HooDoo Summer

by admin

There’s something sinister in summer’s voluptuousness. The prolific writer Thomas de Quincey, pioneering political economist and author of Confessions of an English Opium Addict said that summer was the saddest time of year. I forget exactly why he sad it was the saddest time of year, but I think it had something to do with his young sister dying of encephalitis (brain inflammation) in August. Oh, also and that the very ripeness of summer whispers cruelly of the decay-soon-to-come.


(image from Conjure in the City)

I’m feeling that summer-sinister vibe these days. It’s saturating everything in my awareness. There’s something primeval about the vegetation of Pittsburgh in late June. I know you don’t usually think of “jungle” when you think of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but believe me – that’s what it feels like amidst the giant overgrown grasses and weeds and gardens of my neighborhood. All the leaves are humongous, flat, green, enflamed.

Soaking in all this hot darkness, I’ve been thinking a lot about sorcery. I’ve been much enjoying Jason Miller’s works, The Sorceror’s Secrets and Financial Sorcery. In fact, I have to give giant props to Mr. Miller because the Jupiter glyphs he provided in Financial Sorcery for the conjuring of specific sums of money indeed led me to manifest exactly the sum I aimed for this month – $5000, which is rather miraculous in my view. Oh, and mad props to Jupiter himself, yo.

Jason Miller has training in both the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana and in the American HooDoo tradition. I know a good deal about Vajryana, but lamentably much less about American HooDoo. I’ve been delighted to learn more about it, though. The best resource I’ve found has been Catherine Yyronwode of Lucky Mojo Curio company. Catherine not only supplies the world’s HooDoo doctors with necessary items like rabbit’s feet and lodestones and Van Van Oil and Hot Foot Powder, she also has written extensively about HooDoo traditions and freely shares her knowledge on the interwebs.



(Conjure oils from Lucky Mojo Co.)

HooDoo, with its emphasis on achieving practical outcomes like cash in the bank and lover’s faithfulness is really winning my heart. I also enjoy the way that Miller and other HooDoo workers take a rather literalist view of magical ritual – which is that specific ingredients (herbs, lodestones, inks, powders, oils, semen, menstrual blood), times (astrologically), colors (for candles, cloths), sigils, etc. absolutely do *count* and are not just dispensable nonsense.

The notion that ritual elements *are* dispensable is a popular one amongst chaos magicians and magicians like Alan Chapman (who I much enjoy and admire). Chapman, for example, offers that magic is “the art of experiencing truth” and that the art can be done with whatever materials are on hand, simply through a matter of decision. For example, in Chapman’s theory, I don’t have to draw a specific Jupiter glyph for manifestation purposes. I could draw any old little sketch that I wanted to draw and decide that that sketch means “I will receive $5000” and it will work.

I’m mostly inclined to agree with Chapman about that, but then I’ve also just had the experience of my random money-drawing sigils not working at all, while the specific Jupiter glyphs that Jason Miller supplied actually worked “like a charm.” Which is to say, they worked like themselves, because they are – in fact – charms.

So with this success under my belt, obviously my interest in straight-up sorcery increased. I recently saw a Facebook friend of mine mention a character known as the Sorceress Cagliastro. Curiosity piqued, I decided to look this lady up.

Turns out that the Sorceress Cagliastro is one of the most straight-up freaky characters I ever heard of. She used to be a professional embalmer, and now she’s a professional blood sorceror – people pay her to cast spells – usually curses – against other people.

Cagliastro’s book, The Blood Sorcery Bible Vol. 1, ranks as one of the creepiest and most compelling books I’ve ever read. It turns out that Cagliastro doesn’t believe in dealing with deities or divinities at all – she believes in only what she directly experiences – ghosts (“the disincarnate” as she politely calls them) and demons. She has an interesting theory about how the iron in human blood causes it to be magnetic – and that its magnetic properties have something to do with its magical value.

The Sorceress Cagliastro sees herself as much more of a scientist than a spiritualist in many regards – and regards sorcery as a path of practical results above all else. She writes in a flamboyantly commanding and somewhat paranoid tone, speaking with Nietzschean and Machiavellian intensity about the importance of selfishness and the triumph of one’s own will. She’s kind of like a really witchy Ayn Rand.

