Not the Monthly Post

The Flight from Prediction

I think most of my readers know that my academic background, such as it is, is in the history of ideas. To some extent that was simply the best option I could find when I returned to college in 1991 to complete my degree.  Then as now, the University of Washington didn’t offer a major in occult philosophy, and its comparative history of ideas program was the one major I could find that allowed me to patch together the subjects I wanted to study into a sequence of courses that would get me a degree of some kind.

The University of Washington. Like most US universities, it’s a waste of your money these days, but it was a little better (and a lot cheaper) thirty years ago.

That said, even if the UW had offered a major in occult philosophy, I probably would have minored in the history of ideas anyway. If you want to write nonfiction for a living, having some grasp of the history of the ideas you’re writing about is one of the few ways to avoid getting trapped in the maze of contemporary clichés that make so many writers in every era so dull.  If you plan on making a career as a dumpster diver in the back alleys of Western culture, pulling abandoned traditions out of the trash and putting them back into circulation, knowing the history of ideas is essential if you want to have a clue about what you’re seeing. Since I was intending to do both, a good solid background in that field was basic job training for me.

Yet the history of ideas has a broader usefulness. There’s no more sensitive gauge of where a nation or a culture is headed than the ebb and flow of ideas out there in its fringe subcultures.  It’s there that you can watch first drafts of the future being written, revised, and discarded. It was in the pamphlet press of the 1650s that the themes of the age of democratic revolutions more than a century later first surfaced; it was in the pages of pulp magazines, the gutter literature of their time, that the grand narrative of humanity’s pilgrimage to the stars, one of the twentieth century’s dominant myths, first found its voice. Politicians and business executives who pride themselves on their hardheaded practicality, far more often than they realize, are simply mouthing the words of some fringe intellectual fifty or a hundred years in the past.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern dream psychology. He wasn’t much help.

All this is background to a very curious realization I had the other day, which began with dreams.

If you happen to be an occultist, as of course I am, and you enjoy question-and-answer sessions where people bring up queries about occultism and you answer them, as of course I do, one thing you’ll encounter fairly often in such sessions is that people will recount dreams to you and ask you what they mean. I’ve made a habit of shrugging and saying that I have no idea, and for good reason. Until quite recently, dreams weren’t something I’d studied; I had a long list of other branches of occultism I wanted to learn, and only so many hours in a day—or night.

I’d also discovered, on the past occasions when I’d kept a notebook by my bed and recorded my dreams, that the books on dream interpretation I’d been able to find made zero sense out of them. Maybe I’m just weird—that suggestion has of course been made tolerably often, starting about the time I learned to walk—but my dreams don’t seem to fit into any of the usual patterns.  I read Freud, of course, and Jung; I also read a certain amount of the abundant literature on dreams and dreamwork that came into fashion in the late 20th century; and I compared my dreams to what these various writers had to say and ended up wondering whether I was dreaming in Martian or something. So I filed the whole thing away for the time being.

Recently, though, since the passing of my wife Sara, I’ve had more time to fill than usual. After a series of vivid dreams, I decided to give dreamwork another try. So I put a notepad and a pen on the nightstand, and started collecting my dreams. (That’s always been easy for me; it’s a rare morning when I don’t recall at least one.) They were just as odd as before, and the dream books I checked out from the local library were no more helpful than usual. Then—ah, then came a dream that I could actually interpret.

Carl Jung, whose theories influenced most modern dream psychology. He wasn’t much help either.

No, it wasn’t one of those big life-changing dreams that Jungian theorists in particular like to write about. Here it is. I am sitting at a table with three women, two of them older and one young. They are talking about craft projects. One of the older women explains to the younger one that if she wants to succeed, she will have to be ready to give presentations to audiences on the ninth day of each month.  The young woman says that this means she will have to collect information starting right away, right?  The older woman smiles and says, yes, exactly.

That was the dream. The context is that the day before, I’d agreed to give a presentation toward the end of June about Masonic history to a local group of Freemasons. Masons like to refer to their organization as “the Craft.” Thus in a certain sense my talk is about Craft projects, and I realized as I reflected on the dream that it was offering specific advice in regard to it.  It was saying specifically that I needed to have my presentation finished by the ninth of June, and that I’d better get busy collecting information for it.

