Learning Direct Magick, Step by Step

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

This guide shows you each step to learning direct magick for novice, intermediate and experienced mages.


This site is about direct magick: Consciously directing the parts of your mind that handle magick, driving magick without relying on external forces, and consciously selecting the external force when you do channel one.

I call those external forces “systems,” and the traditional styles that rely on them — Thelema, Reiki, Enochian, etc — “system-based magick.”

You can do both system-based and direct magick. No need to choose. And learning direct magick will help you learn other styles faster and more completely.

If these terms are new, read the intro to this series for the big picture on how magick works. It’ll help you use the resources in this post.

Using This Guide

You’ll follow links away from this page, so you might want to bookmark this page (CTRL+D).

Pick the right starting point for yourself:

  • Novice: Never done magick or energy work.
  • Intermediate: Proficient at energy meditation, has begun learning a style of magick.
  • Experienced: 1 or more years experience, usually proficient in at least one style.

Each step links to a post or series. Follow the link and complete the exercises. Most exercises have a self-test, so you can verify you’ve learned the skill. Make sure you can do the self-test. After completing each step, return here to get the next one.

At the bottom of some posts is a section called “Other posts in this series,” with several links. That’s how you can recognize a series. Follow each link, in order from top to bottom (not chronological order), before returning here for the next step.

If you run into problems, write a comment. I’ll usually respond within 24 hours.

Learning Direct Magick for Novice Mages

A novice has never done magick or energy work before.

Novices need to learn to engage the parts of their mind that drive magick (their “mental muscles”). Do that with this energy meditation (or another one if you prefer). Practice until you can feel the energy, move it around your body, and maintain it for 5-10 minutes without feeling mentally tired. Read the comments at the bottom for questions and tips from other readers. Most people find it takes 1-2 weeks.

(Note: In newer posts, I’ve changed the term to “ethereal muscles.” Same thing, better metaphor for the term.)

Optionally, you might want to prove to yourself that you’re doing magick by sensing a partner’s emotions based on their energy. (They also need to know energy meditations). Intermediate mages can usually complete it in an hour, but if you’ve just started magick, give yourself a week. (The post is a class, just follow the exercises. Skip the rest of the series, those are other classes).

Then continue with the next section for intermediate mages, but allow 2-4x the time. For example, someone with several months of experience can learn to consciously engage their mental muscles in about 2 hours, but if you only have two weeks of experience, allow an afternoon or a weekend.

Learning Direct Magick for Intermediate Mages

An intermediate mage has begun learning one style of ritual magick or energy work. They can control energy, feel it move around their body, and easily maintain it for 5-10 minutes.

If you’re experienced with psychic intuition but haven’t done energy work, start with the energy meditation in the previous section.

Start by learning to consciously engage your mental muscles, so they respond to your rituals and visualizations immediately, whenever you want, not just when they notice you’re doing magick. It also lets you get all your mental muscles behind your magick, producing bigger results. Most mages can learn this in about 2 hours. (The post is a class, just follow the exercises. Skip the rest of the series, those are other classes).

Then learn to direct your mind through each step of a technique, instead of just visualizing the goal and letting your unconscious figure out how to achieve it. This lets you learn new techniques faster, and reproduce the procedure more precisely, producing more reliable results. That post is in a series, this step is just the exercises in the one post.

You’ll also want good shielding. That technique is more effective than visualizing a bubble around you (which can actually attract spirits), and faster than rituals like the LBRP (and less conspicuous when you’re in public).

Also, learn about systems, the driving force behind most styles of magick. Read these posts: types of systems, connecting to systems. (Skip the other posts in that series). Then read this series for the practical side of connecting and aligning to a system. (It’s written about psychics, but it applies to all systems. Also, skip the last post, on hacking systems. We’ll cover it later in this guide).

Then continue with the next section for experienced mages, allowing extra time to learn each skill.

Learning Direct Magick for Experienced Mages

An experienced mage has several years of experience, and is usually proficient in at least one style of magick or energy work. They can consciously engage their mental muscles, learn new styles quickly, and modify standard techniques to fit new situations.

Before you begin, review the material above for intermediate mages. You probably know most of it, but almost every mage finds some new skills when they start learning direct magick. Your experience will let you learn those skills quickly.

Start by developing your sensory connections. Sensory connections let you watch your magick as it works, so you can understand all the moving parts, fix problems and create new techniques, for both system-based and direct magick. The better your sensory connections are, the more you can see.

