Open Post

September 2020 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 long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic.

One thing before we get started — the Kickstarter campaign to fund Vintage Worlds 2 and 3, the forthcoming anthologies of science fiction set in the Old Solar System of rocket ships, ray guns, Martian swordsmen, Venusian jungles, and other planets loaded to the bursting point with alien critters, is 90% of the way to full funding…with 48 hours to go. It’s turning into a real nailbiter for everyone involved in the project!  If you haven’t already kicked in something to support this project, please consider doing so now!  You’ll find the Kickstarter page, with a full description of the anthologies, here.

**Update: thank you, everyone, for your support! The Kickstarter closed this morning, having cleared its funding goal with more than $1100 to spare. Charge your blasters and strap yourselves in — we’re headed for the Old Solar System!***

With that said, have at it!


  1. Hi John Michael,

    Are the Buddhist teachings on reincarnation compatible with the Druid teachings on the matter? Here is a quote from Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche that explains Buddhist thoughts on the matter pretty well:

    “The Buddhist position on rebirth, on the contrary, is based on the so-called middle view, which avoids these two extremes, namely, the denial of the continuation of consciousness or mind altogether, and the positing of an immutable psychic principle (atman or soul, or some other descriptor of a greater self). According to the Buddha, both body and mind are subject to continual change, and so even at death what is transferred from one life to the next is not an unchanging psychic principle, but different psychic elements all hanging together, samskaras—memories, various impressions, and so on, none of which is unchanging in itself.”

    Also, are the Buddhist teachings of no-self/no-soul in anyway compatible with Druid teachings on the individuality? I have found Buddhist meditation techniques to be most effective for me, but I have a fear that I’ll “kill” my soul if I take these techniques too far. Have you ever thought about what the after-death state would be for a advanced meditator who had achieved some degree of awakening and had untied the knot of self, most commonly found in the head? This is part of the Buddhist end goal, and it seems to me like it would eradicate the individuality. What do you think?

  2. Luke, one of the standard gambits of Buddhist rhetoric consists of cherrypicking extreme views to make the Buddhist view seem reasonable, and this is a good example of that. No Western teaching considers the soul to be immutable — how could it be, when it’s constantly being affected by the moral and noetic dimensions of its own experiences? From a Druid standpoint — or for that matter from a broader Western occult standpoint — it’s quite true that the soul of the individual is subject to constant change, in life and death, but that hardly denies the existence of a soul — just of the straw-man “immutable soul.” If there is no soul, what is there to change? It’s like the bit in Alice in Wonderland where the Cheshire cat vanishes but its smile hovers there after it, all by itself…

    That said, relax; you can’t kill your soul, any more than you can make yourself grow a hundred feet tall. Your personality, the thing you think of as “me,” is the current expression of your individuality, the real you, which endures from life to life and evolves personalities as part of its age-long process of growth, and your explorations in Buddhism are part of that process. That said, if you find the Buddhist insistence on erasing the personality unwelcome, there are many other spiritual paths and many other kinds of meditation you can take up, you know.

  3. JMG, I remember a while back you commented on the possibility that rap could foreshadow the next great form of epic poetry during the upcoming dark age. While not particularly a fan of rap, I thought you and the commentariat might get a kick out of this.

    It’s a Finnish vocal group performing a live improvised rap battle of readings from the Kalevala. From one form of epic poetry to another! (This is my first attempt at inserting a link, so I have my fingers crossed that I managed it! Just in case I didn’t, here’s the link as text:

  4. JMG,

    On the theme of Pluto that we all love, do you think that the general concept of the political “Left” is fundamentally Plutonian, and has little mileage left in the 21st Century? After all, the left only seem to be able to define themselves in opposition to any sense of normality or healthiness.

    I have to say that I just can’t see where they can go to once the myth of progress finally collapses. Every time they lose, they just double down on their existing beliefs and intensify their existing behaviors.

    They also only seem to have emerged during the 20th Century, and seem to be as characteristic of that century as automobiles and radios, so I can’t see them adapting to the very different conditions that will emerge during this century.

  5. For whoever asked about teleconferencing affecting the etheric body, I have the same problem!


    Do you have any idea why this week’s Magic Monday turned into a Pluto special? I got around to reading it on Tuesday, and found that it actually crystallized certain ideas I’ve had on the matter.

    The reason I’m quite interested in Pluto right now is that over the past few months (since March, give or take) I’ve experienced a massive reduction in his influence; nothing in my progressed chart, returns, or transits suggest this, so I’m a little curious what’s going on. It feels good, but it is somewhat disorienting, so I’m trying to get a sense of what is leaving and what possibilities it opens up for me.

    The fact someone else noticed something similar gives me pause: I’d assumed it was because I’ve made conscious decisions to walk away from a lot of Plutonian things, but if other people are feeling it, I suppose it’s possible it might be Pluto. Is there an easy way to tell if the difference is with me or if Pluto faded out quite a bit over the past few months?

    If the latter then things might get very colourful indeed in the months ahead…..

  6. JMG When can we expect an astrological update on the state of the nation? I always look forward to them, finding your perspective quite valuable. Thanks.

  7. I’ve now read all the Haliverse novels. I seem to notice and appreciate bits of them that others don’t, so thought I’d share this. In Arkham Owen and…someone…are escaping the Radiance through the Dreamlands. They’re on a path beside a stream bed that is described as looking like it only sees water once every million years. It’s a one-sentance description, but that kind of deep time appeals to me. I already had a story in my head about deep time, and this gave me another.

    I imagined what if someone made a spiritual path of waiting for the water. Anyone who did this would have to be either extremely long lived, or the stuck kind of dead. They set up their hermit hut next to the stream, pray, meditate, perform austerites. Occasionally they’d go on pilgrimages, both upstream to where the water will eventually come from, and downstream where it will go. Study the stream bed and become so intimately familiar with it, you could drop them blindfold into it hundreds of metres either direction of their hut, and they’d almost immediately know where they were. Maybe over time a few other passers-by would hear the call and join the long vigil. Then after countless ages of dedication, the water arrives, the stream comes to life. The rituals planned, dreamed of, and yearned for over millenia are performed, and they achieve their apotheosis.

    Your books take me to some strange places. 🙂

  8. Hi JMG,

    In one of your books, you discuss the tendency of individuals and organizations to insert themselves into a financial transaction between two people in order to siphon off some of the money. You gave this tendency a name and I now cannot remember what you called it. I’ve looked in your books and cannot find it. Can you please re-enlighten me as to the name you used to describe it? Thanks!

  9. The Dalai Lama has something relevant to say with respect to the first question (and response).

    “Since there are different types of people in the world, we need different types of religion. Let me give you one example of this. At the beginning of the 70s, an Indian engineer showed a keen interest in Buddhism and eventually became a monk. He was very sincere and a very nice person. Then one day I explained to him the Buddhist theory of anatman, the theory of no-self or no-soul, and he was so frightened by it he was shaking all over. If there really was no permanent soul, then he felt there was something very fundamental missing. He was literally shivering all over. I found it very difficult to explain the meaning of anatman to him; it took months. Eventually his shivering grew less and less. So, for such a person, it is better to practice a teaching that is based on atman, or a belief in the soul.

    “If we are aware of all of these points,[1] then it is very easy to respect and appreciate the value of traditions other than our own.”

    Earlier he had written, among other things:

    “Whether or not we like the philosophy of other religions isn’t really the point. For a non-Buddhist, the idea of nirvana and the next life seems nonsensical. Similarly, to Buddhists the idea of a Creator God sometimes sounds like nonsense. But these things don’t matter; we can drop them.”

  10. Greetings JMG and wishing all a joyful Mabon!

    I’ve been reading your blogs for several years, since before the last Presidential election, but it’s a long time since I commented on here. I’m now using a more anonymous ID because I’m a liberal wary about what increasingly illiberal other liberals might say about commenting on a somewhat conservative blog.

    Questions for both JMG and the commentariat:

    On the West Coast, are many people moving away from the region yet because of forest fires, or who are planning to? I was surprised not to hear more about this last year. Or is it getting difficult to sell homes in the area?

  11. John–

    A scattershot of items:

    First, an energy analysis I got this morning from the EIA that you might find of interest, 2020Q2 financial review of global oil and natural gas industry.

    Second, re the current election season, I continue to see the polling margins focused on at the expense of the rather large percentages of “undecideds” in the key states that will ultimately decide the outcome. Biden +5 means something different at 52-47 (1% undecided) than it does at 49-44 (with 7 % undecided). And a lot of the key states are in that latter situation. And re a prior conversation on Nate Silver on the other blog, I did find the detail where he develops the state-level inputs for the simulations and yes, he does indeed assume a uniform distribution with respect to the undecideds, splitting them evenly. Statistically, this is valid (or, at least, a standard approach in the literature: in absence of information, the uniform distribution is the standard go-to), but it is nonetheless an assumption. If the undecideds are in any way skewed (as they turned out to be in 2016, massively), then the results are going to be impacted significantly. More to the point, this treatment of the undecided camp disguises a high degree of uncertainty that isn’t going to be reflected accurately in his simulation analysis.

    Third, I had a rather bizarre dream last night where I was filling my car at a gas station and former-President Obama was doing the same right next to me. We got into a conversation about the election and foreign policy and I was trying to explain to him why I didn’t vote for Clinton in ’16 and why I was going to vote for Trump this time. He was getting visibly upset, but I woke up before he responded to my comments. (I remember saying, too, “I realize that getting into a debate on foreign policy with a former president isn’t the wisest thing to do, but…”) I have no idea if this is just my own psyche babbling or one of Jung’s veins of the collective unconscious, but it was vivid.

  12. @JMG

    A few points:

    1) You have written about climate change as being true, in the sense that, to quote you: “…dumping trillions of tons of GHGs into a delicately balanced atmosphere is going to have some effect for sure”. To summarise your stance on climate change, what you’re basically saying is that it’s definitely qualitatively true, but the models used to forecast climate change are not very reliable, given that the atmosphere is a chaotic and complex system, and attempts to make precise quantitative predictions about such systems using models is not a very good idea. I suppose that the same argument can be made in the case of GMOs with even more force, couldn’t it? I mean, playing around with complex systems, especially those which are not well-understood, is even more risky than simply making quantitative predictions of the weather, isn’t it?

    2) I know you’re not into videos, so I’ll summarise this video here: (I’ve included this video link as reference only)

    Basically, this video shows a Japanese factory making small bulbs/lights using an expensive robot which cost 15 million yen. One of the senior people at the factory, a certain Mr. Yamada, developed a much smaller and simpler machine called ‘karakuri’, which costs a thirtieth of the robot arm, and eliminates the wasted motion of the robotic arm, while possessing the same assembly capabilities. The video ends with the narrator saying that Mr. Yamada has developed quite a few such simplified machines.

    A nice example of intermediate technology, don’t you think?

  13. Greetings JMG

    How much, do you suppose, of Kelley’s scried responses/ instructions were colored by Dee’s aspirations on behalf of the British Crown? I haven’t read Dee’s diaries, but I’ve listened to Jason Louv talk about this in some interviews. The Angels seem very interested in establishing a British Empire… Which turned out to be a mixed blessing at best.

    Are these particular Angels inept; vastly out of touch with human nature; not interested in the suffering of indigenous populations and other living beings in the colonies; something else? Our food they just use Kelley to tell Dee what he really wanted to hear?

    Been wondering about this.

    Thanks in advance.

  14. SquirrellyJen, funny! And a glimpse at things to come…

    Logan, I think it’s necessary to differentiate the current Plutonian left from the Neptunian left — old-fashioned Socialists et al. with typically Neptunian pie-in-the-sky theories — and the Jovian left — even older-fashioned classical liberals. I expect the latter two groups to be around to clean up the mess left behind by the Plutonian left, which should be deader than a doornail within a couple of decades at most.

    Kevin, I’m not at all sure why things went all Pluto in Magic Monday, but it was a fun conversation. As for Plutonian influence waning in your life, have you checked your transits and progressed chart to see if there’s an astrological reason for that? That would be my first go-to…

    Marc, I wasn’t planning on one until the 2021 Aries ingress, since the 2020 Aries ingress applies for an entire year. On the off chance you’re interested and have some spare change, I post quarterly reports on the astrology of the US and four other countries on my SubscribeStar and Patreon accounts, for a very small monthly fee.

    Yorkshire, thanks for this! The perspective of deep time is central to Lovecraft’s fictive vision, and so also to the Haliverse — it’s a great way to put human beings in their proper place. Your hermit would fit right in!

  15. Hi JMG,

    Forgive me if you’ve already addressed this in other writings, or if this question falls too far outside your realm of expertise:

    In the nadir of our approaching Dark Age (let’s say 300 years from now), what type of firearms do you expect to be in production? 20th Century-level semi and fully-automatic weapons (perhaps lacking the current integration of plastics into those platforms), none at all, or something in between (perhaps 18 and 19th Century-level muzzle-loaders)? Perhaps it’s an open question, and contingent upon what investments are made by organizations and individuals into the expertise and materials needed to maintain the technology?


  16. On my birthday an offer we made on a house was accepted. The home is an older home in a historic neighborhood in a medium sized university town, about 1000 miles from here. We made the offer sight unseen, and I am going up this weekend for inspections, and to see it for myself. We have made other offers, none that worked out, and I wanted to try to move before the election, right now we should close on October 30th if everything works out.

    Does anyone have any advice for inspecting the property and moving? Perhaps some readings? I have lived here for 22 years but never felt at home here, but even so, this is very scary. It’s something I have wanted for a very long time, and I am risking career and financial health to do it, but I don’t feel at ease here.

    Any suggestions on making this transition easier really appreciated.

    Thank you.

  17. Hi John,

    A possible future theme: What if the Faustians got their wish? What if we discovered “free energy”, what if we eliminated resource scarcity through, for example, nanoscale engineering of a common material like silicon. What if it became possible to transfer consciousness to a cloned male or female body in response to gender dysphoria? What if all material obstacles to well being were overcome? And what if these breakthroughs, along with spacefaring activities like asteroid mining, made possible the physical survival of this Faustian civilization for several more millennia? Would human flourishing be helped or hindered? In brief, does the Faustian approach succeed on its own terms?

    On the future of rap: I see rap being increasingly polyrhythymic, finally catching up with Africa. I also see rap being integrated with other forms. The creative space of the musical genre is not yet filled. The next steps after the foreshadowings of “Hamilton”: a musical with one character singing soaring melodies with sustained notes while another character raps a vigorously rythymic base line. Characters moving from speech to rap to melody back to rap, with variations in rythym as well. In short a musical that incorporates the full palette.

  18. Since the last open post, I have read British journalist Ed West’s new book “Small Men on the Wrong Side of History” based on his views on the contributing factors to cultural conservatisms history, present, and fate. It is, IMO, far more comprehensive and insightful than his blog posts which in my opinion read like a conservative version of grievance studies: Cherry-picking moments in history to show your group as being under relentless persecution.

    He notes at one point how, “But then, although Gramsci is seen as some Svengali-like manipulator-genius by conservative opponents, in reality progressive domination was something that mainly happened because of rising living standards, technology, education and greater freedom – the latter, of course, partly thanks to Tory and Republican governments” (West, p. 130)

    As you have mentioned before Mr. Greer, you are very much a “fringe intellectual”. If all four of these elements continue to grow in the foreseeable future, cultural progressivism likely will continue to grow in strength. With the exception of the first of those elements (rising living standards will decrease due to climate change), what other mainstream intellectuals can you think of who think the latter three will also decrease in the future? That’s why I find you interesting Mr. Greer. Because what mainstream thinkers believe that the Internet of 2065 will be as accessible as the Internet of 1990 or that higher education will come to a dramatic crash in the next year or even the next ten years forcing many of its inhabitants to toil alongside the Mike Rowe demographic, or that “greater freedom” will be imperiled by peak oil making railways and waterways the main mode of transport again? Not many, I believe. In such a case, cultural conservatism will likely grow in strength in the future.

  19. @ Mr. Burgess –

    For what it’s worth, the south node over the past few weeks just now conjoined both the ascendant of the Pluto demotion chart and Pluto’s own position in that chart. Could also be the Saturn-Pluto conjunction manifesting as “Saturn suppressing Pluto” in your life.

  20. Hi John – two things


    Hi John,

    I know this is a bit of a taboo subject, but I believe it’s important, so I’ll bring it up – I’ve been thinking a lot about sex magic recently. This is an extension of a broader process that’s been happening where my magical development has proceeded enough that it has recontextualized everything in my life. My life of these crazy aha moments but I digress.

    I don’t have much of a synthesis yet, but here are a scattershot set of things that have occurred to me. This line of thought started when I spontaneously saw the middle pillar during the act, with my partner as malkuth.

    Another interesting note is how shibari (Japanese bondage) represents a manifestation of the magical principle of using constraints to act upon a thing.

    It’s become clear to me that essentially any porn is sex magic, and like all magic there are right hand and left hand versions (it just happens that, like with most things, the money is in more and more degenerate left hand manifestations). I believe there is a massive opportunity for a once in a generation artist in the space – the medium is highly powerful, and highly unexplored. I imagine that a well filmed, well constructed right hand path sex ritual would, for example, be a very powerful piece media magic.

    Other random thought – it’s become clear to me that sex magic is incredibly important for the creation of children, and the disenchantment of modern life has much to do with our problems bearing children. Powerful sex = powerful kids. I would hypothesize also that sex after conception remains vitally important for the development of the fetus, as each act would provide informational / energetic transfer. Child bearing is possibly THE most powerful mode of manifestation we have access to – of course it is magical!

    Do you feel that discussion of sex magic is still greatly choked off? It seems to me that it is one of the magical disciplines still cloaked in secrecy (likely because of its power?).

    I’m excited to one day attempt to find a synthesis between my musical / theatrical interest and sex magic ritual – feels near peak magical tech to me.

    I assume there are right hand teachers of this stuff – they’re just hard to find.

    Do you have any advice about exploring this in the meantime? I assume doing any of this stuff with uninitiated partners is unwise and likely unethical. Also, it’s easy to f*** yourself up with powerful things.


    Do you have any opinion on rw vs Thoth? I started with rw, which is nice because the symbolism is pretty clear, but I don’t find it very evocative. On the other hand, Thoth is very cryptic, but to me, absolutely beautiful, so I was thinking of switching over. Also, in switching over, can I make direct correspondence between princess – page etc?

  21. Adding to my previous comment:

    How do you think Thoth would serve as a meditative aid for the tarot meditation practice you laid out in your book of magical training?

  22. Thanks John Michael,

    Although the way I understand Buddhism, erasing the personality is one of the first fetters in the 10 fetter model of awakening, and realizing the non existence of the self/soul/individuality is a fetter that comes undone later. The Buddhists use odd words to describe the fetters I have described and will not sound as cut and dry to someone looking them up. I’m basing my interpretation on a pragmatic dharma teacher (I think Culadasa, but it’s been awhile since I read my explanation, sorry for the lack of sources.).

    But to say it again, I believe Buddhists ultimately want to realize the nonexistence of self/soul, and not just personality which makes me worry. Undoing the personality would be welcome. I’m wondering if this is in anyway compatible with Druid/western occult teachings? Sorry if I’m being obtuse.

    I’m mainly into Buddhism for the altered states of consciousness (Jhanas) their meditative techniques map out. I don’t really have much desire to incorporate their no-soul/self teachings, mainly because I have no idea what their end goal entails for the afterlife (emptiness something something). Descriptions of that goal are incredibly hard to decipher.

    I apologize if this comes across as word salad.

  23. JMG,
    As I am sure your noticed the recent batch of wildfires here in Oregon were quite apocalyptic. I have lived here my entire life and have never seen anything like it .both in terms of size, smoke coverage or infrastructure damage. A couple of towns near your old hood (Phoenix and Talent) were reduced to ashes in the blink of an eye. Despite some news to the contrary, the various sources of ignition were not what was important here. The real issue is that we had 5 days of strong, dry westerly winds at the end of a dry summer. Never before have we had a wind event like this, and from this direction. My (non expert) belief is that it was related to the extreme cold weather event that happened at the same time in the Rockies. The key takeaway for me is that climate change can affect humans in different and unexpected ways. I also think that the rebuilding ( or lack of it) that will occur afterward will be a significant symbol of how we are in the middle of the next stair step down in catabolic collapse. I am convinced that most of these places, especially the down-at-the-heels mill towns in the Santiam and McKenzie canyons will not be rebuilt to any significant extent. The reasons for this will be several but they will add up to a society that no longer has the extra resources of income to recover from such an event.

  24. The end of “The Left” has been confidently predicted since at least the middle of the 1980s, not least by liberals such as Clinton, Blair and Schroeder, who took over parties with leftist (at least) traditions in the 90s, and gutted them. The inevitable happened, and as electorates realised they had been had, these parties started to fall apart. Today, parties of the so-called Left are in decline everywhere, and in some cases (France) have effectively disappeared and in others (Germany) seem about to. In the UK and the US, the bizarre nature of the electoral system has kept alive parties which should have been replaced years ago. Parties of the extreme Right have picked up support, because they are the only political forces which make a pretence, at least, of listening to the concerns of ordinary people.
    Lots of long-time leftists like me see this as an opportunity. Liberalism is now effectively dead, with its elitist, modernist, fanatically individualist ideology, encompassing everything from MBAs and financialisation at one end, through privatisation, performance measurement and shareholder value, to IdPol quotas and the worship of subjectivity at the other.
    Only when the debris has been cleared away, will it be possible to replace the current It’s All About Me, with the Left’s traditional It’s All about Us. Most people, if questioned, would prefer to live in a society which pursues the collective good and looks after everybody, rather than one where the wealthy and powerful exploit the rest of us, and allow a few carefully selected individuals into their ranks from time to time to give an appearance of diversity. Liberalism has succeeded in holding back this tendency for decades now, which, indeed, was always its way of working; keep the existing structures of power intact while offering bread and circuses to keep the populace distracted. There is nothing that Liberals feared more than the genuine Left.
    The coming destruction of the Democrats in the US and the Labour Party in the UK, will open the door to the possibility of a return to the Politics of Us, rather than the Politics of Me. I don’t know what astrology says about this, but many on the Left see this as a transitional moment.

  25. JMG, before you commented on how the Age of Aquarius is represented by the two zigzag streams moving in harmony with each other, and you implied that one stream represents the earth, and the other stream represents the region of the summer stars. What do the summer stars represent? I looked on duckduckgo and only astronomical results showed up, nothing to do with the astrological meaning of the summer stars? Thanks.

  26. JMG,

    “Kevin, I’m not at all sure why things went all Pluto in Magic Monday, but it was a fun conversation.”

    Pluto stations direct in a week or so. Planets are generally intensified when they are stationary.

    In other news, a well known left-leaning astrological magician was in the occult Twitter news recently for cursing 66 political targets. Do you believe that, as per the raspberry jam principle, the backlash to all this cursing would be cumulative or is it less to do with the number of curses than it is to do with the cursing itself?

    What is with all of these occultists who seem to have decided cursing is a good idea recently?


  27. On this week’s Magic Monday, an anonymous commentator mentioned an article in their local news, which gave, shall we say, rather lackluster reviews to 5G wireless. For many reasons, I see that public recognition as a really hopeful sign, and would love to see exactly how (and where) this is being presented. If you’re reading (or if anyone else has seen similar local press), would you be so kind as to post a link to the article, or send it to me privately? Thanks!

  28. Are their any natal chart comparisons to the grand mutation that could indicate how an individual will fare, what aspects will be challenging, etc? Maybe looking at the transits on Dec 21?

  29. Fellow Ecosophians and JMG,

    Here is a discussion of why Joe Rogan is so despised by other so-called liberals and progressives. (Brief written summary is here, full interview is here

    I’m sure after all these years of being right, JMG doesn’t need to collect any more confirmatory evidence for his assessments of American life, and no doubt I’m preaching to the Ecosophian choir by posting this, but I thought it might amuse others as it did me.

    Spoiler: The answer to why liberals hate Rogan is simply CLASS. Rogan is proudly working class (albeit hugely wealthy now), and in contemporary America that means he’s a “deplorable.” Never mind that he’s quite liberal politically, never mind that he has an audience reach that the party could use to its benefit, the Democrats don’t want any of us scumbag poor people stinking up the joint. What gave me a chuckle about the interview is that while Greenwald and Mesrobian make many salient points, they never dare to say the word “class.” I don’t know if they’re avoiding it because it’s politically incorrect, or if they really don’t see that what they are struggling to fit under the rubric of “culture war” is what has traditionally been referred to as class war.

    I’ve lived in four geographically- and culturally-disparate parts of the US: California (northern and southern), southeast Texas, Minnesota, and now Appalachian Ohio. Some of my California family are relatively affluent so-called liberals, and their naked hatred toward the poor and working class is only eclipsed by their total ignorance of life outside their bubble. I’ve tried to share some alternative perspectives gleaned from my life in flyover country but they shout me down and tell me I need to move back to California (as if I could afford to!) and “get away from those losers.” Guess who was the only one who predicted Trump’s election in 2016? You might think that would give me some credibility, at least as a sort of “deplorable”-whisperer, but I’m the family Cassandra. Oh well, pass the popcorn…

  30. JMG, I have another question. In your reincarnation post you say you can become aware of the individuality by following back sight awareness of an object to your center, the thing that is aware of seeing. This to me sounds like awareness of awareness, or metacognition. Would you agree? My gut says yes, but I have a tendency to second guess myself.

    Everyone, How does teleconferencing your alls etheric body? I teleconference all day and never thought of this. Although I do frequent cold exposure, which might mitigate effects. I don’t see the original comment on this topic and the browser search only shows the first response on the subject.

  31. Aethon, I was born in California and have lived here all my life (nearing 70 years.)

    1. California is a big place. What might be true in one part of the state doesn’t hold true everywhere.

    2. My daughter and her family live in Northern California and have been significantly affected by the fires for the last several years. They are now looking for another place to live, possibly on the East Coast.

    3. I live on the Central Coast and have been minimally affected by fires. The smoke clears and life goes on. I have been through earthquakes, floods, fires, drought, real estate crashes and booms…and you know what? Life goes on. California may seem to be a “basket case,” but we will rebuild and weave new baskets.

    “If you let yourself be blown to and fro,
    You lose touch with your root.
    If you let restlessness move you,
    you lose touch with who you are.”

    (Tao te Ching, Ch. 26, tr. Stephen Mitchell)

    4. Where I live, homes are selling very well. California real estate is known for being cyclical. The state’s population growth rate has been slowing due to migration away from big cities and high real estate prices.

  32. David, by the lake:

    I am leaning toward a Jungian take on your dream. A similar image appears in Philip K. Dick’s 1974 novel, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said:

    “In his undelivered speech “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later,” Dick recounts how in describing an incident at the end of the book (end of chapter 27) to an Episcopalian priest, the priest noted its striking similarity to a scene in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible. In Dick’s book, the police chief, Felix Buckman, meets a black stranger at an all-night gas station, and uncharacteristically makes an emotional connection with him. After handing the stranger a drawing of a heart pierced by an arrow, Buckman drives away, but he quickly returns and hugs the stranger, and they strike up a friendly conversation. In Acts Chapter 8, the disciple Philip meets an Ethiopian eunuch (a black man) sitting in a chariot, to whom he explains a passage from the Book of Isaiah, and then converts him to Christianity.

    Dick further notes that eight years after writing the book, he himself uncharacteristically came to the aid of a black stranger who had run out of gas. After giving the man some money and then driving away, he returned to help the man reach a gas station. Dick was then struck by the similarity between this incident and that described in his book.”,_the_Policeman_Said

  33. I have a weird synchronicity to report this month, I picked up a cheap used copy of Jung’s _Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle_ an English translation as my German is certainly not good enough for the original. My goodness, he’s hard going even in translation. My vocabulary was stretched in the first 30 pages and his belief that the reader will be comfortable with lumps of Greek in the text makes it tough to follow his explanation.

    My enthusiasm had reached a bit of a nadir when I was given a copy of the Diary of Christopher Isherwood the volume covering the 60s. Isherwood wrote the Berlin novels which the film Cabaret was based on. I’m rather fond of his work and he really is the most gossipy diary writer I’ve ever come across.

    So Jung got laid aside as I dipped into the Isherwood life, and since the period covers the day of my birth eventually I turned to that. My eye fell on the entry of two days before – pretty much the point my mother went into labour. There’s a footnote from the editor explaining where the term ‘Synchronicity’ comes from and recommending Jung’s Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle as the book to read to learn more.

    I’ve taken this as an admonition to return to Jung. I’m saving Isherwood as a dessert.


  34. Hi JMG and Everyone,

    I’m going forward with starting a subscription library in my area (western Chicago suburbs) and I need book donations. My business address is Kimberly Steele Music, 625 East Ogden Avenue, Naperville, IL 60563 and my contact information is here:

    My hopes are to open the library within two years.

    It won’t be easy, but there is a severe need for it. The libraries in my area are missing the mark. The stacks get emptier all the time in favor of 3D printers and now-unused meeting rooms. Classics you would think should be automatically in stock such as Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath have to be inter-library loaned. The Theosophical Library is no better: they have closed to all but an online presence (it’s a huge space, so it makes zero sense) and they have no plans to reopen. I was going to go there this weekend. I prudently called my friend who has connections to the Theosophical Society first, and she told me their beautiful library is shuttered until further notice. This has put a fire under by butt to open a library for books only.

  35. Good day JMG!

    1. It seems like political matters are coming to a head these days between BLM protests, Covid economic issues, supreme court shenanigans and the extreme news being pushed by the various special interests for their various factions. Do you still feel that the US will be able to still avoid a civil war within the near future? At the very least, the fringe elements seems geared up for at least a “time of troubles” following the election.

    2. If you had a friend who’s gone totally in on the BLM historical narrative (America was built on slavery, white people today benefit from a rigged system, black americans are systemically oppressed and that Trump is evvvvil) are there any ways you could think of to even broach that topic and try to have a reasonable discussion? So far with this person, even disagreeing with some of those basic assumptions has netted me a whole lot of kickback and accusations of not being compassionate or understanding the plight of African Americans.

    3. What do you make of the apparent brokered peace accords between Israel and its sunni neighbors?

    4. Given your own experience with Tai Chi/Qigong, could we ever expect you to create a version tailored towards the druidic system?

    5. I’m a bit confused about the differences between entities like archangels vs the gods. Are these different types of beings entirely? Or is this more to do with the naming conventions of different systems/traditions?

    6. Are there any positives that you’ve been able to take away from the various monotheistic faiths? And if so, would you mind sharing that?

    Thanks for your time and energy!


  36. Chronojourner, the concept is “intermediation,” and it’s in Dark Age America. You can read the original posts discussing it here and here.

    Someone, one of the better habits of Buddhism is exactly that extension of “skillful means” into the realm of doctrine. They don’t take it as far as Druids, for whom doctrine is something to chat about around campfires when slightly drunk, but it’s a constructive step in that direction!

    Aethon, depends on where they are — the West Coast is a big place, you know. That said, outmigration from California has been picking up steadily for years — it’s had net outmigration since 1991 — and by all accounts it’s picked up dramatically this year, partly because of the fires, partly because conditions in the big cities have gotten so miserable.

    David BTL, thanks for these. I wonder if Obama had a parallel dream…

    Viduraawakened, (1) yes, very much so. The precautionary principle — don’t introduce a new technology until you have some idea what kind of damage it will do, and are prepared to have someone pay the costs — applies there as well. (2) Mr. Yamada is riding the wave of the future.

    Casey, it’s occurred to me more than once that the “angels” could actually have been less ethereal correspondents. Dee was up to his eyeballs in espionage, and he was intimately familiar with Johannes Trithemius’ Steganographia, which teaches (among other things) how to encipher secret messages to make them look like magical incantations. It’s possible that he was working with a network of pro-British agents, and using “angels” and the rest of it as protective cover…

  37. @David BTL I was wondering if anyone else saw that article. My husband breaks up his interminable covid-adapted highschool math classes with walking and social breaks. The classes are so long, he thinks they were engineered to make everyone hate school and leave. But, since he has to loosely justify that any discussion in his class breaks still fit curriculum- the kids are still being crammed full of the learning! he used that article for one discussion. “This article has something to do with math physics and maybe some of your other courses. I dunno. Discuss. You’re allowed to look things up on your phone.” 😂 ask your English teacher kids, I don’t know the difference between synedoche and metonymy either.

  38. JMG
    There has been discussion historically on this blog regarding social media and recently there was some discussion about working on change in the political parties. Two things have come up for me. One I just finished reading Jason Lanier’s book “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.” Jason is an inside techy with a strong opinion. If his observations about the toxicity of social media are correct it raises some very interesting questions about the effects of the current social media business plan in our culture. He identifies the issue being their business plan and not the internet itself. I thought what he had to say as being relevant to anyone thinking about political change long range. Here is a book review of the book.

    The second is that often there have been posts on this blog that have brought up QAnon. There were two editorials in the latest Wired magazine regarding QAnon. In them they identified QAnon as looking very much like some of the processes in on lime gaming. I have never been involved in gaming or online gaming so am not able to shed any light on the subject. But I found the editorials interesting and would love to hear comment from the commiteriate as there are people here who have been involved in the gaming culture. It struck me as potentially shedding light on what is going on. One particular thought I had was maybe it is a group using the attraction of gaming culture to gather insight into politically important trends or to actually drive some of those trends. It all struck me as potentially important in regard to shifts in our culture. Hopefully the two links below are not behind a pay wall. and

    I would love to know what you think.

  39. Below is a link to an article on the Russian population decline of almost 5% between 1992 and 2009. The author cites two books discussing possible reasons for the decline, eventually suggesting that the main factor behind the decline seems to be a lack of hope. I find the article particularly relevant at this time, with the ongoing pandemic and an apparent increase in deaths from murders, suicides, and other causes outside of the pandemic itself since it began. This potentially reflects a lack of hope due to the severe economic consequences of the response to the pandemic, as well as the possibility that other aspects of the ongoing decline are beginning to be more broadly perceived, per some of the articles others have linked to over the past several months. You have written about a demographic decline as part of the overall decline process; this may be an early indication of it.

  40. There was brief discussion on magic monday about symbols to meditate on for people worried about Canada breaking up. I put forward for consideration, the Canada Goose:

    In the bay near my house, I was recently told this story by a woman who lives next to the beach: there has been a goose couple who breed there every year, and lose every gosling to the eagles and osprey who also nest there. This year was the first year in her memory that they all lived. Goose mama paraded them all up and down in front of the seawall, like she wanted all the people to see.

  41. If I may weigh on on the Buddhist discussion going on above; Luke, ect.

    (1) In my humble view, it seems that most Westerners are almost completely uninformed, misinformed and ignorant of what authentic Buddhism actually is. In my deep canvassing of the various Buddhist traditions, I have learned the ‘shocking’ truth that the Buddha never in fact taught “there is no Soul!” That’s right, he never denied the soul. Rather he taught using the ‘via negativa’ method whereby he identified everything that is “not the Soul” in the same manner a physician uses process of elimination to cross off all the things he has found that are not the cause of the disease he is trying to cure. “Such and such is not the soul” is the true meaning of Anatta/Anatman, which in the original Nikayas/Agamas, is always used as an adjective. and never as a noun. It only became a dominant meme within many of the monastic communities that the Buddha somehow affirmatively taught the nonexistence of Soul. In fact, the Buddha usually avoided making any sort of affirmative statements, specifically on the affirmative ontological status of this or that.The problem is, that it’s almost impossible to make a concrete religion out of a doctrine lacking in ontological truth claims; and thus the monks had to settle on one position or another, and many of them defaulted to the nihilist/annihilationist position (which ironically the Buddha himself said was a wrong view), perhaps out of some dreadful fear that saying something is real leads to unhealthy attachment, or something along those lines. Ultimately, according to the texts directly attributed to his teaching mission, the Buddha taught that his methods were the means of purifying one’s Citta (Nous in Greek) of defilements, until a state of purity and liberation is reached. Citta/Nous is in fact the reincarnating ego that embarks on a spiritual path. Denial of this would seem to make any religion or spiritual path utterly pointless.

    (2) Fortunately, several of the philosophical schools within Mahayana Buddhism went ahead and plugged u[p this gaping hole. In the Nrivana Sutra, which is regarded by several East Asian Mahayana sects as being the most imporant, the Buddha very clearly states that the ‘Buddha Nature’ (referred in in the tradition as tathāgatagarbha and buddhadhātu) found within every being is in fact the Atman/Soul. The Buddha Nature is synonynous with the ‘Divine Spark’ of the Gnostics, the Atman of the Vedantist Hindus, and the Soul of the Platonists. The Tathāgatagarbha approach to Mahayana IMHO constitutes an elegant Monist doctrine that is on par with Advaita Vedanta and Neoplatonism. In fact, I’d say it’s fully compatible with those systems. And this dovetails nicely with my own religious approach with is basically Neoplatonism with Bodhisattvas and an interpretation of of Mahayana Sutras that complements this approach..We could perhaps call this “Western Mahayana” and broadly an East-West hybrid religion HP Blavatsky and her associates were aiming to birth into reality (with very mixed-to-underwhelming results,IMO). Reading the Lotus Sutra, it became quite apparent to me that “the Buddha” is ultimately a metaphor for a liberated Divine Spark. There’s countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas referenced in these texts. Though the ‘Ultimate Buddha’ seems to be something tantamount to the Parabrahman (Hinduism), the One (Neoplatonism), Ain Sof (Kabala)

    Finally, I have to reiterate that most Westerners are almost completely uninformed, misinformed and ignorant of what authentic Buddhism actually is, particularly East Asian Mahayana. The kind of pseudo-Buddhism that is marketed to affluent (and usually depressed, in my view) Westerners, are the schools which emphasize ’emptiness’ as an ultimate end, and a nihilistic doctrine that denies the Soul, i.e. something that appeals to atheistic/secular Westerners who are rebelling against their own Christian and Jewish backgrounds. And of course the Asian Buddhist authorities who get the most press time in the West are those teachers who embrace nihilism. Most Westerners have never heard of Buddha Nature, much less Buddhist teachers who are not the Dalai Llama (who is the head of just one of the Tibetan schools) or one of the small handful of teachers the West knows of. I regard the nihilistic direction many popular variants of Buddhism took over the last 1000 years to be one of the greatest travesties of world religion ever to occur in the historical record; perhaps second to what Constantine did when he weaponized the most dumbed-down version of Christianity and set into place its use as a hyper-belligerent totalitarian state ideology.

    JMG, I apologize for what may come off as an impassioned rant.

  42. In regards to the themes for Magic Monday, I sometimes observed the first or the second question having to do with things that I significantly thought during the week leading to that; enough times to stand out. After your article on synchronicity, I wondered if it’s something to do with the collective consciousness of readers who frequent your blog. My experience could be anecdotal without more data points. Anyone else?

    After the Pluto discussions, I got curious and wanted to explore my natal chart in depth. During the study, I picked out two aspects that had the most negative influence and meditated on what it meant. Skipping a few steps here, it boiled to a stubborn/controlling nature and lack of discipline/lethargy. I was looking for energies that worked well for me in order to help me with the negative aspects but decided to go down the Cos.Doc route. In one of your previous blogs, you spoke about binding energies and rising above them so they negate each other. I want to teach myself to be stubborn/controlling when it comes to tasks requiring disciple and laid back when it comes to needing to control. Hoping this is going to work well.

  43. Balowulf, it depends on the fine details of the decline from now until then. Flintlocks, certainly; in areas that have retained enough chemical expertise, percussion caps with brass cartridges, which means firearms on the order of the Springfield rifle and the Colt revolver will be well within reach. 21st century weapons? Almost certainly not, though that capacity will be recovered somewhere on the upslope.

    Aidan, thanks for these.

    Tude, above all else look for signs of water in the basement and the attic. You can repair those, but the sooner you know about them the better. As for moving, does your area have those portable containers that you load and unload yourself? People I know who’ve used them have had good experiences.

    David BTL, au contraire, it’s hilarious.

    Greg, such futures have been done not merely to death but all the way through the afterlife by reams upon reams of dreary science fiction novels. I can’t think of anything less interesting.

    Aidan, I know of no mainstream intellectuals who have even begun to deal with the possibility that progress may not merely be self-limiting but self-reversing.

    Jake, (1) alongside the left-hand path and the right-hand path, there’s also, ahem, the one-hand path, which results in nothing more edifying than sticky knuckles. When sexual activity focuses on nothing but temporary physical sensations, even if a partner is involved, you’re on the one-hand path. To transform pornography into sex magic you’d have to find a way to redirect the reactions of the audience toward something other than a state of arousal followed by hands in shorts and the like. Could it be done? Possibly, but such things have been tried in various media for quite a while now with mostly sticky-knuckle results. As for childbearing, of course — the evocation of a spirit into enduring material manifestation is a mighty work of magic — but the crucial ingredient that gets left out of it in most writings on the subject is, of course, love. The higher your awareness rises on the astral during the act, the higher a grade of soul you can attract into the working, and love resonates at a very high astral sub-plane. As for whether discussion of sex magic is choked off, no, not at all — ever since Crowley’s time, people have been babbling about it nonstop. (2) As for Tarot decks, you can certainly use the Thoth deck if it appeals to you. If you do, get Crowley’s book on it; he covers the symbolism fairly well, including the correspondences. And yes, you can use it for Tarot meditation.

    Luke, no, it doesn’t come across as word salad. I’m sorry my previous comment was unclear. No, the Buddhist notion of the erasure of the self is not compatible with Western occult teachings in any way, shape or form. My take, for what it’s worth, is that the Buddha meant exactly what he said — nirvana is in fact the extinction of the self, and the noble path to get there is an attempt at spiritual suicide, the one way to get out of suffering if you believe in reincarnation and you’ve decided that a universe that contains suffering is intolerable to you — and that for 2500 years or so, Buddhist teachers have basically been trying to finesse this. Still, I’m not a Buddhist, and I consider all four of the “noble truths” to be emphatically false.

    Kevin, interesting. You might check out Brendhelm’s comment above.

    Spork, thanks for this!

    Clay, whether or not the half-dozen arsonists who were arrested in Oregon for setting fires were representative of the broader cause, the fact that there was so much destruction does indeed come from the lethally dry weather and high winds brought by the unstable climate, and I think you’re quite correct that a lot of what burned will not be rebuilt.

    1Wanderer, good! I hope you’re not confusing modern Clinton/Blair pseudoliberalism for the old classical liberal tradition, which is quite a different matter — astrologically, one is Pluto and the other is Jupiter. A renewed classical liberalism that finds its way back to its former advocacy of universal civil rights and economic fairness, in place of the ideological intolerance and privileged “victim classes” of today’s neo-Stalinist left, would be a very useful counterbalance to the extremes that today’s rising populist conservatism will otherwise likely fall into.

    Merle, “the Region of the Summer Stars” is a term from Welsh mythology. It refers to the realm of ideal forms.

    N, it’s not a simple quantitative thing; it depends on a great many factors, such as intensity of effort and the degree to which the person in question intentionally blinds himself to the obvious stupidity of his choices. (When you deliberately turn away from what you know to be true, you lose the ability to know that it’s true, and have to work your way back to that ability the hard way.) As for the current fad for cursing, I find it incomprehensible. Ten years ago most of these people knew perfectly well that such a course of action was idiotic, and guaranteed to blow up in their faces. At this point I’m forced to draw on metaphors from Chambers’ The King in Yellow and hypothesize that once the King in Orange arrived on the scene, they literally lost their minds.

    Kyle, the Grand Mutation covers events for the next 199 years. You won’t see more than a small fraction of that! At most, you can treat it as an ordinary grand conjunction and see if any of the planetary positions at the moment of the Mutation makes aspects to anything in your natal chart.

    Alexandra, of course! Keep in mind that the comfortable classes have embraced a class identity that claims that they’re the good people, the compassionate people, the people who aren’t prejudiced — and they combine this with a degree of bigotry against working class people that compares with what Klansmen feel toward African-Americans or what Nazis feel toward Jews. Their own class bigotry is the one thing they can’t tolerate facing — and that’s why so many of them have wigged out so spectacularly over Trump, because he makes them become aware of how much seething hatred they have toward the class that they oppress.

    Luke, yes, but it has to go past simple metacognition. There’s a whole world on your side of the subject-object division, and metacognition is the first step toward experiencing it.

