meditation

How Marrow Breathing, Neurotransmitters and Qi gong healed my ribs

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.

How to untangle Jealousy from Creativity

I’ve been reading The Courage to be Disliked and one of the ways this book has been helping me involves how I look at creativity and jealousy. When I look at my own experience as a writer and magician I can point to moments where I have felt jealous and have reacted to that feeling in ways which really hasn’t helped my spiritual practice or my writing. But jealousy is all too easy to feel and respond to.

2018, for me, has been this huge process of coming face to face with the things in my life that serve to destabilize my work, productivity and overall life quality. And since I switched over to creativity as my element to work with that too has brought me face to face the issues that have haunted me.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stability Month 7

4-23-2018 Today I was sitting with a feeling of embarrassment and humiliation that I felt and I read When Things Fall Apart and it was the right reading for the moment, because she talks about that moment of feeling squeezed, of feeling like a failure and that's the moment when your mind opens up, if we allow it to. And I felt that way, and yet in that moment of embracing it, I then felt this deeper acceptance of myself, this deeper sense of stability. Yes I'm feeling this way because of x, y, and z. And yes being in the moment can be hard, to feel a sense of shame is never easy, yet embracing that feeling is also liberation. You aren't bound to that shame, instead you use it to free yourself of the narrative.

How to dissolve identity

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.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stability Month 2

11-23-2017 I've been waking up with fear and anxiety each day. And each day I've been doing the Taoist dissolving meditation and working with Elephant to be present with what I'm feeling. I've also been reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown lately and its extremely relevant because its really a book about how you come back from failing.

And something which really stands out to me is that she explains the importance of being really present with those messy, uncomfortable feelings you have around failing. She basically says we need to be curious.

How to use meditation for internal work and magic

When most people think about meditation, the first idea that comes to mind is a person trying their best to empty their mind of any thought. And no surprise here, but the idea of doing that successfully can actually be intimidating.

But while emptying your mind can be part of what meditation is about, its not the entirety of it. Sometimes its not even the purpose of the meditation. 

I've had people tell me over the years that they can't meditate, but I'd argue that any person can meditate. However there isn't a one size fits all approach to meditation.

Some thoughts on Applying Process to Meditation

meditation I've just finished reading Working on Yourself Alone By Arnold Mindell (See Review below). He takes an interesting approach to meditation, breaking it down into a process and actually showing different types of meditation processes that a person can work with. What I like best is that he shows how to achieve meditative states of awareness using different channels of experience. This is not something usually addressed in works on meditation because the focus is on teaching meditation within a specific cultural context, but the value of this kind of approach is that meditation is approached as a process with specific steps that can be followed and broken down as needed, in order to determine what works or doesn't work.

Meditation as a process isn't confined to one way of doing meditation. There are different types of meditation and different results. Pathworking, for example, doesn't work with the body in the same way that a breathing meditation would work. Perhaps what most interest me with this book is that the author claims that its not pain that motivates people to change but rather a mixture of love, self-discipline, and enlightenment. I think there's some truth to that, but I think that pain can be a good motivator toward change. Certainly it causes us to be aware of who we are and how we experience life. However, I'd say that following through on sustained change is where discipline, love, and enlightenment come into play. These keep us on track, while also informing us of the progress we've made with our work, and even in meditation there is a need to see some kind of result (though how that result manifests is something that can only be experienced as opposed to predicted or defined).

Meditation as a process does, for the most part seem to be applied around the body. What this means is that the body is an essential element of the process. The body needs to be factored in as an essential element of meditation that be examined to understand what is stopping someone from effectively meditating. I think that the mental chatter should also be included in that examination as a symptom that can be explored to discover root issues that the person needs to work on. I've used mental chatter or monkey mind in my meditations to discover or explore issues that are stopping me from being fully present in my meditation and this in turn has lead to internal work that has allowed me to process and heal from those issues. Some of that work has also involved movement, which the author touches on at some length. Movement is an overlooked component of the meditation process because of the usual stereotypes associated with meditation, but even in those stereotypes movement is a component that has relevance to meditation and its effectiveness or lack thereof.

