movement

Push, pull, and flow in magic

In my magical practice, I’ve lately been taking an approach that has incorporated elements of flow, push and pull in magic. Some of this has come about because of my continual work with Taoist moving meditation, and some of it has come about because of my shift toward experiential perspectives that have my embracing a sensual awareness of my spiritual work over a conceptual one.

In a sense, what my magical practice has been shifting toward is a harmonious model of alignment with the universe that works with the universe as opposed to trying to force a desired change on the universe. With all that in mind, I think its useful to define key terms in this approach so that what I’m doing can be more readily worked with and appreciated.

Memory, Embodiment and Exercise

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.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 24: Transition

eros 9-24-14 This is the last month of the movement working and its a bit odd to realize that because I've spent almost 2 years working with this particular element. I feel like I've only dug in a little ways to movement in all this work I've done, but I've not doubt that there will be more realizations and deeper worker to come and I feel that I have reached a place of balance with this work. I also feel that the Plutonian current I've been dealing with, the night of the dark soul, is receding. When you do this kind of work you become attuned to the currents of energy or spirit you're working with and what I feel is I'm in this place of transition, movement slowing into stillness.

I also started work with Chockmah today. What was interesting about that meditation was recognizing that Chockmah is the beginning of limitation, the initial formation of possibility becoming reality, contained in a very conceptual form that then impregnates Binah, which provides further limitations. Nonetheless I recognized how a biological imperative is placed on the tree, male leading into female which then begats the next layer of the tree and I wondered what it would like if the direction of manifestation went counter clockwise instead of clockwise. This inspired me to think about the quiploth and at some point I must do some research to see if there anything to that, but it also strikes me as a limitation of the tree, bound to a physicality that may or may not be accurate. Of course I also need to recognize the lens of what I'm reading and how that shapes this perception as well.

9-26-14 I'm coming to the conclusion that for the most part weekend intensives don't work, though it probably also doesn't help that my intensive is happening during Mabon, which automatically seems to draw people away, but even without that I've come to recognize a trend that indicates that its probably better to just do webinars and teleclasses with occasional appearances at festivals and bookstores. It's frustrating to figure all this out the hard way, but sometimes its how you learn. My problem here admittedly is that  don't really pay attention to holidays in general and so that hurt me with this particular weekend initiative.

On a different note I've been losing some weight and that makes me happy to actually see it happening, but it also makes me think about what I'll do to make it actually work down the line when I'm not dieting any further. In Ladder of Lights Gray discusses the Auphanim, which are the angelic order of Chockmah. According to him they are the mills of God, creating and sustaining cyclical patterns until a person doesn't need the pattern any more. I've been contemplating that all day, seeing it show up in multiple ways in my life, and thinking of how those patterns are broken down by the work a person does that necessarily involves learning how to end a pattern instead of stay in it.

10-02-14 I finished up working with Chockmah today. When I worked with Ratziel, he showed me his book, but told me there was nothing in there I didn't already know, if I was willing to do the work. And I agree with that, because I find that Chockmah makes a lot of sense to me. Chockmah is patterns within patterns forming into more patterns that convey concept into reality. I do find it very interesting that as I continue this climb up the ladder, I'm also coming to a close with the movement work and getting ready for stillness. Kether is, I think, an embodiment of stillness in its own right, with motion moving toward stillness, and eventually into motion again.

10-6-14 In working with the angelic order of Kether, the impressions I've experienced has been as Kether as the first impulse...yes is everything and nothing, but its also the motivation to do something, to become something distinct from everything else. And when you consider that Kether is ultimately a label to that effect, which describes a Sephiroth, it makes a lot of sense. Kether is that beginning movement of becoming, that initial urge to do something.

The last week has been pretty challenged and at one point Kat asked me what the lesson was and I realized it was that I'm feeling blocked. So I took the weekend off and didn't do anything related to work. Sometimes I think people are so focused on trying to move, trying to find a way to get past an obstacle, they forget the value of just stopping and doing something else or nothing at all. Certainly I'm one of those people.

10-7-14 I connected with Metatron today, who pointed out something significant to me. He explained that even Kether has its own limitation and that the tree itself is a form of limitation that presents a specific way of working with reality that fits the needs of the people utilizing it but also limits those people to that system and the limitations within it. And it's a good point to make...any given system has its own limitations which need to be recognized because at some point a person can and often does evolve past it.

10-8-14 I'm feeling restless and depressed lately. I think it's the fallout from the recent trip, so I'm doing my best to sit with the emotions and get clear on what I'm feeling and why. Perhaps part of it also is that I'm going to be 38 soon. I realize that and I look at my life and it just seems like so much of it has been a mess, which I've managed to get somewhat cleaned up. I know there's plenty of accomplishments there as well, but I think you only really start to come into your own when you've lived life a bit. My twenties were me learning something of what being an adult is about, and my thirties has really been about establishing an identity of who and what I am and do. I'm realizing that and it just hits me I'll be older than my parents when I was born and what I have to show for it...depends on how you look at it I guess, but I actually think I have a lot to show for it...if I'm willing to recognize it.

10-9-14 I finished up with the Ladder of Lights today. There was something in it that Gray wrote: "We neglect Nothing at our greatest cost, for it is the universal element, the ultimate thought, and the unique source of all energy." That's my experience with nothing. Nothing and yet everything all wrapped up on the razor edge of Zero. I hadn't read the Ladder of Lights in a long, long time, but its been good to re-read it and to experience it in a different manner which is more focused through the practice I created around it.

10-15-14 I had an interesting dream last night. I dreamed I was interacting with the experience a person has with eating a Subway sandwich. It was pretty surreal, but it essentially opened my mind to some possibilities with pop culture magic that I'll explore in more depth in the book. The dream came about as a result of feeling a bit of anxiety over the fact that another person is presenting on the topic of pop culture magic. On the one hand, I'm glad someone else is doing presentations and on the other hand, there is a bit of possessiveness on my part and also the fear that what I plan to write will be obsolete, but the dream confirmed something for me and proved quite helpful in put that fear to rest. I realized that my own perspectives are unique enough and that other people presenting shows that pop culture magic is finally reaching that place of acceptance I'd always hoped for with it.

I also had an interesting experience with the Tibetan sound work I'm doing. I decided to do the chanting with the purpose of attuning the spirit cord to the chanting. I felt the astral version of the cord vibrate with the sound, attuning itself to the purpose of the sound and amplifying the effect. Further experimentation is warranted.

10-16-14 I'm feeling frustrated with myself. It feels likely lately I'm making all the wrong decisions or at least acting before I fully think things through. The intentions are good, but the results are less so. Ugh. I think I need to slow the fuck down, which is why it'll be good for me to take on stillness. Sometimes you get so caught up in the movement of life you don't do the necessary due diligence...there's no excuse for that.

10-21-14 Today is the last day of the movement work. I did my invocation of Eros and thanked him for all his help. I know I'll work with him again, especially because there is so much more to tap into with this particular element. I feel even, with 2 years in, I could spend much more time, but I'm also ready for Stillness and I know I will learn things about movement from Stillness. Actually when I think about Stillness, I recognize that I've been integrating stillness practices into my life for the better part of this last year. It's an interesting demonstration of how the elemental balancing work ends up blending together. Tomorrow I will do the ritual to set up stillness as the element to work with for this next year, in full.

Last night, I spoke with Kat about the elemental balancing ritual. I asked her if it was ever a burden for her, me doing this work, and she told me it wasn't...that she accepted it and understood its significance in my life and that she felt it had reverberations in her life as well, but that she welcomed them as part of being involved with me. It meant a lot to me, to hear that support for my spiritual work and the acceptance of just how important this balancing work is to what I'm doing overall. Having a partner who fully gets and supports this work and what it means not just to my personal development, but also the overall work I'm doing with magic is truly a blessing.

Happy birthday to me!

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 22: Balancing Act

eros 7-24-14 The second day at Pathways, we took Bill Duvendack to lunch. Bill is a stand up guy, intelligent, and he shared some interesting insights on the international community. We also talked more about one of the books he's sending to Immanion, which I'm looking forward to editing myself. Afterwards I did some Tarot readings and then the manifesting wealth class, which was well received. We had a larger crowd that night then the previous one. Afterwards we went to dinner with River Higginbotham, who'd been kind enough to host us while in St. Louis. We had some good conversations around leadership and magic. He has some similar interests in space/time magic work, and also the Seth material.

On the 23rd, we arrived in Indianapolis. Actually we checked out the cahokia mounds. I'd never heard of them before. We walked among and wood henge. What I felt was a residual trace of the original people. After that we drove to Indianapolis and I arrived at Spiritual Gardens. At that shop there was one person there for the workshop and I put aside all expectations or anything else and gave a really good version of the Alchemy of Breath, which I'll use in the future. It also occurred to me that I should write a book on that topic specifically. I've written about breath work in Inner Alchemy, but this would be an expansion on what I wrote there. The person attending the class bouth three books and this is only significant for one reason, which I'll share shortly.

Kat and I took the bookstore owner and her son to dinner. It turns out that the patron of the owner and the store is Papa Legba, a loa of the crossroads. Kat and I do a lot of crossroads work, and I felt Legba's presence show up at dinner. The receipt for the meal, plus tip came out to the exact amount I was paid for the books, which I found interesting. The shop owner also told me that Legba likes people to be humble and I realized that the workshop at the bookstore and the dinner was part of encounter with Legba, a test of sorts. Kat and I ended up chatting for quite a while with the owner about the Indianapolis community and at some point Legba came through and the conversation shifted to changes in the owner's life. I feel we passed the test, but it made me appreciate how the movement we experience in life sometimes happens for very specific reasons that remind us of specific lesson we need to take into account. Certainly the entire experience here reminded me of the importance of being humble in the face of success, accepting it, but not letting it go to my head either.

7-26-14 I've been working with the Elohim, which are the angelic order for Netzach. They've shown up as multi-faceted beings with mirror like finishes that mediate specific forces and serve as middle men to connect those forces to people. They are also mirrors of the heart and soul of the person. Sometimes they've shown up with lots of eyes, offering a glimpse into something else.

I've also been at the 2nd international left hand path conference. There's been some good presentations on luciferianism, secret societies, magic etc. I've also been able to meet a couple of people I've long wanted to meet such as Laurelei Black and Michael Ford. I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak and be at this event, and to meet the various people here.

7-29-14 Home at last. The 2nd international left hand path conference was excellent, with lots of good presenters. The trip home was uneventful, but the time away made me realize how much I value my time at home, how much I value PDX. It's great to move and to see further movement resulting as a result, but it's also good to savor hat you have and appreciate the space you are in. I feel the transition to Stillness starting.

7-31-14 Today I was working with Netzach and specifically the Archangel for Netzach, who is known as Auriel or Hanael. A while back in an R.J. Stewart workshop, I had an encounter with a being named Hanael, so when I did my meditation today it was the same being and it was fascinating because in the workshop the focus wasn't on connecting with archangelic powers. According to Gray this archangel directs energy from the athletic to artistic fields...he focuses people into a specific direction. We discussed that quite a bit today, in relationship to some of the changes occurring in my life. It helps me understand some of those choices as well as the benefits. I'll be curious to see what further work with him will bring about.

8-4-2014 It's horrible to tell someone that s/he is a disappointment. I heard that phrase far too often in my childhood. It shut me down. It told me I wasn't good enough. To hear it uttered about someone else always triggers a reaction within me.

8-5-2014 I'm reading The Fruitful Darkness by Joan Halifax. It's an autobiography of sorts about her work with Buddhism and shamanic practices. She makes an interesting statement, where she says there can only be a harvest when a person yields. It makes me think about the movement work and my recognition that sometimes to move, you need to allow yourself to be moved. Today I felt moved to stop by and visit Kat during her break. I told her how much I love her, how much she has moved me, how much she has helped me connect with parts of myself I had frozen and locked away. I don't always find it easy to express such things, but I felt a need to tell her how much she means to me, how much she moves me. So I let myself by moved by how she moves me and spoke my feelings to her, told her how much she means to me and how much she has helped me grow as a person.

8-9-14 I've been feeling the transition to stillness even more lately. It's a subtle transition, but nonetheless I feel that movement is morphing into stillness in my deep work and I'm ready for it. At the same time I feel that Eros will continue to be part of this work, which makes sense as I continue to develop a relationship with him. I haven't written about him much because the relationship has always been subtle, yet nonetheless I have felt him at work in the various experiences I've had and am having.

I've also wrapped up my work with Netzach today. Hanael actually assigned an angel of the Elohim order to me to help me with some specific internal work I'm doing. That angel is holding up a mirror for me...that is its function and yet that function is helping me to see what I need to do to take the internal work deeper.

Something I've been thinking about is leadership and how a good leader recognizes that s/he has feet of clay, or in other words recognizes the flaws s/he has. I definitely have some flaws and have made some choices over the years that were harmful to myself and to other people in my life. I have and continue to work on those flaws with the recognition that this work is a continuous journey. I also know I haven't always been a good leader. I've made some questionable choices that I look back on now and regret making. However what I can do with those choices is learn from them and make sure that I make better choices in my life and work.

8-15-14 I've been working with Tiphareth. I connected with the Malakim, which are the angels of balance. They seemed more abstract than the previous angelic orders, and told me that they were because their focus was on balancing the other Sephiroth and making sure that the right energies balanced each other. Meditating on this helped me appreciate anew the balance between movement and stillness, but also balance in and of itself as a principle of the world. I think I will explore balance as an element after Stillness, if balance calls to me.

8-17-14 The last few days have been pretty tough. I had a situation occur where I was essentially told I wasn't trusted. I got the situation resolved, or at least as resolved as it can be, but to have someone you respect tell you that they don't trust you or that they trust you in theory, but not in practice really hurts. At the same time I suppose what it also indicates is what the real nature of the relationship is. It saddens me, because I realize that whatever the relationship is or may be, this situation has changed it on both ends.

8-20-14 My continued work with Tiphareth has been interesting because of how much more abstract its been and how quickly its gone through. It really is a Sephiroth of balance, with the focus really being on mediating and directing the various energies of the other Sephiroth. It has made me think, as I've worked with it, about how important balance really is and how even though I've integrated into elemental balancing ritual, I haven't really worked with Balance in and of itself.

I've also been feeling a bit depressed. Ironically I've been a bit more creative or maybe I've just focused on that creativity as a channel for what I'm feeling. Regardless it is good to get things done and I like that I've made some progress on a couple of projects that had been proceeding at a very slow speed of progress. I suppose what it really comes right down to is figuring out how to take anything and find a way to use it if you can, including depression.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 20: Regret

Eros 5-26-14: As I navigate the Pluto cycle of my chart and the dark night of the soul it brings with it, I find that what matters most is how I approach the challenge I'm facing and that what movement teaches me isn't just how to move around a situation or through it, but how to move with it, and through that movement find resolution. This last weekend I made a mistake. I had the best of intentions, but how I approached the situation created some discomfort for other people. What it made me aware of is how I can sometimes get so fixated in what's in front of me that I lose the big picture perspective. I move with that realization and I make it part of the movement of my life so that I can learn from the mistake and apply it proactively to my life and interactions as well.

5-28-14 The latest Dresden Files book, Skin Game, just came out and I'm eagerly reading it now. It's one of my favorite fantasy series, in part because  love the whole occult detective angle the author explores. If I ever get back to writing fiction I'd want to write an occult detective series myself, though I don't know if I could do quite so good as Butcher does. I'm also reading a book on magic that I'm not sure I'll review. I find myself fundamentally disagreeing with pretty much everything the author shares and I feel that there's a lot of distorted information being shared. On the other hand I also consider that ultimately the person is sharing their perspective and I don't have to agree with it. It's just rare for me to disagree so much with what someone shares.

5-30-14 I finished the book I disagreed and decided not to read any of the other books by the author. I'm not going to name the person, but I definitely will not read any further as it would be a waste of my time. I think this is the first time I've come across material where its clear to me the material is distorted and that whatever the person is connected to is something I shouldn't have anything else to do with. I've read books by people I personally don't like and still found value in the books they wrote, but this is something else altogether. It's rare for me to feel this way about something I've encountered, but there it is.

5-31-14 Yesterday I had a fairly deep, intense meditation where I was present with the stress in my body and I saw that a lot of it was brought about by regret and I could feel those regrets pressing on my mind, creating tension, holding me back. I promised myself I wouldn't have regrets and yet I have them. It's hard to really sit with that and yet also liberating. I've decided that I need to focus more on my dissolving work and spend some time digging into those regrets. I don't expect it to be easy, but I think it will be rewarding once I've been able to let go of them.

