Taylor Ellwood

Planetary magic update

The drawing you see in this post is for Jupiter. You can see all the drawings I've done thus far on my Facebook page. At the time of this writing I still have a few more drawings to complete. I chose to use colored pencils as opposed to water color paints, just to try a different medium out, instead of the same old, same old. In each case, what I chose to do was first look at the sigil I'd been given and use it to invoke the planetary energy into me. Then I started drawing letting the planetary energy guide my hands in the drawing. As you'll likely note the drawings aren't overly complex, nor are they meant to be. They are meant to act as gateways for the planetary energy, and represent the movement of that energy as I worked with it.

My next step is to place each gateway at appropriate places in my house, to capitalize on and direct the planetary energy toward specific areas of life that the drawings would be related to.

The value of limitation in magic

The first time I encountered the principle of limitation it was in The Cube of Space by Kevin Townley, where he discussed a little known quabalistic glyph and the principle of limitation as it applied to magical work. Recently, in reading R. J. Stewart's The Sphere of Art 2, he also discusses the role of limitation in magic:

Only when we understand how protected, how beneficially limited we are, in our sacromagical work, can we begin to be truly effective. In the classical magical worldview, such wise limitation is often associated with the North, the cosmic Laws of Being the element of Earth. Such limitations associated with Earth require that to take form we must limit force.

It's a point well made that often isn't as appreciated as it could be. Limitation has value as a principle precisely because the movement from potential into reality involves the focus of force into the creation of form. Magic isn't about tossing fireballs or levitating. It's about the focus of force to create measurable results or changes within a person's life, but even change is limited to some degree by the physicality in which it is expressed in.

The realm of ideas is also the realm of endless possibilities or chaos. Nothing is true and everything is permitted, but without limitation all that exists is endless potential. The change from possibility to reality involves some form of limitation. This is why a magical working is really a descriptor and definer of the possibility being brought into reality. In other words, a magical working in and of itself limits the expression of possibility into specific results. The benefit of this is that you achieve a specific result that can be applied to your life, other people's lives etc. The more improbable your possibility, the harder it is to bring into reality, for the simple fact is that it requires more "energy" to overcome the distinct limitations that we deal with on a practical level. At a certain point the exertion of so much "energy" becomes more and more impractical.

Limitation provides an awareness of boundaries, but also provides the magician something to strive for, in terms of bending the rules. While force must be limited in order to manifest form, drawing on force is necessary to create form. Potential doesn't become reality unless force is applied to potential. The realization of form, or the result, is due to the application of force to potential, shaping it, defining it, limiting it, and thus creating form. Force is needed to create form, but the application of force necessarily is a fixation on a specific form or result.

Limitation, in and of itself, is a form of force, in the sense that the limits we encounter actually serve to create possibilities that we can interact with. Sheer potential, which has no limitation, can't really be worked with, until some form of limitation is imposed on it. A blank sheet of paper is raw potential, but once you draw a line, you've limited the potential and started to create the form. The limitation of potential still creates possibilities, but those possibilities are defined by the limitation, and have a relationship with it. The exploration of that relationship is what allows a magician to discover possibilities and begin to move them from potential into reality via magic.

Book Review: The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain by Judith Horstman

This was a fascinating book to read because of the information it provides on the brain in general, as well as what occurs as your brain ages. The author provided useful advice for keeping your brain sharp as you age and reducing the risks of Alzheimers and Dementia, as well as explaining what types of activity keep the brain stimulated. What I enjoyed the most was how the information was presented without a lot of technical terms or jargon. Anyone could pick this book up and learn a wealth of information about the brain and how it works as well as how aging effects it.

How I came to Wealth Magic

Jason wrote a recent post about how he got involved in Financial Sorcery. I'm getting his new book (called Financial Sorcery) soon, and looking forward to it, but it got me thinking about how I got involved in wealth magic as well. It happened shortly after my birthday in 2006. I had shifted my elemental focus to the element of Earth and one day while at a bookstore I was prompted by my spirit guide to pick up rich dad, poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Up until that time I'd had a mediocre relationship with money. I knew how to handle it and make it work for me, but I had no long term plans and no idea what to do with it, beyond using it for everyday expenses. My spirit guide told me that part of grounding myself involved learning solid financial skills.

Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad didn't provide me with a font of practical financial tips, but it opened my eyes to my poor financial attitudes and helped me recognize that the mindset I had about money and finances wasn't a healthy one. I started picking up more books on finances including You have more than you think, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, and Your Money or Your Life. Some of the books had practical financial advice and some were more about the emotional attitudes and beliefs regarding finances. All of them were useful and helped me change my relationship with money. I started planning a financial future.

