For the last month I've been experimenting with what I would call Marrow Breathing Meditation. It's a technique of meditation where you use your breath to connect with the marrow in your bones and use it to generate Chi and more blood cells. I learned about it when I read a book on Qigong practices that focused on this topic. While the book was mostly theoretical, I have enough experience with Taoist meditation practices that it wasn't hard to figure out how it should work and adapt my practices to explore if the marrow breathing meditation could work.
The other day I had someone ask me how you could go about giving more power to a spell or ritual. It's not an unusual question, because of one key word: Power. How do we put more oomph, more power into our magical workings? I think a better question to ask though is do we even need more power in order to get a desired result? Along with that, let's also ask what the best source of power ought to be for what we're doing with our magical workings.
On the surface more power seems like the ideal response. Not getting what you want? Throw more power into it. That'll tip the momentum in your favor. But in my experience brute power rarely does the trick and the reason is because power, in and of itself, isn't enough to get what you want, if you understand what all that power is going to.
7 book reviews
Book Review: Chaos Protocols by Gordon White
It's rare for me to say this about a contemporary book of occultism, but this is a must read book on magic, regardless of what your magical practice is, because it will slap you across the face and make you open your eyes. What this author does well is bring in a non-magical topic (so to speak) i.e. macroeconomics and show why we need to care about its impact in our lives and how magic can be applied to it. Along the way the author explores the question of success and illustrates the importance of cultivating mundane and magical skills in order to achieve success. I read this book when I really needed it and it got me out of a funk and for that alone I'm grateful. The magical techniques are sound and exercises well explained. If you do the work, results will follow.
Book Review: The Neurobiology of the Gods by Erik Goodwyn
In this book the author sets out to explore the neurobiological connection we have with the gods. It's an interesting book, but its fair to say that the author' focus is more psychological than neurobiological. He does touch on the brain and the physiological functions of the brain and shows how they can mapped to Jungian psychology, which is where most of the focus of this book ends up being. He makes some good connections with metaphors and archetypes, but it feels like he's trying too hard to fit neurobiology into his arguments, while relying on surprisingly outdated resources at the time of his writing for the majority of his research. There's some good ideas here and its worth a read, but it also falls short in some ways.
7-24-2018 The other night I did the sphere of art working again, but this time, no energy flowed in to wake me up so to speak. Once I got to the meditation portion of the ritual, I asked the archangels about that and they said, "You expected it this time and we don't want there to be an expectation built into what you do with us." This made sense to me so I consider it a valuable lesson learned in relationship to this work as much as anything else.
Today I communed with Elephant. Its always part of the daily work, but I purposely made it the only thing I did with the daily work. He reminded me to take things slow and steady, to recognize that any path I go on will be a journey and not a destination. In the past I've gotten so focused on the destination that I haven't paid attention to the journey, to my own detriment so I thanked him for his wise advice.
I was recently asked if the Guardians of the watchtowers are the same as Archangels. The reason I was asked is because a lot of Magicians call angels to their circle or the Guardians of the watchtowers. It's a good question to ask, and since I've been doing my own work around the archangels of the quarters, I thought I would answer it.
The short answer is that the Archangels aren't the same as the Guardians of the watchtowers. They are each their own distinctive set of beings. Frater Barrabbas has an excellent book out about this very topic called Spirit Conjuring for Witches: Magical Evocation Simplified (Affiliate link), where he explores this topic in depth.
Space/time magic foundations is now available
I was asked by someone why magic he was doing for himself was less effective. He told me that that until recently the magic done for himself had worked fine, but that then suddenly became less effective. He wondered if it was because he had put a shield up or if the magic was less effective because it as an attempt to avoid self sabotage. Finally he asked what could be done when your magic seemed less effective.
I don't know the specifics of what he was trying to do with his magical work, but some thoughts did come to mind, based on my own experiences and helping other people diagnose issues they are having with their magical practice. I find that when a person isn't getting a result or their magic is less effective, its usually because they are self-sabotaging in some way. They may not really want what they think they want. Or they may not feel they are worthy of what they want. Additionally there may be some internal resistance because what they want goes against some moral or ethical code.
The other day on the Magical Experiments Facebook page one of my commenters asked whether or not magic could help with executive dysfunction. I asked her to explain what executive dysfunction was because I'd never heard of the term before, and she explained the following,
"Executive dysfunction is a term for the range of cognitive, emotional and behavioural difficulties which often occur after injury to the frontal lobes of the brain. Impairment of executive functions is common after acquired brain injury and has a profound effect on many aspects of everyday life."
"It is often associated with ADHD and other similar disorders. It is basically a clinical form of struggling to initiate any tasks, even every day ones. It's a bit like putting the key into your car's ignition and turning it, hearing the engine struggle to start again and again. Even if you really, really want to, you just can't get yourself to initiate anything."
The other day on the Magical Experiments Facebook page, a commenter summed up his challenge with magic by sharing, "I'm trying to find an intellectual understanding along with a spiritual understanding of it without losing myself to it."
I think this is a challenge many people experience on their journey with magic as a spiritual practice. We can try to define magic as a set of practical techniques or describe it as a way to exercise our will, but at a certain point, in my experience, you move beyond such definitions when you recognize that magic moves and shapes the practitioner as much as the practitioner seeks to move and shape it.
