Tag Archives: fotamecus

Interview with Taylor Ellwood

By Psyche | June 5, 2006 | Leave a comment

Taylor Ellwood is the author several occult titles to date, and his latest work, Inner Alchemy, will be out later this fall.

This interview took place Saturday, May 20th, 2006 online.

Psyche: How do you define your spirituality these days?

Taylor Ellwood: My spirituality is defined in my drive to experiment and test the edge of magic and what it can do. My spirituality shifts as needed as I continue to experiment with a variety of paradigms and of course with the development of my own systems of magic. A large part of my spirituality is focused on internal alchemy and energy work, specifically working with the internal environment of the human body and consciousness.

P: How is this expressed in terms of your daily life?

TE: In my daily life I do a series of ritual workings everyday, primarily a combination of Far Eastern meditation, breathing techniques and some energy techniques I’ve developed on my own. However, my spirituality also expresses itself in my daily life through my boundless curiosity and interest in learning any and everything and applying it to my spirituality.

P: If you had to pin a label on it, what would you call it?

TE: *laughs* Oh that’s asking the impossible. Seriously if I were to give it and myself a label I’d just say experimental magician and my spirituality a label of experiment in progress.

P: Fair enough. How has pop culture influenced your work?

TE: Pop culture has influenced my work greatly, specifically because it is the contemporary culture I live in and I find it to be very rich and full of media and symbols and possibilities to play with. Pop culture was my initial foray into experimental magic and as such it still inspires a lot of my other forays into experimentation. I’d also say that pop culture, for me, is the embodiment of not just the contemporary world, but also an embodiment of where consciousness could take us, for better or for worse.

P: When did you first start working with it as a magickal paradigm, and what was it that got you started?

TE: I first started working with pop culture in 1998. I had watched an episode of Dragonball Z and I thought to myself that it was interesting to see some principles of energy work and magic expressed in an anime show, and I thought there might be some more potential in other pop culture artifacts, for example, with TV shows, comics, books etc. So, I decided to start applying principles of magic to pop culture and see what would and wouldn’t work. This particular experimentation picked up for me once I started co-writing my first book, Creating Magickal Entities. I decided that creating an entity based off a pop culture persona seemed like a good idea, and I discovered it was. The first pop culture entity I worked with, Miss Cleo, helped inspire my third book, Space/Time Magic.

P: It seems to have worked well so far. Who are your favourite pop culture icons to work with?

TE: Harry Potter and the rest of his ensemble, Harry Dresden (from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher), Guan Yu from Dynasty Warriors (and The Three Kingdoms classical Chinese literature and an actual historical person to boot!), and as for the rest…just whatever happens to be contemporary pop culture. A lot of my pop culture work actually centres around Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu series and with god forms that she and I created for a system of magic called Dehar.

P: Could you explain more about Dehar?

TE: Sure, Dehar is based off of Wraeththu; the Wraeththu are hermaphroditic people who have basically succeeded humanity in Storm’s series. The Dehara are hermaphroditic godforms in this world, and the system of magic we created was basically a decision to take Wraeththu and make it into a viable system of magic with two reasons for why it would work: 1. Every world that is written about has it’s own existence and the writer has tapped into that existence and written about it. 2. The fan base supplies an energy of belief which helps to make that world more real and makes the characters come to life. Consequently they do have lives of their own and we can interact with that world through reading the books, but also through creating rituals that connect us to those characters.

The Dehara are such characters and we did rituals that basically involved creating and then getting to know and work with these godforms and figuring out their roles in the world of Wraeththu. As we continued to work with these god forms we found that they had more and more independence (as they were being fed by the belief other people had in them) and they began to direct us to some degree in the rituals we did and the kind of workings they wanted to perform with us.

P: What kind of workings were they interested in?

TE: Well, at first, the workings established a cycle of the year and specific holidays, creating as it were a calendar, but also a cycle to organize themselves and the world we were helping to create. Other workings involved mapping out different functions and duties that each Dehar had, as well as determining whether traditional correspondences would really work for the Dehar.

As an example, Lunil, who is a Dehar for one of the four directions, was associated with the element of Water. But as we worked with him, he told us that the association of passivity with water didn’t really fit him, that water for him was much more of an active force, as opposed to something still and deep. So, basically, as we were working with the Dehar they started to instruct us in how they existed and wanted to be represented.

P: That’s very nifty. I’ve never had servitors instruct me quite like that, it sounds quite unique.

