Sympathetic magic can also be referred to as representational magic. It is basically, using one thing in place of another, or as a representation of the target of your magic. Poppets are a sympathetic representation of a person. Candles are a representation of the element of fire. It is like a shorthand of our magical intent, using representations of the energies and targets of our spells.
There are many symbols which can be made or used to symbolize your target or intent in magic. These could be as simple as sketching a rune on a candle, or creating a bindrune, or using an image of a shield in a protection working. You might create a money bowl to draw money, using currency bills and coins, herbs that represent abundance and prosperity, a drawing oil with gold flakes in it. These are all symbols of the magic that you want to manifest.
First a disclaimer: Nothing is required in Witchcraft. You don’t need big extensive piles of supplies or tools, you just need (to be) a witch. That being said, physical representations of your intent can help aid you in your magic. That doesn’t mean that you should go out and spend $$$ on witchcraft tools and supplies. It means you look around and find those symbols, those associations, that mean something to you and help you to accomplish your goals. You use only what you find you need to make your magic work.
I’ve talked about colors and numbers, and herbs, and stones. Collectively, those topics all really comprise different areas of sympathetic magic. We use this thing to direct our magic toward our purpose, because it represents our goal, or reminds us of it, or makes it easier to visualize, or otherwise focus our intent.
A collective belief in magic is that, “Like attracts Like.” Simply, it’s the idea that the energy you put out determines the energy that you attract. It’s sort of like the, “fake it until you make it” idea, except you don’t want to fake it; you need to believe it. The belief is what makes it happen. The more you believe that you are strong, beautiful, healthy, happy, whatever your desire is, the more likely you are to manifest your desired outcome. For example, bay leaves have a long history of being used for blessings, power, and protection, as well as prosperity and love. So, if you are doing a spell for one of those intentions, you might include bay leaves to tap into that collective idea. However, if you have no connection to bay leaves, or think they smell awful, or don’t think they actually suit your spell – don’t use them.
Personalize your magic, use your own memories and associations over what any book tells you that something means. You want the magic to flow through you, not be confused by conflicting thoughts because you are ‘supposed to’ believe something or do something a certain way. Your magic – your choices. Choose what you want to represent.
So, if that beautiful crown or bouquet of flowers on your bedroom table reminds you of Disney princesses and how beautiful and blessed they are, it can also serve to remind your magic that you are beautiful and blessed too.
I mentioned that poppets are a type of sympathetic magic. You use the doll or figure to represent the focus of your spell, whether it is yourself or someone else. You have a physical object in front of you, and say that object represents your target for your intent. You direct your intention, your will, your magic into that doll as a representation of where you are directing your energy. You know, the universe knows, and you have a solid object to guide the focus of your energy.
Money Bowls are another example of a sympathetic and symbolic representation of magic. You gather items of abundance and fertility and money and you pull together an active spell or mini altar that represents your need and your desire for money to flow toward you. You stir, create, or draw the energy and direct it to your purpose (money). You ‘feed’ the spell, offering additional items, or incense, or coffee, and your energy, reinforcing your intent and stirring up the spell, kind of like adding flour to a bread starter so that it will grow. If you ignore or neglect the spell, it’s not likely to keep manifesting, just like a plant that you don’t tend or water won’t survive long term. The money bowl is a physical (sympathetic) reminder for you to direct your energy and magic to your financial situation.
Using sympathetic magic forms a sort of feedback loop of energy in my opinion. You are directing your energy out into the world, through these symbols and spells. They are in turn, triggering memories and associations in your mind and your subconscious, which serves as a reminder and focus, ‘ Oh, yeah, I want that. I need that. My magic is going to bring that to me.’ ‘Look at me, doing my thing, manifesting what I want/need. Look at that proof of my magic.’