Over the years, I have come into contact with many different types of people with all different levels of experience all seeking out knowledge about spellcasting and the occult for many different reasons. While some people have had a long time interest in spellcasting, rootwork, or the occult, others have sought out the aid of spellcraft to help them only on a specific problem. It is those who fall into the latter grouping who seem to have the most difficulty acheiving their aims, often due to unreasonable expectations, ignorance regarding spells and how they work, acting against their own spell energies, or etc.
I have tried to educate people over the years about having reasonable expectations of what one might acheive through spellcraft. I've written articles like this one and this one to help people get over their obsessive issues and help their own spells manifest.
And yet, perhaps I am not being helpful enough as I am not addressing all problems I see - I am more addressing problems of people who have a better chance of acheiving what they want with their spellcraft if they just relax and get out of their own way for a minute. ;) I realize it would help more of my readers if I took a moment to examine other unhelpful ideas and behaviors that often limit and/or forefend a successful acheivement of what is desired through the use of spells.
"I want a single spell - preferably one that's not at all complicated and does not require any sort of experience to cast - to fix my gigantically complex problem"
Funny you should say that - I want that spell, too. Everyone in the Rant Room who wants to know that spell, raise your hand! Oh, woah, that's like everyone in here reading this article who wants that spell. You tell us if you find that spell. Unfortunately for me, after a lifetime of dedicated practice and study, I've not located that spell yet, but you let me know when you do. ;)
While this is not a hard and fast rule, if your problem is one that is incredibly complicated and complex, it's pretty likely you'll need to use more than one spell to fix the situation.
Realistically, you'll also have a better chance of being successful if you have some experience casting a spell...and casting "like one or 2 spells using a spell kit once" is not exactly what I'd refer to as a good level of experience.
"I want a spell that's guaranteed to work, even if I work against it's influence in the mundane world."
Funny you should say that - I also want that spell. Everyone in the Rant Room, who else wants the mythological beast of a "foolproof spell guaranteed to work no matter what" to exist? Raise hands please. Alright, looks like everyone wants that spell. Unfortunately the guaranteed-to-work-no-matter-what spell is an entirely fictional beast.
We've gone over the above two "problems" seen in the boldface above in here before, but I understand some people just don't get what I'm trying to explain, so since I know how much you all like when I compare spellcasting to mundane things, allow me to explain via the use of metaphor.
Imagine for me, if you will, that you become fatigued easily, and that this issue has plagued you for about 3 months. You just feel like you're exhausted all of the time. So, initially, you're likely to take steps to combat this fatigue - maybe you'll drink coffee, eat better, stop drinking alcohol, get more exercise, get less exercise, make sure you're getting enough sleep etc. You try all of this, and you're still finding yourself exhausted all of the time, so you visit a doctor. We can assume the doctor is likely to ask you about diet changes, sleep changes, stress levels, right? Right. So, when the doctor has found that you've made changes at home and had no improvement, he or she is likely to want to run some tests, right? Or is this doctor just going to hand you some form of amphetamine or something to "wake you up" without so much as looking for a more serious problem?
He or she will probably run tests.
Once this is complete, the doctor gives you a rather dire diagnosis. You find yourself with leukemia. It's suggested you treat this with a bone marrow transplant to survive, and even then the prognosis is only a 66% chance you'll make it...which isn't awful statistically speaking, but it's not guaranteed you'll even survive. Your chances of survival improve slightly if you add other therapies in. Your other choices have even less of a chance you'll survive the illness, but might also work. Whatever you do, you're going to have a long recovery ahead of you - if you succeed in beating leukemia. Furthermore, had you come into the doctor after a few weeks of feeling fatigued, you learn your chances for a survival and a faster recovery would have been far greater.
So, if you're like someone who comes to a spell-practitioner with unrealistic expectations, you would say something like this to the doctor "Listen guy, I don't want to come in for anymore tests. Just give me a single pill/treatment I need to take once, and guarantee that's going to cure me in under 2 weeks. If you don't guarantee this, I'm going to tell everyone you are a quack because a REAL doctor could do it."
And if you're like someone who tries to cast their own spells who also has unrealistic expectations, you would say something like this to the doctor "Hey, I know you have some super secret cure right now that you won't tell me. Just tell me what it is and I'll get it and I'll be fine in like 2 weeks. I know it has to exist because I want it to, and I know it has to be available to me because I want it to be, and I know this treatment also has to be something I can apply to myself because even though I have no real experience or training in the feild of medicine, I like watching television dramas about hospitals, so I'm sure those are totally accurate and I can just fix myself with no issue."
I see a few of you rolling your eyes. ;) Spellcasting is, IMHO, quite a bit like medicine - it can involve having to use a combination of treatments (spells) to create the desired impact. It can require time and patience for the end result to be produced. People often study and practice spells for years and years to be as effective and successful as they are...I mean, going back to our doctor example, would you trust someone as an oncologist (cancer doctor) if they only took a CPR class once for their entire education in medicine or something like that? ;) Nah, probably not. And even if one has advanced oneself far in one's studies, and is an amazing spellcaster, it still can take time and multiple spells to acheive the desired end, and even then there is ALWAYS a possibility the spells will fail to acheive what the petitioner (person requesting spell) wanted.
