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.