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Ritual magic is just one of the many branches of the magical arts. For example, when a magician charges a sigil or travels into a tattwa realm, it really does not have much to do with ritual in the technical sense of the word. The same applies to other magical workings, such as astral travel or healing with a magic mirror. However, with your expression dramatic fuss, I feel inclined to raise a finger here in warning.
Just what is a ritual anyway? It is the dramaturgical interpretation of a magical act of will and the choreography of magical energy movements, as Frater U.∴D∴ always preaches. We should remember that the subconscious mind is considered to be the main source of magical power (magis), and that it likes to think in imagery and sensory stimuli and does not care one bit about a cultivated sense of aesthetic appeal. It is like a small child demanding clear, bold colors, pompous sentimentality, emotionalism, and eye-rolling exaggeration. The good ole ritual magician is aware of this and will play the role of Caesar when Caesar is called for— clear, bold colors, sappy sentimentality, and so on and so forth. Then the subconscious mind will promptly join in the fun and do everything in its power to bring about the object of desire. (By the way, this is exactly the reason why rituals of thanks are important. They act as a reward for the subconscious—like psychological PR work, in a sense.)
One cynic once said that no one has ever lost any money by underestimating the taste of American audiences. And that does not just apply to American audiences, but also and especially to the subconscious mind. So be careful with such judgments and have a little more respect for the child inside of you. After all, it showers you with an abundance of gifts day after day. No one will ever force you to perform rituals, but please take a minute to think about the principles that they incorporate. Also keep in mind that rituals fulfill the need of religion that many people have, as well as the need to perform holy acts—and both of these needs are rooted very deeply. As far as the rest goes, remember that not all rituals are the same; you can certainly write more "aesthetic" scripts if that is what you prefer. As long as these are not over-intellectualized, the universe that we call the subconscious mind will like just about anything.
Excerpted from Where Do Demons Live?, by Frater U∴D∴
Frater U∴D∴ (Belgium), founder of Pragmatic and Ice Magic, is Europe's best known practical magician and contemporary occult author. He has written more than twenty-five books. Among his translations are the ...