energy work

How Chi and the Human Biome interact

One of my current magical projects is the expansion of my work with the human biome*. One of the explorations of this work focuses on the connection between Chi (energy) and the human biome and how Chi can be used to communicate with the human biome (and how the human biome may already be using Chi to communicate). In this short article I thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences, as much to organize these ideas into written form as to share them with anyone who cares to read them. 

What made me first think of the connection between Chi and the human biome is that the cells of the body actually use the metabolic processes and energy released by those processes to communicate with each other. While that communication is radically different from our own understanding of what communication is, it nonetheless is something that happens in our bodies everyday.

Sex and Creativity

khajuarho I've been meditating a lot the past week on sex and creativity and how both are outlets of a person's life energy, as well as being pathways for magical work. I've found that these two expressions go hand in hand. When they are balanced they feed and inspire each other, but if there is too much of one the other can be dissipated...and if there is not enough of one, then it becomes an overriding obsession. These two expressions of life aren't the only expressions, but I think of them as primal expressions for myself. I've used both sex and creativity to define my life at different times and I've found that I need both in order to truly be happy, but I also know that a lack in either one makes me miserable, and that too much usually leads to a burn out of some kind.

In meditating on these two expressions of my life, I've also looked at my history around them. I had several realizations. My period of a few years where I wasn't writing was also a period where I had very little in the way of sexual satisfaction. Once I started to have sex in my life again, I became creative again as well. Sex got the juices going, literally and figuratively. But the other realization was that my creativity suffered when I spread my self too thin.

You get interested in multiple people and when you do you spread your energies thinner and thinner, with less focus on the creativity. It's not an ideal situation if you are a writer or artist. You need to save some of that energy for the art and writing. Sex, and for that matter love, can take up a lot of energy if not properly managed and focused.

Being with Kat has been good for me because in the process of developing this relationship I've come to really understand how much I gave away of myself in the past, and how much I caused my own periods of non-creativity. There were other factors than just sex or love, but nonetheless I feel more creative because I'm not giving away too much of my energy to other pursuits. The time I do invest into a relationship is returned to me with much more focus on the creative work. I think this is why the writing has come back so much. I'm focusing one expression of my life and in turn another is also being focused. I'm focusing on one relationship in my life and in turn that relationship is helping me define my spirituality and creativity and become more productive. As such I moved away from Polyamory to a Monogamous relationship. I don't think polyamory is bad or wrong (It can and does work for some people)...I just realize it hasn't worked for me and that if anything it has enabled my various issues in ways that have been hurtful to myself and others.

I think a given person only has so much time, and what you do with that time and who you spend it with is important. How much of yourself can you give away and still have something left for what's important to you? As I get older I realize that I want to conserve my life energy and keep it focused on what I feel called to bring to the world. Sex is an inspiration for my creativity, a fuel that feeds my imagination, but I don't want exhaust it. Thus I'm finding the Taoist work very helpful as well for keeping that part of my life focused to generate creativity.

In other news, I was on the Green Egg Radio Show. You can listen to the interview here. I recommend fast forwarding past the first 5 or so minutes, because the hosts were reading an introduction of who I am during that time.

 

Answers to Questions 1-17-13

questionThis week I only got a couple questions, but they were interesting ones. One question that was asked was if you try to sublimate negative possibilities via lucid dreams, you also risk losing positive situations attached to the negative possibility. Is there a way to keep the positive possibility while getting rid of the negative situation? I'll admit that I don't use lucid dreaming for this kind of work, but I do have a process I use where I create a field of probabilities, with one in particular representing the possibility I want to manifest into my life. Instead of choosing to experience the negative possibilities, I remove them from the field of probability by turning them into potential energy that feeds into the one possibility I want to manifest. That possibility contains what I want to manifest, which can include all those good situations. I figure I'm not missing anything if I'm creating the reality I want to live in as opposed to avoiding realities I don't want to live in.

The next question: What are your thoughts on materializing aura into tangible forms (also known as flaring energy constructs)?

I'd call this a glamour, because that's what I think when I've done energy manipulation along those lines. I'd never heard of the term flaring before the question was asked, but it essentially involves causing a visible materialization of subtle energy. Whenever I do a professional speaking engagement, I manipulate my aura to actually light up and also to draw people toward me, what I call a glamour. So I think it is possible. I think it has limited uses, and I'll admit I mainly use it for the public speaking because it works great to help create an environment where people are engaged in the talk. I've never really seen the point of doing anything else with it, because there's not much else you can do with it.

The Final Question: I'd be interested in hearing of your experiences (if any) with the aggressive sceptic types. Any bullying/ridicule?

I've actually had this experience with people in the Occult and Pagan community, as well as the occasional skeptic. In regards to the experiences in the Occult and Pagan communities, its mainly been around my choice to integrate pop culture into magic. Thankfully it's slackened off for the most part and nowadays people seem more interested in the topic and applying it to their spiritual work. How I dealt them was to write a couple books on the topic and keep doing my own thing.

And once in a while I've gotten a visit from an aggressive skeptic. Earlier this summer I had such a person making a pest of himself. He wanted me to prove that magic (the sword and sorcery kind of magic) existed. Sad to say I let him down because I don't believe in the sword and sorcery kind of magic myself (but if I could throw a fireball, you better believe I would). With those types you're dealing with people who have a preconceived idea of how they think magic should work. They've bought into the Hollywood version of magic and they desperately want it to be real because they feel powerless. They take that feeling of powerlessness out on people by becoming cyber bullies. In that case I simply addressed the question after ignoring him wasn't working and off he went. It probably also helped that I banned him and found ways to cut down on his ability to contact me. I didn't want to waste anymore time or energy on the person than I had to.

