DMK, as usual, has an interesting post on his blog about the signs of success in ritual: not that you get what you want, but hints that you’ve done magic before anything manifests at all. He describes two signs: a change in temperature, and a change in time perception.
I have never experienced either of those things in ritual. No, not even the warping of time perception, which is common enough in day-to-day life.
What I have experienced that lets me know I’m on the right track is a subjective sensation of intense euphoria. It’s similar, but not quite the same, as the euphoria I feel at having finished a creative project. I think it might be related to the idea of Flow. But again, I’ve experienced Flow while writing or hiking and this isn’t quite the same.
The other indicator is a striking coincidence. Usually it’s not so direct as do a spell for money, find a crumpled up twenty on the sidewalk. That’d make me think maybe I didn’t specify quantity clearly enough. But say you do a spell for money, then immediately turn on the radio and hear this:
It’s not unusual for people related to the purpose of the spell to call out of the blue, or for objects somehow related to the goal in my house to fall or end up in odd places. Once, a wand I was working on for a friend fell from a table during a ritual invocation; on another occasion, after a particularly intense invocation, I heard a person talking on their cell phone in such a way that everything they said was exactly relevant to what I had asked for. Obviously, these things can be coincidences. Vibrations from the nearby train may have jostled the wand from the table. I might have noticed a conversation that seemed relevant, but not noticed the ones that weren’t. Confirmation bias seems a likely cause. And yet . . . in the midst of it, it’s hard not to see a link.
So — temperature changes? Nope. Time stretching or compression? No. Visual manifestations? Almost never. Not for me, anyway. For me, it’s synchronicity and euphoria. What is it for you?