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How to Practice Magick: The Basics

For the beginner, learning where to start with magick can be a daunting task. Where do you begin? There are many systems and many meditation techniques. However, they all require a substantial amount of work. In this article, I will show you where to start and how to practice magick.

It was 1996 and I felt like a complete idiot. I received Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick for my birthday and wanted to practice the techniques. So, I started with lesson 1; I ran into problems almost immediately. I memorized the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and began practicing. After a month of daily practice, I began to feel very stupid.

Why? Because it wasn’t working, not even slightly. It didn’t feel like I was contacting angels and divinity. My room didn’t feel cleaner or more purified, and I certainly didn’t feel protected. I didn’t feel a thing, not even the tiniest puff of spiritual energy.

The entire practice felt fake and I felt like a fool waving his hands in the air. Frater U. D’s High Magic advised a “fake it till you make it” approach to rituals. Pretend they are working until they work. However, this felt like I was trying hard to fool myself. I wasn’t going to perform fake rituals until they will work someday, maybe.

Franz Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics seemed very promising. However, I eventually found the system problematic. It required too much of a time investment to have results. Furthermore, I’m deeply skeptical of books on magic that describe abilities that physically manipulate reality. Abilities such as lighting objects on fire, controlling the weather, levitation, invisibility, etc. These belong in fantasy, horror, and science fiction.

I realized that I needed help and I started looking for people to teach me. I ended up joining two cults in succession and learning nothing. Well, almost nothing. I learned what not to do, which gave me clues into what I should do.

How I learned to practice magick.

I started performing my research again. I noticed that many magickal systems have a common underlying theme. They use altered states of consciousness to access spiritual forces and entities. Peter Carroll’s Liber Null and Psychonaut as well Frater U. D’s High Magic made this abundantly clear.

Initially, this proved to be an enormous problem. How do you use an altered state of consciousness to empower a ritual? The altered state doesn’t magically impart power to your practices. If it could, then people using psychedelics would be virtually superhuman. All they had to do was trip harder. 

My breakthrough came in the 2000s when I learned how to astral project for the first time. I learned a great deal from my OBEs. The second step was learning how to scry. When I learned how to have visions, I realized that I could use a vision trance to perform spirit evocation. This was how I began to magically empower my practices.

Vision Magick

If you want to learn how to practice magick, you cannot perform a ritual blindly. What do I mean? This is when you copy a ritual word for word, action by action, but it lacks a spiritual connection. In other words, your ritual doesn’t connect with the magickal universe.

Without this connection, none of the symbols, words, tools, and ritual movements will work. Through sheer persistence, it’s possible to make a connection, but it requires a great deal of effort. In the meantime, you have to take it on faith that it might be working. This results in weak, unreliable, or non-existent magickal phenomena.

To make a connection to the magickal universe, you need to enter it. You do this by projecting your conscious mind deeply into the unconscious. In the shallow end, the experiences are entirely personal. Go more deeply, however, and you start entering the magickal cosmos.

During astral projection, you can deliberately enter the spiritual world you need for your ritual. Let’s say you wish to perform a ritual empowered by the planet Mars. Normally you would trace symbols and use sacred names to initiate spiritual contact. On its own, this produces weak results. 

A more efficient way is to astral project to the realm of Mars. When you reach this realm, you can contact entities and ask them to work with you. You can then contact these entities to empower rituals and objects. 

How vision magick developed

The magickal universe is a mystery no-one has solved. As a result, many systems of magick have developed over the millennia. What many magicians don’t realize is that magick is old. We have been interacting with the magickal universe for tens of thousands of years. The oldest known spiritual tradition that practiced this art, is that of the indigenous Australians. 

Their beliefs stretch back over 40 000 years to the last Ice Age and remain largely intact. This rich shamanic tradition describes our world as emerging from both a time and a place called the “Dreamtime”. The Dreamtime describes a point in history where gods and spirits breathed life into our world and created everything that we see and experience. 

The Dreamtime is more than a time in pre-history, but also a place. This place is a world of dreams and visions that exists alongside our own, and those who practice the art of dreaming can gain access to this place. 

Shamanic cultures were not the only ones that emphasized the use of dreams and visions in spirituality. The Graeco-Roman world also saw dreams and visions as an important avenue for communicating with their gods. A common character in Graeco-Roman mythology is Tiresias the blind seer, who was both a devotee of the god Apollo and later, Dionysus. 

