Lenore asked: I've been wondering about how to deal with health problems in regards to energy work/magic. I've got a lot of health problems that leave me very low energy. I was trying to do the grounding and centering techniques in your book and even that was difficult for me. It's also hard to concentrate through the pain. It makes me wonder if taking care of the body/healing can be a part of magical technique. Or part of a healthy psychic regimen. It seems like the body doesn't get talked about much when I read about magic or even spirit work. Anyway, I hope I'm making some sort of sense. I would be curious on what your take is about this.
I really think that taking care of one's physical body is part and parcel of magical practice. it's necessary because the body is the consult, the primary tool of the magician. I think it's a necessary part of any healthy psychic regimen. Just from what you say above, if you were my student, I'd be sending you to your doctor to get a full blood panel, including thyroid tests. I'd want to rule out any physical cause for your malaise. That may mean being tested for immune disorders like Epstein-Barr syndrome too. Once you know what's wrong, you can adjust and incorporate the health regimen into your training. The thing no one realizes unless they have a chronic pain condition is that being in physical pain is exhausting. That alone might be what's going on here. If that's the case, then partly it's learning to navigate that. Right now I suspect most of your energy is going toward just getting you through the day. I would look at doing what you can to take the edge off the pain. If you can start a gentle exercise regimen (talk to your doctor first), as counter-intuitive as it sounds, that can actually help improve pain levels. Even walking on a treadmill twenty or thirty minutes two or three times a week can do it.
Magic has an effect on the physical body. It can be exhausting. It's important to keep your body is the best condition possibly. One of my teachers has a chronic pain condition and she's a very good magician. It does not rule out practice of the Art. It just means you have to work with what you have and possibly learn to work if not with pain then around it.
I find that connecting to one's ancestors, developing a working relationship with them and doing so in a consistent manner opens the door to allowing them to feed you energy, to help you physically, as well as helping with luck and other matters. Finding other ways to fuel your energy reservoirs is also important, for everyone.
The best magicians tend to be work horses. We're perfectionists who will work at a thing until it is properly finished. This is good for the Work but can be bad for our health. It's important to learn to discipline that tendency so that it is a help not a hindrance. Learning to set good boundaries and saying 'no' when someone pushes you past your limits, when someone wants to infringe on your time in ways you don't want is a necessity.
Now pain can be used as energy to fuel spells. In this way, if you are one of those who is able to work consciously with pain, it can be turned into something useful. Not everyone can do that though. In terms of pain management, there are ways of learning to use breath to work with pain to ease it: breath in through tight, knotted places and allow the breath to untangle the knots, breath out the tension and pain…can be very, very helpful.
The most important thing I"ve found --not that I always do it, mind you--is to make sure that I get enough sleep. I push myself now more than I did as a student because I've been doing this for twenty years and I know my limits. I know how far I can go past them. That knowledge has come with trial and error though and the errors have been unfortunate.
There's a very good article here: http://sexgodsrockstars.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/work/ . I highly recommend this as it discusses just what you asked about and the writer has massive chronic pain and really knows what he's talking about.
I often get irritated by books on magic--ok, all the time, all the time--because they so often ignore the essentials, the fundamentals, like taking care of the body. The magician has two primary tools without which there is no magic: the will honed and disciplined, and the body. You can't ignore the latter and expect to get decent results. Maybe too many books interpret this truism as an excuse to pamper and indulge. That doesn't work either. Eat healthily, get enough sleep, and exercise moderately. You may find you need more sleep when you start training because you're using energy in a way you haven't before. The same thing can happen when you start working out with a trainer at a gym: suddenly you'll be exhausted and need more sleep. Go with it. It's your body adjusting to the new exertion.