    Andy, too funny! One suggestion: read one page of Jung a day. He can be very, very heavy going.

    Kimberly, I’m delighted to hear it. Let me see what I can come up with.

    Andrew, (1) I see all that as the last gasp of a failing power structure, and expect it to grind to a halt very suddenly after November 3. (2) Your friend knows perfectly well that he’s shoveling smoke — that’s why he gets furious if you even try to talk about basic assumptions. People who are confident in their beliefs don’t scream insults when those beliefs are questioned. (3) It’s about time. The Sunni Arab world has enemies far more dangerous than Israel to contend with — Turkey and Iran have both dominated the Middle East at various points in the past — and making common cause with Israel against those rising powers is a smart move. (4) No, because I’ve seen qigong and Western occultism produce really bad reactions when combined. (5) That’s a very complex issue, enough for a post rather than a comment here. (6) I’m not at all sure what you mean by this. Perhaps you’ll humor someone with Aspergers syndrome and phrase the question another way…

  44. Buddhism is more about learning through doing than about learning through words. Words are used in Buddhism mostly to provoke/encourage doing what is necessary.
    Another way to say this is that Buddhism is not about teaching you about what you are _looking at_, but about shifting where you are _looking from_.

  45. @Laughing Sage

    That hybrid does sound interesting! ( and btw, why is that major religions seem to so often contrary to the teachings of their original founders? Sheesh).

    Do you have any recommendations on sutras or books from the Mahayana/Vajrayana compendium that you found to be useful or worth studying?

    Thanks for your impassioned post,


  46. Luke, if I may: My understanding (after a decade-plus as a Buddhist monk) is not that your individuality dies, it is that your view of yourself as an individual separately existing from other entities that are co-arising with you dies. The point of the training is for the parts of the individual that don’t contribute to universal well-being/enlightenment/what-have-you to fall away, and for the traits of the individual that do contribute to universal good to come forward. That’s why, in the Zen tradition I’m in, the history is full of strange and salty characters, who are in fact powerfully expressive individuals, precisely because they’re not trying to be anyone at all.

    Because the enormity of the eternally dynamic universal process that the person melts into is constantly changing–“Turning away and touching are both wrong, for it is like a mass of fire”–and is too complex for any one person to understand, Hindu and Buddhist mystics often use techniques that negate any guesses or strategies that a person might use: they end up saying “Neti, neti, neti,” “Not this, not this, not this.” Then, some puritanical people (of which there are plenty in religious circles, just as there are on both extremes of the political spectrum) get hold of the sages’ teaching–grab hold of the Cheshire cat’s smile, perhaps–and insist that no self at all exists, and that there is no soul. They are gnawing on and degrading the finger that is pointing to the moon, which is why many humane-minded people move away from religion as quickly as they can.

    I am aware of many movements in the Buddhist world that are remediating this, incorporating Jungian and other Western movements of soul with traditional practice. It’s an exciting time for this auspicious collision of cultures. Also, it’s not new. The Tantric movement which arose in Kashmir, Tibet, and many other parts of the Buddhist world was all about making use of the body’s energies and the potential of the individual in order to achieve liberation. Not surprisingly, tantra gave a prominent place to women, and put sexuality and emotions at the center of their practice, incorporating those energies as a means of transformation.

    So, it might make more sense to talk not about Buddhism but about Buddhisms, because there is no one thing you can say about a tradition that old that incorporates so many cultures and countries. I have a hunch you might like Reggie Ray, who bases everything he does on the lived reality of the body. He’s developed several series of courses which are easily available; one of them has been one of my go-to resources when it feels like it’s climb-the-wall time.

  47. To JMG and his knowledgable readers:
    Will Ioan Petru Culianu be part of the history of spirituality in America?
    Can you recomand the best book on Tarot Minor Arcana?

  48. Even a man as cynical as Ed West raises the possibility of “progress” being self-limiting in his last chapter:

    “We’re now two generations since birth control became available, which according to some is plenty of time to have a selection effect. 10 One study suggested those born after 2000 had very conservative views but it seems pretty dubious. 11 The liberal–conservative baby gap, however, has certainly grown in recent decades: for those born in the 1940s there was virtually no difference, but a generation later there is a one-child gap between the two ends of the political spectrum. 12 So long as marriage rates remain low the Left will have a huge advantage, but perhaps in the long-term conservatism always wins; socialist countries run out of money and liberal ones run out of people. Perhaps liberal societies, from a selection point of view, favour conservatives.”

    He also raises the prospect that a future decline of universities may undermine progressivism,

    ” Fertility is also related to education, another issue that will trouble the Left’s domination. Progressivism is boosted by the expansion of university places, especially in the humanities, because if you put loads of people together, allow them unlimited coffee and underwhelm them with a lack of productive work, they will become communists. But that can’t last forever, since the costs involved are staggering, and hard to justify when so few jobs actually require a degree. There is also a fair bit of evidence suggesting that expanded higher education is leaving more people poorer, less happy, less open-minded and less likely to have children. By 2017 US student debts totalled $1.5 trillion, and some 40 per cent of debtors are expected to default. 13 Meanwhile only 19 per cent of executive secretaries and executive assistants currently have a degree, yet 65 per cent of jobs demand one. 14 Some have argued for making college degree a protected characteristic under equality laws so employers can’t ask whether someone has one…”

  49. @JMG and Commentariate

    Got these quotes from Pitchfork

    “What if we were to constantly open up our daily paper and see a headline like ‘East Kentucky Man Shot Seven Times on a Fishing Trip?’” he asks. “What form of upheaval would that create? I’d venture to say if we were met with this type of daily attack on our own people, we would take action in a way that hasn’t been seen since the Battle of Blair Mountain in West Virginia. And if we wouldn’t stand for it, why would we expect another group of Americans to stand for it? Why would we stand silent while it happened?”

    He continues, “We can stop being so taken aback by Black Lives Matter. If we didn’t need to be reminded, there would be justice for Breonna Taylor, a Kentuckian like me, and countless others.

    Childers bypasses embarrassing hand-wringing and white guilt for a potent dose of solidarity. He rejects pearl-clutching complacency with caustic humor, aiming directly at the unearned pride that feeds ignorant prejudice.

    In a video explaining his intentions, Childers requests that his white, rural listeners empathize with the anxiety of Black Americans who live under the daily threat of police violence.


    Tyler is a big country folk star, young guy, in the same line as Sturgill Simpson. These articles seem to line up with the idea that white working class folks have commonalities with black working class folks when political agency is stripped away, as noted several times in this blog I believe. Although of course there is definite questions as to whether black lives matter has been co-opted completely at this point… I keep in my mind the initial push was for police reform.

    As a Canadian I am simply looking in from the outside, however I see this Artist as an outlier and perhaps an indication that solidarity is not out of play. I do very much enjoy the music when it’s time for an apple break at work. Proceeds of the newest album apparently going to an Appalachian based charity.

  50. @JMG

    “(6) I’m not at all sure what you mean by this. Perhaps you’ll humor someone with Aspergers syndrome and phrase the question another way…”

    My apologies for the question not being clear. How’s this for a reformulation.

    As a part of your religious/philosophical/spiritual learning, you’ve had to dive into the various monotheistic religions’ founding texts and downstream commentaries and traditions. While your conclusions very much differ from their Point of View, did you find anything of value for you personally? (As an example, did anything out of the Koran strike you as inspiring? Did you find the Psalms to be useful when constructing magic rituals or prayers? Etc etc)

    Thanks for all your responses,


  51. @JMG,

    Two questions for you:

    1) You’ve talked before about how the monotheistic religions get a lot of things right, with the big exception of thinking that the God their holy men made contact with is the only God that exists. It’s worth noting that the development toward monotheism didn’t happen all at once – i.e. early Hebrew prophets didn’t deny the existence of foreign Gods, but if the Israelites departed from Jahweh to serve them, they had basically committed adultery. So the question is: do you think that this gradual shift toward monotheism was driven by causes on the human side of things, or the divine side?

    2) In the Shoggoth Concerto, how much does Sho weigh?

  52. A few days ago, Rod Dreher posted an article titled “The Coming Social Credit System”. In it, he talks about China’s Social Credit System, which tracks individuals’ actions, both online and using facial identification, and maintains a kind of credit score based on their activities. You get awarded points for both genuinely pro-social as well as simply pro-Party behaviors, and have points deducted for anti-social and anti-Party behaviors.

    Then he links to a whitepaper arguing that similar social credit systems “will ultimately become a mainstream component of both business and public policy.” Imagine a Social Credit System run by Amazon, Apple, Google, and/or Microsoft, data mined and sold to other business and even governments use to reward or penalize you according to whatever criteria they choose.

    Dreher is an alarmist by profession, but not a crackpot. Companies basing hiring and promotion decisions based on parochial mores (e.g. having the wrong faith, going to the wrong parts of town) is as American as apple pie. What’s really worrying is the combination of (1) pervasive tracking, and (2) the concentration of economic power into the hands of a few giants in each industry, who all somehow have the same parochial mores.

    Long term, the Long Decline will sweep this away, but do you see any reason for shorter-term optimism on this subject?

  53. Since Pluto was again mentioned, I would like to ask, if I’m correct in assuming that, as Pluto fades out, a T-square between Saturn, Pluto and Venus in my birth horoscope would change into an ordinary Saturn-Venus opposition.

  54. Hi John

    1 What are thoughts on the future of our industrial healthcare systems and wider public health given pandemic, rising obesity and other diseases among the population of the developed world.

    2) Assuming you still think Trump will win, are you now thinking its more likely to be a close victory or a landslide? The Primary Model is forecasting a Trump landslide but other presidential election models seem to suggest its going to be very tight.

    My own view is that Trump is likely to win, probably narrowly, and the Trafalgar Group (probably the best pollsters out there and the only ones who factor in shy Trump voters) polling suggests Trump is ahead in Florida but behind Biden in PA stil.

    3) The reading I have done suggests that the virus fades away once between 15 to 20% of the population is infected. New York, London and Stockholm, all cities where infection rates hit 17% or so, seem to be ok so far. BOA have calculated that 12% of Americans have been infected by Covid which suggests America is not too far from effective herd immunity (probably by Spring 2021). Do you agree with that analysis?


    “We expect the situation to ease the moment a vaccine is ready for mass introduction, which is likely to happen at some point in 2021. The winter tourism season is definitely cancelled. We expect the summer tourism season in 2021 to resume partially, but at a subdued volume. Even if restrictions were lifted in the summer, we do not think that tourism revenues in Europe will reach 2019 levels for many years, if only because travel has become more bothersome. Tourism and hospitality have joined the media and cars as declining industries.”

    Finally, do you agree with Eurointelligence analysis above (for Europe)?


  55. Hi JMG and all. Recently I have been studying the pantheon of Aztec gods and goddesses and blundered onto a strange correlation between the Cosmic Doc, and an Aztec goddess named Coatlicue. I was looking at modern renderings of the Mexican Codexes by French artist named Gwendal Unguen on a website called Mexicolore, and the drawing of Coatlicue was accompanied by a descriptive paragraph that said; “Represents the devouring mother, in whom both the womb and grave exist.” That sounded very familiar, so I opened the Cos Doc to the page about “The 7th Death”, and there it was. Did the ancient Aztecs have a copy of the Cos Doc? LOL.

  56. “…it’s occurred to me more than once that the “angels” could actually have been less ethereal correspondents. Dee was up to his eyeballs in espionage…”

    Thanks for that, JMG. It sounds very feasible to me, that Dee’s Angels were Messengers in a fleshly sense. Given that ‘intelligence’ seems to have a thing going on with the occult and the paranormal, the potential for misdirection, as I imagine any stage magician would be able to appreciate, must be considerable. The use being made of UFOs would seem to be another example: “Hey, look over here! See this? Ah? No, not over there! Over Here!”

    I suppose it’s possible that the use of the occult in espionage would be enhanced once one realizes that there is indeed a There there. It could be very confusing to anyone without the corresponding key to the cipher. People are indeed having real experiences, but those reports — to the operative spies involved — constitute noise, and the ‘signal’ is hidden within the reports.

    One has the sense that the current Covid Show has some of that going on. While there is a real virus and it’s hurting real people, there’s a sense that the reports of the real phenomenon are being enhanced and steered for something… But then, that’s what the internet is for, I guess!

    Thanks again.

  57. Hey JMG-sometime about a month ago, either here or in the other blog, you said that their had been four world civilizations-if I remember correctly, the Polar, Lemurian, Atlantian, and ours. I know you kind of have a backlog of post requests now (lol), but as somebody interested in history I’d really like to see you elaborate on this. Also, what sources did you get them from, and more to the point, what sources did Blavatsky most likely get her “root races” from? Are there any books or websites you could recommend that elaborate on the former world civilizations?

  58. JMG to David BTL:

    “David BTL, au contraire, it’s hilarious.”

    Certainement! How oblivious they are to the concerns of ordinary people. That picture of the flight attendant carrying a cake down the aisle immediately brought to mind the famous line, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (or cake, as traditionally translated).

  59. John–

    Re pointless air travel and the state of modern industrial civilization

    Admittedly, “flight to nowhere” is rather ironic self-commentary on the situation…

  60. Sorry, forgot to add: Re: Buddhism and the Soul

    I think it’s telling that while the first iteration of Buddhism seems, to a lot of us, a bit nihilistic (and I get that could be a profound misunderstanding on our part, as Westerners; a sort of loss-in-translation), not that long after the Buddha leaves the building later iterations are getting back into the Soul business.

    I guess Buddhism is rather trendy amongst the well-heeled and non-deplorable because it allows one to be Atheist if necessary (although someone like Reginald Ray — I know he’s got problems but I still take him seriously — who is a hard-core Buddhist will argue that anyone who spends any time doing a Buddhist meditative practice will encounter phenomena that do not support a hard Atheist materialist worldview).

    Perhaps inevitably later Buddhist iterations confront the real experience of invisible beings. Tibet was populated with ‘deplorable’ farmers and herders who lived in an epically beautiful but hard world, and their landscape was (and is!) populated with all kinds of souls visible and otherwise! Vajrayana has to take that stuff seriously! That’s what we see again and again. The snobs in the big cities, burdened with ennui and too sophisticated for their own good, trying to render the experiences of deplorables meaningless. “Just behave, accept what we tell you, and instead of your ‘soul’ evaporating death, if you’re very obedient, we’ll copy your personality to the Cloud or something. You’ll be fine. Unless the Sun rips through the neighbourhood with a coronal mass ejection or something. Then… you’re on your own.”

  61. Dear JMG,
    My niece reported her cat, Simba, a much loved old family pet seemed to have come inside their surviving cat, Pistachio. Pistachio’s behavior changed to much closer to Simba’s. Pistachio also passed on but they still see Simba stumping quickly through the house. She was a very ample cat and couldn’t run. Do you think she is waiting for her human to die so they can be together?

    We just bought a Romney ram lamb not two weeks ago. He is so tame, I called the breeders to ask if they had raised the lamb on their laps. They hadn’t. I asked if they had halter trained him. They hadn’t.

    I asked because when I went out to begin his training, which should have taken at least 6 days, we were able to do the whole thing in about 20 minutes. He is as cuddly as my ram Commodus who I raised on the bottle. I started to wonder if he was one of my sheep, returned to life.

    I did a Goemancy shield and got a firm yes. Fortuna minor for both witnesses and Populus as the Judge. No way of points. I asked if he was my ram, Commodus, and it gave me left witness Puella, Judge Caput Draconis and Right witness Cauda Draconis. I think that means yes but both readings speak of fickle happiness and my not being able to keep the boy for long. What do you make of it? There was no way of points.

    Also, if other animals can be so insistent on returning home or staying at home to be with their loved ones, can humans do the same? I am so happy in my life now, I would like to come back and do another long marriage with my current husband. Is there a way I can help that come into being?

  62. Your reply to 1Wanderer saved me typing out a question I’ve been mulling for a few weeks for this open post, so I’ll ask the follow up: if I wanted to learn about classical liberalism, what books or thinkers do you recommend?

  63. 1) I’ve noticed a rather interesting theme: both my brother and I have a Uranus-Pluto sextile nearly exact in our natal charts; we both had a certain degree of grandiosity which has mellowed out. I always figured it was us growing up, I’d assign grandiosity to Pluto and Uranus together, since Uranus is the planet of individuality and Pluto the planet of extremes, and my grandiosity is just an extreme manifestation of my self-value/self-worth. Which raises a weird question: is it still grandiosity if you know you’re doing it?

    On the other hand, assuming Pluto suffers from a planetary case of grandiosity seems to explain a lot of otherwise weird features of the Plutonian Current, so it might just be Pluto…..

    2) With regards to cursing, it makes a weird sort of sense to me in light of clinging to Pluto: if you want to try to pretend the world is ugly, empty, horrible, and pointless, you can do things which are ugly, empty, horrible, and pointless, such that you can keep your world like that. Cursing, then serves a double purpose: you’re making yourself into a horrible person, and drawing suffering onto yourself; since you use something you pretend/believe is fake in order to do it, it works really well. This one’s not personal experience, but I tried a lot of ways to cling to Pluto (and I’m still doing it to some extent), and this one seems to fit….


    I think this a good idea. If we were to have people blessing Canada I think it would do a world of good, and the goose is a good image for it! Having a lot of people focus on one image seems like a good idea, so I’ll make a point of joining this.


    One of the reasons why I was baffled by the sudden reduction of Pluto is that it’s currently making several close aspects with a lot of points in my progressed chart; and transiting Pluto stationed pretty well on my ascendant in April; but I’m ruled by Saturn and I think it would make sense if his steady influence was part of what’s happening.

  64. Hi JMG,

    I’ve just finished reading a good piece by Alistair Crooke at Strategic Culture (a fine site, I check in there regularly commenting on some important aspects of our current madness. The spectacle of the upcoming election might get its own chapter in some history books of the future. The ultimate MMA Extreme cage match: Populist Authoritarianism vs. Wokeist Totalinarianism!

    I’m curious to know your opinions regarding the upcoming Presidential debate on September 29. Will it actually take place? I find it difficult to believe that the dems will allow demented Joe to stand and deliver for 90 minutes, unscripted and extemporaneous. Could there be a protest withdrawl in the works, centered around the SC nomination? They’ve been laying the groundwork for cancelling the debates for some time. At least we don’t have long to wait before we find out!

    Thanks for hosting this month’s Open Post…best doggone commentariat around.

  65. Quickly scanning the comments… So, mainstream journalists hate Joe Rogan? Interesting. I didn’t know. I rather like Joe Rogan, and as for mainstream journalists – I don’t read them. I mean, c’mon, can anyone gimme any good reason why I should read them? Heh. What I should read, though, are our host’s last couple of essays. Life’s been busy over the past few weeks, and I just never got around to it. Will have to remedy that.

    On the subject of reincarnation: wasn’t there a Druid theory according to which, when people (and animals) die, their souls get mixed together in a cauldron, and then get recreated (and reborn) again? So, a new soul is a mixture of bits and pieces of old ones? I rather like that theory. I suspect it’s true (minus the literal cauldron, obviously): as with matter, so with souls. (Yes, yes, I know, I completely butchered terminology. My apologies. But I got the basic story right, I believe.)

  66. Hello JMG! I wanted to share my daily tarot card pull experience with you over the past few weeks since we talked about synchronicity. Over the past two weeks I have drawn the same two cards repeatedly. It is really bizarre. I shuffle really well! Do you or anyone else have any suggestions for ways to interpret the daily cards and consider what is being said? One of them has a message that’s been repeated 3-4 times, and it makes sense, but also doesn’t make sense, and I’m confused.

  67. Also (and apologies for the double comment), I remember you posted an analysis some years ago on ADR comparing Israel to the crusader states and predicting it would eventually be reconquered by an Arab power. In light of the discussion above about the Israeli peace accords with the UAE and Bahrain, and the general alliance that seems to be forming between Israel and the Sunni Arab world, do you still think this is likely?

  68. @ Pixelated

    Re that article

    I had to read the thing twice, just to make sure that it was indeed saying what I thought it was saying.

    @ JMG

    Re the election

    Biden swung through this part of WI on Monday, making a stop that afternoon at a local foundry, so his campaign has learned something from the HRC’s loss (like, don’t ignore the Midwest), though I don’t know how effective his much-vaunted “appeal to working class voters” is proving to be. I think WI/MI/PA are going to be where it’s at again this time. Our governor just extended his mask mandate until Nov 21, which provides much grist for the mill.

  69. Hi Yorkshire,

    This is from below, since that topic ‘s pooping out. My dream book was in English although Fastleft’s copy was in HIS language.

  70. Hello All!

    This past summer in late-June or early-July I posted a kind of prose poem called “IconoChasm” riffing on some ideas that had occurred to me as the woke folk went about canceling history and demanding sculptures be taken down, or just taking them down, etc.
    JMG commented on the piece and said I should add a drum beat to it.So I took that to heart, and finally got around to putting something together. Today I release my IconoChasm single over on my Sothis Medias bandcamp page for those who want to give it a listen.

    There are two versions of the main piece. I got my good friends in the audio research division of the Situationist Intergalactical to do a remix for me, and I also put on there an instrumental noise mix. Thanks to any and all who listen, and I hope to see you out there as the milky records spin amongst the stars of the griot galaxy!

    Here is a revised version of the proem for those who may want to read it again here:


    Our system of society has long been the plaything of languages viral load — the vary fabric softener by which we brainwash meaning — is biased and indoctrinated with iconic frills and lace that we simply take for granted as ornamental re-definement; therefore we must challenge the definite, finite, and infinite of what icons may or may not stand for. We must define it, signify, and sign the necessary release form and resign them as needed. Otherwise these symbols will be held in lockdown, quarantined in the asylum and subject to barbaric brain mutilations. This flux of electro-schlock therapy is essential for re-imaging the world. Lamennials need to take back the world from boom time the boomers, deaf on account of hearing that bomb, increasingly suffering from tardive dyskenesia and related mail(dis)order marketing campaigns.

    Iconochasm sees crossing the abyss into the undifferentiated light of pre-prismed existence as a necessary step towards realigning the landmarks. No prior exposure to the courses of the Landmark Forum is necessary, and those may be foregoad by those who show the appropriate gaps in their thinking.

    For as the many good books tell us so, it is by having gaps and chasms between the icons that we can see them as they truly are.

  71. JMG,

    Wow thanks for clearing that up. I’ve also kind of thought that in the back of my mind when I first started practicing the occult, and your reply makes it seem pretty obvious. I think I will take the “Samatha” aspects of Buddhism and ignore the “Vipassana” [investigation, which is ultimately the thing that would unravel the soul]. I’m mainly into the altered states Samatha brings for general well being, and 5th circuit activation in the 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness. I’ve only had mild success with Jhana (the altered states) but believe them to be a natural state of mind when the body is free of tension, and the mind is relaxed. Have you heard of them, and if so, what do you think of their utility on an occult path?

    Also, are you familiar with the 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness put forth by Timothy Leary and then Robert Anton Wilson? I think 5th circuit activation facilities the inversion of awareness you talk about in your reincarnation post, that is, if the inversion of awareness is similar to metacognition or awareness of awareness. What do you think?

  72. Hello John,
    Thank you for the work you do. We are 6 months into the pandemic, yet everything continues to be unclear – the mode of transmission, the rate of disease, and how long it’s going to last. Personally, I am no longer feeling the sheer terror of the first couple of months (I work at health care), but I am waiting the flue season in anticipation of another shoe to drop. I am in regular contact with people who are recovering from coronavirus in a rehabilitation hospital. What modes of protection would you recommend?

  73. JMG, In your observation and analysis, why on earth did the Dem’s go with Joe Biden? They had to know of both his senility and obvious corruption problems. Do you think it did not matter to them because , a) they have no intention of winning , b) they intend to replace him with someone else at the last minute? c) they know they would lose in a real election and were planning on some kind of election rigging and thus might as well choose a party stooge? or d) are they so out of touch that they thought they could win with any candidate that pleased them, no matter what because ” orange man bad.”

  74. Laughing Sage, wow I got goose bumps reading that. It does seem like many in the pragmatic dharma community are confused. They say things like there is no soul, but then also say nirvana is not nihilism. But if nothing continues on after death, then what the hell is the point of all this meditation, just to feel good in this one incarnation? I could do that by engaging in all sorts of hedonic pleasures.

    JMG, I just read you response on the metacognition/individuality subject. I don’t think it changes my question on the 8 circuit model of consciousness. I think 5th circuit activation must facilitate whatever you’re hinting at if metacognition is the first step. I won’t bother you with further questions on the other side of the observer side of the observer/object thought and try to find out myself. Well maybe I will in the months/years to come if I make some progress.

  75. John–

    So a key part of my path apparently involves unlocking emotional baggage that I’ve had boxed up and shoved into a dark corner since, well, forever. One of my problems is that I’ve “lived in my head” (as my wife likes to say) for so long that I have a difficult time knowing how or what to do here. This choice to work from a place of mind/intellect over heart/emotion was made when I was quite young, mostly likely as a defense mechanism and is well-engrained. It’s not as though I don’t feel, but I tend to keep things at arm’s length and prefer to experience very strong emotions only vicariously (an emotional film or a good book, for example). The traumatic experience of my divorce (some fourteen years ago now) did me no favors in terms of making me less defensive toward powerful emotional forces. My wife, however, is very much my opposite–intuitive, heart/emotion, and a Capricorn to my Taurus. (Ironically, both she and my daughter’s mother are Capricorns…not sure what that might mean.) Even after eleven years together, our conversations can get very interesting as we speak radically different languages and what’s obvious to one is anything but to the other.

    Anyway, I’m understanding that I need to balance myself and integrate the feeling body to a much greater extent than I have. I’d think that pathwork involving Netzach would be useful, but I’m not sure how to go about that exactly. Would you (or any of the commentariat) have suggestions regarding that specifically or any other tools which might be useful in this regard?

  76. I would have liked to contribute to the kickstarter, but unfortunately the site will not accept either of my debit cards. Oh well.

    I’ve been reading some of Rudolf Steiner’s works over the past few weeks, at a pace of about one chapter per day, and I’ve arrived at much the same opinion of his works as the one you’ve expressed; half the time he’s quite insightful (as in “Theosophy: An Introduction” and “Philosophy of Freedom”), and the other half he’s quite “loopy”, to borrow your word for it (as in “An Esoteric Cosmology”).

  77. Dear JMG,
    What is your the opinion about the work and the books of Johannes Greber? If his book are not known, here are the links to the English language versions, which to my knowledge are the best and most reliable:
    Johannes Greber was a roman-catholic priest in Germany who later, around 1930, emigrated to New York. Around 1920 he came into contact with spiritualism.
    I first did read the dutch version of his book “Communication with the Spirit world” book in 1981, and later I read the German version. To me, this book is still the most important book I have ever read.
    His translation of the New Testament is in many points revolutionary.

  78. Mr. Greer,

    You have often spoken about how different civilizations will choose different intellectual projects that go onto define them, whether that be the philosophy of ancient Greece, the jurisprudence of Rome, or the creation of ever more complex machines in our own time. I am curious to know what you think would be the ideal intellectual project for a civilization to take up and whether you think there is any chance we could influence later civilizations so as to make them more likely to pursue this path long after we are gone.

  79. JMG,

    I’m curious. What bad results have you seen when combining Qigong and Western occultism? I asked because most of what I have done has been on the Qigong side of things.

  80. Regarding Buddhism – At a time when I was deeply in need for spiritual guidance, the bookstores in Germany usually had a rather large stock of books by Tibetan Buddhists, most notably the Dalai Lama. I can’t tell you which narrative had a worse impact on me – my former atheist worldview that crashed and burned spectacularly at that time or the worldview laid out by the Buddhists. Both scared the s*** out of me and caused literal pain, both mental and physical to an extreme degree. Then at one time I read “Consciousness at the Crossroads”, a book which summarized talks the Dalai Lama held with a group of western scientists. In the editors epilogue, I read the following: “Whereas belief in an afterlife or the continuity of consciousness after death is often regarded as an optimistic act of faith in the West, Buddhism counters that the belief in the automatic, eternal cessation of suffering at death due to the disappearance of consciousness is an optimistic act of faith […]” I mean, how silly can it yet become? At that one moment I turned my back to both and this was one of a few key milestones in my struggle out of a deep depression I experienced at that time.

    (astrological question to JMG: At what timescales does a Saturn returns act out? Can Saturn returns manifest in such a way? My 27th birthday fell in the middle of that not so nice period.).

    On the other hand, there is one story that tempered my wrath. It very roughly goes like this: A monk is sitting with his master in a cave in the light of a butter lamp. The monk asks “Is the one who is reborn the same who died?” The master points at the flame of the lamp and asks “Is the flame the same that we have lit? At each moment the flame is not the same as in the moment before, and yet the flame of the past moment is causative for the flame you observe in each present moment. With rebirth it is the same, as it is with every waking moment.”

    Buddhism – for possibly political reasons especially Tibetan Buddhism – experienced a lot of attention and courtesy by science and the mostly atheistic educated class in general during the first decade of this millennium. I believe one reason for this might be that both follow a very rigid (and as the quote above illustrates rather grim) path of logic. Complex logical constructs can be beautiful, they only have this one problem that if one basic axiom is false or incomplete (which all human-made axioms probably have to be), the whole construct despite being full of logic is void of sense. And if one desperately wants to hide that, things become rather ugly, as we probably all know. “The walls of your self-defense are the walls of your imprisonment”.


  81. Jake,

    As far as sex magic goes, I’ve had a bit of experience, not with using rituals, but more with Qigong.

    I have had a lot of success using Qigong exercises to cure a variety of sexual dysfunction on the material plane, both mental and physical. I continue to use those to this day, and I find them to be quite effective.

    I also did a lot of what could be called tantric sex, or purposely mixing energy fields with another human being during the act, from about 18 years of age until my 3rd year of university. I stopped because it attracts nonhuman entities, and I had one particularly bad experience.

    Basically, my girlfriend and I were fighting (my fault, I cheated on her), and we had makeup sex and started doing our usual tantric thing, a black cloud filled the room visible to both of us, we both felt pressure at the base of our throats at the same time, and then our chests hurt. I had this explained to me later that the entity uses the choking sensation to elicit a fear response at which point it attaches itself through your heart chakra.

    She started hearing voices which persisted a few months. I also had symptoms which included voices, feeling a strange heat move around parts of my body and a sudden increase in strength. We went to a lot of spiritual healers before removing the entity after which we broke up.

    About two years later, I learned that this is a common experience when it comes to people dabbling in tantric sex or qigong like breathing exercises during sex, so I thought I would throw that out there before you start dabbling in things like I did.

  82. @Tude:

    I’ve owned a couple of older homes, and currently live in one built in the 1890’s. My experience suggests that the biggest thing to watch out for is past renovations. Typically, an older home is originally well built – or at least up to the standards of the time – but “improvements” made over the years tend to compromise it. If the renovator is an experienced professional, or follows the advice of one, then it’s not so bad. Trouble is, though, that there are do-it-yourself-ers out there that really don’t have enough knowledge or experience to get the job right, and won’t take professional advice because they honestly (but wrongly) believe that any old fool can measure up a board. I could write an encyclopedia of my own experiences with discovering such errors….

    My best advice, based on my own experience is this: hire a professional building inspector (but one in private practice, NOT a municipal employee!) to evaluate the building. Then, if any serious issues come to light, have them corrected professionally. You’ll be glad you did.

  83. Tude, congratulations on your upcoming move! I know you’ve been itching to get out of crazy-making CA for a while. (I second the “pods” style of moving – I know someone who had a terrible, injurious, lost-everything accident in a cross-country rented-truck move).

    We bought a house (in CA) sight-unseen while we were overseas. It’s been the perfect house (a bit on the large side, but we needed it at the time to take in an ailing elder and a returned-to-the-nest youngster going through a rough patch. I inspected every photo and map I could find (including soil maps) to get a sense of the resources and how the house was laid out; and of course I paid attention to the inspection [short version of what we got: runs east-west, with good southern exposure, huge trees, and cross-ventilation so we don’t rely on AC in the valley’s hot summers, on a big pie-slice lot with room for a garden]. It does have a few issues that I want to address in the coming months because I too am trying to do what I can to open things up to relocation. That said, I remark frequently that it’s the best house in our whole town.

    Problem is, it’s in our town. In California. So, to reply also to Aethon. We’ve watched the hills around us burn nearly every year since we returned to the US. They didn’t used to do that, pre-2014. My husband and I are in a decent position to relocate – we are not tied to physical locations for our work, our kids are grown (or nearly, one could live on her own but chooses not to at this time), we have family in three eastern states and none in CA. And? And my husband has a strong attachment to a CA that exists in his memory – he’s had to work overseas for years and so his guiding light that whole time was “I want to be home.” Well, now he doesn’t want to leave (although now and again he’ll hear me out, it always comes back to the devil you know is better than the one you don’t).

    I don’t know what’ll happen to us, though at least we have a few things in our favor if we end up staying here. The garden space and plenty of local agriculture, two sources of water (a rarity in CA), a moderate population (in size and temperament, for the most part), a some distance from the flammable hills. I’m playing both sides, working to trim down the moveable things while also treating this as though it might be where we stay.

    Speaking of relocating (or just locating), here’s a map of US nuclear power plants that might come in handy in deciding where to look or whether or not you really want to live where you live:

  84. @balowulf
    Re: Firearms of the Dark Age

    Discussions on this topic assume that 1) Blackpowder is all that is available due to the industrial nature of smokeless powder. 2) The uncertainty of the supply of good weapons grade steel. 3) A continuity of knowledge of designs of prior eras and how they were used. 4) A limitation on the topic to solely firearms.

    At the most complex tier, we have repeating black powder designs from the 1880s, which include many bolt action designs that were adapted to smokeless powder at the end of the decade. This includes the various Winchester lever actions of all eras, as well as a choice few later bolt action designs adapted by hobbyists to the black powder 45-70 cartridge. The main issue here is that these were the products of the most heavily industrialized nations like Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, and the United States, with armies having a hard time justifying their relative complexity and expense.

    A simpler tier are the black powder single shot cartridge rifles of the 1870s. These were produced by nearly every country with its own iron working industry, often with native engineers either directly designing or adapting foreign designs to their own circumstances. As arms they were sufficiently effective to arms masses of men that they continued to arm rear line personnel through the world wars. Hobbyists to the present day continue to fabricate well designed single shots under very rudimentary conditions. Dark age armies would be remiss to not arm themselves at this tier.

    A slightly older tier is that of the breechloading paper cartridge needle rifles. These include the Dryse rifle and the Chassepot rifle. Their main distinguishing feature is that these require no metallic cartridges, using the same amount of resources for ammunition as a percussion cap muzzleloader. They had a brief and spectacularly successful period in which they dominated and defeated muzzleloader equipped armies.

    A dark age army would likely have a mixture of these three tiers. Elite and well disciplined units would have the repeaters, the mass of the infantry would have the singleshots, and far flung units well out of reach of supply would have paper cartridge rifles.

    While not in the topic discussed, other developments of the 20th century such as man portable radios are worth mentioning as a weapon in and of itself. Having the ability of commanders to coordinate men well out of sight from each other is an advantage that would justify the ludicrous expense of maintaining a wireless communication capability.

  85. Not really a question. More like an observation. If a person can take on somebody elses bad karma, this could be an “occult” explanation of Christ’s atonement. Only a “Son of God” could take upon himself the negative karma of the whole world and thereby destroy it. I’m not Christian, but in some sense, this makes Christianity sound more logical. Perhaps the positive karma generated by Jesus in this way is enough for ordinary believers to tap into, so to speak?

  86. Re: the grand mutation

    Of course, I was more interested in how I might handle the transition–I definitely wasn’t planning to be around for much of it!

  87. Tom, thanks for both of these. I know nothing about online gaming — I’ve never even played an old-fashioned video game — but QAnon has all the hallmarks of a US military disinformation campaign. Have you by any chance read my book on the UFO phenomenon, or any of my other discussions of UFOs as camouflage for Air Force secret aerospace projects, from high-altitude balloons to stealth planes and beyond? The QAnon business uses exactly the same gimmickry that Air Force intelligence has been documented using — e.g., in the Paul Bennewitz case, the MJ-12 hoax, et al.

    SLClaire, people have a basic gut-level rationality when it comes to bringing children into the world. When life shows every sign of getting worse forever, birth rates drop. On the other hand, people in that kind of situation will also back anyone who offers them what looks like a reasonable shot at getting out of that situation, which is why sudden political change usually terminates such periods…

    Pixelated, interesting. Fair enough!

    Nomad, it sounds like a worthwhile experiment.

    Eduardo, (1) No, but only because I’ll be winding up this sequence at October 31, 1979, the beginning of the modern pop Neopagan movement, and Couliano is after that. (2) Eden Gray’s books are worth reading in this context.

    Aidan, good. I don’t think he’s gone anything like far enough, though.

    Ian, it’ll be interesting to see if that gets any traction, when rioters in Louisville are on camera receiving a delivery of weapons in a U-Haul truck minutes after the Breonna Taylor charges were announced. It’s one thing to protest police shootings, and quite another to engage in a preplanned urban rising…

    Andrew, I can’t speak to the Quran, as I read it once many years ago in English translation and it made very little impression on me. The Bible is a fine collection of Middle Eastern mythic writings, and in the King James edition it’s an enduring classic of English literature; I also find the Catholic and Orthodox sacraments useful as raw material for reconstructing lost aspects of classical Pagan ritual, from which they were after all derived. Spiritually? Abrahamic monotheism doesn’t speak to me at all. I know it’s very satisfying for a lot of people, but at a gut level I have no idea why.

    Wesley, (1) I hope it was from the human side. If it’s from the divine side, we’re dealing with divine megalomania. (2) Well, Brecken estimated (correctly) that Sho weighed about as much as she did, and Brecken at that time weighed 119 lbs, so assume around 120 lbs. Shoggoths have no lungs, remember: what they have instead is a network of pores that extend through the mantle and go all through the body, bringing air to every cell, with constant rippling micromovements keeping the air in motion — thus they weigh a great deal less than you’d think from their size.

  88. Aethon about moving from the West Coast:
    Like other people have said, West Coast is big and there are many different situations. In my case, I live in wet western Washington. We had a couple of weeks of smoke – we closed the windows and recirculated the air. It was not too hot and most of the fires were (and are) on the other sides of the mountains.

    I don’t know about the real estate situation but I am guessing the prices are dropping a bit – the market was ridiculous.

    I don’t intend to move from my little town. It is partly a rational decision (I see many advantages to the west coast) and partly because I like the people outside of the big cities.

  89. Greetings JMG and commentariat!

    My wife and I decided to start reading novels out loud in the evening. Do you have any book suggestions? We are looking for classics with a bit of adventure and romance. We are starting with The Scarlett Pimpernel.

    Many thanks!

  90. Well, West certainly discredits various progressive tenets in other ways throughout the book.

    For example, on religion, he critiques the New Atheist belief that the decline of traditional religion will lead to a more rational and productive society,

    “The supposed threat of the ‘religious Right’ was a mirage, since even in America Christianity is in terrible demographic trouble. The percentage of Americans with no religion went from 5 per cent in 1972 to 25 per cent in the 2010s, including 39 per cent of Millennials, while the percentage of people who say they are atheist or agnostic rose from 10.3 per cent in 2007 to 15.8 per cent just seven years later. 4 England and France are way ahead on that one, but the rest of Europe is catching up, and in Italy the number of church marriages declined by over 10 per cent in just one year in the 2010s. 5 But then politics just fills the void that religion leaves. And if any rational atheists think this has a happy ending, then they haven’t been paying attention.” (p. 218)

    “Only around 10 per cent of adults pass the Watson Test of rationality, the most popular tool for measuring bias. 14 And so the New Atheist argument that without religion we would behave rationally is itself so obviously irrational. All that happens when cultivated and philosophical religion declines is that dafter faiths take their place or people start to look for justice and paradise in this world through politics. Institutional religions also carry a body of work and wisdom, sort of the equivalent of a Common Law which can be used as a reference but also a constraint. Without that, people just come out with ever crazier ideas, and crackpot ideas also became status markers.” (p. 226)

    On education,

    “But at least if everyone’s educated then everything will get better, right? After all, late nineteenth-century Germany had the highest level of schooling and university attendance and they turned out fine. Back in the 1890s Prussia had two and a half times as many students as England, relative to it’s population, and it had enforced school attendance from the 1820s, half a century ahead of England, so German illiteracy levels were half those of Britain. Unfortunately an educated population is just as prone to extremism and violence: the Bolshevik Revolution would have been impossible without the growth of universities in Tsarist Russia, ‘the recruiting grounds for revolutionaries ranging from nonviolent ‘propagandists’ to the most extreme terrorists,’ in Richard Pipes’ words. Hitler was also consistently most successful on campus, his electoral appeal to students regularly outstripping his performances among the population as a whole’. The Nazis’ most evil army corps, the Einsatzgruppen, was disproportionately composed of graduates” (p. 303).

    At other points in the book, he notes how religious radical groups like the original Anglicans in England at the start of Elizabeth I’s reign or the even more radical Dissenters later on, were also disproportionately well-educated.

    I might add that the same is true with contemporary jihadists: (Look up “Engineers of Jihad: The Curious Connection Between Violent Extremism and Education”).

  91. @ Laughing Sage

    Thank you! I came here to say this.

    Unfortunately, Western ‘Buddhists’ tend to me materialist-nihilists in Buddhist garb, and react with extreme hostility (and attachment) if you dispute the “no-soul” idea. I’ve heard Western Buddhists described as an “out-patient clinic for depressed materialists.” A bit flippant, but seems accurate in my experience.


    It is certainly a disputed minority opinion in Western Scholarship, but my position that there is absolutely no categorical rejections of the self in the pre-Abhidamma Pali canon – the part most likely to be attributed to the historical Buddha. The only thing that is denied is that certain things are the self. “Anatta” is only ever said of the five Skhandas, not as a categorical statement. There are many affirmative statements about the self in canon such as “The self is the savior of the self” and “would it not be wiser to seek the self?” Modern translators bend over backwards to make make these statements reflexive, but that makes no sense either grammatically or philosophically. If all you are is an unstable bundle of aggregates, what self is there to be saved by or to seek? Buddhism is a practical strategy in my read. Whatever is cognizable is not the self. You can’t cognize your self or soul in the same way that you cannot look at your own eyes or smell your own nose.

    There is also a strong pro self Mahayana tradition as Laughing Sage mentioned. Look up Tony Page and the Nirvana Sutra

    I’m not sure if I can post links to books, but here are some quick resources that believe anatta/anatman is a not-self and not a no self strategy:

    Essence of Buddhism Blog
    Self and not Self in Early Buddhism by Joaquin Perez-Ramon
    George Grimm
    Edward Conze
    Edmond Holmes
    Lama Shenpen Hookham

  92. @Kevin TB I do see potential drawbacks in the Canada Goose though… In other places around here we are over run with them eating the crops. They are being hunted in large numbers, mainly by the indigenous people at the farmers’ request, but it isn’t enough to stop the crop destruction… So I’m not sure how to parse what energy *that* brings, if any…

    On the OTHER other hand, the Salish spiritual meaning of goose was “the resurrection of… “old ways” because Canada geese always return to the place of the birth as part of a seasonal cycle.” specifically, weaving because of the importance to salish culture of weaving (I. E. Cowichan sweaters). Weaving seems a good image for binding Canada together again… you Monarchist fuddy duddies might like this return to the old ways 😉

  93. JMG,
    I keep reading and rereading your old posts and I admit it takes me a long time to digest them. I usually nod my head in agreement and I think I understand but then I read again and they gain a new light especially when life catches up with them.
    I am rereading your posts on the phases of decline (
    I know that in more recent posts you mentioned that you think Americans might avoid a “deep” crisis by selecting the right leader (as was the case with FDR).
    But reading your posts, I think they match exactly what we see both in content and timing. While it’s hard to separate the stages when we are in the middle of the confusion, it does seem that we are moving to the era of impact and we can see the era of the response shaping up – for example if the democrats win the election there will be a desperate attempt to get back to the good old times.

    Do you think the breakdown will happen in the next decade? Do you think an update on the series of posts is in order?

    Thank you!

