Open Post

October 2018 Open Post

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

In other news, I’m delighted to report that the first volume of my epic fantasy with tentacles, The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth, is now available in e-book format and will shortly be released in a new trade paperback edition. (Yes, that’s the new cover on the left.) Five of the other six volumes are finished and will be available in paperback and e-book editions in the months immediately ahead; the final volume, The Weird of Hali: Arkham, is about half finished and will certainly be available before the end of next year. (That is to say, those readers of fantasy who’ve been drumming their fingers irritably waiting for The Kingkiller Chronicles or A Song of Ice and Fire to finally wind up, need not worry that the same thing will happen in this case. Oh, and the last volume? It brings the series to a definite and, I hope satisfying conclusion — and yes, before the story ends, Great Cthulhu does indeed rise from the sea.)

So there you are. With that said, have at it!

417 Comments

  1. This question may prove to be somewhat involved…

    Recently I sat down and read Darwin’s book on earthworms. I found it an extremely fascinating read. A few days later I purchased On the Origins of Species and had my mind blown many times while following Darwin’s logic.

    Darwin strikes me as someone who thought in terms of flows. His description of how earthworms with their burrows cause the earth to flow like water around old ruins comes to mind. His theory of evolution postulates the flow of life changing over the bed of circumstances. These ideas radically oppose, at least to my mind, Plato’s ideas of things that exist changeless and eternal.

    My point being you can examine the sephiroth and make the claim that they are eternal, but does that imply that they are actually changeless? My though is that human brains don’t have the capacity to really say that they remain unchanged. Just as Darwin proved that earth itself flows like water over a long enough timeframe, so one can make the argument that the eternal would change slowly over time, or at least that human beings fail to have the longevity or intelligence to figure something like that out.

    So with the Christian backlash to Darwin I see a backlash primarily directed against his refutation of the Platonic philosophy of eternal unchanging forms. The historical dress up of the Bible as a geological textbook strikes me as something of a red herring, the real issue consists of the entire ontology of the category of Being which exists outside of the influence of change. I may overstate the case, but nonetheless, I believe in this fear of change lies the passionate defense of Creationism.

    Point being, I find that I side with Darwin. In fact, I find his writings numinous, and consider him a philosopher of no small importance. Reading Plato now, I see a work riddled with unsupported assertions, logical fallacies, and wishful thinking. I am reading Timeaus and, IIRC CS Lewis mentions that in the Middle Ages the first half of Timeaus remained as the only remembered Plato in the monasteries. So his influence on European thought have been so profound he deserves serious consideration for that reason if for no other.

    That said, the points that Plato brings up strike me as largely unfounded; why should I believe that the eternal and changeless is more real than the physical world? Why should I not think that the gods also change over time, as indeed, they sometime even die! (saith Plutarch on Pan).

    That said, perhaps you or readers can explain how the philosophies of Plato find application. To be fair, I may misunderstand Plato’s general thrust as well. Perhaps his ideas prove useful in occult work, and perhaps Timeaus describes a hierarchy of the planes the same way he describes human hierarchy in reincarnation (man —–> woman ——> animal). But, again, the astral plane may be eternal but still slowly changing. Are “Outside of time” and “changeless” interchangeable phrases? I tend to think not, having read that the astral plane does have observed changes, with different symbols coming to the fore in different times.

    This leads me to think that Darwin may have the better ideas, that he may actually disprove much of the core of Plato’s philosophical stances. Besides application, my basic question for you JMG and the readers, is how do you reconcile Plato and Darwin? the two point to such different foundational realities that to affirm one, to me, seems to refute the other. Am I correct in considering this so zero sum, or do you think that there exists a dialectical middle ground between the two?

  2. Does that mean there won’t be fine hardcover editions of the future volumes, or just that they’ll be out on a different timeline? Excited to hear the new books will be coming much faster than I anticipated. I should give the first two a reread to refresh my memory before Chorazin hits.

  3. A couple of thoughts here.

    First off, very (very, very) excited about the WoH series. Consider a whole set purchased.

    Second, some of the conversations toward the end of last week’s thread got me thinking about the nature of values and cultures, specifically the interaction of cultures. (The catalyst in the thread was the discussion of the cultural “alternative law” zones or states-within-states.) At the risk of opening a vast can o’ worms, here are some of my thoughts.

    It occurred to me that what we are ultimately talking about here is a clash of values. Liberal western values on the one hand and the cultural values of the immigrant population in question on the other. Given that values are subjective choices, there is no objective right or wrong here — it is all a matter of context. From a liberal western perspective, certain practices (honor killings, for example) are horrific and evil. From another cultural perspective, they may be considered unfortunately necessary. It comes down to who defines the value set from which the measurement is taking place: that is, whose values are dominant.

    However, regardless of what actions a state takes, one cannot force another person to adopt a set of values. On can force outward compliance of a code of conduct, but that is not the same thing as getting inside a person’s head and making them believe what you want them to believe. For example, a nation (e.g., France) may outlaw full-face veils. Or another nation might even outlaw the hijab. And force could be used to induce compliance. However, this will not alter how the woman in question feels about being forced to expose herself, or how her culture views her being forced to expose herself.

    Moreover, even that outward compliance has limits. To take an extreme example, consider the issue of honor killings. The state could very well find and convict every single perpetrator of every single honor killing. But if the people in question value (what they perceive to be) their family’s honor above their own lives and/or freedom, the state will not stop those killings.

    Many ancient Christians preferred martyrdom to making the required sacrifice to the genus of the emperor. The culture of early Christianity, in fact, lauded such behavior. What could the Romans do in the end?

    The conflict of cultures is a thorny, thorny bramble with no clear path through, particularly when some sets of values are mutually exclusive. Eventually, it comes down to the power of numbers.

    Finally, @ Reese, from the tail end of last week’s comments:

    I must say that “Well [expletive]” has got the be the most succinctly-summarized expression of our predicament that I’ve ever come across. Very well done!

  4. With this being the last open post before the mid-term elections, I’ll make a prediction: There will be a “#bluewave” on November 6, but it will be the last hurrah of the old-style corporatist Democratic Party, in much the way that re-electing Bush Jr. in 2004 was the relgious right’s last hurrah. The Democratic Party has been “the loser party” in American politics as far back as 1988, and they’ve done everything they can to cement that status in the minds of the voters since then. The only reason they will succeed in re-taking the House (which is what the polls are showing will happen), and maybe some governorships and statehouses, is because President Trump is the way he is. Come November 7, that will mean the Democrats just lucked out with having a first-class turkey in the Oval Office, not that they learned how to do anything differently. And within a year of the next Congress taking their seats, we will clearly see this.

  5. Earlier this year you predicted that a black swan event would occur this year. Do you judge that to have happened already, or be in the process of happening?

    My first thought when formulating this question was the Khashoggi assassination, but on further thought that seems like a media-driven show trial rather than anything of any substance. My current guess is that the migrant caravan headed toward the USA is going to prove to be the black swan, forcing us to confront just how caught we are between a rock and a hard place on the issue of immigration.

  6. For years I used to read nearly everything I could find by or about Gurdjieff. In one of the books, I read that he taught his followers stage magic techniques so that they could recognize them and be less likely to be fooled by them. This attempt to make oneself less susceptible seems like a worthy undertaking, since it seems pretty clear that the techniques of stage magic could be and probably are being used by everyone from car salesmen to the POTUS himself. I keep returning to the words of Ioan Couliano where he wrote, “Insofar as science and the manipulation of phantasms are concerned, magic is primarily directed at the human imagination, in which it attempts to create lasting impressions. The magician of the Renaissance is both psychoanalyst and prophet as well as the precursor of modern professions such as director of public relations, propagandist, spy, politician, censor, director of mass communication media and publicity agent.” (Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, Introduction)
    Can you comment, based on your own experience with authentic magic?

  7. Hello JMG,

    My questions is about the relationship between various ogham fews and their corresponding trees. You see, up here in Finland we do not have such an abundance of various different species. Thus it is hard for me to relate to many of the trees listed on a personal level. Is there a way to somehow find appropriate and useful correspondences for my area? Trial and error? Go with the gut? Ask the trees themselves?

    After years of almost continuing with one set of practices or another, it seems that the one I first begun with has finally resonated with me enough to start regular practice. This is what you have outlined in the “Druid Magic Handbook”. It feels like home now. Finally. There’s some deep truth in just sticking to the routine. Suddenly the routine itself carries you without much effort at all. And I find it life-changing.

    Thank you.

  8. Gnat, at the very end of the previous week’s comments column, asked ‘what to do’.

    Here’s my list.

    Pay off your debts
    Insulate your house
    Learn to cook
    Improve your soil
    Learn to food garden
    Learn to do simple repairs from replacing buttons to replacing a broken pane of glass
    Attend all your municipality meetings
    Get active locally
    Exercise
    Pay off your debts

    Anybody can do this. If you’re unsure about paying off your debts, read ‘Your Money or Your Life’ by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin or ‘The Complete Tightwad Gazette’ by Amy Dacyczyn. Your library can get you a copy.

    Teresa From Hershey

  9. Civil war. I hear this term bandied about these days, and it got me pondering, how? Who would actually fight a civil war in the U.S.? My unscientific estimation of the ‘average American’ would be:

    -unmotivated
    -50 to 100 lbs. overweight
    -type II prediabetic, or diabetic.
    -unaccustomed to physical work, or unwilling to do ‘blue collar’ work.
    -in private, depressed, morose, lacking a passion for anything outside in open air.
    -social media addict, glued to a smart phone.
    -on a potpourri of big pharma pills for assorted ‘disorders’.
    -completely lacking of any physical fitness.

    Strip away the rhetoric, faux outrage, partisan demagoguery, social media addiction, physical fitness in catastrophic decay, what is left? Certainly not a fighting force of any sort. I think a modern civil war would almost be a humorous event.

    Dave T.

  10. I’m curious about something that came up last week in passing: what do people here make of the strange tendency a lot of people have of assuming everyone agrees with them, even when they pretend they don’t?

  11. JMG. Back in the education posts you said dialectic communication works best in certain institutions and situations. What are those instructions and situations? Thanks

  12. Random Thoughts:

    – I recently heard someone mention in conversation, and I can’t remember if it came up on this blog or its comments, that the theory that energy can be neither created nor destroyed led credence to the idea that we have immortal souls, and that after we die we are either reincarnated or go to some sort of afterlife.

    – I have a pet theory that part of what propelled Trump’s win in 2016 was Andrew Jackson’s wrath at being replaced on the $20 bill.

    – I’m trying to design a good reading room/ library in my home, and I’m open to suggestions. I’m trying to figure out how to design a room that makes you want to pick up a book, and sit down and read it for several hours. Thanks!

  13. I don’t have a question or a topic for discussion — I just wanted to say I found your site late last week via a link posted on tumblr about Nature Spirits, one of those things you just run into and click on out of curiosity, and I haven’t stopped reading since. I’m halfway through your Well of Galabes posts and am amazed to have finally found — after decades of searching through Buddhism and psychology and other perspectives on existence — a philosophy that finally explains and reinforces some of the stranger and more potent facets of my life experiences. It is an immense kind of relief; the past few years especially I’ve felt like I’ve been living in a prison formed by current culture, and your writing suddenly opened a door that I knew must be present but was unable to discern. I don’t want to tell my life story here, only say that I’m looking forward to reading and learning more, and that I’m very grateful to have found this space.

  14. Hello JMG, I have a couple of questions about The Celtic Golden Dawn.
    1. Can you study and work with the Coelbren alphabet concurrently with the course of work outlined in CGD, and if so, is there a specific point in the course at which you should begin incorporating the Coelbren into the regular coursework?
    2. When beginning study of a knowledge lecture, do you begin the ritual work appended to that lecture immediately, or only after finishing the meditation work for that lecture?

  15. In my natal chart, Venus is both retrograde and combust in Aries. The 24 years of inactivity are over now, which is something i’ve learned to be grateful about (being a late bloomer). I’m having trouble with the combustion part. How do I deal with it? Is me being myself the problem? My astrologer said a combust planet is like a person with a fever. It cares for nothing outside itself because it’s suffering and cannot be asked to do much.

    What can i do about this? I wish i could learn how to use the sun-venus conjuction in my favor, or or at least learn how to deal with it

  16. I have been horrified but amused at the same time with regard to this Khashoggi affair. For so long now the U.S. establishment and media have twisted themselves in knots justifying our “friendship” with the Saudi’s which by all measures of human rights, etc. are among the worst in the world. But when confronted with the dichotomy between our relationship with the Saudi’s vs our relationship with Russia ,my NYT reading friends will almost instantly spout the canned line of, ” But Putin is a thug because he kills journalists.” So if it is as it appears and the Saudi’s killed and dismembered a journalist in their consulate at the behest of the prince in power then it will take some very serious mental gymnastics to keep up this foreign policy double standard. I expect that this may doom the petro-dollar arrangement that Kissinger put in place a little over 40 years ago and in doing so will kick one of the props out from under the imperial wealth pump that most in the U. S. have enjoyed. Do you think this might be the case?

  17. Violet: Plato didn’t just believe in the eternal world, he also believed in our world, the world of change. Generally in the traditional conception there are two worlds, with the eternal, static better than the in-time, changing one. Fundamentally I think the existence of the eternal world is posited in order to explain why anything at all exists i.e. an uncaused cause.

  18. Hi there, JMG,

    I was planning to ask you these next Monday so let me know if I should wait.

    1. You have mentioned before that magic works best if you change yourself at the same time that you are trying to change the world. Is there anything that you are working towards in that manner? For example, I know that in the early parts of the Druid Magic Handbook you discuss how the current narrative says that the world is not enchanted. Are you trying to bring some of that back with your Dion Fortune book club?

    2. For discursive meditation based on section 2 of the Druid Handbook, should I constrain my topic choices to parts of the myths or look for other ideas throughout?

    3. You have also mentioned hoodoo baths recently. Do you have a book to recommend that contains information on those and other bits of natural magic?

    Thank you,
    Matt

  19. @jmg, I actually submitted the following a few days ago but it evidently failed to get through – doubtless due to my use of tracking blockers. I decided I still wanted to post it, because I’d still like to see us more oriented toward what can still be done vs what we have to accept.

    JMG: I was a bit disconcerted by your response; it certainly gave me pause. My pause? There is a difference between getting the EROEI reality intellectually vs getting it in the gut; the first stage cigarette smoker vs the end-stage cancer diagnosis. I keep thinking I understand or I am reasonably prepared for the future (well, better than most). And then I realize, again, I don’t and I’m not.

    I realized maybe a year or two ago that we are actually living in a dystopia. I’d previously thought SF and a little common sense would shield us from the most obvious dystopian errors. That hasn’t proven to be the case, as we had plenty of warning from “Brave New World” to “Stand on Zanzibar”. That – even more than the EROEI logic – is hard to shake off: Humans are too stupid to deserve better. The whole internet/surveillance play has been a sucker punch.

    Still, I don’t believe in giving up – although I certainly believe in changing strategy. If I’ve read your decades of blog posts and “Ecotechnic Future”) correctly, there is always an easier way vs a harder way to do this. I could actually be HAPPY with a future where energy consumption was reduced by 90%/person … provided quality of life was preserved (and I don’t think we have very good quality of life right now, on the whole, given the dystopian present: forever wars, plastics pollution, ecological evisceration, surveillance-state, etc. etc.).

    If we could just get the human population back to 1 billion without WW3 and while keeping the knowledge base intact — and hopefully more intelligently deployed — I see no reason we couldn’t have a golden age where *human* progress could continue.

    I want to interject one other thing for your consideration which I suspect may not be on your radar whatsoever: The Toyota Production System or, as it is more commonly referred to in the West, “Lean” Manufacturing. We probably are using an average of 10 times as much time, material, and energy in producing what we really need as is necessary. Everything which the customer isn’t willing to pay for is deemed “waste” in Lean manufacturing – and waste is probably 95% or more of all we produce. And then there is the question of what we “really need”.

    Anyway, I understand why you mostly come across with a message of how the end of civilization as we know it is inevitable. I know you have also written some about what is possible instead. I think a lot more is possible in an ecotechnic future than perhaps even you have considered. But at some point we need to begin the process of sorting out what needs to go from what we really want to have stay. And key to answering that question is WHAT part of humanity and human civilization is actually worth keeping….and what would we be better rid of.

    It is there – at the nexus of that question and answer – that I am most hopeful; because that is, on the whole, an almost completely unaddressed creative space.

    With that, I’d like to request you revisit the topic you devoted quite a bit of time to in your prior blog: practical steps most of us can take to improve our own situation and, at scale, the situation our children and grandchildren will face. Maybe you can make some sort of contest out of that opportunity?

  20. @ Teresa (& @ Gnat)

    Re what to do

    I’d second “attend municipality meetings” and toss in “run for local office” (or “volunteer for local boards/commissions”) where appropriate

    Also, I’d add learning to store/preserve food via low-tech methods. I struggle mentally between trying to boost my savings on the one hand and invest in tools on the other. I sometimes have to remind myself that crocks in the basement are worth as much or more than credits in the bank (I mean, credit union) 😉

  21. You’ve changed my mind about the practical effects of resistance, including giving me a new understanding of and commitment to a piece of advice I received, but didn’t accept, as a child: “resist not evil”.

    What do you make of all the voter suppression Chief Justice Roberts has unleashed? I’m thinking specifically of things like Brian Kemp’s efforts to referee his own election to governor (while he privately admits he’s afraid Georgians might vote), and officials’ decision to get polling entirely out of Dodge City, Kansas, but more generally of voter suppression efforts that would have been neutralized by the Voting Rights Act, before Shelby v. Holder took effect.

    Is this sort of anti-voting effort being undertaken in a way that will ultimately lead to greater long-term engagement by the electorate, or does it seem like the GOP is preparing to use their lack of popular support as a thrust block that will allow them to achieve greater power?

    Is this a resurgence of something that would’ve spiraled out to non-existence, if not for activism in the 1960s?

  22. Hi Mr. Greer,

    I’ve been wondering about the non-material plane effects of lawn maintenance and I would love your opinion on the matter. Specifically, I have some reasonably untrammeled forest land in both my front and back yard, which I plan to leave untouched (and I’ve made as much clear to the forest itself). But I do need to mow the grassy, non-treed parts of the lawn, and I need to cut and clear away the poison sumac and poison ivy. The materials one would normally use to do this are made of iron blades. Am I injuring or otherwise doing a disservice to any nature spirits and/or elementals living in “my” forest by using iron in this way? And not that I would ever use herbicides or pesticides, but could you speak to any magical effects that the use of these poisons would engender?

    Certainly there seems to be a qualitative difference between my and my neighbor’s yards — I get more bugs, more birds, more flowers, and for some reason, the leaves on my trees are sticking around a lot longer. And although I’m in heavy Lyme disease country, I haven’t seen one tick on me or my child. I don’t yet know whether or not my neighbor uses any chemicals or unusual treatments, but I do know that I talk to my forest sometimes and try to treat it as a “you”, not an “it”. What do you make of it? Can whatever non-material being that might reside in “my” forest really be keeping my trees healthier and my property parasite-free?

    Thank you,

    Graham

  23. I have another question: I’ve just done a few divinations and I keep getting Ailm reversed in the third position, pretty much no matter what the question. This has me wondering if the cards are trying to tell me that in general I need to pause and reconsider things, not just reconsider the specific course of action I’m thinking about. Does this sort of thing happen?

  24. The bomb mailings: do you all think they’re more likely to becalt-rightists, a lone nut, or SJW false flags? I go with either #2 or #3.

  25. Do you have any idea when the mega migrations will start from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe?

    My other question revolves around the widespread allegations that the Chinese state has interned up to a million Muslims in their far western province. What are your thoughts on this and do you think it offers a glimpse into the coming China-centric world order?

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/china-pathologizing-uighur-muslims-mental-illness/568525/

  26. @Teresa from Hershey! Thank you for responding to my post! I have resubmitted it to @JMG in this thread since I feared it would not find enough love (response) in the other at such a late date. I am hoping John won’t mind my doing that.

    I am happy to say I got five for five in the list of ten. And I’ve found I’m nowhere near satisfied with myself. I clicked through to your site and want to say: Congrats to you for choosing such a “meta” leveraged (or maybe I should say “meta meta”) project as promoting books worth promoting. I am more sure than ever that my mission is to promote education and education of “Best Practices” (generally most efficient/effective ways of doing and learning things). I remain frustratingly not fully in gear yet to really launch into that new mission in a big way; opening a school starting from scratch was how I originally thought I would go about it but I think that is both too high risk and, actually, too slow. I may try learning centers, although I am not quite (close but not quite) settled on strategy yet.

    Anyway, thanks again for the response and it be very gratified if others in the community would contribute their own lists and thoughts.

    We can do this playfully but I suspect this is all going to become a pretty practical matter sooner or later. If you knew you were going to go through TEOTWAWKI what would you want to take with you? More realistically, what do you know enough about, or could learn to know enough about, that you could realistically intend to take with you? In packing for a journey, of course, one should pack light – and the lightest and most secure pack of all, in most cases, is the one one set on your shoulders between your two ears.

    That’s the question I have for JMG and everyone….

  27. @ A reader; many thanks for your reply! On a certain level I simply don’t understand why people get so hung up on origin stories since they always seem to reveal much more about the people making the stories than the origins themselves! That said, I personally acknowledge the very probably existence of eternal realms of existence that appear to supersede the world of changing forms, what I don’t understand concerns the logical necessity forces these higher level of reality to never change. It seems to me that Plato runs the ideas of “eternal” and “changeless” into one. But something at least hypothetically can exist outside of time and be in a state of shifting emphasis. So ideas may exist outside of time, but we can observe shifts in the relative abundance or scarcity of ideas, which indicates some flux within the eternal. To be fair though, I’m not trained in philosophy or formal logic. More I’m simply picking my way through thoughts and found an enormous chasm between two titanic thinkers and seeing if I can find a method of reasoning my way into a decent reconciliation.

  28. Also, it seems to me the U.S. Federal government is becoming decidedly weaker—one example of many, its tolerance of sanctuary cities. You may think sanctuary cities are good or bad, but either way they are defying Federal law, to which the Federal government makes no response, not even cutting off the rebels’s Federal funding. Is this the normal helpless flailing of the educated fools who rule us, or a tacit admission that the government is too weak to enforce its own rules and defend its own borders?

  29. Re the Blue Wave (TM)

    I know what the data is saying at present, but FWIW my hope is that the Dems gain seats in the House, but fall just short of a majority (by two or three, say). This would prevent the next two years from being nothing but a storm of subpoenas being issued in support the Democratic presidential effort. Moreover, due to the nature of the election of the Speaker (by the entire House, not just by the majority party), a very narrow Republican majority might force a compromise candidate for Speaker, as well as requiring (or allowing for) more compromise for any legislation which might actually issue forth from that chamber.

    We’re unlikely to have a highly-functional Congress in any event, but there are levels of dysfunction and I’d prefer less dysfunction to more.

    I’m also hoping for at least a week’s lull between mid-term election night and the beginning of the 2020 presidential campaign season. I may be wildly optimistic on the score, however.

  30. This came in after the cut on this week’s Magic Monday, in response to issues that arose there. Since it’s not strictly a magical question, I’ll ask here:

    Apparently I too have the pirated edition of Atlantis, since mine is also in paperback. I purchased it back in February from what I thought was a reputable retailer: alibris.com (not one of their third-party sellers, but directly from the main company itself, which sells a lot of new books).

    Even more oddly, if you go to their site now, you will see a listing described rather incoherently as “New. Trade paperback (US). Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 264 p. Contains: Illustrations, black & white.”

    I am very sorry, John, as it was not in any way my intention to purchase what amount to stolen goods. Is there anything that you would like me to do at this point, either in recompense to you, or in an attempt to get the company to crack down? And what should I do with the paperback book I currently own? (I’m in the process of preparing to move, and was planning to sell or give away a few boxes full of books, including this one.)

  31. To Waffles,
    I think you already have such a reading room in your home but it may be made uninhabitable by a television, assorted computers, a stereo or similar noise making gear. Remove all that dross and install a fireplace that burns real wood and you will have a reader’s paradise.
    Max Rogers

  32. Oskari,

    You might find an old Irish text, the Auraicept na n-Éces, or Scholar’s Primer, to be a valuable resource. It has been out in what looks to be a good, scholarly English translation. It’s not something I’ve studied personally, but I understand that it lays out a great wealth of meanings and correpondences for each of the ogham fews; trees are but the barest tip of the iceberg!

    Waffles,

    To the “reading room”: fill it with interesting books! Not (necessarily) the official “good books” or “classics,” but those in which you actually take an interest.

  33. Hey JMG,

    I missed Magic Monday, so I’ll post this question here if its okay. I’ve had a lot of confusion/uncertainty with knowing whats best for career or further schooling. I’m looking for clarity about it all. Any type of magic you’d suggest to help gain clarity?

    I’ve meditated on my motives and done a lot of questioning (both of myself and others) for insight, but still feel stuck.

  34. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Thanks for excellent news on the Weird of Hali series!

    I was wondering if you have any particular methodology for ‘consuming’ news (for lack of a better word) and/or staying abreast of current events?

  35. At Dave T- A civil war doesn’t happen when everyone takes to the streets and hits the other side. It happens when the sentiment of the majority gives moral approval to a motivated minority going out and hitting people. When motivated people sense that they are not likely to be held accountable for their violence, that is when it emerges into the open and spreads. The average incapacitated American can still exert cultural pressure to make violence acceptable.

  36. Hi JMG,

    I’m curious to get your take on how nature spirits are perceived as male or female. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my local river, which I have always assumed to be male. In various mythological traditions I have seen river gods presented as male, such as in the classical Greek tradition, but in other cases, such as in the Celtic stories, they are presented as female.

    Obviously a river or any other body of water has no sex in the mammalian reproductive sense, but it seems like a fairly fundamental thing to get right for those seeking to form a genuine relationship with the local land and nature spirits.

    samurai_47

  37. I have been thinking a lot about how the plants we grow shape the cultures built upon them. I am an experimental farmer in a humid zone and after many years trialling grain crops I have realised how fickle they are. If rain arrives at the wrong time the crop either doesn’t grow when the temperature is suitable, or the crop itself is ruined by rot during the harvest time. Grains are essential for large scale societies since they are visible, taxable, transportable and storable. They support the formation of centralised authorities and armies for the projection of force. A large grain based civilisation can weather one or two failed crops, but too many in a row will sap its strength. The almost simultaneous emergence of large grain based societies around the planet (relative to the much longer length of hunter-gatherer and horticulture) is probably tied to a global reduction in climate variability. The periodic synchronised civilisational collapses in the Middle East (and China to a lesser degree) seem to be tied to periods of unstable climates. This makes me wonder if the real impact of global warming won’t come from the increasing averages, or even the more common extremes, but simple variability. Here in Australia we have always had a variable climate, making agriculture very unreliable. We can compensate that to a degree by being able to move resources like grain over long distances, but that relies on diminishing oil supplies. The world does a similar trick, avoiding famine by moving food all over the planet, but faces similar transport constraints in the near future. My own efforts have shifted to tuber based agriculture since they tolerate variable rainfall much better than grains. They are also difficult to confiscate since most of their weight is water, plus most of the varieties I grow are so unfamiliar that most folk wouldn’t eat them if I served them on a silver platter.

  38. JMG-

    Anything right? Because I have a question about the small press scifi/fantasy publishing world: I notice that Founder’s House wants a full manuscript rather than a book proposal (if it were taking submissions that is), is that the usual way of things?

  39. @Dave T: regarding who in the US would fight a civil war, since most people are weak/apathetic/addicted/etc. Alas I have to disagree. Wars are always fought by a small minority of the population, that are both fit and motivated. Some on each side. The majority of the population passively suffer, wish a settlement could be achieved, but don’t do much about it and have little influence.

  40. JMG,

    I have been working my way through Learning Ritual Magic. I have a couple of questions In relation to the exercise in Chapter 3 where you lay out the minor arcana of the tarot in a circle and use them to prompt meditation on the seasons.

    For those of us in the southern hemisphere, should we reverse the order of the circle and go counter clockwise i.e. cups facing north and pentacles facing south? This seems to capture the intent better as winter (cold) comes from the south here.

    Although where I live has what could be called four seasons, the distinction is fairly tenuous. The indigenous languages here have somehwere between 7 and 9 seasons and these are a much better fit. Would it be profitable to meditate on these seasons in this exercise?

  41. Couple quick ones here…

    You’ve mentioned training your memory from a book – was that “The Art of Memory” by Frances Yates?

    On the topic of books – does anyone have an opinion on Wellman’s ‘John the Balladeer’ series?

    I’ve been listening to a series of talks on Spengler, and one of the things that caught my interest was the idea that new cultures come out with their own mathematics. I had a thought or two on that, and am interested whether this resonates here –

    You’ve hinted that the new culture to arise in North America will likely have much in common with the culture that existed on the continent before contact. Which got me thinking – does the ‘political compass’ that seems so popular and next-level these days remind anyone else of a medicine wheel? (link: https://www.politicalcompass.org/crowdchart2). Related to that point, it seems that the scientific method is actually very bad at dealing with uncertainty, since the amount of uncertainty in a model is itself uncertain (Taleb has a lot of brilliant commentary on this point, but the best argument I ever heard was made unintentionally by a nuclear physicist). Does it make sense that a new mathematics would need to have a better handle on unpredictability?

    And I’ll echo the questions of whether the new Hali books will be available in hardcover :^)

  42. @David BTL,
    “The conflict of cultures is a thorny, thorny bramble with no clear path through, particularly when some sets of values are mutually exclusive. Eventually, it comes down to the power of numbers.”

    If by the power of numbers you mean the birth rate, then major cities in Europe will surely have a Muslim majority within a generation. Mine definitely will, considering the Muslim birthrate is about six to one compared to the non-Muslim rate. The question is whether they will be allowed to vote. If they are, then the major cities of Europe will have voting Muslim majorities. If not, then they will have an angry and disenfranchised non-voting Muslim majority. My guess is the former. In my city, all you have to do to be allowed to take the citizenship test is clock ten years, test B1 level in the language, then study the books for the exam. No minimum employment or paying into the system is required. (I must admit, this is based on the experience of a friend of mine who married a citizen. It could vary on the type of immigrant, refugee status, etc.)

    My city is super diverse. It seems like everyone was content to live and let live until this recent migrant crisis. A friend contrasted Islam with Judaism and brought up an interesting point. Judaism is exclusive in the sense that you have to have a Jewish mother in a lot of communities to be considered Jewish. There certainly isn’t open harassment by Jewish men in the streets toward secular women to adopt a Jewish dress code. Whereas Islam is aggressive toward non-Muslims, and toward Muslims who don’t conform. From what I can see, the Muslim and secular Muslim populations in the decades after WWII were just one demographic in the stew, very live and let live. Whether it was July 2015 or sometime before, a new population and culture has changed that dynamic.

    (JMG: If this is too off-topic, I understand if you don’t post this, and my apologies.)

  43. I am overjoyed to hear about the forthcoming Weird of Hali books, and you can bet I’ll be ordering the lot. Unless the seas rise, the stars fall, and the world ends.

    Pat – if I had a tail I’d be wagging it. If I had a throat in decent condition, I’d purr.

  44. Will J., I think that is very simple: it’s a way of reconciling a belief that “X is evil” with the knowledge that “Joe next door whom I know from personal experience to be a decent human being believes in X.” Since the other option I’ve seen is to believe that “Joe is evil” in the face of all evidence that he is a decent human, it’s an interesting change.
    Not particularly useful, but interesting.

  45. Your hospitality is much appreciated! I would like to hear more of your thoughts about riding out “The Long Descent” in the extension of the Appalachians denoted as the Interior Highlands – my home range of Ouachita and my current location in the Ozarks. I know you’ve pointed out that they are close the Mississippi River Valley, and that it is mountainous, and that local people are well armed. Water is not an issue. Climate change will be, although I am more of a believer in Climate Weirding than Warming. The mountains are old, and you can feel that here. People don’t seem inclined to back up or back down, once you’ve cornered them in their mountain hollow. On the other hand, there has been an influx of military retirees and outsiders in the NW corner of Arkansas. They haven’t created a megalopolis, but there is a lot of sprawl, most of it in a narrow band (restricted by geography). Historically, it is a good area for stability and continuity. We encourage the stereotypes in order to discourage interlopers. In general, people are very neighborly, if idiosyncratic (which I like).

  46. Yay, more Weird of Hali!

    @sng: Not JMG, and I’m less familiar with small press per se, but in my experience it really depends. Tor, DAW, Baen, and a few others want full manuscripts; others want the first three chapters; still others just want a query letter and synopsis. Same goes for agents. Then you add the fact that some houses take unsolicited manuscripts and others don’t look at anything that doesn’t go through an agent, that some places/agents are always open to submissions and others have reading seasons–basically, the publishing industry has all the unifying principles of a bag of rabid squirrels.

    It’s been very nice to me so far. But rabid squirrels.

  47. Violet,

    A few thoughts regarding Plato and the Timaeus

    The first thing I would stress regarding the Timaeus in particular is that the entire “creation story” is a myth, and very self-consciously so: the character Timaeus explicitly begins his account by calling it a “likely story” and a falsehood, albeit “a falsehood inferior to none” (29d). So we can be confident that mythological hermeneutics should apply to unpacking it.*

    While in my experience, myths are best unpacked in discursive meditation, I’ll offer a few thoughts which may be useful as seeds for that meditation.

    We should be mindful that for the Platonist (and the Aristotelian, and most pre-moderns in Europe) causality is synchronic, not diachronic. In other words, causes, insofar as they are causes, must and do exist at exactly the same time when their effects exist. There’s a lot that is weird about time in the dialogue, including very bizarre shifting of verb tenses. Time words may be best understood as metaphors for relations of conceptual, not temporal, priority.

    Add to this the Platonic view that the cosmos is eternal.** (In fact, Timaeus tells us that it is “the moving image of eternity”.) Now, recall that material embodiment is limitation. The hypercosmic realities have their fullness all at once, but without manifestation; the encosmic realities have manifestation, which necessarily means that they cannot express the fullness of any form all at once. As a rough and incompletestarting point, contrast the concept of triangle with any particular embodied triangle. The embodied material triangle can be isosceles, or right, or scalene, but cannot manifest all these ways of being a triangle at once. In other words, no material object can ever possibly embody all that it is to be a triangle, yet the eternal idea of triangle in all its fullness cries out for manifestation. As above, so below, but each in its proper way.

    Put this all together,and there is a sense in which both the encosmic and the hypercosmic may each be said to be incomplete on their own, or at least to each require the other in order for all that there is to be as full and complete as possible.

    I hope that some of this is helpful to you, at least as fodder for meditation and reflection, discussion and critique.

    Notes:

    (*) Much of the business about myth also applies to Darwin’s work, though he’s a good deal less self-conscious about it.

    (**) When used in ordinary conversation, the English word “eternal” is ambiguous, covering both of the following technical senses: “eternal” in the strict sense, meaning “existing outside of/apart from the flow of time”, and “sempiternal”, meaning “existing within time, at every moment.” In these strict terms, the Platonic cosmos is sempiternal.

  48. Violet,

    What interesting questions. I have not read enough of either of them to have a strong grasp, but my initial reaction is that they are not even discussing the same planes of existence. I do have to say that my rejection of Darwinism is not about resistance to change but simply that upon deep analysis of life on a molecular and submolecular level, it is not an adequate theory to explain things. I also think that belief in God, of almost any sort, and pure Darwinism (which is atheistic) are fundamentally at odds.

    When Plato was discussing unchanging forms, he was talking about another plane, perhaps astral. They might or might not be eternal, but relative to the constant morphing and decay of things on earth, they are relatively changeless. But it is also a directional change, one which I myself have undergone with some difficulty, in which one realizes that the physical world is not primary, but in fact derivative of the more subtle or spiritual realms. It is in these realms that ideas or forms are conceived, and it is also interesting to note that there are countless accounts of near death experiencers who say that the experience there was far more real than here, that they felt they were coming home to a place they recognized. I do not doubt that many of the great writings of people like Plato and many others came from actual experiences of other realms, whether through shamanistic techniques, partaking of the soma of the gods, or other out of body experiences.

    More important, is the idea which is hardly from Plato and is certainly to be found in Hinduism but probably in much deep philosophy, is the idea that this world is ‘maya’ or delusion. Not because it doesn’t exist or isn’t factual, but because it is a contingent kaleidoscope with no lasting substance. What has lasting and essentially unchanging substance is consciousness.

    You ask why gods shouldn’t change over time. But when people here speak of the gods, I have no idea what such a being may consist of, whether various gods are at all similar with one another, basically, I have no idea whatsoever what such an entity might be or be about.

    They are not the unchanging Existence which is Consciousness which is Awareness.

    The guy who wrote the My Big TOE books had a chapter on time that I thought very probable. Other dimensions, known as spiritual, are not without any sort of time but simply have a very different rate of time. There may be a timeless dimension to reality, I think there is, but that doesn’t mean that whatever beings that Plato was calling gods were unchanging.

    Keep in mind also that the astral is not the only plane, but it is probably the one humans have the most frequent access to. I do not think of it as unchanging.

  49. @ Jane

    By “numbers,”I meant population generally, but yes, birthdate would certainly be a factor. Immigration would be another. Enculturation of outsiders (to the extent a cultures allows converts) might be another.

    There are certainly ways that accommodation and compromise can be reached, although this usually requires give and take by all parties. But the dominant culture also needs to not be ham-fisted in its approach. (There is a vast difference between not requiring women to wear veils, for example, and forbidding them from wearing veils.) Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that one overreaction leads to a counterpossing overreaction, which leads to more overreaction, etc. The other typical path we observe in history, particularly with religions, is the persecuted minority religion eventually gaining power and transforming into the dominant, persecuting religion. (Christianity in the Roman Empire is only one example, although a pertinent one.). Like vendettas, persecution breeds persecution.

    Sometimes accommodation and compromise are not feasible. Surviving a hostile regime may require a culture to go underground and erase itself from the public sphere. From my limited knowledge of occult history, this occurred with some frequency with re to occult traditions. Early Christianity, again, did its share of hiding. Catholics and Protestants living in the other’s territory frequently went into the shadows in past centuries.

    I fear that as the resource constraints bind and the future this world thought it had falls apart before our eyes, intolerance may well be one reaction we see all too much of in the decades ahead. Particularly if some feel they have cultural scores to settle.

  50. With regards to the forecast Blue Wave in November

    My husband and I both lie to pollsters. We get a lot of them because we only have a landline. If I admit I’m going to vote, I lie as to which party I’ll choose and what cultural box I fit in. Otherwise, I say I won’t vote, even though I’ll be at the polls bright and early.

    @ David by the lake and everyone else. It is so important to be involved with your municipality. Otherwise, you discover much too late to do anything about it, that your township decided to build a 32 million dollar community center and Taj Mahal of Swimming Pools. We’ll be paying for a fifty meter Olympic pool, in addition to the other two pools, and everything else for a long time.

    Teresa From Hershey

  51. Hi Simon,

    I live in what’s usually a 4-season area. From late 2018 to now we’ve had only 2.

    There’s a free phone app that will take you through 72 seasons supposedly recognized in ancient Japan. (Those large buildings you can tour? They’re not old castles, they’re old greeting-card stores! 😄)

    Does anyone else miss Hallmark stores?

