Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Returning to Magick

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

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I fly home tonight. After 2 weeks total in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai, I’ll be glad to see San Francisco again. It will seem so quiet and calm.

I’ve been loving my recent travel, both Singapore and India. And the consulting hours have been good for me, too. But I’ve spent too much time focusing on things other than magick, and I’m eager to return to my true passion.

For the second half of May and all of June, I’m planning to take a break from consulting and travel. I’ll write more of my book — the next section is started, but nothing publishable yet — and focus on my own magick studies.

No deep insight here. Just know that, if your work and social life are distracting you from your magick studies, you’re not alone. And all it takes is a decision to focus on magick again, and the will to make the time to do it.

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Thoughts Need to Incubate

Friday, March 1st, 2013

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This will relate to magick, but I want to start with writing. I’ve been wanting to wrap up the Intent and Implementation series, and post more on grounding, and update you about psychic intuitions (they’re working now), and a few other things. But I just can’t today.

The problem is, all of those posts need time to incubate. I need to load the Intent and Implementation series into my mind, assemble the ideas that go together, and create a simple, straight path. I need to recall the grounding technique, explain it to readers with a different background and skill set than I had when I developed that technique, and make it relevant to readers who can’t learn that technique yet. And getting psychic intuitions to work involved three techniques that somehow added up to a success, not a straight line I planned then executed.

While thinking about what to write, I realized: My mind was simply refusing to explore. I couldn’t juggle ideas around and create new connections between them. My mind was totally happy to explain connections I’d already made between ideas, as long as I’d talked about them before. But exploring a half-formed idea, or a half-realized explanation? Not gonna happen on a deadline.

Magick is the same way, I think. I can practice known techniques on a deadline. But when I need to understand a new idea, explore a new aspect of magick, figure outwhy something works, I need an empty day to simply watch all the moving parts I’m working with, load all the concepts into my mind, and let it all incubate. That’s what I need to have a new insight that I can build into a new technique.

And, having realized this, I’m going to block off more days for quiet writing and magick.

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Build Your Magick Community

Friday, February 15th, 2013

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Practicing magick is isolating. Especially if you’re developing a new type of magick, without an order to bounce ideas off of. It’s a passion you devote hours and afternoons to, but one you can’t tell friends about, at least, not without having an awkward, unpleasant conversation.

But there’s a secret to making magick less isolating. Want to know what it is?

Start a blog.

When you do, you’ll get emails like this one I got recently from a reader:

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I was starting to think that there’s something wrong with me because I didn’t use rituals, and because I noticed that candles, ritual robes and similar things actually make my focus weaker instead of strengthening it. And the usual “don’t think of how the magick will work, just be sure that it will” was constantly confusing me. I got amazing results through visualizing magick at work, so I never understood why I shouldn’t think about it.

Not listening to what others say when things were going well was easy, but when things got hard I realized that I just couldn’t find the answers I needed, no matter where I looked. I discovered your site today and I already know that’s what I needed! Even though I practiced magick before, I did exercises for beginners, because my magick was always kinda chaotic (not Chaos magick, just a mess) and I recently decided that to rebuild myself as a mage. I feel that your website can help me with that.

Emails like this just make my day. (Hint, hint.) It lets me know I’m making a difference, and that other people out there are struggling with the same things I am: Figuring out how magick works when the standard advice just doesn’t resonate, while we’re surrounded by people we can’t share it with.

Your blog doesn’t need to have answers. It just needs to have you. Your journey, your struggles and accomplishments, your experience of magick. So that everyone who reads your blog will feel a bit less alone, and so that you’ll feel a bit less alone for each reader who writes back.

Not sure where to start? Take exercises posted by other writers, try them, and write about what happened. I’d read that. And if you use my exercises, I’ll link to you, and other bloggers probably will, too. Easy traffic.

Worried you’re not a good enough writer? Don’t be. I was terrible when I started blogging. 500+ posts later, I’m decent. The answer is simple: Set a schedule, so you have a deadline. Write something, revise it, post it, and repeat. If you’re honest when you revise it — if you read every word out loud, spot places where the writing is weak, and fix them — you’ll become decent in 6-12 months.

Around that time, something amazing will happen. People who read your work will start asking questions, and as you answer them, you’ll figure out how to talk about your magick. When I started blogging, I talked about using “mental areas” to connect to “systems,” and said direct magick was “magick without rituals.” Now I talk about “engaging your mental muscles” to contact “ethereal software,” and say direct magick is when you “consciously engage your mental muscles, similar to biofeedback.” When friends ask me about magick, I recite a post I wrote, not word for word, but idea for idea, example for example. Drawing from your own writing is a tiny superpower, like pausing time in the middle of a conversation to figure out the perfect answer. Writing makes you comfortable sharing magick in an intelligent, approachable way, whether you’re in person or not.

