02 February 2015

Daily Practice for Defensive Practitioners

Daily practice is exactly what it says on the tin: a set of magickal practices that you do every day.  For the defensive practitioner this means performing at least one quick and easy protective and/or cleansing practice a day, often more than one.  There are many benefits to maintaining a daily defensive practice that include better metaphysical hygiene, strengthening magickal foundations, and mental comfort.

Deliberately incorporating protective measures into your daily practice is important both for the immediate magickal benefits and their effect on your overall magickal fitness.  Like any other skill set, magick must be practiced in order for a practitioner to rise to their potential.  Just as a sprinter needs to constantly train in order to be as fast as they can be, a defensive practitioner needs to practice protective and defensive magicks on a regular basis in order to have such magicks at their fingertips at all times.  Since we don’t live in a world where we need to practice such magicks all the time (constant attack only happens in fiction or if you are really, really unfortunate), incorporating them into daily practice is the best way train your defensive magick muscles. 

Daily protective practices are also a wonderful mental touchstone for soothing jangled nerves.  After a certain amount of time being a magickal practitioner out and about in the world you begin to notice, for good or ill, more of the metaphysical world.  Realizing just how surrounded we are at all times by the unseen can be frightening and can lead to a fair amount of paranoia.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  As Jim Butcher, says, “...just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face.”  A certain amount of healthy paranoia will give you incentive to actually perform your daily protection practices.  At the same time, your daily protection practices will calm your paranoia.  Do not underestimate the importance of daily practice’s ability to help calm and ground you.  A freaked out practitioner is rarely at the apex of their skill level.  A practice you do every day will come naturally and easily no matter how unsettled you are and will do wonders to bring down your blood pressure and put you back in control of your mind and body.  In a clinch this can be the difference between successful defense and much unpleasantness.

Unfortunately as important and helpful as it is, daily practice is one of the great bugbears of the magickal community.  Like getting regular exercise and eating well, we all know we should do it but many, if not most, of us struggle with actually making it happen.  Stress, fatigue, changes in our schedule, and boredom can all make doing our daily practices difficult.  The two greatest adversaries to successful daily practice are undoubtedly stress and boredom.  

When we’re stressed out and pressed for time it’s easy to let our daily practices slide in favor of dealing with our stressor or just plain freaking out.  It’s always a mistake to forego our daily practice when we’re stressed because that very practice can actually help us deal with that same stress.  Taking five or ten minutes to meditate or do a quick grounding exercise can clear our heads and make dealing with our stress easier.  Of course that’s easier said than done with stress hormones and adrenaline pumping through our veins.  Sadly, there’s no easy solution for gaining the strength of will to do what you ought in times of stress.  It’s just a matter of deciding to do your daily practices and actually doing them.  Don’t beat yourself up if it just doesn’t happen, just try again tomorrow.

Daily practice also faces the pitfall of becoming routine and losing its power, becoming boring.  Some people take great comfort in establishing a routine and performing it over and over again, exactly the same each time.  If you are one of them congratulations, you will really enjoy establishing daily protective practices.  If you’re like me, the idea of doing the exact same things over and over again every day for the rest of your life is about as appealing as eating wallpaper paste.  

Regular daily practice requires mindful performance to retain its magick, both figuratively and literally.  No matter how many times we do the same practice or ritual we must always actively infuse it with our energy and intent in order to actually make magick.  No purposeful intent, no magick.  Routine is a double edged sword when it comes to magickal practice.  It both creates a natural path for our magick to flow through, making it easier to work magick, and can dull our attention making us put in less effort to the point where we fail to push our energy into our routine practices at all.  Mindful attention is the only real solution to keeping routine practices fresh, which is easier or more difficult depending on the way your brain works.  The only other option is to change up your daily practices so that they don’t become routine in the first place.

There are many, many options to choose from when creating your own daily practices, but I particularly recommend self-cleansing and energy checks.  Daily self-cleansing, beyond the obvious benefits, will strengthen your ability to remove negative energy from people and places - possibly the most important magickal skill in the defensive practitioner’s arsenal (other than shielding).  Trust me, this is a skill you want to be able to use anytime, anywhere, at the drop of a hat.  Daily energy checks will strengthen your ability to sense the energies both within and around you - making it far easier for you to asses metaphysical situations when you find yourself in them.  You’ll be far more confident assessing if a place is haunted or if someone’s energy is off if you are accustomed to checking the energy of people and their surroundings.  Practice makes perfect.

I recommend doing at least one protective spell or ritual daily, either first thing in the morning or just before going to bed.  Of course, doing both would be best but there are only so many hours in a day.

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