Why Your Magick Seems to be Failing

Written August 17th, 2016 | Edited: 8th March 2019

Magick, like all other fields pursued by humanity, requires dedication, practice, study and commitment. That is why dabblers usually end up quitting before they actually find anything. We’re all familiar with the former “occultists” who tried out the occult for something very simple like money or love, didn’t actually bother learning anything, and eventually quit because it didn’t work, either because they didn’t put any effort into it, or they did put effort into it but didn’t know what they were doing and screwed themselves. Then there’s the average atheist who did a ritual once, just so he could boast about how it did not work and shut out spirituality entirely.

But why then, does magick sometimes not work, especially when we’re new? The thing to remember is: Magick always works. It may not seem to work, but it always causes some kind of change in you or your surroundings. So perhaps the real question is, why does magick sometimes not work the way you want it too. Just by thinking, praying or even focusing your intent on something, you do magick. You use your intent to move your hand, and your brain sends electrical signals to the muscles of the hand to move according to your Will. This is magick, and everything is really just an extension of this principle, from casting a spell for money to Invoking the Gods of the Zodiac.

There’s plenty of little factors which determine the degree to which your magick will work. I think everyone knows that. However, people get confused and target the wrong factors; superficial things like the appearance of your tools, your circle, the time at which the magick was done, the incantations spoken etc. Sure these things affect, and greatly aid your magick, but they’re just extensions. The key to magick lies, not in the external, but in the internal: on your physical, mental and emotional states.

Now, i’m not going to go on a lecture regarding how magick works, but i’m going to give you a little list of things that may not be obvious, especially to a newcomer. Someone really ought to do so, so i’m doing it. Bear in mind though, that you will grow and become more capable with experience. I myself have a lot to learn.

However, mentioned here are things I wish someone would have told me when I first started out, so I would not have blamed lack of ritual tools and such when my Magick didn’t quite work out. That’s all for dabblers who feel there is only one way of doing magick,  while the real mistakes are often subtle and simple. Guess what, it doesn’t actually matter if you levOsa or levioSA.


You Masturbate Too Much

Though this isn’t the biggest, or even the most important, i’m going to put this on number one, and make it a bit long, since it is this very topic that made me write this article. Because this is apparently a really important factor that for some reason no one wants to mention.

All the grimoires say things such as “you shouldn’t be defiled by a woman” before a ritual, whereas religion says to be celibate. Modern adepts say don’t be celibate but abstain, and science says sexual repression is unhealthy. Som traditions say sexuality is the literal key to magick, while others act like ejaculation is the greatest and most evil sin the magician can commit. The internet is full of polarised opinions about sex and masturbation, and they usually don’t focus on the magickal aspect. The ones that do, usually talk about sexual rites, not spirituality in genera;. I can talk about it, from personal experience, instead of tiptoeing around something that forms one of the central pillars of the human being.

So, first off, we know most religions condemn masturbation. No, this is not just false superstition, and like all religious tenets, it’s based on some reality. On the other hand, Science has shown us that sexual repression is unhealthy and leads to problems. Then there’s this thing called the NoFap community on the internet, which is basically a community of people who stopped masturbation, usually those who had become too addicted to it, and talk about the positive experiences they have had (keep in mind, they aren’t celibate). They’ve even got some broscience to back it up. I don’t know about it’s validity, but I do understand the spiritual side of things. And then you have guys like Crowley, who it feels didn’t do sex for magick, but rather did magick for sex (jk).

There’s a good discussion that could be had regarding the Sacral Chakra, Yesod and Gamaliel, but put simply, your body contains a reserve of creative force, and the crucible for this is Sephiroth of Yesod, or the Sacral Chakra. This energy is physically represented by the sexual fluids, just as the life force is represented by blood. This creative force is what is used to push you onto Tipareth and Kether, above Yesod, or manifest things on Malkuth, below Yesod. It is the raw energy reserve that is used for magick, like fuel. It is also used whenever you do things in daily life, and urges you to be creative and accomplish things.

