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.