Keys are used in witchcraft almost as much as they are in mundane life – we may not even realize it. I use a key to lock the box holding my herbs, oils, and knives I use for wand/staff creation (I have a nosey two-year-old). But that is not what I mean by magickal keys. Magick keys can open or close whatever you charge them to do. They can bring you to another realm to speak with deity or elementals or faeries, ancestors even. They can help you access your Higher Self – the mode of consciousness that does magick and interprets psychic messages.
According to an article on The Witches Box, keys have the following uses in witchcraft:
- For divination, the passageway ‘in’.
- The holder of the key is allowed access to all that is unseen
- A symbol for sealed or locked away secrets – an anchor in an obscuration spell
- An initiatory tool held by the one that has gained access into specific spaces on the other side
- A talisman in a protection spell
- The amulet of the Traveler
- Can be hung at doorways of your home for protection
- Removing blocks
- Opening roads
- Calling spirits
This webpage also provides an invocation you could use to charge the key:
Sacred Key, Sacred Key,I charge you with the taskof unlocking the path of mystery.Grant me pass, let me inMake available the secretsthat exist within.
Using Keys for Magick
Actual keys can play a role in magick as well, and that is the point of this article. I have a skeleton key attached to a staff I made, along with Ogham symbols that can be used to access other realms. I’ve used a key in a protection spell as well, to ‘lock’ an invisible gate around my home, preventing unwanted guests from gaining entry – of the mundane and spiritual variety.
I have drawn keys as a sort of sigil, to help me retain information (lock it inside my memory), or to help me move closer towards my goal (unlock the next step of my journey).
The key magick I am going to share with you is my favorite. I did not write this ritual. I found it in Llewellyn’s 2018 Magical Almanac, in an article called Key Magick by Blake Octavian Blair (page 114-122).
Key of Knowledge Talisman.
For this working you will need:
1. A skeleton key
2. Cord of choice
3. Candle (color of choice)
4. A bell
5. Incense of choice (I’m partial to Dragons Blood incense sticks, because Dragons Blood adds power to any working)
Put everything on your working altar. Create a sacred space and call the quarters – use the methods and deities/spirits/entities of your tradition. Light the incense and waft the smoke over all of the tools you will be using. Make sure you thoroughly cleanse the key. Once you feel that any trace of prior intent/ purpose has been smudged away, hold the key to your heart.
I, (your name), ask you to assist me to empower this key for the growth of my knowledge and ease of learning. Please assist me in (state your question).
Now hold the key to your Third Eye and repeat the same request.
Light the candle, pass the key about the flame, then say:
I ask for the illumination of wisdom on the topic at hand. Please shed light on my situation so that I can see the best possible solutions clearly and more readily.
Hold your intention in your heart and mind, then, holding the key cupped in your hands, blow your intention into the key three times. Tie the cord to the key and hang it around your neck. Ring the bell around the key and then around yourself. By ringing the bell, you are calling forth the wisdom and power of your spirits and the universe, empowering the intention of the key.
Liminal Deities are deities associated with liminality – and when you are between two worlds it helps to have keys to get one way or the other. For me, when I think liminal deity I think Hecate. She is the Queen of the Underworld, but she doesn’t stay down there. No, she possesses the keys to all of the realms, and her torches will help you navigate whichever realm she opens for you. I won’t lie, I had to turn to Google to find other examples that weren’t from my pantheon. I found two other deities that had qualities that could be the key to a well-rounded blog article. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist a punny opportunity).
While not many statues of Hekate depict her with a key, it often as it is mentioned in literature. Some sources say the key is the Key to Hades, that she opened the door to Hades. Other literature says that she held the keys to the cosmos. This is important in terms of necromancy. Now before you get your broom in a knot, necromancy is nothing
like that shown in television and movies (although I couldn’t help but love it in AHS Coven). Necromancy is communicating with spirits. So, if you want to communicate with an ancestor you could call to Hekate to bring that ancestor to you. She would unlock the gate keeping the souls of the dead separated from the souls of the living, so you could communicate.
|Temple of Portunus
Photo Source: Wiki Commons
Portunus is a Roman god who rules over keys, doors, livestock and ports. It’s thought that he originally protected the warehouses where grain was stored. He came to be associated with ports because of linguistic associations. Porta means gate or door, and portus means harbor – the gateway to the sea.
Like many other gods in the Roman pantheon, Portunus was adopted by the Greeks as well. The Greeks knew him as Palaimon. Palaimon was originally a mortal boy named Melikertes/Melicertes. His parents fostered the young god Dionysus and it pissed of the goddess Hera. The angry goddess drove his father into a murderous rage, and to protect her child, Ino – his mother, jumped off a cliff into the sea with her son clutched in her arms. When they landed in the sea they were transformed into the gods Palaimon and Leukothea. Palaimon was often depicted to be riding a dolphin, or a fish-tailed child.
Keys are fascinating things. They can do so much, yet we think of them so little. We take them for granted. But writing this article has helped me see that keys are even intertwined in my magickal and mundane life than I realized. It’s fascinating. Just when I think my Craft is crafty, I will find more things to make my magick unique.