Open Post

April 2018 Open Post

As announced earlier, this blog will host an open space once a month (well, more or less!) to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers, and this is the week. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic.

With that said, have at it!

366 Comments

  1. Greetings!
    I think you’ve mentioned one of your online haunts for news is Naked Capitalism. (I found ADR from a comment there actually.)
    What is your take on MMT?

  2. I was wondering whether you believe in any arguments for the immortality of the soul, e.g. those given in Plato’s Phaedo?

  3. I have a question which I asked on ADR but didn’t see you reply at the time, if there was one. As a child in about 1955 on the South Coast of New South Wales I was outside at night and above a nearby mountain range saw a circle of lights in the sky. There were about 6, not attached to the ground. Anyway there was truly nothing there at that time. Next thing I saw them go out one after the other. This was before sputnik etc and I have always been puzzled about. Not much of a believer in UFOs myself but this was one.

  4. JMG. I have two questions this month one not really important and one serious. The first is how did you learn Latin. I studied it at university and have tried over the years to not lose the little i had. How did you go about it? My second question is what is your best guess on the time line of decline. I have been reading you now for a year and a half more or less. It was really rearranged my thinking. It hasn’t rearranged my life yet. I flew down to Mexico for instance last month. So how much time do we (I) have to get ready for the stuff that is headed our way? Thanks again John.

  5. I’ve noticed something rather interesting: nearly ever “disease of civilization” is linked to pollution. This is not to say that every case of (ex) heart disease is caused by air pollution, but it seems interesting that it seems like the vast majority, if not all of them are linked to this cause.

    I’ve been mulling over the non-response to this, the way so many people insist that it’s not the case, and go looking for other causes for the diseases. Quite a few people will present alternatives, fabricating studies to argue the point.

    It’s finally occurred to me that this is a very logical response: if I’m right, then these will get worse, and the only way to change that is to accept a poorer lifestyle, which is a non-starter. Rather than deal with the intellectual contortions required, they just reject the premise altogether.

  6. Someone tell me of nature spirits. If I wanted to confirm for myself the existence of, say, a moose or a marmoset, I could do that. Adopt the nature photographer thing: situate myself properly and wait. Confirming the existence of protons or something, that requites a different skill set. Maybe a hadron collider. And lots of Ph D’s and a few sub-zero cameras. But (theoretically) do-able. I get the sense that I could situate myself in nature with all the open-heartedness and receptivity that I could muster and that I’d age myself right into homo fertilizicus before I could meet … something half-way.

  7. John–

    I’m formulating this as I write, so it may be a bit jumbled yet, but I’ve had an interesting convergence of experiences and realizations lately.

    Some days ago, I engaged in a polite, principled discussion (at the end of which we essentially agreed to disagree) with one who termed himself a “humanist.” The discussion was kicked off by a response he made to comments I’d made regarding the importance of national sovereignty and the respective thereof, and additionally the significance of the principle of self-determination. In his view, nation-states were arbitrary distinctions of secondary importance impeding the growth of humanity. He brought up what he saw as the negative impacts of balkanization and tribalism, and we went a few rounds discussing those terms and the values we associated with them. In the end, I suggested that what he saw as balkanization, I saw as freedom. (I also made the point of embracing the term “tribalist” — stating that yes, I believe that societies had the fundamental right to pursue their own way of life, subject to respecting other groups’ right to do the same.) It was interesting, too, to observe that the ideal for each of us (me: a vast multitude of small nations; him: a single global society) was anathema for the other.

    But this brought to mind my more recent readings in the Dolmen Arch philosophy chapter, particularly regarding life as change. More specifically, the necessity for change in order to consciousness to exist as consciousness and life to exist as life. The search for a single, static, once-and-for-all solution is actually a search for death, is it not — as the system achieving that state ceases to live.

    The conversation also brought up for me the notion of “permitted change” versus “uncontrolled change” from the perspective of the human psyche. My counterpart spoke of a pluralistic society, but balked at the notion that groups might have the right to not engage with others or to choose differing ways of life (the Amish were used as example by each us — a commonplace!). So, “change” is permitted, but only within certain bounds circumscribed by a governing human authority. I was arguing more for the “order of nature” (e.g. a certain lecture given by a certain Old One on a certain shoreline) where differing groups freely chose their own path, which I could sense he saw as chaos and something to fight against.

    I’m still digesting these experiences, so I don’t have any grand conclusion, but I had the definite sense that pieces of a puzzle had clicked together for me.

  8. Hi JMG, I looked into your meditation writings after the last Post. The contemplative meditation you described in “Well of Galabes” Post was pretty much the way I have been taught and practice. The last ten minutes of the session you said would be described at a later date. I did not find that post. Can you give a brief description? Is that still your practice in your morning meditation? In your pajamas, I think you mentioned in a comment answer the other day? ; )

    Thanks,

    mac

  9. I am constantly amazed at the attitude of Americans toward socialized medicine. As a Canadian I pay about $35 month (here in British Columbia–some provinces charge nothing) and receive all the care I need. I have had emergency neuro surgery and have had to pay nothing extra. Surely contributing our taxes to a system that provides care for all is good thing. Are we communists up here??

  10. Hi there!

    Thank for the recommendation on McGuffey readers!

    Do you have any suggested novels for kids? My oldest is now 9.5. I know that Harry Potter is not on the list, but is there a better substitute for younger kids?

    Thanks!

  11. With all your experience with the occult, esotericism, and magic over the years you must have met some pretty strange characters along the way. Could you indulge the audience here with a story or two of the most bizarre, ridiculous, or frightening people you have met or situations you have found yourself in?

    On a podcast you mentioned being afraid to open the mailbox for the AODA for a while because of the weirdness that might arrive on any given day. Details, please!

    I used to work for an investment company and I can tell you that one of the absolute highlights of the job was receiving crazy requests in the mail, including handwritten business plans for huge amounts of money from people in prison, cryptic pitches for perpetual motion machines, and other choice “opportunities”.

  12. John–

    Also, I realize that you’d be making announcements if there were, but I’ll ask anyway: any updates on the third WoH installment, the OSS anthology, and the next story contests?

    signed, an eagerly waiting reader 🙂

  13. Guess this is as good a spot as any for the “grand opening” announcement: Since I initially thought of the idea of doing a book club style discussion on William Walker Atkinson’s (and his various pseudonyms) large body of work from the beginning of the 20th century – some more on the mundane side, others definitely occult themed. Messaging with the other person who actually brought the name up on JMG’s Magic Monday, we’ll probably do more of a dissensus/round robin style where you can check in and either do a synopsis or ask a question on whichever book calls to you. Here is home base, so to speak:
    https://dfr1973.dreamwidth.org/

    The fine details are still flexible. I am tackling WWA’s Memory: How to Develop, Train and Use It while the other book currently claimed is Mind‑Power: The Secret of Mental Magic. If anyone else wants to join in, feel free to jump in.

  14. Hi John Michael,
    I’d enjoy knowing something about your relationship to music. Are you an active, frequent listener? What are your preferences with respect to genres and styles? Do you play any instruments?
    I’m particularly interested in your thoughts on western classical music. Favorite composers? I imagine you are familiar with the book The Cosmic Harp by early/mid 20th century occultist Corinne Heline? She holds that the masterworks of the western classical tradition are imbued with deep spiritual meaning and occult significance. It’s a fascinating little tome, correlating the sun signs of various great composers and their music with the energies/symbolism of the astrological signs. Any thoughts?
    Jim

  15. In a search for relief from allergies I have come across something called Wim Hof method. Wim Hof, nicknamed the Iceman holds a number of Guinness Book records related to endurance and exposure to cold. His techniques, which are essentially yoga based, combine breathing exercises (self induced hyperventilating) and exposure to cold (showers). The claims are that with the exercises one can learn to control parts of the autonomous nervous system, endocrine system and boost the immune system.

    Since I did quite a bit of yoga in the past his exercises have come fairly easy to me. This is however the first time I have gone this far into the ‘Kundalini’ side of yoga. I recall reading here that mishandle Kundalini may mess up the endocrine system. Could you elaborate a bit on what would cause this?

  16. JMG, As we have been talking about initiation, ritual and magic largely from a western tradition perspective, I am wondering if the eastern traditions are considered direct correlates. Initiation speaks for itself, I think. But daoist alchemy, for example (qigong, neigong practices and meditation), are these the equivalent of magic? Would a daily practice of qigong for example, be equivalent to a morning ritual of the protection pentagram mentioned (not the precise term, but I hope I am communicating)? As I write this, the questions sounds self evident, but I am looking for a little more clarity. I would appreciate any insight/perspective you have on this. On a side note, in druid and pagan circles, are the eastern traditions present?

  17. I have found the following paper on the complex and resilient system formed on Bali by humans, irrigated rice fields, crop pests, democratic deliberation and temple cults. To me, it seems to be just about the most perfect illustration of every issue discussed here on Ecosophia!

    The paper is freely available here , but to facilitate discussion, I have copied large reams below.

    “Subak, as I understand them, are traditional associations of farmers, tasked with management of irrigation systems, which water the terraced paddy fields that descend southward from the island’s mountainous core, and on which the bulk of its rice crop is grown. In this part of the world irrigation canals, tunnels and weirs form part of a highly complex and unusual ecosystem that has taken form over the past thousand years, and which includes the enclosing forests, villages and hamlets, and a network of water temples located at springs or other key nodes along the watershed. The water temples form an integral part of the subak system. They are the earthly dwellings of spirits, who receive a regular regime of offerings in accordance with a strict calendrical cycle, following the ecological and philosophical precepts of Tri Hita Karana.
    Water temples are also the meeting places for committees of farmers, elected to their representative positions on a one-member-one-vote basis. Committees meet regularly to discuss the practical management of the watershed system, planting cycle, and rice harvest, taking on board the different priorities of their constituent farming communities, and seeking equitable outcomes.

    Rather than simply acting as passive carriers for their genes, living organisms – through activities such as building nests, burrowing into soils, or metabolizing one another’s waste products – are constantly extending their phenotypes beyond the biological body. In doing so, they are not merely modifying their habitats, but also passing such modifications on to successive generations, in ways that alter the context of natural selection.

    Like all rain-fed irrigation systems, those in question here accord upstream farmers certain advantages over their downstream neighbours in terms of access to and control over the distribution of water. Lansing and Fox make the intriguing case that, in a world without crop pests, there would be no incentive for the former to surrender some portion of their water supply to the latter, and the egalitarian ethos of the subak system would therefore face routine challenges from the inherent inequities of irrigated rice farming.

    Crucially, however, pests – unlike water – can and do travel upstream as well as downstream. The most effective way of controlling their movement and reproduction is for farmers to synchronize their planting schedules at an inter-community level. This allows them to create large areas of fallow that are hard for pests to cross, and to periodically flood out harvested fields to deprive them of their favoured habitats (all the while exchanging information about the overall water supply to avoid fatal shortages in arable fields). Both through historical evidence and mathematical modelling, Lansing and Fox are able to show that cooperating on this scale will routinely generate greater rice yields for all concerned … [Consider] a short and abortive intervention in the subak system on the part of the Asian Development Bank, which took place in the 1970s. Agricultural innovation was then encouraged by new and fast-growing rice strains, which allowed a more compressed and intensive cropping schedule. The effect was a breakdown in the collective timing of fallow and flooding, accompanied by an initial boom in rice yields, followed by catastrophic bust, as pestilence set in across the landscape to a degree previously unknown. The traditional subak system was quickly reinstalled, and its historical survival can therefore be legitimately attributed, at least in part, to the predatory activities of crop-pests.

    One might equally ask how they have managed with similar success, and over a period of many centuries, to avoid the worst implications of the second kind of predation, the human kind.

    In Bali, as Lansing and Fox note, state-sponsorship of foreign deities, mainly of Indian (Buddhist or Hindu) origin, extends back to the first millennium AD. But as they also note, these imported deities ‘play virtually no part in temple rituals’, evoking a familiar contrast between the alien ‘gods of the city’ and the local ‘gods of the countryside’. While the former have rich personalities and are the subjects of elaborate mythological narratives (again much as in ancient Greece and Rome), the latter are essentially instantiations of particular moments in the agrarian calendar, their supernatural powers fixed to the allocated functions of weeding, harrowing, harvesting, and so on.

    By extending the state-repelling principles of the agrarian ritual calendar to encompass other key facets of cultural life and personal identity, the subak have achieved a kind of insulating or ‘cocooning’ effect, wrapping their irrigation system in protective cultural materials, such that to disturb it means far more than a change in landscape management. It means the disruption of a total form of social life, and a dazzlingly complex and elegant one at that. By shaping the surrounding world to its own pattern of growth and reproduction, the subak system effectively extends its ‘niche’ beyond observable nature and toward the heavens.”

  18. John,

    Good afternoon. I have a book project I am playing with that I call the 100 book project. The idea is that if I could only keep 100 books (nightmarish thought) or what books would I want to send my children out the door with when they leave the house. I was wondering what you, and anyone else who wants to chime in, would include. Now I am not looking for a comprehensive list just a couple that spring to mind.

    Of course this is an invitation to help me blow through the monthly book budget. A problem I have that seems to happen fairly often when I come around here.

    Thanks
    Dave

  19. JMG, you’ve spoken about copyright on your books before, but you seem doubtful that America will last that long (your death plus 70 years). Without the US government, what will happen with that?

  20. @ Matt

    When I was that young (waaaay too long ago), I was reading the Chronicles of Prydain and other series by Lloyd Alexander. Also: Watership Down, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, and my dad’s old copies of Lucky Starr adventures (Asimov). Among other things.

  21. Dave – I have given long thought along similar lines regarding which books I consider essential to a good life and (brace yourself for bibliophile sacrilege) what keeps coming up for me is that there were many good lives, lived in a vast melange of cultures, with only oral traditions; NO book is essential. However, there ARE books that have been primal in my own life and that continue to hold power for me; of those, Euclid’s ‘The Elements’ is the top of the list.

  22. @ Everyone

    Since this is an open post, I’d like to mention that yours truly will be leading a workshop at this year’s Midwest Renewable Energy Fair (Custer, WI, Jun 15-17)

    https://www.theenergyfair.org/

    Crazy path, but in the funk following my recent legislative efforts (front yard gardening and expanded domestic fowl-keeping, as you may recall), I had received an email from the MREA asking for workshop ideas. A voice in my head was all like, “Somebody needs to do a workshop on getting initiatives through local government,” and then another voice in my head was like “You’re right. You can lead a round-table discussion as well as anybody. Why don’t you send in a workshop application?” and the first voice was like “Ok. I’ll do it!” So I did.

    Not only was the application accepted, but they wanted to highlight it as one of their “featured workshops” in the early advert material. You can find my mug on page 15 of the Pre-Fair Guide alongside my workshop description.

    The workshop schedule hasn’t been released yet (should be in the next week or two, I believe), so I don’t know what time-slot and tent my workshop will be in, but if anyone will be attending the fair, we could do a mini-meet-up. And there’s a beer tent 😉

  23. David, by the lake – I do believe you ran up against a ‘thought-blocker’ phrase/word with your humanist friend; “Balkanization”. I too run into various people that seem to share many of my values but they are fixated that only a one world government will provide the equity and peace that they claim to desire. (Not to go political on the forum, but they tend to have been vehement HRC supporters in general) Whereas I, as you seem to, feel that a bioregional kind of tribalism is both more likely to actually happen and more in keeping with our observed behavior as a species, especially during an age of contracting/collapsing empires and resource scarcity/climate disruption. To summarize – I have more faith in Permaculture than in the United Nations!

  24. It seems like in the past the official establishment news ( state propaganda) here in the U.S. leaned heavily towards the use of Ethos and Pathos but still tried to include enough Logos to be believable by most citizens. It seems to me that in the case of several recent events the official narrative promoted by government officials and the MSM has jumped the shark and abandoned any hint of an appeal to logic. In particular the alleged gas attacks in Syria and the UK. The narrative promoted by the UK in the Skripal case would not last 5 minutes in an impartial ( should that exist) court of law, and the alleged gas attack in Douma makes even less sense and is being disputed by a growing number of well regarded visiting journalists. Is this abandonment of logical argument ( weather true or not) in the public sphere, a characteristic of empires on the downhill slope?

  25. Stinkhorn, I haven’t looked into it in any detail, but my initial sniff-test reaction is that it’s a ticket to hyperinflation: “Spin the presses! What could go wrong?”

    Altepainter, you can find my discussion of that here and here.

    David, good. It’s good to keep an eye on the blind hubris and the will to power implicit in the humanist’s assumption that human beings — or, ahem, certain human beings, from certain specific intellectual and class backgrounds, which is what it always works out to in practice — are smart enough to know what the universe ought to do.

    Mac, yep. If you want the specific details of the method I use every single morning, in my pajamas and bathrobe, you can find ’em in The Celtic Golden Dawn.

    Larry, yours is a different nation with a very different culture. If you compare your system with the Obamacare fiasco down here — soaring costs, inadequate coverage, nothing to rein in the kleptocratic profiteering of the medical and pharmaceutical industries — you’ll see why a lot of people in the US assume as a matter of course that if the government does something it’s going to be a costly and miserable flop.

    Matt, Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” is first-rate. I second the recommendation of Lloyd Alexander, whose “Chronicles of Prydain” were faves of mine. Also, don’t forget classics such as L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” and its sequels, Kate Seredy’s “The White Stag,” “Heidi,” “Hans Brinker,” “Tom Sawyer,” etc. More generally, have you considered looking up the list of Newbery Award winners? These are pretty much the best of the best when it comes to good children’s literature; you can find a complete list here.

    Samurai, I don’t have a lot of stories of awkward situations, and not that many more of awkward personal encounters — I tend to something of a reclusive lifestyle. Letters, on the other hand — oh my. There was the guy who claimed he’d discovered a secret technique using a brass pendulum which would turn it into an infinite heat sink, and who claimed he could flash-freeze small animals by touching it to the back of their heads; he thought the same thing would work on humans, and he wanted my help keeping it out of The Wrong Hands. There was the guy who spent his days driving around the back hills of western Tennessee in a beat-up van doing battle with Black Watchtowers that were in telepathic communication with the soul of Adolf Hitler, which had been reincarnated into a comet and was going to hit the Earth in 1999. Those are the two best of a very long list of crackpots.

    David, the Old Solar System anthology is complete except for my introduction, which I have to find time to write; it should be out later this year. The Weird of Hali — well, I’m not sure what to say; sales have been slow, and the publisher isn’t willing to bring out volume 3 until a certain fraction of volume 2’s print run has been sold, so we’re waiting on that. The Shoggoth Concerto, which is set in the same fictive universe as The Weird of Hali but isn’t part of the same plot arc, is sitting in the “slush pile” (the pile of unsolicited submissions) at a big New York science fiction and fantasy publisher; we’ll see what comes of it. The next writing contest is in the works; I hope to have an announcement before long.

    Dfr1973, huzzah! Those of my readers who haven’t encountered William Walker Atkinson’s work yet have a treat in store: classic American occultism with a dollop of New Thought. The Kybalion, which is one of his many pseudonymous works, used to be required reading in a lot of occult schools; if I ever found an old-fashioned occult school, which has occurred to me more than once, it’ll be required reading there, too.

    Jim, my musical tastes are broad to the point of incoherence. 😉 I listen to a lot of music, yes, and I also play the mountain dulcimer. Where classical music is concerned, I prefer Baroque to classical as such, but then I’m also very fond of some works of the Romantic period — Wagner and Mozart are far and away my favorite opera composers, which I know would give some people mental indigestion, and I’m also very fond of early Erik Satie. As for Corinne Helene — good heavens, now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a great many years. I haven’t read that book of hers in decades, so would have to revisit it before expressing an opinion.

  26. Hello JMG
    I was thinking of agriculture in the post oil future and I had this idea about compost making.
    In Australia you can get this compost maker which is a plastic barrel held in a stand so you can spin it around to mix the compost inside. Not only could someone still make those with wood and metal, you could also mix the compost it a huge circular or tubular wooden barren which could be spun like a wheel using either water power or people in a hamster wheel for larger scale agriculture.

  27. John–

    Re WoH, OSS, and the other projects

    Looking forward to the OSS anthology (and not just b/c I made a contribution) and the next contests. (Did I mention I just finished a short novella set in the same “Space 1889”-type universe as my other story?) Definitely would like to see The Shoggoth Concerto in print.

    @ All

    Finally, in a shameless effort to further my own interests and bring the third volume of WoH into the light of day, I’d like to ask everyone who hasn’t purchased copies of the first two volumes to do so, and if you have, buy another copy of each and donate to your local library. I’ll be putting my library orders in shortly.

  28. Helo JMG

    You’ve written before about art and dog barf. I’d like to know what you think of the Seagram murals by Mark Rothko, if you’re familar with them. My wife and I went to see them several years ago, and to me they looked more like dog barf whereas to her they were powerful and meaningful. Was I just being obtuse?

    SMJ

  29. Got some out of order there…

    Monk, I don’t concern myself too much with arguments for or against the immortality of the soul, as the human mind can argue itself into just about any opinion you care to name. Dr. Ian Stevenson’s research into very young children who recall past lives, as it’s based on evidence rather than reason, strikes me as more convincing — and of course I have my own apparent past life memories to take into account.

    Jill, okay, you saw something strange in the sky. What’s your question?

    Will, I did two years of university Latin and then just kept on reading Latin texts, mostly medieval and Renaissance occult writings that were untranslated — nothing like the temptation of otherwise unavailable knowledge to inspire the necessary work! As for the timeline of decline, the decline of western civilization began around 1914 and will continue until long after you and I are dead. There will be various bumps and lurches during the interval, some larger than others; I recommend a reading of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to get some sense of the time scales involved.

    Stinkhorn, yes, I saw that! We’ll be talking about it in an upcoming post.

  30. JMG, I remember you started the ADR because of some long discursive reflections that you’d had after attending some boring Unitarian Universalist service in Ashland and thinking the thoughts that lead to the Long Descent and that whole series of books. My memory might be off on some details here. But that is the gist I want to bring up. Now I know in my own experience from practicing Buddhism that the only time I ever had an insight experience, it came when I let go of trying to make my mind non-discursive and just let it flow. I had an immense thought that came in a form I couldn’t give words to, and although it fit into a Buddhist rubric quite nicely, it is still strange that I had had it without that level of mental unification which causes thoughts to cease unless willed into existence.

    What I’m cheekily and sneakily trying to get at here, is whether or not that blog-launching line of thought might not have been an enlightenment experience of a Druid nature?

  31. SMJ

    According to wikipedia:

    “While on the SS Independence [Mark Rothko] disclosed to journalist John Fischer, who was publisher of Harper’s Magazine, that his true intention for the Seagram murals was to paint “something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-b***h who ever eats in that room….” He hoped, he told Fischer, that his painting would make the restaurant’s patrons “feel that they are trapped in a room where all the doors and windows are bricked up, so that all they can do is butt their heads forever against the wall.””

    Looking at some of those paintings online, I’d say he succeeded. There’s certainly something mildly unsettling about them.

  32. Matt, my friends at Cattermole Books (20th Century Children’s books) have their list of the 100 best children’s books of the 20th Century here.

  33. @Matt I also recommend E.B. Nesbit’s stories. Usborne publishers put out some good books on mythology and history–heavily illustrated. Their sex education book is also good, as “Changing Bodies, Changing Lives” by the Boston Women’s Health Collective for teens. I would also look for a guide to your local wildlife and plants–many kids like to be able to recognize and name things. Nancy Pearl, who wrote two volumes of book lists for adults called “Book Lust” wrote “Book Crush” on books for kids and teens. Sorted by age group and subject, with comments. A glance into it for an example reminded me of the wonderful picture books by William Steig. Don’t hold it against him that the Shrek series was based on his book–as usual, the book is quite different and better. For young teens Diane Duane’s _So you Want to be a Wizard” and sequels are great. The magic is rather fantasy fare, but the ethics and moral lessons are great–not in a preachy way, but “with great power comes great responsibility” way and a recognition that losses are part of the story too.

  34. I saw in the news today Calexit is back on the ballot… gulp. What does everyone think about this new Calexit push? The poling said Californians were 2:1 against, then again we’ve learned in recent years we can’t trust polls.

    ik a lot of California is conservative, in the countryside. But the cities carry the popular vote. This disparity illustrates why we have the electoral college in Presidential elections and a bicameral legislature.

  35. @ Island Poet

    Re Balkanization and permaculture versus the UN

    Amen! say I.

    Also, Human Permaculture makes for a nice-sounding book title, don’t you think? 😉

  36. John,
    Sorry. Forgot the detail of the question. Do you have any ideas of what it might have been? I have never been able to explain it to myself.

  37. @ All

    Re WoH

    Acknowledging unconscious class bias in my haste to reply, I should have asked for those who *could* to *consider* purchasing those copies (for oneself or the library). My apologies, as I should have been more mindful.

  38. Hi JMG,
    In the Druid Magic Handbook, you discuss scrying, but only in the context of the Grove Ceremony. Do you recommend only scrying in that context, or in a similarly purified space?

  39. To Matt, looking for children’s book recommendations – I have four children, two boys and two girls, and I will give you what I remember reading to them as well as what I recall them reading on their own. I would like to assert that reading shouldn’t be gendered, but as I’m not sure I actually believe that, I will back that off to “tastes vary.” You disclaimed Harry Potter, but I will say that my crew loved them, and when I ran out of books, I read them fanfiction.

    The Secret Garden, Burnett
    Understood Betsy, Fisher
    Cheaper by the Dozen, Carey and Gilbreth
    Chronicles of Narnia series, Lewis
    Hobbit, Tolkien
    Wizard of Oz series, Baum
    Phantom Tollbooth, Juster
    Warriors series, Hunter (about sentient cats)
    Guardians of Gahoole series, Lasky (about sentient owls)
    Magic Treehouse series, Osborne
    Little House series, Wilder
    Wrinkle in Time series, L’Engle
    Percy Jackson series, Riordan

  40. Dear JMG,

    You were saying that while the existing system of rewarding the authors of books is rotten, it is the only one we’ve got and it more or less works. People who game this system end up gaming the authors first and foremost. Thanks to you deploying this argument online, I started looking sharper at my actions and elbowing out the cases where I’m trying to get a free lunch. I haven’t been downloading books (other than the ones written by dead people) for a few years already and now I’m tackling my habits around music and other content that I used to just download without thinking.

    One issue that I am contemplating for the last few months is blocking the ads in my browser. Ads suck. So do trackers and other programmed species of the internet micro-fauna. Some of them are plain malicious. Still, I’ve heard a very similar argument deployed against blocking the ads – for some people who share valuable information on the internet, ads are the main source of income enabling them to keep doing the good work. By blocking ads on their websites I block a stream of money that could enable them to focus more on their work.

    I remember you mentioned in a few places that you also block ads in your browser. What is your thinking around it?

    Cheers,
    Ganesh Ubuntu

  41. Hello, Will J and all: On the subject of pollution and the diseases of civilization —

    This is a subject of concern to me, and I get alarmed about it, myself, on a regular basis. But every once in awhile I just have to step back and remember my own ancestors.

    I come from a line of Midwestern small-farmers, until my parents’ generation; living memory goes back beyond 1900. These folks were farming on prime land, before the advent of chemical fertilizers–absolutely organic. They raised livestock and slaughtered their own meat; they manured their fields, raised kitchen gardens along with their cash crops, canned food for the winters, and probably ate as close to an ideal diet as any human being could hope to have. (And then lost EVERYTHING in the Great Depression.)

    Yet they were not spared the diseases of civilization: arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, dementia.

    So, go figure.

  42. @drf1973

    This is great news. I will be there as soon as I can figure out how to create a dreamwidth account. I’ve tried several times in the past, and have never been able to make the website work for me, or even how to make the OpenID process work with dreamwidth. It keeps on telling me, whatever name I try to create the account under, that my quite ordinary gmail address is not acceptable for an account holder. That’s why I’ve had to post anonymously on JMG’s other blog, and sign my posts; but you’re not allowing anonymous posts. — Also, it was I who recommended Atkinson’s _Mind Power_. — Atkinson’s first book on logic appeared in 1909 with the title _The Art of Logical Thinking; or, The Laws of Reasoning_.

  43. It seems like the United States government is increasingly out of control and dangerous.

    What peaceful actions are possible and effective to protect both self and others in such a situation?

    I add the word “effective” since there are a lot of possible things which can be done (e.g. voting, writing to so-called representatives) which are not the least bit effective.

  44. On one of my recent discursive walks (I have not really mastered meditating while sitting) while I was contemplating reincarnation, the question of how many human lives have been lived popped into my mind. Following onto that was the question of how many human lives might one typically go through on the way to Gwynfydd? So I ended my walk with the amused confluence of the spiritual and the analytic, which is likely always a dicey proposition.

    A little on line searching gave me a half-way plausible number of something over 100 billion human lives that have ever been lived. Of course there’s no way for me to guess the average number of lives each consciousness goes through, but if one guesses that the average life span might be on the order of 50 years, plus a few in between, if one passed through 10 lives you’d have a span of 600 years. A few more than that and we’d all started out as Romans or such. Clearly there was no way for me to conclude that line of thought, but it still seems an awful lot of souls have passed through this plane, and there should be an larger number of powerful consciousnesses – at least if one assumes they all reached Gwynfydd in the end.

    Thinking back to your essay The Death of God, I wonder why it seems rare for them to hang around this sphere? Perhaps it’s no longer of interest to those of that level, or perhaps it only happens in unusual circumstances? Or maybe they are more here than is obvious?

  45. Island Poet, your observation has probably to do with the “one size fits all” paradigm of modern Western society, which is particularly pronounced in the political left. It has to do, too, with some of the universalist values of western Enlightenment (human rights and the like).

    J. M. Greer, I have a question about reincarnation. Presumably, the notions which humans have about good or bad morality and behavior have nothing to do with how souls become more complex with time? On the other hand, human behavior surely has consequences in further lifetimes. Can you say a bit more about that, if you haven’t done so already?

  46. Matt: Phantom Tollbooth, the Little Lame Prince, Just So stories, Little Women, Tatterhood, Dr. Seuss, Mother Goose Rhymes, fairy tales, Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Country of the Pointed Firs, Little House on the Prairie, Pippi Longstocking…?

  47. @Ganesh Ubuntu, JMG, and anyone else interested in the ethics and practical considerations around ad blocking:

    I happen to be reading this as we speak on a browser called Brave that blocks ads but incorporates a voluntary system of direct payments to publishers, in which I participate. I think it’s at least an interesting experiment in finding a way beyond the advertising model while acknowledging that publishers and creators have bills to pay and deserve to be fairly compensated for the value they provide.

  48. Casper, the chakras are linked to the endocrine glands, and if you mishandle kundalini practice, energetic imbalances in the chakras will play out in imbalances in endocrine secretions. This isn’t a subject I’ve specialized in, though, so you may want to find somebody who’s worked with kriya/kundalini yoga extensively and ask them.

    Clark, no, the equivalent of Taoist alchemy in Western traditions is western alchemy. Taoism has its own extremely rich tradition of ceremonial magic; one source I know of that covers this in some detail is Michael Saso’s The Teachings of Taoist Master Chuang. Other East Asian traditions have equally rich traditions of ceremonial magic, which are precise equivalents of Western ceremonial magic. As for pagan circles, I can’t speak to those, as I don’t frequent them; in Druidry, by and large, we practice our own distinctive spiritual traditions, so you won’t find East Asian traditions there, any more than you would find (say) Southern Baptist practices or traditions.

    Matthias, fair enough. Did you have a question to ask?

    Dave, I’d encourage every person to have a different set of a hundred books, to keep groupthink at a minimum.

    Cassandra, copyright is currently subject to international law; I get royalties from books published in Canada, Britain, and elsewhere, and will doubtless continue to get them from the Lakeland Republic and the other post-US republics here in North America on the same terms.

    Simo, thanks for this.

    Joel, how’s your Latin? That I know of, no complete text of the notory art, with notae, has ever been translated into English.

    David, congrats!

    Clay, yep. Ever read stories from Pravda in the last two decades or so of the Soviet era?

  49. Modern art is rarely to my taste, but I have a mild liking for a few Rothko paintings (sometimes the colors are pretty, and occasionally he achieves a spatial effect that I find interesting) but those Seagram murals are certainly very menacing!

  50. No question this time! In fact I was posting not only for you, but for everybody who might be amused by the human-rice-pest-democracy-temple complex.

  51. I would have certainly bought all the Weird of Hali books in a less expensive and luxurious format. Some of your followers are, while affluent by today’s standards, mere church mice by the standards of Affluenzastan. Sigh. However.

    You mentioned American regional folk cultures being ignored by folklorists. I’m really familiar with only 2 of them: the “I’m a Hoosier” pride from when I was a child in Indianapolis (1947/8 (Yuletide moving) – 1952) and, of course, Albuquerque’s Rocky Mountain Anglo/Norteno/mix with Pueblo and Dine flavoring plus the current crop of refugees making the International District lively. I’d really like a post discussing and describing the others. You’re right; I, for instance, now more about medieval Iceland than I do the folkways of the parts of my own country that I’ve never lived in! Which is shameful.

  52. Archdruid,

    Do you have any suggestions on redeveloping one’s creative visualization? I fear that years of tv and internet have made it particularly hard for me to imagine things in detail they way the art of memory and magical practices need.

    Regards,

    Varun

  53. J.L.Mc12, sure, but you can make compost just as easily by making a big heap of the material to be composted and having somebody turn it once a day with a shovel.

    David, there’s going to be a second OSS anthology — stay tuned for the call for stories! — so your new story might find a home there. I’ll certainly keep everyone posted about The Shoggoth Concerto, and its sequel The Nyogtha Variations — classical music and shoggoths, what fun! Also, for those who don’t know yet, I’ve begun writing another novel a scene at a time over on my Dreamwidth journal, ecosophia.dreamwidth.org — it’s zooming off on a completely different tangent. (The Dreamwidth journal has had quite a bit of activity of late, and that’s just part of it.)

    SMJ, no, they’re dog barf. A century and a half ago artists did that sort of thing as studio pieces, to tinker with visual effects, then threw them out and went on to paint actual paintings. Now the studio pieces get hung on gallery walls.

    Merle, nah, the experiences I’ve had that more or less correspond to Asian concepts of enlightenment were wholly nonverbal, and I’m not yet sure I could say anything about what exactly they meant. The cascade of insights that launched my original blog and my career as a peak oil writer were verbal, and I had no trouble at all talking by the hour (and typing by the ream) about what exactly they had to communicate.

    Austin, I’m not particularly enthusiastic about breaking up the Union, though I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen. If that’s what it takes to let California go its own way and stop trying to impose its addled notions on the rest of us, though, I’m for it.

    Jill, nope. People see strange things in the sky sometimes. Some of them have straightforward explanations, others don’t.

    Cliff, yes. Scrying is best done in a purified space, because there’s so much astral grubbiness in the world these days.

    Ganesh, I do block ads, and there’s a difference. If a website insists that I have to view ads in order to access the content, I go elsewhere, just as if a book costs more than I want to pay for it, I don’t buy it. If I were finding some way to weasel into a website with mandatory ads and not see the ads, that would be comparable to stealing a book — but there’s nothing morally wrong with deciding not to buy something and doing without it, whether the price is in money or in eyeballs.

    Synthase, do you have any evidence that this set of allegations is anything more than an updated equivalent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

    Mike, grassroots political organization is the key to power. Voting, writing letters, marching with signs are useless unless they’re backed up by an organization that can put candidates into office and throw them out again. Go read up on how the Republican Party in the 1850s constructed itself from the ground up, adapt the methods to modern conditions, and get working. That’s how real change happens.

    Twilight, the number of lives it takes to master the human level and proceed on from there varies dramatically from soul to soul, according to tradition. Once you get well and truly on the spiritual path, it takes three lives to get to Gwynfydd, but how long it takes you to get onto the path — well, that depends on just how many detours you take, and some people take many more than others.

