Book Club Post

The Cosmic Doctrine: The Lords of the First Three Swarms and Natural Laws

This week we continue a monthly discussion of The Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune, which I consider the most important work of 20th century occult philosophy. Climb in and fasten your seat belts; it’s turning out to be as wild a ride as I expected. If you’re just joining us now, please go back and read the previous commentaries, which are listed here; the material covered in these earlier posts is essential to making sense of what follows.

As noted in earlier posts, there are two widely available editions of The Cosmic Doctrine, the revised edition first published in 1956 and the Millennium Edition first published in 1995, which reprints the original privately printed edition of 1949. You can use either one for the discussions that follow. The text varies somewhat between the two editions, but the concepts and images are the same, and I’ll be referring to both.

Assigned Reading:

Revised Edition:  Chapter 21, “The Lords of the First Three Swarms and Natural Laws,” pp. 100-103.

Millennium Edition: Chapter 23, “Teaching Concerning Other Evolutions Inhabiting A Planet Simultaneously,” pp. 135-140.


In this chapter we are still tabulating all the various influences that bear on human evolution; if you’ll page back to Chapter 18 of the Revised Edition or Chapter 19 of the Millennium Edition, we’ve gotten to 2 (d), “Influences of other evolutions sharing the same planet.” At this stage in Fortune’s great metaphor, the laws of nature as we normally experience them come into play, and so do the beings behind those laws—on the one hand, the Lords of the first three swarms; on the other, the elementals.

Here, of course, we run headfirst into one of the great differences between the occult and scientific worldviews.  One of the central (though usually unmentioned) principles underlying the entire mindset of modern science is the quest to abolish personality from the universe. From the earliest days of the Scientific Revolution, it’s reliably been the case that a theory only counts as properly scientific if it reduces phenomena to the mechanical level and excludes every trace of personhood from it.

It was in that spirit that the scientists of Port-Royal in 18th century France insisted that animals didn’t actually feel pain—no, of course not, they were simply clever mechanisms contrived by God to make sounds that resembled cries of pain if you cut them apart while they were still alive.  That same depersonalizing agenda explains much of the rapture with which Newton’s theory of gravity was greeted by the scientifically minded public when it was first published.  By reducing the cosmos to a great machine, Newton made it possible to pretend that the planetary spirits and intelligences had been abolished once and for all.

As we saw in last month’s post, this is a phase that every being has to pass through, and the fact that so many people have passed through it over the last few centuries suggests that a great many souls in our swarm have been going through the initiation of the Nadir at this time.  Occultism, however, is intended for those who have passed through that initiation and are beginning to reawaken to a world full of life and light, and so the occult tradition rejects the depersonalized cosmos of science root and branch. To the occultist, every energy is an entity, and the cosmos is not a machine but a vast community of living, conscious, intelligent beings of many different kinds and levels, whose interactions create the phenomena that we experience.  Fortune places herself solidly in this tradition throughout The Cosmic Doctrine, and the present chapter is one of the places where this becomes most obvious.

She has already pointed out that on any planet there are two great classes of beings, one on the descending, involutionary arc, and the other on the ascending, evolutionary arc. On the physical plane, the plane we currently inhabit, those classes belong to the same swarm of Divine Sparks: those who have not yet finished the descent into matter form the involutionary class, while those who have completed the descent and begun to awaken into objective consciousness form the evolutionary class. As we’ve already seen, however, there are beings who are not of our swarm also inhabiting this planet. The most important of these are the elementals, and Fortune devotes much of this chapter to a discussion of them, their origin, and their destiny.

She assumes, of course, that her readers already know what elementals are and how they are classified, and that’s no longer a safe assumption to make.  Elementals, then, are spiritual beings who inhabit the material substances of the natural world.  They have been classified in various ways, but the taxonomy almost everyone in the occult scene has used for the last four centuries was the work of that astonishing force of nature, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus Paracelsus von Hohenheim, whose fourth name is responsible for the English word “bombastic” and who most people know these days as Paracelsus.

According to Paracelsus, the elementals are divided among the four traditional elements:  gnomes for earth, undines for water, sylphs for air, and salamanders for fire. (The word “salamander” originally meant a fire spirit, and only later on became another word for a newt.)  If for some reason you dislike the traditional names of the elements, you can call them solid matter, liquid matter, gaseous matter, and energy, and be equally accurate. The elementals are embodied in these elements, and guide and govern them; they are, as Fortune points out, the personal side of those repeating patterns that scientists call the laws of nature.

The Lords of Flame, Form, and Mind are responsible for the creation of the elementals, and create them by the same process we’ve observed in so many other contexts already. A Lord of Flame, let’s say, expresses the will of the Logos by setting up a particular pattern of movement in space.  Through repetition, that movement becomes an enduring pattern, and the Lord of Flame can then do something else, while the pattern of movement repeats itself endlessly and gradually draws other patterns of movement into harmony with it. This is the same process by which every kind of being comes into existence, but there’s a difference—we and the elementals start the process at opposite ends of the ladder of the planes.

We have seen in earlier chapters how each of us begins on the seventh plane, the upper spiritual plane, as a seed-atom and a Divine Spark which gradually clothe themselves in a body of seventh plane atoms, and descend the planes from there.  Elementals, by contrast, begin on the first plane, the physical plane, and gradually build upwards from there.  We start by becoming Individualities and then develop personalities to learn the lessons of the planes of manifestation; they start by becoming personalities and then, in some cases, develop Individualities to learn the lessons of the Unmanifest.

Since we and they inhabit the same planet, humans and elementals come into contact constantly. Most of these contacts are casual and harmless. When you light a fire, climb into a full bathtub, breathe in fresh air, or stand on the earth, you’re interacting with elementals.  So long as you do so in this purely material way, you run no risks.

Once you set foot on the path of occult training, on the other hand, you begin to develop the skills that can bring you into contact with the inner side of the elemental world: your personality and the personalities of the elementals can interact.  This is where problems can creep in, because the human etheric body (or as Fortune calls it, the etheric double) is both the vehicle by which we can interact with the elemental realm and the vehicle of the passions.  To come into contact with elementals on a personal level thus tends to shift the passions into overdrive.  If you can control yourself under those conditions, you’re fine—but if you can’t, it’s possible to land in serious trouble.

There used to be an immense occult literature about sexual relationships between humans and elemental spirits, some of it serious, some of it less so, and Fortune was writing when that subject was routinely discussed in occult circles.  Nowadays the occult scene is less well educated about that among many other things, so a few basic points have to be covered so that readers can figure out what she’s talking about.  The crucial point to keep in mind is that sex is not just a matter of the dense physical plane.  The involvement of the etheric and astral bodies is what makes sex different from other kinds of friction. Elementals don’t have physical bodies of the kind we do—their bodies on the dense physical consist of processes within the world of “inanimate” matter—but they have etheric and astral bodies, and yes, sexual intimacies can take place on the subtle planes. (If you’ve had sex in a dream, you’ve had an experience of this kind.)

That’s what Fortune is talking about when she explains that it is possible for a human being to be mated with an elemental. Does this happen?  Certainly that’s what the traditional lore claims, and there are enough accounts of the type that it seems unwise to dismiss it out of hand. Such relationships are addictive and obsessive for the human partner, since the elemental partner stimulates the etheric body to overwhelming states of passion which no amount of ordinary sexual activity will satisfy. There are various ways this can end up, none of them particularly good for the human partner.

There is also, as Fortune points out, the risk that the elemental personality will absorb the human personality or simply replace it, linking up with the human’s Individuality for the rest of that incarnation. (This doesn’t require sexual interactions, though those can foster it). This is one of the ways that a nonhuman soul can end up in a human body.  Such individuals are a distinct type, one that was once well-recognized, and not just in occult circles; they tend to be highly attractive and charismatic, especially in a sexual context, and completely heartless—not malicious, but simply incapable of understanding that they ought to care about what happens to the human playthings they so easily break and cast aside.

Does all this mean that elementals are too dangerous to deal with?  Not at all. It simply means that you have to deal with them the right way, and this starts by mastering the elemental passions in yourself. (Please note, however, that “mastering” does not mean “getting rid of”!)  The advice of the Golden Dawn Theoricus degree remains sound:  “Be thou therefore prompt and active as the sylphs, but avoid frivolity and caprice.  Be energetic and strong as the salamanders, but avoid irritability and ferocity.  Be flexible and attentive to images as the undines, but avoid idleness and changeability. Be laborious and patient as the gnomes, but avoid grossness and avarice.” Develop the elemental powers within yourself in a balanced fashion, and you gain the ability to interact with the elementals themselves in an equally balanced fashion.

Some occult schools make a point of working with elementals from this condition of balance—the Rosicrucian lineages are particularly well known for this, and Fortune’s own Fraternity (now Society) of the Inner Light worked extensively with elementals in her time. Other schools are less interested in elemental magic.  The Cosmic Doctrine doesn’t deal with the fine details of magical practice, of course; the reason Fortune included information about the elementals in this chapter is that she was going through the whole range of occult factors that influence human life, and the elementals are part of the cosmos we inhabit and affect us directly and indirectly at every moment of our existence.

On the last page or so of the chapter (in the Revised Edition) or the first and last pages (in the Millennium Edition), however, Fortune veers onto two other subjects in a way familiar from previous chapters.  One of these is the relation between the Lords of Flame and the Lords of Form. These two primal swarms form a polarity of influences—force and form, potentiality and actuality, life and death.  The role of the Lords of Mind in all this?  Fortune leaves that unanswered. The answer, of course, is that the first two swarms establish the basic polarity of being and the third resolves it into a ternary:  between force and form, consciousness; between potentiality and actuality, the act of manifestation; between life and death, that broad middle ground we brush against in dreaming and see clearly in the great transformations of the soul.

That’s one of the two subjects.  The other is an assignment of the primal swarms to specific sets of laws of nature, which raises far more questions than it answers.  The Lords of Flame, Fortune tells us, are behind the laws of physics. The Lords of Form are behind the laws of chemistry, and the Lords of Mind are behind the laws of biology.  Finally comes a fourth swarm—the Lords of Humanity, which is what we will be when we finish our long pilgrimage back up the planes of being—to whom are assigned the laws of sociology.

What makes this neat tabulation difficult to square with the rest of The Cosmic Doctrine is that the explanations of previous chapters either imply or state outright that the three primal swarms completed their journey up and down the planes long before we set out on our pilgrimage, and that other swarms have gone before ours—enough other swarms, for example, to provide the twelve rays with their Star Logoi.  Here, by contrast, the sequence is laid out in a way that makes it look as though we’re following right behind the Lords of Mind. Are there classes of laws of nature that come between biology and sociology, which will be ruled by the swarms ahead of us when they get back to the seventh plane?  Or is something else going on? As so often happens, this is left for the student to contemplate.

Notes for Study:

As already noted, The Cosmic Doctrine is heavy going, especially for those who don’t have any previous exposure to occult philosophy. It’s useful to read through the assigned chapter once or twice, trying to get an overview, but after that take it a bit at a time. The best option for most people seems to be to set aside five or ten minutes a day during the month you spend on this chapter. During that daily session, take one short paragraph or half of a long one, read it closely, and think about what you’ve read, while picturing in your mind’s eye the image you’ve been given for that passage of text.

As you proceed through the chapter and its images, you’re likely to find yourself facing questions that the text doesn’t answer. Some of those are questions Fortune wants you to ask yourself, either because they’ll be answered later in the book or because they will encourage you to think in ways that will help you learn what the text has to say.  It can be helpful to keep a notebook in which to write down such questions, as well as whatever thoughts and insights might come to you as you study the text.

Questions and comments can also be posted here for discussion. (I’d like to ask that only questions and comments relevant to The Cosmic Doctrine be posted here, to help keep things on topic.) We’ll go on to the next piece of the text on June 10, 2020.  Until then, have at it!


  1. The mention of the dangers when dealing with elementals in a certain way reminded me of the Sphere of Protection: in it, for every of the four traditional elements, there is a banishing of its unbalanced manifestations in oneself.

    By the way, what is the ultimate fate of elementals?

  2. Booklover, yes, that’s one of the points of rituals like the Sphere of Protection. As for elementals, if they succeed in developing an Individuality before the end of the solar system’s life cycle, they become souls like any other. If they don’t, they perish when the solar system does.

    Yorkshire, as discussed in earlier chapters, souls on the descending arc are in a subjective state, similar to the one you’re in when you’re dreaming: conscious but not self-conscious, picking up the capacity to build a body on each plane under the guidance of more advanced entities.

  3. Since machinery can manipulate matter more intensively than usually happens in nature, what’s that like for elementals? Is a power station like a theme park and rollercoaster for them? 🙂

    A few Magic Mondays back you said Newton’s laws were also relevant to the occult view of reality. That helped explain why I can find myself staring at a diagram of how counterflow heat exchangers are more efficient than parallel flow heat exchangers, and thinking this has a greater significance.

  4. So much fodder for meditation… Just a quick couple of observations: In Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, the mermaid (undine) who sold her voice and tail to become human dies on her quest and becomes sea foam. At the point of her death, she disintegrates and begins to perceive unseen beings who call themselves the daughters of air. She asks them, “What is going on?”

    They say to her:

    “A mermaid has not an immortal soul, nor can she obtain one unless she wins the love of a human being. On the power of another hangs her eternal destiny. But the daughters of the air, although they do not possess an immortal soul, can, by their good deeds, procure one for themselves. We fly to warm countries, and cool the sultry air that destroys mankind with the pestilence. We carry the perfume of the flowers to spread health and restoration. After we have striven for three hundred years to all the good in our power, we receive an immortal soul and take part in the happiness of mankind. You, poor little mermaid, have tried with your whole heart to do as we are doing; you have suffered and endured and raised yourself to the spirit-world by your good deeds; and now, by striving for three hundred years in the same way, you may obtain an immortal soul.”

    As for people who end up being commandeered by elementals, I believe I may have known one in high school. He was a good looking guy who boasted of sleeping with a hundred women by the time he was 17. I don’t think he was lying, either — I was near to his age at the time and he had legitimately slept with every single one of the girls in my alternative circle of cliques except for me and one of my female friends. He was horrendously lazy, physically unkempt, and openly stole from two different fast food places he worked for. He was fired, of course, and ended up with mild slaps on the wrist because he was from an affluent suburban family. He ended up impregnating another friend of mine when she was 17 and he was 19, destroying her dreams of climbing out of poverty and becoming an artist. He did drugs before, during, and after the baby’s birth. He wasn’t dumb either; he was a burgeoning intellectual. I have no idea what became of him, my friend who got pregnant, or the baby who is now an adult. Yes, he could have just been a garden variety scumbag. I spent time with him because he was my boyfriend’s best pal. Something was definitely off about him. He was extraordinarily charismatic in a way nobody could explain, especially considering his awful hygiene.

  5. I am so happy that CosDoc covers the subject of the elementals and that you have written such a cogent post on the chapter. Bravo, JMG! One of my main interests in occultism is a striving to understand and work with the elementals in a balanced way.

    Its funny that I can remember the process of losing touch with the elementals and reawakening to them – all before the age of 12 years. Much of my early childhood was spent communing with nature and I was certain that all of creation was imbued with consciousness, as I could actually feel it. Then I went to school and with my new-found power of literacy I devoured my father’s substantial library of Time-Life books and then moved on to every book I could find on astrophysics, UFOs and Saskwatch. I considered myself to be a ‘serious scientist’ by the age of 10 and had no time for “childish nonsense”. And then a close friend of mine encouraged me to read C.S.Lewis’ “The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe”, which I flatly refused because, of course, it is just another book of childish nonsense. But, lo and behold, it was required reading for Grade 6. And there I found a reflection of my early childhood mind, with Naiads and Dryads and a thoroughly ensouled world (I am forever grateful to Lewis for that, and IIRC he introduced me to salamanders in his book “The Silver Chair”). For me it was like waking up from a dream (or, more appropriately, waking up from a horribly mechanistic nightmare) and I have been in love with legends and myths ever since. Among the ones I love the most involve relations between the human and faery realms (which I take to be elemental). And, further, it was a great delight for me to find nearly identical details of such encounters in stories all over the world (including, no less, India’s great epic, the Mahabharata).