In my experience you can't put too much energy toward the skeptics. They want proof, but they aren't willing to do the work themselves to discover that proof. You're better off ignoring them or letting them see the hard truth...that the magic they want doesn't exist. Real magic isn't parlor tricks, after all.

Do you have a question you want to ask?

Feng Shui and Movement

Feng shuiAt the last magical experiments potluck, one of my friends presented on Feng Shui. She'd just gotten her certification in Feng Shui and she shared what she learned with us. I found it fascinating and I'm going to pick up some books and possibly even take a course or two as I think it could be applicable to my spiritual work, especially with movement. I've always noticed that when I clean my home or we move furniture around that the energy also gets moved. The personality of the home changes, and even the way the energy moves through the house also changes. In fact, one of the suggestions my friend made was that I should change the position of my desk in my office. Originally it was set up so that my desk was facing the window and my back was turned to the door. According to Feng Shui this actually hurts the flow of energy toward your business because you are essentially indicating that you don't want more business. It makes sense in a way and I figured it didn't hurt to move the desk. So I moved it so that now it faces my closet, while still giving me a view of the window and the door. I don't yet how it'll affect my business, but I have noticed a change in the energy of the room and I actually like the current set up better.

When I look at movement as an elemental force one of the things I consider is how I move through an environment. Movement is as much about what you can't move through or around as it is about the actual movement that occurs. I've changed my desk so I sit differently, have a different view and there's a bit more space in the room. I swivel my chair around to reach for things on a shelf and everything is in easier reach than it was previously. If nothing else has changed, how I relate to the room and the various tasks I do in the room has changed. While there's nothing overtly magical about that, it is fascinating because it makes me think about how set up and design influence movement, both the physical and spiritual movement that a person does in a given space.

If you've read Magical Identity, you know that a lot of my interest in magic has shifted toward exploring magic as an ontological activity. My interest in movement is part of the next step of that exploration as I see it as an essential part of an ontology of magic.

How I do healing work

My approach to healing is multi-layered. When I am working on a person I am working on the physical body, as well as the energetic equivalent, and on the emotional level as well. But more specifically I am working on the area of the body that needs healing.

I'm a reiki master (something I don't discuss much), but one of the problems that I've always had with Reiki is that its energy that is channeled through you and its not necessarily a precise experience. Its useful in its own way, but my approach to healing is about precision.

When I heal I work with what I might consider to be lines of force with the person. Some might call this meridians and that would be accurate as well. Some of the healing work involves pulling negative energy out of the person. I'll feel a string of negative energy and I'll start pulling it out and away from the person. Then afterwards I'll replace it with healing energy. While I'm doing all of that, I'll also communicate with the cells of the affected area, so that on a physiological level healing is also occurring. There may not even be a real difference beyond that of perception. One thing I would acknowledge is that my approach to healing is based in part on framing the healing work in a way that is conceptually sound to me. In fact, with healing and magic in general, I think this is true. We draw on a model or conceptual framework that allows us to understand what we are working with and develop a process around it.

With all that said, whenever I do healing work on someone I check in to see if their experiences match what I'm doing. I'll share intuitive insights that come up in regards to emotional issues around the healing I'm doing and see if what I'm getting is accurate to what the person has experienced. The verification that people provide is what tells me the healing is working and that its not all in my head. Their experience and resolution is the result that I'm working toward with the healing.

I do find that approaching healing work as just a physiological issue or an energetic issue isn't the best approach. Incorporating an understanding of emotional stress and trauma seems to be an important part of the healing, so that even if I'm healing a physiological issue, checking in on the emotional level can actually be conducive to helping with the healing of the physiological issue. I think the reason this is the case is because the experience of a health issue brings with it not just the physical symptoms or energetic issues, but also emotional patterns that may need to be explored in order for a person to fully heal.

 

Magic and Biology

Mike recently posted some intriguing perspectives on energy work in his blog. He noted the inaccuracy around the language that's used to describe how energy work happens, and where it interacts with the biology of the person. He uses a concept from computer programming called scoping to demonstrate the need to differentiate the definitions being used to discuss energy work. I find myself in agreement with him, which makes me then think about magic and biology, as it pertains to cells and what's really happening with energy work.

Mike notes the following:

So, let’s apply scoping to energy healing. There’s bio::energy, for the normal energy that makes cells operate when there’s no magick going on (ATP, electrical impulses, etc.), and there’s magick::energy, for the energy we use that makes you feel all tingly. And, most importantly, they are different.

It's clear that biological energy isn't the same as magical energy perse, but people do conflate the two, which can create an inaccurate understanding of what is being done when healing or working with your physiology in general. Mike argues that increasing the energy  of a cell using magical energy doesn't seem to work. I agree with him, and I'll explain why further below, but he also notes that you can use magic to kill bacteria, decelerate a specific biological function (which doesn't involve adding energy, but could involve changing specific outputs in a cell) and finally that you can use magic to cancel one type of energy and substitute another type of energy, basically bringing in a different energetic signature. My experiences with healing have provided similar observations, so I feel fairly confident that he and I are on the same page with how energy work actually seems to work.

