mystical journeys

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 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.

Astrology, Divination, and Pattern Recognition

astrology A little while back I got a reading done by my friend Erik Roth. He does shamanic astrology, and I highly recommend his services. I've gotten my astrological reading done in the past, and each time what has struck me about the readings has been the accuracy of the description of patterns in my life. It's not so much that the person has read my future but rather has shown me some existing patterns as well as other ones to be aware of. I've found the same to be true with Tarot readings and other forms of divination. What is being read are patterns of information and behavior and from that a person can get a good idea of what s/he needs to anticipate in the future.

Pattern recognition is the recognition of certain patterns of influence in your life. Those patterns of influence originate from both within you and the environment around you. One of the reasons I'm willing to consider the validity of Astrology is that I do think we are effected by the cycles of the planets around Earth. If nothing else there is a gravitational effect of some type and who is to say that doesn't have some influence on us? Even if that isn't the case, being able to look at your life in relationship to specific patterns can be enlightening in terms of what it helps you work on. For example, I've just entered into a cycle with Pluto, which astrologically speaking is the dark night of the soul for me. The recognition of this pattern allows me to prepare for it. The Pluto cycle is about breaking things down, but this doesn't have to be a negative experience. Instead it can be a positive experience, where I plan for and use the cycle of Plutonian energy to my benefit.

The same applies to a Tarot reading. Someone does a reading for you and what it supplies you is an awareness of patterns of information. The cards don't reveal the future but they show you what to look out for. Of course the only problem with this approach is that when you are looking at specific patterns you may not be aware of others. Pattern recognition helps you to be aware patterns, but it also acts as a filter so that you may only see those patterns. This is why although getting a divinatory reading can be helpful, sometimes it can be just as helpful to leave yourself open to experience to see what happens.

I think that what I found most helpful about the astrological reading is that it gave me a general sense of what to be aware of and provided some focus on key areas of my life that may need some work. All of it was accurate and how I knew that was because even without the reading I was already working on the issues and patterns the reading described. In that sense it affirmed my current work and showed I am on the right path. Never hurts to get some confirmation...though as always keep yourself open to whatever comes your way. The obvious perspective can box you in and cause you to miss out on other opportunities.

Zhine and Dream Work

zhineI've been having a lot of vivid dreams lately, which have been helpful for doing some internal work, specifically in relationship to some deeper issues of conflict I've been feeling out within myself. Part of what I've been doing during the day to prepare for the dream work is a form of Tibetan meditation called Zhine. Zhine involves maintaining awareness of something around you, without thinking about it, studying it, or anything else. You are simply aware of it.

I have found this to be a challenging exercise because simply being aware of something without thinking about it can be hard. It's a good discipline exercise that challenges you to continually focus on just being aware of the object. Every time you think about it, which includes looking at distinct features or thinking about the color, you have shifted away from awareness and gotten caught up in the reality of what you are aware of. The point is to be simply aware, noticing it, but not thinking about it.

One variation of this exercise that I tried recently involved being aware of a fork that a person was using to eat. I was always aware of where the fork was, but I focused only on the fork as opposed to the person or how the fork was being used.

If you do this long enough and consistently enough, something very interesting happens. Your experience of reality changes subtly. What you are aware of seems less real, more of an image than actual reality. It's there, and yet what is there isn't real. There is a vividness in this experience which lends itself to dream work and makes your dreams more lucid and you more capable of remembering them. This has proven helpful in doing the dream work I've been involved with of late. You can learn more about Zhine by reading about Tibetan Dream work. I recommend the Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement month 5

Eros 2-21-13 I've been meditating on movement in terms of subtle movement, both mentally and physically. For example, when I meditate, how does my mind move, and what does it move to or away from? Or when I am walking or breathing what am I noticing when I move my body? How aware am I of the movement? These are good questions to ask and they are getting me to pay more attention to movements I have taken for granted. I am going over older practices and re-doing them with a conscious focus on the movement, physical or otherwise that is involved. In turn that is allowing me to experience those practices in a deeper way than I had previously done.

2-24-13 One of the realizations around grievance that I've had is the acknowledgement that I may not get the closure I want from people. This is a hard realization because it essentially involves recognizing that those people will not take responsibility in a way that I feel provides closure. I think that in and of itself this is a wound that can haunt people. I've felt that wound and I've seen it in other people. So how do you heal that wound? You know the person or people that you want closure from won't help you heal it. They don't feel any obligation to and likely don't even fully recognize what you are hurting over. In some cases they probably even take malicious joy from it. And ultimately it's not about them, it's about you and finding closure.

The best solution I have found is one where I first acknowledge the grievance for what it is and then acknowledge that I won't get the closure want from someone else. I then focus on providing myself closure by working with the grievance, allowing myself to feel it, but also to address it and my part in it. I forgive myself, which helps because I recognize that the grievance isn't just what the other person did, but also what I did and that in one sense it is a judgment I have made about myself. It is a judgment that comes from a place of unlove, and to resolve it I need to address that judgment I have made about myself. The judgment is usually a feeling of "This person was right. What they did to me/made me feel is confirmation that I am not a good person." So when I look at it in that way I recognize that I am sustaining the grievance and that ultimately I am responsible for it. What I want from the other person I can provide by providing myself closure, by recognizing that whatever the other person did wasn't a confirmation of my judgment and that my judgment comes from a place of hurt and unlove within myself.

Doing that helps provide closure. But even so there are times where you will still hurt and angry with the person. Ask yourself if you want to really continue to give that person that much power in your life. You'll likely discover that you don't want to give that person that much power and that can be motivation to continue working on the grievance you feel.

3-02-13 Took an entire day off from my businesses. It felt good to just not work on something for a while. When you are a business owner there is this sense of always needing to be on with your business, always working on it. Actually I think that's true of adults in general because just about every adult I know is always on, always working. It's like we've forgotten how to relax and just be ourselves. And maybe we really have. That's one reason I play reminds me to have fun, reminds me not to always be serious or be an adult. I don't want to work all the time, and taking a day off from work is my way of preserving my sanity I love owning a business (well businesses) but working on them all the time can get a little dull. The work needs to be done and some of it can be farmed out, but how refreshing really to just step away from being responsible for one day, just to be a kid again for a while. And when I come back, the work will be there, but I will feel refreshed and ready to do it.

Beyond that, certain situations do seem to be resolving nicely. A wealth magic working I did via a sigil game is coming together nicely with multiple favorable outcomes. The one outcome that may have changed is where the Wealth magic book gets published. I'm not even done with the first draft, so I'm not really worried about it, but I've been mulling over just how different Immanion is from the larger publishers. Pantheacon showed me that when I went to a panel for one of those publishers. Maybe I'm just too idealistic or too controlling when it comes to my writing and how I think it should be presented and how I think my target audience wants it presented, but nonetheless I think there is something to be said for the presentation and what that presentation conveys to someone.

