Experimental Magic: The Evolution of Magic

Experiment with your magical practice by learning how to apply art, pop culture, neuroscience, psychology, and other disciplines to your magical work, as well as exploring fundamental underlying principles of what makes magic work. You'll never look at magic in the same way!

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Magic isn't always Glamorous

I've been thinking about what to write for this column for the last week and I've been coming up blank. No topic has really seemed right. There was nothing exciting going on or anything of real note standing out to me. If anything my life has been pretty mundane. Get up, go to meetings, meet with clients, come back and work on a project, spend time with the family, and of course throw some meditation and exercise in the mix for grounding purposes. Nothing very glamorous at all, and yet it strikes me that perhaps there is something to write about that, on this blog and its this: Magic isn't always glamorous or full of drama or anything else that we might associate with pop culture references to magic. Sometimes magic is just part of daily life, something you are doing to make your life easier or more meaningful or to connect with the spirits, but not something which necessarily has a lot of glamour associated with it.

My latest book, A Magical Life, has just been published. I'm excited to have it out, but something that the author of the introduction, Storm Constantine, wrote has been on my mind. In describing the book, she explains that magic isn't a colorful garment we put on, but rather it is an integral part of our being, woven into our lives everyday. And that is how I think of magic. I meditate each day and my meditations are an essential part of my life, something done as a way of bringing order to my mind, while allowing me to connect with the spiritual forces I work with. Nonetheless I'd have to say there is nothing inherently glamorous about the meditation. In fact, there are days I don't want to meditate or do anything else along those lines, and yet I make sure I do meditate because it is part of my life, and because not doing it takes away from the quality of my life.

I think to some degree your average magician is in love with the idea of magic being glamorous. Certainly at the beginning of a person's spiritual work with magic, there is this sense that you need to get all the ceremonial tools and that every act of magic must be an overt, explicit affair that screams to the universe: THIS IS MAGIC! And there is something to be said for doing those loud acts of magic that are glamorous and over the top and amazing in their own right. I've done and still do those kinds of acts of magic when the time is appropriate. But I recognize that fundamentally magic isn't always that way, nor does it need to be. My meditation practice isn't over the top and yet it still fills me with a sense of wonder and amazement. Indeed, if anything my daily work speaks more loudly to me than an over the top ritual because the daily work is where the discipline of the magician is tested. In that daily work, I don't necessarily do magic to solve problems (at least not overtly), but what I do is connect to the magic in a meaningful way that allows me to deepen my relationship to the spiritual forces I'm working with.

Deepening your relationship to magic is essential because it is what allows you to make magic work when you really need it to come through. As such while daily meditation may not seem glamorous, it is a lot like exercise. You are exercising your spiritual muscles and while that exercise may not feel good initially, afterwards you feel better, more focused, and ready to take on the world. Doing the daily work, whatever it is, is ultimately about making the effort to know and bring magic into your life on an everyday basis. So while magic isn't always glamorous for me, it nonetheless is woven into my life intimately everyday and appreciating that allows me to accept that while I might not have something glamorous to write about this week, what I do have to offer is a perspective on appreciating the daily work and the subtle ways that magic shows up in your life. And when you need to do magic in a big way, all that daily work you've done will pay off because you will have the spiritual muscles to pull the magic off and make it truly glamorous in that moment of need.

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Taylor Ellwood is the author of Pop Culture Magick, Space/Time Magic, Magical Identity and a number of other occult books. He posts about his latest projects at Magical Experiments. He is also the managing non-fiction editor of Immanion Press. Taylor lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two kids, as well as 7 cats.

Comments

  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley Friday, 17 May 2013

    Well put, Taylor. I've touched on this very thing several times on my blog, and it's always nice to know that "I'm not alone" lol

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Friday, 17 May 2013

    Indeed you are not. There are many people out there who realize this.

  • Erik M Roth
    Erik M Roth Tuesday, 28 May 2013

    Thank you Taylor. This is a great reminder about the nature of magic and it's ability to weave into everyday life. I appreciate this message in how to re-start my own magical works.
    Erik

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Tuesday, 28 May 2013

    Thank you Erik. I'm glad this article was helpful!

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