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This is part of An Initiation into Direct Magick – Book 1.
In my 20s, a decade into my practice, I felt I was learning too slowly. My goal wasn’t just to be good at magick — I wanted to be as good as the spirits who trained me, to understand how they did magick, how their tools worked, and how to build new techniques and better tools. Which meant learning to alter the world myself, driving the magick with my own mind, even if I used ethereal software to handle the details for large problems (like we discussed last chapter).
That’s a lot to learn in one lifetime, and I didn’t think daily meditation, energy healing, and other practice would get me there. In particular, every time I learned a new domain of magick — healing techniques for the body, healing techniques for the mind, communicating with spirits, and so on — I’d feel new parts of my mind awaken, slowly, over several months. It was exhausting, like exercising a muscle after an injury.
This is the internal work that every system of magick talks about. It’s how you move from layman to initiate to adept. Those changes don’t come from memorizing rituals or facts, any more than becoming an athlete is about knowing rules and plays. Internal work is the magickal equivalent of building strength, endurance, and reaction time — growing ethereal muscles, if you will.
I tried a couple of standard methods for internal work: The visualization exercises from Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics were interesting, but they felt like exercises for my imagination, not my magick. I meditated, contemplating our place in the universe, but that wasn’t what I was looking for, either. And I wasn’t initiated into any traditions, so I didn’t have their rituals to draw from.
But I reasoned that, when my mind awakens to magick, there must be some ethereal structures turning on and connecting to my brain. And I knew that magick could alter ethereal structures. Maybe there was some way to use magick to awaken more of my mind to magick?
That question took most of my 20s to answer. My first techniques just accelerated the awakening, making me twice as tired for half as many days. But, as I came to understand how the mind awakens to magick — what changes occur where, and why — I learned to awaken new ethereal muscles, connect them to my brain, and power them properly to prevent fatigue. We’ll explore some of that in Part 2 of this book.
Learning to awaken ethereal muscles left me with new questions: What happens if you awaken all of them? Is there a finite amount, or can you build more? And where did they come from in the first place? We’ll explore those questions in future books.
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