New Year, New You: Prompt 7, “Glamour”

Yes, yes, I know, I’m doing this out of order.  I haven’t done the sixth prompt yet on maps, sacred spaces, and goals, but I’m late and Deb’s more recent prompt is so much more readily available and easily writable.  The seventh prompt is about appearances and presenting oneself to the world and other people, and how to make oneself look awesome if not their damn best.

Well, as it turns out, dear reader, I’ve been going through some changes lately.  Up until last Wednesday, about a week ago, I had a respectable beard, shaggy hair, and glasses.  Then I shaved the beard (even the sideburns!) and cut the hair rather short, then I got contacts, and then I got my ears pierced.  I’m still in the shock phase about the ears being pierced bit, because even I’m still getting used to how I look.  Needless to say, my friends were caught off-guard, and my family hasn’t seen it yet save my sister via Skype. Plus, now that the new year festivities (all of them) are finally in the past, I can focus again on settling down into a stable simple diet that my body approves of, which will help shed a few more pounds.  Also, I ended up buying a few new clothes and affects in the shopping spree that was last weekend, so a good number of things have changed in a rather short time.  That’s what you get for playing with fire energies for two weeks straight (a post on that coming soon).

Let’s go through a few of the items Deb proposes in the prompt:

  • Makeup’s not my thing.  Never been much into theater or drag, and I’m on the more masculine end of the spectrum anyway, so I don’t have a need for that kind of cosmetic.
  • I’ve got plenty of clothes, and it mostly fits me appropriately.  I’m not big into tailoring, and the farthest my skills go with mending are fixing buttons and inside tears, but I would like some more fitted shirts.  If I do start getting clothes altered, it won’t be until later this year when I have more money to throw around recklessly and my next student loan (or both of them!) are knocked out of the way.  I’m not missing anything, save for perhaps more snappy shirts or pants, but I’ve got plenty of things to cover a wide variety of situations and styles.  Especially Middle Eastern clothes, I love that shit.  (Check out Shukr for good styles.)  Also, when I got contacts last week, I also went ahead and got a new pair of (rather expensive) stylish glasses.  I’m excited!  In tandem with the piercings and recent interest in industrial/electronica, I’m tempted to start exploring more goth-ish styles of appearances.  To be explored.
  • Ever since I was warned about the beginnings of gingivitis showing up on my gums late last year, I’ve taken hygiene much more stringently with myself.  Yes, I’m brushing my teeth thoroughly twice a day with flossing and tongue-scraping; I’m using astringent with salicylic acid to take care of a few zit problems, I’m using the proper amount of high-quality shampoo and conditioner for my hair in a proper manner (twice or thrice a week), and I’m trying to cut out nailbiting.  You’d be surprised how easy it is to pick that habit up if you’ve got thin nails, oddly enough.
  • I eat healthily enough, and it’s very far and few between that I have something as heavily processed as fast food or premade meals.  I only just brought out my microwave from storage so I can heat up water for cleansing my piercings in a jiffy, so I end up cooking almost everything I eat.  I drink when I’m thirsty, and tend to stick to coffee, tea, water, and milk (in that order); when pressed, I’ll down an energy drink, but that’s about it (I’m a caffiend, after all).  I don’t, however, do much physical activity.  That’s definitely a weak point.  I try to walk to local stores and bars whenever possible, but even that’s not too often.  Sigh.  Between work, commute, conjuration, sleep, and study, though, the time I have for working out is limited.  At least I’m living a healthy proper scholar’s life, though I might do well to pick up tai chi or yoga.

What magic might I be doing for my physical body?

  • I’m not against enchanting a bottle of my favorite cologne under the powers of Venus to look more attractive and desirable.  That’s already been stewing on my altar.
  • People at work have noticed and complimented the change in hairstyle, but nobody’s said anything about the piercings yet.  The silence kinda irks me, but it’s not unexpected, either; in an IT office in the government, when you’re the youngest person around, having piercings on a guy is pretty much unseen (especially the ones I have).  I might try my hand at actually making a glamour for myself, or at least having a shield of attraction and compliments set up to see if that changes people’s impressions of me.
  • I may as well ask my genius and the angels of Haniel and Kammael for help in finding suitable physical recreational activities like those mentioned above, even if it’s only for more excuses or causes to go out clubbing (dancing + subsequently hooking up).  I do miss dancing, but there are few enough clubs close to me and I dislike having to go to the city and leaving early to catch the train.  Whine whine whine.

