Elemental Balancing Ritual

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stability Month 11

8-24-2018 I was reading Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson and I had this realization about how I messed up last year. I hadn't built a shared vision or a sense of community. I had tried to, but I had missed something he spoke about. Sitting with that realization was hard. At first I wanted to beat myself up for not having that realization earlier and then I began to wonder if I should try and do something with this realization. And then I took a deep breath and I realized that if I do anything with it, I should focus on what I'm doing now, not try to fix the past. I should learn from my mistakes (as I have been), not try to frantically fix them. And I should look forward and move forward with renewed purpose about what really matters to me, but also remember that I still have time. 

Last year I would have tried to do something that likely wouldn't have worked. A year later, I can see the mistakes and learn from them and take action in a way that actually is truly beneficial, instead of just reacting. And that's because of stability.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stability Month 6

3-23-2018 In Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits the author talks about how self-images define us and create karmic patterns, and how in turn a fixation on an image of success can distract us from being truly present with what you're doing. And I'm inclined to agree. I think a lot of the enjoyment I might have experienced with various activities got sucked away by getting focused on certain images of success. Since those images are no longer relevant, I've experienced a deeper, and more open enjoyment of my writing and magical work than I've experienced in years. There is nothing to be recognized for, nothing to live up to and so all images fall away to leave in place a more open and vulnerable experience.

And she reminds me that inevitably a person experiences loss, disappointment and failure. It's simply a reality of life, but how you adapt to it and learn from it...that's your choice. I think what I've learned from the last six months is how to deal with experiencing a crushing disappointment by resiliently adapting and learning from it. Of late, I've just been feeling more open to the fear I wake up with each day and it somehow has become I can just be more gracefully present with. I can relax into it, work through it, accept it, instead of resisting it and creating tension. And I can work with that because I'm not fixated any longer on trying to achieve some standard of success. When success doesn't matter, life suddenly becomes a lot easier to live because you can adapt to the moment and roll with the circumstances and continue on your journey. And that's where I'm at, just rolling with the circumstances, adapting each day to each situation that comes up and seeing where it takes me.

Month 10 Elemental Balancing Ritual - Movement grains of sand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Month 9 Elemental Balancing Ritual with Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement month 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 4

Eros 1-23-13 I'm filled with self-loathing today, of an intensity I haven't felt since over 3 years ago. I'd say that for the most part I'm generally not filled with self-loathing, but occasionally it happens, especially when I let someone down. Anyway I'm filled with it and I tried to exercise today. I managed to exercise, but it was probably one of the hardest sessions, because I didn't feel into it in the way I do when I'm happy. If anything I felt kind of nauseous and heavy and unbalanced. I did the movements, but I had more trouble focusing on them. The part of myself that I consider to be the magician observed all of this with fascination, making mental notes that I could later share here, but the rest of me just felt so much pain and anger toward myself, and guilt over feeling like a burden.

I think about what I wrote earlier today, in the last entry for month 3, about how the recognition that you aren't moving or that you are moving very slowly can help you recognize obstacles in your life. I feel like I am the biggest obstruction to my own movement sometimes. I think if you're aware enough, you inevitably recognize that at least some of the non movement in your life is caused by yourself and your own dysfunctions. And as much as I make progress, sometimes I am just slogging through as best I can. Today is one of those days. I am grateful that this kind of day is rare now. There was a period of time where a day like this was something I experienced pretty much every day. I don't feel this way normally...but the next time I do I don't think I'll exercise that day.

1-24-13 My self-loathing culminated in a fever. I was sick all of last night...aches and a high temperature. It was a purging of all these emotions I was feeling, aided by a cathartic discussion with Kat about the issues at hand. This morning the fever was gone, as were any of the emotions. I felt like a new person, released from what I'd felt. New possibilities seemed to show up through the day. Sometimes the way to move something is to simply experience head on and fully embody it...not pleasant, but afterwards its purged.

1-26-12 So much for not being sick. I managed to break the fever on Thursday because I basically drew on internal resources to do it. I adrenalined my way over it, which lasted until Friday night, when I didn't need to be social anymore. So I'm sick again and just trying to rest, hoping it'll be gone by Monday, which is another busy, busy day.

2-1-13 I've been thinking about creativity and sexuality, and how they are expressions of a person's life energy, but also how they can effect each other. Too much of one expression can lead to a dissolution of the other. I have been reviewing my periods of creativity and I've noticed that I'm at my most creative when my sexual energy is focused and at my least creative when my sexual energy is unfocused. This has helped me understand periods of non-creativity and also helped me appreciate the relationship I'm in now. It's also made me realize how even minor interactions have been a distraction or spreading out of my energy. I want to focus my energy on what really matters, so I'm watching my interactions with more conscious intent, so that I can refocus on my goals and creative work.

2-06-13 I've been noticing that as I do the Tae bo exercises there's a point where I'm not really doing them so much as being them. I'm not trying to exercise, so much as I'm falling into and becoming the motion of the exercise. I relax into the exercise, into the motions and the exercise experience changes as a result. I feel more present with my body and feel an intimate sense of connection with each motion that consequently makes me feel really good. The effort is there, but it's not me acting on my body, so much as aligning with it. I've never had that experience before, but I think its come about because of the work with movement as an element. I'm more consciously aware of each movement and how it makes my body, my being feel as it resonates throughout me.

2-7-13 Sometimes movement is really about intuition and more specifically what intuition is providing in the way of information. I got this intuition earlier today that the next couple of weeks would be important for my businesses. We'll see what happens, but in general my intuition seems to be spot on and I could just feel this movement, this awareness of movement for my life.

2-10-13 Kat and I have been reading Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, which discusses the topic of grievance at some length. The other night I realized that by holding on the grievances of past relationships that I was still involved in those relationships. It doesn't matter if I haven't seen or talked to the person in a while. By being emotionally engaged with that person I am still in a relationship of sorts, albeit a toxic one that doesn't benefit me. I recognized this and it made me look at how my grievances carry those past relationships into my current one, which consequently then effects my interactions with Kat in ways that don't keep me present in my relationship with her. This realization really helped me look at some of my behaviors and choices in a new light, in a way that I think will help me account for when I am feeling a grievance of the past so that I can dismiss it and focus on the present.

2-12-13 Sometimes I feel like a failure as a business owner. I have clients who I've helped grow their business, but growing mine and making it viable seems to be out of reach. Than at other times I feel like I'm on top of the world and I actually get this whole business thing and know what I'm doing. From working with my clients, I know this is something every business owner feels. But at the same time I do feel alone as well. Being a business owner is lonely, because if you have people to commiserate with at some point you also have the reality of owning your business, with all the work that goes with it, to get back to as well. Kat reminds me that I rebranded my business last year, basically started over at square one, and on top of that really started to make magical experiments into a business as well. I just want it to get easier. And yeah I know I'm whining, but I'm allowed on occasion. I work my @$$ off for my businesses.

2-13-13 Today I'm feeling much better about business. It likely helped that I went to a networking event where I got a couple of ideas on how to enhance my business offerings, as well as meeting up with a few familiar faces. I do feel a current of movement happening...with both of my businesses. I'm trusting it and enhancing it because it is tipping the odds in my favor. And once I hit the tipping point, away I'll go.

2-14-13 A quick realization about grievance. I can hold grievance in a different space from the actual relationship I am in and recognize how grievance is influencing the relationship. When I choose to open up about my grievances and share them from a place of vulnerability, without applying them to the relationship I am in, I can help Kat understand them for what they are and we can work together to recognize and defuse them. I did that this morning with her and I was able to let myself feel the pain of that grievance without attaching it to our relationship. I felt much better afterwards. I also felt liberated by the process and feel that I can continue to use it to help me grow as a person, as well as in the relationships I am in.

