Thursday, September 24, 2009

On the Magic of the "In-Betweens"

Magic lives in the "in-between" moments of our world. Think about it. Do you ever wonder why children can see fairies and angels, but adults usually can't? It's because as adults we have learned to see the concrete fixed objects in our world, not the shadows between the objects. We've learned to focus our attention on the tasks of our day, not the moments between tasks. In other words, we've lost the magic of the "in betweens" in our lives.

Why Magic Happens "In-Between"
If you read a lot of different esoteric authors, you'll find that most of them tell the same message, which is that magic tends to appear in-between things rather than directly. For instance, Carlos Castaneda writes about how Don Juan taught him to view the world in terms of the shadows that were present, instead of seeing the world of light. Other writers talk about the real essence of music is the space between the notes, rather than the notes themselves. Meditation masters strive to lengthen the gap between thoughts, so the magic can slip in and miracles can happen.

So why does magic happen "in-between"? Because by its definition magic is, well, magical. It surprises and astonishes us. It seems miraculous, impossible, and amazing. By definition, none of the things we can see, touch, and move directly in this world meet those criteria. It's not magic if we take a lot of action and achieve something. It is magic if we wish for something but take no action, and our wish becomes manifest.

How to Expand Your "In-Between" for More Magic
There are lots of magical ways to create and expand the "in-between" moments in your life, so magic can sneak up on you and surprise you. Flipping your world on its head is one fun way to do this. How do you flip your world upside down? Easy. Here are three ways to get you started:

1. See the World in Terms of Shadow
This is the exercise Don Juan gave to Carlos Castaneda. With this exercise when you look at a scene, try to see only the shadows, not the objects in the light.

2. Listen for Silence
We are constantly drowning in sound, even though we may not notice it. During the day, see if you can hear the silence instead of any concrete sound. What is the sound of silence? Many people hear it as a low ringing or buzzing in their ears, and some magical practitioners actually use this sound as a magical power source for spell work and other energy work.

3. Create Pauses Between Action and Reaction
Most of the time, we cruise around the world mechanically, and react automatically to any stimulus that hits our senses. When someone says, "Hi!" we automatically respond with a "Hi, how are ya?" We may not even really notice the interaction, or remember it later. To create more in-between times in your day, create a pause between the time a stimulus hits your senses and the time you respond. For instance, when someone says, "Hey, how are ya?" instead of sending back an automatic reply, take a moment to pause, stop, look the person in the eyes, and then reply. This pause can take all of one second, but the deliberate insertion of a pause between input and output creates an "in-between" moment. You can do the same thing when the phone rings. Stop a moment before your reach out to answer the phone ... wait for a couple of rings ... and then answer.

What kinds of magic will creep into these deliberately created moments between things? Only you will know. Magic can be very personal at the level of these exercises, so how it manifests in your life will also be personal. Be on the lookout for the magic, though, because the more "in-betweens" you create, the more magic will show up in your life!

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/ / CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why is My Magic All Wonky? Pluto at Work

"Why is my magic all wonky?"

I love when I get questions like this via email, and believe me, a lot of magical practitioners are finding that their magic is indeed a little wonky these days. Magic spells are going off track, astrological effects are hitting harder than ever, and divinations are often "hinky" at best.

So what the heck is going on with the magic?

Wonky Magic and the Pluto Return
The short answer to the question is this: astrology. Astrological factors are at work here. In particular Plutonian effects are at work. My sense of things is that globally we are experiencing a Plutonian return. Pluto, called by many astrologers the Lord of Karma, completes its orbit every 248 years.

Basically, we are receiving the results of whatever was occurring around 1761. During this period, the French-Indian War occurred, the Seven Years War ended, the Western Territories changed hands and the colonies experienced an economic slump. Then, of course, the difficulties with Great Britain began during this period, ending with the war for independence in 1775. So, here we are again.

Pluto has returned to the same position it was 248 years ago, and we are reaping the karma that has accumulated during that time.

What's Happening on the Individual Level
On the individual level, adaptation, acceptance, and change are being called forth. To the majority this appears to be a threat to survival, whereas to some it presents an opportunity for innovation. There will be possibilities galore for exasperation and anger, but also a lot of impetus for change that we have been, until now, too stuck, lazy, tired, or unimpressed to make.

What seems to be working for us, and for many magical practitioners, is to avoid confrontation on the worldly level and to create change on the magical level. In other words, if a physical event occurs that angers you, don't go immediately to action. Instead, focus on using daily magic rituals of maintenance to create an inner sacred space. From that sacred space, do whatever magic you choose to effect change, whether this be a spell, some simulacra magic, or a ritual offering.

For those of you who aren't sure what magic to use to create inner sacred space, check out the "Magic in Your Mailbox" series. It's an email serious that helps people formulate and use basic magic rituals as a part of daily life.

Sign up for "Magic in Your Mailbox" here.

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flyingsinger/ / CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When to Use Magic: Should I Use Magic or Fight on the World Plane?

