Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feng Shui for White People

I didn't start magic doing magic, per se. I started with 风水. When I was still fairly young, my mother bought a couple of new agey books-- a handful of Sylvia Brownes, possibly a John Edwards (of "Crossing With" fame, not the political candidate) and a guide to Feng Shui, Chinese geomancy. I devoured them all, though the spiritism books weren't exactly how-to guides, so I never really attempted anything with them (later, when I discovered western magic, it was with the usual Llewellyn fluffy bunny warnings of "Spirits will fuck your shit up! They are always bad news." and so I never really explored it). The feng shui book, however, was chock full of useful information and all the relevant charts and calculations. (Now that I study East Asia professionally, I still wonder: What is it about charts and calculations that sinitic magical systems love so much? Not that the Renaissance western schools fare much better, mind)

So very early, I acquired a useful set of geomantic skills, devoid of any kind of cultural context. It was through feng shui that I learned to read energies, to channel and reflect and block the flow of qi wherever it needed to go. When I had problems in my life, I'd analyze the flow of energy through my spaces and make the appropriate corrections.

Feng shui was also my introduction to Eastern thought. Never before had I thought of the world as a constant state of flux, of energy as an innate quality that can be manipulated rather than originating in the practitioner. I didn't really sink in at the time, but when I returned to Eastern methods as a practitioner, I realized how much more woo I could push if I used myself as a conduit rather than a battery.

Zen speaks a lot about inner calm, about no-thingness (to borrow a term from Osho). It treats effort as transient, a mere reaction to the environment that should be as efficient and (in the Japanese tradition) elegant as possible. Vajrayana has a thousand thousand systems and techniques and devices for manipulating energy, for creating it and consuming it and using it to power things. Zen is not an esoteric tradition, at least in the sense of occulture. But I find the Zen approach works remarkably well for magic: use the inertia of things to power themselves. Don't lock a bunch of energy into a yantra if you don't need to; simply make the right push in the right place, and you can get everything to tumble just so. Qi is temporary, transient, a river of power that can be diverted but never stopped, never controlled.

I still use feng shui techniques occasionally, mostly when setting up new homes. Partially because feng shui lends a certain psychic balance to spaces, a sense of hyperspatial symmetry and, above all, flow that I enjoy that simply randomly arranging furniture can't provide. And partly because in using the tools, I can ground myself not only to physical space (a useful meditation in and of itself), but to the Dharma, as rigid but somehow flexible as feng shui itself.

New Year, New You: Week 1

Time to clean your house.

Is your time being well spent?

Just because someone hands you a big rock doesn't mean you have to carry it.

Time to clean your house.
I rearranged my bedroom the other day so now I actually have space to move around. I still don't really have a ritual space carved out, though I've been using a shelf for candlework (post on my recent use of hoodoo coming tomorrow).

I need to finish getting everything squared-away post move, but already the cleanliness has made such a difference. Feng shui warns that I shouldn't ever put my bed in front of a window or the qi will keep me up all night, but I love sleeping here. I guess feng shui can't handle the intricacies of the energy eddies a practitioner relies on.

Is your time being well spent?

I've been largely squandering it of late, to be sure, but today was very productive. I need to get into the habit of walking 30 minutes a day and meditating when I wake up; we'll see how tomorrow goes.

Just because someone hands you a big rock doesn't mean you have to carry it.

I used to be much better at this, but lately I've been slowly getting back to where I used to be, anxiety-wise. I have appointments with a really cool psychoanalyst, so I think I'm definitely on the right track, though I also need to remember how much using my mala beads helps when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

This was a really boring post for anyone who's not me, I'm sure. Tomorrow when I have brain I'll write about feng shui and hoodoo and how I reconcile them.

New Year, New You

Two things.

1) I am terrible at blogging. I was supposed to blog in this thing at least once a month, preferably more. Instead, I wrote an intro and then stopped. That's not good.

2) Because I am terrible at blogging, I have started a new blog with 5 other people. The idea is that since we are all terrible at blogging, five half bloggers makes at least one decent blogger. We all have very different ideas, and the conversations I think are going to be very interesting.

That blog can be found at Alternomancy.

2a) To ameliorate my being bad at blogging, I am going to participate in Drop Out Dilettante's "New Year, New You", a series of prompts to invigorate my blogging and my magical practice. It should be a lot of fun.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Hello and welcome to The Jeweled Lotus. By way of introduction, I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself and a little bit about my work.

I am 23 and currently reside in a small college town in the Midwest, where I am working on completing a degree in East Asian Studies. I'm an out gay male and a devout Zen Buddhist-- one of the reasons I decided to start this blog.

Though I'm fairly young, I've been working various aspects of the craft for 11 years. My initial introduction, as for so many of us, was to wicca; I left the religious aspect of that path due to my atheism*, but continued working the craft and developed my own religio-moral code as a pledged monk of the element of Life. Reading the theories of Chaos Magic confirmed a lot of my theories of magic, and encountering Buddhism put a lot of my religio-moral thoughts in an elegant framework. I maintain the devotion to Life within the frameworks of the Noble Eightfold Path, and practice ahimsa in my daily life (I am not perfect, however, and will admit to lapses involving ants and cockroaches). My magical workings tend to stem from my devotion as an monk of Life, and fits further into a framework that has been slowly revealed to me involving two partners (only one of whom I have found) as aspects of Creation and Destruction, where I fit in as Preservation.

I know that within the broad pagan community there has been a backlash against so-called "fluffy bunnies" who focus solely on all that is "good" and light. I am not one of those people. I acknowledge and appreciate the vital importance of destruction to the cycle of energy, it is just not my path (I leave that to my partner). While I have a moral code that I follow that involves strict nonviolence, I also acknowledge openly that my path is not the only one, or even the best one for most people. I cannot and will not ever condemn someone for violating my moral code: it's a path that I have chosen to follow, but most others have not. In a nutshell, I:

❁ Do not commit violence against any being
❁ Do not work malicious magic due to my belief that karma is a part of universal law
❁ Prefer the constant change of life to the stasis of death
❁ Condemn in others only actions which prevent an individual's choice.

Well, that's about the Movies in 15 Minutes version of everything relevant to this blog. I maintain a policy of truth; if you have questions about me or my path, I will answer them truthfully with as much detail as you'd like. (Due to the nature of the medium, some responses may be sent to you privately to maintain my privacy, and I may rarely refuse to answer some questions for safety, like "What is your address, phone number, and social security number?" XD)

~Lux 卍

*As a Buddhist, I believe in the existence of gods, I simply do not worship them. In a practical sense, I see the deity worship of most paths as a way to personify archetypes of the human experience for working; this is a view that stems primarily from chaos magic, a topic I will talk about further in a future post.

**Please don't bother to chide me for using a swastika. Its use in my religion as a symbol of peace predates a certain German political party by about two thousand years.