Over the last year or so I’ve been doing a lot of work with R.J. Stewart’s Sphere of Art ritual. With the Sphere of Art you create a sphere by working with the four elemental archangels. I’ve modified the SOA working to include three additional archangels, one for the underworld, one for the cosmos, and one to tie it altogether. This modification hasn’t been done lightly, but rather has occurred as a result of a careful reading of both the Sphere of Art and works by William G. Gray who references the other three archangels extensively.
3-24-2019 I had a realization today about my passive aggressive behavior. When I am passive aggressive its because I’m in a situation where I don’t feel like I’m in control. The passive aggression is a way to try and get that control back or undermine it for the other person. When I trace this behavior to its origins, I find it goes back to my childhood because I wasn’t allowed to express my feelings of anger or anything else along those lines without getting punished.
Having this realization is helping me look at situations where I don’t feel like I have control and helping me see how that behavior is coming out. And its helping me realize I do have a choice. I can choose how I express my feelings. I can choose to be passive aggressive or I can choose to be direct, even in situations where I may not feel I have control.
I was recently reading Stealing Fire, which is a book that explores states of ecstasy and how people are harnessing those states deliberately. If I have one complaint about the book its that they never really touch on ecstasy shows up in magical practices, but it got me to thinking about the place of ecstasy in magic and why ecstatic states of being are so important to magical work.
I’d argue that any altered state of consciousness can be lumped under ecstasy of some sort because what seems to be a defining characteristic of ecstasy is an the experience of altered consciousness. And ecstasy of some type seems to be essential to magical practices, because what ecstasy necessarily provides us is the suspension of the everyday conscious mind with its attendant disbelief. I think of an ecstatic state as a state where your perception of possibilities and reality is intertwined, where your awareness of past, present and future combines to create a singular moment where you are, and you can connect a desired possibility and provide it a path toward manifestation. An ecstatic state of consciousness is a state of flow.
On New Years Eve I fell in my shower, and I ended up bruising my ribs. I fortunately didn’t break or fracture them, but even bruising them was painful and for the first couple of weeks it hurt to pretty much do anything. It typically can take up to 6 weeks for bruised ribs to heal and I knew as a result that I was going to have to take a break from my usual exercise routines and just focus on letting my body heal. But I also figured there was no reason I couldn’t also help my body with that process of healing.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between magic done for the sake of experience and magic done for the sake of results. I don’t think either type of magic necessarily better than the other, but I think the underlying purpose for doing the magical work is significantly different and worth recognizing because it also informs your own motivations for why you’re doing magic.
I’ll admit that a lot of my thought around this topic is driven by my own magical experiences and experiments of late, which have driven more by a desire for the experience than for a specific outcome. Practicing magic for the sake of experience I find is changing my perspective on magic. Before I get into that further though let’s briefly define and clarify what magic for results and magic for experience looks like.
10-22-2018 Today I transitioned over to the element of Creativity. this year I am changing how I work with elemental energy completely, by using the Sphere of Art as the elemental invocation and balancing force. And I am working with archangel Metatron in particular, but in tonight’s working I was reminded that I am really working with all of them. I did the Sphere of Art full invocation and then I meditated and in the meditation I was taken deep and experienced all 7 of the archangels as 1, which makes sense because they are ultimately reflections and embodiments of each other. They told me I would be building off everything I had learned this last year and this work would play an integral role in manifesting my path forward.
I’ll admit I found it appropriate that the final book cover, for Manifesting Wealth, came in today. It was a further confirmation from the archangels. I feel primed and ready to explore creativity and my relationship with it this year.
Whenever I’ve come home from a festival or a weekend intensive or wrapped up an intense working, I find that one of the challenges I’ve face is how do I come back from that intense experience. After all I’ve stepped away from my mundane life for a period of time and experienced something outside the norm…and now I have to go back.
Chances are that if you’ve practiced magic for any length of time you’ve had this experience too. And the question is how do you come back from that and go back to your normal life? It sometimes feels like culture shock when you try to go back to the regular routines of life because where you were spiritually, mentally, and physically was so different and going back to your regular life is a shock.
