Magic is like mathematics. If you don't build a good foundation in algebra, you will have a hard time in Trig. If you end up skating through Trig by the seat of your pants, by the time you get to Calculus you'll find yourself in a world of trouble. In order to be good in Calculus you must learn the concepts, and techniques of algebra. It's the same thing with magic...if you want to learn how to invoke a spirit into physical form one day then you better learn your basics.
Learning your basics though is often an on-going process. What you may learn and comprehend in the Neophyte grade may be very different than what you can comprehend in the grade of Philosophus. Thus taking the time from a new point of view to review and re-learn your materials will be an indispensable tool for you as a magician...but it takes patience and will-power to sometimes go back to what seems so elementary.
Seems so elementary...this is a feeling that you get when you haven't truly learned yet the mysteries of the techniques you are studying. As one progresses and learns and begins to open themselves up magically one finds that no ritual, no matter how basic, is elementary. The depth of even an LBRP is beyond explanation, and as I have taught many students...what you are exposed to in the Neophyte grade is some of the most important material that you will ever cover because it encompasses, in seed form, the entire tradition of the Golden Dawn...mysteries upon mysteries lay in the 0=0 hall and in the material that is given to you.
Now back to me :) Over the years of re-reading an re-studying the materials I have found that there are some key teachings of magic that are completely indispensable to the magician who is serious about mastering himself and the Great Work...and I would like to share them with you....so now back to you :)
Concentration-Just the thought of it makes me squirm. I love to get up about a million times while I do my physics homework or think of something to do at the last minute before starting a ritual. Concentration is something that has not been easy for me, but I have learned is one of the most important things for a magician to master. Concentration allows one to focus on the energies around them, it allows you to focus your will-power like a lazer on whatever magic you are trying to preform, it helps to calm your mind during meditation so that you can transcend the senses and bask in True Gnosis. Training the mind to be keen in the skill of concentration will take you far in your magical life. Here are some great exercises to hone your skills.
Ex 1: Counting letters. Scan a paragraph of a book...how many e's does it have? The letter e is the most common letter in the English language. Count again...do you come up with a different answer? Most people will at first, but the more you do this very simple exercise the more your level of concentration will increase and the easier it will be to pick out all the letter e's.
Ex 2: Mantra- choose a mantra that is specific to what you are currently studying right now, I like to use my magical motto...repeat it in your head. How long does it take for you to start thinking of something else? Set a timer and start working up to five or ten minutes...this little exercise also prepares you for meditation.
Visualization- So key! A magician absolutely must hone his skills of visualization. Being able to very specifically picture in your mind the outcome you want to attain in magic will boost your power exponentially. Here we must also take advantage of our skills in concentration.
Ex 1: Tarot Contemplation: Gaze at a tarot card of your choosing. Open and close your eyes to see how powerful the image is in your mind's eye. Finally when you are ready close your eyes and see how long you can hold the picture in your mind. This may be difficult at first if you are not visulization-inclined. However, the more you practice, the more neural bundles will form allowing you to develop a vivid sense of visualization.
Tarot Readings/Divination: I expounded a bit on the benefit of this in another blog. The purpose of divination is not only to open you up to new information about the energies surrounding you, or what may happen in _____ situation...but also to help you get in touch with your Nechamah. The more you work on divination the more your power of intuition increases and helps you to become more naturally aware of people and events happening in your life.
Non-Attachment: This is a Buddhist concept, but one I love and believe is very important for a magician to practice. It is very easy to become attached to certain things, right or wrong and to have them equally blind us until we are stumbling around in darkness. The only thing we should be attached to is Divine Will and only by cleaving to this will ultimate enlightenment and fulfillment occur in one's life. We can not be attached to fear, we cannot be attached to praise, anger, hurt feelings, or even the fruits of our magic. You cannot worry if you will or will not get something, you cannot worry is someone likes or dislikes you...you must ask yourself in every situation if it is something that is bringing you closer to the Divine or not. Attachment breeds fear and takes power out of one's magical practice and goals, especially when one is attached to a result. Do your magic...and forget about it1
Just As Well..Banish and Forget About It!- Banishings seem like they are an over-talked about topic. However, when it comes to balancing your sphere of sensation and keeping out the ickies, they can't be over-looked. They are like exercise for you soul. Outside of helping to bring balance to your inner self, and opening you up to the higher energies, the most important aspect of a banishing (especially when used in psychic self-defense) is to do it and forget about it. A magician must claim the power of thier soul over the lesser elements. Banishing and continuing to worry about a problem doesn't do you any good. Instead worrying gives energy to the problem. Worrying is an expression of fear and fear continues to allow things which are undesirable to float around. Banish it...its banished..now forget about it! These things have no power over you.
Doing a little magical exercise in these few but simple areas will help you to increase your power exponentially. As you draw closer to the Divine by empowering your magic your life will begin over time to fall into place. Magic is about perfecting the self, and drawing closer to the Divine, but you must be an interactive partner in this.