2-16-13 Another realization about grievance. On a deep level grievance is something you use to justify why you are fucked up, why you are dysfunctional, why you are unloved. It says, "See here is all the supporting reasons to show you are unloved and unwanted." On a different note, I'm at Pantheacon, which always brings up a mixture of memories and emotions, as well as feelings about whether I really belong, or wondering where my community is. Why does it bring all that up? Likely because I feel like a fish out of water in some ways. I am not a partyer for instance so I don't find visiting the hospitality suites to be as much fun because most of the people are there to party. There is a lot of small talk that happens and small talk isn't what I want. I crave deep conversations, or doing magic, or something else along those lines and sometimes I get that...I just have to find the right hospitality suite. Kat and I ended up in the People of Color hospitality suite and got into a long conversation about privilege and some of the challenges the POC faced getting a hospitality suite. And afterwards I chatted with a fellow about his book idea and I'm looking forward to getting it.

And I've been observing other authors. The really successful ones like, Thorn Coyle and Christopher Penczak, have a community and teams of people to help them realize their vision. Thorn even has videos and I seek book release parties left and right for various authors. I realize what a deficit I am operating at. I've been going it alone for so long as an author, and to a large extent as a publisher as well. Kat and I have talked a bit about what we can do to change that and on the drive back to Portland we'll discuss it further, but even one of my authors expressed concern about the amount of work involved for me. I appreciated that.

Actually one of the highlights of pantheacon has been talking with several of my authors, ones from the beginning and more recent ones, who expressed appreciation for Immanion Press and the work we've done and how I and Storm have helped out. I felt deeply touched when one author told me that she couldn't even begin to express how much she appreciated my help and how much she felt I'd contributed to and influenced her community through the Immanion Press work I was doing. I needed to hear that. I really needed to hear it and hearing it really helped me feel acknowledged in a deep way. I admit that sometimes I feel stressed with the amount of work involved with Immanion (and to be fair Storm does even more), so getting acknowledgement is really important, especially because a lot of the work is essentially volunteer work. I don't get paid a salary to do what I do, but I'm doing the publishing for the love of the books and the community.

I also got to meet Ivo Dominguez, Jr. and do a book exchange with him. I was thrilled to talk with him, because I've found his blogs intriguing. I'm hoping we'll get to know each other better, and I'm appreciative of getting some time and just talking with him about publishing and magic. I even got a good suggestion from him about distribution. As an author myself, I always appreciate it when other authors make time for me. I know their time is valuable and it means a lot that they make the time.

2-20-13 The more I work with movement, the more I realize how easy it is to take it for granted. We move everyday, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, but the conscious appreciation of movement makes it very apparent just how integral movement is. Movement defines a person, the identity of the person, creates structure and realization of possibilities. I have moved a lot this month and my work with movement has helped me see how movement can lead to lots of possibilities, but also how movement can limit, under the right circumstances. I feel that purposeful movement can be as much a limitation as a possibility. If I choose to move this way I close one door, but also open others. And the significance of any move is at the same time much more personal than anything else. If I choose to only publish my books with Immanion for instance, it is a personal move made for specific reasons that most people may not care about unless I choose to say something...to move in another way, but even then such significance only really lasts in the life of the person doing the movement.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Movement Month 2

Eros 11-22-2012 I've made a lot of changes in my life in the last few years. One of those changes has been parenthood. Until a few years ago I was child free. Becoming a step parent has been a challenge at times. Learning how to be a parent has really involved learning how to relate to two people at their level of experience, while also learning the parenting experience itself. Most of the time I think I have a handle on it, but sometimes I don't think I get it at all. Learning to be a parent has been good for me in a variety of ways. It's allowed me to make peace with some of my childhood wounds, while learning a level of responsibility and awareness of others that I've admittedly not cultivated prior to becoming a step parent. But such movement requires work, time, experience, and patience.

I am still figuring out my approach to parenting, while also balancing it with my wife's approach, and with the awareness that I am a step parent and also a person who hasn't been in the lives of my kids for the entirety of their lives. I am very aware of the fact that I only have so much say as a step parent and that while I have something I can offer to the kids, they may not even be all that interested in what I have to offer. The main lesson is learning to be patient with them and myself, as well as working with Kat on parenting.

11-26-12 Movement happens in all directions, both spatially and temporally. We can move into the past even as we seemingly, steadily move into the future. I am reminded of this on occasions where a memory from the past flits up to my awareness calling for awareness of it and whatever lesson it has to offer. Living in the present, in the moment is also an act of movement that rarely occurs because it calls on a person to fully be in the moment.

11-27-12 I've been re-reading some books with Kat and I've noticed the words Being and Identity coming up a fair amount. Made me realize how the ontological concept of magic has been on my mind for a lot longer than I'd realized. The seed was planted over a decade ago and it's only come into fruition in the last few years, and is still evolving. That kind of movement is something you want to appreciate because of how it helps you recognize the important themes of your life.

12-01-12 When I think about the kinds of pop culture characters I am drawn to, the ones I like, its the characters who are amoral, who are broken in some way or form and yet have a found a way to succeed despite being broken. I like them because they are reflections of myself. I am broken in some ways. I don't know if I will ever not be broken in those ways and while I can work on the issues around the broken parts of myself and make some changes, there is also a recognition that some part of me will always be broken. And like those characters I've realized that following the rules doesn't always work, that sticking with the instructions on the recipe gets boring, and that success is often found by going your own way. Unlike those characters I've realized long ago that I don't want to perpetuate the cycle of dysfunction. Yes I am broken but that doesn't mean others need to go through it. When I apply movement as an element to this understanding it is with the recognition that I am moving from one cycle of life to another, to discontinue the cycle of dysfunction that has shaped my life.

12-11-12 Went in for a physical yesterday and found out today I might have diabetes. I might not, since I ate a granola bar for breakfast and it has a lot of refined sugar, but even if I don't, its a wake up call. I've more weight than I want to have and the walks and other exercise aren't doing enough. That and the diet needs to change. Movement brings change and awareness of your body. I feel that although I do exercise regularly, I can improve my relationship with my body and this situation makes me aware of that as well.

12-12-12 Movement is sometimes defined in context to what you are moving away from or towards. I thought about this today as I met with my business coach. One of the actions he has asked me to do involves doing more direct marketing, i.e. meeting with people one to one to talk with them about what I do and learn what they do so we can refer each other. I'll admit, it's a push out of my comfort zone, but I also realize I haven't leveraged my business relationships in the best possible way and it shows. I've found relating to people to be awkward and although I've gotten better at it, I know there's room for improvement. So this movement calls on me to move toward an action I need to do, while moving away from my reticence. I can handle that and I feel the last couple of days has in one way or another been inspired by my work with movement...if for no other reason than to remind me that I need to make some changes in my life, and what else is change, but movement of one kind or another?

12-13-12: I have pre-diabetes. Basically my blood sugar is too high, the sugar isn't getting processed the way it needs to. It's not diabetes and I have time to reverse it. Kat and I decided that we both need to lose some weight, so I've ordered some Tai Bo exercise videos, and we've also ordered nutrisystem meals, which will help us lose weight. We're going to make some changes in diet as well, cut out most of the starches. I can do this, and I know I will feel better. It's odd though because I weigh 255, but you wouldn't easily be able to tell it. Kat told me that the weight seems to mostly go to my belly, and even there not so much. I do think the daily push-ups and sit-ups have helped, as has the walking, but I need something more rigorous. My metabolism has obviously slowed.

