Hello, I want my book. Bonjour, je veux mon livre.
If I have one regret about my magickal career: I didn’t start journaling sooner, and didn’t really know what I was doing with my journal for the first few years. The earliest magickal diary of mine that I can find is from 2006. I’m sure I kept records earlier than that, but maybe not. If not it boggles me that I waited so long to start. I know I recorded individual events from earlier on, but nothing complete.Recently I’ve been rereading my magickal diaries as part of climbing trees for apples instead of grabbing fallen ones from about the field (Dear HGA: Be a grown-up spirit and use your words). What I have found has been so very insightful, and surprising, and it reminds me, this is one of the many reasons to keep journals.
I found conversations with gods and spirits I had forgotten, sometimes their lessons had been integrated into my life and my Work, other times I reread what they told me, and realize eight years later I’m still making the same mistakes because I forgot and moved on.
Some things surprise me, like dreams of Tubal-Qayin eight years ago, when I wasn’t even working on that Path yet, or patterns/symbols/figures showing up long before they became consciously part of my life. (Oh ye gods, so many peacocks…) Or a Vision of Mother giving me Kalagni, years before I picked it up as a pseudonym, and I had forgotten.
I found techniques I’ve forgotten, but records show were effective.
Perhaps more importantly I’ve found things that were ineffective, or areas I’ve always had difficulty with. Money magick, I’ve had a knack for shifting things to get what I need when needed. Sex and romance magick, excellent results. Job magick on the other has routinely been hit-or-miss, with more on the miss side. I find that interesting, and while I don’t know the reason (bad strategies, money is more open-ended, there just aren’t enough jobs and magick only does so much, whatever) it’s something for me to consider. It’s also something I can take solace in as I’m job hunting right now, and even with magick my results have been less than encouraging.
This is something I talked to a friend about recently though. He’s more of the fly by the seat of his pants energy focused magickian, so journal keeping seems alien to him. In the time I’ve known him I’ve seen him pull a few rabbits out of his hat, I’ve also seen a few situations that have me feeling like Rocky the Squirrel. The thing is, his opinion is “I don’t need to record my stuff, I want, I work, I get what I want.” He completely glazes over his failures. He might not be doing it on purpose or in an ingenuous way. Think of intuition, if you suddenly think of someone, and run into them, why that’s something you’ll note and remember, but if you think of them and don’t run into them, then you forget the next day. You’re not trying to be dishonest about your intuition, it’s just you’re not going to remember a non-event generally.Magickal failures, unless they’re spectacular blow outs (like frying your first laptop, flooding your basement…twice), are not going to be remembered as easily as the successes. Not because we try to forget, but when cause doesn’t have an effect our mind doesn’t link the event (magick working) and the non-event (failure) and so we forget all about it. Obviously we shouldn’t dwell on our failures, but we really should be aware of them. It teaches us where our magick is weakest, be it a realm of magick (like Martial magick or job work or healing) or if it is a specific technique (scrying or invocation) and this opens up two options. It lets us see where we need to improve or perhaps shift things around to get them to work, or maybe it tells us not to focus somewhere and that be the area we ask for help in. It’s come up before, but not every occultist can or will be good at everything, and while I think we should work on some degree of proficiency, we should also know when it’s better to turn to someone more skilled than we are.
Your journal doesn’t have to be supercomplicated, I had a period of six months were mine was, it wasn’t worth it, but make sure it’s complete. Record your dreams, record your practice, record anything out of the ordinary, if a ritual feels weak or weird or powerful, record your visions. More importantly though, don’t record and forget the magickal diary, come back to it. I reread my Abramelin journals every year just before my anniversary, and I love it, and now that I’ve reread all my journals for the last 8 years I have a lot to think on, and arguably I learned more from rereading them, then I’d learn from any other magickal text you’d give me.