Ellwood's Inner Alchemy

I’ve seen a number of different threads where Taylor Ellwood’s book “Inner Alchemy” has been touted as useful for inner work, especially in threads about shapeshifting and similar things. I have to wonder how many of those people have actually read it though, because its contents seems to vary between the obvious and the useless.

If I were to summarize the whole thing into a few key ideas we have it as these.

  • Summon bio-chemicals in spirit form.
  • The body is important for magic.
  • Energy work constantly.
  • Your body is smarter than you are, civilization is fucked up.

Ultimately his goal is to achieve a sense of physical well-being, not transformation. There’s a pretty big section dedicated to trying to justify the Energy Model, which is lost on me since I don’t even agree with his assertions about it. And it’s hardly revolutionary that you can summon anything as a personification.
As for proofs of the effectiveness of his methods, he gives two main examples. He removed his chronic depression by altering the neurochemical production triggers in his genetics, and second he used classical elements as personified spirits to do an energy working to balance out an area in his throat that kept getting infected.
The depression one is interesting, since it’s something that many people lust after. But really, getting results that change the internal working of the body is comparatively simple. Altering hormones and neurochemicals can be done over a period of a few minutes of bio-feedback meditation or any other set of basic magical actions. Altering things that are more immediately tangible (skin, hair, eyes, etc), that’s where things get a lot harder, and as far as I can tell he never touches on it at all.

Honestly, if I had to describe the book, I’d say it’s just everything he had ever done in regards to dealing with the body thrown together without an overarching narrative or any end in mind. Maybe a few tid-bits to take from it, but as with a lot of books probably not worth the slog of actually looking for them if you just have a casual interest.

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Not sure why you posted this in the Love section. so I’m going to move it to General.

Personally, I have found the book extremely useful, but everyone is different.

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Most mentions of it were in the Healing and Shapeshifting discussion threads.

What did you get from it?

Okay, I’ll move it to that section then.

From it I learned how to hack my body. It made me think of ways to approach things I never considered before.

I can sort of see that latter, but if you got the former from it I don’t think it was by his intention. I mean, I can easily see how you could draw connections from his ideas on chemical and DNA magic to hacking the body, but he uses those in a very uninspired way, sticking mainly to relying on what he views as natural for humans rather than ideal for his own situation. Of course that is likely due to his pretty naturalist/vegan approach to things, but still disappointing for a guy most well known for trying to push the limits.
As I said, it’s not that I got nothing from the book, but rather that I was let down by how little of value I found it to have. It’s nearly two hundred pages and I got maybe two or three ideas, most of which I’ll have to completely revamp.

I think the same could be said about any book, really. Some will get more from it than others.

We all work through our own models and views on things so I’m not sure how you can call what he did “uninspired.” After all, they are techniques he personally created, to accomplished his goals. The book is basically a primer on the techniques and he even extorts the reader to experiment for themselves so it’s not meant to be the “be all and end all” of inner alchemy.