Cagliastro takes the general HooDoo / sorcery notion of the importance of specific ingredients to a literalist extreme – she believes that blood (she calls it “the Sacred Elixir”) just works, period, to achieve magical ends. She doesn’t mess with herbs or roots or stones or woods. Just blood, straight up human blood, all blood, all the time. Which is a kind of intense dogma that actually gives me more appreciation for the subtlety, variety, and poetic logic of the ingredients called for by HooDoo spells.


(An image of Sorceress Cagliastro)

For a little while I was curious to try some of Cagliastro’s spells (she prefers to call them “sorcery events” which is catchy and does sound more serious, I admit) but the whole drawing-ones-own-blood thing is a bit messy and painful *and* apparently half the point of it is to use the blood as bait to attract the disincarnate, whom Cagliastro is very intimate with.

Cagliastro writes about having an “Eternal Portal” open to ghosts at all times, so they’re constantly coming into her house and her bedroom and whining to her and wanting her to solve their problems, which she does. That’s very generous of her, of course, but it’s not really anything I’m looking to get involved with. She also has 9 protector demons (she refers to herself as “Sorceress Cagliastro in the hands of the 9”) which is also a crowd I’d rather not mingle with.

In conclusion, while I’ll be staying away from dabbling with blood sorcery, I have been opening up my magical mind deeper and deeper to the possibilities of conjure, and that feels appropriate and good in this swelter.


Magical people often feel intensely called to do entrepreneurial work for reasons directly related to their magic-ness.  Perhaps you’ve already noticed that your magical life is a more-than-usually intense ride wherein you plummet to harrowing lows and rise to luminous heights.

We magical people tend to learn a ton along the course of our rides, including that we hate straight jobs (i.e., “working for the Man.”)  We’re Outlaws in every sense of the word. So our reasons for becoming entrepreneurs are simple: we want to be free to make our own rules and we want to share with others what we’ve discovered in our adventures through life.

So, here you are reading this because you know you’re magic and you’ve got the business itch. The enterprise you have in mind or already rolling along could be anything from promoting your music, writing, or art, to coaching others, to tantric massage, to starting up a tech business to a zillion things in-between.

Whatever your business is, my experience in coaching dozens of entrepreneurial magic people around the world has taught me that no matter what we’re doing, we face several challenges that muggle business-people don’t seem to struggle with nearly as much.

Perhaps in doing-business-while-magic you’re already discovering that the effort is super-tough in part because being a magic person is way trippy in itself.  The practice of balancing your own inherent magical trippiness with making the cold hard cash monies is a delicate feat indeed. It’s a tricky accomplishment even just while working a regular job. Take away the constraints of a boss and the pressures of co-workers, leave yourself to your own delightful magic devices, and you soon discover the profound realization that this shit is hard.

So just for fun, I’ve made a list of all the ways we magical entrepreneurs tend to struggle, so at least you can know you’re not at all alone.

1. You find it tough to describe your work and sell its benefits: because… it’s weird. 

Let me be clear: weird is awesome.  Weird is all I ever want. And the gifts that magical entrepreneurs want to share are often a little weird in the sense of being new and unfamiliar. It could that you’ve invented a fresh genre of music, a form of healing that no one has ever heard of, a kind of sexual meditation training that scares people as much as it interests them.  Whatever it is, chances are good that if you’re magic it’s a bit out of the ordinary.

This is the highly magical Peter O'Toole, no doubt pondering the cruelty of the muggle world.
This is the highly magical Peter O’Toole, no doubt pondering the cruelty of the muggle world.

This means that you face unique challenges for marketing your work.  You often need to educate people just as much as you need to sell to them. And just the project of figuring out who’s the best audience for what you do can be a big challenge, because the usual rules of “niche” don’t apply. You’re not selling to a certain externally-defined demographic, you’re selling to people who are open to a certain kind of experience.

The good news about this is that you have the built-in magic to broadcast that will let your right audience come to resonate with you and understand you.  The tough news about this is that you’ll need to surrender to the fact that you have to work double-time: you’re both an educator and a business person.  Because what you do is world-shifting, you’re responsible for helping folks to shift with you.

When it comes to communicating the benefits of your experimental offering, probably nothing helps more than collecting testimonials. Don’t be shy about sharing your gift with friends and letting them rave about it – and then publicizing that raving. Social proof is a great means of helping folks get over their resistances to trying the new and incredible thing you’re offering.