    Booklover, the phenomenon that’s called karma in Sanskrit and fate in Western occultism is complex. Basically, what you do in each life leaves enduring traces in your character, and those traces influence the kinds of experiences you get in your next life. If you behave like a douchebag, you’re going to take on the character of a douchebag, and more people will treat you like a douchebag. Eventually that becomes miserable enough that it becomes self-correcting, and you decide to do something different.

    Some patterns of behavior produce relatively happy lives; some produce relatively miserable lives. All add to the complexity of the soul, and to its capacity for self-knowledge — and that capacity for self-knowledge pretty reliably ends up giving each soul the common sense to do things that will make for a happier life. In that sense, certain elements of traditional morality do in fact provide helpful guidance, in that (say) being brave, temperate, just, and prudent generally makes for a better and more successful life than being cowardly, prone to binges, unfair, and imprudent.

  54. Children’s books — If you can find The Enchanted World Time Life series from the 1980s, it is a beautifully illustrated, hard bound collection of folk tales, mythology, and legends from around the globe. It’s also sourced, so every book in the series provides its own rabbit hole to chase down the books cited in the bibliography.

  55. Only that the narrative of the article has a great deal of explanatory power concerning the 21st century history-so-far in the UK.

    One example of this is the book ‘English Witness to their darkest hour’ by P Scrivener, published 2008 by Steadfast and Athelney, which provides an extensive compendium of case studies on the topic from the 00s.

    Then the Rotherham grooming scandal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotherham_child_sexual_exploitation_scandal) provides another data point, followed by the Telford grooming scandal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telford_child_sexual_exploitation_scandal) proving it was not an isolated incident.

    Then there is the current example of independent journalist Jonaya Fenessa being abandoned to muslim death threats by the authorities because the muslims have free speech but criticising Islam is considered to be unlawfully inciting racial hatred (despite her being a female PoC) (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXS-97SNCznOP41RGZsoPBw).

    Then there’s the strange coincidences that the article was quickly suppressed, and the author John M. Joyce stopped writing for the New English Review in 2016 one more article later, and that there is a may 2016 obituary of a John M. Joyce.

    So no, not really.

  56. Jen, maybe it’s my Aspergers syndrome, but I just find them blah: blotches of color on blotches of color don’t communicate anything to me.

    Matthias, fair enough, then. Thank you!

    Patricia, I get that. The assumption, on my part and the publishers’, was that the limited editions would sell out fairly quickly, and then the novels would come out in paperback. The first one, The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth, is out in paperback at a modest price, and it’s a complete novel in itself, so you might consider that; as for the others — well, we’ll see what happens.

    As for American folk cultures, three I know a certain amount about are the rural Pacific Northwest, which was my grandparents’ culture; the rural Appalachians, which were kind of hard to miss if you read the Foxfire books back in the day (as I did); and that of rural southern New England, which I’m just beginning to explore now.

    Varun, some people have an easy time with visualization and some don’t. If you don’t, regular practice helps. Choose various things, some simple, some complex, and imagine them; don’t worry about making them photographically exact, just imagine them, stationary or moving, colored in various ways. Ten minutes a day of such exercises will help quite a bit.

    Synthase, it’s very easy — and very popular — to take unwelcome trends and construct a narrative assigning somebody the role of sinister unseen manager of those trends. That was the point of my reference to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which took a variety of trends in late 19th century Europe and assigned the role of unseen managers to the Jews. Because human beings think in narratives, that’s a very powerful tool for changing attitudes, and the results — well, history has a lot to say about those; the witch burnings came out of a similar set of attitudes, which blamed various disasters on a different set of unseen managers. That being the case, I tend to distrust such things as a matter of principle.

  57. In that case, how do you approach the unwelcome trends currently facing the UK, Sweden, Germany etc? Can the freedom and self-determination of these peoples be restored?

  58. Have you ever had olfatory hallucinations during or after ritual work? Or smelled an entity? I’ve had some consistent instances where this has happened to me. At first I was skeptical and kept on looking for other sources but repetition of the experience and the checking off of other factors have me wondering, what if? I’m still somewhat skeptical though.

  59. Want to see some common places being reached?

    slatestarcodex.com/2018/04/19/gupta-on-enlightenment

    (Warning: comments (aside from the first subthread, which I recommend) somewhere between tragicomical and cancer; do include a Celt bragging about her bardic lineage.)

    Jen R.: I saw your comments on who you voted for. I’d have no trouble understanding an Obama-Trump voter in terms of policy, but I can’t see a reason for someone who voted Sanders to not think Clinton was the *lesser* evil, aside from “punishment for stealing primaries” – and well, there’s

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/20100701_cthulhu_poster.jpg .

    So, if you don’t mind: why did you?

  60. JMG, that’s fascinating to me, as color is one of the most emotionally evocative aspects of art for me, and those Seagram murals mentioned by another commentor strike me as blatantly intimidating! The dark reds and blacks read as inherently very aggressive, and the way he juxtaposes them makes certain parts of the painting seem to recede tunnel-fashion, giving a horrible claustrophobic feeling, or to sort of hover threateningly above the canvas, as if something sinister is emerging from the rest of the painting with horror-movie slowness. (Of course I agree with you that they are technically unworthy of being anything but studio pieces, and they are certainly hideous!)

    If I may ask (I hope I am not being intrusive), do you experience particular colors (not just in paintings, but in general) as evoking certain emotional states, such as cool blues, greens, or lavenders being calming; dark muted colors moody or oppressive; or bright reds and yellows aggressive or energizing? Or does color in general just not really ping your emotional radar?

  61. In a previous post you wrote about how different aspects of our inner life can be thought about as belonging to different planes – “vibes” to the astral plane, the feeling of understanding something to the mental plane, for example. Presently I’m experiencing a sort of “feeling” that I rarely experience. I can verbalize it as a conclusion of an argument I’ve been having with myself for the last 10 years, as finally seeing clearly what I should do, but I haven’t come to that conclusion by means of “ordinary”, conscious thoughts. It’s as if the conclusion has come to me from a deeper level, asserting itself in my self-conscious mind, saying “you may try to rationally think this through further, but it doesn’t matter, this has been decided for you”.

    The conclusion, by the way, is welcome enough – if I am to act on it, it’ll be challenging, but also rewarding. It’s not that I *want* to challenge it rationally, I’m just curious if you have any suggestions for readings or practices that can help me understand better what I’m actually dealing with. This feels different from past “insights” that have turned out to be mostly wishful thinking, but I’m still wary of mixing them up.

  62. Dear JMG
    Another I want to offer is this rather interesting technique of non-electronic computation called location arithmetic or ” John napiers chessboard computer”.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Location_arithmetic
    Essentially john Napier found a way to do binary computation via moving pawns on a chessboard in the early 1600’s, I have toyed with it and it does work.

  63. Hello JMG and others

    Re: Seagram Murals

    Interesting that several people find that the Seagram murals do contain something. When I was looking at them, it seemed to me that the entire presentation of them was highly managed – they’re very big, their colours are dark, and they’re in a big quiet darkened room all by themselves. It seemed to me that these factors were so significant that it was impossible to discern if they had anything innate – their signal drowned out whatever signal the paintings themselves had. I suppose they are imposing, but I found it easy to dismiss that as purely superficial.

    JMG, are there any pieces of modern abstract art that you do find meaningful?

    SMJ

  64. My Fellow Ecosophians, may I suggest that those of us who have read some of the Weird of Hali series and want to read more head over to Amazon, Goodreads, and any other place we can think of and leave reviews? Can’t hurt, might help. 🙂

  65. JMG
    I am glad you made reference to the Protocols of Zion.
    With regard to Islam I should mention my friend and colleague of 30 years; Akhtar Ali.
    Good family man. We went to his son’s wedding and to Akhtar’s funeral.
    The latter was in an old automobile garage converted into a mosque by him and his friends.
    All good guys.
    I owe him quite a bit, including his tolerance of my own behaviour when under pressure.
    So, sunny Scotland? Worth checking out the history. Mistake to think any one of us owns the place. Most just get born and buried there and carry over a bit of wisdom and restraint if they can, and with luck not get too dreary about it.

    best
    Phil H

  66. Thanks, J. M. Greer, for the detailed answer! I have two additional questions: In your answer, does “spiritual path” in your answer to Twilight mean “religion as usually understood”, “practices that lead to enlightenment” or does it mean something else? And, when someone is reincarnated, how can his behavior and his actions in his earlier life influence his following life, when the freshly reincarnated person, as a baby, hasn’t yet learned anything about how to act well and lead his lfe well in the society in which he is born?

  67. @Robert Mathiesen, I got your comment and approved it – I am following our host’s example and screening all comments for courtesy. I figure if I can tone it down, anyone can (I can cuss like the grouchy Army sergeant I used to be). I am probably on a different schedule than most of y’all, even though also in Eastern time – since we try to get up before the sun, we tend to go to bed early.

    We have a third now, doing Memory Culture, the earlier book on memory.

  68. I already have Innsmouth and enjoy it greatly. Ah, well, the vagaries of publishing. There is always, as a last resort, self-publishing on Amazon, which at least one of my friends has done. The returns are small, but apparently fairly steady – about as much as my own residual royalties from some 1980s-vintage Darkover “glorified fanfic” and from novelettes in two Andre Norton Witch World. Said royalties being one step up from “That and $2 will get you a cup of coffee at Dunk-Us Donuts.”

  69. Good day JMG,

    I’ve been transitioning from my regular meditation practice (Eastern) to the one you describe in the Druidry Handbook. The beginnings are easy as I have a regular time to meditate, a comfortable homemade bench, comfy robes to fit the season and a good grasp of the discipline of daily practice. What hung me up was the rhythmic breath. I have long been breathing the same as recommended on the inhale (abdomen, middle then upper chest) but just reversing that on the exhale (upper chest, middle then abdomen). When I exhale according to the instructions (abdomen, middle then upper chest) I have a difficult time with the bottom to top direction of the breath. Probably normal as I am disrupting a long established pattern. I see value in the disruption as it forces me to be conscious of my breath pattern. I’m just wondering if there is a greater value in that pattern?

    Gratefully, Aged Spirit

  70. Question about using magic to attack others – I’ve read the Mystery Teachings of the Living Earth for beginners instructions although I haven’t participated in any of the discussion here. Much of the book reminded me of the methodology of Landmark, aka Werner Erhard. Not saying that you got your text from him, but he got his material from magical texts.

    In the last three weeks my physical body just keeps descending into complete disfunction. Not to get into gruesome details, but I went from sparring 20-somethings in boxing and winning (I turn 50 tomorrow), to being in constant pain and barely able to walk. My brain is turning into mush too due to lack of sleep and worry. I have a diagnosis, tests run and have surgery scheduled Monday at one of the best hospitals with a great surgeon. I know how you feel about medical care and I agree with you, but really some people in medicine are gifted in healing and I have been very blessed to have this doctor in my life for years. I feel confident he can fix me up.

    Anyway, Last night at 2am the thought hit me that maybe somebody(s) put a curse on me? Is that possible? I don’t know who it would be. But I left Landmark in quite a “burn the bridges” kind of way back in October. I wanted to make sure they never contacted me again to try to persuade me back in. I am wracking my brain trying to remember if someone said something that would have been like “if you leave here your life will be ruined”. I’m not looking for someone to blame though.

    How do I protect myself? Is there something that would cover most of the bases? I feel like I should be doing something to keep myself clean in the ways I can’t see.

    And if this is an inappropriate question excuse the ramblings of a sleep-deprived, emotionally strung out woman. And I changed my name to protect my privacy from random finders of this blog. If you see my email address you know I’ve commented for years here.

  71. Hi John (our net control operator) & everyone else on the net,

    I know you are a fan of opera, but not so much of the avant-garde. That being said, have you ever listened to Karlheinz Stockhausen’s LICHT cycle -seven operas, one based on each day of the week? they have a high degree of mystical symbolism. They might be of interest to you.

    I love these works myself -as I do his entire collected opus. Part of what I love is how Stockhausen played the role of Magister Ludi. His music can be thought of as a kind of glass bead game. Hesse’s work had a profound influence on him. In the same way that Jung was a magician, so was Stockhausen. His medium was music, but the keys are in there for those with the ears to hear.

    His works might be of interest to you for research for your Lovecraftian classical music series.

    Also, for you & all the other SF/Fantasy writers & readers, Tor has been publishing a nice line of novellas. If people have novellas to submit they are reopening to submissions for unsolicited works on May Day, aka Beltane. Details are here:
    https://www.tor.com/2018/04/17/tor-com-publishing-opening-to-novella-submissions-on-may-1/

    Cheers,

    Justin

  72. Hello JMG, I want to start off by saying thank you for taking the time to put your pen to the page and the fingers to the keyboard. I really appreciate your thoughts and the way you approach the world today.

    I have a certain thought of my own on my mind, but I am not sure how to elaborate it very well. What I have been thinking of is hobbies and the role they play in the modern world. Something along the lines of why we engage in hobbies nowadays. Instead of engaging in an activity for our own pleasure or ability to create as an antidote to the world of consumption, instead we engage in hobbies without cultural roots, for the sake of the pleasure of others.

    For example, the difference between hunters who “appreciate nature” and city-dwellers who “appreciate nature” but whose only engagement with it is paying lip service to the environmental causes or going on a hike every two weeks (so long as the weather is nice). Or the difference between someone who enjoys cooking versus somebody who appreciates “good beer” and will use that appreciation as an excuse to get drunk at the gastropub as they talk drivel devoid of substance every Sunday. (Hmmm, maybe I’m just Sullen in Seattle.)

    Given the way we have a voyeuristic view into lives all over the world, how we are able to engage in any activity that strikes our fancy. Maybe this ability makes one think they are a global citizen? But on the other hand, not approached right, you end up with “somebody who does a lot of things,but is very boring” (as a friend once put it). An open-ended prompt, but does anybody have further thoughts on this?

  73. Replying to Will Oberton re Latin: I could share some thoughts on this. All my life I’ve wished I could read Latin authors properly. It’s one thing to go through a primer doing the exercises; quite another thing to face some real text and find one can’t make head nor tail of it. But – it’s possible to find a half-way point by starting at the easy end of the spectrum of real Latin. Caesar’s Gallic War is one easier-than-usual classic. So is the Vulgate – the Latin Bible. “In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram” – not hard.

    Apart from classics, I’d like to recommend also Henry Beard’s “Latin for All Occasions” and “Latin for Even More Occasions”. It’s meant only to be humorous, and it certainly is that, but I find it unexpectedly useful. I especially like the translations of great lines from TV and the movies. Some of the items are easy to construe – “Beam me up, Scottie” becomes “me dimitte sursum, Caledoni!” Others are freer translations – “Make my day!” = “fac ut gaudeam” (literally, “make so that I rejoice”). Others I still haven’t got my head round e.g. the circumlocutory construction for “Frankly, my dear, I don’t care a damn”. All good stuff, anyhow.

  74. Hi JMG
    Can I pray to planetary deities to ask for their help in bringing my personality traits into balance? How do you think I could go about it? Andrea astrologer told me the order i should bringing them into balance is basically “go with what’s ok first”, so that was: Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars.

    Do you think that could work? Praying, I mean. If not, what do you think could work?

    On a side note, i’ve wondered about what name i’d like to call my first child since forever. I’ve had Miguel in mind for a while, but the other day I was thinking about the trend in my family where we are all John-something. My father is John Peter, i am John Paul, and I figured John Michael has a nice ring to it. 🙂

  75. My daughter, who is almost 7 years old, goes to a very small rural, public school.

    There is around 40 students, and the school is also in a program which allows them to experiment a bit and evade the gubernamental curriculum.

    The director and teachers are implicated and motivated, and encourage the parents to participate and get involved.

    This last trimester they had studied the human body, allowing the kids to ask questions and proceeding from that questions, but using the standard aproach: abstraction. They center on a “how it works” mecanical approach that has left my daughter unsatisfied.

    Reflecting on this, i remembered what you wrote once about analogy, and how it makes a good tool on understanding.I also think, correct me if im wrong, that analogy builds narrative about a theme WAY easier than abstraction.
    After all, our light bones tell the story of our past in the branches, our intestines are very similar to pigs, since we eat very similar things, etc

    The questions:
    Any book that explores the usefullnes of analogy?

    Any hints about how to present the idea to the staff and parents?

    Thanks,

    Guillem

  76. @Austin,
    I’ve already contributed to Calexit, and will probably contribute again. I really think it is the only way forward. The United States is an oxymoron, and really serves no useful purpose anymore. As we’ve discussed before, there are so many black swans out there, and anyone of them could happen at any time. Trump is doing his best to push California out of the Union, and I think that’s strategic on his part. The coastal areas that benefit so much from globalization obviously are not benefited by Trump’s focus on improving the Rust Belt. Support for Calexit runs high here in flyover country. Of course, there is 2:1 opposition to Calexit now, but pundits think it may stand a good chance once the courts turn down California’s legal challenges (most experts are pessimistic about their chances save the EPA emissions waver.) and Trump gets elected to a 2nd term. The reality that they’re not going to get their way nationally will finally set in with them. Of course, California may no longer set the tone for all of the nation, but “as goes California, so goes the rest of blue America”, so I see Calexit followed by other West Coast secessions then followed by New England secessions (starting w/Vermont). I know JMG hates “but it’s different this time!”, but it really is different than the last time secession was contemplated. The American empire is in decline, not on its way up, and there is no powerful region willing to force the seceding states to stay in the Union. Because nature abhors a vacuum, I see new political parties sprouting up as parties are regionalized and no longer tied to US parties. I see the old GOP becoming the establishment, status quo party w/perhaps a Trumpist populist party challenging them in red America post secession, and the Democratic party becoming the establishment, status quo party, w/a Berniecrat populist party challenging them in blue America. As for California, the Calexiteers are proposing a federal system with balance of powers, but I don’t know if that will be enough to hold California together post-secession.
    JMG,
    in the past, when you’ve discussed ancestor worship, you’ve mentioned that as a rule, it never goes back more than a few generations, and that’s because of reincarnation (older relatives are already reincarnated). Yet your previous life was a woman who died in a car wreck in the 50s, which was very close to your birth. Certainly, she still would have relatives who remember her. Is this not a hard and fast rule? Also, you say occult knowledge goes back in your line more than a few incarnations. If that’s so, are you surprised you haven’t moved on to Gwynfudd yet? IDK, but I’d think once you get on the magical path, you wouldn’t need too many incarnations before you’ve experienced everything human and are ready to move on. Just curious how these things work

  77. I would like to know your opinión about that Henry Kissinger said ,ten months before the Yom Kippur war , that the oil price will increase in four times.

  78. Dear Mr Greer

    I have been reading Spengler’s Decline of the West. While I think I may get the general thrust of what Spengler is saying, I have to admit that there are a number of things in the book that I have difficulty understanding. I will re read it again, but I will read a book on Western Art history before I do that. I have a few questions and would be grateful if you could let me know your opinion.

    (1) Do you know of any books that would give a good introduction to Spengler? I’m thinking of something along the lines of Spengler made simple.

    (2) Spengler called our civilisation Faustian and described it as a reaching out into the infinite and that’s what makes it tragic, because we are trying to attain the unreachable. This has had me thinking that if we have our eyes set on the infinite or the future, then we will not be interested in the here and now. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we can so casually destroy nature and use up all the resources our children will need. I know that other civilisations have crashed into the same kind of limits to growth that we are running into now. But we are different in the sense that we know what we are doing. Our sciences have warned us again and again about the brick wall we are crashing into and we just blindly ignore it. Maybe it’s our Faustian nature that makes us so oblivious to what we are doing. I would love to know your thoughts on this.

    (3) Is it our Faustian nature that makes us so willing to try and create Utopias and perfect societies which then end up turning into hell worlds? (e.g. Nazism, communism, the medieval millennial movements studied by Norman Cohn. He wrote “In Pursuit of the Millennium”)

    PS: thank you for allowing me to ask these questions

  79. Re: book recommendations, I’d definitely include the Earthsea books by Ursula K. LeGuin and (if I had to choose only one of her many titles) “The Forgotten Beasts of Eld” by Patricia McKillip. Both authors have gorgeous, lyrical writing styles, and plots that require wisdom, love, and fortitude to resolve. McKillip also writes good female protagonists, which might be a concern for those composing reading lists for girls.

  80. …Right now, with the US unified, the GOP serves no real democratic purpose in blue America save as a shadow upon which to project, but it’s not running viable candidates in competitive elections. The opposite is true in red America, where the Democrats serve no real democratic purpose save as a shadow upon which to project., with no viable candidates. Secession would shatter that by removing the shadow from regional elections.

  81. Dear gods, I forgot Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series! I’m also rather fond of “Nation,” though I take it some people were flummoxed that he wrote something that wasn’t Discworld. If my roommate was reading over my shoulder, I’m sure she’d be recommending Katherine Patterson.

    Actually, the books I’ve mentioned would likely be better for kids over 12 (I read pretty high above my grade level as a child), but perhaps Matt can keep them in mind for the future.

  82. J.L.Mc12 says:
    April 25, 2018 at 8:49 pm
    “Hello JMG
    I was thinking of agriculture in the post oil future and I had this idea about compost making…”

    I have heard if you put your compost in a 50 gallon drum and put it where your pig can reach it, the pig will turn it for you (because they like to root around underneath it with their noses). I haven’t tried it yet, though.

    I have also heard farmers in Texas uproot stumps by digging a few holes a few feet deep around the base of a stump and then filling the holes with corn. The wild pigs will uproot the stump for you. I haven’t tried this one myself, either.

    Hope it helps
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  83. Mr. Greer, could you recommend some books on pyromancy (divination by fire)? Your own books on divination that I have seen focus on geomancy.

    Thank you for all your thoughts and time. I’ve grown tremendously from the wisdom in both your blog and the comments of everyone here.

    Teresa from Hershey

  84. For kiddo books may I recommend ‘Little Britches, Father and I were Ranchers’ by Ralph Moody. In fact all his auto-biographical books: Man of the Family, The Home Ranch, Mary Emma & Company, The Fields of Home, Shaking the Nickel Bush, The Dry Divide, Horse of a Different Color.

    They follow Ralph’s childhood from a little tenderfoot kid moved west with his family, growing up quickly to become a provider for the family, and a cowboy, an artist, a Horsefall stunt man, and a bunch of other misadventures. It has a light and practical moral tone, grounded in wry observations of the people he has known and the successes and failures of his own life.

    “A man’s character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn’t do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.”
    ― Ralph Moody, Father and I were Ranchers

    “There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. …Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But He was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.”
    ― Ralph Moody

  85. Kay and JMG,

    Thank you both!

    I have a few scraps of Latin. Mostly the nouns that Normans brought to England, or that were borrowed in as technical jargon (but I’ve paid attention to quite a few technical fields). My grasp of grammar isn’t even enough to follow the Monty Python scene where Cleese’s soldier character scolds Brian and assigns him punitive quantities of graffiti.

    I’ll try the translated source first, and see if the motivation is enough to drive any further language development.

    I happen to have a good friend who is an excellent classicist, but unfortunately she’s deceased…she appeared to my wife in a dream a couple nights ago, with an offer to go out for drinks, so maybe she’s still available to help? I definitely wouldn’t want to interfere with her progress. I guess this leads to a follow-up question: any advice on benevolent necromancy? I’ve heard good things about Nicholas of Toletino.

  86. A while back there was a discussion of black swans here, and I’ve thought of a potential one: some incident happens, goes viral as an example of racism, and then it’s discovered that the perpetrator is a minority and the victim is white. I’m not sure what would happen, but it could be very interesting.

    I also would like to take the time to note that older fashion choices can be far more comfortable than anything available new today. I’ve gotten an old rain coat from a used clothing store and find it phenomenal, vastly better than any other ones I’ve ever worn. It’s probably more expensive to make. The fear of buying used things is seriously reducing a lot of peoples standards of living.

    KKA,

    I can think of two counterarguments: the first one is that by the mid 1800s the US was a major industrial power, and thus had a large amount of pollution, with a greater than average share of that being in the mid-west. The second is that a lot of the pollutants being produced, even in the 1800s, either did not dissipate, or only dissipated slowly, so even rural areas were, and are, affected. I wonder if someone could identify the start of the industrial age in ice cores. Does anyone know if that’ ever been tried?

  87. David,

    Might I suggest that the conversation ended in a thought stopper because it was being held in the abstract? It’s not so much as what is natural for humanity but what is natural for you.

    Last time I got into a similar debate, I pointed out that any attempt to force me to participate in a cultural model I have no interest in would result in violence. As in I would slit the throats of those attempting to impose their ways upon me. If you personalise the violence you can see how much a humanist actually believe in their ideas. Because that’s what they’re actually talking about, the use of violence to impose their values.

    Regards,

    Varun

  88. Jasmine King, to your third question I would say that, indeed, the character of the Faustian culture fosters the proliferation of utopian ideas and ideals, as well as the many ideologies which exist since a few centuries. And, by the way, to my knowledge, the Faustian culture is the only high culture in which idealistic people, who wanted to foster world peace and mutual understanding, did invent hundreds of international auxiliary languages, of which the best known are Volapük and Esperanto.

  89. Archdruid,

    Thanks for the advice. I’ve added the ten minutes of practice to my daily routine. Would guided visualization be a good addition to the practice?

    Regards,

    Varun

  90. John,

    For some reason I believe I should have anticipated that response. Although all of the excellent responses to Matt earlier arguably apply.

    Island Poet,

    Such rank heresy deserves several hours in the comfy chair. Hopefully the Grand Inquisitor will authorize the use of fluffy pillows to stamp out such vile thoughts. Now I need to go find my copy of Euclids elements. I think its in the living room…

    Dave

  91. @ Shane

    Re the transformation of the current two-party system

    It is interesting how your projection is something of a mirror-image of mine. As I may have mentioned before, I see the GOP more or less falling apart, with Trump being the harbinger of that demise in his shattering of the core coalition between the rank-and-file Heartland working class and the country-club jet-set. The latter, as I see it, will be fleeing the Trumpian take-over in due time and the Democrats would be more than happy to adjust their principles (such as they are) to accommodate the suburban Republicans affronted by Trump’s crassness and actions. So, I’d argue that it is the Democrats who will become the establishment party of economic globalization and American exceptionalism. This migration of former Republicans would then strengthen the establishment wing of the Democratic party, allowing it to kick the populist wing to the curb. So the result would be a fragmented opposition of discarded left and right workers/populists and a coalescing establishment. The opposition would take some time to bridge divides and come together, which would suggest a period of “Dem-Rep” dominance in the post-Trump era until that new opposition party coalesces in its turn. Just my reading of the tea leaves, of course, so I could very well be wrong.

  92. Given the increasing unpredictability of late winter and early spring weather (particularly in my corner of the Ohio River Valley) it seems like traditional dates and short-term weather markers are less useful planting signposts than they once were. How should I forecast (for example) a good date to plant my potatoes, when January has two weeks of 70+ weather and it snows in April?

  93. @ Max, re: hobbies

    I too have noticed that hobbies have been getting more consumptive: how many exotic places can I add to my travel map, connoisseurship (as you mentioned) of various foodstuffs, etc. vs. making things, participating deeply in anything, teaching it to others, or getting together and pursuing hobbies in groups. There’s also an element of ego/conspicuous consumption to it, as well–the beer they drink, or how cosmopolitan their travel destinations make them seem, give them an excuse to look down on the American beer drinkers or what have you.

    It’s funny you mention hunting; I have noticed the rise of what I call “performative hunting,” wherein people spend massive amounts of money on hunting equipment, game cameras, and “management” practices, deck themselves out in doe urine and gilly suits, have their hunting partners film the whole thing on their iphones, and then send the meat off to the processing plant and pick it up a week or two later in finished form. It’s weird and kind of hilarious, since they could eat filet mignon daily all year for what they spend on the equipment and processing fees for a single deer, and I don’t see how it can possibly be enjoyable or fulfilling. I struck up an interesting conversation last winter in which a man and I started talking hunting, and he asked me if I was having any luck; upon saying that I hadn’t hunted that year because I was teaching my cousins how, and they had killed several, which was keeping me busy making sausage, he asked me where I was making it. Thinking he was interested in our setup, I started telling him where I lived and where our smoke house was on the property and how we had it set up, at which point he said, “Oh! I meant which meat market do you use!” How, exactly, I would have been kept too busy to hunt by having to drop a few deer off at the meat market, I cannot quite understand, but I guess it is the weekend hobbyist mentality. Instead of deer season being a huge party in which all the extended family and friends get together and cook and use the old perfected recipes to preserve meat for the year on a shoestring, with many hands making light work, it’s become this weird atomized consumerist practice in which everything except pulling the trigger has been outsourced to various human or mechanical prostheses. So strange!

  94. @David,
    it seems your take on the parties is of parties in an intact union. My theorizing is on the future of the parties post-blue secession. After secession, the GOP will shrivel up and blow away in blue America, just as Democrats will in red America, and the void will be filled by upstart, populist parties, Berniecrats in post-secession blue America, and Trumpistas in post-secession red America. If Trumpistas manage to take over the existing GOP in post-secession red America, then the old neocons, neoliberal GOP’ers will probably form a new party that claims to be the REAL, Ayn Randian GOP

  95. for Questioning

    Werner Erhard stole some of his stuff from Scientology (Scn). I was attempting Shao Lin with Kuo Lien Ying in San Francisco in the early ’70s. There were some est people there doing Tai Chi (which I can’t do either because I can’t remember the choreography). If you can imagine perverted Scn they had it. Each manifested a fixed point on the Emotional Tone Scale. The est people talked me into going to a promotion and that’s where it it really hit. The speaker was stuck solid in Enthusiasm. I would expect her to say “Hey, guess what? My mom just died!” with enthusiasm.

    What might be pertinent is Scientology technology. The Potential Trouble Source (PTS) technology really works but the Scns try to use it for everything – well away from where it functions.

    It has to do with Integrity “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” If you have something that you have done that you feel bad about it can bite back. It often causes illness. What matters is your consideration and only yours. If you regret an action don’t let others brush it off. If this is the problem sometimes understanding by itself will make it melt away.

    Do not go to a Church of Scientology for this. The Church has gone completely psycho. The FreeZone quality from those who escaped is spotty.

    Just an understanding of how this works could help. I looked for a safe reference and gave up. I don’t care to do the work unless you show interest and this is so far out most would rationally shy away.

    You have done the right thing by disconnecting from Landmark.

    If you attention is stuck on Landmark and especially if you feel bad about leaving or how you left it could cause illness. Hubbard was full of it when he said all illness was caused by a PTS condition. However he had latched onto something that does work if applied appropriately.

  96. @David,
    my post-secession theorizing is that Democrats only exist in most of red America b/c of the national organization, and are not a credible party save a few urban areas, likewise for the GOP in blue America. That is why I think that the respective minority parties in red & blue America will shrivel up and blow away–post-secession, they’ll lose access to the national organization. Faced w/single party rule, opposition will quickly coalesce in both blue & red America into upstart parties (as our history indicates) to counter the GOP in red America and Democrats in blue America, but this is all contingent upon a “successful secession” by the Calexiteers that spreads to other parts of blue America.

  97. umm, Canadians, like most people in the world, have long laundry lists of complaints about Americans, which I’ll wholeheartedly agree with, but, Americans have this small issue with Canada–Canadians seem to think they’re Americans (at least when it suits them), and think Canadian experience is interchangeable with American experience. It’s very exasperating. As you noted above, they’re two very different countries w/different cultures. Canada is not America, thank the gods, and Canadian experience is not interchangeable w/American. I think the biggest exasperation Canadians have w/Americans is b/c they think they’re the same, or similar enough, when they’re not, hence the problems.

  98. I’ve been considering getting involved with the local Masonic lodge for reasons you’ve been pretty clear about over months and years. But I have trouble with the belief in a supreme being requirement. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a Buddhist practitioner and, to be frank, I don’t see how a belief in a supreme being fits in with that. Are there any Buddhist Masons that you know of? How do they reconcile it?

  99. Good day, JMG,

    Perhaps you have addressed this elsewhere, but what are your thoughts on requesting the help of beings in the unseen (or harder to see) realms for assistance with human/civilizational transformation in this time of the Great Churning??–because really, we all want to become some really really nice yummy butter. And not just a grey goo of nanotech gone wrong.

    If you think it is even advisable, what would be the proper etiquette in your estimation? I reckon one’s preferred vision of the future could deeply mold any such requests, for good or ill. I suppose that brings in the question of aligning intentions with the summum bonum (the Good), if such a thing could be said to exist. Any thoughts? Warnings? Examples? 🙂 (Findhorn community comes to mind.)

    On another dimension that is a somewhat related topic–I’m keen on requesting the collaboration of other-than-human beings that are very visible in this earthly plane, as well as archetypal, greater-than-human forces such as those which are traceable in planetary movements.

    In the former example, a form of governance inclusive of the other-than-human world seems to want to dream through me (should I live long enough)–and environmental ethics is one sticky wicket when it comes to the presence or absence of human humility/belonging. For example, the human response of “What do you mean the frogs indicate we can’t build this here? But hundreds of humans will suffer x,y,z.” — and yes, maybe humans will actually lose out in some cases. This plays out all the time already, but more from a stewardship model of (paternalistic?!) relations to the other-than-human, rather than a partnership or collaborative or Earth Community model of relationship. Seems if the industrialized mind listened better to the other-than-human, we could work a lot smarter and less hard…but a lot of other cultural prerogatives (like being entranced by a vision of tech/etc human supremacy) would need to fall from favor. I imagine my work on this would be of use to people pretty far in the future, if at all.

    In the latter example, it’s a rather ordinary process of recognizing the presence of archetypal forces in any situation where influence could be exerted. We’re all beginning to sing the Saturn-Pluto Blues, for example, and there are more and less skillful ways of doing that. I regard Saturn-Pluto as part of the intelligence of the anima mundi (Soul of the world), and we could try to cooperate with, or deepen through its perspectives. We gonna get carved, in any case. I easily foresee a hell of a lot of decisions of the category “how shall I respond” as opposed to “how I can control” a situation…the predict-and-control scheme of engineering the phenomenal world is one of the things coming apart at the seams precisely in this Saturn-Pluto period of 2018-2021.

    Given these possibilities that are centered in a more mundane reality, what of engaging the others in other, perhaps less earthly planes?

  100. David – do you think that the majority of Americans would back a pro-globalisation/pro- mass migration establishment party post-Trump?

    https://forecastingintelligence.org/2018/03/17/wind-of-change/

    As I noted in my blog, the majority of Americans back Trumpian economic protectionism as shown by opinion polls, which indicates that a Dem-Rep dominance is a less likely outcome.

    As for the “post-Trump” era, like John, I think that it is likely that Trump will get reelected in 2020 which will throw the Democrats into chaos. It could also lead to the overthrow of the Clintonian “centrist” establishment and the rise of the Sanders wing to power.

    John, I thought you may find this podcast interesting in relation to peak oil and why a major supply crunch is looming within 2/3 years.

    https://www.financialsense.com/perfect-energy-storm

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/26/isis-trying-to-foment-a-wave-of-migration-to-europe-says-un-official

    This article is also fascinating and is an early sign of the mass migration of Muslim populations into Europe in the coming decades, something I explored in my FI post Islamic Volerwanderung (https://forecastingintelligence.org/2018/02/18/islamic-volkerwanderung/)

    My specific question is in regard to China, specifically how you see the looming debt crisis will play out and how China will replace America as the next superpower at some point next decade?

