Open Post

October 2022 Open Post

This week’s Ecosophian offering is the monthly (well, more or less!) open post to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no paid propagandizing, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic. (Well, with one exception: there’s a dedicated (more or less) open post on my Dreamwidth journal on the current virus panic and related issues, so anything Covid-themed should go there instead.)

With that said, have at it!

483 Comments

  1. Hello JMG,

    Should we expect anymore content in the Star’s Reach realm – sequels or another anthology? Certainly one of your most creative visions. Thanks.

  2. Hi. First thank you JMG for your books and insight and to the community as a whole. I will be purchasing a home in the next six months in Florida. (Yes I am also cringing at this but it’s where our families and work is). What do you recommend are improvements or steps I could take to become more sustainable. I read the post on preparing for winter so insulation is on the list. I also want to install a well with a manual backup pump. Also want to start a garden and keep brewing beer. Please let me know if you have any insights or recommendations for a first time homeowner. Thank you!

  3. JM Keynes said “Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent” – so even if you correctly identify a bad valuation, you may not be able to profit from it. And the disconnect between your understanding of reality, and the behavior of the majority, can be stressful.

    At a larger level, I feel a similar disconnect between most peoples’ vision of the future (the myth of progress, or business as usual) and my own (which largely tracks yours). It can be stressful being a voice in the wilderness (in my view; I may appear to be a crank to others).

    How do others deal psychologically with feeling like a lone voice (and one with a message people don’t want to hear)?

  4. It’s getting to be that time of year when those of us who like tales of horror go back to our favorite stories (Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of mine) or perchance, write our own.

    So here is a piece of flash fiction I wrote to share with friends and family this Hallow’een. It’s horror and set in the deindustrial present.

    A LINGERING SOUND OF STEAM

    Abbey veered her sedan to the right to avoid making roadkill of the skunk as they zoomed along the potholed Indiana back-road, causing branches from the hanging trees to scrape side of her ride, and her friend Sara to drop her cigarette on the floor.
    “What the hell, Abbey!” Sara yelled.
    Peggy griped from the back, “Chill out. We’re okay.”
    “Sorry, all this ghost talk is working me up.”
    “We all just need to simmer down,” Abbey said, as she re-centered on the narrow road.
    “Well, slow down first. It’s not like we have to punch in when we get there.”
    Peggy videotaped it all with a small camera. Later she’d edit the footage for their Midwest Psychic Quest channel on Witchtok.
    Sara relit her smoke. They’d been in the car over two hours after a crappy day at the salon. Her boss had flaked out again, made her go pick up product on her own dime. As general manager the only perk seemed to be extra hassle and coworkers who talked behind her back. Maybe one day their channel would take off, they’d get some sponsors, ghost hunt and legend trip full-time. It was a dream, but it kept the encroaching winter blues at bay on the dull days of drudgery.
    The legend tripping videos got the most likes and comments of all their content, and the episode on schedule was a visit to the site of the brutal circus slayings in Euterpe, Indiana, where the Wallbanger Big Top had kept its winter camp and quarters; those quarters now moldered in ruins on an abandoned property behind a strip mall whose last denizens barely stayed in business. They parked their car between Indie CBD and Dollar Discounts, got out, checked flashlights, checked pepper spray, and crept behind the building to look for the hole in the fence that led into the abandoned property.
    Many others had been there before them. It was easy to follow the trail of beer cans, condom and candy wrappers to the husks of empty outbuildings whose only coats of paint were decades of graffiti.
    “Let’s get the story on camera.” Peggy set up her light, and prodded Abbey and Sara into place, standing in front of a fading mural of a calliope sprayed on wall that slanted with decay.
    Sara began. “Before the killings, Ringmaster George Wallbanger often complained he was being driven insane by the sound of the steam calliope. It’s piercing high pitched whistle haunted his dreams. Some researchers have wondered if it was just tinnitus, the gradual loss of his hearing as he aged. Maybe. But when authorities found his journal, a darker picture unfolded.
    “Wallbanger wrote page after page about the calliope being possessed. He said it’s player Alan Dennison was a servant of hell and whenever he played, the infernal instrument reverberated with the shrieks of the dead and the damned.”
    “Of course the police dismissed the paranormal connection,” Abbey said, taking her turn. “But the troupe didn’t have to be convinced. The fortune teller Madame Mori had seen the tragedy in her cards. Death. The Hanged Man. The Eight of Swords. Soon this land, next to Indiana’s cornfields, was all splattered with blood.”
    “Alan didn’t see it coming, despite the arguments he’d had with George over the noise. Then the ice pick was in his neck. Alan’s lover Dolores the Clown tried to stop him. All she got for her trouble was an instant lobotomy when he stabbed her in the eye.”
    “George poured kerosene over the bodies slumped against the tractor tow that pulled and powered the calliope then flicked the smoldering nub of his cigar to set it all ablaze. Next he pulled out his .22 pistol.” Abbey made a gun shape with her hand, “and blammo, he blew his fracking brains out.”
    Sara finished it up. “Soon the whole camp was gathered around the fire. The tattooed lady and the merman pulled Dolores to safety. She was alive, but burned, and never recovered her faculties. She spent the rest of her life at the Fort Wayne Sanitarium.”
    She let out her breath. “Legend has it, that if you come here and circle these ruins three times while reciting this chant, you can still hear Alan playing his calliope.”
    Sara and Abbey walked around, chanted, hands held.

    “See the freaks in a snow-white tent,
    See the tiger and elephant,
    See the monkey jump the rope,
    Listen to the Kally-ope!
    Hail, all hail, the cotton candy stand
    Hail, all hail, the steam whistle band.
    Music from the Earth am I!
    Circus days tremendous cry!
    My steam may be gone,
    But my sound will never die!”

    They chanted as they walked, and the late fall leaves crunched beneath their sneakers.
    Peggy saw a flicker of red and blue through the camera lens, then a painted face smeared with tears in the haze of moonlight and billows of steam. She smelled sulfur as an acrid taste crept into her mouth, and felt a weakness in the knees, as if she’d seen a guy she had crushed on, but now knew he was a creep, a sociopath hiding behind a charmed smile.
    She glanced at the ghostmeter clipped to the belt of her jeans and the numbers on its LED display jumped up and down. As they finished a third revolution around the circle, the ether blue outline of a faded canvas tent appeared with a whoosh of scorching vapor as the calliope released its high-pitched cry.
    A whirling gyre of phantasmal and miasmic shades slithered into being, spinning, as if on a carousel of sound, whose piercing tones splintered the air in a babble of laughter.
    Then it was gone, and only the smell of popcorn and sawdust remained.
    Sara felt sick to her stomach, and wished she hadn’t ordered the fried pickles at Diane’s Diner. As they walked back to the car, she couldn’t shake the high-pitched buzzing that rang and rang and rang in her ears, following her the whole way home.


    http://www.sothismedias.com/home/a-lingering-sound-of-steam-a-halloween-story

  5. In T.H. White’s ‘The Sword in the Stone’, Merlin says that a wizard is someone who experiences time running in the opposite direction everyone else does. Is this purely an artefact of White’s imagination or does the idea appear elsewhere as well?

  6. Hi JMG, always good to get the chance to mine the depths of your infinite wisdom!

    What do you think would have happened to the world/the west these past few centuries in particular if the Industrial Revolution had not taken place. Would it have been able to progress yet further without fossil fuels, and and do you think it allowed us to prolong the current round of civilisation beyond its natural shelf life or would we still be in the same decline predicament about now, but from a much lower level, non-industrial civilisation as permitted by non-fossil energy?

  7. Well, I wanted to let you know that your influence may be reaching much further than you might have imagined. We had our municipal elections in Ontario a few days ago. One of the candidates for mayor took the time to go up and down the concessions to talk to people and I had a chance to have a lovely chat with him when he came knocking at my door.

    In the course of the conversation, I (mis?)quoted you: For all decisions, we have to ask who get the benefits, and who pays the costs. We looked at several decisions made in the last few years and several proposed future decisions in that light, and it became very clear that the decisions made benefited the PMC overlords and not the people, who are currently struggling to pay bills and have enough to eat. The candidate recently resigned from his position in the tax department because he is not willing to take on debt for our township, especially when money is spent on things that are ridiculous, like the past hiring of 7 assistants at a fantastic salary plus benefits because the people who should be able to handle the work are too snowflake to do so (thus adding over a half million dollars a year to the budget).

    The candidate was so impressed by what I was saying from what you have said over the years, that he asked if he could quote me when he did his speech at the next debate. The speech practically wrote itself. I don’t know how much of a difference it made, but he won, replacing the incumbent. 🙂

    Thank you for nudging us to examine things critically, and for encouraging us to speak up when it’s possible.

  8. Hi JMG!
    Quick question from this week’s MM since I couldn’t read till afterward. You mentioned the fae tumble in the sheets with humans sometimes. My question is: do you think that’s still true today? If there are half-human half-fae children running around, would they be able to pass as human kids? This sounds spooky and ill-advised, but I could see how it might happen, since there are indeed pregnancies with the origin story of “We had a one-night stand and then I never saw him again.” Anyway, thanks!

  9. A few weeks ago there was some discussion here on the existence of we referred to as a malignant enchantment (or malignant spell) that had been cast over the world. Whatever this thing is, I’ve felt it all my life. I didn’t have a name for it, or even a sense of what it was, until I started seeing it described in a few books. Castenada refers to it in some of his later books. Jack Forbes and Paul Levy have both written extensively about what they call wetiko, a word which seems to have its roots in Native American mythology. So – what is this thing? Where does it come from? Harkening back to my reading in Dion Fortune’s books, is it simply part of the evolution of consciousness? The kind of thing that happens to an evolving spirit? Or Have we been unfortunate enough to catch the attention of some dark spirit that saw an opportunity to harvest some energy from unsuspecting beings? I’m 70, on the downslope of my life, and if there’s one thing I’d like to at least begin to understand before I go on to whatever comes next, it’s this. You, John, I think made a comment to the effect that it’s the single overwhelming fact of this crisis that we’re in. Would you, or anyone here, care to expound on this idea/topic/fact?

  10. Charles Hugh Smith does a fine job explaining our financial predicament as he calls it:

    The End of the “Growth” Road

    Everyone caught by surprise that the infinite road actually has an end will face a bewildering transition.

    The End of the “Growth” Road is upon us, though the consensus continues to hold fast to the endearing fantasy of infinite expansion of consumption.

    This fantasy has been supported for decades by the financial expansion of debt, which enabled more spending which pushed consumption, earnings, taxes, etc. higher.

    All the financial games are fun but “growth” boils down to an expansion of material consumption: more copper mined and turned into wire which is turned into new wind turbines, housing, vehicles, appliances, etc.

    There are three problems with the infinite expansion of consumption “growth” paradigm.

    https://www.oftwominds.com/blogoct22/end-of-road10-22.html

  11. I’m wondering if y’all are noticing an serious uptick in “the sky is falling” type messaging where you are. I certainly have. The conflict with Russia seems to have triggered a lot of this, not that regular readers of this blog and the Archdruid Report before it haven’t known these things were likely to appear before us. Still, it takes nerves of steel to go out into the internet lately. Any recommendations for cute cat or dog rescue videos? Maybe something with paint drying? Old-timey home renovation videos? Dumb dancing at wedding receptions videos? Or maybe just a source for Ashwaganda to calm the nerves…

  12. Hi JMG and everybody else – I hope your day has been as pleasant and balmy as mine! 🙂

    Three things today:

    1. Sacred Geometry Oracle readings

    I‘d like to improve my skills with the Sacred Geometry Oracle.

    If any of you have a question you would like to get a divination for, please send it via email to sacredgeometry@gmx.net, or via my dreamwidth account (milkyway1). Feel free to include a few sentences with background info, so I can ask follow-up questions where appropriate.

    Since other people have also been offering divinations for practice purposes in previous Open Posts (horary astrology and Ogham, if memory serves me), I will add a few sentences at the end about what the Sacred Geometry Oracles does and doesn‘t do well, to help you decide which oracle is most suited to your question.

    2. Green tomatoes

    And a very mundane question… 😉

    I‘m finally taking down our tomatoes, and we are still having a glut of green ones. Now I‘m wondering what to do with them.

    (Yes, I know they will continue to ripen over time – but quite frankly, their taste leaves something to be desired after a certain point!)

    Does anybody have any good and proven recipes for/with green tomatoes? 🙂

    3. German(-speaking) readers:

    Finally, the same plug as last month: If you live in Germany, Austria or thereabouts and would like to get in touch with other Ecosophia readers, send me a note via the channels mentioned above, and I will add you to a mailing list of other ecosophian readers in that area.

    ….

    JMG, this might sound strange because you offer so much great content, but the Open Posts are my second-most-liked feature on your sites (after Magic Monday, which is very hard to top!!). I love the discussions, and each month I end up following countless links, ordering new books, and finding very interesting new topics for research and reading. I just wanted to send you a big „thanks!“ for all the time you put into them. 🙂

    May you and your wife have a wonderful Wednesday!

    Milkyway

    About the Sacred Geometry Oracle:

    The Oracle is not just great for divination, but also especially well suited to make relations and roles clear: between people, but also between emotions, actions, habits, institutions, …

    (Hence why giving me some background info is helpful, so I can go into more detail here and help you get more out of your request.)

    It also loves to give life advice (and doesn‘t hold back) and will sneak some of that into a reading if possible.

    What it doesn‘t work well with are straightforward yes/no questions. If you ask one of these, I will take the liberty to rephrase your question as I see fit to get you the most out of the answers.

    Overall, the Oracle can be very blunt, but has a great and quirky sense of humour. The one thing it doesn‘t suffer gladly is foolish questions: If you already know you should stop doing X, but ask the Oracle anyway because you hope for a different answer, the reply will likely be very clear. (Ask me how I know… 😉 )

    (For what it‘s worth, these are my experiences with it – if you use it yourself, your mileage may vary!)

  13. JMG, I started reading your newest book, The Occult Philosophy Workbook. The introduction states that the reader is not expected to either believe or disbelieve the material in the book. However, I have to say, I am about 1/3 through it, and I find it easy to believe many of the parts, as it presents a vision of the universe which I find beautiful and would very much like to be true. Am a committing a big mistake by tentatively accepting large parts of the book as true? Is there anything I should be careful about? Thanks!

  14. JMG, actually, a question to you:

    After posting my first comment, I am now wondering… in your experience, how much of the „personality“ of an oracle comes from the oracle itself, and to what extent does the personality of the diviner shine through?

    E.g. I take it from previous comments by various people that the Sacred Geometry Oracle in general tends to be on the blunter site (at least blunter than e.g. Tarot). So that would be a feature/habit of the Oracle, I suppose.

    Are there other things in the personality of an oracle (any oracle, not just this one) which depend more on the personality or preferences of the diviner?

    And yep, I know – it‘s a fine theme for a meditation. 😉

    Milkyway

  15. Ad hominem – ground to grits and with cheese on top – the DeStantis/Crist “debate.” Crist kept accusing DeSantis of cruelty for being against a laundry list of items on the Salary class agenda. DeSantis kept heaping scorn on “the Biden-Crist” agenda, as if Crist was – note, I don’t use the subjunctive here – Biden’s little clone. Nothing to see here, folks, including DeSantis fans (I don’t think there are too many Crist fans here), move right along.

  16. John–

    I’m expecting (and, the be honest, hoping) the mid-term elections result in a split government, if only to limit federal action. Of course, Nov 9th launches the 2024 presidential campaign season, so it’ll be interesting to watch the preliminary maneuvering begin. Have no idea what I hope for coming out of that…all the primary options are disappointing at best.

    Popcorn futures remain a good investment.

  17. Straws in the wind: Last night The Village tried to revive a long tradition of throwing a Trick or Treat giveaway for the employees’ children, with residents giving away the treats. I went down, bowl of candies in hand, and waited with the other residents – all 8 of them.

    The last time, in 2019, had the residents lined up in the hallway outside the dining room, and the families poured in, a lot of them the low-level employees we saw every day, serving our tables, in the halls with the housekeeping carts, and so on. The kids were all ages and sizes, with costumes ranging from fantastic to glamorous to cute, and a good time was had by all. The 2020 one was a casualty of the Lockdown, and in 2021, everyone was still recovering from the Lockdown.

    And this year, the residents were herded into the Performing Arts Center, which in 2019 had been the wide-open Commons, and the kids and families were led in a roundabout way by Paula from Life Enrichment. And we waited and waited. A handful of kids and their parents came in, got their treats and left, and we waited some more, until another handful trickled in. The parents seemed to be the upper-level employees for the most part. And as I waited, I wondered about the reasons for the difference.

    There were fewer employees than in 2019. Maybe they weren’t of an age to have small children. But more likely, the parents had enough on their plates already, without getting costumes, driving to their workplace, and so on, all for a handful of candy. And people are sticking closer to home these days. a lot closer to home, from what I can see. My daughter’s family included. And of course, it was not Halloween proper.

    But also, back home, when I owned a house, the trick-or-treaters were increasingly few, until 2018, when a few from out of the neighborhood started showing up. My neighbors’ children? Some were gong to a private party. Others, I had no idea. And a lot of churches had – still have – been holding alternative events on that night for their families. So perhaps it’s a dying custom.

    At any rate, “Welcome to the 2020s.”

    Full disclosure – I intend to submit this to the Lake House Newsletter.

  18. John, et alia–

    Reading about Biden’s three-pronged “response” to the latest move by the House of Saud, I’m trying to figure out how the NOPEC bill would do anything but induce OPEC countries to move their assets out of US jurisdiction? (The other two prongs involved SPR releases and some other temper tantrum element I can’t remember at the moment.) It’s not like there aren’t other countries interested in buying oil…

  19. Greetings JMG,

    The president of France is a former investment banker, who some say was largely put in place by a powerful banker. The new UK prime minister is a former investment banker.

    How do you see the power of banks evolve in the Long Descent?

  20. What remedies (homeopathy and fitotherapy) would you use to treat anxiety problems uf you don’t mind to use them? *Only for personal interest in family and friends, not making a profit*.

  21. Hi JMG. I know this question is highly speculative and could be a bit of stinker to answer. I believe Rishi Sunak, the new British Prime Minister, was appointed during the tail end of a Solar eclipse. I know you have posted an astrological chart for the eclipse already on Patreon and Subscribestar and from that chart the timing doesn’t look very favourable. I’m wondering if the appointment being when the eclipse is past its peak might make this a rosier picture (I’m aware other astrological factors will be slightly different given the difference in timing). Also – Mr Sunak is a Hindu and that he was appointed on Dawali, one of the holiest days in the Hindu calendar. Do you know of any lore suggesting religious festivals have an astrological influence? On a brighter note, I imagine some Vedic Astrologers have cast charts for this and as Mr Sunak is a very public figure his tenure as British PM might be a good case study to compare astrological systems. Geore

  22. OK, it’s 12:14 pm (CST) and there are only 20 comments? That must be a record! Usually it’s in the triple digits by now.

  23. Clarke,

    Since you mentioned videos, I’ve discovered some excellent “slow TV” content.

    https://www.youtube.com/c/calmedbynature
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ-JKqNo_T0yoeDZff1y7Kw (these walking tours were a godsend during Covid lockdowns)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zomZywCAPTA

    I’ve also found that learning a new skill helps take the edge off of anxiety about the outside world. I was just laid off from my job last week and since then I’ve spent a couple hours a day studying Spanish.

  24. Daniel, I haven’t had any particular inspirations toward a new novel in that future. I’m currently finishing up a rather different project set in the kind of future we’re likely to get, a Gnostic deindustrial noir science fiction detective novel titled The Hall of Homeless Gods, and pursuing some other fiction projects as well; I won’t say never, but just at the moment nothing is stirring.

    Tercio, I’d encourage you to take a look at my book Green Wizardry, which covers these topics in quite a bit of detail. You might also see if you can find a secondhand copy of The Integral Urban House, which goes into even more detail on the subject.

    Isaac, spending my entire adult life as a practicing occultist has gotten me used to that experience! Keynes’ comment is good advice — don’t expect the world to conform to your views any time soon in any way that will convince other people. Beyond that, well, I’ll throw this open to the commentariat. How do you handle this, dear readers?

    Justin, thanks for this.

    Christopher, it’s purely White’s notion.

    Sam, there’s actually been some discussion of that among historians. Any number of political shifts in British history could have prevented the industrial revolution from happening, since that depended more than anything else on the ability of the merchant class to amass the huge amounts of capital that made building the first factories possible, and that in turn depended on factors both internal (the government and the nobility permitting that concentration of wealth rather than confiscating it) and external (the complex chain of events that allowed European countries to seize control of maritime trade in slaves, sugar, tobacco, and other high-value products worldwide and cash in to a gargantuan degree).

    If the Industrial Revolution hadn’t happened, Britain would likely not have had the economic resources to resist Napoleon, and Europe would have been united into a single empire with its capital in Paris. Lacking abundant energy from coal, the discoveries of the scientific revolution would have been interesting curiosities; technology would have stagnated around the level of 1600; the French Empire would have settled into the same sort of torpor as the Ottoman, Mughal, and Chinese empires of the same period, and eventually it would have been fallen in the usual manner, probably sometime in the 2200s or 2300s. Our technology enabled us to rise faster but it also means that we’re falling sooner.

    Myriam, good heavens. I’m delighted to hear this. Thank you!

    CS2, Dion Fortune claimed that it still happened in her time, so it’s by no means impossible that it happens now. She has an essay somewhere that discusses the kids in question — oh, and one of her Dr. Taverner stories has that as its plot engine.

    Rod, thanks for this.

    Mister N, we’ll have to wait and see!

    Bill, I wish I had a simple answer for that. I don’t. I’m aware of the same issue, of course, but teasing out its origins and implications has been a long-term project of mine and one where I don’t yet have any convincing answers.

    Rod, good. The gap between real (i.e., material) wealth and hallucinatory (i.e., financial) wealth is crucial.

    Clarke, yes, I’ve noticed the same thing. I think a lot of people in the comfortable classes realize their goose is not merely cooked but incinerated.

    Milkyway, green tomatoes are much eaten in the American South, and though I’m not a Southerner I like them a great deal. They’re particularly good in Asian style stir-fry dishes, where they add a tart, tangy flavor.

    Rationalist, if you accept the teachings as a working hypothesis that you’re prepared to abandon in the face of contrary evidence, that’s fine. It’s turning it into a dogma that lets the problems loose.

    Milkyway, it is indeed a fine theme for a meditation. In my experience, both the diviner and the oracle contribute to the personality of readings.

    Patricia M, I can’t say I’m surprised.

    David BTL, to my mind the races that matter most are on the state level, not federal. That’s where the next generation of Washington politicians are being readied for their roles, once the senile gerontocracy now in charge on both sides of the aisle finally clutches its collective chest and falls over. There are some lively races — and yes, popcorn-worthy ones.

    Patricia M, I’ve seen the same thing in other contexts. Halloween in its 20th century American incarnation seems to be expiring fast.

    David BTL, OPEC countries own some trillions of dollars in US assets. They can’t cash those in without losing a great deal of value in the process, because nobody else has the wealth to buy them at anything better than fire sale prices. That said, the NOPEC bill is a financial doomsday weapon, because the damage to OPEC economies would be more than matched by catastrophic declines in every US asset class you care to name. Like nuclear weapons, it’s useful as a threat, but if it ever gets deployed it’s game over for both combatants.

    Tony, rising steadily until it falls off a cliff. Banks have immense power in societies that are run by the manipulation of abstract wealth, but societies of that kind eventually end up with a fatal mismatch between abstract wealth and real, material, wealth in the form of goods and nonfinancial services. Once that hits, the abstract wealth means nothing, and the banks or equivalents implode.

    Chuaquin, in the United States, it’s against the law for any person who’s not a licensed medical provider to answer a question like that. It’s defined as practicing medicine without a license, and people do jail time for that — especially, ahem, if they’re public figures known to promote alternative medicine. Please don’t ask such questions here.

    George, I’m working on an inauguration chart for Sunak now, and no, it doesn’t look good. I’m not familiar with evidence that festivals affect astrological indications, but this would seem to be a good time to check that out.

    NBer, nah, I’ve had much slower openings to open posts. It’ll pick up.

  25. I just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying The Occult Philosophy Workbook. I have a friend whose birthday is coming up, and I’m planning on giving her a copy.

  26. Patricia Mathews: I wonder if the American manifestation of Guising (as it was known in Scotland and Ireland) is a Plutonian phenomenon. Looking up the history of children going about on Halloween in costume and begging for candy, there have been mentions of this practice in America in the 1910s and 1920s, but it only got big after 1930.

    Interestingly, the phrase “Trick or Treat” is distinctly American, in Scotland and Ireland the phrase is traditionally “Help the Halloween Party”. This to me conjures up an image of a pint sized politician with a Pumpkin mask and halloween themed campaign paraphenelia “Vote for the Halloween Party! The tricks are harmless, and the treats are sweet!”.

  27. @ milkyway #14 GREEN TOMATOES.

    You slice them, bread them, and fry them until crispy. Season the breading as you wish.

  28. I recently discovered rapper Tom MacDonald. I love his style. He’s independent and thus not afraid to rap things that go against the dominant left-wing narrative. As a result, he has mostly been interviewed on/reviewed by right-wing conservative news outlets, as opposed to left-wing ones. This is yet another example of JMG’s point that more and more people are finding themselves forging unlikely alliances with conservatives after being alienated by the increasingly extreme woke left. Here are a few especially poignant lines from his song “Fake Woke” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l6JUNFAJ9o):

    They knew the race war would be the game they’d need to play
    For people to pick teams; they use the media to feed the flame

    I think Black Lives Matter was the stupidest name,
    When the system’s screwing everyone exactly the same

    Censoring the facts turns our children into idiots.
    They claim it’s for our safety; I’ll tell you what it really is:
    Removing information that empowers all the citizens.

  29. @ Tercio #2 and buying a house.

    You can make a better choice when buying a home by being very clear about what you want, don’t want, need (be honest!), and take your time looking.

    Start with a map of your area. Mark where your job is, your spouse’s job is, and important friends and relatives. Using the map’s distance marker in the legend and a compass, draw ten mile circles around each of your critical points. Look for where the circles intersect and start house hunting there. What you’re trying to do is be convenient to job and family. If a ten mile circle (about a 15 to 20 minute drive one-way) isn’t big enough, go larger in five mile increments.

    Shameless plug: I wrote an entire chapter about house-buying and the choices you’ll make in “Fed, Safe, and Sheltered” (https://peschelpress.com/fed-safe-and-sheltered/ ). The website will give you more information so you can make an informed decision.

    I’ve never seen what I wrote anywhere else. I’m guessing that most writers about real estate don’t consider the bigger picture of commuting, maintenance costs, housekeeping, food gardening, family connections, and neighborhoods. But I do.

  30. Speaking of anxiety.😱

    I have been doing a lot of this:

    Sit.
    Close the eyes.
    There is no bear or tiger at the cave door.
    I am okay.
    I am feeling fear (panic).
    Fear (and panic) is just a feeling.
    Feel it.
    However long it takes.
    Sit.
    All things must pass.
    Let it be.
    Breathe.

    Then I slump over and snooze for 5-10 minutes.

    Sounds so George Harrison.

    Oh, flower essences help. Flower Essences Services, Nevada City, California’s “Five Flower Formula™” = Bach’s Rescue Remedy.

  31. @Myriam – I was hoping someone would have insider perspective on the Ontario elections here -hoping Ron M and Liam in Toronto might be on it, too. It looked, from my outsider view, similar to BC’s which was on the 15th:

    1)people went… moderate. No extreme candidates were elected or re-elected – in Victoria, Ben Isitt, for example, had been the most popular councillor up until now, but was not re-elected because he was the last of the old guard on the left (none of the rest ran again). At the same time, in places where religious extremism was rising the other way, people stomped that, too: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/teri-westerby-chilliwack-school-board-trustee-transgender-1.6618734

    2) Low turnout almost everywhere except key cities where people were really mad at the previous council (this is my favourite example – I’d love to talk about which “politically connected” people own companies with the construction contracts for Bear Mountain (heck, the whole 5,000 to 50,000 residents-in-a-couple-decades-city). And how a national sports player was able to buy those properties after he went bankrupt and sold his Las Vegas properties for pennies on the dollar. But I simply can’t. It’s all utter slander . )

    3)Cities with high crime and homelessness elected new mayors with tough on crime stances to the right of the incumbents, however;

    4) They re-elected mayors who had delivered, even if they were generally leftward.

    5) Huge numbers of complete political newcomers on almost all councils.

  32. You’ve mentioned in the past that the U.S. is a third world country (or large portions of it are).

    Are there any countries you’d consider today to be a first world country?

    Or are they all like the U.S. It depends on where you are and how close to the centers of power. Goodness knows, the Eastern Shore of Maryland has only the width of the Chesapeake Bay separating it from the D.C./Baltimore metro area and it’s like another country.

    I’ll add that Pennsylvania was once described as Arkansas separated by Philly and Pittsburgh and having lived in Central PA for 20 years, I must agree!

  33. For those of you who are reading my novels (I write as Odessa Moon), I finally published ‘The Vanished Pearls of Orlov!’

    Yay! It certainly took me long enough.

    https://peschelpress.com/the-vanished-pearls-of-orlov/

    I’m so proud.

    I’m slaving away on getting ‘Escape To HighTower’ finished and hope to have it out before Valentine’s Day 2023.

    We do sell our trade paperbacks direct for our usual in-person price plus media-mail shipping if you don’t want to deal with The Zon or Bookshop.org (who pays more poorly). Email us at peschel@peschelpress.com for details.

  34. @Tercio, David the Good has several books on gardening in Florida: survival, food forest, general, etc. Out of curiosity, are you moving to south, central, north, or panhandle FL?

  35. Hey Mr. Greer, I have read Dark Age America and listened to you on the Hermitix podcast. If you have read James Howard Kunstler’s ” The Long Emergency” or other books, are there any things you disagree with in his assessments? Also if you had to give a speculative prediction on when the bread lines and starvation hits when would you place it. Wondering how quick I need to move. Thanks!

  36. I have a question for Robert Mathiesen. Robert I imagine you are watching the war in Ukraine carefully. I myself have been paying it a great deal of attention. What are your thoughts on it so far? Has anything surprised you? How do you think it will play out in the short and long term?

    Thanks so much

  37. A while back you mentioned three ways of doing magic but I can’t remember if they were the mystic, the mage and the wizard or something else. Also the way of interacting was through love for the mystic, but also can’t remember the others. Would you mind repeating these paths again and I promise not to forget again, they were very interesting distinctions!

  38. Milkyway,
    I’m so jealous. I wasn’t able to get green tomatoes this year. I just ran out of my last jar of GT relish. I’ve enjoyed this relish since I was a little girl 60 years ago when my mom made them. The recipe can be found in “The Joy of Cooking”.

  39. Tercio,
    if I were buying property in Florida, I would place a high priority on getting something that isn’t going to flood in every storm or every high tide if the sea rises a few inches. Then on making your house and property as flood and wind resistant as you can if they’re in a questionable area.

    Salt water intrusion into groundwater is a major issue in some areas of Florida. Check your local area’s situation before digging any well. Consider water catchment off your roof instead if your groundwater is undrinkable or likely to become so in the near future.

  40. Hi JMG,

    I’m wondering if you can comment on healthy use of the concept of karma. We live in an age when there are a lot of people who profit enormously from very unfair systems, psychotic behavior, or both.

    It’s tempting to say to oneself that these people will eventually get their just rewards in some karmic way. The problem is, in many cases that doesn’t seem to happen at all.

    So there seems to be a risk that the concept of karma can lead to indulging in sour grapes-type thinking. What is the best way of using it in your opinion?

  41. In response to Isaac’s dilemma:

    Yes, it’s lonely being right. But I don’t let anyone else’s rejection of my knowledge/belief bother me: I don’t need their approval. I find my own information, do my own thinking, and act on my own decisions. I freely share my thoughts with others, but never against their will. (Staying out of people’s faces goes a long way toward getting along with them!) Yes, they think I’m a nut – but I’m okay with that. They can think or believe whatever they like to just as much as I can. The people who care about me accept me for who I am, in spite of my opinions if necessary; the other crowd I don’t need in my life.

    I actually find it quite reassuring to be the only one around to know or properly understand something. Want to know why? Take a few minutes sometime to go through the Old Testament and look at all the times the word ‘remnant’ is used….

  42. @Milkyway. We make about 1kg of green tomato chutney with recipe below.
    750g Green tomato
    350g onions or shallots
    200g cooking apples
    100g raisins
    200g brown sugar
    300ml malt vinegar
    Ginger root (peeled,thumb size)
    1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 red chilli (optional)
    Put chopped tomatoes, shallots and apples in non reactive thick bottom pan with half the vinegar. Bring to boil and simmer for 30mins. Put ginger, mustard seed and chilli in muslin spice bag and tie up tight. Bruise with rolling pin. Add raisins to pan and then put in the spice bag. I tie to pan handle so it is easy to fish out. Cook on low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Add salt, sugar and rest of vinegar, stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove muslin bag and pour into sterilised jars. Seal and leave to mature for 6 weeks.

  43. @Isaac #3 re: Being a “Voice in the Wilderness”

    I’m very interested to hear what others have to say as well, as this is something I’m also in the middle of working out. I’ve always had my share of idiosyncratic takes on things, but the experience of believing in the secular equivalent of heresy is somewhat new.

    That being said, so far, here’s a few things that I do that seem to help:
    1) Keep my mouth shut. When I’m with friends or family and they bring up topics where my understanding of what’s going on is very different from theirs, I mostly let them talk and look for narrow points of agreement.
    2) Very cautiously engage with points of agreement, without necessarily revealing that the agreement comes from a different place. For example, if talking to someone who thinks all democrats (or all republicans) are terrible because they are a republican (or a democrat), I might be like “yup, that guy sucks”, without getting much into the fact that I think their preferred guy also sucks.
    3) With very close people (like my wife, family, good friends) cautiously bring up points that I know they might find sympathetic, even if they would reject the wider context. For example, many folks I know have no problem believing that bad inflation and/or recession is right around the corner, and some are even willing to consider ways to personally mitigate that, but most would not be so open to the idea that such stagflation is a stop on the way down, rather than a bump on the way up.
    4) Find and cherish the precious few folks I can talk about this stuff wholly openly with. A lot of that is online via this community (and the dreamwidth one), but I have, oh, two real-life friends that are also on board (one of whom is the one that introduced me to JMG).
    5) Lastly, try to spend my time and energy in ways that are consistent with what I believe to be true about the world, but don’t have to be justified as such. Some examples: putting more time in to learning how to bake bread, brew beer, and make things out of leather than learning how to code, going back to paper books after a stint preferring ebooks, finding ways to save money and energy, and pursuing a spiritual practice with some rigor. If friends or family ask why I’m doing these things, I can honestly say “because I enjoy them and I like what I get out of them” and I don’t have to say “because I think these are a better hedge for the future than my retirement account.”

    I hope some of these spark something useful for you or others, and I look forward to seeing what others have to say!

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  44. Bill #11 – The scale of Gaia to individual human beings is somewhat greater than the scale of a human to a virus. Is it possible that the evil spell that you sense is simply an out of control infection? To (mis)quote Pogo: “We have met the infection and it is us.”

  45. @Tercio, ps: Also look into the book “Cracker Architecture: Florida’s Wood-Framed Vernacular.” Especially if you’re building, but even if you’re just remodeling (or dreaming of…), it’s chock full of ideas on how to build comfortable, sustainable houses for a hot & humid climate. A lot of the newer building down here is on concrete slabs, which pretty much means a house is on air-conditioning life support from the time it’s built. Then hurricane season hits, the power goes off for a few weeks, and you’re stuck with a mold-pit. The older designs worked without AC, because they had to.

  46. A nice wake up call for those that want to do the right thing by recycling their plastics. This confirms what two owners who were in the recycling business told me and that is, they typically recycle less than 5% of what they take in. What’s troubling is that micro-plastics are finding their way into the foods we eat. I read an article recently where pregnant moms had their breast milk analyzed and roughly 60% had micro-plastics in their breast milk.

    “380 million tons of plastic are made every year. None of it is truly recyclable.
    Not even water bottles and milk jugs meet standards for recyclability, a new report finds.”

    https://grist.org/accountability/380-million-tons-of-plastic-are-made-every-year-none-of-it-is-truly-recyclable/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

  47. JMG & commentariat: The Hall of Homeless Gods sounds awesome! Looking forward to that one, for sure.

    It reminded me of this great track (IMO) “Hallway” by The Legendary Pink Dots, from their classic 1997 album The Hallway of the Gods.

    It’s a bit of goth infused psychedelia, also a perfect treat for the season.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik__vgr3224

    LPD actually just started a North American tour last week. They are great to see live, if any of you happen to be in a town where they are playing. I’d considered going up to Cleveland to see them, but alas, its not in the cards. I know I won’t be the only one around here to give up going to see bands in cities several hours away as our deindustrial future continues to unfold. But if they were in town, I’d be there. (And I’ve seen them twice…so, that will be have to be good!)

    https://legendarypinkdots.org/tour-dates/

  48. More of an MM question but I’m making a magic wand and used linseed oil and now it’s covered in ants. My guess is synthetic coatings are out of the question. Should I rub it down with peppermint oil or something else to make it less appetizing? Thanks.

  49. pygmycory says:
    #40 October 26, 2022 at 2:49 pm
    My cockatiels adore the sound of unaccompanied recorders. They think it’s some especially musically gifted relative of theirs, and they chirp accompaniment very happily. Thanks for the link to your videos. I noticed no end of the world narrative there, not even once!

  50. Vala, thank you! I’m very glad to hear this.

    Chuaquin, I’ve seen that reported in various places. There are quite a few things they could be there for. I seriously doubt they’re planning on going head to head with the Russian Army in Ukraine — the US would need a much bigger force if that was on their agenda. To my mind, it’s more likely that their mission is to cover a fast extraction of the NATO personnel in Ukraine — diplomats, military officers, spooks, and the like — if the Russian winter offensive turns into a catastrophe for Kiev.

    Frank, thanks for this! I heard a little about MacDonald a few years ago — glad to hear that he’s still at it.

    Northwind, it does indeed sound George Harrison-ish. I can think of a sound track. 😉

    Teresa, I haven’t been out of the US in years, so I really don’t know.

    Raphanus, yep.

    Teresa, congratulations!

    Arthur, Jim and I disagree on details but not in the general shape of things; our main difference of opinion is that he expects sudden dislocations and I expect a more ragged future of local and regional crises but no sudden splat. In terms of timing, the US is stil self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs. If we get bread lines in the next few decades it’ll be because of economic dislocations, not actual shortages. Mind you, we’ve got some whopping economic dislocations en route, so a full pantry and other sensible preparations would be wise! Far more important is to look at your income sources in terms of your dependence on the upper end of the corporate economy. A lot of financial gimmickry is coming unglued around us, and if you’ve got a job that doesn’t involve providing actual goods or services that actual people want and need, you may want to change that in a hurry.

    Suzette, it’s the mystic, the mage, and the occultist. The mystic path is founded on love, the path of the mage on power, and the path of the occultist on wisdom.

    Samurai_47, the best way to use it is to leave other people’s karma to the gods, and concern yourself with improving your own.

    Siliconguy, that is to say, reality eventually sinks in through even the thickest coating of ideology.

    Rod, yep. Plastics recycling is pure virtue signaling; the only way to deal with plastics is to use much less of them.

    Justin, I’ll bookmark that and give it a listen.

    Wanda, good heavens. That’s not a problem I’ve heard of before. You could certainly try oils that they hate, but, er, synthetic coatings aren’t out of the question; the wand I currently use most was sprayed with a matte clear finish from a spray bottle, and it works just fine.

  51. Hi,

    since I didn‘t get a comment in last week, here are my late two cents: first of all, the essay struck me as unusually grim-and-direct. I‘ve known you, JMG, as a cautious predictor of slow-motion disasters. Thus, the message from last week‘s post surprised me in its urgency.

    That said, it was a positive surprise!

    For a while now, I‘ve been noticing odd details that seem to outline a certain great pointlessness, a resignation on the civilizational scale: the way kids (as living representatives of the future) were treated in the „pandemic“; the senseless money printing and associated policy ideas such as rent moratoriums or the 9€ ticket here in Germany; the eerie silence in the news about the Nord Stream bombing; the reckless abandon with which western elites are severing international ties; the visible decay of all social programs, from kindergarten and school through medicine to elderly care; the great resignation and associated phenomena; the uptick in mental illnesses; the excess mortality; the inflation.
    But most of all: the fact that no-one talks about this all-encompassing downward trend as something that can, or even should be tackled in some way.

    Well, those cringeworthy PMC-types are intent to do something, but they have apparently swapped reality for some bizarre fever dream of emotionally charged abstractions, in which they feel all great and powerful, beating the baddies and solving the problems, while from the outside, you can see they are just flailing about senselessly, trashing what family jewels we still have left, the poor souls.

    It’s a sobering and strange sight. I‘ve come to interpret it as our whole society having given up. The plebes are feeling it and take cover, those in charge are losing their mind. No-one‘s at the helm, the ship is rudderless, the center cannot hold.

    My feeling is Soviet Union ca. 1987, and all the ADR reading and doomer outlook didn’t prepare me for how suddenly this feeling appeared and took over.

    I wish all of you good folks the best for the coming years, it’s gonna be a strange time!

  52. I’ve been contemplating this question: what might the nature of material incarnation and the learning experiences herein tell us about the nature of the larger worlds we eventually graduate into? Here’s what interests me: people don’t go through boot camp to be sent on a relaxing vacation(1), or arduous apprenticeships or intensive training to do easy work(2). So since we’re talking about lifetimes, cumulative millennia, of incarnate preparation, is a bit of trepidation about the reasons for its necessity a reasonable notion?

    What are we practicing here? Navigating adversity, loss, temptation, illusion, balancing individuality with community, tough decisions, consequences. Can we gather that the wider world contains an abundance of some or all of those same things, or close analogues? (Does it perhaps have a really unsafe trolley system that requires frequent decisions about whom to rescue? :b)

    The question might be impertinent (in either or both senses of the word) but it must be something that occult philosophers have considered. What’s your view on it?

    (1) The equivalent sometimes happens due to individual circumstances, but it’s not the expectation or intention.
    (2) Present-day systems in which the supposed intensive training is actually a class or patronage filter excepted.

