Lesson 8: What Is Magick (and how does it work)?

Karen Charboneau Harrison

© Copyright 2023 Karen Charboneau-Harrison, All Rights Reserved.

What is Magick? How does it work? Unlike what we see depicted in movies and on television, it’s not really the twitching of one’s nose or the mixing of noxious ingredients to slip into someone’s food to bend them to your will. And magick certainly doesn’t work instantly. The ingredients of real magick are desire, consistency, willpower, energy, concentration and an awareness of the tools and components of the magickal world.

Throughout history and in all cultures of the world, humans have worked magick. At first it was to promote and ensure the survival of the tribe – to get enough rain and enough sun to ensure dependable growing seasons, to draw the herds for the hunt, to aid in childbirth, to heal members of the tribe, to thank the Gods for their help and for any other needs the group might have. By reading history, we can see the great influence that magickal practices had in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, as well as during the Renaissance in Europe – all which have had a profound influence on ceremonial magickal practices today. When we study the folk traditions of the Americas, Africa and Australia, we can see the roots of Pagan and Wiccan practice.

There are basically two types of ritual in magick: Thaumaturgical which is magick that does not invoke deity to ensure success but instead depends on the will and ability of the practitioner for the achievement of the ritual’s goal and Theurgical which is ritual where Gods or Goddesses are asked to intercede to ensure the ritual’s success. The components of magick whether ceremonial or folk are the same: the ability to Meditate or Concentrate to Focus the energies, the use of Visualization to envision the intended goal or result of the ritual, Knowledge of the tools, techniques and ingredients which will work best for the ritual being worked and the Discipline to follow through on the ritual requirements which will help manifest the ritual’s goals. In ceremonial magick there is also the Theory of the Four Foundations of magick which correspond to the four elements – Secrecy/ Earth; Knowledge and Faith/Air; Motivation and Will/ Fire; Intuition and Emotion/Water. Successful magick utilizes these Four Foundations in all aspects of living: mundane, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

Magick can be done as a solitary or in a group. The plus of solitary work is that you can do the rituals that impact your life the most without having to get agreement and consensus with others that they are interested in the same goals at this point in time. As a solitary, you can schedule the ritual in accordance with your own lifestyle and schedule and the way that you perform the ritual is tailored according to your own taste. Group work has its advantages as well – a group can creatively write a ritual with experience and knowledge above and beyond what each individual may possess and more energy may be raised through the pooling of group energies. However, in order to be successful, all members of the group must be in accord about the ritual or the energies raised can be wasted.

Real magick requires the merging of mind, body, emotions and spirit. Intellectual necessities are 1) a clear knowledge of what you want to achieve; 2) a thorough knowledge of the magickal system you are employing and its symbology; 3) confidence in your ability to do the ritual well and 4) attention to detail – it’s very distracting to cast your circle and then discover that you left all the matches in the kitchen so that you can’t light your candles! Emotional necessities are 1) a deep desire for the goal of the ritual and 2) the imagination to create a ritual which brings together all the components to reach the goal as well as 3) the ability to imagine or visualize your result. Physical necessities are 1) the gathering of the tools you need for your ritual, 2) the ability to ground your energies with the earth and 3) a private space where you know that you won’t be interrupted or disturbed (or heard by others). Spiritual necessities are employed in the ethics of magick – being mindful that your ritual should not manipulate others or cause any harm.

There are many styles of ritual. Through time you will discover what works best for you. Perhaps it’s quiet meditation while you visualize your goal and then release the energies. Perhaps it’s candle magick along with the use of ritual incense and oils. Perhaps it is the charging of stones with energy. Perhaps it’s dancing or chanting yourself into a trance state before you release your focused desire. Perhaps it is the creation of an amulet or talisman. Perhaps you work best by invoking a God or Goddess who is ‘in charge’ of the type of energy you seek to harness for your ritual. Maybe it’s a combination of all these techniques and you decide which technique(s) you will use depending on the type of ritual you plan to do. You may choose to mix and match according to which technique(s) will work the best for each individual ritual.

However you wish to work your magick, remember that a big part of the success of your rituals is your ability to focus and concentrate your energies and thoughts. You cannot be distracted or the results will be just as unfocused as you were when you did the ritual. On the day that you plan to do your work, try to have as relaxed and unstressful a day as possible. If you are fatigued, you’ll get weak results due to your lack of concentration.

It is also true that your magickal results will mirror how you are living your mundane life. You can do the most exciting, focused ritual ever done in the history of the world, but if you sabotage it by your actions on the physical plane, you are wasting your time. Examples of this would be if you did a ritual for a raise or promotion at work, but at work you continued to show up late, didn’t complete your work and called in sick all the time. No matter how many candles you burned you will not get that raise. Or if you did a ritual to bring peace and tranquility into your life yet kept hanging out with the same people whose behavior toward you was what was bringing all the strife into your life in the first place. Not gonna happen. Your mundane activities and thoughts should be a reflection of your magickal and spiritual goals. Working hand-in-hand magickally and mundanely, you will quickly achieve the results you desire.

Recommended Products
Rituals for Beginners Spellcrafting
Pure Magic Inner Temple of Witchcraft

Go to Lesson 1: The Fundamentals of Magick
Go to Lesson 2: The Use of Symbology in Magick
Go to Lesson 3: Visualization in Magick
Go to Lesson 4: Developing the Magickal Will
Go to Lesson 5: Use of Energy Flows in Magick
Go to Lesson 6: The Magick of Color
Go to Lesson 7: The Magick of Music
Go to Lesson 9: The Magickal Cabinet: Basic Supplies You'll Need

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