  52. Some months back, you wrote at Toward Ecosophia “put it down to a youthful infatuation with Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, but big books don’t scare me” and that comment caught me off guard, because I don’t consider Lord of the Rings to be a big book. I realize I have been spoiled by reading so many Chinese novels, which tend to run longer than English novels, including lowbrow Chinese novels (for example, Zu Mountain Saga, the most popular Chinese fantasy novel of the first half of the 20th century, is about 5 million characters long, which is roughly equivalent to 2.5 million words of English).

    I recently finished reading Ze Tian Ji, known in English as Way of Choices, and enjoyed it a lot. It’s over 4000 pages long. I admit that I did take breaks from it to read shorter novels, such as War and Peace. Unlike most of the long Chinese novels I’ve read, it is available for free in a licensed English translation here: http://gravitytales.com/novel/way-of-choices (though since I read it in Chinese, I don’t know what the English translation is like). If you want to read a genuinely long popular fantasy novel, I recommend it. I also recommend it if you want to read a recently written fantasy novel which is definitely not a rehash of LOTR.

  53. Violet, it seems to me that you’re confusing the concept of eternity with that of existing in time but being unchanged by it. An eternal being is outside of time and thus outside of change. It experiences time the way we experience space, as a continuum that can be taken in at a single glance. Plato’s world of forms or ideas isn’t a contradiction of the idea of flow; it defines the laws of nature through which, and in terms of which, flow happens.

    I also find Darwin’s books profoundly spiritual, but I don’t see them as contradicting Plato in any sense — though they certainly contradict a too simple understanding of Plato!

    Kyle, the hardbacks and fine editions will simply be coming out at a different pace. The hardback publisher is hoping that having the paperbacks and e-books out will build more of a market for durable high-quality editions.

    Steve, see my response to Kyle. The hardbacks will still be published.

    David, Spengler would agree with you, and point out that behind those values are differing worldviews that make one or another set of values seem obvious and laudable and good.

    Will, no, coming attractions!

    Mister N., I’m by no means sure that the Dems will in fact take the House. Yes, that’s what the polls say, but the polls said that Clinton was going to win in 2016 and Brexit was going to be soundly defeated. To judge by the astrological chart I cast in September, the GOP may lose some seats — or just possibly gain some! — but the balance of power in Congress won’t change significantly.

    James, my take is that the black swan was the successful opening of negotiations with North Korea. The North Korean government is currently busy dismantling its test facilities, negotiating trade deals with the South, and talking to the Russians about running a branch line of the Trans-Siberian Railway straight down the Korean peninsula to Seoul. That’s a huge geopolitical shift. Did anyone anywhere anticipate it?

    Phutatorius, to my mind, that’s where Couliano got half the truth, and it’s the half that got him killed. The Renaissance mage was in the business of shaping the human imagination, but there’s a dimension Couliano didn’t take into account: the vertical dimension, if you will, the relation between the individual and the divine realities that bring both the individual and the cosmos into being. The primary task of the Renaissance mage was to enter into a state of harmonious relationship with those divine realities; that was the ergon, the core work of magic. All the other stuff is parergon, sidelines that might be necessary from time to time. All the things that Couliano talked about were parergoi.

    Oskari, the task of creating an Ogham suitable to your own bioregion is one that many Druids take up in the course of their training. Here’s my version, which I worked up while I was a student of OBOD. You can certainly do the same thing for your local trees. As for how to do it, well, I don’t know of a simple rule for that; I did it by close study of the local trees, combined with study of local myth and folklore.

    Dave, I know a lot of Americans, and very, very few of them fit that stereotype. You may want to reconsider your generalizations…

    Will J, that’s a huge issue. I’m not yet sure what to make of it. I wonder, though, if it’s a product of our insanely bad way of teaching children in schools; they’re taught a set of canned factoids, which they are expected to regurgitate word for word on multiple choice tests, without any last scrap of independent thinking getting in the way. It would make sense that this sort of thing would produce the belief that there’s only one right answer and it’s whatever you get told by a qualified authority!

    Will O, any institution that’s focused on trying to teach people to think rather than getting them to spit out a predefined answer. As for the situation, to foster dialectic teaching you need plenty of time, one student per instructor, and a quiet space free from interruption from other people and the media.

    Waffles, 1) that certainly makes sense to me. 2) Funny! 3) Well, what makes you feel like sitting down and picking up a book? Figure that out and make sure your reading room has lots of it.

    Dkraus, I know the feeling! Welcome to the green and magical world.

    James, 1) you can do the Coelbren work alongside The Celtic Golden Dawn, so long as you do all of both. 2) Take up the ritual work as soon as you start the knowledge lecture. That and the meditations go side by side, not one after the other.

    Juan Pablo, how close is your natal Venus to the Sun, and is it retrograding toward the Sun or away from it? A lot depends on those details.

    Clay, I don’t expect that to happen. Instead, somebody in the Saudi ministry of state will be made the fall guy and have his head cut off, the media will do their usual job of straining at gnats and swallowing camels, and all will go on as before.

    Matt, 1) if I did, would I tell you or anyone else about it? 2) You don’t have to limit yourself to the myths; anything and everything is fair game. 3) My book The Encyclopedia of Natural Magic has a fair amount about that; there are also plenty of books on hoodoo, many of which are quite good. (I got my information from a correspondence course rather than a book, for what it’s worth.)

    Gnat, I spent a decade writing about that, and I really don’t have anything else to say on the subject. Please keep in mind that, other than changing your own life and becoming an example on which others can model their responses to the inevitable changes, there’s not much that can be done any more; it’s very late in the day, and the window of opportunity I talked about in previous blog posts slammed shut long ago.

    Joel, voter fraud is as American as apple pie, and it goes back to the first years of the republic. Both political parties are constantly trying to game the electoral system in a galaxy of ways, and attempts to throw the other side’s voters off the voting rolls are just one part of the ongoing struggle to win elections by fair means and foul. I recall the voting machines dumped in Lake Michigan by the Daley machine to win JFK the 1960 election — they were dismissed as an urban legend for years, until sport divers found them — and many other bits of shady practice on the Democratic side; then pair them with equivalent antics from the GOP, and remind myself that an election is basically a pitched battle for power, fought with mostly nonlethal weapons.

    Graham, yes, when you talk to the forest spirits and treat them with respect, they’ll reciprocate the favor. This stuff is real, as real as a rock. My advice is that before you roll out the mower, go out into the forest a day or so in advance and explain what you need to do, why you need to do it, and when it’ll happen, so spirits who might be affected have plenty of warning and can be out of the way of the blades. Ask them if there’s anything else you can do and, if so, if they can find a way to communicate it to you; then pay attention to any dreams, inexplicable hunches, or improbable coincidences that come your way. You’re treating the land the way that the ancients did, and that will have good results.

    Will, well, it just happened, didn’t it? 😉 Yes, that happens. Meditate on Ailm reversed a few times and see what you get.

  54. Pogonip, in the pictures posted to the media of the package containing the bomb supposedly mailed to CNN, the stamps were not postmarked or canceled, and it also lacked the bar code that gets put on every US parcel that’s mailed. Here’s an example:

    package photo

    That proves that the package was not mailed anywhere. CNN is therefore lying, and the “bombings” are fake. The interesting question is why CNN and other news media would gin up a fraudulent bombing, and what they hoped to gain from it.

  55. @GMG: finaly! I have been waiting for this post since I read the Kingsport book (within a day). I have very much enjoyed the WoH stories and can’t wait to take the next dive into that cosmos. I have been following your work (mostly on peak oil, the secular religion of progress and so on) for many years and I think it’s high time to express my gratitude. Your books and blog posts had a big influence on my worldview and thereby shaped many of my decisions over the last vew years. Today I find my self in a transiton-town-inspired co-housing project, sorounded by likeminded people, finding ways to work around the industrialised stupidity that seems so omnipresent today. Avoiding the rush 🙂 Overall. A very good place to find oneself in. So. Thank you for being a voice of reason and clarity in this opaque madhouse of an collapsing civilisation.

    St

  56. I keep forgetting to ask this one – there’s a trope particularly in modern fantasy (Farmer Giles of Ham is likely the most well-known one here) where an ordinary person picks up an intelligent sword that immediately forces him to fight dragons. Any speculation on the origins of this myth?

  57. Hi isabelcooper, I am writing a novel; when it’s ready to submit may I ask you who takes submissions without agents?

    Hi John, the package looked phony to me too BUT I have received packages whose stamps got missed by the cancellation machine, so there’s a non-trivial chance it’s real. If forced to judge the situation right now, with very little info, I’d say it’s most likely a false flag. Maybe the rich white liberal ladies did not appear sufficiently frightened by Cavanaugh so this is an attempt to keep them stirred up. However, a lone nut is certainly a possibility.

    And how easy is it to get the home addresses of Obama, Clinton, et al? I would think their generally available addresses would be for someplace where their mail is handled by employees. But high-ranking Dems would have their “real,” private addresses…

  58. @David,
    I just read a poll on a mainstream site that gives GOP the odds of holding the Senate, and Dems a chance of gaining the House by only a two seat margin, @ best.

  59. Hi Violet,

    very interesting comparison! When I read Plato, or the prose sections of Boethius, for that matter, I am also struck by assertions that I consider completely baseless and preposterous. Maybe that is because they wrote from within a different culture than ours… I read Plato, and Boethius, for the joy of the language, and Plato also for the joyful play of different, contradictory and still complementary arguments. Sometimes it is just Socrates talking and somebody saying Surely, Indeed, Certainly, then it is just dull…
    Darwin is a great writer and of course much nearer to us.

  60. Hi ther again sir,
    I had a feeling as I wrote my first question that I would receive your response. Very well played, indeed.

    Matt

  61. Hello jmg
    Have you ever read up on a constructed language called lojban? It is a language designed with a grammar that adheres to predicate logic, thus supposedly allowing unambiguous logical speech.
    It reminds me of the claims made of Latin, that it make you speak and think better, I wonder if I The future it may be used in the same way as Latin in school and monasteries.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojban

  62. I, for one, would love to don the grey and fight in honor of my ancestors, but, this time, the heavy lifting of secession must be done by the blue minority. But I certainly wouldn’t lift a finger to keep them from leaving the Union

  63. @Mr Nobody
    Re: Election

    A lot can change in two weeks, but I will say that there doesn’t seem to be much movement.

    Any time you say something like “the Democratic Party,” you’re making a single monolithic entity out of something that’s actually a coalition of various constituencies which have different interests and values, sometimes very different interests and values.

    To follow the Hidden Tribes report, most of what you see is a conflict between a tribe of progressive activists that are only 8% of the population, arguing with their polar opposite, a tribe of committed conservatives that are 6% of the population. There’s another 15% that’s loosely aligned with the committed conservatives. The remaining 2/3rds of the population you don’t see. Their attitude varies from “shut up and find a compromise” to “a pox on both your houses.”

    @Will J
    Re: Agreement

    You asked: “I’m curious about something that came up last week in passing: what do people here make of the strange tendency a lot of people have of assuming everyone agrees with them, even when they pretend they don’t?”

    That’s a characteristic of the second and third tier in the reincarnation sequence (approx 55% of the population in total). These people actually believe everyone is fundamentally the same as they are, and are simply misguided.

    @sng
    Re: publishers and proposals

    For a publisher to accept a proposal, you have to have a track record of writing books that sell on time. Likewise, the publisher has to have the financial resources to finance an author writing a book on spec. Most small publishers don’t have the resources and don’t really care about track records, but there are exceptions.

    @JMG
    Re: CNN

    Was the package discovered by the post office or in CNN’s mail room? It does make a difference as to whether the stamps would have been canceled, etc.

  64. @ JMG:

    I would not in the least bit surprised if the CNN pipe bomb scare turned out to be a deliberate hoax.

    After all, it wouldn’t be the first time they got caught in the act peddling fake news, such as the infamous Steele dossier filled with salacious and malicious but uncorroborated gossip that Donald Trump called them and Buzzfeed on when they ran with the story. CNN has been gunning for Trump ever since. I get CNN articles coming across my news feed from time to time and they are almost invariably hate-filled anti-Trump propaganda. They’ve been consumed by a pathological hatred for him ever since he denounced them out for running the Steele dossier story. CNN has turned itself from a respectable news agency into a propaganda channel that would make even Joseph Goebbels wince.

    My guess is this is a desperate attempt to influence the election by demonizing the GOP while ginning up sympathy for the Democrats. The Democrat Party establishment, which CNN is very much a part of, is getting really nervous and is willing to try anything, no matter how low, to try and derail Trump and his allies. If your analysis turns out to be correct, this could blow up into a huge scandal. I will be very interested to see if anyone else picks up on the discrepancies in the official version of what happened.

  65. Forecastingintelligence, last I checked, the migrations are already happening, though events in Italy have slowed them down a bit. Yes, this is what it looks like; take the rates of mass immigration to Europe in 2016, say, and multiply them by 50 years or so, and you have the picture of a mass migration. As for the Chinese, a track record for preserving human rights is not something you find in any Chinese government, going back all the way to the Hsia dynasty at the dawn of Chinese civilization; to judge by historical parallels, the internees are lucky to be on the right side of the grass.

    Pogonip, I think a lot of the issue at present is that the Trump administration has only so much political capital to expend at any one time. Right now discarding government regulation and renegotiating trade relations seems to be at the top of Trump’s agenda, and other issues are further down the stack; i suspect we’ll see more action relating to them after the midterms. Keep in mind also that the antics of the “sanctuary cities” are fine propaganda fodder for GOP ads in the flyover states.

    David, well, we’ll see! At this point the only data I trust is what actually happens on Election Day.

    Barefootwisdom, I’m really not sure what to say. There are several pirate editions of my work; the version of Circles of Power from Thoth Publications is a pirate edition — I’ve never received a cent for sales of that edition — and it’s not a surprise to find other things of mine being ripped off. Since you bought it in good faith, though, no blame attaches to you.

    Ross, no, not really. Magic is what you do when you’ve made up your mind.

    Marcu, thank you! I avoid US news media — it’s embarrassingly bad — and get my news from a handful of international sources and several aggregator sites, I change these frequently to keep from getting too monotonous a diet of news. I also make sure to get news from at least two countries on opposite sides of the various power struggles — for example, BBC and RT — so as to be able to fill in the blanks each one leaves open.

    Samurai_47, it’s been my experience that spirits will choose the gender they want to use in interacting with you. Remember that you can always ask them!

    Shane from Australia, excellent! Yes, that’s quite plausible — and the strategy of making your food supply look like something other than food is smart. (I’d happily take a bite, for what it’s worth.)

    SNG, anything! Every publisher has its own preferences when it comes to submissions, and I’ll offer you the single most useful piece of advice you will ever receive about dealing with publishers:

    ALWAYS DO EXACTLY WHAT A PUBLISHER’S SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS TELL YOU TO DO..

    I’ve seen more good writers get rejection slips for good manuscripts by ignoring this rule than for any other reason. It doesn’t matter what your college writing teacher says, or what the book on how to get published says, or what this or that website says; every publisher has its own requirements, and if you don’t follow them to the letter, your manuscript will be rejected, full stop, end of sentence. So…

    ALWAYS DO EXACTLY WHAT A PUBLISHER’S SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS TELL YOU TO DO..

    Publishers reject submissions that don’t meet their requirements because they know from bitter experience that if an author won’t follow the instructions on the submissions page, they probably won’t follow any other instructions, and so will be a pain in the rump to work with. Is it fair? Of course not. Publishers don’t need to be fair. If you won’t follow their submissions requirements, there are a hundred other would-be authors who will. So, when you decide to submit a project to a publisher…

    ALWAYS DO EXACTLY WHAT A PUBLISHER’S SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS TELL YOU TO DO..

    Thank you, and we now return to our regularly scheduled discussion.

    Fabian, funny.

    Simon, nope. The Golden Dawn tradition, which is what you’re working with, has been practiced with perfect success in Australia and New Zealand without any modifications whatsoever. The directional attributions and the like are symbolic, not physical, and so work whether or not the physical geography and climate match them. (For example, where I live now, the sea is to the east, but I still invoke water to the west and get good results.) As for the seasons, well, if the tarot had seven or nine suits, that would be suited (pun not intended) to the native traditions; as it doesn’t, work with the four traditional seasons.

    Christopher, 1) yes. 2) I liked them a great deal. 3) By “a new mathematics” do you mean “a better mathematics”? if so, your belief in progress is showing! 4) They’ll be forthcoming as the publisher sees fit.

    Patricia, thank you. The rising seas are a theme in the series, interestingly enough!

  66. Regarding the wee package. As a former letter carrier I can tell you that there a few obvious items: 1) As JMG astutely observed, there is no routing barcode or cancellation of the stamps, 2) putting a pipe inside a paper envelope of that kind would be noticed immediately, even before scanning at a distribution center – which all are, and 3) these parcels have each been “intercepted” on the same day – unusually good service for the PO. Conclusion: These packages were not expected to be delivered or returned by the USPS – they are simulation. A Midterm election headline grabber? Could serve the purposes of either extreme. At this point I don’t see much difference between either side.

    @Dave T.
    Too bad the bawling pre-diabetics aren’t the ones you have to keep an eye on – it’s the opportunists they draw in. It doesn’t take many.

  67. Boysmom,

    I’m far from sure it can be that simple. It seems to crop up in very odd situations as well as where that’s the case. It also shows up even when people scream about how evil those people are, so I’m not sure that it has to do with avoiding thinking Joe is evil.

    JMG,

    I have too many things to meditate on already! 😉

    More seriously, I think I know what the cards are saying, although now it’s a matter of figuring out what to do with it.

  68. @JMG: Yes, exactly re: publishing! Some of the regs exist for a reason, some are outdated, and all are the equivalent of the “brown M&M’s” clause that Van Halen (I think) used to have in their contracts: they didn’t really want a bowl of all brown M&Ms in their dressing room for its own sake, but burying that halfway through would let them know if a venue had read the preceding bits about, say, making sure the stage was heavy enough for their equipment and so forth.

    @Pogonip: Sure, though I by no means have a comprehensive list: I’ve been with Sourcebooks for a while, and mostly going through my agent for a year or two. Off the top of my head, though, Tor, DAW, and Baen are the major players in SF that take unsolicited; Sourcebooks accepts romance* without an agent, but nothing else at the moment. Angry Robot is another SF one that’s usually closed but has an open submissions month every so often.

    Hope that helps!

    * Meaning both that the romance is the main focus of the plot and that, unless you’re writing “inspirational” (conservative Christian), you’ll need at least two or three reasonably explicit sex scenes.

  69. I would like to ask how one properly pronounces Vine DeLoria’s first name, please?

    Also – to share – JMG, Violet, Peter, and others have heard me vent in person, and some others of you may recall me mentioning my very bio-phobic neighbors who object to my small farm. They are selling their house and moving away!!! I almost burst into tears when I saw the ‘for sale’ sign! Meanwhile, a friend of mine who’s a shaman and interacts regularly with them what are unseen to most of us, and apparently took some action on some plane to encourage this move to happen. Imagine my delight when he gloated to me, “This stuff works!” It does indeed 🙂

  70. https://www.facebook.com/TuckerCarlsonTonight/videos/cooking-with-elizabeth-warren/561267797541877/

    Elizabeth Warren’s claim to be a Cherokee because she has somewhere between 1/1024th and 1/2048th Amerindian ancestry (making her substantially less Native American, biologically, than the average white American, who is about 1/256th) is a little silly. This should be incredibly hilarious fodder for the left – and yet Fox News is the one to produce a suitably hilarious mockery of her claims.

    For those who don’t want to watch the video: Elizabeth Warren, a purported Cherokee, which is an inland tribe, submitted a recipe to a book called ‘Pow Wow Chow’, a Native American cookbook. The recipe contains traditional Cherokee staple like eggs, mayonnaise and crab meat.

    Tucker Carlson had a celebrity chef on to discuss the recipe – the amazing similarities between Cherokee and French cuisine were noted.

  71. JMG, isabelcooper –

    Thank you very much for the feedback.

    I’ve managed to build some good relationships with editors in the non-fiction world over the years, but I feel like I’m completely starting over in pitching any kind of fiction. But yes, following the submission guidelines is always key (the other key that has taken me far, if anyone else is interested, is meeting deadlines. Do that and the magazine/newspaper/web world will love you). Anyway, I’m considering sticking a toe in the scifi-fiction world and seeing how it goes so thank you both very much for the info.

  72. On reading rooms: a lot depends on the space you have, of course. I know people whose interesting books are kept in their bedrooms.

    Marcu: I find that you can skim past something in print. It’s a lot harder to get a voice on the radio out of your head, and much, much harder to get images on TV out of it. So I get my news in print and skim the online headlines. Interesting one this morning (? last night?) “Unemployment report worries Wall Street,” Subheadline “Lower employment is better for stocks.” I didn’t need to read any more than that!

    Samurai_47 – the sex of river spirits is like the sex of a city; it depends on the river (or city). The Mississippi is clearly male. Likewise the Rocky Mountain high country. California – one writer, a geologist, called it “Kali’s country.” San Francisco used to be an elegant old lady with a raunchy past, before it was assimilated into Silicon Valley.

    Teresa from Hershey: I hang up on pollsters and other such vermin.

  73. I’ll second Patricia! My paperback of the first Weird of Hail is pretty well thumbed through and has a coffee stain or two from when I burst out laughing. I don’t evangelize the long descent – except to fast-collapse people, none of whom are in my life anymore, thankfully – but deindustrial sci fi or weird tales are far better tools than blog posts about EROEI.

  74. JMG – Evidently the Secret Service (who intercepted the packages to the Clintons and Obamas), Eric Holder (sent to Wasserman Shultz’s office), John Brennan (sent to CNN), Maxine Waters (intercepted in congressional mail screening facility in Maryland), and George Soros (placed in his mailbox by hand) are all in on this massive conspiracy. Every one Trump has repeatedly called evil and the enemy at his Campaign events lately. And the Clintons, Obamas, CNN and Soros are favorites of Right Wing hatred with the others rapidly climbing.

    This sounds like something I’d find on a whacko conspiracy site (Left or Right) rather than on the site of someone who’s writing I respect. It reminds me of the Truthers on the Left who say George Bush had the CIA cause the collapse of the World Trade Center or those on the right who said Bill Clinton had the same CIA do the Oklahoma City bombing and Timothy McVeigh was a fall guy.

    These days both those on the Left and those on the Right are totally willing to excuse any lie, no matter how outlandish, if it comes from their own party. Obama and the Clintons were tops in the past, but now Trump takes the cake for the most prolific purveyor of “Fake News”.

    It’s rare that I will speak any more about the political goings on in this country, I’m so sick of the blind hatred that causes people on both sides to believe the most outlandish things. I work here with a good group of Ham Radio operators on learning more about communication in poor conditions, we have the sense to not talk politics with each other.

  75. JMG,

    Thank you! I’ve been trying to spend as much time as I can in listening mode, but it is a s-l-o-w process.

    For those interested in last week’s discussion of Aboriginal Dreamtime, a good account of that from the American perspective can be found in the book Ceremonial Time by John Mitchell. It follows a Massachusetts man’s project to map out the last 15,000 years on his property. Since he quickly runs into the limitations of ordinary historical records and scientific research, he befriends a couple of local Native Americans who help fill in the historical gaps by accessing Dreamtime.

    At some point I would be curious to hear about your perceptions of the land spirits in the New England region versus some of the other places you have lived. I know you haven’t been in Rhode Island all that long, so it might be a premature question.

    samurai_47

  76. That package could never go through the mail. Every picture shows 6 “forever” stamps, worth $3.00 at current rates. According to the Post Office website, the cost for an irregular 1 ounce First Class mail package (ie: not in an envelope) is $3.50. You’d think they’d have the respect for us to at least make the fake look plausable.
    Many of the pictures showing the device show the open envelope with the “bomb” next to it. Any halfway competent bombmaker would have ensured that the whole thing exploded when it was opened, and any halfway competent bomb squad would know that.
    As I write, another family member is watching the lesser Cuomo on CNN. I tried using your suggestion on the Dreamwidth blog to add a sharp object to pierce the spell which the screens have over us, but it’s a slow slog.
    I am glad to hear that I will be able to continue the Weird of Hali soon! I need something to balance all the heavy reading our host has been assigning us (Spengler vol. 2; God is Red, Man and His Symbols; & c. & c.).
    Happy St. Crispin’s Day Eve! We few, we happy few, we band of brothers and sisters.

  77. Yes, there is quite a striking difference between the staggering incompetence with which the Europeans have handled their religious extremist problem compared to the Chinese. Muslim terror attacks have sharply declined in China compared to Europe thanks to the pragmatic approach of the CCP. I can see Europe being ruled by an Islamic Caliphate someday but such a thing can never happen to China.

    It will be, quite frankly, nice to have a global hegemon that knows what they’re doing.

  78. @ JMG, Thank you for the clarification! Your observations that I was misunderstanding the concept of eternity proves correct. Also, to be fair, I don’t understand Plato deeply and at times I feel out of my depth reading his dialogs. That said these criticisms have been brewing for some time now and I’m frankly grateful that this forum exists where so many people will respond with insight on esoteric subjects and help explain some concepts that I have struggled with.

    Please let me see if understand the concepts by putting them into my own words: as Barefootwisdom pointed out there exists the concept triangularity and then the myriad triangles encountered manifest in the world. Triangularity exists outside of actual manifest triangles, and all triangles are subsumed in the concept of triangularity. Triangularity doesn’t need any individual triangle in order to exist conceptually, but every triangle needs triangularity to exist at all. A manifest triangle must exist within time, but triangularity exists equally in all triangles that have been, are, or will be. In fact triangularity almost certainly even exists in hypothetical triangles that have not entered, and will not ever enter manifestation. For these reasons, triangularity exists outside of time, or eternally, whereas a manifest triangle exists subject to time.

    Does this thought experiment meaningfully model the difference between the eternal and manifest? If not, may I ask where I’m running off the rails?

    @ Barefootwisdom, many thanks for this! Your comment helps to put a lot of what I read into context and explain the basic ideas with much more clarity. Perhaps too the issue lies somewhat with the translation. The image of the difference between an individual triangle and the very potentiality of triangularity, as I explored above thanks to you, proves, — I hope! — to be extraordinarily clarifying. While undoubtedly there are depths to what you have written that elude me at present, this distinction you shared with me currently occupies my thoughts.

    @ Onething, thank you! I’ve gnawed on these questions for some time and have found them richly satisfying. Personally, I don’t think that Darwin’s ideas are atheistic at all. He describes things that happen with facts and brilliant inferences. Perhaps atheists use him as a paper shield, but he himself remains silent on the divine, except to criticize the Creationist ideas for what he considered bad theology. He does this, though, in the spirit of a Christian who feels that the Creationist battle entirely misses the point. Darwin didn’t look for Christ in the species he studied, and he never looked to refute the spiritual core of Christianity. He looked to understand the species themselves, this profound act of listening I find to be in and of itself to be extremely numinous.

    @ Matthias Gralle, thank you! I really get a lot out of reading Plato — even when I disagree with some assertion or what have you it always ends up being a very productive disagreement. That said, the man was way smarter than I am, so I always am a bit nervous about any criticisms. Nonetheless, I’m so glad I mentioned it here as I’ve gotten really interesting feedback and discussion!

  79. @ Violet – I am following the field reports of your spiritual-philosophical journey with interest, and as it happens, I can pass on a response to your question on how do you reconcile Plato who says that only the eternal Ideas are real, and Darwin who sees the ever-evolving processes of Nature as the primary reality?”

    The short version is, you don’t. Neither one has the whole Truth, and we need both approaches in order to learn about the world and to think effectively.

    I was delighted with the discussion that follows, which comes from page 50 of David Graeber’s book An Anthropological Theory of Value, where he tries to establish a basis for studying very complex dynamically changing entities, in his case societies, in Darwin’s case, Nature. He arrives at the conviction that societies must be understood in terms of actions, and then goes on to explain the difficulty that involves through a short account of the philosophical quarrel between Heraclitus and Parmenides:

    Heraclitus declared the apparent fixity of objects or ordinary perception as largely an illusion. What we assume to be objects are actually patterns of change (‘One cannot step into the same river twice.’)

    Parmenides, on the other hand, declared that it was change that is the illusion. And although Parmenidies assertion is absurd, it leads to Pythagoras (and thereby to Western mathematics and science) and to Plato with his Ideal Forms, and on to almost all subsequent Western philosophers. Parmenides’ point was, more precisely, that in order to be comprehensible to the human mind, an object must exist in some way outside of time and change. The only things we can hope to know perfectly are ones that exist entirely in our imaginations.

    Since Parmenides, Western philosophy has been suffering from what “epistemological fallacy”: the tendency to confuse the question of how we can know things with the question of whether those things exist.

    If something is constantly changing, it is really difficult to study it or even imagine it. Graeber suggests that if Western philosophers had not abandoned Heraclitus’ view in favor of Parmenides’, we would never have been able to arrive at the ability to appreciate and benefit from Heraclitus’ view. We cannot really reconcile them. We have not achieved the ability to produce a complete description of any object in the physical world, let alone the ability to predict precisely what will happen to it under precisely defined conditions.

    Graeber suggests that this frustration has ‘generated a kind of aggressive nihilism … which at its most extreme argues that since one cannot come up with such perfect descriptions, it is impossible to talk about “reality” at all. All of this is a fine illustration of why most of us ordinary mortals find philosophical debates so pointless. The logic is in direct contradiction with that of ordinary life experience. Most of us are accustomed to describe things as “realities” precisely because we CAN’T completely understand them, can’t completely control them, don’t know exactly how they are going to affect us, but nonetheless can’t just wish them away. It’s what we don’t know about them that brings home the fact that they are real.”

    Hope someone else enjoys this as much as I did!

  80. @clay dennis
    The only thing that will kill the petrodollar is the lack of oil in the international market to be bought using dollars (hi there, Export Land Model). This factoid will be just another inconvenient straw to the pile of cognitive dissonance. Some people will go just beyond their threshold and break.

    Free post, time for some blogging. When I was a young acolyte of Progress, it was tempered with a love for the Soviet system (don’t ask). I was studying Russian in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell. My exposure to left-wing politics gave me access to lots of dirt from the United States. I clearly remember despairing; although the Soviets fell because they were, well, like that–at least I thought so at the time; what really took them down was the peak oil in the Soviet Union, which America dodged with the petrodollar)–but America was not any better.

    In capitulation I went to a recently opened, here in Brazil, Ronnie McD*s, and ordered one of their hamburgers. It tasted like nothing, only heightening my despair.

  81. After global population peaks (which I think you’ve said will probably happen before the end of this century, and I agree) and begins a long downward slide, what do you think the leading cause(s) of death will be, and why?

  82. Hey hey JMG,

    From a Russian times article without comment:

    “Marriage counselors, Reynolds explains, say that a relationship is doomed to fail when the couple begin to view each other with contempt — and in America today, there seems to be nothing but feelings of contempt felt on both sides of the political spectrum.”

    https://www.rt.com/usa/430957-america-new-civil-war-trump/

    Thanks,
    Tim

  83. Argus, it seems to me that you’ve answered your own question!

    Teresa, fascinating. I wonder how common that is.

    Sara K., thank you; I’ll look into it. Another friend who’s into Chinese fiction recommends Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain — have you read this?

    Stefan, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Christopher, I don’t happen to know. Do you know if the trope was around before Tolkien wrote that particular story?

    Pogonip, I thought of that, too, but the package is also missing the bar code that post offices put on packages to enable them to be properly sorted and delivered. What’s more, all the photos of the bomb packages I’ve seen on the media these days, including the one that was supposedly returned to Debbie Wassermann Schultz, also lacked cancellations, postmarks, and bar codes. What do you think the odds are that every single one of those packages just happened to miss all those things on the same day?

    Matt, to know, to will, to dare, and to… 😉

    J.L.Mc12, there are a lot of invented languages out there. That I know of, Esperanto is the only one that ever got much attention, and even it’s not very popular.

    John, the news reports said it was delivered to CNN, and since they evacuated the CNN building, that would seem to be accurate.

    Azure, I’m suspending judgment as to the motive and the rest of it. The evidence of the photos flatly contradicts the claims being made by the media — that’s clear; the rest, well, we’ll see. Or not.

  84. Hew, interesting. Thank you for this!

    Will, well, that’s usually the issue, of course. 😉

    Isabel, yep. I used to work as an outside reader for a publisher who will not be named, and some of the things in the submission requirements were Brown M&M clauses. It didn’t help — the most astonishing awfulness still came in over the transom — but it made sorting out what went home with a rejection slip a little easier.

    Michelle, I believe it’s pronounced the same way as in grape vine, squash vine, etc. Congrats on the departure of your neighbors! May a family of enthusiastic organic gardeners move in promptly in their place.

    Clark, fascinating. I haven’t read it, but it seems quite plausible.

    Justin, yeah, I heard of that. If my family’s traditions are correct, my ancestry is 1/32nd Lakota — you know the old story about the farmer’s daughter and the ranch hand? That’s basically how one of my great-grandmothers was conceived, or so the story goes — but there’s no way in heaven, earth, or hell that I’d be enough of a sleazebucket to call myself Native American on that basis. I honor that part of my ancestry, and so wouldn’t debase it or myself by trying to cash in on it!

    SNG, glad to hear it. Just remember that small publishers are a lot more interested in new authors than large ones!

    August, I don’t pretend to know what’s going on. All I know for sure is that the photos of the packages that are being splashed across the media contradict the story that the media themselves are presenting. Will you do me a favor? Please go to your favorite mainstream media outlets and take a look at the photos of the bomb packages that are being shown there — I don’t expect you to trust the image I put up. Look at them, see if you can find a postmark, a stamp cancellation, or a bar code. Ascertain that, according to the media, those packages were delivered to their apparent targets by the US Mail…and then tell me how that happened, when none of the packages have any of the markings the US Mail invariably applies to packages they carry. If you can do that, I’ll happily admit that I was incorrect.

    Samurai_47, I’m still getting a sense of the land here and its spirits, but the thing that strikes me most is that this part of New England feels more like England than like any other part of the US I’ve lived in. It feels older. I’m not sure what to make of that.

    Peter, hmm! I didn’t even think of that, but you’re quite right. Under current postal regulations, it would never have been accepted by the postal clerk at the post office where it was sent — and of course you can’t just leave a package in a drop box; for years now, every package has to be taken to the window and handed to a clerk, who weighs it on the spot. So the evidence of the postage argues that the package was never even taken to a post office in the first place.

    Spandrell, it seems to me that there are a variety of useful midpoints between malign neglect, which is the EU’s policy toward Muslim jihadi radicals, and concentration camps, which is China’s attitude toward them…

    Violet, that’s a good first approximation. Now think of the way that triangularity relates to other, equally eternal patterns. What else has to be a timeless existent in order for triangularity to exist? It’s reflections like those that help elucidate Plato’s vision.

    Downpath, dear gods. I knew it was bad, I didn’t know it was that bad.

    Yoyo, the leading causes of death will be a smorgasbord of infectious diseases, violence, the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, long-term effects of chronic malnutrition, and simple despair.

    Tim, I ain’t arguing.

  85. @ Mr Nobody – I’m curious; who do you think will win the leadership battle within Team Blue after the midterms?

    @ Dave T – Very funny. Oklahoma is just full of people that match that description to one degree or another. I laugh (internally) every time I hear someone talk about how willing they are to fight anyone…

    @ gnat – in a TEOTWAWKI event, I would probably shelter in place rather than move or flee. I’ve put a lot of time and effort over the last four years into enriching my backyard soil and building up the right rapport with friends that acknowledge that such extremes may be needed. Another thing: physical fitness is a MUST. I would only leave my plot here in OK if circumstances absolutely required (i.e. the civilization ending meteorite will strike just west of Tulsa county.

    @ David by the lake – I fear you may be too optimistic. But one can hope.

    @ JMG – Thanks for the writing advise about following publisher’s formats.

    Bold prediction time – The election will produce a mixed bag. The House of Reps will flip to team Blue. Team Red will keep control of the senate, though I think it will be close, maybe even a 50-50 split with upset wins on both sides. I think progressive or left wing Blue candidates will see the most success overall, and the power struggle for control of team Blue will ratchet up a notch.

    Also – what do you think of my analysis of the Russian Orthodox church in the formation of the future Russo-Slavic great culture? Just this week the Russian church severed ties with Constantinople at the behest of Putin. To me, that seems like the final nail in the coffin. Tying the church so closely to the state will bode ill for it when the Russian state as currently constructed goes down in flames sometime in the 22nd century.

  86. @Dewey from last post

    I read your reply too late to respond but this week is an open post, so I’m responding here. Well… I’ve chosen to try and save a small library of texts, the information in which will be useful in the future semi-nomadic Dreamtime societies which are Australia’s destiny in the next couple of hundred years (after all our easily accessible coal is gone, anyway). My core text is a ‘healer’s book’ which I compiled during three years of an alternative medicine course and continue to update. It includes low tech diagnosis, nursing, talk therapies, and all aspects of medicine making from local plants, animals and minerals. I looked up causes of early death/permanent impairment in less developed societies and incorporated evidence based low-tech methods to address the low hanging fruit. I’ve memorised and use the information in the text and will try to pass it on in written and oral form and (eventually) through apprenticeship. I have focused on this text in particular as I believe effective low tech medical care is both possible and valuable in virtually all potential scenarios, while at the same time knowledge which is easily lost by a society and difficult to recover.

    I’ve also collected a couple hundred books about different ways of thinking, from a variety of cultures/times: fiction, accessible philosophy, histories, military treatises, maths, religious speculation, occult texts etc. Also some books of actually useable (tested by me) low tech. I’m working on various strategies to encourage future preservation and transmission of these texts including memorising them myself and using the information in them in my own life as we intentionally collapse. I hope some will survive as they are found useful/relevant in the future.

    My next step is to convert our house so we have a small separate living area and the remainder of the house can be used for a low fee subscription library and meeting place for community groups to promote local literacy in my disadvantaged neighbourhood, book making and neighbourhood improvement projects. I’ll collect 4-5,000 more books which have practical relevance and interest for that project but obviously I have little hope that all those books will survive the collapse.

  87. @JMG
    I’m still getting a sense of the land here and its spirits, but the thing that strikes me most is that this part of New England feels more like England than like any other part of the US I’ve lived in. It feels older. I’m not sure what to make of that.

    It’s Lovecraft. His works talking about Old Ones using British spelling made people all over the world link him to these concepts. I would imagine this effect is quite strong in Providence–all these people thinking about it would, by affinity, attract all kinds of elder gods. If the britishness is cause or effect (Lovecraft could have picked that from the local environment) is uncertain; I’ve never been in the city, but I’d guess one reinforces the other.

  88. Violet, I also prefer Darwin’s take over Plato but I woke this morning with the thought: could the changeless underpinnings of the world be represented by the “atomic” structure of the elements

  89. About New England land feeling English, that does seem a bit odd, as there are Native tribes still living on reservations there–leading me to believe that the removal/annihilation of the Natives there wasn’t as bad as some parts of the US, where there are no reservations at all…

  90. Violet – not only does the idea of timeless Eternity preclude the idea of “change”, it also precludes the alternative notion i.e. continuity! If there is no sequential time there are no separate moments which, via comparison, would reveal continuity.
    So although we can still try to think about Eternity, we need in doing so to transcend this change/changeless dichotomy.
    The question is, how?
    I must admit, my thoughts slip and slide around the question, but perhaps that is the right thing for them to do – like what one must do when trying to imagine a tesseract.

