Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fitness - Road Opening, part 2

In my last couple of posts, I talked about my fitness goal, where I am with it, and where I want to be. I also described some of the issues and obstacles related to this. The specific magical work that I decided on was a road opening candle working. Simple enough.

Before doing this working, there were some things to consider. First, in Gordon's post on Road Openers, he discusses how road opening work can apply to almost any kind of enchantment. I agree with this notion because road opening helps to remove obstacles and, if you've decided to use magic towards attaining some goal, then one could argue that you are dealing with obstacles. This isn't always the case, and by no means am I making an argument in favor of emergency or last-resort magic. But isn't the point of practical magic to get around and overcome the difficulties and blockages encountered in life?

In Strategic Sorcery, there are macro-enchantments (general, overarching enchantment), and micro-enchantments (spells hitting the many smaller details of the goal). Going by this, road opening would be considered a macro-enchantment because it actually applies to the overall goal. It could be worked as a micro-enchantment by applying it to the smaller details...but I just don't see the use in that because it would be more work when you could just apply it to the overall efforts and move on. These things considered, road opening spells make a fantastic first or second enchantment toward any goal.

With that said, Gordon ends his Road Opener post by outlining how road opening spells can take care of a large chunk of practical enchantment, paraphrased:
  1. Make sure you are able to pursue the goal.
  2. Make sure there are avenues through which you can pursue the goal.
  3. Open the avenues.

With this in mind, I considered my ability to work toward weight loss and came up with the following factors:

  • My health metrics that can impact my ability to exercise (blood pressure, stamina, mobility, etc) are OK.
  • I can currently afford healthier food.
  • I am totally willing to do the hard work and exercise the discipline needed to do this.

What about avenues?

  • I have access to several resources, offline and online, through which I can find accurate and helpful information and knowledge to help me make the right choices.
  • I have a membership to a gym that's basically around the corner from my home.
  • I have miscellaneous stuff that supports my efforts (appropriate gym clothes, a scale to measure progress, tracking tools, etc).

Now, I think it's also important to know the factors stacked against me:

  • The fact that I often suffer depression which can contribute to me neglecting to workout.
  • Issues from my past dealing with people who were either emotionally abusive about the topic of my weight, or were overly enabling of my weight, lending to avoidance of the topic on my part (mostly overcome at this point).
  • Being in social circles where, often, being overweight or obese seems to be considered OK (and in rare cases can even seem to be encouraged, but like I said that's rare).
  • Temptation to overeat and dealing with it when it comes up.

After considering all of this, I performed a divination questioning how beneficial a road-opening spell for fitness would be and received positive signs. With that done, I went about the work.

NOTE: If you've read much of this blog, you'll know my practices are somewhat eclectic and, overall, pretty syncretic. Cultural misappropriation warriors may find many parts of what I describe distasteful. I try to be respectful, but so far this has been my path and it has worked for me.

Ocean Delano's Road Opening Spell for Fitness

The spells I do tend to draw from Hermeticism, Strategic Sorcery, and various forms of folk magic, such as Rootwork. This spell especially derives from the latter. I started by gathering the following:

  • 1 orange 7-day vigil candle
  • Road Opener or VanVan oil
  • Road Opener, VanVan or Frankincense & Myrrh incense
  • Lightly-ground road-opening and clearance herbs such as lemongrass, abre camino, lamon balm, camphor, and others.
  • Road Opener or VanVan bath crystals.
  • A printed label for the candle depicting a winding road and open sky, captioned with the words "Open Roads". The awesome, sexy guys at The Vodou Store sell such labels for cheap, although I made this one myself.
  • Spray adhesive.
  • A pen.

I went with the VanVan products across the board, as it's what I had at the time.


On the day of the working, an hour before sunrise, I fixed a pitcher of VanVan bath using some bath crystals I made, although you could also brew the relevant herbs into a tea and dilute it. I got in the shower, stoppered the tub, drew water from the tap until it was ankle deep, and then poured in the bath infusion. I bathed Hoodoo-style, pouring the water over me 9 times. While doing all of this, I repeated a prayer made from Psalms 16:11, 119:35, 119:105, and 25:4 respectively:

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore; Make me to go in the path of thy commandments, for therein do I delight; Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path; Show me thy ways; teach me thy paths.

In the process I also thought about my goal, where I want to be on it and where I am now, as well as all the obstacles that I knew of. I gathered up a small portion of the used bathwater and, once I let myself air dry, I got dressed and headed to a nearby crossroads off the property of my apartment complex. I dumped the used water toward the east, reciting the prayer again. Then I headed back home without looking back.

The Main Work

Later that day, I began the spell proper. At this point you would do your typical centering and self-empowering exercises. In my case, I began by reciting the Prayer of the Design followed by establishing the Pillar, opening my Spheres, and then performing the Universal Centering (the latter three a la TSS). After this, I created a zone by casting a basic protective circle and calling the four directions using a compass-laying technique taught by Jason in the Strategic Sorcery course.

I cleansed the candle with florida water. Then I made the candle label into a petition paper by writing the following statement of intent on the back of it, in the center so it took a few lines:

Open for me the roads that lead to success in losing weight and improving my physical fitness.

With that written I turned the paper 90-degrees counterclockwise and wrote my name over it 9 times to symbolize my dominance of the situation. After five-spotting it with the oil (see above on the materials gathered), I sprayed a little adhesive onto it and placed it on the candle, label-side out.

