Most people think a spell is a few words, and after you say them it works. This is not true, you need to learn the basics. Mostly energy work and meditation. I started off with meditation, then basic energy work. It took two years for me to know the basics enough for me to cast my forts spell. I did a few basic chants. It's in my opinion that you don't need objects to do a spell, they just help with the spell. Also if you are just starting spell casting don't try to summon a demon. Don't try to summon anything at all for that fact. I don't know any basic spells, but you should do not very powerful spells. Another basic is learning about the chakras. When I astral projected, I met a few spirits and I met a couple astral dragons. The astral dragons was when I astral traveled. Also Magick doesn't have any colors, Magick is based off of intension. I learned from my brother who learned from our uncle. Magick can make change like rain, wind or something. But that's selfish in a way. You could be taking some other areas rain or wind and make it come to your area. But they would be without rain or wind and they might go into a drought, or be hot all summer. Magick as I said can make changes. It just can't change you into something your not. Like a vampire werewolf etc. we are human we will stay that way. If you classify Magick as good or evil than here's some good and bad spells. A curse or hex can be bad. Healing spells are good. Anyways this is my about ten paragraph essay on Magick. My fingers are hurting.
There's a good pinned topic on these forums: http://www.spellsofmagic.com/read_post.html?post=483942
So meditation and energywork as basics aren't that difficult to glom onto.
Chakras? Hrmm... I started there, too, but with more experience I've come to the opinion that it can just be weird for some people. Everyone, especially seen in people who don't do magic, seems to me to have an individual shape of "energy body"; some people have more than seven centers of energy along their spine, some have less, some people are a spectrum, others are more like a cloud up top sort of raining consciousness onto the bottom, and others are landscapes.
One thing I have personally experienced, is looking back and realizing that I created chakras when I meditated on them. One of my spirit guides told me that I had meditated on them so much that they were taking on a life of their own, which was bad for both the "chakra" and myself. I did de-concentration meditations to get them to become more of a spectrum than a vortex again. (And I've read at least one other energyworker who was upset that exercises to get energy to flow through their body would blast away these chakras and essentially kill a living separate soul...which I could actually believe because I'd had a similar experience, but didn't really know what to advise if de-concentration meditations didn't have any effect.)
The model of chakras differ with different traditions. Theosophy puts it at 7 main chakras on the spine, but Qigong has a different model of the energy body and so does Kundalini (different from Theosophy, even though they both use the same word.)
So, while chakra meditations have been more useful to me than not, when starting out... I'd advise an open mind rather than sticking to some arbitrary fact.
And that's just energywork on one's own self. For something like trying to summon a demon, ehh, I would say that it's more likely that nothing will happen if you only go through the motions. Expectations might make a new practitioner paranoid, though...and if you subconsciously expect a demon to punish you, then you'll tend to focus on the bad things that happen and come to the conclusion that the summoned demon did it.
Whether that's true or whether that's a self-induced anxiety...if you don't want want something strange to happen, then don't dabble; if you dabble and something strange happens, why complain? That's all I have to say to beginners who jump right into demon summoning.
I know that post. This was based on what I did to lean. Not on what traditionally is taught. I took my own way to learn. So I shared how I learned. The meditation was not easy for me as I have ADHD, so it took me quite a while to learn that part.
First of all, this is nowhere near ten paragraphs. Second of all, what you've talked about here aren't "basic" as basic would have be an underlying concept in many or all paths. Literally all of the concepts you have presented in this thread are specific to the Spells of Magic community and it would be impossible to state that it represents occultism as a whole. Let's break it down, shall we?
A spell can have many forms, but the underlying priniciple I have observed in every spell is to use more than physical methods to achieve and end goal. This can include saying a few words and having the spell work, but if you don't know how a spell works or even how to identify if a spell works or not, saying a few words isn't really going to mean much to you. Everyone and their cousin could tell you a different theory on how spells work, and they could all be true and all be not true because we can't measure subtle (non-physical) energy: thus, we cannot prove if any of this works at all or not. It is up to our personal experiences as to whether or no we hold something is "true" to us. This is why you can't rightly tell someone else how it all works because they have to experience that for themselves.
The next things you cite as "basic" are energy work and meditation. This severely excludes many practices, spiritualities, religions, and otherwise paths that have nothing to do with conscious manipulation of energy or meditation. Sympathetic magic, prayer, ritualized movements, offerings to spirits or Gods, and plenty of other things don't require those. Raising energy does not require that you sense it and altered states of consciousness do not require the very Eastern concept of meditation; for example, I can raise energy by chanting or singing as well as I can reach altered states of consciousness through rhythmic applications.
