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Just finished the SS course so thought it would be fitting to create a review for a course which i deeply enjoyed. For a list of all the lessons and when the next cycle begins click on the link below: http://www.inominandum.com/blog/may-1stnew-cycle-of-strategic-sorcery-kicks-off-with-global-juno-rite/ ------------------------------------ My Favorite Things The following were my personal favorite attributes of the course: 1. Each lesson is dense with info and practical magical tech. There is no fluff and no time wasted in getting to the meat of each topic and how it is applicable to you as a practitioner. I learned more in this year long course than all the books on magick i have read combined. 2. The system has a Holistic approach to magick. He covers each topic with a broad sweeping brush that attempts bring many ideas and techniques into the fold, yet at the same time stays practical and grounded. The "system" he creates is not really a system....in the sense that it is not binding with many hard and fast rules. If you practice another style of magick then you will undoubtedly find his approach to be highly complimentary and enhancing to the work your already doing. 3. Behind the Strategic Sorcery Course there is an underlying theme of "Creativity". In the sense that the author acknowledges that magick/sorcery is always evolving and that its not your job to become stifled with mindless repetition. What the course gives is various fundamental principles and techniques of magick so that you can work with them in a way that suits you and your creative faculties. That attitude of "keep playing, keep exploring, keep refining" is something very important in my own practice and was happy to see it present in this program. 4. The course itself is balanced. There is an emphasis both on spiritual growth and practical sorcery to help push you where you desire to be....so your living a happy, balanced and true life. Gnosis isn't enough if your flat broke and living in your mothers basement. The emphasis in the course is that your level of gnosis should shine through in your mundane affairs. 5. The SS Discussion Group is a valuable source for information and tech from other practitioners of highly varied backgrounds. I personally learned a great deal from others in the group and its fun to hear of other peoples experiences good/bad with magick and learn something from it. 6. One of my favorite parts of the course was the HW assignments that are given. They gave me an excuse to do magick . Often most of my magical work is focused on mystical/ascension endeavors. But the assignments gave me the opportunity to get my hands dirty and at the same time deeply contemplate what i truly want as part of my life and the best magical and mundane approach to achieving said goal. 7. The emphasis in the course is on taking physical action along with magical. If you try casting a spell for a million dollars to show up on your front porch its very unlikely to work. Magical action and well planned actions on the physical plane must go hand and hand. 8. The course itself was not difficult time-wise. I was worried going in that i would be overwhelmed by the lessons and that i would not have enough time for other practices that i am currently doing before. This was not the case, the weekly lessons are convenient and were timely enough that i didn't loose a step with my other practices. 9. The Rites that he organizes are quite powerful and enjoyable form of magick. I got a great deal form them. You can also continue to do each rite even after you finish the course. Cons The following are things i didn't like about the course. To be honest there were very few and the ones i mentioned are me just being nit-picky. 1. If you already have some background in magick then some of the lessons are gone be on topics you are already well versed in and may feel boring at times. Going into the course i already had a strong background in meditation so while i appreciated his emphasis on this, (because it is enormously freaking important) it was a simple review for me. Though, if your completely new to this field of study then every single lesson will be valuable to your foundational understanding and practice of magick. 2. There are some spelling typos here and there in the lessons. None of them inhibited my understanding of the material, but i still noticed them. That's all i can think of. Besides those 2 nitpicks i greatly enjoyed the course and highly recommend it. An additional review that i found insightful is here:
altiora posted a topic in Daoist DiscussionI thought I'd provide a review of the Stillness Movement Nei Gong workshop and the clinical application workshop, which I attended in Springfield, Missouri in December 2014. Both workshops were led by Michael Lomax (Ya Mu) with the assistance of his senior students. This is a personal review of those workshops. I encourage other attendees on Tao Bums to post their own personal reflections on the workshops. This was the first workshops with Michael; I travelled from Perth in Western Australia to attend it. My past experience with Michael had been seeing and sensing his qi projection in a video clip: http://qigongamerica.blogspot.com.au/ This prompted me to order his Gift of the Tao qigong DVDs, which I used to teach myself the movements. The DVDs and the video clip whetted my appetite to explore the Gift of the Tao system first-hand