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.
3-23-2018 In Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits the author talks about how self-images define us and create karmic patterns, and how in turn a fixation on an image of success can distract us from being truly present with what you're doing. And I'm inclined to agree. I think a lot of the enjoyment I might have experienced with various activities got sucked away by getting focused on certain images of success. Since those images are no longer relevant, I've experienced a deeper, and more open enjoyment of my writing and magical work than I've experienced in years. There is nothing to be recognized for, nothing to live up to and so all images fall away to leave in place a more open and vulnerable experience.
And she reminds me that inevitably a person experiences loss, disappointment and failure. It's simply a reality of life, but how you adapt to it and learn from it...that's your choice. I think what I've learned from the last six months is how to deal with experiencing a crushing disappointment by resiliently adapting and learning from it. Of late, I've just been feeling more open to the fear I wake up with each day and it somehow has become I can just be more gracefully present with. I can relax into it, work through it, accept it, instead of resisting it and creating tension. And I can work with that because I'm not fixated any longer on trying to achieve some standard of success. When success doesn't matter, life suddenly becomes a lot easier to live because you can adapt to the moment and roll with the circumstances and continue on your journey. And that's where I'm at, just rolling with the circumstances, adapting each day to each situation that comes up and seeing where it takes me.
2-22-2018 I've started reading Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits by Shabhavi Sarasvati. It speaks to me. I was reading about the first poison, which is self concern at the expense of others, and I could relate to it because sometimes, many times, that's been me. I've been so focused on my own needs or issues or whatever else and have focused on fulfilling them without really considering the impact I'd have on other people. This is something I've been changing as a result of reading and working through Brene Brown's work, but it nonetheless is a good reminder to me that it is something to be aware of.
What the author reminds me of is that self-concern comes at the expense of other people, because self-concern is about validation of yourself through the interactions you have with others, without necessarily recognizing their worth. Sometimes I've been that person and sitting with that is good because I can recognize it as a pattern of tension in my life and continue undoing it.
Book Review: The Physics of Angels by Mathew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake
This is a fascinating book which explores the mythos of Angels and relates the description of Angels to contemporary Physics. I enjoyed learning more about the mythology of Angels, though I did find the physics metaphor to be a bit of a stretch. Thankfully they focused mostly on them mythology of the Angels, and specifically in regards to three classic perspectives on Angels via Dionysus the Areopagite, St. Augustine and Hildegarde of Bingen. I found the quotes and commentary to be interesting in relationship to understanding Angels, but would note that the focus of this book was Christiancentric and didn't really represent any other perspective on Angels from Quabalah or Islam. That said, if you're interested in learning more about Angels, this is a useful book to read.
Book Review: Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Do you ever feel like life is too complicated or like you're going in too many directions at once? If so, you need to read this book. The author does an excellent job of portraying the discipline of the essentialist, the person who only focuses on what is essential and eliminates the non-essential in the process. In this book the author shows what the difference is between the essential and non-essential and provides suggestions on how to implement essentialism in your life. I've found it to be very helpful in my own life as I've been undergoing changes, and I recommend this book to anyone who feels like life is overwhelming and complicated.
Book Review: The 7 Secrets of the Prolific by Hillary Rettig
The 7 Secrets of the Prolific is an excellent book for writers who have writer's block or have troubles with procrastination. The author does an excellent job of exploring what stops people from writing and helping them figure out what actions to take. Even for someone who is prolific, this book will have some valuable insights. I found it helpful for recognizing some behaviors that have stopped me from being as productive with my writing as I'd like. She also does a good job of exploring the realities of being a published author and how to think of your writing as a business. If you want to be more productive with your writing check this book out.
Book Review: Western Inner Workings by William. G. Gray
This is another excellent by William G. Gray that explores the inner workings of Western Mystery traditions. It's as comprehensive book that explores a number of salient issues, such as sacred kingship, the function of ceremonial tools, mediation and ties all of them together in a way that enables the reader to go deep with Western Mystery traditions, while also developing their own cosmological models. I've found this book to be very useful in some of my own ongoing work and would recommend it as well as Gray's other books to anyone serious about developing their magical practice.
Book Review: Welcome to your World by Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Welcome to your world is an intriguing book which explores how the environment we build around us affects us, as well as how we navigate that reality. What I find really fascinating is how the author integrates cognitive and bodily experiences into the book so that we're not just looking at the environment, but also our own place in space. If you want to understand space, building designs, or how you navigate the world around this is an excellent book to read because it provides you a way to look at your environment from a unique perspective and consider how you situate yourself in the world around you as well as how bring good design into your life and improve your circumstances as a result.
