It has never been easier than right now to do magick.
And it has never been harder.
What do I mean by that?
It's never been easier because we have more access to information than we ever have in history. You can get occult books and tools shipped to you same-day from Amazon Prime. You can take classes online. You can communicate with other people on the Internet without fear of reprisal. And all thanks to the modern miracle of electronic communication.
However, that same electronic communication has also filled our lives with distractions—endless e-mail, text messages, social media, and non-stop digital entertainment like YouTube, Netflix, Steam and Twitch. Because of the Internet, the lines between our professional and personal lives have gotten blurry, as well. Many people are now expected to be attached to their phones and on-call 24/7. We don't get breaks. We don't get to unplug. And when we do, the opportunity to disrupt your focus and meditative flow is only an arm's reach away—just pick up your phone and watch your attention get destroyed by an onslaught of social media scrolling.
In such an environment, magicians need to do what they do best: Adapt.
For most magicians, the idea of spending all of their time in a monastery or in a cave on a mountain top is only an abstract dream. (And by the way, even the ones who achieve that for a short period of time often realize that their real work lies in returning to the world.) The rest of us have jobs, family duties, friends, and many other responsibilities. That means that we have to fit magick into our already packed schedule.
This is the Hero's Path. The path of integrating magick into a life lived in the real world, full of real world responsibilities. It is the hard path. And it is the most rewarding path.
Having now been a practicing magician for two decades, and having worked my practice during that time into school, high-pressure corporate jobs and a busy writing career (along with periods up in that proverbial mountain cave!), I've learned a thing or two about making magick work on a busy schedule. In my early twenties, in fact, I was running a magical group in New York City, completely made up of successful professionals with full time jobs and active social lives in perhaps the fastest-paced city in the world. We learned a thing or two about fitting magick into the busiest schedule imaginable (perhaps outside of active military service).
I'm going to share these secrets with you now. Read on, and take the Hero's Path.
The absolute best time to do magick is first thing in the morning. Why? Because your mind is fresh, you're at your most alert, and the rush of daily responsibilities hasn't taken over yet. Set your alarm an hour earlier than you would normally get up, and carve out that time to do your magical practices. This time is absolutely precious for me. And by the way, if you meditate in the morning, your day will go much, much better. (For guidelines on how to practice in the morning, check out this post, and if you want to get really serious, take our brand new 7-Day Magick Supercharger course.)
While it's critical to get daily time in your own magical space at home, you'll also be amazed how much you can integrate magical work into daily tasks without anybody noticing. Here's a few examples:
Got a boring meeting at work? Use it as an opportunity to practice asana (motionlessness) and/or dharana (holding a symbol in your mind and focusing on it exclusively—this can even include a sigils). (You can learn more about how to cultivate these skills here.)
Likewise, you can double up on daily tasks by integrating sigil or energy work into your daily exercise routine.
Have to deal with a frustrating individual at work or otherwise in your daily life? Use it as a precious opportunity to cultivate patience and compassion. Both Carlos Castaneda and Gurdjieff recommended this practice extensively. Castaneda referred to such people as "petty tyrants," who get a tiny amount of power and then use it to torment the people around them (for instance, somebody in charge of giving parking tickets who relishes doing so, or somebody with a little bit of authority in a job who makes life miserable for the people under them). Castaneda believed that learning to deal with such individuals with compassion and patience was one of the most important parts of the spiritual path, and that this honed the individual practitioner like nothing else. Gurdjieff thought this was so important that he actually paiddifficult people to live at his centers and purposefully annoy his students (without them knowing what was going on).
Once you start looking for ways to integrate magick into your daily routine, you'll likely be amazed at how much incidental down time occurs throughout your day. Little breaks between tasks, driving, waiting for somebody to do something. Most people fill these moments with social media or other idle activities. Use these moments for magick, even if it's just continuing your reading and study.
You don't have to wait for moments to completely dedicate your attention to magick, however. You can also turn your daily tasks into magick.
The most obvious way to do this is by turning your daily tasks into efforts in total focus. Whatever you have to do, practice putting 110% of your focus on it, no matter what it is. (You'll be amazed at how much your work improves, by the way.)
Another way to do this is by associating your tasks with specific meanings. Tibetan Buddhists often do "empty-handed magic" by, for instance, telling themselves that they are working to purify their karma while doing the dishes, and that as the dishes become clean, so do they. Likewise for sweeping the house. But it doesn't have to be clearing karma: With a little effort and creativity, you can assign any meaning you like to any task you like, and then do it with gusto. Try it out and see how it works!
