Book Reviews Jan through March 2019

Book Review: The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard

This is a whimsical book which explores the poetics of space, of the home, and the environment. It asks you to redefine your awareness of spaces you take for granted and provides appreciation and perspective about what space is really about. What I liked is how the author combined poetry, philosophy and design to create this treatise and its one I'll return to from time to time to help me appreciate my own space anew.

Book Review: Processmind by Arnold Mindell

In this book the author explores how to connect with the environment through meditation and internal work. This is a fascinating book which examines not only how we relate to the human body, but also to the environment through our body, both natural and manmade. It provides some useful exercises that can help you implement the practices described in the book. Worth reading if you want to develop a deeper connection with reality.

Book Review: The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

This is a must read book which will transform your relationship with yourself and your community. This book has helped me examine my relationship with myself as a writer and artist, but also as a person and the lessons its provided me have helped me become more confident and focused on doing the work instead of worrying about things I can’t control. It’s a relatively quick read with a socratic dialogue, but take some time to ponder and meditate on what is shared.

Book Review: Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

This is a fascinating, must read book on startups that applies to any business. The principles in this book will help you start a business or change an existing one. Most importantly what this book teaches you is how to focus on making your business successful, without falling into the trap of competition. Instead you learn why its important to do your own thing well and with a plan.

Book Review: Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal

This is a fascinating overview of the ways people are exploring ecstatic practices in modern times. I don’t feel its comprehensive as there’s areas the authors haven’t explored but its a good book, which can give you some food for thought about how altered states of consciousness can be applied to your life to increase your innovativeness and productivity. What it also reveals is the importance of altered states of consciousness for helping us achieve breakthroughs.

Book Review: White Moon on the Mountain Peak by Damo Mitchell

This is an excellent book which explores the alchemical firing process of Nei Gong and how it works. It’s not a book for beginners, and it requires that you already have some experiences with Taoist meditation practices. I read this book and clearly understood some of it, and some of it I realized I needed to go back and get some more experience. The author does present the information clearly, but its important that you have the requisite experience to fully implement and comprehend this book.

How learning Guitar is teaching me about sound and time magic

This past Christmas I received a guitar as a gift, along with online lessons for learning guitar. I had expressed an interest in someday learning the guitar, and my partner decided that it might make a good gift. And she was right! It has been a wonderful gift and opportunity to learn guitar and a gentle reminder to turn someday into something concrete.

I am slowly but surely getting better at playing guitar. I’m finding that what helps me get better is more than just the practice itself (though that definitely helps!); It is the choice to employ the mansion of memory technique which helps me remember what strings to pluck and what frets to touch while I play, as well as working my muscle memory into the playing so that I teach my hands how to get comfortable with the guitar. That, in and of itself, has been a novel experiment in terms of exercising the natural capacities of the body to myself learn something new.

Inner Alchemy of Life is now available

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Inner Alchemy of Life is a guide to the life within your body and teaches you how to spiritually connect and work with that life. Taylor Ellwood shares the practical magic techniques he developed for bio-hacking your body and working with neurotransmitters and microbial life of the body as spiritual allies that can help you enhance your health and overall quality of life.In this book you'll learn real magic techniques including:

  • How to create your own alphabet of desire to work with the spirits of the body.

  • How to use meditation to change the biochemistry of your body.

  • How to improve your body's health by working with the spirits of the body.

  • How to make life style changes using neurotransmitters.

Inner Alchemy of Life allows you to access the sacred mysteries of your body and develop a conscious and alchemical relationship with the life that exists within you and makes your own life possible. Transform your connection with your body with the Inner Alchemy of Life.

The Pop Culture Magic System of Kingdom Hearts

I’m currently playing Kingdom Hearts 3, which just came out, and when I play this series I always end up learning more about the pop culture and it gets me thinking about how it can be adapted to a pop culture magic system. What fascinates me about Kingdom Hearts is that it’s an amalgamation of Disney mythology, classical mythology, and the mythology of Kingdom Hearts itself. The series manages to make all of this work together and ends up creating an interesting cosmos that can be worked with. In my previous post, I shared a bit about why I might work with it, but in this post I want to break Kingdom Hearts down and explore the overall system in terms of what can be done with it.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Creativity Month 4

1-22-2019 Last night I started working with the Affinities. This work felt like I was supercharging myself and the elevations and adding further correspondences that would help me go deeper if I’m doing work with the Tree of Life or even as a way of drawing on those specific resources for ritual work. In a very real sense it feels like what I’m creating are batteries I can draw on when needed, but also guides that can help me take my spiritual work further.

1-24-2019 I’ve been continuing to work with the affinities and what I notice is that they do seem to supercharge the elevation even further while also creating a resonance effect within me, tuning the internal elevation further. I’m not sure what the end process will be but I do feel a stronger connection to the Archangels as well as to the elements, cosmos and underworld, so I’m willing to keep working at it and seeing where it takes me.