  53. Hi JMG,

    I’ve been meaning to get your take on something for a while, and this seems like as good a time as any. I think I’ve stumbled onto something, but I feel like it must have been written about by others somewhere, and I’m wondering if you’ve seen anything about it.

    In his meditation on the Cave of the Nymphs from the Odyssey, Porphyry makes some interesting observations about astrology and the cardinal directions. He tells us that the East is sacred to the Gods, but the west to daimons; the North is the region from which souls enter into material incarnation, but the South, the region from which they ascend to the Gods. He also associates the North with Cancer, and the South with Capricorn. Porphyry doesn’t say it, but under that arrangement the East, the direction of the Gods, would be under Aries, and the West under Libra.

    Porphyry was writing during the Age of Pisces, but he was probably unaware of Procession, and he was relying on sources which appeared during the Age of Aries. This suggests that he associated the Gods with Aries because they were so at that time. Daimons, then, would have been associated with Libra.

    Of course, these days we all know about Procession, and about the difference between Arian religion, based around temples in which burnt offerings were given to the Gods, and Piscean religion, based around great unifying Fishers of Men. Less has been said about the opposite sign to the one ruling the Equinox, which if Porphyry is right to assign to daimons could then be said to rule subordinate or alternative powers during the age in question. That makes sense for the age of Pisces, in which secondary deities tended to be humans, often in fact virgins, who dedicated themselves to spiritual study and practice, or else virginal angelic spirits “who neither marry nor are given in marriage.” I wonder what it will mean in the Age of Aquarius, whose subordinate divinities will be governed by Leo– but I wonder if we haven’t seen the first hints in the cults of rock stars, Charismatic preachers and celebrity megachurch pastors, and some 20th century dictators.

    But the other questions that I’ve never seen addressed– if souls entering into generation during the Arian Age were governed by Cancer, did this also shift, so that the souls of the Piscean era were governed by Gemini? And what would this mean? Those ascending from generation were governed by Capricorn– does that signify the long, slow process of spiritual evolution traced out in (for example) Plato’s Phaedrus? Or just ordinary death? Can we see spiritual evolution as passing from Capricorn to Sagittarius, and now to Scorpio? And what would it mean to say that souls entering into generation are now governed by Taurus? Does our descent into incarnation take on a Taurean aspect, or is it the case that a new swarm of souls has begun to descend into incarnation, who are governed by Taurus as the previous swarm as governed by Gemini, and Cancer before that?

    Anyway, now I’m rambling, but my question was just whether you’ve seen anything addressing this idea before beyond the simple “Age of Aquarius” stuff, and if you think it’s an avenue worth pursuing?

  54. Ken#52 – sure, that’s certainly an aspect of it. A psychic infection, as it were. But the question remains, where did this thing come from? Some dark, destructive spirit, or is it just something incarnates experience on our way along the path?

  55. A couple months ago I brought up the idea of post-internet music, since I realized I’d been streaming most of my listening. I did end up getting a tape deck and have started accumulating and recording tapes. The art of the mixtape is even more enjoyable than I remember, when you have all the music on Youtube to use as a source.

    A number of commenters pushed against the idea of recorded music which–yeah, long term, if I live long enough, those tapes will wear out and that tape deck will take more power than I can spare. Someone mentioned the Mountain Dulcimer, an instrument which I’d never heard of. I bought one and am teaching myself out of a book by Judy House. I love it. Anyone with mobility problems in their hands (arthritis, carpel tunnel, injury) who wants to play a stringed instrument might want to look at this one. I can’t play very long at a time yet BUT I can play. I may be restricted to noter-drone or slow flat-picking (chording is difficult for me) but we’ll see. There’s plenty you can play in those styles anyway. Again, whoever mentioned the dulcimer as an instrument has my gratitude.

    To pay it forward, in case I can inspire anyone else– my other half has also taken up an instrument recently — an ocarina, which is a type of chambered flute. Lovely! Easier than a recorder. Very cheap; you can even 3D print your first learner’s model, which we did. (Many libraries have 3D printers. I recommend an alto, not soprano model if you want to try printing it.) After she worked through the first method book I ordered a clay triple-chambered ocarina as a gift. With three chambers it has the same (or slightly greater) range than a concert flute– but costs like a 10th as much, (at least from Imperial City Ocarinas, our vendor-of-choice). She’s taking to it like a duck to water– and this inspite of her middle-school music teacher telling her to abandon any thought of ever playing any instrument!

  56. https://alexberenson.substack.com/p/the-new-omicron-specific-mrna-covid

    The new omicron specific Bivalent Boosters generate less omicron specific antibodies than the original vax. This was the same problem which torpedoed all the previous variant specific vaccines. They obviously realised the easiest way around the problem was to skip human trials.

    Did the FDA et al have to work there way to this sort of naked corruption. Or were they always able to do it, the last two years just revealed the boundaries of what they could get away with.

  57. I’m glad your cockatiels approve. I have thought that if I ever have a cockatiel or budgie, it will probably end up whistling scales, arpeggios and snippets of jigs, reels, hymns, and baroque music rather than talking.

  58. Mr. Greer,

    This is more of a thought experiment than a suggestion but have you considered posting a P.O. Box address somewhere on your blog to faciliate the reforming of your network as a postal mail based newsletter in the event of internet problems?

    I am on the fence regarding the likelihood of significant and lasting internet outages. On the one hand given that the internet is the core of the establishment command and control network I believe that resources will be devoted to keeping it up and running. I’ve seen and read enough dystopian sf with people roasting varmints over an oil drum with the TV still playing the background to visualize this. On the other hand the net is much more brittle now than its original conception as ARPANET would indicate, particularly the consumer side of it that now dominates our thinking as to what the internet is. So kind of a toss up for me, although I have been stocking up on physical books.

    Any thoughts?
    shimrod

  59. Hi JMG,

    Firstly, Thanks to yourself and the commetariat for the space and the postings.

    JMG Not sure if I have seen it come up before but are you aware of Martin Armstrong’s (https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/) Socrates modelling? he seems to be coming to some similar conclusions while coming from a fairly different place ( or maybe not so different given his study of history) or at least different methodology. Do you have any comments to make about his predictions or Socrates in general?

  60. Resource for Retropians: a magazine called Reminisce, aimed at nostalgic seniors. The April/May 2022 issue had an article on foldout couches and a variant called Castro Convertibles, whose commercials said “So easy, even a child can do it.” My parents had what they called a studio couch with a lightweight aluminum frame that I often slept on, and can verify that I, a child, could take down the back very easily. Unlike today’s futons! I don’t know if they’re made any more, but for smaller rooms or extra bedding, they’re very handy.

    And on how far Ovaltine has descended, it began as a malt extract developed to combat malnutrition, with sugar added to make it palatable. Mixed with milk, it was delicious and soothing. Read the label on today’s Ovaltine – I think it’s now just another brand of hot chocolate powder.

    This issue being focused on 1973, it gave a page and a quarter to the serious issues of that year. SSDY, friends. [“Same [situation], different year.]

  61. On the epilepsy front,
    My ketogenic diet protocol is having trouble controlling my seizures this past week. I’m under a lot of stress from problems with my employer and disability insurance — so for any other epileptics on this list, no, it’s not a silver bullet, but it does help if the meds don’t work (in my case) or become unavailable (for all of us, someday). CBD oil does help with recovery from the breakthrough seizures, but I’m still having a very hard time right now. If anyone can spare a prayer, or positive energy, I would really appreciate it.

    @JMG,
    I am now eagerly awaiting Hall of the Homeless Gods. I’d buy it hardcover for that title alone, and the concept sounds more than worthy of the title!

    @ Milkyway,
    My favourite thing to do with Green Tomatoes, because we always have too many to eat at once, and the really green ones never quite ripen for me, is to crock-cure them in brine just as though they were cucumbers. The resulting pickles are scrumptious. (though if you lack a cellar and have to water-bath can them to halt fermentation, they get disappointingly mushy.)

  62. Patricia (#19):
    One thing I’ve noticed over the past decade is the growth of “Trunk-or-Treat” gatherings, where people gather somewhere (usually in church parking lots) to hand out candy to children en masse. A retch-worthy development, if you ask me, as part of the fun of Halloween was being able to walk around the neighborhood after dark (with parental supervision, of course) and a bunch of kids have again become victimized by helicopter parenting gone neighborhood-wide.

    – Godozo

  63. @ Jeff Russell #51

    Doug Casey has a great way of handling those situations wherein people among you have absurd positions but will not reasonably debate them. The idea is to simply ask polite questions about their position that cause them to think before answering and in turn leads them to question their underlying assumptions when they attempt to explain. You’re honestly interested in their opinion and just trying to understand so they don’t act like you’re attacking them, which is good since everyone defends their views with almost a religious fervor these days. In the end you can end up converting them when they set out to convert you, but gotta dole out that logic in small bites.

  64. Re: being a voice in the wilderness.

    1. I’ve learned to shut up, especially the last few years. Everyone has a right to observe their world and reach their own conclusions just as much as I have. Telling them they’re wrong is unlikely to change anything except make them mad at me.

    2. Preparations for hard times can be passed off as frugality, or odd hobbies. Lots of people garden, or brew, or learn to fix things for fun. Lots of ‘normal’ people are interested in funny old things from the past.

    3. At some point you have to get your self-esteem from something other than ‘fitting in’. My main source of self-esteem is being capable, learning new skills. One day I’ll be a ‘handy person’ like my farming grandparents.

  65. @Milkyway #14

    Pie! I look forward to green tomato pie season every year. Here’s my recipe:

    3-1/2 c green tomatoes
    1-1/2 c sugar
    3/8 c tapioca
    1 t cinnamon
    3/4 t allspice
    1 t lemon juice
    9″ double pie crust

    Bake 10 min at 450F, reduce heat to 350F, bake 35-45 more mins until done.

  66. @JMG @here

    I’m hyper environmentally progressive but socially conservative. Economically centrist. My dream community is walkable but pro family/tradition. My dream house is a passive house… next to a church.

    Am I member of a tribe that doesn’t exist…yet? Is there anywhere in the West remotely resembling these values? Often, I feel like I can’t be my whole self, especially in the US. Ironically, my à la carte value system is very American.

  67. Thanks JMG. I came up with something fairly similar: it’s no use applying karma to other people because you cannot control their choices. Since you are responsible for your own choices, then karma helps weigh the consequences.

  68. @ Milkyway #14 – Fried Green tomatoes. I agree with Teresa, bread and fry, but here are some more details: you slice, dip in egg and maybe a little milk if you want to stretch the egg, then dip either in seasoned flour or bread crumbs. Then fry in olive oil or butter until crispy. For seasoning, you can go basic with salt and pepper or add oregano or other herbs or spices you like. Think of fried eggplant. It is the same kind of thing. Green tomatoes are tart. They taste lemony almost. Don’t expect them to taste like ripe tomatoes. It is kind of like green and red sweet peppers. The green ones taste perfect in black beans. The red ones can’t be beat in fajitas. Their taste is different. Fried green tomatoes are a real treat. Hope you try them out!

  69. Jeff Russell
    #51. October 26, 2022 at 3:11 p.m.

    Many folks including you are commenting on how they engage with others who probably won’t agree with them on very much, in order to keep the peace and build community or at least not be burnt at the stake.

    I’m used to not being heard even when I do speak, so there are many occasions when I naturally keep silent which in an ideal situation goes unnoticed. But that’s probably the least of it.

    The fourfold admonition is 1) to know, 2) to will, 3) to do and 4) to keep silent. While that describes a way of practicing almost any faith including occultism, it of course parallels many other fourfold schemes, as in the four worlds of kabbalistic emanation (both the going “up” and coming “down”), and the four methods of interpreting texts (the Pardes scheme of pshat, remez, drash and sod).

    However, with regard to living in and building community, it is the last that calls for the most wisdom. Learning how to be silent. It’s not simple muteness. It is a form of communication, too. You have to know when to keep your peace when in conversation with others, and how. In poker (a game of silence, I suddenly realize), we all have “tells” which give the game away. Our tells break our silence in ways we wouldn’t choose (“what’s the matter? cat got your tongue?”). We probably require supernatural guidance (however you conceive it) to achieve appropriate and proper silence with others.

    There is also a kind of silence that can be experienced (from the noises one engages in with oneself) when in solitude.

    Silence. I’m still learning. The most glorious silence was when I was on Buddhist (and Catholic monastic) retreats when the rule was not to speak unless there was a functional reason (e.g., pass the salt), conversation was actively discouraged. It was very relaxing, more so the longer it went on. There is also a great inner silence that encourages divine communication. One stumbles onto that sometimes, if you’re very fortunate.

    So be wise: silence speaks volumes to the canny.

  70. @Wanda #56, re: natural oils

    I haven’t ever tried it on a wand, but my favorite natural wood finishing oil is tung oil, and I’ve never had any problems with it attracting ants.

    Pros: Natural, food-safe, gives a lovely dark color and a decent sheen if you put on enough coats and polish a bit, good water protection, and a pleasant smell.

    Cons: You need to put on a *lot* of coats to get real protection, you might not want to darken your wood so much, you can’t get true high gloss without some wax on top, and you need to maintain it a bit for as long as you use it.

    When I’ve used it, I’ve followed the traditional advice for applying linseed oil to wood – “Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, once a year for the rest of its life.” Also, if you use it, make sure to find “Pure” Tung Oil – various admixtures with petroleum-based oils and/or dyes are sold as “tung oil”. I get mine from the Real Milk Paint Company and have no complaints: https://www.realmilkpaint.com/ . I’d also recommend getting as small a bottle as you’re sure you’ll use. Since it’s a “drying” oil (again, like Linseed), it will harden over time, especially if left in the heat or direct sunlight.

    Hope you find something that works for you, and good luck!
    Jeff

  71. Hi Wanda,

    About your linseed oil wand, did you suspend it in the air. I say this because (it takes a while for) linseed oil to dry and harden. That ants are attracted to the wand generates a question or two. Are things in you environmental area dry and little to no food that ants like is available?

    When ants come into our house it is because we are to stingy. When they show up we put food scraps out and dampen the soil in the area they abundantly live in and generally make offerings to the gods of the ants. It works. They leave the house and if we don’t get slack and remain generous we never have ant problems. Some ideas…

  72. Milky Way-two good ways to use green tomatoes- green tomato mincemeat (which I’ve made and is delicious) and salsa verde substituting green tomatoes for tomatillos. You might want to add a little lime juice as tomatillos are more “citrusy “ than green tomatoes. As with most recipes tasting as you go is a good way to determine what might improve the flavour to suit your tastes. Lots of great green tomato relishes and pickles on line or in canning cookbooks too.

  73. Recently at the Green Wizards of Melbourne meetup we were discussing the following question which I thought I would put to the general commentariat here to get a wider perspective:

    Why are men over-represented in the peak oil/doomer/prepper communities?

    Of course, there is more of a gender balance among the commentariat here but the rest of the peak oil scene seems to be a bit of a sausage fest.

    Any thoughts on why?

  74. Wanda Rohr 56

    Others chime in if I have something wrong.

    A company called Healing Solutions has inexpensive roll-on essential oils sold on Amazon. I have nineteen of them (I bought them as anti-shingles), and am smelling them now. Insects don’t like some of them but I don’t know which ones. I would imagine one could make one’s own elixir from lemon, marjoram, or thyme. These are smells I personally like:

    Camphor
    Cinnamon Bark
    Eucalyptus
    Geranium
    Lavender
    Lemon
    Patchouli
    Peppermint
    Roman Chamomile
    Sweet Marjoram
    Tea Tree
    Thyme

    💨Northwind Grandma😌
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  75. @Tercio

    If you’re serious about being more sustainable in FL, be careful about the sort of house you buy, and how you plan to heat and cool it. There are a lot of slab/cinderblock houses built in the 50s and 60s, and they’re great if they’re on high ground, but you can have problems with temperature shifts, thermal mass, and condensation (which leads to mold) if you’re not running the HVAC. It can work, but you have to think it out, do some planning… it doesn’t just happen, and it can be a really big problem. Same applies to any slab house.

    Classic southeastern US architecture is generally stick-built, and off the ground, for this reason, with the rooms and windows set up to catch the prevailing breezes and pass them right through the house (see “dogtrot” house design). It makes it harder to heat in the winter, but easier to keep it a livable temperature without A/C in the long, long summer. No matter what sort of house you end up with, installing some serious insulation in the attic is well worth the investment. We did this in a family member’s house, and it made the difference between being a virtual oven in the summer, even with the A/C running all the time, to actually being able to go all summer without using the A/C at all, just window fans. Attics get really, really hot, and you need to keep that heat out of your house.

  76. @Tercio , Dr. Coyote

    re: David the Good: I heartily second that recommendation! If you’re into gardening at all, nothing you already know about gardening actually works in Florida. David the Good has the scoop on all that, and will save you a lot of frustration and failure.

  77. Ley lines, lung mei, or earth energies. And orgone, which you wrote about before. And alien abduction types and angel…viewers. I suppose these 6 are not always the same thing. The “Old Straight Track” guys aren’t even talking about magical energy, just drawing lines between points of interest, which I think is utterly lame.

    Even the “Old Straight Track” guys would get people together if it ever became popular though. I suppose I should attend some kind of pagan festival sometime to have more of an idea why we don’t get together. Or why it’s a bad idea. I’d probably get nauseous and dizzy and not be able to make it through the thing, no matter how much quartz points I wore or centering I tried.

    You don’t like anything Asian, which is rather sad. The orgone stuff you focused on the orgasm energy and the lemonade ocean (as I recall) rather than the geomantic energies. I suppose you were saving what you learned for people who purchased your book, so that they could see the math and the diagrams. Maybe you even had maps!

    And maybe you say there aren’t really ley lines. Maybe you like the idea that only Nazis would believe in ley lines, which seems a bit of a leap what with the whole Asian thing.

    Have you noticed that Asian stuff never fits into conspiracy theory nonsense? I mean the whole Illuminati or Black Nobility or Survivors of Atlantis or even Lizard People from the Fifth Dimension. Never works once Asia is factored in. Too much focus on Catholicism.

  78. Eike, I’m glad you appreciated it. Yeah, the Soviet Union shortly before the wheels fell off is the equivalent that comes to my mind too.

    Walt, that’s an interesting metaphor — and yes, a great theme for meditation. 😉 The boot camp metaphor isn’t the only one that might be relevant, though. This could be finals week: a series of strenuous tests in what you’ve been learning all through your incarnations in matter, to make sure that you’ve learned what you need to learn. Once you’ve graduated, you probably won’t be facing a similar experience to finals week in your adult life, but the skills you’ve developed will be put to use in other ways. Certainly, though, it doesn’t support the notion that what comes after human existence involves wallowing in bliss…

    AV, delighted to hear it.

    Steve, hmm. I’d be very slow to assume that Porphyry didn’t know about the precession of the equinoxes. I’d also be very careful about assuming an identity between the zodiacal signs and the constellations — that’s a common trap these days. That said, no, I haven’t seen anyone try to relate Porphyry’s symbolism of the colures (the equinoctial and solstitial points) to the precessional process. It might be interesting to explore.

    Epileptic, delighted to hear all of this! Please tell your other half that that teacher should have been flogged.

    Dagnarus, they’ve been that corrupt for a good long time. Remember Phen-Fen? Or Vioxx? Or any of the other deadly “medicines” the FDA rubber-stamped?

    Shimrod, we’re still a ways from large-scale internet outages. Long before we get to that point, we’ll see impoverished rural areas lose internet service, and huge internet firms forced to curtail service and raise costs, or go under. I’ve got some plans in place for post-internet activities, but I’m going to wait until the net starts becoming more unstable before setting those in motion.

    Mr. K, I’ve heard of Armstrong but haven’t really followed his work.

    Patricia M, hmm! Interesting.

    Epileptic, thank you. Positive energy en route!

    Brian, you’re part of a tribe that’s just now coming into existence. I’ve heard a scattering of people bringing up the same concept of late. From my perspective, there’s nothing a la carte about it at all — you’re talking about being a conservative who conserves, after all! My suggestion, which of course you’re free to fling down and run away from, screaming at the top of your lungs, is that you should start a blog on the subject, on your own platform or on Substack; post regularly (once a week works well), and moderate the comments with a firm hand, because you’ll get a torrent of demands that you conform to one or the other mindless ideological orthodoxy. My guess is that there are plenty of people who would gather around a blog like that, and turn the idea of conservative conservers from a wistful dream into a political force.

    Samurai_47, exactly. It’s the basic principle of Stoicism: the only things you can control are your own actions and your own judgments, so those are the only things you should worry about.

    Simon, that’s a good question but I have no idea what the answer is. Anyone else?

    Pesci, okay, this is really bizarre. Where do you get the idea that I don’t like anything Asian? The rest of your post strays close enough to word salad that I’m honestly wondering if you were drunk or stoned when you typed it, but I want to start with that detail.

  79. @ Milkyway,

    A slight variation on the Fried Green Tomato recipes already posted:

    Slice the tomatoes (1/4″ or less thick).
    Dip in egg (or egg and milk).
    Bread with parmesan cheese (the already grated kind, that you can sprinkle out of a jar).
    Fry in olive oil.

  80. I just read this (again), written by someone who seems to know something: “Our basic assumption is that if you want any kind of evil to go away, you fight it and destroy it, and if you want it to stick around, you back away from it and let it follow its trajectory. That’s deeply ingrained into our thinking, and probably explains why we’re so bad at dealing with evil.”

    Some variation of this should be engraved on the entrance to every school, every public building and possibly to every public toilet (for the latter: “Negative evil at work!” would maybe do even better. I mean, just imagine the approach you outlined in that sentence above on that kind of “evil”…..)

    But more seriously – I wondered, taking the current geopolitical mess as an example, if applying the concepts of the CosDoc allows to generate a kind of predictor on how the conflict might end up? At least what seems to happening is that the conflicting parties are locking up forces and create a kind of thrust block. But who will finally climb it? I’ve this image in my mind of “someone” moving through a complexity of cosmoi of different size and angles to each other, overlapping and intertwining, possibly even moving and trying to find the most elegant way from A to B. Ok, maybe it isn’t easy to generate a predictor… but is it at least simple?

    If I may sneak in a more personal request in that context: I notice that I find it rather easy to generate a focused stream of thought that feels very much like what I think discursive meditation should feel like, some of those “sessions” yielding results that I’d describe as rather remarkable on a personal level. I do engage in this kind of thinking on a daily basis and for extended periods of time if circumstances permit, but nothing of this is happening within the “proper meditation framework”. Meditation (with posture and proper breathing and stuff) does seem to work rather different for me, at least that what comes naturally. Here, it usually gets rather trance-like quickly. There’s a strong tendency to be receptive and to stop thinking during meditation. I experience this state as very valuable, too. So I wonder is there anything that speaks against this “two-fold” approach in regard to occult/spiritual development? Doing the thinking stuff in a fashion that seems suitable and productive and using the proper meditation framework for different purposes?

    Greetings & many thanks!
    Nachtgurke

  81. Milkyway, you just sparked my interest in cooking green tomatoes. We have lot’s of them and usually we put them in open crates on a sunny window sill together with a few apples. That works nicely. Almost all will ripen and next to none rot. The taste is not as good as when you harvest them red from the plant, but it’s still better than most tomatoes you can buy in the supermarket. Of the late ones, we usually make sauce that we conserve in glasses.

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  82. Epileptic Doomer,
    congratulations on the music, especially the instrument-playing. I’ll admit I prefer my recorders to the ocarina, but both are nice. And appalachian dulcimers are lovely instruments that don’t get enough love. What types of music do you and your wife like playing?

    If you lived on Vancouver Island, I’d invite both of you to an impromptu jam session.

  83. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks for your time and for providing this forum.

    Mate, there are times where I’m left scratching my head at the sheer spectacle of it all, and wondering: Can we as a society, really be this dumb? Probably we are! 🙂

    Due to the subject which dare not be mentioned (due to the other forum you provide), there has been an influx of new folks to this rural area, and I must say that their manners leave much to be desired. The number of bizarre encounters with people has um, escalated lately. Quite a bit actually. It is possible my mojo is at a nadir, but it is also equally possible that there are just a lot more expectational people swanning around this rural locale. When I observe new patterns in the social landscape, it does get the old brain into gear, cogitating upon the problem. And I’d be interested in your perspective on the matter.

    My present thoughts on this matter suggest that I’m observing folks whom previously behaved badly under the cloak of social anonymity. This is a possibility in the city. In rural areas, you’re known and your reputation does in fact follow you around. And if a person behaves poorly enough, there are so few places to go, that they’ll be remembered, and even if behaviour improves, they’ll receive a frosty reception in the future, and possibly poor service. They know not what they do, but honestly they can’t seem to stop themselves either. It’s embarrassing to watch their high handed goings on.

    One of the reasons I moved from the city many years ago, and stepped away from big corporates, to working with small business, was that I foresaw that a time would come when personal relationships mattered. There is a wealth trap which many have fallen into. Very curious as to your thoughts in this matter.

    Cheers

    Chris

  84. Just for the record, this week’s open post is off to a very fine start!

    I can’t wait to see what transpires this week.

  85. @Godozo,
    my church does trunk or treat. It consists of maybe 3-4 vehicles and max. 10 people wearing costumes, decorations up and handing out candy and hot chocolate. You don’t have to have a car to hand out candy.

    The kids come walking by with their friends, or with siblings and parents if young, get candy from each of us, and walk on to the next house. We often see the same kids later walking down the other side of the street. There were some awesome costumes last year. The T-rex was great.

    As someone who doesn’t have a front door that attracts kids, is far too old to trick or treat myself, and doesn’t have kids to take around, I like being able to participate in Halloween.

    I really don’t see what’s retch-worthy about this.

  86. Isaac, How to deal psychologically with feeling like a lone voice?

    It’s occurred to me that there is a demand out there for a “Support Group for the Red-Pilled,” but I don’t know…. I wonder how that might work. I think it’d be hard to do at a local level with so few of us and far between. Zoom perhaps, but in my experience Zoom is almost as alienating as being alone.

    Personally, this blog and its comments section is the closest thing I have found.

  87. Recently the online artist community went through a bit of turbulence following the public release of “AI” programs capable of taking user-provided prompts and generating images based on them which can, to the untrained eye, look tolerably similar to what a human might draw. Thousands of people on the internet started using these programs for their ownenjoyment and that of others, and many people started fearing, or cheering, that the creation of art would become an automated process, without the need for human artists.

    Of course, nothing of the sort has yet happened, nor do I believe it will happen. The novelty of these programs has already started dying down, as has most people’s interest in them. In the end I doubt it will see much use outside of some niche online subcultures. Nonetheless, it has been quite eye-opening to see how warped an idea of what it means to be an artist or creator many people have.

    More than once I’ve seen people hailing these programs as bringing about the “democratization of art”, as though it weren’t already the case that anyone who wanted to draw could learn how to do it. People who call theselves artists and claim ownership of the AI-generated images simply for having provided the prompt on which the image is based. People who believe that their creativity is being empowered when in reality it’s now captive to the machine.

    One can’t help but shake one’s head.

  88. Dear JMG,

    I rather expect this may have been discussed around these pages before, so apologies for any doubling up. Have you given any thought to the redefinition of the seven SI base units, in particular the kilogram now being defined in terms of the Planck constant?

    For my money, I have rather grave reservations about the inherent weakness in relying at some point in our brave and exciting future, hem hem, on a standard of measure that requires the electricity to be switched on in order to be calculated. Have you seen the Kibble balance? Hardly the elegant and benignly tangible cylinder of platinum that can be tucked under one’s arm and popped on a set of balances when we need to start civilisation all over again and measure out grains and coins and whatnot.

    I’ve tried to flesh out some correspondence on the matter with Australia’s National Measurement Institute, where I hail, however the boffin Metrologist assigned to my enquiries has been stubbornly mute on my particular queries below:

    “It all sounds so marvellously elegant to have the SI standards taken from physics as opposed to the physical world but has due consideration been given to the potential folly of relying upon the need for electricity to ultimately define the kilogram? This last question is of a philosophical nature, really, but surely an insurance policy of keeping the platinum kilogram as benchmark, in case of a potential or future “systems failure” in whichever form, would be prudent?”

    It appears that the electricity being switched off is not envisaged by the breathlessly excited scientific community and they are running the world headlong into an (albeit very tidy) theoretical future wherein the SI base units all link up beautifully but cannot be of any use to us when we are back to subsistence living when everything goes to hell-in-a-handbasket. Hang onto your copy of Big K if you have one, I say!

  89. @Chicory Omnibus – fidotherapy is also real and very effective, as many who’ve petted a therapy dog can tell you.

  90. To Epileptic Doomer: My DH is epileptic. He is concerned about his meds not being available at some time and has been looking for info about alternatives. He has a book about that very subject; It’s from a few years ago but has some very interesting suggestions in it: “Treating Epilepsy Naturally”. by Patricia A, Murphy. I remember there’s something about tuarine that sounded hopeful. Best Wishes!!

  91. Hello JMG,
    Thank you for this space. This week’s comments read like a continuation of the discussion from the previous week… waiting for the fall. Many people around me are catastrophizing – buying iodine tablets and discussing among themselves which one is more likely to be the target of a nuclear strike here in Silicon Valley. Apple? Google? Lockheed Martin? This mindset allows them not to do anything useful and continue to be corporate drones by day and TV watchers by night. The bigger vibe is that of resignation. The subjects of the empire are getting fewer and fewer benefits from it with each passing day. From the American Empire and its elites’ prospective the war in Ukraine makes total sense. After all, as John McCain famously said,. “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country”. Why not to take some gas from that station? And Ukraine, of course, is the best starting point for that adventure. However, the lower you go down the food chain the less people are willing to risk their lives to extract that gasoline on behalf of the American Empire. I lived though the decline of the Soviet Union. The sense of deja vus is hard to miss. Eike with an „i“ said 1987. For me it’s hard to tell. 1987 (4 years to wait) or 1977 (14 years to wait)?
    I’ve been working in healthcare for the last 20 years and downward spiral and corruption are mind boggling. Here is just one example. It used to be that the patient was flagged if he was on more than 9 meds. It was considered an indicator of poor quality of life. MD would review the medications and reduce the number to the minimum necessary. That practice was abandoned years ago and now patients are routinely on 10-15 different meds – the empire catabolizing its old.

  92. Rod 82 Dying in one’s sleep

    Let me tell you a yarn…

    For twenty-odd years, I lived on a particular tract-housing suburban cul-de-sac in Northern California. My home-office looked out over the street. Being partially-disabled, staring out the window was a pastime. But then again, from a young age, I observed people. Habit. Watching my neighborhood was sort of like watching a 20-year long, slow movie. Like sitting on a mountaintop looking at the tiny cars go by, the cars looking like a string of ants.

    I watched people come and go, walking their dogs, kids riding up and down the street, neighbors unloading groceries, socializing in their garages, smoking out front because the wife didn’t allow smoking inside, seeing people looking for a place to park on the street, get out of their cars with some plate of food, knock on a door, gain admittance, then three hours later, after dark, departing in their cars, what have you. All they perceived was themselves doing things they felt entitled to.

    I had one thought many times: “These people have absolutely no spiritual lives. They are unconscious. The material world will eventually come tumbling down and they won’t know what to do — they won’t know which way is up — they will tear their hair out saying, ‘Woe is me. What is happening?’ and demanding (not asking) that others pull them out of the ditch of their own making.

    They were deaf to forewarnings. They ran around in their own little bubbles. Things dissolve all the time as part of the universe, but they didn’t seem to see anything like that. If one cannot experience a small-dissolving, how can one prepare for A BIG DISSOLVING?

    They gave no evidence that they were familiar with “the inner practice of dissolving.” I think “dissolving” is what one does when one meditates. Something enters, hits the peak, then nothing. Pfft, gone. Thousands of times, pfft gone, becomes familiar. Oh, I know this pfft.

    It is one thing to pick oneself off the floor after being splatted down at age 16, but what if a person is 50 when they are hit with a huge dissolution? But, if one is 16 and has spent ten of those years looking at a handheld entertainment box, (s)he won’t adjust well to a huge dissolution — nothing means anything if doesn’t originate FROM within that box.

    Maybe it was JMG who said something like this, “Every soul who ever incarnated is incarnated right now.” Sounds right to me. The bell curve of soul-maturity. There are an awful lot of people who have not “been around the block.” And there are very few old souls around — they keep to themselves. Those young souls are dangerous, yessireebob. I think this incarnation I am in now is the one where I turned from a young soul to an old soul, and god knows, I make some stupid young soul mistakes now and then.🤐😖

    What is the inner experience of dying in one’s sleep? There has to be a reason, per person. We can only surmise.

    As far as I know, by doing nothing, one cannot “will” oneself to die in one’s sleep. I have tried to die in my sleep for forty years, and haven’t died yet. I have woken many a time, noting that I hadn’t died, and said, “Dang it all!” Somebody wants me around for SOMETHING, drat.

    So, yes, there is something going on with people dying in their sleep — on a soul level — and I have no idea what. Maybe they can’t think of anything else to do after they have painted themselves into a corner of predicaments they themselves created. Any other ideas?

    💨Northwind Grandma😴
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  93. Hello Mr. Greer.
    Two months ago, I sought your wisdom for acquiring the concentration and discipline to be a writer. I have been writing for at least half an hour every day, and often longer. Weekends are particularly outstanding for letters, and I have practiced with a fidelity towards writing that in months previous it would have seemed absurd if I should have tried to imagine myself being this attentive to anything. Thank you for your advice and timely response; I am very happy that the father of a great friend of mine mentioned you, for I never would have know the practical advice of the man wearing a funny druid hat.

    There are further questions I have about being a writer that bothers me greatly. I have produced no letters or ledgers so far that deserve exemption from shredding and fire. However, I stubbornly refuse to allow the total lack of evidence that I am a talented man of letters persuade me that there is no merit in me writing. History, the present time, and I my foolish mistakes provide enough tragedy and satire on the human race that I shall never be famished of inspiration. Financial success could perhaps come readily and indolently should I simply quote the advice of experts, record the failures spawned from said advice, and loquaciously tell my reader to be offended and listen to my advice instead. However, I entertain the hubris that I may craft an outstanding story with passionate and consistant effort. The notion that ennervates me most is that I simply live in such a fashion that nothing great can come from me. I am a machinist whos work is repetitive and tepid. I am averse to risk, and cowardly in disposition. I have suffered very little and am very vain. Here are my questions, after so much pomp.

    Can great literature only be produced by men and women who suffer greatly, and become well aware of the change of their souls aspects suffering has caused? Will I have to live in a more difficult way to be a better writer?

    Being vain and thinking too little about others, will this lack of compassion obliterate my chances to understand man and write well? Don’t misunderstand me, there are people I love and whos image in my memory is not corrupted with my notion of them, but their number is few; I am still quite vain.

    And finally, the protaganist of my stories is usually me; perhaps with a Roman name, or a different face, or a mariner, but I am always writing what seems to be me, when the source material from history displays a soul singular and unique. What can be done to overcome this? I am truly trying to write people outside myself and I find I cannot make them exist.

  94. This is in the fold of shower thoughts or stoned thoughts. Or perhaps scholastics or torah exegetes considering how many angels might fit on the head of a pin. Nonetheless, I wonder what living on another planet would be like astrologically. If we colonized Mars, what would the influence of the transiting earth be like? Would it represent home or have a fourth-house flavor? Would people be naturally hot-headed and aggressive living on the red planet? And then with interstellar space travel—if, following Dion Fortune, you take that the stuff of consciousness in any given solar system emanates from its sun, going beyond the boundaries of ours might involve a shift in consciousness so drastic one questions whether it would be survivable.

  95. @ Simon S

    Going to risk wading in here, I think in general the masculine side of all of us (which obviously most males have more of than most women but this is isn’t universal) cares more about the state of the world, it’s future and what to do about it in terms of thinking, writing and doing. The feminine side cares more about the state of the family/household and taking care of them, and also is in general more adaptable and takes it as it comes. This is a noted phenomenon across all cultures, men tend to talk politics while women laugh at them.

    Therefore from what I have found talking to women in my life, especially my wife, is that they acknowledge the issue, but focus more on day to day living rather than worrying about it. I think in some ways we all have to adopt a more feminine approach, as the masculine side likes to solve problems through massive new projects (musk), while the feminine can be more patient and conserving. I’ve also noted this in terms of space travel, a lot women think it’s ridiculous to pursue, and they are right.

  96. Eike, lastly I have had the same feelings. The social and cultural occasions where I live in Germany aren’t what they once were, be they dance parties, art exhibitions or other things. My impression is a sense of futileness about so many things in the current culture and economy. That said, day to day life is going on and there is not much in the way of signs of an impending energy crisis.

  97. What do you do with green tomatillos? My tomatillos are still covered in little green paper lanterns and it’s getting chilly out there. Had our first frost a few days ago, and the fall rains have finally arrived.

    I’d never tried growing tomatillos before. They were one of the few things that did really well. My two tomatillo plants produced more fruit than my 6 tomato plants. By a pretty large margin. Will definitely grow again. I’m not 100% sure what to do with tomatillos. I don’t like them in salads, but I do quite like eating them out of hand. They’re growing on me. I’d hoped to make salsa, but no way were there enough tomatoes.

  98. @Will O (#41):

    As I see it, Russia will not allow the West to win, or even stalemate, this war, but will do everything in its power to win it, down to its very last soldier and its very last nuclear weapon.

    Nor does the West, so far as I can tell, have the will, the manpower, or probably even the weaponry to keep Russia from winning it. The best the West can achieve is mutual complete destruction.

    Putin has said that he does not see any point to a world without Russia in it continuing to exist. I think he means this, and I think that very many Russians–possibly even most Russians–would agree with him.

    Sorry to be so pessimistic. My own sympathies are with Ukraine and its history, but it a history with no visible future — alas!

  99. Pipistrello – Having given the question of standard weights and measures some thought, here are the things that I’ve done. I bought an Ohaus triple-beam balance at a garage sale. It’s good to at least three digits of precision, and that’s plenty for the weighing of produce and the formulation of fertilizers. I noticed that my favorite Pyrex measuring cup was losing its markings in the dishwasher, and so now the painted measuring cups are reverently washed by hand. I noticed that one or two of my Pyrex measuring cups had gotten chipped, when nested in the cupboard, so now they are separated by paper towels which prevent hard contact between them. I also have an old spring-based bathroom scale, which may not be terribly accurate, but it can help me weigh a crate of squash, and it doesn’t require batteries (like most modern scales). For small linear dimensions, I have vernier and dial calipers (non-electronic), and for larger dimensions: steel tape measures.
    Three digits of accuracy is enough, I declare, for practical purposes! But even that can’t be taken for granted if we don’t preserve the measuring tools we have.

  100. @Will O (#41):

    PS As for me — not that anyone in power would ever take advice from me — here’s what I would say to the fools in Washington DC.

    “Give up your own power as the current world hegemon, give up your own temporary interests as a nation, if that is the price of saving the world from nuclear holocaust. No war is worth winning at so high a price, even if one were to have all goodness, truth, beauty and justice on one’s side, and one’s enemy were wholly evil.”

    Time grinds down all heights and fills in all depths, though we humans are too ephemeral, both as individuals and as a species, ever to see it happen. We humans have never been the measure of all things, and we never will be.

  101. Nachtgurke, good. It’s clear to me that the Russian leadership grasps the principle Fortune outlined in at least an instinctive sense. They locked up NATO very neatly over Ukraine — nobody in the leadership of the NATO powers is willing to think about an approach other than fighting to the last Ukrainian soldier, the last European job, and the last scrap of US credibility — and now they certainly seem to be preparing to build on that foundation, both in the fighting in Ukraine and in the wider struggle to establish a multipolar world order. I’ve wondered more than once if one of the underlying agendas here is to bleed the US bone white, stripping it of wealth and weapons, so that China can carry out its long-planned invasion of Taiwan and not have to worry about significant US intervention.

    As for your experience with discursive not-quite-meditation, no, there’s nothing that speaks against that. If you can do both, why, you’re doing the same thing that you’d be taught in old-fashioned Buddhist monasteries, where the training of the reasoning mind is as important as nonconceptual meditation.

    Chris, that’s a familiar phenomenon on this side of the planet. People in small town America are used to city folks moving in and acting like world-class jerks. Partly it’s that city folk are used to the anonymity of urban life, but very often the people who make that move have enough money to pull up roots and relocate at will, and that tends to place them in a social class where snotnosed arrogance is normal and accepted.

    Grover, it is indeed. I have the best commentariat on the internet, full stop, end of sentence.

    Valenzuela, agreed. The only way in which those machines “democratized” art is that they made it possible for people who weren’t willing to put in the effort to learn art could pretend to be artists.

    Pipistrello, good heavens. You tried to get a government-paid boffin to recognize that progress isn’t omnipotent and eternal? You’re braver than I am. As for the broader question, keep in mind that as technology unravels nobody’s going to need that kind of hyperfine measurement. In medieval England the foot varied in length from place to place; I think it was Edward I who finally standardized it as the length of his own foot. The inch, similarly, was the length of the last joint of the thumb (thus the phrase “rule of thumb”). Whose thumb? Whoever was making the measurement. Yes, that meant that the length of the inch could vary by quite a bit. Nobody cared, because precise measurements weren’t necessary.

    KVD, delighted to hear it! I hope the project goes well.

    Kirsten, thanks for this. Exactly — babbling about imminent apocalypse has been a common excuse for sitting on your rump and doing nothing useful since the concept of apocalypse was invented. The air of resignation and growing despair — yeah, I’ve been watching that too. Me, I’m feeling more upbeat than usual, as there’s change in the wind — but for those whose lifestyles won’t survive the change, it’s rough.

    Jonathan, that’s a common worry of writers early in their learning curve — “how can I create great fiction if I live a quiet life and never have tremendous experiences?” Let me tell you about a writer I know of. She was a minister’s daughter who never married and spent most of her life in genteel poverty in an assortment of small towns in southern England. She never traveled outside that part of England, led an exceptionally boring life, and outside of her writing she was mostly known as her nieces’ and nephews’ favorite aunt. Her name was Jane Austen. You’ve probably heard of her novels.

