Wax on, wax off: how learning physical fitness helps with magical fitness

When I decided to do the Abramelin in 2014, I knew there was no way I could have the “ideal” conditions for it. I researched the ritual at great length through both the translations, Mathers and Dehn, and determined that if I were to take the plunge I would take it with this attitude:

  • I will never do things perfectly.
  • If I wait to be “perfect”, I will never get it done.
  • I need to be willing to potentially make mistakes, learn from it, and move on.
  • I have nothing left to lose at this point and I desperately need to get my shit together.

As some people who have been following me online know, I’m also a passionate fitness enthusiast. I’ve had my ups and downs and learned a lot from them, but on the whole I’ve made great progress in this arena. I ran a 5K, 10K, and half marathon this past weekend at DisneyWorld with only the bare minimum of muscle soreness afterwards and felt great enough to start getting back to routine two days later. While I still have a great deal of progress to make I’ve also come a long way.

So without further adieu, here’s a list of things that hold true in the wide, wonderful world of fitness which also apply to magic:

  1. You need to pencil in your workouts and get them done. Make them non-negotiable. Get your magic done. Feed your altars. Have regular things you magically contribute to. Things like employment, finances, and well-being are things which need to be perpetually fed. Do NOT get complacent in this arena, not even if you land the perfect job or win the lottery. This is a magic which needs to be kept up. Anything you need on a regular basis is something you can get done regularly.
  2. Length doesn’t make strength. You don’t need to work out for hours a day in order to get results. Likewise with magical ritual. It doesn’t need to go on until the wee hours of the morning to be effective.
  3. You have to train for half and full marathons, you can’t just jump into them and you have to have the proper gear or risk injury. Meditation, trance work, and energy work, while both can come more easily to some than most, do require proper training. Expect your immune system to be shot afterwards. Ask anyone who’s done the Abramelin or any lengthy  working if they got sick after they completed the rite. It can happen to you, be prepared.
  4. If you run into obstacles, work around them and get done what you can. Can’t do a full workout? Do a partial. A partial is better than none. Not much more I need to add to this one. Life happens, just keep moving.
  5. You will have good days and bad days. Motivation is like bathing; you have to keep working on it because it doesn’t last. Just keep going and remember what brought you here to begin with. In short, you will struggle, you will fuck up, you will have days when all you want to do is stare at that Candy Crush game on your phone and just be mindless. And that’s okay.
  6. If you fall off the wagon, just get back on and don’t waste any time or energy beating yourself up over it. It’s very easy to get jolted out of our routines and find it difficult to return to them. We may even feel like we failed on more than one level. Don’t worry about it and either just pick up where you left off,  go back a few steps and start from there, or just start a new cycle over again.
  7. Find something you love to do which works for you and your goals, and keep doing it. If you find a particular system of magic to be drudge work and not very effective, stop torturing yourself with it and find something else. What works for others and calls their inner spirits and get results won’t necessary be the same for you. I love to run and lift weights while there are people who loathe running and would rather do crossfit or Zumba. There are a myriad of systems and disciplines out there. Find one that works with your personality, suits your goals, and keep going with it. This doesn’t mean that you need to find something which isn’t hard. Newsflash: it’s ALL hard. You need to choose your hard and get your self discipline on, but it’s got to be the sort of hard that you will want to invest in.
  8. Don’t judge your beginning by someone else’s middle. You may be working on a discipline which someone else has been working on for years, and you just got started. They’re getting great results while you’re just turning up pennies and feel like the spirits are laughing at you. What gives? It’s not you, they’ve just been at it longer. Be patient, get better at it and the results will come.
  9. Stretch and foam roll after every workout to prevent muscle injury. I’m going to equate this rule with a few things: magic doesn’t begin and end only during your ritual work and the proper conditioning will not only make you more effective but also help you to not burnout. The more strenuous your practice, the more that this becomes important. Obviously a quick candle ritual or offering rite is going to need a lot less “decompression” than an hours-long recitation and ritual, and some might not need any if much at all. There are many ways to do this ranging from shutting down with a banishing rite to just quietly going off to meditate. It’s all about doing grounding and centering rituals. In fact I’m going to go with just the basic idea of grounding and centering as being excellent analogies for stretching and foam rolling. Just. Do. It.
  10. Fitness is 80% diet, and 20% exercise. It’s not just what you’re doing but how you’re feeding your body which can be the more important of the two. You can’t out-train a bad diet. Saving the best for last and I bet you’re wondering how this translates into magical practice and work. Well, here’s the deal and I’m going to italicize and bold this for emphasis: you need to take care of yourself and do the necessary internal work and personal development just as much if not more so than the actual practice of magic. Personal growth and development is the “diet” of the work. Do not confuse it with the “exercise”, which is magic. Personal development is not magic, but it helps feed you as a magician so you can do your magic. Got it? Good.

And now I’ll end this blog post with a piece of advice from one of my favorite fitness trainers, Tony Horton: “Do your best and forget the rest.”

2 thoughts on “Wax on, wax off: how learning physical fitness helps with magical fitness

  1. […] Musings has a piece this morning titled “Wax on, wax off” about the ways in which practicing magic is like an exercise routine.  It’s a pretty […]

  2. […] which is magical, difficult, essential, and humbling all at once. And as I’ve covered in another blog post, personal development is about 80% of the work. Get that done and you have much of the rest made. […]

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