In mid 2007, I moved to Portland. I used wealth magic to land me a tech writing contract at Nike. At the same time, I could see that tech writing was a dead end, so I began planning my exit out of the field by getting certified as a coach. I moved from contract to contract until I worked for a telecom company, based in Florida (even though I was in Portland). I also started my coaching practice and I kept reading about finances, and started learning about investments in particular. In August of 2008, I left my latest tech writing contract, and started searching for another tech writing job, but the economy collapsed in September and I found myself with no job postings. In retrospect, I might not have quit that job. However we did have emergency savings and so I focused on my coaching business.

I have to admit that 2009 and 2010 were lean years. Business was slow and I made mistakes, which happens with any business owner. Still I learned a lot and gradually business improved. In 2011, I decided to do some wealth magic for my business, even started working with Bune as a patron of my business, and he pushed me to read more books on businesses, even as he opened up some business opportunities for me, and helped me see that a rebranding of my coaching business was in order, as well as helping me to see how I could monetize Magical Experiments.

I think what I've learned the most is how important it is to be financially literate so you can make sound financial decisions. I find myself fortunate enough to be in a situation where I can work on my own schedule, and work on each of my businesses with the support of a partner who believes in me completely and recognizes how hard I work. And wealth magic has played a role in all of this, in terms of educating me, but also providing opportunities for growth in my respective businesses and my life.

Like Jason, I'm not necessarily out to be a millionaire or billionaire. I am out to live my life on my own terms, and I'm well on track for doing that, but it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't started learning about finances and recognized something essential: There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to make money or be prosperous, or apply your spirituality toward your practical well being.

In with the new, out with the old

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I don't subscribe much to tradition or sticking with classical approaches to magic, just because everyone else has done them ad infinitum. At a certain point, a lot of my skepticism boils down to the fact that we're relying on outdated information or wishing to be part of ancient culture so we don't have to deal with the ugly reality in front of us.

A while back I mentioned that I don't use the classical model of the five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit. It's an outdated information and categorization based off Aristotle's observation of the world around him, some 2,500 years ago. It worked for him then. It even worked for a while after that. Now its outdated. People can still use it and obviously they do, but why not change it up? What is it we are really holding on to?

The majority of resistance I've encountered has usually boiled down to: Don't change what's already there. It works and all you're doing is reinventing the wheel. And maybe they are right. Maybe I am reinventing the wheel by not sticking with what's tried and true. But my resistance to what's tried and true is why settle for the wheel you've been provided. Why not upgrade it? Why not experiment with it?

R.J. Stewart says the following in Sphere of Art 2:

While our huge spiritual and magical revival, from the late 19th century to the present day has liberated many from the suppressive tyranny of authoritarian religion, it has also created an artificial comfort zone of false, or at best harmless and reassuring, pseudo-knowledge. The deeper esoteric traditions have been glossed over, in a process that has steadily created a new body of dogma no less restrictive than that of religion...signs of such dogma are most easily visible in the many boiler plate books on chakras, Wicca, and more recently neo-shamanism, repeating the basic material over and over...After three generations or more of basic material within our overall magical/spiritual revival, material that has, in some streams, noticeably rigidified over the years, the time is right for further work and radical reassessment.

I'm all for further work and radical reassessment. I'm all for doing something different for the sake of exploration and experimentation. I get the need to have a solid foundation. I used the classic model of elements at one time...but at a certain point, you've got to look around and start getting curious about what you can change and experiment with. Information in disciplines evolves and the same should hold true for magic. If we only stick with the way its always been done at a certain point it just becomes another form of religious dogma and doctrine.

My radio interview with occult of personality is now available. You can go here to listen.

Video games, exploration, and the occluded mind

I'm playing Max Payne 3 and Metal Gear Solid 3 right now. In playing both games, I've had to do a fair amount of exploration to find things that the characters could use to help them through their various quests. That's actually a common feature of video games. Most games, at least current games, involve some level of exploration of the actual game levels in order to discover essential items to your quest or Easter eggs that game developers have placed into the game. If the player just relies on the map, s/he won't necessarily find or experience all of the treasures of the game. Those can only be experienced by choosing to experience the territory of the game as it is, while only using the map as a superficial guide. The experience of the game is what makes it enjoyable.

