The Power of Words


The Secret by Rhonda Byrne popularized the Law of Attraction, the idea of manifesting reality with thoughts. The use of affirmations, popular for decades, also is  founded on similar ideas, but focuses on spoken words. In particular, affirmations function on the premise that repeated words gain strength and power and create reality. This premise holds true for both positive and negative statements. And it works individually, as well as collectively.

Recently, I spent a week with my friend Emily and her 7-year-old daughter, Willow, at their Cornwall home. As 7 year olds are wont to do, Willow sometimes swore. Emily patiently reminded her to use substitute words, such as “sugar” or “fudge” for the common curse words. I, being childless, was full of opinions on the subject. I questioned the point of using substitute words.

“If the intent is the same, what difference does it make?” I insisted. Emily, wiser than I, reminded me that there is great energy behind curse words. These same words have been used for many decades for the same purpose — to curse someone. It is the same premise for using ancient rituals or established spells: We tap into energy that has built up over time.

I’ve been paying attention and it’s true. When someone curses me (for example, while driving), I often feel it like a slap or a punch or a hot, angry hatred. When I cursed someone else (again, mostly while driving), I feel a release. This makes sense: I have just let out some negative emotion that was charged with power I raised. We often do this on purpose in a ritual or a circle, but it happens spontaneously, as well.

Since realizing that every curse is akin to an act of magic, I’ve tried to ground the energy, giving it back to Mama Earth, who can neutralize it or send it where it would be appropriate and useful. It’s a slow process, but when I do it, I can really feel the energy shift. It does feel good not to send destructive energy into the lives of my fellow people.

When considering ideas of creating reality, directing energy and manifesting, words are particularly important, as they are the last step before manifestation. In tarot circles, we speak of the suits in a particular order: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. Each suit is associated with an element and with certain areas of life. Wands are associated with fire and inspiration; Cups, water and emotions; Swords, air and words; Pentacles, earth and the physical world.

Wands and Cups represent the steps of creating the intent and raising the energy. If you remember in The Secret, they stress the importance of “feeling” like you already have what you desire, using all your senses and emotions. Swords, or words, gives that raised energy focus and releases it into the world. In the Bible, God created the world by speaking it into existence. Then, the intent or desire is manifested in the physical realm, represented by Pentacles.

This is all very interesting, but I am a practical person. So, how can we apply this information?

  • Everyday Life — Be aware of how emotions arise within you resulting in words, muttered comments, shouted in private, or offered as “jokes.” Think about the words you are about to speak. If they don’t represent something you wish to create, then ground that energy rather than releasing it.
  • Magic — Whether you’re practicing magick or affirmations or positive thinking, consciously use this knowledge to more skillfully craft your intents, raise energy, select the right words, and ultimately create the change in the world (or yourself) that you wish.
  • Tarot — Tarot readers often look at the suits in a spread to gain information about the situation they are reading for. Many Cups means lots of emotions are involved, etc. You can also use the suits to determine, when appropriate, where the person is in terms of their control over their reality. For example, if they are job-seeking and say they’ve done everything possible, but the spread is mostly Wands, it can indicate that they need to enlist some different actions to bring about the manifestation of the desired job.
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