Some further thoughts about process

In a discussion I had recently with one of my magical students I elaborated further on the difference between chaos magic and experimental magic. Chaos magic, aside from being associated with servitors and sigils, is also about paradigmal piracy. You determine what paradigm works for you, you adopt it for as long as it's useful, and then once you've gotten your result, you move on. Experimental magic, on the other hand, is focused on a more processed oriented approach and so recognizes that in order to really under a paradigm, system, methodology, or whatever word you want to use, you've got to spend time learning the system, learning how the methodology works, before you can really begin to use it successfully. Consequently process is built into experimental magic much further than in chaos magic. And, if anything, the issue with chaos magic is that while you might be able to get a result one time from using a system to address an immediate need, without fully understanding it, you can't really know the process or know if you'll get a result that meets your needs each time.  That kind of understanding doesn't occur over night, or in a single working. It occurs over time, with study, practice, and yes experimentation. To really understand a paradigm of magic, it needs to be something more than just a convenience to be used because it fits an immediate need.

This is why I've never used Voodoun in my workings. Sure, I could pick up any of the books I have on it, sketch out a ritual and do something, but I don't understand the system enough to really feel comfortable doing that, nor do I really want to offend one of the Lwas just to get a result. If I really wanted to integrate voodoun into my magical practice, I would need to study it for a while, do rituals strictly in that system without integrating other practices in, and experiment within the process of that belief system. Eventually, if I knew about it, I could begin to incorporate external elements.

So experimental magic is less about rolling a dice and picking a spiritual system for a day and more about really getting hands-on experience with a given system, and process plays an integral role in that, because it's process you need to learn to really put it all together.

My business is part of my magical work

The other day an acquaintance on twitter half humorously said he was glad I was posting about the occult and had wondered if I was still an occultist. Looking through some old lj entries I can certainly say I posted a lot more about magic once upon a time, at least overt magic, than I do now. Thing is though, my business is part of my magical work. For one thing it's a manifestation of my intention and my will. I'm putting a lot of intention and focus into making it successful, and its my will that my business provide me the means to be as independent as possible and enjoy doing something I believe in for a living.

But on a much deeper level, it is also really a change in identity, an evolution from who I was into who I want to be, on a very intentional and focused journey. My business is just the most obvious part of that journey, because its where most of my activity is going. The changes in identity, and the learning of new skills that I've had to develop as a result, have in their own way been an act of magic for me, a very proactive approach exploring and manifesting my desires by choosing to actively change my attitude, beliefs, and also actions.

My business is part of my magic because it's a spiritual journey for me. It's not just about making a living, it's about living a way of life.

Past, present, future...is any of it real?

In a previous post, Xi O'Teaz asked for more details about my perception of time, wherein I stated the present didn't exist. He noted that many would argue that only the present existed, while the past and future were illusions. Intriguingly enough quantum physics seems to support my meditative trance perspective of time, as I'll explain a bit further down in this post. The perspective that only the present exists, while the future and past are illusions is a perspective that is easy to adopt in everyday consciousness, because the experience of time is a very linear, moment to moment experience in that kind of consciousness. You experience it once and then its gone, and was it ever real? It's this kind of awareness of time which leads, I think to a lot of the short term thinking that has continually created problems for the world in general...too much focus on the immediate moment, while ignoring a more long term perspective.

In the meditative trance states I've hit, the sense of linear time fades right out. It's replaced with a feeling of timelessness, or rather a feeling of time being a very fluid gel that contains every possibility you could experience and has all the past moments available as well. The present becomes just one moment among all other moments experienced. It is neither more real or unreal than any other moment.

In The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, he explains that time is a continuum which we experience all at once. A moment that occurred in the "past" is still present...in fact space/time contains and encompasses all the events that occur within it, which means that all of those events are occurring at the same time. Wait a minute, though...how do we have free will, choice, etc., if this is all occurring at the same time? Also how do you explain linear time then?

