some songs about money have a more negative connotation than others, i.e. Mo Money Mo Problems by Puff Daddy. So it’s best to stay away from this song while trying to draw money towards you. Think about the energy and the message the song conveys before using it in your music magick. And if you really want to take music witchcraft to the NEXT level – learn how to play an instrument! Making music is magic in and of itself – the alchemy of sound.
Because witchcraft is what you make of it, music witchcraft is also what you make of it. If you don’t like a certain kind of music playing during the ritual, don’t play it! If you prefer one thing over the other and it provides the energy you need during the ritual, use it as much as you want!