Are there rules of magic?

Posted on April 28, 2017
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The other day I was asked why so many rules of magic are made up, especially if they aren’t needed.

And the answer to that question really comes down to this: What is the underlying motivation for making up any rule?

The answer is power, or control, or some variant. People make rules up as a way to control what other people will do with magic. I know this from my own experience, because many times I’ve had people tell me my magic wasn’t real or that what I was doing couldn’t be magic and when I asked why, their answer always came down to some arbitrary rule.

Now magic has certain principles at work which describes how magic works, but those principles don’t tell you what is or what isn’t magic. What those principles show is how magic works, regardless of what you’re bringing into the mix…and it turns out that magic isn’t as complicated as people make it. Watch the video to learn more:

Magical Experiments Podcast April 2017

Posted on April 25, 2017
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Copyright Taylor Ellwood 2016

Did you miss an episode of magical experiments in April? Here are all the episodes, for your enjoyment!

Magical Experiments Podcast: The Magic of Poetry with Bethany Moore

Magical Experiments podcast: The Aesthetics of Magic with Rune Emerson

Magical Experiments Podcast: Gnostic Christianity with Lainie Petersen

Magical Experiments Podcast: How to take care of yourself spiritually with Bill Duvendack

If you want to learn more about Gnosticism…

Gnostic Wisdom Network www.gnosticwisdom.net

Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio

http://thegodabovegod.com/

Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas: The Great Courses (Dr. David Brakke)

Priests, Gnostics and Magicians: European Roots of Esoteric Independent Catholicism Kindle Edition by Siobhán Houston

Gnostic Society Library: http://gnosis.org

Introduction to “Gnosticism”: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds by Nicola Denzy Lewis

Sanctuary of the Sacred Flame: A Guide to Johannite Spiritual Practice Paperback – February 22, 2013 by Anthony Silvia

Gnostic Book of Hours: Keys to Inner Wisdom Hardcover – December, 1992 by June Singer

Book Review: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

This book came into my life at the right time. The author shares the core skills of whole-hearted people and how any person can learn those skills. This is a book I would recommend to anyone because it teaches you how to to bring joy into you life and change who you are as a result, in a way that truly will make you a happier and more whole hearted person.

Book Review: One small step can change your life by Robert Maurer

Big isn’t always better and this book explains why that is. The author makes a persuasive case for why trying to make big changes can cause you fear, anxiety, and stop you in your tracks, while if you make small changes it can actually help you build momentum and make it easier for you to reach your big goals, because you’re getting around your Amygdala. I’ve applied some of the ideas in this book to my clients and my work and it has made a huge difference in both cases.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stillness Month 30

Posted on April 21, 2017
Filed Under elemental work | Leave a Comment

Copyright 2017 Taylor Ellwood

3-23-17 One of the most pivotal lessons my work with stillness has taught me is to stop looking outside myself for completion. Stop looking toward a job, a lover, friends, etc., because when you do that, it never satisfies you and objectifies the people. With romantic love, we’re sold a myth that you can find that one true love, or multiple loves that can somehow complete us and know us. But no one can know you the way you know yourself…and yet many people do not know themselves. This is one of the challenges of internal work: It forces us to really know ourselves and to recognize that any sense of completion must come from our own ability to resolve the internal tensions in our lives, and as a result discover the true liberation of the self from all the conditioning and patterns we’ve previously lived with.

When a person is willing to do that work (and it’s a long path), what they’ll discover is genuine fulfillment comes from being fully present and living your life from a place of genuine awareness that is cultivated by the purposeful internal work you’ve done to liberate yourself from the cultural and familial preconceptions that have previously bound your life to an unfulfilling existence. Genuine fulfillment isn’t found in your accomplishments, or who you’re screwing or whatever else. Those are all fleeting at the end of the day, and best appreciated in the moment, instead of held onto as an attachment. Genuine fulfillment is found in BEING…fully BEING in the moment, and yet also being able to let go of the moment and move to the next moment, ready to step into whatever joy, bliss, sorrow , or discomfort presents itself to you.