I like to apply process to everything I do, because understanding the activity flow and components helps you understand what works or what needs to be changed. A given technique becomes much easier to change or replicate once you understand how it works and what components define it. You can strip away the non essentials and still get something significant to happen because you understand the underlying principles that inform how the process works.

Book Review: Working on Yourself Alone by Arnold Mindell

The author applies a process perspective to meditation, explaining how different meditation techniques work and how to achieve meditation by switching techniques. I found it to be a useful book, especially as he demonstrates it through his own practice. He shows how to switch to different meditation modalities and also shows how to strip the technique of cultural context. One downside of this is that he is stripping away certain contextual information that might be useful for the meditation practice. Nonetheless the author does a good job of exploring how meditation works and what can be done to more effectively meditate.

The Value of Refining your Spiritual Practices

While I am an experimenter, I also believe in learning different spiritual practices. All of the practices that I study are subject to revision and I'm excited when I'm able to learn more about a tradition that will help me refine the practices that I'm doing. I'm reading the Six Yogas of Naropa right now. It's a book that is providing me insights into how I can refine the Tibetan shamanic techniques I've been practicing. Short of working with an actual lama its the best resource I have available.

I think its important to continue your practice. You can't afford to be complacent, because there is always something you could learn that will change how you practice it. A while back I was reading a book on core breathing practices for Taoist meditations and it changed my understanding of my breathing practices and how I practiced them significantly. While I was already getting a lot out of those practices, learning how to refine them and learning more about some of the context that informed those practices helped me understand what I could do to improve my workings and helped me appreciate what I was doing.

A magician should always be curious about the magical practices s/he does. No matter how much you know or who or what you've learned those practices from there is always room for refinement and improvement. And the magician who accepts that there is room for improvement spends time learning those practices and looking for more information to refine them, as well as experimenting with what s/he is already working on.

The current book I'm refining has filled in some missing pieces and provided me a way to improve the efficacy of my tumo practices. Undoubtedly as I continue to read other books and incorporate the information into my practices, I'll refine what I'm doing even further. My desire to improve what I'm doing is what helps me make the practices personal. I'm turning what I read into an experience that improves the experiences I've already undergone and improves my awareness and connection with the magical forces I work with.

Refining your practices also teaches you a lot about how to experiment. You carefully examine what you are doing, discovering the underlying principles that make your practice into a process that generates results. You test what you do, comparing it to what you already have done and evaluating it what the differences and similarities are. In short you develop a careful approach to your magical practice that helps you when you experiment because you know that you have to understand what you are doing to make the experiment repeatable and verifiable by others.

Be curious...never settle for what you've already done. Take your practice to the next level by looking for how you can improve it, and for what you can learn that informs what are doing.

Some thoughts on Daily Practices

The other day I was asked about the daily practices I do and when I do them. It was a good question to ask. My daily practices consist of a mixture of physical exercises and meditations. I think that physical exercise is an absolute must and I've always been puzzled that its not something implemented by more magicians, but I suspect that in such cases the people simply haven't realized that physical exercise is spiritual in its own right and that the importance of taking care of your body can't be understated, as your body is the medium by which you experience this world.

My physical exercises consist of Stretches followed by several Tai Chi practices, and then followed up with 5 sets of ten push-ups, 2 sets of 10 Sit-ups, and 2 sets of 10 leg-ups. I also walk on 3-5 times a week, depending on my schedule and the weather. It's not the most rigorous exercise I could do, but it keeps me in shape, and my body seems to genuinely like it.

My meditations consists of Attuning with Reiki each, Raising Psychic Heat in my body, and doing the Zeroing Meditation combined with a Taoist Breathing meditation. I also do an evening silent meditation with Kat. In the past I have done other daily practices. I change my daily practices on occasion to keep me focused and disciplined.

