Taylor Ellwood

The Magic of Art is now Available

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My latest book, The Magic of Art, is now available in print and e-book. In this book I share how to apply the mediums of art to your magical practice to help you achieve consistent results.

Best of all, you don't need to be an artist at a gallery. you just need to be willing to pick up a paint brush, sculpting clay, or scissors and glue (or whatever you want to work with) and start creating art magic workings.

In this book you'll learn my techniques for using art to create evocation portals, practical magic workings, and even magical tools that you can draw upon whenever you need them.

This book also features essays by other art magicians, who share with you their own approach to art magic and how it has helped them with their magical practice.

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.

Some Musings on 0 and 1

dyslexicon Dyslexicon 8, which features an article I wrote on my work with the spider goddess of time is now available. Check it out! Speaking of time magic, the other day I began thinking about 0 and 1 which I associate with possibility and reality respectively in a similar manner which builds off the existing associations. 0 = transformation while 1 = manifestation.

In 0 there is endless possibilities and with that comes transformation. Transformation is integral to possibility, and could be argued to also be what bridges possibility and reality. For possibility to become reality, transformation needs to occur. Transformation is part of change. When we change something we are transforming it, connecting it with possibility in order to determine what it could be and how it could manifest.

In 1 there is focused and shaped action, which in turn creates reality. Action is a form of manifestation, which is fueled by transformation. Transformation provides the drive for possibility to turn into reality manifestation. Manifestation is the reduction of possibility into a reality of your choice. Manifestation is an expression of transformation that moves the chaos of endless possibility into the order of constructed reality.

Reality is a construct, a thin veneer of order that provides some level of stability to possibility, which nonetheless can be undone by the manifestation of other possibilities into reality. At the same time reality is only malleable to a point. There is consensus experience of reality that provides the baseline by which we experience reality that provides enough limitations to provide a specific type of experience. The more real a possibility becomes the more it conforms to the limitations of reality, which providing some variation on those same limitations.

0 and 1 are numbers with associations applied to them. The associations are only as meaningful as you allow them to be. What makes them useful is you apply those associations to your experiences of 0 and 1 as spiritual forces and make meaningful contact with something the speaks to the experience you are having...or if you practically use them to create change in your life. The practical application is the key...There's no reality without application.

 

When everything falls apart, pick yourself back up and start again

  falling apart

There are moments in your life where some part of your life, or perhaps all of your life seems to fall apart. Sometimes it may even seem to occur over a prolonged period of your life. Right now, I'm in the midst of a dark night of the soul, according to my astrological chart, and I've certainly experienced some of that feeling over the last few months. I've felt helpless, frustrated, and like parts of my life have fallen apart. I'm even feeling it right now, where I'm suddenly facing in my coaching business, a lack of clients, as all of them finished up all at once. It's a little terrifying when you feel like the bottom of your life or profession has dropped out from underneath you. And you can feel tempted to just give up when you experience those moments where everything seems to fall apart.

I'll admit that sometimes I've given up. I gave up when I left the Ph.D program at Kent State. There are times when giving up IS the best course of action you can take. When I left the Ph.d program I left it because I wasn't happy with what I was doing, and the future academic career looked like it would be even less fun and more oppressive than what I was already doing. It simply wasn't for me. So I gave up and walked away.

Other times you have to keep picking yourself up and pursuing what you know is right for you to be doing. My choices to be self-published and self-employed are examples of those particular decisions. Neither choice has always been easy to follow through on. It's tempting to just give up and find a job, or to stop writing because you wonder if it'll really find that audience that responds to your writing. Yet if you really want it, you have to keep going for it.

For me, magic and everything else I want is as much about persistence as anything else. Do you have the persistence to continue following through on what you want? Are you willing to pick yourself back up and keep trying because what you want is worth the effort. Magic, despite, how it's sometimes talked up is not really about cutting corners or getting to the fast track of what you want. Magic can help you get what you want, but there is a persistence and effort factor tat needs to be accounted for. Nothing ever just comes to you. You've got to be willing to give in order to get. And what you give is your effort, your sweat, your blood, but also what you give is your willingness to learn, to get smarter and wiser, and do whatever you are doing better than how you did it before.

I've had so much fall apart at different times in my life and yet in those down moments, what's kept me going has been this realization that at the end of the day the only thing that will pick me up is myself. Not the magic, not some deity, and not even some other person. What keeps me going is my choice to move forward, learn from my mistakes, and get better at what I'm doing. What helps me are the people who believe in me, the resources I can employ to help me resolve a given situation, and of course my own determination to not give up, unless its actually smarter to do so. Everything falls apart...pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep striving toward what you want. You'll get it right eventually or die trying.

Why you can't do that isn't a valid excuse for magicians

kon tiki I was watching the film Kon Tiki the other night. It's a biographical film about Thor Heyerdahl, an anthropologist, who had some interesting and controversial ideas about how Polynesia came to be inhabited. He argued that South Americans had sailed the Pacific ocean to Polynesia 1,500 years or so ago, but no one believed him, and they argued that it couldn't be done with the technology of the time. He decided to prove his critics wrong, by building a boat in the fashion of how it was likely built 1,500 years ago, and then he sailed that boat to Polynesia, without much in the way of modern equipment or technology. What he proved was that it was possible for people to migrate from South America to Polynesia (Whether they actually did or not is still debated). What I admire about the film and about the actual person Thor Heyerdahl was that he didn't let other people tell him what he could or couldn't do. He decided what he could or couldn't do and then proceeded to do it.