How to pick your pop culture for pop culture magic

I’ve recently started playing a game called in Inquisitor-Martyr, set in the Warhammer 40k universe, which a is a dystopic universe where humanity has access to advanced technology, but also a medieval mindset about technology. At the same time, humanity is beset by various alien menaces and the forces of chaos. I enjoy the game, but I would never create a pop culture magic working or system based off the Warhammer universe.

In this article, I want to share some thoughts on how to pick your pop culture for pop culture magic and also demonstrate why a viable option for pop culture magic may not be ideal, for other reasons. At the same time I’m going to compare and contrast the 40k universe with that of Kingdom Hearts (for purposes of pop culture magic), which is on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to pop culture based off fantasy.

How Marrow Breathing, Neurotransmitters and Qi gong healed my ribs

On New Years Eve I fell in my shower, and I ended up bruising my ribs. I fortunately didn’t break or fracture them, but even bruising them was painful and for the first couple of weeks it hurt to pretty much do anything. It typically can take up to 6 weeks for bruised ribs to heal and I knew as a result that I was going to have to take a break from my usual exercise routines and just focus on letting my body heal. But I also figured there was no reason I couldn’t also help my body with that process of healing.

How Embodiment connects you to your environment

The majority of my current magical experimentation is on experiential embodiment, which is focused on entering into a conscious relationship with the body, as opposed to merely inhabiting it and treating it as an object. Yet what I’m finding with this work is that it’s not merely helping me continue to collaborate with my body as a living universe in its own right, but also connecting me more intimately with the environment and world I live in, as well as with the fellow living beings I share this space with.

I’m reading the Spell of the Sensuous and Processmind and both books explore how connecting with your body also opens you up to connect with your environment. What both authors recognize is that the choice to be sensually and experientially present with your body necessarily also opens you up to becoming present with the space you are interacting with in your everyday life. Embodiment teaches us not to take for granted the world we live in or the bodies we are fortunate enough to have access to.

How to untangle Jealousy from Creativity

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

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

Art as active magic

Art is one of the techniques I use for working with magic. A painting or sculpture can be used to help embody and express a magical concept or provide a “home” of sorts for an entity or spirit. But art can also be used to set up your environment for magical work, or it can become a shrine and altar to the spirits you’re working with. It’s these latter two aspects I want to explore, as well as share a few examples of my own art employed for this purpose.

At the same time I also want to explore something else that I feel underpins the two points above: Art is an active collaborator in your magical work. I mention this because I think that other than the act of creating art, art is typically considered to be passive. And what I mean by that is that you see art on a wall and appreciate it, but its just there, in the background, or is it?

Elemental Balancing Ritual Creativity Month 3

12-23-2018 I’m away on holiday visiting Kat’s family in Canada, but today I work up did my moving meditations and then did the sphere of art work. I hadn’t done it during the move, having gotten special dispensation to pause the work but now its time to get back to it. For the next few days it’ll just be reattuning to the sphere, but when I get back home, I want to resume the work with the elevations and holy fires. The move itself has been an exercise in creativity. I’ve been working with the new space a lot, figuring out where to put things and how to set spaces up. It’s my hope we won’t move from our new place for quite a while and so a lot of my setup is reflective of that, and how to encourage my creativity.

I ended up getting a new desk, a black glass desk, and I have it facing the large window of the bedroom, where I can see bamboo. I think it will be quite beautiful and a wonderful place to do my creative work.

Book Reviews Nov-Jan 2018

Book Review: Seasonal Occult Rituals by William G. Gray

In Seasonal Occult Rituals, Gray lays out the structure of 4 occult rituals that can be done for the seasons and explains the methodology behind the rituals. Just as importantly, Gray also provides readers an opportunity to build their quarter cosmos for each season and for each quarter of the circle. whether you do the rituals or not, you’ll learn a lot about how to build your cosmology from reading this book.

Book Review: A whole new mind by Daniel Pink

In this book, the author explore right brained thinking and how the job market is being defined by right brained thinking. While this book was written a while, the premise that the author has shared has only become more true since the book was written, and its worth reading the book because it provides readers a way to understand how the modern world is changing and being defined by right brain thinking. The author also provides some useful exercises that can help you apply right brain thinking to your life.

Book Review: Playback: The Magic of William S. Burroughs by Ashe Journal

This is a collection of essays and poetry about William S. Burroughs. The essays touch on some of Burroughs spiritual interests and one addresses his magical work, but for the most part this collection doesn’t do justice to the magical work of Burroughs and that’s disappointing. There’s a lot of magical concepts in Burroughs work and it would be good if there was an actual book that explored his magical practices. This collection isn’t it.

Book Review: Evoking the Primal Goddess by William G. Gray

Evoking the Primal Goddess was the last book Gray wrote. It’s an interesting book which explores the divine feminine and Gray has some interesting theories and ideas. At times the book wanders a bit and I would take some of what he shares with a grain of salt, but its worth a reading and pondering because as always Gray makes you think.

