Ready for the ultimate, step by step guide to learning magick for beginners — or even for advanced students? You'll find everything you need in this guide!
Magick can be a bewildering topic. There's so much information to dig through, most of which is bad, that you can easily spend decades just reading without ever doing real practice. We used to call this being an "armchair magician" back on alt.magick in the 1990s. You can also just as easily start practicing, but spend that time hopping from one topic to another without making much progress (the eminent Stephen Edred Flowers disparagingly calls this the "Path of the Squirrel.") There are also already far too many contradictory "magick for beginners" books out there, most of which are full of partial or crappy information. So where to start? How to start?
Luckily for you, I've now spent practically my entire life cutting through the weeds and underbrush and turning the path of magick into a nicely well-lit and signposted trail. Wondering where to start with magick for beginners is now no longer an open question – it is clearly and publicly outlined, which I hope is a large improvement even from a decade ago, when this information was buried in dense books or confined to closed-door groups. (Looks around at how everyone and their aunt is now into magick... gee, I wonder how that happened?)
So let's make the tech tree clear. The following steps, followed diligently, provide the best "magick for beginners" curriculum currently available. And it's not just for beginners – advanced students will find profoundly useful and helpful material in every single resource on this list.
If you're completely new, and want a fast, immediate entry point to magick for beginners, follow the five steps below to get started now. All of the resources here are free, offered as gifts from me to you, and contain enough solid information to get yourself well on your way.
Just in case you aren't already, sign up for the free Magick.Me email course. The first thing you'll receive is a free meditation, followed by an email a day providing even more informational resources. Start reading and familiarizing yourself with this material.
Watch my free "Enter the Magician's Circle" meditation on YouTube (it's also in the email stream). Start using this as a daily meditation at a time that is most convenient for you—mornings, evenings, and/or any time that you need to tap your absolute highest capacity. An individual on Instagram recently told me they ran a 3:33 minute mile after using the meditation! (While you're here, please make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep getting new content as soon as it is released.)
Watch my free introduction to traditional (non-guided) meditation on YouTube. This will give you everything you need to begin real meditation practice. Try out this type of meditation either after practicing the "Enter the Magician's Circle" guided meditation or on its own. You can also begin to experiment with sigils from the free ebook.
Listen to episode number 39 of the Ultraculture podcast, "Introduction to Magick." This is widely considered one of the best episodes of my podcast, and is to my mind the clearest and most concise introduction to the subject ever recorded. (Also definitely subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or wherever else you get podcasts, at the link here. I currently release new episodes 1-2 times a month, where I give talks or interview some of the greatest thinkers in the field.)
Listen to episode number 48 of the podcast, "Magick, and How to Discover—and Fulfill—Your True Will." This is my personal all-time favorite episode of the show. It is my total statement on WHY your should do magick, and where the path ultimately leads...!
The above study track should get your feet firmly planted on the path, giving you a solid grounding in magick for beginners, including proper doses of both theory and practice.
GETTING SERIOUS: THE CORE 10
Your next stop is the full courses at Magick.Me. These are the best training resources on magick for beginners, as well as for advanced students, on the planet – and are designed so that you can watch them anywhere, in bite-sized units, on even the tightest schedule. You can also pick up an inexpensive monthly subscription, which gives you access to every course on the site (the yearly deal is even better).
The classes below are the Core 10. Since magick operates as a stacked set of skills, with each building upon the next, taking these core ten courses in order (although you can of course mix up the order any way you like) will build a solid, serious foundation of apex skills.
The Core 10, taken in order, form basic training. I am absolutely confident that you won't be able to get better, more comprehensive, more direct, or faster magical training anywhere else. They are:
Intro to Chaos Magick. It all comes together here, as you get skilled up in basic chaos magick theory, meditation, banishing, divination, sigils, achieving altered states of consciousness and ritual construction. All of the other classes at Magick.Me expand on the foundations laid here, and you'll be ready for full practice immediately after completing it. So start here.
Hardcore Meditation. While Intro to Chaos Magick is the place to start, this is the most important, cornerstone class on Magick.Me. Here, you'll build the fundamentals of true meditation practice, Raja Yoga, that both underly all serious magical work, and which act as both safeguard and guidance system. No matter what branch of magick you pursue next, you need this.
Introduction to Banishing Rituals. Here, you'll get the basics of ceremonial magick and the eternally useful Golden Dawn pentagram rituals—the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, Lesser Hexagram Ritual, Rose Cross and more. Often ignored as "too complex" by later magicians, these rituals will do more with less than nearly anything else in the world's esoteric traditions. They are prerequisite for more advanced ritual and astral work.
