Desire and appreciation are two of the least understood and most powerful tools in magickal and shamanic practice. When it comes to magick and shamanism, we often get so caught up in measuring our abilities to “do” certain procedures and techniques that we forget to reconnect with our initial desire and appreciate our progress. Desire and appreciation will do more for our magickal abilities than we think.

For example, let’s suppose that you’re working on out-of-body travel and are experiencing a few difficulties with it. You might feel frustrated or irritated that you can’t seem to leave your body or direct Spirit where you want it to go. Rather than wasting a lot of energy getting angry with yourself or your teacher, sit back and reconnect with your desire to travel out-of-body. Can you feel what it might feel like to successfully leave your body? Can you imagine where you might go? Can you feel your desire purely, without the accompanying resistance? Say to yourself, gently and quietly, “I wish to travel out-of-body,” then stop practicing the exercise for a while. For the next few days, simply say to yourself, “I wish to travel out-of-body,” but don’t necessarily practice the exercise. Go back to your pure desire. Feel it. Sit with it quietly. Then go back to the out-of-body exercise and allow it to happen – don’t push on it. Working with your desire helps you look forward into the process of being able to travel out-of-body.

You can also look backwards and work with appreciation. Sometimes we get so intensely focused on our studies that we lose our perspective, and perhaps feel that we will never achieve success at a certain technique or procedure. Appreciation is great tool for helping us regain our perspective. Look back and find a procedure that you thought you might never successfully perform. Before you actually succeeded in doing it, it looked nearly impossible. How does it look to you now? How does it feel to you now? How does it feel knowing that you can do it? If you are just starting your magickal practice, find anything in your life where you achieved what you felt was highly difficult. Sit and savor the feeling that you are now competent and able. Appreciate how far you have come since you started on your path. Whenever I’m feeling down, I always appreciate the fact that I can now split a candle flame with a bolt of energy. I worked on this technique for so long that I felt positively remedial! But one day, I was able to make the flame jump and dance. I always remember how impossible I thought it was, and, conversely, how easy it felt once I could do it.

So when you feel frustrated with your studies and practice, go back to desire and appreciation. The desire will rekindle your passion for your practice, and the appreciation will release some the pressure to succeed. Work with both and, before you know it, you’ll have the mastery you want. In everything, have fun and enjoy!