Movement is manifesting in my life. The need to exercise and diet is just another manifestation and I'm glad its happening because I want to live a healthy life. Although I'll admit I feel a little dismayed about my health, I also feel hope, because I know I already have a plan of action and I'm moving on it. There's no point in dwelling on the negatives...better to focus on what you can do about it.

12-17-12 In one form or another I've undertaken movement in multiple areas of my life, urged on by a need to change and a realization that I've been in a rut in some ways. I've been calling people I'm connected with and setting up meetings to get to know them better. And yesterday I did a Tai Bo exercise for the first time in years. At one time I found the exercises easy to do, but yesterday it was hard work and I could feel the burn, a good sign and exhilarating because I really allowed myself to get into it. I'm being careful not to overdo it, but I like the idea of knowing that with steady and disciplined work my body will different and in better shape than it has in a while.

12-20-12 The last couple of days I've continued the Tai-bo exercises and in just a couple days it's already gotten easier, which is a bit of consolation really because it means the exercises I was doing before were helping to some degree. We've also gotten the nutri-system diet, which I'll be starting soon.

Today in the small business management course we focused on renewal for your business, but also for yourself and something that was said made a real impact on me. The what ifs keep you from being present with who and what you have and the experience you have in the present. I've been getting better about the what ifs and being more present, but I could feel this blockage around my shoulder and I started doing the Taoist Water Meditation breathing, allowing it go to work on the blockage as I continued to listen and take in everything. I felt the blockages come loose just a bit...There is work there I need to do, a holding patten I need to let go of, but I feel movement happening and a sense of the beginner's mind, not knowing because I recognize that I know equals I don't want to hear it.

12-21-12 We started nutri-system tonight. The food is different. there's a distinct, subtle taste, a kind of tang. I think it's the appetite suppressant, but it works. I ate a portion much smaller than I'd usually eat and I don't feel hungry. And what you use to supplement this diet makes it workable, but what I like most is that it will likely help me eat smaller portions once I'm off of it. I've always liked my food, but I know I can like it and still eat healthy.

12-22-12 Kat and I are reading Relaxing into Being by B. K. Frantzis. I've read the book a few times, but re-reading it is always helpful and its fair to say its one of the more significant works in my life. Re-reading it now has helped me re-examine my meditation practice and do it more mindfully. You can get to doing a technique so often that sometimes you don't stay present with it and I realized that had happened with me. So the last few days I've been doing this practice and working on a couple of deep-set blocks and this morning I woke up from a dream I'd had where Kat decided to leave because of something minor I'd done and we talked about it. And as we did this I felt this block in my chest start to dissolve and this pouring of emotion come out. It was a powerful feeling that moved me and moved our conversation. In turn Kat had her own dissolving occur. It was a powerful bonding experience for us that allowed us to explore the issue between us in a way that was safe and respectful.

I close out this month with the realization that perhaps what I am learning the most about movement is how to really let myself be moved. It's a realization that's been occurring for a while, but it's coming into fruition into a form that I can share with others who want to learn.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 12

9-18-12 As this last month with Fire begins, I find myself feeling a little flat in comparison to other years. This is actually reassuring because it means that the internal work and balancing work I am doing is working. And maybe its just fire fading into embers, which would be appropriate enough. I see a year of tempering passion and raising creativity, while coming to grip with the shadows of fire. It feels good to end this elemental balancing work on a note of quiet, much like the crackle of flames that warm you in the night.

9-20-12 Something I've always recognized about my inner motivation is that part of what motivates me is proving other people wrong, specifically in regards to their perspectives about me or what I can or can't do. Undoubtedly this arose as a result of so many people trying to tell me what I couldn't do. When I was told I couldn't do something, it made me do it and do it in a way where I made it very apparent I'd done it and they were wrong. Even with all the internal work I've done I found that this is still an intrinsic motivation and I realize that I like having it as a motivation. It might seem petty, but the truth is showing someone they were wrong about me is empowering, because in the process they learn its better to let me do as I please, instead of trying to get in my way any further. I suppose it's a shadow aspect of fire in a way, but the point isn't to extinguish the shadows, but to learn how to work with them constructively, and this very intrinsic motivation has pushed me to do some awesome things, so I can't say its bad to draw on it or use it to focus my efforts.

9-26-12 I'm reading Love and Awakening by John Welwood with my wife. We read books together and then discuss them, and I've read this book once before, a few years back, but I was the only one who read it, and although I understood some of the concepts then, I find that this current re-reading is allowing me to engage and apply the concepts much more meaningfully as tools that can help my relationship with my wife, especially with how we communicate and work through any issues that arise between us. We've become very proactive and aware of our respective issues and we are able to hold space with each other and create a sense of safety, where even if we feel vulnerable, we know we can be safely vulnerable. Of course this has occurred as a result of reading a number of books on relationships and then discussing and applying what we've read to our own relationship.

At the same time, I was filled with an intense sadness the other day as I felt a sense of empathy toward people I'd been with in the past and thought about how they must have felt dealing with my issues and also with perhaps feeling unsafe with me. This doesn't absolve them of their responsibility, but recognizing how I contributed to the dysfunction on a wholly new level, one where I was putting myself into their perspective makes me sad and helps me realize why things didn't work out. It takes a lot to communicate how vulnerable you feel to someone else and if you don't feel that you can safely do that, the only alternatives are to shut down or leave the relationship. I'm sad that I helped create an environment where someone wouldn't feel safe, because how I was communicating or not communicating was causing them to feel not listened to or respected. My lesson is to take that sadness and use it as a tool to help me understand how to be a better listener, a better person at holding space so that everyone is listened to, respected, and a mutual solution is arrived at.

10-04-12 A while back I started adding push-ups to my daily exercise/meditation. I've noticed lately a distinct difference in how I feel. I feel more in shape, I feel better, and I'm liking how I look as a result. I've always included some level of physical exercise in my spiritual work as I feel my body is a temple and I want it to be in the best shape possible, but how I feel now reminds me that I really do need to keep that exercise at a certain level to fully benefit from it. It feels good to feel this in shape and I want to keep it that way.

I've been doing some further thinking about this year's work. I think for a long time I used fire (as a symbolic force) in my life to justify some of my behaviors and now I can't do that anymore, because I recognize that fire has little to do with it. It occurs to me that in general people do find ways to try and evade responsibility to one degree or another. Such an evasion is unhealthy for everyone involved and yet it's an easy way to avoid feeling vulnerable. Indeed the flipside of taking responsibility is allowing yourself to be vulnerable in that process of taking responsibility. At the same time, going overboard and beating yourself up is really a way to attack your vulnerability...to be truly vulnerable with someone and responsible involves sharing without blaming, acknowledging without judgment. Hard work, but worth doing.

10-08-12 Being vulnerable with someone who is supportive is truly a gift. It's something I've only been able to do in the relationship I'm in now, and it still surprises me. Something that the element of fire has taught me is that to truly feel the fire of love, you have to open up to someone and let them in. If you are always guarded, there will always be some part waiting for when things don't work out. But if you truly commit yourself to a person there is a realization that you are giving yourself over and not planning for when things don't work out. I feel that this year has taught me that.

10-10-12 I'm reading through old journal entries on this blog as I'm compiling them for a book project. when I read the emptiness workings in particular, I see some real progress. I'm not that miserable, empty person that I was then. I'm not feeling the abuse or sensation of being eaten up or anything else I felt back then. It's taken a lot of work, but I am much more at peace with myself than I was three years ago.

