Ok, this is where things get tricky. I don’t know how many middle school teachers talk about their spiritual practices, much less their magical practices, in a public blog (and I know that some of my former students know about this blog and read it… and maybe some parents, too? Not sure about that part). Deborah’s assignment for this week as part of our magical transformation process is to actually… you know… do magic.
I first got interested in magic by way of my studies on medieval monasticism back in seminary. It occurred to me then, as it still seems deeply plausible, that a directed program of music, prayer, labor and diet such as found in a medieval monastery would cause some pretty specific and deep brain changes. I encountered the concept of entrainment, where a group of conscious, dedicated personnel could push/pull a large number of people into their wake, and inculcate the desired changes in consciousness even in people who might not actually want to enter that new state of consciousness. This is, of course, how cults work.
Sad to say, it’s also one of the (sometimes conscious/sometimes unconscious) theories behind schools: that if teachers can lay down the right combination of study and effort and experience, that students can be pulled into the mindset and awareness that higher levels of education require.
When we the teachers choose a program of study for our students, we’re after entrainment. We want our students to be pulled into those studies, at as deep a level as they are capable of going. (Ideally, we’re not indoctrinating them into a cult as school teachers).
Magic is considerably more personal, but it’s still a form of entrainment:
“Here… perform these exercises and learn to manipulate this irregular (possibly ridiculous, outdated and perhaps ‘outsider’) symbol system. Call on spirits, gods, angels and other spiritual entities to aid you in pursuit of spiritual and material aims. Don’t expect immediate results, this requires practice. Did we mention that being too public about learning to do this work could bring unwanted, possibly negative attention from the authorities and/or your employer? No… we can’t tell you what the results will be ahead of time. The results are non-linear, non-predictable, and unique to each individual. Find out for yourself. Good luck.”
It’s not exactly the sort of invitation to learning that most of us in middle school or high school teaching give our students. Really. It isn’t a great way to inspire confidence in the students, or the teachers. Plus, there’s the really awkward truth: Magic works in practice but not in theory.
I can’t tell you why it works. I can tell you that the little activities I’ve learned and used from occult writing have made me a more effective learner, a more effective teacher, and a more effective artist. But I’m doing a number of things this week with the magical stuff I’ve learned over the years to help ‘entrain’ myself to be more successful at my goals.
Those goals summarized are:
- I’d like to be physically fitter.
- Launch Design Thinking at my school.
- Develop Alternate Income Streams.
- Become a poet again.
- End Debts
- New Car
Here’s how I’ve dealt with them. Being a fairly involved Episcopagan (an Episcopalian with way too much fondness for Greek myths), a lot of the magical work I do draws on either the angelic tradition or the traditional gods of the seven planets. It’s where my traditional ties-of-the-day come from. I’ve made a point of doing either tai chi or yoga every day since I got home from Florida; and I try to do so after invoking the angel of the planet Mars. For the design thinking program, which involves both art and creativity, and communication I’ve called on the angel of the Sun (creativity and of Mercury, who governs speech and communication. I’ve begun making appeals to the angel of Jupiter, who rewards quality work and generosity. Mercury again governs poetry; but so does the angel of Venus, and so does the angel of the Sun. Mercury and Jupiter’s angels govern money matters, and so far I’m not in debt in 2012, having left the last of it behind in 2011. The new car would seem to be a Mercury (transportation)-Jupiter (wealth/generosity) matter.
According to traditional magical lore, it’s a good day to call on these angels if the day-name of the day of the week matches the planet and its angel that you’re trying to call upon. It’s also helpful to make offerings of light (in the form of candles) and scent (in the form of incense) to them. It seems I have my work cut out for me this week, on top of the usual grading work.
Which brings me to another layer of this. Grading is governed by communication (Mercury), kindness (Jupiter), passion (Venus), and creativity (Sun). Because assessing students can be some of my most difficult work, I’m going to design some magic to make me more eager to grade, and more able to do so. Something I’ve put off that I hadn’t really even acknowledged yet. We’ll see what results.