Beyond that, my body.  (Warning, self-adoration approaching.)  I’m tall, broad-shouldered, thin (so I’m told), pleasantly hairy (so I claim), and I love it.  I like being one of the tallest people in the room, if only to chuckle; the frame I have helps intimidate, if not outright help me for strength on the rare occasions I need to use it; I’m an average weight (just slightly overweight according to the BMI, but screw that whore of a metric) and carry it well enough to turn heads; my body hair is uncommon (pretty much all gay guys are hairless, by choice or no, and it’s so depressing) and it helps sift out the guys I should sleep with from the ones I shouldn’t.  I’ve got thick dark hair that is apparently the envy of all women even though I find it more frustrating than not; I’ve got naturally long hands, perfect for crafting and typing; I’ve got big enough ears to host plenty of piercings (evidently); I’ve got large flat feet that love going outside bare across all terrain and temperature; and I can rock a beard, goatee, scruff, or nothing with equal suaveness.  Yes, my body has flaws; who’s doesn’t?  My body’s awesome.  Thank you, body, for being so awesome and looking so awesome.  Gotta love that Taurus rising, eh?  XOXO, etc.

New Year, New You: Prompt 5, “Enchant”

Last we left off in the NYNY series, I was told to take a break, treat myself to something nice (a bottle of sangria with friends and a new ring), because work had been going on and would continue to go on afterwards.  Deb’s most recent prompt revs things back into place and asks what magical rituals I myself need to do or get started on right now to accomplish my goals.

Now, within the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk of goals, even going back to before the NYNY project started: namely, there’s the Mercury Retrograde post I made in early December with a list of things I wanted to get done by the time the next Mercury retrograde comes around.  Let’s see how we’re doing on those:

  1. Craft the Bhaiṣajyaguru Cane and other minor projects for Christmas: done.
  2. Test drive a 5-week cycle of conjurations of the angels of the planets, the elements, and my nativity: in progress.  I wasn’t able to get my genius conjuration done on New Year’s Day proper, but I’ve done the conjurations of Tzadqiel of Jupiter and my natal genius on Sunday done.  I’ll be getting my conjuration of Kammael of Mars done tonight and Michael of Fire tomorrow, so things look good so far.  Plus, I’m taking advantage of the next three fiery conjurations (Kammael of Mars, Michael of Fire, Michael of the Sun) to consecrate a batch of Fiery Wall of Protection oil; stay tuned for a post on my experiment with this later in January.
  3. Finish crafting and consecrate the Lunar Kamea: done.  I wanted to consecrate this last night during the full moon, but inclement weather stifled those plans.  I did a mini-conjuration of the angels and spirits of the Moon at my altar to compensate.  Since the kamea is powerful just by its construction and by how it was made (entirely on Mondays in lunar hours), this could be considered icing on the cake, but that official mark of angelic approval is nice.
  4. Consecrate a silver ring for use as an astral vortex talisman: begun.  I did a similar thing as the Lunar Kamea project last night with the ring, and am now looking for a kindly friend with a south-facing window to hold onto the kamea and ring for a month while the ring stews in those juicy lights and blessed forces of Luna.
  5. Make Oil of Abramelin: waiting until 1/22 to actually combine the ingredients together, so that way I can start the process of making the oil at the next new moon on 1/23 for a complete lunar cycle.
  6. Redo the Gate of Jupiter rite once Jupiter goes direct again: done last Thursday.  Quite a fancy thing, and it turns out I really like pinot grigio.  A good start, too, to the cycle of conjurations I mentioned above in #2.
  7. Do the Gate of Mars rite, and maybe work on the other gates as well: not yet begun.  Haven’t purchased the other rites yet, waiting on things settling down financially after the holidays for when I spend money on these.
  8. Consecrate the Tarot cards on my Table of Manifestation to act as talismans for the four elemental kings themselves: in progress, as I conjure the elemental kings in my conjuration cycle (see #2).
  9. Working to keep my apartment quiet: great success!  Turns out I never needed anything more magical than a kind letter, and since then, I’ve become friends with the sweetest and foulest-mouthed old lady downstairs, and I’m not hearing her TV at all hours anymore.
  10. Start meditating at least one hour a day: working up to it, bit by bit.  Combining my morning half-hour meditation plus twenty or so minutes after my nightly Headless Rite.  Plus, the Trisagion meditation I mentioned recently is a new trick in my book, too.