The answer to the first question is that all events in space/time are really possibilities. They are simultaneously real and not real. They exist and yet they don't exist. So how do we have free will, etc. This is where linear time comes in, because linear time is really about filtering all the extraneous possibilities and focusing on specific realities that are local to the person. Time becomes organized and laid out in a fashion that enables choices to be made, while limiting those choices. Linear time is also a way of keeping us sane, because experiencing all possibilties can make for a very heady experience, but also one where the variety of choices overwhelm the capacity to make a choice, unless you go in with an agenda focused on a specific set of circumstances, at which point it could be argued that you are imposing some linear time limitations on non-linear time in order to effect a choice.

So is the present real or is the past and future real? All are real, and all are possibilities. And we censor it all out to deal with set possibilities, to limit ourselves, and this makes sense on so many levels, and offers so much potential for how to change those limitations as well, provided we're willing to brave the wilds of non-linear time to do so. There are ways to do that...meditation being one, the creative flow another, and of course magic, but a lot of it really comes down to changing the awareness of what is possible vs what can become real.

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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.


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.

An intriguing phenomenon I've noticed

I just finished reading The Apophenion by Peter Carroll and started a Brief Hirstory of time by Oryelle Defenestate-Bascule and I've noticed a really intriguing in both those books and Farber's latest book. It seems like all these authors have created specific entities that are engaged with, invoked, etc., by the very act of reading the book. It's as if the book acts as a gateway into the mind of a person and then uses that to create a connection to the entity which allows it to manifest. In fact, there's principles of memory which could be worked with in that way. If the entity imprints on the memory, then every time the entity is remembered or imagined it's invoked into the life of the person. I can see some roots of this in Burroughs work and Austin Osman spare's art concepts. With william S. Burroughs, you can feel the character's come alive, and I think his books were his way of invoking himself into the lives of other people, through his use of characterisation...as some of his characters were based off him. And of course a lot of written books inadvertently invoke entities, because the characters are so real to the people that they become a live for those people, but it's only with these books that I've noted an intentional effort toward creating an entity. I imagine too, that if you faithfully do the exercises that this strengthens the connection of the entity to you, as well as how it manifests in your life. It does make me wonder if I could create such an entity myself...Actually I think we do it all the time...but creating one where the book itself activated the entity is fascinating to me.

As is I can safely say that the goddess apophenia is now a presence in my life as a result of reading Carroll's work and I'm inclined to sustain that effort by working with her...it makes the book more efficacious when I read it next time. Although I've decided to already reattribute her as a time goddess, instead of how Carroll treats...which then makes me wonder if the book allows you to create your own variant of the entity, which could even work at cross purposes of the writer's intention.

Book Review: The Apohenion by Peter Carroll

I was really intrigued when Carroll released a new book on chaos magic. The Apophenion is the introduction to a goddess, more space/time speculatation, theory, and practice from Carroll, an exploration of the multi-mind and much more. It is a book worth picking up if you're into chaos magic or experimental magic, or if you're curious as to how someone who has training in math and science is applying that training to magic.

What I liked about the book was Carroll's succinct explanations of his theories about time magic and the multi-mind. I also liked his explanation of Apophenia and how one can work with her. I already consider her a deity of space/time workings from his description of her. I will note that the Apophenion is mainly a book of theory and that it assumes that readers already know a good deal about magic. Any practical applications of it, are left entirely in the hands of the readers to produce.

With this book, Carroll charts new path for chaos magic, while also updating readers on his own work. I highly recommend it as an inspiring and thought-provoking read.

5 out of 5 chaostars

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.

Elemental Love Work Month Ten

I have two more months left to the elemental love working. It kind of amazes me that in such a short, but also long time, my yearlong working with babalon and the element of love will be receding into the background to make way for the next element to be worked with. This month has been interesting in Three different ways.

