Build the foundation to Build your Practice


I'm reading The Sacred Cross by Anastacia Nutt. She makes an interesting point about beginner techniques. A practitioner can be in a real hurry to "learn" a beginning technique and move past it to the more glamorous practices without developing the necessary repetition of practice that informs the use of any technique. The result is that the person over extends and finds that their foundational knowledge and practice are lacking, which can cause problems for the person, as well as bringing him/her back to the necessity of starting over again. It's something I've seen happen before with other magicians and it is a trap that weeds out people who aren't doing the necessary foundational work to build their practice into something reliable.

In my own practice, I'm always looking for ways to improve my foundational knowledge. I figure that even if something seems basic, it probably isn't, because even with the most basic exercise you can uncover layers of experience if you are willing to work it on a daily basis. Daily practice brings with it a way to get to the heart of a technique and make it into an experience that moves you and establishes patterns that allow you to work with your internal energy and with the energy of the cosmos and underworld in a manner that reveals a way to foundationally connect yourself to the universe. Think about a daily practice you do. How long have you done it? How has that practice changed over time? How have you changed as a result of doing the practice? How has your experience of the world changed as a result of doing the practice?

A broad foundation supports the more advanced practices you do and allows you to go in deeper with them because of the discipline you've learned by doing the basic practices. When I first started practicing magic I spent a couple years just practicing the core essential skills of daily practice. The daily work allowed me to explore how magic applied to my life, how it fit with everything I did. It taught me to live magic, as opposed to just doing it for a holiday or to solve a problem. With a strong foundation of practice you live magic because it is part of your everyday life. You are doing it to deepen your connection to the world, to the inner contacts, to the universe, and everything else between.

Living magic is the point of doing the foundational practices. It's not reactive magic. It's intentional, exploration that leads to more mysteries. All of my experimental work has come out of doing the daily work, because of the insights I've gained in doing that work. It's fair to say that a lot of the experimental work happens during the daily work, because I understand how to take the daily work and turn it into an opportunity for experimentation. The daily work also leads to doing more involved work which may not happen everyday, but when it does happen requires that base level of experience be up to snuff in order to effectively do the more advanced working.

Your daily work builds up your magical muscles as it were. If you don't do the daily work it's not as easy to advanced work and there can be consequences if you aren't ready to do the work, because the daily work isn't even just about building your magical muscles, so much as its about teaching you how to prepare yourself to do the deeper work. A lot of the daily exercises that seem repetitive and boring come in handy when you need to use them in the course of doing more advanced work. For example, my stillness practice has been very helpful for helping me reach deeper states of altered consciousness as well as clearing my mind of distractions. It's a simple practice, but the benefit of the practice is that those abilities are on hand for situations where I need them, both magically and mundanely. Look at your own work. Do you have the foundation in place to support the deeper work you'd like to do? Does that foundation help you in your everyday experiences? If so then you know you're applying that daily work in ways that are paying off and helping you build a strong practice in your life.