Frater Barrabbas

What's in a name?

  magical name

I have a confession to make. I have never given myself a magical name. My magical name is my actual name and I think that name is magical enough that I don't need to come up with something else. Recently I came across an article where the author mentions that he'd never realized that shifting from a magical name to your mundane name could be a form of grounding that separates your magical persona from your regular persona. He cited an article by Frater Barrabbas that discusses this aspect further and I found the argument intriguing.

Frater Barrabbas's argument is that if a magician uses his/her mundane name as his/her craft name, s/he runs the risk of believing his/her own pr and can become deluded about his/her magical achievements and also the reality of his/her situation. The adoption of a magical name and motto allows the magician to create a persona for his/her magical self. This in turns allows the magician to turn off that persona as needed and keep him/her grounded in reality. I see his point and I agree with it to a degree, especially because he cites how actors and other famous people also experience this kind of delusion, as I've noted in Pop Culture Magick, and as can be seen in any number of bizarre behaviors famous people end up doing. The amount of energy and attention thrown their way affects who they are and causes them to buy into the image as reality, instead of remembering that they are mortal. Sadly unless you are a triumphant roman general, you probably won't have someone whispering in your ear that you are mortal.

At the same time I have always considered magical names to be a conceit of sorts, a way for someone to give themselves a self important title. And because of that and also because I believe that the only way people in general will become more accepting of magic, Paganism, and alternative beliefs in general, I've chosen to use my own name as my magical name. Anyone who does a Google search on my name discovers that I'm an occultist, which has lead to some interesting discussions, but also provided me a sense of freedom because I am choosing not to hide what I believe or practice. That's my choice and yet it also serves to keep me humble.

If you read this journal you'll inevitably come across entries where I detail some of my personal struggles, failures, or magical workings that just didn't work out the way I hoped. Nor do I consider myself to be famous. I'm at most kinda famous, on the fringe of the occult community. And on a mundane level, I've gone through a divorce and made my share of mistakes with finances, work, life, and love. I can be petty, vengeful, and quick to anger, and my people skills could use work. On the other hand I can also be compassionate, caring, and generous. I've made an ass of myself on multiple occasions and I've lost friends, made enemies, and had other mundane issues come up. In short I am a fallible person and I don't buy into any pr about me because I know at the end of the day that any enlightenment I've experienced has been worked for...hard. And on the rare occasion I meet someone who acts impressed by who I am (it doesn't happen often, though I'll admit social media has been a nice shot to my self-esteem as a writer) what I try to do, more than anything, is get them to meet the real me. Not the author, not the magician, but Taylor Ellwood the person. Because Taylor Ellwood the person is a lot less likely to let them down, and because when they get to know me as a person they realize that while I'm a pretty interesting person, I am just another person at the end of the day.

I keep my name because it reminds me to be humble. The assumption of a magical name doesn't ground just creates another level of occult BS that I dislike with an intense passion. Now to be clear I do respect why Frater Barrabbas has chosen to take on a magical name. I respect it because I think that is the intention behind taking on such a name. I just don't know that many people hold to that same standard. He does, and I can safely say that because I know him and we've had a few conversations both with his persona on, and off. If you want to take on a magical name, then do it, but do it for the right reasons.

The truth is that we all take a risk of believing our own pr. Occultists can be pretty arrogant and I've definitely been arrogant at times. I've just learned that being arrogant doesn't really help. It just makes you into an asshole that everyone else dislikes and avoids. Lucky for me I've moved out of that stage of life and actually have people who want to hang with Taylor Ellwood the person. I'll never be the most popular guy, but that's ok too. I am an acquired taste and I know it and I'm satisfied with being that way. So whatever way you choose to keep yourself humble...remember you are but mortal...

Entheogens and emptiness

Tonight I went over to a friend's place and utilized an entheogen. It's been about ten years since I've done it. The first time I did it, there was no spiritual purpose for doing it, but tonight, I had a specific spiritual purpose in mind.  I pulled out my two tarot decks and did a similar working, and while doing that I drank orange juice which contained the entheogen in it. I wanted to see what the experience of walking in the silver web of time would be like with the entheogen. Right now I feel like everything is an illusion, and that seems to have been the tone of the trip throughout the evening. I evoked XaH, Thiede, Purson, and the Spider Goddess of Time as I ingested the brew. I also invoked my future self, the Master of time. As I was writing down the results of the reading, perhaps twenty minutes in I began to notice that it was hard to write. I frantically finished scrabbling my notes and then put my hands into the prayer pose to start working with the silver webs of time. As an interesting note, I noticed that my train of thought became very cyclical and spider web oriented throughout the entire trip. I recall one of my fellow journeyers pointing out that what you brought into the trip is what you got out of it...echoes the sentiment of give to get.

My emotional spectrum was all over the place. I think a lot of my inner demons took the opportunity to come out and play tonight. I saw a lot of control issues and ego issues played out emotionally. Not horrible either to experience those and realize how much they sometimes inform my choices and actions. It actually showed me how strung up I can get sometimes about  the choices of life. Also the spider goddes of time devoured me at one point, or at least came close to it. She ate most of me, but left a small part behind and I regrew. I felt purified after she ate was as if she ate the parts that were trying to control instead of just letting go and feeling the trip.

Physically, I felt like I was getting made love to by the music we listened to. I felt so damn was like having a really good orgasm, except that it lasted for hours and hours. Also my feeling of time elongated, so that minutes seemed to take an infinity to occur. My perception of light became perceptions of web patterns of time. I wasn't so much weaving them as I was becoming them. I became this great spiral of time where I could traverse the web and go to different points.

One thing which really stands out me is that at one point I realized how instinctual every thing is. Basically I couldn't rationalize any of my choices. I recognized the instinct that informed each choice and saw each choice purely as an instinctual response. At another point I noticed how long I took between breaths as well as how heavy my body felt when I took each breath. At yet another point, the light seemed to elongate...and when I smiled or moved I felt incredible.

Remembers another point, where I pointed out to my one friend that he was wearing a sleep mask. He slipped it off and smiled...everyone moved in slow motion, jelly like in the flow of the concentric webs of time.

The final phase, which I'm in now, has been an odd experience. I'm basically observing myself doing things, talking, eating, whatever else. I'm cognizant that I'm doing the action, but it almost seems like someone else is. What's really been odd is that the observer part feels as if it's a step forward in time. So I feel like I know what Lupa will say a second before she says it. It's like everything was rehearsed in the lines of a play. I could predict what would happen and then it would happen. It was an odd experience of time to have because I did feel like an oracle. There's a part of me which is currently questioning whether I'm really writing this post or if it's just an illusion on my part.

I'm feeling really mellow at this point. The emptiness aspect of this experience really involved the inner demons coming out...maybe, or maybe it's this feeling of mellowness, or maybe its something else. Regardless, I feel very mellow, very relaxed. I think I will enjoy that for the rest of this evening. I may try these again in the near future for another space/time experiment as it proved fruitful in terms of experiencing the silver web of time.

Book Release: Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick

Immanion Press has just released Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick by Frater Barrabbas. It's the first book of a trilogy he is offering on ceremonial magic. I really enjoyed his previous book Disciple's Guide to Magic, and also enjoyed reading this one when I copy-edited it.