True will, personal development, and the most dangerous of all journeys

I got into a conversation today that got some wheels spinning on a long overdue blog post on the subject of magic, priorities, True Will and all that. I touched upon it briefly during the Esoterinerd podcast I was interviewed in, but I’d like to expand upon it further.

People cannot have their magical wills so completely drained by the need to survive, to be able to take care of themselves and the basic necessities, to the point where they cannot thrive. And worse yet, not even know what it means to be able to thrive. It is vitally important as a magician to learn how to set things such as financial needs, the roof over your head, basic health and well being into a self-sustaining but constantly fed magical system for yourself that you can spend time focusing on other things such as emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.

This isn’t an unusual or unknown concept. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs covers it quite succinctly:

2000px-Maslow's_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg

This is why I am very, very big on being able to take care of yourself in regards to your health and wealth as a magician, and why using magic to aid you in this endeavor is not only not a bad thing, but it is an absolute must and necessity. There are various traditions that may disagree with me on this, but I am giving of no fucks and will say flat out that they are wrong. I’ll merely offer up my own experiences and fruits as proof of this: once I set magic into motion in a way that not only had me both feeding it and feeding itself to give me a fulfilling occupation and the monetary benefits that came with it, much of my life–and my magic–got that much easier. Suffering isn’t a virtue; using your magic in a practical way helps both you and those around you gives you a means of perfecting your magic doing something you absolutely need to do. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone. Throw out your old programming and join those of us who are living happy and fulfilling lives while helping others to do the same. You have nothing to lose but your excuses, and nothing to gain but greater happiness, magical mastery, and the ability to help others.

Once you’ve got a reasonable handle on the basics of life and survival, you can focus on the rest of the stuff to power your life, thrive, and make you happy. What does it mean to be able to thrive? What would it mean for you to really, truly live a fulfilling life? I can’t answer that for you. Instead I’ll turn to one of my most favorite passages in all of literary history in Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story:

“What do you suppose it means?'[Bastian] asked. “”DO WHAT YOU WISH.'” That must mean I can do anything I feel like. Don’t you think so?
All at once Grograman’s face looked alarmingly grave, and his eyes glowed.
‘No,’ he said in his deep, rumbling voice. ‘It means that you must do what you really and truly want. And nothing is more difficult.’
‘What I really and truly want? What do you mean by that?’
‘It’s your own deepest secret and you yourself don’t know it.’
‘How can I find out?’
‘By going the way of your wishes, from one to another, from first to last. It will take you to what you really and truly want.’
‘That doesn’t sound so hard,’ said Bastian.
‘It’s the most dangerous of all journeys.’
‘Why?’ Bastian asked. ‘I’m not afraid.’
‘That isn’t it,’ Grograman rumbled. ‘It requires the greatest honesty and vigilance, because there’s no other journey on which it’s so easy to lose yourself forever.”

In short, what it takes for you to thrive is essentially your true will. I can’t tell you what that would mean for you, nor can any other magician in the blogosphere. But I can tell you that if you spend much of your time stressing over bills and basic necessities that it is very, very difficult indeed to have energy left over at the end of the day to spend on thriving. I also don’t want to give the impression that anyone who continues to struggle making ends meet cannot advance spiritually or magically, as that’s certainly not the case! It just happens to be easier to get other needs and desires met once the basic ones have been dealt with. But do not despair; in order to learn how to fly you gotta master the art of getting up onto your own two feet then walking. And that fine art of learning how to stand up is beyond essential. Don’t neglect it, and don’t think that you are doing such a terrible job in your own life that you’re still learning it. Some go into the grave before ever having given it the slightest chance; just the fact that you’re trying puts you way ahead of the game.

Figuring out what works for you and how to get your life in order is all a part of that personal development 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. Fail and just do magic alone, and it’s basically the equivalent of trying to out-train a bad diet. Which is, if you ask anyone in the fitness world, impossible–you cannot. It’s well worth getting all of that under control and figuring yourself out before mastering the art and science of magic.

What can I tell you about the personal development process and figuring yourself out–aside from it being a nearly never-ending process? I can tell you that I learned my own true will, staring at me right in the face during what was the most magical and ultimately later the most traumatic of times for me. It’s not the way I wish for others to figure it out, that’s for sure. You are best off just figuring it out quietly one day or merely moving from one thing to the next until you reach that “ah ha” moment. But once you realize it, it’s a lot like falling in love, it just happens and no one can do it for you nor tell you how it goes. But some of us gotta walk through hell to find it then claw our way out afterward. And if you plan to make it out alive let alone thrive, you can’t do it by magic alone.

