The idea for Practical Magic for Beginners came out of my experiences with teaching at the School of Night. My co-teachers and I trained more than two hundred people in the same basic techniques: how to ground and center, visualize, chant and dance. We taught protection of self, family, pet, property. The same questions came up in class after class:
- “How do I find a job, get money, advance my career?”
- “What magic can help me cope with my relationships?”
- “Do you have advice about how I can do magic where I live?”
- “How do I work around my health issue?”
- “Where should I take my magic next?”
These questions let me know what was top of mind for people entering the world of magic and gave me an outline to structure the book.
The book is structured in two sections, but it really has three main components. First, technique, the magical how-to. Second, a set of rituals to improve everyday life. What many people miss is the information. I documented the Magician’s Body of Knowledge, what you should pick up one way or another in your first year of Western (European-based) magical practice.
The rituals are based on the Magician’s Body of Knowledge. Western magic works with the earthly powers of the elements and the powers of the planets – what Aleister Crowley called “mysterious matter, in fourfold and sevenfold division”. Each ritual combines an element with a planet to provide the energy to power the ritual. Since they don’t call on deity, they don’t fall into a specific Pagan tradition, although they are loosely aligned with the Hellenistic (Egyptian-Greek-Roman) magical systems.
This was the book I wanted to hand to each of my School of Night students. It was first published in 2005 and has gone through six printings so far, so clearly it reached an audience! I have talked to many people who picked up the book at the beginning of their journey, and others who wish they had had it starting out.
I advise seasoned practitioners to pick up the book as well, even though it means buying a book that says it’s for beginners! If you’ve practiced more than one year you hopefully have picked up the how-to. The rituals offer magic for everyday problems; maybe you already have those, but if not, these are quick and easy to do. The real value is in the Magician’s Body of Knowledge. Do you know what synthema is? Have you done your meditations on the magical pyramid? What herbs do you use for Mercury? The book is a handy reference for the standard correspondances.
May you always have what you need!