Why Should Spells Rhyme?
Ahhhh… there is a question. Why indeed should a spell be spoken in rhyme? I believe this practice should be followed for a few of reasons. The first and foremost reason is the effort one must take to compose a rhyming spell forces one to invest a piece of their-self into it. It is work for many, and comes much easier for others, but the fact remains it takes some thinking… and I believe that it assists in connecting you to the casting. It makes it more intimate.
Many of the historical accounts and documentation tend to support that this is the way our forbearers in the craft did it. In early times man danced around the fire chanting and singing before they embarked on the hunt or to war. The shaman often presided and lead them in their ceremonies. Singing, dancing, and music has a “beat” and rhythm. It is well documented that repetitions of beat and rhythm can lead to altered states of consciousness. Like music, chanting, and dancing the rhyme of a poem has a meter very similar to the beat or rhythm of music and chanting. Early witches recognized this and grasped it’s importance in relation to casting spells and weaving magic.
Modern accounts of witchcraft in the Renaissance period popularized spells as little ditties or rhymes. Some may theorize that it was an attempt to hide the reality of a spell under the seemingly harmless guise of a poem or nursery rhyme, but I believe it was just a continuation of the aforementioned altered state. This is also the period from which many modern witches begin drawing upon reference for their own paths or traditions. The written word was becoming so prevalent that we now have the ability to draw upon a wider range of wisdom and teachings over a wide swath of historical time. We are no longer dependent upon the spoken word being passed down through the generations.
This does lead to other questions though. Does this make a spell I have found elsewhere less effective? Is a spell I have not composed weaker in some way? For example one found in a book or on the Internet? The definitive answer to all of those questions is a resounding “no.” Spells found in other sources often carry an equally compelling and powerful quality… Atmosphere or ambiance. Obscure and cryptic magics found in ancient tomes and writings open up our imagination… assist in focusing the will. This is often just as powerful a tool. All the better if they rhyme though…
I often suggest taking spells and rituals from other sources and changing them to fit your own purpose, thereby making them your own. There is nothing wrong with this, and in many ways you can get the best of both worlds.