Sometimes the bandwidth available to do the things we have to in life is very, very low. Sometimes this is a passing thing, where life circumstances get the upper hand but may in time pass. I’m coming out of a version of this between moving, injuries, surgery, and a massive loss. Sometimes this is just life as it is and will, most likely, remain. While not the same thing from a causative place, the result is the same. This bandwidth thing is a spectrum.
On one side of the spectrum, we have infinite resources while on the other, we have no resources. Most people fall somewhere in between these two points, having more or fewer resources available to do this life thing, which can include magic. Obviously, we could create many more specific spectrums considering the availability or non-availability of specific resources, such as time, space, money, vision, health, mobility, hearing, disease status, etc. For this brief blog post, I’m keeping it as ‘resources’ with the understanding that to use this approach you may need to get more specific as suits your reality.
We can also look at practical magic and occultism as a spectrum. On the one side, we have an approach of pure study, no practice, and on the other, we have pure practice, no study. Again, most people fall in the middle. But here’s the thing: both extremes are also options! This can cause problems if we believe that one = the other such as when people who don’t practice argue about what works or doesn’t work in practice with people who do practice. I always default to ‘the one who does the work gets to decide if the work is working’, which in a different context Rory Miller once referred to as ‘The Way of the guy who is actually there”.
We can also look at a spectrum between complexity and simplicity. On one side we might have 7-dimensional hypercube magic and on the other side ‘ask for what you want’. Again, either end are perfectly fine approaches, and again, most people exist in the middle ground.
Where this becomes relevant is when we try to overlay approaches onto the bandwidth spectrum. No resources probably precludes massive complexity. The desire to bring about change via magic likely precludes 100% study. We could create other spectrums: risk-risk aversion, inclination-disinterest, religion-atheism, etc., etc.
The really crucial thing here is that all points on all of the spectrums are valid places to be today, tomorrow, yesterday, forever. They just change HOW you can approach things, and perhaps what you choose to approach. And this changes or at least can, over time. I used to study and read everything I could get my hands on about magic. Then I hit a place where I had no interest in doing so. I’ve gone years of doing a sigil or two every other month to years of doing an hour of work (including meditation and energy work) every day. It all worked fine in light of the bandwidth I had, as well as my inclinations at the time.
You can study hours a day and maybe do a candle spell every once in a while. You can never read another book and do hours of work a day. You can bless a glass of water in 30 seconds and split it between you and your allies. You can do variants and combinations of any and all of these things and get exactly what you need from them IF it is working for you. That’s the bottom line: you are the one who is actually there. You decide what your Way is.
Will the results of all of these approaches be the same? No way! Ingesting nothing but 2300 calories of grass-fed beef every day will do something different to your body than 2300 calories of beets every day which will do something different than 2300 calories of Twinkies every day, especially over time! So it is with magic. You get to decide, and experiment, and see what comes of it. But there is no ‘right’ approach other than the one that works for you.
We all have our inclinations, and we can get myopic (I know I can) and think that these are universal. But if saying the rosary once a week gets it done for you, is satisfying, fulfilling and/or is all that you can (or desire to) do, go for it! The atheist occultist who has read a thousand books on magic and whose chosen approach is wanking thrice daily at the appointed hours inside the tesseract may think this is absurd, foolish, and misguided. Who cares? He’s the guy in wanking in the tesseract, he is the guy who is actually there. It works for him. You are you. You are the one actually in your life, living it. Do it your way. Find what feels good, is viable based upon your inclinations, bandwidth, and resources, and see if you can make it work in a way that fulfills you and meets your needs.
The ultimate short form: match your approaches to your situation. This is how everyone who has ever done anything effectively has managed it. Magic is no different, in my opinion.