3-08-13 I wrote a long post last night about Immanion Press and what it means to me. I think it really clarified where my occult writing needs to be and why it needs to be there. As an author I recognize that choosing to stick with a small publisher may not be the best business choice, but as a writer I recognize that it is the best choice for the pursuit of my message. But beyond that I've been thinking about movement and how the movements we choose, if chosen with an open mind, can lead us to unexpected movement. For example, I've been doing some cold calling lately. I've found that going into stores is something I'm more comfortable with, because its more face to face. As I do this movement, I sit with it, get more comfortable with it and allow myself to be present with how it makes me feel but also what it opens for me. If nothing else, I'm improving my presentation skills by giving it a try.

I recently finished reading S. M. Stirlings Change series. It's a fun post apocalyptic read, but there was a point he made that got me thinking. In his dystopic world, humanity has lost modern technology and the generation after the generation that lost the tech are called changelings. The older generation doesn't know what to make of the changelings and the changelings in turn think of the older generation as one that seems more focused on observing itself as opposed to just being and doing. And that insight interests me because I think there is some truth to it. Technology makes life easier, but it also makes life much more distant. People can hide behind screens and watch the world go by without really interacting with it. I write that with a sense of irony as I'm typing this message into a screen, but I do think that just watching the world go by, getting sucked into T.V., computers, and mobile devices isn't doing us any favors. It makes avoiding living easier. It's probably why I am so resistant to technology overall. I see it as an intrusion of sorts, even as I ironically rely on it.

3-09-13 I had a dream last night, where Kat was dressed in a suit of armor, with a sword and shield and she was protecting me from a gaunt starved lion with a mangy mane. It was a vivid dream and on consideration of it this morning I realized it meant that I was feeling more comfortable with her feeling protective of me. I have to admit that I've struggled with feeling comfortable with someone feeling protective of me. I've always had to take care of myself, so allowing someone else to be protective is really me allowing myself to feel open and vulnerable enough to trust someone to protect me.

I also had some other realizations. I ask Kat a lot if she is happy, but I realize what I'm really asking is: Am I safe? I ask that because if I know she is happy then I can relax, and yet its not her. It's reactions to the past. It's the realization that I'm asking that question because I've had experiences where I have not felt safe and the way I've gauged such safety is the mood of the person.  I'm going to sit with this realization and work through it carefully. I recognize that this has the potential to be a trip mine and if not handled carefully it could blow up in my face. When you deal with deeper issues like this it can be very important to work with it gradually. The point isn't to work through it in a day, but rather to work through it carefully and allow myself a way to heal.

The other realization I had was one of recognizing how a person's issues can be used as an excuse to justify behavior. I say that with the recognition that sometimes I've justified behavior because of my issues, but the truth it that we should never justify a behavior because of an issue. Instead we should use the behavior to identify and work with the issue so that it doesn't continue to cause problems in our lives and relationships. I've gotten better about it, but I know that I owe it to myself to be honest about whether I've used my behaviors around my issues to justify my behavior. And the same applies to other people. If you use your dysfunction to justify your behaviors, you aren't taking responsibility for them or their effect on others. It just continues the problem instead of solving it. Taking responsibility isn't easy. What it really involves is doing this careful internal work where you recognize how the dysfunctional issues are showing up in your behavior and then you work with the behavior and issues using meditation and therapy as needed to get to the root of the issue.

3-10-13 Relying on other people brings up a lot of mixed feelings in me. I've been self-sufficient for a long time because I learned early on that I needed to take care of me. Yet to some degree I've relied on other people as well. I've never been so self sufficient that I wasn't relying on someone else to some extent.  And yet purposely relying on someone does bring up both a feeling of being loved and supported and a feeling of fear. As I sit with it, I realize that it's as much an issue of trusting myself to trust someone else as it is to trust someone else.

3-19-13 I haven't had a chance to update this entry recently, but a lot has happened in the week or so. I've been having some more vivid dreams, all of which have dealt with people in my life, but all of which have also been representative of something deeper, a sense of conflict in myself which seems to be coming to the surface more. Some of the conflict is around receiving from other people, and some of it is around my spiritual work. I've realized lately that I just haven't felt as deeply connected to it. That's hard to admit, but at the same time I can't not be honest with myself. So I've been revisiting techniques that I've been practicing for a while from the perspective of a beginner, rereading the books and redoing the exercises more methodically. And its helping me realize how easy it can be to take one's spiritual work for granted.

Recently, I got a shamanic astrology reading from a friend of mine. I've had a couple of astrological readings in the past and they've always been accurate. His were accurate as well in terms of certain trends, behaviors, and challenges I've experienced or am experiencing as well as describing certain life patterns I'm working on that are more of a lifetime focus. He indicated to me that I'm about to go into the dark night of the soul. I laughed and half jokingly said, "Haven't I done enough of those?" He told me of a couple of other cycles as well that I'll be experiencing around the same time. The DNS lasts a year and a half, and it was interesting to me because I'd actually decided that I needed to extend my work with this element for another year after this October. I want to deepen my work with movement, and I've already begun thinking how I could factor in this cycle and the others into that work, as well as into the work of the next element after movement.

I'd felt some apprehension after he did the reading, but in thinking it over, I'm looking forward to whatever internal work comes my way. There's nothing inherently challenging about any cycle...and there is something to be said for the attitude that a person brings into the work s/he is doing. As I re-examine my attitude and my practices, I feel like I'm gearing up to go deeper and come out wiser on the other side.

And recently Eros has been coming into my meditations more. He has told me to meditate on the relationship between stillness and movement and suggested that it might prove beneficial to examine how the two work together and feed into each other. There's some Taoist and Western esoterica that discusses these two elements in conjunction with each other and my own meditations have gotten me thinking about how movement is sometimes used to avoid stillness, but also how stillness is at the heart of movement and an attractor of it. More next month...

Why I think of myself as spiritual

spiritualI couldn't resist including the above picture for this post, just because it is a good question and I see this meme done a lot. It's a good example of pop culture magic actually, but that's a different topic altogether. To answer his question however, I'd say I'm not cherry picking the parts of religion I like, but rather creating my own spiritual identity and practice which doesn't necessarily involve a conventional approach, which is what I think of when I think about religion. The actual impetus for this post came from this post on the Wild Hunt Blog where Jason Pitzl-Waters discusses how he thinks that "more and more people are finding Paganism not as discrete religions, but as a part of an open-sourced kit to build an individualized belief system or practice." On the other hand, Star Foster explains why she's dropped the label Pagan, and I see her reason for dropping the label as being similar to what Jason writes about in his blog. This response from Jason Mankey argues that as long as gods are in the occasion you can't run from the label Pagan. I don't agree with his take on that as I'll explain further below.

I think of myself as a spiritual, but not religious person. I also think of myself as a magician as opposed to a Pagan. I also recognize that in one sense the word pagan is a meta term that is applied to a variety of people who have similar interests, which can include polytheism, Heathenism, Occultism, as well as Paganism. However, much like Star I don't necessarily feel that the label Pagan applies to what I do. And yes I work with more than one deity, but even that as a criteria for being a pagan is suspect. And I don't feel that the practice of magic makes a person automatically a pagan either, especially given that many Pagans have argued that magic isn't an essential part of pagan beliefs. To my mind when that distinction was made, that told me I wasn't a pagan, because to me magic isn't optional and never will be.

