Everyone does magick, every day of their lives. Most of them fail to even notice these events, passing them off as mere mundanity, or luck as opposed to magick.
So, what is magick? Simply put, the ability to cause things to happen that otherwise wouldn't, by an act of will. Some would call this using a supernatural force. However, magickal forces come from within everyone - a most natural occurence. Whether it be through prayer, ritual, or merely wishing - things can and do happen because of our thoughts, dreams, and desires.
Why do workers of magick insist on adding that extra "K?" Why isn't it simply "magic" the way everyone else spells it? That is precisely the point - everyone else spells it that way. As soon as a thing becomes common and mundane, it ceases to be magickal. While insisting on the addition of the K in magickal writings may seem pretentious, arrogant, or just plain annoying, it is quite necessary. The word "magic" has been robbed of its mystery and power through its far-too-common use to describe things that do not involve true magick (for instance, the phrase "the magic of Disney" used by advertisers). As well, "magic" is synonymous with entertainers: those who perform on stage pulling rabbits from hats and other such prestidigitations. While such shows have their place in society, they are exhibitions of physical art and misdirection, not magickal power. Including the K in "magick" makes it plain that one is not speaking about the mundane.
There are many styles and schools of magick. The Qabbala, Gnosticism, shamanism, and Chaos magick are just a few of many. It is even possible that the mind works magick subconsciously, based on our desires and dreams. Even "normal" churches are places of magick. While some would consider the Christian church in its various incarnations hopelessly mundane, the prayers of its followers have been proven to cause various effects. Whether these effects are the result of direct psychic influence, calling down the power of the Christian God, or some other power is not the point: a congregation's belief causes magickal effect. Many other forms of belief are just as effective. Magick can be spontaneous or ritualized, religious or secular, but it is real.
It is the process of belief that will make magick work for you. If you do not believe you are able to do magick, you never will be able. Open-mindedness is the key to beginning a magickal study. Have faith in yourself - we all have the seeds of magick within us.
The first step is to formally involve yourself in magick in some way. This may involve choosing a magickal system and performing an initiation rite, or it may be as quick as going to your neighborhood bookstore and choosing a book on magick that appeals to you. It may even be as simple as declaring out loud - to yourself, your chosen God, or to the universe at large - that you have chosen this time to begin your magickal studies. The important thing is that this choice is made with sincerity and faith behind it. A halfhearted effort will produce little result.
Magick must be separated from the normal life. There is a place and time for magick. All of us are faced with constraints from society, usually in the form of work and social obligations. While magick can influence these things, it is best not to mix magick with the commonplace, lest it lose its luster in your heart and become useless. Keeping magick separate from the mundane also aids the buildup of belief in your magick and your abilities, as it becomes something special and perhaps a bit mysterious. Bragging about your magick is to be discouraged - scorn and disbelief from others may damage your own faith. And besides, don't you feel more powerful having a secret from everyone else? Perhaps it is that secret which helps to foster your conscious belief.
It is quite simple to delineate the lines between your magickal life and your normal life. When it comes time to perform your magick, make sure the event is special. Hold some sort of clothing apart that is only worn for magickal occasions. This may be a set of ceremonial robes, a cloak, even a pointy hat or a pair of gloves. The point is that when you don this special piece of raiment, you are mentally preparing yourself to enter the magickal phase of your existence. Believing in the power of your garb to bring you into a magickal state will in time make the garb itself a magickal object, which feeds the final purpose - making magick easier to achieve.
As well, magick should be performed in a special place. Some practices insist that magick can only take place in a sanctified church or temple, or at a specifically designed altar. Others merely insist on a ritual cleansing of the area to be used for magick. In general, having a special room set aside or a certain powerful spot in the outdoors to be used only for magick is a wonderful tool in feeding your belief. However, even your own living room can become a very strong magickal temple. Hanging up a few tapestries or unrolling that special rug on magickal occasions will transform your mundane room. As well, other sensory experiences can transform an area from common to magickal (more on this later).
Finally, magick should be announced in some fashion, as you enter a state of mind where you give your full attention and will to the performance of magick. This announcement will vary depending on your chosen magickal style. Some practices involve meditation to clear the mind of thought, cleansing rituals, invocations of natural powers or gods and goddesses, prayer, dancing, or music. However, invoking your magickal self may be done with a few simple words, a clap of the hands, donning your magickal raiment or taking up your chosen magickal tools (such as a wand, sword, staff, cup, or such). The important thing is to focus yourself with a beginning event, immersing yourself in the magick until its end.