Book Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is a must read book for any artist, writer, musician or creative. What I like about it is that author walks you through the life of being a writer, the challenges and the joys and reminds us that any creative act is really a communion with the divine, with the writer as the mediator. Reading this book helped me re-examine my writing practice in terms of how I approach and appreciate the ideas that come to me. I would highly recommend this book to any successful and aspiring writer.
In the last couple of months I've been memorizing some chants for some work I'm doing with the Elemental Archangels. The purpose of memorizing the chants is to embed and embody specific associations with the archangels and the correspondences that they mediate. By memorizing the chants, I'm not just learning the words, but also developing an understanding of what those words represent and creating and deepening my connection with the archangels.
I find that memorization is a skill that isn't always appreciated in magical work. The idea of memorizing correspondences or chants can seem like a lot of tedious work, from a surface perspective. The value of memorizing chants and correspondences is that its actually a process that allows you to intimately connect and get to know what you are working with.
1-23-2018 In the power of TED The author shares that how you approach life creates the experience you have and that makes sense. I can recognize when I'm approaching my life as a victim or as a creator and how I feel in both situations. I think the real takeaway, emphasized as much by other things I've been reading, is pick the problems that best serve your outcome. And that only happens when you define your outcome. I've been redefining my outcomes in a couple areas of life and I already see some key differences that are helping me be much more productive and happy.
1-24-2018 I had a 2 hour conversation with another of Gray's students. It was fascinating to hear more stories about Gray, but also to discuss my ongoing magical work as well as learning about that student's working. I felt another connection click into place through that discussion and I'm very excited to continue the relationship and perhaps collaboration as well. Finding like minded magicians who get my work on a deep level and have a shared spiritual foundation is truly exciting.
One of the books I'm currently reading, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear offers an intriguing idea about the nature of creative genius. The author shares that the ideas a person gets and acts on are the result of the genius, but the genius is a spirit working through you.
Kind of like A Genius Locii (a spirit of place), but instead its a spirit of creativity.
I think its an intriguing way to look at one's own sense of genius, because instead of claiming something as you're own, you acknowledge its a gift that's been given to you, an offering that you've been allowed to express (should you take it up). It's an opportunity to be humble and recognize how your creativity is inspired.
In the last few months I've been engaged in a process of dissolution. It is the dissolution of identity constructs that no longer serve me and have become burdens instead of liberators. Why I've done this is because holding on to those identities becomes a form of attachment, complete with tensions that keep a person bound in stasis.
My process for dissolution has involved a combination of meditation exercises and practical exercises where I've made changes in my life.
Book Review: On Writing by Stephen King
In on Writing, the author shares both an autobiographical account of his life as a writer as well as his tips and suggestions for being a writer. While the book primarily deals with writing for fiction, I feel the ideas shared can be applicable to non-fiction as well. It had some good insights on both the act of writing and the business of writing. If you are serious about writing then pick this book up to help you on your journey.
Book Review: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
I found this to be a very helpful book because it helped me recognize how I was limiting myself in different situations in my life and it equipped me with processes I could use to call that out and start working through it. Also reading this book has helped me ask what my zone of genius is and start being true to that zone of genius instead of getting distracted and weighed down by work I don't really want to do. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to discover their zone of genius and stop getting in their own way.
Book Review: The Old Sod: the odd life and inner work of William G. Gray by Alan Richardson and Marcus Claridge
I've been a fan of William Gray's magical work since the late 90s. I've also had the fortune of meeting a few of his students and learning about the actual man as well as the magician. I found this biography to be useful as well in filling in some blanks about the actual person and providing some context around his magical work. Whether you're interested in the magicians of the 20th century or a fan of Gray's work, this is a good book that shares his life, faults and successes.
Book Review: The Power of Ted by David Emerald
In this intriguing book, The author explores the Drama triangle that many people find themselves in and offers an alternative, The Empowerment Dynamic. He shows how the drama triangle disempowers people and creates a lot of drama because of the conflict generated in it. With the Empowerment Dynamic, the author shows you how to claim the role of creator and change your relationship with yourself and other people by choosing how you approach situations. I found this book to be insightful in terms of recognizing ways I've disempowered myself and been a victim. Implementing the concepts in this book helped me start making changes that have benefited my relationships and business. It's a short and powerful book that will change your life.
12-23-2017 Since I made the decision to stop comparing myself to others and start appreciating myself more, I've felt a sense of lightness and happiness and appreciation for my work that I've never ever felt before. I think I've been so busy trying to fit in for so long that it killed a lot of joy in my work. And now I'm simply belonging to myself and I look at the work I've done, am doing, and plan to do and I really, really like it. It's such a wonderful feeling.