If, according to Jason Pitzl-Waters, Paganism is an open source kit to develop personalized belief systems and practices I do wonder why certain segments of Paganism seem to be so intolerant toward the development of such systems and practices. And I have witnessed that intolerance first hand, having been told that what I'm doing is fluffy and not really paganism (which suits me fine). I get why Jason wants to fold all that under the umbrella of Pagan, but I suspect many Pagans would disagree with his assessment and would argue that there is a distinct difference between what is a Pagan belief system and what is an individualized system of spiritual practice and belief.

And aside from that point, there are spiritual paths that might be identified as Pagan, except for the fact that the people who practice those spiritual practices don't think of themselves as Pagans. Heathenism comes to mind, for example. Heathens, as I understand it, don't typically identify themselves as Pagans and don't want to be identified as Pagans. They do worship and work with deities, but that doesn't make them Pagan. I'd argue that what makes anyone Pagan or not is the person's choice to identify as such. If I choose to call myself pagan, then I might be considered pagan, especially if I practice a religious path that is considered Pagan.

I'd argue that Paganism is more of a religious movement than a spiritual movement. There are many Pagan religions, but I don't think that because someone is spiritual it automatically makes them pagan. Certainly the quote from Pink that Jason cites doesn't support that she views herself as Pagan, so much as she found Paganism to be a source of inspiration for her own spiritual work.

As I mentioned above the word pagan is a meta label. It's applied to anyone who practices non-monotheistic religious practices and spirituality as a way of describing those practices. And in that sense, I do embrace the word pagan, because it is a meta label that encompasses what I practice. But as a label of religious practices, I don't see myself as a Pagan. And many other people don't as well. The meta label is convenient, but also creates an illusion about Paganism that isn't accurate in the way that some people might like it to be. Just because my spirituality happens to include practices that could be perceived as Pagan doesn't necessarily mean the label fits. What determines if the label fits is the person's choice to identify as such.

At this point a person might say, "Fine and well Taylor, but then why do people like you use the word Pagan at all?" And the answer is that Pagan, as a meta-label, has become so embedded in our culture and in how many people describe their spiritual practices that choosing to come up with something else is not easy. And lets be honest here...while the word Pagan has stigma attached to it, the word occult or magic has a lot more stigma attached to it. And speaking as a writer, when I write books I am writing for an audience that includes people who identify their spiritual working and practice as Paganism. They aren't my sole audience, but they are a significant audience and what I'm writing about can be applied to their spiritual practices, if they choose to do so. There's also something to be said for encountering people that you can share a spiritual practice with. Where do you find those people? How do you determine if those people possibly share similar values or beliefs? The meta label of Pagan is how people answer those questions.  That's why I use the word Pagan. I don't perceive my spiritual practice as being that of a Pagan, but I do recognize that elements of it can be attributed to Paganism, and that I can find kindred spirits using that same meta label because it fits, however loosely, to what they practice.

On a Different Note...

I thought I'd share a link to Justin Moore's blog. He's doing some interesting work with the elemental balancing ritual. What I like the best about it is that he's making it his own.

Book Review: Cupid's Poisoned Arrow by Marnia Robinson

This book is an intriguing read that explores the physiology behind sex and orgasms, and makes the argument for having sex without orgasm as a way of creating stability in a relationship. The author does a good job of exploring the physiology and cites some interesting research to show how orgasm impacts the behavior of people. She also does a good job of introducing Karezza as an alternate sex technique that people can use to avoid having orgasm. Perhaps what I liked best about this book is the exploration of bonding behaviors and how those bonding behaviors can be used to create stronger relationships. The suggestions she makes demonstrates that bonding behavior can offset dysfunctional behavior and actually help people communicate better.

However, there's also some flaws in this book. Some of the anecdotes that she uses are a bit extreme, and I question whether sex via orgasm was the sole problem. At times the author comes off as a closet homophobe and also views activities such as BDSM as being unnatural. And while the author does cite some interesting research about the effect of orgasms, she doesn't explore how bonding behaviors could impact the downside of orgasm, nor does she explore the cultural issues around bonding behavior, and why those cultural issues might contribute to some of the dysfunctions.

It's an intriguing book and it makes thought provoking arguments about the effect of orgasm on the physiology of the brain, but there's also a lot she doesn't explore, and without that exploration it makes it hard to determine just how accurate her information is.


Why the Apocalpyse doesn't matter

end of world The end of the current Baktun (Mayan Cycle) is today and a new one starts on Saturday. Some people are getting ready to hold end of the world parties while other people are telling us that its the end of the age of Pisces and the true beginning of the Age of Aquarius. Some people may very well believe that the end times are here and the end of the world is happening. Who knows, maybe we'll get lucky and the rapture will finally happen. You know what I say to all that? Whatever. It's a load of BS.

Even if the world did end today, would it really matter? Not really, not in the cosmic scale of things. Contrary to what many people like to believe the Earth and all the people on it aren't all that significant really. We live our lives, we make our mistakes and have our fun and when we are gone the universe continues without us. At some point the human race will go extinct and the cockroaches will take over or aliens will finally visit and ponder what happened to whatever lived on this planet. And the universe will go on.

And if the world doesn't end today (as it more than likely won't), some crackpot will come up with a prediction to say when it'll end. Or you'll have some evangelist who will proclaim the end times are here. And so what? All of these people eager for the end times have bought into a mythical belief of a better after life. And yet there's been talk about the end of the world for longer than any of us have been alive...and it still hasn't happened. It never will happen. And that's the problem when you put so much meaning into a date or a prophecy...inevitably you realize that whatever you read into it was inaccurate, a pipe dream.

We're all still instead of focusing on the end times or whether this or that date will signify the end of the world, lets focus on what's really important: Living a meaningful life.

The Value of Refining your Spiritual Practices

While I am an experimenter, I also believe in learning different spiritual practices. All of the practices that I study are subject to revision and I'm excited when I'm able to learn more about a tradition that will help me refine the practices that I'm doing. I'm reading the Six Yogas of Naropa right now. It's a book that is providing me insights into how I can refine the Tibetan shamanic techniques I've been practicing. Short of working with an actual lama its the best resource I have available.

I think its important to continue your practice. You can't afford to be complacent, because there is always something you could learn that will change how you practice it. A while back I was reading a book on core breathing practices for Taoist meditations and it changed my understanding of my breathing practices and how I practiced them significantly. While I was already getting a lot out of those practices, learning how to refine them and learning more about some of the context that informed those practices helped me understand what I could do to improve my workings and helped me appreciate what I was doing.

A magician should always be curious about the magical practices s/he does. No matter how much you know or who or what you've learned those practices from there is always room for refinement and improvement. And the magician who accepts that there is room for improvement spends time learning those practices and looking for more information to refine them, as well as experimenting with what s/he is already working on.

The current book I'm refining has filled in some missing pieces and provided me a way to improve the efficacy of my tumo practices. Undoubtedly as I continue to read other books and incorporate the information into my practices, I'll refine what I'm doing even further. My desire to improve what I'm doing is what helps me make the practices personal. I'm turning what I read into an experience that improves the experiences I've already undergone and improves my awareness and connection with the magical forces I work with.

Refining your practices also teaches you a lot about how to experiment. You carefully examine what you are doing, discovering the underlying principles that make your practice into a process that generates results. You test what you do, comparing it to what you already have done and evaluating it what the differences and similarities are. In short you develop a careful approach to your magical practice that helps you when you experiment because you know that you have to understand what you are doing to make the experiment repeatable and verifiable by others.

