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Some Words of Advice to the Student on the Spiral Path

These are just some random musings of mine- they’re in no particular order. You can choose to apply some of them, or all of them. But at least try one or two. I wouldn’t suggest doing them all in one day, but you can read them all in a day. These took me 20 years to accumulate. They’re all tried and tested in the School of Hard Knocks, where I have graduated with a PhQ degree. (Philosophy Queen)

Take time for just you. Yes, friends are good, but time for yourself gives you time to recharge your spiritual batteries. And it makes you better company when you’re in company.

Get plenty of sleep. All-nighters are fun, but all-nighters every night will take their toll and leave you vulnerable. Sleep and rest gives your brain time to recharge and process what you’ve put into it.

Eat good food. The best kind of food is that which you make yourself. If you don’t know how to cook, learn. The best way to learn alchemy, magick, and ritual is to set up and work in a kitchen. The act of selecting your food, preparing it, and eating it is one of the Basic Pleasures of Life. And it’s nice knowing where it came from, and who made it. Most ‘convenience’ food nowadays isn’t even touched by human hands at all- from seed to tray. Machines plant it, tend it, harvest it, sort it, cook it, and package it. What kind of energy is that? Try to get food as fresh and as close to its original natural state as you can. This means fresh veggies from the farmers market, and whole cuts of meats instead of burger. Try eating like this for just one week, and note the difference in your body and spirit.

If you can, try planting your own food garden. Not everyone can have a huge garden, but you should at least try planting some tomatoes and bell peppers in a pot at least once in your life. Watching them grow, and eating what your efforts have produced is very satisfying. If you have some outdoor room, try planting a zucchini or two. Zucchini are great for boosting your ego if you’re a brown thumb. They’ll grow nuts if you give them a little water and attention. Have fun eating them and finding homes for the excess ones.

A pet is both a great companion and a great reality check. A dog or cat or fish keeps your life from being too static, and gives you a level of connectedness with nature. Their reaction to you is honest and sincere. And they’re lots cheaper than kids.

If you find yourself going half-astral, and there’s no one around to talk you down, go and eat a burger. No whining, vegetarians! Yes, it’s a yucky old dead cow, but its grounding effect will keep you from getting astrally munched. Or worse, arrested and put into the mental institution and drugged. Corporate Drugs are far, far worse on you than one puny burger. If the idea of hamburger is totally repulsive, eat a steak.

Be in the world, but not of it, the sages advise. Good advice. But don’t get your nose so far up in the air that you lose touch with this poor old world. You’re here to learn, and one of the things you need to learn is patience, compassion, tolerance, and understanding. If you have no idea who the latest pop-goddess or kid-fad is, you’re too far ‘in’ and not in enough ‘of’. A dose of WWF, MTV, a stroll through a Saturday mall, or an afternoon of listening to the bubble-gummers radio stations will rebalance your view. It wouldn’t hurt to go to your library and page through the pop mags, either. Just consider it a lesson in Knowing Thy People.

You are here to serve. That is your True Purpose on the Path. You are here and called to light the way for those coming out of the Darkness behind you. It is a great honor to be called, and a greater honor to serve. This doesn’t mean to be a doormat, or a snob. Service is something that should be second nature. Yes, you may be on the Spiral Path, and yes, you may be initiated, and yes, you may have spent years studying all sorts of obscure subjects. But in order to serve, you have to be able to speak to the hearts of your neighbors. Being all high and mighty and haughty doesn’t cut it. Let your actions speak for you. Let your neighbors think that they stumbled on the Truths you’ve gently guided them to on their own. Speak simply.

Warriors advise "Unavailability". What does this mean? It means varying your routine- everything from what you eat daily for breakfast, to the route you take to and from work. This does two things: keeps any adversaries from anticipating your next move and keeps you safe and sane. Having flexibility in your daily routines teaches you how to cope if something goes awry. You’re not totally flummoxed, and can continue your life that much the wiser. And it’s OK not to answer the phone.

On the other hand, there are things you should do daily- for the rest of your life, with no exceptions. Taking a few moments to stand still and reflect with gratitude the events of your day is one example. Even if it has been a bad day, that 5 minutes reflecting on it can put it into perspective. If you can incorporate a daily ritual of lighting a stick of incense and offering it to the Directions, your Guides, and Inner/Higher self, you can build a positive charge of inner serenity that will serve you well in crisis.

Read the fine print. On everything. If you don’t understand it, find someone who does, and have them explain it to you in a manner you understand. Too often, unscrupulous people will use indifference to fine print as a way to legally bind another into obligations that are detrimental to the bound one. Cultivate a good relationship with a good lawyer. They will be indispensable if you ever run into trouble.

