Books

Call for Writers for the Second Shades of Faith Anthology

Shades of Faith Front copy Call for Writers– Shades of Ritual; Minority Voices in Practice

Email for inquiries and submissions: Crystal Blanton
Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press (Stafford, U.K./Portland, OR, U.S.A) is seeking submissions for a the follow up anthology to Shades of Faith, released in August of 2011.  This anthology will focus on people of color working in magical communities and their spiritual practices.  This anthology will provide another opportunity to get the voices and experiences of minorities within the Pagan community out to the world and address some of the challenges, stereotyping, frustrations and the beauty of being different within the racial construct of typical Pagan or Wiccan groups. These communities include (but are not limited to) groups and individuals working in Wicca, Voodoo, Umbanda, Shaman, and other Pagan paths.
As many of the roots of Paganism come from the lands of people of color, much of the color of Paganism is often forgotten in the cultural mainstreaming that often happens to ethnic cultures. Many people of color within Paganism walk between the worlds of their birth ancestry and culture, and that of their spiritual culture.  This anthology is meant to show how that might look within the spiritual practice of one’s home.
Here are some suggested topics to give you an idea of the focus of this anthology.
·         Rituals
·         Poetry
·         Your experience of integration into the Pagan community and how that might correlate with your practice
·         Magical work
·         Ancestor work
·         Deity specific practices and relationships
·         Integrating your birth culture with your spiritual workings
·         What magical work are you doing now? How do you describe it? Do you work alone, in a group, or in several settings?
·         Your birth culture and spiritual workings
·         Stereotypes and prejudice and the impact on spiritual or magic workings. Being the only person of color in a coven, group or community
·         Sharing your culture and history with other Pagans
·         Cultural history and how that plays a role in your spiritual practice today
·         Family culture and how that plays a role in your spiritual practice
·         Cultural appropriations and how that works in your practice.
Rough drafts are due August 15, 2013. These drafts will be edited in a back-and-forth process with the editor. Essays should be 1500-4000 words, although if your work falls outside those limits, do submit it – we can discuss this during the editing process. Drop us an email if you are unsure whether your idea fits into the content. The sooner you start the communication process the better, as after the deadline we won’t be considering additional ideas.
Essay requirements: • Citations for all quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise unoriginal material • Bibliography of works cited • Prefer APA format
Write in your voice! If you’re academically inclined or trained, feel free to be as intelligent and technical as you like. If your work entirely talks in the first person about your own experience, please include this also. There is a wide range of voices, and we are interested in being as inclusive of style as possible.
Accepted contributors will receive a free copy of the anthology when it is published and additional copies sold at 40% off the cover price to contributors. All contributors will be provided with a contract upon final acceptance of their essays, not when they are accepted for editing. If your essay is not accepted for the anthology, we will tell you after the first round of edits.
The anthology will be edited by Crystal Blanton. She is the author of two books with Immanion press; Bridging the Gap; Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society, and Pain and Faith in a Wiccan World.  She is also the editor of the first anthology, Shades of Faith; Minority Voices in Paganism. She may be found online at http://www.crystalblanton.org and her email address for this anthology is crystal@crystalblanton.com .

Immanion Press is a small independent press based in the United Kingdom. Founded by author Storm Constantine, it expanded into occult nonfiction in 2004 with the publication of Taylor Ellwood’s Pop Culture Magick. Today, Immanion’s nonfiction line, under the Megalithica Books imprint, has a growing reputation for edgy, experimental texts on primarily intermediate and advanced pagan and occult topics. Find out more at http://www.immanion-press.com.

Why Immanion Press is so Important to me

Immanion Press I don't write much about the work I do with Immanion Press on this blog. Indeed, as far as many of you know, I'm just one of its authors. But the truth is I'm not just an author of Immanion Press. I'm also the Managing Non-Fiction editor of Immanion Press. (Cue in the jokes about being a Hair club for men member). For me, Immanion Press is one of the vehicles by which I express my passion for writing and publishing and magic in the world.

My service to Immanion Press is one of the ways I give back to the magical community and is also an offering to the magic itself. I am not paid a salary at Immanion Press. I get a small royalty for books I edit, but I don't get paid for the layout I do, or a lot of the other work I do and I am fine with that. My service to Immanion is a dedication of love to occult writing, occult authors, and to the magic itself. It is done because I want to publish books that I know will likely not see the light of day because other publishers are afraid to touch the books. It is done because I want to empower authors who have had bad experiences with other publishers, and show them that someone has their back. Indeed as I write this I reflect on an email a prospective author sent me on Thursday, telling me how validated she feels to have a publisher interested in her work who will respect her voice, who will edit the book, but not to commoditize it for the mass market. I like hearing that because to me a publisher has two clients: The Authors and the Readers. Too often, imo, most publishers focus on the latter and forget or neglect the former.