1. I recently had an opportunity to choose to be honest about a situation...and I chose honesty. I have to admit, making that choice is when it comes to personal matters is not very easy for me. I've sometimes lied or concealed things to my later detriment, because there's that distinct voice within which says, better to keep this from someone then let them find out and see the real you. The real detriment of lying isn't even the broken trust of the other person, though that is definitely detrimental. It is the punishment one puts him/herself under every time the truth could come up...because make no mistake a liar does punish him/herself because no matter how well hidden a truth one person always knows it and that's the liar.

For me, honesty in love has been one of the hardest lessons to learn. I can easily point to my past and say that it was because of my past, what I learned early on, which was that lying sometimes ensured I didn't get caught, didn't get grounded, didn't get told I was a disappointment, and most importantly I didn't get hurt if I lied good enough. If I lied and no one else knew, they might even accept me...no it's not rational, and it may not make much sense, but it is a reaction that is writ deep within me, and so naturally is something that has come up time and again throughout these ten months, in various different forms and flavors. Coming to grips with the lie of lying, and really seeing how much the truth can set a person free is in someways the central theme of this year's lesson for me. And of course Babalon has been very insistent I learn this lesson, which completely makes sense, because she is a goddess of desire, and desire is only truely known when you can be true with yourself and others.

So earlier this month, an opportunity came up to be honest about some things and I decided to take it. It wasn't easy. There were a couple moments where I felt like it took everything I had to say a simple sentence. Yet the feeling afterwards, of relief, of release, of no longer keeping something in secret, of being able to really open was so empowering, so strong, so different from keeping something to myself. I felt liberated...and in one respect I felt as well that my word as a magician was strengthened. I believe both William G. Gray and Franz Bardon wrote something to the effect that the magician's power is only as strong as his word. The truth does set you free, from your fear, from your worry...but it takes a lot of work. I wish I could say that being honest is an easy thing for me...in most areas of my life it is...but love is deep...there's deep wounds and letting them heal takes work, takes trust...I'm learning that trust, learning how to trust myself so I can trust others. Trust and love start from within. Before you can have trust or love with someone else you really have to trust yourself and love yourself. For me, the sign that I'm changing is that while I still struggle with myself sometimes to tell someone else how I feel or about something I did that I know wasn't good to do, 9 out 10 times I succeed in telling that someone...and that one time it doesn't occur right away, it does happen, if a bit later down the line. It's an accomplishment for me to be at this point of honesty with myself. And yes sometimes I still lie...but it's less and less.

2. In a conversation with a friend I was told I'm trying too hard...specially trying too hard to be his friend, which accounted for his tenseness around me. I really appreciated his honesty with me and ended up agreeing that was the case, so I relaxed and that friendship is getting better. But in thinking about his comment, I can say it's been true in other situations as well. I've caught myself a few times this month trying too hard when it came to other matters. So I'm learning to relax more...try less, do easy...it's interesting and it's given me a better look at some of the ol' thought stream in my head, and what it is I tell myself sometimes. Not sure where this will go beyond just trying less, and relaxing more in my relationships with others and myself.

3. finally read this in a book. Sex and love are two different needs. You might think this would be obvious, but I don't know...so much focus in this culture on true love and what constitutes true love, including all the sex that is supposed to happen all the time. I'm not saying sex can't be something important to a relationship you have with someone, but sex and love aren't the same need. Sex can be an expression of love, but it can also be an expression of hate or lust, even sorrow (in one case I heard of). And sex is its own need, something which we need, but love is also its own need and again something we need. It's funny, but as I've done this love working and really faced what love seems to be for me, I've seen the difference in these needs more clearly. Yes I like both love and sex and want both in my life, but they are different. Sex doesn't always bring love with it and yes I've known this for a while, but reading that sex and love are different needs...it kinda hit me with a clue by four that helped me get this understanding in a different way that all my prior experiences never really showed me.