If you truly want to succeed at spellcasting you may need to dedicate yourself to your quest of fixing your issues via the use of spellwork for some time, though it may be brief. It could take a few weeks, it could take a few months. I have seen people dedicate themselves to issues that took them over a year to fix. It really depends on the situation, the spellcaster, the petitioner (if different from the spellcaster,) and (if applicable) the spell target. Sometimes even if you're the greatest spellcaster whoever lived, you will fall short of your goals, or even fail entirely...though experience, knowledge, and dedication will greatly lower the chances of spell failure. And you'll have to learn to accept that what might have worked well for a friend or acquaintance on a similar type of situation will not work for you. You'll have to come to the realization what worked for you might not work for as well for the person you recommended it to.
"How long is this going to take to work?"
As long as it takes.
Don't like that answer? How about this one: It will take the amount of time it needs to take, and while there is certainly an amount of time where had so much time passed without visible result, that I might suggest you recast or try a different spell, that doesn't mean there is some blanket answer to the question how long it will take - and if you think there is an easy blanket answer to that question that suits all people, you're kidding yourself. You may wish to take a peek at Karma's article that I linked to here, and see how she goes over that "unintentionally complicated question" problem she's having? That's what your question about a time frame is like. If you're counting off the days since you cast that spell, you're part of the problem with it's manifestation. (I go over why this is so frequently in here. I won't bore my faithful readers. If you're a new reader, please have a look around the blog.) ;)
I guess if you want some date to make yourself anxious by (which is why most people ask this question, in my experience,) I'd say barring any bad behaviors (see linked articles above,) and assuming the spell was cast grand-spankingly fanstastically AND assuming the desired manifestation is not that complex (so probably not a spell cast on a social/romance situation that's been effed up for a long time)...probably about 1-4 weeks. Newbs tend to think their spells down though, so that could be a generous estimate (as in you may wait longer,) if you're obsessive, a neophyte, not letting the situation go, etc.
Now that I've said that to you though, used to have a personal spell target that I could almost set a watch by who took 60 days to show any sign of being affected, and then this person showed signs of having the influence pretty much full manifested. I'm no newbie, and I wasn't then. I knew what I was doing. I wasn't obsessive, not letting my spell energy go, etc. It was the target.
Or...had a client who claims to this day that if I did a particular spell on a particular target of hers, that it took 48-72 hours to work on him. I loved working for that client. ;) (Hey, I'd love you even if it wasn't like that, but you know how much that used to puff my ego up!) :D
So the answer is that without having any foreknowledge of the situation or those involved, what spells you've used, where you are at emotionally/mentally (obsessive natures and not letting a situation go can mean a lot longer manifestation time,) if you are or are not going to do something to proverbially shoot that spell in the foot, or any other number of factors, the answer to "How long will this take to work" is "How long it has to take."
"I'm okay because I have a large group of people to sit around and discuss my active spellwork with. It's like a support group full of people who have never cast spells and have little or no experience with them. I assume this is helpful and won't hurt my spellwork."
Oh for eff's sake! Not this dumbassedness again! :0 Okay, I'd admit to being biased against this thing, what with several years of articles begging you and advising you and pleading with you not to think your spellwork unto death, and here you are giving it to a whole group to do that for you, as if you aren't obsessing your work down to nothing enough on your own. :P
There are four basic tenets to successful spellcasting (To know, to dare, to will, and to keep silent,) and even if you're just the petitioner (person requesting spell,) you still need to keep it silent. I have gone over thinking things to death a billion and a half times in here (well, it's well over 10 anyhow) but as a reminder - yep, other people can fantasize your spell to death and think it to death. So, you have a group-spell-kill going on from the sound of it. :S
I understand the desire for a support group, and I am not opposed to this in some ways. I know it's a positive learning experience for newbies to join with other newbies and learn how to cast a spell together. I know for those who have deep emotional scars from their problems it can be very theraputic to share your miseries and defeats with others...but when it comes to discussing your active spells with a bunch of obsessive neophytes you're probably doing your active spells more harm than good. Try to keep any spell under 3 months old which has not manifested between you and your practitioner, instructor...or among people who will not obsess and theorize and think your spell to death at the least. ;)
"Once I cast a spell, I believe can do whatever I want and it won't negatively impact the spellwork unless it's a spell to counteract the first."
Yeah, you'd be totally wrong there. You will need to work with the spell. If you're reconciling someone you have to look attractive, act sane, not stalk, not be an emotional basketcase. If you're doing a job spell, you still need to put in applications.... You need to be your best you and act with your spell's best interests in mind.
So, if you chase your ex down the street with an axe, don't expect them to come back no matter how good your reconciliation spell is. ;)
"I want to cast a spell, but I'm too lazy to seek out the right materials. Can I substitute a white birthday candle and olive oil for these 20 ingredients you have listed here on this spell? I mean, I guess you used like 3 candles, and 2 roots and some oils and herbs, but one birthday candle and some olive oil is fine to substitute for all of that right?"
Oh. Hell. No. That's a super fail right there, bucko. I don't even want you reading my blog if you would ask something like that. This *facepalm* is for you.
Alright everyone, perhaps I'll add more to this in another article when I have a few free hours.
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Image of two women whispering via free domain. Edited with Photoshop by me. So, use the second image as you might like. ;)