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alchinspireSometimes, when I tell people that I believe in magic, they ask me how it works.

How do you cast spells? It’s a perfectly reasonable question, but it’s kind of hard to answer. For one thing, I’m not a one-and-done type of witch. My magical work is almost always a process.

Also, the process is kind of intuitive. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, though, and I’ve realized that it breaks down along fairly elemental lines. There are, more or less, four stages to my magical process. First I focus on the element of Air, which relates to thoughts, visualization and intentions. The beginning of things.

Here are my favorite tools to use in the beginning. I don’t always use them all, but I tend to use them a lot when I’m getting started. If you want to try out my process, play around with them and see which ones you like best.

bullet journal: love lists

You know bullet journals? The thing where you make a list with a dot next to each item? They’re pretty useful for magical practice. I’m a big fan of gratitude lists and desire lists, but recently I’ve been mixing them up into love lists. This is a big list of things that you absolutely love, whether you already have them or not. So, you can write I love spending time with my family and I love reading that new book I’m thinking about ordering without specifying which one of those things is already happening in your life. This helps you focus on your goals, raises your energy, and also confuses your brain slightly – which is usually good when it comes to magic.

writing prompt: what might it be like if I…?

If you’re more of a traditional journaler, try this one. Imagine, in as much sensory detail as you can, what it would be like if one of your wishes came true. You can also imagine the circumstances. How might it happen?

It’s ok to do this even if you aren’t sure what outcome you want. One day you can write what might it be like if I got a new job? and the next day what exciting things might happen if I stay in my current job? You can play around with the wording. Keep experimenting until you find some exciting possibilities, though.

stay open to new ideas

While working on that exercise, you might become curious about trying something new – maybe something that has nothing to do with your major goals. You might wonder something like what would happen if I took a different route home today, or I wonder if I could learn to draw?  Try not to overthink these impulses. Make a list and, if reasonably convenient, try a few out. That sort of experimentation helps you to believe in the possibility of new directions, and who knows? Your intuition might also be giving you useful clues.

mind mapping and vision boards

I’m a little hesitant to mention this, because there can be a tendency to do a project like a vision board and then feel like that’s done, the vision is taken care of. They’re fun, though, and it doesn’t hurt to do something like that at least once during an intention-setting process. You can also use a mind map or vision board to get more clarity about the details of your intention. Once you make it, keep it around and remind yourself of your intentions often.

watch out for limiting beliefs

As you pay more attention to your desires, notice the limiting beliefs that come along with them. For example, if you wish for a relationship, notice any inner voice that tells you you don’t deserve one. Sometimes just noticing is enough, so do it vigilantly.

Changing those beliefs is great, but can also take time. In the meantime, maybe you can make a truce with them? Even if you have a hard time forming a more positive belief, ask the negative self-talk to give you some space, firmly and repeatedly if necessary.

Some people also have a lot of luck releasing limiting beliefs with EFT, an acupressure technique you can use on yourself. Here’s a video of Joanna DeVoe explaining how it works.

cultivate inspiration

Make time in your day to read or listen to something that excites you and increases your sense of possibility. For me that could mean spiritual books, stories of amazing accomplishments, poetry, podcasts, or music I love. Nothing against them in general, but I left videos and internet content off this list on purpose – they can be inspiring, but also lead to more browsing instead of inspired action.

meditate

Right now I’m suggesting the simple, follow-your-breath kind of meditation – sorry, I know it’s hard to get around to, but it’s a classic for a reason! 15 or 20 minutes is great, but if you know you’re only likely to do 5 or 10 minutes a day, it’s much better to stick to that than to get discouraged and do none. You don’t need anything to get started, but sometimes I like to go to Do As One, which has some fun soundtracks, timers and other tools.