3 Direct Magick Skills for Better Ritual Results

by Mike Sententia on May 30, 2011

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I do direct magick. The parts most mages leave to the unconscious, I bring front and center, guiding my mind through each step.

Direct magick focuses on different skills than ritual magick. In this post, I’m going to show you 3 skills you can learn in about a week, how to learn them, and how to use them to get better results from your ritual (and other) magick.

The Model

Each direct magick working starts with a systematic model of all the pieces involved.

Ask people how magick works, you’ll get variations of “I focus on my intent, send it out into the world, and it happens.”

But how does “Send it out” work? Once you explain that, you can develop new techniques.

The skills in this post are based on this model:

To do magick, I contact a system, by focusing on a symbol, doing a ritual, or if I use the system a lot, just thinking about the magick I want to do. The system connects to my mind, reads my instructions as I think them, and drives the magick I requested, influencing events, providing energy to channel, or whatever else is required.

“System” is a special term in my style of magick. It’s any external force you channel to help with your magick — it provides information for psychics, energy for energy healers, and drives the magick that flows from your rituals.

It’s not that I think telling you this name suddenly makes you better at magick. But now that we have a name, I can explain how it behaves and how to use it better. That’s the point of the model.

If you work with spirits, those are not systems. Spirits are sentient, and systems are not. Think of systems like computer programs.

Skill 1: Find the Right Force to Channel

Different systems are better for different tasks. Even among one type of system — systems for manipulating probabilities, say — some are better for health, some for career, some for luck, etc. Some are easier to use, some are more capable. Some are simply better all around, like how Wordpad is simply better than Notepad. You can improve all your results by using a better system.

A few years ago, I became annoyed that my girlfriend was psychic and I wasn’t. Can’t let a girl beat me. (I’m mostly joking. But I definitely feel a competition when someone I work with can do something I can’t).

If you’ve ever tried, you know you can’t will yourself to become psychic. The key is finding the right system to channel. Systems are specialized, so one that drives rituals generally won’t also provide psychic intuitions. Kind of like how Powerpoint is great for slideshows, but you wouldn’t use it for accounting.

I asked some spirits I work with to recommend a system that handles psychic intuitions (a “psychic system”). That’s probably the best method, because they’ll consider a lot of systems and find one suited to your skills and goals.

If that’s not an option for you, you can find a system through a person who uses it. See, systems connect to the user to read their thoughts and write the response. Once you find the connection, you can start working with the system too. To find the connection:

  1. Connect to the person’s mind. (A psychic, if you want a system to help you become psychic).
  2. Notice the signature of their mind. (“Signature” as in “energy signature”). That’s their signature.
  3. Look for a connection in a different signature. That will be the system’s connection.

Connecting to the system is easy: Get a feel for the system’s signature based on that connection, then think about wanting to connect to the system yourself. Don’t worry, systems can support tons of simultaneous users, you won’t interfere with what that person is doing.

Of course, I could have just followed Lisa’s connection and used the same system. But I wanted a better system. Because I’m competitive.

So, what does that mean for a ritual mage? 2 things:

  1. If you want to learn a totally new skill, start by finding the right system, like I did to become psychic.
  2. Within your ritual style, there are probably multiple systems. Some are better for influencing events, others for contacting spirits, etc. Using the right one will get you better results.

How do you find the right one? Ask a spirit you know to recommend a system for a particular task. They communicate in concepts, so the word “system” won’t mean anything, but if you describe “the thing that interprets my instructions and drives change in the world,” they should know what you mean.

How do you use it? As a direct mage, I would first connect to the system by thinking about its energy signature, then perform the ritual. That way I know exactly where my instructions are going. But I’m curious how real ritual mages would approach this.

Skill 2: Engage Your Mental Muscles

If you hire some actors, teach them the motions and phrases, and have them perform a ritual, will you get magick? My guess is no, or maybe just a little. Certainly less than if an experienced mage performs the ritual, even if the performances are identical.

Why? It’s mental muscles: The parts of your mind that drive magick. When they’re paying attention, they respond to your rituals and symbols, organizing and positioning your thoughts so they’re easy for the system to read. When they’re not, you won’t get much magickal action even from a ritual that looks perfect to a theater director.

