New Year, New You: Prompt 7, “Glamour”

Yes, yes, I know, I’m doing this out of order.  I haven’t done the sixth prompt yet on maps, sacred spaces, and goals, but I’m late and Deb’s more recent prompt is so much more readily available and easily writable.  The seventh prompt is about appearances and presenting oneself to the world and other people, and how to make oneself look awesome if not their damn best.

Well, as it turns out, dear reader, I’ve been going through some changes lately.  Up until last Wednesday, about a week ago, I had a respectable beard, shaggy hair, and glasses.  Then I shaved the beard (even the sideburns!) and cut the hair rather short, then I got contacts, and then I got my ears pierced.  I’m still in the shock phase about the ears being pierced bit, because even I’m still getting used to how I look.  Needless to say, my friends were caught off-guard, and my family hasn’t seen it yet save my sister via Skype. Plus, now that the new year festivities (all of them) are finally in the past, I can focus again on settling down into a stable simple diet that my body approves of, which will help shed a few more pounds.  Also, I ended up buying a few new clothes and affects in the shopping spree that was last weekend, so a good number of things have changed in a rather short time.  That’s what you get for playing with fire energies for two weeks straight (a post on that coming soon).

Let’s go through a few of the items Deb proposes in the prompt:

  • Makeup’s not my thing.  Never been much into theater or drag, and I’m on the more masculine end of the spectrum anyway, so I don’t have a need for that kind of cosmetic.
  • I’ve got plenty of clothes, and it mostly fits me appropriately.  I’m not big into tailoring, and the farthest my skills go with mending are fixing buttons and inside tears, but I would like some more fitted shirts.  If I do start getting clothes altered, it won’t be until later this year when I have more money to throw around recklessly and my next student loan (or both of them!) are knocked out of the way.  I’m not missing anything, save for perhaps more snappy shirts or pants, but I’ve got plenty of things to cover a wide variety of situations and styles.  Especially Middle Eastern clothes, I love that shit.  (Check out Shukr for good styles.)  Also, when I got contacts last week, I also went ahead and got a new pair of (rather expensive) stylish glasses.  I’m excited!  In tandem with the piercings and recent interest in industrial/electronica, I’m tempted to start exploring more goth-ish styles of appearances.  To be explored.
  • Ever since I was warned about the beginnings of gingivitis showing up on my gums late last year, I’ve taken hygiene much more stringently with myself.  Yes, I’m brushing my teeth thoroughly twice a day with flossing and tongue-scraping; I’m using astringent with salicylic acid to take care of a few zit problems, I’m using the proper amount of high-quality shampoo and conditioner for my hair in a proper manner (twice or thrice a week), and I’m trying to cut out nailbiting.  You’d be surprised how easy it is to pick that habit up if you’ve got thin nails, oddly enough.
  • I eat healthily enough, and it’s very far and few between that I have something as heavily processed as fast food or premade meals.  I only just brought out my microwave from storage so I can heat up water for cleansing my piercings in a jiffy, so I end up cooking almost everything I eat.  I drink when I’m thirsty, and tend to stick to coffee, tea, water, and milk (in that order); when pressed, I’ll down an energy drink, but that’s about it (I’m a caffiend, after all).  I don’t, however, do much physical activity.  That’s definitely a weak point.  I try to walk to local stores and bars whenever possible, but even that’s not too often.  Sigh.  Between work, commute, conjuration, sleep, and study, though, the time I have for working out is limited.  At least I’m living a healthy proper scholar’s life, though I might do well to pick up tai chi or yoga.

What magic might I be doing for my physical body?

  • I’m not against enchanting a bottle of my favorite cologne under the powers of Venus to look more attractive and desirable.  That’s already been stewing on my altar.
  • People at work have noticed and complimented the change in hairstyle, but nobody’s said anything about the piercings yet.  The silence kinda irks me, but it’s not unexpected, either; in an IT office in the government, when you’re the youngest person around, having piercings on a guy is pretty much unseen (especially the ones I have).  I might try my hand at actually making a glamour for myself, or at least having a shield of attraction and compliments set up to see if that changes people’s impressions of me.
  • I may as well ask my genius and the angels of Haniel and Kammael for help in finding suitable physical recreational activities like those mentioned above, even if it’s only for more excuses or causes to go out clubbing (dancing + subsequently hooking up).  I do miss dancing, but there are few enough clubs close to me and I dislike having to go to the city and leaving early to catch the train.  Whine whine whine.

