When I've taught the concepts of magical identity to different people, one of the questions that comes up is if magic is only mental in an ontological model. It's a fair question to ask, in the sense that the initial focus of the magical work involves becoming the magic. However the ontological model of magic isn't a psychological model, which means it goes much deeper than just a mental state. Becoming the magical act and result isn't just thinking about it. When I talk about directing the magic inward, as well as outward, what I'm really speaking to is a fundamental recognition that any magical act necessarily must change the practitioner as well as the world around the practitioner, in order to manifest a desired result. In other words, the magician must be willing to shift to a new state of being that allows for and embodies the desired result within as well as without. A purely mental model of magic wouldn't enable such work because it doesn't extend to the world around us, nor does it allow more than a surface level experience of the internalization of magic.
When magic is only mental, its not real. It's a thought, caught up in a swirl of other thoughts and emotions, transitory and illusive. And as a thought it's not even fully integrated with imagination, so much as it is caught up in the minutiae of the practitioner. I've never found a purely mental/psychological model of magic to be workable, because when its all in your head, it's solipsistic and self-obsessive. There is no real connection to the world and without that connection, magic becomes an act of deception and fantasy.
What makes magic work, in my experience, is the simultaneous crafting of the work inward within the magician and outward to the world. When the magic goes inward, it's not just effecting the mind of the magician, but connecting the magician to the inner contacts and spirit guides that are allies to the work the magician does. It is also going inward to the magician's connection with the universe, allowing the magician to change that connection. When the magic goes outward, it goes outward to the world around the magician, aligning the possibilities and variables into favorable outcomes that produce the desired result. By directing the magic inward, the magician becomes the desired result, while setting up the outside to create an environment that allows for the expression and full manifestation of that result.
Magic is lived...not just thought about. You live magic when you make it part of your life, part of who you are, as well as what you do. For me, what makes magic work is that I make it part of the expression of my life and recognize that the expression of my life is the extension of my being into this world. That extension allows me to interact with and change the world, even as in turn the world changes me through that interaction. When you live magic you become the change and its not mental, all in your head, but rather is lived through every layer of your being.
Book Review: Unseen Worlds and Practical Aspects of Spiritual Discernment by Anastacia Nutt
This book applies the concepts of spiritual discernment to psychic protection and shows the practitioner how to use spiritual discernment to recognize situations and people that aren't in alignment with the practitioner. The author provides some useful examples and exercises that the reader can use to apply spiritual discernment to their own practice. This is a useful book for beginning and advanced practitioners, as you will glean some gems of insight out of this text. The only downside to this text is that the author wrote it in two huge sections, instead of breaking it into chapters. However the various subheadings can be treated as mini-chapters for reading purposes. For any practitioner, the practices in this book will help them critically examine their relationships and spiritual practices with an eye toward discerning what is or isn't in alignment with them.