2. Your energy and business focus changes dramatically with the seasons and with astrological happenings

Magic people can feel stressed and inadequate when trying to work in a business world that makes all sorts of demands for constant production that conflict with the cyclical rhythms of nature. It’s okay. Don’t let the squares get you down.

Most of the magic people I know are at their best from January to June, while the sun is gaining strength in moving towards the Summer Solstice. They also tend to be hugely more energized and decisive around the time of the full moon. They’re often utterly lethargic around new moons and in the winter.

Due to their energetic openness, magic people are also more poignantly affected by astrological retrogrades and oppositions.  If you notice that you and your far-out friends absolutely always have your phones, cars, and computers break down around Mercury retrogrades while other folks you know seem to be doing just fine with their communication technologies – you have your own sensitivity to energy to thank.

If this is going on for you, it’s important to recognize what’s happening and cut yourself a big break.  The struggle to hustle in a world that doesn’t respect magical rhythms won’t end –  but at least you can be kind to yourself while it’s going on.

Just conjuring up some business.
Just conjuring up some business.

3. It’s hard for you to share yourself potently on social media 

As a magical person, you see and feel things that many other people don’t.  Vast visions and intense synchronicities – things that are difficult to put into words.  You know that social media is fairly key to business these days: Facebook and Twitter are important means of connecting with potential customers, investors, fans.

And you know in order to really draw folks to your project,  it’s important for you to be present and real. So sometimes you try to communicate a meaningful truth and get just it right. But it comes out sounding like a trite fortune cookie or an insane rant. Frustrating.

Maybe you’ve also had experiences in the past of posting something vulnerable and deeply felt and having people respond with indifference or even straight-up rudeness. It happens to the most intriguing of us.

This struggle to communicate with the world at large is a very common for magic people since we’re accustomed to being misunderstood. Often we trip ourselves up because we expect to be misunderstood, so we can sound combative or overly pedantic. A useful way to overcome this to design all of your posts as if you’re speaking directly to a person who generally understands your vibe (so you don’t have to explain everything) but still has things to learn from your experience.

4. You feel that your magic should be free, so you feel guilt and worry around charging what you’re worth

Oh man. This one is so huge. Most magic people have very strong spiritual commitments to kindness and generosity, and they love the feeling of giving of themselves freely.  (Yeah, there are selfish, miserable magic people in the world – but usually karma kicks their ass so hard that they wise up pretty fast and become principled.)

Charging for creations and services can feel not only scary but not fun because it seems to block the free flow. Plenty of magic people have a strong love of social justice (because they know what it’s like to be oppressed and devalued for being different) and a distaste for capitalism. But eventually, there comes a point where what feels even more not fun than charging is… not charging. Because you want to give your gift to the world in a way that’s sustainable for you.  And unless you’re so advanced that you magic up food and housing without a hitch, that means charging for your work.

The process of overcoming hesitations around charging a sustainable rate for your work can be a long one. It’s still an evolving effort for me.  But the process is so, so worth it – because it means you eventually get to a place where you’re paid to do what you love by people who appreciate and value you.


5. You have so many brilliant ideas that it’s difficult to zero in on your focus

Magic people get suddenly seized by strong enthusiasms – and just as suddenly, those enthusiasms can dessert you. The trick is to find the theme that underlies and weaves-through all of your enthusiasms and to focus on cultivating that as the foundation of your business and creative life.

I go through cycles of being obsessed with various projects and loves – from ancient philosophy to mystical poetry to tantra to dreams to contemporary art to teaching to Orgasmic Meditation to astrology – and I noticed that what interests me in all my enthusiasms is magic itself.

Some folks I work with notice that there underlying theme is music. Or animals. Or yoga. Or death. Or anarchy. Or sex. Whatever it is, if you accept it and embrace it it can be the unifying foundation and flavor for everything else you do.

6. You hesitate to invest money in your business and in yourself as an entrepreneur because you’re used to things just coming to you.

You’ve manifested plenty of stuff in your life, from scholarships to dates to adventures to hot new clothes. You would prefer it if your powers of manifestation would just go ahead and effortlessly create for you a website, a fan base, a production team, and everything else your business needs.  You’re magic, so you should be able to get all that stuff free and easy, right?

Well, yes and no.  It’s certainly wonderful to call for synchronous, free help as you grow your business. Along my own journey I’ve encountered amazing people who were happy to help me build my website and promote my work just for barter or for the sheer joy of helping create something they felt good about.

