Magick Routines: Rituals in the Lulls

2017/09/26

Routines can be hard, especially when we don’t see results. A lot of people stop exercise routines because their gains are too slow, or they don’t track their progress and thus don’t see what results that they are actually getting. Magick routines very much fall into this trap. I don’t know of any daily ritual that produces overwhelming fast and major results, so a lot of people let routines fall aside. I mean if these daily rituals did produce overwhelmingly fast and major results, every sorcerer would achieve apotheosis in a matter of weeks. Much like exercise though, results tend to be slow, steady, and subtle. Also much like exercise, in the long run you probably benefit more from small consistent routines than you do from sporadic intense bursts, though both definitely help and have benefits.

 

Another trouble with routines like these is that since the results aren’t necessarily obvious, when life gets tough they’re often the first thing to be dropped. If you’re low on time and energy, why would you commit it to meditation and magick that doesn’t seem make things different, when you could use that energy to try to keep the rest of your life afloat? Unfortunately the time when a regular routine would be the most helpful is exactly the times we’re likely to push them aside.

 

I’ve long advocated for daily routines, and I freely admit, I sometimes drop mine, and right now my daily practice isn’t what I’d like it to be. I know a lot of talented magick folk, I’m blessed with great friends who are sorcerers whose abilities I can respect and appreciate. Yet often when we get together (for we’re scattered across the North American landmass) or catch up in online discussions at least one of us will says “I feel a bit rusty, I haven’t really kept up with my stuff the last few months or the last year.”

 

Again, I’ve been there, I totally sympathize.  I have a physical form which doesn’t always want to cooperate with…well living. I have depression which when untreated or flaring up can really drain me of my ability to function. I have a rich and busy life between family, friends, lovers, and temple. I know it can be hard, but it really does sadden me when people feel that they’re rusty or falling behind because they do not keep up with a daily practice.

 

Over the last fourteen years, I would say I have probably kept up some form of daily practice for a good 95% of that time, even if it wasn’t as much as I wanted. So I would like to share some of the routine activities I’ve found helpful, especially for the times when you feel it is hard to keep up a practice. I would also love to hear from you my dear readers what routines you’ve found have helped these tough/rusty periods and what you’ve found easy to carry through these times.

 

It will surprise no one I’m sure that the first thing I will advocate is meditation, it’s almost like I’m a Buddhist monk. Specifically though meditations that are either centred on mindfulness, which I consider the best choice, or meditations that are connected to purification. Yet I admit meditation is one of the hardest things to keep up of my following suggestions. The results are slow and subtle, and it can be hard to convince yourself to prioritize even fifteen minutes a day to sit and “do nothing.” Yet I think more than anything else, this will help you through these periods because regular meditation helps you identify, and control your thought processes more than any other practice. Also I really do recommend 15 minutes. Various research has shown that meditation tends to hit “peak benefit” with a plateau around 10-12 minutes. Unless you’re going for a marathon session of over an hour, 15 minutes will get you what you need from the session. It’s really hard to deny we have 15 minutes to spare a day, especially when it’s so important to our wellbeing.

 

My second suggestion is simple “prayer.” Prayer can be vague, and some of us, myself included, might have baggage with the concept. Prayers don’t have to be long, they can even be a bit routine if that’s all you can manage, but they’re great for these times when it’s hard to do anything else. You can pray to a god if you like, to your HGA if you’ve made contact, to angels, spirits, ancestors, whatever. Prayer doesn’t necessarily have to be the begging image we often have of it, it can be prayers of thanks, or prayers of embodiment. For the last six years, I’m made daily prayers to the planetary angel of the day. It’s nothing major, just a request that I be able to embody their traits, be blessed with their nature. Pray to the angel of Mars for strength, vigor and vitality, the use of the sword of Mars. It doesn’t have to be much, but prayers are easy to do, can be done quickly, and help keep us connected with our spirits, and our spiritual side.

 

Another practice that I’ve found useful in times when it’s been hard to maintain a ritual is Resh, known as Liber Resh, or the Four Adorations. I prefer the Thelemite version because it has a long evocation/hymn at the end, but the version from Regardie is good too. The ritual is a fairly simple evocation and praise of the Sun in four different forms as four different gods at four times throughout the day. Ra as it rises, Ahathoor at noon, Tum at sunset, and Khepra at midnight. At first the idea of having to do a ritual four times a day seems counterintuitive to ritual work when it’s hard to maintain a practice, but it’s actually rather easy. The ritual requires no implements other than you, can be done anywhere (preferably outside or able to see the sun, but it’s really not required), and it’s rather short. The advantage to Resh is that it is time bound. The two most common excuses for not doing a practice is that you don’t have time, and you’ll do it later. But when you have to do the ritual at certain times during the day, you can’t say you’ll do it later. When it’s noon, it’s time to call on Ahathoor (Hathor), you can’t keep putting that off. So by having set times it’s actually easier to do in many ways. (Also while it ideally should be done at these times, I’ve found there is practical wiggle room. If the sun rises well before you wake up in the morning, then salute Ra when you wake up, if you go to bed before midnight, then salute Khepra before laying down, if you’re in a meeting or working at noon, do it as soon as you can. In university one year I had a three hour lecture from 1100-1400. Sometimes the prof would give a break around 1230, but if she was in the zone and barrelled through I’d just get up to go “to the washroom” and step outside, do the ritual, and come back.) The structure of Resh also really helps develop the habit of a magick routine. You get used to being able to stop your day for magick, making it easier to follow up Resh with another ritual.

