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There have been, in my experience, three different forms of magic:
How do you determine which of the following types will suit your needs? To be honest, it depends on the goal. Is this something you will continuously be requiring? Or is this for a particular need-of-the-moment? Or is this something more serious which requires formal attention over a length of time?
I used to struggle with money/financial magic until I realized that I was responding to emergencies as they came up and not dealing with the long term. Most of the magic I’d do was in type #1 and sometimes type #2. Realizing that I needed a constant and more consistent flow I switched to type #3 and suddenly the results came–and stayed. I didn’t just get a job that turned sour later; I got myself what amounted to my dream job and was not only able to stay in it but make it even better. I created a cash box from Jason Miller’s Financial Sorcery book, and take out and put in cash into it regularly. That cash box rests on my money/Jupiter altar in my temple room where I keep my statues of Zeus and HEra. When I do, money comes in. When I don’t, I notice it–and a lot. The results I get are as consistent as my practice.
Some forms of magic require more maintenance and attention than others, but it all comes down to intent. If it’s something that you KNOW you will constantly, constantly need, I recommend creating a particular designed space or an altar for it and do magical work for it regularly. Could be daily or once a week, whatever works for you–but I recommend making the day work for you as well. For instance, if you’re gearing magic towards making and keeping yourself healthy, I recommend picking Sunday for the solar work. For financial concerns, Thursday is the obvious pick. If you’re unable to do it that particular day, use the corresponding nighttime planetary hour instead–that’s the planet of the first hour of that night. For Sunday, that’s Jupiter. If you’re looking to have a solar background to your Jupiter work, that’d be a great backup day/time to do your work. The idea is regular investments on a magical level towards getting what you want, keeping what you want, and getting even more of what you want.
In addition, I definitely recommend tying in your work to a particular deity or daemon, preferably a being you already have a connection to, and appeal to them in your work. I found Jupiter energies extremely difficult to control until I made regular prayers and offerings to Zeus and later on both Zeus and Hera to act as guiding, controlling forces. Prior to that, I found myself creating basement floods and hot water heater breakages–which I obviously don’t recommend. 🙂 If gods aren’t your thing, there are many daemons to pick from who can assist such as angels, saints, etc.
Part of being a magician and/or a witch is being in harmony with your environment and local spirits. You may not always chat with or say hello to your neighbor, but it’s not nice to blare music at 12:30am and if you’re going to have a loud and widely attended party, it’s good to warn them in case they want to be elsewhere. And then there are the sorts whom you do not NOT want to invite because of the fallout which will inevitably occur. So what’s an occultist to do under similar conditions in their practice?
My roots as a pagan and my very first spiritual community was with ADF, a pan-Indo European Druidic organization. It was here that I learned the concept of giving offerings to the “outsiders.” These outsiders could include anything from trickster deities like Eris (who already has a tale about her and what happened when she wasn’t invited to a party) to the fae, whom I think pretty much everyone knows you REALLY don’t want to piss off. By doing this, it was making it clear that these weren’t spirits to be banished or cast out but instead “Hey, we’re doing a private ritual and intend no disrespect, but here’s a token of respect so you can party over here instead”.
Nineveh Shadrach details similar practices with the Djinn in his books such as Magic That Works in which the idea is that you warn the neighboring Djinn that you’re about to do a ritual so if they don’t want to be there to get the hell out. Courtesy again in this case matters, as the Djinn and the fae have similar traditions in dealing with them and pissing either off isn’t something you want to do.
I sometimes wonder how much of “imp” or “trickster” activity in one’s home is instead a manifestation of this: a spirit feels forgotten, left out, wanting attention. Maybe they outright feel snubbed or slighted for whatever reason. What’s an attention-seeking daemon to do? Why, hide your things, of course! If you’re finding that a lot of weird activity is happening within your home or surroundings at any given point in time, it might be helpful to do a divination to determine the identity or type of spirit or just go for broke and leave an offering for the local spirits in whatever form or forms they may be in.
It’s good to save the outright banishing rituals for entities of malicious or evil intent, and cases like this where they just simply happen to live near you instead give them courtesy and respect. Be kind to your neighbors, you never know when they too might decide to have a party or otherwise remember you. Allies are just as good to have as are friends.
This blog post is part of a blog hop. Feel free to check out the rest of the posts in this theme when you’re done with this one. 🙂
This was a blog post I was going to make before the total proverbial shit hit the fan and I had to make a post about that instead. What I am about to discuss is a case of “no one’s wrong, it’s just a matter of different perspectives and words getting in the way of understanding.” It’s a kinder, gentler post, but no less important. So without further adieu….
