Open Post

November 2017 Open Post

As announced earlier, this blog will host an open space once a month 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…


  1. Hi JMG
    I’ve read your monsters book and one question i’m thinking about is if iron is dangerous to beings with an etheric body but no physical one the why is it harmless to us. According to what i’m learning we have an etheric body along side our physical one.

  2. JMG. I just read ‘collapse now and avoid the rush’. I enjoyed it very much. In the deindustral reading list you said you could make a comparable list from classical sources. As I read that stuff all the time I was wondering what that list would be. (I also have a high tolerance for mystical stuff so I should be able to handle it.) Thanks again John

  3. Greetings Mr. Greer, I am studying Geomancy using two of your books: The Celtic Golden Dawn, & The Geomancer’s Handbook. I have learned a lot already & I find these sources to be very helpful & good guides. I have a little experience doing divination with Tarot & also, Runes. So, I was familiar with the houses (from astrology) & that they can apply to readings. I practice doing “daily” readings & use the houses for interpretation.

    My request is for some guidance or discussion from you to assist in also applying the four triplicities (“4Ts”). Is it helpful, advisable, or even possible to apply the 4Ts & the houses, both, to interpret the same reading? Or, are the houses to be used only in certain types of readings, e.g., the daily — “What’s going to happen today?” & the 4Ts for other types? I understand that you will not discuss your particular practices but I’m hoping you may be able to provide some explanation using helpful hypothetical situations, if necessary.

    If they are to be used together, then please further assist regarding the reconciliation of these two techniques. For example, the Second Mother of the 4Ts represents the querent’s childhood & background, which would also be the Second House, which represents the querent’s financial situation. I can envision a reading where these two things might overlap but it doesn’t seem like that would be too common. As another example, the Fourth Daughter of the 4Ts represents the querent’s spouse, lover, love interest or closest friend, but that is also the 8th House — Death & things dead. Again, it doesn’t seem like these two elements overlap in most readings, even though they could. Am I missing something?

    It would make more sense if these techniques are used in different types of readings but I’m not sure so, asking. Even if my assumption is correct, any insight into these overlaps, associations, etc., along w/any others you believe may further elucidate my understanding would be much appreciated.

    Thanks so much in advance, thanks for writing these two books, & thanks again for fielding all of our questions on so many diverse topics!

  4. Hi

    I am wondering when we will start feeling “the belt tightening” in a substantial way because of dvindeling fossil fuels?

    Greetings from Norway.


  5. JMG,
    I was talking with my seven-year-old recently about etheric energy and how it flows through all things and how it’s like a life force. It elicited the question from him as to whether trees that have been cut down “are alive” (particularly wood that has been preserved as lumber/furniture). I found myself at a loss, being a newbie to occult philosophy, and not understanding plant life well enough to have a starting point. Could you clarify this a bit for me?

    Also, I’ve been reading Jesus the Magician on your recommendation, which leaves me pondering the resurrection of Jesus a bit. If I’m not mistaken, occult philosophy leaves no room for a physical resurrection, but a post-mortem appearance of his etheric body (not astral, right?) is possible. What’s your general take on this alleged event? A Body of Light perhaps?

    If you permit me one last question, I’d like to probe you a bit on the question of abortion. I’m interested on your occult perspective rather than political take. Is a fetus considered en-souled before the first breath or at any specific point? And, just out of curiosity, do you consider the answer relevant to the ethics of making such a choice?

    Thank you, by the way, for hosting this and being so generous with your time. It made my day when I heard you were going to be doing open posts, and though I’ve had a hard time coming up with questions that I couldn’t answer myself as I typed them out to you, I’ve appreciated reading everyone else’s questions every month.

  6. This recent push to eliminate “undesirable” news sites by the government via registration as a foreign agent or by having the big search engines ” delink” them seems a rather ominous step down in what is left of our democracy on a federal level. Does this just represent another small step down in societal collapse or is it a dark harbinger of things to come. Are there good historical analogies we can examine to help us see where this is going?

  7. John–

    A couple of thoughts and comments.

    First, I recently completed _The Secret of the Temple_ and I’d like to thank you for writing it. I have mind to conduct some small-scale experiments along the lines of what you described in the middle section of the text, possibly branching from there based on results. Moreover, I am in the beginning stages of a multi-year project to transform myself (as I wrote to Joel) from office fauna to small-scale agriculturalist. Conceptually, I’m thinking of a few acres or so outside my small city. Once the property-acquisition phase is complete, I am also thinking of conducting some larger-scale experiments based on your research. (This is several years away yet, but I’m sketching out ideas.)

    Secondly, a brief report back to the group re my foray into local government. The past several months have been quite educational, to say the least. We are just now completing the budget for next year (my first round through the budget process), having held the public hearing for public comment (there was none) after several weeks of review at the committee and council levels. It is an involved process and I doubt that the average citizen is aware of what it takes to keep the city going — I certainly wasn’t! How can we (re)cultivate the public involvement and concept of self-governance that are necessary for a functioning democracy?

    Finally, just a bit of grousing on my part. I find myself looking over the political landscape and finding that I have no real home. The major parties are not options for fairly obvious reasons and the few viable alternatives I’ve investigated or tried out (e.g. Greens, DSA) are too self-involved or myopically focused on identity issues. I realize that our system is working through a cycle now and that we are entering into that chaotic phase between the dissolution of the old and the formation of the new, but it is still kind of depressing to feel isolated.

    But to end on a more positive note, my crazy crocheting skilz are slowly building and several family members will be getting hand-made gifts that may even vaguely resemble functional articles.

  8. I just want to tell you that your post on reincarnation a while back really helped me “get my bearings” spiritually, in that I feel like I have a clearer understanding of where I’ve been in relation to where I am in life, where I want to be and why, and why things have been the way they have been.

  9. Greetings all

    What is your take on the “crop circle” phenomenon? Of human origin or is there something else at work there?

  10. 1. You’ve talked before about how historians from early twentieth century tried to “debunk” Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West by pointing out some historical inaccuracies the man supposedly committed. Do you know of any book, article, etc. where I can find some details about these arguments in English?

    2. I don’t know whether I should write this here, but anyway: I’m from Catalonia, and lately, during this political crisis we are suffering, I’m growing increasingly concerned about how empty the arguments of both sides really are, and how they just keep talking past each other. It’s especially hopeless when you hear with increasing frequency these classical thoughtstoppers: Catalans are Nazis and Spaniards are Fascists (or “fachas”, as it is the common word here). Because of the insistence from both sides of labeling “the others” with these nasty terms, I remembered about your trilogy of posts about fascism on your previous blog, and thought it would be good for people here to read it. So I thought I’d like to translate that trilogy to Spanish and post it on my own blog (with due reference to the original author and blog, of course), and that’s why I ask for your permission.

  11. I recently read the book The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell, and in it he discusses the future prospect of salvaging material and items from our collapsed civilization. Reminded me of Star’s Reach. Then I saw that The Long Descent was referenced in his end notes, so he’s clearly aware of your work. Just wondering if you had heard of this book.

  12. Hello everyone.
    Human culture seems to find classification of the feminine and the masculine a fundamental (as in necessary) expression of something. What forces are seeking to make themselves known via the distinctions we use? Why does the feminine rarely seem to be ascribed the same worth as the masculine in our modern world?

  13. Hi John,
    Thank you for the link to the Lovecraft stories and thanks especially for the post “Our Shoggoths Ourselves”. I’ve read some of the stories and I think I have a better idea of what you are doing with your Weird of Hali series. At the very least I have a better idea of what to expect from ‘Lovecraftian’ fiction.
    All the best.

  14. Hi John Michael,
    A while back you dropped a hint that you were thinking about developing the idea of the Alt Center. Seems like it would fit in well with themes you’ve been exploring recently. My take on it is that it would be comprised of people committed to thinking critically, willing to compromise, who listen and dialogue with respect and who are not absolutely certain they know everything and are always right. Mark Twain’s utterance comes to mind: “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble, it’s what you know fer sure that just ain’t so!” I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Alt Center and whether it has a prayer of gaining any traction. It’s probably a long shot but perhaps now that Twitter has expanded to 280 characters there’s more hope for deep thought. Blessings to you and all in the Ecosophia community for a peaceful Thanksgiving.

  15. JMG, I thought you would be amused by a new testament to Faux sustainability/preparedness just built in Portland. My shop is in an old warehouse near the docks in a part of Portland once called Albina. It has very recently become partially gentrified with mostly apartments for debt strapped ( but hip) millennials, and ” cool” restaurants and bars, but still has poor infrastructure, failing schools and the remnants of the previous ( down to about 40% now) and understandably disgruntled african american population that was forced here after WWII due to redlining in the rest of the city. On a vacant lot, in an area that as little as 5 years ago was only burnt out warehouses and crack houses has risen the ” for now” tallest wood frame condo in America. The deceptively named ” Carbon 12″ building has 12 floors of million dollar condos, that have the luxury of being large enough that the trick 2 door elevator can let you off directly in to your abode. They have secure underground parking serviced by the latest german “robotic parking system”. In addition to having the low carbon wood frame they are super earthquake resistant and have on site water storage and a back up generator. Not sure the new affluent residents ( only one is sold so far) have noticed the convenience store 30 feet away where the down and out buy fortified wine, or have thought about what would happen after the subduction zone earthquake leaves them safe but trapped in the their all glass apartments 12 stories up a wooden building with no fire fighting water pressure and only enough “back up ” power to run the elevators for 24 hours, plus their cars trapped in the robotic parking system. I think those left desperate from a natural disaster will look up at the most symbolic of the hated gentrifiers trapped in the well lit ( for a short time) museum case rising high over the rest of the low rise neighborhood and get some ideas.

  16. What’s the difference between a moderate Burkean conservative and a mild or extreme one?

  17. Hi JMG

    Was wondering if you or Sarah found the symbolism in DaVinci’s Salvator Mundi unusual. No wanting to go off in to Dan Brown’s territory. But shouldn’t the orb/globe have a cross on it? I know there are works depicting Zeus with his foot on a globe with no cross(for obvious reasons), but weren’t latter depictions with a cross on top?

    I know there was some discussion about the globe and whether it’s lack. Of reflection/distortion meant it was or wasn’t a DiVinci, but no one seemed to notice the lack of the cross. Also the hair depicted seems unnaturally flat. Is the work just incomplete(do you think)? Maybe waiting for gold gilt to finish off a halo and the globe?

    I know sort of weird question, but you know a lot about symbolism and you have talked about Sarah studying Art History as well, so I thought you might have some ideas.

    Hope you are enjoying your new home.

    Also, I was happy to see a couple of your books at my local B&N. I bought your Levi translation there. I hope you books being at a mainstream bookstore will expose more people to your work!

  18. Given at least courteous interest in newspaper topics carbon, CO2, Paris Agreements, and so on, but NOT given nummerancy, (or, come to think of it, the ability to visual a ton of much of anything, much less CO2) what is an “Oh. I get it” way to complete the sentence, “Well, think of it this way….”

  19. I’ve been reading your blogs for a while though this is my first time commenting. I have to say I’m not 100% convinced that we’re currently going through collapse, and I’m less convinced now then I was about a year and a half ago when I started reading your blogs. Actually I’m mainly posting to ask you and your readers what you think of James Howard Kunstler. He seems to be the most respectable person in the peak-oil movement, the one who is most likely to appear in mainstream publications. And I have found a lot of his stuff to be witty and interesting (though I haven’t yet read his books.) That said I have been checking out his yearly predictions and I have to say they’re pretty bad. Some of them are reasonable enough, even if he was mistaken, but some of them are real howlers. Looking back, here are some of his predictions by year:

    2012:That the GOP and Democratic Party conventions would see protests and mob violence dwarfing the incident in 1968
    That India would attack or maybe nuke Pakistan
    That the DJIA would drop to 4000 in 2012 and to 1000 in 2014
    That we were entering a Depression that would dwarf the one of the 1930s

    2013: That Germany would leave the Eurozone
    That the House of Saud would fall
    That the DJIA would hit 4000
    That the US would face massive stagflation and high food prices
    A gas shortage worse then the 1970s
    That shale gas would peak

    2014: Massive civil strife in Europe
    Global food production would peak

    2015: Various countries team up to eliminate the dollar as the standard currency for world trade
    Major U.S. banks become insolvent (all of them)
    The DOW and S&P drop by 40%
    Open ethnic warfare in France, Sweden, and the UK
    Shale gas peaks
    The DJIA would drop to 13,500 (at least it wasn’t 4,000 this time)

    2016: Another Great Depression
    That if Trump won the American election there would be coup de’tat in 2017
    That the price of oil would drop below 30$ a barrel

    2017: That Trump would declare martial law
    That the EU would break up
    That China’s banking system would collapse (He predicted this in previous years as well)
    In America, “Epic dislocations in markets, currencies, debt, and misguided central bank efforts to hold back the tides of a necessary re-set… ”
    He also didn’t seem to think the DJIA could go higher then 20,000

    I left out a lot. I’m sure a lot of people will say that I’ve been unfair or that these things are about to happen or are happening. But I don’t buy it. These aren’t small mistakes and it’s not just details either, but the broader picture he paints. Every year he claims we’ll be eating our dead and then every year he basically starts off by saying “the crackup continues” with only the most fatuous explanation for why his predictions failed the last year. I think he has some insight and is at least calling attention to real problems but then why he is so bad at predicting the effects of those problems and their scope. It makes me think that he is not just wrong about the details, but that his whole worldview may be wildly off in some way.

    But like I said, I’m neither completely convinced nor completely unconvinced about peak oil and collapse, so I’m open to any counterarguments. Which is why I’m curious what you guys think of Kunstler and what you make of his predictions.

  20. I recall reading in the comments to one of your earlier posts about humans who were reincarnations of nature spirits. I’ve run into people who might fit that description, especially those who identify as otherkin (furries and the like) although they could easily be otherwise normal humans with odd interests. What struck me about that was the idea that nature spirits then would not non-physical beings of the next stage of existence, but beings with at the same level of spiritual development as humans. Did I understand that correctly?

    On another topic, you have scoffed at the idea of artificial intelligence ever being achieved. Normally, you cite the technological limitations constraining its development. Would another constraint be that intelligence requires will and machines have no will of their own?

    Finally, it was thanks to you that I resumed posting on Dreamwidth. I’ve enjoyed your posts so far and miss you in your absense from the journaling platform. Do you plan on posting there again?

  21. Hi JMG, a couple of weeks ago in the comments to the book club post, you suggested to one commenter that a little experimentation in magic was a dangerous thing, a bit like experimenting with surgery.

    I have been experimenting too, using your published guides, with basic ritual, meditation and divination.

    And what point does “playing doctors and nurses” turn into potentially dangerous experimental surgery?

  22. I have just reread your early paper on catabolic collapse. We seem to be sliding into that state of affairs with remarkable rapidity, and yet the bulk of people cling to the illusion that everything is fine. This has led me to wonder if there are personal survival tools for those of us wandering in a world where one can see the outline of the coming crisis, but are unable to talk about it with most of our friends.

    It is agonizing to be placed in the tinfoil hat category by merely pointing out the number of anomolies in the environment, the economy and the politics that point to rapidly increasing dysfunction. In fact, to talk about these inconsistancies and visible threats is to suffer the one drop fallacy. If you talk about them at all you are part of a naysayer cabal who is incapable of the techno optimism needed to keep America strong. I find myself treading carefully in most conversations because I will be derided and marginalized. Wishing there was an underground Archdruid network that could be tapped into for a regular dose of honest conversation.

    The current descent into all sexual abuse all the time in our news and social media is another example. To suggest that there may be other, more pressing environmental and economic concerns immediately creates a situation where you can be marginalized as a supporter of sexual abuse. How can conversations about complex challenges advance in this sea of politically correct denial?

  23. Hello JMG,

    I am nearing the end of the first month of trying out the Three Rays rite in daily practice, in concert with meditation and a daily divination. At the end of my sessions I usually speak a short closing that I’ve been calling “nine gratitudes”, mainly because it is comprised of nine statements. They were inspired by a part of the banishing of the elemental gates in The Druid Magic Handbook.

    I was thinking about what it might be like if I were to speak them in Welsh. I’m not a Welsh speaker, and though I’d like to learn, it will realistically be a while before I can take that on. Certainly even then it’d be a while before I was fluent enough to translate into the -right- words to convey the sense properly. Might you or someone else here be interested in offering a translation?

    It works wonderfully well in plain English, so if that’s a bit much to ask, that’s fine. I’m just curious.

    I thank the Sun for its gifts.
    I thank the Moon for its gifts.
    I thank the Earth for its gifts.
    I thank the Air, the winds and the breezes, for its gifts.
    I thank the Water for its gifts.
    I thank the Fire for its gifts.
    I thank the Red Life for its gifts.
    I thank the Green Life for its gifts.
    I thank all the Gods and Spirits of this place, the Mighty Ones, and the Ancestors for their gifts.

    Each line gets a full breath.
    The singular/plural mixup in the Air line feels correct. Not entirely sure why that is, but it feels right.
    The Red Life is for all the “blooded” lives from whose lives I benefit.
    The Green Life is for all the photosynthesizers from whose lives I benefit.

    Another thing I am trying to make a habit of saying more often, especially at mealtime, is “Thank you for your life. I will not waste it.”


  24. I tend to mistrust exorbitant claims about our high-tech future (e.g. flying car calims), but am hearing more and more about the supposedly inevitable spread and domination of
    1) self-driving cars
    2) automation
    3) artificial intelligence

    I am wondering if JMG (and maybe others) might comment upon how much substance sits under all the hype around these topics. I wonder, what happens when a self-driving car malfunctions and crashes? And how can everything be automated long-term when fossil fuel supplies are finite? And how does AI run when fuel sources are scarce?



  25. Hi John Michael,

    I’ve been rather curious of late about the media silence over minor matters such as what is going on in Puerto Rico other than they appear to be having troubles paying their ongoing bills, and other areas of recent natural disasters in the US and what your take on that is?

    I have a personal interest in such matters because of where I live, but on the other hand I take personal resilience and preparation for the inevitable to levels that annoy some minor sections of the community. It is interesting the push-back I get from them, because generally those folks are doing nothing and I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a bit of herd mentality going on there. Dunno, but my take is that such thinking doesn’t alter outcomes in their favour, but at the same time am also curious about your take on that matter?

    So many questions! Thanks for providing the forum. :-)!

    It looks like this summer will be a weak La Nina which is usually a wet year, but this year the forecast is for rain and heatwaves. This week has been more or less hovering around 95’F most days – the official thermometer in Melbourne was moved several years ago (so I’m a bit dubious of official forecasts now as they are close to but not reflective of the lived reality) and placed next to a river and in a parkland, which was a truly astute move on the part of the government!

    The strawberries I moved last weekend have all now died in the heat – despite watering… What do they say about the best laid plans…



  26. Hello JMG.
    For a few years of my life I was a follower of the philosophy of transhumanism, but I gradually fell out of it when I began to realise that it had significant flaws.
    -bionic implants could not be sustainable in the long term because they require the cheap energy that shall go away soon to make them.
    -the moment any screw up happens when someone tries to GM themselves/an embryo / a person will pretty much scare the public out of it.
    -alot of the goals of transhumanism are already within reach of human beings through training, such as increased memory through art of memory.

    Of course I haven’t completely given up on it, I am interested in the possibility of giving people the powere to directly see infrared and ultraviolet light, are there any other problems with transhumanism that you and other people here can think of?

  27. @Peter W.

    A couple of comments from my (that is, the Michael Teachings) perspective. First, Michael has been very consistent over the years in saying the Crucifixion and Resurrection did not happen as written. As far as I can tell, the entire death story from the entry into Jerusalem to the resurrection is a highly inspired piece of fiction that summarizes the teaching in allegorical form. There are varieties of Christianity known from the first century that say as much – these were eventually suppressed as heretical.

    Re: abortion. Historically, the rate of miscarriage and infant death (before age 7) was much higher than it is today. From an Astral perspective these are simply regarded as hazards of the Physical plane, and there are procedures in place to deal with them. Abortion is no different.

    As far as when the Incarnational Self links with the fetus/child, it’s a phased process. Part of the link occurs at conception, most of it occurs at birth.

    @Karim Jaufeerally
    Re: Crop Circles

    Some of them are legitimate, some of them are fakes. If you have the chance to investigate one immediately after it occurs, the difference (as I understand it) is that in the real ones the stalks are bent in a manner that’s physically impossible to do – at least at scale. In the fakes, the stalks are broken.

  28. Hi there,

    I’ve started my first batch of mead must to ferment, and while reading a bit about yeasts, came across some information stating that yeasts are single-celled organisms that descended from multicellular ancestors, and can rapidly evolve into multicellular bodies, and back to unicellular beings again.

    That’s amazing! Considering the ongoing conversations about simplicity/complexity in regard to cultures and empires, it really gives a lot of food for thought. I just remember the old line of thought I was taught in school stating that complex beings evolve from simpler ones, not the other way around. This stands that right on its head.

    And of course that leads to the question: might shoggoths be related to yeasts?
    Because that’s what I can’t help but think of when I look into the fermentation vessel now 🙂


  29. I came across two wonderful old photos of my great great grandparents in uniforms posing at a conclave of the Order of Oddfellows and Order of Rebekah in Akron, OH about a century ago.

    Mr Greer, you seem very well-studied in these matters. Can you tell my anything about these organizations beyond what’s in Wikipedia? Were the Oddfellows a freemason splinter group or a rival group?

  30. Hi JMG,

    When I sit for longer periods in meditation, I sometimes struggle to retain all of the details that are uncovered at the end of the period. Would you recommend taking a pause in the sitting to write notes before resuming or is it best to continue uninterrupted?

    Working through the Druid Magic Handbook, I’ve found that beings encountered on the inner planes can point my studies and practices in new directions. Could I pursue this ‘inner curriculum’ as I follow the teachings of the book, or is it more advisable to stick to the written course until I’ve made my way through all of the exercises?

    Can you recommend a Gnostic text that explores a vision of reality with the ‘oneness of the cosmos’ as a central theme, as you describe in the Gnostic Celtic Church manual?

    Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions each month, it’s very much appreciated!

  31. Hello JMG and the commentariat:
    First, a big thank you to JMG for his continuing to host these forums and for his 11 years of thoughtful posts.
    Second, I came across this news item regarding the intentions of China to put together a huge database of all its citizens and eventually give each one a “ranking” via an undisclosed algorithm.

    Here’s a quote from the news item:

    “In most countries, the existence of a credit system isn’t controversial. Past financial information is used to predict whether individuals will pay their mortgages or credit card bill in the future.

    But China is taking the whole concept a few steps further. The Chinese government is building an omnipotent “social credit” system that is meant to rate each citizen’s trustworthiness.

    By 2020, everyone in China will be enrolled in a vast national database that compiles fiscal and government information, including minor traffic violations, and distils it into a single number ranking each citizen“.

    Sounds like “Big Brother/1984” territory to me, and what I found fascinating is that there is apparently widespread acceptance of the idea among some segments of the Chinese population. I’m wondering to what extent this acceptance is due in part to aspects of Chinese culture? Would such a project be as enthusiastically received in Western nations? Personally, the idea of such a ranking system horrifies me.
    I’m anticipating some backlash for even bringing this up and expect I’ll be called “racist” by some commentators…

  32. I’ve been thinking about what strategies bring about a softer landing to civilizational decline. People tend to think of the process as short and brutal but JMG has made the point that it takes centuries, and there are brutal and more stable periods embedded. It seems that there must be a way to favor the latter over the former.

    Connected to that is @David, by the lake’s comment about politics. For the most part, the old parties are losing their grip. In Europe newer parties are being formed and becoming more important. In the US where new parties are for the most part stifled (been there and done that for many years), the old parties seem to be open for the taking if you are well organized. None of them really acknowledge the straights we are in, but I’m not sure that is fully required at this point.

    I think many people realize it in some way, though maybe they have a hard time explicitly acknowledging it. It’s a question of nudging people in that direction and to get them to open their eyes to what they already feel in their bones. If we can start moving the culture, then it will be more prepared to respond as the process picks up steam. A lot of this is outside of politics – building alternative institutions, and there is a lot of that going on under the radar. But some of it has to be in politics.

  33. Crop circles are a hoax. They were made by two college kids with three bar stools and a length of rope.

  34. Karim Jaufeerally, my wife and I are right now watching some very informative documentaries about the crop formation phenomenon. This is stunning: it has apparently been going on for centuries, involves sacred geometry and undiscovered ways of squaring circles, involves physically altered soils and plants and electromagnetic fields. Knowing what I now know, provided it is true and accurate information, I am convinced that it is not being done by humans (of course, some are obviously fabricated by humans). What do you make of all the information? Check youtube for crop circle documentaries and watch the ones published by UFOTV. Nearly unbelievble and truly amazing…
    And, John, PLEASE comment. I have been very curious to know what you think.

  35. Hello JMG,

    As an author who writes on two subjects, spirituality and politics, which generally carry a lot of emotional charge for people, are you are wary of what your readers might project onto you? If so, do you do anything to try to combat the effect?


  36. Cryptocurrency is all the rage at the moment , the latest abstraction heaped onto the smouldering moldering compost pile of Imperial late capitalism.
    This guy seems to think the same people are pushing it as the singularity.
    An indelibly irreversible series of digital neo feudal hi tech fiefdoms , overseen by AI and with the capacity to trap desperate, hapless people into a barter system for life.
    Fanciful for sure , but could make things uncomfortable for folks in the saloon bar of the Titanic during the hours before she sinks ! .

    Very interesting is his thesis that the crypto-currencies may have been created and instigated by the AI for their own or their controllers use.
    AI that may have already escaped into the digital sewage system unreported,

    The blockchain seems like a plausible form of neo-fascism ??
    Trapping the hapless atomised individual in its chain like web .

  37. It’s interesting that your prediction for the fall of the house of Saud in Saudi Arabia has just arrived. (One year late from your prediction time, but real none the less) I’d be interested in what led you to this prediction two years ago, and your reaction to present events in the desert kingdom?

  38. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Thanks very much for this opportunity.

    I am reading “The Druid Magic Handbook”, great job by the way… I just got to the divination part where you suggest the use of Ogham, through sticks or cards.

    I am blind, so I had originally planned to learn and practice Geomancy, with its simple binary methodology, using a coin or just my computer to generate zeros and ones. Now I am not sure how to proceed. Also learned about that from your book on the topic.

    If Ogham is indeed better because of the magical context, may I create cards with each name in Braille, and use those? I suspect that the symbols are complex, but I imagine I could carve a crude version of their shapes using something sharp on each card. May I do this and use the cards with names plus symbol effectively despite my lack of handcraft skills? Lastly, should they have both name and symbol, or just one or the other?

    Any guidance is most welcome.

    Thank you,


  39. Although I can’t find the comment, I think I recall you mentioning that you had read some late-19th/early-20th century self-improvement books.

    If so, have you read Arnold Bennett’s works, and do you have any opinion on them? Is there any book in that genre that stands out to you?

  40. @Warren – With respect to predictions, I don’t take them seriously if they are too specific, i.e. that a certain major thing will happen in a certain year. There is just too many confounding factors to know that. A realistic discussion of collapse, or really or decline, is of trendlines, not events. A good example would be longevity trends. If we are at the early stages of decline, then human longevity cannot continue to increase, and in fact, the opioid addiction crisis may not even get fixed. And the fact that the government (both parties, too) could be conned (that’s the charitable view) into exempting the profiteers of this crisis from any accountability is another indication of the kind of corruption that drives decline. Even so, there can be short-term variations.

  41. @ J.L.Mc12…

    Do you own a set of IR goggles?

    I do, and can tell you that during daylight they are unwearable, even turning the amplification down. UV goggles I haven’t been able to find, but that might be interesting during daylight.

    At night, IR goggles work pretty well, but honestly there is no comparison to color vision. As for adding IR to your existing color vision, I think the phrase “sensory overload” is likely to come into play, should they work out the daylight amplification issues. The closest analogy might be listening to two different songs at the same time – hard to parse, dissonant, difficult to appreciate and generated headache in about 5 minutes.

    That being said, the ability to use the IR goggles at night does open up an entire new world compared to human sight. A starlight scope (ambient light amplification) is preferred by me as it is simply better definition and more detailed, but the military doesn’t make those in goggles.

    @ Jacques…

    I just commented on an auto forum today. I have had 4 vehicles totaled while parked in front of my home in the last 5 years. In every case, the person involved in hitting my parked car was texting. I know this, because when I went outside immediately after each crash occurred, the drivers were searching for their smartfones in their wrecked cars. Two of them were bleeding from cuts and still looking to find their fones.

    I think that combining driverless cars running in packs down the highway with smartfone apps accessible while driving is going to be intensely problematic. Further, both rely on ubiquitous internet access, so anything that shuts down the internet will curtail both texting/driving and driverless.

    I am not worried about AI overmuch. The size of the computers needed to run a robust AI is tremendous, just as with the size of the equipment needed to run the internet. The pricing is also quite steep for serious AI. Today, mostly we have expert systems and some very creative programming.

    Robots – until the power source is compact and robust enough to put a humanoid robot into a battlefield for 24 hours of continuous duty, there is no need to worry about robots overmuch. Today, it takes an IC engine with a generator to run a decent sized robot due to power requirements. That’s one reason the military scaled back their pursuit of humanoid robots – they are too noisy or their battery packs only go for a few hours. The Amazon warehouse robots are basically carts with forklift power – not inexpensive at all.

    They may take repetitive jobs – but their expense and maintenance costs are steep. If the cost of living were to actually decrease with wages, the robot arbitrage would be far less attractive.

  42. Warren,

    As a long time reader of both Kunstler and JMG I think I can explain the divergence between what Kunstler has predicted on a chronological basis and what seems to have unfolded in the world we live in. If one analyzes the data ,all the things that Kunstler has predicted are inevitable, the only critique we can make is one of timing. The flaw in JHK’s thinking is the world will follow the rules and patterns the have been in place for several centuries. So in other words, when the corporations stop making enough money to support their stock price it will collapse, or when shale oil costs more to get out of the ground than it is worth it will stop and there will be a shortage. But this is the same kind of thinking that would lead one to predict that the Donner party would not make it through the winter when they were trapped trying to cross the Sierras. The common understanding of those in polite society ( as JHK is in economic thinking) was that when the food ran out everyone in the party would die together. But in reality, some were willing to resort to cannibalism so they could survive. That is much the case with our current economy. Mr Kunstler’s gentile upbringing from an earlier time ( like mine) prevented him from seeing that now we are willing to sacrifice our own children, the topsoil, the climate and the entire future of the economy to keep the party going a few more years. In a sane world all the things he predicted would probably have occurred on schedule, but we have decided to burn the all the furniture in the cabin to keep things going long enough for Santa to show up on Christmas/

  43. @Jacques
    Re: self-driving cars

    I think self-driving cars are pretty much a done deal. In the last couple of years there’s been a major shift about how the auto industry is approaching it. The old way was to be able to drive anywhere, and the technology would be gradually improved so that would be possible. In the new conception, they’re aiming more for completely self-driving vans in very limited locations where everything is mapped in detail so there’s no uncertainty about the environment.

    If you’re talking about manufacturing automation, that’s a very different question. It’s mostly being driven by capitalists who want to replace expensive human labor with cheap machine labor, and they don’t care about the social fallout. I think that’s going to be limited by artisanal manufacturing, that is, small scale manufacturing that’s a lot nimbler and capable of building what people actually want.

    If by artificial intelligence you mean the “Singularity,” I think most of that is wishful thinking, frankly. Current approaches are fragile and don’t scale. There’s also a pushback on getting results you can’t explain in court in language that a jury can understand – which is most of them.

  44. Scotlyn- Thanks for your rather lengthy post near the end of last week’s comment section. That did help clarify my thinking (on service and generosity).

  45. Geoff, thanks for both of these! Two mileposts on the way to the Retro Future…

    Thesseli, thank you!

    Michael, because we have physical bodies as well as etheric ones. The physical body gives the etheric form an anchor in manifest existence, so that it can’t be dispersed by being discharged by iron or other conductive metals (silver, for example). It’s only beings that have no physical body that can be broken up in that way.

    Will, I’d have to go back and do a bunch of reading; I’ll see if time permits.

    Mateo, my rule is never use both kinds of charts on a single reading. Before you begin, decide whether you’re going to cast a shield chart and use the triplicities, or a house chart, and stick with that. Otherwise the readings tend to be unclear.

    Torgeir, we’re already seeing massive belt-tightening here in the US — many rural areas can no longer afford to pave their roads, and the standard of living for everyone below the privileged middle classes is dropping like a rock. When will that sort of thing begin in Norway? Probably about the time your petroleum production peaks and begins to decline.

    Peter, trees channel etheric energy powerfully. When a tree dies and its wood gets used for something else, the soul of the tree isn’t in the wood any more, but if you use the wood for something, your etheric energy, and any other etheric energy you come into contact with, will flow through the wood. That’s why magical wands and wizards’ staffs are made of wood.

    With regard to the Resurrection, well, I wasn’t there and so can’t offer anything but informed speculation, but the usual teaching in esoteric Christianity is that the body in which Christ appeared after the Resurrection was in fact a Body of Light, identical to the body that believers in Christ are supposed to get in the next world. The claim, for what it’s worth, is that it’s made of physical matter — thus the disciples could touch it — but not the same as the bodies you and I have right now.

    As for abortion, there are different theories. The most common view is that the incoming soul doesn’t make a connection with the fetus until quickening — the point at which the mother first feels the baby move — and the full linkage doesn’t happen until the infant draws its first breath and establishes an independent etheric bod; that’s why horoscopes are cast for the time of birth, not that of conception or quickening. Since roughly half of all fertilized ova never get past the early stages of development, it would be awkward if souls kept on having to try again and again to get a body!

    Clay, it’s standard for democracies in trouble; look at the way that censorship blossomed in the US during and after the First World War, for example. It’s also standard for the latest communications technology to be a complete free-for-all in its early decades, and then get brought under the control of the status quo — the histories of newspapers and radio are good examples here.

    David, delighted to hear it! If you want to encourage people to learn something about the workings of local government, why not see if you can find the time to hold a series of meetings at the local public library or what have you, where you walk them through an hour or so of the budget process or the like, and then field questions? My guess is that there are people in your community who would love to know more about how things work, but are used to being stonewalled if they try to find out; sit down with them and bring them an insider’s viewpoint, and then show them that you take their concerns seriously, and (a) you’ll have a more informed electorate and (b) your chances of being reelected will go up accordingly. You may also find yourself forming the nucleus of a new political party — because that’s what it’s going to take, of course, since the existing parties are hopelessly corrupt and detached from the everyday life of the people they supposedly represent.

    Mister N., delighted to hear it. Dion Fortune in one of her essays comments that knowing about reincarnation really does make a lot more sense out of life, and that’s always been my experience!

    Karim, I had the very good fortune to meet some of the people who did crop circles back in the heyday of the phenomenon. It was quite the lively scene, part performance art, part fertility ritual, part let’s see how thoroughly we can fool the tourists and get a cash windfall for struggling farmers. Jim Schnabel’s book Round in Circles is a good introduction to that scene.

    Oriol, as far as I know the whole debate over Spengler was conducted in German, which was the standard language of historical scholarship in those days. As for my essays on fascism, please do translate them into Spanish or any other language you wish! So long as they’re translated in their entirety and include a link back to the original, you have my permission.

    Gavin, no, I hadn’t heard of it, or if I did the information got mislaid during the various minor crises surrounding my relocation. I’ll have a look at it as circumstances permit.

    WaterWorks, that’s a subject for a book, not a brief comment on a blog! Among other things, I’d have to address the many cultures that don’t do the sort of strict binary you have in mind — I’m thinking here particularly of the third gender, the berdache, among many Native American societies.

    Claire, delighted to hear it.

    Jim, I’ll certainly consider it. At this point, though, I’d give it a different name. We’ve got the Alt-Right, and the Crtl-Left — watch the penchant of social justice activists for trying to force everyone in the world to obey their particular agenda and the justice of that partlcular label is pretty evident. So what I’d like is the Esc-Center: let’s pop ourselves out of the entire dysfunctional mess that is today’s political rhetoric, and get back to a sane politics based on constitutional liberties and the rule of law equally applied to all.

    Clay, oh dear gods. I bet it’s also hideously ugly.

    Yorkshire, a mild Burkean conservative wants to preserve what’s proven to work if nobody else minds; an extreme Burkean conservative wants to preserve what’s proven to work no matter what. Me, I simply want to see evidence that any proposed reform will actually make things better, rather than making them worse as so many reforms tend to do!

    Candace, the whole painting is embarrassingly two-dimensional, which Leonardo’s real paintings never were, and the face has a sentimentality about it that’s also not something you’d see in an actual Leonardo. I don’t know enough about the fine details of the symbolism to be sure about the cross, but I’ll talk to Sara about that.

    dCFO, heck of a good question. My experience is that people who don’t understand that don’t want to understand it.

