These tips are mainly aimed a ceremonial magicians since many other traditions allready fulfill a lot of it through their make up, or it doesent apply to them for some other reason (ontolgy, cosmology for instance).
I have found that “going back to basics” is sometimes important and that a lot of esoteric secret hide so well in plain sight that you smack your forehead when you get an “a-ha moment”.
These tips are ,however, most beneficial when doing thaumaturgic work, that is attempting to make a difference in the material world.
More strictly theurgic work, “only” affecting energetic and spiritual parts of the magician can often work just fine even if done in a purely astral circle with purely astral symbols (visualized letters, godforms, pentagrams and so on) with only the voice, movements and body of the magician having manifest form beyond Yesod.
- Be specific. Names are formulas. Visualizing something or someone is formulaic but regardless of how you twist it, saying “that cute girl at Wall-Mart” is NOT the same thing as saying “Jenny O´Brien at Wall-Mart” and maybe even describing her. The same goes for brand names, company names and so on. It is very easy to try to increase the power of a ritual until you almost explode instead of simply making the ritual “clearer”. Describing you relationship and maybe history to whatever you try to affect also helps.
- Sequencing can be helpful. Describing your path as it lead up to the ritual in question (as it applies to that actual ritual, not necessarily your whole life history). This CAN include titles, magical degrees and earlier rituals, but also more “mundane” parts of life, thus making the ritual the next logical step in a series of steps leading up to what´s aimed at.
- Sequencing can also be a part of the formula of the ritual. LVX and L.V.X are not the same thing. That is one can invoke the elements as separate parts of the ritual, putting the verbal invocation so that what is called works in concert, but each part “doing its own thing”. OR one could put the invocations in a way so that it tells a story, invocing one element (or whatever the case may be) describing certain things in the invocation and then the next element describing events or operations following on the first. In other words, a circle where (for instance)”L” works with “V” and “X” in the circle, all in balance and for the same goal but as “individual” powers, all contributing. OR as “L” leading up to “V” and getting finalized in “X”. In one examples the powers are like three guys in a room working together, in the other the powers are like a story beginning with one followed by a second and ending with the final one, relaying the operation from one step to another. Imagine the difference in constructing a pentagram ritual where the elements are placed in their classical positions vs one constructed so that it follows a formula like the name ADNI (Adonai), starting with Aleph and invoking/banishing the same things in a chronological order to Yod.
- The easiest way to affect someone/something that is geographically separated from you is via a link. The strongest link is not only the names, visualizations, talismans “Voodoo doll” parts of ritual but actually transporting a physical, mental, verbal or other (as it suits the work) link to the goal aimed at.In African and Afro/Caribbean magic the placing of talismans, potions and more or less astral “land mines” for the intended person to step over (no one else is affected since they are not implied in the ritual/on the talisman) is common. To create a link one has to create a talisman, this can be almost anything (even a somewhat formulaic phonecall or letter ) charged for the intention and that will get in physical, mental, emotional (or what the case may be) contact with the person or situation. The best link, ofcourse, being yourself, since you are a sentient, active being that can adapt to circumstances as they arise (besides, trying to make someone “fall for you” is in my view less morally defencible than simply making yourself one sexy mf ).
- Make the ritual manifest. It is like above. If like attracts like it goes to reason that a ritual with material components will produce more material results (again, the supreme talisman or material agent is yourself). Create a talisman or use robes, implements and other physical ingredients in the ritual if physical change is aimed at ( i will write on talisman making/charging later). There is one thing of the ritual regardless of anything else that is manifest in Malkuth (the physical world) and that CAN manifest in Malkuth, YOU. Work WITH the ritual, not against it. Sitting on your ass will not produce the same or even similar results as actually doing something to realize the ritual. Again, like attracts like. If you made a ritual to become a great tennis player, practice tennis, THAT is in fact the completion of the ritual, NOT the closing of the temple and banishing. As with any other component of the work, be in concert with the powers invoked. If you made a ritual to be attractive, put on your best clothes, some perfume and attitude. If you made a ritual to get a job, apply for one (or several). You might say “but why make a ritual if i still have to do it all myself?”. Answer: Many religions and spiritual paths have a statement akin to “God helps those who help themselves”. To think otherwise would be to think that Divine powers are your servants. ALL you do is magic, or as it is so nicely put in a book i have (by Lon Milo Duquette ) “Dont make magick you life if you dont make your life magick”. First of all, the ritual might actually be the hardest work you put in. Second, the way you lead your life is an extention of your rituals (or should be), or rather part of their completion.
- Vows. Magical vows are binding. You will have no chioce but to fulfill them (or face the consequences). This is one reason for why becoming a member of a magical order, coven or similar group of an initiatory nature should be taken seriously. Oaths in an order are usually general and last forever, that is they are permanent in nature and one vow can not nullify another, only add to it. However, in magical work one can take temporal vows, only lasting to a certain date or in a certain situation (For example “O mighty Adonai, o Hephaistos, i swear to devote at least five hours of job searching every monday until i´m hired in some position within this industry” or “Ra Hoor Khuit, i vow to perform an adoration when the sun is at the horizon every day until this date” vs “I swear to henceforth…” or “I vow to devote my life to” ). Note however that even these oaths, though not everlasting are just as dire. Dont promise what you cant keep. Be reasonable. You will find great strength and discipline in them and might experience that the powers invoked help you as long as you make an effort, but also put in ordeals and trials of your resolve (that are reasonable, tough and rewarding) in it.