All in all, just trust me on this one: Do. Personal. Development. It’ll help you with your finances, practical goals both big and small, and last but definitely not least in your magical and spiritual work. Don’t know where to begin? Read the works of others, figure out whose writings and ideas jive with your own experiences and inspire you, and take it from there. Examine your life and learn from others who took the time to examine theirs. People have walked these paths prior to you, and while their experiences may or may not resonate with you, it’s a start. I’m a big fan of Wayne Dyer and Joe Vitale but they’re not the only names out there. Some jive on the Law of Attraction stuff but for myself, I’ve found that while it’s useful it’s typically oversimplified, doesn’t tell the full tale, and is merely a stepping stone. People often like to tell you that the so-called switch is perpetually on and everyone’s always attracting (and of course insert blame/victim nonsense here), but that’s not actually the case. The reality is that most people are in neutral gear and being thrust along according to the whims of the Great Magnet. Master yourself and master magic, and all of that changes.

 

On a side note: I am toying with the idea of doing a series of personal and practical alchemy/development classes in a learn-as-you-go email series with readings and various ritual and meditative practices to go along with it, all of which would be at a reasonable cost. Essentially I would love to boil down the esoterics and complicated nature of both personal development and alchemy and build it in an organized fashion in a progressive fashion–no initiation or mystical order membership required. If this sounds interesting to you, let me know. If enough people are interested, I’ll do it. It’s something I’ve been slowly writing a book on, but I’ve often wondered if the classes should come first and the book itself broken out into chunks taught in the classes and given out as readings. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments, on Facebook, or by email: scarlet.magdalene@gmail.com

On Adeptship

The discussion has been brought up on The Great Work list: “what level of adeptship do we feel ourselves to be”? I wound up writing an email long enough that I figured it belonged as a blog post.

Before you can delve into determining level of adeptship, you first must answer the question of what an adept is.

If we’re talking about the general term, the literal dictionary term means “Someone who is skilled or proficient at something”. If we get into certain occult traditions, the term becomes far, far more loaded. I’m going to approach it from the literal dictionary definition and not press forward on any one tradition.
We become adept at something or an adept through years of study, practice, and experience. We are not likely to get there overnight, and the idea that this can be brought to us in an instant through an initiation is actually absurd. It’s akin to saying that merely giving me a college diploma gives me all of the knowledge I need when in fact it’s just an acknowledgement of the work I’ve already done. All an initiation can do for you is just that, simply acknowledge what you have already done, and bring you to the next level that you may realize just how much of a neophyte you still are on the path. Life doesn’t end after graduation.
I am adept at Usui Reiki and various other Reiki traditions because I have studied, practiced, and experienced them for years. I am adept at divination, particularly tarot, for the same reason. I am adept in the Golden Dawn tradition for also the same reason. I can claim the same for computer programming, particularly C# and .NET development.
The idea of mastering something, whether it be a craft, tradition, or any one skill, comes through focus and perseverance. It does not imply perfection, nor does it mean you have nothing left to learn. I’ve spent a decade or more in any of the above that I listed, and never once have I felt that there was a stopping point; perhaps a desire to focus on another tradition or move on, but in any of them I have the capacity to teach and transfer information.
It’s interesting; right now I’m in the process of transferring out of the IT industry into a completely different career, and after my time in the Golden Dawn I went onto other things. I don’t think it’s unusual once you’ve gained a particular skill that what you’ve learned from it is something which guides you into another direction. I still engage in Golden Dawn related discussions and talk with people in the tradition all the time, and much of my knowledge and experiences I’ve gained from it continue to benefit me in day to day life.
At present, I am eyeballs deep in the Abramelin rite. Various traditions stress the importance of doing this once you’ve reached the level of adeptness, and yet it’s something you can do even as a neophyte. I do think however like all forms of personal development that doing any one thing is easier once you’ve already done a good deal of personal work.
A huge part of mastery is self-mastery, and even in business people stress the idea of doing personal development and growth. The most invaluable thing about the Golden Dawn, IMHO, is its elemental alchemy which provides a basis for doing just that. People who race through the grades like people collecting Girl/Boy Scout badges miss the boat entirely, and are depriving themselves of the most powerful aspect that particular tradition has to offer. I cannot stress its importance enough. It is far, far more important than all of the memorization and ritual that the grades have to offer, and will make you into a much more magically efficacious magician.

Money = energy

There is often a negative backlash against doing magick and spiritual work for money. Some people belong to traditions (or have ideologies) which are seen as being opposed to such things. I’ve actually heard some defensiveness go along with it; I spoke with someone who actually sells magickal items, including books and supplies, for a living but was struggling to make the rent for the storefront. When I suggested using magick as an aid, the walls went up. The idea was clearly seen as a Bad Thing.

I’m not sure where this came about, and I suspect it came with the idea put forth amongst some religious adherents that poverty was a blessing and somehow a sign of “being spiritual”. There are two things that come to mind with this: 1) this is often preached or hinted at in religious traditions where its highest members work in elaborate, expensive buildings 2) you can’t help out others if you can’t help yourself.

Money isn’t evil. Lusting after money, being greedy about it, and doing unethical things in order to obtain and keep money is what’s evil. Money is just another form of energy, and the more of it you have, the more you can give to others–not to mention inspire others to do the same.