So take the first step. Right now. Go to wordpress, blogger or namecheap, register a name, and start writing. Then leave a link below in the comments.

I started blogging in February 2010. Every February, I encourage readers to start their own blogs.

A Small Favor

I just did a minor update to my layout. Could you help me with a few decisions?

  1. The layout: Can you view all 3 columns easily? Does the page look good at full screen?
  2. How is the current text size? Who wants bigger or smaller? Would you like the “Text Size” widget back?
  3. Do you use “Latest Comments” in the sidebar? I have a hard time telling how useful it is — I wish it included dates, but I can’t find a plugin that does. Should I keep it?

And if you have any tips on wordpress widgets, websites to help making pretty color schemes, or anything else, send them my way. Thanks!

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Perfection vs Shipping

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

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There’s always space between what you want to do, and what you can do in the time you have. And you have a choice.

You can cringe at the imperfections, at the post you wrote in 30 minutes that could really use another hour of work. At the magick technique that didn’t work, or worked for a day then faded. Cringe that your attempt isn’t as polished as someone else’s final product.

The other option is to trust that shipping is more important than perfection, and that shipping 3 posts or 4 magick techniques will get you farther than waiting for perfection.

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What I’ve Learned About Book-Writing So Far

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

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I’m no expert at writing books. I’ve been working on one for about 6 months, and focusing on it for the past month or so. But I’ve learned a few things, and I want to share them.

Learning to Write

It’s almost trite, but writing is re-writing. I mostly learned to write by writing a post, reading it, then fixing bad sentences. (I also get feedback from friends — thanks, guys!)

The point isn’t to fix that one post. The point is to slowly write good sentences, to practice your art. Over time, you’ll start writing more good sentences in your first draft, which lets you raise your bar for what constitutes “good.” (The same applies to paragraphs — sometimes, the problem is the overall organization, not the wording.)

I’ve known this for a while, and I always revise my blog posts, but I don’t really wrestle with them anymore. But I’m wrestling with this book, writing to a level that requires focused effort, major rewrites, and the kind of mental reaching that I used to make for blog posts, back when blog posts were hard to write. And I expect that, over the next few months, it’ll make me a better writer.

Bonus tip to spot bad sentences: I’ll wait a day, then read the chapter out loud. I notice places where my words lose rhythm, where I’m not sure what a sentence really means as I read it, where I have to read the entire sentence then go back and decode it. Those sentences need a cleanup.

(For example, the sentence, “Over time, you’ll start writing more good sentences in your first draft,” is not a good sentence. It’s imprecise and contains unnecessary words like “start.” It’s in the post because I don’t see an easy rewrite, but wrestling to bring it up to book quality would definitely make it easier to spot the rewrite next time, which is the very definition of being a better writer.)

Outline = Progress

Until recently, I had a rough outline of topics, but not the chapter-by-chapter outline I have now. I thought knowing the topics would be enough. It wasn’t.

Two problems with not having a chapter-by-chapter outline:

When I started writing about a topic, I had to figure out how to approach it. But to do that, you really want to know how you’re presenting the topics around it. Which you don’t, because you don’t have a detailed outline.

There’s no progress bar. But now that I have my outline posted, I can see links go up, and I want to fill that page with links, which makes me write more.

This outline, by the way, was the main new skill I learned in writing the book. I hadn’t done anything of this scale before, and it was hard to think through — there’s a reason I put it off. But now that it’s done, each chapter is basically one blog post, which I know how to do. So I’ve reduced the problem to one that’s already been solved.

(Incidentally, I would not recommend attempting a book until you find it easy to write a substantive blog post.)

Comments are Awesome

Whether it’s feedback from Ananael on a sentence that readers might take the wrong way or requests from Yvonne to clarify some topics, having reader feedback as I write will help me produce a better book.

I’ve heard that, to become a good writer, you have to care more about your book than you do about perceiving yourself as a good writer. So true. It can be unfun to hear about your writing’s shortcomings, but I’m glad for all the feedback.

Also, I love how the comments section lets us explore ideas that wouldn’t fit into the book, like Yvonne’s question about perception vs external reality. I’m going to put something in my book to encourage readers to join the discussion in the comments, and include a link to each chapter’s comments in the electronic versions.