  101. Will J
    RE: Industrial pollutants in ice cores. Depending on where the ice is, the levels can show the effects of nearby smelting of ore going back millennia. There is an article on studies of a Peruvian ice sheet here. Of course, 100 million years hence, our age will be recognized by the even diffusion of lead through out the world, courtesy of our 50 year experiment in poisoning our children.
    JMG: Since you have a love for opera, and for Latin, I suggest you get a copy of Nicholas Lens’ Flamma Flamma, the Fire Requiem from the library. Most libraries in our area have it, due to WaterFire featuring it.

  102. @ Shane & forecastingintelligence

    My tea-leaf-reading is very much over the near-term (2020s and 2030s). And I will be the first to agree that “post-Trump” means “after 2024″…the Dems are learning all the wrong lessons form 2016. But my assessment is that the Democratic establishment will prove stronger than its Republican counterpart. I do think that they take the populist threat seriously and will move to isolate it in the coming cycles. And if the party *does* move to embrace the proverbial suburban Republican voter, then yes, I could see the leftward populists being left out in the cold. The left and right working class fragments will coalesce, but I think it would take a few cycles for them to get past their differences. (Although, if the right charismatic leader showed up, he/she might short-cut that process considerably.) Remember, it isn’t so much about having more votes, it’s about having more votes in the right places. An organized establishment party could very well overcome scattered opposition, but only so long as that opposition remained in fact scattered.

    Longer term, I whole-heartedly agree. I actually have a beer wagered with another commenter on PoliticalWire (made back during the 2016 primary season) that one or more states will have functionally seceded before we reach the tricentennial in 2076. I see our present construct very much as a product of empire and do not believe it will survive in its present form (as a highly centralized bureaucratic nation-state) as our global hegemony fades. The Union dissolves or we revise our arrangement to become a looser confederation — I’d rather we did the latter, but it will probably be a combination of both. As John commented, I’d have no issue with CA departing…and I’d certainly not support a war to keep it in. Personally, if a state can show sufficient support for secession (say, a super-majority vote in its legislature and a super-majority vote in a state-wide referendum) and is willing to accept a pro-rata share of the national debt, I say that state should be allowed to leave. Voluntary membership would make for a more peaceable Union in the longer run, I’d argue.

  103. JMG,

    What’s the most dangerous magical working you can think of that has ever been done?

    On the topic of people travelling for vacations, I find it fascinating how many people I know who go somewhere, come back raving about the rice and beans, but won’t eat them at home. I think it’s class bigotry, but I’m not sure that’s all there is to it.

    Shane,

    Let’s put aside the loyalist issue, and even so, Canada is radically different! We have a very large francophone population, and that on it’s own is enough to seriously change our politics and culture. Our Anglophones seem to be desperate to ignore that though, which seems really odd.

  104. Dear JMG – I’m having problems with a neighbor. I was going to ask about a ripping good curse without any blowback. But, on overnight reflection, I think it would be … safer to maybe inquire about simple deflective spells (protective? sympathetic magic?) to turn back any evily evilness directed my way. Thoughts? Lew

  105. @Dave re: Legacy Book Project–
    Not sure if this is what you had in mind, but I’d recommend some books on solar engineering that do not require electricity or complex machines–

    1) Steampunk Solar — This is a new English translation of a book from 1869 by the French Engineer Augustin Mouchot (original title, ‘La chaleur solaire et ses applications industrielles’)–it is available as an e-book only at this point, for donation, here;
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/789934
    It discusses the historical engineering principles of solar distillers, cookers, a water pump, grain-debugger. Even describes a solar oven that uses straw as the reflector. I will probably try to make the brandy still this Summer. If your descendants want to melt metal without fuel other than sunlight, this book will help them do it.
    There is also an 1879 edition of the same book, but so far as I know, it was only ever published in French–That one could also tell you how to build a solar-powered icemaker that uses (essentially) distillates of urine for its coolant.

    2) The Passive Solar House
    https://books.google.ca/books/about/The_Passive_Solar_House.html?id=5oa0PkpAbm0C&redir_esc=y
    If you live in Northern climates (ie., cold in the winter) it is possible to heat your home mostly with proper house design, insulation and orientation of the building. This book tells how to do that, and it was written by a builder. These house plans require action on the part of residents to regulate the temperatures (opening and closing shutters, etc) Available in print.

    3) The Passivhaus Handbook
    https://www.greenbooks.co.uk/the-passivhaus-handbook
    Similar to #2, but relies more on insulation than sunlight for Winter heating, and better results for Summer cooling. Available in print, in English and also in the original German.

    Best of luck with your legacy project!

    –E.G.

  106. JMG,

    I’d like to second the comment earlier by Max, thanking you for the time and effort you put in your writings, as they are really a positive example of internet bandwidth. As taught while I was at Officer Training School, you “lead by example”, and today we certainly need more of that.

    I was rereading your paper on catabolic collapse, and the apparent path of industrial civilization to run face first into the wall of decline versus adapting to a steady state along a gradual path. However, lately I’ve noticed an uptick of awareness on some of the issues around our predicament, most notably along the lines of more efficient government, limits of resources, and in some ways an anti-technology backlash. At the same time, the trends around consumption, infinite growth, and denial are still held by the majority, and now even more are bringing the counterproductive Dark Ages/Biblical mentality of “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall die” into their lives, most notably concerning debt.

    This polarization of views seems to be getting accentuated, rather than the commonground you’d expect from an intelligent species in the Information Age. Have you noticed any recent changes, or is the Long Descent moving along as you thought it would?

  107. Will J,

    I’ve spent a lot of time this past year on a blog about the cause of heart disease, and I am surprised that you say it is from air pollution. Where does this info come from?

    Larry Hill,

    Americans are badly propagandized. I don’t think socialized medicine is necessarily the best. We had a pretty good system before it got monetized and monopolized. That is to say, if we had an actual open market, it might be preferable to socialized medicine. I can see from the above (European) blog I participate on that many of the problems that have ruined medical care here in the US are almost as bad in Europe, but the governments there have done a somewhat better job of reigning in the financial abuses. It is still the same crappy system that is run by Big Pharma and full of propaganda.

  108. KKA: My mother was the only member of her side of the family to die of a heart attack; my father and his brothers died you. My doctor is freaking out about the genetic factor, but I have two observations that add a lot more to the picture:

    Mom and Dad lived in Western PA – first around Pittsburgh, then Erie – from 1939 (at least) to 1942, and in Indianapolis from 1947-1952. My uncles were born in the Pittsburgh area and worked there for a long time. The air in all three places was so thick and foul you could shovel it up and dump it in the trash.

    Then, too, many men of that period smoked heavily, and my father was a lifelong smoker, on the order of at least 2 packs a day. Mom never got the habit, but I picked it up in 1954 and only quit in 1967. So she was living with second-hand smoke for nearly 30 years, and a double dose before I went away to college.

    Environmental factors do could heavily! And what was in the air in midcentury would gov black lung to the cleanest-living person.

    Pat, who was there.

  109. @David,
    I’m also assuming a black swan event of the kind JMG has been predicting (New Year’s, ingresses, etc.) that somehow pops the illusion of invincibility of the empire.

  110. Will J. – it could also be the taste or the texture. The rice served in the Caribbean area seems dry to me, while Chinese restaurant rice is tasty with the sauces they make. I also like refried beans, whether made with lard, oil, or broth, but always mashed as if in a tasty sauce. Other beans range from blah to nasty to me depending on the bean.

  111. @Will,
    it always amazes me that Canadians can’t imagine any other relationship w/the US other than firmly inside our posterior. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t other examples out there. Mexico is not an ally, in spite of the long border, and Cuba, who’s independence the US secured, has an antagonistic relationship w/the US. So it’s not like there aren’t other options.

  112. JMG I don’t want to see the union break up either. But how is California trying to impose its addled notions on the rest of the country different than Texas and the rest of the southern states trying to impose their view on abortion on the rest of us? All things considered I think the polarization is good at this point because neither side can win out. If California left, electorally there’d be no counter balance to a state like Texas.

    The trouble is that over the history of the US states were added in pairs such that neither the democrats or republicans could gain an advantage. Alaska and Hawaii for example. This dates back to the Civil War, for every free state being added a slave state was added.

  113. Synthase, that’s very much up to the peoples in question. If they want to choose a different path from the one they’re currently following, they can do so — history is full of comparable examples — but they’re going to have to make that choice themselves, and nothing you or I can do will influence it much. Keep in mind that societies have life cycles, and if the ones you’ve named have reached the end of their lifespans, putting them on life support isn’t going to do much good.

    Nando, yes, and they’re fairly common. William Butler Yeats, who was a Golden Dawn adept as well as a Nobel Prize-winning poet, wrote at length about the nonphysical scents that he encountered in the course of his magical work: roses, burnt feathers, cat droppings, etc.

    aNeopuritan, thanks for this.

    Jen, color as color doesn’t do much for me. When I was a child, the family would go for drives in the spring to a region south of Seattle where (at the time) a lot of flowers were grown — nowadays it’s mostly warehouses — and everyone else would ooh and ah; me, I could never see what the fuss was about. My tastes in visual art tend toward works that show a mastery of line and form, with color running a distant third.

    January, that sounds like something from the spiritual plane, the highest of the planes, and thus also the hardest to make sense of. I’d say go with it, and see what you can learn by following it out.

    J.L.Mc12, hmm! I was familiar with Napier’s Bones — an early mechanical computer — but not positional arithmetic. Thank you.

    SMJ, I’m very fond of the work of Morris Graves.

    Jaznights, yes, and I should have announced that here. Huzzah! Get those stories written.

    Phil, thanks for this.

    Booklover, by the spiritual path I mean something more than ordinary formal religion — I mean the practices and insights that lead to Gwynfydd, which you may interpret as “enlightenment” if you wish. 😉 As for reincarnation, have you ever noticed how even very small children have their own distinctive characters and personalities? In occult teaching, that’s all determined by previous lives, and character plus circumstances result in actions that shape the current life.

    Karim, I don’t know, I wasn’t there at the time. 😉

    Patricia, I read several of the Darkover fanfic anthologies Daw put out — remind me of the titles of your stories, please!

    Aged Spirit, no, it’s just a convenient way to teach people to use their entire torso to breathe with, rather than just breathing from the shoulders, or the chest, or the belly. You can do it the way that’s more familiar to you if you wish.

    Questioning, it’s entirely possible that Landmark put something into its work to make life miserable for people who quit — or that they’re doing something to mess you over right now. I’ve tangled with someone who learned a lot of “positive thinking” exercises in an est clone, and he was a first-rate malefic magician — it took me quite a bit of work to get the upper air on him. Since you’re already getting medical care, let’s go on to the magical side of things.

    I’m going to suggest several things to do. The first is to take a daily protective bath — this is distinct from whatever your personal bathing habits might be. Fill a basin with cool or cold water, and put into it a teaspoon of ordinary salt, a tablespoon of vinegar (any kind), and a pinch of any kind of pepper — black, cayenne, you name it. Stand in the tub or shower stall, dip a washcloth in the water, and wash yourself from head to foot, moving the washcloth always down from above, and rinsing and wringing out the washcloth at intervals in the water. When you’re done, put your clothing back on without toweling yourself dry, and then take the remaining water and if you can, throw it onto the roots of a big healthy tree — if not, pouring it onto the ground will do. Do this every day. It’s a traditional Southern conjure practice, and it’s very effective.

    Second, get a small bowl or saucer, put it in the room where you sleep, and pour some vinegar into it. Leave it to evaporate. Refill it whenever it’s close to empty. This will keep certain subtle energies from being able to concentrate there, and give you the chance to get a good night’s sleep.

    Third, learn a banishing ritual and practice it daily. If you can handle Judeo-Christian symbolism, the standard Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram will do very well; if not, you might consider this alternate version, or the one in my book The Celtic Golden Dawn, or the Sphere of Protection ceremony as given in my book The Druid Magic Handbook. Any of these, practiced daily, will clear away hostile energies from your aura and change your “vibes” to the point that nasty magic can’t affect you at all. None of these things will bring an instant cure, but keep at them and you’ll begin feeling better much sooner than you expect.

  114. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks for providing this forum. The fog and drizzle have rolled in today and I may just get to experience a week or two of autumn before winter sets in. Autumn has been very dry here, and to my mind it looks as if the climate has shifted south and we are getting weather which would ordinarily be experienced much further north than here. Dunno, but that is what it looks like. Is anyone in your part of the world suggesting that the climate has shifted north from the south (given you lot are upside down in the northern hemisphere!). 😀

    Due to the recent bout of flu – and having no benefits with my business – I’ve had to work like a dog to catch up and was unable to join in the conversation relating to Michael Hughes working which was quite a lively discussion. Anyway, as I read the discussion it occurred to me that the motivations of the people conducting the working looked a bit dodgy to my mind. Reading between the lines, I felt that there was a certain laziness which had crept into their thoughts as they looked to get an outcome for little effort on their part. It was actually very disturbing to see, because the opportunity to re-engage with the political process and actually achieve a change is still there, but the people involved in the working consoled themselves and felt as if they were doing something that didn’t overly inconvenience themselves.

    And I note that the Alt-Right mages are getting up to all sorts of mischief with real world consequences and perhaps are not so easy to dismiss. I do not condone their actions and they will enjoy some blowback.

    Cheers

    Chris

  115. aNeopuritan,

    I saw your question to Jen and was going to try and answer it as well, but I can’t get the nature of your question. You can understand a voter going from Obama to Trump but not rejecting Clinton as compared to Trump?

    Jen is not alone. There are quite a few people who saw some hope in Sanders to represent the people. They had no interest in Clinton and it irks me quite a lot that no matter what she or the democratic party insiders do, it gets a pass with a certain demographic. That DWS woman who got caught masterminding the taking away from the people the candidate they wanted, and who later had a race in Florida against someone whose name I forget but who lost and then decided that the votes should be recounted – and her people “accidentally” destroyed the ballots in question. She destroyed evidence during litigation. And no one seems to care very much. Of course they need to be punished!!

    You know, we have reached a crisis point in the US where the higher ups can do anything and never face any blame, let alone go to trial.

    Bill Clinton did more damage to the people than any other president. And he tried to privatize social security but narrowly missed it. The democratic party has stopped representing the people, period. They represent a certain faction of elites and the Republican party a different faction. No one represents the people nor have they for a long while. Hillary and Obama are not any different in that.

  116. JMG – thank you! Printed out and starting tonight. I just came down with a fever of 100 on top of everything else. The last landmark course I was in started in September and ended two weeks ago. I left in October and everything was fine until about two weeks ago. That’s what made me make the connection.

    est has a lot of copy cats and its woven itself into all parts of culture. At least I can spot it at 100 yards!

    Blessings and peace to you!

  117. JMG – Some comments you have made in earlier posts seem to suggest that there are a lot of people for whom this lifetime is their first incarnation as a human. I was wondering – is there any way to tell if that’s the case – some symbol in the astrological birthchart, or a blank that comes up (or animal results only) if they try for a past life reading? Or would doing such a reading even occur to a first-time human?

  118. Patricia, are you familiar with the toxic fog in Donora, Pennsylvania, that killed around 10 people in 1948 (I think)?

  119. Justin, I haven’t tried Stockhausen yet, but I’ll keep him in mind. The young composer in The Shoggoth Concerto and The Nyogtha Variations, though, is exploring what she calls “modern baroque” music, guided by a traditional sense of tonality, a solid background in old-fashioned harmony, and a respect for the standard baroque forms. (Her first original composition is a lovely little bourrée, with a theme taken from a phrase in the shoggoth language of musical tones.) One of the things I’m having fun with in these two stories is the shock value of someone doing something authentically old at a time when being at the cutting edge of the avant-garde is the last word in dreary conventionaliity… 😉

    Max, I think you’re on to something very, very important. I’m going to have to brood about it for a while, but you’re right that there’s something hollow and sickly about the way that “hobbies” pulled out of their cultural, social, and economic contexts have been turned into timewasting activities. Many of these activities could be approached in a different way; my wife Sara, for example, always has a knitting or crocheting project going, but they’re useful projects (our dishcloths and washcloths all come from her work, for example), and play the same role in our household economy that knitted and crocheted objects did in comparable household economies a century and a half ago. Hmm and again hmm…I’m going to want to think about this.

    Kay, that’s the one thing in English I know of, and it lacks the most important thing — the notae, the magical diagrams you copy out and then concentrate on.

    Robert (if I may), many thanks for these recommendations! Another useful tool to bridge the gap between Latin lessons and classical texts are translations of modern children’s books into Latin. Winnie ille Pu, Alicia in Terra Mirabilis, Magus Mirabilis in Oz, and Ille Hobbitus are among those that come to mind. Since you can always check your translation against the original — when I worked my way through Ille Hobbitus, for example, I always had Tolkien’s original on hand — it’s easy to keep moving and avoid getting bogged down by unknown words.

    Juan, thank you! I’m honored. As for astrology,by all means. You might consider finding a table of the planetary hours, so you can make your prayers on the day and hour of the planet you’re invoking, and you might also consider using the Orphic hymns to the planets as texts — these are readily available online and off, and have been used in planetary magic for a very long time.

    Jennifer, you’re welcome and thank you! It’s long been a daydream of mine that somebody someday will start making those again; I’d love to have one.

    Guillem, I wish I had something to suggest. Anyone else?

    Shane, traditionally it takes a minimum of three incarnations after you start on the magical path to be ready to pass beyond human incarnation into Gwynfydd. It can take rather more than three, depending on how you use your time. I have a very clear idea why I’m still here, but it’s rather private and so I won’t be discussing it on this (or any other) public forum. As for the traditions of ancestor worship, remember that those date from times when there were a lot fewer human bodies around, and so most people had a more leisurely interval between incarnations than we tend to do these days. Once the population drops back down to something closer to its historical average, as it will in the century or two ahead of us, the pace will slow up again.

    Anselmo, I don’t have an opinion about it. Should I?

    Jasmine, i wish there was a good introduction to Spengler out there! He’s been out of fashion for so long, though, that nobody’s talking about him any more, except for a few oddballs out on the fringes where archdruids lurk.

    I think you’re right on both counts about Faustian society — and Spengler was spot on when he chose that name for our civilization. Remember that Faust, in the legend, sold his soul to the devil, and even though he knew that he was going to be dragged down to hell once his time was up, he just kept going. We seem to be doing exactly the same thing. Utopias are par for the Faustian course, too — we’ve got our eyes so firmly fixed on the ultimate horizon that it seems reasonable to us that we ought to be able to plan a perfect society, no matter how reliably that fails in practice.

    Teresa, I don’t know of any books on pyromancy. Several occultists in the Renaissance tried to come up with divination systems for each of the other elements, parallel to geomancy, but as far as I know, none of them was able to work out something that produced reliable results.

    Joel, if a spirit comes to you and offers help, that’s not necromancy, though it might be a form of spiritualism. Do you have a photo of your deceased classicist friend? If so, put it in the room where you’ll be studying Latin, burn a little incense in front of it before you begin work, and ask your friend for her help. You probably won’t get dramatic manifestations, but it may help.

    Will, did you see how fast the woman who shot up the Youtube offices vanished from the media when it turned out that she was a vegan animal rights activist? “Going viral” usually involves the wholehearted cooperation of the corporate media, which would shut things down very fast in the sort of situation you’ve described. As for fashion choices, why, yes — these days, progress pretty much always makes things worse. Thus my book Retrotopia

    Varun, in due time, yes. For now concentrate on building up your capacity to visualize single images, simple and then complex.

    Dave, oh, I know, I’m predictable. 😉

    Nicholas, good question. That’s what happens when the climate goes screwy.

    Phutatorius, I know Buddhist Masons, but by and large they come from sects that have a concept close enough to a Supreme Being to pass muster — for example, in Shingon Buddhism, Mahavairocana (in Japanese, Dainichi Nyorai) is for all intents and purposes a Supreme Being. If in good conscience you can’t say that you believe in a Supreme Being, though, Masonry isn’t an option for you, and I recommend finding some other community group to get involved in.

    Erica, the crucial thing in dealing with the inner planes in this kind of context is not to go around telling them what to do! The kinds of beings you’d want to work with have a much clearer understanding of the situation than human beings do, and so it becomes a matter of figuring out how to cooperate with them in a mutually beneficial way. Findhorn is a great example, and you can learn much by studying how they did things. Another example, in some ways even more to the point, is found in Dion Fortune’s war letters, which were published a few years back in a book titled The Magical Battle of Britain. Careful study of these two examples, along with your own work interacting with the higher planes using whatever set of spiritual techniques you find appropriate, will teach you much.

    Will, the most dangerous magical working I know of that’s been done was the one performed over a period of some years by Ariosophical magicians in the early 20th century. (Ariosophy was an overtly racist offshoot of Theosophy that believed in the supposed superiority and divine descent of the so-called Aryan races.) The goal of the working was to bring about the advent of Die Starke von Oben, “the Strong One from Above,” who had been prophesied by the founder of Ariosophy, Guido von List, and who would supposedly make the German-speaking peoples the masters of the world. Three Ariosophical magical orders — the Hoehere Armanen-Orden, the Ordo Novi Templi, and the Germanenorden — put years of work into that goal, and eventually they got their Strong One. You’ll notice how much good it did the German-speaking peoples…

    As for rice and beans, I have no idea why people are so stuck up about those; they’re great food. We’re having them for dinner tonight.

    aNeopuritan, thanks for this.

    Lew, well, there are no curses without blowback, so you’d be kind of out of luck there. What I’d recommend is a sweetening spell. Get a brown paper shopping bag and carefully, by hand, tear out a square piece from a part of it that has no writing on it; the piece should be a few inches square. Write your neighbor’s name on it nine times, one above the other, then rotate it ninety degrees and write the sentence “Let us be friends” nine times over the names, so the sentence crosses the names. (The third image on this page will give you some idea of what it looks like.) Get a clean glass jar. Fold the paper in half with the writing inward, and then turn it ninety degrees and fold it again; put it in the jar, and fill the jar with honey. Close the lid, and bury it on the side of your property closest to your neighbor’s property. This will sweeten his disposition toward you so the two of you will get along in the future.

    Drhooves, well, I withhold judgment as to whether H. sapiens is an intelligent species or not. 😉 So far, everything is proceeding pretty much the way I expected.

    Austin, oh, I’d be just as happy if Texas left, and in fact if California goes I doubt Texas will be far behind!

  120. Chris, no question, climate belts are shifting northward here. Cumberland was getting Tennessee summers before we left. As for the various quarreling magicians, no question, there’ll be plenty of blowback to go around…

    Questioning, you’re most welcome. There’s a lot of really grubby magic passing as “self-help” and “positive thinking” these days — sorry to hear you got caught by some of it. Fortunately there are plenty of traditional techniques that can make short work of it.

    Barrigan, I don’t know of any easy way of telling. A past life reading might do it if the person doing the reading was competent, but there are a lot of people in that business who are just in it for the money, and even more who don’t know what they’re doing.

  121. Petervanerp,

    Thank you for the article link! It’s fascinating, and I think I’m going to have to mull over the findings a fair bit before I have much more to say on the topic.

    Onething,

    I’ve found a few articles on the topic, mostly be searching for studies related to particulate matter and the effects it has on health. Here’s a link to one such study, specifically looking at heart attacks: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/114/23/2443.full

    Once again though, I would like to state that I doubt air quality is the only factor, but I think it’s likely playing a much larger role than people generally think it does.

    Patricia,

    It might be a factor. I can say that rice tastes quite different in India compared to Canada, although it’s hard for me to tell exactly why that is. What I find interesting though is that there are people who rave about the rice and beans who refuse to even consider learning how to make it themselves.

    Shane,

    This is one of my personal pet peeves. We are a different country, we can exist independently, so let’s at least try to do it. I don’t get the insistence we have to follow the US on everything, even though we see where it goes, but that’s what so many people want to do. They will loudly deny it, but rhetoric aside we’re busy screaming about how we’re not Americans while copying everything your elites do. (Or, at least, our elites are)

  122. JMG I have recently finished reading “The Darkening Web” by Alexander Klimburg. An interesting read where the author notes that the US and the western industrialized nations have supported a free and open internet where Russia and China (in particular) with others support a more closed approach where states have more control over content.

    He makes some interesting observations that the US in its support of a more open WWW have overlooked cyber defense and the government’s hubris has blinded them to the risks. Meanwhile the Russians have greatly advanced their offensive cyber capacity along with China. Part of both Russia’s and China’s claims about the need is because they claim the US is causing problems with offensive cyber tactics. It would not surprise me if the US were up to mischief but it is hard to know. However the author makes it clear that Russia in particular has significant capability.

    I found it interesting that he indicated China had executed a significant turn away from offensive cyber activity in 2015 at the request of Obama in a meeting between the leaders. At the same time China has been working on effectively using China’s internet for social control work and are having significant success. It would appear that China may be finding significant advantages in using it for these purposes.

    It occurred to me that China may be working a plan where they develop their internal internet while encouraging the Russians to start a cyber war with the US. It could have the interesting outcome of taking out a lot of the “free internet” capacity and leaving what’s left in a mess. Not a bad place for China to find itself if the WWW is seriously compromised by Russian and US cyber fighting while China establishes a more “controlled” internet for its purposes internally that it is willing to expand to countries wanting to trade on a stable platform outside of Russian and/or US influence. This last paragraph is the thought that ran through my mind as I finished the book and I wondered what you thought?

    Tomxyza

  123. A few times on this blog and on Dreamwidth, the topic of problems that secular mindfulness meditation can cause as well as its disconnect from its alleged Buddhist origins has been brought up.

    Anyway, I came across this excerpt from a Buddhist book outlining what is called “analytical meditation” in Tibetan Buddhism, which is strikingly similar to “discursive meditation”:

    https://books.google.com.sg/books?id=ddo74pwoMXYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=ninth+karmapa+analytical+meditation&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi8w9Goo9naAhUCFZQKHVVYBd0Q6AEIKjAB#v=onepage&q=ninth%20karmapa%20analytical%20meditation&f=false

    It’s in Appendix IV in this Google Books preview. I hope some people might find this of benefit.

  124. JMG,

    I wonder if the sheer speed with which we adopt another incarnation is also causing us problems. I can imagine situations where, if we had more time to process, we might learn something that we miss because we don’t have enough time to do that.

    With regards to the woman who shot up YouTube, I didn’t hear about it. It doesn’t surprise me, but I have not heard it before now. I think that the likely outcome of something like the black swan I described is a desperate attempt to shut it down, but depending on how far it spread before people realized they mixed up the ethnicity, I’m not sure it would be successful, and in the current political climate, I hope we don’t find out the hard way it’s not.

  125. @Austin

    I’m enthusiastic about Calexit. I don’t live in CA and don’t pretend to know much about it. But I think the breakup of the US into smaller nation-states will be (mostly) healthy for us and for the world. Not every newly formed nation is going to devleop into the “Lakeland Republic” but until we break up, no group of states is going to develop into something better than the current state of affairs. Of course there’s also the possibility of a few states grouping together to form truely horrible nations. I’ll take my chances.

  126. Austin,
    the Calexiteers have a website w/FAQ’s, and one of the ones they answered was about the loss of California’s clout in the nation: according to them, none of the modern presidential elections would’ve been swayed by the loss of California, and control of Congress would’ve only flipped a few times. Of course, we must remember that until recently, California was much more centrist and evenly split between the parties.

  127. Archdruid,

    One step at a time it is. Why does such a large part of magic seem to be how sheerly stubborn one can be? 😉

    Regards,

    Varun

  128. We had a similar case to the stolen election in Florida that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her cronies pulled off in Washington State.

    In the 2004 governor’s race, Republican candidate Dino Rossi was ahead by a few hundred votes on election night. The Democrats demanded a recount and lo and behold, the King County Democrats just happened to dig up a few hundred “previously uncounted” ballots. That wasn’t quite enough to put his Democrat challenger, Christine Gregoire, over the top. So the King County Democrats did another recount and wouldn’t you know it, but they found still more “previously uncounted” ballots. This put them closer, but not quite over the top.

    So it was wash, rinse and repeat time over and over again, with each successive cycle finding more uncounted ballots from King County. Finally, the Democrats got what the result they wanted and “found” enough ballots to put Gregoire over the top, at which point the recounts suddenly ceased.

  129. I have read about the effects of the dispersing effects of the vinegar bowl trick long ago, but let’s assume one uses the sleeping room for practice of ritual magic.

    In this case, wouldn’t that interfere with the work?

  130. JMG
    “Jen, color as color doesn’t do much for me.”

    One of the functions I have established is color contrast. I didn’t really understand what was going on until I read an article on how people can lose color contrast when they become depressed. The were tested with some kind of brain scan. Note I didn’t say recovered – I never had it.

    I am writing this to show how lame our “advanced” society is in dealing with “invisible illness”. Maybe invisible because the experts don’t even know to look, everyone is identical so if you fail it is your fault. A neuropsych exam failed to help, there was no suggestion as to what I could or should do, no explanation of what my strengths (if any) and weaknesses were, but I did get the Toxic Encephalopathy diagnosis.

    After I started cleansing in 1993 the following happened:
    About a half hour of functioning memory with good access and cross reference about 1993. Memory sometimes better lately. Note that the elderly use a slower less effective memory access and perhaps that is what I had always used.

    Ability to feel pleasure. I could satisfy the usual urges but this is different. I was getting dressed one day about 1993 and it felt really good. I’m like “What is this?”. Eventually I came to realize I had been somewhat numb all my life. This is happening more often in what I call peripheral perception. I became sometimes able to feel texture. One day I could even feel texture through my feet. Now I better understand others views on warm cuddly fuzzy.

    Depth perception started coming in around 1997. I became able to turn it on as needed and now it is usually on.

    Color contrast slammed me about 1998. A bright orange truck passed my window and the feeling was strong. I learned how to turn it on and now it is often on.

    With all of the above I can now often appreciate my own art and see the neighboring nature park as beautiful. Not all of my art is colorful.

    Of the above the only one that showed in a test that I know of was depth perception (and I didn’t get the truck driving job. But I did drive for Seattle’s Metro Transit for a couple of years later on. they didn’t have the simple cheap test

    The most very recent is sense of smell, something that is close to the fundamentals of my illness. One day it was so good I could smell the chemicals in my colored shirts (not worn next to skin) and they all smelled different. I went to Target, smelled really bad when I got home and the smell was persistant. Was the change in the store or in my perception? I did find some stuff that shouldn’t be inside and I am slowly doing something about it.

    There is probably an extreme variation in people in at least the above.

    The only thing I would add to this now is hand writing. Mine was so bad in sixth grade they sent me back to my third grade teacher for retraining. Now it is sometimes fairly good. I’m near ambidextrous and good with tools so I’m wondering if this is part of the same or separate coordination. My last gf was the opposite, teeth instead of pliers, very fast legible printing.

    Books:
    If you read Nobody Nowhere by Donna Williams be sure to read Somebody Somewhere because the first is such a downer. My mild condition and easy early life is not comparable to hers but her experience is somehow familiar.

    There is also Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin for another difference. She succeeded as an engineer and is a leader in her industry. She used her strengths to succeed and had good help growing up.

  131. JMG,
    Much respect and thanks for hosting this forum! I have some Ogham questions teed up for Magic Monday, but in the mean time, do you have any tips for warding off mosquitos, especially as it pertains to meditation in the outdoors?
    Thank you!
    Mike T

  132. JMG, Carl from CA here. I was wondering if you’ve heard of Styxxhammer666 on You Tube? His real name is Tarl and he lives in Vermont and does three videos a day on usually political topics but also covers his garden and the occult. He also writes and translates books on the occult. He reminds me a lot like you. He’s a libertarian and doesn’t support Democrats or Republicans but didn’t support Clinton and likes many of Trumps policies like you.
    You two would have a lot to talk about and now you live near him. He sometimes has guests on his channel. He has about 240,000 subs which is pretty good for YT.
    I hope you check him out and meet up. I’ve commented to him about you but he doesn’t read all his comments.
    Carl

  133. JMG,
    I grew up catholic and would’ve never guessed that I would have amassed a collection of occult books (mostly written by yourself). You mentioned in a reply to someone else at another time that you keep some of your books hidden. I’m aware of the secrecy aspect, but are there other reasons and what types of books should stay out of the public eye in your opinion? Thank you!

    Mike T

  134. Synthase, it looks like a short crowbar.

    Tom, good question. I haven’t read the book in question, and as the internet isn’t something I value much — I use it for lack of better options — I haven’t really explored the issue.

    Alvin, thanks for this. I’d encountered references to something very like discursive meditation in Tibetan Buddhist traditions, but hadn’t seen any detailed material on it.

    Will, I’ve long suspected that one of the reasons we see so many people with gender dysphoria these days is that they haven’t had enough time between lives to let go of one gender, before they’re born into a new body with a different gender.

    Varun, because the will is the great motive force in magic, and learning to be stubborn is great training for the will!

    Armata, yep. Vote fraud is as American as apple pie, and Washington state is well up there in terms of political corruption.

    Packshaud, no, because when you’re doing ordinary magical practice you’re not trying to condense etheric energy — that’s what the vinegar interferes with. In fact, one of the points of doing regular banishings is that it disperses etheric condensations that build up in and around your aura — and vinegar will actually help with that.

    Inohuri, most interesting.

    Mike, a good nontoxic insect repellent is about your best bet. I know of no magical way to do it.

    Carl, no, I hadn’t — I don’t do YouTube, or visual media generally, so don’t know a lot of the people who do shows on it.

    Mike, I keep some books in a private room purely because some people would freak out if they saw them. I don’t approve of having serious magical texts where young children can get to them, but beyond that, no, not really.

    Michael, yes, I saw that! A glimmer of common sense finally slipping through the haze of human exceptionalism…

  135. JMG, Thanks for the insight on east and west alchemy. I googled alchemy vs magic, but got almost no satisfactory explanation. As best as I understand it, “Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the Will “- Dion Fortune. I have seen you quote her, and prefer her definition over others that I have seen. And as best as I understand alchemy, it is the self cultivation in order to live in harmony with Life. Would not an alchemist be using magic as one of the tools as part of the self cultivation? Or is there no overlap between the two?

  136. Mike T, (if I may), re. mosquitos-
    They bug me too! Long sleeves and pants, socks and real shoes, and a light muslin cloth over my head/face/neck are the best I’ve come up with, plus lemon balm tea spritzed on if it’s really bad (can’t hurt, might help). I look like a mummy and have to be careful to use light fabrics so as not to pass out from overheating, but I really don’t like getting bitten while trying to concentrate, and I seem to be delicious. I have a hat with a bug veil packed away somewhere from a long-ago trip to Alaska, which this conversation inspires me to dig out.
    Good luck; hope you starve the buggers.
    –Heather in CA

  137. JMG – Building on your response to Will’s comment. Why would spirits be reincarnating such at a high rate today, rather than having more time between lives?

  138. A question on another topic altogether, if I may, JMG: I sometimes feel slightly odd or unwell (kind of woozy, like getting up from a chair too fast when your blood pressure is low, and often with tingling sensations like a limb waking up after having “gone to sleep,” as it is called) while performing the Sphere of Protection, and these sensations seem to intensify the more effective the ritual felt. Sometimes similar occurences with meditation, even just relaxing into the posture and breathing–sometimes a slight headache. Afterwards, I often feel better even than before the ritual, although sometimes still slightly odd. Sometimes my feet, which are usually blocks of ice, get warm (which is quite nice, unlike some of the other effects). My hands also tend to get warm and tingly, but not in a disturbing way. Any thoughts on this? Safe to continue?

  139. Dear John Michael Greer,

    Thank you for hosting open questions. I am wondering if you are familiar with the works of philosopher Jeremy Naydler on technology and if so what you might have to say about them.

