Ritual magick is no different from any other activity that you may carry out in a systematic way. Yes, it is true, it is more formal than folk magick: you are using special tools and following a series of preordained steps based on traditional practice. But this does not mean that it has to be so complicated as to be beyond the capabilities of any normal person. You do not need special powers; and the preparation is just the same as you would do if you were redecorating a room, servicing your car or preparing your annual accounts.
When you decide to do any of these tasks, you set out the necessary equipment in advance, so you are not constantly dashing off to find what you need. You check that it is all in working order and you probably consult a reliable reference book, computer software or calculator to clarify the necessary stages and finer points of the method. And that is exactly what preparing for ritual magick is like.
First, you need to collect any relevant information; for example, you must find out which tools, herbs, candle colours, etc. you may require. Then you must check that your magical tools are charged with power. You must check whether the hour and the day are well chosen to benefit from the energies and are most aligned to the focus. If you are working with a group, you must decide in advance who is to carry the salt and other elemental substances round the circle, who will perform particular parts of the ritual, such as welcoming the Spirit Guardians.
This preparation is important, although, as I have previously said, many of the words and actions in the best rituals remain spontaneous within the basic framework. You do not even need to belong to a coven to create beautiful rituals. Indeed, practising alone, you will find that as you increase in confidence, the natural rhythm of the ritual cycle will amplify your own innate powers and you will feel angelic or devic forces joining with you as you walk around the circle and hear their voices mingling with your chants.
You should not allow yourself to be overawed, as I have been in the past and still occasionally am, by books and practitioners who vaunt their knowledge of obscure magical phrases, measure their circles down to the last millimetre and insist that only their form of working is authentic.
What matters is the actual connection you make in your ritual with the storehouse of natural and higher energies – and that can be done with a kitchen candle if the need is great and the intention pure. Ultimately, the power is within you, and as you become skilled with magick, you may find that the external form becomes less important.
However, formal magick does have its place, for a special need or for raising spiritual awareness, or for focusing magical energies through the accumulated power of tools charged and regularly used for positive purpose. Some people believe also that in ritual you tap into the energies of all those before you who have created circles of power and protection, and within them have raised and called upon the elemental qualities to bring desires and needs from the thought to the material plane.
—Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magic Spells By Cassandra Eason