Optionally, learn to use magick to awaken your mental muscles. Previously, you’d learned to engage your mental muscles consciously, but that only works with muscles that are resting, not fully asleep. Most of your mental muscles are hibernating. They’ll awaken slowly as you learn a skill that uses them, but you can learn new skills more quickly by using magick to awaken the necessary muscles. (The first half of that series covers basic focused practice, the second half is this advanced technique).

Optionally, you might also want learn better magickal protection, with advanced shielding and some magickal offense. The bad guys already know it, so you should too.

Also optional, learn to hack systems. Some systems are associated with a style of magick, and only work with you once you’re initiated or attuned. That post shows you how to use those systems anyway, without becoming initiated / attuned.

After Completing The Exercises

Congratulations, you’re now an intermediate direct mage, ready to use it to influence the physical world. You can find most of the practical skills I’ve written about in the list to the left. You can also search with the search box to the right, or select topics from the tag cloud below it (click on a word that interests you; bigger words have more posts). And check my home page for new posts every Thursday.


Most of these posts are from a time when I was figuring out how to explain magick. They’re not as clear as I’d like. I’ll be updating each old post, starting with the ones for novices, over the next few months. Check the front page for notices about these updates.

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

Building Better Magick

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

This site is about altering the world with thought. Not perceiving the world differently, not motivating yourself into action, but altering the external, physical world. Healing with energy. Knowing and influencing events. Telepathic communication. Magick.

Specifically, direct magick. Instead of memorizing rituals and symbols, direct magick focuses on the core skills that make magick successful. You can use those skills to get better results with styles you already know, use them to learn new styles more quickly, or use them on their own as a direct mage.

For novices, direct magick lets you skip the memorization so you can focus on the skills you need to become successful.

For advanced mages, instead of visualizing what you want to happen, direct magick lets you see how magick actually works, which creates the intuitive understanding that separates experience from expertise.

Here’s how.

Symbolism and Building a Better Car

Most magick uses symbolism — like ritual and visualization — to communicate your goal to your unconscious, which drives the magick. If magick is a car, the symbols are the steering wheel, and your unconscious is the engine.

But symbols are imprecise, slow, and awkward to do in public:

  • Everyone’s experiences are different, so symbols mean slightly different things to each person. My symbols won’t communicate the right things to your unconscious, and the symbols I use today might not work for me in 10 years.
  • Rituals last for minutes or hours, and visualizations take long, focused meditation. Wouldn’t it be nice to get results in a few seconds?
  • Talk to any pagan community organizer to appreciate the logistical difficulties and social awkwardness of public rituals.

If we visualized symbols to control our hands, we’d never be able to eat an apple, type an email or build a house.

So you have 2 choices:

  1. Do magick like everyone else. Learn the standard symbols, communicate your general intent, and let your unconscious figure out the details.
  2. Build a better car. Learn a new way of steering that communicates precisely what you want your unconscious to do. And while you’re at it, improve the engine, too.

That’s what this site is about: A new way of doing magick that produces better results. It’s called direct magick. I’ll explain everything soon, but first, we need to see the major moving parts.

The 3 Major Parts of Magick

The Engine

You power magick with special parts of your mind. They’re usually unconscious, but don’t have to be. They’re sometimes alert, sometimes dozing, and sometimes hibernating. Switching to a biology metaphor, I call them “mental muscles” because, like your normal muscles, they turn thought into action.

(In newer posts, I’ve changed the term to “ethereal muscles.” Same thing, better metaphor for the term.)

The Steering Wheel

Most mages direct their mental muscles with symbolic rituals or visualizations. We’ll see some other options soon.

The Other Engine

Sorry, no wheels. The car analogy only goes so far.

Magick is also driven by outside forces. Energy healers channel energy from “The Universe.” Psychics channel information from “The Source.” Ritual mages use a variety of forces to connect their symbolic actions to changes in the world.

Those forces all work in essentially the same way: They connect to your mind, read your intent, and provide you with energy, intuitions, or some other assistance, which you channel.

I call all these forces “ethereal software.” The name matters. “The Universe” sounds incomprehensible, while a ethereal software begs to be understood. (Note: In older writing, including the rest of this series, I called this component “systems.” Some readers found it confusing, so I changed the term.)

More Detail

I explain these parts in greater detail later in this series. Click here to skip ahead.

How to Build a Better Car

Traditional styles of magick — from Reiki to Thelema to A.O. Spare’s runes — use symbolism to communicate your intent to your unconscious (engine 1), which channels ethereal software (engine 2), which drives the magick.

Each style teaches you new symbols. Tarot cards, runes, ritual elements, etc. New ways of sending ideas to your unconscious.

But to really master magick, you need to build a better car.

Better Steering

Symbolism is loose steering. You focus on a symbolic image or action, hope your unconscious notices, hope the symbol communicates the right meaning, and hope your unconscious follows your instructions.

