interview

Why I write about creativity and innovation so much

dimensions I'm reading Cursor's Fury right now, which is part of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. The one character Tavi is different from everyone else because he can't seem to work with the furies (spirits) that everyone else works with. However this particular disability forces him to become creative in how he handles situations. He doesn't stick with conventional wisdom because conventional wisdom doesn't really work for him. And as time goes on, it becomes apparent that conventional wisdom, while useful in its own way, also ends up holding a lot of change and innovation back.

I've never really been a fan of conventional wisdom of any sort. I think it has something to offer and should on occasion be heeded, but I also think there's something to be said for just doing something to see what will happen and to learn from the experience. I've been talking about innovation and creativity a lot on this blog lately, partially because of what I'm reading, but also because its so much of what drives my approach to magic. I write about it a lot because there's so much out there arguing the opposite that I feel its essential to call out the necessity of innovation and creativity in spiritual practices.

It must seem odd in a way to associate innovation with spiritual practices, but if we consider that everything can evolve over time it starts to make sense. And magic isn't just a spiritual practice. It's also a practical discipline which people apply to their lives in order to create favorable circumstances and opportunities. And for that reason alone creativity and innovation is needed, because we want to keep our practices relevant with the demands and problems of the times. But I also find that creativity and innovation are part of the spiritual dimension, providing us a way to get out of our heads and get into the presence of whatever spirits we work with. And sometimes it can even help us examine the spirits from other perspectives we might not otherwise consider, and in the process stop applying our own limitations to those same beings.

Conventional wisdom and conventional answers aren't always the best solution. Sometimes you have to do things the hard way because what it does is push you to be innovative and find unconventional solutions. I'll admit that I prefer to do things the hard way or to phrase it differently, I prefer to develop my own solutions because as much as I recognize that what others have done before provides its own wisdom, I also realize that depending on my own experience and my willingness to take risks provides more satisfaction. I recognize that may not be the case for everyone, and as a result not everyone will want to do things the hard way. There's value in that too, up to the point that you deal with a situation where the conventional answers, the tried and true ways of doing things doesn't work and then you need to get creative.

How do you get creative with your magical work? How does it inform your practice and how you approach situations where you employ magic?

In other news Bill Whitcomb and I were interviewed by Mindful Cyborgs about the Book of Good Practices.

Interview and two book reviews

I was interviewed by Steve O of the Occult Broadcasting network in November. He just sent me the interview yesterday, so here it is! Review of Toward a Psychology of Awakening by John Welwood

I found this book to be very insightful about the blend of Eastern Mysticism with Western Psychology. At times, it seemed liked every page offered a new insight or perspective that not only helped me understand this blend, but also helped me make sense of myself. This was a fairly dense read. I definitely needed to take breaks and process what I read, as well as meditate on it, but it proved really useful for helping me navigate through some interpersonal issues, as as proving useful for examining how identity is approached by Eastern mysticism and Western Psychology. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and would in fact suggest that anyone using meditation to work through personal issues should read this book, as it could prove helpful for navigating through some of those issues.

5 out of 5

Review of Finding Flow by Mihayli Czikszentmihayli

If you've read his first book on Flow, this book isn't going to offer anything substantially different from the first one. It's a rehash of what he already wrote, albeit a more concisely written rehash. What I don't see is anything substantially new or different. It's a good book to read if you want to familiarize yourself with the concept of Flow, but if you have already read his previous works, save yourself your money and time on this one.

2 out of 5

Interview with Pagan Centered Podcast

So my interview with pagan centered podcast just came out. This interview was...well it wasn't an interview. It was a bunch of people grilling me about pop culture magic. I did my best to answer them civilly, though I lost a bit of my temper when several of them were downright insulting. I'm used to people being resistant to the concept of integrating pop culture to magic. I've certainly heard my share of critiques about it, but this interview reminded me of the pagan bunny hunter club...people who would "hunt" pagans who didn't share similar beliefs that they had. In the pagan bunny hunter club, and also in the case of the majority of the people on this podcast, what I'm struck by is the fundamentalism and close-mindedness that informs the attitudes of the people. As you'll probably hear, if you listen to this episode, the majority of the interviewers weren't really familiar with my work and didn't think it was worth their time or effort to become familiar. How that then makes them experts in critiquing said work is beyond me.

I don't expect everyone to agree with how I do magic or think it's the best way to do it. But I really dislike what I consider to be an attempt to tell someone that his or her approach is invalid, because it doesn't fit within the paradigm of someone else. You can tell me it doesn't work for you, but don't try and tell me it won't work for others or that its blasphemous. I actually ended up tailoring some of my responses to fit the perspectives these people were coming from in order to actually communicate how pop culture magic can work. That was an interesting exercise in itself, because I mainly ended up using a psychological model of magic to discuss the concepts with them. That's not necessarily the model I would always use to discuss how magic works, but it was useful in this case and it seemed to at least cause us to arrive toward an uneasy consensus.

