The Importance of Daily Magical Practice
Author: Taylor Ellwood
One attitude that I find to be odd in some magical practitioners is the attitude that you don’t need to do a daily practice of magic. It seems that instead you just cast your spell and sigil whenever you really need it and the rest of the time magic is put to the wayside until needed again. This approach has always puzzled me, mainly because it treats magic as a tool, much like a shovel. I’ll grant that you don’t need to use a shovel everyday of your life (unless you work at a job where it’s an essential tool). Also a shovel is used for a specific set of jobs and won’t fit every circumstance in your life.
Perhaps that’s the case with magic as well. Perhaps for some people it really is just a tool and only applies to when they need it. The rest of the time magic goes into the shed, until it’s needed again. But I think such an approach ignores some realities of magic that sometimes are glossed over in favor of obtaining results first and asking questions later. Some of these realities are practical, while others fit into the spiritual aspect of magic, but all of these realities are important and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
The first reality involves the practical application of magic, not just to a situation, but also to life. Magic is a process, not a result. Even the results that are obtained in magic end up feeding into the process of magic. You get a result for situation and that situation is resolved, but what about the impact of that magic on your life, on the relationships you have with other people, events, your environment, or your job?
These factors and many others are impacted every time magic is done, even if that impact isn’t overt. And the result of that impact is that inevitably magic draws you back into the process because some other situation needs to be addressed or explained or mediated or dealt with and magic can provide an answer.
The second reality is a spiritual reality. For many people magic is a form of spirituality, a way of meaningfully connecting with each other and also with forces large and small, seen and unseen. Such an interaction isn’t one that can just be discarded when you don’t need it.
I was recently reminded of this when I did a ritual to help me locate work in Portland. The spirits informed me they’d be happy to help me out, but that they also felt really neglected, because I hadn’t done any of the usual rituals I’d usually do with them. I prayed each day, but there hadn’t been a major ritual done just for them, with nothing being received on my end, other than the satisfaction of having connected with these beings that I identify as meaningful in my life.
I could easily provide excuses, including my current living arrangements, but the truth is that I had to acknowledge that spiritually I felt a bit devoid lately with my magical practice. Actually doing the ritual to get their help to find a job helped a lot in connecting with them, but it was easy to perceive why they felt used, because that ritual was about a purpose and goal, but it wasn’t a celebration of the bond between us. The spiritual component of my magical workings had been ignored and magic, at least for a short while, had been more of a tool and result and less of a process and spirituality for me. I’d taken the connections I had for granted, even with daily prayer. Fortunately for me this could be rectified with rituals and a willingness to recognize the importance of those spirits in my life.
We all stumble from time to time on the path of our individual spiritualities. In stumbling we are forced to look at where we are going and actually cultivate an awareness of what’s important right now, as opposed to what’s far ahead. That cultivation can take many forms, but one of the most notable ways to manage it is to actually hold yourself to a daily practice of magic.
Now I know some people will say, “But I don’t have the discipline to do that” or “You don’t really need to do a daily practice to make magic work.” Sadly, I must disagree with these statements, for these are the kind of statements that most often engender an approach to magic that is primarily results based and only sees magic as a tool to be put aside when it isn’t needed.
I also believe that just as muscles atrophy without use or exercise, so can a person’s ability and talent to work magic fade if s/he doesn’t maintain a consistent practice. Without regular practice you can’t build your relationship with magic or test the limits of what you can do. And while there’s always the possibility that daily practice leads to a plateau, where nothing new seems to happen, varying your routine, or more importantly just sticking it out and doing the work will inevitably attract change in your life (sometimes much more than you want).
On the other hand, if you do incorporate a daily practice into your life it will allow you to flex those magical muscles. In turn this will increase your ability to handle magic and even allow you to build reserves of energy that you can draw on when you really need them. My daily practice mentally and spiritually refreshes me. I always feel more energized after meditation and other exercises I do.
Make no mistake though, daily practice is work. It involves making time each day to do that work, not just when it’s convenient for you. There are days where I don’t want to wake up at five thirty in the morning to do my daily exercises, but I know when I don’t do those exercises I always feel less centered and focused. The result is found in the work, in my choice to renew my spiritual commitment to magic, myself, and the spirits I work with everyday. The result is the process, and so I’m not obsessed with getting to the end of the journey. There is no end, but the journey itself is a multitude of beginnings and endings, which my daily practice connects me to.
To really appreciate the impact of magic in your life, make the time to incorporate it into your life. Walk with magic everyday in your heat and mind and be open to all of its manifestations. But don’t treat it like a tool to be cast aside when the need is no longer apparent. While you might get the results you want now, you may find at a later time that just when you need something to happen it won’t, because you don’t understand what you’re working with. And that brings me to my final point.
A daily practice allows you to experience magic, and through that experience come to understand the dynamics that inform how magic works. When you understand the dynamics, then you know that what you’re working with isn’t a tool. The dynamic involves living magic and your daily practice is just a tiny fraction what it means to live magic. But living magic will bring you experiences that you might otherwise miss out on.
So open yourself to cultivating a daily practice and from there let that show you how to manifest magic into your life