On Budgeting Time for Work and Work

I’m spending these Days of the Cyprians and the following days leading up to Michaelmas trying to get back to my magical practice.  It’s…well, let’s be honest, I haven’t really had much of a magical routine since 2015, between new-job-chaos and having-to-buy-a-house and house-moving and Santería-initiatory-period and so much else.  Even doing simple planetary invocations strikes my heart with beauty and power, and the muscle memory of prayer comes back easily, though meditation is, as ever, a pain in the ass (a good one, though).  But what strikes me is that my ideas of a magical schedule like how I used to do it simply aren’t as useful as they once were.  It’s not to say that my notion of what constitutes good daily routine for spiritual activities aren’t effective—they most certainly are!—but that I simply can’t use them in the way my life has developed with everything that goes on.  Some practices and prayers I don’t have the need anymore, but others, I don’t have the time for.  It’s not like I haven’t talked about my daily practices before, but maybe it’s time for a refresher.

Let’s consider my daily schedule, shall we?  On a normal workday when I go to the office, with no magical routine nor frills nor extra plans thrown into the works, my schedule looks like this:

  1. Wake up no later than 0615.
  2. Get a shower, brush my teeth, and get myself put together around 0630.
  3. Get breakfast and scarf it down, finishing no later than 0645.
  4. Take a break, make sure all my stuff is together, then head out the door to go to work between 0715 and 0720.
  5. My work day is flexible, demanding anywhere from six to twelve hours, plus about two hours for commuting either way total (including wiggle room to make sure I don’t miss my train) so I can be home anywhere between 1730 and 2030.  Taking the average, let’s say I get home at 1900.
  6. At some point, I need to spend roughly 15 to 30 minutes doing chores around the house just to keep things livable.
  7. In order to get at least six (preferably seven) hours of sleep, which is generally sufficient for me to be operational and which I can catch up on more on my days off or teleworking, I need to be in bed by 2300.

That means I spend time on the following:

  • Sleeping: 6 to 7.25 hours
  • Out of the home working, running errands, etc.: 10 hours to 13 hours
  • Other necessary activities: 45 minutes to 1 hour

All told, that means anywhere from 16 hours to 22 hours of my day are spoken for, leaving anywhere from like two hours (on a rough day) to just under eight (on a really relaxed day).  This is what my free time consists of, so on an average day, let’s say I have about four hours free leftover for whatever I want.  I know people whose schedules are more strained than mine, and I know others who have more relaxed schedules than mine.  Admittedly, it’s my commute (anywhere from three to four hours a day?!) that really eats up a substantial chunk of my time, but we can talk about that in a bit.

Four hours of free time, I suppose, sounds generous enough, but the moment you get engrossed in something, boom, it’s gone.  The moment something slips and needs to be redone or done differently, boom, it’s gone.  The moment you get lazy and want to just take a break, boom, it’s gone.  The moment you have something that needs your immediate attention, boom, it’s gone.  The moment something rears its head from your procrastination because you didn’t have enough time earlier, boom, it’s gone.  The problem is that “free time” can’t all go to one’s leisurely activities or spiritual pursuits; I can’t spend all of that time on playing video games, writing my book, praying and devotions, energy work, or what-not.  Things that are arguably higher priority are:

  • Groceries, supply-shopping, and other procurement for my household (+30 to 60 mins)
  • Chores, housework, and household improvements beyond the daily tidy-up (+30 to 60 mins)
  • Working out for fitness and health (+20 mins for getting to the gym and back home, +60 to 90 mins for the actual workout)
  • Client work and consultations (+30 to 60 mins)
  • Mandatory spiritual obligations and observances befitting my station and initiations (+10 to 30 mins)

Then, when it comes to my desired magical routine, what is it I’d like to do?

  • Meditation: 15 to 60 minutes
  • Prayer: 15 to 60 minutes
  • Energy work and sphere attunement: 15 to 30 minutes
  • Offerings: 5 to 30 minutes

We’re looking at anywhere from almost one hour to three hours of spiritual work a day.  On the face of it, that’s going to be impossible some days, and pushing it on others.  And that’s just the daily routine; that doesn’t take into account special things I want to do, like intense offering sessions to a particular entity, conjurations, consecrations, and so forth, which take up their own time and have their own preparatory phases.  This means that I need to keep my daily routine short, sweet, and to the point, but then I feel like I have to rush it lest I fall behind schedule with something else; the prime time for me to do daily routine is just after I wake up, so that means I need to wake up at least an hour earlier, which means I need to get to bed an hour earlier, which cuts down my time in the evenings after I get home from work.