Recently I binge watched the last season of 12 Monkeys and as a result I had this dream of a time paradox I was trying to solve and every time I thought I solved it, it would change and I would try to solve it again. Finally I came to a point where I realized it couldn't be solved and that the only solution was to let go. Yet it was such a hard decision, because letting go went counter to everything telling me I could solve this time paradox. But the longer I kept trying to solve something the harder it was.
So eventually I let go. I stopped trying to solve the time paradox, the problem, and just moved on. And when I did that, the dream ended. The stress went away. The problem was solved.
6-24-2018 I think one challenge people have with stability is the ideal that stability is illusory. I can appreciate that perspective, because in truth the trappings of stability are illusory. Under the right circumstances everything can be taken away. But those are the trappings. Real stability comes from within and its not about being in one place or having everything work out just fine. It's really about being able to adjust and adapt to whatever situation comes your way and still keep some sense of purpose and drive.
I've had to learn a lot about this in the last 9 months to a year. So much has changed externally, and I've had to adjust and adapt and also find myself all over again. I'm still finding myself in some ways. There are days where it is really hard, and yet gradually the coal is being polished to a diamond, the facets are being revealed, and I'm discovering what really matters. As hard as everything has been, I actually see what happened as a blessing, because its forced me to re-evaluate what matters to me and ask myself what I really want.
When I look at a given magical ritual or working or spell I can break it down into steps. It may not be written that way, but realistically a magic spell or ritual is a set of step by step instructions that you are using for the purposes of doing some type of spiritual work. And when you approach you own magical work that way and organize it into specific steps it can help you get perspective on what you're doing and start seeing the underlying process of magic.
My newest book, The Process of Magic: A Guide to How Magic Works is now available.
The Process of Magic was originally a class I taught I took the 26 lessons, plus some bonus material and converted it into a book.
In The Process of Magic, we explore how magic works and what you can do to improve your magical workings as a result. I also show you how to troubleshoot existing magical workings. The goal of the book is to help you create a stable foundation for your magical practice.
For the last half year I've been memorizing a ritual. What that process has looked like is I would spend a week memorizing the lines for one particular segment of the ritual and making sure I really had those lines memorized. Then I would move on to the next segment. In the midst of this memorization I also ended up modifying the ritual and adding some additional lines of my own, so those also needed to be memorized and integrated into the working. I needed to get a feel for how what I added fit into what already existed.
Book Review: Lessons Learned from Occult Letters by William G. Gray
This gem of a book was recently republished and it features letters William G. Gray received from one of his mentors, as well as commentary from Gray about the contents of the letters. For that reason alone this book is valuable because it offers a bit of history and perspective. But what else makes this content so valuable are the insights hidden in the letters and commentary. For someone new to magic they are extremely important, but even the seasoned practitioner will get a lot from the book. It's certainly a book I will read again and again and each time I have no doubt fresh perspectives and insights will yield themselves.
5-24-2018 I finished reading Lessons Learned from Occult Letters today. My first reading of it anyway. Its one of those books I'll come back to and read again because of the insights offered in it. You can learn some profound perspectives from something which seems basic on the surface but actually goes much deeper underneath. It's why there are some books I come back to again and again because one reading is simply not enough. I think when you can choose to spend time with something, go deep with it, what it can offer you is a not just a brief moment, but a part of the path you walk.
5-27-2018 I've been reading Letters of Light, which were letters written by William G. Gray to one of his students. I think what I find most relevant in these letters is that they speak in some ways to my own changing circumstances. I have pretty much withdrawn from active participation in the occult/Pagan community and my reasons for doing that have primarily been a realization that I need to focus less on what's happening around me and more on the spiritual work I'm doing and the writing that goes with it. That change in focus will likely result in a couple more changes along those lines. It's ironic because I've done the author schtick and I'll continue to write books, but the author schtick itself doesn't matter so much any more. It's more about the work and the writing and giving myself over to that work in complete trust of where it can take me on my spiritual journey.
One of the things I've been thinking about lately is lifestyle magic vs living magic…
4-23-2018 Today I was sitting with a feeling of embarrassment and humiliation that I felt and I read When Things Fall Apart and it was the right reading for the moment, because she talks about that moment of feeling squeezed, of feeling like a failure and that's the moment when your mind opens up, if we allow it to. And I felt that way, and yet in that moment of embracing it, I then felt this deeper acceptance of myself, this deeper sense of stability. Yes I'm feeling this way because of x, y, and z. And yes being in the moment can be hard, to feel a sense of shame is never easy, yet embracing that feeling is also liberation. You aren't bound to that shame, instead you use it to free yourself of the narrative.
One of my current magical projects is the expansion of my work with the human biome*. One of the explorations of this work focuses on the connection between Chi (energy) and the human biome and how Chi can be used to communicate with the human biome (and how the human biome may already be using Chi to communicate). In this short article I thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences, as much to organize these ideas into written form as to share them with anyone who cares to read them.
What made me first think of the connection between Chi and the human biome is that the cells of the body actually use the metabolic processes and energy released by those processes to communicate with each other. While that communication is radically different from our own understanding of what communication is, it nonetheless is something that happens in our bodies everyday.
5 books I’ve read and reviewed.