Yesterday I wrote about making magic part of the structure of your life by doing magic regularly. Not doing spiritual exercises, or yoga, or meditation, but actual magic, the work of making change in the world through the application of occult forces. In the case of yesterday's post I specifically was referencing work with spirits. You can do other magic routinely too, and I think whether we're talking about work with spirits, or ritual kabbalistic magic, or folk magic or whatever systems we might approach, those same problems I mentioned yesterday, the same excuses, the same walls we put up to hinder ourselves will apply regardless of what system we're working.
So today I want to suggest a few ways to make it easier to actually do the work.
Yesterday's theme was consistency.
If you're committed to doing the work regularly the work gets easier.
Today we're going to talk about planning and preparation.
One of the best places to start is with a calendar, and with phone apps. A desk calendar is probably the way to go because it will have plenty of space to make notes. On my phone I have an app called “Reaganium” which calculates planetary hours. You can use a calendar view to project out days. So you can write out the planetary hours on your desk calendar so you have them in advance. I have another one called “Astro Charts” which runs astrological charts, breaks down tables of aspects and positions, and lets you advance or move back the date or time for the chart at various increments. So you can look for astrological positions and elections and mark them on your calendar so you know when interesting magical moments might come up. I have an app called “Catholic Saints” which isn't as great, but it gives a list of Catholic saints and feast days for each day. Hellenion has a calendar on their website which lists all of their interpretations of when the Greek Pagan holidays are, which can be useful for noting festivals of the dead, and observances for Hekate and the Agathodaimon.
Whatever things you might need to take into account for observances there is a way to look them up somewhere. So rather than wait until you see something on Facebook and think “oh shit I missed it” or “I don't have time to prepare for that!” you can have the whole month planned out.
Maybe there is nothing that month you'll want to observe, but there might be interesting things you wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
Another thing that will be helpful is a book.
I know I frequently pull out a handful of books when I want to put together some ritual. I think of prayers, incantations, conjurations, invocations, and other elements which are in various sources and sometimes I have to keep books upon to various pages, which is awkward. Other times I type up the script for the ritual I want and print it. Even if I'm working from a single text often the ritual components aren't lined up conveniently as a ritual script and so I have to type up and arrange them.
So if I haven't preplanned my ritual I might not feel like I have time to put it together in a last minute circumstance. Or if my printer has a hiccup then that can make printing a script difficult or can slow things down to the point of being inconvenient.
So there are two solutions to these problems.
The first one is to memorize various prayers and orations which you will use frequently and know your ritual components enough that you don't need a script. This may or may not be ideal. Some magicians think this is the way to go, but most evidence suggests that magicians worked from books historically. There are both magical and practical reasons for working from a written source.
So if you want a written source, keep a ritual book. Have a book where you've written down your various component parts, your orations and your prayers. Then you have a single source to go through instead of various books, and you don't have to write a ritual, you just have to use the pieces you keep assembled. You can even include in it set complete ritual scripts instead of just components. Having some stuff memorized is good too, and there are instances where working from memory of spontaneously will make sense, but having your set rituals, working methods, and components already on paper will make your magic a lot more plug and play.
Boxes and tchotchkes. I keep “sorcery boxes” or boxes that have herbs, iron nails, sachet bags, loadstones, and various other things I might need to use. So I can just pull out a box and grab the things I want. I have a plastic stacker of drawers for candles and I order colored candles in bulk sets so I can just reach in and get whatever candles I need. Another drawer has labeled glass candles, another has pillars and tea lights. Keeping your stuff organized and keeping a well stocked supply means you don't have to worry about digging out components or running to the store to get supplies.
A way to step that part of the game up would be boxes based on categories. So a jupiter box...not like a charmed box that is itself a Jupiter working, but a storage box filled with Jupiter correspondences, or one for things related to the element of water, or ones for things related to a particular spirit, or a box for love magic. However you group things in your mind magically, organize your stuff based on that. That way when you decide to make a sweetening jar at 6:45am before you head to work you don't have the excuse “well I don't know what correspondences I have, and I won't have time to look through everything and select stuff” because your stuff is already selected and grouped and handy.
