Here are four reasons why I find it difficult to give specific recommendations for how others should go about learning magic:
It is your own Higher Self who knows what is best for you, resulting from its deep inner connection to truth and reality. Each person's training needs to be tailored to fit their own nature. Following someone else's path can stand in the way of seeing the guidance your own Higher Self wants to share with you.
I've seen truly great spiritual teachers be replaced not by those with true wisdom and compassion but by those who shoved their way to the top, driven by hunger for political power over others. They blindly step over those who would have been far better at serving students’ needs.
Sometimes, a teacher's personal desire to experience new and different things causes them to turn away from beliefs and practices that are highly beneficial to their students. A good example is what happened with me regarding the magical practice of KoFuTu. Years ago, two young ladies were getting into a heated argument across the room from me, so I used a few ancient magical symbols I'd learned in KoFuTu, drawing them in the air to clear away the anger in the room. Right away, one of the girls came over to me and exclaimed in surprise, "What did you just do? You completely took away my anger! How did you do that?"
Not having used that specific form of magic for a number of years, I've now forgotten those powerful symbols. Our teacher at the time, Jeane Hendrickson, had told us only a few weeks after teaching us those symbols that the founder of KoFuTu was asking all teachers to stop sharing them, as he was replacing that part of the practice with something quite different. But they are so powerful, now I want to remember and use them again. So I contacted the current leadership of KoFuTu a few weeks ago, asking how I can get a "refresher" on those techniques. Oddly enough, I was told such a technique is not, and has never been, a part of KoFuTu! (????)
Many times, true teachings are corrupted by the need to increase sales and earn more money. The desire for the mighty dollar is quite often given precedence over deeper truth and actual student needs.
This problem is most easily seen in the content of books. I watched a televised lecture by Joseph Campbell in which he discussed how in ancient times, people respected God as God, even when they were at war with each other. They never disrespected the God of their enemy because they knew it was actually the same God they themselves worshiped. Then one small religious faction broke with tradition and started claiming that their enemy's God was actually a devil in disguise, and so their God should be hated. This had the effect of making it easier for soldiers to attack and conquer an enemy they could view as "devil worshipers."
Later, the Hebrews learned of this battle-enhancing technique and adopted it, eventually passing it on to the Christian religion as well. But believing others to be following evil gods, demons, and devils has been a tremendous tragedy over the years. It has been the primary cause of so many destructive "religious wars," wars that never needed to happen, destroying countless millions of lives. Today this belief still blinds the masses from daring to even look at what others believe out of fear "they'll have the devil to pay," and so they miss out on essential truths others would have gladly shared with them.
After watching his lecture, I ordered the book in order to have a transcript of his words, but I was greatly disappointed when the book came and I discovered all of the above had been edited out of his lecture. A few sentences before and after had been modified away from his actual words to make it seem as though the paragraphs were complete. Obviously, the publishers were guilty of censorship, not wanting anything said against the worldwide teachings of Judaism and Christianity, as they surely knew that including such thoughts, regardless of how true they are, would reduce sales of the book, diminishing their profits.
Even the Christian Bible itself is subject to modification where doing so serves financial needs. A perfect example is Matthew 27:46 where our Western Bibles quote Jesus as saying, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Yet those same publishers print Bibles for the Eastern world that read, "My Father. It was for this purpose you set me aside and prepared me. This was your purpose from the beginning!" A Christian pastor I met once told me how he went to the publishers and asked them why they would print opposite interpretations when they knew only one could be correct. They explained to him, "We know the version we sent to the East is correct. But your parents and grandparents believed Jesus was abandoned by God on the cross, and all the major religions teach he was abandoned. If we were to correct it now, just because it's wrong, we couldn't sell any more Bibles!"
So the mighty dollar wins again, more highly valued than learning and teaching the truth.
The above reasons are why I don't want to recommend any specific organization, instructor, technique, or book. Your Higher Self knows the best answers for you and wants to show them to you. Just be open and honest with yourself as you look deep within, and learn to "follow your heart."
Below are three general steps I believe can help you focus on the process of bringing magic back into your life or becoming in touch with it for the first time:
Plan carefully what you wish to learn and accomplish each day, then faithfully follow through with your plan. It is so easy to believe you are going to take some specific action, such as meditate for fifteen minutes a day, and then forget your plan as other interests fill your mind and consume your time. So write down what your plans are, and keep that writing where you will often see it. Later, when it shows you areas where you have failed to follow through, take time to analyze why and make adjustments that enable you to keep steadily moving forward toward your goal. People who frequently change their direction seldom get far from their starting point. Know for sure that you are going to reach the end point you intended.