When I first started practicing magic, I had this romantic belief that people who practiced magic were people who were open-minded, willing to experiment, and willing to try new things. I suppose I held this belief, because having been a born again Christian and seeing the close-minded fanaticism that such belief creates, I wanted to believe that occultists and Pagans were better than that. I wanted to belong to something where the focus was to explore, test, and challenge the dogma and established view of things. Eventually I was disabused of such romantic beliefs and came to realize that there are pagans and occultists who can be just as close-minded, established, and fanatical as anyone else. It's part of human nature, and there is no special group of people exempted from that nature.

Nonetheless, what I have never been disabused of is my own belief that what's established and held to be true should be challenged, and that if you believe something controversial you should try it out, explore it, etc., to determine for yourself the truth of the matter. When I first started experimenting with pop culture magic (back in the late 1990's), I was told by a person I considered a mentor that what I was doing wasn't "true" magic. He tried to discourage me, but instead encouraged me, because I felt that he didn't have the authority to determine if pop culture magic was or wasn't real magic (ironically enough he was a chaos magician). I didn't buy his statement that I couldn't do pop culture magic. He was't the only person to discourage me. I was told by a number of other magicians that I was reinventing the wheel or that I was a flake or a fluffy bunny or a heretic, or whatever else. All that discouragement ever did was encourage me to continue striking out on my own, as much to prove them wrong as to prove myself right. I never let anyone tell me what I couldn't do and I never bought into their arguments about why they were right and I was wrong (and a good thing to or otherwise I'd have never written any of my books!).

I've never gotten as much flak for the work I've done with space/time magic, identity magic, or working with one's body as a living universe in its own right, but I've still gotten some resistance, some people who think they know better than me about magic and how it oughta be done. And I won't pretend that it hasn't been hard at times to face such resistance and not feel a bit discouraged because someone feels a need to lord their beliefs and values over what you are doing. It is hard on occasion, because there will always be detractors, always be people who think the best way to prove their point is try and take you down and tell you why what you do is wrong and why what they do is right. But what they forget is that what's right for one person isn't right for another. What's right for you isn't right for me, and it doesn't have to be.

Likewise what's right for me may not be right for you, nor does it have to be. I don't subscribe to some of the beliefs that my fellow Pagans hold, but I accept that those beliefs are valid and meaningful to them, and so I don't tell them that what they believe is wrong or that they are doing it wrong. It's not for me to judge them. What I will never accept is intolerance, the attempt to discourage other people from discovering for themselves what their spirituality ( or anything else for that matter) manifests for them. I won't accept the excuse of "you can't do that" from anyone because no one can tell me what I can or can't do. I'm the only authority on that matter, and I have to live with the consequences of my choices, but I also will make those choices because in doing so I am creating my reality, instead of buying into the reality that someone else holds to. And likewise I won't tell anyone else what they can or can't do. I'll encourage them, as I always have, to find out for themselves. In the end the ultimate authority of your life is you...only you can discover those answers. What you have to accept is that what is right for you may not be right for others. That's the real test of authority: Can you accept that you aren't the authority of everyone else, and never will be?

I still experiment with magic (I likely always will) because I am driven to discover my own truth. It makes for a difficult road on occasion, but it also makes for a lot of adventure. And I don't accept the excuse of "you can't do that" because that excuse is lame, and is offered by people too afraid to handle a challenge to their own perspectives. What they'd realize if they did accept that challenge is that at most it might open their minds to some new perspectives and broaden their horizons. At the least it might just make them realize that what works for them does work for them and that should be good enough, without needing to obstruct someone else.

Here's a simple truth: No one else (or deity) is the authority on how you live your life or what you choose to do or believe. You are the only authority of your life. You can choose to let a deity or some other person have authority over your life, but YOU are still making that choice and you are still responsible for the choices that you make after that initial choice is made. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to make those choices. You are responsible for your choices. You are the ultimate authority in your life, even if you have chosen to hand that authority off to someone or some thing else.

The latest issue of Portal Magazine just came out, and includes an article by me.

Book Review: The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

This is intriguing book that explores Modern Physics from a perspectives of dimensions. The author provides some compelling and thought provoking arguments about consciousness and the idea that physical reality is an experience of immaterial dimensions that are combined by consciousness into an experience that people can understand. I also like that the author includes mass as a dimension that impacts the space and time dimensions. The author does, on occasion, provide some fuzzy definition, such as what he uses to explain image, but he is dealing with some complex ideas and he does his best to present those ideas soundly. He does his best to make the book accessible to a layperson, while also providing enough depth to do the material justice.

Update on the latest space/time magic experiment

timespider I was recently interviewed on Disinfo about some of my current space/time magic work. In that interview I shared some of my ideas about how movement and stillness can play a role in space/time work.  I want to share some more information here on my continued modification of the space/time web tool I've been using. I've continued using the memory box, which is a tool  developed for working with space and time as a web, though I'll also note that with this experiment I've been doing some of it as a purely meditative, mental experience of that same construct. The reason I've chosen to do the latter action is because I feel that while a tool is useful, it serves mainly as a way of providing structure, which once you get that structure, makes the tool obsolete.

My focus in this experiment has been integrating stillness and movement into the technique. I feel that both of these elements are intrinsic to our experiences of space and time and as such can be useful for space/time magic we are working on. I've integrated stillness in as a means capturing a snapshot of a given space, wile also discovering the possibilities that exist in imaginary time around that space. Time, which is the flow of activity through a given space, and what is used to actually change the space is aided by movement, which is used to move a possibility into space as a form of reality. Movement allows for the assumption of form, which is used to define what is occurring in a given space.