I posted a link to a blog a week or so ago entitled Magick, Money, & Bullshit: Do the F**cking Work. Literally my only complaint about this post was the need to censor an excellent word such as “fucking”, but I digress. One of the best parts about it was this section here: “Magick isn’t something you do. Magick is something YOU ARE. How you think. How you live. How you love. How you behave all affect any magickal working you perform.”
When I posted this to Facebook, I was surprised at a few who didn’t seem to understand the spirit of what was being said, namely “Magick isn’t something you do. Magick is something you are.” One felt the need to point out that magic(k) is a practice while another voiced the idea that once you hit Adepthood, magical practice is something you do less often out of pursuit of other things. Neither of these statements are “wrong”; they just weren’t the point that I felt the deep need to express and celebrate. I also fell short of being able to explain it on Facebook, as the medium really isn’t sufficient for this sort of discussion. Expressing why magic is who you are and not just what you do requires more than it provides.
Magic is a mindset. It’s a mentality. There is no separation between your “mundane” life and your “magical” life, and when you live out your life in a way that expresses that, all of the barriers towards manifestation come tumbling down. It’s not just something you do when you’re lighting that candle, casting that spell, doing that working, this invocation, robing up and entering your temple room, or spending all of your hard earned money over at Wolf & Goat.
Yes Virginia, you ARE magic. This is why it’s so important to take care of yourself, get your physical needs met, and don’t neglect any part of your life. If there’s an area where you’re struggling to manifest something take a good look at why. Maybe it’s your approach, maybe it’s something you haven’t quite digested yet, or maybe you’ve been treating it as something you’re not yet worthy of. Maybe you’ve only done it when you desperately needed to as opposed to making it something you do on a regular basis, like brushing your teeth. Perhaps it’s a fear of failure o the belief that magic is somehow limited to certain things. It’s time to put all of that away and set aside the notion that you’re not deserving. Yes, you ARE worthy. You don’t need to feel guilty or make excuses as to why you can’t do money/job/career magic or any sort of magic; you are the vessel from which the power of the gods flow. You are a magical being, and with every step you take to perfect both the person whom you are and what you put forth into the world, you can make the world around you more in touch with the very essence of magic.
I’ve always found that magicians who quote the statement “As above, so below” and yet draw lines in the sand on their spiritual/personal and “mundane” lives to be demonstrating a sad cognitive dissonance. Repeat after me: it’s all the same. There are no lines, no boundaries, no differences between them. You cannot keep your altars tidy and not extend that into the rest of your life, and while doing one can help to improve the other it’s not enough. Take action, get it done.
One of my magical teachers once said to me that magic is about making a connection. And it’s true. We need to make connections between all of the bits of our lives, and if it’s the physical world we’re struggling with we cannot continue to divorce ourselves from it. Ultimately it’s about striving for what is termed in my faith as areté: excellence in all things and living up to one’s full potential.
Don’t just do magic, be magic.
I’m tackling this as a blog post because it needs to be said, someone needs to say it who does not identify as a male given the gendered nature of some of what has been said, and so it might as well be me. Given the subject matter I want to make a few disclaimers utterly crystal clear before I begin so that there is no misunderstanding:
A particular blog post has been making the rounds in the occult communities entitled Forging the body of a witch. While I agree with a number of points this post attempted to make, there are a few things in it which are decidedly problematic. I won’t get into the health points as they’ve been covered to death elsewhere, but I’d like to discuss one which was covered towards the end, namely that women need to submit in a ritual BDSM setting in order to have any power as a witch. To be fair Grey adds the disclaimer that “The kind of witchcraft (he) discuss(es) can be used as an excuse for abuse. For power over the aspirant rather than liberation. For sexual exploitation rather than liberation. That does not make the techniques anathema.”
No, it does not. But let me vehemently disagree on the following points:
The thing is this: you can add all of the disclaimers to the post that you want, but the implications are clear, and they are fairly disturbing. Of course sex can be abused. Of course BDSM can be done by people looking to abuse. Hells, I myself was raped by a “dom” and can speak volumes about that alone. But as always, I’m not saying that BDSM is abuse or that sex or sex magic is bad. What I am saying is that implying that they are expected, necessary, or required is bad, and does open the door wide open for abuse no matter what you may claim.
And do I really need to get into why a man suggesting a woman must submit, be sexual and submissive in order to fulfill his requirements of what he considers to be a witch is a serious problem? I’ll leave this comment here, no more need be said.
