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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Funny Cause It's True

Three 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.

I 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 on.

The 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 view point.

Magic 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.

Doing 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 magic.

Then 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.

Then 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.

Why 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.

If 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.

I 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.

Now 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.

I'm 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.

But 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.

Call spirits regularly, work with them.

I 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 things.

You 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.

Call the spirits.

If 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 it.

Everyone these days talks about building a relationship with the spirits. You can't do this if you only call spirits when you need something.

That 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.

Asking to get to know them is still asking for something in return for your offering.

Run 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.

Build a rapport. Get to know them, get them to know you.

Ask them to help in general ways with your life.

When 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.

Work 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.

Be good at adulting.

Never 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.

If 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 them.

Always be conjuring.

It's 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.

If you enjoyed this please like us on Facebook and please share this post and our Facebook page. If you want to connect and you like spirits and talking with other magicians who work with spirits please join in with our Facebook group, Living Spirits. And since we were referencing Jason's blog today...go pick up a copy of his newest book The Elements of Spellcrafting.