  94. This is an interesting discussion of Buddhism(s) going on. But I really wanted to talk about populist Presidents. If we had to have a populist President, and I am not against that, why couldn’t it have been Jesse Ventura instead of Trump. Jesse has the right resume: Governor of Minnesota (and a successful 3rd party candidate at that!), Professional wrestler (certainly a higher calling than “real estate developer” and nearer the Buddhist notion of “right livelihood” as well), and an actual military veteran — unlike Trump, Obama, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon and Johnson. I’m not sure Dubya’s National Guard service qualifies, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt — which is being generous since the detailed records of his service seem pretty exiguous. In addition, hasn’t Jesse been married to the same woman for his entire adult life? Maybe even love is involved.

    Too bad history didn’t turn out that way.

  95. Hi Tude,

    I’ll second looking for any signs of water infiltration. That includes the previous owners’ collection of towels in the basement along with everything up on skids. Walk around the house and see where the gutters are located and where does the water go. If your house gutters go into the ground into some kind of underground drainage system and you can’t find the outflow, assume it’s your basement.

    Our house had its gutters descend into the ground at the foundation. In twenty years of extensive gardening, I have NEVER found the outflow. After the first heavy rain and water in the basement, I cut the gutters off above ground level and installed those concrete splash pads to divert water away from the foundation and solved 75% of my water problem.

    Don’t forget to check for rust on any appliances stored in the basement.
    Bring a pair of binoculars and look at the roof for any signs of missing shingles or sagging or multiple layers of shingles.
    A large, heavy marble will tell you if the floor is sagging by how it wants to roll.
    Look at how the storm windows are closed. There is a right way and a wrong way. If they are closed improperly, they allow water to infiltrate the windows.
    Is the caulk around the bathtubs caked on like frosting? Bad sign.
    Water stains on the ceiling are another bad sign.

    Finally, assume that if the owners couldn’t be bothered to clean the house when they know you’re coming, they didn’t do any maintenance!

    Good luck!

  96. So it seems BLM are summoning spirits – and not benign ones I would say.

    “In the interview, Abdullah states, “maybe I’m sharing too much but we’ve become very intimate with the spirits that we call on regularly. Right? Like, each of them seems to have a different presence and personality.”

    That would explain a lot. There really is spiritual warfare going on.

  97. Laughing Sage, pleased to see another Buddhist Platonist!

    My own working hypothesis is that whatever the various schools of Hinduism may mean by “ātman”, the Buddhists are consistently referring to the Platonist One, rather than the Psyche. If so, that might explain their confusing rhetoric on the subject: the Neoplatonists say a lot of weird things about how the One can’t truly be said to be or not to be.

    Luke, the teachings you’re quoting are from the Buddhist analogue of mainline Christianity (and especially Christian monasticism), often called Sutrayana. But there are other approaches within Buddhism; if you’re drawn to Western magic, you should look into Tantra or the so-called “Natural Path” teachings (Atiyoga/Dzogchen/some approaches within Zen). Their philosophical frameworks explicitly oppose the “escape the round of birth and death” project and the “there is no self” doctrine as errors. David Chapman has a decent introduction here.

    Jake, if you have any interest in exploring Buddhist sex magic, check out The Yoga of Bliss by Nida Chenagtsang. He seems like a really decent guy.

    SquirrellyJen, fun! I like Finnish rap. I hear that ancient Greek poetry had similar intonation patterns to Lithuanian rap!

  98. John, et al.

    Saw this today on FiveThirtyEight:

    So not shy, but possibly still undercounted. The article’s use of “educated” versus “credentialed” irks me somewhat (coming from someone who sought far too many credentials for far too long), but it is standard terminology, if terribly telling of one’s bias.

    Something that the author also seems to miss, in my opinion, is that there might actually be an intention to screw with pollsters, particularly given the kind of snob factor typically employed. That is, the article presumes this objective observation as though the people being polled are things being measured rather than people who might react to the fact they’re being observed. But that’s nothing you haven’t talked about before in other posts.

  99. @JMG,

    Regarding Sho, understood. I read most of that book under the assumption that Sho must have about the same specific gravity that human beings do – which at 4 ft diameter in a ball would give here a weight of 2,090 lbs – and then was quite baffled with the penultimate scene where Brecken successfully moves her about in a duffel bag!

    Though that does raise the question of where the idea that Shoggoths are mostly air inside comes from – was it Lovecraft or one of the other authors who worked with his creations? The impression I got from Mountains of Madness is of something much heavier, as in his description of a (15 ft diameter) Shoggoth:

    “It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train — a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.”

    BTW, “swept so evilly free of all litter” has got to be one of the most delightfully unique juxtapositions of words to ever appear in the English language 🙂

  100. I recall there were some plans in the works to create a pen and paper RPG system for the Haliverse – are those still in motion? How would a couple friends sign up for a game?

  101. I’m just here to thank you for a suggestion i saw you make a while back. I have taken up the practice of finishing my showers with the water as cold as possible and I must say the way I feel after the experience is quite unique. ‘Centered’ seems to be a fitting word. It’s still a bit difficult to grab that handle and crank it all the way to the right, but part of the practice is building willpower, right? I can’t tell if this is helping clear up etheric junk clinging to me, but from what I can sense it does leave me with a good feeling of sorts for a while afterwards.

  102. Slithy Toves, the corporate elite in America today would love that; a case could be made that what they want is the People’s Republic of China, with themselves as the CCP. The question is whether that set of goals will survive the backlash now building.

    Booklover, that’s one of the questions that astrologers in the post-Plutonian era will have to work out.

    Forecasting, (1) It varies from country to country. Here in the US we’re looking at a healthcare bubble which will collapse messily, and exactly what will replace it is an interesting question. (2) I expect him to win by a comfortable margin — say, 350+ electoral votes. (3) The death rate is already falling here, so yes, that seems accurate. (4) Yes, but I think it’s more than the virus. Tourism as a major industry depended on an economic system that funneled an outsized share of wealth to the comfortable classes. As that breaks down, expect the tourism and hospitality industries to be hit very hard indeed.

    Danaone, no, but they were describing the same universe!

    Casey, exactly. Just remember that you never know how many teams are playing or where their goals might be!

    Tolkienguy, I’ll consider a post on that.

    Goldenhawk and David BTL, yep.

    Casey, exactly. One of the repeated lessons of the history of ideas is that traditions are always being renegotiated, and very often end up utterly different than they started out. Most of the Mahayana scriptures aren’t credited to the historical Buddha at all — they’re the utterances of Buddhas and bodhisattvas of whom the older Buddhist traditions know nothing — and they completely reformulate Buddhism to meet different needs and different challenges.

    Maxine, neither animals nor humans get to choose, not until a very high level of spiritual development has been achieved. Your farm was apparently the right place for the lamb to have his next life.

    Kevin, (1) you share that with an entire generation, you know. (2) You know, that makes a lot of sense!

  103. Eastern Washington was also unduly interesting on Labor Day weekend. A fire by Lake Omak got caught up by the 50 mph North winds and burned down to the Columbia River, and then jumped it east of Bridgeport. From there it went up the canyon walls and then it found the cutover wheat fields. In that straw it was off to the races. It made it all the way down to US 2.

    In the morning I had little piles of ash in the carport. The house was only slightly better off. I spent the next day cleaning. At least I still had a house.

    Further east In a different fire, South of Spokane, near Rosalia, the little town of Malden is no more.

  104. Well, I’ll have a bunch of books to give out this year. And AMEX will need to be paid!:-) The Kickstarter reached its goal. And Shaun tossed in another sweetener – Stars Reach ebook! Thanks Shaun.


  105. @Balowulf, Ighy, JMG, re deindustrial firearms,

    I think whenever you’re asking questions along the lines of “Will X exist in the deindustrial age” you’ve got to remember that the world is a big place, the decline and fall won’t come to every part of it at the same time or with the same intensity (think Rome and Byzantium) and there are always going to be manufacturing centers of some sort – i.e. where there are lots of waterfalls for hydropower.

    (Fun fact: Iceland is presently the world’s largest per capita electricity consumer at 5,777 W, nearly all of it hydro. There is a good chance that it will one day be a leading exporter of high-tech goods like present-day Japan – though what qualifies as high-tech would of course be more modest).

    So in addition to asking how complex something is to make, you also have to ask whether or not, if even a single country keeps on making it, they will have an incentive to load huge amounts of it into wooden-hulled sailing ships and sell it to every part of the world they can reach. In the case of semi and fully automatic rifles, the answer is yes, yes, and again, yes. There is a reason why selling guns to the Indians was such a profitable business in colonial times, and there will be plenty of room for arms merchants in the deindustrial future, too.

    Another trade good which I expect to be findable all over the world, even if just one country manufactures it, is the electric piano. (Not synthesizers with computer chips; actual electric pianos with analog circuits and vacuum tube amplifiers). They require less resources to make, and are easier to transport and repair ,than the acoustic kind, and since you can play pretty-much any style of music on them, I think it’s a safe bet that you’ll see them in taverns and noblemen’s houses around the globe.

  106. Dan, Lee, and Laughing Sage,

    Do you think No-self/soul is a completely incorrect teaching, or could it be a state of soul eradication a misguided practitioner might attain?

    I am contemplating what my path/yana might look like if I made it completely custom/personalized, incorporating samatha style meditation from pragmatic dharma teachers like Rob Burbea, and western magic ritual. Burbea teaches to basically relax your way into absorption states.

    As my first question hints at, I’m wondering if it’s possible to make a misstep and eradicate the soul along the way. If that’s the case, it might be worth sticking with the mystery school I’ve been working in the last few months and forget about absorption states.

  107. Hello JMG, I believe you have previously commented, and I also remember reading in a recent Ingress chart on your Patreon account, that if Trump wins that we may enter a period of time in which benefits and opportunities will flow to the middle classes, presumably at the expense of the comfortable classes. I took that to mean we may enter one of those periods of stability and partial recovery on the Long Descent that will last for some years before the next round of crises kicks in. Am I understanding that prediction correctly? Any guesstimate on roughly how long that period may last, 5 or 10 or so years perhaps? Thanks!

  108. Andrew,

    2. If you had a friend who’s gone totally in on the BLM historical narrative (America was built on slavery, white people today benefit from a rigged system, black americans are systemically oppressed and that Trump is evvvvil) are there any ways you could think of to even broach that topic and try to have a reasonable discussion? So far with this person, even disagreeing with some of those basic assumptions has netted me a whole lot of kickback and accusations of not being compassionate or understanding the plight of African Americans.

    Your friend has succumbed to good old fashioned racism. Have you ever heard of the arguments in Nazi Germany against the Jews? Do you think they did not have a drop of truth in them? All such racist or other demonization of the other always sound plausible, at least to an extent.

    If it were my friend, I would calmly tell them that I have no tolerance for racism.

  109. barefootwisdom – Re: 5G. An article by a tech columnist in the Washington Post recently described experiences with several 5G phones and providers, in various parts of the US, and came to the conclusion that there was no consistent, quantitative advantage (“yet”) over LTE (4G). I say “quantitative”, because he was relating data transfer benchmark figures, which are only loosely related to user experiences. For many of us, “fast enough” was achieved with 2G, let alone 4G. Ever the optimist, though, the reviewer expressed hope that additional 5G capabilities would be rolled out sooner or later, and increase the (quantitative) performance as promised.

    I also follow some communications industry trade publications, and it seems that lots of vendors are eager to provide 5G components and subsystems, but even an editor of the magazine asked “but what will this do for the user?”

  110. Dear Nachtgurke (if I may),

    Thank you for sharing your personal story in the discussion about Buddhism. I hope your struggle out of depression has continued to bring you to a place of improved well-being!

    On Saturn returns, my limited experience has been that have an effect through the entire period of about 2.5 years that Saturn is in the sign where it was located at your birth, but that the experience becomes especially acute when the transit comes close to the exact degree of the natal position. In the case of my own first Saturn return, this meant about two years of gradual build-up, until a couple of very profound events two weeks before, and two weeks after, the point at which the return was exact by degree.

  111. To the wider conversation on Buddhism, I do think there’s some unnecessary confusion over terminology here, from a variety of corners. No surprise, when we’re dealing with heavily fraught terms, from a wide range of languages and cultures.

    Luke and JMG,

    It may be helpful to note that for one major strand of Hindu philosophical thinking, the Sāṃkhya school, the self or “person” (puruṣa) is in fact supposed to be a pure, unchanging witness, eternally and utterly separate from, and totally unaffected by, the ever-changing world of manifestation (prakṛti). The details of how all that’s supposed to work are well beyond the scope of a blog comment, but the Sāṃkhya philosophical tradition contributed a great deal to traditions of Hindu Yoga, and to certain parts of the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad Gītā, and is usually considered to have been very influential in the centuries when Buddhism was coming into its own, so as a historical matter, it’s less of a straw man than it may initially appear.

    Laughing Sage,

    When you write “The Buddha Nature is synonymous with the ‘Divine Spark’ of the Gnostics, the Atman of the Vedantist Hindus, and the Soul of the Platonists,” I just have to stop that train long before we even get to Buddha Nature. I can’t even see how we get the Ātman of (non-dual) Vedānta to line up with any Platonist account of the Soul. It’s just not the case that all religious and philosophical teachings are talking about the same things, and to insist otherwise is unhelpful and misleading, if not outright deceptive and harmful to our understanding.

    Finally, to JMG’s sense of “spiritual suicide” in regard to Buddhism: I can certainly see it, perhaps not in all cases, but in many. Picking up on the discussion of the candle flame, I recall that the Sanskrit root of the term nirvāṇa is , meaning “to blow out, to extinguish,” and was used for candle flames in the most concrete physical sense before it found its more metaphorical, spiritual sense. To be sure, etymology is not destiny and words do sometimes change their meanings quite dramatically, but… I don’t think this is one of those times. There’s a Buddhist sutra where a monk challenges his disciple with the question “Where does the flame go when it is blown out? To the north? The south? The east? The west?” The same query is then asked, about the “self” which achieves nirvāṇa.

    To be sure, some later Buddhist thinkers have tried to finesse the issue, to the point that it’s “only” about realizing the complete and utter lack of any separateness or meaningful distinction between ourselves and all other beings and phenomena in the cosmos. But that’s still a complete loss of self-hood, and seems a bit more in keeping with the “we’re all one” view of pop “eastern” spirituality than anything else.

  112. @Laughing Sage, I think you have the right of it regarding Buddhism. But I would say, in defence of the ‘there is no soul’ translators, that without entertaining the possibility that the immortal soul doesn’t exist it’s probably much harder to let go of one’s last mistake belief about what it actually is.

    To our generous host – forgive me if this is impertinent but I’ve been curious since you mentioned it: You said you received blowback from revealing the secrets of an initiatory tradition in an earlier life. Would you be willing to share what tradition that was?

  113. On a lighter, but still related, note, perhaps I can close with my favorite joke about “oneness spirituality.”

    The Dalai Lama goes to one of those hotdog truck in New York, and says to the hotdog vendor: “Make me one with everything.”

    The Dalai Lama hands the vendor a $20; the vendor gives him his hotdog, and turns away.

    The Dalai Lama protests, “Wait, where’s my change?”

    The hotdog vendor smiles. “Change comes from within.”

  114. Do you think secession/breakup of the US will start being seriously considered after the upcoming presidential election? In just the past decade, I’ve noticed it’s gone from an idea so fringe that hardly anyone thought it could happen in their lifetimes to something that doesn’t sound so crazy anymore, however I wouldn’t say it’s gone mainstream yet, few have thought about it hard enough to think seriously about what it would actually mean in their lives and how the logistics of breakup would happen. I’m thinking there’s a good chance that after the election and whatever the aftermath is, secessionist ideas may be catapulted into mainstream thought, not necessarily to the point of actually happening but to the point where people feel it may be imminent and major life decisions such as relocation are made with the prospect of a breakup of the US on people’s minds. This could happen regardless of who wins the election, the difference would be whether its red states or blue states pushing for secession.

  115. Regarding “vintage” science fictional worlds of the early 20th century, I was wondering if anyone here could help me with a decades-long headstumper.

    Sometime during my adolescence, circa 1973-1974, I read a “pulp” science fiction book/novella about a young man, an orphan living with relatives, on a bleak and lonely farm (of some sort) on Ganymeade, the largest moon of Jupiter. Bored with his life and seeking excitement, the young man runs away with two domestic robots and goes off on a convoluted space adventure involving political intrigue and lots of swashbuckling action.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone? And no, it is NOT the storyline of “Star Wars” that I am confusing with this story. But ever since “Star Wars” (the original movie) came out in 1977, I have racked and racked my brain (and engaged in several LONG internet searches) for any clues as to the author or title of that conspicuously similar book/novella that I had read so long ago. If anyone can help me track down that story, I would be much obliged.

    PS: I must thank our host for providing us this delightful forum, an oasis of reflection and calm in an increasingly turbulent and hostile online sea.

  116. Laughing Sage,

    I appreciated your rant very much. I joined a Buddhist meditation group a couple of years ago, mostly for the company, and to my surprise I found out that they exactly fit your description of being atheists and nonbelievers in an afterlife, which makes little sense in a religion about reincarnation.

    As for me, I am an advaitist, panentheist lover of the One (the great mystery), a sufi and a Holy Spirit Christian. I belong to a church of one; I am the theologian and the congregation.

  117. I don’t know if you heard, but the Wisconsin Democratic Party used political skullduggery to knock the Green Party candidates off the presidential ballot in the state, so now I know who I will be voting for with a write-in vote. (If anyone from Wisconsin wishes to do the same, their names are HOWIE HAWKINS for PRESIDENT and ANGELA WALKER for VICE-PRESIDENT.) Back in 2016, I voted for all the Libertarian candidates on the Federal level and left the state assembly choice blank because my Taurean nature liked the idea of voting for a straight ticket. I now wish so very badly I had voted for Jill Stein for president. She really was my kind of candidate in every way!

  118. Roberta, just saw your reply. Thank you. I do like Reggie Ray’s practices and have experimented with them. I use his strategy of releasing tension in daily life when I notice stuck energy. I’m currently just doing a Rob Burbea style sit and just focusing on relaxing and feeling joy while noticing the breath sensations in the whole body. Struggling with whether or not to return to practicing in a certain mystery school that demands you mediate in a specific way or continuing to do my own thing.

    Sorry for double posting several times everyone, I’m not seeing all the replies at once.

  119. Hi Matt,

    Lots of the great classics were written to be read aloud. If Sir Walter Scott doesn’t appeal, try Dickens or H. Rider Haggard. If you want poetry, read ‘The Rape of the Lock’ by Alexander Pope. All those names you remember from English class.

  120. Dear Mr. Greer (et all), I picked up a book at the library, that may interest some here. It touches on topics that have been discussed, in the past. “The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Maters Most.” (Vinsel and Russell, 2020).

    It’s early days (pages), yet, but I’m getting a sense of the book. The authors make clear that they’re talking about real innovation (which has slowed), and not “innovation-speak” (New! Improved! Cutting Edge! etc.)

    Of course, they do take some shots at the easy target of computers and software, but are more concerned with things like infrastructure. I’m to the bit, right now, where they’re discussing how maintenance and care, are often more important than innovation. Once you’ve got something that works well, maintain it and care for it. But, they becry the fact that maintenance and care aren’t near so sexy (my word), as Innovation!!! So they are often neglected.

    On reflection, they could have titled this book “The Progress Delusion.” Lew

  121. I’ve been a loyal reader since long before the ADR ended, and tonight you’re one of the first people I want to hear from. I read the following earlier this afternoon and I haven’t been more worried about the state of my country since 9/11.

    “In Pennsylvania, three Republican leaders told me they had already discussed the direct appointment of electors among themselves, and one said he had discussed it with Trump’s national campaign.

    “I’ve mentioned it to them, and I hope they’re thinking about it too,” Lawrence Tabas, the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s chairman, told me. “I just don’t think this is the right time for me to be discussing those strategies and approaches, but [direct appointment of electors] is one of the options. It is one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution.””


    “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation”

    The frightening part is the response I’m getting from conservatives I know. Here’s the gist of a few conversations that went the exact same way today:

    1. “There is no named source in that Atlantic article”
    2. “There is though – from the Pennsylvania Republican party chairman”
    3. “The Atlantic is fake news”
    4. “The article included a named source stating exactly what I’m saying now”
    5. “There is no named source in that Atlantic article”

    This is the kind of self-hypnosis that I regularly see ascribed only to the left in this forum. Which is fine – I can still find a lot of value from people who don’t agree with my take politically. But I am curious to hear what you and others have to say about all of this. Because right now, I’m hearing an American president openly ponder the end of representative government and it feels like I’m watching half the country whistle past the graveyard.

  122. JMG Yes I am familiar with your work on UFOs which is part of what got my attention. It struck me that the number of people involved in a particular game environment potentially represented a good path of social information flow potentially in both directions. If through a game environment I am able to collect what tidbits people are most likely to react to and in the process put into play major disinformation what a sweet way to be effective without being obvious. If I was planning to create a political party this might be a good way to both gather information and to organize some aspects of the project. People with greater knowledge than myself would need to discuss this thought. The two editorials in Wired that l linked to raised the difference in outcomes of two of those gaming environments. I thought it all raised some intriguing possibilities for organizational purposes.

  123. Jim, I have no idea whether the debate will happen or not. Either way, plenty of popcorn will be wanted.

    Irena, ask three Druids, get five answers. I’m sure some Druids believe that — you’ll find Druids who believe just about anything, at least on alternate Thursdays. 😉

    Jess, are you up to doing longer readings, such as the 10-card Celtic Cross? If so, you can do one of those to try to get more insight on what it means.

    Tolkienguy, you mean this post, I think. We’ll see; if the Israelis can make themselves good neighbors of the Sunni Arab states, they might pull through, at least for a while.

    David BTL, well, at least the Dems have proven themselves capable of learning something from their defeats, which is a step in the right direction.

    Justin, delighted to see this!

    Luke, are you at all familiar with Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra? It’s been integrated with Western occult practice rather well, more than once, and might provide a workable framework for what you want to do. As for Leary’s model, I’ve encountered it — almost entirely via the writings of Robert Anton Wilson — but never really looked into it much.

    Kirsten, I’m not a licensed health care professional, and offering health advice without that certificate is a crime in the United States — one for which people do jail time. Sorry, but I’ll pass.

    Clay, I think they know they’re going to lose. I think they stuck the two least appealing candidates they had on the ticket to get rid of them, and put their faith in an attempted color revolution. Now that that’s failed, my guess is they’re bracing for impact.

    David BTL, that’s something that a lot of people on the Path have to do. The key thing to keep in mind is to take things a step at a time. You don’t just pathwork to Netzach — you start from Malkuth and work your way up a Path at a time, so everything becomes properly integrated: your overdeveloped Hod consciousness comes back into contact with earthy Malkuth and spooky Yesod, and so on. Meditate on everything corresponding to the Path and the Spheres it connets before you do a pathworking, then do the Pathworking, then meditate on everything you experienced — and then repeat the pathworking. Eventually, if you keep on working with magic, you can also do evocations of Venusian spirits and other such workings to help things along.

    Valenzuela, yep. I was thinking of the bit in the agricultural lectures where he insists that human beings aren’t nourished by food, but by subtle aromas they inhale from the atmosphere…

    Christoph, I hadn’t heard of him at all. Interesting; I’ll read his stuff when I have the chance.

    Stephen, er, stop right there and take a second look at what you’re saying. You’re suggesting that I should come up with a personal value judgment, from within my own narrow and rather crabby state of consciousness, profoundly influenced as it is by my own embeddedness in Western industrial civilization, and then try to find some way to impose that personal value judgment on civilizations yet unborn? Does the word “hubris” by any chance mean anything to you?

    Dennis, I gave myself a nasty case of kidney yang qi deficiency by combining the two; it took me several years to recover from that. I know other people who’ve ended up with other modes of qi imbalance, none of them fun.

    Nachtgurke, thanks for this. The timing of your Saturn return depends on exactly where Saturn was in his cycle of retrogrades when you were born; 27 years old is kind of early, but you may have had Saturn affecting another planet by aspect.

    Kevin, a nadir is the bottom of an arc. A Nader is a failed politician, and so is a Nadler. 😉

    Ighy (if I may), wireless communications are actually quite simple once you know the trick. A reasonably enterprising Renaissance alchemist could have built a simple transmitter and receiver using pre-vacuum tube technologies, and once you have the capacity to make vacuum tubes — which is not that difficult — radio communication is simple, and (of course) immensely useful in a military setting. I also expect ultralight airplanes for long-distance scouting to be a common feature of deindustrial dark age armies, because they’re cheap, easy to make, and provide colossal advantages to the army that has them.

    Tidlösa, that was certainly Dion Fortune’s interpretation of the Crucifixion!

    Kyle, fair enough. See how the chart, cast for the place where you live, relates to your natal chart, and work from that.

  124. @ pixelated What is the source of the Ojibwe legends that you have been telling us about?

    @ Kimberly What sort of books would you like? I have more than I need.

    @ Phutatorius I voted for Jesse Ventura back in the day. He has a lot of superficial resemblances to Trump, political outsider, likes attention, likes controversy, the media always taking what he says out of context. However there are at least two huge differences. First Ventura has really thin skin. He just could not take people saying bad things about him. The Donald seems to just get more powerful the more bad words are thrown at him. Second Ventura was an ineffectual governor. He really didn’t get anything done. The Donald gets all kinds of things accomplished.

    @Alan That sounds like a few of Robert Heinlein’s juveniles. “Farmer in the sky’ comes to mind but it dosen’t fit ecxaclty.

  125. Mr Greer:

    It is intriguing to me that an avowed non-Buddhist asserts that the Four Noble Truths are emphatically false. It is certainly a topic worthy of meditation.

    Siddhartha Gautama was also not a Buddhist, so you are in good company there.

  126. Ian,

    “What if we were to constantly open up our daily paper and see a headline like ‘East Kentucky Man Shot Seven Times on a Fishing Trip?’” he asks. “What form of upheaval would that create? I’d venture to say if we were met with this type of daily attack on our own people, we would take action in a way that hasn’t been seen since the Battle of Blair Mountain in West Virginia. And if we wouldn’t stand for it, why would we expect another group of Americans to stand for it? Why would we stand silent while it happened?”

    Man, this sort of blatant dishonesty does get me quite exercised! What is the matter with these people?
    Look, 9 unarmed black men were shot by police in 2019, and four of the cops were white. And how many whites were likewise shot? A higher number. And no, they were not fishing!!!

    As for whether white and black working classes have commonality, sure they do and it is the elite whites who speculate in such silly ways. Because they themselves are filled with racism and are quite clueless about the working class, and about blacks.

    By the way, did you know that when there is interracial violence, 90% of the time the victims are white? Should that cause an upheaval?

    This stuff needs to stop because it will eventually create a backlash.

  127. This article caught my attention and I think would be of interest to the commentariat here.

    Quick summary: we know how the universe works, it is just like the new stuff we do with computers. Neural Networks and Machine Learning! Oh and we are living is a simulation, maybe, again.

    Given the source being from the church of progress it was interesting to me that this made it though the filters. What I think has happened is that the materialist view of the mind as simply mechanical connections that can be modeled in computer code, neural networks, and trained to learn through pattern recognition is part of the valid model of progress. To imply then that the universe would be like the mind and that quantum mechanical weirdness is the norm even on the macro scale (like discussion on Jung) is a proposal that is blind to the implication of what they are saying. It even quotes the author as “I did not even have time to think about what could be philosophical implications of the results.” To be fair to the filters they had a hard time finding anyone else to comment on it.

  128. Hey, Kickstarter goal has been completed!

    This question would be probably more appropriate to MM but since it is open post I assume it is alright. Correct? I did de Alban Elfed ritual yesterday and it was wonderful, however I was still fumbling around with some things. Are this seasonal rituals only to be performed once in the exact day or can they be repeated to increase the power?

    On a more general topic. I saw Wilhelm Reichs work being discussed in PopSci , light healing being discussed in Science magazine and improved wind boats with a sorts modern sail system… hmm. I think that is pretty cool!

  129. Matt, my taste in literature tends to focus almost entirely on fantasy fiction, with little dips into the older strata of detective fiction (beginning with Edgar Allen Poe and wrapping up with Raymond Chandler) and a few old faves such as Hermann Hesse. If you like fantasy, Tolkien’s novels are absolutely splendid read aloud — he clearly composed by ear.

    Aidan, fun! Thanks for this.

    NomadicBeer, once we get past the election and the immediate post-election brouhaha, I’ll consider that.

    Phutatorius, it could have turned out that way, but we got the Orange Julius instead.

    Bridge, yes, I’d heard rumors of that some time ago. Yes, it’s spiritual warfare.

    David BTL, thanks for this!

    Wesley, I invented that idea. I knew that Sho needed to be visually a little bigger than Brecken, but light enough that she could flop a good part of herself on Brecken’s lap without causing damage. That got me thinking about shoggoth anatomy; since shoggoths have no permanent organs, they have to have some way to get oxygen to their cells, and the kind of honeycomb of pores that many insects have came instantly to mind. My shoggoths are not exactly the same as the Cthulhu Mythos standard version — among other things, they’re dry to the touch, since otherwise there would be a serious mess for Brecken to clean up! As for Lovecraft’s prose, it’s a source of endless amusement to me that he labeled his shoggoth “indescribable” and then gave a good detailed description of it…

    Greencoat, it’s not only still in motion, it’ll be in print as soon as the artist finishes producing the interior illustrations. I’ve already done the page proofs on the text. I’ll be making an announcement as soon as I hear more.

    Mitch, delighted to hear it.

    Pvguy, yes, I heard. Ugly scenes.

    Coop Janitor, thanks for the heads up!

    Mark, no, the middle class is one of the comfortable classes! We’ve already entered a period where some wealth is beginning to flow back to the deplorable working classes, and that’s why so many people in the comfortable classes are, er, excreting bricks. Yes, we could end up in one of those periods of relative stability; my guess is that if we get that, it’ll last for a couple of decades before the next round of crises closes in.

    Barefootwisdom, fair enough! My knowledge of Hindu philosophical schools is frankly rudimentary.

    Cleric, as I noted at the time, I was initiated into several of the Greek Mysteries.

    Kashtan, it depends on how the election comes out, but if it’s a hard division between very red and very blue states, yes, the possibility of a constitutional amendment to dissolve the Union is a real one.

    Alan, hmm! No, I don’t think I read that one. It’s quite possible that George Lucas borrowed the story line, you know — he swiped much of Kurosawa’s movie Hidden Fortress for the first Star Wars movie.

    Mister N, the Democrats are pretty frantic at this point, aren’t they?

    Lew, I’m looking forward to getting that one from the library. It’s very promising.

    Errata, equally, Hillary Clinton has publicly insisted that Biden should not concede the election no matter how the vote turns out. Both parties are gearing up for a contested election like the one in 1876 — you might want to look that one up sometime to get a sense of what we’ve already been through as a nation.

    Tomxyza, interesting — but right over my head, as I know very little about computer games.

  130. Goldenhawk, it’s because, after long meditation, I decided that the four “noble truths” are falsehoods that I am not a Buddhist. I grew up around Shingon Buddhists, remember, and I have a lot of affection for the symbolism and paraphernalia of that tradition, but I can’t affirm the foundation of the faith. In the same way, I am not a Christian because after long meditation, I found that I could not honestly affirm any of the standard Creeds.

    Bill, funny. I wonder if they know that Bishop Berkeley was there already in the eighteenth century.

    Augusto, just do it once each season. As you repeat the rituals year after year, you’ll pick up the necessary skill, and build power over time. As for Reich in PopSci, good heavens — now that’s a radical change!

  131. Any book written before central heating is good to read aloud, as they were written with that in mind; the author hoped his story would alleviate the boredom of sitting around the fire or stove with the same people night after night after night through the long winter. More modern ones:

    Watership Down by Richard Adams.

    The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton. Jurassic Park was so popular Crichton wrote it twice, the second time as Lost World. The first one’s best. Lost World is one of Crichton’s few duds.

    Patrick McManus—wrote funny stories about hunting, fishing, and camping, none of which you need to have done to laugh at and with him.

    The Shining by Stephen King BUT be aware it has unDruidly language from, literally, the first line.

    The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen. Been in print for nearly 50 years, with good reason. Great fun.

    P. G. Wodehouse, maybe. Either you steam up your glasses laughing or you wonder what all the fuss is about. Start with Right Ho, Jeeves and if you like that, there are many, many others. (Right Ho, Jeeves, predated central heating, but many of his books were after central heating, so he still counts.)

    The Revenant, by Michael Punke. Based on the gripping adventure of real person Hugh Glass.

    Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury.

    The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. If you liked this as a kid, you’ll enjoy a reread as an adult.

    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Likewise.

    The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, by Gordon Williams. Family besieged by murderously crazy neighbors. Well-written. Was made into a movie, Straw Dogs, in the late ‘60’s. I think Dustin Hoffman, of all people, played the hero. Book much, much better than movie.

    Krampus, the Yule Lord, by Brom. Christmas that’s not Dickens, and Santa’s a villain.

    Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon. You know that weird little town Stephen King’s characters are always wandering into? Well, this is probably what gave him the idea. Ruthless fertility cult in ‘70’s U.S.

    Bentley Little—the farm-team Stephen King, with less unDruidly language. If you like any of his novels that have titles beginning with “The,” you’ll probably like them all. I think the best are The Resort and The Return. If they were filmed they’d be popcorn movies, scary fun.

    Musashi by Yoshikawa Eiji. A big, old, sweeping historical epic. Yoshikawa must have been paid by the word. In the U. S. it’s broken up into 5 volumes that Kindle usually has cheap. If the Kindle versions are expensive right now, buy the used paperbacks.

    The Auctioneer, by Joan Samson. Great book for this time of year. Scary! Sadly, she died not long after completing this, her only novel. I believe she’d have been as big as Stephen King if she’d lived longer.

    The Cockroaches of Stay More, by Donald Harington. Does for roaches what Watership Down did for rabbits. The ending’s incoherent but the rest is worth reading.

    The Lord Of The Rings. You probably already thought of this one but since the last volume was published just about the time central heating was catching on, I went ahead and mentioned it. 😊

    It’s Raining Frogs and Fishes, by Jerry Dennis. A naturalist’s look at the wheel of the year.

    Beyond Your Doorstep, by Hal Borland. Another naturalist ‘s wheel.

    The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan. Gripping account of the U.S.’s first Depression.

    Spillover by David Quammen. Best book about viruses for the layman.

    The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth, by Thomas Morris. Very strange ailments of people of yore.

    Chilled, by Tom Jackson. History of refrigeration.

    Salt, by Mark Kurlansky. Natural and cultural history of salt.

    Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford. An alternative look at the infamous conqueror.

    Venomous, by Christie Wilcox. Natural history of some venomous creatures. Author writes very well.

    Starvation Heights, by Gregg Olsen. An unusual true-crime story from long ago.

    Working Stiff, by Judy Melinek, M.D. Well-written account of what it’s like to be a coroner.

    Egregores, by Mark Stavish.

    Owls Aren’t Wise And Bats Aren’t Blind by Warner Shedd. Great natural history book.

    If you read through all these, let me know, I got more!

  132. JMG,

    HRC is a failed politician who’s neither in office nor running for office. How is she an analogue for Trump, or even for a state chairman of the Republican party?

    I get that a large bloc of Democratic voters still take her seriously, but her support among Democrats is far from unanimous – you’ll find no small number of Dems who despise her, both for her policies and her arrogant ineptness as a candidate in 2016 (myself included, on both counts). I fail to see how Hillary’s opinion on anything is a counterweight to Trump’s words today or the words of the PA Republican Party chairman.

    Here’s what we learned today:

    1) At least 1 Republican state party official is on the record stating that using friendly electors to overrule the will of a state’s voters is an option worth considering, and

    2) The same official has spoken with Trump’s campaign team about the same and hopes they’re considering it too.

    And I can’t seem to find a single Republican today who takes issue with either of those things. That might be the most troubling part of all this.

  133. @JMG and Will Oberton,

    Thanks for the responses. I should have added that the book/novella/story which I mentioned, the one I had read back in the early 1970s, was part of an extensive 1930s-era classic science fiction collection owned by a friend’s father. My friend and I were both allowed to freely borrow and read material from this collection, and we both did, so frequently in fact that I ended up forgetting most of the names of the books, stories and authors! (My memory for titles and authors has always been quite bad.) But the background and story line of the main character in that 1930s work was SO similar to that of Like Skywalker in “Star Wars” that I cannot help but think that it was not just a coincidence. And as JMG states, George Lucas hardly developed the story and themes of “Star Wars” de novo and without any outside inspiration (to perhaps put it mildly).

  134. @SquirrellyJen I love this! Thinking about how our future Iliad will have KRS-One and Nas to thank is such an interesting thought to ponder.

  135. Two books, both by Stephen Batchelor, which seem relevant to the Western Agnostic view of Buddhism.

    1. Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening


  136. 1. Springing off of the discussion about Pluto and Uglicism: My dad likes the New Yorker magazine, and a publication called Funny Times, both of which are filled with cartoons that are, to be charitable, butt-ugly. And they’re stylized, meaning that the artists have worked hard to develop their respective aesthetics. (The jokes are often as bad and oddly thoughtless as the art.)

    So my guess is that these people are expressing something deep in the modern worldview that demands ugliness as an expression of truth. I figure it’s tied in with the prevalence of advertising and the abuses of organized religion, so that the resulting sense is that whatever seems beautiful is a lie disguising a horrible truth.

    In such an environment, as a matter of survival and sanity, some people would rather an ugly truth they feel they can count on, than something beautiful that may turn out to be a lie.

    But of course, a liar doesn’t just tell pretty lies – they’ll say whatever they have to in order to get you to believe them.

    2. I’m reading Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison (the book that the movie Soylent Green was based on). It’s interesting comparing it to the modern day, especially with the pandemic. (In the book, most diseases have been vanquished, leading to the population boom, and there is no possibility of another great plague thinning the ranks.)

    What strikes me is that the story assumes that the modern way of life is so unshakeable, or rather inevitable, that even with 40 million people crammed into New York City and living on starvation rations and poisoned water, there’s no possibility for change. No cults or demagogues, no waves of suicide or insanity. Just the worst of big-city living from here on out.

    Obviously Harrison was trying to make a point with the story, but I believe he was pretty liberal and to me, the book illustrates the flaws in the philosophy. (One character, Harrison’s mouthpiece more or less, approvingly describes the Mexican government forcibly spraying the homes of (stupid, backwards) peasants with DDT. Whoops!)

  137. JMG: That’s why I hope a significant enough number of people write in Howie Hawkins (even though he has all the charisma of an old dishrag) that it plays an ostensible role in losing Wisconsin for the Democrats. Watching the resulting temper-tantrum over their sense of entitlement blowing up in their faces, will be beyond entertaining!

  138. hello JMG, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Bjorn Bull Hansen-Anders from Norway. He’s an author of historical fiction about Vikings (translated in many languages but looking for an English pub) and does videos on You Tube about bush craft and current events. He thinks the USA is headed toward civil war because of five factors that he says have historical backing. The five are: 1) perception of a moral right by one side. 2) Living standard must be comfortable for almost all of the population (starving ppl are easy to control). 3) The winner takes the State. 4) Propaganda / news/ info is controlled by a small elite. 5) There’s an acceptance of violence or it is instantly forgiven by one side. It seems like we have these five conditions or are very close to them.

  139. Andrew, Luke, Lee, Dan. and anyone else participating in the Buddhist discussion above (thank all of you btw, for the great replies),

    If any of you want, feel free to continue this discussion on my dreamwidth blog. I archived my original comment above here:

    I’m really excited I managed to find some other pro-Self Buddhists out there! (and especially another Buddhist Platonist). It’s great to know there’s a least a few of us out there. Anyway, I think it would be cool if we could network a bit. Maybe I’ll mention Buddhism again in my list of questions during the next MM session and see who else wants to bite. And most importantly, thank you JMG as always for hosting the best commentariat on the internet, in addition to all the amazing insights you provide us!

  140. Buddhism:

    Yes, there are a lot of Buddhisms. I’m most familiar with Theravada and old-style Chan (Chinese) Buddhism (which has a lot of overlap with Taoist cultivation.)

    The Chan/Taoist thing is that you are creating a spiritual body made of purified prana/chi. When you succeed you have a body that goes in and out, that is better than the normal body that pops out when you die (and you think of it as you, and the physical body as secondary.). But that’s only the first step (though hellishly hard for various reasons); then you create a more purified body from that. At each step your experience improves, you gain various powers, and each body lives longer and longer.

    At five bodies up (so your sixth body, if you still have a mortal shell) you get Nirvana without remainder: that means the body has no (or so slow) an energetic leak that it lives for something close enough to forever. Then you have broken the cycle of reincarnation: you never have to come back to the material plane again if you don’t want to. (Though people with Bodhisattva oath do, to help out.)

    Expedient means can be a nasty bit of work, it allows lying for the other person’s good. (Lie to them to get them out of the burning building.) The way the development of prana for the first body is done in a lot of these traditions is really damn unpleasant (mostly because the spirits who help are all not good people) and I say that as someone who’s experienced rather a lot of pain in my life.

    As for the emptiness stuff, one way to rise prana/chi/whatever fast is to truly stop doing anything at the most fundamental mental level: stop grasping. The Taoist saying is “Perfect Yin leads to perfect Yang.” Speaking from personal experience, this is not BS: the effects are remarkable and strong, but it’s also really hard to truly grasp nothing at a mental level. Emptiness teachings, if you investigate them to the point of genuine belief, are very helpful with this.

    The Buddha actually spent more time encouraging monks to do Shamatha (concentration) practices, which give rise to insanely good feelings if you do them right. They also move the chi massively, and make it easier to not grasp. The combination of emptiness and shamatha (plus some other stuff) can lead to relatively fast development.

    This stuff is rarely written about. William Bodri (Buddha Yoga) is one place.

    Don’t try to do it without a good, qualified teacher, is my advice. It can get really ugly, really fast and the process takes over a decade, best case.

    Some Indian traditions do something similar, but to get the real thing you usually need a guru. If you get a good/kind/decent one, great. If not, well, terrible, because the deal in most Hindu traditions is very much a contract: “we’ll get you enlightened, and in exchange you will do exactly what we say, and not just spiritually.” Yogananda refers to this in “Autobiography of a Yogi” if you read it carefully.

  141. JMG, thanks for hosting one of the most interesting blogs on the internet, and thanks for the reminder on the Vintage World’s kickstarter.

    It appears from your reply to Matt that you got around to reading “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler. Hopefully you’ll squeeze in “The Little Sister” some day, where I believe the underlying sarcastic tone to be quite entertaining. Any chance of a hard-boiled detective and/or tough talking dame (or both) turning up in your future writings? Crime is ever present, even in Retrotopia or the tentacle ridden realm of the Weird of Hali.

  142. @Wesley
    For your general point, that is why I made the point of grouping the firearms into tiers, in order to account for different nations having different abilities to manufacture arms. It would not be hard for a region rich in hydropower to persue the refinement of millions of tons of iron ore currently buried inside of concrete and turn that into a profitable steel trade.

    The issue with automatic firearms is not so much the firearm itself, but rather the ammunition it uses. Efforts to create self powered firearms were generally stalled until the manufacture of smokeless powder and the loading of it into cartridges were sufficiently consistent in quality that would permit their use. While the chemistry of smokeless powder was still a state secret, several semi-smokeless powders with more accesible chemistry in a dark age context were trialed, notably ammonpluver. The ammunition produced with these semi-smokeless powders tended to be perishable and unsuitable for long term storage, and were replaced by smokeless powder of more complex but more reliable chemistry.

    The first semiautomatic rifle adopted (by no lesser power than Mexico) could only use imported ammunition due to the inconsistency of locally produced cartridges. Late WWII German machine gunners hoarded early war production ammunition when the powder in late war cartridges had to be changed to ammonpluver. The Lee-Navy rifles were abandoned when the stockpiles of their semi-smokeless ammunition was found to have perished a few short years after its manufacture.

    As long as smokeless powder can continue to be locally manufactured, semi and automatic firearms will continue to persist. If not so, workarounds using semi-smokeless ammunition that must be used as soon as it is produced can be made to work while understanding its limitations.

    The most likely scenario is one which the role of machine guns is taken over by manually driven high volume repeaters like the crank driven Gatling, Garden, Nordfeld, Hotchkiss guns, and down scaled versions of the chain gun.

