Here’s a quick-and-dirty list of things that I think sets up a good foundation for someone moving forward with magic work and why. They’re also in order of what I think is best approached first. (For a time reference, I recommend the whole thing taking at LEAST a year, but individual steps and overall length will vary in each person.)
- Learn basic magical theory. What is happening when you cast a spell? What is grounding? How do correspondences work? Why is X step or tool important? Learn about what it is you’re doing before diving into actual casting. Have a basic grip on how it works.
- Some form of divination, even if it’s something as simple as a pendulum. Other people won’t always be there to help you answer questions, validate your interpretation of something, or offer direction. Having some form of divination under your belt helps you avoid dependency on other people. You can more easily answer your own questions, check your own intuition, and take matters into your own hands.
- Protection and Cleansing. No matter what path you go down or what type of magic you end up doing, these are two things that every magic worker needs to know how to do, and know how to do it well. They also tend to be fairly straightforward to learn. Cleanse your space, cleanse yourself, cleanse that object, cleanse your grandma. Then protect them. Learn how to set up wards and shields, which brings us to….
- Basic energy work. You’ve probably already run into it a lot by this point and it’s fine if you’ve already picked up some things. But now is the time to really focus on it and get comfortable with it. Learn how to confidently sense what’s around you and interact with it, fix gaps in your wards and shields, project your intent into things, you get the idea. Energy work will always be there in a pinch and requires no materials besides your body, and is extremely versatile. Plus, most paths really require at least a base-level understanding of it these days. Can’t hurt.
- Start honing your specific path. Here’s where the cookbooks, the old graveyards, the skulls on the shelf, the fairy figurines start really coming into play. If you have an idea of what sort of path you’d like to follow, start really getting into the meat of it! What does it look like? What are the first steps to that type of magic? If for now you’re still eclectic or aren’t sure, then just read what interests you or try more advanced general spells than you have so far.
- Go back and do it all again. That’s right. You can also put time into your path or your regular research, but go back and pick up those old books from step one. Read the old articles. Return to the basics and see how your views have become more nuanced, or how you disagree. What details flew over your head the first time? Can you pick up a new form of divination or try something new with your main form? Could those wards and shields be stronger? You get the idea. Once you’ve revisited it, you should have a really solid foundation that will help you no matter what direction you take next!
Other stuff to study on the side:
Local folklore, mythology, and types of spirits. You may not want to work with spirits, but sometimes spirits want to work with you! So it’s good to have an idea of what to do if they pop up.
What plants grow in your area? What‘s edible? What is used in healing?
What plants are NOT edible in your area? What’s poisonous?
If you think there’s another important step that you recommend that I didn’t include, feel free to add it! 🙂