6-1-14 In a conversation with Kat, we discussed my feelings of regret. I realize that what I regret is that 9 years ago I made a lot of decisions based on reaction and on someone else's schedule. I made those choices, so I'm responsible for them, but I regret I made them because I didn't honor myself at all in doing so. I made decisions that changed the direction of my life and I did it for the wrong reasons. That's no one else's fault or responsibility. It's my responsibility, but what I take from that is just how important it is to never let someone else's schedule dictate my choices and also how important it is to make decisions by design instead of reaction. I've made the majority of my decisions in this life by reaction. I know that by looking at the history of my life. I suspect most people live in the same way, but over the last few years I've learned to apply design awareness to my choices. I've started asking myself what really informs that decision. And so Id like to think that I'm learning how to make decisions from a place of awareness that examines the consequences of the decision and allows me to map out what I could or should do before I make that decision. As for the regret...I'm allowing myself to fully acknowledge it, be present with it and recognize it for what it is. I haven't done that before now...I don't think I was ready to. Now I am and that will help a lot as I meditate on it.

I took a trip down memory lane today reading old issues of Razor Smile and Konton Magazines. I remember writing articles for both magazines in the mid 2000's. It's sad to me that the magazines have been replaced for the most part by blogs. I like blogging, but writing for those magazines and getting the magazines in the mail was an experience. I feel some nostalgia for those times. It was a period of time where lots of people were writing and sharing ideas, then after 2006 it all feel to the wayside.

6-5-14 Today when I meditated on regret, I ended up meditating about my earliest romantic experiences with women. I allowed myself to feel the regret, but also really paid attention to it and realized that all of my regret is about the relationships in my life with women. I don't have regrets about anything else other then the ph.d program. Everything is around those relationships and so I just sat with that and meditated on it, recognizing underneath the regret were feelings of emptiness, of trying to get filled, of trying to be accepted, of looking for something in the wrong place. How much have I defined my life by my relationships? A lot. More than I'm comfortable with. So much of my sense of self has come from trying to connect with women in my life, in part I think, because of how I've tried to resolve in my mind and heart, my earliest experiences with my step mom. I feel that much of my focus on connecting with women has really been about trying to heal a wound no one else can heal, to find acceptance only I can.

6-7-14 I find it relevant that the yesallwomen conversation is occurring now as I do my work around regret. It helps me to situate that work within the cultural aspects of the movement, highlighting to me how much my own feelings are conditioned in part by how men have treated women. I know I've sometimes been guilty of behavior that's been disrespectful to women and reading the accounts in yesallwomen calls that into account and provides me a chance to recognize that behavior and put it into context with the regret work I've been doing. Today Kat and I discussed that work. She asked me if I felt regret about being with her or about the choices we've made as a couple in respect to our relationship. A reasonable question to ask. I told her I don't felt regret about being with her or our choices, but instead feel that what I'm working through with the regrets I'm working with is another layer of conditioning, reactions, and feelings about women in my life and my life choices that have lead to me live a reactive life, for the majority of my life. I don't want to live such a life, and yet I find the only way to change it necessarily involves working with those reactions and emotions I haven't fully acknowledged or accepted in myself.

6-10-14 I've been watching West Wing on Netflix. In one episode a character discusses his addiction issues. He acknowledges that although he hasn't had a drink or taken pills in 6 years, he's still an addict and admits he doesn't thinking of taking one drink, he thinks of taking ten drinks. It was an interesting statement about the nature of addiction and it made me think about how addiction takes away the enjoyment of something: the enjoyment of a drink, the enjoyment of sex, the enjoyment of anything else. Addiction is something else, trying to forget something, to fill something up, to numb the pain. It eats as you because no matter what you do, its temporary at best. And even if you do nothing, its still there. The only way you can deal with it is to do the work and face whatever it is you are using the addiction to mask.

6-15-14 In Born for Love the author discusses chameleons. Chameleons in this case refers to people who are trying to belong and as such change themselves to fit whoever they are around. When I read that, it reminded me a lot of myself. I've been a chameleon at times. Around the time I was reading that chapter, I was meditating on regret and I had a really deep, long meditation and in that meditation I was told, "Stop trying to be everything for everyone." Then I was shown a bunch of different moments in my life when I had tried to be what other people had wanted. From my step mom to my mom, to friendships and romantic relationships, I've always tried to fit myself into what the other person wanted, often making myself miserable as a result. I've learning, in my marriage with Kat, how not to do that so much, how to assert myself more, but I see how this ties into regret, specifically because in trying to fit myself into what I thought other people wanted, I gave away my sense of authenticity, my awareness of what I wanted, submerging it in the interests of trying to be something else.

6-16-14 In how The Mighty Fall, the author makes a point that I think is significant to dealing with regret. He notes we aren't imprisoned by our circumstances, or our setbacks, or our history, or our mistakes. Instead we are freed by our choices, and what brings us freedom is the ability to learn from our mistakes, to make a choice where we come back from our setbacks. Never give up on yourself, never give up on the ability to prevail, the belief in yourself, and never give up on your core values. I feel this is relevant to regret, because I think that regret can sabotage your belief in yourself. When I meditated today on regret, I felt that same place in body where the tension is, and I went deep once again and I dissolved some of it, coming away with a realization of how regret is still an attempt to fill something up. Reading what I did today helped me recognize the strength that my core values have brought me over the years, especially in how I have not given up on achieving what it is important to me. Whatever regrets have come up, I have not allowed them to drag me down.

6-19-14 I'm visiting the ocean right now. Seems appropriate to do so when doing dissolving work. Today's meditation continued focusing on regret. I feel that the area in my torso where the emotion of regret is found is becoming less tense as I do this work. It doesn't feel as blocked and I feel as well that I'm able to let go of what I've been holding onto for so long. It seems to me that part of dealing with regret boils down to taking responsibility for what you regret. And what I mean by that is that feeling regret doesn't necessarily involve taking responsibility. Taking responsibility means you acknowledge why you feel the regret and why you are letting it move you. In my case, regret has moved me a lot in life and I recognize that in a way I previously hadn't. This dissolving work is just the first step in my work with regret, the first step toward taking responsibility for it so it doesn't move my life in the way it has in the past.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Month 19: Ebb and Flow

Eros 4-24-14 I decided to pick up the biography on Steve Jobs at the library. I was there to meet a business connection (who no showed) and while I was waiting I started reading it. Initial thoughts on reading it: It's sad how many people have felt abandoned in life, yet in his case he clearly had adoptive parents who game him the world. Nonetheless I see certain patterns in the character of his personality that are similar to what I discovered in Born to Love. It's a fascinating read. I admit that I occasionally do get fascinated with a particular person and learn about that person...usually someone who's really intelligent, who's gone their own way, and who's had some struggles. Not all that different from my life and I like seeing what other people, in their respective circumstances, did to get wherever they are/were. Usually the lessons I've learned boil down to a combination of going their own way, persevering in believing in their vision of the world (as opposed to buying into someone's else vision), and not being afraid to admit mistakes or change course as needed. Good lessons to remind myself of.

4-26-14 The more I read the biography about Jobs, the more fascinating I find him to be. He was clearly a driven person, but also a bit of a tyrant. He had a vision for the world and he wouldn't let anyone stop him, but he didn't know how to work well with most people. That seems to be true for most of the innovators of the world. Reading the biography does make me reflect on some of my personality traits. I'm not easy to work with either. I can be temperamental and I have very particular ideas about what I want to do and how to do it. That said, I wouldn't change any of it. To do something different calls for a different person who is willing to push the limits for the sake of the vision s/he has. Settling for less lessens a person who knows there can be better than what's already out there.

4-29-14 I finished reading the biography of Steve Jobs today. A fascinating book about someone who changed this world. A bit of irony here: I have never used Apple computers or products. There was always something about them I didn't like and reading the biography allowed me to figure out that it's that the computers feel very controlled. Jobs was a control freak and it showed in the computers and other products he developed. I suppose the relevance of this book as it relates to my spiritual work is that it makes me appreciate two things: How a person can move the world around him/her with a particular understanding of his/her focus and calling. And also the importance of continually being aware of how the shadow aspects of yourself can show up, as well as what do about them.

5-2-14 It's a tough day today. I've made some choices and those choices have had effects I didn't expect. It's not the end of the world, but it changes you...when you see yourself in a different way because of the consequences of your choices. The way you think of yourself also changes. What you thought you were, you no longer are and what you've become isn't what you wanted to be. I've referred, a few times, to the fact this is the dark night of the soul cycle in my astrological chart and this definitely fits that experience. The shadow side of that Plutonic energy showing up and presenting itself as a specter that effects your life. Yet somehow I'll continue on, because this doesn't really change that much for me...it just makes it more apparent and life continues on. I'm still here...can still do what I want to do, and knowing that I'll allow myself to feel this moment and everything it brings up and then use it to fuel my fire and continue on my journey.

5-3-14 You either move forward when you deal with a crisis event or you give up. So I'm moving forward with an eye toward how to solve the problem I'm dealing with. I've done some research and the silver lining in all of this is that it provides me an opportunity to work on some experiments. An experiment works better based on need than on curiosity, though both are useful enough.

5-8-14 The last few days I've re-examined my schedule and changed it around to make sure I'm exercising and meditating each day. I meditate almost every day, but occasionally I let my business schedule get in the way. Exercise has been more sporadic the last few months and I'm not happy about that. So I looked at my schedule and what I realized is that I just need to go in to each week with the understanding that no matter how much I have to do, self-care has to come first. So if I don't get to everything I was hoping to do, it's more important I exercise and meditate. I'm going to hold myself to that, and have done so for the last few days, which has helped immensely.

5-10-14 As part of my work with movement, I've decided to change my daily work a bit. I'm focusing more on the Taoist breathing techniques, but also doing daily cord work and have just added some work with the Sacred Heart technique. Each of these different techniques incorporates movement to one degree or another, even it if it is just awareness of the rhythm of a type of movement...and yet each of them also leads into stillness, and the profound awareness of stillness that I find lies hidden within movement. As I do each exercise I'm mindful of the movement, but also the stillness at the heart of the movement, and how both feed into each other, creating this awareness of the universe if we are willing to just be aware.

5-11-14 So much of how I felt in my life has involved a feeling of profound emptiness, painful emptiness, which I have tried to fill up a variety of ways, none of which ever worked. Eventually I learned to sit with my emptiness, to be present with it, to accept it as a part of my life instead of treating it as an enemy. I came to recognize nothing could ever fill it up, no person, no deity or god, nothing...and that there was no need to fill it up...instead I could simply be with it and come to a place of peace with it by accepting it as a natural part of being me. It's a part of my journey in this life.

Mother's day today. Mother's day is mixed for me. I have a mixed relationship with my mom. I have no relationship with my ex-step-mom and no wish for one. My experiences with mothers has been less then ideal really. Actually that's true of my experience with my parents period. In some ways we have a good relationships, but sometimes what I remember is how neglected and unloved and unwanted and unaccepted I felt.

5-15-14 In one of the meditations I've been doing, I've been interacting with what might be considered my Angel or higher self. I always encounter this being in a library, around a book stand which contains the book of my life. This being is filling out details of that book. We've been discussing this life and the possible variations of it and something he said today struck me profoundly. "No matter what you change about this life, what variation of it you explore, there will always be some part of you that is unsatisfied because until you learn how to accept what you have, there will always be a sense that something is missing" I've encountered variations of this before, but I'm a slow learner sometimes and I know there is truth to this, just as I also know that so much of what I've struggled with in my life has really involved that sense of emptiness and thinking that something else could feel it up. It's taking me a while to realize a simple truth: There is no variation, no ideal version, no change that will be perfect. That no matter what life you live there will be struggles and challenges and something missing and the question is do you focus on what's missing or do you focus on what you have. Now it can be useful to focus on what's missing as it can drive you to do some great things, but it can also drive you to do terrible things. Focusing on what you have, learning to accept it and be at peace with yourself is a hard struggle at times. What I heard today is a simple truth but getting that simple truth has taken and is taking a lot of work on my part.

5-16-14 Earlier this week Kat and I caught a cat that had come wandering around. It was surprisingly friendly and we planned on getting it fixed, until a friend pointed out it was pregnant. Then we started looking into no kill shelters, but it felt like a time bomb on our hands because it was pretty clear that the Cat was close to birthing. Today I finally found one and I took the cat in...While I was driving the cat started giving birth. Quite an experience and fortunately the shelter was still willing to take the cat and kittens in, but what a day. And while its seemingly not relevant to my magical journey, I found it awe inspiring to take part in this journey of life that as occurring.

5-20-14 A lot of the magical work I'm doing lately is transitional work from movement to stillness. Although it's only May and I won't switch until October, I'm nonetheless finding this theme of transition in play, which I think actually makes sense. It's really an exploration of the relationship movement and stillness have with each other. what's intriguing is how stillness generates movement, for I find when I do stillness work that it nonetheless creates movement and following that movement may not be very stilling, but it does lead to some interesting discoveries. And with movement itself, I'm also recognizing how it comes to an end at some time and then you transition to something else. Part of this work has been around the lunar and sublunar realm as well and coming to understand how the movement of life into death into life.

Something else I've been thinking about is the worst decision I've made in my life. Why have I been thinking about it? Because I recognize how much that decision changed me life, in ways I couldn't even begin to know until after it was made and how even though its been some time since I made that decision it's a decision that played a role in other decisions I made since. It makes me glad I'm less impulsive now, more focused on making decisions by design than out of reaction. It also makes me realize how careful I need to be when I make big decisions in my life, because of how things can play out. I know my life would be very different if I'd made a different decision 9 years ago. And you might wonder why I'm thinking about that decision? The truth is that I'm thinking about it so much because I'm finally processing it and the effect its had on me. It's taken me a long time, in part because so much has happened and because I'd been doing a lot of other internal work, but at some point you catch up and start to see things closer to where you are now. I look at that decision and I see how it's played a role in other decisions I've made in the last nine years and its kind of staggering. I don't want to dwell on this decision forever, but I need to make peace with the fact that I made it and also make peace with the consequences of it. And with all that said I need to learn from it, which I've done in some ways and in other ways I'm still learning.

5-21-14 Ebb and flow is the rhythm of movement. When you recognize ebb and flow in your life, in your business, etc., you learn not to take it so personally or worry about it. You become self-assured because you recognize it for what it is. You look at what you need to change, what actions to take, but you don't freak about it either because you know that the ebb and flow you're dealing with is something you can handle. You've handled it all your life. I'm recognizing the ebb and flow in my life, in the rhythms of movement, events, activities, and everything else along those lines and this makes it easier to plan for and to work with. I recognize my ebb and flow and accept it as part of the nature of my life, and as a result I'm working what I've got at any given time and making it matter where it counts most.

Work with instead of swimming against

swim Shauna Aura Knight recently posted a series of blog posts about her definition of magic. She'd written the posts because she's currently taking the process of magic course and one of the exercises involves students defining what their definition of magic is. I think her responses are very thoughtful and demonstrate the kind of engagement that's really important in understanding magic.  Here is her first entry, second entry, and third entry. A little while back I wrote something about magic, which is integral to this blog post, but also to my own definition of magic and how I think magic works, when it comes to practical applications of it: "The genuine experience of magic is something which changes you and your relationship to the universe. It’s not a result. It’s an ongoing relationship that informs how you experience the world and your place in it, as well as how you change it."

In her second post, Shauna makes several interesting points abut magic and why people do magic:

Some of our ancestors certainly spent a lot of effort making offerings (including the occasional human sacrifice) to appease the gods and shift the weather, or end a war. Do I think it works like that? Not really. I think that everyone stays a lot calmer when we feel like we’re doing something. We humans just don’t cope with the idea that the earth could shrug and we’re wiped out and we have no control over that. So I think in some cases, magic becomes an illusion of control.

and:

Magic works really well for changing myself. It works well for changing the consciousness of myself and others where I have that influence. But the more specific external physical results I want, the more I’m swimming upstream against the nature of physics. Or, the more physical work I’m going to need to do to take it beyond just my intention and my will.

and in part 3 she noted:

I think that, with magic, we want proof. We want flash. We want miracles.  And when we don’t get those, we wonder what magic is. When we see how magic works, it doesn’t seem very flashy…or, we realize how unimportant the flash really is.

All of these points she makes are good ones and again I'd suggest reading her entries in their entirety because it'll give you some food for thought about magic. I agree with Shauna that for so many people, what they want is proof that magic is real. They want Hollywood magic, but what they don't realize is that magic is a process and that it is subtle. The majority of magical work I've done has usually involved a build-up of actions and energy toward manifesting a possibility into reality. Rarely is it instantaneous, but the results happen when I need them to, because I've planned that into the working. And as I mentioned in a recent post on high magic, sometimes what we want is to feel connected and to also feel like we made a difference, even if how we're trying to make that difference is a symbolic gesture as opposed to real actions.