 

My last suggestion, which is less than ideal, is hypnagogic rituals. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my hypnagogic rituals, I have three that are part of my nightly routine. I don’t think they’re ideal on their own, but if you have trouble making the time for anything else, at least doing something as you drift off the sleep is better than nothing. You can do lots of things while falling asleep, basic mindfulness meditation is great at that point, prayers can be good but make sure it’s to an entity who won’t be offended if you drift off midprayer. Other good recommendations are the elemental purification meditation, or any of the preliminaries of Dream Yoga. Again, these things work a lot better if you have more of a routine, but last ditch effort, if it’s all you’re willing to make time for, it’s a start.

 

What about you? When you are in those hard to practice periods when your magick routine just sucks what do you find helps you get through it, or get out of it, what practices survive that?

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Day-After-Wednesday Webshare: Police, Prayers, Angels

2012/02/02

Once upon a time Wednesdays were the best day of the week for me to do this. Two years in a row I didn’t have school Wednesday, and the symbolism was good. Now I work Wednesdays and either volunteer in the evening or go to temple, so webshares are less common and occasionally a bit backdated.

Also both law enforcement experts and astrological “experts” are not really giving this much credit the Chatham-Kent police department sorted people arrested by their Sun Signs. Of 1986 people arrested the largest group, with 203 people, was Aries, and the smallest, with 139, was Sagittarius. I agree with the assessment, it’s not so much that Sags don’t commit crimes, we’re just smart enough not to get caught, or talk our way out if we do.

Memoire of a Vipassana Retreat, it’s a nice read about the experience. I’ve done these retreats before, they’re awesome and intense. If I can swing it with summer school I hope to lock myself inside a silent cell with no control over my life for ten days over the summer.

Frater Barrabbas has done several posts on the Nephilim. This is the first post for those of us who like our angels a bit lusty and warlike.

The controversial figure of Dorje Shugden has his own graphic novel depicting his origins and trying to establish his legitimacy. I’m not expressing an opinion on him one way or the other (like a pregnant mother I’m just not qualified), just thought it was an interesting text, explains some of the basics of the history of Tibetan Buddhism and where Dorje Shugden fits in, though they leave out the current Dalai Lama denouncing him.

An article comparing some modes of Christian Prayer to Buddhist meditation. Oddly enough I came across this entry and another mention of the prayer form in the same day. I recently taught my very Christian mother anapana meditation (her request), maybe I should let her know the connection it can have to her prayers?

There is a growing movement of Pagan Atheism, specifically in recon schools, this is a great post about the ideas of magick in Paganism and that it is alive, and to keep it there. Also relevant in general to the problems in the magickal (oc)culture.

Sarah V. from Invocatio writes on Mysticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Note this is an undergrad paper, it’s not a quick easy read, it’s about 22 pages, but for those interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the angelic revelations from those sources it’s a worthwhile read.

Interesting reading on money gods, and if the old gods and their methods still count. I had wondered this in regards to the digitalization of money, but this if far beyond what I had considered. Great food for thought.

The Shem ha’mephorash have been swimming around lately. For an interesting guide on working with them check out this haven’t tried it yet. I use my own methods, but plan on doing so when I get some time.

Lupa writes about cultural appropriation for artists (and occultists in many ways) who work with dead animals. Really good and thoughtful. Cultural appropriate is overlooked a lot in the occult spheres (well in general) so it’s nice to see someone talking about it and rationally engaging some of the issues.

How to make a tincture youtube video. The set/series also includes oils and stuff like that. It’s meant for a more herbalist audience, but it’s good information for those of us who make use of magickal oils, philtres, potions, and whatever. (For now I’ll just stick with my vodka steeped in a human skull mixed with spices)

I love this type of stuff. Polyphanes made a Greek Sigil Wheel ala the Rosy Cross. I’ve Greekified the Qameas before, but I really like this, and I’m sure Polyphanes would love to hear about people’s results in experimenting with it. (Makes me wonder if the Mantra Wheel I recently made for my lama could be used in this fashion. Stacking letters would make it hard.)

Lastly this is the reason I’m posting my webshare now, rather than scheduling it for next Wednesday. The Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in exile has called for an international vigil for Tibet next Wednesday on the 8th. He has also essentially recommended cancelling Losar (New Year, February 22) because of the Chinese pattern of reacting non-favourably/violently to expressions of Tibetan culture.


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