There’s a better way: Consciously engage your mental muscles. Like you can learn to control your heartbeat with biofeedback, you can learn to control your mental muscles with the right exercises. Most mages can learn it in a few hours.

Once you learn to hold your mind the right way, your unconscious will respond to each detail of a 5-second visualization, without any warm-ups. And your mental muscles will show you exactly how they’re turning those goals into reality, so you can adjust each step as you go.

That feedback is vital. You know how, if you hit the curb, you feel it in the steering wheel? Without that, you’d never know exactly where your wheels were pointing. Same here: Watching your magick lets you understand all the moving pieces more deeply and intuitively, so you can create better results next time.

Better Engines

Magick has two engines: Internal (your mental muscles) and external (ethereal software). Traditional styles rely on the external engine. Your unconscious just directs and channels the ethereal software, which does the real work.

We’re going to improve both.

Your unconscious can do more than channel ethereal software. It can drive magick. As you learn to consciously engage your mental muscles, you’ll also learn to strengthen them, first with focused exercises, then by doing magick without ethereal software, and finally by using magick to activate more parts of your unconscious mind. Doing magick yourself gives you the freedom to create techniques that your ethereal software can’t help you with, like better energy healing, stronger shielding, and more detailed sensory connections.

Once you stop relying on the ethereal software you use now, you can explore new ones. There are hundreds of ethereal softwares available, each specialized for different tasks. Finding better ethereal software can get you more detailed psychic intuitions, more thorough energy healing, and contact with more knowledgeable spirits. And with your stronger unconscious mental muscles, you can watch what the ethereal software does, figure out how it works, and develop new techniques that produce better results.

What You Can Do with a Better Car

Earlier, I made some claims about what direct magick would let you do. Here are the details:

  • Do magick anywhere. Once you can consciously engage your mental muscles, you can use a short visualization even in a noisy environment. You won’t need a conspicuous ritual or a long meditation.
  • Learn new styles of magick quickly. Once learn to use ethereal software in general, learning the software for a new style is easy. And once you can watch your magick as you do it, you can debug new techniques. This adds up to much faster learning.
  • Create new, better techniques. Watching your magick also lets you see what all the moving pieces do, so you can figure out how to use them in new ways. Combined with better steering to precisely direct your mental muscles, you’ll be able to improve your techniques and create new ones.

Learning Many Styles of Magick

That style of magick — consciously directing your mental muscles, driving magick yourself, and selecting the right ethereal software for each task — is called “direct magick.” That’s what this site is about.

I call the other styles — Thelema, Reiki, Enochian, etc — “traditional magick.”

You can do both traditional and direct magick. No need to choose. And learning direct magick will help you learn traditional styles faster and more completely.

Getting Started

You have 3 options:

Default: If you’re new to magick, start with What Mages Really Do. (If not, just know that I include energy healing and psychic intuition in magick).

Jump Ahead: If you already know what magick is, jump to How Magick Works. It’s a more in-depth version of the steering wheel and 2 engines explanation in this post, using energy healing, psychic intuition, and a direct magick technique for sensing emotions as examples.

Cut to the Chase: If you want to start learning direct magick right away, see The Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Direct Magick. It shows you the right starting point for novice, intermediate and experienced mages. (If you feel lost, return to How Magick Works for the big picture on all the moving pieces).

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

The Best Way to Grow as a Mage

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

There’s no single right way to do magick. Everyone channels outside forces (“systems”). And everyone can improve their skills with direct magick. The only way to excel is to know both methods.

If you’re not familiar with systems, mental muscles and direct magick, read the first post in this series.

System-based magick is fast. All systems work basically the same, so it’s quick to learn. The system does most of the work for you, so it’s easy to use. Systems are a great tool to have.

But systems can help too much. By insulating you from the hard parts, they insulate you from the challenges that drive learning.

The problem is, systems are so much easier to use, and so much easier to teach, that a lot of people never encounter direct magick. It’s just not written about. Most mages learn by developing it themselves, or meeting a mage who already knows it, or learning from spirits. It’s much harder than it needs to be, and it keeps mages from advancing our art into a science.

Learning direct magick takes effort. But every mage shouldn’t have to re-invent it. That’s why I started this blog: To help guide you through the challenges that will help you grow as a mage.

How Mages Limit Their Own Growth

Energy healers channel “The Universe.” Psychics listen to “The Source.” Ritual mages channel various external forces.

I call all those forces “systems”. They all work the same way: You instruct the system; it drives the magick (making energy, predicting the future, contacting spirits, etc); you channel its response.

