OK, so I'll admit that as a scientist, when I have what seems to be a good idea in my head, I'll go ahead and forge through a project, ignoring some of the smaller aspects of good practice, in the hope that everything will pan out nicely and I'll get an awesome result.
Doing the same thing with magic? Not such a good idea, as it turns out.
Sometime last week (what was that about keeping a notebook?) I decided to brew up some mugwort tea I'd gotten from my local botanica, as I rarely ever remember even the tiniest scrap of my dreams. A tablespoon of the stuff in two cups of water, boiled for about 20 minutes or so. Put the cup to my lips and... oh dear god, I almost retched. I had to throw a tablespoon of spearmint leaves and a truckload of sugar into the damned thing before I could even get it down. Details you don't read on websites. Bleh.
Deciding to wait for my ladyfriend to get home before hitting the sack, I spontaneously decided to run through the 5 Tibetans exercises, also for the first time ever. Twenty-one repetitions of each (except number 5, that shit's hard, and I'm out of shape since I quit fencing) later, and I was feeling good, although a little off-balance. Went to bed and passed out promptly.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from the mugwort; I definitely had 6 or 7 dreams, but they seemed fuzzy and far away upon waking. Given that I normally don't remember dreaming at all, I suppose this was a success that warrants further experimenting. Sitting in bed pondering this, I realized I was freezing. Not turn-up-the-air freezing, but soul-chilling freezing. And my my muscles ached (expected). And my... skin ached? Fuck, the ladyfriend's roommate had the flu last week, didn't she? Goddamnit. I expected to be huddled inside for the next three days, popping massive amounts of psuedoephedrine (God's gift to Man) and ibuprofen.
Except 24 hours later, I was fine. What the fuck? Having a medical background, I know that the idea of a "24 hour flu" is crap (most cases actually being food poisoning), so what had just happened? Was I experiencing the "Mugwort Hanover" that Harry talks about? Are my subtle bodies so out of shape that a few simple exercises "blew out" a meridian? Did I really get a flu that wasn't covered by my flu shot, and antibody cross-reaction just got rid of it quickly?
The world will never know, because I didn't separate my variables. Want to know how something effects you? Don't try it out on the same night as something else. Or if you do, don't be mad if you get your ass kicked.
But of course, like a good scientist, I'll be getting back to experimenting with both, along with some clary sage (if I can ever find the damn stuff). But separately this time. I'll keep you posted.