Warning: 2 Common Practices That Prevent You From Mastering Magick

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1. Visualizing Your Goal Prevents Mastery

17th century representation of the 'third eye'...

Image via Wikipedia

Energy healers visualize white light flowing from their hands. Psychics shield themselves by visualizing a bubble around them.

These visualizations force your unconscious to fill in the details:

  • The healing energy needs to find the right cells, deliver the right energy signature, and prevent that new signature from dissipating before it causes cellular change.
  • Projecting energy around you isn’t shielding. A shield needs to close connections from your body, your mind, and your energy layers so you don’t attract aggressive spirits.

(Read more about shielding here).

What To Do Instead

Involve your conscious mind by visualizing the process, not just the goal.

For energy healing, you can visualize “Find the injured tissue,” “Apply the new signature,” and “Bind the new energy to the target.”

Watch how your unconscious mind performs each step (developing your sensory connections will help).  Think about how it should perform them (what sub-steps to use), and make a visualization for each sub-step.  Now, when you visualize the process, you can tell your unconscious mind exactly what to do.

Congratulations, you just created your own effect, using your conscious mind to control magick.

The shielding post shows how to visualize the process of closing connections and balancing energy. I’ll post a series on this soon.


In every other human endeavor — from music to writing to sports — we follow 4 stages of learning:

  1. Unconscious incompetence (where you start)
  2. Conscious incompetence (recognize what you’re doing wrong)
  3. Conscious mastery (fix those things)
  4. Unconscious mastery (practice until it becomes natural)

Magick is a wicked problem. Not bad, evil or malicious, but wicked meaning a problem with many interacting variables. To solve wicked problems, you have to get all the variables right all at once. Solving one variable at a time doesn’t work.

The only way to solve these problems is to understand how all the moving parts interact, then deduce a solution. The conscious, not the unconscious, handles this kind of reasoning.

That’s why mastery flows through the conscious mind.

2. Letting “The Universe” Guide You Prevents Mastery

The Universe

Reiki healers channel energy from “The Universe.” Psychics listen to “The Universe.” Ritual mages send intent to elementals, spirits, etc. that drive their magick.

There are two problems here:

  1. Calling it “The Universe” shuts down questions about what’s doing that work for you, how it works, and how to improve or replace it.
  2. Relying on an external structure to drive magick insulates you from learning how magick works, just like using a visual web editor insulates you from learning HTML. It’s convenient, but it doesn’t help you learn.

The Universe Systems

I call the external structures that drive magick systems.  Must less intimidating than “The Universe.”

There are tons of systems.  Every style of magick has its own systems that handle its particular rituals, visuals, instructions and capabilities.  Read more about systems here.

Systems are like computers. You can use a system without understanding how it works, just like you can use a web browser without understanding DNS or HTML.

Systems are made by mages and spirits. Like computers, they sometimes have an implementation error, do additional things you don’t want, or just don’t work as well as they could.

You know how expecting a spell to go badly makes it go badly? That’s an implementation error.  The system isn’t distinguishing between what you want and what you expect when it reads information from your mind.  Learning explicit communication with the system solves that problem.

Once you notice all the systems you use, you’ll be able to pick the right one for each task. And once you start exploring how they work, you’ll be able to avoid their quirks, fix their errors yourself, and eventually make your own systems.

But that’s only possible once you stop thinking of individual systems as “The Universe.”

What To Do Instead

Do magick yourself.

Your mind can do everything a system can do.  Most mages simply don’t try.

Often, the parts of your mind that drive magick go to sleep  After all, using systems doesn’t exercise them much.  Before you can do magick yourself, you need to activate them.  Read about activating your mind here.


You can become an OK accountant just using Excel. An OK web designer just using drag-and-drop design tools. An OK artist just using Photoshop.

But if you rely on your tools, you can never exceed them.

If you only know “click here to do this,” you aren’t really the master of your tools.  If you just know “visualize this” or “recite this ritual,” you serve your systems.

Only when you understand how your systems work are you truly their master.  And the only way to create that understanding is by doing magick yourself.

You don’t need to stop using systems. Just start watching them. See how they work. See what parts you can do yourself. Pretty soon, you’ll see parts you can do better.

This style of magick — done consciously, without a system handling everything — is called direct magick.  It’s what this site is about.  Check out the 3 steps to learning direct magick here.

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