    Warren, Jim’s a friend of mine and a very pleasant person, but he’s stuck in the standard fast crash fantasy when it comes to the future, and so his predictions are always wrong. I’ve been talking about that for most of a decade in my blogs.

    Vincelamb, I’ll tackle the question about nature spirits next week. The reason I doubt we’ll see artificial intelligence in my lifetime, or for many lifetimes to come if ever, is that the current AI industry has a completely bass-ackwards notion of what intelligence is — Roger Penrose’s book The Emperor’s New Mind explains that in detail — and so isn’t going to accomplish what it thinks it will. As for Dreamwidth, I hope to get back to that as soon as the current flurry of projects goes away…

    Darren, the crucial thing is to pursue a systematic course of study founded on the basics, and including daily practice. If you do that, and stick with it, you won’t land yourself in any trouble you can’t fix. It’s people who neglect the essentials of training who get into trouble — they’re like would-be athletes who go straight into competition without putting in the time needed for conditioning and training, and end up rupturing something.

  46. With the old blog gone and the new year almost upon us, I was thinking about your predictions for 2017. Saw someone taking Kunstler to task for his forecasting but I always found yours more nuanced to pace of human history. The nights of long knives in Saudi Arabia has been occupying a lot of my mental space and I’ve been reading all I can find. Thinking back, I thought you had ventured a 2017 prediction about a crisis there. Would like to know your thoughts on events now and what you think might come next.

  47. @ JMG & Torgeir…

    Norway peaked already in their North Sea, and is having great internal difficulty trying to open their Arctic resources for further exploration. I have friends in Stavanger, and it hasn’t been much of a rosy picture in the oil patch there. One of my friends took a job with Petronas in Malaysia when things slowed down there a few years back, and moved to Kuala Lumpur. The other left the oil business and started a bakery with his wife in Stavanger, but things are still tough there with the oil patch slowed down.

    My guess for Norway is that with their more socialist bent in government, much of it tied to oil, when you see government programs being shut down and benefits curtailed, the crisis is approaching in earnest.

    I think the most difficult thing for people to grasp is that the collapse is in stages, like a drunk stumbling down the stairs. Everything doesn’t end at once, and even if there is a crash, people will try to reassert the old ways because it is all they know. The result of that is just more chaos and misallocation of resources. As JMG said, JHK has always assumed that everything would swirl around the drain in a few years, and then the starving hordes would sweep across the country.

    Everything will be done to preserve the current way of life and doing business by everyone involved – because there is no acknowledgement of any problem allowed by those in government. Thus it will not be announced or broadcast as a collapse – it will just slowly grind to a lower energy level over the next generation or two. No government on the planet wants to contemplate change of the magnitude required to deal with the energy or the debt problems, because we are already past the point where intervention is possible to mitigate the reset. Hence every government on the planet is doing what they have always done – ignoring the problem and hoping it will just go away.

    It’s like watching the spring thaw – it goes slowly, and then all at once in particular places.

  48. @regarding Michael’s comment about being with etheric bodies…. I can only imagine a world of copper, electricity, reinforced steel rebar etc. must do a lot to scatter their being. I wonder if this scattering also helps prevent people in an industrial society from having any meaningful spiritual life. Soon as the ethereal parts of our being step beyond ourselves, wham kryptonite. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on spiritual being but given what you guys just talked about there seems like a reasonable extrapolation.

  49. in reference to candace’s mention of davinci’s ‘salvator mundi’ selling for a grotesque price. it appears to me that the image of jesus is a tad gender bending. possibly davinci was making an observation about the nature of divinity.

  50. JMG:

    Did you know that your book The Art & Practice of Geomancy provided the necessary medium for a tiny guild of avid geomancers to arise in steadily collapsing rural Michigan?

    Lol. It might not be the first time. Thank you so much geomantic sensei!

    Here’s a chart. I hope it’s good food for thought for you and the readers–particularly the geomancers– and I apologize beforehand if my post is too blocky. Knowing how to cleanly textualize a geomantic chart is not a skill I learned in public school.

    Question: Would John Michael Greer find it useful to pick a book other than The Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune to next present to we book-clubbing Ecosophians? I asked this question because impedition happened in two previous charts I did concerning you presenting TCD to us. This surprised me since TCD seems fitting.

    (It’s a third-party chart so you JMG are the quesitor in 11 for I view you as a veritable font of prudence and the quesited book is consequently in 3. Also I ignored the Dragon’s Tail in 1 because 1 is not the quesitor and used houses 7-10 to make this chart’s Witnesses, Judge, and Reconciler. Am I too much of a maverick? Lol.)

    1: Cauda Draconis; 2: Populus; 3: Conjunctio; 4 Carcer; 5 Carcer; 6: Amissio; 7: Amissio; 8: Tristitia; 9: Cauda Draconis; 10: Via; 11: Fortuna Major; 12:Populus

    RW: Puella; LW: Tristitia; Judge: Amissio; Reconciler: Carcer

    The chart features a translation and a conjunction by comapny indicating favor.

    The Judge indicates that if you choose this course of action JMG you might be setting the table yet again for us!

    In closing I hope it will amuse you to learn that we members of this aforementioned tiny guild of geomancers use the turkey as a local symbol for Amissio.

    Gobble gobble America and good luck!

    Saturn’s Pet

    PS: Do you know the band Sabaton? Check YouTube for The Carolean’s Prayer.

  51. Danogenes, remember that people are perfectly well aware of what’s happening; they just don’t want to think about it, and so they’re frantically trying to find other things to think about. Of course they’re going to snarl at you when you insist on bringing up the thing they don’t want to admit and can’t ignore. Not much you can do about it, except for having conversations online like this one.

    Bonnie, that’s a very solid invocation. I have a shaky reading knowledge of Welsh, not enough mastery of the language to translate things into it, so I’ll need to let someone else offer you a translation.

    Jacques, true believers in the religion of progress are promoting these claims at the top of their lungs to keep from having to admit just how fast the decline is becoming. It’s quite possible that self-driving cars of a sort will come into use, but the death toll is likely to be even higher than the toll from bad human driving. As for the others, people have been insisting that automation will put everyone out of work any day now since before I was born, and artificial intelligence has been a will-o’-the-wisp hanging in the notional future since before that. Expect them shortly after cheap nuclear fusion comes on line and you begin commuting to work via jetpack.

    Chris, nobody is talking about the areas of the US that were devastated by natural disasters because they’d have to admit that very little is being done about them. There are neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy back in 2012 that have never been rebuilt, and a lot of people who were promised disaster aid then still haven’t seen a cent. It’s just part of our unmentionable decline.

    J.L.Mc12, the most important problem with transhumanism is that human beings simply aren’t that smart, and tend to make a complete muck of things when they try punching above their intellectual weight. In another decade or two, I expect that people who’ve been permanently crippled by poorly designed and malfunctioning bionic implants will be fairly common, while artificial intelligence will still be a pipe dream and the date for the Singularity will have been moved further back, like the date of the Second Coming (which is what it is, of course, in technological drag). Let’s figure out how to make the most of the biological equipment we’ve got before we try to muck with it!

    Bonnie, good question. Lovecraft’s story claims that shoggoths were manufactured life forms created as biological slaves by the Elder Things — the eventual extermination of the Elder Things at the pseudopods of their erstwhile slaves thus counts as a fine example of technological blowback. Whether the Elder Things used yeast as raw material for shoggoth manufacture isn’t mentioned. Me, I think shoggoths and yeasts may not be related but certainly get along; Neil Gaiman has written a short story titled “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar” in which that’s the brand name of a beer!

    Joel, well, as it happens, I can tell you quite a bit about the Odd Fellows; I was initiated into the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1993 and remained active for more than a decade, serving as Grand Patriarch of the Grand Encampment of Washington, IOOF, in 2001-2002. It’s not a Masonic offshoot, but “rival” isn’t the right word either; it’s an independent fraternal order, one of 3,500 different orders active in the US a century ago, and one of the few that are still around. You can find their website here, and some other useful info about them here.

  52. I think Howard Kunstler’s prediction about the collapse of the US dollar and the wheels coming off the stock/bond market aren’t all that far off the mark. JMG’s book Twilight’s Last Gleaming had a smilier scenario play out.

    Either way you look at it, quick collapse, long descent, etc. our economy has to be restructured. The question is how long will the pretense of normalcy/the unsustainable continue? I don’t know anyone here has played the board game Haunted House on the Hill but I look at the things Howard Kunstler predicts each year as being the haunt roll. It’s not baked into the cake they just become more likely with each passing turn. The sum of the dice can roll only goes so high so by (x-1), where x is the turn, the haunt is probably going to start. And even when the haunt begins it’s not the end of the game. You just have to deal with whatever the situation or haunt is – And the haunt(s) that could befall the United States range from another great depression to political polarization reaching critical mass.

    I think the haunt begins in the United States whenever most people think business as usual has ended. I tend to agree with Howard Kunstler that this more likely than not means losing faith in our monetary system.

  53. Austin wrote:
    @regarding Michael’s comment about being with etheric bodies…. I can only imagine a world of copper, electricity, reinforced steel rebar etc. must do a lot to scatter their being. I wonder if this scattering also helps prevent people in an industrial society from having any meaningful spiritual life.

    This connects to a question I have. Why don’t more people in modern American society encounter or experience spiritual beings, gods, and general paranormal phenomenon?

    Is it that the noise and lights of modern civilization drown out awareness of these more subtle dimensions? Or that the modern materialistic worldview gets in the way of people opening to that which is beyond the physical? Or maybe people do experience such things but I don’t hear much about it? Or something else?



  54. JMG, I think this article about people in the former Soviet Union digging up time capsules from 50 years ago anow how they react to the time capsules may be interesting to you:

    @ Austin

    I am familiar with Betrayal on the House of the Hill and I agree that is a pretty good metaphor. Especially since the terms of the haunt are uncertain. Yes, it will be one of the haunts in the book, and most of the haunts involve a traitor but not all, and there’s a good chance that killing the traitor will lead to victory for the heroes but not necessarily, but a lot of the terms of the win/loss conditions will be uncertain until the haunt happens. I played Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate (very similar game, just different themes, characters, rooms, and haunts) recently, and another player observed that one of the challenges of the game is that the optimal strategies tend not to be obvious to players, so the winner is often determined by who was lucky enough to stumble on a strategy which worked rather than who was clever enough to figure out a good strategy in advance.

  55. JMG, you mention Roger Penrose’s “Emperor’s New Mind.” His subsequent “Shadows of the Mind” expands and improves upon the earlier book, according to his own assessment. Read it? I just finished my third Dion Fortune novel and am slogging through the “CosDoc.” Next up is more Kim Stanley Robinson; “New York 2140” and “Shaman.” I wonder what effect, if any, the impending demise of net neutrality if the USA will have on blogs like this one.

  56. First, may I ask if you have read Matthew Desmond’s Evicted? It is a stunningly well written account of the increasingly common experience of eviction. It follows the lives of tenants and landlords. It is nonfiction and reads like an excellent novel. I mention it largely to recommend it for people who are interested in reading more about the texture of ongoing decline that is occurring right now. I can’t recommend it enough for those who haven’t read it.

    Second, may I ask your thoughts on the future history of Latin America? People in Argentina referred to all of Latin America as La Patria Grande, or Great Nation and it appeared to me as a travelling gringa, who was usually believed to be either Brazilian or French upon first introductions, that there was more commonality between a Colombian and an Argentine than a Bostonian and a Texan. I wondered how much of that is due to being united by the common enemy of the United States. There is also a cohesiveness of culture that I witnessed in Latin America that was considerably greater than in the United States, and it feels relevant to note that I felt safer hitchhiking through the Pampas than walking around cities in the Midwest United States.

    I’ve begun to wonder the chances of some sort of South American imperial arrangement with at least parts of the former United States, and am curious about your thoughts.

  57. Regarding Clay Dennis’ comment about the low carbon wooden structures being built in Portland– you said they were probably hideously ugly.

    …Um– yeah…

    New office in North Portland: https:

    They call it– “Gaudi-esque”. <— I had to really laugh at that!!

    Here's a link to the apartment Clay Dennis mentioned specifically:

    Clink the link after the page pops up to get a second page that proudly proclaims that using more wood in construction will cut down more trees– a SUSTAINABLE resource, mind you!– thus saving us from more carbon use… um… er… yeah. That makes sense, right? Glass walls, too, for the exhibitionists of the world. Who needs privacy these days?

  58. @Warren, since you asked people here what we think of Kunstler, I would like to ask you in return to compare his predictions to JMG’s predictions for the past few years:

    January 2014: “The number of Americans trying to survive without a job will continue to increase … Even so, the dollar, the Euro, the stock market, and the Super Bowl will still be functioning as 2015 begins …
    “Liquid fuels—that is to say, petroleum plus anything else that can be thrown into a gas tank—will keep on being produced at something close to 2013’s rates … Renewables will remain as dependent on government subsidies as they’ve been all along, nuclear power will remain dead in the water, fusion will remain a pipe dream, and more exotic items such as algal biodiesel will continue to soak up their quotas of investment dollars before going belly up in the usual way.”
    “Sudden world-ending catastrophes will also be in short supply in 2014, though talk about them will be anything but…”

    January 2015: “Will an American insurgency funded by one or more hostile foreign powers get under way in 2015? I don’t think so, though I’m prepared to be wrong. More likely, I think, is another year of rising tensions, political gridlock, scattered gunfire, and rhetoric heated to the point of incandescence, while the various players in the game get into position for actual conflict: the sort of thing the United States last saw in the second half of the 1850s, as sectional tensions built toward the bloody opening rounds of the Civil War.”

    January 2016:
    1)”the next tech bust will be under way by the end of 2016” — not yet, the damn thing cannot be killed
    2)”solar PV” will be hyped as the solution to energy shortcomings — shut down by Republican anti-subsidy interests
    3) Bernie Sanders will be forced out of the election by the DNC, exactly 20% of the country (“those who want things to keep going the way they’ve gone for the last two decades or so”) will vote for Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump will win.
    4)“The Russian intervention in Syria has turned out to be one of the few real game-changing events in recent years … the Daesh jihadi militia—the so-called ‘Islamic State’—is going to get hammered into irrelevance.”

    “I’m going to plop for a date and say that the Saudi regime will be gone by the end of 2016.” (JMG was just a little off in timing — fall 2017 was the date — and on what happened — not a full collapse but a Putin-style centralization through mass purge, with very un-Putin-like irrational, aggressive attempts at inducing war against Qatar [!] and Lebanon.)

    Mid-2016: Newer editions of software no longer make computers function better, but actually make them worse. (I can’t remember if there was a post about this, but it’s a trend mentioned in Retropia that has become much more noticeable for me this year. My iPhone has gotten two “software upgrades” this year that both slowed it down to half the speed of what it was before!)

    January 2017: “that next summer could see most of the Arctic Ocean free of ice.” — not quite! We lucked out this year.
    “I suspect that when we look back at the end of this year, the predictable unfolding of ongoing trends will have to be weighed against sudden discontinuities that nobody anywhere saw coming.”

    On that note, everyone, what would you all consider the dominant themes of American society in 2017? I would count several of them, all completely unpredictable from 2016 perspectives:

    A) The 20% of Americans who would vote Clinton, as identified by JMG (among a few other writers) in early 2016, are so convinced that all well-informed Americans must agree with them that they have come to believe firmly that any evidence to the contrary is a myth planted by Russia. This campaign started in September 2016 but I had no idea it would catch on so wildly. Now, any political conversation with strangers online is now derailed within minutes by a suspicion that someone could be a “Russian bot.” There have been congressional hearings on this, and Parliamentary hearings in the UK, both of which misidentified and targeted real citizens of their respective countries as Russian bots. Normal, ordinary Russians are now held under suspicion by “anti-racist” “liberals,” and the television network RT has been forced to register as a “foreign agent” under a law meant to target Nazis. Meanwhile, the US refuses to condemn Nazism at the United Nations.

    B) The same 20% Clinton voters have become obsessed with identifying inappropriate behavior in their own ranks, and since fall 2017 there has been a mass purge of men who mistreated women, both at the level of the national news, and, as far as I can tell from my American friends on Facebook, at the personal and business levels as well. While I am not particularly worried about America raising its public sexual standards to the level of, e.g. Japan, I have already seen men targeted merely for their political opinions or for 20-year-old off-color jokes that have not even been accused of hurting anyone, and I have to wonder where this trend will go.

    C) It has become increasingly difficult to identify actual themes in how Americans understand the direction of their country. Contrast this to the 1950s, when there was an obvious national unity, almost a unification of high and low culture, and a shared religious pluralism that even the most hardened atheist had to admit. Contrast again to 1970s anti-corruption campaigns, the Moral Majority, 1990s slacker culture, etc. What are the general trends in 2017? What kind of lives do people want to live, and how do they imagine building communities to support them? It is hard to say, except that everyone is worried about the future of the country.

  59. P.S. If I had to make a prediction for 2018, I would say that out of the wreckage of the trends (B) and (C) that I’ve identified will emerge a genuine leftist movement. I cannot say if it will see victory in the 2018 elections, but by the end of 2018 it will be a noticeable trend, where right now there is nothing in the public sphere but the delusional rants of the leftover Trump and Hillary camps.

    Why? Because, as Spengler wrote, the collapse of traditional social boundaries turns a society into an undifferentiated mass, and the central desire of that mass can only be for equal access to services. Now my comment is already too long, but if JMG writes his traditional year-end post next month, I will gladly elaborate on this!

  60. Hello Mr. Archdruid.

    This is concerning the accuracy of predictions. As a sports fan on and off over the years the reason to read game predictions is for the analysis not the predicition. It is the knowledge gained from this analysis that enhances the enjoyment of watching the game. One thing to remember is the sports writers watch more games and have more insight. So if you respect the writer the predictions hence analysis are useful. Sometimes understanding the bias is useful in understanding the predictions.

    Same thing with pundits like Kunstler. I respect his analysis, he does this for a living and has more insights than me therefore his predictions are useful even if wrong. If you don’t respect the pundit- say one of the techno utopians like David Brin, then the predictions and analysis must be discounted.

    Predicting the future is hard even if events only have two choices. I mean look how often the sports guys get it wrong. In my opinion Kunstler is trying to predict the momentum shifts like the big moments in history and these are easier to predict from a historical perspective than real time.

  61. Gavin, how long are you meditating at a sitting? I recommend between ten and twenty minutes, no more, and if you reliably get an abundance of ideas, it can be wise to practice twice a day for five minutes each session. You should continue the practices as given, taking detailed notes on what you get from the inner planes, with the intention of going on to explore those new options once you’ve finished the training in the book. As for the Gnostic material, the material I referenced was from the Naassenes, and survives only in fragmentary form, you can find some details here.

    Sandy, I’d be surprised if the same thing wasn’t tried in half a dozen European countries in the not too distant future, so I doubt it has anything to do with race or culture.

    Dean, I won’t dispute that at all.

    Al, I have Aspergers syndrome, so what people project on me really doesn’t concern me that greatly — to be honest, I notice it only from time to time with a raised eyebrow. From a philosophical perspective, there’s nothing I can do about it; some people are going to see me as their personal Shadow, some are going to see me as the Wise Old Man, and fortunately some are going to be able to get past such projections and see me as I am, a rather geeky intellectual who happens to have studied some unusual fields of knowledge, and can offer some helpful tips from the unfamiliar perspectives those provide.

    Sauve qui Peut, my take on cryptocurrencies is a little different. I see them as yet another speculative vehicle in the middle of a bubble that will end with a very, very messy bust.

    Workdove, I’m watching the soon-to-be-post-Saudi Arabian situation closely. Prince Muhammad bin Salman has kicked things into motion; it remains to be seen whether he can control the trajectory thus launched. (Me, I doubt it.) As for the basis of my prediction, why, it’s the same basis I always use: close historical parallels. Nothing is so explosive as an attempt to reform a corrupt and ossified monarchy, and few things go spinning out of control so easily.

    Blindlicious, Ogham should be very easy for a blind person to work with — the Ogham letters are tally marks, nothing more, so they’re the opposite of complex. Cards with Braille would be a perfectly good way of working with them; if possible, the Ogham letter should also be on the card, as you’ll be imagining the letters in magical work further on, and it helps to have the shapes by memory.

    Joshua, no, I haven’t read Bennet. I learned a lot from Frank Channing Haddock and from some of the old-fashioned physical culture writers such as Genevieve Stebbins.

    Jeff, the situation in soon-to-be-post-Saudi Arabia is very fluid right now, and exactly what triggers the inevitable transfer of power is anyone’s guess. I expect the end to be very sudden; it usually is.

    Oilman2, oh, granted — so long as the Norwegian government has the money to prop up the current state of affairs, it will be propped up.

    James, stalled at the moment, but I think I know how to get it fixed.

    Austin, the etheric body isn’t spiritual; it’s one very small step above matter, and there are many levels beyond it. You’re right, though, that our metal-heavy material civilization makes a lot of etheric phenomena that are part of ordinary life in other societies very problematic.

    Saturn’s Pet, I’m glad to hear it! You shouldn’t have ignored Cauda Draconis, though, because in the first house it reliably means that the decision has already been made, and it has. I’ve been reading through the Cos.Doc and taking notes, preparatory to beginning my series of posts on it. (Note the Judge, Amissio — a lot of work would be thrown away if I were to change my mind at this time.) So the Cosmic Doctrine it is…not least because, ahem, I also cast divinations of my own about that… 😉 I’m not familiar with the band Sabaton, no, so I’ll definitely check it out as time permits.

    Austin, you’ll spend the rest of your life waiting for the illusion of normalcy to come off, because it never will. What will happen instead is what’s been happening for decades now: the definition of “normal” will melt and flow, so that what would have been considered unthinkable a decade ago is normal, and what would have been considered apocalyptic thirty years ago will be business as usual.

    Pierre, I tend to think, rather, that it’s because any child who lets on that he or she has experienced something nonphysical can expect to be humiliated and punished, or at best told to stop talking nonsense and making things up. It doesn’t take much of that to make a child shut out the nonphysical.

    Sara, thanks for this!

    Phutatorius, no, I hadn’t — thanks for the heads up. As for net neutrality, I’ve been waiting for years for the big corporate interests to get rid of that.

    Violet, no, I haven’t — I’ll put it on the look-at list. As for Latin America, never having been there, I have only the vaguest idea of what to expect from it.

  62. Larissa, thanks — well, more or less. 😉 That condo building looks as though Gigantor the giant robot squatted, strained, and left something behind…

    A1, I disagree. If you’re going to offer predictions about the future of our society, they ought to be things that have at least a reasonable chance of happening. As Avery was good enough to point out in the posts just above yours, I’ve made quite a few predictions of late, which have turned out to be quite accurate; what’s more, this wasn’t at all hard to do — all it took was a willingness to learn the lessons of history and stick with those even when currently fashionable notions about the future contradict them. I’ll have another round of predictions for all and sundry come December 27th; we’ll see how those turn out.

  63. In re: smartphones: earlier this year, I discovered that some update or other had meant I had to specifically go to the settings in my iPhone and tell it to always alert me to incoming calls (independently from turning the ringer on or off). I then had a very Old Lady Yells At Cloud rant about how alerting me to incoming calls was the entire point of a *phone*, good Lord.

  64. JMG,
    could you please comment on the differences between living close to the physical earth in a house, versus living in a high-rise apartment building, 100+ feet above the ground? I’m specifically interested as to whether humans need some kind of subtle energy from the earth, and also whether high-rise apartment dwellers can safely perform telluric magic at home.
    By the way, I’m really enjoying these monthly open posts, so thank you!

  65. JMG, first, let me say that I’m thrilled that you’re doing a post on nature spirits next week! I can’t wait.

    Also, since I think you’re trying to explore what an ecologically conscious religion would look like and maybe encourage people who would like to go that direction, I’m guessing you have an idea which books you’d like to include in the book club. However, if you haven’t decided what comes after Cosmic Doctrine, here’s my vote for your Monsters book. It is very interesting, especially since we are, from birth, marinated in scientific materialism. It was different to see the ancient (and some modern) accounts of these beings taken seriously, instead of automatically assuming that our ancestors were either A. huge liars, or B. too dumb to know what they were seeing and experiencing. In many ways, they were smarter than we are, they just didn’t have all the technology we do. It was so nice to see them treated with respect. Plus I’m curious about these creatures and would love to see a more in depth discussion.

  66. @Sandy

    I’m not Chinese, nor am I an expert on China, but I can speak Mandarin, I’ve spoken with many Chinese people, and I’ve read a lot of books in Chinese, so I think I know a few things about Chinese culture…

    There is a cultural element in that Chinese people tend to be more open about personal financial information than in the USA (asking someone you barely know ‘what is your monthly income?’ is not considered to be rude). Also, many Chinese consider economic stability to be more important that romance in a marriage. Thus I’m not surprised that Chinese people would post their credit scores on dating websites. I do not consider this specific aspect to be Orwellian (just as I don’t think it’s Orwellian for the Norwegian government to publicly report summaries of all taxpayers’ tax returns, including incomes).

    I suspect that there are actually a lot of Chinese who do not like the idea of a government turning this into a tool of social control at all – but they are not going to state their views openly because they fear some form of retaliation (for example, they may fear that if they criticize the social credit system, that will be recorded and reduce their social credit when that goes live).

    I also believe that there are a lot of Chinese who sincerely look forward to this because they expect to be the ‘winners’ – they think they will always have good scores, and this will make their lives more convenient. And frankly, if something like this were to be proposed in the United States, I think there would be a substantial subset of Americans who would like it for the same reason. For example, many Americans are accepting tracking devices in their cars from insurance companies so they can get a discount on their car insurance.

  67. For Jacques:
    You asked about future energy sources for AI.
    A very slightly tongue in cheek answer:
    Watch the first Matrix movie where it is revealed that humans provide the energy. During the “final“ war between humans and their Artificial Intelligence creations, the humans nuked large areas of Earth, creating a “nuclear winter” to shut off the AI’s solar power energy source. The AIs then invented a way to “farm” humans and use THEM as power sources! That is the Matrix.
    Of course AI in the form of algorithms is already “farming“ us for our data.

  68. Hi JMG,

    On the subject of kids and the non-physical…

    Apparently a nephew of mine is rather sensitive to these things. His grandmother has told me stories about his frighteningly real imaginary friends, doors opening and closing in the house when no one physical was there to do it, and an imaginary person said to have entered, and so forth. Recently they were playing in the woods, and the kid suddenly became frightened of a tree, insisting that there was a “face” in it and he couldn’t play near it any longer. At least some of the family has some openness to these things, and grandma asked me what could be done– about the face specifically, she wants him to still be able to play near the tree. Any thoughts?

  69. Follow up from last week’s post, I just noted to a friend that those most obsessed w/”isms” of various sorts are themselves privileged. Also, JMG, will the collapse of the House of Saud exacerbate the pending oil price spike Oilman predicted due to the ravages of the current glut on oil companies? Here’s to record high gas prices and the changes to the economy that will entail. Maybe we can break $6/gal. here in the US.

  70. Avery , one could argue that the deep state of the MIC and various multinational aggregations has launched an insurgency to effect the ‘strategy of tension ‘ similar to that undertaken during the cold war in Europe during ‘ operation Gladio’

    Substitute lone gun totin nutters ( white working class) for communist red brigades like Baader Meinhof and ‘ voila’

  71. Pierre–

    For what it’s worth, my experience is that most people have had at least one spiritual experience or encounter with a nonhuman entity, and they will tell you about it provided two conditions are met: 1. You open the topic with your own story, and indicate that you’ll listen politely while they share theirs; 2. No third party is present who will be playing Reality Cop. (Reality Cops are people who have been appointed to the solemn duty of policing what is real and what isn’t real by bullying people who have had experiences that they don’t want to believe in. The duty of a Reality Cop is a very special one that transcends most ordinary constraints on speech and behavior, including simple politeness in most cases).

    Unfortunately, you can’t always tell in advance who the Reality Cops are. It’s like the secret police in East Germany– They’re roughly one in every five people, and the only way to make sure you know who they are is to expose yourself to them. Unlike in East Germany, they’re mostly unpaid volunteers and I really have no idea what they get out of it, other than the satisfaction of knowing that Richard Dawkins would pat them on the head, if he knew who they were.

    Seriously though, try talking to people privately about this sort of thing– If you open by sharing either your experience or something that you heard and credit, you will put most people at ease, and they will open up about what they’ve experienced. Either that or they will expose themselves as the Reality Cop in your particular circle, and you’ll know who to avoid the topic around!

  72. JMG, any thoughts on instituting term limits for political offices that do not currently limit the number of terms to which a politician can be reelected? For instance Congress, county officials, etc. I am increasingly hearing this discussed as something of a panacea by my friends on the Right. While I can appreciate that it might mitigate the sort of entrenched and complacent parasitism common to your garden variety politician, it also seems to rather arbitrarily remove from office people who are experienced and competent and could productively continue to serve, and to remove an incentive for good behavior (“Kick the scoundrels out” campaigns seem less useful if the scoundrels are already slated to leave office regardless; why not just do as you like if you needn’t worry about reelection?). Moreover, I am not convinced that our politicians are not perfectly capable of creating a revolving door of corruption capable of handling the increased RPMs as new officials cycle in and out, probably into lucrative and influential private sector jobs or other public offices, so I am not sure that the end result would be much of an improvement. I am unaware of any historical parallels that speak to this issue, but you seem far more likely to know of any that may exist. To my knowledge nothing stunning happened when the Presidency was limited to two terms, although I suppose it may have something of an anti-dictatorship effect, which seems less relevant to the county commissioner’s office or what have you. I am certainly willing to entertain the possibility that I am wrong, but I fail to see what it is about term limits that has induced so many of the people with whom I speak to pin all their anti-corruption agendas on that particular policy, and I would appreciate your insight.

  73. JMG: The Dragon’s Tail indicates a purpose already fixed if in house 1 even if house 1 is not the quesitor? Great! Mind the Tail will be a new aphorism of my little guild. I had done otherwise… until today. How funny (Geomancy Works! Moment #444) that relative to myself in that chart I did about TCD the Dragon’s Tail resided in my own personal house and the house of divination. Smaug’s tail slaps again!

    If you have time would you comment on Witnesses? I’ll make it a yes/no question for your convenience.

    Would you advise using houses 9-12 to make the Witnesses even in third party readings?

    Blindlicious: Your post jumped out at me. Dice for the blind exist:

    Do you have any trusted ones who could tell you your results while casting figures? I’ve experimented with doing that for various reasons and it doesn’t seem harmful to the usefulness of a chart.

    Austin: Your post jumped out at me too. Without writing a short story about it I can tell you that I once had an encounter of the etheric kind I believe in the countryside that abruptly ceased the moment I crossed from the countryside into a village with street lamps and traffic lights and sewer infrastructure. I have also wondered about the etheric effects of Wi-Fi radiation.

    No big deal if I already reached my comment limit and don’t see this posted…

    Saturn’s Pet

  74. Hey JMG
    In the scifi book series darkover by marion zimmer bradley it mentions the use of “crystal grids” which can channel and manipulate a users psychic power for specific purposes. Do technological devices (besides talismans) exist which can really do that?

  75. JMG, one question: do you still intend to keep your yearly predictions post, usually posted around winter’s solstice? Thanks.

  76. Seeing as you mentioned children shutting out non physical experiences.. What do you think is the best way to help a sensitive child develop a healthy relationship with their sensitivity while keeping them grounded and distinguishing the difference between imagination and real spirit interaction.

    I found the movie Totoro the most helpful tool in explaining the concept to her thusfar but we do seem to get a few 3am drop ins (I always have but basically just ignore it) is there a better way to ward her?

  77. Hello John Michael, I would like to know your definition of “civilisation”. Thank you and best regards.

  78. If societies and history occur in cycles, at what point in the cycle does the desire to break the cycle (utopianism, millenarianism, etc) reach its peak? How many ways can that attempt end? What’s the closest any society ever came to actually achieving it?

  79. Hi John, when you did you post on reincarnation recently, which I enjoyed very much by the way, you stated those “individualities” that are in the abred stage tend to have a gap/pause before being reincarnated. If I recall correctly I think you mentioned that some try to resist being reincarnated, but pay a price for that. What sort of consequence for resistance do you have in mind?

  80. JMG, I enjoyed the haggling a few weeks back over whether America is a real democracy.

    While one could simply argue that this is a false binary, since most systems have some democratic element to them, I was shocked that some argued that it is no democracy, while others argued that it is a poor one, both of which are unfortunately very much wide of the mark. It is obvious of course that American democracy works stupendously.

    Let us take your average voter. What he wants are instant supplies of energy, goods, and good times from a finite planet with a rapidly decreasing energy density per capita, and so he votes accordingly, by electing that candidate most willing to sell their mother into slavery for a few extra votes. Such an amoral swine is important and necessary for aiding the velocity of pork with which to grease the domestic machine for efficiently and successfully delivering to the voter the booty won through the mischief and brutality of the foreign machine. Such is the genius of the system.

    But surely Benny Franklin is not to blame for Garbage In Garbage Out?

    Let us assume, on the other hand, that the voter tires of instant gratification, his senses have been overloaded and that last good vein has collapsed, does he take a renewed interest in the old arts of prudence, perseverence and ye olde Yankee gumption? If the voter were to then direct his vote accordingly, I contend that this would just as equally manifest itself at the political level, resulting in much less of the mischief going on today. Such is the genius of the system.

    Moreover, while it is tempting to label that Churchill quote as somewhat of a throughtstopper (“democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”), I will concede it is very useful for slapping they that harbor totalitarian ideals. Nonetheless, I think this quote could better be described as typical redcoat cynicism. Old man Churchill and his merry band belting out God Save The King wouldn’t recognize glorious democracy if she skipped right up to them at the Royal Ascot, ripped off their fox-hunting trousers, leapt into their arms and smooched all over their stiff upper lips.

  81. Hello, J. M. Greer (and others)!

    Firstly, I want to state that your predictions about the Internet are, so far, spot on:

    Regarding self-driving cars and artificial intelligence, there are more and more reasons for me to think that self-driving cars will only be introduced in very limited circumstances in restricted areas, because the technical and infrastructural difficulties are just too high. The same will apply to artificial intelligence due to inherent limits of machines and dur to resource constraints. (Computing power isn’t cheap.)

    Then there is the interesting question, how the intersection between increasing resource scarcity and the drive to more automation will turn out in detail.

    SandyFontwit, I assume that a social ranking scheme like the one planned in China will be less popular in Europe than in China due to cultural factors. But I don’t know how far less popular.

  82. Based on your experiences, would you say that most if not all crop circles are human made carried out with a few implements in the darkness of a single night?
    From the literature I read, bent wheat talks show very curious marks not really explainable by the use of wooden planks and string.
    From pictures of them, the geometry appears quite precise, I am quite intrigued as to how this could be achieved especially if carried out at night.

  83. What do you think are the Alt-Right’s prospects in general, and in particular setting themselves up as the protectors of people of European descent?

    “It’s okay to be white” was brilliant.

  84. @ John Roth: Thanks!

    ” in the real ones the stalks are bent in a manner that’s physically impossible to do – at least at scale. In the fakes, the stalks are broken.”

    Then who or what is responsible for the crop circles with the bent stalks? And how was it done?

  85. @ Nicholas,

    Thanks! and I second your proposal:
    “And, John, PLEASE comment. I have been very curious to know what you think.”

  86. “fortunately some are going to be able to get past such projections and see me as I am, a rather geeky intellectual who happens to have studied some unusual fields of knowledge, and can offer some helpful tips from the unfamiliar perspectives those provide. ”

    Isn’t the above a fairly good definition of a wise (old) man?

  87. I recently finished reading your book ‘Monsters’ and thought it was quite fascinating.

    It made me think about some other stories I’d read beforehand, ones that I’d sort of written off in the ‘its just their mind playing tricks on them’ or ‘they’re just making up scary stories for fun’ or ‘surely there’s a material/physical explaination…’ sort of way.

    The first was this thread, or series of threads, at the survivalboards forum: “Creepy stories from the outdoors”

    The second was a series of posts on the ‘nosleep’ subreddit: “I’m a Search and Rescue Officer for the US Forest Service, I have some stories to tell” (8 parts are on there now)

    I’m aware ‘nosleep’ includes a lot of blatant fictional spooky stories, good ones mixed in with not-so-good ones, but am beginning to wonder if there are a few genuine experiences mixed in with all the ‘made up’ stuff… (If you had an experience like this and barely believed it yourself but wanted to talk about it, and knew those close to you might think less of you for telling it, where would you write about it?)

