Raising Magickal Power
by Harley Hashman
Webster’s dictionary defines power as “…the ability to do or act…” or as “…strength or energy…”. Some might say that magick and power are synonymous; after all, magick without any power is nothing at all. I think Crowley’s definition of magick is perhaps the best of all (despite what you might think of the man himself) – magick is the ability to compel change to occur in conformity with the will. Therefore power is the level of this conformity which your magick achieves.
What are some of the means of raising and increasing magickal power? I have thought long and hard on this question. There are several principles which will aid the magician in the raising of energy. There is conservation, timing, visualization, emotion, will, the use of deities, and physical conditioning.
The first principle is simply conservation. If you expend energy that might be saved and employed in magickal workings, you won’t have much potency left. I myself have a terrible temper at times and might burn off a great deal of energy cursing at that chair that leapt across my path and made me stub my toe – or that ferret that just splattered chocolate pudding all over my book of shadows, after yanking all of the bristles from my witch’s broom and scattering them all over my living room rug. Some of us might waste energy in needless worrying.
Other emotions which may be destructive to magickal workings are jealousy, rancor, envy, self-pity, and depression. Emotions arise from thought, not perception – we process our perceptions of the world and then generate these feelings. Our internal dialogue reinforces our emotional responses to the world. If we practice clearing our heads of habitual thought patterns, we can minimize this source of waste. Should we find ourselves about to waste power in useless emotional habits, about to agitate ourselves needlessly, we can enter into a state of mental silence or try to divert the course of our mental dialogue.
Some habits may lead to the consumption of our energy, including smoking, alcoholism, arguing, oversleeping, judging others or excessive criticism, complaining or whining, and self-importance. I have met many witches, sorcerers, and magicians who practice such habits (self-importance being epidemic); that badly compromises not only their ability to focus power but how other practitioners view them. An important principle of all magickal practice is self-knowledge. It is much more difficult to raise significant amounts of power without this understanding, as we can then be trapped in mental patterns that deplete our resources without the tools to break free.
Timing of magickal workings is also important. The use of lunar cycles is commonplace. Typically constructive magick, which includes such workings as spells for love, wealth, health, and protection, are done during the waxing of the moon and destructive magick, which would include binding spells, are done during the waning phases.
Why? The moon is just a vast rock in space. It has to do in part with the effect the moon cycle has on biological rhythms; the menstrual cycle is just one such rhythm that naturally coincides with the 28-day lunar orbit. Called in some Wiccan circles the Blood of the Moon, the female cycle is a source of perceptual change for that sex. For many of the species on this planet, key biological rhythms are linked to the lunar cycles. It is widely believed that during a full moon, all the “crazies” come out and this is borne out by statistics generated by police records.
Another more important key to the value of lunar timing is simply that many witches include Lunar Goddesses such as Diana and Selena in their pantheons; therefore the moon is quite important to their practices.
Visualization is another component I believe to be vital to the focusing of magickal power. It is simply the ability to form mental images of people or objects. Visualization works with emotion to raise power in the first place through one’s emotional response to an image. If one were trying to bind an enemy, for example, it is important to construct a mental image of the despicable character to be bound. This acts as a lens to focus the energies on the desired target. If the image is weak or shaky the power of the spell may be also.
I have said that some emotions can restrict the flow and raising of power. Yet without emotion, the power itself cannot be stirred up. Magick works when emotion is combined with visualization and will to produce a noticeable effect. If one does not feel strongly about a working then it may be that little or no energy can be raised. I feel the key is to isolate the feeling that is best for the working at hand and not allow other emotions to divert or interrupt the spell. Magick usually requires the use of will, a single-minded determination or attitude, combined with the fury of an emotional maelstrom. A limp, half-assed attempt is a waste of time. As Yoda said, “…Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.” And he is just a muppet with Frank Oz’s hand up his arse!
The use of deities is critical to many magickal workings. In shamanism it is the use of spirit guides or allies that grants the sorcerer a gift of power. In ceremonial magic it is the evocation of preternatural entities like those listed in the Goetia. In Wicca it is the invocation or evocation of the Fey or elementals or various gods or goddesses. In each case a being whose power is much superior to any mortals donates some of that ability, if only temporarily, to a given working or quest for knowledge. Here again it is the visualization of the entities in question combined with emotion, will and timing, that makes the transference of energies possible.
Lastly, physical condition is important to magickal workings. If one is so ill that you cannot get out of bed or your legs have recently been broken by a rampant wildebeest then your energies will be largely diverted towards healing and it would be ill-advised for you to try any magickal workings. Many practitioners, myself included, are out of shape physically and this may rob us of our maximum potential. If you are panting and out of breath after small exertions then how can you be expected to have any energy in your magick?
To raise power for magick one should practice magick – a muscle gets stronger with use. Regular magickal exercise whether alone or in a group will increase your abilities tremendously. If you are an arm-chair witch you may have the knowledge of magick but not the power to make it go.