Then there’s the issue of sexuality. As someone who is on the asexual spectrum, I have no need nor desire to be sexual. Nor should anyone feel that it is required or a requirement of being a witch. Even if someone who identifies as pansexual was engaged in witchcraft or any sort of ritual or initiation, their consensual participation in such acts of sex or BDSM should not be assumed or required either. Having a ritual scourge, symbolic or otherwise is one thing, but what was described in this blog post was something else entirely. If people want to have such things in their rites, fine. Do we really need it? No. Can we do just fine without it? Yes. Am I still a witch if I don’t? Absolutely.
I had to deal recently within my own communities a few months back with a similar argument due to a very problematic situation which arose, and it became clear that there were people who felt that if you attended the ritual that you were open to being sexual and you were consenting to this. Had these ideas been clearly communicated and in advance, this would not have been a problem. The problem which arose was that no communication occurred, consent was just assumed. This presumptuous attitude which denies the opportunity to consent and consent knowingly needs to be discussed and at great length, and to ignore it is abuse.
Ultimately this is what makes Grey’s post problematic: the implication that we must all have sex magic and BDSM in our rites to be witches or otherwise have power. I don’t need to be beaten, tied up, or whipped in order to be a witch or have power. I don’t need to have sex or be sexual either, and I find it incredibly disturbing that this is even a subject for debate. It’s not just a matter of “safe spaces”; it’s a matter of not supporting what has been described elsewhere quite accurately as rape culture. Consent should never be required or assumed; it should be given freely, with perfect love and perfect trust.
Without that, your magic is in vain, and you have no right to call yourself a proper person let alone a witch.
In one of my most recent posts, I covered how magic is about creating connections between you and the force you’re invoking. And in all honesty that covers more or less some of the science and theory behind how to get this stuff to work, but it leaves one question:
But how do you DO magic? I mean, really?
At some point people may realize that it doesn’t matter what a book says or how you do a particular ritual, there’s some underlying actual juice that’s critical to making it all happen. And that all comes from the magician/witch. Otherwise you’re just blindly waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care, except that you most likely do. You really, genuinely care, your hands are in the air, but you can’t quite get that connection going. This could be you trying out divination, throwing out random cards from a tarot deck and reading a book on what they mean, and it’s still not happening. You can have the so-called right tools, be doing things during the correct astrological timing, but nothing’s jelling. Sure, there’s something to “faking it until you make it” but the reality is that unless you figure out how to flip that switch within you and get your shit flowing, it’s not going to.
Some may be reading this and concluding that maybe this “juice” can be learned, or maybe you’re just born with it–perhaps both. Others may say some have more talent in one arena that another–and that’s certainly the case. Not everyone was cut out to perform divination; some may find that their precognitive skills are nada. On the other hand you may be someone whose psychic skills are so keen they terrify you, but good luck doing anything more than accidentally making water goblets explode. Then there are those of us who are natural mediums, but that could be a whole other blog post entirely.
And here comes the potential controversy of this blog post: yes, I’m afraid it’s true, not everyone is cut out to be a magician or a witch. This shit is just plain and simple not for everyone, and merely imagining stuff in your head and going through hours of ritual isn’t necessarily going to work let alone have you actually doing magic. However, odds are very likely if you’ve been drawn to this stuff for some time now and SOME things have happened to you, you probably qualify and possess that necessary quality that allows you to make this stuff happen. It’s just a matter of figuring out what helps you to flip that switch and get everything flowing. Or maybe the switch is flipped but sometimes get stuck halfway, or on vs off, or the channels just need cleaning.
Some of us are very, very lucky and have found themselves doing stuff since their childhood or otherwise got involved relatively early enough in life. They are naturals, and maybe later in life–perhaps when they hit puberty–they started reading a few books and experimenting, and voila! Here they are today. And I say with absolutely no ego whatsoever that yes, I am one of those lucky people. There are drawbacks to being one of those sorts, however, and one of those drawbacks is figuring out how to teach people who want to either learn new skills or refine old ones precisely how to do it. I am hoping that by just talking about my own experiences I can help others make sense out of theirs, and provide them with insights on how to make it “click”. People like myself who have been doing this for a while can easily take how they do things for granted, and it can cripple not just their attempts at communicating it with others, but can make reconnecting a serious challenge if you’re forced out of it due to extreme stress or trauma. And sadly I have been there, done that, and it was terrible beyond any words I can use. But in the process of clawing my way out I learned a lot about how this stuff works for me.
I have found–at least for myself–that much of this stuff is subconscious. Some of the most amazing, fantastic stuff I’ve ever done was when I wasn’t very aware of what I was doing, if at all. I was spaced out, tipsy, not paying attention–in other words, in an altered state of consciousness. Figuring out how to harness that and get it in alignment with your will is half the battle. This is why some will say that yes, you need to learn how to meditate, you need to do personal development, perhaps learn self-hypnosis or NLP, and hells yeah you need to figure your shit out AND this shit called magic. In short, if you can figure out how to drop in and out of altered states at will and know your mind well enough to figure out the right “note” to hit that’s the same frequency as what you’re trying to accomplish, this will help you out a lot.