As hinted at above, we all have a lot more down time than we likely realize, and this down time can be used well for magick by the wise practitioner. One of the most obvious ones is lunch breaks or other scheduled break time during the working day. This can be profitably used for more structured meditation time or for other magical tasks.
By the way, this is why I designed the courses at Magick.Me in five-to-ten minute units. They're short enough that they can be watched on breaks—even on bathroom breaks. (I know how it is!) That way, you can be continuing your magical education by reclaiming a moment here and a moment there for yourself, even amid the busiest working schedule.
Just as important as the moments after you rise in the morning are the moments just before falling asleep.
As you collapse into sleep at the end of the day, your brain starts to let go of the events of the previous hours. This is often when you'll have some of your best ideas, when thoughts that were buried by the hustle-and-bustle "To Do" list of the day reveal themselves. This is why it's a good idea to have some kind of capture device near where you sleep—whether that's a tablet computer, a notepad, your phone or something else. Get that stuff down! You'll likely be tempted to tell yourself that you'll remember whatever the genius idea is. But you won't. Write it down!
The moments right before sleep are also a potently magical time, when you begin to drift into the hypnagogic state in-between waking and sleeping. This is a kind of short window of "waking dreams" that lasts just a few moments before sleep sets in, when psychedelic visions can be easily experienced. This provides a "freebie" altered state during the day that doesn't require any complex effort to get into, and it's an excellent time to, for instance, embed a sigil into your unconscious. Use it! (With practice, this state can also be used as a leaping-off point into lucid dreams, by using a technique called "WILD" or Wake-Induced Lucid Dreaming, which I teach in the Introduction to Lucid Dreaming course at Magick.Me.)
As hinted at above, one of the best ways to work in your magical training into a busy schedule is by utilizing the dreaming state. Most people completely fail to take advantage of their sleeping hours, and therefore miss out on one third of their life. With the application of just a little bit of effort, the dream plane can be completely opened up to conscious exploration.
The first and best way to do this is simply by writing down your dreams every morning. You'll be amazed how much this opens up your dreams. Many people tell me they can't remember their dreams. I tell them that they probably can't do fifty pull-ups, either, but that's not because it's not possible for them: It's because they haven't been practicing pull-ups. Write down your dreams. That'show you exercise the faculty of developing consciousness while dreaming.
The above examples should give you lots of places to start in developing your own daily magical routine.
Magick is called the Great Work for a reason. It is a path that is not practiced in far-off mountain caves, or in some secluded European castle (as nice as that sounds). It's a path practiced in every day life. It's the Hero's Path—the path of turning the lead of your every day experience into the gold of awakened, aware and intentionally directed consciousness.
And make no mistake: This is a path in which you will be called to do battle and manifest great feats just as surely as the magicians of mythology and lore were—but in which the dragons you will face may mask themselves in the clothing of Maya, the mundane and material world, and come in the guise of domineering bosses, or setbacks in moving ahead in your chosen career, or challenges your family faces, or whatever comes to block your progress as you attempt to manifest your dreams into the world. These dragons are as worthy of enemies as any that magicians have ever had to face, and by using them to hone yourself, you will become a greater and more powerful magician with every passing day. The obstacle is the lesson.
To learn more about how to master magick, check out our structured courses on magical training, which offer everything you need to know to start doing real magick—the entire toolkit a young shaman or magician needs to start doing real, life-changing (and potentially world-changing—if you're good!) magick. Just check out the link below.
See you in class!
My time was spent in study and research so I put my career on hold and the jobs I did were just to earn money to buy the books I needed as there was no internet then. I sacrificed a great deal for knowledge as I have come to believe that this is my purpose in this life. My relationships never worked out so I have no children and I think especially towards the end of my research that the amount of time and energy devoted to it a career a family would have been impossible to do both.
The post offers sensible advice as a bit of 'wax on Wax off' approach to doing magic and I do see what Rosey means when on the train I look at people glued to their smartphones heads down so they don't have to talk to anyone.
I'm the only one without a phone out. Looking out of the window practising magic.
Yes, perhaps it is the path of heroes.
Very nice, Jason.
Thank you for sharing, Rosey.
Thank you Gary and MARGARIDA!