Beyond that, my body.  (Warning, self-adoration approaching.)  I’m tall, broad-shouldered, thin (so I’m told), pleasantly hairy (so I claim), and I love it.  I like being one of the tallest people in the room, if only to chuckle; the frame I have helps intimidate, if not outright help me for strength on the rare occasions I need to use it; I’m an average weight (just slightly overweight according to the BMI, but screw that whore of a metric) and carry it well enough to turn heads; my body hair is uncommon (pretty much all gay guys are hairless, by choice or no, and it’s so depressing) and it helps sift out the guys I should sleep with from the ones I shouldn’t.  I’ve got thick dark hair that is apparently the envy of all women even though I find it more frustrating than not; I’ve got naturally long hands, perfect for crafting and typing; I’ve got big enough ears to host plenty of piercings (evidently); I’ve got large flat feet that love going outside bare across all terrain and temperature; and I can rock a beard, goatee, scruff, or nothing with equal suaveness.  Yes, my body has flaws; who’s doesn’t?  My body’s awesome.  Thank you, body, for being so awesome and looking so awesome.  Gotta love that Taurus rising, eh?  XOXO, etc.

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New Year, New You: Prompt 5, “Enchant”

Last we left off in the NYNY series, I was told to take a break, treat myself to something nice (a bottle of sangria with friends and a new ring), because work had been going on and would continue to go on afterwards.  Deb’s most recent prompt revs things back into place and asks what magical rituals I myself need to do or get started on right now to accomplish my goals.

Now, within the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk of goals, even going back to before the NYNY project started: namely, there’s the Mercury Retrograde post I made in early December with a list of things I wanted to get done by the time the next Mercury retrograde comes around.  Let’s see how we’re doing on those:

  1. Craft the Bhaiṣajyaguru Cane and other minor projects for Christmas: done.
  2. Test drive a 5-week cycle of conjurations of the angels of the planets, the elements, and my nativity: in progress.  I wasn’t able to get my genius conjuration done on New Year’s Day proper, but I’ve done the conjurations of Tzadqiel of Jupiter and my natal genius on Sunday done.  I’ll be getting my conjuration of Kammael of Mars done tonight and Michael of Fire tomorrow, so things look good so far.  Plus, I’m taking advantage of the next three fiery conjurations (Kammael of Mars, Michael of Fire, Michael of the Sun) to consecrate a batch of Fiery Wall of Protection oil; stay tuned for a post on my experiment with this later in January.
  3. Finish crafting and consecrate the Lunar Kamea: done.  I wanted to consecrate this last night during the full moon, but inclement weather stifled those plans.  I did a mini-conjuration of the angels and spirits of the Moon at my altar to compensate.  Since the kamea is powerful just by its construction and by how it was made (entirely on Mondays in lunar hours), this could be considered icing on the cake, but that official mark of angelic approval is nice.
  4. Consecrate a silver ring for use as an astral vortex talisman: begun.  I did a similar thing as the Lunar Kamea project last night with the ring, and am now looking for a kindly friend with a south-facing window to hold onto the kamea and ring for a month while the ring stews in those juicy lights and blessed forces of Luna.
  5. Make Oil of Abramelin: waiting until 1/22 to actually combine the ingredients together, so that way I can start the process of making the oil at the next new moon on 1/23 for a complete lunar cycle.
  6. Redo the Gate of Jupiter rite once Jupiter goes direct again: done last Thursday.  Quite a fancy thing, and it turns out I really like pinot grigio.  A good start, too, to the cycle of conjurations I mentioned above in #2.
  7. Do the Gate of Mars rite, and maybe work on the other gates as well: not yet begun.  Haven’t purchased the other rites yet, waiting on things settling down financially after the holidays for when I spend money on these.
  8. Consecrate the Tarot cards on my Table of Manifestation to act as talismans for the four elemental kings themselves: in progress, as I conjure the elemental kings in my conjuration cycle (see #2).
  9. Working to keep my apartment quiet: great success!  Turns out I never needed anything more magical than a kind letter, and since then, I’ve become friends with the sweetest and foulest-mouthed old lady downstairs, and I’m not hearing her TV at all hours anymore.
  10. Start meditating at least one hour a day: working up to it, bit by bit.  Combining my morning half-hour meditation plus twenty or so minutes after my nightly Headless Rite.  Plus, the Trisagion meditation I mentioned recently is a new trick in my book, too.

