The Patience of a Beginner

As requested, a masterpost of the entries leading up to, including, and following the DoMagick: Beginner’s Mind challenge in a proper “Start to Finish” order:

While the challenge itself was scheduled to begin on September 1st, the month of August was to be spent researching what to do for the challenge and how to do it.

  • Aug 19: Do Magick: Beginner’s Mind My formal announcement of my participation in the Do Magick challenge, why I’m doing it, and what I hoped to achieve by the end of the challenge.
  • Aug 20: Dream Journal: 2017-08-20.02 The symbol I dreamt of was the variant of the Solomon’s Seal as featured in the Book of Oberon. While the dream was not an official DoMagick update, it exposes the reason why I have such faith in the amulet I was able to acquire before the series of rituals began.
  • Aug 25: Dream Journal: 2017-08-25.01 While also not an official DoMagick update, I include it as I did dream about the Book of Oberon and the entity I sought to contact with it. Also, I have a terrible sense of humor.
  • Aug 26: Ceci n’est pas un rapport A non-update to the status of my research, including some whining details about my (lack of) magical background and acknowledgement of my prospects.
  • Aug 26: Five Days and a Wakeup A formal update detailing the tools and rituals I had accumulated at this point, what work was still required, and links to the backstory that led me to this challenge in the first place.
  • Aug 30: A Finalization Most Necessary The first of many reality checks, updates to tools and passages from the Book of Oberon, and the ritual outline to start the challenge with.

If you reckon time by modern means, then I performed each ritual on the day that I posted it. Five days into the month of September, I realized that if you reckon time by planetary hours and the timing of ceremonial magic, I had actually performed each ritual on the solar day prior to posting about it as each ritual’s start began before the rising of the sun. Es como es.

  • Day 1 – I Wasn’t Ready (But I Did It Anyway) The copying of the words into the thin brown book was not complete, but I couldn’t take the chance of my anxiety using that as an excuse not to do anything. If no candle was lit, then why do I see smoke?
  • Day 2 – I Want To Believe What if I’m making this all up and I’m deluding myself? If I’m getting the results I wanted, does it matter? An Invitation for Apophenia is given, and I experience the difference the Solomon’s Seal amulet made.
  • Day 3 – Apophenia A spirit’s disembodied voice has a literal point to make as I realize that this endeavor is just another layer of self-care and healing from an abusive past. I receive the first corrective instruction about my ritual gear.
  • Day 4 – “You Are Capable” I can’t replace the belt I was using for my circle just yet. I can modify how I lay it out. The modification allows the spirit to be heard more clear, just enough to give me homework and encouragement to complete the homework.
  • Day 5 – When Is Here? Where Is Now? A pre-ritual dream confirms what I had already made up my mind to do. Thirty days of ritual. What happens after you have seen the end? Or is the end still yet to be written?
  • Day 6 – Snooze Control Events from the previous day leads me to oversleep and almost miss the hour for ritual. The spirit marks my attendance and graciously does nothing else.
  • Day 7 – The Scent of Green The spirit takes advantage of my groggy state to teach me how to polish the amber stone and lecture me on the error of using a polyester belt to mark my circle. I see him in human form for the first time and am struck with a sense of an intense green color.
  • Day 8 – Doubt I am silenced twice. First by doubt, then by the releasing of that doubt. Not all data is sharable.
  • Day 9 – Smother Some lessons have to be learned the hard way. Such as how vulnerable I am when pushing past my safe limits. I am fortunate the spirit takes advantage of my state only to further instruct me.
  • Day 10 – Progress The amber piece is worked and presented for grading. The spirit leads me through questioning to realize who I am doing these rituals for. I begin the process of making the cord.
  • Day 11 – Sync Five nights of seemingly unconnected dreams confirm the decision to make the cord was the right one. I find myself more comfortable with the sounds of various names for Jehovah in my mouth.
  • Day 12 – Identities With the “halfway point” reached, the spirit gives me the task of creating a new tool to add to the ritual. There is some reflection on the identities I wear and the symbols I wear for them, followed by the realization that I actually have no choice but to complete the series of rituals.
  • Day 13 – Flow Speaking the ritual places me outside of myself until it is time for business. The spirit chastises me for obstructing myself again before pointing out why I have the tools that I have. I feel I have no choice but to follow his instruction.
  • Day 14 – Snap Having presented the hazel rod to the spirit, I was unprepared for the spirit to use my sufferings against me in an educational moment. To continue forward means confronting unresolved pain from the past. I am encouraged to confront it now in relative safety before it is used against me maliciously.
  • Day 15 – Pivot Feeling full of bravery and bravado, I command the spirit to tell me who had set him to instruct me. I was not emotionally prepared for the answer and nearly ruined everything with the subsequent tantrum.
  • Day 16 – Debrief After a full day of contemplation, I understand how the spirit was able to disarm my rage with only a simple and seemingly random prayer. There is confirmation of the spirit’s use of his own servant to further prompt me to seek him out. I can’t even be mad.
  • Day 17 – Midterm I am tested twice before ritual and at least once during. For all my bluster, the spirit does have a point. If I am going to continue this art seriously, I am going to have to be serious about it.
  • Day 18 – Dare At the time, I told myself that I wasn’t acting out of desperation, but from a position of careful inspection and calculation. In hindsight, I was desperate as fuck and the idea of having supernatural assistance in leaving a bad situation was too good of an idea to pass up.
  • Day 19 – Smoke I never did figure out what the spirit was up to with all the incense smoke. The dream-vision that followed was straightforward at least. It failed to convince me to yield the card.
  • Day 20 – Hold Even now every attempt to remember what was downloaded into my head results in failure. I received something, but what that thing was remains hidden.
  • Day 21 – Stall I am given the justification I need to grant the spirit access via the tarot card. It seems straightforward and gives me the advantage in the contract. All the more reason not to trust it.
  • Day 22 – Management It took pulling rank to make the spirit appear before me. If ritual is only words and pretending, then why did I feel like I had been pulling a tow line instead. Nothing tangible was achieved, but an achievement was still gained.
  • Day 23 – Turn The unpublished vision that came after the previous day’s ritual still unnerves me to this day. I accept I am being played in a larger game and accept the spirit’s offer.
  • Day 24 – Entanglement The spirit is entangled with a specific tarot card, and somehow, binds me with him.
  • Day 25 – Pause Fear of what I had yet to do kept me from being fully present. Some questions are best left unanswered when in such states.
  • Day 26 – Ring Some small talk about the signet ring to come. A loaded question yields a loaded answer.
  • Day 27 – Puer It took twenty-seven days for me to realize the spirit had not been appearing as requested by the conjuration. It took twenty-seven nanoseconds for me to regret insisting on it.
  • Day 28 – Silence What do you do when you don’t believe? You do it anyway. The spirit gives me something to hold on to for when depression tries to drag me away.
  • Day 29 – Inventory The spirit tallies and grades the gear I have used for ritual while laying out the requirements for if I wish to formally pursue this type of art. He allows me to interrogate his past before reminding me that games and art are indivisible.
  • Day 30 – Epilogue The spirit ends the obligation with one last dart of snark. After I put the tools away, there are no physical marks of the previous thirty rituals. The emotional and psychological changes have only just begun.