And I’ve also noticed for myself and for my clients that part of entrepreneurial magic is being willing to invest cash in buying goods and services and education to support our businesses. When we pay for other people’s services, when we invest in getting coached and healed and supported ourselves, we affirm that magical work has value.  Which helps us to more deeply believe that our own work has value and is worth paying for.

"Alas, poor Yorick - why must I use social media?"
“Alas, poor Yorick – why must I use social media?”

7. You worry about attracting negative energy from others as you grow your business and media presence.

When you become an entrepreneur and you’re promoting your work in the world, you become a public person in a way that you’re not when you’re working a job or just hanging out.

Being a public person can feel scary because it means exposing yourself to the imaginations and projections of people who don’t really know you but they believe they know you because they follow your work or your social media posts.

Magic people tend to be especially sensitive to the projections of others.  Negative projections can feel like cruel hexes and can actually cause magic people to want to run and hide.

There’s a huge amount of growth in learning to stand in your power as a magical entrepreneur, to feel the high sensation of the public loving or hating you, and to welcome it all with grace and strength.  

In Conclusion

Life as a magic entrepreneur isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, but it is full of savory challenge and growth. As you expand your business and put yourself out as a public person, you discover new truths about your magic, your power, and your wisdom that would never have dawned on you if you had stayed in your comfort zone at a job.  And I’m incredibly grateful for you being in the world, doing your magic thing.

If you’re just starting your magical journey in business, or feeling stuck at a tough plateau, I encourage you to contact me for coaching. And if you’d just love to connect with other magical entrepreneurs from all over the world, I invite you to join the Outlaw Court.


Dangerous magic show – fineartamerica.com.

Young Peter O’Toole thinking  – skydancingblog.com

Conjuring lady – Ebay

Knife juggler – Pinterest

Peter O’Toole with skull – www.orderofthegooddeath.com



“Before we get into the technical aspects of practicing magick, we must first introduce the use of a magickal diary. It is traditional for the magician to write down every magical act, result and experience in the magickal diary, which functions as a tool of encouragement, a scientific record, and a means of magickal integration.”
— Alan Chapman,  Advanced Magick for Beginners

On Emptiness and Desire and Spellworking

Alan Chapman’s book  Advanced Magick for Beginners is inspiring me a good deal lately. Chapman does an solid job of discussing my most favorite topic: how a practice of desire-based magic (i.e., tantra or alchemy) eventually leads to a huge increase in synchronicity that leads to the deepening realization of nonduality and the dreamliness of all things (i.e., Buddhist “emptiness”).

In the past I’ve done rituals but not much in the way of “spells” – just a lot of visualization and list-making and other Law of Attraction type stuff.  I’ve done this in part because I was raised in Wicca and Ceremonial Magick by my father and long ago came to associate spells with “silly things my father and his stuffy old friends do.” And that’s not a fair assessment, just a rather teenage-ish reaction that’s silly in itself. I’ve preferred my magic to be more modern and meditation / visualization based.

But Chapman offers a lively explanation of spellworking using simple Sigil Magic as an example.  He emphasizes how the whole trick of a spell is to decide that seeing or experiencing your spell means the same thing as your desire materializing. In other words, you lay the grounds for a synchronicity to occur by simply deciding that the happening of one thing (your spell action, whatever it is – drawing a sigil or waving a wand or jumping into a puddle) has exactly the same meaning as your desired outcome.

Through reading Chapman it has hit me more clearly than ever how spellworking is just an active participation in synchroncity.  Synchronicity is the subjective perception of at least two events that are non-causally-related as being nonetheless meaningfully related to you, as having a direct correspondence.

In science it’s emphasized that “correlation does not equal causation.” In magic, it’s basically “fuck causation, correlation is where the hotness is at.” Causes and effects don’t inherently exist anyway, as you realize if you spend some time in analytic contemplation. Causes and effects imply distinct subjects and objects – and since reality is nondual, there are in truth no distinct subjects and objects, just the ongoing worlding of the world.

So I’ve decided to get a lot more into spellworking lately to up my magical game and I’ve also decided to chronicle my work here on this blog in a public magical diary.  It’s not intended to prove anything, it’s not science.  It’s basically a record of my own personal perception of synchronicity.


The Spell

Last week I did some Sigil Magic specifying “This week I will find a beautiful and convenient and very cheap place to live.”