Don’t have anything in your home that you don’t understand how it works. This doesn’t mean that you can fix it, but knowing how something works can save you time, money and embarrassment when any problems arise. This goes for everything from the VCR to the smoke alarm to the air conditioning and the microwave. Yes, they’re tech items, but they shouldn’t be ‘black boxes’ to you. If you don’t know the basics of how a common household item works, how will you know when it doesn’t, or when you have something in your presence that shouldn’t be there?

Develop within yourself a keen awareness of the minutiae of life. Get acquainted with the patterns of interaction of people, their body language, their hidden signals. Attune yourself with the machines around you- the sound of your neighbor’s car engines, the difference in ‘feel’ between impersonal mail like bills, and personal mail like letters. When does the train go by? When do the planes fly over? Does the noon whistle go off at noon? Practice zooming in and out- observe the scales on the butterfly’s wing, then observe the butterfly itself. Learn the patterns and rhythms of those around you. Can you anticipate their next move?

A great attunement exercise is ‘conducting’ thunderstorms. Stand in a sheltered place, and tune in to the storm. Pretend you are conducting an orchestra, and ‘cue’ the lightning and thunder and winds. You are not actually controlling the storm, but if you have practiced deep observation, your senses can sense the changes that the storm brings, and ‘sync’ you into them. It is an exhilarating experience, and can really boost you if you are feeling low.

Here are a few more guidelines that will allow you to lead a morally responsible and divinely guided life:

Do not hate. To hate something or someone binds you tightly to it, corrodes your soul and exposes you to the heart of darkness. Hatred leads to violence, madness, and death, and spawns more hate. Hate causes disease and pestilence and famine. Hate starves the heart, which feeds upon itself.

Do not lust. This, too binds you to the object that is lusted after, and brings madness. It makes you do things that you will regret. It does not matter if what you lust after is a person or a thing- money, food, sex, fame- the madness is just as destructive. The gratification of lust will often increase it, but never satisfy it. It will ultimately destroy you.

Do not gossip. This may seem like a minor thing, but gossip can be sneaky and subtle. To speak much on things that are not your business invites treachery into your life, because what goes around comes around. Before you speak, ask yourself these three questions: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If what you wish to say does not fall into these categories, do not speak. You will soon find that your silence on matters imparts an authority that no gossip can equal, and that your words will be sought out for their honesty and wisdom. Yes, you will be silent more than you speak, but silence lends an opportunity to listen and discern the character of others.

Don’t loan or borrow money. If you want to get into real trouble, get a credit card. If you want to lose your friends, loan them money. Money is necessary for survival in today’s world, but too many people let it rule their lives. If you can manage a low-interest credit card, get one for emergencies. But watch out- plastic will eat your bank account. If you are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible. You will be amazed at the sheer lightness of being that results from having zero balance on all your credit cards. Paying cash for stuff also makes you think about the real value of what you’re getting. Cash is more emotionally potent than plastic, and parting with a large wad of it, even if it’s something you’ve saved forever to get, is an interesting experience. There is also a deep satisfaction in building up a substantial savings. Examine ways to invest the money you’ve saved in not paying interest in credit cards. If you shovel $50 or more a pay day into a mutual funds or money market account, you won’t even miss it, but you’ll read your statement one day and realize that you’re solvent! You’ll be ahead of 95% of the rest of Western Civilization. Go ahead, feel smug. You’ve earned it.

Be grateful for all things in your life. Be thankful for your sleep, your health, your hot water, your clothes, your job, electricity, your friends, your food, your mind, your life. Be grateful and express this gratitude to all in your life. Tip a good waitress, thank the guy who holds the door for you. Say, "You’re welcome". Express your gratitude for your life morning, noon, and night. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate ritual- a simple mental ‘thank-you’ to the Creator will do. It will be heard.

Actively practice simple living, and strive to bring beauty into your life. This, too doesn’t have to be elaborate- clean your house, give away or sell all the things you haven’t worn or used in over a year. Get some of those plastic shoeboxes and put all those little cluttery things that accumulate in your shelves into them. Give them away at a yard sale. Light an incense stick. Decorate a lampshade so that it throws off an interesting pattern. Play music that inspires and delights you. Wear clothing that isn’t fussy. Admire your cat when he sits up in his Pretty Kitty pose with his tail just so. If you have a mate, tell him or her how much you appreciate their presence in your life. Take your friends to lunch, or get them a little gift of appreciation.

Be yourself. Have fun. Enjoy the little blessings your life brings to you. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude- you are one of the Awakened Ones. You get to see the cool things first. Every day is a treasure box- even the quiet ones. Remember that, and keep climbing. There are people behind you reading your guideposts.

So Mote It Be

2000, 2001 by Sunfell

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