I've been using these modifications on a couple of situations in my life, and I don't have results yet, because these situations are long term, but what I've been doing is going to the section in the web that represents the space of the given situation and then going into a place of stillness, which I use to examine the space and discover the possibilities around it. The possibilities I don't want are popped, and their essence is put int the possibility I do want to manifest in order to provide it momentum. Movement is used to place the possibility into the space, while time is used to activate the possibility as a reality of the space that moves the person to a new space, which becomes the new reality.

That's what I'm currently working on. I'm still tweaking the new version of this technique, especially as it applies to the concepts of movement and stillness, but I think I'm onto something, and if nothing else its giving me a project to work on, which is always fun. I'll report further as I continue to work with stillness and movement in the context of space/time magic.

Some Thoughts on Possibilities, Space, and Time

dimensions Two of the current books I'm reading are the Dimensional Structure of Consciousness by Samuel Avery and Wonders of the Natural Mind by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. In Avery's book he explores the definition of consciousness, arguing that everything, material or otherwise, is a manifestation of conscious experience, and that dimensions are internal structures of consciousness used to organize the various experiences we have. It's an interesting definition of consciousness and I see some merit for it, though I question the concept of conscious experience, as it seems to create a solipsistic perspective of the world. He argues that space and time are dimensions, which doesn't fall that far outside current conceptions of space and time. In the midst of all this, he also discusses images, which he defines as a concept, thought, thing, feeling or object, and which he argues are the sole content of consciousness. He goes onto explain that conscious activity is a constant arrangement of images into other images, but he doesn't really explain how that activity factors into dimensions, though I suspect he'd argue that the manipulation of images allows the person to access and work different dimensional structures of consciousness.

In Tenzin's book the author takes a more novel approach to space, arguing that space isn't limited to external or internal space, but rather that space is defined by the objects or forms in it. In other words, the forms define the parameters of space, as opposed to space, in and of itself. He also notes the distinctions we create are really attachments to defining space, but not experiencing it. Space is always present, always something that we are apart of, and yet also something that we try to quantify.

What I find fascinating about both books and the perspectives contained within them is how the authors approach a concept such as space. I'm more inclined to agree with Tenzin's perspective, and I find that if anything Avery's perspective is too caught up in trying to define the concepts without providing practical examples that illustrate what he is trying to define. Nonetheless I see value in utilizing the concepts of both books in my own work with space/time magic. Fundamentally when you deal with concepts such as space and time, what you are really dealing with is trying to place them into context within your life. It's as if by defining them we suddenly have a sense of control over them.

There is something to be said for defining a concept, but also something to be said for simply experiencing it. When I wander into a room, I am intimately aware of how the space of the room is defined by the objects within the room, but I am also aware of the space in and of itself. The space is potential waiting for action to occur, which seems to really happen when time is applied to that space. The application of time occurs through a fairly subjective filter, namely our sense of consciousness motivating us to do something, to act. Does time even exist if no one exists is to comprehend it? And this is where I could see time as a dimension of consciousness used to explain, categorize, and organize experiences that occur in space, but also used to turn possibilities into reality by providing a projection and action in which to achieve that projection.

Books like the ones I mentioned above, and my own for that matter, are useful in providing ideas about space and time and how to work with them, but I think that ultimately to really experience space and time is to simply work with them as elements of our lives. We experience space and time everyday, in the living of our lives, but if we want to work with space and time, we need to consciously apply ourselves to working with the experience of space and time so that we can discover more than just the surface level exposure most people typically get. That means we actively work with the experience and perception of space and time, defining it, but also playing with those definitions, because we recognize that any experience is ultimately subjective. Yes everyone experiences a 24 hour day, but 24 hours is a subjective unit used to describe the rotation of the Earth around the sun. 24 hours just gives a sense of control and direction, a rhythmic and cyclical experience to quantify our lives. When you recognize its subjective, then you don't take space, time, or anything else for granted, because you recognize that when such subjectivity is passed off as objectivity, someone else is benefiting from your believe in the objectivity of space and time. You experience that benefit when you go to work for someone else and exchange a subjective sense of time for money that quantifies what that unit of time is worth. Test everything that is qualified as objective, because objectivity is more of an illusion than anything else.

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.

Movement, Stillness, and the Web of Space/Time

Harmony In Magical Identity I shared a technique I use for working with Space and Time, which is is the web if Space and Time. In this model the web is comprised of elements of space and time conjunctively connecting to manifest possibilities into reality. The strands of the web are elements of Time, while the nodes where the strands intersect each other are elements of Space. The strands of time represent possibilities and actions. I think of them as verbs. The nodes of space represent people, places, events, and things, nouns. I'm always open to improving on my techniques and my work with the element of movement gave me an insight in this technique that could be useful for developing it further.

While the strands of time denote possibilities and actions, it occurs to me that movement (and as I write this Stillness) are intrinsic elements of space and time that are not overtly recognized but that nonetheless play a role in our experience of space and time. I don't think of movement and stillness as being one and the same as time and space. And my experiences of both movement and stillness seem to bear this out. If anything it feels like stillness and movement act upon and are acted upon by space and time. For example, you might be tempted to associate stillness with space, but I'd argue that stillness isn't space. Stillness is a form of presence and awareness. It's potential and in some ways that makes it more related to time, but it isn't time either. It's a state of experience and being that can allow you to become aware of and experience space and time in different ways. When I do my practice of Zhine meditation, I am working with stillness and one of the experiences it can provide is an awareness of space and time that is different than what is experienced during the everyday experience of life. With Stillness, when I am focusing my awareness on myself and a particular object, I experience not just the object as it is, but also the possibilities for that object. I experience the space of the object, as well as the time of the object. You also might be inclined to associate movement with time, and certainly experience of time can be that of a sense one moment passing into another, but again you can also experience time via stillness.

