A couple of weeks back, someone on Twitter mentioned the need to balance one’s “occult interests” with “other things.” The point they seemed to be making is that, if you’re only ever studying or doing “occult stuff,” you’re doing it wrong.
I’m not going to “name and shame” them, or anything, but this struck me as kind of a weird position to take.
What even is “occult,” and how do we do it?
Right off the top of my head I can think of several, obvious subjects we could lump under the “occult” umbrella.
- Magical Ritual
We could pad out this list even further by acknowledging that not only is doing these things “occult stuff,” but so is reading about them, studying them, and teaching them.
And then, of course, there are the craft projects.
Some people buy their magical materials, others make them. I’ve known folks to hand-dip their candles, bind their own notebooks, and craft every ritual tool themselves, from wands, to robes, to athames.
To me, this is kind of a long list, and it’s not even remotely complete. If someone were to regularly engage in just a handful of these studies, I’d say they had a rather rich and diverse set of interests.
What’s the frequency, Kenneth?
My point here, if you haven’t already guessed it, is that leading a magical life—one that is flat out dedicated to the “occult” and nothing else—should be immensely full and fulfilling. It can (and often does) involve a lifetime spent collecting and honing diverse skills, connecting with other people from all walks of life, and maybe even traveling the world.
I opened this post by writing that I saw a person tweet out this opinion, but in truth I’ve seen it expressed many times in many different places. Even some How-to-Magic books claim that magic isn’t everything, and stress that you shouldn’t try to make it so.
Well, to put it lightly, I disagree.
I mean, when you get right down to it, we’re talking about magic, here, right?
There are a million and one definitions of “magic” out there, and one of them could be: “The act of observing and manipulating supernatural forces, with the aim of understanding and controlling the universe in which we live.”
If you accept that magic is real, and that it looks even a little bit like the definition I wrote above, then the only balancing act which makes sense to me is how to go about incorporating it into every single aspect of one’s life.
Or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that you should strive to recognize that magic is already woven into every part of your life.
The obligatory “everything is magic” bit
When you bake bread, aren’t you making an offering of sugar to yeast, sacrificing it in a sacred fire, then consuming it—body and spirit—to strengthen yourself?
Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t, but it’s worth thinking about. And it’s worth looking at and thinking about the magic behind everything else you do.
Do you put seed out for the birds? Open your blinds to let in the sun? Cook meals for friends and family? Say “good morning” to your co-workers? Clean your house? Lock your doors? Water your plants? Shower?
In many different cultures, in many different times and places, there’s no separation between the “magical” and the “mundane.” To study one is to study the other.
In other words, if you ever find yourself wondering if there’s some proper time and place for the “occult,” perhaps it’s worth considering always and everywhere as not only good starting points, but the only reasonable answer.
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