That is to say, it was making a prediction.

That was when doors started swinging open, because until the late 19th century it was standard all over the world for dreams to be understood as omens, predictions, and warnings. When the Egyptian pharaoh had that dream about seven plump cows and seven scrawny cows, Joseph didn’t interpret it as a reflection of the pharaoh’s  relationship with his mother, or an effusion from the collective unconscious, or anything else psychological. He read it as a prediction—and at least according to the Book of Genesis, he was right.

The same way of thinking about dreams can be found round the world and throughout history. Oneiromancy, divination through dreams, is shared by nearly all the world’s cultures.  It’s well known in most of those cultures that dreams sometimes give false predictions; the action of Homer’s Iliad slams into overdrive, for example, when Zeus deliberately sends the Greek king Agamemnon a lying dream to mess with him. There were also skeptics and rationalists in ancient times and other cultures, who argued that dreams were just random imagery that had no predictive power at all, except through sheer blind chance.

Zeus sending the lying dream to Agamemnon, in the classic etching by John Flaxman.

Yet in late 19th century Europe, among the educated classes, opinion started swinging away from those familiar positions. Sigmund Freud’s the most important figure here, though there were influential writers before him who laid the foundations for his work, and plenty of others after him that took his basic insight and ran with it, as often as not in directions that horrified him. Freud’s central claim, the foundation of his entire system of psychotherapeutic practice, was that dreams offered privileged access to the dreamer’s unconscious thoughts and feelings, and thus to his or her psyche with all its quirks and foibles. That’s the direction in which most dreamwork has gone since his time. It’s not about prediction, it’s about personality.

Let’s change tracks here for a moment. It so happens that one of the other things I’ve been doing with my unwanted supply of spare time brought me face to face with a parallel shift. As I think most of my readers know, I have a second career as a political astrologer; that is, I don’t cast horoscopes for individuals, I read ingress and eclipse charts for entire nations. That said, I’m interested in natal astrology—the astrology of individual horoscopes—and so one of the things I’ve been doing lately is studying the seven hefty volumes of astrological instruction penned by Alan Leo more than a hundred years ago.

Alan Leo, dangerous criminal. How dare he predict the future? Only officially approved experts get to do that.

Alan Leo’s real name was Frederick William Allen; in his day astrology was still illegal in Britain, so a pen name was a good idea. (He still spent time in jail for casting horoscopes.) His series of books can be taken as the starting point for most of modern astrology, and one of the things that made his work modern was a focus on personality rather than prediction.

You have to know the history of astrology to understand how drastic a shift this was. The entire science of astrology was born in Mesopotamia something like five thousand years ago when priestly intellectuals identified the sun, the moon, and the five visible planets with the gods and goddesses of the Sumerian pantheon, and decided to track their movements to try to figure out what the gods had in mind for those of us down here on earth. Prediction was the heart and soul of the whole enterprise, and political prediction was the field where it was first tried.

What happened on earth the last time some current event happened in the skies?  That was the wholly empirical question that intrigued those early astrologers. Over several millennia of careful recordkeeping, tentative hypotheses, failures, and successes, astrology as we know it came into being out of that research project. Personal horoscopes were a side effect of that program—some bright soul decided to see if the birth chart of a king offered any guidance about his behavior and his impact on his kingdom, and away it went from there.

Read books on astrology from antiquity to the early 19th century and it’s all about prediction. The shift Alan Leo set in motion was thus a significant one. To be fair, he didn’t take it very far; his books show a robust and quite reasonable interest in identifying good career choices for people based on their horoscopes, for example, and his book on progressed charts is all about how to use this standard method of prediction. It was after his time that Dane Rudhyar, Marc Edmund Jones, and their successors redefined astrology as a study of personality and did their best to downplay the entire tradition of astrological prediction.

That same attitude spread into other methods of divination. I’m old enough that I can recall the angry denunciations of “fortune telling” flung by tarot readers who focused on personality at the older generation of readers who focused on prediction. I also recall well, and profited from, the first ebbing of that particular tide. Early in my writing career, I used to go to various Neopagan events to make presentations and try to interest readers in my books; I didn’t have a lot of money in those days, and so I helped pay my way by doing geomancy readings for other attendees.

