I stand on the outside looking in

Posted on August 25, 2011
Filed Under identity, Immanion Press, Magic, Taylor Ellwood | Leave a Comment

I’ve never really felt that I’ve fit in with the Occult or Pagan communities. I hold some rather unorthodox views including a vehement dislike of Aleister Crowley’s influence on occultism. I’ve also managed to get into some heated arguments about my practice of magic (specifically pop culture magic) on at least one podcast, where they felt compelled to argue that because what I practiced was partially based on pop culture, it wasn’t as valid as more “traditional” perspectives of magic.

My writing has been called chaos magic for dummies and I’ve been told it hasn’t broken much ground by people who have as much admitted they don’t really practice magic (that one still boggles me). I maintain I’m not a chaos magician. I’m an experimental magician. Chaos magic isĀ  just one of many systems I’ve drawn on, and not even the most significant, but I guess when you don’t do anything that’s considered traditional, its get lumped in as chaos magic. Regardless if it isn’t traditional, you will get flak for it, or be ignored…

I get my books published by a small independent press, that I co-own, in part because I don’t trust large publishers who seem more interested in the bottom line and in the broadest possible audience than in anything I might have to write. I’ve built the non-fiction line of Immanion Press based on the belief and idea that there is an audience for niche and advanced topics. It’s something I continue to hold to and as a result we’ve been able to publish books and anthologies that likely would never be published otherwise.

I’m saying all this because I am a contrary person and I don’t regret any of it. I’m saying this because fitting in isn’t all that important. I fully acknowledge my responsibility for not fitting in…because it’s a choice.

I stand on the outside looking in. I have stood on the outside looking in many, many times during my life, and in many different communities.I stand on the outside and I welcome it because of the perspectives it has brought me. I welcome it because being outside the mainstream of a subculture or culture can take you some interesting places and can cause you to challenge what is accepted in a way that forces whatever is accepted to really examine itself.

I don’t know that I will ever fit in to the pagan or occult communities. I’m grateful that I have, over the years, gained some recognition from people who have found real value in my work. There is something very humbling about hearing someone tell you that you’ve inspired his/her’s magical practice and even life choices. It makes you realize that you can have a positive effect on people’s lives.

I have always advocated that people should challenge authority, and should go their own way. My entire life has been about going my own way, even though going my own way hasn’t involved taking the obvious routes of rebellion that some occultists take. I’ve had many people try and discourage my vision for my life. “That book will never get published” or “your reinventing the wheel” or “Your not hardcore enough” or any number of other things. I’ve always maintained they’re wrong and I’m right…because when it applies to my life, the only person who can really make a judgment call on if what I’m doing is right or wrong is me. The people who have tried to discourage me are people who just don’t get it…they don’t get that you don’t need to fit in with what everyone else is doing. You just need to be who you want to be…and let that manifest in your choices. You also have to accept the consequences, like some of the ones I mentioned above. You have to accept that you won’t fit in, that you will be disliked and that what’s more important is your vision. Life isn’t about pleasing everyone…it’s about being true to yourself so you can also be true to the people who really matter.

I stand on the outside looking in…It’s a pretty damn good view, if I say so myself.

Book Review Earth Light (Affiliate Link) by R. J. Stewart

This book is a continuation of Underworld Initiation. In this book Stewart presents further refinements to his system as well as explaining and presenting information about the faery and how they can be worked with. The pathworkings he provides are useful for exploring the tradition further. I’ll admit that my main interest is in the techniques and I found these to be solid and very helpful for some of my ongoing work. I highly recommend this book.