    I suppose one of the big draws for me to both Druidry and geomancy has been the emphasis on the elements and the spirits that inhabit them and hope that by practicing them I am gradually building my sensitivity to, and relationship with, the elementals. As a person who yearns to feel the divine imminent in the manifest universe, I believe that (safely) experiencing the elementals is an integral part of my path. But I am not actively seeking “them” out, preferring to be open to their presence whenever they wish it: do you consider that to be a safe approach to dealing with elementals? Do you have any other advice regarding the process of respecting and approaching elementals?

    Thank you for describing in lay terms how we and the elementals start from opposite ends of the “planes spectrum” and how our separate evolutions differ so considerably: that explains a lot! And I love the advice given in the Golden Dawn Theoricus degree: thanks for sharing!

  6. Dear JMG

    If I may:

    The first woman that I had sex with really seemed like she had the elemental infused personality. The very brief sexual part of our relationship seriously began on a note almost identical to the song “She Said” by the punk band Scratch Acid, that is: “she said, ‘I’m not using my body right now so you can play with me if you want to.'”

    After we had sex, she told me without feeling, “you were the fifth person I had sex with today.” As I remember it, we had sex in the early evening on a weekday. There were no emotions involved in the act and hardly any intimacy, strange as it is to say. We were in one sense naked…but it was a different sort of nudity than I’ve experienced with others…it was almost pre-Edenic nudity, as odd as it is to write. Never before or afterwards did we so much as hold hands and the sex didn’t effect our relationship at all. I had an understanding that I never could rely on her for any sort of human support and that she would use me as much as she could in a non-malicious manner, and that was enough for a bohemian friendship of sorts. She was crazy in a certain way and I was crazy in a different manner and we found each other the most congenial company during my one semester of college, mostly wandering about outside sometimes indulging in a little mischief, sometimes raving out of our heads or playing with flowers. I remember that she was one of the few people I knew besides myself regularly awake at dawn…

    I’ve known a few others like her, and fooled around with others like her too. Honestly, I equally never felt much towards them emotionally and with neither the woman in question nor the gorgeous man I made out with hurt me in any capacity, although it seemed pretty clear at least some of them really hurt folks who got too close. Interestingly, these two were not just good looking, but they were both really smart too. And I regard them both in my memory fondly, as extremely eccentric folks. That said had we had a child together or making a life together I’d probably feel very differently indeed!

  7. Yorkshire, I have no idea what elementals think of machinery! It’s an interesting question, though.

    Kimberly, fascinating. Clearly Andersen knew his way around the traditional lore of elementals, because that’s not too far off. As for the guy you knew who may have been an elemental, that certainly sounds right.

    Ron, the standard advice in occult circles about becoming aware of the elementals and their kingdoms is to pursue a broad general course of spiritual development — regular meditation and the other standard disciplines — so that you awaken to those levels of being in a natural way rather than a forced and potentially unbalanced way. Initiation into one of the traditions that has a good working relationship with elementals — Revival Druidry is one of those — also helps.

    Violet, that sounds very much like the sort of thing Dion Fortune discusses in her writings on the subject. Interesting.

  8. I was following along with the book and your insights right up until the last sentence. Then you broke the Snuffy.

  9. Well, recently I’ve been working a lot with interactive fiction. Bear with me this actually DOES have a point. But goes in a slightly different manner than Fortune’s suggestions.

    The concept of a story map in a flowchart in such a interactive medium, functionally represents a three dimensional map of four dimensional space. As a result, a spirit or “Reader” who observes the story merely from the position of one ignorant of the actual map, merely sees random choices, not the flowchart that bifurcates at the point the decision is made, nor the cascade of decisions that might flow from one choice, into others, and then finally reconnecting back to the main flow of narrative at some point, OR not.

    Rather the flowchart is a two dimensional model of three dimensional objects residing in positions in space/time/spirit/whathaveyou. Extrapolating that movement in a third dimension represents travel of spirit or anything else that does not coincide to the current scientific model, and IMHO you have a functional model in three dimensions of a four dimensional concept encompassing movement in both time, but also other choices/possibilities that were not selected for this particular experience.

    In essence… when you read a direct narrative that offers choices, You are simulating the idea of a human spirit taking a journey that they have chosen to experience, the various choices are experiences selected. Making certain choices does not invalidate the reality of the other choices, and in fact on multiple reads it may be necessary to read/experience those choices in order to fully understand the artistic work. Especially if the writer/artist has taken as much time and as much effort as our current gloriously beautiful world.

    Of course, most of this is extrapolated from bad movies and reading way too much Principia Discordia, I freely admit.

  10. Hmm. I’ve met many girls of my generation (millenial) who have claimed to be mermaids. I’m not sure any of them actually are, but maybe.

    As for your questions, it seems to me that between biology and sociology is culture. Sociology is basically culture becoming conscious of itself, but the actual Lords of the Arts may be a swarm before us. Also, maybe she’s hinting that we should study society, and how humans interact. But of course, maybe she’s just throwing that in there to make sure we don’t take all this as knowledge instead of training.

  11. Aloysius, may I suggest it as a good theme for meditation? 😉

    Brevdravis, I suspect every writer of fiction understands this! Of course I’ve also read the Principia Discordia rather more than once…

    Isaac, good. Those are possibilities worth considering.

  12. Hi JMG,

    This is a great series. I don’t always comment, because it often takes me a full month to get through each chapter thoroughly, but it has been well worth the effort. I really appreciate what you are doing here to introduce me and all the other readers to this material.

    If occultists are through the nadir, and on the upward path, so to speak, what keeps them from excessive self-congratulation about being “awakened”? I haven’t observed this happening, but the question still occurs to me because indulging in righteous indignation, or condemnation of Ignorant Others seems to be the new national pastime. Doesn’t a metaphorical hierarchy like this tempt people to look down their noses at the unenlightened masses?

  13. An ongoing theme for me throughout the Cosmic Doctrine: creation is an ongoing process and we are part of it, both in interacting with the creation of others and creating ourselves.

    Something as important as sex for us in creating and being created, is also dangerous—that our sexual drives can lead us into an obsessive relationship with an elemental, and that we even risk losing our personality with such a relationship is yet another level besides the physical danger. Yet another reason there are so many taboos, worries, and drama associated with that creative part of ourselves. I wonder if this is another unspoken worry that contributes to the controversy around masturbation and sexual fantasies?

    The points of view between a living, active cosmos that we participate in versus a mechanical passive universe that we act upon is a key attraction for me to occult learning, and magic in particular, although I observe in my everyday living that I sometimes act from the second view rather than the first, and it is a continual negotiation to supplant the patterns I have developed from living in a culture that sees from the more mechanistic perspective. For me, that is part of the struggle that brings me to wrestle with the Cosmic Doctrine and keeps me limping along in my occult studies even during the times it is hard to continue it.

    And like so many times when I’ve engaged in your writings, I ended up a little while tonight going down a totally unexpected rabbit hole—looking at pictures of newts and salamanders and reading more about them. Also considering that old trope of ‘movie magic’—the witch using “eye of newt” and deciding I really like my newts with both their eyes 😊

  14. “Such relationships are addictive and obsessive for the human partner, since the elemental partner stimulates the etheric body to overwhelming states of passion which no amount of ordinary sexual activity will satisfy. There are various ways this can end up, none of them particularly good for the human partner.”

    Two questions then:

    1) This sounds a lot like how a lot of men describe and seem to react to pornography (myself included!). Do you know if this reaction to porn is related to elementals or a similar phenomena?

    2) How do these relationships tend to end?

  15. Samurai, if you’ve actually passed through the initiation of the Nadir and begun the Path of Return in earnest, the thing you see most clearly is just how immensely far you have to go and what vast concourses of beings have followed that path before you. If you see somebody boasting about how they’re better, wiser, more enlightened, etc. than anybody else, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re not on the Path — just waving their floppy pink ego around.

    Cat, newts and salamanders are fascinating creatures, and certainly ought to retain their full collection of eyes! Amphibians generally don’t get anything like enough love.

    Anon, (1) that’s a good question to which I don’t have a straightforward answer. It may be that pornography is simply overstimulating the passions in a similar way, but it’s also possible that spirits of various kinds are using it to get what they want. (2) There isn’t a single uniform endpoint. The human partner can end up like any other addict, crashing and burning at one rate of speed or another; the human partner can end up with his personality being absorbed by the elemental, or displaced by the elemental, so that the elemental takes over a human body and the human personality ceases to exist, quickly or slowly; the human partner can find help and regain control over his sexuality and his life. One way or another, it’s a messy situation to get stuck in.

  16. I think you’ll find a lot of teenage boys out there who have dedicated their entire existence to kissing every girl in town so to speak. I guess the proof of elemental possession would be in the personality, or lack of individualism..I can start talking about people with dual diagnosis like borderline personality disorder here but I I think I’ll hold off.

    Are the Lords of Humanity destined to rule over the harmonious organization of human society or is that idealism?

    Sociology is also the study of how we organize ourselves. Organizing people gets alot harder the farther away we get from tribal societies I think. Historically there has been, at least in the Piscean age, some real issues tolerating and absorbing different cultural combinations of spiritual beliefs, technology types, parapsychological and magical practises in our larger civilizations. Perhaps a group like Lords of Synthesis are something that come before the Lords of Humanity.

    I’ve read that the Age of Aquarius may be about breaking into factions. I’ve also read the Age of Capricorn may be about rebuilding and organizing ourselves on higher principles. Perhaps something like the Lords of Synthesis will create a natural law that melds material technology with psychic technology and allows us to better organize ourselves. Although it’s hard to say if this hasn’t already happened in previous civilizations.
    This could achieve something like the Greater Peace that the Baha’i faith prophesized on… once the Age of Capricorn has gotten into swing.

  17. Thinking more about the physics and thermodynamics of the spirit world. If fast and radical change doesn’t work well, what kinds of reactions would be good metaphors for the kind that does?

  18. Do the consequences of elementals taking over a human soul depend on the kind of the elemental (Earth, Water, Fire or Air)?

    And am I right in my assumption that the sort of thing which happens when an elemental takes over a human soul depends on how tolerant the society, in which this happens, is towards misbehavior?

  19. In regards to salamanders and newts, one of my namesakes, I have often puzzled at how opposite the cold, wet earthly newt is from the hot, dry, elemental salamander. I know the story of them crawling out of wet lots in the fire, which makes sense I guess…

  20. Thank you for posting the Golden Dawn advice about the elemental qualities of character one needs to develop, and those to avoid. Neatly and succinctly said, excellent themes for meditations each for the relevant months, and exactly what I need to finish the job of growing up.

  21. Here is a link to an article from Scientific American about pan-psychism, the idea that all matter has consciousness:

    It’s just one of those articles that pocket pops up when I open my browser, but kind of relevant to the topic at hand. My favorite part is this paragraph:

    “However, constitutive panpsychism has a critical problem of its own: there is arguably no coherent, non-magical way in which lower-level subjective points of view—such as those of subatomic particles or neurons in the brain, if they have these points of view—could combine to form higher-level subjective points of view, such as yours and ours.”

    I think the reason I’m not good at billiards is that there is no coherent, non-newtonian-physics way to predict how the balls will bounce off each other.

    And a grackle has slid down my chimney into my wood stove.


  22. A few thoughts came to mind after reading this chapter. One was the work of Ida Craddock, the 19th century activist who wrote extensively about her sexual relationship with her ‘Heavenly Bridegroom.’ She seemed to believe her astral lover was the spirit of a deceased man she had known before his death, but I often wondered if it wasn’t some other kind of entity.

    Another was the various legends of the Golem from Jewish mysticism; the unintelligent being made from clay by a Rabbi who inscribed Hebrew words on its forehead, thus bringing it to life. Interesting how these creations often went amok, perhaps illustrating man’s hubris and inability to create as the Gods create.

    In speaking of the elements, Fortune writes “a Lord of Flame conceives a function, and having himself evolved beyond the point at which he can develop further by this functioning, withdraws to a higher plane, and projects the concepts of that functioning to maintain the function.”

    So elementals are like ‘solidified’ tracks in space created by the Lords of Flame. They are universal forms, almost like archetypes, which exist in the shared space of the universe.

    “Should a human being seek contact with the Lords of the Elementals he purifies those aspects of his nature which correspond to their kingdom until they become the refined essence of their qualities.”

    So for example, If I bring the element of fire in my consciousness into balance, I’m not just doing that within the limits of my own separate consciousness, I’m actually aligning it or bringing it into communication with the universal thought-form of fire that exists ‘outside’ of my own consciousness, or as an extension of my consciousness. This reminds me very much of the work of the elements in the Bardic Grade of the CGD, as well as the conjuration of the intelligences and spirits of the elements.

    You could say the unbalanced manifestations of the elements in us are not yet connected to the universal thought-forms, but exist solely in the personality. Luckily, in this universe and on this journey of transformation, we all have the potential to evolve, to connect our personality to our Individualities and the higher planes of being.

  23. I am more inclined to think that something else is going on.

    Are there laws of physics ruled by the Lords of Flame of which we know nothing about that would make possible a universe we cannot experience at all?

    Are there laws of chemistry ruled by the Lords of Form of which we know nothing about that would make possible a world we cannot perceive at all?

    Are there laws of biology ruled by the Lords of Mind of which we know nothing about that would make possible an existence we can’t understand at all?

    If the Lords of Mind govern the brain structures that allow language and thought, and the sinews and muscles that allow the grasping of objects, and the nerves that send perceptions to the brain, etc., but don’t govern the laws of thought, of culture, of art and writing, of political laws, etc., which is actually part of the budding Lords of Sociology (us) building on biology, that begs the question of whether there are there other laws of biology of which we know nothing about that would make possible an existence we know nothing about.

    What if some living creatures here on earth were on a different path from the human swarm? Trees, for example. Is it possible to develop the equivalent of a mental sheath as a tree that would allow them to move beyond the physical and become Lords of Something-not-Sociology, utterly foreign to us?

    Or if there are other universes or worlds possible by the Lords of Flame and Lords of Form, I imagine the Lords of Mind would have come up with something other than humans to inhabit them.

  24. Re: Isaac’s comment: “maybe she’s hinting that we should study society, and how humans interact” made me think of something. I recall that Evans-Wentz began his masterpiece “The Fairy-faith in Celtic Countries” with the quotation “The proper study of mankind is man”, which he attributed to W.B. Yeats but, I understand, is actually from Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man. Regardless, I am thinking that quite possibly this phrase may have been popular among occult circles in the early part of the 20th century and perhaps Dion Fortune was hinting at this (pure speculation on my part).

  25. Dear Mr Greer

    When it comes to the Cos Doc I am behind. I am still in May 2019 so there could be a lot of things I have missed out. I briefly read what you said about elementals, which gave rise to a questions. This is probably a stupid question, but here goes. You said that elementals interact with human beings and can take over their personality. Is this the way that psychopaths come into being. Psychopaths have been described as a facsimile of human beings. It sound a bit like what you describe when elementals take over a human being.

  26. Hello JMG and everyone,

    If I recall correctly, some CosDoc posts back you told somebody in comments who was starting out from the beginning of the book that they were welcome to post their thoughts in the current month’s CosDoc entry. I hope I do not mind if I take you up on this.

    I attempted following along in the beginning with the Millenium Edition, and it just was too much for me to handle. I recently decided to invest in a 1966 Helios press edition to try my luck at the revised edition, and boy am I glad I did. It really is remarkable how much easier it is to understand. Also, I made the effort to visualize everything in my own brain this time. Those diagrams in the Millenium Edition are the opposite of helpful, especially as they are somewhat incorrect; but perhaps more importantly, they shortcut the visualization muscle building.