I find it helpful to do daily practice at specific times of the day or when specific events occur during the day. For example, Kat and I typically do our silent meditation before dinner each night and I do my daily practices in the morning, when I first wake up, or soon thereafter. Keeping on schedule helps me stay disciplined and makes the rest of the day more enjoyable because I've followed through on the daily practice.

If you do a daily practice long enough you will find that you crave it and that the days you don't do it will be days where you are less collected and focused. A daily practice brings stability, a focal point, and awareness of a person's space and time in the world.

The occasions where you don't feel like doing your daily practice are occasions that you must push through and do the practice anyway. You will always feel better afterwards and you'll know that by being disciplined you'll have accomplished the single most important thing you can do that day: You took charge of yourself and chose to be responsible in caring for yourself enough to do the daily practice you needed.

If you aren't doing daily practice in your magical work I recommend it. A daily practice builds reserves you can draw on when you need them and helps you stay focused in times of trouble.

Book Review: The Spiritual Dimension of Music by R. J. Stewart

This is a fascinating book that explores how music and magic can be brought together from a musician's perspective. The author discusses how you can use your voice, but also touches on musical theory and even types of music and instruments best suited for music magic. If you don't have a background in music some of the material will go over you head, but there's still a lot you can get from this book that can be applied to your magical practice. The author also provides some useful exercises that help implement the theories he presents. If you are a musician who practices magic I recommend this book, but if you also want a different perspective on magic this book will open your eyes and ears!

Some further Thoughts on Shielding

Recently Mike made a post on his blog mentioning my post on shields, and there was some interesting commentary that occurred as a result about whether shields were really effective or not. Several people argued that while shielding protected you it also didn't allow you to interact with the world as effectively. Ananeal argued that:

Working shielded makes your magick less effective in terms of influencing material events. Even if you put up a shield that’s perfectly permeable to your own magical workings, which takes some skill, it still takes some of your energy/power/strength/whatever you want to call it just to maintain the shield.

He then proceeded to mention that he'd developed specific entities to take care of magical protection and that he also did a daily regimen of practices. The points that he and the other commenters made were valid ones, but I've never had any of the troubles with shielding that they suggest occur.

Like Ananael I do a daily practice. It consists of Tumo the raising of psychic heat, which I generally use to "wake up" my internal energy, and a combination of Taoist Water Breathing used to dissolve any internal blockages and the Zeroing technique that William Gray writes about in Magical Ritual Methods. There is a derivation of that technique developed by R. J. Stewart called the Sphere of Art. The zeroing technique involves creating a space of Zero Time, Zero Space, and Zero Event, essentially a space/time where nothing exists save the practitioner AND what the practitioner chooses to bring into that space/time. I use this technique with my magical work in general and it can, for all intents and purposes be considered a "shielding" technique.

Now when this technique is used it does serve to create a very specific space/time that excludes anything not brought into it by the practitioner. However the beauty of it is that you can bring into it exactly what you need to work with, be it an entity, possibility or something else. Additionally, what is also significant is that when you wrap up the magical working, and return that space/time to regular space/time, you merge it with and embody it into reality, making a seamless transition where there is no resistance to the possibility being manifested. That problem mentioned in the comments about not connecting to the world or being able to effect material events? Not a problem with this technique.You draw in the event you want to affect, as well as the possibility you want to use to solve the problem, work the magic and mesh it into your own identity, and then release the zeroing space/time, or sphere of art and allow yourself and the magic to fully reintegrate into the world around you, embodying a new reality in the process.

Back when I did shielding in other ways, I also had my shields set up so that I didn't have to maintain them. I let the influences, people, etc that were trying to interfere do the maintaining for me. Always worked like a charm and can be used with wards as well, when shielding a place. The shields only activate when something directs energy that would be harmful or distracting to the magician. And those shields are fed by the very energy, influence, etc being directed against them. Simple, effective, no draining of your energy required.

