Not the Monthly Post

A Primer of Magical Combat

I’ve mentioned in previous essays here that our civilization’s age of reason is ending. That’s a familiar event in history.  At a certain point in the life cycle of every civilization—about the time that its artistic traditions are really hitting their stride, and before political and economic centralization sets in—intellectuals become entranced with the idea that there must be a rational order underlying the blooming, buzzing confusion of the universe. In due time they find certain things that can be understood using rational models; most people hail the triumph of reason, and take it for granted that everything else can and will be reduced to obedience in due time.

Of course that’s not how things work out because the universe, with its usual serene indifference to all things human, refuses to play along.  Crisis arrives when too many failed predictions turn rationalism into a laughing stock, and the whole enterprise grinds to a halt as people abandon it for approaches that work better.  That’s what happened in ancient China, in the twilight of the Chou dynasty, when its rationalist schools failed to bring good government; it’s what happened in ancient Greece in the twilight of the classical age, when its rationalist philosophy failed to inspire moral virtue.  It’s happening now, in the twilight of the industrial era, as our rationalist sciences fail to provide the Tomorrowland future we’ve been promised so many times.

One of the ways you know that an age of reason is coming to an end is that magic comes back into fashion.  Here again, we’re following the usual path at the usual pace.  The revival of magic that began in a very quiet way in the 1850s, and first found a wider public in the 1890s, went into overdrive in the 1970s and hasn’t looked back. The frantic pushback of the rationalists that gave rise to the “skeptic” movement of the late 20th century—that word belongs in quotes, since the movement never showed the least scrap of skepticism toward even the most absurd or meretricious claims of the scientific establishment or its corporate sponsors—got funding for parapsychologists cut from most university budgets, but accomplished little else; its impact on the popularity of occultism in the wider world was minimal at best.  Again, it’s a familiar story.

One of the consequences that follows the end of an age of reason is of particular importance just now, however. The mere fact that magic comes back into fashion does nothing to guarantee that the magic being practiced anew will be done with any degree of competence.  Quite the contrary, most of the people who take up magic in the twilight of an age of reason are still far too influenced by the ideologies of the departing era, and so they generally make a hash of things. That’s especially visible in the realm of political magic.

Yes, there is such a thing as political magic, and we’ve seen quite a bit of it over the last decade or so. In fact one of my recent books, The King in Orange, is about the magical dimensions of the 2016 US presidential election and its aftermath. Quite a bit of magic was thrown around by all sides in that nationwide donnybrook.  A modest amount was competent, but most of it was either the fumbling of enthusiastic beginners or the blunders of people who thought they knew much more about magic than they did. That’s embarrassing to watch, it risks bringing the ancient and honorable art of magic into disrepute, and there also tends to be a lot of collateral damage.

I’m sorry to say that we’re heading into yet another contentious presidential election next year, and doubtless there will be plenty of magic deployed this time around, too. With this in mind, I’m going to give some instruction in the art of magical combat, on the off chance that the sides in the upcoming electoral squabble might listen. Yes, I know, this has risks, but it seems to me that the downsides of letting people flail around like drunken halfwits, trying to bash each other with weapons they don’t know how to use, are considerably worse.

Of course I also know that this may be wasted effort.  “Guard the Mysteries! Constantly reveal them!” wrote Lew Welch  That utterance is less of an oxymoron than it looks. It’s one of the eternal verities that you can bellow the deepest secrets of magic right out in public—it’s been done, many times—and only those people who are ready to hear them will pay any attention at all. If the would-be political mages of the 2024 election aren’t willing to listen, we can expect the same sort of indecisive floundering we got the last two times. I can only hope that enough people are bored or sickened with the results that they might be open to something a little less pointless.

With that said, let’s start with some necessary clarifications.  If your exposure to magic consists of reading denunciations of it by ranting skeptics, you know nothing about it.  If it consists of fantasy novels and Hollywood spectacles, you know even less.  Let’s be even more specific and formulate a rule, which I hereby name Rowling’s Law:  if it looks like the sort of schlock you’d see in a Harry Potter movie, it’s not real magic. (To Rowling’s Law we may as well add Brooks’ Corollary, which states that the Harry Potter franchise has as much to do with real magic as Young Frankenstein has to do with real science.)

Magic is the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will.  It doesn’t affect matter directly, and it can’t be used to overturn the laws of nature. Within those limits it can accomplish astounding things.  If you examine your experience of the world, you’ll find that only a modest portion of it depends on the material realities that surround you:  much more depends on what you perceive, feel, and think about those realities and the subtler social, psychological, and spiritual realities that also surround you.

These latter things are the raw materials of magic. The tools of magic are will and imagination; the power that flows through magic can come from many sources, of which human emotion is generally the easiest to access; the forms that give magic direction and effect are symbols and symbolic action. The effects of magic are complex, and depend on factors that modern science has gone out of its way not to understand, but the basic principle can be stated simply enough. A symbol held in one mind, charged with will and desire, can affect another mind even when there’s no obvious way for the effect to take place; that’s the central thesis of magic. What this implies, of course, is that individual human minds are not as isolated from one another as most current ideologies like to insist; this is another basic postulate of magic

Those are our definitions. Next up are the rules for effective magical combat, but before we get to those I’m going to have to insert two warnings.  I’ve learned from long experience that I can say these things in so many words and people will blow right by them in their quest to misunderstand magic, but the effort has to be made. Okay?  Here goes:

Warning No. 1:  The rules that follow apply only to magic. They don’t apply to military or political strategy, say, or anything else that takes place principally in the material world.

Warning No. 2:  The rules that follow have nothing to do with ethics or morals or who’s more virtuous than the other guy. I’m talking about what works.

With those in mind—and please do keep them in mind—we can proceed to the central principle of effective magical combat in the political sphere:

You win a magical struggle by formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible, while completely ignoring the other guy.

Did you keep my two warnings in mind?  To judge from my repeated experience, the moment they read those words, one subset of my readers immediately tried to apply it to military and political strategy, probably having to do with the Nazis. The Nazis exert a weird gravitational attraction on people’s imaginations, which we’re probably going to have to discuss one of these days; it’s always the Nazis this, and the Nazis that, and Churchill et al. couldn’t have stopped the Nazis if they’d just formulated an ideal, blah blah blah. Another subset of my readers immediately thought, okay, yes, that’s very sweet and moral and pure, but in the real world we have to be practical and get to work trashing the other side.  If you thought one of these things, dear reader, please go back and reread the two warnings above, and this time pay attention.

How do you win by formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible? It’s quite simple. Magic can’t win a political or military struggle all by itself. What it can do is give a good hard boost to the more practical side of the struggle. It does this by generating energy, enthusiasm, loyalty, and love among your side’s supporters, by attracting allies rather than making enemies, and by making people on the other side start to wonder if maybe your side has a point. By doing that, magic can quite readily provide the edge that makes victory happen.

As it happens, the Nazis make a great example for our purposes, because they were heavily into the notion that the rules of magic also applied to the material world, and they were just as heavily into the notion that flinging high-intensity nastiness at their enemies was their ticket to victory. Adolf Hitler set the tone of the Nazi movement in his book Mein Kampf, which spends page after dreary page ranting about hatred as a source of power. That’s why he launched an invasion of Russia without issuing winter uniforms to the Wehrmacht:  he hated and despised mere Russians so much he didn’t believe they could resist his magic and his armies long enough to make that an issue. We all know how that worked out.

On the other side of the struggle was English occultist Violet Firth Evans aka Dion Fortune, who put together a network of British magical practitioners to mess with the Nazis. One of the things that made the Wehrmacht so successful at first was that the leadership of the nations it invaded tended to suffer a sudden collapse in morale. (Read a good account of the fall of France in 1940 and you’ll get to see this in eerie detail.) Fortune, who recognized the role of magic in causing that collapse, set out to monkeywrench that process and keep Britain from suffering the same fate. She firmly rejected the notion that they should attack the Nazis with magic; instead, her network ignored the Nazis and concentrated on formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible. Again, we all know how that worked out. (You can find the details of her method in The Magical Battle of Britain, edited by Gareth Knight.)

The same principle applies to any magical struggle involving groups of people. Say you support a party and you want to encourage other people to do so.  Obviously that’s going to take activity on the material plane, which follows its own rules—see Warning No. 1—but it also has a magical dimension. If you want other people to flock to your party, you need to formulate an ideal and make it as strong, precise, and vivid as you can. That will catch people’s attention, inspire them, and encourage them to listen to your party’s speakers and vote for its candidates.

Those words “strong, precise, and vivid” are the key to the process, by the way. It emphatically will not work to focus all your attention on a vague buzzword—“justice,” say, or “freedom.” Those are neither strong, nor precise, nor vivid. You need to formulate exactly what you mean by the concept:  justice for whom, at whose expense?  Freedom for whom, at whose expense? (If your answer is “for everyone, at no one’s expense,” you’re still in vague buzzword territory.) You need to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve, what it will cost, and who will pay the price for it, or you will not achieve it.

Nor is it enough to leave that knowledge in abstract terms.  In magic, an image is worth a thousand vague words; a concrete thought form, to use the technical term, is necessary to provide the energies a pattern around which to coalesce. What do you want your party to achieve?  What do you want your country to become?  To practice effective political magic, you need to be able to give that answer in terms of vivid imaginative experiences.  When you walk down the street in the future you want to achieve, what does it look like, sound like, smell like?  When you happen to see your future mayor or president at work, what exactly are they doing? And—ahem—is the image something that will attract the enthusiasm and idealism of a lot of people, or just of your little special interest group?  All of these are points you need to reflect on while building the ideal into which you’re going to pour your will, your imagination, and your emotional energy.

What if you don’t want to do any of that, and spend your time instead focusing on how evilly evil the other party and its candidates are, and flinging nasty magic at them? To begin with, malefic political magic is among the most difficult tasks a mage can face. If you’re trying to mess with someone else by magic, you have to overcome the momentum of their own convictions and emotional energy, plus whatever magic they’re using to protect themselves. If they lack conviction and don’t have a clue about magical protection, you might be able to do it — the Nazis did, with quite some success, before Dion Fortune et al. figured out how to monkeywrench them. But it’s far from easy, and even a modest amount of magical skill on the part of your opponents will trip you up hard.

But there’s another aspect to malefic political magic that tends to get missed. Note that in the principle I gave above, the word “appealing” is nowhere to be seen.  The ideal you formulate need not be appealing to you. It can be utterly loathsome to you.  So long as you formulate it as strongly, precisely, and vividly as you can, you give strength to that ideal, and encourage other people to flock to it. If there are a lot of people who find that image appealing, even if you loathe it, they won’t.

Yes, I could talk about the Nazis again, but let’s cut to the chase and focus on the obvious current example: Donald Trump.  The main reason he was able to come charging out of the political fringes to seize the Republican nomination, and then the White House, and the main reason he still dominates the American political landscape, was that so many people threw so much energy into hating him.  They formulated a good clear image, all right, and they did it strongly, precisely, and vividly, charging it with every ounce of hatred and rage they had. That was an extraordinarily potent spell. Unfortunately for them, it had the opposite of the effect they wanted.

Of course Trump also had the help of some spectacularly inept symbolism on the part of his enemies. I think most people know about the candid conversation when, talking about women, he spoke of “grabbing them by the pussies.”  Countless people who hated him went right out and got hats shaped like female genitalia, and paraded around wearing those—and Trump promptly grabbed them by the pussy hats. Eight years after his emergence on the political scene, he still retains a firm grip on their brains.  I doubt he’ll ever bother to let go.

He also had the help of a habit of modern Western cultures which I’ve termed the tyranny of mandatory niceness. In the upper reaches of our societies, expressing negative emotions is taboo, and will get you the same kind of reaction that expressing sexual desire would have gotten you in Victorian England. As a result, there are a great many people seething with negative emotions who desperately want some way to vent them—some excuse to shriek their hatred and rage right out there in public. Donald Trump provided them with that service. In effect, they thanked him for it by pouring emotional energy into his image, and he proceeded to make good use of it.

The point to keep in mind is that fixations of this sort have practical consequences.  The real story of the populist counterrevolution in today’s America has nothing to do with Trump. It’s taking place in state and local politics, as legislatures and school boards swing toward the right one after another. I’ve seen articles by thoughtful liberal writers who are practically in a panic over this, but they get no traction, because so many people can think only of Trump.  For that matter, if something keeps Trump from winning the GOP nomination this year, the Democrats will be caught flatfooted—and of course, and crucially, they have yet to formulate an ideal of their own that can catch the imagination, the aspirations, and the hopes of the voters.

Old-fashioned occultists like me are wearily familiar with this effect.  When we teach magic, we’re constantly having to remind people to focus on the thing they want, not the thing they hate or fear or want to get rid of. Of course there’s a reason for that, which is that so few people figure out what they actually want.  Nearly always, people want to think instead, “If only X happens”—and X, of course, can be anything from winning the lottery or losing twenty pounds to marrying the right person or divorcing the wrong one—“my life will be wonderful.” Then they spend all their time thinking about the money or the spouse they don’t have, or the weight or the spouse that they do, and fail to focus their will and imagination on exactly what kind of changes they want in their lives. In this way they cement themselves even further into their current misery.

As in the personal microcosm, so in the political mesocosm.  For the last half century or so, the main US political parties have spent all their time and energy ranting about the bad things that the bad people in the other party are doing, or have done, or are going to do, and neglected to offer any positive vision of their own.  There are unpleasant reasons for that habit. Until the rise of the populist movement, both parties were pushing the same set of policies  on most issues, while cultivating a handful of hot button issues to keep their captive constituencies in line. Avoiding a positive vision was essential to that approach.

Democrats loved to preen themselves on their environmentalism, though somehow they never did much to benefit the environment. Republicans loved to preen themselves on their support for Christian morality, though somehow they never did much to further that cause, either. For both parties, these and other niche issues allowed them to pretend to be idealistic and wave around virtue signals to distract their constituencies from the fact that much more important issues were being ignored. Meanwhile the politicians of both parties pandered to big corporations, fell neatly in line behind one clueless imperial misadventure after another, and lined their own pockets in a frenzy of kleptocratic greed that left Third World tyrants looking on in jealous awe. Holding up an ideal that meant anything to most Americans would have been a major misstep for either party, as the gap between even the most modest ideal and the sleazy realities of life among Washington DC’s political parasites would have quickly become a severe liability for all sides.

Yet the absence of any such ideal goes a very long way to explain the spreading cynicism and contempt that so many Americans feel for the people that govern them, and it also goes at least as far to explain their willingness to turn to political outsiders such as Trump. To judge from the evidence of history, that’s just going to accelerate until somebody formulates a positive and appealing ideal strongly, precisely, and vividly enough to seize the collective imagination of the American public.  That could be done by a politician, but it doesn’t have to be.  It could be done by an ordinary person, alone or working with others, who takes the principles of successful magic seriously and makes a sustained effort to create an ideal that will appeal to most people.

It could be you, dear reader. As the political machinery of our failing republic clanks and lumbers deeper into what could become its terminal crisis, you might want to consider it.


  1. They formulated a good clear image, all right, and they did it strongly, precisely, and vividly, charging it with every ounce of hatred and rage they had. That was an extraordinarily potent spell. Unfortunately for them, it had the opposite of the effect they wanted.

    Indeed it did. Nine years ago around this time, I was Mr. Lefter-Than-Left, and in the last election I voted and in the next I plan to vote Republican, and that includes for Donald Trump. I should probably point out that the blind, frenzied way the privileged left embraced the disastrous official response to the Covid pandemic, not to mention infusing that with a generous dose of their already blind, frenzied Trump Dementia Syndrome, had a lot to do with this astonishing about-face. And I can’t help but wonder how many more people there are out there whose current position is pretty much the same?

  2. “You win a magical struggle by formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible, while completely ignoring the other guy. ”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, especially when it comes to Trump and the Democrats. The simplest, easiest, most logical approach for the Democrats to have taken to defeat Trump would have been to do a little research to find out what it was that convinced so many people to vote for him (no, it wasn’t his wonderful personality – he hasn’t got a wonderful one), and then retool their own platform to bring in as much of that as they tolerably can. Then so many who admired the policies but despised the man would vote the other way and it would be Game Over for Trump. Instead they are leading a full-out frontal assault that martyrs him so that, in addition to his own usual supporters, he gets the votes of those who despise the policies but admire the man. And anyone who contemplates the situation deeply enough to notice this behavior comes to the inescapable conclusion that people with minds this weak are unfit to govern the country – and there goes another swath of support into the Republican camp, Trump or no Trump.

  3. Ignore-ance is bliss!

    This was another great essay… and I am happy for the tips on formulating things on the upper planes.

    I was reminded here also of this passage from Josephine McCarthy’s book that accompanies the Magicians Deck, an oracle deck she created with her husband Stuart Littlejohn and daughter Cassandra Beanland. This is for the card “Magical Attack”:

    “When this card appears with regard to an actual magical attack, the magician is either somehow involved in it, or is on its receiving end. This card warns particularly of the folly of falling into the trap of mounting any sort of counterattack the original assailant: this would open—and keep open—a line of energy that can then flow back and forth. Such a connection will keep the hostilities going energetically, and will attract parasites with a vested interest in keeping the ‘war’ going. This card often appears in a reading along with the Parasite card, as the two are close bedfellows. If this card appears, then it is either a warning for the magician
    to cease some hostile action, as they are getting themselves in an energetic tangle, or an indication that they or the reading’s subject are under attack.

    The best action a magician can take when under attack is to detach emotionally from the situation, scrape the magic off and dump it, and ignore where the magic came from. This will trigger a deeper magical dynamic of the Grindstone and the Unraveller: the magician grows strong and learns a great deal from constantly removing what has been thrown at them, and the attacker slowly unravels as their pour all their energy into unsuccessful attacks.
    We all want justice, but by seeking human justice we can upset certain deeper balances that we are unaware of. By simply taking the magic off each time, the attacked magician stays
    fine and dandy; and there can be no greater punishment for an arrogant, attacking magician than for them to realize that they are ineffectual and essentially without real power.”

    To my mind what this means is:

    1) the obvious part about ignoring the enemy. As you have shown the energy of pent-up anger thrust on Trump has only made him stronger. (And I’m not writing that as either a lover or a hater of the man myself.)

    2) Instead of attacking as a means of magical combat, which was also your point, we are better off building up something else. As both you and McCarthy noted attacking sets up an energetic link between yourself and the attacked. So again, one side can end up getting stronger (if they ignore) and another ends up unravelling themselves in the process.

    In any case, I see lots of potential for the good use of this, and I have my own druthers about the kind of things I’d like to see down the road. I really appreciate the practical tips for the application of imagination.

  4. JMG, thank you particularly for this post, not just on its own merits (though that would be sufficient!) but also because it gets directly at something I have been trying to work on in a fiction project — my protagonist has accidentally developed some small magical skills partly through anxiety-mitigation habits, and one of them is reminding herself to “aim for what you want to hit.” I am *not* learned in magic, and I seriously appreciate the general reassurance from someone who is that what I’ve come to through reflection is not necessarily entirely off-base!

  5. You have just described almost precisely how it was that the people on the island of Eigg in the Hebrides were able to launch a successful buy-out in 1997, raising £1.6m in the process to make it happen. They changed from hating and fearing their feudal lairds to having, as you describe, a strong, precise and vivid ideal of what their lives could be like if they were their own masters. They literally broke the spell. The full story is a heartening one. And while they were in the process of successfully changing their own situation (and taking courage from another buyout in Assynt in 1993), the strength and precision of their vision fed back or set in motion irresistible changes in Scotland, including greater political will leading to the re-convening of the Scottish Parliament (1999) and sweeping changes in landownership in Scottish law since, including rights to roam and further legislation to allow communities to purchase land when it comes on the market. It was truly stunning to see this campaign play out over about 5 years, and heartening to see how, in the last 26, they have made remarkable, positive changes. It really was (and is) magic.

  6. As we depart from the Age of Reason, the Masonic Enlightenment—and all of its most sacred cows—ought to be subject to fair scrutiny. Perhaps even the very principle itself is flawed.

    Is man as truly free, equal, and brotherly as he believes himself to be? Or are there certain natural laws that might contradict those assumptions?

  7. Two thoughts

    1. John Glub , a.k.a Glub Pasha had an observation that political entities generally had a 250 year life span at the end of which they either reformed or fell apart. 1776+250 = 2026

    2. The vision of a nation largely living at a local level with many, many small enterprises might be the magical idea needed for effective reform that actually benefits the American people. Otherwise, it goes into the dustbin of history, a great might-have-been

  8. Thank you so much for this post. I’m a lost millennial trying to navigate a sinking economic system with no idea of which way to go. Do you have any suggestions, for an amateur, on using magic to navigate ones future? Thanks again.

  9. Interesting essay, thanks.
    I really hope Charles Eisenstein reads this and discusses it with RFJ, Jr. It seems to me that he is trying to a formulate and express a different vision for what American can be compared to the two parties.

  10. My wife somehow came across this a couple of days ago – the University of Exeter which is in the Russell Group, Britain’s top rank of universities, is now offering an MA in Magic and Occult Science! A mere £12,000 if you are a UK citizen or double that if you are not. There seems to be no practical magic in it as readers here would understand it, but it’s interesting to see that a quality university would consider something of this sort worth offering.

  11. “When we teach magic, we’re constantly having to remind people to focus on the thing they want, not the thing they hate or fear or want to get rid of. ” This was just one amazing bit of wisdom from this piece, which contained lots of great advice for general living, for a magical practitioner or otherwise.

    I hope this isn’t too tangential, if it is please skip over. I’m curious if you have any thoughts about Marina Abramovic. I see her referenced every election. Some say she is proof of the dark and supernatural powers of the elite, with her body fluid performance art. I tend to want to give artists the benefit of the doubt, so I’m not if she is just a 1) provocative “edge lord” type of artist, 2) someone sincerely using occult imagery to explore creative expression, or 3) genuinely an occult practitioner– maybe a mix of the above!


  12. Read it in The Times today and it couldn’t be more synchronous to your topic…I guess you’ll get loads of alerts about the following, but colour me pink and roll me in feathers. They’re offering a Master’s degree in magic at a venerable institute of learning here in the UK. The University of Exeter is going to be offering an MA Magic and Occult Science.
    From the blurb: “The core module, ARAM251 Esotericism and the Magical Tradition is a team-taught module where students explore key topics including magic in Greece and Rome, occult texts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the history of witchcraft, magic in literature and folklore, deception and illusion, and the history of science and medicine, among other key themes.”
    Oooh I got so excited reading this. But then it goes on to say:
    “By housing this program within the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, we place the Arabo-Islamic cultural heritage back where it belongs in the centre of these studies and in the history of the “West.” Decolonisation, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism, and anti-racism are at the core of this programme.” Woke. Sigh. But – you can also choose to be assessed by practice (rather than a written assessment). Hmmm. !

  13. Your description of how to work magic in a political context is reminding me of how to effectively approach music competitions. Focus on what you’re going to do and doing it really well, rather than what the competition is doing. You can’t control them. You can control which piece you choose, and whether, how much, and how effectively you practice it, and if you read the competition rules thoroughly and made sure you’re within them etc. Yes, someone else may show up with something astounding and blow everyone else out of the water, but you can’t control that and you probably won’t even know till it’s too late to change what you’re doing anyway.

    Err… I just found out the singing competition I’m going to be participating in is in the big hall and has substantial prize money attached. So it’s a much bigger deal than I thought. Eep. Oh well, what I was really looking for in it is a learning opportunity and feedback from the judges. I’ve only been formally studying voice a few months and this is the first music competition of its kind I’ve ever participated in. The fact its a bigger deal than I realized doesn’t really change anything about what I need to do to prepare. And my voice teacher was the one who suggested I do this and is helping me prepare, so I must be at a sufficient skill level to participate.

  14. I was struck by the Welch quotation: “Guard the Mysteries! Constantly reveal them!” The ‘hiding it in plain sight’ aspect of that statement seems clear, as does the notion of “guarding” the Mysteries by making them widely available.

    As an example I suggest we look at literacy: I would hazard a guess that the now commonplace skill we call “reading” (which you are practicing at an amazingly high level at this very moment) was once a closely held “mystery”. One of dubious worth to the vast majority of people up until very recent centuries. It is still not a valued skill in many rural, agricultural regions. However, indigenous people meeting Europeans for the first time (typically with a sword or cannon pointed at them) were quite frequently amazed at the powerful “magic” of reading and writing. I suggest that the “mystery” of literacy has been both hidden in plain sight and distributed to all and sundry, just as Welch prescribes. Doubtlessly this would have appalled and dismayed the scribes of ancient Egypt!

    What is perhaps not so obvious is the price that is paid for literacy. According to Henrich in “The WEIRDest People in the World”, part of that price is the re-wiring of your brain. Reading and writing take up areas of the brain that “normal” i.e. non-literate, people use for facial recognition, especially in the left hemisphere of the brain. Literacy also tends to reduce holistic visual processing in favor of more analytical processing. This sounds suspiciously akin to the strong tendency of western scientific methods to look primarily at the parts rather than the whole. Could literacy have been (part of) the mental re-wiring that led to the scientific revolution and the rise of rationalism as a doctrine?

    The “magic” of literacy is clearly responsible for tremendous changes in the material world and is perhaps an example of the power of “magic” (changing another’s thinking and perception)?

  15. So, per your beliefs, magic has no intrinsic material effects at all? That’s hardly a perspective most historical practitioners would share.

  16. A good example ( to me) of political magic is JFK and the race to the moon. While the initial motivation for the space program was the Russians success with Sputnik. But JFK did not work his magic by presenting the race for the moon as a deed to defeat the evil Soviets. He presented it as a noble and difficult quest that would bring great glory, wisdom and power to all of those involved including the American Taxpayer.

    ” We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.”

    The 400,000 people directly involved in the Apollo program were motivated by this ” magic” to perform extraordinary deeds. The Engineering team at Grumman upon winning the contract for the Lunar Lander accepted that they would not see much of their families for at least 7 years.
    Perhaps there is more than one reason for calling his short term Camelot, and their may have been some on the dark side that realized this powerful magic and wanted him removed.

  17. Hi Mr. Druid!
    I love your esoteric history lessons.
    Do you think Christian prayer is a form of magic?
    I would say language is a form of magic and propaganda doubly so. The internet is a form of magic as well since it’s like Gutenberg 2.0 with disseminating ideas and ideals.
    In these matters, I will take your advice and spend some time envisioning an ideal world as part of my prayer ritual that I have recently adopted as I have gone from an atheist to an Orthodox Christian catechumen. The article you wrote about how Naomi Wolf sees the world and has turned towards religion seems to apply to human psychology.

  18. Bacon, and the University of South Carolina here in the US is gearing up to do the same thing, I believe. It’s about time! Magic can only benefit from improved scholarship and more publications of classic texts.

    Mister N, I don’t have hard numbers, but I know a fair number of people who’ve made that switch of late.

    William, we all get into “the bad people over there” talk — as witness some of my recent posts. I also have to remind myself from time to time that that’s not what does the job.

    Old Steve, the sad thing is that in 2016 and 2017 I urged Democrats to do this, on my blog and in person, and got a flat refusal backed up now and then with spectacularly vicious pushback. They could have taken Trump as a wake-up call. Instead, they doubled down — and many of them are doubling down further. It’s probably going to take a monumental defeat and the death of most of the party gerontocracy to get the Dems to start taking their own ideals seriously again.