I got in touch with the depth and vulnerability of my desire and charged the Sigil with that.  This vulnerability bit is something that I think is very key for me, and it’s not something that Chapman discusses. Yet I’ve found over the years that most of the time in life I avoid fully feeling my desire because of the painful vulnerability of the fear that my desire won’t be realized.

In terms of tantric Buddhism, it occurs to me that the bonds of attachment and aversion are just desire with a mucky layer of fear added on top.  Attachment and aversion are the stuff that ignorance is made of, and ignorance is basically just the perception of the world as a dualistic, threatening place of scarcity. When you strip off the layer of fear, you have pure, unalloyed desire – which is what the apparent universe runs on and can take you quickly to the perception of the loving nonduality of this world – i.e., nirvana.

When stuff goes wonky in magic, it’s usually because there’s aversion and attachment mucking things up.  A lot of my previous magical experience has been about showing me the uselessness of those things, and forcing me to surrender them to large degrees through giant amounts of pain.

But I still habitually engage in attachment and aversion by suppressing my desire. I would usually rather deny to myself that I have any desire.  I would rather not feel it so I can’t be disappointed (that’s attachment and aversion, friends.) But then when I do that I cut myself off from my deep power source, from my real well of energy. When I’m willing to be vulnerable and exposed and feel the full strength of my desire, there’s paradoxically great charge and magic in that. That’s a lot of what I learn through OM (Orgasmic Meditation).

The result

By very odd chance, this week a friend of mine who had been housesitting a lovely artist’s house in Shadyside (a fancy and very convenient neighborhood of Pittsburgh, close to everything I like) was no longer able to do it due to family emergency, and now me and my friend Zil are here until the end of the month.

Funny thing – I got what my spell requested but I didn’t specify for how long I would “live” there so it’s only for a few weeks! But still. Very heartening.


As Chapman emphasizes and as I fully agree, the results of magic come to us through coincidence, i.e. synchronicity.  The synchronicity worked surprisingly fast in this case.  Also, I noticed just how very specific spellworking needs to be.  The next time I work on conjuring a beautiful and convenient place to live, I’ll need to specify the length of time I’d like to live there.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.


Normaling is the kink of conforming to classic gender, sex, and “couple” stereotypes of our culture and getting off on it. Not because you feel you have to, but because you want to. It’s edgy and it’s dangerous. And it happens to be my own personal kink.

Why Normaling is Edgy

Normaling is edgy due to the fact that the “because you want to”  aspect of it requires a very high degree of privilege. Normaling just isn’t a kink that’s available to everyone, and it’s a kink that can be psychologically or physically damaging, not unlike race play or blood play.

In its connection to privilege, the kink of normaling is like its cultural cousin Normcore (the style of ever-adaptable situational style and deliberate eschewing of “authenticity,” most famously enacted by James Franco. Normcore is a style that both embodies a kind of wise, fluid nondual emptiness and one that itself relies on privileged appropriation to exist).

Lots of people in the world have to conform to gender stereotypes and roles just in order to have the acceptance of their communities (i.e., to avoid being exiled, starved, ridiculed, abused etc.); and for many people the option of conformity isn’t on the table because their internal experience and / or outward expression of their sexuality and gender doesn’t line up with cultural expectations.

In other words, normaling not only requires a personal inclination towards conventional gender styling and couplehood, it also requires being in a position of economic, educational, racial, familial, and geographical privilege to the point that you feel that you have freedom in how you express your gender and sex.  Ideally, we would live in a world where absolutely everyone had this freedom of expression – and factually, we do not.  Therefore, to engage in normaling is itself an assertion of privilege, privilege that inevitably relies on the existence of non-privileged people to exist.



And of course, this problematic nature of normaling is part of the very reason why it’s kinky.  Kink is all about power dynamics – and normaling, as we noted above, is about a heavy-duty power dynamic – not necessarily between the partners in the normaling couple, but rather between the normaling couple and the world that gives them the power to normal with impunity and showers them with approval for doing so.

I take the term “normaling” from a scene of 30 Rock that struck me as both funny and hot. And then it struck me as culturally complex the more I thought about it.

In this scene, Jenna and Paul realize that they’re into normaling. Jenna and Paul are both white, cis-gendered (though Paul’s a transvestite), educated, and well off. They’re engaged in a heterosexual relationship with each other.  They’re both kinky in the classic sense of the term (they like cross-dressing, bondage, pain play, and other fanciful weirdness).

