1. No Skill
Have you ever seen someone who can't cook, trying to cook?
Or someone who can't drive, trying to drive?
They fluff around, bumble here and bungle there, get upskittled and upset, depressed or angry, annoyed or defeated - and the results are *very* iffy indeed, if ever we even get to a result that may well be a burned mess on a plate, or a car in a ditch.
People who start with ANYTHING AT ALL are going to be in that position. Magic is no different. OF COURSE if you can't do it and you don't have the skills YET, you're going to make a disappointing mess.
You need to remember this when you start out on something new.
You need to take your disappointment and anger or depression and say, "Right, so that was that. Let's do it again. See if I've learned anything yet."
Skills develop when you do something repeatedly AND you learn from your previous experiences. That's a very important aspect of this, because JUST doing the same stupid old thing badly over and over again will ALWAYS give you the same bad results.
You need to LEARN and CHANGE the way you approach the thing if you want to acquire skills. Sometimes, you need to learn to change your attitude - become more relaxed about it, wait until you are in a better frame of mind, or simply ask yourself what the worst problem was on this attempt, and work on that first for the next attempt to get some improvement going.
The skills needed for magic include:
Being able to control your state (to be able to enter a wide variety of different meditative states, from very deep and calm to highly energised states);
Being able to control your focus of attention (to hold an idea or purpose steadily in mind);
Being able to visualise well (to see things, envision things, ideas, outcomes);
Being able to read, sense and feel energy (to be responsive to the invisible components of any given thing, or situation).
Being able to raise energy and to evoke existences (to think and speak in such a way that it resonates and is real in the invisible realms).
These sort of skills are quite unique to magic and even though each person is born with them, they are not practised at school or modelled in the home (usually) and it takes a while for us to learn to do these things, and become good at them.
Until we are, our magic will suffer from our lack of skills in that area. It doesn't mean you can't do magic if you can't do these things; it just means that if you were a cook, your meals would end up not being particularly good. But even a bad cook is better than no cook at all for the starving children, so in that vein, do your thing and simply vow to get better at it over time, rather than declaring yourself to be "born a bad cook" and leave at that, as so many people unfortunately do.
2. No Knowledge
Magic is one of those things that you really don't get into contact with until you start digging and a search of your own.
REAL magic is a very rare beast indeed. Most of what you can find even after searching on the bookshelves is basically a load of codswallop - or bullshit, if you will. So acquiring basic knowledge about magic is a very difficult endeavour, compared with learning about geometry or how to grow a house plant from seed.
Another problem with magic and knowledge is that there is very little COHESIVE information - it's all bits and pieces from this source or the other across the ages and cultures, and lots of it doesn't match.
So if you're trying to build up "a knowledge of magic", you end up like a person who's bought 150 old puzzles from a second hand store - we don't know what pieces are missing, and all the pieces we have are jumbled together in a huge black garbage bag!
Many people sit down and try and puzzle together some form of knowledge from that mess - Alister Crowley is a sterling example of someone who spent his entire life (yes, his ENTIRE LIFE!) on sorting through the bits and bobs of the ages and arrange them into some kind of supermap of magic knowledge - only to find just before he died, that he hadn't learned a thing.
Like Crowley, you can spend an entire lifetime on this second hand stuff and get absolutely nowhere (well, or end up as a washed out penniless heroin addict in Bexhill On Sea!) - OR … you can simply start assembling your very own knowledge, from scratch, through experimentation.
Try a simple, simple spell. Do it many times. Take note of the results and what it felt like to do that. Keep what works, and discard what doesn't. Do it again and again until it works for you. NOW you have a piece of REAL KNOWLEDGE - the rarest thing on the planet, indeed, for all the myriads of gazillions of googles of words published across the times of men!
Now you have a start, your own personal foothold in the strange country of real reality, of truth, and you can build on it from there.
There is no shortcut to this, in truth.
People think they can learn from people like Crowley, that he "knew the truth" and could teach us now, and thus avoid that experimentation and self learning phase and save themselves the time and trouble of REAL LEARNING, of WISDOM, but I'm afraid that such folk are deluded and will likely wash up on the shores near Bexhill, just the same, having essentially WASTED THEIR TIME ON THIS PLANET altogether.
So, if like the rest of us you have little or no knowledge of magic, that's fine. We're all in the same boat. Start learning for yourself TODAY, and your real knowledge will grow - and so will your magic, in direct proportion to that.
3. No Confidence
There isn't a single thing you can do well without confidence, whether it is sex, rock and roll, dancing, typing, cooking, swimming, or riding a horse.
