Some basic beginning skills

07-21-2004, 12:27 AM
Although most will learn with time and study, I thought I'd pass along some basic skills that once learned (mastered even) can greatly increase a persons magickal skill as well as thier personal enjoyment of the craft.

This is all, of course, just my personal opinion based on only MY personal experience!

First, its my personal opinion the the real function of much practical magick is based on three or four basic functions. These being; mental focus, raising energy, directing energy, and not mentally interferring with the "magick".

Probably the first most important skill would be mental focus. Which is good because its probably also the most accessable part to work on, ie. meditation.
Meditate as often as possible, as deeply or lightly as you can at that moment.
Basic meditation is easy, you really don't have to do much. To start, just learn how to sit still for 15 - 30 minutes. Just stop the wiggling-squiggle. Stop scratching itches . . . they will all stop bothering you once you stop attending to them. Then try focusing on smooth, regular breathing. Just pay close attention to the actual process of the breath itself.

Now, all the thoughts that keep churning in your mind . . . don't worry about them. Its seems that you'd have to fight tooth-and-nail to force them out. Dont. As you sit still and focus on your breathing . . . the thought will subside on their own. Of course, if you want to "practice" blanking your mind, fine. But eventually, its happen anyway. Don't stress.

Maybe the next best thing to learn is a form of "divinition". I quote it cause what you'd really be learning isn't "How to read the Future". Its really just "How to talk to your Mind" with a tool to help you not mis-direct your process. Find any tool . . . Tarot, pendulem, runes, scrying . . anything thats a tangible object to focus your divining attention on.

Now, here's the hard part of divinition . . . just do it. You don't have to know the meaning of the card, or the "correct" interpertation of the runes. Just regularly work with them (of course, reading and researching the "ways-to-do" your tool is fine). You WILL start to develop a capacity to talk and listen to your deeper mind just by working with them.

One of the most often offered recommendation, and one of the least developed in early magickal practices is the journal . . . or often journals. Start at least one journal. Write about what you did today in magick . . . what you thought . . . how you meditated. Write as often as you can make yourself. Write down exercises, spells, rituals. Write corrospondances (there can be butt loads). Anything you can about your magick. Also, write what you dream at night. This is often done in a seperate journal simply because it can start to take a lot of space. I find that magick journals work best for me, that are spiral-bound. They don't look cool, or mysterious . . . but they hold open to a specific page nicely when I'm reading an exercise or ritual while I'm doing it. Having to pin back pages of a spine bound journal or having it constantly closing while I'm "working" magick is a huge pain. Frankly, sometimes I get more out of my journal writing then I did out of the ritual I just did that I'm writing about. Don't underestimate the value of the mental digestive process. It can take time for your sub-conscious (deeper mind) to get, process, and respond.

I am an eclectic magician. I have studied and practiced many different forms of magick, and am still a beginner and newbe at the wider scope of the art and science. Find what you like, what you understand, what works . . . but allow yourself to study any and everthing around. Some say "If you don't focus on one field or another you'll never progress" or " Such-and-such type of magick is detrimental to your personal/spiritual/magickal development". Bull shit! Find, study, research every and anything you feel comfortable with. Occasionally look into area's your not quite at ease with, expand your bubble a little at a time.

Well, I'd like to talk on some other basic subjects; energy raising, energy directing, specific magickal exercises . . .But I may need to do that later (work :( ). Would anyone be interested in more?

07-21-2004, 08:23 PM
Ok, assuming you've gotten meditation, divinition and writing till your fingers are bleeding . . . a bit of the fun stuff. Keep in mind, many of the basic skills overlap to form a complete magickal process.
I need to interject some side-notes.

First is a concept of altered-perception or altered state of mind. This is something of a cross between suspention of disbelief and a flexibility of your mental state to allow mental-energy to move. Its the state one is in while in trance or deep meditation. Its also the state you want to be in while raising and directing energy. There are about as many description of this state as there are people talking about it. Some will say it a state of absolutely Knowing that you are creating magick. Some describe a tingling feeling or buzzing (inside the head) feeling. Tunnel vision (mentally) or unusually focused are common.

The crux is, is that often raising energy PUTS you in an altered state. And that you need to be in an altered state to effectively raise energy. This is a bit of a paradox.
My trick . . . what I can't manage initially, I fake. :)

Thats not really as bad as it sounds. Part of the process of faking it helps to put yourself into an altered state. As you go, you start to accept that what your faking is real. Eventually (actually fairly quickly) just the regular exercise of meditation can give the necassary beginning of altering the state of mind. And once you move into the energy raising "phase", altering your state is almost unavoidable.

