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The Three Keys of Magic

The Keys of Magic are a core principle shared by many different schools. While they may seem simple, the truth is that they can be challenging to master. Dedicate time to honing these foundational skills, and you’re sure to see results in your craft. 

I’ve included here an explanation of each key, along with some of my personal tips and tricks for success.

Relaxation

It’s difficult to concentrate when you’re not comfortable. Minimizing distractions and developing an ability to focus through them will be essential. I’ve repeatedly insisted that meditation is the number one skill any witch or magician needs to master. This is one of the many reasons why. The importance of mental control seems like a no-brainer, but I’m always surprised by how often people neglect their meditation.

To begin, find a quiet and comfortable place to work where you are unlikely to be interrupted. Ground yourself, and clear your mind. Gradually allow all the tension to leave your body. From this empty, neutral position, begin to focus your will on your work.

As you gain experience, you should train by increasing your level of distraction. Practice relaxation and focus in places that aren’t ideal, so that you’re equipped to do even better. Cultivating your skills here will allow you to successfully work magic in less and less ideal situations, giving you an edge and the discipline necessary to be successful when it truly matters.

Visualization/Concentration

During your ritual, adopt a single minded focus. It’s not enough to express your desire, you need to see the thing you want as though it’s already come to pass. Instead of “I want a promotion at work”, think “I have been promoted”. See yourself receiving the promotion, feel the joy and satisfaction of your new role. Bask in your boss’ praise. To help make the thing real, try to engage all your senses. Imagine the way the place smells, what it tastes like, how it feels. What’s the quality of the light? What’s the soundscape like?

You must truly cement the thing as real in your mind. This key goes back to the Principle of Correspondence, if you’ve ever studied Hermetics. Even if you haven’t, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “as above, so below”. The continuation of that is, “as within, so without”. Make the thing real inside of you, so that in the next step it can become real outside of you. Take the time to sink into it. The solidness of this visualization will directly relate to the strength of the outcome.

Projection

This is easily the most difficult of the keys to master. In order for your magic to do any work, you first have to send it out into the world. All that energy, focus and desire you built up during your ritual needs to be released. For this to happen, you’ll have to relinquish all attachment to your spell, along with any desire for a result.

To help with this, I keep a journal of my workings. Following each ritual, I record what I’ve done in a dedicated book, along with any details I consider significant. Depending on your craft, those details may include things like the moon phase and the position of certain stars, or they could be the entities you worked with and any offerings given. I also make a point of recording significant occurrences, such as candles that wouldn’t light, strange sounds, or a personal mistake (these happen). Because I trust the integrity of my recordings, I feel secure releasing my work. Transferring the memory from myself into the book is a symbolic activity that helps me detach from it.

My personal rule is not to return to that writing for three months. At that point, I’ll review the ritual and assess its effectiveness.

Sometimes, even after documenting the work and trying to release, I’ll come back to a spell and discover that it didn’t have the desired effect. At this point, I’ll concede failure and begin a retrospective. Shockingly, this final admission that the work did nothing sometimes has the power to complete the third step, causing your results to manifest. If you find your rituals aren’t resulting in an outcome you’re happy with, consider the possibility that you haven’t truly let go of them.