Practical Alchemy is about both practice and being “down to earth”. If you cannot manifest money for your rent or mortgage, how do you expect to be able to manifest results in the Great Work?

With increases in income, you can find more and better ways of being of value to your family, your friends, and your community. There are many ways in which you can use your hobbies and things that you love not only to gain money, but also to benefit charity. I myself do charity 5K runs and similar events.

People need to ditch the bad feelings of unworthiness, inappropriateness, or flat out guilt over the idea that something that they love and are passionate about can make them financially successful and more than capable of supporting themselves. There is no better time than today.

 

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Reclaiming your personal power

I think this blog post will undoubtedly be filed under “The most difficult but most essential blog post written on here yet”. For the sake of others, I will also highlight this with trigger warnings for touching on topics such as rape, abuse, and assault. However, I will urge those who HAVE undergone such things to read this post, as I hope it will be of help to you.

Before I begin, a caveat: I am a Certified Life Coach, not a licensed therapist or counselor. I am speaking strictly from my personal experience and what has worked for me. You may find that some of what I say will not work for you. In that instance, consult a professional. Here’s a list of important hotlines for people in need of help, take a look at it and see if anything there may be of use to you.

People often give their personal power away regularly albeit unintentionally. Other times it is taken from them. In both cases, they need to recover from the damage done to them, their lives, and of course in their magickal practice.

The Law of Attraction has been written and spoken about to death, and the biggest detractor/rebuttal to it has been questions such as “But what about people who undergo massive trauma such as rape, attempted murder, war, or assault?” What about when there are people in your life who have wronged you in some way, shape or form? I personally think that the Law of Attraction has been massively misunderstood and oversimplified by well-intentioned people, and even used against others as a form of New Age Bullying. The original idea is never and has never been about either blaming people, victimizing them, or taking away their personal power–rather in fact, the opposite. It’s been about empowerment and taking control over your life, even in the face of hardship and struggle. Because of all of the negative connotations that this whole “Law of Attraction” approach now has towards sensitive issues like this, I won’t even address it in this blog post as I think it’ll detract from the overall message and scope of what I want to write about, which is reclaiming your personal power.

First of all, the absolute worst thing you can do in the process of trying to get back your sense of self and personal power is to place the blame of what happened on you. Where you were, what you did, who you chose to hang out with, and all of that line of questioning won’t help you. Unfortunately too often after a series of events such as a bad or abusive relationship, personal trauma, etc. it’s hard to shift focus. Once that power has been taken away, it often continues to be leeched away. Having had that experience, knowing what it is like, it changes things. It changes us. We may even get used to being depleted, which of course doesn’t help in any way, shape, or form.

Then there’s the other side of the coin. We want the party who wronged us to face some sort of karmic retribution, and a part of us may feel that if we let go of what happened to us we are somehow excusing it, that if we manage to somehow “get over it” that it wasn’t a big deal to begin with. At the same time, it’s challenging to not review what happened in our own minds and try to think of ways we could’ve prevented it, could’ve seen it coming. The scars from these sorts of things can affect people for years.

I am not writing this blog post without personal experience. I have been in an abusive relationship, am a two-time survivor of date rape, and had someone who had been my best friend sexually assault and threaten me with rape. Coming back after that was difficult. It affected my spiritual work, my personal development, health, finances, pretty much everything. I spent a good year or two afterwards just “getting by”, struggled with emotions ranging from depression and anger to total numbness, and have described the experience as being out of “cell phone range” from the gods. I found that ultimately what helped me was realizing that I could not wait around for a major change or a breakthrough, I had to take small steps and cherish small victories. As they piled up over time, my life became easier and better. I got healthier, my finances got better, and I started to feel good again about myself and my life.

Reclaiming yourself and getting yourself back on track is ultimately your road to victory. It means not letting the guilty party continue to win over you. It also means forgiving yourself for what you never should’ve had to forgive yourself for in the first place, which is being a person with feelings, emotions, and the capacity to have bad things happen to them. So ultimately what you may need to do is to forgive yourself for needing to forgive yourself, and that’s okay. Realizing that what happened was not your fault and that you CAN get back in the driver’s seat again is a form of release, but it is one of those things which can take time. You will have good days and bad, but in the end the bad days will get fewer in number and the good days will increase.

One of the things I determined for myself after what happened to me was that I wanted to get out there and do positive things, be a stronger and better magician, and inspire others to transform their lives. It also forced me to take stock of what was important for myself in the grand scheme of things, beyond life and death, and what would ultimately let me live a happy and fulfilling life with purpose.

