Posts Tagged ‘Quick Tips’

Never Put Off Till Tomorrow…

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

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Famous Thomas Jefferson quote: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

I used to try for that. Squeeze another practice session in, another experiment.

For non-magickal work, where you sleep a full night and wake up rested, it’s probably good advice.

But magick takes more out of you, especially if you’re learning new skills using new mental muscles. After a few days doing as much as I possibly can, I slow down noticeably. If I keep pushing, I shut down and have to rest.

I never took rigorous data on it. There’s so much natural variation in how much I can accomplish any one day, that the data would be hard to use anyway. But I’m pretty sure I accomplish more by working until I’m tired, but not exhausted, so that I’m fully recovered each morning.

One exception to this: If you’re going to be caught up in something non-magickal for a while, like a work project, you can exhaust yourself the day before, then use the work time to recover magickally. You won’t be as sharp for the work project, though, so up to you if it’s a good tradeoff.

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Reader Questions: What if I Don’t See Magick?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

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Shadowmist asks:

Visualization is something that I have more or less struggled with for years while trying to learn about magick. I feel more than I see. […] I was wondering if you had any advice on how to better experience a visualization without “seeing” clear images.

I don’t do much visualization myself. Definitely not of the detailed “Imagine a glowing mist filling your lungs” variety.

For me, it’s more of seeing paths (lines, basically) and feeling the signatures* of those paths. So when I talk about seeing some part of magick, I just mean “sense” or “observe,” or a metaphoric “See what I mean.”

*Energy has a signature, but so do structures like paths. The signatures of structures determine which types of energy interact with them.

Same with auras. I’ve never seen auras. But I can feel the signature of the person’s energy and get the same information as psychics who see auras, which is what really matters.

So, I guess my advice is: Don’t worry about visualization or seeing-in-the-literal-sense. Focus on understanding. And if feeling magick is more natural for you than seeing it, that’s fine. That’s how I am too. Go with what feels natural.

Edit: Be sure to read Ananael’s comment below.

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Tip: Ask the Real Question

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

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Lisa lost her dog’s leash. She did a psychic query asking where it was, focusing on putting the leash down. It led her to a spot, but no leash.

She asked again, this time focused on picking the leash up. It lead her to the leash.

Her first question, when she thought about putting the leash down, asked where she left the leash. Her second question asked where it was right now. Turns out, one of the kids at our party today had moved it.

Psychic information sources answer the question you asked. So does most other ethereal software. Make sure you ask the question you want answered.

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Direct Magick in Under a Minute

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

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A fast guide to what direct magick is and why it matters.

In traditional styles of magick, you use a symbolic ritual or visualization to suggest your goal to your unconscious, which does… something to make that happen.

In direct magick, you learn to consciously engage those normally-unconscious parts of your mind. Same idea as learning to consciously control your heartbeat with biofeedback. I call those parts of your mind that drive magick “mental muscles.”

Once your mental muscles become conscious, you can see the actual steps they take to make magick happen. Usually, those steps don’t really relate to the the symbols you used to communicate the goal.

As you come to understand the inner-workings of magick, you’ll see new ways to use each part, and develop new techniques your unconscious wouldn’t think of on its own. It’s somewhere between a professional swimmer consciously thinking about her breathing technique, and an engineer consciously designing a new circuit board.

Once you’ve developed a good technique, you’ll practice it until it becomes unconscious. But like in sports and music, you don’t achieve unconscious mastery by practicing a bad technique a million times. You do it by first learning the proper technique consciously, and then practicing until it becomes automatic.

Why call it “direct magick?” Because you’re working with your mental muscles directly, instead of through symbols. Everything else flows from there.

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How to Ask the Right Questions and Get Great Training

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

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My plan for testing communication boiled down to:

  • Start with the simple communication: Have a spirit send me a message, and have him do all the hard steps to make communication work.
  • One step at a time, do more of the communication process myself instead of relying on the spirit.
  • Figure each step out, debug it, and re-test with the spirit, then add the next step.

Why not just ask the spirit how to do communication properly? Well, I’d already done that — shown him my full communication and asked him what I was doing wrong. He’d give me pointers, but never a full solution, never enough to do communication properly. So I wasn’t expecting too much from him.

But this time, he nailed every problem. We tested basic communication. (It worked fine). Then we added one step for me to do myself, and it stopped working. He watched me once, told me exactly what was wrong and how to fix it. And this wasn’t a one-off lucky fix. He’s 3 for 3 now in troubleshooting my communication.

What changed? What turned a disappointing teacher into a spot-on troubleshooter? It wasn’t him. It was me, figuring out how to ask for training properly.

See, before, I’d asked very broad question: “Look at this complex thing and tell me how to fix it.” Like taking a 1980s car to a mechanic, or bringing a buggy laptop in for repairs, it’s hard to say exactly what’s wrong. Sure, you can spot some problems, but making an exhaustive list? Not very likely.

Now, we had a single skill to debug, so he could focus on just a few problems. Then, knowing he was building on a good foundation, he could focus on just the next step, and nail down that problem too. By simplifying my question, I got much better training.

So that’s the real lesson from this: Good training is my responsibility. If I’m not getting it, it’s because I’m trying to fix too many problems at once. When that happens, I need to return to what I can do, ask the trainer to help me advance one small step, verify it, then repeat.

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Would You Rather Think You’re Good – Or Become Good?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

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This week, I’m debugging my magickal communication so I can learn detailed, reliable manifesting. The first step is testing. Once I know exactly where it stops working, I can focus my training.

