Rituals and spells are often confused. To make it more complicated, rituals can contain spells, and certain spells may have ritualistic elements (for example calling upon the gods). Here is a quick break down between the two.
Rituals are ceremonies that are performed in a certain manner. They can be elaborate or simple, performed alone or in a group. The word ritual originally meant "relating to (religious) rites". However, rituals are not always associated with religious or spiritual matters. For instance, your daily morning routine is a form of ritual.
In witchcraft, rituals are a set of actions that are combined with focus and intent to bring about a result. A ritual may be a ceremony performed yearly during a Sabbat festival, or it could be a simple cleansing act used to clear energy in your personal space. Rituals can also help us to connect with deities in order to enhance our spellwork.
The word spell originally meant "to say" or "to talk". Like rituals, spells require focus and intent. However, spells are distinct in that they contain words. These words may be spoken aloud or simply thought. They do not need to rhyme or follow a specific pattern. The words do not need to be thought of ahead of time.
USING RITUALS AND SPELLS TOGETHER
Rituals and spells are often used interchangeably, because the two are frequently done together. Rituals may include no spells or several spells. Complex rituals could even involve a combination of individual and group spells. This wonderful Shower Spirit Spell combines a ritual shower with a simple spell to release negative energy and manifest inner peace.
Spellwork can also include ritual practices. For example, casting a circle is a ritual that is often done before spellwork. The circle creates a sacred space and invokes protection. Click here to learn how to cast a circle.