    MILLICENTLY LURKING

  140. @Larry Hill, @onething, @Will J–

    Apologies to everyone in advance for the long post! You may want to skip this one if you have no interest in comments on healthcare.

    re: Canadian vs. US Healthcare systems–
    As I am a US citizen currently living in Canada and a pharmacist with license and practice experience in both systems, I may be able to give a good comparison. The usual disclaimers admitting bias apply, since I make my living at it.–

    The upside–
    Canadian Pharmacy regs seem to me a lot more sensible than a lot of the US ones. It was easy to study for the Canadian licensure exams because every time I turned around, I would run into instances in which the Canadians were already doing things in a sensible and practical way that were needlessly complicated in the US. If I didn’t know the answer to a regulatory question on the exam, all I had to do was pick the most sensible practical answer, and that was the right one! Doctors seem more approachable up here, and are grateful for any help and recommendations I can give them.

    My own health insurance here in Canada, paid through taxes to the Province, is several hundred CDN dollars a year for myself and my wife. In the US, the cheapest ‘discount’ insurance I could get through work was several hundred US dollars a month. I make less per hour up here, but I find that, because of the benefits built into the system, I can now actually save something at the end of the month. Fees for services and methods of pricing are transparent and reported to the patient by law. My patients, for example, can see on their receipt the actual price the pharmacy paid for their meds at wholesale, the amount of upcharge and fee, and what their Provincial and private insurance paid. I believe this cuts way back on the possibilities for committing fraud and price gouging.
    In the mega-chain pharmacy I worked for in the US, pricing was considered a trade secret of the company, and revealing the actual acquisition cost of anything was punishable by firing. And there WAS routine price gouging in the US, as company policy.

    Now the downside;
    Canadian healthcare is a lot like the British system which, if I understand it rightly, assumes that people can wait for limited resources of specialists and specialized equipment. In the US, the assumption is that specialists and their specialized equipment wait for people–who pay extraordinarily large sums for the treatment they get.

    One of my pharmacy techs waited 9 months, with constant pain, until it was her turn for an operation to repair a torn rotator cuff (in shoulder). She _did_ get the surgery and is doing well, and it _was_ covered. She just had to wait a long time for it.
    I spoke to a guy this week whose 12-year-old hip replacement was coming loose. I could see an oddly shaped bump deforming his skin at the hip bone level. He had a doctor, but told me his doctor ‘refused to look at his hip.’ So I found myself in the odd position, as a pharmacist, of taking his medical history, finding and printing out information to help him understand what to do, advising that he go back to the hospital that did the implant, and getting his symptoms of heavy metal poisoning (from the implant) evaluated. Couldn’t his doctor have done this? Unlike me, the Province paid his doctor to do something like this…
    I have had to step up to the plate to provide care that is broader in scope than what I was doing in the US. It is interesting but sometimes problematic…

    Larry, you may well receive timely and appropriate treatment. I am glad to hear it! Do you live in or near an urban centre? In the rural area where I live, there is a chronic shortage of doctors. Most doctors have a waiting list to get on service. I have been here 3 years, and my wife and I still have no leads on a physician. The only health clinic in our town is partly supported by community fundraisers. The community fundraises the rent on the building, and the Province provides a Nurse Practitioner (but no doctor) for the office. Last Fall, my wife and I had the odd experience of spending several hundred dollars at the fundraiser dinner to support a medical clinic where we are not allowed to go because patient enrollment is closed there.

    There are walk-in clinics here as close as 24 Km (15 miles) from my home, and I can get most routine care done at them. Emergency care is handled well. Routine preventive care could use some improvement. I am, for example, two years overdue for a colonoscopy. I am having some trouble getting a walk-in doctor to refer me to a proctologist for the year-long waiting list for this procedure. IMHO, our system here could be better at early detection of things that are treatable if caught early. Hopefully I will get any problems detected early enough to treat them…

    Looking forward, no matter where you live, I’d advise all of us to get used to doing our own preventive health care as much as possible! Scarce medical care is likely going to be a feature in all of our futures, if it isn’t already. If you can keep problems from developing by exercise, good diet, good rest, that’s your best bet.

  141. Alvin Leong: Thanks for the link to the text on Tibetan analytical meditation which I have read. The method combines “resting meditation” which corresponds to mindfulness practice(which I find personally useful to calm an overactive mind, at times dysfunctionally so) with “analytical meditation” which corresponds to discursive meditation.

    I think the problem with the way mindfulness practice has been presented is that it présents thinking as something exclusively negative, to be got rid of, rather than as a precious if dangerous tool or body organ essential to our lives but which we have to learn to use properly.
    .
    JMG: I’d love to have your feedback on these reflections.

    Best regards,

    Dominique

  142. As an American-history buff I have quite a few questions but will just voice two of them in the hope of enlightenment from readers. Both of them in different ways involve the Constitution.

    1. The Constitutional amendment restricting Presidents to two terms strikes me as an extraordinary vote of no confidence in the strength of American democracy and institutions. I dare say the real motive of the amendment was to inflict a partisan posthumous defeat upon FDR, but still, that could hardly have been the justification given at the time. People must seriously have argued that a multi-term President might make himself dictator – I suppose by use of patronage, command of the armed forces and us of the “bully pulpit”. And that to me looks as though faith in US democracy must have been only skin deep among many people. I find this strange. Any thoughts? Anyone else think it peculiar?

    2. If I remember correctly, the Constitution has just one short sentence about religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. So it should be simplicity itself, to check whether the Constitution is being violated in this respect. All one has to do is ask, “Has Congress passed a law respecting an establishment of religion?” If the answer is “No”, then the Constitution has not been violated. Only if the answer is “Yes” – if Congress has passed such a law – should counter-action be taken. Simple! Easy-peasy! Yet one hears of a sheriff being told he mustn’t put up a copy of the Ten Commandments in his court-house; and someone complained that Frank Borman in Apollo 8 should not have read from the Book of Genesis while he was orbiting the moon – an event omitted from consideration by the Founding Fathers.

    It seems to me that some people act as though they have some ultra-violet vision capable of seeing things written in invisible ink in the Constitution. In reality, it says nothing whatsoever about whether a religion can or cannot establish itself by custom in the US. It merely says that Congress should have nothing to say about it. Nothing to say to the sheriff who puts up the Ten Commandments on the courthouse wall; nothing to say to the next sheriff who tears it down and puts up the thoughts of Chairman Mao instead. Or am I missing something?

  143. MikeT, re: mosquitoes. My mom showed me a recipe for basil mosquito repellent last month. I need to try it out, along with fennel flea repellent, down here. It’s worth a try, along with lemongrass, tea tree oil, and errr, one other that slips my mind right now. The basil is basically an infusion put into a spray bottle.

  144. Hello JMG

    Are there any spiritual / esoteric / magical practices that the Sphere of Protection is incompatible with? I’m rather alarmed by Questioning’s situation, and there was a more serious case in a previous open post. I do some qigong and I’m starting to get into meditation, but I wouldn’t say that I’m properly on a spiritual path yet (I’m probably two, or possibly one, lives from that).

    SMJ

  145. Thanks again, JMG, for the answer! I do know that even small children have their own distinct personality, but I didn’t think of it. Regarding hobbies, it occurred to me that much of the modern leisure industry amounts to spending one’s time with more or less pointless activities.

    Small correction about the ariosophian magic and its consequences: it was rather “der Starke von oben.”

  146. By the way, “Hitler’s Vienna: A Dictator’s Apprenticeship” from Brigitte Hamann is a good source about Hitlers formative years and his involvement in occult circles like Ariosophy, With people like Lanz von Liebenfels and similar things.

  147. @ JMG and @ Varun

    Re the “humanist” conversation

    The more I reflect on that conversation, particularly on his use of the Amish as an example, the more I see the subtle totalitarianism embedded in that world-view. “We must restrict the freedom of those in the present in order to preserve the freedom for those to come” is more or less a direct quote. (The issue he was bringing up in his Amish example is that by allowing communities to self-segregate — homeschooling, in this particular case — their children were being damaged by leaving them unprepared for the world.) That society must compel its members to a certain world-view for the greater good — yes, it is an insidious thread of reasoning. To his credit, we didn’t end the conversation accusing the other of being evil, but rather acknowledged fundamental differences in values.

  148. When you say that one should not perform magic with young children around, to what ages are you referring to? and why is that so? Similarly with books, in what ways could that be problematic? I am not challenging your views, but I am interested in the reasoning behind such precautions to which I subscribe anyway! In my view of things and to some extent, magic is a bit like pornography, better keep it out of view of kids and most people! Sorry for the parallel with porn! No offense meant…

  149. @Will,
    I know, I have this annoying habit of pointing out all the (positive) differences between the US & Canada to my Canadian friends, and they seem more discomfited by that than the typical American attitude of criticizing all the ways Canada is not as good as the US. As for the identity crisis, I knew a guy in Ottawa who was a proud wearer of a pussy hat. I was baffled at his seeming identity crisis, that, as a Canadian, he would so strongly identify w/the “resistance”. I mean, it’s not his country, and he has zero control over a foreign country’s affairs. Are you in Ontario? I think you’d be an interesting person to meet when I come up.
    @Tom,
    I really think we’ve achieved “peak internet”. I think the tech bubble bursting (ad revenue not covering costs–companies never making profits) and thhe elite/MSM’s souring on tech, as evidenced by all the negative articles, will soften up the tech sector for the final blow, which will by cyberwarfare as noted in the book you read. It’s amazing to me to watch the sudden turn of events for Silicon Valley.
    @Chris Hope,
    your post gives me hope (pun not intended). This century is the post-American century, and the sooner we can get beyond the US, the sooner we can move into the 21st century. Most people I talk to will not even contemplate a post-American world and go into total meltdown at the idea. The more people can look positively upon the benefits of having smaller, more homogeneous, localized nations in North America, the less likely true fascist insanity is. It’s interesting to me that for all the moral cant, all of our regional differences revolve around trade: the first serious secession movement was by New England, on behalf of traders who wanting freer trade, then, the Civil War, which was brought on in large part by Yankee tariffs protecting their new industries that hurt Southerners, who wanted freer trade for their goods. Now is no different–for all the moral cant, it all boils down to the winners and losers in this era of globalization/free trade–the blue states are the winners/benefactors while red America is the losers. Nothing new here.
    JMG,
    thanks for answering my question w/out revealing any particulars. I appreciate that.

  150. Regarding the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Lancaster Plan, both seem to me like they are well-written works of speculative fiction, but their assignment of blame to “The Evil Jews” ™ is pointless and wrong. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion did predict quite a few things that really happened, but when it was written many of those things were already in motion – when it was written, the idea of a Jewish state in the holy land was being seriously discussed by some, and many had predicted the conflict between a waning Christian civilization and a waxing Islamic civilization. I would also guess that there were multiple texts like the Protocols, which have been largely forgotten that made similarly lurid predicitons which did not match up at all with the history of the 20th century and were therefore forgotten.

    From what I gathered from an interview with Tommy Robinson and Canadian university professor Gad Saad, is that the reason why western European governments are kowtowing to the demands of Islamsists is simple: The governments in the UK, Sweden, Germany, etc have nothing whatsoever to fear from the native population, which has mostly lost its normal modes of collective organization like trade unions and churches. On the other hand, those same governments and people within them face a variety of threats from the much more organized Islamic fundamentalists. The Islamic fundamentalists can organize large protests and are adept at using the human rights laws in those countries to go after politicians or government employees who are critical of them. In Sweden for instance, a huge percentage of adults work for the government – and if you get fired from your job for saying something too critical of the Swedish policies – good luck ever getting anything other than menial employment again. So there’s that too. I hate to say it, but unless there’s some sort of Christian or otherwise revival in those countries that produces a few million fundamentalists who are willing to be killed or imprisoned for their beliefs you can stick a fork in them, they’re done, at least in the sense that there will be obvious continuity between what they were 100 years ago and what they will be in 100 years.

    In his excellent book Skin in the Game, Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks quite a bit about why Islam is a successful model and how it takes over societies – it’s worth a read.

    The problem with conspiratorial thinking is that it’s like looking at an anthill and thinking that the queen(s) are in charge and are actually ordering around the worker ants, who could choose to do different things if they would just stop listening to the queens.

  151. No question, just sharing old monumental art breaking
    news:

    “In 1894, gold prospectors digging up a peat bog near the Russian city of Yekaterinburg unearthed something bizarre: a carved wooden idol 5 meters long. Carefully smoothed into a plank, the piece was covered front and back with recognizable human faces and hands, along with zigzag lines and other mysterious details. It also had a recognizably human head, with its mouth open in an “o.” For more than a century, the statue was displayed as a curiosity in a Yekaterinburg museum, assumed to be at most a few thousand years old.

    This week, a paper published in the journal Antiquity argues that the statue was crafted from a single larchwood log 11,600 years ago, making it one of the world’s oldest examples of monumental art. In age and appearance although not material, the authors write, the so-called Shigir Idol resembles the stone sculptures of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, which are often cited as the first monumental ritual structures (Science, 18 January 2008, p. 278). Both monuments represent a leap beyond the naturalistic images of the ice age.

    The idol also shows that large-scale, complex art emerged in more than one place—and that it was the handiwork of hunter-gatherers and not, as was once assumed, of later farming societies. “We have to conclude hunter-gatherers had complex ritual and expression of ideas. Ritual doesn’t start with farming, but with hunter-gatherers,” says Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist at the University of Göttingen in Germany and a co-author of the paper.

    The first radiocarbon dating of the idol, in the 1990s, yielded a startlingly early date: 9800 years old. But many scholars rejected the result as implausibly old. They argued that hunter-gatherers couldn’t have produced such a large sculpture, nor have had the complex symbolic imagination to decorate it.

    New samples were taken in 2014. At a 2015 press conference in Yekaterinburg, team members announced (before the results were peer reviewed), that these samples revealed even older dates, moving the age of the sculpture back 1500 years, to a time when the world was still transitioning out of the last ice age.”

  152. @ Guillem:

    I happen to know of one book that takes a long hard look at the purpose and power of analogy. It’s called “Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking”, and it’s by Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander. It’s a primarily linguistic approach as most people think exclusively using words… but it’s a ripping good read, and will get you thinking deeply.

    @ JMG:

    I’ve been following along with Magic Mondays for a while, and I’m ready to take the plunge and begin a daily magical practice. My main purpose is to prepare myself to be able and willing to connect with any nature spirits that might be inhabiting an acre or so of scrubland that’s been left untended for the past 40 years or so, an area that I’m about to purchase. I also have a secondary purpose of doing a little bit of original research and trying to look for correlations between magical theory and music theory. Do you have any recommendations with where I should start?

  153. JMG,

    Have you been following at all the Kinder Morgan pipeline crisis between BC and Alberta? I know Americans don’t generally tend to get any Canadian news, but this one is such a wowzer in terms of the confluence of peak oil, climate change handwaving and anacyclosis, I recommend a look.

    For politicians insanely scrambling to prop up the economy to last through the coming elections just so they won’t be the one holding the bag when the worm eaten foundation goes kablooie (such as has happened to the Ontario Premier), to absolute political stalemate between the power centres of the oil barons, political elites, First Nations and environmental ists. And if course, the non-entity of the Paris accord. There are threats from federal ministers to bring in the army to put down the protesters, threats from First Nations across Canada for another Oka crisis (militant Indigenous uprising) if they do. Quebec (the other captured internal Nation) siding with BC/First Nations on primacy of provincial jurisdiction to safeguard resources, and Saskatchewan, the other oil producer, siding with Alberta on the right of provinces to safeguard their resources by subjugation of other provincial interests.

    The crisis in question is that BC wanted to ask the Supreme Court (and now has) whether it had the right to limit dilbit transport to and through our coastline due to the fact we can’t clean it up and we have a maritime economy (there are larger goals, of course, but that’s the legal one they went with). This would limit pipeline capacity to only what we currently have – no expansion of one particular pipeline through the populated area of Vancouver that is owned by the effluvia of Enron (and burst in 2007, memorably spreading neighborhoods with oil). Limiting pipe is a climate advocacy goal, as the deal the feds made was that they’d get a scrap of paper signed by all provinces to meet the Paris goals of GHG reduction, provided the oilsands were first allowed to increase emissions from the current 70 MT/YR to 100 (i.e. 30% of the global budget agreed on – for one sector of an economy representing 0.5% of the global population). Naturally this did not go over well with the climate change community, and they vowed to hamstring attempts to increase production.

    Alberta and Saskatchewan have thus tabled bills to cut off all oil for internal use in BC, to protest not letting them increase dilbit transport solely for export (the ” let the bastards shiver in the dark” gambit used in the 90s against the east to get concessions from the feds).

    The supreme Court conveniently ruled on an interprovincial beer trade dispute (because Canada) and used that ruling to preemptively say they’d side with BC, and against Alberta/Saskatchewan, which has been hilarious, since the headlines have been blaring about the illegality of BCs actions, and now have had to fall back on public opinion polls. The public sides with oil, saying they think BC is probably in the right, but they really can’t handle gas prices $2/L so pipe, baby, pipe. Of course, the alternate method to get oil to Vancouver is rail, and there is a rail strike looming… And Jeff Rubin and Robyn Allan have pointed out that gas is probably going to 2 no matter what, but…

    In short, Canada is having a Constitutional crisis because we’ve hit the wall already, and nobody but nobody is prepared, and it’s a circus up here.

  154. The vinegar was in the bedroom last night and I was able to rest the whole night, rather than wake up at 2am unable to get back to sleep. I did the ritual bath this morning after my regular shower and the water in the basin was gray. Just did the banishing ritual from your book and feel lighter overall.

    Thank you again! Looking forward to repeating them.

  155. Aha! Re: the latest Dreamwidth post on the “anti-NRA” spell – I know who this guy is now! He was the one apprenticed to a sorcerer, and decided to get out of doing his chores by magicking the broom to do the chores for him. He ended up flooding out his teacher’s lab. I’m sure everybody reading this has the appropriate soundtrack running in their ears already, and the accompanying visual images.

  156. Okay, bibliography here:

    In Keeper’s Price: “There is Always an Alternative” and “Paloma Blanca.”
    In Sword of Chaos: “Camilla” In Free Amazons of Darkover, “Girls Will Be Girls.” MZB loathed that one, but said she knew what sold. I’m thinking that I knew teenaged girls better than she did! IN Red Sun of Darkover, “Coils” And in Snows of Darkover, “Fire in the Hellers.”

  157. Synthase, those trends are ultimately the result of the collective decisions of generations of the people who inhabit those countries. They either actively or passively permitted the policies that are now destroying their societies. Mass migration benefitted the middle class and wealthy, everyone depends on oil hence the Saudi alliance and funding jihadists, demographic decline destroys the pension ponzi scheme leading to demands for more migration, the ideologies of multiculturalism are necessary to suppress the resulting dissent and conflict etc. We have the political elite we’ve earned.

    In terms of the ideologies and emotions that motivate those decisions, if you read Phil Harris’s comment carefully in light of the discussion on abstractions, the commonplace and anecdotes, you’ll see that it explains the state of the west in terms of migration and multiculturalism perfectly. Conspiracies do of course exist, but they’re neither necessary nor adequate to bring down a civilization. The inhabitants dissolve it themselves when the cycle turns. It’s really hard to watch, I know.

  158. @J.L.Mc12

    Thank you very much for sharing about the chess board, it is remarkable to see that this system has been worked out in detain in binary centuries past. The system he developed is almost the precise equivalent of a golden ratio based system I have developed. For nerds of such things, you can re derive the basics of what I have done by adjusting Napier’s system with the following adjustment: to preserve the numeric value two neighboring jetons may be removed from the board if they are replaced by a jeton on the position subsequent.
    | |-|-| | -> | | | |-|; also the inverse is true, and any jeton may be removed provided that it is replaced by a jetton on each of the two previous positions.

    From those two rules you get a one dimensional number line which behaves such that each square it the golden ratio to the proceeding. A two dimensional (on N dimensional) arrangement can be added which will maintain similar diagonilization equivalences as Napier’s system.

    An additional rule may be use to transform the system from irrational powers of phi (which happen to approximate the Lucas numbers and their reciprocals) into a system of rational numbers as the Fibonacci system by defining one space as zero: On the zero space one may freely add on remove jetons with out changing the value of the array.

    My own development on this, as of last time I extended my interests in that directions, was just starting to figure out the square root rule, as I wanted to add some special rules to make it easier to approximate the square root of phi; which is a very important value for some applications of sacred geometry, specifically the elaboration on Kepler’s Triangle.

    So, thank you again for sharing this on Napier’s work, I hope it will give me a frame work to describe my own work in a more systematic way.

  159. Hi JMG,

    can you recommend any exercises/rituals to enhance or develop a sense of having boundaries. I seem to have a problem setting them and it is making my life quite difficult. I was diagnosed last year by a consultant psychiatrist with having mild Aspergers and ADD/ADHD( after an incident of which I can go into detail if you want) which I think explains a lot up to now, but I am still having problems. A lot is not OK in my life right now regarding my family, our history and mental illness. I came across a quote attributed to Paracelsus von Hohenheim; “I got into Meditation because I was inhibited. Turns out I was inhabited!” . I sometimes feel like I’m spiritually infected or suffering from some energetic familial baggage, or paying for something from a past life or how I behaved when I was younger. I’m physically quite healthy, eat relatively well and played many sports growing up, I have tried different diets and have dropped eating too much bread,past etc which I think has helped. I quite often get highly agitated by the presence of certain people, while a 2/3 year screaming in my ear and flailing her arm into my cheek doesn’t bother me one bit, but then I can have visceral/sickening/anger feeling just by the presence or sight of certain people. Other times, I ‘spill my guts’ regarding information, but am then annoyed at myself for telling them. I know that I have paranoid tendencies, and try to take them into account, but that doesn’t explain it all. I am from Ireland,(but born in Australia to Irish parents,moved back when I was 6months old), turning 27 next month and do not where my life is going.

    I am aware that the spiel above might come across as a incoherent and word-salad-like, a symptom which fits the model for hebephrenic schizophrenia as noted by the consultant psychiatrist.

    I also feel this comes across as a ‘life is hard,fix it for me JMG!’ comment. Over to you. Thanks

  160. Hi JMG,

    I feel I should say that I have been following you online for about 3 years(Archdruid Report, YouTube podcast, radio interviews), just if the question comes across as a loaded or strewn together. Thanks

  161. I think that the fact that Henry Kissinger said, ten months before Yom Kippur war, that the oil price will rise by four times shows that the avaliavility of oil in not only an outcome of geological or technological issues, else political or better in this case , criminal. Because we are speaking about a twisted manoeouvre for plundering the economies of the non oil producting countries.

    Without making mention of the question of provoking a war for make a pretext for to induce the price rise for oil.

    In my opinion this can be one of the more important events of the XX century.

  162. I have been thinking back at the Michael Hughs debate on the other blog. That was interesting, I am happy to say that the responce I got from him seemed like there was at least the starting grounds for a real conversation; but I don’t feel like following him to his digital haunts to continue it. I used a tactic of blunt honesty, and offering something that the person I was talking to wanted to hear. “I voted for Trump, but think we could do way better. I am totally willing to work had to kick him out of office, on the condition that a better candidate is made available to me; barring that, Orange Julius will default into my vote again.” Then I voiced some of my concerns, and got an answer that had the potentials to build something up. But, I think it dies there.

    The fascinating reflection I had as I went into that exchange, and did some research to make sure I wasn’t talking out the wrong end (too much) was that as a matter of fact I do disagree with Trump about a much larger number of things than I tend to regularly think about. Interestingly the articles I found which best highlighted how strongly I disagree with him were all writted by Trump friendly Conservatives! In fact the only real attraction that he has is not being an establishment Democrat. I am super salty about the Democratic party.

    That is to say, one of the strongest motives that I feel for sympathizing with Trump, is frustration felt toward those who are freaking out about him.

    If the Dems throw up the hack candidate we more or less expect them to, that’s an easy with for the MAGA party. What I want to know is, what kind of candidate would it take to give him a licking in 2020?

    I know that to get my vote a Tulsi Gabbard, or any stanch anti-war candidate would do it. A democrat willing to maintain the retreat from globalism (remember when it was the hard left protesting the globalists, anyone?). Any Sander’s clone with so much as a speck of decency. Someone running on a John Henry, Neo, John Conner, or Ned Ludd platform. Some flavors of Libertarian.

    Mr. Greer, in your wildest fits of optimism, what do you think the best candidate we could be capable of as a nation and a culture would look like? I ain’t asking about the perfect leader, but the best that you could see as being at all plausible.

  163. JMG,

    Okay, those were some very weird letters indeed. Some people really are living in a different world. Now I can understand why you might be afraid to open the mailbox sometimes!

    Could you explain why Dion Fortune is a particular authority in the western occult teachings? Is it her skill in communicating difficult topics? Her distillation or combination of disparate preceding work by others? I have started studying some of her work, but without having read widely in the occult before, I can’t really put her in context.

    Samurai_47

  164. Honestly, I feel that American identity is a burden for Americans, and that that burden would be lifted if we could shed the burden of American identity.

  165. Dear Archdruid,

    A while back someone asked where Butler’s recommendation of “going through the events of the day in reverse” came from. If that person is reading: Doing so in reverse is mentioned by Dion Fortune in “Through the Gates of Death”. She states it helps with remembering earlier lives, and adjusting more easily after death, if I recall correctly.

    In your earlier books on Hermetic Golden Dawn magic, concerning the Ritual of Animal Transformation, you mention that using the same animal form exclusively/too often could have negative health effects. Yet there is no such warning in the Celtic Golden Dawn – is it not a problem in the DOGD system, or still something to keep in mind?

    On that note, could a DOGD Druid work with the names and sigils in Bardon’s second book?
    Finally, do you happen to know whether Bardon’s exercises are effective? (His higher steps seem… fanciful, but working with the DMH for a few years has blown my mind to what is possible, so who knows…).

    Thank you for your time.
    Yours in Druidry and Hermeticism,
    Brigyn

  166. MikeT and dfr1973: Perhaps pennyroyal was the herb you forgot? In Sarah Orne Jewett’s Country of the Pointed Firs, a paste of pennyroyal is mentioned as an anti-mosquito bite preparation. Also, for outdoor ritual, there is always the option of burning a few cigarettes or pipe tobacco, citronella candle, or balsam, pine, cedar, sage, or ‘flavored’ incense, provided your ritual does not prohibit these. Or you could smoke out the area before the ritual begins, if that is the case.

  167. Jen
    “I sometimes feel slightly odd or unwell”

    You might try a crude pulse diagnosis.

    The pulse in my left wrist has lifelong been very weak, often undetectable by me. Now that I am starting to get well it sometimes is half as strong as the right side and usually detectable. In inverse strength there is a pulse point between thumb and forefinger near where the base joints are.

    Do a before and after in both wrists.

    The result could give you a guideline but I sure wouldn’t use it for diagnosis.

  168. Clark, the definition of alchemy I use is this: “the art by which material forms are rendered capable of expressing more fully the spiritual forces that create and sustain them.” (That’s quoted from my book The Celtic Golden Dawn.) If you compare that to the definition of magic you’ll see that it’s possible to practice either art separately, or to combine them, and that’s what you find in occultism — there are some people who just do one, and others who do both, with varying degrees of intensity.

    Austin, because there are so many more bodies that need souls. If you’ve got seven billion human beings on the planet, the supply of souls is going to be stretched much thinner than if you only have half a billion!

    Jen, safe to continue. You may be getting low blood pressure due to relaxation of long-term muscle tensions; certainly you’re getting an unfamiliar level of energy flow. Over time your body will get used to it.

    Millicently, I am indeed, and in fact I once spent a very pleasant afternoon talking with Jeremy about spirituality and the future at his home in Oxfordshire. His work is worth reading and thinking hard about; in particular, the work he’s done with Goethe’s approach to the sciences strikes me as highly important.

    Dominique, that makes perfect sense to me. The thinking mind is one of the most powerful tools we have as human beings, and the notion that it should be stigmatized and gotten rid of seems just as unhelpful as insisting that sex should be stigmatized and gotten rid of. Hmm…”cognitive Victorianism” might make a decent label for it.

    Robert, the entire US constitution is based on the premise that democracy is fragile and needs to be protected against ordinary human stupidity. That seems very sensible to me! As for the prohibition of establishment of religion in our constitution, I’m not sure if you’re aware that the US legal system is descended from English common law, and so the written constitution is simply the starting point for an evolving body of statute, precedent, and case law, which turns simple constitutional phrases into the complexities of actual law. That line in the First Amendment is the grain of sand in the middle of a vast pearl of legal thought, which evolves this way and that over time. To understand current arguments over the actions of those sheriffs, you need to be aware of the outlines of two and a quarter centuries of ongoing debate about what exactly an establishment of religion is, what role freedom of religion has in American legal and public life, and so on. Complex? Absurdly so? No doubt, but that’s how we do things over here. 😉

    SMJ, don’t mix qigong and Western esoteric practices — I know people who’ve gotten into serious trouble by doing that, and I had a brush with it myself (gave myself a fairly bad case of depleted yang kidney qi, which took some time and hard work to undo). If you do qigong regularly, let that be your spiritual practice.

    Booklover, thank you for this. My mastery of German is still very limited — on the order of a faltering reading knowledge. And thank you for the reminder about Hamann’s book! It’s been a while since I’ve followed up on the latest scholarship on Hitler’s occult background.

    David, no argument there.

    Tidlösa, thank you for this! No, though I’ve read a couple of books on Rhode Island ghosts and spooky stories.

    Karim, children below the age of seven or so are still establishing themselves in material reality, and too much exposure to magical energies makes this difficult for them. The younger they are, the more problematic this can be. The comparison between magic and pornography isn’t completely off base, but I’d rephrase it as magic and sex: like sex, magic is a perfectly ordinary and healthy part of adult life, but children shouldn’t be exposed to it.

    Juan, that differs from person to person and from deity to deity. Ask them when you pray, and pay attention to any intuitive feelings or “hunches” you get thereafter.

    Shane, you’re most welcome.

    Justin, I suspect there’s also an element of the usual habit of playing sectors of the population against each other. If native working classes and Muslim immigrants are busy hating and fearing each other, they aren’t going to combine to displace the elite classes…

    Matthias, thank you! That’s fascinating.

    Graham, I’d recommend starting with my books The Druidry Handbook and The Druid Magic Handbook. Of the various magical options available at present, Druidry is probably best suited to the kind of work you have in mind.

    SaraDee, I’d heard a little bit about it, but many thanks for the update! It does sound like a fine three-ring circus.

    Questioning, delighted to hear it. The banishing ritual picks up strength with regular practice — after a couple of months of daily practice, you’ll wonder how you got by without it.

    Patricia, funny! Thank you. For what it’s worth, I remember (and liked) some of those stories — the two in Keeper’s Price in particular.

    Candace, thanks for this.

    Himself, counseling and therapy are probably your best bets for now. Magic isn’t a form of therapy; it’s best to get your life in order first, and then move on.

    Anselmo, or maybe he’d just figured out that when the next Mideast war happened, the OPEC countries would take the opportunity to stick it to the industrial world.

    Ray, I’d vote for Gabbard; another rising Democratic star who would make a fine president is Senator Tammy Duckworth. I’d be willing to consider almost anybody who isn’t welded to the conventional wisdom — but the Democratic hierarchy seems obsessed with keeping their corporate pals happy even if it costs them another election.

    Samurai, Fortune earned her reputation by writing clear, intelligent books about occultism, and even more so by taking the original Golden Dawn system and reworking it to ditch some of the bits that turned out not to work so well in practice. Her students include some of the most influential occultists of the next generation — notably WE Butler and Gareth Knight — and the order she founded is still very much a going concern. That is to say, her approach works, and occultists — even if they disagree with some of the elements of her system — respect that.

    Shane, every identity is a burden. The one you want instead — Confederate identity — has at least as much baggage, you know.

    Brigyn, Butler was one of Fortune’s students, so that isn’t any kind of surprise! The difference between the material in Circles of Power and that in The Druid Magic Handbook is a matter of experience, in an ironic way; at this point I know perfectly well that the vast majority of people who read either book will never get around to doing a ritual of animal transformation even once, let alone enough times to be an issue, so I saved my breath. Finally, I don’t recommend using the material in Bardon’s books unless you’re going to work Bardon’s system as such; the habit of pulling bits and pieces of different systems out of context is responsible for a lot of inept magic these days. It’s as though you were to take two ingredients out of a spaghetti sauce recipe, and two ingredients out of a pineapple salad recipe, and two ingredients out of a bread recipe, and mix them all together and expect a tasty dish to result. Unless you knew what you were doing, it’s much more likely to be inedible!

  169. JMG, thanks! Very glad to hear it.

    inohuri, thank you! I will try the pulse diagnosis and see what results.

  170. Also, I’d like to suggest Through The Gates of Death for a future Book Club book. It’s a very helpful, insightful book.

  171. Max and Jen re hobbies:

    I thought I would chime in here as I think there something here that I see slipping away from people. I don’t think of the skills to do something useful as “hobbies” per say, but rather useful human skills that are sometimes applied to producing things for your household and friends and better your life but also, sadly, use to waste time and produce only consumption.

    Jen your description of hunting sounds like how the portion of my family that hunts hunt. Also your story about the guy who wanted to know who you took your deer to for processing seems to me to be the telling sign that he has given up his human skill of processing his own meat and instead must seek out an authority at the meat market to get it done. So sad.

    Just a few days ago a talked with a possible new gardener at our community garden who was interested in a bed and opined that he could borrow his brother’s tiller to turn the bed. Now mind you, this is only a 40 foot by 4 foot bed not 40 acres. We were working our beds by hand with spading forks and good old fashioned elbow grease so as not to chop the weed roots into small pieces to re-root later. I told this guy a tiller would be a bad idea and why, but he didn’t seem to know there was any other was to prepare a garden bed then by a mechanical beasty.

    It seems that many folk are just not willing to spend their own energy at a task like weeding a garden bed or take on their own authority to learn to do a task like butchering a deer they have harvested and making sausage with it. Maybe people are afraid of being producers but “hobbies” might give them the illusory feeling that they are.

    I have been engaged in the process of a handmade life for some time and granted I don’t do it all myself, but enough that some people think I am nuts. Let’s raise a glass of home brew to being this kind of nuts.

  172. In regard to your response re: Masonry and Buddhism. It took a few minutes of research because Mahavairocana is not emphasized at the center where I practice. There are entreaties to “Buddhas and Bodhisattvas” but I wasn’t aware until now of any particular hierarchy. However, regarding Vairocana, he (she?) is acknowledged where I practice. According to Wikipedia Mahavairocana is the same as Vairocana. In a book by the founder of the center where I practice there’s an entry for “Vairochana” that reads, “the all-illuminating one. Of the non-historical Buddhas, Vairochana is supreme, symbolizing cosmic consciousness, that is transcendental Buddha-knowledge.” So, although I wasn’t aware of it, and after some further study of where/how Vairochana fits in, and how I relate to that belief, maybe I can pass muster with the Masons after all.

  173. E Goldstein,

    Your description very much matches my own views on the matter. I will note though that urban areas in Canada seem to have far shorter wait times than rural ones. This also seems true in the US, where urban areas have access to far better health care services than rural ones.

    David,

    I always find it interesting to ask what people suggesting things like the one you’re describing some variant of “How would you feel about giving the Catholic Church (for example) the authority you seek?” The answers are often interesting, and sometimes it gets them thinking about their worldview in a very different way.

    Shane,

    I think most English Canadians have a cultural inferiority complex, and so having someone from the “superior” culture praise anything about us is uncomfortable. I agree that there are some positives, but I think by and large we’re too tied to American culture. Even where we differ, “We’re not American!” tends to be too close to the surface for anything really unique to develop.

    I do in fact live in Ontario. I think you’ll be an interesting person to meet as well. I hope you don’t mind if we plan by email?

    SarahDee,

    Our constitutional crisis is really getting into absurd territory. I wonder what’ll happen in a few months if Doug Ford is elected premier of Ontario on top of all this chaos….

    JMG,

    Would you mind sending my email address to Shane?

