Archetypes, movement, and getting into the role

I've been reading Acting and Singing with the Archetypes (affiliate link) and trying out some of the exercises. My main draw for picking up the book was because of my ongoing interest in integrating movement, dance, and space into my magical work and I thought the book might prove useful for that purpose.

It reminds me a bit of Antero's Paratheatre techniques, and I find that with the archetypes I need to get into a state of mind and body that allows me to channel them. It's not all that different from doing an invocation, but what stands out most is how mutable a given archetype is...or rather I find that it is much easier for me to draw on a variety of pop culture sources as well as more traditional sources. The various archetypal labels of Child, Devil, Trickster, etc. are useful, but in a way I wonder if we confine ourselves to much to those labels? Is the space pirate an archetype in its own right or just a variation of an existing one?

The process of orienting yourself into invoking a particular archetype requires two essential behaviors. The first behavior is an ability to let go of your ego or sense of self. You empty that awareness. The second behavior is the ability to embody the archetypal awareness and characteristics and traits. There's different tools you can use. I've seen people use masks for example, which can be a lot of fun, but your body is the ultimate tool. The change in posture, facial patterns, voice, and even a change in clothing and accoutrements can be quite useful. It's also a change in emotions, and energy. What are the emotions the archetype feels? How does that translate into space and movement? What are the functions it embodies and how does that change the space and movement of the body?

Getting into the role is getting out of the way and allowing the archetype, spirit, etc fill me. I allow my body to become a vessel for the divine force I am working with. I open myself to the experience and let the experience define the space.

Book review: Acting and Singing with the Archetypes (affiliate link) By Janet Rodgers and Frankie Armstrong.

This book was written for an audience of actors, but as someone who is not an actor, but nonetheless does work with archetypes I found it to be a valuable read, with useful exercises that can be applied to more than just acting. I like that the authors drew on perspectives of movement such as Laban's work, but also that they made their work very accessible. This is a book I'd recommend to a counselor, actor, artist, or the magician who wants to take a different approach to his/her magical workings.


Embodiment magic

A while back I'd written about some of my experiences with Laban, a form of physical movement. My main purpose for studying Laban was to learn more about the spatial realities of the body as well as how it moves through space, something I considered essential for really getting the methodology of paratheatre, which Antero Alli writes about quite a bit. Since I don't have access to Mr. Alli's classes on paratheatre, utilizing Laban, which admittedly provides a much better explanation of physical movement through space, proved essential for being able to integrate paratheatre into my magical practice. Recently I decided to try out my first paratheatre ritual. I've recently been doing some internal work around intimacy and my issues with being intimate and also being in relationships (friendship or otherwise) where there wasn't much intimacy. I thought it might be useful to embody intimacy or at least try to, using paratheatre. I felt that integrating my body fully into the embodiment was essential for really communicating with my subconscious about intimacy and the issues surrounding it.

I felt very vulnerable when I invoked intimacy into my state of no-form and began to move. In a sense I felt like a child, innocent and unsure of myself, experiencing something for myself that I wasn't really certain of. Intimacy for me involved opening up and so I initially started out very shielded in how I positioned my arms and legs and gradually I began to loosen them and from that loosened my body up further, gradually allowing myself to feel a state of what I would consider to be gentle warmth. Sometimes I would hug myself or gently touch my shoulder or leg. I wasn't striving to be sensual, and I didn't feel that way. But I did feel intimate with myself in a manner that invited myself to be gentle and loving.

As I experienced this feeling of intimacy I paid attention to thoughts, feelings, and whatever else came to my experience that would help me communicate with my issues around intimacy. I learned quite a bit about how I sometimes make it hard to accept what someone wants to give, but also how much I've picked relationships with people (friends and lovers) that didn't necessarily invite intimacy into my life.

When I was ready, I put myself back into no-form and grounded the sensation and feeling of intimacy...but after the working I also felt more comfortable when my partner offered it to me, and also was more aware of what has informed my tendency to fantasize about intimacy. I'll definitely be using paratheatre in the future for some of my internal work, and I have to say that learning about Laban really did help with integrating paratheatre into my magical practice.

Book Reviews

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

Amazon Affiliate Link

Powells Affiliate Link

Laban for All by Jean Newlove and John Daley

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

5 out of 5.

Amazon affiliate link

Powells affiliate link

Managing Depression with Qigong by Frances Gaik

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

Amazon affiliate link

Powells affiliate link

3 out of 5

The Taoist Soul Body by Mantak Chia

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

4 out of 5

Amazon Affiliate Link

Powells Affiliate Link

Update on experimental work

I've been continuing to integrate Laban into my morning daily moving meditation. The body movements take up the focus of the thoughts, and a rhythm is created, out of time, out of the tightly monitored world, into a place where all that matters is the rhythm of movement and the stretching of the body. My spatial and kinesthetic awareness of my body and how it moves has changed in what I would consider to be subtle ways. There's more awareness of my core and how each movement comes from the core than there was before. The benefit, beyond feeling healthier, is a sense of being more in touch with my body, and more able to connect with it for that deeper meditative work. I've also been continuing to work with the time strand editing technique, using it edit different connections to places, people, and situations and I'm seeing some changes in that direction, with the connections I have. I haven't applied it as much as I could to business interactions, but I will give it a try and see what happens.

Review of Magical Techniques by Draja Mickaharic

I just discovered this author's works recently and already I'm impressed by the depth and breadth of his writing as well as his attention to detail. Magical Techniques provides information on lesser known magical practices and tools that can be used by the magician to aid and enhance his/her workings. From his chapter on how to make chalk, to how to use feathers, to magic with orgone accumulators, there's something for everyone. He also provides some good anecdotes, both his own and of other people and how they used the different tools he discussed. This book is a definite must for the practical magician.

Amazon Affiliate link

Powells Affiliate link

5 out of 5

Update on Laban and Space/Time Cellular work

I've been continuing to integrate Laban into my morning meditation/workout. I've mastered all the basic stretches and I'm now incorporating the dimensional movements into what I'm doing. I'm noticing subtle differences in my awareness of my body and how I move. My core is getting strengthened and my sense of balance is improving as a result. I've also found that Laban has helped me hit some useful meditation states, in terms of connecting with the consciousness of my body on the level of the body. However, I've also found it useful to continue pursuing my work with time and the body on the cellular level, with my meditations. Instead of trying to create a unified body consciousness with this approach, I've focused on simply interacting with each cell as its own consciousness, but also focused on working with the way they communicate with each other, with an emphasis focused on the cell's own sense of time (cells have their own internal clocks, which actually integrate into the overall sense of biological time). I've used this work to synchronize the internal time of the cells, thus far. There's more to be done, but that's where I'm at.

Update on Laban work

I've been doing the first set of dance stretches in the Laban book for a little while now and discovered in the process an awareness of my body and its muscles I previously lacked. It's quite an intriguing feeling and it's translated out into the dance floor in terms of some moves I've been doing that previously I wouldn't have thought of. I also have used it as part of my paratheatrical work and one of my next paratheatrical works is going to involve using excitatory work to get in touch with my body consciousness, per the suggestion of a reader of this blog. I find that Laban combines very nicely with paratheatrical work in terms of getting the body revved up, but this will a further experiment of actually using Laban to work with my body consciousness directly.

On a different note, I did take a different tact with the body work, in terms of inhibitory meditation and found that focusing just on one cell led to better results in terms of working with the consciousness of the cell and getting another possible direction I can take my time work as a result.