I do believe magic can generate physical results. However I think the way those physical results are generated has more to do with turning possibility into reality than anything else. When you think about it, turning possibility into reality is what practical seems to be about. Magic is stacking the deck in your favor, but for that to happen involves working with what's possible and selecting the possibility you want to manifest into reality. Some possibilities are easier than others to manifest. As Shauna notes, the more external physical results you want to generate, the more you swim upstream against the nature of physics (as we know it anyway). For example, if you want to throw a fireball, you're going to have change the laws of physics (or create some technology). If you want to telekinetically move an item, you've come got to come up with the energy to make it happen. And that energy isn't just changing the physical environment but also accessing the possibility of tossing a fireball or moving an item with your mind.

I prefer not to swim against the stream. I prefer to work with what's around me. Part of working with something involves learning about it. For example, if I'm going to work on the microbial level of my body, I'd better do some research into what that looks like, so that I at least have an idea of what I'm working with and how factor that into the magical work I'm doing. If I want to do a weather magic working, I'm going to research the weather system I'm in, so I understand the possibilities available.

I look at practical magic in terms of possibilities. What are the available possibilities? What are the variables that effect those possibilities? What can I work with to make the possibility to turn into reality? Viewed in this way magic isn't full of flash or glamour, but it works really well in terms of turning possibilities into reality. I work with what's around me, instead of swimming against it. I don't need to swim against anything to get what I want and I'm always in favor of creating the path of least resistance toward achieving my goals.

On a different note Lilith Dorsey interviewed me on her blog about divination.

 

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 18: Design

Eros 3-22-14 I found a segment of Psychic TV the Black album on youtube. It's been way too long since I watched the video so it was a nice surprise to even see part of it. I used to have it on tape and then it got lost. Watching it always puts me into a creative flow mindset and that's what it got me into tonight. What as really interesting however was having several dialogues with people about concepts related to experimental magic and seeing those people embrace it, really embrace and accept the value of going outside of convention. I feel like with pop culture magic especially, but also space/time magic, these currents are coming more into their own as more people recognize the validity of them and want to apply them to their lives in meaningful ways. To see that happening, especially when it seemed like I was a lone voice for a long time is really gratifying. I'm not alone anymore. There are other people out there actively working with and interested in the same concepts and practices. 3-23-14 Something I've been doing with movement is calculating movement, or if you will planning it be design. I look at a possible movement I want to do and I explore the timeline of that movement, calculating what could happen, where the movement could go, and what factors would need to change. This has helped me recognize whether or not a given movement is wise or if I should let it go. It's also helped me understand whether a desired result is really worth the effort involved in moving toward it. I've been an impulsive person and still can be on occasion, but I'm learning to step back and consider the path before I actually set foot on it.

3-26-14 I've continued reading Born for Love. In the latest chapter I read the topic was on lies and consequences, which ultimately became a discussion about altruism in society. What it brought up for me was my own experiences as a child. I learned early on how to lie and how to lie in such a way that it would be very hard to tell if I was lying. I had to learn this skill early on because I found that when I told the truth I was punished. There was no motivation to be honest when no matter what I did I would be punished and penalized. Lying, on the other hand, at least delayed the consequences. It took a long time to undo this particular behavior and change it. And even now I find that it can be hard tell the truth, because there is always a feeling of fear, especially if I perceive someone as an authority in my life. Authority has always been the enemy, because authority has always been more interested in crushing me than actually helping me.

The key, as an adult, has been to realize I am the ultimate authority of my life and anyone else in my life may have a lace of importance, but I determine that importance. It's helped me work through the fear and become more honest as a result. On the other hand, learning those skills and surviving as I did in my early years taught me a shades of gray approach to life that I still draw on. I don't feel its bad to have that mentality and it has certainly helped me significantly, but with the people closest to me I want to continue to work toward being able to feel safe enough to be fully present with them. Another interesting point: "Altruism can survive in a population only if those who don't do their part aren't able to get away with it for long." So true. In networking, altruism works if everyone looks out for each other and actively works to help other people. The question I start with everyday is "Who can I help today?" That question defines my existence, defines my life and keeps me focused on helping other people. I know altruism has more benefits than a more selfish perspective does.

3-30-14 A lot has happened over the last few days and I'm only writing it here. Kenny Klein, a Pagan author and musician, was arrested and charged with 25 counts of Child Pornography on his computer, which he confessed was his. He also confessed that he had downloaded and shared the pornography. I didn't find out about this until someone asked me what Immanion Press's position on the matter was. I responded and later that day Storm and I decided to pull the one book he'd published with us from the line-up. We didn't feel we could continue to support someone who'd admitted guilt to such things. Some people have supported our decision while others have told us we're irresponsible or claimed we're doing it for PC reasons. It doesn't matter though. I know why I wanted the book pulled. Because it doesn't reflect the values of Immanion Press to support the work of an author who has done such deeds, but also because on a personal front, I know what it's like to be a victim of sexual abuse and I don't want to support someone who has caused harm to other people and contributes to causing additional harm to people. this whole incident has stirred some feelings up, but for the most part of I've focused on the community and the need all of us have to make sense of this and make meaningful change moving forward.

On a somewhat related front, I recently finished reading a chapter in Born to Love about sociopaths. What I found interesting was how the early years of life can contribute to sociopathic tendencies. In other words if you don't get the requisite love and attention you need you can end up with such tendencies. A sociopath treats other people like objects and can have addictive behavior to experiences that make them feel something. I don't feel that I'm a sociopath, but I could see how the neglect I experienced in my early childhood lead to me being distant with other people. Through the internal work I did and work I've done with Kat, I've become much closer to the people in my life, learning how to let them in and learning how to connect with them emotionally in ways I couldn't do before. It's taken a lot of work, but as I continue to undo the learned behaviors from my past and become closer I find myself forming more meaningful relationships with people as a result. The Klein situation does get me to think some of my past interactions at conventions and festivals. When I was in my 20's I didn't respect people's boundaries as well as I should have. Eventually it was pointed out to me, and I did a lot of work on my awareness of other peoples' boundaries, and on my own behavior and boundaries. I've really had to face myself and it hasn't always been easy, but I'm glad I have because I want to be a person who is good for myself and the people in my life.

4-3-14 It's interesting to observe how people respond to being challenged, myself included. I had a recent interaction with an another occult author on this blog and while it ended well, the initial response was heated. I resolved to be professional and I think I handled it well. I'm not invested in being right and I know I can learn and I'm willing, indeed driven, to learn. What drives me is curiosity. I want to learn and so I don't care if someone makes a point that involves me revising a position I've taken. If I'm so invested in that position that I'm not open to learning then I'm doing myself a disservice as a magician and spiritual seeker. Whereas if I'm open to learning what I can discover will surely help me improve myself as a person and improve what I love to do.

4-6-14 I think of movement in relationship to design as purposeful movement that is done to achieve specific results. This month has shown me that in a number of ways I hadn't expected, such as with the publishing work, but also with a lot of the activity I'm doing right now to set up events and classes for the summer and fall. A lot of movement is happening and a lot is happening in the background to make that movement possible. It's not spontaneous in the way some movement is, but rather is directed and focused movement that requires that everything is set up just so in order to effectively each the design. 4-8-14 I just finished watching the movie Jobs, while working on layout. I always find biographical films interesting, especially when its about someone who has a vision for changing the world and forces that vision through regardless of what other people try to do. Such people are different because they look at the world differently and see something that can be changed in a fundamental way. When I look at my own work, both the writing and the publishing of other peoples' writing, I can tell you that my motivation is to change the world, to change the communities I am a part of, to challenge the status quo. I think you have to have that motivation if you really want to bring change to a discipline you are involved in. You have to be willing to take a risk and do something differently because the potential result makes the change worth it. 4-10-14 Last night I attended a talk at ODN on leadership and how your leadership style is reflected by the people around you. It was an interesting that got me to thinking about how the conflicts I have with a person are reflective of the values each of us holds and how those values conflict with each other. It gives me some thought on how I can assess my interactions with people, in respect to values.

4-14-14 Back from an intense weekend workshop I did with R. J. Stewart about William Gray and Ronald Heaver. There's so much to say, but I'll start simple. An internal issue that came up as a result of the work was a recognition of how the need for approval has seeded itself in my life. I've addressed that issue on certain fronts, but spiritually, I haven't. It came up for me when I realized that William Gray the person probably wouldn't really approve of how I practice magic. Seems silly to worry about what a dead person would think of how I practice magic, but I'd built up this image of him in my head, and this weekend that got stripped away (which was good) and forced me to face this issue of approval.

Today, I meditated on the issue of approval and what I came away with is that it stems back to childhood, to wanting approval from my family and later on wanting approval from people I learned magic from. I even see this desire for approval coming out in some of my current interactions. So what does this tell me? That I need to work on that need and addressing it. Realistically I don't need approval from anyone, but I recognize this emotional need for what it is and how it shows up in my life. As for the weekend itself...I did experience a mini crisis of faith based off the perspective I had about Gray, but I came through it more connected to the spiritual lineages that my magical practice is part of. Kat helped me work through some of what I was feeling, but what helped the most was several encounters with Gray while doing the magical work this weekend. The first time, he just said, "Ok so now you know what a bastard I was. Are you really going to let that stop you? Get over it and decide: Do you want continue working with what I have to offer and deepen that work or do you want to go on you way?" Straight and to the point. I chose to go deeper, getting over what I felt about the person and focusing on the spiritual connection I know is there and choosing to deepen it.

When I told R. J. this, he told me that I should contact Jacobus Swart, who I am acquainted with, so I'll be doing that soon. Saturday night I did dream work and in that dream work I encountered William Gray again and we talked further about magic, the importance of internal work and why it needs to continue being integrated in magical practice, the importance of experimentation in magic and also about my calling in this world as it relates to magical work. He told me to get in touch with Jacobus and also urged me to continue working with R. J., while also continuing to develop my own practices. Afterwards I encountered a short, darkhaired woman, with a martial nature who talked with me about magical partnership and how each partner grounds the other and provides the basis for going into deeper magical work through consistent practice together (I suspect she was Bill's partner Roberta). Then on a field of Green, I encountered Ronald Heaver who briefly discussed stillness as a form of magical practice and told me to re-read the book about him when I switched over to stillness and call on him as an inner contact for that work. I felt that the connections with all three changed some internal magical structures for me.

There was a lot more that happened this weekend, but I'd say of what happened, that each practice served to deepen the connection to the respective lineages that William Gray and Ronald Heaver are part of and allowed me to integrate those lineages into my continued work.

4-15-14 Further meditation on approval today was quite instructive in allowing me to release the need for approval. As I dissolved the blockage around approval, I felt myself come to a place where I met with a younger version of myself and helped that younger version understand that he didn't need anyone's approval to do anything or to be praised for what he's done. The magical work we do is what matters...the fulfillment of my calling and purpose is what drives me. Everything else is temporary.

4-16-14 In my dream work and later meditation I was visited by Bill Gray and Bobbi his wife. They both spoke at some length on magical partnership and how important it is to have a firm foundation with your partner in order to effectively develop magical systems and/or traditions. I also felt a continued energetic exchange and a continued push toward some of the work I'm now looking at. It's interesting to me, that I'd decided to re-read The Ladder of Lights right before the workshop and now it seems more appropriate than ever to pick it up and work with it.

I'm also reading The Old Sod, which is a biography about Bill Gray. In reading about his early life, I see a lot of parallels with mine. Like me he grew with an interest in magic, pretty much from the get go and like me he grew up in an environment where he was mostly neglected. Seeing such parallels in his life doesn't surprise me...I think you can unfortunately find such parallels in the lives of many people. But what it does make me feel some sense of sadness and recognition that for so many people there really is no such thing as a family automatically. We find our own way and if we are lucky we find our way to people who become chosen family.

4-17-14 When I first got into occultism I had this naive idea that people in the magical community would somehow be more enlightened, open minded, and open to learning than other people. I eventually learned that occultists and pagans were like everybody else. Some people are open minded, some people are close minded, etc.. What really matters is that you find the people that are right for your life...It's something I've recognized about the company I keep now. The more internal work I do, the more I pay attention to my calling, the more I align myself with people who hold similar values. Ironically, I suppose, this serves to filter certain perspectives out, but then I figure that if I really want to seek those perspectives out I can do so without necessarily inviting people in, by finding the right cultural artifacts that represent those perspectives.

4-21-14 Last night I had a dream where I was given all these gifts, but I couldn't handle all of them, so most of them were taken back and I was told you are only given what you can handle. My meditations have also run around a similar theme of recognizing what  have and working with it. I don't think there's any particular reason for this message other than to recognize what I've got and to know that I can handle what I have in my life right now...which is actually a good message to receive. As I've thought about this month and the theme of design, I've thought about how the experiences I've had this month, in one form or another, have all shown how design manifests...it's not always my design, but there is a design in place and the movement that occurs runs in that design. I can work with that...I am working with that and it is something which makes me appreciative of movement and the context movement happens in.

4-22-14 Another dream last night, where I was directed to read The Sacred Cross by Anastacia Nutt and integrate it into my spiritual practice. When I was at the workshop a week and a half ago I felt very drawn to this book, so I picked it up. I usually don't feel so drawn to a book, but this one called to me...and unusually I'm reading it sooner than later, as most books I get go to the bottom of my to read pile. Kat told me that the day she met, she actually took the class on this material from Anastacia. We both found that to be an interesting synchronicity. I suppose it's just another layer of the design of movement showing up in my life.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Month 17: Presence

Eros 2-20-14 I flew out today to Convocation. Last night and this morning I was a bit emotional. I miss Kat. I've gotten used to having her with me at events like this and this is one of those rare times where that's not the case. I'll see her in a few days, but it does make me appreciate just how much she has come to mean to me. As for Convocation...I flew in and discovered that the hotel didn't have shuttle service, so I needed to get a cab, so I wasn't thrilled with that. However I was able to get here just in time for my workshop on Space/Time Magic and I did a decent presentation of it. I feel it could've been better, but I also had just gotten in, was hungry, and I made it work despite all that. The convention itself is low key. The people are friendly, and it's not nearly as overwhelming as Pantheacon can be. And Glasolya-Labolas is looking out for me, which I really appreciate. It's good to have a spirit ally to back you up.

2-22-14 Convocation has been a fun experience. I definitely plan to come back next year and present again. I've had lovely conversations with Shauna Aura Knight about Pagan Leadership and Ritual Sonics. It's always nice to find people you can geek out with about topics of mutual interest. And speaking of that I've also had the pleasure of meeting Corvus Nocturem and discussing publishing with him. He owns a small press as well and we both found a lot to talk about and may even team up to do so presentations on publishing together. I've felt Glasolya-Labolas's presence throughout this convention, and at different times have gotten intuitions to go somewhere or talk with someone. Each time it's proven helpful and I've felt that I'm coming away from this convention with some new friends and allies. There is movement here and I'm excited to be part of it. At the same time I miss Kat. I look forward to seeing her when I fly home and catch up in person. While I appreciate her in general, being away from her has helped me appreciate her more.

2-23-14 I'm getting ready to leave convocation. This convention has themes based around the tarot. The one for this year was Judgement, and it seemed really apt to me because of the fact that I'd be running into several people here where things went South with those people. Nothing happened here...we ignored each other than having brief exchanges, but I also felt that this convention helped me face myself as well. I participated in a ritual that Shauna put together. I actually ended up invoking the Earth element and being one of the people holding a mirror and telling people to go deep and face their shadows. And I faced some of mine as well. I've always been my harshest critic, but something I've learned over the years is how to stop judging myself and how to start working with myself and at this convention I felt that come into play, both in my interactions with other people and my interactions with myself. I want to make good choices in my life and part of doing that is choosing not to judge myself, but instead work with what's at hand and make a choice based off that in a way that doesn't judge me, but instead validates me and the life I choose to live. More of a proactive approach really, instead of reacting, which I think is really what judgement is about.

2-26-14 The choice not to move, not to take action, can be just as potent a form of movement as anything itself. I also feel it can be a declaration of choosing to be present with yourself. It's something I've been contemplating since I've gotten back from Convocation. I've also been thinking about the concept of the meta-processor, someone who processes multiple streams of information simultaneously. I'm a meta-processor, which is usually good, but I do feel a bit overwhelmed of late because my life is a bit too busy for my liking. It'll be slowing down soon, and this makes me appreciate that the speed of movement is not in and of itself always a good thing.

3-3-14 This last weekend I attended the Spirit Cord workshop. I shared most of my experiences in this post, but some of I decided to post here because of its relevance to my work. I feel that the cord work is very relevant to my current work with my very young self as a baby and pre-baby. I'm doing some intense internal work around those early memories and also I feel going through a cycle that prepares me for my 38th birthday when I move into Stillness and into the exact natal position my astrological chart was in when I was born. In the workshop R. J. mentioned that the cord goes through the center of the spindle of a person's natal chart. He also mentioned that the cord has correlations to the umbilical cord, which makes sense given the life and death aspects of the spirit cord. This is something I hope to explore in more depth down the line, as I work with my spirit cord further.