If you haven't got any confidence, you're going to be feeble, hesitant, reversed, incongruent, and whimpering out at the first hurdle or difficulty.
Confidence in magic is a multi-splendoured thing. As well as the general and global problem with creating bad performance anyway and in anything if there isn't any confidence, we have in magic the added problem that people, especially beginners, are in doubt as to WHETHER IT EXISTS AT ALL IN THE FIRST PLACE!
I used to be a professional dog trainer, and there's this exercise where a dog has to go out into a field, "quarter it" which means going backwards and forwards, and it has to find a small object which was hidden in that piece of ground, and bring it back to the handler.
There was ONE SINGLE THING that would decide if a dog would EVER learn to do that exercise. Now, bear in mind that ANY dog has a good enough nose to find the oject quite easily, even the smallest lapdog can do it, and you really don't need a Bloodhound for that type of thing. But there were many dogs who could NEVER learn - and the reason they weren't, was because in the original training, the handler had made a mistake, had sent the dog out to look for something and the dog had FAILED TO FIND IT.
When that happens to a young puppy, it begins to questions whether there is anything there to find AT ALL - and its confidence is destroyed in that moment.
These dogs will go hestitantly out, look around a bit, give up immediately and then creep back to the handler with their tails between their legs.
Dogs who had the right training, namely where something simple is laid out to start with in plain sight and close by, so it would have success after success, and over time, gradually, the object is reduced in size and the field likewise widened out, those dogs would storm out into the field and they keep on looking - because they KNOW there's something there, they have no doubt. And of course, those dogs will FIND the object eventually - and win their handlers first prize.
This is a perfect simile for what happens to young magicians who don't even believe wholeheartedly that MAGIC IS ACTUALLY REAL!
Like the dogs who had their confidence destroyed by the faulty training, they'll go and half heartedly cast a half a bad spell they found on a dodgy website or something, and of course, nothing happens, and so they creep back to their muppet routines and declare that it is pointless to do magic "because there's nothing out there".
No more would I send out a dog to quarter a field with nothing in it, than the Creative Order would design us lot to be the way we are and there is no magic!
It would be totally idiotic and pointless - and the Creative Order is never that.
Yes, there is magic.
Yes, there is a whole lot of bullshit as well (see "Knowledge"!).
BUT we are equipped to find our way to magic if we:
a) believe it's really there (and yes, it is!); and ...
b) treat ourselves gently at the start like you would a beginner dog, with easy exercises that hold lots of succes to build our confidence; and then we can ...
c) storm out there and start looking with confidence and in earnest; so that ...
d) we come home with prizes in magic - and they are absolutely INVALUABLE!
As you can see, confidence is a progression that needs careful nourishing along the way because it can be so easily destroyed by failure.
As a magician, you have to handle YOURSELF as though you were handling a dog. You have to take a meta-position to yourself. Alright, so this didn't work and you freaked out - let's take this person and let us think about what we can do now to enhance their confidence. Be patient with yourself and come back to that meta-position of being your own "handler" after every success and failure so you know what your next step must be to grow your own confidence over time. That is essential and without this, magic will elude you and you'll end up creeping back to the soulless 9-5 life with your tail between your legs.
A sorry sight, and best avoided!
So these three, skills, knowledge and confidence are the top three areas which one needs to look at when "magic doesn't work" as it should.
Any improvement, or even DESIRE OF IMPROVEMENT in these three key areas will become reflected in an immediate improvement in magical RESULTS.
Now that is a very exciting thing!
Imagine, for a moment, you are casting a luck spell and a lame bit of luck lamely manifests a few days later, like finding a quarter in the gutter.
Alright, not exactly world shaking, is it ...
Now imagine, you improve your RESULTS through improving skills, knowledge and confidence and you cast that same luck spell again.
Now, something else happens, something much BETTER and more EXCITING than the lame quarter in the gutter from the first attempt.
Are you beginning to feel a small tingle yet creeping up your neck?
Are you beginning to have an idea just what magic can do FOR YOU -
***** if ***** it is done well?
Are you beginning to sense a growing feeling of motivation, of possibility, of unknown POTENTIAL starting to rise up within you?
Is there an idea beginning to unfold before you, are you getting a whisper of just how LIMITLESS magic actually really is?
If you are, then you are on your way and this article has served its purpose.
Go back to your study of magic with a new view, with a clearer view on what YOU, very specifically YOU!, can do to improve your magic and get better results.
Start with these top three - skills, knowledge and confidence - and build them gently, day by day within you.
There's magic out there. Go boldly and get some of it for yourself!
Best blessings from