Here’s my list of things of what I did that helped me over time:

  1. Take time out for yourself. Watch good movies, read great books, listen to your favorite music.
  2. Make a to-do list every day of absolutely everything that must get done daily. Put events and reminders of them on a calendar. You may find that during this time that your usual memory, especially short term, will not be as good as it normally is, and these lists and reminders will save you grief and added stress later. Anything that is on that list, bite off the biggest pain in the ass that’s on there first and get it done and out of the way so you can focus on the rest of your day. Eat that Frog! by Brian Tracy touches on this and more.
  3. Take care of yourself. Physical exercise has been my best source of sanity. Go outside for a walk, go running, find something to do which is physically active that you enjoy. Emphasis on ENJOY. Also, eat good, healthy food as often as you can and do your best to avoid any habits which are self destructive such as eating bad food, overindulging in alcohol, etc. The better your body feels, the better YOU will feel. Anything else is a temporary distraction to mask the pain for a few moments and will make you feel even more miserable after and will negatively impact your physical health besides. Please trust me on this.
  4. When hit with bad memories, thoughts, or feelings caused by previous events, you may want to distract yourself with things which are fun and frivolous. Watch cute kitten videos on YouTube. ANYTHING. 80s movies, cartoons, and comedy have been hugely wonderful for me.
  5. HOWEVER…you may find that there are times when you DO need to process your feelings and emotions about what happened to you. Doing that versus repressing them may be of use to you. Trying to figure out when you are processing versus when you are dwelling can be a challenge. If you are finding that your negative feelings and thoughts are getting in the way of every day life, I would pursue #4 first before doing #5. If it gets too much and #4 isn’t working, please consider getting in touch with a professional, especially if #4 is beginning to look more like the symptoms of PTSD. I’ll be touching more on the subject of how to deal with bad thoughts and feelings when I get to #9 and #10 on the list, so stick around.
  6. Remember the people in your life who DO support you and care about you. You’ll have moments when you’ll want to retreat into your shell and others where you’ll need to be surrounded by positive people. Having a nice balance of both will help you.
  7. Eliminate absolutely everything and everyone in your life who is a drain on you, your energy, your emotions, and your resources. If you’re dealing with any form of struggle to reclaim your personal power, this is essential. You may find that you have some toxic relationships to dump. Avoid the Negative Nancies like the plague. You’ll find that some people want to feed off of you as opposed to help you during this time. Identify them as quickly as you can (some will take the burden away from you and will identify themselves without your help), and quietly distance yourself from them. You will be grateful for it.
  8. Find things which inspire you and surround yourself with them. When the going gets tough, turn to those things for support and direction. This could be anything from your favorite personal development books to your spirituality, it could be music, it could be whoever is your personal hero. It does not matter. Whatever will inspire you and make you feel good AND is good for you, find it and thrive in it.
  9. Do healing work. Get Reiki done, do healing spells, etc. Find whatever magick and energy work you can do in order to help you to better deal with the problem and DO IT.
  10. When the negative thoughts and feelings do occur, ask yourself why you feel this way or what brought it up. Then–and here is a question which may seem weird to you–ask yourself what fears you may have if you were to stop thinking or feeling this way. Once you uncover any, ask yourself if you really believe that those fears are true. Keep digging. Sometimes we think that emotions and feelings happen out of nowhere when in fact we have utterly no idea that our unconscious mind is really, really busy and hard at work dealing with all of the stuff we’re not aware that we’re busy processing.
  11. There are two things which will not necessarily always be your friend during this time, and you’ll have to learn how to reprogram them. One is your thoughts, and the other is your feelings. Each will affect the other in a vicious cycle. If you focus on the things which make you feel good, you will think good thoughts. If you focus on the good thoughts, you will feel good. Ending the cycle of internal negativity is challenging, but it can be done. Again, as always, small victories and steps will snowball over time.
  12. If you ever get to the point where you feel like you can’t handle this on your own, either find some good self-help books on the subject, see a therapist, or call an appropriate hotline for support and guidance. There’s only so much any one of us can do or deal with, and if we’ve reached our limit, that’s okay. It doesn’t make us bad, broken, crazy, damaged, or worthless–it just means that we have some stuff to process which a third party may be more equipped to help us deal with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with this, there’s just what works for you and ultimately makes you healthy and happy. There is also no such as thing “that pain is greater than this pain”; get rid of your sense of worthiness in terms of whatever you went through and whether or not it qualifies as something to be concerned about. Ditch comparisons. It doesn’t matter if you were dumped by the love of your life, were raped and/or sexually assaulted, had your home robbed, lost your job, lost your pet, lost a family member, lost a spouse/significant other, etc. Pain is pain, period. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise, ditch them too. No one should have to feel guilty or feel that they are not worthy of expressing that they are suffering for whatever discernible reason or cause. How you go about dealing with the struggling, what happened to you to get you to this point, and how you feel about it has no bearing on your worthiness as a person or as a magician. As always, this is ultimately the best time to do personal work and growth as it will help you to recover.

As always, if you want to talk, I’m here.

Maintaining motivation and using your unconscious mind as an aid

Maintaining motivation is crucial, whether it’s motivation to work on your financials, improve your love life, work on your fitness goals, you name it. You especially see this in the fitness world, and people complain regularly that some days they just don’t feel motivated.

“Motivation is awesome,” you might say, “but it doesn’t last.”