And my point in mentioning all this is simply that if you know what you're doing, a given act such as shielding shouldn't have any of the problems that the people mentioned in the comments. Defining a technique by its limitations means you accept those limitations and don't question them. While you should know what the limitations of a given technique are, define it in terms of what it could do and then experiment! Don't settle for explanations offered by others about the limitations and problems of a given technique. There's always a way to solve the problem or limitation of a given technique if you are willing to experiment. I only encountered those problems when I first started practicing magic and when I encountered them, I got curious and decided to see what I could to fine tune my shields and avoid the issues they mentioned in the comments. It took a bit of a work, but its nothing that anyone couldn't discover, provided they are curious enough and willing to experiment with a given technique. Why settle for allowing a technique to limit you? My answer: Don't settle...experiment.

Embodied spirituality and liberation

I posted this recently via my various social media accounts:

An embodied spirituality recognizes the value of the material world and celebrates it and experiences as an inherent part of a person's spiritual evolution. When the body is discarded as dirty or something to be left behind, and desires are perceived as unacceptable or attachments that hold us back, the person loses an essential perspective that is necessary for genuine transformation. The body, desires, etc, ground us and provide a way to experience the immediacy of a situation and learn from it. The body is not a shackle...it is part of our liberation.

Recent conversations I've had around enlightenment as well as a continued practice of Tantric philosophy and spirituality prompted this observation. I genuinely believe that the body is an essential part of human spirituality and that the denial of it is a dysfunction brought about for reasons that are related to either over population or to a fixation on an ultimate reward that involves transcending the body.

A better approach would be to recognize the role of the body as a mediator of physical existence and spiritual identity. Additionally, people who take this perspective would also carefully consider the consequences their choices have on the environment and each other and thus would question consumerism and explore what it means to have enough vs what it means to live in excess.

True liberation isn't found in deprivation or excess but in a balanced perspective that celebrates the glory of life while also cultivating it for future generations. Thus tending your own garden where you grow food is a spiritual and practical activity. It teaches you the value of cultivating life, the recognition of death as a transformative agent that is also part of evolution, and the necessity of using resources wisely instead of wasting them.

Your body is part of your liberation, and the sensual experiences it provides is a part of that process, but equally as important is learning how to take care of yourself. Thus exercise is just as liberating as any other activity, and eating a healthy diet is important for cultivating your life. These activities can be just as spiritual as meditation provided we apply a mindful awareness to them.

A desire can be liberating both for the experience of it and the choice to not experience it. Longing is as much a celebration of desire as is the experience of the desire, and longing can teach patience but also liberation in terms of recognizing the true value of a given desire. The experience of desire can be a liberating experience provided we know how to enjoy it without allowing it to enslave us. Thus the need for balance and consideration of the body as a spiritual teacher which allows us to embody our desires but also uses them to teach us from experience how best to truly find liberation in our experiences and in our choices to sometimes delay having the experience to know its true value.

If I had only one technique I could keep it would be...

Meditation. Jason Miller said much the same thing in the Strategic Sorcery Course. I think meditation is the most crucial skill a magician can have. It's something I do as consistently as possible. Occasionally I miss days, and I can always tell when I miss a day because I'm less focused. Meditation is similar in benefit to exercising on a daily basis: It keeps you toned.

There are some magicians who will say they can't meditate, but I don't buy that. They can meditate, but they're unwilling to discipline themselves enough to do so and they've likely bought into the popular idea that meditation is just about emptying your mind (that's one form of meditation, but not the only kind). The key is to accept that if you do have random thoughts arise, you don't give up. You note them, maybe even follow them, and then return to the breathing, letting it carry you deeper and deeper into an altered state of consciousness. It takes some work, but if you are consistent about it, you'll succeed eventually.

I think one reason people say they can't meditate is that they are so distracted by every thought and emotion, and perhaps even afraid to face those thoughts and emotions. Meditation does give you the chance to work through thoughts and emotions and sometimes its not fun. But doing it frees you of those thoughts and emotions. It gives you clarity, focus, awareness, and perspective.

