The Cone of Power

Raising Energy
Many people raise energy alone, or in a group. John Lund / Sam Diephuis / Blend / Getty Images

In studying some magical traditions, you may hear a reference to something called the Cone of Power. But what exactly is it, and where did the idea come from?

The Cone of Power in a Group Setting

Traditionally, the cone of power is a method of raising and directing energy by a group. Essentially, the people involved stand in a circle to form the base of the cone. In some rituals, they may connect to each other physically by holding hands, or they may simply visualize energy flowing between the members of the group.

As energy is raised–whether by chanting, singing, or other methods–a cone forms above the group, and eventually reaches its apex above. In many magical systems, it is believed that this energy continues on past the point at the top of the cone, traveling out infinitely into the universe.

Once the cone of power, or energy, is completely formed, that energy is then sent out en masse, directed towards whatever magical purpose is being worked on. Whether it’s healing magic, protection, or whatever, the group typically releases all of the energy in unison.

Sherry Gamble at EarthSpirit writes

"The cone of power contains the combined will of the group, and the power of the Goddess from within each person. The power is raised by chanting and singing, repeating a chant over and over until tension mounts. The practitioners feel the power grow, feel it rise from each person to merge into a fountain of light that surrounds and leaps above them, They add their own energy to the rising cone, to the growth of energy that is almost visible-heard and felt by all." 

Raising Energy Alone

Can an individual raise a cone of power, without the assistance of other people? Depends on who you ask, but the general consensus seems to be yes. Tawsha, a Wiccan who lives in Sedona, Arizona, practices as a solitary. She says,

“I raise energy by myself whenever I can. Since I don’t work with a group, I raise it in an area that forms a psychic circle around my feet, and visualize it traveling up over my head to form a point until I let it go out into the universe. It may not be what people traditionally think of as the cone of power, but it has the same purpose and effect.”

Raising energy alone can be just as powerful as raising it in a group, it's simply different. Keep in mind that there are many ways of raising magical energy, including through chanting, singing, ritual sex, dancing, drumming and even physical exercise. Try a variety of methods, and see which one works best for you. What is comfortable for one practitioner may not be for another, so it's a good idea to experiment a little bit to determine the best way for you personally to raise energy. 

The History of the Cone Concept

Some people believe that the pointy hats that have become an iconic symbol of witchcraft are in fact a symbolic representation of the cone of power, but there does not appear to be much scholarly evidence that supports this. In fact, many cultures have worn pointed hats as a matter of course throughout history, with little to no connection to magical workings.

European nobles wore conical, pointed hats as a part of fashion, as did commoners in some eras, and there were even more sinister uses; heretics about to be executed were often forced to wear a pointed hat as well. It is more likely that the idea of the witch’s hat as being representative of a cone of power may in fact be a recent theory within the Neopagan community, as an effort to reclaim the pointed hat image.

Gerald Gardner, who founded the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca, claimed in his writings that members of his New Forest coven performed a ritual called Operation Cone of Power, which was ostensibly to keep Hitler’s troops from invading British shores during World War II.

The cone, or pyramid shape, is sometimes associated with the body’s chakras. It is believed that the root chakra at the base of the spine forms the base of the conical shape, tapering upwards until it reaches the crown chakra at the top of the head, where it forms a point.

Regardless of whether you call it a cone of power or something else, today many Pagans continue to raise energy in a ritual context as part of their regular magical workings.