    Justin, thanks for this — McCarthy’s advice is very sound.

    Kate, I’m delighted to hear this!

    Endrick, that’s a great example — and yes, that’s real magic, far more enchanting and far more wonderful than the Harry Potter schlock.

    Francesco, the entire concept of natural law is a creation of the same Enlightenment ideology you think you’re opposing. The ideals of Masonry are a good example of what I’m talking about in this post; Masons formulated those ideals, and did it strongly, precisely, and vividly, and the world changed accordingly. As long as you’re fighting against those ideals, you’re helping to hold them in place; if you want to do something different, you have to focus on building up a different ideal instead.

    RaymondR, Glubb Pasha may have a point. As for the ideal you’ve proposed, well, how much of your own energy are you willing to commit to formulating it with clarity and charging it with emotional force?

    James, you’ll have to start by learning some system of magic, and getting fairly good at it. Magic isn’t for amateurs; it’s a skilled craft which requires a lot of practice. As for where to learn it, why, about a quarter of the books I’ve published are basic textbooks on that subject.

    Edward, here’s hoping!

    Robert, yep. I was delighted to hear of this.

    CJ, I haven’t looked into her work, largely because modern art bores me to tears. I may hold my nose and take a look sometime, though.

    Bruce, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Your Kittenship, funny. Thanks for this.

    Miow, oh, it’s got a woke label, but historically speaking that’s quite correct — most of traditional European occultism came from the Arab world in the Middle Ages. I suspect the people running the program chose that verbiage to make the university administration more likely to buy into it.

    Pygmycory, hmm! Yes, that makes sense. May the competition fulfill all your hopes!

    Ken, interesting. Yes, that’s at least a workable metaphor.

    Gman, I have yet to see a magical working that had effects on the material plane that were not mediated by some conscious being. I’m open to the possibility that this can happen, but I’ve been doing this stuff for more than 45 years and have met and practiced with some of the best practitioners in the world, and I have to call it the way I see it.

    Clay, it’s a fine example.

    Candy, prayer has several aspects, but yes, among those is a magical aspect. Many people use prayer to formulate ideals strongly, precisely, and vividly, and bringing them into being in the usual magical way. Equally, yes, language can be a vehicle for magic, and so can the internet.

  19. >I was Mr. Lefter-Than-Left, and in the last election I voted and in the next I plan to vote Republican

    Left and right are meaningless and outdated concepts at this point. I’m not sure what to call the New Divide myself but I would (pejoratively) call it Rednecks vs Bluehairs. It’s a spectrum but almost everyone knows where they lie on it. Either you’re one of those dirty Rednecks or you’re a (very) proud screaming Bluehair.

    As far as voting for the elephant side of the Uniparty – good luck with that. My Modest Proposal for what to call the Republicans is Neo-Whigs.

  20. What a delightfully timely post! I’m quite glad that I have no fear of our uni-party, metastasized-bureaucracy, never-Trumper looting-class learning any effective new magical habits from your how-to primer. They are so religiously blinkered, earplugged, and muzzled against even the slightest of constructive criticism that I fully expect them to keep repeating their same old habits all the way to their own destruction.

    The Biden puppet’s recent pivot to mumbling about “Protect democracy from MAGA extremists!” is a beautiful combination of focusing on the vague buzzwords “Protect democracy” and on the inventively imaginative, emotionally compelling ideal “MAGA extremists!” These poor clowns really don’t know what they’re doing. Having the Biden puppet proclaim Make America Great Again in every one of his stump speeches is an astonishingly ill-conceived campaigning technique. Maybe he should try to re-peddle that old hopey-changey shtick one more time, instead. Or better yet, he could “pay” Hunter millions of dollars to paint an iconic hopey-changey campaign poster for him. Even an incompetency like Hunter could probably figure out how to silkscreen an old white guy’s face over the “boy” in the original.

    Fortunately, your post’s prescient guidance is much more likely to inspire the flourishing populist movement, now sprouting up all around the globe, to score some truly decisive magical hits. As more and more folks manage to pass through the whole cycle from disbelief to disgust to downright boredom with our braggard élites’ hackneyed antics, there will be more and more imaginations unfettered from focusing all their energies into whatever distractions the élites have assigned to them. What vivid new ideals might that awakening fraction of the American populace start pouring its energies and intentions into, once fully extracted from the energetic drains of half-time wardrobe-malfunctions, government-shutdown shenanigans, and bald-headedly staged award-ceremony slaps?

    I am strongly, precisely, and vividly imagining a world utterly freed from the ghastly dreariness of half-time-entertainment thaumaturgy and élite self-awarding ceremonies. May we all be so magically blessed! More forest walks, singing with children, growing our own food, making our own clothes, and dancing in the moonlight — there is just so much joy that we temporarily forgot how easy it is to dream into existence.

  21. Esteemed Archdruid Emeritus JMG,

    As a canadian observer of US current events, and especially politics, which you reference, it appears to me that a druidic third possibility in the person of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks strongly, precisely and vividly of his vision of a restored American body politic.

    He is respected by many in the USA and abroad, and loathed by corrupt parasites upon that body politic and upon the bodies of billions. It may yet be possible somehow that he attains the Presidency.

    I pray that he has the white magic to heal the spirit of americans.

    Prayer, at least, is also a form of magic.

    C. R. Beckett

  22. That’s a really interesting essay. I’m one of your more bloody-mindededly ‘rational’ readers but, even in those terms, can see that most of what you’ve said here makes logical sense (for whatever that’s worth!) and applies to, for example, the advertising industry. As a British reader, it occurred to me that the unexpected success of Jeremy Corbyn’s first election could be put down to ‘formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible, while completely ignoring the other guy. ‘; in particular, I was always struck by how considerate towards people he disagreed with politically and never attacked them personally. Is this a valid interpretation? And if so, do you think there were magical reasons for his downfall as well? (I realise you might not know follow British politics closely enough to even have an opinion though!)

  23. About prayer having a “magical aspect”: In every Catholic parish there is a cadre of elderly women who attend mass daily and stay for the rosary afterwards and go to confession at least once a month. It is easy to mock these as grandma trying to get into heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. What these ladies are about, besides meeting up with friends, is keeping their families afloat and prosperous. Special novenas are added for grandson’s college applications, nephew’s job prospects, granddaughter in law’s pregnancy, nephew’s new business.

  24. @ken (post 18) — that is pretty deep — thx for something to ponder!!

    @jmg — you mentioned that the magic revival “went into overdrive in the 1970s and hasn’t looked back”. You also described how to make your ideal “strong, precise and vivid”

    as I was reading this, it made me realize that alot of “self help” books seem to use this concept — I’ve seen that in books I read in the 90’s. Was that industry influenced by magical theory?



  25. @Edward #11: A lot of people who read and follow Eisenstein seem to be, from what I gather, somewhere on the spectrum of alternative spirituality, but in somewhat of what I’ll call a Californian sense (Eastern practices privileged over western, with a strong dose of alternative health, and some leftover gleanings from New Age spirituality and Ayahuasca ceremonies.) I like a lot of what Eisenstein says, though I have my differences of opinion (he is spiritual but seems to dismiss the occult in some ways, for instance). That said, the general approach of creating something different I’m very much for. Some of my family who like Trump wish RFK Jr. would say something about Trump in the way of what the DOJ is doing to him is wrong, call them out. But I can see that ignoring is a stronger practice, as is what he says he will do and not slur another person, even if he needs to attack their policy.

    @CJ #13: If I may…
    A number of years ago, before I started hearing about Abramovic as one of these types of adrenochrome drinking satanist vampires some on the alt-right get very agitated about, I was interested in her work. More for her feats of physical endurance, which I found to be great examples of using her will, as well as a kind of yogic training. I don’t have a strong love for this type of performance art per se, but as an act of will, I really appreciated what she did. And through her art she is able to show other people that they can also achieve such acts of endurance and will. That to me is valuable.

    Also I’m neither messed or impressed by her use of bodily fluids. Various types of performance artists, magicians, and mail-art freaks have been using their fluids in both visual and performance art for awhile. None that I know are into hanging out with Epstein and his crew that I know of though. I also appreciate the physical endurance that carny acts such as fire eaters and such developed, or people who would lay on a bed of nails. Yet, with the carny gone really, maybe some of that energy moved into the world of performance art.

    The Spirit Cooking piece gets talked about a lot by the alt-right, but the piece that I thought was very cool conceptually was “The Artist Is Present” where she sat motionless at a table in a gallery for 30 minutes at a time and invited people to come look at her in the eye while she maintained eye contact. She did this for a total of 736 hours for the course of the run. To me, as a sheer act of willpower, and that way of being present with strangers… I was rather taken by it.

  26. Abramovic comment edit & a bit more info: She didn’t sit for just 30 minutes at a time she sat for 736 and 30 minutes total.

    “Sit silently with the artist for a duration of your choosing”
    The duration of the piece was actually eight hours a day which she kept up for over three months. So I have some respect for that just on a level discipline. For herself, she said it changed her life. I can believe that too.

    Hope everyone has a good rest of the day. My discipline is to go home and do some chores!

  27. @ Other Owen #23

    Other Owen wrote
    Left and right are meaningless and outdated concepts at this point. I’m not sure what to call the New Divide myself but I would (pejoratively) call it Rednecks vs Bluehairs. It’s a spectrum but almost everyone knows where they lie on it. Either you’re one of those dirty Rednecks or you’re a (very) proud screaming Bluehair.

    I agree with you that left and right concewpts are outdated and need to be revision, but the binary you set up with rednecks and bluehair doesn’t fit me and, I would guess, many others. As one of my friends described me, “too country for the city and too city for the country.”

  28. Excellent post, another candidate where you can see the same effects as JMG described, is the candidate for Argentina’s presidency Melei.
    Similar to Trump he came out outside of the 2 party political system, the more they trash him the more he wins.
    He is something special even people from other countries are following him, Tuker did an interview recently in Spanish on X and had the most views in history even more views than Trump.
    His “magical” image is a Lion, and his superb magical slogan is “ I don’t come here to lead sheep, I come here to awaken lions”
    I am not sure if he has some wizard’s in his team, but after this post I just wonder.

  29. @Ken(#18):

    Lew Welch was a profound mystic, and it’s good to hear that his poetry has not been forgotten.

    Although it’s very much a minority opinion, I think Lew became wise enough in the end to walk away entirely from his own poetry and the whole San Francisco poetry scene in which he had gotten himself so deeply entangled. Word on the street was that he committed suicide in May, 1971, somewhere in the High Sierras, though his remains were never found. Yet the authorities called off the search for him in early June of that year, on the grounds that Welch had just checked in with them when he had come back town to wrap up up some unfinished business, before leaving the area to live elsewhere. (See the Chico Enterprise-Record, June 8, 1971, page 6, and several other North California newspapers for June 7 or 8, 1971.))

  30. Actually I’ve just reread the article more carefully and realised that my previous point / question sort of ignored warning #1 so feel free to ignore it (it’s been a long day!) although I’d nevertheless be interested to know if you think there were significant magical factors regarding Corbyn’s political success and subsequent failure

  31. JMG, this is one of your best ever! (And with a superb Lew Welch quote as an added bonus! He’s one of my all-time favorite poet-mystics.)

    The MA program at the University of Exeter is a revival, not a wholly new venture. The late Nicholas Goodrick-Clark, author of The Occult Roots of Nazism (1985) had founded the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism there, but his death in 2012 put it on hiatus for a while. I’m very glad to see it coming back to life under the leadership of Emily Selove.

    Here in the USA the MA program in Magic and Occult Sciences at the University of South Carolina looks to be absolutely first-rate. Matthew Melvin-Koushki and Noah Gardner are fine, fine scholars with very wide ranging expertise.

    American readers might also be interested in the Societas Magica, which was founded in 1994 and has been a hotbed of scholarship on magic ever since ( It publishes a free newsletter online, and sponsors the series of scholarly books, Magic in History, published by the Pennsylvania State University Press, as well as the journal Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft. The whole run of the Society’s newsletter is available on line at (NB. There is no link there to issue #19 on that pge, but that is a mere oversight. Just change the number in the URL for any other issue from that issue’s number to 19, and it will come right up.)

  32. @RaymondR (#9), re: point 2, that sounds an awful lot like Liberty to me. And she is a Divinity already worshipped strongly in this land. It seems like folks for a spell there were tugged between her and Justice (another Divinity), in an all-or-nothing game.

    Both of those, incidentally, have some powerful statuary and tokens that can be employed, if only as a jumping-off point. There’s an especially large one in New York Harbor that I’m willing to part with for a small sum (Venmo only)…



  33. Hi JMG & all–
    This post made me think of your book, “Ecotopia.” Is it possible or advisable t o group a collection of precise and specific goals under a banner name, such as Eotopia?

  34. JMG,

    Does that which is “strong, precise, and vivid” require a material aspect to work?

    For example, “Manifest Destiny” required the “free real estate of the West” in order to sustain itself. (It wasn’t free real estate but that was what people were told.)

  35. How does having a mandate play into this? Years ago, I had some contact with a healer and one thing that I have kept in my mind from that time is that she made a point of never intervening when there is no mandate by the client. I have adopted this policy for myself and in turn mostly stopped the habit of gently forcing my help unto others when I don’t have a mandate to help. Long story short, I experienced that except for a very narrowly confined circle of influence there’s next to no mandate for anything. There’s the saying that if you feel too big for small tasks then maybe you are too small for the big tasks and there’s a very sobering truth in it.


  36. Two things, unless someone has already mentioned it: First this sentence in your post seems incomplete: “Nor is it enough to leave knowledge that in abstract terms.” It left me wondering…

    Second, Ronald Reagan spoke of his “Shining City on the Hill.” Now there is a positive image and I think many fans of Reagan felt attracted to it. Maybe it had some power. But to me it seemed hard to distinguish from what Eric Voegelin and others on the right would have criticized as “Immanetizing the eschaton.”

    Finally, it was an interesting post. I wonder what sort of positive imagery RFK Jr. will come up with.

  37. “Left and right are meaningless and outdated concepts at this point. ”

    It’s more that they are incomplete. The other slider, or the Y axis goes from anarchy (bottom) to totalitarianism (top). Anarchy not being viable, if you move up to libertarianism left and right don’t matter because everyone leaves each other alone. At the top left and right don’t matter because either one is quite content to shoot you and kick your body into the trench.

    In between libertarian and totalitarian there is an area where there is a viable debate between the trade off between equity and the common welfare versus individual freedom of action. So you end up with a diamond shape that covers the possible ways for society to arrange itself.

  38. If anyone’s read the book, “Retrosuburbia”, it’s a brilliant example of the ‘positive and appealing ideal’ described in this column. David Holmgren, one of the founders of permaculture, set out to write a book about how to re-fit the suburbs for local production and living, and may have (accidentally?) done a magical working at the same time. The book is packed with concrete examples of how to integrate local production into a suburban life, with testimonials of people already doing it in cosy homes and thriving gardens. Even the cover image is a cheery picture of a laughing family with a produce-filled wheelbarrow.

    The first chapter, “The Story of Aussie Street”, is a fictional account of one Australian neighbourhood transitioning from 1950s self-sufficiency to the 2000s modern economy, then back into 2020s permaculture. It will be very familiar to readers of “Retrotopia”.

    Does anyone know if Mr Holmgren has a magical background? I’d thought of him as a garden-variety hippie up to this point, but now I’m not so sure …

  39. The 2016 election caught the attention of many younger people. 4chan’s pol created a huge meme-based energy. Kek and Pepe in particular. I am an older person than the chan demographic, but I did lurk. A running joke was picturing a young kid sitting near an old grandpa asking “what did you do in the Great 2016 Meme War, grandpa”.

    The members in the comments spoke often about using the memes to create energy and using that energy to help create the outcomes they desired. It is interesting to think about the differences between written books and spells (literacy) vs memes and pictures (pre-post literate visual) and generational differences in information and agency.

  40. “Could literacy have been (part of) the mental re-wiring that led to the scientific revolution and the rise of rationalism as a doctrine?”

    You aren’t going to have a scientific revolution without literacy. And you also need the printing press to get the new ideas and discoveries distributed far enough to a wide enough audience to keep things perking. The printing press also needed support industries as in paper and ink, then the book binders had to greatly step up their efforts.

    So you have a set of unit operations that all are working toward a common goal. Once you are used to chopping up large problems into reasonably independent parts that gets to be a habit. You can get lost in the parts and forget what the overall goal was. Management is supposed to keep Engineering pointed at the clearly defined goal, but if you get too rigid then you might miss out on a discovery not immediately useful, but very useful somewhere else (the discovery of Teflon comes to mind.) It’s a tough balance to pull off. The old HP pulled it off for many years but they decided to chase quarterly profit targets instead.

  41. Thanks, JMG, for writing this. Putting this out there, I think, also gives you the benefit of good karma, as you are leading people away from practicing magic that will cause themselves or others to suffer through blowback or something worse.

    I’ll always remember Levi telling us that Jesus created a new set of tracks and ignored the old ways.

  42. I’m not sure I understand what you said about the limits of magic as to its effect on the material world. I’ve heard about native American shamans that can summon rain and African black magicians that can make people ill or even die. Are those stories fantasy or is this possible for trained magicians?

  43. Thank you for a very clear and useful explanation.

    “You win a magical struggle by formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible, while completely ignoring the other guy.” I immediately thought not of political Nazis, but of business leaders. This sounds like the primary key to business success credited to Steve Jobs and many other empire-builders, who are said to be difficult and narcissistic. If they agreed with whatever everyone else was already doing, they’d have been agreeable. But also, forgotten worker bees bringing the honey to someone else’s hive. Jobs said he learned it from an LSD trip. Bill Gates is alleged to have learned it from Wallace Wattles or Charles Haanel. Trump said he earned it from Norman Vincent Peale.

    While Rowling’s books don’t present anything you’d recognize as magic, her process of getting published seems to have done so. She had her vision of herself as a successful storyteller well in mind, despite ample evidence she couldn’t make it and wasn’t qualified to be invited into the inner circle of culture shapers.

    It seems almost any notably original book, movie, or music had someone who held on to a “crazy” idea long enough. “That band will go over like a led balloon.” “Ten years of Development Hell before greenlight funding to start production.” “A hundred publishers in a row said No.”

    “by generating energy, enthusiasm, loyalty, and love among your side’s supporters, by attracting allies rather than making enemies, and by making people on the other side start to wonder if maybe your side has a point.”
    Much discussed by America’s greatest military strategist, Col. John Boyd. He had plenty to say about how harmony from shared understanding helps our side to work together with less need for explicit commands. Meanwhile, undermining the adversary’s ability to comprehend, integrate and communicate their own ideas hastens their demise. He went beyond Sun Tzu to include Gödel and Heisenberg.

    “page after dreary page ranting about hatred” Thank you! That’s why I couldn’t finish my attempt to read it, as part of my curiosity about history.

    By your definition, the success of the American Revolution, and then of the North’s winning the Civil War, were powerful uses of magic. But what about entirely negative propaganda such as the WWII posters to vigorously hate the Germans and Japanese? “They’re inhuman evil and we’ll win” isn’t a clear and specific goal.

    One reason I left social media many years ago, was the increasing flood of people who seemed to believe that if they could make enough people to be upset enough about how awful those people are, this was somehow an effective magic, guaranteed to ensure the universe gave those awful people their comeuppance.

    How does divination fit in with your definition of magic? I had always thought it was defined as the use of a randomized index to select, from a pool of symbols, one or more symbols, whose synchronistic relationship with the question at hand would only be discoverable through discernment, inspiration, or intuition. But you let me know astrology counts as divination, even though we have calculations of exactly where objects will be located in the sky for many years to come. This shows that my definition of divination is inadequate.

    The most difficult part for me with this now is to sustain the focus on what I want, rather than the dislike of what I don’t. I have a neighborhood noise maker who generates multiple floor-shaking loud booming impacts per second for many hours at a time, day or night. I can’t sustain my thought visualizing a happy place, literally, when the bed or chair is nearly kicked out from under me literally all night at times. A combination of legal loopholes, disinterested authorities, and money problems keep me from immediately just moving out. I started Sphere of Protection this morning, by the kitchen table and then again in the bedroom, and will see if this new practice makes a difference.

    Raymond R # 9 Ray Dalio also has excellent work, which I’m surprised is of no interest to our gracious host, on the lifecycle of empires.

    James Johnson # 10 It seems that being clear on what you actually want in life is the place to start? Without initially censoring it as unrealistic, or too hard to reach, but just to be clear on what you really would find passionately delightful.

    Miow # 16 “the exploration of alternative epistemologies”
    When was that ever part of the Prophet’s message? My understanding is that all his sermons were on the theme: I’m telling you how it is.

    pygmycory # 17 May your message through your musical voice bless and inspire all your listeners, and find favor with the judges.
    and JMG: There are some who focus positively. Mary Lou Retton said she visualized her own perfect 10 performance, not her competitors tripping and falling on their faces. But Larry Ellison said, “It is not enough that I win. All others must fail,” and he’s come close to that in his business empire.

    Ken # 18 Transmit your ideas through space and time with this One Weird Trick!

    Christophe # 24 I’ll happy add my energy to your vision of families enjoying grand, naturally healthy food, forests, finery, and no football-fan flummoxing frivolity.

  44. The phrase ‘magical combat’ makes me think of the very darkest sorcery. Whereas the author’s description is concerned with what are really just the natural powers of the mind.

  45. Hi JMG,

    I don’t know if this is a silly example, but recently a person was using our front lawn to defecate on during the night. I believe the person responsible was a woman who I had a very unusual interaction with one morning while I was working in the garden. She seemed quite disturbed by what I was up to in the garden, although my impression was she was maybe just generally deranged and by saying hi to her I caused her to focus on me and our place. I can’t say for certain if it was her, obviously, but on the day of the first deposit (coincidental, although likely not, with some other acts of vandalism on the street) I saw her walking through the neighbourhood looking about. After we spoke that first day we met, some minor items were stolen off our porch, which also makes me think it was possibly her.

    I thought of Dion Fortune’s work, and the idea that resisting would likely be a mistake, so when Police came through (some of the graffiti up the street constituted a hate crime and launched an investigation) I didn’t mention anything to them (not that they came to ask either, but it would have been easy enough to speak to them as they parked right in front of our house) and instead decided to simply ignore it. As it happened, my family was going away to the inlaws the morning it appeared, and it rained twice that week, so the deposit disappeared completely without any action from me.

    The following week the same person (I assume) again defecated on our lawn. I decided to up the ante and view this as an offering to our garden, so I used some leaves to pick it up, and simply put it in a pile of yard waste that wasn’t very accessible, and was turning to compost. I thought that, if she was going to wage a sort of war with me, the best thing I could do would be to absorb her efforts towards my own goals and harbor no ill will towards her. I thought this would align her with my ring cosmos – that was my idea anyway…

    I have no idea if this worked, but it stopped after that, so at least wasn’t a failure!


  46. When I wrote the rough draft of my book, it was filled passages expressing anger at bad guys. Before publication, I stripped all of that out, and went with a theme of, “Victory comes not from quarreling with evil, but from doing what we love”. I believe that choice captured the imagination of thousands of people, and radically changed their gardening habits forever.

    I have read J Michael Greer weekly for like 15 years, so without planning to do so, I wrote a potent piece of magic about gardening.

  47. At this link is a full list of all of the requests for prayer that have recently appeared at and, as well as in the comments of the prayer list posts. A printable version of the entire prayer list current up to October 3 may be downloaded here. Please feel free to add any or all of the requests to your own prayers.

    If I missed anybody, or if you would like to add a prayer request for yourself or anyone who has given you consent (or for whom a relevant person holds power of consent) to the list, please feel free to leave a comment below.

    * * *

    Here a few of the recent prayers that I would like to bring special attention to this week.

    May Kyle’s friend Amanda, who though in her early thirties is undergoing various difficult treatments for brain cancer, make a full recovery; and may her body and spirit heal with grace.

    May Jeff Huggin’s friends Dale and Tracy be blessed and healed; may Dale’s blood and spinal fluid infection clear up sufficiently to receive a heart valve replacement; may his medical procedures go smoothly and with success; and may Dale and Tracy successfully surmount these difficulties.

    Russ Hopson, the spouse of Kate Bowden, friend of Peter Van Erp, is suffering from a yet undiagnosed malady which has caused seizures. Please pray for understanding for his physicians, and his recovery to health.

    May Mya be released from her addiction, may her emotional, mental, and physical bodies by fully healed; and may she find Higher guidance as she makes her way on her life path.

    May Erika’s partner James, who has just learned he has cancer all over inside him on his liver and lungs, be blessed, healed and protected.

    In the case of Princess Cutekitten and the large bank who is suing her, may justice be done, with harm to none.

    Lp9’s hometown, East Palestine, Ohio, for the safety and welfare of their people, animals and all living beings in and around East Palestine, and to improve the natural environment there to the benefit of all.
    * * *
    Guidelines for how long prayer requests stay on the list, how to word requests, how to be added to the weekly email list, how to improve the chances of your prayer being answered, and several other common questions and issues, are now to be found at the Ecosophia Prayer List FAQ.

    If there are any among you who might wish to join me in a bit of astrological timing, I pray each week for the health of all those with health problems on the list on the astrological hour of the Sun on Sundays, bearing in mind the Sun’s rulerships of heart, brain, and vital energies. If this appeals to you, I invite you to join me.

  48. I can’t find the quote, but Rowling has said that one of the ideas behind Harry Potter is that even if people could do magic as portrayed in the books, people would still have lots of problems.

  49. @Other Owen #23:
    “Left and right are meaningless and outdated concepts at this point”

    I’ve recently read a few nonfiction books by Marxist-flavored academics, who love to slice and dice our political situation into fine gradations of left and right, liberal and conservative. Milo Yannoupolis is hard right but not conservative; leftists offer a materialist critique of liberalism – that sort of thing.

    This sort of analysis is worse than useless for understanding our present political situation. Their ideas actively impede the act of comprehension.

  50. I’ve never admitted this in a venue of importance to me before, but I fought in the Kek wars on the side of the Changer. I was there, and I remember — even though I didn’t realize what we were doing at the time. There’s an interesting correspondence on the micro and meso levels for me personally. Years before that I had taken up a practice of what I now know was magical protection, and in various relationships since with all manner of women variously neurotic, witchy, or both. They have always been (and continue to be) surprised at my confidence at being immune to malign influence. I now know why. I am a tree planted in a circle of light, however dark the forest around me may at times be.

    Those who were not there in 2015 cannot fully appreciate in retrospect the protective power with which we surrounded the god-emperor, the golden one in his golden armor, the inevitability with which we imbued him — all in jest, all ironically, all very real.

    I hope this post gets trips.

  51. “…the forms that give magic direction and effect are symbols and symbolic action.”


    “To judge from my repeated experience, the moment they read those words, one subset of my readers immediately tried to apply it to military and political strategy, probably having to do with the Nazis.”

    You bet. I fell right into the trap. Not only the Nazis. The symbols I had in mind were the swastika and the hammer and sickle, but particularly the former. And Roman legions marched under their eagle battle standard.