Well, neither does bathing…that’s why we recommend it daily. 😉

Yes, you will have your good days and your bad. Yes, there will be times when it may seem that this process is taking forever, isn’t coming along as quickly as you would like, or seems like nothing is happening just yet. Patience, grasshopper. Good things will come your way. Just keep your eye on the prize and savor every victory, no matter how big or small.

Maintaining that motivation is key to a few things:

  • Keeping your spirits up
  • Helping your unconscious mind to stay in gear and on target

Now, about that unconscious mind. I mentioned before that symbols, rituals, chanting and what-have-you in magick are important because they help that unconscious mind. There are various brainwaves we operate at, and all of those things help to put us into Alpha state. We are in Alpha state when we are reading, driving a car, daydreaming or otherwise “spacing out”, etc. It’s a normal state of consciousness, nothing too fancy about it. But it’s an awesome state to be in. When we’re in Alpha we are more receptive. We learn better and are more easily influenced. This is why it’s a great idea to listen to inspiring music and/or audio while driving or have some of that music playing while reading or engaged in certain activities. It helps to gear our minds towards positive thinking.

So much of personal development is reprogramming yourself to be the absolute best you whom you can possibly be. The more effective you can become, the more effective your magick will become. And at that point, you will be able to move mountains. 🙂

 

Need some additional help getting that motivation going? I’m here for you. Contact me anytime for a session or a free consultation.

What it means to be a magician or a witch

A blog post by Nick Farrell on signs you are not a real magician has been circulating through the occult community. Although an excellent and well-written rebuttal has already been posted (and you should check it out), given the topics I’ve been blogging about lately I figured I’d add my $0.02 worth. Edit: another good (but brief) rebuttal can be found here.

First of all, to address the idea of whether or not you are a “real magician” or a witch: if you study and practice any form of magick or have at any given point, you are indeed a real magician/witch/occultist. Nick compares this to whether or not you are a “real writer”. Well, guess what? Same thing! If you write, you are a writer. Period.

There was an excellent article in the September 2013 issue of Runner’s World about this, actually, under the “Newbie Chronicles” section by Marc Parent. The title of the article “You’re a Real Runner If…” with the byline, “How do you know? Never mind the miles and shoes, look at the laundry!” In that article, he states the following: “The problem with authenticating yourself as a ‘real runner’ is that the distinction is a moving target. If a real runner is someone who goes long or fast, then almost any measure pales in comparison to the person who goes longer and faster.”

And it’s true. Being a runner, a writer, a magician/witch isn’t a destination, it’s a process. And if that process is yielding proof that you’ve been sweating/doing the work, you are IT! You are REAL! You have arrived. You don’t need a special title, approval from your favorite occult blogger, or any of that bullshit.

There are a few key points in Nick’s blog post that I want to address however, so I’m going to tackle them in order.