    Also, I wonder if there are other issues relating to not having had enough time to let go of previous past lives. It seems like that could also explain why a lot of people seem alienated from their families, for example. I’m going to have to mull this over some more.

    What kinds of things could keep someone from gwynfydd? If there’s no way to discuss this without getting too personal, feel free to say so, but if not, I’m rather interested in your thoughts on the matter.

  174. Does anyone understand this odd insistence that it is impossible to trace anyone online? I keep running into it whenever I try to discuss the privacy implications of the internet, and it seems like a thought stopper, but it feels like there’s something more to it.

    I find it quite baffling, and if anyone is able to help explain it, that would be greatly appreciated.

  175. JMG,

    You mentioned somewhere else that it’s a bad idea to think of someone when masturbating (I don’t remember the exact context, so if I’m oversimplifying please correct me). This has gotten me thinking of the porn industry, and now I’m curious: what do you think the magical implications of porn are?

  176. For those who think that Muslims are gonna getcha don’t let you attention get stuck into what is fashionable. Where I live even some of the little blond kids are Muslim. Fear them if you need to but don’t wear blinders.

    ANY organized group can take over or do evil and the lower the profile the less you will notice. Then again they can do good but unless you are part of the group you might find yourself as spectator.

    http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/douglas-todd-why-sikhs-are-so-powerful-in-canadian-politics

    Note at the last of the article:
    “The younger generation of Sikhs are more willing, Dhahan said, to quiz candidates on their actual principles. Like most Canadians, Dhahan says, younger Punjabi Sikhs “are more likely to ask, ‘What do you stand for?’ They’re less likely to join a political party because their father tells them to do so.”:

    One of the reasons I fear Tulsi Gabbard is her connection to India’s BJP. The BJP is not very nice unless you are an upper caste Hindu. She seems to have toned down her public Islamophobia and now it’s just the bad ones she is after. Who knows how she feels down deep.

  177. Hi JMG,

    After reading your responses to Questioning and Lew, I wonder if there is a hoodoo working you would recommend for family harmony?

    I’ve an estranged sister, an unhappy 80 year old mother who keeps said sister financially afloat, a mildly retarded brother with paranoid schizophrenia and a laundry list of health issues, and a younger sister who has pretty much kept the whole shebang from rolling off a cliff. I live 500 miles from them, but would like to lighten my sister’s load.

    Any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance!

  178. E. Goldstein,

    Thank you. Those ideas are exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to see the curveballs the folks around here would come up with.When I originally had the idea it had much more of a Great Books type basis. So obviously your Herodotus, Shakespeare, etc. That quickly changed into adding some more books of a practical bent. My list has Where there is No Doctor, and Where there is No Dentist among other things for that reason.

    I already have a copy of The Passive Solar House and I went ahead and bought Steampunk Solar. My wife and I plan on homeschooling our boys (not quite old enough yet) and I have a small stack of books like that for projects. Those might disturb the neighbors a bit less than some of the things I have gotten up to with Backyard Ballistics…

    Dave

  179. What happens if an organization with a tainted sphere/tainted egregore problem tried to get around it by rewriting their ideals to explicitly allow the abuse that resulted in the tainted sphere? I figure it’s got to have been tried at least once, and I doubt it ends well – but I’m not sure exactly *how* it doesn’t end well.

    Also… would I be right in guessing that one of the reasons for your consistent support of United States dissolution is that a nation founded on the ideal that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness consistently violating those rights on the basis of skin color is a giant flashing tainted sphere warning sign? (I’ve been mulling over that train of logic myself for a bit…)

  180. JMG, sure, the elites of Europe have every bit as much to gain by playing off the primarily Muslim newcomers against the natives as do the American elites do playing off the South American / Mexican newcomers against the white and black natives. But there’s some evidence that the European elites are not in control of the situation the way that American elites are largely in control of illegal migration from the southern border. Angela Merkel reportedly refused to turn away a wave of migrants who were ostensibly refugees from Syria but in reality were mostly migrants from the MENA region and Africa in general in 2015 because it would make her look like a “Nazi” and hurt her chances in the upcoming elections. To be sure, there are European elites who are making incredible profits – not only those who get ~250 Euro a day to house and feed a refugee, for example, but those who benefit from wage subsidies. That’s a good business if you can get it!

    However I think that European elites have gotten so used to the idea that they’re in charge, no matter what, that they have completely missed the ball on the fact that they have imported a political system/religion that is stronger than their customary methods of control. It’s worth considering that if Europe had gun laws as liberal as the United States, there might be a far better organized and numerous version of the Black Panthers operating in Europe today.

    Very few things infuriate me more than the sort of middle class person who supports the importation of an underclass so that they may have marginally cheaper services. Recently in my province, Nova Scotia, a Progressive Conservative MLA made a remark about how the legalization of marijuana might make Nova Scotians lazy like Jamaicans, who supposedly smoke a lot of marijuana, which presumably makes them lazy. Her remarks were ignorant to be sure, but what was more fascinating was the response. There are about 2000 Temporary Foreign Workers from Jamaica who come to Nova Scotia every summer/fall to do agricultural work. Many people, who, if you asked them are Good People who think that Black Lives Matter and know what the local Native Americans called Halifax rushed to declare their outrage on behalf of this Jamaican serf class. They repeated Republican talking points about how the Jamaicans are doing jobs that Nova Scotians won’t do, even though many Nova Scotians leave the province to go do dangerous and dirty industrial jobs in the frozen north, when in reality is that the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) are working under often illegal conditions in the middle of nowhere for long hours for low pay. These Good People ™ are basically saying “those darkies don’t feel the heat like the white man does” in order to be seen as progressive. It’s not surprising, but it’s still a sight to behold.

  181. Too bad you never did that one post you proposed on the archdruid report: the one detailing a speculative timeline where because of a worse 3 mile island the US decides to go for conservation and renewables in a big way starting in the 80s, along with downscaling the empire voluntarily. It would have been an interesting read the way the future presented in your “pink slip for progress fairy” post was.

  182. Kimberly, so noted!

    (By the way, I didn’t put through your comment on the so-called “Pizzagate” business. Unsubstantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been used over and over again in recent decades to destroy people’s lives, and occultists in particular have been targeted by such claims, usually by fundamentalist Christians — thus I don’t countenance such things here. I’d encourage you to read a good book on the Salem witch trials, another on the McCarthy era, and a third on any of the more notorious “Satanic ritual abuse” claims, to get a sense of how people can be whipped up into a lynch mob, and just how destructive that habit can be. Thank you.)

    Phutatorius, what tradition of Buddhism do you practice? I’d only ever encountered Vairocana/Vairochana in Shingon, where he’s a central focus of meditative and devotional practice — but the description you found is pretty much exactly the way I was taught to think about him. You can find a detailed description of his role in Japanese esoteric Buddhism, under his Japanese name Dainichi Nyorai, here.

    Interestingly, the art museum in Providence, RI has a splendid and very large medieval Japanese century statue of Dainichi Nyorai on display. (You can see it here.) Whoever made and consecrated it knew what they were doing — it’s one of the most strongly empowered sacred images I’ve ever encountered.

    Will, I’ve sent your email address. As for obstacles to Gwynfydd, the triad has it that the three things that keep us from getting there are pride, falsehood, and cruelty. The claim that it’s impossible to trace someone online — good gods, are people really that stupid? Nothing online is ever private.. My understanding, from people who do this kind of thing all the time, is that when you do something online it’s easy for anyone who knows how to figure out exactly where you are at that moment!

    As for pornography, that’s complex. It certainly produces a distorted take on sexuality, one that fetishizes the visual image as distinct from the whole person.

    Ottergirl, sure. First, do a divination to see whether it’s a good idea — any oracle (Tarot, geomancy, horary astrology, or what have you may be used for this.

    If you get a favorable reading, get a blue candle in glass — your local grocery store that caters to the Latino trade has these. Tear a square piece of brown paper from a grocery bag — it must be torn on all four sides, and not touched with scissors or a knife — about four inches square. On the paper, write the names of everyone in the family; then turn the paper a quarter turn and write across the names, nine times, the words “Let there be peace.” Fold the paper in half toward you, turn it a quarter turn, and then fold it toward you again. Place it under the candle on a Friday, light the candle, and sit in a chair facing it. As it burns, pray to whatever deity or sacred power you revere for harmony in your family. Extinguish the candle with a candle snuffer, but leave it with the paper beneath it. Every Friday thereafter, until the candle has burnt out completely, repeat the process.

    Shane, I recall a bit from Lord Dunsany’s “The Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweler”: “It was quite dark when he went by the towers of Tor, where archers shoot ivory arrows at strangers lest any foreigner should alter their laws, which are bad, but not to be altered by mere aliens…”‘

    Username, I don’t support the dissolution of the US. I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean I’m in favor of it. Every nation in the world has a history soaked in blood and injustice, and ours is not noticeably more so than average.

    As for a tainted sphere, it happens all the time that the habit of excusing the taint goes to the extent of a public affirmation of the taint. What usually happens is that the imbalance driving the taint gets worse and worse, until the whole thing collapses under the strain.

    Justin, that’s an important point. It very often happens in the twilight years of a society that its ruling elite loses track of the fact that it could be deposed. I forget which historian once said that the history of China is marked by the tramp of mailed boots marching up stairways, followed by the whisper of silk slippers gently walking down them — the same point could be made of most societies.

  183. Here’s a quote from Gordon White of Runesoup which deserves repeating: “Clinton didn’t lose in the red states. She lost in the swing states that voted twice for a black man but were apparently too racist to vote for a white woman who singlehandedly destroyed African countries.”

  184. I found an interesting little glimpse into the decline of the West. A talk by the conductor Bernstein on the last movement of Mahler’s 9th symphony, as relates to the decline of western culture in general. I take it that the musical piece is something of a feeling caught in amber of the Faustian soul as the resins of the tree of life start to drench the wing it had hoped would fly to the heavens. Bernstein’s talk is very good, and he references Spengler in it to, briefly and alongside Rilka, to make sense of Classical music’s 20 century.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDW1qQYcjto

    And here is Bernstein conducting the piece in question. I found it very moving, and my soul is like an over stuffed couch, very hard to move. It is notable for its glacially slow tempo at the very end, to me the musica piece is like the sound track of the conclusive phase of the Faustian spirit.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F6fyITjrAQ

    I suspect that classical fans in this conversation are more prone to appreciate this than classical fans as a whole.

  185. Oh dear. I’m out of step again. I could blame it on that different drummer but I seem to be the drummer I dance to.

    The search term:
    Tulsi Gabbard is her connection to India’s BJP.
    has these results and several similar:

    Tulsi Gabbard Is Not Your Friend

    The Curious Islamophobic Politics of Dem Congressmember Tulsi

    Tulsi Gabbard Is Not Who You Think She Is

    An Islamophobic progressive?
    _____________________

    From viewing her videos she speaks in sound bites and can get griefy on cue. I do not think she is sincere and I don’t trust her to keep her promises.

    That she consistently says the right things means nothing by itself. Trump said enough of the right things to get elected even though he was inconsistent.

    Duckworth seems pretty cool. How could I not like someone who wears a t shirt that says “lucky for me, he’s an *** man”. Oh,yeah, there is also the baby nursing in Congress. But look at the context she was in when she lost her legs. It would seem she was there by choice.

  186. John Updike’s novel The Witches of Eastwick is set in a small town near Providence, Rhode Island. The movie from the 80s stinks compared to the novel, which is beautifully written. Updike was truly a master of prose.

  187. To Nando: I smelled roses for a few weeks when I started the Sphere of Protection (daily) and Rituals of the Pentagram back in January. The other day, I heard the sounds of a grove full of birds, clear as a bell, right in the middle of my kitchen. It was dark out, so the sounds were not from the outdoors. The bird grove clairaudience tends to be rather frequent since March, however, it has never been as bold and open as it was the other day. Oddly, I was only a little creeped out. It seemed almost normal.

  188. Thanks so much, JMG. I did a divination with three runes, placed to represent the situation, my plan, and likely outcome. The result was a pretty emphatic no, which is very disappointing. Whew! I see why you advise divination first.

    My take was that my family dysfunction is “justice” which I’m interpreting as karmic, any magical intervention on my part will be blocked, and if I do it anyway, the result will be the opposite of what I intend. Sigh.

    Is this something I could do another divination on in a month or so, and see if the answer has changed?

    Again, I am so appreciative of the time you take to respond to questions and comments.

  189. JMG,

    Thanks for your thoughts on where my feeling of purpose is coming from. I have a lot of data points over many years indicating that you may be right, so I’ll do as you say and try to go with it. It won’t be the first time, by the way; but in the past, my perception of that “inner voice” has been much cluttered and biased by more mundane thoughts and emotions. “Your purpose is X” thus became “Your purpose is X, it will have to be your main source of income and public respect, it will satisfy your rational mind, and it won’t present you with significant obstacles”. As you can imagine, modern self-help literature of the “find your true path and be rich and happy” variety has been less than helpful for me, but I read the Mystery Teachings of the Living Earth and have found the seven laws highly useful to keep in mind over the last year.

    If you have time for a follow-up question, may I ask what you think is the best written introduction to the philosophy of the planes as they relate to our thoughts and feelings, as you briefly sketched out in your second post on nature spirits? The occult take on this sounds very fruitful and interesting, much more so than the bland theories of modern psychology that I’m more familiar with.

  190. Kay Robinson, I think you make a good point about many hobbies being normal life skills that have become isolated and corrupted by consumerism. What used to be a varied skill set is now often limited to one or two activities, even in people whose sole hobby is not watching TV. For instance, I crochet, but if I indulge myself too much, it becomes easy to exceed the amount of items that I can use or enjoy, and end up creating a bunch of extraneous stuff and spending a lot of money on fancy yarns, etc. I know many people who are the same with gardening, or even lawn care (shudder). And I spoke somewhat contemptuously of the new breed of hunters, but honestly there are basic skills of which I am almost totally devoid myself (sewing, for instance, beyond sewing on a button or mending a rip). I think in former times, the sheer variety of handicrafts and subsistence pursuits, and the greater integration of life (rather than an isolated job or career followed by television and sleep), very likely curtailed the morbid indulgence in useless and truncated hobbies that predominates these days. I also think your phrase about the “authority” of the meat market is spot-on; people often assume that their own efforts are inferior to those provided by the market when the opposite is usually true, or look down on things that are obviously handmade despite the clearly superior quality, which I can only assume is a form of class prejudice/anxiety. (Wealthy people, however, prefer the handmade–presumably being free of the fear that someone might think they made it themselves rather than being able to afford purchasing it!)

  191. I have read Butler’s book “apprenticed to magic” and read about his method on astral projection. Other people have different methods, as can be read off different websites and on youtube videos.

    (1) In your experience, are all these methods equally effective or do different persons have different levels of success with different methods?

    (2) For a beginner, how long does it take before acheiving astral projection? Does it vary a lot from person to person or can the beginner expect some result within a given time period?

    Thanks!

  192. What does it mean to consecrate an object or a place? What changes are brought to it and on what levels?

    Thanks

  193. JMG, re the legal complexities arising from the simple phrases of the Constitution – I get what you mean, but it seems to me that democracy can become more fragile rather than less, if the original sense of the words in a constitution can be more or less argued away by encrustations of legal thought. E.g. I can’t see that there’s all that much need to argue about what constitutes an “establishment of religion” – it’s a situation where there’s a national state church with a central official role, like the Church of England, and in theory at least its doctrine is determined by, or can be vetoed by, the State.
    More generally, I simply can’t imagine a fascist dictator managing to seize power in the US.

  194. Your point about Utopians not seeing reality because they are focusing on the far, shining, golden horizon chimes well with something in Ouspensky’s ‘In Search of the Miraculous’, about the onset of the Russian Revolution.

    He notes that he was astonished to hear people talking enthusiastically about the ‘bloodless revolution’, even while people were being murdered on the streets, and everyone knew that there were abductions and ‘secret ‘killings going on. They seemed hypnotized.

    Another point in his account relevant to discussions here stands out: people at the lower social levels could see what was really going on quite clearly, (whatever they felt about it), while the self-professed intellectuals, ideologists and politicians were lost in babbling abstractions.

    Meanwhile, one supposes, the Bolsheviks were cleaning their guns, loading their magazines and preparing for the next round of killings…….

  195. JMG, a question for you. Rereading your Nature Spirits posts, I understand that the main difference between us, humans, and the nature spirits is that they are differently embodiedthan we are, and simply do not have the same hard boundaries between their bodies and their environments that we do. In fact, that understanding of boundary between body and environment is an abstraction that we make of things. My question is whether there are spirits even more differently embodied than nature spirits are – for example, is there such a thing, in a real and not in a metaphorical sense, as an spirit of a civilization, or of a people, or of a city?

  196. @inohuri est and Scientology – yes, I’ve heard that Erhard borrowed liberally from Scientology to create est. I’m not sure how much of it to believe however. I’ve read the L. Ron Hubbard biography and what he created was nothing like what I experienced. I believe Erhard got the work from Alexander Everett https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Everett

    The definition of integrity you stated is not the definition used as the foundation of the Landmark work. Integrity: the quality or state of being whole and complete, missing no parts, unbroken. (This overlaps with JMG’s book Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth) Hours and days are spent on people wrestling with this definition and taking the morality of it. With our words we create our world, and when we break a promise to ourselves or others, that is a case of integrity being out. To get integrity in, we state the promise we broke, the impact on ourselves and others, and what actions, if any, we would take in the future to keep integrity in.

    This all sounds very simplistic and fine and dandy, and I’ve watched major executives to police officers to waitresses to small business owners just absolutely flounder and fight the idea of keeping their word. People say one thing, then do another. They are late to appointments, break agreements, and flat out lie to others. When they must state the impact of their actions on others, they are unable to do it every single time. Adults have no awareness of how what they do or don’t do affects others. And worse yet, they don’t even ask others what it is like to live with them. We all act as if everything is fine.

    It was major work to get people to do what they said they would do, when they said they would do it, as it was expected to be done. And to do it not out of guilt or moral superiority, but do it just because they said so.

    Often people’s lives are in descent and its because integrity is out. They know they can or can not eat certain foods, and they don’t do what they know they should do. They know they should go to bed by 10pm, and they stay up to 1am. They know they should clean their house and they say it doesn’t matter anyway. They cut people off in traffic, ignore their family, drink too much, stay on the internet too long, and on and on it goes.

    It is really one distinction that changed my life. Even in current illness I asked JMG about being cursed, and I really meant was there something stated at the creation of the course I took that those who did not complete the course (I began suffering as the course completed) would suffer the consequences of their not completing. I don’t know if Landmark people are knowingly cursing people or causing suffering. For myself it felt like something occurred suddenly outside of my normal realm of influence and I wasn’t sure how to push it back or away from me. Seemed like I needed something more than words.

  197. Hi John Michael,

    Oh my goodness, your climate shift is two states to the north. Ouch. Although, my feeling is that the climate here has shifted south by a similar margin. I’m busily reading up on heritage grains lately in preparation for experiments with those plants – as there is a significant story in there about those very plants, and it begins as far as I can tell, all the long way back with the Romans. My how things have changed since those crazy days! ;-)!

    The people that we spoke about previously – I have no beef with them – well, I was curious about why ever they seek control over other peoples wills. I have no desire in that direction because to me it looks like a dead end, and to use magic to achieve that goal sort of leaves the mage in the perilous position of likewise being controlled by their own magic. It is not for no reason that you have remarked in the past on several occasions that what you contemplate, you imitate – because that reflects the circularity of our existence. Have you experienced mages who have fallen for their own spells before? Can they ever break free from that choice that they have made? And, sorry, one last question: Do you reckon it impacts their journey?

    Cheers

    Chris

  198. Hi John Michael and everyone,

    As to the internet – and the dark web for folks so inclined. A word of warning.

    If the Dread Pirate Roberts was caught, then I’d have to suggest that there is very little in the way of anonymity on the internet. It is a public forum, and even the dark web is a public forum (who created that exactly, remember?), so don’t do stupid things on the internet. Nuff said really.

    Cheers

    Chris

  199. JMG – Re: geomantic instruments: If you were to, somehow, come into possession of a perhaps somewhat less elegant, but functional, reproduction of such a device, how would you know how to use it?
    An on-line description (by Elizabeth Z. Bennett, at Princeton), could account for fifteen dials, but not the whole thing. I suppose that spinning the dials (Wheel-of-Fortune style … whoa – did I just write that?…) would be analogous to any other semi-random event generator. But the 90-degree arc sliders are a different sort of device.
    A whimsical software developer could probably write an app to simulate a geomantic instrument, but the app certainly wouldn’t be around 1000 years from now.
    The text at the British Museum states that “Many dials are no longer in proper alignment due to later repairs.” so even an exact replica of the current device might need some tweaks to perform properly.

  200. JMG,

    Thank you for sending my email address. Okay, I suppose I need to meditate on that triad to understand it, but I can see why a lot of people aren’t there yet (myself included).

    As for the internet being private, yes, a lot of people will say that. It’s fascinating to watch, since sometimes its people who know better but just can’t deal with the implications of it, which is why I think, for some people, it functions as a thought stopper. The most reliable way I’ve found to trigger it is to note that I prefer to do something offline since it’s more private. My personal favorite is one response to the observation that I prefer libraries over online PDFs since there’s less of a record of my reading in a library. Apparently the internet is one hundred percent private, and libraries are dystopian areas with unlimited surveillance cameras everywhere….

    As for pornography, that matches my observations: the people who use it are far more look obsessed than the people who don’t. I wasn’t sure about cause and effect though, and I know so few people who don’t watch it that for some of the more subtle effects it may be hard to figure out what’s happening.

  201. I’ve also realized why I keep running into so many over the top, absurd reactions to a wide range of things: my social life is filled with upper class Anglophone Canadian liberals living in a suburb, who I think may be able to take the title of the group of people with the most extreme case of cognitive dissonance on the planet.

    For starters they’re not in the 1%, so they think of themselves as middle class, despite being well above most of the country. They’re trying to make the country more like the US, due to a cultural inferiority complex, while at the same time railing about how we’re different. Meanwhile, the differences that are more than superficial almost all relate to our large Francophone population, concentrated in Quebec. These difference actually quite often benefit people, and in part are responsible for our relative stability.

    Our Anglophone population despises Quebec, especially it seems, the upper class, and the idea of trying to coexist with them instead of making them like us drives a lot of these people nuts. Add to this that standards of living are, by most measures, higher in Quebec than the rest of Canada, in part because they’re using old fashioned technology like streetcars, and it produces a very odd situation. Meanwhile, a lot of these people could have higher standards of living if they learned a little French and moved across the river into Gatineau (probably no farther from where they spend most of their time anyway), but the prospect of learning French is too much to even consider. This from people who quite often know another language, or are trying to learn one, to help get around when travelling about in Europe or Asia.

    They also benefit immensely from the American Empire, having nearly all the same benefits but without a lot of the costs, while screaming about how American Imperialism is horribly unfair to the Third World, and discussing how much better Canada treats the rest of the world.

    Then, of course, there’s all the usual distortions of being an upper class liberal in North America. We don’t have illegal immigration, but we have other ways to exploit people from the Third World (temporary work permits), which trigger much the same reaction as discussing illegal immigration into the US.

    Finally, a lot of the upper class of Anglophone Canada, deep down, identifies more strongly with Americans than anyone else, even more so than having any actual Canadian identity, and so there’s now the cognitive dissonance associated with Trump’s election as well.

    They also like to rail about how the US is doing nothing to address climate change, and how much we are, when in practice there’s no difference between the two countries reactions to this threat. And, since they believe in the myth of progress, it will be solved, all evidence aside. The slow collapse of the US has not escaped their notice, but they somehow never connect the dots to see how their belief in progress is wrong.

    And of course, our next door neighbor, largest trading partner, and the source of our culture collapsing will never effect us! How can you even think such an absurd thing?

  202. @Will,
    I’ve learned to temper my praise. I don’t really like being identified as American when I’m in Canada, and try to do the “when in Rome” as best as possible. I can’t really properly do a Canadian inflection, but I do try to follow pronunciation and usage (PRO-cess, washroom, etc.) I don’t really defend the US so much as try to explain it–the best I can say is that in spite of superpower status, most of the US is still colored by the frontier mentality. The cliche is true, Canadians really are more civilized than Americans. While I think the decline will probably be just as bad in Canada as the US, due to similar rates of suburbanization and energy use, depending on how China responds, the Canadians are more likely to respond better/less violently. Things are different enough to make a difference. It’s the small things that add up.
    Regarding the pipeline, it always amazes me that progressives want cheap gas yet oppose fossil fuel development. It’s like people said during the drug war in the 80s: as long as there’s demand, people will want to fill that demand. The only way to achieve demand destruction is through higher prices. At one time, progressives favored higher gas taxes to be invested into public transit/trains/etc.
    JMG,
    regarding Scotland’s independence, you’ve said you favor smaller nations over larger. Why do you not favor dissolution of the US into smaller nations? I wanted to know your logic: why you favored smaller nations elsewhere but not at home? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

  203. PS–Will,
    I usually try to temper my praise by making it individual, about the town or area, for example, and not have everything be about how great Canada is, and no matter how hard some folks may try, I don’t let myself get pigeonholed into a stereotypical “God Bless America” defense, which I couldn’t do if I wanted to.

  204. @Will,
    my thoughts regarding China, and to a lesser extent, India & Brazil, is that a nation is responsible to protect its citizens living overseas. If a crisis of the kind we’ve predicted here were to occur in the US, and that had spillover effects in Canada, China, possibly backed by India & Brazil, would be obligated to intervene to stabilize Canada on behalf of its citizens living there. I see this as more likely than the huge Chinese, Indian, and Brazilian community evacuating Canada.

  205. The Dreawidth journal mentioned ” these colorful yard signs that have been sprouting like weeds in the affluent neighborhoods near Volunteer Park in Seattle:
    https://goo.gl/images/SgYofk

    They are all over Nob Hill in Albuquerque. The Center for Peace and Justice (down in a gritty corner of the University District) has them for sale. I haven’t asked for how much, not being interested.

  206. When I read the papers about the events of the day, I am not reminded of Pravda or Izvestia, but of a game I heard growing up. To explain, I grew up in a small Virginia town with a good bit of three letter influence (not McLean, smaller and further west). The name of the game is, At Most Two out of Three are True.

    Here are two examples:
    1)
    What people don’t know about the Pakistani nuclear program is that it started with espionage, the theft of a Chinese H bomb design, the AR-80, I think it was. The trouble is, nuclear schematics are not like ones for building houses or bridges, there are assumptions that are not obvious built into them. So what they did then, was steal an entire bomb, except for the actual nuclear materials, a piece at a time from pieces that “failed quality control”. Now, once the Pakistani program was well along, they didn’t need the original pieces anymore, and a cabal within the government decided to give them ot the Palestinians. So the bomb was disassembled and crated and shipped to the old port in Alexandria. But the Palestinians from Fatah ran into Palestinians who were not, and the shootout left all dead. And the crates sat on the docks, unclaimed. Until they were.

    2)
    All this talk of finding a safe place to bury Nuclear Reactor fuel is exactly *** backwards. What we gotta do first is get the fuel rods off of the premises just as soon as they’re cool enough to transport. Do you remember the first H bomb test, Ivy Mike? Well, it wasn’t exactly a military weapon, the device itself was about seven tons, and the support structure was another seventy. While a stationary device isn’t useful for the military, building one in enemy territory is, if you can get away with it. And it turns out, there’s a trace of something in used fuel rods that can overcome the Plutonium problem, and you can get it out by ordinary chemical or mechanical means. If a team could take a site quiet like, and keep the juice flowing, they could turn one of these huge piles of used rods into a stationary device in a no time at all, maybe as little as a week. So we can’t let them build up like that on site. What we gotta do then is separate the long term radioactives like U and P from the short term ones and keep them in military custody, and inject the short term ones down a deep well like you do other toxic stuff, none of this “bury them in a special landfill” bullcrap.

    The obvious difference, of course, is that reporters and commentators have bought into their narrative so deeply they don’t know that they’re playing.

  207. I remember hearing somewhere that some Native American societies had two leaders – an Outside Chief and an Inside Chief. The outside chief handled trade, diplomacy and war. The inside chief handled everything else. Some things required them to work together like manufacturing goods for trade, or military training and logistics. But most of the time they could concentrate on their own area and each job could be done by someone with a personality well suited to that role. That seems like a sensible way to run a country. What do you think?

    The question about books for children triggered an old memory: the Deptford Mice trilogy by Robin Jarvis. It gets extremely dark but I loved it when I read it. It also includes a lot of magic that I’d probably see totally differently if I read it again. An even older memory – Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Williams – which I think we read in my first or second year in school. I don’t remember much of it beyond it was really good and heartbreaking (and that horse had terrible luck with money).

  208. Will J, about Internet privacy

    What happens with most people is that they have a tendency to confuse anonymithy with privacy. Let me offer a metaphore to show how I see this issue:

    For the layman, “Internet privacy” is the equivalent of putting on a long trenchcoat and an ugly monsterclown mask, stand by the side of the highway, and wave obsene hand signs to the passing drivers. Nobody will know who it was, but the reason for this is that nobody will be upset enough to pull of their car and try to unmask him. It is too much effort and it is not really worth it.

    Imagine now the same monsterclown flashing his nude genitalia at the drivers. Now, people will be upset enough to actually do something. Even if none of them actually goes and challenges the flasher (something that is not quite certain), it is pretty much a given that someone is going to call the police. Sooner rather than later, the troopers are going to get this clown and forcibly rip his ilusion of anonymithy (that is, his mask), and then he’s going to face the full consequences of his actions.

  209. Ray, thank you for this!

    Inohuri, I don’t expect politicians to be moral examples; indeed, too many moral scruples usually makes for ineffectual politics, as Jimmy Carter demonstrated. I suspect Gabbard would be an extremely effective president, and one whose positions on the issues that matter to me would be closer to mine than I can usually expect to see in a candidate. Of the two, though, Duckworth would be my choice — she’s got the brashness that makes for greatness in an age when the presidency is the reality-star-in-chief.

    Kimberly, I haven’t read Updike in too long. Thanks for the reminder!

    Ottergirl, yes, you can do another divination down the road, but if you get a similar answer it’s probably best to give it up, and do a working instead to help keep you from taking any more emotional shrapnel from the family quarrels than you have to.

    And yes, always, always, do a divination before you do a magical working. Magic is not omnipotent — not by a long shot — and before you put your energy into a working it’s crucial to know whether the other forces in play are moving in a way that will work with, or against, what you have in mind. Call it the Tao, the will of God or the gods, the random whims of the Great Old One Azathoth, or what have you — what the universe wants in any given situation is more important than what you want, and also more influential. Your magic succeeds by attuning itself with the always changing balance of forces, and fails if you ignore that.

  210. It occurs to me that the message of the two stories is obscure to outsiders. The message of the first story is that the Pakistani spooks, the ISS (?) are -very- capable, have their own agenda, and are not to be trusted. We have a much more recent example, when they hid Bin Laden for a decade or so, deciding a hidden hero was more useful than a martyr, and then quite publicly had the snitch punished.
    The second speaker clearly had an agenda, to promote his preferred method of disposing of Nuclear waste, and told a story that fit it.
    Does that help?

  211. JMG, I owe you the fee I normally pay to my therapist! And will pay it gladly. ☺️

    My gut says yeah, this IS karmic; deal. May I ask you for a hoodoo working that will serve as a shield from the family emotional shrapnel, as you so aptly put it, while yet being available to help the situation if I can?

    Much respect to you.

  212. Shane,

    In my experience very, very few Americans can do a convincing Canadian accent. Even those who’ve been here for decades tend to hold onto a hint of an American accent. I find it interesting that you seem to think we’re far more different than I do, but that’s probably a very long (and interesting) discussion. I think the differences are more dramatic the further down you go: the Canadian working class is fairly different from their American counterparts, but the upper classes are almost interchangeable.

    The thing with progressives astounds me too. I don’t understand how they can justify wanting cheap gas and oppose the steps needed to get it. I oppose the pipeline, but I also want gas to be expensive. I think a lot of things will improve once energy is more expensive. I know a lot of things will become worse, but a policy could manage the transition better than clinging to the status quo until it drags us down.

    I could see China and Brazil intervening, but I’m not sure India would. The Indo-Canadian community has a lot of Sikhs, who are a despised minority in India. Quite a few Indians I know still hold a grudge over the fact that some Sikhs assassinated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. I could see it becoming controversial for India to intervene to protect their citizens here.

    I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens regardless. I would expect to see a lot of countries intervene to try to keep the US from imploding though, regardless of whether it spills over to Canada or not. I don’t think very many people want such a large failed state with so many weapons of mass destruction….

  213. @Questioning
    Re: Alexander Everett

    Alexander was my first spiritual teacher, at the Lifestream center in Chicago run by Jim Quinn (who still owes me $6000 he got out of by declaring bankruptcy, btw.). The Wikipedia article matches a few of the details I heard about Warner Erhard’s relationship with Alexander; Warner liberally mixed Scientology and Mind Dynamics to create EST.

    The Wikipedia article misses one very important issue about Inward Bound: it had very heavy Hindu influence from Muktananda. In fact, the first few years it ended with Alexander administering shaktipat via Muktananda’s teacher, Nitchenanda (sp?). That’s where I got my first “spiritual” experience. It was quite a trip that I’ve told elsewhere. That ended when Muktananda kicked Alexander out for reasons that are probably quite murky for most people, but which involved Rajneesh and a Rajneesh sanyasin named Lelananda. I can understand the entire episode being edited out, but he never did shaktipat after that.

    Another thing that got left out of the Wikipedia article was that Alexander took quite a bit of Jose Silva’s Silva Mind Control for Mind Dynamics, and Jose never forgave him for it. In a fit of something or other, I wrote in Alexander Everett as the person who recommended Silva’s Ultra seminar, and I had the pleasure of sitting through a lengthy (at least half hour) rant on people stealing his material.

  214. Dear JMG,

    Since this is an open post I figure I can ask a personal question, so…

    I’ve spent my whole life provisional living for the future, which was going to be wonderful and great, and over the past few years reading your blog plus various life events (pay cuts, divorce, disappointment with the world) have pretty much disabused me of this notion. This has been accelerated by some health problems which came on about 2 months ago, and now I’ve gotten to the point where I really am living day-to-day and the future seems more like something to be avoided than something to be awaited. I keep re-reading your post on ‘The Gray Light of Morning’ and the part about how the bitter waking-up has a tonic effect, but I don’t think I’ve gotten past the shock yet. I guess my main question is, how can I learn to enjoy my life? I think of the three options you outlined, the first, Epicureanism, is the most suitable for me, at least right now; I always looked forward to enjoying my life in the future and now that I know that my life is unlikely to change I’d like to learn to enjoy it now. I’ve flirted with some religious/philosophical traditions, especially Christianity which I find quite emotionally moving, but intellectually totally unconvincing. And I’m least interested in Stoicism as you outlined it because I just don’t think my actions can change anything in the world, or at least not anything worth dying or suffering for. Thanks very much for reading this and I look forward to your response.

  215. Re: Buddhism and Masonry. John, my practice is Zen, with an emphasis on koan meditation. Zen Buddhists are still Buddhists (although a Therevadan monk I used to know would probably deny it) but the emphasis differs. I, for example, was completely unaware until now of any hierarchy among the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. By the way, the biggest reason I’m looking for a way to supplement my Buddhist practice has to do with distance from the center. That makes it difficult to be a part of that community on a daily/weekly basis.

  216. In addition to my previous comment: I am also unaware of anything like a “creation story” in Buddhist mythology. The account in Fortune’s “Cosmic Doctrine,” which I anticipate we’ll be discussing soon, seems to me to be as good as any.

