This post is a response to feedback and private messages received over the years in regard to practice and the pursuit of self-mastery. For anyone who reads the following and sees it as common sense then this post is not directed at you….but thanks for stopping by.
Rigour – it is done in a strict, thorough way.
Real Life Success
I wanted to write this as I worry a little about younger students who write with questions. I am happy to help answer what I can but often the answers are not going to help too much as the person in question is perhaps being a little unrealistic in their approach to Magick. Now let’s be clear, I know the path is full of amazing and hard to believe experiences but these all come with years of practice and maturity. Yet one of the downsides of hearing about Magicians work and experiences is that though for the vast majority of people this information is taken as inspiration. For a small minority they begin to build their life, dreams, activities and entire personality around their practice of Magick. Instead of being their given name on social media they now have some spiritual title, they are more focused on building their success in the unseen, in an area where it cannot be measured and verified than the real world.
I am not directing this at anyone so please do not take offence. I simply worry that for the young, this approach will do you no good in life – just my opinion. It is important to work towards success in every aspect of our lives especially areas where this can be verified. Now success does not mean you have to be the best at everything it means you set goals for yourself and work towards achieving them.
This is why sports, athletics, combat sports like BJJ, MMA and Muay Thai are so valuable (you can exchange this to calisthenics/kettlebell but you miss a little of the fear factor). They are a verifiable way of working through fears, overcoming self-imposed limitations and being 100% certain of achievements. This does wonders for the subconscious.
So, anyone working mirrors in Franz Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics (or equivalent system), I believe would do well to incorporate something physical and based in the real world with non-spiritual people into their life.
The key word I mentioned at the start of this post ‘Rigour’. To learn the lesson of what it is to do something with rigour – thoroughness. When you do this you gain a confidence in the things you have achieved, you know what it cost you. You know it is real. This is what I often see as missing in the correspondence I receive. Complaints of not being able to do step 1 vacancy of mind, not being able to do the throne posture. I ask how long they did it for, ‘a week’ or ‘just once’ is the response!
Take one of the first lessons in the Hermetic Fundamentals free course, it asks you to sit in your chosen position for increasing amounts of time starting with 5 minutes. You add time all the way to one hour. The requirement is that you are physically still, not scratching, moving, no adjustments, no checking the time. Any movement means you restart the clock.
Very few people go all the way to an hour, and very few repeatedly do this. It is a simple requirement, not hard to understand but the ‘Will’ to do it is often lacking hence the need for the exercise. It is much easier to find a pigeon feather on your doorstep and imagine you are in contact with the arch angels than it is to sit motionless for one hour. One is the imagination (generally) and the other is something that can be verified and timed.
Mouni Sadhu mentioned something similar in his excellent manual on concentration, to paraphrase he mentioned how it is often easier or more comfortable for people to follow some guided meditation or guided visualization with multiple components all occurring at the same time, the attention is split so much that it becomes a little distraction with no real value. Compare this to concentrating on one single thing to the exclusion of all other sensory gates. Barely anyone got beyond the second series of exercises in his book.
From this post I may sound terribly goal orientated but honestly, I am not that bad. It is just about being honest with ourselves and what we hope to achieve from any given activity or behavior. So if you are utterly obsessed with magic, the universe, the mysteries of it all, then I can completely relate as this has always been me. But to investigate these things properly requires time. Time costs money, as most of us sell our time for money in order to house and feed ourselves.
To be able to spend your time on the things you find most interesting then is a result. The cause must be for you to achieve success in your working life. To always aim towards a success in everything you participate in. (Remember it does not mean the best it just means better than you were) This is balance. Success in every aspect of life rather than overly focusing on just the spiritual while the ither important parts of life are neglected.
If you are under 30 (regardless of age but especially for the youth) develop new skills outside of official education, learn to code, learn a language, learn how to cook etc. If you are weak then get strong, if you strong then get mobile. If you are one extreme, then investigate the other extreme.
It is essential that the aspirant strike a balance in life and not become consumed solely by occult interests. Success in “real world” pursuits, such as career, relationships, and physical fitness, builds confidence and a strong foundation of willpower that will support magical practice. Sports and other physical disciplines that have concrete goals and measurable results are excellent ways to develop mental determination and learn to push beyond perceived limitations. The self-mastery required in these earthly endeavors translates directly to the inner work of the mage.
Now let’s get back to ‘Rigour’. How can we apply this specifically to our practice? Well, you could join the free course on Perseus: Hermetic Fundamentals
You could try to work on Physical Stillness:
- Choose a position, cross legged, sitting on a chair etc. You choose but this will get longer so it needs to be something you can be comfortable in.
- Get a timing device.
- Set the clock for 5 minutes, double check the alarm is set.
- Sit motionless, NOTHING MOVES, no excuses.
- Details: Your eyes can gently focus on one spot or keep them closed.
- Chest naturally breathes so it moves.
- Add 5 minutes every day up to one hour.
- Do 3 days at 1 hour – Journal your results, what you feel before, how it makes you feel during and how you feel after.
You could do something with Pushups:
- If for example 10 pushups is your maximum.
- You will do 50% of your maximum =1 set x 5
- So 5 pushups is one set, you will do this 5 times with 1-2 minute break in between each set.
- Do this Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
- On Sunday test your max reps.
- Recalculate 50% of max for the next weeks schedule. So, if new max was 20, the following week will be 10 pushups = 1 set x 5.
Of course, these are just examples. They both build Will Power – imagine the Will like a battery. When you resist unhealthy habits and urges, taking control of yourself you build the battery, when you let yourself be controlled by feelings and urges your battery weakens.
This rigorous training strengthens the mind and forges the mental “muscle” needed to persist in the face of challenges on the magical path. Simple but demanding exercises for focus, such as sitting motionless for increasing durations or pushing to muscular failure with calisthenics, create true grit and teach the body and mind to overcome urges and discomfort. Such practices prepare the aspirant for activities like ritual, meditation, and astral travel which require absolute mental clarity and unwavering concentration on subtle forces not discernable to the untrained senses.
The wise student understands that a lifetime focused solely on occult pursuits, disconnected from worldly success, is unrealistic and imbalanced for most. The magician seeks self-mastery and spiritual growth in tandem with external achievement. When the individual strives for realization in all facets of life, each realm supports and reinforces the other.
Through leading a grounded, balanced existence distinguished by discipline and rigor, the aspiring mage slowly transforms their mind into an unwavering, concentrated instrument of their enlightened Will – the ultimate tool for unlocking their creative magical potential. The focused mind is the supreme ally of the magician.