There’s a direct magick skill of consciously engaging your mental muscles. I call it your “mental posture.” To learn it, see this post.

That post was written for novice mages. As a ritual mage, you probably do several types of magick, so you’ll need several mental postures.

Why? Because different mental muscles do different things. Some control energy in your body, some manage your connections, some talk with spirits, and so on. Each task will use different mental muscles, and therefore a slightly different mental posture.

So, if you do Qigong and Thelema, you’ll want to learn 2 mental postures. Develop the Thelema posture with it on a ritual you find easy, rather than an energy meditation, and associate it with a slightly different visualization.

Speaking precisely, Thelemic spirit-work may have a different mental posture than Thelemic probability-shifting. I’m not sure. But they should be similar enough to lump into one mental posture.

Focusing on mental posture separately from learning particular rituals will help you learn to control your mental muscles quickly. Then, before doing your ritual, engage your mental muscles, so they’re paying attention from the very start, and throughout the ritual, keep your mental posture in the back of your mind to keep them engaged.

A lot of experienced mages already do this, without being consciously aware of it. But the terms and exercises should be helpful for teaching.

Skill 3: Align Your Mental Signature

One thing I like about the Information Model of magick is its focus on message. If your magick isn’t working, it’s probably that your message isn’t clear, not that you need more energy.

Part of that is clarifying your goals in your own head, so you know what you want. But part of it is a technical magick skill to transmit those instructions clearly. And that’s where direct magick can help.

When the system connects to your mind, it wants to work in its signature, not yours. Working in different signatures is like talking with an accent. Slightly different signatures are like talking to someone from Texas. Moderately different signatures are like talking with someone from Mexico. Dramatically different signatures are like talking to someone who only speaks French, and you really can’t communicate.

As is typical of Americans, my foreign language skills stop at asking for the bathroom.

As you work with a system, your mind will become used to its signature, resulting in clearer communication with the system. But you can do that much more quickly by bathing your mental muscles in energy with the system’s signature. Here’s the technique. (Read the first 2 posts in that series). It’s written for psychics, but it should work for any system.

To use it: Pick the system you want to use for your magick. Use that technique to prepare your mind to work with that system, without doing any rituals. Once you’re aligned, do your ritual magick normally. You should notice that working with the system is easier — the messages are clearer and the whole process is less tiring. As long as you use the system regularly, you should never have to repeat the alignment exercises.

If you’re very experienced with a particular style, you’re probably already aligned to those systems. But if you get a new system within the same style (see Skill 1), or try a new style, this should speed up your learning.

Also, some systems have a command to align your mind’s signature more quickly. If you can issue commands via words to the system (see bottom of this post), try asking it to align your mind to its signature.

The overall result? You can specify more intricate goals for your magick, and the results will follow those instructions more closely.

Based on some research by Ananael, it seems that the systems behind Thelema (and probably other ritual styles) also pay attention to symbols you draw or gesture, responding to events in addition thoughts. I’m pretty sure they also listen to your thoughts, since every ritual mage I know says there’s a lot more to rituals than just doing the physical steps. So this should help even if you additionally need to get physical gestures right.

Bonus Skill: Commands in English

When I work with systems, I give them instructions telepathically as words, the same way I communicate with spirits: I think ideas in a particular part of my mind, and the system reads them, then writes its response into the same part of my mind*. If you’ve ever had a spirit “speak” ideas into your thoughts, you know what I mean.

*That’s actually the old way I used systems. These days, I remove the thought-signatures from my own mind, package them up, and deliver them to the system. But that’s a post for a different day.

It’s like a command-line interface on a computer (think DOS or Unix). The system responds to each sentence, plus it has some special phrases that convey very specific instructions. If the system doesn’t understand, it will tell you, and you can re-phrase. If you get stuck, use the command “Requesting basic usage instructions,” which returns a Readme. If you’re still stuck, call a spirit to train you in using the system.

