What exactly constitutes a "complete" magical spell or ritual? Is it the exact measurement of material components? The proper scent of incense? The proper arrangement of the altar? The use of proper tools? Speaking the proper words in rhyme? Making the appropriate gestures? Well, in my honest opinion it's none of the above.
To properly understand the complete magical spell, one must first understand the nature of magical energy! Where exactly does this energy come from? To better understand, let's look at a few quotes from pagan sayings.
"As above, so below"
"Thou art God(dess)"
"If that which thou seekest, thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee."
These quotes denote a sort of unity of the mortal body with the powers, power WITH, rather than the Christian concept of power OVER (where a God rules over all). Our magical energy comes from within us. Every time we invoke a circle, call quarters, cast spells... we are calling up and projecting energies from within our own bodies! But what of the tools, words, movements we use?
Well, those items are merely FOCUSES for our energies. They help us raise and project energies, or help us to feel as though we are attuning with the powers so that we may bring magic into being... the athame, the altar, the invocations, the incense, the salt, the water, the candles, the pentagram... all items of focus!
Still, it is possible to create magic without any implements at all! We can raise magical energies and cast spells without any material trappings! We can even do so silently... no words! Time spent in meditation is communal time. Prayers and spells can literally be thought into being. Sure they're not as fancy or impressive as smoke, candles, big words and books, but it's possible!
Does that mean that tools, words, and the like are wrong?
No... absolutely not. I only mention this so that you know that you have a choice, if you ever find yourself forgetting words... don't stress. If you don't have an herb needed for a spell... don't stress. Forget a motion? Don't stress. The magic is within you. Use whatever focus you need... but always understand that the complete magical spell comes from within you. Not from the athame, not from the words you speak, not from the herbs or incense...
Danaan Lugh, April 2004