  91. Dave T, re: modern civilian soldiery,

    A few years ago my mother was visiting us and we were swimming in the indoor pool at her hotel. At one point I got out and went out to the lobby to get a soda from the machine.

    I was blown away completely by what I walked into in the dining room: a group of about 40 young men in some sort of meeting. Every one of them was my size or bigger (6’2, 220-ish), or at least appeared to be, with muscular arms, fit to the point of popping out of their mostly battle dress utility type clothing. It was a quiet and somber crowd, and the sight of them was genuinely breath-taking, in the most literal sense, not having ever come across a paramilitary organization before (no, they were definitely not standard issue military, who often fit your concept of the average American better!)

    These are the folks preparing to fight if it comes to it. And I wouldn’t want to get in their way…

  92. I do have, or did last night, a serious magic question. Now, Wicca as I was taught in Albuquerque is heavily Golden Dawn influenced – our training group’s teacher is into ceremonial magic. But in the years when I was reading every book I could find and going to every open ritual and circle – I and the friends who ended up in the training group – I ran across the idea mentioned ore than once, but not often, that when the Golden Dawn material was made public, there was an error put in there deliberately. Hopefully, to prevent the untrained from sticking their fingers in the electrical outlets!

    Those who believed this generally suggested it was the attribution of swords to air and wands to fire. I myself find it strange that Rafael in the East, who is a healer, should have a sword, and Michael, in the South, who is a warrior, should carry a wand or staff. Moreover, wands and staffs are the usual instruments of wizards. Though of course, healers do carry scalpels and warriors carry spears.

    Perhaps you could explain the rationale here? And “TSW” would be answer enough.

    Thanks,

    Pat

  93. Greetings all

    JMG wrote: ” to judge by historical parallels, the internees are lucky to be on the right side of the grass. ”

    Please note that we do not yet know how bad things will get for muslims there. Very easily it could get much much worse.

  94. @ Shane from Australia. I wonder if you have ever come across James C Scott’s historical/anthropological work “The Art of Not being Governed”.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6477876-the-art-of-not-being-governed

    A prominent theme is how the massive differences between the features of grain crops vs tuber crops translate into differences in the capacity for others to rule or govern you.

    Also, a propos of previous discussions on this blog about the emergence of cultures, this is a rare study about what develops at the edges of civilisations, and of how individual people position and re-position themselves vis-a-vis the prevailing culture. Often involving deliberate “uncivilising” steps being taken, such as moving “off-grid”, giving up literacy and civilised manners, and most tellingly, refusing to be governed.

    (A side note is the idea that, unlike what conventional wisdom – and the “progress myth” – would tell us, hunter gatherers are often far from being primitives who never learned about civilisation, but instead are frequently cultural “refusers” who know exactly what civilisation entails and want nothing to do with it).

    Geographically, the book is set in an area he names “Zomia” – which consists of mountainy areas between and at the edges of several different civilisation “capitals” of southeast Asia – including China, Burma, Vietnam, Laos… historically, he covers around 2000 years, in varying amounts of detail.

  95. Hi JMG,

    You said in 2013 on your old blog that people today who believe in progress may lose their belief and become ‘Augustinians’, so to speak, believers in the just minority defending good from the evil outside. I used to believe in Progress and am now feeling the temptation to Christianity and Augustinianism etc. What would you suggest instead?

  96. Hello Sprandel and with due respect to you,

    You wrote: ”

    Yes, there is quite a striking difference between the staggering incompetence with which the Europeans have handled their religious extremist problem compared to the Chinese. Muslim terror attacks have sharply declined in China compared to Europe thanks to the pragmatic approach of the CCP. I can see Europe being ruled by an Islamic Caliphate someday but such a thing can never happen to China.

    It will be, quite frankly, nice to have a global hegemon that knows what they’re doing.”

    (1) European Governments by and large have tolerated muslim extremists and their terror activities in Europe for decades. This has been extensively researched by many authors. For instance Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed’s book: war on truth. The aim was to use these extremists elements in an never ending war of conquest of the middle east and parts of asia and africa. Think of Libya and Syria lately. The links between western intelligence services (US included) and known terrorists are very well documented and these links are intensive and extensive. I wonder whether western governments are really interested in fighting terror. I have my doubts. While in London for my studies during the mid eighties it was already obvious that a lot of extremists were being tolerated and harboured in the UK.

    (2) To assert that terror attacks have sharply declined due to the internment in concentration camps of about one million people who have done nothing except to be of the wrong sort of religion is to leave the door open to massive abuses and to justify anything and everything in the name of XYZ ideology. Human history is full of such thinking and the results consistently aweful. Furthermore are you sure that there is a causality link there?

    (3) Please realise that the CCP is attempting to crush religions of all types in China, Islam being the first to be hit. Calling that approach pragmatic is to show a complete lack of empathy towards fellow humans.

    (4) Where I disagree with JMG is that there will be massive middle eastern and african immigration to such an extent that europe will become some sort of islamic caliphate. (a) Please note that in europe, excluding Turkey, only 6% of the population is muslim. We are very very far from a large majority or minority taking things over. (b) Already in europe many people are doing their very best to stem any immigration. Given that europe is already an over-crowded peninsula awash with arms of all sorts, I see, on the contrary that within 1 or 2 decades lethal violence being used to stop immigration in its tracks. (c) Democracy in europe will most probably turn right wing (already happenning) and populist and islamophobic. Why, all of this is already under way…

    (5) In Mauritius we have 17% muslims and no sight of a local caliphate yet. We have much to deal in Mauritius, but the fear of having an islamic caliphate being established here is really remote, very remote indeed. With 6% muslims in europe, there is a long long way to go.

    (6) The level of islamophobia in europeans (in the UK it is much less) is really reaching epidemic proportions. I know that from personal experience as I have a lot of dealings with France, the UK, Switzerland for familial and business reasons and I follow news from europeans outlets, in both french and english. On that trend I see pogroms in europe in some indeterminate future against muslims to be far more likely than a caliphate. This islamophobia amongst europeans is reaching such a level that I now believe that it is best NOT to get involved in any discussions of religion (especially islam) with them. Britons excepted!

    (7) China is more driven by its excessive anti-religious stance than by anything else, does it know what it’s doing? Not on the religious front, in my understanding, they are busy creating ennemies for themselves. Whether it be terror or religious extremism, alienating a local population is hardly the best way to tackle that.

    Regards

  97. @KKA, Violet and others:
    What a truly fascinating thread! I liked the discussion from Graeber.

    At the moment, I am working my way through Judea Pearl’s Causality, and I find it very interesting that, as a mathematician and artificial intelligence researcher, he doesn’t simply try to understand reality as such; he seems to admire the human capacity for problem-solving so much that he tries to understand how humans manage to make sense of the world!

    For example, in a long discussion about correlation and the arrow of time, he uses the movements of two interacting particles (or heavenly bodies) as an example. They are related in the way that makes most sense to the human understanding of causality, since any correlations between the two can be explained by their past. Why is that? Is causality a principle of nature? Pearl entertains the alternative possibility of observing the position of the mutual center of gravity of the two bodies and the distance between the two bodies over time. Mathematically, that is equivalent to looking at the two bodies, but correlations between the two new observation series can be explained by their future, which is weird to us.

    He concludes that humans choose objects to look at and to conceptualize in such a way that we can more easily predict the future from the past. In fact (and this is where my example ties in with KKA’s) throughout the book he repeats that causality is a much better way of predicting changes than correlation would be, because we can assume that causal mechanisms are rather stable to perturbations and to changes in other parts of the world. That gives us at least a chance at prediction in an incredibly complex and confusing world.

    JMG has often written about the failures of artificial intelligence research. Pearl, who is one of the most respected researchers in the field, makes it clear that in order to have even a minimally human-like intelligence, an AI would have to understand causality and counterfactuals. He is optimistic about that, I am less so (purely on intuition), but it is fascinating nonetheless!

  98. “If so, your belief in Progress is showing!”
    Well if it were, would that be a problem? I don’t exactly try to make a secret of it.

    From what I understand though, you distinguish between ‘a better fit for one’s environment’ and ‘better’, which would make the answer ‘no’ from your perspective. My understanding of Spengler is that he views mathematics as fundamental to a culture’s metaphysics and in service to its aspiration. So for example the Appolonians, with their very embodies aspirations, had no use for the concept of ‘zero’ in their mathematics. The Faustian civilisation needed Cartesian mathematics to imagine an infinite space where any direction was like any other.

    Thing is, we seem to be at a point where the mathematics used in Newton’s ‘Clockwork Universe’ physics aren’t really cutting it for what we want to with them. The replication crisis has been brought up here before I believe, and troubles pinning down the speed of light are, as best I can tell, explicitly being blamed on oversimplifications in the Cartesian model. It seems very much in line with both Spengler’s predictions and the current pain points in our own society to expect the next societies to use different mathematics than ours. What I’m curious about is whether anyone else thinks the intuitions of that are being discussed already and of course if so, where.

  99. With our host’s permission,

    I’d like to point out that for the past 20 years less than 1000 people have died in China due to terrorism (muslim or not). How many people died in chinese prisons in the same period because of political reasons?

    And how many of the million people in concentration camps in western china will effectively come out in the years to come? My guess is that if only 10% die there for diverse reasons, they’ll be lucky and that equates to 100,000 people. In the same period, only a handful die due to terrorism in China.

    So in effect Mr. Sprandell by saying that “It will be, quite frankly, nice to have a global hegemon that knows what they’re doing.” then it is acceptable for China to kill 100,000 of its citizens in order to protect a few hundred. Quite absurd. After all, we are talking about chinese citizens with supposedly the same rights, are we not?

    I respectfully but firmly disagree very strongly with your views sir.

    Regards

    Karim

  100. @JMG: My impression from publishing, college applications and job applications is that all of the initial outside-contact departments are engaged in constant attempts to stem the tide of people who think it’s a good idea to, say, send manuscripts in five different colors of text, or show up at HR with flowers, and that those people–despite widely-published advice otherwise, in all departments–are never-ending.

    There’s a parallel to the “promposals” and public proposals and other splashy relationship here–people thinking that they’re the first to make a Big Gesture and that said gesture will make up for their failings otherwise–but I haven’t had caffeine enough to elaborate on it yet.

    Also, small point of information: you can send some packages these days without clerk interaction, by going to the electronic kiosk thingies at the post office and solemnly swearing that you didn’t put a bomb or nail polish remover in it. But there’s a size/weight limit on that, and I don’t know if those packages would have made it.

  101. John, et alia–

    As it is the month’s open post, time for the (semi-)regular update of news from the US energy sector from your friendly, neighborhood correspondent 🙂

    –On the nuclear front, the battle over who gets left holding the bag on a failed project continues apace:

    Judge expected to overturn law that forced customers to pay for failed SC nuclear project

    A South Carolina judge is expected to overturn the controversial law that put electricity customers on the hook for a failed nuclear project, a move that would upend a high-stakes fight over who pays for one of the biggest financial fiascoes in state history and could trigger $2 billion in refunds for ratepayers.

    The decision would clear the way for South Carolina Electric & Gas’ roughly 720,000 ratepayers to stop paying for the nuclear project, which was called off last year after massive budget overruns and mounting delays.

    https://www.postandcourier.com/business/judge-expected-to-overturn-law-that-forced-customers-to-pay/article_f88beb4a-d60c-11e8-81a7-ffa25e55541a.html

    –The military understands which way the winds are blowing:

    https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Fort-Knox-to-test-its-energy-independence-program-498287461.html

    –Our host’s prediction of a drone-filled future for those stubbornly sticking to the status quo path continues to manifest:

    https://www.tdworld.com/transmission/nypa-collaborates-epri-drone-inspection-automation-project

  102. Sorry, forgot to reply to SNG–this getting up at 6:10 thing takes a bit of adjustment. 😛

    @SNG: I agree entirely about deadlines. I don’t know how skilled I actually am as a writer, but I’ve met every deadline SB has given me for turning things in, and as someone who’s done the editor thing for a day job, that’s a huge part of things.

    As a reader, I’m fairly patient, but if I were Martin’s editor or agent, I’d be following him around with a cattle prod. Of course, if I were either of those, I’d probably have a private yacht and a second home in the Bahamas by now, which might go some way toward improving my attitude.

  103. JMG, actually, you can put a package in the mailbox if it’s already labeled w/a tracking number and postage–i’ve used usps.com to print out labels.

  104. Joel said: “or does it seem like the GOP is preparing to use their lack of popular support as a thrust block that will allow them to achieve greater power?”

    I wouldn’t be so sure that the GOP is suffering from a lack of popular support. They won the last election because of the populist takeover, and 2 years of weeping and gnashing of teeth on the part of entitled Dems hasn’t done their party any favors…

    For my part, I’m putting Dems in a timeout, for the first time in 28 years of voting, by voting a straight Republican ticket, regardless of individual qualities. And yes, as a Georgia boy, that means Kemp gets my vote too. As soon as Dems comes to their senses collectively I’ll start looking at individual merit again.

  105. Waffles,

    Something I haven’t seen mentioned yet about your reading room is sunlight. 1) you want some, and 2) you don’t want it directly on your books. A fireplace or woodstove is also a good thing to have handy for cozy reading time. I spend a lot of time in winter tending the fire and reading, and the two go very well together.

    Another thing to consider is feng shui, or similar placement magic, for getting the area situated optimally within your house, say, in the education or helpful people sector.

    TSW…and matters.
    Happy reading!

  106. All–

    One more bit o’ energy news, which I think particularly relevant as distributed generation proliferates:

    https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/activity-tied-dg-customer-fees-starts-pick-report-says

    Adjustments to the traditional rate structure, which incorporates certain long-standing but increasingly invalid assumptions, are going to be needed as the nature of the electric grid shifts from unidirectional delivery of power from large, centralized production centers to a bidirectional flow of primarily local production by those who are also consumers.

    Taken to an extreme, one might ask if high-capacity transmission lines are even needed; considering the *ahem* larcenous rates of return granted for transmission projects, a reduced need for more assets like these would be quite a blow to investors.

    For any among the community who are policy-nerds like myself and find perverse joy in reading through regulatory orders, here is a link to a recent decision by FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) regarding a proposed methodology change in determining just and reasonable rates of return for transmission projects:

    https://www.ferc.gov/CalendarFiles/20181016190812-EL11-66-001.pdf?csrt=9021581980201786098

    (Yes, I fly my freak-flag proudly.)

    Understand that these are ROE (return on equity) values for investors in transmission projects, which are a natural monopoly — that is, there is only one transmission provider for a given region. The nature of the technology means that there is zero competition. A captive customer base with no alternative should mean low risk to the investor, which should therefore mean an ROE closer to the “risk-free” rate or at least the utility’s cost of borrowing. As you see, the reality is very much not that.

  107. Since this is an open post and we have had discussion of vaccination here before, I post an example of what I consider a good study of a vaccine:
    1. Recommended for use only in certain regions of the country, not in others (see map in attached paper)
    2. Produced without profit by a government lab and distributed for free
    3. Supposed to be similar to a previous vaccine, but rigorously investigated if it is indeed equal in its effects
    4. Investigation of the necessity of repeat vaccination
    5. Clear and open discussion of the frequency and nature of adverse effects of vaccination, including death

    http://www.ajtmh.org/content/journals/10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0496#html_fulltext

    Since I know many of you are critical of vaccines in general, I would (sincerely!) love to know your opinion about such a vaccine.

  108. Re: the bombs in the news:

    1. What exactly were they saying about the packages coming through U.S. Mail? It wasn’t until yesterday evening that I started looking at the news online, and by then they were saying the CNN package was delivered by a courier. This morning they’re acknowledging that most of the packages didn’t have postmarks.

    2. Re: postage, my first response was that the American flag stamps were there for symbolic reasons. The packages appear so fake overall, with the cut-out home printed addresses and the misspellings, that I wonder whether it’s not intentional. A distraction, at least. They really mimic the form of a posted package more than they seem to try to pass for the real thing.

    3. What kind of couriers would these have been? Not UPS/FedEx who have their own standardized barcodes and such. Are there courier services other than the major national ones that can get packages from one location to three or four cities across the country? Or would these be private local couriers, which would suggest that each package left its sender’s hands more locally? In any case, I’d expected to see the couriers at the center if the investigation at this point.

    Jonathan.

  109. About the bomb package shown: The wrapping was pure amateur. About what I could do with a ratty used envelope and arthritic hands. And it was clearly hand-delivered. By whom has yet to be seen. Possibilities range from nasty political infighting, false flag operations, and the Russians, to a disgruntled employee or a prankster, from where I sit. Again, a verdict of Not Proven. But I think this thing is going to unravel as farce, not tragedy

    Pat

  110. @Ross, if you don’t mind some unsolicited advice:

    Since you are meditating on this, you might already know if you are the kind of person who wants to dedicate your life to something. I knew in college that I was that kind of person, but I could not figure out what I was meant to dedicate my life to. Most people aren’t like this, I think, so my apologies if this is not helpful.

    In college, I was jealous of people who had already found their passion and were dashing straight toward it. I read books about people who spent their whole lives happily playing piano, painting, whatever. I even took a one-credit class in piano to try to channel that energy, and to pick my teacher’s brain about it. I knew I wanted this passion and focus, but I couldn’t figure out what that was for me.

    One thing I would recommend if you haven’t done so already: unplug as much as you can, to clear all the noise in your head so that you can hear your heart speak. I was so distracted by my online life that I could not determine what I wanted. I actually prayed that the internet would become less interesting to me! Pretty funny since I was an atheist at the time. But it worked: I unplugged, and started trying to examine what I subconsciously drifted to, what drew me and interested me. I realized after some months that I was procrastinating on homework in my major to read about a completely different topic, and that I just couldn’t get enough of that topic. I naturally became an autodidact about it, reading everything and not tiring. I worried this was just procrastination, but when I switched my major to it, I did not procrastinate away from my new major by looking at something else.

    The problem then became making it in this economy with a degree most people think useless, but one that I loved with all my heart. My fear of being unemployed or stuck part-time at McDonald’s had me second-guessing myself. Shouldn’t I swallow my pride and crawl back to the engineering school, for one last attempt at getting into the middle class? I realized I was never going to be completely sure, and that if I kept second-guessing, I would end up always waffling around. I then made an oath to myself: I would give this thing I loved, absolutely everything I had, for ten years. After ten years, if I wanted to change paths, I would do so while knowing I had given it everything, and therefore I would have no regrets. Part of my hesitancy in choosing something was that I worried I would have regrets.

    Go into your jobs with the same intent to reflect on what works for you. I found out that I have to work with my hands, or I don’t remember everything I have to do. I could make lattes and sandwiches or stamp and shred paperwork, but if I had to sit in front of a computer and keep track of all the emails and tasks in different software that I had to get done, I would drop the ball somewhere. I also quickly learned that I had to get out of the service industry because it was killing my joints standing up all day. My priority became “Get a sit-down job, any sit-down job.” I would go home exhausted, but exhilarated to read a few more pages from the library book on the topic I’d fallen for and majored in. Over time, my goal became slimming my lifestyle down enough to save money and buy my own freedom, so that I could read more and more about my topic. I “collapsed” my lifestyle and was able to quit my side jobs. It has now been more than ten years since I made my oath, and although much of it truly stunk, I have no regrets. I’m glad I’m not still searching, and that at some point I simply picked something I knew I loved and ran with it.

    I hope you choose your path. Good luck!

  111. FYI, the news is reporting that all the packages in NY at least were delivered by courier rather than US mail, and the only pictures seem to be from those. Others are reported to have obfuscated details including return addresses to other politicians, so the nonsensical postage on ones delivered by courier aren’t that weird.

  112. JMG, You can give yourself the gold star for today for your perceptive assessment of this “bomb” news being visited upon us non-stop by the MSM. It is probably impossible that the USPS ever had possession of even one of these packages! I say that as someone who worked for almost 20 years as a PMR(Postmaster Relief). After 911 everything changed when it came to security of the mail. If a mail clerk had found one of these packages without a postmark or tracking barcode the news would have broken at a USPS facility rather than the evacuation of CNN New York! In addition, when bad boys on the
    “right” play with bombs they are almost never fake–federal judges are blown up in the entry foyer of their home or a multistory federal courthouse is destroyed. In other words, this is as amateurish a false flag by the left or as brilliant a false flag troll by the right as has ever been. Whichever of these it turns out to be, it is astonishingly sad for our country!

  113. The sun is at 9 degrees of aries and Venus is at 13. Both are in the third house. I’m not sure, but this means Venus is retrograding towards the sun, right?

  114. JMG, packshaud and others:

    I have lived in quite a few places, not all in the US, and I agree that New England feels older than many other places. One of my theories is that, at least here in Vermont, there just aren’t all that many people so there are large swaths of mostly undisturbed nature. There’s not much in the way of industry, either. The major interstate highway through the length of Vermont, Route 91, was not completed until 1965, until which time many old farms and farm families, particularly in the Northeast Kingdom, were pretty isolated; lack of highway access had an impact on tourism, too. (For the interested, Richard Brown published a book of his photographs, “The Last of the Hill Farms: Echoes of Vermont’s Past”, of the farms in northern Vermont just around the time the highway brought modern life to the most remote parts of the state. The pictures are stunning, some could be called haunting.)

    It would not surprise me that the earliest settlers up here brought their nature spirits with them, thus enabling something of a beachhead for European spirits. I’m reading “The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries” right now and there are several stories of Irish who left Ireland because they were being harassed by local fairies only to discover that the Being followed them to America. Other parts of the US were settled much later by Europeans, by which time the emigrants may already have abandoned their native folk beliefs and so did not bring their fairies and elves along. Just a thought.

  115. @ Jane & @ Ross

    I’d just like to second the point about one’s lifestyle. So many people operate from a “supply-side” mentality (i.e., I need to get more money) and forget that there are two sides to the equation. If there is one thing I’ve learned (occasionally via brute-force methods), it is that one can have much more by simply needing less.

    I am extremely fortunate. I have a solid, well-paying job in an interesting industry. But my wife and I leverage that boon extensively: we live on the working-class side of a working-class town; we’ve jettisoned TV, live in a house half the size of the typical US household, and continue to reduce our accumulated possessions. Our debt load is ridiculously low. The upshot is that we live nowhere near the level of consumption that society would expect of a household of that income. And the freedom that comes with that lightness is considerable.

    The most amazing part of it, though, is looking back and realizing how little you miss (or even think about) those things you “gave up” that everyone else around you finds so vital…

  116. JMG, I’m not sure if this is more appropriate for Magic Monday, or what, but it’s something that has been bugging me personally, and maybe a few others, for years. I have a big problem with perfectionism myself, in that I overdo everything, even small things, and naturally gravitate towards time-consuming, rigid patterns of behaviour. A lot of self-help advice seems to be geared towards lazy people who are not perfectionistic, and basically amounts to, “shovel more coal into the furnace, and do it faster.” That type of advice is likely to be rather harmful for someone with a serious case of perfectionism, as they’re already giving everything they have, the problem is more a matter of them misdirecting their energy.

    I’m signed up to possibly get into an experimental local group treatment for my perfectionism in the coming months (I just have to “pass” the intake interview). But it seems the origin of the problem goes back very far in my life and has a lot of strong causes. It’s what you could call over-determined, in that even if you removed one of its causes, I’d still have it, just to a lesser degree. The problem is now in my life, I’ve reached a stage where I am okay with my job, I have a lot of self-discipline, I’m exercising, praying, reading, and doing all that other “mandatory” stuff, but my perfectionism is keeping me from success in the romantic facet of my life, which has always gone poorly, when it’s gone anywhere at all. I tend to only end up with women who like to passively aggressively neglect and dominate me, and when I do finally stand up for myself, I either get sick of the woman and dump her or she gets sick of me and dumps me. Unlike most of the people who seem to complain about this stuff, it’s not that I totally lack experience, or have bad raw social skills (my social skills are very high, it’s my hang-ups that are higher), or even that I have social anxiety (I like the thrill of public speaking and stuff). It’s that I’ve come to expect this negative pattern to continue in perpetuity, especially as I’ve not yet found a way to deal with its underlying psycho-spiritual cause.

    I was wondering if you could give some advice on how to lessen perfectionism? It seems like ceremonial magic, for example would be the worst thing for me to get into as it’s so structured and formal and deliberate.
    I’m already crazy in those departments.

    I suppose I could ask two questions (you better believe I’ll be tippin’, or I could buy a book, whichever you prefer), 1) How to lessen perfectionism? 2) How to get into a romantic relationship that is more balanced?

    P.S. when I first started reading this blog, I thought of you as a venerable professorial/hierophantic-type figure and would have addressed you so formally, maybe it’s a cultural thing, but the way a lot of your verbose followers engage you as if you were “Grampa Greer” really shocked me for a long time. I don’t know which you prefer, but I suppose you must be used to the latter seeing as how it’s been so common for so many years.

  117. John–

    This would be relevant to a Magic Monday, but since this is an open post 😉

    Is any significance to the fact that the Tree of Life — if one includes Daath — parses into the geomantic figures of Amissio and Puella?

  118. @ KKA, thank you for this! The information on Heraclitus and Parmenides proves to provide very useful context for Western philosophy in general. I’ll have to think on the implications of “epistemological fallacy” more, it seems very useful for understanding a common place that understanding runs off the rails!

    @ JMG, hmmm, well upon mediation it became clear that I’ll have to devote some more time to Euclid. For a triangle you would also need three points, which have no parts or magnitudes, and three lines, which has length without breadth. So you need the existent of ‘parts,’ ‘magnitude,’ ‘length’ too. You would also need a plane, which has both length and breadth and any two points could be connected by a straight line entirely in the superficies. So you need ‘breadth’ as well in addition to the plane. You would also need the existent of angularity, and especially the existent of 180 degrees which every triangle contains. These all together imply that the existent of trigonometric relationships as necessary to the eternal ideal of triangularity, since any triangle can be constructed and analyzed trigonometrically. These would be at least some of the timeless existents that must exist for triangularity to be, just as two right isosceles triangles could be said to be necessary prior existents for a square, as well as right angles, points, line, planes &c.

    It seems that Platonic philosophy flows almost directly outwards from classical geometry, and grounding myself in that will prove immensely helpful in understanding his logical constructions. It strikes me as rather funny that I’ve taken this long to come to the point of willingness to seriously engage with Euclid so I may understand the heritage of Classical Philosophy after reading The Decline of the West no less than three times!

    @ John Stollmeyer, hmm that’s a good point. But also looking at ecology, one could define many existents such as niche that imply evolutionary forms. I think here of the phenomenon of convergent evolution, especially of dolphin like beings, alligator like beings, vulture like being &c. Life flowing over the land regularly creates these forms, indicating an eternal quality.

    @ Robert Gibson, fascinating! Thank you, that may help me to balance my thinking on the nature of eternity. But there must be some, general forms of continuity with at least some eternal things, ie geometry. There may be no continuity in triangularity but every triangle has three sides, three points and angles that add up to 180 degrees. Would that imply eternal continuity or am I missing your point?

  119. If the U.S. Postal Service wasn’t supposedly involved why were there U.S. postage stamps on the packages? Nice try…

  120. Tony said: “Others are reported to have obfuscated details including return addresses to other politicians, so the nonsensical postage on ones delivered by courier aren’t that weird.”

    Except, you know, the fact that they have postage on them at all.

  121. JMG – As more and more of these packages show up, all sent to people who have been critical of Trump and who he’s called out publicly (and even the return addresses are such people) I’m finding it harder and harder to believe that they’ve ALL been in on this massive conspiracy. This would have to include the Secret Service and the FBI. I sure as hell don’t believe that it’s all coordinated by CNN as I keep hearing here.

    As much as I don’t trust the FBI or any government agency, I can’t believe that all these people and agencies are ALL in on this same “operation”. This is getting ridiculous! It would require a level of competence and coordination that’s beyond believable. And its not looking like these bombs were fakes, they are being described by the FBI and other Police departments as viable pipe bombs.

    It’s looking more and more like these were delivered by someone outside the “normal” channels like the USPS, instead some private courier or some such. That explains the lack of bar codes or postmarks.

    It’s always been a favorite of the far, far right conspiracy groups to call this sort of thing a false flag operation of the Left. I can’t recall one that actually turned out to be one. This doesn’t mean the far left doesn’t do bombings, just not targeted to their own.

    August

  122. @Packshaud:

    Actually, the majority religion in much of Rhode Island — certainly in Providence — for the last half-century has been Roman Catholicism, and most of its inhabitants have their ancestry in the Catholic parts of Europe and their associated colonies. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence has more influence in the state government than the Governor. So-called WASPs are a fairly small minority outside of the most rural areas in the south of the state; their relative numbers have been steadily shrinking since the so-called “Bloodless Revolution of 1935,” and they are still continuing to shrink.

    Teaching at Brown all my working life, I did see a distinct group of students whose English spelling followed the British norms (honour, traveller, etc.), not the American ones. Almost without exception, these were not students from the British Commonwealth or Ireland, but upper-class American students who had attended the so-called “prep schools.” It appeared to serve them as a deliberate class- and status-marker — or, as I liked to think of it, as an off-putting affectation.

    But JMG is right to say that the land here is indeed geologically very old. The ancient mountains of the region have all been eroded down into mere hills, and much of Rhode Island–which has the most fertile land in all of New England–is ancient topsoil deposited in an enormous glacial basin, the small remainder of which is Narragansett Bay. Also, the first settlers noticed the similarity of the land here with that of old England; this is partly why they named it “New England.” New England is closer in latitude to old England than any other part of the Eastern United States, and before the rise of the Atlantic Ocean in consequence of continental drift, it and old England were near neighbors in the former land-mass.

  123. Tony said: “Others are reported to have obfuscated details including return addresses to other politicians, so the nonsensical postage on ones delivered by courier aren’t that weird.”

    Well…so long as you don’t question the fact that they had U.S postage stamps on them in the first place.

    I dont know about you, but when I send a package by local courier I just pay them. I don’t waste $3 in unnecessary US postage too. Call me conservative…

  124. A small point concerning China: I don’t think China has a problem with religion, China has a problem with conflicted loyalties, that came with occidental religions dedicated to all powerful god claiming to be the sole owners of the whole true and being capable to give you eternal happiness or eternal misery in the afterlife. The state, the nation itself cannot compete with this, consequently the loyalty of those citizens cannot be trusted.

  125. Moshe,

    “Wars are always fought by a small minority of the population, that are both fit and motivated. Some on each side. The majority of the population passively suffer, wish a settlement could be achieved, but don’t do much about it and have little influence.”

    This is certainly not always the case. The squishy middle like to see themselves as mere victims, sure. In reality their role is crucial and lies along a spectrum.

    Take Ireland during our war of independence. Only a small group actually did the shooting. Another slightly larger group provided logistical support, safe houses, information, hid weapons for them. Another slightly larger group provided donations, bought the newspapers of sympathetic groups, took their disputes to the alternative IRA court system rather than the state courts, socially ostracized those suspected of being informers. Another bigger group provided moral support, encouragement and silence. When they saw IRA men crossing a field nearby they looked the other way and told their children to do likewise. When questioned by the British they saw nothing.

    A majority (going by electoral results) didn’t wish for a ‘settlement’. They wished the IRA would win. A minority just wanted peace regardless, another minority wanted some kind of compromise settlement, another minority wanted the IRA defeated completely. Mixed in with all of those motives, even those who had little sympathy for the IRA were often as or more afraid of them than they were of the British, so in effect they provided passive support by keeping quiet.

    This is why one of the Bataclan jihadists was able to hide in Molenbeek for months.

  126. Violet,

    I agree it is probable that the general run of evolutionary theorists are using him for their agenda. I know what they profess, but I am not completely sure what Darwin professed. But from what little I do know, I don’t think he was sure, or if he was, it was probably not Kosher to express! I know that his wife was very pious and he loved his wife and didn’t want to upset her. He was also quite upset over the death of one of his children. He once said that Christianity was something that no decent person would even want to be true. I applaud him for saying that and agree completely, if we’re talking the general fear-based heaven-or-hell preaching that has been so ubiquitous. In addition, he also said that if Christianity were true, his own father and grandfather would be condemned. Again, the idea is that nonbelievers would go to hell. It’s a real problem when people cannot approach a question without bias!

    It may be that he was seeking a route for a cosmos that could contain the divine but without the dogma. We are all products of our times and I have been noting how often it is that a great thinker can only go so far as he is a product of his time with its prevailing beliefs and worldviews.

    I’m not quite sure what looking for Christ in species means, but the difference between atheists and non seems to revolve around seeing the Mind of God at work in the cosmos and the species, versus thinking it can all arise without any divine input.

  127. Re: Grains and state control (Shane from Australia)

    Thanks for your reflections on grains and tubers! Coming from someone who has actual experience planting them, they are much more valuable.

    Just to complement your conclusions: while grains may make it much easier for a state to take control, there do exist (complicated, intricate) systems to keep state interference at bay. A fascinating example is given in this article by David Graeber on irrigation rice farming in Bali:

    https://www.ai-journal.com/articles/10.5334/ai.364/

  128. With regards to the packages, I wonder if the point is to make it so obviously fake that “Trump supporters” see through it and can now be denounced as “conspiracy theorists”. I don’t know how it works in the US for sure, but such packages as CNN is showing would never get through the mail.

    Even if the goal is to cause fear and they wanted the packages found, it looks like they’re lying about where the packages were found (or the Secret Service is). This calls the entire rest of the story into question. It also calls everything else they say into question, in a way that hadn’t been the case before. I knew CNN put a spin on things, but I assumed that they were above blatant lies…..

  129. @ Shane from Australia

    Hi, interesting comments. Where are you in oz? In a couple of weeks I move back to Australia after living in the UK for 17 years. I’ve got roots and an affinity with the land in northern NSW so will settle there and get busy working on building a homestead.

    Would be good to know if there’s others in that area to connect with who appreciate JMG’s thinking.

    Cheers
    Jez

  130. I’m not sure about the trope’s earliest appearances – the only thing that comes to mind is that Uther Pendragon was associated with dragons and chosen by a magical sword, and also of either common or illegitimate birth in a lot of versions – but I don’t know how far back those version go, and I don’t know of any where he fought with dragons or where Excalibur shows as much agency as Tailbiter.

  131. Hello all…I have just made tinctures of nettle and lemon balm in apple cider vinegar over the last moon cycle -extracting the marc on this full moon- and so when I got an email about “four thieves vinegar” today I was curious, so I looked it up. Apparently “Four-thieves vinegar” is an herbal medicine that goes back to the Black Plague times in France, and is attributed to some grave robbers who, though stealing from the dead, didn’t get sick. Recipes for the vinegar were also taken up and embraced in the hoodoo tradition it seems. All good stuff! But I found a website that is also really interesting, and thought the people on this board would be interested in it. It’s from the “Four Thieves Vinegar Collective” a biohacker group that aims to give people access to making medicines, like epipens, in their own homes via what they call an “apothecary microlab”. These kind of things might be useful for people to build/develop. While I’m a firm believer in “alternative” medicine, allopathic medicine still has a place. The ability to make pharmaceutical style drugs in small batches would be a useful skill, now and in the coming years.

    In any case this is their mission statement:

    “People are disenfranchised from access to medicine for various reasons. To circumvent these, we have developed a way for individuals to manufacture their own medications. We have designed an open-source automated lab reactor, which can be built with off-the-shelf parts, and can be set to synthesize different medications. This will save hundreds of thousands of lives.

    The main reasons for people being disenfranchised from medicines are: price, legality, and lack of infrastructure. Medicines like Solvadi which costs $80,000 for a course of treatment, is beyond the reach of most people. Mifepristone and Misoprostal are unavailable in many places where abortion is illegal. Antiretroviral HIV treatments even when provided free, have no way of getting to remote locations in 3rd world countries.

    The design will be published online, along with synthesis programs. The system will also have a forum system for users to communicate and contribute to the development of the system. With time, the system will become self-sustaining, much like other open source movements.”

    Find them here: https://fourthievesvinegar.org/

    Cheers to health!

  132. JMG,

    To me, it really doesn’t look like both sides are currently the same. You’ve repeatedly mentioned the same scandal on the Democratic side decades ago, but there seems to be a new Republican scandal every election (last time, it was GA deleting all records before an audit could be performed).

    But for the sake of argument: imagining that both sides were equally interfering with the voting rights of their opponents’ supporters in the way that is currently popular in the US, would you expect that to, overall, have a tonic effect on the system, or a corrosive one? Which is to say, I’d like to repeat my original question in a way that is party-neutral, but connects to the facts of the current tactics in play.

    Tripp,

    You’re right that Republicans aren’t suffering! But Trump won the last election by clever electoral college tactics, despite measuring up almost 3 million votes short of Clinton in the popular vote tally.

    I have to agree that the Democratic party isn’t doing well, but they really do seem to have the numbers among eligible voters in GA, if not among voters who respond to every bulk-rate post card they receive.

  133. JMG,
    Quickie for you.

    Almanac says harvest root crops for storage before the full moon, and avoid water signs. If I then harvest potatoes in a fire sign (just for argument’s sake let’s say, Aries;) because that seems farthest from water to me, is that sound logic or just another display of the lottle principle at work?

  134. John, et alia–

    At the risk of stirring yet another pot, but pertaining to the earlier discussion of current and future migration patterns, the recent hubbub about the now-multiple “caravans” moving north towards the US border is interesting to watch. I assume most have seen the very recent announcement that a small number (~800 IIRC) of active military troops will be deployed to the border to assist the Border Patrol and the already-deployed Guard troops. As one might expect, there are many on one side of the political divide who are as upset at this as their counterparts on the other side of the divide are encouraged.

    For my own part, I’ve argued that a polity which does not control the flow of goods and people over its borders is not a functional nation-state. (Yes, this would disqualify some members of the EU from that definition.) As I very much believe in the construct of the nation-state (and self-determination generally, that a people have the right to determine their own political course), I see this act as a prudent and reasonable measure. For those who wish to dissolve the construct of the functional nation-state in favor of a border-less world enabling the free-flow of goods and people across the globe, I can understand why they would be upset. Of course, I don’t share that view.

    And this brings me back to the question I was pondering last week: given the longer-term migration pressures and the inevitability of the northward movement of peoples (the German tribes are coming, whatever Rome does), what are the “better” (more effective?) policies/measures the US could adopt in the meantime? Holding fast at the current border is at best a temporary fix. Opening the border is tantamount to dissolving the US as a functional nation-state. (Besides, I think the states affected might have a word or two to say about the matter…)

    Again, a thorny, thorny bramble with no clear path.

  135. All–

    Re nationalism, etc.

    Just to be clear, lest anyone take my comment above the wrong way, I fully agree that one aspect of the right of self-determination is the right to surrender sovereignty and join a larger union. The core EU is a contemporary example. The American colonies did the same when they adopted the Articles of Confederation (and then later modified the Articles by ratifying the Constitution). The state of Texas, which was a for a short while an independent republic, expressly surrendered its national sovereignty when it joined the US as a state. These acts are not right or wrong, but they manifest certain worldviews. Personally, I am coming to believe that human freedom (in philosophical part) and humanity’s best options given our future (in practical part) are embodied in a world of many smaller nation-states rather than fewer large ones — hence my preference for nationalism over globalism, and for decentralization over centralization.