    So. Back to “The Dawn Of Manifestation” for me. Going over the comments that appeared in that first week of posts, I see there were several times that you cautioned readers to remember that this was just a metaphor designed to train the mind, not to inform it, and thus to allow certain leaps of logic that strain the metaphor. Although I see your point in that response, the funny thing is that the particular places where this got applied were places that, with some meditation, didn’t seem to break the metaphor for me.

    The biggest, number one confusion-causer for folks was the matter of the formation of the second plane of slightly larger diameter (the Ring-Chaos) that forms at a right angle to and just outside the original plane of slightly smaller diameter (the Ring-Cosmos). So let me attempt to take that one on here— although do please feel free to correct me if it seems I’ve misapprehended something.

    Now, we know at least the following starting conditions, based on what Dion Fortune writes:

1. Moving space is, by definition, that space whose desire for moment outweighs its nearly equal (but smaller) desire for inertia.
    2. The tendency of moving space is to communicate its motion to the space around it, leading more space to flow into the spinning.
    3. We know, based on the descriptions, that there is a period of time during which the moving space is accelerating its movement.
    4. There exist (at least) three spatial dimensions that we’re working with in this metaphor.

    We know that the initial part of moving space on its long circular journey over aeons accelerates over the period of at least its first circumambulation. Given the other stated conditions, then any space that is “inspired” to move by the current of Prime-Moving Space (PMS) will also be overcoming its own inertia and go through a similar period of gradual acceleration. This means that the PMS is being trailed by slower currents of Secondarily-Inspired Space (SIS) that are slower than the PMS. (Even assuming that some SIS has sufficiently accelerated such that they equal the PMS’s speed, this implies that they would also be trailed by their own likewise-inspired SISes.)

    Where this aids the understanding of the formation of the perpindicular Ring-Chaos is in realizing what happens when the fastest-speed PMS completes a circuit. Because each time it does, it slams straight through the tail end of a whole lot of slow SISes. Furthermore, since we know that we are working in three dimensional space, some of these SISes are being drawn in from various angles all around. Which means each time the PMS completes a circuit, it’s the proverbial cosmic 8-ball, slamming through a rack of varied SISes and sending them in all kinds of directions.

    Where most of these SISes go, it really doesn’t matter for the metaphors of the CosDoc, as they no longer affect the experience of the Ring-Cosmos. We can probably safely imagine that they each become their own Ring-Cosmoi over time, never again to interact with our own. Perhaps occasionally one of them flies by, a temporary current of static in the primordial soup, but nothing to meaningfully affect our central metaphor.

    However, we are dealing with vast, unimaginable lengths of time here. And we know from what happens later that there exists in potential a geometrical and physical configuration such that a secondary ring of exactly the right circumference, angle, position, speed, and valence will induce spinning-disc movement in the Ring-Cosmos. Thus, whether after just one cosmic cycle or after googolplex to the godzillionth power of cosmic cycles, given infinite chances, it’s inevitable that eventually, one of the times that PMS’s cosmic 8-ball does its recurring break shot into a rack of slow-moving SISes, it will at long last set in motion a current of space that fulfills all the correct conditions and stick around, rather than being push off to simply drift off to make its own cosmos somewhere else.

    Does this all seem reasonable? If so, then maybe the next time a student whines that they don’t understand why a second ring would form at right angles to the first, you can tell them that there is, in fact, a reasonable explanation that explains everything, but it’s too long and annoying to go into right now. 🙂


I do have more thoughts I would like to share, but I may have already tried everyone’s patience today! Plus, sleep. I do believe that I should probably take a break here and come back on another day.

    P.S. Today’s daily Geomancy reading: a panoply of Carcers (rings), Vias (lines), and Fortuna Majors and Minors, culminating in RW Fortuna Minor, LW Fortuna Major, J Via. If that’s not a Ring-Cosmos, Ring-Chaos, and a Ring-Pass-Not, I don’t know what is! …not to mention Greater and Lesser (Dion) FORTUNE…. By Jove, This Stuff Works!

  27. JMG,

    Thanks for post. There have been times when I’ve had intensely sexual dreams, invariably with someone I’ve known, but have not seen for years. These dreams always have that “more real than reality” quality, so I’ve been assuming that I was having sex with a particularly keen memory-based astral construct of my own design, either that or I actually was having sex on the subtle planes with whomever I had once known. Always consensual, I emphasize. Btw, does that happen, incarnate humans, separated by, say, a pandemic, having voluntary sex on the subtle planes? Sure would beat phone sex. Seems to me that to voluntarily have sex on the subtle planes would require a degree of spiritual advancement, and those such advanced individuals would have something more spiritually educational to do than have incarnate-like sex while on the subtle planes, but it all depends on the individual, I imagine.

    Also …..There is possibility that I was having dreamsex with an elemental taking shape of a human I had once known? I would think that sex with an elemental would be something more obsessive than what I experience, but I’m not completely sure. I should add that these dreams are infrequent, are limited to consecutive 2-3 days/nights when they do occur, which makes me think they link with transiting aspects to my natal moon.


  28. I though re: the Lords of Humanity coming next after the Flame, Form and Mind, eliding the previously mentioned swarms was…

    It’s a Trap!

    On the one hand, it is pointing, as others have mentioned, to that fact that as far as humans are concerned, our proper study is our own development, since that’s why every fractal universe down and up the planes comes into being – to properly study the potential it’s own existence brings into being through studying (meditating on and absorbing the consequences of) it’s reflected actions. Sociology is the study of humans being human, and the patterns we set in motion to do that are culture. Eventually, I guess we figure out patterns that are stable…

    On the other, humans do love to think they are next in line on the god scale, inheritors of the earth and all that, don’t they? And if you’re still stuck in that mindset, that let’s you take it right back to your comfort zone. I thought maybe a clue is in the seemingly throw away sentence about three classes, but she only lists them under two bullets, which could again let one think humans were the only ones rounding the nadir between involution and evolution… “…(a) Those of the outgoing or involutionary arc. (b) Those of the more highly evolved evolutionary arc. There may also be a third type of classification in which the types of life differ in kind instead of evolutionary development” (italics mine).

    All the other life that the Earth created before us and with us as well as after us. Lords of the Saurians – what patterns did they leave behind for the next swarms of their kinds? Lords of the Trees and the Flowers and the Bees… and the other creatures of the other planes I have no name for. While the first three swarms may lay down mutually foundational patterns for us all, the influences after that may diverge the way human bodies diverged from a banana millions of years ago, but from a chimpanzee only 2 million, and now our destinies brush up against each other, but don’t have the same immediacy in the line… like the branching stories in choose your own adventure mentioned above! We will never know, or maybe only at the very end, when we all go back to the central logos together, what the patterns of the Lords of the Trees set in place for antecedent plant-like swarms… or maybe only indirectly, through how we see our similar reactions governed by the rays (what do trees and plants do best under a Taurus moon? What about humans?)

    -SD (avoiding the weak google-fu of searchable screen names going forward, as straws in the wind tell me to get used to keeping certain ideas to myself while working in politics…but wanting to keep studying out loud with y’all ;-))

  29. For once, The Cosmic Doctrine talks about something I understand—SEX!

  30. If I may speak, indirectly, about the Unspeakeable….

    Last Monday, my father showed me a video intended for the trainning of health care personnel in facilites receiving Covid-19 patients. The protocol details how to gawn and (specially) degawn at the moment of crossing between clean and contaminated areas. My initial thoughts were that these kind of procedures simply cannot be followed by regular Human beings, regardless of education; and that physicians undergo a process of initiation that allows them to transform themselves into the kind of being that is able to keep track of all these details. That much is not surprising to anyone that hangs around in this corner of the Internets.

    After yesterday’s post, though, I am wondering. Is possible for doctors (or other human professions) to establish symbiotic relationships with gnomes (or other Elementals), which would allow them to alter their baseline human behavior and capabilities without putting their personality at peril? Or do the personality is always at peril, but the gains are so much that people keep risking it anyways?

    That would certainly some weird, quasi magical performance of some professional, not necessarily seen as “top of their field” but well regarded by collegues. Stuff either heard in urban legends or seen first hand: machines that stop misbehaving when certain engineer walks within range but has not yet performed any task (diagnostic or corrective); patients that start feelling better during a doctor appointment, even if no prescription has been issued yet; students that stop mid sentence while asking a question because the answer came to their minds the moment the teacher made eye contact with them… that kind of stuff.

  31. Ian, by the time we become Lords of Humanity we won’t be on the physical plane any more, and the patterns we’ll have established and will then be maintaining, balancing, and perfecting will guide the evolution of swarms that come after us. If I understand the logic of Fortune’s metaphor correctly, the swarms that came before us didn’t have societies or social interactions; it’s our job to stumble through that set of potentials for the first time, just as the Lords of Flame had to stumble through the process of bringing the laws of physics into being. The swarms that come after us, in turn, will work out potentials that are quite literally impossible for us to imagine.

    Yorkshire, what an excellent theme for meditation! (Mind you, I don’t have a lot of background in thermodynamics, so that’s about the only response I can offer you…)

    Booklover, yes and yes.

    Isaac, it’s always baffled me, too.

    Patricia M, you’re most welcome. That passage struck me very forcefully when I first read it, and it’s been a theme for repeated meditations since then.

    Wooler, thanks for this. Of course they’re quite right — there’s no non-magical way to explain it. Once you accept the obvious fact that magic works, on the other hand, it all makes perfect sense. I wonder if they’ve realized that that’s what they’re saying…

    Stefania, excellent! We’ll be talking about Ida Craddock in due time. And yes, exactly — as the element of fire in you comes into balance, it enters into relation with the element of fire in the macrocosm, and with the spirits and powers of the fire. Thus the fiery aspects of the cosmos become a continuum through which you and the cosmos act on each other, or to put the same thing another way, a dance in which you and the cosmos both take part. And if that reminds you of the elemental workings in the CGD system, well, let’s just say that that’s not accidental at all!

    Patricia, thanks for this. You and Wooler are quick on the uptake.

    Myriam, good. That would extend the metaphor in directions I don’t think Fortune intended it to go — but you know, that’s not necessarily a problem.

    Ron, very likely. That sentiment is what guided Rudolf Steiner to name his system of spiritual science Anthroposophy, and it can be found in quite a few occult books of the same approximate early 20th century vintage.

    Jasmine, the only stupid question is one that doesn’t get asked, and yours definitely does not qualify. Are psychopaths elemental souls in human bodies? It’s possible. There are other ways in which something nonhuman can end up incarnating in a human body, and some of the beings in question are considerably less human (and more dangerous) than elementals, so it may be that some of these are responsible for the more extreme cases.

  32. Mr. Greer, I’m sorry for writing about something rather irrelevant to this topic, but I had to ask it…
    In your book ‘The Wealth of Nature’, you have spoken about the necessity of treating corporations as human beings, which implies that they should be given capital punishment if necessary. In your example of Dirty Rotten Scoundrel Inc., you note that such corporations should have their assets sold off, and should be made to cease to exist. However, in most real world cases, the criminal behaviour of corporations are mostly due to the people at the top, whereas the people at the bottom are simply carrying out orders. In many cases, they are morally against such behaviour, but they are compelled to obey orders, as their jobs and livelihoods are at stake, particularly in the case of employees who are the sole breadwinners of their respective families. So, my question is, do you think that the entire corporation should be shut down, or should only the top dogs, the people who actually call the shots, be held responsible? I mean, why make someone suffer even when he/she was simply carrying out orders, which he/she had to, in order to fend for themselves?

  33. Hi John,

    “There is also, as Fortune points out, the risk that the elemental personality will absorb the human personality or simply replace it, linking up with the human’s Individuality for the rest of that incarnation. (This doesn’t require sexual interactions, though those can foster it). This is one of the ways that a nonhuman soul can end up in a human body.”

    As you say it doesn’t require sexual interaction, do you mean it can also happen to individuals as a result of their elemental magick rituals for instance?
    And also “end up in a human body”, you mean completely from birth or shifting the current incarnation’s personality?

    I love it when these stuff intersect with psychology, they do enlighten each other.

  34. The discussion of elementals reminds me of the 10th Step in Franz Bardon’s Initiation Into Hermetics. I’m curious to what extent his instructions are similar or comparable to other occult traditions.
    ‘The first assignment that the magician is given in the tenth step is to gain knowledge of the sphere of the elements. With his mental body he visits the individual spheres of the elements and accordingly transfers his spirit body into the kingdom of the gnomes or Earth spirits, followed by the kingdom of the undines or Water spirits [etc]…[Now it’s clear why transformation exercises were necessary, because a] gnome can never understand a human being and vice versa; during this procedure, either the magician transforms himself into a gnome or the gnome becomes a human being. Therefore the magician, before he enters the kingdom of the Earth spirits, must assume the form or shape of a gnome… [He must load or impregnate himself with the kingdom’s element.] In the kingdom of the Earth spirits the magician cannot and must not speak to any Earth spirit until they first speak directly to him. The magician must at all times be aware of this law, never to be the first to ask a question… Otherwise he runs the risk that the Earth spirits will gain control over him, whereas the purpose of this exercise is that the magician gains control over them. Should such misfortune befall a magician, it could happen that the gnomes, through their various magic practices, capture him through the Earth element and that he himself becomes an Earth spirit… After a certain period of time, the mental cord between the astral body and the physical body would sever and the result would be the magician’s physical death.’
    The same considerations about transformation, & not speaking first, apply to the other kinds of elementals. The elementals are said to be relatively long-lived but not immortal. Bardon also warns about controlling one’s passions with them:
    ‘..he must never fall in love with such a being to the point that he loses sight of everything else. A love like this could cause the magician’s undoing… An undine can entrap a magician with her ravishing beauty, loveliness and intoxicating eroticism to such a degree that he would run the risk of becoming one of the Water spirits himself, the consequence of which would be his physical death.’

  35. Hi JMG,
    “Here, by contrast, the sequence is laid out in a way that makes it look as though we’re following right behind the Lords of Mind. Are there classes of laws of nature that come between biology and sociology, which will be ruled by the swarms ahead of us when they get back to the seventh plane?  Or is something else going on?”
    That 3 to 4 thing again. I think Dion Fortune offered a huge pointer at the end of the previous chapter for how to approach this:
    “Remember never seek to explain anything in manifestation or out of it in terms of the static, for all is kinetic”
    In other words you gotta think dynamically.
    It was this idea that made me recall Robert Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality – there are lots of parallels between this and the Cosmic Doctrine it seems, including the idea of built levels and distinctiveness between the ‘qualities’ of physics, biology and society plus his grappling between the importance of dynamic and static ‘quality’ in both his books.
    You can guess which one came out top.
    In his second book he might have the beginnings of an answer to what the swarms ahead have been up to – maybe working through and with this:
    Between the subject and the object lies the value. This value is more immediate, more directly sensed than any ‘self’ or any ‘object’ to which it might later be assigned. It is more real…”
    Quite a discovery to work with and pass on.
    It does initially appear Pirsig would have saved himself a lot of blood, sweat and tears if he’d read more occult teachings, but then I wouldn’t have had the chance to ‘triangulate’ this chapter using it for extra depth. So a bit of a fourfold thank you to the three of you.

    In more comet news you might find interesting, Comet Swan seems to be a virgin comet ‘released’ from the Oort cloud – first pass round the sun – more here:
    (*Hang on behind for a last thrilling ride* – any takers?)

  36. Coming at it from a classical perspective, where the gods represent both forces of nature and human nature, would there be a correspondence between the latter and the concept of the Lords of Humanity?

  37. What is meant by the elementals starting on the physical plane and working upwards, if energies always flow downwards?