Not the best interview I've ever had and quite honestly in some ways very discouraging to see that there is such a prevalent attitude of fundamentalism, though not too surprising either. It's fair to say that in some ways this interview is representative of some of the disillusionment I've felt in regards to the pagan/occult communities.

Some thoughts on Linguistics and Magic, An interview with Sequential Tart, and Radio Show Reminder

Whew! That is one long title, isn't it? Interview With Sequential Tart

I was interviewed recently by Sequential Tart about Magic and the Self. I discuss some of my previously published works, but also some of my on-going work in identity and magic.

Some thoughts on Linguistics and Magic

I recently picked up Magic, Power, Language, Symbol by Patrick Dunn. I haven't cracked it open yet, but I'm looking forward to reading it, because one of my many interests in magical practice is the combination of it with Linguistics, as I've amply demonstrated in Space/Time Magic, Inner Alchemy, and Multi-Media Magic. It should come as no surprise to readers that my next book project will likely include something on language and identity in relationship to magic. The reason I'm not reading Dunn's book quite yet is that I'm currently reading a little book called Grammar for the Soul by Lawrence Weinstein. I'm already impressed by this book and the author has inspired me to read up on Benjamin Whorf's contributions to Linguistics. In this book, the author looks at how punctuation can be used to evoke emotional states of empowerment and personal change. A colon, for instance, can be used to get noticed by people. And you know...he's right so far. As I've read this book, I've found myself nodding in agreement and underlining passages...and thinking...I've seen this focus on punctuation in multimodality before, but never phrased in such an elegant way. What pleases me the most about this book is that the author looks at how the placement of words, phrases, and punctuation can make all the difference in the mood evoked by that word and punctation usage...it's not NLP, but it is a study of the power of the word.

I think linguistics is one of those disciplines that magicians should start studying on day one of their magical practice. Because so much magical practice revolves around the almighty word, it makes sense that we should focus on the discipline that already studies how the word is used. One of my favorite authors, William S. Burroughs experimented frequently with the power of the word and how it could be used to shape reality. My own experiments with words have always proven to be fruitful: I even evoked my wife into my life using a collage and have occasionally evoked other people as well. Now that's magic at work!

I've always felt that writing is one of the most powerful mediums of magic. It conveys more than information. It conveys emotion, virtual environments, memes, concepts, viruses and so much more...and it's something we can experiment with fairly easily once you know the rules.

Radio Show Reminder

My next show will be today, September 9th at 8Pm Pacific standard time.

Subject : Change your Re-Action to Action!

Summary: Sometimes, whether we intend to nor not, we sabotage ourselves with our reactions. A reaction is a pattern of belief or emotion that causes us to act in a particular way. In this show, I will show how you can change your limiting beliefs and reactions into actions that help you manifest your imagination into reality.

Listeners can call into the show at: (646) 652-2830

Radio and Emotions

Yesterday I did my first radio show, You can listen to it here. I'll be doing another on Tuesday at 8 pm pacific time on how to dissolve blockages. Earlier today I was interviewed by Al Anderson for the Ascending Way show.  You can listen to the interview here.

I also sent off the finished version of Bill Whitcomb's The Magician's Reflection and the anthology The Pop Culture Grimoire: A Pop Culture Magic Anthology. So overall a busy day and I'm working on an article as well for a magazine.

I'm also reading (among other books) Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman. You might recalled I mentioned Ekman's work with FAC - Facial Action Coding. So far I've found this book fascinating and engaging, not the least because the writing style is definitely not as dry as what is usually found in scientific writing. One point he makes is that we don't feel emotional about everything. I found this interesting, because it is rather easily to believe that one is always feeling emotion, and yet I know I experience times where about the only emotion I could be feeling would be consider calmness...I've never really thought though it was possible not to feel an emotion. I'm not sure if I agree with his conjecture and he does note that some scientists disagree with him, arguing instead that what we feel is too slight to register in an overt manner. It's something I'll have to mindfully observe.

He also identifies nine paths to generating emotion, though thus far he's only written about one, in which we sense that something is about to effect are sense of well-being. I'll be curious to see what the other routes are.

His work is fascinating and relevant to the internal work I've discussed as well as to the blending of neuroscience and magic. I consider emotions to be an integral component to magical workings, given how much they motivate our actions it stands to reason that they play a similar role in the practice of magic. They are a basic component to life, but an essential one as well.

I have a few more books to read, just a few...and then the research will be done.