Making sense yet? Naturally, this energy is constant and does not deplete, except in the most extreme circumstance, which is during sex, when humans perform their highest act of manifestation, that is creation of life. So when you masturbate, you’re wasting this energy on nothing more than pleasure, and giving it away. Why do you think they say “sex sells” and constantly surround us with sexual stimuli? Because they want people to continue wasting all their creative energy and being creatively exhausted. We wonder why so many people are unfulfilled in today’s world, and it is because today’s world glorifies sex and masturbation, and makes you think it is the path to success (Wolf of Wall Street). Yes, it relieves stress (so does meditation), but you need to work first to accumulate stress.  

masturbate-advice-duck-yeah-science-bitchThings like this abound the internet. Though healthy, they make it seem like doing it a lot is good. Disagreeing get’s you branded a religious lunatic or a toxic male. I should make it clear, i’m NOT saying it is a bad or immoral thing or saying it makes you a “loser”. I’m not that stupid. A magician should also learn abstinence, even though it is considered taboo these days, much like masturbation was in the old days. 

So, put simply, stop masturbating often. I’m not saying practice celibacy (just as bad), but abstinence. Today people have become slaves to lust. Learn to control that. Advanced magicians say it like it’s very easy, but they’re middle aged and don’t feel it so strongly. They already have a degree of sexual control. I know first hand how difficult it is, especially at early adulthood, to let go of it, but work towards it. Once you learn to control your lust, you’ll gain an incredible amount of control over your life. And you’ll suddenly realise just how powerful magick is. It will also benefit you in life, you’ll be stronger and motivated. That does not mean kill your sexual passions, or repress them. That will lead you down a much, much worse path into hell (it is no unknown fact that celibate priests turn into pedophiles. To stop this, some monks become eunuchs, but that is extreme asceticism)

One thing that confused me at first was the concept of sex magick. After all, if masturbation could be used for manifestation, it can’t be bad right. I’ll say this: in a ritual setting, none of the above matter. I don’t know why, but in a ritual masturbation is an effective tool.

I can’t say exactly how to go about it, for it is different for each. But remember this, every time you spill this energy, it takes time to replenish. Know thyself. It is up to you what you want to do about it. Don’t go into the circle spent, unless the ritual demands it.

Trust me, eventually lust will become just another feeling you can choose to feel when you want. It shall no longer rule you. 

UPDATE (2019): I’d like to add a bit to this, since I’ve learned some new things over the past few years. Sexuality is one of the hardest things that a magician has to deal with. First off, the context does matter. Masturbating to pornography will leech your energy like hell. That is something most people can agree on, stop masturbating to porn. Casual sex is fairly tricky too. I’d be careful with getting too promiscuous.

The release of sexual energy is a potent tool for magick, so never waste it. Ideally, when you release, the aim is to let the energy nourish your own energy body, or to direct it at magick, or at your partner (who will direct theirs at you). Masturbating to porn releases the energy into other sources, usually perverted fantasies, or at things other people want you to focus on (why do you think all the porn companies will put their logo on the corner of the screen. It acts like a sigil that you direct your energy at, which then helps them get richer).

Another thing is that it is different for men and women. I’m not going into how or why, but men loose a lot more from orgasm than women, and are capable of doing it a lot less to. So, it is more important for the male magician to control his lust. Men also more easily fall victim to it.

There’s a difference between lust and free sexual expression. Use your own intuition to know that. Usually, you’ll know innately what is right and wrong.

Yet another thing is that abstinence is not the same as repression. What we want to do is control and tame our own sexuality, not clamp down on it. This leads to a stagnation of sexual energy, and a break in connection with spiritual forces. It leads to that sexuality emerging as a negative force, and tormenting you since you refuse to face it.

Finally, know that total abstinence leads to an “ungrounding” of the magician. Usually, you need SOME rajasic energy to remain interested in the world, or you very quickly drift away and become monastic. That’s good if you want to be a monk, but not so good otherwise. Most people who abstain totally, either become monastic or make up for it with other practices, like eating meat. If you are vegetarian like me, you will have to engage in some degree of sexuality. Besides, most magicians usually do not want to become monks. Another thing I have noticed is that for artistic or creative people, total abstinence leads to a decline in creative insight and ability. There’s a reason most creative people are also sexually eccentric. There’s a connection somehow, since Netszach, the Sephiroth of pleasure, is also the Sephiroth of creativity.

