How to Study Magic
Thanks for your interest in magic and shamanism! Because the art and science of magic are such vast topics, we offer you some basic guidelines on how to study magic, including an outline of the basic topics that are important to learn. This article includes the following topics:
- What are the fundamental topics in the study of magic?
- The Four Elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth
- Hand Magic and Self Defense
- Magical Tools: Firebowl, Wand, Athame, Chalice and Plate
If you have any questions about the content of this article, please contact us by Clicking Here.
What is Magic?
Magic is a precision science! It is also:
The science of deliberate creation.
The science of effective prayer.
The science of manifesting Higher Will (God’s Will) on the energetic and material planes.
The science of heightened awareness, selective perception, and dynamic, harmonious relationships.
The study of intention (as per Aleister Crowley, one of the greatest magicians).
The system of creation, not coercion.
Note: The word manipulation is often used in conjunction with magic, but manipulation simply means the use of the hands. It should be an “OK” word without a lot of charge, but currently it is used mostly to mean coercion. Look it up!
Every intentional act is a magical act! Magic gives us the ability to communicate with beings on all levels, and allows us to understand, through direct experience, the actual workings of the Universe.
Magic is the traditional path of spiritual growth.
Magic is not extraordinary knowledge. It is the “normal” way of life. We’ve just lost access to it. When you have this kind of knowledge in your understanding, you have the ability to resolve spiritual questions that otherwise become catechism. From a magician’s point of view, catechism is not acceptable, since a magician must experience and verify everything for him or herself. It avoids the trap of dogma. In past time, having a magical foundation was essential so that we could go and talk directly to God, the devil, etc.
Magic is necessary to effective religious practice,
In religious practice, a priest is qualified to perform rituals, but not to create them. Only the magician has the ability to create because he has the tools of divination to test the rituals he creates.
There is some confusion as to how to spell the word “magic.” There are three different commonly used spellings: magic, magick and majick. Eliphas Levi first used the form “magick” to differentiate religious or ceremonial magick from stage magic.
What Universal laws govern magical practice?
Thanks to Reverend George Dew of the Church of Seven Arrows for researching and putting these rules together. While similar to the Wiccan Rede, we feel these rules are stated more practically and pragmatically for everyday use.
Rules of the Road are the set of Universal ethics that must be followed for safe and effective magical practice. The Rules of the Road are not the same as morals (what our culture teaches us is right and wrong) or ethics (what we personally believe to be right and wrong), as both morals and ethics change over time. Particular morals or ethics may or may not agree with the Rules of the Road.
To practice magic safely and effectively you must know and abide by the Rules of the Road since, as far as we know, the Rules of the Road operate whether you know of them, believe in them, or agree with them. Additionally, normal scientific physical laws and principles must be followed.
Two Major Rules:
1. Whatever is done to the environment or to other beings in the environment brings similar effects upon the doer.
This is often called the Law of Karma. The Universe doesn’t care why some action was taken, or whether the doer is trained in magic or aware of the Rules of the Road. Although many different teachers have stated this law in many different ways, including the Golden Rule, it is especially important for magicians. A magician’s acts are consciously and willfully directed, and are therefore more powerful than the acts of untrained or unfocused people. So the effect of this law in relation to a magician’s acts becomes much more powerful. This applies to both constructive and destructive acts.
Note: While many religious and other practices consider that Karma can carry from lifetime to lifetime, it is our experience that the Universe operates under a system of “pay as you go.” In other words, the effect of any act upon the environment (or upon beings in the environment) comes back to you within a relatively short period of time – within hours to days.
2. The magician judges the “goodness” or “badness” of his or her own acts, whether they are conscious or unconscious acts, on the basis of what the Universe reflects back on him or her. The same is true of judging others, entire communities, states or nations.
On a practical level, one can judge one’s compliance with the Universe’s standards of right and wrong, or good and bad, in terms of one’s level of health, soundness of social relationships, luck with appliances, and sufficiency of food, clothing and shelter. If your “luck” seems consistently bad, then you’re probably acting contrary in some way to the Rules of the Road, regardless of what your intentions are.
