I have started the next path in my “Year and a Day”, and I am currently composing my thoughts in more detail on my first or so with Inner Circle Sanctuary. I began my Second Degree classes yesterday and learned an ever important and unintended lesson in magic last night.
It has always been part of my study, but taking my test last night (yes, we take weekly tests, see my earlier blog post about this being an intensive, in-depth, collegiate style curriculum), and I felt confident as I answered question after question. I even went back through to make sure I was satisfied with my answers; I was.
Then came the answer and review, and sure enough, I missed a question and the following (I missed them both as they were what I call a Continuation Question, ‘if john has a red summer house and a blue winter house, what color is his summer house? ‘, followed by ‘What color is Johns non-summer house?’ Obviously not the real question, we don’t really care where John summers), which meant I missed more than I was allowed for the week, and have to retake the test. Insult to injury the following question was also a CONTINUATION QUESTION THAT I GOT CORRECT (‘How many houses does John have?’). Very frustrating.
Sadly, I know the answer to the quandary of what color John’s houses were, but I lost focus. I have no other answer to why I missed the question except that my mind wandered and I erred. Now I have lost a week of being with my sisters in the craft, or to spin it positively, I have gained an extra week of study as I cannot move forward until I pass the test. And next week, I shall.
The lesson though, is about losing focus. How often as we young witchlings plan our spell craft only to have it putter out, never come to fruition or just plain old backfire? We ask ourselves why, and sometimes it is an easy answer, like using eye of newt as opposed to bat wing, but sometimes we are stumped. I posit that maybe, just maybe, we lost focus. We let our mind wander when it was supposed to be dialed in.
Ask yourself this, as you anoint a candle and put your intention into it, how long does it take you? Do you start thinking about the next step or are you one-hundred percent in that moment? I can say from my experience, yes, I probably have hurried through the “Tasks” of the spell craft at times, in order to get to the next step and yes, I was thinking two steps ahead at times, when I should have been envisioning the outcome. It is one of my great weaknesses, which I work hard on daily to overcome.
I have found some things that have helped me to overcome this and I share with you now, as a young witchling
- Do not underestimate the importance of meditative practice. Spend time in meditation exercises daily and learn to recognize when your mind wanders and to finish the thought, and come right back. In time, you will have control over your thoughts and sometimes, truly, other people.
- Whenever able, do your spell in a magic ring. Kitchen Witchery is good and has its place, but I have found that when I have taken the time to don my robe, call the quarters and invite the Lord and Lady into my ring, my mind is much more focused on the task at hand, as well as all of the benefits of the amplified energy of a magical ring
- TAKE YOUR TIME. My biggest downfall. Take the time while you area anointing your candle, feel the texture of the wax, smell the essence of the oil and think very hard about your outcome. If you get lost, start over. Magic is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Relax and enjoy the task of your craft
- At the very least, limit the distractions. If you cannot perform a full ring then turn off your cellular phone, put the dog and kids outside. Clothes the blinds, mellow the lights and spend a few minutes before hand really clearing your head of work, dinner, friends and then get into it
This of course is not the end all-beat all list, but these steps have really helped me. As I progress more into group magic, the need for clear focus is even more amplified, but that is another story for another day.
I recommend The Spiral Dance as a great book, of ritual, as well as the nuggets of practice in the book which help you to develop your ability to meditate and focus on the work at hand. There are many other sources; even on your iPhone or Android there are apps to help you still your mind. Invest the time in yourself and you will reap the rewards in both the mundane world as well as your craft.