3-8-14 I've fallen off the wagon with exercise. I haven't been consistent about it at all. I know I need to do something about it, but I think I've been feeling so overwhelmed by all the various projects on my plate, I've just put it off. That's not good for me to do because it's taking an essential part of my life and putting on the shelf. So I acknowledge this and I know I need to get back on the wagon regardless of how much else I need to do.

3-12-14 In the last few days I've gotten back on the wagon and found to my pleasant surprise that my body has still stayed in the shape it was in overall despite some infrequent exercising. However, choosing to exercise regularly already makes me feel better. It's amazing how even getting back into a routine can make a difference about how you feel about yourself. It highlights to me just how important this activity is to my overall well being. No matter how busy I get I need to make sure I stay present with myself and with the movement that is best for me.

3-13-14 I'm heading off to Paganicon tomorrow. I'll be working with Glasolya-Labolas again and Kat will be with me, which I'm happy about. I feel like this month is passing in a blur of movement, as if everything is speeding up. I'm not sure if it's because of how much traveling I'm doing, or if it's just because of the work I'm doing with the element of movement. Either way movement is happening, in so many positive, wonderful ways.

3-17-14 I'm back from Paganicon. This entire month feels like its just flown by in a blur. It make me wonder if I've really been as present with it as I hoped. I did work with Glasolya-Labolas again and at this event I unexpectedly found a bunch of familiar faces, as well as the right encounters that needed to happen. Glasolya-Labolas is quite the diplomat and quite the coordinator of schedules. I look forward to working with him further and am quite impressed with his skills.

I feel like my understanding of movement is changing even further. There is always a rhythm to movement even if we don't always perceive it. I feel that rhythm at work and it shows up in both obvious and subtle ways. The obvious ways is all the traveling and the fact that both businesses seem to be taking off, but the less obvious ways show up in my interactions with specific people or how I experience a given day. Everything is moving and I am part of that movement, moved even as I move it.

3-18-14 Donald Michael Kraig is dead. I only met him a couple times and we never exchanged more than a hello. I read both of his books and found them to be helpful in my own practice. A lot of people were clearly touched by his death and made a response to it on their Facebook pages. Seeing that made me think that at some point all of us die. I know I will die some day. Hopefully it'll be a long time from now, but regardless of when it happens, I'll die and most people won't care, a few people may be happy at my demise, and some will feel sad and acknowledge that I had some type of effect on their life. I'll move from this life onto another life or the void, or whatever and life will go on without me.  Nothing is forever, but everything continues on. I hope Donald Michael Kraig is resting in peace and moving on to whatever next adventure finds it way to his path.

3-20-14 I dislike passive aggressiveness in people, myself included. I know I'm guilty of it on occasion, and I think most, if not all, people are. It's a way to mask how you feel about someone, to smile, but if you look closely at that smile, it's really a snarl. It's a way to pretend friendliness when what you really want to do is stab a knife in the person's back. However in the last few years, I've worked hard to get passive aggressive people out of my life and to make sure I'm not being that way, because why would I really want someone close to my life who pretends friendliness but wants to hurt me? I realize that doing this also extends to online mediums such as Facebook. I don't need people trying to impede my movement in life. I figure I do that enough for myself on occasion, so I'm really being present and asking myself why I'd really want to be connected with people I know wish me harm, no matter how much they act otherwise. Connection of any form lets such people in and says I condone your hostility toward me. Obviously I can't assume that I know the intentions of every person that comes into my life or makes a friend request on an online medium, but when I do know someone who has a history of being hostile toward me I also should know better then to allow that person any connection with me, because as soon as that person sees an opportunity, out comes the knife. I consider the lesson learned today, when it comes to online mediums. I need to honor my choice not to put up with behavior from people that I know is counter productive for me. I want the right connections, right people in my life and I won't find that with someone who wants to tear me down because of their own insecurities and issues.

Working with the Spirit Cord

spirit cord This last weekend I attended a workshop run by R. J. Stewart, which focused on the Spirit Cord teachings. It was a profound experience for me...one where I felt that certain gaps in my magical education were filled in by the work we did. I've never done cord work before and hadn't found much in the ways of reference to it in the works I've read so I was really curious about what this workshop would be like and what I'd learn from it. I'd gotten a purple cord the week before at Jo Ann's and with that in hand I headed to the workshop. Originally Kat and I were both supposed to go, but she got sick, so I went alone, which felt a bit odd because she had introduced me to this kind of work, but as it turned out even that happened for a reason, as we learned later in the weekend.

The concept of a cord, as it applies to spiritual work, is that the cord can embody all the traditional magical tools, while being none of those tools. The cord is a flexible connection between each tool. I found this interesting, especially as it related to my work with William Gray's material, because Gray discusses how to really understand a given magical tool, it's important to actually take it within you and embody it, and as I learned this weekend the spirit cords works in a similar manner. R. J. explained that the cord is also representative of and connected to your spinal cord, so that in a sense what it really represents magically is a connection to your entire body and how your body process and works.

Another interesting correspondence that came up was that cords traditionally had 7 seven knots in them. 7 knots could be related to the traditional 7 planets in planetary magic, as well as the 7 stages of Alchemy. I suppose we could create a lot of correspondences actually, but I felt that those particular correspondences were significant as it relates to western sacromagical work. As I continue to work with the cord, I'll undoubtedly explore such connections but for the moment I'm going to focus more on just learning to work with it.

Another key aspect of the spirit cord is that it remembers for you. What this means is that the cord can be used to store energies, experiences, memories etc. I tried this out when I wore the cord while sleeping. I found that I vividly remembered a dream that was magical focused in a way that I might not have otherwise, and that as I wrote it down, I could touch the cord and remember what I needed to remember. The cord helps you access those memories and experiences and re-embody them. I also found it relevant to my ongoing work that the cord could be utilized for both stillness and movement and that it's linked to birth and death.

The physical version of your cord is actually representative of your astral cord (not the silver cord typically discussed in astral work). In the meditative work we did with the cord I found that several experiences occurred. First in just working with the cord and connecting it to the spinal column, I could feel how it could be used to raise or lower spiritual energy. Second in working with the cord, I also felt how it could also be used for attunement purposes. For example, in the workshop we did a working with the Faerie Realm where we asked if we could attune the energies of the Faerie Realm to the cord. In my case, Puck came and attuned the cord with Faerie Energy. On Sunday evening, I did a similar attunement with Dragon and On Monday I did the same with the other spirit beings I am working with. In each case, when they did the attunement I could feel the energy flow into the cord and into me.

We also did a working with an astral temple, where we found our Astral cord. My astral temple was on top of a dormant volcano, but the inner alter was in a place where there was a lake of lava. I had an interesting experience there. After I'd worked with the astral cord, this gigantic being came out of the lava and presented itself to me. It then touched my forehead with the tip of its finger and I felt this energy go through me. I asked what it was and it said "He (RJ Stewart) would know me as a Titan." He then told me that if I wanted to work further with it, I should return and seek another audience. On Monday I sought another audience, because I want to get further understanding of what had occurred and the Titan told me I could ask one question. So I asked How and when should I seek your aid? He seemed to like that I'd managed to make one question into two and told me that I'd know when to work with him when the situation called for it and that I'd be guided in how to work with him. He also told me that what I thought of as need differed greatly from what he thought of as need and suggested that I shouldn't call on him lightly. He touched my cord and then my forehead again and I felt a rush of energy go through me, attuning both me and the cord.

We did another working as well, with the Ashim, which are lunar angels. This working involved traveling up and down the gold and silver steps which are representative of the paths a soul takes when it goes to be born or goes to die. I didn't recall much of the experience., but I do remember my Angel showing me the pattern of my lives.

Kat told me, when I came back, that she felt that my energy was different...that my vibration had been raised. Now some of that could be temporary, but I felt that a genuine shift occurred and that continuing to do the cord work will continue to imprint it into me. I already integrated it into my daily work. And later that night when we did our weekly devotional work to Dragon he came through and told her that one reason she'd been sick was because I needed to go to that workshop alone, to show my commitment to the work and show that it wasn't a commitment to her, so much as a commitment to the work itself. And y'know there's something to that because when you get introduced to a specific type of magical work by someone, at some point you need to know why you are doing that work, who for, and what it really means to you. This weekend showed me that and moved me deeply as a result.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 16: Momentum

Eros 1-21-14 Last night Kat and I meditated and in my meditation I was asked: "How can you be present with another person, when you don't know how to be present with yourself?" Good question and as I meditated on it, I realize how much just being with myself can be a painful experience. This morning's meditation just seemed to confirm that there is this core part of me that feels such pain and hurt, and emptiness and longing and that just sitting with it, really being present with it is something I've spent my entire life avoiding. I think I can point to any number of whys, which is useful for resolution purposes, but even more than that just sitting with myself, really sitting with myself is something and being present is something I need to learn. I told Kat how I realized that for me, my life has always been about then ext person, project etc., and how that focus has always provided me a way to avoid just being present with myself, just feeling whatever it is I'm feeling.

In a related note, Erik, my astrologer had told me that my birthday, this year, would occur in the exact space that happened when I was initially born. I find this interesting and relevant, even to the work I'm doing now, because I feel that in exploring my earliest experiences in this life I'm actually allowing myself to figuratively explore the beginnings of this life and the experiences I've had. It was around this time of year that I was conceived and so I find it helpful to be exploring these issues now even as this year eventually comes to my birth date and allows me perhaps to experience a re-birth in the same space as will have occurred 38 years ago. I'm going to doing something special this year for that particular birthday, but I will just allow that to come to me as the time continues. For now I just need to focus on this work.

I'm continuing to read Born for Love and they talk quite a bit about the neurochemistry of bonding. I'm familiar with the neurochemistry, but as I read it, I consider my relationship with the particular neurotransmitters and map that relationship to my behaviors and I see patterns in ways I hadn't, which confirms the realizations I'm having right now about the drive and motivation behind many of my choices.

1-26-14 I've always been tightly wound as a person, in some ways. Kat observed that I don't do spontaneity so much as I do scheduled spontaneity and I think that's accurate. I can be spontaneous, but it's all scheduled in my mind. I've always been a person who lives in my head, and allowing myself to really feel, to really be present with what I'm feeling is something that still comes hard to me because of how wound tight I've been. I told Kat that for me being wound tight is a control mechanism, both in terms of not letting people in (or only letting them in so far) but also not letting me out. The problem with this control mechanism is that if you hit it in the right place it comes unwound pretty quick. So allowing myself to feel, to let go of control and be present is really good for me, and I did that today with Kat in a manner that did bring up an awareness of blockages in myself and allowed me to feel them. I still feel uncomfortable with them, but I'm not thinking about them...I'm actually feeling them.

1-28-14 I'm feeling pretty accomplished today. My latest book Manifesting Wealth is now available for sale and as always when I get a book published it feels really good to have it done and know its something else I can take off my project list. I'm looking forward to doing book release parties, something I haven't done in the past, but I'm open to trying. In other news one of my uncles may be dying. Not sure how I feel about it, mainly because I really don't know him. I don't have much contact with the majority of my family. I've always been considered an odd person and a black sheep, so I feel a it weird about it, but more from a sense of obligation than genuine feeling.

1-31-14 As I continue working with movement, what strikes me is how even little movements build momentum. The discrete actions, the choices you make all build momentum toward the movement you are enacting. You live with that movement, become it because of the choices you make and all of it builds up and flows to the outcome that's manifested as a result of building that momentum.

2-1-12 I'm continuing to read Born for Love. They talk about how the first year of a baby's life is the year where the baby is the most impressionable, and also just how selective the baby is about who takes care of it. The baby knows who the mom or dad is, but not really anyone else and isn't necessarily receptive to anyone else. Babies focus on what's familiar and safe and use that to gradually explore the world around them. Now I think about that in relationship to what I know about the first year of my life. I lived with my mom for most of it, but there was a fair amount of moving involved and a lot of stress in the environment. And toward the end of that year, I ended up with my dad and with whoever he was with at the time. There wasn't much in the way of familiarity in those environments and recognizing that and seeing how much that's hardwired into a baby really makes an impression on me about that stage in my life and its effect on my own behavior, my needs and wants. It's amazing to think that a year that you probably don't remember much of has such an effect on your life in a way that moves throughout the rest of your life, but clearly it does.

2-4-14 Further reading of Born to Love has proven quite insightful to understanding some of the neurochemical aspects of love and bonding, as well as what happens when a kid doesn't have those initial bonding experiences. What's really fascinating is that a lot of behaviors even as an adult can be linked back to this early period of your life.

2-5-14 In Born for Love, they describe a person who was raised in an orphanage, who didn't get a lot attention or bonding in her early years. What they describe sounds a lot like me: Physical contact can be anxiety provoking, needs to sleep in absolute darkness, doesn't like bright lights, prefers wearing clothes with soft fabrics, doesn't like to be touched and has had to devise cognitive and intellectual behavior strategies to figure out how to behave in different social situations. Everything described here fits me to a T. Up until relatively recently, I didn't like to cuddle or be held because I found it uncomfortable and felt like the other person was trying to smother me with touch. Even now I find it uncomfortable, but less so, to the point that I can cuddle for a while before I start to get uncomfortable. When I sleep at night I can't touch Kat at all if I want to sleep, though in this last year I've gotten to a point where I can lightly snooze in her arms. And even though I do hug people, it's a learned behavior, like so many of my other behaviors. I find social situations awkward and I've had to really study them to understand how and why to interact a certain way. In reading this book and realizing how much my very early years effected me, it really makes me understand a lot of my choices and interactions with people in a different light. I see how that early period of time, which was so unstable, created an unstable foundation for my life.

2-13-14 I attended a talk last night at one of my networking groups. The presenter discussed problem solving vs solution finding and made a point that what we focus is on is what we create. I've heard it before, but sometimes you need to hear messages like that again and it struck me deeply when I heard it. I asked myself if I was focusing on my problems or my strengths, focusing on fixing something or focusing on discovering possibilities and my answer is that I do a fair amount of both but also that it can get very easy to fixate on what isn't working in your life because the tendency people have is to focus on the problems...what isn't working as opposed to what is working. What isn't working shapes the narrative of our movement because we know what is wrong...but do we know what is right? Do we celebrate our strengths and let those create momentum for us? That's something I've been learning to do more and I see its effect in my business. I feel more confident and sure of myself this year than I ever have because I feel I know my strengths, know what I am capable of and how I can stretch myself further. And you know I realize that exercising has played a role in that discovery of my strengths, because as I become more physically fit and strong, I feel more confident about what I can do in general. Play to your strengths and let them move you.

2-18-14 I've just gotten back from Pantheacon and a lot has happened since I last updated this post. On the drive down, I got into an interesting conversation with Kat, where I told her that I realized I was comfortable and content with her. I don't think I've ever felt content or comfortable with other people before. As we talked, I explained that I realized that my understanding of what love is seems to be maturing. My relationship with her has been the longest stable relationship I've had. While we've had our occasional issues, overall we get along really well. Being in such a relationship is a bit strange for me. I have to admit I feel a bit scared because I'm in uncharted waters in this matter. Everything I've known has been volatile with ups and downs, with the initial chemistry of NRE and then that chemistry fading and not necessarily being replaced with anything. With Kat, it is being replaced with something steadier and more grounded. I like it, but I'm not used to it. There's a steady movement to this relationship, a momentum which grounds me even as it carries me forward. Later we also discussed spontaneity and affection and I explained that for me so much has been planned in my life because of trying to understand people. With her, I can give more of myself than I've ever given anyone else...I can relax and be at peace.

At the convention, I presented two workshops plus the publishing panel. All of them were well attended and people seemed to get a lot from the workshops. I think I would only change the titles of the workshops. What stood out to me about the workshops is how movement manifested during them. Before each workshop began I could feel nervous tension in myself. I'd move around a lot, make occasional funny comments and basically put myself into the space of becoming the presenter. Then I did the stillness chant and everyone joined in and it grounded me and set up the sacred space. Everyone got into it. Everyone felt it. And the workshops then were paced really well. I didn't get scattered (outlines helped) and I kept the workshop moving in the direction I wanted. On the drive home Kat told me that she felt I was really building momentum for myself and Immanion Press. I agree with her. I feel that the momentum is building up and it's something I've not really done in the past. But now that I'm approaching my writing and presenting in terms of building a brand identity I like what I'm seeing. There is movement and direction and I can work with that.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 15: Drive

Eros 12-26-13: I'm reading Magician's End by Raymond Feist. He's one of my favorite fantasy authors, in part because he manages to offer some intriguing metaphysical considerations. Any case, in this book, at one point one of the characters encounters a lover who is long dead, which stirs up emotions for him and he remembers something said to him: "Feelings don't make sense, but they can drive us, and that's what you have to understand most of all. People will often do imponderable things because of how they feel, not because of what they think." I read that and I agree. People do what they do moreso because of the feelings that drive them than what they think. We can fool ourselves into believing we make choices for purely rational reasons, but the truth is we really don't. We make choices driven by our emotions and then rationalize those choices afterwards. I've always been a person driven by my emotions and I recognize that and accept it as part of being human. The choices I make are always informed by emotions and I know that consciously recognizing those emotions is important for really being in touch with movement, but also being in touch with what informs the motives for making a given choice.