Meditation teaches you to sort through the chaos of your internal reality. It's doing the internal work, so that the external work of living your life and manifesting your magic is a lot easier. Certainly in taking up a dedicated practice of meditation I have needed to do less overt acts of magic, save on the rare occasions where its really warranted. By doing the internal work, my life has gotten much easier. It didn't happen over night, buts it a cumulative effect if you are consistent.

So that's the one technique or practice I'd keep. What about you?

Appreciation for the moment

One of the most mindful practices we can do each day involves finding appreciation for the moment. Appreciation for the moment is really the ability to take everything in without having to filter or label it. It just is. You are one with the environment around you and within you. It's a practice that can be done each day, but it takes discipline to do it, because cultivating such a mindset isn't something that comes naturally to people. Monkey mind is always active, chittering away about random incidents from the day, or wondering when something will happen or who knows what else.

An initial approach is to enjoy something beautiful, like a view of the sky or a natural feature such as a mountain or the ocean, something so large that it can create an appreciation for all of you. But you won't always have access to those features. So finding appreciation for the moment can also involve simply taking in the everyday and appreciating it. A walk in your neighborhood can be an opportunity to practice mindful appreciation, or spending time in your garden or doing chores. Allow the activity to define the reality and appreciate it as an opportunity to be in the moment.

Meditation that's focused in this way involves taking in the world as part of the meditation. You allow the activity to take over for your thoughts. You let the scenery become part of your sense of self. Everything is a reflection of your relationship with the world and with yourself. Te simplest way to practice is to simply take it all in. Let it fill you, lose yourself in the moment.

Resistance and internal work

I've been reading the War of Art (affiliate link) lately and the author talks a great deal about resistance as an enemy to creativity. I think he's right, to a point. I also think resistance can indicate something that needs to change, but what's relevant here is how resistance can be used in internal work, to discover what you need to work on and dissolve.

Any time you feel resistance to doing something or you feel a need to distract yourself from what you are doing, it presents you an opportunity to do internal work to dissolve resistance. The desire for distraction is a form of resistance, even as simple dislike for doing something is also resistance. When you come up against it, embrace it and start meditating on it. Listen to what your resistance has to say, and then dig deeper. What's really underneath that resistance? What's the underlying emotion that's really prompting that resistance to doing what you need to do?

When you focus your meditation on answering this question, you may find that it uncovers a lot that you weren't facing. It's important to face the issues and deal with whatever emotions arise as a result of the dissolving work. As you resolve such emotions, you will that it frees up a lot of energy, and that your resistance will also dissolve. Resistance is not necessarily a bad thing to feel, as long as you can knowingly act on it and use it to work through what is underneath it.

Change starts from within

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves" Leo Tolstoy When I think about Western Magic, and one of my problems, this statement from Tolstoy sums it up nicely. In late teens and early to mid twenties, I remember being that person who wanted to change the world, but didn't think of changing himself. That's not surprising because within western magic there is no overt forms of internal work provided, beyond perhaps some pathworking exercises. I had to go to Eastern systems such as Taoism to really discover in-depth meditation techniques. Since learning those techniques and implementing them into my daily practice, I've found that there is much less of an overt need to change the world. In fact, usually where the change needs to start is from within.

Magical techniques such as sigils or evocation aren't focused on internal work. There's nothing wrong with that, but it is worth the magician's time to actually apply some degree of introspection in order to look at the underlying motivations behind doing the work. Such internal work can help clarify the motivations and even ensure that the working will be successful by removing any internal resistance toward it.

Internal work is an essential part of magical practice. When I take magical students on, we spend a fair amount of time initially exploring what their values and beliefs are, how they define themselves and their place in the world, as well as teaching them meditation techniques. I've found that this initial work is crucial because it helps them remove a lot of internal obstacles and most importantly helps them understand how to effectively use magic to make changes in the world around them. Practitioners who actively use internal work will also cut down on the need to do more overt acts of magic...and not surprisingly will also lower the overall level of drama and chaos as they work out their issues. Instead of having such issues come up in their lives, the practitioners are able to identify  the triggers and make changes to their behaviors. The result is a better life and more clarity about what they want and need to live such a life.