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Full Outline – An Initiation into Direct Magick

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

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I’ve been writing my book, An Initiation into Direct Magick, for a few months, but I’ve been working from a high-level outline, figuring out the chapters as I wrote. That made it slow for me, and probably made it hard for you to put the information in context.

So, I’m pleased to announce a full outline of the book, also linked from the top navigation bar.

As I write chapters, I’ll link to them from the outline, so it’ll be easy to see what’s missing. (I’ll add the already-written excerpts as I revise each chapter.) When the book is done, that outline will stay up as the free online version, in addition to the free ebook downloads.

Got feedback on topics, titles, or anything else? Comments are open.

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Should Direct Magick Have a Self-Initiation?

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

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As I return to writing my book, I’m having trouble with the overall arc of it. Sure, writing one chapter is easy — that’s roughly like writing a blog post, then editing it a bit more. But it’s just not coming together. And so, I’m writing this post to figure it out.

So far, I know that I want the book to be more of a guided tour through direct magick, rather than a straight path to learning as quickly as possible. Also, readers should expect to do something useful fairly quickly, which means we need to start with ethereal software, rather than fully-direct magick.

In my old outline version, Part 1 of the book was a quick explanation of my model. I think that’s important: It’s a much better tour if you have some idea of what you’re seeing, and of how that fits into the overall picture. I’ll probably update the current Part 1 to make it more tour-ish, but most of the content will stay the same.

I see several paths for the rest of the book, and I keep writing a bit for one, then deciding another path is better, swapping, and making zero progress.

I could do a self-initiation: Connect to some ethereal software, use it to awaken your mental muscles, and learn a mental posture. Really, that has to come next no matter what I do with the book. I guess that problem is that “self-initiation” somehow doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s because I don’t generally like initiations — I’m not much of a joiner, and I dislike rituals. Or maybe it feels like unnecessary packaging around some fairly rudimentary magick. And yet… It feels like a nice presentation, a way to let you know what’s going on, and a way to add some ritual around a style of magick sorely lacking in even the tribe-building, bonding sort of ritual.

Let me ask you, dear readers: Is anyone else turned off by initiations?

So, Part 2 will cover connecting to ethereal software, issuing basic commands, awakening mental muscles, and basic mental posture. Maybe I call it an initiation, maybe not. But let’s consider Part 3 for a moment. I see two options:

  • Basic commands for this ethereal software, like “Heal this person.”
  • Or we can continue the tour, teaching about sensory connections, energy signatures and the like.

And, as I wrote those options, I realized what I should do: Pick a command, then give you a tour of the bits and techniques you’ll need to use that command properly. “Heal this person” is a simple command. Asking for psychic intuitions, visions of angels, and other things will take more knowledge and more skills. And so, I’ll just organize those commands from simple to complex, explain as many of them as make sense for Book 1, and then put the rest in Book 2. (Book 3 is about fully-direct magick, driven primarily from your mental muscles, rather than driven by ethereal software.)

Like or dislike initiations? Other thoughts? Leave ’em below.

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The Heart of Direct Magick

Friday, October 19th, 2012

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For the past few days, I’ve been thinking about where I am with magick, what I have to offer students and other mages, and how to focus my book. I’m writing this post as I figure that out.

This will be an introspective post. If you came for “how to do magick,” maybe skip this one. And for readers waiting on a book update, I started back on the book, then realized I had to sort this out first.

What Prompted This

A few recent events are on my mind. Mostly, seeing how I’d skipped a bunch of important techniques with communication, which means I’ve probably skipped a bunch of important techniques in other areas, too. It made me realize how much I still have left to learn.

(By the way, my current project is to review everything, training in techniques starting with level 1, and working my way up.)

Also, I’ve gotten some comments and emails lately asking perfectly fair questions about testing and confidence that I can’t answer. Which has made me realize that I’m trying to come off as farther along in developing this style of magick than I actually am.

Where I Am

I generally feel skilled at magick. You already know a lot of my results, from awakening mental muscles to healing techniques for people with chronic problems to shielding and fighting. But those results aren’t what makes me feel skilled.

Really, I feel skilled because I’ve developed the foundations of a better model for magick. Sure, the idea that there are parts of your mind that drive magick is kind of obvious, but I haven’t see anyone else with techniques for finding and awakening them. And the idea that mages channel external forces is wide-spread, but I haven’t seen anyone else talk about how those forces choose who to allow in, or how to trick them into allowing you in, too. And everyone talks about connections and energy signatures, but I haven’t seen anyone else talk about the scale of a signature and how you can use that to bypass shielding.

Each of those details lead to a useful technique. Often, several techniques. But beyond that, each detail lets me explore more aspects of magick and build a better model on top of it. That’s really what I’m most excited about: The model doesn’t just predict useful techniques. It gives you the tools to improve the model itself, too.

