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The Principles of Magic. 
   Part 1: The Nature of Energy.
   By: Lunarian Stormbringer

      SECTION 1: The Three Types of Energy

              The fundamental basis for Magick (and all life) if a flow of force from the Cosmos to the being that it is affecting. This concept is recognized around the world as Mana (to the Huna of Hawaii), Chi/Ki to the Martial arts masters of the East, Prana to the Sufis of India and so on. Many names for the same basic force that grants life and changes the universe around us. These forces are without "morals" as we see them, they are not good nor are they evil, they simply are. This energy is measurable and perceptible to the aware and/or trained mind, thus it can be defined and utilized. There are three types of basic cosmic energy, all of which are a part of how we interact with the Universe at large. The first I will discuss here is the most basic of the three, Personal Energy.
             The Human body has energy coursing through it from birth until death, when that energy is released and returns to the Source of All things. This energy flows along meridian lines within the body and can be drawn in or sent out, from certain locations along these meridians. These locations are known as the Chakras, as Chi Points, and other names, and regardless of what they are called or how they are viewed they, are the same locations universally. The hands, the feet, the 'third eye', etc., known the world over for their power.
             It is this energy that you utilize when working without tools and without invoking Deity. This energy can be cultivated through meditation, exercise of the body and mind, and through healthy living. Examples of its use are best seen in the Martial Arts of the East. The Masters are capable of projecting their own chi into an opponent and into themselves for healing. When you charge an object with your energies you are projecting that same personal energy into that object, just as the Master would.
             The second form of energy is environmental. This is the energy that flows from places and from things that are a part of nature. When you eat raw vegetables you ingest the life energy from that plant into yourself, thus amplifying your own. When herbs, crystals, incense or any other natural item are added to a ritual, you combine their intrinsic energy with your own for the purpose of achieving your goal. This energy is also known as Ley energy (ley lines), Dragon Lines (in Feng Shui) or Songline ( to the aborigines of Australia), places that are rich in this energy are empowering and places that are deficient in this type of energy are very bad for the person living there.
 When you call upon the spirits of places (such as forests, rivers, etc.) you are calling upon the resident life energy in those areas and adding them to your own. There is ambient energy surrounding you at all times, it is the energy in the Air that we breath in that helps to sustain us.
             The third type of energy is universal. This energy is known as Deity (god). When working a ritual and invoking Deity or any other Spiritual energy, you  call upon this vast and limitless source of energy to help in your working. This is also the destination of most magical workings. You create the thought form (your purpose and intents) and send it to the universe to be created as They (Deity/Gods) see fit.
             Now (with this basic understanding of the three energy types) you can visualize that the magician stand within a field of his own energy which is surrounded by the energy of his environment, and then circles one more time by the Universal energies. These three circles are all used in a proper ritual. To call upon your own energies (by themselves) is unwise, for it may drain you severely even with proper grounding of excess energy. The completion of most pagan/wiccan rites includes a small meal afterward. This is to help ground any excess energy you may have (as this can cause head aches, muscle pains and hyper activity) but it is also to help replenish your personal energy that was you do not become deficient (which is obviously unhealthy).
               During Ritual you expend your energy as a part of focusing and directing the ritual energies that you have summoned. Here is where some people have a failing and do not realize it, they use too much of their own energy and not enough of the other two energies available to them. In proper ritual workings your energies are the catalyst, and not the process itself, you set the events in motion and are not consumed in the process. This proper working of magick can be visualized like this (see images at the bottom of the page): You are the match (personal energy) that lights the candle (environmental energy) that is used to light the bonfire (universal energies). Images like the cone of power are designed to focus the desired outcome until it is ready to be sent to the universe to become reality, and this is the extent you should have to expend your energies, summoning and focusing the other two.
The Cone of Power

        SECTION 2: Cultivating and Replenishing Personal Energy

            The first type of Energy (personal) can be cultivated through the methods stated above, now I will list a few exercises that , if done regularly, increase ones personal energy. I will also teach a method of recharging ones personal energy through tapping into Environmental energies. The first method of  cultivating more personal energies is through controlled Breath.
            There is a rhythm to all things, the spinning of the Heavens, the beat of your heart, and to your Breathing. In this exercise breathing is done from the diaphragm and with a slow inflation of the lungs. This exercise is very simple and very relaxing. You start by breathing in for a count of 3 seconds ( no skimping it must be three full seconds), then holding for three seconds, then while controlling the exhale out for three seconds then another hold for three seconds afterwards. This cycle is repeated for however long the person feels needed to relax (5-15 minutes), all the while focusing on controlling the breath as much as possible. The hands may be placed in the lap palms up or lifted (palms up) from the lap on inhale and lowered to the lap (palms down) on exhale. You may visualize vibrant green energy being drawn in on the in breath if you wish. This exercise once done for a period of time ( no less than 2 weeks) can be increased to 4 second intervals, then ultimately up to 5 and even 6 seconds as the student progresses.  One of the many benefits of this exercise is deeper relaxation and meditation, as well as stress reduction, all of which are conductive to an increased energy level over all.
            Now while it is common to feel tired after a ritual it is not needed. You have done no more work than you would have otherwise, you only feel tired afterwards. Once you cultivate more personal energy and learn to not over exert yourself, you will find yourself less and less tired as time passes. There are , however, times when the work you do may be greater than you had been able to anticipate and you do feel tired afterwards. This next exercise is to help you replenish your energy and to prevent post- magickal malaise.
        Sit in a comfortable position with your hand and arms relaxed in your lap. Breathe slowly in a 3-3 rhythm as mentioned before. Only this time visualize yourself sitting in a Sea of silvery, luminous energy that ebbs and flows in sync with your breathing. Visualize your whole area filled completely with this water like energy. On the in breath, see the energy filling your chest area with that silvery light, on the hold concentrate on forming that energy into a ball and on the exhale push the ball into your lower abdomen. On the last hold you visualize the energy being 'digested' by your body and see it coursing through your veins. Repeat this for a few minutes until you feel relaxed but invigorated, not fatigued. This should only take a minute or two to complete after you perform your grounding section of your ritual.
        On To the Part Two!