You Don’t Have A Clear Intent

Magick will bring you exactly what you want. Though it sounds less poetic, the Universe does not give you what you need or deserve, but what you want. (Well, it shows you what you need, but ultimately you have to agree to it. It’s your life. Free Will, not even the Gods can take that from you.)

Your magickal practice should include understanding yourself and knowing exactly what you want.


Yes, it is not wise to be greedy or become infatuated with the result, but when you cast magick, you need to focus on your goal completely: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically. If you want something, focus on that, and not on the money to get it. If you want sex, don’t cast for love. If you want manifestation of a spirit, don’t be afraid and expect to see it visibly. This will take practice and focus.

Whatever magick you do, be it ceremonial magick and sending out the intent, crafting it into a sigil, or asking a deity to help you in something, be very clear what you want. It shows you have a clarity of thought. And like I said, don’t just think about it and speak it, but feel it as well. Don’t fret about seemingly impossible things that you don’t think can happen. All things are possible with Magick. Leave the little details to the Universe, just know what you want. Lack of this clarity will undermine your magick. Same goes for hesitation or unwillingness. Don’t want something? Afraid of something? Don’t cast for it. Magick is like a bullet, once you pull the trigger, it will go exactly where you pointed it initially, and can’t be stopped. If you stand in front of it, you’ll only get hurt.

I should mention, that very often you may not know what you want. You may think you want something, but you really don’t. Sometimes you may want something because you think it is the right thing to have, but deep down you know it isn’t for you. The reason I’m adding this here is because I have, at one point, had the entire heavenly and infernal host deny me something I really wanted. “Want” is a bad place to be. I just use the word for convenience, but it’s really about the feeling that you already have what you need. The feeling of abundance is important, because it will put you in a place where you can get whatever you need. When you begin to “want”, you enter a state of poverty and the magick stops working. Sometimes, very rarely, in matters of great importance, the Universe will purposefully deny you from going down the wrong path. Usually there is learning to be done before what you want can actually be given. 

Recall the story of Hercules or Promethues or Moses. Sometimes, getting what you think you want prematurely can do more harm than good. Heck, take the classic story of Midas.

Personally, I’ve had times where I cast for something, but was not clear about my intent, and got caught up on little ways, confusing the Universe and having my magick manifest in way I did not intend, or expect, or even want.

Contradictory Actions

You can’t expect to be given loads of money if you yourself are greedy or stingy. You can’t expect everyone to love you, yet hate yourself or others. Don’t confuse the Universe and your own subconscious with having mismatched magick and actions.


It’s as Aleister Crowley wrote, you need to become a receptacle for the force you are trying to attract. In other words, you must act according to what you want. If you act against it, it is almost like actively seeking to nullify any magick you have done. And this applies to life in general, not just magick.

You have to match your actions to your Will, and your desires, and most importantly, to your Will. Not just actions, but even thoughts and emotions. In fact, as it says in the Bhagvat Gita, it’s better to be true to your thoughts and act accordingly, than do false actions which match your intent but contradict your thoughts and emotions, or you’re just a hypocrite. (Be true to your nature, and seek to change it to be your ideal self, than pretend and force that ideal on yourself)

So, for example, if I want to become knowledgeable about something, and do magick for it, I will need to lower my defenses, ditch my beliefs and opinions and allow myself to become a blank slate, in order for knowledge and wisdom to come, even if it makes me uncomfortable. A simpler example is if you want to have money coming in, you have to be generous and open with money, rather than being greedy, or constantly worrying about having more money. Maybe you want that perfect job, but spend large amounts of time on unrelated tasks, and don’t actually take the opportunities you’ve been give.

It’s that story of the man who asked God to save him from a flood, but refused to get on all the boats that were sent to help him. 

Lack of Belief


You know what they say, you gotta have faith! Put simply, if you don’t believe in the magick that you do, it won’t work. That’s why non believers who try magick with the purpose of proving it doesn’t work usually end up doing so. Of course, there’s more to it than just that, such as practice: you can’t pick up a guitar for the first time in your life, and expect to play the solo for Master of Puppets, and then proclaim that heavy metal is bad music, just because you can’t play it, but lack of belief is still the basic issue. I mean, you also gotta believe that Master of Puppets is one of the greatest metal songs of all time, or how will you ever make yourself learn that tough fucking solo?

