To the Celtic peoples, magic was as common as breathing. It was not something set aside for special occasions anymore than was their beautiful twisting artwork. Like their intricate designs that decorated even ordinary utensils, magic was part of everyday life.
The Celts had no difficulty reconciling materialism and spiritual insight because they clearly understood that each is present in the other, that matter is only solidified spirit. Today we have trouble accepting that magickal law. Our minds have been bombarded by prejudiced opinions until we have become programmed to believe a blend of the material and spiritual is impossible.
We have been taught an error: that to be spiritual one cannot be materialistic. In defining materialistic I mean concerned with material well-being, not controlled by material things. By continuing to believe this lie, we place ourselves within a tightly-bound area that prohibits us from manifesting, by magic, what we need in our lives.
Ritual magic removes this programming, sometimes with drastic effect in an unprepared person. The practise of magic will quickly bring out the hidden side of any magician. That is why it is so important for a magician to really, truthfully, know him or herself and exercise self discipline.
Ritual magic is merely the taking of energy from another plane of existence and weaving that energy, by specific thoughts, words and practises, into a desired physical form or result in this plane of existence. The whole idea of magic is to contact various energy pools that exist in a dimension other than our own. Magicians do this deliberately because these energies add a vast amount of power to the energy for manifestation that we hold within ourselves. The prime purpose of ritual is to create a change, and we cannot do that without the combination of these energies. We need the assistance of these energy pools, which can be called Gods, deities, and elementals.
Everything used during ritual is a symbol of an energy that exists on another plane. Whether or not the magician properly connects with that specific energy and believes he or she can work magic depends upon on how well he or she understands its representative symbol which is used on this plane or world. Study of, and meditation on, ritual symbols is an important part of training.
In order to bring through the energy of the Gods or energy pools, the magician must set up a circuit of communication along which that power can flow. This is done by ritual use of symbols, ritual itself, visualization and meditation. To keep the incoming power from dissipating before being directed toward a particular goal, rituals are performed within a cast and consecrated circle. This provides a neutral energy area which will not siphon off or dissipate the incoming energy.
To correctly contact the appropriate energy pool, the magician uses as many symbols as possible that represent a specific deity power. For example, he or she will choose a color, incense, plant, stones, and statue or picture to help his or her visualization.
Also be aware that if you consistently call upon one particular deity power to the exclusion of all others, you will eventually begin to manifest characteristics of that energy pool within your personality. If this is done correctly in order to gain positive results, these changes will become part of your magickal personality. If not, they can cause changes of a negative kind.