You can go further by having blanks for talismans ready to go, or even having pre-etched or pre-drawn talismans and sigils on hand so that you just have to charge or consecrate them or activate them and then use them in your ritual or your work.
The last thing is space. One big problem people run into is not having a set ritual space. I've had lots of beginning magicians talk to me about needing to work around family or roommate schedules, or not having a room dedicated to magic so they aren't sure where to practice. Or their current options for where to practice don't allow them to make a huge set up. Or even if they have space the idea of setting stuff up might seem time consuming or daunting for people with not a lot of time and who are trying to squeeze out their last waking bits of energy to do something.
You usually don't need a huge set up.
So there are a couple ways to work this. The two I'm going to suggest, I use both of them.
One, having permanently set altars. You don't necessarily need a permanently set ritual room, but having an altar makes it a lot easier. I have an ancestor altar permanently set up in my dining room. It's right there in the open so it's easy to work with it often. I feel it nagging me...I mean calling to me when I don't work with it often enough.
I also have an altar from when I tried to return to druid work a few years ago, and one from some work I did with a particular God about two years ago, and I have one for spirit work. I keep a small shelf on a little bookshelf for devotional stuff for a God that has helped me several times. Finding places where you can set stuff up permanently so you can just walk up and use it makes things so much easier and so much faster. It does mean you need to set time to tend to the altar though.
Say you don't have a set approach you want to work with all the time, or you can't always leave an altar set up. Use altar tops. You can get a piece of wood, or canvas board and paint or etch your table of practice, or altar design into it. You can keep a handful of these for various systems. Wrap them in cloth when not using them, and when you need them pull them out and set them on top of a table. Folding TV tables work well for this because they're small enough that you can easily make an altar top that will fully cover the table.
So imagine you're looking to do some prosperity work. Thursday comes, you get home from work, you think to yourself “I really need to call upon Sachiel and consecrate a Jupiter talisman, maybe make a mojo bag too. Ugh, but I have to get dinner made and I need to finish prepping for tomorrow's meeting.” So you start cooking dinner, and then you look up the sunrise and sunset time, draw your planetary hour chart and you see that the planetary hour for Jupiter started just after you got home, and the next one isn't til the middle of the night, so now you'll have to get up or miss it. You aren't sure if you have the right incense so you pull out 777 and look and decide you could run to the witch shop after dinner, but it's 30 minutes away so that isn't convenient. You open the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy and see a prayer for Thursday you could use, but there is no ritual for Thursday that you can just read from. So you decide you'll just light a candle and hope some hopes before you prepare for your meeting and then go to bed.
Now...successful you, a well prepared magician who conjures spirits at least a few times a month and has a good relationship with his ancestors and gate keepers and local land spirits comes home from work and looks at the calendar. You see the needed planetary hour will begin in a half hour and you note that Jupiter is in a good aspect based on other notes you made. You go to your bookshelf and pull out your Jupiter box, you grab an appropriate oil blend from the box and go take a quick shower and anoint yourself with Jupiter oil while reciting the orphic hymn to Jupiter. You go to your sorcery box and pull out a sachet bag, and then pull some items to fill the bag from your Jupiter box, along with some incense and Sachiel's seal. You put on your robe and call upon Amacor and his crew, and you open up your ritual book to your Thursday conjuration ritual. You take a quick detour outside to leave some corn and butter for the nature spirits and tell them what you're about to do, and upon coming inside you pour a little whiskey as you knock on your ancestor altar and let them know what's up. Then you go to your spirit altar and begin about 10 minutes after the planetary hour has started. Thirty minutes later you're done, and now it's time to order pizza and watch Jessica Jones on Netflix. After you pay the pizza delivery guy you feel the new Jupiter mojo bag in your pocket next to your wallet and you smile.
It can be hard to keep up with your magic amid the rest of life. So make it easy for yourself. Be the magician in the second scenario.