Magical Techniques

Cutting across the artificial divide of cultures

Culture I've been reading a book on Tibetan dream yoga and another one on quabalistic practices. What fascinates me the most is that both books discuss dreams and how to work with them in a similar fashion, despite the fact that both authors are from different cultures. As far as I can tell neither author has cited the other and neither seems to be culturally appropriating material from the other. They just seem to be discussing dreams and how to work with dreams in remarkably similar ways. And as I read both books and do the practices in both, I find that I'm getting similar results. So it makes me think, in this case, that the cultural trappings are less important, because the foundational techniques seem to be the same, or at least have enough similarity outside of cultural contexts.

I respect cultural contexts, but I do think that its also possible to encounter techniques that come from multiple cultures and yet have enough similarity that the technique can be understood without the cultural context. In other words, I sometimes think there is an artificial divide created within the context of culture that may bar people from recognizing that a technique can occur in multiple cultures and have similar steps.

With that said, I want to make it clear that I'm not dismissing the concerns about cultural appropriation. These are valid concerns, and when a person learns a technique s/he should be mindful of the culture where it comes from. The cultural context does have some impact on the technique, and your experience of it. For example, while I can understand certain aspects of the Tibetan Yogas of Dream and sleep there are other aspects, cultural ones, I don't get, which does effect how I work with the technique. If I were to learn from a lama directly it might be different, but I suspect even then I'd still only have a partial understanding when it comes to the cultural aspects, because I'm not from that culture.

Is there really an artificial divide? Only in the sense that if you can find a technique that is similar across cultures, then perhaps what you are really dealing with is the technique in and of itself, as opposed to the cultural perspective. Recognizing that can be helpful in learning the technique and also understanding that nothing is so original that it can't be found elsewhere.

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.

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5 out of 5