I won't say love is more valuable than sex or vise versa, but feeling that need for love is a different than needing sex and in retrospect sex definitely fills or hits a different area of the psyche than love...love is much more subtle, less obvious...it does something, but it also takes a lot more work than sex might.

So that's month ten for me...each month is really amazing...I've learned so much in each month, in each moment of vulnerability that working with this element has provided.

Deity, service, bargains, needs, etc.

A while back I posted a few posts about deity and service The first one is here.

The second one is here.

The third one is here.

As I woke this morning I thought back to a situation where I could have potentially dedicated myself to a deity. I'm glad I didn't, because the truth is I'd make a horrible dedicant to a deity. I'm very casual about my relationships with any deity. I put the occasional offering out, but when it comes down to it, for me any relationship I have with a deity is ultimately not about service to the deity or its various fellow worshippers or the tasks it wants me to do. For me it's about the bargain. It's what can I do for you that will get you to do something for me. Or it's about forging a relationship of mutual benefit and friendship.

The role of priest or priestess isn't a role that fits me. While I can respect that people are called to that role, I couldn't ever see myself serving a deity in that way. Likewise I find the concept of being a god-slave unworkable for myself. I recognize that it might fulfill the needs someone else has to be in that role, but for me, it could never work and there's a fairly simple reason for that.

I'm blasphemous. I'd always question and challenge the god. When I was a Christian, long ago, I was always dissatisfied with the idea that I had to submit to some nebulous force that had all the answers and was willing to let people suffer in order to prove themselves to it. The comic Preacher, to me, represents the most accurate depiction of the Christian god, a cruel tyrant who seeks to force others to love him because he is fundamentally unable to deal with his own sense of fear and loneliness...so he creates a permanent co-dependent relationship with humanity, in order to get them to love him, while also tormenting them. I could never understand why a god would want unquestioning obedience and so if I couldn't give that to the Christian god, why would I give it to another god?

The posts I wrote above reflect that as well as my own beliefs about the gods. I agree with the Buddhist conception of deities, which is that they are ultimately enslaved and attached to their own power and consequently can't operate outside of what they represent. They becomes filters and doorways to access deep concepts, but in doing that they are also can't evolve or become anything else...unless of course they have interaction with human beings. By being served by humans they get access to experiences they might not otherwise have. For example, Invoke a god and what you do is provide a gatway to yourself, access to your energy and experiences. Of course you get access to that deity's energy as well and that can be useful for some people, but there's always a price. I've seen that price paid and the effect it's had on the people paying it, and I'm not sure the price is worth any power received.

I prefer bargaining to service, because service is ultimately submission. There is no guarantee you will get anything for your service, but with a bargain there are set conditions. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm a friend to a deity or demon...some people have argued that they prefer to create relationships with such beings that are friendly, but there's a question they don't ask, which is whether or not the deity/demon even comprehends the concept of friendship, or if it does, have they considered that the deity/demon might have an entirely different concept of friendship than what you have? They might think of you as a cat or a dog for instance.

So I go with bargaining. If I want something and I find I can't accomplish it through my own resources I find a being who can accomplish it, and we talk. What does it want in return for accomplishing something specific for me? In Purson's case, he wants a dedication to him in my next book on space/tiem magic and his sigil on the cover of my solo occult books. Fair enough, I can do that. I'm happy to give him credit where credit is due.

In the last nine months I've been working with Babalon. In fact, the situation I was reflecting on today was a possible dedication to her. Working with her has been challenging. She definitely demands a lot when you work with her. Last October when she made it very apparent that I would be working with her for a year in my element of love balancing work, she told me it would get harder before it got easier and it did get harder before it got easier. Even now as this working is descending into the final three months there are definite challenges she has for me. I wouldn't have it any other way. She told me she'd be my guide for the year long love working, that she'd help me get balanced about love. And she is. At one point I did dedicate myself to her, but in a moment of clarity I realized I hadn't dedicated myself to her, for her sake or my own, but someone else's, and she agreed that such a dedication wasn't something that she wanted. She is still with me for the next three months, perhaps even beyond, guiding me in my journey about love...and her price for it is not service to her or tasks to be done, but rather simply to know that I will continue doing the work for the course of this year and beyond to keep myself balanced in love and to really understand how to manifest love for myself and to others. I can live with that...and it occurs to me that a deity with that understanding of me is a deity I can respect because that deity isn't necessarily out to have my service, but does want some kind of understanding to exist.