Read more

A Stillness Meditation

Posted on April 14, 2017
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I’ve been working with the element of stillness for 2 and a half years, via daily meditations and internal work. The stillness work is part of the elemental balancing ritual that I’ve used to create a dedicated system of internal work, which I’ve been implementing in my life since 2004!

Today I thought I would share why I’ve worked with Stillness for so long and share a stillness working with you. Check out the video:

 

5 Reasons going back to basics can help you become a Better Magician

Posted on March 30, 2017
Filed Under Magic | 1 Comment

I’ve lately been on a bit of a simplicity kick with my magical practice, and part of that has involved going back to basics. It may seem odd that a magician with 20 plus years experience would go back to basics. After all, don’t I already know this material? And the answer is yes, and yet also no. You see, I think one of the traps I see magicians fall into is one where you take for granted what you know. And actually this happens outside of magic. If you meet an “expert” in a field they know what they know and they sometimes take it for granted. So I want to share with you 5 reasons for going back to the basics and how doing that can help you become a better magician.

What you know becomes its own prison.

There’s two ways to challenge what you know. One is to venture into the unknown and use what you don’t know to challenge what you know. But the other approach is to recognize that what you know brings blind spots with it, and so revisit what you know, but with a fresh perspective. I employ both approaches in my magical work.

Recently I started reading Tao of Letting Go. It’s a fairly basic book on Taoist meditation. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “But Taylor you already KNOW this stuff. Why aren’t you focusing on the more interesting intermediate and advanced material.” Yet in reading this basic book I found a couple of basic exercises I’d never done before and I tried them out. I didn’t get caught up on how basic the book was…instead I used it to challenge what I know, because in doing so it allowed me to revisit what I know and understand it in a different way.

The different understanding I arrived at helped me deepen the internal work I’m doing, and also develop a closer relationship to my body and what it can teach me.

breathing meditation

Courtesy of Pexels

Knowledge unexamined becomes dogma.

The problem with knowing something is that it becomes assumed. And eventually what is assumed becomes dogma, wrapping you in rote messages and rituals, but never expanding your horizons. If, on the other hand, you revisit what you “know” you provide yourself the opportunity to examine it and test it. You rediscover it and often that rediscovery shifts what you knew in favor of what you didn’t know. It’s on the edge of what we don’t know that we find the dynamic power of change that keeps us from becoming too rooted in the status quo. Yet when we come back from the unknown and revisit the basics of what we know, we invite ourselves to change what we’ve known into something else altogether.

Your Foundation is never completed.

No matter how much magic I’ve practiced or experimented with, something I always come back is that the foundation is never completed. And when you do advanced work without the right foundation in place, it quickly becomes shaky. I’ve been rereading books I’ve read a few times over of late because in coming back to them I’m bringing all the experiences I had since I first read those books. And yet I’m applying what I’ve rediscovered to what I’ve experienced and the puzzle pieces come together differently as a result, but there’s still a click in place that makes sense in its own way. Revisiting the basics cements your experiences and inspires you to build on them even further. That inspiration isn’t found by just charging into the unknown…

Look to the future, but remember the past.

I think it surprises people sometimes when they discover that while I’m a magical experimenter, I actually advocate for developing a well-rounded education in magic. But what those people forget is that you can’t effectively experiment with magic until you actually understand what you’re doing. And if you don’t understand it…well what you don’t understand can be dangerous. So sometimes a return to the basics is really an opportunity to make sure you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s. But revisiting the past is valuable because it gives you context to draw on. Every magical working I do is informed by the past knowledge and experiences I have. And revisiting all that information and experience provides perspective to the other workings I might do. Much of your inspiration will come from what you’ve done, as much as what you could do.

Top 5 secrets of personalizing magic

Finally, you also discover what to let go and what to bring with you.

When you revisit what you already knew, it provides you an opportunity to assess what you learned and then decide if you’ll keep it or let it go. Sometimes you’ll let it go, because you know it no longer fits with what you’re doing, and sometimes you’ll hold on because it makes even more sense than it did before. Revisiting the basics puts what you know into perspective, and that perspective frees you from holding onto anything that isn’t useful while also emphasizing what works for you.