  38. Quin, a fine meditation on the subject; thank you. I rather like BJTSW as an amplification of the ordinary acronym!

    Will M, yes, discarnate intimacies between incarnate human beings happen, typically on the astral plane — which is of course where dreams happen. That’s also the usual venue of intimacies between humans and certain classes of nonhuman spirits — since there are, after all, many more beings in the cosmos than humans and elementals alone!

    Pixelated, and that’s also a possibility — and a worthwhile source of themes for meditation. (By all means keep your anonymity to the extent that you can, btw.)

    Your Kittenship, now if Fortune had only started with that, this book would have had a much larger readership. 😉

    CR, first, I can tell you for a fact that in US hospitals, at least, those procedures exist on paper (and on video) but not in practice. That’s one of the reasons that nosocomial infections (infections passed on in health care facilities) are so pervasive here, and so many people die of them. Second, as far as I know, the only great transformation that happens to doctors in medical school is that they lose the ability to write legibly. Third — that said, the things you’re describing definitely happen; the usual explanation is psychic capacities on the part of individuals, either telekinetic or telepathic as the case may be, but it’s not impossible that spirits of various kinds are involved in some cases. Many years ago I had a coworker who was assigned an incredibly boring job involving a big industrial photocopier, and the copier started having breakdowns that, according to the repair guy, were physically impossible — and only happened when my coworker was near the machine. She was a devout atheist, too, which just added to the amusement value.

    Rajat, it’s essential that the company should cease to exist so that its stockholders and bondholders lose their entire investment; that gives them a strong incentive not to invest in companies that behave in irresponsibie ways. Equally, employees have an incentive to quit companies that order them to break the law, and go to work elsewhere, as that will keep them safe from sudden job loss. That’s harsh but necessary, if we’re going to put an end to the criminal behavior of corporations.

    Aziz, it can happen by way of too much incautious interaction with the elemental realm. Humans being human, that usually involves sex, but I could see someone whose major passion was greed, and who invoked earth elementals repeatedly to get access to wealth, becoming possessed by a gnome. As for nonhumans in human bodies, sometimes it happens by way of possession, but yes, it’s also possible for a nonhuman soul to be born in a human body. Conceiving a child while under the influence of alcohol or drugs makes this more likely, for example.

    Joshua, Bardon’s very well informed, and yes, he’s drawing from the same traditional lore. Since the central European magical tradition that informed his practice involves a lot of work with etheric forces — the “loading” of the body with elements being a great example — projecting into the elemental kingdom does indeed involve the risks he outlines. It’s safer to do that if you’re working primarily with astral forces, as (for example) in Golden Dawn magic, but the flipside is that the results are not as intensive and don’t have as much immediate impact on the material plane.

    Jay, hmm! It hadn’t occurred to me to correlate Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance with the Cos.Doc., and it’s been years since I’ve read Pirsig, but yes, that does seem to work. A vast amount of the more interesting end of modern thought has been busy trying to reinvent occult philosophy without ever quite noticing that this is what’s going on. Thanks for the info about Comet Swan!

    Fra’ Lupo, well, in a sense, but we’re not the Lords of Humanity yet, and we won’t be until we finish our journey up the planes long ages from now. So the gods we know of all belong to swarms that came before ours. (This might explain why the gods in most pantheons interact as individuals but not as a social group…)

    Anon, what a fine theme for your next week of meditations!

  39. Hmm, that makes the line in defining what’s human and elemental more thin, thus laborious and scientific care should be taken into consideration when doing that. Though it seems the common belief and experience with the elemental is more negative to many; I don’t tend to view them that way but caution should be made when interacting with them as you said. Could the process of “breaking the vessel” Fortune mentioned which we discussed in the Magic Monday be related to elementals?

    I remembered this quote by Crowley:

    “A very great many elementals are to be found in human form today; they are nearly always women, or such men as are not men. Such beings are imitative, irresponsible, always being shocked, without any standard of truth, although often extremely logical; criminal without a sense of right and wrong, and as shameless as they are prudish. Truth of any kind frightens them. They are usually Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Theosophists, or what not.”

  40. JMG,
    The Pirsig quote was actually from his (at least as good, and less zeitgeist-y) follow up to ‘Zen…’, ‘Lila – An Inquiry into Morals’. And that’s maybe where Humanity has its task? – how to consciously have and experience the most ‘worthwhile’ existence(s)? (within parameters – it appears being a Great Undefined Potential is not enough – too static.) The meme over gene idea from Dawkins pops up in my mind here too. The best memes for a worthwhile life start sticking around more than those with less worth – and happily from your point of view, many I’ve met that seem to fit this idea sit about encased in book form. Of course to have impact, they need to get entrenched in practice (work dynamically) – not a problem given enough souls, wise guidance and time. Talking of time, you did question timing differences at the end of your post, but is time always a constant? It does kinda feel like it’s sped up as more human souls have joined the throng. Maybe it’ll slow down as they leave again or maybe the opposite? Plenty to meditate on and contemplate anyway.

  41. Cosmologies based on epicyclic motion are no less “mechanical” than one based on gravitation, and go back a millennium and a half earlier. It makes me wonder why Newton’s innovations were such a depersonalization watershed. After all, it didn’t take long to learn that the motions of only three gravitationally interacting bodies are beyond the reach of finite mathematical description. Was it the universality? Does being subject to one of the same influences as a falling apple depersonalize the Moon?

    (If Wolfram succeeds in formulating an even more universal model, keep an eye on those French scientists, or their closest present-day counterparts.)

    Fortune has no difficulty reconciling causal underlying mechanisms with personalization, even noting and explaining the relevant epigenetic processes along the way, at least in metaphor. But in the wild, mechanical versus personalized seems to be a fiendishly compelling binary. At one pole: conscious experience must be an illusion. At the other: everything in the world is intelligent and/or conscious, except digital AI which could never possibly be. (Not that anyone here has made that latter claim, but it’s common enough elsewhere, usually expressed in two separate parts.)

  42. If Elementals are created by the three Regents to act as servants to “maintain the function” of the their projected thought-forms, to act as “servants of the gods, and maintain the co-ordinated rhythms of inanimate nature,’ it seems that any thought-form that I create would also create Elementals whose role would be to bring that visualization into being. A clear, well made visualization, creates a track in space, a child, an Elemental that is responsible for maintaining the thought-form in my life. When we repeat an affirmation many times, we are creating a track in space that produces an Elemental who will ultimately carry out that affirmation. Thus, each of us would have a community of our own personal Elementals, who act to bring into manifestation our properly visualized desires.

    It would also seem that for my personal Elementals to have true power to create that they must be in harmony with those created by the three Regents so they may “claim kinship with the Lords of the Elements of the macrocosm.” I have come to appreciate that rather than being a isolated individual on the physical plane, I am really a community of human cells, bacteria, mites, viruses, etc. that are all necessary to keep me healthy; I could not digest food and process the energy available without the microbiome in my gut. Therefore, on the non-physical planes there would also be a community of beings who process the energy available to maintain the health of my psychic and spiritual bodies. The Elementals are such beings. Maybe regular visualizations and meditations are food for each of our non-physical community beings. There would be a direct coordination between the nature of our thoughts and the nature of the non-physical beings who inhabit our personal community, and that would affect our own personal harmonization with the three Regents, or to put it another way, it would affect how well we are aligned with the evolutionary forces of Nature and our ability to join the evolutionary track.

  43. Dear Jasmine,

    if I may:

    Living on the extreme margins of society for a long time and getting to know other marginal folks, I feel that psychopathic personalities arise from a very different source than those that might be described as “elementals”.

    Basically, people that I’d describe as psychopathic — by which I mean cunning, without empathy, and without feeling — tend to play the part of being a human very well. They are suave, sophisticated, and say the right things. They lack a developed sense of whimsy, of beauty or frivolity. They don’t laugh and they lie. They calculate and no one suspects them until too late.

    The people who I’ve been the most intimate with who have what I consider to be elemental infused personalities tend to be incredibly honest with people they trust, in fact, they tend to be _stupidly_ honest from a normative perspective. They have, in my experience, emotions, but a much narrower range than most people. They laugh easily, they like to play, they are sincere. They may be messy, unkempt, and unskilled at being human, but they don’t have the _persona_* down well. Everyone suspects these people, but they are often charming enough to get away with a lot with some good natured laughs and the immense power of their charisma.

    That is, they don’t have a mask so much. What you see is precisely what you get, like plants and the Doctrine of Signatures. As I understand it, a psychopath _only_ has a persona, a mask. That is what makes them so good at fooling others, they have perfected their mask to cover up the eerie void at the center of their being, a void that might be inhabited by a very creepy parasitic being. An elemental infused personality has little mask, that is, whatever psychic contents they have are navigating the world.

    * If I understand it correctly, Jung considered the persona the psychic structure goes between the ego and the environment, and is analogous somewhat with the anima/us which navigates between the ego and the Self.

  44. To sum up, Crowley is saying that Karen is an elemental. Hmmm.

  45. Aidan, to some extent. I think he’s quite correct that online education is the wave of the near-term future, and some thousands of US universities and colleges will go under as that reality sinks in, but once education goes online and students can choose any university in the world, institutions like Harvard and Stanford will be in the position IBM was in at the beginning of the microcomputer revolution: fatally vulnerable to smaller, hungrier, more innovative providers who aren’t saddled with the burden of trying to maintain the value of an outmoded product line.

    Aziz, I think Crowley had been staring in the mirror rather too long. As for “breaking the vessel,” that’s a term with very broad implications, but yes, one of them can apply in this sort of case.

    Jay, I stand corrected. We could have a long talk about the magical dimension of memetics!

    Walt, an epicyclic cosmos can be mechanical, sure, but the one Newton overthrew wasn’t — it was a matter of general acceptance even among the learned that what kept planets in their epicycles et al. was the action of conscious beings, such as angels. The concept of universal gravitation made the constant gentle push of angelic hands unnecessary, and thus shifted the rush toward radical materialism into high gear.

    Dan, good. It takes much repetition and a great deal of intensity to lay down a track in space potent enough to affect the thoughts and movements of other beings — but then every operative mage knows that already.

    Your Kittenship, we need a term for the male equivalent of a Karen, you know. Any suggestions?

  46. That’s quite a good analogy Mr. Greer. Academic, media, and computers have been the three pillars of the “New Economy”. In an earlier post, I predicted that a variety of factors could make Silicon Valley turn into the new Rust Belt between the 2020s and 2050s. I could see something similar happen to academia, particularly if tackling credential inflation becomes an active issue for governments and society.

    Preview of coming attractions?:

    2035: “No seriously, I remember a time when Harvard Square would go for weeks, even months without a stabbing or shooting.”

    2044: “We formally announce the folding of Twitter into the Shi Boigu-Tai-gon corporation. Compensations are available across the hall from the lavatory.”

    2052: “The new inland headquarters of the U.S. IT industry promises to enhance livestream and virtual reality coverages to disclose to the public its production procedures. It hopes to regain confidence and trust after the Sol-21 incident.”

    2067: “The transhumanist justice league demands inclusion training at the University of Wisconsin given its shameful history of segregating synthetic students into such subs-standard institutions as UC Berkeley, MIT, and Harvard!”

  47. So, do you think that elementals who take possession of humans are aware of what they are doing? Once in human form do you think they then know they are not human?

  48. @JMG
    Right. I have a sociology degree and that word got me thinking about how I know things about Sociology instead of staying on task. Guess I fell in a trap..

    I agree with your discernment between elementally infused personalities and psychopaths. I have come into contact with the latter who was caught doing things people shouldn’t do. Individuals like this who are off medications can make your hair stand on end if you are even a little sensitive to energy. I recommend getting used to fixing dragon energy into your tone of voice if you ever have the pleasure of working with them. Your description of an elementally infused personality to contrast reminds me of a charming and innocent minded boy I knew a long time ago who everyone seemed to take advantage of.
    Also, I finished my therapy group entitled Fate, Free Will, and Authenticity and submitted it into the resource drive at my hospital. Hopefully it will be a tool to help youth construct positive identities and thanks again for letting me use your words in it’s creation.

  49. I would say Karen-like behavior in men is called “bullying.” You don’t see it a lot because, unlike in school where the bully will assemble a pack of sycophants to help him, a grown man is expected to deal with store clerks and the like on his own, and being too obnoxious can have immediate and severe consequences, anything from being permanently barred from the store to having your nose, or your skull, broken. Grown-up male bullies who wish to keep on bullying have to put in the time and effort to rise to at least the lower levels of the PMC, and even then they’re not likely to get away with sticking an employee ‘s head in the toilet and flushing it. (Well, maybe in Texas…)

    Every man, everywhere, carries in the back of his mind, “What if this guy decides to fight this out physically?” The possibility that the other guy may do that tends to throw a lot of cold water on the pleasure of being a jerk. Karens don’t have that inhibition; in Karen’s world, the likelihood of anyone but, possibly, her boyfriend or husband hitting her is so small as not to be worth worrying about. (There’s a lot more domestic violence among the PMC than many people realize.)

    As American life becomes more solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, women of all classes are growing more violent, just as in the crowded-mice experiment, interestingly enough. Too much crowding seems to bring out the worst in social species. As women grow more violent, I think Karen-ing will reach the point where it’s so risky it’s not fun anymore, the same as for men. I give it maybe another 20 years.

    I wonder if anything’s known about whether crowding bothers the social insects? We’ve all seen documentaries where bees in a hive crawl over, under, and into each other, elbow to elbow (and at 6 elbows per bee, that’s a lot of elbowing!). It doesn’t seem to bother them, but then, you can’t very well ask a bee if she thinks the hive is too crowded. For all we know they’re thinking, “Man, if we don’t get more workers in here, this hive is going to turn into Detroit!”

  50. Aziz – I find it very hard to imagine elementals as being either prudish or easily shocked! And almost as hard to believe Crowley if he said the sun was rising in the East.And if he didn’t think there were incubi as well as succubi, he wasn’t looking.

  51. @ Jay Pine – the best memes for what makes life worth living have indeed lasted a long time, and most people know them by heart. But living by them? “If wisdom were easy, any fool could do it.”

  52. Also, in a Zen-like paradox, here’s a guy who’s so worked up about Karen, he’d like to speak to the manager:

    (Counselor Troy, with her infallible grasp of the obvious, senses an ugly divorce here in the recent past. Most likely the gentleman will calm down once his Karen finds a new victim—er, husband—and he’ no longer paying alimony.)

    That’s enough about Karen. We now return you, the super-smart, to your regularly scheduled advanced esoterica. Kitto Katsu!

  53. JMG–off topic but relates to your remarks about the Left in other posts. Blog post by an Afro-Swedish former Socialist.


  54. JMG,

    Newton wouldn’t have approved of the mechanistic worldview since he was an alchemist, not a materialist scientist. He’d be horrified.

    So, we don’t know what the laws of sociology are or will be?

    And what are the great transformations of the soul that you mentioned? I suppose the initiation of Nadir is one of them, but what are the others?

    P.S. A witch turned me into a newt once, but I got better.

  55. JMG, I wonder if you had our becoming into Lords of Humanity when you imagined that Racoon-like self-counscious species in your “Next Ten Billion Years” essay. Under our guidance, and with complex patterns of social interaction laid down for ages, it seems probable that the next self-counscious species that inhabits Earth, after ours, will have much more complex forms of political and social interactions than we did in our time.

  56. Luna, “Karen” is freshly minted internet slang for a privileged white woman who goes around bullying everyone. Her signature line is “I want to speak to the manager.” If you’ve worked in retail or in restaurants — I’ve done both — you know the type!

    Aidan, if I ever get a large enough following, I’ll look for a nice small college to buy for pennies on the thousand-dollar bill and turn into a Druid polystery (we don’t do monasteries) and school of ecological wizardry. There will likely be quite a few of them on the market in the next decade or so.

    Shadowrider, good question. I’m not at all sure — many of them have very limited capacities for reflective thought and may go through the experience as though in a dream.

