Spellcrafting

So I was asked a while back what components are necessary for successful spellcrafting.

Spell can be very elaborate. They can involve numerous ingredients, representations, candles, accessories, incenses, chants, motions, and all manner of things.

But I’m a chaos magician. I usually like to keep things simple.

What do you need to cast a spell? Instructions and focus. That’s all. Continue reading

July 2014

My blogging has been pretty pathetic this year. My keeping track of my goals hasn’t been very good either.

But I’m trying to break them down more into more manageable bench-markers, and the beginning or a new month is as good a time as any to see where I’m at and what I want to be doing. Continue reading

Derailed

Many years ago I was in graduate school. I had aspirations to be a college professor, and was working toward that goal. I had become frustrated by my career in the restaurant industry, and wanted to do something that was a better use of my innate talents. Continue reading

Journeywork

I’ve done a few different types of what I call generically “journeywork.”

There are a lot of different techniques that I have read, learned, and practice for these experiences (“accident” is perfectly valid, by the way), and many of those techniques can be path specific and rather complicated and time consuming.

So I’m not going to discuss the techniques, or even go into great detail on the experiences themselves, but rather how and why they are different.

So first, a few terms.

Journeywork is a term that I use to describe any kind of altered state experience that is interpreted in terms of perceiving yourself to be in a location that may or may not mimic the physical world.

This includes but may not be limited to the following:

Dreaming: Most people are familiar with a dream state. In this state you may experience unusual or fantastic things, and those experiences may represent interactions or insights that bear significance either psychologically or spiritually. Dreams usually seem to operate on their own.

Lucid Dreaming: This is a dream state in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming and has control over the dream environment.

Out of Body Experience (OBE): an experience in which the consciousness leaves the confines of the physical body but can still perceive the environment.

Astral Projection: An experience in which the consciousness is “projected” into something ominously refereed to as the “astral realm” or “astral plane.” This realm is usually experienced to have geographical features that may or may not be manipulated at will.

Pathworking: An experience in which the consciousness leaves the body and travels to a very specific location (usually understood to be on the astral) in order to witness certain events or interact with certain entities that reside in those locations.

Visualization/Guided Meditation: An experience in which attention is focused on certain locations or events so that they are experienced, but usually with the connotation that consciousness at least partially remains in the body.

So, this is kind of what I’m talking about. Now I’ll go into how I differentiate these experiences, and how I see them as related. Please note that this is based upon my own experiences, and your own mileage or understanding may vary.

I’ll start with the difference between an OBE and astral projection. As I understand it, and OBE involves leaving your body, but still observing and moving around the “normal” physical world, whereas astral projection involves “traveling” to the “astral plane,” wherever that is. In short, if you’re floating around your room, it’s an OBE; if you’re in an ephemeral mystical place that is vaguely physical, it’s astral projection.

Now, for dreams.

I don’t know if you go to the astral plane when you dream or not. The dream world behaves similarly to the astral realm. I’ve had dreams that took me to astral locations. I’ve projected to places that I saw in dreams. So as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter if they’re the same or not, because they act the same and appear to have enough of an overlap that it doesn’t hurt anything to treat them as if they were the same.

When most people dream, they go along with what happens on kind of an autopilot. I believe this to happen for a few different reasons. 1) I believe that dreaming is related to the function of a memory palace, and helps you process and retain memories of experiences you’ve had. So you are acting kind of intentionally, even though you’re not fully engaged. 2) I believe that your “higher self” or equivalent is still acting with intent during these experiences. Just because the conscious mind is not engaged does not mean that the self or the mind is not. 3) Sometimes those experiences are imposed by other higher order entities. “Training,” if you will. 4) I honestly think that sometimes they’re just entertainment.

Lucid dreaming is when you know you’re dreaming. And you can change the script. And with a little bit of focus, your environment as well. This is why I speak of an overlap between the dream and astral realms: my experience of lucid dreaming is indistinguishable from my experience of astral projection. I can do the same things, perform the same magic, visit the same locations, and call upon the same entities. The main difference is that lucid dreams will tend to break from a dream script, and also tend to slip back into them. Forcibly deviating to far from a dream script while lucid will tend to wake me up.

When in full astral, I have a great deal of control over my environment. I can manifest objects and tools, fly, project energy, “bend” the environment (like on Avatar), and visibly weave spells. I can also teleport (to an extent) and manifest or access temples or other locations on demand. And I can also access the dream realms of other people if I want. (This supports the idea that a person’s “dream realm” is a specific demesne of the astral realm that surrounds or is native to a person. But that’s a lot more cosmology than I want to deal with.)

My experience with pathworking is closely related to my work with the Tree of Life and Qabalah, although it can be used with other systems and locations. Essentially, you would use intense symbolically specific visualization (Like a tarot trump) to “project” yourself into a given “place” (Such as the sephira of Yesod) and interact with entities and energies native to that place. The goal is usually the interaction with the entities you are seeking. These experiences and journeys can be less structured as well, and they can also be dangerous, as not all entities are honest or friendly.