What all this adds up to is that I have a busy life, and I simply can’t take care of everything I want to in the way I want to.  I have go to go work, I have to sleep, I have to keep my household in order.  I really can’t slack off on working out (like I already have been for too long already), and now that I’m getting back into a magical routine, I don’t want to slack off on that, either.  I simply have too much going on to handle everything I want every day like I want.  Some days have to be set aside for one thing, other days for another thing; I have to really prioritize everything I do and be as efficient with everything as possible if I want to feel useful.  I won’t be able to run errands for groceries and supplies on the same days I go to the gym or have to extra-special prep the house for company, nor will I be able to spend extra time making offerings and doing ceremony if I have other necessities planned like taking my pet to the vet or going out with my husband on date night.

Then there’s the fact that I simply can’t be doing something all the time.  Nobody can, nobody should; sure, we shouldn’t waste time, but consider that you just need downtime where you’re not doing anything at all besides self-care.  Watch a movie, take an extra-long bath, veg out on YouTube, go to happy hour, whatever to just unwind.  If you’re doing things you have to do all the time, you’re going to wear yourself down thinner than tissue paper, and you’re going to run yourself into the ground.  It’s not healthy.  Sure, there’s always a lot to do, but there’s always a lot to do; setting aside an appropriate amount of time in moderation for yourself isn’t going to make things substantially worse than they already are, so you may as well enjoy yourself when you have the opportunity.

Happily, all the above doesn’t go for every single day.  For one, I have the ability to work from home, which allows me to (a) avoid spending three to four hours commuting and (b) I work from home longer hours so I spend shorter hours in the office.  Right now, that’s just once a week, though in the future, I might be able to get it to twice, which would be substantially helpful in freeing up more of my daily time.  There are also the weekends, where I simply don’t have to do nearly as much; of course, “have to do” is different from “need to do”, because these are prime times for me to catch up with friends (which I consider a necessity!), visit family or godfamily (who live up to four hours away), work religious ceremony (which can honestly be an all-day event, if not across multiple days),  intense research, and the like.

Plus, there are times when I’m doing something else necessary that I can overlap with other things.  For instance, while I’m in the office, I’m not always busy; I have downtime there, too, and I often use that for writing and researching and taking care of some client stuff that I don’t have to do at home (mostly paperwork, sending stuff out, and conversations for clarification and guidance).  I’d like to be able to do readings in the office, but between the spiritual gunk that drifts in and out and the fact that I don’t have a fully-enclosed office, it’s hard to have the privacy and ability to concentrate that I’d need, so I have to limit myself to just the mundane paperwork side of things.  The hour and a half I spend on the train…well, you’d think I could use that better than I can, but there’s no wireless connection on the train, the cellular signal drops out frequently, and the seating is awfully crammed for someone my size with large legs.  I try to read, but more often than not, I end up falling asleep and use my traintime as backup-naptime.  I know many people who can overlay trainrides, carrides, and working out with audio books, but that’s not for me; I find such disconnected listening to someone speaking even more soporific than stupid ASMR videos.  Either way, it’s totally possible for me to overlap work and commuting with some of the less-active tasks I have, but it’s not guaranteed that I’ll be able to do so; plus, it’s hard to use these times as honest-to-god downtime or relaxation times, because I’m still technically at work or cramped up in a fast-moving metal box surrounded by people, and it’s hard to be really relaxed to the point of being able to decompress like that.

Ugh.  So where does this all leave me?  There are things I need to do, and then there are the Things I Want to do.  And, unfortunately, I don’t have the time or lifestyle that lets me do it all at the same time.  If I had my way, I wouldn’t be working nearly as long or nearly as far away (housing costs and lack of comfort in cities, yo), which would do me good, surely.  I’d be able to wake up in the early morning, take care of my meditations and prayers and other magical and religious routines, then go to the gym, come back home, get ready for work, go to work, then come home, enjoy some peace and relaxation and work on a few things that needed my attention, then go to bed.  Unfortunately, that can’t happen in the real world, not with the lifestyle I have with its own pre-existing demands.

