Ritual magick is no different from any other activity that you may carry out in a systematic way. Yes, it is true, it is more formal than folk magick: you are using special tools and following a series of preordained steps based on traditional practice. But this does not mean that it has to be so complicated as to be beyond the capabilities of any normal person. You do not need special powers; and the preparation is just the same as you would do if you were redecorating a room, servicing your car or preparing your annual accounts.
When you decide to do any of these tasks, you set out the necessary equipment in advance, so you are not constantly dashing off to find what you need. You check that it is all in working order and you probably consult a reliable reference book, computer software or calculator to clarify the necessary stages and finer points of the method. And that is exactly what preparing for ritual magick is like.
First, you need to collect any relevant information; for example, you must find out which tools, herbs, candle colours, etc. you may require. Then you must check that your magical tools are charged with power. You must check whether the hour and the day are well-chosen to benefit from the energies and are most aligned to the focus. If you are working with a group, you must decide in advance who is to
carry the salt and other elemental substances round the circle, who will perform particular parts of the ritual, such as welcoming the Spirit Guardians.
This preparation is important, although. You do not even need to belong to a coven to create beautiful rituals. Indeed, practicing alone, you will find that as you increase in confidence, the natural rhythm of the ritual cycle will amplify your own innate powers and you will feel angelic or divine forces joining with you as you walk around the circle and hear their voices mingling with your chants.
You should not allow yourself to be overawed, by books and practitioners who vaunt their knowledge of obscure magical phrases, measure their circles down to the last millimeter, and insist that only their form of working is authentic. What matters is the actual connection you make in your ritual with the storehouse of natural and higher energies – and that can be done with a kitchen candle if the need is great and the intention pure.
Ultimately, the power is within you, and as you become skilled with magick, you may find that the external form becomes less important.
However, formal magick does have its place, for a special need or for raising spiritual awareness, or for focusing magical energies through the accumulated power of tools charged and regularly used for a positive purpose. Some people believe also that in the ritual you tap into the energies of all those before you who have created circles of power and protection, and within them have raised and called upon the elemental qualities to bring desires and needs from the thought to the material plane.
The Aims Of Formal Rituals
Rituals and spells at all levels cause a positive change or effect, whether for oneself, a loved one or the whole ecosystem, as they bring healing, peace, reconciliation or whatever is needed in the spellcaster’s life. But over and above all these is the purpose of raising one’s own levels of awareness so that perhaps for a few moments you feel connected to a higher power, perhaps even the source of divinity, and this is best expressed through the more ceremonial forms of work. The awareness you attain may be experienced as a sense of deep peace, of being filled with golden light, of floating through clouds or certainty of being loved and protected, perhaps even as a glimpse of a Divinity.
Formal rituals do not have to be focused on a particular aim, however. Sometimes, you may wish to carry out a ritual without having any specific purpose in mind. In this case, you can simply cast a circle and raise the energies gently through a natural focus of herbs, flowers or fruit, allowing wisdom.