  217. Duckworth is a boss, and likely the best the Dems could run against Trump in 2020. She have some impressive judo skills at turning crass jabs against her to her advantage, which against Trump would be very effective. On issues I am much closer to Gabbard than Duckworth, who I might add is not at all lacking in brashness herself; but grant that Duckworth’s experience in the Senate, as opposed to the House, might give her an edge.

    Can anyone here think of any other candidates to consider? Obviously in seems that a veteran of recent wars is a desirable trait, both for electabulity and also for having some chance of a clue about the nitty gritty of American Foreign policy. I am happy to consider non veterans as well if somebody comes to mind.

    Granted, the DNC is suicidally stupid, but there is a chance that another ‘Sanders’ unwanted candidate could get into the running, and I think arguable that such a candidate could learn from 2016 to adapt a counter strategy to the DNC cheats; while by the same token the chances of the DNC failing to learn anything and thereby upping their game against an insurgent candidate are tolerably slim.

    So, coming from a guy who is totally willing to vote again for Trump, I ask, might we not have something to gain from identifying and talking about folks who would be better and electable?

    Gabbard and Duckworth are great options, but I am super keen on a third, forth, and fifth contender if anybody can think of such a person.

  218. I have known 2 women who could stare into my eyes and promote a strong transfer of something I don’t understand.

    It was somewhat controlling but easy to stop by just looking away. It felt like they could suck my soul out. I found it very invasive.

    The first started doing this when during an exercise with her that had people just look at one another. She said she liked doing it very much and wanted to continue. She said she admired hippy couples doing it in public.

    The second started it in the middle of an ordinary conversation. I tolerated it for a little while then looked away. After a minute I looked back and she started again, she didn’t take the hint.

    There was one other woman who I think attempted this and failed.

    Questions are:

    What is this?

    Does it require psychic abilities at both ends? I am what some call a Sensitive.

    Does it require opposite polarities? I am male.

  219. Hey JMG
    Do you think that in the post oil future people would start using microfilm again for info storage, maybe even create vannevar bush’s memex machine?

  220. Hellor JMG, I’d be interested in having your opinion on the Jordan Peterson phenomenon, not in the culture war sense, but as a self-help figure. What does his present success mean? To me, it seems to suggest that there is something missing in the education of young people, particularly of young men.

    More generally I would like to ask you about psychoanalysis (both kinds) : it has a reputation as pseudoscience, but I find that commentators who have been influenced by this tradition (such as Lasch, Zizek or Peterson) are often far more insightful than average. I don’t know what to make of that..

  221. Ottergirl,

    What I might try in your situation is to simply offer to your younger sister a bit of help, perhaps there is one thing you might take off her plate that is doable. One thing at a time. I don’t know from 500 miles away if there would be many such tasks. I’ve had some family burdens I foolishly took on, and my sister (who would not have done so and knows her limits) has helped me precisely to lighten my load, not because she wants to get involved.

    I can definitely see where it might be too interfering to get too invested in removing all the troubles from the whole family as a group. I suspect a lot of troubles are the working out of karma, and likely your best sister is also doing some payback or other needed work.

    I have dug deep trying to resolve some of my own issues lately because I allowed both acute and chronic stress to break my health, and I now see that I have often taken on too much without respecting my own limits. All this started at age 58-59 with my oncoming second Saturn return. My life blew up but I am very hopeful that the lessons I am learning will have been worth it. I really wish I had figured out all this 30 years ago! Of course, 30 years ago it was my first Saturn return and my life blew up! But I was young and didn’t learn a thing, so far as I recall. So I got whacked a little harder.

  222. @Wiill, Shane Re: Brazil and Canada

    While there are lots and lots of Brazilians in Canada, right now the Brazilian government is just about the most abject and craven puppet of the USA one could imagine and has no popular support whatsoever for any foreign adventure. Things would have to change a lot before Brazil would undertake any kind of intervention on other continents!

  223. In the category of gettings things off my chest that I thought people here might find interesting:

    An example of downscaling urban architecture in the middle of collapse in order to better weather the changes. It is clearly some kind of exception and was not followed elsewhere. Last sentence copied is particularly interesting and I wonder if this would be feasible in some parts of the world nowadays.

    The original can be found after free registration at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312938850_Late_Roman_Gaul__Survival_Amidst_Collapse”.

    “In the case of Roman Gaul, there was a premonition of collapse in the late 3rd century that led to local reform. An assessment of some 43 different minor towns in Roman Gaul showed that the local urban reform movement in Gaul followed in the wake of a general restructuration from above of regional governance in which a number of provincial capitals were replaced and renamed. It can be argued that this paved way for local urban reform because it was clear that what the central government was bent on imposing on the local magistrates was not necessarily what the latter thought best for themselves or their subjects.

    The key to survival in Gaul in the midst of crisis was the ability to enact reform on a small scale within minor networks while the larger central government structure fell apart. The Gallo-Roman élites appear to have reduced the human impact in the urban landscape by reemploying public space in an unprecedented way. Reduction and fortification of urbanity in Gaul created the potential for local resilience and sustainability. At the centre of the post-Roman world, small urban enclaves under the strong ideological leadership of determined politicians emerged changed but largely unscathed from the surrounding chaos …

    The transformation of the amphitheatres into fortified living quarters of the new urbanized underclass was arguable the most manifest success of the Gallo-Roman urban reform. It solved many problems with one stroke for the Gallo-Roman oligarchy. Their labour force was still at hand, albeit as members of urban parishes rather than slave labour on large estates. The number of urban defenders had increased, while the mobility of vagrants was reduced. The labour cost could be translated into instalments on an endless rental plan as the underclass now lived in dwellings that could never become theirs without the removal of the Gallic Church as the leading institution in civil society. The ideological transformation from pagan rural life to Christian urbanity also meant embarking on a path away from the godless spectacles to a more modest way of life. It should be emphasized that this was not because of any sort of benign political conviction of creating an egalitarian society or a sign of generosity coupled to the rise of Christianity. On the contrary, local Gallo-Roman élites wanted to keep their power and cling to their property by any means necessary, even if this meant owning less and sharing power with others.”

  224. Hi voza0db,

    Well not everyone chooses to use smart phones and satellites. As a purely heretical thought for you to ponder: Why not pick and choose which technologies you want to use? Or are you more comfortable playing the role of unwitting victim, as your words displays to me? Dunno, but at some point you can choose to be in the drivers seat of your life, but could you live without your smart phone and all the little wonderful messages that it brings to fill your mind and your life? Who’s life are you living anyway?

    Incidentally rain forest is a very tough environment for any humans.

    Chris

  225. Regarding Calexit, Texit, etc. — I can’t help but think –due to the fiction writings of JMG and others– that if any of these states cum nations don’t immediately establish strong military defenses (and require mandatory military training for all able citizens) that other –not so new– nations will take hasty advantage of any breakup of the former USA.

    On further reflection, I think Texas will be just fine;-)

  226. There are three books i want to order – one at a time, on my budget. These are: 1-The Ecotechnic Future , 2-The Wealth of Nature , and 3-Green Wizardry. My question – Which is the best one to start with, then second, third? Thank you!

    A belated thank you: I greatly enjoyed your monthly post, ‘Returning to the Commonplace’ (April 18). In it you mentioned the commonplace book. Your post and the rich comments that followed inspired me to ‘dig out’ a blank book (a gift, handmade by a dear friend). I’ve made one small entry in that, but then was further inspired to start writing in a temporary notebook with tear-out pages. The purpose behind that is to clear out & sort out some rather messy thoughts that i don’t want to share with anyone but that i feel need to be expressed and then discarded. [Much in the way that dishes and kitchen need cleaning before i can prepare a simple meal for myself, and even more importantly, cook a formal dinner for friends and family]. Throughout the comments were beautiful thoughts and ideas on not just writing in prose but in poetry; and in drawing diagrams and pictures; even music figured into the conversation. No questions at this point, but once i can get a grasp how to express myself better – which thanks to you and the commentariat i am working on – i will send questions your way for the next Open Post if they don’t get answered in the meantime (which happens sometimes!).

  227. Hi John Michael

    inohuri’s latest comment triggered a thought about something I’ve dealt with and wondered about for a long time. When I’m a member in a group conversation, almost invariably, the speaker focuses their eye contact almost exclusively on just me as they speak. A lot of the time this feels to me like the speaker is unconsciously excluding (or diminishing the role of) the others in the conversation. Sometimes I ignore this as I am fully engrossed in the conversation and want to (perhaps selfishly) realise the full potential of the conversation, however, mostly I feel disappointment that the attention is not being directed equally among everyone. Thus, what I find myself having to do is look away from the speaker and break the connection and force them to direct their eye contact to others. This works, but if I re-engage again for more than 5-10 seconds at a time, it starts again and I have to look away for a while. This is annoying as it means I lose full presence in the unfolding dialogue and also I find it rude to break eye contact so much when someone is clearly trying to communicate with me.

    Have you got any ideas about what might be causing this phenomenon? Also, can you think of a better way of dealing with it than what I have described I do? The optimal outcome would be if i could stay fully connected with a speaker in a conversation but also for the speaker to share their attention amongst the rest of the conversation participants.

    thanks
    jez

  228. @JMG, Patricia Mathews, Fred & kimberleysteele707

    The last time I made the time to post a question in an Ecosophia open post was back in last October. I asked for recommendations for books about everyday life during WW1, WW2 and the Great Depression. You all responded to me. Thanks! I have procured some used copies of the books that were recommended and they are exactly what I was looking for. Thanks again!

    In regards to the suggestion of talking with those who lived through it and are still incarnate. Sadly, I don’t seem to ever cross paths with these older people, or older people who are willing or able to talk about such things anyway. Perhaps this says something about typical modern life in industrial nations. Feels like I’ve lost something very important there. I can’t remember the last time I had a meaningful conversation with someone over 70.

    Jez

  229. Hello again John Michael, bit of a comment bombardment from me.

    In a response to an open post question some months back, you mentioned that you have recently invested in some home brewing supplies. This is something I have done in the past but it feels like I may have not got the right stuff. For example, too much plastics. Do you mind being more specific about exactly what kind of equipment you procured? Are we talking about things like glass demijohns? What size etc?

    Would be good to get some more detail from you as I’m sure you’ve put some thought into it and I’m feeling unsure what the best strategy is.

    Thanks
    Jez

  230. My wife and I are in our mid-30s and have been unsuccessful trying to conceive (so far) after seven months of trying. I realize that this is not that unusual. However, she is very much in her head and nervous about it. She is wonderful with logistics, but this causes problems and anxiety for things that can’t be logicked through. Both of our diets and exercise are very good.

    I have two questions- do you know of any old lore or folk wisdom that might aid conception, and can you advise a simple daily ritual that may help her take her mind off of fixation and that may also invoke fertility. I have been doing Golden Dawn work for four years now, but most of her spiritual influence is more in the yogic world (but she’s open to trying snything). Thank you for any advice you have. I’d welcome the advice of others too.

  231. Re the commoditisation of hobbies: I don’t think there’s anything there beyond good old capitalism corrupting everything it touches. If you work to develop a skill set with basic tools, you won’t make anybody any money. In order for someone to make a profit out of your hobby, you have to buy ever more expensive materials and more specialised tools, or outsource various parts of it. Wendell Berry laments the unskilling of Americans in “The Unsettling of America” and links it to the rule by experts that comes with a specialised society.

    The idea that home-made is always inferior to store-bought is one that I’ve tracked back to 1930s American ads for convenience foods, where a flurry of ads sought to convince people that canned soup really was as good as the home-made stuff and more convenient! Obviously they were fighting against a societal idea that convenience foods were worse, and they won that fight. The idea that home-made is inferior is such an implicit assumption in modern advertising that to see it stated outright was a shock.

  232. Kevin Price-
    Since you requested suggestions from commenters besides JMG: I can’t offer any magical advice, but I can recommend the book, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” by Toni Weschler, if you and your wife aren’t already familiar with it. It teaches methods for closely observing a woman’s natural signs and cycles, which have the dual benefits of giving an antsy aspiring mom something practical to DO (besides the obvious 😊), and being very effective. At least in my own experience and those of several of my friends and family members to whom l’ve recommended it, the reader ends up with a better understanding of her own body at the very least, and if all goes well, a very happy outcome soon after. Anecdotal, I know, but we’re good with that around here, right?

    Very best wishes to your family-
    –Heather in CA

  233. More thoughts on assessing the probability of American dictatorship –

    There’s the example of Huey Long; it’s interesting to speculate how far he’d have got if he hadn’t been shot. But interesting only in a science-fictional sense. Not a real gut feeling that he could really have become an American Mussolini.

    Then there are the sf US dictatorships and would-be dictatorships in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone, Heinlein’s If This Goes On, and Poul Anderson’s Shield. All fun to read.

    Then there’s the idea of someone with paranormal powers; a superman like Asimov’s Mule in Foundation and Empire.

    Even so…

  234. @Kevin Price I feel for you and your wife, and I have a small amount of experience in treating infertility via TCM in my acupuncture clinic. I can summarise our treatments for women as consisting of harmonising the menstrual cycle, and for men in both strengthening and balancing yang and yin energies. And for both, an important treatment principle is harmonisation of Heart and Kidney and the unblocking of communication between them via the Bao Mai (an energetic channel that runs from heart to uterus in women, and, although lesser known, between heart and prostate – the male uterus – in men). What I have just said is couched in very technical TCM language, but you will be able to explore some of its meaning through searches online.

    However, in the clinic I have become aware of how infertility can bring such terrible pressure upon a relationship, and that is what I would like to comment on here. When people begin to seek outside help for fertility what they often receive are tests and technical aids to assist timing of ovulation (so as to decide when they *should* have procreative sex) and then technical aids to alter ovulation itself, and then an escalation of technological help, which introduces more and more cold clinical aids into their previously warm intimacy. None of this is wrong, and sometimes it does indeed help to bring about conception, and many people are exceedingly grateful for the help. But what all this can sometimes cost, is the human dimension of sex and of intimacy, and ultimately the warmth of the relationship.

    What I say to couples in my clinic is that they do not need to turn themselves into machines that can instantly turn their sexuality “on” at a moment’s notice, when the test says its ovulation time. Instead, they can continue to practice their own intimacy using all the ways that their own human warmth has already worked out for them, and that has brought them close, and simply ensure that they do not go more than 48 hours without an intimate sexual encounter, from the end of each period until they are absolutely certain* that ovulation has passed. In this way, they cannot have missed the window of opportunity for conceiving, according to best evidence, and yet, all their mutual contact has been kept within their own normal and unique way of being sexually intimate as humans. Whatever the outcome, whether a child comes or does not, you will still need and want and ultimately be thankful to have each other’s closeness.

    In TCM terms, ultimately what brings the best energetic balance, which most facilitates the conception of a child, is for there to be open flow along the Bao Mai within each individual partner AND open flow in the sexual act BETWEEN each person’s Kidney (in this case sexual organs) and each person’s Heart (in this case emotional warmth and love). That is to say, the temporary establishment of a single virtual Bao Mai that wraps both partners and flows as one during the moments of intimacy. I wish you well. I assume that JMG will have advice on promoting this kind of flow in a magical way, maybe using other words.

    *certainty that ovulation has taken place, arises from increasing knowledge of the signs that accompany the menstrual cycle, and this can take up a tome in itself, and, in my experience, is too seldom taught even to grown women, never mind young girls. But key words to search out good methods for becoming familiar with what your own cycle is telling you, are “cervical mucous changes” (a form of knowledge gathering that can indicate an ovulation is about to happen) and “basal body temperature charts” (a form of knowledge gathering that can indicate that an ovulation HAS happened).

  235. Kevin Price – My wife and I were able to adopt an orphan toddler with mild “special needs”, and it has been a wild and wonderful ride (of almost 20 years now). We were part of a “waiting parents” support group, and mutually noticed that many of the couples consisted of “Type-A Mom and Big Fuzzy Dad”. You mentioned that your wife was “great with logistics”, which seems consistent with this pattern. Moms would come to the meetings “dressed for success”, and the Dads wearing flannel and denim. Somehow, it seems to reflect the contrariness of the world that women who excel at planning every other aspect of their lives are frustrated by infertility. I have no advice for you, except to remember that every family is unique. There will be suffering, joy, an end to suffering, and an end to joy, no matter what choices you make.

  236. Matthias,

    Thank you for the data point! I will admit to knowing very little about Brazil (or Latin America in general), so I didn’t know that the government was an American puppet. I suppose this could mean the collapse of the US will severely impact Brazil as well, or at least the government, but I don’t know enough about the dynamic there to speculate too much.

    Patricia,

    My advice is Green Wizardry first. Of the three, it is by far the best of them. This may be because I’m desperately trying to find practical things to do to reduce the impact this crisis will have on my life, but I liked nearly all of it, and it’s given me a lot to work with.

    It has an extensive set of “resources for part x” though, and so once you get it you may find your list of books to get has exploded.

  237. One of your posts on the old Galabes website – ‘Dragon, Unicorn, Phoenx’ – really resonated with me. I’m wondering though about the sort of ‘static’ image I got from its description of dragons, I tend to think of dragons as more dynamic forces. I was wondering how that essay’s picture of dragons as almost a kind of gravity well squares with the images of them being powerful and unpredictable – do they just look static from a human timeframe, was that essay describing their rest state, or maybe something else?..

    @Casper – the usual warnings about taking magical advice from strangers on the internet apply. That said, I’ve had some thoughts on your question.

    I would not draw many equivalencies between the Wim Hof method and Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga as I understand it is a system for progressively working with the Chakras and the states of mind they resonate with. My own theory on why so many westerners get in trouble with Kundalini yoga is because they ‘rush through’ the lower chakras, becoming what I can only describe as ‘top-heavy’. Western society has an attitude that anything worth doing must be finished in one lifetime, preferably the first half. That works very well for a lot of projects, but for most people Kundalini yoga probably is not one.

    The Wim Hof method though doesn’t work with ‘parts’ of either the gross or subtle body that way, it promotes an integrative full-body sense. So the risk of focusing too much on one part without laying the proper groundwork isn’t there like in Kundalini yoga. I’m sure it has risks of its own – anything worth doing probably does – but the particular risks that get impatient westerners in trouble with Kundalini yoga likely aren’t there.

    @Karim – I’m sure they had many uses, but my most outlandish theory is that they were a site for the kind of ‘passing over’ practices that are described in the Christian Bible and Tibetan texts.

    I second the book recommendation of Patricia Mckillip – She’s truly an underrated genius of fantasy fiction.

  238. JMG, Inohuri, onething & all
    I am not the only one this week fascinated by Inohuri’s comments on absence of colour, smell and pleasure and connections with illness and lack of wellbeing: something more than just feeling ‘off-colour’.
    My comment comes late in a busy week, but I have been thinking of alcohol and smoking, my two exogenous drugs. These were an important part of my daily life – I might say physiology – for about two decades in early adulthood. I recognised, half-jokingly, alcohol was ‘crude mood control’. Tobacco was a very powerful appetite and eventually my leaving it behind an education in itself. Alcohol, which technically I believe is a ‘depressant’, was I guess a substitute for normal colour and contrast and a range of other sensory appreciation and their normal integration with memory and the structures of personality. The curious relief that I encountered became a normalised (‘reliable’!) substitute for ‘unreliable reality’, which perhaps indicates an imposed hijacking of built-in physiological ‘stabilisers’.
    Knowing that restoration of ‘stabilisers’ is possible and that this restores a satisfactory range of sensory perception / appreciation is enormously encouraging. Allowing our mental apparatus to be hijacked in the first place by exogenous factors, either chemical or mind-bending social ritual exploitation is painful now to contemplate. The fruits of ‘clean-up’ bring their own explanations. By this you shall know them, or words to that effect I guess!
    best
    Phil H

  239. Justin: Note that the Lancaster plan assigns blame to Whitehall, rather than ‘the Jews’.

    As for the Protocols, it bothers me that every rebuttal I’ve seen of it focuses entirely on its nature as a forgery, or as plagiarism. To the average individual of known antisemitic descent, that line of criticism parses as “The real Elders would never be so careless with their minutes, goy.” Poor persuasion. Both Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler were well aware of the document’s non-jewish provenance and didn’t care, and /pol/ likewise knows and doesn’t care now. I’d like to see a rebuttal that focuses on alternative non-Jewish explanations for each of the trends identified within it.

    Dot: Very hard to watch. Barbarians at or inside the gates is something that can be anticipated, and seems like a surmountable problem. But it’s quite another predicament entirely for those responsible for the protection of those within the gates to watch and do nothing, collaborate, or pay a reverse danegeld (“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you. We shall therefore pay you cash to move in and stay.”) as those barbarians have their way (often literally) with the native population.

  240. Re the Cult of Mandatory Niceness, I am finding it a bit difficult to be nice to everybody, all the time, no matter what they say or do. I have enough self control to hold back the anger, but I feel it’s not healthy to do that for a long time.

    I also remember reading somewhere that every social group needs an outsider group they can hate and villify, to keep their group together.

    Any thoughts, ideas?

    Ramaraj

  241. Will J
    Ford is definitely getting in – as Shane W points out, Ontarians are terribly keen to ape Americans, so they’ll definitely therefore leap at the chance to punish fiscal mismanagement. of the Establishment, embodied by a woman, by voting for a man who embodies the height of the unearned riches and corporate corruption that paid The Establishment to mismanage public funds in the first place.

    I am still …impressed… by the number of Trump voters who are dead set on claiming they didn’t vote for Trump because they’re racist – last time they voted for the black guy! The fact is they’re as casually racist as the typical white person whose country was founded in genocide and enslavement of darker-skinned bodies. Sure, they voted for him primaily to lob a bomb at the Establishment, rather t than (for some) because they share David Duke’s particular enthusiasm -but that bomb was going to produce plenty of shrapnel, and most of it was pointed straight at those black and brown bodies. It is racism of the casual sort that let’s them just not care.

    Trudeau has placed himself in the way of a similar trolley problem with his pipeline. The deciding factor will probably be the court determination of whether to uphold the First Nations right to consent. So, no pipeline, and all of Canada suffers equally under the punishment the oil industry drubs out by pulling the last of their assets. Or, pipeline, by doubling down on colonial land grab and subjugation, punishing First Nations very specifically in order to stave off collapse for the predominantly white middle classes a little longer.

    White people can hand wave about how it was all about the economics, but the message will be very clear to First Nations.

  242. @John Roth – That is fascinating! How much of what you learned stayed with you? I saw Erhard interviewed at U Penn a couple years ago and he is still quite the master of the room. He did have an armed body guard with him and I assumed it was because of the scientology folks.

    I don’t know enough about eastern religions to know how much of it made it into est/Landmark. Parts of the course were clearly Wittengstein, some Hegel, some other certainly seemed like something eastern.

    In my one course we were placed in groups of six and one of the men in the group did eastern meditation for 2+ hours a day. He is one of the most interesting people I ever met. He was working toward I guess astral projection or some sort of breakthrough like it, and got it a week after the course. The course work allowed him to let go of things keeping him here. It was very cool to hear him describe it.

    The breaking point for me in the work was when in twelve weeks I watched someone change personalities four times. He had been at Landmark for a dozen years or more so it isn’t like he didn’t have breakthroughs before, and yet he would get this coaching from higher ups and then all of the sudden be a completely different person. I felt sorry for his family. His last iteration came across to me as completely unhinged waving his arms, jumping up and down and hugging and touching people (there’s a rule of no touching at Landmark due to past sexual harassment suits).

    When I said something, it was turned around to be my problem and I needed to confront and work through it. I should be excited for this man and his break throughs. I responded that it looks like they hypnotized or brainwashed him into strange behavior to have so many total shifts in personality. I also didn’t want them doing that to me.

    I don’t regret taking the courses, but I’m not satisfied by my experience either if that makes any sense. Its one of those experiences that is really interesting and still leaves one yearning for more.

  243. Jez, I, too, have found it nowadays much more difficult to have a meaningful conversation with people than one, two decades ago. And that is the case, although I’m based in Germany and the conversations weren’t with elder people. I sincerely doesn’t know the cause since my communication skills presumably didn’t get worse.

    Regarding hobbies, it occurred to me that there are many tools and gadgets to buy for any particular hobby, but it is not easy to find out what one really needs and what not. Besides, rather than one optima tool there are a prolferation of them, not infrequently suboptimal. Art supplies are an example. There are thick catalogs of them for mail order, but it isn’t that easy to assess their quality before buying.

  244. Dear Archdruid,

    Ouch. I’m glad you’re still writing and publishing on magic regardless. What keeps you motivated? The few people who do end up finishing the programs? I know you have a lot more in the works for the DOGD…

    If you’d indulge my curiosity some more, how many people do you know of that actually finished the entire Druid Magic Handbook?

    Yours in Druidry,
    Brigyn

  245. JMG – Wouldn’t it be kinda funny if California, A. Passed a measure to secede from the union and B. Passed a measure to break up into three states…. Both resolutions could be on the ballot this year. I hear flapping wings and flock of birds approaching but they sound anything but orderly. Two black swans playing chicken with each other in midair should be entertaining to watch, especially if they don’t blink. Quick! Someone grab a thanksgiving cooking pan and stand underneath them, we could have two fat birds for dinner.

    It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns finds out he has every disease known to man but hadn’t died because all the diseases cancel each other out.

  246. @J.L.Mc12, RE: storage on microfilm: microfilm deteriorates, though not as fast as digital storage. Even the cheap wood pulp paper newspapers are published on are likely to outlast the microfilm they were transferred to for “permanent” storage.
    I went to work for a large corporation in 1991, and they were using dedicated Wang Word Processors. Anything stored in that format on floppy discs is almost unrecoverable today.
    April 23th, 2016 was the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, and in honor of Shakespeare, the Folger Shakespeare library sent copies of the First Folio to a major institution in each state for public display. The First Folio was published in 1623 on rag paper, and the copy I saw was in excellent condition.

  247. Another point following on from earlier remarks re the difficulties of learning Latin:

    It’s the word-order that’s most confusing. Not just a difference in the arrangement of parts of speech (as in German) but a tendency to split the ideas. e.g.

    in English “he threw the stick to the shaggy dog” might in Latin be “he to the shaggy the stick to the dog threw”.

    Virgil has a phrase in one of his lines, describing a terrible storm, “the sky winked with frequent flashes”. But his word order is “with frequent it winked with flashes the sky” (crebris micat ignibus aether). Very effective, but only if you can get your head round the two Ablatives “crebris ignibus” (“with frequent flashes”) being separated by the verb “micat” even though semantically they ought (to our way of thinking) to be adjacent to each other.

    This kind of thing happens so often, one does eventually get used to it. And no doubt the mental exercise involved helps stave off dementia for a few more years.

  248. Even a child knows how “unsustainable” works. A process moves in only one net direction, increasing or decreasing. Pouring water either overflows or empties the container. Adults also know that an unwanted process that continues in the same net direction, if prolonged can be extremely dangerous, such as the steadily increasing pollution of the earth’s environment, but it’s the sustainable recycling process that gets the publicity. Dedicated environmental organizations in the “developed countries” tout resilient living and an Earth Day every year to honor our sustainable achievements.

    Such heavy prioritizing has been turning adult customers into juvenile consumers for a long time, shaping the latter’s thought that to reach success, even in sustainable recycling one still needs more, of both money and (renewable) energy, which postpones the adult perception that in a shrinking world, successful people need less, of both money and energy, anathema for current goals of business growth.

    I’m optimistic. Constructive change begins when we skip the spoon-fed stuff and stubbornly rethink about having less AND needing less. Hey, that’s freedom.

  249. Synthase, but asking for a non-Jewish explanation is the equivalent of asking for a non-Jewish explanation of why civilizations rise and fall or why wars happen. They did before Judaism existed and they will long after both the religion and the ethnicity are a note in history books like the rest of us.

    Have you read Stephen Pinker’s recent piece rebutting group selection? Or Peterson on IQ and over-representation? The results that are emerging from the genome-wide association studies is pushing otherwise respectable scientists to engage the alt right directly on what they call the Jewish Question and I think it’s a very good thing.

    The thing about not anticipating the invitations and the appeasement is that we really should have – after all the Romans did exactly the same thing. And there are historians who’ve noted the obvious parallels, although of course they have to predict a different outcome this time, at least in public.

  250. @Questioning

    As I suggested, Alexander’s Mind Dynamics was basically Sylva Mind control plus Unity School of Christianity, plus probably other stuff – Alexander was quite widely read and educated. That, plus other things, is what got folded into est together with Scientology.

    The Hinduism came in with Inward Bound, which Alexander created after Warner split off.

    Remember that Alexander was basically a teacher, unlike a lot of other people who took up teaching when they found something they wanted to teach, he had come off of being a teacher and headmaster of two boys’ schools in England. He knew exactly what he wanted to do when he put together a class, and he was a past master at it. He was the first person I encountered who deliberately used emphasis to pick out embedded messages in inductions. (I learned the technique formally with NLP).

    How much did I retain? As I said, that was the first. That was followed by Inner Light Consciousness (a spin-off of the Fellowship of the Inner Light), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and finally the Michael Teaching. Every one of them has informed the later ones.

    All of that is overshadowed by the “spiritual experience” I had when Alexander administered Shaktipat. That shoved my life in a totally different direction. I’ve had it channeled as a walk-in.

  251. JMG – Regarding the geomantic device of the British Museum, linked above, I’ve found a free PDF of a book describing it in great detail. This sentence really intrigues me: “The tablet itself is a unique concept in the history of geomancy, since there seem to be no writings before or after this device containing any mention of a mechanical contrivance for establishing a geomantic reading… There is no other known geomantic device from any culture remotely similar to it.”

    Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time, but somehow didn’t quite work out.

  252. CRPatiño,

    I don’t think that’s all of it. I think it’s a factor, but I think there’s also other aspects as well. I’m still trying to figure this out my self, but I think there’s a lot of factors that tie into this. It’ll take some time for me to figure out what else is at play though.

    SarahDee,

    While I agree with the analysis of the absurdity of the situation, and that there are a lots of problems with both Trump and Ford, I disagree though that anyone who votes for Trump is a casual racist. That argument might have more weight if the establishment actually gave any cares (I’d use a different word, but I think it wouldn’t make it through the filter) about minorities. While they pretend to, I don’t think they do: the state of affairs, with minorities a captive constituent, is far too good a state of affairs.

    One interesting aspect of the racism argument is that Trump improved his support among the black community, and various other minorities, over previous Republicans. To me, there are two arguments here that make sense: either Trump is not appreciably more racist than other republicans, or at a certain point, economics trumps racism. If there’s another one that I’m missing, please let me know.

    I also think it likely that Ford will win because the economics of the situation are too bad. The establishment is too focused on propping up the well off, and so for those who are suffering, a chance to fix this situation is too good to pass up. If it requires electing someone like Trump or Ford, then so be it.

    I will agree though, the pipeline fiasco is pretty stupid, and for the middle class to force it anyway, despite all the problems with it, to prop up their absurd lifestyles a little longer, is immoral.

    Austin,

    I really wonder what’ll happen if both of those resolutions are passed…

  253. Thanks for the Krastev article, Phil! It is, among many other things, the best interpretation of the Brazilian June 2013 protests that I have yet seen.

  254. January1, I don’t know of a source that specifically explores the philosophy of the planes of being from that perspective. A lot of the old occult literature gives you a broad overview of the whole system, and lets you work out the implications yourself; The Cosmic Doctrine, which we’ll be exploring in a few more months and which is my go-to reference for occult philosophy these days, is very much an example along these lines.

    Karim, I’ve only used the one method myself, and since I don’t consider astral projection particularly important in occult training, I haven’t really explored the other methods, thus can’t give you a considered opinion on that. As for how long it takes, it varies drastically from person to person. As for consecration, the word can be used in various ways and applied to various practices, not all of which have anything like the same effects. All focus on making a connection between a person, place, or thing, and spiritual energies — but what kind of connection, and what kind of energies? There the differences open up.

    Robert, no doubt, but that’s the system we’ve got on this side of the pond. As for a fascist dictator, we nearly had one. If Franklin Roosevelt had decided to replace our constitution with a new one that made him dictator for life and turned Congress into an advisory body, he could have done it, and most Americans would have cheered. Only his personal scruples about maintaining a fig leaf of legality kept that from happening.

    Xabier, I need to read that again! Yes, exactly.

    Bruno, yep. In the case of something artificial, such as a city or a country, the technical term used for such a spirit is an egregor — that’s the created consciousness of a human construct, but it functions as a spirit.

    Chris, yes, it’s one of the common pitfalls for people who approach magic as a means of personal aggrandizement, and nearly as common for those who approach magic as a means of making the world do what they think it ought to do. In either case you get the consequences of your choices, right down to the bitter end — which can take lifetimes, of course — so yes, it has an effect.

    LatheChuck, I’d be able to figure it out fairly quickly, because I understand the mathematics of geomancy. If you know what inputs are supposed to produce what outputs via what intermediate stages, it’s not too hard to debug and operate a mechanical analog computer!

    Will, the whole notion that the internet is private just seems bizarre to me. What on earth are they thinking? Thanks for the sketch of the psychology of the Anglophone Canadian liberals you know; that’s fascinating, in that it’s a very good description of the privileged classes in a colonial society, dependent emotionally as well as economically on the colonial power. I suppose it was easy enough to switch their dependence from England to the US, just as it will be equally easy to become dependent on China in due turn…

    Shane, it’s a purely emotional reaction in both cases. Since I have no expectation that my opinion will have any influence on what actually happens in either case, I consider myself free to choose my opinion on that basis.

    Patricia, I’m going to guess that Nob Hill is the affluent neighborhood in town…

    Jon, hmm. I’m not at all sure how that relates to the point I’ve been trying to make about Pravda et al., since neither of these stories made it to the mainstream media — those were too busy insisting that sinister Russian agents put Trump into the White House to make room for such things.

    Yorkshire, many Celtic societies had a distinction between the king and the war leader, with similar implications.

  255. On the theme of would we know if there had been past technical civilisations, I’ve long thought it would make a nifty topic for a good thought provoking story.

    Not the hidden or ‘re-discovered’ civilisation trope that closely matches our current world (that has been done to death), but more of a hidden in plain sight theme. A technology or world-view that is so alien to us that we simply can’t see it, even if the remains are quite obvious if you know *how* to look.

    Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Story_of_Your_Life) would have been quite interesting written that way rather than using aliens. Discovering of a way of thinking that is incomprehensible to any one else raises interesting questions about what has been lost.

    Maybe a future anthology?

  256. Archdruid,

    So that’s what egregor means! Is that similar to zeitgeist? Or does the latter mood indicate the temperament of the egregor at a given point? Are lady liberty and uncle Sam egregors? And how does one figure out the egregor of their city/state?

    David,

    This humanist idea that they know how to prepare people for the world, when the majority of them also deny or ignore the ecological limits of our world is insane. We’ll see how prepared they are to deal with a post imperial world.

    Regards,

    Varun

  257. The 13th-century geomantic computer in the British Museum, mentioned above by Jennifer and by lathechuck, has been the subject of two fascinating publications by Emilie Savage-Smith and Mrion B. Smith, a booklet titled “Islamic Geomancy and a Thirteenth-Century Divinatory Device” (1980) and “Islamic Geomancy and a Thirteenth-Century Divinatory Device: Another Look” (2004). Both publications can be read (or downloaded) for free at Savage-Smith’s page on the site academia.edu. (That site, in turn, can be accessed gratis by anyone with a facebook account, or who establishes a free account on the site itself.)

    It strikes me as a quite ingenious machine. Yes, it has been somewhat damaged by unskilled repairs; but, as out host pointed out, its functioning is entirely clear to anyone who understands the basic process of casting a geomantic shield.

  258. If nothing else, if the Tories go in in Ont., then the speed limit will be raised to 120, and it’s a good probability the LCBO will be privatized. Of course, that (120) will probably hit right as the price of oil spikes.

