~ A quiet, non-reactive mind
~ Good physical and emotional health*
~ A sense of your own personal energy field
~ Creative visualization skills
~ Progressive relaxation techniques or similar
~ A daily spiritual practice, however you define it
~ A daily study period for reading and practicing magical techniques
~ Manipulation of your own personal energy field and other natural forms of energy
~ A security in your own personal power, breaking the habit of reliance on others and helplessness, personal accountability
I think a competent magical practitioner is far more about personality traits and disciplined living than they are about a skill set of techniques, although both are preferred.
* Personal development builds off of physical health, then emotional health, then psychic health. You can't skip around and have true, deep results.
For example, i see all this conversation about opening your third eye; well, there are five other chakras that come before your sixth chakra, ones that govern physical health, emotional health, your place in the world, how you give and receive love, and your soul's voice. All of these must be developed to some degree before jumping right in and attempting to "open" your third eye. People who are not firmly grounded in physical health and emotional health, often find instability when attempting to force open their psychic skills. Not that you have to be in perfect physical shape and perfect emotional tranqulity with no vices or weaknesses at all, it's just about not skipping the foundation.
Magical Rites from the Crystal Well, Ed Fitch and Janine Renee, 1987, Llewellyn Publications.
Insofar as the Craft of the Wise is the most ancient and most honorable creed of humankind. It behooves all who are Witches to act in ways that give respect to the Old Gods, to their sisters and brothers of the Craft, and to themselves.
Therefore, be it noted that:
1. Chivalry is a high code of honor which is of most ancient Pagan origin, and must be lived by all who follow the old ways.
2. It must be kenned that thoughts and intent put forth on this Middle Earth will wax strong in other worlds beyond and return... bringing into creation, on this world, that which had been sent forth. Thus one should exercise discipline, for ''as
ye plant, so shall ye harvest.''
3. It is only by preparing our minds to be as Gods that we can ultimately attain godhead.
4. ''This above all... to thine own self be true...''
5. A Witch's word must have the validity of a signed and witnessed oath. Thus, give thy word sparingly, but adhere to it like iron.
6. Refrain from speaking ill of others, for not all truths of the matter may be known.
7. Pass not unverified words about another, for hearsay is, in large part, a thing of falsehoods.
8. Be thou honest with others, and have them know that honesty is likewise expected of them.
9. The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth; to keep one's head is a virtue.
10. Contemplate always the consequences of thine acts upon others. Strive not to do harm.
11. Diverse covens may well have diverse views of love between members and with others. When a coven, clan, or grove is visited or joined, one should discern quietly their practices, and abide thereby.
12. Dignity, a gracious manner, and a good humor are much to be admired.
13. As a Witch, thou has power, and thy powers wax strongly as wisdom increases. Therefore, exercise discretion in the use thereof.
14. Courage and honor endure forever. Their echoes remain when the mountains have crumbled to dust.
15. Pledge friendship and fealty to those who so warrant. Strengthen others of the Brethren and they shall strengthen thee.
16. Thou shalt not reveal the secrets of another Witch or Coven. Others have labored long and hard for them, and cherish them as treasures.
17. Though there may be differences among those of the Old Ways, those who are once-born must see nothing, and must hear nothing.
18. Those who follow the mysteries should be above reproach in the eyes of the world.
19. The laws of the land should be obeyed whenever possible and within reason, for in the main they have been chosen with wisdom.
20. Have pride in thyself and seek perfection in body and in mind. For the Lady has said, ''How canst thou honor another unless thou give honor to thyself first?''
21. Those who seek the Mysteries should consider themselves the select of the Gods, for it is they would lead the race of humankind to the highest of thrones and beyond the very stars.
I agree with LdyGry whole heartedly with regards to the Chakras, so many people go straight for the 3rd eye without concentrating on the others that should be opened first.
Many people also forget about the moon phases, I know they aren't essential in all forms of magic but they do help. As do planetary hours which I think people should learn with the basics, get the most power from your spells.