The sixteen geomantic figures.

Geomancy, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is more or less a Western equivalent of the I Ching; it uses randomly generated four-digit binary numbers, where the I Ching uses equally random six-digit numbers. What sets geomancy apart from most other ways of divination is that it’s a method of prediction, full stop, end of sentence. It doesn’t give personality readings. You ask it a question and it gives you the answer, and by and large it’s right.

So I would settle at a table in the divination room, put out a little sign that said JOHN MICHAEL GREER—GEOMANCER, and do readings. My rule was that I’d cast and interpret the readings and then the clients would pay me whatever they thought it was worth.  I cautioned everyone who sat down for a reading that they shouldn’t ask a question if they didn’t want to know the answer, because geomancy doesn’t provide wiggle room; if you ask it “Will I achieve my fondest dream?” it’s perfectly capable of answering “No.”  Of course there were people who didn’t believe me, asked questions like that, tried to get me to take back a negative answer, and ended up flinging a handful of loose change in my face and stalking away in a rage.

But they weren’t the ones who I found interesting. The ones I found interesting were the ones who wanted a straight answer even if it was negative. One woman in particular comes to mind.  She sat down at the table, listened to my spiel, and asked about a grandiose and not very marketable business project.  I cast the chart and it was a very strongly negative one. The woman burst into tears and thanked me, because she’d had a bad feeling about it all along, but she couldn’t get anyone—not her friends, not her advisers, not the other diviners she’d asked—to give her any response other than mindless cheerleading of the “You go, girl!” variety. She then opened her purse, got out some bills with noticeably large numbers on them, and handed them to me, before getting up and letting the next person sit down for a reading.

The Council of Economic Advisers, celebrating 70 years of bad advice to US presidents. A tossed coin would have given more accurate results.

My political astrology these days follows the same principle. I’m in the business of offering the most accurate predictions I can. While I’m certainly not infallible, my predictions are reliably better than, say, those of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. (Admittedly this is shooting fish in a barrel; if an economist tells you the sky is blue, go look.)  As a result, I make quite a decent share of my income from the modest subscriptions I ask, and I’ve heard from people who’ve been saved from various awkward mistakes because they’ve followed my guidance instead of the aggressively cheerful slop being churned out by officialdom.

My point here, however, is not to preen myself on my far from unmixed success as a prophet. It’s to point out that there’s a market niche for someone like me because many people are looking for something that most astrologers, and a fairly hefty number of other diviners, aren’t providing. They want predictions, as accurate as possible, instead of personality-obsessed navel gazing, and they’re ready to hear the bad news if that’s what’s involved.  The flight from prediction that gripped dream interpretation and astrology alike in the late 19th century has deprived a great many people of a resource they want. Meanwhile, the official voices that claim to be able to predict the future are so reliably wrong it’s not even worth laughing at their failed predictions any more.

That, I’ve come to think, points at the heart of the flight from prediction.  The years that Alan Leo was turning away from astrological prediction, and Sigmund Freud was redefining dreams as a means of psychological introspection rather than advice about the future, were also the years when Jules Verne was inventing science fiction, and technological change was first becoming a steady process rather than a matter of occasional fits and starts. Furthermore, it was also the zenith of Europe’s rise to global empire, the moment in history in which most of the planet was  ruled from a European capital, settled by the European diaspora, or both.

If you thought belief in progress goes back very far…

It was during these years that the modern mythology of progress was invented. It can be quite a shock to modern sensibilities to go back before then and read what people in the Victorian era expected their future to look like. Novels such as Richard Jefferies’ After London (1885) and John Ames Mitchell’s The Last American (1889) took it for granted that Western civilization would follow the usual trajectory and suffer the usual fate. By contrast, Alan Leo was among the early adopters of a very different view: the notion that the world stood poised on the brink of a new golden age in which all the miseries of the past would be laid to rest forever.

