A question I see asked often is “How does one get started in practicing magic?” The amount of information out there in addition to the amount of opinions, philosophies, and traditions is overwhelming. Too often I see people just say, “But I just don’t know where to start! I just want to practice magic. How do I know what to do?”
- Read and practice all the things! You’ll potentially be in a number of magical systems before you find the ones that are a good fit for you, your working style, and your personality. Start by looking into a couple online, find ones that appeal to you, and do the necessary research and give them a try.
- Don’t be afraid to “get it wrong”; just do as much research as possible and get the thing done. Like anything practical and hands-on, you will only truly learn by doing.
- Learn how to craft those magical requests as succinctly as you can. Think of the SMART principle in determining goals.
- Do absolutely every ounce of personal development and introspection on an ongoing basis.
- Treasure all of the constructive criticism, feedback, and everything you can manage in regards to your own life.
- Make sure that you keep a good balance between the research and the doing. In the beginning it’s entirely too easy to just keep on reading books and arguing about them, especially if you’re too hesitant to try things right away or know what precisely it is that you want to do.
- Learning how to feed your magic daily through regular ritual is one of the best things I ever managed to do for myself, and I can’t recommend it enough. Even if it’s just simple meditation to start, do those things.
- Beware listening too much to the “big names”, especially if they spend more time on their image versus having anything to say of substance. Learn to listen with discernment and take a look at what they’re posting and how they’re going about their life.
- Keep. On. Practicing. It’s like going to the gym; you won’t get results just by reading or wishing, or only going sporadically. It has to be done on a regular basis in order to see results over time.
- Journal the hell out of everything you do. Like taking progress pictures of yourself when working on a fitness goal, you’ll see the changes as they occur gradually over time much better that way.
- You WILL screw up. Don’t be afraid to do so, as that’s how you’ll learn. I’ve blogged in the past about how to debug spells and figure out why they went wrong.
That last one is really key: you have to work at it on a regular basis in order to see results over time. It doesn’t matter how naturally gifted you are or aren’t at magic, even Mozart had to practice. Never, ever compare yourself to others online or off; everyone is starting out at a different place than you and some of us have been at it for years. I personally started when I was twelve, and until I had access to greater resources it was entirely too easy to just plateau and stay there. You want to keep going, even if you feel like you’re not moving much–because you are.
The best thing you can do for yourself if you genuinely want to learn is to be open and willing to do that learning. You will find that a lot of things you took for granted will be questioned along the way, and that this world is a little bit more amazing, fantastic, and sometimes even scarier than you thought.
Get excited, get passionate, and stay that way. It’s a worthy discipline and there’s so much to explore both in the world and in yourself.