Be curious...never settle for what you've already done. Take your practice to the next level by looking for how you can improve it, and for what you can learn that informs what are doing.

Mystery, Secrecy, and Magic

In a recent conversation about the process of magic, one person mentioned that they felt that mystery was an essential part of what makes magic magical. My response was: "Why does there need to be mystery? Mystery is a trope associated with magic, but its just a prop in the end. Looks nice...the real question is does it serve a real function or purpose in the process of magic. If it does, use it, but if it doesn't, strip it away."

The counter response was that removing mystery made magic a rational process or a scientific experiment. But I don't think removing mystery guarantees rationality, as emotion can still factor significantly into a magical work. More importantly the person's experience and perspective is also a significant factor in magical work and not something that automatically lends itself to rationality. I don;t really hold rationality in a esteemed position anyway, as I think its an artificial state of being. In other words, there's no such thing as a purely rational state of mind. There's always some level of emotion or feeling involved. Perhaps the closest experience of rationality is data, but even the interpretation of data is not wholly rational, as there is always an agenda and argument for how and why data is interpreted a particular way.

Regardless that's a topic for a different blog post. Getting back to mystery...I don't feel mystery is a necessary part of magical work. It's a trope, a prop that is associated with magic, and also with secrecy, which is another trope associated with occultism. I dislike secrecy, as I feel what it ultimately encourages is a potential loss of knowledge, experiences, and information that could benefit others. Nonetheless secrecy is one of those tropes that magicians hold fast to, much as mystery is held onto.

When I look at mystery and secrecy I see power games being played, the secret club handshake, the knowing wink, and the decision about who is included and who is excluded. And yes it can have its uses, to create a sense of atmosphere, but ideally the magician can accomplish without needing to resort to such theater unless it serves a purpose.

I'll admit I take an approach to magic that has been describing as a stripping down of it. Yet I don't feel I'm missing out on anything by doing so. Removing all the extras has just provided a way to get to the heart of the magical working, to the connections that are made with the spirits, with the possibilities, etc. without needing to draw on the props. Some people find the props necessary and if that's the case, then that's what they need to use, but magic is ultimately a variety of paths. I just like to explore how you can strip it down and build it back up to fit your needs, while getting rid of what you don't need.



Meeting the author through writing

I can't say all writing does this for me, but I've had a few experiences in my life where I've felt that reading the books of a given author has put me in touch with that author directly, in a way that I'd think of as spiritual transmission of sorts. It's actually happened with four different authors, although I've only actually met one of those authors in the flesh. The first author it ever happened with was William S. Burroughs. He was dead by the time I read his books, but reading his books put me in touch with the Old Man on the Mountain. Burroughs was there in the text, ready to come forth if the right person read his works. It's no surprise to me that his work has influenced my own approaches to magic, both in terms of textual magic and design and in other forms of practical magic. Even though I never met him in person, my encounter with him via text was one I've never forgotten. He is always there, ready to be found in his writing.

The second author and the only one I've ever met is Storm Constantine. I read her Wraeththu series and while it was a fantasy series, it was one that nonetheless felt channeled. My encounter with the spirit of Thiede, who became a permanent part of my pantheon was a powerful one, and subsequent books in the series have continued to embody that. But I also got a sense of Storm the writer and when I contacted her via email there was an immediate connection between us that is sustained to this day in the work we do together via Immanion Press. It's fair to say that Storm is one of those people I needed to meet in order to move forward with my calling and spiritual process.

William G. Gray is another author who's spirit I've encountered via his books. It's fair to say that there has been something of a spiritual transmission, at least in terms of how I approach the process of magic. Gray, in his own writing, is very systematic in his description of magical processes and I've felt his presence as I've read the books. In discussions with several people who actually knew him, I've described his presence and they've indicated it was an accurate description of him. I don't feel his presence as much now, because I think I've gotten the gist of what he wanted me to know via his writing, but as with Burroughs I can still sense his presence when I read his works.

The last author is one I've recently started reading, and I'm not sure if it's so much a spiritual transmission from him or just the fact that I can pick up something of William Gray's influence in the writing. I haven't met R. J. Stewart at this point, but when I read his writing I feel a sense of familiarity with it, and with the systematic descriptions that he provides, and it turns out that at one time he did study under Gray. So with this one I'm less certain as to whether its really a spiritual transmission or just the fact that there is some resonance in the writing that reminds me of the spirit of an author I have encountered.

I've met many other occult writers and read their books and I've gotten a lot from their works, but this kind of intimate connection is something that has been rare for me to experience. Have any of you had such experiences?

Embodied spirituality and liberation

I posted this recently via my various social media accounts:

An embodied spirituality recognizes the value of the material world and celebrates it and experiences as an inherent part of a person's spiritual evolution. When the body is discarded as dirty or something to be left behind, and desires are perceived as unacceptable or attachments that hold us back, the person loses an essential perspective that is necessary for genuine transformation. The body, desires, etc, ground us and provide a way to experience the immediacy of a situation and learn from it. The body is not a is part of our liberation.

Recent conversations I've had around enlightenment as well as a continued practice of Tantric philosophy and spirituality prompted this observation. I genuinely believe that the body is an essential part of human spirituality and that the denial of it is a dysfunction brought about for reasons that are related to either over population or to a fixation on an ultimate reward that involves transcending the body.

A better approach would be to recognize the role of the body as a mediator of physical existence and spiritual identity. Additionally, people who take this perspective would also carefully consider the consequences their choices have on the environment and each other and thus would question consumerism and explore what it means to have enough vs what it means to live in excess.

True liberation isn't found in deprivation or excess but in a balanced perspective that celebrates the glory of life while also cultivating it for future generations. Thus tending your own garden where you grow food is a spiritual and practical activity. It teaches you the value of cultivating life, the recognition of death as a transformative agent that is also part of evolution, and the necessity of using resources wisely instead of wasting them.

Your body is part of your liberation, and the sensual experiences it provides is a part of that process, but equally as important is learning how to take care of yourself. Thus exercise is just as liberating as any other activity, and eating a healthy diet is important for cultivating your life. These activities can be just as spiritual as meditation provided we apply a mindful awareness to them.

A desire can be liberating both for the experience of it and the choice to not experience it. Longing is as much a celebration of desire as is the experience of the desire, and longing can teach patience but also liberation in terms of recognizing the true value of a given desire. The experience of desire can be a liberating experience provided we know how to enjoy it without allowing it to enslave us. Thus the need for balance and consideration of the body as a spiritual teacher which allows us to embody our desires but also uses them to teach us from experience how best to truly find liberation in our experiences and in our choices to sometimes delay having the experience to know its true value.

