When you start exploring the world of magic you find that you have to make some pretty heavy choices and decisions fairly early on. It can sound and seem daunting, but is in fact very empowering, and while it’s essential to take them seriously it’s worth bearing in mind that they will develop, evolve and change as your own knowledge and experience does. In the meantime it will help to define your path, your practice and your journey since there’s a whole wealth of options and opportunities out there and it can be difficult finding a meaningful starting point.
One of the key things will be ‘deciding’ on your own understanding of the nature of magical energy or power. I put this in inverted commas because this is unlikely to be a wholly conscious or rational decision, although I would advise trying to use objective thought and analysis in coordination with instinct and intuition – things tend to go a lot easier when all the bits of yourself are in consensus! For some this power is generated from an external source, whether it is deity, ethereal beings or other mystical entities. For others it is woven into the fabric of the universe, the earth, the elements and in a sense neither comes from or goes to anywhere. And then again it might be entirely internal, with the self as the source and conduit of all power. As you have probably noted, none of these are necessarily mutually exclusive.
You will also need to decide on the scope of magic – if you believe that magic is governed by deity, or even by destiny, then how much influence can your magic actually have? Can you have harmful consequences if the gods do not will it? And if they do will it, is there anything you can do about it anyway? Is magic appropriate for daily mundanities, or should it be ‘saved up’ for big things and special occasions? Where do you draw the lines around what is and is not an acceptable use of magic for you personally?
These are not trick questions; they are not designed to deter you, or cause doubt, and the only truly relevant answers are the ones you find for yourself. Revisit them often, continue to challenge yourself and your journey will always be an adventure.