    Or let me tell you about another writer I know of. He had a troubled childhood and joined the army when his country went to war, but he served without distinction and was invalided out with what pretty much everyone nowadays agrees was a mild nervous breakdown. After that, he married his childhood sweetheart and settled down to a life of impressive dullness. He became a university professor in an obscure field, spent his days teaching undergraduates and writing books, and his most exciting entertainments were going on walks in the country or sitting with friends at his favorite local pub. His name was J.R.R. Tolkien. You’ve probably heard of his novels too.

    You do not have to have lived an exciting life, or experienced profound sufferings, to be a great writer. You just have to write, and keep writing, and learn from what you write and what you read. As for vanity, trust me, most writers can rival you there. (Curiously enough, I’m about to launch a series of posts on writing, starting with a jaundiced survey of the publishing industry. Stay tuned!)

    Ataulfo, definitely shower thoughts, but at least you expressed them in a legible manner! That’s been a theme of speculation among astrologers for most of a century now, and it actually features in science fiction — an astrologer in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land is driven to distraction by the fact that the main character was born on Mars. Of course nobody knows; in the unlikely event that anything of the kind happens, we’ll have to figure it out by observation.

  102. I’ve decided to improve my love life, and have had the idea of doing planetary charity to Venus. I’ve also started taking practical steps, one of which is attempting to quit porn. This is proving a lot more challenging than I was expecting, and I’m starting to feel like I could use some support from a higher power. While the assistance I’m getting from Venus is proving useful, it is also not focused on this one area, which I’m realizing I need to do, for reasons other than just improving my love life.

    After some reflection, I’ve come to think that Saturn would be the right planet to invoke for this, since quitting an addiction is embracing a limit; and that any charity for the poor would be a good one for this planet. I’ve come to the conclusion that a food bank would be a good option, and there is a local one that I volunteered with that could put the money to good use right now.

    Do you see any concerns with taking this course of action?

  103. @JMG I’ll look forward to that series on writing and the current state of the publishing industry.

  104. Valenzuela 103

    > Thousands of people on the internet started using these programs for their own enjoyment

    the prospect of replacing human artists

    Oooooh, is that what it is?

    I am an amateur genealogist, and have a family tree on Ancestry.com. Some stranger — who appears to be peripherally related to me but won’t say exactly how — asked me to post an extremely weird “drawing” of my elder brother (died in 2013). When my brother died, I dug out a photo of him at age 18 from my files which I posted with the obituary. I lived with my brother for twenty years, so I know what he looked like, up close and personal.

    This “drawing” was not only creepy but offensive. The drawing isn’t a true likeness of my brother and is creepy that a stranger would generate such a, how shall I say, sick drawing without ever have met my brother, and not asking his sister, me, if it is okay if I agree that he publicize this drawing. I asked this stranger, twice, to remove the drawing, to which I got no response.

    I thought the drawing was somehow computer-generated, so thank you, now I have an inkling how the drawing came about. It was insulting that this stranger would think I might agree to post such a piece of garbage on my brother’s Ancestry.com record. And no, the drawing is not even close to being a piece of art.

    The issue got me riled, and my husband said my reaction was probably what the stranger was looking for, and I fell for it.

    💨Northwind Grandma😡
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  105. @Lathechuck (#116)

    Excellent ideas and good to know there’s at least one person taking matters into their own hands. Batteries, chips and electricity required to measure the world? What nonsense! Like the scribe who will be required for the functionally illiterate presently being churned out of our educational system, the metrologist with the locked vault of calipers and balances and measures will join the ranks of the mystery cults in our wondrous future.

    I see, too, triple beam balances open up a delightful opportunity to go down the vintage styling path. I noted the prices of the new Ohaus balances are off the scale! (hem hem)

    @JMG

    Isn’t it nice to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast? Guv’ment boffins are there to be teased! But it does seem rather obvious that standard measures will go the way of the dodo out of sheer hubris by the scientific community and we’ll resort to fudging them again before long. Sigh, another seven wheels will have to be reinvented in the future.

  106. Hello JMG,

    As a followup to my question on banks, what kind of financial services do you think will remain in demand and useful in the Long Descent?

  107. I recently wrote an essay on the subject of the interaction between working in the service industry and doing occult work of the classic modern variety, which I hope will be useful as a lot of occultists work those kinds of jobs. Front and center in my thoughts are some fascinating observations of an egregore–specifically along the lines of how different individuals are weighted and how established flows of etheric energy seek outlets that can be manipulated for good or ill in various ways. The egregores of restaurants and bars–probably hotels too–are unusually robust. I intend to expand on it, but I would love to hear you comment on this as I know you’ve worked in the service economy, and better yet if you can do it without revealing something I need to figure out myself.

  108. Hi John,

    With regards to the 101st Airborne, Larry Johnson, a former CIA agent and State Department official, has a good explanation of what’s going on. He points out the brigade combat team (BCT) from 101st has been in Romania for four months now as a part of a routine troop rotation, replacing a BCT of the 82nd Airborne Division. The one big advantage of a BCT from the 101st has is that the Screaming Eagles have a LOT of helicopters and are designated as an air assault division. So if the US military has to go in and evacuate American diplomats, spooks, military advisors, mercenaries and others from Kiev, the 101st would be ideally suited for the task. It’s very likely that preparations are quietly being made for such an evacuation and the bluster coming from the Deputy Commander of the division and other US officials is for public consumption.

    https://sonar21.com/101st-airborne-does-photo-op-in-romania/

    Trouble is, we all remember the iconic photos showing CH-47 Chinook helicopters evacuating people from the US embassy in Kabul and a nearly identical scene from Saigon in 1973. I don’t think American credibility on the world stage could withstand another such debacle, especially since the Biden administration has apparently picked that particular hill to die on. My guess is that in the no-so-distant future, we will see memes showing CH-47’s evacuating the US embassy in Saigon in 1973, the US embassy in Kabul in 2021 and the US embassy in Kiev in the winter of 2022-23. If that happens, the American Empire will unravel as quickly as the Soviet Empire did in 1989.

  109. @Brian
    Probably there are more of us (enviro-cons?) than is obvious, and more again who are us but don’t realize it yet. That was me circa 2000. I’d follow your posts…

  110. pygmycory:

    Fair enough, I get where the idea of Trunk-or-Treat comes from – a safe place where adults are concentrated and the kids can enjoy a version of the Halloween ritual that their parents and grandparents enjoyed before.

    My issue with Trunk-or-Treat is what’s been lost – the walking around at hours when the children are normally in the house. In many ways, the candy garnered was the bonus, as one got to experience the neighborhood in a literally different light.

    (And yes, I recognize that most neighborhoods enforced pre-sundown Trick-or-Treating starting in the eighties; as if the candy was the point. Didn’t like that then. Also, sorry if I seemed to denigrate churches and their attendees; I merely meant to note who tended to do Trunk-or-Treating nights.)

  111. JMG, I wonder if you might say a little about voting _strategy_. First, I admit that I wouldn’t mind if candidates learned rather quickly that attaching their carriage to the democrat party is a liability, but I don’t have high hopes that the republican party is a much better option. Lots of people are feeling rather reactionary and voting all R to snub the D’s… I wonder if a concerted push for national level electing of (say) libertarian candidates might actually be better (not saying libertarian is fantastic either, but viable libertarian candidates at state and fed levels might shake some things up and the fearful voter could rest assured that D and R over representation in all parts of gov would rein in the wilder libertarian tendencies.

    But I’m not sure how sound such a strategy would be even if pent up frustration could be directed thusly.

    I guess I don’t have many other election strategy ideas and wonder if you’ve thought of some or know of historical cases of how to break rulership by two corrupt parties in a stalemate filled with empty self-serving platitudes.

  112. @Simon S re: mostly men in peak oil scene

    What occurs to me is that “oil” in all of its phases and uses from drilling to refining to automobiles and trucks and airplanes and railroads has a masculine aspect. All of these careers and industries and hobbies are dominated by men. So it does not surprise me that the people most actively concerned about declining oil supplies would be mostly men, even if in reality it will affect all humans.

    It might be that men are more concerned about the big picture future, but I’m not convinced that is true. I suspect that movements focused on conservation or nuclear disarmament or climate change will have a fairly even gender balance, and that the group of folks most concerned with pollution and environmental toxins will probably skew female. It’s probably just a reflection of where a given topic lands with regard to the underlying “genderedness” of society.

  113. JMG, I shall be reading your survey of the publishing industry with great interest. I wonder, do you have any thoughts on the phenomenon of writers who put out one or two brilliant books, or maybe three or four, and then are never heard from again? For example, Denise Chavez. Edward P. Jones. Alfredo Vea, Jr. managed four, I believe.

  114. JMG re “I’m about to launch a series of posts on writing, starting with a jaundiced survey of the publishing industry”, you might want to have a read of Dean Wesley Smith’s series of posts on publishing: https://deanwesleysmith.com/category/killing-the-sacred-cows-of-publishing/ which he first started over a decade ago – his partner Kristine Rusch also has a series of blog posts (running for about a decade now) on publishing aimed at fiction writers at https://kriswrites.com/business-rusch-publishing-articles/estate-planning-series/the-business-rusch-publishing-series/

    They are both award-winning writers who have run publishing companies and worked as editors as well and worked both with traditional publishing and with indie publishing over many decades in many genres.

  115. Simon S #85
    RE: Why are men over represented in peak oil / doomer scene?

    The corpus callosum, the structure that connects the two hemispheres of the brain. Women have a larger corpus callosum which means that they are better at..

    DISCLAIMER – I’m talking about broad generalities here. I don’t want any PC flack over pointing out a biological aspect of a sexual dimorphism.

    ..lateral and holistic thinking. Men tend more toward linear thinking. Which is why men are over represented in STEM and other abstract sequential areas like chess.

    Disclaimer the 2nd, this in no way relates to caliber of thought, blind spots, errors, or other failures.

    So men are more likely to carry the notion of peak oil to its logical conclusion and determine that modern industrial society cannot be maintained as it is now. I don’t know how much more likely, 5% more? 3 times more? I honestly have no idea.

    But that isn’t actually the relevant bit. Once one has reached that conclusion (either independently or read it somewhere and agreed with it) men are more likely to extrapolate (to nuclear reactors, green energy, oh god oh god we’re all going to die, cabin in the woods, etc.) and women are more likely to reflect (on gardening, networking, stocking the pantry, reducing dependence, etc.)

    Again, neither system is free from errors, but the errors in the extrapolation tend to compound (exponential) and the errors in the reflection tend to add or cancel (linear). Which is why so many of the hard core doomers AND techno singularity futurists are men.

  116. @Chuaquin, regarding the airborne screaming mimis, I’ve forgotten whom I was listening to yesterday on this topic, but probably Andrey Martyanov (Gonzalo Lira was practically in tears over this), but he says America’s strategy is “appearances, appearances and more appearances.” If they think they can pull off a dirty bomb and have everyone believe it was that evil Russia again, who is left dealing with the mess, then that is what they will do. But it appears they understand that any ground force of ours would stand a snowflake’s chance in a non-safe zone if it got transported somehow into Odessa. Pop up some corn, sit down and observe well (the chance won’t come again, as Bob Dylan once said).

  117. @Isaac, the way I see it is that people who just go along with the system never find their way into the history books. Anybody known as a hero was bucking a system that tried to hold him or her down. A lot of them went to their grave despised, unrecognized. The most important thing I think, is to be as honest as you can with yourself and others, and stick to your principles. Also, cultivate a relationship with the Divine and have a chat with them every day. That and any of JMG’s blogs will help you feel so not alone.

  118. @Kirsten #108

    Then other day I was chatting with my father, the subject of preping for nuclear attack somehow came up. He occastionally listens to the radio (a few minutes a week) and caught a glimpse (listen?) Of some chat. I havent followed anything much recently and wasnt aware people were back on this track of thinking.

    We were both on the same page – not giving the idea even a moments thought. There has been better talk of this kind of rhetoic for a lot longer and nothing has happened yet.

    If it ever comes down to the point of actual attack – We cannot control it, so don’t worry about it. It isnt likely so that is even more reason to not worry.

    The only prep we came too was, if my city is going to be hit – figure out where it is going to hit and drive towards the blast and hope the initial flash takes you of quick. 😀 Probably not going to be great to stick around after that kind of situation, conditions depending.

    I am more worried about dinner tonight 🙂

  119. JMG – I like your phrase ‘Working Hypothesis’.

    …and how it can be modified or even abandoned in the face of new evidence. And warning to watch out for it turning into any kind of dogma.

    This is exactly how I live my life now (65 today!) in regard to most aspects of my life re: eating well and endurance exercise, biking mainly. I am always learning new stuff and hoping it slots into my ‘working hypothesis’ without too much trouble. Root cause / ancestral everything helps keep me grounded too.

    Understanding how academic research works is useful too. A single (often new) outlying study does not usually cancel out decades of accumulated knowledge, even though this is what the legacy media often shout very loudly about. New studies need to be seen in context with previous ones.

    Jeff Russell – excellent set of points on how to cope with different/opposing views. I too have stoped explaining my perspective on anything to others, unless they ask!

    I now feel I am reasonably knowledgable about nutrition and should anyone ask for any advice or guidance I should really ask for a ‘donation’ to some worthy cause, (not me personally). Passing on years of accumulated research to benefit individuals is quite rewarding, especially when the effect can so profound 😎.

  120. Some thought from Finland.

    There has been a lot of talk of Finlandisierung during the last cold war. It was true that Finland wasnt totally independent in its foreign policy; it was equally true that many Finnish politicians used their real or imagined contacts in the east in gaining leverage in domestic politics. Finlandisierung was real phenomenon and it was not pretty. Donkey-kissing leaves taste of the shale in your mouth.

    However, Finnish politicians didnt give in in the most important things. No military excercises with soviets, Finnish army was kept in reasonable shape and so on. It helped that after Stalin soviets werent that interested in expansion. So over all Finlandisierung worked for Finland. This is now largely forgotten.

    Soviet Union was first and foremost military threat. Of course some Finnish communists (not all of them; at its height Finnish communist party got over 23% of votes) wanted revolution in Finland, but they were never that big a threat. And soviet (and Russian) cultural influence was rather small to begin with and got completely drowned under western influences after 1960´s or so.

    But now we are in EU and soon in NATO too, if things progress as planned. And new generation of Finnish politicians are people who have been under heavy American/anglo cultural influence since childhood and it kind of shows. And I am not trying to say that Russia is better than US; it seems to be much worse at least for now but that is not he point. Point is: I feel that this is the most dangerous time in Finnish history so far. In a small country political integration has lead to political elite that uses domestic politics as a base from which to launch their international careers. And constant western media bombardment makes it difficult to even think other solutions than those approved by EU and the mythical “West”.

    And of course there is the war. Some time ago there were some US troops training in Finland, and Finnish media was swooning over them. I guess I am old-time patriot for not being exhilarated by foreign troops on our soil. Or maybe I am a Russian troll as I have been called.

    It really seems that we are fracked.

  121. I’ve solved a few problems in my life through meditation when conventional advice seemed to fail me.

    The most dramatic way meditation changed me, when I practiced meditation with some Buddhists a long time ago, is that I no longer suffer panic attacks.

    In a more mundane case, i had a ton of seriously boring, stressful paperwork to do and I did some sort of lucid dream meditation to come to terms with it and get it done.

    Does anyone know how I might learn to control this dream thing any better?

    My other problem is that I work in corporate IT. I feel my line of work is coming to an end, but I can’t summon the courage to find a new line of work for various reasons. It might be a different story once my debts are paid (5 years out maybe?) But still I’m full of doubts and fears about the prospect of moving on, I’m mostly useless in other contexts. How do I feel less useless?

  122. JMG,

    One thing I have seen you comment on in your essays through the years is the practice people have of taking an old, shopworn idea and repackaging/rebranding it as something new and innovative. I saw an instance of that at my local grocery store a couple weeks ago that I thought might be interesting to you. I was buying butter (among other things of course), and noticed a product I had never heard of before: “plant butter.” I thought, huh, that sounds interesting, and since it was slightly cheaper than real butter and advertised itself as “good for baking and cooking,” I decided to buy some and give it a try.

    It seemed to work fine for my cooking, melting more readily than butter does in fact, but there was something oddly familiar about its not-quite-butter-like taste and white-ish color. Then the penny dropped, and I checked the ingredients list on the package (as I should have done at the store): canola oil, palm oil, other vegetable oils. That is to say, this so-called “plant butter” was just regular margarine. Nowhere on the package does it ‘fess up to being margarine even though its color, taste, and ingredient list all attest to its margarinity. I was under the impression that it was against the law to market margarine as “butter”. Guess I was mistaken.

    At the end of the day, I don’t have any strong feelings about whether margarine is good or bad, but I’m aware that the reputation of margarine has taken a beating in recent decades, and it was a source of minor amusement to me that the way they had decided to rehabilitate that reputation was to simply rebrand it under the new moniker “plant butter” without– so far as I can tell– making any other change to it. This is what passes for innovation in the 21st century.

    (Googling it, it turns out “plant butter” has been around for a couple of years, but I somehow never noticed it until now.)

  123. This is indeed the very best commentariat on the internet!

    Folks, thanks so much to everybody who gave me green tomato recipes and ideas! 🙂

    The only problem is, they all sound delicious and now I need to decide which one to start with. Fried green tomatoes? But then with or without parmesan? The pie? Or a chutney or relish because it keeps?

    I’ve excitedly been reading your recipes and ideas to my partner since yesterday, and I really hope my tomato pile will be big enough to try them all. 🙂

    One last question to nobody in particular: do they need to be in a certain stage of greenness, so to speak, e.g. not too unripe as in totally greenish-green? Or does this not matter?

    @Epileptic Doomer: fermenting, of course – I could have come up with that on my own. *slapping forehead*

    Positive energy for you is on the way.

    @Jean: I don‘t think I ever had breaded and fried eggplant, but that sounds like a delicious plan, too!

    @Robin: Would you mind sharing a recipe for the mincemeat?

    @Nachtgurke, we‘ve always let them ripen over time, too. But the past couple of years we had so many that we ended up composting the last ones in February because they were „ripe“, but hardly tasted like a tomato anymore. This year I want to be proactive and put them to good use beforehand… 😉

    Milkyway

  124. I’m so excited for your upcoming posts on writing and publishing! I’ve been writing this whole covid craziness. My first book goes back to the editor for a final pass this weekend. I’ve had to go the route of self-publishing because the small publishers I contacted were outright rude. My impression was the topic wasn’t trendy, it was too small of a market, and being a first time author were all negatives, but it was hard to tell with all the sneering and condescension. It had been a long time since I had gotten emails that incredibly rude. Amazing what people feel they do to other people when they think there is no consequence. An email saying we only take X type of books, or we are focused on X topics now would have fine with me. I had the same issue finding an editor. The first five I contacted, same sneering attitude. I was paying them the going rate, but the work was beneath them. I’m surprised so many books get published each year with this kind of gatekeeping! Speaks to the human need for self-expression I guess.

  125. JMG,

    I thought I’d ask you about your thoughts about Sabbatai Zevi.

    In Jewish circles he is remembered as someone who abused Kabbalistic knowledge to form his own cult and almost take over Judaism, and is usually used as an excuse for keeping the Jewish Kabbala inaccessible to the masses.

    But since you are both not Jewish and very knowledgeable in the occult, I am curious if you have a different perspective on the matter?

  126. JMG #59 said:
    “I seriously doubt they’re planning on going head to head with the Russian Army in Ukraine — the US would need a much bigger force if that was on their agenda.”

    Your hypothesis is reasonable, the US government could have send a very very bigger force if they would wanted to go to hell with Russkies…I’m more calm now.
    So Kunstler may be having part of reason with these news, but he’s too fond of apocalypse…By the way, I appreciate JHK writings, but’s sometimes it’s too doomer and conservative for me!

  127. @Justin Patrick Moore:
    Thx for the reminder on the LPD. I’ve heard them in 97 in Toronto and later twice in Vienna and am looking forward to their feb 23-concert. i might easily have missed them, since I’m not looking out for concerts anymore.

  128. “I’ve wondered more than once if one of the underlying agendas here is to bleed the US bone white, stripping it of wealth and weapons, so that China can carry out its long-planned invasion of Taiwan and not have to worry about significant US intervention.”

    Interesting thought although I suspect that both countries see the US imploding all on its own without their help. When the US is holding the global financial system together with financial wizardry along with duct tape and superglue, you learn to prepare and get out of the way when the house of cards collapses. Although China has taken a page out of the US’ financial and economic playbook and put it on steroids with its monstrous debt levels to create ghost cities and factories that are just crumbling because they were built but not being used.

    I also suspect China would much rather take back Taiwan non violently. What I see is the US was being the aggressor towards Russia by using Ukraine as the punching bag. The warhawks and neocons decided to drop a lit bag of dog poop on Russia’s doorstep, ring their doorbell and hoping Putin would answer the door and have him stomp out the fire only to realize that he now had dog poop all over his shoes. This seems to be the USA’s standard operating procedure around the world, evidenced by Iraq, Syria, Libya etc.

    Except this time the joke is on them because while they are using more created debt to create problems and keep their vassal states in check, they are imploding both economically and financially.

    To me Russia and China are just employing the Ali “Rope A Dope” tactic.

  129. >After all, as John McCain famously said,. “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country”.

    But as it turns out, that’s not entirely true. Russia is also a key supplier of fertilizer and other materials for agriculture. They are a glorified seed ‘n feed store! Russia makes and sells all kinds of high quality weapons. They are a glorified guns ‘n ammo shop!

    So, let’s see: gasoline, seed ‘n feed, guns ‘n ammo – why you almost have a Buc-ees there. All you need is some pickup trucks and some country music. And that’s what I would encourage Russia to think about, making some really good pickup trucks and getting a country music scene going. The country music doesn’t have to be all that good though, it just has to sound plausible for three minutes.

  130. In this midterm and the 2020 election, I’ve received multiple mailings, texts and emails from my state’s Department of State urging me to check my registration, vote by mail, and then vote on election day. No this is not campaign mail – although we are certainly drowning in that too – this is official from the government itself.

    I am registered to vote and have voted in every election since 1992. It’s only been recently that I’ve had this persistent urging from the state. Its reeks of some sort of desperation. Like my participation is needed to validate them. They’ve never asked for my involvement like this before. Sure, candidates have who are campaigning for office, but not the state government itself.

    “Democracy depends on your participation!”

    Does it? Whatever our government is, it sure seems to do whatever the heck it wants no matter which party I vote for. It sure feels like it wants my vote because every vote makes it feel pretty and validated.

    Then after the votes come in, it can continue the pillaging and stomping of its current enemies, and justify it all by the fact people voted for it. From DC down to school boards, it’s how power actually works.

    I don’t know how the country survives with the government we have now. Its what I loved about the country in the Hali universe – the government was irrelevant to the story.

  131. @Milkyway Fried green tomatoes are a southern delicacy, so give that a try for starters! I also use green tomatoes as a direct substitute for tomatillos in recipes for salsa verde.

  132. To the commentariat:

    Just wanted to write that I sent Milkyway a question about a troubling dilemma I faced, and with the aid of the Sacred Geometry Oracle she gave me a very helpful and accurate answer. Thanks again Milkyway!

    Thanks also to all who sent me their queries last month, it helped me greatly with my Ogham-reading skills, and I hope what the Ogham revealed was useful to you as well.

  133. Robert Mathiesen. Thank you for that answer that is basically my opinion as well. I am in the odd place like you of supporting the Ukrainian cause being against the western cause but also understanding where the Russians are coming from. The whole thing is tragedy that seems to be moving toward Ukrainian/western defeat.

  134. Question to JMG and others. Since the Federal Reserve (and others) are trying to beat back inflation with higher interest rates, what is the likely long-term outcome? I don’t think anyone on this forum believes that it will work, as this is stagflation due to high energy costs.

  135. Hi JMG. I have looked for time of Rishi Sunak’s appointment to PM. The official photo of handshake between Sunak and King Charles has no time stamp. News live feed announcements of his appointment are all at 11:37 or 11:38 am 25th Oct which is the closest proxy. I don’t know if that is of any use.

  136. @JMG (or anybody else, @Oilman2 ?)
    On US food security – yes but fracking only produces light oil ie no diesel (Art Berman).
    Can the US manage its food production without diesel, or do you expect the heavy crude supply from OPEC
    to be secured into the future, due to this balance of power of financial weapons between the US and OPEC?
    What would be the hammer of pressure the US has vs these other OPEC countries? Drilling technology that could be withheld?

    I have no good picture at this time of what the US actually produces. There’s definitely coal production (going to Europe), natural gas and light oil, I would guess also timber,
    foodstuffs, to an extent cars, modern armaments…but is there any other substantial industrial production?

    With high tech products like iPhones I am unsure if I get the picture correctly: produced in China or around, with the Know How still safe in the US.
    Must be an economic factor. To assess high tech dependencies in a global complex economy sure is limited for the outsider. As far is I have heard, products like turbines of all kinds
    could not be manufactured without US patents, I am unsure whether there is also a specialized production of certain vital parts for various industries in the US,
    akin the quasi-monopoly of a dutch company on high-end litographs for microchip production.

    I wish I had deeper sight into all that.

  137. Good day JMG, and @all, I am doing a bit of research about the difference in what it means to be a friend in the US / Canada, and in Europe. With my friends in Europe, I can call them anytime, ask for help , talk about my problems, even stay at their place for a while if I have troubles. Typically friends meet each other regularly in Europe I believe, just to be social and share. My experience in the US was that adult friends are like friendly acquaintances who meet occasionally, for instance for common hobbies, and who are expected to be self-reliant. Help is asked only in dire situations (or for moving 🙂 ). I am not judging as these are different cultures and histories. I prefer the European version a lot of the time, though I like the American personal freedom and strength . Social obligations can be demanding in Europe. Is what I am writing other people’s experience, or not really?

  138. I am considering to sell my car. I don’t need it in everyday life. Right now prices are very good for used cars. Being in central Europe, I expect this trend to go inverse
    through demand destruction. Just how limited diesel and gasoline will be a few months from now is hard to imagine. Especially what that means not only for all basic needs sectors, but
    for all those car dependend people. Austria, like other EU countries has started to imitate the US with scattered suburban settlements in the past.

    My rationale of keeping a car would be to use it either for resettling from the city core to the (well walkable) suburbs, or otherwise to move to the country side.
    However the latter i know our host is critical of in times of crisis.

    The country side I’m talking about, these rocky hills, are only marginally profitable for agriculture, and today most small farms have given up and their meadows are managed
    by a few farms owning giant machinery, or otherwise these machine owners rent out their service. The machine owner farmers (whom I know personally) otherwise make their money
    as mechanics, communal workers (repairing roads, removing fallen trees etc) and to some degree still as farmers.

    In some way this countryside would be favourable a place for a crisis: plenty of wood, game, hunters, tools, horses and riding paths…
    In another way it’s bad: demographic aging and thinning, people needing their cars to do anything at all…
    Not to be mistaken, this rural stretch I mean isn’t remote in any way by American standards, the next big river is close with plenty settlements, the industrial city of Linz is
    an hour car ride from there. It is much more densely populated than many stretches of the US I analysed on Google Earth Maps.

    Still, the modern problem of transportation persists, along with an aging rural populace. Ironically many of the historic farm gear used before motorization is still lying
    around, decaying, sometimes also because people keep those as memoria.

    But all in all, expecting a prolonged crisis, me as a non trade (useless office) worker, may fare badly out there, even with the goodwill of the neighbours.
    Technically, there are still smiths out there doing business, one horseshoe smith, they’d be willing to take someone I heard.

    But it all isn’t that easy and I have bunkered in the ce

  139. pygmycory @114

    Regarding green tomatillios, I oven roast them with the ripe ones along with onions, garlic, and green chiles. When they are somewhat charred on top remove from the oven, cool, then whirl up with some oregano, cumin, salt, pepper – to taste – add some lime juice .. and enjoy your green salsa.

    I generally make enough to can.

  140. Pygmycory #114

    I just took my biggest tomatillos roasted them in the oven until they were soft and juicy along with a couple of poplano peppers and a jalapeno. Then I put them in the blender with an onion (chopped) and whizzed them all together to create something of a chili verde with which to braze pork. I didn’t have enough to can (would have had to be in the pressure canner), so I froze it for future use. I will add lime juice and fresh cilantro when I cook with it.

    You can just freeze the tomatillos whole and I have used them to season brazes or oven roasts and they add a nice tang. I have also made a fresh salsa with them, using just some onion, lime juice, salt, cilantro and a little bit of hot pepper. This is usually sweeter then I like as the tomotillos are more ripe when I realize I can pick them.

    From my experience growing tomatillos, unless you were very diligent in picking up every fallen fruit, you will have volunteers next spring that you can transplant where you like. In fact, I have never had to start a new plant from a package of seed since I first grew them. They just keep on giving. However, your milage may vary as you live in the Pacific northwest and I live in the high desert of the Wasatch front. Enjoy.

  141. My personal theory of social dependency influencing people’s world view persists.
    My stepfather disbelieved the economic downturn here in Austria, and believes in it since he lost his job at a pharma company, now moving to the US.
    I think if you don’t know yourself, then what and whom you believe is heavily dependend on your social status, dependencies and on your source of income, but
    subconsciously so.

    There’s an innate instinct not to contradict one’s own human group. But I barely believe the forces of evolution would let human groups survive through history
    if what they believed were always so off.

    Instead I think this is a property of the human supergroup in a civilization, where no subgroup is independend of the whole, and personal contact is replaced with impersonal
    execution of orders and disseminating of information. This leaves the recipien with a virtual “group” to believe in, of who the members remain opaque.

    Labor division does the rest. A human group with equal tasks and constant personal contact, shared experience, will directly respond to the feedbacks of nature in a concerted manner,
    while the virtual group delivers information of experiences not shared, across many different professions.

    My guess is with Nassim Taleb: to equally share the risk of an opinion, an individual within a tribe has to prove the veracity of a belief in reality. Similarily a leader will take
    greater risks than the others at times, proving proper leadership thorugh success and survival.

    In modern day life, people argue with others with whom they don’t share experience, and their innate drive tells them to not contradict their virtual group, which is not a real
    human group and will not give them fully shared experience or direct proof of concept.

    Abstract, virtual – a symbol is useful for communication if sender and recipient agree on its meaning – hence they must so have a shared experience of its meaning, at least in sufficient
    part. Our media disseminates symbols of different meaning for different people, declaring the interpretation of a selected group of people as valid.

    Abstract are times verily, as I notice how many office working contemporaries have so little concept of the actual *substance*, the material reality changing, behind all the numbers and
    stats they see. After all, it is our job to process nothing but symbols, while the real work resulting is done elsewhere, out of our eyes.

    Marx’ concept of alienation of a worker from his product through labor division comes to mind; one’s own work is a little cogwheel in a big machine, and the machine is mostly covered
    by darkness for each cog.

  142. „A gas station masquerading as“ …the biggest country in the world with a huge heavy industry sector, the biggest nuke stockpile, possibly the world’s best air defense, and a perfect track record of pulverizing wannabe world-rulers‘ ambitions.
    The fact that people of mcCain‘s caliber keep glossing over these details while average Joe is aware of them is another point in case.

  143. @eike with an “i” #60: For me, that feeling set in on November 22, 1963. Well, actually November 23, when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot. On nationwide TV no less! Even a 10th-grader could smell a rat. That rat multiplied many times over by the time the Warren Commission whitewashed the whole affair. Realizing that they can and will kill the President of the United States with impunity if he gets in their way threw a lot of sand in my view of the way the world really works. In that sense, my whole adult life has been spent in “strange times”.

    But I don’t subscribe to the pointlessness attitude. My best guess is that the feeling of pointlessness arises from the hyper-individualistic orientation of people in the west. This view tends to cut one off from meaningful relationships. It also tends to sever people from their spiritual roots and furthermore makes them feel that there’s “nothing they can do” to address society’s problems. After all, they’re just one individual among billions of other individuals all pursuing their own agendas. What can one do? In the end, despite all the Ayn Rand hype, individualism is a very demoralizing outlook.

    In my view, what we can do is prepare to weather the coming storms and — importantly — begin to develop ways of living that are in better keeping with the natural world. Einstein is reputed to have said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” I agree with this statement. So my view is that there is a time to stand up against evil forces, but there is also a time to carve out a niche off to the side of evil’s thrust and nurture it and make it grow. At the moment, it seems to me that the evil has captured the minds of the many, and so I speak out when I can against the evil, but focus my real efforts on weathering the storm and nurturing that niche.

  144. @brian
    Your tribe does exist. It’s called crunchy conservatives. It was given that name in the title of Rod Dreher’s 2010 book Crunchy Cons.

  145. John (and anyone else you has thoughts)–

    I find myself…perplexed, I guess. My spiritual journey continues, with its predictably unpredictable twists. I don’t know if what I have is so much a question as it is a description of my present situation.

    I have acknowledged that there is a natural feminine bent to my spirituality: nature-oriented, a chthonic earth-goddess as a patron, free-flowing and structureless path. There are elements of this with which I am not at all comfortable (more on that later). So, as I encountered Masonry and visited with the local lodge, I thought: “Okay…here is a structured masculine esoteric tradition that can help balance out the feminine energies with which I’m otherwise working.” Well, it hasn’t worked out terribly well and the energy of the lodge (perhaps just this lodge, I can’t really tell) has clashed with my own in some manner that I can’t pinpoint and I’ve had to step back from my involvement despite my desire to delve into the ritual and more esoteric aspects of the tradition.

    We’ve spoken here of the natural tension that exists between priesthood and the cult of prophets in any tradition. The prophets bring the “word” of deity, the fire and the passion. The priests translate this into a functional system, both for themselves and to some degree for the masses. I am more comfortable with the structure of the priesthood but I keep getting pulled into the unmapped terra incognita of the prophets. We have the priesthood that relates to the Pillar of Form and the druidic element of calas, while the prophets relate to the Pillar of Force and the element of gwyar. It is a challenge to understand where I’m supposed to go. I feel pulled in diverging directions.

    Perhaps I’m just supposed to be a mystical hermit and hang out with the Middle Pillar. That might be easier than trying to resolve the tension between the other two paths. (Metaphorically, of course. I doubt my wife would be happy if I retired to the wilderness to commune with the divine.)

    Any advice or observations? They’d be appreciated.

  146. JMG,

    I asked this question on your last MM but it didn’t go through. I’m interested in your point of view so I’ll try again.

    In simple terms it seems like a number of large cities in America have Mayors/DAs/Prosecutors who ascribe to an ideaology that is very (very) lenient towards criminality. This seems to have resulted in a rapid increase in crime in these cities, and yet none of the adherents to this theory of crime have changed direction or admited that maybe this isn’t working out. Indeed most have doubled down even in the face of recall efforts.

    Is this a part of collapse? Is there something going on here that is not obvious? Are the people supporting this idealogy getting something out of this that I can’t see?

    This is one of the areas of our society that I just can’t make sense of.

    AV

  147. Thank you for fostering and maintaining the Open Posts, JMG! It is a great pleasure to read and participate in reasonable discussion here, and I know how hard it is to keep such a channel open.

    Since somebody above asked about book projects, have you finished, or are you still working on, the novel about an EU army invading Britain? I am still musing about our discussion from three posts back. Your describing that EU novel may have contributed to my impression that you feel the EU “has it coming”, though I shouldn’t have generalized that to an animosity against the people and cultures of Europe.

  148. A spot of hope from nuclear weapons theory: that the greatest flex a nation and its military can pull off is to be hit with a nuclear weapon, act like it’s no big deal, and still win the war with conventional weapons. It’s a concept I’d never heard before and actually allows restraint rather than retaliation to be the macho show-off thing to do.

  149. @Pamouna: You’re very welcome. I’ve been a big LPD fan since I discovered them back in 1998. I saw them in 1999 or 2000 and again in 2002. For the circa 1999 show Mark Spybey’s project Dead Voices on Air was the opener. It was killer.

    I love all that stuff, it’s been a big influence on me: Legendary Pink Dots, The Tear Garden, Skinny Puppy, Download, Coil, Current 93.

    I don’t go to as many shows as I used too either… I still love live music, but the smaller national/international acts I like don’t hit Cincinnati as often as they used to. We get often skipped these days and the closest gigs of those kinds of groups end being in either Columbus or Cleveland, or out of state in Louisville, Chicago or Detroit.

    I used to go on occasion to Louisville (two hour car drive) or Columbus (same) to see shows (Weird Al Yankovic, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and Yo La Tengo, The Incredible String Band (on a reunion tour) were some I traveled for 🙂 but anymore the hassle and the cost isn’t worth it.

    If there were commuter trains that could take my wife and I to other cities for these kind of events, I’d be into it, because Louisville and Cleveland are fun towns and I’d make a weekend of it. But we don’t have that and I don’t know that we will. I hope we will, but it remains to be seen.

    Still, there is a lot of local talent, and some acts do come around. I’d always hoped to see Current 93 live, but David Tibet hardly ever plays in the U.S, and when they do its always been in NYC or San Francisco. If they ever play in Chicago I imagine I’d make the pilgrimage. Getting their on the bus isn’t so bad. Megabus used to operate a line there.

  150. “the reckless abandon with which western elites are severing international ties”

    Is it so reckless? If your lifeboat has a few leaks but is fundamentally sound but the larger ship you are tied to is going down for sure, shouldn’t you cut the lines and get clear?

    It’s all very well to hope that the extra buoyancy of your life boat can provide the margin of survival for the sinking ship, but as they say, hope is not a plan.

    See also, sunk cost fallacy; “The sunk cost fallacy is the human tendency to stick with endeavors in which we’ve already invested time, money, or other resources even when changing course would be the more logical choice.”

    Determining when to cut your losses and bailout is a far harder problem than getting into what was once a good deal.

  151. Tony, I suspect that American friendships are fairly attenuated partly because of our settlement patterns. It is hard to keep up with people when you move a lot, or when you rely on long car trips to see people. I have gotten closer to people who I see a lot (due to living nearby) and lost contact with former friends who now live far away.

  152. Walt F #61, if you want a cynical take on occult cosmology, here you go:

    At best the gods are so alien they can’t know what’s best for humanity, eeven if they have good intentions. At worst they are malignant narcissists (a condition that is actually named after a god).

    Karma is administered with all the malice and spite of the Means Test. Every bad thing relished and even if you have something good coming your way it will only be doled out with the greatest reluctance and resentment. (And at best karma already is unjust as it rolls over to later lives, creating innocent vicims who have no idea what the did do deserve this, and perpetuating the necessity of bad things into the future for everyone else.)

    Gwynfydd is just the bosses promoting militants off the shop floor so they can’t cause trouble anymore.

    As above, so below.

  153. Re: Ukraine, it is easy to think of states as singular actors with well thought out plans, back-up plans, and a good understanding of their opponents. In practice, things are messy and people are fallible in all sorts of ways.

    Clausewitz said, “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” It is generally true in war that neither side has everything going according to plan, especially the longer a conflict lasts.

    Nor is each side monolithic – consider Clausewitz’s trinity (government / people / army). Ideally all three agree about the goals and costs involved; when an effort sold as a limited operation turns out to be more costly than advertised, real problems can emerge.

    And of course each of those three elements has factions of its own.

    All of this applies to both (all) sides of this conflict.

  154. A while back someone posted asking for inspiration for coming up with new and exotic engine designs. I’d suggest looking at the history of torpedo propulsion and rocket engine fuel pumps. It gets really strange.

  155. Clarke aka Gwydion — As for comforting videos, see my Youtube channel, MrPotatochips4. There’s the “Lighting Masonry Heater”; “Adding Wood”, and “Building Masonry Heater”; which is a slideshow so JMG might like it, as well as “Restoring Chestnut Canoe” videos include, Japanese handsaw sharpening, Getting it flat, and one with Bobbin, the Cat who is part demon, and part angel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3xyI3wRsbE&t=110s

  156. Godozo,
    the kids are walking around after dark, in groups. The trunk or treat is like one more somewhat better organized house with more people, which the groups go through between one normal house and the next.

    The kids are going around from door to door. We’re just one slightly-different-looking door on their trip.

    Sorry, but your reply makes me think you missed my point the first time.

  157. @David, by the lake . I am studying Integral Spirituality, by Ken Wilber. It sounds like you are growing through a couple of stages, and that is not easy. Priests are the religion which is more social and is slow growth. Prophets are really interested in spiritual growth and following them is more challenging. Once you have had glimpses of what is possible with them, it is not really possible to go back to the priests (it is like trying to wear clothes that have become too small).

    Being a mythical hermit will not help because it is hard and time-coonsumming to discover the path on your own. Better learn from the prophets.

    The feminine and masculine energies follow a different path in the initial stages, and they then join and integrate in the higher stages, that is however far down the line, not many people reach that (I am not there yet). In the meantime, reading about the animus and the anima may help.

    Best wishes.

  158. @JMG, @Waterworks #153

    Re: the timing of the meeting between King Charles and Rishi Sunak, Google image search showed an image of the initial handshake and the picture has just enough definition to show the minute hand of the clock at the rear of the room about halfway between 2 and 3, so perhaps 12 minutes past 11am BST. The actual offer and acceptance would probably have been a few minutes later once the photographer had left the room for a private conversation. I’d suggest Sunak was PM at around 20 minutes past. That would leave time for a ‘now what?’ conversation before Sunak exits for official photos and a quick drive back to number 10.

    Apparently the Sunaks are moving into the smaller two bedroom flat over number 11, so it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks that Boris’s very expensive wallpaper at the number 10 flat is a catastrophe.

  159. Robert Malone posted a recent lecture he did on his substack, mRNA Vaccines: The CIA and National Defense, that discusses why mRNA technology is being pushed for national defense purposes. What struck me is how similar the reasoning is for pushing, say, green energy – we have an unsolvable problem, some would say a predicament, and here is the only solution we know of that might address it, we know the others are unworkable. They become fixed on the solution to the exclusion of any other possibilities. For our dependence on fossil fuels, the obvious other possibility (or eventuality) is to use more energy. For the mRNA technology the problem is that now far too easy to create lethal new pathogens, it is basically nearly garage level work (although not very safe work). And the things that might work in the case of one pathogen (like a coronavirus we could all name) are not likely to work for others, hence the need for “one platform to rule them all”. Actually, being forced to use less energy might eventually resolve this issue as well.

    In the distant past I might have used a certain term for this kind of thinking. However, I have been educated out of it by a certain Druid. So here a question, instead of the term “magical thinking”, what is better, and less insulting (to practicers of magic), term for such thought processes?