Ethical Laws of the Rules of the Road
These ethical laws will give you a more detailed standard by which to measure your acts, or the acts of others, to determine whether they are in accordance with Rules of the Road. Judge any act of magic by these laws before doing it.
Do nothing that will harm another being unless you are willing to suffer like or greater harm. Note that what the Universe considers harm may be different from what our culture teaches as harm.
Don’t bind another being unless you are willing to be likewise bound. This applies to many love spells and some kinds of healing rituals.
Never use magic for show, pride, or vainglory. Using magic to show off, to prove a point, or from a place of injured pride usually results in side-bands (undesirable side effects) to the operation that will bring very undesirable backlash from the Universe.
Never set an extremely high price for the use of magic (especially divination, healing, or spells) based on your having special knowledge. With some operations that take significant man hours, such as divination, it appears by our observation to be appropriate to charge the same fee as any other professional might charge per hour in your local area.
Don’t use any special word, symbol, incantation, or spell unless you understand thoroughly and completely its mechanics, content, and intent! Be very wary of using other people’s operations if you wish to avoid “frying” yourself, either figuratively or literally!
Never do a spell without first doing a divination to determine a) if you should do it, and b) exactly what needs to be dealt with. Modern American social values and overt appearances of a situation are not trustworthy guides for a magician wishing to avoid bad karma. In other words, there may be hidden factors in the situation, which cause the doing of a spell to be against Rules of the Road.
TAKE YOUR TIME, THINK IT THROUGH, AND DO IT RIGHT!
Where do I begin studying?
The art and study of magick is, as we’ve mentioned before, a vast study that can take years. In our observation and experience, the best place to begin studying is with the four elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Because everything in the Universe is composed of the four elements, this study is literally part of everything else you will study in magic. Thus, to start at the beginning, start with the element Air. In addition, the lessons for each additional element are based on the skills you develop when you learn about Air (such as energy flowing and energy handling). Air is a safe element to work with–powerful, but safe–so it’s an excellent place to begin. Here is a brief summary of what each of the elements corresponds to:
Seeing, breathing, speaking, hearing, planning, thinking, believing, memorizing, communicating, learning, teaching, information, ideas, wisdom, understanding, worry, sensation, awareness, opinions, data, memory, mind.
Energy, power, will, desire, anger, pain, motivation, radiance, passion, initiative, aggression, limitation, endeavor, activity, creative, willingness, urge, inspired, excitable, courage, bravado, compulsion, fanaticism, frustration, resentment, rage, freedom.
Emotions, feelings, intuition, compassion, empathy, sympathy, knowing, devotion, quest, aspiration, intention, appreciation, integrity, harmony, beauty, balance, serenity, fluidity, grief, apathy, joy, love.
Strength, money, foundation, endurance, structure, mundane world, serenity of beingness, solidity, boundaries, permanence, land, commerce, products, confidence, loyalty, persistence, stubbornness, fortress, security, anchor, barter, substance, body, base, possessions.
Since magical tools, such as the wand, athame, chalice and plate, are extensions of the basic four elements and your own energies, they should be studied and handled only after you develop a working knowledge and understanding of the four elements themselves. The same is true of the more advanced topics of divination, tarot and spellwork, which are directly related to your understanding of the elements.
What if I want to study with a certified teacher?
The arts of magic and shamanism have traditionally been passed down from teacher to apprentice, with the apprentice spending years in the service of and under the guidance of the teacher. Since the tribal system no longer exists (for the most part) in our modern world, it is more difficult to re-create this relationship. However, it is still possible to study as an apprentice under a certified teacher.
The Esoteric School has created the Basic Magic: Tribal Traditions for a Modern World course that adapts the traditional apprenticeship process to fit the modern world that makes use of the technologies of web, teleconference and multi-media.