In the Sphere of Art 2 by R. J. Stewart, He makes some interesting points about maps and territories:

When we begin to relate to the territory as it really is, we swiftly begin to lose our limited map. This can be a fearful experience of a joyous one, depending on our individual training, preparation and understanding. To be cast loose without the map that you need for for stability is at risk of going mad in unknown territory, while to throw the map away willingly in full awareness is to embrace risk and enter a new condition of sanity.

The experience of the territory is different from the map, because the territory is the actual experience, while the map is just a description, and not always an accurate one. Usually the map isn't accurate because it can't really show everything that is actually in the territory. This truth applies to video games, mystical secrets, trips on the road, any really any other experience you can have in life. The tendency to rely on the map isn't necessarily bad or wrong. The map can be useful in terms of providing guidance and helpful hints for navigating the territory. But ultimately the map the can only provide a vague sense of the territory.

The experience of the territory is where the magician discovers the secrets and treasures that can only be found by choosing to explore what's in the territory. Just as with a video game character, the magician needs to thoroughly explore the territory of the ritual. The magician needs to be curious and not settle for what is in front of him/herself. After all there are potential Easter eggs just waiting to be found, as well as story elements that might be missed if a thorough investigation isn't performed.

What video games have taught me is that unless you fully explore the environment and get very curious you'll likely miss key clues and information and resources that could help you with the game. I find the same is true with magical work, and while I wouldn't necessarily say a magical working is exactly like a video game, there's something to be said for cultivating curiosity in your magical work, to embrace risk and discover what is hidden away.

Contemporary Technology as Ritual Tools

One of the ways I like to experiment with magic involves integrating contemporary technology into magical practice, including making technology into ritual tools. This can be something as simple as turning your toothbrush and toothpaste into a tool that you use for a ritual of banishment (not only does it fight tooth decay, but it also cleans out lingering psychic plaque!) or using a video game character to charge and fire a sigil. It could be as complex as using static on your TV screen for scrying purposes (ala TOPY) or treating your cell phone as an evoking tool for working with specific entities (think Jozef Karika on this one). For many magicians, these ideas may seem foreign or blasphemous, but that's only due to a lack of imagination on their part. Any type of technology could be a ritual tool. The coding language you use to create a program can also be used to inject a magical working into that same program or into what the program is supposed to interact with. A paint brush can become a wand when its used to paint the seal of an entity, summoning that entity into an evocation that the painting itself activates by the choice of the magician.

It is the use technology is put to that defines if it becomes a ritual tool. There is nothing inherent within any tool that makes it magical. What makes anything magical is the intention of the magician, and specifically how s/he uses a given tool to convey that intention to the world around him/her. A tool is a physical expression of a concept the magician is expressing as part of the magical work s/he is doing. If that concept is better expressed through modern technology then use modern technology in you're workings. If we assume that modern technology can't be used because its modern, what we are really doing is limiting the ability to evolve magic, as well as adapt to situations that our contemporary to our time and space.

This isn't to say we should discard the athame or other traditional tools, but why not also look at how you could use your toothbrush in a magical working? As I said above there is nothing inherently magical in any of our tools. What makes the magic happen is the magician and his/her ability to turn possibilities into realities.

Free Reading special with the Process of Magic Class

This week, until Friday June 1st, I'm offering a free Dual-Deck Tarot reading on a topic of your choice when you sign up for the Process of Magic class. For these readings I use the elemental hexagon deck and the alchemy deck for the readings. When you contact me to sign up for the class, tell me the question you want me to do the reading for and I'll send you an email with what I find.

The value of being unconventional

I've been reading the Tao of Deception by Ralph Sawyer. It's a book about Chinese military history and unconventional warfare. It advocates the value of applying unconventional thinking for solving problems, and provides examples of unconventional warfare and how battles were won by applying unconventional tactics. In the book, the author cites examples of how the environment was used to win a battle, or how a clever psychological ploy put the enemy into an exposed situation. and in each example its clear the strategists who chose to go down an unconventional route did so because they understood the limitations of conventional tactics as well as the people employing those tactics. I've always applied unconventional thinking to my magical practice and how I live life in general. It's the unusual perspectives that fascinate me, because they aren't expected. Going with what's expected is easy. Anyone can do it, but seeking and using the unconventional is fun and allows you to discover possibilities you'd otherwise ignore.

