The Essentials of Practice - The Foundations of Druid Magic

The Druid Magic Handbook: Ritual Magic Rooted in the Living Earth - John Michael Greer 2008

The Essentials of Practice
The Foundations of Druid Magic

One of the great obstacles to success in magic is also, paradoxically enough, one of the easiest to overcome. It unfolds from the common belief that the way to learn magic is to get hold of secret teachings most people don't have, either by opening the right book or finding the right teacher. This belief helps to sell books and boost the egos—and, often, the income—of teachers willing to cater to it, but it has nothing to do with the realities of learning magic. The secrets of magic have been public for centuries now, and yet the number of competent mages in the world has not gone up noticeably during that time.

Knowing secret teachings, in point of fact, will not make you a mage. The real secrets of magic are the same factors that bring success in any other human activity. This point has led more than one mage to argue that all human activities, without exception, are varieties of magic.

Imagine for a moment that instead of wanting to be a mage, you want to become a guitar player. You would not expect to reach that goal by announcing to your friends that you have become a guitar player, dressing like your favorite lead guitarist, reading plenty of books about guitar playing, buying guitars and leaving them around your home for visitors to admire, or attending concerts and listening to other people perform a few times a year. It never fails to amaze serious occultists how many people expect to become mages by doing the equivalent!

If you plan on becoming a guitarist, rather than just pretending to be one, three steps will get you from the desire to the reality. First, you need to decide what kind of music you want to play, and learn about its history and traditions, while picking up a good general knowledge of music theory. Second, you need to get a guitar and practice playing it every day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. Third, you need to learn from your practice, and to compare what you can do with what you want to do, not so you can puff up your ego or wallow in how bad you think you're failing, but so you can see what needs work and measure how your learning process is coming along.

These same three factors—knowledge, practice, and the ability to learn—are also the keys to magic. If you study magic, practice magic, and learn from your magical experiences, you'll become a competent mage. It really is as simple as that.

The art of ritual magic contains many different forms of practice, but three of them form the foundation for your training and development. The first is ritual itself, the second is divination, and the third is meditation. Think of them as the three legs that support the cauldron of Druid magic. The sooner you begin practicing these things, and weave them into your daily routine, the sooner the doors of Druid magic will open for you.