1. Write a short biography indicating what prior knowledge and/or experience (if any) you have in magic. (min 100 words)
My perspective of magic has definitely changed through the last few years as I have continued to study and work with different study programs within ADF. In the past, I would have said that magic didn’t play a strong role within my spiritual practices, but I think this statement was made because I didn’t understand what magic actually encompassed. I thought of magic primarily as casting spells. I now understand that, while my previous understanding is a partial answer, there is so much more to magic than just spells. I use divination and prayers in my daily life, and am the primary ritual leader for my small Grove, so I am familiar with using magic to open the gates and bless the waters. I have done some larger workings as well, including healing work, house blessings, and work to explore the Enochian tablets, but those types of work are much less frequent.
2. Explain your reasons for undertaking this program of study. (min 200 words)
My reason for undertaking this program begins with the perspective change I described in the previous question. In the past, I did not think that magic was a relevant part of my path, so my interest in learning to utilize it appropriately, or improve my skills was minimal. However, I can now say that magic plays an important role in my spiritual practice, and I want to take this opportunity to explore magic in the world, and develop the work that I am already doing, while also building new skills. Currently, I use magic almost daily. It is seen in the divination I use to interpret messages during ritual, and when I do my daily oracle draw. It flows in the prayers I use to connect with the Kindreds. I use it in opening the gates, and blessing the waters in ritual. It seems that every little piece of my spirituality holds some magic in it. However, I know there are many other forms of magic that I am not familiar with, and that there is still so much for me to learn. I know that improving my understanding and skills with magic will improve my personal and group practices, and that is important to me. I want to explore those possibilities and see where I can enhance my practice.
3. Detail your understanding of the necessity of daily magical practice and your own plan for the early stages of such a practice. (min. 350 words)
Maintaining a daily practice of any sort helps to build a familiarity and comfort with the task at hand. Constructing a daily magical practice allows you to exercise your skills, learn what works for you, and familiarize yourself with the energies of the cosmos. By practicing each day, even when it may not be convenient, you are able to build a relationship with the universe that can make your magical workings more effective. Incorporating magic into your daily life gives you a deeper appreciation for the work, and can counteract the idea that magic is a tool to be used only as needed.
Maintaining a daily practice is something that I already do, so my intention is to build upon that and continue doing the work, while allowing it to grow and change as needed. Each day I do a morning devotional where I honor Hestia and Athena, and greet the sun. I light my candles, make an offering, and say a prayer. The prayers and offerings are a form of magic that allows me to build a relationship with the Kindreds I am communicating with, and I intend to continue working with this connection. The relationship I have made through this type of work is very important to my practice. The offerings and prayers of praise I say for them are a small token of my appreciation for them, and often I feel that I am blessed by their presence in my life.
Additionally, as part of my work for other study programs, I have been performing a ritual each week that includes trance and magical working. This work started almost a year ago, and has continued and changed over time. Currently I am doing a trance and magical working through the Odyssey as a method of self-exploration and improvement. In the past I have also done rituals to build connections with specific deities and to begin a relationship with them prior to a magical or ritual working, so I can see myself incorporating this type of practice in the future as well.
I am also a member of the Order of the Dead, so each week I do a full ritual to honor the ancestors and connect with the beings of the underworld. This ritual is newer to my practice and is still evolving, but I plan to incorporate magical working into this weekly ritual as well.
4. Israel Regardie said in his book The Middle Pillar (p. 18) "That self-knowledge is necessary to the pursuit of magic is self-evident.” Detail your own understanding of why self-understanding and introspection are critical for the magus at any stage and how you intend to pursue your own course of self-understanding along the way. (Min. 350 words).
Self-knowledge and introspection have been vitally important during every step on my path, and magical working has been no different. Exploring my spirituality has given me the opportunity to discover my own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, which allows me to have a better understanding of myself. Magic further puts me in tune with the universe and allows me to connect to parts of myself that I may not otherwise have been aware of. Self-knowledge allows me to understand what types of magic works for me, and to see the effects of doing magical workings on me, even when subtle. Self-knowledge also allows me to be aware of my own limitations and to fully understand what my intentions for the work are.
Self-knowledge is also important because it allows me to have an understanding my current mental and emotional state. I have learned enough about myself to know that in certain frames of mind I will not be able to perform certain magical workings effectively. This allows me to have more successful results from my magical practices, and also helps keep me from getting frustrated when things don’t turn out the way I had anticipated them to.
Introspection, to me, is slightly different than self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is having the information on how your thoughts and emotions are processed, while introspection is the ability to look inside yourself honestly and understand what you find. Introspection is very important because without the ability to look inside yourself you can’t truly determine what your desires or intentions for a ritual may be, and they may have unforeseen consequences.
Self-understanding has been a life long journey for me. I’ve always known that every person’s brain works slightly differently, and wanted to know both how mine worked, and why it worked the way that it did. I originally began my college career with a desire to become a psychologist, and even though my career path changed, my fascination with the study has not. I have spent many hours reading and studying psychology to better understand why I am the way that I am. I have gone through therapy to learn more about myself.
At this point, I put my effort more into journaling, which allows me to explore my thoughts and emotions without the fear of judgment. I think journaling is a great way to garner self-awareness and to teach you to be introspective. In addition to that, I plan to continue working through the courses ADF offers, because they all require a certain level of introspection and lots of self-awareness. I have learned so much about myself during this process and am very interested to see where things go from here.