Revisiting the basics helps you become a better magician because it provides you the opportunity to fill in the gaps, challenge what you know and inspires your work in different directions. When we revisit the foundation of our practice we bring back our experiences and go forth inspired into the more advanced work, but with a greater awareness of what we bring with us and how it can serve us in our spiritual work.

March 2017 Magical Experiments podcasts

Posted on March 28, 2017
Filed Under radio show | Leave a Comment

Copyright Taylor Ellwood 2017

Did you miss an episode of the magical experiments podcast in March. You can listen to all of the episodes here.

And if you enjoy these episodes, please donate to the magical experiments fundraiser. Your donations allow us to continue putting shows liek these on, for the next year.

Magical Experiments podcast: The Aesthetics and process of magic with Taylor Ellwood

Magical Experiments podcast: Magical Activism Pt 1 with Crystal Blanton, Jacki Chucalate, and Felix Warren

Magical Experiments podcast: Magical Activism Pt 2 with Tallah Hovisdottir and Katessa Harkey

Magical Experiments podcast: Magical Activism Pt 3 with Shauna Aura Knight and Joseph Robicheaux

Book Review: Inner Traditions of Magic by William G. Gray

This is an excellent, must read book on magic. In it Gray walks readers through a number of magical operations and shows you how to take those operations apart and work with them. I like the depth of theory he explores and find that his approach really makes magic easier to understand. I will note that his writing style does tend to be ponderous at times, but if you stick with it, you will get a lot from his work and be able to significantly improve your own magical practice.

Case Study: Glasya-Labolas influence working

Posted on March 24, 2017
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In this case study, I share a recent working I did with Glasya-Labolas that shows how focusing on the influence aspect of a spirit can produce great results. To learn more, watch the video below.

Top 5 secrets of personalizing magic

Get my 5 secrets for personalizing your magic that produces consistent results.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Stillness Month 29

Posted on March 21, 2017
Filed Under elemental work | Leave a Comment

Copyright 2017 Taylor Ellwood

2-23-17 What stillness teaches me in the moment is how to recognize when I’m putting myself in a situation where I need to take a moment and ask myself if the course of action I’m engaging in is the best choice. It’s also helping me step back and recognize feelings of irritation and frustration I feel in everyday situations such as driving. I hadn’t realized how often I’ve felt those feelings until I started practicing my stillness work in everyday situations, but recognizing those feelings also helps me realize I need to be consciously aware of how those feelings show up, so I can work through them, instead of reacting to them. I would rather be consciously aware of them and be able to sit with them, than just react because I’m feeling them.

3-3-17 I was reading the Gifts of Imperfection while vending at NEWTS. She brought up some really important perspectives that helped me understand some of my issues around positive emotion. She discussed the importance of a gratitude practice…and I’m going to start doing that everyday because I see some real value in taking a moment to state what you’re grateful for. And as the author points out, it can enhance the joy in your life. She also makes a distinction between joy and happiness, noting that happiness is situational, while joy comes from a deeper place, but also how vulnerable a person can feel with joy, because it can also bring up a fear of loss. I realize that’s what has stopped me from sometimes stepping into my joy more fully, that fear of loss…you can feel so vulnerable that you try to find some way to shut down that feeling.

That’s been me sometimes…and realizing that’s why is helping me approach my positive experiences and feelings from a different place, one where I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable and work through whatever fears arise so I can step into the moment and let it be what it can be.

3-6-17 I’ve been paying closer attention to who I am and what I’m feeling. I guess what that really means is that instead of putting on masks for myself, I’m taking them off, so I can really be present in the moment. I may still put on a mask for someone else, but the days of not paying attention to what’s going on internally are over. Stillness has given me that gift.

3-8-17 I was feeling some anxiety today around the work I’m doing. It seems like every time I’m close to finishing it up, I discover another layer that needs to be factored in. And then I worry…will this even work? I can choose to listen to those fears, express them and/or use them to motivate me. I can also be still with them and get to the real heart of the matter, which is about worthiness. I’m choosing to do some of those actions today and reminding myself that it’s my first time doing this work and that I’m not just doing it, but learning how I can do it better the next time I do it. So be patient and dedicated and iterate.