Way back in 2003, I had written Pop Culture Magick. I shopped the book to Weiser, New Falcon, and a couple other publishers. In some cases I didn't hear back from the publishers and in other cases, I got a rejection letter. I was told that my book was too niche and controversial. I was told that I shouldn't try to publish it because it wouldn't sell. So during a trip to England, I talked with Storm Constantine, owner of Immanion Press, and to this day a good friend of mine. I showed her my book and even though Immanion Press had originally been intended for Science Fiction and Fantasy books, she saw the potential in my book and agreed to publish it. In 2004, Pop Culture Magick was published and thus we started the non-fiction line of Immanion Press. It strikes me as ironic that NOW bigger publishers want to publish books on pop culture magic. I guess it's no longer so controversial, but in 2003, a decade ago, no one would touch my book. I doubt I'll ever really get the recognition I think is deserved for paving the way, but I know I paved the way. Not just with my books either, but with other books by other authors as well. Of course, I didn't do it alone.

I had help over the years from the authors, from Storm, from Kat, and from other people and I am thankful to all of them to this day, because the nonfiction line for Immanion Press couldn't be what it is without the authors, editors, and volunteers who've offered time, blood, and sweat to make things happen. Immanion Press has always been a team effort, and so really it's that all of us paved the way to one extent or another.

A couple of months after Pop Culture Magic was published, Nick Farrell emailed me and asked if Immanion Press would consider publishing his book Gathering the Magic. It's a book about magical group dynamics and big surprise, none of the bigger publishers wanted to publish it. So I asked Storm about it, and Immanion Press took it on. I was still just an author then, but as more authors found out about us, and discovered that we wanted to publish intermediate to advanced books on magic that were for niche markets and that no book was too controversial for us, Storm asked me if I would be willing to be the managing non-fiction editor. She respected my expertise as an occultist, and the way that I knew the market. I said yes and I began what has been and continues to be one of the most important callings of my life: I publish the books other publishers won't touch because I know there is a market and that those publishers are wrong. They don't get it...how can they, when what they are focused on is really the bottom line? And I get why they are...and they have a place, and the books they publish have a place, but even so, on a certain level they just don't get it, and they never will. They aren't publishing for the same reason and what they publish is for a larger market. They aren't going to publish the controversial books, the risky books because they don't want to alienate that larger market. But the truth is that anything that is published is bound to offend someone. It's not always about hitting the largest market possible. It's about reaching the right market...the right people and meeting their needs even if it isn't an automatic hit. It's about knowing the market, knowing the people, knowing what they want...and knowing that giving it to them does involve some risk, because you can't please everyone...and maybe you shouldn't.

Working at Immanion Press hasn't always been easy. At one point I came very close to leaving, burned out, and fed up with how taken for granted I felt by everyone involved. And being a strong personality, I know I am not always easy to work with and that I've made a few mistakes along the way. But overall, I love the work I do at Immanion Press and over time the process has gotten easier. What people forget sometimes is that Immanion Press is a small press. We don't have a paid staff of editors, publicists, marketers, etc. We run on a tight budget and the people who work for us get paid in royalties. And yet they do it anyway, which I am so thankful for...because they believe in the vision of Immanion Press. They believe that what we are doing is important enough to support it. And despite not having what traditional publishers have, we make it work and we find ways to help our authors out. It's not a perfect system, far from it, and sometimes it doesn't work out as well as it could. But we make it work anyway.

And I am proud of our authors and books. I am proud that I've played a role, however small it is, in helping authors launch their writing career and when I see that one of my authors got a book published by another publisher I feel good about it, because I know that getting published by us helped with that. We publish the controversial books, and we also bring books back into print and what we have available is awesome. We've published books on the subjects that the other publishers won't touch and we've played a role in getting conversations to happen. We've also told the authors that we want them to write in their voices and that we won't sanitize those voices. At the same time, we've insisted on academic standards of in-text citation and quotations, which readers tell me they love because they see it so rarely in the majority of books published on magic and paganism.

At this last Pantheacon, two of my authors, Tony Mierzwicki and Crystal Blanton, told me in their respective ways how much they liked working with Immanion Press. Tony told me how he'd shopped his book Graeco-Egyptian Magic everywhere and was about to self-publish it when he remembered meeting me and decided to see if we'd publish his book. We said yes and he told me how getting his book published opened doors for him. He told me how much he appreciated a free marketing seminar I gave to the authors (and inspired me to start it up again for my authors). And I know that even if he never publishes another book with us, we played a role in his life and in his writing that he'll always remember. And that touched me so profoundly and I was so grateful for his appreciation and recognition of Immanion Press and my role in all of it.

And at one point I was talking with Crystal and she abruptly stopped me and said, with much emotion, "Thank you" several times. And later she told me how much she appreciated my vision for Immanion and she said that she didn't think I knew what an impact I had on her community because of how I'd supported her as an author and as an editor of The Shades of Faith Anthology we published. And she's right I didn't know it, but that weekend gave me a glimpse...and later she acknowledged at a panel my role in the anthology and how I'd recognized I wasn't the right person to edit that anthology, and that I knew I needed to find someone who could do it justice. I was so touched by what she said, so honored that she felt I had contributed to her vision and work.

And I've had other authors on occasions tell me similar things and I have always felt touched. To me that is the biggest payoff. I have helped authors reach their audience. I have respected their voices, their culture, their audience...I have done my job as a publisher and an editor and as a magician...I have believed in them and provided a platform to help them reach others who can believe in them as well.

And I've continued to write my books and place them with Immanion. I'll admit I do find it frustrating when I go to Powells books and don't see my books on the shelves or the Barnes and Nobles because we use print on demand and because we don't take returns. Yet that frustration pales to the joy I feel writing my books my way...knowing my voice will be respected, knowing that the cover of the book will be the cover I pick. And I know I'm reaching my audience. I'm reaching the people who need my work and that is what is really important.

