The Basics of Practice

Direct magic can be a staggeringly difficult way to begin your venture into the occult world, but, as one begins to understand the philosophies and ideals behind it, it becomes apparent that this is ultimately one of the most flexible and rewarding systems available to the serious modern magician. It is difficult because, instead of using rocks, or wands, or daggers to symbolise what you wish, it assumes a priori that the practitioner has a decent level of mental conditioning and the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time. The more complex a spell is the more components it will have that the magician must consciously juggle, and thus the requirement to build one's concentration further as skill level increases. As a matter of definition, Direct Magic is the application of a specified type of energy to mystically perform a task. It should be noted from the outset, however, that energies of any sort are not intelligent and will perform in a dumbfire manner, thereby relying on the magician to coordinate them in a meaningful way to achieve a desired effect.

Many critiques against this system use the "It's doesn't teach you anything" approach. Well, you're right; I forgot my magic words, my mommy took away my magic knife, and the dog ate my grimoire. In some arts, that means you are no longer a magician. The entire point of Direct Magic is to shed the "enlightenment" and "purification" binding of many types of morality and God-based magics (though using entities or god-figures is not a problem in itself) and let the magician develop themselves as they see fit, without the nonsense, while still retaining the power of a full-fledged occultist. It keeps in view the fact that magic is metaphysical and that concentration is the sole key to power. Others use the "There's nothing to it. It's too simple!" approach in trying to undermine direct magic. Again, the entire point is to cut directly to the heart of the matter in spellcasting and skip the aspects of spellcasting which are a matter of preference to the magician. There are no words, you don't needs sticks or rocks or metal or ceremony. It is not a vulgar magic; on the contrary, it is the pure use of only that which really matters: the energies themself, isolated and championed (though this type of extremism may or may not fit the needs of the caster, which is an issue later addressed).

So how does it work? First, leave superstition at the door. Everything that works in magic works for a very good reason. Instead of relying on myth, superstition, ritual, or feel-good accept-it-all philosophies, the direct magician looks for ways to affect their environment themselves by acknowledging what is fixed, what is variable, and how these two possibilities interact in a given situation. Magic is not a break from reality or a surreal adventure into the wild unknown -- it is a planned sequence of coerced unlikely events which appears fantastic when seen from the outside. As time progresses and studies go further, there is a realisation that magic is the manipulation of energies unseen and (as of yet) unmeasurable. These energies/unique methods have been identified by their properties and were given to discreet study by defined "castes" of occultism. This is how the fourteen castes of direct magic were formulated. The question, still, is, "How do I use them?" The answer is found in the study of the nature of Will. "Will" is the term used in occultism to refer to the application of the entire being -- emotion, intellect, desire, and other facets of concentration -- and apply them in a meaningful and fantastic way to the energies which respond to it. Will, in this sense, is the application of the entirety of the occultist's mind to the movement of the intangible powers around them. Reconciling perception and reality is the key to understanding the nature of Will. With this in mind, we continue on the path to power.

Often times in magic we are brazenly presented with a great deal of information dressed up as plausible occultism. Given poor reasoning or, in some cases, no reasoning, we are often asked to "accept" and be "open-minded" about things which can not possibly be, or which are so unlikely as to be practically impossible. This is not open-mindedness if we first listen to a philosophy then do not judge it. The term for that is gullibility. First off, one principle to remember about magic is that it follows the limits and laws of reason and physics like anything else. The abstract nature of many facets of occult philosophy is often misconstrued to imply that anything is possible. One of the first principles of magic, in this measure, is that you can not leave common sense behind. The modern academic disciplines are not to be ignored while studying occultism simply because they do not specifically aim to prove the innate influential power of what occultists have coined "Will" on ambient energies. The occult scientist, assumably at least reasonably well-versed in philosophy, physics, psychology, literature, history, chemistry, mathematics, and especially abstractions of logic and rhetoric, will be the most analytic, able-minded, and most aptly equipped student to see the subtle changes and intricasies that mass around us with each moving moment. With a firm grasp of human academics, a love of learning, and a knowledge of the proper methods to expand knowledge of unknown territory, studies will flourish and true occult power will be in the hands of the wise.

The first major question to getting started in magic, generally speaking, is to make some decisions about religion and a caster's own belief system. Religion comes into play in many different areas in a person's life and it is important to review your own stance in the greater scheme of things before hopping into something that may be seen as morally reprehensible. If these things are not settled right from the beginning they will crop up again, I will guarantee, and will become a gnawing difficulty until it is settled in one way or another.

What is your religion? Is it compatible with magic? Do you wish to change religions to a magical one or simply merge what you have? There is much debate on this topic, but here is my opinion: Most religions ban magic as evil and have severe penalties, either now, in the eternal, or both for practitioners of any form of magic. More than likely, your current religion will not mix with magic. Many practitioners have to break from their current belief system and form/join a comfortable hybrid religion. Also, the option of simply abandoning what you currently know as religion and radically changing your belief system is open. It rarely works, due to moral and emotional conflicts, but it is still an option. This is not to imply that occultism in itself is anything close to religious, but only that religion usually labels all magic or most types of magic as evil and either discourages it entirely or severely limits your options with it. An interesting online test to see where you stand in the greater scheme of world religion can be found at www.selectsmart.com/RELIGION/. It does not work on all browsers but, if it does work, it may be worth the time to evaluate yourself. I know on my own display I have to let it load once, then hit refresh for the questions to show up.

