You are what you eat. This is not just a physical teaching. For the magician, it applies to the diet of art, music, literature and most importantly ideas. We are composite beings, made up from all the experiences we have had. Just as our cells are made from the building blocks of the food we digest, our consciousness is built and evolves, from the energies and ideas we take on – as found in emotions, thoughts, patterns, concepts, and philosophies.

While we might get exposed to a lot of things, just like we get exposed to a lot of different foods and drinks, we can choose what to consciously consume and what to return to again and again, and what to evaluate and avoid, at least for a time.

The problem can become, in our fast paced society of quick food and quick ideas, that we consume something, but we don’t digest it. It doesn’t become a part of us, and therefore is only partly understood. The context is not integrated The wisdom is not first hand. It’s like a bit of undigested lump of something in the bottom of our stomachs trying to pass. It does, and we think it’s a part of us, but it isn’t.

Worse yet is when we regurgitate the half digested wisdom as if it were fact, if it were our truth. It is someone’s truth, but it’s not ours yet. I love that can I can watch a plumber on Youtube and specifically learn to fix that problem at my house, but a few Youtube videos do not make me a master plumber, nor are they a substitute for hands on training and mentorship in a variety of situations. Plumbing requires a license and it’s really easy to tell when someone has been successful or someone has failed. Spirituality on the other hand is more subjective and ephemeral, but if you’ve only got a few videos under your belt and a a few undigested half truths, it will eventually become obvious. Keep going. Keep learning.

Digestion itself is one of the twelve alchemical operations. In a lab, it’s usually done with gentle heat. Usually it’s preceded by solution, putting the substance into a liquid that will dissolve it, a solvent of some sort. When we eat, we place the food into our stomachs with stomach acid, and our body processes warm it so the two actions eventually break down the solid food and ready it for absorption as nutrients. Digestions is ruled by the astrological sign of Leo, for the heat, while Dissolution is ruled by the astrological sign of Cancer, which rules the stomach and watery substances and their containers. In our body, in the laboratory and in our consciousness, we need to learn how to dissolve and digest structures to make them a part of ourselves to truly work them. Cancer and Leo are the fourth and fifth signs, so there are three operations proceeding, but seven more remaining afterwards. Digestion is only one step, though one necessary step, in the process of attainment.

There is a whole movement of mindful eating. We scarf down food so quickly, we don’t take the time to taste, to enjoy, to savor. That is so true. I know I do it. Food has become entertainment and comfort for many of us. But its so much more satisfying when we eat mindfully and truly immerse ourselves in the flavors and textures and colors. We become more present and eating becomes a helpful ritual.

Information is the same way. We can digest it thoughtlessly, and it enters more into our subconscious and unconscious levels, working on us in ways we don’t always know, influencing mood and feeling and reactions. We can over identify with someone and think it’s ours without really integrating it.

We can get excited and want to share things with everyone. That can be great, but it can be best to share from the source, rather than from only our own as of yet undigested perspective. Once we have fully integrated, we can learn our own spin on the dish and share it with others, but if we are not fully aware of what is in something yet, it makes it hard to reproduce faithfully to anyone, even with our our flair. We can feel a sense of urgency, but the original sources are there for those who are feeling urgent. My best advice – slow down, savor, truly integrate it. It’s not a race. Then decide if, how, when, where, and why you will share that wisdom. Then do so with gusto, but only after you have truly tasted and digested it. And keep growing, learning, and digesting, mindfully!