Intro To Magick: A Tale of Noobery

You ever make plans with someone, and then immediately afterwards know in your gut that, one way or another, they're not going to work out? Ever meet someone and sense something sinister before any real interaction? 

Ask yourself, at the end of these situations, do they normally end up working out the way you expect?

That's not a coincidence, but I won't go so far as to say you're psychic either, these are direct results of human will and intuition. Energy and focus, which are the basis of all practices in magick, and fuel all daily practices in human life. Without focus, there would be no goal, without energy, there would be no success. Religion is successful, not because God makes it so, but because people make it so, but then that begs the age-long question: is God an external being, or are we, as living creatures, God? A subject best discussed another time. 

Growing up, I always had a deep interest in pagan practices, magick, Wicca, and everything else that falls onto the spectrum of occult belief and practice. What started as an obsession with homemade 'potions', born out of my mom's spice rack, later bloomed into full-on late night, candle lit rituals with my best friend in her creepy attic, complete with animal bones and crystals neither of us actually knew how to use. 

The effort to continue practicing and learning soon lost my interest and left me in sort of a spiritual void for a couple years, and in that time (I'm not entirely sure if it's connected, but it's a good thing to question) I found myself losing interest in my life entirely. Fast forward to when I finally moved to LA, now fast forward to a year after that. I met my boyfriend of the time and, almost suddenly, my life was reopened to a side of the world I had previously found my way out of.

He was the first of many people I've met out here that openly expressed an interest in the unseen spiritual dimension that's layered over daily human life. Through my spending time with him I was introduced to, what I hadn't previously been privy to, the ever-growing community of deeply spiritual LA inhabitants. It's funny how once you meet one person with knowledge, you gain some knowledge of your own and suddenly these people seem to flock to you, they become apparent. 

Now (at the risk of sounding like a pretentious, self-titled prophet) the energy flows through me with a grace and subtlety it previously lacked, I'm open and absorbent to information, I feel in tune with the flow of consciousness that surrounds me and inhabits my being. 

NOT entirely, not entirely at all. I am far from enlightened and I am far from knowledgable, but I'm aware, and in my experience...awareness moves you great lengths in the direction of harnessing true spiritual understanding. 

So here you go, here's your chance to become aware, here's the first step: YOU ARE NOT ALONE, none of us are. For even walking down a dark street at night, seemingly in solitude, thoughts are still buzzing, and they're not only yours. 

Before jumping into heavy history or lengthy explanations of practices, I want to tell a story. 

One night, I was with a couple friends, we made our way to the top of an exhaustingly large hill in Griffith Park, with nothing but the glare of our cellphones lighting the way, and the intention of using our friend's ouija board. We found a decent spot amongst some brush and proceeded to devise our plan of action, first step: 10 minutes of meditation. The spot was on a slight incline so we all ended up sitting, facing the same direction to avoid discomfort. 5 or so minutes in, I began to hear movement ahead of us coming from the trail we took up into the park. I immediately opened my eyes, out of fear of being apprehended by a park ranger (park is closed after dark) or some menacing being, and began tugging on my boyfriend's sleeve. He quieted me and said it was nothing but, me being the anxiety-ridden freakmo that I am, I kept my eyes opened and sat without meditation amongst my silent and serene friends and watched, and listened. That's when I noticed the glare of a flashlight in the distance, I started tugging at his shirt again and was promptly told to relax, so I quietly watched as the light gained on us. The owner of the flashlight was about to reveal themselves, and I was about to piss myself, when she finally appears and I realize it's an old woman hiking with her husband. She comes out of the brush and, upon seeing us sitting quietly, in formation, in the darkness, all of us facing in her direction, let's out a shrill scream that sends us all into uncontrollable laughter. Her husband laughs and, in passing, informs us she's terrified of ghosts. In their absence we all attempt at regaining composure, but give or take a few giggles in we all realize the meditation is lost and we might as well move on.

Our next plan of action was one suggested by Eli, my then-boyfriend, and that was to perform a banishing ritual in an effort to prevent dark spirits from making contact with us through the ouija board. The ritual involves standing, chanting, and miming pentagrams in the air with your hands, so (as I'm sure you can imagine) we decided to wait a good minute before continuing, lest we be approached by the same couple and scare the poor woman into a fullblown heart attack. If I can remember correctly, there were 6 of us in total performing this ritual together and the energy was running high. We finished and moved on to the ouija board with a collective sigh of relief, I had done this ritual with Eli once or twice before but our friends had never had the experience and they all gleamed with accomplishment and raved about the feeling of satisfaction when it was done. We sat around the ouija board and Eli took the role of the communicator, our friend Owen (the owner of the ouija board) led us in a silent pre-contact ritual and we began. Eli was the only person talking, our friend Evyn was to take record of the letters we received, and the rest of us held our fingers against the planchette and listened. We agreed on opening communication to ancestors, and made contact with someone that offered the letters "GHE" before we saw rangers in the distance and decided to jam. We mused about the spirit being Genghis Khan but, hilariously enough, I'm only now realizing his name doesn't actually start with "GHE".

Of course, none of us know for sure who it was or if the letters were just a result of our shaking hands, the night still remains a cherished memory and wonderful exploration of occult practice in my mind. This is just one example, one shaky, amateur example of rituals practiced on a daily/nightly basis by true occult enthusiasts that inhabit LA, and what I find to be a sweet introduction to the tales of my sloppy attempts at participating.

Despite the things that went wrong, despite the lack of information we ended up gathering from the ouija board, there's no denying the collective utilization of energy and consciousness that took place that night. Because at the base of it all, the foundation, we were aware.