This past weekend I went to an absolutely wonderful horsemanship workshop with world famous clinician Pat Parelli. Parelli and his students showed us the wonderful bond that could exist between horses and humans. Several times he demonstrated what he and his super horses could do — they executed all kinds of wonderful manoeuvres, including sliding stops, spins, jumping, and lead changes all without bridles. A literal “Look Ma, no hands!”

But what was truly wonderful about the weekend with Parelli wasn’t what he could do with his horses, since I could probably go to the circus and see the same or better manoeuvres. No, it was the fact that he wanted to share how he got his horses to do what they did. And that’s what he spent all weekend doing.

He took a manoeuver like the spin and broke it down into baby steps. He showed us how he started by standing on the ground and using steady pressure on the horse’s lead line and gentle movements with a stick to get the horse to move. Then he refined the movement until the horse moved with a gentle tug on the rope or a little swish of the stick. Then he climbed on the horse and repeated the same movement.

Now, before you think the yourself that I’ve gone off the deep end — after all, I’m writing about horsemanship in a magick newsletter, right? — wait for the point of all this. The point is that at the end of all this demonstrating, Parelli gave us the two most important factors in working with horses:

1. Big manoeuvres are just lots of baby steps built on each other.

2. It has to be a game for you and your horse.

Wow, when he said that I thought to myself, “This guy does magic, not horses.” Actually he does both — he does magic with horses. But he nailed down the same two key points that we communicate to our students over and over again. Baby steps and fun. Fun and baby steps. Baby steps and fun.

Our more advanced students know that everything begins with baby steps. When we give them exercises to do, they don’t always know how the exercise will build into something great, but they’ve been with us long enough that they dive right in, knowing that they are likely to get something really great at the other end. They’ve developed the patience over the years to wait with happy expectation for the magical results.

Those who haven’t been with us as long, though, want to dive right into the deep end of the pool. We receive hundred of emails each month asking us to teach levitation, spells, telekinesis, telepathy, and much more. For most, we recommend some basic beginner courses that teach, you got it, baby steps. And we never hear from most of them again.

Learning magic in baby steps seems, well, less magical than it should to most. And yet, what we’ve learned through experience is that it is the results produced by magic that are magical, but the process takes time like anything else.

Isn’t it logical to first be able to move clouds and candle flames before you start levitating tables and heavy objects? Like anything, you have to build up some muscles you’ve never used before.

And how do you learn to move clouds and candle flames? By playing games with it. That’s the second aspect of learning magic. You can’t put magic on your “to do” list and hope to check it off along with the laundry and paying bills. You’ve got to create a sense of fun and games with it if you expect something to happen.

If you try to do those baby steps with a sense of drudgery and impatience rather than a sense of fun and games, you’ll try and fail to levitate the dining room table, then lose interest. To make magic, you have to awaken that child-like part of yourself that loves to be intrigued, that loves to be curious, that likes to find out, “Ooh, what happens if I do this?”

Einstein said that the solution is never found at the same level as the problem. If you’ve got a problem in your life that you want magic to solve, then you have to move up to the level of magic. Magic happens when you play little games, when you try a little experiment here, a little experiment there. When you don’t demand results but are delighted by them. You don’t force magic, it happens—when you least expect it. Magic is lots of baby steps done with a sense of adventure.

Ready to game play with some magical baby steps? Check out these great resources to get you started:

Move Clouds
Just send an email with a blank subject line to clouds@shamanschool.com and we’ll immediately reply with instructions on how to move clouds. Yup, it’s baby steps for weather working and more!

Daily Rituals Ebook
Over 40 beginner level rituals to help you start game playing with magic.

Energy Healing for Self and Others
Basic magical healing techniques that are safe and effective for anyone.

Four Element Courses
The four elements of air, fire, water and earth are the building blocks of our universe. Learning to work with these elements allows you to work with anything in the universe. Look for the Basic Magic Home Study Course in our store.