  1. “Your life is the same.” If your life has remained the same, it’s not that you’re not practicing magick and/or not a “real magician”; it’s that you are not growing as a magician and as a person. It means you have not done enough personal development to get your Will to the point where you’re out there, kicking ass. It doesn’t have to come overnight, and anyone in the craft will tell you that not only does “slow and steady win the race”, but also that “small steps add up over time.” If you’re expecting only huge epiphanies and changes as signs of growth, you may be quite disappointed. Cherish every victory and change, big or small. Look for them and EXPECT them. Be a magnet for the change and growth you wish to see in the world and in your life.
  2. “You have not lost at least one relationship because of magic.” It is true that with personal development often comes separating the wheat from the chaff, and that sometimes you will be forced to let go of people in your life who are either toxic and/or holding you back. But if you are isolating yourself to the point where magick is an obsession and you are not giving your partner, family, or friends their just due, it’s time to pull back and remember why you’re here to begin with. Some alone time to reflect, meditate, and process your life changes is normal. Hurting those whom you love is not. Therefore I don’t think making a sweeping statement without reflecting upon both sides of the story can be used here; as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. I also think that the whole “poor, persecuted magician” mindset needs to banished. Are we trying to grow as people, or are we trying to do some weird teenaged rebellion? If you’re finding that the time and attention spent on magick is making your relationships difficult, you need to evaluate: is it that the people in your life are unhealthy for you, or are you becoming unhealthy to both them and yourself?
  3. “You have lots of hobbies.” I laughed long and hard at this one, because it goes along with my previous point. If you are obsessing over magick to the point where you are alienating everyone around you and you have no other interests or pursuits in life, it is unhealthy. You are neither developing as a person or as an occultist. Here’s the thing: to truly bring about your Will into manifestation, you need to realize that every single part of your life is a part of your magickal practice. Every. Single. Part. The moment you absorb that, there is nothing you cannot affect from your practice, and you become more magickally efficacious as a result. From that perspective, you need a balanced life. I myself am a fitness nut, a writer, have numerous geek interests, and take the time to cuddle my cats whenever I can. All of these things contribute to my life as a magician, not detract. Who I am as a magician does not begin and end with my donning a robe and going into my temple room. It is a part of my everyday life. I am a magician when I pay my bills, when I drive to work, when I go out for a run, and when I give one of my kitties scritches under the chin.
  4.  “You have an active social life.” Nick argues that occultism is a “lonely thing”. Please see #2 for my full philosophy on that.Yes, you will find that there are, on occasion, people who are either toxic and/or unhealthy for you. They may be pedaling backward while you’re trying to move forward. Some people will pass out of your life as a result, and you will have to let them go. On rare occasions they will spring back and come to realize what they did to themselves and their relationship with you. On the other hand, isolating yourself is unhealthy. Friends and family are important. In addition, having a sounding board of people who can call you on your shit is immensely invaluable. If you have a friend or a loved one who does not hesitate to praise you and be happy for you when you do good and also let you know when you’ve screwed up (albeit in a caring and constructive way), treasure them like gold. Again, people practicing magick with the idea that it is some weird teenaged rebellion need to rethink their approach, attitude, and reasoning behind why they are here. It is not meant to isolate you from the world but to help you become a better contributing member of it. If you’re not able to do that, it’s time to do some serious personal work and find out why you feel that being around others is holding you back. Is it the wrong choices of people, or is it you? Find out. Dig deep. Leave no stone unturned and remember that your shit stinks just as much as someone else who doesn’t practice magick.
  5. “You think that something else is important.” Yes, your health is important. Your family is important. Your friends are important. Taking care of yourself is important. And all of these things are a part of the practice and work as a magician. Your life is not separated out into little boxes labeled “Personal Development”, “Family”, “Health”, “Work”, and “Magick”. All of these things overlap and affect one another, and something out of whack in your life could be the proverbial canary in the coal mine. The more you get involved in magick, the more you will realize that it’s not the equivalent of drive-through Sunday church. You are not solely a magician whenever you perform a spell or do a meditation. It is a part of your everyday life. It’s who you are to yourself and to others. Any separation is artificial and will hold you back from doing the Work. I cannot stress this enough.
  6. “You think that things in magic are literal and physical.” Nick argues that “nothing in magic is literal, most of it is symbolic and few things relate to physical events”. Speaking as a magician who does indeed do a lot of astral work, I could not disagree more. The idea that magick is symbolic and only exists in your mind also completely contradicts the idea that if you’re really progressing in the craft that your life should not remain the same. Magick is more than mere symbolism, and YES, you can cause physical changes on a very great scale. The idea of magick being merely psychological is a very “in vogue” thing in the modern day occult community, and it’s something I very much wish would die. If you are causing no changes to occur in the physical world and in your life, you are doing very little other than engaging in mental masturbation. In essence, you are saying magick doesn’t really exist. I’ve often found that magicians who claim the “magick as purely psychological” model are those who are disillusioned, cynical, have not genuinely done the amount of personal work and growth needed to practice magick, have strong doubts over their own magickal capacity and of themselves in general, and think that just because they have not succeeded in bringing about any sort of physical change that it cannot happen for them or for anyone else. People who have limiting beliefs on what they can and cannot accomplish will naturally find themselves gravitating towards this paradigm.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right.” -Henry Ford

People hold themselves back all the time and make excuses for it. In this instance, I see a LOT of problems with little to no personal development or work being done and blaming it on the practice of magick–or worse yet, seeing it as being NORMAL for practicing magick. If what you are doing is causing harm to yourself and/or others, is ultimately unhealthy, and isolates you from everyone else, you are not progressing. You are, in fact, moving backwards.

I am very grateful for Nick’s post as it’s a perfect illustration and teaching tool for what I’ve been saying in my Personal Development and Magick blog posts. This is why doing personal growth and development is so essential as as magician. Anything else is just an excuse to not leave your comfort zone. Magick will not necessarily destroy your life, but YOU can destroy it as a result of not doing the very important evolution you need to do as a person. And also, in case it hasn’t been already been inferred from everything I’ve been saying here: if you are a magician/witch/occultist and you are fighting very real obstacles in your life towards happiness and well-being, it’s not that you’re not a “real” magician; it’s that you haven’t done the necessary internal work in order to “purify the vessel”, as it were. You are that channel for your Will, and if the channel is cloudy, your Will will come out cloudy too.

The whole stereotype and mindset of magicians need to be poor, struggling, suffering, and impoverished in every way and that this is a “normal” and “acceptable” part of being involved in esoteric pursuits needs to banished, never to be seen or thought of again or used as an excuse. If you were truly evolving as a person and as a magician/witch, there would be none of that. If you are practicing magick and you are still struggling with the basics (ie., living from paycheck to paycheck, no friends, health is awful, romantic life is miserable, etc.) you need to get your shit together and start getting some personal work going. Read some good self help books. Hire a life and wellness coach, especially one that understands occult practices and can help you from that angle. I’m both a Certified Life Coach and an occultist, am available if you need an ear, and can be contacted for free consultations.