12-29-13: As I've been meditating further on drive, I've been considering how different emotions drive people. Fear, hatred, love, happiness...all of these emotions drive people and others as well. There's no one emotion that drives everyone, and if anything I think it's usually a mixture of emotions and they change due to various situations. It makes me appreciate how important it is to be aware of your emotions, aware of what drives you and why it drives you. There's no right or wrong answer, but knowing what emotions are driving you can do a lot to help you move consciously instead of unconsciously.

1-1-2014: New Years is always a funny time for me. It feels liminal and yet it doesn't. For me the year starts and ends on my birthday. So it's a new year...and whatever that means. There's a sense of renewal and new movement, but its illusory. One month, one day, could be as good as any other to mark the change of a year. That said January 1st does mark the anniversary of Kat and I's marriage and we are married 3 years now. In February it'll be 4 years since we met.

1-6-14: The last couple of days have been heavy. Kat helped me with something that no one else has ever been able to help me with, that no one else has ever really been able to handle. She helped me with my emptiness. Deep down, when you really get into the deepest movement, the underlying motive for everything I do, it's all about the emptiness, all about that feeling at the center of my being, that gnawing, gaping emptiness, that cutting edge of zero bleeding me out. And while, in the last few years, I've come to a better place with it than I had before, it's still something that I live with. The other night Kat brought up a tough subject for both of us and as we discussed it at length, I ultimately pointed her to that feeling of emptiness and how much it drives me, how much tension there is in dealing with it, how much it hurts to feel it everyday. Later on we did a meditation around it and she helped me realize the origin of it.

Before I was even born, but when my mom was pregnant, she was going through a very hard period of life. She was depressed, and she had a virus, which actually ended up partially blinding her in one of her eyes. She was also dealing with my dad's philandering. Kat mentioned to me that an unborn fetus ends up soaking up a lot more than just the food the mom provides, but also the emotions, energy etc. I'm going to actually look up some of that information, because I think it could explain a lot about that feeling of emptiness. We also discussed my first memory, which is a memory where my mom gave me to my dad in an airport. I was about one and they were both angry at each other and I was crying a lot. I actually have a dream of that event where I vividly remember it. Kat thinks that also contributed to my feeling of emptiness and me trying to find ways to fill it up via love.

It's a lot to process, and yet I feel that what she pointed out makes a lot of sense. I have felt this sense of emptiness for as long as I can recall. I want to do some research on this, and I'll undoubtedly share what I discover, but Kat said something else I've taken to heart, which is that I can take this feeling of emptiness and make it into an ally that helps me connect with other people. She described some of her own work around that and I've seen it first hand. I know I can do this and I feel it is an integral part of my work with movement.

1-10-14 The other day, my friend Erik pointed something out to me that made sense when I heard it, but hearing it made me recognize it consciously. He said that I'm the type of person who has to agree to the boundaries that I have in my life. That if I don't have that agreement then I resist those boundaries. And he's right. I've never been one to accept other peoples' boundaries lightly. When I was a child and was told what I couldn't do, I went and did it. One of the reasons I'm self-employed is because I like to work on my own terms. I've always been driven by a need to establish my own boundaries and rules. And yet, in thinking about what Erik has said, I also realize that sometimes I have agreed to boundaries presented to me by other people. What's gotten that agreement to occur has really been more of a consensual agreement than anything else. We came to the agreement together. If we didn't come to the agreement together, then it was a boundary imposed on me and that's what I take issue with. I want to be brought in on any boundary I'm going to live with. This realization helps me recognize that drive for freedom and for consensual agreement as something essential to who I am and to my sense of happiness.

I told Kat today that I was ready to let her love me. That probably seems odd, but in some ways I've always kept a part of myself locked away from anyone, and not allowed that part to be open to being loved. That part is the emptiness and as such its not really a surprise that I've had such an antagonistic relationship with it. I'm not sure how to love or accept it, and I say that even after having worked with it extensively. I don't expect that Kat loving that part is the solution, but I feel it's part of the solution to making peace with that part of myself.

1-11-14 One of the things I've realized recently is how much a person's wounds can end up wounding someone else. You are wounded and you are living your life trying to work that wound out or acting it, and other people around you get wounded because of it. I know I have wounded people in my life with my wounds and I also know they have wounded me with their wounds. I suppose its just part of living life, but when you own your wounds and actively work on healing them and coming to some peace and resolution its good to let other people help you with it. You don't have to be alone with your wound or try to heal it on your own. For so long I've felt alone, but I realize that much of that loneliness has been self-imposed by myself. At the same time part of owning your wound is recognizing how you've wounded other people with it. I feel like I've recognized it multiple times, in all honesty, but that each time I've recognized it, I've developed a deeper understanding of the wound that I lacked before.

1-15-14 I've been doing some thinking about the neurotransmitters and hormones behind that feeling of emptiness I experience. I've been meaning to get back to that work for sometime, but this provides further motivation, because when I feel empty, I know what it feels like on a physiological level as well as an energetic level. And if I pay attention that feeling, then I can take appropriate actions, such as exercising, which does a lot to change the physiological experience in my body each time I exercise.

1-17-14 I've recently started doing a more intensive version of Tae Bo. I've alternated between the original Tae Bo exercise and the new one, but I'm noticing that the original exercise doesn't require the same amount of effort anymore. There is still some effort, but it comes pretty easy, whereas the other is a stretch, but is also starting to get a bit easier. At some point, I see myself phasing the original version out for the more intensive one and then adding another, even more intensive version to that one. There's momentum in all of that and I feel excited to have hit this place where I am feeling able to push myself harder and as a result doing more intensive exercise. Movement, once resistance is tipped, becomes much easier with the right momentum behind it.

I went to a Venus ritual conducted by my friend Erik Roth and a person he was co-leading the ritual. They did a good job with the ritual and explanations . At one point there was a pathworking to meet your inner Venus, your anima really. In my case, it was a tall, steely eyed, dominant woman, with dark hair a subtle, sensual strength to her, my inner woman, and I felt her engage me and tell me that I could draw on her support with the work I was doing around emptiness, but also in any other area of my life. I've always felt in touch with my feminine self, but meeting her in this way was really intriguing in its own right.

1-18-14 I'm reading Born for Love: Why Empathy is Endangered and Essential. The first chapter talks quite a bit about the way babies learn and the bonding experiences they have as babies with their mothers and how essential this bonding behavior is because of what it teaches children about love and empathy. And I realize, given what I know about my very early childhood that I didn't really receive the essential bonding I must have needed. I don't believe I was even with my mother by the time I was 1 and even if I was, from the stories I've been told it was a very chaotic period of life for her and I was a very unhappy baby at that time. And what does all that have to do with love and empathy? From what I can tell this early time is so essential that it plays a significant role in how a person handles love, gives love, etc., and also plays a role in how empathetic a person is. So I wonder then how this has or hasn't effected me. Certainly when I look at the emptiness and my relationship with love, I am struck by how much I am driven to find something to occupy or fill up that sense of emptiness and how my experiences with love have been less about being present with someone and more about filling that sense of emptiness. Being present seems to me to be more about feeling a sense of empathy and connection...wanting to know how the other person feels as opposed to just wanting something from the person. Being present is something I'm still figuring out, and truth to tell I think that if you have a well developed sense of empathy its easier to be present with yourself and consequently with other people as well. Still I'm willing to learn all this and I'm not backing away from the need for it. I'd like to think it could help me be a better person as a result.

1-20-14 I've been meditating a lot on what I read the other day and my reaction to it. I've come to the conclusion that I've never really been present with myself or any other person. When I look at my life in general, let alone relationships with other people, I'm struck by how I'm always focused on the next thing, person, projects, etc. as opposed to really being present with wherever I'm at and whoever I'm with.  To some degree, with Kat, I've learned to become more present, but even so I still find that I'm not really present with myself. Part of it definitely goes back to some of those early life experiences, but part of it also is something within western culture...we haven't been taught how to sit still with ourselves, how to just be. Each day, when I do Zhine meditation, I'm struck by how this meditation is probably one of the hardest for me because it involves just being as opposed to thinking or doing or anything else.

This month has been about drive and I think I've learned a lot about what drives me. I'd like to change what drives me though or learn to work with it differently than I have. I feel that the experiences I'm having as I work with the element of movement and navigate my astrological dark night of the soul are providing a path toward such work. I feel tumultuous and stormy, and yet I also see sunlight peeking through, realizations coming, and an inner sense of self emerging that has more clarity than I have previously ever had.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 14: Redirection

Eros 11-25-13 On Sunday we discovered that our water has been reduced to a trickle. We got the landlord over and he tried to figure the issue out. Tomorrow we'll have a plumber over to do a helium test, which will hopefully isolate where the leak is, but in all this I'm reminded of just how blessed I am to have water. Yes, this is an inconvenience, but compared to many people, it's just that. Kat and I are adapting as needed to handle it and that adaptation encapsulates for me the need to be able to redirect movement, to adjust to the difficulties and pleasures of life as they come your way. There is no certainty, no guarantee and what makes someone able to survive and even live is really based on how they adapt to the difficulties facing them. Do they let those difficulties define them and get them all bent out of shape or do they do what they can, get the help they need, and then focus on what's working. I've always been the latter kind of person. I might freak out for a moment and get upset, but I realize that indulging in those feelings is a waste of energy and effort that could be better applied to resolving the situation more effectively.

11-29-13 The other day, I got into an exchange with someone I consider to be a bit of a troll. This person consistently accuses other people of making fallacious arguments and then makes the same arguments. I think of this person as an Alpha Geek, the geek that always has to be right, always has to have the last word, and is always antagonistic because s/he has nothing better to do with his/her life. So I decided to set some boundaries, and let the troll know that if this person would continue to argue with me in the way s/he had previously done, I wouldn't bother responding. Not surprisingly the response was a typical alpha geek response. How I feel about it, however, is that I did the right thing. I set my boundaries and stopped participating in what I consider to be a non-constructive exchange. Instead of allowing movement to continue in a direction that had no benefit for me, and lots of frustration, I chose to re-direct and whether the person moved with me or not didn't really matter. At one time, I'd have gotten into a lot of drama with a person like that, but anymore I just don't care. I have too much I want to do with my life to spend time debating with someone who feels that s/he needs to be right more than actually engaging in constructive dialogue.

And then there's Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Kat and I had people over for dinner. I made the Turkey, while she made stuffing and green bean casserole. Making the Turkey is my favorite part and I've actually gotten pretty good at it. There's a process of basting and applying a mixture to it so that the Turkey has a taste of herbs to it. Fun stuff that I love to do. But Thanksgiving also brings up some other memories. I actually ended up thinking about my step-mom and her kids, probably because of memories with the holidays and also because my half-brother has recently done a couple of questionable activities, which have gotten him in trouble. I feel some empathy for him, but I also feel some tough life needs to be applied, and I have a feeling neither him nor my half-sister really had much in the way of tough love applied to them. What I recall, from my childhood was that I was the scapegoat and my half-sister was the golden child who could do no wrong. And if she did something wrong, I ended up blamed for it. That never sat right with me, and I recall the last Christmas I spent with my dad and the step-mom and telling my half sister that Santa wasn't real. I'll admit I told her out of a bit of spite and she believed it. My step-mom was furious and yelled at me, grabbed me and and then grounded me. I realize now I told my half-sister that because I wanted to take something from her, from her mom too, because of how I'd been treated. I wanted them both to feel some of the pain they'd caused me. And I say that not because I feel guilty about it now (I don't), but because I realize how much my interactions from those early years plays a role in the narrative of my life and my interactions with other people. My way of handling people in power has been to sneak around and sabotage them. I've done it in personal relationships, professional relationships, and everything in between. It's passive aggressive (and I own that), but it was learned because I didn't feel I could really speak or be me. I had to fit into a role and I didn't like that role...and I see that replicated throughout my life and where I do feel bad about it has more to do with how it has affected people in my life more recently. Because the thing is, I'm not in that dynamic anymore and I didn't have to be at any time in my adult life, and yet there it is...My baggage, my issues put me into that role, no one else. I own that and I also own the responsibility and power I have to change that. I don't have to keep doing the same movement again and again and again...it's my choice if I choose to do so.

11-30-2013 I painted tonight, closed myself off from everything and everyone and just painted. My paintings are highly personal. I share them, but they are for my spiritual work, and I've decided that I'll never put them up for sale, partially because of that reason and partially because I'd suspect that if anyone did my buy my paintings they'd do so more because I'd painted them than for the aesthetic quality of the paintings. I've actually mulled having my paintings destroyed when I die for those reasons. Not sure if I will or won't, but I lean more toward having them destroyed in the event of my death.

12-4-13 I did a talk on networking at one of the chambers I'm a member of. As I got ready to do the talk, I felt myself get restless. It used to be that I got nervous, but now its restless, eager, anticipatory, wanting to move, ready to move, ready to share. When I came up to speak, I felt myself come alive. Truth is I love professional speaking, because it can be quite a rush to share a message, to fully get into the moment and become a conduit for what you are sharing. Afterwards you realize it's time to ground, go back into yourself, but while you are speaking, it's something else...

Some days its hard to exercise. I think of exercise as a redirection of movement, because I'm re-directing myself to exercise instead of continuing to work or be a couch potato. There are days when exercise seems easy to do and days where all that keeps me doing it is my commitment to my health. On those days, the need to redirect my thoughts and movement are the strongest because all I really want to do is not exercise, yet I know that exercising will make me feel better in the long run, and even in the short run. It's that awareness which keeps me going, keeps me exercising, keeps me realizing that the way to being healthier isn't to give into what's easiest, but to focus on what's most important.

12-8-13 Yesterday I hit a wall. Actually I'd been hitting that wall the last few days, but yesterday was when I acknowledged it. I didn't feel inspired to write and in fact was at a loss as to what to write. When I feel that way, it hits hard because for me, writing is my medium of expression. So I started to do some layout work, while watching an episode of Star Trek Voyager and in the episode one of the characters was told to take a break and I stopped and I realized I needed to take a break from the computer, from writing, editing and layout and do something else, so I went to my bedroom and curled up with some books and my PS Vita and alternated between playing video games and reading. And it really did something for my mood because part way through reading I got an idea for an article I'm going to write. I still didn't write, because I realized I needed to give myself permission to just take a break and do something that wasn't focused on trying to generate an idea to write about.

Today, when I did my meditations, I went in deep. I felt/saw/experienced the various forms of movement in my life, becoming those movements, allowing myself to be those movements. There's no other way to really explain it, but it was a profound experience of movement as an element.

12-13-13 Sometimes in order to re-direct a movement you need to actually experience the movement in full to understand how it works and how it affects your life. Then, with that understand, you can make changes to the movement and re-direct it into a direction that is more beneficial to you. It might seem odd to actually go through a movement without changing it, but I don't think change can effectively occur without understanding the original movement.

12-17-13 I hung up the two paintings I recently created. One is hung on the wall over the bed, and the other is hung on the ceiling over the bed. One is used to invoke the sphere of art, which functions similar to a tesseract space/time magical working, and the other is used to interface directly with the cross roads, as a space/time junction of sorts. Both paintings function together and are an essential part of my continued space/time work. What fascinates me is how you can bind a given magical operation to a symbol or tool, like a painting, and then call it forth when you need it, instantly performed. I build a lot my magical tools that way, as I find it useful to have certain operations automated, but it's not something I see with most other people's works. I feel that if you can capture the essence of a practice and embody it into an object, it should effectively be something you can use to call forth that actual working.

12-18-13 Every movement a person makes is chosen. It can be an unconscious or conscious choice, but it is always chosen by him/her as part of his/her life and intention. Something to contemplate further, as I consider my own movements and how I've chosen them both consciously and unconsciously. I realized today that my choices, when it came to significant partners in my life, has been modeled of one degree or another by my interactions with my step-mom. How Freudian, right? But nonetheless certain patterns of strictness and behavior display themselves in different ways with the people I've gotten involved and I recognize that in some way I've been trying to resolve that relationship, to find closure to what happened to me early on, and it has played out in the various relationships I've been in. Makes me look at those relationships with different eyes, different awareness of myself and my movements, and how I will move as I continue on in this journey of life.

