So, one of the things that I probably haven’t written about yet here are the so-called unwritten laws of magick.
One of those laws is that your subconscious is the one that takes the energy you give to a spell, and seeds the universe with that. Know Thyself isn’t just pretty words… it’s important to understand your deeper self, and your intimate motivations, because yes, absolutely, they will interfere with a spell’s effects.
For example – when I was younger, I wasn’t financially stable. If I got into a tight spot, I’d cast a spell for money. In return for my energies and hopes, I’d get…
1) A ten dollar note under my foot on my way to work… which was monopoly money
2) A whole ton of pennies showing up everyfreakingwhere.
I did NOT get the amount I needed… or if I did, it ALWAYS cost me later. It was always one step forward, twelve steps back.
Another example – when I was a very young adult, I had the usual illusions about love. I cast a few “my perfect partner” spells… and someone always came along… and it was always awful. The issue was that because I didn’t believe myself worthy of love, I attracted, with my spell, people with similar issues, or issues that would exacerbate my own.
If you do not have a clear, focused, pure intent, then yeah… your spells will go badly. If you find yourself feeling doubts, fears, or having thoughts that are counter to the result you are seeking… STOP CASTING. Deal with the emotional and mental issue you’re having. Take the time to understand who you are, and where your thoughts and feelings are coming from, and take the time to nurture yourself into a healthier state. THEN go back to casting, with better focus.
Casting while fearing bad things will happen, or fearing the worst, will imbue your magick with those fears, and draw their realization into the physical for you to deal with consciously. It is absolutely dangerous if you’re not ready for it – and normally it’s counter to your actual needs of the moment. There ARE times when that should be your intent – when you’re feeling ready to deal with an issue, using magick to force it into a physical shape so that you CAN deal with it, can be very healing…
But doing it accidentally is… highly unpleasant at best.
There is absolutely a difference between “mind” and “astral” but it takes practice to learn the difference. The difference is essentially that one is internal, and the other external. Astral is EVERYWHERE. You’re in it right now. With focused intent, you can use your “mind” to shape the astral. It’s like… the mind is a muscle, and astral is the dough that you are shaping into whatever you want to bake back into reality.
If you picture an object in your mind, it’s a picture in your mind. Someone else with specific psychic skills might be able to see the object in your mind, but if you don’t do more than PICTURE something, it’s not created… YET. The ability to turn something from a picture in your head into an actual astral reality (and eventually a physical effect) requires energy and intent. You can get energy from practice, or you can get it from emotions in the moment. The stronger you feel about the imagery you’re creating, the more likely it will become an astral projection rather than just something in your imagination. Emotions, when you’re just starting, are the easiest source of energy to create a real effect which can be shared with someone else.
With the exercise I wrote, we use physical energy to create the astral imprinted spell, and we shape that energy with visualizations – the whole exercise is set up to avoid emotional overlay because that way lies dragons. Your emotions are not stable – we almost never feel only one emotion, and most of the emotions we’re not aware of in the moment are negative ones… which means that even the happiest moment is tainted by something underneath which we do not voice. Using emotion to power most spells is thus inherently untrustworthy if you want positive results. If you’re specifically raising anger or pain as an energetic bus for your spell, then yeah, emotion will do the trick.
The reason I start out with having people familiarize themselves with their own energy, as opposed to any other form of energy, is because if you know your own energy, when communication happens, if it’s not you, you’ll be able to recognize it because it will not have your own flavor to it. Until you know yourself and your energy well enough, there is absolutely a danger of misinterpreting your own thoughts as those coming from outside you. The longer you’re here on this forum the more you’ll see people who are confused by this. The ego (and I’m not talking about inappropriate confidence, but the psychological concept of an ego) is full of flaws, and when you start working with metaphysical stuff, all those flaws are going to become bigger. If you have a really negative ego, that’s going to end up being interpreted as an attack. There’s this issue with people who come to the metaphysical world seeking a magickal resolution to all their problems… and that is that the metaphysical world is the real world magnified. Whatever your problems are, adding magick to it will magnify them. The “prime directive” of magick is KNOW THYSELF – because if you know yourself, warts and all, then you can control what parts of you get magnified into the physical world, and which parts you keep from becoming monsters under your bed.
Honestly, though, the only way to avoid this particular pitfall is practice… and the willingness to deal with the fallout of being exposed and magnified. If you want to deal with magick, even if it’s only second-hand by having someone else do things for you (cast spells, conjure spirits, whatever), then you HAVE to be willing to face yourself, the worst parts of yourself… you have to be willing to be accountable for where you are in life. Magick does NOT fix problems… it exacerbates them into the physical so that YOU can fix them. It’s all about personal responsibility… and if you don’t want to take responsibility for where you are in life, then it will absolutely blow up in your face.
I see a lot of desperate people come to magick as their last ditch effort. So much in this world is unfair and ugly and overwhelming, and people don’t always have perspective. Many people who come to magick lack maturity in their emotional responses to trouble. While we can’t stop the world from turning, we absolutely do have power over how we respond to downward momentum… and if you’re stuck in a negative spiral of thought, magick is not something you should be touching. It could ALWAYS be worse.
So… the best way to avoid the issue of being bullied by yourself is to stop bullying yourself. And don’t touch magick until you’re done using yourself, or anyone/anything else as a scapegoat.
The second best is to practice with your own energy, over and over, until you know when it’s you, and when it’s not.
If you are working with energy at the time that you have unwanted thoughts coming up, you can absolutely cast those thoughts without meaning to.
One of the first exercises a magician practices is that of mental control, an exercise designed to improve your ability to focus, as well as exclude unnecessary thoughts. It’s a deceptively simple exercise.
Take five minutes and let your mind run rampant. At the end of the five minutes… write down every thought you had during that five minutes. Practice until you have perfect recall.
Take five minutes and hold only one thought. Practice until you can hold one thought, and only one, for the full five minutes.
Take five minutes and have no thoughts. Practice until no intrusions happen for a full five minutes.
Always create a detailed record of your progress. This will show you where your weaknesses are, and help you determine how to fix them.
-Ed Fitch, A Grimoire of Shadows
You can see how simple it sounds… and I’m sure you can figure out how difficult it is to actually do. For me, because I have ADD, it was pretty much impossible. I had to find workarounds for it.
I found that giving my mind something to do allowed me to focus. In the same way that someone with ADD can zone into a book or videogame and have absolutely NO clue what else is going on around them, if I turn on music or if I create a mental journey for myself, I can have that same level of focus. When I’m working magick, I can be so focused that the roof could cave in and I wouldn’t notice – but only because when I’m working magick, I am actively DOING something.
Another way you can work on your focus is meditation. You can use music to give your brain something to chew on while you dig into the trance state, or you can use guided meditations, if focus is a huge issue for you.. but the biggest asset of daily meditation is getting to know yourself, so it’s actually better to pay attention to your thoughts at that time. You have to learn to listen to yourself, if you’re ever going to help fix the issues you have with yourself or the wider reality.
The issue with magick is that people don’t do daily psychological maintenance. They don’t meditate. They don’t journal. They ignore themselves and focus on the external world… and problems build up. Magick is the manipulation of the internal to MAKE it external… which means if you’re not aware of the internal, magick will make you aware…
And in highly creative, but honestly painful ways.