All things considered, I’m doing pretty well on those goals.  The next time Mercury goes retrograde is on 3/12, so I’ve got plenty of time left.

As for the NYNY goals laid out before, let’s check in on those.  Granted that these are much longer-term than the ones above, I’m still making progress on them, bit by bit, and will need a bit more discussion.

  1. Finish paying off student loans by end of 2012.  Before I embarked on this quest to pay off $20K in loans within two years of the first bill coming in, I did a reading for myself and had my excellent tarot-reader sister do a reading as well to see if it was viable: yes indeed!  I just need to make sure that I’m not wasting my money on unworthy people (generosity is one of my downfalls, after all).  My first loan is paid, and now the rest need to be focused on.  I had a little extra cash leftover from the holidays, so I’m putting that towards knocking out the next loan.  I’ll be contacting Kammael of Mars (to direct and drive me to finish these loans ASAP) and Tzaphqiel of Saturn (to restrict and cut out any unhealthy or undesirable habits or reasons to spend money otherwise).  I already contacted Tzadqiel of Jupiter last week, asking him to help me out in remaining prosperous and financially sound while I get these loans knocked out, and he seemed to go along well with that idea.  I’ll talk to the other angels as I come across them in my conjuration cycle, and will make that a repeated point of discussion.  So long as I can keep enough money in my checking to make my monthly payments, I’ll be good.
  2. Work in the astral realms.  Performing the Headless Rite in my astral temple is an exercise I’ve sorely needed, since it gives me experience in all sorts of ways.  Plus, I’ve learned from my natal genius that I need much more experience in working astrally before I start exploring and stirring shit up, so he’s offered to help and instruct me in how to work in my astral temple as well.  I had him over in there to oversee my HR performance, and he gave me a few tips for me to work on.  The astral vortex talismanic ring from Fr. RO’s Astral Warrior handbook will take a lunar month to consecrate, but hopefully that will help in forming a more solid link between here and there.  Plus, I started keeping a dream journal recently, which is starting to help with my dream recall and maybe, just maybe, clairvoyance (or at least the recognition of synchronicities).  As a side note, I’ve noticed that the more I go to my astral temple, the more it kinda…I dunno, like it improves in condition; it looked kinda abandoned and overgrown when I first saw it, but it’s looking slightly cleaner and more well-kept the more I visit it.  Interesting.
  3. Strictness with body and life.  Yeah…this is where I’m hitting the most snags.  I am cutting back on excessive eating, which is a good start.  However, I’m trying to maintain my daily practice, which is wonderful since my normal routine is built around that; however, I also tend to say “fuck it” when the weekend comes.  The daily practice needs to stay daily, so I’m going to have to force myself to do this stuff.  Regular activity would be nice if it weren’t so damn cold in the winter, but there are random days that the weather is nice and passable for enduring for an hour or so; I’ll take advantage of those days to walk around the neighborhood, or maybe even down to the fancy old town of where I live to get some delish kabobs.  I finally got rid of Facebook, OkCupid, webcomics, and a bunch of other distractions.  I’m closing the accounts on services I don’t need or use and making myself more free to work (although this sometimes devolves into sitting at the computer talking with friends more).  I’ll talk to the angels of Mars and Saturn to talk about discipline, and it’s probably about time I reconsecrate and chat it up with the spirit of that Saturn talisman I made back in September.

And, after all that, there’s still just a little left over from the first prompt on cleaning house:

  • Reading each day: yeah, not as much yet.  The train ride, dark as it is, inspires me more to sleep from here to DC and back, but I’ll force myself to read more, if not every day.  Besides, I’ve got books I need to get through before I donate them.  My resolve to read is taken up more by resolve to work on other projects, and pleasure reading is currently taking a backseat to that.  Research reading, on the other hand, continues on an as-needed basis.
  • Donate shit I don’t want or need or use anymore.  I’ve been going through my clothes piece by piece and seeing what’s awful or doesn’t fit and setting them in a pile.  Combined with some of the Christmas loot I won’t use, I’ll make a trip at the end of January to a Goodwill or someplace to get rid of all these donatables.  No magic needed beyond putting this on my calendar.
  • Cooking the stuff I have.  In progress; I’m slowly going through the stuff in my pantry.  I’m holding myself back from buying actual groceries until I get rid of the bulk of what I have, which I’ve done before and can easily do again (laziness in going to the store is a good thing).