  136. I have a question about something I recently read in a book of yours (I believe it was Monsters). I hope this is the appropriate place to ask.

    I understand that the 5 planes are a model. Not really 5 discrete levels that can be located anywhere. But in the book I was interested to learn that daemons are thought to come from “below” the physical plane. This set me to thinking. I’m familiar with the concepts of the physical plane and the other 4 “above” it. Aside from where the daemons live, are there other planes “below” this one?

  137. Hi JMG and fellow readers.

    I used to follow The Archdruid Report and last night read your Kek wars posts. I found your point about local forces really intriguing. Here in Aotearoa/New Zealand there seems to be some very powerful manifestations of this going on.

    Maori continue to have a strong set of traditions and myths, which are being increasingly recognised and respected in the wider community. The concepts of mauri (roughly the spiritual landscape) and wehi (the feeling of dread experienced in the presence of psychic force/ihi) seem to me to be strongly connected to the idea that places have power. I imagine most New Zealanders will have felt this when at various times. For example I recall some logging truck drivers swapping tales of how they felt working at a particular site. All agreed they felt a strong spiritual force, despite being unaware of the place being the site of a particularly brutal massacre in the 19th century.

    On a more positive note I listened to a former school mate explaining how he had transformed the primary school he is principal of. This school is in a particularly deprived suburb and the usual models were basically failing. He did this by abandoning the traditional classroom spaces and physically remodelling the spaces into zones named after Maori atua. Each space is dedicated to a different learning activity and pupils are basically allowed to roam into the spaces that they feel drawn to at that time. For example; Tangaroa, being god of the sea, lends his name to the space devoted to flow, and is decorated and set up accordingly. Maurice reported some remarkable results in the pupils well being and engagement. And these beneficial effects are not limited to the Maori pupils. Reading your Kek series soon after hearing this seems synchronous to me.

    On a more mundane level it is interesting to note how the All Blacks results have gone to another level since they began to take the haka more seriously. They consciously tap in to the mauri of this land when they perform their pregame haka. It almost seems unfair to allow a team to engage in operative magic before each game!

    Anyway thanks once again for your always interesting words and apologies for the length of this reply.

  138. @ Violet

    Re triangle-ness

    Just to get technical, the sum of the interior angles of a triangle must equal 180 degrees for planar>triangles. In spherical geometry, the sum is greater; in hyperbolic geometry, the sum is less. That darn Fifth Postulate, ya know 😉

  139. J.L.Mc12, yes, and yes.

    Ben, well, we’ll see about the midterms! As for the Russian church, I honestly don’t know enough about conditions on the ground in Russia right now to have an informed opinion.

    Packshaud, I don’t think it was Lovecraft. I think that Lovecraft built on something that was already there long before his time.

    Shane, I didn’t say I thought the culture was particularly English. The land itself feels like someone tore a big chunk off the west end of Britain and stuck it on the far side of the Atlantic — which, given continental drift, may be a decent description of what happened.

    Patricia, sure. The notion that the Golden Dawn material as published contains deliberate falsehoods has long served as a way for people who disagree with the way the GD did certain things to insist that they have the right answer. I’ve read the original GD papers, and it ain’t so — the stuff Regardie put into his book, and other Golden Dawnies have put into theirs, is the stuff the original GD handed out to its initiates.

    As for fire and air, the GD symbolism thereof relates to the Tetragrammaton, the divine name YHVH. Fire is Yod, the first letter, and has the attributes of unity; it’s therefore symbolized by the wand, which is an emblem of unity of will. Air is Vau, which mediates between the Yod (fire) and the first Heh (water); thus it’s unstable and double-edged — you’ll notice that the GD instructions for magical working tools specify that the dagger of air must be double-edged. A sword is also forged in fire and tempered in water, adding to the symbolism.

    Can you do the symbolism another way? Sure — and in fact if you’re not basing your elemental symbolism on the Tetragrammaton, you’re probably better off doing things another way. That said, the GD did base their elemental symbolism on the Tetragrammaton, and so if you’re going to use the GD system as your model, wands are fire and swords are air.

  140. It sure seems that Mephistopheles is dragging a lot of Faustians down to hell right now. Am I the only one who laughs and cheers for Mephistopheles?

  141. Matthias,

    Sure, it would be great to do some real trials of vaccines without the big interests getting involved at all. It would be great to do that for other things as well. It would be great if there was a will to control the corruption at all levels of our society. It would be great if our entire society were not money-centered.

  142. Well, IDK, when I went to Newfoundland, I thought the Dover Fault marked a boundary between the North American and European plate, though I could be mistaken…

  143. TamHob – Thanks! I also am trying to preserve information, primarily about medicinal plants, but also thinking about ways to preserve information regarding older (or non-American), lower-tech forms of allopathy that might be more readily used in future. I would love to read your book. Best of luck!

  144. Violet, re eternity precluding continuity as well as change, you remark that “there must be some, general forms of continuity with at least some eternal things, ie geometry. There may be no continuity in triangularity but every triangle has three sides, three points and angles that add up to 180 degrees. Would that imply eternal continuity or am I missing your point?”

    I think that you and I have been referring to different ideas – you to thematic and I to temporal continuity. I was being more literal than you.

    Thinking about Eternity turns into a game of avoiding traps. E.g. the trap of thinking “eternity goes on and on” – no it doesn’t; Time does that; Eternity sees it all at once; but then that leads to the next trap, namely, eternity misconceived as some kind of frozen snapshot… which can’t be true because that would make it a limiting concept, whereas if it means anything it must imply universality, all-inclusivity and greatness. Not a snapshot – an allwhen-and-everything-o-gram.

  145. @Robert Mathiesen
    And thank you for the information on English. Of course, Lovecraft would not pick this out of nowhere. Somewhat related, I think much of his prose style full of adjectives comes from being payed by word. On inspirations that he used for his stories, I like this long discussion.

    @Beekeeper in Vermont
    Thanks for the information on the spirits. I know about the fairies following the Irish to America, but I didn’t know that’s referenced in the Evans-Wentz book. I don’t know why I didn’t read it yet; maybe it is because I only have an electronic version from the Internet Archive.

    Bad move, thinking non-physical problems won’t follow you. A lesson I am still struggling to get into my bones. New job, partner or home, none of these matter; like Greer says, the common factor in packshaud’s problems is packshaud. I don’t know why I stayed following his blogs for so many years. For quite a long time, the posts and replies felt like “The beatings will continue until the morale improves.” There was no doom like “you won’t escape from the certain, long grinding decline, you will have to deal with it, apocalypse will not come to make it easy, you will have to watch your dreams of a future in the starts crumbling to dust.” Perhaps because other sites were worse, full of insane people, or predicting 20 of the next ten crises (hello, Zero Hedge). I guess I thought the, ahem, stuff I use to see and I tried to bury under angry atheism would not follow me in space.

    That said, I still think the Old Ones made arrangements to lure a certain druid who is fond of them into Providence, and made him write some books with a positive view…

    @Matthias Gralle
    Points 1 to 4 are basically the Brazilian policy for vaccines. It is not mandatory at gunpoint. In 1904, there was an attempt to made forced vaccination in the city of Rio de Janeiro; things got somewhat interesting, and now our government knows better.

    The problem of vaccines causing harm in some cases got wide repercussion on social networks some time ago, making the vaccination numbers drop. This is part of a larger problem, the so called fake news. It’s obvious for a lot of people that Man, conqueror of nature is going down. The only way to keep or increase your share is looting everything, even if it is necessary to eat the seed corn for that. All kinds of capital are being consumed, including social trust. It was dumb to get surprised by the raise of the far-right president candidate Bolsonaro; in Brazil, politics mirror many of the bad habits of the United States. The political correctness backfired horribly, the population snapped to a vicious extreme of the opposite behavior. Return of the repressed, indeed.

    It was an interesting lesson, to learn a way that huge flips in the general opinion are possible. Near the end, the elite starts breaking his own rules, and then it’s game over–no rules, no game. It is impossible to predict what will come on the other side.

  146. @JMG – “That proves that the package was not mailed anywhere. CNN is therefore lying, and the “bombings” are fake. The interesting question is why CNN and other news media would gin up a fraudulent bombing, and what they hoped to gain from it.”

    I’m shocked to find you asserting this as proven truth. CNN said all along that the package was delivered by courier, and mainstream news reported that. Do you find it easier to believe that a news network “ginned up” [actually, committed] a serious federal crime – and did an obviously unconvincing job of it to boot – than to suspect that the source of your information lacks or has omitted relevant facts? The Ann Coulter types want to claim that this must be a “false flag” by lib’ruls – and we don’t know yet, it might turn out to be the case this time – but pinning it on CNN because they received one is far more implausible. Similar packages, obviously from the same source, were delivered to politicians and activists including the Clintons, the Obamas, and the recently much-demonized Maxine Waters. Do you really want us to presume that *CNN* sent bombs to Obama and Clinton? Please, please walk that back. It sounds like something you’d find on Infowars with a “like” by Michael Flynn Jr.

    I look forward eagerly to the rest of the Weird of Hali series … but I note that the assumption that consensus reality is false is great for creating innovative fiction, but can seriously steer you wrong sometimes in real life.

  147. In regards to the ”bombs’, what I’m hearing from friends that should know (Iraq and Afghanistan war vets who specialized in defusing IEDs) these are not just not-bombs, these are so throughally not-bombs that you could safely let your kids play catch with them. Thry are, however, flamable, but in no way possibly explosive.

    Not-bombs dressed as bombs do not particularly incline me to think they were done by a person who wished to harm their targets, but rather, a person wishing to give the impression that their targets were at risk of harm. Real bombers from any political stripe (see Weathermen, Unabomber, OKC, even this last summer’s mailbox bomber) tend to be competent enough to get an explosion.

    Cui bono?

    But then, I am regularly told I’m a cynical, suspicious sort of person.

  148. Hi John, apologies, I’m not sure I was specific enough. You have mentioned in previous comments that at some point in the future, climate change will trigger entire Muslim populations, armed with everything they have at their disposal, to invade Europe once their lands become inhospitable to large-scale human life (which is inevitable).

    Such a armed invasion would lead to warfare and given the weakness of European armies, the invasion of at least parts of Europe by the forces of Islam.

    It is with this reference I was referring to a potential time-frame you might be thinking of.

  149. JMG – you had a pot luck earlier this year, which I couldn’t make due to my son’s graduation. How did it go and are there any plans to have another event?

    Thanks,

    Bob

  150. Hi JMG,

    Regarding the pipe bomb packages you wrote: “Look at them, see if you can find a postmark, a stamp cancellation, or a bar code. Ascertain that, according to the media, those packages were delivered to their apparent targets by the US Mail…and then tell me how that happened, when none of the packages have any of the markings the US Mail invariably applies to packages they carry.” Your making a few erroneous assumptions.

    Small First Class packages with stamps affixed can be dropped in any USPS Blue Box. Those packages will NOT have any kind of bar code. Once collected from a Blue Box they are delivered to a regional mail processing facility where they will be sorted and sent to the appropriate Post Office for delivery.The stamps will NOT be cancelled/postmarked (as a stamp on a letter is) and NO bar code will be affixed at that stage of the mail processing stream. The tracking bar code is applied at a USPS retail window.

    Without the tracking barcode it’s not possible to verify that the package was delivered by the USPS. Another commenter accurately noted the insufficient postage which had been applied…7 stamps would have been required for a package of 1-3 ounces, 8 stamps for a package of 4-8 ounces, and so on. Ordinarily a package with insufficient postage would be marked either Return to Sender or Postage Due Upon Delivery. All the packages seem to have had only six stamps, suggesting they must have been very lightweight. Despite your inaccurate assumptions there are still plenty of anomalies to puzzle over.

    Jim

  151. @ BoysMom

    Re bombs and cui bono

    I tend to agree with your assessment. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would realize that sending bombs on the eve of the election would produce the opposite of one’s desired effect (from the perspective of an actual, intentional bomber). Of course, reasonable intelligence is also an inherent assumption here. That said, I must admit that I find it hard to believe that someone whose intent is to prevent Democrats from taking the House in a few weeks would think that an act of this nature would aid in that cause. And if one eliminates that as a possibility, then what alternatives remain? The bomber is a right-wing nut? (Plausible.) A false-flag operation? (Also plausible.) We’ll likely find out more in the aftermath of the election, as the investigations unfold. The intent, undoubtedly, was to sway public opinion just prior to the election before those investigations have time to uncover anything one way or another. Very short-term thinking, if this was indeed a FF op. The blow-back would be something fierce.

  152. @onething:

    I am not sure if I understood your comment. What I posted was a link to an existing study, not a proposal for a better world, and I wanted to know your opinion about this existing study!

  153. Two short items.
    First, after reading your excellent summation of what constitutes an Empire, i.e. a wealth pump from the provinces to the core, it occurs to me that the Empire of Canada (the broad expanse covering several ‘nations’ and as wide a range of geography as any horse-based historical empire) might well hang together due to the Equalization Payment scheme it was born with in 1867. Basically, it is a redistribution of wealth back out from the core to the provinces to ensure everyone benefits equally. By and large, it has worked splendidly. I hope it can continue to work, after fossil fuels become too expensive.
    I suspect the longevity of the Roman Polity was due to the benefits and improvements gained the provinces that came under Roman sway, e.g. access to a trading network, good roads, infrastructure, until that eventually ceased under the late imperial empire, which led to its decline and collapse.

    Secondly, I’ve been seeing (and not just from those suffering from hysterical Trump Derangement Syndrome, the most recent one is a very cogent analysis by a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer) more and more comparisons between President Trump’s behaviour and the incremental slide into a totalitarian state. He seems to be checking off all the boxes, one by one.
    The only thing that makes me think otherwise is the simple fact that the great totalitarians (going back over the centuries) all had some sort of plan, an ideology, some grand vision. Whereas, he only seems to have the goal and endgame of the egotistical thrill of simply being in charge, and ditching every regulation ever put into place.

  154. @packshaud:
    Yes, the example that I posted the link to, and which I would like to hear people’s opinions about, is from Recife.

  155. @ David, thank you for the correction! So my understanding of the implications of what you wrote is that the triangle ‘picks up’ properties from the plane which Since the a triangle needs a plane, that the curvature of a plane alters the properties of a triangle indicates that the plane is a prior existent to the triangle! One needs a plane to construct a triangle, but not the other way around; a plane defines the properties of a triangle whereas a triangle doesn’t define the property of a plane. This means that the curvature of a plane defines a triangle in a similar was as does the length of a side or the angle of a vertex. It enmeshes the triangle within a matrix of mathematical relationships that define it, and — if I’m understanding this all correctly — that matrix from whence the triangle arises is the set of prior existents to the triangle…Hmmm, many thanks again, such food for thought.

    @ Robert Gibson, thank you for clarifying! — that makes a lot more sense and helps me think more coherently about the nature of eternity…

  156. Karim, and of course that’s also a point. If a Muslim jihadi group is able to organize an effective guerrilla campaign against the Chinese government, I could very easily see the latter responding with a policy of extermination.

    A Reader, I covered that in quite some detail in my book After Progress, which you might consider reading. It’s not something that can be laid out simply in a few words!

    Christopher, if you believe in the modern religion of progress, we’re probably not going to be able to communicate effectively on this subject, for much the same reason that an evolutionary biologist and a fundamentalist Christian would have a hard time having a useful conversation about the origin of species; when basic presuppositions about the world are different enough, about all you can do is nod and say, “Well, that’s an interesting way to look at things.”

    Isabel, yeah, that seems like a fair assessment. I remember a panel I was on at a convention in California some years back; all the panelists were published authors, and the subject was how to get published. We were all trying to tell the audience to follow the submissions requirements and send in double spaced 12 point Times New Roman on 8.5×11 paper, etc., etc. One woman got up and said in an anguished tone, “But how am I supposed to make my manuscript stand out?” She didn’t like it at all when we told her that she had to do that with the quality of her writing and instruction…

    David, thanks for these. The story about nuclear power is particularly choice, since it points out the main problem with all nuclear power technologies: they aren’t economically viable, full stop, end of sentence.

    Shane, okay, fair enough. Of course these packages didn’t have tracking numbers and printed labels; once again, how did they get where they were going?

    Matthias, thanks for this. As vaccines aren’t an issue that concerns me greatly, I’ll let others comment.

    Jonathan, all the stories I saw yesterday morning said they were mailed. I see that this morning that’s been changed to courier, but none of the packages that have had their photos in the mail had the shipping forms and other attachments used by every courier service I’ve ever dealt with. It sounds to me as though this whole thing was slapped together in a hurry without adequate thought, and now the people involved are scrambling around like a cat trying to cover up its droppings on a linoleum floor…

    Patricia, that seems likely enough!

    Tony, fair enough — but why don’t any of the photos show the address labels, shipping forms, etc. of the courier company?

    Ronnie, thank you. I send and receive packages by mail fairly often, so the flaws in the narrative stood out like sore thumbs. I have no way of knowing for sure who’s behind it all, though of course I have my suspicions; it’ll be interesting to see what comes out.

    Juan Pablo, that’s correct. Sun and Venus are mutually applying to conjunction, which suggests that your emotional and creative life is central to your identity, and when anything happens to affect a close relationship of yours, you tend to take it very personally.

    Pogonip, the question in my mind is whether it was that, or someone trying to make it look like that. I could see people on the alt-Right, who happened to have friends in the right places, ginning something up like this!

    Beekeeper, fascinating. That’s a possibility worth reflecting on.

    Merle, like most behavior patterns, perfectionism can have many different causes. The most important step, to my mind, would be to find out what’s driving it in your case — not so much what caused you to take up the habit in the past, but what keeps you doing it now. It really does vary; some people, for example, get into perfectionism because they have an inflated ego and are constantly trying to live up to their grandiose self-image, while others get into it because they have a really negative self-image and are trying to convince themselves that they can do something right! For that reason, I’d say see what the people in the program have to say. If they turn you down, we can talk some more.

    As for romantic relationships, well, those are a world-class minefield these days. You’ve at least identified what the recurring pattern is in your love life, which is further than a lot of people get. The next step is to figure out what attracts you to women of the sort you’ve described, and why. All of this can be done using any number of standard tools; I tend to rely on journaling — having pen-and-ink conversations with habits and characteristics of mine that I want to understand — but your mileage may vary.

    As for habits of address, I much prefer the Grandpa Greer approach. Yes, I have lots of funny titles — as a performance piece at a Druid meeting where everyone was supposed to contribute something more or less artistic, I recited all my formal titles of initiation to a background of a couple of people imitating random Philip Glass noisemusic, and it made for a fine piece of absurdist theater. Outside of such pranks, though, I prefer to avoid the formalities.

    David, good. If you don’t put in Daath, and take four horizontal lines of dots at a time, what four overlapping figures do you get? 😉

    Violet, ding! We have a winner.

    Tripp, well, yes, I was thinking that too.

    August, to my mind that’s a suggestive argument but not a conclusive one. How many people from how many different organizations were involved in Operation Bodyguard, the elaborate hoax that fooled the Germans about the location of the upcoming D-Day landings? I don’t claim to know who sent these apparent bombs or how; I simply pointed out that the original version of the story was a pretty transparent lie — and it still doesn’t make a bit of sense that the packages would have postage stuck on them and then get sent by some conveniently untraceable courier service. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out about this — if anything ever does.

    Elodie, and that’s a valid point, of course.

    Will, that’s just it. Somebody is pretty clearly lying, and the official story has been changing in a way that makes me even more suspicious than I was to start with.

    Christopher, I don’t know of an example earlier than Tolkien’s story, so it may well be that he invented the trope and everyone else has been copying him. Wouldn’t be the only time that’s happened!

    Justin, fascinating.

    Joel, since both sides have been engaging in various forms of election trickery since fifteen minutes after the US gained independence, without having any noticeable impact on the willingness of people to keep on voting, I think it’s probably safe to say that people will keep on voting through the current round — even if certain intellectuals on one or the other side of the political landscape wish otherwise.

    Tripp, you want to dig them up in a sign ruled by a dry element — that is, either fire or earth. Air and water are the moist elements.

    David, and as I noted last week, there’s no fix for this one. Sooner or later the defenses will crumble and down we go. The question is purely how to delay that as long as possible, and it would take a great deal of close study of history to assess various strategies tried in the past and see which ones seem to be more effective.

    Bobo, the five planes are the levels of being that are present in each individual human. There are many other planes above and below those; it’s just that those five are the ones we ourselves can experience directly.

    Conrad, that’s fascinating. Knowledge of mauri used to be very common in traditional cultures around the world; it’s good to know that somebody’s kept it going!

  157. @ Onething,

    Thank you for sharing those bits! That makes him an even more interesting character. What I meant by “looking for Christ in species” — a bad formulation on my part! — is that he wasn’t looking at or for Christ in his studies, instead he looked in another direction entirely. This direction I don’t believe should best be described as “anti” anything, including anti-theistic. Instead I think he was “pro” understanding nature through his immense powers of observation. If he were religious or not in a conventional sense doesn’t matter to me, I find his work spiritually meaningful, regardless if he did! I assume that he did based on the wonderful quality of his writing, but I could, of course, be mistaken.

  158. Karim, western propaganda undoubtedly downplays the number and severity of terror attacks in China, to make the Chinese government appear unreasonable and overreacting. The truth is that China has acted with great restraint in this matter, with even greater sensitivity to the concerns of the international community. Thanks to these preemptive actions and the efficacy of these re-education camps, the Uighur problem will never reach the problem where extermination will be considered a sensible policy.

    Europe, on the other hand, is well on its way to going back to its proud tradition of ethnic/religious pogroms.

    Finally, the CCP is not opposed to all religions, just the ones that have proven to be corrosive to Chinese civil society. In summary, I strongly disagree with you good sir.

  159. JMG said “If a Muslim jihadi group is able to organize an effective guerrilla campaign against the Chinese government, I could very easily see the latter responding with a policy of extermination.”

    We can see something like this on a smaller scale in Myanmar, which is a longstanding Chinese ally. When extremists from a Muslim minority group started engaging in terrorist attacks, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar armed forces) responded with a merciless crackdown that left thousands dead and sent more than 700,000 refugees fleeing to neighboring countries. When Western governments protested and threatened sanctions, the Myanmar government simply ignored them.

    Russia did the same thing in response to the insurgency in Chechnya and made it clear they were willing to exterminate every last Chechen if that’s what it took to end the fighting. They kept it up until surviving Chechen leaders threw in the towel and negotiated a peace agreement with the Russian government.

  160. RE: New England: Virginia was settled before Mass., and all of the 13 colonies were settled early, so I wonder why they don’t feel as old or as British as New England. Food for thought.

  161. John—

    Re the Tree and geomancy

    Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella

    I’m assuming the next thing coming is: “that is all good fodder for mediation”? 🙂

    Re borders and migration

    I understand. It isn’t the end-state so much as the path by which we get there that is what we can control and what we should be focusing on. And, as one general put it, “a good plan implemented in a timely fashion is far superior to the perfect plan after the fact” (or words to that effect).

  162. JMG – I see a different symbolism to the stamps. I see them not as postage, but as the American Flags that the far right drapes over everything they call “Patriotism”. I think they are a symbol to be seen, not anything else. I see this as a declaration that this was done by a “Patriot”.

  163. Grandpa, why is earth a dry element and air a moist element? Seems like it would be the other way around. Earth holds water that plants take up, and if something mildews you hang it out on a sunny windy day—you air it out.

  164. Regarding the drone future: here in Australia, there are large regions where drone surveying doesn’t work, because the local wedge-tailed eagles take violent exception to the interlopers in their territory. Since these eagles are big enough to hunt kangaroo and have a wingspan up to 2.5 metres, the drones usually lose. Just a thought for anyone wanting to get away from the things, though you’ll need a decent tolerance for heat and rural isolation.

  165. I’ve read The Fox Volant of Snow Mountain twice in Chinese. It’s interesting, but not a personal favorite, and not one I would recommend as a first choice, especially since the English translation is considered to be a notorious example of how to not do a Chinese-to-English translation. For example, why choose a fancy word like ‘volant’ instead of ‘flying’? The Chinese title is literally ‘Snow Mountain Flying Fox’. Also, it’s written in present tense, which technically isn’t a mistranslation since Chinese verbs don’t have tense, but the original is written in the same tense as all other Chinese writing (no tense), whereas the translation goes against the English-language convention of writing in past tense, so I consider it to be a deviation from the intent of the original. (Actually, if one were trying to translate a work of English fiction written in present tense into Chinese, I’m not sure how a translator would convey that linguistic subtlety in Chinese, it might be necessary to lose that in translation). Though I’ve only read a little bit of that English translation, I get the impression that it is more of a pretentious yet clumsy attempt to show off rather than a sincere attempt to convey the spirit of the original in a different language.

    Instead, I would recommend the new translation of Legends of the Condor Heroes instead. First of all, I think it’s a much better novel by the same writer (and it is much more popular and influential). Second, I have read both the original and the translation, and I think the translation is mostly good. The translator made one bad choice – translating many character names into English – but it is possible to ignore that (and it is easy to look up the characters’ Chinese names via Wikipedia). Unfortunately, it is only available through UK book distributors (as I found out when I tried to buy a copy). If you want to buy it in the US but are allergic to Amazon/Book Depository, you’ll either have to buy it from a bookstore in the UK and pay international shipping or go to Abebooks and try to find some independent US bookstore which deals with UK distributors (there aren’t many of them). All of the independent bookstores in my neighborhood refused to order it because they don’t have ties to UK distributors and had no interest in establishing those ties.

  166. Regarding ancient land masses, is New England any older than any of the rest of the Eastern Seaboard or Appalachians? I thought the New River in Virginia is one of the oldest rivers in the world, and I know that the Appalachians are very ancient. I’m not sure if New England is exceptional in this regard.

  167. @augjohnson: That’s an interesting point, and one that matches what little I know of the psychology of mail bombers: they use a fair amount of symbolism. The Unabomber, for example, used Eugene O’Neill stamps on the packages he intended to be lethal, and Frederick Douglass stamps on the ones he just made to injure people; he also used wooden handcrafted parts and symbols in the bombs themselves. These are also generally people who define themselves as authorities, in a warped way, so the flag thing would make sense.

    That said, the majority of mail bombs, to my knowledge, do blow up. Even when they don’t kill or injure someone, it’s usually because they explode too quickly or with too little force, or circumstances mean people aren’t in the right proximity. So, if the packages were genuinely sent as an expression of hostility, I’d expect (with the caveat that I am not actually a profiler of any sort) that either the sender meant them as a threat rather than an attack (like a guy did in the UK in 2007), or that they’re *really* inept.

    Or, quite possibly, the device in George Soros’s mailbox on Monday (which was hand-delivered, and which the FBI detonated, unlike the others as far as I know) was genuine–whether politically motivated, as a means of speeding up inheritance, or because his neighbor thought he was letting his hedges grow too high–and then the publicity inspired someone else to either seek political gain for their side, personal satisfaction by freaking out a lot of people, or both.

    Basically: I could see it going either way, I’m inclined to doubt conspiracies because of my deep cynicism about human discretion/organization, but I’m reserving judgment until we know more facts. And the mail/courier/thing is hinky, for sure.

  168. Shane, he must be using a freight train at this point! As for the two plates, remember that the division between the European and North American plates only dates from the mid-Mesozoic; the two were fused in late Paleozoic times and before then the plate boundaries were very different.

    Dewey, I didn’t get the information in question from Ann Coulter or anyone of her stripe. I saw the photo on a mainstream (foreign) news site, saw the obvious problem, went looking for more data, and then responded to the comment here. All the news sources I saw discussing the matter yesterday morning were saying that the packages were delivered by mail — I didn’t see any reference to courier services until yesterday evening, by which time the problems with the package story were all over the internet. (I’ve read, though I can’t verify this, that the hashtag #fakebombings was the top of the trending list this morning on Twitter.) Having grown up in the wake of the Tonkin Gulf incident — you might look that up sometime if you’re not familiar with it — I’m not predisposed to believe the mass media when they suddenly start into a well-rehearsed story but present evidence that doesn’t add up.

    J.L.Mc12, no, I didn’t say that bicycles would be used in the far future. Do check your quotes!

    BoysMom, I’ve heard the same thing, but since I don’t know enough about bombs to doublecheck their statements I’ve filed it as “needs comfirmation.”

    Forecastingintelligence, the timeframe for that will depend entirely on the rapidity and specific effects of climate change, and since nobody knows yet how that will play out, it’s impossible to judge in advance.

    Bob, yes, we had a great time, and there’s another scheduled for next summer solstice or thereabouts. Stay tuned here and there’ll be an announcement in due time.

    Jim, I’ve had two US Postal Service employees post here saying that my account of things is correct. Perhaps you’d like to offer a reason why my readers should believe you rather than them.

    Renaissance, that’s an interesting concept. I’m not at all familiar with that detail of Canadian policy, but on first principles, it ought to help.

    Azure, it’s an ugly fact that one effective way to take out an ethnic insurgency is to exterminate the ethnic group involved. I’m not saying that it’s a good thing, but it works.

    Shane, that’s why I think it’s something geological (or, to coin a word, metageological) rather than having anything to do with culture or population.

    David, yep. 😉

    August, that’s a hypothesis worth considering, of course, but it needs to be weighed against the other possibilities. The fact that none of the bombs have exploded, and that there’s apparently some question about whether at least some of them were meant to explode, is another piece of the puzzle. Fortunately law enforcement on several levels seems to be taking the whole thing very seriously — as they should, of course; the mere fact that all the bombs mailed so far were duds doesn’t change the fact that one could conceivably blow up if not properly handled — and so we should have some idea of what’s actually going on in a few weeks or so. (My guess is that we’ll hear about it right after the midterms, but that’s just a guess.)

    Pogonip, in the old elemental cosmology, every element is mixed with all the others; the damp earth in which you plant seeds is earth well mixed with water, air, and fire (the latter in the form of warmth and chemical oxidation). Earth as an element is dry, because if you drive all the water out of earth (gentle heating will do this) you get something that’s recognizably earth but very, very dry. Down at the bottom of it all, though, is the simple fact — which you can check with your own garden produce — that root vegetables harvested in a waning moon and a dry sign keep longer than those harvested in a waxing moon and a moist sign.

    Kfish, it’s a matter of US folklore that in Australia, every living thing is basically trying to kill you. If you’ve got eagles big enough to hunt kangaroos, I find that folklore just a bit more plausible than before!

  169. Sara K., many thanks for this. Duly noted; I don’t shop at Amazon, but I’ll see what other roundabouts I can manage.

    Shane, depends on how archaic the original terranes were — i.e., when they first formed as crustal masses. I don’t know the answer to that; I’m not sure anybody does.

  170. JMG,
    maybe your perceptions, coupled w/Violet’s experiences, as well as the overall culture, explain why the Faustian pseudomorphosis is so much more complete in New England than the rest of the nation, and why New England seems so far removed from the rest of the US

  171. JMG and the group:
    My AA (automobile Assoriaction) in New Zealand had an article about “Clever Cars”. This refers to the range of new cars with “advanced driver assistance systems” ADAS which range from passive alerts to active systems which take control of the car’s steering, brakes, accelerator, etc. “ADAS operate through the windscreen’s (windshield) glass using cameras, lasers or infrared beams, in combination with radars and sensors. If your windscreen ever requires replacement or needs to be removed for any reason, it is important that the repairer is aware of the sensor’s positions and can ensure correct calibration procedures are followed. ..if sensors are fitted incorrectly -even by a few millimeters-these technologies may not function properly. A collision or even routine maintenance such as wheel alignment or suspension repairs can upset the balance of the systems rendering them ineffective or in the worse case causing an accident due to faulty data.”
    Looks like this level of complexity is going to be a) not a whole lot “safer” than the average driver especially as the cars age, and b) an absolute gold mine for repairers and parts suppliers. Here in NZ, a “smart” windscreen replacement can cost $17,000 or more.
    A classic example of diminishing returns and the cost of complexity.
    Stay with cars built before about 2002, which may not be super efficient in petrol use, but are whole lot cheaper to fix. Yes I know that modern engines last a long time, but when they break its big bucks.

  172. We Australians are very proud of our lethal wildlife, but most of it is not trying to kill you unless you’re in its territory poking it with a stick, which people like to do occasionally. I think you guys have a similar arrangement with your grizzly bears and moose. The wedge-tailed eagle is currently the world’s largest eagle; the Haast’s eagle from New Zealand was slightly bigger but went extinct in the 1400s and that bird hunted moa (New Zealand’s emu equivalent, also now extinct). So it could be worse.

  173. The US news beamed into our house through the kind services of CNN is no longer offensive. Not at all. Now it is thigh-slappingly hilarious. I fear the tale will turn to tragedy all too soon.

    @Kfish, I can attest to the majesty of your country’s raptors. I’ve flown hang gliders a couple times there, and was rented a purple glider. Wedgies hate purple hang gliders. Who wouldn’t? Fortunately, they attack the leading edge, which is where a hang glider is least vulnerable. (No, actually, I did not experience this myself, just heard a lot about it.)

  174. About those bombs – and other dirty tricks – a thought. Have there been any sales of Twilight’s Last Gleaming to addresses in Russia?

  175. Given the level of interest this bomb scare has caused here, might I offer a suggestion for the group? This coming Sunday during the midday hour of the sun, Sol will be in Scorpio with few debilitating aspects to other planets. From my admittedly limited understanding of astrology, this would seem a good time for magical workings aimed at bringing hidden things to light. If the perpetrators of the bomb scare haven’t been discovered by then, those of us with an eye toward practicing magic could take this opportunity to do a bit of spellcasting – with the intent that the culprits be exposed in a way that makes their guilt obvious to all.

    After all, why should 4chan and the Resistance get to have all the fun?

    Of course, participants should be prepared for any malicious deeds they’ve been concealing to come out in the open as well. Halloween is coming up, so it’s a perfect time to get those skeletons out of the closest anyway!

    JMG, are there other forms of blowback that could be expected from such a working? Or any other astrological conditions that would make this inadvisable?

  176. Ross (Oct. 24, 4:32pm) – You mentioned “confusion/uncertainty with knowing what’s best for career or further schooling”. My mom told me “You have to have a job to get a job”. Maybe something temporary. The USPS is hiring right now for temporary holiday work (http://about.usps.com/careers/welcome.htm – closing period is Oct. 27th, so you will have to act quickly). Other seasonal work? Maybe use divination before applying? Working at something will at least give some basis for future decisions. I was also reminded of a story of someone who had a dull but relatively good paying job – but this job gave him the income he needed to work a cause he was passionate about, but didn’t pay. In other words, it is possible that for you, it’s not the job that serves an end in itself but serves as a means to pursue something meaningful. Good luck!

  177. Archdruid and Gang,

    Just throwing this out there in regards to the whole attempted bombings issue. A lot of you are attempting to find a strategy behind this action, just remember that crazy doesn’t have strategy that makes sense externally.

    Also, there’s something that’s been sitting uncomfortably in my gut since this whole episode started. Why was a package sent to Debby Wasserman? What place does she have in the ring-wing conspiracy circles? Anyone know?

    Regards,

    Varun

  178. JMG and Shane,

    My understanding is that the oldest rocks in North America are part of the Grenville Orogeny, the remains of which stretch through the northeastern United States but is mostly in Canada. So, while New England has some old rocks, I’m not really convinced that the age of the rocks dictates the personality of the land spirits in a particular area.

    Geologically speaking, the New England region has been through a lot, and it is one of the most varied regions of the continent. I’m particularly interested in the effect that the Laurentide Ice Sheet has had. It was a glacier a mile thick that advanced and covered most of New England, obliterating everything in its path. At one point the Taconic Mountains were the tallest in the world, taller than the Himalayas are now. Thanks to the Laurentide Ice Sheet’s work, they were ground down to their roots, and all that is left are some softly rounded hills.

  179. I have an old doll – She’s been my friend for many years. From the day I got her, I’ve been aware of a light blue aura that follows her around. It’s always been a friendly spirit so I never questioned its presence, in fact I welcomed it. It was always separate from the body of the doll, merely in the room with her.

    Then I my now ex-boyfriend came into my life. When he came into my life, my doll, something changed with her. The blue aura initially became more embodied in the doll. Somehow I think she became a voodoo doll somehow, without my meaning to.

    Call me strange but… this doll I’ve had most of my life often times is a character in my dreams. She told me in a dream that my relationship with my boyfriend was doomed. He broke up with me two weeks later. And I’ve never been one to get angry – but the week following my doll had a red aura that I did not recognize. I hated this aura. It wasn’t the doll I knew. It was like another spirit had pushed its way into her and dispelled the blue spirit that had previously been attached to her. Anyway, I ended up smashing the dolls head in anger against the window sill a couple times, with the intention of destroying her. I then threw her against my bureau’s mirror.

    She is fine. And I’m not sensing any auras associated with her now. I’d like to make it up to her… and the blue aura I knew before my boyfriend came into my life. How do I go about this?

    Yes I realize I could be crazy – but we all have that one really special stuffed friend. Who was yours?

  180. @Merle – I look at my xboyfriend and he was really passive aggressive. I think today’s fashions drive hyper perfectionism. I look at myself in the mirror and I strive to be beautiful, not sexy or hot. I think most people can be beautiful, if they are honest with themselves about who they, are and don’t pander to fashion. I think perfectionism is a magnet for passive aggressive people because if something looks good superficially on top, then you don’t have to dig deeper by asking questions… you know using that skill called rhetoric.

    It seems like JMG could do a whole post on perfectionism because “progress” seems to demand perfectionism/moving towards a state of perfection. I wonder what the progress version of perfection does to the spirit.

  181. JMG and Christopher,

    If I may, the idea about an intelligent sword is at least as old as the Finnish Kalevala (and the oral traditional stories stories that were used as a foundation of it), where Joukahainen works with one that finally does not care one way or another if it drinks the blood of Joukahainen or his enemies, as the man commits suicide using the blade.

    I do not recall the sword forcing anyone to fight anyone. In fact, I only recall this one conversation between them. The only one that is vocalized, at least, or recorded in the story. The fact that there was this conversation implies a relationship to me (as is certainly appropriate here).

  182. @Jim

    You make good points, so lets talk like old Regulars. Yes, it is possible for a package of the type we’ve seen on the news to be placed in a drop box in the condition photographed. The issues which cannot be explained away include that there are reports of these things being delivered without any indication of processing at all. No cancellation of postage, no return to sender or insufficient postage stamp, which there absolutely would be. I’ve read that the packages delivered were brought by courier – that makes more sense, because nobody can convince me that any of these paper packages were handled beyond the point of origin by the USPS for one reason – The Fling.

    What is the Fling?! Well, I’m sorry to spill the secrets of the craft, but the Fling is a certain whipping movement of the arm used by clerks and mail processors everywhere to throw parcels into carts during sorting, usually 15-20′ away from them (always buy insurance). There is no way that a single one of those paper packages, with no packaging tape and heavy capped pipes in them would have survived a single Fling. Those flimsy paper bags would have spilled their guts in a cart on the first Fling, not a single one of those packages would have left a USPS processing center. Let alone that USPS personnel are trained to notice things like this, and anyone grasping one of them would have had a puckering moment when they felt the outline of those capped pipes. Parcel addressed to someone famous with a heavy pipe in it – nuh uh…

    Given this, I don’t believe these were ever intended to do actual harm – merely grab headlines, stir bases, and distract; that’s how terrorism and two party control works. The reports of them being found in different parts of the country is very interesting – smells like a little operation to me.