That belief had been in circulation in its original religious form for a very long time, of course. What made the myth of progress so distinctive was the way that it decked out the Christian belief of the Second Coming in secular drag, and proclaimed the imminent arrival of the Millennium without any supernatural justification. Much of the intellectual history of the Western world from 1890 to 1990, say, was shaped by the transformation of this secondhand mythology from a belief of fringe groups to a commonplace of the cultural mainstream, taken for granted by supposedly serious thinkers and accepted as simple fact by the masses. Much of the intellectual history of the Western world since 1990, in turn, has been shaped by the gradual unraveling of the failed progressivist faith.

…think again.

What gives all this a bitter irony is that the world of the late 19th century was not on the doorstep of Utopia. Rather, it stood poised on the brink of a future of utter horror. Imagine for a moment that Alan Leo had been interested in prediction rather than personality, and that he’d been able to get a good clear look at the next century or so of world history. He would have had the chance to preview two horrific world wars, waves of genocide sweeping across much of Eurasia from Armenia in 1915-1920 to Cambodia in 1976-1978, the total collapse of European empires in a chaos of insurgencies and failed wars, the rise and fall of the Communist and Fascist movements, and much, much more of the same kind, with poison gas, aerial bombardment, and a couple of mushroom clouds in there just to add a little additional piquance.

As it happens, there were people who foresaw some of that in advance. One of the occultists of that era I find most appealing, the colorful Joséphin Péladan, proclaimed to a bemused Paris in 1891 that European civilization had passed its peak and could expect nothing from the years ahead but a bitter decline. He predicted that eventually Chinese troops would conquer France and parade down the Champs Elysées—a prediction that seems far more likely right now than it must have done in his day. More generally, the entire point of the Decadent movement (of which Péladan was a leading figure) was the recognition that the West had had its day and it was all downhill from there.

I suspect, for what it’s worth, that this was what was behind the flight from prediction.  Too many people saw or sensed what was coming and couldn’t handle it, and they fled into a fantasy of a shining future to hide from their own awareness.  It’s understandable that they did so: “Human kind cannot bear very much reality,” T.S. Eliot noted in his poem “Burnt Norton.” Yet there comes a point at which the costs of fleeing from the facts outweigh the benefits.

Welcome to the future. Hiding from it won’t make it go away.

We’re arguably well past that point now. That’s why I could pay most of my travel expenses back in the day by doing geomancy readings that gave people the bad news nobody else would tell them, why a blog posting lengthy essays on the subject of decline did more for my career than any other single thing, and why my political astrology posts—which are by and large pretty gloomy, since that’s what the stars are saying right now—make so robust a contribution to paying my bills.  Outside of the airtight bubbles where our political classes and their hangers-on spend their time, insisting at the top of their lungs that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, a great many people have come to grips with the fact that the future is going to be more difficult than the past and that the mirage of Utopia projected by our manufactured corporate pseudoculture will never be more than a slickly packaged daydream.

I’m not sure how long it will be before that realization starts to affect the practice of astrology, or for that matter the interpretation of dreams. Nonetheless I’d encourage those of my readers who are interested in either of these to consider their predictive possibilities.  As the long road down to the deindustrial dark ages stretches out before us, we can use all the guidance we can get.

274 Comments

  1. I always look forward to your posts and find your writings enlightening. It casts some semblance of recognition of today’s political dramas and the inability to recognize the ineptness of current world leaders . Hopefully, mankind will survive all of this is some form or other.

  2. I have been waiting with great anticipation for your next post based on a mundane astrology chart. I had no idea that that content has a different home. Where do you post this stuff and where do I sign up?

    Many thanks.

  3. Thanks:
    I feel better about my recent (two years now) departure from the “logical” and “scientific” that occupied several academic degrees and a couple decades of employment.
    Most of this started with trying to understand that things weren’t always as they seemed and that there were seemingly more effects than there were apparent causes. It led me down the rabbit holes of I Ching, Tarot, and now Astrology. Needless to say, I am not at all that skilled with the techniques involved, and there is a lot of time spent trying to figure out just what the auguries are trying to tell me, but slow and sporadic progress seems to be happening.
    I try to remember all the tie that the “occult” means “hidden”. I tried rationality for decades and truthfully, I am not all that impressed with the results. I am finding that mixing in a large touch of trying to find out hidden things with a healthy dollop of rationality leads to results that seem more coherent than rationality alone.

