Preparing for Successful Magick:
My first piece of advice to anyone wanting to learn to perform any kind of magick is, learn to meditate!
“But that’s boring!” you may say. Well, suck it up. It will stop being boring when your spells work! 😛
Any magick requires a clear mind, clear intention, and directed emotion. If you can’t calm your mind, you won’t be able to focus it. Your thoughts will be scattered and your results will be weak, even with the simplest of spells. Meditation will also help you reach a trance state, which is necessary for casting. Meditation is necessary. Get on it, and I promise you will learn to love it once you see the effect it has.
There are many different ways to meditate. I suggest starting with breathing exercises. A good one, to begin with, is the Four-Fold Breath. Breathe in for four counts, hold for four, breath out for 4 counts, and hold for 4 again. Each breath in should fill up the belly first and then the chest completely, and each breath out should empty it in a reverse way. When you hold your breath, don’t close off your throat like you’re underwater. Just be calm at the top and bottom of each breath with the air just swirling where it is, not moving in or out. Do this for five to fifteen minutes every day, even if you’re not casting any spells. And don’t think for a second that meditation is not magick because it is! It will have profound effects on your body and mind and ability to manifest what you want that is nothing short of magickal.
After meditation, you will want to learn some kind of grounding. This will help you focus your energies and not get drained. There are many grounding techniques. I like seeing myself as a tree, with my roots in the earth and my branches in the spiritual realm above me. Energy is able to flow through me and ground me to the earth, so I become a conduit for magickal energy. Not being properly grounded is like magickal electrocution and will result in being shaky, dizzy, even sick, feeling spacey and unable to concentrate, and feeling utterly drained. Being ungrounded is about as much fun as heat stroke. Don’t let it happen to you.
Almost all traditions call for some kind of altar. An altar is just a space you set up where you can perform magick and ritual in safety and concentration. It can be as elaborate as an entire bookshelf or room dedicated to Deity, or as simple as a few stones or a rope laid out in a circle, and then packed up into your pocket when you’re done. I’ve used a big hula hoop before to mark a circle. I even have a travel altar in an Altoid’s tin. Your altar can be indoors or out, and you can have more than one. It’s your space— make it work for you.
Magickal tools vary according to tradition, and I want to stress here that you do not have to go buy all the fancy things! Practitioners of magick are resourceful, and the power comes from within. You can spend $1000 on altar tools and still not cast a successful spell. Or, you can use a pencil for a wand and some table salt and get amazing results (I have!) So, use what you have, buy what you want and can afford. The tools are there as an aid for your subconscious. They don’t do the work for you.
That being said, if you’re going to get tools, get things that you enjoy. This will help you feel connected to your work. My husband got me a beautiful cast-iron cauldron for Christmas, which is something I’ve been wanting on my altar for many years.
This little cauldron makes me smile whenever I see it!
Magickal Journal/Book of Shadows/Grimoires
This is the single most important tool you will have. I know a lot of people get tied up in trying to make the “perfect” Book of Shadows, wanting it to look like something from Charmed or whatever. If you want a pretty, work-of-art grimoire, then do it. I have one. But then you should also have a working journal, where you write all of your reflections for every spell or ritual or meditation you do. This is the most important book. Be detailed, so when something does or doesn’t work the way you intended, you’ll have a clear record of what you did. Then you can transfer things into your pretty book.
You can use a sketch book, composition notebooks, a Moleskine, or a ring binder. Or you can have it as a digital file. Whatever works for you. Just have some kind of journal. You can call it what you want, also. My Book of Shadows is my pretty, work-of-art grimoire, and my Book of Mirrors is what I use every day to record all of my reflections (book of mirrors, get it?) and take notes from my readings.
You can find spells anywhere. A good book for a beginner could be Wicca Book of Spells. Wiccan spell books are a great place to start because there are so many of them. Even if you don’t use the exact spells in the books, you can use them as inspiration to write your own. I don’t think I’ve ever, in my life, performed a spell exactly as it was written. I’ve always added something of my own to every spell. It makes them more powerful. Don’t be afraid to write your own. This is your magick.
I love candle magick because it’s simple and effective. There are lots of candle magic spell books out there. Wicca Candle Magic could be a good choice, even if you’re not Wiccan. You will also need candles. I like these ones, but votive candles or even birthday candles will work. Again, use what you have.
Sigil magick is also great because all you need is some paper and something to write with to create a sigil. Then charge and activate it. Chaos magicians (and witches) are known for working with sigils. There is a lot out there on how to perform sigil magick, but Practical Sigil Magic: Creating Personal Symbols for Success would be a good choice if you’re building a library.
A Word of Advice
I do not promote baneful magick, or magick designed to harm another or interfere with their free will. If you are ever tempted to cast a revenge spell, anything that could hurt someone, or something to “make” a person do something, I ask you to take a step back and consider instead, “Is there a way I could change myself to better deal with this situation? Is there some magick I could use to bring about a better circumstance and move away from negative influences? Can I shield and protect myself without instigating an attack?” Magick is about intent, and you get back the intentions you put out there. So, if your intentions are to harm, ultimately you will also receive that harm.
Benefits of Magick
The beauty of magick is that it is transformative. It can help you become a better version of yourself. It links you with your world through an awareness that is profound. I believe magick is highly spiritual— even the most mundane of spells— because of the awareness it can bring to you. Use it to make yourself better, not worse. The fact that you are even exploring magickal practice means that there is a part of you that is seeking and is open to deeper knowledge. Use that to transform yourself, and it will transform your world.
Another great thing about magick is that it shows you that you are responsible for your life. There will always be situations that are beyond your control, but you can control yourself. Most people are not doing even that. If you can control yourself, you will not be subject to just reacting to what is going on, even if everything is falling apart around you. You can make real decisions based on real knowledge. You will persevere and become better for it.
I wish you lots of magick in your life! If you have questions or want me to go more in depth on a topic I brushed on here, let me know in the comments. 🙂
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