Mastering The Primal Forces Of The Universe 101
So, you want to be a wizard. A mighty magus who can bend reality to your will with a simple thought or a wave of the hand. A sorcerer who footsteps cause the earth to shiver in both ecstasy and fear.
Well you don't get there without starting your day right. That means eight hours of sleep, a balanced breakfast, and a basic daily magickal regimen. Now like a balanced breakfast what is right for you for your daily practice is going to be different than what is right for someone else. Everyone has their own magickal 'nutritional needs' in order to maintain a healthy practice and grow spiritually, but some basics are pretty universal, and a good place to start for any novice spell-slinger.
If we are going to stick with the nutrition metaphor then meditation is the calorie. This is basically the fundamental practice that is key to so many other deeper things. Mental control is essential in every form of magick. You need to be able to visualize, avoid distractions, be able to hold a single objective in your mind without wavering, and be able to discern your own internal voice from external thoughts that are trying to make themselves heard by you.
Meditation helps with all of that.
I know, it's boring, and you want to do the fun stuff, like summoning demons, or seeing into the future, or visiting alternate realities in an astral body. But without a firm handle on meditation any of those other endeavors are, at best, only going to be partially successful.
Think of it this way; we are setting out on a path with the objective of manipulating the essence of creation, the fundamental force that formed the universe out of the primeval ooze. If you can't manage the willpower to control your own thoughts, how can you possibly expect to be successful in more difficult endeavors?
Working with magickal energies is sometimes like working on a farm. At the end of the day you've got little spatters of manure on your shoes, and bits of other things on your hands and face. Banishing is the magickal equivalent of taking a shower, getting rid of all of the random bits of chaotic energy that tends to accumulate around people who work with it.
What banishing you decide to use is a very personal choice. Many people go with the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, and there is definitely nothing wrong with it, but there is a wide range of equally effective banishings out there that one can choose to master as well. Ultimately which one is correct for you is up to you to decide.
As a general rule you should banish in the morning before you start your day, and in the evening before you go to sleep. If you feel the need to perform additional banishings throughout the day you have the option to as well, but at a minimum doing two a day is a solid practice I would definitely recommend. There is really no downside, and the benefits are many.
Prayer is something that many modern occultists look at a bit sideways. In our modern culture prayer is so often associated with mainstream religions, and many people feel somehow that prayer is exclusively a part of those religions. This is, of course, incorrect.
Prayer is one of the strongest and oldest ways that human beings have to connect with the divine. It can forge a stronger connection between you and whatever gods you choose to worship, or even forge a bond between you and the creative force itself.
There are a large number of ritual prayers you can use, or adapt for whatever deity you feel compelled to pray to, or you can forge your own path and create your own. Do what feels right.
My personal practice includes a four times a day solar prayer, called Resh. You can find this in one form or another relatively easily online, but again what is right for me is not necessarily what is right for you. Look around, find what resonates with your soul and with your beliefs.
In conclusion, if you want to grow spiritually and get better results for your spell work, then start with the basics, just like anything else. Eat your breakfast, get plenty of rest, do your homework, and work out those magickal muscles daily.