Second side-note is about visualization. This is probably one of the most important skills a magician can develop. Its one of the things that can pull many (if not all) the other skills together. Its also one of the innate skill we all have. Everyone, at some level, thinks visually. We all daydream or just plain dream. All of us have some degree of artist ability. I personally am one of the worst artist, but I know that if I try to draw even a stick-person, before I even put pencil to paper . . my mind has already created a picture (I just can't reproduce it as well on paper).

The point is, exercise this skill. Work it. Regularly put it to task. Startout with exercising it with your eyes closed. Picture simple shapes or forms and hold them as long as possible. Periodically change them, different colors, turn them, morph them into new forms, progress them into move complex forms. Then try the same exercises with your eyes open. I find this part easiest if I start out by visualizing the shape as resting in my (real) held-out hand. Eventually you should be able to play with visualizing fairly complex objects in a moving, real environment.

Visualization is important because: its part of the process of mental focusing; its action can start to process of altering perception; it is often an important part (at least to begin with) in the raising of energy and certainly important in directing energy. All of these are either dependant on or facilitated by being able to sustain a visualized perception of them.

Raising energy. There are lots of ways to raise energy. Most are through a process of making your body or mind aware of or by something stimulating. Just a few are
breath work: while breathing in visualizing energy coming into and filling your body, while breathing out visualizing the energy circulation around. As well hyperventilation and near-asphyxia can create an altered or trance state, but they can be safety concerns.
(if you use any form of near-asphyxia, always use only you hands to achieve it, this always allows the asphyxiation to end if you blackout)

chanting: this is the repetition of a key word or phrase, or a "power" word (mentally or vocal). Its usually assumed that this method works by causing the magician to enter a trance state.
Physical exercise: this is pretty obvious, you work your body to raise muscle energy, then through visualization, translate that into magickal energy. This is a common component to the wiccan Cone of Power, and is part of the High Magick circumambulation. They physical energy creates an environment of magickal energy.

Intense concentration: yep, just staring and concentrating (focused) stimulates mindbody energy. This sounds easy, but to a large degree this is effective at the point that the focused concentration turns into a trance state. That take some effort, believe it.

Intense pleasure or pain: just to be on point, this is basically the function of sex magick or "cut" magick. Both use the natural sharp increase in mindbody energy at the moment to peak intensity to provide the magickal energy. This works with masterbation, coitus, pin pricks, burns, etc . . . . (this is probably more advance then beginner and can be dangerous).

Trance: this is a bit hard to describe concisely. Primarily its the inherent energy of being in a deeply mind altered state. Many things either contribute to this or constitute it. Some of the more common approaches are above. This is a state where your natural mindbody energy is most able to flow, offering you energy to use. IMO, this is one of the reasons for rituals as well.

Its very common to combine several methods together, like energy breathing combined with chanting to enter a trance state then (squeemishness aside) masterbating or dancing in a circle. Or chanting a phrase and intensely concentrating on a symbol while intentionally hyperventilating.

As well there are external ways of raising energy. Some of the more common ones are candles, oils, herbs, crystals and the overall ritual performance. There are also specific ritual techniques such as Drawing down the Moon, Middle Pillar, or Chakric exercises, and load of others (I can go into some of these more if anyone wants).



Palindroem, I love your idea about absolute beginner advice. While I agree 100% with what you said I still think it might be a little hard for the absolute beginner.
Example: Mental focus, ok so how do I do that?....

Anyways no offense but I am going to chip in my two cents on starting. This will be overly simple and that is the point.

You only have to do two things to begin. Do these two things everyday for at least two or three months and you will have a good start to move on.
1. Learn and preform the LBRP everyday.
2. Keep a journal about all your thoughts and ideas about the ritual.

It sounds simple but it is not. IMO the LBRP is the cornerstone of all CM as well as other paths. The LBRP will get you started with the routine of daily ritual. It will teach you correct vibration and visualzation. It will teach you the basics of a protective circle. It will also in time build up your aura and open up your astral senses that you will need later.

The daily journal will get you in the habit of recording everything and it will allow you to examine your feelings and the effects of daily ritual. Plus it will allow you to look back and see growth which will keep you moving on the path.

It may sound boring or pointless but trust me. Do this for two or three months and then look back at your oldest journal writings.

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