Master the I Ching. Divination is both the most important and the most misunderstood subject in magick; far too many get lost in the vapors of popular fortune telling and astrology. One session with the I Ching will disabuse you of everything you think you know about both divination and reality. It can act as both guru and guide, and its use is critical not only for lighting the path of your spiritual growth but also for double-checking rituals before you perform them to make sure you are dead-on in your strategy.
Master the Tarot. As it is more complex, Tarot is the next divination system to learn after I Ching. Learning this vast and often completely misunderstood system is critical to development in the Western Esoteric Tradition. It will begin to train you in elemental, planetary, astrological and Qabalistic correspondences. This is the language of magick, and will not only open a dialogue with the deeper strata of your being, but also form a bridge to the more complex realms of the Qabalah and ceremonial magick.
Introduction to Lucid Dreaming. Here, I give you the most effective currently available information for opening up the dream plane, and regaining an entire 1/3 of your life. Dreamwork, lucidity and dream control directly open a reliable egress to the astral plane, the world of the shared unconscious.
Introduction to Astral Projection. With lucidity covered, it's now time to learn how to access the astral while awake. Learning the techniques of astral projection will allow you to build on the toolkit you've already assembled by learning meditation, dreamwork, banishing and sigils to now integrate awareness of the astral plane with your ritual work—which is when things start to get really fun.
Practical Psychic Protection. This class explains how to stay safe and grounded while performing magick, which becomes more and more important as one's rites grow in complexity and intensity.
Advanced Chaos Magick. Once we've got wide-ranging and deep knowledge of the basic skills, it's time to try driving on the freeway. Advanced Chaos Magick expands the basic toolkit of Introduction to Chaos Magick, branching out into invocation, evocation, personality shifting, servitors, belief shifting and developing a sustainable, long-term practice that's fully grounded in reality. Here, we learn how to actually turn chaos magick into a mature, adult, sustainable path.
Unlock Your True Will. At last, everything comes together into one shining whole in this course on the True Will. You'll now take the skills you've learned and fully apply them toward accelerating your spiritual growth and blasting off towards becoming the person that you're truly meant to become.
While you're working your way through the curriculum (and after), make sure to take advantage of the bi-weekly live Office Hours, where I answer questions one on one. If you have a personal practice question, this is the place to ask it. I'll do absolutely everything I can to work through it with you...!
You will also likely want to start picking up some ritual tools, even as soon as the first class. This is a place where it is easy start going overboard and buying way too much stuff that isn't actually necessary—clutter. Buying too magical "clutter" like cools altars, robes, crystals, etc etc etc can turn into its own block to progress. You don't really NEED that much stuff. Actually, you don't need any tools outside of yourself, but there are a few things that make life a lot easier.
I've listed the core (actually functional) tools you will want here, and I'd start with this list. You won't need much more than the few things listed here. (There are some good core books listed here as well, which you may want to either pick up now or save for later.)
THE 7-DAY MAGICK SUPERCHARGER
Once you're ready, it's time to drop theory completely. No more overthinking, no more reading, no more slow experimenting, just get your ass in the deep end and swim. That's what the 7-Day Magick Supercharger course is for. This class puts together everything from the above material and forces you to use ALL of it, NOW, over a hyper-intensive one week period that is basically the "Navy SEALs Hell Week" of Magick. (Although I shouldn't really say that, because I'm bound to come up with something even more intense!)
During this course, you will not only completely outline every change in your life you want to make with magick, but you'll also do the heavy ritual work NOW to get the results, instituting radical and intense life change in a very short period. And you're not going to have a single moment to second-guess yourself, or avoid practice, as you'll have a drill instructor (me!) in your ear all week. Sound good? Go get it!
I've put this course after the Core 10, but you can also take it as your first class, as all necessary skills are given in-class. Many do it this way. You can also take this class over and over, whenever you hit a lull period in your practice or need an extra push to get yourself to the next level.
SUPPLEMENTARY AND SPECIALIST COURSES
In addition to the Core 10, the courses below offer supplementary or specialized material that will be exceedingly helpful as you progress. They will be critically important for some, and not necessary for others. If any of them fit your situation, I highly recommend taking any or all of them during or after the Core 10. I have given them "decimal" numbers so that you can see where they best fit if they are added to the Core 10 order.
1.5. Achieve Peak Mental and Physical Energy. If you're having challenges finding the extra mental and physical energy to dedicate to magical practice in addition to your normal duties – or if you would simply like MORE energy (and who wouldn't?) – this is your course. It will show you how to build a foundation of physical and mental energy, toughness and resilience far outside what most people ever experience. This course works best if taken following Intro to Chaos Magick.