Elemental Fire Month 3

12-26-11 Fire burns and consumes. What you don't want can be burned away, turned to ashes. You can recycle the ashes, contribute to new growth. For Christmas, my mom gave me a picture album with lots of pictures I don't believe I ever saw. I can't remember anything about a lot of those pictures, because most of them were when I was really young, or before the age of 7. I don't have many memories from before I was seven. It's as if they were wiped clean. It's quite frustrating. I've been thinking a lot about safety and what constitutes safety for someone. What makes a person really feel safe? What does safety embody for a person? I think of fire as an embodiment of safety. The warmth it provides, and even a psychological fascination with light, and the idea that being in the light can make you safe. There's this draw to a fire and what it represents. We can be warmed by the fire, can even have a degree of visibility and protection, and yet the fire can also be a detriment. Your eyes have to adjust each time, and what feels safe may ultimately be an illusion.

12-27-11 Today's meditation focused on desire, specifically what desire for others is really about for me. I think that's such a hard question to answer in a way, because it really involves recognizing that there's some level of selfishness associated with desire, and while that seems like a given it did make me think about what that really means. Selfishness isn't bad per se, as long as it isn't taken to an extreme. It's just that when it is taken to an extreme it can go overboard, to the extent that the other person isn't even considered. In looking at my past, I can safely say that I have been that selfish before and while the short term gratification was nice, the long term result was anything but. So for the moment I'm focusing on the selfishness piece of all of this.

12-28-11 Today's meditation focused on polyamory. I've been in a closed relationship for almost two years, which has been the longest time I've been in a closed relationship. I've used the time to do a lot of thinking about poly and why I've considered myself poly. In all honesty, I'd have to say that my participation in poly is a text book case of bad poly. I've made a lot of the mistakes people make in such relationships and as I've looked over those mistakes and also what's drawn me to that lifestyle, I've come to realize that I chose that lifestyle in part based on a belief of: "There's no one person who can fulfill all your needs and its better to have multiple relationships to get all your needs met." Or if I flip it a little I get: "I've been considered to be too intense, and its better if I spread the love around so I'm not too much for anyone person." Both reasons are ones I've told myself and others and yet in considering them carefully, I've come to realize that for me, they are unhealthy reasons.

My reasoning about this matter is as follows. If I really believe I'm too much for one person and feel the need to spread the love, am I perhaps ignoring what it is that makes me too much for a person? am I perhaps displacing my needs onto other people, without examining them and seeing what's healthy or isn't healthy? And also what is it I am telling myself if I believe this message? When I've considered these questions, I've realized that poly, in the way I've approached it, has ended up being a crutch that has helped me avoid intimacy with myself, let alone someone else.

With that said, I know I'm capable of loving more than one person and I think it can be healthy to love more than one person. However, I know that even though I am capable, I also haven't really laid a strong foundation to support such relationships. I've closed my relationship with my wife, in part because I know that I can't do good poly, if I can't even do good with a single relationship. We may never open the relationship up and that would be okay, because I would rather get it right with one person than continue to get it wrong with multiple people.

1-1-12 New year, new me. Today's mediation focused on judgement. In all honesty, I can be a fairly judgmental person, but show me someone who isn't. I don't think I know anyone who doesn't in one form or another judge others. But what Dragon pointed out is that the best thing I can do is acknowledge the judgments as I make them and then question them. So I applied that to judgments I'd made, and I realized as I looked at those judgements, how many of them were informed by things I had learned or observed about parenting based off how my parents raised me. It's an eye opening perspective that is helping me view the person in question in a different light, and consequently influences my interactions with him. And I guess that's the thing about judgements...where your judgements come from is based in part on experiences, observations, culture etc.

1-5-12 To be clear I'm not suddenly anti-polyamory. I think polyamory can work, and I know people who've made it work really well. But when I think about my desires, what I see that is problematic is my communication around those desires. It's not the desire itself that's a problem, but how I've communicated about it. Part of communication is vulnerability and that's not something I've handled well in the past. When you grow up self-sufficient and think that you can't rely on others, you don't let others in. With Kat, I've been learning how to be vulnerable, how to really open up, and also how to listen. Its taken me this long to learn those lessons in communication, but then again I think its takes many people time to learn such lessons.

1-9-12 I've been meaning to write this since I realized it. I was feeling antsy the other day and when I got to the heart of my restless, I realized something fantastic, liberating really. I realized how much I've been drawn to, addicted (that could be too strong) to newness. Neophilia. It's something that plays out in multiple areas of my life. New homes every few years, new relationships after a year or two, new jobs every so often, new video games (those aren't so bad), new, new, new...And I realized I'm not really used to being stable or establishing roots. I don't have many friends from long ago that I've stayed in touch with. Stabilizing myself, getting stable that's just nothing something I've done. That search for newness has always stirred up some kind of drama and restlessness. Stabilizing with Kat, settling into a relationship and intentionally focusing on just that relationship...That's new for me, but a different kind of new. I don't need a fresh injection of something new to take away something blue. I just need to settle in and trust in what I discover as a result.

1-12-11 I'm reading the Art of War, which is about blocks to a person's creativity. One of the forms of Resistance is Sex: "Sometimes Resistance takes the form of sex, or an obsessive preoccupation with sex. Why sex? Because sex provides immediate and instant gratification. When someone sleeps with us, we feel validated and approved of, even loved...In my experience, you can tell by the measure of hollowness you feel afterward. The more empty you feel, the more certain you can be that your true motivation was not love or even lust, but Resistance."

That quote speaks to a lot of my experiences with sex. Sex to feel loved to feel approved of, but also that emptiness feeling, that hollow sense of non-gratification, that desperate air of the hungry ghost. I know that all too well. Sex, for a long time, was just the big empty. Sometimes I used it to escape from everything, and sometimes all it really did was remind me of how hollow my life was. Nowadays it's different, the sex is more about connection, an intentional conscious bond.

I've also been thinking about how I spend money. I'm mostly satisfied with my choices, but there's also a sense of: what do I really have to show for it? I'm tired of just floating in some space. I want to make definite plans, move forward, and although I have a better financial sense of things then I used to have, and can make my pennies squeak for all their worth, I've also got a feeling of wanting more for that buck.

All of these things are distractions from that internal fire, yet they are also relevant to my fire, because they are shadows cast by the flames. I feel like a lot of my life has just been a shadow. I've never really known fire...I've just known a shadowy impression.

1-17-12 One of the activities that Kat and I have committed to doing involves reading books on relationships and money together. We're currently reading Your Money or Your Life and Journey of the Heart. Both are excellent books and as I re-read them, I catch things I hadn't previously gotten in the first reading. And what it makes me realize is how important it is to cultivate your inner fire. I've only seen shadows and I'd allowed my fire to gutter out, especially several years ago. Now I'm feeling more creative than I ever have been, more inspired really, and at the same time happier than I've ever been.

Yet I think I had to let my fire gutter out. I had to experience what it was like to lose that edge, so that I could really appreciate what I have with it. When I did the Love and Emptiness workings in particular, I put myself through the abyss and experienced my shadows fully. Identity saw me crawl out of the abyss and start a path of re-discovery, which continued through the year of Time and space and has moved into this year of Fire. But a big part of that work has also been an intentional cultivation and creation of my relationship with Kat, and that very intentional focus has also spread to cultivating that internal fire that inspires my creativity.

A fire that isn't carefully cultivated goes out eventually, but if you know to feed the fire, you can keep it going for a long, long time. The books I read with Kat and the conversations we have around them feed my soul and creativity. There are perspectives she offers that I in turn apply to my life. I have a true partner, someone who is willing to walk this journey with me, and so I find that I have help cultivating that inner mounting flame.