In fact, my experience with babalon shows me that experiences with deities are subjective and end up occurring at exactly the level that is needed for a person. While one person may very well need to be a god-slave to a god, another person may just need a guide for a year. And yes it does boil down to need. I think a very important question any person needs to ask about serving a deity is: What need within myself does this service fulfill? There is always a need being fulfilled. Certainly working with babalon is fulfilling some deep needs within myself...needs that are becoming balanced. Could I have fulfilled those needs without working with her? Perhaps, but I believe it would've taken a very long time, whereas working with Babalon brought the situation into detailed focus. And so perhaps those people that seem to pay a price in my eyes, aren't really paying that price. They serve the deity in the way they do, and yet they get a need fulfilled, a need which they may or may not be conscious of, but yet if that need went unfulfilled...I think it comes down to an essential issue of identity, which is how much a person's needs define the interactions and experiences a person has, and who/what those experiences occur with.

I watch Lupa and her growing relationship with the spirits. We are definitely going on some different spiritual paths. Yet I also see that her spirit work is definitely fulfilling needs within her. It's helping her refine her path, serve other people, etc., but it's also meeting some needs within her. She seems more balanced to me as a result of doing the spirit work she's doing.

As for service...I think my own service is not to a particular deity or whatever concept it represents. My service ultimately goes to the communities I am part of, the people I interact with, the choice to help someone find his/her potential and realize it. That is my service...not to any one being or belief, but rather to the realization that we are all connected and so if we can help each other grow and realize the effect we have on this planet, on the other life forms on this planet, and on each other, we can choose to make that effect be beneficial instead of detrimental.

Facial Action Coding and Posism

Something Bill Whitcomb turned me on to recently is Facial Action Coding (FACS). It's a coding system that attempts to taxonimize human facial expressions (just imagine the correspondence charts with that!). For me this is interesting, because I see some related threads in the neuroscience works I've been reading in terms of how facial expressions have been used in experiments with emotions. Add in, what I consider to be some potential for magical work via the usage of facial expressions, in terms of invocations or for identity work and FACS could have some pretty cool applications. Now what's really interesting though is when you can combine posture and gesture into something like FACS. To some degree we do this already on an automatic level, but of course my interest is on a conscious level...and we can thank Pascal Beverly Randolph for some suggestions toward that. In his book Sexual Magic, he discusses a concept called Posism, which is a method where you use body language, gestures, and postures as a way of embodying a concept or emotion you want to work with magically. You can see some of his stage magician background with this technique, but I'd be interested in finding out if he was influenced by 18th century rhetoric schools which taught rhetoricians poses and gestures that could be used to evoke emotional responses from their audiences.

For Posism to work the magician creates a mental state which s/he associates with the gesture. The idea is that the gesture then creates the thought, which in turn acts as an influence on both the magician and the environment around hir. Sounds an awful lot like NLP anchoring, doesn't it? Actually you can probably base some of the influence of ritual poses in Western Magic on Yoga, but also PBR's Posism techniques.

In anycase, Posism, combined with NLP techniques and FAC  might provide some intriguing possibilities in terms of creating different emotional states and other altered states of consciousness through the use of body posture, gesture, facial expression, and of course anchoring. I don't know enough about FACS yet, but I've started using Posism and NLP for certain engagements and it's proving helpful...so when I learn more I'll be sure to update.

