No one likes to talk about it, but we've all experienced it: the disappointment of ineffective magick. Spells don't always work, and the frustration caused by magickal failure can build up over time and hold us back from achieving our full potential. No one likes to fail, and if we don't nip the problem of ineffective spellwork in the bud, we run the risk of giving up on the hope and promise of powerful, miraculous magick. You want success; you want to cast spells that meet their mark consistently and efficiently. That's why I wrote The Witch's Bag of Tricks; I wanted to open up a way forward, offer a hand in pulling my fellow witches out of the muck of mediocre magick.
Through all the ups and downs of my own magickal life, I've discovered what it takes to keep one's practice fresh, effective, and thriving. The secret is simple: if we aren't getting better, we're getting worse. When we dare to go further spiritually, when we strive to increase our magickal and psychic abilities, it all suddenly becomes very exciting again. By teaching and challenging ourselves in new ways, we grow, and as a result, our magick benefits.
One way to boost your skills and improve your magick is with a daily magickal workout. Strengthening your magick is easy, and it doesn't take a lot of time, either. In fact, if you can spare just fifteen minutes a day to flex your magickal muscles, you'll see major improvements in your spellcasting within a moon cycle. Here's a magickal workout you can do each day to keep your practice vibrant and your spellwork sharp.
The next stop on the circuit could focus on a divination technique. Pull a tarot card from your deck, roll the dice, pick a rune. See how fully you can develop the impressions you receive from the oracle within a sixty-second time limit.
Next on the psychic training circuit might be an exercise to strengthen your ability to consciously "turn on" your ESP and hone in on whatever might require your attention. You might try a contemporary exercise using the television or radio. Try to psychically tune in to the airwaves and see if you can decipher what song, TV show, or commercial might be on, then turn on the device and see if you're right. Repeat the exercise as you scroll through stations for the rest of the minute.
For the next minute, focus on your ability to psychically tune in to people you know. Think of a friend or family member and try to sense what they are doing, where they are, etc. Then call the person up and just say that you were thinking about them and wanted to say a quick "hello" and see what they were doing.
If you still have a minute left for your psychic circuit training after the telephone exercise, try this next activity to strengthen your ability to perceive energetic vibrations through barriers. Choose two herbs that are similar in texture but different in appearance. Oregano and basil would work well, as would small bits of pine needles paired with rosemary. Place each herb into an envelope or a cup or bowl with a lid—you need to make sure you have two identical, opaque containers for the herbs so that you won't be able to tell them apart by sight. Mix the positions of the containers until you don't know which is which (or get a friend to help), then see if you can psychically decide which herb is in which container, using your ESP to "see through" the container and view the herbs inside.
Five minutes of psychic circuit training moves along quickly and really puts your skills to the test. If you feel it's too difficult at first, you can reduce or extend the time of each exercise or adapt the exercises to better suit your skills and interests. Just keep at it and don't make it too easy; believe in yourself and utilize the extent of your powers. Your ESP will quickly rise to the challenge.
Once the dirt has been prepared, switch around the positions of the marked and unmarked containers or enlist the help of a friend. What you need to accomplish is mixing the containers until you don't know which is which. Another way to do it would be to prepare the dishes of dirt in advance, perhaps making several sets of containers and "magicking up" the dirt ahead of time so that once it's time for your magickal workout, you've forgotten which containers have been empowered.
When you're ready, spend another minute exploring the energies of the two containers at hand. See if you can discern by touch, smell, or feel which of your two containers is holding the magickal dirt.
Melanie Marquis is the founder of the United Witches global coven and the organizer of Denver Pagans. She has written for Circle, Pentacle, and the American Tarot Association. Melanie's books include Llewellyn's Little Book ...