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 to apply art to magical work

I've always been a creative person and that creativity has extended past writing to painting, singing, and other artistic pursuits that I continue to pursue to this day. And as with all my other interests, I'm always looking for ways to apply my artistic skills to my magical work. I figure that the art gives me another way to express my magical talents as well as my creative vision.

I'm not the most gifted artist out there, and its not my intent to create a perfect picture. What I paint is mostly for myself and is used as a way to connect with the spiritual forces I am working with. What's important isn't how gifted I am, but rather how I can apply my art to my magic. The truth is that just about anyone can pick up a paint brush colored pencil, crayon, etc and start to create something. And that act of creation is important in magical work, even as it is in art.

In magic, if you want to manifest something into reality you have to start shifting it from an idea into reality. Magic can aid in that process, but I've found that art, writing, and music can also be powerful tools. When an idea is in your head, it doesn't have an reality beyond your shifting, ever moving thoughts. When you write it on paper, or put brush to palette you turn the idea into an objective reality. That objective reality allows you to express your idea and explore it further and provides pathways for it to manifest in other ways in reality.

When I paint, I use my paintings as a springboard for my magical work. I take a desired possibility and paint the expression of it into reality, and during that process I use the creative act of painting to charge the representation of the idea, imbuing it with metaphysical energy that can then be fired into reality once the painting is finished. The firing or activation of the painting can occur through destroying it, but I prefer to hang them up on the wall, and activate them through the attention that I and others provide the paintings. There's no particular best practice when it comes to activating painting or artistic magic. Use what works for you.

Art can also be used to venerate or honor your spiritual allies. In the painting I've included for this post, you'll notice that it looks like an Elephant at the center of the painting. The painting was made to honor Elephant and my spiritual relationship with Elephant. I chose a painting as a way to express my devotion and appreciate for elephant's presence in my life. I do similar paintings for all of the spiritual allies I work with. The paintings do double duty however, because I also use them to evoke my spiritual allies as well. When I first do a painting for a spiritual ally, I invoke the spiritual ally and let him/her/it guide my hand while I paint, as well as suggest colors that the entity would like to see in the painting. It is an intense meditative experience and the result is a painting that pleases the spiritual ally and can be used for evocation.

You don't have to limit yourself to painting. You could choose to use sculpting, or poetry, or prose, or singing, or any other artistic medium you can think of. I once used different colored thumbtacks to create elemental portals to the classical five elements. The key is to be creative and let your creativity express your magic to you and the world around you. Pick up the paint brush and start painting. Remember that whatever you create is an extension of your magic all practice and it is not about the audience, but about your connection to magic.


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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.


  • Carol Frierson
    Carol Frierson Friday, 23 November 2012

    Thank you Taylor! This came to me just at the right time! This may seem a little crazy but...I have never painted before but I have recently been guided to purchase the tools and paints, brushes, canvas and so forth. I am not sure why because I have no clue what I want to paint. So after reading this, I have decided to just set everything up, get myself ready to paint whatever it is I am being called upon to paint! Thank you so much!

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Friday, 23 November 2012

    Hello Carol,

    I'm glad this article helps. It's not crazy. I felt such an inclination myself at one time. Good luck!

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