    Rustle up trumpets, drums and flags plus a uniform, a cause, three meals a day and it’s amazing how many young men you get forming up ranks. Especially young guys with no work, no wife, no prospects and no hope. There’s no shortage of youngsters like this today.

    But today Old Glory is seen by many to represent an American order that works against the interests of those that are supposed to bravely face death.

    So, what are the fellas doing? More and more they decline to enlist. Why should they? But there’s no shortage of militias and gangs. And they all have their own symbols.

  52. Christophe, oddly enough, I was thinking about Biden’s rant about MAGA while I was writing this. It’s frankly embarrassing to see that poor old man doddering away behind the podium.

    Robert, I’d suggest that the fixation on personalities instead of policies is a good half of what’s landed us in our present predicament. Thus I watch the latest Kennedy candidacy with decidedly mixed feelings.

    Guilliam, I do in fact think Corbyn’s rise was largely a function of magic, though his fall was mostly the result of a frantic attempt by Labour party functionaries to get rid of someone who actually believed in the ideals that Labour once stood for.

    Mary, those church ladies are also most of the reason the Catholic church is still around. If something happens to alienate enough of them, the entire church is going to burst like a piñata.

    Jerry, at second or third hand, yes. That end of the self-help movement drew heavily on the New Thought of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which was strongly influenced by occultism.

    Batstrel, it’s classic propaganda, but it doesn’t formulate the kind of concrete thought form that’s needed for effective magic — which is probably why the issue is still the subject of squabbles.

    Candace, the same thing as what?

    Charles, Latin America has very rich magical traditions, so it’s quite possible that he knows exactly what he’s doing.

    Robert, I thought the Exeter project was a revival of Goodrick-Clarke’s excellent venture, but wasn’t sure. Thank you for the data points!

    E. Goldstein, er, do you mean Retrotopia? As for your question, why, I’m going to suggest that that’s a fine topic for meditation… 😉

    GlassHammer, the concrete thought form ensures that people will rally around a project. It doesn’t guarantee that the project will succeed, or even that it’s possible. A lot of strong, precise, and vivid imagery got poured into the dream of Man’s Future in Space, and got whole nations to devote vast amounts of resources to that quest; it’s failing, however, because the physical realities just don’t work.

    Nachtgurke, if your concrete thought form doesn’t attract the enthusiasm of many other people, it’s not going to accomplish a thing. The mandate comes from the willingness of those other people to rally around the idea that you’ve presented.

    Phutatorius, trying to immanentize the eschaton is one of the routine mistakes of political magic. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and it generates short-term success and long-term failure.

    Kfish, it’s a fine example of a magical working in literary form. I don’t happen to know if Holmgren has training in occultism; some people figure it out via other channels.

    Rsj, I was also lurking there! It was fascinating to watch.

    Jon, oh, it’s a gamble, but I’m betting that more people will use it constructively or otherwise.

    Bocaccio, I’ve never been sure what to think about weather magic, but I’ve never seen a convincing example of it. As for killing people, that’s mediated by consciousness — look into the nocebo effect sometime.

    Christopher, you’re most welcome. Divination isn’t magic, though. They’re two different occult arts.

    Tengu, of course. Occultism is the study of the natural powers of the mind. Magic is one of the ways to put those powers to use.

    Johnny, nicely done!

    Joseph, I’m delighted to hear this.

    Quin, thanks for this as always.

    Justin, well, that’s something. I still wish she hadn’t chosen magic as the theme of her fiction, because — like many occultists — I’ve spent years explaining to people that, no, the stuff Harry Potter does is nothing like real magic.

    Leo, thank you! I wasn’t actively involved, but I spent some time on the sidelines watching the Kek Wars unfold. It was a fascinating spectacle; I hope my portrayal of it in The King in Orange was fairly accurate.

    Smith, the first person who figures out how to harness that energy will rule the future.

  53. Hi John Michael,

    To be fair to most people, the educational systems produce these outcomes. Mark my words, the tertiary educational system will pay a price for this path they’ve chosen. I have a vivid memory from the days of high school English. It was quite the turning point. So, the teacher asks the class to produce a creative essay, with no further instructions or guidance. I wrote something creative, and was marked poorly. Turns out, I didn’t provide what they were looking for. Hmm.

    To ask for a cohesive vision which can be willed to be implemented. Nice.

    And respect too. I saw it. Well done. 😉

    The basic risk the elites run, is exactly as you describe it to be. If they don’t provide a vision, someone else will. And I mean that literally. Your constitution enshrines the values, if they are enforced.



  54. Of course, constructing the compelling, appealing ideal in your own mind first is an act of magic performed on yourself, right? The same for constructing the picture of the Evil One: all those people screaming about Trump have convinced themselves that he’s intensely powerful, before they started convincing others.

  55. @ Endrick Water #7
    ‘Hating and fearing their feudal lairds’. No lairds in the Scottish Highlands were ever ‘feudal’. The locals actually hated the laird because he wouldn’t allow wild animals to be killed on the island. In reality he poured funds into the community, building a hydroelectric dam and organising a very popular island games. He also significantly lowered the sale price to enable the people to have a chance at bidding for the island. During the buyout a large number of bourgeois families from the South moved in and made everyone’s lives totally miserable with petty infighting over whose investment share was more influential. In the Hebrides Eigg is a well known horror story, not the fantasy idyll that you describe. The Scottish government’s land ownership scheme is a farce and a complete sell out. In fact recently the Scottish government has actually removed the right to roam, so every single part of your description is upside down.

  56. JMG, perhaps magic is the attempt to use of my will to make a change in consciousness as I choose, while divination is my choice to let an external choice change my consciousness according to its own will? Do I have that right?

    Once again JMG you’ve presented a coherent and brilliant “laying out” of things usually left under the dust.
    My fave:

    “…lined their own pockets in a frenzy of kleptocratic greed that left Third World tyrants looking on in jealous awe. Holding up an ideal that meant anything to most Americans would have been a major misstep for either party, as the gap between even the most modest ideal and the sleazy realities of life among Washington DC’s political parasites would have quickly become a severe liability for all sides.”

    Thank you!
    Jill C

  58. Many thanks for the kind wishes regarding the competition. I’m excited and a bit nervous, and I’d only just found out I’d underestimated what I was getting into about 30 minutes before I wrote that so it was at the top of my mind.

  59. Challenge accepted.

    I don’t like what my country is doing or where it is headed. But I do like what it was supposed to stand for. I don’t want to see this brace experiment in self government destroy itself.

    So, I’m going to spend some time thinking about an informed and active citizenry engaging in the civic practices of representative government.

    I’m reminded of Norman Thomas:
    “If you want a symbolic gesture, don’t burn the flag; wash it.”

    Oddly, this is one bit of magic that I happened to have realised long before I knew there was such a thing as magic. The way I framed it at the time was anti and pro. The anti people that I knew spent all of their time and energy hating on things and complaining about the injustice of it all while pro people went out and did something to further their goal. It was pretty obvious which group was going to end up getting anything accomplished.

  60. I am going to try and create a mini platform of policy for Canada that I like and that would actually get me super-excited if a political party would do it. I’ll post what I come up with here.

    I’m not expecting this to really do anything, but just the exercise of ‘what do I actually want from my government’ is probably useful to do under current circumstances. And it might spark useful ideas for someone else, you never know.

  61. Can’t say I saw this one coming, JMG; I never thought that you’d write about this topic so openly – that being said, I’m delighted by the post!

    Looks like you may be the ‘translating Laetitia in the 9th house’ in the geomancy chart that we interpreted in this week’s Magic Monday! The timing of this post could not be more perfect, as said movement has been suffering from a severe deficiency of “formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible” and has weathered some terribly stormy seas as a result. I would like to think that my efforts (on a couple of planes) this week helped to prevent the feeble flame from being snuffed out prematurely by the tempest.

    That being said, I hope to be able to communicate your insights in an appropriate way, along with some advice about spiritual protection, in a couple of ears that may be inclined to listen to me. However, I will need to avoid any mention or even suggestion of ‘occult’ or else I will be labelled a Satanist or, even worse, a Freemason! Time to be creative; what fun!

    Your ‘heads-up’ (I wouldn’t go so far as to term it a ‘call’) regarding taking up political magic at the end is quite interesting. The circles that I have been moving in over the past couple years have been advocating more and more strongly with each passing month that people get involved in local government (for example school boards) — although their audience tends to be persons who possess very strong moral/religious principles rather than those with any magical training/knowledge/experience (again, the Freemasonphobia thing – sigh).

  62. @KFish

    Holmgren has always maintained that his background is super rationalist, and permaculture itself is grounded in the work of systems thinkers like Odum and Lotka, and attempting to numerically frame way energy flows through systems. He argues in Retrosuburbia that the way that modern western people live is utterly irrational and if they did an honest audit of their lives they would reach the same conclusions.

    However he has made references to forms of understanding and skills beyond these framings that have legitimate claims but are beyond his expertise. Mollison was probably more down the path (or was ruffling feathers as usual) as I have seen lectures of his where he talks about the Australian Aboriginal magical ability to influence and travel through time.

    Permaculture arose out of the idea of attempting to create the world we do want rather than fight the one we don’t, so in many ways it follows the principles set out here by JMG. They can be arrived at down many different paths.

  63. JMG,

    So a concrete form isn’t required but… the more comcrete it is the more it can be built upon and sustain itself because man is still a physical being bound by his body to the laws of nature/physics.

    Are we to avoid chasing things that have weak potential or no potential for a concrete form bound by nature/physics?

  64. Speaking of strong, precise, and vivid symbols…

    By way of a deceased friend’s abiding interest in the Marvel superhero film franchise, over the last several months I’ve found my way into the long, tall tale of Steve Rogers, the kid from Brooklyn who became Captain America.

    I think the 2011-2019 films do a great job of resurrecting this old-timey comic book character. We begin in the depths of the Second World War; Rogers is a 90-pound asthmatic who just wants to join up and serve his country. After getting rejected by every recruiting office he visits, he volunteers for a science experiment that turns him into a super-soldier, helps win WWII, and then gets accidentally frozen in time until the early 2000’s.

    Captain America’s symbol is the shield: a weapon of defence, not offence. The guy’s MO is to serve and protect- not to save the world or conquer it or change it to fit his liking. In fact, his personal life is a process of adapting his 1940’s sensibilities to the modern world, and of bringing the best of old-fashioned values and ideals into the present.

    I think this character is a symbol people on this blog could work with. I’ve found for myself that that star-blazoned shield has sunk deep, deep into my consciousness.

  65. JMG
    Thanks for your insight.
    I vaguely recall you mentioning Temple Grandin some time in the past. I just saw an interview with her talking, in part, about her book “Visual Thinking”.
    I’m not a visual thinker but I can see the power in visualizing an ideal. The most popular candidates right now have communicated some kind of vision for the future, while the bulk of the politicians spout abstract gibberish.
    The idea of visualizing an ideal reality resonates with much of what I’ve been reading lately. I think 2024 is going to be a wild ride.

  66. Chris, I had similar experiences with English classes. I came to the conclusion that the whole point of them was to convince as many people as possible that they couldn’t write, so that the propagandists of the elite would have fewer rivals.

    Kfish, good. You’re paying attention.

    Christopher, no, if you allow divination to make up your mind for you, you’re misusing it. Magic is the art and science of causing changes in consciousness according to will; divination is the art and science of interpreting changes in consciousness according to intuitioin.

    Jill, you’re most welcome and thank you.

    Elizabeth, you’re most welcome!

    Team10tim, hmm! I could see doing that with intent, and potentially with significant results.

    Pygmycory, it’s a step.

    Ron, glad to hear that my timing was good. By all means revise up one side and down the other to remove any hint of occultism; you can introduce this sort of thing as psychology, philosophy, or even strategy of propaganda.

    GlassHammer, if a thing has no natural form, give it a symbolic form. That’s one of the great values of symbolism: it can express in vivid concrete terms what is not naturally so.

    Dylan, interesting. If it works for you, by all means.

    Piper, Temple Grandin is a very good source for this sort of thing. Whether or not you’re naturally visual isn’t the issue — I’m not at all visual by nature, but I learned to work with images as part of my training.

  67. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence…

    But after reading today’s post I happened to come along an interview with Vivek Ramaswamy (with Tucker Carlson). I’ve hear murmurs about him. I guess he’s running for President. So, I thought I’d check it out.

    I was impressed. Maybe I’m more attuned to it today, but he seemed very short on criticism, and long on visions of what we want this country to be. It was good. Is he into the occult at all?

    For myself, I’m going to imagine a sane world where the candidates for president next year are RFK. Jr and Vivek. I would pay money to watch those two debate. And I think either one would be a huge improvement over what we have now.

  68. “Guard the Mysteries! Constantly reveal them!”

    I’m by no means an adept or master, or anything close to it. I have, however, learned a handful of useful magical tricks over the last few years. It has occurred to me that I might be able to help some people in the community here by teaching them simple techniques that could change their lives in subtle but profound ways.

    The problem is, most people either think those tricks are silly, or don’t want to put in the modest effort that is required to make them work. You can lead a horse to water… or is it pearls before swine? Either way, no danger of the secrets getting out from me – nobody’s listening.

  69. “how much of your own energy are you willing to commit to formulating it with clarity and charging it with emotional force?” Challenge accepted!

    I have been considering the idea of reforming society along the lines of limiting economic activities to small enterprise only for many years now. At 67, I have a few years left to promote it in my own way.

  70. Most Magick does look like altering states of minds. But most people imagine Magick as causing an impact on the Material World.

    As often imagined and written about.

    Like that which involves contests like Moses and the Egyptians in the Book of Exodus. All the 10 Miracles which the 10 Gods of Egypt in charge of that particular element were helpless to prevent.

    The Magicians of Pharoah was however only able to replicate a few. All this is to have happened after the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt by Military force and then the Habiru in the country came under the rule of the Native Pharaonic dynasty.

    Wonder if there were other Magical contests of this nature in history.

  71. @JMG @Cutekitten
    Great article Princess thanks for sharing. I wasn’t aware of these headresses being part of the archeological records and gives me a new image to work with!
    The author references Caesar as being knowledgeable of Druids due to his direct contact with them during the conquest of Gaul. Caesar worked his own magic of course as well. Following his conquest, and perhaps genocide, of Gaul he had the peculair advantage of being able to write about it all from a first person experience in the Commentarii de Bello Gallico. I do not think a more detailed view into the psychology of covering up and justifying the elimination of a culture has ever been written under one author. The genocider himself writing the story personally after it happened and disseminating it throughout his own empire. I feel this was one of the most disturbing forms of political magic that was accomplished in the ancient world. His book/propaganda piece is a major source of information on Gaulish culture and is often the only work referenced by authors writing on the ancient celts. Entire tribe’s vanished under his conquest that are not even accounted for and his is the most referenced work describing the conquered. His book is our reference point for creating our images of Celts.
    I was meditating on the magician and the wheel pairing today which made me think again how his work foreshadowed, seeded, and normalized genocide that took place globally following this, but maybe most similarly in North America and South America sixteen hundred years later. Yikes.

  72. I think that giving this advice out is safe because it’s so much harder to implement than it is to understand it, which in turn is much harder than it is to read it. I found it encouraging and I appreciate you.

  73. @Candy #21
    A quote from The Occult Book by JMG, “The mage, or practitioner of magic, uses ritual, symbolism, meditation and other methods to enter into unusual states of consciousness in which, according to occult teachings subtle powers can be directed and disembodied entities contacted to cause changes in the world”
    By this definition it can be argued that the various practices of the subdivisions of Christianity could be seen as forms of magic. Though to Christians Jesus remains embodied as he took his body with him, though by his Spirit he is seen as omnipresent. I have seen and experienced the effects of Christian magic over the years in my life.

  74. Young Frankstien probably has a lot more to do with real science than you give it credit!

    Over the top ego’s desperate to do things way beyond their means and when they do something that very vaguely looks like what they wanted, they over play it in public for spectacle until it goes amuck in the real world.

  75. Vision boards are also a good example from the self-help movement. They’re posters that you construct by selecting emotionally compelling pictures of each of your life goals and pasting them together into a single image, usually with a picture of your face in the middle. Then you stick copies up around your house to ensure that you look at this picture of your ideal life as often as possible, to motivate you towards your goals. Paul Wilson describes the process in his book, ‘Calm Wisdom’.

    Question: does the complexity of the image affect its symbolic power?

  76. Slink, I wouldn’t weep if those were the two candidates! Ramaswamy’s an interesting cat.

    Weilong, exactly. You can reveal occult secrets right out there in public and only those who are ready for them will learn them. That’s as true of the simplest practices as it is of the deepest mysteries.

    Raymond, glad to hear it. Go ye forth and do that thing.

    Info, you of all people should recognize that there’s a difference between magic and miracle. Human beings are not gods, and there are plenty of things that gods can do that humans cannot.

    Ecosophian, thanks for this!

    Ian, yikes indeed. You might compare Bernal Diaz’s History of the Conquest of Mexico

    Joe, glad to hear it — but we’ll see!

    Michael, funny.

    Kfish, it depends on the individual. Some people do very well with simple images, others have good results with more complex ones.

  77. Thank you for a very interesting post.

    I do have a question about a seeming contradiction in your analysis. If we look at the larger future you sketch out, the spenglerian winter where we enter into the dominate, the centralised political corpse we should expect the political movement to be in that same general direction. One of ever increasing centralisation and a culture of sophisticated reworking of the classics, ie remakes in theaters and world government on the political agenda.

    Or more precisely, we should be seeing the realisation of this vision. Bit what we do see and what you describe is the contrary movement. One towards creative niches, political and economic decentralisation, popular resistance and a political fragmentation. The national agenda for the education system being killed by innumerable school boards, the universities dying and being replaced by online courses. To say nothing about the end of the almighty dollar. Instead everywhere we see emerging multipolarity, in arts, culture, finance, education, religion, monetary policies, geopolitics etc. The fragmentation of the political parties is just a consequence of this.

    In short, the Internet changed everything, and most of all, it changed the trajectory of the faustian civilisation, allowing us to move not into winter, but out of winter and into a new spring. The end of federal governance by imposed national ideologies being one of the numerous cases in particular.

    So if this is true, we end up not with the end of the Republic, but with the return of the Republic, liberated from parties and federal overreach. Ie, the saving of the Republic after the spenglerian winter.

    At least, this is what facts on the ground seel to indicate. No?

  78. “You win a magical struggle by formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible, while completely ignoring the other guy.”

    It occurs to me that I may once have won a struggle (was it a magical one? I don’t know, but it was a “peace of mind” one, for sure) by doing the above, with special emphasis on “completely ignoring the other guy [with intention]”.

    It was like this. I was in my 20’s and teaching a Spanish class, and through the class, acquired something of a stalker. Now, while I never had the least hint of danger from this fellow, he was definitely trying to flag my attention. He started hanging around after class, showing interest. I tried my best to politely and firmly show disinterest. In your twenties, guys showing “interest” is an every day sort of thing, and I thought nothing of it until, after the classes had wound up, I began to see this fellow turn up at random moments of my day, somewhere along my normal route to work, shop or socialise – in places and at times where he would have been out of his normal routine. For a few weeks, seemingly every second or third day we’d randomly meet, have a few cordial words, and I would pointedly go my way. I began to wonder if he was following me, studying my routines.

    Well, the day that he confirmed it was the Sunday I walked into a Quaker meeting** I had been attending (out of curiosity) for a few weeks, and there he was, already sitting on one of the benches. I knew him for a faithful Catholic, so I also knew that the only reason he would be here would be the chance of meeting me. I suddenly found that my whole attention was “caught” by him, and I could not tell you even who else was in the room. If I closed my eyes I was still drawn towards the corner of the room he occupied, all else obscured. I decided that I wasn’t having that, and that I needed to free my attention from where it was lodged before it got trapped.

    So I did this. I opened my eyes and deliberately fixed my attention on learning who the other people in the room were, began to study their presences, their locations and so on (there might have been 12 or 15 other people there), and then with eyes closed, I began to work my “attention” slowly around the room like this;

    Firmly Imagine Person A – Firmly imagine Person B – Firmly imagine Person C – Firmly imagine an absolutely empty bench – Firmly imagine Person E – Firmly imagine Person F – and so on around the circle, and around again and again. The “imagine an absolutely empty bench” at the location where this fellow was sitting was very, very difficult. But I persisted and after 10 or 15 minutes it got easier. And then suddenly, as if the “gravity” had been turned off in a sci-fi space movie, my attention was released and floating free, and I could send it whereever I wanted. So I settled into trying to still my mind for the rest of the meeting.

    I knew that this procedure (however it came to me to do it) had helped ME with immediate effect, because after the meeting, at the tea and biscuits table I was even able to have a chat with the fellow without that “exposed in the headlights” feeling that I’d had before. But, it seemed to have helped with the larger situation also, in that he simply stopped turning up on my path from then on. So I realised that whatever changed IN ME, must have changed something for him too. I did meet him at something or other two or three years later, and again, with zero emotional charge occurring, so it does not seem that any harm was done to anyone, which I was also happy about.

    ** for anyone who does not know this, the more traditional Quakers (the better known name for members of the Society of Friends), practice a “silent meeting” on a Sunday. They sit with their benches arranged in the best approximation of a circle you can make with long benches and all face inwards into the centre and at each other, rather than all facing a pulpit or an altar. The meeting is conducted in perfect silence, so that the basic practice is of learning to still the mind in the company of others. Sometimes people will speak, as they feel “moved” to do so, but this may not happen at all, or it may happen a lot, during any given meeting. I found these meetings enjoyable, and friendly, and theologically very restful for an evangelical missionary’s daughter, but did not continue attending for more than a year or so after this.

  79. I took another look at what seems to me like the most effective piece of political magic that I’ve thus far encountered – namely the Turkey Curse of December ’21 – and found that it didn’t formulate an ideal and didn’t ignore the other guy. And still the results were completely unbelievable… How could that be so?

  80. Hi JMG,
    are you aware of Elizabeth Sandifer’s long running “Last War in Albion” series where she talks about the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Comic writers are well placed for this style of image creation.

  81. If you do happen to be holding on to a substantial amount of genuine hatred for certain groups, such as, say, a bunch of bored rich “climate” activists who like to torment working people and vandalise priceless artworks, all the while being protected by smug woke police officers; what is a more productive thing to do with that hatred than wallowing in pleasure when they get some small measure of comeuppance on camera?

  82. I really like the idea of making a vision board for America (or other macro or micro-localility / bioregion – it could be done on and for different levels…) that @Kfish mentioned. This is something I hope to make some time for, as part of what I intend to do in relation to this (and it had been on my mind in a different way in any case).

    I love collage art in its many different forms. It’s one of the great folk arts to have emerged in the 20th century… It’s easy, its accessible, and it can be made to be very visually pleasing, and quite surreal too.

    Getting these visions into artistic forms where they can circulate is of great importance. “The Rich Men North of Richmond” hit one nerve. Other songs and poems might too… so I’d encourage those of you who have some kind of artistic or bardic practice to think about what other ways you can get your vision into circulation once conceived. Anchoring the vision to an artistic creation was an important component in one of the magical orders I have been a part of, and I’m excited about using the methods in this context…

    …I hope all are well. Now it is time to direct some energies after the following public service announcement:


    The times they are a changing for Imaginary Stations on WRMI. No, you don’t need to set your clocks to fall backwards just yet, but depending on where you have your
    listening post, you might want to grab some tea and biscuits for some later night listening.

    The show will now go out on 0200 UTC Mondays on 9395 kHz and then repeated at 0300 UTC on 9455 kHz. That is four hours later than the time you all have become accustomed to. Translated into Eastern Time we will now be on at 10 pm Sunday evening. This is good news for all the night owls out there, and also good news for those on the West Coast where the show will air at 7 pm Sunday Evening.

    We are also beamforming some of our shows to Europe now via Shortwave Gold. This weekends shows are as follows:

    Sometimes you need to WSTL for your KPET.

    On Sunday 8th October 2023 at 2000 hrs UTC on 3975 & 6160 kHz we have KPET beamed to Europe via Shortwave Gold. This show will be a tribute to beloved pets everywhere from collie dogs, guinea pigs and budgies. Do have your favourite pet or pets with you by the wireless on Sunday so you all can enjoy this shortwave radio tribute.

    And via WRMI on Monday 9th October we have WSTL first at0200 UTC on 9395 kHz and then repeated at 0300 UTC on 9455 kHz . Expect lots of songs that feature whistling and a choir of whistling sports referees (subject to availability). It should be a shrilling show!

    Be sure to visit our archives to listen anytime via the internet, while it is still around:

  83. Thanks for this post!

    I read a book many years ago called Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, an airport book for businesspeople who want to make their ideas “stickier” by making them more easily visualized and unified, and therefore memorable. One example from the book was the use by the military of Commander’s Intent statements. This is the single, simple definition of the one thing that defines a mission’s success, not an elaborate plan full of sequences of steps.

    The example given was something like “defend this bridge” and it was left to all the troops and the commander to achieve that goal regardless of how they did it. But they all had that simple goal to rally around. This seems like an application of what you’re writing about.

    I did have a question, which I may have already answered. It was: for those who opposed Trump’s presidency, wouldn’t their visualized intention have been something like “Trump should not be president”? But I remember from previous discussions on affirmations that the subconscious ignores the “not” in statements like that, so that may have answered that question.

    With the below, I did think about the fourth magical virtue “to be silent” but if we are speaking about these techniques then I thought I’d ask about these things.

    – What you seem to be describing is the cleanest way to do thaumaturgy. I would guess that all the risks of doing thaumaturgy would apply even to this clean type of it. I know we’re not bringing ethics into it, but the danger would exist of needing to believe your own propaganda in order to magically excite others about the desired change. This is one reason why I am comfortable posting all the below, because I don’t practice thaumaturgy. I knew someone at a previous job who really believed his own propaganda and I don’t want to be like that person.

    – The law of opposites would be something to consider as well. If you use focused will and a focused image of a change you want to see happen, and if the law of opposites does apply, then you are in effect also eventually bringing about that change’s opposite. I just thought now that it may be worthwhile to see if evidence of this exists from the decades after the second World War in Britain as a result of Dion Fortune’s working.

    – This next point may show that I am misunderstanding the law of opposites (which I understand to be the interaction between the concepts of polarity, balance, cause/effect, and rhythm in occult philosophy). Let’s say I have an intention (not very well formed) that my side in a political battle “is calm and focused in combat” which, if I understand right, is an intention set a bit higher up in the astral plane with its effect on the astral plane as well as the material plane, as opposed to an intention which visualizes a result only in the material plane. Would the law of opposites apply such that eventually my side is frenzied and muddled?

    – This all makes me wonder whether you can use this binary magic with the law of opposites strategically. For example – and leaving ethics of this – if you disagree with a nascent political movement and you know a large group of the population would also disagree with it, you and your magical group could theoretically help that movement in its delicate early stages through a focused, vivid intention in agreement with the aims of that movement. Then let the movement build until it is noticed, and then opposed, by the wider population, and switch your intention to agree with the opposing movement and then magically support it. In this way you could stifle movements before they get too influential. Probably a risky move because you’re helping to create a binary on purpose, and I don’t know if that would work in practice.