Upcoming Radio Interview with Al Anderson, a Book Review, and my own radio show

I'll be being interviewed on Thursday on the Ascending Way show via blogtalkradio. Details below Ridgewood, N.Y. -- September 1, 2008 -- Nationally renown and respected Author, Visual Artist, Magician, and Life Coach Taylor Ellwood, will appear on BlogTalkRadio's show ´Ascending Way http://blogtalkradio.com/Ascending-Way with host Al Anderson on Thursday September 4, 2008, at 2:00pm Eastern.  The Exclusive Interview will examine Taylor's outstanding contribution to the Metaphysical/Occult community and the world-wide pursuit of Ascension.   The live, Internet talk-radio show will stream from the Ascending Way program's host page: http://blogtalkradio.com/Ascending-Way .

Taylor Ellwood, describes himself as a writer, painter, collage artist, and magician. Most people who interact with him describe him as prolific, insightful, wise, generous, and powerful.  He and his wife Lupa, are an integral part of the Portland Spiritual & Magickal community.

As an author he has written the following books; ´Pop Culture Magick, ´Space/Time Magic, ´Inner Alchemy, and ´Multi-Media Magic.  He has also co-written; ´Creating Magical Entities (with David Michael Cunningham and Amanda Wagener) and ´Kink Magic (with Lupa). He has served as Editor of; ´Magick on the Edge: An Anthology of Experimental Magic, ´Manifesting Prosperity: A Wealth Magic Anthology, and various other books by solo authors.

Taylor has written numerous articles for magazines, websites, blogs and ezines, which have appeared in, Rending The Veil, Witchvox, Key 23, Key 64, Disinfo, Spiral Nature, newWitch, Konton Magazine, If...Journal, and many others.

As prolific as Taylor is, he still finds time to pursue the vocation of Counselor and Life Coach; certified in Whole Person Design Life Coaching. He provides services as a creativity and marketing coach, accessible through his website: http://www.imagineyourreality.com<

An archive will be available at the same link immediately following the show or listeners can subscribe to the archives via the RSS feed located on the host page.  Read more about the host on the Wizard Phaeron tab at http:AscensionHouse.org.

About Ascending Way

Ascending Way is an interactive, live Internet talk-radio show which focuses on Practitioners and Organizations of all descriptions who are committed to the Healing of the World and Humanity's Great Adventure of Ascension.  Host Al Anderson explores the Mission, Vision, History, Vocation, and future Plans of each guest and/or the organization which they represent. The Stream and Archives are available at http://blogtalkradio.com/Ascending-Way.

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Book Review: Nature and the Human Soul by Bill Plotkins

My wife Lupa really liked this book and I was curious myself to see what it was about. Nature and the Human soul examines nature and how it informs and otherwise nourishes the human soul. The author breaks up the human life into eight stages and relates a concept of nature to each stage of human development. The author's argument is that we need to cultivate an ecocentric relationship with nature and each other as opposed to a selfish egocentric relationship.

After reading this book, I will say that I have a renewed appreciation of nature and why it's important to have activities in one's life that involves doing something to foster a relationship with nature. I'm not talking about a walk in the park or even a hike in a forest either...I'm talking more along the lines of actively being a steward of nature. In this book, the author argues that we need to bring nature back into our cultural practices so that we can build spiritual and community practices that focus on the well-being of all, as opposed to the material well-being of humans. The author uses different stages of human development to show what can be done during each stage of development to build such practices.

One thing which works against the efficacy of this book is the lack of exercises. While the author makes an excellent argument for integrating into a person's spiritual and community practices, he doesn't offer much in the way of practical exercises to show how this can be done. The theory is in place, but the practice also needs to be instituted to really make the concepts in this book workable.

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I recently decided to start up my own radio show, through the medium of Blogtalk Radio and it's Called Imagine Your Reality radio (after my life coaching business). Below are details for the show

Imagine Your Reality Radio Show

When: Wednesday September 3, 2008 at 3pm-4pm Pacific Time

Topic: What is the connection between Imagination and Reality?

Summary: In this show we’ll explore the connection between imagination and reality as well as show you how consciousness awareness and intention can be used to direct your imagination and shape it into reality. The focus of this first show and subsequent shows will show how you can apply spiritual and psychological techniques to improve your life and business. Listeners are encouraged to call in to the show. It will be broadcasting on blogtalkradio which can be found at http://www.blogtalkradio.com. Here is my blogtalk radio profile page

Call in Number (646) 652-2830

Right Where You are Sitting Now podcast interview with me

On Saturday I got interviewed by Ken and Paul of the Right Where you are Sitting Now podcast. We talked about definitions of magic, my books, and some social cultural aspects of the occult culture. Go here to listen to the show.