All things considered, I’m doing pretty well on those goals.  The next time Mercury goes retrograde is on 3/12, so I’ve got plenty of time left.

As for the NYNY goals laid out before, let’s check in on those.  Granted that these are much longer-term than the ones above, I’m still making progress on them, bit by bit, and will need a bit more discussion.

  1. Finish paying off student loans by end of 2012.  Before I embarked on this quest to pay off $20K in loans within two years of the first bill coming in, I did a reading for myself and had my excellent tarot-reader sister do a reading as well to see if it was viable: yes indeed!  I just need to make sure that I’m not wasting my money on unworthy people (generosity is one of my downfalls, after all).  My first loan is paid, and now the rest need to be focused on.  I had a little extra cash leftover from the holidays, so I’m putting that towards knocking out the next loan.  I’ll be contacting Kammael of Mars (to direct and drive me to finish these loans ASAP) and Tzaphqiel of Saturn (to restrict and cut out any unhealthy or undesirable habits or reasons to spend money otherwise).  I already contacted Tzadqiel of Jupiter last week, asking him to help me out in remaining prosperous and financially sound while I get these loans knocked out, and he seemed to go along well with that idea.  I’ll talk to the other angels as I come across them in my conjuration cycle, and will make that a repeated point of discussion.  So long as I can keep enough money in my checking to make my monthly payments, I’ll be good.
  2. Work in the astral realms.  Performing the Headless Rite in my astral temple is an exercise I’ve sorely needed, since it gives me experience in all sorts of ways.  Plus, I’ve learned from my natal genius that I need much more experience in working astrally before I start exploring and stirring shit up, so he’s offered to help and instruct me in how to work in my astral temple as well.  I had him over in there to oversee my HR performance, and he gave me a few tips for me to work on.  The astral vortex talismanic ring from Fr. RO’s Astral Warrior handbook will take a lunar month to consecrate, but hopefully that will help in forming a more solid link between here and there.  Plus, I started keeping a dream journal recently, which is starting to help with my dream recall and maybe, just maybe, clairvoyance (or at least the recognition of synchronicities).  As a side note, I’ve noticed that the more I go to my astral temple, the more it kinda…I dunno, like it improves in condition; it looked kinda abandoned and overgrown when I first saw it, but it’s looking slightly cleaner and more well-kept the more I visit it.  Interesting.
  3. Strictness with body and life.  Yeah…this is where I’m hitting the most snags.  I am cutting back on excessive eating, which is a good start.  However, I’m trying to maintain my daily practice, which is wonderful since my normal routine is built around that; however, I also tend to say “fuck it” when the weekend comes.  The daily practice needs to stay daily, so I’m going to have to force myself to do this stuff.  Regular activity would be nice if it weren’t so damn cold in the winter, but there are random days that the weather is nice and passable for enduring for an hour or so; I’ll take advantage of those days to walk around the neighborhood, or maybe even down to the fancy old town of where I live to get some delish kabobs.  I finally got rid of Facebook, OkCupid, webcomics, and a bunch of other distractions.  I’m closing the accounts on services I don’t need or use and making myself more free to work (although this sometimes devolves into sitting at the computer talking with friends more).  I’ll talk to the angels of Mars and Saturn to talk about discipline, and it’s probably about time I reconsecrate and chat it up with the spirit of that Saturn talisman I made back in September.