Belief in magick will not arise without discipline of the self. "Building the magickal muscles" is an apt phrase, as the learner who constantly exercises his or her abilities will find that strengths increase, senses sharpen, and magick comes more easily. Choosing a system of belief and practice is paramount. This may be a codified religion, membership in a coven, clan, or guild of magick-workers, or simply a way of doing magick that is unique and chosen by the individual, alone. A fine idea is to schedule regular magickal activity - whether it be religious ritual, celebration of seasons, or simply a certain day of the week. Following this schedule and adhering to the disciplines of your chosen belief will make your magick stronger. As your magick becomes stronger, your faith in it increases, and this causes your magick to become stronger yet. On the other hand, neglecting your studies is a sure way to lose potency in the art of magick. You will find that your senses will atrophy and your willpower dull the longer you are away from magickal things.
Magick is everywhere and in all things. Everything happens for a reason. Look for omens in the weather, in passing birds, in street traffic, and in the strangers you meet and conversations you overhear. If you pay attention, things will be there, and finding them will foster your belief in the supernatural and your influence over it. Surround yourself with magickal company - if not workers of magick, then with people who are exciting and make you feel surrounded by energy which you can concentrate on in magickal ways. Church congregations, covens, or even groups of friends and lovers all help you feel the magick in your life.
Involving your senses in a magickal experience will break down the final barriers between you and the magickal world. Immersing yourself in a sensory experience related to your magick will bring you further toward believing that you are having an effect on the world, and foster your growth as a magick-worker.
Vision is an important tool in working magick, as it is the most prevalent of human senses. Filling a room with pale candlelight rather than harsh modern lighting may be a simple and inexpensive way to create a magickal atmosphere. As well, special ceremonial clothing reminds you of magick every time you observe it. Some magickal practices associate certain colors with certain magickal energies. Any special visual experience that is reserved for magickal practice will heighten it. Some groups use magickal designs on rugs or tapestries, sometimes called mandalas.
Hearing can also be used to strengthen your magickal power. Whether it be through a verbal invocation, singing, or prayer, sound is a very magickal thing. Making magickal sounds may involve voices, musical instruments, chimes, bells, or anything else that holds significance to your practice. Some magickal faiths work their spells through sound alone, and achieve remarkable effects (such as the meditative chanting of some Middle Eastern monks).
The senses of touch and movement also bring a magician further into the act of creating magick. Putting the body in motion in some way will always focus the attention on the matter at hand. Involving the body may be as simple as feeling the coolness of a magician's wand or a sword or staff in the hand. Some magickal schools recommend complex magical passes of the hands or fingers. Also, many magickal practices involve pacing out a magickal circle or pentagram, or rhythmic ritual dances. Some martial arts involve magickal practice (channeling of ki or chi, which is magickal power). Finally, the motions and feelings of sex may be channeled in a magickal way, such as in Tantric practice.
Scent and taste may also be used to enhance the magickal ritual. Many magicians swear by the use of incense and often reserve a particular scent for magickal times. Other possibilities include smoking a ritual herb, or consuming a ritual food or drink. These things separate the magick-worker from the real world and bring about stronger belief in the magick, which reinforces its strength.
Faith and belief are all-important in making magick. You will never be able to change anything about the world, unless you find a way to help yourself believe that you can. Surrounding yourself with the implements and rituals of magickal practice will help bring psychic strength and great wizardry. However, it should be noted that one should never take belief too far. Avoid magickal practices that will damage your body or that of another. Stepping into highway traffic because you believe your magic will protect you will cause you to meet a painful death, because everyone else on the highway will override your belief with their own beliefs that speeding cars kill foolish pedestrians. Indeed, you may have to work magick for years before you can override your own subconscious enough to perform overt feats of magick. You will never be able to fly until you believe you can, and that involves forming enough magickal confidence to override all those years' experience of gravity's pull. It CAN be done - but only with belief, and that special K at the root of magick.
© 2002 by Luthurian. All text in this essay is copyrighted. Permission is granted for reproduction on Grizabella's webpage ONLY. For other permission, contact the author at email@example.com
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