Learning to use your first system teaches you core skills: How to make connections, send your thoughts, channel replies, etc. You’ll use these skills in all your magick.

But your second, third, tenth systems don’t add new skills. Great to learn once, but no need to repeat. Nine years of experience is very different from 1 year of experience, nine times*.

*This sentence stolen from Seth Godin. His blog is great, by the way.

Review: How System-Based Magick Works

All system-based magic follows that basic pattern:

  1. Connect to both the system and whoever you want it to do healing work with, influence, or otherwise work on.
  2. Tell the system what you want it to do.
  3. Channel the system’s response. This might be energy for healing, psychic intuitions, or something else.

You might use a rune or a ritual to help guide your mind through these steps, but the pattern doesn’t change. The system always handles the hard parts. That’s what makes them so convenient.

(For examples of system-based magick, see the energy healing and psychic examples in How Magick Works).

Why Systems Are Limiting

Think of systems like computer programs. They’re good at what they do, but they don’t do anything else. Excel won’t help you write an essay, and energy healing systems won’t go deeper than energy. And going deeper, into the layers closer to physical cells, is the key to faster, more dramatic healing results.

Eventually, you’ll want to do more than your system can handle. But improving on what the system does requires understanding what the system does. And using a system doesn’t create that understanding any more than using a calculator teaches you math.

Growing as a Mage: Direct Magick

In direct magick, you’ll drive magick yourself, without a system. Your mind’s mental muscles will make all the connections, choose the right energy to use, and generally do everything that systems do for you now. It shows you the gaps in your skills and understanding, which is the first step to growth.

You’ll close those gaps by watching your magick work. Watching each pathway, each structure and each signature change as you do healing work builds the intuitive understanding that lets you create better techniques. That understanding is what separates magick that works when you’re lucky from magick that works reliably.

Example: Energy Healing With Direct Magick

When you do healing work with direct magick, you consciously control all the steps:

  1. You make connections throughout the injured area to find and diagnose the problem.
  2. Based on the signature of healthy tissue, you figure out what energy to use for the healing technique.
  3. You shift the energy they produce so they make that healing energy, driving the healing technique.

The point isn’t to do what the system does yourself. That’s a lot of work for no real benefit.

The point is to to get better than the system. But before you can do that, you have to learn how the system’s magick works.


Next, learn direct magick with this Step-By-Step Guide.

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

How Magick Works – Part 3

Monday, October 25th, 2010

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

This is the part 3 of How Magick Works, showing you each step of a magick effect, including the parts that most mages leave to the unconscious. Read part 1 and part 2 before reading this.

Example 3: Psychic Intuition


A psychic channels information from an external source (a system). They focus on a question, the system reads their mind and whispers the answer back into their thoughts.

How It Works, Step By Step

The Source of Psychic Information

Psychic information comes from a system. “System” is a general term for anything external to you (other than a spirit) that gives you information, energy, or other help as you do magick. We saw the term before as the source of energy for energy healing, and we’ll see it many times again. Systems drive most magick.

Different systems do different tasks, but they all work in basically the same way: The system connects to your mind, reads your instructions, acts on them, and whispers ideas into your thoughts to respond to you. Some systems just act on the instructions by providing energy or other resources, but don’t communicate back most of the time.

Mages who work with a single system often name it something like “The Universe” or “The Source.” Mages who work with many systems see them as just tools, and name them something more descriptive, like “system” (an assembly of parts, like a computer system), “collective” (because groups of spirits and mages use them to collaborate), etc.

Finding a Psychic System

Some people found psychic systems as children. Usually from a family member who’s psychic, or a spirit living nearby who helped them, etc. These are the “natural psychics.”

Lots of people aren’t lucky enough to pick up a psychic system as a child. I wasn’t. But you can find a system and become psychic as an adult. Here are the 2 main ways:

  • Ask a spirit you work with. This was my approach, but you need to know the right sort of spirits.
  • Work with a psychic, find their connection to the system, make your own connection and start working with it.

You aren’t stealing their system. Each system can support thousands or millions of users. Think of it like a website, where everyone can access it at the same time. You won’t affect anyone else.

Communicating With the Psychic System

Like the energy healing system, the psychic system handles most of the communication. It reads your thoughts, watching the signature changes in your mind as you think a question. It whispers the response into your mind, one concept at a time, by using energy to nudge your mind’s signature toward the signature your mind normally has when you think that concept.

The responses from the system have a slightly different signature than your thoughts, so they feel different. That’s how you tell your thoughts apart from psychic intuitions.

Spirits communicate in the same way. If you can communicate with a psychic system, you can channel spirits.