Magick is deeply rooted in your faith. That is why people of various religions who believe in a form of divinity, usually experience that divinity, and then feel that their religion must be the right one, since it worked wonders, not realising everyone else felt the same, including the skeptic who strongly wanted to disprove what they felt.

Proponents of purely atheistic occult (aka dabblers, i’m not referring to Luciferians and Gnostics) use this to say that magick is all in the mind, and has no external influence whatsoever, since mere lack of belief nullifies it. But you see, the magick isn’t really nullified, and it’s the disbelief, and desire for it to not work, rather than lack of belief that causes this.

As we’ve already established, when you do a magickal operation, your intent and emotions mean a lot. When you do an operation, you need to add to it the belief that it will succeed. After all, you want it to work, right? It’s like hitting the “send” button when you type a message to someone. But when you believe it will not work, or even strongly desire it to not work, that will be the magick you cast. In other words, your magick will manifest, in the form of not manifesting, since you basically cast magick for you to not get results.

Funny isn’t it. Your magick needs to work only once, and then you will know for sure that it works, but you always have to make that leap of faith, and just have complete trust that it works, especially in the face of new experiences. In fact, one reason why magick works so well the first time for many people, is because they go into it having no clue what to expect. Sometimes, they just do it out of curiosity, and are shocked by the result.

In a way, not believing in magick is better than believing there is not magick. With lack of faith, you are still open. But once you have faith in the invalidity of faith, then you’ve sealed your self. Belief is more powerful than skepticism. And a bit of skepticism is always good to have anyway.

All those quotes about faith, in all religious doctrines, were there for a reason. You must believe in “God” to know “him”. You get what you want, including not getting what you want if that’s what you really want. People who believe they will never be happy will never be happy. Belief is at the root.

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”
– John Lenon


This goes without saying, but even if your magick isn’t working quite how you want it, it will grow over time. Practice makes man perfect (I know, I’m an artist. I can compare two art works just a few years apart and see the enormous difference in them). The more you do, the more you’ll learn, and the better you will become. just just stick to it, and focus on doing your true Will, and eventually you will be well on your way.

So there you have it. There’s many more things I could say on this topic, but these basic points are things I feel it is always important to keep in mind. Besides, the masturbation thing was the important thing i wanted to discuss, because I feel no one covers it and it’s fairly important. But don’t worry too much, it’s okay to make mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never learn anything new!

Be sure to follow the blog. You can also follow me on Instagram @WhiteRavenMagus

So then, until next time..

~White Raven

Tools of Ceremony: Why use them?

Written May 20th, 2016 | Edited: 27th February 2019

Right, so in this post i’ll be talking of something more theoretical: the tools of ceremony. When I was starting out, I perhaps had the toughest time figuring this out.

In all fields of the occult, one common recurring thing is the tools we use. They differ according to tradition, but things like wands, daggers, altars are common, and these days there’s a lot of flexibility and free flow of ideas. What most often confuses people is the practical importance of tools, the way to make and use them, and how to reconcile seemingly conflicting ideas across traditions, like should one use a dagger to represent the element of Air, like the Golden Dawn did, or a Feather, like many Wiccans do. I find very little on the internet regarding this, so let me try and answer from experience.

One can broadly divide ritual objects into three categories: permanent, like wands and daggers, consumable, like candles and incense, and lastly sigils. This post will focus on the permanent objects, which i’m referring to as tools.

EDIT (2019): For seals and sigils, click here.

History of Ceremonial Tools

Well, in all magick, we use objects that have spiritual power during our practice. It may vary from the elemental weapons, to cauldrons, to statues, to circles and triangles, and even apparel like rings and robes, and have been used pretty much since the beginning of the occult traditions in the olden days. But, this is not just something found in the modern occult, but all spiritual philosophies throughout the ages. 