The application of the unconventional to magic involves developing a spiritual practice and process that doesn't stick to tried and true. Thus a person will recognize conventional associations and correspondences, while useful to learn, at a certain point stifle the creativity. The answer is to develop your own associations and correspondences. Go your own way, after you've learned enough to know what the rules are, and how to bend and break them and still get results. You can't explore the unconventional until you know the conventional, but once you know the conventional you also know its limits and you can move beyond the limits to discover new paths for exploration.

The unconventional is part of the unknown, in a sense, because it's not something everyone is doing. It's uncharted, or it only has a few markers to indicate possible paths. And you have to be wary of the paths, because even they can lead back to the conventional. The entire point is to do something original and innovative.

Cut-up writing as a gateway to spiritual transmission

I've been reading Thee Psychick Bible for a little while now and came across an article by Genesis where he notes the following:

No matter how short, or apparently unrecognizable a sample might be in linear time perception, I believe it must, inevitably, contain within it the sum total of absolutely everything its original context represented, communicated or touched in any way; On top of this it must also implicitly include the sum total of every individual in any way connected with its introduction and construction within the original culture and every subsequent culture it in any way, means, or form, has contact with forever.

It's interesting perspective about cut-up and one that Burroughs alludes to in his own writings, but in not so explicit a manner. My own approach has favored the idea that the act of cutting up text frees it from its original author and meaning, and that the rearrangement of the text is the appropriation of it by the person doing the cut-up in order to create a new message, but I can also see validity in Genesis's approach to cut-up, especially if you apply the concept of spiritual transmission to cut-up.

Burroughs talks about how doing cut-up allowed him to catch divinatory glimpses of things that could occur, but it stands to reason as well that in a way you can't really cut out the original author of a text. You can rearrange the text, change the meaning, but there is still a connection of sorts to the author, to the original vision of the text. If we think of words as a means of connection with the author, not merely in terms of meaning, but in terms of an actual spiritual meeting with the author it changes our approach to text in some ways. We see it not even as a divinatory practice, but as a practice that allows us to meaningfully connect with the essence behind the writing. The rearrangement of text, and the reading become an invocatory practice that shifts us into an experience of transmission from a variety of sources.

It always fascinates me with how people approach a given technique and end up using it in different ways than others do. It demonstrates, to me, that magic is much more of an experiential process than anything else. Different people will have different methodologies and perspectives on how a technique works and all of them will be right.

Change and magic

Change is one of those understated elements of magic that is part of any and everyone's process. That's probably why its understated, because change of some kind or another is expected to occur when you do magical work. So why even focus on it?

I think it is worth focusing on, especially when we look at change in conjunction with results. Your result is the explicit indicator that change has occurred. Without a result you wouldn't really know if your magic worked. But change is more than just a result. Change is a transformation of the environment around you and within you.Respecting that aspect of the magical process is really important for understanding how magic work. There needs to be a change built into your process. Magic is a causative agent of change, and the employment of it is a signal that you want to bring change into your life. But its also worth noting that even though you might get a specific result, you might also get other changes that are connected to the result, but weren't necessarily desired. This occurs, not because of the magic, but because of a lack of specificity about the result, or because specific consequences are triggered when a specific result occurs.

Change is a constant in our lives. We change moment to moment, but intentional change is something a person chooses to create, and that's what makes magic distinct. It's a methodology used to to produce intentional changes. When we recognize that change is intentional, then perhaps we consider it more carefully, recognizing that what it brings isn't just a result, but also the consequences that come with that result.

Radio Interview

If you missed the interview on Stirring the Cauldron you can listen to it here. It was a good interview with some great questions.

Book Review: Rebounders by Rick Newman

In this book, Newman discusses the characteristics of the rebounder, a person who is able to take failure and turn it into success by learning from it. Newman uses over nine case studies to demonstrate how various people have rebounded from failures and mistakes to become successful in their fields, while highlighting the mental skills and tools that are necessary to accomplish this. I found the stories to be inspiring and useful for helping me see how I could become a better rebounder.

Do you Rebound or Wallow?

I'm reading Rebounders by Rick Newman. He offers some fascinating case studies about people who taken failure and used it to learn from their mistakes and become successful. He also divides people into two categories: Rebounders and Wallowers. It reminds of what I wrote about in Magical Identity, in regards to people who are professional victims versus people who choose to learn from tough circumstances and make changes accordingly. According to Newman "Rebounders know how to solve problems and overcome setbacks, often because they've done it before. So they tend to react with calm determination, and even a sense of humor...They'd rather solve problems then complain about them or blame someone else...They analyze their mistakes and learn from them, and change their mind when new information turns out to be better than old information.

