A detective needs to know how to get from point A to point B. The client tells you what point B is. They don't care how you get there, they just want the proof that you were there. I've always used somewhat obtuse methods to find my way. Methods that might, to a client's eyes, appear to be insane or at the very least outside of the bounds of standard issue consensus reality. For this reason I keep my methods hidden from the client's eyes and I avoid taking cases from those people who want to know the hows and whys. I swear some people hire a detective not so much to work the case as they do to get an inside peek at the life of a detective. I blame all the damn movies and books for this. I've learned to see that gleam of interest in the eyes of potential customers and cut those fellows off. I want the clients who need answers and don't give a good goddamn as to how I arrive at them.
It's easier than you might think putting yourself in a lucid dream. I used to need drugs but these days I prefer to do it without. The drugs may allow for quicker access but they tend to muddy the higher functions of the brain and make it harder to return with the answers. A botched astral voyage is a waste of time as I'm not likely to be able to do more than two or three a week. You need a little sap to get in there and it takes time to build it back. This is also why I don't date when I'm on a job. Sex can steal the sap as can over-eating and any number of other things. When I'm on a case I'm a regular monk. Meditation in the morning and evening (except when the job dictates otherwise), light vegetarian meals, no TV, no jarring music, and dim lighting.
These astral voyages are the first step. Really it's just sniffing around the perimeter but it's very rare that I don't get a get a really juicy lead out of a week's worth of journeys.
Cut-ups, sigilization, sex magic, astral travel and skying - all of these and more come into play when I'm involved in a case. The important thing about these techniques is that you've got to learn how to use them. It's not that they'll just come out and give you immediately applicable answers instead they'll offer hints or fragments of hints that can help guide you towards a clue. You've got to know the difference between a genuine intuition and what you're wishing was true. That's a very fine line and that is one of the reasons I try not to get too involved with my clients or my cases. The less I care about whether or not I solve the case, the better my intuition can act as a guide.
Once intuition puts me on the scent then it's time to start collecting hard data. This is where my accountant mind comes into play. The hard data is there primarily as a check to make sure my intuition is on the right path. If I find something I know that I can move on to deeper methods of discovery. If I come up dry I'll know that I'm on a wild goose chase and I'll drop my current line of investigation and start over.
I'm not cheap to hire. I only take one case at a time and it might take me a while to crack your case but I've never had a case I couldn't crack and that's why people hire me.