September 1997 E-Zine Issue
So, You Want To Learn Magic...
Some people think it takes special "brain power" to learn how to use and work with magic. This is not true. You don't have to be a genius (although it helps). In the magical world creative thinking and imagination are more important then the ability to memorize "facts" from a book. Most magical situations are like that puzzle you occasionally see passed around that can't be solved unless you are willing to go outside of convention and break the unwritten rules. Indeed magic takes you beyond "conventional intelligence" into the realm of "traditional wisdom" - in this case, a wisdom that spans the ages of humankind in both directions - into our past , and future, because magic is the technology of the future. For those who doubt this statement let us stop and consider a few small examples of "modern science" that have been taken from the practices of the mystics: astronomy from astrology but without its practical applications, chemistry from alchemy and has yet to unlock its true secrets, and hypnosis from the shamanic and mediation practices of traditional healers and priests - these to name but a few. Although technical knowledge has its place, the wise magic crafter does not rely on the "standard rituals" of those who came before; instead he tailors his practice to suit his needs, strengths, and weaknesses. To be effective magic must be adaptive. Remember it is an art as well as a technology.
Another big myth about magical practice is that you have to be enormously psychic to learn it. No you don't, at least not to start with. Part of learning magic is learning to recognize and open up dormant abilities all of us possess. Being psychic is simply a combination of courage, perseverance, and self-confidence, with a little bit of masochism thrown in. Most of us are born psychic. The human infant is open and tender to emotional-spiritual violence. Since the adults that make up the child's environment have become well shielded and spiritually "thick-skinned" they have no compunction about throwing around a large load of psychic garbage on a regular basis. Remember every angry thought, each tense or violent word, thought, or feeling registers in the sensory net of an open psychic. The sea of emotions slap the child relentlessly until he learns to shut out that stimulation for his own good (often permanently). These shields become so thick as to black out nearly all spirit communication. But this process can be undone - it takes courage and a willingness to face the consequences of adding a new "sense" to your traditional perceptions. And once this new sense (the sixth sense) comes online, it must-not be ignored. You will come to depend on it in ways you will not recognize until you try to shut it down again.
Now that we have gone over some of the things you don't need to practice magic let's list a few things you do need: an open mind, a brave heart, and a willingness to push the Boundaries of "consensual reality" Magic is all around you just waiting to be acknowledged and worked with deliberately. We stumble onto it constantly and the average person quietly puts it from their mind - but the magical person learns how to summon and work with these unseen (to the untrained eye) forces. What we take for granted as "reality" is simply the common consensus of the cultural group mind that we have chosen to operate within. "Reality" is far more fluid and malleable then those proponents of "absolute truth" would have you believe, yet it takes great courage to acknowledge this fact. Magic is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for those who do not want to change and grow. Yet in the hands of those who act with wisdom, and love, it holds the key to the kingdom.