Here’s the clip:


It’s adorable, of course, that Jenna and Paul love each other, have hot sex, and are able to sexualize their falling asleep together under a quilt.  Their exhibitionist excitement mounts as they realize that they can go normaling in public by shopping for housewares at Bed, Bath, and Beyond – “in front of everybody!”

What makes Jenna and Paul more adorable than the average couple shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and falling asleep together under quilts is that they at least realize the highly kinky (because immensely culturally privileged) nature of their activities.

Jenna and Paul are both societally privileged enough to be flagrantly kinky in the classic BDSM modes (their behavior might garner eye-rolling from their friends but neither of them is in danger of being starved, beaten, arrested, etc.) to the point that they’re able to experience their choice to act “normal” as just another option on the erotic table.

Why Normaling is Hot

“Everything is about sex. Except for sex. Sex is about power.” – Oscar Wilde

Normaling is hot and naughty for folks like me who are at least somewhat aware of their privilege because when I’m engaging it, I know what I’m doing is based on my power. Power that I didn’t earn. Power that’s just been given to me. Luxury.

It’s a giant luxury to be a straight, cis-gendered, white, educated, healthy and economically stable woman. It means that when I put on a dress and kitten heels and pearls and make-up and hold the arm of my partner who happens to be a straight, cis-gendered, white, educated, healthy and economically stable man we match the image of a powerful archetype that’s burned deep into our collective cultural retinas.

People stare at us when we’re in public – and not because we look weird, of course – but because we look so very normal. Actually, because we look weirdly normal – it’s sometimes strange to see a cultural archetype before your eyes in living color, executed with a slightly exaggerated edge. And that’s what we are, me in my kitten heels and pink dress and him in his grey jacket and steel-toed boots.

I’ve come to think there’s even a queerness to this normaling that we do, from the very fact that there’s a consciously performative dimension to it. My dress and heels and pearls and make-up are a kind of drag. They’re exciting both because they provoke a response from my masculine partner, and because they garner approving attention from the folks around us.

Why Normaling is Dangerous

Normaling is dangerous because in this heady euphoria of old-fashioned sexiness and cultural approval, it can be easy for me to forget that my kink is one that relies on societal distaste for other forms of gender expression.  It can also be easy for me to forget that the drag I’m choosing to adopt is just that – drag, and not an unmediated, “pure” expression of my inner essence or something.

Once, I got so caught up in normaling that I married a man who wasn’t a sustainable partner for me in part because we just looked so goddamn good together and we wanted to have a wedding.  With the wedding came a ton of both cultural approval and its wicked twin, cultural expectation. When I realized I couldn’t stay with him because of some fundamental incompatibilities I felt horrible shame for letting everyone down. I thought seriously about jumping off a bridge.  That’s what normaling without a safeword can do, friends.

So now you know

So now that you know that normaling is edgy, hot, and dangerous I encourage you to engage in it with utmost care, if at all. It can be an intoxication.  Don’t let the bubbly fun of it blind you to its real potential consequences.  If you do it, remember you’re not an archetype, you’re a human being in a historically situated and societally created context.

For those of you who don’t engage in normaling due to choice or due to other constraints, I hope this exploration makes a little bit more clear the kinky and performative nature of some types of cis-gendered coupling that goes on.

I can’t really say that normaling remotely does anything to bring about freedom for all people, but I can say that it packs a hardcore rush.




I’ve figured out something that not a whole lot of magic folks love to hear about. Well, the first part everyone does love to hear about.

It’s this: when you open your heart and mind and turn on your joy and gratitude, the universe will offer you beautiful synchronicities that fulfill your deepest desires for romance, beauty, and fun.

Excellent, right?

Yeah, except you follow the nudgings of those magical synchronicities, receive their boons, and you discover that you’re not actually being lead onto Easy Peachy Street where everything is always gorgeous and your relationships are lovely and your sense of social respectability is fully unchallenged and you get a pile of diamond necklaces dumped on your doorstep ala The Secret.

diamond necklace

 (The diamond necklaces you as a magic person are not about to receive at your address on Easy Peachy Street)

Instead, it’s been my experience and the experience of many of the magic people I know (and friends, through the wonders of the interwebs I know them of all ages, genders, and from all locales on the planet) that those synchronous sirens of wondrousness very often perplexingly lead you not to unending Peachiness but rather into the dissolution of all your good reputation, the ending of long-held friendships, the dismantlement of your personal property, and occasionally the mad house.

