In the Beginning
I have intended to participate in Andrieh Vittimus’ Do Magick Challenge for some time. My tendency to lose months at a time has resulted in me checking the web page days into each challenge and having missed the research period several times, now. Including this month, actually, but Jason and Andrieh made it clear on the podcast that one could join at any time this month. And so I did, posting my Statement of Intent on the second day of September and diving in head first. I set myself a number of goals: daily meditation; magickal art three days a week; conjuring the Spirit Bune; and, finally and most importantly, the rediscovery of my sense of magical play.
On the first week, I opened strong. On Day One, I sat down to meditate for the first time in weeks — it had been perhaps months, actually, since I last mediated outside the Esbat circle. On Day Two I performed Andrieh’s Baphomet ritual, and then confronted the reality that the mundane world changes at its own pace. On Day Three I made my first serious efforts at my goal to do more magical art, devoting hours to my Mask of Venus, then spent the evening in Esbat rituals attempting to rid myself of baleful influences. On Day Four I did more magical art — working on both the Venus Mask and a number of apotropaic jewelry designs — and made myself a charm against the evil eye. On Day Five I continued my mask-making and escalated my mediation practice. On Days Six and Seven I coasted, only meditating, but I began to notice changes in my dreaming. Additionally, on Day Seven Aradia began joining me for meditation.
Despite resting on my laurels the last two days, I feel like the first week was a success. I did a lot of magic and a lot of art. Coming from practically no meditation to meditating daily is an intense lifestyle change. The depression and anxiety that plagued me before beginning the project did not, of course, vanish immediately. In fact — an upside to journaling, I guess — they initially got worse.
In the second week, Aradia and I added planetary invocations to our daily work, immediately before nightly meditations. Days Eight, Nine, and Ten were slow days for most of my goals, but I continued to escalate my meditation times slowly and escalated the planetary magic from previous versions of our ritual by reading both the Thomas Tayor and Apostolos Athanassakis translations. On Day Eleven I returned to my masks, and did some divination to help me decide how I wished to approach the spirit Bune, and on Day Twelve I went through with that conjuration. Day Thirteen was meditation only and on Day Fourteen I strung myself a necklace for my Baphomet pendant but missed my daily meditation.
In this second week I continued to increase my daily meditation time and, in doing so, I began discerning changes in my energetic body. I also particularly struggled to balance my mundane and magical lives. I made my three days of magical arts and crafts, and achieved my goal of conjuring the Goetic spirit Bune, but failed at my goal of daily meditation.
In the third week, my physical health failed me. Day Fifteen was exhausting, and I barely managed my daily routine. On Day Sixteen I turned a museum trip with my mother into a magical experiment, examining mummies with a magical eye, then collapsed onto the couch for the next two days (17, 18), though I was able to resume meditation and planetary rituals on Day Eighteen. On Day Nineteen, I was feeling mostly better and went through with teaching a class on using the Classical Planets as a source of power for freeform energywork. On Day Twenty I collapsed again, sicker than I had been yet; I went into work then needed someone else to drive me home. On Day Twenty One I called in sick and spent the day on my couch, working on magical jewelry designs.
I managed only one day of magical art and missed a second day of meditation.
I did my best to come back strong in week four, but my total collapse in week three left both me and my house in serious disarray. It was struggle to resume even daily planetary rituals and meditation, let alone my loftier goals. In retrospect, I pushed myself too hard, because I wasn’t really fully myself again until Day 28.
On Day Twenty Two I managed 22 minutes of meditation. This would prove to be the peak. It was also the second day in a row when I experienced intense sensory non-sequiturs. See the daily records for details. On Day Twenty Three I experimented with adding the Qabalistic cross and pentagram banishing to my daily rituals. On Day Twenty Four I began designing and constructing a new set of house wards. That night I gave up on my goal of escalating to 30 minutes of meditation by the end of the month and began setting my timer for 15 minutes. On Day Twenty Five I decided to fumigate the house to clear out any lingering bad vibes. On Day Twenty Six I meditated only, and on Day Twenty Seven I managed only my planetary ritual and meditation. On Day Twenty Eight I succeeded in tracing an amulet gifted to me to a particular grimoire,
Overall, in that week I succeeded only at meditating daily.
On Days Twenty Nine and Thirty, I concluded my Beginner’s Mind experiment by erecting the first two layers of my new household protective wards, invoking the Sun and Moon by Taylor’s Orphic Hymns and empowering the talismans with Picatrix invocations. I meditated fifteen minutes each night.
In theory, I wanted to end the month of magic with a bang. In the moment, though, I was just glad to have made it through.
At the beginning of September, I chose a particular (broad) interperetation of the Beginner’s Mind challenge. Where others cracked open grimoires, or sought to master various forms of divination, I sought to reclaim a portion of my own mind. Over the course of several previous magical experiments and programs, I have painted myself into various corners. I miss the enthusiasm with which I once pursued and practiced the magical arts. To that end, as detailed above, I set myself a number of smaller challenges.
I challenged myself to meditate daily, starting at five minutes and escalating to thirty. I … mostly succeeded. I meditated 28/30 days. One day I missed in favor of a hot date. One day I missed because I was sick as fuck. I ultimately capped out at 22 minutes of meditation, then settled for a more achievable goal of 15 minutes.
I challenged myself to work on magical art three days a week. I succeeded at that for the first two weeks, but failed abominably in the second two.
I challenged myself to conjure the spirit Bune. I did so. That conjuration has yet to receive results, but so far the spirit contact has proved positive and potentially fruitful.
I challenged myself to follow my magical whims. They proved less, well, whimsical than I had imagined they might, but overwhelmingly succeeded in this. I can recall only one whim I did not follow through on, and that was because the particular school of thought I wished to apply to a situation proved inapplicable in that moment, and then I forgot about it before the opportune moment arose.
All this with the ultimate goal of reclaiming my magical practice. Of finding the fun back. In that, I think, I succeeded. I no longer feel so constrained by the schools of thought I have studied. I feel like my magic is my own again. And I’m excited to move forward with my art and experiments.
I am also reminded very viscerally of the value of daily meditation. At the beginning of September, I was a depressed and anxious mess, despite how objectively awesome my life is. During the first week, perhaps slowing down to confront those feelings, I actually fell down a little further. In the weeks since, however, despite the physical illness I suffered in week three, I’m feeling incredibly better emotionally. We can see some evidence of this, in fact, in this and my previous blog post. I’m actually writing again, something I hadn’t done in a while.
The Do Magick Challenge came with its own requirements, chief among them daily public journaling. The value of that has been demonstrated what I should have already known, which is the value of such journaling. I don’t wish to spam my followers (or continue the particular self-censorship public journaling requires), so I must now challenge myself to do one of the important sorcerer’s tasks I have never quite managed before.
And with all this written up, I now look forward to the next Do Magick Challenge. I’ll try not to be a stranger here in the interim.