As for Deb’s other suggestions, my life is pretty awesome.  I’m single and love it (it’s so much simpler, and you can’t be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with), I have no enemies or troublemakers in my life, my friends are awesome, and projects and crafts are falling into my lap merely by talking with people (more on those as they happen).

So, back to Work for me!

New Year, New You: Prompt 4, “Relax”

So, now that I’m finally getting back into the routine again (including meditation, which I’m re-discovering how to do yet again, that fickle fucker of an art), things feel absolutely spectacular.  After ritually cleansing the house on New Year’s Eve and doing a banishing of myself after traveling and drinking for the past few weeks, I ended up just sitting in my chair on Monday in absolute joy.  Not doing anything special, just sitting there wrapped in my fleece blanket being utterly happy and content.  I was the happiest dingo*.  Then I had to go to work, but even then, life still didn’t suck.  It’s like this magical stuff makes things awesome by virtue of doing it!  Whodathunkit.

Even then, though, I’m still taking it easy; my life is mostly spent in front of computers and not crystals, after all, and I consider my Work to be my actual work, fun and enlightening as it is.  And, as much as I’ve been talking, these goals I’ve set out for myself are long-term goals or simply gradual things without immediately measurable progress.  This makes Deb’s most recent prompt for the New Year, New You project kind of awkward, if not flat-out tough for me.  Basically, the prompt this week is to treat yourself to something nice, as a reward for doing what’s already been done for the NYNY project and as an incentive for doing more.  “It doesn’t have to be anything really expensive or even super time consuming,” quoth Deb.

The thing is, I don’t particularly feel like I’ve done much to begin with, beyond get back into my routine.  I feel like the work, little enough as it’s been, is only just beginning.  Still, I suppose the little victories count just as much, and I’m known for looking back on huge projects and thinking that they were nothing or barely a trifle anyway.  At this point, geeky or obsessed though it may make me sound, I think the best way for me to relax during this is to simply keep reading.  I mean, it’s not exactly active work, it’s relaxing, and it’s still helping me get my Work done in the long run.  It might be cheating, but whatever (FORGIVE ME DEB).  If I absolutely have to indulge in something (tsk, I mean, gosh, if I have to), then it’s going to be that extra bottle of sangria I have in my fridge while I work from home tomorrow.

Aaanyway…in other news, I added a new section to the site on prayers (you can see it in the navbar above).  I separated out the current prayer articles from the Rituals section and made it its own, since, with the addition of the newly-added Prayer of Thanksgiving, I didn’t want to overwhelm the pages actually focused on rituals.  Also, I’m churning out articles on geomancy oh-so-slowly under the Skills page, so check back periodically and see what’s new there.

* I hang out with furries a lot, and my fursona is a dingo.  I and others occasionally refer to myself as such.  With enough gin, I bite (hard).  And yes, I eat babies.

UPDATE (1/4/2012): Okay, I also found a cheap jewelry sale online and got myself a stainless steel ring for cheap.  You have NO IDEA how difficult it is to find subtle black men’s rings.

New Year, New You: Prompt 3, “Something Put Off”

Okay.  Okay.  I’m back from my ancestral suburban home on the coast and comfortably situated once more in my suburban apartment near DC.  What a trip, let me tell you.  And now that I’m finally getting myself off the holiday chocolate/chowder/booze diet, I’m starting to feel better (read: I can poop again comfortably).  And what a windfall I got from Christmanukkah!  So many books, including a copy of Sefer Ha-Razim (a Jewish third or fourth century text on angelic/Kabbalistic magic), the Picatrix (most important treatise on astrological magic ever), and a variety of other books.  I’ve got plenty to study and apply now, as if I didn’t have enough beforehand.

I intended on fasting between when I got home early Thursday morning and New Year’s, but then I ate a whole pizza, a quarter box of Andes mints; drank a huge can of Monster drink; and porned it up twice.  Pretty sure I hit a snag somewhere, but whatever.  Now I’m getting back on that track.  Really, I mean it.

