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Author Topic: Beginning magic and exercises?  (Read 4032 times)
LayedBack
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« Topic Start: May 08, 2011, 10:58:49 am »

I've been interested in pagan, eastern spirituality, and magic for a couple of years now. Mostly just been doing a lot of reading up to this point, it's hard for me to put faith in something that hasn't been proven to myself yet.

My question is how did you get started in magic? What are your reasons for practicing it, and what types of things do you do with magic? Such as prayers, spells, energy work etc.

Do you do exercises in order to further develop your magical abilities? One book I've been reading that has given me a lot of interest in getting started is "Franz Bardon - Initiation in to Hermetics" - The reason I'm drawn towards it is because he has you do intense exercises involving a lot of meditation, working with the subconscious, reflecting and developing your character through making a black and white soul mirror. With his system he believes that anything is possible through hard work, dedication, and having good karma (using magic for the right reasons)

I think Bardon's system is great because you can be a Celt, Wiccan, Buddhist, or even just eclectic and still use his system to help train yourself.

To me it just doesn't seem like one could really further develop their magic without having the dedication and devotion towards it in a very serious way. Not to knock on anyone, but wouldn't it be dangerous if anyone could practice magic regardless of their character and intentions?

My last question is - if it's not too personal I'd love to hear you describe your first true magical experience where you knew without a doubt that your spell or magic worked.

Starting this path for me is going to be tough. I need to develop my spirituality and karma first. And it's hard for me to truly have faith as I mentioned. One day I hope to prove to myself that this path truly exists, but in the mean time I'm going to practice Bardon's Initiation in to Hermetics in hoping that I will develop more discipline, kindness, and change my way of life for the better. Hopefully magic will come after that! Thanks for reading.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 11:01:42 am by LayedBack » Logged

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« Reply #1: May 08, 2011, 04:50:22 pm »

My question is how did you get started in magic? What are your reasons for practicing it, and what types of things do you do with magic? Such as prayers, spells, energy work etc.

Those are quite different things in my book!

Prayers -> conversations with deities, and can be done the same way conversations with humans happen (in that there are things that are polite, respectful, etc. but they're not taking hugely different kinds of skills to do.)

Energy work -> managing my own energy in a way that works for me, and adjusting as needed to adapt to different situations and needs. This covers both really practical physical issues (sleep and food give my body energy to do physical stuff) and less physical stuff (doing good things for my body through centering, grounding, shielding, cleansing, etc.)

Spells -> Deliberately collecting, focusing, and directing energy to send out for a specific purpose or goal, using a wide range of possible tools and techniques.

Ritual -> Doing things that create a particular kind of space (both external and internal) where it is easier to connect with my Gods, celebrate a particular event, or do other kinds of work (which might include energy work, spells, prayer, etc. but might not include any of those in a given ritual, too.)

How I got started:
I started out with energy work, because I had a series of experiences (in college) that made it very clear that if I wanted to be able to focus/concentrate, I needed to learn centering, grounding, and shielding very fast.

While I do spellwork, it's always been very much secondary to me compared to other ritual work - I'm very interested in how I create a space that focuses and directs energy for learning, self-transformation, group celebration, etc. which is obviously related to (but different from!) creating space that supports and boosts spellwork. It's a fraction of my overall practice - certainly less than a tenth of the other stuff I do.

Quote
Do you do exercises in order to further develop your magical abilities?

Yes - and these are an important part of training in my tradition (though again, with a focus more on ritual applications and personal transformation, more than spellwork.)

Outside of that: I really like Diana Paxson's _Trance-Portation_ for a solid grounding in centering, grounding, personal energy management, and meditation that's widely applicable to a range of paths. I know people who've found Bardon's work helpful - when I looked through it, I bounced off it pretty hard (I think it was a combination of already having done work in the tradition I'm now a priestess in and where I was with that.) There are certainly some other options out there, but which ones I suggest depend a lot on what someone's looking for in more specific (and especially, what they want to do with it.)