  160. Simon S
    the peak oil sites that I follow are peakoilbarrel.com, and oilytuff.com. These are not only male, but old or middle aged male and from or retired from the industry or related fields. Oil field work of any sort has traditionally been a male field. In its decline it is not attracting any young people of either sex. There are some women who comment or have blogs on the issue, but they are rare.
    Stephen

  161. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I am writing a book about rebuilding Appalachia for an age in decline and wanted to ask you about Hubbert’s Curve. While reading your work- The Long Decent, I wanted to get clarification on using this curve in regards to the decline mirroring rise. For instance saying that its possible the 2030’s will see a de-electrification of rural America where in the 1930’s it was electrified. Hubbert’s Curve is used to chart an oil well’s output but I’m thinking that once we add other factors (such as increasing oil consumption with an increasing population etc.) to this chart it is no longer comparing apples to apples. The US’s appetite for petroleum in the 1970’s pails in comparison to what is consumed today. Would not the decline of our civilization speed up faster than what it took for it to rise since we are consuming ever greater amounts of energy? I am not suggesting we collapse by tomorrow afternoon, I am just asking if it will be bell shaped on the decent side as I would think that this side would be steeper than the rise.

    Thank you for your time and insight.

  162. Piggybacking on Suzette Williams’ question about the paths of the mystic, the mage, and the occultist, do those three tie in any way with the hero, sage, saint, and genius paths?

  163. Milkyway 140

    > The only problem is, they all sound delicious and now I need to decide which one to start with. Fried green tomatoes?

    Assign each recipe to a number. Write each number on a slip of paper. Put the slips in a hat. Blindfolded, pick a slip of paper. Go with that.

    💨Northwind Grandma🥗
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  164. @Curt re: US economy

    Our supply of rich flat thick topsoil is immense – think Ukraine times ten or more. We’ve been abusing it badly but our ability to feed ourselves and export food should be pretty secure unless we have dumb ideas like turning it all into biofuels.

    I won’t speak to the oil except to say that I’m quite sure there are at least some diesel-weight components in tight oil. Certainly much less of the really heavy bitumen/asphalt/parrafin.

    We have a lot of coal – mostly lower-grade at this point but it could be exported and probably will be if the US crashes economically and the balance of trade shifts.

    We have all manner of heavy industry – steel, metals, chemicals, plastics, timber, machinery, vehicles manufacturing. We don’t produce much in the way of consumer goods, clothing, or electronics. Which is to say that a large portion of our import-dependence is effectively discretionary spending rather than essential needs.

    Those US-held patents will be worth a hill of beans once the US loses its global military and financial hegemony. The places that can actually build the stuff will hold the advantage, provided that they can still get the raw materials and there is demand for their products.

  165. Anonymous, you can certainly do that. Be aware that if you invoke Saturn, your love life will become less important to you — he’s got a reputation for that. You can still have relationships, but you’ll put less of your identity into that side of your life.

    Pygmycory, so noted. Be aware that it’ll be based on my own experience, and will contradict most of what you’ve probably seen online.

    Pipistrello, it’s happened often enough before that I’m sure we’ll manage it.

    Tony, by the bottom of the Long Descent, the entire concept of financial services will be forgotten. Wealth will consist of the productive assets you personally have in your possession and the relationships with other people that enable you to use them and profit thereby. The story of the next couple of centuries is about how we get there from here.

    Ataulfo, that’s a fascinating concept, and one that I haven’t explored at all — it’s been decades since I was involved in any service industry, and I make use of them less as a consumer than most people. I think it’s worth exploring, however.

    Waiting, that makes perfect sense of the situation. My sense is that we’ve got a lot of people in Ukraine right now propping up our puppet regime there, and getting them out in a hurry if the Ukraine collapses in the face of the Russian winter offensive will be a very high priority. But we’ll see.

    Temporaryreality, what usually happens is that one of the parties gets seized by an insurgent faction that recognizes the need to address at least some of the nation’s problems. FDR and his associates did that to the Democrats in the runup to 1932, and I see the same thing happening to the Republicans now. To my mind, however, the most useful thing for the individual to do with voting is to treat it as a ritual — which of course it is. As you cast your ballot, concentrate on your intention — don’t treat it as a routine activity.

    Mary, oddly enough, I’ll be talking about that, at least in passing. They’re among the casualties of the way the publishing industry is run these days.

    Kerry, thanks for this, but I’m basing my comments on my own experience, which contradicts almost everything you’ll hear from industry insiders.

    Keithfachwen, I picked it up from the sciences, of course. Pity so many scientists these days seem to have forgotten it!

    Urogallus, many thanks for the data points.

    Irvine, by learning some skills that will let you produce a good or a service for human beings, instead of being a cog in the megamachine. Give it a try!

    Troy, that’s one of the funniest stories I’ve heard this year. Thank you! “Plant butter” — no doubt they’ll next be marketing tofu as “plant meat”…

    Denis, interesting. That hasn’t been my experience at all with small presses, but of course your mileage may vary. That said, Covid is a loaded topic these days, and you have to be careful when trying to place a manuscript that contradicts the official party line.

  166. >The only problem is, they all sound delicious and now I need to decide which one to start with.

    Start with the simplest recipe. The only thing I would add to that fried green tomato advice is maybe use cornmeal to batter them with, for that extra southern touch.

    >But the past couple of years we had so many tomatoes

    You have relatives, yes? You visit them on occasion? Here’s a time tested technique for getting rid of extra garden produce, as I observed when I was a kid. Every time you go visit Auntie or Uncle or Grandma, you take a basket or a bag full of those tomatoes (it’s always tomatoes, fresh from the too many vines planted) or courgettes (Zucchinis as they’re known here) or yellow squash or peas, you take a bag with you and leave it with your relatives as a gift. How could they refuse? And they won’t. But you might find at some point if you “give” too much that you start getting back bags of their garden produce in retaliation. It truly is um, karma in action. The trick is to do spread spectrum “giving”, give a little bit to a bunch of different people so none feel like retaliating. At least, that’s what I observed, growing up.

    Also what I’ve observed watching my parents, you really want to be careful how many tomato vines and zucchini clusters you plant – those two really like to make more than you can handle if you’re not careful.

  167. @Walt #61

    Something that you might want to keep in mind, with your training metaphor about life: many times, the training period for something is often intentionally made to be the most difficult portion of one’s time in a career, so that the trainees will be able to easily handle whatever happens out in the field.

    Of course, another possibility is that it is a case of “earn your happy ending.” In short, we sweat and slave and suffer here so that when we get to the other side, we have a deeper appreciation for how good it is there. After all, people have a tendency to appreciate things that they have worked hard for more than they appreciate that which was given to them freely.

  168. @Darkest Yorkshire #166 re “… the greatest flex a nation and its military can pull off is to be hit with a nuclear weapon, act like it’s no big deal, and still win the war with conventional weapons.”

    I cannot imagine this happening unless the country in question had no nuclear weapons. If the US, Russia, or China, for example, were to be hit by a nuclear weapon, I’m pretty sure civilization as we know it would be over within 30 minutes.

    Which is something we should think about.

  169. @brian and others

    You are most definitely not alone. For most of my adult life, I felt alienated by the leftist bias in the green/hippie scene. However, there’s always been a conservative (or at least non-leftist) element within the ecological movement – the first generation of Earth First! were were known as the ‘rednecks for wilderness’ with a reputation for upsetting the delicate PC sensibilities of their fellow activists. I think the visibility of a genuinely green, genuinely conservative sensibility is increasing, particularly amongst my millennial generation. That late 80s Saturn/Uranus conjunction has a lot to answer for…

    I encourage you to start a blog! If I may briefly publicise my Substack, I have recently written a piece critiquing the influence of leftist identity-politics on the permaculture scene, which has been quite well received so far, so I think there is a definite need for more people to write from their own experience and perspective. Link: https://flintandsteel.substack.com/p/queering-the-pitch

  170. Maybe men are more involved with peak oil/prepping/etc. because these days so many women work outside the home, while still bearing the brunt of the housework and the day-to-day running of the household. (Getting the kids to school, meal prep, parent teacher conferences, that sort of thing.) Maybe most women just don’t have the time to put into it.

  171. I’m fascinated by the sugary green tomato recipes that were suggested. It’s not really my style to put sugar in everything, but I can’t imagine the taste of green tomatoes anymore if I try to imagine sweetness on top of it, so I’ve become curious.

  172. I’m not an occultist, but I do take divination using the Tarot of Marseilles seriously. (Hey, if it was good enough for the ancient Egyptians, it’s good enough for me.)

    For some time now there has been a marked decline in intelligent Tarot discussion and indepth/dedicated interest. While there are undoubtedly still thoughtful and intelligent Tarot enthusiasts out there, they seem to have withdrawn almost entirely from the public forum.

    At the same time, Tarot has probably never been more popular. TikTok is filled to the brim with young people winging it, doing readings, and trying to earn an income. On that platform alone, Tarot has literally billions of mentions.

    Frankly, I’m at a loss.

    In your view, does the idea of alternating cycles of political and spiritual focus go some way to explaining this contradictory state of affairs?

  173. Hi John Michael,

    Ah, culture down here does tend to follow the US footsteps. That one however, does not make for a good look. And what the perpetrators fail to understand is that the rural culture is slower moving, and that also includes slower to forget. I suspect that it will all work out in time.

    I used to get paid to write the sort of essays I now pen for free (well, it’s not exactly free for anyone 🙂 ). Around the time of the GFC back in 2008, I grappled with the issue as to whether the money was such a big deal, was it seeing my works out in there in publications, or was it the act of creation itself which I enjoyed? The shift in that business at that time suggested to me that many of the big players were at risk. But have you wondered about the sort of obscene fees paid to some err, would it be technically correct to call them authors, such as err, Ms Obama? Takes a whole lot of book sales to pay for those obscene fees.

    And if I recall correctly, books were once much easier to purchase.

    Cheers

    Chris

  174. I have a question I would like to address to you, JMG, but also to the commentariat at large.

    One theme that gets pounded over and over again for survival in the future, is personal relationships, personal relationships, social network, social network, over and over.

    Both I and my spouse are highly introverted. So are millions of other people the world over. We are perfectly comfortable with who we are, satisfied and content. If we could survive without ever leaving our home or coming in contact with other people, we’d be perfectly happy to do so. We are both retired, and each other is all we need, in a social-interaction sense.

    We can turn on the ‘social juice’ if we have to, for up to an hour or two. People perceive us as friendly and nice. And indeed I am- I like people just fine. The problem is, that hour of interaction leaves me drained dead inside, both mentally and physically as well. It takes me literally *days* to recover from a single interaction like that. My husband is the same. We both have physical conditions that make it difficult to ‘recharge’.

    Both of us have a long history of getting badly hurt by others, and each new incident just makes us withdraw more. We were incredibly lucky to find each other- many years of marital bliss, just gag-worthy happiness. We have the same happy relationship with our daughter, who lives about 25 miles away. But that’s it. There is no ‘network of personal relationships’.

    What hope is there for the highly introverted? Are the extroverts, with their zillion community connections, the only ones to survive? How can those who find social interaction actually health-depleting, even painful, find a strategy to survive? Are all us extreme introverts doomed to be burned at the stake as scapegoats, as ‘that suspicious person who never socializes’? How can introverts show utility to society, while at the same needing to just be left alone?

  175. Some contrary observations here.

    Re: “recycling is virtue signaling, nothing more.” Recycling began as a desperate attempt to relieve the overfilled landfills that abounded. Is anyone here old enough to remember the Garbage Scow? Full of waste and unable to find a place to put it.

    Re: Our nation is toast because our young people are weak, out of shape, and snowflakes. I have never forgotten an article someone sent me a link to long ago, published in American Gunsmith sometime in the 1930s, saying exactly the same thing… “weak, unmanly, spoiled Mama’s Boys, interested only in their appearance…” If you either have a long memory, or do the arithmetic, what is that utterly hopeless generation of snowflakes now called?

    Re: the only way to cut back on plastic waste is to not buy any more plastic. Actually, I intend to buy a set of durable containers for myself, the size of the lightweight recyclable ones scavenged from just about everywhere I see them. Then I will take my pile of the lightweight ones down to the November meeting of the Green Initiative Committee, to go in the takeout bags we distribute to new residents, telling them as we hand them over, “And the bags include your very own reusable takeout dishes. Just wash them out and use them over and over again. This gains me cupboard space and benefits those new residents who even bother with the bags and takeout dishes later.

  176. @ Steve T, I have been researching the Zodiac, though not with the same focus as your query to JMG described. One of the articles I read was “Masonic Astronomy and The Royal Arch of The Heavens”, available at https://www.scribd.com/document/173201733/Masonic-Astronomy-and-the-Royal-Arch-of-the-Heavens. (Scribd lets you set up an account and access the paper for free.) Some of the information in it might be relevant to your query.

    In my Zodiac research, I have found some oblique references to the Zodiac as a form of evolution/revolution/path of initiation, but nothing that goes into great detail. I, for one, would be quite happy if you pursued your idea and would be quite interested in reading what you discover.

  177. Mark Grable
    #174 October 27, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    Thank you. I enjoyed the cat interplay video. I think the word for the saw-sharpening video is meditative. Hanging out with you on the porch, listening to the sound of the file, not so much the radio in the background. Very nice.

  178. Bakbook, my take on Zevi — well, my perspective is based on the fact that there have been hundreds of people like him, most of whom had no Kabbalistic knowledge at all. Crazed messianic cults are quite common in history, and most of them crash and burn as messily as his did. I think that whenever you have a charismatic figure who’s nuttier than a squirrel turd, and a population predisposed to take even his giddiest promises at face value, you’re going to get something along these lines. I’d be amazed if we didn’t get another here in the US in the next few years.

    Rod, that would be my strategy, but Putin at least is very clearly committed to a more active approach, and Xi’s speech to the Party meeting not that many days ago started with a comment to the effect that Hong Kong has been absorbed, and now it’s Taiwan’s turn. They may not be interested in waiting.

    Denis, I wove that element into the Haliverse quite deliberately — including the final fate of the government hinted at in the final book. Governments are overrated; they have the power they do mostly because so many people accept their pretensions.

    Mohsin, the question is purely whether the inflation outruns the recession or vice versa. My guess is the latter, and we get a full-blown depression.

    Waterworks, thanks for this. The BBC reported it live that day with an 11:31 timestamp, so it’s got to be fairly close to that. Fortunately there aren’t any planets close to house cusps.

    Curt, the US still has some heavy oil production, and Canada has much more from its tar sands. Raw materials, not industrial products, make up the major US exports, but many of those are of value to oil-exporting countries outside Russia and the Middle East. The US also has a great deal of acreage that’s held out of production to prop up prices, and that could be put back into production at need.

    Tony, I’ll leave that one to the commentariat. As someone with Aspergers syndrome I’m hardly an expert on human relationships!

    David BTL, I wish I had advice to offer. My path has always been off at an angle to everyone else’s, and it’s been a matter of figuring it out step by step.

    AV, I’m not at all sure what to make of it. It could be sheer disconnection from reality, or there might be any of several malign agendas behind it.

    Aldarion, nah, you’ve misremembered the details of The Hall of Homeless Gods. The novel’s set in 2095; the EU is a sprawling totalitarian state locked in a cold war with the United States. Scotland voted to separate from England many decades back so it’s an EU possession. England remains outside the EU, and there was a brisk little war in the 2070s when the EU tried to blockade and starve England into submission, and the US and India intervened. There was quite a bit of fighting in various places, including a US/English amphibious invasion of Ireland (which is a neutral state in 2095). The main character did two years in the US army in the 2080s, stationed near Carlisle with the First Infantry Division, facing Uncle Pat’s boys (Patrice Malinbois is the EU’s president-for-life in 2095) across trenches and barbed wire. All this is backstory, along with a lot else — the US has a new constitution and there’s no president any more, just for starters. It’s a fun little tale.

    Yorkshire, a nation that could do that would be unstoppable.

    Andy, thanks for this.

    Waffles, I don’t happen to know of any. Anyone else?

    John, that makes a great deal of sense. As for a proper term, hmm. I’d like to throw the floor open to suggestions. Since mages don’t think in the manner that gets called “magical thinking,” what should it be called?

    Christopher, we’re already in decline, and so far it’s been pretty gradual. Yes, I know there are various arguments for a faster fall, but so far things don’t seem to be working out that way.

    Christophe, that strikes me as a fine theme for meditation! 😉

  179. D., I think part of it is that there are so many newcomers to the field. Back in the 1970s, when the situation was similar, there was a comparable lack of intelligent commentary and a lot of drivel.

    Chris, the books ghostwritten by politicians and placed with publishers for seven-figure advances? That’s money laundering, pure and simple. The advances are paid for by “outside investors,” i.e. people who want to buy influence; the publishing firms take a cut, and the rest goes to the politician. It’s good old-fashioned graft, and since there is actually a ghostwritten book involved, it’s technically legal, too. There are a lot of gimmicks like that, which explain why so many politicians become so insanely rich after a few years in national office.

    Mother Balance, social connections don’t have to involve socialization. I have a fairly large network of friends and supporters, most of whom I will never meet in person, but who value my books, astrology posts, etc.; our interactions take place at a distance, which is helpful for me — because I’m also an introvert, and socially gauche to boot. How exactly you can find a way to provide value to those who want it, and receive support from them in return, is a question I can’t answer, because I don’t know your talents and your limitations — but I suspect you can find a way.

    Patricia M, er, you might want to read a little more carefully. My comment was that plastic recycling is just virtue signaling — and it’s true. Very little of the plastic collected via recycling bins is actually recycled, and a very large share of it is simply dumped in the ocean.

  180. @Isaac, this is a good point. There may be more to it, because the English in the UK are much cooler in their friendships than other European countries – though I have enjoyed friendships with British people – particularly compared to the EuropeLatin countries. I have friends from New Zealand and they fit the American version of friendship more than the European. The Australian may be the closest to the Europeans – mate – though there is still a distance. Anything in the English history that does not value warm friendships very highly (i.e. the weather or the constant warfare in the history )? Just researching the culture .

  181. Mother Balance says:
    #196 October 27, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    I can relate to the introvert question. I even wouldn’t mind having more people in my community of friends, but…how? I’m a senior-citizen aspbergian and never got the “knack” of “closing the deal” on social relationships, not to mention I’m also highly introverted (INFP, for those who do that stuff). I even keep grocery shopping to a minimum of about once a month at most.

    My suspicion is that this relates to my “how do we keep from being burned at the stake” comment higher up in the numbers here. And my guess is that if by some miracle we don’t “present” a face to those we do interact with that rubs them very much the wrong way, we survive. Just like rocks and trees that don’t get in the way of more active or meddlesome critters. But that, I believe, has got to be a form of luck (or karma, if you prefer).

    Also, introversion seems to be more common in some cultures than in others. If you lived in the far, far north where of necessity communities are small and social occasions are rare, you might have family friends and neighbors whom you interact with, but great gobs of extraverted craziness? Not much. The Navies in the world choose introverted folks to inhabit submarines. I guess we take up less “room” or something, and don’t go stir crazy at the drop of a hat. Something like that. So there are some actual advantages to being part of this minority.

    But otherwise I really don’t know how we who are keeping-to-ourselves types manage not to be bulldozed or burned alive. I think there are also qualities to the times we live in that have some bearing on this. We are, after all, living in something other than the Golden Age, where, one is given to believe, wisdom (i.e., the wisdom not to burn “weird” people simply for the crime of being weird) is more common. Strangely, I have not yet been crisped, nor have you, so maybe there’s hope for our downstream relations and progeny who are not (meh) extraverted to the n’th degree.

  182. “Putin at least is very clearly committed to a more active approach, and Xi’s speech to the Party meeting not that many days ago started with a comment to the effect that Hong Kong has been absorbed, and now it’s Taiwan’s turn. They may not be interested in waiting.”

    Yes to Putin becoming more proactive. Did he have a choice seeing that the US was not keeping its end of the bargain when it came to NATO not moving 1 inch towards Russia? My thought is he was prodded to become more proactive by his behind the scene hardliners. Paul Craig Roberts who knows the geopolitical situation even said that Putin is a Liberal, Moderate and a Globalist. He was a participating member of the WEF. He wanted to join NATO.

    The US saw resources and oil in their eyes and wanted Russia. It also knew it could not provoke a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower, it decided to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan for the Russians. What pressured the hardliners to make Putin act was they saw that Russia wasn’t fighting just Zelensky but in reality they were fighting the US.

    As far as China goes, yes Xi did indicate a more hardline approach with Taiwan but it is probably a result that he sees what has happened to Russia. If the US were to succeed against Russia, then China would be next.

    Forecaster, Martin Armstrong made an interesting observation regarding Russia and China who he has advised both on several occasions that Russia and China would prefer to just be in business to do business with others. The US on the other hand is in business to eliminate its competition to preserve its Empire.

  183. @Absolutely anonymous BC political commentator, I wish I could be of more help to you, but I can only provide the one data point. I’m afraid I didn’t pay much attention to other municipalities.

    FWIW, the candidate who won believes in small (and good) government, “common sense”, and “rural financial values”. He is dead set against going into debt and believes the township should provide a reasonable level of service for a reasonable level of taxation. He is a conservative.

  184. John,
    I was wondering if you happen to know where I can obtain a copy of Roger Bacon’s “Lapis Philosophorum” in print. I haven’t seen it on Amazon.

  185. @Brian

    You are not alone! I want a life in a small town where everything is in walking distance. Farms are nearby where one can negotiate with farmers over food, such as agreeing to buy half of a cow. Yards where most of the land is for growing food. Just the idea of not hearing incessant traffic removes the anxiety in my chest.

    I think one becomes more conservative in a small town because people are more apt to take care of each other rather than rely on a government bureaucracy. Like JMG, I worked in a nursing home in my small, hometown. I worked in the kitchen. At the end of the summer we would receive many vegetable donations from the locals.

    If you do start a blog as JMG recommends, I will happily read it.

  186. @ PumpkinScone

    Thanks for that. I must be embracing my feminine side as I find in politics nothing more than a good laugh 😉

    @ Mark

    Good point. At least here in Australia, the concern for the “environment” seems to be dominated by women, at least at the political level. This drives policies that anybody with an engineering mindset can see will not work. Could the problem be an extension of the gender wars? Hadn’t thought about it before but it seems plausible.

    @ team10tim

    Interesting. In the IT industry there has been an attempt to move away from the “command and control” organisational structure which I guess we could call “masculine” and towards the agile and holistic which we could call “feminine”. From my experience, men do struggle with that way of working although there’s often not enough female programmers around to see if they do it better.

    @ Stephen

    The hardcore peak oil sites are very dry. I first heard about peak oil from a retired mining engineer from Western Australia and his analysis was very technical (read: boring).

    @ Vala

    True. As others have pointed out, the hardcore peak oil scene also skews to older people who are often retired and so have time to crunch the numbers.

  187. That sounds like an interesting story, though I find it much less probable than other fiction of yours! The US without a president..,

  188. To Rod (#55)

    When I worked in quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry, it came to my attention that practically everything the company handled – from raw materials to finished products – contained tiny bits of polymer resin (which I guess would be called microplastics). Some of it came from the equipment the stuff was manufactured on, but most of it was from the plastic bags or other containers the stuff was packed in.

    Extrapolating from that, I would lay money that any foodstuff that was ever packaged in plastic contains tiny bits of that plastic. That means that all of us are ingesting some amount of polyethylene (mostly) on a daily basis. It’s mostly transparent and very small, so you wouldn’t notice.

  189. My unsolicited two cents are I think it’s just few people have the attention span for endeavors like that right now. Esp. my generation. Why that is is complex. I meet few people for whom complex thought was incentivized growing up.

  190. To whoever on Magic Monday suggested the book Scattered Minds – thanks!!! I looked up the Kindle edition for its “Look inside the book” feature and was stunned to find the author shared my lifelong bookaholism – and was using it to keep feeding his ever-whirling mind with something to chew on. That’s exactly what it dies for me, I realized, so it’s not just a bad habit, or even an addiction, but self-medication.

    Scattered Minds is the second book I ever ran across (and later bought) that left me feeling “OH! So THAT’s what’s going on! That explains a lot!” The other one being Liane Holiday Willey’s Pretending To Be Normal. Which, BTW, does not work (pretending, or even trying), but people like me a whole lot better when I’m just being myself and to blazes with what I should be.

    Anyway, thanks again. Now I have to get offline and start the supper dishes, which I postponed in order to go see if I could see the crescent moon. (No luck. Clouds.)

  191. As noted by JMG, the Media is just coming up with its own propaganda towards Putin and Russia. The media labeled Putin’s response to his assessment of the West and its allies as diatribe. Oh really?

    https://apnews.com/article/putin-europe-government-and-politics-c541449bf88999c117b033d2de08d26d?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=TopNews&utm_campaign=position_09

    Here’s what he said: “Putin said it’s pointless for Russia to strike Ukraine with nuclear weapons. “We see no need for that,” “There is no point in that, neither political, nor military.” Putin said an earlier warning of his readiness to use “all means available to protect Russia” didn’t amount to nuclear saber-rattling but was merely a response to Western statements about their possible use of nuclear weapons. He described the conflict there as part of alleged efforts by the West to secure its global domination, which he insisted are doomed to fail. Putin accused them of trying to dictate their terms to other nations in a “dangerous, bloody and dirty” domination game.

    Here’s the best part: “He argued that the world has reached a turning point, when “the West is no longer able to dictate its will to humankind but still tries to do it, and the majority of nations no longer want to tolerate it.” That’s what you call a ZINGER!

    He particularly mentioned Liz Truss saying in August that she would be ready to use nuclear weapons if she became Britain’s prime minister, a remark which he said worried the Kremlin.

    The Russian leader claimed that the Western policies will foment more chaos, adding that “he who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind.”

    Putin claimed that “humankind now faces a choice: accumulate a load of problems that will inevitably crush us all or try to find solutions that may not be ideal but could work and could make the world more stable and secure.”

  192. “Anonymous, you can certainly do that. Be aware that if you invoke Saturn, your love life will become less important to you — he’s got a reputation for that. You can still have relationships, but you’ll put less of your identity into that side of your life.”

    JMG,

    I’m going to be invoking both Venus and Saturn for a while, and I imagine that the extra emphasis I get in that area of my life from Venus will balance the a corresponding reduction from Saturn. Is this a fair assessment of the likely outcome of invoking both?

  193. @AV and @JMG
    I lived in Boston in the early 1980s when so many buildings were deliberately set on fire that the city was labeled “arson capital of the world.” In 1984 the truth came out: the great majority of those fires were set by one group, mostly made up of firefighters, cops, and private security guards. Its goal was to scare the public into restoring funding for certain fire and police department jobs that had been cut for budgetary reasons. When members of the group were arrested, arson rates fell to something closer typical for a city of its age and size.

    I think something similar is going on with crime statistics now. Crime statistics come from police departments. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, with their demands to defund the police, I have no trouble believing that cops would falsify their numbers to scare the public into maintaining police department funding.

  194. So throwing our milk jugs in the trash would actually seem better than recycling them (into the ocean)? I knew that we recycled…for want of a better system, but I didn’t realize it was that bad. It’s definitely never been about virtue-signaling for my part. I always just assumed it was at least better than burying it. Now I reckon it wasn’t just the moustache-twisting evil corporatists putting all that plastic in the oceans when we weren’t looking! 😉

    Burn the milk jugs perhaps? They’re mostly petroleum anyway, aren’t they?
    As an American, I’m pretty skilled at burning petroleum.

  195. I just discovered David Tibet. Any fans out there?

    It’s hard for me to hear “fried green tomatoes” without immediately thinking of cannibalism.

  196. Hi John Michael,

    Boom! That was the sound of my mind being blown. Well, I never. Must be naive or something like that? 🙂 As a minor correction, it may have been eight figures.

    One issue I noted about the publications I used to supply essays to, was that they seemed too expensive from my perspective, when they hit the shelves. It looked like that they went for margin over volume as a strategy. And then of course, margin seeking as a strategy targets a certain audience, which seemed like a conflicted approach to me based on the history, but what do I know? One publication shut down recently after almost 50 years of continuous regular publications.

    I’ll tell ya a funny story too about cancel culture. Obviously I can’t confirm the details, because I’m not privy to them and can only infer what may have taken place. However, one publication appeared to be requesting funds from the public. So, I supplied some unsolicited good advice as to how that looked from the readers point of view as to how I was guessing the funds were being spent. Anyway, never heard from them again. Oh well. From what I observed, they did appear to take my advice, but yeah. Probably a career limiting move. 🙂

    Cheers

    Chris

  197. Hi John Michael,

    A mate of mine works in the plastics recycling industry, and it’s hard to know for sure as there are so many different compounds in circulation, but the majority apparently have only one or two re-uses in them before they become somehow brittle.

    I dunno, the old timers had it right: Re-use, Re-pair, and only then Re-cycle. Most people go for recycle as the first option.

    I’ve often wondered whether the plastics being manufactured are actually a by-product of the oil industry and that it’s just something that has to be done with one output from that industry? Dunno. But if the plastic manufacturing stopped, would there be a use for the raw materials going into that industry? I really don’t know, but have wondered.

    Cheers

    Chris

  198. Rod, Xi has no reason to back down now on Taiwan, and every reason to escalate, because he knows the US will keep pushing no matter what he does — so why not? China is facing a severe economic rebalancing, and it’ll be much easier to do that without causing popular unrest if the problems can be blamed on the US response to China’s quote reunification unquote with Taiwan. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a Chinese invasion of Taiwan as soon as this winter.

    Ethan, I don’t know of one, I’m sorry to say.

    Waiting, thanks for this.

    Aldarion, the imperial presidency has been one of the major sources of trouble in US public life for decades now, and thus it’s quite plausible that a new constitutional convention alert to the problems of executive tyranny might decide to scrap it. In the story, the new constitution established something closer to a parliamentary system, with the president of the Senate (elected by a majority of senators) presiding over the executive branch and the heads of the federal departments selected from among other senators. Of course Washington DC is under water, and so the capital at New Washington (which is on the Ohio River) could be built without a White House.

    Anonymous, hard to tell without a good knowledge of your natal chart, but it’s worth trying.

    Joan, I could definitely see that.

    Grover, how about getting your milk from a dairy in glass bottles?

    Chris, definitely a career limiting move! Yes, it’s sometimes eight figures.

  199. So much for the Tesla green movement. I began wondering why can’t EV’s have a small motor to charge the battery cells? Tesla to the rescue as they are experimenting with a small gas powered generator to charge the batteries. Now the range becomes 1800 miles.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/watch-tesla-gas-generator-range-extender-completes-1800-mile-trip

    So basically Tesla is admitting or possibly throwing in the towel that going full electric is a pipe dream because if it could be done then there would be NO need for a generator to charge the vehicle’s batteries.

  200. It’s official: Elon Musk has sealed the deal and taken control of Twitter. He started by firing the top four executives and has stated in the recent past he plans to cut at least 25 percent of the staff. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changin…

  201. JMG,
    Having a difficult time these days. The air seems to be filled with nastiness, contempt and hate; no matter which way I turn. So much of it is the in-your-face variety. I am having a hard time keeping from getting pulled under or pulled into it. I don’t want to get wrapped up in such contemplations. As you say “We imitate what we contemplate.” I would prefer to contemplate more positive subjects. Do you have any recommendations for some uplifting reading? Something that I can focus my thoughts on when I start to feel overwhelmed. BTW, would such subjects be considered mental plane subjects?
    Thank you.
    Will1000

  202. Hi JMG,

    Hope you are well. You’ve mentioned that you based some of your decision to relocate to the east coast based on a review of your astrocartography (and what changes different locations would make to your natal chart). Did you find that the effects were dramatic or fairly low key? I’m preparing to exit the Southwest within the next few years and am looking towards the general “Lakeland Republic” area as a primary area of interest. The major negative I have is that a movement into some of the possible cities in this region would alter my natal chart in some challenging ways compared to other US locales where the long term situation won’t be as easy imo. How much did you weigh your modified chart against other factors for the new area like walkability, food availability, governmental tendicies etc?

    Thanks,

    Tamanous

  203. Patricia Matthews 197
    I hear you about every generation thinking the following ones are unfit, going to hell, whatever, but in this case there is a lot of truth in it. I don’t know about the hell part, but the level of obesity has gone up hugely. I am your age (1940). I was looking at my 8th grade picture, NYC. There were a couple of kids who were a bit chubby. Now half of them would be overweight. I live in Mexico most of the time. In the 60s & 70s there was almost no obesity. Now it is probably 2/3 overweight, half of those obese, especially in the poorer states. A diet of junk food & soda pop seems to be mostly responsible. By and large the upper middle class is quite slim.

    As for plastic recycling, in the early 2000s # 1,2 &5 were recycled in the US. 3,4,6,7 went to china and were made into fleece with huge pollution. Then China stopped taking everyone else’s rubbish. In Cali now, they supposedly recycle everything. I actually went to the trash/recycling company and asked the manager ( I think the PR manager) He said they recycle everything. I think he was lying. They just want to make people feel good about recycling. they never mention the refuse, reduce, reuse part of the mantra. A bit of virtue here, a bit of virtue there, and, by the way, why not buy an electric car while you are at it. Oh my goodness, gracious.
    Stephen

  204. “but the majority (of plastics) apparently have only one or two re-uses in them before they become somehow brittle.”

    Plastics are flexible because they are long chains of identical molecule sections with very limited linking between the chains. Every time the plastic is recycled the chains get broken and the loose ends tie up with other ends. Also extra locations in the middle of the chains get opened up allowing cross-linking to occur. The result is the plastic gets more brittle.

    The article here is a good description of one type of plastic and explains things.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyethylene

  205. My wife manages a public water and wastewater agency. Today she met with reps from the railroads who warned her that diesel supplies were going to get much worse and affect deliveries of water treatment chemicals and supplies, perhaps even food. It seems to me that even if price based allocation is best we should have some sort of prioritizing or rationing mechanism to make sure the Diesel we have is used first for growing and hauling food, and making municipal water drinkable. It would seem the height of civilization failure ( perhaps we are there now) to have little kids starving and drinking mud puddle water while rich PMC’s cruise the Highways in giant diesel RV’s. Even during the gas rationing in the 70’s we were still able to accomplish this as farmers had fuel priority and did not see any shortage or rationing of fuel for on-farm use. Another data point relative to a point I brought up a couple of weeks ago. My son and his wife had a party today for our first grandchild and found out much to their surprise ( but not to mine) that you can no longer get party balloons filled with helium, due to the ongoing ( perhaps forever) helium shortage that is starting to affect the chip industry.

  206. @joan #216 re. crime

    well, in my area, there realy is more crime !

    Just the other day, when I dropped off my little truck to the mechanic, he told me I must not latch the sliding window on the back window of the truck cab, that way, they could get in to the truck and see that nothing of value or interest was in there without having to break a window, which is expensive to replace. Such admonishments were never given from that business in that location before, although the crime here overall is well known and documented. Not that long ago, I could park a vehicle in that area and just have nothing of value in the vehicle showing, i did not have to leave a window unlatched !

    Smash and grab thefts in businesses did not used to happen, now they are a common thing. In addition to the ones just walking out of the stores with items in their hands with no smashing or running.

    Speeding, tailgating, in your face drug use.

    much crime has no consequence in alot of CA. No arrests or prosecution for most of it, so there is alot more of it. ( CA does not prosecute theft of under around $1000, or drug offences, or many other things. They do not even take traffic accident reports that are non injury

    another wierd data point, i have been side swiped, while not moving in my vehicle ( waiting for traffic lights) 3 times in the last 6 months, the drivers dont even stop

    One law violation non-enforcement that most of us do not mind is the Tamale ladies. They drive around with a cooler full of hot foil wrapped tamales in the trunk, slow down if they see you and ask ” tamales ?” I have never heard of anyone getting sick from these, but it is illegal of course.

    What is enforced is any violation from a person in the correct demographic who is perceived to be able to afford it ( perceived as middle class), so code violations in houses is enforced. non-payment of taxes. non-payment of vehicle registration if you have assets, expired stickers , many hoops for businesses with a physical location

  207. in regards to plastic trash,

    I have thought for a long while that we should be burning it for energy. Like many here, i dont get out much, but I have said this to a few people when it comes up as we have pollution control capabilities in this country, it is burned in the open air in third world countries right now that are importing our trash. Also, it is a petroleum product and has alot of fuel, per pound, each piece is of course quite light. And, of course, even better is to reduce or not buy it. although for the next long while I think using some will be hard to avoid when buying meat or cheeses.

  208. An interesting article which echoes many of the points JMG has made over the years,

    https://www.palladiummag.com/2022/04/11/collapse-wont-reset-society/

    and the authour points out that court records show that even at the peak of Black Death in Europe in 1948-49, the courts kept going.

    “Evidently, the courts had busy dockets even as litigants, judges, and attorneys succumbed to the plague left and right. In fact, the very pace of the death was likely driving much of the litigation: property changed hands at an accelerated rate, heirs sued each other over their shares of unexpected windfalls, debtors died, and creditors disputed over who would seize the silver and furniture.”

    He goes on to note that many labourers absconded from work, and,

    “The Black Death did not bring on any great social reset—in fact, survivors experienced the very opposite. In the chaos of mass death, the state enforced obligations to work and fulfill debts with increasing stringency. Eventually, laborers did gain financially from their increased bargaining power. But this was a slower process that took a generation or two to fully make itself felt, with no immediate dramatic reordering of society.”

    Pick whatever is your favourite change trumpeted from this latest pandemic, or economic crisis, or war or whatever, and apply as you see fit.

    Aside, the writer’s style somewhat resembles JMG’s, I can’t help but wonder if he’s a friend, student, or unconsciously copied it.

    On a lighter note, I know JMG doesn’t do YouTube, but for the rest of us this was an interesting BBC segment on the internet in 1994.

    https://youtu.be/XpZ5STahhPE

    The host mentions the limit being the lines, copper vs fibre optic. And this brings me to what JMG’s said in the past, that something like the early (1975-1995, say) internet might be something which could be sustained for a century or two, but what we have now, not likely.

  209. @urogallus #137:

    Hello from another “Russian troll”! I agree that this is the most perilous time for Finland since WWII. Moreover, as you implied, our peril is largely self-inflicted. I therefore saw no other alternative than to resign from the army reserve this spring, a decision not taken lightly.

    What bothers me the most is the role of the media in shaping an almost uniformly misinformed and delusional public. I’ve found it quite impossible to engage in any kind of meaningful discussion with anyone, since the slightest challenge to the Narrative is met with disdain and, more often than not, accusations of being a dupe. This is, of course, not a novel phenomenon but rather just the media playing out their role as the guardians of power, but I must admit that seeing it in action at this level of intensity in Finland is profoundly disturbing to me.

  210. I think I hit the send button too soon yesterday. I’ll have to look upthread and see if anyone’s taken me to task on this. I was really patronizing toward the 101st Airborne Division, trying to be cute. They are the bestest of the best America–still my country–has, and I hope they don’t get treated as a pawn on Zbigniew’s chessboard. Some observers are saying Russia would simply let NATO take Tiraspol (Russian outpost in Moldavia) or even Odessa, inflicting some losses, but not going overboard, because with the Western economy on the ropes, time is on Russia’s side and the big problem now is keeping some very powerful but poor losers from choosing the nuclear option literally.

  211. JMG (no. 221) “I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a Chinese invasion of Taiwan as soon as this winter.”

    I understand that due to sea conditions, any such invasion would have to take place either in October, or April-May.

    China is developing or updating several weapons systems, that it would probably be advantageous for them to wait for. That would give us two or three years.

    But for demographic reasons, if they’re going to invade at all (or try to), it really has to be this decade. Hopefully they’ll collapse first.

  212. Hello Archdruid, I’m reading “Through the Gates of Death” by Dion Fortune right now. It goes down well with our Samhain celebrations. But what can a non-Christian take out of it?

  213. Helix 161,
    my experience mirrors yours exactly, with the difference that the fate of a later birth made 9/11 the cornerstone of my political biography that JFK was in yours.
    I also agree on what to do. No reason to despair!

    Siliconguy 168
    I was thinking about the EU leadership cutting ties with Russia, or the Biden admin alienating the Saudis and China. That is, cases in which the lifeboat is leaky while the ship seems intact.
    Well, maybe SA, China, and Russia aren’t your preferred ships to be tied to, but at least we used to have workable relationships with them that provided a stability that will probably not be easy to replace once it’s gone.

  214. Hi JMG,

    I have a question about reincarnation please. If several centuries from now the population is about
    5% of what it is now, does this mean that the majority of humans alive now, will reincarnate back into other life forms due to a lack of human bodies? I’m assuming we are karmically attached to this planet and cannot reincarnate onto other planets?

    Cheers

  215. @Mother Balance,
    I think you will be okay. Where I live (Japan) the majority are quite introverted. Shyness seems to be a trait that helps people survive tyranny. If you can do a nice garden, for example, you can be of use and if people around you know you are nice, but just tire easily, you are very unlikely to be the target of a witch hunt. If you have value to your community, they’ll look in on you and protect you. It’s people who stick up that are made examples of, and people who look dangerous that wind up misunderstood.
    @Epileptic Doomer, I’ll add you to my morning prayers.

  216. JMG,

    maybe not the most on topic, but I would love to see your comment on the Saudi project Neom and the LINE https://www.neom.com/en-us/regions/theline . It’s not a spoof or parody on “Green” racketeering – I read the newspapers -they really do plan to build two rows of mirror-encased skyscrapers stretching ~ 100 miles across a swathe of dry desert.

    It will be powered by AI and big data.

    -changeling

  217. @Mark L
    @JMG

    Many thanks for these infos!

    On another note: some sources of gold traders assume the energy collapse of European Industry may follow some sort of guiding plan.

    It is assumed here, that blackout warnings in our Austrian national media serve the function of encouraging preparedness amongst the populace.

    On another note however, Youtube Channel host “Outdoor Chiemgau” from Bavaria near Austria reports an active counter of politics and media against all those warning of power outages, branding people interested in disaster preparations as political extremists.

    Today I read into one of Austria’s populist newspapers “Krone” after a long time- the information content seems to me more relevant and detailed than what liberal media are delivering.

    Our PM visits the emirates and has ordered a LNG shipment of Gas – about 1% of our annual need. “That’s not very much” the paper says, and the price is yet unknown.