Wallowers, by contrast, often do the opposite. They get rattled when something goes wrong, even something small, because they're not accustomed to solving their own problems. They complain or get indignant instead of simply trying to fix things. They spend a lot of time figuring out who to blame for a problem usually absolving themselves...they tend to be the people who get stuck in their careers and don't understand why, and who remained convinced that their tribulations are somebody else's fault"

The rebounder learns to take responsibility for him/herself and solves problems, while the wallower makes lots of excuses, blames everyone else, and acts passive aggressively when problems occur.

The magician is ideally a rebounder, instead of a wallower. Wallowing is a waste of time and effort. It's something the professional victim does, crying "poor me, Poor me." But what goes does that do? You might get some attention, but in the end the problem is still there, still present. The problem can only be solved when you take responsibility for it and determine a course of action to make a change. Whether that's magic, something, or a combination thereof, the point is that it's better to focus on solving the problem than just wallowing in it and letting it define your reality.

Act instead of reacting.

Speaking of Magical Identity, this Thursday I'll be interviewed on the Stirring the Cauldron radio show at 9pm EST and 6pm PST, where I'll be discussing my new book and ongoing projects and other fun magical topics.

Why the Categorization of Elementals is flawed

I'm reading The Well of Light by R. J. Stewart right now (amongst other things). He makes an interesting point when he argues that the categorization of elemental spirits into Earth, Air, fire, and Water (and spirit) isn't necessarily accurate. He points out the following:

If we think about Elementals as small components of 'pure' Air, Fire, Water, and Earth with some sort of limited consciousness, we are making them too abstract and too small...they are large conglomerate beings of one primary Element, but with the other three also present...elementals are perceived and encountered during a gathering of forces into undeniable, visible, tangible patterns: the forest fire, the volcanic interruption, the tornado, and the earthquake.

My own experience with the primary elementals has always been a recognition that to one degree or another the elements are interacting with each other. Think of a cloud in the sky. Sure there's Air, but there's also Water. But even leaving out the periodic table (which is a scientific analysis of the physical elements), I've never really been satisfied with the four or five elemental approach to magic. In the Strategic Sorcery course, Jason also discusses the elementals from the perspective of the five core elements and his approach to the elements is reminiscent of my early delving into hermeticism right down to the kings of the elementals. I've worked with them in the way Jason describes and I've also experienced them the way R. J. describes. In fact, my experience of elementals shifted to how R. J. describes them after my the working I did when I was eighteen where I exchanged some of my life essence for the life essence of the elemental spirits. And reading R. J.'s description made me appreciate that distinction he makes.

But as I said above, even the four or five elemental model never really worked. When I first started doing the elemental balancing work I realized that drawing on a traditional model for the elements was very limiting. An elemental force such as Gravity wasn't included, nor sound, nor even emotional forces that I'd consider elemental such as love or emptiness. So I started including them because I liked the concept of elemental spirits and could certainly attest to my own experiences with them, but I felt that there were more out there than what was readily available. I still hold to this perspective, so that even though I am working with Fire this year, I could just as easily be working with Gravity another year and find that it has much to offer from a spiritual perspective as what fire offers.

What do you think? Do you stick to a traditional perspective on elementals, or have you tried my approach and worked with an elemental that wasn't traditional?

Web of Time and Space Tattoo

On Tuesday I got my latest tattoo. It's an hourglass surrounded by a web and it represents the web of space and time, as well as being dedicated to the Spider Queen of Time, Purson, Thiede, and Elephant. I'd promised them and myself that when Magical Identity was published, I'd get this tattoo as a way to honor their contribution and as an affirmation of my work with space and time.

Shortly into getting the tattoo I felt the endorphins hit and I entered into a light altered state of consciousness, where I then evoked the aforementioned entities. My offering wasn't just the tattoo, but also the experience, and at the same time as I experienced it, they didn't just come for the offering, but also took me to the web of space/time and continued to instruct me in it, and in possible avenues to take it further. I'll just say for now a lot of it has to do with movement as a form of being, but it's given a me a lot of food for thought on how to take Magical Identity into new directions.

Being Magic vs doing magic

I'm reading the Sphere of Art by R. J. Stewart. It's a fascinating book and I can see William Gray's influence in both the writing and in how Stewart explains the magical concepts he's working with. Initial experimentation with the technique, on my part, has built off of Gray's Omnil technique and the Sphere fits the Omnil technique like a well crafted glove fits a hand. There's a point that Stewart makes about magic which I really like because it hits on the difference between an ontological approach to magic and an approach that's focused on doing magic.