  183. Shane W:

    Interesting comment.

    Years ago I read “Albion’s Seed” by David Hackett Fischer, a massive tome of a book. The sub-title is “Four British Folkways in America” and, as much as I can remember at the moment, the author traces the geographical areas within Britain from which the settlers of each of the early colonies came; they were actually not a random mixture of English emigrants. Massachusetts’ founding families, for example, came from the east of England, “A circle drawn around the town of Haverhill with a radius of sixty miles will circumscribe the area from which most New England families came.” (p.31). He addresses other colonies, too: Virginia was settled largely by people from the south of England, New England from East Anglia, Delaware became the home to people from the North Midlands and the ‘backcountry’ drew its English colonists from the Borderlands.

    Each of these groups, further divided into elite and lower classes, arrived with different religious practices (Puritans, high church, etc.) and no doubt a variety of folk traditions. Perhaps those who settled New England were more inclined to bring with them “older” beliefs? That’s only a guess on my part, but the New England Puritans certainly had a vivid belief in spirits, mostly demonic, invisible, but present everywhere, which eventually expressed itself in the Witch trials of 1692.

  184. Hello Elodie

    You wrote: “I don’t think China has a problem with religion,” I am afraid I will have to disagree with that statement as communist china always had a repressive attitude to all belief systems outside of marxism which after all has been turned into a civil religion. The hallmark of all marxism inspired regimes is their consistent violence against other belief systems. Think of soviet russia and kherms rouges for instance.

  185. Hello Azure Dragon,

    You wrote: “When extremists from a Muslim minority group started engaging in terrorist attacks,..”

    It appears that muslims in Burma had already been subjected to discrimination before extremists came onto the scene. As from 1982, they were effectively barred from citizenship and thus maintained in a state of impoverishment.

    As for, Chechnya, the Russians were faced with a full fledged rebellion, not of their making by the way as far as I can tell. They responded as Russia always responds to severe threats to its territorial integrity.

    In both China and Burma there never was nor is there any realistic threats of the same magnitude as there was in Chechnya. A policy of extermination of ethnic groups has already begun in both Burma and China in absence of a realistic threat to territorial integrity.

    Terrorist attacks that have no chance of threatening the state are being used by the state to exterminate populations for their resources and lands. This is, in my opinion, the real reasons for such policies. Both Burma and China have gigantic needs for land and resources. So lets knock off some guys who are different anyway….

  186. JMG,

    When you say to harvest tubers in a dry sign, are you referring to the sun sign? That would be seriously difficult.

  187. Hello Elodie, (once more!)

    You wrote: “China has a problem with conflicted loyalties, that came with occidental religions dedicated to all powerful god”.

    I have to respectfully disagree with that statement insofar that historically it is inaccurate.

    Islam came into China very early on and muslims (chinese and non-chinese) have had many many interactions with imperial china over the centuries. Articles by wikipedia are quite good on the matter.

    Sure there were many ups and downs such as uprisings and massacres just like with other ethnic groups in China, but by and large muslim populations in China have been loyal to the Imperial government and were often seen in the military for instance.

    The CCP also had many interactions with their muslim populations since 1948. Many ups and downs, including small scale revolts. During the cultural revolution there were violence directed by the government towards many muslim minorities, these violences decreased with the downfall of the gang of 4.

    Since then the chinese government has had a curious ambivalence towards muslims, treating ethnic chinese muslims far better than the Uighur minority who were the target of variable degrees of persecution years before any insurgency came about.

    I can only conclude, provisionnally, that (1) the CCP at times get repressive due to its dictatorial nature, (2) Uighur minorities suffer discriminations that push some towards insurgencies of negligible impacts (3) at the heart of the matter is the difficulty of different ethnics to find a more or less harmonious way of resolving differences, (4) conflicting loyalties are not the major driving force behind these unrests, (5) the CCP is in one of its repressive moods currently and so targets Uighurs.

    Regards

  188. JMG and Shane W–
    In a geology class in Virginia, I was once told that all of the US Eastern Seaboard that is East of the Appalachians was originally a part of Africa. So of course this means that most DAR* members were born in Africa! 😉 Not sure if that explains anything, since lots of Maryland is east of the Appalachians too. Also, I always felt that Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania had a place-feel more like each other, and that Maryland felt very different. So maybe Maryland is the anomaly on the East Coast.

    Pogonip & all–
    ‘Cui bono’ may be the most important question to understand the non-exploding pipe bombs.
    As a thought experiment, if we were rightist fans of D Trump and convinced that blowing up Democrats would be a great way to promote Trump’s agenda, when would we send them?
    –Probably after the elections, not before. Blowing up one’s enemies before an election gives sympathy to the party of the people who have been blown up, and goes against the bomber’s interests. Also, political enemies might very well be defeated in the election. It would be better (if that word is usable) to blow up the remaining enemies after the election.
    For these reasons, IMHO this curious bomb mailout, in which not a single bomb exploded, is more likely to be a project of some minor faction of the leftists to gain sympathy for the democrats in the upcoming election.
    We will know the extent of involvement and support of parts of government if the bomber is never found; if it becomes an unsolved mystery that is swept out of the news.
    Remember the anthrax letters in 2001? Investigators eventually found a fish aquarium in a lake (near Camp David) that was identified as having been used to load the envelopes. An academic, Dr. Bruce Ivins, was accused of sending the envelopes, but evidence was spotty at best. He denied doing it, and committed suicide before being brought to trial. Link here;

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/was-man-accused-of-post-911-anthrax-attacks-innocent-2368643.html

    I suspect that there were inconvenient truths about the anthrax incident, now forgotten with the aid of an accused poisoner who conveniently killed himself.
    It will be instructive if something similar happens to an accused bomber, or if no explanation is ever found.

  189. Jmg, I probably meant the deindustrial dark age, not the far future, though I have trouble understanding why bicycles wouldn’t be there as well, anyway what do you think of the chukudu?

  190. @ Merle

    I struggled with perfectionism a lot when younger until I read a quote somewhere “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” and became a mantra of mine so to speak. Being perfect at things breaks connection, when I have a perfect house I have to push my family away it brings a harshness which upsets everyone. When I have a perfect garden I push out natures influences, when I do perfect artwork, it becomes stiff etc. Once you let go of being perfect you find just being your best and understanding that you make mistakes (and learn from them) gives you a much healthier sense of place in the world, and that allows you to achieve so much more. Life is just a big series of mistakes, if it wasn’t there would be no individuality, being perfect breaks you from what is of real value in yourself, which is you.

    A side effect of being yourself, warts and all, is that you can connect to others in a genuine way, warts and all because you understand that they are not perfect but are of as much value as you are no matter their status in life, everything becomes of value because its uniqueness is not replaceable, life is innately valuable. I think you would find that if you were energetically blocking your connection to your own self out of a need to be better than yourself, perhaps this is mirrored in an energetic blocking to a person who would treat you as a genuine person of value and once removed you might find someone arriving in your life who would see you as valuable because they love YOU.

  191. Spandrell,

    On what basis do you think the re-education camps are effective? I mean obviously they’re effective in so far as no one is getting out of them to go on stabbing sprees. But if you intend to someday release them then surely you get a boomerang effect. No one in all seriousness could claim that a jihadist is going to be ‘educated’ out of his beliefs by some unbeliever nominal communist who’s not even from the same ethnic group and who has clearly locked up innocent people.

    The radicals could get more support as the internment provides proof of their religious narrative that the unbelievers are oppressing them just as they did their poor innocent prophet, and so renewed jihad is defensive and obligatory for all once they get out. When the British interned IRA men in prison camps in Wales, the camps became a republican university, a social networking event, a think tank, and when they were released they were far stronger than when they went in. That’s what happens with muslims in prisons across western Europe. Nominally Muslim small-time drug dealer goes in, the place is run by the fanatics, he complies to survive, gets brainwashed and comes out useful to the cause.

    Or are you saying they’re effective in that they make the seriousness of the Chinese state clear and therefore cause a critical mass of both the jihadists and their sympathizers to quietly decide to stay home and watch TV in future instead?

  192. G’day John Michael,

    I like the cover art for Innsmouth. Good stuff and I look forward to the paperback releases.

    As a bit of an update for you, I managed to completely re-wire the battery room last week and the solar power system is now working as it should be. Although, I’m frankly a bit nervous about how long this stuff will last. I hope to find out that it is later, rather than sooner…

    I am curious as to your opinion about the state of the electricity grid in your country? The thing is down here, for good reasons we are not constructing coal fired power stations (we are selling the coal to export markets, so it is not all good). The thing is we are investing in a lot of wind and solar power generation. Now the longer I live with this renewable energy stuff, the more convinced I’m becoming that it doesn’t scale that well due to intermittency of supply issues. The electricity grid on the other hand was constructed so as to provide a consistent supply. As the supply of energy increases from renewable sources (which supply electricity inconsistently), I’m reading (and hearing) anecdotal reports that the grid itself is becoming less stable. When the supply of renewable energy was small, such inconsistency didn’t matter, but it is rapidly beginning to be felt – and the capital cost to cope with the inconsistency is I reckon beyond what people want to pay for. Dunno, but I’m curious as to your experiences.

    Cheers

    Chris

  193. Popped on here after weeks of working in the garden and surprised to see many comments related to media coverage of the things they are talking about. Its amazing when not paying attention to the NYT, Post, 24 hr news stations, to see what is actually happening.

    In rural PA Democrats are disappearing. The party is a disgrace to normal everyday working people who see them spend more time talking about people’s sex lives (the 2% of the trans population, the 5% of the gay population, and the whole Kavanaugh drama), then dealing with the issues people are facing – expensive health insurance, continually high gas prices, schools that don’t do anything. The only people voting Democrat speak Spanish and everyone claims they are illegal immigrants.

    People are laughing so hard at everyone who opposes Trump publicly. Not that we all agree with everything Trump does or even like they guy, but the people who go again him all look like crazed.

    My township started doing some road rebuilding due to the massive rains we’ve had the last several years (an inch an hour or more for a couple hours). To do a mile of road -digging it up completely and re-laying all the drainage, putting down rocks and then 5″ of macadam is about a $1million a mile. There is no way our township can afford to rebuild the roads that need rebuilt, nor can they raise enough in taxes to cover it. Each year they have to emergency repair roads to keep them from collapsing and just in August spent $1.5 million doing it. Total budget is $11 million and that’s one of the higher budget townships in my county because we have lots of sewer lines ,lots of roads to maintain and lots of police (for everyone else adjoining us to use).

    My last comment is in how we talk about solving problems these days. I’ve been doing a lot of genealogy research and reading local newspapers from the 1860’s-1920’s. There is very little conversation in any paper talking about which was the government should solve any problem people have – crime, jobs, medical, education. The papers were 8-12 pages long, came out weekly for $1 per year subscription, and mostly filled with town to county level news of how people were working together to get things done. Lots of tragic deaths and accidents, articles on anyone who died and their impact on the community (as opposed to the bland obituaries now), who was visiting who, weddings of local people, celebrations for holidays – both religious and national. Reunions were big too of the war of the rebellion volunteers. Its VERY clear how dependent people are on each other.

    And that’s the issue now – we act as if we don’t need each other, and we don’t want other people to depend on us, and g* forbid for us to be dependent on others. A big reason my women friends don’t have children is they don’t want to have to stay home and take care of them. There’s 8 services now locally that takes care of seniors and visits them. Anything bad happens to us and people take a photo/video and post it on social media. We imagine the end of the world coming and we are going to throw on a backpack of the perfect supplies and head off to save ourself.

    We have reached a level of insanity we can’t see. We are the crazy people in the asylum convinced we are the sane ones. Its fascinating and terrifying.

  194. I scanned through your comments JMG and thank you for being one of the few to state the obvious about the latest news drama -the bomb packages don’t contain the bar codes every single package in the US gets. My only issue with it was I couldn’t figure out why/how we had photos of these things within two hours of the first reports of them.

    The media coverage has been completely weird on this using the term “Trump’s Targets” to refer to who received them. Wow – way to dial it up to 11.

    I did see that there was 437 actual bombings in the US between 1969-1970 where people planted bombs that did explode, destroying buildings and killing people. I’d say that was a bigger deal than what is going on now. We all have access to information through Google and what is stopping us from looking up history as opposed to reading media coverage of everything?

    I’m going back out to sweat some more in the garden.

  195. That’s why I try not to bring it up 😉 A young earth creationist and an evolutionary biologist could still have productive discussions even about things like their favourite dog breeds if it stays in the parts of reality they share. I get the sense though that even putting aside questions of quality, I’m the only one interested in speculating about the mathematics of 2618. Just thought I’d ask – despite having very different hopes for what comes after the dark age, I haven’t found a better place to discuss futurism.

    On an unrelated note, good lord the Silver John books are expensive! Why is nobody printing a new edition if a regular hardcover goes for four hundred bucks?

  196. re: fake bombs to fake news,

    What if it turns out to be a false false flag? That is — some troll arranged to send obvious duds in a way that would make them look as Fake News as possible, just to keep things stirred up. The left blames the right ; the right blames the left, and the slow slide towards civil war gets greased just that little bit.

    Cui bono?

    Well I’m not one to see Russians under every hedge, but, it is that fragile axis of Russia/China/Iran that benefits when the US is distracted by internal dissension or rebellion.

    How’s that for a conspiracy theory?

    Still, we can go deeper! Maybe it’s actually a false flag executed by leftists, designed to look like a false false flag by Russia to bring back the “muh Russia” narrative.

    No, wait! I have it! It’s actually the Saudis trying to look like Russians trying to look like CNN trying to look like kekistan… and they set the whole thing up so the media gets distracted from Khashoggi. You know, silly as it is, that last one might have some merit, since we know the Saudis at least have Obama and the Clinton’s home addresses.

    JMG,
    I’m honestly suprized in your faith in law enforcement at this date. I’m betting the whole thing gets dropped like a hot potato and we never learn any more than we did about the Mandalay Bay shooting.

  197. Re: Golden Dawn reasoning – Thank you. That was just what I needed to get my head straight.

  198. I’m beginning to think that hysteria over NTE (near term extinction) via global warming will be the impetus for Boomer pill and vodka parties. I can certainly see them getting all Heaven’s Gate-y about it, and my leftist Boomer friends are pushing hysterical, apocalyptic climate change articles my way, and getting all apoplectic if “we” don’t do something. Perhaps after Trump gets reelected, the leftward Boomer pill and vodka parties will begin?

  199. Umm, JMG, you mentioned the fall of the House of Saud in one of your New Year’s predictions. How does this Khashoggi killing fit into that?

  200. Back on the medical topic…

    Does anyone have any thoughts on kickstarting the dormant Eclectic medicine tradition that once existed in America? Eclectic medicine “was a branch of American medicine which made use of botanical remedies along with other substances and physical therapy practices, popular in the latter half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries.” I know about it mostly through John Uri Lloyd.

    Eclectic medicine has gone on to influence herbalists like Matthew Wood and Michael Moore. I was looking at a book of Elixir formulas by Lloyd a few weeks back. It seems that as Big Pharma and industrial medical models collapse people are returning to herbalism, alternative medicine, in greater numbers… so perhaps the process is already underway.

    Herbalism has been something of a “hobby” of mine, the same way broadcast radio & ham radio have been. Of course, these are very useful “hobbies”. It seems to me the tradition of Eclectic medicine has a lot to offer for the future of medicine in America. A great article on it can be found here:

    https://planetherbs.com/research-center/history-articles/what-is-eclecticism/

    On another note, silicon valley types and others are obsessed with bio-hacking. Some of their discoveries/insights/findings are interesting. The best might be worth preserving. Although there is a lot of garbage too. I’m thinking of Tim Ferris and his practices.Yet most of his techniques will fall by the wayside because they are too capital/resource intensive and the shirtless poor won’t have access to exotic ingredients easily.

    In any case my next plant based project is to make homemade ink. My wife and I found a bunch of oak galls out while hiking at one of our favorite spots up the Little Miami River las Sunday. I left some tobacco for the land in exchange.

  201. I’m quite done with this election and looking forward to whatever amount of peace we get in the immediate aftermath before the 2020 season begins. (Like I said earlier, I’m hoping for at least a week’s reprieve. We’ll see…)

    I’d thought about asking for ideas for a banishing that might keep this energy at bay, but then reconsidered as there might be unintended consequences. I’d not want to banish elections, for example!

    I do keep seeing nonsensical comments beings tossed about, however, so I do wonder what this signifies, if anything. As one case in point, in the context of the likelihood that the Republicans will keep the Senate, one person commented that when all the ballots for Senators are tallied, the Democrats will have more votes. (And I’m thinking: this is relevant how, exactly?) “But we won the popular vote!” seems to be the rallying cry du jour.

    Regardless of the outcome, of this election, the one after, or the one after that, we’re looking at stutter-step, haphazard, near-term focus in an increasingly dysfunctional system. We are mid-fourth century western Romans, without doubt. More localized solutions are going to be needed as the centralized system continues to flounder about.

    I keep going back and forth about continuing in local politics. One the one hand it is very, very frustrating, slow, and satisfying to practically no one. On the other hand, if no one steps up to the plate to run for office, the system can’t function at all. I enjoy some parts of it, even though the frustration can dominate. (Dealing with state agencies can be like pulling teeth.
    Don’t even ask about dealing with the Feds.) Sometimes, in brief fits of insanity, I even think about running for county supervisor. I’ve got a bit more than a year to decide whether or not to re-up for city council. We’ll see how I feel about things next fall, I guess.

  202. Oh, I thought I’d mention a story I ran across recently: “Has anyone heard of the Left/Right game?”

    It’s a story about a reporter who rides along with a paranormal investigator who has discovered the Left/Right game, where you take the first left, then the next right, then the next left, and so on. Eventually, they reach a tunnel, and after that things get really strange.

    While I wouldn’t necessarily call it Lovecraftian, it’s definitely a weird tale, and it could fit in a Lovecraft-style universe.

    Fair warning: it’s 60,000+ words long.

    Original text: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/7asz8x/has_anyone_heard_of_the_leftright_game_part_1/

    Audio version 1 (multiple readers): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbziw22vVfE

    Audio version 2 (single reader, more professional-sounding, but with a gimmick of a constant rain sound): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4L6Wo_HY-9t7CBHlzPOnzfDj2zOOlG2M

    I personally prefer the second audio version, but it can be hard to follow in the first couple of episodes before he works out how to deal with the story’s dialogue conventions.

  203. @JMG Well, that is discouraging and, if I weren’t a strong polarity responder, your answer would make me want to give up utterly and take the blue pill.

    So, instead, and since I’m currently hunting around for 2019 forward outcomes (sufficiently outrageous to be scary-impossille) I’ve decided to become a NET CALORIE PRODUCER. Ground rules: sustain at or above my current high quality of life (which is pretty high) and don’t do it by mining hydrocarbons (drilling an oil well). I might, possibly, go more into growing them. Picking them out of the air or water or sunlight would be ideal (I have some solar but not near enough). I wish my chemistry and physics was a lot stronger — I might have to start with some of that; if only to help me better assess how utterly out-of-reasonable the creation seems. ;-?

    I have a better idea than most how “impossible” yet vital my outcome is (which is what makes it compelling). I don’t know how I am going to get there from here; maybe I need to change “here”. And I know the gap is way too big for me to accomplish it in one year or by incremental means from where I currently am…

    But I can begin. So thanks for the clever motivation! 🙂

    May require a lot of magic?

    “A man can do all things if he will”.-Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472)

  204. @ Matthias Gralle: Thankyou for directing my attention to the Balinese traditional irrigation system with its ‘water-temples’! It is a prime example of a heterarchic social organization, the sort of social web that could very well have given rise to the great civilizations of Mesopotamia.

    It occurs to me that those water temples may be part of ‘The Secret of the Temple’, distant relations to all those mysterious pyramids that dot the landscape of Northern China; also related to Spengler’s ‘amoeba civilization’, and to The Old Ones, The Tentacled Horrors (heterarchies put out ‘tentacles’ to link up with other communities), that JMG will soon bring up from the sea!

    I swear, I have not been reading long Chinese fantasy novels, or even WoH, for that matter. But maybe the storehouse of eternal Ideas has kept the tentacled horror meme in circulation for reasons that go beyond entertainment.

  205. It looks like an arrest has been made in the bomb case. We’ll see how it unfolds, but my money is on a too-online Q-anon type guy. Considering none of the bombs went off, I’m guessing he found plans created and posted online by our law enforcement agencies with the express purpose of catching people who are unstable and radicalized but also not that bright.

    With regards to the caravan of migrants, I’m honestly worried. I’ve viewed the Israel/Palestine border as a precursor of things to come at other borderlands in the world. We saw how our news agencies provided cover and justification for the IDF killing “terrorists” (literally teenagers throwing rocks) and it was clear to me they are trying to lay the ideological ground work necessary to justify future massacres of mass migrations at home.

    Earlier this year I read The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi and it struck me as incredibly plausible and horrifying. The novel is set in Phoenix several decades into the future as the full consequences of climate change have come home to roost. Every major river in the west, from Colorado to California, is covered in a concrete “straw” to prevent evaporation. UN relief pumps tap super deep ground water in Phoenix and charge by the ounce. You need visas to cross state lines and the federal governments only real function is to act as a hammer to keep the states in line and prevent an open civil war. West Texas is completely uninhabitable and the corpses of Texan refugees are strung up on the border walls of New Mexico and Oklahoma.

    With the military being deployed to the border, I certainly hope we aren’t about to see this sort of thing play out in real time.

  206. They just arrested a Trump fan for the “bomb” attempts; he was known to the cops for similar actions before this, so I guess CNN and the other usual suspects may be innocent this time. Although much remains to be explained such as why he would go to all that trouble to construct fake bombs.

  207. Which of your books on occultism are legitimately available in an ebook, drm-free format ?
    I don’t really understand, what is the difference between the Celtic Golden Dawn set of practices and the Druid Magic Handbook, or Learning Ritual Magic ? You also published a book called Circles of powers… How do these books relate with each other and how do they differ ? What purposes do they each have ?

  208. @augjohnson/August–

    You say that you doubt any kind of false flag with the bomb-ish packages because you see it as extremely farfetched that the Secret Service, Eric Holder, John Brennan, Maxine Waters, George Soros, the FBI, CNN, etc etc, would *all* be in on a conspiracy together. What I genuinely don’t understand is– why do you think they would have to be? I don’t think anyone here who suspects fishy business is asserting that anything like that is what’s going on.

  209. JMG,

    “Jim, I’ve had two US Postal Service employees post here saying that my account of things is correct. Perhaps you’d like to offer a reason why my readers should believe you rather than them.”

    My mistake for not revealing my credibility. I am currently a Postmaster and have been at it for a while. I’ve scanned over the comments again and there are a few blatant inaccuracies. In your response to Mr. VanErp you assert that ‘you can’t just leave a package in a drop box’.This is simply not true. It’s perfectly OK to drop a small first class package (under 13 oz.) with postage stamps affixed and without any tracking barcode in any USPS Blue Box. As Shane W. correctly points out, you can also put a package in any blue box which has been properly paid for and processed at USPS.com and has a label with a tracking barcode.

    All the packages in question were of a very light weight…the pipe was made of PVC, not metal. Completely believable that they only weighed several ounces and were fine to drop in any Blue Box with just stamps for postage.. Kudos to Mr. VanErp for noticing the inadequate postage affixed and it is suspicious that none of the packages appear to have been flagged for this reason.

    So I stand by all of my original observations and I encourage everyone to think critically, base your opinions (while recognizing that they’re still just opinions) on facts as best you’re able to discern them, and eschew facile believing.

    On an unrelated topic, here’s a link to an interesting piece on the state and future of science: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/magazine/bruno-latour-post-truth-philosopher-science.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage

    Jim

  210. Boy, they’re really trying hard to salvage something that might help Dems out of this mess. (Not that that is extraordinary or anything, for either side.) I think that basically the nation, and certainly all but a couple of folks here, have already made up their minds that these packages never entered the mail stream. So continuing down that rabbit hole seems ill-advised, to me at least. But whoever is behind it – False flag? False false flag? – I just don’t see it helping the Democrats’ cause…

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna924776

  211. “we should have some idea of what’s actually going on in a few weeks or so. (My guess is that we’ll hear about it right after the midterms, but that’s just a guess.)”

    They’ve arrested a guy who has a history of threatening behavior, a registered Republican whose van is covered with anti-media and pro-Trump bumper stickers. If he is a leftist perpetrating a False Flag, he has done a fantastic job of “deep cover.” Of course there will be some people who claim to their last breath that he either was a poor victim being framed for his love of the Great Leader or didn’t actually exist and was a crisis actor being “arrested” for show, just as there are people who continue to claim that the children murdered at Sandy Hook never existed. Those people are nuts. The rest of us, whatever our party preferences, will let it go and move on.

  212. JMG, I just learned of the arrest of the bomb mailer suspect. Something is not right here. Let me relate the following: About 10 or 12 years ago, I was the officer-in-charge at a very small post office in southern Alabama. It was probably late November or December, in other words the holiday season, and the post office’s busiest time of year. I was responsible for seeing to it that each parcel dispatched to the Montgomery GMF (General Mail Facility) had a valid and legible postmark. On this particular day I had two dollies filled to overflowing with parcels. There was one small parcel that I remember actually measuring very carefully to see if it met minimum standards for a parcel; and it did. The trouble was that with my two available cancellation stamps I was unable to apply a legible postmark. I made the decision to let it go anyway.
    The following morning I received a call from none other than the Supervisor of the Mail Processing Facility at the Montgomery GMF regarding said parcel. I was able to satisfy her concerns about the parcel and she let it proceed on its way rather than return it to my office and thence the sender who would have had to repackage and re-stamp said parcel.
    My point is that, to my knowledge, these security concerns have not lessened in intervening time and the story that we are asked to accept is that all these parcels mailed by the suspect made it to their designated recipients in record time, all in absolute violation of USPS and Department of Homeland Security regulations.
    It begs the question: does the eastern seaboard of the US(and the West too, for that matter), operate under different rules than the rest of us? I hate to call it as I see it, but if one of these parcels had passed through a state west of the Appalachians, it would have never made it to its intended destination!

  213. Well! not quite a prankster, but not far above that level – the “bomber” turned out to be a Florida man in his 50s with a criminal history and a van covered with stickers ranging from “Yay, Trump!” to “CNN [stinks].” In other words, the kind of guy who goes postal at work.

  214. On Muslims in China: Muslims in China belong to ethnic minorities that wish to preserve their ethnic identity. They have an insular culture that doesn’t have much to do with the culture of Arab Muslims. I doubt they have any strong interest in the globe-spanning ambitions of Islamism. China’s oppression of them probably come from a typical Marxist rejection of nationalism

  215. Better yet, go as Mephistopheles carrying an alarmist global warming study, fentanyl, and everclear. “Avoid extinction! Git yer fentanyl and everclear here, folks!” 😉

  216. JMG and Shane,

    My understanding is that New England’s coastal crust (including all of Rhode Island) and most of Great Britain’s crust (specifically, England, Wales, and a bit of Ireland) all came from the same microcontinent, Avalonia. Avalonia formed from volcanic rock along the arc of a subduction zone at the edge of Gondwana, and thus was roughly arc-shaped. As rogue microcontinents do, Avalonia split off on its own and went careening around the globe not watching where it was going.

    The Appalachians weren’t part of Avalonia. Their crust formed earlier, from sedimentation from periodic flooding, on a different continent (Laurasia, the precursor to North America).

    Laurasia and the adjoining proto-contient Baltica were minding their own business in the middle Devonian, about 375 million years ago, when Avalonia crashed into them. That collision raised very high mountains at the northern end of the Appalachians. (Not long after, the southern Appalachians were raised by a collision with the northwest coast of Africa. Both collisions were part of the formation of Pangaea.)

    As part of the insurance settlement (Avalonia was found “at fault” for the collision), some of the Avalonian microcontinent was attached lengthwise to the northern Appalachians, creating New England as we know it. Other parts became much of the present east coast of Canada, including Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. The rest combined with the Baltica land mass to eventually become England, the Netherlands, and other bits and pieces of western Europe. Those formerly Avalonian terranes finally parted company with one another when the Atlantic rift opened in the Cretaceous.

    So, to sum up, neither England nor most of coastal New England were originally parts of the continents they’re now associated with, and they were indeed associated with one another long before they ever got near proto-Europe or proto-America. The Appalachians have their own story.

    By the way, after Pangaea broke up, the Appalachians eventually eroded almost to nothing. Then later events thrust them up again, this time cut by already existing rivers as they rose. That means some of today’s rivers are older than the current shapes of the mountains.

  217. Im currently meditating my way on the circles of manifestation, as writen on the DHB.

    First of all, now i think i understand to what extent we are the sons of the earth. But then as each soul has matured enough in the mineral realm it comes to the sunlight and the marriage of sun and earth is enacted, and with the first incarnation in the plant or animal kingdom, consciousnes is born, out of the earth soul and…what?

    What is in occult terms the other divine half of Awen that impregnates each soul with its own meaning?

  218. JMG et al
    Old Land
    If you want really old rocks the bottom of the Grand Canyon sounds special at 1.5 billion years. Smile

    I see that much of New England was under ice – 40th parallel, which just about includes Providence.
    Much of Britain was also covered with ice, with old rocks poking close to the surface scraped clean by successive glaciations: e.g. Cambrian, and in places pre-Cambrian with no fossils.

    We are further north than New England, above the 50th parallel so the light is very different. Where I am and further north, elevation means a different climate – very little cultivation above a few hundred feet.The ’40th’ this side of the Atlantic is south of France – for light quality see Impressionists. Your cold winters relate to the cold ocean current as well as the continental land mass.

    I learned last week that the part of New Hampshire with the best maples was cultivated by early settlers – a kind of slow motion slash/burn: haul any timber, farm the soil until yields drop and then move on. We were shown pictures of miles and miles of old stone walls now in the wild woods.

    There are parts of Southern England – now thinnish soil on chalk – that were continuously occupied and farmed for grain for many centuries in late iron age well into Roman times, which means sustainable soil quality. It is probable that the surplus grain that had turned up in Gaul was one of the reasons the Romans came in.

    I agree though about the ‘feel’ in many parts of Britain. The the old people never seem very far away, in my experience. There can be a downside or two. When we first came here I was surprised by the slightly oppressive feel of a 500 year ago major battle. There are parts of the Borders that are really quite ‘sunny’ with enough ‘good lives’ behind them I guess. In others, old moods persist. We have lots of stories! (As a further indication, a few of our river names are pre-Celtic, perhaps going back to before the Iron Age.)
    best
    Phil H

  219. JMG,

    Regarding the possibility that these fake bombs sent to CNN, etc., could in fact be a ‘false flag’ event (whether or not that turns out to be the case)….

    Doesn’t it frighten you that [insert name of whatever agency is behind this] could get away with this? Or do you take such a long view that nothing fazes you?

    It’s funny, ten years ago when I first heard about peak oil, it scared the bejeezis out of me. Now that you (and others) have shown us the way to preparation, an economic collapse doesn’t seem so scary, and at least it would be the result of collective stupidity, not malice. Somehow that makes it less frightening.

    But this secret police sort of stuff is very scary to me, I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because there’s no preparations one can take to ameliorate it. Maybe I didn’t expect it to be part of the long descent. (I don’t think it has to be.) I guess I was hoping that a deindustrial future wouldn’t permit the sort of sophisticated secret police shenanigans that the industrial revolution allowed. I guess I expected to see a more or less neutral sort of collapse, not this sort of evil. Maybe what scares me the most is the public buys the media story hook, line, and sinker. It’s hard to get perspective on this.

  220. I am very interested in the idea of reincarnation, although I am still a skeptic (and my own Christian religion is not comfortable with the concept), and I have no past-life memories of my own. That is to say, I do not remember any past-life memories. Perhaps I did as a child and have since forgotten.

    I have a theory I have been kicking around for a while, though, that phobias may be based on a previous cause of death. The primary example I think of is arachnophobia. Now, one could have a reasonable attitude of caution around the more venomous types of spiders, but I think for many the fear is more visceral. For myself, I have very little fear of being bitten, but I am terrified by the thought of being wrapped up in a web and drained dry by a giant spider.

    This type of fear seems common, which could explain the popularity of giant spiders in fantasy. The dwarves trapped in Mirkwood are perhaps the best example, along with Frodo’s later struggle with Shelob.

    I wonder if people with arachnophobia still possess a past-life memory from a time (perhaps lifetimes ago) when they were an unfortunate insect trapped in a web.

    Do you think there is anything to this, or to phobias in general?

    Thank you.

  221. Patricia T. on jobs: I had a long series of mailroom jobs to save money for college/earn income. When I finally got a job with UNM, it was my mailroom experience that got it for me above all the other people with accounting degrees out there. My youngest daughter ran age group track with the Duke City Dashers – small, but fast in her day. Her current job is track coach for her children’s school, not anything she got her college degree in. So I agree – get out and see what’s out there. Though I note a lot of my earlier attempts to earn $ earned me nothing but headaches.

    E. Goldstein: West Virginia, the mountainous part of VIrginia, and Western Pennsylvania are all culturally hillbilly. My dad’s family was from Western Pennsylvania, up around Pittsburgh, and it’s nothing like up around Philadelphia.

    Rose: none of my friends’ houses are perfect in any way, and they don’t try to make them so. Neither do I, now. It makes for a lot more comfortable feeling.

  222. For Blue Sun & whomever else: what does “false flag” mean in this particular context? That the bombs, real or fake, were not actually sent, via the US Postal Service or not, by Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Isn’t that pretty much a given? Or is it that this is suspected to be a false false flag op? How many “falses” should we be inserting here, anyhow?

  223. @Jim,
    but why weren’t the stamps cancelled and a postmark issued? Aren’t stamps always cancelled so as to prevent fraud by having them lifted and reused?

  224. @Dewey, others,
    yeah, but did the guy arrested actually do it? Having him arrested still doesn’t answer the fishy questions (insufficient postage, no postmark/cancellation, USPS then courier, etc.)

  225. Thank you for keeping this space open to questions. I’ve been thinking about the magical properties of stone lately, likely because I’ve been studying ancient history with my kids at school this year, and we’ve been reading up on some of the stone megaliths and temples of the ancient world (Stonehenge, the Pyramids, and the various temples to Gods and Goddesses in the Greek and Roman civilizations etc). In many cases the builders seemed to go to great lengths to obtain the particular stones they needed, such as the bluestones used at Stonehenge which came from hundreds of miles away. Why would they go to such an extent to move the massive stones, without the benefit of fossil fuel-powered equipment to help with the work, unless there was something special about the properties of those particular stones?

    I got to meditating on this, visualizing how people would go to these stone temples and pray, as well as likely chant or sing in worship. The worshipers would call down magical energies which would then be released out into the surrounding area. Did the stones of the temple somehow resonate with the particular frequency of this magical energy? Would they store it almost like batteries store electrical energy, and slowly release it back into the temple site? The concept of thermal mass in a passive solar building is like this – but instead of capturing solar energy during the day and releasing it out at night as heat, the stones would capture magical energy from the people who worshiped there and slowly radiate it out to the environment at and around the temple. The worship would have a cumulative effect and build a strong egregor connected to the physical space of the temple, as well as to the Gods and Goddesses that were worshiped there. The stones of the temple would hold magical energies and make for a very sacred and powerful place.

    My rather long-winded question then would be, do you think I am on the right track with this line of thought, and if so, do you know where I might be able to read up on this subject a bit more? Is your book ‘The Secret of the Temple,’ which I have yet to read, about this topic?

  226. @JMG: Ooof, exactly. I think there might be a connection to a lot of modern advertising, too–you can’t let the product speak for itself, you’ve got to get all gimmicky to get people’s attention, and so on.

    On bombing suspect: well, if he’s a patsy, someone’s done a good job of picking him, as he’s exactly the sort of guy who does this sort of thing, as Patricia Matthews points out above: not very in touch with reality, with a history of making unhinged statements (it’s one thing to be a bigot, but telling your boss that she’s going to burn in Hell shows a certain…something) and threats, and a failure in his financial and personal life. (The Daily Mail is also saying that his grandmother filed domestic violence charges against him, which definitely fits the type, but I’m hesitant to believe the Daily Mail on anything, so waiting until I hear from a more credible source.)

    The nature of this guy would also explain why the bombs didn’t go off, in either the “inept” (dude was living in a van after getting kicked out of his mother’s house) or the “not intended to actually work” sense. I would classify him as a garden-variety lesser freakshow, the sort common enough on all sides of the political spectrum, like the guy on the left who shot up a Congressional baseball game a year or two back (and who, Wiki informs me, was *also* living out of a van at the time). With these guys, it’s never actually about what they say it’s about–it’s a weird combination of desire for fame/attention and rage at their self-inflicted inadequacies. In a less-charged political atmosphere, they tend to have non-partisan grudges based on local politics (the guy who shot Harvey Milk, Andrew Kehoe, etc.) or become obsessed with celebrities or football teams, with similar results.

    tl;dr: psychos gonna psycho, at least this one wasn’t ruthless or competent enough to get anywhere with it.

  227. Hats off to Teresa From Hershey, well said. What I’m wonderin is death a permanent state, as in, a body burnt up or rotting into the ground….or a soul opening up a new door? Because I still speak to the one’s long gone, why?

  228. The problem with the suspect they have on hand is he isn’t white. Look at that name: Cesar Sayoc. Is that a white name? He says he’s Native American, so it can’t be him. My money is still on Putin. Sneaky terrible white guy. Look how he snuck those two gays into Salisbury to pull off the most terrible poisoning of the century! [sarc off]

  229. @Merle, re perfectionism:
    I used to be a perfectionist; still am, but I’ve learned over the years that its a good trait if confined to specific areas of one’s life and used with discretion. eg, a skydiver or scuba diver has a better chance of living if they are at least mildly perfectionist about their equipment and technique. Being a perfectionist about keeping the floor absolutely spotless at all times is probably just a monumental waste of energy and is probably going to be a turn-off to women unless they share your obsession.

    I once bought a wooden drum only to discover that it had a minor crack in the side. I was on the point of returning it, when the thought struck me that maybe, just maybe, the great sound of that drum was in part because it had that crack. Cue “There’s a crack in everything, that’s where the light gets in” L. Cohen

    Then there‘s the story about the Osho‘s disciple who decided leave the ashram, give up celibacy, and look for the perfect woman out in the world. “Good luck and report to me when you’ve found her” said Osho. When the disciple returned alone some time later, Osho asked “Well did you find the perfect woman?” Yes,” replied the disciple, but she was looking for the perfect man”. As other commentators have mentioned, you probably need to look at yourself and ask why you are drawn to women who aren’t a good fit. Good luck.

    It took me 3 wives and 55 years of living before I was fit and ready for my present long-time girlfriend. The 3 wives, bless them, were good women who put in their time rubbing off my rough edges and getting me ready for Sara…

  230. @Pogonip & all

    What I want to know is why the first photo released of Cesar Sayoc is one with photoshopped hair. Why not even a mug shot? Why are there no photos or footage of him getting arrested? The only other image I could find also looks like a photoshop of his face on a body holding a Trump sign, or maybe a photoshop of his body into a Trump rally.