I'm writing a book on Wealth Magic and I flirted with the idea of letting another publisher publish one of my books. I even sent a proposal in and then...I went to a panel held by the publisher and in that panel I heard everything that was an antithesis of my approach to publishing. They wanted trendy, marketable ideas. They wanted books that had cute titles and approached magic in a hip marketable manner that would hit the largest market possible. I left feeling sick to my stomach and I knew that none of my occult books will likely ever be published by a larger publisher. I simply can't imagine emasculating my vision and my words in that way just to make a buck. And I don't feel they will really get my vision or my approach or understand that I know the market better than they may know it. I know I'll write non-occult books (I'm starting one as soon as I finish the wealth magic book) and those books will go to more mainstream publishers, but my spiritual work, the work that touches the heart of the universe and speaks the language of magic...that work needs to be the way it is...not written for a general audience...not written to make a buck, but written to speak to the people who need it...written in my voice, written the way I want it to be written. And yes it means my books will always be with a small publisher. It means that I won't get some of the advantages that some of my other occult authors have. And I can live with that...because even though its a harder road to walk and there is more work on my end as an author, I've already been doing it for ten years, and I like how I feel about myself as a writer and as a magician. I don't say that to pass judgments on other authors. I recognize that many of the other occult authors have had awesome relationships with the publishers they've worked with. I just feel that for me I know where the home of my occult books are...and hopefully always will be. And that's Immanion Press. My press...my publisher and one of my loves. I love Immanion Press. I love what we stand for and I love that I serve the magic with the work I do for the press. That is more important than anything else. I serve the magic.

Projects I'm currently working

I'm working on a few projects right now, and thought I would share what I'm working on, in terms of classes, books, and magical work.

1. Space/Time Weekend Class: I've already announced this class recently, but I'm really excited about it. I'll be taking the concepts and practices in Space/Time Magic and Magical Identity and showing people to turn them into a comprehensive system of magical practice and spirituality. This class will happen in March in Portland, though I am also open to teaching it elsewhere, under the right circumstances.

2. Magical Journal book: Also in March I'll be publishing my next book through Immanion Press, which will be a collection of all the blog entries on this blog from 2008 to 2012. It'll be quite a collection and I'm looking forward to having all the blog posts of this site available in print.

3. Wealth Magic Book: I am also writing a book on Wealth Magic and I'm currently putting a proposal together for a publisher. I'm not going with Immanion because this book has a broader audience. I'll give you more details when I know them.

4. Music Magic Experiment: I'm still doing experiments with music, specifically my voice and how it can be applied to magic. There's some fascinating works on the topic if you're willing to dig in and research.

5. Refinement of Tibetan Meditation practices: I'm learning more about some of the meditation practices I do and as a result I'm refining how I do them to take advantage of what I've learned. I've noticed some definite improvements because of the refinements.

That's it for the moment. I have a couple other projects, but those are long term down the line projects, with research being done as opposed to anything active.

My List of Essential Occult Books

Below is a list of Occult books that I consider essential for a magician's practice. Actually not all of the books are occult per se, but all of them offer something for the aspiring and experienced magician. I have not included any of my books here, because while I would argue they are essential reads, I wanted to focus on other people's works.

Magical Ritual Methods by William G. Gray

This book has been foundational to my magical practice and is one I draw inspiration from even today. Gray explores magical concepts and practices in depth, while providing exercises and urging practitioners to experiment.

Initiation into Hermetics by Franz Bardon

Another excellent practical book that walks you through a variety of magical processes while providing exercises to help you master those skills. It should be one of the first books a magician reads.

Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits

This book does a good job of defining and describing how and why Magic works. While I don't agree with all the laws, I think its still a book any magician should read just to see how someone has developed a definition of magic through systematic work.

Defining Reality by Edward Schiappa

Not an occult book, but a must read because it explores definitions and how people develop them. It's very useful for a magician to understand the power of definitions, both in terms of life and how they apply to magic.

Relaxing into your Being by B. K. Frantzis

This book provides an excellent introduction into Taoist meditation practices and lays out the value of doing internal work for personal development, as well as developing your internal energy

Magical Pathworking by Nick Farrell

A Useful Exploration of Pathworking, hypnosis, and related techniques and how to use them for internal work and invocations.

The Magician's Companion by Bill Whitcomb

A Useful Encyclopedic reference book that comes in handy if you want to get a quick reference to an occult tool or system.

Uncle Setnakt's Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path by Don Webb

A useful guide to the left hand path practices, as well as providing an intriguing essay on initiation that is a must read regardless of what path you are on.

Kissing the Limitless by T. Thorn Coyle

This is a book of Western Magical practices that also includes internal work as a part of its core practice. It explores a person's relationship to the world via spirituality and its exercises will definitely help you evolve.

Living Magical Arts by R. J. Stewart

Another excellent book that builds off the concepts in Magical Ritual Methods, while also providing a different perspective to the core principles of magic.

I could probably recommend many more books, but all of these are a good start for a beginning magician and recommended for more experienced ones as a way of helping you fully flesh out your practice in a comprehensive manner.