Some further awareness on this topic after considering what I meditated on. With just about every person of authority in my life, I have always, on some level, resented their authority and done my best to subvert it, and do what I wanted. It's not the most mature way to handle such issues, in large part because I presume the person has authority, instead of actually developing a relationship of equals. And while its true as a child that my step mom had authority over me, it certainly needn't apply to my life now, and yet I can safely say I have applied it to my relationships and that as a result I have sabotaged those relationships. I have not stepped up to be the man I could be, or the person I could be in my relationships (and yes I think there is a distinction between the two). And while my respective exes share some burden of the responsibility for the relationship, so do I, and while I've claimed that responsibility, I've never claimed it in this way, because I've never really understood that aspect of myself which responds to authority in quite the way that my work with movement has revealed it to me. I feel like I've had a critical moment of awareness occur, which has helped me better understand so many of my choices, not just in terms of behavior, but life choices as well. With such understanding comes change, and fortunately I've already been in a process of change that has shifted my approach to relationships from one where I've sought authority, to one where I seek a relationship of equals.

12-22-13 For the yule version of the magical experiments community meeting I presented on the elemental balancing work and on my work with movement. It was interesting to watch people react to the recognition that committing to the kind of work will change your life. A couple of people acknowledged that they felt uncomfortable with the level of commitment involved and with how it could change their lives. I get that, and yet I feel it important to really call out just how intense this kind of work can be. You do this kind of work and it does change you. It changes your relationships, it changes your sense of self. It calls on you to get serious and own your shit instead of continuing to act it out. If you're not experiencing changes as a result of doing this kind of work, you're not doing it right. This work is intentional and it calls on you to be intentional about your life. And it's not an easy process. If you were to meet the person who first started doing this work nine years ago, you'd have met a very chaotic individual. Over the last nine years, a lot of the rough edges have been worked out, but as with anything there is a cost. And while I don't think all of my life changes in the last 9 years are due solely to the elemental balancing work, I do think it's played a significant role in those changes.

So I noted their reactions and told them that the work could be hard, but also rewarding. At the same time, it's a calling of sorts. You don't do this kind of work on a whim....you do it because you accept the need to change your life and change how you live it. I'd do it all again, because that work, as hard as it has been, has also been liberating. So much of the dross has fallen away and I feel that my life has become much more stable overall, and that I've also focused more on my callings in life because the distractions have been cleared away.

12-23-13 Kat and I got new phones today. We'd gotten fed up with AT&T, which has poor service for where we live. And why do I mention this seemingly mundane detail? This month is about re-direction and it seems fitting to include that as part of the month. Beyond that, we visited the Chinese Gardens, which allowed me to rewrite a memory as well as experience Kat's first visit to the garden. The Chinese Gardens are a magical place. It feels like you look through different windows and see different realities. I feel that as I continue this working, I'm moving into a different reality as ell. Where I'll end up, I don't know, but the destination is perhaps the journey itself as opposed to any specific place.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 13: Opening Up

Eros 10-23-13 The last couple of days I've been working with the three tree spirits and one of the things I've been doing is just opening up to them so that I can let them in and let myself feel the interaction with them. This is not something which comes easily to me. Despite how open I might seem on this blog, in truth I am a fairly closed and guarded person, who rarely lets people (let alone anything else) in beyond a certain point. Something Kat has been teaching me is how to open up to someone I genuinely trust and love. I've been teaching her the same thing, and its a lesson that takes time to learn. So I've been allowing myself to open up to the trees and connect with them on a deep level. When I work with them, I can feel their presence in my body and that has some interesting sensations on its own which has been helpful for me to experience. I am reminded that as much as I am comfortable in some ways with myself and my body and the experience of feeling, in some ways I am not and I am just now allowing myself to be open to the experiences.

10-25-13 I'm frustrated today. My main computer had an update for windows 8.1 and I updated it and then the wireless no longer worked. So I tried to fix it and ended up creating more of a problem. Fortunately I have a professional who can help (hopefully), but afterwards I decided to meditate and calm myself. I knew I couldn't do anything else about the situation and I also knew that what I really needed to do was simply allow myself to feel the emotion and then let go. I've done what I can, and now I can let go.

10-26-13 One of the ways I've been opening up has involved allowing myself to really acknowledge the level of love that Kat has for me. I have never experienced being so loved until her. Indeed when I look back at previous relationships what I see, both on my part, and on the part of others, is conditional love, but with Kat I've come to recognize it is unconditional love. She loves me for me, as opposed to what I can do for her or what role I can play. It's truly an amazing gift.

10-29-13 I've gotten nothing done in the last few days. When these occasional moods hit me, it's hard because I'm functional enough to take care of clients and do networking for the business coach business, but that ends up being the extent of it. This particular bit of malaise was brought on by the main computer crashing, which I now have back, but regardless of what the cause is, the end result is not much gets done. Inevitably I wind myself back up and get more done, but it hits hard.

10-30-13 Today I got myself motivated enough to do more, to get moving. And I had an interesting meditation on a symbol given to me during the Oak, Ash, and Thorn workshop. As I meditated on the symbol, the symbol itself went away and I experienced this multi-colored space. Every time I tried to go back to the symbol I was told to let go and open myself to the experience, as well as being told not to mistake the symbol for the experience. So I opened myself to the experience and at some point the subject of measurement came up, and how measurement is used to define reality and also to turn possibility into reality. It reminded me of definitions and reality (and isn't a measurement just another type of definition). It makes me realize how much measurements and definitions are used to mediate experiences such as space.

11-1-13 Sometimes it's important to know when to put the brakes on movement. Yes we can allow ourselves to be moved, but at the same time it's important to consider what we're moving toward. From my own experiences, I've allowed myself to get swept up in a feeling and to act on that feeling without considering the consequences. The problem that occurs is that when you allow yourself to be moved without examining what you are moving toward, you can find yourself in a place you didn't plan to be in. Its like being on a boat in a river, where you don't use the oars. you're moving along fine and dandy, but because you are taking the time to direct the movement, you go down a waterfall or sink your boat on the rapids. Yes, we need to let ourselves be moved, but we also need to provide some direction for that movement, in order to recognize how that movement is effecting not just ourselves but the people around us. This isn't always easy to do, but it is always necessary.

11-2-13 In meditation today I worked further with a symbol I'd been given during the Oak, Ash, and Thorn workshop. What's interesting is that as I worked with the symbol, I applied a 3 d perspective to it and it created seven directions as a result, which is something that occurs in the Sphere of Art work, as well as the zeroing work that William G. Gray did. It also occurs in the quablistic sigil of the cube of space. It's fascinating to see the parallels. I'm going to start working with the other symbols in tandem to see what I discover.

11-4-13 Sometimes I think I'm a beautiful, toxic, monster. It's an odd belief to have about one's self and it's not something I feel nearly so much as I used to, but on occasion it does come to the surface. In a conversation with Kat last night, and in meditation as well, I acknowledged that I have trouble letting other people take responsibility for their end of things. I'm inclined to take all of the responsibility on myself. It's something I learned early from my step mom and its something which I've seen replicated since in other relationships. I learned early on that I was responsible for everything wrong. If my half-sister did something wrong, I ended up getting blamed. And I took that with me into interactions I have even now. I told Kat that on some level I do recognize that there is shared responsibility, but that emotionally its something I'm still processing. Accepting that other people share responsibility is hard for me, in a sense, because if I accept that it also means I give up some control of the situation. However it's something I'm going to work on because I think it'd be healthy for me to do.

11-5-13 Some further thoughts about other people taking responsibility and how I relate to it. I've always felt that if I let other people take responsibility and validate my feelings that I'm taking away from the validation of their feelings. Again this is a pattern I see going all the way back to my step mom. It's not something which really makes sense, and its actually quite harmful because I'm not really opening up when I don't take the time to acknowledge my own feelings and pain on a given issue. I also realize it doesn't really allow me to connect with someone when I don't share what I'm feeling or allow myself to accept that a person is willing to take responsibility.

11-7-13 Opening up and sharing what you're feeling without trying to blame, without trying to guilt...sharing for acknowledgement and release. Opening up and acknowledging that responsibility can be shared. That's what the last couple of days has been like. I've been doing some dissolving in my meditation and today I ended up meditating about past regrets of people past and allowed myself to stop taking all the responsibility and let some of it go to the other people involved. I think so much of my regret has really been taking on too much responsibility. And I don't know if any of those people I meditated on ever did or didn't own their share of things, but it wasn't really about that. It was about me acknowledging I didn't need to be wholly responsible and that I could allow someone else to share in the responsibility. That feels healthier for me.

11-11-13 Today I tried out movement exercises from Healing with Form, Energy, and Light by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. When I tried these movements out, what really stuck with me is how present I became with my body and how good that felt to me. It's similar to how I feel after exercising, but also different, because I felt myself go into a different altered state of consciousness that was more meditative and energy oriented. In fact as I did the movements, I could feel my internal energy respond (as I've shared in a separate post) and it felt comfortable to me. I'm going to continue these daily practices because I feel they will help me connect even more meaningfully with movement as an element.

Kat and I also got into some deep conversations this weekend about shared responsibility. It feels good to share responsibility with her and to acknowledge my own need for responsibility to be shared. I was able to say a few things that I'd been holding onto and it made me feel more present with her as a result. And it also made me realize how much of a team we already are, which is something I'd never felt previously with other people. We also meditated on one of the symbols I'd gotten from the workshop and fond that there was a lot of connection to the sphere of Art and William Gray's Omnil/zeroing practice. I'm not really surprised at that, but it goods to see that someone else got a similar result.

11-13-13 I meditated on another symbol today and it provided another layer to what I'd already been meditating on. I ended up actually combining the two symbols, and they did so seamlessly. Memory and imagination provide the context of past and future, and when combined provide the present as well. The vertice of space provides the base reality through which the horizontal probability of time flow, while Imaginary Time provides access to both improbable and probable possibilities that can be used to shape reality. A possibility becomes more improbably the more it is based in memory (past) or imagination (future). It becomes more probable when it can be linked to space (typically closer to the present). However improbable possibilities shouldn't stop a magician (in fact a seemingly improbable possibility can become very probable with the right planning and actions linked to magical work). I feel like what I've received is further refining my system of space/time magic and it's something I look forward to developing in even further detail.

Some further reading of Healing with Form, Energy, and Light unearthed this gem: "Though practice will not remove all the difficulties of a life, it will lead the practitioner to better ways to deal with problems...Most people don't know how to be with a problem and often don't have a good method of working with difficulties. Instead they have the pervasive idea that problems have substantial causes and that the resolution of the problems lie there...Some people think that to accept problems is to support them, that acceptance means not addressing problems, but that is not what I mean. Accepting that there will always be problems means opening to all of life, not only to what is positive, but to everything."

He makes a really good point. There will always be problems and its ok to accept that, to accept them and be present with them. I think, from my own experiences, I've tended toward trying to solve problems, trying to move away from them, but not always really making the effort to be present with them. If internal work has taught me anything its that your problems are part of you and unescapable, but that they don't have to define you. Additionally if you make time to really sit with them, really be present with them what you can uncover is so much more than the "cause." You can uncover a lot by just being present. Learning to sit with your problems can also teach you to really be present with yourself and others effected by those problems. Instead of trying to run toward a solution, toward a place of not having the problem, why not accept it and really explore it? It will likely be uncomfortable, but it will also teach you a lot.

11-16-2013 I'm listening to The Rolling Stones song "Down in the Hole." It's a song I listen to whenever I'm feeling down on myself. It's a great song to listen to when you feel like crap because it just hits those feelings and expresses them (which I think is a good thing). Today I was working on the web and flyer copy for a couple different classes coming up. Writing copy, for me, is hard work because it's really focused on concisely explaining why someone should sign up for a class, but a book etc. I can do it, and I even have a formula for it, but it challenges me as a writer. But that's not why I'm listening to this song.

I'm listening to this song because I'm feeling a bit down on myself today. Call it the movement working or the Dark night of the soul I'm experiencing due to Pluto being in my chart. Call it just letting myself feel those feelings and be open to them, and letting the song express those feelings for me. I think maybe why I'm listening to this song as well is because I'm working my tail off as a self-employed business person and while its a journey getting incrementally better, it's taking a lot of work to get those increments. I'm not complaining, because I know that's true for many people who go out to be self-employed, but listening to this song lets me, for a moment, just be in that hole and allow myself to feel the pain and hurt I sometimes feel. Because sometimes I do feel it...sometimes I just suffer, just like anyone else I suppose. And I don't have a problem admitting I feel this way sometimes. It's a lot less often than it used to be, but sometimes I feel this way, and today is one of those days.

11-20-13 Something I've discovered through experience is that the more secrets you hold onto, the more weighed down you get by all the crap that comes with those secrets. I guess a collective "duh!" might be in order, but I think for most people this isn't nearly the common sense it seems to be. Because the truth is we carry secrets with us all the time and not just the obvious ones either, but also the small secrets, ones that you keep from yourself as well as others. the secret can even be something where instead of being about how you feel, you say you're fine. And it all adds up eventually. I think that the so-called mid-life crisis is an example of secrets adding up to a point where the person just has to do something to get those secrets off him/herself.

For me opening up isn't just about opening up to someone else, but also opening up to me. It's about letting the walls down within myself so that I can know and trust myself better, and consequently extend that to the really important people in my life. It's about letting go of the secrets I've held onto, large and small, and seeing them for what they really are: Not protective defenses that keep me from being hurt, but walls of a prison that keep me from really connecting meaningfully with people in my life. I see that as I continue to open up to Kat, while it may not initially be easy, it does makes the relationship much better because there is openness between us. But first I need to be willing to open up to myself so that I can be truly present with myself, instead of continuing to act out old patterns of behavior. Doing that allows me to be ready to open up to other people.

And how all that relates to movement? Movement is a lot easier when you aren't carrying burdens that hold you back from really being present.

 

Month 12 Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement: Focus

Eros 9-27-13 Since Eros brought up that we'd focus on focus in movement, I've been paying more attention to everything I'm doing from exercising and eating to writing and business. By consciously focusing on what I'm doing or how I'm doing it, I've been able to more consciously interact with the movements of everything I'm doing. I've also been continuing to study movement, especially the movements that occur in any given situation. What I've observed is that everything is in motion and yet the motion creates stillness as well. The stillness is the realization of movement, which nonetheless also leads into more movement, which is potential stillness.

9-28-13 I'm taking part 1 of the Oak, Ash, and Thorn workshop that R. J. Stewart offers. It's been a good experience so far, and one where I'm getting a lot from the workshop. I've been given two symbols that relate to my current work. I've also been mediating about tress and how the roots of a tree extend to the underworld, while the branches of the tree extend to the celestial world and the trunk mediates the mixture of under and over world energy in order to manifest reality. What's fascinating is that the meditations have given me some really interesting ideas about where to take some of the movement work. I'm looking forward to seeing what day 2 brings.

10-2-13 It's been a few days since the workshop with RJ wrapped up. Today I made an offering to Hawthorn. I drove out to a place where I'd found Hawthorn leaves and did a brief prayer of thanks and then made the appropriate offering. I felt a brief sense of acceptance and that was that. I'll start work with the next tree tomorrow in my meditations.

As for the second day of the workshop...I got an idea for pop culture magic 2.0 based on a discussion RJ had about iconotropism, which basically involves the understanding of how icons evolve as cultures bring new tropes to them. We also got into a discussion about mediation and its role in magic. Having RJ's works I felt like the discussion shed further light on what mediation is as a principle of magic and how important it is to be open to being moved by what you work with, while also being able to mediate that for other people and even yourself. I also ended up connecting with Puck as an entity, to the point that I ended up mediating him as well as connecting with another entity, of which I wrote a poem/invocation. What interests me the most about Puck is that he's a gatekeeper of the cross roads, a door opener, which is something I intimately relate to in my own work. I found it even more interesting to realize that all of the entities/deities I work with on a prolonged basis also mediate energies of the cross roads, and I've also thought of myself as an opener of the ways (as well as having others indicate that about me as well). I got a third symbol and I need to spend some time working with these symbols.

Beyond all that I've been contemplating focus and its place or lack thereof in my life. I actually recognize that in some ways I have been very unfocused. That might sound odd to some people, but when I consider the last decade of my life, I see a lot of wandering, a lot of drifting. I'm okay with that because I needed it, but I'm also ready for it to end, and I've been giving a lot of thought to what I can be great at and how that can focus my efforts in whatever I'm doing.

10-3-13 I finished reading Good to Great last night and I woke up early this morning with a profound realization: I need to be great at what I'm called to do and what I'm called to do isn't the business coaching. What I'm called to do is the spiritual work, the writing, the classes, the coaching that I can offer through that particular medium. I've felt so scattered, so unfocused because I've tried to do too many things at the same time and because I've bought into limiting beliefs and fears about being an occult author and pursuing this work full time. Some of those limiting beliefs are my own, formed when I first started writing and felt that as an occult writer I'd never be able to make a living from it (obviously there are writers who can and have done it by offering more than just writing). But some of it also comes from other people who applied their own fears to me or showed me in one form or another that they felt I was a burden or a drain and that they didn't really believe in what I could do. The thing is I've lurched from business to business, trying to find something that makes me want to get up and get started with my day, and as I've done this I've learned certain lessons. I've learned that I prefer to be self-employed. I've also learned that I love working with people. And now I'm really taking to heart something a coach of mine said to me: You can't two chase two rabbits at the same time. I've been chasing two rabbits at the same time for a while now. I've got a publishing business I help run, I've got my writing and spiritual work, and I've got the business coaching, but what I've also got is a split in focus with not much getting done at all. I haven't really given myself over to any one thing.