So all that said, what I'm really interested in is how I can factor stillness and movement into the work I do with the web of space and time. I don't want to associate stillness or movement with specific aspects of the web, and I don't think I need to, but I think working with them could allow me to enhance the technique as well as integrate these elements into my life. I decided to pull out my memory box, which is the physical representation of the web and when I worked with it this time, I approached the work in terms of movement. What did I need to move to put everything into the right space and maximize the right potential of time needed. Movement wasn't just about working with the strands of time, but rather working with the web as a whole, in terms of positioning the web and the respective nodes and time strands into an alignment that would be useful for better realizing the activation of a possibility into a reality. I didn't integrate stillness into this work, so when I experiment with it again, I'll work with both stillness and movement and see how they fit together with space and time.

What I've shared above is rough and I'll work on refining it, but I'm excited to be working on something new, or in this case a variation of something else I developed.

Book Review: The Slow Fix by Carl Honore

In this book the author explores the value of the slow fix, which involves learning how to solve problems from a process perspective instead of just trying to use a quick fix. The author explores a variety of elements that are integral to the slow fix process and uses case studies to demonstrate how those elements work together to bring about useful solutions to problems. I got a lot of value from this book by applying its principles to my business and my clients. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to improve how problems are solved in general and in their organization, because what you will learn is how to examine your problem solving processes and introduce the right elements of the slow fix to help you improve on what you are already doing.

Further Thoughts on Body Enhancement via magic

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I read an interesting post by Chirotus Infinitum that was a response to my recent post about body enhancement via magic. He made reference to the Deathgate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and much like him I have found that particular series of books to be foundational both in my body modification work and in other magical work I've done. In fact, it's fair to say that reading that series inspired at least some of my thoughts on how I might modify my body with magic as well as how to use those modifications to enhance my magical work.

Something I didn't mention in my previous post was how I've used my tattoos in my body enhancement work. While one of the purposes of my tattoos is devotional, used as an offering to the various elements I've worked with, another purpose is also to enhance my channeling of that elemental energy. The act of getting the tattoo allows me to fully embed the energy into my essence. Each tattoo represents a different energy (or energies) that I can access. For example the the hourglass - web tattoo is connected to the elemental energies of space and time, while my blue dragon is connected to the elemental energies of water. The current tattoo I'm getting, another dragon, is being used to connect with the elemental energies of fire and movement. I have plans to get more tattoos down the line, but undoubtedly some of that will also be influenced by what I work with and how I want to dedicate myself to that energy.

There's not a lot of work written about working with the body. My book Inner Alchemy discusses some of my work and I am continuing in some of those directions, but I think that the body is an untapped resource, especially in Western Culture. Eastern cultures emphasize a connection and cultivation of the body's resources that simply isn't found in Western culture because of the spiritual disconnect from the body that both Christianity and Western Science are responsible for. That spiritual disconnect has fostered perspectives about the body that are unhealthy and don't fully enable people to feel empowered to embrace or work with their bodies. Sadly Western occultism continues to foster similar perspectives. For example, Robert Anton Wilson refers to the body as a robot and seems intent on trying to escape it (not surprising given his encounter with Polio).

I was fortunate to avoid a lot of such limiting beliefs in regards to my body because I wasn't raised in overly religious household and had a natural curiosity about my body that I chose to explore so I could better understand it. I grew up sleeping naked in bed instead of having pajamas on (and I can't understand why anyone would want to wear pajamas) and I have always loved my body and appreciated its curves and the various sensations I can feel. I've also had my own experiences of body hate, such as when I was anorexic, but overall I was fortunate to embrace my body in a way that I observe many people don't. I honestly feel that one of the reasons people are so dysfunctional about sex comes right to the fact that Western culture overall has such a dysfunctional relationship with the body.

There is a lot to be explored in terms of enhancing the body with magic, but also in really understanding the body as a universe of its own, with hidden wonders to experience and explore if we are willing to set aside our all too limited perspectives and cultural biases about the body. This work can only occur if more people are willing to explore the body as a universe and allow themselves to be open to whatever experiences are encountered. Certainly I will keep writing about my own work because I realize more than ever how important it is to continue cultivating perspectives and experiences that run counter to the dysfunctional values that mainstream culture embodies.

 

Round 6 of the Process of Magic Class starts on July 3rd

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Round 6 of the Process of Magic class starts on July 3rd. The class costs $100, but you get the following:

  • Access to an e-list that is specifically for this class, with feedback from other students (Value $5 a month).
  • 24 written lessons sent out each week on Wednesday which includes exercises to help you develop and refine your process of magic (Value $400).
  • Free Teleconferences every other month to discuss the material directly with me! (Value $45 per teleconference)
  • Free MP3 Recordings of previous conferences (Value $45 per recording)
  • A Free E-book copy of Creating Magical Entities (Value $20).
  • The value of this course is around $800, but you’ll get it for the low cost of $100.
  • To sign up for the class, contact me.

