Scholastic Image Magic is counterintuitive for beginners.
You cannot follow your wishes and heart, and also reach any level of competence at it.
The process of mastering electional astrology alone requires the employment of rote formulations hundreds and thousands of times until one begins to see hidden patterns, and correlations between stellar cause and terrestrial effect.
You may or may not need a teacher or mentor, but chances are you do because the amount of material you need to internalize is both vast and superficially contradictory. (There are even potion recipes in Picatrix which are designed to fatally poison the smart-ass student.)
In addition to memorizing and internalizing astrological texts, it is required for the student to be deeply immersed in the culture and literary canon of antiquity, the medieval era and that of the Renaissance. And that’s before you get to any of the magic.
Magic was understood to be highest of sciences, and incorporated all other knowledges. Which also means you’re probably going to read countless passages which go right over your head until you’ve done your preparatory work.
Not only do these authors make important references to texts and concepts that were ubiquitous then but not for centuries after, but the basic worldview of a SIM adept is quite alien to the modern mindset. Without comprehending these things, SIM will seem to be gibberish.
Scholastic Image Magic is a demanding discipline to pursue. I personally think it takes about twelve years of concentrated study to master, and that’s assuming the person in question has a great understanding of history and classics to start with.
Some of the questions and comments I have been getting suggest perhaps that many new people here don’t have the basic knowledge base to begin studies. I can’t do anything about that.
Maybe I’ve misinterpreted, but some of you may be shocked that SIM won’t allow you to shoot fireballs and you can’t make it work with astrology more recent than about 1750ad. Visualization and intuition have relatively minor roles in SIM compared to other metaphysical disciplines and forms of magic.
John Michael Greer describes the Picatrix and the SIM within as “medieval rocket science.” Part of the appeal of this method of magic is that it is a great filter against lazy people, and people without intellectual heft. Not only is it extraordinarily powerful, but if you achieve mastery it is a great personal achievement.
The author of Picatrix (and Agrippa too) made it difficult to understand many concepts. On top of all the other necessary learning. They did this to both create a filter against people whom they felt were unsuitable for the mastery of magic, but also to cultivate the sort of personality they felt was the ideal representative and heir to the mysteries within.
The obscurity was not designed to test the student’s intuitive faculties. It was designed to test their intellectual faculties. You had to figure the damn thing out, like Sherlock Holmes not like Deepak Chopra.
I try to make this easier for you. That’s because these and many other authors never really guessed that so many centuries later we’d have to not only master astrology and magic and ancient philosophy, but rebuild much of the canon and worldview which made it relevant.
I myself have far to go, though I have made great strides. Please try to recognize there is a path and begin walking down it. Wandering aimlessly based on whims and bad notions from fiction and games and other systems will never get you there; not even close.