    – In terms of using ternary-based magic: one way to deal with a ternary is to find the unifying aspect of a binary issue that divides two groups politically and focus on that unity to presumably neutralize the binary, but another way would seem to be to find another, unrelated political issue that the two opposing sides of the original issue would agree on and support, and emphasize that in order to at least temporarily bind the two sides together.

    This use of the ternary would seem to be very similar, or indeed the same thing as, Jung’s transcendent function as applied to the political sphere rather than the personal.

  84. Oddly, the “Trump” supporters (I find they too generally don’t care about him) DO have a vision of America, although hazy. Perhaps they are the only ones? RINO and DNC seem not to unless it is for us to be governed from Ukraine.

    Their hazy “Vision” is equal rights under the Constitution. That’s what they say and won’t shut up about. Now what that looks like down in the streets is certainly lacking and that’s a problem, but one minority faction DOES have a heart-set goal and vision, and perhaps one the other parts can tolerate as well.

    Perhaps this demonstrates that “Abstractions” are not particularly powerful and communicable compared to tangible, daily stuff. Like what is my house and job? What does my town look like, or the environment, and they’re really falling down on that end of things.

    Raymond, we are already supposed to be living at a smaller, local level, that is the literal reading of the Constitution as originally signed. Washington is supposed to do and be almost nothing. So perhaps we can avoid the Pasha breakup if we alter back to that so radically. This would also solve most of our problems, i.e. people feeling trampled. Let Massachusetts be Massachusetts, who cares? Let Alabama do whatever they do, what business is it to you?

    I’ve been shocked and astonished after 200 years since Andrew Jackson, the DNC forgot every tiny thing about parties and politics and didn’t adjust and co-opt whatever it was that was losing voters for them. I have no explanation as it’s literally all politics is or ever has been. Then they also can’t seem to come back to negotiation and compromise to re-include them even these years later, even with risk of the nation, of world war, or ceasing to exist as a party. That’s one reason it has my focus (and perhaps to be positive, it shouldn’t) – I just can’t understand it. The GOP I can understand: it’s the more-corrupt fighting the less-corrupt . And that’s just a Broadway show that’s always playing.

  85. Magic is always mind interacting with mind. But there are other minds, beyond the human ones, because the universe is animist and it is thru interactions with these minds that rule aspects of the physical world that mages of old, like Iamblichus, brought physical effects into this world, like the golden matter-destroying balls of light and talking statues of old. So the contradiction between your framework of magic and the ancient one only exists if we forget about the animistic nature of reality. Did I understand it correctly?

  86. Mary Bennet #27: Catholicism does magic better than most magical orders. When I returned to the Faith, several Protestants informed me that Catholicism is just Greco-Roman Polytheism with the names changed. I informed them that I was already Catholic, and they didn’t need to sell me on the idea 😉

    JMG’s latest really strikes home with me. Since the 2016 election pretty much every political campaign has boiled down to “vote for me because I’m not the other candidate.”

    In late 2015 I asked “Why should a working-class White guy like me vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump?” I got called racist, I got lectured on privilege, I got told that the answer was obvious — though, curiously, none of them could explain why it was obvious. Finally one poster said that Trump would probably be a better choice for me but I should still vote for Hillary because Trump was awful. Guilt-tripping people into voting for your candidate is generally about as successful as trying to guilt-trip people into having sex with you.

    Personally, I’m not bothering to vote in the presidential elections for a couple of reasons. One is that I’ve not yet seen a candidate who is worth the time and ink. (Though I might be tempted to cast a vote for RFK Jr. if he doesn’t come down with a bad case of assisted suicide). The second is that I believe the structural problems within the American Empire are beyond any individual to fix or even mollify. By the mid-5th Century not even a Julius Caesar or Marcus Aurelius could have saved the Western Empire.

  87. I suppose the image of the desired future is not enough– one really does need to picture the road from here to there, non? For example, Chesterbelloc and the Distributists painted a lovely image of a human-centered free-market system that I think would appeal to many here– but practically refused give a roadmap to implementing it. (This flaw remains core to the movement, perhaps because of its Catholic roots. The Laity doesn’t make changes; they wait for the Pope to pick up on ideas.) It’s the political equivalent of spending all your time daydreaming what life will be like once you’re rich, without ever figuring out how to make money.

    For a contrast, think of how acolytes of Progress mapped out many imaginary routes on their road to the stars, and we’ve collectively blown billions trying to follow them. My gut tells me every vision of Utopia needs a Future History. That is not to say that Utopia, the positive goal isn’t the important thing, because it is. OTH, if you just leave out the road there, why, how can you not get lost along the way?

    It occurs to me that of all sides in our current political shattering, only the most reviled, the white separatists, actually have a very clearly envisioned road forward : race war. The powers that be do seem to be intent on degenerating into the sort of government that spawns rebellion in such unspeakable works as The Turner Diaries. Since the specter of “White Supremacists” hiding behind every tree is a vision very, very many focus on– in horror, mostly! — though without perhaps the personal, passionate intensity they reserve for the Orange Julius, I’m now worried. The Turner Diaries is terrible fiction; though I admit some of its imitators are actually readable, I have no interest in living through such a scenario! Can anyone think of think of a vision with more energy behind it? I earnestly hope so, because I cannot.

  88. I have been reading fiction – horror/comedy/magic series called “The Immortal Doc. Holliday.” (Yes, that Holliday with the Earps.) In the series, Holliday is non-magical but keeps encountering magical users – usually witches. He notes that an overreliance on magic makes his foes weak to ordinary things like a punch in the face. They believe that they are all powerful and invincible because they wield magic. Since Holliday is a gambler, who doesn’t understand magic, he looks for the tells of when a person is going to use magic.

    A tell in gambling or in real life is when someone either is lying and shows it or is going to do an action and shows it.
    Since he reads tells, he can punch them in the face and take them by surprise. They simply do not expect non-magical people to best them. The other things, he notes is that the magical people are smug with a sense of superiority. He sees that as a weakness to exploit. (Holliday in the series is immortal, and feeds off of freshly killed people.)

    The one thing that keeps coming up in the novels is luck. Holliday decides if Lady Luck is with him or not. If not, then he waits until things are better. Also, he believes that if a gambler decides to lose, they will.

    I find that by reading this series, I have been able to understand why the Magical Resistance has not had much success – too many tells, too smug, and unable to think in a non-magical way when needed.

  89. Here is a great dichotomy. If you use this post’s definition of what magic does, and how it is accomplished one of this centuries great mages is also one it the prominent proponents of scientific rationalism and metaphysical skepticism.
    I am speaking of Carl Sagan. A man who’s book ” the Demon Haunted World” is a textbook example of scientific rationalism taken to its limits, also had an astounding ability to motivate people towards the stars and his dreams of a world based on rationalism. He was mostly disliked in the academic community because of his supernatural ability to attract attention and motivate people of all backgrounds to explore and revel in science, history and the universe. None of the normal academics could understand his popularity, and to them he was some kind of popularity wizard. Having actually taken Astronomy 101 from Professor Sagan I can attest that his abilities to hold people in thrall and paint a picture of a future that they could dream of and work towards was amazing, and not a product of special effects or show business tricks. I am sure he would be horrified to have someone think of him as a practitioner of Magic, but it appears that for one reason or another he was very effective at it. Imagine what might have happened if he had opened himself to the study, and practice of the occult and he had not passed away at such an early age.

  90. When I hear ‘guard the mysteries, constantly reveal them!’ what I think of is guarding knowledge from being forgotten. Knowledge that is secret and only held by the few is in constant danger of being lost.

  91. More on The Immortal Doc Holliday. I realized that he does do a form of magical combat. He believes in Lady Luck, whom is Fortuna of the Romans. He is pious in respecting Her and Her Powers. Also, Holliday does thinking before acting, and is heterodox in his plans. In other words, he expects the unexpected, believes only in lies, and trusts in the absurd (paraphrase from somebody, not me.)
    In other news, the local elections in Virginia: the Republicans are focused on crime, the Democrats on abortion. My money is on Republicans since crime has gone through the roof. Witness the Congressman in D.C. being carjacked.

  92. In Tibetan Buddhism, weather magic is a very specialized field. I took teachings from a man billed as “the Dalai Lama’s weatherman “. Venerable Ngakpa Dorje, Rinpoche. One of the Tibetan old guard. He never spoke of his work in that regard, but it is mentioned in one of Peter Gold’s books. Was it “Prayer Flags”? And Lama Anagarika Govinda’s book Way of the White Clouds described an instance if it. Given the rigorous nature of this practice I’d be very surprised if there were many who have witnessed it. Meaning you, JMG. A few Native American holy men are alleged to have done weather magic as well. I’m not sure this isn’t a form of Theurgy, though, so not technically Magic.

  93. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the King in Orange. This discussion of Trump and visual vividness intrigues me in an additional way. Trump is a master of visual persuasion. Saying “restrict immigration” plays well with immigration restrictionists but lacks the memetic power of “Build the Wall!” (As with “drain the swamp” and “lock her up”.) Responding to criticism regarding his immigration restrictions with “the wall just got ten feet higher” or “you have to go back” is similarly powerful. *

    But these are all words. He’s not actually painting any pictures or using any visuals. Someone with total aphantasia can understand all of these as well as someone with hyperphantasia. The vividness is on a conceptual level and the imaginations of the recipients populate them with images as is appropriate for their own styles of imagining. My understanding is that you would say magic works similarly. That is to say, it’s conceptual vividness we’re after, using whatever tools we have at our disposal. I.e. a vague sense of what we’d like to accomplish isn’t enough — we focus intently on the conceptual work, ‘seeing’ it as vividly as we can, and using discursive verbal thinking as well (or instead of, for the aphantasic), with physical rituals on the corporeal level. Is this more-or-less correct?

    *Even his throw-away statements are tremendously visual — when mocking renewable energy for instance saying ‘you won’t be able to watch TV when the wind isn’t blowing” or low-flow toilets “people are flushing their toilets ten or twelve times” have an odd power to conjure a mental picture — you can ‘see’ in your mind’s eye a frustrated man turning from his darkened television set to look out the window at the still blades of an unturning windmill, or a woman flushing a toilet again and again with mounting desperation. His curses (“Crooked Hillary”, “Low Energy Jeb”) share this quality.

  94. @ Gwydion aka Clarke #93
    Although I was taught this tradition, I’m afraid that I can’t talk about it, except to say that there isn’t much to it, that it works every single time, and that it is a gift which is easily lost.

  95. @Gwydion aka Clarke….#101 (sorry, I didn’t have my glasses on). It’s not just rain, but any kind of weather, all the way up to lightning storms and devastating hail. However one must make sure that one’s intentions are absolutely pure. Even a simple rain storm will kill a lot of living creatures.

  96. Ideals with Magnetism
    What would I actually like to see from the government of Canada?

    Overall Goals: To get Canada to take some basic first steps to deal the with predicament facing it in a manner that treats all citizens with dignity and prioritizes basic needs over nice to haves, and also addresses assorted problems that have gone undealt with for too long.

    This not going to be easy, and some nice to haves are going to go away. And we can’t just pile on more and more debt to do it, either. But I think we have the power to make ourselves and our communities more resilient to hard times and global weather weirding, and that this is worth it in the long run. I also strongly believe that we can do this in a manner which allows us to not sell our souls or sacrifice substantial portions of the population, and that the results of trying will be much better than the results of BAU.

    Environment and Energy:

    -some aknowledgement of the long descent and our predicament
    -stop chasing expensive policies that will do little to bring down CO2 emissions and all that decrease at the expense of ordinary people while the well-to-do do just fine.
    -no more subsidies for electric cars. Not having to pay gas tax is enough.
    – instead pick policies that conserve properly – like home retrofits including for renters!
    -Better transit and cycle infrastructure in cities
    -encourage food growing in community gardens and at home
    – sidewalks everywhere so that you can safely walk places without risking getting run over.
    -enshrine the right to dry clothes outdoors and grow veggies and keep a small number of hens, ducks or rabbits on your own property
    -home retrofits paid for by increasing utility prices. Most people should still come out ahead.

    -repair the railways we already have so they work.
    -stop expanding car-based infrastructure except where there truly is no choice. Investigate all other options first
    -maintain the essential infrastructure we already have properly. There may be a few things are are not essential we can and should get rid of/simplify to save costs. Gravel roads are cheaper than paved, and some low use roads may be better off gravel.
    – get passenger rail at non-tourist inflated prices going again.
    -improve cycle, transit and walking infrastructure in cities.
    -sidewalks everywhere, including exurb and rural areas.
    -raise the gas tax in the cities to pay for this.
    -stop subsidizing the airline industry, except essential air service to isolated communities and air ambulances. Airports and airlines are on their own.
    -subsidize long distance bus service in rural areas where the numbers don’t work out for the private bus companies.
    more to follow, but this post was getting long…

  97. more Canadian policy ideas…

    Free Speech and the Internet:
    – get rid of the new internet censorship and media laws. Start over with freedom of speech as the main object and protections against the criminal stuff like child porn, outright incitement to violence, crime how-tos the only restrictions and those to be actually enforced.
    -remove government subsidies for media they favor. Defund the CBC.
    -insist that stores must accept cash. It’s legal tender, come on guys. Do you want my custom or not?
    -stop pushing everything online.
    -assume a substantial portion of the population doesn’t have a smart phone, and keep open other ways of accessing government services
    -no digital Ids, and especially no universal digital Ids.
    -Freedom of religion: you can worship or not worship whoever you want, and nobody can attack you physically or burn down your house of worship without consequences, regardless of whether your religion is currently popular with the powers that be, or what members of your religion did at some other place or time. People who don’t like you can argue with you, and you can argue right back.

    -remove the MAiD expansions
    -no mask mandates, no vaccine mandates.
    -right to bodily autonomy enshrined in law, both legality of abortion and ability to refuse vaccines.
    -increase funding of family doctors to match inflation, after first giving them a top up because their income has been eroding for a very long time
    -hire more doctors, especially family doctors
    -hire more nurses
    -more spaces to train medical students and intern positions
    -make it easier for Canadians with medical training received elsewhere to get intern positions so they can work here
    -fund more detox centers
    -pick a few of the most toxic substances that get into food, air and water, and ban them.
    -yes, most of the above will cost money, only some of which will be recouped by dealing with health issues before they wind up in the emergency room. I still think this is a necessary investment if we are to remain human.

    Law/Crime/Drug Policy:
    -recriminalize hard drugs, but not things like marijuana
    -fund more detox centers so people who want to get off drugs actually can instead of dying still waiting
    -enforce law on theft so stores can still operate in poor areas.
    -come down hard on people dealing fentanyl. They’re knowingly killing people.

    First Nations, Equity, Diversity:
    give funding to interior BC towns to make themselves more fire-resistant now, before the next wildfire happens. Include First Nations reserves in this funding. I think this will pay for itself over time as opposed rebuilding after every fire.
    -finish getting a reliable drinking water source on every reserve
    -first nations schools on reserve should be funded the same level per child as everyone else.
    -prioritize fixing remaining injustices causing ongoing damage over paying reparations for things that have stopped where choices need to be made.
    -provide funding for all weather roads where winter roads to isolated communities up north are becoming inviable due to climate change.
    -fund subsidized housing adequately and make it available to low income people on a greatest need basis, regardless of race, age, or disability status.
    -end affirmative action in schooling and hiring. Discrimation on racial, disability, ethnic, gender, gender ID and sexual orientation is illegal, and this should be enforced wherever it is happening.
    -When a member of the police kills someone without need, or is brutal with no reason, fire them and prosecute them as appropriate. Body cams do seem reasonable, given the situation. And no, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn them off at will, either.

    -cut immigration back to 2017 levels and hold it there until we are no longer in a housing crisis.

    -fund subsidized housing adequately and make it available to low income people on a greatest need basis, regardless of race, age, or disability status.
    -actually investigate and prosecute money laundering and fraud in the BC housing market
    -change single family zoning to allow secondary suites and/or laneway homes/accessory dwellings in all major cities.
    -make it illegal to discriminate against small business owners when it comes to renting a home. If they’ve got savings and a reliable income they should be able to rent, not told an automatic ‘no’ despite being able to afford the place.
    – restrict the proliferation of over 50 only and/or no child policies in rentals and condos. No children means no future.
    -increase the allowable rent increase to match inflation. Landlords do still have to make a profit or they can’t operate. Or they’ll renovict tenants and jack up the price by half overnight.
    -enforce the antispeculation rules we already have. Also the ones about short term rentals.
    -remove first time homebuyer grants.
    -tax income on capital gains on primary homes the same as on other capital gains.
    -introduce policies that are likely to make the housing market go lower gradually. If/once the housing market crashes, stop adding more of them.

    Ethics, Corruption and the Rule of Law:
    -go through what is considered an acceptable expense for parlimentarians, and claw back all the stupid things that shouldn’t have slipped through, then make it understood that this will continue into the forseeable future.
    -ask the military what they actually need, and remove anything they say they don’t. It’s probably pork barrel.
    -actually investigate and prosecute money laundering and fraud in the BC housing market

    Disability and Income Assistance:
    -use net income not gross income to calculate disabled people’s business income.
    -remove MAiD expansions.
    -automatically increase disability rates to match inflation. Also income assistance rates. Inflation should be calculated using housing at the percentage of our income most of us are actually spending on housing, not whatever idealized low number is currently being used.

  98. @jbucks #90: Another way to deal with the opposites that are already locked into combat with each other is just to let the two bull shalers continue to lock horns, until they drag themselves down. Outside of that something else could be belt.

  99. I think that this has some implications for the sorry state of environmentalism today. Most environmentalism relies on the use of ‘Jeremiads,’ prophesying the terrible consequences that will arrive if we fail to become more sustainable.

    While these Jeremiads aren’t always wrong, the public has gotten used to them and they have lost their effect. Instead of using Jeremiads, the environmentalist movement needs to paint a wonderful and captivating vision of what a sustainable, healthy society could look like and how it would function.

  100. Back in the 1980s I was very involved in politics. The candidate I was working for would make speeches about how evil the other guys were and the horrible things they had done. At one point I said to him, “Politics is about the future. People want to know what’s going to happen, not what happened in the past.”

    He disagreed. “We must point out what bad things the other guys have done so people will want to vote for us.”

    He won the seat. It was a safe seat he would have won no matter what he said. But his party, which I still support, has persisted in confining themselves to pointing out the evils in the ruling party and not coming up with a credible alternative vision of the future. I fear they will always be in opposition with that attitude.

    Incidentally, take the phrase “came into fashion”. Why is there such a thing as fashion? It makes no logical sense why one year hemlines are up and the next year they’re down; why my father never left the house without his hat in the 1950s but discarded it in the 1970s; why I went from narrow neckties to wide neckties to no neckties. What on earth drives it? There seems to be no physical reason.

  101. >wouldn’t their visualized intention have been something like “Trump should not be president”?

    I think it was “Hilary should be president!” but if there’s one thing Hilary demonstrated, it’s an inability to fly even with a jet engine strapped to her. Even a brick can fly when strapped to a jet engine. But not her. In some ways, 2020 was a repeat of their same strategy but just with a more likable candidate. And a heaping helping of fraud.

    They strapped that senile brick to two jet engines and gosh darnit, it flew! There was no way they were not going to make it fly this time around. Amazing what you can do with a jet engine and a lighter brick, innit?

    Notice that the will of the public doesn’t come into this anywhere. Not even a nod with “Hopey Changey”. No more of that. You could say that faith in the future has been irrevocably lost?

    So what’s the logical conclusion to this society now that faith in the future is gone for good? (and they wonder why there are so many childless women today *cough* birthgap) I suppose if there is a way forward, someone needs to actually point out – a way forward. Some coherent vision of the future anyway.

  102. >Trump is a master of visual persuasion

    He’s your classic salesweasel. Very good at it. Not so good at delivering on what has been sold though. That’s usually someone else’s job. Someone else’s very crappy unrewarding job. Like I said – classic salesweasel.

    My advice, never work for a salesweasel. Don’t do it. If you have to, do it on a contract basis and wash your hands clean of it when the contract is over.

    To point out a more systemic problem, that’s the only kind of person that can attract mass votes in an election that involves 100’s of millions of people. And you wonder why the lower level bureaucrats isolated these politicians from the real levers of power. And then proceeded to usurp those levers for their own ends.

    I would claim that communism doesn’t scale and it breaks pretty badly the more people you add to it. But I would also claim that democracy when scaled past a certain point, it also starts to fail, although it fails in a more gradual graceful manner. But it still fails.

  103. @Ecosophia Enjoyer:: “Instead of using Jeremiads, the environmentalist movement needs to paint a wonderful and captivating vision of what a sustainable, healthy society could look like and how it would function.”

    Now probably people here have noticed that I’m not, in general, one to praise JMG endlessly…. and yet I think that “Retrotopia” was quite close to what you suggest. I read it twice. Nice work!

  104. That Lew Welch quote and your posts on Levi are opening my eyes more and more to the truth that there is more than one way to “be silent”.

  105. Quift, the thing that you’re missing is that the United States is not part of the Faustian core. Insofar as Faustian civilization survives at all — which is an open question at this point — it’ll survive in Europe, under an EU or equivalent that’s increasingly centralized and mummified. (Yeats’s line is classic: “What discords will drive Europe into that artificial unity — only dry or drying sticks can be tied into a bundle — which is the decadence of every civilisation?”) Here in the US, we’ve got a Faustian pseudomorphosis over the top of something very different, something that has not yet risen to great culture status. As the Spenglerian winter arrives, the pseudomorphoses on the periphery break down — that’s why Russia is shaking off its own European overlay and returning to its own roots, for example — and so I think it’s quite possible for the US to do the same thing and return to something much more in keeping with the spiritus loci of this continent.

    Scotlyn, that’s a fine example of magical practice. I wonder if the guy in question was using some form of magic to force himself on your attention; if so, your counterspell will have driven quite a potent blowback, broken his spell, and chased him off good and proper. Nicely done!

    Omer, that’s a much more specialized kind of working — a disruptive spell meant to shred someone else’s magic. It can be extremely effective in certain contexts because it deranges the other guy’s working. I was speaking in more general terms.

    Lieven, nope. I don’t recognize the author or the series, for that matter; it’s been a long time since I’ve kept up with the comics scene.

    Synthase, you can always use that as a springboard for self-knowledge. As Jung pointed out cogently, if something irritates the bejesus out of you, you can be sure that it’s because there’s some comparable factor in your own personality that you’re not acknowledging. Reflect on that, bring that part of your personal Shadow into conscious awareness, and the hatred will drain off, leaving you free to do more interesting things with your time and energy.

    Justin, thanks for this. I’d simply note that fiction is among other things another very convenient way to do this sort of thing. Thank you also for the shortwave news!

    Jbucks, good! The thing to keep in mind is that the law of opposites doesn’t apply in magic in a simplistic or mechanical way. If you know there’s going to be a reverse swing, you can direct it, so that (for example) the frenzied and muddled energy is released entirely during the victory celebrations, leaving everyone calm and focused for the next round of the struggle. As for the ternary, once you go from binary to ternary you pop out of the static condition and things start moving. Thus your third factor wouldn’t bind the sides together — it would catalyze changes that could transform the entire context so that all three factors end up different.

    (As you see, your post came through just fine — I’m not sure why the paragraph breaks seem to vanish, but they don’t actually go anywhere.)

    ZanniBoy, exactly. Trump’s supporters have a vague image, while most of their opponents have no image at all. One of the reasons the woke movement got as much traction as it did was that it had a vivid notion of what it wanted — more privilege for certain minority groups, at the expense of working-class and lower middle class white people — and so a lot of people with no vision at all fell in line with it.

    Geronimo, you do indeed understand correctly, and thank you for that. Nowhere in the definition I used did it say that human consciousness was the only consciousness involved…

    Patricia M, hmm! Thanks for this.

    Tyler, yes, that’s the next step. First you build a vivid image of your goal, and once that’s established, you can start focusing on how to get there, and build that with equal vividness. As for your question, why, I’m writing as fast as I can… 😉

    Neptunesdolphins, fun! Yes, that seems about right.

    Cosmic, welcome.

    Clay, a classic sort of irony, rather. Yes, Sagan was among other things a major-league pothead, and that seems to have given him the sort of attunement to vibes that so many hippies had back in the day. He was very good at crafting vivid concrete images; I suspect he was responsible for most of the success the pseudoskeptic movement had.

    Pygmycory, that’s certainly one interpretation of Welch’s koan.

    Gwydion, and that’s also a possibility, of course. If the weather mages are working with spirits or gods, of course, they’re influencing conscious beings…

    Leo, that’s a good point; a concrete thought form need not be visual, though it should be possible to express it in visual form. Trump learned a lot from the New Thought movement via Norman Vincent Peale, and it shows.

    Pygmycory, okay, that’s a solid basis. Now how will you shape it all into a set of vivid images, a pattern of concrete thought forms that can pass from mind to mind?

    Justin, heh heh heh.

    Enjoyer, oh dear gods, yes. I’ve tried to explain many times to environmentalists that they have to offer people some positive goal, rather than moaning on endlessly about all the bad things that all the bad people are doing, and gotten zero response. I realized a few years ago that what was behind that was the same habit I critiqued two weeks ago — if they did anything about the problems they were bemoaning, it would be harder to get people to cough up money, and maintaining the cash flow and their own paid positions as activists had become far more important to them than the environment.

    Martin, there’s no reason for fashion on the material plane because fashion doesn’t function on the material plane. It’s one of the many processes that work on the inner planes, where it has a function more or less equivalent to the weather.

    KAN, good. As a rule, in occultism, the simpler a statement seems to be, the more complex it is when you really start working it out. Thanks for the link!

  106. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah, there is a squashing element to education as it is currently practiced. The problem becomes that after a number of years, even the elites forget that it is there. And then the effect permeates a great swath of the civilisation.

    If I may say so, it is far easier to demolish something, than it is to construct the same thing. The demolition job gives people a sense of purpose, almost as if – dare I say it? – they’re progressing somewhere. Sadly, it is often misunderstood that you can just as easily progress backwards. And that is where I believe we are headed.

    The faustian down here will eventually be supplanted by the older sense of rootedness to place. The land is way to fragile to pretend that things will be otherwise, which is one of the weaknesses of the faustian. I sometimes wonder, and I’d be interested in your thoughts in this matter, whether peoples fear of climate change is given energy by over riding the faustian culture which drives society? What do you mean that we can’t ignore place in these bright, but maybe not so shiny cities? Hmm. If you read articles on peoples experiences of the climate change, I’m kind of left with the strong impression of dismay that things aren’t working out like the sales brochure suggested. Dunno. That seems to be the common thread.



  107. @JMG,
    I’ll have to think about that. I’m not quite sure how.

    Though I do have a mental image of a large group of very random looking people paddling an oceangoing haida canoe together carrying a whole bunch of cargo, with possibly a sail as well, though that would need some sort of keel those canoes don’t have and a lot of the originals were used for war… it’s a bunch of people doing something useful low tech, and low energy together. And the BC coast in the future is going to be held together more by ocean than by road, I think.

  108. JMG,

    since you said “individual human minds are not as isolated from one another”, I wanted to ask you, what is your view on telepathy, that is communicating at a distance via non-physical means? Is it discussed anywhere in detail? Is it something that humans can do consciously? Or does it only happens on a subconscious level?

