This is an article I wrote for the May 2017 edition of our Raven Newsletter:
One of the things you come across when you start to practise magic is the Magician's Pyramid: To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent.
And the one that most people will struggle with is, surprisingly, To Dare.
These four attributes give you the ground rules for successful magical practise. But the key thing is to put into action the things you have read about.
Most people are quite happy with the theory of Witchcraft or Magic, they will happily read about spells and magical workings. They will accumulate magical tools and accoutrements, so that when they start to practise magic, they will be ready to go.
But actually putting that knowledge into action is where most people fall down. I remember years ago a friend being at a meeting where a well-known White Witch in full ritual regalia and waving a magic wand about, was pontificating about spell working, how to do it, what you needed, what phases of the Moon to use. Until my friend said to him, 'So you have tried this spell have you? What sort of results did you get?'
The man blustered for a bit and then admitted that he didn't actually practise magic, but that he didn't need to, because he knew all the theory and so was fully qualified to act as a teacher to others.
When my friend told me about this, I remarked, 'Well if I was going to have brain surgery, I would rather have treatment from someone who had done the actual operation before, not someone who had just read about it in a book.'
And that is why 'To Dare' is such a crucial part of any magic: NOTHING will happen unless you get on with it and put your theoretical knowledge into conscious practise. And there is a whole heap of an advantage once you have started working your spells.
There is an old saying: 'Nothing succeeds like success.'
And what this means is that practise and experience will ensure that your chances of success are so much greater.
We all know how easy it is to 'look the part' wearing wafty clothes and symbolic jewellery, and to give the air of 'one who knows'. But you may well find that the real practitioners are the ones who look like a little old lady or gentleman sitting in the corner, just watching and listening.
However there are some individuals who will not have success with spell work, no matter how hard they try. This is the same in all walks of life: it is no good trying to be an accountant if you hate maths. And here I am reminded of an old Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketch, where Moore acting the part of a one legged man, has gone to audition for the part of Tarzan, during which Cook points out that Moore's right leg is a great leg for the part, and he has nothing against it, but unfortunately neither has Moore.
But at least Dudley Moore's character was having a go.
Until he went for the interview he believed that he had as good a chance as any, only by trying it out did he find that this was not the part for him.
And so it is with spell work, until you actually try it, you will never know whether this is the Path for you.
Perhaps it is fear of the unknown, or fear of failure, which holds people back. But I have found that this extends to when they are asking someone else to do the spell for them.
When your friends find out about your magical interests, very often they will ask you to cast a spell for them. I have found that a very easy way to find out if they are serious about the process is to ask them to provide the materials you will need.
The standard response is 'Oh, can't you get them, and I'll pay you back for them after.'
If you refuse and insist they must provide you with candles etc., in 99 times out of 100 that is the last you will hear of it.
So even To Dare, by proxy, is still a difficult hurdle to get over.
Magic and Witchcraft are not theoretical subjects, they are practical and experimental, and great fun, and awesome, and difficult, and really, really easy and surprising and something which is very addictive.
So go on, give it a go.
Dare a little!