elemental love work

That identity thing again: Being a report on my latest projects

I've been saying for a while now that a lot of my work in magic focuses on identity. I haven't gone into a lot of detail, but that's because the pieces are getting sorted out and catalogued in my mind and this takes a while. But I recently started reading Nature and the Human Soul by Bill Plotkin and he strikes on some stuff that I've hit on before in Multi-Media Magic about identity. In MMM, I defined as the agreement between the person and the universe as to the person's place in the universe. Plotkins takes it further when he says that a thing's ultimate place is defined by the relationship the thing has with everything else. And I find myself agreeing with that...not just relationships with other people or even other animals, but the relationship a person has to the sense of self in those relationships, as well as to the place where s/he lives, to nature, to the plants, the air, the elements, etc. When I think about the elemental work of the last few years, the effect it's had on me, the effect it continues to have, I am struck by the realization that it and really all of my magical work has been a way of changing my identity, renegotiating the terms of the agreement with the universe so that my place is somewhere different from where it was, which is basically what I wrote about in this article. Reading Plotkin is a further confirmation that I'm on the right path with identity and it's role in metaphysics. Of course I've gotten other confrimations in the books on psychology and neuroscience I've been reading, but I like it when I get confirmation from a different perspective and in fact reading Plotkin's book is looking into a different perspective.

I'm also pleased because I'm nearly finished with the research of my identity project. I've been spending the last year reading and exploring this concept. I have a lot I'll need to put together and I do need to go back and reread a few books I haven't touched in a couple of years such as Wilson's Prometheus Rising, but it is coming together. What will be particualrly fascinating is explaining the different between the concept of consciousness and identity, because there is a definite difference...as well as explaining how all of this relates to concepts of space/time magic and inner alchemy.

You know the love work has been an exploration and renegotiation of identity for me. It started out with the relevation that there was some definite problems in my understanding of love and how it manifested itself in my life, as well as how to express my desires...and it's changed so much since then...and it is so fascinating to see this change in effect...not a change to get a material result or call up a demon/deity, but instead a very focused internal change that nonetheless shapes and changes how a person relates to everything he has connection to more profoundly than any sigilized result could...

Oh and I have several ideas of what my next elemental working will be...but I can't share yet, cause I need a bit of time to see if that's what I really need to work on, or if it's just fanciful thinking.

Elemental Love Work: Some musings on self-hatred

From John Welwood's Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, "There would be no hatred of others without hatred of self. If we truly felt good about ourselves, we would have no interest in wasting precious life energy resenting or attacking anyone. The urge to blame others arises only out of feeling bad about ourselves, which originally developed out of not feeling truly seen or honored by other people. Self-hatred is the hidden underbelly of all the violence and nastiness in the world"


"Trying to be good can never result in a secure sense of inner value because this very effort presupposes that we are not good enough and thus only reinforces our self-hatred. This sense of unworthiness also makes it hard to let love in, even when it is available. Not loving ourselves makes it hard to let others really love us. This frustrates those who are there for us, causing them to withdraw and leave"

Some interesting thoughts on self-hatred. I think there's some validity here. As I've come to change my relationship with love and consequently my realtionships with others around me, I've been able to see how much many of my actions toward others has been motivated by a dislike of myself. While I don't think being self-obsessive about it is a solution, I do know that recognizing what motivates your choices does contribute to the quality of life you can live. To be seen by others or honored by others, first you need to see yourself and honor yourself. Good and bad fall away in that awareness...it becomes something more primal, more direct...something you feel...the emptiness at the core of the self in my case.

I mentioned to my wife today that I've been growing more selective about who is in my life and what I'm doing in my life...That selectiveness, far from being a judgement of other people, is actually a statement of love to myself, a recognition of what really nurtures me and provides me the challenge of growth. Some of my love work has really challenged me to find what invigorates and excites me, and I recognize that the enjoyment I take from the activities I'm doing is part of loving myself and valuing myself. It's also a recognition of what I value for myself as an identity.  In choosing to look at my selectiveness in this way, it allows me to judge less, and focus more on living and loving.

