To strike while the iron is hot means to form something, a time to get to work because your influence, your will can create useful change.
When iron is hot it is malleable. There is a temporary window of opportunity where it is relatively plastic, and through effort it can be given a form that will become semi-permanent.
Aleister Crowley’s definition of magic is:
“The science and art of creating change in conformity with will.”
What are the areas of life where the application of your will can create the most effective and life-affirming change?
Using myself as example, at age 50 the iron is no longer hot if I want to break athletic records. But at this age, the iron feels very hot for writing, working on the oracle and other creative tasks. At this age my cognitive/creative skills have matured, but I am not so old that dementia or lack of vitality are holding me back. The iron feels very hot creatively, and I am able, at this phase, to create a lot of new things out of the unformed mass of zeros and ones in the digital forge of cyberspace. If I take good care of my psyche and physical health, it is likely that this type of iron may remain hot for many more years. On the other hand, I can’t presume on that, I could have a fatal accident at anytime or suffer neurological damage, etc. Therefore I dare not waste the hot iron that is available to be shaped today.
In some areas of life the iron may be hot during only a narrow window of time. Perhaps there is an opportunity to be a positive influence on someone who is quickly passing through your life. Perhaps an inspiration has just welled up. If you act on it now you can give it a decisive and satisfying form. But if you wait, that particular piece of iron may have cooled and rigidified and will be much harder to work on. And although it may be less fulfilling, most days there are time sensitive chores that need to get done, and if not worked on now they will only become more laborious and wasteful of resources later on.
Where is the hot iron in your life that you need to get to work on?
For those of you willing to read more, here are some of Crowley’s essential principles of magick:
I Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.
II. Postulate ANY required Change may be effected by the application of the proper kind and degree of Force in the proper manner through the proper medium to the proper object.
1. Every intentional act is a Magickal Act.
2. Every successful act has conformed to the postulate.
3. Every failure proves that one or more requirements of the postulate have not been fulfilled.
4. The first requisite of causing any change is thorough qualitative and quantitative understanding of the conditions. (Illustration: The most common cause of failure in life is ignorance of one’s own True Will, or of the means by which to fulfill that Will…He may really be a painter, and yet fail to understand and to measure the difficulties peculiar to that career.)
5. The second requisite of causing any change is the practical ability to set in right motion the necessary forces.
8. A man whose conscious will is at odds with his True Will is wasting his strength. He cannot hope to influence his environment efficiently.
9. A man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him.
15. Every force in the Universe is capable of being transformed into any other kind of force by using suitable means. There is thus an inexhaustible supply of any particular kind of force that we may need.
16. The application of any given force affects all the orders of being which exist in the object to which it is applied, whichever of those orders is directly affected.
17. A man may learn to use any force so as to serve any purpose, by taking advantage of the above theorems.
18. He may attract to himself any force of the Universe by making himself a fit receptacle for it, establishing a connection with it, and arranging conditions so that it’s nature compels it to flow toward him.
19. Man’s sense of himself as separate from, and opposed to, the Universe is a bar to his conducting its currents. It insulates him.
(Illustration: A popular leader is most successful when he forgets himself, and remembers only “The Cause.” Self-seeking engenders jealousies and schism.)
20. A man can only attract and employ the forces for which he is really fitted.
21. There is no limit to the extent of the relations of any man with the Universe in essence; for as soon as man makes himself one with any idea, the means of measurement cease to exist. But his power to utilize that force is limited by his mental power and capacity, and by the circumstances of his human environment.
23. Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.
25. Every man must do Magick each time that he acts or even thinks, since a thought is an internal act whose influence ultimately affects action, though it may not do so at the time.
39 Every act of your life is a magickal act; whenever from ignorance, carelessness, clumsiness, or what not, you come short of perfect artistic success, you inevitably register failure, discomfort, frustration.
Why should you study and practice Magick? Because you can’t help doing it, and you had better do it well than badly.
Accordingly, the most important preliminary to any Magickal operation is to make sure that its object is not only harmonious with, but necessary to, your Great Work.
“Thou has no right but to do thy will.” Every act, therefore, with the thoughts and words which determine its performance, is a sacrament.
To refuse to fulfill any of one’s possibilities is the direct negation of the Great Work.
See: More on Magick and its principles: Magick with Tears
Crowley’s classic Magick in Theory and Practice is apparently past copyright and widely available on the web. Click the link for one of the on line copies
The Path of the Numinous — Living and Working with the Creative Muse
Using available time: Temporal Fencing and Life Fields
A simple, concise and practical approach to navigating effectively through the day:
If it feels like the iron is resisting you: Mechanical Resistance Matrix