TE: It is very unique, but similar to the egregore workings of Fotamecus and other entities that develop as more people put belief and energy into them. I also think it’s a result of deciding to create a structural working system of magic that is focused on explaining how that systems not just for people in the here and now, but also for characters in a world of fantasy that, in its own way, is just as real as this world is.

P: How would you respond to someone who questioned the validity of conducting magickal workings with figures from pop culture rather than the tried and true methods of old?

TE: Well, I’ve gotten a lot of criticism over the years from people on that matter. I’ve been told I’m reinventing the wheel, I’ve been told that it’s not real magic, etc. My thought is that magic is what you make of it. What’s tried and true for one person isn’t the same for other people. I know it isn’t for me. I happen to find the angelic correspondences for Hermetic magic to be something that just doesn’t work, but put in some pop culture characters and Hermetic magic works just fine for me. So my answer is that it’s really a case by case situation.

I think it is important for anyone to ground hirself in traditional approaches to magic, but also not be afraid to try out creating a new system of magic or substituting pop culture characters for more traditional characters. I also tell people that pop culture and tried and true forms of magic aren’t mutually exclusive, and that until someone tries the ideas out they really can’t judge whether it’s really reinventing the wheel or making that wheel better for your journeys.

P: The chaos magickian’s axiom: do what works.

TE: Yes, do what works.

P: How did your interest in chronomancy arise?

TE: My interest in chronomancy arose as a result of working with Miss Cleo. I had originally worked with her as an archetypal teacher of divination, but in my workings with her, she pointed out that there was so much more for me to explore beyond divination, and that divination was only the edge of chronomancy. Also, reading comics and reading the theory on comics helped get my interest up, because they actually talk a lot about the space/time dynamics of comics. The Watchmen by Alan Moore, issue 8 – that also got my interest up.

P: In what way?

TE: Well, in The Watchmen there’s a character who’s sense of time is radically different from normal people’s sense of time. Basically, he is aware of himself across all moments of time, and Alan Moore plays with this idea a lot in the comic, which gives readers an inkling of what that awareness would be like. For me, that gave me a sense that my consciousness is present in every moment I have lived in, do live in, and will live in, and in every possibility. So ,I decided to experiment with that idea through meditation and through playing with multimedia.

P: Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s aliens in Slaughterhouse Five have a similar sense of time, they are aware of all moments in time, and choose to experience the moments they like. It’s a neat idea. How did your experiments work out?

TE: Well, I’m not insane, but doing those workings certainly put me on a very interesting edge when it came to my sense of self and working with the best possibilities I could manifest.

To put it another way, at one point I had done a meditation where I met various versions of myself and for one moment my perceptions weren’t limited to the version of myself that I am, but encompassed all of those versions, so I was basically, for one moment, every possible person I could be or had been or was currently being…It was very daunting.

My sense of time has changed in that I’m much more aware of how events and situations flow together as well as how to tweak a possibility into existence and change the flow in my favour.

P: Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming book, Inner Alchemy?

TE: Inner Alchemy is an exploration of consciousness within the body. Specifically, I deal with the idea that the cells in your body are conscious entities in their own right and have a life of their own. I consider what consciousness is and different states of consciousness. I also explore energy working, offering a perusal of a variety of different systems and what they offer people, but also offering some of my own techniques that I’ve been developing since 1995.

IA also is really about recognizing that you need to have respect for the temple of your body and your inner environment in order to fully appreciate the external environment you live in.

P: What are you working on right now?

TE: I’m working a variety of projects: I’m working on a pop culture grimoire, a sequel to PCM with some new explorations of pop culture magic, and I’m researching for the sequel to Space/Time Magic and Inner Alchemy all rolled up in one. I’m also researching for a book on the literacy of magic and finally getting ready to co-write a book with my partner, Lupa, on kink sex magic.

P: Where do you see yourself five years from now? Or, in you case perhaps, where have you seen yourself?

TE: *laughs* Oh, I see a few more books published, and working on some new experiments. I have about three other books projects waiting in the wings that will likely be in the process of being written by that time. I also see myself continuing to lead a highly intriguing and fun life.

P: Who is the person who has most influenced you, and how?

TE: Well, you know, there are a number of people. Alan Moore (though I’ve never met him), William S. Burroughs, and William G. Gray in terms of writing and ideas of how to play with magic, experiment with it, and do multimedia exercises. In my personal life, Steven Savage, who introduced me to a lot of Taoist manuals on energy work; my best friend, Maryam, for showing me a lot about my own consciousness and how I manifest it for good or bad; and my mate, Lupa, who has provided me a person to work with, but also a person to trust. All of these people influence me a lot, not only in what I write or do, but in becoming the person I’d like to be.

