If you’ve been following and working through this “Magick 101″ series, you’re probably not yet ready to design your own rituals. If you’ve been following this series for added informationâ€”or just to see what I’m talking aboutâ€”you may already know all of this. In either case, you can use this as an overview in order to either see where your training will go or understand ritual design in a linear, step-by-step order.
All magickal rituals follow a certain order. Some magickal systems or individuals may go through certain sections rather quickly. Others may choose to bypass certain sections. However, in my experience, the following structure can lead to great success.
Step One: Determine what you want to do
While this may seem obvious, some people don’t think about this. Sometimes, when I’ve met someone who is excited to meet the donaldmichaelkraig,* I’ve been asked if we can do some magick. “Sure,” I reply. “For what purpose?” then I get some strange looks because they haven’t thought this out. They want to “just do some magick.”
Remember, though, that the simplest definition of magick might be “willed change.” That means you have to change something A into something B. You require a magickal goal. Without a goal you’re simply wand waving and word wiggling. So the first step in a magickal ritual is to come up with a magickal goal.
Step Two: Divination
In actuality, this is a fairly new addition to ritual design based on the simple premise that you probably don’t want to cut off your hand to get a pinky ring! In truth, many magicians in the past haven’t considered this step, and many magicians have suffered by omitting it.
Sometimes, in the heat of the moment or as the result of not thinking through all potentials, it is possible to perform magick where the outcome isn’t what you expected. The example I usually give is that you do a ritual for $1,000 and a week later you learn that your favorite uncle has died and he left you $1,000 in his will. Yes, the magick worked but you would have never wished any harm to your uncle.
The solution is to do a divination before doing the magick. You can use any divination system you like, ranging from the Runes or Tarot to the I Ching or tea leaf reading. If you don’t know a divination system, you should learn at least one (I recommend the Tarot, but any system will do). Until you are capable with your divination system, you can ask a friend who does know divination to assist you.
One of the keys to getting a good divination in preparation for magick is the wording you use in asking the oracle for advice. I suggest that you not ask the question, “Should I perform this ritual?” The reason for this is that it takes personal responsibility out of your hands and puts it on pictures on cards or a crystal. Do you really want to let old drawings or pieces of polished rock determine what you’re going to do? Besides, if things don’t work out the way you expect you’re the one who will suffer, not the cards or tea leaves or rocks!
Instead, I suggest asking your oracle, “What will be the result of my performing this ritual?” In this way you’ll get good information but the free will and responsibility remain yours. If the reading is positive, you might be able to come up with ideas based on the reading that will make the results of your magick even stronger. If the reading is negative, you can work to change the direction of the ritual so that the results will be positive. You may even choose to ignore the advice of the divination, but I do not recommend it.
The advice of the divination is just that: advice. You always have free will and a free choice. A weather reporter can tell you that it’s going to rain, but you have to decide whether to take an umbrella or ignore the advice. The same is true with magick and divination. Use what you learn as advice, but make up your own mind.
Step Three: Design the Ritual
This is the step where you plan out what you’re going to do, step-by-step, in the ritual. If you use colors and correspondences, plan on what you’re going to include. If there are certain spells or ritual lines within the rite that you want to use, you may want to write them down or use ones you already know. Note: some people perform this step before step two.
Step Four: Assemble your Tools
What will you use in your ritual? Will you use your elemental tools (chalice, wand, pentacle, dagger)? Will you be using various altars? What about candles and lighting, incense, etc.? It’s easiest to get everything you need together early in your ritual preparation and design. It’s very disconcerting to get a group of people together to perform a magick ritual (or even work by yourself) and be ready to start the rite, only to figure out that you’ve forgotten something important. You may want to make up a check list as part of the ritual design and check items off as you gather them for this step of the design.
Step Five: Clean Your Area
I find that a thoroughly-cleaned home, or even just a slightly-cleaned room, feels different. The environment is lighter and more conducive to magick. So dust, vacuum, mop, sweep, and whatever else you might do, no matter how little, to make your area cleaner. If you’re working with deities in the ritual, it shows respect and honor for them. It also shows that you respect yourself.
Step Six: Lay Out the Temple
Put up everything exactly where you need it. Put the altars in the right places. Put the ritual tools and items where you need them. Make your area ready for magick.
Step Seven: Clean Yourself
Take a bath or shower. If you can’t do that at least rinse out your mouth with some cool water. If you can’t do any of that, visualize yourself being spiritually cleaned. It makes you ready for magick.
Step Eight: Banish Your Area
Use whatever banishing rituals and rites you have thoroughly practiced and normally use.
Step Nine: Do the Magick
This is where you finally perform the ritual you created. Follow the rite you designed. Part of this will include altering your consciousness. All magick in some way includes this. If your system involves “sending energy,” you will do that in this section, too.
Step Ten: Banish Again
The more effective your ritual, the more attention you will have attracted from non-physical energies and beings. The earlier banishing purifies your area from any random, unwanted entities or energies that may be there. This banishing sends away any unwanted energy or entity attracted by your rite.
Step Eleven: Deconsecrate
The act of setting up your area, performing the initial banishing, and doing the ritual has turned your site into a spiritual and magickal temple. Now it’s time to turn your area back into its original purpose by “taking down the temple.” Cover your tools and move your altar(s) so they are at an angle to their magickal direction. This is known as taking the temple “out of square.” Of course, if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a permanent place for magick, leave it as is.
Step Twelve: Make Your Magickal Record
Write down your thoughts about your preparation for the ritual and how well you performed the ritual. Leave space in your journal for future comments about the success (or lack of success) of the ritual. By observing this information over many rituals you’ll be able to tell what variables (including weather, season, your attitude, style of magick, etc.) will result in regular success.
Step Thirteen: Put Everything Away
Well, this is kind of obvious. Turn your living room, den, outdoor space, or corner of a room back into their regular purpose by putting everything away. You might choose to perform step thirteen before step twelve.
That’s it. If your magick isn’t working, is it possible that you’ve left out one or two of these steps? This is a map for doing rituals. You can’t get to where you want to go without a map. You may see shortcuts on the map, but without the map, you won’t be able to see a thing.
* The donaldmichaelkraig is an entirely fictional cartoon character who has attributed to him vast magickal abilities beyond any other human. Although the donaldmichaelkraig is imaginary, this cartoon creature is based on a real human being who has a little more magickal knowledge and skill than some people and a lot less than many others. The real person on which the cartoon is based would rather have friends than followers and who shares, to the best of his ability, what he has learned.