Working with love as an element of my spirituality has easily shown me just how important it is to not divorce my spirituality from the other expressions of my life. In unifying those expressions, I can start to let go of the frustration the self hatred, the other feelings which are really an investment of emotional energy in things I have little control over. In choosing to live and love my life, I'm consciously choosing how to manifest my life and steering it toward what will satisfy me, instead of keeping myself in the detritus of my dissatisfaction

Elemental Love work: Grievance

I'm reading Perfect Love: Imperfect Relationships by John Welwood as part of my love work. One concept he discusses in this book is Grievance, which is an inability to let go of how people hurt you, but also a means of empowerment, of feeling righteous and better than those same people. It was actually quite timely when I read this because I was feeling fairly greivous last night about a couple of matters, and after reading the chapter on grievance I recognized what I was feeling for what it was.  While feeling Grievous I did feel empowered if only in the sense that in my bitter complaints I could justify my being right over whoever I felt was wrong, and yet afterwards as I read that chapter I realized I'd been pretty unfair and judged those people fairly harshly, and without really being able to say I knew them. So last night has given me a lot to consider about what I was feeling grievous about and what kind of internal work I can do to help me process and let go of it. Something else I realized is just how good it can be to have someone to speak with about this stuff. Lupa and I had a long discussion about first the grievous feelings I felt and then who we considered close friends. It was an illuminating conversation that helped me appreciate her because of how much more empowered I felt being able to really be vulnerable and speak of and to the emotions that underly the greivous feeling I was initially experiencing. The true power of love, it seems to me, is to be able to be vulnerable and open, to really see yourself as well as being seen by someone else.

When I think about my history with grievance, I have to say that I have held onto grievances longer than it was worth doing so. I've managed slowly but surely to let go of some of them, which is a victory for me, but there are still some I've held onto and it's really a covering for the actual wound that the grievance is scabbed over. Still, even managing to let of some of those grievances is a step in the right direction. Now knowing more about grievance, I have some direction for my internal work...and perhaps will get better at releasing grievance as a result.

Elemental Love Working Month 9

So for a while I was posting my elemental love work in my live journal, but I've moved it over to here, starting this month...though I'll keep the rest in my livejournal as that suits me to keep it there. Nine months in and I just celebrated my anniversery with my wife, and the anniversery of when we met in person. We've been married two years and I did a lot of thinking about that and what marriage has taught me these last two years, and in particular the last nine months. This last month has continued me on that path of being open and vulnerable with her, without expectation....just letting her in and also letting myself in. Seems to me that you can't really know yourself or love yourself until you let yourself in to you...and if that sounds like a paradox, its really not...we build so many shields to other people that we end up putting ourselves outside the shield as well. No one wants to feel again the shame or humiliation for something done in the past, and yet to really be with yourself is to sometimes feel those feelings again so you can really let go of them, instead of holding them in you.

So in opening up to Lupa, I have had to open up to myself...and really that process has been occurring for the last nine months, not just with her, but with other people. Sometimes I've shut it down, not really able to handle that vulnerability...It takes work, a lot of effort, and there's also selectivity, because not just anyone fits the bill in terms of being open with someone...and it takes honesty, which isn't a quality I've ever had an easy relationship with. When you are used to hiding from yourself so that you hide from others, it takes work to stop hiding. For me, a victory is when I can choose not to act on impulse, but can stop, really look at it and then bring it up to myself and Lupa. No easy thing to do, but when it happens, I do feel better for it.

I think what I've really learned about love is that the initial period of being "in love" may seem like the best time to people, but what's really the best time is finding that intimacy, that belief in each other, and in yourself, when you've been in a relationship for a while. That requires a lot of communication, but also openness with someone. At the same time I have to admit I can really appreciate my intuition on who I can be open with...it's not for everyone that I could be so open with. Openness with yourself or someone else takes time...it has to happen at the pace that you're comfortable with, even in the other person wants you to open up at a different pace. But as a person opens and really lets someone in, as well as hirself, it does make for an opportunity to really discover the self and share it.

In thinking about the last nine months of love work and what has been asked of me in this work...As each layer has come away, as each moment has revealed to me what I need to sit with, as each person has come into my life or already been there, or left, I find learning opportunities...desire, intimacy, friendship, openness...and really a challenge to myself is what will you do with all that you've learned...How will you use it, now that you've experienced it...what meaning will these last nine months and the next three months have in the book of your life.

The answer is being written, found, chosen, lived, slowly but surely.