Direct Magick in Action: Traditional Ritual Magick

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This is part of An Initiation into Direct Magick – Book 1.

Much of magick involves rituals. They communicate the mage’s intent to their unconscious, solidify social groups, and trigger external forces to respond to the mage. Depending on the ritual, those external forces might provide visions, or create luck, or do something else.

In direct magick, we call those external forces ethereal software. Each traditional system of magick (at least, every one I’ve observed) has its own ethereal software, which responds to that system’s rituals and helps that system’s initiates. The software is responsible for turning intent and ritual into change in the external world.

To help make sure we’re on the same page about how ethereal software operates, let’s discuss three common rituals: The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP), the OTO Gnostic Mass, and some do-it-yourself rituals from trained mages. By making the model concrete, we’ll clear up most misunderstandings.

(If you’re not familiar with those rituals, just think of the LBRP and OTO Mass as traditional, by-the-book magick rituals.)


I’ve been walked through the LBRP several times by several different groups of friends. Each time, during the first part of the ritual (the Kabbalistic Cross), ethereal software connected to us, first to the people experienced with the LBRP, then to me and the other guests. I was able to follow those connections back to the software, and out to the rest of our group. I was also able to communicate with the software using the same techniques I use to talk with spirits and other softwares.

As we invoked the angels, the ethereal software communicated with everyone’s mind. (I felt the software’s activity through my connections to its connections.) After the rituals, some friends described visions of angels during this time, which I believe came from these messages.

At the close of the ritual, the ethereal software stayed connected to everyone, listening to our intents, ready to respond to any other rituals we might do.

Were my friends aware of the ethereal software? Well, they’re aware that their visions came from an external force, and that performing the ritual caused that external force to engage with us. But actually spotting the software’s connections requires special techniques* that weren’t part of my friends’ training, so they couldn’t watch the software operate. Some friends conceptualize that force the same way I do (as ethereal software under different names), while others conceptualize it as a spirit, or an angel, or some other sort of force.

*We’ll start learning those techniques later in this book.

OTO Gnostic Mass

The OTO Mass (which I attended at a lodge in Albuquerque in the early 2010s) was similar to the LBRP: Early in the ritual, ethereal software connected to each of us. (Different software than with the LBRP.) It sent us energy to produce a sense of awe, or of being somewhere special. It also responded to my requests for information about how it worked, its available commands, and connected me to the spirits that made it. It isn’t surprising that it operated so similarly to the LBRP, but it serves as an additional data point, confirming that these experiences are common to other ritual magick.

DIY Rituals

Many of my friends build their own rituals. They start with a somewhat-traditional opening (most based on modern Wiccan traditions such as Reclaiming), then build their own ritual out of symbols and words that speak to them. It’s done well, but it’s not by-the-book.

As before, the ethereal software connected to us early in each ritual. In the main part of the ritual, the software read my friends’ intent from their minds, and acted on those intents. (It couldn’t be responding to the ritual itself because my friends had just made the ritual up.) Then, at the close of the ritual, the software disconnected from us.

You’ve probably noticed the pattern: Each ritual connects ethereal software to the mage, then the software reads their intent. Indeed, that appears to be the pattern for all of the ritual magick I’ve observed.

We’ll use a similar pattern in this book, with one simplification: We’ll connect to ethereal software by focusing on a sigil, or simply by remembering the feel of that ethereal software (the software’s signature), rather than by performing a ritual. This make it easier to do magick in a public space, or to do magick quickly.

We’ll connect you to that ethereal software soon. But first, let’s discuss a few other common acts of magick.

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