Edward T- Hall

Spatial Dynamics and Magic

Space is one of those elements that continues to fascinate me, especially when I look at how people use space to situate and express their own identity. I came to this perspective through the anthropological of Edward T. Hall and Alexander Laban's perspectives on space and movement. The occupation of space whether with objects or with politics or spirituality. The application of space in a person's sense of identity via home, work, car, etc. Now apply this to magic. Magic is about changing a space. It changes a space by turning possibility into reality. Space changes, becomes a different space when a possibility is brought into reality. Space is changed by time, with the understanding that time is what brings possibility into reality, while space provides the necessary anchor for reality to exist in.

A person is his/her own space. Space acts on space and in turn is acted on by space. The person expresses his/her space in the external space, but that same space also shapes the person's identity. When a person performs an act of magic s/her is inviting in both time, and specific defined spaces to modify the current space s/he inhabits, both in terms of identity, and in terms of circumstances the person is in.


Book Reviews

Beyond Culture by Edward T. Hall I've always found Hall's books to be interesting and relevant to my life from business to spirituality and this book has lived up to that same expectation. In this book Hall, discusses inter-cultural communication patterns and raises up concerns about the tendency to focus toward using external resources as opposed to examining and utilizing internal, behavior skills. I find this relevant in an age where more than ever the focus is on using technology to communicate, with all the inherent problems that brings, especially when relying on text only to interact. This is a useful book for exploring cross cultural communication and examining the increasing role of technology in communication.

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Laban for All by Jean Newlove and John Daley

I was thoroughly impressed with this book. The authors did a thorough job of explaining the system of Laban and its relevance to dance, but also bringing it down to the level of an utter novice, such as myself. They also provided detailed descriptions of exercises that are easy to follow and do and quite rewarding. Where this book really shines however, is in the theory of movement that Laban created around space and time and other elements he deemed significant to truly understanding the body. I feel, as a result of doing the exercises, that I have a much closer relationship to my body and a much keener appreciation of movement.

5 out of 5.

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Managing Depression with Qigong by Frances Gaik

The author presents some useful evidence to prove that Qigong works to manage depression. What I would've liked even more was integration of Qigong exercises into the book. There was an appendix with some exercises, but it felt like the exercises were incorporated as more of an afterthought than anything else. This is a useful book for people who wish to make a case for alternative health practices, but isn't as geared to the lay person as I would have hoped.

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3 out of 5

The Taoist Soul Body by Mantak Chia

In this book Chia presents an advanced technique for Taoist inner alchemical work. While overall the information is good and in-depth, there are times were its clear Chia recycled content from previous books in order to fill out the book. Also some of the instructions are a bit more vague than they should be given the type of work involved. That said, if you've learned previous techniques it won't be hard to puzzle out what he means. The main thing to avoid is visualizing the work. You need to really experience it, and that's where the vagueness of the instructions is less than helpful. The technique in this book is worth reading and can be very helpful for body purification and health.

4 out of 5

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Time Magic: Thiede

Today I painted the seal and sigil for Thiede. You might note in the painting the inclusion of an A, which is done purposefully to denote the alter ego of Thiede as Aghama. Thiede is the other guide for time. His purpose is to help a person understand concepts of space as they relate to time, as well as help practitioners with abyss journeys in time. Thiede can be thought of as an entity that helps the magician with the act of transmuting his/her understanding of time and space in relationship to the self and one's place in the universe.


Speaking of space, reading the hidden dimension which focuses on how different cultures use space differently, one of the realizations I came away with was that how space is organized can also speak something to how people conceive of time and how they organize time through space. I think that the perception of time is organized by how we use space, both in terms of navigating spaces to get somewhere, but even in how we set up our homes, offices, and public spaces. The one problem which can arise would be that a cultural definition of space would limit our understanding and appreciation of time...and you can see that in some ways with the rather linear approach to both time and space that is cultivated in how space is navigated and organized. For instance, I notice a lot of straight lines in how businesses and homes are laid out. A straight line is linear, direct and quick to navigate as opposed to a more circular or meandering route. The spatial dynamics in the public areas of my home tend to be straight lines, but in my own room, it's actually a circular and my sense of time feels different, more like a bubble, and less like a line with a specific deadline. I wonder if I were to change some of those straightlines, if some of the stresses would shift and change as a result. It might be something I give a little try, by moving one piece of furniture a different way, just to see how it changes the space of the room and my perception of time in it.

Review of the Hidden Dimension by Edward T. Hall

This is a fascinating book which examines concepts such as territoriality, smell, touch, thermal heat in the context of space and how different cultures organize and interact with space. The author also examines how intercultural issues with space contribute to a lot of the conflicts that occur with people. Reading this book has presented me some new perspectives about space and how I interact with others in my own space, as well as ways to respect the space of other people better. Cultural space is explored in particular depth to show how even the living spaces of different culture varies due to how people in a given culture interact with space. Overall a very insight and revealing book about the relationship of space to how we live and interact.