  259. JMG – Re: geomantic device… Now that I’ve read (or skimmed) the thorough report, I think that it is not quite right to think of it as an analog computer. It’s a combination of discrete random-event generator (the four arcs), with a set of digital memory registers to hold intermediate results of the calculation, and to associate discrete contexts for the discrete random events.

    From an open-minded rationalist perspective, I can see how this sort of thing might be very useful to generate a variety of perspectives upon which to consider a decision: will it turn a profit? How will it effect my soul? My health? Parents? Spouse? Children? Neighbors? Immediate effects vs long-term effects? In a world in which paper and ink might be scarce, and wax tablets a bother to erase, a mechanical memory aid that could work for a thousand years might be worth the initial investment… apart from its obvious value as a “status symbol”.

  260. Will J,

    I’m just throwing this out there, but Sikhs aren’t a despised minority in India. Punjab, the state where the Sikhs live, is extremely prosperous and the community as a whole very visibly serves in all branches of the security services. India’s last PM was a Sikh.

    Regards,

    Varun

  261. SaraDee,

    Actually, Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness and history of military adventurism in the Middle East, Libya, etc. and the resulting death, maiming, or immiseration of god knows how many people of color, both foreigners and, to a lesser extent, in our own military, was one of the major reasons I voted against her. Trump is belligerent and incoherent, but he at least sporadically trends isolationist and was the only major party candidate who seemed to entertain even the dimmest notion of rethinking American empire. The final body counts remain to be seen, but Clinton’s foreign policy record outweighs to my mind Trump’s immigration stances (which I actually largely agree with and do not find inherently racist) and his graceless rhetoric when it comes to who wins the “most dangerous to brown people” award. Your mileage may vary, of course.

  262. @ Robert Gibson–The US constitution itself mentions religion in Article 6, which prohibits any religious test for federal office. The 1st amendment then added the prohibition on an established religion. A later amendment extended the protections of the Bill of Rights to the states. To consider your example–if I, as a Wiccan see the 10 Commandments on the sheriff’s wall I will feel fairly certain that he may violate my rights or fail to enforce them. For example, if I am complaining that a Christian group broke up my meeting in a public park will the sheriff take down my complaint and investigate or just tell me nothing can be done?. A Hindu would feel the same way, since a good third of the 10 commandments are about the jealousy of the single god of the Jews and Christians.

    @ GKB – in recommending pennyroyal for insect repellent bear in mind that it is an abortificant. It is also toxic taken internally. Some people can’t tolerate the smell.

  263. Kevin Price,

    There’s always the chance that she is a bit estrogen dominant and some natural progesterone might help. Personally I don’t think a little would hurt and you can buy it online or at the health food store, but you could also get a a saliva hormone test.

  264. Actually, not the most affluent, though certainly the most liberal (I used to call it the People’s Republic of 87106). The people arund here think of themselves as middle class. The truly affluent are up around the Tanoan Country Club area and vote Republican. Or way up in the foothills with their mansions.

    It used to be an aging hippie of the comfortably well-off variety neighborhood. We are due east of the University district, and had bookstores, and places that actually served the residents, but before 2008, there was a massive push from the business community (not the quirky small businesses, but the realtors etc) to gentrify the place. It has turned our part of Central Avenue into a bars-and-restaurants area. Since then, the Nob Hill Neighborhood association has been taken over by the Give Us Back Our Neighborhood! faction, to no avail yet.

  265. Sarah Dee,

    I resent your casual accusation that every white person is racist. This is something that truly has begun to frighten me about the left. A person belongs to a group, and that is all one needs to know. And the group is likely bad and you shall be punished accordingly. Oh dear, but surely brown or black people are not capable of the same bad behavior that white people sometimes have done, or even of any bad behavior at all?

    The idea that a significant number of people actually voted for Trump out of racism is simply absurd. But it is damned if you and and damned if you don’t, with you apparently. If one is unracist enough to vote for a black president, one still only did it so as to get the establishment to hurt brown and black people.

    Yours is a very unpleasant way to live, and not at all necessary.

  266. I have a 9-year old son who is a fan of comic books, so we went together to see ‘Infinity War’ on its opening weekend yesterday. It was a good movie overall, by comic-book standards, but I was most surprised to find that the evilly-evil villain was not simply a typical evil-laugh sort of no-real-motivator villain- but was motivated by desire to stop ‘endless growth in a finite universe’ and was committing all of his evil acts in order to kill off half the population to allow the other half to live well again. This came up multiple times.

    Quite surprising to hear one of the first mainstream acknowledgments of limits to growth (to me at least) in this context- and by the most evilly evil character in the Marvel Universe no less! Wondering if this portends the beginning of the ‘then they fight you’ phase, which follows the ‘first they ignore you’ stage of a movement.

  267. John Roth,

    You said, “I’ve had it channeled as a walk-in.”

    I’m trying to parse that sentence. Can you help me out?

  268. When it comes to the question of prehominid civilizations we have a challenge that so much of what we mean by civilization is based on human examples, so it’s hard to know what we are looking for. Consider how many aspects of nature have some sort of intelligence, in many cases to a vast degree, but its not always obvious to many; often because those intelligence are so different than human intelligence that we couldn’t discern them by any well agreed upon standards. There an many entities in this universe whose intelligence is magnitudes beyond my own, who couldn’t figure out how to play chess let alone stand agaist me. By that token, there are microbes that are pretty stupid all things considered, but know what they do know in a context my imagination cannot even grasp at.

    That being said there are obviously prehominid civilizations, if I use the sense of civilization from the Cimmerian hypothesis posts, living in mostly self made environments; specifically in a densely populated community, and with a distinctive culture of that community. Ants, bees, paper wasps, termites, meerkats, and prairie dogs each come to mind. Ants are of particular note for having such technological achevements as ranching, farming, orchards, passive HVAC, and masonry. Bees and meerkats both have some degree of language. Granted, strong cases could be made to distinguish what each of these creatures are doing from what humans do.

    There are many lineages of protomammals which would have had certain social traits where it wouldn’t be hard for some degree of civilizations to emergy. Birds are also a contender with their uncanny intelligence to brain size ratios, also they have song which makes language a short hop down the road, and many many sophisticated social structures.

  269. Lathechuck and JMG–
    Re: making Geomantic instruments–
    There is at least one company that will custom manufacture anything you want in 2-D or 3-D, and can do it in plastic or metal. This one will even give you free autoCAD software. Here’s a link;

    https://www.emachineshop.com/

    It is quite likely that Xrays or other scans of the geomantic instrument in the British Museum are available. If so, anyone with the ability to transfer the designs to an autoCAD program could get a price quote to get one made.

    Images and commentary about the device here;

    https://lahosken.san-francisco.ca.us/departures/euro0/1554_magic.html

    https://vacapintasbritishmuseum.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/geomancy-an-13th-century-islamic-divination-device/

    Questions:

    IMHO a practitioner with many years of experience doing Geomancy manually (or anything else) might make a piece of equipment like this as a way to streamline the routine parts of Geomancy.

    1) Is there enough known about the Geomantic practices of the 600’s to tell whether they are the same or similar to what is practiced today? If so (echoing Lathechuck), would it be a useful device to you for Geomancy if someone put one into your hands?

    2) Do the materials of the device matter for the function?

    3) Dowsing devices like rods and penduli are used to amplify subtle information arriving through the body of the Dowser (or if not, please correct me!). The sliders on the right remind me a bit of of dowsing/divination aids that I have seen used. What is the basic difference/relationship between Geomancy and Dowsing?

    Thanks so much for any information you can provide on this, and especially for the chance to sit around and shoot the breeze in your virtual livingroom. 🙂

  270. @JMG – since you and Sara have moved to the Providence area, have you noticed any changes in your fiction writing? I ask because your latest experiment on Dreamwidth, IMHO, is a cut above the drafts of Twilight’s Last Gleaming and Retrotopia posted on the ADR blog. Perhaps channeling a bit of Lovecraft or something, now with closer geographic proximity to his old stomping grounds?

    @Max,Jen,JMG,etc., re: hobbies – the aspect I’ve noticed about hobbies is related to other aspects of modern life here in the good ol’ USA – if partaking in a hobby in public, then it must be taken to an EXTREME. My working theory of this goes something like:

    – fossil fuels allowed the middle class to expand, with more disposable income
    – hobbies of pragmatic output (sewing, hunting, fishing, knitting) could now be expanded to virtually any interest for vast numbers of people
    – with the onset of television, and then the internet, the propaganda of consumption and “keeping up with the Jones” was amplified many-fold, thus allowing the goals of a hobby to take on non-pragmatic aspects

    I believe (and hope) this trend reverses as the Long Descent continues, but for now it’s surely in high gear. I fell into it a bit myself last year when I attended the adventure motorcycle rally near Leavenworth, WA. I was astounded at how many high-end bikes were there (including my own), as well as the equipment required to transfer many of them there, and the expensive camping and riding equipment in use. For some reason I expected something more along the lines of when I went motorcycle camping in college (duffel bags and bungee cords), but no – it was filled with bikes with high-tech GPS systems loaded with back-trail coordinates, auto-adjusting suspensions, $1500 saddle bags, fuel-injection adjusting for elevation, etc. The booths were displaying the most extreme gadgets, tools, hardware, software and media to enhance the “adventure” experience. The scramble to the top of a nearby lookout was packed with everyone taking selfies.

    As I stood in the middle of it all, the roar of motorcycles around me, the irony of “getting away from it all” turning into “getting all into it” was not lost on me. I won’t be back this year.

  271. I used no details from any account, just requested withdrawing my submission, that I condensed too much, was optimistic only in that when things come apart, people will use “lean logic” anyway and quoted an MIT prof, that some things are better not left to nature like population reduction.

  272. JMG, if I may, a further question: What does it mean in reincarnational terms, if anything, when one feels alienated from most of one’s fellow humans and their preferences?

  273. JMG, re the idea that FDR could have made himself dictator – I find it hard to believe, considering the ruckus that followed his attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court in 1937, after which he was forced to back down. But thanks for your reply; it was in order to discover your opinion that I made my comments. An endlessly fascinating topic, US history.

    Replying to Rita E Rippetoe – I accept your argument; I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thanks.

  274. Dear John, thanks again for the chance to ask you questions. I have two, if I may:

    – Can you suggest examples of art, in any media, which have helped bring about a paradigm shift in the wider culture?

    – I know you wrote that you weren’t going to discuss vocations/jobs in your series of posts on education, but I wonder if you or any or your readers can touch on what to do about earning an income given the theme of the long decline you’ve written about. Especially if the way that one earns an income is partially contributing to the problems related to decline: I’m stuck in the web design industry, mainly in the marketing analytics sector. My attempts to escape it so far have not worked, hence my question: I know every situation is different, but do you have anything general to say about what to do in such situations?

    Many thanks!

  275. @ Jeff Z

    Re Infinity War

    I don’t go to theaters much anymore (the last theatrical showing I saw was the very disappointing Force Awakens). But I’m curious — what was the heroes’ response to the villain’s motivation re limits?

  276. @Will, others,
    well, I think it’s all perspective. Because of my background as an American, I notice things that are different from the US. The things that are the same don’t necessarily register, and I guess at this point, I kinda just automatically dismiss affluent liberals out of hand. To use an example close to the subject, I have a hard time proofing works written in British or Canadian English b/c the “-or”,”-er”, and other Americanized spellings don’t “register” with me. However, I notice “-our”, “-re”, “oe”, and “ae” spellings as different–I automatically “see” them and think, “oh, this must be written by a British, Canadian, or Australian person.”
    I think that Anglophone Canada will take the loss of the US hard, psychologically. The US is its last connection to the Anglosphere and the Anglo-American order, and the loss of the US will leave Anglophone Canadians “unmoored”, and China is a whole ‘nother ball of wax, culturally.
    I think it is funny that so many on here say, “but our elite are so close to the Americans!” when I discuss collapse of the US, sidestepping the whole point of collapse of the US. Collapse of the US means there is no US to be close to. Fascinating.

  277. @Rita: Thanks for the info. If I gathered right, the person doing the ritual was talking about a clothing spray with basil and other aromatics and was a man. In the Jewett book, it was the herbalist’s brother who was wearing the green paste. I think (not sure) that the idea of pennyroyal being abortifacient and toxic is about the tea–and the menstrual effects are not certain. However, there is definite toxicity if taken internally. Topical applications are less studied and the use in a aerial spray? I do not know of any published studies….?

  278. JMG,

    Thus why I’m asking here. I’m hoping someone can make sense of the “internet is perfectly private”. I would ask some of the people saying it, but in a few cases they don’t know how it works, in others its a mental breakdown, and none of them seem able to articulate where this is coming from.

    I’m also far from sure Canada is a typical society anymore. It’ll take a long post (and some more thought before I can articulate how), but Quebec, our internal colony, has managed to turn English Canada into an internal colony.

    Varun,

    Hmm. That’s interesting, I spent some time in Pune, and I found there was a lot of anti-Sikh sentiment, and a lot of Canadian Sikhs are refugees. The Sikhs I’ve met here in Canada usually claim that they left India because Sikhs are despised there and they didn’t feel safe, and some of them left fairly recently.

    Looking it up, it does seem that the last prime minister was a Sikh. Things appear to be more complicated than I thought.

    Jeff,

    I was far more interested in the original motivation for Thanos: he was trying to impress Death herself. Apparently, though, based on articles I’ve seen/people talking about it, introducing a god would be too absurd for the series. It’s interesting that everything has to be atheistic these days: I wonder what they’re so scared of.

  279. Jeff,

    I also want to add something: I’ve been hearing absurd arguments as to why arguing that growth can not be infinite is immoral for a little while now. I’ve been told that it means I logically must support genocide and serial killers, since they’re apparently part of the solution; that I logically must support forced sterilization; that I’m motivated by a hatred of the third world; and other absurdities.

    So, it doesn’t surprise me to see a comic book villain motivated by fear of growth. I think it’s mindbogglingly stupid, but it doesn’t surprise me.

  280. @onething

    Exactly what it said. During a channeling session (around 20 years later) I asked about the “spiritual experience” I’d had when Alexander administered shaktipat. Michael said it was a walk-in.

    For people who don’t know the term, it’s basically a soul transplant. I sometimes think of it as a soul acquiring a body at the used body shop.

    Is this what actually happened? I have no idea, frankly. It fits the traditional definitions in many ways, but not in others.

  281. @Jen,
    I totally agree w/your post, and that describes me and my motivations as well. It’s fascinating for me to observe people state that words are more important than actions, eg. Trump’s politically incorrect language is more important than the effects of his policies, that rhetoric about the environment is more important than the concrete benefits of reduced consumption tariffs would have.

  282. JMG, thanks for your second reply. I really appreciate the way you’ve shared some of the implications you’ve worked out; I doubt I’d ever developed an interest in occult philosophy had it not been for your examples of how practically useful it can be. (I just ordered a copy of Fortune’s book via the university library – seems they’ll have to get it via the Lutheran seminary!)

  283. Jen,
    yes, the body count overseas was also a big issue in my circles that usually simply made the POC not vote at all, since vote to kill people overseas or vote to kill people here was a soul crushing choice. It all depends I guess on the weight each person puts on the likelihood of each outcome, and personal tolerance for hate speech. I have friends who can listen to guys like the Toronto van attacker talk all day and not care because they are sure it’s just talk, while I find it exceptionally upsetting because I’ve been attacked by guys who talked like that before. I know sometimess it’s not just talk. Personal experience affects the weight we give likelihood of unpleasant events.

    Onething,

    I’m not sure if you’re genuinely confused or deliberately trying to misunderstand. We live in countries that were cleared for us to settle by rounding up or killing off the original inhabitants, and or economies create the largest we are used to through slavery, historic and ongoing overseas (which was detailed many times on the ARD, for long time readers). We send our hazardous waste to sit near our poorest, brownest neighbours whether inside or outside our boundaries, and about doing much of anything to get others clean drinking water even when they are literally right next door (the Six Nations saga, for Canadians, Flint for Americans). This means our lives inherently require a casual racism simply by accepting the status quo. If we truly values those other lives as our own, or as those we consider Like Us, we’d work much harder to withdraw our consent or change practices. For example, in my town the elderly white citizens have the time and inclination to create organized campaigns, and petition government about building height and facade requirements to protect the aesthetics of main street, but refuse to join in a petition to improve housing in the three surrounding reserves where overcrowding, black mold and house fires leave our Indigenous neighbours with insecure housing. The fact that one of these things it’s considered a bigger issue is the definition of casual racism – we would never accept these conditions for our own government subsided rental housing in town. To realise that we can be so callous to our fellow humans suffering is certainly unpleasant, but to suggest that people who notice the issue are creating the issue is disingenuous. Many of the people here, after all, followed JMG’s writings and know the contortions people will do to remain blind and do nothing in the face of very obvious hard ecological limited bearing down on us because it’s comfortable to ignore them. It should not be shocking to consider people will engage in similar contortions regarding ethical limits to their behavior.

  284. @ Kevin Price

    RE: conceiving – a Zuni carving of a frog is considered by many to be helpful for conception. (Zuni Pueblo is a Native American tribe in New Mexico. They are known for their stone carvings, or ‘fetishes’ (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuni_fetishes); even though carvings sold to the public are made for commercial purposes, certain traditional fetishes are still reputed to have some supernatural influence. If this is of interest to you they are fairly easily available – just get some assurance of authenticity. Once my daughter and son-in-law decide to have children (I soooo want grandchildren) they are going to get a very special gift…

    Perhaps there is some local folk ‘art’ from your area that might have a similar effect.

    Good luck! I hope you are soon blessed with a healthy, happy child.

  285. I wish I knew what sort of worship was due to the Primordial Mother besides greeting her by naming her attributes. Pan is somewhat easier, and I do need to get some red wine – which, like honey, is made locally. Yes, I have asked her, but not seriously.

    JMG – Some time ago I asked you about a spell to make everything an office evil-doer did go amiss, and you answered, essentially, “Gods, no!” So I gave my friend a bracelet of blue eye beads to wear, suggested rosemary “for decoration” on her desk, and since she is into angels, an image of St.Michael the Archangel. I called on her Friday evening. She had a votive candle to Michael on her computer table, and told me the trouble-making supervisor was pregnant and so totally bound up in that, she was no longer making trouble in the office. Thanks!

    I do know I ran a question by Him and Her about having talked too much to Kate about my own practice etc. She did not answer, but turned me over to Pan, who turned me over to The Old Man. Thor’s dad. Who, because my talents run to bard/loremistress/storyteller, claimed me as one of his own. But not to worry; bards aren’t headed for Valhalla unless they are also warriors; and I need not run out and buy a Valknut. Just acknowledge him among my secondaries, of whom Bast is first, Athena second, and Thor and Sekhmut in season. Where does this whole polytheism business end? (Asked humorously.) And I think of myself as working Graeco-Roman! BTW – the answer to “talking too much” is that she sees me in the same light as I see another friend I confide in; and she also does a practice similar to mine, so no. Not seriously loose-lipped. I do know she was overjoyed to have someone else she could talk to about such things.

    Shakes head. Things are moving apace. If this keeps up, I may actually end up as a practicing witch, rather than a witch who needs a lot of practice.

    Blessed Beltane to everyone who observes it, and may someone come up with a spell for making Dreamwidth’s “forgot my password” questions make sense!

  286. John Michael,

    I know this is not exactly your area of expertise, but I value your clarity of thinking and insight into the humanities, so I’ll try asking anyway.

    Do you have any advice for men in their 20’s and 30’s trying to find a good woman to spend some quality years of their life with? Being a decent guy, having something of value to offer, treating her like an actual person with wants and needs, and yet not being a doormat has been tried, and it doesn’t seem to help.

    Many women today seem to be terrified of being alone, so they like to play games, date multiple guys at once, and do other unsavory things. I don’t want to become bitter and give up on women, and neither do I want to become a “player” who manipulates women’s feelings to his advantage. I am also the first person to seek error in my own behavior, but it seems to me that getting “gamed” in today’s dating world is almost unavoidable.

    What am I missing?

  287. A bit late to the party. Hopefully not too late.

    My question is: What will be the fate of the huge metropolises on the coastline as the sea level rises? Would some of the wealthy elite get some huge dam system built to protect their assets (e.g. see the Netherlands) or will they just call it a loss and move somewhere else?

  288. Hi Onething!

    Thanks for your suggestion and sharing your experience. Not much I can do from 500 miles away, as so much of the drama surrounds my brother and his immediate needs. My younger sister pretty much stepped up to take him under her wing 20 years ago, and has done an amazing, thankless, job.

    A couple years ago I read that Reiki can be sent long distance, and so I followed that up and have taken both Reiki 1 and 2 so I can help from a distance. Thing is, while my sister says it has had a beneficial effect in targeted specific circumstances, it just does not seem a good idea any longer to send it regularly. For over a year I sent Reiki up to four times a week, just because. Hoping for a miracle, I guess. IMHO Reiki, for me, is best used physically. Distance has an effect for sure, but as the family shenanigans continue regardless, I’m taking a break.

    The divination JMG suggested prior to doing a family peace working stamped “Done” on this approach. The universe knows what it is doing. My expectations are the problem. I agree with you that this is karmic. And that’s a good point, that younger sister may be working out her own karma dealing with this. She is pretty resilient. Good thing, eh?

    I hear you on the Saturn Return! I’m 59, and in the thick of it. Are you as well? If yes, you have my empathy. The first round for me was pretty memorable, but very helpful after the dust settled. Not like I’d care to re-live it, mind you. I’m hoping this will also bring benefit. My teacher said sure, I’m about ready for Reiki 3. Got it pencilled in for October, which is the tail end of my Saturn Return. Figure I am not getting any younger. What the heck!

    My best to you. Quite the trip, life.

  289. Hi Jen,

    You wrote: “I also think your phrase about the “authority” of the meat market is spot-on; people often assume that their own efforts are inferior to those provided by the market when the opposite is usually true, or look down on things that are obviously handmade despite the clearly superior quality, which I can only assume is a form of class prejudice/anxiety. (Wealthy people, however, prefer the handmade–presumably being free of the fear that someone might think they made it themselves rather than being able to afford purchasing it!)”

    As I have sold my handmade clothing items at farmers markets and arts festival I have noticed that many times people would rather buy a cheap apron from an “authority”, like Walmart instead of one of my more expensive, handmade ones. I am sure there is more then one reason for this and it isn’t always about money but there is something “authoritative” about mass produced items. Unfortunately I can’t live off of what the people who made the Walmart version can live on, so I have to hopefully appeal to a wealthy person who has money to spend and whither or not they they mind wearing a hand made apron, they certainly don’t take the time to make it themselves. Good for me I guess.

    Before I got back into sewing (I sewed a lot of my own clothes in Jr and Sr high school, but felt a little uncomfortable in them) in my late twenties, I had a really wonderful revelation that involved something I have come to think of as a visual “texture”, but not in the usual sense of texture as in a painting. It is hard to articulate, but it involves the look of something that is handmade. Mass produced things have this “bland” visual “texture” that most people don’t seem to mind and it comes with stamp of approval from a mass produced “authority”. They will wear anything if they think it is “bland” or has some faddish “new” look to it and as long as it comes from the “authority”. Back in my twenties, I was somewhat embarrassed to make or wear anything I made for myself because it didn’t have that “bland” look. The handmade item had a kind of sensual “texture” or look to it that was anything but bland even if it was just a plane shirt, but it was marked as handmade.

    In my revelation I realized how marvelous the sensual difference of the “texture” of a handmade item was between a “bland” and authoritative item was, I stopped being embarrassed and started really perfecting my sewing skills.

    I wear a lot of my own clothing now when I have time to sew for myself and enjoy them very much. Like you, I can’t do it all myself, just not enough hours in the day, but I try and seek out the handmade when ever I can.

  290. Jon, a little bit. I’m still not sure how this relates to the media as purveyors of Pravdaesque absurdities.

    OtterGirl, regular use of the hoodoo bath I recommended to Questioning would be a good way to do that.

    Monk, learning to enjoy your life is something only you can do, and it’s anyone’s guess whether a philosophy will or won’t help. Spending some time learning to relax is probably a good start, though.

    Phutatorius, Zen is kind of off to one side of Buddhist tradition generally! If there are other varieties of Buddhist center closer to you, that might help; otherwise, you’ve potentially got a lot of study ahead of you. As for creation stories, though, I seem to recall that Buddhist doctrine has it that the universe has always existed and will always exist, so that kind of puts creation stories out of the running!

    Ray, sure. I’d encourage you to get to work assessing the field and letting people know about the potential candidates.

    Inohuri, it’s a common trick, and can be done by anyone to anyone. You can stop it either by looking away, or by staring intently at a point between and just above their eyes — this latter trick is called the Central Gaze, and jams the effect nicely.

    J.L.Mc12, no, because microfilm doesn’t last long. There’s this other technology that stores data very well over the long term, and doesn’t require any electricity to extract the data from it. It’s called a book…

    Envers, I haven’t paid much attention to Peterson; there are lots of pundits in the world, and only so many hours in a day. As for psychoanalysis, there are many more than two kinds — Freudian and Jungian are just the ones that are most popular. I see them as useful tools that, like most useful tools, can be (and have been) misused in various ways.

    Matthias, thank you for this!

    Breakdown, granted!

    PatriciaT, thank you! It really does depend, though, on which subject interests you most. The three books are independent of one another, and can be read in whatever order you prefer.

    Jez, I have no idea. As I have Aspergers syndrome, I’m not the person to ask about the meaning of eye contact! As for my brewing kit, I simply picked up a standard kit from the local brewing supply store. I haven’t had the chance to use it yet — life got complicated — and I’ll doubtless have more to say once I’ve used it.

    Kevin, start by doing serious divination to see if magical intervention in this is appropriate. The universe may be trying to tell you something. If not, pregnancy corresponds to Yesod and the Moon; with four years of Golden Dawn magic under your belt you should be able to construct an appropriate ritual working for that purpose.

    Kfish, maybe it’s that, but I wonder.

    Phil K., thanks for this.

    Christopher, no symbol is ever a perfect fit for any constellation of human experience. I used the best option that came to mind.

    Phil H., interesting.

    Synthase, I’ve seen point-by-point rebuttals of the Protocols. They were of course dismissed out of hand by the antisemites. When people want to believe something, they’ll find reasons to believe it, no matter how absurd those reasons happen to be.

    Ramaraj, nobody can be nice all the time, and choosing a scapegoat is one common way to deal with that. Frank speech and regular martial arts practice are healthier.

    Brigyn, one of the advantages of years of magical practice is that I don’t worry about getting motivated — I choose to do something, and do it, because that’s the habit that I’ve chosen to establish. As for The Druid Magic Handbook, I’ve yet to hear from anyone who’s contacted me to let me know they’ve done the whole sequence of work. They may well be out there, but they haven’t told me.

    Austin, it would be very Californian!

    LatheChuck, quite possibly. It’s so very easy to cast a geomantic reading with a piece of paper and a pen!

  291. Who here thinks this is a good idea?

    Dear JMG,

    Would you be willing to contact Derrick Jensen and do an interview on his resistance Radio youtube channel? I’ve been hoping this hypothetical matchup would happen for years now and it still hasn’t happened.

    http://www.derrickjensen.org/contact and Derrick is very good about answering facebook messages.

    I think it would be very insightful if you two had a conversation. Yes you disagree somewhat over the slope of the decline of industrial civilization, but you both agree that something has to give. You both worship nature, a spirituality conversation would be great! You and Derrick my two favorite people when it comes to learning what say, a tree or rock has to say. Meditation is also a direction you two could go.

    Derrick Jensen gets a gold star in my book because unlike Howard Kunstler and Chris Martenson he doesn’t predict each year is going to be the end. His time table and yours have that in common thought the end points are a bit different. He thinks there will simply be very little left alive on planet Earth. You’re both prolific writers. An interview between you two would be a match made in heaven/Vahalla, Gwyfidd, etc.

    Come on, who else here thinks a JMG Derrick Jensen, Resistance Radio interview would be a great matchup? 🙂

  292. To JMG and all – Blessed Bealtaine!

    To Rationalist – I wish you the very best – that you may find the partner who partners you.

  293. Will J,

    I don’t imagine very many people *really* know how the internet works. It’s impossible to sustain the notion of it being private if one does. Many technologists support strong legal protections against its use as a surveillance mechanism, but of course it is the largest surveillance device ever constructed, and the law only goes so far.

    It’s true that it *feels* private to be alone in a room using a computer, but in fact there’s a multitude of parties recording every transaction—one’s ISP, at the very least. (I’m oddly reminded here of the idea JMG has mentioned once or twice around these parts, that due to nonhuman entities around us, we’re never truly alone…).

    I imagine people really want the internet to be private and there’s an element of wishful thinking here as well.

    On a side note, I look forward to hearing more of your notes on Canadian culture and Quebec’s role in it! I find Canada to be quite pleasant as a whole but will admit that Quebec has a special allure for me.

  294. Greetings everyone.
    Two queries today.

    First, one of your weirdest letters, JMG, reminds me of some people in the US who were practising widescale orgone rebalancing, aka “gifting”, around 15 years ago by strategic placement of homemade energetic devices. The site where I read about this does not seem to have any recent entries or updates. Does anyone know how or whether they are still going?

    Secondly, I reside in the southern hemisphere in a country called Australia. In gardening and astronomy a few translations have to be made from the case in the north. For instance, the seasons are reversed across the equator : our summer solstice is in December. The warm part of a site is that with the north-facing aspect. To what extent are such allowances and substitutions necessary in occult and magical practices? I know there are some Aussies on this forum but I don’t know anyone I can ask personally.

    Cheers

    kallianeira

  295. Thanks to JMG and all who so kindly responded regarding my question about fertility. I was familiar with some of the suggestions, but am encouraged to dive into exploring them further. JMG, wow, I’m usually fairly consistent for exploring things like this with divination. I think that subconsciously I may have been afraid about what the results of the divination will be. I will start to explore the issue with divination while also keeping all of the other advice in my pocket, ready for use. Thank you.

  296. Hey

    I know I am a bit late in the comment cycle, but there is a question I’ve been thinking about ever since you did that post on stoic philosophy and Epictetus. The Christian pastor Tim Keller (if you haven’t heard of him, he’s basically the only theologically conservative Calvinist preacher to have gotten a following in the under-30 crowd) talked briefly about Stoicism and Epictetus in his book on suffering. Specifically, he quotes Epictetus as saying “remind yourself that what you live us mortal, what you love is not your own. What harm is there while kissing your child to murmur softly ‘Tomorrow you will die.'” He then goes on to say that Stoicism worked by teaching you to be emotionally cold and detached to everyone and everything, and that Christianity is better because it says suffering is unfair and not part of God’s plan, and therefore Christianty allows one to truly grieve and mourn for losses. Since I read your Stoucism post I have been wondering how you would respond to that, especially since (forgive me if I am getting too personal) you said that you discovered stoicism in the wake of losing a child. ( I am very sorry that happened to you, btw.)

  297. Well, that’s a relief! I’ve mostly seen the friendly side of dragons throughout my life, though I know intellectually that’s far from universal. Might be because I have more of a unicorn energy that I’ve never tried standing in front of a moving one ;).

    By the way, I have a possibly significant quibble with your German translation – “Die Starke” is a female noun (and possibly a pun on ‘the strength’ or ‘the strong ones’). So Hitler would only fit the bill if he was being ridden by a feminine spirit. Which is possible of course, but not an interpretation one usually sees.

    The reason I think it might be significant is that the title immediately brought to mind Jack Parsons’ ‘Babalon’ ritual. Given that he was probably working with a fair number of high ranking German occultists in the years before he did it, how tenuous is it to suspect that the ritual you mentioned might have continued after the war?

  298. @ SaraDee, if I may, the points that your speaking to are of undoubted importance. The bloodsoaked and unresolved history of North America is certainly still operative today and is certainly ghastly. That being said, from my perspective the manner in which you are engaging with the realities of racism and colonialism are directly undermining your noble goals. By engaging in such hostile and alienating language you are making potential allies alienated and hostile towards your ideas, as evidenced by the ample pushback your comment has received.

    Of course you are free to communicate however you please, but let’s be real; insulting enormous, heterogenous demographics of people is not going to work in favor of the causes you support. It instead causes people to feel justifiably attacked and close rank against you and the ideas you espouse. For whatever it is worth, I only mention this because I am sympathetic to your cause, and genuinely wish for you to succeed in the work you are doing to help improve the living conditions of marginalized folks.

  299. Jez and any other home brewers,
    If I may butt in here I will offer my two cents worth of experience on the use of plastic in home brewing. Don’t use it. Use glass carboys for both the primary fermentation and secondary. It isn’t possible to clean the plastic buckets sufficiently from unwanted bacteria by any means we used and thus we lost a couple of batches of beer before we switched.

    Also, because the carboys can be extremely heavy, get a secure means to lift and handle the full carboys. You can find webbing cradles that fit the carboy and provide handles to lift the carboy securely. One time my sweetie lost his grip on the carboy and dropped it on the tile floor resulting in a beer flood of the kitchen and a couple of stitches in his hand.

  300. ” The Weird of Hali — well, I’m not sure what to say; sales have been slow, and the publisher isn’t willing to bring out volume 3 until a certain fraction of volume 2’s print run has been sold, so we’re waiting on that.”

    Ahhhhhh….! Must have part three…. Gasp….

  301. Shane W,

    I got a salutary lesson in the relative merits of talk and action after casting my vote for Obama (the first presidential election I was old enough to vote in)! I think I’ve said here before that my second vote for him was cast much in the same spirit that one puts a second dollar into a malfunctioning vending machine, hoping that this time it will spit out the candy bar, and it worked about as well as that usually does. So much for my naive delusions that the Democrats were the anti-war, pro-environment, anti-corporatocracy, socially conscious party! It’s almost funny to me now (except for my insurance premiums–those aren’t funny at all!)

    I am also not at all convinced that the mere election of Hillary would improve things for people of color domestically (even setting aside the issue of the overseas body count). Race relations in my part of the country were certainly worse under Obama than under GWB, with white people being nastier and more open about any racist sentiments they do harbor than I had seen in a long time.

  302. Christopher Henningsen – I used to own Jack Parsons’ book, Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword, and thought of Babalon as daughter-energy, and “born in 1952,” and had a sudden thought — “Babalon” was the entire Boomer Generation! Or its egregore?

    @JMG – Asked the Primordial Mother what She wanted and was answered with “The fruits of the earth in their seasons.” So, armed with sharp scissors, I approached the rose bushes now in bloom and asked their leave to take some blossoms. One, whose blossoms are still scanty, actually asked me to take the deepest-colored one! So – one question answered.

  303. JMG I have a Tolkein question for you – assuming the Hobbit and the LOTR books are consistent. Why was Bilbo Baggins so much more resistant to the rings temptation than Frodo and Smeagul? Does this fictitious resistance have any implications for mages like you/the spells they cast.

  304. JMG
    Thanks for the reference to Central Gaze.
    All I found so far is:
    Central Gaze: In European magical traditions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a method of using the eyes to prevent another magician from gaining control of one’s mind and will. To use the central gaze, the magician focuses his or her eyes intently on a point between the attacker’s eyebrows, at the location of the “third eye” center. The crucial point lies in not allowing oneself to meet the attacker’s gaze directly, even for a moment; concentration must be maintained on the chosen point.
    source:
    https://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/term/Central+Gaze
    Too bad the cut the source. Snips of the text don’t find anything.

    Christopher Henningsen
    ““Die Starke” is a female noun”
    The following is a weak datum, rather unproven but fun.
    I understood how to dowse yin and yang mid 1970s. I found that couples would usually be balanced the same amount male yang and female yin. Then I found the opposite.
    I just dowsed Hitler from his era of Leader and found him to be moderately yin.
    I use short L rods in both hands. If a person is psycho the rods will read differently, if sane they will mirror. The surprise in this is that they mirrored. Maybe I read it wrong. I did go a little deeper and got the same. Perhaps he was differently crazy.
    I have no interest in going any deeper with this guy. Danger lurks.