    On another note small aircraft turbines of Austria’s ROTAX company now routinely get stolen – assumed for the construction of drones in Iran. “The company produces about 200,000 turbines annually […] it is unclear how much of these sales actually goes to sanctioned countries via informal trade”

    Also: Europe though not Austria especially is plagued by thieves robbing ATMs, now with heavy explosives, potent enough to also destroy whole apartment buildings.

    How did the old Arab at work say to me, “all these weapons in the war, they will appear here too on the black market, along with the fighters turning terrorists.”

    My stepfather, who before losing his job at a major US company firmly believed in the continued stability of our economy, now says “either there’s a great plan, to once again bring forward the ‘strong man’ in politics, or otherwise this is the end for all of us – in which case your or any preparations are pointless!”

    Still I am living in a dissociative para-world – on the one hand in my uppper middle class bubble nothing seems to change or be off – on the other hand the data, the industrial representatives, the analysts speak of an almost biblical event we are within its course.

    Not healthy for the evolved human mind having to straddle such absurd contradiction.

    I wonder if there are strategists not blind to the predicament and implications of Europe’s energy and resource situation with a plan for Europe.

    If I am not wrong, the Western Roman Empire collapsed pretty immedeately after the Eastern Empire cut its access to Egypt – source of the most fertile grain growing grounds, and predestined as major exporter due to its waterways.

    As Paul Colinveaux stated in his “biological theory of history” (thanks again to the ecosophian recommending it!): the country side of the late continental Roman Empire was used for lifestock herding, to sell meat at premium prices, while the small scale family farm agriculture had been lost, with it the capability of the populaces to feed themselves locally.

    Isn’t that a moniker for us today?

  218. Patricia Mathews your comments about yourself and ideas ring bells with me! I have a friend “diagnosed” with ADHD (I don’t really consider it a disorder, it’s just one place on one of many spectrums of who we are… doctors just love binary perspectives, that make their job easier, and give them power). I came across a Guardian article that I forwarded to him, I read it again and thought “that could be me”, then thought “don’t be silly Michael you always just want to have the new coolest disease”. We discussed it and I read a book he’d been recommended (I’d pitch it as a thoughtful read from a mainstream medical perspective):

    Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Delivered-Distraction-Getting-Attention-Disorder/dp/0345442318/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=delivered+from+distraction&qid=1666951476&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIxLjM3IiwicXNhIjoiMC41NSIsInFzcCI6IjAuNzAifQ%3D%3D&sr=8-1 (other booksellers are available).

    As I read it my jaw, metaphorically and literally, dropped. It basically explained the (my) context for everything I’d ever thought, said, or done since I was about six years old. It’s been hugely useful for me, although, of course, it doesn’t solve all problems (and fifteen years of corporate institutional abuse and bullying doesn’t help). (Don’t buy “Fast Minds”, it’s not exactly bad, it just takes a lot of words to say not very much).

    I’ll be having a good look at Scattered Minds.

    (Also, while I’m here the only book that managed to get me into meditation after years of trying was this, which comes at it from “western” and “eastern” perspectives, and had a fundamental effect on my being for many years (got out of the habit and still trying to get back):

    The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mindful-Way-Through-Depression-Unhappiness/dp/1593851286/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=mindfulness+kabat+zinn+depression&qid=1666951792&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjYzIiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=depression+zinn%2Caps%2C1351&sr=8-1)

  219. ‘Just in time’ for a diesel shortage!

    ‘The European Union has finalized an agreement to phase out internal combustion engine cars by 2035 by enforcing a zero-emission regulation on carmakers in the bloc.’

    https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/EU-Finalizes-Ban-On-Gasoline-And-Diesel-Cars-From-2035.html

    Don’t worry – us Europeans will be confidently sunnying ourselves on broad highways as the wind blows through our hair.
    *hopefully few shockwaves, at least for the (semi) prepared*

    ( Appears our oncoming diesel shortage is somewhat linked with North America’s I notice, especially with Russia pushed out of the picture – https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Repsol-Parts-Of-Europe-Are-Running-Out-Of-Diesel.html )

  220. @Joan 100% agree – one of the largest causes of crime is police departments. They traffic guns, drugs, and humans regularly. They also turn a blind eye to crime occurring right in front of them. People have be programmed by their television sets to imagine police are heroically solving crime cases and catching criminals.

    This delusion goes for federal crime enforcement too. Although yesterday a Philadelphia cop was caught be federal agents selling guns used in the shooting at a high school. Yes, they couldn’t find the weapons, but lo and behold one of the cops had them. I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you! I’ve talked with people from the “inner city” and they told me the cops are worse than the gangs, because with the gangs once something is settled, its settled. But with the police they don’t let you alone and once you have a criminal record no one will hire you. Plus the jails are awful.

    A bit of history – police were invented because they needed a government controlled force to break up factory and mine strikers in the 1910’s. They didn’t really exist before that except in a few large cities. Suddenly state governments created them (amazing how everything happens at the same time across every state) and they were deployed to control, surveil, and beat working class people. I guess the captains of Industry got tired of paying for private security and then taxpayers got to pick up the bill. Plus when the governors deployed the state national guard it didn’t look so good to the voters. I mean, it made them look like the power hungry loons they are.

    The state has a monopoly on violence and are the source of so much of the dysfunction we see.

  221. Ok JMG then I just got to ask, if in your novels you put the government way in the background, why did you advise TemporaryReality to think of voting as a ritual? And say you are going to participate in voting?

    Is it giving energy to something that is going to fall or die no matter what? And would it be better to just step back and put the energy into growing something from the local on up? Or is it a matter of both, not either or?

    I am so repulsed by my state government I just can’t even hold my nose and go into the booth. And Senator? I’ve got a TV doctor or a stroke victim to choose between. It’s a clown show and so insulting.

    I feel like the parties give me more clownish people to vote for every cycle to have me lose my self respect. With each vote for some buffoon I am saying “I don’t have standards, I’ll vote for anything you give me”. I’m done with that.

  222. Mother Balance, it’s quite possible to be part of a community without having to be Best Friends With Everyone. Every small town has a few people who are known to be kind of standoffish, but still belong. Show up occasionally to an event, contribute regularly to a few local causes, and things should work out.

  223. @JMG

    On p40 of the Fellowship of the Hermetic Rose 1 pdf, it is written:

    “More likely [the incarnate] will attempt to harm you in a physical or emotional manner, to cause you physical injury, to induce a heart attack, to choke you, to induce fear and terror, or great sadness and depression.”

    So maybe I was naive, but I don’t think I had seriously considered there would be a significant number of people out in the world actively wishing that kind of harm on others. Although when I read comments online about what people project onto politicians and the hatred spewed towards those who chose to deal with Covid with other means than the marketed shots, that does not require a big stretch of imagination. Still, I find that really disturbing.

    At the same time time, I have wondered why I sometimes may feel so anxious or physically uncomfortable without having a clear reason for it. So I am getting from this that it may sometimes, but not necessarily always, be actively willed by others…

    I also understand that the ability to effectively induce those states might be extremely hard to master or unreliable, otherwise we would not have physical wars anymore. Instead we would only have armies of psychics inducing terror and death on other nations. Still, I guess propaganda is a limited and partially effective variation on this.

  224. Bill, I may have had a dream relevant to your question just last night. In the dream I was in a world much like ours, but with elements of an online role-playing-game. In the game we came across another player’s hut that had various minor magical items. A friend who travelled with me, and was himself a mage, stripped the house of valuables. He explained, with a little embarrassment, that magicians have a very strong instinct to plunder unguarded houses of other magicians when they come across them, justifying it by saying that, due to the laws of Karma, the magician who suffered the theft came out ahead in magical power if he resisted the urge to plunder other magicians before he reached the level of the plundering magician, which made it not such a terrible transgression by the offending magician. Of course, by the laws of Karma that temptation also became harder to resist the more one suffered such thefts. The whole thing reminded me strongly of Ram Das’s explanation of why the Guru-student relationship is usually a net positive, despite the many errors both parties will inevitably commit.

    My takeaway relevant to your question is that the dynamics of karma don’t just allow but often encourage a much larger range of behavior than we might think, and that’s a good thing for those of us who like a universe that can surprise – it gives such interesting themes for meditation. For myself, I found levity a great instrument in the face of Nazgul vibes, and making artwork lampooning the harvesters of ‘Loosh’ as it’s sometimes called may be one of my better contributions to the overall conversation. I should probably make more, though I’m one of those people who has difficulty writing jokes, and even more writing clean ones. A good theme for meditation for me as well there, I think…

  225. @JMG

    Thanks for the reply re: Tarot. It’s encouraging to hear the situation was similar in the 70s. Especially since some great Tarologists got their starts back then.

    Now, I hope the following doesn’t break the rules.

    @Everyone

    If you’re interested in high grade Tarot and occultism thought, you might take a gander at a site run by a friend of mine:

    https://traditionaltarot.wordpress.com/

    It contains a wealth of original translations, mainly from French, of writings and essays by influential occultists and occult philosophers of the 20th and classical revival period. There’s also some original research re: Tarot and Freemasonry, etc.

    Some of the highlights (for me) include works by Roger Caillois, André Virel, Jean Carteret, Tchalaï Unger, Paul Marteau, Jean Vassel, Stanislas de Guaita, Daniel Giraud, Alain Bocher, Marcel Lecomte, and Pierre Piobb.

    I could go on.

    Really, it’s a great contribution to the Tarot Anglosphere and a true labour of love.

    If this post does break the rules, I can only apologize, promise it won’t happen again, and say that my shameless plug is completely unendorsed by the website in question’s author.

  226. Hi JMG,

    A few data points and observations.

    Although we are some way into Spring, in Oz, the weather has basically just been a continuation of winter.
    This has been the coldest, wettest start to Spring, in my memory.
    My Summer crop planting is far behind where it should be. By now I should have my cucumbers and zucchinis in the ground. Not so. (Toms are in)
    I’m in South Australia, in Victoria and NSW it’s even worse I believe, especially with rainfall and flooding.
    Many houses that were built on floodplains have been inundated and there’s still a lot more rain to come.
    I reckon our food production for this growing season is going to be severely curtailed in many locations. It may be a case of Delayed (planting/sowing)
    Down (crop numbers)
    & Diminished (yield).
    Add this to what we’ve heard about agriculture in many other areas of the world and 2023 is not looking promising.

    Ive also mentioned Martin Armstrong a number of times, his method of forecasting, with his computer program Socrates is heavily influenced by cycles and the mathematics of Pi, and also ‘If, then’ for his financial stuff. Ive read his blog for about the last ten years or so, I’m not a paid subscriber to his private stuff.
    From his blog:
    “Our War Model globally turned up in 2014 as I laid out at the 2011 World Economic Conference”
    “Even the Cuban Missile Crisis on a 51.6-year calculation turned back up on May 4th, 2014. The next 8.6-year wave will be 2023.008 which will be January 3rd, 2023. The peak of that wave will then be 2027.308 which is April 9th, 2027. These people have reignited the U.S.-Russia rivalry intensifying to levels not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962”
    I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of his personal opinions, I just look more at what his models say, at least the ones he makes public.

    With regards to the catastrophe of the left and their warmongering and green energy boondoggles, I’m reminded of your aphorism, The opposite of one bad idea is another, when I see the right’s answer to soaring energy prices. It basically seems to be, all we need to do is keep drilling and digging and all will be well (and return to normal)
    I can picture that limits to growth chart that shows pollution continuing to rise even while the other measures are in decline.
    The green energy mantra has become so shrill and corrupted that it’s driven an equal and opposite response of, “I deserve as much fossil fuel energy as I want, you crazy liberals and by heck I’m gonna get it!”

    With regards to the political and economic crisis in Britain, all of it was predicted on The Duran.
    They also predict that the manipulations have the end goal of getting Starmer elected as he will do the bidding to the letter, of the powers that shouldn’t be.

    As far as the Truss chart you cast (I’m a subscriber) as a suggestion, perhaps you could make it public on your Magic Monday blog, for readers to do a bit of a postmortem, and see what was right and what was wrong about it? Perhaps a good learning opportunity?
    Maybe little Pluto, is still managing to exert some influence, even as it fades away?
    Or perhaps Truss’s actual birthchart may cast some light?
    Ive read your Twilight of Pluto book by the way and really enjoyed it. It can’t fade fast enough in my opinion!

    Do you, or does anyone else read Jacob Dreizen’s blog?
    He’s been pretty accurate re the SMO. He believes Russia will eventually use their hypersonic missiles.
    He also thinks ‘the illness’ will be returning in what will be a more deadly form, in particular to the ‘boosted’.
    He’s been calling it ‘Variant X’ which could turn out to be quite prescient.
    He can be pretty scathing in his replies to comments, but I must admit, I find a lot of his replies,l hilarious – I think he’s only being half serious and they’re not meant to be taken personally.
    At least it’s better if you don’t!

    Our poodle Federal government has just commited more cash and tanks to the ‘War Effort’.
    We’re also sending soldiers to Britain to ‘help train’.
    Russia said they are taking note of all those that have been helping and ‘will not forget’.
    In the last month or so we’ve had 2 major data hacks. One a phone company, the other a private health insurance provider.
    I expect more to come.
    Is it related to the beginning of this paragraph? Perhaps…

    Regards
    Helen in Oz

  227. @Northwind Grandma #184

    I was just kidding. But now I’m imagining that… me blindfolded in the kitchen, drawing the weekly meal plan… My kids would have a field day with that! 😀

    @The Other Owen #187

    A wonderful description of the yearly garden produce giving wars!

    A lot of my relatives have gardens, too, or at least grow some tomatoes. Guess what happens when I visit them? 😉

    On another note, we had 8 (yep, EIGHT!) zucchini plants this year and I got (drumroll please!) exactly one zucchini from them. Now imagine if we’d only had seven! 😀

    (Btw, the only reason I had grudgingly planted eight plants in the first place was because I lost in the seedling giving wars in spring, badly… 😉 ).

    Milkyway

  228. @ JMG – Two very different questions:

    1 – A few years ago (around 2016 I think), you wrote a post about how the next bubble (in the US at least) would probably be green-ish. Further, you opined that a green-ish bubble might even be preferable to some other bubble. Recently, you’ve been pretty derisive about the green policies in Europe. Has your view of the matter changed? If so, what brought about that change in opinion?

    2 – Have you followed the DOJ vs Penguin-Random House trial at all? What do you think it says about the future of publishing in the US?

  229. JMG: Thanks for your explanation on recycling. I didn’t realize the ‘recyclables’ the County takes ended up in the ocean after it leaves the county. That throws a whole new light on things.

  230. @Justin Patrick Moore
    sorry to say that besides Nick Cave whom I’ve heard in ’93 in the decommissioned Munich airport and ’19 at an old Austrian castle, I don’t know any of your favorite bands. I come from Jazz, but liked electronic music as well. Between ’78 and ’02 I’ve been to 8 Pink Floyd concerts + Roger Water’s “the wall” at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin ’90 (symbolically right after the fall of the wall).
    Then I was musically abstinent for more than 10 years, only to fall the more heavily for Tekno, which I abhorred in its early years. When the lockdowns stopped every public music, I bought my own equipment and use it for my own personal rave in public places. I’ve played in and on top of scaffolded churches, in monasteries, town halls, castles, caves and whatever place I like optically and from its vibes. Since last year we have the “Klimaticket”, with which you can use all public transport in Austria for ~$80/month and I’m literally all over the place. I just need to dance and am very sympathetic to Erika’s approach, I’d fool around with her, if I were in CA…….

  231. JMG, thank you for your reply.

    Continuing the waiting for the fall conversation, I also sense a provincial delusion of grandeur in the thinking process of people around me here in Silicon Valley. For example, the thought that Putin thinks a lot about Apple campus seems doubtful; the thought that nothing short of a nuclear strike can make Apple go away seems improbable; the conviction that the day when nobody wants an Apple watch will never come seems laughable. However, I hear these ideas expressed in conversations around me (I live within a 10-minute walk from that architectural monstrosity – the spaceship Apple headquarters).

    @Michael Grey

    I am with you on that one. In 1986 I’ve caught enough of glimpses and stories from Chernobyl to feel that in the unlikely event my best bet is to be on my way to the next incarnation without putting up a fight.

    Eike with an „i“

    Yes, it’s all this might, but it’s also so much more. I hope John McCain, may he RIP, failed his world history class and it’s somewhere on record. Otherwise, he is a huge embarrassment to the American educational system. Russia has a long and colorful history. Russia was Russian way before Eugenio Barsanti patented the the internal combustion engine.

  232. Maybe this is more of a magic monday topic, but something just came up that has me curious, does anybody know a decent source on bird omens? I’ve had some interesting ones very recently, and most the sources I am finding are…. less that convincing. New age pop online stuff.

    In other new I am making modest gains at building community with the overlap of redneck and hippie farmers in my area, and getting more people thinking about how to collapse now and use appropriate technology. Happily I am throwing them a Halloween(ish) bonfire masquerade tonight, which should be a lot of fun. Wish us great success, for a community needs to have shared celebrations I figure.

  233. @Joan #216
    I can see that as a factor but more in line with the “do as little as possible” attitude. The police, both from a sense of self preservation and a preservation of their income and position, just slow down their response to calls, discourage people from reporting a crime, basically do as little as possible. As most of these municipalities are wildly understaffed for police it’s not hard to let passivity do the work of raising crime rates.

    But there are still two major differences now than from the 1980s.

    1) Cell phones. We don’t need to hear stories about mass shop lifting and looting, we get to see it.
    2) If there’s a body there’s a crime. Murder rates are easy to make go down (watch the classic series The Wire to see how) but unless you are actually going into neighborhoods and shooting people, it is hard to make the murder rate go up. And if you believe that cops in many major cities are all conspiratorially doing that… well, I would struggle to believe that.

    AV

  234. Milkyway @ 251, I guess folks should park their unlocked cars in front of your house if they want to avoid the Great Zuke Giveaway.

    I tried some fried green maters last night. Not bad.

    Forty members of the House, the so-called ‘squad’ plus 36 more, signed amd sent a letter to the WH asking for the admin to open negotiations with Russia over Ukraine. By the end of the day, the signers had all been forced to retract. I can’t help wondering, what kind of pressure was brought to bear and what on earth is at stake in Ukraine? I think, not even generations long atavstic hatred of Russia explains this.

  235. Re: diesel (@ Clay)

    Even just allowing price to vary with supply would favor railroads and essential functions. At $10/gallon, trucking services are priced out faster than rail due to the 2-3x efficiency advantage of the latter. Price-capped shortages without rationing would be the worst option – which I suppose means the most likely one…

    There are some staggering wastes of fuel in current freight logistics that would hopefully get fixed by higher prices. As an example, consider this trainload of brand new, empty containers: https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,5565159

    The containers are destined for LA, but they arrived in Portland on a ship – presumably due to port congestion in LA. They are now headed from Portland to LA on a train by way of Spokane, Missoula, Denver, and Amarillo because the rail company that got the contract doesn’t have the capacity or tunnel clearance to run the train on its shorter coastal route.

    @Helen

    Here in a somewhat analogous climate in the northern hemisphere we had one of the coldest, wettest springs on record that spurred projections of dismal harvests. It ended up being followed by a warm summer and one of the warmest and driest September-October periods on record, and being a very good year for agriculture. Maybe your area will see a similar pattern?

    Re: plastics recycling

    JMG, do you have a source to justify the claim that much of the plastic we put in the recycle bin ends up in the ocean? I had assumed that it would end up diverted to landfills if there is no market for it – and that once sealed in a landfill it will tend to stay there.

  236. Simon S
    I kind of like the peak oil sites being boring. They mostly just give you the data as they see them, and let you come to your own conclusions.

  237. Dear J.M Greer,

    Regarding the Magical Eucharist in Circles of Power, can you recommend some alternative or substitute rituals, or methods of adaptation, for those seasons when fresh roses are difficult to find?
    I prefer to perform a eucharistic ritual at least weekly. I’m also considering that we may have to adapt many of these rituals for future times when supplies may not be easily obtainable – it might be worthwhile for us to prepare some resource or list of modifications for this eventuality. I already use dried rosemary sprigs I harvest myself, instead of commercial incense, so I’m ready for whenever the incense trains stop!
    Thank you for hosting this forum.

    Regards,
    Josh Rout

  238. One of Elon Musk’s first official acts after taking over Twitter was to change his title to “Chief Twit”. If nothing else, the man has a great sense of humor.

  239. I just read about Dr. Mehmet Oz and Fetterman, the GOP and DEM senate candidates (?) for Pennsylvania. I know nothing about internal or national US politics, neither read about it as unless in this case, by chance.

    So starting from this article:
    https://nypost.com/2022/10/27/schumer-caught-on-hot-mic-telling-biden-dems-in-danger-going-downhill-in-georgia-senate-race/

    Out of some curiosity (wanting to see how each respective candidate looks), I found this entry on Oz on Wikipedia:

    “Oz’s promotion of pseudoscience, including on the topics of alternative medicine, faith healing, and various paranormal beliefs, has earned him criticism from a number of medical publications and physicians.”

    Recently I listened in to this German YT video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2eFPkrdsZs
    “Bewusste Zerstörung: Deutschland plant den Untergang (Ernst Wolff)”
    (Intentional destruction: Germany plans for its own demise [Guest: Ernst Wolff])

    I did not listen through because these finance people and gold traders do not factor in resource questions into their analyses – they strictly adhere to abstract explanations.

    However one moment was remarkable to me: The interviewer asks “…and some people are also quoting from the bible….there are similarities to our times in biblical history….how is your position to such [associated people on Youtube]…do you take interest in that, or do you strictly adhere to a factual level of analysis – hehe [insecure chuckle]..?”

    His interview partner answers more or less in the vein that while he isn’t originately very religious, in recent times he has come to notice the positive and benevolent vibe many religious commenters give, and goes on to say that some adherence to a higher idea – in whatever form – seems to give people incredible good powers and positive vibes, and that he cherishes them for it and is amazed at their doings and workings.

    You could sense that someone who hasn’t considered anything religious much for all of his life, but now comes to feel a sense of wonder.

    Do I hear the Second Religiosity coming?
    ——————————————————–

  240. Dear wonderful, wise commentariat,

    I read these posts with avid attention but some unease … I am thoroughly inspired by the projects of which many of you speak — the thrift, the practicality, the knowhow, the creativitiy. I long to rush out and learn skills that will be of service to my community — mushroom-growing; beer-brewing; herb-medicating; but I am stuck in bed with a long-term illness and am of no use to anyone or to myself. I would certainly try and do something useful online, but I suffer quite often from brain-fog and it’s nigh-on impossible to maintain and focus anything to the extent of becoming proficient enough to have something to offer that might be of use …

    I do wonder if anyone else is in the same boat of being a burden really, in spite of understanding how precarious this position is; it would of course be frustrating enough in “normal” times, but as we plunge into the long descent it’s also scary. For some reason, I’ve been reading a lot about battles recently (1812; Culloden; Waterloo), and the amount of energy and activity involved makes me blench. I found myself, in all cases, identifying with those left hopelessly broken on the battlefields at the end, just lying there, waiting, watching with one eye as the corvids hop nearer …

    Sorry if this sounds gloomy, it’s not meant to be. I’m not depressed! Just a bit stuck.

    I would like to thank you all for your glorious open minds and hearts.

  241. OH NO NO NO: Papa G you’re hardly “socially gauche,” as i find you one of the KINDEST of writers, thinkers, and speakers i’ve ever been a fan of. you have empathy for people and also a healthy instinct to let us muddle about on our own without trying to “save” anyone and fluff up your ego. it’s refreshing.

    i think EVERYONE ELSE is who’s “socially gauche.”

    erika lopez

  242. There’s been some under-reported news that the US demands that semiconductor engineers who are US citizens (or Greencard holders) must leave China immediately or forfeit their citizenship/greencards. This has resulted in an overnight exodus of these engineers, and will prove disruptive to China’s semiconductor industry, including manufacturing.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-10-17/ban-on-us-persons-at-china-chip-firms-thwarts-xi-s-key-ambition

    And just now the US has banned the export of all advanced chips, semiconductor manufacturing equipment and supercomputer components to China.

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/10/12/biden-china-semiconductor-chips-exports-decouple/

    There’s a video commentary on this on The Duran,

    https://theduran.com/china-moves-up-the-sanctions-escalator/

    where Christoforou and Mercouris are simply dumbstruck at the sheer brazen heedlessness and stupidity of these US moves that almost seem intended (among other things) to provoke a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Does this seem familiar?

    I’m wondering if the US seeks this to obtain a pretext to seize China’s foreign assets as was done to Russia’s. Someone might think that could solve a lot of problems.

    Do you JMG, or anyone, have an interpretation of what may be behind these moves?

    –Lunar Apprentice

  243. @larkrise #265

    I am getting better, not all the way “well’ but better than I once was, but have suffered from chronic illness for years, luckily never fully bed bound.

    ways to be helpful

    – listening, sometimes maybe can offer advice or encouragement when not too ‘foggy’
    – reading stories to young children
    – can you do handwork ? knit or crochet, etc… even if just a straight stitch. darn a rip in clothing ? I dont mean all day, just a bit when you can

    every little bit helps

    Dont give up getting better than you are, even if you also do not get entirely ‘well’ . Keep looking for ways to get more brain function more consistently or be able to sit up more, or even to putter around maybe for 10 minutes and work up ? Maybe you have tried it all, i dont know. I was awful platued for years, then did a year of stephen buhners healing lyme, second edition, and yes it took me 3 months to figure out which herbs were for me, procure, tincture, set a scheduale, 3 months just to try and wrap my head around it, but it did make a noticeable improvement. Maybe there is something else out there for you to try ?

  244. David, by the lake wrote, “I have acknowledged that there is a natural feminine bent to my spirituality: nature-oriented, a chthonic earth-goddess as a patron, free-flowing and structureless path.”

    If you have a chthonic goddess in your pantheon, it is almost axiomatic that your pantheon would then also include a celestial god. The sky god rains upon the earth goddess in order for her to bring forth abundance. If you were only familiar with one half of that divine equation, it would certainly feel all sorts of out of balance.

    Have you tried asking your chthonic goddess below who your celestial god above is? Unless she’s the jealous type, she would likely be more than happy to help you broaden and balance your greater pantheon. The divine masculine balance you have been seeking from the outside world may already be dwelling inside you, just waiting for you to befriend it.

  245. I wanted to add to the discussion of Halloween that has gone on this week, with @Patricia Matthews #19, @JMG #26 (in response to Patricia), @Ighy #29, @Godozo #73 & @Pygmycory #99, and @Godozo # 127. My mind was already on Halloween, but your comments and discussion got me thinking, so I wrote the following, which is also for everyone else here who wants to jump in on this.

    Thirteen Observations on the Observance of Halloween

    1. In industrial culture, children want to know about stuff their parents often don’t want to talk to them about, namely sex and death, two of the most natural things in the world. While Halloween has long had the association with death, the association with sex has come about in its later decades, as the holiday has continued in popularity as a party night for adults. Risque costumes became just as common as the ghastly, and the two elements combined in a lurid display of those powers still that are still repressed in our so-called “enlightened and open” society. Halloween allows for death to come to the cultural conversation, where it would otherwise just be shuttered up in a hospital or old folks home.

    2. Even in darkness there is something to see. Our society has been cut off from the dark. Electric lightbulbs, one of the first forms of electronic media, have cast their glow onto corners and streets that once contained mysteries after the sun went down. In the darkness there is music. In the darkness there is magic. In the darkness our imagination begins to see. Halloween marks a deepening point in the progression of the dark half of the year. That darkness needs expression and finds it in the popular custom.

    3. Tales of ghosts have an ancient pedigree in the traditions of human storytelling. In the twentieth century films were one of the main mediums of storytelling in industrial nations and horror films were among the first moving pictures ever to be made. In 1898 George Mellies made “Le Manoir du Diable,” sometimes called the “The Haunted Castle” in English or “The House of the Devil.” The tradition of the horror film has been kept up ever since, and they are among the most popular forms of all films. As industrial culture dies its own death, horror will still continue to have an outlet in other forms of popular storytelling, the short story and the novel, where the genre had already long had a home.

    4. Witchcraft is real. However much rational minded progressive people wanted to cast magic out, it has remained. Even in a world of full of (cue sarcasm) wondrous iPhones, magic, both benefic and malefic, is practiced, explored, studied, spelled. Halloween is a time when the black cat that is the reality of magic can be let out of the bag. Because many people fear magic, the malefic aspect of the art and science is what gets projected out by the collective into the public celebration of Halloween.

    5. Magic involves and cultivates the imagination. The imagination involves and cultivates a sense of wonder. For children especially, the sense of wonder and imagination has not yet been squashed. In the liminal time of Halloween those children who are allowed to play and wonder in the dark, to dress in a costume, and see others in costume, become filled with the sense of wonder that is already easy for them.

    6. The sense of wonder has become diminished the further corporate media imagery has been inculcated in children. Once they dressed up as folkloric spooks, devils and witches, with costumes they made at home. Now they as often as not dress as characters from cartoons, comic books, or other media being sold to them, with costumes sold to them at stores.

    7. There are no treats without tricks. There is something in the quality of the American soil, something deep in the consciousness and the bedrock of the land, that lends itself to tricks and trickery. Some might call it the trickster spirit. Now the trickster spirit isn’t all fun and games, though to trickster it might all be fun and games. But without the trickster, there is no change. As Halloween evolved on this continent the trickster used it as a lively vehicle for the transmission of trickery and tricksterism. Children playing tricks on children. Adults playing tricks on children. Children playing tricks on adults. All the kinds of fun if mischievous shenanigans that can ensue have a way of releasing a lot of pressure off the industrialized human. Old man coyote strikes back at those who have been at war with the wild. Sometimes Coyote plays dress up to disguise who he really is.

    8. A little sugar maketh the heart merry. In times when it was scarce it was a real treat. The Halloween stash was meted out little by little over the coming weeks. In times when it has become hard to avoid, the sugary Halloween stash becomes another opportunity to binge, just like the adults do at their Halloween parties. Bingeing itself can be seen as a way to blow off steam. Cutting loose in a society where the girders of mind control in the form of the spectacle have been arrayed against everyday people is one way to shake the chains and rattle the cage. The unfortunate side effect however, is sickness in the morning.

    9. These days, adults seem to love Halloween almost more than kids. The eponymous Halloween party has become a staple of the calendar year. Though drinking a few pumpkin ales, or a few too many is a part of it, the adults who still love Halloween are searching for that sense of wonder, that sense of magic and phantasy, they’ve missed out on since childhood. Dressing up, believing in ghosts, ghouls and goblins, even if only for a night, is a way to recapture that sense, even if the needs behind the activity remain unconscious.

    10. Haunted houses exists. Belief or disbelief is not required. The experience of the haunted house is commensurate with the experience of urban decay. Also, everyone has heard bad stories of dysfunctional families, of wife beaters, and child abusers. Those who live in this unfortunate reality abide in an everyday haunted house, and there are many of them all across America. Sometimes they leave behind ghosts.

    11. We are surrounded by the Walking Dead. This may sound harsh, but its true. A softer term would be sleep walkers. Those who are only barely awake to their potential, subsisting on base appetites, wanting to eat everyone else’s brain. At least on Halloween, if you aren’t one of the zombies, you can pretend to be a mad scientist searching for the antidote that will cure this abysmal condition.

    12. Things aren’t always what they seem. What is on the outer does not always show the truth of what is on the inner. The old scary witch may hide decades of wisdom behind her wrinkled pockmarked face. The monster pieced together from disparate body parts may be kinder and gentler than the soul who aimed to give him life.

    13. In its current American incarnation Halloween allows people the chance to “choose their own adventure” to role-play, and see who they yet might be. This life that we don is temporary, worn like a mask over that which is eternal. While here in this costume of flesh and bone, we each have a unique part to play. We may belong to families, communities, tribes, and societies, but if life were a costume contest, surely one of the top prizes would be the one for “most original”.

  246. @Larkrise

    The work of Viktor Frankl has helped many find meaning in situations they cannot change. His most famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is also his most accessible, in all senses of the word.

    If you’re of a religious or spiritual bent, I’d remind you that ‘they also serve who only stand and wait.’ In other words, in the wider metaphysical scheme of things, you could be a lot more useful than you imagine.

    This reminds me, I read some time ago of a near-death-experience during which an elderly man was shown that the most meaningful and important act in his long and full life was the giving of a cigarette to a dying enemy soldier during WW2.

    On a more practical level, community is perhaps the oldest and best safety net. Is there some way you can get a little more involved in neighbourliness? I know this is not always possible for a variety of reasons. It is a thought, though.

    My friend, I wish you well.

  247. Rod, so they’re making the transition to hybrid technology. That’s one of the few smart moves I’ve seen out of them in years.

    Waiting, the figure I’ve seen is that PayPal was going to cut 25% anyway, and Musk is looking at axing 75% of the staff. The memes are priceless:

    Will1000, what I recommend for this isn’t mental plane material, but good fiction. Since a novel appeals to your emotions as well as your thinking mind, it’s a great way to get some distance from the ugly energies of the present. As for what counts as good fiction, why, that’s yours to choose; I turn to Hermann Hesse in particular when the energies are cruddy, but your tastes may differ, and the important thing is what makes you feel that the world’s gotten into the right shape again.

    Tamanous, I could have moved anywhere on the east coast, though the northern end was the best option because it brings certain factors in my natal chart into better positions. Within that very broad area, I put a lot of energy into finding a place that would suit my and Sara’s other needs. As for timing, the effects were substantial and fairly quick. I don’t advise moving someplace where your natal chart will be adversely affected; you may want to cast a net more widely, and look for subregions that will be less impacted by the troubles you expect — as indeed I did.

    Clay, yep. It just has not occurred to most people that we are moving into a future of permanent scarcity and some hard choices need to be made as a result. As for the helium shortages, yep — that’s real, and it’s permanent. Helium in useful quantities only comes from a few deep wells in the US and a couple of other areas, we used it for such important things as birthday balloons for children, and now we’re running short and there is no other source closer than the Sun.

    Hackenschmidt, thanks for this! Yes, exactly — fast crises don’t change much. It takes a Long Descent to do that.

    Bei, average sea conditions are one thing, day-by-day conditions are quite something else. It would not surprise me if they were to get everything in place, wait for a calm week in December or January, and take everyone by surprise. “Win wars by surprise moves,” Laozi suggests…

    Njura, your mileage may vary, but I didn’t have much difficulty filtering the Christianity out of it. Just assume that anything Jesus can do, any other god or goddess can do, and since reincarnation’s central to her take on things, you can go from there.

    George, not that many centuries ago, human populations were a lot smaller than they are now. Occult tradition has it that back in the day, most people spent a lot longer between lives than they do now — two or three incarnations in a thousand years is one estimate I’ve read repeatedly — and it’s been suggested, very reasonably, that the very brief time we spend between lives now is one of the reasons so many of us are so messed up. (How many transgender people, for example, didn’t have enough time out of incarnation to forget how their former body felt?) So if world population drops sharply over the next couple of centuries, bottoms out around 5% of current levels, and then rises again to some more normal figure (say, a global population between 500 million and 1 billion), most souls will finally get the chance to process all the experience from the last couple of centuries of rushed, packed-together lives, and then revert to the normal pace of incarnation.

    Changeling, decadent monarchies drunk with power and wealth routinely do very, very stupid things. I see these as great examples of that basic fact of history.

    Curt, many thanks for the data points. I’m really wondering at this point how much of Europe is still going to exist in five years or so.

    Jay, I suppose it makes sense; having terminally annoyed their main supplier of fossil fuels, and guaranteed that they won’t be able to make up the difference from other sources, getting used to doing without motor fuel is probably a good idea. I don’t think it’s occurred to many people in Europe yet that that means going back to foot travel and horsedrawn wagons where the trains don’t run, for as long as they keep running, but they’ll figure it out.

    Denis, I always vote, partly for ritual reasons and partly because whether or not the national and state races have any prospects worth voting for, there are usually interesting races locally. That said, your mileage may vary, of course. Just because I vote doesn’t mean I invest emotional energy in the system!

    Viking, I’m sorry to say that yes, this sort of thing happens fairly often. A certain number of people who learn magic use it to harm other people, either because they’re just nasty or because (like the so-called “magic resistance” a few years ago) they’ve talked themselves around to thinking that evil isn’t evil if it helps their side of some squabble or other. Also, there are people who haven’t had any magical training in their current incarnation but picked up some skills in a previous life, and project their malevolent thoughts at other people. One of the reasons why I recommend a daily banishing ritual is precisely because this kind of thing is as common as it is.

    Helen, many thanks for the data points. If the weather continues to shift as it’s been doing, your farmers may have to learn how to plant different crops. You may be interested to know that Russia has harvested its largest wheat crop ever…and so has Zimbabwe. No, I don’t follow Jacob Dreizen — I can’t say I’ve heard the name before.

    Anselmo, it’s quite real, and some occult schools put a lot of emphasis on having students learn how to do it. It has certain advantages to know for a fact that your consciousness can exist outside your physical body!

    Ben, (1) I figured we’d get a green bubble, and yes, it was less destructive than some of the potential energy bubbles. It’s still a bubble, and it’s still failed — thus my derision. Trust me, I’d have been even more derisive of any of the other potential bubbles. (2) The legal tussle over the ongoing consolidation of big corporate publishing combines — yes, I keep an eye on it from time to time, but I don’t think it matters much. Those big publishers are in exactly the same position as RCA and IBM before their fall: huge corporate combines waiting for the changes in society and technology that will render them irrelevant. I’ll be talking about that more in a couple of weeks.

    Kirsten, that’s hilarious. Apple will go away in fifteen minutes the moment the Chinese decide to use all the borrowed technology they’ve lifted from Apple supply chains to launch their own rival company offering the same products at half the price.

    Ray, I wish I did! Congrats on the celebration — may it be loads of fun for all.

    Mark L, it’s been a while since I saw the stories to that effect, and I didn’t link to them. I’ll see what I can find.

    Joshua, sure. You can swap out anything with a strong and pleasant scent for the rose. I know people who use dried rose petals in a bowl, and put in a drop or two of rose essence before the ritual. Rosemary would also be good, or any other aromatic plant or potpourri. Just change the words to suit.

    Curt, you do indeed. Expect to hear much more of it as we proceed.

    Larkrise, you’re in a difficult situation, no question. Since I don’t know the details, I can’t offer specific advice, just — don’t assume that where you are is where you’ll always be. Keep your eyes wide; this is a time of remarkable changes.

    Erika, maybe so, but one of the reasons I like interacting with people via the internet and my books is that it’s a lot easier to say the right thing when there’s no nonverbal communication getting in the way!

    Apprentice, that looks to me like preparations for war. I suspect the US government has (or thinks it has) fairly clear evidence that the Chinese invasion of Taiwan is imminent, and they’re rupturing decades of trade ties in a hurry to try to keep US personnel and resources from supporting the Chinese military. I could be wrong, but that’s what it looks like to me.

  248. @Larkrise,

    Does your illness keep you from talking?

    If not, there are stories to be told: fairytales, myths, and a ton of other things, including good, old-fashioned jokes and funny tales.

    When the times get tougher, we‘ll need bards, storytellers, and we‘ll desperately need some humour.

    If you can keep people entertained, or awed, or help them dust themselves off and try again after a bad day, you will be a treasure to everybody.

    Milkyway

  249. @Denis #244
    You said, “one of the largest causes of crime is police departments.” Since everytime a municipality tries to defund police, crime skyrockets, I assume you believe that the police who remain are going great guns commiting crimes to make the population at large believe they are needed?
    As someone who has multiple family member who work/worked in law enforcement I struggle to believe this. But, some communities may test the truth of this idea and we may find out.

    AV

  250. I have been thinking about meritocracy. How sustainable it is in the long run? Does it need a growing economy to work properly? During booms even losers get to live well, but in stagnant economy there are no consolation prizes. And losers are not always willing to accept their lot in life.

    Of course we are not going to have an stagnant economy but an shrinking one…

    There are also a lot of unintended consequences. Competition eats away social trust. And women and men competing against each other adds whole another dimension to this problem. Good luck with even suggesting something like this in public!

    Isnt fear of this hypercompetitive world one of the main reasons behind woke-silliness?

  251. @ Jonathan DiPietro #110

    You don’t have to suffer to write. You just have to want to tell a good story. Read good stories, pay attention to what’s going on around you, read advice columns and sit in on city council meetings and school boards, ask how friends, relatives, and neighbors are doing and listen to the answers.

    Basically, pay attention to the people around you and the stories of their lives! Charles Dickens grew up in extreme poverty and became a reasonably successful author.

    Don’t believe for one second you need to wallow in mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, or dissipation in order to become “freer and more creative”.

    They’re traps for the unwary and the foolish.

  252. Hi John Michael and Helen,

    I’m in a small patch of sun at the moment, but looking towards the horizon over at Mount Blackwood, well, it is fast disappearing under a thick band of rain. Where did the mountain go? Incidentally, the extinct volcano over there is named after Acacia Melanoxylon, which I’m guessing will be one of the winners should the climate continue to stay as wet as it is. Once it used to be the boss tree, now it plays a minor role in the forests.

    Anyway, yes, the weather is perhaps worse in Victoria. The old timers used to say to get your tomatoes in the ground by Melbourne Cup Day. I wouldn’t advise doing that in this wet and cold year. Tuesday through Friday is forecast to reach no more than 14’C / 15’C (57’F / 59’F) and that’s in Melbourne where it is warmer than here up in the mountains. Last I checked the soil temperature was 12’C / 53’F and tomatoes will struggle in those chilly conditions.

    What to do? Well you plant a diversity of edible plants and just work it out. Might not be good for tomatoes, but peas and beans are going to go off like a frog in a sock. No good for apricots, but apples and pears are going to love the conditions. It’s when you bet the farm on one crop in such conditions, that you’re going to either go hungry or broke, or maybe both. It happens.

    Oh, and here’s the kicker. Looking at the 28 day rainfall forecast (the best indicator we have, actual results may vary), it’s forecast to rain every single day.

    And maybe, build a greenhouse, build a large and sturdy greenhouse – those plastic wrapped things inevitably fail. There are better materials available for such constructions.

    Cheers

    Chris

  253. Hi Simon,

    I asked my lady your question as to why it should be a sausage fest. 🙂 She said something about narratives and guys seeing themselves as the hero of the story. Women don’t work that way apparently, although who can forget Emma Stone in the Zombieland film? How good was Zombieland?