 

Using magick as aid to personal development

After discussing how to clear blocks in the way of your personal development and magick, I’m now going to discuss how to use magick in order to help you with your personal growth and development.

At this point you might be yelling, “Now, wait a minute Scarlet! First you’re telling me I can’t do magick without personal development, and now you’re going to teach me how to use magick in order to help with my personal development, I’m confused! Isn’t that a Catch-22?”

Answer: no! Magick is like a muscle, it gets stronger with use. While what I’m going to teach you is very meta, it’ll help you to help clear the debris, so to speak, and get going. Just because you’re not capable of running a marathon now because you don’t have the proper training and conditioning doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying to give running a mile a shot! In fact, that’s EXACTLY what you should be doing! This is called “taking small steps to success”, and like with every small step, it has the potential to snowball.

So without further adieu, let’s go!

Let’s say you’ve gone through the previous exercises and you’ve determined that your biggest problem is that you just don’t believe in yourself. You’re too used to being broke, alone, without support–whatever condition you’re in right now that makes you unhappy. In fact, you’re SO used to it that it’s become a part of your programming. You’re broke because you EXPECT to be broke. You’re single and lacking a partner because you’re USED to it! You know of no other way to be.

I’m now going to give you the ingredients for a very simple meditation/spell. You can tailor it however you want in order to produce the effects you need in yourself.

  1. Find a picture which illustrates your goal. If you can find more than one, great! You can make a collage on posterboard, a private board for yourself on Pinterest, put it up as wallpaper on your computer or smartphone, hang it up by your desk–anywhere where you will see it daily. Make it something that makes you happy, inspires you, brings up all of those really fantastic emotions within you when you think about your goal.
  2. Write an affirmation that includes one of the key phrases in your third list, the one where you rewrote your negative thought into a positive one. Example: “Money comes to me easily and effortlessly and benefits me and everyone else around me,”
  3. Find a small physical object that reminds you of your goal. It could be a particular stone, symbol, or charm which pertains to whatever you want to work on. For money, it could be as simple as a coin, a fake million dollar bill, a green stone–anything. For love, rose quartz, a heart shaped charm, you name it. Whatever speaks to YOU and makes sense for YOU.
  4. Carry that object with you wherever you go, keep it in your purse, wallet, or pocket. Have it by your bed at night so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up and the last thing you see when you go to sleep.
  5. Every time you hold onto your object or look at the picture(s) you have chosen, recite your affirmation. It doesn’t have to be out loud, it could just be said inside your head.
  6. Optional: if music is the air you breathe, you may want to create a playlist which reminds you of your intent and makes you feel great about it. Keep it on your mp3 player, Spotify, or whatever and listen to it whenever you can. I have one that has songs like Steve McQueen by M83, Magic by Olivia Newton-John, We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke, anything which gets my spirits up and elevates my mood.

If you have a particular spiritual path, you can add whatever appropriate prayers that have meaning to you at the end of your affirmation. This could be a call to Jesus Christ, God, Zeus, Thor, Brighid, Aset, Tara, Ganesh, your spirit guide, your higher self, your HGA…doesn’t matter. Whatever you deeply believe in and calls to you in your heart is what’s appropriate here. If no such being for you exists, that’s okay too.

Do this every day or as often as you can.

A few things to note:

Emotion is power. You’ll see and hear of a lot of people talk about the Law of Attraction and focusing on positive thoughts. This doesn’t mean that you should either ignore or repress bad ones. Passion and powerful, positive emotions are what fuels magick. You have to FEEL it in order to work. And this is why often times the simplest spells are the most powerful ones and when repeated like this, are exercising and conditioning the most amazing tool you have in your arsenal: your unconscious mind.

Next post: How to maintain motivation and your unconscious mind. Stay tuned….

Got a particularly tough problem? Need help trying to figure out why your magick’s not working? I’m here for you. Contact me anytime for a session or a free consultation.

How to clear the static and blocks preventing you from performing magick

My previous post in the personal development and alchemy series was about how causing changes within can help cause changes without and thus help one to perform effective magick. In that post I talked about how the internal “static”, AKA our limiting beliefs and personal obstacles, can interfere with our magick and growth as a whole person and magician/witch.

Many of us struggle with our fears, negative ideas, and limiting beliefs on ourselves, our lives, and reality. It could range from any one or all of the following:

  • “I can’t do that, that’s impossible.”
  • “But if I become successful, people will treat me differently. They may resent me or try to attack me.”
  • “I’m afraid of failing. What if I put all of this time and energy into what I want and I don’t get it? What do I do then?”
  • “I’m not worth it. I’ve done too many horrible things in my past and I just don’t feel deserving.”
  • “No one in my family or among my friends has gotten wealthy/successful/happy in their lives, so why should I?”
  • “I’m not good enough. I don’t have what it takes.”
  • “I haven’t succeeded in my past, so why would I succeed now?”