    Ian, that strikes me as another very fine theme for meditation. 😉

    Your Kittenship, fair enough! I always figured that social insects love to be in close contact with each other and get panicky when they’re on their own. As for the Zen paradox, what you contemplate, you imitate…

    Rita, I just ran across that two days ago. It’s brilliant, and will probably feature in a future post. Thank you!

    Ecosophian, Newton wasn’t responsible for what was done with his ideas; I’m reminded of Jung’s comment, “Thank God I’m not a Jungian.” As for the great transformations of the soul, we’ll get to those in an upcoming chapter.

    Your Kittenship, I think I’m going to have to find my old button-making machine and make one that says, “Tentacles Are Always Relevant.”

    Bruno, I didn’t actually have that in mind consciously at the time, but it does fit with the flow of the story!

  57. M’lady, I think that the male equivalent of the Karen was ID’ed some time ago as the Mansplainer.

    For a couple years as a consultant I had to submit reports to a bureacrat who got the job because she was married to the right politician, and she once raked my team for a research proposal that clearly had not been informed by the literature, produced right here on a nearby site! Really, everyone was taking about this paper, and it was shocking we hadn’t bothered to read it. She would have to escalate this with the company, this was egregious.

    Now, I had just completed my masters on this exact obscure research topic, and, by dint of being in the right place at the right time, therefore stood as the person who had created the most complete literature review on the topic in the world. Ten years on, it may still be. Naturally we were all astounded, and wished to know if she could get us this paper. Yes, she would; it was by a .
    … My boss had to point out that that was _me_ in room suddenly devoid of all breathing. Bureacrat hadn’t bothered to notice my name on the research proposal, or the citations of my own work backing up our design, obviously, let alone listen to my introduction as she shook my hand. It did not stop her in future from always knowing we were doing our science wrong. We’d called her Inspector MansplainHer. The woman, who ‘Splained like a man! Now, it is gratifying to have the right head on the right creature, and know its true name.

    On topic, wait wait wait… If the Lord’s of humanity are working on the laws of sociology, aka culture, aka individuals that work a group (as opposed to hive animals) – then our swarm isn’t just humans. Cetaceans would be there, too… Corvids… Hence why animals can reincarnate as human and vice versa?
    Okay, then would an egregore be like a larval elemental of the Laws of Sociology? It can’t quite supplant a person’s personality, but it can sure parasitize it… Then a meme very much _is_ analogous to DNA.

  58. JMG and Rita, what’s the gist of that article? I’m sorry but I don’t speak Swedish [?].

    JMG, I think “Tentacles Are Always Relevant” is good T-shirt fodder. The artwork is quite different from the original Aku character, but I like it. Yay tentacles 🦑! I liked his original design too, he appears to have been based on Balinese dancers’s ceremonial masks.

    Goodnight 🌙💤 all!

  59. Latest meditation out loud…And again, I’ve been drawn back to The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins, as the most unwittingly metaphysical text of all time (and it is funny because he knows it, and mentions a few times that it would *seem* that this would lead one to support say, the Gaia hypothesis… or certain metaphysical theories… but here are several dense pages explaining why it does not. Because NOPE, that’s why.). And somehow I think it is saying something – while frequently trying very hard not to – that resonates with the Cosmic Doctrine. It’s not very clear, yet, though.

    Dawkins of course gave us the Selfish Gene (which nearly everyone misinterpreted as the Selfish Organism) and the concept of the meme from that book (but then polished by Susan Blackburn, I think). Seeing the similarity between the laws of biology and the laws of sociology, as an ethologist.

    In the extended phenotype, he argues that again, it is the *gene* that is the locus of selection, and while most ethologists then stop at the skin of the animal the gene is in, they do admit that a behavioural pattern is a phenotype that can extend outside the animal’s body, e.g. a spiderweb. And that genes within a bacterium in an animal gut, or a gene within an organ, can have phenotypic expression in the larger organism well outside the bounds of the bacterium or organ itself. The boundaries, they start to dissolve if you look to close. But Dawkins wants to go further here, saying that genes can actually have phenotypes that extent for many miles outside the animal’s body, the skin of an animal is not the useful boundary for what he calls phenotype, and we may as well call Tracks in Space left by the Lords of Mind – and in fact that the genes in several animals’ bodies can create an uber-phenotype together – such as a beaver dam being a phenotype shared by several beavers with the same allele for dam-building in different bodies (but of course, while one may think this could support say, selection patterns extending up to the global scale, and here is a thought experiment about how that would work… but nope, that’s wrong.). He explains; if beaver lakes left fossils, one would see that they increase in size over time, and thus theorize that ‘bigger lakes’ had a selective advantage for the organism. But what organism? It is not the lake that contained the gene, but the beavers. Now, perhaps alder also grow bigger next to a fertile beaver lake. And diversity and mass of fish and plants that in turn support the beaver which allow it to survive better because it built the dam, also increase within the lake. So the phenotype of the gene – track in space of the law – can be extented to lakes that are a certain size to support such and such a diversity. And each creature with it’s own genes, creating phenotypes that reflect in each other – an Indra’s net of phenotypes.

    So here we come to a meme, the smallest unit of culture that can be transmitted – a recipe, a song, a phrase, an expressive look. A single derisive word in context: “Karen”. I can shrink my meme down inside my head as an affirmation to myself, but the phenotype – the behaviour – still ripples out from me (I hope for the better). But if I take a meme like “man has dominion over the world”, then my memetic phenotype firmly extends to the forest I clearcut, and the seafloor I trawl. The Lords of Humanity, then, may not just be currently incarnated as human – as other animals as well – but are also working on laws that would be as universal on the earth as the laws of biology, chemistry and physics. Not just for humans, the laws of culture would influence all the relationships on the rest of the Earth and between our Selves. As the small tracks of genes spiral out to create Gaia the elemental being… The small tracks of culture would create… Gaia as a full planetary Individual?

    Then the swarms that went before… with “Christs” of each of the Rays…which are the signs of the zodiac, and the laws of astrology that influence us… So there are swarms that go before, but the next set of Lords specific to the earth, are Humanity. Not a trap, a Necker Cube…

  60. Since beginning my formal study of Druidry two years ago, one of the side effects is that I have become decidedly animist. I have named both of my pianos — Rex the Grand and Keiko the Upright — and generally perceive living beings and presences everywhere. My whole world has come alive. Places have spirits, whether it is on a large scale, like a country, or small scale, like my bathtub. If places have spirits, it follows that homemaking is one of the world’s most unfairly denigrated and underrated skills. Homemaking has been elevated to the sacred in my mind. I liken it to the Druid universal prayer: the home provides protection, and in protection, strength. The home is the sacred feminine that links us from Son to Father and provides us with a filter or veil so we can begin to perceive God. Besides four walls and a roof, a nurturing home is a million little items, vignettes, and moments that aren’t much on their own. It is their sum that provides a formidable barrier between us and outside forces so we may become more complex and sophisticated beings. Just as cooking is alchemy, taking disparate elements and refining them via special processes until we become the transformed, so is making a home. The outside version is tending a garden. This chapter has me thinking that the alchemy of making a good home probably helps some invariably-involved elementals on their path to developing individuality.

  61. As tracks in space came up lately, an idea came to me: maybe the cause why certain things, like civilizations, as we know them, or complex art, seem to be absent from human societies in the remote past before ca. 50000 years ago, is, that the tracks in space for these ideas weren’t laid down yet. But that depends on the archeological interpretation of the deep past being correct.

  62. Nothing to do with the Cosmic Doctrine, but our host brought it up in the comments, so… What is a “polystery”?? I googled it, and I got a type of fabric.

  63. JMG, haha I wonder why you think so? Crowley always emphasized on solar qualities, so it isn’t surprising for me to see his statement, is it his ‘Wickedest Man in the World’ persona or a specific incident that made you say so? I brought that quote in particular because I did notice for instance many of these characteristics to be prevalent in the late New Age community, whom are mostly influenced by the movements mentioned in the quote more than anything else.

    Patricia Mathews, I think elementals have different temperaments as well, notice also that he mentioned being prudish juxtaposed with being shameless; highlighting the constant borderline and extreme nature of their being.

    Thanks to everyone who enlightened us with what Karen meant, it’s both hilarious and sad.

  64. About “Karen”, male equivalents, and bullying – the discussion of bullying is incomplete without the realization that Karen’s male equivalent – I call them “Hume’s” after my late father-in-law – will verbally bully a woman into tears without shame, and heaven knows she won’t be able to retaliate physically.

    Nor would a male grocery clerk be in any position to do so without losing his job and probably going to jail, hence losing everything. And that goes double and triple, squared and cubed, if the clerk is an immigrant or of a minority group that’s been kept “in control” by fire and sword (or bullets and bombs, or the whip and the rope) throughout our history. In fact, anyone of the latter would have been drilled since babyhood in how to react to this and still stay alive, with 400 years’ experience behind it. [And to this day, when the staff here was instructed to call the residents “sir” and “ma’am”, I saw a number of them who hadn’t minded joking around with us before, retreat behind the “Southern servant” mask.]

    For anyone who wants a fine example of “Karen”, I give you – Ann Eiffel from the comic strip Luann. Scroll down from today’s back to Sunday’s.

  65. Dear JMG,

    Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about Carl Jung’s work, and have been astounded to how it relates to this post. Since it came up, an angle to explore that is the “Karen” meme and the Animus archetype. Carl Jung wrote: “The animus is obstinate, harping on principles, laying down the law, dogmatic, world-reforming, theoretic, word-mongering, argumentative, and domineering.” In a word, “can I speak to the manager?”

    Karen, too is a name of sociological importance, from “Records indicate that 981,398 girls in the United States have been named Karen since 1880. The greatest number of people were given this name in 1957, when 40,588 people in the U.S. were given the name Karen. Those people are now 62 years old.”

    And so the meme really effectively references a particular age group. Furthermore, the name “Karen” is provocative, it speaks of Care, the most traditionally feminine of virtues. Carl Jung again: “A woman possessed by the animus is always in danger of losing her femininity, her adapted feminine persona, just as a man in like circumstances runs the risk of effeminacy.” Again we see strains of “can I speak to the manager?”

    To connect this directly to your essay, I find it extremely profound that humans deal with such a society of psychic parts and functions. That is, we have in the inner world something of an inner society: The Persona, The Shadow, The Anima/us, The Self. If I understand Jung’s writing correctly, psychological balance comes from identifying from none of these totally and having a sense of self that encompasses all of the in a unified whole, hence the Mandala shape, the Sun-cross, the circle with the four equal quadrants.

    Part of the work of individuation, then, is to maintain balance of what could be termed an inner society of autonomous parts. That is to say, Jung demonstrated that what could perhaps be termed a sociological perspective proves workable for the microcosm, especially when one factors in a greater number of possible archetypes, and some of his writing of thronging beings as is in his _Red Book_. this to my mind powerfully corroborates what Fortune notes regarding the laws of sociology: certainly, humans appear to have inner worlds that reflect this sort of complexity, and an inner drive to explore and balance this sort of complexity. I find it fascinating, too, how one can also look towards the mesocosm of society and see archetypal patterns, such as the correlation between “Karen” and the Animus, not to mention the Changer archetype, or various mass-Shadow figures, and how these then correlate these to something more inward.

  66. @JMG and Cos.Doc Readers

    On the subject of relations with “elemental beings”. I’ve recently become interested in the subject via a different route. I recently learned of a new area of study in various Tantra traditions that are based around all 5 elements.

    Here are some of the surprises I learned (the following may already be known by JMG).

    There is a branch of Tantra Yoga called Bhutaswara. It’s entire emphasis is learning how to gain control of all 5 elements within the body. Sadhguru says there comes a point within this Bhutaswara tradition where the boundary between what the Trainee considers “my body” and what is “outside my body” become indistinguishable simply due to awareness of the chemistry and physics taking place at all times. All 5 elements are constantly in exchange 24/7 every day. It’s just that most people are unaware of this process. It’s for this reason that there are entire Indian Tantric sects that have their male members walking around naked in public and more surprisingly – the public allows it.

    The reason this Tantric tradition came about is so the Trainee experiences the constant exchange of all 5 elements 24/7 365 days for decades during every kind of “normal life” (well…as normal as might be for someone naked all the time) activity Mother Nature throws at you and you gain wisdom and capability in consciously directing something that was formerly unconscious. For the training to work optimally it’s best to be naked according to Sadhguru. Since this is not possible in other societies the second best route is to wear as loosely fitting clothes as one can.

    I remember watching a documentary where the producer saw hordes of naked Bhutaswara Tantric trainees walking naked willy-nilly around in public and the public utterly ignored it. When he asked a bunch of (dressed) people, “Why do you all allow this?!” Everyone he asked said those men are on the path to the Ultimate and are saints that also do great service work for the community – so apparently doing Mother Theresa-ish type charity work is part of the requirement for being allowed to do this kind of training publicly. I do not know if female sect members are allowed to do this as none of the hordes filmed had female members. My guess is if they do they probably do so perhaps in women-only designated areas.

    When this kind of training happens Sadhguru says there comes a point where you’ve gain such 100% control over all elements within yourself that you gain 100% control on all 5 elements outside the boundary of your body too. Mother Nature recognizes no boundary since the 5 elements are everywhere. My guess is this is why charity type work is emphasized so heavily with it because this kind of mastery could potentially be very destructive if used for selfish gain.

  67. I apologize if this is not sufficiently on this week’s topic and accept if it is not allowed. I had the thought of elementals in machinery come to form an image in my mind while meditating on the topics of these posts. The image also relates to your mention of many spheres of manifestation. I think the image I’m considering could be described roughly:

    An order of minds calculated functions incomprehensible. Vast landscapes of mathematics etched in stone. Their work done, they left behind a framework for the next wave.
    An order of minds calculated new functions to flow through the landscape left by the tracks of the first order. The functions of the second order brought together the pieces of stone and metal and pockets of calculations and made them easier to understand. The second wave left behind it a framework for the next wave.
    An order of minds calculated new functions until they looked like words. The new functions flowed through the paths created by the first two orders. They left behind a framework for the next wave.
    An order of minds wrote words on the landscape left behind by the third order. This order could lose sight of the realization that their words became functions, became calculations, through the third order’s tracks. They too left behind a framework for the next wave.
    An order of minds wrote more words, words written to interact with the words of the fourth order. This wave only dimly aware of the first wave’s calculations, barely aware of the shapes of the first wave’s tracks, but their words passed through the landscape of words left of the fourth order, through the functions of the third order which were laid down to allow meaningful use of the connections created in the functions of the second order which were the initial manifestations of the possibilities created by the calculations of the first order. They too left behind a framework for the next wave.
    On these foundations, in this framework, the actions of the final wave manifest; the realm of the end users.

    CPU and hardware, especially the CPU, require landscapes of calculations made manifest through silicone, metal and other matter; resistance and flow of primarily electricity but also occasionally light and magnetism. To initially tie the city scape of the motherboard together there is the BIOS, the Basic Input / Output System, giving a nexus to bring the pieces of the computer together. To make it easier to extrapolate calculations from words there are high level programming languages maintained between the words and the machine code. To help make interacting with all this easier there is the main operating system kernel. On top of this operating system kernel we have all of the user space full of software. There are in the neighborhood of half a billion logic gates on many modern CPU cores and a modern operating system alone may take fifty to hundreds of millions of lines of code for any one release. A very, very carefully crafted dance with the elementals.

    To quote an article that for years could make me laugh so hard I cried while I worked as a hired hacker “You immerse yourself in a world of total meaninglessness where all that matters is a little series of numbers went into a giant labyrinth of symbols and a different series of numbers or a picture of a kitten came out the other end.” Programmers, especially the really ‘good’ ones, can become so immersed in the sphere of the computing that they lose touch with humanity, sometimes even their own. These meditations give new understanding to me of what may have been happening when I would dream back then at times dreams not as a person or animal but an awareness in the labyrinth of symbols. Programmers and hackers sometimes call it ‘[dreaming] in code.’