    In the comments on one of the ‘nosleep’ search-and-rescue posts was mentioned the series of books by David Paulides: ‘Missing 411’

    I was wondering if you, or any of the commenters, were familiar with Paulides work on missing persons in the wilderness? Are some of the stories known to be debunked/strongly exaggerated? Most or all of them maybe?

    At the very least, if I’ve taken all of this too seriously, there are some great campfire stories in those links.

  88. Hi JMG,

    What’s a good book you’d recommend for learning astrology (for a beginner)? Both learning to understand it and cast charts


  89. Hi John, One further question. My son (11) has been diagnosed as having Aspergers syndrome.. Any advice for his weary parents?

  90. Hi JMG,

    I’m currently writing a programmatic piece that diagnoses the reasons for the almost total elision of occult science from history of Islamic science (vanished in the 20th-century war between scientism and religionism, with post-Jungian psychologization as a failed third way) and calls for a new historiographical empiricism, and indeed experimentalism, as remedy. That is, I propose, à la Peirce, that the various occult-scientific operations laid out in such clear detail in early modern Arabo-Persian manuals be recreated in controlled, laboratory settings, using methods already established in parapsychology research over the last several decades, as the most efficient means of exploding the scientistic-religionist dogmatism endemic in my field. (Geomancy would make a particularly good candidate.) This is already being done in the case of (Latin) alchemy alone, though only because it is the only occult science susceptible of materialist interpretation.

    Here historians of science lag far behind practicing scientists and philosophers of science and of mind, a rather prominent minority of whom, astonishingly, have embraced forms of Whiteheadian panpsychism (cosmopsychism, neutral monism) as a more scientifically plausible cosmology, and rejected monist materialism and dualism both as pseudoscientific claptrap; and panpsychism, of course, is precisely the cosmology that historically underlies Western occult-scientific theory and practice. We thus appear to be approaching another major inflection point in Western intellectual history — one not dissimilar to the great occultist renaissance that kicked off Islamo-Christian early modernity, which we are pleased to call The Renaissance in the case of Latin Europe alone. And our civilizational decline and fall can only speed this process: the Mongol moment — immensely destructive, and immensely creative in its destructiveness — is upon us again.

    So two questions for you on this theme, if I may:

    1) In macrohistorical terms, whence this sudden panpsychist turn in the Euro-American academy? Given that Western intellectual history, like history generally, is both linear and cyclical, do you think it’s best explained as a natural pendulumic oscillation between the twin poles of Aristotelian materialism and Platonic idealism, given how thoroughly we’ve maxed out the former over the last two centuries? (I personally expect neoplatonic-neopythagorean occult science to once again be mainstream among scholarly elites by the mid-22nd century.)

    2) Psychophysical phenomena are infamously slippery, for good quantum-mechanical reasons, although some of them can certainly be successfully demonstrated in a modern laboratory setting. And my early modern Arabo-Persian sources are emphatic, à la Bacon, about the experiential, i.e., replicable and falsifiable, nature of the occult-scientific operations they prescribe. (I myself, and a number of my students each semester, have had excellent results with geomancy in particular.) But I’d also like to forestall accusations of ahistoricism and naivete to the extent possible. How do you recommend I talk about empiricism and experimentalism in the occult sciences?

  91. It would seem that shoggoths are or were Sumerians, who appear to have believed that mankind had been created by supernatural beings to serve those beings, with each city having its’ divine owner–Innana for Eridu and so on.

  92. I am considering beginning work on the Celtic Golden Dawn system. I have always felt an affinity for Taranis, the thunder and wheel god. There are several places in The Book of Druidry where Ross Nichols says that Hu Gadarn is associated with Taranis in his sky/thunder aspect, but there’s another section where he describes Taranis (or Taran) as “the bull god of earth”. I notice that it is according to that description that you assign him the sphere of Modur on Tree of Life in the CGD. I was just wondering if, in that sytem, he could retain any of his sky/thunder attributes and still be associated with the sphere to which you’ve associated him, or should he be only be thought of as having earth-based aspects in this system (and maybe transfer the sky/thunder aspects to Hu)? Also, would there be any problems with substituting Ana, the deep earth mother, to the Sphere of Modur instead?

  93. Mr. Kunstler made his reputation as a critic of architecture and urban planning, and in that field, where he knows whereof he writes, he is very good, IMHO, and well worth reading. I find his work rather lacking when he writes, or speaks, as a more general cultural and political critic.

    Dear Avery, as for the emergence of a “genuine leftist movement”, the left of today might have to either get off its’ collective butt and do some serious work or else, which is what I would prefer to see happen, get out of the way. Just like the right sees every social problem as a profit making opportunity, the left never met a problem it couldn’t turn into a new program, i.e.., a patronage machine for its’ followers and clients.

    Since about the mid-seventies, I have been reading about how Americans Are Really On Our Side, from various self-styled “progressive” commentators, while in most districts lefties can’t get elected dog catcher. American voters might tell a pollster, sure income inequality is a bad thing, but they respect people who meet payrolls and or punch timeclocks. Here is a thought experiment, ask any Clintonista of your acquaintance when was the last time the person did either of those things.

    A good place for today’s “progressives” to start would be what the left used to be really good at, research. Who owns the utilities in your town or county, and why was that entity given access to installations which were built by taxpayers of earlier generations? Why are rents so high in your town, and who are the largest landlords and how much profit are they taking out of you neighborhoods? Who sits on utility boards–that is the people who have to approve rate increases–and what are those people’s qualifications, alliances and points of view? At the present time, the average alternative newspaper can tell you about every atrocity committed by the CIA, FBI and US Army on every continent except Antarctica for the last four decades, but hasn’t a clue what is happening in their own back yards.

  94. JMG,

    Are there any olfactory sensations that signal the presence of a being on another plane? If so, are there any features or qualities of the odor that indicate the nature or intent of that being?

  95. Pierre, my experience is that, if you land yourself in a community of deep trust or a community where the members believe themselves anonymous, about two-thirds of Americans will admit to experiences that are not scientifically explainable. Since these are the sorts of things that are considered delusions by custody courts, employers, and the like, folks don’t admit to it otherwise.

    In climate news, we in our mountain valley in the Idaho desert have gotten 23″ of precipitation this year, or an inch shy of double our usual. And we’ve over a month to go!

  96. Hi JMG,

    I’d like to take a shot at a reply for vincelamb and others who’ve mentioned Artificial Intelligence. As a computer bod who studied machine intelligence at university, I keep a weather eye of these kinds of announcements, I also have a wife who has a Masters in Psychology who keeps me up to date with that end of the debate.

    A.I. covers a wide range of technologies and problems. At the more successful end are expert systems. These are systems designed to solve a highly specific if reasonably complex task. If you take a room full of bright people and subject matter experts and give them a well defined problem, then you can probably get an automated solution for that problem. So you’ve got automated legal drafting software, automated production software, dynamically adjusting real-time factories, climate modelling software etc. These systems basically take a set of rules and apply them very fast. We’re still at the point where were we haven’t reached the point of diminishing returns yet there. Increases in the science of modelling plus increases in computing power allow more and more complex tasks to be taken on, but only if you are able to craft a suitably complete rule set.

    At the other end is the dream of creating “human-like” general intelligence. That’s not going to happen no matter how much people talk about it. The problem there is that they are not even able to define the problem they’re trying to solve. If you ask a room full of psychologists “What is Intelligence?”, then you’ll get a room full of answers. People can’t even agree what constitutes intelligence in humans or animals.

    One of the ways that the technologists and scientists are trying to crack this is to mimic neurological activity. e.g. through sufficiently complex neural networks, and hoping that an intelligence “evolves”. This is bit like throwing lots of rocks in the sea and hoping that you’ll get Australia.

    The human-like software that we hear about in the news, chat-bots, fake girlfriends, whatever, is actually built on the expert systems end where a large and complex rule set is created with suitably “fuzzy” logic in order to mimic a human-like response. It is capable of learning, i.e. adjusting its own ruleset, but its not intelligence any more than a bacteria evolving to resist drugs is. The problem with these kinds of systems is how they react when presented with an unfamiliar situation. This is where self-driving cars are and is one of the two biggest problems that they face. Humans are assumed to have agency and are responsible for their actions. Software isn’t, so has to be proven to be safe in all situations. The other flaw is how self-driving cars will handle deliberate human interference. Go google Microsoft’s “Tay” chat bot for an illustration.

    Hope this helps.

  97. Hi JMG, Happy Turkey Day! Each year I discover more reasons to be thankful about life, including this blog – an island of sanity in a frothy sea.

    Two questions, pertaining to writing:

    1. Approximately how long does it take you to write up a typical blog entry? I attempted to summarize two “simple” concepts of empire decline and peak energy/oil in an essay for a writing class, and was surprised how much work it is – seven drafts and plenty of class feedback, and I’m still struggling. In contrast, the 2992 words of “The One Drop Fallacy” seem so polished, but I’m sure that takes a bit of elbow grease.

    2. Did you get a chance yet to read “The Big Sleep” (Chandler) and/or “The Maltese Falcon” (Hammett)? If so, your opinion?

  98. @Bonnie Henderson-Winnie, November 22, 2017 at 9:09 pm :
    I like that invocation a lot – thanks for sharing it!
    @ JMG: I´d like to add a tenth statement to Bonnie´s invocation (after the ´green life´ one):
    I thank the white life for it´s gifts.
    That one I would dedicate to the realm of fungi.
    Do you think that´s alright or would it be better to leave it at nine statements?
    I´ve recently started to go to a huge willow at the fringe of my little coppice wood and share a beer with ´´whoever is there´´: one beer I pour on to the ground with the words: ´´please take this as a gift,
    and please protect this place and all life dwelling here´´, the other one I drink and just talk about what´s currently on my mind. At first I wasn´t sure how to address ´´whoever is there´´, then I read your reply to another commenter who did something similar (forgot the user´s name) that he should look out for hints and signs as to who the spirit/god/goddess might be. So I did the same, and one day when I was walking through the coppice (as I regularly do), suddenly there were four birds of the same species flying around me really close. They settled on different branches of the trees surrounding me (very close again, about three or four foot away from me) and started watching me with what I imagined to be knowing looks. Occasionally they would fly to different twigs, but never far away and always eying me: this went on for two or three minutes. I didn´t know what birds they were and had not seen them there before, so I searched online and they turned out to be willow tits.
    After I found that out I did further research if there are any willow godesses and stumbled across one who´s name is Salacea.
    Ever since I call ´´whoever is there´´ by that name; since I have planted hundreds of willow trees, I thought it would be fitting.
    Is my thinking overly naive? Is there any danger in what I´m doing? Do you think Bonnie´s invocation would be suitable as a kind of prayer?
    Frank from Germany

  99. Are there any benefits–or harms, for that matter–to performing the Middle Pillar exercise more than once per day?

  100. Hi JMG,

    Thank you so much for sharing your time to answer all of these questions. I’m working through the CGD and got a bit confused in the Fourth Knowledge Lecture while trying to construct the Tree of Life with a straightedge and compass. It mentions that ‘smaller circles representing the ten stations of the Tree may then be drawn with points A, F, G, E, H, I, D, J, K, C, and B as centers.’ If you count those letters though, there are actually eleven, not ten. When I tried to match up the letters to the corresponding stations on the Tree, there was an extra one at ‘E’ that didn’t seem to correspond to anything. I put Muner at ‘D’ and Celi at ‘A.’ What have I missed?

  101. Hello John,

    I was wondering if you could expand on your thoughts on biochar. In last month’s open post I saw that you had some negative comments about biochar, particularly with reference to maintaining BAU. I happen to agree with you that biochar will not enable us to keep doing things the way we have been doing as industrial civilisation.

    I am interested in your view though on biochar from other perspectives though. Over the last few months I have built out of a couple of old paint drums a Top Lift Updraft (TLUD) biochar stove from which I am getting about 8 litres of biochar a burn – the stove produces virtually no smoke and I have used it to cook on as well. Too early to tell yet on the results in the garden but my initial assessment is that the garden is doing quite well with a biochar/compost mix.

    To me biochar seems like a small scale, low tech means of sequestering carbon in the soil over the long term, improving soil fertility and providing a means of cooking/heating that does not rely upon our techno-infrastructure, and as such is worth pursuing.

    Cam from Oz

  102. Since the topic of sexual assault has come up here, I think there’s a very high chance of a major blowback in a a few years. This is because we have adopted a policy that I don’t think is an exaggeration to call guilty upon accusation, backed up with poor thinking. I am personally aware of this because I was falsely accused of it (by my former best friend), and the result has been to leave much of my social life (what was left of it since I began pursuing things like magic/peak oil anyway) in ruins.

    Any attempt to claim that the woman involved was lying would be met with some variant of “women never lie about this”. Classic thought stopper. Pointing out that women can lie, and her story made no sense, especially not if you knew me, got shot down with claims arguing that was proof I’m a misogynist.

    I don’t know what will set off the backlash, or what shape it will take, but I would not be surprised to see one, especially if (as seems likely) things like my story are common.

  103. JMG
    I’m picking up on a comment last week about those of us who ‘think’ in sensory experiences, images and so on. As a child and young person despite being sometimes word perfect in childhood books that had been read to me and in dialogue of plays I had acted in, images were my default mental process. I was intrigued later on to understand that images can convey complex information at almost instantaneous speed compared with spoken or even written language.

    I have recently been interested again in ‘the artist’s eye’. Dion Fortune, and I think I gather, you also, believe that images, indeed geometrical figures, can be used in a teaching process for the mind, extra to and different from conveying any formal mathematical understanding. More generally, images conveyed as art seem to have a similar educational function. This type of visual thinking seems also to have a useful ‘distancing’ effect, (seeing the world as art) with luck putting psychological distance between the mind’s activity and for example, habitual association and recycled thought patterns. (I understand similar ‘distancing’ is sometimes used as a psychological therapy for those particularly afflicted by unwanted recurrent thought. I am not clear about the theory that links emotional reaction to the experience of thought, although the link seems obvious enough.)

    As an example of ‘seeing the world’ with an artist’s eye, recently I have been looking at a book of pictures created by 19th Century British artist, Samuel Palmer. On afternoon walks across fields I see many trees and sheep, both subjects intensively studied by Palmer. My vision has been‘re-educated’ again by those long-ago drawings of Palmer’s. Photographs I guess would not have been the same – it was his educated visual mind that mattered. What a relief to get back to the immediacy of landscape again; trees, sheep, clouds, colour and so much of interest, and ‘presence’, in the forefront of thought as I walked.

    Phil H

  104. A couple of months ago I started with the elemental cross and sphere of protection rituals as described in your book The Druid Magic Handbook. I find it much more powerful than all the other stuff I’ve done, including the equivalent rituals from your book Learning Ritual Magic. I think it’s because I resonate much better with the celtic symbolism than I do with the Judeo-Christian symbolism. I have a couple of questions, though:

    1. Is the circulation of light equivalent in function to the OBOD light body exercise?

    2. After years of practice, does the visualization of symbols during ritual become very clear?

    3. While I’m doing the rituals, I get very hot and then I sit down and relax afterward and about 30 minutes later I get cold even to the point that I have to put on an extra sweater. Is that normal? Am I doing something wrong? It’s similar when I give reiki.

    Thanks for any help!

  105. Self-driving cars are a pet peeve of mine, not so much because I distrust the technology as because the motivation for developing them is driven by a rather annoying thought fallacy. I call this one The Other End, based on a story my grandmother told me when I was quite young. It goes like this:

    Back in The Day, patients would not congregate in the doctor’s office to seek medical attention. Instead, the doctor’s office was little more than a place for booking appointments: the doctor would normally visit his patients in their own homes. One such physician in a rural area came to visit a farmer on such an appointment – only to find that nobody in that house had any medical complaints.

    “It’s about one of my horses,” the farmer explained. “He’s not doing well lately. Could you have a look at him?”

    The doctor agreed, and after a thorough examination of the animal, he gave the farmer this advice: “Your horse has suchandsuchitis. He’ll be okay, he just needs some medicine. You’ll have to give him two of these every day for about a week.” He reached into his black bag, and pulled out a bottle of pills that he then gave to the farmer.

    The farmer reacted with astonishment. “What the heck?! How the blazes am I going to get a horse to take pills?? i can barely get my children to take them when they have to!”

    “That’s actually not that hard to do – here, I’ll show you the trick I use.” He reached into the black bag again, this time pulling out a stiff tube resembling a giant soda straw. After sniffing both ends of the tube, he stuffed it into the horse’s backside. Then he put a pill into the tube and blew it into the horse. “It’s as simple as that.” Then he put a pill into the farmer’s hand and said “now you give him the second one.”

    The farmer looked at the pill in his hand; then at the tube in the horse’s rear end; then at the doctor; then back at the pill… After a few seconds of this hesitation, and without speaking a word, he pulled the tube out of the horse and shoved the other end of it in.

    It was now the physician’s turn to react with astonishment: “What the devil did you do THAT for??” he asked.

    The farmer started to laugh as he explained, “Well, being a doctor and all, you should know I can’t go putting my mouth right where you just had yours – that’d be unsanitary!”

    And thus it is with self-driving cars: human driving skills may be imperfect, but they’re a good country mile ahead of anything any machine can do – regardless of whether such machines can be made artificially intelligent or left naturally stupid!

  106. Hi JMG,

    I’ve recently started to work through your Druid Magic Handbook, and I also enjoy exercise. At the moment, I usually just do running and bodyweight strength exercises, but a couple of weeks ago I ended up reading something about some interesting technique (I think I was trying to learn how to walk better or something) from one of the Eastern martial arts, but it mentioned the technique being at least partially internal. I remembered you saying back on Well of Galabes that you got kidney issues from mixing Western magical practices with Tai Chi, so I didn’t try the technique.
    I was wondering, then, a) where exactly the line is in terms of doing Eastern martial arts at the same time as simple Western magic, and b) whether you or anyone else is aware of any Western physical traditions, martial arts, or movement arts that would mesh well with Western magic while also improving things like grace, the ability to move silently, the ability to control your body, and that sort of thing.

    Thanks for your help,

    Still enjoying the new blog as much as I enjoyed the old blogs,


  107. In your book “The Secret of the Temple” you refer to an ancient technology involving the layering of paramagnetic and diamagnetic materials – that reminded me strongly of the radionics ‘orgone generator’ devices – in fact, the most basic instructions to build an orgone generator are to layer (paramagnetic) metal shavings with (diamagnetic) epoxy resin (there’s usually a crystal as well, though explanations differ). Do you think radionics practitioners and the ancient cultures you came across in researching that book were tracking the same quarry?

  108. my two cents in response to some other posters…

    A few advanced Tibetan Yogic practices contain instructinos for transforming the body into light as death approaches. The description of these ‘light bodies’ is so similar to the description of the resurrection that some Christian scholars believe they were adopted by Tibetan Buddhists when they first encountered Christian missionaries. Personally I find it more likely that Tibetan buddhism and whatever tradition Jesus practiced share a common ancestor somewhere along the line, but I freely admit my evidence for that is tenuous…

    I’m also interested in this question and probably more optimistic than most here about the ability of humans to eventually be able to figure it out – nonetheless, I sustpect that the early experimenting with human genetic modification will resemble nothing so much as early experimentation with eugenics. The nature of humanity has so many unexamined assumtions and interconnections I don’t really think we can predict what the worst unintended consequences will be – just that there will be enough unintended consequences that a few will be absurdly bad.

    I lived in China for a year and as a foreigner, was probably considered quite ‘safe’ to discuss politics with. While there was a lot of grumbling about a lack of real democracy and the scandals of the day, there was also a lot more trust in the overall good intentions of the party, if not its competence. I would actually guess that mistrust of government as an entity is something of a new world peculiarity rather than a global norm.

    When I heard about this technology, I immediately thought of the quietly virtuous people I encountered there, who might now get a bit more recognition for the humble acts of benevolance they perform on a daily basis. I suspect many of the people who are optimistic about it thought along the same lines.

  109. @Darkest Yorkshire – Your question about the cycles societies goes through touches on sustainability. The Roman Empire was unsustainable, as were many civilizations that came before it. These didn’t even have the vast reserves of fossil fuels that we have today. I tend to think that the cycle of history driven by perpetuating unsustainable situations. JMG in a post a few weeks ago talked about something like The Law of Balance… How we can’t hoard resources, energy etc. without having to pay the consequences later.

    The desire to break the cycle would probably come following trauma. After Rome fell debt was looked upon as usury, after World War I the League of Nations formed and Europe said never again… see 1939.

    The closest any society could every come to achieving it would probably be achieving sustainability and having neighbors who won’t mow the said society over, via imperial holding. National conquest is a problem unique to humans and as soon as you have a standing army, defensive or otherwise, you’ve violated that law of balance. A society achieving sustainability will probably exist only as long as its neighbors allow it, or at least don’t have the ability to knock it over. You force utopia on people, JMG’s post on Freedom I think covers this, but hopefully that’s not a problem in a world full of many different kinds of utopias.

  110. Regarding Net Neutrality, the basic idea (if I understand it correctly!) is that high-volume services/customers should pay more for access, rather than all service/customers paying a flat rate (that’s the “neutral” part). Currently, if all of my neighbors want to stream Netflix, and I just want to read the scintillating text of Ecosophia, I need to pay the same rate as my neighbors, enough to pay our service provider to install the capacity that they need. Ecosophia being a very low bandwidth service, I doubt that the charges would be in any way significant (though just managing the payments could be a hassle). Charges imposed on service providers would be passed on to customers, to the extent that they can’t continue to be absorbed by investors and advertisers. (Then again, charges paid by advertisers are passed back to their customers through sales of the advertised goods.) So, eventually the investors get tired of waiting for profits, and it all lands on the Internet-service customers.

    If, however, imposing a scheme which forces people to pay for what they access leads them to decide not to access at all, then it could lead to the End of the Internet (as we know it), Ecosophia included, at which point we revert to samizdat and the US Mail. 😉

  111. Hello JMG,

    I discovered your blog a few months ago and very much enjoy it. I’m quite impressed with your widespread knowledge, your civility and the effort you put into this. However I must politely disagree with your answer to Torgeir, regarding massive belt-tightening here in the US due to dwindling fossil fuels. You said it is already manifesting itself here since many rural areas can no longer afford to pave their roads, and the standard of living for everyone below the privileged middle classes is dropping like a rock. I think those issues are not the result of dwindling fossil fuels but stem from the ongoing, upward transfer of wealth, combined with reduced tax revenue and an increase in military spending.

  112. Some admittedly rambling thoughts on AI:

    In the early days of computers (I was using Fortran 2 at the University of Michigan in the 60’s), there was a joke that ran something like: A programmer asks his computer when are you computers start to think like we do. It replied, “you know, that reminds me of a story”.

    Not likely any time soon.

    It has been said that you only truly understand something when you understand its opposite. Or, at least “the other”. A Rabi (I think) once said the opposite of the human is the demonic. This does not inform us, we are not theological literate. And human like intelligence in computers is not likely for reasons JMG has outlined. But thinking about intelligent computers may be helping to sharpen our understanding of human intelligence.

  113. On AI, artificial souls, and self driving cars.

    Well, Gavin just beat me to it… and did it much more clearly and and throughly than what I could have done myself. I will just add that expert systems are hard because true masters of every human endeavour are able use their intuition to bend the rules in idiosyncratic, yet highy efficient, ways. For every Michael Phelps out there, there are hundreds of varsity-level swimming coaches with more flawless technique; we never get to know their names because flawless technique is not good enough to win Olimpic medals anymore, and everyone that does will have developed their unique style in order to do so.

    More often than not, these masters are not even aware their technique is non-standard, and will recommend others to go by the book, not because they are jealously guarding their secret knowledge, but because that secret is tacit knowledge and they don’t know they are doing anything different. It is the job of a knowledge engineer to learn the target field of knowledge well enough to be able to at least comment intelligently (much like a sports fan that cannot play in a professional team but recognizes all the plays); and then to tail the expert and notice when their practice departs from the precepts they preach.

    On the incarnation of souls on electronics. I used to worry about this from time to time, but I have come to the realization that all the Evil I was looking at was most likely a bunch of Shadow projection from my part (given that I felt guilty of being part of a profession that brought us the i-Zombie non-pocalypse).

    Don’t get me wrong, my world view does include spiritual beings that are inimical to humans, but the kind of souls that can inhabit in a current top of the line computer system are about as complex as that of a cockroach (and being a cockroach is probably more interesting to begin with); so, I do not see any greater peril than what we have already experienced pretty much for the whole of human history.

    Now that I think about it, JMG has talked before on how the proliferation of humans is matched by a decline in the total numbers of higher mammals that might be able to display intelligence levels similar to us… maybe the proliferation of electronic devices is a reflection in the decline in both variety and total numbers of simpler invertebrates???

  114. Hello again JMG, Just a correction about my name as it appears with my question on civilisation i.e. Krayenbuhl, that’s my surname, my first name is Dominique.

  115. Hello again, I would like to know more about the minimalist movement in Japan, is it really significant? Do you have any references? Are there think-tanks in Japan looking into a degrowth economy that would ensure a safe landing going with this trend ? Thanks. Dominique

  116. @lathechuck – you’re welcome!

    @gavin harris – “its not intelligence any more than a bacteria evolving to resist drugs is.” Except, based on the data on bacterial intelligence gathered over their lifetimes by Lynn Margulis and James Shapiro (two of possibly many scientists whose work I happen to be familiar with), I suspect that bacteria do have much more intelligence than we like to give them credit for.

  117. JMG – your comment on the properties of wood brings to mind a particular wooden spoon I have which I use only for wine making. I put it into the mix at the bucket stage, and leave it in place to stir with throughout. Then I rinse and air dry, but make no effort to scrub. It may be that it is gathering my thoughts and intentions about wine, and helping to channel them to the batch.

    Also, I have been reading about the etheric body and healing (also, from the other side – the science on voltage and sickness) and it struck me that the SOP attends fairly completely to all of the ills healers say that may befall one’s etheric body. As practiced, it would clear away negative influences, “recharge” with positive influences, and help keep the “Golden Egg” (the outer protective layer) complete and without holes. Thank you for introducing me to it. I wonder what your thoughts are on this healing aspect.

  118. Had an interesting discussion with a government colleague the other day regarding autonomous vehicles. I have a reputation of being anti-AV. She was arranging a talk on the subject. Her point to me was that I may personally not like the idea of AVs, but “you can’t stop the future” and from a professional and policy perspective we’d best be prepared for the inevitable, since folks in positions of power and decision making above us are sending signals that AVs are something they support. Essentially that technology will progress, so keep up or get out (it was much more friendly and we have a good working relationship IRL).

    I couldn’t help but send her the article about gravel roads from the first post this week. The only thing that is sure to stop the future is an empty wallet.

  119. Here’s a “from left field” question for you: As an occultist, what do you think of Ouija Boards? Ideological skeptics claim that the effect one experiences with Ouija is nothing more than the users’ subconscious mind enacting the “Ideo-Motor Effect”, as opposed to a spirit-entity actually physically moving the planchette that slides around on the board.

    My evaluation: More often than not, Ouija experiences (as demonstrated in the linked video) are nothing more than the subconscious mind reflecting back what the conscious mind puts into it. But sometimes, the Ouija will facilitate a spirit-being using one’s subconscious mind and physical body to communicate with the users, but when this happens, the spirit-being is almost always a thing from the Lower Astral Plane. And the user knows it really is one of these entities when bad and unwelcome things start happening to them. Which makes sense, because when you give a bad discarnate entity direct access to your subconscious mind, you are essentially inviting those nasty things in, and they won’t always depart willingly.

    So at least half or more of the time, the Ouija Board is a not very interesting personal psychological phenomenon, and when it really does work, it makes you wish it hadn’t!

  120. Frank from Germany,

    I wonder whether invocation of Salacea would help in management of pain, fever and inflammatory sates in general, which are the most common targets of salicylic acid, which is derived from willow bark.

    Maybe it’s the case that when we take our two tablets of aspirin we are, in fact, internalizing the healing essence of Salacea.

  121. JMG,

    I have a question related to the attention excercise described in “Learning Ritual Magic”. I have performed it daily since the beginning of the course, and am soon at the point of starting the fifth lesson. Technically it seems like a very easy excercise, as I am by now quite used to standing still for some length of time. The one thing, however, I seem to be quite unable to stop even if I try or try not to try, is to focus on the body. Instead, my thoughts seem to fly all over the place and it is only occasionally and then very temporarily that I am able to retain my focus on where it should be.

    Thus I am quite relieved when it is a day to do the discursive meditation, as I seem to have no trouble at all to run with the thought and follow it. The routine of daily meditation in the “Celtic Golden Dawn” was not hard at all when I tried it out for about four months (some of the requirements made it quite impractical to continue it, so I chose to go back to this earlier course).

    Now to the question: can you offer any advice on what I might do to remedy the situation I have with the attention excercise. By now it’s pretty much a situation where I try not to think about the pink elephant and it invariably appears (pending changes to color and appearance).

    Another question I have has to do with oriental martial arts in relation to Golden Dawn type practice. I know I would benefit immensely if I had regular physical practice, and there are some paths that I have done before that I consider returning to. My concern is that I might accidently mix mustard with cupcakes here, so I wonder if you might have some ideas or recommendations.

    On another note, carrying on with the program has had the result of making some very dramatic changes in the way I see and experience myself. I have observed this change to take place subtly and very gradually, but also very powerfully. I do not know how to best put it into these foreign words, but some of the stuff suddenly seems to make much sense and other stuff that used to make sense doesn’t seem to make any sense at all anymore. The outer reality has not changed that much, only the inner one. So I conclude my perspective must have changed, and if that is not “changing consciousness in accordance of the will” (as expressed in the ritual work) I do not know what is.

    Thank you for hosting this forum and keeping it clean and tidy. It has been very inspirational over the years.

  122. To Christopher Henningen:
    If you are interested in the esoteric or practical uses of paramagnetic and diamagnetic forces, look into the work of Phil Callahan, particularly his books “Paramagnetism” and “Ancient Mysteries, Modern Visions”. He’s written many books, all of which are extremely interesting, is an entomologist and as he himself would say, a generalist. But whatever title you give to Phil Callahan, he is an incredible, mostly unsung scientist, though he’s worked in many federal agencies. Probably one thing that is hard for people to accept is his very devote Catholicism. Anyway, he gives directions on how to build simple constructions that harness the forces of paramagnetism, as well as fascinating examples of it in the natural and ancient world.

  123. Mr Greer,

    Then you would definitely know about the Odd Fellows! (Sorry about the misspelling.) It does seem like of the handful of fraternal orders still in existence, you’ve been in all of them! 🙂

    For what it’s worth your antecedent brothers and sisters in the photos seem to be having a good time, tho’ according to family tradition ‘Grandma Martin’ was not someone you’d want to displease!

    With regard to Kunstler (and Chris Martenson even more so) I like them both and I’m grateful to them both, but I’ve never understood the confident predictions of the financial system collapsing and bringing down everything else. Not that it couldn’t happen. Not that everything doesn’t eventually come to an end. But it seems to me a lot of people say, ‘Look how incredibly insane and ridiculous this system is! Look how insane we are for letting it govern our lives! Therefore it must collapse and bring down everything!’

    Which to me this sounds like, ‘Gambling is crazy; gamblers don’t benefit from it; therefore casinos will collapse!’ And of course every casino in the world today will one day not be there, but not because of the stupidity or inanity of gambling.

    Collapsing governments (under the strain of fossil fuel limits, deficits from auto-based development patterns, and the strains of global warming-related environmental problems) are far more likely to bring down the financial system than vice versa.

    At least IMNSHO.

  124. Lathechuck,

    As I understand it, net neutrality is forbidding your ISP from saying, “Here’s internet. You want to access ecosophia? That’s an extra ten dollars.” I believe even with net neutrality ISPs can charge more for data, although I admit I’m not certain.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with things like Netflix paying more, but I’m fairly sure it will devolve into corporate cronyism far too quickly….

  125. Archdruid,

    So I found an affordable martial arts studio, they teach Southern Praying Mantis, Tai Chi, Wing Chun, and a few others. We’ll see how it goes, I’m not sure how many of the teachers also practice the esoteric forms. The guy that teaches SPM doesn’t seem to buy into the esoteric practices beyond their most material application. However, it’s a good start and everyone is very friendly.



  126. @Sandy Fontwit, November 23, 2017 at 6:12 am :
    I actually think that the ´farming humans´ bit in the Matrix movie is one of the greatest weaknesses in the plot, and in my opinion there are many. It also shows how little is understood about energy and conversions of one form of energy to another: In any conversion of energy into another (say heat into motion as a steam or combustion engine does) you have losses. If there is a chain of conversions (say heat to motion to electricity to light as is usually the case when you switch on your light bulb) those losses don´t add up, they multiply. Let´s assume that every conversion in my example has got an efficency of 0.6, which means 60% of the energy gets through to the next step ( it´s far less in reality). The maths goes like this: there are three conversions, so you have to multiply 0.6 by 0.6 by 0.6 which equals 0.216. That means even in this relatively short chain of conversions only 21.6 % of the original heat energy can be used in the form of light. It´s the same if you try to ´farm´ humans´ (or any other warm-blooded animal) for their body heat as an energy source: you would always get far more energy if you get it directly out of the food you need for your ´farmed humans´, not to mention the energy you would need to built their ´cages´ and the associated life support and control systems.
    Frank from Germany

  127. @Jen

    Re term limits

    For what they’re worth, my thoughts on term limits. I am generally in favor of limits on *consecutive* terms, with several ideas providing the basis this position. First, limits on consecutive terms act as a preventative measure against the aggregation of personal power and the construct of fiefdoms. Secondly, I’d argue that one cannot accurately represent a constituency, particularly at the higher levels of government (state, federal), if one is not required to periodically leave one’s place at the seat of power (the relevant capital) and return to living among the masses. Thirdly, I am a proponent of citizen-led democratic self-governance, which for me means that the people govern themselves, rather than delegating the job to a class of professional politicians — and requiring some kind of regular cycling out of legislators and/or executives enables new views and other citizens to step into those roles for a time. I strongly disagree with long-term continuous office-holders, just in principle. Even with regular elections, there are inherent advantages to incumbency that are difficult to overcome. I’d like to see more participation in governance (the “self” in “self-governance”) by the citizenry generally. I am actually working on getting a referendum on our local ballot to ask the voters if city council members ought to be limited to some number of consecutive terms (I’m suggesting three) before requiring a year out of office in order to be eligible for election again.

  128. JMG,

    Going back to your Death of God post – a cyclic changing of the guard re the prevailing gods makes sense to me, but one thing that doesn’t add up for me entirely is something you said in the comments, something to the effect that it wouldn’t surprise you if a Christian prayer resulted in the conjuring up of a lower astral critter. I can understand if a prayer went unanswered, considering that the god-potency of Christ may no longer be what it once was. However, re conjuring of an astral critter, wouldn’t that depend on the nature of the prayer? I can see such happening if the prayer was hubristic, selfish, vengeful, etc., but I find it hard to fathom that a prayer centered in humility, goodwill, and genuine love would result in nasty astral entities showing up. I actually find that notion rather alarming, considering there are still a lot of praying christians out there.

    Also re the eventual appearance of a new and potent god or gods: since there are existing gods upon which to pray and meditate, and that are indeed potent – and I trust you do find some of them potent – do you mean that the advent of a new god is one upon which a religion or religions will be based, a prevailing religion shared by millions?


  129. It’s a bit spooky in the way an idea starts to germinate in one’s mind then one discovers the idea, much more developed, elsewhere. About a year and a half ago I began to realize we weren’t going to fix the roads (Okay, I’m slow to grasp the obvious) I had realized that the roads, and sidwalks for that matter, were in disrepair. I had thought it was an oversight by the city council, or an oversight by the road dept. I put it down to temporary budget problems, but the budget crisis passed (sort of) and the raods didn’t get fixed. I began to realize that we simply weren’t ever going to fix the roads properly. I began to realize that we overbuilt decades ago when times could be described as “booming”. Now we can’t afford the upkeep. I see the same process playing out in many of our parks and public buildings. I started thinking we were slipping back down the slope of progress.

    It was about the same time that I stumbled upon the ADR. After binge reading the essays I was introduced to the theory of catabloc collapse. I know had a theory with a name that seemed to explain my experience.

    What I find odd is that many other people don’t seem to be able to see the decline. They deny it. I suspect it’s because the religion of progress is so widespread that most people see declining areas as an abberation, an exception to the norm. It may take a while for much of society to realize that the “exception” is quickly becoming the norm.

  130. Okay, one more question if it isn’t too many lol!

    Can you use a gold powder (like for cake decorations) for making a fluid condenser? I thought about buying this stuff:

    and experimenting with it, but I’m not sure the best way to disolve it for making the gold solution. I read about “aqua regia” which can disolve gold, and may give that a shot.