from Michael. There were over 20 attendees at the workshops. I wasn't the only international student there -- two attendees travelled from the UK and Brazil. The other attendees came from all over the USA. My first -- and lasting -- impression of the workshops was of the enthusiasm and friendliness of the teacher and students. I've been to numerous meditation and qigong workshops, but have never encountered such a welcoming community of people. I found myself quickly connecting with several of my fellow attendees, sharing stories of our spiritual journeys and the power of qigong, and sharing insight into how to perform the movements. The community spirit was fostered by a workshop dinner. After travelling such a distance and being so far from home, the community spirit meant a great deal to me. Michael was a very personable teacher. I was hugely impressed by him greeting each of the attendees individually at the start of the workshop. There was no Guru-complex going on. This impression was reinforced by Michael getting his senior students to lead the workshop teaching of the three Gift of the Tao movement sets. Michael created a qi-field during the workshops, and this was responsible for the many breakthroughs that I and other attendees experienced. During the workshop, we practised the Gift of the Tao 1 and 2. We also learnt the Gift of the Tao 3, a set of movements that has been revealed to Michael more recently. The power of all three movement systems has to be experienced to be believed -- they induce strong qi sensations within, alter the environmental qi and hugely elevate your awareness. Having practised a handful of qigong systems over 18 years, the Gift of the Tao system has induced in me the most profound experiences of any system I have tried. The teaching at the workshop was of a very high level. The senior students brought their own insights into how to perform the movements, and we had ample opportunity to practise each movement and to ask questions and seek clarification from the teachers. During the workshop, I was rather dizzy with the amount of information being imparted, but found that my understanding of the energetics of each movement enhanced incredibly. On my return home, I learnt the Gift of the Tao 1 and 2 movements thoroughly in three days flat. Nothing taught at the workshops went to waste it seems Perhaps the highlight of the workshops for me was the "lighting the fire". This involved Michael projecting qi so as to unlock the attendees' ability to undertake high level qigong. As a result of Michael's qi projection, I experienced much spontaneous body movement and had several visions, such as seeing the heavens and earth open up. I also attended the optional clinical application workshop. This workshop involved Michael and senior students teaching qi healing techniques. All attendees were then able to practise the techniques on each other to heal various ailments. The techniques are very simple yet profound. As a result of practising the Gift of the Tao movements and Stillness Movement, you quickly develop the ability to amass and manipulate qi. Pretty much all attendees were able to achieve an 80 - 100% healing rate. The potential implications for our healthcare system of these techniques is mind blowing. In closing, I am so glad that I attended the workshops. After arriving in Springfield on a wet cold winter's day and fatigued and bothered after much flying, I had nagging doubts about the wisdom of attending the workshop. Repeatedly I asked myself "what the hell am I doing here! Why am I spending this time and money coming all this way when I'm unemployed and should be looking for a job!" I am glad to say that these nagging doubts quickly left me -- the workshops were profound and life enhancing for me. So there is no doubt in my mind that if you have the chance, do attend one of Michael's workshops.
Damo Mitchell has arrived on the Daoist meditation scene in the last few years and has had a bit of controversy in the past with claiming a lineage he was instructed in but not initiated. How wonderfully dull and dramatic considering the quality of what is on the discs. In the past I read his Daoist Neigong book and while it wasn't anything new to me I found his presentation of it to be easy to read and without much pretense. I have only watched the first disc's contents so far and it's a clear introduction to some good exercises. This isn't the alpha and omega of sets but a great body conditioning routine when taken in entirety. The mechanics are applicable to both energetic and martial movement. The first disc starts with Damo demonstrating all four sets of exercises and they are named Awakening Dragon, Swimming Dragon, Soaring Dragon, and Drunken Dragon respectively. Then a very cute blonde instructor goes over each set individual set. Each set is also clarified further in a respective breakdown of exercises within the sets. I have yet to watch the second and third discs but plan on it soon. I spent some of my afternoon ripping the first DVD into mp4 format to watch on my phone whilst riding public transportation this week to analyze it a little more. The movements are very reminiscent of Wudang bagua especially with the cosplay aspect of Damo's getup. So far I think the Dragon Daoyin sets would be a great base to learn before doing palm changes around a circle and for those of us with previous martial training it should be simple enough to "translate" into applications.