When a nasty situation crops up in your life, do you fight it or do you use magic? That's a question that many magicians face on a regular basis. On the world plane, taking action to resolve an "unfair" or "bad" situation seems like the right thing to do, but does getting entangled in a negative situation drag the rest of your life downhill?

On the other hand, if you use magic to attempt to resolve a situation without taking physical action, what kind of result will you get? Will the magic be strong enough to stop or change a negative situation that has already manifested physically? What's a magician to do?

When to Use Magic
Well, as a Native American elder once told me when I asked him the same question, "Do all the magic that you can ... and buy insurance." I got a laugh out of that, and I hope you do, too! And the message is clear:

1. Do all the magic that is appropriate to the situation
2. Take any and all physical steps to remedy the situation that do not cause you to feel negative or interfere with your magical work

That's pretty simple, right?

A Few Examples to Illustrate the Use of Magic
Of course, most magical principles sound pretty simple until you actually have to apply them to everyday situations. Reality is never as tidy as we would like it to be. So here are a few parallel examples that might illustrate what I mean.

We live in a farming community in Colorado, and out here in the high desert water is of immense importance: no water, no crops, no farming. People have been killed in Colorado over water issues and water rights. It's a big deal. Here are three examples centered around water rights and the use (or non-use) of magic to illustrate my point.

John's Case
John doesn't practice magic at all because he doesn't know anything about it. He got into a tussle with other members of his homeowner's association over how water was being distributed. Not having any magical means at his disposal, he (along with half of the homeowners) went to court against the other half of the homeowners. Ten thousand dollars and a year later, when the judge finally passed its decision, John wasn't satisfied with the result, and neither were ANY of the other homeowners on either side. Plus, he had a seriously bad taste in his mouth about the whole situation.

Harriet's Case
Harriet is a magical practitioner. Faced with a neighbor on the same ditch who kept taking her water, Harriet first response was to tell off the neighbor. She confronted him three times, to no avail. In fact, on the third go-round, the neighbor pointed out that Harriet's fence line was actually on his property, and that he could force her to move her fence if she kept harassing him about the water. That left Harriet, who has no love of pounding fence posts into the ground, in a bit of a quandary.

But she did have options--magical options. So she did some basic spell work to bring water to her pasture, which was drying up fast. She also did some weather work. The results were fairly neat, if not totally karmic. It rained and it rained. Harriet simply puts her horses on her pasture and doesn't cut hay from it, so the rain was perfect. Her field got watered and the grass grew. The neighbor, on the other hand, had just cut hay so his hay got rained on, which is never a good thing. It was all fairly karmic. The rain also delayed the neighbor's hay-cutting schedule, so there was plenty of water in the ditch for Harriet to use during the ensuing weeks. Pretty neat magical trick.

Our Case
Then there's our case. This year we have three new people on our ditch who are water hogs. We've tried talking to them, but they told us to take a long walk off a short cliff. Having figured out from past experience that no amount of "talking" would create much effect (and any talking immediately made us negative), we turned immediately to magic. In a very nifty turn of events, unexpected money and people showed up. The money came in the form of a check in the mail, literally. The people came in the form of electricians who could and would wire a pump on the back of our property so we could water our fields without bothering the people up the ditch from us. Perfection!

I hope these examples make clear the two principles I outlined above about when to use magic. In our case, we are taking physical action in the form of having a new pump installed ... but only after we had done our magic. In addition, these actions make us feel very positive rather than negative, which means that we won't get in our own way karmically or magically about the water situation. Make sense? Good, then go make some magic!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Three Magical Rituals Before Breakfast

Magic is part of life, not something you do separate from your everyday life. Therefore magical rituals should be a part of life, which means that, for the most part, they can't be these horribly complicated events requiring lots of tools, smoke, and mirrors.

If you want to have magic in your life, you have to practice magic all the time. Think that's too hard or that you don't have enough time to do that? Think again.

My Three Magic Rituals Before Breakfast
I do at least three separate magic rituals every single day before breakfast, and it's no sweat, really. Want to know what they are? Simple.

1. Sit
Sitting, or meditating, is one of the best ways to invite magic into your life. I sit every single morning and surround myself with quiet. I tend to sit in lotus position, because it's a stable position and I like it, but you don't have to. Just sit (or lie down if sitting is too uncomfortable). It doesn't matter whether you sit for 5 minutes for 50 ... just as long as you are quiet for long enough that the magic can slip into your life, between your thoughts as it were. The magic happens in the space between thoughts.

2. Greet the Day
I go out and greet the day using the Navajo Beauty Way Day Greetings every single morning before breakfast. It's my way of making contact with powers and beings, acknowledging their presence, making any special requests for help, and generally getting in touch with my magical allies. If you want to know how to do the Beauty Way, check out the Magic in Your Mailbox series and other resources on our website.

3. Do a Reading
I'm usually reading some esoteric text or other, and I'll spend a few minutes in the morning immersing myself in some good spiritual material. I like readings from Gurdjieff, Abraham-Hicks, Carlos Castaneda, Edgar Cayce, and some more esoteric authors as well. A lot of people like to pull a card from the Medicine Cards or Sacred Path Cards, or flip open an angel book to get an "angel thought" for the day. Whatever floats your boat, pull some spiritual material from somewhere to get your day started on a magical footing.