    Do you think it’s worth trying that, or would it be better to use the heated-jewelry method from Encyclopedia of Natural Magic?

  131. On AVs: I don’t know whether they’re practical or not, but in the abstract I’d *far* rather have a dispassionate, follows-the-rules-all-the-time AI on the road than most of the drivers around here, who seem to believe they’ll lose important body parts if they have to go slower than ten miles over the speed limit (and God forbid the person in front of them slow down to check a street sign or let someone into a lane), refuse to signal lane changes, and otherwise behave like the worst of our chimpanzee relatives. Robots might not equal human intuition, but they also don’t have the human capacity for deliberate obnoxiousness, and I suspect the latter outweighs the former in most people.

    (The argument that we don’t or won’t have the energy to sustain such things long-term, OTOH, is one I think is likely true.)

    People who drive in places other than New England, on the other hand, may well have very different experiences. 😛

  132. Regarding Kunstler’s predictions: yes, those things will happen. We’re long overdue for a Depression, etc., and everything that will entail, and, yes, the longer we prolong the status quo, the worse the resulting Depression will be. However, the System, and The Powers That Be, are doing everything in their not inconsiderable power to keep the music playing just a bit longer–everything and the kitchen sink. So, Kunstler’s predictions are like predicting the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We know that adding more weight to the camel’s back makes it all the more likely the camel’s back will break–what we don’t know with any certainty is the actual strength of the camel’s back (the System), and just which straw will be the one that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. Of course, as JMG has noted, once the crisis starts, The Powers That Be will do everything in their power, a la FDR, to enact stopgap measures to keep things from spiraling out any more than they already are, but, IMHO, the EU and the US will be dead in the water at that point, and it will be up to the Confederacy, New England, Cascadia, etc. to do the stopgapping.
    I have to second your opinion. Having never traveled to Latin America except for a little of Mexico, but speaking Spanish and getting to know Latin American immigrants in the US, I’m very bullish on the future of Latin America and Latin American culture in the US. It is way more resilient that North American culture, and, as I’ve said before, I fully expect Latin Americans in the US to punch above their demographic weight as far as surviving and thriving in crisis, and in post-US North America. As I’ve said before, I think that the once and future Confederacy will be a natural and logical diplomatic entryway for Latin America into the former US, for many reasons. First of all, the Confederacy was a plantation based society with a strong class system, just like Latin America. It is basically an English speaking version of Latin America, with a laid back, slower pace of life lacking the Protestant work ethic of the rest of the US. It is telling that the Confederacy itself looked to Latin America as a natural source of expansion, so it is normal that the reverse would be true–that Latin America would look to the Confederacy as a natural source of expansion of influence into North America. The biggest thing for the Confederacy will be healing from 150 years of Yankee occupation (as for Latin America, as well), and trying to build a panracial, unifying national identity. Here, though, the Confederacy can look to its Latin American counterparts for inspiration here, from Brazil, to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, and beyond.
    the biggest stumbling block I’ve encountered in my magical practice, and life more generally, is the practice of discursive meditation, and concentration more specifically. I should say that I was diagnosed ADHD at a young age, and my natal star chart indicates a busy, fast mind. I’d pretty much avoided discursive meditation these past few years, lacking the discipline for regular practice. Now that I’m committed to regular daily practice due to realizing the need, I feel defeated. I can never seem to get beyond the concentration target exercise. My mind just seems too busy, but I do dutifully follow thought processes back and reestablish concentration, but that takes the whole 10 mins. Is there anything more I should do, or just keep practicing, realizing that this may take me longer than most to master? This does seem to be the major obstacle to productivity in my life.

  133. Hello JMG and all:
    I can’t help but notice all of the commentary touching on on self-driving cars, and how the mainstream view is that this will be the next phase of of the ever accelerating technological revolution.

    There is a great deal of skepticism from the commentariat here, appropriately so. There is an angle I have never seen mentioned in any context, but which I think will forecast and explain why self driving cars will never prove practical: Goldel’s Incomplete Theorem(s). Loosely, any logical system consisting of definitions, axioms and formal operations cannot potentially generate all possible true statements that can be posited within the scope of that system. For mathematics, that implies there are true statements that that cannot be proven true, or shown to be false.

    This theorem has practical implications: There is no possible rule-based system that generates a satisfactory (“true”) response in all cases. The software of a self-driving car simply encodes definitions and axioms and formal operations, and applies this to a stream of incoming sensor data. Godel tells us that there is no way this setup can always guarantee a desirable outcome. The only question is whether such a system, on average, can generate better outcomes than human drivers. While I can’t prove this is isn’t possible, I think the burden of proof should be on those who say that it is, and that the public roadway system should not be their laboratory.

  134. Hi, John Michael. A (slightly belated) happy Thanksgiving to you and Sara, and to all my fellow American readers and commentators here!

    With that, on to my questions…

    In at least three individuals I know (including myself), there seems to be a correlation between fairly dedicated magical training, and becoming increasingly sensitive to the wireless electronic devices which are becoming so prevalent in the wider society: wifi, bluetooth, GPS, etc. Depending on the type of source, and the individual person, the sensations in question range from merely being able to perceive whether or not such a device is on and radiating a signal from a certain direction (compare some of the phenomena you mention in The Secret of the Temple), to having more intense physical sensations ranging from the mildly irritating to the downright painful.

    I’ve been wondering if you, or any other readers, either (a) have any more data/anecdotes to add, or (b) have any sense of what, if any, explanations might be at work here. And if there is any connection, (c) what if any options are available for the folks who are dealing with, or who would like to avoid, the more extreme physical symptoms.

    There would seem to be several classes of possible accounts:

    (1) It may be that the magical training is purely a red herring, and the changing perceptions of these phenomena can be explained purely in terms of the greater prevalence of these electronics, and/or the great signal strength being used in newer devices. It’s just a matter of chance that the magical training happened over the same period.

    (2) It may be that magical training, and meditative practice in particular, has simply heightened the powers of the mind to attend to phenomena which everyone experiences, but to which most people do not attend. The effects of the electronic signals are no different on the magical and non-magical folks; it’s simply that the magicians in question have learned to notice them.

    (3) Magical work has opened up a certain channels of influence, which make the mages more susceptible to the effects of these wireless technologies. The follow-up here would be: what are these channels, and what techniques exist to work with them, selectively close them again from time to time, etc.?

    I take option 3 to differ from option 2 in that here, it’s not simply that our non-magical neighbors are unaware of the same effects, but that the magicians really are being affected differently. By way of analogy, consider the postulate that while everyone is affected in certain ways by the discarnate beings around us, whether we attend to them or not, calling out to those beings and getting their attention can predictably lead to results that those who “stay under the radar” do not encounter.

    Finally, in the broad spirit of the foregoing, is there anything more general to be said about how magical training/practice and electronics interact?

  135. I adore new words created from typos, so I thank @Christopher Henningsen for instructinos. Instructinos must obviously be the sub-atomic particles responsible for transmitting learning from strange attractors having a large mass of esoteric knowledge to partially opened quantum mind receptors via a combination of Wolfram rule complexity p-transforms and Brownian motion within a kind of egregoric yeast broth. Well, that’s the theory, anyway. No idea how to test it, but I believe the process involves fairly large quantities of beer, bread, cheese, and pickles. The flow of current is measured in units of Hoary Old Wisdomes (HOWs), which are sometimes polarized into OWMs and OWWs depending on the birth gender of the source.

    Also, to @Cam from Oz: You can also use your TLUD-created biochar as part of an off-grid water filtration system. Either as an emergency method for cleaning polluted drinking water or an ongoing reuse of greywater, activated charcoal is a great asset to a village or homestead.

  136. Someone brought up ‘net neutrality’.

    I admit to confusion. I keep hearing that if a certain piece of US legislation nobody has read* is done away with, the Big Three tech giants that dominate the vast majority of traffic will use their clout to “takeover the internet”. But to a one, Google, Amazon and Facebook seem to back the net neutrality campaign. Why? Together those sites have become “the net” to most people. I have heard it called the trinet. And they have achieved much of this domination since the rules in question were put in place. So… what are we afraid of, after all?

    Any ISP that wants to charge extra for non-trinet content will face competition from others who adopt a fair carriage policy, non? So switch. Seems like a market problem, and I am not a market guy, usually.

    For that matter, charging extra for bandwidth hogs like Hulu, Netflix and the like seems more likely, not for access to text like this.

    Since I am not American, I think I have to file “net neutrality” into the not my problem file, in triplicate.

    *at 300 some pages of legalese, I think that is a safe bet. If you did slog through it, thank you for your sacrifice.

  137. Will J- I can’t say that abandoning net neutrality won’t force Internet access into an “a’la cart” (pay by the site) system. You may be right. Technically, the relative costs of providing, say, Netflix, vs. Ecosophia are so vastly different that pay-by-the-bit pricing would make Ecosophia practically free. But prices have only an indirect relationship to provider costs, and an ISP (especially a monopoly) could try to charge whatever the market would bear. With a bit of organization, though, we could probably distribute Ecosophia via dial-up modems and cut the broadband ISPs out.

  138. Hello, JMG

    Ever since I started reading The Well of Galabes back in 2014 I’ve been getting into the occult and esoteric knowledge, however I happen to be a recovering addict. I’ve been sober for eight months now but I would like to know if magical practice can be adopted by someone with an addiction. I’ve read warnings of it being used as a way of escaping reality, and I’ve payed the price of not listening properly. I had a psychotic break two years ago with a relapse six months later. Both were consequences of abusing drugs. My question is: am I no longer “allowed” to practice magic? or is there any literature that might guide me in the proper way of doing it without it being a risk for my mental health or my recovery process?

    Regards from Mexico 🙂

  139. @Dirtyboots, November 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm:
    That would certainly be a most welcome effect, cause I start feeling my age 🙂 But of course I don´t want to start a new relationship with too many demands;-)
    Seriously though, I think there might be some truth in what you say: even from a just physical point of view it makes sense.
    Doing some research on the mythical and folklore side of willows was quite interesting: I came across websites like these:
    I´ve always been drawn to celtic music and mythology (that was one reason I lived in Scotland for nine years) and I like the celtic aspects of the willow mythology. Of course, as a lifelong agnostic (albeit an open minded one who gets more open minded with each open post, as I mentioned here before) I´m in no position to ascertain wether the information on these sites is correct, but there are some nice stories at any rate. Funny thing is: even before I read the first paragraph of the ´White Dragon´ website, ever since I´ve read about Salacea, I was thinking of an Irish love song called ´Down by the Sally Gardens` when I was walking through the willow coppice.
    Frank from Germany

  140. @Frank Thamm:
    Your comments on the Matrix movie’s plot line re farming humans for energy are of course right on. I’m well aware of the losses involved in conversion of energy frm one form to another, but I prefaced the movie reference with the words “tongue in cheek”, I didn’t intend it to be taken seriously.

  141. A belated happy thanksgiving!

    On the topic of predictions, I remember several years ago when you made a prediction that another big box store would go under. That was the year Radio Shack narrowly avoided liquidation by some of the more amazing bankruptcy shenanigans I’ve ever heard of. Even that seemed to have largely slowed their fall rather than prevented it.

    So, well done.

  142. @lathechuck, November 24, 2017 at 2:57 am and Will J, November 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm :
    From what I´ve heard net neutrality means that no one´s, not google´s or face book´s or anyone else´s data sent through the internet will get privileged treatment in terms of speed and accessibility, but I´m by no means an expert on this and I´m glad to be corrected…there must be someone here who knows?
    Frank from Germany

  143. Greetings,

    Frank – I’m happy you like them, I like them a lot, too! That set of gratitudes/invocation came about as a result of an epiphany I had about certain parts of the seasonal rituals described in one of JMG’s books. It came directly out of one of those “aha!” moments and pretty much wrote itself. It covers all my (generalized, for daily use) bases, but IMO you should adapt to what is important/prominent/speaking to you in your local surroundings and life.

    FWIW, combining study and meditation on the principles described in the Mystery Teachings book with revisiting the seasonal rituals in the Druidry Handbook has resolved a few things that at first just flat out made no symbolic sense to me. Meditating on the seven laws helped me to look at things I just am not quite understanding from several angles, and sometimes one or more of those angles is just what is needed to undo the knot! Thanks again, JMG, for some incredibly helpful techniques

    JMG- in some Northern traditions, the vessel holding the libation of inspiration has a particular name, Odroerir. Does Cerridwen’s Cauldron of Inspiration have a name of its own, beyond just calling it “The Cauldron of Inspiration”? Or will I need to get to know it well enough to ask it directly, before I get to know that name or names? 🙂

    Gavin, my 2 cents on remembering the contents of meditations enough to write them down afterward- I wrestled with that problem for a long time, too. I have discovered that if I make writing the journal entry about the session part of the session, doing the writing before formally closing the ritual space, I am able to clearly capture a lot more essential information. For me, It’s a bit like recording dream information immediately on waking- get it down before it vaporizes. Don’t know if that would be of help to you, but it helps me with that.


  144. Also- Gavin re: recording

    I also meant to say that putting a time limit on writing the info down helps me essentialize the large amount of information that often comes through. With some practice, I can now distill what used to be several pages worth of writing into the vital kernels. If I need to recall the details, those kernels can be unfolded in memory into the larger cloud of related sensory and descriptive info. But I don’t write every last detail down. Just the core stuff. Of course YMMV.

  145. Will J,

    I’m very sorry to hear what you went through. Of course women lie, and they beat men, too. Rather than see a general backlash, I’d prefer if those types of perpetrators would get squashed hard and publicly when found out. What sort of context did this occur in, that you got no justice?

  146. @Isabel Cooper

    When you say ” I’d *far* rather have a dispassionate, follows-the-rules-all-the-time AI on the road than most of the drivers around here”, you mean a (mostly) perfect robot following the (mostly) perfect rules flawlessly. Since we are talking in the abstract here, having self driving cars is not good enough; I’d rather like to have Princess Celestia teleporting me around while at the same time maing me a salami sandwich (which I’d eat and get thin instead of fat). Not that I expect that to ever happen.

    In the real world, you have rules that say that if the camera “sees” a big block of mostly white pixels AND the infrared sensor sees on obstacles at 1ft from the ground ahead, THEN it means the road is free and the car should go ahead at cruise speed. Which means that if there is a white 18-wheeler ahead, the car will ignore that fact and you will end up decapitated. This happened to certain lazy idiot that was watching a Harry Potter movie while supposedly acting as the human overseer during Tesla car beta tests.

    I understand your annoyance with people that do not follow the rules. However, there’s no historic evidence of any culture anywhere on Earth that ever achieved 100% compliance on ANYTHING. I’d suggest rather not sweating over things that are beyond your control.

  147. Errata:

    Apparently the dead guy, Joshua Brown, was a paying customer to Tesla. He was a technologist and innovator himself, and part of a very vocal minority of Tesla fans and enthusiats, but apparently not an employee. I do not recall where I read or heard he was a tester.

  148. I have been trying without the least success to use the internet to answer the simple question of how many babies were born in the whole world between the years of 1950 and 1955, broken out in a tabular format by year. I get lots and lots of summary stats about birth rates and fertility rates in ten year increments, but no simple answer to the simple question. Any help locating this information or keywords that will discover this information like a shining needle in the haystack of information I do not want will be most gratefully appreciated.

  149. On the topic of roads shifting to gravel, an anecdote: about 20 years ago our county commission decided to de-prioritize road maintenance in neighborhoods built outside of city limits. This freed up plenty of money and was accomplished by defining maintenance as all those things that don’t include resurfacing streets that have reached the point of rapid deterioration. Potholes are filled (sometimes in stretches of 1,000 sq. ft. at a time), snow is plowed, signs are repaired or replaced; this is “maintenance.” Actually repaving a road like the one I live on has been deemed “rehabilitation,” which the county commission has specifically declined to cover.

    20 years after this decision, pretty much every road in every neighborhood in the county is in very poor condition. The snowplow regularly leaves large piles of asphalt chunks beneath the snow drifts every winter on my block. They sit for months until the annual summer visit by the street sweeper. The grass in the pavement cracks grows up high enough in summer to violate the lawn-height ordinance, but the county doesn’t mow it. The concrete curbs have cracked and shifted, creating low points where water pools and mosquitoes breed after rains.

    The issue was litigated several times after repeated attempts by the commission to raise taxes to repave the roads, and the courts ruled that the definition of maintenance was political and not to be adjudicated. So what happened? So far, only one neighborhood has voted to tax themselves to repave their roads. The price? County commission taxes would be increased by about 100% (increasing the total property tax bill by something like 30-40%), the county would do the work, and in theory the roads would be repaved every 15-20 years.

    This looks to me like the uneven distribution of the future. In some places like Muskegon County, where I was born, the roads will not be repaved, and political realities mean they will also not be resurfaced in gravel for a long time. The money isn’t there, and the residents aren’t willing to “go backwards.” In other places, like where I live now, those with means who don’t mind coughing up an extra several hundred dollars a year will get shiny new pavement as long as they can afford to pay for it. The main difference, as I see it, is that the manufacturing base that made Muskegon wealthy in the mid-20th century has been catabolized to prop up the lifestyles of the top 20%, while the industries we work in (tech, finance, academia, health care, insurance, etc.) haven’t been catabolized yet. It’s musical chairs writ large.

    Eventually, the US will all look a lot more like Muskegon. Any doubt of that was cleared up for me when I happened upon a copy of Michigan: A Bicentennial History by Bruce Catton (the same!). Writing in 1975-6, he made a strong case that Michigan was the Silicon Valley of the manufacturing boom that defined the American middle class of the mid-to-late 20th century. Growing up there after the bloom was decidedly off that particular rose, I have no illusions about the future of the shiny parts of the US that are part of today’s “innovation economy.” There’s a brief passage from that book that’s worth quoting:

    “There was more than enough of everything to go around; from which it followed, or seemed to follow, that if anyone did not get his share someone somewhere must be getting a great deal too much. A belief in unlimited resources simply creates a set of unlimited desires. This is the incalculable, explosive fact that lies just below the surface of American life.”

  150. I noticed an example of the sort of “ecological thinking must be hair-shirt self-sacrifice” idea. A commercial for a power company (I think) went something like this. “If you want to save energy, you could make your own shoes out of hemp, like Harry, here.” [cameras goes to Harry who has two clumps of something like untidy birds nests on his feet and looks rather sheepish about it] “or you can turn down your thermostat.” [Speaker reaches for tidy, modern appearing thermostat and twists it slightly.] What kind of drugs are they doing in the ad agencies these days?

  151. Dusk Shine – I have indeed NOT read the regulations regarding net neutrality. The issue before us now is whether the current FCC regulations (which are not legislation, by the way, but executive-branch interpretation of very generic laws) which provide net neutrality are to be reversed.

    Frank Thamm – neutrality does mean “no privileged treatment” (which sounds good), but it also means “no way to charge for extreme usage” (which sounds bad). So, if neutrality is discarded, then the data carriers (of which there are not many, because it’s expensive to lay new fiber, but very cheap to operate the existing fiber) can decide which traffic they will carry, and at what speed.

    Yes, the data carriers (AT&T, Comcast) would most logically like to assess new charges on the bandwidth hogs (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), but once the gate is open to charging “by the stream” (which could include “by the bit”, or “by the site”), then what’s to stop them from imposing a charge on every stream, even little old Ecosophia? Not because they need to, but because they can. And if new charges on competitive services steers more eyeballs to the advertising of their partners, they can charge the advertisers more, too. And if we don’t want to pay, we don’t get to play. But if advertisers had to pay to send video to me, maybe their ads wouldn’t be so obtrusive.

    Perhaps I’m only looking at the opposite ends of a range of policy options. Call them “carriers are powerless (and must build out to carry any bits that show up)” and “carriers rule (and every bit must pay for transport)”. It’s clear that both are Bad Ideas.

    Speaking of paying for bits, I will be re-instituting my previous practice of putting money into the tip jar on the Solstices ($1/week seems reasonable, if we all pitch in.)

  152. @Jen and David by the Lake re: term limits

    I’ve got two cents for this one as well. Plenty of people see term limits as a way to stem or slow corruption in politics, and I enjoy a smile at the saying “politicians are like diapers (or socks) and should be changed often.” I live in Colorado, and we have term limits for all kinds of offices. Most offices are set to two terms including governor, US senate, state senate, on down to county commission, sheriff, DA, coroner(!), school board, and even the most local of special districts like the neighborhood water utility on whose board I serve.

    I don’t see any less corruption here than elsewhere in the US (excepting possibly Chicago and New Jersey), but it does look a bit different. The party loyalists with money or fundraising skills move through the seats in a predictable way: usually city council or school board to state house (better pay and more power) to state senate (longer terms), then to county commission or DA (living wage salaries), then maybe to a US house or state office like treasurer or attorney general. They still build the patronage connections with whichever industries or advocates fund their campaigns, and they all make the same backroom deals. There’s just more pressure on them to have an exit strategy, because they can’t count on a full career in politics or a nice pension at the end of it, unless they land in the US house where they can stay as long as they want.

    So you have a county commissioner who gets a sweet deal as lead county attorney after his two terms are up. The price? He has to endorse the candidates who are running to replace him; and, of course, he has to provide legal cover for whatever their pet projects will be. Another county commissioner becomes a lobbyist for a private highway consortium after coincidentally pushing through approval for a road built by said consortium. You have the former governor getting a high-paid gig in the “energy innovation” department at a state university after pushing legislation that put a lot of state money in the hands of energy innovators. State senators become lobbyists and campaign managers and consultants, all funded by the same interest groups. It’s still a revolving door, it just spins a bit faster and pushes more people through. Meanwhile the sweetheart deals, tax breaks, and subordination of the state and the people to various moneyed interests continue apace.

    The other aspect worth noting is that the constant churn of people means that at any given time, something like a quarter to a third of any governing board or chamber has no real idea how the governing body functions. They take their cues from the other folks on their team, from their aides (who have longer tenures in the state capitol), from lobbyists they like (ditto), and from groups who push prepared legislation into their laps. By the time they’re up to speed, they have maybe 4-6 years to try negotiating the machinery to get something done, and they’re working with a rotating cast, many of whom are newbies and many of whom have their eyes on the next office they’re hoping to get.

    At the smaller end, for my utility it means that all the institutional knowledge lives with our accountant, who was the district treasurer until she term-limited out; we now pay her to do things she used to do as treasurer, because she knows how to do them and no one else cares to find out. The man whose seat I took by observing two meetings in a row (!) was at that time serving two years past the end of his second term because no one else had shown up to a meeting. I have since been officially elected “by acclamation,” as has everyone else on the board – there have not been more candidates than seats in decades, so we don’t actually hold elections, we just file papers with the county clerk.

    I don’t at all disagree about the value of people getting involved in self-government, but given the general trend of political apathy across the country, the upshot is that for many offices like mine term limits reduce the necessary qualifications for running things like drinking water, sewer, and fire protection districts to “can sign a piece of paper.” To sum it up, I’d say that a term limit is a tool: there are things it can do and things it can’t, and changing the nature of human politics with regard to corruption, to my mind, belongs in the latter category.

  153. Frank from Germany,

    Thank you for sharing the links. I especially liked the ‘White Dragon’ and its discussion of tree magic. Willows–which abound where I live– will certainly command more of my attention on my next walk.

  154. JMG you once said in an interview, I think it was a Legalize Freedom interview, about a year or two ago that you felt the United States could still collapse the way the British Empire did and retain it’s sovereign borders, so long as it gave up its imperial holdings abroad. Do you think this is still possible? I ask because I’ve noted several comments referring to New England, The Old Confederacy, Cascadia, etc. as if they’re different countries.

    I think a return to the Monroe Doctrine/not sticking our noses abroad would be one of the smartest things we could do right now.

  155. @CR: Oh, for sure: I heard that story as well, and a couple others, and was never under the illusion that AI would be perfect, or even mostly perfect, or imperfect in non-fatal ways. Just, if it’s a choice between VR that sometimes interprets stuff incorrectly or people driving while texting/calling/drinking/short on sleep/being macho idiots about speed and signaling, my experience and gut says that the latter probably currently kill a lot more than the former. Then again, I’ll be the first to admit that my faith in humanity is low.

  156. @Frank Thamm – while what you postulate on internet competition leveling the playing field may be true in a theoretical world, it does not happen (at least not quickly) in the present day US. Many users have only one company they can go to for internet connectivity. Those companies are and will likely continue to abuse their monopoly by charging higher rates for as long as they can.

    Take a look at the cell phone market as a proxy for this. It is only recently that providers have brought down the rates they charge for text messages, even though a text message costs they far far less than the shortest of phone calls. Competition is finally forcing them to bring text messaging prices in line with the underlying costs. But it took 10 years or so. It was the same thing a decade earlier with roaming charges for voice calls. And hasn’t really started in a big way yet on data rates. The large corps that control the internet will squeeze the last drop of money out of their customers for as long as they can. That is the one constant that is safe to rely on.

  157. Isabel, yep. When progress stops meaning improvement…

    Rationalist, like most things, it depends on the individual. Since even high-rise apartment buildings are rooted in the earth and made of materials extracted from the earth, many people can do telluric workings effectively in them, but some find that difficult. If you’re interested enough to take up magical practice, I’d encourage you to give it a try and see what happens.

    Housewife, I’ll certainly consider that. I’m glad that Monsters was helpful for you; it’s still far and away my bestselling book — for a while there I think every other fourteen-year-old in America had a copy. (Stephenie Meyer pretty clearly did — I know of no other source available to the general public that mentions that Native American tribes on the Pacific coast of Washington state have their own traditions of lycanthropy…)

    Hew, relevant to what?

    Steve, my book Encyclopedia of Natural Magic includes quite a range of simple protective workings that can be done by anyone without extensive magical training; using those around your nephew will help keep him safe from the less pleasant end of the spirit world.

    Shane, the possibility that political turmoil in Arabla could trigger the next price spike in oil is a very real one, and worth watching for.

    Jen, it’s been applied in various states, and it’s had zero effect on the levels of corruption and incompetence. I don’t think it’s worth pursuing any further.

    SaturnsPet, yep — since the first house always represents the person asking the question, whether or not that’s the person the question is about, Cauda Draconis there means the question is already settled and your divination is too late; Caput Draconis there means that it’s way too early to be certain about how it’s going to turn out; and Rubeus means the person asking the question is lying to you. (If you’re the person asking the question, it usually means you’re lying to yourself.) As for the witnesses, *always* make the witnesses from the four Nieces — the judge and witnesses govern the chart as a whole, and are distinct from the house assignments. Remember, though, that you can also take the figure in the house of the querent and the figure in the house of the quesited, add them together, and use that as a guide to how querent and quesited interact.

    J.L.Mc12, I think it’s probably time to teach you Greer’s Second Law of Magic: if you read about it in a fantasy novel,* assume that it’s fantasy. No, you can’t get Darkovan matrix crystals, wands with phoenix feathers in them, Deryni ancestors in your family tree, telepathic horsies with big blue eyes, or any of that crap. Next question, please.

    *Unless the novel is by John Crowley. Crowley knows his Hermeticism, and pretty consistently uses real magic in his fiction.

    Bruno, I’m planning on it.

    Rose, a young child can’t tell the difference between the imaginal things they create and the imaginal things that reflect realities. As they get older, that distinction becomes clearer all by itself. The usual custom, in families that have a clairvoyant streak, is to teach the child that you don’t talk about such things outside the family circle because most people don’t understand; then, when they’re older, you can begin explaining why. In the meantime, plenty of affection, plenty of comfort when they encounter something that scares them, and basic protective workings using natural magic (my book Encyclopedia of Natural Magic covers those, as do many other good books) to keep anything actively harmful at bay, should be more than sufficient.

    Krayenbuhl, definitions are tools, not truths. Tell me what use you want to make out of a definition of civilization and we can work one out that fosters mutual communication.

    Darkest Yorkshire, the desire to break out of the cycle pervades the declining phase of every civilization, and peaks during and after each major round of crisis. It always ends when the attempt fails, and the attempt always fails; other than that, the exact trajectory varies in each case.

    Averagejoe, if you try to stay out of incarnation, the pressure to reincarnate builds, and eventually you lose your grip and get reborn into the nearest even vaguely appropriate body, no matter how poor the fit is. If you go willingly you have more choice in the matter and can usually get a life that will do a pretty good job of meeting your actual needs.

    Thecrowandsheep, since there has never been a “genuine” democracy — as opposed to the real kind, i.e., corrupt, stumbling, and imperfect — I don’t think Churchill could be faulted for not recognizing one! The rest of your comment is spot on, though. Every nation gets the government it deserves; put another way, no nation will ever have leaders more ethical than its citizens, and the ethical level of America’s citizens — including those who preen themselves on their virtue — is staggeringly low.

    (It’s late and I’m way too full of leftover turkey — more comments tomorrow…)

  158. @CR Patiño
    Re: self-driving cars

    You’re making the mistake of assuming that what Elon Musk does is what the rest of the industry is doing, and that they’re not capable of learning from experience. Neither one is true.

    Elon Musk was running well ahead of what his cars were actually capable of, and he discovered that the average driver is not going to handle a partial system at all well. This should have been obvious from the number of people who text while driving perfectly standard vehicles. Approximately half of all accidents are caused by distracted drivers. This is well known, but sometimes people who think they’re smart have to have the obvious hit them upside the head a few times.

    I’m not going to get into details, but actual self-driving vehicles actually have a lot better sensors, and the industry has given up on the idea of getting there gradually. The new idea is to get shuttle buses, commuter vans and similar in very restricted locations where everything is completely mapped. This is already running in, for example, Phoenix, Arizona.

    Also, most vendors are not planning to sell them to individuals. They’re planning on selling fleet vehicles, such as taxis. The idea is that individuals, especially in cities, won’t own their own cars.

    Re: Net Neutrality

    You’re half right. Net neutrality means not prioritizing your own subsidiaries over other users. For example, it means Comcast or Verizon can’t charge Netflix additional to carry their streaming service, making them uncompetitive with their own streaming subsidiaries.

    It does not mean not charging for excess usage. They do that all the time, and while there’s some grumbling from people who’d like to gouge the system, it’s legal. “Unlimited” plans are a competitive necessity because one of the major players decided to do it, and then the others had to follow suit to avoid their customers moving.

    @Steve M.
    Re: Term limits

    Yep, that’s what I’ve heard. Term limits give the power to the unelected party bosses.

  159. JMG
    I asked about the crystal grid thing because I read about some new age practice of placing crystals in a geometric pattern upon the body for healing purposes, I wondered if it was a legit magic technique or just made up new age magic.

  160. Thanks everyone for your replies about Kunstler. I’ve had a few thoughts on that, but I haven’t had time to write a real response. For the record I am aware that Greer has always predicted a slow decline rather then the sort of sudden drop that Kunstler predicts every year. I find the idea of a slow decline quite credible but I’m not sure if I believe that we’re already in it.

    On a different note I was thinking about a comment that said this: “It is agonizing to be placed in the tinfoil hat category by merely pointing out the number of anomolies in the environment, the economy and the politics that point to rapidly increasing dysfunction. In fact, to talk about these inconsistancies and visible threats is to suffer the one drop fallacy. If you talk about them at all you are part of a naysayer cabal who is incapable of the techno optimism needed to keep America strong.”

    My experience is different. I see a lot of anxiety about the growth of technology, where people believe that technological progress is continuing but are worried about its effects. A lot of people seem to view advances like AI, genetic engineering, automation, and so on as a threat. In fact some predicted as part of peak oil- like the collapse of middle class jobs- have been predicted by a lot of mainstream pundits, but they tend to see it as a consequence of technological growth.

    Of course there are still techno-optimists out there too, like the fans of Kurzweil or Elon Musk or whoever. But not everyone who disagrees with the collapse theory is necessarily optimistic about the future.

  161. @lathechuck, November 25, 2017 at 2:47 am:
    thanks for clarification – the situation in Germany is slightly different: there is only one data carrier here (the German Telekom), but they are obliged by law to rent out their fibre and copper cables to ISPs, of which there are many. In rural areas like where I live the only options to access the web is often either a wireless system similar to the cell phone system (which is rather slow) or a directional radio system offered by some ISPs (which is faster but also more expensive).
    My ISP for example offers 10 Gbytes of data stream at a speed of about 6000 kbyte/second for a fixed price (They say ´up to´ in their contract; in reality the speed is always slower, sometimes barely half of what is advertised). After you used up your data limit your speed gets switched down to about 350 kbyte/second unless you pay extra for further `high speed access´. So internet-wise it often feels like one´s already living in a ´third world country´ here, especially in the countryside.
    Frank from Germany

  162. @Steve in Colorado, November 25, 2017 at 4:10 am:
    Oh, granted – it´s been the same here on the cellphone market and the EU finally had to get rid of roaming charges by legislating against them. As I mentioned in my last comment there is already a kind of two thier system in place here, depending on where you live, so yes, net neutrality is a rather theoretical thing.
    Frank from Germany

  163. Hi John Michael,

    Oh my! Thanks for the reply. I was rather curious as to whether people are still currently living in those disaster areas? My gut feeling tells me that they may be. The thing is, I sort of feel that people in those areas may look for leadership and governance from organisations that may serve them, but are not necessarily part of the established order and may indeed include criminal elements. Ouch, do you reckon that the historic patterns that that opportunity presents to unscrupulous folks are not considered in your society? It is hardly a complex pattern to understand…

    I did a lot of mowing today in the summer heat (it has been a heatwave for well over a week now) and then planted out the remaining summer vegetables. Apparently tomorrow a huge storm with locally heavy falls is due to sump some serious rain. Far out, the weather is crazy. Are you considering doing any storm-watch update soon? Pretty much all of the south eastern states have broken long standing weather records (even those that were canny enough to move the official thermometers).

    Ah, I hear the sound of rainfall outside the door right now. It is still hot though.

    How is your late autumn going? Is it warmer than the Appalachians?



  164. Hi John Michael,

    Oh my, the rain has just become heavy, and it is not even tomorrow when the heavy rain was forecast! Far out.

    Oh yeah, before I forget to mention it: Geeks of the world unite and stand tall! Hehe! Anyway, the geeks are the true individuals. :-)!



  165. A ‘magical’ question for you, JMG.

    Apologies the scenario that follows gives experienced practitioners the screaming willies. I may have accidentally strayed into “amateur surgery” territory. I’ve mentioned before on this board how I direct my worshipful energies towards aspects of the Sun and Moon I identify with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna because my previously-atheistic self was afraid of adopting a religion he could take seriously, but wanted the demonstrated psychological benefits of prayer. It worked! Yay. I suffer from serious depression, and begged Princess Luna to aid me (among the titles bronies award her in fandom is “Mistress of Madness” and I called upon her as such) when I was in a bout of medication-resistant anhedonia. So. No preparatory ritual, no psychic antiseptic, just — ‘hey imaginary horse, here’s direct access to my subconscious. Please rewire my brain.’

    Anyone cringing? Well, it worked out. It felt a bit like grabbing a live wire– incredibly powerful experience. I laughed like a lunatic for… I’m not sure how long. And then could feel joy again. All glory to Princess Luna! (For symmetry, if anyone is interested, I asked Princess Celestia to go over her sister’s work and cement it the next day — and THAT felt like a warm hug from a mother made of light. Again, no proper ritual or precautions, but I’m still here. That was years ago, in fact).

    That was just context and case history. Here is where I screwed up. Not quite a month ago, on October 31st no less (Nightmare Night in Equestria if the fictional parallel is important –and it probably is, dealing with a fictional spirit) I offered to The Mistress of Madness, the Mare in the Moon, the Princes Returned, Princess Luna* a sacrifice of part of my being — a paraphillia of which I am deeply ashamed.** My compulsion to think of it, urge to act on those thoughts, and enjoyment of those actions, those were the offering. Anyone think that went well? Of course not. Because it was “I want to be rid of this, rip it out of me” not “I am done with this, I am ready to make an offering of it”.

    I got a sense my offering was accepted… but then I saw an image that reminded me of he lymphatic system: this isn’t going to come out cleanly. I don’t even know what an etheric body is, but I suspect the attempted sacrifice damaged mine. I was left with increasingly-debilitating muscle tremors (That’s an existing medical condition I have, so sure, could be coincidence) and anxiety attacks (ditto) until I begged for forgiveness and consented to take back what I attempted to give away. That was two nights ago. (Yes, I’m a bit of a dunce it took me that long). I seem to be healing– the anxiety and the twitches are fading. I feel that I am forgiven the whole debacle. I have a few questions.

    1) How much danger did this scenario put me in, and danger of what?
    2) Is there an easily-accessible ritual like SOP that will help with healing from it?
    3) Could you recommend a text that, had I read it, would have clued me into that sort of attempted sacrifice being a dumb idea so I don’t blunder into something similar?