Hi ! I read this forum for many years, but this is the first time I write. I’m doing it now because recently I have decided to participate in a workshop and the reviews I read here were fundamental to take that decision. So, it’s time to contribute. My first contact with Michael Lomax’s teaching was when I bought his DVD, Gift of Tao I (GOT I) a couple of years ago. At that time I was looking for some standing moving qigong to complement my quiet sitting. The first time I watched the DVD, I did not like it. The form looked very loose to me and I put it aside. My mistake! More than a year later, after I read the positive reviews on this forum, I gave it a shot and practiced it. The first time I practiced I felt a huge difference in the “air” around me. I was intrigued by the effects and I ordered his e-book from amazon. The first part of his book deals with his experience in shamanic practice and the second talks more about Daoist practice. I felt connected with the main points about the Daoist practice and it was very close to what I’ve learned about the traditional method of cultivation in China. 1 – Stillness (exception for the spontaneous movement) 2 – Emptiness of the mind (letting go of the mind) 3 – Gentle gaze at the Dan Tian 4 – The opening of the channels should be a natural process. 5 – No real results will come without putting in much time & effort. Even it is written in the book that this method requires an initial transmission, I started to feel very different while I was reading the book (a faraway metallic sound in my ears during the day, real focus on practice etc). Right away I started practice it, since it was not too different from my silent practice, the only exception was the hand position and no special breathing. Making a long story short, I was looking forward for his next workshop, but I was unable to attend last year in Finland or the distance one early this year. I attended his last workshop in US, last June. Here goes the Workshop Review: The workshop was held in Springfield, Missouri, on June 22, 23 and 24 (Clinical day optional), at one of the Holiday Inn Hotel. I arrived a couple of days earlier in the city and Michael was very thoughtful and sent me some indication for restaurants that I might like (I mentioned to him before that I like Asian-spice food) and requested his student to make contact with me. I had the opportunity to interact with 3 of them before the workshop, ask questions, hang out, dinner etc. They are very nice people, as all of the others students I interacted during the workshop. Sometimes you go to a workshop and you see the students fighting between them, gossip about each other etc. I interacted with almost everyone and I felt like I was with family and friends. I mention it, because for me it says a lot about the teacher and also about the system. The first day of the workshop started 9:00 am. I was the first one at the room and I can say the energy field inside it was very clear. It was very different from the rest of the hotel. Michael and the rest of his students arrived and the workshop started in a very casual manner. He gave everyone a sandalwood soap, lectured a little about the effects of a few plants and how good they are to clean the energy. He made a lot of jokes and the vibe there was very good. After that we started some warm-up with isometrics and a couple of the 8 pieces of brocade. One of his senior students was invited to demonstrate the GOT I, while all the others should follow. Before the workshop I practiced GOT I from the DVD for about two months and it was great, but what I experienced there was fantastic. We were doing it much slower than the DVD, each movement was practiced for a long time while Michael and some of his senior student was correcting the rest. After a couple of movements you could feel the energy field changing even more, I was sweating a lot, all my pores seemed to be open. After a little break to drink some water, we started to practice GOT II in the same manner. It is hard not to be amazed about those exercise. They are very simple, yet so powerful. The final sequence (Sequential Energy Center Activation, Balancing & Restoration) before the closing is the most powerful set that I’ve ever practiced. For me it is even better than GOT I and the rest of GOT II. Every time the energy descend, it gets stronger and stronger. At the end of the morning session we did GOT III. I’ve never seen it before, so most of time I was trying to understand the movements, while Michael gave some hints about the energetic aspects. Even so, I felt the effects immediately. Break time for lunch and then we did the stillness-movement practice for about one hour and forty minutes of sitting. Michael gave the group the transmission and this was the most intense part of the workshop for me. At the end I felt that was in some vast and soundless place. You see the hotel workshop room, but you do not feel you are there. Weird! The first day was so intense to me that later that night during dinner, I had a hard time dealing with the energy inside of my body. After I eat, it started to calm down. The next day before the workshop, I practiced the stillness-movement in my room. After a while my head naturally dropped a little and from nowhere the spontaneous movement started (I did not have any spontaneous movement during the transmission). I consciously stopped it, I was a little scared but it started again. Sometimes clockwise, sometimes counterclockwise, just right and left etc. I finished my practice thinking “WOW!!! What happened?”. The second day we started with GOT I, II and III and it was also very energizer. Before we went outside to do practice with the tree, Michael requested their senior students to talk a little about their experience with the system and the healing aspects. Without any apparent reason, I felt a strong urge to cry like a baby. Their testimonies were beautiful, but the urge was not related with what they were talking, but with something that I do not know. I hold it until the class was dismissed and then I went to restroom to cry. Michael and one of his senior students were there and they approached me very gently. Michael put his hand on my chest, talked with me and I felt a great relieve after that. After lunch we had more GOT III, demonstration about Daoist Medicine and one more sitting session with transmission. It was Rock n Roll all over again. The third day we learned and practiced Medical Qigong on each other. I have a pain in one of my fingers from a stick fight, when I used to practice Kali-Silat. After the treatment it was much better, about 70%. One of the students felt a great relieve on hers hamstrings and you could see in her face how impressed she was. At the end we learned Daoist Medicine and was time to say goodbye. I’ve never thought about do healing, but the material was a great eye opener. It was a terrific workshop and I look forward to join the next one. I have been in China a couple of times practicing sitting meditation and I’ve never been able to experience such high energy in only two days. Michael is not only a powerful and accessible teacher, but a very cool guy.The energy he brings is really powerful. The feeling I have after practicing it, is quite different, is like being in a vast space, empty and soundless.