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ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC  March 2011

ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC March 2011

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Subject:

Re: FORTHCOMING: WHO IS THIS PERSON WRITING MY PHD?

From:

Kathryn Evans <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Kathryn Evans <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 28 Mar 2011 08:40:46 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (373 lines)

Dear Sabina, Toyin, Robert, & All,

Wonderful that you are sharing perspectives on deeper dimensions of Academic 
work; very constructive!

And Robert, the tidbit about Gadaffi's son you shared is just plain 
funny--thanks for the chuckle! I've been watching as much of the news as I 
can stand, but missed that one;)

Kathryn

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Magliocco, Sabina" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, March 27, 2011 2:19 PM
Subject: Re: [ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC] FORTHCOMING: WHO IS THIS PERSON WRITING 
MY PHD?


Toyin,

I absolutely think that writing and scholarship are contemplative and even 
magical disciplines!  In fact I have argued that writing ethnography is a 
magical act, in that it both invokes and evokes a world for readers.

For me, these feelings are all outgrowths of the human imagination -- which 
is not to belittle them, but to call attention to the amazing qualities of 
human creativity and the realities it creates.  Others, of course, will have 
different interpretations.

BB,
Sabina

Sabina Magliocco
Professor
Department of Anthropology
California State University - Northridge
[log in to unmask]
________________________________________
From: Society for The Academic Study of Magic 
[[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of toyin adepoju 
[[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Sunday, March 27, 2011 7:33 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC] FORTHCOMING: WHO IS THIS PERSON WRITING 
MY PHD?

Rather than delay this response further in the name of better assimilating 
your intriguing perceptions, I am sending this response I wrote once I got 
yours.

Thanks, Sabina. Very intriguing. Almost uncanny, in the sense of the thrill 
of the borderline between the unknown, the unaccountable for in terms of 
conventional ontological categories  and one's recurrent experience, 
recurrent yet not commonplace.

Your comments suggest,  to me, that one can experience  writing  and 
scholarship as a contemplative and even magical discipline.

Your account of encounters with authors reminds me of my ' seeing' James 
Joyce in the library during my BA in literature, perhaps in the hat, glasses 
and simple suit he is often shown in.I knew it was not a conventional 
corporeal perception although my eyes were not closed and I was not doing 
anything unusual apart from the normal business of reading in a library busy 
with other students. I seem to have never thought much about what it meant.

This helps me better appreciate the experience of trance I had when reading 
Kant on the Sublime for the first time in the same  place in that library. 
It was fantastic. On returning to myself, I wondered ' Am I occupying the 
same space with these other library users?'

Perhaps one could put together one day a volume accounts of unusual states 
of consciousness emerging in relation to scholarship and research.

What does it mean to experience or seem to experience the presence of 
authors one is working on? Does it imply that scholarship can itself play 
the kinds of roles attributed to magic/spirituality/religion? Aleister 
Crowley, whom I see as as quite perceptive on the psychology and philosophy 
of religion, described concentration in general as conducive to expansion of 
consciousness.

Can words, particularly words that embody the level of concentrated 
attention represented by scholarly writing embody traces , strong imprints 
of consciousness  in ways that are not only ideational but operate at the 
interface of ideation and spirit or sentient life force?
' A good book is the precious life blood of a master spirit, sealed and 
transmitted to a life beyond life'as John Milton put it.

Or, without any disrespect intended, is one's mind enacting a strong 
identification in terms of imaginative recreation that is localised to the 
individual self?

 I wont pretend to be making definitive descriptions of phenomena in such 
comments  as above on life force but groping towards explanations.

thanks
toyin

On 23 March 2011 23:11, Magliocco, Sabina 
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
OK, I am the last person in the world who would argue against the pleasures 
of food, hot baths/ showers, or having a good lie-in.  However, I think I 
know what Emma meant.  When I was younger, hungrier and had more time on my 
hands, I was also more open to spiritual experiences; they came more 
spontaneously.  When you're working 14-hour days, running around trying to 
get 100 things done, in meetings all day long fighting with admin, etc. it 
is not conducive to spiritual experience.

Writing, however, especially for sustained periods of time, does put one in 
a very different frame of mind.  It burns tons of energy; I like to joke 
that when I'm writing I go down to my fighting weight.  I get sucked into my 
work, and being hypoglycemic, sometimes enter a kind of trancey state.  I've 
had very strong feelings of the presence of authors whose works I have 
studied closely; I can almost feel them in the room with me and hear their 
voice speak the words on the page. Once or twice I actually felt I was in 
contact with the spirit of a dead author through their work.  I think this 
is different from what you describe Toyin, but perhaps it's part of a 
continuum of similar human experiences.