Whether you are just learning about magic or have been practicing for years the Process of Magic course focuses on what really matters: Learning how to use magic to proactively improve your life. This course will teach you a different perspective and approach to magic that will help you evaluate it and apply it to improve the quality of your life. Don’t take my word for it though. Below are several testimonials from one of my students:

By describing the process of magic(k) rituals, Taylor Ellwood taught me how to enhance my work. He taught me how to analyze and improve some rituals I had made, how to apply proved techniques to experimental rituals for internal magic and how pop culture can also be useful for creating pantheons more in relation to oneself. After this class my rituals have been really effective, and I started to think of magic as a means for transforming myself to get the best out of my environment. Highly recommendable class, I’m really happy I took it.
Testimonial from Ivan Marquez

I decided to take Taylor Ellwood’s Process of Magic class after many years of magical practice and study as a way to reboot my work. I’ve been involved with a few traditions but have generally been very eclectic in my approach. In my view eclecticism is a strength if you can find a way to synthesize all of those disparate takes on the magical path. Taylor has stripped away most of the window dressings associated with magic. Instead of focusing on style and aesthetics he focuses on the roots of practice and the processes underlying them. For those who are already involved in magic but are wondering how to weave together the rich variety of strands available to us in the 21st century, examining the processes that underly all magic, no matter the flavor, is an excellent place to start. For newcomers and beginners this course will help you quickly move beyond the 101 stage and help you start getting your hands dirty with practical magic.

Testimonial from Justin Patrick Moore

If you have questions or want to sign up for the class contact me.

The Ontological Reality of Deities, Spirits, and otherworld beings

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Thanks to the polytheism vs pop culture magic debate that has been going on I've been thinking a lot about my own interactions with deities, demons, spirits, etc. Galina Krassakova posts her own views about her experiences and why she doesn't need theories to define her relationships with her deities on Pagan Square and though it might surprise her and the other polythiests, I'm actually in agreement with her argument that theory ultimately distracts from doing the actual work. Theories are at best tools, but even as tools they should be used carefully lest they overshadow the actual work.  My latest article on Pagansquare discusses theory and its role in magic further, but for this post I thought I'd focus on my experiences with Deity, spirits, and other assorted spiritual beings I've worked with. That phrase "work with" is likely where I and the polytheists differ and we'll get to why that is later.

My journey with the spirits has taken me on some interesting paths, and some of those paths have been theory oriented.  I've explored archetypal theory for example and applied it to my practice. My book Pop Culture Magick is a prime example of the application of archetypes to magical work and to be honest I still use some of that in my practice, particularly with identity magic. And working with the concepts of archetypes has lead me to some interesting conclusions about deities, demons, etc., based less on theory and moreso on observation, practice, and experience with said beings. I don't feel that these realizations take away from the reality of the spirits, so much as provide some additional forms of engagement that ultimately can lead to a more primal experience of spirit. I liken it removing a mask and uncovering what's really underneath the mask, and realizing that the mask was used in order to provide a particular space where spirit and human could meet for the comfort of the human.

Yet the removal of the mask was also the removal of theory. Instead of focusing on the attributes and behaviors, the trappings as it were, I encountered the deeper ontological reality of the spiritual beings I was and do connect with. And instead of trying to get them to fit my agenda or needs, I allowed and do allow myself to be moved by them, to fully experience them as they are instead of through an interpretation based on theory. The irony is, that by allowing myself to be so moved, I've been moved as well by the pop culture spirits I've worked with, the ones that are supposedly not real. In my article on pop culture on pagan square I mentioned how I had a long relationship with Thiede. Thiede is a character in Storm Constantine's Wraeththu series, a fantasy series, and yet for me Thiede has been and is real. Thiede is the guardian of Space, the revealer of the ley lines between planets and stars, a dehara, and so much more to me. Reading about him in a book was only the start of my connection to him, and it was a connection, from the start, that moved me deeply.

When I say the phrase "move me" I'm not talking about being emotionally moved to tears. I'm talking about encountering a spiritual force that has deeply affected me, changed me and pointed my life and spiritual practice in a different direction than it might have gone otherwise. And that experience isn't something you can just slap a theory on. It defies theory because theory is ultimately an intellectual process used to categorize and define something into a neat little box that you can store away until you need it. I've had an encounter with something fundamentally different from me and that experience has changed who I am. It has changed my identity.

And this is not an isolated incident. Each year I work with a different elemental force and part of that process involves working with a spirit guide that provides a "face" through which I can interact with that elemental force. The elemental balancing work is an intense process of change that is brought by interacting with the element. There is no theory for it, but simply the engagement of practice and the recognition that I need to work with a given elemental force in my life. The various entities I've worked with during the balancing rituals haven't been archetypes...far from it. They are collection of beings that even today are in my life. They are not something I believe in...they are something I experience. That's an important distinction to make because in my opinion belief is just another theory, another tool. The experience of them in my life is something else. To me, the spirits I work with, traditional or pop culture, are real. There is an ontological essence of being, of identity that is objective, beyond any categorization I could give it, and it is sustained not merely by my own experience, but also by the experiences of others, independent of my own.

My work with my spirits has some form of devotion and offering attached to it. Some of the tattoos on my body, for example, are devotional offerings of my skin made to a particular element as a way of recognizing the significant role the element has played in my life. I also make offerings to particular spirits in the form of writing or through painting. But the work I do with them is nonetheless geared more toward the advancement of my work with magic than anything else. They play an important role in my life, but they are not central to it, so much as they help me focus on what is central. Thus I work with them, and this likely is different from how the polytheists approach such matters.

