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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How I've learned to let Magic Move Me

A while back on Pagansquare I wrote several articles about my work with elemental magic (you can find them here and here). I'm currently in a process of transition from the element of movement to the element of stillness. I've been working with movement for almost two years and will fully switch over on the 2nd year anniversary of my work to stillness. However, even before that date, the transition is beginning. Elements of Stillness have been showing up in my work for a good part of this year and are becoming much prevalent in the time leading up to the change.

When I first started the elemental balancing ritual, I chose the element. The very first year, I chose Water because I knew I needed to get in touch with my emotions and water represented that to me. The next year I chose Sound because I needed to work on connecting with people. The third year I chose Earth because I wanted to ground myself where I was living. After that though, the elements started choosing me. Or rather incidents occurred in my life that spoke for the need to work with a specific element to help me find balance. In the Earth year, the element that came up was Love. I'd made some bad choices in handling relationships and it became clear to me that I needed to work on love and what that meant to me. In the middle of the love year, I had an experience that demonstrated to me that I needed to work with Emptiness as an element. And so on and so forth.

What I've discovered is that anywhere from 6 to 4 months before I transition to a new element, the element I need to work with makes itself known to me. Events in my life line up to reveal what I need to work with. The working has taken over the process of choosing the element, and as a result has become a meta magical working. What this means is that the magic has evolved to a point where it's directing the process and providing the needed experiences in order to make sure the right elements are worked with. I find this to be quite fascinating and helpful in terms of the direction my spiritual work should take, in the sense that I'm letting the spiritual work set up the necessary changes that need to occur, trusting the process to help me work through whatever needs to be worked with and at the same time putting my all into the work to grow as a person and a magician.

In my experience, magic isn't something that should just be done to change the world around you. It's something that should move and change you. And as such to really work with magic, the magician must be open to letting the process of magic take over and play a role in scripting what the magician experiences. In Western culture, many people like to buy into the belief that they have control over their lives, but a careful examination shows that while we may have some control of our choices, we live in a dynamic environment that shapes us just as much as we shape it (if not moreso). Being open to this realization can be helpful because it allows us to recognize opportunities for growth as well as opportunities to connect more meaningfully with the powers we work with. We choose not to limit our understanding of our connection to what were working with, choose not to limit it or categorize it, but instead embrace it and open ourselves to being moved.

In my elemental work, what this means is that I recognize that I'm going to have experiences I couldn't anticipate beforehand and instead of trying to categorize those experiences, I'm going to accept and work with them and be open what they reveal to me, instead of trying to analyze them to death. This applies both to working with the current element and whatever element I transition to. By opening myself to the elemental energy or spiritual force I'm working with, it sets up the experiences I need to have in order to really learn from the element and balance my life in the process. It's not always easy work. in fact, much of the time its quite hard because it involves coming face to face with what I need to change within myself, but as I make those changes my life gets easier, both in living it, and in what comes my way in terms of opportunity.

Sometimes what we, as magicians, need the most is to stop controlling so much and start experiencing more. Think about some of your own magical work. How could you give yourself over more to the process, to experiencing what needs to happen and what needs to change? How might you use that change to not just try and manifest a desired result, but also manifest a new you? I think if more people could do that, they might just see how much magic can really move them and their lives, as well as manifest the desired results they are looking for.

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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.

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