  4. Hi JMG,
    The content of this post makes me want to share a precognitive dream I had recently. In the latter third of May, I had a dream that my brother gifted me a giant snapping turtle as a consolation for something he did in the dream. I told him about the dream at midday the next day. I wouldn’t call him a skeptic, but he’s not spiritually inclined either. At 5 PM that day, the dogs alert me to a big ole snapping turtle. Me and my brother end up saving it by putting it in a wheel barrow and taking it a pond. I was pretty excited to have a direct psychic hit with strong witness verification. The synchronicity goes further with magical and psychological effects it had on me but I won’t go into that here.

    Also, I highly recommend the book Awakening in Dreams by Nigel Hamilton. It’s not a pop-psychology dream book. It provides a framework for interpreting dreams through an alchemical lens. The author cites Jung a lot in the appendix. I have found this book to be worth its weight in gold.

    Thanks for the post and have a good week!

  5. This is all very ironic. It sounds like mystics abandoned their empirical approach just as the scientific method reached the apex of its prestige via prediction. I feel like a lot could be said about why occultism abandoned prediction while everyone started obsessing’s over why prediction is the key to knowledge. For whatever its worth, I can tell you that when you argue mystical/theological sources make successful predictions rationalists usually stare at you blankly and then either get offended at slowly back away. When I was in college/grad school those defending natural theology would sometimes get called pretty nasty names now qualifying as hate speech just for arguing that prediction proves a non naturalist model of reality.

    On another related point, what do you think of powerful imagery people experience while awake. I often experience a vivid thought that is unrelated to what I am directly doing at the moment. I always tried to interpret these day dreams like regular dreams; ways to understand my subconscious. Do you think daydreams also give predictions?

    On a final note, do you still do personal geomancy readings? I am just curious to know how that practice with its predictions has held up over the years.

  6. Fantastic! If people are interested in the subject of using dreams for prognostication, I can recommend Robert Moss’s book “Dreaming True.” It might have a little bit of fluff in their to make it palatable to the market, but in general, he doesn’t flinch around getting guidance from dreams as an advance warning system and goes into deep detail around the same. One of the great things about Moss’s approach to dreams is he found his inspiration from shamanism and traditional teachings around dreaming and he has repeatedly taught about their ability to tell the future with accuracy if we can learn to follow the clues. To this end, a one size fits all dream dictionary won’t do. We each need to develop our own symbolism, which starts happening as soon as we start writing down our dreams. I’ve had lots of predictive dreams, some not so pleasant. Some of those not so pleasant happenings I might have avoided if I’d first listened to the wisdom of my dreams. I’d say most of his books are very worthwhile, and I consider my time studying them, and time in some of his online classes and offline workshops well spent, even if I’ve since drifted away from direct involvement.

    His blog still seems to be very active: https://mossdreams.blogspot.com/

  7. Hi JMG,

    I have also found that viewing dreams as “predictions”, or rather, advice on what certain actions I might take would lead to, to be a useful framework. If you’ll indulge a recent personal dream, as an example:

    I’m standing before a gigantic microwave oven, and it is broken. I can see, by looking inside through its open door, that there are broken parts deep inside. I very much want to go in there and fix those broken parts, as I feel it can be done. However, this would require me to climb completely inside of it, and I am overwhelmed with this intuitive fear that, as soon as I crawl inside, some nefarious, unseen actor will slam the door shut, turn on the giant microwave, and cook me alive. I stand at the opening in a state of indecision, and wake up before doing anything.

    In the days leading up to this dream, I had become increasingly dismayed at the deteriorating national politics of my nation (the U.S.), and had started searching for some way to involve myself directly (aside from just voting and donating). Given that context, I interpreted the dream to be a warning, perhaps saying: “If you jump in and try to fix it, there’s no guarantee you won’t get burned. So, if you go in, you better be prepared for that.”

    I’m not sure if my interpretation is correct, but it makes a certain amount of sense.

    Great post this week, thanks!