All three of these little rituals take about 30 minutes total. That's not a whole lot of time to dedicate to living a truly magical life, and that's about all the Universe requires to bring the magic into your life. Pretty simple, huh?

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mixing Up Magic with a Pinch of This and a Dab of That? Not Hardly!

I know magical practitioners who approach the craft with the attitude of, "All it takes is a pinch of this and a dab of that." And certainly if you watch movies like "Harry Potter" or TV shows like "Charmed" you might get the idea that magic works like your grandmother's cooking: no recipe needed, just follow your instincts. Not hardly!

Magic is a Precision Science
From experience I have discovered that magic is a precision science. Using the right words, ingredients, symbols, and tools is very important. For instance, we often teach our students to use invocations to address magical powers and beings. In one, we address "Sky Father" and "Earth Mother." I am always amazed at how many students casually switch the order of these words when doing the invocation, and end up addressing "Father Sky" and "Mother Earth," thinking that they are addressing the same beings as "Sky Father" and "Earth Mother."

Not so at all. Magic is a precision science, and "Sky Father" is an entirely different being than "Father Sky." If you think that the distinction is unimportant, consider your own name. Suppose your name is Adam Johnson. Would it make a difference to you whether I called you Adam or Johnson? Sure it would. In many cultures, addressing a person by their last name can be either a sign of respect or a sign of denigration. It can make a huge difference.

Do Magic as a Precision Science
My teacher and mentor in magic, Reverend George Dew, had a favorite saying about magic: "Take your time, think it through, do it right." That's a great motto to use anytime you want to practice magic. After all, in the case of invoking powers and beings to help you, you want to get the right being. Getting the wrong being can send you down a rabbit hole or through the looking glass!

People often wonder why our magic courses, like Basic Magic, take so long to complete. It's because magic is a precision science, and a person doing magic rituals or practices without understanding the reasons behind them is risking harm. If you want to learn more about practicing the art of magic as a precision science, here are some guidelines to help you.

1. Learn Rules of the Road, the universal laws that we have found true in governing magical practice.

2. If you don't know the reason behind a magical practice or ritual, do some research until you understand, or don't do the ritual at all.

3. Take your time and learn one magical item at a time. When you get in a hurry and want to win the lottery with a spell immediately, you might as well toss your wand in the trash. Fast magic loaded with anxiety won't produce results, ever!

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Photo credit: George Eastman House

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is There a Limit to What Magic Can Do?

Nope. Nada. No limits. Magic is unlimited. Actually, magic is limited, but only by you, your imagination, and what you can conceive of. Check out this latest quote from our favorite non-physical teachers Abraham:

"Someone asked us recently, 'Is there any limitation to the body's ability to heal?' And we said, 'None, other than the belief that you hold.' And he said, 'Then why aren't people growing new limbs?' And we said, 'Because no one believes that they can.'"

If you read my recent post on using remote healing to help a friend grow a new colon, then you might think twice about whether: 1) we can grow new limbs and 2) whether there are limits on magic.

Why People Can't Do Unlimited Magic
Students and strangers often write to ask my why their magic doesn't work. They have cast a spell, done a ritual, or followed some practice, only to find that the results are either paltry or nil. Then they ask, "I thought magic was supposed to be magical. It's supposed to do the impossible. Why isn't that happening?"

It's simple. Most people practice magic with an odd combination of hope and doubt, carried in equal parts, and mixed thoroughly. The result is the strange brew, of course, is a mixed result. People hope the magic will produce amazing results, yet already doubt the result so they won't be disappointed when nothing happens. That's one problem.

Are You Focused on the Magical or the Mundane?
The second problem lies in where people put their focus in life. Most people run around and worry about mundane problems all the time - how to get the car fixed, whether their kid will pass the math test, or why Channel 31 is fuzzy on their TV. Wow, how unmagical can you get? If you want to see the magic, you have to start looking for it ... and expecting it.

The magical world is a parallel one that exists in the same space and time as the ordinary world. But seeing magic in the world is like looking for shadows instead of light. In Carlos Castaneda's books, he describes an exercise in which Don Juan tells him to see the world by seeing only the shadows, not the light. It's an intriguing exercise. Try it. Try seeing any scene by only looking at the shadows. See if that changes you perspective on how you view the world.

Then practice finding something magical everyday. That "something" doesn't have to be very big. Small magical events are just as magical as big ones. If you want to get really creative, think of a word or object first thing in the morning, and call it to you. Ask it to appear during your day. For instance, you might choose "cherry." Then look for cherries during your day. Maybe it's a cherry limeade or an antique car in cherry condition or someone saying the word "cherry." It doesn't matter. What matters is that you intentionally start calling magic into you life, and then looking for where it appears.

Practice this little exercise for 40 days in a row and I guarantee that you will see magic popping up all over the place ... and you won't worry about the fuzzy lines on Channel 31 so much anymore!

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Photo credit: Free Digital Photos