The big thing to keep in mind is that, for better or for worse, you have to do what you have to do to keep you afloat.  I can’t dedicate my time primarily to magical stuff because that doesn’t pay the bulk of my bills which keeps food in my belly and a roof over my head (career work), and I have to dedicate the proper time to make sure that food in my belly doesn’t rot my bones due to lack of use (working out), as well as making sure that roof over my head doesn’t rot from lack of maintenance (chores and household work).  These are essential things that cannot be compromised.  It’s what I have time leftover that I have to use wisely and prioritize, and that not only means I have to prioritize my routines and day-to-day activities (is this a day for running errands or running on the treadmill? a day for spending time in profound ritual for divinity or spending money in the supermarket for groceries and clothes?), but it also means I have to prioritize my overall projects I work on.

Projects throw an interesting wrench into this whole thing.  There are several big, overarching things I want to do in my own personal practice:

  • Finish and publish my geomancy textbook
  • Begin the Arbatel Operation with the seven Olympic Spirits as well as the Four Kings of Secrets
  • Dig deeper into Mathēsis, including zodiacal explorations
  • Nine-week exploration of particular aspects of Sts. Cyprian, Justina, and Theocistus
  • Explore my own Four Guardians of the Directions
  • Toy around with some of the more involved rituals of the PGM (esp. PGM XIII’s Eighth and Tenth Hidden Books of Moses)

There are other things I want to do, too, and there are also other pots I have my fingers in.  For instance, there’s also the need to learn more songs and practices and rituals for La Regla de Ocha Lukumí (a.k.a. Santería), which is a pretty  involved thing on its own, but again, the study portion of it can be handled elsewhere, and the involvement parts that demand my presence handled on their own dates and times and places.  Each of the projects above is a big, overarching thing that isn’t done in a single one-off task, but a series of tasks established over days and weeks and months.  To work on a project takes time, and I only have so much time.  If I use my spare time to write my geomancy textbook, I don’t have time to focus on Arbatel preparation; if I spend time planning and researching Four Guardians stuff, I don’t have time to give to St. Cyprian.  Sure, I might be able to switch focuses now and then, but it’s a lot easier to dedicate all my spare mental processing cycles to a single thing than to split them across multiple things.  For instance, it’s a lot less stress-inducing to know that I have just my geomancy textbook to work on than to remember, in my idle moments of enjoying chillwave mixes on YouTube, that I have my geomancy textbook to work on as well as that Cyprian invocation next week and also the New Moon’s coming up so I need to prepare for some Mathēsis investigation, etc. etc. etc.

I suppose this is all just me flailing around, trying to figure out how I want to get to where I want to be, how I want to become what I want to be, given the fact that I can’t seem to fit everything into my daily and weekly schedule as much as I want to.  But at least I know how much time I have to afford on a daily basis, and I know how much time certain things take.  It’s a start.  All project, timeline, and schedule planning demands to know how long certain things take and in what order they need to occur; knowing this much is helpful for myself.

Behold, the MaGOS

Alright, alright, alright!  After all this time, I finally gathered the last of my supplies, ran my experiments, and have compiled notes and pictures on my orgone system, a variant of the Babalon Matrix.  Gentlefolk and estimable peers of the magical blogosphere and internetical occulture, I present to you the Manifesting and Generating Orgone System, or the MaGOS for short.  (Please don’t kill me.)  Click on the link for the full write-up and analysis of this bit of tech I’ve been toying with over the past few months.

Long story short, I’ve basically made for myself a magical energy generator that can harness and accumulate force into objects I drop into the MaGOS.  The system combines energy manipulation and orgone technology, combined with liberal uses of crystals and sacred geometry, and is a pretty nifty tool to have around.  Despite the amount of time I’ve worked on it, it’s not exactly theurgic and doesn’t help me directly in that path of my spiritual and magical life.  As a tool, it’s not associated with any one force or sphere of reality, and in some regards is a fairly minor project in the long run.  However, I’ve already had the chance to use it in conjunction with ceremonial rituals, and boy howdy does it ever help out.

Now, I’ve written about orgone tech and the buildup to this big announcement in other posts on my blog, which you’re free to read up on, though the writeup of the MaGOS goes over the bulk of my experiments with the system:

  1. Wherein we first encounter orgone technology and first see a Babalon Matrix
  2. Wherein we experiment with orgone accumulator directionality
  3. Wherein we experiment different numbers and orientations of perimeter crystals, as well as multiple objects in the Babalon Matrix field
  4. Wherein I describe the creation of orgone accumulators and experiments using Bardonian fluid condensers
  5. Wherein I describe the creation of a field generation circle to be used in conjunction with a Babalon Matrix and our experiments with them

Hopefully, this summarizes my experiences I’ve had thus far with working orgone tech in my magical practice.  I don’t see many surprising uses for this at this point, though I do expect to be making use of the MaGOS in more rituals and in potentially different ways than simply amplifying a magical ritual or having a certain item become charged. Feel free to post in the comments any questions, suggestions, or thoughts you might have; otherwise, let’s all happily move on from this topic onto a new one.  How about another inimical circlejerk lively debate about the HGA?  Those are always fun.