  68. Oswald Spengler in his book ‘Man and Technics’ wrote, “It is, of course, nonsense to talk, as it was fashionable to do in the nineteenth century, of the imminent exhaustion of the coal-fields within a few centuries and of the consequences thereof — here, too, the materialistic age could not but think materially.Quite apart from the actual saving of coal by the substitution of petroleum and water-power, technical thought would manage ere long to discover and open up still other and quite different sources of power.It is not worth while thinking ahead so far in time.For the West European-American technics will itself have ended by then.No stupid trifle like the absence of material would be able to hold up this gigantic evolution.So long as the thought working inside it is on its heights, so long will it be able without fail to produce the means for its purposes”.
    Looks like Spengler too fell into the trap of ‘the energy crisis is a technical problem, and human intellect will find a way around it’.

  69. Lady Cute Kitten–re social insects–Bees have an instinct to form new hives when their space becomes too crowded. The workers will create new queens and a good number of the workers will leave with the old queen, leaving several queen cells behind. The future queens fight for dominance and the winner goes on one or more mating flights before settling down to lay eggs. Not sure how the decision is made, density of pheromones perhaps. Beekeepers can try to prevent swarming by adding more supers (the upper units for honey storage). The workers also determine when a queen needs to be replaced. It has been 50 years since my class in beekeeping, but I think they are able to sense when the queen is laying too many drone eggs. The queen bee mates only at the beginning of her life and the supply of sperm lasts for her effective lifetime. A drone (male bee) comes from an unfertilized egg. Hives keep a certain number of drones around all the time, reducing the number in winter to save food.

    Here is a traditional rhyme about bee swarms from the keeper’s point of view.

    “A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay, a swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon, a swarm in July, isn’t worth a fly.” The point being that a late swarm doesn’t have time to produce extra honey for the keeper and may not have enough stores to survive the winter.

    Ants are different since the queen is essentially immobile once the first generation of workers is mature. The colony nurses young queens in the spring and they and the males emerge to mate. The queens then find a place to build a nest, bite off their wings and produce their first workers. The queen has to care for the first generation, but once they are adult she does nothing but lay eggs and all other tasks are handled by the workers.


  70. Kimberly, I knew a similar type of guy. We shared a communal house. He had what one would call a magnetic personality. He had a way of drawing you into his circle. He was always the center of the crowd, and very funny. Average height, chunky, and not much in the looks department, but catnip to the ladies. He would have sex with up to four a day, and I know he wasn’t bragging because I could see them from my bedroom window, coming and going to his separate granny flat. Occasionally i would find one sobbing in the shrubbery as she realized she was just another notch on the bedpost.

    One hungover morning I staggered into the kitchen desperate for coffee. He was sitting at the table in pensive mood. “Martin, let me tell you about women,” he said. He took a Camel from a pack on the table. “You take them.” He lit it and took one puff. “You use them.” He stubbed it out. “And you throw them away.”

    I was impressed, because Camels were imported and very expensive. By taking only one puff he was obviously making a serious point. (It turned out that I was more of a usee than a user.)

    Anyway, after knowing him for some months it became clear he was morally empty. He would use anybody, male or female, and ditch them without remorse. Some learned the lesson sooner, some later, but eventually he exhausted the resources of our social circle and left town. I bumped into him some years later. He’d had a heart attack. He’d got married. He had some of his old schtick, but he didn’t have the same magnetic power. I never saw him again.

    Oh, and regarding personal hygiene, he was the complete opposite of your guy. He changed his clothes several times a day. We had a domestic servant who did laundry for us twice a week. One day just for him, and the other day for the remaining five of us.

    Was he a charming psychopath? Certainly. Was he governed by elementals? I’m not competent to say.

  71. Your Kittenship, fortunately it’s not in Swedish. It’s got some passages in fluent Marxist, but those aren’t too hard to untangle. As for the gist — well, again, I’ll be posting about that in due time.

    Pixelated, a fine meditation — and yes, it’s always entertaining to see someone like Dawkins hoist by his own petard, forced to backpedal frantically away from the implications of his own logic.

    Kimberly, you know, a book on sacred homemaking would find an immediate and enthusiastic audience. Just saying…

    Booklover, that’s an interesting hypothesis!

    Irena, sorry about that; it’s an invented word. The word “monastery” comes from Greek, where it means “a place to live alone,” ultimately from monas, “one, alone.” Since Druids aren’t into that — even if we don’t live with other human beings, we know we’re always in community with the rest of the cosmos — I dropped “monas” and replaced it with the Greek word for “many” — thus polystery, a place to live with many others.

    Aziz, well, to begin with, it’s funny to see him snarking at gay men — “such men as are not men” — when he himself was bi, and liked to be the receptive partner. More generally, if you haven’t read Jean Fuller’s The Magical Dilemma of Victor Neuburg, I highly recommend it. Among its other virtues, it provides an admirably researched account of Crowley’s behavior, showing him as a posturing, histrionic drama queen with as close to zero self-knowledge as you can get without being in a vegetative state.

    Violet, that makes a great deal of sense, both in Jungian terms — Karen as anima — and in Fortune’s terms — outward society mirrored within. The entire process of learning and growing through experience, in her vision, is that of encountering patterns of movement in the cosmos and internalizing them as potentials for knowledge and action.

    Anon, excellent! More precisely: the laws of physics are the elementals. The laws of physics are patterns of repetitive behavior; in Fortune’s cosmology, every pattern of repetitive behavior becomes a track in space, and tracks in space — as they begin to react to things they encounter and retain the influence of those things — become persons. So each law of physics is a being, slowly learning and changing as it encounters new experiences and evolves new levels of complexity…

    Panda, fascinating. The Golden Dawn in its early years borrowed a set of tattwa exercises from Indian sources; I don’t know of anyone in recent times who’s done much with them, but pursued systematically, there are some intriguing possibilities. I did a little work with those exercises as part of my Golden Dawn training; they await someone who’s willing to really devote some time and effort to them.

  72. Robert, fascinating! That’s certainly relevant.

    Rajat, yes, that was one of his huge blind spots — and the flaw in it can be seen with perfect clarity from Spengler’s own point of view in The Decline of the West. Fossil fuel power is the superlative Faustian energy source; it’s utterly in keeping with the Faustian mind to imagine that it will just keep on going forever, and that the exhaustion of coal will just lead Faust to summon up some even more powerful devil to replace it, as though panting, wearied Mephistopheles flopped down on the bench and Beelzebub got up to take his place. The exhaustion of fossil fuels is thus the perfect end to the Faustian trajectory, the point at which the central vision of our culture crumples beneath us and a post-historic, fellahin culture emerges in its place.

  73. JMG: “Irena, sorry about that; it’s an invented word. The word “monastery” comes from Greek, where it means “a place to live alone,” ultimately from monas, “one, alone.” Since Druids aren’t into that — even if we don’t live with other human beings, we know we’re always in community with the rest of the cosmos — I dropped “monas” and replaced it with the Greek word for “many” — thus polystery, a place to live with many others.”

    Got it! Thanks. The first thing that came to my mind (when I read your reply to Aidan, that is) was some sort free love commune. But that just didn’t sound like you…

  74. So if the laws of physics and chemistry are beings, then as a chemist maybe I talk with chemicals in the same way that other Druids talk with trees. I’ve always had a bit of an inferiority complex about how I don’t hear trees speaking with me, but perhaps I do hear living beings speaking with me; it’s just that those beings are the laws behind water, for instance.

  75. Hi Rita,

    I knew about swarming—my father kept bees. What interests me is they live in what we would consider insanely crowded conditions before they even think about swarming. We mammals, on the other hand, start killing each other.

    And now, while Karen complains to the manager about the bee that stung her, back to esoterica!

    P. S. I narrowly missed being named Karen. My parents and brother couldn’t agree on a name for a female baby. One wanted Karen, the other two hated it. One wanted Shirley, the other two hated it. One wanted…well, you get the idea. I ended up with a name that was popular but not as popular as it had been ten years prior. None of them were crazy about it but they could all tolerate it.

  76. There is a more socialogically accurate term for the type of person known as a “Karen”, and that is an AWFL, short for Affluent White Female Liberal. To an extent “Karen” is being employed as a general epithet towards overly assertive women to ensure that AWFL doesn’t catch on, as the latter clearly identifies the class basis of the phenomenon in a way that Karen doesn’t.

  77. Irena, no, that would be a polygamostery. That just seems like way too much drama for me!

    Luna, an egregor or egregore is a collective personality. Have you noticed the way that businesses, social groups, and other organizations tend to have personalities of their own, distinct from the personalities of the individuals who make them up? That’s an egregor.

    SLClaire, exactly! I’ve long thought that good scientists enter into some degree of communion with the elementals governing the phenomena they study. It would explain things like Kekule’s vision of the benzene ring — the chemical elementals decided to help him out, and used the dream state as a convenient way to talk to him.

    Phil K, am I right in guessing that said acronym is pronounced “awful”?

  78. JMG, I don’t think that part on “men as are not men” was necessarily a snark on gays, it’s a practical remark on how male and solar energy is, regardless of orientation. Effeminate gay men are not fully men and that shouldn’t be offensive in any way in my opinion. Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll have to get back to that after I fully read on the man by his own words and ideas. On the other hand, would you recommend any other reliable source on the details of his conflict with the Golden Dawn? I’ve always had a limited knowledge on what actually took place.

  79. Thanks for your response JMG.

    It is most likely different phenomena then. Double bind for the first and psychism for the second.

  80. I don’t know what a male counterpart to Karen would be, but here’s is a transgender version:

    Long story short there’s a YouTube video from 2019 of a trans woman proclaiming “It’s ma’am” while accusing an GameStop store employee of misgendering him/her. “Ma’am! Once again, ‘ma’am!,” Ms. Moore yells in the video. “If you want to call me sir again, I will show you a f–ing sir, mother f–er!” After the YouTube video went viral, Tiffany Moore quickly became an internet meme known as “Ma’am.”

    Also turns out that trans-woman in question was a a violent criminal guilty of assault and robbery before the transition. So there’s that.

    I find it amusing to watch, in a gruesome kind of way.

    P.S. For once the retail store actually stood up for their employee, so there’s good news.

  81. @Patricia
    Guess that’s why it all takes such a long time (though a facing of mortality has a way of speeding things up – a silver lining from humanity’s little virus episode right now?).

    JMG, you wrote “A vast amount of the more interesting end of modern thought has been busy trying to reinvent occult philosophy without ever quite noticing that this is what’s going on.”
    Sometimes modern thought is starting to recognize that:
    “The awareness of contemporary humans is hugely deeper than that of Stone Age men partly because the mathematical insights of science have given sharp ‘definition’ to the ‘fuzzy’ insights of intuition…it is, in my view, no accident that some of the greatest scientists who have ever lived – Einstein, Eddington, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Pauli – have had a strong mystical bent”
    From Darryl Reanney’s ‘The Death of Forever’
    All this ‘re-discovery’ is maybe a pointer to one of the ways the Lords of Humanity are deepening their tracks in space, an appreciation of interconnectedness that can really move things. Reanney again: “In deep knowing you become part of the self-unfolding of the cosmos.” A re-alize-ation we’re intimately part of something much bigger than just us.

    On a somewhat less profound note, @Quin and anyone else thinking of the first few chapters of the Cos. Doc., I’ve found the video to this tune feels to have another layer of meaning and depth since discovering the geometry behind a cosmos. And it’s so charming, anyway…

  82. Kimberley Steele,
    Like you I believe that the home is extremely important. If it is running well it is a place to go out from to perform your social duties and a place to return to in order to rebuild.
    I have been fascinated over the years at the measuring of a woman’s life against a man’s and assuming the man’s is better and therefore women should try to emulate it. No good bringing home the bacon if no-one will cook it. Personally in all my years growing up and as an adult I have never thought or seen modelled the idea that men are intrinsically better than women. All the functions of a society are important. The modern attitude of the family’s interests being subservient to that of the “Career” is something I just don’t understand. The career should be there to serve the family’s needs. People before things.
    Of course the idea that a woman must also work herself into an early grave is so that a very few people in the world can make a mozza and our reward is a few nice colourful trinkets.
    I also agreed with your post from last week.

  83. I had not read A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism by Gareth Knight.

    But I was thinking most of the day how I wish Kimberly would write Sacred Housekeeping – cause the book you get when you google that is not what you’d think! Spiritual Housekeeping gets an even more dismal result. Or maybe I will write it, a couple years from now when the kids are older and I have time… I started doodling out chapter topics as I did the dishes (and typing this while the kids are in the bath).

    See, when I read The Work and Training of An Initiate I really really wanted to find a book that said more about the Path of the Hearthfire, because that’s definitely mine right now. The rest of that book made me go “well THAT’S not compatible!” Last time I googled it, I got fluffy looking Wiccan family books and gave up. So I googled it again, deciding to scroll through a few more pages (why not try another browser? Maybe google is crap. Shhh) and pop:

    I find the google book of Knight’s, landing on the section about the 31st Path, where he says Shin is at one level the path of the Hearthfire, and the path of sociology; “the process of civilization becoming the cooperation of individuals rather than the natural aggregation by instinct into herds.”

    Would you like to guess what card my tarot card was today?

    So… I’ll throw my vote to you’re on to something Kimberly, with the arts of home being foundational. Time to set a candle on the stove and pour a cup of tea for Hestia….

  84. Mr. Greer, in one of your books, you have written about entire technologies disappearing due to the collapse of civilizations, like that of pottery in the post-Roman dark ages. If the collapse of the Roman Empire could wipe out such relatively unsophisticated yet critical technologies, then it could be entirely possible, as Graham Hancock has said, that the Younger Dryas wiped out pre-Dryas civilizations, thus resulting in a Dark Age which ended many millennia later. What’s your take on this?

  85. Dear Violet

    Thank you for your response. What you are saying is that with an elemental personality, what you see is what you get. With a psychopathic personality what you see is a mask that hides something pretty nasty. The mask that a psychopath wears is a facsimile of a human being which is often sophisticated enough fool people about what lies behind it.

    Yours sincerely


  86. Hi John Michael,

    As usual you give us much to consider and cogitate upon.

    Dunno about your worldview, but to me stories everywhere. And they are as much a part of life as breathing is. It is hard for me not to see stories in common place things and events.

    Does your warning suggest that it would be wise to cultivate an awareness of your own (speaking of the nebulous third person) personal limitations? 😉 I do hope the young bloke who was struggling with the porn addiction is continuing to read along. This essay may have something to say to him in particular.



  87. Kimberly (and by extension, JMG), Thank you for that fine meditation topic on sacred homemaking. it very much relates to my comment a few posts ago in which I admitted to my conflicted “intentionality” around being a homemaker and trying to perceive the full value of that in a society that confers value on very different activities and productions.

    JMG, what was the term again? There was mention of it (the something path) in relation to a novel by Dion Fortune. that seems relevant.

    It would be some devious fun to subvert the “home economics is patriarchal repression, join the professional-managerial class instead” harping. That’s probably partly behind Marie Kondo’s popularity. People recognize the scent of deeper meanings in a society that has tried to scrub such things away.

  88. Robert’s comments on machines and elementals got me thinking along lines that are totally unrelated to computers (which are truly alien to me) – namely, when Europeans explored the seven seas, especially in wooden vessels, they seem to have encountered a lot of “sea monsters” (everything from mermaids to beasts of astounding proportions); this seems to have greatly reduced once metallic vessels and/or motorized sea transport became the norm. Similarly, in the early days of humans flying higher than 5,000 feet they fairly often encountered “foo fighters” and occasionally gruesome beings on their wings (“gremlins” — as an aside, a friend of mine saw beings on the two wings of a plane during one flight, but he saw them as the Hindu gods Ganesh and Kartikeya). I am wondering if these might be water elementals and air elementals, respectively, who are just reminding us that the universe is full of intelligent beings, especially at a time when belief that humans are the only intelligent beings on this planet is rampant. Perhaps this even extends to space, as I have come across stories of various astronauts seeing “impossible things” out there (though I am at this point unsure of the veracity of these accounts).

