Monday, July 19, 2010

On Sharp Tools and Chadly's question.

Chadly, in my previous post asked me:

"I'm still trying to develop that, myself. Any ideas? For now I try visualization/meditation(like, once a month, when I remember to), and just trying to be aware of every moment."

and I thought it deserved a post of its own.

Everyone who responded (Gold stars all around!) had unique and telling magical fitness routines. When choosing what you want to do on the regular you really have to start planning who/what you want to BE. Keeping your tools sharp is pretty easy, to be honest. It just takes regularity, and an eye for how things should be going.

I do not sharpen my kitchen knives every day, but I do start to notice their lack of performance when they start getting dull. To a cook or Chef, your knives are your most basic tools; I think the only thing more basic would be fire. You need to keep those basics well honed, because they are your foundation. Without a good foundation, you can't build.

Most occult books on the market today don't teach the high holy inner court secrets of life the universe and everything. Most books teach basics. Foundational Tech. Skills and tools so you can build a serious practice. Now don't let the word "basics" fool you. Most basic practices for any tradition can be seriously seriously deep once you get in to them. The problem that many over eager seekers have is that they can't handle boredom. They want to jump strait to the "good stuff". At least that was my problem.

An example from my childhood: When I was a child I wanted to bake something from scratch, and my mom humored me. I knew nothing of baking or what actually went IN to cakes to make them tasty and delicious, nor would I listen to reason. I did not want my creativity stifled by narrow minds, Mom! Patiently my Mother sat back while I mixed this.. thing. it was some how gritty and gelatinous all at once, and very.. very green. There was not even a taste test, and I was not really upset seeing the horror that I had wrought in the bunt pan. It was tossed.

No one but children rush ahead in cooking, or martial arts, or driving.. That tendency is curbed there due to the negative repercussions of failure. Failing sucks, and once you fail you will do your damnedest to at least fail better next time.

First you need your goal.. kind of like Gordon's book game, actually! If you go around doing things willy nilly, it is a lot like reading things willy nilly. You may learn a lot, but very little will be practically applicable except for conversation. First decide what you want to BE, and then let that fill in what you DO.

Doing it the opposite way is what most people without plans do. Situations happen, and those situations shape you, but without a plan, or a direction you wish to be going in, you will be shaped against your will into something, and placed somewhere by the natural progression of Fate.. or the whims of Fortune. However you choose to see it. You are always being shaped, ground, molded, melted, built up, broken down, and rearranged. With a plan you can choose how that goes. The stimuli involved are really arbitrary once you know what you are going to use them for. Boons and Banes will both occur, but if you are set on using them to become a kinder, more open person, then that is what you will become. If you are set on them making your more cunning, and selfish, then that is what you will become.

For general magical practice, I would advise some sort of energy work, every day. I am more fond of Taoist methods like the microcosmic orbit and the inner smile, personally, over the middle pillar. I also enjoy Jason's Pillar and Sphere's exercise, as it uses both the currents from "Above" and "Below". Going both ways always seems much more natural to me, personally.

Some form of meditation, daily. I prefer formless methods, as I tend to be easily distracted, but the purpose should be to get to know your own mind, and see how it works. You can always deepen those practices. I've had v. good results with Christian Centering Prayer, and simply striving to get rid of discursive thought in all areas of my life where it is not called for. Goal being to have yappy, talky thoughts when it helps to, otherwise, just abide in silence. Get to know your own mind. If you can't learn to control that, you'll have a much harder time sorting out what you want to be.

Something somatic, or something movement based. Ritual, yoga, qigong, kitchen witchery all help to anchor your practice into the material world, and especially into your body. Kitchen witchery for example can teach you how to put magical practice into just about every single every day thing. Banish by sweeping, heal by cooking; it is a great way to learn how to focus intent through an action, any action. If you work with "The Magical Personality" it helps ground it into every day life.

Other than those vagueries, look through various legends, traditions, or comic books to find something to aspire to. Finding out who you want to BE, really flows naturally from who you really ARE.

"Who are you?" - The Vorlon Question
"What do you want?" -The Shadow Question
"Where are you going" -The Technomage Question

Be honest with yourself, Chadly, and you'll find the right practices to help you be who you want to become.


PhoenixAngel said...

This was the first time I read your blog. I was able to relate to your message. Thanks!

Karmaghna said...

Your "call to BE" certainly hit home with me. I am tired of being tossed about in my dinghy willy nilly by the ocean's waves. Unfortunately, I have been unable to choose a safe harbor after my ship sunk nine years ago. Maybe I will be a mage when I grow up.

Great post!

Chadly said...

Thanks for the advice! I'm going to look into your links.

I'm currently getting back into a bit of "energy ball" visualization, where I imagine a sphere of energy between my hands and play with it. I came into this in my early days of spellwork. I've been considering Tai Chi as well.