Have you ever wondered why Eastern spiritual practices often have some sort of physical practice combined with the spiritual? Think about it – Yoga, Tai Chi, Martial Arts. It’s because many Eastern traditions discovered early on that a healthy mind, a healthy spiritual connection to the divine source, and a healthy body go together.
Some of the Western Magickal Traditions have attempted to replicate this by drawing Yoga into the practice, as we see with certain new age/white light/ modern feminist Wicca movements, and, of course, Thelema. But by and large – the bulk of Western Magick completely ignores the health of the magician and thus – a good number of us are unhealthy and/or have bad habits.
First things first – unlike some magicians, I’m not going to sit here and berate or shame magicians who have unhealthy habits. That’s not productive and just because you have a bad habit – it doesn’t make you less than. The magicians who tout their own perfection because they think they’re a pillar of health often have other issues that they need to work on.
Instead, I’m hoping to inspire you.
You’re one to talk, Steph. You’re not so healthy yourself.
Actually, I’m probably one of the best people to talk about it because my happy ass is in the thick of it. I think that perhaps those of us who have battled unhealthy habits are better equipped to discuss that issue with others because we’ve been there, we know how difficult it is, and we have more compassion for those going through a similar thing.
You’re right. I have suffered the same issue so many Americans in the mid-West suffer from — poor eating habits, long work hours, and a sedentary lifestyle. It’s a deadly combo. But that doesn’t mean I’m not actively working, on both a spiritual and mundane level, to change my own bad habits. And just because you have some bad habits doesn’t mean you can’t start working to change those habits, too. Again, I repeat, having faults and shortcomings doesn’t make you a shitty magician, it just means you have work to do. Let’s just say I have yet to meet any grand ascended master magicians who have done all the work. Such people are the unicorns of the magickal world.
Great. So are you going to give me some kind of magician’s diet or something?
Not at all. We all know that processed food is full of fat, sugar, and salt, and that whole foods, and a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins is good for us. We also know what healthy portions are (take about 1/3 to 1/4 of what any US restaurant puts in front of you, and that’s all you should be eating per meal). You can make those healthy choices on a day to day, meal to meal, basis, one day at a time. I don’t believe in exclusion diets anyway, because it makes you less likely to stick with a diet over time. The key is moderation. Eat what you want, just don’t eat a lot of it and remember that not all calories are created equal. 150 calories of your favorite vegetable is going to be a lot more filling and satisfying in the long run than a small 250 calorie slice of pizza. (Really small.)
Yeah, yeah, so what the fuck is your point?
My point is that most of us don’t move enough, and not moving enough affects our energy, and that could be adversely affecting our health, our minds, our magick, AND our connection to the divine (whether we realize it or not). It’s a lot more noticeable the older you get. When you’re under 35, not so much.
This is not a new revelation for me (or for you, I’m sure), it’s just that every so often, I need a gentle reminder. We all need a reminder to stop, pause, and pay attention to our bodies. It’s easy to get side-tracked. About four months ago, I stopped listening to my body because I was pre-occupied and distracted by All. The. Things. Most of us have been there. You know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve been doing your yoga class for months, but you start getting busy and it’s just more convenient and easier to not go. Especially in the colder months when many of us want to hole up indoors behind our computer screens.
Tell me more.
At the end of last year, I found myself grinding my teeth to the point of having headaches. I’m a bit of a workaholic, and I’d created a major publishing schedule for myself that seemed harrowing. It was stressing me out. I shared my issues with a fellow priest and he said, “Have you considered Tai Chi?” (He suggested this because Tai Chi is not only about movement and focus, but it’s ALL energy work, which makes it a fantastic practice for magicians.)
Now, I had planned to go back to yoga, but the prospect of finding a new studio after my favorite one closed just seemed daunting. So, I took my friend’s advice, and $25, and I dropped by a local Tai Chi and Yoga studio not 10 minutes from my house. I signed up and got my body moving again. For some reason, making a financial commitment helps me hold myself accountable (you may have to find your own accountability thing).
My chaotic life schedule has made it to where there are weeks here and there where I have to skip out. And you know what it’s reminded me of? How crappy I feel during the weeks where I don’t spend some quality time with myself, moving my body.
I decided to sit down and make some lists that I’m going to share with you. Feel free to make your own!
How I feel physically, mentally, spiritually when I don’t move:
- Like communicating with the divine is more difficult.
- Unable to focus.
- More frequent headaches.
- Ankle swelling.
- Harder to build and send energy.
- Don’t feel inspired or creative.
How I feel physically, mentally, spiritually when I do move regularly:
- At peace, balanced, and feeling part of all that is.
- More sociable.
- Expansive, open energy.
- Communication with the divine is easy, natural.
- Fewer issues with headaches.
- No ankle swelling.
- Easier to build and send energy.
- Feel more inspired and creative.
So basically, I need to get a gym membership or go hang out doing yoga or Tai Chi where some asshat is going to tell me to breathe? Don’t they know that breathing is something you do whether you want to or not? No thanks.
Not at all. You can incorporate whatever body movement/exercise program into your life that works for you. Perhaps it’s just taking a walk around the block after dinner. Maybe you do yoga at home once a week. Perhaps you get back to running, hiking, biking after a long hiatus. Just do something. Even if it’s just standing up once an hour and walking around your office, or stretching. You don’t have to kill yourself.
What if I can’t move because I have a physical disability or illness that keeps me sedentary?
If you have a disability or issue with movement, do what you can. Cardio and weight bearing exercises aren’t the only movement available. Why not do some resistance or strength training? You just need a 5 pound weight and 10-15 minutes every day. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist for exercises you can do.
So why this article?
I just want those with a sedentary life habit to see and experience the change in their energy level, magick, and spiritual connections once they give the habit up.
Kind of like quitting smoking will change how your energy moves/feels, so will quitting a sedentary lifestyle. Perhaps it’s time practitioners of all Western Magick should be more cognizant of their physical health and its impact on their magick. At worst, we’d all be a little healthier, happier, and more in tune with the divine within and without.
Which Daemons can I work with to help me out here?
As usual, this is not a complete list of all the Daemons who can help in this area. There are MANY Daemons you can work with that help with health, breaking bad habits, and self transformation. This is just a short list of my go-to’s.
Buer is great for transforming habits.
Leviathan to help you overcome emotional triggers holding you back, or causing you to engage in the bad habit to begin with.
Zagan can help if you need a complete life overhaul. Save this one for self destructive habits like drugs, alcohol abuse. etc…
Verrine or Marbas if you need general health or vitality. (If you have physical limitations or illnesses.)