I just really, really love alliteration and over-used buzzwords.
Magick is known as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will” (Aleister Crowley). In other words, magick is what happens when there is something you want and you make it happen.
Without plunging too deep into solipsism, our minds (our experiences, beliefs, upbringing, neurological wiring, etc.) create our reality–or at least, our perception of the world around us and how we interact with it. Being aware of our mindset is a key step in creating our reality, or in other words: making magick.
One thing that typically keeps someone from believing in the power of magick is the existence of stage magicians (Houdini) and the idea that a magic wand and an incantation will turn a teacup into a mouse.
Magick is really about opening yourself up to the infinite possibilities of the universe through coincidences, or rather, synchronicity. This is where the concept of the Law of Attraction (LOA) comes into play. (The link for LOA discusses the ancient understanding of the concept, rather than the “New Age revival” version).
Where “woo-woo” meets science (kind of):
At the risk of over-simplification, magick can be understood as using the Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon to your advantage. When you begin to rewire your brain to achieve the desired results (such as: more motivation to achieve your goals, a more optimistic perspective, more opportunities for financial growth, finding love), you will start to notice certain details of daily life that allow this change to speed up. You might make different decisions throughout your day-to-day interactions that bring you closer to what you want out of life, because you have primed your brain to make these changes. Many successful people have reported that they visualize going through their day before it happens so that they can feel more prepared and motivated when it comes.
Have you seen those neat “vision boards” that keep popping up on blogs and YouTube channels? These were definitely popularized by people who are interested in LOA, and of course they won’t work for everybody. It’s also entirely possible that most of the things on that vision board may not come true, just like how our To-Do lists seem to never get checked off completely (especially the truly… optimistic ones). It’s not enough to just slap some pictures on a board or to write down your To-Do list, but it might help if you actively picture yourself completing each important task with as little resistance as possible so that you’re more likely to get it done.
This is all thanks to neuroplasticity! When you are in some control over the connections that are continuously forming in your brain, you are in a sense making magick. The brain is constantly being programmed by new input/information and our interpretation of it, and we can consciously choose to program it in a way that suits our goals. This can be done in using various methods, but the most common and most effective forms are through meditation, hypnosis, and even lucid dreaming.
Of course, limitations do exist. Studies involving able-bodied persons performing the mental practice of an instrument or a sport have shown far greater results than, for example, stroke patients (some, however, have shown greater levels of success). This is why I think that it is more effective to understand one’s limitations (emotional, mental, physical) so that they don’t feel “cheated” by magick. I will write a post later about the importance of taking (and celebrating) “baby steps,” in all areas of life (especially when you have a disability or are part of marginalized groups). The goal is to reduce the number of limitations you encounter through a consistent practice of magick and self-improvement and empowerment. I will go deeper into this concept as well.
Why would I want to use magick?
For starters, it can allow you to override the self-defeating voice/narrative in your mind so that you can do things that you previously thought were impossible. Many people also use these techniques to overwrite or reconcile past traumas (please explore this at your own discretion/risk and consult with a professional if you do choose to undergo shadow work) and to dig deep within the psyche to understand where our limiting beliefs and internal narrator come from. This is why many people who practice magick say that the first step is to “decondition” your mind and to get back to who you were before society (family, teachers, media) told you what to believe about yourself. This will open doors that you never knew existed and will allow you to reach your true potential.
But what about the Witchy Stuff?
Of course, the main thing that separates the current wave of self-improvement and self-help communities with those who practice magick is the utilization of traditionally Pagan tools and ritual: herbs, crystals, things found in nature, drawing sigils, invoking deities, and all that cool stuff.
The use of ritual can be seen as a way to turbo-charge the brain for change. Just like how vision boards may not work for everyone, different ritual techniques are used by different practitioners. Magick ritual can be as brief as drawing a sigil with honey while adding it to your morning tea or it can be as extensive as adorning yourself in robes for a candle-lit ritual complete with twenty-six different herbs and crystals, incantation, and hours of meditation and visualization. Different strokes for different folx. And some magick rituals need more attention and energy than others.
Another note on baby steps: Unless you’re a super powerful magician or if you don’t have issues with attention and learning difficulties, performing a ritual to get an A in your class might not be the best route. Or, in my situation, a spell for “Academic Success.” What the hell is that? Vagueness and magick don’t go very well together if you want specific, concrete results. However, you could light some yellow and orange candles, heat up some peppermint and citrus oil in a simmer pot, and perform a spell that will help you focus on your note-taking and/or studying, you are far more likely to see positive results. At least, that’s how it is in my situation. Do what feels right for you.
One last thing:
I am not an expert. This blog post is a living document. I am constantly learning more every day. Ideas mentioned in this post may be explored further in future posts. Let me know which ideas you would like me to expand on in the comments section.
I am also not here to convince you that magick is real. I just want to share my current understanding of how we can all harness our personal power, and if you are interested to read more on what I’ve learned and experienced, please feel free to stick around.
Eventually I’ll figure out a posting schedule, but… ADHD & depression is a challenge.