Mercury Retrograde! (So soon?)

Alright, so I’m a little late this time, but yes, it’s true!  Mercury went retrograde this past Saturday on July 14th, having entered its slow shadow phase on June 27th, and will go direct again August 8th, with it getting back to full speed and direct motion on August 22nd.

And, as some of the more astrologically-inclined of you might know, Mercury goes retrograde about three or four times a year.  For those who aren’t so learned, a planet being retrograde happens at least once a year for the non-luminary planets (i.e. the actual planets) and makes the planet look like it’s going backwards in the sky due to the relative positions and motions of the Earth and the other planet.  With the planet of the intellect, commerce, and travel in such a bizarre state, it leads some people to become more forgetful, less eloquent, and generally slower or more confused.

Yet, despite all this, the trend of the summer looks like it will continue: life keeps getting crazier!  I had a divination reading done for me by my lovely sister, a master Tarot reader, who said that I’d be highly social from the beginning of June onwards.  I don’t think she saw how social I was really going to be, because that was putting it mildly.  Between jaunts here and there, to Virginia Beach two weekends ago, Columbia this past weekend, and a small town in Pennsylvania next weekend, travel and people keep happening to me!  Plus, I think I’ll be starting a divination reading service at the local pagan bookstore soon (more on that in a future post).  This seems a lot like the last Mercury retrograde period, where I also had a number of trips and travels, though hopefully I won’t drop my new smartphone down a toilet this time.  I did already bust a 3L bottle of sangria in the trunk of my new car this past weekend, though, but it was easy enough to clean up off the black effectively-stainless fabric (although now my car is fruitier and more of a lush than I am).

Anyhow, Mercury retrograde is also a good time for reviewing what’s been going on in one’s life, gathering up one’s thoughts, and contemplating without much planning.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to gather up some of my own activities, thoughts, and lessons that I’ve had since the last time Mercury came out of retrograde (roughly on April 4th), as a kind of self-review.

So, here’s a highlight of what I’ve been able to get done in the past Mercury direct period:

  1. Performed a major banishing, cleansing, and protection on the house of a few friends of mine.
  2. Began transcribing my vademecum/Hermetic Book of Shadows into a digital format, accumulating and memorizing a bunch of prayers on the way.
  3. Made a ritual sword.
  4. Made my Circle of Art.
  5. Obtained and consecrated my Ring of Solomon.
  6. Made a new style and set of angelic lamens for use with the Trithemius ritual of conjuration.
  7. Made significant progress towards obtaining contact with my HGA.  I’m increasingly sure I’ve got the right spirit, but the connection is still weak and needs lots more practice, not to mention making sure I’m on the right track with the guy.
  8. Started making weekly offerings to the god and powers of Mercury.  I’ll often leave bottles of wine for him at crossroads after major trips or travels, but I’ve started to make offerings of prayers (Orphic Hymn to Mercury, Picatrix invocation of Mercury), incense (cinnamon, frankincense, amber), candles, and wine (a shotglass for a normal offering, a full bottle for something special).  This is done in the day and hour of Mercury.  Eventually, I want to have a whole altar set up entirely for the guy, because he’s awesome and I’ve noticed significant improvements in some parts of my life related to Mercury, but until I get the space and the means to do so, this is about as much as I can get done.

And the lessons I’ve learned, from spirits, from crazy life experiences, or from others’ or my own dumb mistakes:

  1. If someone kept something a secret in life, don’t go about blabbing about it at their funeral.
  2. Study hard, party hard.  That’s how to live and Live; both studying and partying are part of the Work.
  3. Humility is a virtue even in the greatest kings. Humility is the beginning of greatness.
  4. Keep yourself clean and cleansed.  It may not feel like much once you get in the habit of it, but try taking a spiritual bath after not having done anything for your spiritual health for a month.  Feels good, man.
  5. Ask a spirit to do something before forcing them to do it, and even then, try to never use force unless you absolutely need to.
  6. Make sure you don’t lock yourself out of your house, and if you do, have at least one key on you that can open any door.  (Woo reality-warping!)
  7. Light illuminates, even all the bad parts that we normally hide within ourselves.
  8. Don’t go wandering into a haunted forest with guns blazing.
  9. Especially don’t accost the spirits of the dead with guns blazing or your mouth shooting off.
  10. Play and fly; if you’re young, be young.  Do what’s appropriate for you at your level of development.
  11. You are what you do; “ehyeh asher ehyeh” is not much different from “ehyeh asher ahweh”, “I am that I am” from “I am that I do”, and we know that the difference between that and Yahweh is (literally) no more than a jot.