Just because some of my spirits aren't tied to a particular religion or culture of old doesn't invalidate their existence. And while it might be said that such spirits were created by an author or artist, I'd argue that perhaps they weren't created, so much as channeled and experienced. Whether anyone agrees with me or not on that issue isn't important. What's important in the end is that I am doing the work I am called to do. I'm getting out of my own way and letting it happen, letting myself be moved and inspired, so that I can do what I need to do. And really, isn't that the point?

 

Process of Magic Round 6 starting July 3

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Round 6 of the Process of Magic class is starting on July 3rd.

Magic is a process. Regardless of what magical type of magical working you do, you are using a process to shape and define reality as well as yourself. In this 24 lesson class, we will explore what the process of magic is and how it applies to your magical work. The end result will be a dynamic reshaping of your magical practice into a personalized system that you will be able to use to consistently generate results for the betterment of your life. You will learn:

  • How to develop your own definition of magic and why its important to have your own definition.
  • Explore a process oriented approach to magical practices, that will help you optimize their usage in your life.
  • How to personalize your magical system to improve its efficacy in your life.
  • Why its important to do internal work and how that internal work can help you improve your magical work.
  • Understand how to fix mistakes in your magical workings
  • Achieve a new understanding of magic and its place in your life and work.

Whether you are just learning about magic or have been practicing for years the Process of Magic course focuses on what really matters: Learning how to use magic to proactively improve your life. This course will teach you a different perspective and approach to magic that will help you evaluate it and apply it to improve the quality of your life. When you take the Process of Magic Correspondence course you will get the following:

  • Access to an e-list that is specifically for this class, with feedback from other students (Value $5 a month).
  • 24 written lessons sent out each week on Wednesday which includes exercises to help you develop and refine your process of magic (Value $400).
  • Free Teleconferences every other month to discuss the material directly with me! (Value $45 per teleconference)
  • Free MP3 Recordings of previous conferences (Value $45 per recording)
  • A Free E-book copy of Creating Magical Entities (Value $20).
  • The value of this course is around $800, but you’ll get it for the low cost of $100.

If you’ve always wanted to develop your own personalized system for magical work or just wanted to understand how magic works and can be used to improve your life this class is for you. To sign up for this class or learn more contact me.

Money and its relationship to value and experience

pro I recently read a post on pagansquare where the author discussed whether or not it was ethical to charge money for magical services. He didn't really seem to take one side or another in his post and his response to my comment was equally muddled, but it did get me thinking about barter vs money. As readers of this blog know I'm writing a book on wealth magic and as such I've been doing a lot of work and thinking around money as one component of wealth. I've also done a lot of thinking about bartering, especially because, in one of my businesses, I've engaged in bartering. Here's what I've discovered about bartering: You rarely get the value you were hoping to get from the barter. I certainly haven't in my bartering situations and its because bartering isn't attached to a fixed value in the way that money is. So its much easier to be disappointed with bartering and its why I no longer barter for services or products.

Here's the magic behind money: With money you have a fixed, artificial value attached to a service or product. I say artificial because the truth is that the money you pay for anything is actually the smallest value, if the service or product is done right, but what makes money effective is that value is established to a number and that number provides reassurance on both sides of the transaction that value is being exchanged. But like I said if its done right the money paid is the least value you get from a service or product. What a service or product should do is provide an experience where the value easily exceeds the amount of money you've paid. For example when I buy a video game I'm not just buying the software. I'm also buying the enjoyment I get from the game, the hours I spend playing it and the experiences I have. As such the money I pay is a small price, if I enjoy the game. Personally I feel cheated if I haven't replayed a game at least twice before returning it...that's the least amount of value I want to get for a given game.

In my businesses, which are more service oriented, I need to continually provide value that shows my clients why investing money is worth their while. If I can't clearly establish the value of what I offer continually they'll eventually move on. So with the Process of Magic class for example, you don't just get 24 lessons, or a free pdf, but a chance to talk with via a teleconference every other month, plus a dedicated forum to interact with me and the other students. And you better believe that I make it a point to respond to emails regularly when I receive them. I want my students to feel acknowledged, taken care of and appreciated. I want to give them real value because I know that the price of the class should be the furthest thing from their mind if I'm doing it right.

See how this relates to wealth magic? If you want to do wealth magic for your business then one of the first factors you need to consider is how much wealth (value) you are bringing into the lives of your clients. After all, if you want them to bring wealth into your life, you need to be willing to give wealth (value) that justifies their choice to spend money on you. And part of giving that value involves establishing a relationship with your client where s/he feels valued and acknowledged. To do that you've got to think of ways to provide a return on investment that exceeds the artificial value of what you've been paid. You need to give in order to get. Money is the lowest value of what you get and give, but it sets up the initial value and challenges you to improve on it.

Some of my current pop culture magic workings

Drake There's a lot of conversation going on right now about the validity of pop culture magic and spirituality in the blogosphere. If you want to see my response to it, go here. But I figure for this post I'll talk about some of my current work with pop culture magic. While my magical practice isn't as focused on pop culture anymore, it's still a significant component of how I practice magic. I'm pleased that more and more people are integrating pop culture into magic, as it is necessary for the evolution of magic. So below are a few case studies of what I've been up to.