P: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or received?

TE: Don’t be so serious, from Fenwick Rysen, and, you know, he’s right. It helps to laugh at yourself sometimes.

Taylor Ellwood can be reached via e-mail at taylor[at]spiralnature[dot]com. To find out more about his published material, check out the books page on The Green Wolf, or the website of his publisher, Immanion Press. Taylor is also on LiveJournal as ‘Teriel’.

First published on Suite101.com on 05 June 2006.


Interview with Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen

By Psyche | April 24, 2006 | Leave a comment

An interview with Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen, chatting about altered states of consciousness, enlightenment, and his theories on integral magick.

Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen is the creator and maintainer of the website the Chaos Matrix (now a historical archive of version 6.0), and is working on his first book, tentatively titled Integral Magick.

The interview took place the evening of April 18th, 2006 online, Fenwick in his Springfield, Oregon home, and I in Toronto, Ontario.

Psyche: Could you describe your path?

Fenwick Kaidevis Rysen: I started out, up until age 17, as a very strict scientific rationalist who left open the possibility of parapsychological and psychic phenomenon. After I woke up out of that, I spent a long time studying magick, first elementalism and then chaos magick; from there, Discordianism.

P: What sparked the change?

FRK: Ah, that was a specific event. I was in Sacramento on August 9th, 1994, and shortly after noon I walked into a small new-agey gift shop in Old Town called … Damnit, I’m blanking on the name. Anyhow, in the shop I found a book about runes that appealed to my interest in Viking history, and a pewter pendant that called to me for some unknown reason.

P: What was the pendant?

FRK: The pendant was a pentagram with an ankh on the bottom; the book was more about divination than anything else. The book opened my mind to the possibility that maybe the universe was more flexible than I’d given it credit for before; the pendant ended up being how I got into conversations that furthered that awareness. But I can definitely point to that day as the day I woke up into magickal awareness. The months after definitely followed Robert Anton Wilson’s descriptions of Chapel Perilous.

P: That’s one one of the great things about pentagrams – they make for great conversation starters.

FRK: That’s about the only reason I ever wear one, anymore.

P: Was there anything specific you can recall that triggered the awakening to the possibility of more than you learned through traditional science?

FRK: I already had a strong interest in parapsychology — that was what I originally considered for a Baccalaureate — so I can’t think of a specific trigger. Something about the book (and I really think it could have been any book; my mind was ripe for it) got me to ask: If so many people believe in magick, and yet I still believe in parapsychology, then why don’t I give it the benefit of the doubt? And that was a slippery slope indeed.

P: What was your first magickal experience?

FRK: Sometime that September I took a sword I owned and trekked deep into a section of a local state park where I’d never been before. I found a field that called out as the “right” place and conducted a ritual there. It’s almost embarrassing to say it, but it was a love spell. One to “attract more love into my life” rather than something specific, though.

P: How’d it work out for you?

FRK: I’m not sure how to answer that, really! It worked, that’s for certain. But I think a big part of that was in the psychology of my own mind.

It got me to think about love much more, and to contemplate it from all angles rather than from just inside my own head. My first three girlfriends all hiked up there with me; I’d build a stone circle for that first ritual and everything. Sometime in 2002, I disassembled it.

P: How would you describe your magickal practice these days?

FRK: Eclectic.

*laughs*

Yes, well, that one’s a complicated question. Or not. Let’s see, my only daily practice is meditation; trying to cultivate Witness Consciousness, an awareness of being aware. It’s known as Turiya in Sanskrit.

P: How do you define your spirituality?

FRK: As the pursuit of enlightenment. (Defining enlightenment is an entirely separate subject.) Basically, self-understanding and self-illumination. I see all spiritual paths as providing “many paths to the mountaintop” so I don’t worry so much about the path as where they’re all headed.

P: What are you working on right now? What are your magickal/spiritual goals?

FRK: My primary magickal goal at this point is to get a book written. I’ve been thinking about it for years and have been encouraged by most of my friends to do so, and I’m now in the process of actually writing it.

P: Ah, Integral Magick – how’s it coming?

FRK: As they say, “Slow and steady wins the race.” It’s rather encyclopedic in scope, so it’s taking a long time. I’m currently in the process of assembling all of my major diagrams so I can get those off to the artist — and that’s helping sort out structure. [Note: The latest version of the Three Realms diagram can be found here.]

