3 Tips for Learning Hard Magick

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Mike E is working on hacking systems: He connects to a system by focusing on a sigil, gets the system to respond to him by aligning to its signature, then talks to the spirits that own it. He writes:

With seeing sigil signatures expand, I have to smoke salvia in order to get to the energy source and HOLD in the pictorial view of the sigil while tripping on salvia. It’s VERY, VERY, VERY hard to do, but the sigil expands and connections do take you to the energy source.

Awesome! It sounds like you’re getting the hang of it.

Here are 3 thoughts / tips that might help.

Hard is Good

New direct magick is supposed to be hard. You’re using new parts of your brain and new mental muscles that don’t have enough power flowing into them. That’s exhausting. But the exhaustion means you’re doing it.

The Right Sequence Makes It Easier

Here’s how I learn new techniques:

  • Understand each part, how they fit together.
  • Learn to look around. (First very hard. Practice until it’s easy).
  • Learn each step. (Also very hard at first. Also becomes easy).

Let me break that down.

Understand Each Part

Your visualizations tell your unconscious what you want to happen. For direct magick, you don’t want to just signal the end goal, you want to signal each step toward that goal — what each moving part does to add up to the magick technique. To do that, you need to understand each of those parts.

If the idea (of what each part does) isn’t in your head already, then your unconscious probably won’t know what to do with a visualization I give you, which is why I don’t give you visualizations.

For more see this post.

Look Around

For whatever parts you’re working with (other folks’ systems, in this case), you need the right mental muscles. See, mental muscles aren’t general-purpose. Each is specialized for a task, so if you’re experienced with controlling the energy in your body, that doesn’t mean you’ve awakened the mental muscle for following connections.

When you look at a new part, the mental muscle for working with that part starts to wake up. That process of waking up is exhausting, and that’s what makes this very hard. But once it’s awake, looking at that part becomes easy.

Generally, awakening your mental muscles like this takes around a month, maybe two.

For more on this, see this post.

Optional: Power Your Mental Muscles

You can speed up that process by running energy through your mental muscles and the paths that provide them power. Instead of 1-2 months, this makes it take 1-2 weeks. This is intermediate direct magick, roughly as hard as hacking a system. See this series for details.

Learn Each Step

Don’t jump into learning the whole technique all at once. Instead, learn each step. For hacking a system, that’s:

  • Connect to a system based on a sigil.
  • Align that connection to the system’s signature.
  • Guide the system into your mind.
  • Think with the area of your mind that the system connects to.

Practice connecting to a system: Look at the sigil, find the system, and feel the connection meet something instead of floating around in space. When you get it right, you should feel the system’s substance and signature.

The question-asker already knows how to do this. If you can’t feel what you’re connected to, learn basic sensory connections first (just that post, not the rest of the series), then come back to this step.

The result of that step is the connection. You should be able to maintain it without thinking about the sigil. For the rest of the steps, all you need is that connection, not the sigil.

But don’t go straight to aligning to that system’s signature. First, learn to align to signatures in general.

Again, start by looking around. Just feel the difference between different energies. Your friends, other mages you know, spirits you work with. Just notice the differences. Once that becomes easy, make an energy that feels like theirs. (That will align the large-scale signature).

Once you can more or less get the right feeling, start thinking about signature scale as you look at a signature. Since you’re already using the “look at signatures” mental muscles, thinking about scale should trigger them to notice smaller-scale signatures.

At this smaller scale, first just feel the differences again. Once that’s easy, align to their energy at that smaller scale. (This should go faster since the “looking at signatures” mental muscles are already awake, they’re just doing something a bit harder than before. Maybe a week).

By the way, when I say “this should take a week,” I’m imagining practicing about 10 minutes, 3x a day.

Learn each step like that — broken out, on its own — then practice stringing them together. That’s much easier than doing the whole thing at once.

Drugs Interfere

I avoid drugs in direct magick. Particularly hallucinogens. The biggest risk in magick is falsely believing you’re doing it right — thinking you feel the connection to the system when you really don’t, thinking a spirit said something it didn’t, etc. Hallucinogens increase that risk.

On a more technical note, drugs change your mental posture. The painkillers I was taking for this kidney stone made my magick dramatically worse and more difficult because I couldn’t engage all my mental muscles. If you learn magick on drugs, you’ll have to re-learn your mental posture to do it without the drugs.


Leave a follow-on question in the comments. I think this conversation will be useful to a lot of readers. Thanks!

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