Hello there! I am completely new to all this, but Im very open-minded and willing to learn. Could anyone please tell me what types of magic and other similar and spiritual practices exist and what should I start with? Also could anyone write me or redirect me on some experienced guides on how to get started (what mindset to have, what items to get, what should I do or what to study etc.). Thank you for all the help tips!
I'd start with honing an ability to be simultaneously open minded, and cynical minded. Think of it like dual-wielding the 2 tools you need to navigate any information set, or interpret any experience accurately. Dual wielding these does not necessarily mean applying both simultaneously, but being adept at switching mindsets as needed. Honesty and objectivity in interpreting your efforts or impressions, is absolutely vital in order for "experience" to have any cumulative benefit.
Second, I'd say that while trying to 'do' magic, you need to be 100% all WILL, no room for doubt. But while interpreting results and learning from your experiences, you need to be very open minded to doubt. Crowley, though sometimes a bit of a crackpot, and sometimes trolling his reader, he does an excellent job at examining Will and Doubt, and their place in practice. And his insights in those 2 things I think extends to pretty much any of the occult schools of thought (both in and outside of the western esoteric). In many regards this is kinda like my thoughts on open mindedness and cynicism. Figuring out when to apply Will, and when to doubt, and juggling the two constructively.
Approaches vary GREATLY, but can usually be reduced to a handful of conceptual approaches. I really like Frater U.D.'s essay on Models of Magic: https://www.chaosmatrix.org/library/chaos/texts/model.html One could create a different set of criteria for categorizing things, but it's an excellent introduction to the sorts of concepts you will find in various schools of thought.
Western and eastern esotericism... I think both branches have tremendous value and insight. As well as a lot of unhelpful garbage. If you assume that 50% of everything you read is wrong, you'll get stuck in a lot less ruts. Beware dogma. Also beware undisciplined thinking though.
If I could pick 11 key words: Will, Focus, experience, belief, method, intent, realism, confidence, doubt, open mindedness, cynicism.
Understand sometimes 2 methods are outwardly very different, but are getting at the same thing in principal. For example, I'd draw significant parallels between the western approach to HGA (higher guardian angel), and the eastern esoteric Tantrik Hero concept, in vedic enlightenment.
Armchair expertise is great, but Experience is king. But don't make it either/or, armchair expertise "informs" experience. And experience lends nuance and visceral understanding (and sometimes corrects) armchair expertise. Plus, experience is the only path into hitherto uncharted territory.
Words limit us. If I say "car", you have a general idea of what I mean. But labels are always reductive. When I say car, you don't smell the upholstery. Further, when I say "52sdrreefnst" you have no idea what I mean. Because words depend on understood meanings in our mutual common ground. If I describe something completely foreign to our mutual common ground, it takes great painstaking lengths to even begin to paint a picture of what is being talked about. And even then, you can't smell the upholstery. And then if I describe something else, which is entirely dependent on understanding the first thing... the problem further compounds. A buddha once said "all words are lies", insomuch as verbal expressions of concept are always incomplete truths.
Paradigm... learn to be able to keep this flexible. An excellent primer of the idea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant I'd argue it's useful to be capable of being in more than one mindset, at the same time. But also capable of making yourself very singular in mindset as well, as that also has it's place.
"Gnothi se auton" ("know thee thyself"). This topic by itself could be as large as the entirety of occult practice. And I think it is pivotal to being any good at occult practice. And in many ways it is a major goal of much occult practice.
Learn the basic theory first. I recommend getting at least a simple grasp on Hermetics - Download THE KYBALLION) Once you do study Chaos Magick theory (Liber Null and Psychonaut) ...at least brush through the idea of it. Also a little known and underestimated modern resource for magick basics is a comic series called THE COMPLETE PSYCHONAUT FIELD MANUAL. You can find all these resources online in free pdf format. Don’t underestimate the last one - it’s a comic but the creator is obviously well versed in magick as it creatively gives more education in a short comic format then volumes of other books occultists waste their time on. Avoid anything that places a deity in the forefront. In magick the practitioner is the catalyst and the center of it all any outside ritual, deity, or system is only a tool to bring your will into materialization. REMEMBER THIS - JUST LIKE IN RELIGION, FAITH / BELIEF IS THE GREATEST TOOL TO SUCCESS. Being able to make yourself believe is essential. Religion is magick with the addition of a doctrinal based control mechanism for the masses.