The main idea is to outline an integral model of magick. I have such a strong background in Science, Magick, and Religion, so I’ve always spent a lot of time trying to reconcile the three. It’s always made sense to me that they fit together, but normally they’re considered quite separate systems. The model ties them together as much as possible. Or at least as much as I’m capable of at my own current level of development!

The basic premise is that human consciousness goes through three main states, Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep. These are called the Perennial States. They form the basis of the discrete State of Consciousness (d-SOC) that most of us walk through in our daily lives. Those relate to three realms, the Physical Realm (things like bricks and clouds and stars), the Subtle Realm (things that exist but are not physical, such as ideas and thoughts), and the Causal Realm (the nondual realm).

P: Where does magick tie in?

FRK: That map of the three realms can be considered my master map. If you put physical reality on one end, and the transcendent non-dual reality on the other end, with everything else in between, it’s a really simple version of a magickal psychocosm. From there it’s possible to map these things to a great many other experiences or systems. For example, one can map Kether to the Omega Point in the Causal, Malkuth to the Alpha Point in the Physical, and study the remaining sephiroth as aspects of the subtle. Da’ath corresponds nicely to the abyss between the subtle and causal states, which is where the ego dies when one enters the nondual realm. That sort of experience is universal to so many systems, all the way from your oriental mystical traditions to the magickal operation known as the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. You could also map the three realms to the basic four element system becomes Earth in the Physical, Spirit in the Causal, and Water, Air, and Fire in the Subtle.

The point of all this is that you can start to see parallels between all these systems, and information about one system can start telling you things about others. You can examine a magickal current in one system, and start to see the same actions in other systems.

P: So, then, is integral magick similar taking Joseph Campbell’s approach to religion, and applying it to magickal systems and correspondences?

FRK: To a certain degree. My primary interest in all this returns to consciousness, both d-SOCs, and discrete Altered States of Consciousness (d-ASCs). Of the d-ASCs, most magicians are quite familiar with “magickal states” that are quite separate and vivid when compared to “mundane” or d-SOC states. There are also a whole host of chemognostic d-ASCs for everything from caffeine to LSD, but that’s a broad area I’m only planning to touch on. I’m interested in how we can use the maps of magickal systems, and what we know of their cross-comparisons, to examine how consciousness moves through all three realms.

P: Would invocation, evocation and chaote gnosis fall into these categories?

FRK: Invocation is something I’m hitting specifically. I’m interested very much in how it ties into what are known as fugue states in psychology — these are states where the personality of an individual checks out for a while, and it seems that somebody else is at the helm.

P: As an evolution of consciousness?

FRK: There are two currents: evolution and involution. The evolutionary spiritual current is the drive to ascend to the divine, to reach the nondual states. It is transcendent in nature, and a great many of the world’s religious traditions are very much oriented towards that current. I’m equally interested in the involutionary current, which is the process of pure undifferentiated consciousness in the nondual manifesting itself into all the myriad forms we’re familiar with. It draws down the “light of heaven”, as it were, and immanentizes it in the world we live in Here and Now. It’s considered the “Pagan” current, as it sees divinity as manifest in the physical world.

Ken Wilber makes an excellent observation that it’s the clash between these two competing visions of divinity — the Transcendent and the Immanent — that has caused so much struggle between the pagans and the Christians for so long. Each one’s definition of divinity is the other’s definition of sin.

P: It’s an interesting distinction.

FRK: It’s a distinction that, if understood, certainly clears up a lot of misconceptions about the different ways people pursue their spirituality.

P: Gods on earth living as human beings, or Gods visiting earth within a ‘differently conscioused’ human being?

FRK: I think both occur. There is certainly some interesting historical evidence going back many thousands of years for the birth of a kind of person certain traditions call an “avatar.” While I certainly believe those people are touched somehow, I still believe they are incarnate human beings, they just live in a far different base d-SOC than we do.

P: Let’s get back to the enlightenment you mentioned earlier, what are your views on it?

FRK: Well, enlightenment is traditionally described as a “waking up.” You see that what you have considered reality is just as much a dream as your dreams were. On the three realms map, that’s show by representing the Causal as unmanifest, and the Physical and Subtle together as manifest. Both Physicaland Subtle are dualistic in nature, and thus, according to many traditions, “not the ultimate reality.”

I tend to take a more pragmatic view, personally, that Syadasti’s Law holds true: “All propositions are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in somse sense.” I think we should relate to each level on its own rules.

From the Causal, non-dual, “enlightened” realms, everything else is dualistic illusion. From down here, there are a lot of squishy things to play with, with this luminous spiritual light we can go tap into when we want. But generally my view of enlightenment is that it’s a process more than a state. We strive towards it, touch it occasionally, hold it for a while, but spend most of our time as regular human beings.