Most powerful magic involves not willing things to be but allowing them to be what they already are. This process of allowing is not easily understood, for if it is assessed by the mind alone, it creates a minor paradox. The mind has to be stilled, the will set at peace, within conditions of attuned energy. Not as a meditative process alone, for this merely preliminary training, but as a sacromagical process that uplifts our manifest creation into another octave of being. Only when we allow this do we discover that there is no paradox and that the other octave of being has always resonated and interleaved with our manifest nature.

My own work in Magical Identity involved learning how to let go of doing magic and focus on allowing situations, circumstances, etc.,  to be what they are, while aligning my ontological state of being to the desired state of being that I wanted to have access to. By taking such an approach and embodying the desired reality I learned how to enter into the right time and space that fit the desired state of being I wanted to access. So instead of trying to will something to change externally, I allowed myself to change to fit what I needed. It's a different approach to magic because its based on an internal approach to magic. This isn't to say that I've stopped creating sigils or entities or doing other forms of magical work, but the need to do that type of work has diminished by applying an ontological perspective to magic and myself.

An ontological approach to magic enables you to enter into a receptive awareness of possibilities that allows you to form a specialized state of being (sacromagical perhaps) with the desired possibility. This state of being initially involves emptying yourself of everything and then inviting into your magical space the specific possibility you want to manifest into your life. You become that possibility, and give yourself over to the expression of it, allowing it to express itself in your life and actions. Instead of trying to force it, you become the possibility, letting it guide your choices, until it is realized. It's not a passive approach to magic, but instead is an approach that involves shifting your entire state of being into the preferred space/time you want to embody.  It recognizes that magic is an integral part of your being as opposed to an activity you do.

The role of concepts in magical works

Another interesting post from Mike on the word concepts. The more I read about his system, the more I understand it both in terms of entity work and in terms of using language for magical purposes. He explains the following with concepts:

Communication is actually about concepts, not words. You wouldn’t have a problem sending the concept of “computer” to a modern Frenchman, but it would be incredibly difficult to send it to someone from the 1700s.

I think that's an accurate description of communication, as well as the limitations of communication, which is probably why I remove the Ethereal Software (What I'd describe as entities) out of the equation for the majority of my workings. I create entities on occasion and the process that Mike describes for ethereal software is similar enough that I'd call it entity work. He'll likely disagree, which is fine, but that's my interpretation of his concepts based on his descriptions of the processes he uses to work with ethereal software. And when I create an entity I program it. I define it both in terms of concept and words used to describe the content and when I need to fine tune the entity its usually for the same reason: It didn't get the concept and the language used to convey the concept was imprecise. Further programming and fine tuning is needed to make it perform up to specs. Or as I like to put it, a more specialized definition is needed in order to insure an accurate understanding of the task that needs to be performed.

In general, people use language to convey concepts to each other. Sometimes ala William S. Burroughs cutup technique they use language to disrupt or attack concepts, while creating new concepts. Language is a useful tool for magical work because it provides a structure of limitation that can be used to sharply define and explore concepts, and then re-present them to the magician and/or entity (ethereal software). You even see this utilized with sigils, which start out as words (in some techniques) and end up as symbols that nonetheless embody a concept. And you see it with symbols that aren't sigils but nonetheless are used to convey a concept.

Concepts are constructs. They present an initial framework that is used to convey the experience of the concept. Words define concepts, give form to the frame, ground it in ink and white space and verbalized sound waves. Manifestation takes words and turns them into actions performed to achieve outcomes. Outcomes turn into experiences and then concepts...the whole cycle starts again.

When I don't work with entities, when I do a magical working directly the experience is different. The conveyance of the concept is to the magic itself. It's a direct experience, no mediator required. Maybe the magic, in Mike's system is the meta ethereal software, the force that channels all the other forces. In my system, and in the various methodologies I've developed over the years, magic is reaching in and pulling out the possibilities and melding them with reality, melding them with my reality. So when I do a magical working and I'm not using language or entities, but instead I am using movement or meditation or some other process less overt when it comes to communication the focus is on embodying the concept, making it a part of me, of reality as it is mediated and experienced through me. Actually even my approach to word magic is really about embodiment. No doubt a result of Burroughs influence, because the cutup method is really about disrupting the message while imprinting your message into the body of the word so that the word embodies your concept. The embodied experience of being as opposed to doing...doing is an echo of being, a way to move through the motions, but not really letting the motions move you to the space you want to reach. When you become the motions, embody them, you let them move you to the conceptual space and time you want to occupy. You become that space and time and in doing so you allow yourself to fully be present with a manifested result that is as much an extension of you as it is an effect on the environment around you.