Review of Green Hermeticism: Alchemy and Ecology

I found this book to be more of an intellectual/theoretical approach to Hermeticism and the green/environmental aspects of it, as opposed to a practical manual that offered thoughts on how to blend sustainability with hermetic practices. In reading most of this book and the essays in it, I'm left with the thought that it seems great that people came together and discussed these ideas, but I'm unsure what the practical implications of that discussion boil down to in terms of integrating a set of magical practices/beliefs into responsible environmental practices and policies. There were some interesting sections. I enjoyed the section on using mushrooms as a way of remediating pollutants, as well as enjoying the last chapter on the manufacturing of planetary tinctures. But I'm still left overall with a sense that while this book attempts to reveal relevant and important concepts, it gets bogged down in the academic inclination of over intellecualizing what's being discussed. In reading this book, I can't say that the connection between alchemy and ecology has been amply demonstrated. I'm also unsure as to how the authors propose to wed alchemy to ecology in a manner that is green and promotes sustainability.

2 out of 5

Further discussions of definitions of magic

In psyche's latest post on the definitions of magic, she attempts to use Crowley's definition of magic to address arguments by a podcaster named Deo who had shared an essay on his podcast wherein he challenged the veracity of magic as a real force (Actually his essay is part of what started the initial post she wrote). As I noted in this post, Crowley's definition is not a good definition of magic, because he is sloppy in his attempts to define what magic is, and is unable to distinguish from any other discipline or approach that could be used in a similar way to explain how a person uses a process to manifest something. However Deo poses an intriguing challenge to Psyche and others in this thread on his forum. Something which is brought up is the "models of Magic" Both Deo and Psyche seem to agree that these models are most effective as understanding practical applications and possibilities of magic and magical systems as opposed to being definitive theories or explanations for how the process of magic works. I'd agree with that myself, but Deo then raises an interesting question: "Is there such a thing (ontologically/metaphysically) as magic?..Does magic deserve to be an ontological category? If not, then it's metaphysically uninteresting and a worldview that lacks it can still be a complete worldview."

Deo's question is an excellent question to ask. It highlights the problem with Crowley's definition, because Crowley's definition cannot answer or explain magic in a way that differentiates it from anything else, something which Deo aptly notes, "I don't consider magic to be 'real' as an ontological component of the universe if it merely names a style of activity irrespective of any kind of mechanism underlying its alleged efficacy" An activity is not automatically magical, simply because it is named magical. A process needs to be described that shows how magic is different from something else...in fact a good definition not only persuades someone what something ought to be, but also shows why something is different from everything else.

Instead of relying on the models of magic to answer Deo's question (I've never really used them and I have my own reasons for thinking that while they provide perspectives on practical applications, the perspectives offered are not necessarily the most efficacious), nor will I rely on an aesthetic approach to magic, because while I think making meaning is a function of magic, I don't believe it is the only function. Plus, in keeping with Deo's criticism, it can be argued that making meaning is does not fall strictly in the domain of magic (as a study of semiotics will quickly reveal to a reader).

I choose to take a different tack to defining magic, based on my own definition of magic, one gained from years of personal experience and experimentation. In Multi-Media Magic, I defined magic as: "Magic involves making the improbable possible. It's learning how even the slightest change you make can have a radical effect on the internal system of your psychology/spirituality, and the external system of the environment and the universe you live in. Magic is the realization of an interdependent system of life that needs every part to bring forth the hidden potential. It is also a methodology that can be used as a stress on the interconnected system, to manifest change in it." I go on to note that magic isn't the only stress on a system. In Space/Time magic, I also noted that magic involved being aware of probabilities and manifesting those probabilities into your life.

A definition of magic then is not so much about doing everything with intent as it is about recognizing probabilities and using a process (which we call magic) to manifest those probabilities into reality. Seems simple enough, but even the definition I wrote above has problems with it. I haven't overtly identified the process that magic utilizes which allows it to be an ontological presence. I identify a benefit of magic, that it makes a person aware of probabilities and enables manifestation of those probabilities, but the underlying mechanism still isn't defined. I note that magic can act as a stress on a system, but that could still use further clarification.

