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There’s a classic debate between strict ritual mages and do-it-yourselfers.
The ritual mages insist you do everything by the book, with the right correspondences and pronunciations and everything else.
The DIYers think all magick is intention so it shouldn’t matter if your ritual is traditional Golden Dawn or something you made up involving a candle, some ribbon, and a poem.
They’re Both Wrong
Behind each ritual is a system: A magickal structure that reads your intent and handles the magick. Performing the ritual connects that system to you.
Steps to doing ritual magick:
- Connect to a useful ritual system
- Be accepted by the ritual system (ie. be initiated into the style)
- Communicate your intent to your unconscious mind
- System reads your unconscious and handles the magick
A DIY ritual can communicate intention to your unconscious, but it will fail to get a good system. You can use a psychic system, but it generally won’t work as well. That’s why initiation and proper ritual elements are important.
But the details of the ritual aren’t. You can connect to a system by meditating on a symbol and communicate your intent to your unconscious just by thinking. The ritual is just to help you focus.
Directly Using Ritual Systems
At some point the rituals will become repetitive. You will stop learning.
Using the ritual system directly lets you explore again. Most ritual mages eventually do magick without rituals. It’s how to get deeper than the ritual style’s teachings will let you go.
To use a ritual system directly:
- Connect to the system (meditate on a symbol).
- Meditate on your intent.
- Let the system pick it up.
Remember, you have to be initiated first. Or hack into the system (tomorrow’s post).
Multiple Systems Are Tricky
Most ritual mages practice several styles (Golden Dawn, Enochian and Goetia, for example). Meditating on symbols from each style in one session will connect you to all the systems at the same time.
Each system goes about magick differently. The Goetia might send a spirit to work for you, while Golden Dawn might alter probabilities to influence which events come to pass. The strategies might work well in unison. Or they might not. It’s hard to tell until you try.
I think you should try. Trying, failing, and recovering are how you learn magick.
First, learn to directly use each system, one at a time. Then experiment with two related styles, like Golden Dawn and Enochian. Once you have that down, try combining two unrelated styles.
A few ideas for combining unrelated systems:
- Delineate how they should coordinate their efforts.
- Ask the systems for status reports.
- Include a “cancel” option when you start the effect so you can kill it if it goes badly.
- Systems: How Most Magick Works (March 8, 2010)
- Improve Your Magick By Understanding Your Tools (March 9, 2010)
- Connecting to Systems (Beginning Direct Magick) (March 9, 2010)
- Recognizing Systems to Improve Psychic (March 13, 2010)
- Directly Using Ritual Magick Systems (March 14, 2010)
- Hacking Systems (March 15, 2010)
- How to Hack a System, Step by Step (May 5, 2011)