Thought I would create an article about some of the fundamentals I have found that have helped me with my own practice, that I perceive as universally useful, no matter what sources one is working with, or what methods. Here is my list of advice:
- Tobacco, tobacco, tobacco. Use tobacco for prayer and invocation. Throw a pinch of some on a lit charcoal if you can't do tobacco ties on a hibachi in the backyard. Utter your prayers as you do so. Tobacco is excellent for prayer and development, and is especially good for invocation to a source that would work with you that might otherwise be a challenge to invoke. Take note of any feelings you have in your soul when working with it. (I also use prayer pipe sometimes but I do not advise this be done all the time due to the risk of abuse. This works well for certain prayers that directly involve the soul - don't inhale!) If you are in Toronto, "House of Energy" in Kensington Market sells ceremonial tobacco bags for a good price.
- Pray to have greater success with your prayers and invocations. Pray to be better at contemplation, meditation, or other practices. Pray to be able to give blessings, and that they be more effective. Pray to ground your mind in the Manipura region. Pray for mindfulness to be your base psychological state, pray that the ego serve the self, pray for higher intelligence and wisdom. Pray for whatever you feel your mind needs for what you want to evolve in yourself psychologically. Consider the structure of the psyche and work with prayer to evolve that. Pray to do better with shadow work. Consider building yourself up with as much prayer as possible... consider everything and pray for anything. Experiment and see what sources you have invoked work best for what kinds of prayer. (I find that St. Jude is good for getting help from higher sources, Metatron is great for psychology, and the Virgin Mary is great for emotional wellness, to name some examples.)
- Consider angels and experiment with which would suit your needs best. (Though I have worked with others, my go to is Metatron.) When you are grounded spiritually, angels are safe and willing to help if they are right for you. Once you feel a specific angel is working with you, consider this one of the finest sources you can work with for personal development. Pay attention to what you feel when attempting to work with one. Again, tobacco is a good method to use for invocation of angels. You may also be able to invoke angels through another source you have already invoked and are working with, such as a saint.
- Experiment with methods, and see where that takes you. Though I work with a folk style Christian path, I also take on Native American plant medicine, have opened to Akasha, and experiment with Indian spirituality and ideas as well. Bending the rules here and there from a particular path can sometimes lead to marvelous results.
- Make sure your mind is sound before you try to involve yourself with psychic opening. The mind may have to go to an odd place before it can achieve higher states. Know that if it does, you are not crazy, you are changing. If it gets really odd, don't be afraid to take a medication if it's necessary, but be hopeful that it's possible to move on. (I find Latuda has been the best antipsychotic for me as far as having little to no side effects - others caused severe exhaustion and weight gain, like Seroquel and any from that generation.)
- To know the difference between a sign and a coincidental experience, know that a sign moves you in some way that coincidence does not. Perhaps this is a feeling that comes over you of importance. Do not overanalyze, but consider it a nod from the Spirit. Common signs include 11:11 on a clock, and animal behaviour in nature, if it catches your attention.
- Consistency in practice is important, just like exercise, or taking up a musical instrument. Try to commit to at least a little bit each day, and see where it takes you. If you get really involved, you may suddenly find old interests boring.
- Be patient with psychic sight, and understand you have to conquer psychological pain to achieve it. Consider Jungian analysis an excellent method for confronting shadow work. Know that it can take many years of commitment, but with the right therapist it's well worth it.
- Plant medicines like smudge work well if there is a need for them to do so, otherwise they won't do much of anything. They won't backfire on you, unless they are something you ingest that could cause damage or a psychological response that complicates things. Do not rely on entheogens to evolve yourself... they are dangerous if misused. Try to rely on a more sober practice for evolution, and only do entheogens with the right help and level of respect.
- Do not concern yourself too much with obtaining a massive array of ritualistic items - the power comes from working with the Spirit, mostly. Some items can have talismanic properties when Spirit is directly involved in working with them, but that is only when there is a specific need for something to work as a talisman. Otherwise, it's just an object. But, if the objects help to get you into a certain psychological headspace, more power to you. I do this a bit myself, it's fun. :)
That's all I can think for now... this may be yet another article I add to later, if other pieces of advice I could give come to mind.
UPDATE: Another piece of advice - for true power in your practice, you require a balance of the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine, and they must dwell in you actively and work through you for powerful results. In my case, this is mostly with Jesus and Mary. Though I reach out to various components of both the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine (including gods and goddesses of other religions), it is Jesus who dwells in me because of the path I am on... I am working to balance with Mary now. Any path that polarizes too much to one side is going to be limited, and any path that doesn't allow these powers to work through you as indwelling spiritual components will have its limitations as well. Christianity, for example, is limited if it does not include Mary. (It is my belief that the corruption in Divinity, what Christians call Satan, is what made humanity polarize towards the sacred masculine, ignoring the Goddess, becoming patriarchal. Satan made masculinity insane and abusive.)