I’ve always assumed that the word ‘abracadabra’ was fabricated out of thin air by a magician of old – a playful, made-up word that didn’t have any significance except for kids at magic shows.

However, I recently heard Zvi Ish-Shalom, professor of wisdom traditions at Naropa University,  speaking about the Kabbalah on the Humanity Rising Global Solutions Summit. He explained that one origin of the word Abracadabra is from the Aramaic phrase avra kehdabra, meaning “I will create as I speak”.

Is this simple incantation actually a powerful invocation tool with mystical powers? It’s not just Abracadabra, but all words have power. We may not be pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but research has shown that the words we speak and hear affect our brain chemistry and our reality.

How words affect our brains

The neuroscience experiment, “Do Words Hurt?” proved that negative words release stress and anxiety-inducing hormones in subjects. Maria Richter and collaborating scientists monitored subjects’ brain responses to auditory and imagined negative words. Their study found that negative words, whether spoken, heard, or thought cause situational stress, and also contribute to long-term anxiety. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg and communications expert Mark Robert Waldman state, “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” According to these two experts exercising consistent positive thoughts and speech changes our self-perception, how we relate to others and how we perceive the world around us.

Choose your magic words consciously

Become conscious of what you are creating with your words. When we speak of the problems in our lives and the world, we negatvely affect our physiology and reality. And giving voice to what we appreciate and what is positive enhances our well-being, those around us and the energetic field we share. Use your power of Abracadabra wisely!


Abracadabra! card by Jane Norton

words by Senator (now Vice-President elect) Kamala Harris in the 2020 Vice-presidential debate

” Be careful what you say. Words do not only describe reality. Words create reality.”

Archbishop Desmund Tutu

  • Pay attention to the words you hear yourself saying inside your head as well as the ones you vocalize. What do you notice?
  • Can you see a connection between your words and what you are experiencing in life?
Observe the words you are using that are creating a less desirable outcome. Reframe them by choosing more positive ones and notice what happens.

For example, I have recently found myself saying “I am so tired”, and I would then feel even more tired. Now I consciously change that to “I am needing some rest or relaxation”, which opens me to options for regenerating my energy.


An article about the neuroscience research and book mentioned can be found here.

The full title of the book is: Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy. You can find several blog posts by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman on the Psychology Today website.