Upcoming classes and events: "Living More Magically", Sun, November 6, 2-5pm, on-line or in person in Catonsville. Friday Nov 24, 4-5pm, "Black Friday" meditation, Revolve Wellness Studios in Catonsville. Contact me to register or for more information.

What Do You Want?

“Intention is the glue and play is the spark.” – Doktor Billy Bardo
“You can't get what you want till you know what you want.” – Joe Jackson

Why do you want to do magic?

I can't hear your answer, and lying to yourself is only going to cause you trouble later on. So, be honest with yourself.

Perhaps what you are seeking is one of the "needs" in Maslow's famous hierarchy. Perhaps you have practical, survival ends in mind; maybe you have social ends, you want to participate in magic with a group, or earn the respect of your friends. Perhaps, like the Hermetic magicians of the 19th century, your interest in magic has spiritual aims, you believe that magic can bring you closer to the “divine”, whatever that means to you.

Perhaps you're a curiosity-seeker, looking for something unusual and different.

Perhaps you desire power over other people. I'm not recommending or endorsing that; but I am suggesting that you look at your mix of motivations, see if that one is there, and consciously decide whether or not you want to keep it.

Magic is about change. But change is always happening. What sets magic apart is that it is willed change. A magician doesn't merely make things change – sit down for a minute and something will change somewhere! A magician makes change happen in the way that they wish – “in accordance with will”, as old Uncle Aleister put it.

And that means that the magician must be clear about what they wish. Every time we set out to do a spell or a ritual, we must have a clear intent in mind, and the best way to do that it to explicitly verbalize it.

Failure to set a clear intention can have disastrous consequences. There are many tales of magicians who failed to state things clearly: who left a loophole when they summoned a spirit and got crushed by it, or who phrased a spell ambiguously and got a result they asked for but did not desire.

And if you work magic in a group, just like any other group project you won't get far if everyone is pulling in different directions. There has to be some degree of consensus about the desired outcome if you're going to work together.

A simple way to bring this about is for whoever is leading or facilitating the group to describe their goal, and explicitly ask the other participants if that goal meets with their approval. “My friends, is it your will that so-and-so?”*

Even when performing a solo ritual, we are often of two (or more!) minds about a subject. By clearly stating or expressing our intent, we can bring a unity (however temporary) to our own mind.

For those who like more subtlety, it is also possible to draw a group of people (or a single divided mind) together into one intent by setting the circumstances, nature, and participants of the ritual, by invoking some influences and banishing others.

But don't neglect the straightforward power of a simple declaration.

What do you want?