And let’s check up on how those resolutions I made the last time Mercury went retrograde have turned out:

  1. Create my Circle of Art.  Done!
  2. Try my hand at a Solomon-style goetic conjuration.  Haven’t done this yet.  I’m waiting until I get a solid connection with the protective power of my HGA, although it isn’t necessary, because I feel like it’d be useful.  However, nothing is stopping me from doing this, and I am eager to try it.
  3. Start working heavily towards astral projection.  Yeah, no.  No progress on this.  I’m pretty unwilling to actually try this, even though I know it’s a weak spot.  There’s something about dedicating the time in the evening to just sitting there that’s driving me off from it.
  4. Ask the planetary angels for friendly planetary assistants.  Haven’t done this, although it is a good idea.  Although my HGA can take over most of these roles that a planetary assistant would, having an insider from these realms has its definite plus sides that working with a single spirit would not.  Also, one of the reasons why I haven’t done this is that I have trouble keeping up with my own conjuration cycle.  Sometimes I get busy, sometimes I get too fatigued to continue, and sometimes I just get lazy.  I should work on fixing that.
  5. Work on meditating more. I’m basically contenting myself with trying to attempt regular 30-minute meditations in the mornings.  I’d consider this no progress, but not a failure, either.

So, what might be on my plate for the next few months?

  1. Conjuration of Orobas, using a goetic variant of the Trithemius rite.  I hear that Orobas is a fairly benign goetic demon of the Lemegeton, and is smart and helpful towards the conjurer.  If I want to get involved with Solomonic goetia, then this is probably a good guy to start with, and the variations on the Trithemius rite are noticeable but quite manageable to memorize in a day or so.
  2. Conjuration of Viagrahel, because why not?  It may have started out as a joke, but let’s just see what would happen.  I’d use the standard Trithemius rite and the Rosy Cross sigil from before, and then chat with the guy (if any were to appear) and see what he does.
  3. Astral projection.  I’ve got a special project to act as a belated birthday gift for a friend that requires astral projection to a well-known place to pick up some of its essence.  I’ll go into further detail in a later post, but I need to start actually doing astral practice.  Setting apart time for it is going to be the more obnoxious bit.  If anyone has any tips or personal experiences with the matter, please let me know!
  4. Start doing divination readings at the local new age store with geomancy.
  5. Make weekly offerings to the god and powers of Saturn, like with Mercury above.  Unlike Mercury, Saturn is well-aspected in my chart, but like Mercury, Saturn gives me a strong boost in magic, the occult, and lore.  I’ve been meaning to do this in tandem with recharging my Saturn election talisman, but Saturdays have always seem to be a waste or used up by other events going on, and I detest waking up at dawn on a weekend.  I should fix that.
  6. Ask the planetary angels for planetary assistants.  It’s still a good idea, but I’m concerned I might be expanding my contacts a little too much too fast.  I hardly talk with my elemental friends, though they’re still useful guys to have in my ethereal rolodex.  Maybe I can have them show me around the astral realms once I get on my feet (see #3).
  7. Start helping a friend with his financial and job issues through occult means.  I’m waiting on him to get me a bottle of cologne and a pendant he’d like to wear to help give a physical base to the ideas I have in mind, but I can at least get started with talking to the appropriate spirits.

And, of course, during Mercury retrograde, I’ll be focusing on reviewing my old texts, aphorisms, prayers, and methods to make sure I’m not getting sidetracked or lost amid all the things I’m doing.  Mercury retrograde is usually unfavorable for starting new projects, especially those of a financial or commercial nature, but is excellent for review and taking stock of what one has.

What’ve you been up to this past Mercury direct period?  Anything embarrassing or enlightening happen?  What’re your plans, if any, for the next few months?  Is there anything you might want to see me rant, ramble, or blither on about in the coming weeks?  Do tell, do tell!