Magic for Experience vs Magic for Results

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between magic done for the sake of experience and magic done for the sake of results. I don’t think either type of magic necessarily better than the other, but I think the underlying purpose for doing the magical work is significantly different and worth recognizing because it also informs your own motivations for why you’re doing magic.

I’ll admit that a lot of my thought around this topic is driven by my own magical experiences and experiments of late, which have driven more by a desire for the experience than for a specific outcome. Practicing magic for the sake of experience I find is changing my perspective on magic. Before I get into that further though let’s briefly define and clarify what magic for results and magic for experience looks like.

How I use dreams for my creative work

One of the ways I’ve been cultivating my creativity has involved using lucid dreams to discover what I should write about, both for fiction and nonfiction. In order to have lucid dreams I’ve found it helpful to change some of my sleep patterns, just enough so I can remember my dreams and still get enough sleep for my health.

If I get a full night of sleep I usually need 7 hours. When I’m doing dream work, I aim for getting around 6 hours of sleep. I find that if I only sleep 6 hours, I wake up around the time that I’m having vivid dreams and can remember those dreams. If I have a journal on hand, then I can write the dream down.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Creativity Month 1

10-22-2018 Today I transitioned over to the element of Creativity. this year I am changing how I work with elemental energy completely, by using the Sphere of Art as the elemental invocation and balancing force. And I am working with archangel Metatron in particular, but in tonight’s working I was reminded that I am really working with all of them. I did the Sphere of Art full invocation and then I meditated and in the meditation I was taken deep and experienced all 7 of the archangels as 1, which makes sense because they are ultimately reflections and embodiments of each other. They told me I would be building off everything I had learned this last year and this work would play an integral role in manifesting my path forward.

I’ll admit I found it appropriate that the final book cover, for Manifesting Wealth, came in today. It was a further confirmation from the archangels. I feel primed and ready to explore creativity and my relationship with it this year.

Book Reviews September and October 2018

Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Living Kabbalah by William G. Gray

The title of this book is a bit of a misnomer, because while people just learning about Quabala can benefit from reading this book, it really is a book for anyone interested in Quabala. The insights you will get from this book will benefit your spiritual practice and help you recognize aspects of the Quabala that you might not have considered. The author makes all of these explanations very easy to understand. And you gt a treat with the last essay, which explores how spirits are communicated with and presents an innovative approach that is still not matched to this day.

My only complaint about this book is that the editors did a poor job. There are mispelled words, missing words and spaces between letters in a word, which diminishes the enjoyment of the book.

How to maintain a consistent magical practice

One of the topics that comes up frequently when I talk with other magicians is the challenges they have around doing a consistent practice of magic. They want a consistent practice of magic, they start to do it, but then the consistent practice falls away. They may have done the practice for multiple weeks in a row, but suddenly they stop.

It’s a frustrating experience when you are trying to develop a consistent practice and you’re doing well with it and then suddenly you aren’t. You can feel like a failure, like you aren’t really a magician, because you can’t seem to stick with a practice. And when you feel that way it can discourage you from even trying to practice magic.

12 Lessons I learned from working with the element of Stability

I recently wrapped up working with the element of stability for a year. My work with stability for a year is part of a process I’ve developed where I work with a given element, daily, for the course of a year or more in order to achieve balance with that element. It’s basically an intensive form of internal work but it has helped me make significant changes in my life for the better because when I work with an element for a year or more I find that I end up having the experiences I need to help me make proactive changes in my life.

My elemental balancing ritual changes on my birthday so the year is a bit unusual in that it starts and ends on October 21st (for me). I originally started this practice in 2004 and have continued doing it for the last 14 years. In Inner Alchemy I share more about how the ritual works, but what I thought I would do here is share 12 lessons I’ve learned from working with stability for the past year.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stability Month 12

9-23-2018 I think its kind of fitting that I’m getting all the old business wrapped up as this year long work with stability comes to a close. I chose to work with Stability as an element, because I needed to stabilize my life. And I think it as the right choice. I look back at the last 11 months and there was some hard work, but the end result is that everything is off my plate that doesn’t belong and now I can focus on what’s really important. Stability isn’t reinforcing that status quo. It’s the deliberate creation of a foundation that truly supports you.

How to Ground yourself after doing deep work

Whenever I’ve come home from a festival or a weekend intensive or wrapped up an intense working, I find that one of the challenges I’ve face is how do I come back from that intense experience. After all I’ve stepped away from my mundane life for a period of time and experienced something outside the norm…and now I have to go back.

Chances are that if you’ve practiced magic for any length of time you’ve had this experience too. And the question is how do you come back from that and go back to your normal life? It sometimes feels like culture shock when you try to go back to the regular routines of life because where you were spiritually, mentally, and physically was so different and going back to your regular life is a shock.

Can you physically change the past?

Recently I was asked if you could physically change the past with space/time magic. The person specifically brought up a technique I mentioned in Space/Time Magic, where you can influence your past self via a meditation technique in order to guide and influence that past self.

Throughout my life I’ve had moments where I’ve encountered a future version of myself that gave me advice or pushed me in a specific direction or warned me away from a direction I might have gone down. I know when I’ve followed that advice/push or pull in a specific direction its generally worked out in my favor, but it does create an intriguing question.

Was I interacting with my future self or with a version of my future self, or what?

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stability Month 11

8-24-2018 I was reading Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson and I had this realization about how I messed up last year. I hadn't built a shared vision or a sense of community. I had tried to, but I had missed something he spoke about. Sitting with that realization was hard. At first I wanted to beat myself up for not having that realization earlier and then I began to wonder if I should try and do something with this realization. And then I took a deep breath and I realized that if I do anything with it, I should focus on what I'm doing now, not try to fix the past. I should learn from my mistakes (as I have been), not try to frantically fix them. And I should look forward and move forward with renewed purpose about what really matters to me, but also remember that I still have time. 

Last year I would have tried to do something that likely wouldn't have worked. A year later, I can see the mistakes and learn from them and take action in a way that actually is truly beneficial, instead of just reacting. And that's because of stability.

Marrow Breathing Meditation Experiments

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. 

How to define and enhance the power source of magical workings

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.

July and August 2018 Book Reviews

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.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stability Month 10

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.

Are the 4 quarter Archangels the same as the Guardians of the Watchtowers?

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.

Why magic for your self isn't always effective

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.

How Magic can help with Executive Dysfunction

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."

How to understand magic intellectually and spiritually

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.

Sometimes you just have to let go

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.