    Cheers

    Chris

  254. @Christophe #269

    Re deities below and above

    Thank you; that is an excellent suggestion which I hadn’t considered. I will ask Her.

  255. https://www.post-gazette.com/business/tech-news/2022/10/26/self-driving-vehicle-autonomous-argo-a1-loses-investors-fold-ford-volkswagen/stories/202210260113
    I don’t imagine very many of the readers here will be overly surprised by the news that Argo AI, that illustrious research and testing firm for self-driving-vehicle technologies, has finally announced that it is officially going belly up. The gods be praised! Pittsburgh, never one to turn down opportunities for kickbacks and graft, was chosen as ground zero for the testing of these new Death Race 2000 killer cars, but they weren’t quite as intimidating as they were cracked up to be (at least, Ford and Volkswagen didn’t seem to think so.)

    On multiple occasions I Found myself stuck on some of the least trafficked roads in the city behind filming crews documenting the wonders of self-driving vehicles for their next infomercial de jour. Multiple hatchbacks (with human drivers, of course) would putz along with their rear hatches open and all kinds of fancy filming equipment hanging out, as they documented the jaw-dropping escapades of a driverless car going about five miles per hour (My speedometer just isn’t that precise at such slow speeds.) Perhaps my car, trapped behind these entourages, became part of their breathtaking videos, sped up to make us look like we were hugging curves at breakneck speed.

    It always struck me as strange that these profiteering marketers didn’t want to document their extciting new driverless cars on the most congested of downtown streets with as many unexpected pedestrians and cyclists veering out into oncoming traffic as possible. Could it be that they did not have any more confidence in their extraordinary new technologies than the rest of us did? If even its most be-pom-pomed cheerleaders didn’t believe that their cars were safe to film in real-life traffic situations, then why all the hype?

    When I read in the article above that Ford and Volkswagen each had invested over $2.5 billion in the Argo AI sinkhole alone, it all started to make more sense. That much money made all sorts of people really, really want to believe that safe driverless cars were a possibility, even though they still really, really didn’t believe in them. That puts my time stuck behind driverless entourages on the most abandoned streets of Pittsburgh in a more comprehensible light. “Come on, guys, our job is to keep the funding rolling in by making our crap product look good, rather than causing another high-profile news story about a driverless car killing a mother and child. One of you must know about some picturesque but unused street in this godforsaken town? No, not that one; it’s full of potholes! You guys know our technology malfunctions every time it hits a big pothole.”

  256. I find that I can talk easily with complete strangers about a specific subject that interests me at. Like music, or tropical fish, or decline/collapse and responses to it. Actually, I can talk the hind leg off a donkey so long as it is about something like that. If there’s a subject you’re passionate about, it can make a great icebreaker.

    It will still be tiring though. I often feel high for a bit afterwards, and then crash. But doing it frequently reduces this effect. I worked in a petstore, and at the moment I’m teaching, playing and learning music. If you can become known as a subject expert in something others value, this also provides them a reason to like and value you.

    I also find musical instruments great to hide behind, or talk about. No one expects to talk if you’re playing a wind instrument. And when complete strangers come up to you, they are usually wanting to talk about the instrument you’re holding. Though they may be a bit confused on what it is. So far, I’ve had my recorders called flutes, piccolos, clarinets and bassoon. I’m sure I’ll collect oboe eventually, and then I’ll have the main orchestral woodwind set of miscalls.

  257. JMG (no. 272) “It would not surprise me if they were to get everything in place, wait for a calm week in December or January, and take everyone by surprise.”

    It would be difficult to hide the level of preparations necessary for an invasion. They might blockade the island without invading it, though, and disguise preparations for it by pretending it’s just another military drill. An attempt at strategic decapitation is also likely. A basic difficulty is that any hostile actions that do not directly result in the fall of Taiwan, will just alert the world and give the US and Japan time to intervene (if they dare). And a failed military action would likely result in a formal declaration of Taiwan independence, and cause immense domestic political problems for the CCP.

    ————————-

    Justin Patrick Moore (no. 270) ” In industrial culture, children want to know about stuff their parents often don’t want to talk to them about, namely sex and death…”

    That’s what schlock horror movies are about–sex and death, aimed at teen audiences for whom this is largely unfamiliar territory. (Older people are more easily frightened by economics!) Not that Halloween has much to do with horror these days, aside from horrible taste… If you google images for “tasteless Halloween costumes,” you’ll see stuff like bloody-tampon costumes, Anne Frank cosplay, fat guys body-painting their bare bellies, stuff like that.

    ————————–

    Curt (no. 264), the other major criticism of “Dr. Oz” (other than the pseudoscience stuff) is that he seems to be in bed with right-wing Turkish organizations.

    ————————–

    changeling (no. 239), the “Neom” project as currently planned (there were major redesigns earlier this year) is projected to be finished in 2045, if the Saudi state is fortunate enough to survive that long. The first part, “the Line,” is supposed to be finished in 2026. They’re working on it now, but even if they finish construction, they’ll still have to convince half a million people to go live there. (The whole city is planned to have a population of 9 million!)

  258. JMG@272 and others: I’ve been following the career of Boyan Slat for upwards of a decade. He’s the kid (now adult) who started The Ocean Cleanup (TOC). By his own admissions, he initially had an unrealistic view of the ‘plastics in oceans’ problem. Nevertheless, TOC has gotten LOTS of funding for and has built and tested numerous “solutions.”

    Most all their solutions are Very Large Consumers of fuel and resources for the amount of plastic pollution they’ve intercepted. Along the way, they’ve found out numerous interesting things. For instance, The Ocean Cleanup says: “According to our newest study, 75% to 86% of plastic debris in GPGP [Great Pacific Garbage Patch] originates from fishing.”

    Another insight along the way was that most all the plastic pollution in the oceans other than that generated by fishing fleets originates in poorer countries and is washed into the sea by pollution-choked rivers during flood. They’ve found that “86% of the input stem[s] from rivers in Asia.” TOC has come up with things called Interceptors that skim off plastic pollution from rivers. They’ve had some minimal success with their Interceptor systems and some noteworthy failures. One video in particular shows where they built a big “strainer” fence (called TrashFence) across a watercourse in Guatemala. It worked GREAT as seasonal rain runoff arrived bearing amazing loads of plastic, but watching the video through you see the folks who built the fence initially cheering but then bursting into tears as the fence bulges and then breaks from the overwhelming load.

    The Wikipedia page for Boyan Slat is a good starting point:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyan_Slat
    That page leads you to discussions of TOC. The TOC website is very video-intensive, sigh, but there are some text discussions too. Here’s one talking a bit about rivers: https://theoceancleanup.com/rivers/

    My overall conclusion regarding plastic in the oceans is that it’s associated with poorer regions where trash collection just doesn’t exist, plus some bad actors like shipping companies and fishing fleets. Memes with plastic straws lodged in the nostils of sea turtles which then lead to bans on plastic straws in wealthy areas are tres chic, but don’t really reflect where the problem lies. Like JMG says: “the only way to deal with plastics is to use much less of them.” Oh, and recent articles like the Greenpeace one:
    https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/GPUS_FinalReport_2022.pdf
    suggest to me that all plastic items you generate when living in a wealthy country should be thrown directly into the trash rather than recycling, with the possible exception of PET beverage bottles which are best avoided anyway for the reasons of what they often contain (corn-syrup slurry, anyone?)

  259. Due to a few comments on this blog, I was inspired to join the manual typewriter club. Wow, what a rabbit hole that is!

    I picked up an Olympia SM-9 is beautiful condition. Not the prettiest-looking machine, but possibly the best-engineered of all the old manuals. I won’t be saving it for the deindustrial future, though. It’s too tempting. I’ll probably bang out a few poems, letters, short stories, etc. in my free time.

    I can’t buy anything casually, though, so I had to research the entire history of typewriters and the reputations of the brands and models. These really are a dying wonder–get yours now if you want one, they ain’t getting cheaper! I’m having to slap my own hand away from buying one of the gorgeous older examples as a backup.

    My runner-up models that I considered were an Olivetti Lettera 32 and a Smith Corona Sterling or Silent.

    As a caution to anyone thinking of buying one, though, I’ve read that the random sellers on Etsy and ebay can be very unreliable. Often, they are just air-blown-out machines with plenty of gunk and mechanical problems. There are a few reputable typewriter repairmen and refurbishers online, but most on those sites are just flipping something they found at a garage sale and charging the same as the professionals who’ve stripped down the machine to deep clean it and replace broken parts. Buyer beware.

  260. Lunar Apprentice @ 267, the timing is interesting, right before the midterms and coinciding with well publicized arrests and indictments of alleged Chinese spies. If I wanted to make a wild guess, I would wonder if Biden hasn’t had it with multiculturalism, seeing as how his checks all the boxes VP has turned to be a liability.

    Larkrise, I second the suggestion of handwork. I will tell you a secret, it is not boring. Not at all. I like hand quilting, because I love color and patterns, but all kinds of handwork, including whittling, are useful.

  261. I’ve been having trouble hang-drying clothes because I have trees and lots of birds in the yard. I used to hang-dry in the basement, but more and more frequently now, the basement gets an absolutely foul sewage type smell. Not always exactly the same smell, but worse and worse lately as well as more frequently. Drying clothes pick up the smell so…

    This initially happened when the old cast iron standpipe from the top floor bathroom started leaking. But we fixed that and I see no signs that it’s continuing.

    But the smell has started to appear in the bathroom as well (so I can’t hang-dry there anymore either).

    Had a plumber in and he couldn’t figure out what was causing it.

    Anyone have any ideas? I think maybe the whole-house trap needs to be replaced (it has a crack), but not sure where to find someone who will do that instead of replacing it with a straight pipe (which I understand is bad for the remaining cast iron pipes). Where to find an old-school plumber? Also I could be wrong so open to other suggestions as to possible cause.

  262. I totally agree that the imperial presidency is one of your biggest problems. It just seems funny to me that in your story line the EU, which is currently a rather weak federation and hasn’t been moving toward centralization since 2005, and the USA, which is currently rather strongly centralized and personalized, seem to have exchanged positions. But I will gladly read the novel once it’s available!

    By the way, today I was listening to New Model Army’s “51st State of America”, which resonated with your American-English alliance rather weirdly…

    And further to New Model Army: I hadn’t realized how often they alluded to 17th century English radicalism. Not only the band title, but also the pseudonym of the band founder, and the name of the album “Thunder and Consolation”. There may be more.

    The 17th century was by far the worst in German history, yet I feel drawn towards the music that was written exactly during those dark times, by J.S. Schein, Heinrich Schütz, Andreas Hammerschmidt and Johann Pachelbel. The hymns that make me wait all year for Christmas were written by Paul Gerhardt and Johann Crüger around 1650 (a pity they are rarely heard outside Germany…). I find the 18th and 19th centuries a desert for hymn texts. The 20th century has some exceptions, especially texts by Jochen Klepper and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written under persecution. There may be a lesson in this.

  263. So, JMG, what is the secret to growing a magnificent beard like yours? Is it some hidden druid magic, some combination of cell salts? Many beardless men want to know.

  264. re: crime, in my area over the past couple of years there is more graffiti than there used to be. And during the early part of the pandemic, I know of two break-in attempts on businesses, one local, one not but belonging to someone I know. Plus someone’s apple tree getting stripped of apples by parties unknown.

    By personal experience, I would definitely say that nonviolent crime is up.

  265. @ Mark L re #260

    A good percentage of the plastic in the ocean comes from something called ‘nurdles’. These are pre-production plastic pellets used in the production of – well, the plastic junk we buy. During the
    manufacturing and transport processes, some of this stuff gets lost and released into the environment. This on top of the garbage we’re already tossing.

    https://www.nurdlehunt.org.uk/the-problem.html

    There’s a considerable amount of information on the Web about this unintended consequence of our love-affair with cheap plastic crud. If you’ve eaten seafood recently, then there’s a good chance you have microscopic bits of this nasty stuff in your system. What are the long-term effects? Nothing good, you can be sure and it will be with us for a long time.

  266. Rod – If you read the Zerohedge article closely, you’ll see that the “1800 mile hybrid Tesla” is not a Tesla product, but an after-market experiment. Tesla’s not giving up on the all-electric vehicle. Just one of their customers did.

  267. @Larkrise,
    I have a variety of mental and physical health issues I won’t get into here, but I have been on disability for the past ten years now, and needed it for some five years before I got it. Over the past ten years I’ve tried various things, some of which made some money while others didn’t, but none of which, so far, have come near to making me independent of government assistance. So I hear you on feeling useless and like a burden.

    I think learning and practicing whatever practical skills you can, whenever your condition(s) allow it, still has value. They have allowed me to stretch my income, and provided a bit extra at times, while costing money to buy equipment at others. They also make my life more interesting, and I feel more purposeful.

    Who knows, maybe the music and music teaching will finally be the thing that does the trick… hope springs eternal in the human breast. If nothing else, I’ll learn a lot about playing, writing, teaching music and running groups of musicians, teach a few people some basics of playing an instrument, and give a larger group of people enjoyment. These things have value of their own.

    The thing that helps me most is probably knowing that God still values me, completely independently of what I am able to do, or what society thinks of me. If He doesn’t think I’m a failure because I haven’t succeeded in the ways society values, or at supporting myself, then I am not a failure at that which matters most.

    And there has often been ways I could serve on a volunteer basis at church. That makes me feel useful and not like a failure, and people have let me know that they really appreciate what I’m doing. There’s a much lower bar to volunteering than working for money, especially if your condition(s) fluctuate and you can do things some days but not others, or can only do an hour or so at a time.

    There have been times when I’m basically useless. A few years ago, I couldn’t use my eyes for a lot of things without risking major pain. I was at wits end as to what to do with myself. I ended up listening to hundreds of hours of history podcasts and gaining a much better understanding of history, plus using a screenreader to read stuff on the computer to me. Still bored and lonely as I stayed home hiding my eyes from the painful sunlight, but it was at least something.

    I guess my advice is to find something you can do, no matter how small or silly it seems, and do that thing. I recommend practicing a faith path if that is an option for you. I can highly recommend Christianity from personal experience, but I know others have different opinions. Pray, and try to have patience, if your condition is something that may improve with time. Sometimes the answer isn’t ‘no’, but ‘not yet’.

  268. @ George

    I’ve thought a little on your point previously myself, and agree with Greer about longer lifespan between lives but it also occured to me that it would be interesting if other species started developing to fit the need for a few more bodies exploring mental capacities. Especially with the changing climate belts, I read something a couple years back about Octopus have a war in a trench off the coast of Australia somewere for example. If nothing else it’s an interesting notion lol.

  269. @ Scotlyn
    I want to say Thank You! for sharing that link to the “Tech Won’t Save Us” podcast on last week’s post. It was an interesting episode and I’m looking forward to listening to more of them!

  270. You’ve criticized people before for a “vending machine approach” to the gods, but you also say planetary charity works. This raises a question though, because doesn’t planetary charity display a vending machine approach towards the planets? The attitude of “If I make these donations, you’ll do this for me” seems like approaching the gods as vending machines to me….

  271. Urogallus, “meritocracies” very quickly turn into ordinary oligarchies, as soon as the winners figure out how to game the system so their own children get the coveted spots. So actual meritocracy is a very short-term phenomenon, replaced in a generation or two by an oligarchy whose members believe, inaccurately, that they really are smarter than everyone else.

    Chris, I’m wondering at what point you want to put in terraces and rice paddies…

    Christophe, ha! This is good news; on the one hand, the self-driving car is another of those futile fantasies from old science fiction, and the fact that Argo AI is giving up on it suggests that reality is finally getting a look-in. On the other, the thought of those self-driving cars lumbering down the road at 5 mph with the cameras rolling is a fine bit of amusement. Thank you.

    Pygmycory, delighted to hear this.

    Bei, they can make the preparations right out in the open, and most people will assume that they’re planning to launch the invasion in the spring…

    Bryan, thanks for this. I’ll take a look when I’m in need of a laugh.

    Kyle, mine is an Olivetti Lettera, a fine machine in good condition. I hope that sooner or later somebody has the brains to start making new typewriters of good quality!

    Cary, hmm! No idea.

    Aldarion, good! You got one of the points of that detail. That kind of reversal and exchange is quite common in history, you know. I’m not familiar with New Model Army if that’s a band, though I certainly know about Cromwell’s original version.

    Ecosophian, I just stopped shaving and let it happen.

    Anonymous, the vending-machine approach I criticize might be better off with a different name, because the people I’m critiquing don’t want to make fair exchange for what they want. The pagan Romans called their concept do ut des, “I give that you may give;” it was understood as an exchange of gifts. As for planetary charity, I don’t suggest that it works because of some theoretical issue; many people have found that it works, and our ideas need to take that experience into account.

  272. Rod #222: re your suggestion about a generator to charge electric car batteries. We have those, they’re called hybrids, and some of those have big enough batteries to drive a reasonable distance without starting the engine (those are plug-in hybrids). Problem with that is that you’re dragging the weight of an engine and fuel tank around on short trips when you don’t really need them. I think the engine, generator, and fuel tank should be on a trailer so you can leave it behind when you go to the grocery store and take it when you’re driving cross-country.

    The whole idea of Martian astrology is kind of fascinating. The stars are far enough away that the constellations would be the same, and the other planets would be pretty much unchanged (though the outer planets would be brighter when on the same side of the sun). But the Earth and the Moon are both visible as bright stars. What influence does the Earth have from there, I wonder? Is the Moon more influential here because it’s closer? And then there are Phobos and Deimos. They’re asteroid-sized, but close enough to be naked-eye visible from Mars, and Phobos is weird. It’s so close to Mars it orbits in less than eight hours, rising in the west and setting in the east twice a day (yeah, it’s permanently retrograde). How do you calculate the influence of something like that?

  273. @pygmycory @yves vetter @Joan @Luke Dodson @JonG @JMG

    Thanks for all the encouragement. Truly I am not alone! Not sure about a blog, but one of the topics I’m interested in is conservative urbanism. Is it an oxymoron? For sure, throughout history, cities are more liberal than rural areas, but it’s all relative and contextual. Is there a goldilocks zone that can be maintained or it always a growth cycle? Does size matter? Leon Krier and James Howard Kunstler are my spirit animals here.

  274. I think, of all the things I have picked up from practicing Druidry, that blacksmithing has perhaps been the most difficult. Three years ago I forged some damascus steel with a friend at a cabin by a lake. Since that time I have set up a rough personal forge in my backyard, purchased an anvil and a hammer, and had a couple visits from the fire inspector.
    I can confidently say that moving high carbon steel with just a hammer is incredibly energy intensive and time consuming. Anything more complicated then a knife and your in for it. If your striking spring steel thicker then three inches with a three pound hammer then good luck moving it at all. Wow those old blacksmiths must have been powerful people to swing that hammer all day. Any kind of ancient metalworking must have been one of the toughest jobs around.
    There is nothing better then making your own tools though. I recommend getting a youth to help so they can marvel at what return on energy invested looks like first hand!

  275. “I just stopped shaving and let it happen”

    That is a very Druid approach – let Nature take over!

    As for me, I used to dislike having facial hair, but now it started to grow on me.

  276. “Anonymous, the vending-machine approach I criticize might be better off with a different name, because the people I’m critiquing don’t want to make fair exchange for what they want. The pagan Romans called their concept do ut des, “I give that you may give;” it was understood as an exchange of gifts. As for planetary charity, I don’t suggest that it works because of some theoretical issue; many people have found that it works, and our ideas need to take that experience into account.”

    I was not suggesting that it didn’t work: I was trying to square your criticisms of “Gods as vending machines” and your comments that planetary charity works. What’s occurred to me, however, from rereading some of the Magic Monday posts where you discuss it, is that the planets also answer the petitions in their own way, giving various benefits that are sometimes quite different from what the mortal asking for help was expecting, and they are thus not acting as vending-machines, but as independent beings with their own ideas and their own ideas for what kinds of blessings to give.

    I suppose this is also why planetary charity tends to bring about certain effects reliably, regardless of what you ask for: the planets have certain ways of blessing people that they reliably lean towards, much as, for example, my grandma can be counted on to give everyone she cares for a fruitcake for Christmas, regardless of what else she gets for other people.

    This makes a lot of sense of it. Hmm.

  277. Will1000 224

    “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery
    of the early 1900s

    Anne with an “e” — never fails to cheer me up.

    💨Northwind Grandma🥰
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  278. JMG wrote: “I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a Chinese invasion of Taiwan as soon as this winter.”

    What a mess it would make out of the world economy! Crossing the Taiwan Straits? Isn’t that suicidal?

  279. There’s a fifth Wednesday next month. Possibly you have reserved it for a discussion of election results, but if not, I have two subjects to suggest. They might be interlinked.

    The first is the concept of the egregore. You have mentioned it often in the context of esoteric teachings, but it seems to me to be such a useful concept that it should be brought down to earth and used in a more everyday manner.

    I believe I have experienced an egregore in 12-step meetings, and in the cloisters of Winchester cathedral. I felt such peace and calm in the cloisters that I vowed if I ever had enough money I’d build something similar for myself.

    The second is conspiracy theories. It is astonishing to me that otherwise smart, well-informed people can believe such things as that the moon landings were faked, or 9/11 was an inside job. To me, the evidence against such beliefs is overwhelming.

    Not that I deny certain individuals, families, and institutions have an outsize influence on events, it’s just that I don’t believe it’s all part of a master plan. Maybe there’s an egregore for billionaires?

  280. For those who don’t know, Tom Hanks collects typewriters. He’s even been known to give some away.

  281. Mother Balance #196, I read Donnie Brasco and thought organised crime sounded like one long, tedious networking even. So I feel your pain.

    Larkrise #265, for brain fog consider the food supplement Ambrotose. It’s not as good as it used to be but still makes the brain feel better nourished. I’d recommend the basic powder as the other pill versions now give me headaches or nausea.

  282. Thank you for recommending Learning Ritual Magic followed by circles of power. I’m currently on lesson 5 of Donald Michael kraig’s Modern Magick. Do you think I would be better served Finishing that before starting your books or starting your books and returning to finish Modern Magick after I’ve completed your books?

  283. @AV I have family who are police officers too. It’s not a “good apples” and “bad apples” situation. People with absolute power over people’s lives (and armed like a military force often) get corrupted. It’s human. I don’t see a system in place to prevent that corruption. All I see if TV shows and bad journalism mesmerizing people with heroic stories and slogans.

    In terms of recent general violations – Did you not have police officers arresting moms for taking kids to playgrounds in 2020? Or standing outside venues requiring covid vaccination so they could arrest the non-compliant? Or police at the borders of your state pulling over people who crossed during the initial lockdown? In my state this went on from March through June 2020. Not to mention what happened during the protests and riots in May and June 2020 – those went on with police preventing business owners from protecting their stores here.

    Where were the “good apples” then to speak up for people’s constitutional rights and personal property? Was it only the “bad apples” who enforced what the government desired with the stroke of pen or a phone call?

    The police are terrifying and what they’ve done to society and neighborhoods used to be talked about but having them around is how the politicians keep power, so they aren’t going anywhere.

  284. #275
    Meritocracy does need a growing economy, in a supposed meritocracy social mobility is talked about as a Good Thing.
    Trouble is, what comes up has to be able to come down, so social mobility would have to involve sons and daughters of the upper-middle classes becoming working class as well as the other way around, which is partially mitigated if the overall economy is growing strongly. This however would be a problem if the economy is static or declining.
    I don’t know how the ‘woke’ movements fit into this as ‘woke’ is of course different things to different people.

  285. JMG thanks for clarifying your position on voting. The distinction of not putting emotional energy into is important. I wish more people could unbundle voting from their identity.

    A question about PayPal – if they were planning to cut 25% of their workforce anyway, would one way to do it be to make the service politically focused knowing that would cause a percentage of accounts to close? Thus justifying the cut and blaming it on their political enemies – all those right wingers closed their accounts and caused us to lose our jobs!

    It’s been fascinating watching how political banking has become. Or better said, how much I just noticed it. I really thought that as long as I had the money, a bank would take it, but that clearly isn’t the case anymore. Growing number of people being categorized as unclean and untouchable. Seems like a weird thing to do in a service based economy like this one, but what do I know?

  286. >Anyone have any ideas?

    Have a plumber camera the waste line from a toilet to the main sewer (or septic tank). Or get one of those camera systems, take off the toilet and DIY. You’re looking for holes or cracks in the pipe. Sometimes those pipes get so old, they collapse and a new one needs to be laid down. Inspecting it with one of those cameras will verify that one way or the other. Don’t ask me how I know all of this.

    If you’re buying a house, this is also one of the things that gets missed in a home inspection. They don’t touch the plumbing, only a plumber does that. It costs a bit to get this done but avoiding a badly installed plumbing system makes it worth the money.

  287. Cary- My basement suddenly developed a very bad smell, (originally thought to be a dead animal, but then recognized as a discarded sauerkraut experiment flushed down the drain). A brief investigation revealed that the whole house sewer trap (under the basement floor drain) was dry. Now one of our routine chores is to dump a quart or more of water into that floor drain when we do the weekly laundry. It may be that the trap is cracked, or rusted through, but regular re-filling has kept the smell away. (I had a similar situation develop at my church, when it was closed for the pandemic, and no cleaning water replenished the drains.)

  288. @Bei Dawei

    “the other major criticism of “Dr. Oz” (other than the pseudoscience stuff) is that he seems to be in bed with right-wing Turkish organizations.”

    Thanks for this info!

    Understandable, though I’m tempted to say: “good on him!”. I assume it won’t be much of a problem for the American voters as such.
    Turkey is far away and a turkish community certainly is there in the US, but I’d say irrelevant against other communities and probably
    not all too radical in their majority.

    In Austria, all the while, I saw these turkish youths in the lockdown Winter of 2020 to 2021, training boxing outside in our comparatively mild
    Viennese winter, esp nowadays where snowfall is the exception ie mostly history.
    I make no mistake thinking they are our friends or anything.
    Our “native” and mostly middle class youth dress like parrots and are soft like butter, spoiled, aiming to be Instagram influencers.

    My own family, coming mostly from a green/communist background, are of this typical mindset that, you know “us evil! them poor and discriminated!”
    When I spent 4 months in Bulgaria, I did not want to return; the friends I gathered, mostly intellectual class, yes, but they were not spoiled or decadent,
    baptized to a hard reality from their early youth, offspring of people who have seen at least meagre times, and they respected their own culture and heritage.
    Not idealized, mind you, they were pretty direct about the dysfunction of their own country, they made a lot of jokes about it.

    Many wanted to emigrate of course, but some chose against it actually after all, one I’ll quote: “yes, it [Bulgaria] is a sh*thole, but you know, it’s still my country, my
    people, I don’t see how I would be happy elsewhere”
    I fully understand this criticism about Oz, but I’ll have to say: well, those are truly powerful allies! They’ve got their strength together, they’re disciplined,
    they put Nation and family before hedonism, careerism and comfort.

    Were I a turk, I’d vote for them too, and not for a liberal government that proposes comfort benefits for a hedonistic middle class, globalized instability for the
    rest and most of all, risk becoming another sacrifical lamb on the chess board of the pentagon.
    How often do I think I’d like to have people around my with “real blood flowing in their veins” as I put it in words for myself, people who respect their own background
    despite justified criticism, and most of all people who realize that our comfort bubble isn’t the real world, like chickens in the cage, unawares there are foxes and martens
    out there.

    This has burdened me my whole life now, I’ve been kicked unconscious into the head and beaten and robbed, threatened with a gun and mugged, threatened with knives, threatened by youth gangs, I’ve defended myself against junkies wanting to rob me in the park despite back then I had glasses and were heavily short sighted.

    No I don’t condone violence as such and I love many people for their good qualitities like a warm heart, practical sensibility, ecosophian like approaches to life, I don’t expect
    them to be fighters. But if people would need my support or want my consent, I expect them to be sentient to the dangers that life brings and without any stupid filter about it,
    accepting this as is, without any need to politicize it or rationalize it.

    —————————————-
    Maybe after all, me staying in Vienna may be karmic: I support my closest family and friends, and some people truly depend on my help. It’s as is…

  289. @JMG

    It looks like I have underestimated the resilience of the USA and the competence of some of its inner-core strategists.
    In debate with a friend or my step father, they have always pointed that out to me in the past.

    But I think I don’t underestimate the utter weakness and self-defeating cluelessness of European elites.
    My stepfather changed his assessment of our crisis within two weeks after he was fired from a major US pharmaceutical company.

    My biotech friend doubted we’d experience a heavy crisis in spring. In September, he started to get nervous. Recently he chuckled at me and said
    “hehe, maybe I’ll just go to the USA!”

    Yes good in you. And me? Some months ago you asked if I thought about emigrating. Even if I can, my heart bleeds thinking whom I have to leave behind.
    Would that be bad karma, moreover?
    But I really cease to see a livable future here, more on that in my following separate comment!

  290. Update on Austrian news, and beyond:

    Today I read Austria’s populist news paper “Krone” (“crown” – and old-time newspaper…), and again I am sincerely surprised about what I see there against the more liberal
    bias newspapers: a reader’s letter printed listing the reasons why “renewable energy” won’t work, I won’t need to repeat these points around here, but presented in
    clarity, concise.

    The major paper “Wiener Zeitung” (“Viennese newspaper”) quoted someone saying “renewables are the only form of energy independend of all imports from abroad!”

    What otherwise is on the news: Vienna’s train stations are becoming dangerous places. A young girl has been robbed and raped on the toilet, pubs in the area cannot find personell
    anymore for night shifts because nobody wants to go there at nights. An increasing number of derelict people camping and loitering there. Youths provoking passengers.
    A drunk woman and man attacking a random passenger, including cutting him with a bottle.
    A young woman was attacked on the bus and then raped in the park.

    All the while more migrants are landing here than in 2015. My biotech friend whose roots are at the Eastern Austrian border already told mne that the villages are full of loitering
    young men from the middle east with nothing to do.
    The newspaper reports about tents being deployed for the migrants, and the political conflict about this situation.
    Friends tell me these tents are powered by massive diesel generators. In other news we have already heard about the diesel shortage.

    Further news:
    The municipal govt worries about one derelict builing in a Viennese district (hello @pamouna!) because homeless and junkies might soon populate it and set it on fire,
    putting the neighbourhood in danger.

    In between there’s an article on Brazil painting Bolsonaro as the boogey man and glorifying Lula. My Brazilian friend has a different opinion on that, but keeps it to himself
    because the latinos here in Vienna he’s sorrounded by a by and large left wingers, as are his Austrian ex girlfriends.

    “Activists” are gluing themselves on the streets in Austria too and greens demand to take away the profits from our national oil and gas company OMV, an important player
    in the EU. To defund them, really. Protests were staged in front of on of their offices.

    ————————————————————————————

    The way I see in not only the diesel shortage makes for an explosive situation (no need to go into that any further here), but the flood of migrants to Austria makes
    for a very explosive situation! Once people freeze and hunger around here while diesel is being burned at horrifying bad efficiency to power tents or other improvised
    accomodations, I cannot see how this will NOT explode into violence and chaos, esp in the cities, but also locally in certain rural areas. Explode into chaos and encourage the population to support either authoritarian leaders or subscribe to the protection of organized biznesmen.

    The police, as one friend with ties knows, is overworked and underpayed already. I saw adverts for police as a career in Vienna recently, our executive has problems recruiting members.

    What do we learn from other countries happens when vital organs of the state are underfunded, such as the police?

    But maybe it’s OK because since 2015 increasingly, there’s an armada of private securities everywhere in Vienna, hooray.

    Another HUGE problem on another page are the nuclear plants of the EU, especially France which has the most of them: they are officially in critical condition, many of them,
    the viability of their backup electricity generators is in doubt, several of them are offline due to a whole box of reasons, they’re mostly decaying.

    And so as we know: ironically without electricity, we’ll have a nuclear catastrophe in the spent fuel ponds, and for other reasons.

    Oh, this doesn’t look good! Most of the gas in Austria’s and Germany’s storage according to some sources by the way isn’t owned by the national energy providers, but
    by private companies legally licensed to sell it anywhere else.

    In Austria this problem is less threatening than in Germany for now. In general, without wanting to provoke any sentiment, Austria is more stable than Germany in pretty much
    every respect for now. For now, yes.

    ————————————————————————————

    My stepfather is also of the opinion that the greens in the EU and the woke in the US are but strategic tools, to be slaughtered when their have outlived their respective usefullness.
    I am afraid that some members of my family are blind to such a consideration, as I think it is very sound to think so.

    And then, my stepfather assumes, the “strong man” will arise, be celebrated as the great saviour, and….

  291. One other thing: there’s an increasing flurry of newspaper reports on people shaming other people, shops, bars and restaurant for turning up their heating.

    “Heat shaming” makes increased appearance in our news! Also shaming people for using firewood at all, btw…

  292. In re: Typewriters:

    A few years ago, I read in Der Spiegel that the German equivalent of the CIA bought about three dozen manual typewriters. More recently, I have heard the Russians have done the same.

    Reason: They can’t be hacked.

    Antoinetta III

  293. Typo find #2: WoH: Kingsport, p27. “730 Green Land Kingsport…..” instead of Green Lane as given earlier.

  294. Hi JMG and everybody,

    a bit late in the cycle but I hope some readers in Germany do scroll so far to the bottom: in the spirit of Milkyway’s post above, I’d like to announce another ecosophian meetup in Germany, this time in Berlin!

    It will take place on December 2nd. If you’re interested, do get in touch either through Milkyway or my username (without space) at mailbox.org. Looking forward to meeting some more German ecosophers!

  295. JMG, please did you mention a messaging network service run by radio amateurs at one point? If so please could you direct me to more information about it? Thank you

  296. JPM #270,

    Loved your thoughts on Halloween and I thought I would comment here about my experience.

    As a child, Halloween was a wonderful time for me and my friends and sibs. We had home made costumes, usually made by our mothers, that we handed down to each other year after year. The church we went to always had a Halloween party with games and treats (liked these a lot) and an obligatory “Hokey Pokey” dance (which I didn’t like, but participated in anyway).

    Our elementary school (a very old building with only about 7 classrooms) always had a Halloween carnival with each room hosting some kind of carnival game and at least one room showing monster movies and cartoons. The auditorium was where the chili feast was served. After the school fun, we would trick or treat our way home with no adult accompaniment.

    Some years my best friend and I would plan an elaborate route through the neighborhood to gather as many treats as we could. A lot of them were home made. We never managed to complete our route as we would get too tired, but we also prepared a “trick” to perform at those houses that required one before they would hand out the treat.

    I kept up making and wearing costumes through high school, but by then my family had moved and it wasn’t quite the community effort to entertain children as it had been. Some of the magic was lost.

    As an adult, I did participate in a few Halloween costume activities at my work places and when my best friend had children, two boys, I would go with her to walk them around the neighborhood collecting candy. My friend always made costumes for them, but they seemed to outgrow Halloween trick or treating by the time they were in junior high and instead, stayed home to hand out candy.

    When I first moved into my currant neighborhood, about 40 years ago, we would get a lot of kids trick or treating, not any more. I haven’t see trick or treaters in years. A lot of magic gone. I suppose that the trunk or treats are the next best thing, something like a 2D Zoom meeting with family as opposed to a 3D meeting in the flesh.

    I live on a busy street and it has only gotten busier as the years progress, so I can sort of understand why parents won’t let their kids trick or treat here. Perhaps less busy streets still see trick or treaters.

    Anyway, too much nostalgia here, have a good Halloween.

  297. Hello JMG. Regarding your predicted Russian winter offensive in Ukraine: where would that place the West if it is successful and Ukraine is either totally defeated or has to accept a humiliating ceasefire settlement, maybe being left as a landlocked rump? As far as I can see, Europe and the US have invested so much rhetoric and political capital that a defeat for Ukraine – or conclusion that can’t credibly be interpreted as much else – is likely going to cause a collective mental breakdown in Western PMC and political circles orders of magnitude bigger than Trump’s election. How do you see it playing out?
    Meanwhile, what I perceive here in the UK – at least among the better off one-third to half of the population – is a veneer of complacency and trying to carry on as normal, while trying to avert thought of what things may be like next year, especially after the present energy price cap ends in April.

  298. JMG, thank you for the previous answer! I don’t want it to become dogma, for sure.
    I also started re-reading your World Full of Gods recently. If you were re-writing it today, is there anything would have done differently? Any ideas in that book which you no longer agree with, since it’s been almost 20 years?

  299. Patricia M, thanks for both of the corrections. I see you’re rereading the series at quite a pace!

    Brian, conservative urbanism is a great idea and I’d like to see much more written about it.

    Ian, I am delighted to hear all of this.

    Ecosophian, ha.

    Anonymous, exactly. If you enter into a relationship with a planetary intelligence, be prepared to treat it as a relationship, and to deal with the fact that planetary intelligences — shall we call them Oyarses, rather, as a tribute to Bernardus Sylvestris and a certain more recent author who borrowed the term? — have their own personalities, preferences, and intentions.

    J.L.Nc12, nope. I’ve talked about Giordano Bruno, but as far as I know there’s no connection.

    Karim, it would trash the global economy, sure. As for suicidal, a lot of people insisted before June 6, 1944 that crossing the English channel with an army in the teeth of a determined German resistance would be suicidal. With the right combination of cleverness and brute force, there isn’t much that an army can’t do.

    Martin, I’ll be starting the voting for that next week, but if you’d like to vote for one or the other of those, I can tally it.

    Robert, you should certainly finish your current course of study before taking up another one. That’s a good basic rule for all magical training; it builds strength of will, among other things.

    Denis, PayPal is in deep financial trouble; like most internet firms it makes very little money, and internet advertising revenue is drying up as it becomes increasingly clear how many people are good at using ad blockers. They also lost a lot of users to venues that permit free speech. They padded their payrolls in the usual Silicon Valley manner with a lot of people who don’t contribute anything to the company’s bottom line. The 25% cuts could have been done without impacting users at all; the 75% cuts Musk is apparently planning will mostly decrease censorship and refocus on the company’s core service. You’re right that they might have blamed conservatives for the layoffs, but that would have been a dangerous tactic, since it would emphasize their vulnerability to boycotts. As for the politicization of banking, that’s a sign of blind panic: the age of the managerial elite is ending and they know it.

    Curt, our elites are as clueless as yours are; it’s just that power is sufficiently diffuse and fragile here that the clueless elites don’t have a monopoly on decision-making. Resilience, on the other hand, the US still has — despite a couple of centuries of extravagant waste, it’s still got some resources in abundance, and it’s also got very different attitudes. Remember that for centuries now this has been one of the places where people came when they weren’t satisfied with the opportunities at home; that breeds a very different way of thinking than you get in the places where people just stayed put and accepted the narrow options they were offered. As for emigrating, no, that wouldn’t be bad karma — it might be what your fate and destiny are calling you to do — or not. You alone can judge that.

    Thank you very much for the further update on Austrian conditions. Ouch; you may be right that the greens are being set up to take the blame, and be sacrificed.

    Antoinetta, I’ve read the same thing. Manual typewriters are coming back into use in various situations where you need absolute security, because there’s no way to make a computer perfectly secure. The machine itself emits radio waves — any alternating current does that — and if your tradeware’s good enough, you can pick that up from a modest distance away, run it through high-end computer processing, and be able to tell the individual keystrokes on the keyboard and other useful things. Even electrical typewriters have been snooped on that way. Manual typewriters and locked filing cabinets are much less vulnerable!

    Dishwasher, that’s NTS, the Net Traffic System, and it still exists though it doesn’t see much use outside of natural disasters. You can read about it here:

    http://www.arrl.org/nts

    Robert, if the Russian army steamrollers Ukraine in the months to come, yeah, I expect to see total meltdown in high places in the US and Europe — and for good reason. That will mark the end of US global hegemony and the emergence of an anti-US alliance with considerably more military power and economic potential than the US and its allies can muster. It’s going to be a mess. I’m not at all surprised to hear that the British comfortable classes are engaged in that kind of pretense; their goose is probably cooked and they’ve got to know it.

    Rationalist, stay tuned for a few months and you’ll have a detailed answer to that: the new, expanded and revised second edition of A World Full Of Gods will be forthcoming from Aeon Books next year. The very short form is that I haven’t changed my views significantly; I’ve refined some of the arguments a bit, especially in challenging the ontological proof (aka Anselm’s Fallacy), but most of it remains as it was.

  300. @Robert Morgan #327: re “A defeat for Ukraine… is likely going to cause a collective mental breakdown in Western PMC and political circles”

    For this reason, as well as the possibility that the PRC may take this opportunity to enforce its “One China Policy” by military force, I think the odds of this escalating into a nuclear exchange are rising.

    I’m preparing accordingly.

  301. @JMG (#330):

    I am delighted to hear that a new edition of A World Full of Gods will be appearing soon. It is one of the very best among your many excellent books. (Did I ever send you my list of references cited in the book, but omitted from the bibliography in the first edition? Or in any event did you track them all down and add them to the bibliography?)

  302. To celebrate the season, here is a Hallowe’en reminiscence I wrote a decade or more ago:

    Ah, how Halloween has changed!

    When I was a boy, back in the 1940s in Pleasantville, NY, it was all about the harvest, the dead and magic, and our costumes reflected that. We were scarecrows with broomsticks through our sleeves to keep our arms outstretched, or animated corn-shocks, or pumpkin-heads. We were the grim reaper with his antique scythe, or ghosts, or goblins, or skeletons, or walking coffins. We were the dead come back from the past, in antique clothes or old slain soldiers dressed in the uniforms of bygone wars. We were wizards and sorcerers, and the girls — only the girls! — were witches.

    We lived up on Hayes Hill. We roved out in small packs all evening long, just enjoying the power of our costumes and the special freedom of that night. Street-lights were few and dim on Hayes Hill back then, so we had candles and lanterns with their live flames (cheaper than flashlights, and more fun). We collected home-made treats from all the neighbors. Woe to the neighbor who was lazy and handed out store-boughten candy bars!

    And we went and hid somewhere while we ate those treats, going into the woods where houses had not yet been built, or to one or another of the empty places on the Hill, away from adult eyes.

    We went in small packs looking for ghosts in the ancient cemetery on Bedford Road, or in the cellar-hole of the old burned-out church on Church Street nearby (For some unknown reason, the newer cemetery behind that church had no ghosts in it — or so we thought.