Begin by studying a book filled with basic truths about magic and reality, and practice interpreting the meaning of everything around you through the insights you have gained through your study. A fair number of worthy books exist for the purpose, amid many other books which are nearly worthless. The problem is that so many writers seek first and foremost to achieve financial success through their writing, resulting in books they believe will sell rather than books filled with content truth seekers need to know. When you examine a book, determine whether the writer was making stuff up as he went along from imagination or if he was writing with an openness that allowed his Higher Self to express its far deeper insights. There really is a distinct difference in the wording that reaches paper, determined by the true source of the words, and your Higher Self knows when you are reading words that came from its own level of consciousness. Let it guide you toward the right choices for your study.
A good example is the worthless dream-interpretation books that list a bunch of symbols such as babies, animals, clothing, being chased, houses, crosses, exams, food, hair, hands, nudity, roads, cars, schools, etc. and attempt to define what each one means when you see them in a dream. Reading such books is pointless, because everyone has their own set of symbols and meanings according to their own nature and past experiences. Dreaming of a house, for example, doesn't always mean you feel "unsheltered." If you want to know the meaning of your nighttime dreams, you can use a technique I was taught that I described in my book A Lifetime Of Magic
in the section named "BECOMING SOMEONE ELSE." This technique works amazingly well, opening you to a much deeper understanding of your dream's meaning.
When an author is allowing information from their Higher Self to flow through them to the pages they are writing, their words are guided by knowledge of the future. One's Higher Self can see how readers would respond to each possible way of stating the truth, a process that guides the writer's selection of words to produce the best results.
For myself, I chose Rhonda Byrne's book The Secret
as the foundational statement of truth for my future growth. Rhonda traveled around the country, finding more than twenty teachers inspired by their Higher Selves, and allowed each to add their wisdom to her book, giving each author full credit for their part.
Some feel the one shortcoming of her book is that it does not stress enough the importance of taking concrete action yourself, leading some to think magic will do all the work for them. They sit back and wait for magic to drop the final results in their lap—but it doesn't work that way. It's not like going to a theatre to watch a good movie where you sit back in your comfortable seat with a box of popcorn and quietly watch magic make it all happen on the screen in front of you, requiring no active involvement from you. Such people leave the "theater" filled with disappointment, holding only their empty box of popcorn while believing magic doesn't work for them.
But magic DOES work! It works every time. What they failed to understand is that THEY are the hero in the movie, the leading actor, the star. THEY are the powerful protagonist who sees everything through to the end, reaching out to grasp the prize after walking through each door that magic opened for them.
Magic will always open doors as needed and show you the next step to take, and then the next step after that, and the next. Your job is to stay focused on the goal, not to decide where the next door should open or how. Magic often opens doors in places and ways you never would have expected; trying to create your own set of doors and methods tends to hinder the process far more than help with it. Just tune in with your Higher Self as your guide and be the hero you know you can be. Let magic be your "sidekick," working right there beside you every step of the way.
Once you're able to feel how magic is all around you, integrated with your physical and mental reality, it's time to choose which magical talents are the first ones you'd like to develop, moving forward with a 50/50 balance between study and practice.
If you want to investigate the spiritual world, perhaps using astral travel to visit other people and places, you definitely need to begin with a good book on the subject
from someone who's been there and really knows the experience intimately. This can avoid the risk of encountering some quite disturbing "unpleasantries."
If you choose to do psychic readings, possibly using Tarot cards
as an aid in your divination, remember that you'll be seeing both the good and the bad regarding your client. People usually hope (and some will even demand) to hear that love, wealth, and success are coming their way. They want your reading to be fun. But what they most need to know is often how to best deal with the less pleasant things you discover, making the reading far more useful and meaningful beyond its entertainment value.
Everyone buries things deep inside, hidden away from their consciousness when they are too scary, or even painful, to look at. These things can be easy for you to see because they are emanating directly from the person right there in front of you! But be very gentle and careful in choosing what to reveal to them. Tell them the good they want to hear when you can do so honestly, but also seek to help them understand how to best deal with the less pleasant things you've become aware of. You are in a position to help them move into a future with more honesty, joy, and success around them, and that makes the work you do well worth the effort.
Whatever magical path you choose to embark on, be content to take it slow and "smell the roses" along the way. All the magic in the universe will continue to be there, patiently waiting for you.