[A note from Laurelei Black: It was a privilege to get the chance to talk with Taylor Ellwood, a prolific author of magical guidebooks that include Walking with Elemental Spirits, the Inner Alchemy series, and Pop Culture Magick about his magical philosophy, practice, and evolution.]
ev0ke: How do you define your magical practice? What terms do you use to identify yourself as a practitioner or your work?
Taylor Ellwood: The terms I use are magical experimenter and/or magician. I don’t really label myself though…that’s more for the convenience of other people. My work has been labeled chaos magic, but that’s not really accurate as I haven’t considered myself or my work to be chaos magic. I draw on a variety of magical paths including neoshamanism, elemental hermeticism, chaos magic, ceremonial magic, etc, and I meld them to non-occult disciplines and studies such as literacy and rhetoric, neuroscience, and architectural studies, to develop magical systems and practices that are modernized for the challenges we face in today’s world, and also because I’m dedicated to the evolution of magic. I think we need to simultaneously honor what has come before, but also make room for innovation. I ground my work in research and then experiment to see if what I develop will consistently work and produce results. At the same time, my magical practice is also a highly personal one in the sense that I am doing ongoing work around my own spiritual development. I think having a personal practice is just as important as whatever you do in the public sphere, but something I’ve come to appreciate is that you may not end up sharing everything in the public sphere.
ev0ke: Is your magic connected to any religious beliefs or spiritual practices? If so, do you have separate or different ways of naming those beliefs/practices?
TE: I don’t have any overt religious practices. I have recently started developing a relationship with Aphrodite, Eros, and Cronus, as well as doing some work around sacred masculinity, but that work is definitely in the research phase, currently. As for spiritual practices, I do a lot of internal work and inner alchemical work. All of this work is being done, both to release internal blockages and also refine and develop my internal energy. I use a combination of qi gong, meditation, and the sphere of art, which is a western magic practice for the purposes of this refinement of my energy as well as the ritual space I work within. Doing this practice helps me with the spirit work that I am doing as well.
ev0ke: If you work with multiple styles or paradigms of magic and/or spirituality, do you keep these styles separate — or do you blend them? Tell us about this process.
TE: I blend the various magical systems and traditions I’ve learned together, as well as the ones I develop. I will initially learn a system or tradition in its own practice, but invariably I find that there are connections between the various systems and I see how the system can be integrated together. For example, I now routinely do qi gong while calling up the sphere of art. I do the sphere of art to define and refine the ritual space I am working in and I do qi gong to define and refine my internal energy so that it matches what I’m doing externally.
To me, its important to explore the integration of different systems and practices of magic with each other, as well as with non-occult disciplines. Of course this should be done respectfully, both in terms of making sure that cultural appropriation doesn’t occur and also in terms of making sure a person has the right foundational practices in place to do the actual work.
My process for doing this kind of work always starts with asking questions while learning how a given magical system, tradition or technique works. I’ll learn how it works, but I’ll ask myself what I would change, add, or delete from what I’m doing. I’ll ask myself what intersections present themselves to me in the work that I’m doing and in the other areas of interest I’m studying. Then I draw it all together and create something that draws on everything I’ve learned but also presents my own unique perspectives and practices that have been developed. All of this is done to advance the evolution of magic.
ev0ke: How did you first get involved with this/these?
TE: I got involved in magic when I was 16. A fellow student sat me down and told me about his astral travels. I ask him to bring me some books and started reading and practicing magic. Ever since then I’ve continued practicing magic, drawn along by my insatiable curiosity. It’s helped me get into all the various magical systems and practices I’ve learned as well as the non-occult disciplines I’ve learned about.
ev0ke: What advice would you give to folks just embarking on a similar journey? (Or, what advice do you wish you’d been given?)
TE: The advice I always give is remember that you are the ultimate spiritual authority of your life and don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge what anyone else tells you. No one is absolutely right or wrong and we all have something we can learn from a given situation or experience or person, but we are individually responsible for what we learn and we have to chart our own courses. This means questioning everything and discovering for yourself what does or doesn’t work for you. It also means not being afraid to buck the system or challenge the status quo, even though you may get some criticism for doing so.
ev0ke: Tell us about any twists, turns, or surprises in your path/practice that a younger you might be shocked to know you’ve experienced.
TE: I think my younger self would be surprised at the direction my magical work has taken in terms of the self-love practice, as well as the devotional work I’m starting to pursue. In the past I’ve focused a lot more on what I might consider to be a technical approach to magic, but lately I’m exploring a different approach to magical work, prompted in part by work I did this previous year, but also by doing the self-love work. The truth is though that my magical practice is always evolving and changing. I take in each experience I have and learn something from it and apply it to my magical work and the writing and classes I use to share my work with other people.
ev0ke: You have conducted a lot of interviews yourself on the Magical Experiments platform. Tell us about one of the insights you gained or lessons you learned as a result of an interview you did.
TE: I think what I have learned from all the interviews I have conducted is how there are so many different ways to practice magic…and none of them are wrong. We all have lessons to learn on the magical path and part of how we learn them is through the experiences we have. I have greatly appreciated all the experiences other people have shared with me, when I have interviewed them.
ev0ke: What are you currently studying or exploring?
TE: I am currently exploring sacred masculinity, self-love, architectural spatial design and the process of life, the goetia, qi gong, working with nature spirits…and the list could go on. I’m always into something, exploring whatever interests me or is prevalent. The work around self-love and sacred masculinity is of particular interest to me in the moment, because it’s helping me make some deep changes to my personality and identity.
ev0ke: What projects are you currently working on?
TE: At the time of this interview I’m writing my latest fiction book The Alien Invasion Apocalypse Warriors. After I wrap that book up, I have a few occult books I want to start writing, but my lips are sealed for now.
ev0ke: What finished projects of yours would you like to recommend our readers check out?
TE: Can I say all of them? Just kidding ;). Seriously though, my latest Non-fiction book Walking with Elemental Spirits is one I would recommend if you want to learn about elemental magic and discover how a 5000 year system of magic can be changed.
ev0ke: We’d love for you to share the name of an author, book, podcast, YouTube channel, etc that you’re into.
TE: Love Yourself like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant. It is one of the most moving books I’ve read and spells out how to apply a self-love practice to your life…and it will change your life.
ev0ke: If you had a magical motto or mission statement, what would it be?
TE: My mission statement would be this: Challenge what you know, so you can discover what you can learn.
ev0ke: Thank you, again, for taking the time to share with us about your work and magic!
Check out Taylor’s website at https://www.magicalexperiments.com/ to learn more about his books, blog/vlog, classes, and services.