Effective magick doesn’t need to be complicated. You want results, because you have needs. Knowing which ritual to use is often the key to getting good results.
If you find the right magick for your problem, you might be able to do one quick ritual and then you’ve got your solution. Words of Power was designed to solve problems with simple rituals that are performed just once. But even that book requires that you work the magick that’s best suited to your real needs. Working out which magick you need to use on your problem is a skill that develops with time, and it can improve the results you obtain.
If somebody says to me, ‘How can I use magick to pass an exam that I’ve failed several times?’ I cannot give a direct answer. Even when using Words of Power, I can’t know which magick would apply best, because I don’t know the specific cause of the problem for that person. Is it a lack of willpower, an inability to recall facts or something else? When you are faced with a complex problem your challenge is to break it down into its component parts, and then tackle each of those. Some problems can be solved by mundane methods and others will require magick.
In this example, you might find that you’re failing the exam because you’re working long hours in another job and don’t have the time to commit to study. In that case, the best approach might be to use magick to find a job that pays better, so you can work fewer hours. It’s not the first thing that might occur to you, but it might be more effective than trying to perform an ‘exam ritual’. Or if the problem is that you can’t commit to learning, you may need to perform rituals that enable you to increase your willpower. If you’re not even sure whether you want to do the exam, you might want to use contemplation magick (from The 72 Sigils of Power by Zanna Blaise) to discover more about yourself and your motivations.
It sounds obvious when you break it down like this, but when you’re wrapped up in a problem it can be difficult to see this simple truth. Problems frequently feel so overwhelming, and goals seem so far removed from the current situation, it’s difficult to picture how things could ever change. Before using magick, it’s worth taking the time to work out what really needs to change. This is where Zanna’s book has been so useful to people. When you know yourself and what you really want, getting it is far easier than when you’re fighting your own inner nature and your real desires.
No matter how large a problem may seem, you can break it down into areas that can be worked on. Many people ask if there’s magick that helps with weight loss. Is there an angel to help with overeating? Can you perform a ritual to encourage exercise? It’s not quite that simple, but it doesn’t need to be overly complicated if you are able to look at the root cause of the problem.
When people ask me if there’s a sigil to lose weight, I say that the magick has to be more personal than that. If you’re overweight and want to lose weight, you need to find out what’s stopping you from losing weight. It may be that you need to increase willpower, make more time become available or attract a guide or mentor. It might be all three. In some cases, when you break a problem down it might require a lot of magick. Although I love to simplify magick, I never want to dumb it down. In some cases, a solution to a seemingly simple problem – such as weight gain – may require a lot of work. It may take contemplation magick, along with angelic help to increase willpower, and magick to remove other obstacles that are preventing you from taking the steps required to lose weight. (There’s a more recent answer to this on the General FAQ Page.)
A few weeks ago I was asked about using magick to tackle addiction. I’ve used magick to help others with addiction, but in two of the more memorable cases the solutions were entirely different. In once case, the person I was working with needed only a small insight in order to discover more willpower and self-control. In the second case, the person was heavily addicted to a prescription medicine – there was no inner pain to be discovered, as such; I just had to help this person through. The solution was complex, requiring magick that could ease symptoms of withdrawal, help solve other life problems so that the experience wasn’t as stressful, and ensure that adequate family support was in place. All this could have been achieved without magick, but it would still have required us to break the problem down, to know where best to direct our attention. Once we knew all the things that need to change, we were able to use magick to make the process run more smoothly.
You might find that contemplation magick is the best way to break a problem down. Or you might make notes, brainstorm or otherwise dig through your preconceptions about a problem. It can help to pretend you’re solving the problem for somebody else, or to picture the problem being far in the past and seeing how it was solved. This does take imagination and the courage to dive into yourself, but it is always worthwhile.
When you do this kind of work, you may be surprised at how often the obvious ‘surface’ problem is not the real problem at all. This in itself makes magick valuable. You are encouraged to discover your real needs, and before you even perform a ritual, your magickal intention has put you back on track. When you’re aligned with your true will, magickal results manifest with the greatest ease.