Apologia

Being a WordPress user, I’m fond of the sometimes silly and sweet things it does for me like any overdesigned fun information system should.  Today, it told me that this is my four-year anniversary of joining WordPress.  Before that, I was using Blogger, and was envious of some of the bloggers who had fancier features than I did.  About that time, too, I was still getting my bearings in the magical world and was only just starting to practice conjuration.

What a wild ride it’s been in just a measly four years.  I went from talking about my mistakes in making natron to giving talks on theory at conferences, from showing off my first-ever woodburning projects to making them commercially, from reading about geomancy to teaching it to others.  It really has been a wild ride, and I’d like to thank you, especially, for sticking with me through all these times, no matter when you stepped in to pay attention to lil’ ol’ me.

To those who have stuck around longer than a few months, you’ll note that I haven’t been posting as much lately as I’m known to do usually.  I don’t apologize for that; after all, this is my blog, and I post when I want, what I want, and how I want.  That’s a good bit of advice for those who have blogs of their own or who want to start one; you’re beholden to nobody by blogging alone, and it is your platform, after all, so use it however and whenever you feel like you should.

The thing is, things have been slow lately.  My writing is tied to my activities, my Word to my Work as it were, and since I’m not doing much Work, I don’t have many Words.

My life is good.  There are always things to improve upon, and those are getting knocked out in slow but steady order.  I’m working towards my goals for this year day by day, but some days, just not a lot is happening.  I’m definitely on a plateau, but it’s not a bad one, and that’s okay; taking it slow is something I’m fond of, and things are going well.  The gods and spirits treat me well, and I try to uphold my bargains and offerings and honor to them; I have few pressing problems to worry about, and can spend my time in leisure and work without stress or concern.  I am blessed with good health, good friends, and good money, and I can’t complain for want of that.  I could always use more, of course, but that’s a matter for my own work.

But what work would that be, though?  I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve hit a slow spot, just as I’m not afraid to defiantly not post for longer than a few days at a time, but surely there’s work to be done, and there certainly is.  I’m a far cry from a master in any way of any art, despite how far I’ve come; after all, to someone still at home, a mile is a far ways to walk, but there’s a world of difference between walking across town and walking across the world.

Basically, I’ve been slow lately to the point of laziness.  For that, the self-made cause to the symptom of having little to write about, I apologize.  So let me get back on the ball, get back to working, get back to writing, and get back to the world I’m meant to create.  After all, that shit won’t do itself.

A Children’s Treasury of Easy Magic Projects

What’s that I hear?  I do believe I just heard you say that you’re interested in doing magic or something occult, but you just don’t have the time to do it.  Or maybe it wasn’t you.  I could’ve sworn it was.  My apologies, dear reader, but I hear and read and see this far too often among people in occulture.  For one reason or another, there are lots of people who study magic and ritual and the supernatural and the occult with all the fanaticism and interest in the world, but when it comes to doing it, they just…don’t.  Either they don’t have the time, the resources, or the know-how to do all this interesting stuff which works, they’re sure.  Some of them find practical magic in all but the most dire of situations abhorrent, but that’s a volatile topic for another day.

Bullshit they don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge.  Magic is little more than (a) getting to know your proper place in the universe and coming into your birthright as a God-damned God-blessed human being and/or (b) according to good old Crowley, “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”.  With those definitions in mind, I daresay that magic is at once of the most necessary, easy, natural things that we can do.  So what’s your problem?  Get off your ass and do something magical, I implore you.

Here’s a short list of a few things you might do tonight, this week or weekend, or anytime at all that you might do to get started.  (Am I now one of those people who make lists of faintly interesting shit on the internet?  Apparently, yes!)  They’re all really easy to do, require only the most basic of common sense and supplies (if anything at all), and are not intensive in either the time or effort they take.