I can't give up my writing or the magic. It's what I live, love, breathe, etc. It's my life, my work, my everything. And the publishing is part of that work, part of the spiritual calling I have, part of something I need to do for the sake of what that publishing represents. But the business coaching is something else. I like it and I'm good at it, but it doesn't call to me in the same way. It never has. It's also a giant time commitment. The amount of networking I do alone eats up so much time that a lot of days I don't feel like writing. I'm peopled out and just want to recharge.

I woke up this morning and I answered this question of what I can be great at, what I know I''m great at. I told Kat about it, laying it all out, the fears, the realizations, everything and she said to me: I support you completely. I believe in you completely. I know you are called to do this and I'm willing to support what you want to do. Hearing that and knowing it's true, knowing that what I really feel called to do is supported and believed in. This made me feel good. I'm ready to really pursue what I am called to do.

10-6-13 In my meditation today Bune came to visit and we had a long discussion about money habits. He pointed out that I needed to make some changes in lifestyle and really focus in on the long term vision of where Kat and I want to be. It's easy to get so caught up in now, but he's got a really good point and it really struck home to me, especially as he reviewed how I've handled my business money and made some suggestions on things I could change. After my work with him, I went to the crossroads and discovered that the next tree I need to work with is Oak. There's some interesting ideas I'll share eventually in a separate once I've connected with all the trees.

10-7-13 I'm reading Make Magic of your Life by T. Thorn Coyle. She makes an interesting about obsession and how it consumes you. My own experiences with obsession certainly validate that perception of it, whereas she considers desire to be something that runs deeps and speaks to what we really want. Working with desire is uncovering what we really want and making it part of our lives, while obsession is running from what we want, getting lost in something, but not being honest about what we really want from it. When I apply this to myself, I see the obsession show up in my relationships and the driving need I've felt to fill up the emptiness within myself. I still feel that on occasion and I'm still figuring out as a result what my desires are and what my obsessions are, but as I've learned to mediate the emptiness and not run from it, its made it easier for me to focus in on doing this internal work and helping me uncover my desires, while also letting the obsessions go.

10-10-13 The past half week has really drawn my awareness to the fact that I am my own worst enemy when it comes to focus. While I manage to get a lot done, I can be fairly scattered in my approach to work and life. I think in some ways I've been scattered because I've been focused on several different directions. That and realizing how much networking I've been doing and how exhausted I am from it. I'm realizing how much of an introvert I am and this in turn has helped me see how much I need to focus my efforts toward my projects and writing over anything else.

10-16-13 Since I last wrote in this entry I've been examining my focus or lack thereof and come to a few conclusions. I've decided to cut back on networking events for the business coaching, and I've also decided to only check e-mail and social media twice a day. Implementing these actions has already made me feel better and more focused than I was before. I'm getting to some of the writing I've been wanting to do and even planning a class for some time in the future. It's funny how certain situations have to come to a flash point where the arrival at such a point forces you to evaluate what you're doing and how you're doing it and provides you a way to make changes that frees up some of the mental and emotional space you were investing elsewhere.

10-18-13 One of the most important lessons I've learned is that acting on impulse can create a lot of problems. Since the realization I had a few weeks ago about what I'm great at, I've really just focused on thinking about what actions to take, which I've written about above, but ultimately I came to the conclusions that tossing the baby out with the bathwater (i.e. stopping business coaching altogether) isn't a good idea. I do like business coaching, and what I realized I really needed was to evaluate my time and refocus on the writing, but still keep the business coaching, because it is a business that is continuing to grow.

I've always been an impulsive person and it has rarely served me in a good way. My impulsiveness has seen me make life decisions that I've ultimately regretted because they put me in situations where I ended up more miserable than anything else. So spending some time really thinking about my choices and what I want to do has been really helpful and a useful application of focus. I don't need to be scattered and floundering every which way. I've done enough of that already, but being focused and really being present with a given decision...that's something I'm going to keep doing.

10-19-13 Writing is its own magic, a feeling of flow and creative application that turns into manifestation and action on the part of writer and reader. When I write and I am really into it, it feels like the heart of the universe has opened up to me and revealed its secrets, allowing me to be a medium that in turn shares those secrets with anyone willing to read the words I share. Writing brings me to life in a way that almost nothing else does (only magic makes me feel the same). Writing is a reality in and of itself, an altered state of consciousness and identity that causes the rest of the world to fade away in the clatter of keys and the connection to the creative urge that speaks the words of the universe through me.

10-21-13 It's my birthday. I am 37 today, the age my parents were when I was born. That's a bit mind blowing in and of itself. This last weekend Kat took me to Astoria for as a birthday gift. We visited the Flavel House, Cultural Museum, and the Jail where they filmed the opening scenes of the Goonies. Each place was interesting in its own way. At the Flavel house, both Kat and I felt the presence of the ghosts on the property. The town itself is an interesting place with a lot of history.

On Sunday, when we got back, we went for a walk and made offerings to Oak, Ash, and Thorn, followed by the offering  make to Dragon. I felt a bit frustrated in regards to the trees, because I'd had trouble identifying them, so Kat pointed out that I just needed to let myself feel as opposed to think about them and she was quite right. I'd been too busy intellectualizing them. This morning, when I meditated, I let myself reach out to them and I connected to them. They told me the symbols I'd gotten during the weekend workshop were symbols I could use in the space/time magic work I'm doing, and were also meant to help me connect with them. I'm going to meditate on those symbols over the next couple of days.

Usually at this time of year, on this day of my birth I transition from one element to another. I've chosen this time around to stick with the element of movement for another year. There's a lot more for me to experience with that element and I'm open to discovering whatever it is I learn.

Happy Birthday to me!

Month 10 Elemental Balancing Ritual - Movement grains of sand

Eros 7-25-2013 I had a realization this morning, as I was driving to a business meeting. I felt this profound sense of being loved by Kat, and allowing myself to feel comfortable with being loved by Kat. I realized I'd never been comfortable with being loved. Being loved was a surrender of control, a surrender to being vulnerable, a surrender to allowing someone else to touch me deeply. It's not something I've ever been comfortable with from anyone, but today as I drove to this meeting, I felt comfortable with being loved, and accepting that someone could love me as deeply as Kat does. It was so moving and yet so still. I am loved and I can accept that love.

7-30-2013 Something I've always struggled with is expressing what I'm feeling. Early on, I learned to keep what I felt to myself, because if I expressed it, I got punished for it. By keeping it to myself, I shut myself off from my emotions, and even though I've gotten better about expressing what I'm feeling, it's still a challenge, especially if I'm expressing something which I know will make someone unhappy. I've learned though that it's better to express myself and deal with the emotions, instead of pretending that they aren't there. While the immediate response may not be one where the person is thrilled with me, if they are willing to communicate with me, eventually will reach a place of resolution. Reminding myself of that is what gives me the courage to open up and express myself instead of continuing to keep myself locked down.

7-31-13 I saw the film Kon Tiki tonight, which is a biographical film about the Kon Tiki expedition. I was inspired, touched, motivated by this film, by this simple truth that just because something is controversial doesn't mean you should give up or stop believing in what you are doing. Too often people are willing to settle for mediocrity, for whatever is taken for granted and not challenged. And yet it is only when we are willing to challenge what is established that we can determine if it even still has value or is just dragging us back. I suppose this is one reason I've always bucked dogma, because if you hold to dogma and never question it, it becomes rote doctrine, which leads to close minded fanaticism. Such fanaticism does little to benefit the world, and much more to harm it.

8-2-13 I'm seeing a lot of clearing away in my business coaching practice. Clients are wrapping up and I'm getting some movement, time, etc., just cleared away for me. Part of me worries. The rest of me sees it as an opportunity to work on the writing, while also training myself to be better at what I love to do.

8-6-13 With internal work you go through cycles and cycles of work. You have realizations about yourself or the world only to cycle down further into the mental strata and have deeper realizations that nonetheless are the same. This is part of doing the work and part of realizing that such work isn't automatically done, but instead is experienced as a recurring process that gradually leads you to a place of greater awareness and conscious change. You can have the same realization several times over and yet it can be something which speaks to you in a different way each time.

8-8-13 Lately I've been having some memories come up, sensations really, but ones that are triggering in an unpleasant way. I've been doing some internal work around these sensations. It's not that I necessarily want to feel the sensations, but rather that I want to understand why they are even coming up in the first place. The answer, so far, is that likely I'm experiencing a partially blocked memory from my early childhood (I think) of possible molestation. I'm continuing to work with it, because while it might be easier to just let it remained block, it also ends up creating an energetic blockage that I don't want to sustain. It's hard work because what I'm facing as a result are sensations and experiences that I don't think anyone would want to experience, and yet I feel it is essential for true healing to occur. Part of me doesn't want to face whatever is behind that block, so I'm going slow and carefully with the work and I may stop if I feel its too much, but I would like to dissolve the blockage associated with the sensations, as I think it would help me immensely.

8-11-13 I had this dream last night where I had signed up to go to this space station and mine an asteroid for a couple years, and then I'd come back with money (I'm sure this will be a reality some day). However what happened was that I was stuck in this program, and there was a robot double being created that would go back after two years and then die within a year, while they kept using my body for whatever they wanted to use it for. And so I started to rebel against the system I was in, and eventually found a way to disconnect myself from the virtual world, as did the other people and we started to disconnecting other people and fighting the administrators who were maintaining the system. Then I became someone else, this dying woman that this virtual world had been created for and she was a princess in this virtual world, but she also found out how it was sustained and started helping the rebellion from the inside.

8-12-13 Today's meditation work has been hard for me, and I've had a low level of functionality as a result. During my meditation I ended up flashing back to that sensation of being molested. When I have these flashbacks, its not visual. Instead it is tactile, which makes it worse, because I can't really distance myself from what I'm feeling. It's a very raw experience, and I feel fragile today because of processing those feelings. I could feel, as I meditated, that the level of distress my body felt continued to rise as I meditated on and dissolved the blockage. It's hard work because it's calling on me to remember and face something that I'm only recalling now at the age of 36. Clearly it was a traumatic experience then, and it certainly is now. As a result I haven't felt very productive today. I've been in a funk and that has bothered me as well, because I certainly have enough to do, but whether I'm capable of doing it is something else altogether.

Kat and I've also finished reading After the Affair, which has been a good read for me because it has helped me explore my history with infidelity, both in my family and in my own actions. I'm not proud of my past actions in my previous relationships and I've felt a deeper level of recognition, responsibility, and empathy toward people I've hurt in the past due to my own baggage. I can't change what's happened, but I see how much that behavior has impacted my life and how it has hurt other people and I am glad that I am continuing to change my standards of behavior, to become a better person. I don't want to leave the wake of chaos and pain that I have left in the past through my actions. I see now as well how the polyamory label allowed me to justify a lot of behaviors without examining them, though that's no fault of the label, but rather my own fault for not digging deeper and really examining what I wanted or needed. It's hard to sit with all of that, but I know that I can't genuinely change if I don't recognize the past and really understand where I've been, so that I can know where I can go.

8-15-2013 The other day, in my meditation on movement, I reached out to Eros and asked him why he hadn't shown up all that much and he said he didn't feel the need to show up if I was moving in the right direction. When I'm going someplace different, then he'll show up as a guide. I think also that as I've continued to do these elemental balancing workings, it's been easier for me to connect directly with the element. When I first started having a guide that mediated the element was helpful for conceptualization purposes, but now working with an elemental force directly isn't such a stretch.

8-17-13 There are occasions where I feel outside any and everything, where I feel like I don't belong. I think this is a feeling many people experience. I think of how that feeling can move a person in both positive and negative directions. That feeling has moved in both directions, and even now I feel it on occasion. It's a powerful feeling which speaks as much to the inadequate feelings a person has about him/herself as well as the longing to belong to something larger or bigger. The key, when you feel this way, isn't to try and fill yourself up with whatever or whoever you find, but rather to be present with the emotion and work through it.

8-21-13 The website has a different look because someone hacked the theme I was using and had some javascript running. I came up with a solution of sorts. I liked the old theme, and at some point I am going to get a different design made, but this will have to do for the meantime.

In other news, the last two days my meditation on the element of movement has taken a deeper turn. Yesterday as I as meditating Eros came to visit and he showed me a perspective of movement and myself where I felt like a tiny grain of sand among many, many other grains of sand, and what movement I could do was just a tiny movement, that might cause a ripple in the immediate area, but wasn't significant beyond that. I felt how small I really am in all that movement, recognizing in the process that everything else is also that small. Everything is moving or trying to move, but all of those movements, individually are small...yet put together you can find patterns and those patterns are created by the movement of each person, ting, etc., not because of one person, but because there is a agreement of some type when it comes to movement.

Today's meditation was a deep one, but in a similar vein of expression. I was a mote of light moving with other motes of light. My expressions of movement weren't original per se, but all part of this greater pattern that I'm a part of. I moved as part of a movement. Both experiences were humbling, but also beautiful and terrible at the same time. I'm not sure where its all going, but I'm going with it and I'm open to it because I know that I am moved as much if not more than what I move.

Month 9 Elemental Balancing Ritual with Movement

Eros 6-30-2013 I've been contemplating the astrological cycle of Pluto in conjunct with my natal chart. It's become a part of my work with the element of movement, an underworld experience of sorts, but more so with movement in my life, and movement around my life and how I handle it. It's interesting how working with an element to find balance with it in your life and really to balance your life can itself be shaped by other variables. I don't know that I would really be aware of this conjunction if not for the fact that a friend told me about it, and the question that comes to mind is: If I wasn't aware of it, would it still impact me? I don't know. The conjunction is ultimately just another pattern and while I think my awareness of that pattern is a factor, I also know that awareness or lack thereof doesn't guarantee anything so much as it demonstrates what you know or don't know about a given situation. My drive to know is part of what informs the movement in my life. I want to know, and I want to share, and that inspires me toward these experiences, which can be both painful and enlightening in terms of what I learn.

7-3-13 I'm feeling off today. There's been a bit of a family crisis of late and I'm doing what I can to support the relevant people, but I also feel some fear for the people involved, a knot of anxiousness and a recognition that what I can do is limited. I'm dealing with another situation right now, where I've brought in a consultant to help me solve a problem. The consultant called me the other day and his advice wasn't promising. I felt anxious about it, but then I chanted the name of an entity I've created to help me deal with this situation and the entity told me to call him back and have him double check the information he'd given me. So I call him back, have him double check the information, and we are back on course, all because I chanted an entity's name and focused all the anxiety I was feeling toward it. And yes I get that it doesn't make rational sense, but I don't need it to make rational sense. I need it to make sense enough to achieve a different outcome and that's what it's doing. Movement isn't always about going the provincial route, but rather about finding the best route even in the most non-obvious places.

7-8-13 I've been thinking a bit about relationships because of a book I was reading which made the point that the romantic relationships we are drawn to are ones that relate to the relationships that were modeled to us as children. And I think there's truth to that. When I look at who I've been attracted to in the past as well as actual relationships I've gotten involved in, I can see certain behavioral characteristics I've been drawn to in the past, and I see how it's replicated certain cycles of behavior as a result. And until I worked through some of those cycles, I wasn't able to break out of the relationships I was getting into. Now I'm in a different relationship than I've ever been in and it's been very healthy for me and has continued to allow me to break out of those cycles, but it amazes me how until you really examine who and what you are drawn to, how easy it can be to essentially be in a similar relationship to the one your parents modeled for you.

7-9-13 Giving up trying to control something that you have limited control over can be incredibly freeing, especially when you feel the tension in your body relax as a result of choosing to let go instead of trying to hold on so hard. Repeatedly I see this lesson illustrated in the lives of people around me, but also in my own life and although it can be hard to give up that sense of control, I also find it helpful, because then I'm not worrying about it or stressing over it. I see now how my stress has really been my feeling of trying to control something and feeling that the only control I could have was to be stressed about whatever. I know this something I'll continually work on, but I also know that continuing to do it will gradually make it easier for me to let go of the pretense of control, which in turn will lead to less stress.

7-10-13 My dad's visiting for a few days. We went to the Mummy exhibit at OMSI, and then got into a discussion about history, including the family history. He's got a civil war rifle and sword that my great-great grandfather used. I'm hoping that'll he donate those weapons and the logbook to a museum. I feel that history such as that should belong to the people, and that if we contribute it to a museum then everyone can learn from it. The visit has been good so far, but I see such a difference in him. I know that at some point it will be the last time I see him. I can accept it, but still feel an odd sense of mortality, recognizing that my time with this person is very limited. I'm glad we are going to the ocean on Friday so he can see it, makes me feel good to make sure he an I have that experience together.