I made my own response to Mike and noted that part of what I think occultists are fudging or portraying inaccurately is how we communicate with our biology (if we do) and where does energy fit into that communication. Mike responded in agreement, but argued that its not communication but influence. I note this because both he and I would agree that word choice is very important in describing how a magical process ( or any process works).

Why do I use communicate? Well for one thing I'm not ready to assume that an individual cell isn't intelligent. It may not exhibit intelligence as I understand it, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have intelligence...it just may be a very different type than I know. More importantly however, we have to consider if cells are communicating with each other, and I would argue they are. In both Inner Alchemy and Magical Identity I discuss biophotonic energy, which is an energy that cells emit and seem to use to communicate with each other.

If we go with the process that magic energy can be used to accelerate or decelerate biological processes, we still need to figure exactly how that occurs, and just as importantly we have to ask if the cells have any "say" in how that process is being changed, and if so what kind of say they have. The reason I opt for intelligence when it comes to the cells is that if I'm going to go in and make some changes to my biological structures, I want to work with those structures and I need to be able to communicate with those cells, to get input or if nothing else a stop order when enough energy has been applied and they need to take over with the healing work. From my experiences with working with my body on a cellular level, I'd argue that the magician is not merely influencing a cell, but is communicating with it and that the communication is occurring via the interaction of magical energy and biophotonic energy. It turns out that biophotonic energy can accept a variety of frequencies of energy and since magical energy operates on a frequency it makes sense that communication could occur if biophotonic energy accepts that frequency. If that's the case, then what we're dealing with is communication wherein the cell(s) provide information and even notify us when to stop applying energy in order to let them do what they do.

As a final note I haven't even discussed mitochondria or the metabolism of the cell which could be additional factors to consider when it comes to communication or influence, depending on which route you want to go with. Regardless I think its really important to examine the interaction of magic energy and bio energy if you want to nail down a comprehensive process of magic.

 

 

 

 

 

A recent healing experiment

One of the areas of magic that I find most fascinating is healing work, especially the healing work that is challenging and can't be resolved right away. Currently I'm working on an injury my wife had received years ago from a car accident. She experienced really bad whiplash that damage one of her nerves and ended up getting a Titanium plate inserted into her neck. Nonetheless her neck is consistently sore and tense, as is her upper back. It's the kind of challenge I like because I know it involves some detailed work that doesn't deal with even just the physical issues, but also underlying energetic and emotional issues.

I've been working on her for the past few weeks and we've already seen some changes in her energy level and in her muscles, in terms of the stress and tension that is in them. And not surprisingly, I've also helped her work through some emotional tensions that have been locked into the tension and stress she's feeling, including working some of the trauma of the accident that she hadn't faced.

My techniques have included a combination of Taoist massage and energy work, as well as using energy techniques of my own invention. I massage her neck lightly with the tips of my fingertips, while also pushing energy into her neck in order to start dissolving the tension. I pull out unhealthy energy and then replace it with healthy energy, using a pulling technique I've come up with. I've also synchronized our breathing while I'm doing, to put her into a mild meditative trance that allows her to focus on any emotions that come up as I'm working on her. Consistent work has made her muscles much looser, but I'm careful about it, because I am working with her neck and there's ten years of pain and tension that I'm dealing with.

While I'm working with her, I'll sometimes bring up impressions I get from the work I'm doing. A Few days we talked about the accident and how she felt afterwards as a result of impressions I was picking up. This proved to be helpful for her, allowing her to release some of her anger and fear from that experience.

Initially when I worked on her, it made her neck hurt more, which makes sense because we were starting to release both physical end emotional toxins. She's noted that after I work on her there is a release of physical toxins. We're making slow progress, but I figure if I consistently work on her I'll be able to get rid of the majority of the trauma over the next month.

Why and when I first started Experimenting with Magic

I've told this story a couple of times, but its one that's pivotal to my magical practice and life. I was 18, when I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 depression, otherwise known as manic depression. My family on my mother's side had a predisposition toward depression and I had spent a good part of my life depressed, as much by life circumstances as by genetic predisposition. I knew that such a disorder usually brought with it medication and I was very reluctant to use medication because I didn't want to deal with the said effects. I decided to look toward magic for a solution. I already did daily practice, which included some form of meditation, so that helped quite a bit. Even to this day I still meditate every day, in part because of the mental health, but those benefits alone weren't enough.

It wasn't until I was 20, and now living in State College, Pa, while attending college that I found the solution to my problem. I was reading Hands of Light by Barbara Ann Brennan and Programming the Human Bo-Computer by John Lilly. Brennan talked about Lilly's concepts at length and included an exercise where you could travel into your body as a cell. I thought it intriguing and used the technique to travel to my brain. I then made some adjustments to the reuptake cycle for my serotonin production. This adjustment slowed down the absorption of serotonin, which in turn stabilized the electro-chemistry of my brain. This experiment also started my fascination with neuroscience and magic, which I still pursue to this day.

That experiment taught me to look beyond the conventional perspectives that were available in magical works, but also to look beyond such perspectives within any discipline or tradition. I realized that conventional thinking would always blind people to alternative routes and possible solutions, and that sticking with it would have had me on medication for something that I ultimately could treat through my own methods. I've continued to refine and develop techniques based off that initial working, in large part because I don't believe people should have to suffer because of a biological or genetic predisposition. I do think its important people consult with a doctor or psychiatrist, but I also think there's nothing wrong with trying to find your own answer to the problem, so long as that answer doesn't harm anyone else.