1-20-12 There is something to be said for being in an uncomfortable space, because of the opportunities it affords you to grow. I've said that before, and I'll likely say it again, but I realize it anew in the context of choices I've made in my relationship with Kat and in my life in general. I've always had a fear of letting someone in. Most people only get to a certain level of closeness and then I keep them there. I know where it comes from. It comes from having the rug pulled out from underneath me when I was 10. One day I had a step-mom, I called mom, and the next day I had someone taking out her anger and frustration on me. And this has been a rinse and repeat cycle several times over. It's hard, consequently, to really trust someone, to really believe that the closeness you feel is genuine, or that it will last. My biggest challenge with Kat has really come down to opening up to her and telling her where I am at, or how I am feeling, when I feel afraid to be that honest. Coming from a life, where I learned early on that it was better to hide an unpleasant truth, learning to be truthful enough to no longer hide has been hard. Yet when I look at previous relationships, I clearly can acknowledge that my dishonesty hurt those other people far more and created far worse problems, than if I had simply opened up and been honest. Yes, the truth might not be something the other person wants to hear, but at least it will set us free to be present with each other, instead of just going through the motions.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 2

11-27-11 Something which has always frightened me has been my own fire. It's frightened me, in part because of the various people in my life who at one time or another told me I was too passionate, too intense, or just plain too much. I've gotten so used to pushing that intensity down or directing it other places because no one wanted to handle it. But it wasn't just the intensity. It's also been the anger. Fire embodied anger for me for a long time, and I've never been comfortable with anger, from myself or anyone else. As I was meditating today Dragon pointed out that fire didn't have to be any of these things. That the only one who'd perceived it that way had been me, but also I didn't have to continue perceiving myself in a particular way either. That's something I've been discovering in my relationship with Kat, and also discovering that I am not too much for myself or someone else.

I've always been driven by my passion. That can be good or it can be bad. Just depends on what you make of it, but I'm not going to bank the fire of my life or my relationship with fire because of an ill conceived perception. If I hold onto it, I empower it...and if I let it go, I open myself to new possibilities.

12-2-11 The meditations have focused on anger this week. Dragon had me do a history of anger, both in terms of how I've seen anger expressed and how I've expressed it. When I look at the history of anger, I start with my Dad. With him, anger was always a volcanic eruption. It would build and build up and then one day explode. His anger was always fast and hard, and you never knew what would set him off. Both my step-mom and mom tended to be more passive aggressive in certain ways, though my step mom would also be overly aggressive. She encouraged it in her daughter as well, who learned early on that she could take her anger out on me with no repercussions. What I learned early on was that I had to repress my anger. I wasn't allowed to show it, and if I did show it, I got disciplined.

Even later on I had experiences where for the most part other people expressed anger, while I kept a lid on it, except for the rare occasions when it'd pop out in a volcano. Consequently my own relationship with my feeling of anger is an uncomfortable one. Even with the internal work I've done, I still feel afraid of my own anger. I've recently been working on expressing it, and listening to it, instead of repressing it and this seems to help, but learning to listen to an emotion you've normally repressed isn't very easy. Listening to my anger means letting myself be vulnerable to feelings of hurt as well. It's not that I'm not aware of those feelings, and that I even feel them, but feeling them in conscious conjunction with anger is a whole another experience.

12-5-11 In today's meditation, Dragon pointed out that anger, for me, seemed to really be about control. specifically not feeling control and wanting control. I think that's true for me. When I look at the situations in my life a common theme is not feeling like I had control...feeling like I was under someone else's thumb. And the anger I feel is an anger of not feeling acknowledged. It's an anger that I haven't let go, because I'm trying to cling on to some kind of acknowledgement of the hurt I've felt. Yet that anger doesn't give me that acknowledgement. It just ends up being something I stew in.

I've come to realize as well that I'll likely not get the acknowledgement I want from the people who've hurt me. and Maybe even if they did, it wouldn't be enough. It all comes back to holding on to this anger, to this hurt that I've felt. Dragon asked me what it would be like to actually let go of that anger, to actually release it, instead of holding onto it and letting it define my identity. I don't want that anger to identify my identity, but I know why I've held onto it so much. For so long, going back to my childhood, holding onto that anger was what got me through difficult situations. They couldn't take my anger from me, and I could use it to prove they were wrong. That kind of motivation was what kept me going through a lot of hard times. But holding onto it now doesn't really help. I'm not happy holding on to it. I need to learn to let go.

12-7-11 I allowed myself to articulate my anger, and the underlying feeling of rejection that seems to accompany that anger. It's not anger toward just one person, but a lifetime of people, who in one way or another showed me that I wasn't a high or important priority in their lives. Being able to articulate that to Kat, to share that pain and anger helped. The realizations I've been having about my anger and the underlying emotional bedrock that supports it shows me how important it is that I finally feel like I am an actual priority to someone. There's a sense of relief and disbelief.

12-8-11 I always find it fascinating how the experiences in my life fit neatly into the theme I'm working on. Today at my small Business Management class, the instructor brought up the value of changing your stories. He said the stories we tell ourselves set up the scripts and situations we find ourselves in. I certainly know this, but hearing it again today caused me to experience it a different way and apply this idea of rewriting old stories into new ones to some of the stories I have been telling myself as I've been working with my anger this month. For example, telling myself a new story of: I am loved, wanted, desired, needed, appreciated, and supported in what I do, and how I choose to do it is a powerful change for me. I hadn't, until recently, ever really felt supported. Now I do.

12-17-11 Owning my anger, acknowledging and taking responsibility, but also choosing to know I can feel anger. I've been thinking about that all week, and how I can own my anger to empower myself. Owning anger isn't pushing it down. Owning anger, for me, is learning to let go, instead of holding on so tight. I don't need it to define my identity anymore.

Desire has been coming up a lot as well, which makes sense, given how much fire is associated with desire. I've explored desire in other elements, but fire brings its own perspective on desire. Desire has such twists in it. to be desired and to desire. Am I desired for one aspect, or is the desire for the real me?

12-18-11 Sometimes the person I'm the angriest with is myself. I've always found it hard to forgive myself for what I consider mistakes. My first marriage is an example of that. I'm angry at myself for staying so long in what was clearly an unhealthy relationship for myself and the ex. The choices I made in that relationship are ones I've looked over and questioned, because they were symptomatic of the underlying unhappiness. I'm responsible for staying in that relationship for so long. Still hindsight is 20 20 and as I've continued the internal work around that relationship and the choices I made in it, I have to acknowledge that where I am now is not where I was then. I can look back and judge myself or I can look back and see a very fallible person who made very real mistakes and has since learned from those mistakes. I don't feel the anger often toward myself anymore, but occasionally it still comes up, and tells me I still have healing and forgiveness to do.

12-21-11 The other day Kat and I were having a conversation and she said, "I know you're angry with me. Let me in." It took a while, but eventually I told her what I was feeling angry about. It was interesting for me, because even though I knew I felt angry, being so honest about it involved being so vulnerable as well. It was hard to be so vulnerable, but it was also so freeing to tell her how I really felt. So often I've held my anger in, until finally its much better to simply admit it, and be open about it. As this month ends, I feel more comfortable with my anger, and with what the work with element fire has revealed about it. That's what the elemental balance work is all about.