Book Review: The man who lied to his laptop by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen

This is a fascinating book which explores how people relate to technology by attributing human behavior to the technology. The authors share some experiments that were conducted that demonstrate that people often view their technology from an anthropomorphic lens. They then transfer their observations over to human behavior in general, showing how these lessons can be applied to your everyday interactions. Worth a read if you want to understand how to relate to people (and machines) better.

Book Review: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

This is another excellent book by Brene Brown which explores how to apply the principles of her work to team settings in workplaces, but can also be applied to your personal life. I particularly found the story technique helpful, as well as the value exercise, but the entire book has excellent perspectives that can help you become a better communicator with yourself and others.

Liminal Space and experiential magic

I’ve started re-reading the Spell of the Sensuous, which is one of those books I’d make mandatory for any magician. In the book the author notes that the magician’s place is on the edge of society, mediating both the human community and the community of nature and spirits that the magician connects with. This role is essential and the magician maintains it in order to connect with the wild, with the spirits and as a result bring about equilibrium in the human community.

The author shares this contextual definition based on his experiences in SE Asia, and so I found myself asking if what he defined as the magician’s place is applicable to Western society. And I think it is. Not the least perhaps because I’ve always seen myself on the edge and that I prefer to live in hard to find places that have a connection to nature, but just as importantly because I think that regardless of where you live, its necessary to find a way to connect with the larger world around you, and with what awaits in that world, both in terms of life and spirit.

Experience and the art of magic

If process is the methodology of magic, experience is the art of magic.

When I talk about experience, I’m talking about engaging your magical work on a sensorial level, opening yourself to the subtle nuances of magic as it expresses itself in your life.

Experiential aspects of magic can happen during ritual workings. In fact a lot of magical workings are purposely designed to engage the magician sensually in order to alter the consciousness and prepare the magician for the spiritual workings, but ritual is just one example of experiential work in magic.

Assumptions, Desire and Doubt in in Magical Practice

Lately I’ve had a few other magicians express doubts about their magical work and when they tell me they feel doubt they feel as if expressing that doubt is somehow bad and makes them less of a magician. I actually find it to be refreshing and see it as a good thing to express and feel. Having some doubt is healthy and is what keeps us grounded when it comes to magic and life. The danger of not entertaining some doubts is that you can make assumptions about your magical work that you aren’t verifying. Doubt is what helps us do our due diligence and check against what we’re doing and how its aligning with the experiences we’re having.

I find that where a magician can start making assumptions is when they don’t entertain any doubt. Certainly I have sometimes made assumptions instead of critically questioning what I was experiencing. A good example of this would be when a situation seems to resolve in your favor, with everything lining up the way you would expect it to when you’ve done a magical working…but you haven’t done a magical working.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Creativity Month 2

11-22-2018 I’ve been reflecting on my work with creativity so far and I realized part of that work isn’t just around the obvious expressions of creativity, but also around the not so obvious parts. For example I realize how much I haven’t believed in my own creativity and how right now that’s exactly what I’m being challenged with. Can I believe in my creativity and trust it and myself? I guess that’s as much as what this year is about as anything else.

11-24-2018 I still feel angry at myself about last year. I realize I had to make some tough choices and ultimately I made the right call, but there’s still that feeling around failing that I’m working through. I feel this creativity work will help me with that process, help me come to a place of forgiveness with myself or something along those lines.

At the same time, one theme I’m finding with my creativity is the importance of taking breaks and not working myself to burnout. That was a huge problem for me when I was self-employed, and now that I’m employed I find it easier to take breaks, to recognize when I just need to do something fun for myself instead of always being on. Or finding a different way around the block. Last night I felt blocked and instead of trying to force myself to write I stepped back and took a look at the problem and realized I needed to start organizing my research for the new book. When I approached the problem that way I got inspired and started getting the research put together in my mind. It reminded me that working on a book isn’t just writing and that I can make progress in other ways as well.

Magic for Experience vs Magic for Results

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between magic done for the sake of experience and magic done for the sake of results. I don’t think either type of magic necessarily better than the other, but I think the underlying purpose for doing the magical work is significantly different and worth recognizing because it also informs your own motivations for why you’re doing magic.

I’ll admit that a lot of my thought around this topic is driven by my own magical experiences and experiments of late, which have driven more by a desire for the experience than for a specific outcome. Practicing magic for the sake of experience I find is changing my perspective on magic. Before I get into that further though let’s briefly define and clarify what magic for results and magic for experience looks like.

How I use dreams for my creative work

One of the ways I’ve been cultivating my creativity has involved using lucid dreams to discover what I should write about, both for fiction and nonfiction. In order to have lucid dreams I’ve found it helpful to change some of my sleep patterns, just enough so I can remember my dreams and still get enough sleep for my health.

If I get a full night of sleep I usually need 7 hours. When I’m doing dream work, I aim for getting around 6 hours of sleep. I find that if I only sleep 6 hours, I wake up around the time that I’m having vivid dreams and can remember those dreams. If I have a journal on hand, then I can write the dream down.