Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Emily Carding, author of the new So Potent Art.
In my latest book, So Potent Art: The Magic of Shakespeare (due out from Llewellyn in July 2021), I explore the magical and supernatural content of Shakespeare and its possible practical applications. Here are a few ways in which you can start using Shakespeare in your magical practice today!
- Use Iambic Pentameter. Whilst this is a phrase that may strike some with dread, it simply means a line of ten beats with five emphasised beats, or “iambs,” so the rhythm of a line reads as such: da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM. Shakespeare wrote in this way as the rhythm best replicates the natural feel of speech and also tends to last the length of an average breath. Most importantly for our purposes, the energy is carried through this rhythm like a heartbeat, or horses hooves, therefore the energy of your words and intent is carried through this rhythm, making it a highly effective tool when writing any kind of invocation or spell.
- Bibliomancy. Shakespeare’s works are full of wisdom and insight into human nature and our lives. Try holding a question in your mind and allowing a copy of the complete works to open on any page, let your finger fall on a random line, and see what reveals itself.
- Use Shakespeare’s Invocations. Yes, Shakespeare’s work are full of effective invocations to gods and spirits that we can use directly in our work. Take a look at Prospero’s speech that begins, “Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves…” up to, “by my so potent art.” Not only can I say from experience that it is effective but also Shakespeare was heavily influenced by Medea’s invocation to Hekate from Ovid’s Metamorphoses!
- Mash-up and repurpose. Shakespeare wrote the best words, and people have interpreted their meaning many different ways. Why not use the beautiful poetry as raw material to stitch together something new? I have created everything from short invocations to full length ritual theatre this way.
- Invoke Shakespeare’s characters. Need a bit of Rosalind’s wit? King Henry V’s leadership? Cleopatra’s charm? Shakespeare’s characters have been embodied and empowered over centuries and by calling their qualities into ourselves, we can take on some of their strengths to help us in our daily lives. Try writing and performing invocations incorporating text from the plays and see what results you get!
More guidance on how to incorporate these techniques plus much more is available in So Potent Art: The Magic of Shakespeare, available from July 2021. Enjoy!
Our thanks to Emily for her guest post! For more from Emily Carding, read her article “ Invoking Hekate with Shakespeare.”