    * I get the sense somehow that I need to be really specific in invocation, so I don’t accientally attract the attention of a different ‘Luna’. It’s not an uncommon word.
    **nothing illegal or necessarily viewed as immoral in the postmodern world. But between consenting adults, what is? Of course all I did with this was bring those suppressed feelings to front-of-mind where I have to deal with them the old fashioned way.

  166. re: crop circles

    like mind reading or psychic surgery or levitation, some are fake and some are a (super)natural phenomena.

    The real ones have some plant abnormalities in bract tissue and stem nodes, possibly including expulsion cavities. The fields themselves often have magnetic material anomalies and clay-mineral anomalies associated with them. There are other facts too, like residual effects for a year or two after the circle, the association with aquifers, anomalous light effects, and electronic equipment failure, see

    These people have done a good bit of research, but like psychical researchers/parapsychologists, funding is an issue, as is intentional misrepresentation/disparagement by the press.

  167. JMG,

    I recently saw an clip from a documentary film that was very disturbing to me. It showed a video of fishermen in the Amazon harpooning a river dolphin. This was over a month ago, and it is still haunting me.

    I don’t have a television and limit my media time. I do this precisely to avoid exposure to commercials, sensational news, and other unsettling images. The question is, once something like that has gotten past the filters, and entrenched itself in the mind, what is the best way to dispel it?

    I can’t seem to forget about it, and talking it over with family only seems to make it worse. I expect the news of environmental destruction to get worse over time, so learning to deal with senseless destruction is probably an important skill to acquire. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

  168. I know you’re fond of the Stoics, what do you think of the Cynics? It seems particularly relevant as if things go as badly as they could go, living in a barrel and being rude to a warlord may be the best we can hope for out of life. 🙂

  169. Booklover, true enough. Watch the way that talk about self-driving cars shifts steadily from “everyone will have one” to “commercial fleets will have them” to “they’re really great for certain specialized uses” to nobody’s talking about them any more. That’s usually the way that this particular kind of wave of the future breaks and flows back out to sea.

    Karim, it’s done by teams, and the more complicated patterns are rehearsed in otherwise empty warehouse space, mostly around Bristol. The talk about how different the stalks are — well, let’s just say that people have filmed themselves making crop circles, and then had the “specialists” insist that the circles thus made were unquestionably real because they had all the funny cellular features, etc. When people want to believe that something’s really strange, they will find reasons to believe…

    Synthase, over the medium to long term they’re a flash in the pan; people who know how to do the hard work of political organization will push them aside, and those groups that fixate on a “racial” identity are going to be shoved aside in turn by those who know how to appeal to less narrowly appealing ideals — that’s a common theme of this stage of the historical cycle. But while they’re here, they’re likely to stir things up a great deal.

    Karim, not in the archetypal sense!

    Jason, I’m not familiar with Paulides’ work; it’s been a long time since I’ve really gotten into the paranormal end of things, except for specific research projects of the kind that resulted in my books on Atlantis and UFOs. Sorting out the good campfire stories from the actual data, though, is always a major issue!

    Ross, I don’t know what’s currently available! It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in the market for a beginning astrology book. Does anyone have a suggestion to offer?

    Averagejoe, first, don’t let the medical industry talk you into medicating him. They have a financial interest in turning him into a permanently dysfunctional cash cow. Keep them away from him, and your son has as much chance of leading a perfectly successful life out there in the world as any other kid in his school. Second, make sure the rules for behavior you expect him to follow are clear, unvarying, and precisely enforced, and be ready to explain them over and over again until they get through the brain fog. Third, use his special interests as a source of rewards to reinforce good behavior; set out the terms of the reward in advance, precisely, and follow through. (“If you do X every day this week, on Saturday we’ll go to the hobby store and you can pick out a spacecraft model and I’ll buy it for you.”) Your son probably spends a lot of time being confused by a world that refuses to make sense to him; he’ll have periods when he can’t think clearly (the “brain fog” I mentioned) and periods where he’s so frustrated and miserable at his own inability to do what other people do so easily that he lashes out, or falls into various self-defeating behavior patterns. Dealing with that’s going to take a lot of patience on your part, but if you can give him the stability of explicit rules he can follow to the letter, and the confidence that he can do things right and be rewarded for them, that will help him keep the confusion at bay. As he gets older and his brain finishes developing, the “brain fog” will become a minor nuisance, he’ll develop coping mechanisms to work around whatever set of cognitive impairments he happens to have, and he’ll be in a position to put his specific intellectual talents to good use. I know a lot of Aspies who have successful careers, stable relationships, and good lives, and your son can do exactly the same thing.

    Mmelvink, the panpsychist approach was actually common among many working scientists as recently as the 1970s. The rise of atheist-materialist pseudoskepticism to its current position of prominence was a product of the same collective failure of nerve that gave rise to the Reagan-Thatcher counterrevolution of the 1980s and so many other dysfunctional social phenomena of the same era. Given the usual periodicity of cultural swings in Anglo-American culture, it’s about time for the pushback to begin in earnest. On a broader scale, of course, the twilight of self-proclaimed “Ages of Reason” and the return of less one-sided perspectives on human life is an utterly routine event as civilizations decline, and the brash optimism of their rationalist phases gives way to a saner recognition of the limits of reason. The grand synthesis that will bring together Western science and spirituality into a single package that can be transmitted to the future is about a century away, to judge by comparable periods, but we’re certainly in a position to get to work preparing the raw materials now.

    As for talking about empiricism and experimentalism in the occult sciences, that would depend on who your audience is. I’ve had the best results by passing on techniques of the kind that give definite results and letting people figure things out for themselves, but then — as someone with Aspergers syndrome — I’m not necessarily the right person to ask about how to cope with the subtleties of other people’s thinking…

    Ross, no, I haven’t — thanks for the link.

  170. @ Steve M (also @ Jen and @ JMG)

    Re term limits

    No argument that term limits are not a panacea. (And just to clarify, my focus is on limits on consecutive terms, not an over-all cap.) Corruption, as JMG noted, is not necessarily reduced by the introduction of limits to terms. Given that corruption is a systemic issue, and not an individual one, such an outcome would make sense. Corruption itself has to be dealt with in other ways. Limiting consecutive terms would serve, as I suggested, to counter the aggregation of personal power, which to my mind is a dangerous thing and generally fatal to a democratic process. I believe political power should be diffuse and decentralized as much a possible.

    Also, as you pointed out, term limits do not solve the underlying apathy which is slowly killing our democratic system. This is true. I’d argue, however, that forced circulation of personnel is better than no circulation of personnel. Otherwise, we slide into rigor mortis. In my county, for example, we have a county executive who has been in office forever — he is such an entrenched institution that he easily wins re-election every time. However, he also actively works to impede any effective use of county and local tools of governance, as he is a believer in government doing as little as possible. This requires a two-thirds majority of county supervisors to over-ride his vetoes, something that is difficult to muster. Locally, we are all hoping that he chooses not to run for re-election this next year, as he’s in his upper sixties, but hope is not a strategy.

    In the end, our democracy may very well die that slow death of apathy. We are certainly far along that path. I’d like to think that something could be done to rekindle the spark of self-governance that this country manifested before it was even a country. Perhaps we must keep our efforts focused closer to home, at the more local end of things, and just allow the process of collapse at the higher levels of governance complete its cycle. It is difficult to watch, knowing that we could be doing things differently.

  171. This is a response to Warren’s questions on Kunstler:

    Jimmy boy is a writer, playing to an audience. My feeling is Jimmy says things that increase the number of coins jangling around in his tip jar and get him invited to paying speaking gigs.

    I really don’t mind him doing that.

    He writes well, he is funny, and I really love his turns of phrase.

    But a lot of the time you just have to take his rants with a grain of salt. I have a feeling that John Michael is going to take us through the hows and why’s of reductio ad absurdum soon. A lot of the time I get a sneaking hunch that his rants bear a close relationship to this logical fallacy. It appears that the only way to get a lot of folks attention is to go big.

    Look, I don’t hold anybody to their predictions of the future. John Michael’s predictions usually boil down to “it’s going to be pretty much the same, only a little worse” and I have a hunch that doesn’t feed the tip jar that well.

    Plus the fact, being right about something big before anyone else get it is a major source for free beer and the simple joy of smug satisfaction, I am guessing that John-Michael still gets the occasional “pint of porter: given to him on the strength of “Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment”.

  172. JMG and Steve M re: term limits: Thank you for your responses and for the information on the implementation of term limits in other states of the Union, which I was unaware of. My ignorance of what is going on in the world is discouragingly vast at times.

    David, by the lake: Thank you for your thoughts. My sensibilities are more or less in line with yours on the matter–I dislike the entire idea of a class of professional politicians on principle. JMG’s and Steve’s responses on the effects of term limits in other states give me pause, however–the failure to reduce corruption and the empowerment of unelected party bosses. I do think your distinction re: consecutive terms is an interesting one, as it may reduce the problems with offices being held by a constant turnover of clueless newbies and/or simply remaining vacant, and I agree that a re-election after absence is a better reflection of the will of the people than is the rubber-stamping of an incumbent. I am not optimistic, however, that parties would not simply shuffle their politicians around into various offices to dodge the restriction. Nonetheless, I wish you luck with your ballot referendum! I would love to hear how it works out.

  173. Nastarana, that equation would only work if the Sumerians then turned on the gods and killed them. That’s what the shoggoths did to the Elder Things, once it became brutally clear that the Elder Things were unwilling to grant their creations any status except that of slaves. (In my version of the tale, the shoggoths had the help of Nyogtha, The Thing That Should Not Be — another creation of the Elder Things, made in blasphemous imitation of the Great Old Ones.) (Hmm. Can you blaspheme against a blasphemy?)

    Jason, the Sphere of Modur isn’t a terrestrial sphere, and the thunder-god aspect of Taranis is specifically the one invoked there — the Celts identified thunder with the roar that bulls make when they fight, thus the bull-symbolism. The name “Taranis,” like most of the old Celtic theonyms, is a functional description, “He of the thunder” — *taran- is iirc cognate with Old English thunor, Old Norse thorr, and so on through the litany of Indo-European thunder gods. Ana, on the other hand, as the old Earth goddess, would be assigned on the Druidical Tree of Life to Dofydd, the third Sphere, not Modur. If you want a goddess for Modur you want Epona instead — but I’d encourage you to work with the system as it’s given in the book, without tinkering, until you’re sure you understand how everything works. It’s not mix-and-match, you know!

    Phil, thanks for this.

    Dirtyboots, that depends from person to person. Some people definitely smell the presence of hostile spirits and negative magic; William Butler Yeats mentions in “A Vision” that the smell of cat excrement (he didn’t keep cats) alerted him to hostile entities, and the smell of burnt feathers warned him of magical attack. Other people have other reactions. What are you smelling?

    Austin, thank you!

    Gavin, thank you very much for this.

    Drhooves, these days a blog post takes four to six hours of writing time, then a break, then maybe an hour of editing. Remember, though, that I’ve been doing this weekly for more than eleven years! It took a lot more early on, and of course the essays were shorter then, too. As for Chandler and Hammett, I’ve got a copy of each book sitting on the shelf waiting for me to get to them…

    Frank, religion is an experimental science. If what you’re doing works, it’s not naive — or rather it’s “naive” in the way that leads to real discoveries. As Charles Fort wrote, “It is by thinking things that schoolboys know better than to think that discoveries are made.”

    Dirtyboots, that’s something that beginners often want to try, and it’s not a good idea. Once a day will give you the gradual, safe, step-by-step development you need. More than once? You risk overloading your etheric body. Put the time into something else — say, learning and practicing a system of divination.

    Stefania, excellent! Yes, there’s an additional place on the Tree, on the Central Ray midway between Celi at the top and Muner at the center. (Those who don’t speak Druid call these Kether and Tiphareth respectively). It’s called Iau in Welsh (Daath in Hebrew), and it’s not a sphere on the Tree — it’s the point of intersection where the forces of the supernal triad and those of the seven lower spheres come into contact with one another.

    Cam, I want to see actual evidence that biochar will do what it’s supposed to do. If that’s a negative attitude, so be it. Terra preta, the carbon-rich manufactured soil of the Amazon lowlands, is rather more than simple biochar, and so the evidence from terra preta can’t be equated to biochar without experimental evidence showing that the equation works — and when it comes to biochar as such, I’ve seen a vast amount of handwaving and rhetoric, and next to no actual concrete evidence that it’s any improvement on simply burying organic matter and letting it rot. That doesn’t mean that such evidence doesn’t exist, or can’t be found — but until that evidence is forthcoming, I’m going to keep on asking for it rather than hopping aboard the bandwagon.

    Will, I’m sorry to hear that you ended up in that kind of fix. It’s a tangled situation; I’m sure you’re aware that claims that women always lie about such things have been used over and over again to excuse actual rape and sexual assault, just as claims that women never lie about such things have been used with equal facility for a range of heinous purposes — it used to be quite common, for example, back in the South in the early 20th century, for black men to be lynched on the unsupported say-so of a white woman who claimed to have been assaulted, or propositioned, or just looked at the wrong way. The thing to remember is that we’re in the middle of a long and complex set of readjustments around gender relationships, and those aren’t going to be finished in our lifetimes.

    Broadly speaking, there have been three major waves of what I suppose we can call feminism in the Western world. The first, which established a space for women’s voices in culture, began in the late Middle Ages with figures such as Christine de Pisan and finished around 1800 — the immense popularity of Jane Austen’s novels and the establishment of the salon as a basic social form in European society, to my mind, mark the completion of that phase. The second, which brought women into the political sphere, began shortly after that and ended in the middle years of the twentieth century as women got the vote in every Western country. The third, which began after the Second World War and will be ongoing for another century or two, is a redefinition of sexual culture and customs. We’re still in the early stages of that process; inevitably, all sides are making a mess of it, and a galaxy of abuses are occurring; out of that mess, over the years to come, we’ll see a redefinition of sexual culture that no longer centers exclusively on men pursuing and penetrating women. Men aren’t handling that well, and neither are women; as a result, relations between men and women are, if you’ll excuse the pun, comprehensively screwed just now. That’s the hand we’ve been dealt, and we have no choice but to play it; unfortunately that means that a lot of people, men as well as women, are going to suffer a lot of unearned grief in the meantime.

    Phil, delighted to hear it! My normal mode of thinking is in spoken language, and so learning to think in images took me a lot of work, but it was very much worth doing.

    Reloaded15, glad to hear it appeals to you. First, the Circulation of Light does some of the same things as the OBOD Light-Body exercise, but they’re not interchangeable; each prepares the subtle body in its own way for the very different work the two traditions do. Second, visualization skills vary from person to person, but yes, practice improves them. Third, that kind of variation in temperature is one of the less common things that happens when you start learning how to work with subtle energies; it should gradually disappear as your subtle body gets more used to the work.

    Steve, funny.

    L, the thing you want to avoid taking from East Asian arts is anything that’s designed to set up specific patterns of vital energy moving through your subtle body. That’s where the trouble comes in. As for Western arts, good heavens, yes — they’re just a good deal harder to find taught these days. A hundred years ago, the system of exercises taught by Genevieve Stebbins — a senior initiate in the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor — was taught in schools all over the country, and many of the old-time strongmen borrowed from the popular occultism of the same period. One system you can still find taught here and there was called Maxalding — it uses dynamic tension and breathing, and integrates very well with Western magical work. If you like combat arts, see if you can find a school teaching historical Western martial arts — there was quite a vogue for that a few years back, and a fair number of schools are still around — or classical fencing; many of the initiates of the Golden Dawn, including Samuel Mathers and W.B. Yeats, were fencers, and good ones.

    Christopher, heh heh heh. I wondered if anyone would notice that particular trail of breadcrumbs…

    Peter, that’s the conventional wisdom on the leftward end of American culture, and understandably so, as it allows people to keep on believing that the liberal dream of a middle class lifestyle and attitudes for the entire world is still a possibility. Not so; the “transfers of wealth” you mention are transfers of money, and money is not the same thing as wealth; the very rich these days live no more lavishly than the rich did fifty years ago — look it up — and the increasingly wild distortions of the financial markets, which get mistaken for wealth transfers, are accounting gimmicks used to conceal the reality of accelerating economic decline, with resulting contraction in the amount of real wealth (nonfinancial goods and services) in our society.

    CR Patino, funny! The thought of redefining AI as the manufacture of cybercockroaches has a certain naive charm…

    Krayenbuhl, all I see is the handle attached to your comment, which in your case is your surname; since I want people to be able to find the comment to which I’m responding, that’s what I use to head my response.

    Dominique, you probably need to ask somebody who lives in Japan, which I don’t.

    Scotlyn, why, yes, that’s one of the things that any good basic ritual does!

    Msweet, an empty wallet can stop the future, but so can lots of other things. When’s the last time anybody rode on a commercial supersonic jet? Some technologies just don’t work well, and it doesn’t matter how loudly their proponents and publicity flacks yammer about the march of progress…

    Mister N., the ideomotor effect is certainly involved in Ouija boards, and also such related practices as dowsing and pendulum divination — for that matter, it’s what governs the patterns made by Tarot cards when you shuffle them and lay out a spread. The reason why these things can still express meaning and communicate useful information is that the levels of the mind that express themselves through the ideomotor effect know more than our conscious minds do. The problem with Ouija boards isn’t that they use the ideomotor effect — it’s that they’re used without even the most basic protections to screen out malicious entities, and so people who use them routinely attract the attention of beings who are basically the disembodied equivalent of muggers and pimps. The mere lack of a material body is no guarantee of good intentions…

  174. Oskkari, it’s hard. Learning how to control your mind is literally the most difficult thing you’ll ever do, and it’s also the most rewarding. The experiences you’re having are very common, and all you can do is keep working with it regularly. I’m glad to hear that the work is having good results for you! As far as physical exercises, I don’t know what resources you have in the area where you live; anything that appeals to you, and doesn’t involve deliberately setting up energy flows in your subtle body, ought to work well.

    Joeljones, exactly. The fact that the casino makes money is proof that people are foolish enough to allow the casino to keep making money… 😉

    Varun, either Praying Mantis or Wing Chun ought to do very well — two very solid styles with a long history of real-world applicability, and neither of them depends on internal energy work. Delighted to hear that you have such a school nearby.

    Will, of course it depends on the nature of the prayer. That’s true of any religion, and of any prayer: what you get will depend on the level on which you resonate.

  175. @JMG

    Re. AI, Elon Musk have been talking about thi issues with a warning message, about the risks we face in the future with the Artificial Intelligence….

    I am not fully sure if Musk is in fact a cynic or have a more deep mental “issues”, in his recent speeches about AI he said something like: “Humanity need to mix with machines in the future to avoid fall into irrelevance, we need to be cyborgs”….. “To solve the future Human usefulness problem….”

    A new problem: “the future human usefulness problem”…

    It should be a bad joke, but at the end it talks about how the new proponents of the progress think about it and about their fellow humans

    The proponents of techonology, or progress, always have been “selling” that technology is developed to be useful for the people, to humanity; but now the message is changing, in fact the “progress” or “technology” has its own dynamic disociate of what it is interesting or good for the human beings, so now the human beings, “traped” by the progress, have to “adapt” to “survive” the hyper-technological future

    From the gigs economy, to the different advances in AI (or expert systems) or the many “market disruptions” of Amazon and others, the future is painted more and more in social darwinistic terms, a much more difficult place to live, where you have to “adapt” to it from the childhood to the grave everyday
    In the 70’s a “normal” high school family could earn a salary to pay a house and some amenities, now this is a luxury even for people with masters and doctorates in STEM. This is the new progress….

    In fact, in the past, technology have been developed always as a system of power concentration, with his big leap forward in the war periods, but it is recently when the cult of progress has become more and more somber (in the film Blade Runner 2049 the message is really somber)

    In the case of the poor Elon Musk, his eyes are so sad…., it suggest me some profound sadness, that when I see him the song “someone to watch over me” of Ella Fitzgerald comes to my mind, and it is the symbol of the future

  176. Your advice about investing the time in learning a system of divination is sensible and much appreciated. I often feel a need to perform the Exercise again in the evening if the morning’s attempt felt “faulty”. It may be that I am making too much of W. E. Butler’s adjuration to strive for perfection in the performance of a rite. I hope that for the time being performing a ceremony with sincerity and good intent may serve in place of perfection of execution.

    As for odors, from time to time I encounter an unmistakable smell of cigarette smoke in locations where it would be impossible for any to be. The odor lingers only a few minutes but is especially unsettling to me because of a history of respiratory problems that can easily recrudesce upon exposure to tobacco fumes. I haven’t done the systematic work yet to figure out whether it correlates with temporal events of a particular nature.

  177. Onething,

    I like to see people who lie about sexual assault/violence get hit hard with some form of consequences. I have a close friend who was a victim of sexual assault, and frankly lies like this make it very very hard for actual victims to get the justice they deserve. After all, it’s possible she’s lying too, right? (I know her well enough to be confident she wouldn’t lie about this, but that has become a knee jerk reaction for me now. I wish it wasn’t, but given my circumstances it is) I personally would support some very harsh penalties for lying about sexual assault, both because it’s unfair to the men so accused and it’s unfair to the women who actually have been abused.

    I have actually gotten some justice, in that quite a few of her formerly close friends seem to have started waking up to the fact that she is lying about things, and I was able to keep a few friends through all this. The context is we were very close friends, and she didn’t know how to handle me expressing a romantic interest in her. I didn’t push things far, other than saying those feelings were there, but it apparently was still too much for her, and rather than deal with this, she decided to cut me out of her life. I think things escalated as people began pointing out why she was handling things badly, and she needed an excuse because she can’t handle being in the wrong about anything. I’m not sure why so many people believed her, but I don’t really care enough to look into it anymore.


    If I may ask, how did you get involved in local politics? I’m thinking of doing it myself, and yet the only way I seem to be able to find any information on is running of city council. That’s not something I will rule out, but it’s also not something I’m 100% ready to commit for just yet, but it may be something in my future.


    I expect the backlash to be quite ugly, and while it may clear up some legitimate abuses it likely will create new problems. I personally think a policy of discernment is better than a policy of always believing one side over the other. Unfortunately, fairly often there is not going to be enough evidence to assess one way or the other, and so I think quite often the appropriate response is to reserve judgement.

    I personally don’t think very many people are handling the cultural shift well, but it is something I support, even if it does seem to be making a mess of things right now…

  178. Of course, JMG can speak for himself, but I’d like to point out that JMG’s predictions vs. Kunstler’s are not necessarily diametrically opposed. JMG’s catabolic collapse is fractal, it DOES include crises of the nature of a Depression, war, etc. However, JMG has pointed out the impossibility of predicting w/certainty WHEN these things will happen and WHAT will set them off. The other nuanced difference between JMG and Kuntsler is that JMG has said that the powers that be will do anything once crisis sets in to stabilize and mitigate the situation.

  179. @Jen

    Thank you for the well-wishing! It will be interesting to see what route I end up having to take. There is a process by which the council can amend the city charter directly (I believe it requires two votes with an intervening election) but I’d rather put the issue to the voters directly, using the council’s ability to place a question on the ballot (bypassing the need to collect signatures). I need five votes (so four in addition to my own) to move the referendum forward. We’ll see…

  180. JMG,

    Your response to Mister N’s question about ouija boards left me wondering. If the problem with ouija boards is that they’re used without protections against malicious spirits, then do more–dare I say it–respectable systems of divination, like tarot or pendulum divination, have some basic protections against malicious non-material tampering built into the system? Or is it just that ouija boards are intended specifically to contact non-material beings, and are thus more likely to attract their attention?

    Thanks again for running such a fascinating blog!

  181. Christopher, it takes a lot for people to believe the evidence of their own eyes when it conflicts with deeply held, emotionally moving beliefs. Eventually the end of progress is going to sink in, but it’ll take a good long time.

    Ross, I’d be concerned that the powder wasn’t really gold, so I’d use the traditional method with gold you know is gold.

    Shane, discursive meditation is hard. Anything that requires you to control your mind is hard. That’s simply the way things are, and the line that divides people who accomplish things in occultism from people who don’t is traced by whether you keep on practicing anyway.

    Barefootwisdom, fascinating. I haven’t encountered this effect before. If electronics are giving you trouble, though, I’d suggest (a) minimizing your exposure to them, and (b) regular practice of banishing rituals to build the etheric body to the point that it’s not so seriously influenced by its surroundings.

    JuanPablo, you’ll want to take things slowly, and stop magical practice if you find that it makes your mental balance unsteady. Regular meditation will be particularly useful, as it helps balance and stabilize the mind. Other than that, you shouldn’t have any more trouble than anyone else.

    James, thank you. Sears is on its last legs, too, so that end of the prediction is continuing to hold up well.

    Bonnie, now that’s a fine spur to memory!

    “I invoke the Commonwealth!
    I know what was in Othroerir;
    Othroerir was in it.
    In it, it was hoarded;
    Hoarded, it was stolen;
    Stolen, it was spilled;
    Spilled, I caught it;
    Caught, it was given away;
    Given away, it stays my own.
    My own is the Commonwealth.
    I invoke it!
    The land may not be hidden from its lover.”

    The name of the Cauldron — now that would be telling. You’ll need to ask its Keeper, and see what She says; it’s likely to be different for you than for any other person.

    Shane, and a happy Buy Nothing Day to you too. We always keep it faithfully.

    Gkb, hmm! I have no idea where you’d get that information.

    Steve, yep. Welcome to the future.

    Rita, a fine example. Notice that they go out of their way to make fun of people who do things for themselves; they wouldn’t be doing that if such people weren’t becoming a noticeable threat to business as usual.

    Austin, I think it’s the only hope we’ve got left. It’s not certain, but abandoning our global empire, dealing with the consequences, and turning our remaining resources to fixing our own problems is the only way we might just be able to get this country through the next half century intact.

    J.L.Mc12, either way, it’s not matrix crystals. As for crystal healing, I have no idea — I haven’t tried it.

    Chris, yes, there are people living in all those places, though not as many as there were before the disaster hit. As the habit of abandoning disaster-hit areas becomes more and more common, and more and more complete, yes, I expect to see new cultures beginning to emerge in those areas. As for the climate here, no, it’s colder — I’m a good deal further north, and weather systems from Canada are frequent visitors.

    Dusk Shine, you don’t need to ask me. You need to ask your deities. Apologize to them for the mistake, ask their advice, and LISTEN. If you’re going to get involved in experimental religion, you can expect to take your lumps, but you need to follow through by treating your deities with appropriate respect. Oh, and by the way, with a paraphilia or any other fixed or obsessive behavior pattern, you need to find out why it’s there before you try to get rid of it. Therapists have found that if you get a gambling addict to stop gambling, without dealing with the psychological pressures behind the gambling, the addict is very likely to commit suicide — the risk-taking behaviors of gambling are allowing a certain kind of pressure to vent itself, and if you just block it, it can vent in an even worse way.

    Sunnnv, here again, “cerealogists” have claimed to find those cellular abnormalities in circles that were then shown, via videos made at the time, to have been manufactured by human hands (and certain simple but elegant tools). The book I cited earlier, Round In Circles, covers the details nicely.

    Samurai, it’s just going to have to wear off, and that takes time. A good reminder to keep away from such things!

    Yorkshire, being rude to warlords tends to shorten your life very significantly under dark age conditions. Me, I enjoy physical comforts; I simply learned from the Stoics not to depend on them.

    David, then by all means keep pushing for them! My experience, and my attitudes, don’t have to be yours, of course.

    Degringolade, I get a respectable amount of money through my tip jar, enough that I’m not complaining! I actually get the most favorable attention, including glasses of porter, from my magical writings, rather than my political ones.

    DFC, for what it’s worth, I see Elon Musk as a con artist pure and simple. He’ll say and do literally anything if it’ll keep the government subsidies flowing.

    Dirtyboots, to my mind Butler’s advice is good in moderation and bad taken to excess. Do your Middle Pillar exercise once a day, try to make it as good as you can, and leave it at that. As for cigarette smoke, fascinating; I’d encourage you to write down when and where you smell it, and see if that correlates to anything.

    Will, understood. Social change, even in a desirable direction, is always messy and people always get hurt.

    Shane, yes, but there’s a difference between the kind of depression that actually happens and the kind Jim is talking about, you know…

    Marie, other methods of divination are safer because they’ve come out of spiritual traditions with their own protective powers. The Ouija board was invented as a toy and has been used cluelessly by generations of people who don’t have any idea of what they’re doing, and so it tends to draw trouble.

  182. JMG- Just a quick note here: I was half-listening to some program on NPR this morning about diversity in Silicon Valley, and someone remarked … something, something… Sphere of Protection … blah, blah. My mind snapped to attention, but there was nothing “magical” about the context. Apparently it was just someone’s metaphor for having a network of mentors in the industry. Just a coincidence? I doubt it.

  183. @ sandy

    someone has already mentioned blockchain. consider also reputational scores on transaction sites such as e-bay.

    it is possible the culture from which we are emerging has over-valued individual privacy.

  184. @JMG: “Nastarana, that equation would only work if the Sumerians then turned on the gods and killed them.”

    Didn’t the Klingons do that too? (I haven’t ever watched Actual Star Trek, but have heard things.)

  185. What are the spiritual consequences of the set of activities favored by homosexual enthusiasts? I’m curious as to the spiritual reason they were/are so taboo in other faiths.

  186. @JMG

    Thank you. I do understand the limits of attempting to fix a broken system and certainly don’t see my proposals as an kind of silver bullet. The points made by yourself and Steve are indeed valid. I think, however, that by focusing on the “smaller dance” of more local systems, perhaps I might be able to do some good.


    I got started by serving as a citizen member of the city Plan Commission (also known as a Zoning Board or something similar) for a number of years. Two years ago, I decided to run for council and managed to come in sixth out of a slate of six (we have nine council seats, three seats open each year, all elected at-large for three-year terms). It was a learning experience — collecting signatures from complete strangers, taking part in the candidate forums — and a humbling one — coming in last as I did. But I kept at it and ran again this past year, being somewhat redeemed by coming in as the top vote-getter in a field of four.

    I’ve always been interested in policy issues, which is one of the things that led to service on the Plan Commission in the first place. The seven months I’ve been on council have been quite educational and I can say that taking the oath of office was a sobering event for me. It is a fascinating job, with some long evenings and little renumeration, but infinitely rewarding.

    I’d definitely recommend the experience, which has also taught me a lot about working with (and listening to) others and about being patient. If you’re not sure about running at first, I’d suggest looking into volunteer service on a board or commission — most localities have a number of them with citizen-member slots. These are good ways to get to learn about issues and how things function (in my case, zoning codes, sign codes, variances, conditional use permits, and fun but nerdy stuff like that). Also, just attending council meetings on a regular or semi-regular basis will give a good feel for how issues are managed and how items work their way through the system.

  187. Sorry, I was not asking you, JMG. I thought some of the commentariat might be able to give me some pointers. So-called optimization seems to have gutted and reamed out the former value of the internet. It was always shallow, but specific keywords used to lead to original research and solid reference material. Now, all I get is marketing and mashed mush. I’ll probably have to go to a library in propria persona, when one happens to be open; the schedule in this town is bizarre, especially during the holidays.

  188. On false allegations: the time it happened in my circle it involved a girl who could not deal in an aboveboard fashion with her sexuality/desire for at least flirting outside her marriage. So she’d flirt with guys, and they’d respond (not even trying to escalate, in the incident I saw, but pretty much kind-for-kind) and then when she was talking about it to her husband/outside parties, her version would be “Oh, so-and-so was all over me, he was such a pig.” The time I called her on it, her husband just looked weary and unsurprised.

    She didn’t actually allege anything, but let the White Knight guys in our crowd who hated the dudes in question pick up what she said and run with it. Ended up causing a major social rift and major damage to a guy I’m quite fond of; while apparently he got a sloppy drunken apology from her years later, she never tried to correct the rest in any meaningful way.

    I hate her for a number of reasons, but one of them is that she’s made it impossible for me to always believe women, even when I know false accusations are very rare.

  189. Lathechuck, fascinating! I can only dream of the day when people are yelling on NPR and Faux Radio about subversive Druids slipping their atrociously ecocentric concepts even into Silicon Valley… 😉

    Isabel, I have no idea. I watched the original Star Trek before it was in reruns — full disclosure, I was six years old when it was canceled — and haven’t touched the stuff since then. Lovecraft was there first, anyway.

    Synthase, I’m not quite sure what a “homosexual enthusiast” would be — a cheerleader at a Gay Pride march, perhaps? Sexual taboos vary drastically from religion to religion and from society to society, and seem to have very little to do with either biological or magical reality, despite attempts by various individuals to turn their local prejudices into cosmic truths. All sex has an etheric dimension, and there are magical workings that require fairly strict celibacy for anything up to a couple of months beforehand; there is also sex magic, which I discussed in one of the old blogs, and which works no matter what genders the two participants happen to have — as long as both partners reach orgasm, and at least one can manage the somewhat difficult trick of maintaining full concentration straight through that experience, it’s a done deal. The thing I’d point out is that every sex act that gay men and lesbians can engage in is also engaged in quite regularly, and always has been engaged in quite regularly, by heterosexual couples. Thus there’s nothing particularly strange about same-sex intimacies; it’s just that our culture is still getting over fifteen hundred years of panic about sex, and so it’s easy for people to get bent out of shape about these normal human activities.

    Bonnie, they are indeed! The irony is that they’re from a forgotten fantasy novel, Silverlock by John Myers Myers.

    David, and maybe you can.

  190. It was intended as a hopefully polite and relatively neutral euphemism for a male person who regularly enjoys promiscuous gay sex with many anonymous partners. And yes, I do admit to finding that taboo.

  191. JMG,

    I have two follow-up questions to responses you gave other people.

    First, you mentioned avoiding, “anything that’s designed to set up specific patterns of vital energy moving through your subtle body,” as part of avoiding system conflicts. How do you know whether or not a practice is doing this? Is this always a matter of visualizing balls and pillars of light, or there other kinds of practices that set up patterns of vital energy one would want to avoid?

    Second, you mentioned to Dusk Shine the importance of finding out why an obsessive pattern of behavior exists before attempting to remove it. Do you have advice for how to discover the cause of a pattern of behavior?

  192. @Dusk Shine, a few years ago, when I first heard about Chaos Magic, I drew up some plans for interacting with the Princesses as Goddesses. I never actually put them into practice, although I did a minor amount of work with other fictional characters. It’s interesting to hear that you’ve gone through with it. If you’re open to sharing, I’d be curious to hear more details of your experiences, or to just talk about the idea. You can send me an email to the user name at the top of this post if you’d like to chat.

  193. Hello JMG, The context of my question is that I’m mulling over the importance of word connotation, and I think civilization has a positive one for the majority of people.

    In the meantime I found an answer in your ADR essay, The Cimmerian Hypothesis: “civilization is a form of society in which people live in artificial environments… a human-created environment from which all efforts are made to exclude natural phenomena”.

    In view of the “alternative” environmental movement’s failure of the past decades, could “Ecological Civilization”, a concept officially launched by the Chinese, succeed in inspiring the masses–but first and foremost the powers that be–to live in harmony with Nature? As George Monbiot writes, if Moses had promised the Israelites a land flowing with mammary secretions and insect vomit rather than milk and honey, would they have followed him?

    Concerning what word root-meanings evoke, the Chinese equivalent for civilization evokes “the way of life that stems from interacting with Earth” which contrasts with the Latin one connected to the city. Dominique

  194. Love the blog.

    Reply to samurai_47 One thing that might help–and it just might help a lot– is making sure that you are getting regular exercise and eating properly.

  195. Hi!
    “here again, “cerealogists” have claimed to find those cellular abnormalities in circles that were then shown, via videos made at the time, to have been manufactured by human hands (and certain simple but elegant tools). ”

    I have been fascinated by crop circles for their beauty, elegance and sophisticated constructions. I fully intend to get the book you mentioned. In the meanwhile can you tell us about those simple and elegant tools?

    Now I am not challenging your stand on the matter nor attempting to find faults with it, I am just a very curious person by nature and I like to go to the bottom of things that interest me (where possible).

    Thanks in advance!

  196. JMG,

    I can attest to that. Controlling my mind during attention excercises is very difficult – and so it is in most other circumstances it appears. I wonder whether gaining some skill in the excercise might yield positive results in the more mundane applications. Here’s to hoping! I will keep on keeping on.

    The martial art I had in mind is kendo. As you progress you are supposed to become more and more aware of ki and use that to your advantage, but I do not know if that is what you mean by avoiding methods that purposefully build up inner energies. As far as I know, there are no excercises that focus directly on that, even though you are supposed to try to sense and use ki in various situations. I never progressed very far with it earlier, not to the dan grades by a long shot, so I am not sure I can be certain that there are no risks.