I differentiate guided meditations and visualizations from pathworking because they don’t seem to be fully engaged. You are still mostly in your body and the physical, and for me at least the experience is more like dipping your awareness lightly into a script someone else is directing. These experiences act more like dream scripts experienced in a lucid state, and typically if you deviate too far from the script, you get booted from the experience (or less commonly, fully sucked in and detached from the “guide”).

So these are how I differentiate and understand these experiences. I don’t know what or where they really are, and I’m not sure it matters too much anyway. But these models help me describe them.

I’d also like to clarify that I’m not an expert at astral projection or lucid dreaming by any means. I don’t work with these experiences often, and they usually pose a great challenge for me to attain. (I think a lot of this is due to the centrality of visual imagery to most of the techniques for attaining these states.) But once I do attain them, I can pull off quite a bit (and usually wake up exhausted).

I’d love to hear any perspectives on these states that my readers might share.

Closing the Sale

So I had a job interview.

I had a second interview for the same job. This is a good sign.

It is a sales position. I’m not normally enthusiastic about sales positions. I’m not generally suited for aggressive sales. That kind of high energy persuasion wears me out quickly.

But the nature of this job is such that it is not that aggressive kind of sale. Sure, there’s always competition. Sure, there’s always pressure to produce and perform. But the leads are given to you, the product is necessary (Medicare), and the timing is ideal (open enrollment period.)

If I get this job I will start training in July. If I perform below expectations, I still stand to make more money by the end of the year than I have in any one year in my entire life. If I perform exceptionally well, I can be earning a six figure income.

I’ve done restaurants my whole life. I’ve never made more than $31,000 in a single year. And that is despite several years of management experience.

This is why I’m looking to get out of my familiar industry.

A very talented and valuable team member at work left us today. She was offered a retain job selling household softlines. She will make more than I do an hour. Given, she will probably get less hours than I do in a week, and hence probably make less money per paycheck. That’s how they got you. But a nineteen-year-old girl will be making more money at an entry level retail position than a restaurant manager with 14 years experience.

But this isn’t a complaint about capitalism or the job market. This is about me feeling undervalued. As a person. As an artist. As a magician.

This is about me being in my mid-thirties and having few to none major accomplishments I can brag about. This is about me having loads of untapped potential and not doing anything with it because of exhaustion and apathy. This is about me being frustrated with people who have the luxury to follow their dreams and do what they want lecture me about how I need to just follow my bliss and everything will come together.

It’s easy to follow your bliss when you’re married to a middle class white computer programmer who brings in $120,000 a year, isn’t it? just to what brings you fulfillment! Quit that crappy job and follow your dreams, says the person who has a job so she won’t get bored raising those kids by herself.

I’m frustrated. I want to write. I want nothing more but to sit and write stuff. Blogs, articles, books, screenplays, you name it. I want to create. But I’m so tired I have no motivation to do so. I get apathetic. So I know what I want. So I know I’ll be good at it. It doesn’t matter much when I’ve just worked a 16 hour day and I just want to zone out for a few hours instead of doing anything as involved as creating.

I’ll just mine some iron and gold instead. It’ll let me build that cool machine that turns string into obsidian. I saw it on a Youtube video.

But I need to write. And I’m not doing it enough. So I end up getting drunk off Cap’n Morgan and writing a rambling stream-of-consciousness blog post about how I’m not writing enough. I fucking hate stream-of-consciousness.

I’m going somewhere with this. Stay with me.

I do not like to step outside of my comfort zones.

I know, I know. I am the worst chaos magician ever.

The irony is that I seek novelty. I desire to learn and experience new things. But I want a certain reliability in life. I want certainty and control. So I want to experience new things, but on my terms, and once I’m certain that basic obligations are met.

So I still work in the same industry I did twenty years ago. I still hold the same position I did when I was 19. And I’m just scraping by.

The grind is getting me. I’m scraping by. I’m lonely and I’m not flourishing. And I’m close enough to the bottom that I recognize that even having the time to ponder this and the audience to vent to is a major luxury that is afforded to the few and privileged.

Really, I’m not doing so bad. I’ve got a nice place, and I eat well, and I have friends and readily available entertainment.

So I’ll risk the hubris and say it outright: I feel like I was meant for greatness. And I have not achieved greatness, Yet.

If I am to become the person I feel I am meant to be, and do the things I want to do, there must be major changes in my life. I have been building toward this gradually, but it needs to accelerate, It needs to defy Mars and Saturn retrograde.

I am a creature of inertia, and I must put forth a great effort, because a major change is needed.

I did a tarot reading about this job interview. The Tower came up.

Changes have been set in motion. I can go with them or resist them, the latter to my detriment.