    We wondered about old Daniel Hayes, long dead, who had built the creepy old stone mansion that sat on top of the hill looming over our neighborhood.

    Earlier in the evening, we had Halloween parties in some family’s basement, where we told fortunes and looked in mirrors by candlelight, bobbed for apples in a tub of water with our hands tied behind us, played board games, and — especially! — were told wonderful, blood-curdling ghost stories in the dark.

    All this changed during my late teen years, in the late ’50s and early ’60s, when the influence of horror-movies began to be felt, and costumes started to be about shock and gross-out rather than the older themes. Now, alas, they are sometimes even about celebrities, and TV shows, and occasionally even politics!

    And we all began to be perpetually terrified of everything and everyone — especially neighbors! We became unwilling to accept death as a natural part of every family’s life, even — as did sometimes still happen when I was a boy — the wrenching death of a child in some family we knew from illness or accident or sheer childish stupidity.

    Somewhere along the line the strange notion crept in everywhere unnoticed, that life was meant to be happy, all the time and for everyone; and when it was not, it was someone’s fault, who ought to be punished for it. Before then, it was simply assumed that everyone’s life would have a full share of unhappiness and misery, and this was a predicament to be endured with the support of one’s friends and neighbors, not a problem to be fixed by some reform or some new law.

    How the times have changed, and that dark holy day!

  303. @Cary,
    we’ve had similar problems here with a sewer gas smell without apparent cause in my living area. It now looks like at least part of the problem is that the city hadn’t cleaned the sewer lines near us in years, or for one part, decades. So far we haven’t had the smell since, but it’s only been a few weeks and it’s only intermittent, most often after rain. So we don’t know whether it’s gone for good or not. It would be very nice if it fixes it… I really don’t want to have my floor ripped up looking for drains and so on.

  304. Larkwise 265

    > a long-term illness and am of no use to anyone or to myself

    Having chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia for forty years makes me somewhat an expert, from 1982 onwards.

    Did you watch Game of Thrones? There was a male child named “Bran” who lost the use of his legs at about age 9. The fact that he could no longer walk forced him to live an inner life unseen by other humans. My experience of forty years is different from Bran’s because he didn’t have brain-fog.

    My brain-fog didn’t lift for ten years. I winged it and, at times, bungled it, but I had a terrific excuse: there was virtually no help available — most everyone didn’t know what to do with me, so they left. Ten years is not what you want to hear. At roughly the ten-year mark, a rage came out of me that no-one could believe, certainly where I hadn’t known it was building up and finally blew. At times, I had depression.

    I finally faced the fact that I had to live the rest of my life “sitting.” Had I had an obvious condition where I had to be in a wheelchair, it would have been easier because I, and others, would recognized that I had to live life without legs.

    After, oh, the twenty year mark, I had the bright idea of what I could do “while sitting” AND “during brain-fog” is use my mouth and pen to be, literally, a cheerleader, humorist, and listener. I made the conscious decision that “cheerfulness, good humor, and listening was my job.” Life is sh_ite. I needed to look beyond sh_te, and act beyond that.

    A cheerleader/humorist has an important role. If a family doesn’t have one, they do poorly.

    When I feel my energy going down, I honor that. “Down” means I need to float to the bottom and feel the healing energies of earth. I am in a hole, but it is a “healing hole” so it makes it okay. When I have soaked up enough of earth-energy, I imagine stairs where I walk up the stairs, and out onto ground-level.

    In market terms, there will ALWAYS be demand for people, animals, plants, and minerals to have someone around who is cheerful. I have come to believe that 95% of “the world” can’t provide their own cheer. They don’t have the ability to “innerly ignite” themselves, much less others. Being a cheerleader, humorist, and listener ignites others to see other perspectives. It is not a mood-making thing. It is a “tell the truth thing, that life sucks, but we can mold life differently to make it palatable. If a person is within earshot, you can listen, and perhaps say something that will cheer that person a tiny bit — it only needs words such as: “I see” or “I hear you,” “oh my god, how did you get through that?” or my favorite, “that sucks.” No advise.

    I think taking on the role cheerleader helped me get rid of brain-fog but gradually, inch by inch, imperceptibly, and I have no idea how that could be. Life is strange.

    It takes some delving deep inside, perceiving one’s darkside, but saying to the shadow, “you don’t own me.” And then come out with kinds words (most of the time). You will bungle now and then, and that is okay. We aren’t perfect. Eventually you will bump into others practicing cheerfulness.

    This is what got me through, and still gets me through. As long as I don’t say false things, puffery or empty and the like, there has been absolutely no-one in forty years who had commented: “You are just too dang cheerful — knock it off. Please be more depressing.”

    As for market demand, there is high demand for cheerful people, and with everything going on, and will go on, the need for honest cheer gets bigger by the minute. Try being cheerful during the Black Death (1330s) — there was always something humorous even when 50% of everyone a person knew died, even if it was comparing shades of black. Really.

    Hope this helps.

    💨Northwind Grandma😌
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  305. @Brian #301 re: Conservative Urbanism

    If you aren’t already familiar, @WrathofGnon on Twitter posts a great deal on mostly this subject (he’s even quoted our host approvingly a handful of times). He also has a substack with a very few longer form pieces here: https://wrathofgnon.substack.com/

    I don’t really do Twitter, but I follow his posts (and unsuprisingly, Krier, Kunstler, Lewis Mumford, and Christopher Alexander come up a lot!).

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  306. Justin Patrick Moore 270

    #10 haunted houses

    Yes, I agree with you totally, that there are REAL haunted houses.

    I can share the flip-side. Growing up, I hurt an awful lot. I lived a life of pain. The cause was largely living with a mentally-ill mother. I lived in a particular house in a particular room from about age 2 to age 19 (1950s, 1960s).

    In the mid-1990s, in meditation, my spirit kept going to that house. My ghost, even though I was not dead, gravitated and hung around my old room. I couldn’t NOT be there. This me haunting my old room went on for rabout five years. I always wanted to send a letter to the present occupants to ask if they felt they had a ghost in that particular room, but it was too bother and I didn’t feel like explaining — I never did.

    I believe my spirit hung around that room to neutralize the pain I still was holding onto thirty years after traumatic events happened there, after I had left that house. That room was a refuge, and I had felt comfortable there as a kid. It felt internally that my spirit inhabited that room “thickly,” like molasses, in some shadowy form. I never perceived present occupants. The spirit experience was such that I could reach out a feel the walls, sit on my old bed, turn the dials and listen to the radio, watch the weather out the window, feel the frozen pane of glass, feel the warmth of the radiator (steam), touch the patterns in the slate floor. Oddly, one of my mother’s choicest punishments was, “Go to your room without your dinner!” Gladly! I went to my room AND WAS AWAY FROM HER — oh goody. That room was a safe place.

    It felt like my spirit spent five years in that room “heavily,” “gobby.” A good title of a book would be: “In a Room Gravely.”

    During those five years (until I had cleared what I needed to), except for two people who I let see inklings, I was “living dead.” There was no-one to help me traverse the world I had been thrown into (getting sick, staying sick no matter what I did, not dying). See earlier note in this comment line.

    It felt like I haunted that room for those years. I have never heard of anyone else who felt they had haunted a house, and was alive to tell of it.

    💨Northwind Grandma🌬
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  307. Data point: from People Magazine/Health, Fall 2022 issue, p 9:

    “696,962: Number of recorded deaths from heart disease – the highest tearly number since 2002 – likely due to COVID-19 related factors, including higher stress and delayed medical treatment.”

  308. The recently posted inauguration chart for Rishi Sunak compels me to point out the question, why foundational charts for countries seem to work (and coronation charts?), but not inauguration charts. They are all, aftet all, earthly events which should work like an election in electional astrology.

  309. @Pipistrello #104

    I just have to say thank you. As someone who has turned, if only slightly, in the scientific community and who works in government (even if it isn’t yours), picturing your boffin gave me the heartiest, longest chortling laugh that I have had in a long while!

    HV

  310. JMG, thank you, that sounds like a fine approach (voting as ritual). Also, I’m glad to hear A World Full of Gods will be coming out in print again.

    Re: Taiwan – seems Chinese and Taiwanese military planes have been coming in frequent contact with each other (in Taiwanese airspace? I’m not sure.). Chinese pilots respond to Taiwanese pilots’ demands to go away with “Why? This is our country.” China’s getting bolder. I think there’s also talk of redefining the international waters of the Taiwan Strait to make them Chinese domestic waters through which no (outside) military ships will be allowed. Not sure how they can make that happen. They might just be making a stealth move and when no air or water traffic enters or leaves Taiwan, they’re most of the way there.

  311. Helix #331: Regarding the possibility of nuclear escalation in Ukraine, I’m not as pessimistic as Robert Mathiesen – though I would not pretend to have a tenth as much knowledge of Russian culture and psychology as him – but I’m not quite as sanguine as JMG either. Both sides have invested so much in their own success in this conflict it is difficult to see how either can back down.
    If the Russian winter offensive ends in disaster with heavy casualties, I think it’s entirely possible they could find some pretext for using one or a few tactical nukes against military and civilian infrastructure within Ukraine, and who knows where it could go from there. The panic even one nuke would cause in west European populations would be spectacular and some might decide to throw Ukraine under the proverbial bus rather than escalate.
    If there is even a 1% chance of that happening I’d be inclined to make some discrete preparations like stocking two weeks of non-perishable food and other essentials plus corresponding means to cook and keep warm not dependent on mains utilities. In fact this is what I’ve actually done.
    I see Britain in particular is in the Russian bad books at the moment, with accusations of being involved in the destruction of the Nordstream pipelines and the drone-boat attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet which has sunk the Ukraine grain export deal. So we might be in line for special attention however things go!

  312. @Curt (no. 318) “I’m tempted to say: “good on him!”. I assume it won’t be much of a problem for the American voters as such.”

    It is one of his biggest problems. For one thing, Turkish nationalism and Islam tend to repel the conservative Republicans who would otherwise be most likely to vote for Dr. Oz, while his links with dubious foreign political forces make even average voters question his allegiances. For another, the Armenian and Greek communities have organized in opposition to him. I see that he’s ahead in the polls despite all that, apparently due to Fetterman’s poor performance.

  313. The gods, or planetary intelligences, have a sense of humor. Or else take things very literally. I was looking at the hammer in my hardware drawer, which is really too heavy for me but was the lightest one on the market, and I sent out a heartfelt wish for a source for tools for smaller hands, that were neither painted pink, nor shoddy. Today’s flood of catalogs, most of them unwanted, included…one from the Montessori Schools! Oops! Yes, indeed, I could use some of those! ROFL…

  314. I want to quit coffee and for psychological reasons I could really use a viable substitute. Can anyone tell me of a good reasonably inexpensive tonic drink one can take each morning to get started? Preferably it should be one I can pick up locally, not have to shop online. I’d really appreciate some helpful suggestions.

    Kevin

  315. @ Kevin #245

    Re coffee substitutes

    I use a blend of ground French roasted chicory (bought online) and ground roasted barley (from the local homebrew store) in a 1:1 to 1:2 ratio with my French press. It has a coffee feel w/ zero caffeine.

  316. “I want to quit coffee and for psychological reasons I could really use a viable substitute. ”

    Black Tea?

  317. Can you recommend any books that give an account or understanding of what a real wizards’ daily practices, duties, and life in general were like?

  318. Curt, if your Brazilian friend has managed to pay off two apartments, it doesn’t surprise me that he favors Bolsonaro, who has a slight majority among men; a strong majority among those earning more than two minimum salaries; and a huge majority among evangelicals (which may not be relevant to your friend). Things look different to those who can hardly manage or don’t manage to buy enough food for the month. The recent leak that in case of reelection, Bolsonaro’s finance minister plans to propose on Monday a law that permits the minimum wage to be adjusted below inflation lowered his prospects among the poor, while they shot up among the not so poor, if polls can be trusted.

    Related, two Brazilian astrologers my wife has listened to draw attention to the fact that Mars becomes retrograde tomorrow (Sunday) morning, though they interpret this observation in almost diametrically opposed manners.

  319. #299 One of the differences between the orbits of Earth and Mars, is that Mars has a much more eccentric orbit (e=0.0935 instead of 0.0167).
    The Earth varies from 147 to 152 million kilometres from the Sun between perihelion and aphelion, Mars however varies from 207 to 249 million kilometres.
    This also means that at aphelion the planet’s velocity is quite a bit slower than at perihelion.
    Therefore, the Sun’s passage along the ecliptic – which would be similar but not identical to the Earth because the inclination differs by 1.8°, would vary much more according to the time of year. The axial tilt and day length of Mars are actually remarkably similar to the Earth, although the axial tilt is theorised to have varied widely on Mars over timescales of millions of years, since it is not stabilised by the presence of a large moon.

    NASA Mars Fact Sheet

  320. @Kevin, what about tea, green or otherwise? Or herbal tea, if you want to avoid caffiene entirely? I like mint.

  321. Kevin 345

    Chicory, coffee substitute. I have never drank it so don’t know what it tastes like.

    💨Northwind Grandma☕️
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  322. @Kevin #45 – Hot tea. Peppermint tea. Chicory. Thee used to be something called Postum, but if your local store has it, read the label first. A lot of these older products have lost their differences, for example, Ovaltine used to be a ,alt-based drink, and now seems to be just another version of hot chocolate.

  323. Denis #312
    >>I have family who are police officers too. It’s not a “good apples” and “bad apples” situation. People with absolute power over people’s lives (and armed like a military force often) get corrupted. It’s human. I don’t see a system in place to prevent that corruption. All I see if TV shows and bad journalism mesmerizing people with heroic stories and slogans.<>In terms of recent general violations – Did you not have police officers arresting moms for taking kids to playgrounds in 2020? Or standing outside venues requiring covid vaccination so they could arrest the non-compliant? Or police at the borders of your state pulling over people who crossed during the initial lockdown? In my state this went on from March through June 2020. Not to mention what happened during the protests and riots in May and June 2020 – those went on with police preventing business owners from protecting their stores here.<>Where were the “good apples” then to speak up for people’s constitutional rights and personal property? Was it only the “bad apples” who enforced what the government desired with the stroke of pen or a phone call?<>The police are terrifying and what they’ve done to society and neighborhoods used to be talked about but having them around is how the politicians keep power, so they aren’t going anywhere.<<

    I mean, to some degree you're not wrong. The police are one of the principle means that order is maintained in society so that it can function. And if you don't have a functioning society you don't have any need for a politician (warlords will do). And I will absolutely grant that you may live in an area where the police *are* totally terrifying. But I know my local LEOs. I donate to the local charity that supports firefighters and police families who have lost their lives. When gunfire erupted down the block from us last year they were here in a hot second. And recently they stopped a school shooting not far from us in about four minutes resulting in only two deaths. This is not Uvalde.

    So, yes, I am very glad we have police and I support them and most of what they do. And yes, I believe that they can be better and reform would be a good thing. But no one will convince me that I, my family, or my community would be better off if all policing was eliminated.

  324. @ Chris

    That’s a good point. I recall Ursula Le Guin saying something similar. Of course, the über-manly hero has been satirised at least as far back as Cervantes and Rabelais, or even Aristophanes for that matter.

  325. @Kevin #345 re: Coffee Substitutes

    While I have not fully cut full-test coffee out of my life, I have tried to cut back on it quite a bit (well, until my second daughter was born a few weeks ago – right now I’m not exactly avoiding caffeine).

    Oh, and first a caveat: the below is assuming that by “coffee” you mean American-style drip coffee or perhaps instant coffee, rather than espresso.

    At any rate, here’s a few options depending on what exactly is motivating the desire to stop:

    First and easiest is to just switch to decaf. Decaf still has a small amount of caffeine, though, and it does not taste as good as the real thing. For real coffee, I don’t much go for flavored coffee, but for decaf, it can compensate for some of the deficiency in taste. Look for “water processed”, as other ways of decaffeinating use some funk chemicals.

    If you *do* want caffeine, but don’t want coffee, then tea is a good choice. You can adjust how much caffeine you get through different varieties, and many folks (myself included) find that tea produces a different feeling than coffee despite having the “same” active ingredient (caffeine). I tend to go for green tea or chai as caffeinated enough to provide some pep, but not so much as to make me jittery.

    Cocoa is another mildly caffeinated option, and if you don’t want to go as hyper-sugary as the packaged stuff, you can mix your own from bakers’ cocoa powder and whatever other spices you might want to add (I like cinnamon). Tastes best in whole milk, but in a pinch, you can make your own “instant” cocoa to be mixed with hot water by mixing in powdered milk. I use Alton Brown’s recipe as a starting point: https://altonbrown.com/recipes/hot-cocoa-mix/

    If a coffee-like flavor with no caffeine at all is what you want, then give chicory root a try. This is a traditional coffee substitute and/or a way to stretch out coffee, as it has a similar-ish flavor. Naturally caffeine-free, and is apparently really easy to grow if you want to garden your own (it apparently grows as a weed in many temperate climates).

    If you’re willing to go a bit farther from coffee-like flavor, some kind of herbal tea can work well – personally, I like cinnamon or mint flavors. Another I enjoy is “borecha”, which is Korean barley tea. Most herbal teas are also naturally caffeine free, and some have some other beneficial effects like helping with digestion or boosting immune function or the like.

    Lastly, though I’ve gotten out of the habit in recent weeks for the afore-mentioned reason, for several months I followed an old piece of occultist advice that I got from our host and opened each morning with a cup of plain hot water. I was surprised to discover how much of what I liked about herbal tea was just “water that has been boiled and is still hot/warm”.

    Hope some of this helps in finding something that works for you!
    Jeff

  326. Large, dramatic protests in Prague and Byrno demanding “the resignation of conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s government, withdrawal from NATO and the negotiation of gas purchases from Russia.”

    There’s also been protests in Germany, Belgium, and France in recent weeks.

    A harbringer of things to come, perhaps? Though it would take more than a few protests, even big ones like this, to make the EU as a whole change direction.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/massive-protest-czechs-targets-russia-sanctions-high-prices

    And the grain deal is dead, which presumably will raise world food prices from their already high levels and make the world hunger situation, already the worst in many years, even worse.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/russia-suspends-participation-ukraine-grain-deal-after-massive-drone-attack-black-sea

  327. Robert, you did indeed, and I incorporated those as well as the other corrections that readers had suggested.

    Patricia M, thanks for this.

    Booklover, as I noted in my commentary to the inauguration chart, this is new territory — the texts on classic mundane astrology technique do not discuss inauguration or coronation charts at all. We’ll just have to keep exploring and see what happens.

    Temporaryreality, the whole situation bears very close watching.

    Patricia M, funny! Yes, they do.

    Bob, there are no such books. There’s a lot about the history of magic that isn’t well documented, and that’s a good example.

    Siliconguy, thanks for this.

    Pygmycory, they’re probably going to have to do something more than a protest march to make that happen!

  328. Rod (offlist) please stop trying to post content about Covid-19 here. If you’ll take a moment to reread the post, you’ll notice that I’ve asked people to take that topic to the open thread on my Dreamwidth account. Please abide by that.

  329. Cary 287

    The last couple weeks, my husband and I had hired a landscaper/gardener (whom I will call “Leonard”) who is currently making our grounds more presentable. After living here for two years, it is obvious that the Seller didn’t give a crap about the house and grounds. We have been forced to rehabilitate every last detail.

    In the basement, we have what we call “the creepy room” because it always smells like mildew.

    On the outside of the house along the foundation, just yesterday, Leonard cleared the land down to the bare dirt on both sides of what below is the creepy room, the center of which are the concrete steps to the house. He sawed off several massive shrubs on both sides (asking first), exposing dirt. He stepped back and took a look at the ground itself. Aha, he spied what was going on. We both saw it — the frigging grade is TOWARDS the house, not away from the house.

    Now we know what we are dealing with. We see the dirt. We see where water is going (towards the foundation). (The infinitely-lazy Seller had had the creepy room for twenty-odd years and never did anything about it. Growl.) Among Leonard’s choices are a french drain, and/or underground piping heading downhill, and/or a swale.

    So getting to your “The Case of the Poop-Smelling Cellar Wall,” and work backwards. You are Sherlock Homes🕵🏼‍♀️. The stink started “over there” (Location 1); the second fact is that the poop smell is “over here” too (Location 2); the third fact is that the situation is getting worse.

    Do you have a septic system, or is your house tied to the local municipality?

    It may be a poop pipe you never knew about that has broken, and the break in the pipe happens to be nestled along the outside wall of your cellar. Maybe a hitherto undisclosed poop pipe has somehow gotten UNsealed, or is clogged.

    This is what I would do. Hire a landscaping company (or something like it). Have them gently clear the area of vegetation of Location 1, getting down to see the actual dirt near the base of the house’s foundation where you first smelled the stink. CAREFULLY dig to near the depth that sewage pipes are (I don’t know what that is in your locality). Anything? Any clue? Then GENTLY dig from Location 1 to Location 2 — anything? Any “ahas”? The land knows.

    I don’t have any idea how much of a do-it-yourselfer you are, or have a family member who knows about poop-tubes.

    Goal #1 is to clear the area down to the dirt along the outside of foundation. Follow the poop. Go on poop-patrol. What’s in your side-yard?

    You get the idea. Do what you are physically able, and what is affordable, what have you.

    Good luck following the poop👃🏼,

    💨Northwind Grandma🚽
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  330. Kevin #345

    One thing you won’t often hear about is the game your body may play with you when you try to quit caffeine. It seems to happen to about half of people; it certainly did to me. About 24 hours after you drop your morning caffeine dose, that afternoon you may notice a nagging nasty little headache. The only thing that will make it go away is, you guessed it… caffeine.

    I got around it by lowering the caffeine dose *slowly*. First I cut to 3/4 of my usual cup of coffee for a week. Then, I switched to the blackest of black tea, for its caffeine content. Drank that for a week, then cut to 3/4 cup for a week. Then Green tea which has a lower caffeine content for a week. Then finally, stepped off to herbal tea. I like cinnamon, like ‘Bengal Spice’ made by Celestial Seasonings for mornings. I like mint tea for sore throats; and a nice light delicate jasmine tea for evenings.

    The whole get-off-the-caffeine sequence took a little over a month, but I avoided the headaches.

    @ JMG, the commentariat:

    Thank you for your reassurance and kind words of advice. I feel much better. Living in a nation that defines introversion as a mental illness, and physical frailty almost as a crime, can leave a person feeling vulnerable. But I do have things to offer, and I’m thinking we will be okay. Thank you!

  331. Kevin, apart from chicory and barley tea, have you tried golden milk? It’s turmeric and other spices in hot milk, you can mix it yourself. Totally different taste from coffee, but powerful feeling. Also, hot chocolate with Maca powder and one drop of essential oil of orange is one of my favorites.

  332. @Kevin,

    Lots of great suggestions further up in the comments!

    If you want something truly local and cheep, learn how to forage your own herbal teas, or how to grow/collect them in your garden or from your windowsill. You can turn the collecting, the mixing up and the brewing into a little ritual and maybe replace some of the habits around coffee that way.

    Another option would be home-made Kombucha, if you enjoy the taste. You‘d still need to buy black and/or green tea, though, and it‘s not a hot beverage. But very healthy, and has that underlying bitter tang of black tea, which could be a good substitute for the taste of coffee.

    Finally, a curiosity: If you have access to a garden, there is a plant called „Siberian tea“ (Altai tea, Mongolian tea, Badan) – Bergenia crassifolia

    Bergenias in general are nice little garden plants with pretty pink flowers, quite shade-tolerant and not very demanding. (Note that the other variants of Bergenia are NOT tea plants, though!)

    The leaves of B. crassifolia are supposed to give an excellent tea, especially if they have been left to rot under the snow all winter and are then collected „black“ in spring (aka they have been left to ferment – I‘m sure you could ferment them in another way if snow is scarce in your region).

    I admit I have yet to try the tea (it‘s on my „one day you‘ll grow in my garden“ list), but it sounds delicious and also very healthy. Just in case you, or anybody else, would like to try something a bit more novel and exciting. 😉

    Also, a general note of warning: When you cut down coffee completely (not phase it out gradually), you will most likely have a headache for a few days. It‘s not a biggie if you know what causes it, but you should be prepared.

    Milkyway

  333. Hi John Michael,

    Very funny! I already have some terracing, and it works very well in such wet conditions. The soil is fairly stable, despite one land slip back in 2014. Trust me, I made many changes to water flow from storms after that episode so as to ensure that minor disaster wasn’t repeated. No doubts, I’ll make new and unexpected disasters as time goes on! 🙂 Rice as a crop may take a bit more global warming. Years ago I read of a variety of rice which might do OK here, but haven’t discovered any local sources for the seeds. People worry about diversity, but far out, they should be worrying about plant diversity instead. 😉 There’s an old rule of thumb which suggests that where grains can’t easily be grown, tubers are the way to go.

    I’m curious about your part of the world. This morning the sun finally shone with some warmth, and the air was full of a variety of bird calls and the hum of insects. When I head into the big smoke of Melbourne, there is only a limited number of birds which can survive in such an environment and insects are rare. Few people seem to be troubled by this lack, but then it is hard for me to know whether I’ve become accustomed to a more alive environment. Is what I’m observing of the city here similar to what you observe in your part of the world? And is there an occult explanation for the sort of marked difference I’m observing in life in the cities?

    Cheers

    Chris

  334. Hey JMG

    While we are on the subject of thinkers that have died recently, I want to share with you and the commentariat one of my favourite ones, Pierre ryckmans, or more commonly known by the pen-name of Simon leys.

    He was a Belgian intellectual who left France for a brief stint in china before settling in Australia, where he died in 2014. He was well known for his translation work and his observations on china, he correctly predicted Maoist china’s dark turn when most intellectuals where expecting it to become the communist utopia that the soviets failed to be, which earned him a lot of hate. He was also a devout catholic who got into long literary feud with that darling of the new atheists, Christopher hitchens, when he published a rather unsavoury biography of mother Theresa. He also had a fascination with the sea, going on a few trips with basque fishermen which he recorded in a essay called “Prosper.”

    I was introduced to him via his collection of essays called “The hall of uselessness” which consist of various observations on chinese culture, biographies of famous writers, criticisms of academia ect. A utterly brilliant book in my opinion.
    Right now I am reading his biography by paquet, which is also very good,though I am only 1/10 of the way through.

    https://www.amazon.com.au/Simon-Leys/e/B001HD0A68/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

  335. @Aldarion

    I wouldn’t know much of any detail about Bolsonaro or Brazil politics at large.

    This most general Reuters piece of news:
    https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/brazils-guedes-says-govt-may-raise-minimum-wage-above-inflation-2022-10-25/

    isn’t really clear about these questions on minimum wage and text deduction on various things in Bolsonaro’s cabinet, but places them prominently.

    The originate statement my Brazil friend made to the case of Bolsonaro was he doesn’t understand the hysteria of people when he says that some things may be good and others not so good about Bolsonaro, a differentiated view that isn’t legitimate in the eyes of his enemies. He must be evilly evil entirely! That’s the dogma.

    I can imagine, that kind of thing is pretty standard anywhere and nowadays in the West it is a leftist/liberal/salary class/state bureaucrats thing.

    Other than that, my Brazilian friend did not say much in any direction about the politics of Bolsonaro to me. Pretty much just that.

    Some alternative sources assume that Lula would want to leave BRICS in favor of a closer alliance to the West – something I cannot verify.

    My Viennese friend who originates from Uruguay accuses my Brazilian friend of being indifferent towards the destruction of the rainforest enabled by Bolsonaro’s govt. Other alternative sources claim that his government is no worse or different in that matter than Lula’s government. Something I cannot verify either.

    Neither can I say much about astrological charts in respect to Brazil or anything else – unfortunately I have not yet really acquainted myself with Astrology much.

    @Bei Dawei

    Thanks for the info again –
    No argument there! Greek and Armenian communities will certainly dislike right wing islamic turks, and evangelicals will probably not see them as allies.

    One thing I find remarkable in that case is that this time it would be the GOP and not the Democrats supporting an islamic-nationalist radical – that has also been the major habit of the left in the West in these past decades.

    Be it as it may, I found it remarkable that someone beyond modern nihilist atheism would run for senator, on the side of the current renegade party.

    It may be though, just as a thought, that islamic nationalists will be more palatable to the broader populace of a rural state like Pennsylvania than are the woke atheist transgender liberals. The lesser evil maybe.

    If I had the choice between national islamists and my liberal Western demographic, that would be a very hard choice to chose for me.

  336. @Martin

    As a topic of meditation, I might suggest contemplating the possibility that people who do not subscribe to the PMC-approved narratives around 9/11 or the moon landings are perhaps either seeing different evidence than you are, or interpreting the evidence they see in a radically different way. Why that might be – leaving aside assumptions of who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – could be a very fruitful question to ask.

    As a final note, for anyone who does video, and who might want a quick overview of the official 9/11 story, I’ll leave this 5-minute piece by James Corbett. Some of you might find that the narrative doesn’t seem quite as airtight as some would have you believe. https://odysee.com/@paavokuronen:6/911aconspiracytheory:1

  337. JMG,
    I’m delighted to hear about the forthcoming new edition of “A World Full of Gods!” I was about to follow up the book I’m on currently – “God Against the Gods,” by Jonathan Kirsch, with a reread of yours, but will wait for the revised edition now.

    On another note, would you consider a post on the BRIICS bloc? I doubt I’m alone in craving a deeper understanding of what we’re facing.

    Many thanks!

  338. @AV ” The police are one of the principle means that order is maintained in society so that it can function.”

    Function for whom? That is my issue with the police as they are structured now. I know there are evil people who will terrible things to others (not to mention the huge increase of people on mind-altering drugs these days) but the security police provide for everyday people isn’t a guarantee.

    Eliminating police controlled by politicians doesn’t mean warlords, by the way. I’m sure we could use our imaginations to come up with other ways to provide security to the everyday person.

    If I really wanted to throw a wretch into your police are good argument, I could bring up the endless amount of wealthy/high status people in communities that get away with all manner of crimes, both white collar and felonies like DUI’s. We have them all the time where I live. You only find out about them by talking with officers who have pulled over or responded to a 911 call or talked with someone who reported something odd, and it’s all swept away because it involves a local someone with money or power.

    The law is applied harshly to those of lower social class and hardly at all to people with more status (including those who are friends/family of the police and donate to their causes). Like I said, its very human what is happening, it just not morally right.

  339. Mulling over what you said about voting JMG and I thought about how much I love this country. I’m just frustrated and nauseous over what a bunch of selfish powerful people have done to it. But by focusing on that, I get more of it. Best to focus the energy on those who are working in reality and imagining a different future.

    Btw I couldn’t help but notice that one of Blake Masters stump speeches about how Americans used to be able to have a home, car, and vacation all on one salary sounded awfully familiar. Just never know where your concepts will turn up these days. I did see you as a meme the other day – a photo of you with laser eyes captioned “Greerifcation Intensifies”. And that pretty much sums up the last few years – intensification of JMG’s worldviews in the media and in reality.

  340. @Atmospheric River,
    Thank you — handwork is an excellent suggestion, — my hands do still work! and truly you are right about listening being a fine art as exemplified by being heard here by you and others — I feel supercharged.

    @D,
    I read Man’s Search for Meaning decades ago and funnily enough bought it to give to my nephew, who is studying psychology, recently. You have nudged me to read it again and remember why it is so important to so many people. I will ask my nephew for a borrow.

    “They also serve who only stand and wait”— this sent me back to Milton’s sonnet and I am not ashamed to admit, made me cry. I haven’t read that poem since I was at school, and probably with no compassion whatsoever for people who weren’t young and strong. It’s inexpressibly powerful, and moving. I am astonished and grateful. Indeed, who am I to presume that I have no value?

    The word “invalid” is an awkward one, and needs reckoning with, I think.

    Beautiful story about the elderly man. This chimes in very much with my feeling that there is no hierarchy, no centre in the world, every bit is as important as every other, one doesn’t have to take stuff personally … indeed, I feel that the meaning of the cross, the place where the y and the x axis meet, points us to the frisson and potential of every single moment, everywhere at the same time …

    I received your salutation, “my friend, i wish you well”, directly into my heart. Thank you.

    @Milkyway,
    I do spend much time swimming in the realms of poetry and this morning woke up with a Ryokan poem in my head. The story goes that the monk returned to his poor hut and discovered a thief in the act of stealing all of his meagre possessions. The thief scarpered, but Ryokan ran after him to give him the only item which he had left behind in his haste (a cushion). Then he returned and wrote the following haiku:

    The thief left it behind:
    the moon
    at my window.

    I try and let this appreciation and wonder for the world inhabit me — the real point being not what the world is but *that* it is … not so much the content of my experience here but that i *have* experience — to feel overwhelmed by what I have, not underwhelmed by what I have not. As Tennyson says at the end of Ulysses — “though much is taken, much abides”. I try and remember this fact always.

    @Mary Bennett,
    Thank you for the handwork seconding, I used to knit but that is a bit much for me now. I am thinking of embroidery as it feels doable. I am not sure quite what that would look like — I”d like it to be somehow “useful” not *just* beautiful. Perhaps that is a meaningless distinction …

    @pygmycory,
    I did as it happens watch this year’s BBC Young Musician of the Year last night. The final contestant was a young pianist of 19 or so who had been blind from birth. It really gave me pause. To consider my incredible blessings, of sight, of sanity, of loving family … and remember how extraordinary the gift of music is, as well as poetry, and all the other things we humans have cultivated in response to this perplexing world. You’re reminded me to remember the dimensions we have available — not to give up exploring and expanding the world at my fingertips — history, languages — as Hamlet says,”O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” … There’s no excuse; am *I* even bounded in a nutshell? I have to admit that I am not!

    @Darkest Yorkshire,
    I will, thanks. That is a golden recommendation and one i will follow up. It might be the magic bullet — a clear mind would transform my situation.

    @Northwind Grandma
    Yes, an inner life unseen by other humans is very much my experience. I think it’s certainly nothing to be dismissed — my only feeling at the moment is that in the context of the Long Descent it’s peculiarly challenging. But perhaps that — a challenge — is not such a bad thing.

    “Cheerleader, humorist, listener”, this is indeed what Grandmas are for. And certainly there is an evolutionary reason, as I understand it, for grandmothers, which is crucial to the long-term survival of homo sapiens, not to be sniffed at, even if it’s unquantifiable. So what we are talking about here is Quality, not Quantity. Very good. (Data point: almost the only other species who have grandmothers ie in which the females experience menopause and do not go on producing their own young, but stick around to look after their young’s young, are Orcas. Researchers found the “Grandmother Effect” to be priceless — young whales that lost a grandmother were 4.5 times more likely to die than their peers). So it IS quantifiable, to boot …

    Your Black Death allusion made me laugh, proving your point — you are right; life goes on through thick and thin. And it’s often absurd, even when it’s tragic. I am incredibly lucky in that, in all of this, I have rarely felt depressed for a single second. Although I have no physical energy, there is something irrepressible within me. And it’s often humour, or just a lovely/oblique/weird way of seeing things. Albert Camus:

    “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”

    Thank you for so generously sharing your experience.

    @JMG,
    I will keep my eyes open, indeed. One is not cursed with living through boring times.

    From these wonderful responses, with their care, thought and solidarity, I can see that I am certainly not the only one in this boat, and by the looks of things many have had to dig deep through dross of pain, of illness, of suffering, to discover true gold. Perhaps I cannot be a visible, active helper in the Long Descent, but that isn’t the only game in town …

    Some of us must explore the nature of human being rather than human doing … it’s hard if it’s not what is freely chosen, but as they say, if you can’t have what you want, *want what you have*! This is what i must now grasp with all my strength and courage and creativity.

    Profound gratitude for curating this extraordinarily rich space, with so many deep, and ever-deepening, seams running through it.

    It is good not to feel alone.

  341. Regarding coffee substitutes, nothing tastes exactly like the real thing, but I ran into information on yellow dock (Rumex crispus), saying the seeds can be harvested, roasted and ground as a coffee substitute. The flavor is milder than coffee, but I find that if I use it half and half with a coffee with a nice aroma, the result is a coffee with a nice aroma and half the caffeine. I also use the young leaves of the plant (in small amounts) as a great source of quercitin.
    I’ve tried roasted dandelion root as a coffee (and for its benefits to the liver). It tastes quite different from coffee, but seems to be pleasant with chai spices.

  342. @Bei Dawei #343

    I live in Pennsylvania, and I wasn’t even aware that Dr. Oz has ties with right-wing Turks. The media hasn’t presented this at all, not even Fetterman’s relentlessly negative campaign. (Of course, Oz’s campaign has been equally negative.) The polls were already tight, and Fetterman’s disastrous debate performance tipped them for Oz. I watched the whole thing. He wasn’t just stumbling, he was incoherent at times. It was an embarrassment, and I have to wonder who told him he could continue to run for office after a major stroke.

    It makes me very sad, because I thought Fetterman was the Democratic Party’s best hope of finding an heir for Bernie Sanders.

  343. I feel shocked by the stamped in South Korea, killing 150 young people oartying for Halloween. Feels like some deity has taken a toll. What di you think about it? And could this be hinted at by mundane astrology?

  344. Hello JMG and Everybody,
    Is it just me or other people noticed it too? As of lately, there are many headlines devoted to the experts stating ominously the health dangers of mundane events: sleeping less than 8 hours, eating XYZ (anything, really, bread, peppers, bacon among others), walking less than 10000 steps a day, etc.). Right now I’m staring at the following headline: Nose Picking Could Increase Risk for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. ROFL! Pick your nose – be warn by the experts about brain-damage; hesitate to roll up your sleeve for a new mRNA technology – be informed by the same experts that you are a paranoid anti-science nutjob! We are living in strange times.

  345. @Darkest Yorkshire #171, I wasn’t really intending a cynical take on occult narratives. However, the idea that the higher worlds, the “good endings” that various myths tell us we’re striving for during mortal incarnation, are full of problems that need solving or difficult work that needs doing, does run counter to many paradisiacal spiritual afterlife narratives. So I can see how it could be taken that way. But if those worlds contain anything analogous to incarnate life, that is, beings doing things for reasons with the possibility of doing them wrong, then it’s hard for me to see how it could be otherwise. (And if they don’t, for instance if there’s nothing of import to do, or no free will that could lead to doing anything wrong, then it’s equivalently hard for me to accept the claimed purpose for the incarnate learning process.)

    @Waffles #189, those are two good possibilities to consider here. Let me elaborate on the first one a bit: consider extended courses of study that include a lot of practice, as opposed to rapid crammed courses. (That’s probably a better analogy than the boot camp comparison, practically the opposite extreme, I used before.) These often have the goal of making the routine aspects of a pursuit “transparent.” And this doesn’t just apply to physical skills like laying bricks or driving. Examples include arithmetic relative to algebra, algebra relative to higher mathematics, playing the correct notes for music, memorizing the correct lines for acting, and maintaining a forge fire at the right intensity for the current work for a metalsmith. In many cases an outsider might mistake mastery of that stage for mastery of the field, and a beginner might be either disappointed or delighted to learn otherwise along the way; for example, a musician who must practice for years to read and play correct notes from the score will have learned by then that that’s only a starting point for higher standards of musicianship.

    This makes me wonder whether there are aspects of incarnate life that must become transparent in order to move on, and whether those are the same aspects that in some traditions are regarded as illusory. Transparency and illusion don’t mean the same thing, but it might be very easy to mistake one for the other.

    @JMG #91, thank you. “Certainly, though, it doesn’t support the notion that what comes after human existence involves wallowing in bliss…” That says it, though I guess such realization (like certain other narratives about futures being different from naively optimistic expectations) isn’t going to be easily accepted. Do you think it’s something we all have to figure out before we move on, or is being able to handle unpleasant surprises sufficient?

  346. @curt, @grover: BRICS was founded when Lula’s Workers’ Party was in power in Brazil, and has largely languished since the Workers’ Party was prematurely removed from office in 2016. I see every reason to suppose Lula’s re-election would invigorate it. Apparently, alt-right sources have difficulties distinguishing an actual left-of-center government from the so-called left, globalist credentialist governments of the North.

    Marina da Silva, Lula’s environment minister, brought down deforestation from its all-times high in 2003 to its all-times low around 2009. Right now, it is rising. Averages are meaningless in such a situation.

    Generally, has your friend specified any good thing about Bolsonaro, Curt? While I despise Trump, I can easily find good things he did, e.g. shooting down the Transatlantic and Transpacific Trade Agreements. I honestly can’t find anything good about Bolsonaro, which is a failure of mine, I suppose.

  347. Mother Balance, you’re most welcome. It’s an issue I’ve reflected on quite a bit, for obvious personal reasons.

    Forecasting, that’s the problem with believing your own hype. If the world doesn’t play along, you’ve just landed yourself in a world-class mess. Europe may be about to demonstrate that in a very big way.

    Chris, here in East Providence, at least, the insects seem to be doing okay; I routinely see half a dozen species of bees, plenty of butterflies and moths, too many flies, gnats, and mosquitoes, ladybugs of at least three different types, and a couple of other insects I haven’t identified yet, and every spring the ants do their spring cleaning, building anthills in cracks in the local sidewalks. (They’ve got the brains to build their nests under concrete slabs where nothing can get at them.) As for birds, they’re also active; we have crows, starlings, sparrows, and wrens around here all the time, and birds of prey quite frequently — there’s a sharp-shinned hawk who does the rounds here regularly. Down on the Seekonk River, maybe a mile from here, I see seagulls, cormorants, a great blue heron, and every so often a bald eagle. North America has been a depauperate ecosystem (i.e., low species count) since the end of the last ice age, so this isn’t unusually sparse on this continent.

  348. Thinking about what everyday Americans used to be able to afford on a single salary, I wonder to what extent that reflects the peak days of a US-centered imperial wealth pump.

    Is anyone aware of a labor-hours equivalent to EROEI, along the lines of Labor Consumed over Labor Invested (LCOLI)? This would be a measure of the hours of others’ labor embodied in products, possessions, assets, and services used by a person, divided by the hours of labor that person invests.

    As with EROEI, there is plenty of “waste” in the form of unnecessary labor, but from purely a fairness/labor exploitation standpoint I think it would be useful just to think in terms of hours.

    LCOLI averaged across the whole world must be 1:1 – the sum total of the labor contributed by humans must equal the sum total of labor consumed by humans.