Conscious awareness as a reaction

As I've been writing Neuro-Space/Time Magic and exploring the concept of Identity, and how genuine changes occur in a person's life, I've been thinking a lot about consciousness. Consciousness is put on a pedestal in a way, as a big accomplishment, and I understand why that is. Consciousness, when applied in a mindful manner, can help a person control his/her reactions and even develop proactive strategies. As a friend of mine put it, it's awareness of awareness, which is significant when you consider that such awareness can be used to put a situation and responses into perspective. But (you knew there was a but coming), I also think that consciousness is a reaction. It's a reaction to the environment around you, as well as your internal responses to that environment. It's a reaction that focuses on controlling your response. You realize that a controlled response is the best possible solution for handling the situation. And perhaps what makes consciousness so useful is that such awareness can be used to put into place responses that are more useful for handling future situations. Awareness without action won't change anything, but awareness with action changes a lot. Those actions can be integrated into how we respond to situations, and in that process we can acknowledge that such actions are still reactions...conscious reactions applied to handle a situation from a place of awareness.

For a change to occur as it applies to behavior, you've got to make that change on a deep level. It's a change of identity, which includes a change of values and beliefs in order to support the action you'll take. Those kind of changes go deeper than conscious awareness, but conscious awareness can be used to go in and implant those changes and make them part of your reactive responses.

Consciousness is a tool. It provides some awareness of self, enough to be aware of the need to change and enough to allow a person to enter into an altered state of consciousness to go in and make those changes...and we'll still react...we'll just react with chosen reactions as opposed to ones put on us by events an circumstances.

A couple of upcoming classes

I have a couple of upcoming classes. One is a local class, for those of you who live in the Portland-Vancouver area and one is a Teleclass. Details Below: Breathing Meditation class

In this class, Taylor Ellwood will teach you Taoist breathing techniques that you can use for meditation and for achieving closer connection to your body. Knowing how to breath correctly can help improve your health. You will learn:

  • The Fusion of the Five Elements breathing and how you can use it to help you work with negative emotions and release them
  • The Taoist Water breathing technique which can help you dissolve internal blockages
  • How to use your breathing to attune yourself to your body’s consciousness.

When: July 9th at 1pm at New Awakenings Bookstore 404 East Main Street, Battle Ground, WA 98604 RSVP: 360-687-7817

Space/Time Magic Course

Space and time are two elements of our lives that we live with and use every day. In the classic models of magic, these elements are not overtly included. In this class, I will show you how to integrate both of these elements into your magical work. You will learn why its important to factor time and space into your magical workings, as well as how the inclusion of these elements can radically change your understanding of magic. You will also learn:

  • How movement and space can be used to construct sacred space.
  • How to manifest multiple possibilities using sigils.
  • How to create a sigil web that maps your life in terms of space and time.
  • How to work with your future and past selves.
  • How to work with alternate selves and learn from them.
  • Free e-book version of Space/Time Magic included! 

Space and Time are two elements that we can’t ignore if we want to really understand magic. This class will help you take your magic to the next level.

To RSVP, go here

How to use distraction to improve focus

Sometimes when I do my daily meditation, I turn on the TV or music and play it in the background where I can see or hear it. And then I do my meditation, using the distractions as a way to focus my mind. You wouldn't think it would work, because it is a distraction, but it does work, because I use the distraction as a focusing tool to help my improve my discipline. Anyone can meditate in a quiet room with nothing going on around them. Admittedly, the distraction then might be the monkey mind chattering away, and it is a potent distraction, but sometimes I find that external distractions are even harder to silence, as it were, because they grab the monkey mind's attention and get it chattering about the distraction.

That's the whole point of having active distractions going on. It forces you to focus or get lost in the distraction. I see meditation as not just a practice to calm my mind, or even focus it, but also as a discipline tool for any kind of magical work I do, and since magic doesn't always occur in the confines of a quiet room, it can be very useful to create an environment where you might need to do some magic.