  109. Chris, that makes a great deal of sense. It’s central to the Faustian imagination to insist that only humans can take an active role in the world, and only Faustian human beings at that — nature is supposed to be wholly passive to whatever we want to do. The notion that nature might have a vote is unthinkable, and so gets the reaction you’ve seen.

    Pygmycory, hmm! As a symbolic representation, that’s good.

    Ecosophian, telepathy definitely happens; I’ve experienced it a few times myself, though I don’t really have a talent for it. How it works is a fascinating question that as far as I know has not yet been answered.

  110. My first mentor in Shinto, a priest in Edo (the old, still beating heart of Tokyo), schooled me well. He and several other priests in the first class I attended told me never to voice negative requests in prayers, because they can cause suffering to people you don’t know, and ultimately it all comes back.

    The neophyte priests at the shrine that had sent me for training had taken up Shinto for political purposes. They were concerned about environmental destruction, as I was. By holding up the ideal of saving a nature-filled pleasant gathering spot in the community (the mountain where our shrine was located, which was scheduled for demolition–the whole mountain–to make room for development), they managed to accomplish that. I noticed in their prayers, though, that they were regularly asking the companies and politicians intent on drilling a tunnel through the adjacent Mt. Takao, a popular recreation spot in western Tokyo, be stopped. Well, that tunnel is open and I’ve been through it enough times as a useful means of side-stepping Tokyo. Though I admit I’ve never driven through it myself. The priests who recited those prayers fared rather poorly, and the more hate-filled of the activists went elsewhere, and I’ve heard nothing of them for nearly two decades.

    Currently, the shrine itself is doing much better, with a priestess who loves the shrine because her grandfather was the priest there long ago. She focuses on building and serving the community, for example, by offering Tarot readings. They kept it going even during the COVID panic.

    I note that I performed the Turkey curse in the general direction of Ottawa a couple years ago–and now look at them! I’m convinced of its power.

  111. It looks like the new software in use does not recognize my computer’s paragraph breaks, so I will try to keep my stuff short.
    Someone should tug on RFK Jr.’s sleeve and have him take a look at this week’s essay. Hmmm, I suppose I should try contacting him myself.

  112. JMG,
    In addition to the Pot, Sagan did live in a house built ( not by him) to resemble some kind of Egyptian monument. It had only one door and hung on the side of a cliff above a deep gorge. Was he secretly attracted to the Egyptian side of the occult, or was it just a monument to his sense of self-grandeur?

  113. Here is a data point. I subscribe to MedPage Today which is the worst sort of medical society, big Pharma, medical propaganda news outlet for doctors. I subscribe to it to see what these shills are pushing regarding vaxes, psych meds, etc. This article warns about the dangers of journaling because…. it might put therapists out of work! And of course the people who are promoting Jungian shadow work do not have advanced degrees in psychotherapy! Can you imagine? Horrendously dangerous!
    Here’s the quote:

    “Jenkins noted that some people might write off pop-psychology trends like The Shadow Work Journal as being harmless, but a potential downside is that if someone dedicates themselves to self-guided journaling, it could take away time from proven and effective treatments. ”

    And here is the whole article:
    ‘Shadow Work’ TikTok Sensation: Is it Legit?
    — You may not have heard of it, but your Gen Z patients probably have
    by Rachael Robertson, Enterprise & Investigative Writer, MedPage Today October 5, 2023
    Are you ready to face your shadows? While shadow work is derived from the ideas of Carl Jung, the decades-old concept has struck a chord with Gen Z on TikTok.
    Upon searching “shadow work” on the platform, there are hundreds of video testimonials and links to Keila Shaheen’s popular book, The Shadow Work Journal: A Guide to Integrate and Transcend Your Shadows, which she self-published in 2021. The book first covers the history and tenets of shadow work before moving into self-guided exercises and writing prompts.
    On her website, Shaheen defines shadow work as “the practice of confronting and integrating these suppressed parts of ourselves” and “shining a light on the darkest corners of our psyche to bring healing, acceptance, and wholeness.”
    On TikTok alone, under the handle @zenfulnoteopens in a new tab or window, Shaheen has more than a quarter million followers and 6.9 million likes, and her book has sold nearly 350,000 copies on the app’s new shopping platform. Google searches for “shadow work” have also skyrocketedopens in a new tab or window in the last few months.
    Willough Jenkins, MD, a psychiatric emergency and consultation liaison at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, who runs her own TikTok account as @drwilloughjenkins, told MedPage Today that shadow work isn’t for everyone and isn’t a substitute for mental health treatment from trained professionals.
    “There’s a difference between somebody who’s relatively mentally well, looking to seek deeper understanding, and somebody who’s struggling with mental illness that is looking for treatment,” Jenkins said.
    She pointed out that Gen Z and younger patients are extremely online — and shadow work is just the latest self-help and mental health craze to sweep the internet.
    “If a patient of that age group is coming to you with a mental health concern, it’s very likely that they have consumed mental health content on social media, whether it be TikTok or another platform,” noted Jenkins. “Being very direct and asking patients what they’ve been seeing and what their thoughts are can be very, very helpful in guiding treatments.”
    Wait, What Is Shadow Work?
    According to the Society of Analytical Psychology, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung first defined “the shadow”opens in a new tab or window as “that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors.”
    In more current terms, Jenkins explained that “the shadow is thought to be an aspect of yourself that you don’t have full awareness of — an unconscious aspect … most of the time the shadow is something that is a more negative aspect of yourself.”
    In Shaheen’s book, some of the exercises are fill in the blank; for example, “As a child, I was yelled at for ____. My response was to ____ and ____. After this, I’ve always been ____.”
    Shaheen claims that engaging in shadow work will lead to positive outcomes including healing generational trauma, increasing compassion, setting boundaries, and getting “un-stuck.”
    Jenkins said this kind of work would be best done with the safety of a therapist who has the training to support patients through big feelings and past trauma that would likely bubble to the surface. She recommended that people seek out therapists with backgrounds in psychodynamic or psychoanalytical treatment, and upon intake, express their interest in shadow work.
    “Saying, ‘look, I’m interested in exploring aspects of myself that I might not be fully realizing,'” is a way to flag to a therapist the kind of progress you want to make, Jenkins said.
    She added that while this kind of digging is “kind of a mainstay of most therapy work, to be quite honest,” therapists that use psychodynamic or psychoanalytical techniques might also be familiar with this type of thinking.
    Shadow Work Harms
    Jenkins noted that some people might write off pop-psychology trends like The Shadow Work Journal as being harmless, but a potential downside is that if someone dedicates themselves to self-guided journaling, it could take away time from proven and effective treatments. Plus, for people with mental illness or past trauma, even guided journals can be a lot to process alone.
    “This type of work was always meant to be done with a therapist, because it’s confronting difficult and kind of, you know, in the sense of the shadow, more negative aspects of yourself,” she said, adding that a common emotion that comes up for patients is shame.
    While tons of users have raved about the emotional progress and self-reflection that Shaheen’s book has brought out in them, it’s also gotten pushback from some Christians, who claim shadow work is evil, as well as from therapists who are wary of the journal. Shaheen addresses these topics through her content, as well as questions like, is shadow work evidence-based or dangerous?
    It’s also important to note the credentials of social media personalities pushing particular ideologies, and in this case, self-help strategies.
    For instance, The Shadow Work Journal doesn’t actually have Shaheen’s name on copies of the book. However, the author page from her published book of poetryopens in a new tab or window reveals that Shaheen doesn’t have advanced degrees in psychology or psychiatry, but rather has a bachelor’s in marketing, psychology, and creative studies. She also used to work at TikTok as a creative strategist, which could inform why her self-published book has taken off on the platform.
    “Whenever a kind of a psychological term really hits the mainstream and everybody’s looking into it, it’s important to realize that it’s a very specific type of therapy that’s usually very individualized to a specific type of patient,” Jenkins said. “And so that’s one of the concerns that comes up when a very individualized treatment becomes kind of recommended to everybody.”

  114. Patricia O, you were indeed well taught. As for the Turkey Curse, it does indeed work. Maybe we should do another group Turkey Curse working one of these days… As for the line breaks, put in a double return between each paragraph and it’s fine. (I used editor’s privilege to do that for you, this time.)

    Clay, I’ve always assumed that it was a shrine for his worship of himself.

    Seaweedy, ha! I’m glad to hear this; anything that helps people do without overpaid medical professionals is a plus in my book.

  115. Thanks for another great essay! I always arrive far too late to this party — oh well. For anybody in the US reading this, I lend out JMG books and a smattering of other magic and resilience titles from my free Athena Reader’s Club Library:
    I ask fellow Ecosophians to dream a little dream on my behalf of a “reading room” physical library (or libraries) where regular people can go and check out paper books. Maybe this library is in an office building or an old house. We use the Dewey Decimal system and card catalogs to keep track of books — remember those? The stacks are tall, bolted securely to the wall, with resident library cats (sprung from the local shelter) to rule them all.

  116. Thank you, kind host, for convening this space and setting the table with your regularly stimulating prose!

    Ken- wow that note that reading and writing take up some of the space old-time/”normal” people use for facial recognition hits me!

    Candy #21- I’ve recently found a nice gathering community in the christian church just down the block from me. The music director drew in my daughter and her friend to play clarinet and now I am singing and stimulating conversation in the little study group and … praying. And I think it is pretty much exactly magic when done right! I remember previously finding a potent and lovely group of christians and they had a retreat to talk about their very young church, and tho I had mainly identified with buddhists and of course wizards in the preceding years, I told them I was there and I liked them because they actually believed that their prayers had powers, I said, “like witchcraft for jesus” and they understood what I meant in a positive sense, tho they did not write it on the whiteboard 🙂

    The Other Owen #23- We are working on branding for a newborn regional beef company and some other related ag product marketing and I have been calling attention in our group to the absolute uselessness of old notions of left and right, their replacement by the local power health freedom rooted crowd vs. fake progress(ive) locksteppers. Same Rednecks v Bluehairs. and that people previously of either party can fall either way in the new more relevant dividing line… We’re hosting a Heritage Food Festival next.
    JMG- I’ll never forget the Ohio River Valley warlords running this treasure(water)-filled bioregion that you foresaw some post past

    Smith#57/JMG “…the forms that give magic direction and effect are symbols and symbolic action.”
    We don’t have to limit ourselves to thinking of the battlestandards and trumpets. We’re jumping the “Common Ground” (and the like) wave rebounding from 70 years of increasingly poisonous and dead agriculture=food and also the rebound wave from many decades more of centralization of power into detatched and hence clueless bosses, flowing back towards regional authority and decision-making power. Uniting the Rednecks with the Holgrens in forming more healthy and food-sufficient communities.

    @JMG re:Christopher, “no, if you allow divination to make up your mind for you, you’re misusing it. Magic is the art and science of causing changes in consciousness according to will; divination is the art and science of interpreting changes in consciousness according to intuitioin.” and then @Geronimo #92
    are the changes in consciousness mutual between the animist consciousness behind the sticks or the cards or the tea leaves and the consciousness of the diviner? I feel like its not just “changes in consciousness” in divination, but specifically communication between consciousnesses operating on different planes so maybe the one “behind” the physical readable element is seeing things the asker can’t see?

    temple grandin “visual thinking” super cool; also our source for our animal handling pen plans

    @Quift 84… it aint over til the fat lady sings?

    @justin patrick Moore #89 your soundtrack is lovely. right on about the collage too. That’s something I should do for the company we are building…

    @neptunesdolphins #96 today on a zoom call learning from some experienced builders and operators and deal-makers of meat processing plants one guys offers, “like Mike Tyson says, Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” That Holliday series sounds great.

    “As a child, I was yelled at for ____. My response was to ____ and ____. After this, I’ve always been ____.”

  117. Seaweedy #125 – That’s an interesting article, thanks for linking! I think it’s also a fine example on how a sense of identity guides our intellect. In principle, the article contains useful information – first of all, it may alert those who are not yet aware of it of the possible existence of their own shadow and gives hints that you might be able to do something about it on your own (they don’t explicitly state that shadow work doesn’t work if you do it without professional help). At the same time it warns us that there might be dangers involved which is a good thing since there are dangers involved.

    But the article does all of this coloured by the authors perspective that everything which is not taught, done or supervised by somebody who has undergone some kind of professional training by some officially approved institution amounts to quackery. Which is sad because this way it repels all who are leaning towards the alternative side of things (and possibly leads them to ignore the warnings included) and teaches nothing new to those who are already sure that there is no middle ground and only the official stamp guarantees a safe and effective treatment…

    That being said working with the shadow can be dangerous and I know people who are completely destabilized when they catch the slightest glimpse of their shadow which will frequently lead to life threatening situations. Surely, such people face grave danger when approaching their shadow without assistance. But at the same time there are many incompetent therapists out there who pose an equal threat to their clients or at least are incapable of helping them and thus are wasting precious time. Alice Miller, for example, has written at some length about the destructive mechanics between client and therapist (and between child and parents, for that matter) in her book “Thou shall not know”.


  118. JMG,

    I guess in my thoughts about having a mandate for this and that I am conflating the practical side of things with ethic and spiritual considerations. So in principle you always act on your own will – if you are conscious of it or not – and the mandate comes with those you manage to convince. That of course does not tell us anything about good or evil and we know that there are very positive examples and very negative examples, no need for buzzwords…

    I guess what I am really wondering about is the karmic side of things. When you are doing workings that possibly affect a large number of people, groups, egregores, etc. I find it hard to believe that it is possible to not become further entangled by karma as there are always some who win and some who don’t. Fortune was possibly aware of this and helped defeating an entity that we could duly consider as evil. On the other hand, the entity she supported by her actions, though the lesser evil in the given context, could also be considered evil by many others. What are the karmic implications of such acts for the practitioner? It’s said you shouldn’t do magic or even pray for somebody without consent. But here, we have a very broad grey zone, I would say? Or maybe I am chasing my own tail?


  119. JMG, and Seaweedy (#125) – Note what is NOT in the article critical of shadow work journalling: evidence of harm. Not even anecdotes of harmful outcomes, are found in the article. It’s purely an “argument by authority”. While we also don’t see scientific evidence of effectiveness (as if a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial could even be imagined for such a treatment), anecdotes of success can’t be dismissed.

    Speaking of “evidence-based science”… on last week’s Hidden Brain program (heard here on Sunday mornings on NPR), a effort to get college students to use condoms was described. Authority-produced information campaigns had failed to get compliance above 17% (IIRC), but when researchers enlisted college students to produce persuasive short videos, those who were involved reporting increasing their usage to about 65%. The problem? Usage was based on self-reporting. Naturally, any student who had participated in the research program would admit hypocrisy to say otherwise, but the story about the research didn’t question whether the pressure changed their usage, or just their reported usage! (A second consideration: this approach doesn’t scale to change the behavior of anyone who wasn’t involved with the video production; the effect on viewers was not noted.)

    A second research effort was intended to reduce the water and energy demand of athletes showering after an on-campus workout. After having the athletes sign their names to a poster in the gym “3 minute showers! I can do it; so can you!” they put someone with a stopwatch outside the shower area and found that the time really did go down. The problem? If there’s somebody (with or without a stopwatch) loitering outside my shower, I’m going to get out as quickly as possible! The act of measurement may be a more important influence than the affirmation statement that they signed. And this was reported as serious research!

  120. @JMG… I’m working on the fiction part too. I have several finished drafts of short fiction pieces ready to be refined (working on a revision of one this week), and to be sent to prospective publishers as they get done. This year I also finished a second draft of a short novel. This latter is going to need to some more work… I hope to get them out and into the world as I can. The fiction is a bit slower as I work on non-fiction simultaneously. This year I’m also learning the ropes of writing and sending out the book proposal.

    I just talk about this stuff less here, because that was one of my bad habits when I was a younger writer, spouting my mouth off but producing and finishing less.

    The segments I create for the shortwave show I can do pretty quick and look at more of as a hobby. But since the first two non-fic books I completed have radio as one of the major topics, I’m happy to still have a foot in that world, and if they get published, I hope I can use those connections to spread the word about the words.

  121. John–

    I’m not sure if this is an image or simply a slogan, but my suggestion for a political magic incantation would be a long the lines of “American goods made with American resources by American labor for American consumers.”

  122. There’s a bit of serendipity between what you and Ray Dalio (billionaire founder of the world’s largest hedge fund) are writing about these days. For those readers with LinkedIn, check this out. While it’s ostensibly about Kevin McCarthy’s removal and the ill omen he thinks it portends, he ends the article by laying out a clear vision of a bipartisan platform and lists 37 policies that most Americans agree with and could be used to coalesce around a centrist political platform.

  123. Well, this is a timely post, as we have two excellent illustrations, perhaps not of deliberately intended magic, but certainly the effect of behaving as you advise and caution against.
    In the first place, we have the self-inflicted wound of our national government’s obsessive focus on hating “bad people” and name-calling everyone they don’t like and now, of course, getting blow-back from around the world for their recent blunders. Now they are floundering around with ever-sinking approval ratings. Meanwhile their temporary allies have managed to step back and not get hysterical, focused on positive actions, the opposition has changed tune and dialed down the attack-dog routine, and both are benefiting.
    In the second place, we see the election of Wab Kinew as Premier of Manitoba. Once we look past the breathless self-congratulatory cheering about what great people we are because he is First Nations &c., &c., please observe that he focused his campaign on the positive intention for changes that people wanted to see. He acknowledged his past mistakes and then proceeded to turn them into a source of wry humour and a story of positive self-development, thus disarming his opponents attempts to attack his character. His opponents tried to focus on the negative, on the criticism, and he, for a change, did not react, but did a psychic jujitsu and stayed his course. He won. They lost.
    Any questions?

  124. @ Clay

    The idea of Carl Sagan as a mage reminds me of the 90s TTRPG Mage: the Ascension. It came out at the height of the chaos-magyckk fad, so the mechanics of magic are based around personal belief – if a player can justify the magical working based on the character’s specific worldview to the satisfaction of the GM, in theory the mage could do anything.

    This led to some quite interesting aspects of the game’s lore. For instance, scientific-rationalism is promoted as a worldview by a faction of mages called the Technocracy, who are allied with the ecocidal power of the Wyrm and the conspiratorial New World Order. There is also a break-off of the Technocracy who are basically the mad-scientists, tinkering with worldviews based around fringe theories of science.

  125. I wonder how often completely ignoring the other guy has been used as a military strategy. Certainly it’s a low effort strategy.

    Speaking of Nazis….IIRC, on a post back on the ADR you pointed out Hitler as one of the two greatest thaumaturgists of the 20th century (Gandhi being the other). Having read some history, it seems to me his habit of “ignoring the other guy” could explain why Hitler was such a good thaumaturgist but such a bad military strategist.

  126. JMG,
    I walked by Sagans shrine house every night my junior year as I crossed the Stewart ave bridge on the way home from walking my ( girlfriend, now wife) back to her apartment on north campus. Given its location, the front door was only a few feet from the sidewalk ( behind a gate). This was usually late at night (11:00) or so and the place put out an erie vibe that I couldn’t put my finger on. But that vibe was ruined a bit by the greenish yellow ( ugly color) Porsche 911 with the vanity plates ” COSMOS” parked on the tiny parking strip.

  127. I have been thinking about the differences between the Magical Battle for Britain (MB Britain) and the Magical Battle for America (MB America).

    The Magical Battle for America that I am familiar with was started by Hecatedementer (HD) and Michael Hughes.
    I used to read HD’s blog and always sensed a deep hatred of men in it. When she decided that H. Clinton was a Goddess with her daughter, I was not surprised. After Clinton’s loss, her writing became venomous to me, and I felt seeping acid in my soul. So I stopped reading. It did not surprise me that she would have the MB America. My sense of it was that on the surface, she was trying to shore up the positive aspects of America to fight Trump, Putin, and MAGMA. It was carefully constructed and had the various protections in place. However, I kept feeling the acid drip out and that it was personal. That made me think that it would fail, since there was a split vision.

    Hughes, we have discussed his magical workings, seemed to take the tack of Donald Trump and company as being dumb. Oddly, his magic and that of other Neo-Pagans seemed neat, clean, and civilized. They didn’t want to get their hands dirty or do the work of dealing with Trump in the (ahem) real world.

    Meanwhile, the people of the MB Britain seemed to be doing it for King and Country, and understood the effectiveness of Nazi magic. They also seemed to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for King and Country.

    Hughes, HD, and the others did not seem ready for the ultimate sacrifice, nor was their workings patriotic, but deeply personal, and directed toward the object of their hate.

    From reading your Pluto book, you briefly went into how witches stopped being frightening and became wholesome fresh-faced people. I wonder if, the difference between the two Magical Battles has to do with one dealing with the raw side of things, and the other (MB America) dealing with the clean side of things.

    For what it is worth, my working theory of Trump is that his mother was Orcadian, from the Orkney Islands. From what I can see, he takes after his mother, and seems to have the Orcadian magic in him.

  128. Thanks JMG for answering my questions and giving me more to reflect on. Glad my comment went through properly with the line breaks intact.

    @Justin Patrick Moore: I had forgotten about that option! That is indeed a viable option, thank you.

  129. bacon rolypoly #1, from the article: “Decolonisation, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism, and anti-racism are at the core of this programme”

    i have an uneasy feeling

  130. Just thinking about the whole visualization thing and its power to pull you towards what you imagine. I am planning to teach recorder, but the mental image that keeps popping into my head is me playing some spectacular piece of baroque music as a soloist with a baroque orchestra or smaller baroque ensemble. My recorder skills have shot up really fast over the past year and a half and I’m now playing some pretty amazing things, and I’ll be singing in that competition, one of them baroque. I’m also getting a recorder quintet I wrote played by the recorder group I’m in, as of tomorrow. And I currently have no students. Hmmm.

    I think I may need to think a bit more about what I really want here and what I have to do to get there. Maybe what I really want is to take a year or so more to learn everything I can and find out what I can do as a musician without placing artificial limits on myself before I start looking to teach. Among other things, my recorder teacher is far from young, and will not be able to teach me at this level forever. And I don’t think there’s anyone else in the city who can teach recorder to the level they can. So I won’t be able to come back and study more whenever I feel like, unless we’re talking zoom lessons with someone somewhere else in the world. And if I really want to study recorder to the max, I may need to consider that, depending how far I want to take this.

  131. @Pat Matthews,
    I can’t believe they didn’t mention Twoset violin. They’ve got a giant audience that skews really young and are great at finding the silly and serious sides of classical music, and what it means to be a classical musician.

    If you want recorder players, the ones to watch on youtube are Sarah Jefferys

    and Lucie Horsch

    I suppose I count too, in a small way.

    I wish I saw more of this young energy offline, though. The musicians I’m playing with in groups skew heavily towards retirees.

  132. Kimberly, a fine visual image, and one that I’m delighted to help formulate.

    AliceEm, learning how to use your imagery to ride a rebounding wave is good strategy; I didn’t reference it because the post was a primer, after all! As for divination, yes, that’s certainly one way to think of it.

    Nachtgurke, oh, there’s always karma involved. Any time you interact with other people, karma results. One of the advantages of the mode of magic discussed in the post is that it generates less negative karma than most, because others choose to cooperate with it rather than being forced to do this or that.

    Lathechuck, most currently fashionable psychiatric interventions have such poor outcomes that results are the last thing professional shrinks want to talk about. As for the research, well, yes — there’s good reasons behind the prevalence of that awkward phrase “replication crisis,” after all!

    Justin, delighted to hear this.

    David BTL, now combine that with vivid mental imagery — an American factory with workers busy on the production line, and an American store with all the products marked with little flags. Focus on it, energize it with your passions and your hopes, and watch what happens.

    Dennis, that is to say, my blogging about the abandoned center of American politics is starting to get some traction. Good. Onward!

    Renaissance, one world-class bad example, and one quite respectable good example. Nice!

    Blue Sun, exactly. Mages make bad generals, and generals by and large make bad mages.

    Clay, interesting.

    Neptunesdolphins, yeah, I watched the “magical battle for America” business ignore most of the lessons Fortune taught while claiming to follow her guidance. It was embarrassing. I really think the blowback from the tyranny of mandatory niceness did a lot to scuttle the Magical Resistance — that, and of course the decision to think of themselves as “resistance,” to spend all their time opposing (and thus reinforcing) Trump rather than building a positive alternative that would attract people. As any electrician can tell you, resistance is what turns useful energy into waste heat…

    Patricia M, an excellent sign. Brecken Kendall would be proud. 😉

    Pygmycory, good. That’s one of the things concrete imagery does — it forces you to think about what you actually want.

    Tlong, as noted above, an excellent sign.

  133. Re: weather magic – it doesn’t even (necessarily) require spirits or gods, per se, because the clouds themselves are known to be beings, though if we quibble, I guess you could say that’s “working with spirits”. (source: my husband’s work with Tibetan yogis in Amdo who use ritual to do “cloud herding”)

  134. JMG & Seaweedy,

    I suspect you may be glad to hear about a local, currently unlicensed (but previously licensed) counsellor who works through a local church in my area. This highly competent person, author of several books and beyond typical retirement age, does accept cash donations. No formal records are kept and no personal information is placed on the internet – all is word of mouth. Referral was through a pastor of another church.

    I am pleased to see alternatives in development, including those with respect for actual confidentiality, and hope more will arise as so many with experience are leaving the system.

  135. Ahhh love it!
    The best way to conceal a truth is to have it right out in the open.
    Much easier to manage.

  136. What is negative is activity of the positive. Anything that makes it move. The going down of Zarathustra!

  137. ” It doesn’t affect matter directly”

    This is both true and, for a lot of people, bound to be taken hilariously incorrectly.

  138. Ug.

    Something deep inside of me is rejecting this fine and sensible advice. For some deep reason something is animating my anger

  139. I am not sure if it would qualify as magic, but for me one of the best, most positive and detailed images of a possible future came from Lane DeMoll’s artwork that graced the covers of Rain magazine, Rain Book and Stepping Stones back in the green wizard days.
    I vividly remember one ( I think it is from Rainbook) that shows a pastoral future scene with a highway overpass turned in to an organic garden, the nuclear plant with a windmill on top and smiling folks riding bikes with trailers to the thriving small business’s that occupied the repurposed suburban scene. There were also a few posters printed, and I have been madly looking for one for years. I think that is one of the big differences now, from those days is back then there seemed to be a positive image of a low energy future that relied on approriate technology. The current vision of a low energy future promoted by the elite is a highway overpass clogged with teslas, the nuke plant charging a parking lot full of EV’s, Drones circling overhead , A Giant Amazon store and Bill Gate’s mansion on the hill overlooking town.

  140. @miow (#16), jmg (#T22), adrian (##141-142), also bacon (#1), Robert (#12), on the Exeter Magic and Occult Sciences MA program::

    Getting a new academic program approved is a very tricky business nowadays, and the strong tendency of the administration is to ask whether it will bring in either money or useful publicity to the University. Its scholarly or academic value is barely a consideration any more.

    So I would take the “woke” language in the University of Exeter’s announcement as a bit of academic gamesmanship, a necessary sop to the administration. and its committees that would need to approve it. A quick glance at the 25 publications of the Centre’s new director (Emily Selove, Associate Professor in Medieval Arabic Literature) shows a lot of solid scholarship and a very welcome and keen sense of how to awaken inetrest in her work among the general public, but no focus whatever on “woke” concerns. (See and

    Note particularly that Selove has also has created a collection of cartoons titled Popeye and Curly: 120 Days in Medieval Baghdad ( to accompany her textbook, Baghdad at the Centre of a World: 8th-13th Century. This is a simply brilliant stroke of academic-political strategy!!