And, after all that, there’s still just a little left over from the first prompt on cleaning house:

  • Reading each day: yeah, not as much yet.  The train ride, dark as it is, inspires me more to sleep from here to DC and back, but I’ll force myself to read more, if not every day.  Besides, I’ve got books I need to get through before I donate them.  My resolve to read is taken up more by resolve to work on other projects, and pleasure reading is currently taking a backseat to that.  Research reading, on the other hand, continues on an as-needed basis.
  • Donate shit I don’t want or need or use anymore.  I’ve been going through my clothes piece by piece and seeing what’s awful or doesn’t fit and setting them in a pile.  Combined with some of the Christmas loot I won’t use, I’ll make a trip at the end of January to a Goodwill or someplace to get rid of all these donatables.  No magic needed beyond putting this on my calendar.
  • Cooking the stuff I have.  In progress; I’m slowly going through the stuff in my pantry.  I’m holding myself back from buying actual groceries until I get rid of the bulk of what I have, which I’ve done before and can easily do again (laziness in going to the store is a good thing).

As for Deb’s other suggestions, my life is pretty awesome.  I’m single and love it (it’s so much simpler, and you can’t be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with), I have no enemies or troublemakers in my life, my friends are awesome, and projects and crafts are falling into my lap merely by talking with people (more on those as they happen).

So, back to Work for me!

New Year, New You: Prompt 4, “Relax”

So, now that I’m finally getting back into the routine again (including meditation, which I’m re-discovering how to do yet again, that fickle fucker of an art), things feel absolutely spectacular.  After ritually cleansing the house on New Year’s Eve and doing a banishing of myself after traveling and drinking for the past few weeks, I ended up just sitting in my chair on Monday in absolute joy.  Not doing anything special, just sitting there wrapped in my fleece blanket being utterly happy and content.  I was the happiest dingo*.  Then I had to go to work, but even then, life still didn’t suck.  It’s like this magical stuff makes things awesome by virtue of doing it!  Whodathunkit.

Even then, though, I’m still taking it easy; my life is mostly spent in front of computers and not crystals, after all, and I consider my Work to be my actual work, fun and enlightening as it is.  And, as much as I’ve been talking, these goals I’ve set out for myself are long-term goals or simply gradual things without immediately measurable progress.  This makes Deb’s most recent prompt for the New Year, New You project kind of awkward, if not flat-out tough for me.  Basically, the prompt this week is to treat yourself to something nice, as a reward for doing what’s already been done for the NYNY project and as an incentive for doing more.  “It doesn’t have to be anything really expensive or even super time consuming,” quoth Deb.

The thing is, I don’t particularly feel like I’ve done much to begin with, beyond get back into my routine.  I feel like the work, little enough as it’s been, is only just beginning.  Still, I suppose the little victories count just as much, and I’m known for looking back on huge projects and thinking that they were nothing or barely a trifle anyway.  At this point, geeky or obsessed though it may make me sound, I think the best way for me to relax during this is to simply keep reading.  I mean, it’s not exactly active work, it’s relaxing, and it’s still helping me get my Work done in the long run.  It might be cheating, but whatever (FORGIVE ME DEB).  If I absolutely have to indulge in something (tsk, I mean, gosh, if I have to), then it’s going to be that extra bottle of sangria I have in my fridge while I work from home tomorrow.

Aaanyway…in other news, I added a new section to the site on prayers (you can see it in the navbar above).  I separated out the current prayer articles from the Rituals section and made it its own, since, with the addition of the newly-added Prayer of Thanksgiving, I didn’t want to overwhelm the pages actually focused on rituals.  Also, I’m churning out articles on geomancy oh-so-slowly under the Skills page, so check back periodically and see what’s new there.

* I hang out with furries a lot, and my fursona is a dingo.  I and others occasionally refer to myself as such.  With enough gin, I bite (hard).  And yes, I eat babies.

