I am an organised person. I’m kind of known for it. Whether it’s colour-coded festival spreadsheets, online calendar synchronisation or comprehensive lists of, well, everything, task me with just about any activity or information set and in short order I’ll probably have built some kind of process and administration around effectively managing it. I do it because it makes my life easier, especially during periods when I’ve been juggling disparate appointments, commitments and workloads.
I’m in a very different situation now – it’s less a case of juggling day-to-day or week-to-week activities and now thinking about longer-term publication dates, projections, accounts, orders, invoices and so on. I had to start thinking about things a bit differently too (I suppose ‘big picture’ would be a good way of describing it, though I’m largely averse to that kind of terminology after years of unfortunate exposure). I have to think a lot more about the negatives, about the ‘what ifs’ – the things that are completely and utterly out of my control but that I still somehow have to account for and be prepared for. Whereas objectively this is true of everyone’s lives all the time, introducing and being highly conscious of it in my everyday reality feels heightened somehow.
It’s something that doesn’t often get discussed in terms of practising magic, insofar as I have seen anyway. How often, when we’re planning a particular working, do we come up with a contingency plan? Would I know what to do if I started to notice unintended consequences or, worst case scenario, everything went completely wrong? Would I be able to reverse the effects if I wanted to? How do I stop something I’ve put in motion? Can I? Should I?
I tend to cover this a bit in workshops now too – most magical pursuits (although there are exceptions) emphasise principles of personal accountability which means whatever you attempt is ultimately on you. This isn’t intended as a scaremongering tactic, and I very much believe it’s important that before you attempt any kind of practical magic that you consider the aim, all of the potential consequences and are prepared to accept whatever may come as a result since ignorance is often not a valid get-out-card you can play. I also think it’s good to have looked into protection (safety first, always) and reversal options. It’s really just about giving yourself the best possible chance of achieving your goals while being able to respond to, and deal with, anything else that happens as a result.
It doesn’t have to be complicated (although if you want to design a colour-coded spreadsheet for the purpose I’m all for that), just a bit of extra time and consideration. If nothing else it will enrich and focus your practice, and maybe challenge assumptions – it’s often only when we think about what something might cost us that we give it the value it deserves.
(And, while we’re on the subject, for more mundane planning and organisational considerations I’m expecting the first of the datebooks and calendars in this week, hopefully today or tomorrow – as ever if you want to reserve / order please get in touch)