Being present with your desire

One of the books I'm currently reading is Undefended Love (Affiliate link) and within that book they discuss the importance of being present with something you think you need and learning how to work with it so that eventually it moves from a need to a want and then to a desire and then to a preference. It's something I've been working with lately as I continue to do a lot of internal work and dissolution around different issues. I've found this to sequence to be a good model that explains how something that was a need can turn into something you want, but don't need. When we can learn to recognize that a need doesn't define us, it no longer is a need. When you need something it defines you, but if you want something, you know you don't necessarily have to have it. And as you continue in this process of dissolution you can eventually step away from any labels you'd previously been attached to this.

This practice can also apply to labeling yourself with dysfunctions. I've noticed that many people now label themselves by their dysfunctions and in the process define themselves by the dysfunction. They try to claim the dysfunction, but what they end up doing is "needing" the dysfunction. So instead of working with it, and trying to change it, they let it control their behavior. But it's entirely possible to step away from the label and in the process examine the "need" for that label, and ask yourself why you need the label. You may even find that by doing this practice it can also help you begin to take steps to deal with the dysfunction in a manner that allows you to heal from it.

I've used this practice lately to examine some of the needs I haven't previously questioned and its helped me recognize how many of those needs have been defined by dysfunctional and unhealthy behavior. This isn't to say that there aren't healthy reasons for wanting something, but if something is a need, chances are there is some unhealthy behaviors contributing to that sense of needing it. By examining why I need it, I've been able to focus on those unhealthy behaviors and start healing them through focused meditation. The sense of need has shifted to want, and in turn has allowed me to approach what it is I want from a place of conscious recognition about the value it brings to my life and where it fits in with everything else.

Book Review: Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion (affiliate link) by George Thompson and Jerry Jenkins

Verbal Judo is an excellent book that presents techniques that anyone can use to help defuse tense situations with language. It also helps you understand how to be a better communicator with people in general. I like the stories and examples the authors use to demonstrate the technique, because it shows how it can work and what to do to make it work. The book is broken into small chapters which makes for easy reading, but I recommend taking your time and trying out the techniques. It is a little slow at the start and the authors do a bit of ego stroking, but overall the book is good.

Four out of Five stars

Connecting with the land

I'm visiting the Black Hills in South Dakota with Kat. We drove through Montana, Idaho, Washington and Wyoming to get here and for the last couple of days we've been exploring this area, seeing Mt. Rushmore and Mt. Crazy Horse, the needles, the lakes and the wildlife here. Something which is really important to me, and always has been, is the connection I have with the land. I love Portland and Oregon because of how the land's energy and my own mesh. I could also feel a resonance with the energy in Montana and in the Black Hills. That kind of resonance is important for me. To be really comfortable, I need to connect with the energy of the land. That's why Seattle didn't work for me. The energy of the land and my energy didn't mesh well. Connecting with land isn't as simple as deciding it feels right to you. The land needs to tell you if you feel right to it, if you belong there. And if you don't belong, it will tell you. The land doesn't belong to you. You belong to the land. It's something where the land basically says, "You fit with this land, so I call you as one of mine." I've felt that feeling in a few places in my life, where I've known there was this acceptance from the land and an equal acceptance from myself.

I think of the land as alive, and myself as just one microorganism among many that effect the land, either for good or ill. While a land can accept you, there's still something to be said for making an offering to it. An offering of your sweat, tears, and blood, of your effort, of going into a place, and blending with it, letting it speak to you and through you.

Anytime I feel such a connection I am reminded of how small I really am, how important it is to respect the connection and respect, and how much it matters to me, to feel this intangible connection that speaks so loudly to me and reminds me that I am not over or on top, but really just a part of something much more powerful, much more beautiful, much more significant than myself.


My mind is all aglow and on fire with the secrets of the universe being whispered in my ears by all possibilities and none, XAH highest of me, EHEIEH, god breath that moves space and time into place to show me the silver pathway to all I can be. In these whispered words I hear the song of the elements combining everything together into patterns of manifest reality that present a sense of the universe that goes beyond any explanation and yet speaks more eloquently to the harmony of all things and none that come together to present possibility an opportunity to become reality tangible, palpable reality.

I gaze with crystalline eyes into the silver light seeing a web that hums and strums with power spatial nodes representing place, person, or thing, while temporal strands of activity move the spaces with their songs of power and promise.

I am in the zero space/time continuum where nothing matters and everything is revealed where identity becomes one from zero and emptiness gives way to realizations of empowerment through peace identity changing from dysfunction to function to awareness that no one is a victim of themselves unless they choose to wallow in their victimhood and excuse themselves from taking responsibility for their end of matters

Magic reveals the greatest truth that life is an endless play of possibility on reality of the conjoining sexual acts of space and time joining each other shuddering in lustful, blissful abandon to create this present moment a baby of circumstance, fate, destiny and the shattering sighs of universal harmony dissonant in our ears, for we cannot hear fully that song of time and space joining into one, The present is a present, with the past full of hidden secrets and the future blazing ahead to provide this final greatest moment of life passing to death passing to life the cycle has no end or beginning just endless possibility, endless illusion til you strip away the scales from your eyes and see all along it was a joke you played on yourself to bring meaning into your every moment a cruel explanation of why when we look into each other's eyes we realize we know each other for you are in me, and I in you and soon we discover we are all in each other everything we ever needed

Now join me for this one last act this blissful orgasmic death love lust act of sex, the little death the beginning-end of our song and drama I let you go, let go of myself and find in the release the expression of space/time that exquisitely presents this god breath whispering into me writing. We're all joined in this moment. Hello to me, hello to XAH my highest self telling me the secrets of the universe penning them down, laughing all the while. We'll meet again you and I, when we see ourselves in each other and realize it's all an illusion this joke of you and I.

Time Dilation Experiences

Space/time Magic Time dilation is one of the experiences that's always fascinated me. I suspect just about every person has experienced time dilation. Time dilation is the experience of time either slowing down or speeding up. For example, if you've done a magical ritual before and you've felt like hours passed when perhaps only a half hour passed, you've experienced time dilation. Or if you've raced for a bus and felt like time sped up around you, you've also experienced time dilation.

When I do space/time magic, I like to warm up, as it were, using time dilation techniques. they are techniques that help to push the mind out of the linear frame of thinking it is used to, while prepping it for opening the doors of consciousness to explore time from a non-linear perspective. One of my favorite exercises to use comes from Jean Houston's Book The Possible Human (affiliate link). In this exercise you visualize time as a yard stick with past, present, and future occupying 12 inches each. Then what you do is take the past and give it 12 more inches, while having six inches off the present and future, and focus on experiencing a perception of time where most of the perception is on the past.

You can do the same exercise with the future, giving it 24 inches, and giving the past and present 6 inches each, or apply it to the present. Now you'll note that this is still a fairly linear perception of time, but the point of the exercise is to loosen up your habitual perception of units of time.

