Most of us would do anything to help our friends when they’re in a tough spot. If you practice magick in any form, whether through rituals or kitchen witchery, elaborate or simple, you have no doubt been tempted to perform a little extra charming on a friend’s behalf.

There are tricky ethical issues to navigate when casting charms or spells, whether or not you have your friend’s consent. You might not be able to safely disclose that you practice magick, and if your friend has prayed for you before, you might wonder what the difference is now.

Here are the steps to casting safe, ethical spells on another person’s behalf.

1. Always examine your own motivations
If you’re trying to cast a love spell on someone in order to make them fall in love with you, or if you’re trying to make a friend get rich so you can have some of the money, it will go wrong. Simple charms or complicated spells alike must always be cast with pure intentions. If you are meddling with someone else’s life to improve your own, the universe will not look kindly upon you.

2. Can you ask them first?
Many people will be flattered that you want to help them out. If you’re doing this for the sake of a loved one, you might consider asking them beforehand. Even if you’re not “out of the broom closet” yet, you could ask if they would mind if you prayed for them. If someone says no, respect their wishes and don’t cast a spell on their behalf, even if they really seem to need it.

3. Use a spell you know well
The time to try a new charm is not when the course of your friend’s life is at stake. If at all possible, use a charm you are familiar with. If you don’t know it very well, read over it several times, look for loopholes, and make sure your wording is precise. This is particularly important if you’re writing your own charm; you won’t have the ability to troubleshoot like you would with your own magick, and you can easily leave out a very important word or intention if you aren’t careful.

4. See if you can involve them
Particularly open-minded friends might welcome the chance to get involved with your magick, especially if they have been before, or if they have never seen anyone do it. Just make sure they aren’t a skeptic who will drag down any energy you raise, or you may adversely affect your friendship. If you feel it’s right, ask them if they want to be involved. The magick will be stronger when people do it for themselves.

5. Clarify your intention and their need
If your friend is always complaining that they need a new car, be careful how you cast this spell. You might end up influencing a chain of events that leads to a car crash, whereupon your friend is forced to get a new car at great expense! Your friend may get what they need, but not what they want.

6. Ask a divination tool whether you should do this
If you practice with a crystal ball, runes, Tarot, or another form of divination, ask whether you should go through with this spell or not. If you get a firm no, it’s probably best to heed this advice and let the situation sort itself out. If you get a firm yes, go ahead, and if the response is mixed, look for feedback and proceed cautiously.

7. Be careful not to get tied up with them
When you perform magick for someone else, that energy is still linked to you. Unless you’re careful, you can end up linked to them – and every positive or negative consequence to the situation. For instance, if you cast a prosperity spell and your friend wins on a lottery ticket, then blows the money on a partying lifestyle and gets addicted to drugs, you might find yourself footing bail or trying to help them out of an addiction. It’s hard to know what the consequences are going to be, so don’t get tied up.

8. Teach first, act on their behalf second
Is your friend willing to act on their own behalf? Then consider teaching them a simple spell to do on their own! This will have more power than a spell you do for them, and it will likely turn out better. Your friend will learn a valuable skill, and will subconsciously begin to make choices that reflect the spell they have performed. You won’t be tied up to their energy. It’s a win all around!

9. Look for ordinary ways to help out
If you’re doing a charm to help your friend find a job quickly, don’t limit yourself to simply doing magick. Look up job postings with them, help them practice for interviews, or look over their resume. Similarly, if you’re trying to help a friend find love, don’t just sit back and watch – see if you know anyone that would be great for them, or go out with them to try a new activity or hobby that they might be shy about pursuing solo. Everyday actions supplement even the best-laid magick.

If your friend is in trouble and you’re looking for an easy way to help, magick is not the solution. On the other hand, if you’re willing to take some precautions or have been asked specifically to help, heed your gut instinct. Your own instincts will tell you whether or not the situation is a good one to get into.

Above all else, try to encourage independence and self-sufficiency while being a good friend in every sense of the word. You don’t necessarily have to do magick for someone in order to show that you’re a good friend. Use the gifts you have and you can help someone you love through any situation.

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