10-19-12 The neuro-biology of a human being is something that is responsible for so much of the behavior of people. I'm reading a book on the biology behind sex and how different types of sex affect the behavior of a given person. It's really eye-opening and it helps me understand certain relationship and lifestyle choices that I've made from a different perspective. At the same time, knowing how your biology works can help you anticipate it, and plan accordingly. This is something Kat and I are exploring very intentionally in our relationship and I can already see the benefits.

10-21-12 I chose my birthday celebration as my way to send off Fire. Kat through me a murder mystery party, with friends from the Magical Experiments group showing up. I remarked to one of them, who I also see in business meetings, how I must present a very different appearance during the magical experiments meeting. She admitted that there was quite a difference. For the actual party I invoked dragon by wearing a dragon ring I have and allowing him to partake in the festivities. To me, fire is a social element, as much as anything and I wanted to show my appreciation for this year's work.

Looking back on this year, I realize that my initial concern about fire being a fiery element that would amplify my emotions was based on a fear I had when I was younger. But working with fire has been illuminating (you know I couldn't resist). I have worked with the shadow side of fire, with my passion, desire, and anger, and I have also worked with fire as a purely physical force, and as a force that can represent love and friendship. I feel I have been tempered this year, and made ready fr the next year which is movement.

Elemental Fire Balancing Ritual Month 11

8-22-12 It amazes me how people duck out of being responsible for their actions. I say this statement with an awareness that I have sometimes been one of those people. The level of honesty it takes to be truly responsible for your actions and their consequences is high and can be hard to live with. It is much easier to blame others or to paint your actions in a lesser light, without really acknowledging how you contributed to the situation. I think it is rarely, if at all, ever one person's responsibility for a given situation. Yet it is far easier to paint a person in that light instead of taking your part of the responsibility for the situation or problem that has occurred. The best way to work through this issue is to do internal work and really examine your actions and understand what motivated and then be honest about it with yourself and anyone else affected by the situation. This doesn't mean you beat yourself up, but rather that you can acknowledge your level of responsibility and then discuss what happened with an eye toward resolving it.

8-23-12 If you don't like the direction your life is going in or the people you spend time with, or the situations you put yourself in, then it is your responsibility to change that direction, change who you spend time with, and/or change the situations you find yourself in. You have control over your choices, and if you claim you don't, you are choosing to be a victim.

9-5-12 I think of myself sometimes as a chameleon or changeling. I change to fit the circumstances or fit the person to some degree. It could be that this true of all people, but I'm not sure if it really is true. I know it is for me in the sense that what I am into or interested in is shaped to some degree by the person I am with. In one sense it creates a plastic kind of identity, something that is molded. Certainly I see this occurring in the changes in my lifestyle and choices based on my current circumstances and it causes me to feel some degree of wonder at the adaptability a person can have if s/he chooses to.

9-7-12 Attitude is the internal fire of a person. If the attitude is negative, the fire burns low, becoming embers that could be snuffed out any moment. If it is positive it can blaze you'd never believe, shining so bright, a light to draw the eyes and attention of others.

9-9-12 Sometimes being involved with someone and dealing with their issues doesn't mean that you need to learn some cosmic issue or see it as a message from the universe trying to teach you something. Sometimes a person is just not a good fit for you and vice versa and sticking with the relationship is a mistake that causes more pain for all involved. I figure when you are with the right person/people, you'll know because even when there is effort involved, it will be something all are fully committed to working through, because they'll know the resulting harmony is worth it.

9-17-12 I've just gotten back from my annual trip up to the Esoteric Book convention. There's a lot to write, so bear with me...I stayed at this place in Milton, called Camp Edgewood, a Spiritualist camp sight, and there was definitely a distinct energy, a kind of cocoon about the place which was helpful to me.

The book convention itself, was as always an amazing event. I got to meet Greg Kaminsky in person (the occult of Personality podcaster) as well as Clint Marsh, and several other people, as well as see familiar faces. I also ended up adding a few books to my collection, including two books on alchemy, a neurotransmitter book, one on hermetics, and one that was actually gifted to me called Divine Healing Hands. Its particularly notable for two reasons. One it was a reminder by my spiritual allies to continue working with the Taoist, Tantric, and Tibetan skills I'm learning (This is important in context to another event that occurred this weekend) and secondly it's notable because the person who gave it to me clearly recognized that I was doing Taoist internal work and mentioned that it might be helpful and that he expected nothing in return. I was deeply honored as its not every day someone gives me a book, so it's on the reading pile as well (along with so many more).

Saturday night, I finally got to meet R. J. Stewart in person, as well as Anastacia Nutt. They both know my wife, as she does spiritual work with them, and as readers of my blog know, I've been reading R. J.'s books and writing my own observations, so I was greatly looking forward to meeting him. We had dinner with them and it was interesting. I felt this instant exchange of energy, a kind of spiritual transmission between the four of us, as well as a rapport that I normally don't feel with most people (and even when I do feel it, it takes a while to establish). Perhaps it helped that we had a lineage of sorts in common, i.e. his work with William Gray and my work with Gray's material, but I felt it was more than that. We talked magic, publishing, current events etc., and throughout I felt a strong sense of connection and community. R.J. gave us his latest book, which is about Ronald Heaver. I'd planned to give him a copy of Magical Identity, but we'd forgotten it when we left the conference on Saturday so they told us to drop it off on Sunday.

After we packed up at the conference, we headed over to drop the book off. We thought it'd be a quick knock on the door and then drop the book off, but when we got there, we were invited in. I gave them the book and we chatted a bit. My wife asked if she could visit the sanctuary and they said sure, and then asked me if I'd like to. I said yes. Later my wife told me that they don't let people outside their magical order into the sanctuary and that their invitation to do so was deeply significant. I agreed. I went into the sanctuary. Silent, still meditation. I did Taoist water breathing, and let myself feel the energy. Very clean, pure energy, A permanent sphere of art. I felt my spiritual allies connect with me and tell me that I needed to work with R.J. and Anastacia directly. I walked out and told them that I wanted to learn directly from them.

Now I want to pause my narrative and point out I've only ever had two mentors for my magical practice and both disappointed me. I learned early on that I was better off teaching myself and going my way instead of letting someone try and dictate how I should practice magic. For me to want to learn from someone directly, to really learn from them and work with them is very rare. It's a level of trust I rarely give out. But my spiritual guides and really my connection with them, and the sense of a magical lineage...lets just say it's the counter point to my Eastern studies, the continuation of my western studies with people I know will provide some interesting direction and challenge for me. Plus I feel that R. J. and Anastacia has an open approach to magic, open enough for me and that's what matters, so basically I asked them to be my mentors, and I plan to go to their workshops and learn from them. And again I felt a spiritual transmission occurring on Sunday, a sharing of energy, a connection that went really deep. My wife was surprised, both by my desire to learn from them (and consequently engage in the same spiritual work she's involved in) and in the fact they'd invited me to the sanctuary and really invited me into their lives. To be honest, I was surprised to and honored as well, but there is something there. My spiritual allies wouldn't have spoken up if there wasn't. More than that, he's the one person I can actually meet in the flesh who worked with Gray face to face, and in that sense the opportunity also allows me to continue work in that vein. I have no idea where this will take me, but I am excited and I feel changed. As we drove my wife said my energy felt softer, like something hard in me had cracked...and I agree with that. For me to really ask someone to teach me, to work with me as a mentor...that's unprecedented. I feel touched on a deep level. I am glad I am taking step, not only as a way to better know my wife and what and who she values, but also for my own spiritual and magical evolution.

