1 – Accept that You do not Know
It’s okay not to have all the answers. You don’t have to be certain all of the time. Magic is the realm of the unknown. If it were ultimately knowable, then science would already have measured it and verified it. On the other hand, some things that once would have been considered magic are now called technology. So there is a spectrum that ranges from useless mumbo jumbo to solid fact. It’s up to you to figure out which is which and keep a sharp, critical mind.
2 – Think for Yourself
Anything — and I mean ANYTHING — that someone else has figured out, you can figure out too. The human mind’s potential is illimitable. But we are continually duped into believing that we can’t do it, that someone else should do it for us. Unless you’re ready to think for yourself, you’ll end up as a fake, or worse: someone else’s pawn.
3 – Keep an Open Mind
You have to be open to new ideas. But, I have a saying: “An open mind is half closed.” A door that is half closed is still open, and it’s same with a mind. Don’t accept as truth anything you hear. Only accept the possibility that it may be. You’ll have to rigorously seek out the truth for yourself, with a critical mind. The emphasis on truth is essential. Illusion is based on deceit, real magic on truth.
4 – Reduce Your Assumptions
An assumption is basically just a guess. We make a lot of guesses in life from whether gods exist to whether the floor will be there when we get out of bed in the morning. Guessing is a psychological reflex, and it’s unlikely that we can ever be fully free from it. The more you can make conscious your unconscious assumptions, the more you will notice strange and magical things about yourself, others and the universe.
5 – Judge Not
Judgement of others clouds your awareness. Like assumption, it’s a reflex. Try reserving judgement when you can. Try allowing yourself the patience to gather more knowledge or more insight into matters. If someone seems like an idiot, ask them genuine questions. Get experience with why others think and act the way they do. Whenever you can avoid judging, you can gain wisdom.
6 – Shed Expectations
Another habitual block to your magical potential is your expectations. Our imagination is always in use, whether consciously or unconsciously. Things are going to be as they are, whether you like it or not. The thing about expectation is that people see not what they WANT to see, but what they EXPECT to see. Projecting our image of things on the present moment or into the future is an unnecessary expenditure of energy that can be freed up for authentic magical experience.
7 – Stop Labeling Everything
What is our obsession with classifying things? As soon as we have a word or a name for a thing, we believe that we understand what that thing is. We can’t help it, it’s how our minds work. Try to notice when you are doing this. Naming can be a very powerful magical act, but only if it’s conscious. Habitual labeling will actually end up being an obstacle to true understanding.
8 – Surrender to What Is
This is about allowing the present moment to Be. We often believe that the present moment is more like the future, in that we can change it. But the present moment is more like the past, in that once it’s here, it’s here — it’s real and unalterable. If you can’t accept that, accept that you can’t accept it. Don’t take my word for it, look at what is around you and see that it IS how it IS.
9 – Cultivate Courage
Courage is essential to the Northern Traditions, and the universe rewards courage with Hamingja, a form of luck or charisma. Hamingja goes by many names in many traditions, but the basis is simple: Courageous acts are rewarded by the universe. Start small and work your way up. Building courage is like building a muscle; you may not be able to start with your ultimate fears, but tackle what you can and you will get there. The more courage, the greater your magical potential.
10 – Trust the Universe
If you only have faith in one thing, have faith in this: ultimately, this universe is here for you to learn what you must learn, to face what you must face, and to allow you to find enlightenment. It’s not out to get you, it wants to play. Enthusiasm and playfulness are two of the strongest energies and mind-sets with which we can engage in the exploration of magic. Go with the flow!
11 – Meditate
Meditation can be very simple. Sit up straight, focus on your breathing, and the feeling of your life force. Connect with yourself. When you get distracted by thought, and realize it, simply say to yourself ‘thought’ and go back to your breathing. There’s information everywhere on various styles of meditation, but I recommend beginning with Zazen. It will help you master your mind and achieve grounded clarity.
12 – Put it into Action
You can read all the books, attend all the lectures, join all the groups and talk on and on about magic, but in the end, nothing will happen unless you find some practical means to put it into action. Don’t just think, do. Manifest your desires by practicing and experimenting for yourself. Learn through trial and error — it will be more valuable and more powerful than anything anyone else can tell you. Have something to do? Go do it now.