Doubt and magical workings

Mike has posted some interesting thoughts about doubt in magical works. You can find them here and here. When I think about doubt and magical workings, I think that if doubt is entering into the picture, it's better to not do the magical working and instead really examine your doubts and why they are coming up. When I do a practical magic working I don't want doubt to be in the picture, and for me it isn't. I know what I want, I understand the consequences around getting it and I'm ready to handle the reality of achieving it. Doubt is a sabotager...its that little voice that says, "You don't deserve this." And if you hear that voice, then you haven't done your due diligence.

What is due diligence? It's doing the internal work necessary to ensure that the desired result (or manifestation) is something you truly want with all of your being. It's addressing the doubts and resolving them before you even do your magical work.

It doesn't surprise me that some magicians experience doubt and have it sabotage their workings. I think this is due to the fact that they haven't done that necessary level of internal work that's needed to make sure everything is in alignment with the desired outcome. Without a process for doing dedicated internal work to address doubt and other sabotage emotions, those emotions will present themselves in your working and undermine your results. But with a dedicated process for internal work, its easy to deal directly with any doubts or other emotions and resolve them in your favor. Then do the magical working and you'll get consistent results.

This actually applies to decisions you make in general. For example, when I decided to rebrand my one business, I had already gone in and done the internal work to deal with any doubt or fear I may have felt. Once that was cleared out of the way, I started my rebranding and pursued it wholeheartedly. I didn't leave myself room for doubt, because it would've slowed me down. I knew what I wanted and I knew I could do it. The business is rebranded in terms of content and message (The visual design is still being reworked) and the previous services have been let go of.

If we look at this from a process approach what we get is assess the change you want to make. Determine if there is internal resistance (i.e. doubt). Resolve the internal resistance or make a different choice (sometimes there are good reasons not to do a magical working or life change). Do the magical working and any other actions needed to manifest the desired result. Simple, effective...and the doubt is dealt without having to continue entertaining it. There should be no room for doubt if you really want to manifest a desired result.

A Meditation on Freedom and Responsibility

In the Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte she says the following about Freedom: "In seeking our freedom, we liberate our potential to accomplish incredible things". John Parsons in Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword notes: "Freedom is a two-edged sword of which one edge is liberty and the other responsibility, on which both edges are exceedingly sharp; and which is not easily handled by casual, cowardly, or treacherous hands" He further goes onto argue that to truly be free we first need to master our inner impulses, passions, fears, etc.

Both perspective are valid. I agree with Parsons that true freedom is held by being able to take responsibility for handling it. That responsibility is gained by doing internal work to master yourself, your emotions, desires, beliefs, and values, and to put them to work toward truly experiencing freedom. The experience of freedom is as LaPorte puts it: Its the liberation of our potential to accomplish amazing things. That liberation can only be experienced when we master ourselves and truly identify what it is we want.

Freedom isn't necessarily about doing anything you want, which is a rather vague statement, but rather is about identifying what truly brings you alive and then choosing to do it, with an understanding that you must take responsibility for doing it and for the consequences of seeking it. And this applies to magic as a methodology used to help achieve that freedom. If we want to experience liberation, then we need to know what tools to use that will get us that liberation.

Liberation is the choice to do what you love, and freedom is the experience of embodying what you love as an active and passive principle of your life. Responsibility is holding yourself accountable to continue to do and be what you love, even and especially in the face of resistance.

I value liberation above all else because it is the realization of potential, and the empowerment that comes with it is unlike any other experience out there. To truly be liberated is, in my opinion, to experience fulfillment and happiness. It's not always an easy road, but its a road that embodies the best of yourself and the realization that what you truly want can be experienced and achieved if you are willing to take the risks and truly give your liberation what it deserves: Your full and undivided attention.

Value and Wealth

Jason recently posted a blog about value and wealth. He basically did an exercise that looked at the value of what he wanted to buy vs the price of what he wanted to buy vs the value of what he could put that money toward. It's a good exercise to do and its something I'm familiar with from Your Money or Your Life (affiliate link).  In that book, one of the exercises has you look at the real value of what you are purchasing vs the amount of money and the amount of time spent earning that money. And much like Jason's exercise, what it really does is force you to look closely at your relationship with money and how you are spending it.