Month 10 Fire Elemental Balancing Ritual

8-11-12 I haven't written in this post for half a month, not because things weren't happening but because life has been so busy. Part of it's been the catch up on work after you are done with a vacation and part of it has also been coming to the final part of a writing project I've been working on and thus focusing more on it than anything else. Whenever I get close to finishing a writing project it becomes the center of my reality. So let's see...

I've just started reading another book on relationships with my wife. It's one I'd read before, but at that time I was the only one to read it. Reading it with someone else adds a dimension to the experience because of the discussions K and I are having about the book and what the author's take on relationships means to both of us. I think that with this relationship I am discovering what love can really be, not just in terms of loving another but also myself. I can honestly say that I never felt as content or happy in my life as I've felt the last couple of years. We've had our bumps along the way, but we've been able to work through them with a level of openness and honesty that I was unable to give or receive previously.

The fire work has been interesting more in terms of the direction its pointing me to: Eros aka movement. I'll get into that more at some point, but right now its in an exploratory stage. Fire in and of itself has really been about (this month and every month) coming to peace with my passions and desires and recognizing how much they've been driven by a feeling of emptiness and restlessness, which in doing this work and the relationship work has actually become much less prevalent. I still feel restless occasionally, but I am able to identify it and work with it in a way that had eluded me in the past.

8-12-12 When I think about my place in the Pagan-Occult community, I tend to think of myself as someone on the outskirts of said community. I feel that way in just about any community, and I recognize that a lot of it is my own choice, but it also born as much from a disassociation with people in general. At times I feel like I'm an observer who is studying everything around me. What offerings I bring are genuine, but they come from the outside, offering with the unusual perspective that can only come when you choose to go away from the norm and tried and true to discover whatever else is out there.

Even as a writer and publisher I'm on the outside. I've chosen to publish my books with a small publisher that does print on demand books. While my books are carried in independent stores, you'll likely never see them on the walls of a Barnes and Noble or Powells books simply because retailers don't like it when they can't return books that don't sell.  I could probably get published by Llewellyn or another publisher at this point, but I doubt I'd have the level of control over the text or cover art that I have and generally what I've seen from the majority of publishers doesn't inspire a level of confidence in me that the work will be respected in the way it needs to be.

And that's the benefit of being on the outside...very few people care if you fit in if you already don't fit in. And not fitting in allows you some liberties you might not discover otherwise. And sometimes you even discover, as I have, that there are more people into your work then you thought there were and more people who appreciate the perspective because they see the value it brings.

8-15-12 There are days when I wake up and do not like the person I see in the mirror. Fortunately they are few and far between, but on those days I am reminded of my burdens, of my remorse, of the mistakes I've made. There are some things you never forget because you know you need to remember them as a reminder of who you don't want to be. And then too there's that feeling of wanting to find something to distract you from what you are feeling, which is absolutely the worst choice to make. You may not like what you feel, but being present with it, working through it is far better then trying to distract yourself. That's something I've had to learn the hard way, and its still something I'm learning. I'm better at this realization than I was a few years ago, but its still a struggle on a day like today. The urge to run away or lose myself or whatever else because I don't want to feel what I'm feeling is sharp, yet instead of doing all that, I chose to feel it, chose to feel my unhappiness with myself, chose to feel the pain I am feeling. I chose to be present and move in that presence through meditation and mediation of what I'm feeling. I don't know that this makes me a better person so much as it makes me someone who is choosing to be aware of his moments of weakness and vulnerability.

And there is also this other current that has recently come to my attention around movement via Eros. I need to do some movement rituals for areas of my life that I feel stuck in right now. Change happens through movement, but intentional movement is better then just any movement. The point isn't to run away. The point is to move toward a solution.

8-17-12 When you live with fear each day you must learn to face it, or otherwise let it control you. Whether its fear of change, the unknown or something else, you either learn to master it, or it masters you. When it masters you, it stops you from acting, and when you master it, you use it to motivate your actions.

8-21-12 As one cycle begins to wind down another cycle begins to wind up. Still its important to focus on the moment at hand, and appreciate what is happening now. Too many people are focused on getting to the next moment, and thus they miss out on what is happening around them right now. I used to be that way, myself, and now find myself savoring each moment I have far more than I used to. My tomorrows are not infinite and what I have to experience is what is present right now. Maintaining presence is being in the present as it presents itself to you and through you.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 9

6-28-12 The last weekend has been a whirlwind of activity with a dear friend ending up in the hospital and us possibly losing a cat, because he managed to get outside and and panicked. Yet through all of that I've been thinking about my tendency to be a hot head at times or maybe its better to word it as impulsive. I've tempered it some over the years, but there's no denying that there is still and likely always will be some degree of impulsiveness in my choices and temperament. I don't think this is really any different from any other person, but I think being more consciously aware of it allows me to see how such impulsiveness really sabotages my own interests and efforts. It's something that doesn't sit well with me, because I know that letting the moment define my actions is the exact opposite of what I want to do. I want to define the moment and doing that, in part, really involves reining that impulsiveness in. 6-30-12 The cat is back. I actually did an experiment where I invoked myself into him. I've done invocations into people before, but doing it into an animal is different. I directed him home and even showed him where to show up, outside our bedroom window. Late last night there he was calling for us to get him back in doors.

7-8-12 A couple of thoughts have been on my mind. The first has been on the impulsiveness. I don't know if impulsiveness is associated with fire, but if it isn't for most people, for the purposes of this moment, it is for me. When I look at impulsiveness in my life, I don't just see it in regards to my temper, but in regards to a lot of other decisions. My relationship history springs to mind...moving 2/3rds of the way across the states comes to mind. Other things come to mind. And I don't think impulsiveness is necessarily bad. It's gotten me into some bad situations, but also gotten me into some good ones. But I don't like hindsight telling me what I might've realized if I'd just put some distance between myself and some of the choices I've made. Looking back tells me a lot though, enough to temper that impulsiveness and to recognize it for what it is, in present situations.

The other thought is on being valued and it came up in relationship to impulsiveness specifically because in thinking about choices I'd made, one realization I gradually had was that the people in my life, the important people, family, lovers, friends...defining their importance involved realizing something significant. If someone is important to me, its because that person has chosen to make me just as important. If I'm not a priority in a person's life or a low priority then chances are I'll move on...it's better than being low person on the totem pool consistently. Impulsiveness doesn't lend itself to that realization, but stick around long enough or just pay close attention and you'll realize if you're important or not important. What a person says and how the person acts will speak loudly to where you fit in that person's life. I say that with awareness that I've been the person on all sides of the equation when it comes to priority and value, which is a reason I'm more selective about people. If I'm going to let you in, then I've chosen to make you important, and if you let me in, you've done the same.

7-16-12 I'm in Canada right now, visiting in-laws and soaking in the area. I've also been reading more of Draja Mickaharic's works. It fascinates me to read books that draw on a more traditional approach to magic, right down to the use of specific herbs and other components. I don't doubt it works either, having done the occasional component laden spell back in the day. It's just not something I've felt to be necessary, whereas in his writing, its clear he does. It makes me wonder how much the tool defines the practice, versus the magician.