Whenever historians discover strange artifacts, like a horned helmet, little dolls, stone cubes and lingams, that do not seem to have any practical or decorative use, they conclude that it must have been a ritual implement. Human beings have used ritual tools for as long as we have been spiritual. One can even find small holes in ancient settlements in Turkey, built around 11,000 BCE, where ritual implements are though to have been placed, as they don’t seem to have any other purpose. Some of these objects are found in mythology, and have legendary status, such as the Holy Grail. 

You’ll be interested to know that just about every civilisation that ever existed has used them, although as religions developed, the importance of these implements was reduced to mere formality .Think of the idols of the Hindus, the headcap and tunic of the Muslims, the Crucifix and the Altars, the Statues of Christ, the Turbans and daggers of the Sikhs and just about anything that counts as a “religious object”. Most of these started out as occult tools (although many, like turbans, were of cultural significance instead, but that still owes to their occult symbolism), which made their way into religion, where the only thing that seemed to matter was their appearance, and this led to their mass production.

These days, there is an obsession with these relics, and they often become more important than the spiritual aspect itself. When Mohammed warned against idolatry, this is what he meant. People had become so infatuated with idol worship, they had forgotten the importance of actually connecting to the Gods themselves.

EDIT (2019): To think that I would ever agree with the Muslims on something, lol.


But clearly, ritual tools are important. Some tools are ancient, and thus common in all traditions, most notable the wand, dagger, staff, and statues. Some, are more recent, and can be found in specific schools, like the cup, pentacle, skulls and steel crosses. Most of them are deep archetypal symbols. So, what exactly are these strange objects, and why are they so important to a magician?


What are Ceremonial Tools? 

Well, in a simplest sense, they are symbolic objects that contain our own energy, and act as extensions of the magician’s body during rituals (although one might note that our body itself is a tool, and really just an extension of the Self, along with the psyche, personality, and even individuality. A better way to see it would be that everything is an extension of the unchanging Self/Spirit.)

You must have noticed that most ancient grimoires emphasise the importance of making these tools yourself, and often in very strange and convoluted ways, which leaves people utterly confused. After all, no one really wants to make a lion skin belt, or raise a black rooster, ensure it never has sex, and then kill it and use it’s skin. Fortunately, we have more resources and information these days, and we can understand the exact purpose of a tool. We can decide ourselves whether it’s use is desired and how we can substitute complex tools for simpler ones. But keep in mind they ARE important, and the specific process of creation behind them is as well, which is more symbolic than literal. 

The complex instructions in some cases are also just metaphor to keep sacred knowledge away from prying eyes.

Uses of Tools

These tools have many uses, but there are five important ones. I shall list them in ascending order, from the least to most important reason we use them.


They serve a real purpose: There are few of these, so I wanted to address this first. Of course. They are unique as they have a practical function, and often are not directly part of the ritual. I’m referring to things like the offering bowl, the candle holder, a carving knife or a pin to draw blood. In their case, one must be realistic and should usually follow instruction close to as they are given. So, if it says use a stone or clay container to burn incense, you may use glass, but don’t just use wood or plastic, for obvious reasons.


 They Are Symbolic: Of course, the most basic reason is that they symbolize certain things. Take the elemental weapons for example, the represent the four alchemical elements. The symbolism is what matters the most in this case, rather than what physical tool you pick. Always get your symbolism correct, and know what a tool represents in your tradition, so that you can use it properly, and substitute if required. For example both the staff or the wand are perfectly viable representation of fire. The magic dagger, used for the LBRP, can be substituted with the index and middle fingers extended out. Bear in mind that many symbols are deeply rooted in the human psyche and common across traditions and cultures (like the sword, phallus, wheel etc.)


They Contain Our Energy and Intent: When you make a tool, it becomes imbued with your spiritual essence, and once you consecrate it, it contains your intent. The more you use it, the more powerful and energised it becomes. It is yours, and used to manipulate our own energy. As I said before, the Tools are an extension of you, and so they should be carefully stored and kept clean, so as to not accumulate foreign energies. It’s best not to let the others touch them, or in some cases even see them. For this reason it is usually recommended that you make items yourself.

A more detailed account can be found here.