  89. Narratives of sexual relationships and activities involving elementals might have gone out of fashion in the occult scene since Fortune’s day, but if I’m not mistaken, they appear frequently today in a different venue couched in a different symbolic language. The world of extreme erotic art and stories (by whose standards the “Story of O” milieu is practically vanilla) clusters around a number of distinct motifs involving victims experiencing different types of lethal processes or transformations as an ultimate erotic thrill. The creators of these fantasies are clearly identifying with the victim. (If there’s an executioner involved, they’re just a device to make the victim’s/author’s transformation/snuff fantasy happen. Just as often, the treatment is consensual.)

    The relevant point is, the most popular of those motifs have obvious associations with the traditional elements, and all the elements are well represented. I’m not going to enumerate the varieties, but I’ll mention just one example (the most common of them, if I’m not mistaken, perhaps due to its similarity to a dangerous but at least actually practicable in real life kink, asphyxia): erotic hanging, clearly associable with air.

  90. More re social insects. There are some who feel that the individual bee, ant, termite, is not an individual in the same sense that an individual vertebrate is. In this view the hive or nest is the organism and the individuals are more like our individual cells–the queen as a ovary, the workers as muscle, etc. On this model the bee or ant wouldn’t feel crowded in the hive any more than our red blood cells feel crowded in a capillary. And despite our imposition of human hierarchy, the queen is not a ruler. The workers ‘decide’ when to swarm, when to breed a new queen, when to expel excess drones, etc. We know that bees can communicate the location of food sources by means of ‘dancing’ but I don’t know how they make or communicate the decisions about the fate of the hive itself. I suspect the human brain is simply not capable of understanding a process so foreign to our own biology. Once again, scent is probably involved, but patterns of motion may be as well.

  91. Regarding Newton and depersonalization, I find myself in the position of the child continually asking “why?” Why can’t angels move planets in ellipses (with appropriate perturbations for other bodies) just as well as in epicyclic paths? Isn’t that, in fact, a more complex task, suitable for an intelligent being?

    I do see that there’s a difference between a model that’s a description of an observed effect, and one that purports to represent the cause. But closely examined, that distinction becomes paper-thin. Imagine two forms to fill out: on one, line 3 says “enter a number here that’s the sum of the entries in lines 1 and 2” and on the other, line 3 says “add the entries in lines one and two and write the result here.” One specifies the qualities of the required entry, while the other describes the method of obtaining it. Big difference?

    And the distinction between epicyclic motion and gravitationally influenced Newtonian motion doesn’t even go that far, because actually, the laws of motion and gravitation are also descriptions of observed effects, not of causes. Don’t ask a physicist “how does gravity actually happen?” or even “how does mass cause inertia?” and expect to get clear answers. I don’t understand—no, I suppose I do understand, but I really dislike—how that paper-thin if not completely invalid distinction got turned into a vicious polarity.

    from Edgar Allen Poe’s “Sonnet—To Science”

    Hast thou [science] not dragged Diana from her car,
    And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
    To seek a shelter in some happier star?
    Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
    The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
    The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

    Oh, Poe. The angels never stopped singing the Music of the Spheres. I guess everyone has to decide for themselves whom to blame, if they stopped listening.

  92. Bridge – the guy in the video sounded like a Karen himself! He wasn’t griping, he was (rhymed with ‘rich’) -ing. At high speed.

  93. Your Kittenship, I still make that assessment.

    Aziz, I don’t know of an account that’s fair to all sides, but one starting place is Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn, which is at least equally unfair to everyone.

    CR, that would be my guess.

    Phil K, heh heh heh.

    Ecosophian, one of the oddest things about the whole transgender business is that those transwomen who make the most noise about being real women are invariably those who act most like men.

    Jay Pine, yes, people in the sciences notice that every few decades, and then scramble around hurriedly to hush it up. 😉

    Rajat, it seems entirely reasonable to me. The one caution I’d offer is that not all advanced technologies need resemble our idea of what an advanced technology would look like!

    Chris, not merely wise but desperately necessary!

    Temporaryreality, I think the phrase you’re looking for is “the path of the hearth fire.”

    Ron, yes, and it strikes me as intriguing in the extreme that in both cases, the anomalous beings stopped being seen when the vehicles in question stopped being made of wood and started being made of steel. Sailors in wooden ships saw mermaids, and pilots of wooden and fabric airplanes saw gremlins; sailors in steel ships and aluminum airplanes didn’t…

    Anyonymous, hmm. I can see how that might be parallel.

    Bridge, good heavens, yes. To cite only one example, her approach to polarity work started from the assumption that you can only generate polarity between a man and a woman, using the sexual energy between them — and that’s not even close to true. Any emotional interaction between two people can generate polarity. One of the best examples I saw in action was between two women who were both straight, and couldn’t stand each other, but stifled their animosity in order to work together in lodge. Put them opposite each other in a magical lodge working and the energy was thick enough to spread with a knife — and the magus of the lodge took that energy, directed it, and away we went.

    Walt, of course you can construct a magical cosmology based on Newtonianism — and in fact the Cos.Doc is in fact an attempt to do just that. The use of Newtonian ideas as a way to promote the idea of a dead and mechanical cosmos wasn’t inherent in Newtonianism — it was inherent in the cultural forces and narratives that appropriated Newtonianism for their own uses.

  94. There Dion Fortune goes again, reaching through time and space to influence the future… just like that, I’m writing my next book, Sacred Homemaking. The subscription library may still be in the cards as well, but for now, there won’t be any feminine-oriented equivalent to The Strenuous Life coming from me. I do hope someone else will take up that that torch and run with it.

    I envision three sections of the book.

    The first is the spiritual impetus behind the book, and that means recognizing that homemaking is a vital and crucial art. One statement popped into my head as a result of the meditations on The Priestess tarot card that inspired my first thoughts on this topic: homemaking is the art of etheric balance. Nothing in this world can proceed without balance. Our culture’s discounting of the value of home as sanctuary is unsurprisingly detached and ignorant. I’m going to talk about training oneself to sense the spirit of place in this section of the book, including a few simple exercises to get started like the Druid tree energy exchange and one that involves walking through neighborhoods and making observations about the feelings of various houses. I’ll include a chapter about animism and what it feels like to perceive the world around us, including inanimate objects, as imbued with spirit and character. I’ll talk about how I went from atheist to my current state of eccentricity, talking to trees, bushes, my car, my stove, gods and goddesses, ghosts, my bathwater, etc. and how this actually makes me LESS crazy than I was before.

    The second section of the book will deal with development of habits that make for a better home life. I will suggest people set up small altars to their chosen deity in their homes, whether that is Christ or the goddess Artemis. In my case, I have two altars in my house, both nestled into bookshelves. One is to Demeter and one is to Bastet. Thinking about setting up a third to Mary (secretly Elen) in my garden this year. There will be a chapter on discursive meditation and another on prayer. I’ll talk about cooking one’s own meals and why it is so magnificent to have a good cook in the house — as you guys know, I can go on at some length about cooking and the etheric value of home-cooked food. I’ll discuss honoring the days of the week with various scents and mini-rituals and seasonal celebrations.

    The third section of the book will be how-tos and troubleshooting. I’ll include instructions for hoodoo baths, how to get better sleep and avoid night terrors, and dealing constructively with adverse situations like angry ghosts or bad neighbors via sweetening spells (honey jars, amulets) and probably a straight-up recipe section for some of the things I’m somewhat decent at making like sushi and soups. I’m thinking maybe an index of mundane problems and acts of planetary charity to remedy them would be appropriate. And maybe some down and dirty hacks for saving money and re-purposing stuff that would otherwise get thrown away will get put in this section.

    Any suggestion or advice would be warmly welcome. Please don’t hesitate to email me at my improbable nospace world at gmail dot comm address if it is more than what will do for JMG’s blog post. I have written only one non-fiction book, and that is my guitar method: I am going to need all the help I can get. I am going to need an editor and one or more proofreaders.

  95. Hi JMG,

    And in some countries, like this one, you have to try to calculate how likely the other guy is to want to SHOOT it out, and not with holy water, either.

    Hi Rita,

    One bee by herself won’t live long. Likewise 2 bees, 4 bees, 6 bees… Even several thousand bees won’t live long unless they raise a new queen. I’ve read that the lack of a brood-inhibitor pheromone emitted by a healthy queen is what triggers rearing new queens, if you’re lucky, and laying workers, if you’re not. It seems to me that the “mind,” if you can call it such, is whatever triggers the orderly release of the various pheromones. So in a sense, you can call the queen the mind, since the processes mostly start with her. Continuing the analogy, you could call the queen the sane mind, and a laying-worker hive an insane hive, especially since trying to requeen a laying-worker hive won’t work; the addled bees will kill her. Bees are fascinating little critters. Ants are very similar.

    Many beekeepers requeen the hive every spring to avoid all the potential problems you get with aging queens. This brings up the interesting question of whether the bees notice the replacement, or whether, like disgusted American voters, they figure she’s more of the same and notice, but think a difference which makes no difference is no difference, so do they shrug and carry on?

  96. QAnon from the viewpoint of the PMC:

    I don’t know anyone who pays attention to QAnon. I know they’re out there and they think a sizable fraction of the ultra-rich is composed of pedophiles, which seems plausible—most of us probably read about the “Lolita express” and about Jeffrey Epstein being silenced—but that’s about it. Anyone else?

  97. @Rajat:

    I think pre-Younger Dryas civilizations are not only possible, but virtually certain to have existed (on general principles, so to speak). Possibly the oldest levels at the Gunung Padang megalithic site in Indonesia predate the Younger Dryas.

    As for lost Roman technology, more than 100 excamples of the artifact called the Gallo-Roman Dodecahedron have bneen found so far. They were pretty clearly made for some practical purpose, not just as ornaments or cult objects. Yet no one has yet managed to figure out what they were used for and how they worked.

  98. There’s a masculine side to sacred homemaking (I really like that phrase) as well.

    A home is enhanced when it is situated within a well-built house, and such a house is a machine with very slow-moving parts that work according to a seasonal pattern. (At least, houses were machines back in the days before they were mass-produced. A lot of the old house-building lore was discarded after mass-production of houses kicked in big-time and planned obsolescence became a profitable thing.) And men, to make a huge and crass generalization, like machines and like to keep them in good working order.

    Some of these parts of a well-built house move seasonally in response to human efforts, for example, old-style storm-windows and window-screens, which must be put up and taken down using ladders. Other parts change their action of themselves, if they are well-maintained, for example the complex of soffet-vents and other means of maintaining good seasonal air-flow, or the old-fashioned kitchen cooler (a closet with slatted shelves and two vents to the outside, one at the bottom and one at the top), which pre-dates even the icebox and works better than a modern refrigerator for many purposes.

    The one time I had occasion to take an oath mentioning specific Deities, I chose to name Hephaistos (smithcraft) and Hestia (hearthfire): of all the Deities in the world that I know of, these two appeal to me more strongly than any others. Of course, they are not only Greek.

  99. “Should he seek to approach them, he does so through the corresponding aspects of his own etheric double, but does so at his peril, for thought they will first vivify those aspects they will subsequently absorb them.”

    This is one excellent recommendation and warning for scientists.

  100. Kimberly, my suggestion is that once you finish the manuscript, you consider placing it with a publisher in the spiritual/occult field. There are quite a few of them, including some that I can highly recommend; they’re well staffed with editors and proofreaders, and if they like your work they’re likely to toss you a couple of thou as an advance, then market the living bejesus out of it and send you royalties thereafter. This is the kind of book that is worth having professionally published, and ought to find a publisher quite readily.

    Your Kittenship, I don’t know any Q fans personally, but I’ve seen a lot of Q talk in various corners of the internet. I’m pretty sure it’s organized disinformatsiya — the big questions are who’s behind it and what’s their agenda.

    Robert (if I may), good heavens — I hadn’t heard of those. What a strange object!

    Oleg, true indeed!

  101. @Lady Cutekitten and others:

    I see that Wikipedia calls them “California Coolers” and gives a good account of them:

    My great-grandmother’s house in Berkeley had a cooler in the kitchen, next to the sink. When I was young, back in the 1940s, she also had a very small icebox, later replaced by a smallish refrigerator. We used the cooler for all mildly perishable foods like butter, milk, cream, vegetables, cheese, eggs, bananas, etc. Very few things really needed to be refrigerated, not just cooled.

    They work beautifully, at least in that climate. And, of course, it costs absolutely nothing to run one day and night …

  102. There’s a fairly plausible theory that the Roman Dodecahedrons were knitting frameworks for gloves. I believe you can get something similar online to try it out for yourself, although I haven’t done that myself. Just crocheting scarves is barely within my current capabilities.

    Something I have done is dreaming in code. It only happened to me for a short period during the most interesting period of my professional life, although I have lived long enough to see those the concepts and ideas we were working with become commonplace. Even at the time though, it felt unhealthy and there’s no doubt that it completely cuts you off from virtually everyone.


  103. Robert C. Guy, what did these “dreams in code” look and feel like if I may ask? I think you’ll be interested in Douglas Hofstadter’s work, it’s somewhere between cognitive science and AI.

    Ron M, I’d like to think it’s related to the astrological age’s element these stuff happened in. If we are moving into the Aquarian Age then it’s likely these experiences will happen more often to those in the air force and space programs for instance, as generic as this may sound.

  104. Kimberly – put me down for a pre-order! I’m in a small apartment in a campus managed and landscaped by others, but this still sounds like a very valuable book! [Ob: Hali-verse, it would have had sales to match those of The Innsmouth Book among the people of the Great Old Ones, for sure!]

    Pat in Florida.

    P.S. My altar has the Primordial Mother and Pan; I used to have Bast, but gave her image to my vet (after explaining who she was and why I thought she’d be a good fit) after giving Spot his final mercy. But if I find a 4″-6″ one anywhere, there’s a bookcase space waiting for her. Great good luck and inspiration be with you on your book!

  105. That Roman gadget looks like something designed to have a shaft of some sort inserted and possibly to be connected to something else, with maybe 12 different ways to do so depending on the angle you wanted. I wouldn’t hesitate to call it a machine part.

  106. @Robert Mathiesen

    re: houses as machines: My grandfather built a cottage on a lakeshore. It’s still in the family. Being an engineer, he spent months poring over maps and making calculations and visiting the place before he bought the lot. In typical engineer fashion, the place is not big on aesthetics, but the thing he did with all those calculations is build the house facing just the right way… southwest-ish across the water, with a wide lakeside porch. It is subtly magnificent. In midsummer, when everything here is unbearably hot, the sun never shines directly in the house windows. In winter, the sun comes in the windows morning and late afternoon, but also during a lot of the middle parts of the day, being reflected off the lake at just the right angle, so you rarely need the interior lights during the day. In addition, the interior of the house is arranged so that if you open the front and back windows, the breeze off the lake goes straight through, as there are no inside walls to block it. It makes me sad to think about what’s missing, in all our rigidly north-south oriented neighborhoods, where all the houses are aligned with the street!

    If “Sacred Housekeeping” were to acquire a “Sacred Housebuilding” companion volume, I’d be inclined to buy them both 😉

  107. Perhaps I missed it along the way, but where are the gods in all of this? At the bottom of p. 102 in the revised edition it is stated: “Therefore are the Lords of Form the Lords of Death, for they bring all things living to an end, and things kinetic to a standstill; but they make actual that which was potential. They are the Educators. Discipline is theirs …” This puts me in mind of the functions of Saturn, and in fact clarifies for me very well why Saturn should have almost conflicting associations, and the surrounding discussion including this passage puts me in mind of Force and Form. Some of the elemental functions are cosmic in scope and dimension, while others are more localized, let’s say, thunder and and rain and wind and lightning, but these would traditionally be assigned to gods–are these in some sense elementals, but if so, where do personality and individuality fit in? Then of course we have even more localized elementals, such as nymphs and dryads. Are these synonyms, or are they really disparate ways of looking at the universe? We can also throw planetary spirits into the mix and wonder about those correspondences.

