OK, let’s talk about an easy topic, right? I mean sacrificing 20 to 30 min per day for a daily practice is no big thing, right?
Well, it depends on the amount and quality of readily available excuses I guess. My favourite excuses are my kids and my tiredness. To be straightforward, I hate meditation. Unfortunately most magical teachings begin with ‘sit down and shut … up’ (please insert your favorite swear word). So, no, you can’t skip it or just do it once a week but then ‘more intensely’. It simply doesn’t work that way. It took me some years to accept this and to put together a daily practice that lasts about 30-60 min depending on my schedule (only to keep things running smoothly).
The key for finding a successful daily practice for me was reading a lot about what others recommend, then discarding it and putting together those parts I could really resonate with. This came with a series of trial and error. For example, quite a few years ago I was trying to work with a system that wasn’t made for me (or I wasn’t made for it). As stubborn as I am, I wanted to succeed at any cost. To realize that we weren’t compatible then (maybe we’ll be at some other point of my magickal life) was something essential as I had to accept that sometimes you are called to do your work in a different way and to walk a different path (at least for a while). Please don’t get me wrong, discipline is required everywhere but if you have been knocking on a door for a long time and it still doesn’t open up then maybe you should try a different one.
The most important thing for me was to stop being nervous about putting things together from different sources. Do research, experiment and find out what works for you. If it’s 100% like someone else’s practice then it’s fine. If you are mixing things from different traditions, it’s fine as well. The only thing I’d keep in mind is that to mix some devotional practice of different entities might not always be the best idea. The second most important thing was that from time to time I have to adapt my practice because my life is subject to change.
For me, a successful daily practice generally consists of a few elements. First it should calm me down, help to focus my mind on different things than mundane ones. It should ease tension in my body, turn the background chattering in my head to a lower level, allow my whole body to breathe and actually enjoy that. It should also teach how to direct energy through the body. And of course it should teach how to manage visualization with closed eyes while directing energy through your body.
For now, a non-devotional, stripped down, basic chaos magickal practice with a bit of ceremonial magick works very well for me but I don’t bring in any specific deities at the moment. If I incorporate daily workings with Hecate or Babalon, I skip the ceremonial part and focus on the devotional one. This daily practice has evolved into a series of mini-rituals where I choose a purpose and work on that over a specific period of time in a sequence until I’m satisfied with the energy I have been pouring into it and then move on to the next one. But this is of course embedded into exercises to hold focus, to raise energy and also some basic ‘banishing’ but not in order to actually banish anything (as I believe in communicating in a respectful way instead of commanding anything around… honestly, I’d be pretty pissed off if I was summoned and be bossed around by some haphazard magician) but to exercise visualizations skills.
At some point during my practice I picture myself standing in the centre of the universe feeling endless possibilities opening up in front of me and deciding to pick whatever I want. Sounds pretty arrogant? Actually, no. Each and every one of us is capable to make him- or herself the focus of the universe at every second. This is the point where doubts and anxieties disappear, you just stop questioning yourself and reach out. And if your aim is within your web of fate you’ll get at least a step closer to it.
Ultimately again it’s about experimenting with ideas, you simply need to check if your work is balanced in the way you’re practicing it. And again no, you can’t skip meditation.