I also intended on jumping right back into my schedule and daily magical routine I had to forego over the last week due to a lack of privacy and peace at my parents’.  Well, after waking up at 11 yesterday and spending the day eating and getting adjusted to my surroundings again, you can guess how well that went (it didn’t).  Getting back into a routine is difficult, as we’ve all known, especially when it involves prayer and meditation and shit that, though fulfilling and important to any mage or mystic, just aren’t as exciting as the Internet.  I mean, I made a todo list and everything!

Basically me, except with shorter hair. (Much credit and goodwill to Ally at H&aH)

And then nothing happened.  And then yesterday also slipped by with most stuff being put off again, save for the article on geomancy and taking out the trash, and then I went out to a friend’s and had far too much wine and hookah.  So, tonight, I’m ringing in the New Year happily and determinedly, getting off my ass, and stop putting things off.  It fits pretty damn well, actually with Deb’s most recent prompt for the New Year, New You project about stopping putting things off.  However, as there’s not much to write about, the prompt is more of a call for action, i.e. GET OFF YOUR FAT ASS, POLYPHANES, AND DO YOUR SHIT.

Since we’re on the topic, my routine, let me show you it.  It’s enough to keep me in line and isn’t too demanding, and is really more of a good starting point than anything else.

  • Morning routine (roughly 1 to 2 hours)
  1. Writing down dreams
  2. Shower, aspersion with holy water
  3. Prayers to the Almighty
  4. Prayer and offering to my Natal Genius
  5. (Occasional) Prayers and offerings to genii locorum and/or the planeta diei
  6. (As needed) Banishing
  7. Meditation
  • Evening routine (roughly 1 hour)
  1. Headless Rite
  2. Meditation
  3. Thanksgiving and atonement prayers to the Almighty

In addition, I’m joining a small group of working mages that’ll be meeting regularly to discuss and review our own work.  It’ll help keep me in line with a few projects for the coming year, and if this group works out well (I’ve got every hope it will), it’ll be a wonderful tool and resource.  Now that things are settling down again and I have plenty of materia and supplies, I’m starting the year with a few decent projects to give good reports on.

Okay, okay, I’m doing my work now, for real.  I’m preparing for calling a bunch of my friends and having some glasses of champagne and vinho verde (<3 the bubbly) at home once I finish the rounds around my neighborhood: I’m going to make proper offerings to the genii locorum of the land and park where I live, a number of other spirits and gods, the dead at the local graveyard, and to all the memories, egregores, and people who’ve helped me get to where I am.  I made some offering cakes from the book Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris from flour, frankincense, benzoin, rosewater, honey, milk, and olive oil, and I got some good wines and mead to pour out.

Have a good New Years, everyone!  Ring in 2012 right, and have a blast blasting away 2011!  Look good, feel good, do good, and all that other happy bullshit.  Make your play your Work tonight, and have fun!

New Year, New You: Prompt 2, “Goals”

Gotta love the holidays with the family.  Between my largely Jew-ish (emphasis on the “ish”) family from Maine and Boston, my orthodox Jewish brother and his family, my punk astrologer sister and her ska husband, and the histrionic/quasi-stoned mother and stepmother (depending on their moods), it’s a jolly old time.  It’s a good thing there’s a good supply of gin and hookah here with me, but it’s a shame I can’t find enough time or privacy to get meditation in.  Gotta get that changed; I might hit up the Edgar Cayce center in Virginia Beach to see if they have any good books or resources I could use.

So, amid the hectic running around, wrapping, and yelling (and drinking gin, don’t forget the gin), I’m finding time to work on Deb’s most recent New Year, New You prompt, albeit a bit late.  This time, it’s on goals for 2012, those to be accomplished through magical and mundane means, and the steps to get them done.

This is going to be a bit difficult for me, but I like a challenge, so I may as well.  I don’t consider myself very goal-oriented; I focus more on where I am and short-term goals, with few to no overarching or long-term goals.  That said, I do have a few that guide the general practice and course of my life, and I mentioned a few of those in an earlier blog post on the NYNY thread.  These are some of the overarching goals for 2012 and how I’m going to accomplish them using the means available to my disposal.

Finish paying off my student loans by the end of 2012.