Testing is hard. Not hard as in “requires great magickal skill” or “requires many hours of work.” It’s hard as in scary, as in facing the Resistance.

The Resistance

This is Resistance with a capital R, as used by Seth Godin and Steven Pressfield. It’s when your unconscious distracts you and sabotages you from what you know you need to do. It’s procrastination, the kind where you won’t think about your work, rather than the kind where a plan feels half-baked and you want to mull it over.

Why does it happen? Well, once you have an accurate picture of what you can’t do yet, you can’t pretend you’re already good. Your unconscious will try to protect you. But if you let it, you’ll never actually become good. Every time I started testing, I’d feel my chest tighten, and go play a video game instead. That’s the Resistance.

Working Despite Resistance

People talk about “overcoming Resistance,” as though you first deal with your Resistance, then get to work. But that’s backward. The work comes first, then when you’ve done enough that the Resistance doesn’t matter, it goes away.

Here’s what worked for me:

I focused on each step of the communication. Engaging the right mental muscles. Making the message. Reading the reply. Doing all the sub-steps that make them work. My unconscious still didn’t like it. I still felt the tightness in my chest, but it didn’t matter. I can consciously direct each step, so I can do magick even if I don’t really want to.

Think of a carpenter. It doesn’t matter how he feels as he hammers a nail, just that he hammers it.

Working despite resistance feels like you’re just going through the motions. There’s no emotion or passion behind it. That’s fine. As long as you swing the hammer, you’ll get the work done and move past the Resistance.

Got Tips?

Share your tips for working despite resistance in the comments.

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3 Direct Magick Skills for Better Ritual Results

Monday, May 30th, 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.

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Making Sure Your Magick Isn’t Coincidence

Monday, May 16th, 2011

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I want to know people feel better because of my healing techniques, not because of coincidence.

When doctors run case studies, where they only have one patient, they have this problem. Here’s how they solve it:

  • Give the treatment. Observe the problem go away.
  • Stop the treatment. Observe the problem return.
  • Give treatment again. Observe the problem go away again.

Why is this significant? Because problems that go away on their own usually stay gone. By showing a correlation with your techniques for both relieving and re-causing the problem, you show that coincidence is a bad explanation.

Doubts are natural. Healthy, even. You shouldn’t be confident in your techniques until you’ve tested them. Evidence is the only healthy way to build belief in your work. So test your magick. Testing will stop being scary as you build real, evidence-based confidence in yourself.

Remember, this post was about preventing coincidence, not placebo. See here for avoiding placebo, or here for more on avoiding coincidence.

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3 Things You Don’t Know About Visualization (But Should)

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

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Visualization seems so simple: You imagine something, focus on it, and let it happen.

But because it seems simple, we don’t examine it properly. “Think it and it happens” describes some magick, but it doesn’t explain how it works. It doesn’t answer questions like:

  • What’s the difference between an experienced mage visualizing effectively and a non-mage imagining the same thing?
  • When do visualizations work, when don’t they, and why?
  • How can you create better visualizations to do magick more quickly and reliably?

Here are my answers, based on my experience with the unconscious parts of magick. They should be useful to novice through intermediate mages, plus with anyone who teaches them.

Visualization = Imagination + Mental Posture

To most people, visualization means “focusing on images.” It’s the more serious cousin of imagination.

What the Common View Misses

Magickal visualization starts by engaging the parts of your mind that drive magick (your “mental muscles”), making sure they’re paying attention and ready to respond. Then you focus on images.

That preparation is critical. It makes the difference between wishful thinking and reliable magick. Which is roughly the difference between playing air guitar and real guitar.

That preparation is also the hard part. Anyone can focus on an image. But you need practice and training to find the right parts of your mind to create magick. I call that skill “mental posture.” It’s what makes magick work.

What Those Details Let You Do

By learning to consciously control your mental posture, you can engage the right parts of your mind to make magick work anytime. I explain how in this post. (That post gives several options for “Next” at the bottom, but this post isn’t one of them. Just hit “back” to return here).

Continue to Part 2

This post was short, so I’m posting part 2 today also.

Continue to Part 2: Why some visualizations fail, and what to do about it.

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Finding What Matters – The Easy Way

Monday, April 18th, 2011

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People tell you to find what’s important and do it.

Problem is, that’s hard. It’s hard to figure out what’s most important. It’s hard to not do other important (but less-important) things. How do you prioritize them?

The human brain hates hard problems. It works hard to avoid them. Instead, it grabs whatever’s the default. Here, the default is your current to-do list, a jumble of important, unimportant-but-urgent, and a few useless tasks.

In short, doing what’s important just doesn’t work in practice.

A Simpler Approach

Stop doing what’s unimportant.

It’s easy to tell something that’s unimportant. Just ask “If I don’t do this, what happens?” If you answer “not much,” it’s unimportant.

So stop doing it.

Fill that time with something else. I’ve been using 2 kinds of tasks here:

  • Some project I know is important, like creating advertising for a business I’m starting.
  • Something I don’t normally do, like a new question I haven’t explored yet.

Choices Snowball

My pool of ideas for what to do today comes from what I did yesterday.

If I did lots of unimportant stuff yesterday, then my head is filled with those busy-work tasks.

But if I did something new yesterday, then my head is filled with possibilities.

Tossing out unimportant tasks snowballs. Unimportant things stop making your list, so you can raise your threshold for “how small of an impact counts as unimportant.” Which lets you cut even more unimportant tasks next week.

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