The work completed in August paid off and I’m still here. As the year ended with more pots to cook than I have stove burners available some obligations would have to be fulfilled as sparingly as possible. I had wanted to get back into the DoMagick game, but didn’t want to stir up more trouble.
The December 2018 challenge is about as straightforward as it gets: Talismans.
I decided to buck my normal tendency to overcomplicate matters and make the most basic type of modern talisman using two things found in any grocery store: Paper and glue. What follows is the masterpost of entries for the December 2018 DoMagick Challenge.
- Day 1 – Cut & Paste Combining a SATOR Square and an incantation from the Stele of Jeu in a wee mini-book as a portable apotropaic device to keep with me at work.
- Day 2 – Just The Usual Nothing unusual happened at work, which is almost unusual in itself.
- Day 3 – Just Passing Through My on-site work time was cut short due to off-site work commitments. Again, nothing exciting happened which in hindsight is unusual because the off-site commitment is a predictable anxiety inducer.
- Day 4 – Quietly Surprised The regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting that I was bracing for didn’t happen. I can’t make the call that the day’s calm was a result of the talisman, but I also can’t say that the talisman didn’t help at all.
- Day 5 – Not To Scale An overnight issue came up and my paper talisman was as effective as soggy tissue against it. Which is to be expected as it wasn’t made for dealing with that kind of intensity.
- Day 6 – The Right Amount of Fear After the end of the work week, I sat down and reflected on the talisman’s effect.
- Day 7 – Nothing To Talk About Nothing happened. There were no situations that would have made room for fear, and no unwarranted fear that needed to be shut down.
- Day 8 – Time To Do This A seal for time management was designed, critiqued, and redesigned. It is literally nothing fancy, but the act of making it was a lesson in itself. Installed as a passive addition to the mini-book, I have an option for activating it to get some extra help as needed.
- Day 9 – Time Managed It’s not about having enough time, it’s about managing the time I have. One clock leads to another and I acknowledge my learned helplessness regarding time management.
- Day 10 – So The Problem Is… The SATOR Square continues to inconspicuously hold unnecessary fear at bay while the time management seal makes its effect known by making me aware of all the times I chose not to challenge the flow I was caught in. It’s humbling to realize how much I am in my own way, but now that it is becoming clear, perhaps I can do something about it.
- Day 11 – Working As Intended The seals continue to work unnoticed until I realize I have changed my behavior to meet the new mindset. All went according to plan until it didn’t. It’s going to take more than a series of red lines to keep a webserver from falling over.
- Day 12 – Civil Unrest The seals don’t prevent loquacious clients from monopolizing my time. But any such seal that would cut off their words would cut mine off too. I come to grips that regardless of what the seals bring to my awareness, it is still my responsibility to act on that information.
- Day 13 – A Parting Day The SATOR Square delivers from fear, not anxiety. Some things I’m going to have to work on the ol’ fashioned way. The time management seal helped me face the second trigger on time. Otherwise, the day was uneventful.
- Day 14 – Time To Stop The seal, when active and applying, leaves a taste in my mouth that reminds me of hot, glowing steel. I am reminded that there is a time to be still just as there is a time to be moving. I’ve taken the hint and have been on mental cruise control for the day.
- Day 15 – An Unsettling Settlement The day started off right on schedule and I got a lot more done than I usually would. Until an obligation asserted itself and rearranged my evening goals. Previous work in challenging fear pays off but time still nags me to bed.
- Day 16 – Recycled Goals The time management seal’s encouragement to get up a little earlier on work mornings pays off as I pay the last debt accrued from last night. I keep looking for a new seal to make but can’t settle on anything worthwhile. I consider pulling out one of the goals from the June shoal sigil, but I’m too tired to give it honest consideration.
- Day 17 – Keeping to the Work No new items were added to the mini-book. I realized I was risking using something “new” to avoid the responsibilities I already have. The time management seal continues to keep me accountable to myself, and that includes the responsibility to rest when needed.