Concerning tools, most of them are path specific. If a tradition requires a tool, then you're going to need that tool in order to practice said tradition. If you are not a strictly traditional practitioner, then there is some leeway decided upon entirely by you. One of the views this website has a lot of the time is that tools are seen as crutches and are looked down on. This is problematic for traditional practice as well as it pushes a personal view onto others (see again where I commented that we can't rightly tell anyone something that needs to be personally decided upon).
Summoning! This is a fun one, considering that there are so many forms of it that are accepted by the majority of people here under the terms evocation, invocation, calling spirits, raising energy, etc. The mentality seasoned members of SoM have typically are geared towards newbies trying to physically summon spirits or Gods. They try to eradicate the idea of Hollywood magic, so this word gets a worse rep than I personally feel it should have. The core mentality observed here is that we have bias towards certain concepts because we automatically assume that anyone using a certain word or phrase doesn't know what they're talking about.
This last sentence directly goes into the phrase "Magic has no color" in that people think anyone using a color or shade as a label for magic thinks that person is going by Magic: The Gathering type of labeling where the types of magic are literal colors. I can say from my experience in talking to newbies, as well as once being a newbie myself, that no one thinks magic has a literal color. Colors have their place in magic as labels and the fact that light and objects that partially absorb light (thus creating color) is a form of energy. No, the meanings and associations of colors will not be the same across the world, but that doesn't mean that colors should be shunned in practice. This is, again, a personal view.
When you speak of spells that cause rain by taking rain from other places, you are not allowing for all the possibilities of how weather practice might work. Yes, a spell can be cast or a dance can be performed to petition bringing rain into an area or keeping it from said area for the duration of an event, but whether or not it is "selfish" is something to be decided upon by the practitioner. Not everyone even believe we can affect weather. My personal view is best expressed as a metaphor; we can alter the flow of the river, but we do not create dams that block water off.
This bullet point is not a rebuttle of any of your original points, but I feel it must be said. You have the power to alter your reality by spiritual and mundane means. Every action you perform affects everything else, even if solely in an indirect manner simply by existing (this is observed in science). However, everything that has a consciousness can also do this. Every person around you, every insect, and every plant; literally everything can affect things the way you, as a practitioner, can do. When we have this many consciousnesses affecting everything around them, it prevents us from being all powerful and it humbly reminds us that not everything is about us and what we can or cannot do. You worked a ritual to keep negativity out of your life and it didn't work? That might have absolutely zilch to do with your own capability because your own energy isn't the sole factor.
I do agree that magic aimed at physically changing something would be impossible and here is why; Science is of the physical domain while magic is of the subtle. We use science to understand physical concepts through repeated, factor controlled, observations that provide the same results. When you make a claim that goes against these tested results, you're going to be asked to provide proof. If one cannot provide proof, then their claim is nothing more than a claim and they are often ridiculed (let it be known, however, that scientists we hold high today have also been ridiculed and that science loves to disprove itself because the core of it is curiosity).
The problem with classifications of concepts like good and evil is that they are intensely personal views, and even then, we can find that healing can be bad and cursing can be good. This is why, if I label magic and classifications, I label purely by intent.
Please do not take my rebuttals as a way to offend you. I find that these concepts should be tackled regardless of who utters them and I feel like contributing to thought provoking discussion.
Truthfully, I find the "basics" on this website to be more of a primer to what you'll find in occultism (and even then, it really falls short). It serves as exposure to simple concepts, so it is good for that, at least.
The ten paragraphs was a joke. Please don't shoot me down. I posted how I learned. Meaning this is what I did, not the traditional way. Also my brother did it this way. It worked fine for us. I just thought I would share this.
It is the way my family believes to learn. We also respect the ways of others. That is a important part of out beliefs. To respect others beliefs. Partially because we commonly follow different paths. Mumborther and I are Norse pagans or heathens. My uncle and aunt are Hellenistic. My mom and dad are Wicca. Also sorry I said you were shooting me down. I know you weren't.
The question is: what is a spell? A spell is a ritual wish to change something. Most people have cast a spell at some time or other. If you have ever done the "ritual" of blowing out the candles on a cake, and then making a silent wish, you have cast a spell. There are more serious spells, of course, but they are the same ritual wish to change something. A prayer is similar. The difference being that a prayer is "asking" for help from a higher authority. A spell is a do-it-yourself operation.