Recently I was asked if you could physically change the past with space/time magic. The person specifically brought up a technique I mentioned in Space/Time Magic, where you can influence your past self via a meditation technique in order to guide and influence that past self.
Throughout my life I’ve had moments where I’ve encountered a future version of myself that gave me advice or pushed me in a specific direction or warned me away from a direction I might have gone down. I know when I’ve followed that advice/push or pull in a specific direction its generally worked out in my favor, but it does create an intriguing question.
Was I interacting with my future self or with a version of my future self, or what?
I was asked by someone why magic he was doing for himself was less effective. He told me that that until recently the magic done for himself had worked fine, but that then suddenly became less effective. He wondered if it was because he had put a shield up or if the magic was less effective because it as an attempt to avoid self sabotage. Finally he asked what could be done when your magic seemed less effective.
I don't know the specifics of what he was trying to do with his magical work, but some thoughts did come to mind, based on my own experiences and helping other people diagnose issues they are having with their magical practice. I find that when a person isn't getting a result or their magic is less effective, its usually because they are self-sabotaging in some way. They may not really want what they think they want. Or they may not feel they are worthy of what they want. Additionally there may be some internal resistance because what they want goes against some moral or ethical code.
The other day on the Magical Experiments Facebook page, a commenter summed up his challenge with magic by sharing, "I'm trying to find an intellectual understanding along with a spiritual understanding of it without losing myself to it."
I think this is a challenge many people experience on their journey with magic as a spiritual practice. We can try to define magic as a set of practical techniques or describe it as a way to exercise our will, but at a certain point, in my experience, you move beyond such definitions when you recognize that magic moves and shapes the practitioner as much as the practitioner seeks to move and shape it.
Recently I binge watched the last season of 12 Monkeys and as a result I had this dream of a time paradox I was trying to solve and every time I thought I solved it, it would change and I would try to solve it again. Finally I came to a point where I realized it couldn't be solved and that the only solution was to let go. Yet it was such a hard decision, because letting go went counter to everything telling me I could solve this time paradox. But the longer I kept trying to solve something the harder it was.
So eventually I let go. I stopped trying to solve the time paradox, the problem, and just moved on. And when I did that, the dream ended. The stress went away. The problem was solved.
When I look at a given magical ritual or working or spell I can break it down into steps. It may not be written that way, but realistically a magic spell or ritual is a set of step by step instructions that you are using for the purposes of doing some type of spiritual work. And when you approach you own magical work that way and organize it into specific steps it can help you get perspective on what you're doing and start seeing the underlying process of magic.
For the last half year I've been memorizing a ritual. What that process has looked like is I would spend a week memorizing the lines for one particular segment of the ritual and making sure I really had those lines memorized. Then I would move on to the next segment. In the midst of this memorization I also ended up modifying the ritual and adding some additional lines of my own, so those also needed to be memorized and integrated into the working. I needed to get a feel for how what I added fit into what already existed.
In the last few months I've been engaged in a process of dissolution. It is the dissolution of identity constructs that no longer serve me and have become burdens instead of liberators. Why I've done this is because holding on to those identities becomes a form of attachment, complete with tensions that keep a person bound in stasis.
My process for dissolution has involved a combination of meditation exercises and practical exercises where I've made changes in my life.
If there's one problem that stands out to me about how Magic is taught or explained, its that people rarely take the time to really explore how magic works.
Yet's what really worse is the lack of curiosity in exploring how magic works. Instead we're told, "Don't worry about how or why magic works. Just do it."
What frustrating advice!
How can you just do magic, if you don't understand what you're doing or why you're doing it? What's being taught is basically push button magic. You push the button and you hope something happens.
That's not an effective way to practice magic and it doesn't empower anyone when they are told to just do something. Additionally, it makes it very hard to personalize magic or experiment with it.
The other day, a student of mine asked me, "Taylor, what's the difference was between magic and the law of attraction? Why should I practice magic if I can just use the law of attraction in my life?"
It was a good and fair question to ask. Why should someone practice magic, which seems like a lot of work, when they can just adhere to the law of attraction and use that for their life.