    Not bad at all for a young associate professor!

  141. This is a timely essay for me.
    I am in the middle of my second Saturn return and I have been trying to figure out what i should do for the rest of my life. When i think about it i have a strong tendency to focus on what i don’t like or want. I keep reminding myself to focus on what do i want to do, that it is a lot harder to do.

    It is with great relief that when i was reading your essay the answer came to me. I have been a real science and technology guy for most of my life and the whole “Man Conqueror of Nature” mythology has had a huge impact on me. Although i have long thought that being a kinder, gentler conqueror would be the smarter way to do it. But i see the error of my ways and reject that formulation.

    I want to become a Seed Bearer
    I want to consciously
    and willfully
    participate in the
    unfolding of reality.
    To help select,
    protect and
    the useful and
    the beautiful.

    Now is the time
    to select those “seeds”
    that i want to
    protect and nurture.

  142. Hi there John,
    Do you think the rise of magic parallels the rise of religion? Are the two linked?
    Best, Paul

  143. JMG & tech team: “As for the line breaks” For myself and some other commenters, line breaks are correctly shown in the text entry box, and correctly shown when the comment is posted. But the comment preview display does not include the line breaks. In the preview, all the wording is smashed together into one giant wall of words. This makes the commenter think the preview shows that the comment will be posted without the line breaks.
    Tech team: I copied and pasted the html source of a comment being entered, the preview view, and the page with all approved comments, into an editor that shows character codes (Midnight Commander’s editor). I found that the rendering of the preview replaces one or more line breaks, ASCII 10 decimal as correctly shown in text entry box, with one ordinary space, ASCII 32 decimal, but when the comment is approved, the one more more line breaks, ASCII 10’s, are correctly included. This is clearly a server side rendering bug of the preview generation, but apparently intermittent.

  144. If a powerful spirit is despatched to hunt and kill someone, like the wonderful 1957 film ‘Night of the Demon’, what can an individual do in practical terms to defend themselves?
    ‘…it’s in the trees, it’s coming…’ 🙂

  145. David BTL – Here’s an introduction to a business that I’ve gotten good products from:



    We sell Clothing and products SEWN, ASSEMBLED OR Made in USA by US Manufacturers Our products include Union and or American made apparel from Round House, Camber, New Balance, Union Louie Union Line Jeans, North star Gloves, King Louie, Union House men’s briefs and boxers. We also sell Cookware and Toys. Manufactured in USA using Globally Sourced Materials.

    I’m not entirely happy with “globally sourced materials”, but we have to start somewhere.

    I’ve noticed that their mostly-cotton men’s briefs have wider fabric between the leg-holes than the briefs I used to buy. Make of it what you will. They’re comfortable.

    They’re currently offering “socks with blebs” three pairs of crew socks for $1.99. Fits boot sizes 9-13. I’m happy with these, too.

    Political votes are sparse and ambiguous. We send a very specific message to the people who need to hear it every time we make a purchase: do more of this. And you can vote your dollars as often as you like.
    (I have no relationship with this company other than as a mail-order customer.)

  146. Hi John Michael,

    For all we know, the realm of spirits and other assorted entities may all have a vote too.

    I have noticed over time that positive workings can slip into the ether, even if publicly discussed, and few if any people seem to take notice. Yet more negative workings, like say the resistance folks, generate counter energies, but also bring a great deal of attention to themselves and their actions. What is weird about that, is that the actions get noticed, but few seem to want to grapple with the consequences and implications of that path. It’s almost as if there is a sort of sense of disbelief that what people want from that path should be delivered. Dunno. And why am I feeling that there is an increase in people mucking around with entities that can subsume them? Seems like a bad idea to me.



  147. @Blue sun, #137

    I don’t know. “Ignoring the other guy” and “being unaware of the other guy’s moves” sound like remarkably different things. You could argue that, down in the “social” plane (not sure where to place it, since it has its own physical, ethereal and astral components), manifestations of the Ignoring principle are: 1) Do not fall into provocations, don’t be the one who throws the first punch. 2) Do not poke the sleeping bear with the pointy stick. 3) Mind your own business. All of which are excellent advice which keeps you out of needless conflict.

    If you apply the same principles to actual one on one combat, the result is Aikido. Do not block. You flow and let your opponent flow in the direction he’s already moving (just not be in his path). On the foreign policy side (both military and diplomatic) you get Switzerland: The Swiss have not earned their neutrality status by being push overs! Instead, they make a point of not making enemies of anyone, mind their own business, but be able and ready to take on all comers and give them a run for their money. (Since we are talking Nazis this week, one of the reasons Hitler did not invade Switzerland is because they did not aid the Allies, the other reason is because every Swiss bridge was loaded with TNT and kept a guard strong enough to hold off any attack for the couple of minutes it would take the last man to blow himself up and take the bridge and the attackers down with him).

  148. Justin # 54 re: Harry Potter world
    Marvel Comics already did a superior job with that premise. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby showed that a Dude With A Problem, plus superpowers, now has even more problems: self-taught learning of weird new abilities, keeping them hidden to protect against hatred and hassles from normal people, yet having to use the powers to prevent terrible evil only the hero could fight at grave personal risk.
    Rowling’s muggles were never a threat to the magical world, beyond collective nusiance if they knew of it. Meanwhile Marvel heroes could lose families, relationships, entire career paths, and personal safety, if even just a few of the wrong mundanes knew. And then some couldn’t hide from mundanes, but as with “Thing” Ben Grimm they had to endure very unpleasant, unavoidable fate.
    Plenty of other recent storytellers used this theme. Magical heroes of Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land) and Alexander Scott Key (Witch Mountain) also had a heap o’ trouble. Other examples go way back, such as Simon Magus and a demon in the Mahabarata war both getting yanked out of the sky as they flew.
    Rowling had some clever original combinations. But “magical superpowers don’t prevent all problems” wasn’t one of them.

    Ian Duncombe # 78 It also seems that Napoleon used a combination of material world level military and political strategy, with magic. “France agrees that it needs an Emperor, and I am that Emperor” seems pure magic as JMG describes.

    Quift # 84 A Republic is not just decentralized power, but decentralized power holders who agree to share some power with a center for the good of all. What you list of “what we do see” shows centralized power falling apart, but not a new consensus of a common good and a way to work together to create that common good.

    Omer # 86 I could do a web search for the Turkey Curse, but maybe you could say what it is and how it fulfills JMG’s theme?

    Synthase # 88 Presumably you hate them because they interfere with a better vision of the world. How about: “Working people, priceless artworks, and honest cops are all cherished in our just and good society, with sincere, wise, effective leadership.”

    jbucks # 90
    U.S. military doctrine says “Commander’s intent” is a description of the desired end state, plus the reasons for this going two up two levels of command. “The Colonel’s intent is that we control the bridge, because the General’s intent is that our forces have clear access to the town.”
    “for those who opposed Trump’s presidency, wouldn’t their visualized intention have been something like “Trump should not be president”?
    Yes. If the anti Trump movements used what Scott Adams calls “linguistic kill shots,” they could have had counter-memes. Maybe “We all deserve political leadership so much better than Trump and his toadies.” Or “Voters to Trump: You’re Fired!”
    “I knew someone at a previous job who really believed his own propaganda.” Many successful leaders totally believed in what they were selling. There was no painful distress, no cognitive dissonance at all for them to promote their same vision yet again. Their attitude was, “Of course I’ll get all this. The only question is whether the rest of the world agrees right now, or stubbornly takes a little longer.” One blogger I read has the whimsical tagline, “All views here are my own and not yours… yet.” Some con men contain their gag reflex, but most notable creators of an achieved vision totally believed in it themselves.

  149. TemporaryReality, if clouds are conscious beings, doesn’t that mean that cloud magic is mediated by consciousness?

    Gardener, that’s good to hear.

    Travis, of course. It’s the best camouflage known. 😉

    Ian, oh, granted. I went long on popcorn futures a long time ago.

    Ken, may I suggest journaling, and possibly the Octagon Society exercises, to unpack that anger? If it interferes with your freedom to choose what to do, it’s a burden you can do without.

    Clay, now there’s a blast from the past! I have both Rainbook and Stepping Stones, and yeah, DeMoll’s lovely pen and ink art is almost painful to look at — it sums up so beautifully the road we didn’t take.

    Robert, thanks for this.

    Dobbs, excellent. If you will accept it, you have my blessing.

    Bootstrapper, both magic and religion tend to thrive as an age of reason sunsets out, but they follow different trajectories from there. We’ll see a revival of traditional religion, which will gradually fade out because the forms are being revived but the spirit has already passed on to new patterns; meanwhile magic will continue to blossom; and then the new religions of the next dark age will begin to emerge, and draw heavily on magic in their early period (though they’ll renounce and revile it later on).

    Christopher, I’ll pass that on.

    Tengu, if it’s in a movie, it’s not real magic. Seriously.

    Chris, the tendency of the clueless to rush into the jaws of noxious entities is one of the common features of a decadent society like ours. I’m not sure what causes it either, but it’s quite routine.

  150. Another dichotomy is Hillary Clinton. On one hand she seems to be the perfect epitome of an evil witch ( the kind from popular culture), who one would expect to wield some sort of dark magic. But instead of influencing people with any kind of magic both good or bad she seems to double down on doing things that further bury her career in politics and accomplish the opposite of what she intends ( or seems to intend). Today she one-upped her deplorable comment and said that Trump Supporters needed to be De-Programmed. She would be a good poster girl for the clueless, senile elite if there was not so many others in the running. Perhaps we need a calendar of images of the clueless elite with one page for each day in the year.

  151. Nachtgurke #130 says:
    October 6, 2023 at 3:48 am

    On how to negotiate karma when undertaking large undertakings that affect large numbers of people? It is my understanding that you would likely have done meditations on the issue, followed by divinations, followed by meditations on those and so on. You would have achieved some level of clarity on the topic.

    I don’t believe it’s possible to act without engaging a karmic result. We don’t necessarily invoke moral education in the process (our own or that of others). Just effects/results which we call karma. The route to freedom from karmic results is to achieve the knowledge of the emptiness of self and other (i.e., definite knowledge of the emptiness of that categorical description). It is said that true knowledge of emptiness (in whatever iteration) arises co-emergently with attainment of true compassion. They are inseparable. If compassion and intelligence lead one to undertake a great magical/spiritual working, I suspect a bodhisattva-like motivation at work. The karma for NOT acting could be considerably less wonderful than the karma for acting, in that case.

    Karma, even for “simple” acts (like eating breakfast) is unimaginably complicated and cannot be avoided even for those. As for larger and more fraught acts as described in the main section of this post by our esteemed host, it is also unavoidable. Also fundamentally unpredictable except from the point of view of motivation and clarity, the which are achieved through meditation and divination beforehand.

    Or to quote the cinematic hero Buckaroo Banzai (also cited, amusingly, by the XVI Karmapa): “wherever you go, there you are.”

    That’s my take on the issues you raised. Likely too confusing to be useful. YMMV. It’s good to think about this stuff.

  152. ““I knew someone at a previous job who really believed his own propaganda.” Many successful leaders totally believed in what they were selling. There was no painful distress, no cognitive dissonance at all for them to promote their same vision yet again. ”

    See also narcissism. If you can’t see his/her greatness the fault is solely yours.

  153. AliceEm, you’re right, there’s a lot to this and I agree about rebounding waves undoing much of what was put in place in the past few generations. There are things that are rotten and failing most heinously as we speak. You mention some great examples.

    But that rebounding wave IMO will have to take the form of some tough, ambitious folks doing the ‘undoing’, because, as sure as we were born, there will be tooth-and-nail opposition from vested interests. People don’t easily give up power and the money that generally goes with it.

    And those tough, ambitious folks leading the way will need something besides toughness and ambition. Revamping established ways and getting out of rutted donkey-paths of old thinking won’t be painless. There’s built in inertia. People would rather pass kidney stones than change their minds. And they are herd animals and will cling to ‘but we’ve always done it this way’ more tenaciously than paint on a wall.

    As JMG said in his reply, using imagery is good strategy. They say necessity is the mother of invention. But IMO so is genius. Think of the genius of that coiled snake and the caption ‘don’t tread on me’. We’ll see what geniuses are out there in this next go-round.

  154. Clay, the only reason anyone remembers her at all is that so many people hate her, and keep her image charged with energy through their hate.

    Mark T, go ask the people who are obsessed with hating Donald Trump. Whether they know it or not, they’re busy promoting him.

    Tidlösa, funny indeed!

  155. The discussion about Carl Sagan is fascinating. Yes, I noticed it, too, and so have others. The man´s charisma, but also that it was a very special kind of charisma. Somebody somewhere even compared him to a Hebrew prophet! And he is styled almost as a kind of prophet in the classical TV series “Cosmos”. Maybe he was the prophet or hierophant of the Western Idea of Progress. Which of course raises a lot of intriguing questions, doesn´t it? Progress must be quasi-religious or rather “quasi”-religious to capture the imagination of the masses…and the elites. It struck me that even the seemingly depressive/pessimistic/anti-religious statement “we are so small and insignificant” bla bla can be put forward in an almost spiritual manner, evoking a profound sense of Meaning! Maybe that was what Sagan was doing with his “pale blue dot” statement. Fascinating guy, all things considered, and one can only wonder what he would have been during a pre-modern age. Some kind of crypto-prophetic philosopher?

  156. OK, here’s my suggestion for an ideal in the coming political battle. It isn’t a person or an image, but a number:
    Top income tax rate of 75%.
    The biggest problem is that the wealthy are taking more of our wealth, and giving us more of their illth. This has to slow down, so that we keep more of our wealth. The only entity that can control the wealthy is the state; all of us individually are too weak, but together we are stronger than the wealthy. The state has made the wealthy wealthier, and now its time for the wealthy to give back.

  157. About magic in the material world: was it Dion Fortune who said the planes are discreet and not continuous? That said, one experiment anyone can do to test the material-spiritual connection of magic is to clean your toilet every day. I have an official Clean Toilet Challenge here:

    For anyone who wants to join it — spoiler alert, the Clean Toilet Challenge is forever. Despite the stated start of the Challenge being in June and the check-in scheduled for December, I plan on cleaning my toilet every day for the rest of my life. After beginning the ritual, I have seen my own prosperity, happiness, and wealth grow considerably. My husband keeps getting raises and told how much he is valued by his employers; he is an atheist agnostic who finds my Druidry amusing but not particularly intriguing. Clean your toilet and see if you too bring in more money, gain more recognition, and generally become sensitive to the unseen beings who populate every corner of this enchanted world, including the bathroom… you have nothing to lose except a nasty, neglected toilet!

  158. Le sigh…it looks like certain left-leaning WaPo types have already decided they will continue flinging magical caca instead of learning from their mistakes:
    Adam Mansbach displays a rabid persecution complex and suggests Jewish people need to resurrect the spirit of the golem against all of those evilly evil Nazis in Florida and Donald Trump — this is his transparent way of pimping his new novel, which I plan on going out of my way to avoid reading. I find it funny that Mansbach avoids mention of mainstream media’s support of literal, actual Nazis in Ukraine or the weird ties between real-life child trafficking monsters Jeffrey Epstein/Ghislaine Maxwell and a bunch of world “leaders”, just a lot of ranting about how anti-semitism is worse than ever and how there is a need to resurrect a ten foot tall beastie…metaphorically, I presume.

  159. Although I appreciate that this article is just a primer of magical combat, in light of the fact that the vast majority of the world’s magical practitioners are despicable sorcerers and necromancers, what can individuals actually do to protect themselves? Zoroaster’s solution was to raise an army to wipe out the Magi and their horrific sacrificial cult, but for those without access to such resources what kind of practical defenses are available?

  160. @Ken V. #154 – since the usual advice given on this blog is to journal things, and you’ve probably already tried that, something from my own recent experience. Not about anger, but about journaling, which I’ve had a hard time doing.
    I wrote a letter to a friend. It was about religion and the future of Christianity and my own beliefs, since we’d been emailing each other on the subject, and it turned out to be exactly what journaling and meditation were supposed to be and do for me. If you have a trusted friend, or one who can be trusted on this issue (I dare not write to her about politics any more), you might want to give it a try.
    Or try Nathaniel Branden’s sentence-completion exercise. Just write down, without thinking about it, “without my anger, I’d…….” and don’t edit or second-guess, just pure from the guts. That worked well for me, too.

  161. Quoting below from V V Putin’s speech at Valdai this week – it seems to me that the Russians have been thinking; and, to repeat JMG’s question, “How do you win by formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible? Well I reckon the Russians may have their own answer and one wonders if some of the foundation symbology for this is held within the military cathedral they recently built!

    Looks to me like the Russians could be employing the deep rules of magical combat.

    From the speech:
    First. We want to live in an open, interconnected world in which no one will ever try to erect artificial barriers to people’s communication, creative fulfillment and prosperity. There should be a barrier-free environment – that’s what we should strive for.

    Second. We want the diversity of the world not just to be preserved, but to be the foundation of universal development. Imposing on any country or people how to live, how to feel, should be prohibited. Only true cultural and civilizational diversity will ensure the benefit of people and the balance of interests.

    The third. We are for maximum representativeness. No one has the right, nor can they rule the world for others or on behalf of others. The world of the future is a world of collective decisions made at the levels where they are most effective, and by those actors who are truly able to make a significant contribution to solving a particular problem. Not one person decides for everyone, and not everyone even decides about everything, but those who are directly concerned with this or that issue agree on what to do and how to do it.

    Fourth. We stand for universal security and a lasting peace based on respect for the interests of all: from great, big states to small countries. The main thing is to free international relations from the bloc approach, from the legacy of the colonial era and the cold War. We have been talking for decades about the indivisibility of security, that it is impossible to ensure the security of some at the expense of the security of others. Indeed, harmony in this area is achievable. You just need to put aside your pride and arrogance and stop looking at others as “second-class” partners or as outcasts or savages.

    Fifth. We stand for justice for all. The era of exploiting anyone, I have already said this twice, in the past. Countries and peoples are clearly aware of their interests and capabilities and are ready to rely on themselves – and this increases their strength. Everyone should be guaranteed access to the benefits of modern development, and attempts to restrict it for any country or people should be considered an act of aggression, just like that.

    Sixth. We are for equal rights, for different potentials of different countries. This is an absolutely objective factor. But it is no less objective that no one else is ready to obey, to make their interests and needs dependent on anyone, and above all on the richer and stronger ones.

    This is not just a natural state of the international community, it is the quintessence of the entire historical experience of mankind.

    These are the principles that we want to adhere to ourselves and that we invite all our friends and colleagues to join.


    Another line carefully ‘dropped overboard’ in that ocean of words:
    “The latest successful test of the Burevestnik, a global-range cruise missile with a nuclear propulsion system, was conducted.”

    @neptunesdolphins #96 today on a zoom call learning from some experienced builders and operators and deal-makers of meat processing plants one guys offers, “like Mike Tyson says, Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” That Holliday series sounds great.

    Me: From author website: Is Western Urban Fantasy a Thing? The Immortal Doc Holliday
    One such example is MM Crumley’s, “The Immortal Doc Holliday,” series. Take an iconic Western character, make him a soul-eating semi-vampire, move him to today (since he’s immortal) and drop him in the middle of Denver. Add whiskey (lots of whiskey) a healthy dose of sex and stir.

    What is your series about?

    The Immortal Doc Holliday follows the modern (or current) life of Doc Holliday. But he died in 1887, you say? Not in my reality. I’m sorry, fiction, not in my fiction. In the first book Hidden, we find out that Doc gained immortality on his deathbed from a shaman who wanted a favor. In the modern world, the time has come for Doc to pay up. Although he is the only one of his kind, Doc is surrounded by witches, vampires, trolls, and a whole menagerie of cryptids that exist in the shadows of the normal world, a place called the Hidden. Doc walks the line between both worlds, doing what he does best, killing bad guys or people who just rub him the wrong way. As Doc works to repay his eternal life, he uncovers a plot that could very well destroy the Hidden. Cue the killing spree.

    More at website:

  163. About the Magical Resistance – I never understood what it was they were resisting. About the whole Trump thing (add in Republicans) being fascists (really that other word – Nazi), I never got. I never saw the difference between they thinking what Biden does is great for America, but what Trump does is not. They both seem autocratic and dictatorial in their own ways.

    I guess it does reflect on the Magical Resistance – they are autocratic and dictatorial in their visions. That made them fail since they couldn’t get the rest of us on board since we could not any other vision but theirs.

    What I have felt was a success, even though they do not employ magic is the Hedgehog Rehabbers in the U.K. This dedicated group of people have a vision of a future of many hedgehogs in gardens. They have been successful in expanding their one person facilities into group of volunteers and larger sheds for hogspitals. (Yes, Hogspitals). And they have engaged the public in their efforts. I wonder if they employed magic without realizing it.

    Or is magic more than having a vision and creating the means to fulfill that vision?

  164. Dear JMG, I read this post a bit late but it just so happened to be the perfect timing for me (funny how that happens). Thank you for the reminder – as soon as I finish this comment I’m off to re-focus on my desired life with strength, precision, and vividness.

    I’ve been fascinated by the Magical Battle of Britain since I first heard of it, and I’m curious: Do you think the magical effects on British morale, tenacity, and cohesion lingered on for at all after WWII? I have a vague sense that perhaps they did in some ways; but if so, those effects seem to have petered out or been overwhelmed by other political magics. What’s your view?

  165. Tidlösa, exactly. What you hate, you imitate; the rationalist movement has spent so much time pouring rage and hatred at religion that it was inevitable that they would pup their own prophets and, in due time, their own church.

    Tom, good. Now formulate that as a concrete, appealing image and pour your emotional energy into it.

    Kimberly, yes, Fortune said that the planes are discrete and not continuous. That said, while your toilet exists on the material plane, your action of cleaning it daily as a ritual act takes place on all the planes you can access — the material plane, where the toilet is; the etheric plane, where your life force and vital energy is; the astral plane, where your emotions and thoughts are; and the mental plane, where your intention is. As for the golem-monger, I wonder if he was reacting in advance to today’s headlines…

    Tengu, I’m not sure how you managed not to notice this, but — ahem — that’s what my entire post is about. Please reread it.

    Earthworm, I’m quite sure they have this well in mind, and yes, the cathedral may be the talismanic structure that anchors their intention. (The line breaks came through just fine, btw — for some reason the preview doesn’t show them, but they were still there.)

    Neptunesdolphins, my take is that what they were resisting was the loss of power by the managerial class. That people voted for Trump even though the media and the other shills of the status quo told them not to was intolerable for the Resistors: the masses are supposed to do what they’re told! Their vision is a world where people like them get to tell everyone else what to do, and everyone else tugs their forelocks and runs to obey the bidding of their university-educated betters; that appeals to the Resistors, but not to anyone else, which is why so many of the Resistors are overheating these days.

    Alexandra, I think it lingered into the 1950s, but something like that has to be reinforced steadily to have a lasting influence. Britain would have been in much better shape if that had happened. For what it’s worth, I’m told that there are people who have revived the practice Fortune had her network do, and are continuing it now.

  166. Off topic, but given the events of this morning I feel that it’s worth mentioning.

    The historical parallels are surprisingly exact and the forecast, as judged from this moment, seems prescient. Nice work JMG. All of you out there in the commenteriat might want to review this piece from The Archdruid Report, but do be curtious and save the replies for next month’s open post.

  167. @earthworm re: putin’s talking points

    Sigh. Some of those are really abstract. And any time you hear a politician spouting abstractions, generally chaos follows. Because everybody hears something different and only what they want to hear. Start drilling down into some of those and ask yourself, what does he actually mean by some of those terms? And then ask if that would be the same for everyone else. Ask yourself what would a career bureaucrat do with those ideas.

    If I had to start a political party, I’d have two rules.

    The guiding ideology of the party must fit onto one single spaced 8.5×11 (or A4 if it started getting international ambitions) page. Not a single paragraph more. And the person who asks or demands more pages will be kicked out immediately. And hit over the head with a hardbound copy of Das Kapital, the heaviest one that can be found.

    And the second, every single plank of the platform must be concrete actionable items. No handwaving, no abstractions. It should be crystal clear what needs to get accomplished and how.

    I personally would find it hilarious to take the Hammer and Sickle literally and go ask a bunch of farmers, ranchers, mechanics, roofers, HVAC techs, factory workers, etc. what they would want in a party and build a list of consensus items for the platform. No ideology, just what do you want out of a party. I mean, that’s what the Orange One did with his campaign promises, he just listened to what caller were complaining about on talk radio, wrote them down and polished them up a little bit.

  168. Siliconguy # 169, exactly. There’s something about telling the whole world, “you’ll fall into line with my plan,” that makes people come across as a-holes. Or, they already are and that’s what it takes to tell people things like that!

    Tyler A/D. Shine/ E.Doomer # 95
    We’ve seen “the roadmap” succeed on both sides of politics. “Vision: Same-sex marriage is legal and socially accepted throughout the U.S.” That worked for the visionaries with the long term plan. “Vision: The Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade.” That also worked with the long term plan for those visionaries.
    But “transgender experience is, uh, well, you’re wrong and should apologize already” hasn’t gone very far. Nor has “throw out the entire income tax system.” Neither of which seems to have a clear roadmap for a political movement to follow.

    neptunesdolphins # 96 “Holliday decides if Lady Luck is with him or not.” Sounds like Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caeser. “There is a tide in the affairs of men…”

    Cosmic Eric # 97 When I saw the picture on your home page, I thought at first it was for a cool new Tom Petty cover band. Reading more, it looks like Discordianism without the joke library. From JMG’s article it looks like a mix of positive and negative: “money” (undefined) out and public funding (undefined) in, with no more specifics than Karl Marx about how the means supposedly brings about the ends (a wonderful government and society, in ways not specified). It it’s supposed to be more than a one-chuckle Performance Art joke, there would need to be something there.

    Clay Dennis # 98 “I am sure he would be horrified to have someone think of him as a practitioner of Magic.” If Sagan knew the definition of “change consciousness according to will,” I think he’d have proudly said of course that’s what he was doing with the public’s view of science.

    pgymacory # 105 & 106 From outside Canada, I see deal with the predicament, not going to be easy, stop, no more, get rid of, remove, stop, doesn’t have, no, nobody, refuse, ban, come down harder, cut, restrict, claw back, and remove. This is an extremely negative, reactionary opposition, anti what you oppose platform. What do you actually want? “Some acknowldgement,” undefined “better,” a very few specifics to “enshrine” and have “everywhere” but even then defensively with the focus on riskiness, and to increase funding, hire more, fund more, give funding, fund, fund, fund, prosecute, increase, enforce, and tax.

    This looks at a glance like the Outlaw All We Hate While Funding All We Love platform of what seems from the outside like a typical grab bag of miscellaneous appeals about this and that. Not a uniquely inspiring vision of a better society sharing the greater good for all. There’s nothing here that looks any different from third parties I’ve soon lose all my life. “I hope each of you niche groups votes for your favorite issue, which will get me elected.” Hardly ever works.

