Ritual magick uses physical components like: moves, gestures, words, objects, placement of objects, etc. Additionally in certain magickal ritual systems other factors may play a role: moon phase, time, part of the year and so on.
Direct magick (also could be called mental magick) needs none of the above: you concentrate in a SPECIFIC WAY and… that’s basically it. Of course it’s more complicated then just that but that is topic for a different article.
Ceremonial magick or witchcraft are focused around certain systems that are used to create rituals of magical meaning. Many techniques that came from south-eastern parts of Asia implemented more mind involvement. Since Aleister Crowley, who showed that different systems may be used effectively together (which laid ground for paradigm of chaos magick that came later), view on magick changed drastically. From predefined rituals that have to be done in certain way, it was realized that mind is the source of magick, so techniques may be or even should be (everyone is different!) purely arbitrary because their task is to focus mind in a specific way and that is how ritualistic elements have worked. The more differentiated culture, the more our minds are exposed to different, sometimes very incompatible ideas. In that situation unified (and one cultural based) magickal systems can’t be as effective as in closed, coherent cultural environment.
Distinction between ritual and direct magick is somewhat artificial because in practice ritual elements are mixed with mental work. If you do ritual it’s not enough to follow the design, you also visualize, focus your mind in a certain way. When people do direct magick they implement simple ritual elements: use crystals, wave hands, use music (and others), however in less structured way then in typical ritual. Shamanic methods often implement both magick bases: rituals are as important as mental work (mental journey, visions, communication with and/or possessions by spirits) so magick unfolds in both dimensions: mental and physical. Your mind is not separated from the universe.
Both types of magick are equally powerful and there is no shame of using either. Each has their own perks and disadvantages:
Direct magick is simpler, quicker to perform, less problematic, more spontaneous, you can do it in any circumstances without even raising eyebrows, however it require lot of mental discipline and that is harder to learn and vary in various areas of life so no one can really master everything on equally efficient level.
Ritual magick could be time consuming, problematic with all utensils and requirements, you can’t do it everywhere or anytime. But because we are physical beings, we react strongly on physical stimulus, whether we want or not. We also want our magical work to materialize on physical plane so physicality for us is very important. Everything you do is to have chosen physical elements in your life to feel in a certain way (so the emotions are the real goal, physicality is the way how we obtain it); it works other way around too. What are the positive sides of ritual magick? In order to focus on it we must discuss something first.
Everyone has certain strengths and weaknesses without an exception. Some may be more versatile then others but even versatility vs. specialization also has its own set of perks and issues. Because of that we can’t be good or equally efficient in all areas of life. Everyone has some weaknesses that present major challenges we deal in life. And because mind is the source of change in the universe (you don’t have to believe in that, find any explanation that suits your world view best) it also shows that in those specific areas mind is not fully properly set as we would have wanted. That also means that despite mental discipline we might have obtained, we still could have some issues. In such position direct magick is often problematic to follow. However ritual elements can provide a great deal of help in such situations!
Basically ritual magick works like a third wheel to our mind! In areas you are not doing so great rituals could help you overcome the difficulties but in different situations where you are doing fine, you can drop it and and move much quicker and easier without it. But ritual magick could be lot of fun and fun is an important state of mind you need for magical working! Also: certain types of people feel and need to be stimulated more physically, just focusing isn’t doing for them – in such case ritual elements of magick are essential. In a nutshell: use direct magick for daily, easy stuff and for some things that you are good at, but when you have serious issues with something or simply love (or need to be properly aroused by) rituals, utilize power of physicality to focus properly. Both kind of magick are equally important and it depends only on you how and when you use them.
The emotional magnitude of your issue decides what technique is more proper. A rich person could easily just focus on more money and have it quickly. A poor person needs more time and more work to even have slightly more money then at the moment. In such situation simple visualization is usually not enough because there is a reason that one has no money and often it is a complicated one (lot of various negative convictions on the topic of wealth, money, self worth, happiness, rightness, etc.). So such person needs to work step by step on key elements of their own psyche and IMPLEMENT THOSE CHANGES IN THEIR LIFE improving his/her situation gradually. In the same way theurgy works (and all pacts with Satan or demons), you are taught one lesson at a time in direction of your goal but you need to take those steps, otherwise miracles won’t happen. Sure, you can win a lotto or have big, unexpected legacy, however you must understand that in order to keep that money on the long run, you must be able to keep adequate amount of mental energy as well. If you don’t have it, you just meet big issues and quickly money fly away leaving you with worse situation then ever. That’s a pattern that you can check out, a winning rarely make things easy, on the contrary. To hold on to won money you need to fulfill certain mental requirements and only little people achieves that, most winners aren’t doing so great as one might thought. So like you see dreams of the spell that instantly bring you lot of cash are beautiful but… naive. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t dream about the loads of cash, you certainly can and you certainly also can use magick to increase your wealth but first you need to become rich in your mind and that is often a leap you can do at once but gradually. Magick can bring you everything but magick is not synonymous with lack of work. The Mage card in tarot symbolizes possibilities and ACTIVITY and in the same way skilled magician knows that magick is not for lazy people, on the contrary!