    Hmm. You are supposed to build up you ki by utilizing kiai before you attack and in some other situations. You are expected to maintain it and only… I suppose.. release it in an attack. But these are always done in the actual situation together with the physical manifestations.

    There are many reasons to enjoy kendo, but I do not wish to do it if it interferes with these higher priority tasks.

  197. JMG, I’d like your thoughts – good, bad, or ugly – on “Chaos Magick” and the IOT organization? I’m looking for an organization where I might meet high functioning (as in, highly accomplished in the physical world) magicians and, ideally, get a rapid and broad introduction to functional magick practice with a minimum of religious trappings.

    I wrote recently of an interest in Tibetan Buddhism. Well, I still have an interest in Buddhist meditation, but the “Llamaism” in Tibetan religion is something I think I’ve seen enough of.

    I recently went to a Thelema mass – my first introduction to any group of practitioners of western occultism – and, although the people were nice enough, I was put off by the ceremony and (how to put this nicely) the general sense of real world poverty in the environment and the practitioners. (I have noticed so far that the people I’ve met who practice magick the most are usually not very effective nor accomplished in the real world…almost like they are waiting for their magick to do all the heavy lifting for them).

    Anyway, I’m hoping to meet up with a group of practicing magicians who happen to also be pretty solid as individuals and ideally quite accomplished in the real world. I should think that wouldn’t be too much to ask? That is, shouldn’t an effective practice, manifest in success in navigating and accomplishment in the material world as well? (My personal practices – which I’d say are pretty magical in nature and involve a lot of trance, meditation and even prayer – certainly seem to have greatly enhanced my real world accomplishments).

    Anyway, looping back to my opening question: Chaos Magick, from what I’ve been able to find out about it on the internet, seems pretty playful but intense at the same time. Do you have any particular warnings about it in general or any personal experiences with meeting its practitioners that you might share? Any other advice on where I might find a high-functioning magick group? Thank you.

  198. Hi everyone!

    There are so many interesting discussions here today.

    I just wanted to add a little more information about why Ouija boards are more dangerous than other forms of divination.

    Even a beginner at Tarot who asks their question is only asking the question to the cards themselves. As you gain skill, you learn to impose the question upon the cards using energy. It’s really hard to describe using words but it’s kind of like asking a question about your cat, and then mentally tuning into your cat like you would tune a radio to a station, and then tuning the cards to the same frequency until the cards feel like the cat.

    All of that mental energy does a lot to ensure that the only thing that can come through is your cat. Usually, the only thing that can break that bond is a subconscious thing taking up more of your brainpower (“Oh look, yet another spread that says my crush doesn’t like me. Nevermind about the stupid cat.”) or an impending future that is very drastic and very unexpected, and usually very soon (“What?? Major changes at work??? I did not see this coming!!”). It takes a BIG push to break through the energy pattern you create when you properly consult a divination device.

    Ouija, on the other hand, is specifically designed to talk to ghosts and spirits. The board has the word “goodbye” on it so those otherworld creatures can tell you they are leaving. I’m not saying it has no use or purpose ever.
    I am saying the people who generally use it have NO idea what they are getting into. It’s usually a bunch of kids who don’t believe in ghosts calling a bunch of ghosts to come and say hi. “Is anybody there?” Is usually the first question. Just imagine if the answer is “Yes.” Because sometimes, it is. Now there is a completely unknown spirit talking to a completely inexperienced and probably frightened person. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

    Theoretically, a very experienced person could use Ouija like the Tarot, (tuning into the future instead of ghosts) but I don’t think it would ever be as effective. A skilled spirit medium could probably use it quite safely to talk to spirits (though a really skilled medium would probably never need it). You could use it to determine if your house is haunted, though you could also inadvertently start a haunting this way. I could see a person skilled in ritual *AND CLEANSING AND PROTECTION* using it to talk to a specific ancestor, but it would have to be a person who knew what they were doing and knew all the risks involved. Moreover, it would still be less emotionally cathartic than meeting your lost loved one in dreams. So it’s not useless, it’s only got a very narrow window of correct use compared to a mountain of misuse (and all that misuse also gives it a psychic imprint).

    Jessi Thompson

  199. I have a question regarding gardening. Does one need to visit one’s garden plot everyday? That would turn out to be a bit of a problem if the garden plot is far away from my apartment. And there is the question of transporting things back and forth. I didn’t do any gardening apart from some windowboxes, which sometimes gave good results with basilikum and some very small tomatoes.

  200. Thanks for the reply, it does get me wondering, though. I am just finishing the Bardic grade of the OBOD course and having read your Druid Magic Handbook wanted to incorporate the SOP into my daily grove ritual. The thing is, it really works as once I circulate the light, I find myself in a “clean,” peaceful, restorative space. I pick up energy and vibes from those around me really easily and it often wears me out, so the ritual is really welcome.

    So now I do a kind of hybrid OBOD/AODA ritual – I’ve dropped the LBE in favor of the SOP – and just assumed that both courses have the same destination even if the route is a little different, so it would all be fine. However, you’re saying that the destinations are not the same, so what’s the difference? Am I making a mess of things?

  201. Dear David by the Lake, I believe that in an earlier thread you mentioned trying to promote front yard vegetable gardens as a City Council member? I hope I have that right. Might you be willing to share with us from which quarters opposition to the idea comes? Is it perhaps fears about declining property values, or the belief that “gardens are messy” ? Nursery owners at least ought to profit from expansion of gardening.

  202. Thanks for your reply, John Michael. Daily banishings and carefully limited exposure are already important parts of my daily routine, and I’ll certainly continue them!

    On a separate note, you mentioned “Greer’s Second Law of Magic” in your reply to J.L.Mc12 above. Does that warning about fantasy novel magic also apply to the Weird of Hali books by one John Michael Greer? 😉

  203. Speaking of sex, JMG, what do you make of Orlov’s insistence on universalizing Orthodox sexual mores and disregarding the variety of sexual mores around the world? Seems he should be intelligent enough to know better…

  204. Gkb, fair enough — I know a lot of odd details of information, so didn’t take the question as anything other than reasonable.

    Isabel, I get that. I’ve seen similar situations a few times. It’s not common, but it does happen.

    Bonnie, true enough! It’s a fine novel, by the way — if you can find a copy, I highly recommend giving it a read.

    Synthase, fair enough; your taboos are of course your own business and not mine. I simply found it a very odd term — would you call a person who has lots of sex with people of the other gender a heterosexual enthusiast?

    Yucca, you can usually ask the practitioners and find out; systems of practice that move energy through the body are usually very up front about that — talk to somebody about qigong, for example, and if they know what they’re doing they can tell you whether their qigong practice is designed to move energy through the meridians and concentrate it at specific places, or not. As for figuring out why you have a habit or obsession, there are various psychological tools you can use — writing out dialogues with the habit in a journal is one that most people can do. If you have a good friend who knows you well, you might also ask for their take on the matter.

    Dominique, okay, that’s an interesting angle. The definition I used in that Archdruid Report post was specific to the point I was making in that essay. More generally, remember that the meanings people give to words are always contested and always changing, and manipulating words isn’t necessarily an effective way to manipulate ideas…

    Karim, boards of various sizes, cords, and stakes. Handling the board so that the wheat lies down gently takes a fair amount of practice and a certain amount of talent; it’s also good form to put the stake holes somewhere that the investigators either won’t think of looking or will mistake for something else. Remember also that there can be as many as twenty or thirty people working on the more complicated patterns. It’s quite an experience — there you are in the middle of Somerset, with the sky just beginning to turn gray and the dew glistening on the wheat, doing whatever your part is in a complex half-ritual process under the guidance of someone who’s done this many times before. When it’s done there’s a big English country breakfast for all waiting in the farmhouse nearby, because the farmer’s in on it, and knows he’ll be able to charge a couple of pounds a head when the American tourists come flocking to see it, much more than he’d have gotten for the crops that are flattened. Then everyone goes to wherever they’re staying and gets some sleep; after that, there’s a flurry of emails (nowadays, probably texts, too) as everyone giggles while the self-anointed experts insist that the crop circle you helped make was unquestionably made by aliens or what have you, and that evening glasses of scrumpy (Somerset apple cider, roughly as smooth going down as drain cleaner) get raised and clinked in celebration. “To the aliens!” It’s no wonder that people get hooked on it.

    Oskari, kendo won’t be any problem at all. For some reason Japanese esotericism mostly dropped the energy-circulating practices it inherited from China, and the methods used in most Japanese martial arts mesh perfectly well with Western occultism — this may be one of the reasons why Western occultism is becoming very popular there.

    Gnat, a lot depends on what you mean by “accomplished in the real world.” Do you mean rich? If so, magic is not the place to find rich people. It takes pretty much a full commitment of your will and personal resources to become rich; it also takes pretty much a full commitment of your will and personal resources to master occultism. Those people who try to do both pretty reliably end up failing miserably at one or both. On the other hand, it’s not at all unreasonable to expect the initiates of a valid system of occultism to live reasonably happy, functional lives, with no more than the usual round of crises and problems. If they slam from one disaster to another, especially if the disasters are pretty clearly self-inflicted, you want to head somewhere else.

    I’ve never interacted with the IOT, so don’t have any personal experience to offer. My experience with Chaos magic more generally is very mixed. I’ve met a few highly capable occultists who use that approach, but the vast majority have been, well, wankers. (It may not be an accident that Austin Osman Spare’s system of magical masturbation is extremely popular in Chaos magic circles.) A very large number of the capable occultists I know started off with Chaos magic, worked with it for a while, then got involved in something more traditional and have told me that the more traditional approach gets better results. Here again, I can’t testify to that by personal experience — I started off with full-on Golden Dawn methods, read LIber Null and Psychonaut when it first saw print, and found it interesting but not sufficiently so to get me to change paths — but that’s what I’ve been told. Of course your mileage may vary…

    As for finding a “high-functioning” magical group, the best advice I can give you is to focus on solitary practice, and let finding a group happen when it’s time. The serious groups I know of don’t advertise, and many of them admit new members only by invitation. If you’re meant to become a member of one, you’ll meet the right person.

    Jessi, thanks for this!

    Booklover, good question. Does anyone else have a perspective on this?

    Reloaded, will you be going on to take the Ovate and Druid grades? If so, you need to keep doing the Light-Body, because that’s crucial for developing the capacities you’ll need to work with the practices in those grades. If you don’t plan on doing that, then by all means hybridize.

    Barefootwisdom, excellent! Yes, it does. The magic and eldritch spirituality I put into The Weird of Hali are fictional magic and fictional spirituality, focused on Great Old Ones and other rugose, squamous beings that don’t happen to exist. Mind you, I modeled a lot of the techniques on actual magic and spirituality, but that’s mostly a matter of leaving Easter eggs for fellow occultists who read the books. I really don’t recommend invoking Tsathoggua using the methods that Jenny Parrish uses in The Weird of Hali: Kingsport! (After all, what if you got an answer?)

    Shane, that certainly counts! Okay, we’ve got some genuine homosexual enthusiasts. 😉 As for Dmitry, immigrants to the US do that pretty often. Go listen to Boston Irishmen rhapsodizing about Ireland; they wouldn’t live there for love or money, but it’s their imaginary Perfect Place, and whatever they do in Shannon or Cork is not merely beyond criticism but ought to be done everywhere. Dmitry’s getting to be the same way about Russia these days. It’s endearing, really.

  205. I’m curious. What’s your take on the debt ceiling issue? It comes back every so many months and nothing happens…. is something ever going to go wrong with it like Howard Kunstler, Chris Martenson etc. keep predicting? December 8th is going to be touted as the end of the world again……

  206. @Shane W: In a recent discussion on Club Orlov over whether or not the US is a democracy, a number of the comments ranged around whether our host here has a blind spot regarding the lack of democracy. Dmitri Orlov asked for help finding his own blind spot…. I think we can safely point out his insistence that “There aren’t “many homosexual people”—it’s a fringe phenomenon and as such deserves to stay on the fringes…” as a massive blind spot.

  207. @booklover, re: gardens – it depends on your climate, the soil, what you are growing, etc. Where I live, there are stretches of summer where some parts of the garden have to be watered every other day, and stretches of winter where I don’t have to water at all (but definitely have to pull weeds) in an el nino year (rainy) or maybe once a week in la nina (dry). Yes, I have crops in the ground year-round most years. Last winter was unusually harsh with three hard freezes! I briefly lived in New York several years ago, and had a remote summer garden plot, and once a week visit was sufficient for watering, weeding, etc. At least, until deer jumped over the inadequate fence and devoured everything. Just remember plants are living things, and you are putting them in an artificial environment (a garden) and so they are dependent on you for care. Regardless of the conditions mentioned above, don’t expect to just stick things in the ground one day then come back at the end of summer and find a harvest waiting. (Apologies if that seems obvious, but I was once asked by an acquaintance to design a “zero-maintenance” garden for her. I pointed her toward the plastic plants at the local home decorator store).

    @JMG & Jessi and others re: tarot cards being “safe”: When I first got my cards, I was thumbing through them, just looking at them, when the room suddenly became very cold. An urgent-sounding voice told me, “Put those away, NOW!” I did, the room returned to normal, and the (now calmer) voice informed me that I should not look at or even touch the cards without setting up protection. I’ve never had that kind of thing happen when talking to my cats.

    I feel like I’ve mentioned this before on this blog or galabes, though it is entirely possible that was one of the (many) comments I’ve started to type then deleted. Apologies if it is a repeat, but that still leaves the question, if tarot cards are safe, what was that all about?

  208. WRT Ouija Boards: Would saying a basic liturgical prayer such as The Lord’s Prayer (or, let’s say, a Wiccan or Buddhist equivalent) followed by an appropriately-phrased entreaty for the screening out of harmful and negative entities qualify as “basic protection” for using a Ouija Board, or would some more elaborate and formal ritual such as The Lesser Banishing Ritual Of The Pentagram be necessary?

  209. Will J,

    I certainly agree that false accusations should have consequences, although one must tread very carefully as it has to be very sure that this has occurred. I agree too, that not only is it unfair to men, but unfair to women who are actually assaulted who will then have an uphill battle once the pendulum swings the other way. I feel the same way about women who hit men, about which I know a few cases.

    But when I asked about context, I meant the larger, societal one. Like, was it at a university?

  210. JMG,
    You have made clear that your success at social and political prediction is based on observing historical patterns. What history supports the idea that the current upheaval in sexual mores will result in a sexual culture that no longer centers on men pursuing and penetrating women?
    Thanks as always-

  211. @ Shane; that’s my perspective too. I I remember reading what you wrote on some of JMG’s about your experiences with Latin American culture, and your thoughts helped frame my understandings.

    The day after Thanksgiving a friend hired me, with payment in meat, to help him with a pig and sheep slaughter. The first homestead was where he had been hired to butcher pigs. The scene was very Catholic, a priest from a local church had come to help out. Later some of the family showed up, including an older woman from Venezuela. We had a long conversation in Spanish about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the differences in culture in different parts of New England, and the history of US involvement in South America (referencing the scene of the banana company massacre in A Hundred Years of Solitude). It was a much more in depth conversation than I typically have with perfect strangers in English!

    My sense were that most of the people there were anglos, but traditional religious folk, and had more in common with Latin Americans on average than their non-religious anglo counterparts. They were polite and kind. We spent 7 hours there altogether and they were almost dripping with….real community….They bought pizza and were enormously helpful. They had dozens of family and friends over to help and learn about butchering. In the end they generously sent us home with the pigheads and organ meat which I took in payment. I joked to my friend as we drove to the sheep slaughter that if we hung out enough with these people they would happily adopt us somewhere into their extended family and I genuinely believe that to be true.

    @ Booklover; I’ve had many gardens that produced well. Maybe one out of a dozen I was able to visit everyday. My perspective is that a garden needs to be tended at least once a week for weeding and watering. It is really satisfying to work with it once a day or more, but if that doesn’t happen, it’s usually fine.

    Some crops really like to be handled a lot, most specifically peas, summer squash and beans. They need to be picked constantly to stay productive. Others are happy to mostly do their own thing; winter squash, chard, most culinary & medicinal herbs, alliums, potatoes. Some are in the middle; kale, carrots, beets. Tomatoes, especially do well with a lot of pruning but will also produce okay as a sprawl.

    For this sort of lazy gardening I do, heavy mulching in late spring is important to keep weeds down and conserves water. This eliminates the need to do a lot of work later in the season. In an urban area there should be ample cardboard to use as mulch, best weighed down to keep it secure against the wind, even with bricks is okay. In more rural areas old straw or rotted leaves or bark or even boards of rotting wood can be used around the plants.

    Of course in severe drought one might have to water much more frequently. Here especially thick mulch is really helpful, or even life saving for the plants. The soils I’ve dealt with in Massachusetts have all been sandy, and I’ve never had a problem with too much water, which I imagine I would have in heavy clay. In flood-prone New Orleans we planted in mounds of organic matter which helped with drainage issue, and in Tennessee I found that planting directly into beds of woodchips laid on top of the hardscrabble worked really well.

  212. The idea that the geography shapes the people living on it seems to be one of those classical ideas that has fallen out of fashion. There is a seventeen volume work by the ancient Roman Strabo expounding this idea throughout the known world at the time, with which I expect you are familiar.

    Now that we are in the petroleum age, everyone seems to be pretending that geography no longer matters. I expect that in decades to come, we will all be forced to become much more local, or at least regional, in our orientation.

    So now that you are in New England and have gotten a feel for the place, how do you expect the geography of New England to shape the people over time, and how might that be expressed?

    One might assume that we have only to look back to the Native American tribes that used to reside in the area, but I am not sure that that would fully answer the question. I might be entirely wrong about this but I assume that A) the Native American culture has been almost entirely obliterated in this region (not so elsewhere in the country, such as the Pacific Northwest) and B) the emergent culture and civilization inhabiting the region over the medium to long term will be derived from the current North American population, not a reset back to pre-colonial conditions.

    I really appreciate the opportunity to ask these questions. Thank you for hosting this forum. It is extremely valuable!

  213. Isabel,

    “I hate her for a number of reasons, but one of them is that she’s made it impossible for me to always believe women, even when I know false accusations are very rare.”

    Perhaps it was a good thing, for if you thought it possible to “always believe women” then you weren’t realistic, any more than to “always believe men” or “never believe a woman.”

  214. “the farmer’s in on it”
    Wow! We have a real insider there! Now I understand why these people are never caught in the act and why the geometry can be so precise. Presumably lots of preliminary work has already been done with wooden stakes or iron rods planted by an advanced party in broad daylight allowing for precise surveying.

  215. JMG, several related questions, if I may:
    1) You’ve mentioned the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or Sphere of Protection many times as the main practice initiate should engage in, and I believe that you may also have indicated that it can help strengthen the energetic body. In some of your books you’ve also mentioned that one should be free of mind altering substances before doing ritual work. Does this sensible prohibition extend to this ritual, or is this ritual of banishment okay to do while hungover or still a little stoned?

    I ask because I wish to strengthen my boundaries and discharge kegare, but also am a habitual coffee and marijuana user. Now of course, my drug use helps me to meet real needs that otherwise don’t know how to effectively, but of course there are probably better ways of doing so than, essentially, being an addict. That being said, my addictions work for me to a great extent and hence my indulgence in them. I may be in a certain kind of spiritual rut, but it is a congenial rut, with some good points of balance and personal development. Of course though if I’m honest with myself I can acknowledge that I am involved with something harmful, but it appears to me to be the least harmful approach that I’ve been able to work out so far.

    2) how long does it take for one to stop a habitual marijuana habit and begin ritual magic? Drug tests can detect cannabis for 12 weeks after one stops because of how cannabinoids sequester in fat cells. If I were to stop smoking marijuana cold turkey today how long would I have to wait before safely beginning ritual work?

    3) In her Psychic Self Defense, Dion Fortune mentions a simple safe banishing ritual involving drawing a large pentagram in the air with the pointer and middle fingers of the right hand. She specifies this for banishing elementals. The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, as explained here: is much more elaborate. How much can one substitute Fortune’s bare-bones banishing with the LPROTP or the Sphere of Protection?

    Your thoughts are much appreciated; many thanks for generously holding space for questions!!

  216. Varun,

    If you’re taking up a martial art for self defence reasons, then please bear in mind that real-world violence almost always involves more than one attacker, or weapons, or psychological distraction / sneak techniques, or all of these. And there will also be irregularities in the environment – kerbs, low walls, high walls, traffic nearby, etc… A lot of “traditional” martial arts, as taught now, deal very poorly with these factors. Wing Chun is in fact a prime example – it is highly specialised for fighting one unarmed person in an environment free of irregularities. Of course a lot depends on the instructor – if they are serious about self defence they will teach stuff that takes all these into account, regardless of what style they teach.

    I vaguely remember you mentioning in a previous post that you were looking for a martial art, but I can’t remember what the reason was. In case the reason is self defence, I thought I’d give my two cents worth.


  217. @ Violet…

    I think you are correct in your views regarding Latin America. I lived in Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador. My son is dating an Argentine whose parents speak little English. I left Colombia when FARC was still very actively fighting there, even having moved due to a bomb blast taking out all the windows in my home. I went back 3 years ago, and it was very different. No more cowering indoors after dark, rather families were walking the streets and visiting during the evenings. The economy was no longer stagnant, but growing. Today I do work for several Colombian companies that simply could not have existed 25 years ago.

    I have always felt safer in South America than North America – and even though technically a “gringo”, that wound up being more a way to poke fun at me than a negative appellation. There are exceptions – Venezuela has had a wealth imbalance a very long time, and that is starting to erode only now. One could walk freely in Maracaibo or Caracas, but it wasn’t recommended in the back country. Which is directly the opposite of America…insano, no? And Repsol is now a world-class oil company – who would have imagined that?

    My hope is that as USA resources dwindle, Latin America countries will be free to develop in their own ways. People are the same across the world for the most part. They want similar things, share similar dreams for their futures. I am hoping some of those prove true for our southern neighbors.

  218. @ LunarApprentice…

    It was Goldel that was used as the basis for the “remainder”, the reason that the computer Matrix could never make the equations all balance out (Matrix Movies). It was posited as the reason that it was necessary for many things in the Matrix movies, including the existence of and periodic dissolution of the human city in the sewers. I find it interesting you brought Goldel up in this context.

    I have always felt that the extreme amount of money, effort and time required to get even a self-driving train up and working to be very huge waste of energy and effort – when a human can handle myriad inputs and situations that are never even imagined by those programmers trying to engineer the rules. We are already running into this in the oilfield, where they WANT to get rid of the people, but are finding out that the flexibility of people is actually more productive in the complex world of drilling for oil.

    Currently (last 20 years), they have been trying to eliminate the “high risk” jobs, but they never realized that these same people doing the high-risk work were also doing other things when they weren’t in the “risky-mode”. Thus replacing one, they essentially halved one guys work, but still could not reduce the headcount for the crew. And their maintenance costs and equipment costs still increased rather than decreased – because of the complexity of this new ‘high-tech’ equipment.

    I foresee this to become true for the self-driving car situation. And besides; I still do not have cellular or internet access at my farm in 2017. Whatever they do in the cities, there are still enough of us in the rural areas that it will never make it out here in my lifetime. They simply do not have the funds for this unless populations are very high density and conditions optimal.

    Cannot wait to see how they handle a doe or two sprinting across the road under cover of brush during rut. They have not even thought about this in a true rural setting, not even a little bit.

  219. Section 31, Jim and Chris are smoking their shorts when it comes to the debt ceiling. It’s a bit of political theater, purely for show, and the only thing that can “go wrong” with it is that the show runs overtime and a bunch of bureaucracies shut down for a little while — as has already happened. The longing for apocalypse — for the sudden purifying catastrophe that proves to everyone that you were right all along — is a powerful emotional force, but it’s a really bad basis for accurate predictions about the future.

    Other Michelle, there’s always a personal dimension. Tarot cards are usually safe for most people; you may be one of the exceptions.

    Mister N., your mileage may vary, but if I were minded to experiment with a planchette (the technical term for the device of which the Ouija board is one example), I’d do it in a space that had been banished, purified, and consecrated with a standard temple opening — which includes a banishing ritual and a bunch of other ceremonial as well.

    Vesta, that’s a fair question. I’m basing my prediction on the way that attitudes toward women have shifted in other areas of human life over the last five hundred years or so. It wasn’t that long ago, all things considered, that a woman author was treated (by women as well as men) as some kind of oddity, like a performing bear; by 1800 it was normal. It was even a shorter time ago that the notion of giving women a voice in political affairs was a bizarre idea on the uttermost fringe; by 1950 it was normal. For a variety of reasons, some of which I suspect go very deep, the habit of treating women as domestic animals seems to be coming apart in a big way in the Western world, and a redefinition of sexual relations is apparently the next phase in that transformation; exactly where that’s headed over the long term is a fascinating question that current data can’t really answer. One of the lessons of history, though, is that things really do change from time to time, and that seems to be happening in our time.

    Samurai_47, I’ve lived in New England for less than six months, and spent almost all that time in one corner of Rhode Island, which by all accounts is far and away the weirdest part of New England. I’m still getting a sense of the place, and will have to do a lot more roaming and experiencing to be able to answer your question.

    Karim, bingo. The first time I visited Glastonbury, there was a postcard for sale which showed a typical Somerset farmer sitting by a satellite dish with earphones on over his straw hat, a hopeful expression on his face, and a stack of signs nearby saying THIS WAY TO THE CROP CIRCLE. The postcard was headed “Placing An Order For Next Year’s Crop Circles.” It’s an open secret in the west country that the farmers are eager to get crop circles on their property so they can cash in on the tourists — and the circlemakers are by and large happy to oblige.

    Violet, if you do the banishing ritual first thing in the morning, before using anything psychoactive, you should be fine. I’ve done magic while very mildly hung over with no ill effects — yes, I know that some of my early books drew much harsher lines than that, but I was going on the basis of the teachings I’d received; since then I’ve modified some of those precepts on the basis of mine and others’ experience.

    I don’t find marijuana at all congenial, so have only a very small amount of personal experience with it (and that was thirty-five years ago), but I know people who practice magic who use it fairly regularly. You can start basic ritual training now, so long as you don’t do the work while actually buzzed — again, doing things first thing in the morning is a good idea, so your body can clear itself of the immediate consequences of the previous night’s activities. Do use the full ritual, not Dion Fortune’s watered-down-for-the-masses version! The full ritual has benefits that just tracing a pentagram won’t give you.

  220. JMG,

    Thanks for the response. Maybe I will ask again after you have had a chance to spend more time in New England.

    In other news, I just received the second volume of the Archdruid Report essays from Founder’s House Publishing. I have really been enjoying rereading the blog posts and it is nice to have them in a more durable format that doesn’t require the internet. A while back there was some discussion about an index, which will be extremely valuable for a reference once all ten volumes are out. Could you give us an update on that?

  221. With regards to homosexuality:

    I theorize that constraints on homosexual behavior might arise at least in part as a societal attempt to stave off falling birth rates (because e.g. more soldiers are needed to fight the encroaching barbarians) by forcing them to participate in the infantiferous heterosexual lifestyle – this might also be the reason that Putin’s Russia seems to be “cracking down” on it.

  222. JMG, and @Gnat, I wonder if an accomplished diviner or astrologer couldn’t make a fortune by selling advise to investors and entrepreneurs, specially in the financial markets. Surely, if magic works, it may help people manage their investments, and that’s a marketable service.

  223. @ Nastarana

    Yes, your recollection is correct. And sure 🙂 I’ve been working at the Plan Commission level first (which I still sit on as the city council representative), as that is the advisory body to whom zoning issues are delegated. The opposition seems to be along the lines you mentioned: potential property value reduction of neighbors, unsightly gardens if not cleaned or maintained properly, and a general sense of “that’s not what a front yard is supposed to look like.” I’ve attempted to argue from multiple angles, including the right of a property owner to fully utilize his/her property for the sustenance of his/her household, the arbitrary distinction between front-yard vegetable/fruit gardening (currently prohibited) and front-yard floral gardening (which is permitted), and the alleviation of poverty by further enabling households to grow their own food. So far, it’s still “but I don’t want to look at corn growing in my neighbor’s front yard.”

    I even tried compromising by offering front yard gardening as a conditional use (which would require a $350 permit application, public notice and hearing, and neighbor input), but that motion to recommend to council failed 3-3 (one member was absent). As that was only a recommendation (as the advisory body), my plan is to bring a similar proposal to council directly — pulling rank, as it were.

    I’ve some small headway with two related issues (reducing the setback requirements for street side yard gardens — which only apply to corner lots — and opening our chicken-keeping ordinance to include similar domestic fowl such as ducks and quail). Nothing enacted yet, but hopefully positive recommendations will be heading to council by January. If nothing else, I am learning patience. And persistence 😉

  224. @JMG All developed nations are essentially experiencing the same symptoms: Lower birth rates (negative replacement rates), obesity (especially in children), higher mortality rates, lower literacy rates, lower proficiencies in science and math, lower/stagnant wages with increasing inflation and the list goes on and on. The media would have us believe in whatever the distraction or diversion of the day is, in order to rationalize or even justify these clearly negative outcomes. Regardless of race, religion, creed, color the outcomes are the same across all developed nations from America, Germany, Japan, China etc.. Even with different economic and political systems, in most or all developed nations, the outcomes are the same. This is clear and indisputable truth is it not? Therefore can one not come to the rational and logical conclusion that there must in turn be an underlying causality covering them all? And when one does their due diligence on the matter, is there no better conclusion than the vast expansion of complex automated systems, via industrialization, is the common theme here? Would you agree with the assessment that it is the power hierarchies spawned out of industrialization in developed nations, and what values are prioritized as such, that is leading to these detrimental outcomes for mankind as a whole? If not, why not. And if yes, what can truly be done at the local level other than communitarian autarky within a spiritual wrapper?

  225. @Vesta
    Re: gender dominance shift

    The 80-year cycle says no – it says that Awakenings usually result in more equality, while Stabilities (the phase after the Crisis and before the next Awakening) goes back to more traditional gender roles.

    Michael says yes, but the cycle is longer than written and oral history. It’s due to shift this time. JMG might be correct that it will take another century or so to stabilize.
    That shift, at least in what we think of as Western culture, has been in progress for a while. That was not universal, though. In Ptolomac Egypt it was quite common for upper class women to parade their Greek culture until it came time to go to court. Then they found an Egyptian ancestor so they could bring suit themselves in an Egyptian court.


    You mentioned to not do energy movement exercises as they were incompatible with Western practices. I did the Taoist circulation of light for a while, and looking back that may have had a negative effect on some other things. I dropped it when I got into a more advanced practice and things started happening.

    There was a much milder practice I learned from an FIL derivative: it circulated Earth energy in several loops in the torso, upper legs and lower legs. It this equally bad news?

  226. JMG,

    I feel a little foolish for even having to ask this but is visualization in the LBRP/Middle Pillar exercise–or any other ritual for that matter–performed with eyes open or closed? My instinct is to close them and to use the resulting void as a backdrop against which to trace contrasting images. It seems to be the only way I can generate complementary hues within a telesmatic image. Lately, however, I’ve been getting a nagging feeling that this has been resulting in my indulging in too much detail and robbing the ritual of a certain momentum that it may need to be effective.

  227. @Isabel
    I see where you come from, and simpatize. Just keep in mind that for every time you have been cut off by a jerk driver, I have been bullied by an IT manager into going against my professional judgement and cut corners or, more likely, brought in to clean the mess some other corner cutter did. Hence my preferred flavor of biases.

    @John Roth
    I no longer form part of the geek scene, so I’ll take your word from it. However, I cannot help but noticing that in spite of having better sensors than Musk’s, the industry is abandoning the idea of deploying general purpose self driving cars and turning them instead into public amenities running in controlable environments. Talk about some moving goalposts.

  228. John Michael,

    Did you ever make a post or otherwise give general instructions for discursive meditation? I have been waiting for it

  229. @Violet, Oilman,
    my experiences in Mexico are very limited, but I do have experience with Latin American immigrants, and, IMHO, as long as you are careful about following the social norms and being very careful to conform to their manners and customs, you will be embraced and welcomed. Now, as a ginger, of course I stick out like a sore thumb, and in no way “pass”, but they do seem gracious to those who respect and conform to their social norms and manners. For me, there was enough of the rigidity of the manners of the Old South in my upbringing that I have no problems going on “heightened awareness” of my manners and social graces when in a Latin American setting–anthing most certainly does NOT go, and everything matters and is carefully noticed there, as opposed to JHK’s “anything goes and nothing matters” here in the US
    funny you should mention it (about immigrants), but one of the people that could barely mutter a “hello” to me @ my last job was an upper middle class Mexican immigrant with a university degree. Now, I’d never specifically discussed politics with him, but had discussed with certain people that I thought the US was dead in the water and would no longer be a going concern in 20 years, max, and that I was bullish on Mexico’s future, post US. I can only guess that it must’ve gotten back to him, and that the idea that the US would implode and Mexico would come into the void was anathema to him. Considering his wealthy background, I could only imagine that he believes in the American dream. What makes it all the more ironic is that when he first came there, I was the one most vigorously defending him against “poor, brown, indigenous” stereotypes by my coworkers (“yes, there ARE different classes of people in Mexico. I think he come from money. No, not all Mexicans are brown, and fair Mexicans like him are more likely to be upper class.”)
    @Synthase, petervanerp
    queer people, of all the many letters, probably comprise no more than 5% of the population, tho people who may occasionally engage in certain same sex behavior might bump that up more. My personal preference is to go back to the pre-Christian, pre-industrial norm where queer people have specific roles to play in society and are valued for them (the berdache, for one of many examples across many cultures)
    Regarding anonymity and sex, yes, that does happen, but a lot of it was (and is) exacerbated by internalized homophobia, especially by the closeted but also the out. Just because you have sex w/someone does not dehumanize him and take away his soul, nor give you the right to treat him like trash, but guys who are still ashamed of themselves will often do this. Guys who are more well adjusted have “friends with benefits”, indeed, most of their friends may have “benefits”, by that time, they’ve outgrown the self-loathing that leads guys to dehumanize guys they’ve slept with. Sex fulfills different roles among a lot of gay men. Oddly enough, this would be one of the things Bill Pulliam and I would agree on, if he were still around to comment.

  230. Samurai_47, the person who had hoped to do the indexing wasn’t able to follow through on that. If anyone else — or a group of people — are interested in doing the work, it might still be an option.

    Barrigan, that’s been suggested, but there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between falling birth rates and taboos against nonreproductive sex.

    Bruno, they do. J.P. Morgan was a client of the famous American astrologer Evangeline Adams, and used to say, “Millionaires don’t use astrology; billionaires do.” There’s a large and thriving field of investment astrology, put that phrase into your search engine of choice and you’ll see a good sample of the market.

    Farhan, the same things happened in the Roman Empire, so it’s clearly not being caused by automation. Rather, it’s a normal side effect of the later phases of a civilization, and the cure for it is the fall of the civilization and the coming of the dark age that follows.

    John, good question. I don’t know that anybody incarnate understands the fine details well enough to be able to answer it on the basis of first principles, but I’d be careful.

    Dirtyboots, some people do it one way, some people do it the other. It doesn’t seem to make any particular difference. I visualize with open eyes, for example, and my banishings are no better or worse than those of other experienced people who do it with their eyes closed.

    Onething, there’s a chapter on it in my books The Druidry Handbook, Learning Ritual Magic, The Art and Practice of Geomancy, and Coelbren, among others. I’ll consider doing a post, too.

    Shane, well, there you are. Different people react in different ways…

  231. Re: vast amounts of anonymous sex: The great thing about having that as a personal taboo is that nobody’s going to make you do it. It’s not my thing either, because I’m a cranky middle-aged introvert, but as long as the people involved are as up-front about what they do as is required to let other adults give informed consent to whatever disease risk is involved, I don’t see how it’s anyone else’s problem/beeswax.

    (Unless they’re having it loudly in the apartment below me after 1 AM, in which case I will call the landlord and the police. But the anonymity/promiscuity part is irrelevant, there.)

    @CR: Fair enough! I’ve never much cared about going against my professional judgment as long as I could cover the necessary regions, myself–I’ll give my opinion of the best course of action, when/if asked, but the company’s going to do what it does, if it goes under as a result I’ll get severance and a vacation, and I’m not paid enough to care–so that sort of thing has never really hit me.

    @Onething: Yeah, I phrased that badly. As a feminist, and one aware of the statistical rarity of false accusations, I feel that my default should be to believe allegations of sexual harassment or assault; because of That Girl, I always have more doubt than I’m entirely comfortable with.

    @JMG: True! (And I’ve actually never seen more than an episode or two myself–hard-SF doesn’t do much for me.)

