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~ Preparing For Magic ~

Preparation for ritual magic of any kind requires the self-discipline and techniques learned from con- centration, focusing, visualization and meditation. If you desire to obtain physical manifestation from your efforts, it is essential that you actually do and practice these exercises.

Concentration is holding an image or idea in your mind without interruption. It is of great importance during rituals when you must exclude everything not directly related to what you are doing. No thoughts of the day's happenings, no extraneous noise, must be allowed to dominate your attention for any length of time. If such things do intrude, they must be immedi- ately dismissed as unimportant at the moment.

To strengthen your powers of concentration, you will need to practice two exercises. The first exercise is done with a minimum of supplies. Light a candle and set it on a table before you. Sit comfortably and look at the flame. It is easiest on the eyes to look at the blue around the lower part of the wick instead of the bright upper flame. Do not stare; blink your eyes whenever you need to. After a few minutes, close your eyes and look for the flame. You will see it against your closed eyelids. Keep your thoughts on that flame image, and see how long you can maintain the mental picture before your conscious mind begins to intrude.

The second exercise is much the same, but uses a picture instead of a candle. Choose a picture that pleases you. Tarot cards are especially good for this. Stand or hang the picture at a comfortable level and look at it for some time. Close your eyes and see if you can discern a mental image against your eyelids. Hold that image as long as you can.

Focusing is important to ritual magic as it is the process of adjusting your "inner eye" or attention on a particular object or goal. You must have a clear idea or picture of what you wish to produce while doing magic. This is very similar to concentration but more refined. An idea is harder to hold in the mental realms than a reflected picture.

It is not necessary to visualize a goal in absolute detail. Too much detail tends to limit the manifesta- tion, especially if you could have had something better. Know what you want, but never restrict yourself. The gods may be more generous to you than you are to yourself.

Focusing and concentrating on performance dur- ing ritual will channel your mental powers, thereby clarifying and strengthening the function. The act of casting and consecrating a magical circle (explained later) must have focus and concentration if it is to be done properly. If you fail to do this, the circle will not provide you with the neutral area in which to per- form magic, and most certainly will not give you protection.

Again, using the picture or card, this time elicit all associated images. See if you can create movement within the picture. Go through the same exercise with the candle flame, this time changing~ the size, height and color of the flame. Summon up associated images and follow them through. Some startling ideas have come out of such exercises.

Meditation is a great aid in centering yourself, controlling destructive emotions and gaining insight. But it should also bring a greater sense of awareness and increase your ability to visualize. All of these skills are necessary in the practice of ma~S especially if you want feasible results.

Meditation is really not a complicated exercise, unless you lack self-control. If you do, you need meditation more than ever. Relaxing, smooth music is an excellent background to help mask minor noises and help you relax. Turn off the telephone, hang a "do not disturb" sign on the door, and choose a comfort- able chair.

Listen to the music while taking a few deep breaths. Relax and let yourself unwind. Next men- tally surround yourself with white light for protec- tion. Imagine yourself standing on a wooden bridge over a calm pond. Drop all your problems into the water, and watch it close over them. This is a sym- bolic release that tells your subconscious mind that you need an answer to solve these troubles. Then visualize yourself walking on across the bridge, leav- ing everything behind.

To continue the meditation, project yourself into a meadow on the other side of the bridge. A small stream runs through the grass and flowers. Shady trees surround it. Wander through this meadow, soak- ing up the peacefulness and healing. You may see peo- ple or nature spirits. Talk with them if you like. As long as you remain objective and do not push to hear what you want to hear, you can receive very accurate guidance while in meditation. If you strain to hear what you want, you will get only messages from your conscious mind, which does not believe in what you are doing.

When in meditation, you are in an astral state. Therefore, it is always possible that at some time you will meet a being that makes you fearful or uncomfor- table. If this should happen, recall the white light and leave.

You will be able to escape the meditation any time you choose. Simply become aware of your body and open your eyes. As during ritual, time in medita- tion is non-existent. Time is a limited idea belonging to the left brain and conscious mind. When working with the right brain and subconscious mind, time has no meaning at all.

The symbolism of dropping your problems into the pond is essential. It is never a good idea to go into meditation without doing this, just as it is imprudent not to use the white light. Both are protective measures to eliminate taking negative vibrations into an other- wise productive exercise.


Excerpt From D.J. Conway Celtic Magic, We really recommend you check out D.J. Conway's Book for more information and as well as some of his other works.