    If there’s a deeper unity and value to your platform, you’re demanding that the voters figure out what that might be. You’re a long way from a mass appeal speech of “I envision a Canadian Dream worthy of all of us, so inspiring! I see practical ways to get rid of political debris that holds us down, and to wisely invest in a better today and tomorrow for all Canadians! Here are the five main ways government can better serve us, which I want to help bring to you every day…”

    pygmacory # 144 “me playing some spectacular piece of baroque music as a soloist with a baroque orchestra or smaller baroque ensemble” Like this?

    Gwydion aka Clarke #101 The idea’s well known, with the best salespeople as “rainmakers” for the business. Only they know the weird dances that will make Client & Customer Cash Flows rain down!

    Ecosophy Enjoyer # 109 Amazing that jeremaids don’t win over any more people now than they did for Jeremiah.

  169. @ Kimberly #176,

    I was hoping you’d post again about the toilet cleaning challenge. I’ve saved your link. I’m looking for tips on techniques to make the task as easy and simple as it can be. According to Bob Vila much can be done with Alka Seltzer and a scrub brush, but perhaps there are better ways. I’ll be going over your post and responses in detail. Thanks.

  170. And speaking of more mundane forms of combat, who would win in a conflict between the most advanced anti-air defense systems produced by the multi-trillion US military industrial complex and a bunch of guys with AKs on paragliders?

  171. Hello JMG! I want to say that I no longer have any patience for rationalists and the rationalist movement. I think that this movement should be turned away, or rather, it should be eliminated… Since cosmology assumes value, modern cosmology consists only of empty matter and energy and cannot give any value in return, on the contrary, it tries to destroy. And the fact that the mythology of progress does this under the name of “so-called” human value and humanism has made it even more unbearable, so to speak, it has reached a dead end, there is no reason to continue the industrial lifestyle, and there is no reason to believe in these rationalists… their words have no value anymore, they were the ones who bored us into this ecological and existential crisis and “it is stupidity to think that you can achieve a different result by doing the same thing” this path is of no use anymore, in short, RATIONALISM THE AGE OF REASON REASON IS DEAD, because it brought us death, not life, and its snake-like I will not fall for what he gives insidiously, his merciful oath, his unjust trap…. I do not want to use his abundant but cursed blessings….. I am angry with him…. I hope he will disappear and disappear as soon as possible.

  172. Davos, cia, MI6, politicians and complexes on both sides of the Atlantic; their brand of (incompetent) majic is realized by us, as pathetic propaganda by blunt force. Thank you, I’ll read again, have to head out to patch the front porch roof of a purposefully uninsured dwelling. Opting out + common sense = collapse early avoid the rush.

  173. Re: the Nazi’s Gravitational pull… just a thought:

    Our stories for TV, movies, and video games for the past 20+ years have been using the aesthetics of 20th century fascism ala Triumph of the Will, and / or Nazis in particular, as uber-villains. While the stories have been *telling* us they’re bad, they’ve been using cinematic language to tell us they’re powerful. So all powerful, in fact, that only space wizards and superheroes can possibly hope to fight them.

    Where the above-mentioned media are concerned, the truth of the narrative is always secondary to the truth of the lens. Or, put in a more familiar idiom, ‘Action speaks louder than words.’

    Look at the lastest (and not latest) Star Wars movies – some of those shots of the Empire and / or the First Order are near shot for shot replicas of nazi propaganda.

    Look at the MCU, and the rise of Hydra – made up largely of normal humans, yet when they join That Organization, they’re become so capable even superheroes are hard pressed to defeat them.

    Look at countless versions of online games, where players are getting an emotional charge from defeating nazis and / or villains cast in their mold.

    Intentional or no, hundreds of millions of people have willingly, gleefully participated in all of the above, lending their time, money, and emotional weight to an incredibly dangerous symbol / aesthetic.

    Whether by design, happenstance, or ignorance seems somewhat immaterial. In light of this post, none of the options are particularly comforting.

  174. Ecosophian, it’s a good portrayal of the standard hardcore dualist notion of the future that’s been popular for years now. The problem is that too many competing policies have been linked to each side of the picture, so it succumbs to vagueness. Some new vision would be more effective.

    Tean10tim, yeah, I was thinking of that post when I saw the headlines this morning.

    Raja, well, we’re about to see that put to the test, now aren’t we? I

    Yiğit, rationalism is like bad weather. It shows up and goes away on its own schedule, and in the meantime, we just have to deal with it.

    Sheila, good — but don’t assume the propaganda is the only magic they’re using. It can take a lot of work to root out the destructive beliefs they’ve inculcated.

    Jmkiru, that may well be it. I don’t watch visual media and don’t play video games, so most of this missed me.

  175. “And speaking of more mundane forms of combat, who would win in a conflict between the most advanced anti-air defense systems produced by the multi-trillion US military industrial complex and a bunch of guys with AKs on paragliders?”

    That’s an interesting question. The paraglider would be invisible to radar if it’s made of the proper materials.

    But a modern air search radar can literally cook you in mid air. Dead people are not much of a threat unless they happen to fall on you.

    The specs for the current version are not readily to hand, the version from my time in the Navy is listed at 6 MW. The inverse square law still applies though.

  176. Hi John Michael,

    That was bound to happen, sorry to say – population pressures, on both sides drove the consequences.

    Dunno about you, but I’ve always understood that learning the gentle art of offence (i.e. combat, as in this essay), is a decent form of defence. Just because you know how with the offence, doesn’t imply that it should be used. What did they use to say about know thy enemy? But even still, there are times where you can be overwhelmed.



  177. @Christopher, Brandenburg Concerto 4 is awesome, though a bit above my skill level as yet. I’ve been working on Brandenburg 2 and Telemann fantasias.

    also @Christopher,
    thanks for the feedback on the ideas. Not sure I agree with you that it’s super-negative, and I was actually trying to treat everyone the same and get rid of some of the identity politics that I see as going overboard and splitting people apart. But yes, it is very hard to break out of the standard ways of thinking, and I know I’m probably not going to be the one to come up with something that changes anything. I think the effort to try is worth making, whether I succeed or not.

  178. My apologies to the author, I’ve reread the article and I now see that the method described actually has a much higher level to it.
    ‘ I’m not sure how you managed not to notice this…’ …I’ve always been a solitary scholar.

  179. Given the definitions,
    Magic is the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will.

    You win a magical struggle by formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible, while completely ignoring the other guy.

    Then a narcissist would be a powerful mage. They certainly have formulated an ideal of themselves as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible, while completely ignoring the other guy with the intent of convincing you to see them that way. They are well known for dragging other people into their mental sinkholes.

    I’ve run into two of them, the first was the most far down the path. So I’ve been reflecting on how I broke his spell, so to speak.

    The answer was basically hyper-rationalism. Once I noticed the first gaps between what he projected and reality I started listing and sorting them. His explanations of the gaps were similarly examined and found wanting. It wasn’t that much longer until I knew how big a fraud he was. He noticed that I was slipping into non-believer status and upped his game, but it didn’t work. In fact the opposite. It wasn’t until later when I was wondering “what was that anyway” that I found the description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    The second example had to handled more more gently as he was my boss, but he was at least somewhat functional, plus I had been inoculated by the first one.

    A magic battle (or magic vs rationality battle) is an interesting way of looking at it. Or does rationality fit as the ideal in “You win a magical struggle by formulating an ideal as strongly, precisely, and vividly as possible”?

  180. The standing ovation of all major parties in the federal parliament of Canada for a 98 years old Ukrainian soldier that was revealed a few days later to be a former member of a Nazi group that participated in ethnic cleansing not only in Ukraine but also in neighbouring countries is embarrassing for Canadians in general, like myself, but especially for all politicians involved.

    I think part of the reason this happened is that the history we are teaching ourselves is centred on the colonization of North America, and the evolution of the Canadian political structure according to external events. The history of Europe and Asia, from their perspective, is barely covered, including but not limited to WWII. I did not understand the unacknowledged dark underbelly that many European countries have to face with regard to the active (and often enthusiastic!) participation of a substantial part of their elites and their population with the Nazi regime until living in Europe. I also got a lacking perspective of the complicated history of both cooperation and rivalry with the Soviet Union and Russia. This leaves a lack of context that disconnects the current rivalry with Russia from the general context of the WWII war and Euro-Asian history, with embarrassing consequences.

    Another reason I believe is that the underlying thread in our Canadian history is that it was never “ours” in the first place, but was always dominated by interests from outside. This was true for French colonies under the French regime, and still plays out today in the mix of amicability and condescendence French elites have for former French colonies. This was true when French colonies were ceded to the British. This was also true for British colonies, and is illustrated in the fact that Canadians have only been able to make sovereign decisions on their constitution starting in 1982, after the British parliament actually voted to make it so. And this is still true today with US elites: when US elites decide Covid is the enemy and American vaccines are the solution, the Canadian elites enact even more draconian measures than Americans will ever do and the vast majority of the population follows by showing a level of loyalty that even Americans are not willing to enact. And then if the same elites now decide Russia is the enemy, our entire political class, regardless of party affiliation, will applaud as a hero a soldier that fought the Soviets while suffering historical selectivity and amnesia about Nazis.

    I sincerely hope that Canadians in general, and parliamentary members in particular, will take this as a wake up call to actively develop a multi-faceted vision of history, and will develop restrain before blindly applauding just because they are cued to do it.

  181. As a follow-up to my previous comment,

    Now that American influence is waning, and US elites are quickly loosing the ability to enact their wills, blindly aligning with American political fads is a recipe for disaster. Both Putin and Xi Jinping understand the void that is left and are explicitly leveraging the accumulated frustration and the desire of many for greater freedom in decision making by offering a joint vision of a multi-polar world that they will shape actively. However, their vision and process still relies on strong charismatic leaders and a desire for growth that are bound to create a new series of conflicts.

    A truly peaceful and stable international order requires on the political side sufficiently many individuals that can recognize when their leaders are going astray and have the political power to ignore and even reverse decisions made by elites when they become disconnected from the reality experienced by the majority. On the ecological and economic sides, visions of the future must include a correct identification of limits to growth and a desire shared by sufficiently many to adopt lifestyles that stay within ecologically and socially sustainable bounds. Any proposals for new world orders should be evaluated in light of actual and demonstrated sharing of political power, affluence, and sustainability with regard to total resource consumption and environmental footprint, otherwise they will simply create the conditions for replacing one system of exploitation with another and foster the conditions for more conflicts.

  182. Re the link cited in #186, I was bemused/amused to see that this line had been penned by our esteemed host:

    “…too many resources had been committed to… practically useless projects such as the support of large religious communities that did nothing but pray and study the scriptures…”

    Now, if you parse this sentence quite carefully, it is most likely not the praying that is being called “practically useless”, but the support of communities who do nothing that is *practically* useful *besides* praying… still, it did read somewhat uncharacteristically. 🙂

  183. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Thank you for this essay. I still find it challenging to come to terms with the idea of influencing on other beings’ consciousness without an obvious contact as it’s not something I’ve experienced consciously. Even so, I try to keep an open mind and understand it.

    In your series about the Kek Wars you discussed how the Changer archetype got activated and then Americans sort of enacted it through Trump. Do you think this kind of process could be mediated or monkeywrenched, deliberately or otherwise, by the method you described in this essay? If so, would a working that involves an archetype be more powerful than another that doesn’t? And would it be somehow riskier?

    Thank you very much.

  184. I want to focus on a single phrase of the essay: “individual…minds are not as isolated from one another as most current ideologies like to insist”. Independent of the context of magic, this is spelled out magnificently in Charles Taylor’s “Sources of the Self”: Homer and even Plato don’t consider human minds to be unitary entities separate from an “outside” world. They never use words like “inside” to refer to somebody’s thoughts or emotions, but rather use imagery related to thoughts and emotions “coming down” (I don’t have that book right now, so paraphrasing from memory – it is a long argument).

    Today, I read the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and, primed by this train of thought, noted how what we consider Joseph’s “inner” decisions and feelings are, in the Greek, mostly presented in the passive voice*:

    “Joseph, her man, being righteous and not willing (active) her to be pointed at, was decided (passive) to cut her off secretly. But while he was moved by strong feelings** (passive) about these things, a messenger of the Lord appeared to him by way of a dream and said: Joseph, son of David, be not frightened (passive) to take on Mary as your wife.”

    * Greek has three voices, active, middle and passive, where middle is often used for activities one does for oneself: get dressed, take something (for oneself) etc. However, the verb forms in these verses are formally passive, not middle voice.

    ** enthymethentos, where thyme is the second horse in Plato’s image of the chariot driver: social emotions like pride and shame.

  185. JMG,
    The appealing image of the future looks more and more like the image of the past, the 1950s, or even pre-war America. The image that the Boomers rejected can become the cornerstone of the future. Of course, if you say that, somebody will bring up racism and segregation. I’m not proposing to bring back that, but the image of a self-sufficient America with its own industry, agriculture, and limited federal government power is appealing.

    It’s not just about America. All countries could benefit from adopting policies like that, being self-sufficient and disconnecting themselves from the largely parasitical Globalist structures. Of course, that would probably mean more local wars between nations, but at least it’s a more sustainable arrangement.

  186. Siliconguy, well, the Israeli radars apparently failed to have much effect on Hamas militant paragliders…

    Kfish, good! Much more crisply handled.

    Chris, oh, granted. As Helmuth von Moltke liked to say, no plan survives contact with the enemy!

    Tengu, many people miss that point, for whatever that’s worth.

    Siliconguy, yes, very much so! Rational analysis works in some cases, not in others — but if you do it while formulating an image of yourself as a rational person picking apart somebody’s self-presentation and catching the flaws, that can be quite an effective strategy.

    AnonQc, that seems like a sensible analysis. A peaceful and stable international order, however, is perhaps the least likely outcome of the current situation: “from the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.”

    Scotlyn, just goes to show you that I also change my mind from time to time! That said, neither the Christian monks and nuns in the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem or the ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel seem to have provided any significant metaphysical benefit to their respective states. It’s an interesting question why this should be so, and deserves study.

    Hispalensis, yes, a working calling on an archetype is generally much more powerful, all other things being equal, than one that does not. Whether it’s more risky depends very much on the nature of the archetype being invoked.

    Aldarion, fascinating. Yes, that would make sense.

    Ecosophian, I suspect that’s going to be the core image of the near-term American future. Of course it will project us onward into something utterly unlike that past America, but that’s one of the standard ironies of history — most movements that accomplish radical change do it while looking backwards toward an idealized past.

  187. Clarke #167 – Thank you for your reply – I like that quote 🙂 No I didn’t find you to be confusing and I guess you are probably right that the question I asked doesn’t arise from a position of clarity. Which in turn indicates a lack of clarity if you ask the question… It strikes me that the saying I quoted, that “if you feel to big for small tasks you are probably too small for big tasks” contains good advice. How can one hope to act with clarity and coherence on a large scale when those qualities are not present on a small scale?

    Thanks again for your reply, you gave me something to think!


  188. @Ecosophia Readers, @JMG

    JMG said:

    <iScotlyn, just goes to show you that I also change my mind from time to time! That said, neither the Christian monks and nuns in the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem or the ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel seem to have provided any significant metaphysical benefit to their respective states. It’s an interesting question why this should be so, and deserves study.

    I think I have at least one possible answer to this. The Gospels often stress how Christ is presented as the Forgiver Extraordinaire of even major sins. Including things like a sinner’s major war atrocities. Christ’s sacrifice is said to cover even things like that – or so it’s taught in most Protestant denominations I’ve listened to. I think Catholics don’t differ in this. Humans may not forgive war and crime atrocities but Christ’s sacrifice still does as long as there’s genuine repentance (karma is not a ‘thing’ in the Abrahamaic religions as far as I can tell).

    I only learned recently how this is taught and said to work out on the material plane according to Dharma traditions regarding the spiritual adept and the real effects it has on our material plane. I can easily see the same thing at work in the Abrahamaic ones even if the Abrahamic religions don’t acknowledge it.

    The type of deity one feels ‘called’ or ‘attracted’ to to develop a direct spiritual connection to said deity leads to direct neurological and biophysical changes upon the body, emotions and minds of said spiritual aspirants according to Rajarshi Nandy.

    Here’s one example Rajarshi gave for Hindus who develop a personal worship and devotion to Vishnu instead of Shiva.

    Vishnu’s assistance and boons gifted to his spiritual aspirants will never be within the realm of the 3 primary lower chakra’s domains (Mooladhara, Swadhistana, Manipura). They’ll only be of higher chakra domains. Vishnu is very much about balance, clarity, personal integrity, being a responsible and contributing member of a wider community and (if needed) appropriate, proportionate justice delivered in a clear, responsible manner. That’s why demons don’t like him and never ask boons of him and aren’t his devotees. He will never, ever grant a demonic being (human or otherwise) a boon. Anything psychopathic, demonic or Machiavellian is all within the jurisdiction of the 3 lower prime chakras.

    The common denominator of all three is that boons manifesting out of these will primarily be observable, obvious boons of material plane desires. Lots of money, satiating of lusts or desires of any kind, etc. Vishnu’s gifts to his devotees address different aims than these.

    To put the point more simply – it matters which deity you pray to to put it quite simply for what begins to manifest within and around you.

    An Example: Something like greater strength which is great for people who are into sports and athletics or weak musculature that needs improvement, etc. If you do the Hanuman Chalisa daily one thing he may gift is the boon of disproportionate strength for one’s frame even when your musculature may be like thin, wiry twigs (like most yogis you see pictures *cough* *cough*…)

    The deity you form a personal bond with absolutely matters to how one’s community and physical surroundings begin to respond. Some deities also respond to humans much, much faster than others. Shiva is notorious for taking many, many, many lifetimes of constant, never-failing practice to finally get His attention and willingness to grant boons.

    Hanuman and Kala Bharava are some of the fastest deities to respond – sometimes within the same week or even within a few days. Hence their popularity.

    Another example Rajarshi gave was of spiritual aspirants whom form a personal bond with Kala Bharaiva (a very fierce form of Shiva). Such aspirants, after 3-4 years of daily practice, will see their neurology and biochemistry and personalities become more ‘fierce’ and more martial in quality.

    What is one thing many strains of Christianity’s chosen deity is known for? Forgiveness.

    Not exactly a inner quality one needs front and center if you’re personally squaring off with foreign troops, insurgents or a local charismatic warlord’s gang (which, Israeli citizens are personally facing these days).

    Forgiveness manifesting in one’s emotions and body come in very handy neurologically and biophysically after one’s community has unfortunately suffered atrocities – not before. This quality is proclaimed for so long and so strong it’s long been noted the hypocrisy of Christian countries to yet have substantial portions of it’s citizenry still engaging in wars and ‘special military operations’ despite their patron deity not having that as one of His prime virtues. It goes against many of the New Testament teachings (though not the Old one. The Old Testament was unashamedly quite martial in many books). And forced the medieval church trying to put a square peg in a round hole by coming up with what constitutes a Just War.

    Christ was doing his work in a region that was under Roman occupation. He was teaching how to live wonderfully and fulfillingly even in the midst of a sometimes brutal occupation and injustices taking place all around. He is not a deity to call upon for ‘excellence in personal martial performance’ if one has been drafted or volunteered to be a troop or gang in a hot war. You need a different kind of connection to a different deity who has specialized in that virtue.

    I provide a link to the relevant talk below. Just a note: The interview is in Hindi but if you turn on Youtube’s surprisingly good (!!)auto-translation to English it’s an amazing interview!

    I think the things Rajarshi Nandy divulges explains at least some of the reasons why those Christian monasteries and convents were unable to dispense the right kind of supports needed at those times to their surrounding community.

    Long story short: It absolutely matters – more than you think to your surrounding community – of your kind of spiritual practice – which and what kind of deity you form a prayer bond and spiritual practice bond with.

    Form a bond with a deity who emphasizes Unconditional Forgiveness and that’s precisely what you’re bring about – the virtue you’ve chosen to excel at – Forgiveness of Absolutely Everything (how All-Embracing like Christ himself is said to be) – even after major attrocities have already taken place no matter how brutal or horrific they may have been. It can be a hard but very fast path up the planes since of neccessity it’s also All-Enduring (like Christ Himself is said to be).

    Christ’s spiritual path up the planes is a premier path of transforming oneself into a bonafide all-encompassing, all-forgiving, all-enduring Saint, not a warrior-deity path who’s mastered the virtue of taking up arms if situations call for it – whether the arms are for offense of defense.

    My guess is if you are a Christian be very clear that this is a prime virtue you wish to specialize in up the planes since you’ll be off-shoring and out-sourcing policing and martial duties to devotees of more martial oriented spiritual paths. There needs to be disensus among spiritual aspirants too. Not a monocrop cultivation of any One True Religion as the Piscean age loved to emphasize.

  189. @Ecosophia Readers

    As a corollary of my earlier post Sadhguru has consecrated a special form of a Bhaivavi Devi linga in Nepal (or was it Tibet? I forget which). He said Tibetan Buddhism has wallowed a bit too much in loving-kindness that has ended up coming at the expense of clarity so the new Bharaivi Devi linga has a special 3rd eye consecration that he felt was not needed for the Bhairavi linga in India.

  190. Here is something that may have been hiding in plain sight with regard to the magic of fiction and storytelling:

    The images build on the upper planes and become more vivid and clarified through the process of writing – from inception to finished story. Tracks have been laid down in space.

    Then each time the story is told, or read, more tracks in space are laid down by the engagement of the story teller and listeners, or the reader. The images get built up again and again for those that get read a lot.

    The astral energy the author and reader pours into it can amplify the effect.

  191. @DbtL
    of “American goods made with American resources by American labor for American consumers.”
    Aaack. How about we get away from this “consumer” thing (which always in my mind conjures up images of ravenous, toothy creatures gnawing at the heart of society). “….for American people.” Sounds much cleaner and headed to a better outcome IMHO

  192. Link fixed, please delete earlier version!

    I hope this is not getting OT. After reading up a bit, I would like to nuance my earlier post. The most literal translation of the Greek might be:
    Joseph’s mind changed to a state of decision…
    His mind had changed to a state of emotional turmoil…
    The messenger told him: “Do no let your mind change to a state of fear…”
    And in each case the language de-emphasizes the agent that causes the change in mind.

    Compared to this, the English “He decided” (and its exact equivalents in other modern European languages) seems, in many cases, much too optimistic; in fact “I decided” reeks a bit of narcissism! As JMG has sometimes said, free will is not something we are born with, but something we can acquire little by little.

  193. Here are my takeaways from this week’s post.

    1) This is about magical combat as a group practitioner, not so much as an individual combatant. I pretty much try to ignore what I’m up against, on the principle that, what you resist, persists, plus, if I were to have a magical power (in the Harry Potter sense), it would be either that of teleportation (place oneself elsewhere), or invisibility. I am working on the skills necessary to take apart one’s opposition, but to do that well, I think, requires having a clear understanding of the patterns one is up against, ignoring the current fashion or mode.

    2) I do regularly clean my toilets (I have three, but only take responsibility for two), but not on a daily basis. To me this suggests, based on Kimberly’s report, that I should continue to see some steady income (thankfully), but not enough to bump me into the next tax bracket (also, thankfully).

    3) Finally, and most importantly, not only is the world full of gods (not stated here, but stated by our host elsewhere), but that in a universe full of conscious beings, what effects one might have might well be the result of one’s interactions, or attempted interactions, with those conscious beings. This is something I am going to seriously ponder, and something which has already influenced my meditations. Thank you so much, kind sir.

  194. Oh, and I’d forgotten. For an academic and sympathetic treatment of the Western esoteric tradition, might I recommend the works of Wouter Hanegraaff. I’ve only read one of them, but I was blown away by two things: (a) the depth and breadth of scholarship (this was on the Corpus Hermeticum) ; (b) the command of the dominant twentieth-century philosophical traditions and what they bring to bear on scholarly interpretation. This is the leading edge of good stuff, unless Robert Mathiesen wishes to disagree.

  195. @JMG & Ecosophia Readers

    Though I used Christianity as a lens for my hypothesis I think it also applies to those Jewish communities prior to Saladin’s conquest of Jerusalem – and equally so, today. I’m sorry but I simply do not associate the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities with self-cultivation of a personal warrior ethos and military training. They outsource those duties to the non-Orthodox Jews and if non-Orthodox line doesn’t hold their own Orthodox communities will be numbered among the civilian casualties.

  196. Panda, and yet Christian Europeans conquered the world under the banner of Christ — including India, let us remember. I’m not sure how well your analysis measures up to the hard facts of history.

    Justin, good. Yes, exactly.

    Aldarion, that’s interesting indeed.

    Asdf, good. I’d suggest, though, that you can also take the discussion in this post as a guide to individual magical combat; if you have a vivid ideal and keep formulating it strongly, especially if that ideal puts you in rapport with a deity, you’re not going to have much trouble with hostile magic. It’s the vague thinkers and those who don’t know what they want who are most vulnerable. As for Hanegraaff, I’m inclined to agree — the works of his that I’ve read impressed me.

  197. @panda
    “ (karma is not a ‘thing’ in the Abrahamaic religions as far as I can tell).”
    Yeah, a lot of people (especially Christians) make that mistake. The Golden Rule* isn’t a warm, fuzzy suggestion on how to be a nice person. It is a warning.
    *Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

  198. @asdf jkl (#215):
    No disagreement on my part! Wouter Hanegraaff is always very much worth reading, one of the very most knowledgeable esotericists alive today.

    @Justin Patrick Moore (#211):
    Storycrafting is a very demanding art, and can be an extremely powerful form of magic. The best storytellers do not simply regurgitate the same words with each telling (like an actor performing in a play written by someone else), but build the same story anew each time they craft it for each new audience. I learned a great deal about this art from Albert Bates Lord’s The Singer of Tales, which describes most insightfully how a traditional Serbian singer of the old Serbian epics crafts the text he is singing anew in the moment he is singing it, each and every time he sings it. It’s a fascinating skill-set, and can be adapted to stroycrafting in any language, whether prose, poetry or song.

  199. @Happy Panda #209 Read the book of Revelation, Jesus is also called the Son of David, a premier warrior. I won’t drag everyone through a flood of Bible verses, but your view of Jesus is partial. I think of my son who I learned from a class mate of his was wonderfully kind in high school, but boldly and skillfully took down the school bully in a fight. My father also, kind, forgiving , gracious, gentle and in his words as tough as twisted alligator shale. Jesus as being fully man had a warrior nature, a servant nature, a kingship nature, a healing tender nature, a friend, a miracle worker, a leader. If you take on the full Christ this is what you take on. He even told his disciples at the Last Supper to buy themselves swords! Of course Jesus’s followers have imperfectly put on Christ. The exploits of Christian warriors in resisting the Jihad invasions of Europe by the Ottoman Turks have been forgotten. In 1683 the King of Poland drove the Turks from the gates of Vienna by leading history’s largest calvary charge. Skanderbeg after reconverting back to Christianity from Islam defended Albania from Ottoman tyranny and invasion for decades.

  200. @JMG,

    When you write that “A peaceful and stable international order, however, is perhaps the least likely outcome of the current situation”, do you imply that it is not worth striving for, or simply that one striving for it should not delude themselves that it will manifest anytime soon?