UPDATE (1/4/2012): Okay, I also found a cheap jewelry sale online and got myself a stainless steel ring for cheap.  You have NO IDEA how difficult it is to find subtle black men’s rings.

New Year, New You: Prompt 3, “Something Put Off”

Okay.  Okay.  I’m back from my ancestral suburban home on the coast and comfortably situated once more in my suburban apartment near DC.  What a trip, let me tell you.  And now that I’m finally getting myself off the holiday chocolate/chowder/booze diet, I’m starting to feel better (read: I can poop again comfortably).  And what a windfall I got from Christmanukkah!  So many books, including a copy of Sefer Ha-Razim (a Jewish third or fourth century text on angelic/Kabbalistic magic), the Picatrix (most important treatise on astrological magic ever), and a variety of other books.  I’ve got plenty to study and apply now, as if I didn’t have enough beforehand.

I intended on fasting between when I got home early Thursday morning and New Year’s, but then I ate a whole pizza, a quarter box of Andes mints; drank a huge can of Monster drink; and porned it up twice.  Pretty sure I hit a snag somewhere, but whatever.  Now I’m getting back on that track.  Really, I mean it.

I also intended on jumping right back into my schedule and daily magical routine I had to forego over the last week due to a lack of privacy and peace at my parents’.  Well, after waking up at 11 yesterday and spending the day eating and getting adjusted to my surroundings again, you can guess how well that went (it didn’t).  Getting back into a routine is difficult, as we’ve all known, especially when it involves prayer and meditation and shit that, though fulfilling and important to any mage or mystic, just aren’t as exciting as the Internet.  I mean, I made a todo list and everything!

Basically me, except with shorter hair. (Much credit and goodwill to Ally at H&aH)

And then nothing happened.  And then yesterday also slipped by with most stuff being put off again, save for the article on geomancy and taking out the trash, and then I went out to a friend’s and had far too much wine and hookah.  So, tonight, I’m ringing in the New Year happily and determinedly, getting off my ass, and stop putting things off.  It fits pretty damn well, actually with Deb’s most recent prompt for the New Year, New You project about stopping putting things off.  However, as there’s not much to write about, the prompt is more of a call for action, i.e. GET OFF YOUR FAT ASS, POLYPHANES, AND DO YOUR SHIT.

Since we’re on the topic, my routine, let me show you it.  It’s enough to keep me in line and isn’t too demanding, and is really more of a good starting point than anything else.

  • Morning routine (roughly 1 to 2 hours)
  1. Writing down dreams
  2. Shower, aspersion with holy water
  3. Prayers to the Almighty
  4. Prayer and offering to my Natal Genius
  5. (Occasional) Prayers and offerings to genii locorum and/or the planeta diei
  6. (As needed) Banishing
  7. Meditation
  • Evening routine (roughly 1 hour)
  1. Headless Rite
  2. Meditation
  3. Thanksgiving and atonement prayers to the Almighty

In addition, I’m joining a small group of working mages that’ll be meeting regularly to discuss and review our own work.  It’ll help keep me in line with a few projects for the coming year, and if this group works out well (I’ve got every hope it will), it’ll be a wonderful tool and resource.  Now that things are settling down again and I have plenty of materia and supplies, I’m starting the year with a few decent projects to give good reports on.

Okay, okay, I’m doing my work now, for real.  I’m preparing for calling a bunch of my friends and having some glasses of champagne and vinho verde (<3 the bubbly) at home once I finish the rounds around my neighborhood: I’m going to make proper offerings to the genii locorum of the land and park where I live, a number of other spirits and gods, the dead at the local graveyard, and to all the memories, egregores, and people who’ve helped me get to where I am.  I made some offering cakes from the book Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris from flour, frankincense, benzoin, rosewater, honey, milk, and olive oil, and I got some good wines and mead to pour out.

Have a good New Years, everyone!  Ring in 2012 right, and have a blast blasting away 2011!  Look good, feel good, do good, and all that other happy bullshit.  Make your play your Work tonight, and have fun!