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 my Ancestors Liberated me

On a recent trip to South Dakota, I met my ancestors. I walked among their gravestones, walked in the places they lived, looked at pictures of them and heard stories about them that brought them to life for me. And although I didn't speak with them directly, I still felt like I had a dialogue. Since that trip I've continued to meditate on the presence of my ancestors.

In the title of this article I claim they liberated me and really they did, because what I learned about them put my own life and experiences into a different context. Instead of just focusing on the singular I experience of my life, I stepped back and looked at the generations that came before me and asked the question, "What were their experiences and how did those experiences convey themselves to my life?"

The other night, I took the stories I heard, the experiences of their presence, and the memory of the pictures and I used all of that to enter into a meditative experience where I could connect with their lives. I was stepping out of linear time and into a space and time where their lives could unfurl before me I could step in and observe the experience. And I didn't just travel back to the ancestors I heard about. My consciousness took me further back to the ancestors I could only guess at.

What I experienced was this realization that ALL of these different people had made choices that lead up to this culmination and expression of me.

It was humbling.

So often, I haven't really thought about my ancestors. They aren't in my life, and I've only physically encountered people related to me two generations back and those encounters were brief. It's all too easy to get caught up in your own experience and think that's the only experience that really matters. But your life is just the latest iteration (and for some of you not even that) of all the people who came before you. And when you recognize that, it pushes you our of the limited experience of your life as the moment, and into the realization that you are comprised of the choices and biology of hundreds, if not thousands of people that came before you. They lived their lives, made their choices, and although they wouldn't necessarily recognize it, everything they did went beyond the moment of their lives into the lives of their descendants.

And then you realize...you could have the same affect and not just on your genetic descendants (if you have any), but on whoever finds your life to be meaningful, to speak them in such a way that they pass it on to the other people in their lives.

Our ancestors aren't just the genetic family that comes before us, but also the spiritual and intellectual ancestors that inspire us.

That realization liberated me.

No longer would I look at my life at this singular continuum or this momentary blip in the background of the universe. There is context to this person who is me and yet ultimately I have to decide what patterns of belief, behavior, and action I will carry forward to other people. What message will I leave encoded in whoever finds what I share meaningful?

To embark on the future, it's a good idea to learn about the past. When you know where you've been, and where the ones who came before have been, you know what needs to be changed or addressed, and what can be left behind as you move forward into the future. Inevitably your future becomes someone else's past, and what we learn with that is that we are also part of the pattern of life, with our choices and messages having influence. Whether the people who come after will continue to carry or discard those choices and messages is up to them, but what is up to us is to decide what legacy we really, intentionally want to leave.

Taylor Ellwood is the mad scientist and magical experimenter of magical experiments. He recently published his latest book Grimoire Ulani and is currently writing Pop Culture Magic Systems. When he's not writing his next book or experimenting with magic, Taylor enjoys the wonders of the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two kids.

*Picture copyright Taylor Ellwood 2016

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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.


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