Another thing I borrow directly from Wilber is his statement that “Altered states become permanent traits.”

Enlightenment, much of the time, is the process of shifting one’s d-SOC towards states we see in folks we call avatars. Well, sometimes! Exceptions to every rule. I see the process of studying magick as shifting one’s base d-SOC to perceive daily reality through what are normally considered magickal d-ASCs.

P: The difference being intent?

FRK: Intent certainly shapes it. There are as many competing versions of “what enlightenment is” as there are people speaking on the subject.

P: At least.

FRK: But generally they all seem to share a greatly expanded awareness of the world. That awareness includes truths of the subtle and causal realm that we normally don’t think apply to us down here in the physical realm. It’s very easy to forget that we exist in all three states — we go through them every day in our sleep cycle, even!

P: How do you define magick?

FRK: I define magick differently based on who I’m talking to, or what context the question is asked in. It’s a big question! People have been debating what magick is for centuries, and I certainly won’t be the last to weigh in on it. That said, procedurally I define magick as the product of intent and gnosis. Mathematically, Magick = Intent x Gnosis. If you have an intent in mind (whether as a visualized image, a sigil, or a deep intuitive impression) and you combine it with a moment of gnosis (a magickal peak state of consciousness), you get magick. The clearer the intent and gnosis, the better the resulting magick. Practically, however, I define Magick as “Life.”

Crowley ran into the same problem; you can define “how to do magick” or you can define “what magick is.” He gave lots of procedure and technique, but then would comment that turning a doorknob and opening a door was ust as magickal an operation as anything else.

When you practice magick long enough that those altered states become permanent traits, life itself becomes very magickal.

P: Who has most influenced you, and how?

FRK: Hard to answer who’s influenced me personally. Certainly Robert Anton Wilson would be high on the list, as he blazed a grand trail for myself and many of my peers, and all with his sense of humor in tact.

Swami Vivekananda, from a deeper and more spiritual side. He serves as an image to me of what can be achieved when a single person tries to unify people through their root beliefs rather than dividing them on the details as so many people do. Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutras in the 4th century CE, has been a strong influence simply because his outline of yoga has been at the base of my practice for more than a decade now, all with the highest praise I could give to it. Some day I hope to write a commentary on the Yoga Sutras from a magickal point of view.

On a professional level, regarding the development of the ideas in my book, I’m definitely drawing heavily for Ken Wilber. Wilber is a transpersonal psychologist who has been developing integral models for most of his life with an eye to developing a model of reality that includes all human experience. However, he fails to incorporate magickal experience into his model except as a kind of Freudian infantile wish-fulfillment, tossing out shamanism and most pagan experience in the same load.

On consciousness I draw heavily from Charles T. Tart, who has been a fount of amazing research and writing regarding altered states of consciousness, including spiritual and chemognostic states, since the 70s.

P: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or received?

FRK: Robert Anton Wilson: “Do it every day.”

P: I like that, from one of the Cosmic Triggers?

FRK: He has a small rant in the biographical film Maybe Logic where he says: “Do it every day. Want to become a concert pianist? Do it every day. Want to become a writer? Do it every day. Want to become depressed? Think of depressing thoughts every day. Want to become an optimist? Think of cheerful thoughts every day. Do it every day.” I look at those words every day. I try my best to live my life by them.

Outside of RAW, though, the other one I try to live my life by is Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.” The two together help steer a steady course.

Fenwick can be reached via e-mail at Kaidevis[at]gmail.com, and via his community, where he is currently sorting his research, publishing early material, and announcing developments and progress with Integral Magick on LiveJournal, including a diagram of the Three Realms.

First published on Suite101.com on 24 April 2006. (Unfortunately.)


Fotamecus Empowerment Rite

By Fenwick Rysen | October 25, 1997 | Leave a comment

Introduction:

Fotamecus is a historically recent addition to the pantheon of deities associated with time, the other major one of note being Chronos. But whereas Chronos is associated with the concept of time as fixed and immutable, Fotamecus depends on the concept that time is fluid and malleable. It is because of Chronos’ restrictions of freedom through the concepts of fixed time that Fotamecus has decided to wage war on him; the following ritual is aimed at aiding Fotamecus in the war against Chronos, and in gaining his favour through helping him. Because modern societies are completely dependent upon clock and currency (time is money), aiding Fotamecus in destroying current conceptions of time can be considered one further step in the immanentization of the eschaton. Continue reading