Praxis makes perfect

Ah, it feels like such a long time since I wrote something. I’ve taken on a huge year-long magical project of self improvement and skills development which is taking up a lot of my me-hours. Between all the courses I’m taking I only really have one or two evenings a week where I’m not studying and I’m also still working full time, despite the pandemic. Something had to give and it was here. Me? Take on too much?…NEVER.

Aaaaanyway – I have sworn to myself that I will get back to writing regularly. To build writing into my daily practice (praxis). And that is what I want to talk about today – daily practice or at least regular practice, largely as a reminder to myself of how far I have come.

Now, I’m not going to prescribe what I think is right – this is a highly personal thing so I am in no position to do so – and frankly mine evolves so much it changes from week to week. What I do want to talk about is why having some form of regular practice is a good idea and the benefits it can bring to your life in general, which have been surprising.

Routine has never been my strong point – at the age of 40, just two years ago, I was still terrible at doing anything regularly. I just about managed to clean my teeth twice a day but little else in my life ran to a routine, if anything it was something I actively shunned. Routine is boring, man. Routine is for dull, grey accountants in suburbia, not cool party-girl witches who live in London. DUH.

It isn’t that I hadn’t tried at all. Around seven years ago, when I really started getting back into this whole magic lark, I tried and failed, repeatedly, to instil a regular practice into my life. I tried putting in the full works at once, as many do. Meditating, Liber Resh, LRP, daily offerings, planetary prayers, but nothing stuck. I’d do two or three days and then I’d miss a day, throw my toys out of the pram and quit, amid much self-flagellation about how terrible I am at everything. All the while continuing to study like a woman possessed and rail against the lack of change in my life.

Somehow though – in the last couple of years – things have started to come together. I had the benefit of meeting a fabulous teacher (he hates that term but I lack a better word in this context) who later became our coven High Priest. He asked us all to start doing Liber Resh about a year ago, and given it was part of group work, not wanting to let others down, I stuck with it.

Not going to lie, it felt like a lot. Do something with words and arm movements I have to remember, four times a day, at regular times, every. single. day? What a bind! Where is the fun in that? But I stuck at it regardless. Yes, I missed days, I still miss days, but I picked it straight back up each time and kept it going and I’ve now been doing Resh (almost) daily for a year and have since added a lot more to my daily practice. In fact, this regular work has become a cornerstone of not just my magic but of my life itself.

The key here, for me, was starting small and not giving in to that perfectionist voice (which I wrote about earlier HERE). Just Resh, ideally four times a day. Once I had that down I built in the LRP twice a day, invoking in the AM, banishing in the PM, as often as I could remember.

It was at this point that the benefits started to show up. Aside from the direct magical benefits – feeling attuned to the movement of the sun is invaluable in an age of electric lighting, and of course the energising and cleansing effects the LRP can have on the self – I found myself actually enjoying it and even feeling a little out of sorts when I missed one.

Routine started creeping into other parts of my life in entirely beneficial ways. I started doing regular proper grocery shops instead of buying stuff ad hoc. I started cleaning the house every week at a certain time ( for the Brits – Jazz Record Requests on Radio 4 is perfect for a solid hour of housework, by the way.) Hell, I’ve given up smoking entirely, I’ve given up regular boozing and I’m actually in the black, credit wise for the first time in my adult life. I run – I run three times a week. I journal nightly. My mental health is the best it has ever been despite the pandemic. I firmly believe I can attribute this all to taking magical practice, a daily practice, seriously. To instilling some self discipline, frankly. And to building it up, brick by brick. I would argue that in most major magical systems that is precisely what the majority of the undertaking of the Neophyte is all about, the slow refinement of the self through daily exercises.

Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes and this has certainly been the case for me. The slow improvement, refinement, of the self via daily work. A reminder that the real benefit of any magical work is in the practical work itself and not just languishing in the theory. While my daily practice continues to morph and change in all sorts of mysterious and interesting ways – the doing of something, the actual DOING rather than just reading about it – has been revolutionary.

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