What I define as a system is a recognition that all life is interconnected. Everything lives within a system that necessarily requires everything to work together in order for the entirety of the system to be sustained (And we can note the effects that occur when a system is taken out of balance, global warming anyone?). In a systems approach, both intent AND impact are considered. Impact needs to be considered in order to determine if efficacy has occurred, since impact is one means for measuring the process used to generate it (As a side not, it amazes that most definitions of magic do not consider impact at all...too much focus on intent, not enough awareness of impact). The system is not entirely a physical reality, though it is based in a physical environment. It is also based in the mentality and even spirituality of what lives within it. Any system is effected by stress. A stress in this case is a mechanism used to change the system. Different disciplines of science are stresses on a system, because they utilize mechanisms to change the system.

Likewise magic is a stress that can be used to change the system, because of the mechanism that magic provides, which is not provided by the different disciplines of science, because while science enables from a purely physical end of the spectrum, magic enables change through a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual resources. An example of this resource would be the example of embodying a physical/mental resource of the human body, a neurotransmitter as an entity (thus creating a spiritual resource) which could be used to manifest a variety of possibilities, including creating altered states of mind, healing a person's mental state by working with the neurotransmitter, etc.

But what is the mechanism that makes magic an ontological presence, and enables its efficacy? That mechanism is Identity, specifically the ability to shape and change identity in order to mesh it with the identity if the possibility one wishes to manifest into reality. Identity can be considered to be both a state of existence and, in a system, a point or node of influence, connected to other nodes of influence. Magic uses identity as a means of manifesting probability into reality, by creating resonance between the identity of the magician and the identity of the probability the magician wants to make into reality (Think of magic as a string in a web, connecting one node of identity to another node of identity). The magician anchors a potential identity in the form of a probability to his/her actual identity, via magic to enable the probability a greater chance of manifesting than would occur if methods were not used to link the two identities together. Magic is a process of identification that allows the magician to change reality by altering the identity of that reality, or for that matter altering his or her own identity to conform to reality.

Magic uses methods to create resonance between different identities, or if you will between one version of reality and another. Probability becomes reality, when enough resonance is created between one identity and another so that the probability in essence becomes an extension of the existing identity of the magician.

This is my answer to Deo's question. It's also part of my ongoing work and experimentation with magic.

Updates on different projects

I thought I'd update readers on different projects I'm working on. Neuro-Sorcery Update

I'm continuing to do work with both the neural network and neurotransmitters. My focus with the neural network has been incorporating concepts of mindfulness found during meditation into directing the changes I want to make into the network. By mindfully observing behavior patterns I want to change, I can find where the patterns exist in the network and shift the network away from sustaining those behaviors, while focusing it on creating new patterns that sustain behaviors that are healthier for me.

The neurotransmitter work has mainly been a continuation of previous work, using multiple neurotransmitter to adjust the chemistry of the brain, as needed for particular types of issues.

Wealth Magic

I recently posted about making Babalon my wealth deity. since I did that, I did obtain a job, which is 100% telecommute. I'm also working with the spirit or egregore of my life coaching business, asking it what it wants me to do to manifest my business more fully into reality. So far I've been steered in the direction of networking, enlisting the aide of a marketing professional, and some advertisements. I'll be sure to let you know when I have more information.

Breathing/energy work exercises

I've been incorporating a taoist energy work exercise called the fusion of the 5 elements back into my daily routine. The goal of it is to convert negative emotional energy into healthy energy which is used to rejuvenate the body. I feel that the taoist alchemy is fairly important, especially because there is, to my mind, a connection between it and the neuro-sorcery work I'm doing.

So that's it for the moment.

There's a lot more going on underneath the surface, but the puzzle pieces for that work will have to come together in their own time.