Well, fuck.

Magical synchronistic fulfillment of your desires isn’t sounding so rad anymore, is it?

I didn’t think so.

Except, here’s the thing: it is still really, really super rad.

How magic is still rad

It’s super rad because even though magic doesn’t lead you to Peachiness, it does lead you to the experiential awareness of truth. And that’s actually the only thing we really want. I know it doesn’t seem like the experiential awareness of ultimate truth is all that you really want on days when you’re walking around thinking “I really want to make out with so-and-so but he / she / it doesn’t like me the way I like he / she / it and all I want is some hotness in my life that so much to ask?!” but… trust me it is.


What this experiential truth is – well, that’s hard to put into words. It’s all gooey and truth-y, and you really need to taste it for yourself to get the gist. We can call it “nondual awakening” for short, though, since that’s the current fashionable term and it’s pretty handy.

Basically, it’s this: “you” exist only as a feature of an undulating oneness that constantly manifests as all phenomenon, and “you” are totally not in control of anything. Not even “your” own thoughts or actions. They never were “yours” – just the ceaseless play of emptiness dancing as form.

Hey hey hey hey wait wait wait now – isn’t practicing magic all about being in control? Taking hold of the reigns of one’s Destiny? Digging the speeding silver spurs into the Steed of Good Fortune and riding that bucking stallion off into the Sunset of Getting What I Goddamn Want? Doesn’t the end-game of this put me on an all-expense paid Carnival Alaska Cruise Ship voyage with Esther Hicks and many other nice, clean, people with money?

Not exactly.

Here’s the thing: when you first start to practice magicking up synchronicity, it does feel like “you” are in more control. But that’s pretty much just the universe’s way of getting way massive LOLZ.


(This kitteh is an official representative of the universe and thinks you’re cute)

The Tricksy Way Magic Works:

As far as I can presently tell, this is how magic works to wake us up:

1. When we (often by accident) find the astounding, synchronous, beautiful, magical fulfillment of our desires happening, we are confronted with the realization that there’s an intimate relationship between our “internal” landscape of thought, imagination, and emotion and the “external” world.  We start to intuit that this world is a lot more dream-like than solid.

2. As we are confronted with this wonderful and eerie realization, we usually start trying a lot harder to decide precisely what manifests in the dream. (If you’re anything like me – this means primarily: Prince Charming.)  We double-down on spells, Vision Boards, healings, visualizations, mantras, affirmations, and just about anything else we can think up that might give us a little bit more leverage over controlling what appears in the dream we’re dreaming.


(Through all this Vision Board stuff I actually did succeed once in marrying a guy who – no joke – looked exactly like Prince Charming  right down to the red cape, awesome blond head of hair and sexy, sexxxy tights. Our Rustic Country Wedding in October was like a dream that Pinterest wakes up from all hot, wet, and slippery. And… our relationship produced a vortex of pain that nearly killed me. All of that lead me to take bodhisattva vows. My Prince Charming ex is now one of my dear friends –  turns out he’s pretty great as a pal and listens with immense patience to my nondual ramblings – so it’s all cool. And that’s magic, folks!)

3. We succeed in manifesting precisely what we have asked for (whoah baby! epic winning!), and gradually discover that it creates a maddening Vortex of Pain (see above parenthetical lengthy caption regarding The Prince Charming Experiment executed by yours, truly).

4. Within this Vortex of Pain we become desperate for divine help and willing to contemplate the notion that perhaps we have absolutely no control, that maybe the universe is magicking us and not the other way around. Hmmmmmmmm.

5. Rinse, repeat – indefinitely.

6. Wake up to the reality of our nonvolitional, nondual existence. “Deeds are done but there is no do-er.” – Buddha aka Dude Who Knew What Was UP.

7. Realize that you still (nonvolitionally) have a personality and want to write blog posts (throw punk shows, make video art, raise children, write songs, cook dinners, protest fascism, etc. fill in the blank). Do so. TA DA!

So, in short: yes, magic works.

Yes, conjuring your desires and following amazing synchronicities is a great idea and will ultimately lead you to just where you need to be.

And no, your ego probably will not like much of it.  At all. Yay!

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.

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