3-9-17 Yesterday I was telling Kat that I want to help people through my content. I want people to get value out of what I create as opposed to having people try and get value out of me. when I used to have much worse boundaries than I have now, I wouldn’t always recognize when people were coming into my orbit with ulterior motives. I’ve gotten better at paying attention to the details, and also recognizing that what I want to give people is the gift of my experiences and knowledge, but also have the right boundaries in place for myself.

3-15-17 When you can talk with someone about what is uncomfortable, and settle into the conversation, it brings with it, its own form of stillness. I’ve only recently discovered how to be comfortable talking about uncomfortable subjects, with someone. Seems odd that its taken me so long, but given how guarded I’ve been my entire life, maybe not so much. Relaxing into the stillness of the moment is what liberates you to discuss what needs to be talked about.

3-21-17 This month has really been about details. What stillness is teaching me about details is how to be present with them, without letting them get to me. I look at all this work I’m doing right now for my businesses and my life and there’s this feeling of readiness…The details are getting attended to so that I can make that move out of stillness into wherever I need to go. And this makes me glad I devoted a 3rd year to Stillness. I needed to get to this place with Stillness (and a bit further) in order to go to the next step of my spiritual journey and life. That’s the value of Stillness. It helps you stop long enough to figure out where you need to go instead of continuing to react. You break out of the patterns and start developing your own.

The Magical Experiments Podcast Fundraiser

Posted on March 13, 2017
Filed Under radio show | Leave a Comment

Hello magical experimenters,

Update: The magical Experiments podcast fundraiser is closed! We reached our goal. Thank you to everyone for the support. Tune in on Monday 4/24 where I’ll be thanking everyone who contributed.

I’m doing a fundraiser for the magical experiments podcast. I’m seeking to raise $399 to cover the costs of the podcast. The $399 will be used to pay for the Blogtalkradio premium account, which allows me to schedule shows at premium times (for example 6pm) and for longer than a half hour at a time, which is important because our shows usually run an hour in length.

If you’ve been listening to the show, you know we’ve covered a variety of topics including pop culture magic, social justice magic, working with spirits, space/time magic, and much, much more. We’ve also had a number of guests including Frater Barrabbas, Benebell Wen, Felix Warren, Rune Emerson and many other quality guests who have offered their wisdom and ideas about magic.

The benefit for the community is that it allows me to continue creating great programming that you don’t find anywhere else. We don’t just talk about magic on this podcast. A lot of our shows also focus on social justice issues in the Pagan community as well as mainstream community. Additionally instead of just interviewing authors, I bring on different people with different experiences, not all of them well-known so that a variety of voices and perspectives are shared.

Your donations support this mission and allows me to continue doing the podcast and offering it to the magical and pagan community at large.

If you’ve gotten value from the podcast, if you’ve enjoyed the shows, please donate. Your donations support the podcast and programming I put together.

And if you donate, I have some special offers as a way of saying thanks.

Donate $1 and you have my thanks and appreciation.

Donate $5 and I will do a livestream where I personally thank you for your support.

Donate $10 and I will write an article about a topic of your choice.

Donate $15 and I will give you a one card tarot reading to one question you have.

Donate $35 and I will give you an autographed copy of one of my books.

Donate $50 and I will give you a half-hour Tarot consultation.

Donate $60 and you’ll get your choice of either the mad science + Magic = Magical Experiments t-shirt or the Evil Eyes t-Shirt

Donate $75 and I will give you a 30 second advertising spot on the podcast.

Donate $100 and I will give you a one hour consultation on any topic you’d like to discuss.

When you donate, I’ll contact you privately to thank you and set up arrangements.

And again thanks for your support.

Here’s a graphic that shows where we currently are with our donations:

magial experiments podcast fundraiser

magical experiments podcast fundraiser

An update on my writing projects – March 2017

Posted on March 10, 2017
Filed Under video | Leave a Comment

Thought I would share an update on my current writing projects: Pop Culture Magic Systems and Alchemy of Life

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