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Perhaps the oldest form of Magick in the world, Sympathetic Magick is a fancy way of saying "using like to attract like". The Laws of Magick are not legislative laws, but, like those of physics or musical harmony, are actually fairly practical observations that have been
accumulated over thousands of years. These laws describe the way magick appears to behave, not how it will. By Binding a doll in ribbons, throwing darts at a picture of your rival, drawing pictures of yourself possesing a new car, or visualizing yourself hitting a home run before going up to bat are all examples of Sympathetic Magick. A lot of spells can hit on more than one school of Magick. The topic of Sympathetic Magick is very important, as the foundation of almost all magick and included in a great many spells and rituals.
It is a simple process to recognize Sympathetic Magick in action: you will always see a reasonable representation of the goal or the item we are doing Magick on. In other forms of Magick we might substitute a candle or a chant for our goal, these are abstractions of our goal. In Sympathetic Magick we use a simpler representation of our goal and in some ways this can make the Magick stronger. In psychology this technique has been combined with creative visualization to help people achieve their goals, within Magick we would call this "thoughtforms".
The basis of sympathetic magick: effects resemble causes. Things which seem alike are alike. The Law of Similarity is used to empower magick. Just waving a wand in the air to summon lightning is not as efficient as throwing the wand to the ground to simulate a strike of lightning. A witch
wishing to cast a healing spell for a person may make a poppet, or doll, to represent that person. Using the Law of Similarity, the magician can produce any effect just by imitating it. In the magickal circle, the poppet becomes the ill person.
To create a Sympathetic Magick spell we start by thinking about what we want, we find or we create a representation of the thing and do to it what we wish to do to the real thing. To make us better hunters we could take an image or effigy of an animal and attack it with spears. To make an abusive ex leave you alone you could take an image of the person and bind them physically by wrapping a ribbon around the image. And if you can't get a true physical representation of the item you can always use meditation.
What makes this technique Magick is the focusing of intent to bring about change or the realization of your goal and following up by acting in kind. So, if we are making ourselves better hunters we would need to believe that attacking the effigy would improve our ability to kill our real quarry, raise energy by chanting and dancing when we do this and then actually go out and do some hunting when we were done. The energy and intent is just as important as the effigy.
A lot of Magickal work can use Sympathetic Magick as just one part or component of a spell.