    Any guesses as to what the LCOLI ratio was for the USA in the 1950s? What it might be today? Whether it will drop to 1:1 following the end of US hegemony or if it will go lower (i.e. if US labor will be exploited by more powerful nations)? What level of household income in the US would correspond to a 1:1 LCOLI at the moment?

    @Chris at Fernglade re: temperate-zone rice

    You might be interested in the Maine Rice Project: https://www.wildfolkfarm.com/maine-rice-project/

  349. Hi JMG – A story before a question.

    Had an interesting interaction with some toads a few days ago… maintaining a swimming pool I found four toads stuck inside a skimmer basket and thought they were gone, but as I pulled out the basket one of the small ones moved. Took the basket to some long grass, tipped it out and out they tumbled. Three smaller toads about an inch in body and the other one about 2 and a bit inches. I could see that two were obviously alive as they started moving immediately and started crawling off into longer grass, then the third one turned itself over and did the same.

    I squatted there a while looking at the big one which was right-side up facing towards me, but it didn’t move. As I looked a bit closer I thought ‘you do not look like a dead toad’ then noticed that it’s eyes were open and it seemed to be watching.

    We both squatted there for a few minutes but it still didn’t move – I picked up a leaf and drew it up the toad’s back a couple of times, toad did not budge – watched it for another couple of minutes and went back to the pool to put the basket.
    Came back out and all the toads had gone.

    Fortunately not often, but occasionally it is a sad discovery to find a dead toad in there; but to discover four live toads… well!

    Now I remember reading that it’s possible that toads can navigate using the sky, but my question is, do you know of any occult lore that relates to toads (i.e. more interesting than toads in a caricature witches cauldron)?
    Thanks.

  350. Fetterman’s backers, the leftist foundations, won’t allow him to bring up the matter of rightwing Turkish associations, as that would be an affront to multiculturism. Indeed, some of the PMC voters which Fetterman will need if he has any hope of pulling out a win, would likely choose to be highly offended by such mention. The Oz campaign doubtless has a photogenic, PMC-credentialed “Turkish-American” spokesperson waiting in the wings for Fetterman to make just that mistake.

    Larkrise, you might consider such useful things and aprons and potholders, of which no serious cook ever has enough. Also, embroidered winter slippers ought to be popular among any younger friends. There is also the world of embroidered Christmas tree ornaments. Cut stars, bells, etc. out of felt and embroider away.

    Can anyone here suggest a good site for posting serious book reviews? OK, that does sound a tad snobbish, but I gave up on Goodreads after slogging through pages of It was really great(horrible) type commentary.

  351. @Brian,

    I’d count myself among that tribe, too, and so would some of my friends. We’re young-ish and live in Germany, and we don’t really fit into our political landscape (yet?) either. But I’m hopeful there will be a growing political space for people like us in the years to come, and I’m really happy that there are kindred spirits across the pond as well!

  352. J.L.Mc12, thanks for this. I’m not familiar with him.

    Grover, thank you! I’ll consider it.

    Denis, that’s the secret power of the fringe intellectual. The mainstream has no new ideas — it never does — and if you have some and you keep on putting them into circulation, why, sooner or later, they’ll start working their way into the common conversation of your time.

    Larkrise, I have the best commentariat on the internet. Thank you for being part of it.

    Njura, good question. I don’t follow South Korean mundane charts; do you?

    Kirsten, well, of course. It’s not as though they can talk freely about the causes of illness and disability in modern society; it might be necessary, for example, to notice that medical treatment is the third leading cause of death in the US, right after heart disease and cancer.

    Walt, we all have to deal with it one way or another. If occult tradition is anything to go by, long before you get there, you start to get a clue about what it’s like.

    Mark, that’s a valid question. I’ll leave it to the number crunchers to settle it.

    Earthworm, what a delightful experience! I’m a great fan of toads — any animal that will gobble up bugs that enthusiastically is a friend of mine. They’re also useful magically, because having one around will ward off hostile magic and nasty energies of various kinds. That’s why witches back in the day encouraged toads to hang out in their gardens — toads are protective.

  353. Just a curious question for you, JMG — you mentioned you drink a lot of green tea in a day somewhere. Do you make yourself matcha from powder with a whisk or do you drink the kind of green tea that is steeped? Personally, I make matcha with a whisk in the morning. If I need more of a pick-me-up, I’ll have bagged or steeped green tea later in the afternoon. Usually I’m fine with herbals (tisanes) though and I usually don’t drink any kind of caffeinated tea after 5pm.

  354. Re bird omens. At the company I worked for the old-school boss who distrusted computers and fax machines was finally ousted and a young hotshot installed with instructions to drag us into the 20th century (this was 1990-something).

    He had icy blue eyes and kept a perfectly clean desk and let us know he was watching us and all our jobs were on the line. Everyone on the staff was nervous and unhappy.

    The office manager and I were walking to our cars one evening when SPLAT! a dark-coloured bird, maybe a starling, dropped from the sky and lay dead on the sidewalk just in front of us. It must have flown into the office building we were walking past.

    The two of us agreed it had to be an omen and someone was going down, but we didn’t know if it was us or the new manager. As it happened, the new guy was let go shortly afterwards and a more staff-friendly manager installed.

  355. Denis #372
    >>Function for whom? That is my issue with the police as they are structured now. I know there are evil people who will terrible things to others (not to mention the huge increase of people on mind-altering drugs these days) but the security police provide for everyday people isn’t a guarantee.<>Eliminating police controlled by politicians doesn’t mean warlords, by the way. I’m sure we could use our imaginations to come up with other ways to provide security to the everyday person.<>If I really wanted to throw a wretch into your police are good argument, I could bring up the endless amount of wealthy/high status people in communities that get away with all manner of crimes, both white collar and felonies like DUI’s. We have them all the time where I live. You only find out about them by talking with officers who have pulled over or responded to a 911 call or talked with someone who reported something odd, and it’s all swept away because it involves a local someone with money or power.<>The law is applied harshly to those of lower social class and hardly at all to people with more status (including those who are friends/family of the police and donate to their causes). Like I said, its very human what is happening, it just not morally right.<<

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”
    ~Anatole France~

    Yes, not a new situation. And I would never argue that it is moral, and I agree that it is very human. Further, I would argue it always will be a human thing. Justice is, after all, a human concept. The universe does not have eyes, but we do (Greer). But just as I don't think being rid of capitalism is the solution to capitalism's flaws, or being rid of education is the solution to education's flaws, or being rid of western medicine is the solution to western medicine's flaws, I don't think being rid of LEO is the solution to the flaws in LEOs.

    But I will repeat, I'll bet we will find out in the next decade or so. Some municipality, somewhere will try it as an experiment.

    AV

  356. Larkwise 374

    NAME THIS DECADE CONTEST

    You reminded me of something.

    It feels like the 2020s is the “Black Decade” or “Black and Blue Decade.”

    Black signifying decay, like gangrene. Blue signifying “the blues,” like the mood people are in. Black-and-blue signifying bruises, like getting battered.

    For another knock-off book title — a book not yet written,— the 2020s decade could be called, “Fifty Shades of Black.” But why 50? Fifty is excessive. During years of downturn, “Twenty Shades of Black,” or even ten, would be better. We have:

    my name “Blue and Gray” Decade (1860s)
    “Gay ’90s” (1890s)
    “War Years” (1910s)
    “Roaring ’20s (1920s)
    “Silent Generation (1930s)
    another “War Years” (1940s)
    “Beat Generation” (1950s)
    “Hippie Generation” (1960s)
    “Me Decade” (1970s)
    my name “Feminist Decade” (1980s)

    and the
    my name “Black Decade” (2020s)
    or
    my name “Black and Blue Decade” (2020s)

    I can name some shades of black:

    red-black
    yellow-black
    purple-black
    green-black
    orange-black
    turquoise-black
    blue-black

    💨Northwind Grandma🧟
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  357. @Northwind Grandma (#391):

    So good to see that someone else still knows that the beats and the hippies were two very different sorts of people!

  358. Kirsten 378

    Thanks for this note! Yes, I have noticed.

    The following I saw in an online advertisement (likely Google ad), something to the effect of:

    “Sleeping with one foot touching the knee of the other leg” is bad.

    The ad wasn’t selling anything that would get them fast money.

    First, the advertisement struck me as insane why anyone would pay to have such an advertisement publicized.

    Secondly, ‘one foot touching knee of other leg’ is similar to touching one’s forehead between the eyes, in other words, it is a comforting gesture — it gives ease. I immediately feel the positive effect of foot-touching-knee — it feels like positive feng-shui of the body.

    So why would someone pay money to convince people NOT to do a simple action which gives respite, a mere position-of-legs people have been doing since caveman days. One thing I can think of is that this advertiser has the specific intent of trying to spread dis-ease🦠😈🤥, trying to sicken anyone (just a little) who comes across their advertising drivel.

    These advertisers are spreading angst. They have no idea that such advertisements are morally corrupt. Their messages are not even “subliminal suggestions” — their ‘bad intent’ is out there for all to see.

    The next time I see one of these advertisements, I will take a screenshot, keeping a record.

    This category of adverts, I believe, is insidious, and have the intent of gaslighting. The advertisers are up to no good.

    💨Northwind Grandma🙄
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  359. @earthworm 384

    Toads in folklore were said to wear a jewel in their head … eg in As You Like It,
    “Sweet are the uses of adversity,
    Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
    Wears yet a precious jewel in his head …”
    … but this is a terrible slur upon the beautiful creature. Like you I’m in awe of their gorgeousness. Norman MacCaig describes them well, with a nod to the folkloric tradition:

    Toad

    Stop looking like a purse. How could a purse
    squeeze under the rickety door and sit,
    full of satisfaction, in a man’s house?

    You clamber towards me on your four corners —
    right hand, left foot, left hand, right foot.

    I love you for being a toad,
    for crawling like a Japanese wrestler,
    and for not being frightened.

    I put you in my purse hand, not shutting it,
    and set you down outside directly under
    every star.

    A jewel in your head? Toad,
    you’ve put one in mine,
    a tiny radiance in a dark place.

  360. Chris, JMG, et alia,

    If you want to see a great variety of bee species, plant a holly! (At least in the U.S…) I’m guessing the less insect-friendly customers in our bank drive through teller lanes keep their windows rolled up. That’s a whole lotta bees in your face if you happen to be close to their hollies. Our tea camellias are also swimming with bees right now. And the Russian olive hedge I passed on my walk this morning smelled fantastic. Too early for bees when I passed I reckon.
    Cheers.

  361. @earthworm (#384)

    earthworm said:
    do you know of any occult lore that relates to toads (i.e. more interesting than toads in a caricature witches cauldron)?

    I know you asked JMG this but I thought I’d toss what little I know of this into the ring too.

    1) I believe in certain far east Asian cultures toads are considered omens of good fortune.

    2) Considering how amphibians are under pressure from polution and destruction of their habitats perhaps the kinds of habitats they prefer also tend to be really good for humans too. Thus one reason why they may be associated with good fortune in some cultures.

    3) As for the occult reasons? Sadhguru once gave a Youtube talk that included toads and frogs. He said for people on the spiritual path they’re considered important because they represent a stage of successful evolutionary adaption that includes both water and earth.

    Their importance is significant in Yogic traditions because humans have locked inside them the capacity to be like toads and frogs in that regard. People can learn how to operate in two bodies in two different environments at the same time. You can extend your etheric capabilities to be active in the world as well as the physical one. A highly functional etheric body can leave the physical body and yet still remain rooted to it and withdraw back into it at will. The etheric body is the subatomic scaffolding around which the physical body takes shape.

    You have to cross many barriers inside yourself though in order to unlock this capability as I understand it but every human has it latent inside. We’re talking barriers something like (assuming I recall his talk correctly) 64 chakras have to be awake and functioning for this ability to be completely unlocked. Hence why so many temples in India give importance to the number 64. As reference the mass of humanity has only 21 chakras awake and active these days. Still…you can be like the toad or frog. Capable of being a self-evolved being who can navigate successfully in two different environments in two different bodies simultaneously. If you can do this it means you’ve been doing daily practices like what JMG or Sadhguru teach over multiple lifetimes.

    Which gets me to the other thing related to your question. Each chakra has outer, inner and secret levels of disciplines to practice and master. Each one of those levels breaks further into 16 different levels of outer, inner and secret disciplines. The 16 further break down into 84,000 levels of outer, inner and secret disciplines. That’s 84,000 chakra nodes of which each has an outer, inner and secret discipline (on top of the earlier 1>3’s>16’s outer, inner, secrets) . This doesn’t even include mastery of the subtle body organs which is it’s own separate disciplines to master.

    Then think of how each level fractals into separate, unique disciplines to work on for mastery. Sadhguru says the above is why as we all evolve into more complex beings he says we will all become more unique. We’re not going to be carbon copies of each other. Everyone’s soul will be quite unique from everyone else because everyone will choose different areas and levels of each one of these (1>3>16>84,000 – yes, 84K inner, outer, secret discipline specializations of 114 chakras) to explore. Plus mastery of the subtle organs too.

    This is the path humanity is on. Now step back and consider…a maha avatar…an authentic Exalted Divine avatar has mastery of ALL of it (plus the subtle organs too). Every last bit of it has been mastered. All 114 paths. All outer, inner, secret levels and their disciplines -> 1(outer, inner, secret disciplines) >3 (each “chakra node” also has new outer, inner, secret disciplines)> 16 (each “chakra node” also has new outer, inner, secret disciplines)>84,000 (each “chakra node” again also has new outer, inner, secret disciplines). That is Exalted Divine. And there’s still far to go beyond that. Read the Cosmic Doctrine and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for more.

    It’s because of the above that Buddhism and Hinduism keep saying it is considered rare good fortune to be born human.

  362. Oops! quick clarification.

    I wrote: Each chakra has outer, inner and secret levels of disciplines to practice and master. Each one of those levels breaks further into 16 different levels of outer, inner and secret disciplines. The 16 further break down into 84,000 levels of outer, inner and secret disciplines. That’s 84,000 chakra nodes of which each has an outer, inner and secret discipline

    I mistyped.

    The path is 1 breaks out into 3. Which each 3 breaks out into 16. The 16 break out into 84,000. Each node has outer, inner and secret disciplines available to master.

    Thus 1>3>16>84,000

    Or you can watch how mother nature does it on the way up but not muck around with the powers yourself. Sadhguru says one option is to forgo mucking with this stuff on the way up and then…at the top…ALL of it – complete mastery – will be gifted to you at once. Again…assuming I understand him correctly…you won’t be losing out on anything compared to your fellow occultists.

    I think the one where you forego messing around with the powers is the path of the monk or nun. It’s making the straight shot to divine consciousness via bypassing divine mind. But he said only 5%, maybe 10% of humanity is truly cut out for the straight shot path.

  363. Regarding teas, I tried Yaupon out of curiosity, and discovered I like it (despite its intentionally disgusting botanical name ‘Ilex vomitoria’). I’ll get to the name story later, but first some info about this plant. It is a Native American tea, used by the Southern tribes. It was popular with settlers in Colonial times, and was latest is a holly, and like the South American holly Mate, its leaves contain caffeine. You can buy it as loose tea leaves from several internet sites (it is making a comeback). It comes in two basic styles – smoked (like the smoky style of mate), and not smokey — which when brewed tastes very much like green tea.
    During colonial times the British East India Company employed a botanist who may have been instructed by his employer to find a name that would discourage tea drinkers from drinking it, as it grew wild, and the East India company made its money by selling imported tea to colonists. So noting that it was used in some Native religious ceremonies in which it was intentionally mixed with emetic herbs he named it Ilex (holly genus) vomitoria, despite the fact that pure Yaupon tea does not cause vomiting.

  364. One further thing I forgot to add.

    I think there are two reasons why most people aren’t cut out for a straight shot path. One is that Sadhguru says Higher Divine Mind is very alluring and entangling by orders of magnitude beyond anything lower mind has on offer. It will seem and feel like ‘the real deal’ – you’ve made it at last. You’ve become The God of all Gods/THE AVATAR of all Avatars, etc. A lot of people get lost and entangled here but most spiritual masters don’t want their disciples here because anything of divine mind – well – what goes up ALWAYS has to come back down. And when Higher Divine Mind goes into reverse the pain and suffering it brings is likewise magnified beyond what lower mind suffering brings. Nonetheless, most people aren’t cut out for a monk/nun path so it means the road up to Divine Consciousness (via Divine Mind) will not be one of never-ending bliss. There will be some very rough and tough patches at every stage.

    The second reason most are not cut out for a monk/nun path is most people don’t like the celibacy it requires.

  365. Typo patrol, W of H: Kingsport. “The mansion on Green Street…..” p220.
    Engagement ring “on her housemate’s right hand.” Rather than the left. Or is this just a different tradition?

  366. And one more, W of H: Kingsport, p179, but could just be a stylistic choice of yours, “Looked very like Fern…..”

  367. @AV Agreed on the experiment happening and I do wonder where. The future America fiction makes some interesting predictions.

    Thanks for the back and forth debate. We’d probably have fun sharing a beer. I’m really sour on police after 2020 and 2021. I was banned from daughter’s college graduation in May for not being vaccinated. They had police there to arrest anyone who didn’t pass the papers check with the security guards. I’m one of those stubborn people who holds a grudge.

  368. Hmm…re-reading my submitted posts makes me think I’m not really getting across just how staggering it is to have complete mastery like an exalted divine avatar.

    Maybe I can clarify it a bit better?

    The path for humanity is:

    Each of the 114 chakra counts as 1 “node” which then breaks out into 3 separate nodes. Which each of those 3 nodes breaks out into their own 16 separate nodes. Each of the 16 nodes (from one of the original 3) further break out into 84,000 nodes.

    And each separate level and node has outer, inner and secret disciplines available to practice for mastery.

    Not to mention the subtle body organs…that’s a whole separate ball of wax.

  369. @Mark #383 – I’ve wondered the same thing for some time.
    @Larkrise and others – if anybody makes crocheted cotton dishcloths, I’ll buy them and pay the postage. I only need 2 more, but my source was an arts & crafts expo in an old folks’ home, and my source was quite old.
    @Northwind Grandma – to me, the 202s are the Dark Gray decade. Possibly the London Pea-Soup Fog decade.

  370. There’s been some interesting developments in relation to energy policy here in Australia which people here might be interested in.

    Just in the last few weeks, two state Labor parties (left wing parties in Australia) have announced they will “renationalise” the electricity grid in each state.

    Australia privatised the grid back in the early 90s as part of the neoliberal agenda. At the time we were told this would lower prices. But Australia already had almost the cheapest electricity prices in the western world at that time due to our enormous coal reserves. (Of course, readers here would know this was all part of the financialisation of everything designed to funnel $ back to the US, but the marketing spiel to convince the public to go along with it was to reduce retail prices).

    Not surprisingly, the electricity price didn’t go down in the years after privatisation but it also didn’t go up. It kept tracking to inflation. That started to change in about 2005 which was the time when, purely coincidentally, wind and solar started to be added to the grid at scale.

    Anyway, the left wing parties are now blaming privatisation for the price rise and will renationalise while also saying they will continue the “transition to renewables”.

    This is a pretty big development, I think. At the very least, it seems to signal the official end of neoliberalism. In Australia, I also expect it will pave the way for a return to coal power, perhaps via an experiment with nuclear first.

  371. Kimberly, matcha is stronger than I like. I prefer steeped green or white tea, relatively light. I’ve also got the kind of flip-flopped brain chemistry that turns stimulants into relaxants — iirc that’s an indication of ADD — so a cup of green tea mellows me out very nicely. I also drink herb teas, btw.

    Grover, I’ll keep that in mind!

    Patricia M, thanks for both of these.

    Simon, hmm! Interesting. I wonder how that’ll play out.

  372. I know you have talked about European countries being client states of the US. I know that NATO countries get protection from the US militarily, should they need it. But apart from this ‘protection’ what exactly is Europe gaining from being part of NATO now? I would say nothing.

    Considering that the US has provoked this war in Ukraine, the so-called US protection is worthless. Europe is being destablilised and bankrupted by US warhawks. Wouldn’t it be better for every country to get out of NATO and invest in their own military? In that case, the US warhawks would have to attack Russia directly and not have to bother with proxy wars, as a smokescreen.

  373. JMG,

    Along the lines of my previous post (about the “plant butter”), I just now saw an ad on Facebook for “animal-free dairy milk”. (After my Google search to find out more about so-called plant butter, I now see ads for vegan stuff everywhere online.) “Animal-free dairy milk” seems to be synthetic whey-like stuff from a test-tube, along with a bunch of additional “plant-based” ingredients.

    It’s bad enough that “almond milk” and similar things are allowed to be labelled as such despite not being milk, but that’s why people say “dairy milk” now– to differentiate real milk from fake, test-tube milk. But now the fake, test-tube milk can be labelled and marketed as “dairy milk” as well, apparently. Why do we even have an FDA with its laws and regulations about labeling foods accurately if corporations are allowed to just label literally anything as whatever they want?

    At this point, might as well start marketing regular milk from a regular cow as “plant-based milk” too. After all, cows eat grass, so it’s plant-based in a sense. If “animal-free dairy milk” is allowable, then surely that would be too.

  374. I haven’t commented yet this open post, but reading the earlier posts suggests this: in my experience, chicory is to coffee what LEDs are to headlights. What I’ve suspected was chicory-laced coffee in the past was intolerable! More generally my reaction is, “Why would anyone want to quit coffee?” On the other hand, if real coffee became unavailable, perhaps I’d be willing to experiment with toasted dandelion roots. Perhaps I will next spring, when my backyard blooms yellow.

    Here’s a story: I used to attend about three sesshins per year at a Zen center: That involved going “cold turkey” on coffee for about 7 days, the duration of the sesshin. Real coffee was only available on “day 7.” Yes, the headaches did appear after the first couple of days without caffeine. I asked the Roshi what to do about sleepiness (while doing zazen for about 11 hours per day); he responded, much to my surprise, that I should bring caffeine tablets. I thought, “whaaaaaaat”? Apparently it wasn’t regarded as cheating.

  375. YouTube just recommended this to me. Sadhguru fans take note–all your chakra are belong to Elder Paisios!

  376. Bridge, did you think that client states get something in return? Au contraire, client states are property. The US owns Europe and uses its governments and nations as it chooses. Of course it would be better for the nations of Europe to leave NATO and see to their own defense; our troops are based there to keep that from happening. Look up the phrase “army of occupation” sometime.

    (I’m not saying that this is a good thing or that I support it. It’s an ugly reality — but it’s a reality.)

    Troy, yep. The truth-in-advertising laws were gutted during the Reagan years, with the results you see.

  377. Last year we were discussing whether there is any useful definition of left and right in politics at this point. It occurs to me that a minimal definition of left, at least, might be that a party or candidate has a higher share of the vote in the poorer than in the richer half of the income distribution. This is only a minimal definition, and parties might well have this profile without any desire to be considered left. The influence of ethnic or religious groups or sex might also complicate the picture, but if a party or candidate does not fulfil this minimal definition, it cannot be considered objectively left, even if the party or candidate claim to be so.

    A successful candidate might win in all income brackets, but more highly among the richer voters (this might be the case of Reagan 1984, though I haven’t looked it up). This candidate would then not be left, but simply successful.

    A party might consider itself left, but always win more highly among more well to do voters, such as is the case for all green parties I know. They are green, but not left. A party might also have lost (permanently or temporarily) the support of lower income workers, such has been the case for Labour in Northern England, Social Democrats in Eastern Germany and many other places. Again, this party should not (for the time being) be considered left.

    Lula would be left by my definition, though he claims his victory today is one for all democratic Brazilians.

    I have no idea what might be a minimal definition of right and will leave that to others.

  378. Denis #402
    >>Thanks for the back and forth debate. We’d probably have fun sharing a beer. I’m really sour on police after 2020 and 2021. I was banned from daughter’s college graduation in May for not being vaccinated. They had police there to arrest anyone who didn’t pass the papers check with the security guards. I’m one of those stubborn people who holds a grudge.<<

    Agree, my good man, agree.

    AV

  379. A mob of young people celebrating Halloween in Seoul inadvertently created such a crush that about 150 fatalities resulted. This terrible tragedy gives me an example of what I mean when I call myself a “conspiracy theorist.” I don’t know if there is a technical definition of the term, but I think most people mean “a cabal against the rest of us,” whereas what I mean is the result of normal individual actions that we ourselves cannot fathom, where the pressure of billions creates stresses that result in “suicided” whistleblowers, for example, and those that can climb to higher ground doing so on the backs the rest of us. We ourselves put the psychopaths in charge of us. Children’s Health Defense Fund ran a nice article on this subject a few days ago https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/evil-doers-running-world-corrupt-power-system/?utm_source=salsa&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=fb030b06-800a-4562-8a06-0cb5c29603f5 Long, but worth a read.
    Which brings me back to one of the two subjects that got me very interested in the subject of human evil a long time ago (the other being where do religious groups go wrong?). I completed my monthly survey of radiofrequency radiation (RFRR) levels around the nearest major urban train station, going earlier because I wanted to investigate areas adjacent to my normal route, off the busy highway. I was unable to access the wetland I had noticed in September with some biodiversity, as there were fences all around it with police warnings (probably due to dumping), and I could not find anything truly analogous, but from appearances, it would probably have moderate to low RFR levels (one roof-top lower frequency antenna visible). The very high levels (up to 250 mW/m2 peak maximum) I was finding were very local, from hidden antennas (and there are advertisements on TV now extolling the ability to hide them). The one insect I saw in 108 minutes was at a location with moderate RFR (6 mW/m2 peak max). I won’t bore you with further details, but my conclusions from that day are that
    1) pockets of biodiversity, including birds (3 species), exist locally in areas with measurably lower RFR for at least as long as a year after introducing 5G to the area
    2) species that need to move about more, such as swallows, disappear entirely
    3) much of the biodiversity had disappeared prior to introduction of 5G, most probably with 4G-LTE (but I have no way to confirm this yet)
    4) The emissions, especially of 5G, are concentrated in areas where people gather (which is a no-brainer–enough energy goes into connectivity that methods of harvesting that wasted ambient energy are being devised), and most other life is disappearing from our living space.
    5) The good news is we lack sufficient energy resources to do them all in.
    6) But it leaves open the question of what this is doing to us. There is evidence of harm specifically from 28 GHz and higher frequency 5G service on humans (e.g., Tsiang & Havas, 2021).
    If we are impacted by this, especially if our immune systems are, would this not lead the average person to feel more threatened by a novel virus, even if it’s “only killing” 1% of us? There are a lot of people out there thinking they might be part of that 1%. I recall how I used to stay away from children, who inevitably gave me nasty colds, before I learned of EMR’s impact on my health and took steps to mitigate it. It made such a world of difference to me that I keep harping on about this subject, so I promise to shut up about it for a while unless something really drastic occurs. It’s really up to people to discover this on their own, I’m afraid.

  380. Simon S. 85(I think). I’ll give it a shot…1945 to 1985 were great years to be male in the West. 1975 to 2005 were great years to be female in the West. Things are sliding downhill for us all now, but females didn’t notice in the beginning because of the joy of new freedoms and power.

  381. @JMG, in the absence of toads, would frogs in the garden do? We do have a species of wrinkled frog that looks like a cross between a leopard frog and a toad, I suppose we could pretend they are toads.

  382. Regarding tomatillos, there was a diner in Moab, Utah that had really nice green chili. I don’t know their recipe, but I used to get huge tomatillo harvests and have about 4 gallons total of green chili stashed away. I used a green salsa recipe that looks a lot like one described upthread, except I left out the cilantro and lime juice (mine were tart enough as they were). I just open up a bottle, add meat or beans and heat. Where we live now, tomatillos fare poorly. It may be the soil or it may be pests, but almost no fruit forms. I’ll try again next year, but may have to give them up.

  383. @Chris at Fernglade Farm,
    Participation in the international initiative to monitor radiofrequency radiation levels in cities has included Melbourne (see https://globalemf.net/ ), and it has RFR levels similar to central Tokyo, thus higher than where I monitor a smaller city center in Japan, where I find extremely high maximum peak values, but not so high median values (meaning the high values are sparser), yet I’m finding a profound loss of species that appears to be related to field strength (as I report above–and sorry for harping again so soon). 5G causes the median value to rise because of the closer spacing of antennas.
    I never spent time in central Melbourne, but if it is like any of the other Australian cities I’ve visited (7 years ago was the last time, I think), there should be enough biodiversity to draw me out every morning into the nearest park with field glasses. See also Diana Kordas’s warning http://cellphonetaskforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Update-5G-Insect-Declines-Samos.pdf

  384. Re: food labels

    Meanwhile my friend who is starting a pemmican business was forced to remove “concentrated superfood” and “traditional nourishment” from his labeling, and was told that it could only be labeled as “pasture raised” if the farmers were certified as such. Double standard much?

  385. Funny thing about Finland and NATO: if Finland had joined NATO in 1990`s as many now wish, our military would probably be in much worse condition. Unlike almost all European nations Finland has conscription, and around 80% of males (and some women volunteers) serve in the army. Nowadays wartime army is around 200 000 strong with many more in the reserve. Especially artillery is very strong.

    But if we had joined NATO 30 years ago, we would probably have only small professional army which probably would be at least as expensive as our current system. Sure; a professional soldier is better trained and equipped than a conscript. But defending takes a lot of manpower, and defensive operations can be managed with less well trained troops. And history knows plenty of examples of professional armies that got beaten by conscripts or even militias.

    Of course, small NATO-army would be politically useful; with them you can join military adventures of your patron state.

  386. @JMG,

    I was browsing through the website of the Octagon Society, and started to wonder whether the same journaling approach can be applied to relationship therapy, too. So you’d have two people keeping a journal, and maybe exchange notes at times.

  387. @Hackenschmidt #231:

    “Aside, the writer’s style somewhat resembles JMG’s, I can’t help but wonder if he’s a friend, student, or unconsciously copied it.”

    Bwahaha, Adam is a irl friend of mine and I’m glad to see his work being shared! I don’t think he’s a JMG disciple – I think it’s more a case of “great minds think alike” – but he’s very intelligent as well as a wide and eclectic reader and so you never know. Either way you might enjoy his Twitter:

    https://twitter.com/Empty_America

    On the quitting caffeine question – how timely, I’m just doing that now. What happened was, I recently went hiking with some friends, and as a result, missed my midday coffee. Now you know, when you go for a long hike you should be exhausted and have a great sleep and feel refreshed the next morning – but I didn’t, I woke with a splitting headache, nausea and vomiting, thinking I had a migraine until I realized it was the caffeine withdrawal. I resolved then and there to get off this awful drug.

    I’ve done it by switching to tea and reducing even this. The withdrawal symptoms were worst for the first couple of days and got much better after that. Strictly speaking I guess I don’t advise the method I used – the “I accidentally missed my coffee so might as well keep going” – but it worked out.

    As for the microplastics in seafood…. yeah, almost nothing bums me out more. I’d like to know what folks think will be the long-term fate of the Great Plastic Islands:

    https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/great-pacific-garbage-patch

    Will they disappear or self-resolve faster than it appears? Or will our distant descendants marvel at them, wondering what they mean?

  388. Hey JMG

    If you do decide to read simon leys, I would recommend starting with “the hall of uselessness ” like I did. He has also done a brilliant translation & commentary of the Analects of Confucius. Most of his writing is still in French so you could definitely appreciate and learn more from him than I can just yet. And like a lot of French intellectuals he is full of sardonic wit. As an example, he once stated that Zhou enlai, the right hand man of Mao Zedong which he met once, for all his faults must of had immense strength of character since he never abused his high rank to publish his own poetry, regardless of its merit, like others would have done.

    While we are on the subject of intellectual endeavour, something I have wondered about is whether there are any books that teach logic in a practical way that we can easily apply to daily life, kind of like how your books give practical exercises to develop the skills of wizardry both green and occult. The only ones that I can think that come close is lewis carols’ “Game of logic” which insisted on applying his diagrammatic logic to the news, or “The trivium” by sister Miriam Joseph who offered extracts of literature to practice logical analysis on.

  389. >One thing I can think of is that this advertiser has the specific intent of trying to spread dis-ease🦠😈🤥, trying to sicken anyone

    Some thing the big corporations do their best to hide from you and it requires careful observation to see it in action, but once the primary objective of turning a profit is met, corporations have a secondary objective, and that’s to increase the net misery in the world. To be honest, any bureau will have this secondary objective, whether it’s a private bureau or a public bureau. A public bureau will always be worse, because they don’t have that primary objective to turn a profit. Just the secondary objective.

    Let that sink, um, in.

    You’ll see it when there’s two choices that won’t impact profits but one of them makes the world an objectively worse place – they will always pick that choice. Always.

    They do try to hide it as much as possible, most of the time they can claim “We’re just trying to maximize our profits!” but every so often, they’ll slip up.

  390. >At this point, might as well start marketing regular milk from a regular cow as “plant-based milk” too.

    You might want to familiarize yourself with this mantra – “If you want a job done at all, do it yourself, om”.

  391. @ JMG (#387)
    “Earthworm, what a delightful experience! I’m a great fan of toads…”

    Me too! And yes, it was indeed delightful – quite magical – made my day!

    @ Larkrise (#394)
    “a tiny radiance in a dark place.”

    That is lovely Larkrise – thank you.

    @Happy Panda (#396)

    Many thanks Happy Panda – there is a lot to consider there!

    The numbers are mind-boggling, but one thing I have been considering recently is the fractal and layered nature of things, so where you said “The etheric body is the subatomic scaffolding around which the physical body takes shape.” it rings a bell in my ponderings on, for example, the way that the handy metaphors of earth and sky in the form of divine female principle and divine male principle are indeed only metaphors that make it simpler for a human mind to grasp an idea.

    “Then think of how each level fractals into separate, unique disciplines to work on for mastery”

    Fascinating! I have been thinking of how ‘fractals’ within us are where the action is really at; since we are part of and exist through the grace of the divine principles (one becomes two and two become many – the polarity of things providing ‘thrust blocks’ with which we can work), yet we are not separated and the divine is already within us even as we chase around looking for it outside. The metaphors of earth and sky are useful but since we only exist because of the divine, the fractals within are where we might find more than might be imagined!
    Sorry if that comes across as gobbledygook – have not tried to express this in words this way before.

    The poem by Norman MacCaig that Larkrise referenced puts it more clearly and succinctly:

    “A jewel in your head? Toad,
    you’ve put one in mine,
    a tiny radiance in a dark place.”

    Much to think on – thank you all
    🙂

  392. >Of course it would be better for the nations of Europe to leave NATO and see to their own defense; our troops are based there to keep that from happening. Look up the phrase “army of occupation” sometime.

    I guess back in the 20th century, the thinking went “Well, we’re either going to be part of the Soviet Union and lose all sovereignty or we can be part of the Murican Empire and be a suzerain. Lose all say in international affairs while keeping local autonomy, sounds like a better deal.” Plus, the Muricans did pay for most of NATO back in the day as well, so the bridle went on and stayed on. And they did allow for the illusion of full sovereignty, everyone could pretend they were still fully autonomous.

    Of course now, the suzerainty illusion is starting to wear pretty thin and they are being made to pay more and more for stuff that used to be free. The horse is being ridden a lot harder and being made to go in directions that it would rather not go.

    Me, I just note that it looks like history is rhyming or repeating and wonder when the european suzerains will be told to start mowing their subjects down with bullets.

  393. Hi John Michael,

    Thank you for the description of your part of the world. So your part of the world was under a glacier during the last ice age? That makes sense. I guess it takes a very stable environment to produce a great deal of species diversity. Ah, one of the areas of greatest plant diversity in this state is I believe the Brisbane Ranges which I can see from here. Bizarrely, it is a usually very dry minor mountain range which is in something of a rain shadow. Hmm, there is something in there…

    Just for your interest, the month of October brought 12.5 inches of rain at this locale. Not quite a record, but in the past hundred and fifty years (and I have the records) it has only been beaten once. Yikes!

    Despite that, I dug quite a number of post holes today (using a hand auger) and the soil was holding together well. Damp, but not too wet. I see that the soils here can adapt to many different extremes.

    Don’t worry, it’s still raining tonight!

    Cheers

    Chris

  394. I’ve tried to keep up with comments before adding mine, but it has proved impossible. So let’s imagine today is a new day without any previous comments…

    Hello, JMG and commentariat.

    I’ve finished the first reading of the High Magic Doctrine, at the same time I am studying CosDoc. It might not have come as a surprise that they were discussing the same topics disguised in different stories. Where Dion Fortune talks about the forces that meet together and stabilize in the atom vortex, Levy talks about how science and religion supress each other. Both go on about how taking the clash to another plane would liberate the forces and multiply by itself.

    There are several topics in which I don’t share Eliphas Levy points of view, but I am curious as to what do our host specifically thinks is outdated knowledge. I remeber he talked about mesmerizing not being as useful as the author thought. Any others?

    Another thing that has intrigued me is how to make the difference between the mage and the occultist. The mystic is easy to recognize: mostly prayers and trying to act and think in benefit of everyone. My father was a left hand path mystic: the solitary drunk monk, though I suspect it was just a way to justify to himself his vices. The mage makes rituals which give him power, but he also needs knowledge and wisdom, so meditation and free will (aided by divination) is needed, which means lots of hard and boring work, but they pay off. In Levy’s words, the mage improves oneself so he may be able to make wonders. But how does the occultist work? Does he purposedly talk in metaphores all the time? Or is it that, by reading and understanding occult philosophy books, he gains the wisdom the other occultists were able to code? I am surely benefitting from this kind of wisdom in my daily social interactions, but I can’t picture myself obscuring my words purposedly.

    A final question. I see the nadir of involution as a metaphore for the worst moment in one person’s life, what we usually call a personal crisis. And it looks like the initiate must have been through it before he can begin the evolutionary arc. Well, I have had a few personal crisis, but I am not sure they have been the worst I am to experience. I don’t think it sage to purposedly seek a worse crisis in order to have something better to build on, since it would probably involve hurting people that I care about. So, even if what I think is my current nadir is not the real one, is it safe to keep on the evolutionary arc, trying to improve upon myself? Or is there something I am not understanding correctly?

  395. Just to continue my comment from last series of posts about the Pride marches. And I believe that what caused such a strong reaction in me is not so much particular sexual sins.

    But the attitude of Pride itself. Arrogance blocks off the possibility of repentance as the person with Pride wouldn’t consider said action wrong but would flaunt it in peoples faces.

    Of course if a person is ashamed of wrongdoing then its better than marching in a “Pride March”.

    Arrogance is the Chief sin of the Archenemy himself Satan who possesses no bodily appetites and which will lead to his downfall.

    I see this theme of the “Proud and Haughty” or those who say: “I am a God” that sets the God of Israel off:

    https://www.biblehub.com/bsb/ezekiel/28.htm

    With God then saying:

    “9Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’

    in the presence of those who slay you?

    You will be only a man, not a god,

    in the hands of those who wound you.

    10You will die the death of the uncircumcised

    at the hands of foreigners.”

    I don’t see Jesus endorsing those who are “Proud” but those who would humble themselves before him. Prostitutes and Tax collectors were eager to humble themselves to seek God’s mercy. Hence they got mercy.

    The Pharisees on the other hand were “Arrogant” Hypocrites that don’t actually follow their own teachings, Rules lawyering their way out of God’s Law . Hence Jesus was harsh with them. But said that their teachings are valid but not their personal actions.(Matthew 23:3).

  396. My crew and I went to pick up a free sofa that I found on craigslist, and discovered it was part of the liquidation of the estate of a 95 y/o lady who had passed recently. The sofa is very nice, but what might be of more interest here is that we also scored not one but TWO Royal brand manual typewriters! Lady asked $10 for one and gave us the other. I’ll need to source new ribbons but my town actually HAS a typewriter repair shop right in downtown. I might have passed them up if not for all the discussion here….

  397. Blessed Samhain to those who celebrate it!

    JMG, I was moved to start rereading The Twilight of Pluto last nigh, and just now noticed that it and The King in Orange (which I group together intuitively) have covers in orange and black respectively, the colors of the holiday. Significant? Well, both holiday and Pluto are ruled by Scorpio.

    I group them together because King pinpoints a turning point in our political history in the middle of the 2010s, and Pluto, a broader turning point in the history of the world, though very US-Centered.(Are planets discovered in the top dog nations of their times?) For what that’s worth.

    At any rate, now if the Samhain of the current world order. In which, when writing, I hear the cadences of Shakespeare’s Richard III, the first half of whose statement was the most significant and longest remembered. “Now is the winter of our discontent….” and no “glorious summer of this Son of York…..”

    (Not saying Ukraine is our Bosworth field. That may come later. Again, for what it’s worth. [And Richard III was a hard-luck king from beginning to end, try hard as he did to rule well. One wonders what his natal horoscope looked like.])

  398. JMG, you said, “Urogallus, “meritocracies” very quickly turn into ordinary oligarchies, as soon as the winners figure out how to game the system so their own children get the coveted spots.” I’d add that the winners don’t even have to game the system; their children will be healthier and better educated than average and so will pass any entrance critera in disproportionate numbers.

  399. Happy Halloween!

    Thanks to everyone who responded so far to my observations…

    @Bei Dawei: First, I’m a huge fan of Current 93 and David Tibet. I used to collect everything he put out, but it was kind of hard to keep up with the output, and I stopped buying as many records as I used to, though I still do collect music. Glad to hear you’ve found his work. It’s some amazing stuff. It’s definitely my favorite flavor of Gnostic folk music 😉 If you haven’t heard it yet, check out the albums by Nature and Organisation, composed by one of his collaborators, Michael Cashmore. Tibet “sings”, or decants/incants anyway, on a number of tracks, as does the lovely Rose McDowall. In fact, since it is Halloween, here is there cover of The Wicker Man song, with Rose:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4-_h-le7Nw

    Though my favorite from that record is Tears for an Eastern Girl, or
    Bonewhiteglory all from the album Beauty Reaps the Blood of Solitude.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3_ZINfdEPQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WHx8dNGAmc

    My favorite Current 93 records are probably: Earth Covers Earth, Thunder Perfect Mind, Of Ruine or Some Blazing Star, and All the Pretty Little Horses. There are some really good other albums though, lots of them! ( https://current931.bandcamp.com/ )

    (Let me know if you get into Nurse With Wound, David Tibet’s best friend Steven Stapleton’s surrealist music project. That’s one of my other favorite musical projects. Stapleton produced a lot of the first decades of Current 93’s music.)

    One more Current 93 song for