Most of my magical practice has gone over the years from “any excuse for a spell” to “what do I have to do so I can get on with my life?” In Wiccan thought, it’s common to directly or indirectly equate “good” with spiritual thought and “bad” with material thought, and in that I must declare myself here and now a heretic. I got into Wicca in part because doing something constructive rather than waiting around for heaven, or union with the divine, etc. appealed to me a lot more than sitting back and praying for everything to work out. Once I found that love spells actually gave my love life motion ((I would define my love life before Wicca as inappropriately long relationships for a teenager dotted by moments of absolutely nothing.)) I decided to give the money spells a try.
They didn’t work spectacularly, but it usually opened up doorways where I could then work my ass off to stay in school. Since prior to the magic I had no doorways, this was acceptable. Gordon over at RuneSoup has some insight into why, as a group why we suck at money magic, and I hope to overcome that programming, too. Ultimately, in my opinion, it’s a matter of failing to recognize how very privileged we are combined with guilt about that privilege (see above.) Breaking from monotheist thinking means breaking from self-recrimination for taking pleasure. Personally, I really think the monotheists were really trying to shut down crime through morality, and standard criminals don’t have the brain wrinkles that the moral citizens do so they wound up just suppressing the hell out of their own. But I digress.
Unless you’re obsessed with entity contact, magic is really for the practical. Given how much of evolution revolves around all-important survival, that makes sense. If you read The Golden Bough
or any of the books by Charles Leland, you’ll see what I mean. Spells, from the beginning of history, address practical matters involving food, sex and eventually other resources. While we’ve complicated magic by adding layers of needs, and human nature causes us to always have additional wants after we’ve gratified one want – magic for most comes back down to what some might consider very aspiritual needs: safety, sex, money and love.
I see nothing wrong with this.
Over the past few years, I’ve added increasing layers of Ceremonial magic to my daily practice. It’s not uncommon for Wiccans to do this, although I hear the following schools of thought:
1. You shouldn’t do it unless you’re going to take up CM as your full path, otherwise you’re just a dabbler
2. CM is bad, it will expose you to devils/”conflicting energies”/assorted crap
3. Use this system instead, it’s my system/method and it’s better
4. (Relevant) To block yourself from spiritual entities is to block yourself from spiritual growth
I have decided that where I’m concerned, all of the above is total bullshit. I’ve found quite a lot to value in combining methods, especially given that if the body and spirit are indeed one, a program of specific geometric maintenance seems the most sensible, applicable and fast. I’ve meditated for years in order to achieve the basic clarity I can get from one simple LBPR.
I’ve also discovered a few misconceptions along the way.
1. The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram
It doesn’t banish entities. It banishes your blocks to seeing, sensing, perceiving. You’ll be able to sense things better as it gradually wears down your own blocks. If you do the entire ritual and call in the archangels they an apprehend a few things, but a lot of the time it really just draws even more attention. I realize, based on working with Joel, that not fully explaining a ritual can help the student come to the conclusions about what it’s for. That said, I really hate the practice in CM of never telling you what a ritual is supposed to do. Letting the student “figure it out” is cutesie bullshit that keeps magic and magical practice from genuinely evolving.
Also, most people really never go past this. I’ll assume it’s fear. Since the very next one most people learn actually shuts down the random crap that comes with spiritual opening, it’s really a shame. The Lesser Hexagram Banishing Ritual of Saturn? It’s effective. I call it the BS banishment. No scary side effects unless you count tripping over the furniture.
2. The Middle Pillar
Not so harmless. If you’ve been banishing blocks steadily, you can still release stuff stuck in your body that will fuck you up. At least mine did, and that’s taken a good year to clean up. Frankly, I’m afraid to try it again even if I feel great immediately after performing it.
3. The Rose Cross
Not only not advanced, incredibly useful. Where the hell was this off switch when I had a haunting preventing me from sleep last winter? Oh yes, on my bookshelf all along. I plan to test this ritual on a schizophrenic cat I know, as well. It’s not animal testing if it’s intended for the animal’s benefit…wait. Whatever, the cat can’t be harmed worse than it already has been.
I am really tempted to write something akin to a magical cheat sheet for people who do want to practice magic and then just get on with their lives. There’s so much chest pounding stuff out there about “not spoon feeding” that implies that those who ask for an explanation are automatically lazy. Yes, there are lazy people out there, and they won’t work the magic no matter how well it’s explained. For those that are fearful but could use the magic to reduce the fear, I think spelling it out is the best thing to do. The Gods know I’m willing to do the work, take the risks, go mad – and I’ve come to the conclusion, having gone down the darkest road that not only is it completely unnecessary, there’s no sin whatsoever in bringing or sharing a flashlight.