Book Review: The Hidden Adept & The Inward Vision by R. J. Stewart

This is a fascinating biography about a little known occult adept named A. R. Heaver who lived in England from 1900 to 1980. R.J. Stewart shares details of this person's life as well as his own encounters with him in the 1970's. He also discusses the Avalon sanctuary, and several other fascinating details. I enjoyed the book a lot because it provided some details about R.J's work in relationship to A. R. Heaver and proved to be fascinating in terms of learning a bit more occult history. If you are learning the Sphere of Art or other related work that RJ does this book is a must, and if you are a student of occult history, you will also want to pick up this book.

My Experiences with Demonolatry

I'm reading Honoring Death: the Arte of Daemonolatry Necromancy by S. Connolly. Reading it has reminded me of my early experiences with Demonolatry, in particular with Euronymous. I've written a bit about that work in Space/Time Magic, but that only touches on it a bit. I first found out about Demonolatry, in the later 1990's, when I stumbled across an e-list on the topic. I joined the e-list and learned some about demonolatry and also tried out some of the ritual work as well as adapting it to my own practices. I even have a limited edition of the Book Modern Demonolatry, which has since been expanded and changed (or so I've been told). I still refer to that original copy and it is much loved. I stayed involved on the e-list until the early 2000's and then drifted off thanks to Graduate school, but I continued my work with Euronymous after I'd disconnected from the demonolaters. I'd have to say that Demonolatry has heavily influenced my approach to working with entities in general, and Daemons specifically. Thanks to that tradition I learned to work with Daemons from a place of respect. Instead of doing traditional evocations which involve a lot of coercion and commanding, I have always approached Daemons with respect and an eye toward how we can help each other. This practice has served me well and I'm thankful that my time spent learning about Demonolatry taught me those perspectives.

My work with Euronymous has always focused around death and rebirth, which is appropriate given that he is a Daemon of Death. In that work, there is an element of sex magic included, which makes perfect sense to me as sex can be both an act of life and death all rolled up in one. Euronymous has appeared to me as a skeleton and as a lord clothed in fine clothes, with pallid skin. He has guided me through several death-rebirth rituals and although I'm at a point where I suspect I won't do such for quite a while, he nonetheless is a presence I continue to honor to this day. He has taught me that death is a transformation and a lover and nothing to fear so much as to recognize it for the potential it offers.

I have also worked with Verrier and Verine, Daemonolatric spirits of healing. They have helped me in some of the healing work I've done with others, in particular with some DNA healing, which I think is appropriate given how they represented themselves as serpents. They've made think of Aesculapius and his staff.

I've recounted elsewhere my work with the goetic spirits Bune, Marchosias, and Purson. My work with them has always been informed by Demonolatry and I think its greatly enhanced the relationship I have with them.

I'll admit that I don't incorporate the ceremonial approach that is written about in Demonolatry. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm more concerned about the underlying principles of a given magical act. I figure if the spirits I work with want me to work a particular way they'll tell me, but they've never really seemed to care. What has mattered to them is the sincerity of my desire to connect and work with them, as well as honor them. They in turn have honored me with their presence and work on my behalf.

Book Review: Honoring Death by S. Connolly

This book focuses on Necromancy from the perspective of Demonolatry. I'd have to say that out of all the books I've read on necromancy, I've liked this one the best, especially because of how the author suggests working with spirits and the dead, in a manner that is respectful, much like you would work with a daemon. She also offers suggestions for particular daemons a practitioner can work with when doing necromantic work. If you are interested in learning more about demonolatry, you will also learn a bit about that topic with suggested further reading also offered. Overall all this is a solid, focus book, and the author has done an excellent job presenting the topic and providing methods for working with spirits.

A word about copyright

I got a Google alert recently that showed that one of my books was available for free download on a site. I checked it out. I never put the book on that site and my publisher didn't either. So I sent them a DMCA takedown notice. Hopefully that will resolve the problem, at least temporarily. It's a good thing that I had an alert in place, because I doubt I'd find out otherwise. When I posted about this on some social networks, one person asked why I was concerned.

I'm concerned because I'm the author of that book. I spent who knows how many hours researching, experimenting, writing, and revising that book. And honestly, I'm not going to get a lot of compensation for the book. I'm writing for a niche audience within a niche audience. I get royalties and if I'm selling the book directly, I might make a bit more money then if the book is sold through Amazon or a bookstore, but either way I'm still not making a lot. But you know what? I want to be compensated for my hard work and effort. I want to get paid, even if its not a lot, for the writing I've done. I don't think that's unreasonable.

I know...some people will say: "Information wants to be free!" It's amazing how they have ascribed a desire to information, but as far as I know information doesn't give a flying fig about whether its free or not. Me, on the other hand...I care about the information I've compiled and written and put together and since I consider it to be my information, I can safely it doesn't want to be free. If it wants anything, it wants proper respect given to it and to the labors of someone who's worked to produce it.

I don't have a problem with Fair Use or a person quoting me (I do like proper attribution though!). I don't have a problem with a person writing about his/her experiences with my ideas and techniques. But I do have a problem when I see a site that offers a free download of my writing. My effort, my creation, my books deserve more respect. And its that same respect that I give every time I buy a book, quote and cite it, and for that matter review it, so others can get my take on it. That's why it concerns me...that's why it matters.

