I was working on one of the questions in Third Degree comprehensive final exam this morning for the Correllian Nativist Tradition and this got me thinking about the need to practice what we know.
Have you ever seen someone's book collection with shelf after shelf of books that have never been read? The collection might be impressive but it is also useless.
Magical knowledge is not given to us nor do we collect it so that it can gather dust on a shelf in our minds. The key to being a real pagan, Wiccan, a witch or a wizard is not to gain knowledge as an end in itself, but to apply the knowledge to improve life and the world.
Using Magick is just like using any other “muscle”. I practiced martial arts for years until two back surgeries sidelined me and then I started to study qigong and tai chi. It turns out that tai chi is also a martial art that is practiced slowly. The slow practice makes it possible to perfect every small movement in each step in the sequence. So, you might ask, why try to perfect every small motion? Because then when we need to use it for real it is second nature; we have the muscle memory that will instantly call the appropriate motion into action without conscious thought.
We need to practice magick the same way and not just read about it. If we practice it every day and practice well then we internalize the skills and they become part of our subconscious skill repertory. That way when we are faced with a difficult, frightening or dangerous situation our subconscious mind can call up the appropriate response with our conscious mind having to go through the thought process of analysis—decision—action.
We don’t have to analyze by thinking, “I’m faced with an issue. Its this kind of issue, I wonder what I should do.” Followed by decision, “Well, these are possible responses, which one would be best. Give me a minute to think about these and then I choose one.” And then followed by action, “Well, now that I have selected x as the best response, how do I do it.”
One of the most important skills that I have learned is grounding. After years of practice I can ground almost instantly. Then I am able to act or speak from a position of calm strength. My high school track star son told me last night that he practices all out every day so that when he runs a race it will just feel like another practice with a little more adrenaline.
What would happen all of practiced every day? Do you love magick or being pagan? If today isn’t the day when you really make it part of your life, then when is? Let's all be practicing Wiccans or Pagans and not theoretical ones. Let's practice what we know, ritual, spell work, divination. Let's be who we have studied to be, practicing Pagans and not just scholarly ones.
Peace my friends,
I'm Dr. Dave, an eclectic shaman. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice eclectic shamanism.