Certain subject's that do not really get much recognition or brought up very often is the power of belief, personal illusion, and madness. How do these subjects effect my lifestyle? Why is it important to know the difference? What can i expect? Will cover all of this, and please feel free to add in to the post.
Belief is the first tool of the witch, in fact it's honestly so important to us it blows everything else right out of the water. Now i am not talking about belief as in your political aspects, just because you believe in something so much that does not always make it a fact, it's more a matter of perspective. No, the belief were talking about is the belief in yourself, the belief in your craft, and knowing your spell's are going to succeed. To falter in your belief of your own personal magick is to falter the magick itself. You could also put belief behind the wrong entities, known or unknown, local or non local and will cover this as well.
After a good conversation with Misanthropy this morning she made the comment ''People like to believe that they are in full control of their acts, but in magic sometimes we are not always. We can be guided by forces outside of ourselves.'' How true is this? We do expose ourselves to all types of outside sources that will, can, and do have an effect on our psyche. You may not notice at first your being influenced by "unknown sources" but it does happen, it could happen over a lengthy period of time, but this is why we learn to protect ourselves. Not just from our own madness, but from the madness of those wishing to act through you, use you, and destroy you. This boils down to learning what your putting into your own belief. What forces do you not understand your actually empowering? Shield me up! I also advise against using symbols you have no real knowledge of, question the spirit's you encounter, and seriously educate yourself on .
Being safe is the number one, learn to take breaks especially if you just had a major break through in your work. Give your mind time to understand the knowledge your learning, meditate on your thoughts and progress as well this will help you evaluate your finding's indefinitely. I always say this, the mind is like a map and you have to learn how to read it, but you can get lost easily especially if your going around in circles. We can and do get overwhelmed with long periods of exposure and no breaks, this is unhealthy to our spiritual growth and its enough to "let something in". Personally i recently took a break and did not expect to return until the the end of year, when i take breaks i focus on my inner self, evaluate what it is i just have learned, humble myself, and above all cleanse cleanse cleanse.
One of my infamous theories about young practitioners is they literally have the world in their hands. To be young and dumb with the belief their spells are going to work even if they throw two rocks and jelly together is literally enough to spark basic spells. Anyone can cast a spell, its not rocket science. You see they come into this with these big hearts, open minds, (not all but a fair share) and all eagerness just knowing they are practicing magick, that belief empowers them. For awhile it would appear good to them, they will want to continue they will want to learn more, and then the problems begin. Self doubt, pride, laziness etc and this results to "spell failure".
See by learning more your forced to read the work of others, and we have more than enough false information than we do actual helpful information, especially if your looking in the wrong places, or your misguided. The young practitioner faces many trials and personal opinions of others that will either ultimately help them or destroy their belief all together. They will waver in belief and then we get 500 posts later on "Why is my magick not working." In this case your belief is faltered, or again your misguided about what magick is, which brings us to our next topic, illusion.
Illusion is my favorite because it taught me a lot, as a young practitioner i came into this thinking illusion was going to my greatest power, i would trick the mind's of others, and use illusion to gain advantage for my own intentions. As it turned out i only tricked myself and I was very wrong about what magick was, but we learn its apart of our growth. See sometimes we believe in something so much we actually believe its very real, and in our mind's it can be. In some cases it can be real, you see this with the placebo effect a patient will get a wrong treatment and still recover because they believed in the treatment so much that it actually worked, brilliant right? Maybe but i still feel this is unhealthy to your mind especially if you completely brain washed your own mind to get healthier, i just don't see that having a positive long term effect for the mind.
Testing and experimenting is crucial to battling personal delusions, this is why we keep books of shadows, dream dictionaries, spell log's, and write every encounter with spirit's be it local or non local. We do this for the purpose of knowing what is the correct formula to manifest our practices, be it the formula is just belief and energy work as your only tool's or you prefer a collection of concentrated/charged artifacts, herb's etc. Regardless if you want real results you need real structure, a formula that work's for you, belief in what your doing, and knowing what is a trick to the mind and what is very real. We do this by repeating our experiments and monitoring the results closely, we do this with belief in the creation of the formula, you simply have to have belief in your magick, but you do so in the pursuit of true magick.
Madness run's so closely to magick it's a bit over whelming, it's literally the reason we have to remain analytical, and the reason we have to be safe. Magick is dangerous, anyone who say's otherwise has no clue what they are talking about or they are already crazy, it not only effects the sub conscious/conscious mind it can effect the body. Even though the three are in one body they are very separate, magick is about understanding each one but that is another subject for another time. So when you practice magick practice it with a diligence, there is nothing wrong with pacing yourself. Question everything again and again, experiment again and again, but above all do so safely knowing full well what your practicing.
The Psychonaut Field Guide
Self experience (trial and error)
As a side note here are some video's by Maxine Sanders contributed by Kalisha (friend of mine) i was given to watch on subject's pertaining to those who have severe mental diseases and some questions that commonly pop up, worth the watch honestly.
Maxine Sander's Youtube video- Initiating Senior's + Initiation & Healing effects on Mentally Degenerative Diseases
Maxine Sanders Youtube video - Initiation of those suffering from Mental Illness or Depression