Fire Lyte has a great post discussing physical fitness.
Wait, what? This ain’t a fitness blog! Why do I care about running?
I had to decide something about myself in that moment. Yes, the guy was gorgeous, and that’s fun to look at, but I had to decide exactly how envious of him I was. Was he doing anything that I couldn’t do? Nope. Could I, too, bring a set of weights with me to the preserve and slowly increase my own fitness to that same level? I could definitely try.It’s not like I’m not active. I work out. Lift weights. Do cardio. But, there’s just a level of dedication to diet and truly lifting the heavy weights with laser pointed precision and increasing the weight to a level where it’s not just toning but actually building muscle. Basically, I know that I’m not working out hard enough to look like that. And, I know that I have the youth, the ability, and the knowledge to work out like that.So, how jealous or envious of that body do I actually get to be? There’s no reason why I can’t be at that fitness level except for my love of pizza and deciding that sometimes I only want to run 3-4 miles…or that “doing abs” at the gym consists of 100 simple, plain, vanilla crunches. Enough to say I ‘did abs’, but nowhere close to the workout I’d need to ‘get abs’.All of this made me immediately think of the online pagan community. I thought of bloggers and podcasters whose craft I very much envy. Sarah Lawless was the first person that came to mind. She is sort of famous around the internet for being the witch that every witch wishes he or she could be. I thought of other people who live their spirituality as though it weren’t something they were doing, but an integrated part of their being – Mrs. Oddly & Cory Hutcheson. People like Jason Pitzl-Waters of the Wild Hunt who decided they wanted their pagan path to take prominence and then did that. They formed their life into their spiritual path and don’t distinguish the two.While I was running my miles in the preserve, I asked myself… Do I truly know less than these other people? Well, yes, in many ways I lack some factual knowledge, because I haven’t put in the time that these other people have. But, is my intellect any less? Do I honestly not know where to go to gain that information? Do I honestly not know what meditation is, how to do it, or that incorporating it into my daily routine would probably greatly improve my connection with self and the divine?Basically, am I less than these other people? And, I think the answer is no. The big difference is that I do not put the effort into my practice or my biceps the way that these other people do. As Velma might say, I know the stuff to do, but I’m not doing it all. I’m doing some of it.So, I think what I’m saying is that, if you’re fine with your current level of physical or spiritual fitness, then there’s no reason to be envious of others. You’re doing exactly as much as you want to do. Should you ever desire to do more, you absolutely have those tools. There isn’t any grand secret to having abs. You’re not born with them. You’re not born with an encyclopedic knowledge of sigils or spirits or ceremonial magic. You just have to decide that your free time isn’t free. That your workouts should go a bit beyond. That your research should be more voracious, delving a little deeper.There are much better painters and sketch artists out there. And, I could be better if I spent my off days doing art. I could perfect my sorely lacking knowledge of hermeticism. I could increase the number of crunches I do, the heaviness of the weights I life.But, I’m healthy, do art that I love, and am trotting along my spiritual path at a level that I currently find acceptable. So, I can relieve that envy a bit. I can be satisfied and content.
I’m not sure what to do with an intensive elemental working. The work I have done has shown some improvement in my magic, I suppose. But it all depends upon what I do with it. KAC with the HGA would be a great experience, and would give me bragging rights as a magician, but to what end? How does that help me find a better job? In my experience, Divine Inspiration involves larger abstract goals, and skimps on the details for making such things happen. That’s why we have egos in the first place, isn’t it? To address short-term goals and more immediate needs? Perhaps that’s why connecting to the HGA is supposed to do: get the ego and the Higher Self to hash out the details between themselves?I’m not sure. I haven’t heard much about the practical results of such a working. Just that it’s supposed to be grand, and that Good Magicians(TM) do it.But the achievement itself doesn’t amount to much unless you can use it as an effective tool.There comes a time where all of the grand ritual and mystical accomplishments mean about as much as the fact that I’ve beaten the Ocarina of Time with only three heart containers. If you’re part of a very specific and small group of people, it might impress you, but most people have no fucks to give about it, and it doesn’t really translate into a worthwhile skill. Magic is about becoming more effective in the world, not withdrawing from it. Real gains should have a measurable improvement in my social, professional, and financial lives.
Magicians often boast about their magical prowess, citing their accomplishments like some kind of credible list of awards or laudatory plaudits. Only other magicians can recognize those accomplishments as something to be held in awe or snickered at on the sly. Whether those accomplishments represent degrees achieved or won in some esoteric or magical order or that they represent some kind of personal achievement, like successfully invoking one’s Holy Guardian Angel, all of these accomplishments are subjective at best and potentially worthless regarding one’s actual spiritual level of being. There is something more to the effort of spiritual evolution than magical achievements or initiatory grades, but it is often overlooked in the hustle for apparent greatness.As I have said previously, I have met individuals who have claimed lofty titles and presented burnished lists of achievements, only for them to be shown as being completely and utterly incompetent in all other areas of life. This is the difference between what Jason Miller has called stage or state and it represents the fact that all of us live at the lowest common denominator of our day-to-day spiritual foundation.
If we have achieved great things from a magical perspective, yet our material and/or social lives are needy and impoverished, then we have a long way to go before we will achieve any kind of enlightenment. Just because we spent six months living in our parent’s basement and in that hallowed domain performed the Abramelin working doesn’t mean that we are to be treated as some kind of walking Ipsissimus.