  143. “I know of no mainstream intellectuals who have even begun to deal with the possibility that progress may not merely be self-limiting but self-reversing. ”

    You have spoken in the past about not only diminishing returns but a reversal of returns. This reminds me of two technical demonstrations of this – 5G and modern computer chips.

    5G is barely any better in terms of speed compared with the previous 4G network only with significantly less coverage. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what anyone would need all that speed for? It is like saying you can have 50 roast chicken for dinner even though you can only eat one for yourself at best. Here in Australia they are switching off the 3G network in four years time, to anyone that lives even vaguely rural is going to be left in the dark with this move. I fear this is a trend going into the future.

    As for modern computer chips, they are desperately trying to fight physics to make their parts smaller and faster but and in turn and producing products that will age significantly faster. I am starting to think we will see an age in decades to come where anything after about 2010-2012 will not last as long as previous machines. That said I am envision in a few decades we will be melting down computers for their metals, we already do it with phones for gold.

    On a side note, last month someone mentioned the idea of you writing a cook book at some point. Consider this some vague synchronicity but about two months ago I started a write a large essay/potential small book I had tentatively titled “Cook like a Druid”. More about how to cook and to trust your taste and experience rather than just merely following the recipes to the dot.

    I will assume two things from this out come. Firstly, I suspect your book will be much better. Secondly I’m not sure if I will ever finish this but I’m having fun with it regardless.

  144. Hello Mr Greer! What are your thoughts on QAnon? I’ve heard it commentated that it’s basically a secular version of evangelical Christianity. There are some similarities (biblical exegesis vs Qdrop exegesis, the whole idea of the apocalypse, Trump as savior, ect.) It reminds me of your comments in “After Progress” where you comment on how after religions implode, civil religions that are mirror versions of the imploded religion take their place.

    Do you think something similar is happening with QAnon? Is it a civil religion version of evangelical Christianity?

  145. JMG: “Irena, ask three Druids, get five answers. I’m sure some Druids believe that — you’ll find Druids who believe just about anything, at least on alternate Thursdays.”

    I’m pretty sure I read that (about soul mixing) in the comments section of this blog. Was it your reader Bill who posted that…? Or maybe it was someone else. I don’t remember.

  146. I’m wondering, JMG – looking back on the last seven months, is there anything that especially surprised you or stood out about our society’s response to the coronavirus?

  147. @Phutatorius In regards to Jesse Ventura. I would have loved to see that eventuate as he would have carried a very strong platform that resonantes with people but with a little more finesse than Trump has. He used to say “Who pays more to get a job than what they make from the job? Politicians.” – that is a good start to gaining some favor over a lot of people as it high lights the kind of corruption that comes with the position.

    Reading up on recent developments with him it actually seems like he is in a rough straight – along with a lot of the country. According to Wikipedia “On May 7, he announced he would not run (for Green party) because he would lose his employer-provided health insurance.” If you are even afraid of losing health insurance, I doubt there is much drive to put ones neck out and risk it until it gets even worse.

  148. @Tom Anderson Tomxyza, John Michael Greer

    An “Artificial Reality Game”, or ARG, isn’t really a video game or computer game. It’s more of an easter egg hunt across various websites and even real locations.

    In an ARG, the game’s organizers place subtle clues that when figured out lead you to other clues, which lead to more clues, until eventually some sort of payoff is found. For instance, the first clue in one such “game” might be an alphanumeric code posted to some facebook account, and cracking the code might give you a link to some unlisted youtube channel whose videos might contain certain words or names that when put together can be used to find some obscure blog which in turn contains coordinates that lead to some real life location where a package has been left, and the package might contain even more clues, and so on.

    One person might find out what the first clue means and then share it with everyone online, then someone else can figure out the second clue, and someone else the third one, so that in the end beating the game becomes a community effort.

    These games are called “Artificial Reality” games because the various clues and sites and videos all contain bits of information that tell a coherent story when put together. The story is obviously a work of fiction, but it is presented as being something that actually happened or is happening in the real world.

    It’s a bit hard to explain, so you might want to look up some examples of ARGs, or check out the wikipedia article.

  149. @JMG

    Thanks. A page a day sounds much more feasible.


    I’m not very taken with Jason Louv. If you have his _John Dee and the Empire of Angels_ compare what he reports about the death of Cardinal Wolsey or Oscar Wilde with the easily checked Wikipedia entries. I drafted 30k words of a fantasy novel around Dee, that sort of thing sets my teeth on edge.

  150. Hello John Michael,

    Thank you for this forum!

    Regarding above, where you mentioned “The higher your awareness rises on the astral during the act (of sex), the higher a grade of soul you can attract into the working, and love resonates at a very high astral sub-plane.”

    Does this have any discernable implications for the IVF method of fertilising a Petri-dished egg with a needle-injected sperm?

    Also, I have an uplifting story to share. Two late nights ago I had talk radio on and the DJ asked if Australians should grow our economy by either increasing our birth rate or by encouraging more immigration. The previous hour of pop-culture chatter did not give me high hopes for this new topic, but I was glad to hear the first caller opine that growth is not necessarily what’s best and that we should instead improve the quality of life for the people already here and learn to live with less. Ten minutes late I was glowing with prayer as the next five callers all shared the same opinion, and the DJ had to admit that perhaps an economy of endless growth was not the best answer. There’s hope!

    Live from Tidal Reach,

  151. JMG: “it’s because, after long meditation, I decided that the four “noble truths” are falsehoods that I am not a Buddhist”

    Hmm… It was probably a bit arrogant to name those four “noble truths.” But calling them “falsehoods” doesn’t seem quite right either. I’d call them coping mechanisms, or simply mental tools. Depending on your personality and circumstances, they may work quite well for you. Or not. I do think that Buddhism offers one of the saner and more humane ways of coping with circumstances that increasingly suck, with little hope for reversal.

  152. There were some comments on MM about how Jewish influence has risen and fallen with Pluto, and recent events seem to be bearing this out – the death of RBG seems to be a classic instance of the decline of Jewish power.

    So, curiously, does the fact that Israel is normalizing its relations with its neighbors. It is becoming just another average country instead of the hope or bane of mankind. It is going to be interesting to witness Jewish people becoming just as boringly run-of-the-mill as everybody else!

  153. @ David BTL

    That article on flights that go nowhere is gold. I think it was Theodore Roszak who pointed out how strange it was that we turned air travel into something so utterly boring and devoid of wonder that we had to give people television to watch during the flight to keep them entertained. And, of course, the absurdity of so many of the rituals around air travel has been standard fare for standup comedians for decades.

    Makes me wonder if there isn’t a business model for a slow collapse civilisation where you sell people the experiences that were once part of daily life at the ‘peak’ of consumer society. Some other ideas:

    – sitting in a car in gridlock
    – being crammed onto a commuter train or bus
    – breathing in the exhaust fumes on a busy road
    – watching the sunset through a heavy smog

    Nostalgia’s a helluva drug.

  154. Balowulf etal,

    I am not entirely sure that firearms manufacture will degrade all that much. The things are simply way to useful and semi-auto technology is frankly well over a century old at this point. Things like the 1911 are still popular to this day. There are alot of other classic firearms floating around out there from the late 19th early 20th century. The Broomhandle Mauser was released in 1896. The Luger was released in 1908. This is old and mature tech. If anything firearms designs have gotten simpler and easier to manufacture with age. If you want some fun take a look at things like the Sten Gun and M3 Grease Gun from WWII. Those were very simple and easy to manufacture in job lots.

    The biggest change over the last few decades really has been materials engineering (plastics) and electronics (lasers, red dot sights etc). Not the basic idea of modern firearms itself. Certainly in a low energy future plastics wont be around and the various military establishments wont be nearly as large. But I would expect that in any area with any level of manufacturing ability will be producing firearms and more importantly selling them to everybody. Google up some videos on firearms manufacture in the Philippines or Pakistan for an idea what I am talking about here.

    If anything I expect tactics to change and warfare to look much more like the Boer war with AK-47s or WWI with out the massive amount of troops. If anything ammo availability and logistics in general is going to be the bottleneck. Everything smaller. Like it or not the cat is out of the bag and firearms are going to be around for a long time.


    And now for something completely different. I stumbled on this article today.

    I figured you might be interested in light of Monsters being readdressed.

    Other Dave.

  155. JMG,
    I have read Patanjali at some point. I think that thought confirms utilizing Buddhist samatha practices and leaving out vipassana would work.

  156. Merle, JMG: thanks for bringing this up! I love Charles Williams’ poetry, mostly from Taliesin through Logres, but also some of the poems from The Region of the Summer Stars. I had always thought that was a poetic image that he had invented himself. JMG, do you have any link to (translations of) Welsh texts on it?

  157. In general, I find it heartening to see posts from left, Buddhist and other standpoints, i. e. posts in respectful disagreement with at least some of JMG’s and the majority of the current commentariat’s preferences. I felt they were becoming rarer.

  158. Baarefoot, being

    When you write “The Buddha Nature is synonymous with the ‘Divine Spark’ of the Gnostics, the Atman of the Vedantist Hindus, and the Soul of the Platonists,” I just have to stop that train long before we even get to Buddha Nature. I can’t even see how we get the Ātman of (non-dual) Vedānta to line up with any Platonist account of the Soul. It’s just not the case that all religious and philosophical teachings are talking about the same things, and to insist otherwise is unhelpful and misleading, if not outright deceptive and harmful to our understanding.

    That is a strong statement and I would like you to elaborate. Exactly what do you think those things refer to? Since the components that make up a human being are going to be the same for us all, it could be that we are indeed referring to the same things but that our understandings of them differ.
    For example, in my version of Holy Spirit Christianity (but I am the only member) we have a pure spirit that sounds exactly like your pure unsullied witness.

  159. Greetings all!

    One or two weeks ago, on magic mondays, there was a very brief discussion about the possibility that a malign enchantment was cast upon the world. I find this idea very intriguing.
    Can we have a few more details please? Or if ever possible a post?
    I am aware I may be asking too much from our host, after all, this is an electronic living room and not an electronic restaurant with an “a la carte” menu. Still, no harm in asking!


  160. Errata,

    I have a slightly different take on that article. When I see headlines about the possibility of Trump refusing to concede and chaos, I simply see that as an announcement by the DNC that they intend to cheat and obfuscate so badly that it will throw the nation into chaos and they can then try a military coup.
    I think that the loss of interest in and credibility of the DNC is quite profound and that none of the democratic candidates have any chance whatsoever. So, if in an election that is messed up by millions of mail-in ballots, tons of chaos and shenanigans, they manage to state that Trump has lost, well, I am sorry to say but it will quite simply mean to a majority of the citizens of America that it is time to defend their country and its constitution from an insurrection.

    The right very badly does not want civil war. All they want is a normal and fair election.
    They are willing to lose an election. They are not willing to have it brazenly stolen.

  161. @Luke,
    I wasn’t asked but I’ll weigh in anyway – I would say tautologically, you cannot destroy your immortal soul. What Buddhist practise can destroy without having a way to rebuild or replace it, is the ego. That is something which happens unfortunately often in Buddhist communities, it’s a common hazard of that kind of practise.*

    I find it more helpful to think of the Nirvana project as recognising one’s true self. The thing is, that true self has no qualities for a rational mind to engage with, so it’s arrived at, as Laughing sage described, via process of elimination. That’s pretty difficult and scary to begin with, but Western society has a peculiar relationship with the individual self** which makes it even harder to get the distinction across.

    *See EG Sam Harris’s talks on the impossibility of free will

    **see EG Jordan Peterson’s talks on the Christian origins of Classical Liberalism.

  162. Errata,

    Because right now, I’m hearing an American president openly ponder the end of representative government

    I didn’t hear any such thing. The question I heard was, “If we cheat this election, will you behave nicely?” And his answer was, don’t cheat and there won’t be a problem. I only listened to the relevant part, near the middle of the clip.

  163. JMG said: “if the Israelis can make themselves good neighbors of the Sunni Arab states, they might pull through, at least for a while.”

    I tend to agree, especially if the current Israeli government is replaced with one that is less pig headed and a little bit more responsive to the justified grievances of the Palestinian people.

    Furthermore, it is high time for Israel to realise its utter dependency on US Imperial power. As the latter declines, Israel may find that to maintain the military occupation of Palestinian territories is a very very expensive and counter productive endeavour.

    It is far better to withdraw and make reasonable peace with one’s neighbours than to continue antagonising them especially when one’s power becomes unsustainable.

    Good neighbours always come in handy.

    I am afraid that time is not on Israel’s side.
    The clock is ticking…

  164. @JMG and others:

    So this is my third comment this week, and on a third subject, and I suspect it’s a theme that may be all too familiar; nevertheless I find that I’ve been given pause for the second time this month. It is of course TLDR, OMG, TSW!

    I’ve been whizzing about on the bunny slopes of the three basic practices for a few months now, but I’ve been practicing geomancy as a separate discipline for nearly four years at this point. In the past weeks I’ve had to come up with a new exercise question every day rather than when the mood takes me and I haven’t always chosen those questions wisely.

    Earlier in the month I asked a question about politics expecting a business as usual answer and didn’t get it. After an uncomfortable period of reflection I asked for comments on the technical interpretation elsewhere but I think it didn’t get through moderation. I can’t say that I’m entirely sorry about that.

    I feel easier talking about today’s question. There’s a conservative blogger that I’ve been following quite casually for years – he moved from the UK to a small Austrian farm a few years ago despite being pro-brexit and he had a distinct point of view that I enjoyed reading. He’s posted two or three times a week quite regularly for years when towards the end of July he simply stopped. The blog commentary is completely moderated so all the comments stopped too.

    Today, instead of just asking what the day would bring, I did a house chart on the question ‘Is X dead?’ The chart perfected by Conjunction, the manner of his death was illness or injury, and from the look of the chart the farm was involved. I suspect it may have been an agricultural accident.

    He blogged under a pseudonym and seems to have been an intensely private man, it took some effort digging around on Google to confirm the basic fact. Whatever it was that killed him, it must have taken him by surprise. A few weeks after his death a member of his local community had been making some enquiries to track down family in England and a few other bloggers had managed to locate them.

    There’s no doubt, the man has gone along with a unique voice, I feel poorer for it, but so it goes.

    In this particular case, I was half prepared for the answer but the fact I was able to draw the correct conclusion in a few minutes using a technique for which I can give no coherent explanation in early 21st century terms still gives me – well not culture shock anymore, but perhaps a cultural jump scare. A salutary reminder in any case.

    There’s one other point which I am really aiming at myself here which is:

    “Don’t ask the question if you can’t deal with the answer”

    Seems obvious doesn’t it? But a long life immersed in technology makes it hard to grasp at a fundamental level sometimes.


  165. @ Luke

    There is evidence that a “no-soul” hermeneutic can be harmful to the practitioner in both the Theravada and Mahayana canon, including some that belongs to the earliest strata of each tradition’s scriptures.

    That being said, I’m sure you can find many scholars and Buddhists who disagree with me. They are worth looking into to get a balanced view, but I think they have mistaken the forest for the trees.

    Each tradition has its dogmas and sticking points. A Catholic or Lutheran were certainly say that Jesus is the unique incarnation of God and that this is clear in the Bible, but modern biblical scholarship allows us to bring quite a lot of trouble to that long held view.

    From the Nikayas:

    “Ānanda, if I, being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans and contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I, being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans and contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of the self]. If I, being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?” (From Access to Insight)

    (in this passage, the Buddha explicitly equates a no-self view as “annihilationism,” which is a heresy)

    From the Lankatavara Sutra:

    “The Self [atman] characterised with purity is the state of
    Self-realisation; this is the Tathagatagarbha, which does not
    belong to the realm of the theorisers …[746]

    “As when a garment is cleansed of its dirt, or when gold is
    removed from its impurities, they are not destroyed but
    remain as they are; so is the Self freed from its defilements …

    “Those who hold the theory of non-Self are injurers of the
    Buddhist doctrines, they are given up to dualistic views of
    [samsaric] being and non-being; they are to be ejected by the
    convocation of the Bhikshus and are never to be spoken to.

    “The doctrine of an ego-Soul shines brilliantly like the rising
    of the world-end fire, wiping away the faults of the
    philosophers, burning up the forest of non-Self-ness.

    “Molasses, sugar-cane, sugar, and honey; sour milk,
    sesame oil, and ghee – each has its own taste; but one
    who has not tasted it will not know what it is.

    “Trying to seek in five ways for an ego-Soul in the
    accumulation of the skandhas, the unintelligent fail to
    see it; but the wise, seeing it, are liberated.” [765-768].

    (From Dr. Tony Page)

  166. @squirrelyjen & all you interneterrant rappers out there: Thanks for linking to the Finnish rap off the Kalevella. Fascinating. It also appears they are using the text for bibliomancy. A kind of chance operation (which I’m also a big fan of in music) as a means for generating their improvisation. Many streams coming together here.

    Rap is a very mutable form that goes well with many combinations of other musics, now, and in the future. Very fun!

    @JMG & all you jazz aficionados: I recently got turned on to a group called Griot Galaxy (speaking of bards) headed up by Faruq Z. Bey. He was a member of the Moorish Orthodox Church & into all kinds of interesting stuff. Anyway, they put out an album of live recordings made in Austria called “Opus Krampus”. This piece from that album, called After Dream, is pretty heavy, man. Great sax players and the drums on this one are killer diller.

  167. @ Pixelated & Kevin: you can count me in on the “blessing Canada club”! Although I agree with the Canada goose as an appropriate image for the country, personal experience with their prodigious excrement (I grew up on a river shore infested with them) does not bring very positive images to my mind. Other than the map of Canada, obviously the maple leaf, beaver, moose and caribou come to mind as potential images.

  168. @JMG

    Duly noted. I don’t love short media clips like this because you don’t know who the players are (guy filming), who staged the distribution of shields and weapons and why. I assume that any information related to tracking these distributions it’s currently surpressed or not available to the public.
    Although it looks very much like it is what it is.
    Some striking dystopian imagery there of somewhat organized insurrection in 2020.
    Recognition of commonalities and coming together over shared goals I believe is a potent force to combat the weaponization of sociological concepts and terms that were not developed for the purposes they are being used for now. Albeit I may be a little naive as to the intentions behind my sociology professors in the early 2000’s… I suspect at times ex KGB and the like are laughing their heads off at this point.
    The coming landslide is going to be an eye-opener and the wave of new minority voters will fill the media and perhaps intentions of solidarity will find stronger traction thereafter.

    @ Anna m

    The backlash is quickly arriving, and this is why I am pointing out these quotes.
    You are right I think of course that the statistics are very wrong, and always will be, as long as a corrupt kleptocracy controls the narrative. Dishonesty is the name of the game and Tyler is not enlightened but rather simply regurgitating what he has been told, and is lapping up the slaps on the back the media is giving him.
    However, what I am noting is that the idea of solidarity came up at all, and what that idea is signalling. Where did that notion come from?
    His opinion is occupying a middle ground that most elites aren’t standing on. I think it is possible to gauge public reception of new ideas by the way elites behave in some respect. If they bring the ideas into their own houses, however ignorant they may be, it signifies a power shift on Sunday me level.
    And yes I am interested in working class white and black folk coming together around shared goals because it has been something good that has happened in my life, and I believe it will be good for the people living in North America…albeit our situation in Canada is different and I don’t pretend I live one of these u.s cities where the insurrections seem to be taking place.
    This is of course only my observation and opinion.
    Although I admit bias as Tyler’s music is to my taste, and I consider American country folk music in the same thread as Kentucky Bourbon. A luxury good to indulge in, once in a while, for personal pleasure and appreciation of American culture.

  169. JMG seeing as you called the bit coin bubble….. Are gold and silver in a bubble right now? How long do we have to go until the stock market collapses/ the US government has to chose between a inflation and paying the debt?

  170. U.S. Political comments:

    1. Joe Biden: He was chosen by James Clyburn, the ruling Black Democratic Congressman from South Carolina. Clyburn fears the next generation of Black politicians and rules the SC party with an iron hand. He worked behind the scenes to stop every young contender from running. He pushed Biden over the finish line in South Carolina and keeps pushing Biden forward. I am not sure if he can drag Biden over the finish line. So Biden is the face of the ruling powers who refuse to give anything up to the next generation.

    2. The Democratic Party had decided to have H. Clinton teach resiliency training to the women of the party. What resiliency training is how do deal with trauma and ptsd. I have received it for my brain injury so I go shopping and outside without fear. (I had a building fall on me.) It is a way to deal with trauma with equanimity. From what I can see, H. Clinton is the last person to deal with trauma with equanimity.

    3. Deranged fear that Trump will not go quietly into that good night. It is like a wildfire spreading throughout the Democratic blogging sphere and Democratic organs such as the Washington Post.

    My take away is that Biden will lose. They are preparing people for that loss. Meanwhile, the raging fear that Trump won’t leave is actually the 2016 election trauma playing itself out.

    Mitt Romney said that it is the time for the Conservatives to run the Supreme Court, since the Liberals had their time. Fortune’s Wheel turns and all of us must accept it. Unfortunately the people who were formerly in power cannot. This is common throughout history. For the U.S., I believe the Republicans in the 1930s had the same upsets and hysteria as the Democrats now.

    P.S. Conservative media agrees with Mr. Greer’s perceptions. And Max Keyser (a left-wing financial commentator) also agrees. It would seem that various sections left and right are seeing the same things. Keyser is predicting the decline of the U.S. based on the fact that the economy doesn’t produce actual items but instead does invisible items like derivatives. He also believes that negative interest rates spells doom of the comfortable classes.

  171. Well, after all the ballyhoo, I had to make the trip to Qanonland,,,

    I went to 8kun, which was hard enough to find; waded into the morass of what they call “breads” and just hung out.

    It reeks of a massive disinfo machine, but the only purpose I could find, besides making Trump and his cadre into some kind of ‘miracle team’ is to waste time. Maybe they are using the masses to run some sort of analyses? Got no idea what the actual purpose of this disinfo operation may be, other than to obfuscate and confuse. I did read some of the Q posts, and they seem to be publicly available knowledge along with a healthy dose of ‘push’ to make an enemy out of the current struggle untied under the banners of Satanism and Pedophilia, both recurrent themes.

    I tell you, it was a pit of monkeys flinging poo and quite an experience. The red team is there en masses and the blue tram nowhere in sight. It made my head hurt and the lack of critical thinking within a group that badgers members about critical thinking… I don’t know what happened to Gerry Nadler on stage yesterday, but it appeared to me (I did watch the video) that he pooped his pants and tried to exit the stage without aggravating his situation. That in itself was worth the excursion into the Quniverse for me, as he is the quintessential privileged politico…

    Don’t know if you made the trip before yourself, but it was an eye opener. My question is this: What would military types want to execute this kind of psyop for?

    I saw where David BTL posted a link to the EIA. If readers have the time, the charts presented show a clear, large drop in reinvestment into O&G exploration and drilling projects. This is the setup for later price spikes, even if the economy is retracting globally. Within the oil patch, the companies that make the equipment are going under or simply closing doors rapidly. This will make any attempt at a rapid turnaround fizzle in future.

    I am interested if anyone else has waded into the Qanon swamp and what their take on it might be?

    I am seeing a decline in beekeeping, not from lack of interest but from lack of success. My bees seem more ‘moody’ – susceptible to being flustered more easily when I take a look in the boxes. At a recent apiary meeting, several members had lost entire hives to something unknown – no mites or other obvious things – the queens just seemed to shut down and stop making workers. There is some serious concern over this.

    I am stall aghast at Gov Newsome in Cali making his “no gas cars by 2035” proclamation. He may get his wish, but not for the reasons he might envision…

    Off to work – another day of retreat from the oil business!

  172. Comments on the magical front:

    The magic resistors (sounds electronic) that I know are all very sick. They are being assailed by disease and depression. Yet, they continue on with their plans to burn Trump and company at their rituals.

    Their magic sigils to bind Trump, etc are all over the internet but they have lost all meaning to me. I just glance over them and move on. I believe that a magic sigil is supposed to have power which these seem to be losing. Does that happen?

    I am still working on Hildegard of Bingen and her Viriditas. I ask myself – is this life sustaining or growing green in my spiritual practice. It seems to be healthier, and boosts my overall sense of well-being.

  173. About animals coming back.

    I was a “pet communicator” for years. I would help animals leave their bodies and transition and the humans who were with them. Some animals will not leave the humans but instead become guardians of them. Some will come back as another “pet.” It happens since the animal is often entwined with the human’s energy. Not all animals, just some.

  174. @ drhooves

    Re hard-boiled detectives and hard-talking dames

    I’m no JMG, but I’ve just completed a series of novellas which have been posted over on Zendexor’s website, very much inspired by Chandler though set in my 19-th century space-age alternate history/physics universe. It’s a five novella series (The Hard Streets of Aphrodite) that will become a novel manuscript in due time and most of it has been serialized to-date (the final portions of the last novella will come out in the Oct and Nov issues of Tales To Astound). It could stand some polishing, but it’s very readable in its present form:

    I really, really enjoyed writing it over these last fifteen months. Gritty, jaded first-person is an interesting perspective to write from.

    @ Simon S

    Re that airline article

    It was truly an astonishing thing to read. I’d not be surprised at this point to see some of the other things you mentioned crop up elsewhere…

  175. @Matt, regarding read alouds – I can’t really justify these as classics, but if you like mysteries and humor tossed together I highly recommend Charlotte Macleod’s Peter Shandy series. The first, “Rest Ye Merry” (1978) and third “Wrack and Rune” (1982) are particularly delicious. They are set at the Balaclava Agricultural College in Maine where Peter Shandy is a horticulture professor capable of moving his students to tears at the terrible plight of rutabagas being assailed by fungal diseases.

    Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax novels are also fun. Widowed and in her later years, Emily Pollifax is feeling unnecessary so she decides to volunteer to the CIA as a spy.

  176. “are there any ways you could think of to even broach [the BLM] topic?”

    DJT’s support among the Black community has doubled and may have tripled in 4 years. What’s their explanation? Is your friend calling all 6 million of those Black people stupid? Let her figure it out. It’s a religion, (ie a belief system) and therefore cannot be discussed logically. Don’t. And that’s fine. Just say you’re confused.

    In polling, some 80% of the people said they lied to pollsters, probably for cussedness and sheer American amusement, yet we go on believing.

    “Do you think secession/breakup of the US will start being seriously considered” It’s supposed to be broken up. They U.S. is a Union of Sovereign and very different States, Therefore “States United” or “United States” where each is fully able to follow their own paths and views. So we’re worried about going back to something that should have existed all along? And if so, why secede? You’re getting everything you want already and a protecting joint army too. I’m glad: I don’t want to be Delaware or Texas. To each their own.

    Obama put out a Twitter call yesterday for everybody to call him and explain how they were doing, so…

    “most Westerners are almost completely uninformed, misinformed and ignorant of what authentic Buddhism actually is.” Agree from last week where most of our “Eastern” thought is all re-packaged things for Western consumption, and this is unfortunate, and leads to the problems, and attracting the rich, troubled intellectuals you speak of.

    “a lot of what burned will not be rebuilt.” Nor should it. At the very least they should/must be fire-hardened or else portable, and the idea that they don’t have even basic fire hardening is idiotic. Might as well live on the coast of Newfoundland and have no plan for rain. It’s functionally not that hard.

    “Imagine a Social Credit System run by Amazon, Apple, Google, and/or Microsoft, data mined and sold to other business and even governments use to reward or penalize you” Why imagine? They are doing this, doing it badly, with evil, and people have been suffering without recourse because there is no legal system. They are replacing a legal system with rights and process for a corporate system which has none. However, the corporate system cannot work if you don’t buy it.

  177. I remember reading something either here or on the other blog about how a gift of a knife can “cut” or otherwise end a friendship. A friend of mine who works in the knife business recently gave me a couple kitchen knives. If I may quote a line from The Office television show, “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.” I am a Christian, so I said a quick prayer thanking God for the friendship and the gift and asking that our friendship would be helped and not harmed. Is there anything else you would recommend to do?

  178. JMG,

    Have you come across the latest Techo-utopian fantasy of the week? I have come across it 4 times in the last week alone. It goes something like this. In a massive scientific break thru Helium 3 has been discovered in large quantities on the surface of the moon. Our future is now assured as we can send spaceships with robotic A.I. powered mining gear to the surface of the moon, dig up and refine the helium 3, then transport it back to earth. This helium 3 can then be used to power amazing fusion power plants that will create electricity very cheaply and abundantly to power our fleets of EV’s , VR and the internet forever. The proof of viability seems to be the claim that the Chinese already have some kind of lander on the dark side of the moon exploring for helium three now. Do you think this is a sign that the religion of progress is nearing its breaking point? That anyone would believe in this is both a sign of desperation and an example of how serioius the disconnect is between some people in the technosphere and actual reality.

  179. JMG, thanks for your response. You said – “the middle class is one of the comfortable classes”. Understood, I meant “middle class” in the old sense of the middle class – the middle of the country, low end of the salary class and the wage class. I’m assuming that what may accelerate is the beginning of the end of some of our larger upper middle class/professional rackets: education, for-extortionate-profit healthcare, businesses based on labor arbitrage and unproductive administrative and professional overhead of various sorts, followed by improved outlook for working people in the US. I’m certainly hoping that’s what plays out. Perhaps a return to basics and removal of more fluff in the economy could help calm our politics down as well, although it may take some time for the wailing and gnashing of teeth to subside.

  180. Dear Archdruid,

    I am writing to ask for some advice on how to develop in the skill of writing. I would like to do this as I want something to do outside of work that is more than mindless entertainment. My aims would be to develop to the level that I could publish something if I wanted to. As for the type of writing, I am more interested in non-fiction, tending towards the analytical.

    With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to ask you for some advice, because you have talked about developing yourself into a writer in the past. I would appreciate any advice, although I also had two specific questions.

    1.) Do you know of any books that set out a system for developing the skill of writing? More specifically, something similar to your beginner’s manuals for magic would be very useful, but the books would have an eye towards developing someone into a writer instead of a spiritual practitioner.
    2.) Based on developing other skills in the past, I suspect that having different people to give feedback to what you write would be important in developing as a writer. When you were starting out, how did you seek out feedback for your writings? Does it make sense to just write and try to draw attention to what you write from the beginning, and to send it to publishers? Or does it make sense to go at it mostly yourself, maybe occasionally get help from a coach or some private mentors, and wait a few years before you start sending it out anywhere?

  181. Well, apologies to all for not paying attention to my typos in earlier post – was trying to do 3 things at once – failed. LOL

    I came across this in my daily energy grazing for work:

    all I can say is….is… hell I need not say anything!

    Hypercomplexity…stupid…altar of technology…folks, it’s all here for anyone with eyes to see, brought to you by the same people who imported the cane toad!

  182. Could you explain how to properly do a relocation chart to see how a move will affect one astrologically?


  183. Here’s one more for the End of the World that wasn’t.. Only 7 years left apparently.

    “On Saturday at 3:20 p.m., messages including “The Earth has a deadline” began to appear on the display. Then numbers — 7:103:15:40:07 — showed up, representing the years, days, hours, minutes and seconds until that deadline. As a handful of supporters watched, the number — which the artists said was based on calculations by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin — began ticking down, second by second. “This is our way to shout that number from the rooftops.”

  184. JMG, Alexandra, etc., on class in America’s Empire, from a debate between (liberal) David Samuels and (Righty) Angelo Codevilla (at

    “Meanwhile, at home, the American ruling elites prattle on endlessly, about their deeply held ideals of whatever that must be applied to Hondurans today, and Kurds tomorrow, in fits of frantic-seeming generosity in between courses of farm-to-table fare.
    Once the **class bond** has been firmly established, everyone can relax and exchange notes about their kids, who are off being credentialed at the same “meritocratic” but now hugely more **expensive private schools** that their parents attended, whose social purpose is no longer to teach basic math or a common history, but to *indoctrinate* teenagers in the cultish mumbo-jumbo that serves as a kind of **in-group glue**, that binds ruling class initiates (she/he/they/ze) together, and usefully **distinguishes them from townies** during summer vacations by the seashore.”

  185. Also JMG, I’m considering joining AODA and wanted your perspective.

    I am progressing nicely with the practices from Circles and Paths of Wisdom after finishing LRM a few years ago. I plan to continue all the way through these. I’m mostly through the meditations in Paths, up to Chesed so far. For Circles, I have also been doing systematic work with the elemental opening/closing paired with their respective pentagram rituals which has been giving some pretty potent results. I’ve also done some talismans, expansions of the Vibratory formula of the Middle Pillar, consecration of the elemental tools, and a few evocations for basic things with a combination of success and failures. I plan to continue this path on through Regardie’s book, as I’m getting good results from it.

    However, I also realized I want to focus on connection to nature as well. I’ve spoken with some of the folks at AODA and this seems like a good way to do it. I figure I would focus mostly on the practices of spending time in nature, decreasing waste (and eventually something like music or crafting for bardic explorations), as the primary practices for that. I would progress the ritual work for AODA beyond some basic form of the SOP (if they require that).

    I would continue progressing with the GD work because that is my main goal for occult training.

    Do you think this is a sensible way to approach it, and have some form of nature spirituality while still progressing in my GD training?

  186. @ barefootwisdom (September 23, 12:58 pm) – I haven’t had time to read through many of the comments, so I don’t know what anyone else might have said. Anyhow – I found the article in question & I was wrong about it being written locally – it was an article from a major newspaper that had been reprinted in the local paper (Albuquerque Journal, Business Outlook , p.9, Monday September 14). The article, ‘The 5G lie: The network of the future is still slow’, came from the The Washington Post & was written by Geoffrey A. Fowler. I still think I saw some local comments somewhere, I just can’t pin down the source. Maybe I dreamed it. Sigh.

  187. @errata,
    Regarding the Atlantic article you cited and responses to your post, you said “Here’s what we learned today: 1) At least 1 Republican state party official is on the record stating that using friendly electors to overrule the will of a state’s voters is an option worth considering.”

    I don’t think that Republicans are trying to overrule the will of a state’s voters. I think they are trying to find a way to clean up the mess made by millions of unverifiable mail-in ballots and last-minute changes to voting rules. It sure seems like the Dems are just trying to create chaos. They are actively trying to make sure that there is not a clear winner on the day of the election.

    My question to you–if the Dems think they are going to win, wouldn’t they want and be pushing for mechanisms that count votes accurately and decisively? Yet they are doing the opposite.

  188. JMG, you said that you consider QAnon to be a psyop like the UFO “coverups.” If that is the case, what is the purpose of it? The UFO stuff was to mislead the public about secret government weapons programs; so what is QAnon misleading us about (in your opinion.) Is it to keep all the heavily-armed right-leaning people, who are upset about the (lack of) speed at which the swamp is being drained, from taking matters into their own hands? To chill out and “trust the plan” as it were.

  189. Hello JMG

    I’d be very interested to know your reasoning behind deciding that the Four Noble Truths are falsehoods, if possible.


  190. @oilman2
    regarding your inquiry about QAnon. I have been interested in the Q drops for some time, and have read a bunch of Q “interpreters” and watched some videos too. At times it seems like there is something solid there, but then someone starts in about how Tom Hanks is a pedophile, and he’s already been executed for his crimes and been replaced by a clone (insert eye-roll emoji.) Or other such nonsense. It does seem to me that Q is trying to get people to do an end run around the mainstream media, and get issues and events talked about widely but not from any one “managed” narrative. So you get all levels of discourse from thought-provoking to outright bonkers.

    The most intelligent writing about the Q phenomenon I have found is Martin Geddes. I would love to hear what others think of his work. His essays are at

  191. @Ron M. I agree those are all also pretty powerful Canada symbols, though the Ojibwe story about the Deer clan – which can be Caribou or Moose, depending on region – gives me pause, about Moose, too. The commandment was always to intermarry with other clans, never your own, and the Deer clan disobeyed and was expunged from the earth by the Creator. Their spot is kept as an empty space in the ceremonies, when all the other Chanda take theirs, to remind everyone of their mistake. The Beaver has definitely trickster firms here, and is an ambiguous culture hero… The maple tree seems least conflicting, mythologically…perhaps combined with the bilingual national anthem? Heck… Our flag.

  192. @Adwelly

    “There’s a conservative blogger that I’ve been following quite casually for years – he moved from the UK to a small Austrian farm a few years ago despite being pro-brexit and he had a distinct point of view that I enjoyed reading. He’s posted two or three times a week quite regularly for years when towards the end of July he simply stopped. The blog commentary is completely moderated so all the comments stopped too.”

    I wonder if the blogger you are referring to may have been Raedwald? I cannot remember how I came across his but I really enjoyed his posts. if so and you haven’t seen them there are some nice reflections on him here
    Falling Tree Woman

  193. Errata, that is to say, you’re downplaying and excusing the antidemocratic statements by figures in your party, while freaking out about the antidemocratic statements by figures in the other party. The Republicans are doing exactly the same thing, in case you haven’t noticed. You might find it useful, as a way to calm down a bit, to reflect on that — unless, that is, you like being frightened and offended. Apparently some people do.

    (By the way, the fact that this is an open post does not give you carte blanche to wade in here and start a fight over politics. As a gentle reminder, no further political comments by you will be put through this week.)

    Alan, it sounds like a great deal of fun. Have you considered heading over to the Old Solar System website and asking Zendexor and the other retro-SF fans there? They’re more likely to have the right answer than anybody else in this arm of the galaxy.

    Walter, makes perfect sense to me. Quantum indeterminacy may be caused by the simple fact that particles don’t make up their minds in advance!

    Onething, would you like me to go in and edit the name on your comments? I can do that.

    Cliff, (1) oh, no question Pluto and the Uglicist movement he inspired reflect a real phenomenon in human consciousness. It”s just been so overdone… (2) There’s the myth of progress for you — no matter how awful the cul-de-sac we’ve gotten ourselves into, we can’t go back!

    Mr. Nobody, definitely a popcorn moment. I trust you’re doing everything in your power to get his name out there.

    Karl, no, I’m not familiar with him. He’s neglected one far from minor point, though — nearly everyone in the US who has firearms and knows how to use them, including the police and the rank and file military, supports one side. A civil war requires two equally armed sides.

    Drhooves, I recently started reading classic noir crime fiction, and have finished Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon is brilliant, the others not so much) and read three Raymond Chandlers so far — The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely,, and The High Window. I’ll be reading the rest as soon as the local public library can get them for me, and I may even read his short stories, which I don’t do with most authors. Chandler is an exquisite prose stylist and I want to learn from him. As for hard-bitten detectives, tough-talking dames, and the other impedimenta of the noir cosmos showing up in my fiction, I have no idea — inspiration comes when and where and as it comes, and it routinely takes forms I didn’t anticipate at all.

    Michael, the entire computer/internet scene is full of examples of progress passing the point of negative returns, and those are among the best. I suspect the whole point of shutting down the 3G network is to cut off rural areas — we should be seeing that sometime soon here in the US, too, as the internet begins to quietly ration availability by price and location. As for the cookbook, please do write it, and enjoy the process! My project, The Weird of Hali Cookbook by Brecken Kendall, includes all the recipes in the books and some other things that would be in any cookbook she’d write. I’ve tested all the recipes, for what it’s worth, and fans of cheese polenta will not be left unfed. 😉

    Russell, as I mentioned in response to another comment above, it has all the hallmarks of a disinformation program by the US military; it uses exactly the same strategies I documented in my book on the UFO phenomenon, and yes, it’s generated the same kind of civil religion in response.

    Irena, you certainly might have read it here! The late, great Bill Pulliam in particular might well have suggested something like that.

    Grebulocities, I remain surprised by the level of hysteria concerning it among the comfortable classes.

    Valenzuela, so noted, but it’s still something with which I have zero experience.

    Chris, with IVF the quality of the soul is entirely dependent on the spiritual condition of the mother, since there’s no initial coalescence of consciousness to set the tone for the future incarnation. (The soul itself doesn’t enter the fetal body until quickening.) Thanks for the uplifting story — that’s really good to hear.

    Irena, I don’t claim that they’re falsehoods for everyone, but they’re false as far as I can see. To claim that existence is suffering is exactly the same kind of nonsense as claiming that existence is clam chowder — it’s taking one feature of the universe, pulling it out of context, and using it to label the whole of existence. The other three stand or fall with the first.

    Logan, a being can dream!

    Simon, too funny. You can assume as a matter of course that anybody who claims to be leaking a secret military report is lying through his teeth, since anyone who actually did that would be in FBI custody within hours, and on their way to Leavenworth or someplace equally charming as soon as a judge can bring down the gavel.

    Luke, quite possibly so.

    Matthias, it’s in one of Taliesin’s poems — just at the moment I forget which one: “My original home country is the region of the summer stars” is the line.

    Karim, it’s the theme for next week’s post! As for Israel, I’m not sure the Palestinians are going to get much out of this; the Middle East is full of little groups of people who used to own chunks of land now occupied by someone else, and they’re likely to become just one more such group.

    Andy, I know. The moment when it really, truly sinks in that TSW is always something of a shock.

    Ian, one way or another, we’re facing an important political inflection point, and what happens in the year or so after the election is going to have a lot of impact on a lot of people. Stay tuned!

    Artist, I haven’t looked into them. As for the US debt bubble, that’s very hard to tell in advance, but I expect the US to default on its foreign debt within a decade.

    Neptunesdolphins, thanks for this. The generational issue is huge — a lot of what shapes Democrat politics these days is the ongoing attempt by Boomer politicians to cling to power long after they should have retired. When they finally leave or die, there’s going to be a lot of change in a hurry.

    Oilman2, my working guess is that it’s being done by retired military-intelligence people on behalf of the Trump administration, to seed certain ideas favorable to the administration (and damaging to the Dems) into the collective conversation, and to keep people from trying to start a civil war. Still, that’s just a guess.

    Neptunesdolphins, that doesn’t surprise me at all. If you dabble in nasty magic, no matter how many evasions you try to use to claim that it’s necessary and justified and good and right, your life is going to suck. As for the sigils, somebody’s probably messing with them — there are ways to do that, and to strip the meaning right out of them.

    Christopher, give your friend a penny in return. That way it’s not a gift, it’s a purchase, and will have no effect on the friendship.

    Clay, so we’re going to use robotic AI we don’t have in order to fuel fusion reactors we can’t build to power lives that we can’t stand. Uh, right. I would definitely consider that a sign of extreme desperation!

  194. Oops, I meant to say, I would NOT progess the ritual work for AODA beyond whatever basic form they require you to start with. (Since I just want to focus on the connection to nature aspect for that).

  195. Hello,

    Seems as good a place as any to ask some brief questions with regard to the occult. Very brief background for JMG’s aid: First introduced to the ideas of the occult years ago by a friend, but at the time I did not feel psychically ready for such a pursuit, so only began to study it in earnest recently.

    So for two brief items:
    1. Natal charts have been mentioned here in the past. How accurate or useful have you generally found them in describing / predicting the life courses of their subject?

    2. In Peladan’s book, which you wrote the intro for, and which I found very interesting, he says that one will live best who discovers their specific astrality, so that they can play to their strengths. He meant, specifically, which of the 7 planetary ‘types’ of human one most identifies with. But how does one go about doing this?

    Thanks for providing this great platform for discussion,

  196. @Dan

    I don’t think it’s possible to annihilate the soul (accidentally or intentionally). It’s like trying to extinguish the sun with a hose. In my view (in the Neoplatonic and Hermetic current) Psyche comes from unity. It is not a composite of other things that can be built up or taken down, and therefore it cannot be damaged by its own actions on a fundamental level.

    That being said, I do think you can mess up your physical personality (which is a composite to some degree) by engaging in certain practices, especially ones hostile to your existence as an individual being. For example, I’ve met people who have abused psychedelic drugs, and their personalities were clearly not well served by attempting ego death as a road to enlightenment. Plus, isn’t it interesting how many people claim to have experienced ego death and then show up to talk about it? Clearly, some entity is moving in and out of the those states regardless of whether normal waking consciousness can endure them.

    @Laughing Sage

    I too am grateful to find pro-self Buddhists around! The internet is itself the “thicket of views” and there is a tremendous amount of hostility in Buddhist forums on the internet for not being nihilistic in my experience. I’m not too much of an Advaitin myself, but I have a lot of respect for Atma-Vada Buddhism and Vedantic Hinduism. I would consider those positions to be my philosophical allies.