Time dilation is the first step toward experiencing and accepting that time isn't a constant and that we have influence on it. The usefulness of doing a time dilation exercise, whether in daily work, or just before you do a space/time working is that it'll push you outside the digital measurements of time we've come to rely on so much. And learning to activate time dilation at will can actually help out in those everyday situations, as well, because it teaches you to rely less on external measurements of time and more on internal awareness. You can apply that internal awareness toward shaping time around you, like in the time sphere working I discuss in Space/Time Magic.

Time dilation frees us of the automation of time, challenges us to question the measurements and schedules of others and shows us a glimpse of what time could be, if we are open to altering our perceptions of it.

Karmic Traces and Dream Work

I've been continuing to do the Tibetan Dream Yoga each night and I've found that I've been more aware of my dreams as a result. In the book I read on Tibetan Dream Yoga the author talked about karmic traces, which are essentially patterns, behaviors, attachments, etc. The karmic traces are something we all have and they show up in our reactions and they also show up in our dreams. The dreams I've been having have been ones where I've been aware I'm dreaming. But what I've also been aware of is he karmic traces that have shown up in my dreams. I've had dreams about prior relationships, or occurrences that happened during the day and throughout the dream I've been aware of how what's really being shown to me is the karmic traces, the attachments to certain outcomes and behaviors. And when I awake with this insight, it's lead to deeper internal work that's helped me continue to dissolve and release the karmic traces.

Consistently doing these practices leads to greater awareness of how you can continue to imprint these karmic traces in your dreams, as well as how your dreams can be used to help you resolve and work through them. In each dream, I've been able to see in the dream how my role in a situation has been sustaining karmic traces in my life. This awareness is helping me to target my internal work so that I can continue to dissolve the karmic traces and change my identity in the process. It is a very freeing process.

Magic and the Scientific Method

I was recently asked on Twitter the following question: Can magickal ritual stand up to scrutiny of scientific method? My response was: Not unless science accepts that magic is a subjective experience.

Let's unpack that statement. In my opinion, and from reading a variety of books, it seems that some magicians try to scientifically "prove" the existence of magic, Goetic demons etc., or if they are disillusioned by trying to be a magician, give it up and argue it doesn't exist, or its all in our heads.

While I certainly appreciate that science can offer some criticisms and even principles about magic, I would argue that magic as practice and process isn't as straightforward as science is. People customize magical practices a lot. Certainly I've done that, in part because I've found that sticking with what others have done hasn't worked for me as well as it might for them. I've found that I've been able to achieve consistent results that tell me magic is real, and other people who've tried my  processes have also achieved results. Nonetheless, I've also noted that when those same people customize the process to fit their own understanding of the universe, it seems to be more efficacious, and my thought on that is that what makes magic what it is, has less to do with replicating an overt process, and more to do with understanding the process from an internal perspective. In other words, it's not so much about objective, as it is about subjectivity, and more specifically the subject's relationship with him/herself, others, and the universe at large.

Whereas with science the idea seems to be that you follow a set process in order to replicate results, and if you deviate from that process, it's no longer considered to be science. This isn't to say that some degree of customization and creativity doesn't occur in science, but even when it does, its rigorously tested by many people, doing the same process in order to determine the validity of said process.

It could be argued that ritual provides the same kind of rigor, or that the variety of books written with spells and techniques demonstrates processes that if followed show the "science" of magic. The problem however is that what people look for in this kind of situation is irrefutable, objective proof. So if I do an evocation of a Goetic Demon, but no one sees it, people will argue its not real, that there is no objective proof to demonstrate it's existence. Yet, I don't know that such a criteria really applies to beings that very may well have objective existence, albeit in a different dimension. And more importantly, if we are looking for proof, then the results speak more tangibly than anything else to the efficacy of the process.

In my own work with entities and with magic in general what I've found to be so compelling about magic and why I continue to practice it is that it doesn't just solve some problems or generate results. It provides me an explanation of the universe, my place in it, and how I can utilize magic to make changes to that agreement. And in that sense, what makes it work isn't just a process but a choice, my choice, to believe...

Not very objective and scientific perhaps, but given how often magic has worked in my life, my belief in it works for me, and my understanding of the processes used also works. And I think that's more important than trying to prove it to everyone else.

An exercise in make believe

This year my partner decided to surprise me with a Halloween/birthday party that was also a murder mystery dinner. Needless to say all of us had fun, but a critical component of having fun involved everyone being willing to engage in an exercise of make believe in order to become the character they were supposed to represent. In fact it was somewhat like invocation... When I invoke an entity there's a process at work which involves as a key component my willingness to believe in the entity and believe that I can open myself to allow it to enter my body. I don't consider it make believe per se, but I recognize that imagination is a a fundamental component that helps to make invocation effective. Imagination is a path that allows you to become something else.

At the party,I played the party of an ancient mummy. We even wrapped me up in some toilet paper, which kinda worked. When I spoke, I made sure I spoke in a wheezing voice. I shuffled around and in short allowed myself to become that character. It wasn't the same as invocation, but I still had to use my imagination to get into character.

I think imagination is one of the more powerful tools a magician has, and its important to cultivate that tool whenever you can. One of the reasons I read a lot and play games is to exercise my imagination. I've found that my imagination has helped me look at the world in unusual ways that has benefited me on numerous occasions.

What about you? How is imagination important to your magical work?

Pattern Recognition and magic in your life

For my birthday, my partner Kat got me this game called Attika. It's a game where you try to build a city from one temple to another temple or just try to build the entire city. You also have "neighbors" trying to build their cities. And what's most interesting is that to get extra turns you have to build the city in the right order. For that matter to get free buildings, building in order is encouraged. It's a fun and challenging game, because it involves looking at the environment you are building in, and recognizing the patterns, spatially, and resource wise that will allow you to successfully build a city. When I think about it, this game describes a lot of how I approach magic now. To me, successful magic is a process, and a form of pattern recognition. Where, why, when, how, what I will do the magic for all fits into the larger pattern of living my life. Just doing magic to get someone or get money or solve some temporary problem is thinking small, too small really, if you can't recognize where that activity fits into the larger pattern of your life, and into the habits you exhibit and/or want to change. What does it mean to put magic into getting a job in the greater pattern of your life. Don't get me wrong, getting a job can be important for survival needs, but when we do a magical act, if we focus only on the short term or basic needs, what else are we missing out on in the pattern of our lives?

When I talk about magic as a process, I'm also talking about how magic takes one's internal reality and translates into the external reality. But along with magic there is also all the demons and dysfunctions as well as virtues that a person has, which is also brought into external reality, and if we ignore all of that, we may find that our magical work proves less effective because we our working against ourselves and against the patterns of our lives. When, instead, we look at the patterns in our lives, and examine where magic can be applied to change those patterns proactively or help us achieve our overall goals, life becomes easier to live. Instead of getting that crappy job that covers the basics, but leaves us miserable and wanting to leave, we find that job that meets our higher needs as well as our basic needs and brings us fulfillment.

While life isn't quite like the board game I mentioned, recognizing the patterns of identity and how we express them and consequently how we manifest our choices is essential to knowing how and where to apply magic in a useful and truly meaningful manner. Instead of reacting, let's look at our environment, both internal and external, and consider carefully what we will do that will meaningfully improve our lives, instead of just going through the motions.