That initial experiment inspired me to start exploring other aspects of magic with an eye toward meshing that magical work with other disciplines. I explored elemental magic with an eye toward applying it to DNA, as an example. Nothing was too outlandish or impossible for me...and even to this day that's still the case. Some people have and likely always will dismiss this as being too open or being flaky, but I think the profound results to the quality of my life speaks much more eloquently than anything else. It's better to pursue your ideas, and your path, than let others tell you how to do it.

Changes in my energy since the elemental switchover

Since I switched over from the element of Emptiness to the element of Time, its been interesting to track other people's awareness of that switchover, as well as starting up a new program of energy work. When I was doing the Emptiness working, my energy was heavy, depressive...I was busy working through all of the blockages and issues in my life. Toward the end of the emptiness working, my energy began to change. I was cleaned out. When I switched to Time, my energy felt different. Different people told me I felt lighter, and I was also a lot happier (and have been since then). Lupa said she noticed a webbing of sorts emanating from me. At the same time, because the emptiness working had cleaned me out, it'd also cleaned up a lot of energetic structures in me. The Spider Goddess of Time told me that I needed to stop using the old daily meditations I was doing and switch to the Elemental fusion system that Mantak Chia has written about. The old practices worked with an energetic body that had been there prior to the culmination of the emptiness working, but with my energy changes so much, I needed to develop a new practice that accounted for that.

For the last couple weeks I've been working the elemental fusion technique each day. I'd tried it before and used it for a little while, but the difference now is that I really don't have any energetic blockages getting in my way. The energy moves differently, but I also realize why the Spider Goddess wants me to bring this technique into my daily workings...it'll keep me cleaned out, because that is its purpose, while also helping me build a new and different energetic body.

Energetically I feel different...I feel so clean. There's no weight on me, no feeling of emptiness that comes across in a way that is hurtful to me. I can still feel some emptiness, but I'm at peace with it. The elemental fusion work, in the meantime, will allow me to continue with my inner alchemical workings, without the baggage that was previously attached.

Running energy with someone

The other night, I had a friend over and we did some energy work together. Her energy is very intense. She's done a lot of work with the Tantra system of energy work, which means it's got a fair amount of kundalini energy being packed, but her personal energy is also a very intense kind of energy. We ran energy together and I put a minimal amount of my own energy into the cycle, enough to contribute, but not so much that I was trying to vie with her energy. I wanted to feel her energy and how it works and also just flow into the cycle...gradually building up to a place of mutual comfort. I find when running energy with someone, it's good to flow with the energy. Don't fight the direction. Let it establish itself and then move with it. By doing so, you'll get a lot more out of the experience. Additionally, add energy gradually. Don't try and overwhelm someone. Finally, if after you've energy with someone, you feel a bit weird...meditate on it...work through the feeling and assimilate the energy or return it to the person.

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Review of Qigong Meditation Small Circulation by Jwing-Ming Yang

I just finished reading Small Circulation by Jwing-Ming Yang and I've been implementing the energy practices in it. It hasn't involved changing much that I hadn't already learned from Mantak Chia's work on the Microcosmic orbit. If anything, it's provided more of a concrete explanation of the energetic mechanics involved with internal energy work. What I find useful about his writing is just how much work he's done to translate documents and explain the processes described in those documents. The illustrations and instructions are straightforward and very helpful in learning how to work with the qi/chi of the body. Overall, I recommend reading this book as it will provide a thorough grounding in energy work techniques.

5 out of 5 Taoist sages

energy work and meditation update

I've been continuing to read up on and pursue the Qigong energy work and breathing practices I've been learning. I'm contemplating adding Tai chi to the mix, and not the Tai chi you think of being done in the park , but the traditional martial form of Tai chi, which while still soft, emphasizes the use of the five elements as part of the martial form of Tai chi. One of the local members of GEM is connected to someone who teaches it from that perspective. For me, it would be an excellent opportunity to start incorporating moving meditation and martial arts into my meditation practice, which has intensified even more as I continue my emptiness working. The moving meditation would add an additional layer to my work, as it would incorporate my body even more into the meditation, while also challenging me to get more into the integral energetic workings that I'm starting to experience more of, as I continue the current meditative work. As is, a lot of the energy work I'm doing is continuing to allow me to get to the core of my emotional responses, reactions, and triggers. The work isn't easy (as you'll get to read tomorrow evening when I post my latest elemental emptiness update), but it is worthwhile. I feel more at peace with myself and others than I ever have, and whilst I am still very much experiencing some tumultuous times, I am also finding my responses are changing, which makes those times easier to navigate through.

I have to admit I haven't posted as much lately about my spiritual work as I have in the past. Then again, I also haven't been writing nearly as many articles or a book on my spiritual work either.  Some of this is because I'm going through an intensely personal time of change and development in my spiritual path. Some of it is simply because I'm in the process of researching a really big project...Every time I think I've taken a step forward, I find more information I need to research and experiment with (but there is an end in sight). Some of it is reflective of changes occurring in my life, specifically my focus on building and running my own business and pursuing being self-employed full-time, and some of it is simply experiencing the moment without having to catalogue it as much.

Still, I will say that I am actively working on a co-written project with Bill Whitcomb, have another possible co-written project with Vince Stevens, which is just about finished with the outlining stage, and yes I also do have my big solo project which is still being heavily researched (and will, when finished, providing what I hope will be a radical change in how people understand magic). And in the meantime, you've got this blog with the occasional updates I offer.