  232. JMG,

    What a relief. I was concerned I have to pick either one in order to avoid unnecessary collisions. Some aspects of Kendo are very valuable for me, such as the physical practice and the practical application of controlled aggression or assertiveness – to dare and to commit 100% to an action. To either do or not do. It is one thing to maintain focus whilst standing alone in a dimly lit room, and a whole another thing to do whilst a higher grade kendoka is charging at you and screaming at you like he means business.

    I think I might benefit from finding the practical applications in everyday life that are likely to land between the two mentioned extremes here.


  233. Someone mentioned being rude to warlords. And I remember people mentioning in previous comment threads about poisoning the invaders by serving them poisoned drinks and other means

    As other people in the thread has noted being rude to warlords will shorten one’s life. The same goes for assassination of the invaders. If its just one band then the consequences wouldn’t be so dire. But when it comes to empires or more powerful people groups poisoning the invading force invites reprisals.

    It happened with the Romans and Mongols. Just because one band can get killed by poisoning or outright revolt doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be another force ready to avenge their deaths.

  234. What are the different goals that various occult systems train and optimise the energy body for? How do these adaptions clash with each other?

  235. JMG, well, thankfully I’m not fourteen, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. 🙂

    In the Orthodox Christian church, we were taught to carry a censer with some kind of incense burning through the house into every room at the end of evening prayers before bedtime because it was “purifying”. It sounds like maybe that would be a good thing to do to keep out unwelcome supernatural visitors? We were also supposed to wear our baptismal crosses, usually on gold or silver chains, pretty much all the time. Would that disrupt etheric patterns and make a paranormal attack less likely?

    Can you recommend a good place to order magical supplies (herbs, incense, etc.) online? There aren’t any occult supply stores near me, and I’d like to know a website is reputable before giving them my debit card number.

    On the subject of Ouija boards, a guy I went to school with was murdered at a party by a woman who said the Ouija board told her to do it. There were probably plenty of drugs and alcohol involved so who knows. She was also already a criminally inclined person. A few years before committing murder, she was involved in a shootout with the police, which she started.

  236. Farhan- “Falling birth rates” seems to me to be the most humane way to adapt our species to the exhaustion of natural resources. If population is to fall, in accordance with the Limits To Growth models, it is better for people not to be born than to die prematurely due to any of the obvious causes: starvation, warfare, violent crime, disease, drug overdose, etc. The clearest indicator I see of an author who believes in infinite growth on a finite planet is when they lament falling birth rates (and usually advocate increased immigration to compensate).

    That said, I expect to feel sadly cheated if neither of my two sons produce at least one grandchild.

  237. Hi John Michael,

    Yes, of course, new cultures emerge from the left overs. Interesting.

    The Canadian east coast weather patterns would be rather exciting from my perspective as I have not experienced such cold weather before. It would really throw me. The few Canadian’s I know living down this way are generally very sensibly dressed over winter, plus they are genuinely lovely folk too as there are many cultural similarities between there and here. Eventually they acclimatise to winters here!

    I reckon you are right about the financial side of things too. Nobody wants to see another Great Depression and its aftermath, and there are many tools available to avoid such an outcome. Of course, that does not mean that there will not be many bumps along the road and serious dislocations. My gut feeling as I have discussed with you before, is that eventually wealth inequality can increase beyond its elastic limit and that will have consequences and corrections, and also some of the excess money supply can be readily disappeared through the regular cycle of corrections.

    This of course does not mean that a trail of wreckage will not be strewn behind the out of control vehicle known as “the economy”, if for the only reason that we appear to be pretty happy to jettison portions of the population into abject poverty and have been doing so for a couple of decades now.



  238. The other Michelle and Violet, thanks very much for your informations about gardening!

    Furthermore, I would like to recommend the book “We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy – And the World’s Getting Worse”. It deals with the dysfunctionality of modern psychology, that is, with things which Shane Wilson mentioned in the Archdruid Report about psychology and modern society. I found that quite a few things in the book are relevant to the subject of ecosophia.

  239. Dear Archdruid,

    To Reloaded15 you said “the Circulation of Light does some of the same things as the OBOD Light-Body exercise, but they’re not interchangeable; each prepares the subtle body in its own way for the very different work the two traditions do.”

    If I’m not mistaken, the Druid Magic Handbook ultimately focuses on balance, healing and fertility, both of the self and of the land. (Is this the kind of work you mean, and did I interpret it correctly?)

    Then, what kind of work does OBOD magic do? Could you contrast this with the DMH for me?

    Yours in Druidry,

  240. David,

    Apparently here we are welcome to attend committee meetings, but membership is severely restricted. I plan on attending some of the meetings, but it doesn’t look easy to join. And I guess I’ll have to decide if it’s worth running for city council or not, but elections are only once every four years for us, which may make it worth trying next election.


    I could’ve sworn I put in that it happened at university…. Oh well, here’s that bit of context.

    I’ve also now heard from someone else that I asked that my tendency to defend Trump supporters and insist that some of them had reason to vote for Trump meant that as far as a few people were concerned I was a Trump supporter and thus sexual assault was something to be expected from me.


    How is it that literally all your posts on bad thinking apply to this one situation? Shoggothing, the one drop fallacy, thought stoppers, it’s all here… And considering the sheer amount of bad logic that has gone into this I think the next ones will also apply. Well, here’s to knowing what to call it!


    I totally get that feeling. I despise the person who falsely accused me, not just for what she did to me, but for what she did to people who actually have been hurt. I know enough people who have actually been sexually abused to know it’s not a small number, but I find a reflexive doubt has now become part of my response to hearing about it now.

    And for apologies, I think a sloppy drunken one years later is worse than getting none at all. That may just be me though.

  241. JMG and all, quick book recommendation. Just finished Mark Lilla’s Once and Future Liberal. Very sensible approach to practical democratic politics in general alignment with this site. He argues that liberals are lost in divisive identity politics and prescribes a return to citizenship and building political power from local and state levels. I thought of you, JMG, as he has also published a study of Vico subtitled The Making of an Anti-Modern. I’ll let you know what I think of that on the other side of the holidays.

  242. JMG,

    I’ve been told not to seek out a teacher in Magic, but rather to wait for one. But the more I study the subject, the more I think a teacher or even someone just to talk to regularly more about it would be helpful. Any advice?

    – RMK

  243. Archdruid,

    Well that’s good to know, I’ll start the whole process of working out my anger with practical instruction then! Is it best to learn the internal energy work after a few years of working on the material application, or is it safe to learn them in tandem?


    That problem had me worried too. I’m practical minded and one of the major frustrations about many martial arts schools is just how impractical they have become. I believe that the traditional phrase in Kung Fu to describe impractical systems is “flowery fists and embroidered kicks.” I was mindful of this problem when finding a studio, and the one I signed up with is very practical about combat. They have multiple styles and are planning on adding Muay Thai and wrestling to supplement any weaknesses in the current styles they teach. Right now I’m following the old principal of “formlessness to form to formlessness,” meaning I’m going to focus on one or two styles so I can establish a form and learn about my body, then I’ll start developing a personal kung fu by cross training.



  244. @Will: I expect she had an ulterior motive behind said apology–and were I the guy in question, I’d have poured a drink over her head and left, but dude’s too nice for his own good.

    @Iathechuck: Totally agreed. There was some panic-style article about how and why “Millennials aren’t having kids,” a day or five back, and as a quasi-Millennial who’s taken permanent steps to prevent it: because fewer people are assuming that following the 1950s-standard model will keep them from dying alone, not everyone likes being around (much less being responsible for) children*, and seven billion people is more than enough for one planet.

    * My friends’ and my sister’s are lovely, not least because I can give them back and don’t have to change diapers.

  245. Isabel, back in the days when the Ku Klux Klan was making an ugly nuisance of itself all over the country, there was an organization founded in Arkansas called the Order of Anti-Poke-Noses. Its mission was to oppose any person or organization that wanted to poke its nose into other people’s business, i.e., the Klan and the fundamentalist churches that backed the Klan so heavily in those days. I’ve considered more than once trying to restart that organization. When we get to the point that people can feel free to say “Yuck!” to themselves about this or that kind of private behavior among consenting adults, without feeling any need to insist that everyone else ought to have the same reaction they do, then just maybe a certain degree of sanity will begin to return to this country.

    Oskari, I hope so! I never had the opportunity to take up kendo, but it always seemed like a very worthwhile discipline as well as a lot of fun.

    Yorkshire, that question would take a good-sized book to answer, as there are hundreds of systems of occultism and all of them have different aims and goals.

    Housewife, glad to hear it. I hope your inner fourteen-year-old enjoyed it too. 😉 Yes, the Orthodox practices are well designed for magical protection — you can tell that the Orthodox church inherited a lot of stuff from Greek Neoplatonist magic. I’m currently looking for a good online source for magical supplies, too; if any readers have one to suggest, that would be very welcome.

    Chris, exactly. The notion that the only alternative to business as usual is apocalypse is a massive source of false predictions; there’s a lot of ground between them, and that’s what we’re facing — with a lot of wreckage and a fairly high body count.

    Booklover, I’ll second the recommendation. Come to think of it, that’s a book I should reread sometime soon.

    Brigyn, the overall goals include some of the same things but the specific kind of magical work done in the two traditions differ. (Mind you, I trained under the old OBOD correspondence course, and I’ve been told that most of the magical material in the old Druid Grade was discarded in the new course — an unfortunate decision, to my way of thinking.) It’s rather like the difference between learning electric guitar and learning classical flute; both have the same overall goal — making music — but the skills you need for one don’t necessarily transfer over to the other.

    Will, I’ve been talking about bad cognitive habits in the order of frequency, starting with the ones I see used most often, so it’s not surprising that you’ve seen them in your own case! When we get to the somewhat less common ones, you may have the luxury of thinking, “Well, at least I didn’t have to deal with that one…”

    Redoak, thanks for this! I’ll put both books on the get-to list.

    Rebecca, you can always ask me questions when it’s open post week, if that’s any help. Looking for a magical teacher these days will far too often involve having to choose between clueless enthusiasts and out-and-out con artists, because most people who actually know what they’re doing, and will teach it to you, don’t advertise any more. I don’t, except in the most restricted contexts, and I don’t take personal students at all any more, because so few of the people who’ve contacted me asking to be taught were willing to do a lick of work, and so many of them were basically trying to use me as a prop for this or that dysfunctional psychodrama. It really is dispiriting; fortunately, once occultism goes out of fashion, that should improve quite a bit.

  246. Just thought I would toss this one out there for general consumption:

    This isn’t a “new” tech, but a process-revised and scaled up kind of tech. But the point here is that these guys are looking for capital to produce 87 million barrels of heavy oil – while the USA consumption is 19 million per day. That equates to 4.5 days of USA consumption. Best estimates on USA oil sands are 32 billion BOE, so producing ALL of USA oil sands extends the USA by 4 years, assuming it is all produced, and assuming we can burn bitumen, which we cannot…

    It is a good example of technology used to bamboozle, the fallacious assumptions that all oil is usable oil, and that we are seriously looking for oil but not finding much.

  247. Steve T:
    I suppose, as someone who feels the Reality Cop impulse, that what I get out of it is this.
    When I hear someone talk about how the nuclear fusion electricity which is too cheap to meter will finally allow us to commute to work on jet packs, I feel the exact same kind of irritation that I feel when someone talks about ghosts. Like a mosquito buzz or an upper-back itch. And because that irritation is generated by a person, regardless of intention, I project a bunch of mental baggage on the person who is irritating me. Thus I feel the urge to swat/scratch the irritation in a way that is also “payback” against the person who is causing it, the same way you might get the urge to shout at an off-tune whistler.
    Breaking the link between irritation-projection-confrontation is one of my projects of maturation, and I’m feeling pretty good about my progress in the last three years. People who feel more entitled to a life free of irritation perhaps don’t have this on their list of projects.

  248. That is too bad. I hope someone reading here can help out to revive the indexing project. Although the print edition of the Archdruid Report is more durable–and more pleasant to read in a physical book form–it doesn’t benefit from the online search technology.

    For what it is worth, I ordered the entire 10-volume set, and I would be willing to purchase an 11th volume if it included an index. I bet others feel the same. If I am understanding the situation correctly, this isn’t a publishing economics question so much as a need to get someone to actually pick up the torch and do the indexing.

    In an ordinary publishing situation for a nonfiction book does the author compile their own index, or is that typically the role of a publisher or editor?

  249. @Brigyn: thanks for asking the question I had!

    @JMG: and thanks for answering it!

    I do have the intention of going on to the ovate and druid grades, so I shall adjust my ritual again and reincorporate the light body exercise. I want to keep invoking and banishing the elements as I am getting such good results with it. OTOH, now I hear that a lot of the magic has been scrapped from the course it makes me wonder since it was that aspect that I was particularly looking to.
    I have been getting modest but still impressive (to me) results from the DMH ritual, I have started with discursive meditation and I’m working my way through the AODA reading list, all with great pleasure. I think I shall have to consult the ogham!

  250. JMG, thanks for your answer to Reloaded! I also am near the end of the OBOD Bardic course and interested in continuing to the Ovate course. I have not been doing the Light Body exercise in recent months – I expect you’ll tell me to just get back to it – but my problem with it was that I never sensed anything from doing it, even daily over a lengthy period. I attribute this to being a hopeless blockhead, but is it possible that I should be doing something different? I did get and read both your books on Druidry, but really like the OBOD course because of its formal structure, which is very comforting for me.

  251. I am in the real estate business and I am renovating a restaurant that has some bad energy. While the construction process makes a lot of noise and probably does a lot by itself to give the space a new feeling, I suspect the building could benefit from some purifying ritual magic.

    For what it is worth, a number of tradesmen claim the building is haunted, and some refuse to work on it. I haven’t experienced anything paranormal myself, but I do have an intuitive feeling something is wrong energetically.

    I don’t know a single person who is into occultism in the slightest way. How would you suggest I go about finding help with such a thing? I am wary of charlatans out there, and I doubt I could take matters into my own hands without a lot of practice beforehand. Also, I am not even sure what to ask for in this case.

  252. @Dusk Shrine
    As I understand it, before this bill was passed the commercial internet was controlled by the worst stewards of its history, with the point of the law being to take that control and put it in the hands of pretty much anybody else. This worked, the big three are the new boss, slightly better than the old boss.
    The fear is that, due to a monopoly right extended to these companies, without the laws counter-blocking their influence these terrible stewards will be returned to power. From our perspective, this is probably most bad because in an effort to protect their corporate image, AOL in the early 2000’s basically went around disconnecting their customers from websites that seemed to criticize AOL’s services, including sites that more generally criticized the Religion of Progress, and you could probably see something similar for any of the 20 flavors of wrong-think visible on sites such as this one.
    In many municipalities (the large American city I live in among them) the telecom companies are extended a right of private utility: In any given geographical area only a single company is allowed to access communication infrastructure. If you do not like your telecom company, you are welcome to sell your house, quit your job, and move to another city. I wonder how many people will exit the internet in a post net-neutrality world (hey, a silver lining!).

  253. @Isabel & Onething. Isabel said “As a feminist, and one aware of the statistical rarity of false accusations, I feel that my default should be to believe allegations of sexual harassment or assault” As Onething has, of course, pointed out, setting up this default does require setting women up to be a superior sort of human being, and in real life, we are mostly just ordinary, and as prone as the next human being to frailty, cruelty and taking advantage.

    On the other hand, I am fully on board with the feminist lens through which one can easily see how the manner in which rape trials are prosecuted, reported and generally discussed proceeds according to a script derived from traditional views of what men and women are, and what they owe each other*. A tragic result of this is that it prevents justice from being seen to be done, especially from the point of view of rape victims. This leads to serious consequences such as under-reporting, under-prosecuting, and under-conviction, which becomes part of a self-perpetuating vicious circle.

    I have thought about this quite a bit, and it seems to me that we cannot right this until the onus comes off the victim (and especially the onus that comes from defining the crime purely in accordance with the degree to which a victim has “consented”). This way of defining the crime hangs all evidenciary matters on a victim’s subjective experience, truthfulness, honour and respectability, whereas a trial should rightly turn on acts and behaviours of the accused, for which evidence can, at least in theory, be brought independently of the word of the victim. In a rape trial this might include controlling, isolating, herding, and resistance-dismantling type behaviours strongly associated with an act of rape.

    If, say, rape accusations, investigations, trials and reporting of same, hinged around the following type of questions, we’d see an entirely different set of possibilities for “justice being seen to be done”:
    1. Did the accused do anything to reduce her or his capacity to refuse?
    2. Did the accused implement any strategy to prevent her or him from freely leaving accused’s company – isolation, locking doors, blocking escape routes?
    3. Did the accused supply or administer a drug or substance known to weaken a person’s resolve or capacity, or strategically take advantage of same.
    4. Did the accused state or suggest that accused’s power to grant or withhold benefits (eg promotion or raise) was conditional on compliance?
    5. Did the accused state or suggest accused was willing and able to cause harm to a person, to their family or to someone or something they value.
    6. Did the accused at any time make threats, make a show of temper, or violence or use actual violence.
    7. Did the accused at any time take any action aimed at limiting her or his freedom to refuse accused or to leave accused?

    Asking and answering these, would take our obsession(s) with sex, gender, and people’s proper biologically-driven (or gods-given) roles out of the prosecution of rape, and would also mean that a rape victim could be a bad or disrespectable kind of person and still not be put on trial in place of the accused, and likewise, the accused could be respectable as all get out, but if evidence shows their behaviour was designed to remove another person’s agency to achieve their own sexual gratification, then they can objectively be seen to have committed the crime in question.

    *For eg, scripts that want to focus on what the victim DID, that holds no crime has occurred if victim is not sympathetic and/or respectable, and news coverage that harps on how victims have “[dark] pasts” while accused (possible perpetrators) have “[bright] futures”… for a wee sample.

  254. @JMG, I have been ruminating on the clockwise and anti-clockwise directions which are important parts of rituals such as the SOP. On the one hand, the SOP nicely balances these. On the other, I have often heard people suggest that clockwise (sometimes called “deosil” or “the righthand path”) is a “good” direction, while counterclockwise (sometimes called “widdershins” * or “the left hand path”) is a “bad” direction.

    I have become aware that if one were to stand at the north pole, the earth under one’s feet would be turning in an anticlockwise direction, while (provided the season allows a view of it) the sun would be seen to circle around one in a clockwise direction. To myself, I have started to use the terms “geosil” (earth-following) and “deosil” (sun-following) to designate these directions**, which, for me, removes any moral connotation, and allows me to use both directions in a balanced way, especially in respect of balancing solar and telluric forces.

    I wonder if I am barking up the right tree, or should I be aware that, in some circumstances, the “left hand path” is still definitely one to be avoided for sound reasons?

    * I’m fond of the image “widdershins” evokes, of widows tossing their shins in a wild dance….
    ** I’m aware that this designation is very “north-centric” and that things may well be different in the southern hemisphere.

  255. JMG, I have two (naive) questions relating to Spheres of Protection, if I may:

    1/ Do they offer some protection against ‘incorporeal beings of malevolent intent’ that lurk on dark country lanes and scare the wits out of one?

    We have one such here, alas, independently confirmed by several people: the usual ‘sudden change of atmosphere and something nasty breathing right down one’s neck’ experience……

    2/ Do they assist in any way with repelling ordinary human (non-magical) malice,as opposed to other entities and deliberate magical attacks. You will guess I am describing typical village life….. 🙂

  256. Hi JMG,

    another magic-related question: a couple of weeks ago I was out grocery shopping. When I walked into the store, I started to notice something quite different about people – at least different from how I had seen people before. I want to say that I could see people’s auras, but that sounds so hopelessly new-agey and hokey, and it wasn’t really like seeing with my eyes, more like knowing or perceiving with my whole awareness. But I was definitely aware of something around each person that consisted of a great deal of information that I hadn’t really noticed before. In a lot of cases there was a very angry, almost malicious type of energy present. I would walk by a person and pick up these strong feelings, and with some people, I got the distinct impression that they wanted to harm me. The actual person didn’t seem to notice me at all and just carried on with their shopping, but the energy or whatever it was definitely seemed to notice me, and with the really angry ones, I actually got quite scared by it. I had to cut short the shopping and get out of there, as it was quite overwhelming. In the past I think I would basically just be able to pick up a person’s good or bad ‘vibes,’ as I suspect most people are able to do, but this seems pretty different.

    My question then would pretty much be, what the heck was that? Was I somehow just picking up people’s subconscious feelings that they were not aware of? Or was it some kind of outside entity that had attached itself to people?

    I hesitate to post this as it strikes me as kind of strange, but I’m trying to remind myself that probably anything I could experience after two months of magical practice is likely just hopelessly dull to the Archdruid 🙂

  257. Garden Housewife: the recipes I promised you.

    1. Hot chocolate mix, as given top me by Jen in Alamogordo (HumbleWife@DoubleNickelFarm)
    Mix 7 1/3 cups instant powdered milk with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and one 1 cup of baking chocolate powder. She also adds 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste. I don’t use salt in it.

    If you use the packets of dry milk, I come out with a scant 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 cup (2T) cocoa powder per packet. Depends on the size family you have.

    2. Her lemonade recipe is – for each quart of water, mix 1/3 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cups of sugar, and between 5 and 8 well-washed mint leaves from the garden. Mix well, pour into a bottle.

    Baked goods, published in the Alafair Tucker Murder Mystery series, by Donis Casey, set in Oklahome a hundred years ago.

    3. Alafair’s Hot Water Cornbread. Mix together 2 cups of cornmeal, 1 T baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add 1 cup boiling water, stir. Should be smooth and very thick. Heat about 1/4 inch of fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop rounded spoonfuls of batter into the fat, flatten each fritter with the back of a spoon. Fry until brown on one side, flip, fry until brown on the other. Drain on a towel-lined late and serve hot with butter (savory) or jam or syrup. My note: My own mother used to make corn meal much for breakfast in a double boiler, put the leftovers in a rectangular refrigerator dish, and slice in up and fry it for later, usually with syrup of brown sugar. Alafair was WWI; my Mom WWII.

    4. Same source, War Bread, which Donis Casey says makes a dense, surprisingly moist cake. Uses rye flour instead of wheat. Let me know if you’re interested. I haven’t tried it and can’t tell you anything about it. Not to mention I’m here in another mile-high city and haven’t sat down to adapt it.


  258. Hello Varun

    Sounds like a good mix you’ve found there.

    Here’s some links to people I’ve found helpful in terms of keeping in touch with reality:

    As you can see, my preference is for Russian martial arts. Their approach tends to put more emphasis on letting you discover for yourself how best to use your body, as opposed to giving you a large library of set responses from which you’re supposed to recall the correct one. So Russian martial arts (the ones readily available in the West at least) are more of an approach to training rather than a style of fighting. The few “stylistic” aspects are generally to do with preference for getting out of the way rather than blocking / deflecting, and preference for simple natural movements rather than highly specialised ones require much training to achieve familiarity. Both of which adapt well to multiple / armed attacker / irregular environment situations.

    Other things I’ve found very helpful in developing my ability to stay safe are:
    – Learning to fall safely (i.e. frequently getting thrown)
    – Getting used to being hit (i.e. frequently getting hit)
    – A training environment of controlled chaos (to develop peripheral awareness)
    – Slow motion training (allows you to correct bad habits, fully experience every aspect of what you’re doing, along with countless other benefits)
    – A playful attitude (to prevent competitiveness becoming an impediment to learning, and also countless other benefits)

    Increasing crime due to decreasing police funding in the ongoing contraction is very much on my mind. And my explorations have also led me to many practises for health, physical maintenance and introspective self examination, all of which will stand me in good stead.


  259. philsharris: Thinking in images as your default is something I first heard of through the works of linguist Suzette Haden Elgin, now passed on. She detailed the sensory modes people do think is and advised readers to listen for them via their metaphors (“I see that” vs :I finally got a grip on it” be “sounds good to me……”) and try to shift into the same mode for easier conversation.

    Steve M: the more things change …. “Every politician has to make three fortunes while in office. The first to pay his campaign debts, the second to live on, and the third, to keep him from being indicted after he leaves.” Cicero, IIRC.

  260. @CR Patiño
    Re: self-driving cars

    Nobody has moved the goal posts. The goal for most of the players is to produce a vehicle that can drive itself anywhere, in any weather. That’s what the goal started out as, and that’s still the goal.

    There are over a half-dozen serious players, including Elon Musk, Google, Uber, Lyft, Ford, Delphi and others. Each of them had different goals and somewhat different strategies for getting there. Uber, for example, has always wanted self-driving taxis so they can get rid of the drivers they’re currently exploiting. Ford doesn’t see selling self-driving cars to individuals as a viable market – they’re looking at a future where most people don’t own their own car. Delphi is a parts supplier; they don’t care what the end-user market is like as long as it exists and they can sell parts.

    What’s changed is the strategy for getting there. The original strategy was to provide driving assists like lane holding until all of the assists added up to full self-driving – what the US government calls Level 6. They finally realized that one of the essential pieces of that strategy simply doesn’t exist – drivers that can keep their attention on the road for hours on end while the car does the driving, simply so they can handle anything that comes up that the car can’t. Most drivers have difficulty keeping their attention on the road for five minutes, even while they’re in complete control of their auto.

    The new strategy is to go completely to self-driving in limited areas and expand from there.

    Nobody in the field, with the possible exception of Elon Musk, thought it would be simple or that they would be able to simply tell the software people to just do it. Pretty much everyone knows that there will be a huge learning curve, and that anyone who says they know what needs to be done to get to the goal simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

  261. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks, and I can see the appeal in those wishes for complete and utter change, but well, I don’t for one feel that that is how things are going to work out. In the meant time, plant the summer vegetables and tend to the chickens and bees!

    Hopefully I get this one in before the next blog cycle – far out, it comes around fast and I feel as if life moves ever more rapidly! Anyway, I have noted that several people here have discussed the current bout of men behaving very badly and I have to add that both myself and my wife have encountered such folks because there seems to be quite a few of them about the place.

    I was rather curious about those folks though, as to me they appear as if they have self esteem, but with no substance to back that up, and so they learned the trick of climbing onto the backs of others in order to keep themselves swimming in their delusions. I sort of feel that it is a debased form of magic, and eventually they suffer the inevitable blow back from their actions – I certainly deliver them a surprise which tends to make them avoid me.

    Incidentally, the pickup artist community practice a similar technique, but again, whilst it achieves their goals, it doesn’t bring them any closer to other people, and eventually the sun rises and the light of day doesn’t look so good for them.

    Dunno, I’d certainly be curious as to your thoughts?



  262. Hello Varun

    Sorry forgot to specify – regarding getting used to being hit, don’t hit the head! The dangers of that far outweigh the benefits, and head injuries will not stand you in good stead in the future we’re going to get. For training purposes pushing with a loose fist / relaxed foot are sufficient to practise defending against head shots.


  263. @JMG

    Late in the comment cycle, but I saw a post on Wolf Street today re China’s investment in US energy production (specifically mentioning the desire to secure LNG supplies) and I couldn’t help but think of your discussion of the wealth pump and the role of vassal states in providing the imperial center with raw commodities…

    @JMG and @Housewife

    I cannot speak from personal experience, but my daughter, who is a solo practitioner (but most certainly NOT Wiccan, as she will firmly and forcefully explain to you), uses for some of her supplies (mainly herbs and oils).

  264. Are you a fan of the tarot decks of Robert M. Place? I noticed an image of his in The Occult Book. I really like his artwork and his research into Tarot history. His experience as a long-time jeweler and working artist gives him an interesting perspective on the history of the Tarot. I heard a podcast of him speaking about Pamela Coleman Smith, and it was fascinating, he is a great historian and could really relate with Smith as an artist, relying on commissions, timelines for art shows, the mediums she was working with, etc.

  265. In a previous week’s comment section I mentioned the abandonment by mainstream economics of the notion from classical economics concerning the distinction between earned income and unearned (rentier) income. It’s late in the cycle, but now I’ll offer this: What if we abandoned the notion of “economic growth” based on on my very own assertion that “in practice it may be difficult to determine whether economic growth actually, on the whole, actually improves the human condition or actually makes it worse “(not to mention the condition of non-human beings). Without resorting to an argument based on economic growth, I wonder, how much other of our other economic reasoning would need to get tossed out?

  266. Will J,

    Universities have become so toxic that I don’t even take their crap seriously, except of course for the real suffering they cause to people they bully. And that is why I suspected it was a university. (I went back to your original post, and I didn’t see that bit.)

  267. Hi Jmg!

    What are you thoughts on these random topics:

    -Psilocybin mushrooms
    -Can those really help people with lets say PTSD?

    -Bullying at school, how to prevent such things happening and how to punish sneaky social bullies especially (those who mastermind but often not participate, and far too often never get caught )

    -Gospel of Thomas

    – You manuscripting a computer game that takes place in a realistically portrayed postindustrial world. Maybe for example a point and click adventure, or an open world role playing one (a´la fallout, but not post nuclear)? I suppose it could be an interesting topic to develop. Stars Reach universe?

  268. Ancient Ways in Oakland is a reputable store that has an online presence. I don’t know how well they do on mail order since I am near enough to shop in person. I have known the owner for 40 years. She is Wiccan and runs the Pantheacon festival in San Jose.

    Nov 20, New Yorker has an article on efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the air. It is worth a read. Several techniques are discussed as well as the problems of each and the problems of the idea in general. I am not holding my breath (although I suppose that would be a small contribution–for a short time 😉 )

  269. @JMG How do you view groups like the Wolves of Vinland, what they are doing, and what they are practicing? Groups like these are typically right leaning, yet stay apolitical for the most part. Do you see mass adoption from populations as the decay of globalization continues or do you see new movements forming that take on a more populist role, while still claiming to be occultist?

  270. ” “As a feminist, and one aware of the statistical rarity of false accusations, I feel that my default should be to believe allegations of sexual harassment or assault”

    I don’t believe its as rare as you think.

    There also exists the Title IX sexual assault protections that have proven highly unjust especially on college campuses.

    The very existence of false allegations should make the accuser merit the same penalty for the crime itself. And claims without evidence cannot be believed in any case.

    Innocent men have died by false rape accusations. Crimes like this cannot be treated lightly.

  271. This blog is proving to be a wonderful successor to the Archdruid Report and the Well of Galabes both

    Regarding the questions Austin and the like asked about spirit phenomenon, apologies to our host for the long winded hijack but I know a bit about this topic

    . Such encounters are quite common in America, common enough Destination America can basically run an entire T.V network out of purportedly true recent sightings of ghost and monsters.

    I’ve seen plenty of strange things and interacted with them myself though the old taboos about discussing it publicly still hold true to some degree so you won’t see as much face to face talk as online, This will be breaking down and anyone who is at all spiritually inclined and that is a lot of people will be a lot more comfortable with the topic than average folk have been in half a century

    I will say that Ghost and Spirits also seem more powerful and virulent than they were thought to be when I was a young man.

    If this actually is the case and not just guesswork on my part , its probably because of the vast increase in electromagnetic activity in recent years.

    Essentially its all you can eat boojum buffet out there. . Any effect from the declining amount of metal, these days replaced by plastics and other materials , is easily made up for with EM radiation which in some frequency is what makes up the etheric body.

    This is also why cold spots and EM meters have value when ghost hunting

    Its also possible for some living humans to interact with this field , its how the non fraudulent physical mediums did their thing and probably possible for people to do some of the ghosts tricks as well though I can’t attest to that.

    The only advice I can give if you decide to do more than read up is to be careful . Despite what people want to think . Ghost and Spirits can pose real risks . If you don’t know what you are doing and have a choice, don’t do it especially with a spirit board . Those things seem to attract negative entities galore.

  272. @samurai_47 (if I may)

    I was the one who offered to index the books. I worked for many years as an indexer doing indexes for publishers, and would still love to do this project.

    I was swamped with gardening and other work earlier this year, and thought I could begin over the winter. However, in an effort to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly, my financial reality is that I must put my time and energy into something with a much shorter payback than an index paid on royalties. If I understand the situation correctly, the books are being released one at a time, each without an index, and the compiled index would be printed as a final volume, and sold separately. My pay for the work I do now would come from royalties of the sale of the index volume years down the road. Reality intrudes.

    Indexers are rarely on the editorial staff, and the managing editor usually hires the work out to a freelancer and pays for the indexing when done. This means that the indexer must set a price per page that would ensure they are not working for slave wages, since they will get nothing from royalties. The cost to the publisher for paying for indexing a project this size would make no financial sense whatsoever because of the likely limited sales of the books. I am willing to do this work because I believe it to be worthwhile for the world, not because I can make much money from it, but like I said, reality intrudes.

    I stopped doing indexing because publishers realized years ago that they could send the manuscripts to India via the internet, and get a good index back for much less than if they hired a North American indexer. Many indexers were forced to drop out of the trade. That might be something the publisher of these volumes would be willing to look into.

    The other consideration for this project, is that a compiled index must refer to all 10 complete volumes, because a topic in volume 1 that is also discussed in volume 7 must be brought together under the same index heading. Until all 10 volumes are in at least the page proof stage, the index cannot be completed. If I understand correctly, the later volumes are not yet at that stage, and while I can begin to work on the first volumes, the index cannot be finished until all the books are either printed or the editor can supply a copy of the page proofs of all the volumes.

    To answer your other questions, authors often offer to write the index themselves to save money, but because indexing requires a different set of skills than writing a book, and authors are often too close to the text to see it from a new reader’s perspective, the index is not necessarily the best. Some can do a great job, often they can’t. I’m sure JMG could do a great job, but it would require an incredible amount of time which I’m sure he would rather put towards something else.

    If no-one else is able to pick up this project, and I am in a situation where it is possible for me to do it, I will happily do it.

  273. Patricia Mathews
    Thanks. I like the idea of listening for metaphors ( Suzette Haden Elgin). I think the natural world also can ‘speak’ to us of matters of interest in different modes. I think of alighting from a bus in a remote location in the dark back when younger, for example in sheep country. My nose and ears are not very sharp these days but when it is light I can watch others especially wild birds / animals acting and interacting. (Even if I need my specs more as time goes on!)

    Sometimes pictures have come to me that were borrowed as it were – some historical – which were sometimes immediately communicable without words to companions. Very odd really. On occasion I have caught glimpses through the eyes of others. Once while getting ready to shoo a wasp from our dining room, a question popped up. I wondered what the wasp was seeing. The answer was remarkable because I have no ability to see at the near-UV end of the spectrum. Magical world!

    In ordinary communication I guess images come in very useful even if we are barely conscious of them. Roger Penrose has a fine description of this in conversation with fellow mathematicians; (Emperor’s New Mind, section, ‘contact with Plato’s world’).

    :Phil H

  274. JMG, Thank you for answering my inquiry re: Buddhism and Schopenhauer last Open Post. I was curious if you were any closer to doing the series on Wagner’s Ring + Parsifal sequence?

  275. @info1: I…do not find that guy particularly credible, and am more inclined to trust the FBI, which puts “unfounded” accusations (including accusations that aren’t provably false but also don’t have enough evidence to be true) between 2% and 8%. Nor have I seen any reason to believe the IX protections are unjust. When false accusations do occur, I absolutely think there should be penalties, as I mentioned above, but I don’t think they’re particularly common.

    I do think that Scotlyn’s guidelines would be excellent ones to use.

  276. Peter,
    You don’t expect the belt-tightening to be equitably distributed do you? There’s more belt-tightening for the 99% then there is for the 1%. So an additional consequence of fossil fuel depletion is rising inequality.
    The American public stopped being able to paper over the deteriorating EROI with debt during the Great Recession. The US government responded by throwing money at business in the form of low interest rates, QE, and now a tax bill. The businesses can’t organically grow anymore (the public is tapped out) so they’ve subsidized their “performance” (stock price) through bond-financed stock buybacks. That’s why we’ve ended up with a raging bull market seemingly detached from fundamentals. Everybody’s “buying the dips”. What little organic growth there is is only marginal growth from population increase, the demographics of which (at least in the US) will be going into reverse very soon. We are also looking at a hard Brexit in 2019 (since the UK and EU keep refusing to come to terms), which will tank the UK, send the EU spiraling, and finally put an end to the market insanity here in the US, if it hasn’t broken down before then.
    It’s been said we are in the middle of the “Everything Bubble”.
    But again, don’t forget in all this, the American public, which is not particularly benefited by all of this, barely getting by, or not getting by. The few with jobs keeping their heads afloat is a dwindling number. The low unemployment rate masks a complete lack of affordability for the average American worker.
    Due to the inevitable market crash and the exhaustion of central bank measures, I expect a left-wing president to get voted in the US in 2020. Look for helicopter money, or something close to it. UBI, single-payer health care, maybe both? “Paid for” by eliminating SS, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment…

  277. Dear Samurai 47, what you have described with regard to your building project is exactly why we Catholics always have a priest come and bless new buildings. If your workers or anticipated customer base are persons of faith, you might want to consider contacting a relevant church, mosque or synagogue to perform a simple ceremony, which will almost certainly not take long nor involve much preparation on your part–religious of all faiths have many demands on their time and energy. If nothing else, you will have earned the gratitude and maybe even respect of some of your workers. Ask the workers whom they would recommend.