    Has anyone found a picture of him in the sun, one that doesn’t look photoshopped? Perhaps of him being led in handcuffs across a parking lot to a Florida courthouse? Video would be better.

    The only outdoor photos released so far are of his pristine, newly decorated van. It’ll be interesting to see what further photos or videos come out.

  231. Well, WordPress too is now suspending controversial sites for “violating terms of service.” I was occasionally visiting a site of frank conspiracy theorists, old friends who got kicked off a liberal blog in 2008 that I still participate in because it manages to be open-minded enough to allow controversies to be discussed openly. This clique within it had been pointing out that Obama was set to be a real disappointment, but were too strident about it, so they got booted. I never really believed most of what they were saying, but the moderator was electrosensitive like me, and once in while conspiracy theorists will give you advance warning of things (such as Obama immediately ignoring his campaign promises). I like looking at the whole spectrum of thought out there.
    Their last post was titled “Peace Pipe Bomb.”
    If you get taken down, I’ll go check out Green Wizards, but it might be nice to have an agreed meeting point in case.

  232. Hi Ozzie Chris,
    Re renewables and how they don’t match up to the constant supply grid:
    Here’s a few resources on that topic:

    1)https://ourfiniteworld.com/pdfs-of-posts/ (see 13 August 2016 and others)
    *The author of Our Finite World is Gail Tverberg. She is a researcher focused on figuring out how energy limits and the economy are really interconnected, and what this means for our future. Her background is as a casualty actuary, working in insurance forecasting.
    This lady is very smart with the real world economic side of energy. “Follow the money”

    2)https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/
    *Tom Murphy is an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. An amateur astronomer in high school, physics major at Georgia Tech, and PhD student in physics at Caltech.
    This guy is NOT a pie in the sky Greenie blowing smoke rings about alternative energy.

    After reading both these folks (and living for 20 years off grid on land and cruising sailboat), I’ve come to the same conclusion you have: solar and wind and other intermittent sources of electricity are not compatible with the always-on grid everybody, except a few like you and me, thinks about when you say electricity supply. Living off non-fossile/nuke energy supply is certainly possible, but NOT supporting the kind of lifestyle of most people in the Western World (and which a lot of the developing world aspire to).

    Good luck with the rewired system.
    Cheers,
    Sandy

  233. Just heard this on a podcast tonight:

    “What we call progress I call shiny barbarism.” – John Anthony West

    Mr. West, an independent Egyptologist, also inveighed against presstitutes and quackademics.

    Kevin

  234. @Matthias Gralle – Thanks for the David Wengrow article on the art of not being governed while growing grains. I’m looking forward to reading it when I have a moment.

    I had a look at the study you cited, and I agree that this is the kind of study we need. Primarily, it is independent. Secondarily, it focusses on making appropriate recommendations, which are not compulsory, but which offer legitimate considerations for individuals to hang their own well-informed decisions upon.

    The study itself is refreshing in that it cites actual statistics on harm without obfuscation or without – in the next sentence – making light of them. For example: “The precise frequency of severe adverse effects remains uncertain; according to several studies, it may be approximately 1 in 10,000, with a lethality rate of less than 1 in 100,000.” These are not negligible numbers when administering millions of doses (possibly around the same levels of say, a serious allergic reaction to a substance which in 9,999 cases is “safe” to consume).

    What I would mostly like to see are practical policies that direct health services to understand what can go wrong (even if it doesn’t happen more than 1:10,000 or 1:1,000,000 times) and how to treat it when it does, and to have adverse effect treatment protocols and resources readily available immediately and throughout the required follow up period for these purposes.

    In this regard, for example, penicillin is considered to be a fairly safe medication, and yet has known serious adverse effects, such as anaphylaxis, in susceptible individuals. And no doctor would fail to be trained to deal with such an eventuality, should it occur, regardless of its lack of frequency. What is severely troubling and different about vaccinations is that doctors are deliberately left unprepared, both ideologically, and practically, to deal with rare adverse effects, leaving those who experience them to have to fight ideology as well as medical systems to get treatment.

  235. Hey JMG,

    Congrats on your release of your book. Personally, I’m glad to see it’s available in e-book format. I’ve moved quite a bit over the years, and my latest 2000+ mile move this summer was a killer – toting all those books along is no fun. Regarding publishing, I’ll be going down the route of self-publishing in the near future, since e-books and print-on-demand are inexpensive compared to the days of “vanity” publishing. I have no delusions about making any money with my writing, but get the enjoyment from creating it.

    My question is around the topic of what Denys touched on – today’s lack of social interaction and cooperation at the local level, replaced by government programs of various sorts. This cultural behavior also seems to tie in with how self-centered and selfish people are today (i.e., your recent posts on Dreamwidth regarding magic workings with political overtones). It’s my opinion that the age of fossil fuels has further enabled this kind of behavior, where one can substitute wealth for interdependent social interaction. One of the first reactions I had when I began reading your ADR posts and other information a decade ago regarding peak energy was that I not only wasn’t going to enjoy the retirement lifestyle I thought I could, but that I was getting sucked into the consequences of others’ poor decisions concerning lack of planning, unsustainable lifestyles, faulty economic direction and suffocating government control. So now we’re all going to live with not only the lack of transition to lower energy lifestyles, but also the economic blowback with trends to socialism, failing infrastructure, and lack of social cooperation all combining for some serious shake ups.

    At first I was peeved that I couldn’t continue to live in my own little insulated island, independent of others. I’m curious – from a historical point of view – are there any examples of where a relatively large percentage of the population (i.e., the middle class), has been forced to contract from an relatively independent and wealthy existence back down to a lower standard of living, with more dependency on others, and institutions of control around that?

    I don’t mind the loss of wealth so much, it’s the loss of freedom that concerns me.

  236. Addendum
    Rocks
    An introductory Chapter One is available – Britain pre-Cambrian including comparison NE American geology with useful maps (Avalonia etc) http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/V20Chap1.pdf also useful for meaning of terms (e.g. terranes’) and tectonic related processes – time-lines & the ‘Deep Past’.

    Rocks & Life
    (Cambrian and pre-Cambrian – not easy to distinguish pre- from early Cambrian; i.e. ‘fossils’.)
    Quote for Monian Supergroup (‘Terrane 1’: “Poor palaeontological evidence for a Precambrian to possible early Cambrian age is provided by stromatolites, trace fossils and acritarchs [Refs]. An early Cambrian age for at least part of the supergroup … [for example] is favoured by lithostratigraphical correlation with the Cahore Group in south-east Ireland (Refs)”
    best
    Phil H

  237. Whew, what a time to have an open post.

    My bet is it’s either a sick Halloween prank or a dry run for something much more serious. As to political affiliations involved, it could be either or none. Whoever’s behind it though, I’m sure all sides will try to exploit it to their advantage.

  238. Hi Sandy,

    Many thanks for both of the references. 🙂

    Two decades. I salute you. This renewable energy stuff is good, it just isn’t good enough and it is a completely different technology suite to the continuous supply story that people assume that it is. A bit of a shame that, but then every system on my farm that sources any output from nature is like that. Everything, from firewood to water, to plants. You name it. The main exception that I can think of is the atmosphere which we breathe, but I can’t think of any other natural system that supplies 24/7 and 365.

    And in a complete bit of total weirdness, have you read about this: Stilling: The curious case of land wind speed decline?

    Well, that was a new one to me. It certainly means something…

    Cheers

    Chris

  239. @Scotlyn:
    Thanks for taking the time to read the study and give us your opinion! Actually, I thought you would pick up on the fact that the number of fatalities from Yellow Fever over the decades in Brazil (which they cite) is around the same order of magnitude as the number of fatalities resulting from the vaccine in Brazil. To make sense of these competing risks, one would have to know how many people at risk were NOT vaccinated, which is not a number I know.

    I do think you will enjoy the Wengrow study on Bali. When I first mentioned it on an earlier Open Post, I expressed my opinion that it gets everything ecosophian together in one spot: non-human ecology, human ecology in the form of bottom-up social organization, and religion.

  240. Regarding the concept of Eternity, I want to recommend Barrington Bayley’s time-war masterpiece, The Fall of Chronopolis. The “chronmen” manning the time-fleets have a terror of falling into the “strat” – the temporal substratum, of which our linear time is a mere surface film. The book is a wonder – a fantastic achievement of the imagination.

  241. All—

    I don’t know what Carl Jung would say, but I need to relay a dream (a dream-fragment, really) from early this morning, just because it was so odd. (You’ll understand.)

    So, there is the huge roller-coaster, with a long line of cars perched right at the top of that first big hill. I am climbing along the outside of the cars, looking for a seat (but not in a threatened kind of way, more casual, like, ‘oh, the ride’s gonna start…better find my seat’ kind of way). Sitting alone in the front seat of the first car, dressed in robes like Moses (in the dream, clearly Moses) and holding a staff, was Donald Trump.

    That’s all I remember.

    Very strange. I’d guess that this suggests a wild ride ahead, although not necessarily bad in the end? The Moses thing really throws me, though.

  242. @Christopher pinyon
    Re: Phobias

    That’s a common explanation for some phobias, especially ones that are difficult to treat with common therapies.

    Michael takes the viewpoint that there is no direct causality involved: that is, past life events never force something to happen in the present life, will he, nil he. A present life event may resonate with past life events and then bring things into the present from the past life, but free will is always in effect.

    BTW: Michaels description of (re)incarnation is actually compatible with the Christian “one life” stance. It’s not, obviously, the same as the “standard” view or the one that JMG uses.

  243. Quin, re: your response to August,

    Bingo. You took the words right out of my mouth…

    Once again, all I see is Ctrl-Left hysteria and brow-beating. Same for Dewey, who has apparently laid down the Truth (TM) about the situation, and now we should all just move on without asking any more questions.

    “We got him! The idiot Trump supporter who sure enough did it! I mean, look at all those situation-appropriate stickers on his pervy van. So obvious…”

    Cheers.

  244. Monsanto is going down. Finally. The world has become weary of the crimes of this limb of Satan.

    https://www.organicconsumers.org/blog/kennedy-monsanto-roundup-verdict-bayer-stock

    Judge Bolano recently arbitrarily reduced the compensation amount. In view of her conduct during and after the trial, one wonders why we even have a court system anymore, a sentiment shared by the jurors who made the initial award. Several jurors have spoken out about and against the reduction, and allowed their names to be made public in support of the plaintiff.

    Naturally, SJW activist support for Mr. Johnson has been nowhere to be found, or at least I have not seen it. Now, if he had been shot by a cop, there would be people in the streets all over CA, but condemned to a slow and painful death by a Big Important International Company, the attitude is Oh, but my uncle’s investments/ my cousins job/ SCIENCE, biotech is the wave of the future.

  245. Re: the postal bombing packages discussion: rather than looking for extraordinary explanations, I find it more likely that the packages were simply flagged for special handling early in the distribution process due to the way they were sealed and their intended recipients. The anthrax spores sent to political leaders on the heels of 9/11 really got DC’s attention and changes were made at that time to the mail delivery process.

  246. @drhooves: Ha, yes. As someone who doesn’t have kids, pets, or men–other people’s are fun, but I don’t want anything around that cares whether or not I come home on a given night, and I maintain that’s a totally valid decision in a world with seven billion people*–and the most uncomfortable thing about the collapse of civilization as we know it for me would be having to interact with people at times and places outside my choosing, and/or not being able to select my company for common interests. (It’s also why I like socialism better than private charity–impersonal government agencies don’t want you to make small talk in exchange for aid, and I’d far rather wait in line at an office than converse with strangers for any length of time. Heck, I’d rather split kindling. Or cook meth.)

    I hope whatever the future holds has a place for cranky introverts. ;P

    On Bayoc’s ethnicity: looks like his mom’s family is Italian, American-born for a couple generations. His dad is a Filipino immigrant–but his parents divorced when he was elevenish, and it’s suggested that his father sort of split the scene at that point. Again playing armchair profiler, I’d say that fits the pattern of white supremacy/anti-immigration sentiment pretty well, as well as going some way toward explaining Bayoc’s varying claims to be Italian, Native American, and Filipino, depending on what was going on in his life at the time.

    He also apparently claimed a lot of things, like that his mom was mayor of the town, that he played soccer for a famous team, that he was a Chippendale, etc. Puts me in mind of a thankfully-less-effective version of Andrew Cunanan.

    *Although if I ever leave the city and travel less on weekends, I might end up with a profusion of dogs. I suspect I have a future as one of those snarky old ladies with A Past in 1940s British comedies.

  247. Shane W – If the guy they arrested didn’t do it (i.e., the evil authorities faked his fingerprints and DNA) then why did he say, before he lawyered up, that the bombs weren’t intended to actually hurt anyone? Or I suppose that that’s fake too?

  248. Scotlyn,

    That was just about the most intelligent and useful comment on vaccination I’ve ever seen. It should get more traction.

  249. Hello, JMG. There’s a phrase you often use that I have trouble understanding: “Got it in one.” By that, do you mean, “I totally agree with you,” or “I understand you completely,” or does it mean something else? In different contexts, this is what it seems to mean, but I could be totally off base. Thanks for answering! 🙂

  250. Hi JMG,

    I support Trump’s stand on immigration because at 325 million there are enough people in this country and letting more in only abets the third world population problem. However I empathize with the migrants. If I lived in Honduras I’d want out too. Question is what can be done for these people? One thought is billions of dollars in foreign aid and family planning –which would certainly rankle Christian Conservatives. And of course, nations are so corrupt that the money will end up in the wrong pockets and little will be accomplished. So John, what do we do for these people living in abject poverty and under the threat of constant violence and intimidation?

  251. JMG –

    I have not read as much of your writing on nature-based spirituality as others who comment here, but I have a dilemma you may be able to address. I am interested in applying many of the principles and practices of “druidry” to my life, but all of the structured programs identified as Druidry, and Magic for that matter, involve meditation and visualization exercises. I hate to admit it, but I find meditation and visualization exercises deeply disturbing and mind altering. I have read on various forums that some people struggle achieving results with these types of exercises, but in my case it is like punching a hole in a dam. Difficult to stop. Hypersensitivity to perceived energy stimulation, inconveniently timed trancelike states, enhanced precognition.

    I’m sure you have addressed this somewhere before, but would appreciate your thoughts on this.

  252. @Kevin quoted,

    “What we call progress I call shiny barbarism.” – John Anthony West

    Excellent! That’s going right on my T-shirt sayings list–

    As most of the commentariat know, I have been collecting sayings that I’d like to see on a T-shirt someday. This blog is particularly rich with them. To save on bandwidth, I parked the list on my own blog rather than pasting it here as usual. JMG, please let me know if that is some sort of protocol violation. Here’s a link for anyone interested;

    jackmanassas.blogspot.com/2018/

    hmm, that’s not the full link. Probably because its the newest entry. Well, the posting date is 27 Oct 2018 and title is ‘T-Shirt Sayings’ so hopefully that’s enough to get you there.

    Cheers,
    EG

  253. If JMG permits,
    Karim, china did never welcomed christianity either, and never cherished christians, ethnic chinese or not…

  254. @ Matthias When you say “Actually, I thought you would pick up on the fact that the number of fatalities from Yellow Fever over the decades in Brazil (which they cite) is around the same order of magnitude as the number of fatalities resulting from the vaccine in Brazil. To make sense of these competing risks, one would have to know how many people at risk were NOT vaccinated, which is not a number I know.”

    What I think happens in this kind of discussion is that people mistake the point of view from which costs and benefits are being evaluated. From the point of view of a public health administration, of course you want to have a good understanding of the overall magnitudes of disease morbidity/fatality vs treatment morbidity/fatality in order to plan and allocate your resources wisely. (That is the point of view you perhaps thought I might take.) However, I consider what it might look like from the point of view of an individual, who mainly wants to understand 1) what their personal risks and benefits are and 2) will they be able to obtain effective treatment if they are harmed.

    People act as though a choice for vaccination is a choice against disease or a choice against vaccination is a choice for disease. Actually, diseases and vaccinations are not opposed to each other, but, from the point of view of the individual, exist as the same kind of challenge to the immune system, offering the same potential benefit of enhanced future immunity. The fact is that most common diseases (although not yellow fever, obviously, at a death to infection ratio of 50% according to the study you posted) are actually as “safe” as vaccinations. When I had measles, for example, in 1963, just as vaccination was being introduced, the ratio of death to infections was around 1 in 6 million. Getting the measles was seen as being so safe that it had been taken off the notifiable diseases list years before and measles “parties” were encouraged by doctors – “get it over with”.

    From an individual point of view, while infections and vaccinations are both mostly safe exercises for your immune system, both *may* also result in complications. However, if your complication is from an infection you can be certain of receiving knowledgeable and professional treatment, whereas if your complication is from a vaccination, you can be nearly certain that professional treatment, informed by knowledge, will NOT be available to you for ideological reasons.

    I believe that it is this second factor which is now persuading many people that it’s just not worth getting vaccinated at all, because if you do happen to become one of its casualties, however rare that eventuality might be, you can be very certain you will be sidelined and neglected by your medical system forever after.

    @Onething. Thank you, this issue, like many others, has become so polarised that it is nearly impossible to win common ground within it. But, for the sake of patients with such injuries that have come to my practice seeking help, I am trying.

  255. Speaking of the Retro Future, and choosing where you want technology in your life, here is https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/digital-divide-screens-schools.html.

    If computers and on-line learning is the white Wonder bread of the future of education, the affluent and rich are starting to choose something with a little more nutrition for educating their little darlings. More and more, having kids glued to a screen in a classroom is something for the offspring of … those people.

  256. “So John, what do we do for these people living in abject poverty and under the threat of constant violence and intimidation?”
    Don’t worry, we’ll be there soon enough once the American empire is done collapsing. We’re already more than halfway there–that’s why we’ve become a waystation on the way to Canada.

  257. @jmg https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/health/microplastics-human-stool.html Data point: for the first time microplastics found in the human gut in every sample from a diverse, global number of countries.

    Perhaps you see things differently, but I view “global warming” as pretty far down the list of highest priorities, partially because it is the one least directly deadly but mostly because it is the one we can do the least about. Using the “strike the root” principal, “fighting” global warming the the last thing humanity should directly concern itself with at this late juncture.

    So why are governments and banksters around the world pretty much united in going on and on and on about global warming? I can guess: (1) Most profitable in terms of both money and power transfer (2) Least likely to stampede the sheeple. Few of our Overlords are really that concerned about climate change. They already own plenty of real estate in cooler climates and can always buy more. Meantime, it makes an ideal, ongoing, never-ending “enemy” to pretend to battle as they continue to fight their oil wars and jetset around the planet in various displays of conspicuous consumption.

    Addressing the fouling our own nests with microplastics and the Russian Roulette of known and unknown chemicals of which they unleash, on the other hand, is something which is (a) more important (because it is far more scientifically easy and non-controversial to prove this stuff is nasty) (b) much more doable on a very short time scale at relatively moderate cost (c) a indirect, low cost way to likely impact greenhouse gas emissions but, regardless, a powerful step toward defending the ecology.

    Why don’t they do that? Your theory – hubris – is interesting but seems unlikely by itself. I’m guessing a closer answer is because it isn’t profitable – in terms of both money and power transfer. Anyway, I thought you would appreciate the article.

  258. @isabelcooper

    I suspect I have a future as one of those snarky old ladies with A Past in 1940s British comedies.

    Have you read Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt? If not, I strongly recommend that you do 🙂

  259. Dear Mr. Greer:
    As a first time “commenter” on your new blog let me just say that I am really enjoying a lot of the thoughts and insights you are providing, and I’m glad that Well of Galabes is archived here. Now I hope you don’t mind if I ask two questions.
    1) Given that much of classical Western esotericism and contemporary Paganisms emerged in their modern forms from the milieu of Counter-Enlightenment Romanticism I’m honestly surprised more Pagans and occultists don’t choose Red Toryism, distributism, neo-Jacobitism (at least as quasi-religious aestheticism), and related movements as valid alternatives to both the center-left and alt-right. I mean, considering the shared aesthetics and Neoplatonic worldview it would seem like a match made in Heaven. I realize this kind of High Tory, theopolitical conservativism is outside the radar of most Americans (with the exceptions of some Anglicans, Catholics, and Orthodox), but at the risk of sounding like a naïve romantic why isn’t this connection being made?
    2) What would you speculate to be a probable future for Christianity either in the US or in general; and for those of us who want to hold on to the best of its traditions and mysteries what do we need to do as seed-bearers to maintain them during both the Changing of the Gods and the Salvage Age? On your older blog (the Archdruid Report) I seem to recall you suggesting placing more emphasis on an Incarnational and Kenotic Christology, on membership in the Church as membership in the Mystical Body of Christ, and something about hospitality, but the details are fuzzy. Have these points changed since then? I don’t want to sound sectarian, which isn’t my intention, but I would like to see sacramental Christianity to continue, partly because of its historic compatibility with the Western Mystery Tradition; although to be fair, some radical Protestant sects like Jane Lead’s Philadelphian Society also seemed to be compatible. On a related note, you and some readers here might find this link of interest: https://www.thecenterforsophiologicalstudies.com/g/the-alternative-christianity
    I look forward to your response, keep up the excellent work, and have a blessed Samhain and Hallowmas.
    Sincerely,
    Christopher Kildare

  260. Shane,

    A few Proud Boys were arrested recently in New York, and of course the killer of Heather Hayer (the other 18 victims of whom were lucky enough to survive) will spend his life in prison. And while today’s Pittsburgh bris shooter identified as an ex-Trump supporter, part of his stated motivation was to stop the caravan of refugees Trump has stirred up so much zeal about recently. So no, it really does seem that some white people have been brought to justice for attacks against perceived opponents of Trump’s initiatives.

    JMG,

    Following up on something I mentioned here a while back, I’m very curious to see if any of the recent terrorist attacks inspire Patriot Prayer to march in support, as they marched after mass-transit murders earlier. I wouldn’t expect them to boost the MAGAbomber or the bris shooter (who can count three police officers among his kills), but maybe the failed church shooter who killed two people execution-style in Jeffersontown, Kentucky on Wednesday, is the sort of attacker they can support.

    Overall, this week especially, I get the distinct impression that the Right is getting frustrated with the pace of change available by legal means, even with control of all branches of the Federal government and nearly enough states to call a constitutional convention. My side of this conflict is still hopeful that elections can be effective, and hasn’t acted desperate for half a century or so, but I’m deeply concerned at how often I hear statements from this side of the aisle that one institution or another is beyond repair.

  261. Regarding the ‘bomb’ scare – does this whole thing not show a remarkable similarity to many other media – galvanising smokescreens that we’ve seen over the last few years? I’ll speculate that someone doesn’t want us paying attention to what happens with the migrant caravan.

  262. @David-by-the-Lake,
    About Moses Trump in the Rollercoaster–
    The dream seems to me to be saying that we are all on that rollercoaster (the American Empire perhaps?), currently at the top of the hill but soon to plunge down. You are finding your proper seat on it, and rightly taking your time, but you and we will all ride it to the bottom.
    Trump is dressed like Moses because he believes that he is a leader, that he is in control by sitting in the front of the coaster, and that his fancy Moses outfit gives him power and authority to get things done. But in reality he is sitting on a coaster with the rest of us. The wheels of his cart are locked onto the same track as the carts we are sitting in, and in fact he has no control over the course of the coaster’s journey. By placing himself first, Trump/Moses may only have insured that he will be first to arrive at the bottom.

    That was an intriguing dream! Thank you for sharing it.
    I do wonder why it is paused at the peak of the tracks–That is a VERY unnatural place for a coaster to stop.
    Perhaps you have a different understanding of your dream, or will get one. If so, yours is likely the more correct interpretation.

  263. One of the strange aspect of the recent thin with the mail bombs is that so many people, even here, insist, that it must have been a real thing, despite the obvious inconsistencies in the story. It sure will be interesting to see what effect, if any, it has on the outcome of the midterms!

  264. Re: Vaccines

    Thank you again, Scotlyn. I do think we have quite a bit of common ground, don’t you? In fact, I also acquired my immunity against measles and chickenpox the old-fashioned way.

    If my daughter had developed dangerous symptoms on the days following one of her vaccinations, I do think the pediatrist attending her would have paid attention to this possible cause. With regard to possible rare adverse consequences that appear years later, it is unfortunately quite a challenge to prove a causal relationship because of the countless possible biases. That is equally valid for an infection, an accident or a vaccine.

    I think it is much easier to argue for the benefits of vaccination against diseases with a high risk of death or invalidity for the person vaccines or her offspring (such as polio and rubella). When the vaccination is paid for [i] either [/i] out of pocket by the patient [i] or [/i] by a public system, the cost is an effective counterweight against unnecessary vaccination. With private health-care, here as for all other interventions, there is the perverse incentive for the health-care provider to “treat” as much as possible.

  265. @bogatyr, isabelcooper:

    “Travels with my aunt” is exactly what I thought of, but I didn’t want to presume on isabel’s character!

    I have never laughed out loud as often as when reading that book.

  266. John Roth,

    In this case I am finding the Michael teaching confusing or inadequate. It makes sense for people to be afraid of spiders and snakes in general, but I don’t think that explains other phobias very well, such as fear of heights or my particular one of rather extreme fear of suffocation and immobilization.
    What is the Michael teaching on reincarnation?

  267. Greetings all,

    I’ve been on the road this weekend, hobnobbing with Freemasons and Rosicrucians in central Pennsylvania, and the wifi on the Amtrak train south from Rhode Island didn’t work, which foiled my plan for responding to comments on Friday! Thus the delay in responding. On to the comments…

    Peter, thanks for the data point. Interesting…

    Shane, you really do need to come visit New England sometime; your take on it strikes me as being about as accurate as the average New Englander’s take on, say, Kentucky…

    Sandy, the other thing that’s clear is that “smart cars” are going to be purely an affectation of the well-to do. $17,000 for a windshield? A vast number of Americans don’t pay that for a car.

    Kfish, oh, I figured. It’s just US folktale that every living thing down under wants to feast on your life’s blood!

    Patricia, I don’t happen to have figures as to the exact location of sales of Twilight’s Last Gleaming. I know when I ran the original series of posts on the old blog, Russian readers were well represented.

    Fred, no, you’ve got it; my take is that if you do that kind of working, the blowback you can expect is that anything you’re hiding is likely to be suddenly made public knowledge.

    Varun, and of course that’s also valid. DWS is on the right wing radar because she was central to the schemes that got Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination when a fair contest would almost certainly have given it to Sanders.

    Samurai_47, thanks for this!

    DaisyGrace, talk to her, apologize, and explain what happened. That ought to do the trick.

    Oskari, interesting. Thank you for this! Tolkien knew the Kalevala inside and out — he learned Finnish to read it in the original — so he may have been inspired by that.

    Onething, heavens, no — you time planting and harvest by the Moon, not the Sun.

    Azure, I know. There’s been a huge amount of skepticism about the media accounts.

    E. Goldstein, hah! A nice point.

  268. Yoyo,

    I watched the ad. I found it disturbing. It wouldn’t influence my decision one way or the other but I thought it was a cheap shot. Anyway, if Jesus donated his organs he couldn’t resurrect so it mockingly ignores the special nature of his death and the way his resurrection is supposed to be an important factor in salvation. In Easter services they say things like “by his death he conquered death.” I don’t believe that myself, but the ad is deeply insulting to Christian faith.

  269. Don’t know if this was on your radar, JMG, (or anyone else’s who practices Druidry) but a Druidic religious group had a public Samhain celebration here in East Tennessee yesterday. Apparently the event went well, which makes me glad, because those of you who have been to (or live in) Tennessee know that the general public’s attitude here towards non-Christian religions is…disapproving, to put it nicely.

    https://www.wate.com/news/local-news/athens-woman-holding-druidic-event-to-honor-ancestors/1542413380

  270. J.L.Mc12, I’ll doubtless get around sometime to doing an FAQ page for this blog, and my standard response to questions about bicycles in the deindustrial future will be on that. The short form is that I’m unconvinced that they make any kind of sense without such industrial products as good ball bearings. As for the chukudu, I don’t; there are plenty of toys for sale these days, and I don’t have an opinion about most of them.

    Chris, so far the grid in the US is quite functional if you live in an urban area. a little less so in the poorer parts of the countryside. We’ve still got an imperial tribute economy helping to fund our extravagances!

    Denys, thanks for the data points! As for the bombs, well, we’ll see. I simply noted the obvious inconsistencies in the initial reports; the stories have been changing so rapidly and the haze of rhetoric has gotten so thick it may be a while before clarity arrives.

    Christopher, I tend to think that the mathematicians of the 27th century will have more or less finished salvaging the useful bits from what survives of our mathematical tradition — probably less than 1% of the total — and will likely be veering off in directions that make no sense to us at all. As for the Silver John stories, I gather that the revival of interest in weird fiction hasn’t gotten to Wellman yet!

    Dusk Shine, well, we’ll see!

    Patricia M., you’re most welcome.

    Shane, that sounds plausible. As for the fall of the house of Saud, well, we’ll see!

    Justin, it’ll happen when somebody decides to commit the time and energy to make it happen, and not a moment before.

    David, understood. It’s hard work, and not many people will be willing to try it.

    James, thanks for this. Interesting…

    Phil K., thanks for this also.

    Gnat, by all means see what you can do. If nothing else, it’ll be an education!

    Botanist, welcome to the deindustrial world. As I’ve been saying for quite a few years now, it’s not going to be pretty.

    Pogonip, well, we’ll just have to see.

    Puzzled, I think most of my occult books are available in legitimate e-book formats. As for the books you cited, they teach several different systems of magic. Learning Ritual Magic and Circles of Power teach traditional Golden Dawn magic; The Druidry Handbook teaches a form of magic specific to one tradition of Druidry; The Celtic Golden Dawn teaches a form of magic specific to a different tradition of Druidry. They are not interchangeable; they use different methods and draw on different sources of magical energy.

    Jim W., in that case I’ll let you hash things out with the two other postal employees who say you’re wrong.

    Tripp, you may well be right, but we’ll see.

  271. @JMG, on the haze: Yeah, that is one of the problems I’ve found with the 24-hour reporting: virtually nobody takes time to verify facts, because they want to get the story out before everyone else *and* keep broadcasting new updates, even in the lack of any such thing. I remember feeling vaguely bad about not staying up-to-date on broadcast news when I was younger, but these days I think a once-daily or even once-weekly report for most things would be better, with live broadcasts reserved for anything that required urgent action (active crime in your area, tornadoes, etc).

    I have seen a page from a regional station (which I consider vaguely more trustworthy) quoting the executive director of the American Philatelic Society as saying that eighty percent of packages these days go through without machine cancellations. Usually they’re supposed to be hand-marked, but lack of funding/staffing, especially during busy periods*, means many workers don’t bother. (I suspect many assume that nobody would bother re-using stamps anyhow, or not enough people to matter, but that’s extrapolating from my own attitudes. :P) The APS strikes me as nerdy enough to be a neutral source, but that again might be my prejudices at work, and it’s true that there are varying reports from postal workers within this thread,.

    Now, actually, I’m wondering if those differences have to do with the size of communities served? It might be more common for packages to get sent unmarked in a big city or a central hub, for instance, where the workload is heavier, worker turnover is generally quicker, and workers commensurately might care less? I don’t know the relative beats anyone here has worked, granted…

    I’m also sooort of curious as to why law enforcement is reporting the bombs as dangerous when the evidence and the suspect’s confession suggests that they were unlikely to be lethal–Robert Mathiesen, who I’m trusting won’t mind me quoting him here, and apologies if I’m wrong, mentioned that the powder-to-air ratio was way off, and my own amateur experience with PVC pipe suggests that it’s not likely to cause serious harm if it explodes*–but then, it makes sense from their perspective of wanting the guy charged with as much as they can manage. (I am glad dude is off the street, as he was definitely escalating toward *something*, and I frankly support anything that keeps him away from guns, bombs, heavy machinery, and sharp objects of any sort.) And technically they did have the potential for injury, I think, if only of the “someone might have lost a toe” sort you hear about with firecrackers.

    *Always the chance of a freak accident, of course, but PVC breaks *far* easier than metal, as any LARPer who’s ever put more mustard on a swing than intended can tell you, and my cursory physics knowledge suggests that you need resistance to get real strength from an explosion.

  272. Dewey, yes, someone has been arrested. Last I checked he’s innocent until proven guilty, and it does happen, you know, that the wrong person gets arrested. We’ll all have to see how it plays out.

    Ronnie, that seems curious to me, too. I’d be interested in your take on Jim’s insistence that all of this is perfectly ordinary.

    Patricia M., again, ahem, “innocent until proven guilty.” He’s a suspect at this point. Did he do it? I don’t have any idea.

    Walt, many thanks for this. Can you recommend a good book that discusses the geohistory of Avalonia?

    Guillem66, the other half comes from the Solar Logos, of course.

    Phil H., north of here in Canada there are rock formations belonging to the Canadian Shield that are, if I recall correctly, older than that. It’s a well-aged planet!

    Blue Sun, I’m familiar with history, and so I know that this sort of thing goes on all the time. Politics are full of fraud and deception, always have been, always will be. Thus it doesn’t greatly faze me to hear that another example has just surfaced.

    Christopher, phobias can have a wide range of causes, but I think it’s quite plausible that some of them could be the result of trauma in previous lives.

  273. Dear Peter, might I respectfully suggest that you read Cabbages and Kings by O. Henry and Nostromo, by Joseph Conrad, for excellent fictional accounts of North American corporate meddling in South and Central American countries. The geography is a bit strange in the O. Henry, but otherwise the set of interconnected short stories are, IMHO, his best work. The Conrad features a character whom, I suspect, may have been loosely based on Garibaldi, who lived for a time in South America. Such meddling was for the purpose of resource extraction and was backed up by the threat of military invasion–gunboat diplomacy.

    The first thing we need to do is back off and mind our own affairs and in particular find a way to control the depredations of rapacious business interests. Which is not easy when our entire Congress has been bought and paid for.

    As for the so-called ‘caravans’. someone has to have organized and be paying for this demonstration; I would like to know whom that is. Note that the organizers don’t spend money in situ to improve people’s lives, that might be dangerous. Nor have they thought to document Mme. Clinton’s involvement in the removal of a democratically elected leftist president, that might make former president Obama look bad.

  274. @onething
    Re: Reincarnation

    I can’t address confusion without knowing specifically what’s confusing and exactly where the explanation went off the rails for you.

    As far as Michael’s teaching on (re)incarnation, there are two (or three) images I’ve found helpful. The first is beads on a string, or possibly a Chambered Nautilus. The string is the soul, and the beads are incarnations. It shows the sequential nature of reincarnation. The Nautilus image also shows that what’s present builds on what’s past – each chamber is an incarnation.

    The image I have for Michael’s teaching is that of a kind of plant called a clonal colony, such as an Aspen. These plants have a vast root system, and what look like individual trees share that root system. They’re actually one organism that may cover considerable territory and be extremely old. Consult Wikipedia for more information on clonal colonies.

    This image is inverted from the usual conception that the Astral Plane is somehow “above” the Physical Plane. The ground where the root system exists is the astral, and the open air where the individual-appearing plants appear are the individual lifetimes.

    The analogy here is that each apparently independent tree arises directly from the same root system; it has no direct relationship to any other apparently independent tree. In the same way, each lifetime arises directly from the “root system” on the astral, and is connected to the other lifetimes only by that same root system. We call this “Essence.”

    That’s not a great image since there are a lot of things it does not show, and a number where what it does show is wrong, but it at least is an image to get started on the critical differences between the classic view and Michael’s view.

    And, of course, the Christian “one life” stance is looking at the individual trees. The Father is the root system (although Christians might regard that as a stretch.)

  275. Also, I got wrapped up in my alternate life as an FBI agent, and forgot to express my sympathy and commiseration re: the WiFi. I have taken, I think, the same train a fair dozen or two times in my life (Northeast Regional to NYC, Pennsylvanian from there?) and the WiFi is generally awful. (I *had* been hoping that new all-remote job meant I could take the train down to see my parents and work from there, thus feeling better about my affect on the planet and also skipping the security theater in the airport*, but the lack of reliable Internet nixes that idea.) Weirdly, it’s better on bus, at least on the NYC-Boston route, at least in my experience.

    * My ankles always set off the body scanner. Jeans, khakis, skirt and flats and socks, doesn’t matter. Has my devotion to Hermes caused me to start growing wings in that area? Do I have terroristic tibias? It’s distinctly odd.

  276. Nastarana,

    Very cogent comment, and especially the obvious fact that this caravan has been organized and paid for by someone. This is what we should be investigating. Who organized it? I continue to be dismayed at how quickly most people fall for all these antics. But they are becoming more suspicious.

  277. Last night I read Paracelsus’ essay on nature spirits. What a bizarre argument he presents; he reiterates over and over again that nature spirits don’t have souls and then claims that Undines can gain a soul by marrying a man, which seems to imply that the Roman Church performed marriages rites on man and nymph! The nymph/human children then have souls too, according to the great alchemist.

    This argument that nature spirits lack souls finds itself reiterated in Matthew Wood’s writing on the magical dimensions of herbalism and then, of course, in Dion Fortune. In her Applied Magic she claims that as nature spirits develop in complexity they seek humans to initiate them into “spark of individual consciousness” [p. 46].

    I find this all very perplexing, since the Greek thought on this runs very differently. Take the story of Ino, mentioned in The Odyssey, and then in the first volume of Pausanias’ ancient travel guide to the religious and historical sites in Greece. The story starts with a simple peasant girl, Zeus falls in love with her, Hera drives her mad and then Ino, in a fit of insanity, throws herself into the sea where she becomes a goddess and proceeds to be worshipped in shrines all over Greece! She saves Odysseus after Poseidon wrecks his raft when the son of Laertes leaves the island of Calypso.

    Point being, in Greek stories the nymphs seem, to my mind, in every way more powerful and intelligent and whatnot then humans. There are all sorts of Orphic hymns to the nymphs and water spirits as well. There then is the phenomenon of “nympholepsis” in which people become inspired by the nymphs. Socrates mentions this in a dialog, and then, of course, there is Archedemos, a man who made a shrine to the nymphs in a cave over many years who was possessed by the nymphs — perhaps quite literally! — and tended a cave and garden at their direction.

    My questions, for those with experience in such things, are two: 1) is the sort of philosophy promulgated by Paracelsus and then, apparently, repeated by many in western culture, simply a reflection of the Christian orthodoxies of his day? He seems determined to define the nature spirits as objects rather than subjects, and even says that God must have made them to impress humans and guard treasure! 2) do you think that the nature spirits, sensu lato, are soulless and need humans to initiate them as described Dion Fortune? Is this more of a specialized thing? Complete nonsense? Honestly, I have an instinctive distrust for this assertion given Greek myth, which elevates the many classes of nymphs well above humans, but I also distrust my own prejudices and so I ask to see other people’s thoughts, opinions and experiences.

  278. JMG,

    I figured your broad perspective played a role in keeping you from getting spooked over things like this. It still amazes me that this doesn’t scare you.

    Hopefully with practice and patience I can learn to become more like you!

  279. With regards to the microplastic in the human gut, I’m shocked, shocked to find out that we are consuming the pollution we dump so casually into the environment. Almost as shocked as I would be to find gambling happening in a casino!