    The conclusion I’ve arrived at regarding the One and the individual is that the One is hyper-ontic and nothing can really be said about the experience of union on a metaphysical level (i.e. dualism vs. non-dualism). This is more or less the late Neoplatonic understanding. I fall close to Achintya Bheda Abheda probably if I had to pick. That being said, Advaita is a great philosophical tradition that I’m much closer to than materialism and have a lot of respect for.

    “May they [the Buddhas] have pity on those who hold that the whole of the Buddha’s teaching on emptiness concerned self-emptiness alone and hold them in their compassion.

    May they [the Buddhas] have pity on those who hold that the whole of the Buddha’s teaching on emptiness concerned a non-affirming negation alone, and hold them in their compassion”


  197. @Kirsten

    Since our host has declined to answer, the general recommendation given the literature accumulated thus far includes at its broadest Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc supplementation with varying degrees of this and that other supplement to add to this. Here is one set of dosification that I’ve been using, along with this. Finding these from a health supplements store has been easier these days than back in April. A bit out of the way from these relatively conventional methods is the homeopathic cell salt remedy that worked in the 1918 pandemic of Ferrum Phos 6x, Natrum Sulph 6x, 4tab each sublingual every 6 hours upon first symptoms (with the particulars of this pandemic, Calcium Fluor 6x and Calcium Sulph 6x would work well as an intercurrent remedy).

  198. Evening John,
    A considerable time ago I recall you suggesting a book which gave good advice for those looking to write a novel. I’ve written short stories before never a full novel so could do with some advice on structure, construction, and approach. Can you remember the book I’m referring to or recommend a good book setting out advice on writing my first novel?

  199. I have a question – or rather two related questions – about Star’s Reach which I hope is meaningful. How did you intend readers to interpret the passage where Trey spends a night on the concrete seat overlooking drowned Deesee and dreams of journeying – or somehow actually journeys – into the drowned city and finds out that Curtis is the location of Star’s Reach? I’m also curious about the significance of the chair itself. Did you intend to indicate that it or its location had some power to enable out-of-body travel or some other means to enable access to knowledge from the subconscious? This seems to be the only place in the book where you hint at occult happenings!

  200. Errata’s postings does demonstrate that people need to vet their sources, reading materials, and other media for bias, care of fact checking, and sources. Also the need to read as wide a variety of points of view.

    The Atlantic has set itself as being anti-Trump. I have heard the editor speak to how he regards Trump, and gleaned the bias.

    I read the Washington Examiner which is the opposite of The Atlantic. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    Also never trust anonymous sources. I used to be one. The objective of such a source to spread shale or gossip or misdirect. It is the game that many in government play. Usually to express something that can’t be in writing.

  201. Thanks guys for the responses about the West Coast.

    JMG, you said that ‘ A reasonably enterprising Renaissance alchemist could have built a simple transmitter and receiver using pre-vacuum tube technologies,’

    Do you have more details on this? Has this apparatus appeared in your fiction, or other fiction, maybe steampunk or clockpunk? Has anyone built one (and, even better, made a video of it)?

  202. BLM-
    I came home yesterday to my wife talking about a documentary on Breonna Taylor. Of course the accepted narrative is that racist police murdered her. The truth is that it was the wrong place, wrong time, somebody shot at police with a gun and then the SHTF. I reminded my wife that it has been shown, adjusting for criminality, there is no racial bias in police shootings, while noting that BLM types will counter that it only appears that there are a lot of black criminals because the police target blacks.
    I don’t like having the conversation/argument about BLM and police brutality anymore because, as the popular narrative is presently constructed, there is no real solution. The national argument over these things seems exquisitely designed to induce maximum stress and anxiety. Ideologically backing up all of this is critical race theory which explicitly allows no solution other than eternal flagellation and repentance on the part of whites.

    I am not one of these conservatives that points at CA and calls it “commiefornia” (my personal fave is the PRC-Peoples’ Republic of California) but– I also don’t want my children being taught about butt sex, sex toys, and white people are awful, because Sacramento says so. They can pick up their own kinks and biases elsewhere.
    I will move out of CA without hesitation if my city or county, or the major city of which my city is a suburb of, abolishes or seriously defunds police. No questions asked, we’re outta here. Quit my job, sell our house, find a job when I get where I am going. Don’t care if we are in the middle of a depression or not.
    The 2035 deadline on ICE cars is moot. 15 years is more than enough time for it not to be an issue once 2035 gets here. Now, that’s assuming business as usual. It becomes even more moot when you factor in the future of oil supplies.
    If you live in CA let me put in a plug in support of Prop 22. AB5 is a bad bill and the Dems won’t rewrite it, instead granting exemptions. With the current court cases, I am convinced that CA is out for $$$ from Uber, Lyft, et al. and the concern about workers is cover. All the fine liberal rags that bash Trump are also bashing Uber and friends. Makes you wonder what’s up behind the scenes.

    It IS hypocritical that the GOP made the Dems wait in 2016 but won’t wait now. HOWEVER, given that the upcoming election could easily end up in the Supreme Court, a 4-4 split on who should be president is the last thing this country needs. So a 9th justice needs to be put in now, so SCOTUS can hand down a firm decision. Of course if JMG is right about the margin on the election, it won’t matter. Even with that, I expect legal cases related to the upcoming election to continue into next year, even if they don’t affect the major outcomes.

  203. I’ve bookmarked this for when I have more time to look through the discussion of Buddhism. It looks fascinating; thank you all!


    1) I should’ve payed more attention when I was editing the thing about the Uranus-Pluto aspect in my chart and my brother’s: I gave an explanation for why it was prominent in both our charts, decided I didn’t need to post that, and deleted it, also getting the part saying it was prominent! My apologies for that mistake.

    At some point I will need to look at the other aspects between Uranus and Pluto, though it seems plausible to think Pluto+Uranus equals grandiosity. Or, exaggerates the inherent grandiosity of Pluto anyway….

    2) I’m not sure how I typed Nader for Nadir, twice. Oops!

    3) Anyway, another thought on the fractal Nadirs: If rationalism are the sign of a civilization in a Nadir, and Pluto appears to have marked the Nadir for our swarm, it follows that Ceres also might have parallels on a smaller scale.

    One of the patterns which seems to recur is a flowering of arts and culture shortly before rationalism settles in: a small Ceres then a small Pluto. I’m not sure what it means, but it seems to happen: I think I’ve found a theme for a couple months of meditation here though! Do you know anything which discusses the Dark Night of the Soul, or any related phenomena? I don’t know enough about it to say whether there’s a personal Ceres there was well.

    4) Finally, with regards to cursing to the cursing occultists: having been there myself, and still feeling the pull, I know that a lot of people right now are caught in a truly tragic place; in order to cling to Pluto, the easiest thing to do is make sure our own lives are smoking craters. So whenever there is a spectacularly self-defeating pattern making lots of people absolutely miserable, I think there’s a good chance at least part of the point is to make them miserable.

    Pixelated and Ron,

    I do rather like the idea of a return to the old ways, so this is a point in favour of the goose to me! Beavers are out for me: some of them tried to build a dam on one of the rivers used as part of the Rideau Canal, and since I live on it and have a strong attachment to old things, this is problematic to me; beaver dams have also caused a lot of property damage in areas around here, so I’m hesitant about that. I can’t think of any reason why the maple leaf wouldn’t work, so I think that’s probably our best bet.

    It’s also one of our oldest national symbols, which is another point in favour as far as I’m concerned! 😉

  204. 5G-
    Low-band and even mid-band 5G is just a repurposing of spectrum from 4G to 5G. Carriers are beginning to move choice parts of the spectrum, or choice bandwidths within a spectrum, to 5G from 4G. I’ve noticed this as the reception bars on my 4G-only phone have been worse over the past 9-12 months. I’ll have to make sure my next phone is 5G.
    High-band 5G, or mmWave, is the sweet spot where all the “world-changing” promises of 5G speed are supposed to come into play. Problem is, it’s worse than wifi when it comes to coverage. To make it work, you got to have a lot of high power transmitters densely arranged. This means that only dense urban areas will get mmWave buildout anytime in the near future. Which is why T-Mobile focused on low-band 5G for it’s initial buildout and then acquired Sprint and it’s mid-band spectrum and will be focusing on that next. While Verizon whines and says “it’s not full speed 5G” and they are right, but this ignores the pointlessness of prioritizing mmWave for 5G coverage expansion, at least given the currently approved mmWave frequencies/transmitters.
    But yeah it’s the “megapixel” wars all over again as far as I’m concerned.

  205. @Matt

    On books that are good to read aloud:

    We read aloud at dinner all the time, and recently found some of the Ralph Moody memoirs very congenial, particularly the first four:

    Little Britches
    Man of the Family
    Mary Emma and Company
    The Home Ranch

    There are four others and all were enjoyable reads, but The Fields of Home has a lot of archaic Maine dialogue that was difficult to do aloud, and the remaining three we vetoed on account of a few things that would have upset our tender-hearted kids. They’d be good for an older audience.

  206. JMG: “Irena, I don’t claim that they’re falsehoods for everyone, but they’re false as far as I can see. To claim that existence is suffering is exactly the same kind of nonsense as claiming that existence is clam chowder — it’s taking one feature of the universe, pulling it out of context, and using it to label the whole of existence. The other three stand or fall with the first.”

    Well… I’d say that “existence is suffering” falls into the same kind of category as “life is a gift” or “children are fragile” or “rainforests are beautiful” or any number of such statements. Oversimplification? Of course. (Life isn’t much of a gift if you suffer from a debilitating disease, children sometimes overcome major hardship, and I don’t know how beautiful you’d find a rainforest if one of those bugs got under your skin.) But as I see it, such claims aren’t really truths of falsehoods (in the way that “2+2 = 4” is a truth, and “2+2 = 5” is a falsehood). They are more like attitudes, which may or may not make sense, and may or may not be useful, depending on the speaker’s personality and circumstances.

  207. With respect to the significance of age 27, I remember reading something somewhere not long ago which spoke of 9-year cycles in the human life. (This is not the stuff that one finds in an online search for “nine year cycle”, including 9 star ki. I can’t remember where I read it.) In the Waldorf community one speaks of the nine-year change in the life of a child (one can find information about that online), and I note that 18 is important in the U.S. as the age when one often graduates from high school, is old enough to vote, and sometimes old enough to drink legally (depending on the time and place). It was also the age when one was old enough to be drafted into the U.S. military. (One must still register for Selective Service at that age.) As for 27, there is the (in)famous 27 club, which includes Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (for those old enough to remember the Grateful Dead), among others. So, whence the astrological significance, if any?

    The most likely thing I can think of is the Saros cycle: “Every 223 synodic months (one Saros cycle), the Sun, Moon and the Moon’s nodes align in the same relative angles to each other to within a fraction of a degree. The Saros (18.0 tropical years) divided by two gives the Half Saros Cycle. Every 9.0 tropical years, the Moon’s mean relative position is the same angle to the lunar north node, with the Sun 180 degrees on the opposite side of the ecliptic circle …”

    I haven’t worked this through, but thought I would throw it out there, given the comment above, and what I currently can’t remember reading with respect to nine-year cycles. I recall that for me 27 was the age at which I realized I couldn’t continue eating anything I wanted without unwanted weight gain, and moved across the country to start a new chapter of my life in a new environment, the effects of which remain with me today.

  208. I was raised a Catholic, then lost faith, then I converted to Theravada Buddhism in 1995, at the age of 38, partly under the influence of Vietnamese friends (I am French, and living in France).

    Buddhism gave me both the peace of mind and everyday rules that I needed. As to the idea that “existence is suffering”, I don’t take that literally, since I much enjoy being alive, but in a spiritual sense, a reminder that life always ends in death, which we are genetically wired to fear. The Teaching of the Buddha helps us overcome that fear, which cannot be really suppressed, because it’s written in our DNA.

    Similarly, in my opinion, reincarnation is simply the notion that our acts have consequences, and we survive through what we have made or built during our lifetime. Which, considering how grim and tempestuous the future is likely to be, may be erased anyway…

    I am a Pantheist-Buddhist, to be precise, therefore not that far from atheism, like many other Western Buddhists. I had some difficult times in my life, like all the people, and Buddhism helped me a lot in those times, therefore I am quite happy to be a Buddhist. Nevertheless, I usually refrain from talking about it, even to close friends. My wife is a Catholic and doesn’t want to hear about Buddhism.

  209. @ Kimberly and everyone planning to mail her books

    Remember to use Media Mail! It’s slower but it’s much, much cheaper.

    More information on accumulating books cheaply and sorting through the dross to find what you want to keep:

    Tell everyone you know (and ask them to pass on the word) that you are collecting books. You may get house cleanouts worth of books. Why accept everything? Because the minute you say ‘I don’t want those beat-up Harlequin category romance paperbacks from the 70’s’ the giver will instantly think ‘you won’t want grandpa’s fabulous collection of theology texts’.

    I learned this with fabric and sewing notions. Accept ratty old shop rags and Thai Silk may appear! Refuse ratty old shop rags and all donations cease.

    Do NOT allow the giver to determine what you want. Most people are non-readers and they don’t understand why one title is more valuable than another. You’ll need to look at each book in a donated Rubbermaid bin. You’ll need a dumpster to get rid of the excess or donate unwanted books to those Better World book collection bins that can be found in many supermarket parking lots.

    Let serendipity enter your life. Never pass up a box along the side of the road, a thrift shop, a large yard sale (especially the one at the senior housing facility), a used book store, or a library sale without seeing what’s in stock. The last day of a library sale can be great! $5 a bag and the staff gets pretty lax about what constitutes a ‘bag’. We use a clean recycling bin, fill it to overflowing, and pay our $5.

    Look for library sales: for real-world sales

    Every library runs one and they are everywhere. When Covid Cooties goes away, library sales will make a comeback.

    or for online (and more expensive)

    There are many used bookstores around but many of them don’t do a good job of advertising. Because of Covid Cooties, some of them will close their doors for good. If one closes near you, check it out. You never know what is lurking in with the category romance.

    I’ve got listings for bookstores of every kind in the Mid-Atlantic region if you’re in our area:

    You won’t find a more complete bookstore listing for the Mid-Atlantic region than this. I put it together myself and it took forever and I know I missed some stores.

    Unfortunately, many people are going to digital for their reading. At my local library sale (Hershey Public Library), staff have told me that they are getting FEWER donations of books as people empty out their shelves and go to digital. This doesn’t matter as much with nonfiction.

    Based on what I’m seeing, collect anything that you think might be a good addition to your library. You’re the head librarian so you can curate your collection as you wish.

  210. On a related note to Matt’s request: I am looking for poetry to read aloud for the general entertainment of the family, and we need new material! Bonus points if it’s old enough to be public domain. We like a good rhyme and meter, but it’s not absolutely required, particularly if it’s a good story 🙂 Suggestions?

  211. Exhibit E or wherever these examples left off:

    These do not sound like people who will peacefully accept reality if it doesn’t go their way. The guy’s going along telling a nice story about his trip to the farmer’s market and then, out of nowhere, erupts: “[UnDruidly word] Trump.” It’s like he’s 2 different people. That site scares me. I won’t look at it any more. I don’t want to be infected by whatever spiritual disease these people have. Brrr.

  212. I can’t find it now, but whoever thinks he might have dreamed a book—if it happens again, take notes, you might never get to finish it!

  213. Hi again JMG,

    I’m too curious. Can you disclose some, or all of the steps that come after metacognition in realization/attaining the individuality (for lack of a better term)? Does a map of such a thing exist anywhere? Can you describe how ritual may facilitate this process, if at all? And are there resources on that answer as well?

  214. @Michael Gray: I’m sorry to hear that Jesse Ventura is struggling. I guess that means he’s an honest man — along with the rest of us “suckers and losers” who don’t live on rentier income and inherited wealth.

  215. I want to ask JMG: It is becoming increasingly clear that I don’t want to keep my Magic anonymous as I want to talk about other things and also I don’t think there is enough reasons for me to hide it, since there is nothing wrong with it. How have you managed to keep a good chunk of your readership not alienated since you have been open about being an occultist since the beginning I presume? Inevitably things will mesh with occultism and a variety of topics and using the language of occultism and magic provides a much richer perspective. How have you managed to talk about occult causes of modern phenomena without your readers dismissing it or making them feel uncomfortable?

  216. @ JMG –

    The LAST thing we need is an open civil war. That being said, it appears the ‘rioters’ are rapidly arming up and prancing about loaded out. Fortunately, this is in primarily SJW cities (liberal and leftist are not the right terms IMHO), where the gun concentration per household is low or zero. Alternatively, in SJW cities where only the bad guys have guns due to gun laws.

    The issue will turn ugly if this is tried anywhere in rural America, and these people will die in earnest trying to mess with those who don’t want to be messed with.

    So I can sort of see how this could be a pacification operation, but only for people who live on the internet half their lives or more. And those type people, by nature, are prone to inaction or the virtual would not suffice.

    I’ll buy the seeding of ideas ‘for $1000, Alex’, because several posters were talking about taking “memes” to Twitter. I am not a Twitter guy, but many people are, so there may be some merit in that guess.

    However, I concur that once the election and immediate aftermath settles out, we will be back to something resembling normal, minus the traditional democrat party. I think the republicans, having been usurped by Trump and populists, aren’t ready to be kicked to the curb. However, Trump as a figurehead has, at best, 4 years. Then we will likely witness destruction of the red team.

    I’m just wondering what will fill this vacuum here, since it has been literally generations of red vs blue and no others allowed in the ring…

  217. “Clay, I think they know they’re going to lose. I think they stuck the two least appealing candidates they had on the ticket to get rid of them, and put their faith in an attempted color revolution. Now that that’s failed, my guess is they’re bracing for impact.”

    I’m worried that it’s not that simple: a colour revolution usually has a contested election at the heart of it. The current virus panic and the way the Democrats are currently using it to push for massive changes in the rules of the election looks to me like laying the groundwork for exactly that. I’m concerned the protests aren’t the attempt at a colour revolution, but laying the groundwork for it.

  218. Mark, fair enough. Yes, the lower middle and skilled working classes are likely to do very well over the years to come, for the reasons you’ve noted among others, and I also expect to see continued steep improvements in the lives of the unskilled and semiskilled working class, via the simple reason that jobs will be available for them again.

    Strabo, (1) everything I’ve seen that claims to teach you how to write teaches you how to write to a formula, and thus guarantees that you won’t have the chance to develop your own voice and vision. I’ll put some thought into a book more or less parallel to my magical instruction books — it would be an interesting project. (2) Some people thrive on feedback, some don’t. I don’t. I made the mistake of sending manuscripts to publishers long before I was good enough to get into print, and got a fine collection of rejection slips before I finally broke into print 20 years later. (Yeah, it took me that long.) If you’re just starting out, unless you’re insanely talented, it’s going to take you a few years to get up to speed. The crucial steps are (a) write every day, (b) read excellent fiction, (c) think about how the books you love succeed in doing what they do, (d) did I mention writing every day? 😉

    Oilman2, okay, that one earns this afternoon’s, er, Nadler-colored star…

    Connor, sure. Erect a chart for your birth date and time, correcting for time zone changes, as though you had been born in the new place at the exact moment that you were born in your actual birthplace. The planets will still be in their same positions relative to the signs, but if you’re moving any distance, they’ll be in different houses; you interpret those changes, noting among other things whether benefics move into angular houses (and are strengthened) and malefics move into cadent houses (and are weakened). I highly recommend the technique — moving to the east coast brought my natal Jupiter out of nowhere useful into conjunction with my midheaven, with, well, let’s just say very welcome economic consequences.

    Bridge, sad. I see we get to do a reprise of Mayan Fools’ Day.

    Mouse, good heavens. That’s actually being said? And in public? Stand by for radical change in three, two, one…

    Conor, you can certainly do that. You don’t have to practice the SoP, and in fact I’d recommend not doing so — focus on your main magical tradition. Talk to the officials and explain what you’re doing, and I bet they can work something out for you.

    Galen, yep — I linked to another video of it above. I understand that the person who rented the U-Haul has already been identified by 4chan’s self-weaponized autists, too.

    Goats and Roses, exactly.

    SMJ, sure. I gave a flip version of it above, but I can explain it a little more seriously.

    First, “Existence is suffering.” The word usually translated “suffering,” dukkha, might better be translated “unsatisfactoriness,” but we can take it in either sense. The Buddha’s claim is that this is an inherent trait of all existence. I find that absurd, in the same sense that “existence is clam chowder” would be absurd. Suffering, or a lack of satisfaction, is certainly an experience that all of us have from time to time. Delight, or satisfaction, is another experience all of us have from time to time. (Here in New England, at least, clam chowder is yet another experience all of us have from time to time!) Any argument that can be made to support the idea that existence is suffering can also be made to support the idea that existence is delight, or any other emotional state you choose. As Lao Tsu points out, we can only know one state by the presence of its opposite — the concept of suffering only means anything because we can contrast it with delight, and vice versa. Thus saying that existence is suffering but not delight is as fallacious as saying that shadows exist but light does not.

    Second, “Suffering is born of desire.” The same argument applies. Delight is also born of desire; if you desire nothing, you enjoy nothing — and I’d be surprised to hear that anyone anywhere in all the worlds has never experienced the delight that comes with the fulfilment of desire. Is it true that every delight eventually ends? Sure, but it’s equally true that every suffering also ends.

    Third, “Suffering is extinguished with the renunciation of desire.” This is trivially true, but fails to mention that delight is also extinguished with the renunciation of desire. Even granted that it’s possible to actually stop desiring, the result is numbness: the glorification of emotional anesthesia. The notion that if you just get rid of suffering, you get eternal bliss — which is something I’ve heard claimed repeatedly by Buddhists — simply doesn’t hold water. As Nietzsche points out in one of his books, the delight an invalid feels in recovering health after a long period of sickness has an intensity that the ordinarily healthy never taste, and a state of permanent bliss would very quickly become dull.

    Fourth, “The eightfold path leads to the renunciation of desire.” Maybe so, but there’s another option. The basic theme of Neoplatonism, which is of course the philosophy that undergirds my own approach, is that desire is natural and healthy but, like most natural healthy human impulses, can be benefited greatly by education. The education of desire is a superior goal to the eradication of desire, since it leads to the development of the whole person, not the amputation of some part (in this case, the desiring part) which has been arbitrarily labeled as wrong and bad. In a certain sense, then, this claim is not so much untrue as irrelevant, as it depends on the previous claims to have any meaning.

  219. @ Temporaryreality

    Amazing. Especially when you consider the parking nightmare that is NYC. That reminds me of another experience to add to my list:

    – driving around for hours looking for a carpark

    @ David BTL

    I know you have an interest in electricity matters so you might be interested in a couple of bits of news from Australia this week. I got an email from my electricity provider saying they now have a scheme where they will pay households not to use power on very hot days. Unfortunately for me, the way they have set up the scheme is you must use a certain percentage of your normal usage. My normal usage is apparently about 1/6th of the ‘average’ household so I don’t have any way to reduce it enough to claim the money. Bummer. Anyway, they must be getting worried about the summer peaks if they are now trying that solution.

    Other bit of news was that our Prime Minister overrode the advice of the energy bureaucracy to say the government would fund a new gas fired power station. From which you can gather that the government no longer has faith in the recommendations of its own experts (which is fair enough cos I don’t have faith in them either).

    Fun times.

  220. SMJ, JMG and all. Regarding the first noble truth. I think that what the Buddha was referring to in there is one side of the truth from the perspective of a time where being a monk and the rejection of the material was the noblest thing to do. What I have come to think of that statement “everything is unsatisfactory” is that the sensation of satisfaction is temporal, you will always want more and in the Buddha’s way, it is attachment to the Earthly pursuits that binds you to this stage of our evolution, and in a Buddhist way, that is true.

    I like how a modern Yogi rephrases it and I think it is close to what you say of “everything is delight”. He says and I am paraphrasing: The problem is not desire, the problem is limited desire. If you observe carefully you’ll see that what you desire for is not what you think you do, your primal desire is for ALL of it, the whole Cosmos. Of course that is not a megalomaniac desire but one that is in tune with the Cosmos. After all, you can’t have the Cosmos meaning, merging with it, if you don’t go by the hard limits that it imposes on us. With that said. I think there are rich parallels that could be bridged between the Dharmic traditions, including Yoga, and Druidry. Do you think that is possible JMG?

  221. @1Wanderer and @Jbucks–
    In election years, I typically wander over to the Libertarians’ website and see who they are running– Jo Jorgensen is their current candidate, running with Spike Cohen VP.
    They seem not to be either Mad or Senile– A refreshing difference from some other candidates I could name.

    I sometimes wonder whether a coalition of minor parties could field a single 3rd-party candidate and have a better showing–
    What would happen if, for instance, the Libertarians and the Greens got together and fielded a candidate?
    Perhaps the mascot of the Green Libertarians could be Pepe the Frog?
    Just kidding about that one– Or, Am I?…

    Here’s a Libertarian platform link for anyone who is interested;

    Here’s an op-ed that I also found interesting–

    Emmanuel Goldstein

  222. @ Aethon,

    Eric Flint’s sprawling 1632 series has early modern radio tech. (among many other things.) Even better, since the nitty gritty details of technology rarely get fully voiced in fiction, it has tech supplements– both on the Baen’s Bar forum, if that’s still around, and in the Grantville Gazette e-books.

    That said? It was 1920s era radio books they were referencing in the tech supplements, if I do recall, so the other poster who mentioned that is on to something.

  223. Artist and JMG, in re Bubbles,

    This question pushes one of my buttons, so I will respond. in the Wall Street demimonde, “bubble” is a term of art. It refers to an investment that has a charming story that spreads well, but no substance behind it. As a result, it zooms in value, the promoters sell out (actually, they get off most of their stock on the way down), then it either goes to zero or levels off at a tiny fraction of the price it went public at. Then nothing happens for ten years. If the company is still public, some other promoters might take over the ruins of the shell company, and use it to milk another bubble. For example, imagine one of the former pond-scum biodiesel companies being repurposed to develop Lunar Helium-3. Unifying story theme: “Hey, both are Art Of The State bleeding edge energy sources! Wassamatta U, don’t you believe in Progress?”

    Bitcoin is a different class of investment: a wildly volatile speculative football, which differs from bubbles in that it persistently makes higher highs and higher lows. It will not be very practical as a medium of exchange until its price levels off, which it will eventually do. To use it as a store of value, an investor has to buy when the price is going sideways at perhaps one third of the previous high. The real tip would be a cover article in a major news medium, like the old Slime or Newspeak magazines: “Is Bitcoin Dead?” Then sell when Bitcoin is popular again and the price is rising vertically. Brainwash, rinse, repeat…For one wild guess among many, the price of a Bitcoin might finish its current consolidation next month at $9000, hit $45,000 in two years, then level off at $15,000 two years after that.

    The viability of Bitcoin depends heavily on the Web. It would be possible, but not likely, for it to stay in widespread use on a packet radio system used as the backbone of a new Very Slow Internet, running a TCP/IP protocol stack. The ten-minute commit time of your transaction might go up to five days…

    Gold and silver used to be money, and might be again. They have outperformed many industrial commodities, which have demand destruction bickering with incipient Scarcity Industrialism to keep their prices on a trampoline. There was a brief flash of Bubblicious thinking about silver a few months ago (FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out), but it now seems to be subsiding and returning to the long term uptrend. That trend is not so much gold and silver going up, as all major fiat currencies going down together, in an international new sport: Synchronized Devaluation. One Big Mac cost 50 cents in 1963, when the US stopped issuing silver coins; in 2033, if old US silver coins become one of the popular replacements for the old discredited National Dollar, you might buy a Big Mac (If you like them) for two silver quarters. That’s not really an investment; it’s insurance against hyperinflation and financial collapse. Not suitable material for a bubble; “These am eating sardines, they am not selling sardines!” (Pardon my illiterate 18th Century Yankee peddler’s English. That’s how old that joke is.)

  224. @ Oilman2

    Nobody does a proper bureaucratic nightmare like we do down under. Those crazy energy measures remind me of the equally crazy government policy we are living through now here in Melbourne where we are STILL locked in our houses with curfews and other decisions that make not the slightest bit of sense. There was a bungled hotel quarantine program here into which there’s currently an investigation into who was responsible. They have gone through about ten different government departments each of which thought the other ones had made the decision. It’s a similar process which our energy decisions where the word byzantine doesn’t begin to cover the clusterfrack that is our energy bureaucracy. That’s why we get nonsense like those diesel engines.

  225. Novitiate, (1) I find natal charts extremely useful for self-understanding as well as for sketching out the outlines of a person’s destiny. Progressed charts, which are developed from the natal chart, are useful if you want to go into detail in terms of what to do and what to avoid this year, say. (2) As Peladan suggests somewhere in there, it’s best done by reflection and self-observation.

    Averagejoe, hmm. I don’t recall mentioning such a book. The best advice I can think of would be to encourage you to read half a dozen novels you think are very well written, by different authors, and see how they handle issues of structure, construction, and approach.

    Robert, that whole passage is intended to be a weird phantasmagoric dreamscape, in which the reader and Trey end up equally baffled as to just what happened. I’m glad to hear it succeeded in achieving that goal!

    Aethon, see if you can find copies of The Boy’s First (etc.) Book of Radio and Electronics by Alfred Powell Morgan. There were six volumes, and they taught the budding ham radio operator how to build equipment out of spare lengths of wire, oatmeal boxes, scrap metal, and the like. They’re a good glimpse of what dark age electronics could be like.

    Kevin, (1) so noted. (3) That’s an interesting hypothesis! For the dark night of the soul, St. John of the Cross invented the phrase and wrote a book of that name; Evelyn Underhill’s book Mysticism also has quite a bit to say about it. (4) Ouch. Still, I can see it.

    Irena, if they were presented as the Four Noble Attitudes I’d be less critical of them.

    Someone, interesting. I haven’t encountered a nine-year cycle anywhere; the sources I know of speak of seven-year cycles.

    Horzabky, so noted!

    Methylethyl, Chesterton and Tolkien both wrote fabulous poems for reading aloud!

    Your Kittenship, it really does look like demonic possession.

    Luke, see if you can find a copy of the ten Zen oxherding pictures. They’re metaphorical, but that’s as close as it’s possible to come to a manual.

    Augusto, I’ve been open about my occultism since long before I started blogging, so there was no point in hiding it! If you’re open about occult practice, people who aren’t comfortable with that will back away, and pretty soon the only people around you will be okay with it.

    Oilman2, that’s the $64,000 dollar question!

    Anonymous, if they try a color revolution when the government has control of the armed forces and the backing of the armed sector of the populace, they’ll suffer a quick, messy, and probably very bloody defeat. I don’t think they’re dumb enough to try that.

    Augusto, to my mind the great problem with all such arguments is that they don’t notice that they’re talking about individual value judgments. When I observe my desire, no, I don’t desire the entire cosmos — I have absolutely no interest in the Andromeda Galaxy, the life forms in the Marianas Trench, the collected works of Rod McKuen, or plenty of other things I could list. My desires tend to be much more specific and modest, and most of them are easily satisfied, because I’ve learned the Stoic trick of caring mostly about things that are subject to my control. For example, right now I desire a nice cup of green tea, and I will feel a distinct satisfaction when the kettle finishes boiling and I have some. I don’t desire all the green tea in the world, nor do I desire the taste of green tea forever — quite the contrary, I simply want that one modest thing, and when I have it, I will be content for a time. As far as I can tell, that’s the true nature of desire, and the fact that a vast number of spiritual hucksters want to talk me into believing that I actually want something other than a cup of green tea — well, let’s just say that the words “bait and switch” come to mind!

    John, I’m using the term “bubble” in a slightly different sense, one that has been common in the skeptical end of economic literature since John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Great Crash 1929. A bubble is defined as a situation in which the value of an asset rises steadily, solely because people believe they can sell it for a higher price than they paid for it. Bitcoin went into bubble territory a while back, and I cautioned several people about it, who got out with more than they paid in and were sitting on the sidelines when it crashed. Since Bitcoin has no actual value other than scarcity value, it’s very prone to bubbles, and my guess is that it won’t level off — it’ll keep on swinging from boom to bust until the fad ends and it goes out of existence. Gold and silver are less prone to bubbles, but they do behave in the same way from time to time.

  226. On the continued hysteria over COVID, while I think there are many with interest in perpetuating it (like the CCP and the Democrats leading up to the election) the reason I believe so many have bought into it is that it has religious significance for the religion of progress. Since 2016, the religion of progress has been looking for ways to instill their equivalent of a “fear of God” or “fear of Hell” among the masses so they’d repent and reaffirm their trust in the high priests of progress, otherwise known as the “experts”, concentrated in the managerial class. I remember the week in March when that reality came into being. The true believers that I’m talking about weren’t particularly germophobic before and are in at least decent health, and they weren’t the ones who were paying attention to it in January and February. In fact, most of them were dismissing it before that week, saying the flu is worse.

    Not everyone involved in the hysteria falls into that category, some are simply afraid of the virus as it is, but those have mostly calmed down at least somewhat since the spring and mostly are focused on the safety of themselves and their loved ones. For the true believers of progress, they look to be attempting to use the virus to spark a religious revitalization movement, the virus symbolizing the fire and brimstone of a secular Hell that awaits us if it isn’t brought under control.

    If this were a far deadlier virus, and one that spreads slowly enough that it could actually be eliminated, this scheme might actually have worked, but in this case I think it will backfire in a major way, as people see places that should be Hell by now like Sweden and South Dakota as being far nicer places to be than the Orwellian states they’re trying to create. I’ve seen them trying to get around the problem of Sweden by saying they’re such good people already that they don’t need their high priests of Progress to be as authoritarian as the awful heretical Americans do, but as more and more places get back to living normal lives they will be preaching to a smaller and smaller choir.

  227. Onething, would you like me to go in and edit the name on your comments? I can do that.

    Yes. I like continuity of identity, perhaps related to my belief in a soul!
    I am less sensitive about my real name now that I am retired.

  228. Yes, Charles Williams incorporated that line as “and my true region is the summer stars” in his poem “The Calling of Talies(s)in”. It is is very evocative, but I wonder if the interpretation you gave above, that it signifies the region of ideal forms, was committed to writing somewhere or is an oral tradition.

    For what it’s worth, the image recurs later as:

    Done was the day; the antipodean sun
    cast earth’s coned shadow into space;
    it exposed the summer stars; as they rose
    the light of Taliessin’s native land
    shone in a visible glory over him sleeping.

    And once again:

    … in the third heaven
    the stones of the waste glimmered like summer stars.

  229. @ SimonS…

    Simon, how many government employees are there, not just national but all levels down to municipal? How many people work in industries whose sole client is government?

    We are a bit bigger country, but part of the problem is that the “Deep State” actually includes people you know – neighbors, family, friends – so getting rid of the ‘Deep State’ is quite problematic.

    I think government will have no choice but to shrink, but they are likely to try and foist the blame for everything right back on the citizens and demand taxes be raised. When it becomes a choice of keeping your home or paying a giant government parasite, the pitchforks will begin to be sharpened anew…

    The problem is the age old camel one – you know, the animal built by committee. Everything is done by committee or commission so no one person can be blamed – a pitfall of democracy, as everyone knows who to blame in a monarchy. This was also a very big factor in the Macondo rig disaster here, courtesy of BP ‘drilling teams’, where everything was a ‘joint effort’ and had to be decided via conference calls. – although no public figure admitted this, most being fearfully short of testicular matter. I consulted for them – knew what happened before it was even over.

    Same thing goes with government, But as economies shrink government must as well, but they will do their level best not to.

    In all my travels, never once; from China to Japan to Chile to New Zealand and all places in between…never once did I meet someone who thought their government was doing a decent job. In every case, the locals though government was too big and massively corrupt. So this is not an Ozzy issue – it is systemic regardless of the type of government.

    If I were you, I would likely be trying to find somewhere nobody wants to live – Coober Pedy? Darwin?

  230. “Grebulocities, I remain surprised by the level of hysteria concerning it among the comfortable classes.”


    It is simple. The entire corona hoopla is agenda driven, the agenda is put forth by the MSM, and that is the information bubble that the comfortable classes trust and listen to.

    I’m sure the real higher ups, like Fauci and Pelosi know its theater, but not the rank and file.

  231. I’ve been thinking about myself, The Shadow, Jung’s shadow not the one that knows what lurks in the heart of men, though possibly related now that I think of it. I find it extremely odd, that moment when you see your shadow, the effects of the repression of it in our lives and how the subconscious mind makes or own repressions manifest in its own twisted ways, how something suddenly clicks; how suddenly something gets undone and a flurry of memories come to the conscious mind rushing one mounted on top of the other and offer me the possibility of making them ordered and process them. It feels, like what people talk about in Death, but more controlled. It’s like Death in small doses, gentle but effective. Hey, JMG, the Magic training is working! Thank you so much, for your wonderfully crafted work and what seems to me, infinite patience… Sincerely, Augusto.

  232. (The soul itself doesn’t enter the fetal body until quickening.)

    It’s funny you say that. I assume it is a druid belief, but it is corroborated by Michael Newton’s hypnotic subjects who have gone to the interlife realms and talked at length about how souls prepare to their next lives and that is what they have said.

  233. Thanks to everyone planning on mailing me books, and thank you Teresa for the great advice! This is starting to get exciting… though it’s still absolutely terrifying!

    As far as books, I would like everything Lady Cutekitten listed. I would like a decent stock of astrology books so I don’t have to loan out the ones I have at home. I would also like the usual classics of Western literature. Books in foreign languages would be great, especially books in Spanish. Children’s books would be appreciated. I’m going to be making a children’s area that is separate from the regular stacks.

    The commercial space I’m putting into heavy consideration is on the corner of Waterford and Montgomery in Aurora, IL. It’s called Waterford Place if anyone wants to Google it. The space will be in a typical strip mall with a storefront.

    My lease is up in a year and a half so I’m looking to make the move in approximately a year and four months. It’s typical for commercial landlords to give new tenants a couple of months to move in. My music teaching studio will likely be in the back by the washrooms.

    Please pray for my success. Business has been tough. I’m down to nineteen students — I haven’t had that few since I began teaching in the 1990s! The free time is wonderful but there is no way I can survive like this long-term.

    I am chugging away on the Sacred Homemaking Book. I’ve written at least half of it and I’m in the materials-gathering phase to see how much I’ve got to combine so far.

    On a different subject, possibly related to what Bridge had to say, I have completely disavowed Black Lives Matter. I think they’re demonic in the most literal sense. I publicly state that I will have nothing to do with them. BLM is a violent terrorist group. This means that Biden, Harris, CNN, and the lot of people promoting them condone violence and terrorist acts.

    I hope my speaking against them gives others the courage to do the same. I ended my vegan meetup group of almost 10 years because I staunchly refuse to give any BLM sympathizer the time of day.

  234. @ GoatsnRoses…

    I may have a look, but it was just curiosity that made me do it. So much Q stuff floating on the internet, and recently making headlines as a ‘white supremacy’ bunch, but you always have to figure the massive media bias whenever you read most anything. I find myself reading, googling the author and then googling the website owners before I decide if something has even a kernel of truth.

    It’s a helluva way to read, but there is actually more disinfo than info out there now. The best thing is to only try to catch up on the news once or twice a week. Anything big happens you hear about it from people addicted to thumbhumping their smart phones anyway.

    Thanks for the suggestion – interesting times we have, eh?

  235. If there’s one thing that scares me off, it’s when a priest, Druid, or other person who ought to know says “…it really does look like demonic possession.” Eeek!

  236. And now for something completely different…

    JMG, I was wondering if you had any info or opinion on Indigo children. I think of them as a New Age Hope that, like many hopes, gets dashed because the concept is based on wishful thinking. Supposedly these children have special abilities and insights that we “normal” people do not. Some have speculated that children with ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, and learning disabilities in general qualify as Indigo; others think that parents don’t want to accept their child has learning disabilities and such, so therefore view their child as Indigo. I’m rather skeptical. I think there’s a possibility that at least some those who may have been deemed Indigo by their parents/spiritual leaders grew up with such a sense of specialness, entitlement, and faith in their abilities that they formed the nucleus of the Special Snowflake Movement, and have joined many of those organizations that are wreaking havoc in our nation right now.

    List of Indigo traits (from Wikipedia):

    Are empathic, curious, and strong-willed

    Are often perceived by friends and family as being strange

    Possess a clear sense of self-definition and purpose

    Show a strong innate subconscious spirituality from early childhood (which, however, does not necessarily imply a direct interest in spiritual or religious areas)

    Have a strong feeling of entitlement, or deserving to be here

    High intelligence quotient

    Inherent intuitive ability

    Resistance to rigid, control-based paradigms of authority

    Joy Marie

  237. The establishment of the state of Israel and its continuance has been fairly central to a large part of the Protestant Christian faith historically from, at least, the Puritans onwards. Its based on a literal (rather than a spiritual) interpretation of prophecies In Revelation, and some parts of Paul’s letter to the Romans in the Christian Bible, and also many of the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

    This is a link to an English Christian minister writing about Israel in the 1800s, based on those prophecies, before the State of Israel was established.

    A large part of Protestant Christianity has agreed in that respect with Judaism, and especially with the Messianic forms of Judaism – ie that the State of Israel must be established, that it must be protected and that to a Jewish Jerusalem, the Jewish (and Christian) Messiah will return and will eventually bring world peace.

    I believe that America’s support for Israel and the Evangelicals’ support for Trump (despite his messy personal life) is very impacted by this belief. Religious Christians and Jews form a significant alliance in that respect, and in these days, when identity seems more tribal than it used to, I can say that in the circles in which I move (Bible belt, right wing, conservative, pro Trump) being pro Israel is as much part of the identity of that tribal grouping, as anything else is. It’s also a tribal identity which spans Protestant Christian denominations and nationalities. The Northern Irish Protestants carry the flag of Israel as well as as the Red Hand of Ulster and the Union Jack, to show their cultural loyalties. I know people in South Africa and Australia whom I would trust and count as “one of mine” because of that shared support. Its also not confined to Protestantism, as many Catholics, in America at least, also now feel very protective over Israel and the Jewish people. I have to say that I am not sure about the Orthodox churches stance, so I would be interested in knowing how they feel.

    I think these very strong feelings have to be taken into account, when considering the long term survival of the Jewish State. It’s maybe similar for Protestants to the way Catholics feel about Vatican state in Rome, which survived as a religious center, despite the attacks of the Germanic tribes and various other calamities.

  238. Andrew Re: Middle East and Trump. USA fracking has allowed America to bet on not needing the Middle East oil as much anymore. Trump is following the wrong dog. When the USA finally abandons the Middle East, the right wing Israelis and their counterparts, the right wing Moslems, will be allowed to go at each other as long as they don’t encroach on Europe or the USA. Trump and the right are on the wrong side of history, as a non-“liberalism” center establishes itself in the coming decade. The money isn’t going to allowTrump or any Republican demagogue to upset the apple cart as much as the Trumpian monster has been doing. His actions vis-a-vi China are well past time, and his slavish knee drops to Putin will not be sustainable. The moderates of both parties will re-exert themselves as we head down that coming slope for the next 10-15 years till we level out for a bit. Of course, climate change (obvious where we live on our southern Gulf island BC, as we watch how quickly our shoreline is being eaten in just the last 5 years), will bring the black swans going forward.

  239. JMG, regarding the first noble truth. I think you are quite correct, the yogi I am referring to definitely uses those tricks to grab people’s attention en masse and then he uses that to teach you something since I believe he has noticed that using that instead of going against it, since people are used to it is a good entry point to achieve what he wants, because going the other route requires a lot of care and individual teachers. Not something I have been fond of and not something I would like to do but seems to be working for him and his followers to get them just a drop.

    It is definitely not wanting the whole Cosmos, the sentence, his and my paraphrasing of it have a logical mistake, but I think the reason behind it is still true. I think that the nature of desire is to expand, to keep evolving, to keep growing learning and breaking our limitations. We have been taught to satisfy it in debased ways by creating artificial ways of quenching it and that is twisted for, that turns peoples desires into milking machines. The desire to get a cup of green tea for example, definitely should not be taken to the marketing extreme of wanting tons and tons of it, that is what cheap tea companies want you to do. But what about the desire to do more Magic, meditate more, having a pleasant cup of tea and keep evolving in healthy doses. Isn’t that driven by desire for the ultimate in a way?