With the petition ready, I prepped the candle itself. Using an awl (you can use that or a toothpick, needle, or other pointy, scribey tool) I inscribed my first and last name into the wax at the top of the candle, then turned the candle 90-degreen counterclockwise and inscribed "open roads" in the wax. Using a spare drillbit I have, I put four holes in the wax, one in each "quarter" of wax created by the name and goal inscription. Using a dropper, I filled each hole with the oil. At this point I will tell you that you don't want to do what I did next: I sprinkled a pinch of VanVan powder over the top of the candle. I'll explain why you should not do this in my next post; instead, sprinkle maybe a pinch of the lightly-ground road-opening herbs over the top of the candle. Or, you know, you could just leave them out.

Alternatively, you could put a bit of the herbs in each hole, then fill them the rest of the way with the oil.

With the candle physically prepared, I built up power using a special mantra taught by Jason called the Song of the Serpent. Alternatively, you could use the above prayer made from multiple psalms to help build power. Once I felt I had built up enough power, I built up just a little more. Then, using will and imagination, I patterned that power with the statement of intent from the petition, also concentrating on the goal and the path to it. After this, I channeled the power into the candle using the Triangle of Manifestation gesture.

Then I laid my hands on either side of the candle and mentally reached out, reciting the following prayer (based on one found here):

By the Logos within me I call upon the forces of the earth and the sky, and mighty Hekate if she is willing, to smooth over any and all difficulties and obstacles which stand in my path. I invoke the divine name IAO, so that my work and effort toward losing bodyfat and attaining better physical fitness will bring forth the results I so earnestly long for. O great hidden powers, hear me for I implore your supreme majesty: send me a message of good luck from divine providence, separate me from danger and lead me from temptation at the precise moment, illumine my way with the light of fortune. O mighty Hekate, open the roads to my success. Forces of the earth and sky, show me the path and light my way. By the power of IAO, it shall be done.

With that, I lit the candle and continued chanting the "psalm prayer" from earlier for a few minutes before releasing the compass and the circle.

There are certain difficulties which occurred that will be covered in my next post, but for the rest of the time the candle was burning, I took a moment once per day to repeat the "psalm prayer" a few times before the candle.

Once it eventually burned out, I peeled off the label, bundled it with other remnants in a paper towel, and discarded them at the crossroads away from my home.

The Results?

Within a few days I received a couple of omens that told me the work was, well...working! Then suddenly, I came across new information regarding the topic of weight loss which pointed to corrections I needed to make in my workouts and dieting. Social support started coming together and detractors became completely silent on the topic. It became easier to go to the gym, and I've gone three times per week consistently for a month. Well, except for two weeks where I went twice...but ended up doing hard, physically exerting labor on what would have been the third day each of those weeks! The issues are not gone, per se, but it's either like none of it matters, or it just doesn't stick.

And whereas before, I saw no weight loss (even after two weeks)...I've dropped about 5lbs in the last week and a half. :)

So far, I'm calling this one effective!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fitness - Road Opening, part 1

In my last post, I talked about embarking on a fitness goal. Like many people, this is a goal toward which I've worked multiple times...and fell off the wagon multiple times. When I made my post, I was still putting together my full strategy to give myself the highest possible chance of success. I started by sitting down and getting an overall picture of my health, including where I am now with my weight, where I want to be in the end, and where I want to be in the relatively near future.

I'm not gonna lie, I'm morbidly obese. The number of ways in which this negatively affects my life and happiness FAR outweigh any and all excuses for not losing that weight. In my case, the silver lining is that many of my other health metrics (like blood pressure, cholesterol, heart health, physical stamina, strength) are healthy. This puts me at an advantage for weight loss efforts because I can do most exercise without endangering myself, and I can choose the healthier foods I eat and don't have to take on a special diet (read: Atkins, South Beach, Zone, Primal, etc.) if I don't want to. Additionally, I found a gym with cheap membership rates right around the corner from where I live (and I admit I've been a member since July of last year [and yes, I have gone many times]). On top of all that I've lost weight before, so I'm no stranger to it, I have a clue how it works and can roughly do good nutrition.

So I have a lot stacked in my favor...and yet there have been a lot of obstacles to deal with. This has included the usual suspects like willpower, distractions, time management, and maybe others. Many of these are under individual control, but life itself seems to love throwing curveballs at you when you are trying to make a positive change (even if you aren't crossed). But out of all the possible distractions and sources of "sabotage" in weight loss efforts, there is one I expected the least: friends and family.

See, I'm one of those fat guys who grew up with everyone and their sister telling him that he's not fat (I've literally been told the Southpark line "You're not fat, you're just big-boned"), that he's just a "big guy", that he's not "meant" to be "thin" or, even worse, that he would look weird if he lost weight. Enabling behavior and words from well-meaning people have been far more of an obstacle than I ever imagined it would be. If the voices of any enablers are internalized, combined with a person's own struggle with their own willpower, those other voices can be devastating. By no means am I blaming others for my failure to lose weight; honestly, I carry that burden myself!

But if you're like me, these things can join in the giant cacophony of things that get in your way. At the very least, they don't help with preventing excuses. And let's face it: when pursuing a major goal that changes your life...sometimes, having a good support base can make a huge difference! And I should clarify: what I mean by 'support' can be as simple as not voicing discouragement. Given the nature of my in-person social circles (mentioned in my last post), it's been a struggle getting some folks to give me that support (or lack of discouragement).

So in light of all that, I decided to begin the magical side of my weight loss efforts with a Road Opening spell, which will be detailed in my next post!

NOTE: Admittedly, this is a highly sensitive topic. In fact, I was in a Facebook group where me and another guy got into a pretty nasty exchange after I ranted about the influence of friends and family in relation to this. He actually blocked me because of that exchange. I've come to understand his POV on it, so I would like to say: by no means do I blame my friends and family for my failure to lose weight. In the end, that is on me and I take responsibility for it. I do have my own take on the usual statement spoken to help one feel better, and I have my criticisms of such things. But in the end, it's a path I alone must walk. Supports are like people on the sidelines cheering you on, but nothing more.