Revisiting my ceremonial magic roots

I think one of the best practices a magician can do is to revisit your magical roots or foundations years later after you'd moved on to other practices and places. Lately through reading R.J.'s works, as well as revisiting Ted Andrews work and taking the Strategic Sorcery course I've been revisiting ceremonial magic. It's good to revisit it, because I'm using the opportunity to do planetary magic as well as revisit core concepts I learned way back when. To me, this re-visitation has been most useful because it's also allowing me to take everything else I've learned and readjust the foundational material to account for more recently learned and worked with practices. I know that revisiting past work has always been beneficial simply because different experiences have been had, and those experiences shape the perspective and what is gleaned from work once read by novice eyes. It's wise to revisit works you've read, because even if you think you've mastered the content, you might be surprised by what you learn through the visitation.

Lately, in choosing to explore planetary magic and start employing it, I've found myself enjoying doing something that I might not consider experimental in the usual sense of the word, but that nonetheless is new territory for me to explore. You never stop learning and revisiting old territory can yield realizations and practices that shape your magical work.

 

Book Review: The Sphere of Art by R. J. Stewart

This is a must have book if you are interested in ceremonial magic or you are studying R.J.'s magical works and system of magic. What I enjoyed the most was the author's systematic explanation of the sphere of art and how it works and what the magician is doing when s/he is working with the sphere of art. I also found the appendices interesting, especially the author's encounter with Ronald Heaver. The author presents some excellent commentaries on ethics and how they apply to magic. If you get this book, I recommend reading it with a discussion group, as you'll get a lot of insights out of it, through conversation. Remember that what will make it most effectively is actively doing the practices.

What's one of your earliest influential occult books?

Recently I was looking through my magical library and I came across two books by Ted Andrews, books I've had since I was 16 or 17. They were books I'd hidden away when I was 18 and told I had to burn my books or leave, because they were books that were essential to my practice at that time. I was using the exercises in them for my daily work and also to connect with the elemental spirits. And to this day those books are essential to my magical practice in terms of the information and experiences they first provided. While my magical practice has gone far afield, the principles I learned in this books still inform and guide my magical practice. The books are How to Meet and Work with Spirit Guides and Enchantment of the Faerie Realm. Perhaps what I liked best about the books then and even now is the balance between practical techniques and theoretical information. As I looked through both books the other night, I felt a smile appear on my face, rediscovering a sense of wonder I first felt when I began practicing magic. As a teenager these books were doorways to a better life than the one I was living in. They provided me a sense of empowerment, a feeling of control, and a sense that I could actively make a difference in my life by employing magic. I still feel that way, but holding those books and flipping through them brought a sense of nostalgia and happiness over the memories themselves.

And flipping through them also provided inspiration for a working I did recently and am still engaged in currently, which I'll write about on Wednesday. It illustrated to me that going back through something you've kept for almost 20 years can still provided you surprises and realizations that you can work with.

What was your earliest influential texts that changed your approach to magic?

Are pop culture entities real?

In a recent blog post Jason wrote about Post Chaos Magic (sounds like Post modernism) he argues that fictional or pop culture entities don't have the same effect as more traditional gods, demons, entities, etc. He notes the following:

Some chaos magicians have claimed that in the modern, largely secular world, a figure like Superman receives more collective belief than a pagan deity like Mars, thus making comic book or pop culture characters even more viable for magic than traditional gods and spirits. Even if we accept that it is belief, rather than the object of belief, that holds the power to magic, this thinking confuses attention with belief. Attention and belief are not the same thing, there is a different quality to the experience all around.

Now I want to first issue a caveat. I have not ever identified as a chaos magician. I've always identified as an experimental magician (which is its own path).  I mention that because in my book Pop Culture Magick I made similar arguments to what is mentioned above. I have, however, distinguished between attention and belief. In my book, I acknowledged that attention was not the same as belief and that while a pop culture entity might get lots of attention what made it an effective force was the actual belief the practitioner had in its existence and abilities. And not just belief in the entity for the course of a ritual, but actual, honest to goodness belief that lasts longer than a moment.

Back in the late 1990s I had the privilege of connecting with Storm Constantine, author of the Wraeththu series. We've continued our contact over the years (In fact I co-run Immanion Press with her). We both worked on the Dehara system, which is a system of magic based on contact with "fictional" entities from the Wraeththu series. As we developed this system, other people got involved and what stood out to me was that none of us treated the entities as fictional entities, but rather as genuine spirits we'd contacted. To this day I continue to work with the Dehara as do other people who've chosen to believe in them and form a relationship with them. The impact the Dehara have had on my life has been just as real as the impact my work with with the Goetia or other more traditional entities has been.

Jason rightly points out that one of the core issues of Chaos Magic (and for that matter some forms of ceremonial magic) is a tendency to treat spiritual entities as psychological extensions of ourselves. But to me what has always made pop culture magic a viable magic is the ability to genuinely believe and interact with entities that may not date back to Ancient Greek or Celtic cultures, but nonetheless have a real and viable presence, provided the magician is willing to explore that presence. I think that what has stopped many magicians from doing so is a combination of the psychological model of magic and embarrassment about considering the possibility of forming a spiritual relationship with a pop culture entity. After all the Pagan/occult community can be fairly harsh with those people deemed fluffy, as I can attest to from my own experiences. Yet as someone who unashamedly does work with pop culture entities from a spiritual perspective, all I can really say is: Such relationships really can be as effective provided you invest them in as equally as you expect the entity to.