In other news I've been thinking about this year long work with fire and how so much of it has been defined by the attributes associated with fire, as opposed to dealing directly with fire in and of itself. I think with work like this what you end up dealing with are two factors. One factor is the cultural associations with a given element, and the second factor is your own issues with the element. In my case, I've definitely encountered both factors in this work and at the same time realized that there is so much more to be worked with, when it comes to a given element. That's why some of my work also focuses on fire as a physical force, especially observing it in action. There's a lot you can learn from observing a physical elemental force at work that can help you move beyond the cultural and personal filters that may come up. In my case observing fire as it cooks a meal or as it destroys a piece of paper makes quite an impression in terms of the physical force of fire. It doesn't so much destroy as it changes, though the change might be inimical to life. In anycase, its a recognition that there's so much than what is usually focused on. Its easy to focus on associations and attributions, but what about looking at the physical changes?

7-19-12 Had a nightmare last night. I was attending a college for a degree and was living with three other people. The college I attended didn't have a neopagan college group or many other people who practiced magic. The roommates were upset I practiced and I was dragged up before the school board to discuss the matter. It gets resolved because another person volunteers to let me live in his room. He doesn't care about what I believe as I long as I respect his life style choices. A resolution of sorts, but it's also a reminder of all the times I've had to deal with people who have decided to stick their noses into my life and try and dictate what I should believe or practice. Such people may claim they are trying to "save" me or something else along those lines, but in reality they are just doing it to deal with their own insecurities and what they don't like is that I've chosen my path and they want to dissuade me from it. They might even feel that they are doing my audience a favor, all of you readers of the blog and my books, but really, they aren't. I figure, in the end, it is the responsibility of all my readers to choose what they will or won't apply from my writing. The writing, after all, is just my opinion and experiences. What you derive from it is your responsibility and your choice.

7-22-12 Coming back home is always an experience. Portland and really the state of Oregon is home for me. There is no other place I've ever felt so connected to, or so at rest in. Traveling in the state is different from traveling out of it. Even n the Far Eastern parts or Oregon I've felt just as at home as I do in PDX, whereas leaving the state always brings an awareness that I've left home. And when I come back, I feel the energy of this land reach up and take me back into its fold. It has claimed me as much as I have claimed it.

7-25-12 Re-connected with the college professor who taught the Burroughs class. It's so rare for me to try and make a connection with the past that I'm actually rather pleased I have in this case. There is a difference found in connecting with someone after years have passed as well. You've both changed and consequently how you interact with each other changes as well. In other news I've been implementing some exercises from a book called Positive Intelligence. It's been useful for examining and shorting out specific behaviors I've noted earlier in this entry. More on it next month.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 8

6-8-12 Usually by now I've written some entries in this kind of post, but this last month has been simultaneously busy and uninspiring. The experience of burn out, when the fire can't stay lit and there's no ready source of fuel to keep it burning. I don't know if I've hit that, but there is a sense of tiredness lately. I guess that's what happens when you revamp your businesses and your identity...you hit a point where you need to take a rest. Good thing I'm actually going to do that later this month. I have a habit of pushing myself hard...part of it is having so many ideas in my head, with thoughts continuing to just go, go, go, go. I want to catch up with myself, get all of those ideas on to paper or into reality. Part of it is filling up the time, filling up the space, doing something, anything...and as much as I've got the meditation schtick down, there's still the reality that sometimes all I want to do is fill the emptiness up, escape from it...do something with it. Being creative allows me to do something, move in a direction, make something happen. Sometimes that's all I've got. 6-15-12 I played golf for the first time ever Wednesday at a business event. Not something I'd imagine doing, not the least because in some ways it served to remind me of the awkwardness I have with social situations. I had fun with it, both the golfing and the interaction, but it took a while to get into it. I'm a very cerebral person, which can be good in terms of the projects I'm working on, but less so in social situations. I've always envied people who seem to mesh well with social situations. Any social skills I've learned have been ones I've had to observe many times over. Still that awkwardness hasn't stopped me and I know if I'm invited to another golfing event, I'll go because its an opportunity to connect with people. Besides pushing out from the comfort zone is the only way you grow.

In reflection about what I wrote about a week ago, I think what it really boils down to is an awareness that if you've been broken, no matter how much you heal there is still something of that broken part in you. My emptiness is that indicator of those past experiences. You can heal, try and find closure, move past them get over them...but still they are there. They don't go away.

6-16-12 Nostalgia is an interest of mine. Playing a video game that I haven't played in years has evoked memories of nostalgia, of my days in the ph.d program at Kent State. The right stimulus can bring the past into vivid color...much like telling a story around a fire. Atmosphere creates the story as much as the words do. A game can have a life associated with it, or at least moments of life that come back to represent where you've been and where you could go.

6-24-12 Amazing what a few days away from everything can do, in terms of breaking writer's block and bringing clarity to the creative process. This month's been about burnout...so lets see what next month brings.

Elemental Balancing Fire Month 7

4-30-12 Life can kick you down. What you choose to do about it is up to you. You can lay in the dust and complain or you can get up and do something to change what's happened. I think that's one of the reasons I embrace discomfort. It's not that I want to be uncomfortable, but I accept that some discomfort is a part of life and has something to offer in terms of a growing opportunity. I'd rather learn from it and get it over with, than whine about it and wish it wasn't happening. 5-4-12 Fail. Fire burns failure away or maybe it just burns it into you. Yet every failure in my life has opened doors and forced me to look at how to change things in ways I never would have, if I didn't fail. In failure lies the seed for success, if you can just get past yourself long enough to see it for what it is: Opportunity reminding you that always having success can be more of an obstacle than facing failure and learning how to use it to make you better.

5-9-12 Opening up to a person and letting that person in...really letting that person in. That's been the hardest thing for me to do. My wife pointed out to me that I never really talk with her about what I'm going to write about on this blog or my other one or about my on going projects, or even about the stress I might be feeling around my professional life. And its true I don't share it. I'm not used to sharing it or being involved with someone who seems to be genuinely interested in learning more. But lately I've been opening up more, trying to really allow her in. I've noted some interesting behaviors when I get uncomfortable such as trying to change the topic or shift focus toward something else, which tells me that on some level I do find it uncomfortable to be so open, but that's not a surprise when you're used to keeping things close to your chest.

5-15-12 Your choices define you. You define them first, but once you make them, those choices ripple outward and effect your actions and subsequent choices. You've got to make good choices you can live with, because those choices can haunt you for the rest of your life. Or they can be a celebration of your life, something that brings hope to yourself and others. I only have a few choices I regret, things I wish I could undo, but most of the choices I've made are ones I'm proud to stand by. I can live with them and feel no regret, because I know they are choices that have improved my life and outlook on the world. The choices where I do feel regret are lessons I never take for granted, because I don't want to feel that way about the majority of my choices or how I'm living my life.

5-18-12 I think something the work with the element of Fire has really taught me is how to examine the movement of emotions and feelings in my life and how those movements play out in the actions I take. I can't take for granted how much emotion factors into my life. This isn't to say I'm ruled by emotion, but its part of my life, part of everyone's life. and anyone who thinks they can control their emotions or put them under wraps is fooling themselves. We are moved by emotions everyday...the question is can we control the movement and the direction it takes us? I think that's possible, but it takes a lot of internal work.