    Trying to identify the actual necessary factors for an actual peaceful and stable international order to me is a great antidote to both the current propaganda of existing institutions (including the aspirations of the WEF), and the new propaganda of Russians and Chinese. Otherwise, once one realizes the vacuousness and incoherence between ideals held and actual decisions made by any side, it is tempting to adopt that of another side and simply be stuck into another incoherent mess.

    And even if the ideals may not manifest anytime soon (or ever) at the global scale, those striving to live in coherence with them will still experience their benefits. Anyone today can already “collapse now and avoid the rush” down to a level of energy and resource consumption that if adopted widely could enable world-wide replication without conflicts, and use the surpluses thus generated to prepare a sustainable “ecotechnic” future. The most practical and empirically verified experiment I have learned about so far is by Living Energy Farm

    Also, one does not have to wait passively the “Dark Ages” to come, there is always the option of actively and creatively leveraging the current industrial infrastructure to bootstrap the next stage, with wider and cheaper options than what our descendants will have. I already see signs of many that are actively doing this.

  201. Hi John Michael,

    Everyone needs a long dead genius commander to guide them in the gentle art of strategy, and Helmuth von Moltke the Elder is a fine choice. The guy was a genius, and he had a decent grasp of history too, not to mention that particular history which included decline. He would have comprehend the greater meaning there.

    Please don’t take any offence, but your elites are dumber than I thought they were. I do not read the news in any great detail, just more of a skim to get a feel for the currents. And four days ago I read this: US transfers 1.1 million rounds seized from Iran to Ukraine. Humour me for a second. This article should never have seen the light of day. Timing, hmm? Instead what should have been written was: We seized a whole lot of ammunitions, and destroyed them. Insert a good photo of blowing a whole lot of ammo up. Then wait a while. Then. We’re shipping a whole bunch of ammo to over there.

    The problem with controlling the media, is that there is no honest feedback to your elites. They really need that. The message this article sends is that: We’re running short of support for our foreign adventures, but here’s some stuff we’re giving them, whilst annoying the folks as made the stuff. It is not wise to attempt to please captive constituencies, when hostile powers also read the same fracking articles. This is so dumb words escape me.



  202. Since you’ve posted this I’ve noticed, a growing number of Twitter users posting images created by generative AI to showcase images of hope for the future of the USA and UK. In the past, most such pictures were centered around a “retvrn” to the past.

    This new trend seems to reflect a shift towards a more positive and proactive approach rather than simply retreating backwards or criticizing the hypocritical actions of their “enemies”. Alongside hopeful images, there are also satirical depictions of the current state of affairs, transporting the iconic artist Normal Rockwell to the semi-dystopian present day. It is a promising development that, hopefully, will continue to gain momentum in the future! I like to think it was your post here that heralded in the new trend.

  203. Hey JMG,

    Seeing the pictures of the USS Gerald Ford steaming towards the Middle East yesterday brought me shivers, reminding me of the events of Twilight’s Last Gleaming. You wouldn’t happen to be a clairvoyant, would you?

    Considering how badly the US leadership has been outplayed at basically everything the last couple of years, I’m not sure that gambling that Russia hasn’t provided Iran with some hypersonic cruise missiles is a good bet to make.

  204. @Oep. A very salient point. And the other side of that coin is that forgiveness breaks the laws of karma, as Raimon Panikkar, the Hindu-Christian scholar points out.

  205. Ok, so I’m hoping the following is relevant to this post, although I might go at it in a bit of a roundabout way.

    The other day I asked a friend of mine if they would consent to me sending healing energy in relation to a specific health matter of concern. They said – “Sure. I also have the local priest (who happens to be this person’s employer, although this person is an atheist) praying for me. I don’t believe in it, but I see no harm in it.” So, I accepted this as consent, but as I put down the phone, I had a startling and vivid thought, which was this: “Belief has nothing to do with it, only consent.”

    I decided to unpack this thought, in the context of everything I have learned over the years about medicine, healing and the so-called “placebo effect” (ie the observation that people sometimes heal when the medicine they are given is demonstrably “inert”). The which, incidentally, evidence-based medicine has spent the past 60 years or so proving the existence of, while getting no closer to understanding it. Continually demonstrating the placebo effect has mostly prompted researchers to try to figure out how to set it to one side where it can’t “bias” a result.

    Hmmm. So. Well, I have often heard the “placebo effect” called a matter of belief. You cannot heal without believing, say, that *these* tablets are the effective ones, and not *those*. Well, but, IS it a matter of belief? For a very long time I have doubted that belief has much bearing on the matter. Certainly, some of the most challenging patients I ever have in the clinic are people afflicted with an over supply of “belief” in Chinese Medicine – what they are looking for is often beyond my small powers. Also, many placebo studies demonstrate that people often heal even when they know perfectly well that the tablets they are getting are inert placebos.

    That wee flash of a thought I had the other day, when I’ve unpacked it a bit, seems to have thrown some light on the mystery. Especially if you think of every interaction between a doctor/physician/practitioner and a patient in the light of a ceremony. In which (on some plane) the patient is being asked, “do you [NAME] consent to healing,” and to which the patient (on some plane) is replying either “I do” or “I do not”.

    For sure, many things complicate the outlines of this ceremony. It may be that some types of medicine are no longer asking consent for an act of healing but consent for an act of sickening (for which any such type of medicine, or any such practitioner is answerable).

    But, likewise, each patient will know (on some plane) what “consent for healing” entails – for them. And sometimes it will entail giving up an image of themselves, or a social role given to them by others. Sometimes it will entail acceptance of freedom and/or acceptance of being alive and/or acceptance of responsibility for making a significant change in some aspect of their life that is not currently aligned to their healing. Sometimes it entails the simple willingness to take a step across a threshold of mystery into the unknown. And often a person is not yet ready to consent to some part of the “package” that they know (on some plane) is what is on offer.

    And yet, sometimes, they are. And when they are, the ceremony – all of it – place, people, ritual acts, material substances with which to ground the intentions of all participants, all come together in a totally non-replicable way, to *effectively* bring about an act of healing. All of it, together, will perform the “magic” of recruiting all of the patient’s powers, on every plane, to work together to heal.

  206. Aloha,

    Hey JMG, firstly I just want to say that I have a lot of respect for your writing and your chosen topics( eg peak oil and magic).

    So I am a ‘magician’ (of course the term becomes rather meaningless as one understands), and I have been playing on the world stage. Everyone has seen my workings, and very few know.

    So i was lost in the dark for a bit, couldn’t find a way back into the light, and did things as i saw as necessary. Then I began finding my back. Terrific Lessons that transformed me yet again.

    In july, I did my last big one constructed purely out of love as I was finally back into the light. It manifested a little over two weeks later. A lot of people died, and something in me was also burned to a crisp. The night of its manifestation I was reading Dion Fortune and learned something I hadn’t understood, that until its completion, things can still be altered. Something had entered into the equation, resembling a fire elemental. I remember when, while driving, I ‘accidentally’ opened up, and something ‘attached’. Three other fire events (beyond the intention) occured over the next month or so.

    All that drove me nearly to suicide. And I realized I need some help. Oh yeah, I had developed my own system. All mental. Somewhat shamanic. I understand now the need for some of things in other magical systems. For safety. Also the secrecy. Had some moments of enlightment, and I am looking how to elevate, instead of destroy.

    I don’t know what ‘grade’ I would be at in any of these systems, but i am pretty sure there are few that can do some of things I have, and as I mentioned first, I have a lot of respect for your work, so I would appreciate any advice (although this short message does little to explain the total situation I found myself in; you would have to read my book to get a proper context). And i know you are extremely busy, so I won’t hold my breath.

    Peace, love, and sunshine

  207. Wer here
    Well it seems that magical combat is not only the one discussed here. I’ve read the “stormtrooper syndrome” post and checked the 2006 war, now we have pictures of israeli tanks being blown up everywhere with drones.
    people who were screaming that Ukrainians and russians were destroying each other armor with drones and laughing at they had went silent sudenlly….
    The people who were laughing at Nato offensive and Russia now have to explain why the “invincible Israeli army”, and “invincible merkava have to do know”.
    PS. When Putin and Zelensky called for reservist everybody in Poland were screaming “they are weak and desperate”
    Now the jewish goverment is drafting reservists and calling for aid everywhere- what are they going to say know?
    You may block this comment JMG but I have to went here because the madness and panic that is being pumped in the Polish media for the last couple of days is getting just crazy.

  208. Not even the Ronald Reagan. The Gerald Ford. Shakes head.
    The first thing my daughter said yesterday, when she picked me up for Sunday Brunch, was “We have another war on our hands.”

  209. “Instead what should have been written was: We seized a whole lot of ammunitions, and destroyed them. Insert a good photo of blowing a whole lot of ammo up. Then wait a while. Then. We’re shipping a whole bunch of ammo to over there.”

    That would fool very few people. The West has very few sources of 7.62 x 39 ammunition in quantity. In fact the war has drained much of the supply of non military ammunition and components as well inhibiting my target shooting.

    As for putting the Ford in harm’s way, a hypersonic missile isn’t the only threat. A diesel submarine and a spread of homing torpedoes ( which they all are these days) and the bird farm will be in the shipyard for years. No it probably won’t sink, look at the pounding the Yorktown took at Midway, but cripple it, sure.

    How embarrassing when the fleet’s flagship is taken out by a WWII submarine and a torpedo upgraded with a microphone and a raspberry pi. The sub would be unlikely to get away, but that’s just a free trip to paradise.

    I’d hate to be an officer in the surface navy today. Drones below, drones above, and a flight deck of Lardbuckets.

  210. JMG: Maybe my book review thread on Magic Monday would best be completely deleted. I apologize for being disruptive there. My apology was too late to be included in the day’s posting there.

    [remainder of comment deleted]

    [Christopher, when I say “enough,” that means “drop the subject.” Your apology is accepted; now give the entire topic a rest. — JMG]

  211. A short information, if I may, to show that astrology might have had a role in deciding the timing for the attack of Hamas against Israel: It began at 6:30 on the morning of October 7th. The horoscope for that time and the location of Gaza seems to be quite suited for the attack. The Sun is near the cusp of the first house, and the moon, in Cancer, is in the tenth house, which has Cancer on its cusp. Mars has a positive aspect with Saturn. The fourth house is governed by Saturn via Capricornus on the cusp of the fourth house. So, electional astrology can be, in a crtain way, a form of political magic. Another example is how the former president of Oman decided the timing for his coup against his father. Here it is helpful to know that the former president of Oman governed his country for a long time, autocratic, but competently, and successfully modernized it in a way that Oman got the nickname “Switzerland of Arabia”. At least that is what I have read about the subject.

  212. @ Robert Mathiesen #219: Thanks for the tip about The Singer of Tales. Used copies are rather inexpensive, so I’m going to pick one up. I remember that you mentioned this book before. It sounds very intriguing. I know it is on the other side of the Black Sea from from Serbia, but do you happen to know anything about Armenian traditional storytellers / storytelling (vipasans or gusans)? It’s an area of research I have been meaning to look up, but perhaps I will start in Serbia.

    Thanks again!

  213. “Scotlyn, just goes to show you that I also change my mind from time to time! That said, neither the Christian monks and nuns in the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem or the ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel seem to have provided any significant metaphysical benefit to their respective states. It’s an interesting question why this should be so, and deserves study.”

    If I may, I happen to have had a delightful conversation with an Orthodox Jew a couple years back, who told me that a lot of Orthodox Jews reject the state of Israel, and have a relationship that ranges from indifferent to actively hostile to the country.

    He explained it to me as being because of a number of factors, but one of the major ones is that if Israel were the Promised Land, then logically it meant that the Messiah had already come and brought the Jews to Israel. Since they cannot point to who the Messiah was, Israel must be a Creation of Man; and it is therefore somewhere between absurd to blasphemous for Israel to claim to be a Jewish State in anything more than an ethnic or cultural sense; and it is outright blasphemous for anyone to claim it is the Promised Land, as many supporters of the country do.

    A lot of Orthodox Jews moved there not because they supported the country, but because Europe was no longer considered safe; and within a few years of Israel’s foundation, the destabilization of the Arab World caused by a mix of rapid and poorly handled decolonization, the Cold War, and Israel’s aggressive foreign policy left a lot of Jews in that part of the world fearing for their safety; depending on when they moved, a lot of people are still hoping to be able to move home, and resentments against the Israeli government for policies which resulted in the anti-Semitism which forced large numbers of Arab Jews to flee places where they have roots dating centuries is apparently common; and then compounding the problem, a lot of Israeli do not trust anyone who looks Arab, given the tensions between Israel and Palestine.

    So I’m not at all surprised having a large number of people who are deeply religious, but range from ambivalent to actively hostile to the state would fail to provide any sort of metaphysical benefit to the state.

  214. I’m happy I picked up a couple Cases of 7.62 about 10 Years ago when it was inexpensive. It’s similar to 30.30 for Bear and Deer Hunting.
    I shoot .45 Government for Target Shooting. I’m having to cut way back.
    41 Cents Per Round now in Bulk.
    America has an Ammunition Affordability Issue in much need of attention by Congress and Biden.😀

  215. @Scotlyn (#226):

    I am sure that you are right to claim (if I read your post correctly) that belief is not essential for the placebo effect to work. I actually managed to make the placebo effect work on one occasion where I firmly believed it could not, but had reason to try it anyway.

    Ever since childhood, I have used a semi-psychological method my mother taught me to keep burns from blistering: you hold the newly burned skin under a stream of cold water from the tap and keep it there until the pain from the burn changes from “new-injury” pain to “old-injury” pain. (There is a difference, and you have to learn how to tell the two kinds of pain apart.) Then you can turn the water off, and if you believe the burn will not blister, it won’t.

    In practice, that method actually worked for me only part of the time, not consistently.

    Then I happened to read about a scientific study which argued that blistering was often an over-kill response of the body to a burn, and that a blister damaged the burned tissue more than the heat itself had done. I found the argument convincing, and afterwards I had almost 100% success with my old method of treating burns.

    But then there was an evening when we were having guests for dinner, and I had made a casserole. When I took the glass dish out of the 400-degree oven, I did not notice that one of the hot-mitts had a hole in it. By the time I began to feel pain, there was no place close by where I could set the dish down quickly, so I had to hold it for about 10 seconds until I could get to a safe place to set it down., By then, the pain was excruciating, and I was certain that I would need to go to the local emergency room immediately for treatment. Yet we had guests, so I tried my cold-water method first, even though I strongly believed that it would not work this time.

    It took me more than 10 minutes before the new-injury pain completely turned to old-injury pain., but finally it did, and the burned skin remained unbroken, though it was quite red. So we went on with the dinner party.

    The next morning the skin was still unbroken, though painful, and there was no blister at all. Everything returned to normal over the next few days without any blistering at all.

    That episode convinced me that belief was irrelevant to the process, but that something different, which I called “knowledge” (however defined) or “understanding,” was the essential part of making a placebo work for oneself. Since then I have extended the intiial insight, and have had far more success in deliberately using a self-administered known placebo to treat various minor ailments.

  216. AnonQc, fair enough. I have yet to see any ideal so broadly framed have a noticeable effect — campaigns for change that actually accomplish things typically focus on one change to one policy, as (for example) the campaign to get marriage rights for gay and lesbian people — but if you feel that trying to reform the entire structure of international relations is the best use of your energy, go ye forth and do that thing.

    Chris, I won’t take offense. Our elites here in America are so dumb that if I compared them to a box of rocks the rocks would get indignant.

    Griff, interesting! Here’s hoping.

    Sub, the Iranians have already tested a hypersonic missile. It’s a ballistic missile, not a cruise missile, but a couple of them could still put a US carrier at the bottom of the Mediterranean. I keep on telling people that I really, truly didn’t intend Twilight’s Last Gleaming to be a manual…

    Scotlyn, that makes a great deal of sense. Thank you!

    Lucky Fir, I have very little advice to offer that would be of any use to you; my experience is with established systems of magic, and (as someone with Aspergers syndrome) I don’t claim to be particularly skilled at dealing with people. If you’re correct about your involvement in the fire, you have some serious karma to deal with, and you might want to get to work on that. Beyond that, you have my blessing if you’ll accept it.

    Wer, it’s a relevant comment. A lot of people have formulated an image of Israel as invincible, and the fact that Hamas was able to brush aside multiple layers of Israeli defenses in this latest attack has caused a tremendous jolt to a lot of people’s worldviews. The question now is what happens next — and since all this has descended from the realm of images and intentions into the material realm of bullets and bombs, we’ll just have to wait and see.

    Patricia M, if worst comes to worst, the Ford’s big enough to carry a lot of refugees.

    Booklover, that’s very plausible; I noted some time ago that the official founding of the new Islamic Republic of Afghanistan appears to have been elected rather carefully on astrological grounds.

    Anonymous, hmm. I wonder who’s been flogging the idea of tearing down the al-Aqsa mosque and building a Third Temple so hard, then.

  217. @JMG (#240), replying to Anonymous (#236)::

    That would be, in part, other religious Jews whose views differ from those whom Anonymous mentioned, and now also in very large part those Israeli politicians who envision an all-out war that would–they dream!–settle accounts with the Arab Muslim world for once and for all.

    I notice that the Western mainstream press has nowhere connected the attack by Hamas last Friday with the Jewish provocative acts of violence against Muslim worshippers at al-Aqsa mosque two days earlier, while the Israeli authorities stood by without intervening. I do not doubt for a moment that the Israeli government understood how spectacularly the Muslim world would be outraged by the official indifference to the Jewish violent incursions into that mosque.

  218. “Anonymous, hmm. I wonder who’s been flogging the idea of tearing down the al-Aqsa mosque and building a Third Temple so hard, then.” FWIW, I’m guessing the whole thing is more strategic/political than religious, with religion being the smokescreen.

  219. “Anonymous, hmm. I wonder who’s been flogging the idea of tearing down the al-Aqsa mosque and building a Third Temple so hard, then.”

    One major issue is that if Israel does do so, the moment the Third Temple is built, then Israel must be the Promised Land, Messiah or no Messiah. So I think certain factions in Israel’s government are determined to build it in order to settle the issue with Orthodox Jews rejecting Israel as a Jewish State.

    It’s also great propaganda for Muslims; and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Hamas, or another organization fighting Israel, was encouraging such discussions.

    Third, the rebuilt temple is a key part of the Apocalypse in certain Evangelical Circles; which means that some of them want to see the temple rebuilt in order to bring about the Apocalypse.

  220. Mary Bennet, the astrology of the Islamic world has its roots in the astrology of Antiquity, so it is similar to Western astrology. There is a different house system in Islamic astrology, but the differences aren’t big.

    JMG, I have read your post about the foundational chart of Afghanistan. The thing with the inception horoscope of the current Near Eastern war happened, because I read somewhere a comment about the time of the beginning of the Hamas offensive, and decided to have a fast look at the chart, which seemed to be quite positive.

  221. Hi John Michael,

    There are just so many better options that could have been taken, that weren’t. So am I correct in thinking that the west is now in some proxy war with Russia, and now Iran? And if our elites are really stupid, and I’m coming around to that opinion, we might yet see action in the South China Sea over possession of Taiwan.

    I guess this is what the end of Empire looks like.



  222. Re: JMG’s question on who’s supporting The Jewish State in The US:

    My guess? Fundamentalist Christians and other King James Bible believers.
    One of the requirements for Christ’s return that I remember hearing and reading frequently as a Fundamentalist Christian in my teens was the return of The Jews to The Promised Land; while the question of why was always smoothed over with the specter of God’s Unopposable Will™️ the idea was that of God Calling His People Back.

    As for Jewish Support (a nontrivial matter, of course) I’ve gotten the impression that Israel is seen as a safe corner, just in case. 2500-plus years of being at the mercy of others does that to a people, especially when there’s always new examples of host peoples turning on them and a collection of peoples in the “home land” who can claim safety from known and experienced persecution.

  223. Thank you, JMG. I accept.

    As someone who once labeled themselves a bit aspy, I understand. Just to clarify, I discovered myself in an impossible position over a decade ago, and had to come to terms with being born the “bad guy”, so karma is a side point.

    I don’t particularly enjoy incredulity, but since I already went so far, I might as well spill out a few more beans. I’ve been playing out Rev. What I believe happened was 13:13. For the first time ever, I had communicated my intention prior in a message to someone. However, I left it open-ended, a newish technique I have recently been experimenting with. The objective was to prove a point, and get this show on the road, because as we both know, the longer this civ drags on, the worse it will be for those that come after.

    Which does bring me to a question of Karma, if the ultimate result counts, not just the individual deeds?

    So without proof of 13:18, all of this is meaningless. And I have that. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I would like more to examine it than you. The missing keys came thru as I wrote my book. I’d be happy to send a digital copy.

    Since then, this year, I’ve been diving into what I can find from the societies of early last century, and I see evidence they knew someone was coming, leaving little hints in page numbers and such., that only one would see if they already knew what it was (a specific rare conjunction). Blavatsky, Fortune, Crowley, K.Anger (whom outed the secret in Lucifer Rising), all gained it somewhere, possibly the freemasons (whose symbols are how I solved it).

    So how does this apply to your original post? If I’m not simply insane, and everything I have gone through is as I think it is, this might just be it. Three horsies are riding. Much of it is completed.. It didn’t need to be publicly acknowledged as I first thought. The zombies don’t matter. The ‘christians’ will be most surprised when the curtain divides.

  224. @Christopher from California
    I’m glad you pointed that out, he was magical. I remember there was a section of history class in high school dedicated to explaining how a second lieutenant in an artillery regiment ascended to position of Emperor of France. There was also that whole lucky star that only he could see phenomenon.

    I downloaded the History of the Conquest of Mexico by Bernal Diaz from Guttenberg project and will read it. Thank you.

  225. “Third, the rebuilt temple is a key part of the Apocalypse in certain Evangelical Circles; which means that some of them want to see the temple rebuilt in order to bring about the Apocalypse.”

    So they expect to get to heaven after they light the fuse that ends the world? And they don’t think an omniscient Being would notice their ploy? Oh boy.

    “They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah.”

  226. Argenkiwi, it’s a lowbrow, sloppy, bargain-basement form of magic. The same thing is true of most advertising.

    Robert, yeah, I noticed the complete lack of reference in our official media to the repeated provocations at the al-Aqsa mosque. Or, for that matter, to the fact that senior Orthodox rabbis in Israel have been arguing that spitting on Christians is a Jewish tradition not to be interfered with…

    Phutatorius, that’s possible, but religion can also be a motivating force.

    Anonymous, oh, granted.

    Booklover, so noted!

    Chris, that’s my guess too.

    Godozo, I wasn’t talking about who was supporting it in the US; I was talking about who in Israel was behind the repeated attempts to move toward rebuilding the Temple of Solomon.

    Lucky Fir, so noted. We’ll just have to see, won’t we?

    Patricia M, that’s certainly one possibility.

    Ian, it’s harrowing but well worth reading!

  227. Very late in the post i know, but I have had several friends who were in the IDF. By and large they hate the orthodox Jews. The orthodox Jews stir up the doo doo with the Arabs, but don’t have to serve, and the IDF, most of whom are secular or pretty moderate, have to clean it up.

  228. “Info, you of all people should recognize that there’s a difference between magic and miracle. Human beings are not gods, and there are plenty of things that gods can do that humans cannot.”

    Indeed. Pardon my ignorance.

    Would you count the works the Egyptian Court Magicians did as Miracles or Magick?

    Although it is interesting that in said contest its a form of proving which God is stronger and which is powerless. The Egyptian Gods were proven weaker.

    None of the Gods that were in charge of particular features of Egypt was able to stop the God of Israel in that case.

    “I noticed the complete lack of reference in our official media to the repeated provocations at the al-Aqsa mosque. Or, for that matter, to the fact that senior Orthodox rabbis in Israel have been arguing that spitting on Christians is a Jewish tradition not to be interfered with…”

    Interesting that as soon as some of the Jews want to rebuild the 3rd Temple that this War started just on cue. When humans attempt to frustrate Divine Providence and go outside the range of acceptable action. Forces suddenly act to stop them.

  229. @Happy Panda


    Although in regards to Martiality. There is still a place in regards to the Sword. That is in (Romans 13). Which both Christian and Non-Christian Governments are obligated to fulfill.

    To carry out God’s Wrath against Evildoers on his behalf. With the Sword of course being used in Execution in carrying out the Death Sentence.

    The Kingdom of God spreads via the Gospel. The Sword is simply for the sake of National Defense and administration of the Just penalty. There is no imperative for conquest by the Sword.

  230. @ Robert #238 – Thank you for that story, and for the information it contains. I do think that the distinction you make between fresh injury pain and old injury pain is an important one, and if we all sat with, fully experienced and attended to fresh injury pain, it would be much easier to trust that old injury pain signalled that an active process of healing and recovery going on.

    @ all – what I am mostly interested to see is how the Israeli army will convert combat skills its soldiers have gained over decades of incursions into the domestic dwellings of unarmed people to terrorise children and the elderly, and guard duty at innumerable checkpoints disrupting unarmed people from going about their daily business, into the skills necessary to face equally armed and equipped soldiers in the field. These skillsets may not be commensurate.

  231. Complete aside from the essay and comments.

    Not sure if this has been forwarded on to you here but, I just heard the news that long time commenter and followed of JMG and similar folks Michael Dowd has passed away. Just saw this on the Collapse subreddit.

    Dowd recorded many audio version of Greers work over the years including the official Dark Age America that you can find on places like Audible. His work on Post Doom, No Gloom was inspirational in trying to lead people through the path of decline.

    He was always an absolute charming fellow I’m sure the folks here will missing his presence.

    When the wind blows, the leaves fall. Some are old and some are young. It is the way of the universe and the lives of people. In a way to have the luxury of anticipating collapse/decline is such a privilege. As much as we worry about the trends of the future, sometimes your destiny follows a path you least anticipate. Remember, now is the envy of all the dead.

  232. Efrat Fenigson, an Israeli former intel officer, has stated that she does not believe Israel was blindsided by these attacks, and that this was more or less allowed to happen as a pretext for a crackdown. Other commentators speculate that Mossad factions unhappy with Netanyahu set this up as a way to undermine his regime.

    Some or none of that may or may not be true. The truth may be more complex than anyone currently understands. What alarms me, in keeping with the theme of this post, is that pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian extremists have been calling loudly for the expulsion or eradication. I am wondering if both sides are now about to get enough of what they wished for to regret it. I really, really hope I’m wrong.

  233. A couple of bits re: Magic

    Art Bell (the Paranormal radio host) had his listeners perform a weather ritual to help put out a fire back in the day. The result was massive levels of flooding probably do tot he excess of uncontrolled energy . My guess is the energy feeds into probabilistic events making them more or less likely. This doesn’t directly effect matter as you noted but the chance that events happen one way or another.

    Its also possible that magic works with intermediary beings “spirits” if you will that can effect various sorts of matter as well.

    Also while not precisely magic in the sense you use telekinesis is a think but how it works is not clear. Its fairly common though to see objects move without material contact , ghost and people can do this.

    lastly ramble, I come from a line of crafty folks and one of the most effective spells I knew was a coin jar that gained money rate. Its possible they were unconsciously added to the jar but it also might be a mysterious thing. All I know was it worked . A different ritual once managed to summon some long overdo monies but that worked exactly as you stated , on people

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