So you might wonder why I'm writing about that on here. Wealth magic is an ongoing interest of mine, and I think to really apply magic to wealth in any substantial way you really have to understand money and its relationship with your life, as well as the value you ascribe to a given purchase. An unexamined relationship with money will find people buying anything that catches their interest, while also accruing a mountain of debt. If you want to do magic for a specific result, you've got to understand what that result will really look like in your life, and be prepared to handle any consequences that are associated with it.

This is why people who win the lottery typically end up spending their way through the money they won. They played to win, but they weren't prepared for the consequences of winning and likely they didn't really examine their relationship with money. So they win the money and they get deluged by relatives and friends who suddenly care (as long as the money flows) and they also have vague ideas on how to spend the money. I'll buy that Porsche I always wanted or pay off the house, or whatever else. Rarely do I see anything about investing the money when I hear stories about someone winning the lottery.

Money magic tends to have a similar effect. the focus is on getting the money, but once you have the money what do you do? Doing magic to get money may work, but having it is another reality and one that most people seem ill-prepared for. The question then is this: What is my relationship with money and what do I want to do with it, both now and in the future? Knowing the answer can help you figure out if you can really handle more money and if you really understand the value of what you are trying to get with that money.

An important part of magical work is the relationship. Looking at your relationship with money and knowing what you want to change with it can help you do wealth magic more effectively than just trying to get money. It's that internal ingredient that is needed to effectively integrate a force into your life, whether that force is money, love, power, or something else altogether. Can you handle the consequences? Is the value worth it and do you know what you'll do with the result, once you've got it.

A Commentary on Witch Hunts in Africa

I was pointed to this documentary video about witch hunts in Africa. And if you go to this link you'll see an article that discusses how witch hunting is alive and well in Africa.

This is sickening  because these children aren't identifying as witches. Instead they have been labeled as such in order by people who are choosing to use those labels to get rid of children they don't want, or because some Christian pastor has decided to demonize them. The end result isn't just intolerance...its death. It's people being persecuted for beliefs and practices that they don't even do.

It makes me realize how fortunate I am. I've experienced some discrimination for my beliefs, but I don't face it on a daily basis, and I'm not being accused of something I don't actually believe in. Any of us are lucky to be able to practice our beliefs. Whatever discrimination we might face, its nothing like this. These are people who are killed for superstitious beliefs. When you watch the videos for the documentary you'll see such ignorance displayed it will sicken you as well it should.

It is important to raise awareness of this issue. I'm also looking into how to donate to this cause and will post details in a later post.





Archetypes, movement, and getting into the role

I've been reading Acting and Singing with the Archetypes (affiliate link) and trying out some of the exercises. My main draw for picking up the book was because of my ongoing interest in integrating movement, dance, and space into my magical work and I thought the book might prove useful for that purpose.

It reminds me a bit of Antero's Paratheatre techniques, and I find that with the archetypes I need to get into a state of mind and body that allows me to channel them. It's not all that different from doing an invocation, but what stands out most is how mutable a given archetype is...or rather I find that it is much easier for me to draw on a variety of pop culture sources as well as more traditional sources. The various archetypal labels of Child, Devil, Trickster, etc. are useful, but in a way I wonder if we confine ourselves to much to those labels? Is the space pirate an archetype in its own right or just a variation of an existing one?

The process of orienting yourself into invoking a particular archetype requires two essential behaviors. The first behavior is an ability to let go of your ego or sense of self. You empty that awareness. The second behavior is the ability to embody the archetypal awareness and characteristics and traits. There's different tools you can use. I've seen people use masks for example, which can be a lot of fun, but your body is the ultimate tool. The change in posture, facial patterns, voice, and even a change in clothing and accoutrements can be quite useful. It's also a change in emotions, and energy. What are the emotions the archetype feels? How does that translate into space and movement? What are the functions it embodies and how does that change the space and movement of the body?

Getting into the role is getting out of the way and allowing the archetype, spirit, etc fill me. I allow my body to become a vessel for the divine force I am working with. I open myself to the experience and let the experience define the space.

Book review: Acting and Singing with the Archetypes (affiliate link) By Janet Rodgers and Frankie Armstrong.

This book was written for an audience of actors, but as someone who is not an actor, but nonetheless does work with archetypes I found it to be a valuable read, with useful exercises that can be applied to more than just acting. I like that the authors drew on perspectives of movement such as Laban's work, but also that they made their work very accessible. This is a book I'd recommend to a counselor, actor, artist, or the magician who wants to take a different approach to his/her magical workings.