12-26-2017 The other day Elephant told me I needed to just be sometimes, instead of trying to do so much. "What about all my work with Stillness?" I asked. You were still doing Stillness he told me...not really just being. And he's got a point.
Lately I've been replaying the God of War series. It's one of those videogame series that I play as a way to process emotions and solve problems. Losing myself in the game and in the character of Kratos and his own issues with rage allows me to come to a meditative space. In that space, each push of the button is mirrored in the meditation and what is presented is a space where the problem can be worked through, while the game is being played.
I've been thinking a lot about where I want to go next with magic. When I wrote Magical Identity, I felt like it planted a seed for what I'll term experiential embodiment. But like any seed, some time was needed to let it germinate and flower.
But for the near to intermediate future I'm finished with pop culture magic and I find myself coming back to experiential embodiment, both in the form of the current book I'm writing, and in my magical experimentation in general.
11-23-2017 I've been waking up with fear and anxiety each day. And each day I've been doing the Taoist dissolving meditation and working with Elephant to be present with what I'm feeling. I've also been reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown lately and its extremely relevant because its really a book about how you come back from failing.
And something which really stands out to me is that she explains the importance of being really present with those messy, uncomfortable feelings you have around failing. She basically says we need to be curious.
Book Review: The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely
In this book, the author provides further social experiments where he explores irrational behaviors and shows why people make the decisions they make based off emotions and other factors that aren't rational. It's a fascinating book which explores human behavior and provides insights and glimpses into why people behave the way they do. The author also explores how irrational behavior can benefit us, in the right context. If you're interested in understanding human behavior, this book will provide some fascinating insights that you can apply in your life and work.
Book Review: Rising Strong by Brene Brown
In Rising Strong, Brene Brown explores how to reset your life when you've experienced adversity. This book was very timely for me to read because of some tough experiences I've had n this last year. Reading through it gave me valuable techniques to draw on as I work through those experiences. It's helped me work through some tough emotions and behavior patterns and provided me a way forward. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with some life changing struggles, who needs some guidance on how to move forward, but also to anyone who wants to improve how they work through difficult situations.
Book Review: Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
In Braving the Wilderness, The author explores the topic of belonging and how to discover true belonging with yourself, as well as how to brave the wilderness and stay true to your journey and message instead of trying to fit in. Reading this book has been timely for me as I've gone on my own metaphorical journey into the wilderness with my business and life. I particularly found the idea that I belong to myself and that I can give permission slips to myself to be helpful, because its allowed me to look at my life and give myself the necessary breathing space I needed as I made some tough transitions. I highly recommend this book as a guide to help you brave your own wilderness and find true belonging.
I was recently re-reading Dune Messiah and what fascinated me about the book is how the character relies on prescience to direct his actions, but also how he recognizes that prescience can be problematic. With prescience the character is always scanning the possibilities and trying to choose the best path forward, but the very path becomes the trap that takes away all his choices.
In my own spiritual practice I've used a variety of tools that can have prescient applications. Those tools include Tarot cards, writing, and collages. I've also used meditation as a way to access prescient probabilities.
10-22-2017 On Friday I switched from Stillness to Stability, from working with Zadok to working with Elephant. One of the reasons I chose Stability is because I feel a need for grounding. One might think with Stillness that I'd already be grounded, but Stillness isn't about that. And to move forward from Stillness requires a measured approach.
When I connected with Stability, I felt Elephant step in and communicating with Elephant is quite interesting because part of the communication process is done through vibration and the paths of memory. So today for example Elephant on a journey of memory and used vibration to steer the course.
Book Review: Tao of Letting Go: Meditation for Modern Living by B. K. Frantzis
In this book, the author introduces readers to the Taoist water Breathing meditation. This book is similar to his other book Relaxing into Your Being. If anything it's a bit more stripped down and focuses on the basics, but its a god book to start with and I'd recommend it because the author takes the time to explore how to apply this technique to internal work and emotional blockages that's a bit more grounded than his other books on the same topic. I found it useful for revisiting what I'd previously learned and it will also be helpful for anyone who wants to learn meditation.
Book Review: An Outlook on our Inner Western Way by William G. Gray
This is a book I will read again and again and each time I know I will discover insights and perspectives that will blow my mind. Reading it the first time, what struck me the most is how concisely and clearly Gray predicted modern society and the place of magic in society. And he does something so rare for frankly any magician to do and its that he advocates for experimentation. Actually that's one of the reasons I love all his books. And this one is no exception, with amazing insights that will challenge what you know about magic and push you to experiment.