Some insights into Taoist inner alchemy

I'm reading Qigong Meditation: Small circulation by Yang Jwing-Ming. I'm finding this book to be really useful in further refining my understanding of Taoist energy work, particularly on one issue which concerns the retention of semen. If you've read any of Mantak Chia's work, Chia argues that it's absolutely essential to retain the semen during sex in order to avoid losing your energy. I've never been fully satisfied by Chia's explanation, mainly because I haven't fully understood the correlation between the loss of semen and the loss of energy. However in Yang's book this correlation is explicitly explained in a manner, which explains what the issue is, and also adds a further step to the process of refinement. Yang explains that when the semen is full the hormones stimulate the brain and generate sexual desire, which in turn energizes the person...and that the goal of the inner alchemy is to actually transform the semen into Qi (or raw energy) Having sex too frequently can deplete the amount of semen available to convert into qi, while not having it too frequently actually slows down the production of semen...so it seems having a somewhat active sex life is actually important for the inner alchemical conversion process.

When the semen is turned into qui, it can then be used to nourish the body. In fact, what is called marrow washing is essentially a process of taking converted qi and using it to heal/regenerate the body.

The explanation offered does provide some insight into how Taoist inner alchemy works, and specifically what the function of semen is for the energy work being done by the male (though you rarely find much written in regards to the female). I'll be sure to update readers further as I continue reading and/or trying out the techniques in this book.

Thoughts on energy work

Very recently I had an experience with energy work which really amazed me, because of how subtle it was and yet how how powerful as well. It was a case of someone taking over an interaction and showing me how I was actually over-extending myself instead of allowing myself to flow into the moment. This person showed me this a few different ways and each time I was amazed because I realized how much, even now, I sometimes put too much energy into an interaction and end up unbalancing myself.

I've actually started re-reading Relax into Your Being by B. K. Frantzis, and it seems like a good time to re-read and re-mind myself of the principle of flowing into energy. I've recognized before the value of flowing into a situation, but even so it's easy to forget sometimes in little ways. I enjoyed the reminder because it did show me some areas I can improve on with my energy work and also intimacy. Learning is always an experience to be cherished.

I think what I really learned last night is that sometimes to really experience the energy of a given moment, you've got to let go of your preconceptions and desire to control and just be...and let that speak for itself.

Review of Feeding Your Demons by Tsultrim Allione.

This is probably one of the most elegant and useful processes I've found for doing internal work. She bases it off of the Chod ritual done in the Tibetan Bardo and Buddhist systems of work, but makes it sufficiently culture free so that anyone could use the technique and get the concepts behind using the technique. Additionally the technique is broken down into a five step process, which is easy to do and definitely produces results, while also continuing to build upon the internal work you may already be doing. Pick this book up, because it will definitely put a new twist on your dysfunctions, and also help you move past them.

5 out of 5 demons

Energy work as extension instead of contraction

I've started reading Tai Chi Dynamics by Robert Chuckrow, who is a physics professor and explains Tai chi in terms of physics. It's quite a fascinating book and I'm really intrigued by his explanation of how to work with the muscles of the body, because I think it aptly demonstrates how energy work is approached, in terms of attempting to force it to go somewhere as opposed to flowing with it. With contractive muscular force, a lot more pressure is put on the muscle to perform an action. Weight lifters tend to use their muscles in a contractive way. Obviously this can make them very strong, but it also decreases the flexibility they have. Also muscular contraction can only be done for a short time because of the sharp build up of lactic acid.

With extension applied to the muscles, the muscles are stretched in a way that is natural to them...they are kept relaxed instead of contracted. Muscular extension allows a person to perform longer...the lactic acid doesn't build up as fast.

I tried one of the exercises he includes in the book. You relax an arm that you have extended in front of you as much as possible. You gently squeeze your fingers as if you were holding a ribbon in your hand. You then replicate this motion in the muscles in your arm. It's a very subtle movement, and different from how I normally move my arm. There's not as much effort involved, and at the same time it does seem that the chi or internal energy is freed up...it flows more. I will continue working with this to see what I can do with it. Chuckrow notes that when the muscles in the body aren't using contractive force, they become relaxed and the body acts like a container of fluid. Pressure is increased equally across all parts of the body.

Personally I find this fascinating. Having done a fair amount of Taoist breath work, I know that the fire breathing is similar to the contractive use of muscles...sharp and contained. It seems more powerful, but the water approach is more like the extending of muscles. It gradually builds up the force and it can be sustained much longer.

I've only read part of the first chapter and I can already say I really like this book. Check it out if you get a chance!

A Book Review and some book suggestions for Energy Work

I'm starting to read Tai Chi Dynamics by Robert Chuckrow. It was a review copy sent to me by YMAA Publication Center. It does look to be an intriguing book, where the author's background as a physicist is employed to explain how Tai Chi works. I'm intrigued already and will report on it as I continue reading it.

Since I started reading this book and it deals with Chi, or energy, and also because the other night I did a couple of breathing exercises with a student which is designed to use energy in particular ways, I thought I might put up some books suggestions about energy work for those who are interested in the subject.

Embryonic Breathing by Yang Jwing-Ming: An excellent book that does a lot to explain the theory behind chinese energy work. A must read book for anyone getting involved in Taoist energy work techniques. He only presents two breathing techniques, but does an excellent job of describing the techniques.

Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao by Mantak Chia: Chia's take on Taoist energy work, for beginners. He provides some good explanations, though he can be preachy.

Fusion of the Five Elements by Mantak Chia: Utilizes the Microcosmic circuit, but adds in some elemental correspondances for recycling negative emotions. Really useful exercise. I haven't found his later fusion books in the series as helpful, but I will work with them a while longer before passing final judgment.

Breathing, Chi, and Dissolving the Ego and The Great Stillness by B. K. Frantzis are two excellent books on energy work that focuses on dissolving internal blockages and sabotages

Real Energy By Isaac and Phaedra Bonewits: It mostly presents a theoretical consideration of different models of energy work...mostly from a western perspective.

Energy Work by Robert Bruce: Has good exercises for beginner to intermediate energy workers. Also presents some intriguing possibilities around the sense of touch.

Psychic abilities and The Psychic Self-Defense personal training manual by Marcia Pickands: Presents some good beginner exercises for energy workers

The Initiation into Hermetics by Franz Bardon: Some excellent exercises for energy work and also for honing your skills in magic in general.

Hands of Light and Light Emerging by Barbara Ann Brennan: Mainly focused on using energy work for healing both physical issues and psychological issues. Definitely worth picking up. These were the first books I read on energy work back in the nineties.

Inner Alchemy by Taylor Ellwood (Me): Focused on a physiological exploration of energy work and how it can be used for healing as well as communication with the body.

There are many more works out there. I have some I've yet to read or study, but I'll include mention of them on here, as I get to them. There is some intriguing writing in Biology and neuroscience that relates to energy work, which is also worth checking out. I might write that up sometime.

For my own efforts in energy work, I'm continuing to experiment with the emptiness meditation which focuses on the energy of emptiness as well as the feeling of it. And as always I'm continuing my own reading, research, and experimentation in a few other directions.

Review of The Magic Language of the Fourth Way by Pierre Bonnasse

I initially found this book to be really intriguing, particularly in terms of how Bonnasse presented the concept of observing the self as the self is reading. I think it’s a good point to make because people can be resistant to what is read. However, the first half of the book didn’t live up to the potential expressed in the introduction. It came off as pretentious and somewhat confusing. I’ve been told that the confusion is characteristic of Gurdjieff’s works, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to find it in a disciple’s work, but I think that confusion detracts from the overall message that the author is attempting to convey.

The latter half of the book improves when the author focuses on explaining the enneagram and concepts of language and magic and how those relate to the Gurdjieff philosophy. I particularly found the focus on vibrations to be interesting and insightful.

What might’ve helped with this book was some exercises that readers could do in order to implement the theory into action. While I found this book interesting and a somewhat decent introduction to Gurdjieff’s philosophy, I was disappointed by how confusing the book could get, as well as the occasional pretentious holier than thou attitude conveyed by the author. This book could be worth picking up if you want to learn a bit more about Gurdjieff or want to examine how language is treated in his system of philosophy.

3 out of 5

The Emptiness Working Month 1: Rotting

In the first three weeks of getting involved in the emptiness working, I've already had so much come up. Just as the elemental love working was intense from the get go, this working has also been intense from day one. A lot of this first month has involved dealing with insecurities. Insecurities about myself, insecurities about my relationships...The gateways into emptiness. In this first month, I've suddenly found myself surrounded by potential love interests and yet none of them really manifested into anything concrete. It was if I was given a tiny taste, a few drops of water, but then it was taken away. And the ache, after it was taken away was sharp and discordant because it emphasized what was not there. In each case I met people who I could be very interested in, even feel a bit of NRE for and yet there would be something which just didn't quite work...something about each person or situation which said, "This can't happen right now." And I felt each time a sense of loss, a sense of emptiness, because I would get excited, get a taste, and then...There's a pattern there, and yes there is emptiness in that pattern.

Another way emptiness manifested into my life was through realizing just how much the guilt over last year has changed how I approach situations with people. When I was told by someone how much my actions had hurt that person, my wife, and I...and when I saw some of those same patterns repeat themselves, I realized on some level that my focus on my own desires, without any real sense of awareness for how others felt or would be effected, had caused the pain that the people. And when I looked back at not just my recent past, but also much further back, I saw that same pattern and it really hit me how much I had hurt other people because of my selfishness. I carried that guilt with me through most of this last year's elemental working...and I've carried it into this year's working as well. In an argument with my wife, it came out in a way I didn't expect...it came to my awareness, when I realized how much I didn't want to see someone else carry a similar load of guilt. And I see it in how much my actions have changed now, when it comes to people coming into my life...how much more cautious I am. But realizing how much that guilt has changed has left me feeling very sad and alone as well. We bear the weight of our crimes, but sometimes that weight sinks us, and I have sunk further into my emptiness.

And then there was the car accident, which while not horrible, nonetheless brought a sense of mortality with it, and a reminder of a much younger time and a much worse accident.

Finally, to some degree everything has lost some of it's lustre for me. At the core of myself, I feel a dull pain, a haggard kind of awareness. I feel all the cuts I've ever given myself over the course of the years. I feel all these emotions, the anger, the fear, the hunger...all of these emotions which has lead to an experience of emptiness and I realize I need to feel these, feel how I get into the emptiness before I can let go of those triggers. And some part of me feels as if it is rotting...I am in the putrefaction stage of alchemy...desiccating, decomposing, returning to the rich hummus of the Earth...part of the cycle of life, where something falls apart, in order for something else to replace it. Occasionally I look at myself and all I see is what is falling apart...The illusions feel away and what was underneath is not so pretty. I feel like one of the dragon snakes...bloated with all these emotions, growing fat on my own fear, only to have it fall away to revel the rotting core underneath.

