When you perform magick, you attempt to change something in the real world. You may want more money, more success, increased popularity. Something has to change and magick facilitates that change. But something else changes when you perform magick. You.
If you’ve performed magick to change your self, you already know this. There is a great deal of magick in The 72 Angels of Magick that is aimed at making changes to your personality, perception and other aspects of your existence. The 72 Sigils of Power, likewise, can be used for gaining insight into what you really want and need, as well as shifting aspects of your personality. But what about material magick? When you perform a ritual for more money, how does that change you? When you bind an enemy, attract a lover or increase your business success, how does that change you?
When you get the things you want, you know yourself better. When you find yourself in situations you always dreamt of, you know yourself better. When you achieve your goals, you discover more about yourself than you ever can when you are in stasis. Magick is freeing. Magick gives you more opportunities to know yourself because it satisfies your needs, and as your needs are satisfied you get a clearer view of your self.
When you are bound up with desire and hope and longing, it is difficult to see beyond your desire, to feel anything other than hope, and to know what you might want when your need is satisfied. By meeting your needs, and bringing you what you want more rapidly than would otherwise be possible, material magick expedites your opportunity for growth.
I found magick at an early age, but there were times when I was stuck with magick that didn’t work, and during those times I found it difficult to develop my self or understand my true needs. I wanted more money, less poverty, less struggle. And that is where I stayed – in a place of wanting and dread. It was very difficult to see beyond my immediate needs, desires and fears. As my magick gave me more of what I wanted, it became easier to look outward at the world. When I looked out I became more creative. When I looked out I saw more beauty. When I looked out, the great and beautiful irony is that I found so much more of myself.
It was only possible to reach that state because the most pressing needs and problems were satisfied, and for that I had magick to thank.
It’s often said that one of our greatest challenges is knowing what we really want. When you use magick, you have an advantage, because you can satisfy your needs rapidly. As your needs are satisfied you are given space to know yourself. With each magick result you are changed, because something you wanted is now yours, and you are no longer in stasis. Your state of need has passed giving you the opportunity to want something else. And that is key.
I am not aiming for a Zen-like state where I have no desire. I love having a desire, a goal, something that I want to achieve, something that I have to work at for years. That, to me, is bliss. But it is only bliss because the urgent needs are now dealt with. I am no longer short of money. I am able to stop troublesome people from bothering me. I have the love and affection I need. These needs were not satisfied overnight, and the journey to satisfying them was one of wonderful discoveries and insights. But since those needs have been met I have found the path of personal insight much more easy to walk. I have more time and energy to discover who I really am.
When one need is satisfied, another arises. I remember telling a novelist friend that all I wanted was to become a published novelist. As soon as that was achieved, I believed, I would be happy and my desire would fall away. As soon as my first novel was published, I changed, I saw more potential, I wanted more success, better deals and a richer career. This is normal, and it continues for me today. This doesn’t mean that you simply become greedy for more, but that as your needs are met, you are able to see more potential, and you are able to see what can truly please you. When you know that you don’t have to worry about paying the bills or getting to work on time, you have more room in your mind and heart to discover where you really want to be.
This may sound like unattainable bliss, or something very far off. Getting to a place where most of your material needs are met does not happen overnight. It could take decades. But the good news is that you can turn your attention to the way you change as each need is met. Whether you work on your self, or on material needs, notice how your magick is changing you. You don’t have to wait for a day when your major goals are met. Choose to notice the changes that occur in you now, and see how magick refines you as each year goes by.
In practice, I believe that working with magick that offers insight into the self is wise, even if you feel material needs pressing down on you. This is why I continue to use The 72 Sigils, and other forms of magick, to know as much as I can about myself. But I also know that when I have a material desire, the best thing I can do is work on that material desire with magick and the mundane, until it is mine.
When magick gives you what you ask for, you change, and each time you change, you know yourself better. And the beautiful thing about that is that as your desires clarify, they are met more easily. The more certain you are about what you want, the easier it is to make magick bring you what you want.
– Damon Brand