A Lifelong Pursuit
No matter how long you study and practice magic, you'll never know it all. You could be at it your entire adult life and still barely scratch the surface. It's like any other subject: The deeper you dig, the more you discover.
Some people begin studying one type of magic and then move on to learn about another. In the course of your studies, you'll undoubtedly find yourself drawn to certain schools of thought and not others. Your heritage, temperament, natural proclivities, locale, companions, and many other factors will influence your decisions about which path to follow.
“Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
As you explore different types of magic, you'll discover that despite their outer forms of expression, they contain many common denominators. Gaining knowledge about one school of thought can increase your facility in another. Although some purists might disagree, many people think it's fine to combine features from different magical traditions and schools of thought.
Magic transforms you. It becomes an integral part of your life and your worldview. You might study intensely at one period and then ease off temporarily; you may do lots of rituals for a time, then not perform any for a while. But once you assume the magician's mantle, you wear it forever.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like all skills, magic requires practice to perfect. The more you do it, the better you'll become. The more attention you pay to developing your talents — your intuition, your awareness of the world around you, your knowledge of symbols, and so on — the more skill and power you'll be able to bring to your rituals.
Don't think of magic as a quick fix, or you'll be disappointed. Although magic spells sometimes work very fast, it usually takes time to alter longstanding patterns. Like maneuvering a supertanker, a condition that's been in place for years might take a while to turn around. Especially if other people are involved in the situation and/or outcome, it may be necessary for them to change their attitudes before you see results. In many cases, you must participate on various levels to produce the outcome you desire; doing the spell or ritual is only part of the process.
Record Your Experiences
A grimoire is a journal in which you record your spells. Also known as a Book of Shadows, it's a magician's secret diary and recipe file. Usually, you don't reveal your secrets to anyone else, however, you may choose to share them with a magic partner, members of your coven, or other people you trust.
Some grimoires are handsome, leather-bound volumes, while others are simple spiral notebooks. A loose-leaf binder that allows you to add and remove pages can be a convenient option. Decorate your grimoire in any way you like, with pictures, symbols, and so on. The point is to engage your imagination and personalize your book.
Many people have trouble focusing their minds. Multitasking isn't a plus when you're doing magic. Because the mind is the most important tool in magical work, you need to discipline your thoughts and learn to concentrate. Focused ideas and clear images generate better outcomes. If your mind keeps jumping about from one thing to another, you'll get mixed results.
Logging your spells in a grimoire enables you to catalog your actions and results. Date your spells and rituals, as well as the outcomes you experience. Note astrological data such as the moon's phase and sign, sun's position, and significant planetary patterns. Describe the situations or conditions in your life that are related to the spell, as they may influence what transpires. You might find it useful to jot down any feelings or thoughts you have while doing the spell, too.
Over time, you'll probably update some spells as you discover which ingredients and procedures work best for you. As you become more proficient at magic, your spells and rituals may become more complex or specialized. Like a cook who's always expanding her culinary repertoire, you'll continue revising, improving, and adding new spells throughout your lifetime.