Okay, so let’s talk about this for a second because it actually does really piss me off when someone discusses this as a general rule or a general thing for all paganism, witchcraft, and occultism as if everyone agrees with this sentiment.
Firstly, let’s talk about personal definitions. A lot of times people have a variety of personal definitions, and because of that, conversations can be crazy. For example, let’s define prayer in the multitude of ways that I’ve heard it used.
My Definition of Prayer = Conversation between <thing being prayed to> and <thing doing the praying.>
Prayer(1) = A non-speech, full on ceremony which involves a variety of things such as body humiliation techniques and self-inflicted wounds.
Prayer(2) = A Rhythmic Chant.
Prayer (3) = Asking for intercession in an event or situation.
As well as to whom the prayer is given and why = ” Prayer may be directed towards a deity, spirit, deceased person, or lofty idea, for the purpose of worshipping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing sins or to express one’s thoughts and emotions.”
Now, let’s talk about Spells for a minute:
My Personal Definition of a Spell: A set of instructions to perform some thing which is used in order to get some sort of item or result at the other end; Also can be executed in a variety of means or methods.
So I can see why people would use the idea of spells being equivalent to Prayers especially in the context of verbal or word spells. But if you look at Wiki’s spell definition to the prayer definition, there is some clear changes in what constitutes a prayer or a spell.
Not that Wiki is the end all to information, I’m using it to give examples of how separated the definitions can be for others.
However, the main problem is that not everyone thinks alike and because of the generalization nature of people saying that “Prayers are like spells or are the same as spells,” it really gets mucky when talking to people about it.
My spells are not like my prayers because I have no prayers. It would follow from the logic that Prayers = Spells and vice versa, that I would have no spells. But if you look at my definition of spells and my definition of prayer, I could have a spell which is like a prayer or which is a prayer (execution) or which contains a prayer, but I have no deities to have a conversation with.
It comes down to the point where, if in your practice, your prayers are like your spell you need to say that it’s in YOUR practice. I don’t need to clarify people who get mislead that everyone thinks this way - I have before and likely if everyone keeps this up - will have to do it again later.
Also, this is not an invalidation of people who do have prayers that are equivalent to spells.
What I’m saying is that one should not use the generalization or the homogenization statements that “Prayers = Spells” for all witchcraft, pagan traditions, and occult practices that use spells or prayers for their practice.
And I’m not even going to get into the definitions of magic or magick (Crowley) but sufficed to say shit gets even more crazy with these added into it as another layer of confusion.
I think there should be like a idea cloud with links between ones that are similar as a graphic maybe. To get people used to the idea that there’s many different uses, definitions, and practices within these three categories.