  • Learn divination.
    Not all divination systems are as complex as Tarot or horary astrology.  Divination’s a useful skill, and can help in making any number of decisions, forecasts, or predictions from the mundane and simple to the spiritual and meaningful.  Pick up a guide on the I Ching or Geomancy (not feng shui) at a bookstore, or check the Internet for simple divination systems (such as bwa bwei).  Make a set of runes from card stock or wood chips, or get a deck of playing cards and learn how to do divination with them (an older method than Tarot).  If you’re more of a visual type, use some incense, a fire pit, or candle to practice your scrying skills.
  • Make friends with your household or local spirits.
    Get some bread, wine, fruit, cheese, milk, or whatever you feel is appropriate for an offering to the spirits of your home or property.  Set out a plate by the hearth, back door, or entertainment center with a candle.  Light the candle and call out to the spirits, gods, genii, Lares and Penates, or whatever of the home (if you know the name of your home’s spirit, use that).  Declare that you’re giving the offerings to the spirit(s) freely and joyfully and hope that the spirit(s) will take it for however and whatever purposes that they will, and that you hope you and the spirit(s) will live happily, peacefully, and prosperously together.  Once you build up a rapport, make small requests like helping you to find the remote or keeping pet smells to a minimum before you have the chance to clean it up.  It’s like living with roommates you’re on really good terms with, except invisible.
  • Chat it up with God or some deity.
    “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).  Take fifteen minutes to sit down and pray to divinity in whatever form it takes for you.  Really, sit down and commune.  Divinity, in whatever form or by whatever name you know it, wants to know you.  Divinity would absolutely love for you to spend some time with it and just chew the rug with it (respectfully, of course).  Get yourself into the proper mindset: thank them for their roles and boons and blessings in your life, extol and remember their story and travails and myths (if any), praise the deity’s virtues and powers.  You’ll get into a kind of headspace where seeing, talking, and just being with the deity just happens spontaneously.  It’s so simple and easy, it can almost be taken for granted were it not for the fact that you’re talking to one of the real higher-ups of the cosmos and all.  The amount you can learn and benefit from this sort of thing can’t be described.
  • Enchant some everyday object you use a lot.
    Pick something you use a lot: a ring you wear all the time, a favorite pen, your keyboard, a particular spatula for cooking.  Enchant it to increase your productivity, improve the quality of things you make with it, or to generally make things easier on yourself.  How do you go about doing this?  If you want to use the traditional seven planets of astrology and magic, pick a planet or planets related to your objective and say their Orphic Hymns or Picatrix Invocations in their proper planetary day and hour, maybe lighting a candle or suffumigating it in the planet’s proper incense.  Alternatively, conjure the planet’s related angel to do the work for you, or conjure the genius or spirit of the object itself and ask it to help you accomplish what you want.  You could also soak, suffumigate, or anoint the object with materials, herbs, and oils that have a “natural virtue” associated with what you want (such as rose and sandalwood oils for beauty).
  • Write down ten ideas for rituals, sigils, materia projects, or magical goals.
    Make a short list of things you want to cast a spell, perform a ritual, weave a sigil, pray, enchant, or whatever for.  It can be grandiose and overarching, or it can be simple and mundane.  Tenants upstairs walk like elephants?  “Vacate the apartment above me.”  Allergy problems?  “Effective management of allergies.”  Need some cash?  “Profitable side-project ideas.”  Better understanding of your self and nature?  “Contact HGA.”  You get the point.  Once you get a few ideas jotted down, you’ve taken the first step to accomplishing them.
  • Clean and cleanse your home, physically and spiritually.
    Yes, get out the broom, vacuum, rags, mop, and pail.   Clean your floors, your counters, your dishes, your floorboards, your toilet and tub.  Do your laundry, change your sheets, organize your desk.  Put on some gay thump-thump club music if you’re into that, or something to really get into scrubbing your house down.  Once you’re done physically making stuff spotless, turn to the metaphysical side: sprinkle holy water in every room, on your bed, on your doors and windows, and do a general banishing of your house to clear it of all the spiritual gunk that’s accumulated.  Use an aspergillium if you feel like being traditional, or use a spray bottle and spritz down your house.  Don’t have holy water?  Buy it at a local botanica or get it from a church.  Not on good terms with your priest?  Make it yourself.  Don’t forget to use a bit on yourself, either directly or in a bath.

Do you find any of the above still too hard?  Or maybe you’re scared at all of doing anything really magical or mystical, since you feel that it’s stupid or sinful or demonic or frightening somehow (and yet you find yourself reading my blog with such rapt and undivided attention).  In that case, try some of these equally-magical-but-less-overtly-mystical things.  They’re less glitzy, sure, but they’re no less helpful in anyone’s work or Work.