The second major question confronting magicians is, "What is my nature?". This question spawns many different answers. Some like aggressive magic to attack an adversary, or a friend's adversary. Many use protective magic to shield themselves and their friends from the stormy blast of other magic. Many people abandon the idea of combative magic all together and opt for enchantments to ease the burdens of life on everybody, such as blessings and prosperity spells of one variety or another. Here are the major classes of magician (as far as I can tell, all possible spells can be accounted for within these castes).:

[Note: These are only the most vague descriptions. Read the advanced pages for a more complete understanding of the details of an art.]

White Magician - Expert of Protective and Purifying Spells. Forwarded most notably by the New Age movement, it focusses on the use of the "White Light", protection, protective auras, stasis, cleansing, suppression of discord, and working on the mystic level to sustain and strengthen ethereal structure.

Black Magician - Master of Manipulating Entropy. Grounded in the application of the laws of thermodynamics, the nature of decay, radiation, the effect of emotion on the body, and civil engineering and/or anatomy.

Psi Mage - Expert at Psychic and Mental Control. Studying recommendations include telepathy, telekinesis, magnetism, secular and occult empathy, general psychology, emotion, motivation, hypnotism, cognitive processing, consciousness, states of awareness, sleep deprivation, learning, decision making, group dynamics, "Zen" concept, and other aspects of psychological classification and analysis.

Nature Mage - Master of Nature and Natural Forces. Stressing the relationship between sound and plant growth, holistic medicine, botany, ley lines, earth spirits, photosynthesis, and astrological, minerological, and magnetic influences on earth.

Enchanter - Expert at Enhancing Objects, People, or Areas. Employs a working understanding of vibratory rates, radioactive decay, music, energy impressions, quantum and magnetic resonance, body conductivity, and Ayurvedic philosophy.

Elementalist - Expert of Controlling the Four Elements, and Influencing Weather. Studies the nature of natural phenomenon (electricity, heat, cold, wind), biochemistry, composition philosophies (Heraclitus, Anaximenes, Thales, Empedocles, Xenobius, etc), body composition, thermodynamics, natural entropical disarray, and physical laws of attraction and repulsion.

Diviner - Expert of Future and Fortune telling. Heavy study in the mathematics of randomization, probability, chance, psychology, deja vu, precognition, instinct, sixth sense, visions, dreams, self-fulfilling prophecy, chaos theory, game theory, sociology, group psychology, identification and interpretation of patterns, and free-energy theory.

Summoner - Expert at Summoning Spirits or Entities. Academia for this art includes telemetry, attempts at long-distance telepathic communication, vibrational states, dimensional theory, multiple personalities, schizophrenia, possession, multiversal theory, the Ethereal realm, thought-forms, and the nature of the Mind. There are a great many ritual texts worth reading as well.

Life Mage - Expert at Manipulating and Sustaining Life Force. Emphasis on anatomy, biology, kinesiology, alternative healing methods, herbology, theories of life force, chakras, meridians, acupressure, acupuncture, reiki, ethereal body, medicine, Breathism, and chi as vitality.

Necromancer - Expert at Manipulating Death Essences. Focussing on dim mak, animal biology, study of chi, toxicology, viriology, bacteriology, immunology, the Kreb cycle, phosphorylation, free radicals, anatomy, psychological effects on the body, the nature of hallucination, auric poisoning, "miasma" concept, acupuncture theory, lou channels, chakras, life meridians, medical biochemistry, and death deities.

Sorcerer - Expert Manipulator of the Twilight Realm. Focussing on interpretational abstractions, geometry, Jewish "hell" concept (abyss), pre- and post-Christian "hell" concept (both Greek), the nature of emotion, multiversal theory, lucid dreaming, astral projection, the nature of physical interpretation (the five senses + sixth), Eastern "void" concept, dimensional theory, meditative trances, trance states, and physics related to holographic reality models.

Wizard - Expert Manipulator of the Astral Planes. Focussing on non-Euclidian geometry, geometry, mathematics, multiversal theory, astral projection, astral forms, dimensional theory, the nature of perception, meditative trances, trance states, and physics.

Celestial Mage - Calls on Deities to Intervene. Relevant studies include history of religion, cultural sociology, historical sociology, anthropology, history of religion, theology, High Magic, the bible, the koran, the Keys of Solomon, the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, John Dee's Angel studies, Johannes Trithemius, shamanism, Intelligent Design theory (ID), and examinaton of other various holy writs and mythologies.

Satanic Magician - Expert of Manipulating and Expressing Internal Forces. Pertains to LaVeyan "Satanic Magic", Luciferianism, thought-forms, chaos theory, mind over matter, nature of perception, chakras, cause and effect principles in open systems, "crimson" magic as per CoS, self-fulfilling prophecy, and specific emphasis on microcosmic effect on macrocosms.

After deciding what you want (or, more accurately, what you are able to do), it is time to confront the third, and most difficult question of magic.

The third question of magic is the most difficult because of all the options it presents: What do you want? This is by far the most difficult. At this point the magician must decide how to shape their universe. The most common answer received to this question is people saying "Power". Power is a good start, but it has to be refined. Here's where the ability to analyse your desires comes in very handy, and in a practical way. A person who wants power can take that concept and use it, but must think "Power over what?". That can be reduced even further to "Power over which aspect of that thing?" To become perfectly precise about what you really want is essential. Break it down to the most minute matters until you come up with something that can be used in a spell. The smallest of components in this process comprise the building blocks which eventually equate to that original desire of (in keeping with this example) Power.

The first question of magic is one that should basically remain static throughout your time as a magician, barring any personal epiphanies. The second is a little more liquid and may change periodically throughout one's life. The third question has the highest volatility and changes every time you want something new, thus needing to be answered thousands of times over as your needs change.

Beginning Magic 2 - Basic Knowledge
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