Let's get this clear: this article assumes that magic is real. It is not about trying to prove if spells exist or whether they really work. That much is being assumed as true. Magic is real and it really works: that's the premise we operate under. At the same time, there is a disconnect between what the average person understands "magic" to mean, and what it is that I intend to convey when I tell someone, "I cast magic spells."
I practice hoodoo — a form of folk magic, famed as superstition. It's got more in common with those lucky rabbit's feet you find at the gas station than it does with anything seen in a Harry Potter film. It's got more in common with this article than it does with the story of Aladdin's lamp. I spend a lot of my time unselling people on my spells in order to avoid gaining customers with inappropriate expectations about spell casts. And so...
It's a regular day for this online hoodoo spell lady. I begin as normal by opening my emails. I notice a couple of spell inquiries are waiting, and jump to them as top priority.
The first one makes clear from its initial sentence that it's the worst kind of inquiry — the kind of inquiry where the real motivation of the customer is to try to make me promise that whatever spell I do for them will work. I actually used to give instructions alongside my email link that people must not ask me for such reassurance; I got rid of it only when I realized no one was paying attention. In this instance, it's a woman asking for a spell to make a particular man give her "more time, sex and conversation" -- but first she needs to know if it's going to be worthwhile. I write back with an honest reply which I know is probably only going to discourage or confuse her, but it's the truth:
"Success might depend on your own interpretation of what happens (any time people want "more" of something it's tricky, because the amount of more they get might still be unsatisfying.) Nevertheless, I'd be willing to give it a try. "
I don't really expect she'll be willing to give it a try. Odds are that, if she's asking for this kind of reassurance, she'll ultimately keep moving on down the list of her internet search results, then fall for some scam artist who was willing to promise whatever she wanted. (Scam artists will promise almost anything, as long as they think it's dragging you deeper into their scheme.)
For a genuine magician/witch/mage/etc., casting a spell is something like trying to aim an arrow at an invisible target — even if you've hit it, it can be hard to convince anyone else of the victory. This is part of why most real practitioners of the ancient art of magic, stuck in this modern age of "customer satisfaction", hesitate to make guarantees of success to their spell-seeking customers. I've known many people that perform spells will complain about having done successful rituals, but found clients were still unhappy because some element didn't play out according to expectations -- the spell worked but didn't happen as fast as they wanted, or they got more money/love/success but not as much more as they wanted.
We must remember that magic is considered to be scientifically unproven. One reason it is bestowed with this status is because we cannot really view the alternate timeline wherein the spell wasn't cast — which is just about the only way we would be able to prove what the magic did or didn't do. If a man casts a good luck spell, and two weeks later his car breaks down, does that mean the spell failed? Or might it be that the car's being in the shop saved him from a worse misfortune, like a serious accident, and consequently it is good luck that his car was in the shop? There's no way to compare situations to see the "what if" other than by using even more scientifically unproven techniques such as tarot cards and I Ching.
Spells meant to influence someone else can be even harder to judge since we might not be privy to any changes in the subject's behavior. We might even see only behavior that seems like the opposite of what we wanted, and so assume failure of a spell that actually had been a success. For example: I knew a woman who had a love spell put on her by a man that she hated. She hated every moment she spent with him, but when they were apart she couldn't seem to get him off her mind, and always was willing and anxious to see him again. She eventually figured out that he'd put a spell on her, and she took steps to remove the magic. After that, she didn't speak to him anymore. The man might well have assumed that his spell didn't work, since all he'd have seen was a woman who could barely stand him and who ultimately severed all contact with him. He wouldn't have known just how well his magic worked.
My email customer writes me back, complaining that she doesn't understand what I told her. I try to elaborate without being too wordy: the spell might succeed, but even if it does, you might not find it satisfactory. A few minutes later she writes me again, with more questions and more explanations of her situation. She wants a concreteness of answers and promises — and probably of results, too — that is much more firm than what I can offer. I can already tell she's unlikely to become a client of mine; even if she decides she wants my services, I'll have to turn her down. I know from experience it's better to turn down a customer than to have to deal with somebody that has $200 worth of false expectations. My spells work as well as anyone else's I've encountered, and the only difference is I'm not willing to pretend that that means amazing outcomes where all your dreams come true.
Of course what she desires is that the spell will manifest as her gentleman friend giving her all the time she wants with him, probably hours and hours each day. This is understood. I would use spells and take steps to direct the magic towards this specific outcome. Can the outcome be promised? No. The spell will manifest however it's possible to manifest — through a path of least resistance. If the man is already spending as much time with the woman as he can, the spell cannot create more time for him to spend. But of course, one casts the spell and requests the spell having the hope that there is nothing to hinder him — that he could make the time to spend with his lady, and that the spell will provide the motivating mental influence he needs to start devoting all his attention to her and create the happy passion desired.
The point of all this is a reminder to keep reasonable expectations when it comes to the practice of magic. It's not a practice that's about a lot of concrete Yes and No information. It's more art than science, and many of its powers remain mysterious due to their blurring of all that which is natural.
Everyone wants magic spells that work; but what can you do when the "success" of a spell is such a subjective matter? In effect, any time a person wants a spell to gain "more" of something, it is impossible to promise how much "more" one will get. One can always have "more" and still find it lacking. This can be proved just by looking at all those "poor rich men" who have more money than they know what to do with yet still work and compete to gain more. With magic, even when we get what we want... we may find that we want it again.
The good news is that spells have been known to produce many happy surprises and exciting results. It's just a matter of keeping a realistic perspective: a perspective where you can realize that one is participating in something many people see as inherently unrealistic, and that just "believing more" isn't going to produce better results. A healthy skepticism is a very good thing, and will protect against being scammed or misled. At the same time, one cannot expect to receive concrete answers to a question like "will it work?" when even medical doctors and attorneys cannot make those kinds of promises about their jobs. The definition of success relies on the individual, and having a sensible expectation about what's possible through magic will ensure that one can get more out of spellcasts.
Is it more enough? That's up to you.