  • Make regular payments (increased from my original plan) to make sure I make the deadlines properly.
  • Restrict my spending to make sure I’m not in the red each month after other utilities and bills, and cut down costs where possible; balance spending with particular trips and activities that I intend on going to.
  • Financial magic with the spirits of Jupiter to increase income and make sure I’m comfortable with what I have, as well as grace and good luck with dealing with the collection agencies.
  • Work with Martian spirits to increase my discipline and judgment when it comes to casual spending.
  • Work with Saturnine spirits to fix things in my life to reduce the need or occasions for excessive spending on unnecessary things.

Work in astral realms

  • Research astral projection (RO’s Astral Warrior guide?).
  • Craft astral talisman ring under auspices of Lunar spirits (late January through late February).
  • PRACTICE.  Headless rite every night counts for something, but also should try astrally exploring the places I am on a day-to-day basis when I get time (my house, my office, etc.).
  • Work with planetary spirits in conjurations to build up astral strength with regards to their specialties.

Strictness with my body and life

  • Practice fasting.  I don’t want to be like some ascetic desert guru, but try fasting at least twice a month (new moon and full moon).
  • Actually take Lent seriously and give up a few things (like how I gave up grocery shopping last year, and then continued that until my kitchen was legitimately bare).  This year, try the following: alcohol, meat, gluteny foods, smoking, and probably some social media or other (texting, tweeting, unclear).
  • Restrict diet and activity before conjurations and rituals.
  • Start walking.  Like, take an hour or so every other day just to walk. It’s clearing, helpful, and keeps active, even if I do nothing else.
  • Maintain daily practice, increase prayer and meditation, and regular conjuration schedule.
  • Mars work to increase discipline and toy with the idea of employing geases/bindings on myself to force myself to do these things (unwise, but it’s an idea to be discussed).

From what I know, doing divination readings last year when I started my college loans, there are no roadblocks to my paying off my college loans save for the threat of spending too much money on dates or unworthy partners (fittingly, I’d also be single for the most part of this last and next years).  The other things I want to do are purely on myself and are a matter of dedication and discipline, and from my recent chats with the angelic spirits, it’s a matter only of getting off my ass and doing the work.

Other smaller goals I have are going to Crucible in October, a furry convention in March (friends and relaxing for a weekend, ’cause why not), try non-angelic non-genial (demonic) conjuration, and simply doing more practical magic/crafting/thaumaturgy.  The first two are a matter of prioritizing and allocating money in conjunction with my college loans (Jupiter work); the latter two are a matter of studying, gathering the necessary supplies, and doing the work (Mercury and Saturn work).

New Year, New You: Prompt 1, “Making Way”

So, let’s see.  Deb’s got three things for us to discuss for the New Year New You project for this prompt, so here goes my responses and thoughts.

  • Cleaning house.  My apartment is actually pretty spartan, all things considered; my living room has a coffee table, a side table with a lamp and some plants on it, and a couch, and a low shelf with some bottles of wine on it.  Beyond a series of fliers of Christopher Walken’s face on one of the walls, there’s nothing else in there.  My kitchen is well-stocked on cooking utensils but light on electrical appliances, but everything gets used sufficiently enough to justify keeping it, save for my apple/potato peeler.  My own room is slightly more furnished, but I’ve got a lot of books.  I haven’t read a good deal of them yet but will, one at a time, others I keep for sentimental value or because I like to reread them once every so often, and still others I keep for reference.  If anything, I need another set of bookshelves to store them all, since I also use shelves to store magical materia and tools.  My closet is, understandably, the fullest room in the flat, and is mostly clothes and extra candle holders, crafting supplies, and miscellaneous household goods and fabrics.  I wear all of my clothes tolerably often, but there are a few I know I don’t wear due to size or stains.  My housemate and I are neat freaks and he’s borderline OCD.  I go around cleaning (sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, wiping, sanitizing, etc.) a few times a month, and do the big stuff (tub, sinks, toilets, rails, polish countertops, etc.) at least once a season, and I asperge the house with holy water regularly (but don’t often do protective stuff, just cleansing).  I just reorganized my desk today and got some of the dust off it and my altar nearby, but beyond that, my house is generally very clean.  I have a lot of cooking and magical supplies, but I go through them all periodically and do, in fact, use them all up.  I dislike throwing things out like that, so I make a point of using them however I can (even if it’s ancient but still useful).
  • Spending my time.  I spend about eight hours during the weekdays at work, save for one day a week when I work from home; the commute takes about an hour each way (woo DC transit).  I sleep about six or seven hours a night.  That leaves about seven hours leftover on an average day.  Although I don’t have a smartphone, I do check it habitually for texts and the time; when I’m home, I’m nearly always on my computer on the internet, chatting or reading blogs and cycling through the same few sites laughing at old jokes and reading old texts.  Surprise, the Internet’s a major drain on my time and productivity (something I’ve noticed many times before).  I’m not on too many social networking sites, but the ones that I’m on do distract me aplenty.  Email, too, for that matter.  At least I don’t have a TV to speak of, nor do I play video or computer games anymore.  I go out once or twice a week, usually, to see/hang out/smoke hookah/drink with friends, which can be awfully nice.  I spend at least 45 minutes each morning in daily practice (prayers, offerings, and meditation), and do other things throughout the week as needed.
  • Rocks and restraints.  I usually have a list of my faults on hand, but now that I’m writing this prompt, I have a hard time thinking of what’s actually holding me back from getting shit done.  Personality-wise, I can be lazy, awfully so, in the sake of enjoying what can be enjoyed right now.  I like sleeping in, which can be necessary sometimes when I’m not sleeping enough during the week; I like to eat, which makes fasting for rituals and workings more of a fight with myself than not.  I don’t have an addictive or attached personality, but I know I can be overly critical of others or of minor events that other people can more properly see at a zoomed-out level.  I forgive easily, but have and do avoid people if I dislike them so that I can avoid confronting them.  More than anything else, I like being distracted, though my guilt over not being productive enough afterwards isn’t enough to completely get my ass out of my chair.  Although it’s not exactly a rock here, I like being overgenerous with my time and resources, and like to pay for others or hang out with them for their sake alone.