  240. I’m finding this whole discussion on Buddhism and Western paths fascinating. I too studied and practiced Buddhism for a while, though could never fully identify as a “Buddhist.” I, personally, think the Buddha was pointing at the same moon as the Advaita folks, Zen/Chan folks, and Neoplatonists, though I don’t think there’s any way to know that for sure, and I certainly don’t have the realization or perspective to have a valid opinion. Many mountains, one mountain, as many mountains as people, only One mountain that any One can climb, I don’t know. The Buddhadharma has certainly helped on my path up my mountain, though many other teachings have also.

    @JMG, as somebody who is in a similar position to Luke, and who is on an Occultist path, I would be much interested in your take on how ritual work can help with the ox herding…

  241. Dear J.M. Greer,

    1) I wonder if you have any comments, advice or precautions about the Stoic practice of Premeditatio Malorum – visualizing possible losses or things that can be go wrong, in order to prepare for them.
    Particularly, do you think this practice can be added safely and beneficially to the training of mages and occultists? Or would such negative visualizations be incompatible with their goals and methods of training imagination, visualization, intention, etc.?
    I would also appreciate anyone else’s comments if they have practiced this.

    2) Have you written extensively anywhere about virtues, virtue ethics, or cultivating virtue?

    Josh Rout

  242. I saw the news about Gavin Newsom’s executive order banning the sale of fossil fueled vehicles in California by 2035. I am curious about where all the additional electric power is supposed to come from to charge all those new electric vehicles. California’s electric power grid is in pretty rickety shape as it is due to poorly maintained infrastructure and power generation capacity not keeping up with demand, to the point where brownouts during peak load times are common in some parts of the state.

  243. Dear Luke, and others who may be interested in the conversation around Patañjali’s Yogasūtra,

    I highly, highly recommend the translation and commentary on the Yogasūtra by Edwin Bryant, published under the title The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali: A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary, with Insights from the Traditional Commentators (North Point Press, 2009). While I have some disagreements with certain points of interpretation and emphasis, Bryant does an excellent job of providing summaries and quotations from the centuries-long tradition of Indian commentaries on Patañjali’s very cryptic text, and situating his own discussion within that larger indigenous tradition. This commentarial work is extensive: the sūtras themselves are maybe ten or a dozen pages long; the commentary and introduction bring the book to over 500 pages!

    Bryant is an academic, but this volume is from a popular press, and Bryant is very explicitly writing for an audience of sincere practitioners of Yoga and other spiritual disciplines.

    And to JMG and Luke,

    If you’re interested in a nice overview of the Sāṃkhya metaphysics of the person, which I mentioned in an earlier comment this week, you’ll find it, along with many other treasures, in Bryant’s introduction to this volume.

  244. Hi John,

    Could you elaborate on the dangers of mixing tai chi / Qi gong with western magical practice? I’ve gotten very into tai chi especially over the past six months while I’ve paused my western practice, and am considering restarting my magical practice soon and wanted to know what to look out for and why they may be incompatible

  245. JMG,

    I found a paper with the 10 Zen ox herding images. Does the actualization of the individuality involve a non dual state of sorts? I didn’t get the impression western occultism led to such a thing, and now feel pretty confused.

    I did cheat and look at the descriptions of the images in the paper. Maybe they just don’t decipher the metaphor correctly?


  246. A rhetorical question. How could the Buddha remember his past lives, if there is nothing that reincarnates?

  247. JMG re: Buddhism,

    I want to see if I’m understanding you correctly (and maybe clarifying this will help others). It seems like you’re saying that as far as you can tell, the original teaching of Buddhism was that existence is ultimately unsatisfactory and thus ceasing to exist is the best outcome achievable. (Thus Siddhartha Gautama was exactly the sort of ennui-consumed nihilist one might expect from someone overprotected in childhood and then embittered by exposure to the real world — something I can personally relate to.)

    Then the later teachings of Buddhism are similar to the innovations in Christianity carried out by Paul, the Council of Nicea, the Reformers, etc. Or, alternatively, like the renovation of Thelema — and the, let’s say, rehabilitation of Aleister Crowley’s image — by Grady McMurtry: that is, they built on an older foundation but produced something substantially different.

    Nevertheless: if the Four Noble Truths are to be accepted as truths, then the foundation of Buddhism, in your view, is in some ways fundamentally rotten, even if those foundations have been patched over by later renovations. Similarly, even if a contemporary denomination of Christianity is in itself a robust and serviceable spiritual path, if it insists on acceptance — even just lip service — to ideas like monotheism, creation ex nihilo, heaven and hell, etc., then it, too, is fundamentally rotten, because those things are not to your mind true and practicing while pretending to believe them would eventually bring spiritual ruin.

    By contrast, Druidry asks only that you accept its doctrines, such as they are, as means to train the mind, not necessarily to inform it.

    Am I understanding you correctly?

  248. Archdruid,

    I’m currently working my way through Yates’ “The Art of Memory,” and have a question about Bruno’s system. Do we need to think about images for each of the letter combinations? Aa, Ab, Ac, and etc…?



  249. Archdruid,

    You know, what really disturbs me about the current riots and the “planners” of said riots is how pitifully disorganized they are. I believe you’ve once said “organized violence takes a lot of work,” and it’s clear that the people who are trying to organize the violence are just plain lazy. It’s like they watched a few movies and think that forming Phalanxes is sufficient defense against police armed with tear gas, water cannons, and pepper spray. Even worse, it’s pretty clear none of these yahoos actually bothered practicing the shield wall tactic, which requires months upon months of regular drilling.

    If this is the insurrection that the right wing is going on about, color me unimpressed.



  250. Hey jmg

    Do you think that the “planet “ vulcan, rather than being an illusion, could in fact be made entirely of etheric matter?

    In an old new dawn article someone wrote about a theory that there was a parallel earth made out of dark matter, and that spirits are just dark matter beings that visit earth. That is what gave me the idea.

  251. JMG wrote

    Yes, but I think it’s more than the virus. Tourism as a major industry depended on an economic system that funneled an outsized share of wealth to the comfortable classes. As that breaks down, expect the tourism and hospitality industries to be hit very hard indeed.

    I wonder if more local tourism will come back? The mountainous part of Virginia I live in was a major tourist destination a century ago, before more exotic locales got opened up. There are still some surviving belle epoque hotels here and there, like grand, stately time capsules to the 1890’s.

  252. @ Kimberly,

    Glad I could help! I think it’s very important for all of us to build extensive libraries while we can. There’s no way to know what will survive the coming ages of craziness.

    Serendipity in thrift shops and boxes besides the road yield unusual finds. I’m looking right now at Peasants, Rebels, & Outcastes: The Underside of Modern Japan by Mikiso Hane that I picked up at Goodwill for $1. It’s a discussion of the classes in Japan from the Meiji Restoration to about 1945. An amazing book, especially when contrasted to ‘Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green From Traditional Japan’ which implies the Edo Period was heaven on earth. There’s some overlap in time periods.

    Anyway, accept every single book offered to you and sort as you go. You just don’t know what will show up.

    While you’re planning, start planning on floor to ceiling shelves that can be moved if necessary; that is, don’t build built-ins attached to the walls in case you have to move at a later date. Sorting and shelving as you go along will make it easier to keep track of what you’ve got.

    Check the value of books you run across. Very valuable books can be sold on eBay to finance shelves.

  253. @Naomi

    As a former Orthodox, I can testify that Orthodox are probably the least pro-Israel of all the major denominations. The thing to remember is that something like 20% of Palestinians are Greek Orthodox-including a disproportionate number of those in the US-and a lot of the other Greek Orthodox of Arab background in the US are from countries like Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan that are culturally close to the Palestinians. As a result, Greek Orthodoxy is probably the only church where its not to hard to find devout people, including priests, who very much dislike Israel.

    There’s actually a rather hilarious story that comes to mind here-back during the height of ISIS’s power, a group of (largely) Eastern and Oriental* Orthodox formed a charity to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East. This group held a banquet, which Senator Ted Cruz somehow got invited to speak at. So Ted Cruz goes up on stage, in front of a crowd that is majority Arab Orthodox (and probably included more than a few Palestinians) and makes this long speech about how great Israel is and how wonderful an ally it is to Arab Christians-and of course, a few minutes in, the crowd started booing him. Once his speech started getting drowned out, he yelled “If you will not stand with Israel, I will not stand with you!”, and stormed out of the room. A lot of Orthodox take such things as a sign of how Evangelicals really feel about us.

    *Yes, there’s a difference

  254. The discussion of buddhism this week gave me a new perspective on this story from Slate Star Codex about the last man to be enlightened.

    I also remembered a tweet by an account I really enjoy, where he described Mahayana buddhism as “a death cult disguised as a life cult” and Tantrayana buddhism as “a life cult disguised as a death cult”

  255. @JMG

    “with IVF the quality of the soul is entirely dependent on the spiritual condition of the mother, since there’s no initial coalescence of consciousness to set the tone for the future incarnation.”

    Does the same apply to people who engage in “timed intercourse,” focused on conception without much enjoyment? Or does *that* just attract a “lower grade” soul?

    If it’s true that fertility problems are increasing, such that more people use these methods of conception…might that have a noticeable effect on a society in which that were the case?

  256. @Emmanuel: that seems to be what the Unity2020 guys are attempting: they want to “draft” Tulsi Gabbard and Dan Crenshaw, and convince three or four of the tiny parties to run them. I don’t think they have a chance, but I wish them well and if they really do get on the ballot I’ll probably vote for them.

  257. Kashtan, that makes a lot of sense.

    Anna — shall I call you that now? — I’d assumed that you’d want to have everything credited to “Onething.” If you’d rather leave it as Anna, I can do that too — just in this post and hereafter, though. It would take many hours to find each of your earlier posts and edit them! Let me know which name you’d like to go with.

    Matthias, that interpretation is one that I received orally from a Druid source. Druidry being Druidry, if you’d like a different interpretation you can certainly have one!

    Onething, no argument there.

    Augusto, Jung’s Shadow teaches you what evil lurks in your own heart! Other than that, the differences are mostly cosmetic. 😉

    Onething, interesting. The idea that the soul enters the fetus at quickening isn’t specific to Druidry, it’s found all through Western occult traditions.

    Your Kittenship, and I don’t say that lightly. Prayer and appropriate sacramentals are helpful in this kind of situation.

    Joy Marie, my take — which admittedly was based on watching some people in the Seattle New Age scene — is that the whole Indigo Children thing was the spiritual equivalent of Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy: parents insisting that their children were specially special spiritual snowflakes, as a way of claiming indirect status for themselves. Manly P. Hall talks somewhere in one of his books about children who were raised by New Thought parents to believe that they were God’s special children, who inevitably became complete pests. Thus you’re probably quite correct!

    Naomi, that’s an important factor to take into account, of course. The challenge Israel faces is that of an equivalent to “compassion fatigue” — sooner or later, no matter how strong the emotional commitment, the endless flow of wealth needed to prop things up will become a burden. That’s what happened to the Crusader states in the Middle Ages: medieval Europe had at least as passionate a desire to see the region in Christian hands as today’s Jews and evangelical Christians have to see it in Jewish hands, but time passed and the constant struggle to keep the Crusader states afloat eventually ground that down, until the level of support dropped below what was necessary to keep the Muslim armies at bay.

    Augusto, I don’t see my passion for magic and meditation as being drinven by a desire for the ultimate. As a human being, I can’t even begin to conceive of the ultimate! It’s driven by a sense that the lives we are offered by modern materialist culture are profoundly unsatisfying, at least to me, and that the path of occultism offers a way to fulfill finite (if powerful) desires for contact with realms of being higher and deeper than the world of matter. Occult philosophy holds that the planes we can experience are a tiny fraction of the total universe — but those planes are so much greater than we are that they’re enough to satisfy our needs and desires. To me, this seems quite plausible.

    Isaac, I’ll consider a post on it — it would take at least that much.

    Joshua, (1) you’d have to balance it with premeditatio bonorum — imagining good things happening, in order to prepare to meet them gracefully. I do both; I always have a Plan B worked out in detail in case things go wrong, but I also put a lot more effort into imagining positive outcomes. (2) Nope.

    Galen, it’s pure theater. Long before 2035 comes around, the executive order will have quietly been scrapped or amended into meaninglessness. It’s not there to be followed — it’s there because Newsom is facing a well-organized recall effort that will probably get enough signatures to force an election, and he’s frantically trying to rally his constituencies in order to head that off.

    Barefootwisdom, thanks for this!

    Your Kittenship, thank you for this.

    Jake, there’s not much I can say. I ended up with a fairly bad kidney yang qi depletion as a result of trying to combine them, and I’ve met far too many other people who also had problems as a result of the combination. I don’t have a theoretical model to explain it, just a fair amount of unpleasant experience.

    Luke, there’s been a lot of interpretations layered over the ten images and the poems that go with them. Set those aside, consider the images and the poems, and then think of the bull as your higher self, the self you had before your mother and father were born, which you begin to glimpse through metacognition — becoming aware of yourself being aware of other things, and beginning to perceive a little of what it is that is aware. There’s a nice colored version of the images here.

    Tidlösa, good. There’s been a lot of very subtle rhetoric expended on that issue…

    Slithy Toves, yes, you’re understanding me correctly, though overstating my case in one detail. I wouldn’t claim that either Buddhism or Christianity are “fundamentally rotten;” I simply need, perhaps for wholly personal reasons, an approach to spirituality I can accept wholeheartedly, without having to cross my fingers behind my back.

    Varun, yes. I recommend using people whose names have those letters in them: people you know (personally or via media) named Aaron, Abraham, and so on. As for insurrection, it may be that this is the best they can manage…

    J.L.Mc12, I present arguments in my forthcoming book on Pluto as to why that’s not the case.

    Tolkienguy, here’s hoping!

    Churrundo, funny.

    Cary, yes. The thing is, most people are conceived in less than optimal conditions. How many couples are actually focusing on love when they conceive a child, instead of, say, the guy worrying about his performance and the woman, mildly bored with his somewhat clumsy technique, fantasizing about the hot twenty-year-old piece of beefcake who just got hired at work?

  258. Hi JMG,

    For a while I’ve had my ears to the ground on what people around my generation might be going through. I’m now in my mid-20s and work for a company related to computer games, so I’m constantly exposed to people from their mid teens to late 20s. I wanted to present some data points with the caveat that my sample itself could have some bias.

    1) Understanding around collapse and it’s related effects make sense intuitively to most with minimal explanation. They see the world as is and say, “we’re getting screwed aren’t we?”. Dark humor around the future we expect to see are widely shared. This programming for early youth is already radically different from what I had in my teenage years. The foothold of the myth of progress in the generation seems low.

    2) Anxiety, depression and suicide epidemic is only growing in the generation. On the positive side, I also see them also receive a lot of mutual support from their peers due to better understanding of the problem which is heartening to see.

    3) On the solutions side, I’ve seen everything (including every religion on the planet) put under a lens by them to see what might help their future; Socialism, Conservatism, Liberalism and other ideologies. During the process I’ve seen some inevitably explore religion and spiritual practices more and find what they’re looking for. This could this one of the early signs in this generation in moving towards religion. You mentioned we are headed towards a major inflection point in politics.. I’m interested to see what ideologies dominate during that phase in the generation.

    4) Being a native internet generation, trends and ideas travel at warp speed in their peer groups. With this an intuitive understanding on how ideas spread and gain traction. This combined with knowing the future they expect to see, capable people in hordes show inclinations to ditch college and do something different on their own.

    Some of these were expected but I’m hoping to study more on this since it’s immensely helped me better communicate with them my ideas.

    Unrelated to this, you mentioned a beginner book for Mundane Astrology in a comment on an earlier post. I couldn’t find the comment and wanted to know the title of it.

  259. I have been ruminating on the fact that so much of the racial atonement being demanded of white people claim that the behaviors that need atoned for are invisible to the perpetrators. “Unconscious bias”, microaggressions, and the sort. The icing on the cake is the concept of “white fragility” where if you question the existence of it, you supposedly prove it exists! It all smacks of purely a power play to me, with no small measure of gaslighting going on! My feelings are further enhanced by conversations, engaged in respectfully and earnestly, in a desire to understand, what specific policies, laws, structural conditions, and behaviors do white people engage in that prevent minorities from living the life of thier choosing. I was always rebuked with some form of ” it’s not my job to educate you!”. This is a touchy subject, no doubt, but if you care to comment, I’d be most interested in your take

  260. @Kristen @Ighy

    You might be interested in vitamin recommendations posted by Kelly Fitzpatrick, ND, on her website. For “flu and virus concerns” she says:

    “Vitamin A 200-10,000 IU daily; Vitamin C 2-4 gms daily, Vitamin D 2000-10,000 IU daily; Zinc 15-30mg daily; and Selenium 200mcg daily have been shown to improve the immune system against microbial infections.”

    “Please recognize that doses are age dependent. Consult a physician about co-morbidities and poly-pharmacy regarding using any botanical and neutraceutical formulas in combination with prescriptions.”

    See her website for more details:

    Naturopathic physicians are currently licensed in 22 states, so if you don’t live in one of those states you may not be familiar with the initials “ND.” These practitioners go through a four-year doctoral program in residence at an educational institution such as Bastyr University. For more information see and

  261. Thanks John Michael. I was trying to interpret it how you would and intuited that the ox was the soul, but then let the descriptions turn me off that interpretation.

  262. @ Oilman

    Yes, trying to guess where the rubble is going to fall and then getting out of the area is a tricky job. Funnily enough, I could easily get work in Darwin. But I don’t do well in heat and especially not in tropical heat. I once took a holiday to Darwin and was miserable the whole time. Of course, for that reason I am physiologically unsuited to about 95% of the Australian continent :). If I could find work up in the mountains somewhere I’d move in a flash.

    @ JMG

    What are your thoughts on the prospects for big cities in the next few decades? Do you expect to see a return to rural areas or will the economies of scale still work in the big smoke for a little while longer?

  263. Kia ora John Michael

    I am a long-time reader from New Zealand – thanks for the always edifying and illuminating essays and commentary.

    I would like to ask your advice on a medical matter. Unfortunately I have recently been diagnosed with MND/ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), which causes progressive muscle weakness leading to paralysis. Many spiritual and magical practices require the use of the body, e.g. yoga, the ‘buddha’ pose in meditation, Golden Dawn rituals.

    I would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions regarding spiritual and magical practices that could potentially be done for those suffering severe physical impairment, such as with my condition. Some that I have been thinking of include meditations based on mantras and sigils, or tattwa cards placed on the forehead.

    Regards, Dean

  264. @John Michael Greer and convivium
    1) Regarding the astrological significance of the age 27:
    In the astrological technique called annual profections, one’s 0th year is assigned to the Ascendant and its sign in your natal chart, one’s 1st year to the 2nd House and its sign, etc., in zodiacal order. So in any given year of one’s life, you look to the House assigned to that year and its sign in one’s natal chart. The ruling planet of that sign becomes time-lord of that year, and that planet’s energies become active in one’s natal chart. For the age 27, one looks to the 4th house and its ruler to find what will be activated. This activation affects the nature of one’s planetary transits. Transits involving the planet that is time-lord of a year will be more important during that year.
    It’s an ancient technique from Hellenistic astrology, and the concept is similar to dashas in Jyotish (Indian/Vedic astrology).
    I’d be curious to hear of anyone’s experiments with this technique and the results obtained.

    @John Michael Greer
    2) In a book about writing, would you also consider a section about poetry, and its magical, occult, and mystical aspects?

    3) Thank you for your sharp analysis of the Four Buddhist Truths! I value many things from and about Buddhism, but whenever I’ve tried to take its ‘truths’ seriously, life began to seem pointless and depressing, and statements about mystical union such as ‘the Buddha strongly refuted all such clinging, saying that all levels of being stink, the way even a tiny speck of feces on one’s hand stinks’ (Ajahn Brahm citing a Pali scripture) didn’t help. Given that, however, would you consider the Buddhas to be a real class of spiritual being, different from Gods, angels, etc.? What sorts of spiritual beings would you consider to be active within those Buddhist egregores that dismiss the importance of Gods? They seem to class Buddhas as entities altogether different from and superior to Gods.

    4) Along similar lines, if it’s not too much or perhaps too antagonistic to our Christian friends, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts about why you think something like the Nicene Creed is unacceptable (I suppose that’s the fundamental or basic Christian creed), and in particular, why that would make ‘Christianity’ or Christ-worship unacceptable. I have great respect for the Christian tradition, value many things from and about it, and consider at least some of the Christs to be Gods or beings worthy of worshipping and having relationships with, even if I don’t do so myself. So it’s very intriguing to me that a (man-made?) creed would be a real obstacle to simply doing that, as with many other Gods, and why that would be so.
    How is it not like a group of men making up some terrible, false story about a real God, say, Hermes, and an outsider thinking that on that account, they were unable to worship or have a relationship with Hermes? Would worship be prevented because the group of men possessed the means of initiation – in this case, holy orders, baptism, and eucharists? Or are at least some of the Christs who are also Gods, somehow deeply tied to one’s assent to a set of false propositions? It seems very strange to me!

    Thank you and best regards,
    Josh Rout

  265. Hollywood actress, “privileged progressive” and “defund the police” activist Alyssa Milano in hot water after calling the cops and evoking a massive police response including SWAT officers because a kid was out hunting squirrels with a BB gun.

  266. JMG, are you thanking me in general for dispensing my wisdom, or specifically for providing an entire litter of cute kittens? Either way, you’re welcome! (If It’s the latter, I’m wearing him down, folks!😁). The power of Cute compels you!

    That reminds me. If it’s not too much unDruidly language (demons have NO class), William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist is surprisingly full of interesting moral dilemmas for the hero, so might be a candidate for Kimberly’s library. Maybe she could shelve it in the UnDruidly Language section and only check it out to those above a certain age. You want the 40th anniversary edition, which has an incredibly frightening scene cut from the original for reasons of space. The Reverend Karras dreams of a demonic priest who smokes French cigarettes and tries to intimidate him out of continuing with the exorcism. Then he wakes up and sees a French cigarette burning in the ashtray… Wowsers.

    For over 40 years I’ve wished Blatty hadn’t killed Karras, who was an interesting character. Everyone else, are there any other dead heroes, or villains, you wish the writer hadn’t offed? To this day I have to skip over Wolf’s murder in Stephen King’s The Talisman. That’s just heartbreaking.

  267. I’ve been reading JMG with great attention since 2009. I am a newbie on ecosophia, and this is my first experience reading the Open Post.

    I was surprised and delighted to see so much discussion about Buddhism! I’ve been studying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism since 1987. However many of you are asking questions and commenting in language that is quite unfamiliar for me. What I’ve been studying is perhaps less philosophical and more practice-oriented.

    I only found the Open Post a couple of hours ago, so I haven’t had time to read everything with the attention it deserves (I plan to read it slowly over the next couple of days.)

    Meanwhile there’s a book some of you would enjoy reading. It’s called “In Love with the World: a Monk’s Journey through the Bardos of Living and Dying,” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. He was a well-trained Buddhist teacher and the abbot of three monasteries when at age 36 he left his monastery to travel on wandering retreat, telling no one where he was going. The book describes his early experiences. This was the first time he’d left the monastery without attendants looking after him. He learned how to travel on crowded Indian trains; how to beg for food. He coped with many challenges.

    He shares with us the different practices he did at moments when the strangeness of his new surroundings became overwhelming and frightening. The book shows how useful and helpful these practices can be.

    I also appreciated how personal he is. He teaches a lot of dharma in this book, in a very frank, clear, helpful way, as one human being to another.

    Before he left on retreat, he put together a series of short videos for his students while he was gone. Many of those videos are now available on YouTube (and some more are available on his website). They are a useful introduction to one form of Buddhism.

    I received teachings from him in person for three days in 2016. He has a very gentle, good-humored way of teaching. In my opinion, among the teachers I’ve personally experienced, he is one of the best Tibetan teachers available to us in the West today.

  268. P.S.
    Thank you very much for the suggestion about a balancing premeditatio bonorum! Some of my friends seem like the very best risk-managers to have around, and they instantly think of possible disasters and evil eventualities that would have taken me a long time to start imagining – but they become burdened by worry, to the point it has even damaged their health. I think a practice like this would be very helpful for them!

  269. Hey JMG,

    Regarding your response to Grebulocities and the level of hysteria concerning coronavirus among the comfortable classes: This has baffled me too. I just don’t get it.

    A thought occurred to me over the weekend. I overheard a mother insist, over the complaints of her teenage daughter, that she spray hand sanitizer on her hands “one more time.” Then in the supermarket I checked and found the shelf with Clorox bathroom cleaner is still empty, all these months later, just like the last few times I checked. I wonder when it will return.

    It occurred to me that coronavirus is encouraging and even amplifying the ‘biophobia’ of the comfortable classes that you’ve mentioned before.

    It’s just another excuse for some people to fear the biological, it seems to me. The way this is going it can’t end well.

  270. @Kashtan. Yup. I saw a FB post today from a “we’re all going to die of the climate change yesterday” progressive I know (who also is adamant that Modern Monetary Theory would solve all our problems… it’s brain-melting) that said “Unless everyone under 30 stops being selfish and stupid, everyone over 50 will die of COVID. Unless everyone over 50 stops being selfish and stupid, everyone under 30 will die of Climate Change.”

    I mean… what do you… how…

    It’s quite upsetting, actually. In much the way many here are sharing stories of apparently good mages going round the bend and starting cursing. While I have no ability to judge who is or is not a competent mage, but I DO know that this lady, and many others like her I know, used to be competent environmental thinkers and scientists. She and her husband created an absolutely stunning low impact house and farm, and in the instrumentation and gathering of data for that managed to single-handedly lead to the rewriting of many provincial building codes that now make it legal to use more ecologically sustainable construction methods for everyone. They’ve created dozens of new locally adapted varieties of fruit and nut trees, and whole new methods of rainwater capture, passive heating, sanitary humanure composting… I could go on and on. I’m all Treebeard rage: An ecologist should know better!

    (and I know, everyone is going to say just get off Faceplant… I have to keep it for my public pages, and divination always tells me I can’t just wipe my personal account… I assume it’s some sort of will-building exercise: can I let it wash over me…)

  271. Tolkienguy, that is very interesting. Thank you for your response. I have a great deal of respect for the way the Orthodox churches have survived through the ages (despite the threats of Islam and Communism) with their traditions pretty much intact from what I can see. I hope that some of the differences between the Eastern church and the Protestant forms of the Western church can be resolved in time. Or at least that we can enter into mutual dialogue and co-operation in those areas in which we do not disagree. I guess education is probably the key to not causing unnecessary offense. So thank you for educating me in that respect.

  272. 1) “Existence is clam chowder” almost sounds like a koan…..

    2) Thank you for the suggestions on books related to the Dark Night of the Soul: I’ll see how hard it is to get them. I’ll probably have quite a lot to say about it and how it fits with the Pluto-Ceres thing in a couple years once I’ve had time to do the research and digest whatever data I can find, but for now it’s filed away as an interesting phenomena I need to research and think about, and after looking through a book I have on the renaissance, I can say this looks really promising, since the more I look at it, the more interesting the questions become!

    One possibility that occurs to me is that it might be that Ceres/cultural and religious flourishing are because the gods reach in and give a hand to souls nearly done being human and give a hand to help them finish up before the Nadir, so fewer souls end up yanked down by it. I can think of at least two pieces of evidence which would disprove the theory, and so I plan to look specifically for them: the first is if the pattern holds for the individual and the Dark Night of the Soul is preceded by a brief period of personal religious and artistic accomplishment; the other is if there are cases of artistic flourishing before rationalism sets in which don’t link to religious ones.

    Part of the reason I’m thinking this is that the simplest explanation I have for my current life, with a chart which is fantastic without Pluto and horrific with it; and the way I’ve left so many people astonished over the years by effortlessly picking something up, but haven’t really accomplished anything due to highly Plutonian self destructive impulses; is that I was a fairly accomplished soul which then wallowed in the Plutonian in all its ugliness, and that in this life I’m being given the choice between Pluto and accomplishment: and I don’t believe that the universe could be so unfair and horrible such that a large number of souls would have that happen to them.

    3) I may also have a breathtakingly simple explanation for why Pluto grew weaker for me since March or so: I’m not resonating with it as well as I used to! With a normal planet this isn’t important, but I think for Pluto it probably is right now. Saturn entered my first house around the start of the year, and after a month or so I decided that rather than keep getting whacked by him, I would take responsibility for my life and get to work; since much of how I was holding to Pluto was by being deliberately irresponsible and immature, this meant turning away from Pluto, and so his influence in my life weakened accordingly.

    JMG & Joy Marie,

    I’ve wondered sometimes if the “Indigo Children” thing might be an attempt to talk about the Uranus-Neptune conjunction and the role it played in creating a very distinctive generation: a lot of the traits ascribed to the “Indigo Children” seems like what you’d expect to see if you had a Uranus-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn, as was the case in the first half of the 1990s. It then took this well past the point of reasonableness though, as a lot of New Age stuff did. I may be biased by having it exceedingly well placed in my chart, but I think that conjunction shaped us in a very significant, and to my mind at least, likely noticeable, way.

  273. Dear Kimberly,
    Some years back I looked into purchasing a local used bookstore, alas, when I got into the financials the owner reluctantly made available, it would have barely broken even after paying him rent (he was selling only the business, not the building). He eventually found a buyer looking for a hobby, not a business.

    During that time, though, he told me some of how he sourced books, and the two big sources he was willing to admit to were the local thrift stores and estate sales.

    I know your funds are tight, but estate sales, it seems to me, have a good chance of there being books leftover, especially if they are not pretty looking, that an heir might be happy to have you haul away rather than have to pay to trash, and cultivating a relationship with two or three folks who manage such sales might well pay off for all involved. Likely in category romances, but those do circulate! And the good old classics, if they’ve lost their dust covers, are always canvas bound and not at all eye-catching. My personal classics copies, being gifts from older relatives and friends, are all like that.
    Best wishes with your endeavor!

  274. “Anonymous, if they try a color revolution when the government has control of the armed forces and the backing of the armed sector of the populace, they’ll suffer a quick, messy, and probably very bloody defeat. I don’t think they’re dumb enough to try that.”

    At this point I can’t rule it out: every time thought they weren’t dumb enough to try something, they’ve quite consistently demonstrated they are!

  275. That is a good one I’ll take that as that I need to listen to more of The Shadow knows… I believe it is on Youtube. As an Aspirant magician I think we need more radio shows like that too… my imagination likes it. And of course study Jung more closely. He seems like a lovely guy from an interview I saw of his.

    Regarding the ultimate, I think we might be saying the same thing but my choice of words is poor. What I am referring to as the ultimate, to desiring for all of it and not just limited things is the ultimate according to our own human limitations and capacities as you say. It is this drive, this desire; is the basic instinct or impulse that pushes us ahead. The force that is behind wonder, discovery and self-improvement and success. In the physical it is what makes us want sex and pleasure, in the astral the search for good imagery and well crafted tales and music etc. The fundamental driving force behind what makes us want , create, manifest and breathe. When I say wanting it all, I mean that the end result of this desiring is that we wanted all that we could experience as human beings and all the ways it manifests in our lives were ways of getting there.

    I believe that what the Buddha was saying is that in the end, when we have reached the spiritual or higher planes we would realize that what was behind this instinct was temporal and unnecessary from the perspective of the spiritual, appropriate for our stage of being and evolution for sure, not something that we would need to run away from but it is the binding that keeps us physical, and is what will fall once we achieve Enlightenment, equanimity and being fully “in the present moment”. Of course, as you say, that is not something I can even begin to comprehend but I think it goes along those lines. I think it is not a moral matter though of saying wanting is dirty and you should neglect it, but rather a description of what is it that holds us in place and the Buddha being The Buddha he wanted for his students to jettison into that sphere fast and without questions since he was on the move and not able to guide them personally for long and wanted to get them there straight and surely. Hence his insistence on not getting distracted by siddhis and other “earthly” things. He didn’t have time to explain so he gave a formula for his students which basically is, ignore everything but the ultimate goal of being human. But how to know and not confuse the ultimate? Wouldn’t it be harder to miss, if we know how to handle earthly matters first? I think so and is why I like Magic and see it compatible with Buddhism, but they are coming at it from completely different ends, one from the sublimation and understanding of the creation of the Gods, being ourselves and the world and the other by knowing God directly as a more mystical way.

    I think the same can be achieved through the sublimation and exploration of the lower spheres, and I think the Buddha knew it too but advised otherwise because it is possible to get sidetracked for long, even harm your progress, if you do not know how to handle yourself in the same way that you can’t enjoy beer safely without it ruining you life if you do not know self restrain. I think that what comes off as a denial of the physical by many Eastern traditions is a lobsided interpretation of what the Enlightened beings of their traditions were saying. I know, this is well above my paygrade to say… but for example I know of Buddhists by means of a monk that have achieved Nirvana and then get married after realizing that such restrains were helpful, but not a requirement. Wasn’t also the Buddha that said, after his enlightenment under the bodhi tree “lets eat” in response to starving yourself into mystical states considered as a noble way? Of course, I have no other basis of saying this than what my understanding is of something that I have not experienced… This brings me to a question I was reserving for later, when I knew how to phrase: How do we know about Celi and the states of consciousness that “no created being” can achieve if they are unachievable by human beings? Surely a human which has fully created himself while incarnated must’ve crossed the Abyss for him or her, to tell us that there is one right?

  276. Jmg

    Ok, though the idea of a etheric planet is interesting isn’t it? Maybe somewhere else they exist.

    Speaking of other worlds , have you ever read “Planiverse” by A.K.Dewdney?

    It is essentially a 1980’s version of “flatland” that focuses on the physics and technology possibile for beings in a 2D universe, whilst also being a kind of allegory based on the kind of Sufi teachings a scientist would be comfortable with.

    I’ve been reading it, and it is quite good. I like the depictions of 2D machines the most, I just finished the chapter describing how a “piano” would work in the constraints of the second dimension!

  277. JGM: “Irena, if they were presented as the Four Noble Attitudes I’d be less critical of them.”

    That I can understand. Admittedly, they started it…

  278. @JMG

    Two questions:

    1) In ‘Decline of the West’, Spengler says:

    “Our great century has been the 19th. Savants of the calibre of Gauss and Humboldt and Helmholtz were already no more by 1900. In physics as in chemistry, in biology as in mathematics, the great masters are
    dead, and we are now experiencing the decrescendo of brilliant gleaners who arrange, collect and finish off like the Alexandrian scholars of the Roman age”.

    Given the way novel scientific developments like chaos theory, statistics, quantum physics, discoveries in biology, etc. to name a few, happened in the twentieth century, do you think Spengler’s assessment is accurate? Personally, I’m a bit confused as I think that this could be one of his blind spots, but then again, given the depth of his analysis and the fact that most of his predictions have turned out to be true, I’m not sure whether he was wrong or not. Could you help me out with this?

    2) Druidry, like Hinduism, has a cyclical view of things as well as a few other things in common, like belief in reincarnation and nature worship. Given these similarities, what book on Druidry would you recommend to a person from a Hindu background? I am a Hindu, but I think that Druidry is an interesting alternative path to explore. Even if I don’t actually end up practicing it, I still think that there could be a few things we could learn from Druidry.

  279. Greetings all!

    Are there any links between Kirlian photography and patterns in the etheris or in the astral planes?


  280. 1) In Canada, the government has just announced an extension of its financial stimulus due to the coronavirus, which is going to mean much more government debt. They are justifying this by saying that interest rates are historically low, so they can borrow more money to protect workers. I know that in the US a new economic stimulus package is also being prepared for much the same reason.

    At least in Canada’s case, it’s partly electioneering, because the minority government Liberals are daring the Conservative opposition to come out against the stimulus and thus turn workers/voters affected by the pandemic against them.

    It looks like governments can continue to keep interest rates low and borrow as much as they like. It’s been interesting to watch in the news how columnists, each time the deadline for the end of benefits approaches, keep predicting economic hardship for people when the benefits run out – and then the deadline gets extended again. Up here in Canada, it looks to be driving a housing bubble, as people are following suit from the government and borrowing more. Where do you see this ending? Can governments continue to do this indefinitely?

    2) I am thinking of getting my natal chart done. I know I can get a free chart online, but I don’t know how to interpret it. Do you see any issues in hiring an astrologer to do this, and if not, what does one look for in a good astrologer?

  281. Errata, if you are still reading this:

    I second the majority opinion here that both parties are guilty of the same crime. However, there’s a catch, which leads me to a connected point worth pondering:

    What Trump’s enemies don’t seem to consider when judging his comments about the acceptance of a defeat is that their own side has used the entire duration of his presidency so far for all sorts of shenanigans that clearly demonstrate that they didn’t accept their own defeat in 2016 either, werher they said so or not.

    Just imagine the tea party in 2008 starting a red scare that claimed Putin put Obama in office, fought his supreme court nomination tooth and nail, tried to push for impeachment by all means they could think of and finally supported three months of arson and anarchy by right-wing extremists to dismantle the police, because “black man bad”. And almost all of the media world was on their side, however little truth there was to their claims. That is to say, imagine the MSM taking the side of the birthers and their ilk and doing all they can to carry their delusions as far as possible.

    Please, take the time to truly imagine that. Wouldn’t you think it would be alright, or at least justified for the Dems in that position to say they won’t accept the election results right away?

    Now, HRC didn’t come out in 2016 and say she didn’t accept the results. No such words were said, but the course of actions taken by the entirety of Trumps numerous enemies speaks a very different language.

    This little word, actions, leads me to that connected point: When my acquaintances here in Germany, where no media outlet outside of the alt-right fringe ever takes Trump’s side, wonder why I’d vote for that most evil of politicians in the whole world, I tell them “that’s because he’s an anti-globalization pacifist, every left-leaning, educated, liberal European’s dream of a U.S. president.”

    What his critics get all hung up about is his martial and proletarian rhetoric. They never get around to noticing that on the plane of actions, he’s just the opposite: He stopped all sorts of globalist trade agreements (first and foremost for us E.U. citizens, the TTIP, which we almost saw as a done deal over here and which pretty much everyone outside the 1% considered a terribly undemocratic affair), he fended off an escalation of the situation in Syria, and started all kinds of peace talks instead – in short, he’s carefully taking the steam off the US empire engine and makes way for a fairer world. On top of that, he cleared away obstacles to weed farming and prison reform in the US. What’s not to like about that?

    The fact that his critics can’t see these really good actions but instead focus so intently on words tells me that they’re just looking at the world through the wrong window.

    This valuing of words over actions is a class problem. The educated and the well-positioned fall into that trap, while it’s pretty easy to evade for people who are used the the causes and effects of real world actions.
    I think this is a point worth considering. Re-reading the posts on the tyranny of abstraction might be a good idea.

  282. JMG,
    Somewhere, some while back, I remember that you wrote that folks of nervous disposition should not engage in divination. Or perhaps it was anxiety problems? I can’t recall the exact wording. In any case, I have an anxious temperament (and diagnosis) so I’ve steered clear of all such things. I foresee via entirely mundane means that a career change may be on my horizon in the near to medium future. Would it be unreasonable to try and use, say, astrology to guide me through that process? I’m wonderinf if my view still be clouded by the anxiety business. Is it even possible to learn enough astrology (or another system of divination, if there is one more suited) in a few months to help inform a big choice like that?

    As always, thank you for running this.

  283. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Trump really does more often than not pander to ideological racism as he did recently at a rally in Minnesota where he referenced eugenic “science” notions while praising the state’s gene-pool.

    What I find interesting about the Yahoo News article I linked is that nobody quoted in it in their rush to compare Trump to Hitler makes any note of the fact that eugenics were a very popular notion in the American mainstream before Adolf Hitler and the Nazis discredited the whole thing. As a matter of fact, the Nazis cribbed a lot of their particular racist ideology from American racism. I still find it just as detestable and dismaying when Trump engages in this sort of pandering, but that to which he is pandering is not as alien to American thought as a lot of Trump’s Professional-Managerial Class critics would like to believe.

  284. On the topic of Caesarism, have you heard Donald Trump Jr is thinking of running in 2024?

    We may well be in the period of politics by executive strongmen who formally lead a republic but govern by monarchial succession!

    Although my dream ticket for 2024 is Yang/Gabbard, at least Trump Jr will likely continue the neo-neoclassical building and is more deeply invested in cultural war issues:

  285. Rather than saying that the old (not so old really) religions and paths which have – inevitably – accrued distortions, corruptions and even downright errors – what in Sufism is known as ‘joining the World’, and I think there is a Taoist equivalent – are’ fundamentally rotten’, we might see them as giant accumulated rubbish heaps, perhaps like the city-mounds of Ancient Mesopotamia, in which the occasional gem can turn up.

    And of course, one can always build a house of sorts on such a heap, and lead an OK sort of life.

    But how much better, surely, to endeavour find and work in a green garden, in which fresh fruit, not chipped and dusty relics, can be enjoyed, rooted in the living earth not built upon the decay of earlier dwellings.

    I am sure it is no accident that gardening has featured notably in many Paths…..

  286. @ Lew

    Re the unsexiness of necessary and important things

    That is one of the things my three yeas on city council taught me: the most important things are often very, very unsexy. I gave a workshop two years ago at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair on resilience at the local level and talked about things like infrastructure, local economic development, zoning codes, transportation plans (e.g. bike & ped trails), and budgeting. None of that is sexy in any way, but all of it is vitally important for the local economy. But protesting is far more exciting to most people, I think in part because one doesn’t have to tackle hard problems that lack easy solutions when one is chanting slogans and calling someone else evil.

  287. @Pixelated – thanks for your comments on deer/moose and beaver. It’s been a few decades since I was into Ojibwe stories and had forgotten some of these details. We are dealing with layers of culture here in Canada and to find a symbol that is appropriate from Indigenous, Anglo and French Canadian cultures can be a bit of a challenge! The maple leaf also seems “safe” to me: besides being on our flag, it is on our Coat of Arms (which just passed its centenary, I believe) and the song “The Maple Leaf Forever” very nearly became our National Anthem. My parents sang it daily as children (along with “God Save the King”) at the start of the school day; and the tune is still played as an integral part of weekly parades by Air Cadets all over the country.

  288. @Varun – If you’ll permit me to butt in, I don’t know about in Bruno’s system, but Lynne Kelly who has written a couple of books about memory systems has created a bestiary to help her remember things that need ordering, or names that might start with the same first letter. It includes a memory peg for each possible initial two letter combination.

    Here’s a link to her web site where she talks about that, with some lovely illustrations. I hope it’s helpful!

  289. @methylethyl – if you haven’t already discovered him, Shel Silverstein is really, really fun to read aloud. We have his books “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “A Light in the Attic.” One of our family favorites is “Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout, who would not take the garbage out.” Also, the short ditty “My beard grows to my toes, I never wears no clothes. I just wraps my hair around my bare, and down the road I goes.”

  290. Apologies, I may have posted this once or twice already by accident, I had some connection issues earlier.

    May I trouble you to say a few words in general on what the opposites of shame and guilt are? I have deep rooted feelings of both, which I have started to journal about, and I am trying to determine their opposites to meditate on. Thank you!May I trouble you to say a few words in general on what the opposites of shame and guilt are? I have deep rooted feelings of both, which I have started to journal about, and I am trying to determine their opposites to meditate on. Thank you!

  291. JMG

    No I want to remain as Onething. But don’t spend any time on it! So far as I know, it only happened 3 times. Something changed in this platform, and I have to input my name and email every time I comment, and it defaults to my full name, so I have to change it every time. That just started Wednesday. So don’t worry about it.

  292. Q is definitely not a white supremacist or extremist group in any way, shape or form. The press has a limited number of epithets, and if they don’t like you, you’re a racist or white supremacist or far right wing or what have you.
    I don’t think it is disinfo, but info; however we will see!

  293. I’m not sure how much good it does to talk about it, but for what it’s worth, esoteric Buddhism has quite a different take on the approach to suffering. It does take the sutras as a starting point, but regarding the method of resolving suffering, the method is very different. To put it very simply: suffering is caused by ignorance of the real nature of reality — different techniques in esoteric Buddhism involve perceiving appearances as divine as expedient means to realise the nature of reality. This is at least the presentation of Rongzompa, different schools and teachers will differ or emphasise different things.

    Anyway, that actually brings me to the real question I want to ask JMG.

