4. Know What You Really Want
If you want to get magick working, knowing what you really want is more important than effort, faith, belief, imagination or anything else you might throw at a working. If you genuinely know what you want, magick is just a final push to get your result to manifest.
What I’m suggesting might sound like nonsense, because you’re probably pretty sure about what you want out of life. But to get an idea of what I mean, have a look at how many second-hand musical instruments are on sale in shops and online. Sometimes the instruments are on sale because a player is upgrading and still loves to play, but most of the instruments are on sale because those people never wanted that guitar in the first place. They dreamed about it, pictured it, longed for it and eventually they bought it, but then they barely played it, and they let it sit in a corner of the room as a sense of shame grew to the point that they could longer bear it and so they put it on sale.
I know because I have bought a lot of guitars, and although I buy some brand new, I get lots secondhand and just about every time the seller tells me the same story. They dreamed of being in a band, writing songs, playing brilliantly and maybe even being quite famous, but then they admit that they never really played the instrument because it just didn’t feel right, and you can tell they’re telling the truth because the guitar is in perfect condition. You could say that people buy instruments and then are too lazy to play, but I think it’s more complex than that. I think people buy the wrong dreams. Plenty of people want to play guitar and do so. Plenty of people think they want to play guitar, and then feel wretched when they realize they bought into a dream that was never real for them.
The dreams that excite us quickly – that make us want an urgent solution – are often the dreams that burn out the fastest when they come true. I’ve seen this at all levels of society. I’ve known poor people who are convinced that if they could just get $1000 they’d be happy. What they really want is comfort, shelter and a sense of security, but they’re convinced they want $1000. I’ve known people who wanted a career in Hollywood, but within minutes of meeting industry people in tinsel town they realized it’s a soul-sucking place and ran back to the local theatre. What they really wanted was to act. I’ve known people who’ve learned to drive racing cars, fly airplanes, buy mansions, take vacations in exotic places, only to be disappointed. Why? Because it wasn’t what they really wanted. They wanted greater self esteem and thought they could get it from buying bigger objects or doing more impressive things.
Having worked with people directly and indirectly, as well as dealing with my own issues, I know that people waste a lot of effort on magickal results that they don’t really desire. I knew a woman who performed a ritual to help find a dream job, only to realize she actually wanted to travel the world, and off she went. I have a close friend who used magick to get more artistic fame, only to realize she wanted to live on a quiet farm.
You could say that these are positive magickal results. If people get the result, and then realize they wanted something else, the magick has been educational or even enlightening. But there are two problems. One is that this is a very disruptive way to get an insight into who you are, and secondly, magick is less likely to work when you don’t really want the result. Magick that’s aimed at a desire you don’t want can even sap your energy and make you feel low.
When you ask anybody what they want, the first answer is usually ‘more money’, but it’s rare for people to actually want more money. Usually they want to be out of debt, feel security, or own specific objects or live in particular places. Although money is required to buy a car, it isn’t the money you want – it’s the car.
An exercise that I use is to clear my mind, and then imagine the end result coming about to see how it feels. This is nothing more than casual daydreaming, but you have to make sure you do this passively. If you’ve been excited about buying a guitar, don’t picture yourself playing the guitar with that familiar excitement. Instead, just remain calm, emotionless and picture the end result. Emotions will arise by themselves. If the emotions are good, then go ahead and do magick to get that result. If you feel any anguish or doubt, then you may want to think about this result more deeply.
Some time ago I was shortlisted for a contract to ghost-write a novel for somebody. I was excited about the news, especially because of the money that was on offer, so I was about to perform a few magick rituals to ensure that I got the deal. But first I had to make sure it was what I really wanted. So I sat quietly and pictured myself working on the book. I imagined the money being paid to me. I imagined the book being published. And as I did this I felt nothing other than frustration and disappointment. I didn’t like the book or its subject mater and I felt that payment was lower than I deserved for such a complex project. On the surface, I was sure I wanted that contract. Within moments of picturing the end result, I knew it was something I didn’t want. This is not divination, exactly, but a way of knowing yourself a little better.
Any time you have a desire, go through this process, even if your desire seems obvious. The technique can throw up some interesting results that give you deeper insight into yourself. A while back I used this technique even when I thought I was absolutely certain about the magickal result I wanted. I had a friend who was becoming troublesome. I decided that I wanted to get that person out of my life, and I know some very simple magick for removing somebody. It’s harmless and effective, so I was ready to go ahead. However, when I sat and imagined the result, I realized that even though my friend was annoying me, I would miss him when he was gone. What I really wanted was for him to modify his behavior. So I worked on that and he became a better friend. I’m glad I took the time to work out what I really wanted, or I would have been emotionally damaged by the loss of my friend.
You can go ahead and use magick every time you have a desire, and magick may let you know what you really want by giving you results that force you to face who you really are. Or the magick may simply not work. That in itself will tell you something. To save time and effort, it’s worth taking the time to find out what you really want.
When you apply magick to a genuine desire the results can be fast and miraculous.
– Damon Brand