5-21-12 I think the hardest challenge of fire is the recognition that so much of what is focused on is the shadow aspects of the element. Not that dealing with shadow aspect is a bad thing, but when I look at how fire is portrayed, or at least my experience of it is, it is unchecked, wild, something that burns. This year, for me, has really been about exploring fire from a different perspective than what I've thought of, yet I haven't divorced my own perspective from the process. The comparison of the two is what helps make this work useful and something that fuels genuine growth and change.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 5

2-23-12 There are times I feel broken, times I realize how profoundly the abuse I experienced has affected me. I look back at a history of my life and I see patterns in different ways than I had before, and while I recognize that I've healed from a lot of it, I also see how much it still affects me. I've been thinking lately as well of my early sexual encounters with women who were much older than me, and how naive I was, and how much I didn't realize how those encounters affected my perspective on relationships, love, lust, and what would be considered acceptable. Until recently, I believed love was always conditional as a result of those early experiences. Now I realize it doesn't have to be conditional, but that belief about love came about because of circumstances that shaped what I thought love and commitment was. Understanding that history has helped me look closely at my choices, both past and present, and with the present choices, make them from a place that's less reactionary. That's the whole point of doing internal work. It challenges you to explore and understand the underlying causes of your choices, so that you know why you are making, and can ideally make them from a place of health as opposed to dysfunction. It challenges you to take responsibility for your choices, instead of trying to blame everyone else for your problems.

2-29-12 When I meditate with fire each day, what strikes me is how people have created such a mythology around such a primal force of life. The various stories about how fire was discovered or given as a gift, the focus on the creative or destructive nature of fire. This raw, primal force has been made into so much by how people try to negotiate and understand it. I don't think many people, even now, really look at fire as a wholly physical phenomenon, but even if they do, they still have to acknowledge its a force that can have an effect on our lives. A burning house is a prime example, as is a campfire that people huddle around to keep warm.

3-1-12 I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, prompted partially by listening to music I haven't listened to in a long time that reminds me of later teenage years spent trying to find myself. The right sound, the right sight, and you can get taken to a different time, a different awareness, then as now. And suddenly you have two temporal experiences, and you reconcile the memory with the place you're at now. My memories of my teenage years are bittersweet (but who's isn't?), mostly bitter, and yet listening to this music touches a place of naivety, of hope that's not quite gone. There's a sense of longing, and sadness, and experience as I listen to this song. There's a sense of change, and the appreciation of that change. We are not static. We are changeable and the changes are for the best. The right experience will trigger a doorway to the past, to an intersection with a you from before and the you of now. Two moments merge into one and both variants influence each other. It's fairly amazing when you allow yourself to fully open up and experience the merging of past memory with present experience, and sometimes even future dream.

3-5-12 Knowing when to take a break from actively being creative is important. I haven't done much writing since I wrapped up Magical Identity. I'm glad I took the time off, because now I'm feeling primed again and looking forward to writing. The days of pushing myself to write are over. I'd rather honor my creative genius by giving it the time to recharge so I can write with focus and verve.

3-7-12 I've been reading about and considering the emotions of jealousy and compassion. I think jealousy gets a bad wrap, but that if you consider it in the right context, it can actually be a warning system of potential problems with the connection (or lack thereof) that you have with a person. Sometimes jealousy is overblown, but sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it indicates real problems that need to be addressed. If I were to map jealousy to an element, it would be fire, because of how it feels and the associations it has with other emotions like love. I'd also map compassion to fire, because of the feeling of warmth it can convey.Compassion is the comprehension of another person's pain, and the ability to reach out to that person with genuine understanding. It's a very giving emotion, whereas jealousy is a very protective emotion.

3-10-12 I look back at the first entry of this post and I find it ironic today because when you learn something about yourself that you hadn't faced, it forces you to see patterns in your life in different ways than you'd acknowledged. Its good, even if its not pleasant to face. Maybe in a way that's why its good. It forces you to see what you've kept hidden from yourself. It's in facing yourself that you bring healing to yourself, but facing yourself means acknowledging not just how other people hurt you, but also acknowledging how you hurt other people and doing your best to learn from it and be a better person.

3-16-12 I'd never wish any of my past experiences of abuse on anyone, even my worst enemy. Experiences like that, where you are a victim, they make you protective of the people in your life, because you know you don't want them to ever have such painful and disempowering experiences. At the same time, as you get to know people you realize on some level or another everyone is dysfunctional, carrying wounds with them that define their lives. I think its a shame, because when a wound defines your life you can't move past it. It holds you back and keeps you in a restricted pattern that hurts you more than it does anything else. I've managed to let go of some of the wounds that previously defined me. I've learned my lessons from them, but I don't hold onto them anymore. Some of them I'm still holding on to, figuring out how to let them go and how to redefine myself in the process. Again that's part of internal work. It's not an overnight cure-all. It's doing the work so you can let go, heal yourself and move on.

3-22-12 - Magical Identity arrived today. It feels strange to realize that the journey to write this book is finally over. There's nothing more to do beyond selling it and talking about it (very important activities). It's created, birthed, realized, manifested. It exists...a part of my thoughts, ideas, life, etc., expressed into written form. I'm glad its published, and yet I find myself facing this curious feeling of "What next?" I actually know what's next, but it doesn't change the fact that I feel this feeling. I feel it anytime I finish any project. It' that realization of separation. This is no longer just mine. Now it's something that belongs to whoever chooses to adopt it and use it. It belongs to all of you as much as it belongs to me.

The fire doesn't burn out when somethings created, if you know how to cultivate it. It's alive. I'm a live. And that next project is beckoning.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 4

1-27-12 Since doing the ritual of dedication to Dragon I've been feeling very creative and have put in a lot of work on Magical Identity. Feels good to see the revisions coming together. I also got into an interesting discussion where a person noted that most times I'm open-hearted, warm, etc., but that occasionally I come across as contemptuous. She's right. I do.  I know it and I even know where it originates from. But seeing someone else recognize it helps me see the need to do some work on it. It's not exactly how I want to come across to people and its not even how I feel, so much as its an automatic habit. 2-1-12 When I get overwhelmed by everything I need to do, it prompts a craving for an experience that allows me to quiet the mind through the culmination of sensation. It's an interesting insight and one I realized through meditation. On a different note, my continued work with fire has hit a stage of quiet contemplation as I focus on just being present with fire and the shadows of fire. Fire can be about action and activity, but it can also simply be experienced, much like when you enjoy a fire in the fireplace or at a camp site.

2-6-12 Tracing a habit's cycle can be a very useful experience. You start to track it into your past, and you discover what caused it to start, and why it continues to exist. I've also hit a creative state, which has been exhilarating to experience. Seeing writing coming together, seeing creative ideas flourishing is just beautiful. I feel like my creativity is truly back where it belongs. Now I need to feed the fire carefully, so I can sustain it, instead of having it burn out or fade away.

2-11-12 Creativity is sustained with focus, and with knowing how to back off and just let it breathe sometimes. I have a list and each day if I get a couple items done, then I'm happy, and I know my creativity is fed by getting just a couple of things done, instead of stressing about everything. No more frantic workaholicism, trying to get every thing done. The work will get done, but feeding my creativity is just as important. Feeding my fire involves recognizing how to sustain it instead of letting it burn out.

2-15-12 I see creativity applied to not just my writing, but all of my business activities, and even in my life in general. Since doing the ritual to Dragon, it's like a switch was turned on. I'm brimming with confidence, happiness, and power. Everything appears to be in reach and I know it is, if I apply the right effort. More than that though, I feel freed from the period of non-creativity I was in for a while. I feel this sense of giddiness as I realize its still here. I've still got it. And the closer Magical Identity comes to being finished, the more I realize that it's really true. I'm still a writer. One other thing. I promise to never let someone else's fear dictate my life or choices. When you allow fear to control you that's when you start dying.