It’s time to shut up and wizard. It’s time to do what I want to do. It’s time to cast off the mediocre. It’s time to take the initiative and structure my life the way I want it. It’s time to quit flirting and take that girl to bed. It’s time to put pen to paper and get published. It’s time to close the sale.

I’m not sure who I’ll be when I’m done with this. I’m not sure I care anymore, because I’m tired of enduring as I’ve been.

My problem is that I’m motivated by either love or anger. Stagnation fosters neither, I have to learn how to do it differently, because the way I’ve been doing it isn’t working anymore. I’ve been pitching the sale for too long. I need to close it and cash the check.

I’ve been building toward a critical mass, and this job will push me over the edge. It will force me to shift my comfort zone. It will force me to engage life and people differently, This is what I need.

Just waiting for that call back.

Public Sigils

Chaos Magic works very heavily with sigils. And one fun technique involves viral sigils: sigils copied and placed in public locations so that random people will activate them (without realizing it). The idea here is that you get a scattershot approach, and instead of one result from your spell you get numerous. This works well in healing and money magic (as well as if you’re trying to get laid).

Somewhat related to this is the notion of trading sigils with other magicians who can help charge them. The idea here is that other magicians lack the lust of results and conscious awareness that can lessen the effectiveness of the sigil launch.

But there are some concerns with this approach, which Satyr Magos has pondered in a recent blog post: Continue reading

Wixen

(This was initially posted on my Tumblr blog, and is being cross-posted here with some slight adjustments.)

So a while back I was rambling about magic-users and sensitives and whatnot. What I was going on about is that people who are sensitive to magic are people that occupy or work in the liminal spaces, the between places at the edges of normal reality and whatever is beyond.

We have a certain obligation in occupying these spaces. When people encounter them unprepared, we are able to help them make sense of it and integrate back to reality. Or, if they insist on pushing on, we teach them how to make sense of the place we are and how to function there.

But I didn’t have a word for the people in the Between Place.

“Witch,” “magician,” “sorcerer,” “wizard” all denote certain technical skill sets, and have certain cultural connotations to them that exclude others. “Magic-user” is awkward, and not all of the people I’m talking about actually use magic, even though they’re sensitive to its actions and can be aware of it. And not all magic-users are psychics or clairvoyants or mediums (Would it not be media? Meditate.) But I want to include them as well. And the spirit workers and reiki healers and all of those, too.

“Sensitives” is okay, I suppose, but has a newagey feel to it that connotes a bit too much flakiness for my taste.

And then I came across the term “Wix

‘Wix’ is a gender neutral term for someone who practices magic, since the term ‘witch’ is more often than not seen as a feminine term. It’s very popular in the HP fandom, taking the word ‘mix’ but adding the ‘wi-’ of ‘witch’ and ‘wizard’. I haven’t seen the term used much in the pagan/witchy community.

Of course, “witch” is gender neutral already, although a lot of people outside the pagan community (and some inside it, I suppose) don’t seem to be aware of that fact.

But “witch” connotes a specific approach, a certain craft or practice. What I like is that the term Wix approached the gist of “someone who knows about spooky stuff and can maybe play with it” without the specifics of practice, religion, approach, action, or perception. It is a truly neutral word (so far) that has the association of those who play in the Between Place, but isn’t particular as to how they do it.

So I get to a point.

I’d like to use the word “Wix” (plural Wixen) in the following way:

A person who is sensitive to or aware of the existence and perception of things that are regarded as mystical, magical, spiritual, metaphysical, or beyond the realm of normal day-to-day perception and functioning

But me using this word in the way is little more than mental masturbation unless it catches on.

So I ask you, my followers and fellow Wixen:

If you like this idea, actually use the word. Use it in your writing. Use it in tags. Reblog this post so others become aware of this.

And beg forgiveness of the Harry Potter fandom.

 

 

[Addenda]

There have been some points brought up in discussion on Tumblr I thought worth mentioning.

The first and most important is the plural form, “wixen.” Concerns have been raised that it may be easily confused for the word “Wiccan.” This has led to the suggestion that both the singular and plural form be the same, “wix.” I can see the argument here, and frankly am open to accepting both as proper and favoring whichever one becomes more natural in actual usage. Some consideration must be given, however, to the fact that the word is being borrowed from the Harry Potter fandom, however, and their choice of the plural form should be respected, at least to some degree.

The second is somewhat relate, but a little more awkward. As it turns out, “wixen” is also German for a particular form of fetish involving men masturbating, often in lingerie. This is a problem because there is a strong potential to see things you may not want  while searching the tags on various blogs or websites (especially Tumblr.) Many of these sites do have an adult filter on search results (should you decide to use it) so this problem can be mitigated to some degree, but it has been used as a string argument for “wix” being the plural form as well. (I wonder if the HP fandom has dealt with this problem?)

 

Continue reading