days ago I had a Facebook memory pop up of sharing a post from Jason
Miller's blog two years ago, titled “ABC Always Be Conjuring.”
The post was a joke, he was parodying a speech from the Movie
Glengarry Glen Ross, you should read it (and Jason's blog in general)
if you haven't.
almost re-posted the memory, not because the post is funny (which it
is), but because the basic sentiment is true and useful...and is one
I think people, myself included, don't always get or follow through
speech was originally a hard push for super aggressive sales people,
the parody sets it up as an inspirational redress of nascent
sorcerers calling them to a life of constant committed conjuring and
spirit work. On the surface it's goofy, it's a fun joke, but, the
basic message “always be conjuring” can actually inspire a useful
isn't a band-aid, it's not a quick fix or a cure all. Magic, at it's
core, is based on understanding fundamental elements of the
structures behind existence and how we use those to accomplish the
changes we desire. With that in mind shouldn't magic be part of the
structure of our lives? Doing a little magic here or there, or even
having a developed magical practice but only using it when we need to
solve magic issues is not making it part of the structure of our
lives. Using it as a fail safe or last effort is making it an
accessory that we hang on the scaffolding of our personal structures.
Even if we're not saving it for dire situations, if we're putting it
on a pedestal and not fluidly weaving it into what we do, and who we
are, then it's still just something that decorates us rather than
something which supports us.
magic takes time and effort. Sometimes we don't want to put in that
time and effort. Sometimes we've spent the day at work, we've dealt
with whatever our evening tasks are – whether it's a second job,
school, a family, an activity, and we're just tired. Or maybe we
don't have the stuff we need and won't be ready in the right hour. Or
we don't have a temple space and our room is a mess and we don't feel
magical. Maybe, tonight you have a headache or need to wash your
hair. Maybe we can come up with a dozen or so reasons not to do
maybe we need something, and it's important and...we still don't do
magic. We're not in the habit. There are probably other solutions.
It's not something we need to use magic for anyway. We're not sure
which method would be best.
maybe we need more stuff, maybe the situation gets more difficult,
and now magic makes a lot more sense. Maybe we need a solution and
magic seems like the only way to make a solution tenable.
be in that situation? It doesn't just make magic more difficult
because the goal is more difficult, it leaves you in the wrong mental
state to even approach problem solving, let alone magical problem
solving. You're definitely not in a mental state where it's going to
be easy to approach magic. And all those things you've taught
yourself to use to avoid magic are still going to be there on top of
whatever other stress you have.
you're a magician, do magic. Not just meditation, not just spiritual
maintenance, or lesser banishing rituals or whatever daily or weekly
exercises you might have. Most of that isn't magic. Do magic.
myself have this problem. When I was really young and mostly doing
witchcraft and NeoPagan magic I used magic all the time for stuff. As
an older teenager into young adult years this continued. But
eventually I kind of got this idea that you need to measure yourself
against things you don't affect by magic, and that sometimes you
should knuckle down and suffer through things without magic to build
character. Neither idea really makes sense. What you create with
magic is as real as what you create with anything else. Magic is, in
a way, the same as any other effort. Don't make it so special that
specialness becomes a reason not to do it.
that I'm a full grown adult the problem is less that magic is too
special to use, or that the reality touched by magic is different
from reality untouched by magic. It's that I go to work for 8 hours,
get about an hour to have dinner, and then coach a sport for five
hours during which much of my time is spent running around and
drilling sword techniques into middle and high school boys and then
when they're done I get to do it again with college kids until I'm
sweaty gross and tired when I get home at midnight.
sure a lot of you have some sort of similar experience...just...with
fewer swords, maybe less sweat. More likely fixing dinner for your
kids and putting them to bed, after trying to figure out how to do
homework in subjects you haven't looked at since you were their age,
or working a second job, or whatever.
if you're reading my blog I'm assuming magic is something that's
important to you, or that calls to you. I assume you either consider
yourself a magician or you want to be a magician. So you need to do
magic, and like I said before, magic, not magical aerobics.
spirits regularly, work with them.
work with my ancestors at least weekly, often more than once a week.
I don't have a regular schedule for conjurations though. Recently
when I was out to dinner with the Brodepti we all talked about how we
don't do magic much – but all of us had conjured a spirit for
something within the preceding week. In our minds if we weren't back
in our Abramelin retreat schedules with hours of prayer and ritual a
day we weren't doing enough magic. Maybe we aren't, but maybe you
don't need to always be on that kind of schedule. You won't always be
conjuring...but, conjure often, and conjure even when you don't need
should use your routine prayers as meditations. This helps you learn
them but also helps draw the forces they call into your life. Each
day finding a time to say the planetary prayer for the day, or the
orphic hymn, or a prayer associated with a god or spirit you work
with is a useful technique. This shouldn't be where it stops though.
you know them and they know you it's easier to call them and easier
to work with them. If you work with one a lot ask it to give you a
familiar spirit, or a special sign and name by which to easily call
these days talks about building a relationship with the spirits. You
can't do this if you only call spirits when you need something.
said, only give them something when you're asking for something.
Don't give them offerings with pronouncements of your loyalty and
dedication and how you're ready to honor them. Most spirits we're
calling in magic aren't gods, and acting like they are can skew the
relationship especially when you eventually really need something.
to get to know them is still asking for something in return for your
through the spirits of the planets, or the elementals, call your
ancestors, introduce yourself to your backyard's nature spirits, see
if your house has a household spirit, or ask the local spirits to
help you attract one. Call on these spirits and ask them to teach you
about them, the things they do, the things that interest them and the
ways in which they work with the things that interest them.
a rapport. Get to know them, get them to know you.
them to help in general ways with your life.
you find small specific things that maybe don't seem like they need
magic, ask for help with those things. When you want something that
maybe doesn't need magic, ask for it.
a structure in your life that is built with magic woven into it.
Build a structure where you have a working relationship with the
spirits you need and keep that relationship actively involved in
building your life.
good at adulting.
exercising and always eating junk food won't make you healthy. Never
paying bills won't help you have the things you need. Not finishing
tasks at work won't help you keep your job. Not doing magic won't
make magic part of your life.
you use magic to better things when things aren't bad, and to solve
problems while they're small it will help you avoid bigger problems
becoming potentially catastrophic ones. Same as mundane attention
will. If you want to do magic make it part of this process of
attention to the things you need in your life. If it's worked in
already then you need less ritual, you need less preparation, you
need less time, and the pathways the spirits need to manifest things
are already well trodden and established from your routine work with
something I'm not as good about as I should be. But it's something
I'm going to be more mindful of. Hopefully it's something you'll be
more mindful of too if you aren't already.