I will note that there is a difference when you're working with a pop culture entity in a manner that is driven more by getting a specific result as opposed to forming an ongoing relationship with it. I've certainly done that kind of work as well and while useful it's not quite the same as when you develop an ongoing spiritual relationship with an entity.

 

 

Updates on current projects

Here's a few updates on various projects I am working on. Magic on the Edge 2.0

I've just finished first round editing of all the essays I received. I have about nine essays. I could use more and I have two people working on essays. If you would like to write an essay for Magic on the Edge 2.0, check this post out, and contact me. I am pleased with what I've gotten so far and I plan on publishing this anthology by fall of this year.

The Book of Good Practices

Bill Whitcomb and I have a project we are working on, the title of which is marked in bold. It admittedly feel to the wayside while I worked on Magical Identity, but now that MI is finished I've started to focus more time on this project. I'll have more details in the future.

Wealth Magic book

Yes I am writing or rather researching for a book on wealth magic. I've got a decent outline and also some practical experiments that I'm currently running, which seem to bearing fruit as it were. I hope to finish the first draft of the first chapter by tax day of this year (how apropos).

Process of Magic Correspondence Course

This hasn't been forgotten. In fact, I and another person are in the process of getting this website ready for a change that will practically support the ability to do a correspondence course. I already have some of the lessons for this course written and I have a better idea of how such a course should ideally work, so my plan is to fully manifest this course by Memorial Day Weekend. It will be the first of a number of courses on magic experiments ala Taylor Ellwood's style of doing magical experiments.

Current magical experiments

I'm also engaged in a few experiments as well as regular workings.

The regular workings include the year long invocation of the element of Fire (I post about that work once a month) and daily meditation practices. A weekly offering to Dragon has also been added to the mix.

Experiments include working with Bune on my businesses (This is a long term working and it has worked marvelously with all three of my businesses). I'll be writing about this experiment in the wealth magic book in a lot of detail.

Another experiment has involved improving healing work, with an eye toward exploring past life regression as part of the healing experiment. I've posted occasional updates and it is fascinating work. It also convinces me further that there needs to be an emotional component factored into healing (that and my internal work experiences).

There's more in the works as it were, but I don't share anything until its the right time to share it.

Strategic Sorcery Course

I am taking Jason's Strategic Sorcery course. It's proven to be an interesting course, in terms of getting a different perspective on how someone approaches magic. It reminds me of my traditional roots in magic (which is good) and I'm definitely getting a lot from the course.

That's it for updates on current projects.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 5

2-23-12 There are times I feel broken, times I realize how profoundly the abuse I experienced has affected me. I look back at a history of my life and I see patterns in different ways than I had before, and while I recognize that I've healed from a lot of it, I also see how much it still affects me. I've been thinking lately as well of my early sexual encounters with women who were much older than me, and how naive I was, and how much I didn't realize how those encounters affected my perspective on relationships, love, lust, and what would be considered acceptable. Until recently, I believed love was always conditional as a result of those early experiences. Now I realize it doesn't have to be conditional, but that belief about love came about because of circumstances that shaped what I thought love and commitment was. Understanding that history has helped me look closely at my choices, both past and present, and with the present choices, make them from a place that's less reactionary. That's the whole point of doing internal work. It challenges you to explore and understand the underlying causes of your choices, so that you know why you are making, and can ideally make them from a place of health as opposed to dysfunction. It challenges you to take responsibility for your choices, instead of trying to blame everyone else for your problems.

2-29-12 When I meditate with fire each day, what strikes me is how people have created such a mythology around such a primal force of life. The various stories about how fire was discovered or given as a gift, the focus on the creative or destructive nature of fire. This raw, primal force has been made into so much by how people try to negotiate and understand it. I don't think many people, even now, really look at fire as a wholly physical phenomenon, but even if they do, they still have to acknowledge its a force that can have an effect on our lives. A burning house is a prime example, as is a campfire that people huddle around to keep warm.

3-1-12 I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, prompted partially by listening to music I haven't listened to in a long time that reminds me of later teenage years spent trying to find myself. The right sound, the right sight, and you can get taken to a different time, a different awareness, then as now. And suddenly you have two temporal experiences, and you reconcile the memory with the place you're at now. My memories of my teenage years are bittersweet (but who's isn't?), mostly bitter, and yet listening to this music touches a place of naivety, of hope that's not quite gone. There's a sense of longing, and sadness, and experience as I listen to this song. There's a sense of change, and the appreciation of that change. We are not static. We are changeable and the changes are for the best. The right experience will trigger a doorway to the past, to an intersection with a you from before and the you of now. Two moments merge into one and both variants influence each other. It's fairly amazing when you allow yourself to fully open up and experience the merging of past memory with present experience, and sometimes even future dream.

3-5-12 Knowing when to take a break from actively being creative is important. I haven't done much writing since I wrapped up Magical Identity. I'm glad I took the time off, because now I'm feeling primed again and looking forward to writing. The days of pushing myself to write are over. I'd rather honor my creative genius by giving it the time to recharge so I can write with focus and verve.