BB,
Sabina

Sabina Magliocco
Professor
Department of Anthropology
California State University - Northridge
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
________________________________________
From: Society for The Academic Study of Magic 
[[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>] 
On Behalf Of toyin adepoju 
[[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>]
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 3:29 PM
To: 
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC] FORTHCOMING: WHO IS THIS PERSON WRITING 
MY PHD?

Thanks, Emma.

I hope I am able to arrive again at the level of mystical and magical work I 
was doing at that time. I had suspended those ambitions in the name of 
completing my BA and was now busting loose!

I was doing meditations and invocations from different traditions three 
times a day, for about two to three years.

Do you have better spiritual experience when well fend and/or content or the 
reverse?

Perhaps freedom from the heaviness of food or a sensitivity to the struggles 
of life could help to make one more aware of life's  possibilities?

One point of view cites examples  relationship between contentment  and peak 
or expanded consciousness. Colin Wilson bases his explanation of peak 
experiences in Superconsciousness: The Quest for the Peak Experience on that 
very correlation. He argues for a sense of well being and of fulfilment as 
central to  expansions of sensitivity to the beauty of living. He correlates 
Abraham Maslow's theory of a hierarchy of levels  of satisfaction, with 
biological needs forming the base of the pyramid and self actualisation at 
the apex  with what seems to me to be cognitive theory in developing the 
idea  that the more sensitive one is to the sheer  appreciation of being, of 
life,  the more one is likely to experience  a sense of enlargement of 
perception and of self. In another work, Mysteries, he seems to suggest that 
mystical disciplines, with their training in concentration, are methods of 
increasing latent sensitivity through concentrating attention from its often 
the sensitivity of awareness  by focusing its often multifarious scope and 
thereby expanding the capacity for awareness. I wish I could make his point 
clearer.

Truly, being well fed, with the cool breeze blowing on one's skin, with 
worries muted or forgotten, or nonexistent, one might be in a better 
position to be sensitive to what Heidegger evokes as the often taken for 
granted fact of being. Mother Teresa, for her part,  describes  the danger 
of involuntary poverty to people's sense of humanity.

Another writer who argues for well being in relation to expansion of 
awareness is Karen Salmansohn  in How to Change Your Entire Life by Doing 
Absolutely Nothing: 10 Do-Nothing Relaxation Exercises to Calm You Down 
Quickly So You Can Speed Forward 
Faster<http://www.amazon.com/Change-Entire-Doing-Absolutely-Nothing/dp/B000ENBPJ8/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_10>, 
who describes how she was led to appreciate the  value of sheer relaxation 
by observing that she got very good ideas while having an unhurried cup of 
tea or coffee or while simply enjoying the comforting ease of lying bed.As 
one reviewer put it, she "argues that paying attention to positive stimuli 
instead of negative thoughts can be life-changing. One Do-Nothing Exercise, 
for instance, encourages readers to focus on the pleasure of showering: "I 
now multitask in washing away my stress and anxieties, by doing nothing but 
concentrating on the concentration of water spritzing down on me."

One also recalls the accounts  of Descartes cultivating the habit of working 
while lying in bed, not getting up before midday, and Marcel Proust who was 
led to some truly intriguing experiences by gustatory encounters with cakes.

Let those so inclined eat and be merry.

thanks
Toyin

On 23 March 2011 14:39, emma wilby 
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>> 
wrote:
Toyin - Sounds like the 'daily meditation and invocation' may have been the 
key re 'concretization'. For myself, I have noticed a direct correlation 
between a diminishment/lack of spiritual experience and being well-fed 
and/or content!! Emma

________________________________
From: toyin adepoju 
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>>
To: 
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Sent: Wed, 23 March, 2011 13:31:58

Subject: Re: [ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC] FORTHCOMING: WHO IS THIS PERSON WRITING 
MY PHD?

Thank you very much, Emma.

Your careful account helps to place things more clearly in perspective.

I hope the presence again becomes as vivid as it was in 1993, when I always 
sensed it behind me almost wherever I was going.

I was disturbed about it then, but like other encounters with the 
conventionally enigmatic which have left me wary even though they are the 
kind of experiences a magician  ought to anticipate and welcome, I will be 
better prepared if, as I hope,  that level of 'concretisation' occurs again.

Thank you very much.

Its so good to have fora where one can share such experiences and get 
sensitive, informed and well meaning responses.

All the best
toyin

On 23 March 2011 11:29, emma wilby 
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>> 
wrote:
Hi Toyin,

So far as I know a familiar can certainly by acquired without intending to 
do so. Indeed,  it could be argued that even in traditional shamanistic 
cultures the 'spontaneous' acquisition of the familiar is just as - if not 
more - common than the deliberate. From what I have read it seems that the 
familiar never completely relinquishes its 'autonomous' nature, though the 
shaman can gain a certain amount of control over it.