  8. How much do you think mind influences matter John? Your experiences with prediction suggest “a whole bunch”.

  9. Jasmine, oh, we’ll get through it. Humanity’s a tough generalist species, right up there with rats and cockroaches. 😉 I’m sorry to say, though, that it’s going to be a rough road for the next few hundred years.

    James, good heavens, I thought I’d splashed that all over the place. My mundane astrology charts are available through two venues:

    https://www.subscribestar.com/john-michael-greer
    https://www.patreon.com/johnmichaelgreer

    Take your pick — it costs the same in each case and I get the same slice of the proceeds.

    Degringolade, you’re welcome. I know the feeling — and it intrigues me to watch the same mistake being made on both sides of the Berlin Wall our culture has raised between its rational and transrational capacities. For every person who insists on relying purely on rational means, and despises the transrational, there’s someone who insists in relying purely on transrational means, and despises the rational. It’s as though most people insisted that you had to walk on only one foot or the other, rather than using both!

    Luke, that’s a good one! Thanks for the book recommendation.

    Stephen, that’s an interesting point. I wonder to what extent the flight from prediction was driven by that bane of pop occultism, the quest for respectability — if predictions, especially successful ones, got that kind of pushback in the late 19th century, that might explain a thing or two. Daydreams? Sure, if they’re spontaneous rather than constructed deliberately; that’s what Jung called active imagination, and what occultists call scrying in the spirit vision. It’s another way to access the imaginal realm. With regard to geomancy, nope — I got out of that business as soon as I could afford to. I find it very emotionally stressful.

    B. Tidwell, it’s a run of the mill late Victorian novel. If you’re interested, though, it can be gotten free of charge from Project Gutenberg at https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/27307 . (After London, the first part of which is well worth your while, is here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/13944 .)

    Justin, thanks for this! I’m glad to hear someone else has picked up on this.

    Balowulf, oof! Yeah, that’s how I’d read a dream like that, too.

    Jonathan, er, what? Predictive dreams don’t require any kind of mind-over-matter scenario. Consider the fact that 90% or so of your mental activity is subconscious. Thus your subconscious mind is constantly picking up on subtle cues that your conscious mind is too busy to notice, and assembling those cues into an intuitive assessment of the situation. (There are solid Darwinian reasons why it should do this, after all.) Dreams are then one of the ways you can tap into your own subconscious knowledge. As for the broader question, lift your hand; now put it back down. Mind just influenced matter…

  10. Hi John- You have two books on Geomancy available on Amazon: “The Art and Practice of Geomancy: Divination, Magic, and Earth Wisdom of the Renaissance” and “ Earth Divination, Earth Magic: A Practical Guide to Geomancy.” The first seems about ten years older than the second. A glance at their table of contents seems to indicate they both cover similar ground. Which book do you recommend I start with?

  11. @ Luke Z #4. I can imagine that snapping turtle telling her friends back in the pond the story about how she went looking for a good place to lay her eggs and some monstrous beings abducted her and took her right back to the pond. It’s interesting about the precognitive dream, though.

    @JMG: this post reminds me of the Far Side cartoon featuring a chicken soothsayer predicting similar grim futures for all the chickens who are lined up at her booth: “Whoa, another bad one,” the caption reads.

  12. The UW! I was there at that time too. I was also looking for something that would inspire me, so I headed towards a major in anthropology. But the further along I went, the more rigid it felt and the less inspired I was. I decided that the university setting was not for me and that inspiration would be something I would find on my own. I decided to use the university setting for more practical training in healthcare.

    I’ve always remembered my dreams and mostly never made sense of them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, I will look at them with a new lens!

  13. Fascinating. I stopped paying close attention to my dreams because they were quite prophetic on both the personal and global level. Didn’t realize people would be truly interested in dreamy messages from the future. Plus psychological interpretation was marginally useful to me.

    More generally, I have been reluctant to offer divination to others as well. Partly not wanting to give bad news but mostly holding myself to an impossible level of perfection.

    Thank you for once again sharing an illuminating picture of a path I could follow if I just got out of my own way. Though I clearly am dragging myself kicking and screaming down the path as I am not letting go of the idea of doing divination for others. I offer my latest nickname for myself as evidence.