3-7-12 I've been reading about and considering the emotions of jealousy and compassion. I think jealousy gets a bad wrap, but that if you consider it in the right context, it can actually be a warning system of potential problems with the connection (or lack thereof) that you have with a person. Sometimes jealousy is overblown, but sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it indicates real problems that need to be addressed. If I were to map jealousy to an element, it would be fire, because of how it feels and the associations it has with other emotions like love. I'd also map compassion to fire, because of the feeling of warmth it can convey.Compassion is the comprehension of another person's pain, and the ability to reach out to that person with genuine understanding. It's a very giving emotion, whereas jealousy is a very protective emotion.

3-10-12 I look back at the first entry of this post and I find it ironic today because when you learn something about yourself that you hadn't faced, it forces you to see patterns in your life in different ways than you'd acknowledged. Its good, even if its not pleasant to face. Maybe in a way that's why its good. It forces you to see what you've kept hidden from yourself. It's in facing yourself that you bring healing to yourself, but facing yourself means acknowledging not just how other people hurt you, but also acknowledging how you hurt other people and doing your best to learn from it and be a better person.

3-16-12 I'd never wish any of my past experiences of abuse on anyone, even my worst enemy. Experiences like that, where you are a victim, they make you protective of the people in your life, because you know you don't want them to ever have such painful and disempowering experiences. At the same time, as you get to know people you realize on some level or another everyone is dysfunctional, carrying wounds with them that define their lives. I think its a shame, because when a wound defines your life you can't move past it. It holds you back and keeps you in a restricted pattern that hurts you more than it does anything else. I've managed to let go of some of the wounds that previously defined me. I've learned my lessons from them, but I don't hold onto them anymore. Some of them I'm still holding on to, figuring out how to let them go and how to redefine myself in the process. Again that's part of internal work. It's not an overnight cure-all. It's doing the work so you can let go, heal yourself and move on.

3-22-12 - Magical Identity arrived today. It feels strange to realize that the journey to write this book is finally over. There's nothing more to do beyond selling it and talking about it (very important activities). It's created, birthed, realized, manifested. It exists...a part of my thoughts, ideas, life, etc., expressed into written form. I'm glad its published, and yet I find myself facing this curious feeling of "What next?" I actually know what's next, but it doesn't change the fact that I feel this feeling. I feel it anytime I finish any project. It' that realization of separation. This is no longer just mine. Now it's something that belongs to whoever chooses to adopt it and use it. It belongs to all of you as much as it belongs to me.

The fire doesn't burn out when somethings created, if you know how to cultivate it. It's alive. I'm a live. And that next project is beckoning.

Magical Identity is now Available as an E-book

Magical Identity is now available as an e-book through Smashwords. I'm working on the Kindle version and hope to have it available some time next week.

The print version will also be available soon. We will hopefully be getting proofs in the next couple of days and once they are approved, it will be available in print. You can still pre-order the print version and take advantage of the pre-order special to get a free e-book from me.

I'm really excited. This book not only features my latest research and experimentation in Space/Time Magic and Inner Alchemy, but also the exploration of an ontological approach to magic.

The Latest Update on Magical Identity

I've finished final revisions and I started layout last night on the print version of Magical Identity (It will also be available at Smashwords and on Kindle, but that will happen a bit down the line). If you haven't pre-ordered Magical Identity, now is a good time. From now until the book is in print, I will offer a free e-book of your choice from my other books, when you pre-order Magical Identity. This is a great opportunity to not only get my next book in print, but get another book for free. Once the book is in print, I won't offer this promotion.

Magical Identity Pre-orders

Magical Identity explores magic from an ontological perspective, to show why identity is an essential part of your magical practice. In this book, author Taylor Ellwood explores how you can change your identity and why making changes to your identity is the most effective magical practice you'll ever learn. In this book you will discover:

  • Advanced neuro-magic techniques for working with your body consciousness and neurotransmitter entities.
  • The web of Time and Space, a space/time magic technique for changing your life.
  • The key to successfully changing bad habits into positive habits.
  • and much more!

Magical Identity challenges you to take your magical practice to the next level. You will learn techniques that will change how you think of magic and yourself and will show you how to create effective change for your life.

Here's what other authors are saying about Magical Identity!

Like Space/Time Magic and other of his works before it, Taylor Ellwood has filled Magical Identity with a potent combination of magical techniques for change, the neurological discoveries that explain how these techniques work, and accounts of how he has applied them in his own life. -- Bill Whitcomb, Author of the Magician's Companion

Throughout this book you'll find a sparkling clarity in the writing (seriously; no mystic mumbo jumbo, no obscure oh-so-spookyness). And when you've read this book the chances are that you'll have discovered an attitude to magic that is rich in new ideas and perspectives and will undoubtedly enhance your own approach, whatever your style or tradition. -- Julian Vayne, Author of Magick Works and Now That's What I Call Chaos Magick

Learning the answer to the question “Who am I?” may prove vitally important, at some stage of the game, for most magicians. Allow Taylor Ellwood to be your guide; his answers aren’t simple ones, rather, he describes a method for exploring the interconnectedness of human and universe in a way that promises to help you find your own answers. -- Phil Farber, author of Brain Magick

This book is now available for pre-orders. The book will be available in March 2012. The cost is $20.99, plus Shipping and Handling.

