Hello dear ones. Today we will begin our grand experiment with Open Source Magick. My inspiration for lies heavily in the currents of Chaos Magick and Pronoia. Being well versed in the D.I.Y. ethos of punk rock and the Burn community, I approached magick with the same sensibility. One of the main attractions to witchcraft, for me was the break from orthodox religions. Then I found Wicca, which along with the OTO and Re-constructionist Paganism presented an Orthodoxy of Witchcraft. So I clung to the shadows and practiced alone rarely discussing my beliefs with anyone. Then in 1993 I found a book called Liber Null by Peter Carroll that changed my ideas about everything. Suddenly I realized I was not alone in my thinking that the principles behind magick were not dependent upon cultural symbols or belief in a specific god or goddess. Reading Austin Osman Spare, furthered my exploration of self created systems. I have over the years come to incorporate several systems and ideas about magick and sorcery into my own brand of spirituality. I resisted the urge for years to share these ideas with others until friends new to the Craft began asking for advice and pointers along the Way. Helping others made me realize that are certain principles that i can share for the self directed individual to use to engage in the Great Work. Without further ado, I present Open Source Magick.
Fucking Around vs. Science
As Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame so succinctly said, "Remember kids the only difference between screwing around and science, is writing it down." This is something almost every tradition agrees on, get a journal of some sort and write down everything. Now what form this takes is entirely up to you, some people only use leather bound journals and only write in them with magical inks, and call it a Book of Shadows. Sounds cool huh? I personally use college composition notebooks and call them Experiment Logs. The form is not as important as the practice. By recording all of your workings, experiments and explorations, you will begin to discover what works and what doesn't, but more importantly you will find what works for you. We are not all musicians or metalworkers, like wise cartomancy may not work for you as well as Wormwood Wine. Either way write it down.
The idea of daily practice has only become part of my routine recently, however I strongly believe one should begin with daily devotions. In Hinduism this practice is called Bhakti, and can include many different types of devotion. In her book, Crafting a Daily Practice, T Thorn Coyle, lays out an eight week program for finding a form of daily alignment that works for you as an individual, I highly recommend it. Other ideas include Mindfulness Meditation, candle gazing, Hatha Yoga, or Resh. Resh is a technique that was developed by the A.·. A.·. to help one be more connected to the natural rhythms of the sun. You can find the ritual here. I have developed my own form of resh, mainly because I don't really relate to Egyptian Mythology the way Aleister Crowley did. Mine is based on my own visions of the Solar Anima and the Lunar Animus. I cannot stress enough the importance of daily practice.
One of the dangers and pitfalls of doing magick is becoming ungrounded, or lost in the Aether. Many grounding rituals can be found on the internet, but I believe developing body awareness to be the most efficacious. Lets start with an exercise from Dr. Israel Regardie, it is rather simple to learn. First lie down, on the floor or in bed either one. Now be still and pay attention to your body. Feel your skin. Notice sensations in your body but try not to judge them, just accept them. For instance do not think "my knee hurts" just notice that you feel something in your knee. Do not try to suppress your thought or do any kind of special breathing, this is about being aware of the monkey meat you inhabit. It is far to easy to be distracted by all the devices that rule our post modern lives. Unplug and tune in. Start with 10 minutes a day, then move to twice a day and then work your way up to 30 minutes twice a day. When you begin to notice the wind blowing on body hairs or feel your skull from the inside you'll know why this is important.
During the next month I would like for you to do the following Body Awareness exercises in addition to the one described above. Find a balance beam and play on it, bonus points if you can balance a broom on your hand while crossing the beam. Do an inversion, either on an Inversion Table or by hanging upside down if you can. The last exercise I would recommend is to either visit a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, or a massage therapist. Bonus points if you do two or all three.
Perhaps the most important tool in your magickal kit will be a proper banishing ritual. This will help you to create a liminal space for rituals without interference from outside. It will also serve as a signal to your brain that what you are doing is not part of normative experience. The most commonly used and therefore easiest to learn is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. An excellent example can be found here. There are other banishing rituals such as this one found at Hecate's Cauldron. One of my favorites is by Phil Hine and can be found here. I also agree with what Phil says about the importance of doing a banishing ritual, even if you decide to use a different form, read his page. Just to hammer home the point on the importance of Banishing Rituals, read this article by Coyote 433. Finally I would like to add that amongst Chaos Mages you will find the expression, "Banish with Laughter." I fully agree with this and found an article that saves me the trouble of explanation, read it here.
I cannot stress enough the importance of this foundation. All other work you do will depend upon establishing these basics. So to recap, write it down, do daily practice, increase body awareness, and learn to banish. Let me say it again this is the most important work you will do. Everything that follows hinges on this. Write it down. Do daily ritual. Become more aware of your body. Banish daily. That covers month one, come back next month for the next installment of Open Source Magick. In the next few days I will also be posting about the conclusion of my Water elemental workings and the beginnings of my Earth workings.
Be blessed and keep up the Great Work.