Its the same reason I'll sometimes meditate near a busy street or in a park where people are playing. Learning how to tune out the distractions is an important skill all occultists to cultivate. When your dealing with the chaos of people around you, or a TV or video game playing it forces you to sharpen your mind, to pay more attention to what you are doing. And that's something we need to do. When we start to take what we're doing for granted, we get sloppy. But if you have to focus all of your attention on what you are doing because of a distraction, it causes you to appreciate anew what it is you are doing and why you're doing it.

So next time you do your daily ritual, do it with a television on, or an obnoxious song playing. Do it where other people are doing things. Use it to focus you on what you are doing. Everything else is just an illusion in the background. All that really exists is you and the magic.

Letting Go

Kat and I came back from Pantheacon to one of our cats dying. It's certainly not the homecoming experience we expected to have, and we've been grieving as we've also been getting him ready for his next journey. Something we've both said to him is that it's ok for him to move on. And we both mean it, because we don't want him to suffer. But we also still feel attachment (quite naturally) and so we're also in this process of letting go of him. We don't want to let go of our memories of him, but we want to honor his passage and need to transition. So letting go for us is recognizing that need to let him move on and honor that passage without clinging to him and making him stay longer just because of us.

I've been doing some meditation and breath work on this as I've been letting go of my attachments to Caspian. I'll admit that I've only known him for 8 months, since we first moved him up here, but in that time I've come to love him and consider him one of my furkids. Letting go has involved releasing that energetic connection to him, in part to give him some healing energy to aide in his passing, and in part to give myself closure to his place in my life. With each breath I've allowed myself to grieve and to release, To honor and to know.

In magical work it is urged that a person doesn't become attached to their results. This is wisely done, because when we get attached, we can become obsessive about what we desire. Learning to let go can mean that you also let go of your need to have control and recognize that it can be just as powerful to step back.

I'm letting go of Caspian but I'm not forgetting him or his significance to my life. He'll always be one of my cats, no matter where he goes...just as I'll always be one of his humans. But by letting go of him in this moment, I can help him pass with peace.

Pattern Recognition and magic in your life

For my birthday, my partner Kat got me this game called Attika. It's a game where you try to build a city from one temple to another temple or just try to build the entire city. You also have "neighbors" trying to build their cities. And what's most interesting is that to get extra turns you have to build the city in the right order. For that matter to get free buildings, building in order is encouraged. It's a fun and challenging game, because it involves looking at the environment you are building in, and recognizing the patterns, spatially, and resource wise that will allow you to successfully build a city. When I think about it, this game describes a lot of how I approach magic now. To me, successful magic is a process, and a form of pattern recognition. Where, why, when, how, what I will do the magic for all fits into the larger pattern of living my life. Just doing magic to get someone or get money or solve some temporary problem is thinking small, too small really, if you can't recognize where that activity fits into the larger pattern of your life, and into the habits you exhibit and/or want to change. What does it mean to put magic into getting a job in the greater pattern of your life. Don't get me wrong, getting a job can be important for survival needs, but when we do a magical act, if we focus only on the short term or basic needs, what else are we missing out on in the pattern of our lives?

When I talk about magic as a process, I'm also talking about how magic takes one's internal reality and translates into the external reality. But along with magic there is also all the demons and dysfunctions as well as virtues that a person has, which is also brought into external reality, and if we ignore all of that, we may find that our magical work proves less effective because we our working against ourselves and against the patterns of our lives. When, instead, we look at the patterns in our lives, and examine where magic can be applied to change those patterns proactively or help us achieve our overall goals, life becomes easier to live. Instead of getting that crappy job that covers the basics, but leaves us miserable and wanting to leave, we find that job that meets our higher needs as well as our basic needs and brings us fulfillment.

While life isn't quite like the board game I mentioned, recognizing the patterns of identity and how we express them and consequently how we manifest our choices is essential to knowing how and where to apply magic in a useful and truly meaningful manner. Instead of reacting, let's look at our environment, both internal and external, and consider carefully what we will do that will meaningfully improve our lives, instead of just going through the motions.