International orders

Domestic orders

 

Books will also be available on Amazon, Immanion Press and in your local Occult bookstore

Call For Papers for Magic on The Edge 2.0

Magic on the Edge 2.0 is an anthology of experimental occultism, testing the cutting edges of magical practice to reveal intriguing experiments and new ideas, to push the future of magical practice forward and provide further inspiration for other practitioners. It is edited by Taylor Ellwood. We are looking for articles 3k to 6k words in length on topics that can include the following:

  • Innovative explorations of magical traditions
  • Experimental techniques with contemporary disciplines such as space/time magic, internal alchemy, laboratory alchemy, etc.,
  • Creative meditation practices
  • Got an idea? Run it by me and I'll give you feedback (see contact info below).

The deadline for the first draft is December 15th

For more information or questions contact me.

Please share this with anyone you know who might be interested in participating in this anthology.

Of Wounds and Tattoos

In a previous post, I showed off my most recent tattoo. Since showing it off, I've had an interesting, if somewhat painful experience that I want to relate. A couple days after I'd gotten the tattoo, I had three sores appear around the tattoo. One sore was actually in the tattoo, but on a spot that hadn't been inked. Another appeared in a straight line below it, and another appeared at an angle, where you essentially had a triangle. Without getting into too much TMI, the sores ended up infected, with one becoming an abscess. The timing of this was interesting. Kat, my wife, thinks that my body was responding to the tattoo and releasing toxicity. Given that I'd gotten all the work done in a 3 week period, I can believe that, but at the same time I can't help but wonder if it was also a demonstration of what the tattoo represents: Balance in Identity. Achieving balance means facing and releasing toxicity in your life. It means recognizing where you've allowed yourself to be held up by your own issues.

In meditating on the wounds that appeared, I realized that they represented the work I'd done and continue to do with my elemental balancing ritual. I've worked through a lot of internal toxicity and cleaned it out of my life. It's been painful, but it's also freed me of so much of what I was holding in. Those physical embodiments of the toxicity reminded me of all that work. They're also a reminder that such work can be ongoing.

In other news...

Recently Immanion Press released its latest Anthology: Shades of Faith. You can order the book via this website or via Amazon. Here's a brief description of what it's about:

Shades of Faith: Minority Voices in Paganism is an anthology that encompasses the voices and experiences of minorities within the Pagan community and addresses some of the challenges, stereotyping, frustrations, talents, history and beauties of being different within the racial constructs of typical Pagan or Wiccan groups.

My books are available as e-books

I'm pleased to announce that my books are available as e-books. Immanion Press has also made some of our other occult books into e-books as well. You can purchase my books as e-books if you visit Smashwords and search for them, or if you visit the book page and click on the link that directs you to the e-book page. Smashwords publishes the books in a variety of e-book formats. I'm really pleased to have them available as e-books and hope you will enjoy them in that format as well as the print format.

Drumming the Spirit to Life by Buddy Helms now published

We've just published Drumming the Spirit to Life by Buddy Helms. You can order the book on the Immanion Press website or on here. Below is a picture of the cover and a description of the book:

Drumming the Spirit to Life” is about why people drum. Drumming has affected all cultures and is an indispensable tool for healing, joy, evolution, and community. Russell Buddy Helm’s drumming journey includes pictures and some simple explanations of technique without the need of musical training or paralyzing self-criticism.

Rhythm is our old friend that we will always need for healing and to help us celebrate. We can’t help but develop an eager interest in drumming as a tool for personal growth and wisdom. There is humor and excitement in this type of drumming, and acceptance, regardless of the individual’s musical ability.

Those already drumming can use this book as a reference for improvisation. There are no wrong notes. The Downbeat, a New Orleans jazz term, unites everyone in our common world grooves. Rhythm is our most ancient survival tool. There is encouragement for the beginner and also the advanced players. Scientific insights show how rhythm affects our minds and bodies, yet exists outside the intellect, residing in our hearts and our souls, always forgiving, ready to be played so share the groove!

I'm now selling all Megalithica books

The title says it all, kind of. I'm now selling the entire line-up of esoteric non-fiction books published by Megalithica books, which is an imprint of Immanion Press. So what are some books by us that you might be interested in? Dancing With Spirits by Denny Sargent focuses on Shinto and Buddhist festivals in Japan, discussing the mythology and current day practice of those festivals. We've just published this book.

Bridging the Gap by Crystal Blanton discusses what it takes to create a successful pagan community, as well as what can stop it from happening. Another recent publication by us.

Ogam Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie is one of our more popular titles. She explains what Ogam are and how to work with them from a Celtic Reconstructionist perspective.

Women's Voices in Magic edited by Brandy Williams is one of our recent anthologies. It is an anthology of female magicians and their perspective on magic that they are doing and the magic culture as a whole.

And many, many more books with topics ranging from cultural appropriation to chaos magic to pathworking to Ritual Magic, all written by very talented magicians. Check out the link to see a full list of books.

On a personal note, I'm really happy to be selling all of these books again. The non-fiction line of books is something I've put a lot of work into as an editor and layout design person. Other people, including Lupa, my ex-wife have also contributed a lot of time and effort, but I was the one who started the line-up and although there's been occasions where I've felt a little burned out, its one of my callings in life to help publish and sell edgy, experimental, good occult books.