Most psychic systems work with just one part of your mind. Psychics engage that part of their mind as they think their question, so the system can more accurately read their thoughts. Then they quiet their thoughts and listen for the system’s response in that part of their mind.

The hardest part of getting accurate psychic intuitions is listening just to the system, not to your own expectations. If your mind is active, you’ll drown out the system’s communications. That’s why some psychics can’t get good information about people they love.

Improving Your Magick Skills

Now that you know the major pieces that drive magick, we can talk about how to improve your skills.

Systems drive most popular styles of magick, including all ritual magick (ritual magick also works with spirits sometimes), all psychic skills, most energy healing, all runic magick, and most of Chaos Magick. The system handles most of the hard parts. Your job is to instruct the system clearly, and stay out of its way.

If you’ve never done magick, you’ll start by learning to engage your mental muscles so you can connect to the system, use the right parts of your mind for communication, and generally direct it to do what you want. I cover that in these two posts, this series, and in more depth in a free ebook I’m releasing later this year.

Once you have the basic skills down, learning those styles comes down to:

  • Finding a good system, by asking spirits or working with someone you think is skilled.
  • Learning better communication by quieting your thoughts and engaging the right part of your mind.
  • Learning that system’s syntax — the right way to phrase questions for that system, and how it replies.

I’ll point you to resources for all that later in this series.

Outgrowing Systems

Most mages I know eventually outgrow their systems. Some want to do things their systems can’t help with. Some just become curious, piece together how the system does magick, then see places to improve on it. Some want the kind of understanding and mastery that only comes from doing all the steps yourself. I’ll show you how in the next post.


Next is The Best Way to Grow as a Mage. It shows you how and why to do magick yourself, without relying on systems, and how this site can help you master any style and create your own.

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

How Magick Works – Part 2

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

This is the part 2 of How Magick Works, showing you each step of a magick effect, including the parts that most mages leave to the unconscious. Read part 1 before reading this.

Example 2: Sensing Emotional Energy


This technique lets you identify a partner’s emotional state based solely on their energy. You connect to a partner, closing your eyes so you don’t guess based on their face. They recall an emotionally charged memory. You sense their energy and identify their emotion.

This technique is one of the easiest ways to prove to yourself that you’re doing magick. I teach it in a beginner class for people with only 1 month experience. You can see the class here.

How It Works, Step By Step

Producing Easy-To-Sense Emotional Energy

Energy has a signature. The signature of the energy in your tendons (their “energy signature”) reflects the state of that tissue (healthy, inflamed, sprained, etc). The energy signature of your nerves reflects what signal they’re sending (pain, healthy, etc). And the energy signature of your brain reflects what you’re thinking and feeling.

Normally, people only produce a little energy, so you have to be really good at sensing it to identify the signature. But if your partner recalls an emotional memory to enter a strong emotional state, then does an energy meditation to build energy, they’ll produce a lot of energy with a clear emotional signature, so you’ll be able to sense it easily.

Sensing Their Energy

Connections carry energy. In the energy healing, you made a connection to the injury, and used that to deliver the energy. Here, we want to sense the other person’s energy signature, so we’re going to let the connection absorb a little of their energy.

Energy can flow either way along a connection. If you push your energy through, you won’t feel the other person’s energy. But if you quiet your energy so it’s not flowing through the connection, you’ll absorb a little of their energy. This is called a “sensory connection.” Learning to sense magick with connections, so you can see your magick working in real time, is critical for figuring out how to fix and improve your techniques.

One ethics note: Sensing doesn’t hurt anyone. We’re not draining anyone (sometimes called a “psychic vampire”). We’re only absorbing a tiny amount of energy to sense the signature. If signature were a scent, we’re just sniffing the flower.

Reading Their Emotion

To identify their emotion, let their energy flow up your connection and into your head. All people have similar brains, which respond to energy signatures in similar ways*. So filling your head with their energy will move you toward their emotional state.

*One exception: Mentally disturbed people, like schizophrenics, can have different responses to signatures.

If you didn’t have a cooperative partner producing extra energy for you to absorb, you could still read the signature. Like an experienced artist can tell you the name of a color just by looking at it, an experienced mage can tell you the meaning of a signature just by connecting to it, without absorbing it. It just takes practice, and looking at a ton of signatures until you memorize what they look like.

Sensing energy doesn’t exactly map to the ordinary senses. I usually talk about “feeling” energy, but it’s really a metaphor. Some people see colors in auras, but that doesn’t mean their eyes are involved. It’s just that their mental muscles communicate the information into the visual parts of their brain, rather than the cognitive parts that I use. As you develop as a mage, you can change where the information comes into your brain to find the type of sensing that works best for you.


Again, you have 2 options:

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