  280. Isabel, and it’s entirely possible that he did it. I simply think it’s crucial to remember that under our constitution, a suspect is innocent until proven guilty, and it stands to reason that the police would arrest someone who was a plausible suspect, which of course this guy certainly is.

    Patricia O., the suspect’s ethnicity will be sedulously ignored by certain politico-cultural factions, no doubt! As for this blog, it uses WordPress software but it’s hosted on servers I pay for. I’ll talk to my IT guy to make sure it’s not at risk of being shut down by WordPress.

    Kevin, that’s a good line.

    Drhooves, it happens all the time when civilizations decline. Middle classes are a product of mature civilized societies; they don’t exist during dark ages and medieval periods, and grow only slowly as a society ripens; then they go away again in the decline, as the economic niches that make them possible shut down.

    Phil H., many thanks!

    SpiceisNice, that seems like a plausible take on things.

    Chris, no question, I’m going to have to get off my rump and write that FAQ page.

    Robert, good heavens — now there’s a blast from the past. I’d forgotten the author but the title brought it back. Thank you.

    David, a vivid dream-metaphor! To what extent do you see Trump as a figure who might plausibly lead people out of some kind of bondage and toward some kind of promised land?

    Nastarana, you know, there are times when I wonder whether Satan’s going to file a defamation suit against all those people who like to link him to Monsanto. “Sure, I’m the Prince of Darkness and the Father of Lies, but how dare you compare me to those slimebuckets?” 😉

    That said, of course, your point is sound. Note also that, until he was poisoned, Johnson was a member of the working class, not the government-dependent poverty class. He’s thus one of the people the middle classes treat as the enemy.

    Stacy, an interesting hypothesis. Do you think any mail to such addresses would be exempt from usual handling procedures?

    Yoyo, I’ll have to leave that to someone else, as I don’t watch videos.

    Jbucks, thanks for this. I’ll take a look at it when I’m not contending with bad wifi.

    Norma, fair enough! It’s a reference to hitting a target. “Got it in one” means that you hit the target on the first try.

    Peter, you’re assuming that anyone anywhere has the power and the resources to do anything meaningful about the poverty and violence in the Third World. I’d like to challenge that assumption. We can’t even maintain the lifestyle of the comfortable classes in the industrial world without wrecking the environment and drawing down irreplaceable natural resources at an unsustainable pace. As a result, in the decades to come, the comfortable classes of the industrial world will be experiencing a descent into lifestyles like those of people in Honduras, and the blithe assurance that we can make life better for people in the Third World will be shown to be the cornucopian delusion it’s been all along.

    Hew, in that case you should leave visualization and meditation strictly alone. There are several things that can cause such problems; excessive drug use in this or your immediately previous lives is a common reason, but there are others. If you want to practice Druidry anyway, you certainly can; just focus on the Earth Path (living in harmony with the cycles and processes of nature) and whatever form of celebration of the solstices and equinoxes works for you; there are other traditional practices such as poetry, music, and the arts that you can integrate into such a path. Druidry is flexible enough to make room for people with different capacities and limits.

  281. isabelcooper-

    Re: airport security

    Comic Harry Shearer’s radio program, Le Show, used to have a segment called ‘Tales of Airport Security’ (might still have it, I haven’t heard the show in a couple of years) to which listeners could submit tales of their own experiences at airports. One women reported that in the security line, the man in front of her wearing heavy boots was not asked to remove his shoes for scanning, but she was required to remove her flip-flops. Speaks volumes.

  282. John Roth,

    Sorry! I am not really seeing a difference with your explanation. You have said the the MT allow for some seven levels of soul maturation, with a few lifetimes for each one. This seems like my understanding. If that is so, there is a sequential nature of a soul learning. It seems also true to me that there is a ‘something greater’ that our lifetimes are part of. That who I seem to be in this lifetime is largely a temporary construct but also a part of a larger self.

    The analogy I have dreamed up is that of an actress who becomes so engaged with her characters in each movie that she quite forgets who she is, and only when the movie is finished she suddenly comes to herself and says, “Oh! I am Merly Streep! And I have done movies before…and I have relationships as Meryl Streep.” But then she does another movie, and again forgets.

    I don’t see this as compatible with Christianity. (Of course, Christianity could change its mind.) I’m also a little puzzled by you saying that the larger root system is the Father. Again, Christians don’t seem to think that they are synonymous with God.

    Perhaps we are. This is to me almost a separate question, that of individuality versus the One. Are we all emanations of the One while retaining some individuality?

    The evidence at this point is overwhelming that some souls come into this world with intact memories of prior lives, including much emotion. Either that is the case, or there is some very weird trickery going on, in which some kid willy nilly picks up the frequencies of some random person’s lifetime and comes in with it, again, full memory with emotion. To get a feel for the kind of case I’m talking about, look of James Leininger.

    It seems to me this argument about just in what way lives are connected is almost a matter of personal style. Yes, your nautilus compartments are separate compartments, but your descriptions of the trajectory of soul maturation is standard reincarnation so far as I can see.

  283. @JMG: Oh, definitely–I can see all sorts of angles on this one. (He did confess, but a lot of people confess for a lot of reasons, and, for that matter, Bayoc only seems to have a loose acquaintance with the truth in several areas: he could simply have claimed credit because it fed into his particular fantasies, without even a strong suggestion from law enforcement.) The police and so forth aren’t stupid, and I’m certainly not the only one out there who’s read John Douglas or watched Criminal Minds. 🙂 And I’m sort of reacting to this whole thing as if it were an episode of the latter, or a mystery novel, I realize–since nobody was hurt, it’s interesting to figure out how things would have worked if the bombs were real versus not, and why.

  284. John, the digital divide is likely to be a major factor on the downslope, but I don’t think it’ll play out the way the media thinks. As I see it, digital culture will become the opiate of the privileged, an increasingly private unreality into which the well-to-do will retreat, and into which they will confine their children, while people outside the narrowing circle of privilege turn their attention back to getting by in the real world. I’ll leave it to you to imagine which group will be better off as the resource basis for the technology winds down…

    Gnat, thanks for this. My take, for what it’s worth, is that the mindset of the elite classes of the industrial world is rooted in a profound terror of change and of difference. Nothing can be allowed to change, nor can any serious difference of opinion be allowed; “diversity” can only take the form of biological variability, for the supremacy of Western post-Enlightenment culture is treated as an absolute truth from which no deviation can be permitted, and it’s a matter of faith that in due time everyone else will realize that the elite is right and its attitudes are eternally true. The issues that the elite considers important are those its members can fit into this very narrow worldview.

    Activism against global climate change is popular as a cause among elites because it can be portrayed as part of the grand War Against Change; the neverending meltdown over Trump is driven by the fact that he’s changing things, and change cannot be allowed. On the other hand, issues such as peak oil and microplastic pollution cannot be addressed or even thought about, because they show that the existing order of things is causing change, and that’s so far beyond mere blasphemy it doesn’t even bear thinking about.

    Christopher K, (1) have the advocates for those viewpoints done anything to make their ideas known to the occult and Neopagan communities? I’ve seen no sign of this — quite the contrary, counter-Enlightenment thought is presented in terms that presuppose either a strict religious orthodoxy or a standard materialistic scientism, and so cause occultists and pagans to roll their eyes and go looking elsewhere. (2) If sacramental Christianity is to survive in the US, it’s going to have to shake itself loose from its current fossilized hierarchies and their attendant socioeconomic commitments. The independent sacramental movement in Christianity has taken steps in that direction, but small ones, and they haven’t really caught on. Meanwhile the formerly mainstream churches are imploding as a result of their surrender to a politically liberal “atheism lite” and the conservative churches are heading down the same road due to their own heavy political and economic commitments. Unless something changes in the decades immediately ahead, I don’t see much of a future for Christianity in the US and post-US North America, though it may be a while before the roof finally falls in.

    Joel, my take is that it’s only on the ultra-extreme right that that’s an option, and they’re a very small group. The great majority of conservatives, extending well out into alt-right territory, are committed to the hope that Trump can continue to change things the way they wish, and they’re putting all their spare energy into winning the midterms and bracing themselves for the 2020 campaign.

    Christopher H., maybe so. We’ll have to see.

    Booklover, these days people believe what they want to believe…

    James, delighted to hear it.

  285. @ JMG, @ philharris, @ E. Goldstein

    Re dreams, roller-coasters, and Trump-as-Moses

    I’ve sat with the imagery for a bit now and this is what I’ve come up with so far.

    The roller-coaster wasn’t in any state of disrepair or broken in any way, so my assumption is that the ride would be wild, potentially uncomfortable, and even scary, but we’d get to the bottom in one piece. Trump-Moses in the dream did not feel presumptuous; rather, the front seat was the proper place for him. He was leading and doing so rightfully, that much was obvious in the dream-world.

    As I mentioned, my dream-self felt no sense of danger or anxiety. More like, “well, here we go!”

    John, to your question about my seeing Trump as leading us to the promised land, I don’t know that I’d go that far. I will admit, however, that I see him as a historical change-agent, and so far as the only politician who has been willing to begin to break the status quo. Certainly, he’d not have been my choice for catalyst (far from it), but given a binary choice between Trump and the status quo ante…

    However, as I write this another thought comes to mind. If one considers Moses as initiator-of-the-journey, in contrast with Joshua as completer-of-the-journey, perhaps the imagery does fit.

  286. @Beekeeper: Ha! I have voiced my suspicions that there’s a widespread foot fetish in the TSA before this. ;P

    Also, I will put Shearer’s show on the list–I’ve generally liked his bits.

  287. isabel cooper: my ankles always set off a security alarm as well. I know they’re swollen with varicose veins etc and firmly incased in support stockings, but one young TSA woman pointed out that my clothes were extremely baggy. i.e. not the tight, clinging, form-fitting wear currently fashionable. Having neither the figure to wear them nor the inclination, I dress for comfort in what was fashionable a few decades ago. Could that be the problem? Anyway, it’s a pesky nuisance; and out here, trains are not an option unless you’re headed straight for Los Angeles.

  288. Isabel, I get that some packages might not have their stamps canceled. But no cancellation, no postmark, no bar code, nothing? And insufficient postage? And the shifting story from “came by mail” to “came by courier” to “came by some courier we aren’t going to name that conveniently didn’t put any markings on the package at all”? I’m perfectly capable of being mistaken, but it still doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    As for the wifi, well, that’s Amtrak for you. It’s still more pleasant than most other modes of travel, and the upside was that I got 2000 words of The Weird of Hali: Arkham written on the way down: an entire scene, involving shantaks in the New Jersey pine barrens and a mysterious old man who seems to know something about Charles Dexter Ward… As for buses, I’ve noticed that as well: good wifi service, though no leg room and no cafe car. 😉

    Violet, my take here is that Paracelsus and the Greeks were dealing with different classes of beings. The naiads and nereids of Greek legend are minor sea deities — you can find their kin in Japanese legend as the kami of individual bays and straits. The undines, the elementals of water, are a much simpler class of being. There are also beings between those two points on the scale of being.

    Blue Sun, I’m not particularly scared by my own death, either; I dealt quite some time ago with the fact that this body is very noticeably impermanent and will give out in due time. If you’ve come to terms with your own mortality, there’s not much else that will make you frightened.

    Isabel, no question, it’s a fascinating little case.

  289. “an entire scene, involving shantaks in the New Jersey pine barrens and a mysterious old man who seems to know something about Charles Dexter Ward”

    More spoilers! 😉

    On a different topic, drug use in past lifetimes can have impacts on meditation in future ones? I was under the impression it was the impact on the nervous system that caused problems with meditation. While I can see it carrying over for later in this life, the fact it affects the next one seems implausible according to that model. I guess there’s more to it then.

    More broadly, I’m struck by the number of things that carry over from life to life, and now can’t help but wonder if part of the fear of reincarnation is related to people not wanting to deal with the consequences of their current lifetimes, both on a global and personal perspective….

  290. When it comes to fraud and deception in American politics, I think the writings of Leo Strauss are important, and that fraud and deception have gotten us into at least two wars in the last 20 years, wars that Trump has at times condemned – to his credit. But he has been characteristically inconsistent in his condemnation. I’ve just gotten a copy of Leo Strauss’s “Thoughts on Machiavelli” which I’m trying to find time to read. It’s probably very timely.

  291. With regards to the future of Christianity, I’m wondering about something currently off most people’s radars, but which I think may play a very prominent role in the future: I’m far from the only non-Christian who has has profound experiences of the Christian god, or at least the one the Anglicans around where I live worship. This god is profoundly powerful, and very happy to work with however wants to worship him.

    Particularly with the way so many of the Anglicans are happy to work with people who don’t believe in their god, I wonder if this might become the nucleus for a Heneotheistic Christian church. Given that the god and the church community seem happy to work with and accept those who don’t believe all the Christian doctrines, even pagans, while reserving baptism for those who are willing to pledge themselves to him, things look promising for a move in that direction. One of them has even said she knows other gods exist, but the one she worships has been so good to her she sees no need to look elsewhere.

    Given that many of the worst features of Christianity came from the confidence they had exclusive truth, and many of the rhetorical weapons used against Christianity these days break down if they abandon that claim, I find it easy to imagine a future where this sort of Christianity plays a large role.

    Two other things that impress me about them is that there are quite a few children at the services, which is rare at most churches; and the pastor has outright called progress a myth, in the usual “false story about the world” meaning. He’s quite clear that the goal is not to build heaven on Earth, but to live a life centered on the gospel, even, or perhaps especially, where it means going against our culture.

  292. JMG,

    I just started reading Vine Deloria’s God is Red. The timing for your final post on the subject I don’t think is an accident.

    Deloria’s exploration of the land, it’s history and the spirits associated with it reminded me a lot of William Butler Yeats and the foreword he wrote in A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend, and Folklore.

    Between the ideas of the two, I worry what sort of stories with the land we’ll have in future generations. Perhaps I shouldn’t worry too much.. there’s always someone out there willing to put a positive spin on things.

  293. John,

    I totally agree with you. Right now, we are probably or at near peak internet. As go past peak, things will certainly go in a different direction.

    I just rather amused at the class divide that is appearing with on-line education – for now.

    To continue my baking metaphor, as it becomes more and more difficult to maintain mass market industrial bread baking facilities, it’s possibly that even a variant of Wonder Bread will be redefined as upper middle class item, once the lower classes no longer have access to it.

  294. @ JMG

    Re the dream

    Agreed. Quite fascinating. It was one of those dreams where you’re aware you’re dreaming even as your dream-self is within the context of the dream. The whole time, I was thinking “Oh, I’ve just got to remember this one!”

    Re politics

    Just out of curiosity, I did a single–figure geomantic cast on the question of my continuing after this term and came up Populus, indicating the issue is reliant on others and other forces. I took this to mean something like “too early to tell,” which fits.

  295. An apparent lack of critical thinking: using wood to extract water from air.
    See https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/21/water-abundance-xprize-winner/
    The headline (and subhead):
    The latest Xprize winner harvests drinking water from the air
    A device in a shipping container could solve water shortages.

    The big, beautiful photo shows women with bundles of twigs on their heads approaching the shipping container, and women cheerfully carrying jugs of water on their heads walking away from it. That’s the foreground that we’re suppose to see. Look at the background, though, and what don’t you see? Trees, or even bushes more than knee-high! Shouldn’t it be obvious that if the land is so dry that you can’t dig a well for water, that it will also be so dry that you can’t grow trees? If this is a “pump and dump” scam on investors, … well, maybe they want investors who aren’t smart enough to see the fallacy even when it’s staring them in the face.

  296. Re: “brown M&Ms”. The story (as I recall hearing it, probably on a “Freakonomics” podcast) was not that the rock band Van Halen wanted a bowl of brown M&Ms in their dressing room, but that they wanted a bowl of every color except brown. This meant that someone from the promoter’s office had to pick through the candy to remove the brown ones. If, when the band arrived and inspected the bowl, they found the ordinary mix of colors, they knew that the contract had not be read with sufficient care to assure them that their other, safety-critical, requirements would also be met. Rather than climb up into the stage rigging with a torque wrench to make sure that the bolts were tight and so on, the brown M&Ms were a warning signal that corners were being cut.

  297. “Can you recommend a good book that discusses the geohistory of Avalonia?”

    Alas, I can’t. I read about it from various sources (articles, book excerpts, and papers) online. I’d been looking into the geohistory of the Appalachians for background, when I was writing my Merigan Tales story “The Heart of Winter.” (Thus do your subtle workings turn.) Basic summary accounts (such as the U.S. Geological Survey, here) mentioned that the range ended up in the center of Pangaea, so I Googled the formation of Pangaea to find out what other plate margins had converged there. That led me to Avalonia via sources like Paleos Earth, here. I was floored to learn that England and New England shared common pre- or early-Cambrian rock. I’d always thought the rest of New England was more or less the erosional outwash of the northern Appalachians. (That still appears to be true for e.g. Cape Cod, and much of the present surface layers we walk on, thanks to glacial incursions that were eye-blink-recent compared with the deep history Avalonia is part of.) And I’m still surprised that although Avalonia tends to be mentioned in well-researched “local geological history” articles for appropriate places, including London and Rhode Island, it’s not a widely reported “fun fact” that large areas of England and New England used to be part of the same ancient land mass.

    This page posted by the appropriately named Avalonia Land Conservancy excerpts two books (with citation), the excerpts apparently being the books’ entire Avalonia-related content. (The brief latter excerpt points out that the local pink-flecked granite is uniquely characteristic of Avalonian rock.) I suspect the longer excerpt is typical of what a comprehensive geology textbook would have on the subject. Individual research papers tend to focus on specific present-day regions, specific geological epochs, and specific processes (rifting, vulcanism, sedimentation, etc.). This results in the usual metaphorical choice between a telescope and a microscope, when what one wants is just a good look around. A focused but comprehensive popular or scholarly book on Avalonia might exist but if so I haven’t run across it. Various books on Pangaea might be worth looking into.

  298. JMG –

    I’m curious about your statement regarding elites being afraid of change. Maybe I’m not defining ‘elite’ the same as you? Anyway, it seems to me that a lot of the recent cultural changes have been welcomed by the elites, who dismiss anyone with a more traditional outlook as hopelessly out of date at best or as xenophobic/racist/sexist at worst. One example that comes to mind is the recent study from Brown University that found that ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ among children has all the hallmarks of a social contagion. (To which this mother says, duh, kids are herd animals). The study was repressed, at least in part because it challenged the current narrative about transgenderism.
    Here’s a quick summary: http://thefederalist.com/2018/08/31/explosive-ivy-league-study-repressed-for-finding-transgender-kids-may-be-a-social-contagion/

    I can understand that global elites, particularly the monied classes, would be afraid of change that might undermine their financial position, but on the social and cultural front the elites seem to be pushing change at an ever-increasing rate. Were I inclined to conspiracies, I might think this was designed to destabilize the more traditional non-elites whom the snobs miss few chances to denigrate.

  299. OT: Magic theory books offer:

    Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Cornelius Agrippa. One thin legal-sized paperback, written in Renaissance English. Like new.

    The Training & Work of an Initiate by Dion Fortune, forward by Gareth Knight. Thin trade paper.Like new.

    The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage by Dion Fortune, thin trade paper, good condition. A couple of penciled notes I can erase. It helps to know something about Fortune and her times before reading this; the past is another country.

    Interested in any one of these? Email me privately at mathews55@msn.com and don’t be shy.

    Pat

  300. That is, David, in your dream Donald Trump fulfills a function similar, possibly even homologous, to Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union. Gorbachev wanted to refoprm the Soviet Union, but triggered its dissolution; Donald Trump wants to make America great again, but his politics seem lead to a less traumatic retreat from empire than would have happened with Hillary Clinton.

    J. M. Greer, what makes you so sure that the digital divide will play out as you have desribed it? At the moment, screen addiction is very widespread, and I see nary a young person (especially women) who doesn’t stare into a smartphone (even in Germany, where belief in digital progress is not as extreme as in the United States).

  301. Hi John

    Fascinating comments.

    Your take on the elite industrial classes being terrified of change rings very true. That same mood is prevalent among the middle class “comfortable” classes as well, something that I have personally experienced.

    In Britain, the spectre of no-deal Brexit and a reversion to WTO trading terms, is sparking hysteria and panic among the upper end of British society. Interestingly, among the ordinary voters, there is a growing recognition that no-deal is a likely outcome and if required, something that we should get on with.

  302. Does anybody know any books that provide a history of secret police activity throughout the ages? I think I’d feel relief if I had some sort of historical perspective on this dark corner of human activity.

    I’m a recovering Democrat so I guess I’m still finding it difficult to accept that the American government could do the sorts of things that deceive people and undermine democracy. I guess somewhere along the line I internalized the idea that the American government is a force for benevolence. A part of me still reacts with righteous indignation to evidence that these sorts of things happen here—my first reaction is: That can’t happen here! Only in Russia!

  303. Dear Mr. Greer:
    Thank you very much for your response, it is much appreciated. Your answer for my first question is fair enough, and in hindsight perhaps I am naïve to hope for such a union as was seen in the 18th century with the Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross, and with Jacobite Freemasonry, or that can be hinted at in the 20th century with the enchanted, High Tory worldview of the Inklings (who in turn influenced Gareth Knight and other Anglophone esotericists). I have come across literature by theologically orthodox Christian academics (in particular the Radical Orthodoxy camp) who have presented (mostly) positive appraisals of the Golden Dawn and Christian Hermeticism, but admittedly those pieces were directed at either Christian or academic audiences.
    As for your response to my second question, I am familiar with this predication and for the most part I tend to think it’s sound. I do believe decentralization and embracing poverty are necessary for Christianity to survive, and in remote corners under hushed voices I’ve heard hopes that sacramental Christian communities may yet survive as our quantity of members decrease and quality of devotion and praxis increase. To quote the Tractarian John Keble, “Even if the Church of England were to fail, it would still be found in my parish.” Perhaps sacramental Christianity will return to being an initiatory mystery religion that will be practiced within monasteries, lodges, private homes, or out in forest and glen under the guise of mummers’ masks and vernacular religion. Yet in the end its survival, or death and rebirth in deep time, will be by the grace of the Triune God.
    Thank you once again for your response, and may the blessings and protection of the Boundless Mystery be upon you and your loved ones.
    Sincerely,
    Cody Beckley.

  304. I didn’t think I’d have anything to add to the mail bombing case, but I just had a thought. Scenario: real packages were really sent, but the authorities released pictures of hastily mocked-up copies for the same reason police departments release incomplete and inaccurate details about murder scenes. They didn’t know how the investigation would go. Unfortunately. some disturbed people are prone to false confessions, or to showing political solidarity by falsely taking credit. Someone contacting them demonstrating knowledge e.g. “I sent the real packages, the ones with ‘Love’ stamps and lower-case print on the labels” would have their attention; others could be disregarded (perhaps after quizzing about those details).

    Why release pictures at all then? They didn’t know whether more packages were en route, so the pictures were to warn people what to watch out for. (That does require the mock-ups to be similar to the real thing, so perhaps the differences were less obvious than the ones I made up.) I don’t see anything in the pictures that couldn’t have been put together in half an hour with items found in any office.

  305. @Hew
    In my experience, the issues which you say cannot be explained away are commonplace occurences.Your contention that there absolutely would be cancellation, return to sender/insuffient postage is just not accurate. Sure it’s supposed to be that way, but in practice it simply is not 100% of the time. I also have to dispute your point about ‘The Fling’…I think these packages would have easily survived. They only weighed a few ounces (6 inch pvc pipe) and I doubt they would have burst the package open after being flung. I also think many employees aren’t paying even a shred of attention to whom the package is addressed. I do agree with you that the packages weren’t really meant to explode and do harm..,more of a psyops kind of terrorism.

    @Ronnie C Jackson
    10-12 years ago is quite a while. Rules, regulations and standards (and the extent to which they are enforced) can and do change. Violations of USPS regulations happen routinely in my experience. I can’t help but pick up on your bias against the coastal eastern and western states and find your suggestion that, west of the Appalachians, none of the parcels would have gotten through to be utterly preposterous. I think the percentage of USPS employees who are incompetent or indifferent (or both) is quite evenly distributed across all the states.

    @isabelcooper
    I’m not at all sure about relying on the American Philatelic Society as a credible authorithy in this case – eighty percent might to too low. Virtually all packages these days are processed on high speed automated equipment with optical scanners. I think you’re quite correct in noting that, despite the fact that these packages are supposed to be hand cancelled, issues like inadequate staffing/funding play a significant role in failures to measure up. Then there’s the whole issue of USPS worker morale and the impact that has on performance standards – too complex and hugely significant to delve into here.

    @JMG
    “Jim W., in that case I’ll let you hash things out with the two other postal employees who say you’re wrong.”

    I have zero interest in hashing out anything with the other fellows who used to work for the USPS, and I certainly didn’t get that they said I was wrong. I really don’t give a rat’s derriere about being right about any of this – I’m merely trying to be faithful to the facts/truths of my own experience.

    Of course we’re all perfectly capable of being mistaken and the olfactics of this whole affair do indeed carry the stench of our vile politics. You caught a whiff of something rotten but then leapt to a blatantly premature conclusion by asserting “in the pictures posted to the media of the package containing the bomb supposedly mailed to CNN, the stamps were not postmarked or canceled, and it also lacked the bar code that gets put on every US parcel that’s mailed. That proves that the package was not mailed anywhere. CNN is therefore lying, and the “bombings are fake.”

    No cancellation, no postmark (these are actually the same thing) no bar code, nothing? And insufficient postage? Sure, it happens regularly. The postal workforce is not an army of perfectly programmed bots you know. The USPS is a massive organization: over half a million employees, over 30,000 Post Offices, handles over 150 billion pieces of mail annually. Despite its manifold dysfunctions and immense beaurocracy (is that redundant?) it manages to do a pretty good job. The USPS has the world’s lowest cost postage and delivers nearly half the world’s mail yet people love to bash the Post Office.

    OK…I’ve said all I’m going to say on this topic.

    Jim

  306. Jmg , I’m sorry I didn’t quite understand your views on bicycle, how ever I can’t understand how a chukudu is a “toy” since it is a large wooden scooter built by the poor in goma, DRC as a way of transporting goods due to inability to buy a car.

    Also, if anyone else is interested I’ve written a question on Quora asking what your favourite post-oil fiction stories are.
    https://www.quora.com/unanswered/Dear-book-lovers-what-do-you-think-are-the-best-novels-and-short-stories-about-life-in-a-post-oil-future

  307. @JMG, you should come up to Canada if you enjoy train travel. Unlike Amtrak, we actually kept some of our vintage stainless steel trainsets and they still run in revenue service between Toronto and Vancouver. People come from all over the world the ride the Canadian.

  308. I’ve noticed that in your Golden Dawn themed magic books, you include rituals for transformation, consecration and conjuration, but no information on how to prepare what you in other contexts call a “working”– that is, a more general ritual aimed to bring about a specific event, without the aid of a spirit or talisman. Is this not possible with Golden Dawn style magic?

  309. Thank you very much for your answer, JMG! 🙂 That makes a lot of sense. It sounds like an allusion to archery or target practice. Having been involved in neither sport, no wonder I didn’t get it!

  310. On the mail packages, I agree with Walt, above. Possibly, for reasons known only to “the authorities,” those were not photos of the actual packages. However, that being said, the editors of the news sources should have noticed and included some sort of disclaimer such as “simulation” or some such. There is too much dumbing down of the news these days; (and that is probably the least controversial comment I’ll ever make!)

  311. @ booklover

    Re Trump-Moses as Gorbachev

    That parallel makes a good amount of sense, actually. Of course what I (or some corner of my subconscious, anyway) may believe and what actually pans out are two entirely different things…

    I think that the “wild ride” part, however, is a good bet in any event!

  312. Will, more coming attractions! As for issues involving the nervous system, indeed it is; the nervous system for each incarnation is partly shaped by the soul incarnating in the new body. In the same way, it’s apparently quite common for someone who dies violently in one life to have a birthmark on the site of the wound in the next.

    Phutatorius, sure, but remember that Strauss was building on a fine old American tradition!

    Will, that’s fascinating, and in a good way. I’m trying to recall where you live, so I can parse the term “Anglican” — here in the US there are Anglican churches and then there are Episcopalian churches, and they’re far from the same thing.

    Prizm, my guess is that, as usual, the stories of the land will be powerfully shaped by local experience, so may differ quite drastically from place to place.

    John, I suspect that may be true in more senses than you expect!

    David, “reply hazy, ask again later…” 😉

    Lathechuck, and then there’s the impact of all that additional deforestation…

    Walt, many thanks for this! At least that gives me some good starting points.

    Beekeeper, there’s change and then there’s change. The elite narratives on gender are outgrowths of the established elite narrative about the world in general, which is that “you” (meaning a member of the elite) can define your identity however you want to, irrespective of any merely physical or biological phenomena; this is itself an offshoot of the broader elite narrative about reality, which is that it’s entirely passive, and its job is to submit to whatever a member of the elite wants to do to it. Finishing the process of imposing that ideology on the cosmos looks like change from down here among the rabble, but from an elite perspective it simply represents the universe doing what it’s supposed to do, i.e., behaving the way Faustian ideology tells it. If gender is simply a personal lifestyle choice, it no longer represents a limitation on the freedom of the elite (human) will, and the limitless freedom of that will is central to elite identity.

    As for the digital divide, it’s simply a matter of economics. The rich will continue to have their toys; the poor, not so much, once it’s no longer convenient for the rich to subsidize said toys.

    Forecastingintelligence, the middle classes by and large ape the attitudes of the elites, since they aspire to rise from middle class status into the bottom end of the elite class. As for the inevitable no-deal Brexit, the sooner the better.

    Blue Sun, I don’t know of one. Anyone else?

    Christopher K., with regard to the first question, that’s still an open possibility, if the people in question decide to give up talking only to one another and decide to start addressing a broader audience! With regard to the second, if sacramental Christianity is going to survive that’s how it’s going to happen.

    Walt, interesting. We’ll have to wait and see.

    Jim, I’m very much in favor of the postal service, and would like to see it strengthened by such steps as allowing postal banking — that’s worked very well in other countries, and would do wonders for the financial stability of the USPS. I note, though, that the other two postal employees who posted here disagreed strenuously with your claim that mail without stamp cancellations, postmarks, and bar codes goes through the system all the time. Since that’s precisely the point at issue, insisting that the other people didn’t disagree with your seems rather strange to me…

    J.L.Mc12, you’ll probably have to wait for the FAQ, then.

    Trlong36, I’ll keep that in mind!

    Anemonymous, the GD focuses strictly on what gets the best results. For something where you want continuous magical pressure for a prolonged period, a talisman works better than the kind of working you’ve suggested; for something where you want a single crisply aimed shove, invoking a spirit gets better results; the one exception is changes you want to work on yourself, that is, works of transformation, which are best done directly. That’s why the tradition includes the methods it does and leaves out the others.

    Norma, thank you for mentioning that you didn’t get it — always worth knowing that a figure of speech isn’t as universal as I thought…

  313. @Onething
    Re: Reincarnation

    That first visualization, the string of beads, is the current conception of how reincarnation works. Of course, you wouldn’t see a difference! If you had, it wouldn’t have gotten what I intended across.

    It’s 5 tiers of 7 levels each, for a total of 35 levels.

    Your analogy is spot on for a certain phenomenon. That is, some souls do indeed get so absorbed in their body’s life that, when the body dies, they experience a wrenching disorientation. Aspects of that are well known in the occult community. I’m going to disagree with something JMG has said – while souls that have gotten completely involved with some concept of the after-life will go to someplace that looks like that concept, they’ll get bored with it sooner or later and move on. I suspect that nobody knows more than bits and pieces of what life on the Astral Plane is like.

    I didn’t say that the whole thing was compatible with Christianity. It’s not. What I was driving at was that one particular aspect of Michael’s concept of how reincarnation works was compatible with one particular teaching of Christianity: one life, no reincarnation.

    Those individual aspen trees are not going to reincarnate. Each one is separate and distinct, growing from the same roots, but beginning at different times, which suggests that the root system itself is growing and learning. (There’s a stand of aspen in Utah that’s around 80 thousand years old, although the individual trees are no more than a century and a half or so old. (See Pando (tree) in Wikipedia.)

    In the MT, the Creator of the Universe, that is, the Abrahamic God, is not the same as the Source of physical incarnations. It’s one of Christianity’s distortions to conflate the two. This isn’t that surprising: remember that, from the classical Greeks to only a couple hundred years ago, the entire universe was only part of what we think of the solar system today. It was finite, and it ended just past the fixed stars, which where just beyond the orbit of Saturn. Beyond that was Heaven. Today’s conception of how the universe looks is less than a hundred years old.

    My understanding is that, at the highest level (the One, God, the Tao, All That Is, etc.) there is complete individuality and complete integration. How this is possible is a total mystery to me. The process of return is the process of gaining larger and larger spans of integration, beginning with integrating all of the lifetimes in the Physical Plane.

    Everyone comes into incarnation with complete memories of all prior lifetimes, but for most people conscious access to those memories is blocked. If it wasn’t, it would completely overwhelm the developing consciousness. Those memories have to be there, or there would be no way to build on prior experience. That’s one of the places where the conventional model is correct.

    Some souls arrange before incarnation that some of that memory is available as children, so that they can serve as examples of reincarnation in practice.

    Finally, as I said above, the beads and the nautilus are intended as images of the standard model. If they seemed that way to you, they were successful. The image of the tree is closer to Michael’s conception.

  314. @ Matthias – I do agree that you and I have a considerable amount of common ground. (As, I think, do most people not being steamrollered by the traditional binary shouting match the issue publicly “manifests” as).

    I do want to address the following, though: “I think it is much easier to argue for the benefits of vaccination…” Actually, I consider it NO part of my business to argue for OR to argue against the benefits of vaccination to anybody. I have zero interest in that argument, therefore zero interest in what makes it “easier” or what makes it harder.

    My business, as I see it, is to make the following political arguments to whatever polity I happen to be participating in, at whatever level of organisation:
    1) to argue for [properly and fully] informed consent. Every person offered a vaccination must have the opportunity to hear all the potential benefits TO THEM and all the potential risks TO THEM, and then decide – as with all medical treatments. They must have the right to refuse without explaining or justifying themselves to anyone (as with all medical treatments). They must not be shamed or threatened into, or out of, receiving a treatment against their own inclination (as with all medical treatments).
    2) to argue that IF a nation is going to opt to include a vaccination protocol into their public health system, that they must ALSO include sufficient medical resources to deal with adverse events – without quibbling, without shaming the injured or questioning their intelligence, their experience, or their interest in the general health and well-being of their fellows.
    3) to argue for better, and more convincing, safety testing.
    4) to argue for more research into what may render some individuals more susceptible to harm, and into methods for detecting susceptibility prior to receiving a vaccination and methods for restoring health after a vaccination injury.

    For making these – to me, eminently reasonable – arguments, I am frequently called an “anti-vaxxer”. Ironically, this equates to an attempt to immunise people against listening to or giving consideration to any of these arguments.

  315. After reading Jim’s post, I wonder now if the issue with people thinking anyone who disagrees with them being all acting is because people quite literally can’t think they can be wrong. It would seem likely that an incredibly overdeveloped ego would lead to such strange outcomes. Of course, if you think that you can’t be wrong, anything pointing to that possibility would be deemed a threat, and so all sorts of mental gymnastics would need to occur to keep from ever coming across anything that could potentially prove you wrong…..

  316. Will Oberton,

    It is my understanding from reading about events in the world over a period of time, that it is rare to have a truly spontaneous or grassroots event. The events and demonstrations are almost always organized and paid for by people behind the scenes.

    People are pawns!

    Then of course there is timing. Why in the heck are they doing this just now?
    I also have a question – why is Mexico allowing them through their southern border?

  317. Regarding the geological history of Avalonia: the book “Stone By Stone: The Magnificent History of New England’s Stone Walls,” author Robert M Thorson. While actually a natural history of New England’s stone walls, it has a good discussion of the ancient geological relationship between Englands old and new in one of the early chapters. Reading it while camping in northern Maine was a real “ah-ha!” moment. I have not encountered any other mention of Avalonia or the deep geological connection between New England and the British Isles.

    I will also suggest the seminal natural history of colonialism in New England, if you haven’t already encountered it, being William Cronon’s “Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England”. As a fellow PNW sprout transplanted to the New England coast, these two books have helped me to make sense of my new home and its very interesting natural history.

  318. Mr. Greer,
    Sorry if you’ve already talked about this in a previous post:

    Have you seen the 15 minute documentary AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS, by the journalist Chris Hedges?

    Hedges is a Quaker, not a Druid, but – like yourself – believes that collapse is coming and that it WON’T be apocalyptic. His frame of reference isn’t deep history (entire civilizations rising and falling cyclically). His theories of collapse instead come from his time as a war correspondent, living in countries in the midst of economic collapse and dictatorships. But his conclusions are similar enough to your own that I wondered if you’ve read him or what your take is.

  319. Phutatorius, that’s a pretty open ended question, but if I understand you correctly, I think the short answer in this context is we are looking for a group of people that support the several individuals who were mailed the fake bombs, and are attempting to evoke sympathy for them by it.

  320. In February, the Mueller team indicted several Russian companies, including Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, for “impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the United States by dishonest means in order to enable Defendants to interfere with U.S. political processes, including the 2016 presidential election.”
    In April, attorneys for Concord appeared in Court to plead Not Guilty, begin the discovery process, and ask for a speedy trial.
    Mueller’s team has kept delaying with various specious arguments, and the last hearing was in August.
    Since these are the Dastardly Russians Who Are destroying Our Way Of Life™, one would think that Mueller’s team would be prepared to follow up on their indictment.
    An indictment, or an arrest means nothing until the public has had a chance to follow the evidence given under oath in court, and a jury has judged that evidence. and even then, people have been known to lie under oath, and evidence has known to be falsified.
    In regards to Cesar Sayoc, remember Richard Jewell.

  321. @Shane in Australia:
    You wrote “[tubers] also difficult to confiscate since most of their weight is water“. Just a question: didn’t the Incas manage to control their potato-based farmers quite well? Maybe that has to do with their technique of freeze-drying, which apparently reduces the potatoes’ weight immensely.

  322. @ Jim W, JMG,
    I did not mean to open a hornets nest about these erstwhile bombs. On reflection, we are being asked to believe that in this case of mailing potentially deadly parcels to some of the most prominent people in our country, that the United States Postal Service had a virtual 100% failure rate. I do not believe that for one second! I agree with all that you said about the scope and task of the United States Postal Service and I agree wholeheartedly with JMG that the USPS is a critical piece of infrastructure going into our uncertain future. I will end with a short description of my proudest day working at the Post Office and will thank you in advance, Jim W, for your years of service.
    Some years ago on December 21 I had an elderly customer come in to mail a package to her daughter in far Western Alaska where all the mail is delivered by air. This customer is an avid quilter and had a large parcel to mail to her daughter’s family. She selected Priority Mail rather then Express Mail and of course I informed her that there was virtually no chance that the parcel would make it before Christmas. I was surprised to see this customer come into the post office on the morning of Christmas Eve wearing a very broad smile. She proceeded to tell me that she had talked to her daughter just a few minutes before to tell her to be expecting the parcel, but that she didn’t know when it would arrive.
    She told me that her daughter stopped her in mid sentence to say that she was in the process of opening the box at that very moment!

