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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Taylor Ellwood

Taylor Ellwood

Taylor Ellwood is the author of Pop Culture Magic Systems, 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 4 cats.

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My Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 3

Recently I was visiting Long Beach, Washington and while I was there I ended up visiting another site for the Confluence Project. Turns out that Long Beach was actually the first site consecrated for the project and what was fascinating to me was that you could see 5 different parts of the project. There was a board walk with writing on it about the geographic and historical dates for the Lewis and Clark trail, an amphitheater, a fish cleaning table and a view point. And all of those places were intriguing but the one which really spoke to me was the Cedar Grove Circle.

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My Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 2

On the second day of my spiritual pilgrimage to the confluence project sites I drove into Oregon and toward home, because the sites actually led back that way. The first site I visited was Celillo Park. It's currently the only site where the project hasn't been installed, but I wanted to go there anyway. It used to be underwater, because of the falls that had been there. It was supposed to be a protected fishing site for the Native Americans But in the 1950's the U.S. government built dams, which changed the Columbia and silenced the falls. 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
My spiritual pilgrimage Day 1

On the first day of my spiritual pilgrimmage, I drove out to the chief Timothy Park. It's the one site which most resembles what Lewis and Clark saw on their journey to explore the west. It's also the beginning of the confluence project. When I got there, I walked this path to site of the confluence project memorial, which is this place where 6 stone layers are set into the land, with writing that describes the significance of the site as well as the ritual done to commemorate the site.

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My Spiritual Pilgrimage Pt 1: Preparing for the Journey

In a bit less than a week from the time of this writing, I'll be going on a short spiritual pilgrimage in the Columbia Gorge. My partner and I will be traveling up the Columbia River Gorge to check out the Confluence sites, and learn more about this region we live in. 

One of the reasons I'm doing this journey is because I've felt a powerful connection to the spirit of the Columbia River. I feel that by traveling to these sites, walking the land and learning the lore I can develop a deeper relationship with the spirit of the river, while also honoring the past and present.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I think there was a Columbia River episode on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmer. I remember him stopping at a little fishery/marke
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I live in the area so I am fortunate to enjoy it in general and to give thanks.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Recognition Trap

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always craved recognition. It’s not a surprise really. I grew up in a situation where the majority of attention I got was negative. I’d get grounded on the drop of a coin, or was told I was a disappointment on a regular basis and no matter what I did, it was never enough. That was the seed for my desire to be recognized.

 

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  • Jet
    Jet says #
    Greetings. Great article. I also have done many things because of recognition, and I realize now that it is because I am jealous
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    It sounds like you had a good realization. Thank you for sharing with me.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Mediation, Memory and Flow

The work I'm currently doing in my spiritual practice is a process of memorization. On the surface, it just seems like the memorization of words, but the words are a pathway to the deeper wordless truths that can only be experienced when you open yourself to what the words represent. What I'm really doing with the memorization is twofold.

First, I am connecting with the forces, spirits, etc., that are represented by the words. The words present a means to connect with those spirits in order to develop relationships and create associations that allow you to do deeper work with them. The words are the introduction to the spiritual current that is embodied and mediated by the spirits I'm working with.

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  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Taylor, do you only do memorization of words that you plan on using in chants/rituals--or to also have a deeper connection/relatio
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Hi Janet, It can be for both and I've used it for both. I figure developing a chant for a spirit can just as easily be integrated
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Fascinating! Now, your post is called "Mediation, Memory and Flow". Is that correct...or was it supposed to be "Meditation" (as in
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Nope the word choice of Mediation was purposeful.
The wordless truth and experiential embodiment
I've lately been contemplating the phrase the wordless truth. It's a phrase that shows up in the Dune series by Frank Herbert, but its goes much deeper than amazing Science Fiction (though Dune is a deep series). The wordless truth is the experiential embodiment of the work you do. It speaks through you, but not in words, rather through the experiences you have.
 
You can read something and think you understand it. But until you do the work and have experiences you don't know it. For instance I can read a book with practices and have a conceptual understanding of those practices. It's only when I do the actual practices that I open myself to the wordless truth conveyed by the experiential embodiment of those practices.
 
Experiential embodiment is the engagement of your senses, inner and outer, in the work. When you engage your senses in the spiritual work, you incorporate your body into the work and make it part of the experience that speaks the work through you. We often take our bodies for granted, yet I would argue that your body is the most potent resource you have available to you. It allows you to have experiences and enables you to embody them into the deepest level of your being.
 
The wordless truth is the experience speaking through you, embodied in your awareness and physicality. When you come back to the book and reread the book, it becomes a different book, that reveals deeper layers of meaning and experience that must actually be experienced to continue your journey with the work. The words take on new meanings and realizations because of the work you've done. But even so it is the work, the experience of the wordless truth that gives such meaning to the words.
 
The work speaks to us and through us and brings us into something larger, if we open ourselves to the experience. But we must open ourselves to the experience and allow it to embed itself in our sensory and bodily awareness, engaging all the senses, those directed outward, those directed inward, and those directed to the passage of time and the navigation of space.
 
When I do a working, it is not something separate from me. It is an intimate connection between myself and the universe, an exchange of ideas and experiences that creates a sacred moment where reality is shifted an possibilities are manifested. And of course this can be shared in words, but it isn't truly experienced until the person does the work.
 
Doing the work is taking on the experience and letting that experience speak to you and through you. It is the choice to embody the experience, to allow it to transform your relationship with yourself, the work, and with the universe. That can't be done through words alone, though words can play an important role in introducing you to the experience and upon being reread after the experience, unlocking deeper mysteries to be explored.
 
The wordless truth is found initially through words, but only experienced when you do the work, when you make the practice part of your life and allow it to work through you...then you'll know the wordless truth and carry it with you wherever you go.
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