- Day 18 – Notes About Nothing I still tried to pick one component of the June Shoal Sigil to work into the mini-book. I gave up when I realized that that particular group of ten desires are interlinked and pulling one out will unravel them all.
- Day 19 – One Step Back After giving up on the idea, the idea flashed back in my head. However instead of pulling the component pieces apart, I realized I could just carry the entire sigil forward by making a right proper sigil out of it. The work of doing so will have to wait until tomorrow, cuz I’m pooped.
- Day 20 – Promises, Promises Adding the shoal sigil to the mini-book still didn’t happen. The day required triaging priorities, and the shoal sigil just isn’t that high on that list.
- Day 21 – Promises Kept After a pleasant geometric dream, the shoal sigil still wasn’t added to the mini-book until I realized that I am my own worst enemy. I forgot why I was taking up this challenge. My priority is to complete the challenge, not have a perfect public diary of my efforts. The shoal sigil was added, out of sight, assuring me of continued morning mugs of “damn good coffee” to come.
- Day 22 – A Proposed Complication It’s not magic until something burns, even if that something was technically superfluous. Every sigil I’ve made was marked complete by being held down by a burning candle and this marks the third time the mini-book has been under fire. I hold from adding a fourth sigil to the mini-book and instead consider how else such a construct could be used to really get me in trouble.
- Day 23 – An Idle Day While Christmas isn’t my holiday, I took advantage of the relative quiet to have some peace and good will of my own. The full post is a short reflection on passive magic and how easy it is to overcome it when you are conscious of it.
- Day 24 – Time Enough? I started the day with three tasks. Wrong day for the first, the second is taking longer than expected, and the third has to wait for the second to complete. It was a good reminder of why I have the time management problems that I do, and why I made the seal in the first place. Tomorrow I will recite the bible verse and activate the seal. The only way to find out what will happen is the hard way.
- Day 25 – Limitations The seals can only do so much against the actions of others. I find this out the hard way when a day that started with great promises of productivity turn into a clinging mud that saps all of my good will.
- Day 26 – Disappointment With four days left to go, I begin the looking back process now. On paper it feels like I haven’t done much, and my productivity at work would agree with that. I confirm my expectations were too high and that the world doesn’t care about your intentions.
- Day 27 – Making Sure Nothing Happens Since I’m now waiting for others to finish their work before I could finish mine, helping other people with their tasks was more preventative maintenance than time waster. Though I do wish my warnings were listened to sooner than later.
- Day 28 – Priorities A friend points out what the time-management seal has been burning my behind over: I’m not putting myself first in my life. They may have a point when I’m catching myself scheduling lazy times.
- Day 29 – Home Work I only worked on “home work” today, but had overscheduled myself as usual. The indulgent pampering is going to have to wait, again. What I thought would be a paper tiger of a challenge for the month has bit off a good chunk of my ego and I’m glad for it. Looking forward to seeing how this evolves after the challenge.
- Day 30 + 1 – Task Completed Yesterday was cut short but not by the holiday, so instead of calling it then, I dragged it out to today to test the time-management seal one more time. A task wasn’t completed last week at work, so I went into the empty office to get “30 min” of work done. It took 2 hours, and along the way I acknowledged all the ways that little interruptions accumulate into deadline killers. The day ended with some self-care that the shoal sigil would not allow me to ignore anymore.
And that’s it. The mini-book I created at the start is just plain paper and was not made for the repeated flexing that has come with the deliberate activation of the time-management seal and to a lesser extent, the shoal sigil. The three sigils have been working as intended, and folks have made some great suggestions about how to evolve the mini-book and seals to meet specific needs.
I will admit that I started the month scoffing at the idea of odd angled lines on folded paper being of any worth without elaborate preparations before hand such as what is needed to bring a spirit’s signature into physical form. I have since been corrected.
I don’t know the mechanisms by which the three sigils have worked. I just know that these three sigils in particular do. And that’s enough for me.