2-16-12 I realized something yesterday. I don't feel like my work has been relevant, for a little while now. Which makes sense. I just disappeared for a while. So publishing Magical Identity is re-staking my claim to relevance. It's a big deal to me, even if it isn't for anyone else, because it's a reminder that I am relevant. I guess where this comes from is realizing that for a while I felt overshadowed, but its more than just that feeling. It's reading these various blogs, and realizing that the conversation has passed me by as it were. And I can be perfectly comfortable admitting that, because the recognition of it doesn't diminish me, so much as it indicates a weakness in marketing on my part. I'm changing that, and in a sense this year of fire is as much about that as it is about re-discovering my creativity. It's about sparking that fire and keeping it lit. I won't be overshadowed again, I won't let my fire get snuffed out, by myself or anyone else.

2-17-12 No pantheacon this year. It's kind of odd not being there, but I'm also glad I'm taking a year off. Magical Identity isn't published yet, and just as importantly I've got other priorities that need to be attended to first and going to a convention where I have to pay my way to present every year is a low priority this time around.

2-22-12 Two years after I started writing Magical Identity, I'm working on the Layout. There's a palpable feeling of triumph as I finish this book. It's significant triumph, because it's taken five years to get this book together and to know its finally coming to an end. This was the hardest book I've written yet and the ones I'm already planning to write are by comparison easier...not nearly so heady anyway. Its so appropriate that I finish this book in the year of the Dragon, MY year. My fire is surging, my creativity is back. I'm back. I've crossed the abyss, and come out the other side. I've won.


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.

A new Year, A new you

I saw this blog entry on Twitter and was intrigued by what the person had to say  about reinventing herself. It reminds me a bit of the elemental balancing ritual I do each year. I'm in the 2nd month of my new year, and in a sense the new person I'm discovering as I work with the element of fire. But it also made me think about the fact that I'm in the process of reinventing two of my businesses. I'm reinventing Magical Experiments, slowly but surely, both in terms of offering correspondence courses (I'm working on the magical process course currently) and in terms of branding. But with Imagine Your Reality, I'm reinventing the entire business. I've just gotten the social media piece nailed down, and I'm finally turning toward the business coaching part and redoing my entire business plan. It's a reinvention of identity, both for myself, but also for people I want to market my services too.  It's an ongoing challenge, because I'm not just writing a new business plan, I'm also doing a fair amount of internal work. For example at our class, we were challenged to rewrite our internal stories into more positive ones. What does it have to do with business? Quite a lot actually, because the internal reality you believe is the reality that manifests in your life.

Each year, the elemental balancing ritual is part of my reinvention. The thematic approach provides enough structure to make consistent changes, while providing enough freedom to allow yourself to experience the lessons needed to make those changes happen. A necessary part of that process involves keeping a journal of sorts, which is why I blog on this journal about the experiences each month. The only exception has been a two year gap, wherein I focused on Magical Identity. You won't necessarily find such personal entries in it, but it nonetheless encapsulates the experiences of two years of reinvention.

Change is a constant. Embracing change within your magical practice is how you take control of the change you experience and make it part of your identity.

Elemental Fire Month 1

10-22-2011 I've been staying very mindful of the element of fire in my life. I attended a divination party tonight, where you could offer readings or get readings. I did five readings for different people and told them about the magical experimenters meeting. And while doing their readings, while talking with them, I had a sense of seeking, a sense of fire as seeking, discovering, but also a sense of fire as a qualifier. Intuitively I knew that the people that needed the invitation would follow up on it because it was the right invitation for them and they'd fit the group as well. 10-25-2011 The last few days has involved a dialogue between Dragon and myself about Fire, passion, and consumption. What stands out most is the focus on fire as a metaphor for passion and why that's not such a good thing. Dragon points out that fire ultimately consumes, and if passion is fire, than its more about consumption than anything else. If fire is a metaphor for passion, there can be danger in that metaphor, in terms of how people approach passion. And I think he's right. My experiences with passion, in part, has been more about trying to experience a sensation that I might think of as fire, but in the process I've gotten burned a lot, because it's not something which is sustainable. Dragon pointed out that fires eventually consume themselves, until there's nothing left to give...Some interesting thoughts come to mind about American Culture and its focus on consumption. What does that teach us, about ourselves, others etc? Is it all something to be consumed, or can we really experience it?

10-31-2011 Fire just is. The association of doing and activity is meaning attributed to fire, but dragon asked me what it would be like to just contemplate fire as it is, instead of contemplating fire as doing something.

11-07-11 Dragon brought up something that really grabbed my attention. He said what a person fixates on or desires or obsesses over can burn him/her and the people in his/her life, because f how it consumes them. But if a person can consume and let go of what s/he desires, then it no longer takes up his/her energy in quite the same way. Now this is nothing new...you find this advice in meditation, but looking at it from the perspective of fire, and consuming something so it turns to smoke and then is wafted away...that's what grabbed my attention. And I have to admit that I'm in this process of consuming instead of being consumed. Not an easy process, but it is freeing up a lot of energy.

11-16-11 I haven't been as good about updating this entry as I'd like, but a lot's happened. Kat and I noticed that the stray black cat that lives near our house had kittens. It's getting really cold out, and this summer we'd actually found a dead kitten. It was pretty upsetting. So we decided to catch the mama cat (to neuter it) and catch the kittens as well. We managed to catch two of the kittens. The other one is gone, may be dead or alive, and the mama cat hasn't shown up lately. I took the trap back today, but I'll deploy it if she comes back. What does all this have to do with fire?

Dragon brought up a very important point. When you create a spark, you are responsible for nurturing it and using it wisely. When I think about the mama cat, I remember that my ex-wife chose to feed her. I don't know if it would've stuck around anyway, but I do know that feeding it encouraged it to stay in the neighborhood. I realized that I should've tried to catch that mama cat much earlier than now. More importantly, in catching these two kittens I felt that I had chosen to take on the responsibility of doing something with them. The animal control shelter told me if they weren't tame enough, they'd be euthanized, and that they might be euthanized anyway because of how many cats they have. There's no way I'd let two cats be euthanized simply because they'd been caught. I've learned about another place, the Cat Adoption Team, where they don't euthanize cats, but we have had these kittens for a week and we've all gotten attached to them. They seem to feel the same. And the point here is this: You always have a responsibility to see through what you take on. I've taken on those two kittens. They're part of my responsibility, that spark of life I've nurtured by capturing them and taming them.

11-18-2011 Sometimes I wonder if I've left my passion for all things occult somewhere else. Actually I sometimes wonder if I've left my passion for lots of things somewhere else. And I guess that's a reason I'm doing this work with the element of fire. I want to get in touch with that passion, and yet ironically I think I am in touch with that passion...it's just a slow process of rekindling it. I let it get banked by personal circumstances, by my choices to try and make myself into something I wasn't. Never again. Never again will I give my fire, my passion, my intensity away or push it down. That kind of give away can hurt you so much and it hurts your creativity as much as it hurts in other ways. I feel like my creativity is finally coming back because my passion has a safe place to be.

11-21-11 There is nothing worse than feeling that you failed yourself or someone else. And yet failure prompts growth and change. It forces you to reassess what's truly important and then claim that importance through the actions you take to bring change to your life. The ashes of defeat are also the loam that prompts growth. What you hold dearest can fall away in a moment and yet when it falls away it reveals who you are through how you respond. Do you rail against it? Do you accept it and learn from it? Do you burn yourself or do you warm yourself? It's a fine balance to walk. I choose to cultivate a warm fire instead of a vengeful fire. Where that takes me as a result is hopefully to a better place in my healing as well as in my passion.