Based on all the above, I think a suitable list for things to knock off before, or at least get started by, the full moon in late January would look like this:

  • Go through all my clothes, separate out what I don’t/can’t/won’t wear anymore, and donate it.
  • Get rid of all useless candleholders, leftover jars, and other small things in my closet.  Donate the nice ones and recycle the junk.
  • Make Fiery Wall of Protection and Abramelin oils to properly protect my home.
  • Start cooking more beans, rice, and bread to use up those giant bags of them in the kitchen.
  • Get rid of Facebook.  I was going to do this anyway at the end of December, but really, get rid of it.
  • Cut back on txting/tweeting/emailing/chatting, and all non-work non-research computer use.  Clean out the bookmarks list.  Entirely cut out morning internet/phone use, and cut out pre-bed internet/phone use.
  • Switch browsers to something simpler (from Chromium to surf, which doesn’t allow multiple tabs, bookmarks, or much at all).
  • Meditate twice a day, not just once.  I’ve got plenty of time in the evenings.
  • Read a bit each day, both to enjoy my time, learn, and get through my books.

New Year, New You

Pretty much everyone on my blogroll is doing this New Year, New You project, so I may as well join in.  Besides, it’s got me hooked on the Charmed, I’m Sure blog, so looks like I’ve got more reading to do.  And really, I was thinking of doing a New Year’s resolution type of things, much like how I did my recent Mercury Retrograde resolutions, but a little more long-term and higher-level.  Overarching goals, if you will.  We could all do with a bit of those, couldn’t we?

Now, I’m not gonna lie.  My life is pretty awesome, and I can’t complain for much.  I’ve got a loving, healthy, expanding family that cares for me; I have a stable job (as stable as the government will be, at least) that pays extraordinarily well for my standard of living; I have a roof over my head and a car to drive; I have friends across the country in a variety of fields, professions, skills, and interests; and I’ve never had an issue with sex (I don’t do that whole “dry spell” thing), drugs (non-addictive personality plus lack of desire), or money (somehow I’m just lucky).  Plus, having adopted a Stoic mindset for the past few years, I’m still pretty content with the hand life has dealt me, even with all the minor issues aside (because I don’t have any issues besides the minor ones, amazingly).

That said, I’m a goddamn magician.  I have the power to make things as I want to make them, or come into conversation with the forces that make things are how they’re supposed to be.  I don’t need to have even the most minor of issues, and even Stoicism doesn’t say that you can’t work to change things if they can be changed (just don’t get too caught up in it if they’re unchangeable).  My life ain’t perfect, and nothing human can be perfect ‘cept by imagination, but there’s no reason why I can’t make things as perfect and smooth as the universe and cosmos will allow.

