When I first discovered magick, I was led to believe that the way to obtain occult power was through intense discipline, controlled breathing and exceptional visualisation skills. Only with those skills mastered, I was told, would I be able to make use of secret knowledge. That is why I spent hours staring at colored shapes while meditating and controlling every breath. It made no difference at all. The real skills of magick are, unsurprisingly, hidden away.
We have never produced a book describing the skills of magick, because we introduce the required skills in the background of the magickal practices that we present. When you perform the magick described in books by The Gallery of Magick, you experience the skills of magick, and you develop them without consciously trying to work on them.
Magick is an experience of creative reality more than a set of skills. But I know that many people wonder whether they have sufficient skill in terms of pronunciation, visualization and focus. Correct pronunciation is not as important as a genuine desire. Strong visualization is not as important as feeling the result you want to achieve. An understanding of the theory does not make the magick more effective. The minor details of a ritual are never as important as your demeanour when you approach the work.
There is no need to develop specific skills, when simply doing the magick can make it work. If you do magick as instructed you can get results, and that is more useful than any abstract skill-set.
I would assert that you need to prepare for magick by reading the instructions in the books thoroughly. Every day I am asked questions that are already answered in the books. This leads me to believe that many people may miss out on results through being too free in their approach.
Although I encourage imperfect magick over procrastination, I believe that magick deserves to be treated with respect. You are changing your reality. You are amplifying your choices through the power of magick, and having them manifest as results. When you have achieved a few results, it is easy to forget the magnitude of this. It is a truth that is worthy of awe. Most people are not occultists. Most people do not believe it is possible to change the world through magick. Most people never even glimpse this power. To experience the power of magick is to gain rare perspective, and to sense your creative potential in the world.
I urge you to prepare for magick by reading the books so thoroughly that you are truly at ease with the concepts and practices. When you give the magickal practice time and attention, and learn the methods thoroughly, you save yourself a lot of time in the long run.
If I believe that such preparation is required, why am I such a proponent of imperfect magick? Because I want you to perform some magick. Magick that is performed imperfectly is better than magick that remains on the page. It’s an elegant contradiction. You should respect and understand magick, but only by doing magick can you know occult reality.
Choose a ritual and carry it out. Although that sounds easy enough, some people find it difficult to choose a ritual. Some find the choice so agonising that they procrastinate for weeks, months or even years, trying to find the ideal magickal solution. While I think it is wise to choose carefully, intuitive magickal practice is far more likely to bring results than an ongoing search for perfection.
When you know what it is that you want, and when you have read the books thoroughly to see what rituals are on offer, choosing the right ritual can be as simple as trusting your intuition. When you sense that a ritual may work, trust that intuition and experience the magick.
Every time you perform magick you are changed, you see the world differently, and you get a better idea of how magick works for you. Perform magick, and you become magickal.