These days, what I actually 'practice' depends: I went through lots of formal training in the trad setting, have a number of things that are part of regular daily life for me. (Centering and grounding is a "Oh, yeah, let me do that" thing that generally takes less time to do than it took me to type this paragraph, so it doesn't exactly feel like work most of the time.)

However, I have been trying a number of exercises and 'going back to basics' stuff out over the last six months: major health foo changed some  things in both how I perceive and how I process energy, and while most of that's been solid now that I'm doing better health-wise, it seemed like a good thing to revisit and check out.

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To me it just doesn't seem like one could really further develop their magic without having the dedication and devotion towards it in a very serious way. Not to knock on anyone, but wouldn't it be dangerous if anyone could practice magic regardless of their character and intentions?

The good part is that people who don't have skills have fewer ways to get in trouble. It's not that it's not still possible, just that it's a good bit less likely. In my experience both talking to people and teaching within my tradition, what can happen is:

- Nothing actually works - they just don't have the combination of focus, intention, and skill to make a substantial ongoing change in their target/goal. (This is probably the most common for people without skills)

- They get in over their heads energetically and have an uncomfortable experience, etc. but not one that does long-term damage. Generally, this will resolve on its own eventually, but it may be discomforting for anywhere from a few hours to weeks. (A few days is probably most common). This is also quite common (they have enough skill to use up their own energy, but not enough to replenish it, rebalance, etc. afterwards.)

- Someone has a strong emotional push that puts a lot of oomph behind one particular thing that engages their passion. This can get people in deep water very fast. (Anger will do it, sometimes. Desperate unrequited love will do it sometimes.) But it takes a lot to get someone to the point where that emotion will push magical workings through if someone doesn't also have a good sense of focus, intention, etc. This is, in my experience, relatively rare - maybe one in 20 people.

Quote
My last question is - if it's not too personal I'd love to hear you describe your first true magical experience where you knew without a doubt that your spell or magic worked.

The very earliest ones that I'm quite sure had an effect were home protection things - warding a space. Of course, that's hard to describe in terms of effect, since what you hope is that nothing happens that you particularly notice, right?
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« Reply #2: May 09, 2011, 02:11:49 pm »

Wow Jennet thank you for taking the time to write to me about your personal practice. So do you consider yourself a witch or wiccan?

One thing that interests me a great deal about magic is the elements. It seems like since ancient times almost all forms of magics have deal with the 4 elements or Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Of course this type of thing can be purely symbolic or not, but do you deal with these elements in any of your practice, such as energy work?

In Bardon's IIH, first he has us learn to meditate and vacancy of our minds, then contemplation of our life, karma and balance, using the black and white soul mirrors, and working on our sub-conscious. But after that the first real magic work he has us do is to work with the elements, get a greater understanding of them and learn to harness the energy of each element throughout the body and our life.

Unfortunately I have no personal experience with this, because I'm still in the process of learning to meditate and reflect on my life and what it is I'm looking to get out of spirituality.

But if anyone has anything they would like to say involving the elements, or again just their personal magic practice would love to hear more!
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« Reply #3: May 09, 2011, 04:04:58 pm »

Hi, LayedBack,

Just a quick note:  Please remember to quote, even if you're just replying to the first message in the thread.  It makes the discussion easier to follow, and it's required by our rules.

This isn't a formal warning, just a reminder.  No reply is necessary, but if you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact a member of staff privately.

Thanks!

Sunflower, TC Forum Staff
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« Reply #4: May 09, 2011, 11:31:18 pm »

Wow Jennet thank you for taking the time to write to me about your personal practice. So do you consider yourself a witch or wiccan?

The short version (which you can find on the left side of my posts...) is that I'm a priestess in an initiatory religious witchcraft tradition, so, yes, to being a witch. I'm in the slightly odd position that what my tradition does (erm: I didn't found it, I am a third degree in it. Language is sometimes unclear) is stuff that's very similar to published stuff that identifies as Wicca - however, for a variety of reasons, I prefer not to identify that way. (The short version is that we're working with different central mysteries, and with somewhat different focus than the British Traditional Wiccan groups are, but we use a range of the same techniques.)