8.5. Psychedelic Ritual Magick: Set and Setting for Sacred Tripping. Entheogenic substances like strong marijuana and even psilocybin (in Colorado) are becoming increasingly decriminalized or even legal in some parts of the United States and many other parts of the world (check your local law and follow it to a T). This is a great boon for magicians, who have experimented with such substances since the dawn of history, but it also poses new risks. I do not advocate the use of these substances with magick, and suggest that people do their magick sober – it's more sustainable, and manageable with real life responsibilities, and also a lot harder to delude yourself when you do it sober. However, I would be living in Dimension X if I thought people weren't going to experiment, or that they aren't doing so already. With that in mind, I offer this course as best guidelines for safely tripping and combining substances with ritual. For students who live in an area where they can legally use any entheogenic substance, taking this course before doing so should be prerequisite. This course works best if taken following the series of courses on handling the astral plane (Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection and Practical Psychic Protection).
9.5. Magick and Art. If you're an artist or creative person of any type, and are interested in using magick as a tool for gaining artistic inspiration, take this class. You'll gain everything you need to know to rocket-fuel your artistic career with real inspiration from the unconscious realms, rather than just copying what has gone before. Take this after Advanced Chaos Magick—or at any time, if you want to skip ahead, although building the fundamentals first is extremely helpful.
(Fine artist Chet Zar, who has worked extensively creating art and digital animations for the band TOOL, as well as regularly creating sculpture, make-up and effects for the film industry, including on Planet of the Apes and The Ring, recently had this to say about the classes:
"I’m so grateful to Jason for creating Magick.Me. Finally, a way to learn all aspects of magick in one place… and from a reputable source. The videos are full of valuable information (without any woo-woo gobbledygook or pretentiousness), and very easy to understand. I think what Jason has done is truly important. I can’t recommend it highly enough!")
THE MAGICIAN'S WORKSHOP
All subscribers to Magick.Me (monthly or yearly) have access to The Magician's Workshop (it can't be purchased on its own). This is a weekly email course, sent out over the course of a year. It provides additional structure to the Core 10, and gives you a way to work though the lessons in logical order, as well as additional drills and experiments to try along the way. It's also an excellent reminder to practice if you get tangled up with worldly commitments!
ADVANCED MAGICK (NOT FOR BEGINNERS)
Once you've got the basics down, it's time to start really digging in. This means studying the traditions, going to primary sources, seeing what some of the best magicians in history have already done, and laying down long term plans about where you want to go next. Here's where to continue your studies:
The Ultraculture With Jason Louv podcast. While this is of course not just for advanced students, it is full of interviews with some of the truly legendary magicians of our time—titans like Genesis P-Orridge, Douglas Rushkoff, Ralph Abraham, Lon Milo DuQuette and Stephen Edred Flowers. Use these interviews well to learn from, and model, the best.
Take a look into Enochian magick, the most advanced form of magick on earth, with my magnum opus book John Dee and the Empire of Angels and Entering the Enochian Universe course. Enochian is a massively complex topic. Although anybody can start without any prior experience, to fully understand it you will need to have completed all of the above courses as prerequisites, as a bare minimum. Enochian is not for everyone, but for those who feel called, these are the best resources currently available on the subject, outside of Lon Milo DuQuette's Enochian Vision Magick, the new edition of which I provided an introduction for.
Check out the Office Hours archives. There are over 60 hours of recorded one-on-one sessions with students here, and a lot of my absolute best (and often most advanced) material is in here. Any question you have will likely already be answered somewhere herein. They are unfortunately not currently indexed by topic, but I hope to change that soon.
BOOKS ON MAGICK FOR BEGINNERS
The world is full of "magick for beginners" books and forum posts where people ask (or claim to know) what the best magick books for beginners are. I actually think you should wait on doing (at least a ton of) reading until you've gone through the coursework above. You'll just save yourself a lot of time and confusion if somebody shows you what to look for first. There's just too much obfuscatory writing in magick, or writing done by people who have never practiced, or never practiced correctly.
But once you get all the learning and practice above under your belt, now it's time to go back and hit the stacks. You will likely find that even the most complex and head-scratching occult books will now make perfect sense to you. I've provided a list of the all-time classics of magic and world spirituality here, which will start to fully round out your education.
Outside of this guided curriculum, there are of course many many more resources available in my books, on the Magick.Me blog and on the (older) Ultraculture blog. You can also check out the many appearances I have made on other people's podcasts and YouTube channels, most of which are archived on my site as well as bookmarked on my own YouTube channel.
TO CHAOS! TO THE END!
The magick for beginners resources above are in many ways my life's work. Enjoy them, and take them seriously (but also while maintaining a sense of humor of course)—you never know how long we'll have this kind of open communication on the Internet, and life isn't getting any shorter! A lifetime of solid results awaits. I'll be constantly adding to what's available, too. Welcome to the inner circle—and see you in class!