I’ve taught psychics and energy workers to use systems this way, but never a ritual mage (not that it fails, simply that I haven’t tried). So try this and let me know what happens:

  • Learn the mental posture for doing your rituals. (Skill 2).
  • Align your mind’s signature to the system. (Skill 3).
  • Do your opening rituals, such as LBRP or LIRH.
  • Pick some task you can easily do with a ritual, such as summoning a spirit (invoke / evoke / whatever you want). But forget you know the ritual. Just focus on the sentence “I’d like to talk with the spirit associated with this symbol,” and focus on the spirit’s symbol. Or, if you know the signature of that spirit (how it feels to work with him), think “I’d like to talk with this spirit” and think of his signature.
  • Once you’re done, close your ritual normally. (LBRP / LBRH / etc).

Did it work? I’m really curious. If you try it, please leave a comment with your experiences (or a link to your write-up). If you hit a snag, let me know so we can debug the technique.

The point, of course, isn’t to do what you already do without rituals (though that can be useful for speed and doing magick in public). It’s to open up more commands to the system. Most systems have a wide vocabulary, with more instructions than you could reasonably represent in rituals. The first step to opening up those options is changing from a ritual interface to a command-line interface.

If I get some good feedback, I’ll write a follow-up with more commands to try with your systems.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ananael Qaa May 31, 2011 at 8:47 AM

The parts most mages leave to the unconscious, I bring front and center, guiding my mind through each step.

This method you speak of is actually just called “doing magick.” If you aren’t directing your attention at each step in your the ritual it’s not going to work, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you are. You can’t do magick unconsciously. Nobody can.

You can do it intuitively, but that’s a completely different. Intuitive or psychic magick involves condensing your intent into a single simple step and then focusing your attention on it and only it for a short interval, usually about 30-45 seconds for the best results.

It should be pointed out, though, that there isn’t a bunch of unconscious stuff happening when you’re working this way. It’s just a simpler method that’s usually less effective than the full ceremonial forms but much more convenient to use in the context of your daily life.

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Mike Sententia May 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

This is one of the more important aspects of direct magick, and I’ve always had trouble explaining it. So thanks for calling me on it.

Maybe part of this is my use of “focus.” I don’t mean “I focus on that as I do magick.” I mean “the focus of my magick work is understanding these things.”

Let me try to explain it with a metaphor:

Say you’re describing how a computer works. You can talk about clicking on a folder to see the files inside it, typing a search into google, and other interface-level things. Or you can talk about Java and assembly and other implementation-level things. Or you can talk about transistors, modems, and other hardware-level things.

No one description is “right.” If you want to search for articles, you don’t care about transistors.

But here’s what I’m getting at when I talk about the parts that most mages leave to the unconscious:

If you focus on ritual steps (and I totally believe that’s an intense focus), my understanding is that you’re symbolically communicating your goals to your unconscious, or to some external “something” that makes reality change.

Those steps are the interface. They communicate intent, like typing a search into google. And by focusing your attention and research on that interface, you’re leaving the implementation and hardware to the unconscious (or to the external forces).

I’m focusing on what those parts do once they get that intent. How your unconscious turns “I’d like more money” into a series of steps to produce that outcome. An implementation-level description.

And I’m focusing on the details of how connections and energy let you communicate a thought: Copy each energy signature of each part of your mind, package it, send it, and read a reply. The hardware-level description.

No one level of description is “right.” Each offers different insights.

I don’t expect that I’ve been entirely clear yet. But hopefully you can show me where I’m still muddy.

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Mike Sententia May 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM

To use a sports analogy: To hit a baseball, you definitely need to focus on the ball, its speed and arc, the wind, etc. But your unconscious handles a lot of stuff too: Where your balance is (leaning forward vs back), turning your hips as you swing, how your eyes focus, etc. (I was never good at most sports. So if pros do consciously think about these things, just assume I’m talking about players with my level of skill).

By also understanding the body mechanics, a coach can help players perform better. Maybe he guides them through shifting their weight, stepping at a different time, focusing on the pitcher instead of the ball, things like that. (Do you want to focus on the pitcher? I have no idea).

It’s not that the player consciously thinks about those things in the middle of a game. But by consciously thinking about them when you practice, you can train your mind how to do those actions in a more effective way, resulting in better performance.

Now, it’s not a perfect analogy because I often do think about individual connections, the specific forces I’m using, and other parts that most mages leave to the unconscious. But I thought this might help, particularly for the non-computer guys.

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