The occultist Lon Milo Duquette famously said: “Magic is indeed all in your mind— but your mind is a lot bigger than you think it is!”
Occult practices of witchcraft, divination, manifesting and spell-casting may seem mysterious and even intimidating, and yet at root the power of these practices is simply mindfulness, sensitivity, intentionality and purity of heart.
In short, magic and manifestation are about intensity of focus, and all of the costumes, ceremonial implements, plants, stones, exercises, spells and ritual forms are only tools which help amplify the magical power which resides, not in any of these objects, but within your very own mind.
Let’s explore some ways you can bring out these mysterious and colossal powers of the psyche.
Resource the Frequencies of Plants, Planets, Minerals and Animals
Every being— including those we call inanimate like planets or stones— carry a frequency which changes the energy of the space they are in.
Incense, flowers, celestial bodies, animal totems and crystals can assist you by supplying you with an energy you are lacking, amplifying an energy you want more of, or supporting your ability to raise and send forth energy.
Different beings work upon us in different ways. Plants and herbs work through the olfactory sense— one of the most ancient faculties in the brain. The smell of cedar, sage, frankincense or even simple fire instantaneously engages a primordial and deeply powerful part of the mind, calling forth powerful abilities from within us which are usually dormant.
Crystals, on the other hand, operate by entrainment; due to the incredibly coherent frequencies of these stones, these silent, still helpers pull us into their frequency range so that our energy fields begin to mirror their patterns.
To involve the energy of a celestial archetype, you might invoke a particular planet, or time your ritual actions around astrological aspects or planetary hours.
Ritualize Your Activities
Simple ceremonial actions have a mysterious and profound power. For instance, stating your intention aloud before beginning any period of work will orient your subconscious mind to the goal that you have set, mobilizing powers that otherwise lie dormant to work on your behalf. Before meditation, for instance, you may say something like: “It is my intention to sit for thirty minutes with a quiet mind, for the purpose of allowing my frequency to raise.” Speaking this simple statement aloud has a concentrating power that is far more profound than you may realize.
Similarly, the simple act of cleansing a space before beginning your work communicates a seriousness to the deeper layers of your mind. In the simple act of ritually cleansing your space, it is as though you are also cleaning your mind and opening your heart, allowing inspiration to flood in from a more profound source. Routinely cleansing a space reinforces to your subconscious mind that it is a special, precious area of an uplifted kind, and this ritual action will actually cause it to become a space that fosters a more uplifted mode of thought. As with any ritual action, the more attention and care you give to this space, the stronger its power grows.
There are several ways to cleanse a space. You may simply open the windows and doors and let fresh air circulate, letting sun shine in upon all of your sacred items. You may also smudge with cedar or sage. If you wish to cleanse with fire, candles can be lit and burned for at least ten minutes. You may also place a bowl of natural salt in the center of your space to absorb negative influences.
Create an Altar
An altar is an area, often elevated, set aside to cleanse and purify objects, create talismans, attune with higher powers and perform magic. It serves as a point of focus, and usually displays images, symbols or implements which revolve around a certain intention, frequency or celestial power.
The purpose of the altar is to assist concentration upon the chosen energy and exalt imagination. Therefore, be extremely deliberate with what you place upon this altar. There should be nothing superfluous upon your altar, and nothing placed there merely for the purpose of decoration. Only that which invokes the relevant energies, or which helps reinforce your sense of power, concentration or devotion should be displayed.
Remember: magic power is called forth by your focus. Therefore, you do not want, in the middle of an important meditation, to cast a glance upon a family photo, and then have your mind wander off to a distant memory of your summer vacation at the lake. Choose visual symbols that makes it easy for your mind to remain focused upon your chosen purpose.
It is not necessary to have an elaborate display. The most modest of altars— a cup of water, for instance— can be as profoundly effective as any when it is used by one who is clear in mind and pure in heart. The outward and visible sign, whether it is a cup or cross, a staff or wand, crystal ball or feather, is but a focusing point of attention which enables the worshipper to come into psychic touch with the spiritual force which is the animating life of that symbol.
In other words, it is not the material substance of a sacrament which is the physical channel for a force, but also the vivid, subjective image created in the imagination of the worshipper by its ritual use. What matters most is what these objects come to mean to us and how we feel when we look upon them. Through this contemplation, we become linked with a spiritual potency which performs the work on our behalf. Linked through thought, this spiritual power may pour into the soul and accomplish its divine work.
To preserve and protect the delicacy of feeling about these objects, many keep their altars and instruments completely covered up and put away until the time for ritual work. If we only look upon these objects during designated magical times, we amplify their power, because the subconscious mind associates their appearance with a “special” happening.
Work with the Phases of the Moon
In our modern society we use all sorts of calendars and time-management apps in the hopes of increasing productivity, creativity and focus. However, we have turned away from using one of the most powerful productivity-boosters of all time— the Moon!
The Moon moves through a 28-day cycle of 8 phases, and if you understand the meaning and quality of each phase, you can organize your life and work along this calendar. Each phase of the moon has a particular character or mood which is friendly and supportive to certain activities and stifling or frustrating to others. There is a lunar phase which rewards socializing and a time which rewards introversion; there is a time for wild creativity and a time for careful organizing. There is a time for fasting and a time for splurging, a time for relaxing and a time for workaholism.
Not only does the lunar cycle provide a template for a most efficient and comprehensive schedule— it also gives us a way to infuse our routines with cosmic energy, as we align with the rhythm of the Universe. When we fall into lockstep with the greater patterns of All-That-Is, everything we do works more effectively and proceeds with greater inspiration, infused with the celestial blessing of mother Moon.