    Studying the mediaeval and Renaissance era grimoires, they don’t really seem to talk much about visualization in magical practice. As far as I know, in Western magic, visualization got popularized by the Victorian era magicians?

    I find this quite curious, there is a long history of visualization in memory practice and I do have your translation of Bruno’s De Umbria Idearum, but besides Bruno, it seems that no magical authors brought magic into visualization or visualization into magic. What’s your take on this, JMG, might it have been an oral tradition that was lost over the reality wars of the Renaissance?

    In any case, while philosophically, from what I’ve learnt from you and other sources, Buddhism is not compatible with Western esotericism, post-Victorian western ceremonial magic actually has many similarities in practice with esoteric Buddhism/tantra. I don’t see this as problematic, Brahmanic schools also have tantric practices similar to Buddhism yet their philosophies also differ irreconcilably; Yoga was originally practised in Tantric contexts and became more secularised.

    I wonder if there was any direct influence from Indian practices through any of the Victorians?


  294. Hi John,
    Sorry for the poorly worded question. By no means I’ve meant medical advice. Working in California healthcare system I would not survive without being aware of CYA principle and would never ask such a question. Recently, out of sheer fear I made myself a basic protection amulet following the instructions
    in one of your books (red cloth, red thread, salt, bent nail). It is very general. I am looking for something like that, but maybe more specific to my situation (being exposed to sick people). Seeking protection on a different plane, not medical… Please just ignore my seeking advice if it still makes you uncomfortable.

  295. Question for everyone: What browser do you use to read long Ecosophia comments threads? I’m using Chrome, which works fine as long as the thread isn’t too long, but the browser really struggles to keep up with several hundred comments on one page (freezing, crashing, etc.). I used to use Microsoft Edge, which worked fine until they released a new and improved version (TM), and now that thing is unusable (crashes on pretty much any page I try to open, not just Ecosophia). Any advice?

  296. John, et al.–

    Re the Great Orange One

    Something else that I’d toss out re the King in Orange and recent hubbub is that I see his “not committing to accept the results” as part of his signature tactic of saying outrageous things to spin up his opponents’ outrage-o-meters and keep them off balance. Recall that he also explicitly said he wouldn’t commit to supporting the Republican nominee back in 2016, though admittedly this is something of a different thing. Not that I care for this rhetoric–I very much do not–but once again, the Democrats can’t seem to put forth a better option.

    I’ve mentioned before how I see Trump as being like the Drunken Monkey kung fu master from the Saturday afternoon Black Belt Theater movies in my youth, but another framing comes to mind as well. I remember a tale I read a long time ago, though I can’t recall where, set in ancient China. A man was being executed by a detail of soldiers and before they beheaded him, he looked at the soldier who was to do the beheading and swore to haunt him forever. The soldier said, “Okay, prove it” and pointed down the hill they were on to a fallen tree. “After I cut off you head, roll down the hill and bite that log.” Sure enough, when the man’s head came off, it tumbled down the slope of the hill and the bit the fallen tree. The soldier’s companions got extremely worried, but the executing soldier calmly replied that for a person to manifest as a ghost, the focus of his intent at the time of his death has to be on the exacting of his revenge. Instead, the man he’d executed had focused his intent on the sign of that revenge and not the revenge itself, thus directing the vital energy to the wrong thing.

    I think Trump is doing something like that, tricking his opponents into directing their energy to things that will hinder their ability to hinder him.

  297. JMG and all – shower thoughts – This morning I was thinking about the Aztec practice of watering the cornfields with the blood of human sacrifice when it occurred to me that a parallel could be the Thomas Jefferson saying “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Is this watering the land with blood sacrifice mostly an American thing? Is that what people think of as the Wendigo? Are there old world religions that did this too?

  298. In an earlier Open Post, I asked for a good, comprehensive reference book on Greek Mythology. Edith Hamilton’s Mythology came in the mail the other day and was just what I asked for. It helps to also have copies of the original texts, in whatever translations you like.

    Drawbacks: she doesn’t question the original narratives, just reports them, so, for example, Odysseus is seen as a big guy. Straight from The Iliad, in which they all come across as sounding like football linebackers, but it helps to have Mary Renault’s movels at hand for a bit more nuance. She’s madly in love with the brilliance – the adolescent male brilliance – of Ancient Greece, as so many are, and it in its day it was glorious. But, as Renault’s crusty old Roman veteran noted, “…Greeks excel above all others inthe gifts of Apollo, but [not] in the gifts of Jupiter – I mean, Zeus….”

    Also – thank you, Haliverse, for this perspective! – at times she sounds like a charter member of The Radiance.

    That said, I’d give it to any of my grandchildren any old day, if they were so inclined, and for me, it’s a keeper.

  299. JMG wrote,” I consider all four of the “noble truths” to be emphatically false.”

    But are these propositions, really religious dogmas to be believed or doubted? Or are they something else entirely?

    Are they as Stephen Batchelor claims, in ‘Buddhism Without Beliefs’, essentially trail markers to be followed in an empirical, experiential investigative process? Are they the trail markers that show where Buddha’s central path goes?

    Batchelor goes back to Buddha’s first sermon, the one he gave to the five ascetics, in which he states that:

    ANGUISH (the word has also been translated as suffering, unsatisfactoriness, dissatisfaction), is a phenomenon to be UNDERSTOOD by looking into the conditions which give rise to it.

    Its ORIGINS having been understood, are to be LET GO of.

    That being done, the CESSATION is to be REALIZED.

    And the MIDDLE PATH (BUDDHA’s central path between the extremes of asceticism and over-indulgence) is to be CULTIVATED throughout one’s life

    This formulation outlined succinctly in Buddha’s first sermon, differs from a set of beliefs, it is an invitation to experiment, to follow a set of steps, and to see how one’s life, and one’s understanding of the world, changes.

    Batchelor points out that the crucial distinction is that each truth “requires being acted on in its own particular way.”,

    In other words, these are not dogmas to be BELIEVED but life experiments to be tried. Experiments in thinking, feeling, and acting, to be checked out by following a set of steps and seeing what then happens.

    Batchelor points out that most Buddhists have never really considered the distinction, and have thereby missed Buddha’s point. They turn Buddha’s invitation to investigate into a set of dogmas, e.g. life is suffering, its cause is craving, etc.

    So I’d like JMG to clarify just what could be ’emphatically false’ about a path which is essentially a set of experiments — seeking an understanding of the origins of suffering, letting go of its causes, realizing its cessation, and following a middle path through life?

  300. @Irena:

    Edge is now based off of Chrome. Brave is also based off of Chrome. I would try Firefox.

    I guess those of us 30-50 can do whatever we want!

  301. @Pixelated. Thank you for the book title! My library has a copy and I just put it on hold. I live in Ojibwe lands south of the border. So I thought I should learn some of these stories

  302. @Irena I use Brave, which is basically Chrome, but without the privacy-invading features. Works fine. Note that I read from a desktop, so if you’re on a phone, that may not be relevant.

  303. I think it was here that some people were talking about Masonic lodges. Thought I’d post this one coming up for auction starting at 5k. It’s gorgeous!

    Located in Exeter, Maine (the agricultural center of Penobscot County), this property is a gem waiting for return to its former greatness. Currently under renovations, the property can be fully restored or simply rendered weather-tight and utilized for a number of purposes. Thirty miles northwest of Bangor and twenty miles northeast of Newport, the property is easily accessed by numerous state routes. Youre just a short walk to Exeter Country Store and directly adjacent to well-maintained atv/snowmobile trails that provide four-season entertainment. The building itself is approximately 5,040+/- square feet on two stories with a full basement. The building retains much of its original character including towering tin ceilings, tin wainscoting, grand entry, slate farmhouse sink and a one-hole attached outhouse. This property is offered via bankruptcy trustee sale. Michael B. Carey – ME AUC Lic. 1466 Ruth P. L. Lind – ME RE Lic. #BA923350 Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case No. 20-10259

  304. Nomad, many thanks for the data points! I’m especially pleased to hear that they’ve managed to duck out of the myth of progress. As for the mundane astrology book, H.S. Green’s Mundane or National Astrology is the best basic intro.

    Selkirk, it’s straight-up gaslighting in the service of a power trip. Back in the early days of the RaceFail mob scene, a writer who went by Mac Stone pointed out that the logic of the social justice movement is identical to that of the domestic abuser, and gaslighting is an important part of that syndrome, of course.

    Luke, you’re most welcome.

    Simon, like most things, it varies from place to place. Some of the biggest cities here in the US are going to take it in the shorts — people and businesses are fleeing New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other urban craters, just as they fled Detroit and Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the early days of the Rust Belt. Other cities will doubtless do fine, at least for a while.

    Dean, that’s a very rough row to hoe! Fortunately you’ve got plenty of options. In terms of ceremonial magic, everything you can do with your physical body, you can do with an imagined body in a variety of imagined spaces; practices like meditation and pathworking are perfectly accessible to someone whose material body isn’t working well, and you might consider putting some serious work into astral projection — learning to leave your material body entirely from time to time will doubtless be a relief, as well as giving you a set of very useful tools for certain modes of spiritual work (and an easier time of it when you leave the body entirely at death). If you start work now, while you have some degree of physical function, you’ll be in good shape to continue magical and spiritual practice later when the paralysis shows up.

  305. @Grover, given that that snarky Californian happily associates with Teal Swan, it’s probably best if people pay as little attention to him as possible.

  306. My reply (submitted Sept 25 at 11:30 am Eastern Time) to browser question by Irena (posted Sept 25 at 10:17 am Eastern Time):

    When reading on my phone, I use DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser, particularly when I’m on a website that has lots of 3rd-party trackers; I find that pages load more quickly because the browser is disabling the tracking software, I’m assuming.

    When reading on a desktop or laptop, I often use Firefox, Opera, or Tor.

  307. Dear JMG and Fellow Ecosophians

    I was scrolling down my Instagram feed, being reminded of precious moments…


    This was at the Design Indaba Expo in Cape Town in 2012. There was a big design installation – a central wall with Post-it notes – where visitors were invited to add their ideas to the wall.

    The question asked was something like, “What future do you see?”

    My response was…



    I was contemplating how, by having a positive seed/s of intent firmly planted within our hearts, we each have the opportunity to create a reality (and the collective power to create a world) with Love at its core.

    I’m talking about BIG and BOLD Love with a capital “L”; unconditional and willing to serve.

    This Love may represent part of a trio, magically interweaving with Power and Wisdom.

    This Power is not intent on controlling and forcing; nor seeking attention, praise or recognition.

    This Wisdom comes from letting go of what is learned and “known” (the old story), and in courageously embracing and walking the unknown.

    I see these three elements (Love, Power and Wisdom) – or perhaps characteristics or manifestations of Creation / The All / DAO etc – as being part of our True Selves with just one wish… to express ITSELF through our pure hearts.


    With that in mind, some questions for self-reflection and/or sharing…

    – If your heart was a Post-it note, what positive reminder would you write on it?

    – Or, put another way, what seed/s have you planted within your heart?

    – How do you nourish those seeds each day?

    – And, in this now-moment, what wishes to be expressed through your beautiful heart into our beloved world?


    Thank you all for BEing here… and for magically expressing yourselves so beautifully, just as you are.

    WaVeS of LoVe ~ •



  308. Social justice movement, cancell culture, and gaslighting comments

    I was pondering this myself since the local piddletwits are bemoaning how evil their ancestors are. One in particular has generations of slave owners and does anguish riffs off of that. I was going to respond to them but I realized that it was a part of being an heroic victim martyr. They were wondering how ever were they going to honor their awful ancestors since they were so bad. The riff continued as it has for the past three years of whatever are they going to do since they come from tainted stock. Then it goes into evil racists, rapists, and all that jazz.

    My response would be ignore the ancestors, delve further back in the tree, forgive them, or elevate them depending on your particular Pagan tradition. Wallowing is not an option unless it gives one brownie points in the great social justice movement.

    Of course, cancel culture comes into play since well those people are hurting my fill-in-the-blank oppressed friends and I must bemoan that as well. It is a way to avoid responsibility altogether.
    It is a nifty way of being suffering for the cause without really dealing with the fallout.

    In a related way, I wonder why the Neo-Pagans decided that politics is religion. I do believe that the social justice-cancel culture is itself a religion complete with rituals of calling out, self-abasement, and community reaffirming of the person as being a good person. Now, I believe that Neo-Paganism is a subset of this new religion. I guess when you have a religion where anything goes, it is not a religion.

    From a cartoon: “I prefer spirituality over religion.” Response, “And I prefer letters over language.”

  309. @Naomi:

    Thanks for that extended explanation. I can certainly confirm what you are saying both for the (few) conservative Evangelical Christians in Germany and the (numerous) evangelical and pentecostal Christians in Brazil, confirmed by the Brazilian government’s decision to relocate their embassy to Jerusalem.

    Just a small nitpick because I have been reading about this: the groups known as Visigoths, Vandals and Ostrogoths who attacked and sacked Rome at various points in the 5th and 6th centuries can more accurately be described as mercenary armies of very mixed provenance than as tribes, and treated Rome not much differently than the imperial armies in the 6th century did. They certainly did not zoom right across the border to attack Rome, and they had most definitely been Christian for decades, though they might have had, or affected to have, some doctrinal disagreements with the pope. In any case, Rome continued to be immensely more populous compared to any other Western European city until at least the 10th century. That, or the 14th or 15th centuries, would be the periods when Rome might have become religiously less significant, the reason being internal decay and not external attacks.

  310. I know that you read the op-ed section on RT because you recently said so on the other blog, so maybe you read this piece: What caught my eye was this sentence: “Just as poring over a government white paper based on astrology would be pointless, tepid nit-picking within the nascent pseudoscience of ‘Covidology’ is an exercise in futility.” The thing is that I was reading the article to give me insight into the British way of seeing the Covid crisis and their government’s response to it so as to help me when I try to work out using mundane astrology what will happen there after the winter solstice and next spring! Through mundane astrology (the analyses you produce and my own efforts) I have picked up so much information that I would otherwise have missed if I had only relied on conventional news sources. Far from being pointless or an exercise in futility I think BoJo, Trump and other leaders could benefit from hiring a decent astrologer!

  311. Thank you JMG and participants for your perspectives here…very stimulating!

    I’m not a Buddhist and am skeptical of any organized religion founded upon doctrine and dogma. I sift and choose what works for me.

    So, as to the Four Noble Truths, this is my working interpretation:

    1. Existence IN THE REALM OF SAMSARA is ultimately unsatisfactory because 2. the mind clings to desires that can never be satisfied in this realm. This is the root of suffering.

    Liberation from this realm does not mean ceasing to exist, it means stopping the mind from clinging to desires that can never be fulfilled in this realm.

    Part of that is training yourself to recognize when the mind is clinging, and learning how to let go (including letting go of the desire for liberation, eh?)

    Hence, the Eightfold Path.

    “Samsara” might also be characterized as the ultimate “Malign Enchantment,” by the way.

    @Xabier on rubbish heaps and gems:

    Yes, exactly!

  312. Thank you! I am sincerely interested in any interpretation, since I don’t have one, and the line about the summer stars has long reverberated with me. But if it’s not in writing, bad luck for me.

  313. @sunnnv

    In reply to our last week’s open post exchange about the prospects of electricity as a replacement for fossil fuels, I would argue as follows:

    There is basically a physical limit to the energy density of a battery, or any electric storage medium, immutable according to current knowledge,
    and it ranges generally lower than the energy density limit of chemical fuels

    I may not be precise in the following point but probably close in physical terms:
    with increasing volume of a vessel, the needed energy for its rotary motion engine rises in non-linear fashion and here considerably faster for electrical energy storage
    compared to chemical fuels.

    This may explain why while there is an electrical passenger airplane, the biggest one only carries nine passengers maximum.

    The tesla truck is also said to not have the loading carrying capacity of a comparable diesel driven vehicle.
    I may be wrong; I think Chris de Decker mentioned that in his (I’d say excellent) blog “”

    So there are physical limits. But what about the Big Muskee?

    Here is an example of a giant elctricity driven vehicle, and similarily to a passenger train, it needs an external source of electricity.
    There are no battery powered trains (?).

    The device is thus “stationary” in a sense.

    I would argue passenger trains are more efficient trhan buses and trucks, given I think the lower losses of speed through smooth almost floating motion on the rails (what’s that called?),
    but only given the constraint that either the train has many passengers and uses the capacity well ie a track that is a major track, or, it is a slow train,
    that uses less energy.

    Also here, I think I remember this correctly, Chris de Decker argued that the necessary energy needed for motion of a vessel increases in non-linear fashion
    with speed, so slow trains are a very good thing for regional transport ie efficient.
    [comment on the side: from what I know from some East European countries, the old soviet train systems are not fast and expensive like in the west, but rather slower and cheaper than the busses –
    I rode such a train for a long track and liked it better than modern trains.]

    Here the efficiency of an electric vehicle with an external source of energy also depends on the length of its itinerary, as well as its total length of itinierary across geographical
    space. In more simple turns, you must supply power lines for trains and Big Muskee, while diesel trucks potentially need a tarred concrete road, a gravel track, a storage tank and their own fuel.

    My final thought here is that electric vehicles like golf carts actually do tend to have many advantages at their small is beautiful size – but that goes in line with Chris de Decker
    and our host who argue that electricity and of course solar head could actually supply a civilization very well on a lower level of energy use and alas, it sounds beautiful,
    at a considerably *slower* pac, and more irregular and unplannable, also something that sounds nice against our current post modern disneyland.

    The last point is about the efficiency of photosynthesis vs the efficiency of pv cells converting solar energy:
    while I am aware that the direct conversion rate is better for the crystals, I would say the overall efficiency in terms of real life uses may be different
    when including not only this direct conversion rate, but resources and energy needed for pv cells vs the resources and energy needed for plants,
    and it differs in many respects, and the question is how much could be achieved with a field of pv cells versus a lush forest or energy crop
    as a total output to its final use.

    This question, that I have difficulty formulating, is basically where this economic equation enters utterly complex territory I would argue.


  314. @Joshua

    4) I can’t speak for all the Christian readers, but it’s not offensive that other people don’t happen to believe in the creeds I subscribe to 😉 The Nicene starts out “I believe in One God, the Father Almighty” — it seems perfectly obvious to me why JMG would not subscribe to that, since he’s chill with a variety of gods. But if he wants to get into it, it’s always interesting and helpful to know the particulars of why other people don’t subscribe to one’s own belief system. It helps us to be more understanding and compassionate.

  315. I want to say thank you to whomever mentioned Damien Echols on this forum.
    I can highly recommend his book high magic, along with our hosts meditation guide “Mystery teaching from the living earth”,
    it is a great primer for beginners to go into energetic exercises, and also Echols is very concise and kind and gives good
    warning advice not to be careless, and good advice to be self-positive. All in a very short text.

    Echols uses the christian/hebrew methods and as our host has argued, there are pagan rituals similar, but they
    are different in the way that they are more earth bound. Or something. This I can only speculate on.
    Something more sexually liberal (…?).

    What I have also asked here before is why the Western practices are less physically oritented than their Eastern counterparts.
    Ie no lotus seat, no detailed muscle control techniques like Qi Gong and Tai Qi offer (I may be wrong on this but it is my impression).
    The answer here was that Western practices had to be done in secret and often circulated via letters and writing,
    so detailed physical movements are difficult to purport.

    Also a mix of more advanced (?) Western and Eastern techniques does not do well to health and should be avoided as risky, our host said.

    I mused that physical movement, or energetic movements, will not be in contradiction to Western practices. The incomptability probably relates
    to ways energy is brought up and cycled or focused around the body, physical and etheric.

    Echols also does not go into great detail about physical aspects other than vaguely saying one should relay one’s shoulders and such.
    That’s O.K. to me, because I have come to respect these practices, I think at least the way Echols guides thorugh his writings is
    a very good way to learn self-love, higher sensibility for others emotionally, and other good and ethic features.
    Our hosts medidation guide, I would argue, adds a good guiding light for clearer contemplation.
    When doind discursive meditation, all the things in one’s life become visible like a fractal, and all the aspects we never think about
    very much. Or so I have seen it.

    Considering movement and physical aspects of the body:

    I think our hosts guide to a good beginners meditation seat on a chair also helps to get one’s soul back into the body or
    maybe: start feeling oneself better.
    Together with the fourfold breath a control focusing of energy on the parts of the body and then willfull relaxation or at least visualization
    of relaxation is very good.

    One other great thing is the “shaking” that is from Qi Gong and also Do-In practices, but something very basic that healthy children
    actually like to do I wager.
    Its just standing with the feet planted somewhat narrow together and shaking one’s body smoothly up and down (or rotating
    left and right and back again, for pregnant women). This works the better the more
    one’s attention is not in faraway thoughts but in the actual body. This shaking can miraculously open up back pain, stiffness
    and other things, but it also disperses our kind life energy in our body evenly.

    I have come to think and experience that spontaneuous, very soft movements like dancing can do wonder on physical and psychological aches
    and it is very natural, but one aspect that modern sports science won’t probably teach is that one’s soul should also
    rest peacefully in the body for this.

    This were my 2 cents to these things, maybe 5 cents, in any case my recommendation as I think this requires no teacher to learn.

  316. @Ron M. My word, I’d never heard the Maple Leaf Forever before. That’s fascinating. And I went to a school district where we even did such pagan things as the may pole and election of may Queens from the highschool!

  317. John–

    Re Trump landslide

    I am admittedly curious how you see Trump reaching 350 EVs (per your comment above). I can get to 340 by giving him absolutely everything conceivable:

    But I can’t see how he could possibly go beyond that. Taking states in the deep-blue Left Coast or the northeast (except NH, which I gave him) seems a monumental stretch. There’s IL, I suppose, but I can’t see him getting that, either. (Of course, Reagan ’84 took every state but MN. But Trump ’20 is not Reagan ’84.)

    Did you have a specific scenario in mind or were you thinking more in terms of ranges?

  318. Methylethyl, and others interested in poetry, I kept a list of the replies to my April Open Post question about poems people have memorized – I assume they’d work for your criteria of read-aloud-able too. I’ll copy the list on my dreamwidth site for anyone who’s interested, though it may take me a day or two to get started as I have a few commitments ahead of it (

  319. Dear JMG and Astrologically Aware Commentariat,

    I notice there is a tendency in the New Age/quasi-Eastern spiritualities to pathologically lump the entire known and unknown universe into a giant teeming blob of Oneness. This epic lumping-together is usually a function of the New Ager’s inability or unwillingness to discriminate. I understand this form of handicap as reluctance to recognize and set limits, but do you think it is related to their individual or group planetary imbalance? If so, which planets do you think are driving it? My guess is that it is a Piscean urge to homogenize/harness disparate energies under a monotheistic rule where the attempts of Christianity and Islam have failed.

  320. Hey again, and sorry for the doubling down, but I felt I need to be a bit more specific regarding JP Sears, the “snarky Californian” in the video Grover posted.

    On his very successful Youtube channel “Awaken with JP”, he poses as an ironic version of a New Age Self Help guru, poking fun at all things alternative, New Age, and what have you.

    His second line of business, apparently similarly successful, is as an actual New Age Self Help guru.

    If that amount of sarcasm doesn’t put you off already, the woman I mentioned in the last post, Teal Swan, is a bona fide cult leader with all the classic hallmarks (expensive commune in a foreign country, loyal-to-the death desciples, insatiable hunger for attention, over the top made up back story, ambitions for world-domination, etc.) who gets her kicks out of manipulating people into suicide (so far successfully in at least two cases).
    Sadly she excels at the social media game and has hundreds of thousands of followers and well-attended speaking events world-wide, so she’s a really big fish.

    Our funny friend JP here regularly appears on podcasts with her, which I think no amount of irony or sarcasm can justify. If you have his kind of influence and you use it to normalize someone of that character, something is really wrong with you.

    So, to summarize: Awaken with JP is not light-hearted fun, and not even just sickeningly dishonest, but a doorway to a really dangerous and destructive place and it shouldn’t be recommended to anyone.

  321. @ Kimberly and @ Boysmom

    What Boysmom wrote about buying a used bookstore reminded me of the most important factor! Thank you!

    Finding books is easy. So is shelving.

    Based on the indie bookstore owners I know who are hanging on, the key is owning your own building. A mortgage is far, far better than rent because you own the building and the bank won’t change the mortgage whereas a landlord can raise it at will. And, eventually, you own the building.

    Thus, Kimberly, you may want to think seriously about applying your rent to buying a building for your subscription library instead. The pandemic quarantine may allow you in another year or so to purchase a very good piece of property at a fire-sale price.

    Keep centrally located as much as possible to allow for foot traffic to reach you. That is, don’t buy the fabulous Victorian building down a sunny dirt road deep in bear country. Everyone will have to drive to reach you, but if you’re in town, you’ll have a more consistent clientele.

  322. Joshua, (1) interesting! I haven’t gotten to profection yet — my approach is to choose one technique for predictions and learn it very thoroughly before going on to the next. I’ll take a look at profections when it’s time to check out another such system. (2) I’ll consider it, but you’d probably need to get something of the sort from a poet, and I’m at best a dabbler in that field. (3) I honestly don’t know. They’re clearly real beings, but how they relate to other beings in the vast gallimaufry of spiritual existence is a question you’d probably have to ask Manjusri, the bodhisattva of wisdom! (4) With regard to Christianity, I didn’t say that I can’t have a relationship with the Christ, I said I don’t feel that I can join the Christian religion in good faith. Those two statements are not equivalent! I think you’ll find that members of traditional, sacramental Christian churches — the only kind that would be of interest to me — would agree wholeheartedly that someone who can’t honestly affirm a belief in the basic Creeds, the Nicene among them, should not claim to be a Christian.

    Galen, “safety for me but not for thee” is of course the basic attitude of the overprivileged.

    Your Kittenship, oh, it was the wisdom, of course. You get one kittenfull comment per open post; how many kittens you manage to pack into a single link is of course up to you.

    EllenZ, thanks for this.

    Joshua, you’re most welcome. It’s a good way to get the benefits of the Stoic practice without the downsides — and it also helps you figure out how to deal with good fortune, which can mess people over just as badly as bad fortune. (Lots of people who win lotteries end up crashing and burning, for example. Me, I’ve had plans in place for a long time for what to do if one of my books unexpectedly becomes a million-copy bestseller.)

    Blue Sun, hmm! That’s an excellent point, and one that hadn’t occurred to me. The biophobia of the privileged — yes, that would explain a lot.

    Kevin, (1) meditate on it, and either you’ll get enlightened or you’ll want a bowl of clam chowder. 😉 (2) The universe could be perfectly fair, in that a great many souls could have veered in a proto-Plutonian direction, and the universe then said, “Okay, if that’s what you want, here’s a temporary planet to constellate that energy and give it to you like a punch in the face. Enjoy!” Perfect justice can be stunningly harsh… (3) That makes sense. Quite a few years ago, the astrologer Isabel Hickey wrote a book titled Pluto or Minerva: The Choice is Yours, in which she predicted (quite accurately, as it turned out a few years later) that Pluto had a very large moon, which she called Minerva, and that you can choose by your attitude whether the Plutonian or the Minervan energy manifests in your life. (4) Oh, probably, but watching parents compete with one another by pushing their kids to act out the Indigo Children role left a very sour taste in my mouth.

    Anonymous, unfortunately, I can see that. I say “unfortunately” because I don’t want to live in a one-party state, and if the Democrats commit collective seppuku that way — under the 14th amendment, every politician who supports an insurrection is legally barred for life from holding any office again, right down to town dogcatcher — it’ll be years before a new second party will be able to organize itself, if one ever does.

    Augusto, I don’t believe that there’s one single desire that governs all people, be it a desire for the infinite or anything else. I think we’re more diverse and more interesting than that. As for Celi and the states of consciousness above the Abyss, all those things exist in what another set of traditions calls the seventh cosmic plane, far, far, far below the Absolute. The state of Celi is attainable by human beings precisely because it’s no big deal in the great scheme of things.

    J.L.Mc12, I suppose I could be snarky and say that I’ve read it, but it seemed kind of flat to me… 😉

    Viduraawakened, (1) I see those discoveries, interesting as they are, as a matter of filling in gaps left by the supreme scientific achievements of the 19th century. Compare where science was in 1800 with where it was in 1900, and then compare the latter with where science was in 2000, and it’s not hard to see that Spengler was right — the Herculean steps taken in the 19th century gave way to a filling in of gaps in the 20th. (2) You might find my book The Druidry Handbook a good first glimpse at the tradition. Yes, there’s a lot of common ground between Druidry and Hinduism, and over the last couple of decades there’s been a fair amount of friendly interaction between the two traditions.

    Karim, that’s an extremely interesting question to which I don’t think the answers are yet clear. The standard theory among occultists is that the Kirlian process reveals the etheric body, but that’s still unproven.

    Jbucks, no, of course not. I can’t speak to Canada’s situation, but sooner or later the US is going to have to default on its foreign debt; I’m pretty sure both parties know this perfectly well, which is why they’ve gone on such a giddy borrowing spree of late. Debt defaults are temporary traumas — check out what happened after Russia’s default in 1998 sometime — and very often leave the defaulter in much better shape afterwards, so it’s a sensible strategy. (2) I encourage everyone to get a good natal chart delineation from a professional astrologer at least once — it’s well worth doing. I don’t know who certifies astrologers in Canada; here it’s the American Federation of Astrologers, and anyone they certify will be able to do a fine job. Doubtless Canada has its own certification body and will point you to someone qualified in your area.

    Dusk Shine, divination is risky for those with anxiety problems because they inevitably choose the worst possible interpretation of the cards, etc., and obsess about it, giving themselves even more trouble with anxiety than they would have had otherwise. If you’re going to try to use astrology for career guidance, find a local astrologer and pay them for a delineation and counseling with that detail in mind. They’re used to reading charts, they won’t make a beeline for the most negative possible interpretation, and they can talk you through the process and get you the guidance you need.

    Grover, thanks for this.

    Mr. Nobody, no, he doesn’t do that more often than not. He simply doesn’t care about the latest over-the-top definition of what constitutes racism, and so now and then he says things that can be defined as racist by the professionally offended.

    Aidan, yep. My guess is that he won’t get it — I expect to see either Ron DeSantis (currently governor of Florida) or Kristi Noem (curently governor of South Dakota) as the GOP candidate in 2024, and quite probably the one who doesn’t get the president’s slot will be on the ticket as veep. And yes, I heard about the divagations of the 1619 business.

    Xabier, or to find a junkheap that has a selection of raw materials you find especially congenial, and work from there. That was certainly my approach!

  323. How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man?
    And how many kittens can I pack in before they’ve all went and ran?
    And how many trees can the kittens climb before you call the fireman?

  324. Regardless of the ideological distain for “colorblindness” among “race experts” since the foundation of diversity training in the 1960s and 1970s [1], the colour they like to see most is not black or white or brown or yellow or blue; it’s green! Lots and lots of $green$.

    [1] –,+sensitivity+training,+and+new+age+therapy+hijacked+the+civil+rights+revolution&source=gbs_navlinks_s

  325. Blue Sun, Grebulocities and JMG about covid panicdemic:
    I think Blue Sun touched on something interesting. Yes the pandemic is mostly engineered but there are unexpected (maybe) side effects that are going to lead to big changes. Basically all the fears of death, biophobia and the selfish individualism of the well-to-do has been driven to a extremes.
    Lots of people now live the lives they dreamed of as teenagers – locked in their rooms with unlimited access to artificial media, having food delivered and absolutely no contact with other human beings or even nature.

    This could be one of the historical phenomena described by JMG – as their certainties melt away, the rich cling even harder to their defining psychological treats.

    I wonder what will be the effects in the next decades. There will be a shrinking class of middle class and rich whose lives diverge more and more from the regular people (like eloi or Asimov’s planetary emigres).
    Will there be enough time for this to create an almost completely different parasitical society on top of a barely technological collapsing civilization?
    I hope not but it would make a good story.

  326. 1) I don’t think enlightenment and wanting clam chowder are mutually exclusive outcomes! 😉

    2) “The universe could be perfectly fair, in that a great many souls could have veered in a proto-Plutonian direction, and the universe then said, “Okay, if that’s what you want, here’s a temporary planet to constellate that energy and give it to you like a punch in the face. Enjoy!” Perfect justice can be stunningly harsh…”

    Oh dear gods this makes a lot of sense! I still think, however, that a just universe would make arrangements for the souls who weren’t veering in a proto-Plutonian direction. This could take a lot of different forms, but I think the possibility exists Ceres functioned as part of that.

  327. @viduraawakened – I think Spengler might be a bit too early to call it, but the trend is clearly there. In spite of a steady increase in resources devoted to scientific inquire, the actual rate of discoveries remain more or less flat. And if you ask today’s scientist to rate the relative “relevance” of past discoveries, they tend to favor the work of pre WW2 scientists.

    From the article: “Suppose we think of science—the exploration of nature—as similar to the exploration of a new continent. In the early days, little is known. Explorers set out and discover major new features with ease. But gradually they fill in knowledge of the new continent. To make significant discoveries explorers must go to ever-more-remote areas, under ever-more-difficult conditions. Exploration gets harder. In this view, science is a limited frontier, requiring ever more effort to “fill in the map.” One day the map will be near complete, and science will largely be exhausted. In this view, any increase in the difficulty of discovery is intrinsic to the structure of scientific knowledge itself.”

  328. On the subject of technology, I wouldn’t mind seeing more speculation on how more advanced technology can lead to lower social stability and satisfaction.

    My favourite example to cite is the printing press and it lead to the Protestant Reformation and European Wars of Religion. The extraordinary thing about Martin Luther’s famous nailing up of complaints was that he only intended to settle a local grievance! But thanks to the first information age sparked by the printing press, his complaints went viral (as we would say nowadays). Without the new technology, the “Lutheran heresy” against the church would have spread no further than the Arian heresy of the 4th to 6th Century or the Cathars of the 12th to 14th Century. Ed West sees the ascendency of progressivism as having strong parallels with the second information age,

    “Or perhaps what we’re seeing is a re-run of the Reformation. When Elizabeth I came to power in 1558 the bulk of English people were certainly Catholic, while Protestantism had been the fixation of a small minority of people mostly in London and the south-east, a group who were disproportionately well-educated and opinionated, and convinced they were righteous. Outside of these circles most people found the idea of abolishing ancient aspects of the Mass, or destroying monasteries and artworks, extreme and off-putting. In 1564, the year of Shakespeare’s birth, half of all Justices of the Peace had hesitated to swear the Oath of Supremacy recognising the monarch as head of the Church. By the time Elizabeth I died in 1603 Catholicism, very recently the majority religion, had become a mark of extremism, totally outside what we would now call the Overton Window of acceptable ideas. In just a few years the belief system that had dominated the country for almost a millennium was now seen as beyond the bounds of decency, even if a shrinking minority continued to cling to it.

    The old faith provided the security, rituals and social cohesion most people craved; the new offered radical ideas about salvation and a war on sin, although for today’s Godly it’s the sins of racism, sexism and homophobia that must be driven out. And indeed there are parallels with our own time, where a highly motivated, disproportionately well-educated minority in London and some university towns are able to present the recently dominant culture as extreme. If you look at the present day, cultural changes that have occurred under the second Elizabeth have shifted the acceptable range of beliefs within a generation. The ‘British values’ now taught at schools would be baffling and alien to my grandparents when they were my age.” (p. 292-293)

    “The campaigning journalist Heather Brooke once wrote: ‘Our printing press is the Internet. Our coffee houses are social networks.’ 26 We’re going through a second reformation and normal people who would be horrified by the idea of religious sectarianism fail to appreciate how similar political sectarianism can be, and how new media is accelerating it. On Twitter the competition to be purer-than-thou and to gain status in the moral community is the most tiresome aspect of the site; it turns comedians into bad preachers and writers into lazy partisans. This sense of moral superiority is also what drives so many high-status people with blue ticks to be so unpleasant and even violent-sounding. Social media encourages tribalism and gives a dopamine reward for the feeling of moral outrage, but there is also the theory that the algorithms drive people towards more intoxication through extreme ideas.” (p. 298-299)

    If technology does continue to advance along its current path, a harbinger of the state of cultural conservatism across in Anglosphere the future may that of contemporary California. California has always prided itself as being ahead of the curve on everything from the cinema, to the expansion of higher education, to flower power, to Valley Girl-style speak, to Silicon Valley, to heated debates over immigration. California in the 1990s was a harbinger of much of Western politics in the 2010s. California has once been almost a bedrock Republican state (the landslides of FDR and LBJ were exceptions). However, the natural constituency that gave the world Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan (the old middle and working class of the industrial age) felt under increasing presure in the 1990s by both the rapid demographic changes brought about by Global South (mainly Latin American) immigration (legal and illegal) and the ever-growing culturally progressive elite of the new knowledge sectors (media, academia, Hollywood, etc) that has since come to dominate the economy of the state. The last bastion of the “ancien regime”, so to speak, was Republican Governor Pete Wilson, who in the face of unilateral opposition from all of the elites mentioned above tried to halt illegal immigation. Meanwhile, his natural constituency continued to flee the state or die out. Tellingly, since Wilson left office in 1999, the only Republican governor of California has been an immigrant media celebrity, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and his platform was very “Me Too”, especially on cultural issues. The current leadership of California look like that of the Brezhnev-era USSR, and the California GOP in the legislature continues to be more and more marginalized in the aging fringes of the state as well as the northern third [1]. And the results are comparable to Brezhnevism [2].

    If technology and education continue to advance, the state of conservatism across the Anglosphere will, IMO, probably look like that of California in a generation, going along with West’s forecasts.

    [1] – There has actually been a movement since the beginning of the 2010s for the northern third of California to become its own state, the State of Jefferson. It is an idea that actually goes back to the late 1930s but was put on hold by Pearl Harbor

    [2] –

  329. Irena,

    Certainly give Firefox a try. If you’re still having problems after that, consider trying Pale Moon, which is based on an older, less memory-hungry version of Firefox.

  330. You might like this datapoint – the American Federation of Teachers has unionized many college campuses in Philly and working currently starting more unions. The current colleges unions have begun announcing that they voted and are now demanding courses stay all online through May 2021 to keep people from dying. The professors refuse to teach in person classes using death as the #1 reason. I don’t know what data they are looking at but unless you are over 65 or 70, chances of dying are less than a car crash fatality at this point.

    Currently all the Philly colleges are online with dorms closed to students. Parents were disappointed but understanding back in July and August when the closure happened.

    Now after this announcement, they are livid. Parents immediately publicly posted in parent groups that they are pulling their kids out and looking for schools that are doing in person classes. The online college classes they’ve seen so far stink and they are quite vocal about it.

    I don’t think colleges can fire the professors and I don’t know that they can force them to go to work. No idea how this is going to turn out but college presidents must be popping tums and drinking alka seltzer by the gallon.

    Oh and I still can’t get into an archive or public library because the staff insist the books and materials are a major carrier of coronavirus. But I can go to used book stores and touch everything on the shelves. That’s solid governing and science right there! Sorry for the sarcasm but I’m so tired of everyone acting like they are the white knight who is going to save us from a virus.

  331. Thanks to everyone who responded! I tried Firefox, and it doesn’t crash the way Chrome does, but it drags its feet (freezes for a few seconds and won’t let me scroll, then works normally, then same problem again). Which makes me think that Phutatorius may be right, and that it’s actually an issue with insufficient memory (that hadn’t occurred to me). Well, that’s annoying, since I don’t see any way to fix that other than by buying a new computer… Oh, well. (The strange thing, though, is that I didn’t have this issue with Edge. Until they “improved” it, that is. Gah.)

  332. DBL, change Maine and New Hampshire to red, and you’ve got your 350. (P.S. I lived in Maine 2015-2016… 😉

  333. Just a couple of observations. Recently the company I work for announced they’d be providing Election Day off as paid holiday. I got to digging around on the Internet and found some states have already done this, and other large corporations have as well. The possibility for the 2020 election to be as contested as the the 1876 election is ramping up (thanks for the historical insight by the way JMG). I will have a good laugh though if letting more off for elections has the opposite effect of what I think its intent was.

    On a similar politic note, and not to say that Democrats are against the USA, but based on my observations where I live, there are a TON of USA flags up this year. With signs showing support for candidates and political parties going up, I’ve kept track of which houses had USA flags and what signs went up in their yard. There has not been a single USA flag in the yard which also contained signs supporting Democrat candidates. I feel that is a telling observation, and I am curious if others are noticing anything similar, or different.

  334. Hi JMG,

    Will you be doing another post this year on the Great Cell Salt study? I’ve been strictly observing the protocol for six months now and genuinely sense its positive effects, all quite subtle.

    @Kevin Taylor Burgess
    I think your correlation of Indigo Children with the Uranus/Neptune conjunction is quite apt. This is an intensely significant planetary synod, denoting a cycle of roughly 170 years. Have you heard of the book Cosmos & Psyche by Richard Tarnas? It’s all about synodic astrology and covers the Uranus/Neptune cycle in depth. It’s fascinating material, very well written…highly recommended for all serious students of astrology.

    Many thanks to all who have joined the Buddhism comments thread, I’ve enjoyed it immensely (high honors to Laughing Sage for your impassioned rant!).

  335. Anonymous – making it a point to deal with feelings of guilt and shame is a worthy pursuit, worth spending time and effort on. I know this from personal experience. If you don’t, you will attract negative energies, especially in the material world, in the form of the Narcissist, who feeds off these things. Good luck, you will need it.

  336. Eike,

    Wow. I just think his snark is hilarious. Especially “How to be a Woke White Person.” When he starts stumping for X product or Y service he loses me every time. But thanks for the heads-up!

  337. JMG & Jeff, it’s one thing for Codevilla to write this for the (fairly) rightist Spectator, but another for such stuff to get published in (fairly leftist) The Tablet.
    And, just days ago, he posted a quite extensive analysis of the current state of play between Elites and Deplorables, hinging on the election’s outcome. Excerpts:

    “Following the Left’s victory in 2020, attorneys general, agency potentates, mayors, and corporate officials who are part of or partial to these groups, would see it as more to their advantage than ever to **act against deplorables**: investigations to harass, lawsuits to bankrupt, arrests to defame, seizures of property, firings, cancelings, restraining orders, custody of children… there is no limit to how people can be hurt by willful uses of power….

    What if They Lose?
    Donald Trump’s reelection would reduce the intersectionals’ confidence a bit, and give the Right side of American life a bit more leeway, as it chooses new leadership. In this slightly calmer atmosphere, the beginning of the 2024 election cycle would open a host of possibilities.

    But it would not end our revolution, any more than the ruling class’s victory would. The revolution’s essentials would remain, and its logic would continue to unfold. The ruling class, having failed peaceably and hence firmly to establish oligarchy, remains pressed by the deplorables on one side, and its chosen *intersectional* instruments on the other. It dares not try *dismounting* the tiger it rides….”
    (From .)

    My view is, that Codevilla is neglecting the prospect that Barr/ Durhams’ probes (esp. into Mueller/ Comey/ Brennan) could quite change some of these dynamics.
    All the more so, seeing as we now have Barr etc. also honing in on Clinton Foundation etc., see .

  338. @Irena

    It is unfortunate that you may need to buy a new computer, but if you are willing to give it a try…

    Avoid using multiple tabs at the same time if you are not actually using those. All browsers are memory hogs and will try to grab as much memory as possible. Also, closing tabs do not always work, since once the browser grabs some memory chunk it will cling to it even if it is not in use right now. It is better to not give it the chance in the first place.

    Always close your online sessions for social media and other Internet companies: Facebook, Google, Amazon, whatsoever. That won’t prevent them from tracking you, but at least they will not be using your own hardware to do so.

    Experiment using ad-blockers and other privacy tools. This is a long shot, since enabling more software will use more memory… but it is not always memory which is the bottleneck. In the case your browser is being slowed down by all the round trips it takes to respond to spyware in the other side of the connection, an add blocker will be a good investment that will help to keep its metaphorical ToDo list clean and sharp.

    Finally, if you feel brave, you might try to disable or uninstall lots of applications that Microsoft runs on your computer on his own behalf and for his own benefit. Microsoft Store, XBox live (even if you do not own and XBox or play any games in the computer), MS Telephone (even if you never have connected your smartphone to the computer, or even own one), etc, etc, etc. This is a battle of attrition that you are guaranteed to lose, because they can just keep reinstalling their shale in your computer… but if you need to buy some time to find the $$$ to buy your new hardware… the effort may be worth it.

