“Isn’t there a faster way?”

This must be one of the most frequent questions heard from the mouth of people trying to learn magick. For someone wanting to go the easy way I’m the worst mentor around, since I emphasize research and rarely take the shortest road around a subject. Is there an easy way to magick? It depends on what kind of results you are looking for. If you want to have any real power to understand and control your surroundings you need to be ready to sacrifice years of training with no significant results. There isn’t a magical wand you can flick to fix all problems in your life, or to gain you love or wealth for yourself and others. For a person who wants an easy life I give this advice: get into a good school and study hard. Getting an actual degree is going to get you much further in life than being a magician.

If knowing this didn’t discourage you I still have a few words of warning. Perhaps you are one of the people who want to use their knowledge to gain influence and status in occult circles. It’s clear Aleister Crowley himself was one of these people, which best shows in his relationships with women. It might seem easy for someone to simply pick a dogma and start gathering followers. However it requires just as much showmanship, luck and knowledge. I must also point out that many mystical leaders have fallen victim to their own wit, either by starting to believe their own lies or being overthrown by their fanatical followers.

There are lots of guides out there that will give you advice on how to improve your magical skills. I would approach these with caution and more a sense of fun than serious study. I might crush some hopes here, but in order for someone to truly become good at magick, they have to study psychology even more rigorously than magic. Not many magicians are keen on telling this, since it ruins the illusion of mysticism. However, everything the mind does can and have been reproduced by someone else over time. It can be baffling for a reader to read so many descriptions of the same phenomenon from different sources and explained by different words. There is a key to this however: if many independent sources describe the same event we should give it our attention and figure out how the practice works. Having a basic understanding of neuroscience, for example, will save one lots of time and work, when the study starts on a factual basis, not an empirical one. That said a magician also needs to know when to suspend his disbelief and go with the flow. There are experiences that are nearly impossible to transfer with scientific words.

There are some basic tools that will be of tremendous help for anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of themselves. The first one is meditation. I can’t stress the importance of this enough for one post, which is why we’ll come back to meditation many times. The two next ones go hand in hand: write down your dreams and daily experiences. With daily experiences I don’t mean brushing your teeth and going to work, but experiences that have a personal and/or psychological meaning to you. We are, by nature, blind to the changes in our self. Having a record to go back to will in time give a fresh perspective on the choices we do in our life.

Further reading

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_psychology
An overview of modern psychology and it’s uses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ior_Bock
The story of a mystic and his followers and how it ended.

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