  305. Chipping in on the home brewing
    I’ve had no problems using plastic for primary fermentation, it is easier to use an open vessel for wines and meads with fruit added. I do use glass for secondary fermentation, but mainly as I brew small (gallon) batches and second hand demijohns are easy to get and use.

    As another data point, where I live there is a business that is based on having people brew beer on their premises. For years they have done this with 5 gallon plastic pails. The fermentation room has a rotating stock of 100-200 of these pails, there are very few failures and these are mostly due to not following the instructions. People keep coming back to brew there, so something must be working right.

    A friend said ‘If you really, really like cleaning things then home brewing might just be right be for you’. 🙂

  306. Daniel, interesting. May I make a suggestion? Write a story on that theme and submit it to MYTHIC Magazine (http://www.mythicmag.com; if it gets some interest, we can consider an anthology.

    Varun, the zeitgeist is the spirit or character of a time — when you think of “the Sixties,” for example, you’re thinking of a zeitgeist. An egregor is specific to a group or a community, and endures for a long time. Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam are symbols which are attached to an egregor, not the egregor itself — they relate the way your signature (a symbol of you) is related to your personality. As for the egregor of a community, pay attention to the collective personality of the community: the way it responds to things, the way people in it tend to behave. That shows the character of the egregor.

    Robert, thanks for this! I’ll download them.

    Lathechuck, most interesting. Would you compare it, perhaps, to an abacus or a slide rule?

    Patricia, fair enough! Thanks for the data point.

    Jeff, that’s utterly fascinating. Of course they put that in the mouth of the bad guy — but I doubt it’ll stay there…

    Ray, true enough. Many long years ago, I had my world rattled good and proper by John Michell’s visionary work The View Over Atlantis, which argued that people in Britain have been living for six thousand years in the ruins of an advanced ancient civilization, which no one recognized as such because it was so different from what we think an advanced ancient civilization would be. The same point applies fortissimo if we’re talking about nonhuman species.

    E. Goldstein, 1) yes, we know the exact methods used for geomancy at the time the device was made, because the old handbooks still exist — in fact, some of them are still in use in the Muslim world. I’ve studied Latin translations of several, and though the modern methods are a little more complex, the differences are fairly minor.

    2) No, the materials don’t matter a bit. If I had one, I’d prefer metal to plastic, but that’s purely an aesthetic preference.

    3) Geomancy doesn’t have much in common with dowsing, other than that both work! In geomancy, you use random or quasirandom means to generate four 4-digit binary numbers, each of which has a specific meaning, and which combine with one another to produce a series of other 4-digit binary numbers, which also have specific meanings. (You can get a decent summary of the method here.

    Drhooves, thank you! I don’t think it’s a geographical thing, though. Between the time I finished Retrotopia and the time I started The Road to Amalin, I wrote four volumes of my eldritch fantasy series The Weird of Hali, not to mention The Shoggoth Concerto, which pushed me way out of my usual fictional haunts and is, as far as I can tell, the best thing I’ve written so far. Thus I’ve had a good deal more practice handling fiction since Retrotopia, and I hope I’ve learned some things in the process.

    Mary, er, what is this in reference to?

    Booklover, that’s a very common experience; what used to be called “the literature of alienation” is all about that. Exactly what it tells about your past and future lives is another question, one I’m not really knowledgeable enough to answer. Still, in a deranged era — and we live in one of those — feeling alienated from the chatter of your contemporaries is pretty much by definition a sign of mental health…

    Robert, he was forced to back down because he wasn’t willing to simply seize power. His level of popularity among the poor and working class was such that if he’d staged a coup along the lines of the one Napoleon III did in 1852, he’d have had zero trouble maintaining himself. He was our Mussolini, with the sole exception that he left the constitution more or less intact.

  307. As a chain-smoking handicapped person, FDR’s days were necessarily numbered, he didn’t even manage to finish his four terms. However, if he did overthrow the constitution and make himself dictator, it still would’ve done untold damage to the Republic when he did succumb to a massive heart attack in ’45.

  308. Will J,

    As with everything when deal with a country like India, things are complicated. I do know that a fair portion of Sikhs in Canada are exiles from the Khalistan movement, they basically supported an Independent homeland for Sikhs and rebelled during Indra Gandhi’s administration. She suppressed the movement and was subsequently assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards. The congress part launched a progrom against Sikhs during which many were killed. Even though congress is a faded entity now, many of its old enclaves still dislike the Sikhs. Interestingly though the Khalistan movement and it’s supporters are pretty pointedly disliked by other Sikhs.

    Regards,

    Varun

  309. Jbucks, 1) Yes, of course. There have been novels that have had serious political and social impact on society; to name just two, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin played a massive role in hardening Northern attitudes toward slavery and thus helped bring about the Civil War, and Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, which discussed the abuses of the meat-packing industry, had a major role in passing the Pure Food and Drug Act and a variety of other reforms. Plenty of poems and songs have had spectacular impact — it was said at the time that La Marseillaise helped Revolutionary France on the battlefield more than half a dozen regiments. I’d have to do serious research to find visual arts that have had similar effects, but those are the things that come to mind right off the bat.

    2) I know very few people who are prospering these days as someone else’s employee. The people I know who are thriving — myself among them — work for themselves, keep multiple income streams going, and constantly adjust what they’re doing to provide people with the goods and services that they want — many of which said people can’t get from the dysfunctional corporate economy. Oh, and a lot of them give away a certain amount of what they do for free, knowing that the relationships that result will benefit them in various ways. One other thing: decreasing your expenditures is usually easier than increasing your income, and usually involves learning useful skills as well. I hope that helps!

    Will, I wish I knew what to say. It’s like standing in the middle of Main Street and taking off all your clothes under the delusion that nobody can see you.

    January1, now that’s a hoot. I wonder what Lutheran seminarians are doing with the Cos. Doc.!

    Patricia, polytheism has its advantages! I have an occasional if friendly relationship with Thor — I pour him ale when I need help dealing with a storm, and quite reliably get it — but most of the deities I work with these days come out of the oddball pantheon revealed to, or concocted by, the 19th-century Druid Revival. I know that causes Celtic Reconstructionists a bad case of metaphysical hiccups, but the results have been very good. I’m glad my advice turned out useful, btw!

    Rationalist, I gather things are more difficult now than they were when I was last in the market, which was more than three decades ago. Part of that is collective — in a society in decline, as ours unquestionably is, the hormonal mechanisms that drive pair bonding and breeding get dialed way down, so that the birth rate will drop to levels that will be supported once things bottom out — and part of it is a very wide mismatch between male and female notions of how relationships ought to work, made worse by the overdeveloped sense of entitlement Barbara Ehrenreich discussed in her very useful book Bright-Sided.

    It also doesn’t help that so many men have learned to play the caring friend routine just long enough to slip a roofie in a woman’s drink or engage in some other form of rape, so a lot of women have gotten very defensive about dating. I hear from my female friends, though, that a great many women are just as eager to meet a decent, thoughtful guy who’s interested in a long-term relationship as you are to meet one of them — it’s the barriers to communication, and the existence of so much trickery and nastiness in the dating scene, that keeps the connections from being made.

    I don’t know that I can offer any way around those issues, but I do have something to suggest, as a result of my own experience. I knew a lot of guys who had more or less trouble finding girlfriends, but despite being geeky and socially awkward, I didn’t — I spent most of my high school career and all my time in college in a series of relationships, and one of those ended up becoming permanent — Sara and I will be celebrating our 34th anniversary this coming July. My secret? It’s quite simple. The great majority of guys — say, eighty per cent of them — chase the same fifteen or twenty per cent of the female population, the ones who are conventionally attractive and act out all the right social and behavioral cues.

    I didn’t. I prefer plump — that’s simply the way I’m wired. I also find intelligent women hot, and I figured out early on that I was interested in a relationship, not just getting laid. That meant that I encountered a great many plump, intelligent, interesting women who were delighted to be asked out on dates, since most guys treated them like crap if they noticed them at all. So one piece of advice I offer to men who want a relationship and can’t find one is to take a hard look at your expectations, and don’t let media and pornography distract you from potential dates (and mates) who are unconventionally attractive but might be just what you’re looking for.

    SpiceIsNice, oh, I’m sure the attempt will be made to protect a few very expensive pieces of real estate from rising seas. I wouldn’t be surprised if Manhattan, for example, got big dikes around it. Since the seas will just keep rising for centuries, though, it’s purely a matter of time before the money runs out and the waves come splashing over the top.

    Beaver, um, I doubt we’d have that much to say to one another. It’s not just a matter of time frames; he (like Guy McPherson) is stuck on the idea that there’s nothing anybody can do, and I’m trying to show people that industrial civilization is following an ordinary cycle of decline and fall and that history teaches us there’s a lot that can be done to cushion the decline and get things of value to the new cultures that will rise on the far side of the coming dark age.

    Scotlyn, and a blessed Calan Mai to you and yours!

    Kallianeira, I haven’t heard anything of the orgone rebalancing project in a while, so it may have fallen by the wayside. As for magic on the other side of the equator, well, of course you’re going to want to do the spring equinox ceremony on the spring equinox! Other than that, though, it’s crucial to remember that the use of directions and so on is symbolic, not geographic in nature. The Whare Ra Golden Dawn temple in New Zealand did things the same way the Golden Dawn did in England, and got excellent results, even though they were in a different hemisphere. Thus I encourage students to do the work as written, to benefit from the existing egregor of the tradition.

    Kevin, it can be hard to remember to do divination if you’re emotionally invested in the question! You might consider finding someone else to cast the reading for you, if you think you might have trouble interpreting it objectively.

    Tolkienguy, Keller’s welcome to his beliefs! Stoicism as I understand it has nothing to do with being cold and unfeeling; it has to do with recognizing that the world is under no obligation to cater to your whims, and accepting that, even when it hurts. I can think of no more useless notion than the belief that suffering is unfair; suffering is — it exists, it’s a reality, it doesn’t care whether we slap labels such as “fair” or “unfair” on it, and insisting that the universe ought to play by our notions of fairness just adds additional suffering (the suffering of cognitive dissonance and betrayed expectations) on top of the suffering that all of us inevitably get anyway.

    Epictetus got me through the aftermath of losing my only child, precisely because he reminded me that suffering is normal, it’s something we all have to deal with, and the best way to deal with it is to face it squarely, pick yourself up, and go on. So many people were pushing thirty-one flavors of self-indulgent slop at me, which was the last thing I needed or wanted: Epictetus was the ice-cold wet towel across the face that reminded me that what I was experiencing was nothing out of the ordinary. His advice has served me well in less ghastly hours since then, too.

    …and it’s embarrassingly common, by the way, for Christian salesmen such as Keller to twist the facts about competing ways of approaching the world so he can push his own product. It’s one of the main things that has always kept me away from Christianity; a lack of intellectual honesty is not an attractive trait in a religion that claims possession of the sole and unexpurgated truth.

    Christopher, my German is weak — I don’t yet have a reading knowledge of it — and I may well have garbled the phrase.

    AV, I’m in an exchange of emails with the publisher, seeing if there’s any way to expedite things. On my end, well, I’ve been writing as fast as I can — the next three volumes, 3-5, are ready to publish; the sixth volume is nearly finished with a complete rewrite, as I didn’t like the way it originally came out; and the final volume, in which “four join their hands where gray rock meets gray tide” and the Weird of Hali is fulfilled at last, has the two climactic chapters already written, and should be a wowser once it’s done. 🙂

    Patricia, glad to hear it!

    Austin, I have no idea. Tolkien didn’t study magic — he got some occult philosophy at second hand as a lifelong reader of pulp science fiction and fantasy, at a time when fantasy in particular was riddled with Theosophy — and I suspect that the difference is simply that The Hobbit is a children’s book and The Lord of the Rings is a much more serious and much darker adult novel.

    Inohuri, yep. That’s quoted from my book The New Encyclopedia of the Occult.. You can find more about in Mouni Sadhu’s book The Tarot and, if I recall correctly, in Franz Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics.

  310. SaraDee, I absolutely agree that personal experience affects the way we weigh probabilities as well as our visceral response to certain things. It was harder for me to swallow some of Trump’s comments about women, being a woman myself and having dealt with that sort of thing before, than it was for me to handle his comments about race, on a purely emotional level. Ultimately I went with what I thought was best (although still terrible) policy-wise for the issues that were most important to me, but I honestly don’t know if I could have risen above my personal distaste if Hillary had not been even more distasteful to me (in different ways), and had she not had such a clear record of supporting overseas interventions since 9/11 and been associated in my experience with the crushing disappointments of the Obama administration.

    You mention the choice of death for people of color abroad or death for them at home; may I ask you to elaborate on what mortal threats you see to people of color within our borders due to Trump’s election? I am sincerely asking, and I can think of some possibilities myself, but I am interested in knowing your concerns.

  311. @SaraDee,
    FWIW, I think we’ve accomplished about as much as we can accomplish w/the civil rights paradigm that reached its peak in the 60s. For one, it’s geared for a society not in decline, as its focus is on righting wrongs by redistributing wealth and largesse, which we no longer have, at least not in the US. It’s an open question, at this point, how much of the Canadian lifestyle the Chinese are willing to bankroll (a non-white, non-European people, I might add), but the US is a third-world country that just doesn’t realize it yet. The black swan will come and make that apparent in due time. I don’t know if you realize it, but Onething lives in West Virginia, which ties Mississippi as the most impoverished state in the nation. Having spent considerable time in both countries, I can assure you that poverty here in the US is worse and more grinding than in Canada, and that crossing the border from the US into Canada is the same as crossing the border from Mexico into the US, living standards wise. I don’t know if you realize this, but JMG did a series on race and the “approved -isms” it is okay to talk about and “The Hate that Dare Not Speak its Name” (Classism) on the old ADR. Perhaps you could find them on one of the online ADR archives. In it, he discusses the Rescue Game by modern, wealthy progressives, whereby minorities play the role of victim, working-class whites play the role of oppressor, and wealthy whites get to provide justice. One (or more) of the posts dealt with the end of white privilege. Basically, white privilege doesn’t end via some civil rights movement. Empires (ours is no different) don’t invite their “untermenschen” (in our case, racial and sexual outcasts/minorities) to the table until it has already been picked over. By the time the “untermenschen” get invited to the table and the privileged get around to talking about “equality”, the society has already peaked and gone into decline. Our society is not special in this regard. The same was true of other societies as well. So equality comes about by downward motion, not upward–previously privileged people are pushed down and find themselves no better off than the “untermenschen” that they previously despised. That is the case w/poor whites in the US. I can say unequivocally from personal experience that the class divide is not nearly as severe in Canada as the US. So, the way those historical wrongs get righted is not by the disadvantaged moving up economically, but by the privileged moving down economically to the level of the people they oppressed.

  312. …another thing about white privilege ending. It is ending because the privileged position of European and European diaspora nations at the top of the Western imperial wealth pump is ending.

  313. Rationalist, I have the same problem meeting a mate, from the other side of the gender fence. Although the issue with the guys I meet seems to be less manipulative game-playing and more 1) they really just want to get laid, so our agendas are incompatible, followed by 2) even if they are interested in an actual relationship, the inner life of the average American male is so incredibly shallow as to make one doubt that there is anyone there with whom to have a relationship! Not that all the women I know are paragons of depth and thoughtfulness, but the degree to which many men of my acquaintance limit their personalities and interests (or at least the expression thereof) disturbs me. Some of them seem to have ESPN projectors in place of the windows to their souls, with occasional programming related to beer and hunting (in my home town) or politics and careers (when I lived in the city). I am not an overly clingy kind of person (I am always the least needy person in a relationship, and actually enjoy being alone so much that it’s a real chore to interact socially enough to meet people in whom I am interested, which is also a problem), but I do need more emotional and intellectual engagement from a guy than I can get from your average Furby! The fact that this is hard to find worries me. Do you often find that you meet women who kind of seem like nobody’s home? Is this a sign of the times, a gender thing, or am I just extra lucky…?

  314. The post about “approved” and “unapproved” “-isms”” and the Rescue Game appeared on the ADR in 2016 in the run-up to the presidential election.

  315. @Austin
    Of course, we have no way to know what Tolkien thought, but my head cannon is this:

    Gollum was deeply affected by the ring, by virtue of using it on an almost daily basis for centuries. After Smeagol became banished for his crime, the ring became both his only friend and his best tool for survival in an hostile world. It is a wonder there was anything left of him by the time we see him in the LOTR. Frodo is rendered exceedingly vulnerable to the ring’s maleficent influence due to his been wounded at Weathertop by the chief Ringwrait. The elves were able to mend his body and save his life, but he’s got a cracked soul afterwards. After that, the ring is able to push months or years worth of influence into him every day. Bilbo has his full soul, so the influence of the ring is stil subtle in him, even after 60 years. It is also posible that he did not use it that much after the events of the Hobbit, and that he did not keep the thing on his person most of the time, which would have limited his degree of exposure. On the other hand, Samwise does not seem to be affected at all, but he did not carry it for longer than a few days. It probably did help that the ring’s attention was more focused into pitting Frodo and Smeagol/Gollum against each other.

    Then, there’s this little bit of fanfiction (not the full story, just the Rivendell Council scene):

    “Frodo!” came the sharp whisper of Bilbo’s voice, and Frodo came to himself, and halted his hand reaching up toward where the Ring lay on his breast, on its chain, dragging like a vast stone around his neck.

    Reaching up to grasp the Ring wherein all answers lay.

    “How did you bear this thing?” Frodo whispered to Bilbo, as if the two of them were the only souls in the room, though all the Council watched them. “For years? I cannot imagine it.”

    “I kept it locked in a room to which only Gandalf had the key,” said his uncle, “and when I began to imagine ways to open it, I remembered Gollum.”

  316. Although our generous host’s comments on Twitter are mostly correct (“If a potter makes pots, what does a twitter make?”), @wrathofgnon is an entertaining account to follow, not least because the man behind the account occasionally posts quotes from one John Michael Greer. Interestingly, a number of mainstream politicians in North America and Europe follow the account.

    Although the themes that The Archdruid Report and Ecosophia discussed are not touched on very much in this short interview with Wrath, I think that the readers of Ecosophia might find @wrathofgnon interesting, and a good jumping-off-point for deeper inquiry.

    A representative quote from the interview:

    “These early monastics are not bad role models: they contain all the seeds of civilization: Order, Hierarchy, Faith. They offer Charity, Love, Safety, Learning, Beauty, Culture, and they do so being self-sustainable, a concept presently in vogue that is seldom understood: to be self-sustainable is not about growing your own potatoes and generating your own electricity, it is to provide a shared framework for belief and beauty: “Make your communities and towns lovely and lovable, for without love, who will they inspire to fight for them?” Unless you have that shared goal, not all the solar panels in the world will save you.”

    https://thebridgehead.ca/2018/05/01/17407/

    Synthase, it’s been a busy week and I haven’t had time to re-read the Protocols and read the Lancaster Plan in depth. However, what I will say is that although Russia has a large Jewish population which is disproportionately represented in business and politics, the same negative social trends which the Protocols say the Jews will impose upon the goyim are reversing themselves – all without yellow stars and concentration camps.

  317. JMG – The geomantic instrument is much more of an abacus than a slide rule. There are no hidden linkages between the dials. You just look at two of them while setting the third. I think that it would be a fun weekend project to build a working model out of thin cardboard and bits of wooden dowel. It could work for decades if kept dry, like the “ARRL slide rule” I have that calculates inductor parameters to achieve particular resonant frequencies.

  318. It also doesn’t help that so many men have learned to play the caring friend routine just long enough to slip a roofie in a woman’s drink or engage in some other form of rape, so a lot of women have gotten very defensive about dating.

    I have wondered sometimes if problems like these aren’t a form of blowback from the tearing down of traditional standards of conduct. I understand those standards were not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and many women felt stifled by them, which is one the things that propelled the feminist movement.

    Still, one of the avowed purposes of such standards was to restrain the more bestial aspects of human behavior when it came to sexuality and relations between men and women. Most historical cultures that we know of, from Western Christendom to Dar al-Islam to a wide range of ancient civilizations and indigenous cultures, had such codes of conduct. They of course varied from culture to culture (sometimes by quite a lot), but they were there.

    We’ve spent the last several decades tearing down the traditional standards of conduct that used to be the norm in Western cultures in the name of “sexual freedom” and “women’s lib” and while it has benefited some women, it has also opened the floodgates for many forms of destructive behavior, including promoting a social climate where licentiousness and selfish sexual behavior are widely considered to be OK. I suspect that a big part of the problem is that we are dealing with the dark side of sexual revolution. The chickens are coming home to roost and the consequences are not pretty. We know from history that a collapse in ethical standards when it comes to sexuality often goes hand-in-hand with the decline and fall of civilizations.

    Is it any wonder that some men (and more than a few women) have reacted by taking advantage of the jettisoning of these traditional restraints in ways that are spectacularly nasty? Or that the lack of a clear cut set of standards and behavioral expectations when it comes to sexuality and relationships leaves so many men and women feeling like they are walking through a minefield when it comes to dealing with members of the opposite sex?

    I suspect that as modernity comes to an end and we go sliding down the backside of Hubbert’s Peak, we will see codes of conduct come back with a vengeance. They might not be the same as those that used to prevail in the West, but the reality is that most people need guidelines and standards of behavior in order for communities and societies to function. Among other things, we will almost certainly see the return of traditional gender roles in many parts of the world, partly because they make sense biologically, but also as part of a coming backlash as the disastrous consequences of the experiment we call “modernity” become too problematic to ignore.

  319. Phutatorius, Buddhism doesn’t have a creator, so there are no “creation stories”, but there are few different cosmological accounts that involve the formation and destruction of universes. I suggest you run a search for “abhidharma cosmology”. Abhidharma is common to all of the surviving Mahayana schools including Zen.

  320. JMG, I was wondering if you knew anything about the Aurum Solis.

    Some of its previous Grand Masters seemed to have connections with Druidry, at least according to their site: https://www.aurumsolis.org/vivian-godfrey

    What I’m curious about is whether or not they were truly an independent creation of a system of magic from the GD or if they were a GD spin-off? I find it intriguing to think that there were competing magical systems that emerged from that 19th century synthesis but never achieved the popularity of the GD.

  321. voza0db and Chris and JMG on cell phones and picking and choosing tech…

    I think the reason many people in less developed countries have cell phones is because under current incentives, it’s easier to set up and maintain a cell network than a landline one.

    I have a cell phone instead of a landline. Landlines are so expensive and not very functional or even very widely available these days…

    Do you have a real landline, JMG–are they still available in East Providence?

    In South County where I used to live, I don’t think they are–I think only VOIP is. Where I lived, “a landline” was included in the rent, but eventually this switched from POTS / “real landline” to a cable TV + cable internet + VOIP package. This was annoying when Sandy came around and knocked out power for a week. A POTS line would have stayed active, but the VOIP went out with the power.

    Before the storm I had tried to make a list of local radio stations in hopes of getting news from them, but I could only find ones which rebroadcast distant satellite feeds such as ClearChannel. (Later I discovered Gene Valicenti’s talk show on WPRO, but I’ve given up listening to it because it’s just too much of a talk / opinion show rather than straight news. JMG and other RIers, have you found any others?)

    My smartphone is what gave me access to news during the power outage. Also, National Grid doesn’t necessarily address a power outage unless you report it–your options are phone (unless you only have VOIP) or their web site. I found myself making reports for people I knew who only had VOIP phones. Then National Grid directed everyone to their web site and only their web site for updates on when power would be restored…but the site did not function with my smartphone. I used PDANet (tethering app for smartphone) to get my computer online to see the updates.

    After Sandy, the landlord put in a generator. A neighbor did too. He wired it himself, and it gave him power during the next outage, but then when the power came back on, it started a fire and destroyed the top floor of his house.

    My radio gets weather band as well as AM/FM, and all this reminiscing inspired me to try to set up its alerts for my new location. And thus I just learned that the Providence NOAA weather radio is currently “temporarily out of service.” No NOAA weather alerts for us!

    Just…memories that came to mind around this topic. The topic of catabolic collapse, to be clear.

    Anyway…I recently bought a new-to-me smartphone from Swappa. I replaced one that was 4 years old and already “passe” when I bought it. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was, by the many new-to-me features reviewers implied were standard. Things like three camera lenses per phone for…I’m not even sure what for. Some kind of fancy photography, anyway.

    Reviews also mentioned “augmented reality,” where you look at the world through your phone’s camera instead of directly, and then the phone displays extra things that aren’t real, so that if you’re looking at the world through your phone these extra things *seem* real. Apparently this makes for enjoyable games.

    I just wanted to be able to report a darn power outage!

    …and look things up online while away from home, to be fair. And have a small and easily accessible camera–I keep hearing stories of police assuming everyone has a camera on them at all times and no longer accepting “just testimony without photographic evidence” *as* evidence the way they’re officially supposed to.

    BTW, RI/NE folks, I’d like to come to the Providence meeting, but it looks like it’ll be on the same weekend as spouse’s family reunion. (Reunion is always the 4th weekend in June.) We’re both having some health issues so…if we can travel as far as Providence but not Pennsylvania, then we’ll come. 😉

  322. Matthias Gralle, thanks for posting that about Roman Gaul, it’s fascinating! Kind of reminds me of the life of St. Severinus of Noricum.

  323. Why would anyone think things would improve for people of color under Hillary? She was Bill’s closest adviser. They brought us Nafta, which made things worse for all colors of the middle and lower classes, he instituted the American gulag of a vastly increased prison system and then refused to change the law when it was pointed out to him that there was a huge discrepancy between sentencing for powder cocaine and crack cocaine, giving blacks far longer sentences. He ended welfare. He almost succeeded in privatizing social security.

    It’s been said that a Republican could not have gotten away with the things he managed to do.

  324. @ rationalist @ Jen

    Dating is challenging. My circle of folks is mostly the small organic farmers of my county, and there are alot of happy couples in that world. I think the majority of such farms of merit in the area are run by a couple. I haven’t found much luck meeting singles who are interested, or at least interesting, in that world, some of the single ladies I am friends with are a similar challenge as Jen speaks to about the men in her area, so many people tied to narrow hobbies, interests, or ideologies. A few vivid exceptions come to mind, but there are differing priorities to contend with in those cases. Of the women I know who are mentally interesting, and respectable enough for their capabilities (if I meet a singly lady that can use a shovel more skillfully then I can…) most are not interested in the rather vanilla stable kind of relationship I feel drawn to; even though in some cases I wonder if how much of the claimed rejection of traditional values (like monogamy) is mere left overs of what’s taught in University these days it doesn’t seem worth it to be the one to find out.

    Outside of the pool of potential dates, there is the issue of being ready for a relationship. There is a steep learning curve of developing the emotional maturity for a relationship. At the moment I am not putting too much energy into looking, because I have all the challenge I want to deal with trying to mature myself up a bit, and rise to the occasion of my own life. There is so much to be done there that I am wary about seeking a relationship too eagerly. Still, if a relationship could take root, blessing be.

    Fundamentally we are, as a culture, all so individuated, each one of us is such a rare bird, it is hard to find where to go and lek!

  325. Jen: FWIW, I’m a guy, and what you’re describing sounds suspiciously like why I abandoned the dating pool during my last year of college: so few women passed my main filter (a specific conversational vibe, that feels something like a shared mental dialogue) that I eventually concluded that I was better off writing off dating and focusing on other things. I don’t think it’s quite the same – there were a couple of ladies I knew where we had things to talk about but the vibe just wasn’t there – but it’s similar.

  326. @Rationalist, and JMG, I second that. Only that I prefer very thin women, but the principle is the same. I’d add that there is a female audience for nearly every endeavor, thus your nerdish interests shouldn’t be an issue to find somebody who shares the same interests that you do.

  327. The accusation against Stoics that they are rendered ‘cold and unnatural by the philosophy seems to be as old as Stoicism itself.

    Personally, I’ve found that it is a tool to moderate excessive and damaging emotions, legitimate or otherwise (true grief, or getting terribly wound up by the behaviour of others -and even by one’s own stupidity!).

    Many religious professionals,- priests and preachers, monks, etc – deal in nothing else except excessive emotionalism, so would be opposed to a philosophy which exposes their game as empty, limited and unhealthy.

    Stoicism = Creating a basis for maximum human efficiency, in a sense.

  328. On vanished ancient higher civilisations which people are unable to conceive of: this reminds me of conversations with an archaeologist girlfriend, who believed that all the mental and spiritual life of a people and culture could be revealed through material excavations – everything leaves a trace, and the professional archaeologist could decipher it all.

    My assertion that spiritual elements might leave no such physical trace always failed to convince her. Why? Professional self-interest and bias.

    On a side note, I found the archaeologists I met all rather disappointing – all they talked about, like most academics without tenure, was getting funding, and they spent their time smooching one another outrageously to get invited to digs.

    Great parties though! Dig hard, drink hard seemed to be their motto……

    (Exciting to think that here on this soggy island one might be living in the wreck of an advanced civilisation, I’ll get the book.)

  329. re: coupling;

    If I may enter this fascinating conversation a bit late, I would love to share my experiences as a bisexual. In all honesty both males and females seem to me to behave very similarly. They treat each other like sexual objects. There has been much conversation on this blog on the difference between “I-it” and “I-thou” relationships. Well, what I’ve noticed is that in most of my sexual relationships I’ve been treated like a thing. One can make a big deal of the different ways the sexes treat a partner as a sex toy, but the differences are, in my personal experience, ultimately rather trivial.

    Of course this is keeping with the culture at large; as has been discussed we are a prosthetic culture of numbing over-stimulation. This obviously doesn’t bode well for healthy relationships. I find it deeply unsettling hearing the strange emphasis with which folks say “I want…” as if wanting were something of numinous importance, or indeed the highest that a human is capable of. It doesn’t matter much if this wanting concerns a slice of pizza or a new love interest. And of course, in a disposable culture once the desires are sated anything remaining is unceremoniously discarded.

    My thought is that this is more issue of personal development more than anything else. In a relationship relatively little of the time is spent having sex, the rest is spent in intimacy, which takes its deepest form in moments of shared silence. If people are unable to abide comfortably in silence they will be very unlikely to be able to handle an intimate relationship, with any level of duration. One can be personal without being intimate, and this appears to be the basic rule of modern dating.

  330. @Kevin Price:

    My wife and I were in your situation a few years ago, and after plenty of tricks and rituals and interventions medical and metaphysical, our daughter is napping on her lap as I type this. We have several friends who’ve been through similar, up to and including IVF (both successful and not).

    Something that came up in several discussions with doctors and others was the common influence of the “male factor” in couples’ infertility, which the medical types recommended addressing with daily supplements of vitamin C and zinc. Even if your diet and exercise are good, it might be worth a try. Best of luck to you and your wife, and don’t forget to enjoy yourselves in the midst of all of your intentional procreative activities.

  331. For most of the last 10 or 12 years I’ve been living with a growing sense of despair at the unfolding ecological collapse and sixth mass extinction unfolding around us. To borrow from Leopold, I cursed myself with an ecological education and now I live in a world of wounds. I’ve learned to manage this as best I can, but my feelings of despair and helplessness has a habit of welling up periodically and I then I find myself overcome and crying in my wife’s arms or sitting in a field haplessly apologizing to a bird as new construction swallows up more of their habitat. My question is the result of a recent upwelling of despair. I’ve known about coral bleaching in the abstract for quite a while, but I finally took the time to research it by reading some of the literature and watching interview with experts, and it became apparent how truly enormous and dire an issue is, and there is a real chance the worlds corals will not be able to recover and we’ll lose the 90-99 percent of them in the next few decades.

    It’s just unbelievable to think of all the species that would go extinct with it, the death of entire ecosystems is just about the most depressing thing I can think of, and my own complicity in all this makes it worse.The things I do to try and live a more sustainable life don’t feel like enough and the situation is so dire for so many species that I don’t even know what “enough” would look like.

    I know your blogs have focused on how this unfolding catastrophe will affect human civilization and society, so I don’t have a good sense of how you feel about issues like climate change, deforestation, etc. as they affect nonhuman beings. So my question is, how do you personally approach and deal with ongoing ecological collapse as informed by your druidry?

    I suspect it involves thinking in geologic time, of cycles beyond our ken, but I do hope there is more, or other layers to it than that. I have found taking that “long view” to make sense in the abstract but to do nothing to relieve my lived sense of loss and despair. It pains me to think of how incredibly abundant our world used to be even a few centuries ago and how rapidly we are diminishing it. I know that natural extinctions have and continue to occur naturally and I can accept that, but the sheer volume of avoidable extinctions caused directly by our carelessness is horrible to me.

    Sorry for the late question, I can save it for next month if too late for a reply.

  332. Very very late in the comment cycle, but this thought just re-emerged from my subconscious again just before lunch. Back on the old ADR, you mentioned more than once about “what might have been” regarding the US facing up to the concept of limits in the early 80s. I’m just young enough (45 now) to have missed out on that what-might-have-been was when people were still willing to discuss it. Would you consider writing up a sketch of some of the big dreams-and-schemes of the late 70s and early 80s?

  333. @Austin, JMG and CRPatiño

    JMG is right, the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are different books. Tolkien tried to fit the Hobbit into the same story of the Lord of the Rings when he wrote the latter, but remained so dissatisfied that he considered rewriting the Hobbit to make it more consistent with the Lord of the Rings.

    Having said that, the common rationalisation I have read for the different effect the One Ring had on Smeagol (Gollum), Bilbo and Frodo is that the Ring was somewhat still ‘inactive’ while in Gollum and Bilbo’s hands. Sauron was very weak at the time compared to the last years of the Third Age and so the Ring was in a sort of slumber, as if powered down.

    When Smeagol found the Ring in the Anduin River in the year 2463 of the Third Age, Sauron had just returned to Dol Guldur, which is very very close to where the two hapless hobbit found the Ring (speculation has it that Sauron had chosen Dol Guldur as his secret abode in Mirkwood precisely because it sensed or knew that the Ring was close by), and yet the Ring couldn’t stop Smeagol from taking it away with him to the Misty Mountains, farther from his Master (rememeber that the Ring *wanted* to be reunited with Sauron).

    Even as he built his power, Sauron remained unaware of the Ring’s movements. In 2939, his minions were still searching for the Ring in the Gladden Fields by the Anduin, where Smeagol had found it almost half a millennium earlier. Two years later, though, Bilbo fatefully took the Ring from Gollum while on his adventure with Gandalf and Thorin’s company of Dwarves.

    At that point, Sauron must have realised that the Ring had moved away from the Anduin Vale (it was in fact in the Shire by then), so he abandoned Dol Guldur and returned to Mordor. Ten years later he revealed himself and began rebuilding his Dark Tower. Gollum sensing the return of Sauron abandoned the Misty Mountains to go to Mordor, presumably assuming that his precious Ring had been found by Sauron.

    From this moment on (2951 T.A.), Sauron’s strength began to grow exponentially, but it’s only sometimes between 3009 and 3017 TA, when he captured Gollum, that he learned about the Hobbits, etc. and the following year his Ringwraiths were on the hunt, looking for the Ring.

    It is possible, therefore, that it was the proximity of the Ringwraiths, and almost certainly also the wound inflicted by the Witch-King to Frodo (as pointed out by CRPatiño) what made all the difference. The Ring by then was actively tormenting Frodo and no longer in its slumber like when he was in Bag End, guarded by Bilbo.

  334. @JMG

    So is there any chance that people of the future will ever be able to clean up the pollution that seeps into places like underground water?

    Or are dumped into places like the Gobi desert?

    Is some of the pollution(the chemical that we use in non-stick pans and fracking chemicals etc) that we have right now has no way of being biodegradable permanent?

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