What I thought was interesting about your description was your linking of 
some initial vision and/or strong sensory experience with the subsequent 
more day-to-day sense of a presence. In shamanistic narratives the familiar 
is usually initially acquired through one or more 'peak' experiences - often 
a dream or vision encounter, but can also be a powerful auditory 
hallucination or experience of physical possession etc. But after this 
dramatic event it seems to me that a shaman's ongoing interactions with his 
familiar (that is, in daily life but also healing rituals and intentions not 
involving public seance) can often be more prosaic. The shaman 'talks to' 
their familiar and 'listens to' what they may have to say but in the way a 
Christian might communicate with God through prayer - a process of trying to 
interpret certain feelings and thoughts as spiritual communications and to 
understand the senses of presences as opposed to directly confronting and 
face-to-face interactions with the 'other'.

As for how to take advantage of a familiar - I'm not an expert here. I 
suspect there are as many ways as colours in the rainbow - shamanistic 
techniques, ritual magic techniques, wiccan techniques .... Christian 
techniques ....

With all good wishes,

Emma



________________________________
From: toyin adepoju 
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>>
To: 
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Sent: Tue, 22 March, 2011 5:31:36
Subject: Re: [ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC] FORTHCOMING: WHO IS THIS PERSON WRITING 
MY PHD?

Thanks for your response , Emma.
Please forgive my late reply.
The impressions come and go on their own terms.
Can you tell  me more about the nature of a familiar and how one may take 
advantage of it? Can it be acquired without intending to do so?
Thanks
Toyin

On 19 March 2011 08:03, emma wilby 
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>> 
wrote:
Hi Toyin,

An evocative account of - what seems to me like - the acquisition of a 
familiar. I wonder - can you bring the sense of the presence to you (through 
some form of intention) or does it come and go of its own accord and on its 
own terms?

Emma

________________________________
From: toyin adepoju 
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>>

To: 
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Sent: Wed, 16 March, 2011 16:04:49
Subject: [ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC] FORTHCOMING: WHO IS THIS PERSON WRITING MY 
PHD?


                        WHO IS THIS PERSON WRITING MY PHD?

                                                Toyin Adepoju

 I ask myself this question in recognition of the sense of wonder that 
continually emerges for me from the development of ideas in the PhD I am 
undertaking in Comparative Criticism.

You see, some of the best ideas of the PhD are not written wholly by me. 
They are developed  in collaboration with someone I donít know,  someone I 
am only beginning to be able to identify through subtle cues that define the 
contours of the personís personality.

I have chosen to describe this being in terms of a distinctive personality 
because the entity actually demonstrates a shape representing their nature 
and style of working.This shape is perceivable in mental terms through 
subtle promptings about possibilities for developing ideas, through the 
sense of an invisible personality behind me or at my shoulder as I compose 
ideas in writing, through a sense of looking forward into a landscape of 
knowledge I can only dimly sense with an awareness of the certainty of its 
existence, like an animal smelling water from a far distance.

 Perhaps a more realistic interpretation of this mysterious experience is to 
understand these cognitive unfoldings as demonstrations  of conjunctions 
between the conscious and subconscious minds as they work together to 
constitute a whole,  even though the processes of the subconscious are not 
often available to consciousness.

This interpretation may clarify  the majestic motions of  ideas as they 
enter into particular orbits,  mesh and undergo transformation,  but can 
they explain the sense of an  invisible personality  by my side or behind me 
that flashes in and out of my awareness as I work?

What  is the relationship between this current  sense of an unseen 
personality and an earlier impression  of an invisible figure that began to 
follow me everywhere after about a year of daily magical invocation and 
meditation in 1993?

What connection could these experiences have to the two experiences  in my 
living room in Benin in 1996 in which as my mind went to my earlier 
interest, abandoned for the previous  three years,  in developing the 
cognitive  potential of the Yoruba/Orisa Ifa system of knowledge and 
divination,  I instantly sensed an invisible presence at my side, a  sense 
of an intangible presence that recurred at various times as I carried out 
this work on Ifa during my MA at the University of Kent in 2003?

Can these experiences  be related to a particularly striking experience  in 
the late 1990s in which, as I   reflected on a forest that awed me by the 
numinous presence that radiated from it, I suddenly found myself elsewhere, 
in a different room, in non-verbal but eloquent dialogue with a woman. 
Having ascertained who I was,  that I was not dreaming,  that I was in a 
strange place in which I had been welcomed,  I opened my eyes to find myself 
back in my study?

Could these experiences of mine demonstrate interactions between  personal 
and extra-personal  fields of consciousness?

Full essay forthcoming 

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