Nathan Drake: Discoverer of lost items

At the beginning of this year I discovered the Uncharted video game series. While the first game was a bit lackluster in my opinion, the second and third game are amazing. You feel like you're in a movie. Even the musical score supports this feeling. In playing the game I felt like I got to make a connection with the main character and there were three traits I felt were useful: His ability to find artifacts that were lost (you collect them throughout the game), his problem solving abilities, and his luck. So I figured if I ever needed to I could call on his help for finding something I've lost. I've had three occasions where I've needed his help. Once was to find my phone (I'd left it in a restaurant) and the other two times were to find keys. Now I imagine that all of you know how frustrating it is to lose something and not be able to find it, especially when you need it. In each case, I started humming the theme song of Uncharted to evoke Nathan. Then I asked him to find the objects in question and show me a map of how to find them. Each time I did this, within a couple minutes I got a map that showed me where to go and each time I found the item in question.

I figure if I'm stumped about a problem I can also call on Nathan to help me discover possibilities for solving the problem. I haven't had to as of yet, but I'm sure I'll need to. And he's lucky...he's fighting scores of goons and who know's what else and he always comes out on top, so that's something else I figure I can draw on.

Kratos: Time and Time Again

If you're familiar with the God of War series then you know of Kratos. What's fascinating about Kratos isn't just the fact that he's the archetype of rage and vengeance (as well as the God of War), but the fact that in most of the games time is an element that he uses to his advantage. The most recent game, for example, allows the character to construct or deconstruct items, while in other games he is able to slow down time. Pretty nifty skills. While I already have some Time Dilation techniques I can use, I'm never one not to experiment or explore an idea that's presented in a different way. So in the case of Kratos its involved actually calling on him to slow or speed time up for me, which has been useful for reaching several business appointments. I could do it myself, but the point was to see what he could do. When he does it, he projects a cone of greenish energy that is used to either speed up or slow down time. It's projected into the environment, but doesn't effect me. And as with Nathan I hummed the theme music to evoke Kratos.

Those are examples of working with pop culture entities and I used them to show how such entities can be used to effect events as opposed to just personality traits. But I'd be remiss in not including a practical pop culture oriented technique that the magician could do him/herself.

Sharing Images

Something I've noticed with blogs is that if you include a picture its more likely to grab the attention of people and get them to go and read your blog. There's nothing inherently magical in that, but it's occurred to me that one way you can charge sigils is to simply share a picture of the sigil on social media. You can even embed the sigil into a picture if you'e got the right skills and then people can charge it up for you. Each sharing of the sigil fires it off while also charging it with the attention of the people who look at it, like it and comment on it.

So those are a few pop culture magic workings I've been working on. There's a few I haven't shared either and those will have to wait until I write the next Pop Culture Magic book. There's a lot to explore with pop culture magic if you have an open mind.

 

 

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.

A Magical Life now available

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My newest book, a Magical Life has just been published by Immanion Press. A Magical Life is the collected blog posts of this website from 2008 to 2010, which comes out to roughly 250 pages (pretty amazing, eh?). In this book I candidly share my life journey as a magician, demonstrating that magic isn't just something you do, but something you live. You'll read about various experiments, some successful, some not, as well as the intensive personal work that I've been engaged in during those years. A Magical Life is a snapshot of the life of a magician, my mistakes and successes, and my on-going work to know myself better, so that I can become a better person. It is also an exploration of magic that shows how magic shows up in the life of a magician.

I'm pretty pleased to be putting this out, because while it is essentially a journal collection  there are a lot of ideas and experiments I worked on in this pages, including some I'd forgotten about. If you wish to order a copy, go here.

Pagan Intolerance: nothing new under the sun

tolerance1 I came across a couple articles decrying the rise of intolerance in the Pagan community. Joseph Nichter discusses his own experiences with intolerance in the Pagan community, while Peter Dybing notes the rise of intolerance in the Pagan community in the last few years. The sad truth is though that this intolerance has been around a lot longer than the last few years. Perhaps, if anything, the internet with its continued evolution has just made it much easier to see the not so pleasant truth of the Pagan community: there is a fair amount of intolerance when it comes to a variety of topics including the practice of one's spirituality, experimentation in magical work, whether magic is even part of Paganism anymore, as well as cultural issues surrounding how Paganism is accepted by mainstream cultures. As someone who has been labeled a fluffy bunny from well before I began professionally writing in 2003, I can tell you that Pagans can be pretty opinionated. I write that tongue in cheek, because I must come off as pretty opinionated in this blog post.

But the reality is that this isn't any different from any other religious community. Christianity has its sects as well, which disagree on matters of doctrine and culture. At least we haven't, as of yet, started calling each other heretics and engaging in more violent activities. Instead it's just online flame wars, and people getting their @$$es handed to them for expressing opinions. I'll probably get some flak for this but I'm used to it. I wish I wasn't though. I wish the Pagan community really was better and not so intolerant. But I learned in the 90's that wasn't the case. I actually went on a hiatus from the community because I was disgusted with the amount of negativity and intolerance being expressed. And in the years since it hasn't changed...This is nothing new under the sun, nothing sudden that has just occurred.

That doesn't mean we just should sit back and not do something about it. However to change it we need to explore what that change would look like. I think a better appreciation for diversity would be a good start. Instead of labeling people as fluffy bunnies or decrying what they choose to do spirituality, we need to accept that even if we don't agree with someone's spiritual choices it doesn't make him/her a fluffy bunny or anything else. Agree to disagree and leave it at that. And if you feel the need to get in a debate ask yourself exactly what that debate is supposed to accomplish. Most like its just you venting hot air because you don't like what someone is saying or doing, but do you really want to invest your time and energy in that way?