With that, here are my most important realistic goals for the coming year.  I have a few others, but I didn’t feel that they were appropriate to list here, such as learning more about myself or my origins (which will come in due time and over time), connection with the Divine (because I’m already in connection with it, I just need to realize it), and a few other things.  Instead, have some real goals, the meat and gravy of what my aims will be over the coming year.  Besides, if I write this all down for the world to see, it’ll basically be a confession and an oath to all my dear readers and the Internet that I’ve got to hold myself to.

Concrete goals:

  • Attend Crucible in NJ in October 2012.  I missed it last year, having heard about it just the weekend before and not getting the time off, so I’m going to get there and learn awesome things with awesome people, including a few people I adore and learn from.  It’ll also be my birthday weekend, so if anyone wants to meet up for a drink, let’s.
  • Finish paying off my college loans.  My original plan was to pay off my almost $20K in student debt in three separate loans by November 2012.  One of my student loans is already complete.  This will require some discipline and a bit of luck to make sure I don’t go under, since I haven’t been saving anything due to unexpected expenses (bar tabs and repeated car issues).  Like Frater RO, I need to make my car run on magic.  If I can just make it to July when my next pay increase goes into effect, I should be good.  Financial magic to stabilize and fortify things until then might be a good idea.
  • Keep my daily practice daily, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.  I see people getting amazing results, doing amazing and intense things, every day on the Twitters, in ancient Tibetan tomes, or texts of Trithemius.  I’m going to commit myself to, every day no matter what, (a) meditate at least thirty minutes (b) do my prayers and offerings and shit.  This includes both morning and nightly practices, the latter of which will involve me spending less time on the computer (such sadness, not).  Over time I may change or add the work I do for daily practices, or increase the amount of time I spend in meditation, but it’s going to be every day, no complaints.  This might be difficult when I’m visiting friends or family, but if I have to meditate in the bathroom at 3 a.m. to get some peace and quiet, so be it.
  • Regular conjurations of the planetary and elemental angels, and my genius.  Not hard, kiddo, to do three or four conjurations a week, even if it’s only just to touch base and get a refill of those delightful forces of the spheres into my system.

Vague goals:

  • Work practical magic.  I haven’t really been doing much in the way of spells or sending out spirits to achieve specific things for me, beyond general “keep me safe” or “expand my awareness” kinds of things.  I keep a log of divination queries I do for myself and others, and keep up on how they resolve; just so, I need to have a log and practice of specific and concrete magical projects that I can gauge their effectiveness and resolution.  I could always use more money, more opportunities for personal and professional advancement, and prospects for buying land and a future house to get settled in.
  • Work with non-angelic non-genial spirits.  Don’t get me wrong, working with the angels is awesome and an incredible experience, even though I’ve been doing it for only so short a time and as lightly as I have.  I’ll keep doing work with them, too, because they’re the big managers and CEOs of the world I work in.  That said, I want experience with more demonic entities, lower beings, and other creatures like that.  Whether this is working with the Solomonic Goetia or Frater MC’s Crossed Keys (hopefully both), I want to start getting my hands dirty with this kind of thing.  Whether it’s for practical purposes or for experience with banishing and exorcising things (with their cooperation, for training purposes), working only with the angels may not cut it.
  • Work in the astral and higher realms.  My visualization skills are barely par for my level, and I’ve got no dreamworking skills to speak of.  I want to work on exploring and working in the astral realm, whether by lucid dreaming or scrying in contemplation.  If I can find a suitable location to consecrate my astral vortex ring and crystal (it sounds so fancy and fantastical!), this will be a great boon towards this work.
  • Strictness with diet and control of my body.  I like snacking, and I like sleeping in; these are entirely human things to do and are awesome in moderation.  But when it feels uncomfortable to do a vase breath when your belly’s distended from too much food, or if you’re nodding off during meditation because you got home too late the night before, it’s time to change habits.  Besides, fasting’s helpful for some of the bigger rituals, and it might also help clear some channels of communication with the spirits I have a harder time hearing.  Doing some physical exercise, whether it’s yoga, tai chi, or some other act, is also a good idea, and in hippie health-conscious northern Virginia, there’re no shortage of places around here that can help me with that.

I suppose, between now and the end of January, I’ll write more about some of these goals and their importance to me, and for some of the vaguer ones, how to carry them out over the next twelvemonth.