If this is something which you know you’re not good at, don’t worry–I know of a lot of longtime magicians and witches who struggle with this and find it difficult to get into the right state, easy to get jostled out of it, and find it that much harder to get back into. It’s something I have to learn to be mindful of when I do group ritual with folks as I found out that not everyone can dip in and out like I can out of so-called “ritual mindset” with ease, and I could potentially say or do something not ritual related that will jostle someone out of theirs. And if they can’t get back in as easily and as quickly as I can, I just screwed them up and threw them off track. Oops. I had to learn this the hard way, by pissing off other people I was doing ritual with. 😀 If you’re entirely solitary, so much the better. But I’ve found doing magic with others to be a fascinating and educational experience in how others work and perceive things.
For starters, so much of magic and psychic work is figuring how you sense the world around you and what your primary or strongest senses are. Some people are more visual, others auditory, then there’s more of a sensory “feeling” experience. It may not even be a physical, bodily sensation but some other sense of “feeling” inside of you, running through you. Maybe the only way you can discuss it is through analogies to other things, whether it be temperature, emotions, experiences. It may be that people who come here from having had psychic experiences and know how to sense and feel energy have it made while the rest have to figure out how to have that. It also may be that it’s just easiest to learn that when you’re younger and your brain isn’t so formed, rigid, and solid. If your inner child is either suffering, dead, or in a coma, best of luck to you–you’ll probably struggle and I bet you are already. But that’s the part of you that remembers another way of thinking before other patterns and programming seeped in, and there’s real scientific data behind hypnotizing someone back to a particular age and certain things that were true then come back. Get back there any way you can, and regain that fluidity of consciousness. If you’re a cynical bastard you can stay a cynical bastard if you want, but you’ll need to rein that in and become more flexible if you want to become any better at this shit. It doesn’t mean embracing rainbows, tie dye, and Birkenstocks, but it DOES mean embracing a wider reality out there and not limiting yourself or the possibilities in it. If you are already feeling frustrated reading this, start now, start today, work on getting it done. Find out why that attitude is there to begin with and get rid of it. If it requires healing, get that healing going. And know that it’s okay if you don’t get it all done in one day, week, or year.
If you know how you generally perceive the world, you’re in luck: you’ll know if you are more visual, more sensory “feeling”, etc.: “I see you”. “I feel you”, “I hear you”. Maybe you have some combination of a few, or maybe you know for a fact that some things you just struggle with, like visualization. In that instance, find out if visualizing concepts vs a literal image work better for you. If you want to visualize wavy lines or an ocean but can’t, think about how oceans and water feel, how they make you feel, and what sorts of sensations those conjure up and use that as a template. I did this technique while running an online Zener test on myself to see how it would rate my ESP skills, and it improved my score significantly. While I am not terrible at visualization and do a pretty good job, I do much better feeling/sensing things and analyzing the input that way. It’s far more abstract but that just may be how my mind works.
Working all of the elements in a particular ritual with various correspondences and symbols operates much like the example above but in the reverse order. Instead of having a particular thing and getting a whole bunch of feelings, symbols, and imagery on it, you’re instead taking those feelings, symbols, and imagery to conjure the thing. And there you have it, my best attempt to describe how I “do” magic.
Of course the reality is that you’re not “doing” magic as much as being magic. And it’s why it takes a lot of discipline, practice, sweat, and tears. While this blog post may not necessarily describe everyone’s experience, maybe it’ll help someone out there to make that own connection to theirs or fine tune it–or start a very interesting discussion on how all of this works “under the hood”.
When it comes to magic as well as personal alchemy, I’ve discovered two things about being ready:
#1 is the one I tend to be the most familiar with, and what I typically tell people who are wondering when they need to begin the next phase in their spiritual and alchemical development is basically when they’re feeling comfortable. Like, maybe TOO comfortable. Perhaps they’re even dragging their feet and feeling like the water is just fine so why get out?
But then there’s that second one. I see it all the time. People win the lottery but are unable to handle it, aren’t prepared to deal with it, and lose it all and then some. People who do job spells, money spells, love spells, and are totally unable to deal with the consequences that follow because they haven’t done the personal development and growth necessary to be able to deal with that next stage. And when your magic is good and that spell is all well and awesome, you could very well lose any sense of safety net which prevents you from getting in over your head.