And if there are issues to debate let us debate them civilly, with agreed on rules of interaction and dialogue that foster a space of collaboration and cooperation. There are any number of resources that can be explored and used to help accomplish this. The book Dialogue Gap by Peter Nixon, is one such resource. And perhaps most important. Don't let the people who are being intolerant win. Keep doing what you know is right and keep speaking up. I once was interviewed by the Pagan Centered Podcast. Everyone on there was hostile toward my work. It was a great example of Pagan intolerance, but after the interview was over I didn't let it stop me. They could call me names, tell me I was fluffy and hand my @$$ to me, but what they couldn't do was stop me. If anything their intolerance inspired me to continue speaking because I realized that if I did stop speaking up or writing, I'd just be letting them have the final word, and in the process glorify the intolerance that they advocated for. In any given community there will always be those people who are intolerant and have a loud bark. Ignore them and keep doing what you need to do. There will always be intolerance, always be people who will sit in judgement, arguing that they and they alone know best. They are wrong, but you can't change their mind, so focus on your work and make the world a better place. Speak out against the intolerance, as needed, but don't expect to change it, unless they are willing to actually accept that there can be other perspectives in the world that are as valid as their own.

Dark Sun Radio recently posted the interview they did with me late last year. You can listen to it here.

Filtered Reality and the Importance of magical work

reality tunnel Lately I've noticed several acquaintances going on a media diet. They recognize that they are putting too much time into media and saturating themselves with a lot of needless information. I've gone on my own media diets in the past, and still continue to, to this day. For example I don't have Cable, and I don't ever plan on having it. I don't want to watch all the commercials just to see a show, especially when I can watch the same show on netflix without all of the commercials. But my media diet has also extended to the news for the most part. I don't get a newspaper and I don't listen to the radio for news. I do read yahoo news, but I realize I need to cut down on that. Recently I was asked the following question:

Do you think that as the world gets more crowded and people become more busy with work, entertainment, technology etc. that finding this space/time becomes more difficult than say 100 years ago? And if so does that make magical practice all the more important?

The person asked the question in relationship to a status update I made about the importance of making sacred space and time for your magical work. And my answer is that I think all the different forms of entertainment can create a filtered reality, where what is filtered out is a person's awareness of self and the need to make sacred time and space. As much as I am a proponent of pop culture magic and using media for magical purposes, I also recognize that the saturation of media provides so much information, so much other things to focus on that it can be really hard to be present with anything that isn't media related. I certainly see this to some extent with people around me. Everyone is obsessed with having the latest smart phone, tablet, ipad, etc, and most of the time their eyes are on the screen fixated on whatever they are working on or playing (the irony is that right now my eyes are fixated on this screen as I write this). People are so caught up in observing what's going on around them that they are forgetting how to act, how to be present right here and right now.

I think magical practice is more important than ever because it teaches us to act, to rip out the filters and actually explore reality instead of just observe it. Magic is about creating space and time, about engaging reality and what you want to change about reality. The magician knows that a filtered reality is just a reality that has been fed to us as a way of directing what we think and see. All the technology we have doesn't intrinsically improve our lives so much as it filters our lives, distracts us, and otherwise just causes us to ignore our own reality. While I can and do appreciate being able to check email on a phone or write a book on a tablet, I nonetheless also recognize that all the media devices provide a lot of distractions and a way for people to disengage. Magic is about engagement, about being in a specific space and time and using that space and time to interact with reality.

All of the media we have does present us with a lot of information and used just right that information can be helpful for magical work. I enjoy employing pop culture magic when its appropriate, but even then it's about getting rid of the filters and engaging reality directly. And that's really the point of magic. It brings us to the here and now, shows us what could be and allows us to mediate reality instead of just observing it go by. So get off the phone and the ipad and video games and create some sacred space and time for you. Be here now.

A Wealth Magic Entity Experiment

salesentityIn February I decided to create a wealth magic entity, specifically a sales magic entity. I was feeling frustrated with my lack of sales for my day business and I felt that what I needed was some help getting those sales. I realized I was too close to the situation so I created the sales entity (picture above) in order to help me improve my sales. The entity was supposed to help me find my ideal prospects and then help me close sales. I fueled him initially with the stress, frustration, and anger I was feeling about not having enough sales, and then tied it also to any sales activities I did. I finished the creation of him at the end of February. I have since done a variety of sales activities including cold calling, offering classes, and offering free coaching sessions. It's now mid April and since the creation of this entity there has been more activity in my business. From mid March to Mid April I've seen a rise in prospects with me having meetings with 3-5 new prospects each week. These prospects have come from classes I've offered, but have also been referrals and in one case even a person who wanted to connect via Linkedin. The prospects ranged from being solopreneurs to having employees, and some of them are very successful while others are struggling. All of them have needed an outside consultant. Thus far I've had one yes and quite a few no's (which often means not right now).

I'm not ready to rule out that this entity is a success because if you read enough sales books one of the realizations you quickly have is that you hear no quite a lot. In fact, one of my favorite sales books is titled Go for No, which posits that you will hear no a lot more often than you will hear yes. Also this entity has only been in existence for a short while and I recognize that all of my activity is teaching it how it can help me. However, I also see the need to tweak the entity in order to improve its performance. I'm going to focus on improving its prospect finding.

When you create an entity like this one, you can learn a lot from its early performance and use that as an indicator of what to work on or help it improve.  If you expect the entity to be perfect from the get go, you will be disappointed. There is always room for improvement, and if you recognize this, then you can examine the initial actions of the entity and refine what it does so that it produces better results. So that's what I'll do, based off what I've learned so far. It works, but it needs improvement.