They Correspond of Specific energies: One of the big reasons we use ritual tools is to tune the frequency and energy of the temple space and altar to the energy of a specific spirit. When you craft ritual objects, you should know what it’s purpose is and use corresponding items.
So, now you know why the grimoires are so specific about what colours and materials to use when making something, because correspond to the energy of certain spirits and forces. Knowing correspondences will also help you with substitution. Once you realise that gold and the colour yellow correspond to the sun, you can make a yellow paper sigil and also put gold jewelry on the altar, rather than purchasing an actual solid gold sigil.

EDIT (2019): This particular paragraph is obviously a gross oversimplification. Using a black paper dagger is not a substitute for an iron one, and sometimes objects have immaterial power and significance too. This point is really about psychological correspondence. I should mention though, that MANY famous correspondences (such as the flashing colours of the Golden Dawn) are actually arbitrary. Make of that what you will. Practice, and see what works and what doesn’t.


They Appeal to the Subconscious: This is by far THE most important use of ritual tools that no one seems to talk about. When you perform a ritual, the whole idea is to enter a trance, and that is where tools play a big part. The word “impress” means to leave a lasting impact, and has two uses for a reason. You can “impress someone” or “impress upon something”, and means the same thing. In magic, this someone/something in both cases, is the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is simple, naive and easily excited. It is deeply affected by symbols and visuals, and the magick tools help it enter the certain state that is desired for a ritual. The Subconscious mind is incredibly powerful, and is the one who actually does the magick.

Impressing the Subconscious

Ritual is like a date with the subconscious, where you must impress it to manifest results. Think about it like this, if you were not a magician, and wanted a ritual done, what would impress you more: a guy with a intricate mask, in fancy hooded robes chanting in an ancient language, standing in a circle inside a dark room with candles all around him, and a table before him with strange objects and spiraling incense, raising a dagger made of horn, or a dude with tshirt and jeans, holding a butter knife, in a well lit room, calling out to deities with badly pronounced names?

The whole point of ritual is to impress the subconscious mind. The subconscious can’t tell what is good or bad, and what is real and unreal, so it believes the tools have some deep value, even though the most valuable thing in magick is your intent. That is one of the reasons we approach the altar in special clothing: be in robes, or witch’s clothing. The subconscious identifies that something is “different” about what you’re going to do. This is where ceremonial tools come in, and why they look so fancy and intricate. Once you enter the trance, the colours, words, smells that you perceive all affect the subconscious, and activate certain parts of it. Ideally, there should be one thing to affect each of the senses: visuals (sight), incense/oils (smells), chants (hearing), offerings (taste), fine materials and clothing (touch) and visualization (the sixth sense/magick). The ancient Egyptians would also consider speech to be a sense, and so you had to vibrate certain words and names.

Images like these are what draw wonder and awe towards magicians throughout the ages. Imagine these people in their living room in casual clothing, with no props. A big part of the effect a ritual produces is the mood it created among all participants and observers, and stirs their energy and emotion. You may even impress the spirits with your grandeur. After all, do they not show up with great splendor?

When you invoke a specific God, you usually dress up like the God and hold the implements they are portrayed with, all so that the subconscious genuinely believe you are that God, flooding that energy into you. This is also the reason religious figures dress in a certain way, so they they are imbued with a sense of power, authority, and superiority to the masses. The Catholic Church is the most notorious example.

Many a times, you may also use things that were put into your subconscious during your childhood. So, if you were raised Christian, your subconscious might associate the crucifix with protection, so you can use the crucifix during an exorcism. This is the main and most important reason why we cannot just ignore all the drama of ritual and it’s tools.

When i make ceremonial tools, I make them look as nice and fancy as possible. I always use the best materials I can find, and never cut corners. It may not be perfect, but it HAS to be the best I personally can do.

The most important thing to keep in mind when making an object is that it should appeal to YOU. If you don’t like it, chances are the subconscious also won’t like it. Magick rituals are essentially elaborate forms of self hypnosis, so perform them with as much splendor and aesthetic appeal as you desire. 

Substitute where you must, but ensure they are amazing and resonant. With magical tools, half the magick is already done before you even say the first word.

Be sure to follow the blog. You can also follow me on Instagram @WhiteRavenMagus

Until We meet again.

~White Raven