If any of these sound familiar to you or strike a chord within you, take a step back and reflect on that. First of all…don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s not going to help you to get over those feelings and will just add more power to them. What you want to focus on is on how different the actual reality of the situation is. In other words, find out what your inner negative voice is saying and start telling yourself the opposite.

Here’s a great exercise: write on a sheet of paper everything that you want out of life. Don’t hold back, don’t judge, just run with it and be honest with yourself. No one has to see that list but you. Think BIG.

When you’re done with that list, make a new one: write down all of the things within your life that you think is preventing you from fulfilling those goals. Again, be honest. Don’t hold back, and don’t judge. Just let it all out. Think of it as a cathartic rant session!

Once you have those two lists, you want to make a third. This list is the most important of all. Rewrite the second list of all of the things you’ve listed as obstacles and rewrite them in the positive. For example:

Original: “I can’t find a job that I really like that will pay me enough and will last.”

New: “I have it in me to get the best job for me that will pay me more than enough and will keep me employed.”

Original: “I can’t find a good date, no one thinks I’m attractive.”

New: “I’m attractive and have many good qualities, and can find my perfect match who is right for me.”

Original: “Magick doesn’t work, I’m powerless and don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have it in me to do a good spell.”

New: “I am powerful and magick flows freely within me.”

Coming up: Tying your personal affirmations with your magick. In short, using magick and the power of your thinking to help you along with personal development. Sounds pretty neat, right? And it certainly could help you with more effective magick in the long run, too! Call it “greasing the wheels”!

 

If you find that your list is a bit too tough to tackle and could use a sounding board, I’m here for you. Contact me anytime for a session or a free consultation.

 

Cause change in your inner world, create magick in the outer world

The other day I covered why personal development is important to magick. Next step in the series: how causing change in your inner world enables you to be a more magickally efficacious magician or witch.

Magick is more than simple rote spells, lighting candles, or chanting weird shit under a full moon. All of these things are meant to jog your unconscious mind and connect with sources of power outside of yourself that will help you to fulfill your goal. I have a magickal mentor who once told me that “magick is about making a connection.” This is entirely too true.

In this instance, YOU are the vessel, and your unconscious mind is a more powerful tool than you could ever hope or dream of. You literally have the power to do anything you want. Maybe not EVERYTHING, but anything. But that’s a topic for a whole other blog post. If you are not a clear and effective channel, all you will receive is static. If you have a crappy cell phone that’s constantly disconnecting on you, running slowly, and is buggy forget about checking your email or browsing the Internet. In short…don’t be a crappy cell phone.

Causing change in your inner world is about removing the static. It’s about clearing up the internal blocks, limiting beliefs, and unconscious ideas holding you back from achieving your deepest desires and dreams. It’s about eliminating the negative voices which are holding you back so you can finally hear the still, small, quiet voice within you which can tell you EXACTLY what you need to do, where you need to go, and who you want to be.

That voice is what helps you to take inspired action, connect with your higher self, HGA, the Force, God, gods, Divine, Flying Spaghetti Monster, or what-have-you. Trusting that voice is vital, but first you have to make sure you can hear it.

Next blog post in the series: How to clear the static and blocks preventing you from performing magick.

 

Need help with any of this stuff? Think you could use a life coach whom you can actually talk to about magick and various other esoterica and help you with your own magick? I’m here. Contact me anytime for a session or a free consultation.

The vital importance of personal development to magick

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I’ve touched upon this in various blog posts, but decided to dedicate one especially for this topic. Hell, I may be doing a series of these. It’s that important of a topic.

Personal development is a vital part of any magician or witch. You cannot even think to begin to learn how to handle magick without it. So much of magick depends upon your thoughts, feelings, and unconscious, and the best way to harness and develop that is through personal growth and development.

Why is this? Well, let’s start off with the definition of magick.

“Magick is the art and science of causing change in conformity to will.” – Aleister Crowley

Say what you will about the man, but Crowley was right on target here. My other favorite definition is as follows:

“Magick is about poking at reality with a stick, learning from the results, and using it for useful purposes.” – Scarlet Magdalene

…but I may be biased.

Okay, you may be nodding your head at this point and going, “Yeah, yeah, okay, so?” Well, then, let’s move on to the definition of will. It’s strongly connected with the idea of desires and wishes. Do you know what yours truly are? Do you know what would make you deeply, truly happy and fulfill your life’s purpose?

A surprising number of people have no idea. They just know that they are unhappy and feel powerless to control those circumstances. They think that if they turn to esoteric arts, they will make their lives better and happier and that it would give them the power that they need.

Unfortunately becoming a magician or witch isn’t like Harry Potter; you aren’t instantly imbued with some mystical powers by merely being given a wand or through some sort of blessing. Empowerment comes from within. You cannot cause change in your outer world without first causing change in your inner.

Next blog post: How causing change in your inner world enables you to do magick in the outer. Stay tuned!

 

In the meantime, if you’re a magician/witch or aspiring to be and could use some pointers in eliminating obstacles to getting your magick working, please feel free to give a free consultation with a try to see if I could be of help to you.