Ritual Magic has held a powerful allure for me for many years. I have personally spent a great deal of time over the years researching, studying and experimenting with this system of Magic. My first exposure to it was in stories and film, as well as books which covered the subject of occultism. From quite an early age the idea of the grimoire (or magical spell book) has fired my imagination. It was many years however before I actually got to read one. Just how did I get interested in this subject?
My whole life I have been fascinated by esoteric topics. Some of my friendships when I was a teenager were based on such mutual interests and consisted of a continual discussion about esoteric spirituality. We were always reading some book about Native American practices, shamanism, spiritualism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and many other such subjects. While I was very eager to study the topic of Ritual Magic, it was quite difficult to come across any book that went into depth about the subject (this was back in the 1970’s). Books detailing methods of practice were virtually unobtainable where I lived. The inner core techniques were simply unavailable. What I could find were mainly books of affirmations and Positive Thinking. While useful, those techniques did not really lead to the results I was looking for.
I did manage to find a number of survey works, books that gave the history and doctrine of magic and these left an impression upon me and whetted a hunger for more. I began to evolve an interest in uncovering the specific methods which trigger visionary states and mind over matter effects. During this time I read as much as I could about parapsychology and came across a lot of highly interesting but inclusive data. It was enough however, to suggest there was enough smoke for there likely to be some fire. I figured that if such things as telepathy, precognition and psychokinesis did exist, then perhaps there are methods that can trigger these events. Perhaps those techniques are the techniques of magic? If so, then what were the core techniques necessary to successfully perform magic?
The answer dropped into my lap years later. I ended up making friends with a young woman who had rural folk healers in her family. She herself evidently had special abilities as well. She seemed to be able to perform simple rituals and be able to bring about unlikely coincidences. At first I did not take it too seriously, I would kind of smirk and roll my eyes when she would do her rituals. But then I began to notice that the goals that she would ritualize for would invariably come to pass. Oddly enough, this made me feel both excited and uneasy at the same time. It seems to be the case that when we are confronted by uncanny occurrences it seriously threatens the ego’s grip on ourselves and what we assume to be fixed, stable reality. The ego likes to think it is in control at all times. Magick has a tendency to spank the ego and send it scampering for shelter! For me, this spanking also served as a wake up call, one which further changed the course of my life.
I began to question my friend as to how she accomplished her Magick. Step by step she outlined the basics of what she did. It was a simple method of choosing objects, gestures or symbols that strongly suggested to her the purpose of her ritual. She then would strongly generate the emotions associated with her goal. She then would distracte her mind completely away from the purpose or goal of the ritual, instead putting her total focus on the ritual itself. After the ritual she turned her attention to other things, purposefully forgetting that she had ever performed the working. Then some strange coincidence would later occur which would manifest her desires.
Observing the effects of her rituals woke me to the practical possibilities of ritual and Magic. Fortunately books then started hitting the shelves just at that time, revealing the actual methods of Ritual Magick. I began to read what I could get my hands on and I began to experiment. I started keeping a notebook of my findings and began daily practice, logging in any results that I obtained from experiments. One thing that I discovered is that the methods my friend described tallied exactly with what was outlined in the literature. Another discovery was that psychic and magical effects are directly related to the ability to go into an altered state of consciousness and hold it. This is what can make magical results so difficult at times to obtain. After steady practice, I too began to have strange coincidences in response to rituals that I performed. In time it began to open up a number of avenues which had been previously closed off to me, such as membership in esoteric organizations and other opportunities. Eventually it helped me to meet the woman who would be my wife.