Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t been posting articles to this blog with my usual frequency. Is it because I have run out of things to say? That would be amazing! Of course, I doubt if I will ever run out of things to say in regards to magick, witchcraft, paganism and the occult. However, physical problems, ailments and other maladies will interrupt the work of even the most zealous writer, and that is the case with me.
What I have been dealing with over the last month or so is a deficit of sleep. What is causing me to be unable to get the sleep that I need is purely of a respiratory nature. For some reason, when I lie down to go to sleep at night, my sinuses clog up and I am forced to breath through my mouth, I end up waking after only a few hours of sleep and the rest of the evening in spent in shallow sessions of sleeping and waking. During those periods of waking, I have to drink water to keep my mouth (and body) hydrated. My eyes and nose are dry, and my throat is sometimes a bit scratchy. I thought that I might have some kind of sinus infection or a low grade allergy, but during the day, all of the symptoms completely disappear. This pattern started in January and has since then slowly become worse until the lack of sleep made it hard for me to function normally.
Needless to say, my physical malady made work difficult, and I had to focus what little energy I had towards insuring that my level of output didn’t diminish. After my work day was complete, I felt like a zombie. Weekends gave me a little respite, but obviously, my sleep disorder was really interfering with my life. I certain didn’t have any energy or focus to do any extensive research or writing during the evening, and I certainly didn’t have any energy to do any magick. I had short periods where this malady would disappear and allow me to get a decent night’s sleep, but during the week, my deficit of sleep would pile up until I was quite exhausted by the time Friday rolled around.
Over the last few weeks this sleep malady was getting worse. I tried everything to mediate this situation, from using a vapor humidifier, neti pot, nasal sprays, mouth hydrators, and this regimen even included using powerful over-the-counter drugs. I found that some drugs cleared up my sinuses but left me quite groggy the following morning, and antihistamines (like Benadryl) had no affect whatsoever. Using the art of deduction to attempt to resolve my problem, I managed to eliminate the allergy and the sinus infection theories. Finally, in desperation, I decided to try the simple solution of wearing an adhesive nose brace with the product name of “Breath Right,” and much to my surprise, it worked quite well. I am happy to say that I am now getting the amount of sleep that I need - or so it would seem. I think that I might still have a minor sleep disorder, but at least my period of sleep is around what it was before this issue materialized.
When I look at the last two months, I can see that between this sleep disorder and my regular job, most of my time was spent dealing with these two things and very little of anything else. My all-important periods of study have diminished somewhat as well as my ability to plan and execute magical workings. I had planned on getting completely engaged and immersed in my magical work during this time of high winter, but that never happened. My holiday vacation was interrupted with work related issues that had to be immediately resolved, and then afterwards, I began to have problems sleeping. It is my hope that now that both of these critical issues have been more or less resolved, that I can now begin to do what I had planned on doing two months previously. I managed to get some important accolades for my job related work and it even materialized into a sizable bonus and a modest salary increase. My lost time over the holidays will be compensated for as well, since I had asked and received 40 hours of comp-time, which I will be taking in the near future. So things are really improving for me, but I am not yet feeling happy or pleased with how things have worked out. Losing the ability to getting a good night’s sleep is a very serious issue, especially when one is in the midst of middle-age related changes.
One of the things that seems to be slightly depressing me is the harshness of the winter. I didn’t get to enjoy much of the brief period of summer up here because I was deeply entrenched in work, and now the severe winter weather has me feeling that I really missed out on all of the beautiful weather. I guess one thing that I should plan for in the future is to get away from the winter for a week or two. Many folks up here take winter vacations to tropical areas so they can re-charge their psychic batteries, and I see the wisdom of investing in that kind of trip. Yet at this time, I am unable to travel anywhere, since my girlfriend is gone five days a week, and I am the primary pet care giver while she is gone. We have three cats and one dog, and two of our pets require daily medication to alleviate their own age related maladies. Putting them both up at our favored pet boarding place is expensive, and our dog has some abandonment issues to deal with when his mistress is gone. I had planned on going to Pantheacon this February, but I couldn't find a schedule that would allow me to go and not have to board our pets. It just became a very expensive and complicated ordeal, so I decided to not attend, and I think that my decision was a wise one.
The lesson that I have learned yet again and that I have attempted to express in this article is that often times life itself has a way of intervening and interjecting itself into the elaborate planning and practice of occultism. I have found that my sleep disorder really threw a monkey wrench into my well laid plans, and my job responsibilities ate up a lot of my free time, even after the holidays. I am happy to say that things are just now settling down, so maybe, just maybe, I will get the time that I need to catch up on everything that had to take a back seat to my career and health. I am looking forward to finally getting to achieve all of those planned magical workings and research sessions that I use to write interesting articles and new books. Hopefully, I will still have some time to get these things done before the weather shifts and becomes once again warmer and milder. However, I can be assured that life up here in the northern Midwest tundra will see a continuation of severe winter weather, and it will likely continue until mid April or even beyond, which means that I still have time to complete much of that wonderful occult work.
So these are the pros and cons of living up here in the great white north. I will, like everyone else, have to adapt and deal with it. Winter will not last forever, although sometimes it sure feels like I am living in the Ice Age up here. No wonder my girlfriend Grace (who migrated here from the Southeast) is eager to move to a geographic location that has a milder winter. I have found myself in perfect agreement with her, and perhaps in time, we will find a new place to live where our lives aren't so dominated by the extremes of cold and hot.
BTW - Some interesting news. My book “Magical Qabalah for Beginners” is ranked at 227,551 on Amazon dot com, which is actually doing slightly better than a few of Lon Milo Duquette’s books, so I am quite pleased with how this new book is faring. My three volume series entitled “Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick” is being re-printed in an omnibus edition, where all three books will be included in one large volume. I don’t know what the cost will be, but I believe that it will at least be cheaper to purchase one large book instead of three slim books. My objective is make certain that the omnibus edition is at least as good as the previous three volumes, and so far, that seems to be happening. I will let you know when the new edition is available, in case you had demurred from purchasing the previous three separate volumes.
I am also planning on attending the local pagan convention in the Twin Cities called Paganicon. I have a class called the Practical Qabalah in Brief that I will be presenting on Saturday, March 16th, at 9 am in the morning. I will also have a book signing the next day, which is Sunday. I will give out more details about this event as it gets closer, but if you can plan to be in town (or already live here), then I would highly recommend that you come to this event. You can find the website for it here.