Beginner’s Mind

This month’s Do Magick challenge is the beginner’s mind.

For this challenge, you are to work with a new system, set of techniques, or use any new experience or hobby to force yourself into the beginner’s mind and use it.  Get excited about your magic again. Ideally you would use the new techniques or paradigm does as often as possible in the 30 days.

What, though, is the beginner’s mind?  What I hear in Andrieh’s choice of words and suggested activities is an attempt to return to a state Tarot describes as The Fool: curiosity in the face of the unknown, courage uninhibited by past failures or an overabundance of knowledge.

But my beginner’s mind was already full of fear.  I owned Crowley’s Goetia, but I was afraid to conjure spirits.  I had an emerging talent for clairsentience that outstripped my friends’ empathy or divination by hilarious degrees, but I was afraid of the things that I could know.  I got high weirdness effects out of goddamn Tarot readings, but never pursued them for fear of monsters.  I had an embarrassment of riches and did fuck all with it.  I had no hesitation to try things that no one else had ever heard of before, but staples of magical practice … well, besides Tarot, if it didn’t scare me too much to try it, then it was passé.

There are things, though, that I do miss about my beginners mind.  I miss how relatively few preconceived notions I had cluttering up my brain, leaving me free to invent forms of energy manipulation that I have yet to see in print and to perceive spirits and worlds with a clarity I recall now like a dream.  My home town was mine, and I could feel the pulse and flow of its life; synchronicity put me in the right place at the right time with a regularity that made it seem mundane until it stopped happening when I moved away.  Magic, in every instance but the very most terrifying in-my-own-home-apparitions,

Finding my way into this month’s Do Magick Challenge will be a bit of a challenge in and of itself: as a voracious reader, a giant art nerd, and a witch with twenty-one years of magical experience,  there is nothing left magically or artistically (which I currently know exists) that I have not put at least three months study or experimentation into already.  That’s hardly expertise, but neither does it leave much room for that uncluttered “beginner’s mind” we’re speaking of.

I’m late to the game, because I lost control of my life, but I’m going to play along at home anyway because … well, frankly, I need to.  I need to find back that uncluttered curiosity, that sense of play.  To do so, I will set myself several goals:

  • I will meditate daily.  I will begin at five minutes daily, escalating over the course of the month until I am meditating 30 minutes daily.
  • I will spend three days a week engaged in some sort of magical arts and crafts for at least twenty minutes each of those days.  Although I hope to produce many magical talismans and images over the course of the month, in particular I aim to finish my Mask of Venus and produce a photographic version of the Image of Venus as described in the Picatrix. (Anyone want to model for that one for me?)
  • I will conjure the spirit Bune to bring me riches.  In doing so, I will face my first great magical fear — the conjuring of demons — and make my first practical foray into the last major area of magic which I have studied but not practiced.  Goetia here I come.
  • Most importantly, I will rediscover my sense of magical play.  I will achieve this through magical art on the one hand, but also by giving in to every magical impulse that I possibly can over the course of the next thirty days. Decide I want something?  Make and fire a sigil on the spot.  Feel like electrocharging my lover with the spirit of Venus?  Hell to the yeah (as long as she, they, or he think it sounds like fun).  Has it come time to curse those bastards?  Let’s do it.  This building feels like it needs a little Lunar bombardment?  Let’s do some energy and breathwork and make everybody purple for the day.

This is me throwing my hat into the ring.

Today’s magical impulse coincides with magical art and the conjuration of Bune: while at work, I made myself a brass talisman featuring his seal.  Not fancy, just a hand-cut brass disk engraved using a ball but, but it’ll do the trick.  Now, let’s go meditate.