These two gods were known for sending oracular visions to their worshippers and the famous Oracle of Delphi was dedicated to both of them. However, the ancient Greeks and Romans were well aware that dreams can be deceptive. They described dreams as coming through two gates: the gates of ivory, and the gates of horn. Dreams that came through the gates of ivory were dreams that were illusions and untrue; most dreams fall under this category. The dreams that came through the gates of horn were oracular and prophetic, they were an avenue through which the gods and spirits communicated with humanity.

The religion of the Norse people also practiced the visionary arts. Norse cosmology divided the universe into nine worlds, with our world, called Midgard, at the center. These nine worlds were connected by trunk, roots, and branches of the world tree Yggdrasil. Through all the worlds ran the Bifrost, the rainbow bridge by which the gods traveled the worlds.

The practice of the visionary arts was called seidhr and used trance states to project their consciousness through the nine worlds to practice magic and healing. The practice of seidhr was said to be taught by the goddess Freya. She taught it to the god Odin, and to her priestesses called volvas.

The Hebrew people, based on the powerful visions and spiritual visitations of their prophets, created the cosmological system of the Cabala. This system describes the universe as consisting of 10 worlds called the sephiroth, each sephirah contains an emanation of the divine. These 10 emanations ultimately form the lowest one, which is our world.

The magicians of the Middle Ages and Renaissance likewise practiced this art. Although mostly Christians, these scholars were knowledgeable in the Cabala and Graeco-Roman mysticism. The Graeco-Roman mystical philosophies of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism formed the foundation of Renaissance occultism. 

The pagan sorcerers during this period in Europe also practiced astral projection. They include sensory deprivation techniques such as the witches’ cradle or the use of special ointments. The ‘flying ointments’ were made of highly toxic plants that induced a powerful trance when rubbed on the skin. A medieval grimoire from the period titled The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage describes this practice.

How to practice vision magick

Step 1.

Choose a magickal system that appeals to you. Any system is compatible with vision magick. Once you selected the system you wish to practice, study it as well as possible.

Look at the symbols, meanings, and patterns in the system. For example, if you wish to practice Hermetic vision magick, study alchemical and cabalistic symbolism. Learn what the astrological symbols mean, and how they are connected to the sephiroth. Study the divine names, incenses, and colors associated with the system.

This foundation work is essential as it will help you create a mental map of the cosmos. This map will give a frame of reference you will use to guide you during an OBE. An extremely good guide is Aleister Crowley’s 777. This book shows how different spiritual systems are connected. By studying the tables in that book, you will get a very good idea of these symbolic relationships.

Step 2.

Decide which spiritual world you wish to contact. If you have a specific spirit in mind, find out its world of origin. Collect all the symbols, colors, incenses, etc. that connect to the spirit or its sphere of origin. Study them the night before your astral project.

Step 3.

The next morning, wake up and study the symbols again. This is to focus your attention on the task at hand. Then proceed to astral project. If you want to learn how to astral project read this article.

Step 4.

While out of body. Intone any words related to the world you want to contact. While intoning these words imagine the symbols related to that world. At this point, the environment will change. If your successful, you will enter an environment that is connected to the world you want to visit.

To contact a specific, named entity, draw its symbol on the ground. Then state its name and ask it to speak to you. If you’re successful, the spirit will appear. At this point, you can ask it to work with you. It may or may not agree. If it agrees, you can end the OBE and go on with your daily tasks.

Using spirits in rituals: the art of scrying.

When you’ve contacted the entity that wishes to work with you, you can use it to perform magick. There are very elaborate evocation rituals, but they are unnecessary in my experience. But scrying is a skill you have to learn. Read this article to get you started as a beginner, then progress to using a speculum.

Step 1.

Set up your scrying table and speculum.

Step 2.

Meditate on the spirit’s symbol for several minutes to help direct your mind. 

Step 3.

Begin to scry until images start appearing. Intone any words, connected to the sphere you visited astrally until you see that place. Mentally call the spirit while imagining its symbol. Once it appears you can ask it to perform tasks for you.

This is how to practice magick using visions. You astrally connect to a spiritual world through astral projection, then bring a spirit into your sacred space via scrying. I will discuss this practice in greater detail in future articles.

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