And throughout all of this I have felt the Emperor's hand on one shoulder and Xah on the other, one whispering of how to use my emptiness, how to use my emotions and feelings to go and further into a state of mind that while very observant, is also very empty, very dark, and very alone. And XAH tells me, that the fox is about illusion but also uncovering the truth beneath the illusion. Both tempt me...both are dangerous to me in their own way...but the emptiness itself is it's own temptation. the gateway is open, and as I work through these feelings that lead to emptiness, it beckons to me...

Occasionally, I've felt moments of oneness with the emptiness, of a kind of peace. It's a rare feeling. And when I feel that way, the energy of emptiness has interwoven itself into my own energy...my hands have grown very warm, warmer than other times I do energy work, and the world has actually become crystalline...everything stands out in sharp relief...perfect.

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I went to a fetish event tonight. What waste of time. I've actually noticed that such events tend to enhance my feeling of emptiness and aloneness. I think it's because what I see is something I would enjoy, but it lacks something I'm looking for and so consequently all I really see are people going through the motions. Or perhaps I'm just consoling myself by saying that and really not admitting that what I feel is a terrible sense of loneliness that these events evoke. I see what is had and yet I cannot seem to have any of it. I look at these people and I have nothing to say or to offer. I realized something very important about how I handle social situations. Unless there is a very specific purpose to the event, it's hard for me to feel comfortable enough to initiate conversation. I'm great at in-person networking where I ask what do you do? But asking that at a fetish event does not exactly make one interesting...maybe I should start asking: What fetish do you do?

A friend of mine said, tonight, that she rarely feels the emptiness because as a priestess she is a vessel for whatever she works with. I'm not a priest. I'm a magician. I occasionally with entities or deities, but I am not filled by those deities. I'm not sure which of us is better off: Her being filled with whatever, good, bad, or otherwise, or me, empty, a person stumbling around, looking for something to fill that emptiness, which never quite gets filled.

At some point though (and this point incidentally is like now) you realize you can't fill it...that in fact maybe the point isn't to fill it. Emptiness can be about acceptance, as much as it can be about what is lacking. I can look at what I don't have and be filled with bitterness, anger, and fear, or I can accept what I don't have and let it go into that emptiness.

I've been experimenting with several meditation techniques in regards to emptiness. One I've done at fetish events, is to simply sit down and start meditating using Taoist breathing techniques and circulating the energy. This can lead to a very observant and mindful state of mind, and the emptiness ends up being channeled into energy I can feel...it becomes a current.

The second technique is one I've started adopting in the last couple of days. I go upstairs with a pillow. I have a blanket there...no heat on. I lay down initially in a pose which resembles the hanged man. One leg extended, the other bent, with the foot, placed beneath the other leg, arms outstretched, one eye open and one eye closed, One looking to the future, the other eye looking to the past. I eventually have to shift my legs...I'm still very flexible, but I can feel my age and it is uncomfortable to keep my one leg bent for a long period of time. This meditation can easily last an hour minimum, as it is very much a fluid state of being and one spread across time. Incidentally if you do this meditation, make sure no one disturbs you. The consequences can be unnerving as your sense of time is stretched out all over the place.

You basically end up drifting across time during this meditation. At the same time, all those feelings of emptiness just end up getting accepted and flow away into the river of time. I not only come away with an altered state of mind and a subconscious awareness of what to do next, and even some conscious manipulations of time, but I also come away a sense of great calm. Undoubtedly I'll be doing this meditation more, so keep your reader eyes peeled. I look into the past and the future. I am not present, because present doesn't exist, yet I have presence in all things and none, everything and nothing.

********

The last week has continued in a similar vein to the rest of this month. As I work with this element the past has been dug up. That's where the emptiness began, so it's fitting I go to the root of it in my explorations of this element. I use my meditation technique on days when the emptiness particularly feels present, so that I can work with that feeling, even as I extend my mind across time into memories of future and past.

The process of internal work

I think the hardest aspect of internal work is when you face the root of the issue that you're working on.. On one hand, you now know what you're really dealing with. On the other hand, you're also faced with the question of, "Now what?" I was thinking of that today as I walked around the local park, working through an issue that I've been struggling with the last couple of weeks. I generally find in doing internal work that there are four stages that occur. The first stage is a sudden realization that something is bothering you. You can't quite pinpoint what it is that's bothering you beyond dealing with the immediate experience that you're involved in. That immediate situation is really just a symptom of the actual problem. It definitely needs to be addressed, but chances are it's based on a behavior pattern that can really deep into the past. It's a reaction to the original core issue...but you don't know what that issue is yet...you can identify characteristics...I feel jealous about X or this made me angry, which comes in handy later on, but the symptom is just that...it's a symptom...it's pain's it's something sending a message that something is wrong. Once you've dealt with the symptom, you still have a ways to go.

Stage 2 is digging. You start comparing the characteristics of the latest situation with the characteristics of previous situations where you suspected you acted in a similar manner. For instance, if you found yourself competing with someone because you felt jealous, you would look in your past for related incidents with other people. By finding a relationship, you could then begin to trace the issue back to the root cause of it.