But now, I’m realizing how much further there is to go to make a mature system of magick.

Foundations vs Mature System

This is what I’m realizing: I have the foundation of a system of magick, but I don’t have the system yet.

(The foundations are the model, along with my skills — awakening mental muscles and sensory connections and so on — plus the mental muscles I have awake, the spirits I can call on, and the ethereal software I have access to.)

Those foundations let me figure out useful techniques when I need them. It usually takes a few days or a few weeks to get everything working. And I’m quite pleased with the results. But a mature system of magick would have recipes worked out for those techniques, and would have a list of the pre-requesite skills they require, so newcomers can plan their own path.

And while the results are generally good, they’re all case studies. Partly, that’s because I don’t have the time or funding to devote to proper randomized testing. But largely, it’s because I can’t just repeat the technique, step for step, on another person and expect it to work. I’d need to debug each technique for each new client. Do that a few dozen times, and I’ll have a mature technique with contingencies and a decision tree to make it work on most people. That’s what a mature style would have, and it’s something that requires a lot more people working at it, recording their techniques and variations and results. And having those mature techniques, along with the other mages pitching in, makes it much more feasible to do a properly randomized trial.

The third thing a mature style of magick would have? A path to learn it. That’s something I’m making as I write the books, but it, too, is not there yet.

These all fit together: I have readers already interested in the book, eager to learn direct magick and try it for themselves, and give me feedback so I can refine the path to learn it. And some of those readers will decide it’s a good match for them, and eventually develop their own techniques and collaborate on research. It’s all in the works, and seeing the path ahead helps me know what projects to lean into the most. (Answer: The book. Still planning to have it out toward the end of the year.)

So, the summary: I have a good foundation for a new, better style of magick, and we’re growing a community that can support that style. But the style itself isn’t mature yet.

Which brings us to, “What do I have to offer right now?”

What I Have to Offer

As I read your comments and emails, and as I returned to writing my book, I realized I’ve been trying to offer a mature style of magick. Because that’s what I imagine people want: Solutions to problems, like energy healing, chasing away a malicious spirit, and so on.

And yet, that’s not entirely a match for what I have to offer. At its heart, direct magick isn’t about solving those problems any more than science is about making computers and airplanes and other technologies. Those technologies are a byproduct of science, and the useful magick techniques are a byproduct of developing the skills and models and insights of direct magick.

At its heart, direct magick is about exploring the inner-workings of magick. It’s about satisfying curiosity, and about seeing how magick works for yourself. And I think that’s where I’m falling the most short: I’ve been trying to tell you my model, rather than giving you the tools to see magick works for yourself, then discussing our shared experiences and models.

That’s the book I really want to write: The guided tour, a series of exercises for you to try and things for you to experience, so we can build up a common vocabulary and common set of skills to explore magick further. I’ve thought about writing it before, but it’s hard to write, and it doesn’t sound like the authoritative voice I somehow expect from books, so I’ve always shied away. But I think it will be a much better book, and more appealing to my real audience: People wanting to explore magick, rather than people looking for an established path through a mature style.

(Expect a similar re-focusing of this blog coming up, with some new introductory pages too.)


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Time for Writing

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

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Quick note: Long days consulting and traveling today and tomorrow, so no posts until Saturday.

I have done work while driving though, and have a path laid out for improving my psychic intuitions. It also ties in the research on energy tingles for non-mages — I’ve always had a sense that that work would tie into communication, but never known how, until now.

Plus, more chapters of the book next week. For real this time.

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Renaming “Magick”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

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In July, I wrote in my notes:

i’m getting ready to move beyond the term “magick.” because it feels like well-defined processes now, not just “stuff happens”

I keep coming back to that. To me, magick (or magic, really — I only added the k when I started blogging, to help google) essentially means “stuff happens that we don’t understand” or “I did X, and it caused seemingly-unrelated event Y.” Not that I define magic or magick that way, but that’s the emotion it conjures up in me.

There was a time when that felt natural: When I vaguely understood how connections and energy could change the world, it truly did feel like something over here somehow produced a seemingly-unrelated change over there. Like magic.

These days, my work feels more like engineering. I make a change over here, which causes another change, which causes another, and eventually, that chain of changes causes a clearly-related change over there. Once you have some concept of each step in the chain, it stops being mysterious. (Which I like. But it feels odd calling it “magick.”)

Not making a change yet, or spending much time thinking about it right now. But my mind keeps wondering over there. (Yes, I say “wondering around” now.) Thoughts?

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