(You can see more about that a blog post that's a bit more discursive over here: http://gleewood.org/threshold/2011/02/17/a-pause-for-some-background/ - I'm glad to talk about it, but short on time as I'm out of town for a couple of days starting tomorrow morning.)

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One thing that interests me a great deal about magic is the elements. It seems like since ancient times almost all forms of magics have deal with the 4 elements or Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Of course this type of thing can be purely symbolic or not, but do you deal with these elements in any of your practice, such as energy work?

Yes - as you might guess from the 'many techniques in common' part of my ritual practice includes a quartered elemental circle (we do air, fire, water, earth, starting in the east and going clockwise.) There are various ways elemental work is intertwined in that, but it's as much about having the building blocks for other things present in both physical and symbolic form as anything else, and as a kind of larger sorting system.

My standard explanation for that is that human brains work in a way where we like to find patterns and group things together. Likewise, when we're dealing with more things than our brains can consciously hold easily, it's easier for us if we chunk or group them. The elemental associations are one way to do that. However, it's sort of like putting books on shelves: there's more than one way to do it.

(Some people use Dewey Decimal, some people use Library of Congress, some people use entirely idiosyncratic systems - and some people switch between those options and more without blinking an eye. With books, I switch systems without a pause, but in my magical work, I've got a strong preference for the tradition methods for a variety of reasons, among them that they become absolutely reliable habits that way, which has been handy more than a few times. Like walking into different rooms full of books, I'm fine walking into spaces assigning elemental associations differently, or even not using them at all, though I do like to know it's going to happen so I can reorient myself.)

Anyway: my trad training included a couple of energetic exercises that are rooted in elemental associations and I'll pull them out every so often for either a change of pace, or because they fit a specific need in other ways, but mostly my energy work is sorting-element free. (My formal ritual work, my personal spiritual practices, etc. have elements woven throughout, though. Just not in the direct energy bits...)

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Unfortunately I have no personal experience with this, because I'm still in the process of learning to meditate and reflect on my life and what it is I'm looking to get out of spirituality.

That's definitely a good place to start - and learning this stuff is definitely a process. I still learn new things on a regular basis, and I've been formally studying and practice this stuff for ten years this month (and reading about it and trying some specific tools out for about 3-4 years before that.)

Definitely glad to have a go at other specific questions, but it's late enough (and I need to be up early enough) that I'm not going to just ramble further here. Feel free to ask! (If you do hit something I'm not comfortable answering, I'll generally tell you some of why, and other than that, I really like talking about people's questions.)
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« Reply #5: May 17, 2011, 05:39:13 am »

Do you do exercises in order to further develop your magical abilities? One book I've been reading that has given me a lot of interest in getting started is "Franz Bardon - Initiation in to Hermetics" - The reason I'm drawn towards it is because he has you do intense exercises involving a lot of meditation, working with the subconscious, reflecting and developing your character through making a black and white soul mirror. With his system he believes that anything is possible through hard work, dedication, and having good karma (using magic for the right reasons)

I think Bardon's system is great because you can be a Celt, Wiccan, Buddhist, or even just eclectic and still use his system to help train yourself.

I had a little look at this a while ago and very recently decided to have a bit more of an in-depth look at it.  I also think it's great that it seems quite a neutral system which you could plug into other religions or nothing in particular.  Another thing I like about it is it seems quite balanced (in a kind of Taoist way) and doesn't ignore aspects like the physical which I can be prone to do.

If you haven't come across this site (http://www.abardoncompanion.com/CommentariesLinks.html), you might find it of use: I looked at it a bit when I looked at Bardon's text a while ago and thought it was okay from what I remember.   I think there are also various dedicated Yahoo groups which I haven't looked at but might be of interest.

Good luck with it!  Smiley
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