Stage 3 is discovery of the root cause, or if you will the root emotion. For instance, just because you feel jealousy in incidents where you compete with someone, you shouldn't assume that jealousy is the motivating emotion. Remember, it's a symptom, so while jealousy is an emotion in its own right, it may just be a symptom of what you're feeling at your core. Perhaps, for instance, you are competing and feeling jealous because you really want to feel acceptance from other people. Acceptance is definitely not the same emotion as jealousy, but it can inspire jealousy depending on how acceptance is obtained. Once you know what the root cause is, you're at the now what stage. You've identified the root problem, and you're consciously aware of it. Congratulations! But now you have to figure out what you will do with what you've discovered. This can be hard to figure out, because you're also facing what really motivates the behavior you want to change and facing that root cause can be a bit of a doozy.

Stage four is figuring out what you'll do now that you know what's motivating your behavior. You've got a few options:

A. Do nothing. This might seem like the easiest, but unless you are completely comfortable with the behavior and the consequences that result from it, this will come back and bite you in the ass until you decide to really make a change.

B. See a therapist. Working with a therapist can help you explore these issues safely with another person present. Also the therapist will to some degree hold you accountable to make a change. This option can be combined with option C

C. Utilize a form of mindful awareness to consciously monitor yourself. This is greatly enhanced by pathworking, meditation, energy work, or some other form of internal work. This can be done without option B, though I'll note this can be tough work and will challenge you because as you dissolve the issues, you also leave room for more subtle issues to rear their head. I recommend that if you choose to do only this option that you also make sure that you know you can stop and see a therapist at any time. Don't go deeper than you are comfortable with. I will note that using meditation and mindful awareness for the last three and a half years has definitely helped me dissolve a lot of unhealthy behaviors, but it's been intense work and sometimes fairly wearing. I know what keeps me focused on doing it is the awareness that as I continue to do this work, I am getting healthier and happier and I consciously know what informs my choices.

I am still doing a lot of internal work. The stages I described here, are pretty accurate to the kind of work I've been doing. Internal work isn't necessarily glamorous or something very overt. It doesn't require much in the way of magical tools, or sigils, but the payoff I think is that you are more conscious of your choices and can control yourself more readily...and the need to do magic to solve problems actually goes down because you're no longer acting out your unhealthy behaviors.

Bonding with the Land

I don't get tattoos very often. In fact, I only get them on special occasions. I got a phoenix to say goodbye to the east as well as to signify my rebirth from the ashes of academia. I got a Green wolf paw on my left breast, when I married my wife. Today I got a Chinese Blue Dragon. I have only two more I'll potentially get, but those are stories for other times. Let me tell you the story of the blue dragon. I met the blue dragon long ago, off the coast of Maine. I threw a necklace to it, an offering to it, something of me for something of the fey wildness of the ocean. I didn't encounter it again until I moved to Portland, OR. Portland and Oregon's energy have always felt safe to me...felt like home. When Lupa and I hiked the Multnomah falls for the first time, the blue dragon came out of the water and kissed me and asked if I remembered it.

It told me that it wanted me to bond to the land here. The last time I bonded to the land it was in Ohio and dissolving those bonds had been painful and Seattle had rejected me...but Portland and Oregon wanted me. So I said yes and agreed to get a tattoo as part of the bonding...I'd given blood and saliva to the land before, and this time a tattoo, with pain and some blood given again to the land. I was originally going to get the tattoo in November of '07, but other things happened, including not having a job. And eventually when all of that got figured out, the blue dragon told me to reschedule the appointment. So I did. And today I went in.

My tattoo artist at Infinity Tattoo, Alice Kendall, set me up, got me shaved, and then inked. The outline took a while...careful tracings of lines, and I felt the blue dragon's presence. He reached over to me. His energy touched mine. He asaid, "Make an offering of your pain and blood to the land, to me." And I did. I made an offering...I felt my pain start flowing to the dragon, and to the rivers and the land.

I felt my pain flow and I felt an exchange of energy come into me. When she started filling in the color of the tattoo, the exchange quickened...more pain flowing out, but more energy of the land flowing in. As she kept inking, I relaxed into the pain. I didn't fight it. I let it become part of me. I let it go. I let my mind slip into a gray void, but through it all the blue dragon was there, whispering to me about the land, whispering to me about IYR...whispering to me about the secrets of water and reality...

When the tattoo was finished, I felt half in this world, half in the land. I tipped the artist a nice fee...The Blue dragon was pleased...always honor those who help you connect to me.

I left, got into the car and the blue dragon settled into the tattoo, with one last whisper..."You and I are bonded to each other now"

[wp_caption id="" align="alignnone" width="700" caption="The Blue Dragon"]The Blue Dragon[/wp_caption]

[wp_caption id="" align="alignnone" width="700" caption="The Blue Dragon"]The Blue Dragon[/wp_caption]

Energy Work update

I've recently been working with Mantak Chia's Cosmic Fusion energy technique, which builds off the elemental fusion work. I've so far done two of the trigrams, and I'm going to add the third tonight with the breath work I'm doing. The benefits I'm noticing are a stronger cleaning out of the energetic and physical body, but also a condensing of the energy being recycled...so basically it enhances the elemental fusion work. I have to say that the Taoist system of energy work is probably the most thorough one I've worked with so far, especially because the emphasis is on integrating the energy work into the body. I feel the effects and my health has improved because of doing the energy work. It's much easier to maintain my energetic reserves as well. I'll post updates as I continue with integrating it into my life.