  323. I messed up the Palaeos Earth link, including the spelling of “Palaeos.” The working link is http://palaeos.com/earth/paleogeography/avalonia.html.

    That “Rhode Island” site (jamestown-ri.info) is surprisingly thorough about U.S. geological history in general, except for lacking references. I’ve emailed the Webmaster link provided, to ask who wrote it and whether the text and figures there have been published in book form.

  324. @jmg Thank you for the encouragement to, at least, try. Do you know much of Jean Paine? He supposedly got to 100%….

    I took a first serious cut at this a little more than a decade ago, with super high insulation, farmland, water investment, planting a lot of fruit and nut trees, trying to mostly heat with high efficiency stoves, going to permaculture trainings (Sepp Holtzer), raising livestock, etc. I made some real progress but ended up more worn-out than successful. I know, first hand, how right you were with your essays on how fragile the supply chain is on complicated technologies. (“We have become the tools of our tools.”) Anyway, I encourage everyone to try it – just to get a better taste of how screwed we really are at scale with all outputs vs inputs. Organic farmers have to be geniuses AND incredibly energetic; superhuman, almost. I’m not that.

    This time I will try to be more strategic. I need a lot more electricity, I think more greenhouses. I’m thinking of aquaculture and hmmm. I’ll probably have to move.

    In addition to a LOT of solar, I will need gas. Here’s some stuff on Jean Paine’s work with methane digesters.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Pain https://permaculturenews.org/2011/12/15/the-jean-pain-way/

    Anyway, I hate it when I open my mouth and say I am going to try and do something! What’s wrong with me ;-?

  325. @ blue sun

    I can recommend the following books for accounts of the operations of secret police in the past. They are each extremely entertaining, especially if you have any familiarity with the historical periods covered.

    Hugh Ross, Williamson, Who Was the Man in the Iron Mask? And other historical mysteries, Penguin, 1955.

    The account of the Gun Powder Plot provides the paradigm for such actions forever after, and we’ve seen a whole lot of them lately.

    Stephen Budiansky, Her Majesty’s Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage. New York: Viking Penguin, 2005.

    Full of information on how governments have always handled these things.

    Otto Friedrich, The End of the World: A History, Fromm International, 1986.

    “The Coming Revolution” gives a harrowing account of the tangle of double- and triple-agent operations, informants and secret police in pre-revolutionary Russia.

    Better than fiction, every one!

  326. Dear Will Oberton, it is called common sense. How do you imagine the migrants are being fed for over a thousand miles?

    Dear blue sun, I can’t speak to all of human history, but two recent books which, IMHO, need and ought to be read by all are The Devil’s Chessboard, a biography of Allen Dulles, and Legacy of Ashes, a history of the CIA.

    Dear Mr. Greer, I rather think that The Father of Lies has fallen on hard times. Once his agents of influence were fabulous and charismatic villains of world historic importance; now they are sniveling cowards who hide their IDs and their machinations within the anonymity of corporate boards and blandly named govt. agencies.

    I find it bewildering that Judge Bolano would so blatantly move to undermine the credibility of the very institution which provides her with income and social position Perhaps your theory of hatred for a working stiff explains it. At first she said, publicly, that she might set aside the verdict altogether. That prompted a good deal of outcry, including angry statements and public letters from the jurors, who rightly felt themselves insulted. She settled for reducing the damage amount–is that even legal? Silly me, I thought juries get to decide these things. Clearly she is not immune to public pressure, and I can’t help thinking that statements in support of Mr. Johnson from the Black Agenda Report, Black Lives Matter and similar outfits would have helped here.

    In related news, the school district where Mr. Johnson worked has now banned roundup from its grounds, as has the City of Benicia, and I think other school districts are following suit. And the CEO of Bayer has had to explain to irate investors how come the value of their holdings declined by about 17% or thereabouts immediately following the initial verdict.

  327. @jmg You’ve done a fair amount of thinking about where to move to avoid rising ocean water, drought, and other catastrophes. You’ve indicated Russia (Siberia?) and the Great Lakes area in the US as potentially excellent locations for a future civilization … but that is hundreds of years from now, I presume?

    I think someone else asked this question in a different way, but what areas are you expecting to be most advantageous for getting through the next two to three decades and which would also be good candidates for a bridge to the time beyond? Perhaps you have already written about this or can point me toward a source you respect which has thought it through?

  328. @Justin Patrick Moore

    The lab reactor project is interesting but has critical dependencies on ‘the grid’. Also, they’re going after the wrong medications for developing countries in terms of bang for buck, though they make sense for declining Western industrial countries. However, if they’re going to flout the system, why not an instruction program for 1) diy labware; 2) diy basic lab supplies such as sulfuric acid and acid/base indicators from local ingredients; 3) how to use 1) and 2) to produce an increasingly complex range of medications. Starting with making 0.9% sodium chloride irrigation solution – currently a ridiculous $240/litre bought in bulk. Sort of along the lines of the Gingery metal lathe instruction model – which teaches you a wide range of metal working skills at the same time as you bootstrap yourself to a decent lathe. Probably still salvage level tech (at least in the Australian context) but at least they’d be educating people in underlying skills rather than the chemist equivalent of button pushing.

    @ J.LMc12

    Wheeled technologies, even the super-efficient low tech Chinese wheelbarrow, require formed, maintained path networks and lack of bandits to make them worthwhile. This implies at least regional if not national social organisation and rule of law over reasonably large areas. Indications are that these prerequisites will be in short supply in the next few centuries in most currently industrialised countries. Depending on the intensity and length of the lawless period, most likely the tech required for good wheels will be forgotten in most areas. Once stability returns, other transport options will probably look better in many terrains than using primitive wheels (including the option of very little transport and make do with local production).

  329. Regarding my last comment, I didn’t factor in the Long Descent. At a certain time in the future, electronic toys will be too expensive to buy for the lower classes. But this seems quite a way off, and in the current system everything is done that TVs, smartphones and the like remain ubiquitous.

  330. JMG,

    You’re welcome. And sorry, I got my facts wrong. It was Kullervo, the unlucky hero, that had the conversation with the sword. And if I have my facts straight at this time, Tolkien based the story of the children of Hurin on the story of Kullervo.

    There were other famous swords in Kalevala. Lemminkäinen (a conglomerate of various mythical figures) had a blade that was on fire, with which he bragged he would expand his house. I do not recall any discussions between the man and his sword.

    Väinämöinen also had a blade. The sword was named “Tuliterä”, which translates roughly to “the Blade of Fire”. These days the word means something that is brand new, has not been used at all yet. This refers to the situation, where you are fetching a new item from the blacksmith, say a scythe or a blade. Whilst not still red hot, the idea is there. I do no recall any specifics with this sword, though the fellow bragged at one poin he had bows that were so good that they went to hunt all by themselves. So.. probably there was something with the sword as well.

  331. Gnat,
    Your post reminds me of what cracks me up about the “organic garden in a box” types. This shale takes a lot of practice, doesn’t it! The idea that a family is covered for the collapse because they have a box of seeds, and a how-to book, etc, is head-slapping ridiculous. Even after years of actually living with a rainwater supply, alt energy, or NO electricity even (4 years with less than 40W of electricity for us), and building/cycling organic garden soil, crops, toilet compost, manure-producing livestock, etc, I still wonder what I’d do if the wheels genuinely came off the bus!

    I know plenty of people who have built tiny houses and worked out creekwater domestic water supplies, planted fruit trees, and so on, but dont actually LIVE in those settings. They’re just for fun. Weekend collapsers. I know other people who cheerlead for a return to Hunter-gatherer lifestyles, dismiss Retrotopian small agrarianism as not radical enough a change, yet live in large HVAC-d houses glued to their smartphones into the wee hours of the morning regularly. Such cognitive dissonance!

    After nearly a decade off-grid, WAY off-grid, I’ve come to the conclusion that, Farmer Boy aside, humans can’t do their thing alone. (Actually, even in Farmer Boy they needed outsiders to buy their horses and butter.) Or at least I can’t do it alone. In the event of major systems disturbance, local trade networks would need to re-form almost immediately, or starvation/pillaging would descend on swift wings.

    So…I spend more time being friendly and useful to my neighbors than I do working out lone-wolf technologies. And as you are no doubt very familiar with, actually NEEDING less is the only real way to prepare for a future of LESS. Heretical as the very idea is to most…

    Thanks for your story!
    Cheers.

  332. Of possible interest, if there’s anyone else out these this has happened to:

    Last night I went to bed and found myself unable to get to sleep. Getting up and hitting the internet didn’t help,nor did sitting and reading a print book help either. Then I realized I was feeling the same thing I have felt after ritual and not grounding, but I hadn’t done ritual that evening. However, I had been rereading the Witches’ Bible Compleat – actually an excellent reference if you don’t feel you have to do everything they do – and for fiction, The Secrets of Doctor Taverner.

    The Great Paper Cleanout (Weekend project) had turned up an excellent little ritual I had written for grounding when you can’t touch the ground, which I did, and that turned the trick.

    But I never thought reading books would have that effect. Apparently I have to take my exposure to magic the way I do food or drink that might upset my stomach – in very small and mild doses. Well, Dion Fortune has always been of the opinion that to actually do any calls for someone in good physical shape, and I’m on the downhill side of my 70’s.

  333. Do you enjoy when Trump calls out the biased news media? When he called them “the enemy of the people”, my sides just about split from laughing so hard. It so true and only he would say it. The response from the media is screeching complaining and to talk about themselves and how needed they are which makes (normal) people tuned them out even more. No one listens to anyone talk endlessly about how wonderful they are.

    Trump himself is a Black Swan of unpredictable consequences. Everyone who makes a prediction on his effects on the markets, trade, the economy, polls, voting, policies – is wrong. Very wrong. Over and over again.

    Lucky for us there is a Druid and his community tucked away in an out of the way place on the internet who have a grasp on reality!

  334. @Scotlyn & @Mathias
    I have been following your careful discussion of mass vaccination. I would like to contribute to a knowledge base as I know something of the history and have been involved with some of the technologies, but it would take too long and would not suit this kind of comment / blog discussion.

    I can, however, add that in my view you touch on deep issues concerning the limitations to ‘scientific knowledge’, and even to the validity of ‘scientific method’. Additionally there are pragmatic concerns where further ‘research’ adds insupportable burdens which must prevent implementing any practical improvements in the knowledge base if it it is to be applied to individuals. Ballooning modern medicine along these lines is already increasingly costly and inequitable.

    @Walt
    ‘Avalonia’ – for what its worth I copy the link I already posted above as an addendum. I found it useful.
    I would value your comment.

    “An introductory Chapter One is available – Britain pre-Cambrian including comparison with NE American geology with useful maps (Avalonia etc) http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/V20Chap1.pdf also useful for meaning of terms (e.g. ‘terranes’) and tectonic related processes – time-lines & the ‘Deep Past’.”

    best
    Phil H

  335. @Peter “Dastardly Russians Who Are destroying Our Way Of Life™” – love this!

    So you’ve also notice that Michael Flynn whose guilty plea was in the beginning of this whole Russian Collusion drama, still has not been brought before a judge for sentencing? Mueller’s team keeps asking for months long delays saying they need to gather more evidence. What is going on here?

    When Andrew McCabe’s grand jury went 6 months before the Washington Post got wind of it in September, then I knew Trump’s antics covering up Mueller’s work probably means the result of the investigation would be favorable for Trump, and damning for the Dems.

    I’m just thrilled at the number of top level FBI people who resigned or were fired. We need to clear house there more often, clearly.

  336. We still have 8 days until the Nov 6 midterms, and in Trump time, that’s about 8 months, so buckling in for an insane set of news cycles. I see Trump has 10 rallies scheduled. Plus he’s got to have something planned to get people off their sofas and into the voting booths. Here that means a minimum of two hours to wait in line, often outside in the cold or rain, so it takes something for most people to do!

  337. Blue Sun; Your question on books is a great question to ask a librarian; that’s what they do. Even better, go to a law library if there’s one near you that allows public access. (Some do and some don’t.) In either case, a librarian will help you to refine and focus your question.

  338. tokyodamage:

    Thanks for reminding me about Chris Hedges! Sort of a voice in the wilderness. I’m not fond of watching videos, but I sat back, closed my eyes, and just listened to him speak, completely worthwhile.

    I remember from my days as a more-or-less liberal that Hedges was considered a Very Serious Person who should be listened to by Progressives. I haven’t checked in with the Leftward side of things for quite a while so I wonder if this is still the case – some of what he says is rather critical of the Left, which still clings to that ‘arc of history bending toward justice’ thing. It’s a fine sentiment, but accurate? Don’t know.

  339. John and the commentariot: I can obtain a copy of How to Use Homeopathy by Dr. Christopher Hammond, is this a worthwhile purchase? If not, any recommendations for a good starter book on the subject? Thanks in advance, Clarence

  340. John Michael
    I’m a little late to the party here but just caught up on the current post late last night; hope this is still relevant.
    An excellent source for New England geologic history is: “Dinosaurs, Dunes, and Drifting Continents, The Geology of the Connecticut River Valley, 3rd edition”, by Richard D. Little. As you can note buy the title, its focus is just to the west of you, but still pertains to all New England. It is engagingly written by a local guy who has led tours to many of the sites he talks about in the book. There is plenty of citations to scholarly works, if one wished to pursue things further. I got the book when it first came out from the local bookstore (Ha!, remember those?), but assume you can get it online.
    My simplistic summary that pertains to the above discussion is that New England was joined with what is now the British Isles, and farther down the coast was more joined with what is now Africa.
    Quickly glancing at my copy, the author refers to “Merrimack, Nashoba, and Avalon” being “micro-continents” that collided with Laurentia (future U.S. and Canada) before being hit by Gondwana (future Northwest Africa). Sort of like “…an economy car pile-up … rammed by a tractor trailer”. Sometime around then, there was also “Baltica”, which also rammed Luarentia and became part of New England. (all of this is “rammed” in a geologic time scale – it is fun trying to get one’s head around that.) It’s all way more complicated than this but read the book and see. This all happened in the Permian as part of the initial formation of Pangea, which later split back apart into our current continental arrangement.
    One other book, which I long ago gave away, was something like “everything about slate roofs”. The author had photos of old quarries in New England and somewhere in Great Britain showing identical kinds of slate were being mined from the 2 places; apparently they were once part of the same formation.
    All the best, and thanks for all you do!

  341. John, et al.

    Late in the comment cycle, but I’m wondering what you (or anyone else) thinks of this “Blexit” movement that has launched?

    https://www.rt.com/usa/442493-kanye-west-blexit-shirts/

    I have no idea how significant it is in terms of numbers, but in terms of potentially-important fault lines, this strikes me as something to watch. I haven’t seen any leftward comment on it as yet. (Perhaps the Democrats are still in the “first they ignore you” stage? That would seem to me to be a mistake, if so.)

  342. JMG,

    Initially, the fear was we as a culture have lost a lot of connection with the land. Fewer people have stories about specific places and thus less meaning with place. I guess I have forgotten though that the land hasn’t lost it’s history or it’s connection with us and thus something will always be communicated back from the land and the spirits within in it.

  343. Those of you who would like to think caravans of migrants could not possibly exist without some sinister rich [cosmopolitan?] liberal paying them to migrate: Back in the late Roman era, who paid for the Alans to move en masse, on foot, from Persia to Eastern Europe, Italy, on to North Africa – and apparently later to South Ossetia, where their descendants, I was happy to hear, survive today? Who paid for the Mayans to move away from their collapsing cities? Who paid for poor American workers to travel a thousand miles to California during the Gold Rush or the Depression?

    Some of the people walking to the U.S. are would-be refugees, who (like civilians from Syria a few years ago) are fleeing a threat of death for themselves or their children if they stay. Others are deported illegal immigrant workers trying to get back to the children left behind in the U.S. You can reasonably want them here or not want them, but either way you must admit that if you were in their shoes, you’d be willing to miss a few meals along the road with such motivations driving you.

  344. John Roth,

    I also have pondered the idea that people go to a place that they expect after death, and I came to the conclusion that such placs are probably temporary. It might be a long time for some!
    My mother died as an open minded Christian. I had a dream of her shortly after in which she said something that indicated she didn’t know she had died. I had heard of such things and it worried me, so I responded, “But Mom, you died and went to heaven!” I deliberately put it in terms that I thought she would relate to. But she got a very impish smile on her face and said, “Well…sort of!”
    And I then understood that she had learned very quickly to go beyond the simple beliefs of her lifetime.
    I still think we’re pulling hairs on the difference. It does seem that every unique individual will not be repeated. And the thread that ties them together is not on this plane, but on the other one. I am a character in Meryl Streep’s play and think it is best I continue forever, but really I will be glad when I wake up and know that I am Meryl Streep.
    But anyway, I think it’s a stretch to say that your system is compatible with Christianity, although such an outlook might help some Christians to rethink their stance on reincarnation.
    Who or what is the source of physical incarnations?
    Complete individuality with complete integration is a perfect description of what I have come to believe. My image of how that works is sort of like the way a cell works. Cells have semipermeable membranes. They are not shut off completely. Our individual consciousnesses seem to be completely cut off, so much so that many people never get a glimpse of crossing the membrane. But if you’ve ever had even one very definite case of esp, then you have had an experience of crossing the membrane. But at higher levels of being, that membrane is very transparent, easily crossed, fully volitional. I imagine that it is also a process of groups of souls who become so open, so trusting, so loving toward one another that they are able to ‘relax’ their membranes and let everyone in – and I bet they have teleconferences too!
    Do you have an opinion on what happens to consciousness at death?

  345. In light of Beekeeper’s comment and JMG’s response, I’m wondering how others define “elite” for class purposes. I generally think of the elite as having more money and access to the levers of power in our society. Personal experience tells me that often highly educated people identify as “elite” regardless of their financial situation. On the other hand, comments suggesting the middle class trying to reach the lower rungs of the elite class seems tied more to pure economics. Perhaps there is a psuedo-elite for people who parrot the elite class but really aren’t a part of it. I’m curious about anyone else’s thoughts on how they define elite.

  346. Probably a left field comment…but,

    I early-voted Saturday morning on the way to my soccer game, and voted mercilessly against the status-quo-letariat.

    And last I heard, early voting results, at least in the 7 closely-watched states, show a pronounced tendency toward a red tide instead of a blue wave…

  347. JMG,

    I NEVER said that packages without stamp cancellations/postmarks and bar codes go through the system ALL THE TIME (as in always, without fail). I said that it happens sometimes, especially with this kind of stamped first class package…maybe even a lot of the time. In my mind, it’s not inconceivable that they could have all just slipped through. The other guys expressed their disbelief that
    it could have gone that way, but I wouldn’t call that strenuous disagreement and to describe my comment as “insisting” seems,well, rather strange to me! I also find it perplexing that you seem
    unwilling to own up to your initial leap into a conspiratorial liberal media/CNN “fake news” narrative.

    I’m glad to hear you’re a strong supporter of the postal service. I completely agree about the great benefit to be had by establishing a postal banking system. Unfortunately, I doubt that our fearless leader and heroic champion of the working class (who would, along with the poor, be the main
    beneficiaries of postal banking) will be endorsing it any time soon. In fact he’s far more likely to try privatizing it. https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-fix-for-postal-service-privatize-it-1529659801

    @ Will J

    “After reading Jim’s post, I wonder now if the issue with people thinking anyone who disagrees with them being all acting is because people quite literally can’t think they can be wrong. It would seem likely that an incredibly overdeveloped ego would lead to such strange outcomes. Of course, if you think that you can’t be wrong, anything pointing to that possibility would be deemed a threat, and so all sorts of mental gymnastics would need to occur to keep from ever coming across anything that could potentially prove you wrong…”

    SNARK ALERT! Are you referring to Donald Trump, JMG, me or yourself?

    I said: “I don’t give a rat’s derriere about being right”…did you miss that? I’m wrong about things all the time…my wife, son and daughter are pretty persistent in letting me know. No one likes to be wrong, but I’m certainly not afraid to admit it when it’s true.

  348. @Phil H, a shorter excerpt and figure 1.3 from that same book appears at the Palaeos Earth link I posted. I appreciate having the full chapter; and if our sources are starting to overlap, it suggests we’re doing a reasonable job scouring for information.

    My thoughts about it are:

    1. That book is primarily focused on the rocks that existed even before the Avalonian crust formed, including some that were incorporated into it. Pre-Cambrian rocks are particularly difficult to date because there aren’t distinctive fossils that vary by era, as there are once the Cambrian kicks in. The movements of Avalonia are only a supporting character in that story, but it’s a good treatment of that subject.

    2. Reconstructing geological events so far back in time is like reconstructing a car crash by examining parts that were scavenged from the wreckage and used in other cars (sometimes, after being re-smelted and manufactured into different parts) which then crashed again, several times over. Geologists are wicked clever.

    3. I wouldn’t mind a peek at the book’s bibliography. I get the impression that a lot of the information about Avalonia and the various marginal terranes is relatively recent in the field, as in, from within the past 25 years or so. That’s hard to confirm from the online bits and pieces that often lack references. But it might explain why details in the modeled movements of (especially) the microcontinents vary somewhat between sources. (See also point #2 previous.)

    @JMG and Phil, another book in JNCC’s catalog, Earth History and Paleogeography by Trond H Torsvik and L Robin M Cocks (2016), looks (from the available reviews and sample pages and figures, and Amazon’s “search inside” option) like it documents Avalonia’s movements thoroughly and in context with everything else going on. The book covers the whole planet and the whole post-Cambrian time span, though, so only a tiny fraction of it is on Avalonia itself (that being one of several hundred named bits of crust, or “tectonic units,” kept track of era by era). There are six significant (paragraph or longer) indexed text entries specifically on Avalonia, and mentions of Avalonia in either text or figures appear on about 40 different pages. The book also appears more up to date than the scraps we’ve been able to find online. In the Avalonia segments I was able to look at, the inline references were all within the past 10 years, supporting my guess that some if not all of this Avalonia narrative is recent findings.

  349. Hi JMG

    Re: mail bombs

    Here in Spain all the mass-media had the same headline, some examples:
    https://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-detenido-paquetes-explosivos-registrado-republicano-tenia-antecedentes-penales-20181026200337.html
    http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20181026/detienen-hombre-relacionado-envio-paquetes-sospechosos-segun-cnn/1827460.shtml

    The translation of the headlines is : “they arrest a republican accused of sending the mail bombs”. This is the first time I see a suspected terrorist described by the political party whom he sympathizes. I suppose they use the same headlines written by the US media

    I have some questions: for who voted Timothy McVeight or Unabomber or Harvey Oswald? What about the murders in Detroit, are made mainly by republicans or democrats? Why I do not know this? Should I?
    It does not smell good

    For me the whole matter is almost a joke; it is so naïve living in the post 9-11 world to send mail bombs to the ex-emperors & their barons and pretend that this will work. It is crazy

    Cheers
    David

  350. @Mathias, Scotly and others discussing vaccination.

    I think you have covered much ground and reached an acceptable comprimise. Still, there’s a dimension that has not yet been covered this week or in previous instances of this discussion (that I recall).

    Individual interest has to be ballanced agains public interest.

    In their current incarnation, Anti-vaxers are freeloaders. They dodge the risk (both real and perceived) of artificial inmunization, but still get to benefit from the mass of population being vaccined. For this reason, I am against the argument that this is solely a patient decision; it is too easy to manipulate the information that some patients are to receive.

    An alternative approach would be to have patients give or withhold consent to vaccination, but this withholding must be associated with a number of cost and benefits that encourage the patient to act on behalf of the public good:
    1. If you are a helth care worker, you must be vaccined.
    2. If you are not vaccined, you are not eligible for a passport (it is in the public interest not to let vulnerable individuals exposed to international vectors of disease).
    3. In times of outbreaks, non vaccined individuals are not to be allowed into airports (again, it is in the public interest not to let disease vectors move any faster than a horseback ride; but interstate blockades are better used sparingly, so restricted airtravel is the second best).
    4. Al of the above conditions may be waved if sufficiently grave and exceptional circumstances are proved, as long as the decision is public and the criteria transparent.

    On the other hand, I suspect that the conditions that made those disease non lethal in the 20th century are no longer in place. Pediatricians were very, very famiiar with childhood infections and knew everything there is to know about those. If the same scenarios played out in today’s communities, the technocratic, over-treating, industrial medical complex is likely to develop all sorts of complications: Doctors are no longer knowledgeable, parents can no longer afford to care for their sick children, intra-hospital cross infection has some pretty nasty bugs running around, etc. It would be in the public interest to revive the old ways of managing care in a controled, instead of chaotic, fashion.

    I say this as someone who as a child, in spite of being a doctor’s son, got all his immunization the natural way: mumps, measles, chicken pox… you name it, if its a non leathal childhood infection, chances are I went through it. One of my cousins was not so lucky and died before turning 2. Also, I have met a number of people who ended up disabled by polio. Modern people just don’t get how bad it went before vaccination, even Samuel Hahnemann conceded that (though homeopaths are pretty much the only anti-vaxers active in Mexico, that I am aware off).

  351. Good evening JMG,

    My question this week is related to the spell you have mentioned here several times, the one that you “curses” anyone that illegally aquires one of your books. Without going into details, I suspect the karmatic blowback for using any pirated copies from any author is already there, and you just pushed it a little bit to make it more effective.

    My question is, what is to happen to works that have been “abandoned” by their rightful owners? Earlier this year, I tried to acquire a book from a (more or less recently) deceased doctor. The pirated version that was most easily available to me is a copy of the original Peruvian edition. I searched the web in order to hunt for a legitimate copy but none was found. I manage to locate the son of the author, another doctor who had had a software system built based on his father’s work, and at some point was selling it though the page looked quite rusty. I emailed the guy to inquire a way to purchase a legit copy and received no response.

    Is it too much of a strech to say that if no one took my money, the book is free for grabs? What’s your opinion as a mage and as an author?

  352. David, by the

    I think Blexit is very real and has been gathering momentum for some time. Have you spent any time watching #Walkaway videos? There are many, many blacks on there. And what they have to say about the history of the democratic party in regard to black people is pretty surprising.
    I don’t know what will take its place, but I think the democratic party is probably not going to recover.

  353. Hi Dewey,
    Nah, the Alans went the short way to the Caucasus Mountains. South Ossetia is not that far from Persia, and once in the mountains, they could not be dislodged until the Czar of Russia showed up with machine guns in the 19th century.
    Some of the Alans joined the Goths and ended up in North Africa after the internal difference of opinion that resulted in the death of Atulf, king the the Goths and husband of roman princess Galla Placida in 415.

  354. JMG et. al:

    I’m late here in the comments cycle, but I thought you might find this interesting

    “Why the world’s recycling system stopped working”
    https://www.ft.com/content/360e2524-d71a-11e8-a854-33d6f82e62f8

    In a nutshell, all the garbage that affluent nations are producing were “recycled”, mostly by exporting bales of the stuff to China where they are reprocessed in a not-so-environmentally-friendly manner. However, the Chinese have nearly halted importation of plastic trash as part of a multi-year environmental crackdown, greatly increasing the cost of hauling garbage and causing them to accumulate in landfills instead. Meanwhile, most of the exportation has shifted to Southeast Asia, mostly Malaysia and Thailand, where they have caused environmental (and political) stresses.

    Funny, because back in the 90’s when I was growing up, recycling has been one of those trendy activities engaged by upper-middle class folks to mark themselves out as “environmentally conscious”.

  355. The ‘President of The Free World’ tweets:
    Had a very good conversation with the newly elected President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who won his race by a substantial margin. We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else! Excellent call, wished him congrats!

    In light of the favourable opinions toward Trump’s policies and presidency on this blog, does anyone care to comment on his commitment to working closely with an openly declared fascist?

  356. JMG, Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian Caesar, has been elected president. I wonder if the Changer isn’t acting around here too.

  357. This is an open question to everyone,

    I’m curious what stories people enjoy reading this time of year as the veil thins?

    I’ve always enjoyed hearing the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Raven but I’m curious to enjoy some other stories and perspectives. What are others inspired to read this time of year?

  358. Shane W asked Brazilians about Bolsonaro. Since no Brazilian citizen has answered, I will give my $0.02.

    1. This is the election most affected by so-called social media until now. The effect seems to be a hundred times stronger than in 2016, and everybody including Bolsonaro agrees that his side relied much more on “social media” than did his opponents’. Democracies will be forced to regulate WhatsApp and other networks, or else they will be at the mercy of Zuckerberg’s whims.

    2. I can only recommend everybody to read about German politics from April 1932 to July 1934. There is no allegory or 1:1 correspondence, but the same sense of people playing with fire without being conscious of the risk. The English Wikipedia on Franz von Papen gives a surprisingly good overview.

  359. Hello all, long-time lurker here; I’ve been brought out of the woodwork by recent comments about plants having spirits, etc. I come from quite a conservative Christian background, but to me that doesn’t rule out the possibility of considering that there could be “good” or “bad plant spirits and so forth.

    The reason I’m interested is that my wife grew up on a now-abandoned farm in a rural hamlet, and whenever I go there (in search of peace and quiet), I don’t know how to explain it any better than to say that it Feels Good to be there – it feels wholesome; safe; friendly; warm. You can practically feel the trees’ kindly demeanour. I might add that, in my view, my wife and her family were/are extremely good and wholesome people.

    Just wondering if anybody has had a similar experience of a place where the plants give off a “good feeling”.

  360. I just read the date on the article I linked to and must admit, it’s old, but it’s still rather interesting to note things like that are happening.

  361. If you liked Twilight’s Last Gleaming …. (OT) I finally got around to reading Walter Jon Williams’ techno-thriller Deep State, a.k.a ‘inside one of the Color Revolutions’ TLG made much mention of. Viewpoint character is LARP designer Dagmar Shaw, who gets sucked into it. Key sentence, “You mean you want me to astroturf an entire *country?” Many wheels within wheels, of course. Politically as well as technically somewhat out of date, since the junta they’re trying to overthrow is a bunch of aging, fanatically secularist, massively corrupt leaders of an Islamic country. But I still consider it a nice complement to TWG. And even, when the HighZap takes out the internet, to Retropia!

  362. @ Jim W.

    As a career civil servant, I find your argument that inattention by postal employees is to blame infuriating (!) and eminently plausible.

    Ecosophia – Bringing People Together 🙂

  363. Jim,

    Reading your post set off some red flags for me. The fact you claimed expertise after being called out on it, and then missed that you were disagreeing with people, and then said you didn’t care, seems odd. It has the air of someone who’s protesting too much. Since this is the internet and a lot of social cues get filtered out, I will freely admit I could be wrong (as I was with Luna here), but your response does not convince me of it.

    As for the question of who my comment was about, allow me to answer: I don’t know Donald Trump so I have no opinion; JMG has admitted when he’s wrong before on many occasions; you, well, yes, that’s who I was thinking of; or myself, well, presumably the defense mechanism I’m postulating would keep me from noticing. I don’t, however, think most people agree with me deep down. In fact, I’m acutely aware of the fact much of what I consider common sense many people, perhaps most, I interact with would consider utter lunacy. I very well may have other defense mechanisms to keep from noticing when I’m wrong, but that would be beyond my capacity to notice. *shrugs*

  364. @Matthew T,
    You are so lucky to have such spiritual sensitivity. It’s an amazing source of happiness. Plants seem to retain memories and they also strike me as having a keener sense of the future than we. I sometimes wonder if what I am experiencing as a spirit of a place is the combined community of plants living there or if they are good at channeling it.

  365. There is a new twist to the digital divide: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/digital-divide-screens-schools.html
    The elite are becoming aware of psychological and other problems with excessive screen time and are keeping their kids away from it. I see it becoming an opiate for the masses, from which the elites can extract profit while exerting control. In Bali I met a family who were scrimping on nutrition to afford a smartphone for their daughter, who showed the typical signs of addiction. Meanwhile if stringent measures are taken to avoid the pitfalls, it is certainly an empowering technology. The impoverished lack the leeway for that.

  366. A good Halloween horror book is Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon, where a city family moves to one of those weird little towns that populate the horror map, and the husband gradually realizes that Something Pretty Strange is going on. The climax comes at a harvest festival so the book fits right in with the season.

  367. @Walt
    Thanks for comment on book Chapter re Avalonia.
    I like your comparison with car crash parts – especially since ‘date-stamps’ on each part seem uncertain. smile.
    I guess you are right that research in the last 20 years will have modified the picture.

    From the chapter: “In early Ordovician time part of this recently accreted crust was rifted away, producing a new terrane known as ‘Avalonia’ (Ziegler, 1982), of which the crust of southern Britain occupies the eastern part. Benchmarks in the history of this new terrane and its subsequent accretion into the Caledonian Orogen are documented in Figure 1.3.”

    For ‘really’ old rocks I did not offer JMG Lewisian gneiss to compare with anything in the Canadian Shield. Smile.

    best
    Phil H

  368. CR Patiño, Thank you for this contribution to the discussion on vaccination (which also has wider implications, of course):

    “Individual interest has to be ballanced agains public interest.”

    My question to you is – although each of us is capable of speaking for ourselves as an individual WHO do you trust to speak for the “public” so that these interests may be balanced?

    The “public” can either be the natural end result of all individuals participating in decision-making and together coming to a reasonable reconciliation of all their interests OR it can simply be that one single individual or group PRETENDS that THEIR interest so happens to be identical to the “public” so that they do not need to bother to persuade the others.

    You say:
    “In their current incarnation, Anti-vaxers are freeloaders. They dodge the risk (both real and perceived) of artificial inmunization, but still get to benefit from the mass of population being vaccined.”

    This is an assumption, which certainly has been carefully considered by many and found wanting in several aspects, especially evidentiary ones. Let me say it differently so you might see how it reads to me, and then decide whether it is reasonable and ethical to ask any individual to sacrifice their well-being for the well-being of the group.

    (paraphrase): “in their current incarnation, free-thinkers are freeloaders. [By not having their children baptised] they dodge the risk of conformity to the community, but still get to benefit from the divine blessings that flow from the mass of the community being baptised.”

    I would suggest you ask yourself on what basis you hold this assumption, and what personal, group and/or professional interests are aligned with it, and how the assumption might change if a) your interests were different and b) the evidence failed to support it.

    I do not see “anti-vaxers”. What I see are people who started with your assumption that the public interest was worth serving through vaccination, and, in the course of participating in the ritual for the greatest good, were injured. That is to say, they did NOT “dodge”. And then, they discovered that their personal “sacrifice” was not only to consist of their health and well-being, but also, because of ideological necessity, their visibility as people. They are “x-ed” and erased as people, by being called “anti-vaxers” when mostly they are saying, “wait, what about us? Are our lengthy and debilitating conditions really the price the rest of you are willing to pay for your well-being [and profits]? And, how is that fair?”

    What do you answer?

  369. blue sun: not quite what you asked, but if you want to be disillusioned about the US, read/listen to everything by the War Nerd about the British Empire, and keep in mind it just moved to New York and changed some methods.

    Dewey: I don’t think the Alans went from the Eurasian Steppe to Western Europe on foot.

  370. John–

    Tail end of the open post, but Wednesday is when I get one of the industry news-feeds that I monitor. I thought you’d find this latest pro-nuclear argument interesting:

    Study quantifies job creation in the nuclear sector

    A study on the employment generated by the nuclear energy industry has been published by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Some 200,000 job-years of employment are created by each gigawatt of nuclear capacity constructed, it suggests.

    “The nuclear energy sector employs a considerable workforce around the world, and with nuclear power projected to grow in countries with increasing electricity demand, corresponding jobs in the nuclear power sector will also grow,” the report says.

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Study-quantifies-nuclear-sector-s-job-creation

    It’s not about economic affordability, it’s about jobs and growth, of course! 😉

  371. I just had some random comments from reading the thread>

    I live in Ireland and I have a back account with the Post Office and my home insurance as well. I am a big fan of An Post.

    Ireland removed its Jus Solis policy in 2004 after masses of (mostly Nigerian) immigrants were using the loophole to get into the country. Things settled down pretty much after that

    I have never been vaccinated and research indicates serious problems with vaccination IMHO. I would first return to a required non-profit status for all medical work (and defense etc) as the current medical establishment is so corrupted by money, believing them is insane. I should say my wife worked for Ciba Gigy research (now Novartis) and the rampant fraud and corruption was horrifying (FDA, CDC etc)

    While we are semi-offgrid, I would still not want to go it alone so developing good relations with our neighbours and community is still my favoured way to go!

  372. @ Will J

    The only thing I said I didn’t care about was being right. Of course I don’t know DJT either, but I’ve never witnessed him admit to being wrong about anything. Have you? It’s hard to believe you only have opinions about people you know. Thanks for your comment.

  373. @CR Patino,
    Would it be “freeloading” if the people do not believe in the efficacy of the action requested and therefore do not perceive any benefit at all from everyone’s participation? There are reports, for example, that those who receive influenza vaccine are hardly protected at all, and in fact, in subsequent years suffer from higher incidences of disease, including influenza, due to decreased immune function overall.
    This is one of the most inflammatory arguments against dissidents I’ve heard put forth by people who profit from getting as many people to cooperate as possible. Scotlyn gave a valid comparison to religious extremism.
    Worse than that, some vaccines use attenuated live viruses, which the vaccinated proceed to shed for several weeks, with the possibility of infecting the unvaccinated they come in contact with with live, active viruses. This is documented, and in fact, the chicken industry in Japan managed to get a law passed against vaccination of flocks against bird flu (if I recall right) because if one farmer vaccinated, the disease would spread from the vaccinated flock to others nearby.
    Yet we do not hear of similar efforts by the so-called “ant-vaxxers” to protect their interests by requiring others to agree and cooperate with them. Rather, they believe that by not vaccinating, they strengthen their own immune system and are better able to handle whatever does come along, natural or otherwise.
    FWIW, I personally take a view in between.

  374. @patriciaormsby: Thanks for your reply. As a matter of fact I had thought that the spiritual “feeling” I get in that place was just from the actual *place*. If you’re a Tolkien fan and remember any obscure details from when they were traveling, you may remember a passage from LoTR that talks about a “wholesome air” in the region where the Elves used to live.

    It was only when I read some comments, above, that I thought, well, it never occurred to me that it could be the PLANTS having some spiritual memory.

  375. Having just celebrated Halloween and Day of the Dead with my family, I wondered: are there any traditional celebrations or acknowledgements of the generations yet to come? With all this emphasis on the past and the present, we seem to be giving short shrift to the future and the decisions we make that will affect it.

  376. Jim,

    I have opinions on people I don’t know. I’ve never seen him admit to being wrong either, but I’ve also seen enough to know that the Trump we see is just an image. I have no idea what the real Trump is like. There are people who I form opinions on, and I have opinions on Trump, but I view him as deliberately putting on an image, likely very far from the truth. Not admitting being wrong is part of the image, so it has no bearing on whether I expect him to ever admit to being wrong when he’s not putting on the image.

  377. @Matthew,
    I recommend Stephen Harrod Buhner’s “The Secret Teachings of Plants.” It will help open a new window on the world and help explain what it is you are experiencing.

  378. Beekeeper in Vermont: I have not read Albion’s Seed but I heard of it through the book American Nations by Colin Woodard which uses Albion’s Seed as a basis to explore the 11 distinct regional nations that make up America. Its an excellent book for those who think about the future of America in the deep future.

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss . Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

Leave a Reply