  • Start doing periodic reality checks.
    Every so often, catch yourself in the midst of your daily routine.  Whether it’s walking from the train station, sitting at your desk, gardening in your backyard, or even while hooking up at a party (try to be a little more subtle there), check that you’re in the hard, physical, material world.  Look at your hands, pinch yourself, check the clock, feel and be aware of your body and self in the world.  Knowing where you are and how you are in the cosmos is important so that you don’t lose track of yourself.  For people good at dreams, this will help you realize when you’re dreaming and when you’re awake, which might help with lucid dreaming or better dream recall.  If nothing else, be aware of where, what, and who you are.
  • Practice throat singing, vibrating, intoning, or just general public speaking and enunciation.
    The spoken word has incredible power; just look at any number of lists of dictators, rulers, and influential people throughout history, and chances are a good number of them were even better orators.  Communicating clearly is important for both spiritual and mundane work, so why not practice this as well?  Learn how to intone or vibrate things so you can channel them and really imbue your body and mind with particular names or words; practice clear and steady speech so that people will be more willing to hear you and, once having heard, be affected or influenced by you.  If you want to be really awesome, learn and practice throat singing like Tibetan monks do.  (That last one can be tricky, but if you can do it, SO MANY people will be amazed that they’ll do anything for you just due to the cool factor.)  Heck, try just singing in the car to practice and strengthen your voice.  Nobody can hear you, unless they’re riding with you, of course.
  • Meditate.
    Get a chair, stool, or cushion.  Sit.  Breathe.   That’s all you need to do.  Do it.  The benefits of meditation are myriad and manifold, and is required for any and every serious spiritual, occult, or metaphysical discipline or tradition.  Yes, it’ll take practice.  You’ll get it.  Just keep doing meditation every day, a little bit per day and build up slightly longer every week.  You may not become a master (though it can happen), but you don’t need to.  Even a moderate meditation practitioner, from five to ten minutes a day, can reap a jaw-dropping amount of benefits without even beginning to touch the spiritual aspects of the practice.
  • Get drunk.
    Crack open a few bottles of wine, take a few shots of cheap whiskey, or savor a glass of some good scotch.  Get a few six-packs of beer or down a few bottles of sangria (my favorite is Yago Sant’Gria, being both delicious and bottom-shelf cheap).  Hell, if some other intoxicating drug’s more your thing, get gone on that (but be responsible and discreet).  Sure, it may be a bit antinomian and decadent, but it’s an easy way to slip into an altered state of awareness.  Being with gods and spirits requires a different state of mind than we’re normally in; finding ways to shake us out of that mindset (literally, a fixing and settling of the mind) helps us get used to being crazy later on in a more controlled, pointed way.  There are very good reasons a lot of mystery and shamanic paths use entheogens, after all.
  • Read a fantasy story.
    Broaden your horizons.  The creative among us went through the time, trouble, and effort to open up new avenues of thought, build wholly undiscovered areas of the imagination from whole cloth, and give us motive after plot after character after exposition to toy with in our minds.  Without seeing and being introduced to the wild and fantastic, how can anyone interested in magic ever build up the mental strength, stamina, and fortitude to do the same in their very own waking life?
  • Take a road trip.
    Similar to reading a fantasy story, broaden your horizons.  Show your mind places it’s never been before and give it more food for thought.  Introduce yourself to strangers so you can see more people (you can only dream of faces you’ve already seen, for one).  Learn real-life stories and places that you’d never have thought of on your own, but can truly physically and materially experience in the flesh.
  • Write down ten goals for the next six months.
    Jot down ten things you want to get done or see accomplished in the next sixth months.  They can be mundane, they can be spiritual, they can be financial, whatever.  They don’t even have to be serious goals; in fact, a good way to get ahead in life (and by “ahead” I mean “unduly and undeservedly rewarded for random opportunities that happened to be there”) is to say “fuck it” to the most absurd things.  Be aware of what you want to get done and give a little thought to how.  Once you plant those seeds, you’ve got the first step down to manifesting those goals, even if you don’t take much action on them right away.  But it will help you with figuring out good short-term plans that you can get done and feel accomplished from.  Protip: cross them off with a big, bold Sharpie when you accomplish any one of them.  The feeling of satisfaction there is hard to match.

What’re you waiting for?  Go on, now.  Get to Work.  Got any other ideas?  Post them down in the comments; who know, you might just be setting a goal for someone else by doing so.

Lazinertia

So, I guess the initiation into the sphere of earth went well.  I conjured Auriel today again, and that’s what he said, and that I’m ready to move on if I chose to.  Itwas a more familiar, cheerful conjuration than the last time, and I’m unsure why.  Maybe because I used his seal and I knew something of what to expect, or that I actually looked at the crystal ball without shutting my eyes the whole time, but it was more friendly than last.  (He became more serious when I asked about conjuring Amaymon, one of the elemental princes, and said I could if I wanted to, so I decided to hold off for a bit longer.)

But if initiations into the elements affect your mood and temperament, then has it ever been working.  Earth is the element of stability, sloth, and melancholy, and apparently introducing it into one’s sphere/mindset makes one not want to do shit, I swear.  I feel like I’ve done so little these past two weeks since the conjuration, including slipping on meditation and studying.  To be fair, I was busy with romance and a few other things on the side, but even those were touched by melancholy and a kind of realism that’s uncharacteristic of me.

So today, I decided that, if earth is inertia and I was going in one direction, a swift kick into another direction is just what I need.  I set out to meditate to focus my mind, contemplate the King of Pentacles image to figure out about the form of Auriel and the elemental king of Earth, and then reconjure Auriel for a quick chat.  Not only did I get all of that done, but I even did a bit more meditation than I set out to.  I’m fairly pleased with myself, and I think this is what I need to get my ass in gear for the next few steps of this phase of my Work.

I’ll be honest, though.  If this is what happened from the introduction of earth into my sphere, I’m not looking forward to water.  Maybe my Stoic training will help me keep composure if a problem arises, but maybe, with Gabriel’s help, things won’t turn out badly at all.