Building on the first question. What do you consider to be fundamental skills? Which ones provide the most value/utility and what ways have you worked to develop your skills? Which ones have been the most challenging and why?
That’s a really, really hard question. In my first book, I list three skills I think are important: imagination, introspection, and authority. I still agree with that. I think I’d add a few techniques to the list, at least. For example, I agree with Jason Miller as to the importance of meditation. I particularly find mindfulness meditation useful, not just for magic but for life. Other than that, the ability to maintain and control mental images is extremely important. Finally, I think discrimination is necessary: you need to understand the difference between reality and wishful thinking to do good magic. For me, the hardest skill is the simplest: relaxation. I get excited and anxious pretty easily, and so I have to make a concentrated effort to calm down several times a day, and several times during a working. I also have a bit of trouble with imagining spatial relationships, always have, and that can gum up some visualizations.