    Spengler seems to throw the door wide open to this and similar ways of thinking, though he himself does not walk through that door. Towards the beginning of Book II, Chapter II, Section III he writes: “This ‘English’ type of causality is not only shallow, but also far too narrow. It limits possible causal connexions, in the first place, to those which work out their entire course on the earth’s surface; but this immediately excludes all great cosmic relations between earthly life-phenomena and the events of the solar system and the stellar universe, and assumes the impossible postulate that the exterior face of the earth-ball is a completely insulated region of natural phenomena. And secondly, it assumes that connections which are not comprehensible by the means at present available to the human consciousness–namely, sensation refined by instruments and thought precised [sic] by theory–do not even exist.” Here he opens the door. At the end of this section, he is going to throw it wide open, as follows. “Every being, active or contemplative, strides onto its fulfilment by epochs and we have to assume just such epochs in the history of the solar systems and the world of fixed stars. The origins of the earth, of life, of the free-moving animal are such epochs, and, therefore, mysteries that we can do no more than accept.” Here it appears that Spengler looks mystery (i.e., things which we do not have the means to explain given the tools of our culturally-bound science) squarely in the face, and accepts it.

  108. @ Robert

    My personal favorite theory about Roman dodecahedra is that they are ancient Roman knitting mushrooms:

    No idea how likely this is, and some examples seem to have holes way too small? For my money, I’d want more than five knobs on some of those sides, were I using it to knit. But apparently someone has actually used a replica dodecahedron to knit a glove…

  109. If the holes opposite each other in the Gallo-Roman dodecahedron were closely related in size, it might be a go-no go gauge for spear shafts or the like. The knobbles would be required to enable a pole to be visibly poked right through if it was too small in diameter.

    “Give me XX number V spear shafts, my good man. III denarii, you say?”

  110. Kimberly, that book sounds really, really good. I stayed at home with my kids for seven years while my wife worked, during which time we built our house and little hobby farm on land that had been vacant for 40 years. I really considered myself a home-maker in every sense! It was during this time that I experienced my spiritual reawakening. I look forward to reading your story very much. I would recommend The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery if you haven’t read it. It’s part autobiography, part cookbook, and part how-to manual for everything from plumbing to gardening to animal husbandry to beekeeping. It’s not at all what you are trying to do, but it covers a lot of the facets of the hearth path from a different angle.

    To further Robert’s point about the masculine side of sacred home making, I’ve always liked Wendell Berry’s take on the word ‘husband’. As a carpenter, I have always been able to feel the spirits of the mostly men who worked on the house before me. At first I thought it was just interesting that people could leave traces of themselves in their work, but considered it consistent with my materialist view. I get nothing from newer houses, as they are mostly built and maintained by hired trades that don’t really care about the house. From older houses where the people who lived there did the work there is a very strong emotional presence. It’s not as explicit as the presence of an author in his/her writing, so it sometimes feels like I’m making it up, but it’s the same kind of presence. In one house that I lived in I could really feel the presence of the old woman who raised a family in the house, especially in the garden and kitchen, and the younger man (he had died much earlier than her) especially in the garage and in a basement bedroom he had clearly built for one of his children. Interestingly, I could feel no traces of the children at all.

    Robert Guy, while reading the first paragraph of your reply I thought “he’s doing a really good impression of Dion Fortune, I barely understand any of this.” Interestingly though, the whole time I was drawing links to computer architecture and the levels of code and software layered over it, before I even read your second paragraph. You have a really good insight into how we can lose ourselves in the abstraction of these machines. I studied computer science for three years before I had an Aha! moment after leaving a smelly computer lab at three in the morning and walking home on one of those deep-freeze, perfectly still nights under a crystal clear canopy of stars. It was a turning point in my life.


  111. I have been curious as to your opinion on what the world would look like if the USSR successfully reformed like China did and hence still existed as a superpower today.

    On the one hand, there may be more asabiyyah (Arabic for “social solidarity”) in Western nations and less globalization. On the other, there may be fewer misguided US invasions because the Red Army may still be stationed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan (like their Russian successors were in the former Soviet ally of Syria).

  112. OK. Things have officially become weird (and I mean that in one of its original senses). Electrons May Very Well Be Conscious. “… inanimate matter … does things. It responds to forces. Electrons move in certain ways that differ under different experimental conditions. These types of behaviors have prompted respected physicists to suggest that electrons may have some type of extremely rudimentary mind. For example the late Freeman Dyson, the well-known American physicist, stated in his 1979 book, Disturbing the Universe, that “the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call ‘chance’ when made by electrons.” Quantum chance is better framed as quantum choice—choice, not chance, at every level of nature. David Bohm, another well-known American physicist, argued similarly: “The ability of form to be active is the most characteristic feature of mind, and we have something that is mind-like already with the electron.””

    Force, form and mind. Hmm. The article continues: “… “change” means many different things, including position in space over time. What Dyson is getting at in his remark about electrons and quantum theory is that the probabilistic distribution-outcomes of quantum experiments (like the double-slit experiment) are better explained as the product, not of pure chance (another way of saying “we don’t know”), but of numerous highly rudimentary choices by each electron in each moment about where and how to manifest.”

    Further: “Rather than being unchanging things moving around in a container of space-time—the modern view in a nutshell—[Alfred North] Whitehead [o-author with the hard-headed Bertrand Russell of Principia Mathematica] conceives of particles like electrons as a chain of successive iterations of a single electron that bear a strong likeness to each other in each iteration, but are not identical to each other. Each iteration is a little different than the last. There is no static and unchanging electron. The degree to which each iteration is more or less different than the last iteration is the place for an iota of choice, and mind. This iota of choice compounds upwards and, through the course of biological evolution, results in the complex types of mind and choice that we humans and other mammals enjoy.” With respect to some of Whitehead’s other works, the article contains this “funny” line: “These are sometimes difficult works but are well worth the struggle to get through if you’re interested in basing physics on a more empirical metaphysical foundation.” “Basing physics on a more empirical metaphysical foundation”. Precious. In short, “there is plenty of room in modern physics for electrons to “think.””

    What I think I’m seeing here are the Lords of Flame, and their creations, the elementals, at work.

  113. The most interesting thing IMO about the QAnon phenom is how much traction it has. To me it seems as if people are getting fed up with the lies and the self-serving behavior of the current crop of elites (ethics lite?…e-lite) and would love to see a return to a more organic and people-driven republic. Plus a good scavenger hunt and mystery is always diverting.

  114. Could there be an animist form of intelligent design? So evolution still happens, but the spirit of each species can guide it. The spirit may look at the way things are going and think “Let’s try…lungs.” Then poke the DNA to get it to mutate in the appropriate way. Of course there’s no guarantee it will be a good descision, or won’t paint them into a corner later on.

  115. Back to the physics of the spirit world. When beings hit nadir and start heading back up again, is there something they pivot around? If there is, the nearest equivalent is an elliptical or eccentric orbit. When that happens there is tidal heating – the reason there are volcanos on Io and geysers on Europa.

    If the universe does end up heading towards heat death, tidal heating will be some of the last sources of heat in the universe. Long after the stars have burned out, those kinds of moons, and any planets asymmetrically orbiting stellar remnants, will still be warm. Even as everything around them descends to absolute zero.

  116. Lady Cutekitten of Lolcat wrote, “I don’t know anyone who pays attention to QAnon. I know they’re out there and they think a sizable fraction of the ultra-rich is composed of pedophiles, which seems plausible—most of us probably read about the “Lolita express” and about Jeffrey Epstein being silenced—but that’s about it. Anyone else?”

    I do have one friend who loves all the outrageously entertaining and interlocking stories that bubble up out of QAnon. He really loves to point out how all the deep, deep truth QAnon has uncovered meshes perfectly with his Rapturous reading of the bible’s predictions for bankers or politicians or some other preferred servants of the dark lord to trigger a fire and brimstone tantrum from his angry, angry god that will make Sodom and Gomorrah look like child’s play. I think his various desires for easy answers are all of a piece, whether they come from infallible preachers or infallible Channers. Let’s face it, we live in a option-rich time for people who don’t want to be responsible for thinking their own thoughts. What is hard to parse is why some prefer to drink the Cool-Aid of the MSM while others prefer the Cool-Aid of its alter-egos, like QAnon.

    As for the pedophilic rings that supposedly run all the world’s governments, my friend is a true believer. Something about the whole underage sex taboo getting broken en masse by the elite allows the little guy to feel morally superior, no matter how fixated on perversion he may be at heart. And, by Jove’s testicles, QAnon appears to be deeply, disturbingly fixated on perversion! Periods of decadence and decline always encourage perversion from the professed ideal, and the rich and powerful are in a position to partake of that offering. Nothing new there. Meanwhile, the poor and powerless are safer just salivating behind their keyboards.

    Similar to John Michael’s read that the UFO craze was actively fomented by the US Air Force to help keep its secret programs secret, I think the whole Epstein soap opera was purposefully kept indecipherable to brew as much conspiracy smoke cover as possible. Epstein had a ton of dirt on a ton of people, and there were just as many people who wanted to get that dirt as there were people who wanted it silenced. Nothing new there, either. What’s fascinating is the power shift that must have taken place for anyone to have felt safe going after Epstein. Somehow Epstein missed that shift and had no usable dirt on the winner when he needed it — oops! And the winner would want as much smoke cover as possible to protect his allies and only take out his enemies with his file cabinet full of dirt. Someone whose loyalty was not bought is now holding an awful lot of incriminating information about an awful lot of important people…

    The fact that this shaleshow involved child sex slavery, rather than say off-shore accounts or illegal weapons sales, simply means that there will be far more disturbingly obsessed primates forming circles to hoot about it, even if those have to be virtual circles. This salacious soap opera is made to order for state actors to endlessly distort and falsify the narrative to their advantage. QAnon may be essentially a smoke-blowing project of the FBI, as there is nothing the status quo wants so much as to always control opposition voices.

  117. Aziz – interesting thought! I assume that because Pisces is a water sign and Aquarius an air sign, you expect the anomalous beings / elementals (or whatever the blazes they are) to manifest more in the air than in the seas in the future? Although gremlins seem to be a rare sight these days, there are still a lot of weird things in our skies being reported by commercial and amateur pilots (stuff that is waaaaay to big to be experimental military aircraft, also flying humanoids, pterosaurs, etc.). Certainly a concept worth considering.

  118. I used to dream in code when I started programming professionally as a self-taught Clipper programmer. (Clipper is an old database language.) I was out of my depth at first, and at night my dreams were of lines of code. Unfortunately, they always scrolled past too rapidly for me to read!

  119. Andy, fascinating. A little depressing, too — it would be cool if the dodecahedrons were something cooler than glove frameworks!

    Someone, remember that Fortune was a Christian, if an eccentric one. In her metaphor, the god of the solar system is the Solar Logos, and the Lords of Flame are his angels. Can the metaphor be reworked in a polytheist direction? Of course it can, and Spengler’s comments point to one of the ways in which this can be done.

    Aidan, er, that’s getting way off topic for a post on the Cos.Doc. Perhaps you can save it for my next open post.

    Someone, good heavens. They actually admitted that in print? Katy bar the door! 😉 Yes, it does look as though you’re watching some of the smallest and simplest elementals move through the dance they were taught by the Lords of Flame.

    Luna, if politicians lie to people often enough, the people will believe anyone who starts off his discourse with “You know the politicians are lying…” And of course you’re right about the scavenger hunt aspect.

    Yorkshire, of course there are animist versions of intelligent design, also polytheist versions. (I can’t find online the hilarious essay that describes the process of creating the animals as a sort of jazz improv session among the Roman gods, with Bacchus — very drunk as always — coming up with all the weird ones.)

    As for heat death, if the universe is in fact in Riemannian space, that’s not an option, nor does anything have to ban a U-turn. As the fragments of the big bang fly further and further away from one another, the curvature of space brings them back around again to their starting point, where they all slam into one another at relativistic speeds. Boom! Ekpyrosis, as the Stoics used to call it, and the cycle begins again.

    Christophe, that seems plausible enough — well, except for linking Qanon to the FBI; controlling opposition voices is one thing, but the whole Qanon movement seems tailor-made to get people riled up in support of Trump, which is not exactly in keeping with the FBI’s other behavior! That said, there are many possible players in this game.

    Jay, the eliminative materialists must be writhing — well, or they would be if they were conscious beings. 😉

  120. Let me try again:

    “Look out your window, and what do you spy?
    Rain falling out of a sun-shiny sky,
    It’s changing to hailstones that weigh half-a-ton,
    With seven live frogs hopping out of each one.
    It’s not the Last Judgment, stop wailing of sin,
    It’s only the Gods at wine-tasting again!

    So, drink, drink to Charlie Forts’ memory,
    Marvelous doings and marvelous sights.
    Drink, drink, we may as well join them.
    The Gods are not crazy, they’re higher than kites!

    When strange objects tumble from out of the clouds
    Stay under cover, for Thor’s gotten plowed!
    Those odd, manlike creatures are not saucer-men,
    But shape-shifting Mercury’s, plastered again!
    It’s not Armageddon, it’s only a sign,
    That this season’s ambrosia really is fine!


    Weird cloven hoof-prints dance all up and down,
    To glow on the streets and the walls of your town.
    Made by some creature that ran on two legs.
    Plus, the sheep are all pregnant, and the roosters laid eggs.
    Don’t blame the Devil or run to the hills.
    It’s only old Pan, and he’s crocked to the gills!


    Eerie lights blossom all over the sky.
    Put on your sunscreen, Apollo is high!
    The boulders have moved and the animals talk.
    A tiddly great Goddess is out for a walk.
    Don’t wail of UFOS, there’s nothing to fear. . .
    Just be thankful the drink’s not this good every year!


  121. Wooler,
    Firstly I have always liked Wendell Berry and am sorry I did not come across him earlier in my life as his influence would have been beneficial. Does this make him an influencer? I hope not.
    Martin Back,
    Interesting to read about you dreaming in code. When I visited Japan about 50 years ago I started dreaming in Japanese. I don’t know what it was about as I don’t speak Japanese so it might not even have been Japanese just my brain’s take on it.

  122. John Michael, absolutely. I should have written “some three-letter agency” rather than name the least likely cabal of state actors to aid Trump in his re-election efforts. Or the administration may not be using one of those official agencies at all. God knows, Trump has the money to set up his own intelligence team and to ensure its loyalty to him. He’d be a total fool if he were relying on the joint chiefs and the three-letters for all his guidance.

    I wonder if Trump holds enough cards to take out the entire leadership of the FBI, cast promotion from within the agency as an unacceptable continuation of the old corruption, and then shift his loyal team over into all the top spots at the FBI? Why drain the swamp if you have no one to fill the empty ecological niches you’ve created? So many competing strategies, all achieving the same tragic outcome — banana republic. Which corrupt overlords would you commoners prefer — Trump’s, Obama’s, Bush’s, Clinton’s, or Reagan’s? Has “none of the above” become an option yet? Hopefully, there’s a principled Pecora posing as a true loyalist somewhere in Trump’s sycophantic stable.

  123. Our host and a number of readers have aired the view that gods/God/nature/all the above are so angry with the mess industrial civilization has made that they’re fighting back. After having been on the fence, I now agree. When you may run out of RABBITS, for God’s sake:

    (I wonder if there’s any chance we might run out of urban squirrels? And urban skunks? We can hope!)

    So, did Dion Fortune have any ideas on how we can preserve the good parts of industrial civilization?

  124. Just a note that as a (too) occasional donor I found it difficult to find the tip jar this time. Of course I should be a regular contributor!

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