  278. @lathechuck – Setting ecosophia up on dial up modems sounds like a good idea. However here in my town they are ripping up the old copper landlines and selling the wire as scrap…. So no dial up. It sucks pretty bad because here in Western Massachusetts there are a lot of mountains, hills and valleys so cell service is spotty.

    I once had a girlfriend break up with me because she couldn’t text me at my house… We had only been together a two months but still. It was about that time I started looking progress squarely down the barrel.

  279. Perhaps a bit late, but here is something I have been thinking about lately. Many pagans put a great deal of stock in showing reverence for one’s ancestors. I believe this is right and proper. As a Catholic, I also share the belief held by many that praying for the dead, to include one’s ancestors, is beneficial. Certainly, we should also appreciate those who came before us and what they did to prepare the way.

    All that being said, how do you think a belief in reincarnation can be reconciled with attitudes of respect and reverence for one’s ancestors? If reincarnation is true, then my existence does not depend on my ancestors; I would simply have incarnated into a different body if my current one had not been available. Even the belief that my ancestors are looking down on me and interceding for me seems misplaced if they have reincarnated and are walking about the Earth as I am.

  280. For all of my awareness life, I have been roaming in god creative school of the natural forms and the non-natural forms where separation is non-existent. The mental world, the physical world, the spoken world and the written world are my theater where my imagination plays , its drama of exploration and discovery both in the inner and outer realms. As I move forward I saw the wall between the magical and the mystical is crumbling where the same tools of meditation,invocation, divination, will, intention, attention, chanting,intonation of the great names, gratitude for the gifts abound and the feeling of unity etc are actively utilized in the journey forward. I never forget the beyond and let myself get imprisoned in the appearances. The world is his words that await our invocation in a process of transparency where nothing get stuck in the flow. Like the odd follow order I believe in the one supreme force that preserve everything , in friendship, love and truth. It is our intimate relation with the one that gives meaning to our relation with others. I like your way of maneuvering among the thought stoppers to expose the deceit. I think this is a gift of honesty that enable you to meander in the world of beautiful and concise expressions as Ibn Arabi said, the opening in the world of expression is the reward of honest endevour. In the Koran there are certain combinations of letters that are used in a rhythmical intonation to calibrate the neuron strings to vibrate in such a way as to receive the incoming divine message. The cosmos is programmed as a non-stop broadcasting station for those who know how to tune in. Correspondence of frequencies.
    It is a world of sound where all the languages of the world
    share in the same symphony of sound despite the variations here and there.Thank you Greer for everything you are doing in this collapsing world of ours.

  281. To Samurai_47 – please contact me directly regarding your need for someone who can un-haunt your construction site. I know someone who does exactly that work. You can reach me via gardengirlgarden on the yahoo mail server.

    To David, by the Lake – my town re-wrote its poultry bylaws a few years back. A professor in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts headed up the effort. He made a point of including rabbits in the text of the warrant. I was called in as the local “expert” in raising meat rabbits (truly the ‘expert’ need only know more than her students!) and the whole lot passed. Here are some links with information:

  282. Scotlyn,

    I agree with your points, but I am pretty sure that all of your 7 behaviors would be important data in a rape trial.

  283. Simo P,

    The drug for resolving PTSD is ecstasy, and I understand it has been already used for that with, for example, soldiers. This drug is a pain eraser, allowing you to look at difficult things with nary a flinch. It simply takes you into the heart chakra and allows you to open up and go to work on traumas. Saves tons of time.

  284. @Austin: FWIW, any SO who’d freak out because they couldn’t immediately get in touch whenever they wanted (after *two months*, JFC) is one you’re waaaay better off without. Like, if you were still with Clingy McNeedypants after that, and I was a RL friend, I’d have been trying to diplomatically tell you to run for the hills.

    @Christopher Kinyon: The reconciliation I’ve seen in that regard runs along the lines of “there’s some period of rest between reincarnation, and time is an incarnate thing, so prayer/reverence goes to the ancestors while they’re there, even if they’re also incarnate while you are.” Which means we, as theoretical ancestors, might also be getting prayers/reverence/etc and not know it, because Time is Weird.

  285. @John Roth

    Maybe I am splitting hairs, but it does sound like goalpost moving to me. If one day you say robocars everywhere and next day you say robocars in selected districts/streets only, I say your goal has shifted.

    Of course, the ultimate goal is a massive wealth transfer from the public to the car industry, and precisely which technology they happen to use in order to achieve that is of no importance. The cynic in me thinks they would save a lot in time and geek salaries if the car industry just closed every factory and autotrader, put a gun in the hand of every employee, and then went around mugging everyone else. But some of us are rather geeky and do care about the particulars of the technology…

    So, my take on this is that they have given up on the goal of having robo cars co-exist with normal cars on the streets, and now are trying to replace normal cars altogether. Phase one of the plan is to gain a foothold on some well defined places in town. Then, they will price out of the road every user of normal cars, specially if they can lobby the politicians to declare that robocars are “safer”, and blame every accident to the human driver, by the extra primes of insurance, wide swats of people would end up evicted from the affluent side of town in this way. Finally, as you mentioned, they would keep expanding their exclusive zone until it is no longer economically gainful to do so (and maybe quite some more, BigCorp are slow to make decisions).

    I feel for you guys on Gringostan, but I don’t think I will suffer from that fate on this side of the border. Our roads are too damned holey, and our population is too damned belligerent for this to happen here. Not that it will not be tried, but it will more likely be like some sort of Uberscheme to part some rich schmooes from their money, they’ll pay the trinket upfront (maybe even going into debt to do so), only for it to be obliterated by a mob of angry taxi drivers the next week.

  286. Christopher Kinyon,

    I do not see why reincarnation makes one’s ancestors less important. Of course your existence depends upon your ancestors – how could it not? After all, the Catholic Church does not make your ancestors responsible for the creation of your soul. That comes from God.

    You say that you would simply have picked a different body if your current one were not available. How is this different than nonreincarnation? What if you were about to be born to a certain woman, but she dies in a car crash? Are you thinking that your soul is only created at the moment of conception then? God would not bother to make your soul until the moment it has a body ready for it? Even so, if she were, say, 4 months pregnant, then you get to spend eternity in limbo, no?

    As for your ancestors looking down and interceding, it is likely that souls spend a number of “years” between lives, and also that the oversoul or higher part of the soul is always in the heaven world even during incarnations.
    Furthermore, it is very likely (according to NDE reports and such) that their are loving soul families that often incarnate with one another and whose progress is intertwined.

    But I also add up the small problems you mention and weigh them against the huge problems of injustice that reincarnation solves. We are eternal beings and yet are given a tiny increment in which to have our fate forever decided, even though it is easily apparent that most people are very flawed, struggle to make even small changes, sincerely wish to be better (not everyone, but maybe next time!) and then you’ve got strange problems like a person dying just before they were ready to convert, or being born in a time in which true religion is not available, and generally having most of the human race in a very unequal situation regarding salvation, and being given way too little time.

    Why in the world would God be in such a tearing hurry to shut souls out of a chance to learn and grow? Isn’t all sin really ignorance and foolishness? Why not give us the time we need?

    Our bodies are very fragile. In my opinion, lack of a belief in reincarnation is the crux from which follows all the theologies which make Christianity deserving of the criticism it receives, and make it increasingly unattractive. It just isn’t uplifting and makes of God a rather arbitrary and frankly unimaginative being who comes up with a cosmic plan that disappoints.

    Religion and its accoutrements and theologians and hierarchies are human constructs that try to pretend they are all divinely given. Ah, but someone above asked what JMG thought of the gospel of Thomas, which contains a favorite saying, to the effect that while many stand outside the bridal chamber (union with God) only those who STAND ALONE will get in. This means a certain spiritual maturity and confidence. A relationship with God as with anyone, should not depend on someone else telling you what God is like, but rather you must achieve enough confidence to even buck the majority and have your own, individual opinion.

    The New Testament contains a few great clues, worthy of much meditation:

    God is love. (Love remembereth no wrongs.)
    God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
    Go and learn what this means: I will have mercy, and not justice.
    Perfect love casts out fear.

  287. Christopher Kinyon, what a wonderful question! I am interested to hear JMG’s response. Many native tribes also often felt a deep connection to their ancestors… fact, I have heard that some of them, if they had a question that they could not answer easily, would “ask the ancestors”, and according to them, the ancestors would answer, quite satisfactorily. I myself have had an experience that I feel deeply has been guided in some way by my ancestors–something I would never have expected! There is much more in this world–and the next–than we can possibly understand, IMO.

  288. JMG, my inner fourteen year old did enjoy it, but my real fourteen year old self would never have been allowed to read it – my mom would have considered it super demonic!

    Do you know a good book on Greek Neoplatonist magic that would be readable for someone who doesn’t know anything at all about it? Did the Neoplatonists have a short all-purpose prayer that could be used in any situation? The Orthodox have the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Pretty sure it doesn’t work though if you disagree with the theology in it.

    Also, I know someone who is having frequent nightmares in which multiple beings with malicious intent, who he at the time thinks are aliens, surround him. After fully waking, he believes these dreams are only sleep paralysis. I’m not so sure. I want to put something together to hopefully help. Based on your natural magic book, I thought I’d cut an onion in half, put it cut side up in a glass bowl, cut a few garlic cloves in half and put around the onion, then add basil and rosemary. This could be put on the night stand. I chose these ingredients because I can easily get them. Do I need to use sprigs of fresh basil and rosemary, or should I sprinkle dried herbs over the onion and garlic pieces? Should I say any kind of prayer? If so, what would be appropriate? Or should I just concentrate on my intent behind doing this, to protect him from possibly evil spirits/beings/whatever?

    Additionally, I’ve ordered two kinds of incense, frankincense and myrrh, for him to use before bed. Maybe I should mention too that he thinks and talks a lot about people who have done him wrong, going back thirty years. He also was intrigued by Satanism and attended a satanic black mass. He doesn’t believe in demons or anything supernatural or paranormal. I think I’ll ask him to try not to dwell on anything negative or dark for a while, to see if that helps.

    If there are other things you think might help more, I can try to order them. Thanks for having the open post week where I can ask this kind of stuff. I don’t know anyone in real life I can ask. If anyone else around here is interested in this kind of thing, they’re keeping their mouths tightly shut, just like I am!

    Rita and David, thanks for the recommendations. Both look good!

    Patricia, thanks for the recipes. I think I’ll try the hot chocolate one with powdered rice milk.

  289. I’d be curious to hear what JMG (and others) think is the likely future of America’s smaller public and nonprofit sector institutions dedicated to cultural preservation and education activities. I imagine the biggest institutions will probably survive, but what of the smaller community organizations of this type – all those local libraries, all the small museums, archives, and historical societies focused on matters local and specific, and the little community schools of the arts that teach the basics of stuff like classical music, drawing and painting, voice, or dance that are no longer much covered in the public schools? Is their time over, due to the declining economy and/or declining ability (or desire) of their old donors to support them and/or a change in what is considered worth learning, preserving, or understanding? Or will they have a new role to play in the coming decades?

    [If you’ve answered this question in your writings at some point in the past, I apologize for not having seen it yet, and maybe you can just tell me where it was answered (if it was).]

  290. I should also have added to my question – Or will we find new ways to do what these organizations used to do, or not, and does it matter?

  291. JMG,

    First, thanks for the very thorough answer. I’m quite grateful (and impressed) that you are so responsive to questions.

    When I used the term “high functioning” I didn’t mean wealthy – but I didn’t exclude it either. Accomplishments in science, arts, could be part of a high functioning – but just being a strong, compassionate, wise human being would be bedrock. I’ve got to assume, with all those books behind you, that you’ve become reasonably wealthy? I’d think that fitting. I don’t see the conflict but, in fact, see a TREMENDOUS conflict when someone claims to be enlightened or highly skilled in the paranormal yet can’t seem to get their life together and take responsibility for themselves. Again, I’ve never personally met a highly accomplished, stable practitioner of the occult who really seemed to be living the good life without a trail of rubble behind them. I account you as probably one.

    What I’ve observed so far (absenting you) in those who seem most drawn to occultism is they generally aren’t strong; generally don’t take responsibility for themselves but point to others or point to their stars; generally aren’t highly accomplished in anything in the normal world; seem strongly inclined to socialism (what is mine is mine and what is yours should be mine as well); and break easily under pressure. Maybe just my bad luck of the draw?

    Associated with this, and my figuring out what to explore next, what do you think of this: It purports that Crowley mastered and integrated Golden Dawn, OTO, Freemasonry, some yogic practices, and perhaps more, into his teachings? You’ve mentioned Crowley in some of your blog posts, as I recall, and didn’t say anything deprecating – but apparently haven’t followed him too far, either. One thing I like about this particular article is it gives me some sort of high-level overview of how the various western schools of occultism (is that necessarily the same as magick?) are related. I think you mentioned there are hundreds of different schools but it would still be nice to have at least a basic taxonomy, as I would expect nearly all of them are a result of cross breeding?

    -Thx for any further guidance

  292. Hi all! Just wanted to thank everyone for their discussion generally. Also specifically wrt last month’s post, because I have since been able to acquire some tallow from a nearby farm and made some soap! It’s still curing, but it seems to have worked brilliantly! Next step: try to make lye 🙂

  293. @Christoper Kinyon
    Re: Ancestors

    As the saying goes, everyone has parents. We would not be here otherwise. Likewise, all parents have children, or they would not be parents, and parents put a good deal of effort and emotional investment into raising their children.

    Just because someone has sluffed off the mortal coil does not mean they have lost interest in their family, and the converse also holds. Many Essences do go down the ages with the same companions, changing relationships to get different experiences with the same companions.

    The Michael Teaching would not agree with the premise behind your last paragraph. From the MT’s viewpoint, Essence resides on the Astral Plane and each incarnation is separate, and remains separate until it finally merges with Essence. It does not reincarnate – Essence creates another incarnation.

    Creating a lifetime is a complex affair, involving many agreements with many Essences for diverse experiences, both as children and throughout the life. “Just incarnating into another body” vastly understates the complexity involved, although it is simpler if the other body is in the same family – many of the people who are involved with agreements are the same people.

    This, of course, is not the usual view of reincarnation.

  294. @ Michelle

    Re poultry laws and meat rabbits

    Thanks for the link! I will keep that in mind. Our chicken-keeping ordinance is pretty fresh, only being passed last year after many months of debate (I only half-jokingly refer to the episode as “The Great Chicken Debate of 2016”), so I am already pushing things a bit by seeking to expand it so soon. But with a bit of time, perhaps meat rabbits would be an option. Certainly, my efforts to allow smaller livestock — like goats, or sheep, or a larger number of fowl — on lots of larger size (2 acres+) slammed into a brick wall.

  295. Samurai_47
    Regarding your question about the geography of New England affecting the character of the place, Vermont Public Radio produces a monthly podcast, “Brave Little State”; topics are chosen from listener suggestions. The September broadcast addressed how the geology of Vermont has affected the character of the state, the people, and the agriculture. You can listen to the program or read the transcript here:

    I can attest that Vermont feels different than New Hampshire or Massachusetts, or even upstate New York, all of which are a short drive away. I’ve never been to Maine, so I can’t speak to that. I used to think it was just because I live here and it feels like home, but the podcast was interesting, because clearly other people notice a difference too.

  296. Varun, it’s always best to learn one thing at a time!

    Phil K., fascinating.

    Nicholas, depends on what you do with them. Brass doesn’t have anything like so strong an effect because it’s an alloy of two or more metals (depending on the specific formulation — there are various brasses) and so doesn’t have a single energetic pattern.

    Oilman, funny. Yes, that sort of thing is embarrassingly common. The next price spike is waiting in the wings, tapping its toes in boredom, listening for its cue…

    Samurai_47, depends on the publisher. Large publishers hire it out to indexers. Midsized publishers often ask the author for a list of words to index, and then use a software program. Small publishers ask the author to do it. I’ve gotten fairly good at indexing, since I publish with a lot of small publishers, and I also use indexes a lot and so know what makes them useful and what makes them useless. If it were a single volume I’d consider it, but ten plump volumes, not so much.

    Reloaded15, definitely consult the Ogham! You can also proceed with the OBOD course and when you’re finished with it, go on to other things, including the DMH material. That was basically what I did; it was after I completed the OBOD course that I went zooming off into the far reaches of Druidry. 😉

    Dewey, the Light-Body is a subtle exercise; a lot of the benefits aren’t immediately apparent, though they become so as you add in the further work of higher grades. I’d encourage you to keep at it, and see what you think when you’ve completed the course.

    Samurai_47, that’s a tough one. Yes, there are a lot of charlatans, and even more well-meaning fools. If there’s an occult bookstore somewhere near you, the proprietor might be able to direct you to somebody competent, but that’s about all I can think of at the moment.

    Scotlyn, the notion that one rotational direction is “good” and the other is “bad” is a massive oversimplification of a more interesting reality. Deosil circling concentrates energy, tuathal (the Old Irish term for widdershins, iirc) circling disperses it. That’s why you always go deosil around a sacred place or object, and why in the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn (and in the Hermetic Order as well), we go deosil in the opening and tuathal in the closing.

  297. @Isabel – I was very glad to be a free man again. The comical part is that where ever I look now I see elements from that failed relationship everywhere. No need to run to the hills – I live there.

    JMG I might recommend you lookup Azure Green in Middlefield Ma at some point. They’re an online company that might be interested in selling your books.

  298. Greetings John Michael,

    Thanks for the opportunity to ask you anything, your opinions and thoughts are highly appreciated and valued.
    I would very much like to know about the psychological impact that rites and rituals have had in your life. It would appear to one looking at your life history that they have obviously played a significant role. Was this always so, were you given over to rituals as a youngster or have your observances evolved according to your interests or studies? What would your life look like without them?
    I site an excerpt from an internet article below as it speaks to a persistent feeling I have had for some time; a sort of unspoken urge or need for ritual, particularly in relation to nature.
    “Rituals and the modern self
    While communal rituals give us the comfort of familiarity, solidarity and shared experience, personal rituals can also create a feeling of connection in the grand scheme of things.
    According to psychiatrist and author Abigail Brenner, “The simple act of participating actively in our own lives is a giant step toward taking back personal responsibility for how we choose to live, with who we choose to share our experiences and for how we choose to define ourselves in our community and in our world.”
    The need for personal rituals in increasingly fragmented societies may be greater than ever. Facebook is full of posts such as “7 ways to be happier” or “10 ways to get what you want in life”.
    We can customize our own rituals according to our needs, whether it’s finding inner peace, getting a good night’s sleep, attracting a soul mate or achieving important career goals.”

    One of the reasons I stumbled on to your work was as part of an ongoing effort to find some solid anchor point to begin a deeper connection with a fundamental energy and presence I already know exists all around me. I certainly haven’t been disappointed in that regard, your books have enhanced my experience of all things natural, including humans. I do spend a good deal of time outdoors just being among the trees and rocks of my mountain acreage which provides me a huge level of physical and mental well being. I’m familiar with the Japanese custom of forest bathing, a great activity for the whole family! I also remember you telling another reader that you have spent much time just sitting beside a stream.
    As the sited article suggests, we can customize our own rituals according to our needs. What would you recommend be a beginner’s approach to a ‘Mystery Teachings’ based ritual practice in my forest or any other natural setting which would allow me to show the most respect to the inhabitants on an ongoing basis?


  299. Perhaps we should attempt a “FUND ME” for indexing of compiled blogs. I had wandered about the results of a computer compilation—better something then nothing? I do not have the experience to say. Would you accept money with some possible expectation ?that they would be applied to index?

  300. Garden Housewife,

    For Neoplatonist theurgy—and “theurgy” is definitely the operative term here—my understanding is that most of the surviving materials are texts on the theory and philosophy, as opposed to the details of practice. This is no accident: the rituals themselves were the sorts of things people wouldn’t write down; you would need to be initiated into them by your teacher. (If I’m wrong about the status of the surviving literature, I’d be delighted for JMG or others to correct me, and then to point us both in the direction of some fun and interesting things to read!)

    That said, for getting at the theory, one place to start might be Gregory Shaw’s book on Iamblichus, Theurgy and the Soul, which last I checked was in print as an inexpensive paperback. On the Pythagorean side of things, which feeds into the Platonic tradition, there is also Peter Kingsley’s Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic.

    Ultimately, once you have some of things basic grounding, the thing to do will be getting into (translations of) the classical sources themselves. The last two decades of so have seen an increasing scholarly interest in Neoplatonism, including the production of new editions and translations, some of them by academic scholars who are also operative occultists and/or have active polytheist devotional practices. That said, you could do far worse than to return to the translations and other original works done 200 or so years ago by Thomas Taylor, who (as our host has mentioned elsewhere) scandalized the neighbors by burning incense to the Greek gods, and quite likely did quite a bit more besides!

    Since your query referenced Orthodox Christianity, I’d also mention that for those with eyes to see, there’s a LOT of Neoplatonism preserved in the thought and practice of the Eastern Churches, much of which goes largely unnoticed or unremarked upon today. And on the historical side of things, Pseudo-Dionysius, writing on the angelic hierarchy and the practice of the sacraments, was clearly a Platonist (and much less clearly a Christian!), while the theurgic writings of Proclus were influential in restoring the icons.

    If I think of anything else for this reading list, with our host’s gracious permission, I’ll drop a note in the next open post.

  301. Could you explain your choice for using the word “Verb” instead of “Word” in several passages throughout your translation of Lévi? I don’t have the original French text, and so I’m wondering if you’re translating “mot” or “parole” or “verbe.”

  302. Xabier, protective rituals practiced regularly definitely chase off unpleasant nonphysical beings. Over time, they also tend to insulate you against the nastiness of more physical entities, but that latter effect isn’t as powerful.

    Stefania, you were sensing the lower astral. The astral plane has several levels; the lower end of it is where our less pleasant emotions tend to pool, especially if we repress them — you don’t want to be around one of those people who insist that everything must always be sweetness and light when you perceive the lower astral, because they tend to radiate the most appalling nastiness at that level. If it recurs, you may want to see about adding some further spiritual or magical work to get your perceptions up a level or two, to more pleasant and useful aspects of the cosmos.

    Chris, the few run-ins I’ve had with the pickup artist community have given me a new slogan: “Game is for choads.” Other than that, yeah, there’s definitely some profoundly self-defeating low magic going on there.

    David, thank you for the suggestion! As for the imperial wealth pump, why, yes, I’d thought of that too…

    Alacrates, I recently purchased a copy of his reconstruction of the Marziano tarot, the oldest known Tarot deck, and it’s both attractive and very well researched. I haven’t looked into any of his other decks as of yet.

    Phutatorius, good. If you abandon the dogmatic claim that economic growth is good, you lose about half of contemporary macroeconomics — which strikes me as a good idea.

    Benneely, no.

    Simo, I’ll pass, thanks.

    Rita, thanks for the recommendation! When I lived on the left coast I attended Glenn’s convention fairly often, but I never visited her store.

    Farhan, I haven’t looked into them. Their name, to be frank, makes me roll my eyes.

    Simon, it interests me that you’ve found an increase in the activity of spirits since your youth. Do you know if other investigators have noted the same thing?

    Kyle, oh, I’ll doubtless do that one of these days, though I suspect it’ll decrease the readership from umpty thousand to fifteen or so.

    Christopher, you might be interested to know that in Japan, where reverence for ancestors is a very important value, reincarnation is treated as an ordinary fact of life by most people. How does that work? It’s quite simple, really. First, reincarnation isn’t instant. Those of your immediate ancestors who have died will be out of incarnation for years, decades, or even longer before they are reborn, and during that time they can certainly benefit from, and in some cases respond to, your prayers. Second, at least a few of your older ancestors will have long since passed beyond incarnation — you can read up on the details in my post on the subject here — and so can certainly respond to your prayers.

    You might also be interested to know that in Japan, as in most countries that practice ancestor reverence, individual ancestors receive prayers and offerings for a fixed time after death (roughly the time they’re expected to spend out of incarnation), and thereafter that stops. After that, prayers go to “the ancestors” collectively. The exception is that famous ancestors from way back get revered individually over the long term. Why? Again, the reasons just cited.

    Abdulmunem, if you were asking a question, I missed it.

    Housewife, I don’t know of any decent books on the practice of Greek Neoplatonic magic, which is unfortunate — I’m not sure enough of the tradition survives, for that matter. As for your friend, if he spends his time feeding negative thoughts, well, yes, he’s going to attract negative entities, and while your natural magic response is a good one, I’m not sure it’ll have much effect. It doesn’t do much good to sweep the floor if the person who lives there insists on tracking mud into the house all the time…

    El, it depends entirely on whether those institutions find ways to attract support directly from a community of people who value what they have to offer. As the economy becomes more and more unstable, traditional modes of funding will fail, and only those nonprofits that get support outside of the world of ordinary funding will keep their doors open.

    Gnat, no, I’m not wealthy. I make a lower middle class income these days, and get by comfortably mostly because my needs are simple and my vices are cheap. All those books are from small to midsized publishers and have fairly modest sales. As for your broader point, keep in mind that by and large people don’t turn to occultism if they’re well suited to thrive in the world as it is. Occultism is in some sense the Island of Misfit Toys; as rejected knowledge, it attracts those who have been rejected for whatever reason, and gives some of them the strength and the skills to heal themselves and do remarkable things with their lives. I’ve met some very impressive people in occultism, but I’ve also met a lot of flakes, and a lot of people who are broken in one way or another; some of the latter become whole again, some do not.

    Crowley — well, I’m not a fan, at all. In many ways he strikes me as a golden example of what not to do. (He started life rich, talented, charismatic, handsome, well educated, and well connected socially; he ended it a burnt-out drug addict in a small town flophouse with an estate worth fourteen shillings and a name that he’d personally made a laughingstock on three continents. If that’s the result of a life devoted to magic, you’re doing it wrong..) But your mileage may vary, of course.

    JMA, congratulations!

    Austin, thanks for the recommendation. They currently sell three of my books.

    Eric, I took up ritual practice in my teens as part of learning ceremonial magic, and I have no good way to tell how much of what I’ve gained from my magical training — and I’ve gained a huge amount — came from ritual, how much from other things. There are many ways to do ritual, and many different goals and purposes for ritual; your best bet might well be to read as much as possible on the subject (there are plenty of books on ritual just now), do some experimentation, and come up with something that works for you.

    Frederick, I’d need to find somebody who would be willing to put in the time, and could be counted on to do a good job. Until that happens, no, I’m not in a position to accept money for that purpose.

    Keith, the word is “verbe” in French, and my co-translator felt strongly that the English word “verb” did a better job of translating that.

  303. Garden Housewife and others: There is an Orthodox Christian group
    called Old Believers. Some have priests, some not.

    There are Russian old believers in modern day Estonia too, a couple of thousands strong group, of priestless variety. Their settlements mostly consists of small villages along the western shore of Lake Peipus, dating back for some centuries. Luckily they were spared of the worst purges on religion of Soviet Union, Estonia being independent between the world wars.

  304. JMG, thanks for your reply. I talked to him this evening and told him that I would like to do this to help him but that he also has to do his part by not holding onto and obsessing over an awful lot of negativity. I suggested he focus more on the good things in his life. He’s amenable to trying. I intend to provide gentle reminders as well.

    He doesn’t believe in magic but thinks of this like aromatherapy, which I had encouraged by mentioning that studies have shown that the scent of some herbs can affect your mental and emotional state. I also told him that this isn’t a “magic cure” (well, ok, but you know what I mean!). I stressed that this can help but that he has to do the necessary work on his end.

    Thanks again for your reply. Since I had never done this before, I was nervous about doing something wrong and causing harm. I guess if he doesn’t hold up his end, that’s his choice, but at least I haven’t hurt him.

  305. @Onething “I am pretty sure that all of your 7 behaviors would be important data in a rape trial.” Yes,they are. To a point.

    I have witnessed rape trials where the evidence included one or more of those behaviours, clearly entered in undisputed evidence, and yet, turned to the question of whether the victim consented, decided consent was unclear and failed to convict.

    I have witnessed reporting and discussing of rape trials, where evidence of a herding, isolating or controlling behaviour aimed at removing the possibility of refusal from the victim was clearly in evidence, where the focus instead was on the victim’s possible consent.

    It is this factor which makes a rape prosecution UNlike the prosecution of another crime, where evidence of the accused behaviour’s cannot be undermined by evidence about the victim’s behaviour.

    (Well, I admit some of the cases taken against police officers for extrajudicial killings also take this format – if the victim isn’t “good” or “upstanding” or “respectable” then people stop being able to “see” the crime).

    To me, rape, like other crimes, begins with the perpetrator’s intent, and proceeds with their execution of plans intended to achieve that intent by eliminating any possibility of refusal on the part of the target. And it is here that a rape is utterly distinguishable from other (sometimes awkward) interactions that occur in the uneven course of courtship.

  306. Hi JMG and all others. This is my first comment, but I have been reading ADR for approx. two years before the move to this blog.

    First of all, thanks for the many interesting and thought provoking ideas and discussions. It’s a great treat for me to retreat into this blog to read and think.

    Then over to my question or rather observation perhaps.

    As a christian (protestant) living in Sweden I think it’s fair to say that I’m considered an oddball among many of my friends and colleagues. The modern Swedish person is supposed to be free of ancient believes and rituals (except for Muslim men and women of course, then it’s all good). Also you are supposed to love progress and think positive (this is thought of as being modern).

    I know many people have pointed out that modernism as defined above is just another religion, but the thought occurred to me that thinking positive might be more of a ritual to ward off negative energy in general. I mean the reaction from many modern people when i question for example how wise it is to give up cash and go 100% to digital currency (very strong movement in Sweden for the last 10 years or so) they think that I’m being negative, and also that I’m hiding something (such as not paying taxes or what ever). This immediate push-back seems so strong that I wonder if it’s not rather a spell or ritual that people use to protect themselves from being infected with my negative thoughts. If people instead had other ways of protecting themselves from negative energies, then perhaps they would also be more open to thinking about the unpleasant instead of being afraid of it. Could it be some kind of a sub-couscous protective spell that “the moderns” are using simply because they lack training in other ways of protecting themselves, such as prayer or actual rituals?

    Any thoughts welcome

  307. Many thanks, JMG, we shall set about protecting ourselves suitably!

    It really is that sort of ‘reduces-you- to-nearly-gibbering-terror sort of Thing’. Very much from an M R James ghost story – although it hasn’t, thankfully, followed any of us home….

    The very interesting aspect, apart from the independent confirmation of The Presence, is that it is not in what would seem to be a ‘haunted’ spot: just a particular point in the path, in open countryside. Asking around locally has not revealed any particularly tragic incident at that location ( I regularly visit an old wood where murdered people have been dumped and suicides committed, with no ill sensations – in fact, only peace).

    The traditional ghost here, as in many areas once settled by the Norse, is the spectral hound, the ‘Black Shuck’, but I have heard no paws, no panting breath and seen no glowing saucer-eyes.

    Ah, the joys of Ancient countryside, long inhabited, by many beings……:)

  308. At the risk of lateness, I just got to the bits about the elements in “Circles of Wisdom,” and am curious: other than the Tarot associations, why is air associated with suffering and water with happiness?

  309. Why just macroeconomics? Microeconomics even more – all that Ronald Coase stuff about transaction costs, and the problem of social cost for one (or two) things. But now I’m being hobbyhorsical.

  310. Hopefully I’m not too late to address the issue of reincarnation vs. ancestor worship. I didn’t study it long, so I’m no expert, but I recall that in Heathenry the soul is made up of several parts–the hugr, the ond, the hamr, and so on. Some parts, such as the haminja, are passed down to descendants, some fade away at death, others remain in the grave mound or dwell in the landscape to become guardian spirits. I don’t know how much room Revival Druidry may have for the concept of a multipart soul, but it could provide a third option for our binary.

    As an interesting aside, my teacher said that people would name a child after a deceased family member so that the infant would receive that ancestor’s soul, but you never named a child after a living person, as that would be a wish for the older person to die.

  311. Thank you for the meditation advice. I was sitting for 20 minutes, but a couple of shorter periods have been much more productive this week.

    Also thank you Bonnie for your suggestions, much appreciated!

  312. Mr. Greer,

    I found this article a while back, and wanted to know if this is what catabolic collapse looks like in real life:

    It seems to me that if people are starting to finally look at the ongoing maintenance costs of the infrastructure we’ve built over the past 80 years or so and finding the cost-to-benefit ratio lacking, that we are primed to start dismantling that infrastructure and recovering whatever salvageable value is remaining. It still seems unlikely that this sort of analysis will get anything close to mainstream consideration, but I suppose that’s an expected response from a civilization in decline.

  313. JMG, Thanks again. I feel like you are mentoring me through a lot of wasted efforts.

    The “misfit toys” analogy certainly describes where I was at the beginning of what I personally consider more than a bit of magic. I was literally at the end of my life and was fighting to heal myself from both physical and other afflictions.

    Mostly inspired by the James Allen aphorism “Men are anxious to change their circumstances but are unwilling to change themselves. They, therefore, remain bound.” I put myself on the bonfire again and again; pretty near all my spell casting was directed and remaking myself…again and again, figuring I literally had nothing left to lose.

    I don’t know if you will see this post as it’s been a week and your new post of nature spirits just came up. I’d like to know you saw it, though.

    Again, thank you.

  314. Thank you to all who commented on my reincarnation/ancestors question. Points to ponder, for sure. Now back to reading about nature spirits.

  315. @JMG
    Dear JMG,
    you wrote that japanese martial arts have excluded esotricism or as I understood it, have removed arts which circulate energy through the body and along the meridians (correct me if I understood that wrong).

    – I heard now that the Japanese have replaced energy circulating practictes like Tai-Qi and Qi-Gong with Zen meditation and things like tea ceremony, and that the difference between these approaches can be seen as a difference like a slow constant rain that is watering a garden vs taking the watering can and punctually, with a focus watering the plants (the chinese way).
    Obviously there are supposed to be advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.
    Do you have any further thoughts on this?

    – Garden Houswife mentioned her friend who believes he has sleep paralysis but she believes it might be spirits. When I lived in a very old, wood laden apartment, extremely dusty and full of stuff from relatively unhappy people up to 100 yrs old (and beyond!), I often had sleep paralysis and felt like somebody was entering the room and coming to get me, while I panically saw to it to overcome my paralysis.
    Other stuff happenend like my computer booting itself for no reason….
    Would you assume malevolent spirits or something in a setting like this?

    – Spirits and Gods: I gather they are living beings without a body? How are “gods” born, is it like in Terry Pratchetts “Small Gods”, in your opinion, that they are free roaming spirits which are invoked and given a name by people at some point of time?

    See to it that your martial arts teachers have a good concept of how to make healthy movements eg no unhealthy twisting of joints. I know many martial arts teachers have no concept of, for example, standing on the entire foot with the balance in the middle (hardly anyone does that but in our everyday lives we don’t notice). Good martial arts teachers can see whether you twist your joints in an unhealthy way during the exercises, and do damage to your knees, ankles, shoulders et cetera.

    Labor Case

  316. You Wrote “Eric, I took up ritual practice in my teens as part of learning ceremonial magic, and I have no good way to tell how much of what I’ve gained from my magical training — and I’ve gained a huge amount — came from ritual, how much from other things. There are many ways to do ritual, and many different goals and purposes for ritual; your best bet might well be to read as much as possible on the subject (there are plenty of books on ritual just now), do some experimentation, and come up with something that works for you.”

    Thank you, I will do just that. Any books you might recommend for starters?

  317. I should have gotten this question in earlier, but it is distressing. My practice of doing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is hanging up on my voice, now thick and raspy, or thin when I go up in pitch, and energy, which is so low I can’t raise a decent amount in the ritual.

    Question #1: if getting the intonations right is the key to doing it, and I can’t due to voice problems, is it still helpful?

    Question #2: At one point I didn’t even try to raise energy, just stood there and felt it flowing into my from both directions (along the Z-axis.) It still didn’t charge up the pentagrams, which felt weak and thin, and the visualizations, foggy.

    Likewise, the day I felt the energy “just flowing”, I didn’t push the pentagrams out to the walls of the house, but felt them flying out to their usual positions. That, too, is fading.


    Pat, who hates to age out of dong something right! I have no more oomph than an 80-year-old crone.

  318. I thought your piece “The Politics of Resentment” early last year was spot-on. As a result I ‘amazed my friends and stunned my enemies’ by predicting a Trump win your side the Pond, and saying Remain (as opposed to Brexit) was far from a done deal on ours.

    I wonder if you have any more thoughts, now, on the UK’s current Brexit mess..?

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