The thirty days ended well. The week that followed did not. My home environment had started to strangle me as I realized the family home had become toxic long ago and appeasement never saves the victim.

Oct 8: Postscript My focus on the thirty days of rituals blinded me to other matters in the family home. The week following the ritual was suffocating as I was reminded whose home it is. (Spoiler: Not mine.)

The “table flipping event” alluded to in the daily posts was my intention to escape the toxic environment and start a new life for myself and my daughter. Previous attempts had failed, and I was very desperate to get myself out of that house.

Attempting to obtain an apartment on my own failed. My calls went unanswered or the apartment I had inquired about was listed in error. I pulled the Hierophant card from the Stairs of Gold tarot deck and used it to summon the spirit and call upon him for assistance.

That afternoon, the same apartment complex that would not return my calls or my emails for weeks called me. A two-bedroom apartment was available but there was a waiting list I had not been informed about. I was next on the list. Was I interested?

Yes.

Did I get the apartment?

Yes.

The only family member who knew of my plans was my daughter. And she wasn’t saying anything. It didn’t feel real that I was on my way out until I was sitting in what would become my bedroom, surrounded by IKEA boxes, and summoning the spirit via the Hierophant card again. I found myself in the midst of transitions.

As of this post, my daughter and I have been living in our apartment for two weeks now. We were able to get our things and depart in peace while avoiding carrying any debris burdens or false obligations with us. I still summon the spirit via the tarot card, and he still visits in dreams. And while he never did get the corner he wanted, he is content to wait a couple more months before I can chase his signet ring.

My spiritual life has reset, and I am trying to find a new routine to fit this new environment. And then, maybe in a couple months, maybe in a couple years, I’ll lay out the Book of Oberon again, summon the spirit with formality, and pick up my lessons where they left off.