7-17-13 My dad headed back to South Dakota. It was a good visit, but since then I've been playing catch up and there is nothing so frustrating as if feeling that time is slipping away, especially when you feel this need to get things done. Maybe at a different time of my life I'll feel different, but there's so much I want to do.

7-20-13 I haven't been doing much lately, other than reading through the Dragonrealms series and playing the Last of Us. I spend so much time working on projects or writing that taking the occasional break to feed myself brain candy is good as a way of renewing myself. Yes it means I'm not reading or doing anything truly stupendous, but it also means I'm giving myself some down time, which isn't something I've always been good at. I am always aware of the projects I want to work on, but I also know that giving myself over to those projects requires that I also provide myself time to just...be.

Reading Dragonrealms has been interesting, because I see this gradual evolution of the writing, the characters, and the world. It's not the best fantasy writing out there, but the author does an excellent job of bringing you into the writing. I've had this series of books since it came out in the eighties and I'm glad he's writing more books in the series. As for the Last of Us...It's like a movie, wrapped up in a game that hits you with the terror of living in a post apocalyptic world, while also hitting on the relationships people have with each other and how essential those relationships are to maintaining your connection to a sense of self.

7-23-13 Something I've realized about movement, stillness, and control is that the best thing you can do is just let go and stop trying to be in control. I know I've mentioned it above, but it can't be emphasized enough, in my opinion. There are certain experiences where you just won't have that sense of control you think you have, and if you can accept that, be okay with it, you can actually discover possibilities and experiences you never would've thought of because you were so invested in a particular view of the world and your expression in it.

Movement, Stillness, and the Web of Space/Time

Harmony In Magical Identity I shared a technique I use for working with Space and Time, which is is the web if Space and Time. In this model the web is comprised of elements of space and time conjunctively connecting to manifest possibilities into reality. The strands of the web are elements of Time, while the nodes where the strands intersect each other are elements of Space. The strands of time represent possibilities and actions. I think of them as verbs. The nodes of space represent people, places, events, and things, nouns. I'm always open to improving on my techniques and my work with the element of movement gave me an insight in this technique that could be useful for developing it further.

While the strands of time denote possibilities and actions, it occurs to me that movement (and as I write this Stillness) are intrinsic elements of space and time that are not overtly recognized but that nonetheless play a role in our experience of space and time. I don't think of movement and stillness as being one and the same as time and space. And my experiences of both movement and stillness seem to bear this out. If anything it feels like stillness and movement act upon and are acted upon by space and time. For example, you might be tempted to associate stillness with space, but I'd argue that stillness isn't space. Stillness is a form of presence and awareness. It's potential and in some ways that makes it more related to time, but it isn't time either. It's a state of experience and being that can allow you to become aware of and experience space and time in different ways. When I do my practice of Zhine meditation, I am working with stillness and one of the experiences it can provide is an awareness of space and time that is different than what is experienced during the everyday experience of life. With Stillness, when I am focusing my awareness on myself and a particular object, I experience not just the object as it is, but also the possibilities for that object. I experience the space of the object, as well as the time of the object. You also might be inclined to associate movement with time, and certainly experience of time can be that of a sense one moment passing into another, but again you can also experience time via stillness.

So all that said, what I'm really interested in is how I can factor stillness and movement into the work I do with the web of space and time. I don't want to associate stillness or movement with specific aspects of the web, and I don't think I need to, but I think working with them could allow me to enhance the technique as well as integrate these elements into my life. I decided to pull out my memory box, which is the physical representation of the web and when I worked with it this time, I approached the work in terms of movement. What did I need to move to put everything into the right space and maximize the right potential of time needed. Movement wasn't just about working with the strands of time, but rather working with the web as a whole, in terms of positioning the web and the respective nodes and time strands into an alignment that would be useful for better realizing the activation of a possibility into a reality. I didn't integrate stillness into this work, so when I experiment with it again, I'll work with both stillness and movement and see how they fit together with space and time.

What I've shared above is rough and I'll work on refining it, but I'm excited to be working on something new, or in this case a variation of something else I developed.

Book Review: The Slow Fix by Carl Honore

In this book the author explores the value of the slow fix, which involves learning how to solve problems from a process perspective instead of just trying to use a quick fix. The author explores a variety of elements that are integral to the slow fix process and uses case studies to demonstrate how those elements work together to bring about useful solutions to problems. I got a lot of value from this book by applying its principles to my business and my clients. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to improve how problems are solved in general and in their organization, because what you will learn is how to examine your problem solving processes and introduce the right elements of the slow fix to help you improve on what you are already doing.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 8

Eros 5-24-13 There's been this big uproar about pop culture magic going through the blogosphere. The polytheists, reconstructionists, and spirit workers feel threatened by the idea of pop culture magic and so the usual criticisms and attempts to devalue pop culture magic have begun. Fortunately there are a lot of people actually exploring and writing about pop culture magic now. I've actually come late into this particular debate, but it makes me happy to see that other people are writing about and exploring pop culture as a a means of working with magic. And I kind of find it ironic that my name really hasn't come up, because even a few years ago all that people seemed to know of me was related to pop culture magic. I'm glad other people have it made their own...I just wish the detractors would get over it instead of trying to prove why their beliefs are more valid than mine or someone else's. Compensation much?

5-30-13 The uproar has died down which is good since it wasn't very constructive. I see those kinds of arguments as being fairly futile. Neither side wants to budge, and it becomes an exercise in rhetoric as opposed to anything really meaningful. Yesterday my latest book arrived. There is, in my opinion, a very magical moment when you open a book you've written for the first time. There it is, manifest into material form, a concrete reality of the ideas you've written. Feels good to have the book written and it feels even better to see the final result.

I also got my latest tattoo today. And again there's an experience that is so unique. You are allowing someone to paint on your skin, on the canvas of your body and embody it with whatever is painted. In my case a dragon to honor the work I've done with Dragon. Not too sure how many more tats I'll get. I have a few ideas of what I might get, but at a certain point I'll be ready to leave it at that. Anything I do get is done either to mark a life change or a significant magical working with an entity and as such anything I get has to be significant enough to warrant the ink, the experience, and the recognition that the canvas has gotten smaller.

6-3-13 I presented at the first Northwest Conference of Alchemy over the weekend. I also learned quite a lot about the topic and it makes me want to get involved in practical alchemy even more than before. I also had an interesting realization. I wrote Pop Culture Magick nine years ago, and I've noticed that now it's become fairly prevalent in some practices. I've also noticed more and more interest in space/time magic, which tells me that I'm about a decade ahead of what is really interesting to people. A good place to be, because I can actually see what interests people in this lifetime and still continue pushing to the edges.

6-6-13 Since I got the dragon tattoo I've noticed more energy in my life and businesses. There's a direction, with activities happening and I feel really good about the direction of movement. I've also come up with a new experiment, which involves linking several daily workings I do together. I won't share more about it now, because it'll likely become the core of a new system, but its so exciting to feel creative to have projects to work on and to otherwise be engaged. When I was at the alchemy conference people commented on the number of books I've written and how prolific I am (a dozen books in ten years is pretty good), and when I told them that I'd actually had a few years where not much writing happened they were surprised. I'm grateful to have the writing back and to be sharing it with the people who like my work.

6-9-13 Over on Pagan Square several more of the polytheists have posted articles which have taken a somewhat militant approach to the whole pop culture magic issue. I've debated whether I should respond any further and was even in the process of writing a comment to one post, when I stopped myself and asked: "What am I really trying to get from this interaction?" The answer I got was control and I realized then that posting the comment wouldn't provide that sense of control or validation or anything else useful. I realized there was no control to be had in this situation and so I just stopped writing the comment and surrendered the needs to feel control and validation. I asked myself: "Could these people really stop me from practicing what I practice?" And the answer is no. They can state their own perspectives, but they can't really stop me or others from practicing what we practice. And the best thing we can do is to continue to practice what we practice and share it so that people who are receptive can choose to learn and experiment. Knowing how to move, when to move, where to move all of that is essential to any situation where some kind of movement is necessary. And sometimes the best move to make is to recognize what your motive is for posting something and then decide is this really worth the effort I'm making or could I put that effort somewhere else to better effect? I know I can put my efforts to better effect elsewhere.

6-14-13 I think that one of the frustrations I feel with working with movement, especially as it applies to the planetary energies is how aware I've become of how much control I don't have over situations and how vulnerable I feel at realizing this at times when I really want to have control over those situations. As someone who has bought into the illusion of control at times, its hard when that illusion is stripped away and you realize just how little control you really have. Then you must face yourself and truly see what you are and aren't. I felt that way last night when I realized how much I let my dearest one down.

6-17-13 Over the weekend Kat and I did a murder mystery party for her birthday. It was our best one yet, and perhaps what helped it was how much people were willing to step into their roles and get into the humor of the situation. I think that moving into a given role requires a suspension of disbelief but also an assumption of identity. I become the character and in that act of becoming I breathe life into the character, but the character, in turn also breathes life into me. I feel the character move me to become that character and also to take away something intangible yet powerful which speaks to the identity of the character and its impact on my own sense of self (at least for the time I am the character). I have similar experiences with a good book or a video game, where I'm drawn into the reality of the character and for a time become that character...and when I come out, I take something away, marked by the character as much as I've marked him/her. What's really marked me is the experience itself, the experience of being something else and allowing it to move me enough to have the experience.

On a different front, I got some advice about a situation today and what's interesting is how much movement fits into that advice, and how the movement shapes itself around the limitations of the situations and turns those limitations into something that can favor me as much as it seems to favor the institution. There's a lesson there...we are only as constrained as we perceive ourselves to be. How we use our limitations speaks just as much as the limitations in and of themselves.

6-20-13 The other night I had a dream, where this was tree growing from my upper left arm, where my birthmark is. The tree was abruptly cut or pulled or something, I was left with this bloody wound. I physically felt the pain of the removal of the tree from my arm to the point that I woke up and felt the pain on my arm. Eventually it faded, but when I meditated on the issue, I didn't get any answers. Then today I meditated, and the image of the tree on my arm came up again, but I ended up being directed to the area of my right kidney and as I began doing dissolving work, I felt these memories of the drive to Seattle and when I lived there come up, so I allowed myself to feel and be in those memories because I realized something needed to happen. What I felt was a recognition that 'd blocked those memories out because of what I associated with them, and so as I continued the dissolving work I left myself feel the emotions associated with those memories. I ended up crying for a bit, but I felt better afterwards. I'll continue doing the dissolving work to see what else comes up and if there's any relation to the tree.

6-21-13 In discussing the dream and dissolving meditation with Kat, she suggested that it might involve a feeling of being unrooted. So I did some further meditation and that seems to be the case, especially as it relates to the move to Seattle and the year I lived there. I felt like I did lose my roots and that I couldn't really find a place up there to settle in. And even though I later found Portland, it's really only been in the last few years that I've begun to feel rooted and to have a connection to community. Before that I felt very isolated and alone a lot of the time. I'm ready to process those emotions and I suppose my dream is a good indication of that.

6-24-13 I sometimes feel I can't escape my past and that I'm doomed to become the one person I don't want to be like. I know that feeling isn't true, but there are occasions where I feel weighed down by my past, weighed down by the example set for me by my father. There are times when all the dissolving work in the world can't undo the shame and disappointment I feel toward myself for failing the people I am closest to, as well as failing myself. I have to look carefully at what really moves me and why it moves me. Am I moving the way I really need to be moving? At the same time, I feel keenly aware of the cycles that Erik pointed out to me, cycles of influence that certainly seem to be showing up in my life in a variety of ways that are really causing me to come up against my own limits and helping me recognize those limits. It's simultaneously frustrating and enlightening, but with all of this I still have the choice to make of it whatever I can.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement month 7

Eros 4-24-13 I had a dream this morning. I was on a road trip with Jim Nadenicek, a friend I knew in my State College days. We were driving through Pittsburgh and just happened to be going by my old elementary school, so I asked him if we could stop in. We did stop and I saw a few teachers I vaguely recognized and read into a woman I knew as a kid. She gave me advice about how to conduct myself around other people. Then I went outside and Jim had this jeep. My car had broken down and we needed to go to the auto repair shop to see what was wrong. An interesting dream that I'm still processing, but I see certain themes in it that are consistent with internal work I'm doing right now. My dreams have become more vivid since I've been doing Zhine meditation regularly.

4-26-13 20 years ago in April I started practicing magic. It's hard to believe that 20 years have passed. I feel proud of myself as a magician when I look at those years and everything I've done and explored and I feel excited about the rest of my journey and I'm grateful that barring anything unexpected, I should have a long time to explore my spiritual journey and implement it in this life. How fortunate I am...

4-27-13 I've been doing some further reading of the Post Infidelity Stress Disorder book and one of the realizations I've had is that until I really explored these problems they would have continued to show up in my relationships. The author makes a good point that a person is attracted to someone who reminds them of their parents or themselves. I see that in my relationship choices. Most of the women I've been attracted to have in one way or another reminded me of the strictness of my step mom. Kat's pretty much the exception and who she is similar to is me. Recognizing these patterns of attraction helps me also see how the behavior has been set up to undermine the relationships. I feel sad about it, but in a weird kind of way also relieved because I have a much better understanding of my issues. And through understanding comes change.

4-30-13 There are days I really don't want to meditate or exercise. I feel extremely busy or like I have too much on my plate. And yet I know that if I don't exercise or meditate I am cheating myself of so much. So today was one of those days and I made myself exercise. I feel better for doing it, and I also know it reinforces the discipline I believe is essential. Keeping yourself on track isn't easy all the time, but the true test is to choose and do something when you don't feel like doing it, but know you need to.

5-01-13 I got an email from Weiser books today about the Wealth Magic book. They want to look at more chapters of the book. I'm not sure how I feel. Part of me feels happy,  vindicated, acknowledged, but another part of me isn't sure if I really want to go with a big publisher. I have mixed feelings on all of this. I feel conflicted, not sure what choice I'll make, but Kat and I will discuss it together and then I'll make a decision about where to go next.

5-02-13 I sent the rest of the manuscript in. I figure I owe myself the opportunity to see what will come of this particular opportunity. Worst they can say is no and if they do say yes, then it's bargaining time, because I definitely want some say in what happens with the book and how I can use it to promote myself to a larger audience.

5-07-13 Something I've come to recognize about myself is that I can be brittle. Kat says I like order, and there is truth in that. I like things in my life and universe to be orderly, to follow certain conventions and to be easy to find. And this is where it can lead to brittleness because sometimes I cling so much to the order that I don't adapt to what really needs to be changed. My work with movement is helping me realize this brittleness about my personality, and with some work I think I can be more flexible even when my sense of order isn't as I'd like it to be.

5-15-13 Sometimes I go through periods where I have little to write. This is one of those periods. I've learned to accept these moments when they occur as I figure it is just a period of gestation and deeper thought. You can't rush magic and you can't rush writing.

5-19-13 Movement is about boundaries as much as anything else. Today I had to tell someone my boundaries around a specific topic. It wasn't easy to do it, but I realized that I didn't need to be moved to the head space that I felt moved to when discussing the topic with that person. So setting up that boundary was really a healthy action taken. There are some memories you don't want to revisit, especially if you are an abuse survivor of any type. Those memories can put you in a space of being a victim and while it is important to work through those memories, it should be done in a way that is empowering to the person.

I've been thinking lately about my role in my household. I am not the chief bread winner. Kat is the chief bread winner of the house hold and I am comfortable with that. Nonetheless I also contribute in my own way. I clean and cook, I take care of the cats and the kids as needed. I take care of Kat and support her in what she is doing. And I do bring in some income with my businesses and that income is increasing. We both work hard to make sure our household is a stable one. I feel lucky to be with such a wonderful person who is dedicated to me and to the spiritual work we do.

5-21-13 Kat and  I got a Synastry reading over the weekend, basically an astrological comparison of her and I's chart. It was helpful and confirmed certain patterns of behavior and ongoing life changes for both of us, as well as showing each of us how we could support each other through those changes. One of the issues it reminded me of was the importance of letting go of needing to be in control and instead continuing to accept that I don't have control over everything, but I do have control over how I work with it. In April I started a particular Pluto conjunction, which is a dark night of the soul and I'd have to say that I've certainly seen evidence of it in my life in little ways, but instead of letting it control me or feeling helpless, I've chosen to roll with it, accept that I don't have control over everything, but also ask myself what I do have control over. And what I've found is that by letting go in some cases and acknowledging that I don't have control, I can actually discover choices that provide me a way to resolve the situation in my favor. And there's a key realization about movement here: Choosing to move with something you can't control allows you to find control through the movement. You accept you can't control the situation as it is, but you learn to move with the situation until you discover the options that provide opportunities for you.