Take money magic, for instance. If you’re convinced that rich people are conniving and that it’s impossible to be both a good, spiritual person and have wealth, that’ll mess you up royally. You’re already standing in your own way and have issues with the very thing you’re trying to draw into your life. And like the biggest and worst enemy you already are for yourself, you’ll commit self-sabotage. If you struggle with feelings of self-doubt, lack of “worthiness”, and wonder who you think you are to be doing such things when xyz people are poor and hungry, you’ll never get anywhere. Instead, think of the people who got rich and did good things with it. JK Rowling was homeless and poor before she wrote the Harry Potter series, and she was a billionaire–up until the point where she gave away so much to charity she was downgraded to a millionaire instead.
You don’t need to have heroes to lift you up, but finding good examples of people who are living the sort of life you want to live often helps. If you can’t find any, think up one and write it down in every detail the sort of people you want to become should your magic work. Visualize it. If you find that you need to develop certain traits in order to get there, work on it. Find out where you’re lacking and get on it.
Otherwise, you’ll get the job and later the promotion of your dreams and find yourself in over your head, worrying about whether or not you’re really qualified, and ultimately sink yourself. You’ll meet your soulmate but find that you’re getting in the way of both yourself and the relationship.
It’s okay to struggle and it’s okay to have doubts. Just don’t commit the ultimate self-betrayal by giving into them and not letting yourself live the life you richly deserve to have.
If you’re sick of the draconian nonsense that Facebook has to offer, we’ve gone retro and now have a bunch of esoteric and occult topics over at the Great Work forum messageboard:
All of the boards are locked down to registered members only, so it’s great for more private, closed discussion of various topics.
As many of you know, I’m a student of Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery class, which I very, very highly recommend. Sometimes we do community blog hops where many of us write about the same topic. This month, I’m hosting and we’re writing about “Magical Links”. You can see a COMPLETE LIST of all the blogs and choose which to read, or travel through them in order. You’ll find a link to the next blog (Scarlet Grace’s) at the bottom of this post.
One of my magical teachers and longtime friends once said to me that magic is about making a connection, and he’s absolutely right. People who get into the “Nothing is at rest, everything vibrates” principle will also argue that it’s about vibrating at the same frequency of whatever you’re trying to attract or reach out to. Heck, sounds a lot like some of the Law of Attraction folk so I’ll stick that perspective in there too.
So what does that mean? What is creating a connection or a link all about in magic? My perspective of it is this: it’s about speaking the right language as to be understood, and programming your ritual in such a way that you’re able to communicate with whatever force or intelligence exists on the other end. Ceremonial magicians can go on for hours about correspondences; Crowley’s 777 is evidence of that alone and that’s one of a few texts purely on that subject. You pick what makes sense, and you leave out what doesn’t, and the end result is a coherent recipe upon which to lay your ritual foundations and even the timing of the ritual itself.
Which makes people’s objections in the pagan and polytheist communities about “plug and play” with deities of different cultural backgrounds into a ritual that had nothing to do with their culture make all that much more sense. I’m not going to use a Hellenic ritual to make an offering to Papa Legba, and it makes no sense to call on Apollo in an Irish Druidic rite–even more so if these were deities and daemons I’ve not had any or much contact with, and hence have no established personal connections to already. If I wanted to phone the French ambassador, I am not going to address him in Japanese or call him by names other than his preferred given name and titles. It’s not just a matter of being understood; it’s also a matter of respect.
The Chaldean Oracles warn not to “change the foreign words of evocation” for they contain within them a sacred power, and that those names are also sacred. While I’ve heard all sorts of reasoning ranging from respecting the original culture and maintaining purity to merely “words have power”, I’ll also argue the more practical “This is the best way to establish a connection or link to the entity or force you are calling upon”.
The ritual or magical act itself for me is part communication, part computer program, or perhaps more accurately “a program which allows me to communicate with whatever force or entity is involved in this operation”. On the whole, I think of magic as my ongoing connection and communication with an underlying part of reality which can talk back and respond to my ideas and desires. It’s a respectful, meaningful dialogue. In comparison with what I am communicating I am clearly on the level of a two year old, still struggling with basic sentence structures and not really getting a whole lot yet while trying to figure out this weird thing called “reality”. I may never get there, and my attempts at doing so may boil down to me poking at it with a stick, but if I find that certain types of pokes get certain results, then that’s progress I can repeat.
Read the previous blog hop on magical links here: http://www.inominandum.com/blog/missing-links-and-spell-failure/
Head to the next blog hop on magical links here: http://unseenseraph.com/strategic-sorcery-blog-hop-magickal-links
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:
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: email@example.com