  339. Happy news! I just found a 1942 hardcover of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and a 2003 hardcover of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders at the thrift store.

    To Teresa, as much as I’d vastly prefer to own the space, it took everything I had to afford the smallest fixer upper in what is considered a sketchy neighborhood in my area. The bank barely qualified me for a mortgage. If my husband wasn’t a handyman extraordinaire, the place would not be livable. So unfortunately, the option of buying is ruled out.

    To Eike, you just made Awaken with J.P. a thousand times more appealing by thought policing anyone who thinks he’s funny. What are you projecting with the Teal Swan business? She’s a charismatic fruitcake who told people to contemplate death. Back in the day, I had a boyfriend who said he would kill himself if I broke up with him. Should I have married the guy? I guess it’s too late now because he died of natural causes. Did you know Buddhists have contemplated death since the days the actual Buddha walked the planet? Maybe you should be alarmed about the discussion of Buddhism on this post, since you seem to have excess free time on your hands.

  340. Thanks all for the poetry recommendations!

    @Squirelly we do indeed have both Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “Light in the Attic” and the kids get a kick out of them. My 6-yo is oddly fond of Milne’s “Now we are Six” and the boys like Longfellow’s Pied Piper of Hamelin. Currently reading our way through a little volume of Tennyson, and found myself at a loss for what comes next! Need to get something lined up before we reach the end… I have some leads to pursue now 🙂

  341. The “self weaponized autists” didn’t just discover the identity of the person who rented and drove the U-Haul truck.

    They also found out she has some really interesting ties to major funding sources of Plutonian Leftist mayhem. It turns out Holly Zoller has ties to George Soros (is anyone at all surprised?) and that one of her biggest sources of funds is an NGO founded and run by Soros known as the Open Society Foundations. This is the same Soros controlled NGO that has been fomenting and bankrolling color revolutions and insurrections around the world for decades.

    Another major funding source for her group is Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who like Soros is a big money benefactor of left wing extremist groups. It is surely not a coincidence that the Twitter has become the platform of choice for Wokesters, SJW’s, Antifa’s and other far left radicals engaging in bullying and intimidation tactics, with Twitter doing nothing to rein them in. This is same Twitter that routinely censors and deplatforms conservative and right wing voices, while allowing “social justice” activists to engage in vicious personal attacks against those who run afoul of them, with J.K. Rowling being the most famous recent victim of the Twitteratti lynch mob. The same Twitter that was the conduit of choice for Daesh (“ISIS”) propaganda, including livestreamed gang rape, torture and execution videos, before pressure from the US and other governments forced Twitter to start taking down their accounts.

    Be very interesting to see what else the self weaponized autists and other inquiring minds find out about the sewer of lynch mob bullying, extremist violence, subversion and sedition that is the soi-disant Resistance and its corporate plutocratic string-pullers/funding sources…

  342. Oi… 357 posts already. I can’t keep up with that pace 🙂 The discussion on Buddhism seems to slowly fade out, anyhow I’d like to express my thanks to anyone who contributed. For long years I wondered if I am possibly the only one who has concerns regarding Buddhism as those expressed here. It was very refreshing to see that I am apparently not the only one. Surprisingly for me, this insight led to some major inner shift. It feels as if a burden I was unknowingly carrying for many years was spontaneously lifted. I don’t really know what exactly has happened and why, yet it is very welcome.

    @JMG regarding the astrology component: Indeed it wasn’t Saturn return. I checked an the exact moment was 3 years later, although the events at the age of 27 were much more profound … I’d say an experience of initiation. I don’t know what astrological indicators might point to events of such grandiosity but then I unfortunately don’t know much about astrology at all yet.


  343. @ViduraAwakened, JMG

    My take on Spengler’s prediction assessment that Western science was in its “decrescendo” in 1900 is that it is simply wrong.

    I’ll start with physics, where the most interesting period seems to have taken place between c. 1900 and 1945. At the beginning of this period physicists had a mostly-complete understanding of a handful of macroscopic phenomena – J.C. Maxwell’s discoveries regarding light, electromagnetic radiation, etc. are probably the crowning achievement of what is now called “classical physics.” Beyond that, there were some vague inklings that something was missing from the existing theories – i.e. Becquerel’s radioactive salts, or the mysterious photoelectric effect.

    The next few decades brought in a huge transformation: counterintuitive discoveries like quantization and particle/wave duality and the realization that matter behaves in very different ways on extremely small scales or at high speeds. This led to the development of the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, an accurate understanding of atomic and nuclear structure, etc. Then it became possible to explain the large-scale behavior of matter in terms of the properties of its constituent atoms, which would make electronics possible, explain why the sun shines (and also why the elements exist in the abundances that they do), and so on and so on.

    Now, physics did eventually reach its decrescendo stage – I would argue that it began around 1945 – during which scientists are mostly just gleaning and filling in the gaps. For example, exotic new subatomic particles kept being discovered throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and the Standard Model in the 1970s successfully integrated everything that was (and is) known about subatomic particles without breaking much new ground. In applied physics there were big achievements with the creation of lasers and transistors and MRI and modern computing, etc., but nothing nearly so revolutionary as the discoveries in the 1910s and 1920s that would eventually make those applications possible.

    Now look at biology. I think it would not be a stretch to say that the central fact – if one may so call it – of biology as presently understood is that every cell contains DNA inherited from its parent cells which can be read according to a genetic code, and that genes are transported to the cell’s ribosomes by RNA and used as instructions to assemble the thousands and thousands of unique proteins out of which living organisms are built.

    But prior to the mid-20th century, almost nothing was known about the internal workings of the cell. The realization that DNA is the molecule of inheritance, the structure of DNA and RNA, the existence of ribosomes, the understanding of how every protein in a living organism is coded for by a specific part of that organism’s genome, etc., were all discovered during the middle third of the 20th century.

    Granted, biology also seems to have entered its winding-down phase by now – while new applications for the great discoveries are being explored (subject to diminishing returns) nobody is expecting any more discoveries that are anywhere near as revolutionary. Still, Spengler was very wrong about the timing.

  344. @MethyEthyl,

    Regarding poetry, I would recommend Longfellow’s work: If you are into long epics with meter but no rhyme, there’s Evangeline and the Song of Hiawatha. He also has a book called “Tales of a Wayside Inn” that is a collection of shorter, rhymed stories in verse, starting with Paul Revere’s Ride.

  345. Anonymous, the opposite of shame is pride. The opposite of guilt doesn’t have a nice neat English word, but “feeling self-satisfied about one’s actions” comes close. Both of them, if overindulged in, are just as problematic as shame and guilt — a virtue, remember, is the midpoint between two vices, not the opposite of one.

    Onething, fair enough!

    Alvin, I know — my Japanese-American relatives are Shingon Buddhists. With regard to your question, as far as I can tell visualization didn’t make it into Western occult practice until the 19th century — that’s why crystal balls, magic mirrors, and other aids to clairvoyance were so widely used from ancient times on. As far as I can tell, the original source was Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, which were studied carefully by a lot of 19th and 20th century occultists, Dion Fortune among them; some pretty substantial borrowing from Tantric sources came later, via the books of Sir John Woodroffe aka Arthur Avalon, but that was early 20th century and it built on foundations already laid by Catholic mages in France in the mid-19th century. Yes, there are important similarities between modern Western occultism and both Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, by way of straightforward borrowing; a bunch of material from Taoist sources also got into the Western tradition by that means once Taoist literature started getting into Western languages.

    Kirsten, okay, got it. What you can do depends on what kind of magical training you have. If you don’t have much, my book The Encyclopedia of Natural Magic discusses in quite some detail amulets and other magical preparations made of herbs and stones that can help. If you’ve begun magical training, tell me what system and I’ll point you to things you can do.

    Irena, I use Brave, with fairly good results.

    David BTL, of course! Trump has spent his entire career making fools of his opponents by working them up into a tizzy and then taking advantage of them while they’re too enraged to think clearly.

    Danaone, it’s quite ancient and can be found all over the world.

    Patricia, thanks for this!

    Walter, it’s always possible to use verbal cleverness to argue around a set of straightforward statements until up is down, left is right, and sideways is straight ahead. This is especially common when adherents of a belief system are trying to shield its basic truth-claims from criticism. In response, I would point out that nobody calls the statements in question the Four Noble Experiments; that the Buddhist tradition from ancient times on refers to them as Truths, or what in the language of philosophy are called truth-claims; that as truth-claims, they are as subject to criticism as any other truth-claim; and if your quest to understand the origins of suffering and let go of its causes is founded on a set of truth-claims that can be shown to be fallacious, you’re going to head down a series of blind alleys. For that matter, if in fact these are just a set of proposed experiments, why should you object when I say that they seem like badly chosen experiments to me, and go on to propose a different set of approaches?

    Tude, oh dear gods. I wish I could buy something like that and turn it into a center for occult study and practice.

    Neptunesdolphins, they’ll be on their knees in a Baptist church sometime soon, lamenting the sin of Adam and Eve in exactly the same tone. They’re just warming up for that.

    Reloaded15, yep. It’s an endless source of amusement to me that people whose brains are pickled in pop culture routinely use astrology as a straw man in rhetoric like that, when astrology quite consistently turns out more accurate predictions than, say, the person who wrote that article for RT… 😉

    Goldenhawk, but my desires can be fulfilled in the realm of samsara. I desire a nice cup of green tea; I make myself one, sip it, and satisfy that desire. I desire growth into greater wisdom and power; I practice meditation and other magical disciplines, and satisfy that desire. The rhetoric that insists that human beings can’t be satisfied by anything in the world of their experience has always struck me as resembling nothing so much as the guy in the joke who mourns because he has nothing to eat but food and nothing to wear but clothes! Of course it’s possible to work oneself up into a swivet of longing for something that doesn’t exist, such as a unicorn or an honest politician or infinite bliss without any suffering ever again, but that doesn’t mean that the desire in question is hardwired into the human heart. It means that the person who works himself into a swivet badly needs to reflect a little more closely on the nature of the human condition, and maybe get a nice cup of green tea. 😉

    Of course there’s more to it than that. During the Piscean age, the standard gimmick for marketing a religion consisted of promising followers something that doesn’t exist in the world of our experience, convincing them that they ought to want that (usually while making sure they don’t think about it too closely), and then getting them to pay tithes and the like in the hopes of getting their slice of pie in the sky when they die. That gimmick no longer works very well — a lot of the reason why the Christian mainstream flopped so badly in the twentieth century is that the conventional idea of heaven no longer appeals to most people. If Christianity survives, as I expect it to, my guess is that it’ll spend a lot less time talking about heaven and a lot more time talking about participating in the collective Body of Christ here and now, because in the Aquarian age, it’s not salvation from the human condition that draws people — it’s participation in something greater than the individual self, not after death, but now.

    Matthias, well, it’ll be in some of my writing in due time; the three volumes of the trilogy I’ve currently got in the works are titled The Two Dragons, The Tower of Glass, and The Region of the Summer Stars, and I’m going all-out Dion Fortune in this project: all the magic in them, and all the magical teaching in them, is real.

    Curt, I’m also very impressed by Damien’s work; he put ceremonial magic through the most rigorous test I can think of — practicing them to keep himself sane while on death row for a crime he didn’t commit — and came out the other side strong and thriving. Thank you for your suggestions here!

    David BTL, I’m thinking in terms of ranges. I suspect that several states that usually go Democrat may drop into Trump’s lap this time around — and it’s just possible that Trump ’20 may be remarkably similar to Reagan ’84 or Nixon ’72, two other cases where an incumbent Republican hated by the chattering classes took on an inept Democratic challenger and mopped up the floor with him.

    Kimberly, exactly — it’s one of the two classic Piscean mistakes to throw the whole cosmos into a blender and buzz it up into a blob of Oneness. (The other is the habit of throwing all the cosmos except some narrow fraction of it into that same blender, and buzz it up into a blob of Evilness against which you and yours then contend pointlessly.)

    Your Kittenship. “The answer, my kittens, is typed out with your mittens,
    The answer is typed out with your mittens.” 😉

    Aidan, well, of course. The privileged classes (from which such grifters usually derive, and on which they inevitably prey) are where they are because they put self-enrichment at the center of their ideologies.

    NomadicBeer, it would make a great story. My guess is that it’ll fall to pieces the moment everyone else realizes that they can simply pull the plug.

    Kevin, (1) I’ve had clam chowder that was practically a spiritual experience to eat, so I’m inclined to agree with you. (2) Well, of course! There are also plenty of people, even through the heart of the Plutonian era, who led perfectly ordinary, happy lives unpestered by Plutonian energies.

    Aidan, well, I’d say get researching and speculating, then…

    Kevin, hmm. That would tackle one end of it, certainly.

    Denis, too funny. I wonder if they realize that they may have just pulled the last props out from under that end of the higher education scam. If you lived in East Providence, by the way, you’d be able to go to the public library right now… 😉

    Prizm, fascinating. I’ve seen many reports that American flags are the standard substitute for a Trump yard sign if you live in a place where Trump yard signs mean your house gets vandalized.

    Jim, yes — I’ll actually have something up about that shortly.

    Mouse, I know. CNN — of all venues! — apparently just did some person-in-the-street interviews with people who praised Trump, and aired them. I think it’s starting to sink in among the media barons that “get woke, go broke” could affect them as well…

    Kimberly, glad to hear about the book finds! Er, please watch the personal comments about other readers; you were pretty close to the edge of what I tolerate in that last comment to Eike.

    Galen, I used the label “self-weaponized autists” because they use it for themselves fairly often, and proudly — and as someone with Aspergers syndrome, I’m delighted to see other people on the spectrum who are comfortable with their condition and know how to exploit its effects constructively. I hope they keep digging, because I’m pretty sure what they’re going to find is that there was nothing even remotely spontaneous about the attempted color revolution we lived through this summer.

    Russ, oh ye gods and abundantly overendowed fertility spirits! If that’s her attitude, no wonder her magic is less effective than repeating Harry Potter spells in Pig Latin after huffing helium.

    Nachtgurke, fascinating. A good astrologer could probably find that in your natal chart, but that’s beyond my current astrological pay grade.

    Galen, fun. I foresee colorful investigations beginning November 4…

    Wesley, so noted!

  346. John–

    Re a Trumpian landslide

    Fair enough! I can’t imagine the deep blue going Trump, but hey, I also went to bed election night four years ago resigned to waking up to a President-elect Clinton. It was only later that night, as I snuck peeks at the election returns coming in on my phone (b/c I couldn’t actually get to sleep) and saw FL going neck-and-neck that I thought “Holy [expletive deleted]! He might actually pull this off.” Which, of course, he did.

    @ Ethan

    I can admit to the possibility. You know ME far better than I do 🙂

  347. As someone who has Asperger’s, I think its really cool that the denizens of the Chans and others on the spectrum are taking that label and turning it into something positive, something to be proud of rather than something to be ashamed of. while taking their condition and turning it into a source of strength and usefulness to society. To paraphrase Karl Marx, Autists of the World Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

  348. @JMG,

    Another quick question for you: What is your number one recommendation for a deindustrial sci-fi novel written by someone other than yourself?

  349. @Aidan Barrett and anyone else who thinks fears of the Presidency turning into a monarchy under any contemporary candidate is new — back in the early 1960s, there were a lot of jokes about the Kennedy dynasty, including one comedian’s lining out that path, ending “….and Caroline’s coronation!” Which dynasty petered out fairly rapidly in that generation.

    For those addict (as I am) to Roman parallels …. Big Julie was succeeded by one of the smartest Caesars around: Li’l Augie, who looked like a pipsqueak, but was smart, clever, and whose wife made Catherine di Medici look like an amateur. And he, in turn, was succeeded by a cranky, unlikable sourpuss who at least had a good grip on military matters.

    Start worrying about dynasties when the heir apparent is competent.

    One pattern I do see is that of the sins turning out to be entitled snowflakes, but the daughters, strong and capable. Great man’s syndrome? Or Daddy sitting on the son for fear of a hostile takeover by Sonny?

    If all this sounds like an episode of Dynasty or Dallas or any of these other prolonged corporate soap operas, that’s exactly what such newborn monarchies are. A government, to succeed, has to be seen by the people as legitimate. If not, brute force and secret police etc only last so long before the next coup or revolution.

  350. Methylethyl, maybe some e.e.cummings? He’s got some funny ones and delights in language:

    I had a fantastic dream about finding really great books in boxes, last night. Old clothbound editions of things like a boys’ book of useful skills, and most impressively, a massive atlas of “places of the Tao”, plus an old wallet with silver coins and amulets of saints and holy figures. I quickly said to my dream-daughter, ” yep, we’re keeping these, they’re important.”Keep us posted on your library endeavor, Kimberly, and good luck!

  351. A note on a minor point raised a couple of days back: When is the soul present in a developing fetus? Catholic theologians also favored the time of quickening until fairly recently. Thomas Aquinas was quite firm on that. The modern growth of medical knowledge about fetal development made them uneasy enough to do something more typical of Talmudic Judaism, building hedges around the law. “Abortion after the soul is present is killing a human person. We don’t really know when the soul arrives, or arises; there seems to be no sharp cutoff, just many stages of progress in structure and function. So we will agree to say that the soul is present, and human life arises, at the moment of conception. We don’t know that this is true, and it is a very conservative rule, but it seems the only safe one.” Not free of trouble, though!

  352. I’ve been reading the comment thread with a great deal of interest in a variety of topics, and once more thank our host for the site!

    A couple of random thoughts/questions…

    While I don’t want to encourage descent into too much virus-talk, something that has been bothering me lately is my inability to figure out what it is that correlates with COVID hysteria among people I know personally.I know political devotees at both end of the spectrum who are flipping out over COVID, and I consistently find pandemic paranoia in people ranging from working class to upper-middle class. The people I know who, like me, are not all that worried are an eclectic lot, and they are not all the people I usually agree with about most things – I mean, a few are, but many are folks with whom I don’t often agree on many things, and they come from all over the political and social maps. The biophobic explanation doesn’t wash either; I know biophobes who are unconcernedly hanging out in bars, and people who have lived on farms who are hiding in their homes and dousing everything in anti-bacterial solution.

    Try as I might, I can’t find a common thread in who’s freaking out and who isn’t. It’s very puzzling. If anybody has any other theories about this I’d be interested in hearing them, because none of the usual divisions seem to apply here. I’ve heard that it’s a political divide, but I’m not seeing it in my own small data set.

    On a different note, I am interested to see what will happen with this election. Back in 2016, one person I know personally predicted a Trump win, and backed it up with solid reasoning. That same person is predicting a Biden win this year. (I doubt the analysis is wishful thinking, as he doesn’t seem overly excited or deranged about either option, and it’s not like he didn’t call it for the other guy last time.) I suppose we’ll see, but this guy was spot-on last time. (And no, it’s not wishful on my part either; I’m in the two-poor-choices, world-won’t-end-either-way camp myself.)

    Finally, I apologize if this was covered earlier, but I have a quick question about Plutonian influence. Was the rise of the Victorian mourning culture and rural cemetery movement related to this, or something else? The Victorian mourning culture, for all of its death-focus, did produce at its height a number of beautiful cemeteries with classical sculpture and elaborate landscapes (sometimes including arboretums), but the beautiful-in-their-way cemeteries waned in the 20th century and were replaced by “memorial parks” with flush headstones (for easier mowing) that lacked the sculptural artwork and landscaping focus of the earlier rural burial grounds. The whole focus on death seems Plutonian, but the beauty (in the beginning at least) aspect not so much, It seems like the 20th century saw continuation of things like embalming and expensive burials (for those who could afford them), but a waning of the artistic and landscape elements of the 19th century cemeteries – as if the culture kept the expensive death practices without the aesthetic efforts. And now there seems to be a small but growing movement towards new death practices in the west – specifically, more cremation and rising interest in green burials, and waning of the expensive-casket burials of embalmed remains. Is this possibly related as well, or due to something else (like the economy or something)? Sorry if this is a weird or morbid question, but I live near and frequently walk through an old cemetery and the Pluto discussions have been running through my brain!



  353. Kimberly,
    Funny, I almost responded to her with: “Eike, thanks for the thrust block!”

    But thought better of it…

  354. I don’t know if you have ever seen the anime film “Castle in the Sky” (1987) Mr. Greer.

    It tells a story in the aftermath of events similar to your forecast of a “Long Descent”.

    Prior to the events of the film, an advanced civilization of robots, airborne cities, and other advanced technologies dominates the planet from its headquarters in “Laputa”, the “Castle in the Sky” that gives the film its name. However, some cataclysmic events in the past cause the inhabitants to abandon their advanced cities and return to Earth. Their descendents live in an arcadia[1] of farmers and industrial workers, which include the protagonists, who now seek to discover the lost city.

    If the Long Descent occurs, I am already preparing myself to be a sage to any young people around in the 2090s and 2100s telling fables of the Silicon Age.

    [1] –

  355. Guys I’ve been wondering for a while about the mainstream media treatment of the coronavirus and especially why it continues to be presented as this fearful pandemic when it plainly isn’t that serious and the “ordinary” people around me appear to be realising that and going back to normal life to the extent it is allowed. But you never see any viewpoint to that effect in the media – it’s all one expert after another talking about how worried they are and “man on the street” interviews cherry picked to say the same thing.

    Now I understand that in the USA the virus has become a partisan political issue and the mostly Democratic mainstream media are using it to attack Trump and other Republicans.

    But I have been wondering for a while why you see the same media behaviour in countries (like the UK where I am) where lockdowns and the virus are NOT a partisan issue. The entire political class is united in favour of them (disputes are about details like how much to lockdown and government failures to execute mass population testing etc – the only real opposition to the government seems to be a group of its own Tory backbench MPs who appear to be a bit more attuned to their actual constituents).

    So why does the media push the pro-lockdown, virus-will-kill-us-all message still?

    I think I’ve finally had an insight. I’ve been reading Matt Taibbi’s new book Hate Inc about the decline in journalism (mostly US based but excellent and applicable here too – one of the most important chapters is about “moral panic” journalism and it actually traces the beginning of it to the UK in the 1960s).

    There’s a lot of good things in the book, but one thing he explains (pre pandemic – everything he says has become 10x worse in the pandemic) is how after the cash cows of classified ads etc collapsed for the mass media, they figured out that they can make money by scaring audiences and addicting them to pointless “news” about tragedies and other things they have no control over, and then adding in tiny hits of solidarity and hope. Essentially creating news addicts (like drug addicts) who are in a state of constant tension and must be constantly fed by checking the media for more information and worry about wars halfway around the world that you can’t possibly influence keeping you up at night etc. All of this basically makes people obsessively read (and especially watch) mass media and boosts their profits (very much the case with media treatment of Trump but not limited to him – mass media companies have made record profits in the Trump years – there are very revealing quotes from top execs in the book pretty much directly acknowledging this).

    Basically the mass media does not allow on TV anyone who is likely to say anything like “relax, take a deep breath and get a good night’s sleep. Go play with your kids. Most of the stuff we talk about here won’t really affect your life and even if it did you can’t control it and we are overemphasising the fears to freak you out and make you watch more”.

    Now the above links in with Taibbi’s moral panic chapter where he talks about how the mass media stokes fear in the public using the above tactic (he uses the massive exaggerations about the dangers of crack cocaine and gang wars in the 80s in the US as an example), they profit massively in financial terms, but the government also loves it because it does the job of manipulating public opinion for them and a scared public is very happy to give them any kind of authoritarian overreaching legal powers they want (like the crazy 1980s laws against crack cocaine, or the civil liberties destroying anti-terror laws from the years after 9/11, to today’s coronavirus laws – all ending up with more government power – it’s the perfect symbiosis).

    So that’s what I see happening here in the UK.Even if there’s no partisan angle (mostly), it is extremely profitable for the media to stoke fear and keep people constantly checking the news (even more profitable if those people are sitting at home and watching tv instead of working because there is a lockdown), and the government loves it because they can expand their powers and this leads to the media environment where you never see anyone saying anything along the lines of “it’s not that bad” or “relax” or “anti-lockdown” on the media, even though all the people I see out on the streets daily (and I talk to a lot – from taxi drivers to baristas, to gym personal trainers etc) are simply not that worried and mostly keen to get back to normal life. And anyone protesting is marginalised and labelled a crank.

    Of course all of these strategies and manipulations cannot keep Reality at bay forever, but an awful lot of damage – generationally damaging – is happening now and the results will last years if not decades.

  356. @Ron M, Kevin ah, I think I never heard The Maple Leaf forever because I went to a bilingual school… “The first verse refers to Wolfe’s conquest of Québec at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham during the Seven Years’ War.” maybe not that one…

  357. JMG, just to close the topic about the first noble truth since I think I don’t have enough knowledge about either Buddhism, Druidry or stoicism for that matter to make good points. I think though, that the problem with it is that the word “Ultimate” implies that there is an end that would grasp the whole of it all, from a human perspective maybe yes, but as you say there is much, much more to the Cosmos than that. What it suggests to me though, despite the Piscean connotation of us being dirty and we need to get rid of something to achieve a spiritual state, I think that it suggest something else, though tinted with that value judgement. To me it is describing something like an anatomy. I don’t think though, that someone would need to give up desiring just because we are not in that state yet, I think you can but to me that is neglecting the whole point of being an earthling which is why I believe The Middle Way needs to be used to balance it with as for the Buddhist to not go to the extreme of wanting to get himself “cleansed” and torturing themselves as if you could beat desire out of yourself, you can’t because it is a reality and both indulging lavishly in it and repressing it are both bad ideas. It can still be unbalanced and very tricky though because I think wanting to get to a state that you are not currently part of can make you think that you can graduate of college just by putting on a graduation gown on. It is hopeful thinking. Maybe that is why some other Buddhists traditions found it useful to use Tantra and the powers of the earth instead of wanting to short circuit material existence? I don’t know since I am already stretching my knowledge of it but sounds possible to me.

    Another question arose. Is the lower vortex, the one that connects us to the Earth the one that allows for Magic to work through the mage?

  358. President Trump is expected to announce a hugely ambitious plan to help the black community, expand mental health services and curb the discriminatory treatment of African Americans by the criminal justice system, among other things, while cracking down hard on extremist hate groups from both the far right and the far left. If he can pull this off, it will be a huge step forward, one that could fatally undermine the power of the liberal PMC while breaking the hold the Democrats have on the Black community as a long time captive constituency of theirs.

  359. Here’s my take (or my rant) on the so-called “Trump deplorables.” I’m a northerner with a post graduate professional degree. If there’s one thing (maybe two things) that prove to “people like me” that the Trump deplorables really are deplorable, it’s their taste for NASCAR. To “people like me,” NASCAR represents just about what is worst in America: wanton wasteful consumption. It’s hard for me to imagine how any conscientious, thoughtful person could continue to support such a travesty as NASCAR. Thus, such people MUST be deplorable (for lack of any better word), unable or uncaring about the harm that wasteful consumption does to the planet. I notice, John, that your friend James. H. Kunstler seems to share this opinion of the deplorable south; one of his world-made-by-hand novels has a scene in which a NASCAR-like auto race is presided over by a Dolly Parton-like woman who is president of the confederacy of southern states. In his novel, the fictional son of JHK’s fictional alter-ego is on a mission to assassinate the fictional Dolly Parton-like character. I won’t give away how that turns out. JHK is, despite all his conservatism, still a northerner.

    The other proof of deplorableness is their deplorable taste for really big pickup trucks. The bigger and flashier, the better. After getting pretty tired of these huge monstrosities coming up behind me at night, brightly illuminating the interior of my modest mid-size sedan (a Fusion), I finally hit upon a partial solution; one of those long cylindrical pillows that are designed for people with sore backs sits inside my back window when I drive at night, helping to block following headlights. Why would people be so inconsiderate, I keep asking? Why do people love NASCAR? Why are there people like Frank? (an allusion to a David Lynch movie)

  360. @J.L.Mc12:
    You should read this:

    The few words version is that Einstein’s model of gravity explains the aspects of Mercury’s orbit that are not predicted by Newton’s model. I recommend you to read the article.

    I will use the opportunity to ask about some books. I’m looking for information on the inner planes. There are Fortune’s, Heindel’s, Powell’s and your books on these subjects; maybe some Steiner and Hodson books would be good too. Am I forgetting someone?

  361. Kirsten – I was pleased to hear Anthony Fauci say that he takes supplemental Vitamin C and D (and he recommends nothing else).

    If you take a multi-vitamin, check the level of Zinc in it. More may be counterproductive.

    I suspect that a vast array of modern challenges can be associated with Vitamin D deficiency, since it’s correlated with more heavily pigmented skin. In fact, I suspect that we who are descended from mutants with less pigment segregated ourselves at high latitudes, not because we prefer snowy winters to the tropics, but simply because we could survive here, in previously unoccupied territory. Good health is key to success at everything in life, and sufficient VitD is key to good health.

  362. JMG and Galen,

    Thanks for the links about the Louisville U-Haul truck! Despite being local to Louisville, watching live video feeds and press conferences, and reading the local news sites, I might not have known about it if not for reading the posts here.

    I haven’t seen a single mention about the U-Haul on the web for any of the local TV stations (WDRB, WHAS, or WAVE) or the local paper (Courier Journal). Even though local reporters were walking with the crowd around the time that the truck was accessed. Not newsworthy?? I hope that they covered this somewhere and I just missed it.

  363. Aethon – H. P. Friedrichs has written two books: “Voice of the Crystal”, and “Instruments of Amplification”, about his DIY experience with low-tech electronics.

    Also see the web site “”, for DIY radio equipment using home-brew zinc-oxide semiconductors. I have tried a few casual experiments along these lines, without success though.

  364. Tude:
    Others here have made excellent suggestions about your new old house, particularly in paying attention to renovations that might have been badly done. Mr. Beekeeper, an electrician of many years’ experience, urges you to make sure your inspections include a thorough look at the wiring. If you don’t know enough, hire someone; the money is well worth it. It’s bad enough when a self-confident amateur frames out walls incorrectly or makes a mess of window molding – expensive and annoying to repair, but not necessarily deadly; amateur rewiring is a whole different animal. Mr. Beekeeper has seen some doozies in his career.

    If your house is old enough, it may be a museum for the evolution of residential electrical installations. When we were house hunting a few years ago we looked at a couple of old houses that still had operational knob and tube wiring along with examples of each generation of later electrical wiring as the house was expanded. You need to know this before you buy that house, because it’s really expensive to upgrade faulty electrics to Code and it could be dangerous not to.

    Regarding the election:
    In the last week or so there have been several reports of mail-in ballots being dumped.

    1. Luzerne County Pennsylvania, military ballots for Trump found discarded:

    2. Three trays of mail, including mail-in ballots, found in a ditch in Wisconsin:

    3. Ballots found in a dumpster in California:

    Meanwhile, the CBS evening news and NPR (and probably lots of other outlets) still breathlessly report that Trump continues making the ‘false claim’ that mail-in voting is conducive to fraud.

    Lastly, the New York Post had an extensive interview with an individual who has been fixing elections in New Jersey and New York for many years using absentee and mail-in ballots because they are so easy to manipulate:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been an election worker in two different states for a combined 20 odd years. If you want to be absolutely sure your vote counts, go to the polls in person. Period. Vote early if your state allows, but do it in person.

  365. Joshue Rout – On “anticipating bad outcomes”, I learned early in my engineering career that success is achieved only when every opportunity to fail is anticipated and prevented. Things rarely just “fall into place” as you cheerfully imagine. Every batch of materials needs to be examined for quality. Every manufactured component needs to be tested under controlled conditions, before integrated into a complex system. No “key person” can have unique knowledge which is essential to the project, because all are mortal (some sooner than others). And it is by this process that great things can be achieved.

  366. Hi again JMG,

    What would the progression be once one works their way through your book Learning Ritual Magic? It mentions its for apprentices, how would one move on to the initiate and adept level post completion?

    Thanks again.

  367. Suffering is part of human existence. No one gets out of life without suffering. Life is not only suffering, but life includes suffering. To me, this is obviously true (I’m not saying it has to be for others), and my own investigation, including thousands of hours of meditation (but not limited to that) has shown me that when I stop grasping/craving, the suffering does indeed go away. This isn’t in the least theoretical, I’ve done it for physical pain.

    At the first stage, the pain still occurs, you just don’t care and thus, while in pain, you aren’t suffering. At a later stage, and I can’t do this on demand, but have experienced it and know people who can do it on demand, the pain just goes away. This is quite different from the various concentration tricks one can perform to deal with pain (concentrate hard enough on something else, or concentrate hard enough on the sensation of the pain to have the unpleasantness cut out and only the sensation remain.)

    In fading, the pain is there, you are completely indifferent or equanimous and then it just goes away. The first time this happens with a significant pain is quite remarkable.

    I don’t know about big metaphysical truth claims, what I will say is that if you do certain types of Buddhist practices correctly and enough times, you will get results. As with any type of spiritual practice, there are dangers: you can hurt yourself, go insane, etc, if you do them incorrectly. (This is certainly true of western occult practices.)

    To me, done correctly, Buddhism meets the pragmatic test: it works and does what it promises.

    The questions are “do you want what Buddhism offers” and “are you willing to do the work.”

    And, I suppose, “can you find a good teacher and teachings”, because there is a LOT of crap out there.

    There are plenty of spiritual and occult paths. If you don’t like one, do another. Personally, if I were to be reincarnated and could choose, I’d come back in one of those Taoist family lineages that does martial arts, medicine and mediation all together. I’ve met people on that path, they are happy, healthy, dangerous without being jerks or bullies and tend to live into their 90s, still mobile and enjoying life while making other people’s lives better.

  368. I’m enjoying the discussion of Buddhism. I recall sharing the Four Noble Truths with my mostly LDS childhood friends, hoping to explain about Buddhism not being some sort of Devil worship, which is what their older brothers, sisters and cousins were telling them. They reacted with “That’s so negative!” What could I say?
    In Japan, Buddhism is somber and mostly colorless. Shinto is the opposite. Most people practice both because there are times for somber reflection and other times for giddy carousing–an important part of Shinto in many places. Funerals are mostly Buddhist and weddings mostly Shinto, though either will serve either purpose. Shinto out and out rejects negativity. If someone close to you dies, you are banned from shrines and holy sites for 50 days. The priests come out to your place to minister to you.
    Shugendo blends Buddhism and Shinto. In the Meiji era, they were ordered to stop that, and to choose one or the other to practice, ridding themselves of all the symbols and scriptures of the other. I’ve been on a pilgrimage with a strictly Buddhist Shugendo sect, It reminded me of my time in the military. Very masculine, highly disciplined, with women openly discriminated against and basically little to no respect for the natural spirits all around us.
    The Fuji Sect, by contrast, chose Shinto. They had been egalitarian particularly regarding men and women since the 1700s. Typically, a woman performs as a shamaness, with a man officiating and helping break her trance. (That was prohibited by the same law that split Shinto and Buddhism, but continued to be practiced quietly. We lost our last shamaness recently.)
    The bully I had to confront a couple years ago at the Kompira Shrine training course has been criticized for being “very Buddhist.” The lady who criticized her thus is very Shinto–easy going and open-minded. She is cheerful and a decent friend, who can stand up to a bully with good humor.
    Both religions emphasize gratitude as a way of finding happiness while achieving simple decency. Of the five principles enshrined in the dormitory of the Kompira training course, gratitude forms the core of each, and there is an injunction against complaining. Kompira is the god of happiness among other things (safety of travelers, etc.), so part of the proper practice there is to be very happy. I once remarked to one of the instructors That I ought to stop simpering so much, and he said, “Oh no you don’t! We need the comic relief!”
    That said, I still love Buddhism. Somber reflection and strict discipline are valuable, and Buddhism argues against extremes with its concept of the “The Middle Way.” As a child I was brought up with the very easy-going Jodo Shinshu sect: just recite the name of Amida and you are saved. (That would have sounded like Devil worship to the LDS kids however.)

  369. Possibly the people frightened by Covid are the ones who still look to our leaders for guidance? Maybe they see our leaders are incapable of leading and so become very frightened as they know of nowhere else to turn? Whereas those who had already noticed our leaders are incompetent figure this is just more of the same and so aren’t as frightened, having already accepted the worst? That’s my best guess.

  370. American flags instead of Trump signs.

    Bill and I just came back from a day trip to the Lion’s Club Book Barn just north of Avondale (well worth the trip if you’re anywhere near the area). The route was from Hershey to US 283 to PA 30 to PA 41 and back.

    We saw few Biden signs. There was an exuberance of Trump signs in at least a dozen varieties when you include banners, pennants, flags, and billboards (including a light-up flashing one).

    There were also many American flags. We discussed their positioning and agreed that many of them seemed to be Trump sign substitutes. That is, the householder could not for various reasons post a Trump sign, but they could put up flags and so they did.

    Many Trump sign locations had American flags as well. But it does seem telling that American flags were being prominently displayed in a way I haven’t seen before.

    Oh and all the Black Lives Matter signs have vanished.

  371. A bit more on “The Middle Way.” That happens to be a feature on Mt. Fuji (Ochuudo in Japanese), circling the peak halfway up. It is the route of an ancient pilgrimage that in order to join you had to have climbed to the peak of Mt. Fuji three times in the past to qualify. Symbolically, it is more difficult to maintain balance than to run to extremes.
    I’ve hiked it twice and wanted very much to walk it gain this year. In making the attempt I discovered that Mt. Fuji is the only part of Japan that has been “locked down” during the oddball pandemic. I took a liter bottle of water with me in August to set out at the four-hour point in preparation for a subsequent first day, but couldn’t even enter the forest near our house—they had dire warnings and CCTV. So I had to revise my plans. I checked the Internet, but there was very little information. Everything was closed for the COVID except one tourist base on the north side, and access to that was being restricted. It was unclear if you could go by car or if you had to take a bus. They said you had to go early and wait in line. Anyway, I wanted to hike, so I hiked up through the haunted forest on the northeast. The trail was open, but warned that above the 5th station (halfway up) it would be closed.
    I started along the Ochuudo at the 5th station level, going counterclockwise to get back to where I had hoped to start it and immediately came upon a barrier warning not to proceed. So I got out my little sake bottle and found a nice place to set it to perform a simple rite there, and just then I heard a rustling and a little old man came along from the other side of the barrier. He said you could go quite a way along it before it got washed out and was too hazardous to cross. Finding the synchronicity of his appearance meaningful (he was one of only three people I met hiking that day), I went ahead and went that far, encountering no fewer than five barriers with dire warnings in 30 minutes of hiking.
    After my short rite there, I started my clockwise pilgrimage. At the 5th station tourist shop area, with horses that people could pay for a 200-yard ride on (or for a little more, 500 yards) on the Ochuudo, I was stopped by two officious men. I explained I intended to walk the Ochuudo as far as was permitted, and they said that would be about 500 yards to a little spring with a waterfall. So I did that, and came upon a barrier saying to proceed any further would be a traffic violation. I set down my pack to walk the last 30 yards to the spring, because I wanted to see that, but lo and behold there’s a policeman guarding it, so I turned around and went back. I gave the Rokkon Shojo no Harae at the barrier.
    A few days ago I checked out the south and southwestern trails and found the same thing there: signs and guards.
    Oddly, they (officials and signs) say you are a little too late and winter hiking is hazardous. I remarked to the men at the 5th Station that the trails had never been opened this year, and they did not deny that. I wonder if they thought they could get away with that lie because no one was travelling for the most part until just recently.
    Just a few miles south of Mt. Fuji is Mt. Ashitaka and there I went hiking a few days ago on one trail that had no warnings posted at all, that turned out to be too hazardous for my tastes. In talking to the locals, I found they all knew it was hazardous. You hike at your own discretion here.
    In all previous years, we would wait until September when the trails were “closed” on Mt. Fuji to hike them, to avoid crowds of tourists. Many local people did that, one of the advantages of living here. So this is all very strange.
    I can’t help but note that to walk a circuit of Mt. Fuji this year, I would have to go not only to the base of the mountain, but also make a wide detour around a military training and firing range on the east side. Which leaves me wondering…I recall the Dugway Proving Grounds out in western Utah.

    Interesting times indeed! Maybe I ought to go back to The Middle Way and this time chant sutras the entire distance as far as they’ll let me.

  372. David BTL, one way or another it’s going to be worth a big bowl of popcorn.

    Galen, one of the things the alt-right really has going for it is that it’s so supportive of people on the autism spectrum. As I’m sure you know from ample personal experience, people on the leftward end of things, despite all the rhetoric of tolerance, tend to get very nasty very quickly toward those who can’t follow the approved social cues. The Kekistani attitude toward them is of course very different; I laughed aloud in sheer delight the first time I saw, on a ‘pede forum, a data dump from some hacked Democrat source met by cries of “AUTISTS ASSEMBLE!!!”

    Wesley, that would be Davy by Edgar Pangborn. More than any other novel, it gave me a sense of what could be done with a deindustrial setting, and if you read it, you’ll notice more than one homage to it in Star’s Reach.

    Kimberly; much appreciated.

    John, so noted. I’d heard about Aquinas, for what it’s worth.

    El, interesting. That doesn’t match my experience at all, but of course your mileage may vary. As for Victorian mourning culture, no, that was too early — Pluto was discovered in 1930, and its influence began to be felt around one Saturn cycle earlier, or about 1900.

    Aidan, nope. If it’s anime assume I know very little about it.

    Omnibus, that certainly explains why the media is battening on the coronavirus hoopla. I’m not sure it explains why the politicians have jumped onto the bandwagon, though.

    Augusto, you can work magic with any of the vortices; they all link into power of various kinds. The vortices you choose determine what planes of reality you can influence, which is why most magical systems encourage the student to develop several vortices, not just one.

    Galen, it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Very clearly he’s set out to take the African-American vote back — the Republicans had that for many decades after 1865, until the Democrats scooped it in the wake of FDR’s victory in 1932. He might be able to do it.

    Phutatorius, interesting. The sense I’ve gotten, in talking to people in the comfortable classes, what makes the deplorables deplorable is that they’ve been stomped on by the comfortable classes for so many years; it’s normal human behavior to hate the people you harm…

    Packshaud, those are the sources I’d turn to.

    Naylor, of course you haven’t heard about it. Who owns those TV stations and which class interests do they represent and defend?

    Luke, after Learning Ritual Magic you go on to Circles of Power and Paths of Wisdom, which give you the initiate level training, and then to Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn — do the work in that from cover to cover and you’ll be at the adept level.

    Ian, if it works for you, it works for you. All I’m saying is that from my inevitably flawed and limited personal perspective, its foundational claims don’t hold water, and that’s one of the reasons I follow a different path.

    Goldenhawk, you’re welcome.

    Patricia O, thanks for this! I find the aesthetics and many of the practices of Japanese Buddhism very attractive, but given a choice I’d pick Shinto in a heartbeat. It’s a perennial source of minor unhappiness to me that the nearest jinja to me is on the other side of North America; if there was one I could get to here in New England, I’d be there regularly.

    Your Kittenship, it could well be.

    Teresa, interesting. Many thanks for the data points.

    Patricia O, is there a sutra that has a particular reputation for removing obstacles?

  373. Prizm,

    I’ve kept track of which houses had USA flags and what signs went up in their yard. There has not been a single USA flag in the yard which also contained signs supporting Democrat candidates.

    Not only is it true that Democrats are not into patriotism these days, but putting out the flag is a sign that one is part of the silent majority who are being upstaged by the noisy and destructive minority. It is a quiet sign of patriotism and wanting to turn the country back to more traditional values like the constitution, human rights, civil rights, civil discourse and so on. As one of the podcasters I listened to said, “Flags out!”

  374. Anonymous,

    I’m guessing an opposite to guilt and shame would probably be joy, but I think it would be good for you to delve deeply into the realm of forgiveness.
    Allow for change.
    A person changed is NOT the same person who committed the crime.
    A changed heart is a miracle. The guilty party no longer exists.
    The spirit is unsullied and pure, thus salvation. The pure spirit – always clean.
    It is the soul which gets entangled but souls can be purified. They change.

  375. JMG,

    Why do you not seem to be more worried about the Democrats intentions to cheat and steal the election, as well as create contention and chaos that drags on and on?

  376. My, my there are a lot of people coming out of the woodwork to defend Buddhism and argue the finest points with someone for whom it just isn’t very compelling.