    I predict a few more journals to fill in my future.

    — Eric Cole
    AKA Realmscryer

  14. I often wonder how much dreams are affected by what the dreamer expects. People very much into Freud often seem to describe very Freudian dreams and the same goes for Jungians etc. In Greek medicine after a preamble the patient would be led to a special area to sleep and expect a curative dream and this seems be often what they got given the centuries long success of the sanctuaries of Asclepius and Hygea (blessed may they be).
    Of course a dream can be ‘true’ on many levels and maybe a Freudians dream of stealing his father’s cigars might also predict a more straightforward danger of theft.
    I will from now on be analysing my dreams gift predictions which seems more useful than cod psychological insights!
    Thank you
    Mr O.

  15. Wonderful essay! Brings to my mind the recollection that in my youth, we’d discuss our dreams most mornings. My mother had a series of symbols that she dreamed as indicators of future events. For example, in her dreams, insects represented incoming money; snakes were sexual encounters; manure on a body part was sickness or injury; unable to find someone on a seashore was bad illness or death.

    These were her personal symbols, but both my sister and I utilized or somehow inherited similar symbolism. I dreamed of a scorpion in my hair two weeks before receiving a scholarship. My sister dreamed one of her kids was swept out to sea, shortly before he developed epilepsy.

    Interesting to me that a number of our ancestors were seafarers, and ocean dreams seem to carry serious meanings. I’ve dreamed of water sloshing and rising in a tide or flood into my (landlocked) house prior to major relationship troubles.

    Years ago, I explored literature on dream symbolism — but rarely found someone else’s ideas fit what I dreamed. Concepts are so often personal, and perhaps familial or even ancestral. To interpret a dream successfully, I think, you have to know a bit about the dreamer, too.

  16. So you’re not a fan of Crick’s theory,

    “Francis Crick, the scientist best known for his role in identifying the structure of DNA, proposed that we dream to forget. During dreams, he posited, we replay the events of the day so that we can erase the random, hybrid associations that we craft from real memories and strengthen the legitimate memories”

    Many of my dreams do fit the memory reprocessing scenario. Others make no sense at all. But there is no reason that all dreams have to serve the same purpose. That undoubtedly complicates the whole field of study.

    There have been times I woke up with the answer to a problem that had me stumped when I went to bed. The sleeping brain is a busy brain.

  17. Joshua, take your pick. I wrote Earth Divination, Earth Magic first, and it went out of print first because the original publisher screwed up the marketing and it flopped. I then tried to place it with another publisher, Weiser, but they wanted an original book on the same subject, so I wrote The Art and Practice of Geomancy; Weiser did a better job of marketing it and so it’s become one of their steady sellers. Fast forward more than a decade, and I ended up placing a bunch of my other out of print titles with Aeon, and they also took Earth Divination, Earth Magic. So there are two titles on geomancy in hot competition with each other, they cover essentially the same ground, and I wrote both of them!

    Phutatorius, I imagine a tarot deck for chickens in which the Death card has Colonel Sanders on it.

    Tamar, being at the UW cured me of any desire to continue in higher education — it was so obviously a corporate research park that happened to have a lot of undergraduates around for historical reasons. I got some very useful training from it but I had to push against the entire university system to get it, and I watched a lot of kids just out of high school who got sucked in, ground up, and spat out with useless degrees and way too much student debt. I’m glad to hear you escaped in good shape.

    Realmscryer, it’s a useful skill to have; a lot of occultists made it through the Great Depression by casting horoscopes or doing card readings for clients.

    Mr. O, oh, no question expectation has a lot of influence on many people’s dreams. I suspect that my Aspergers syndrome gets in the way here, too, as I don’t pick up on the cues!

    Elkriver, thanks for this. That makes a great deal of sense, and may help explain why so many dream books were so useless to me.

    Siliconguy, my dreams never repeat the events of the day. My days would have to be a lot weirder than they are to make that even remotely plausible! Thus when I first read Crick’s theory I shrugged and decided that maybe his dreams did that, but mine certainly don’t!

  18. With respect to Freud, I would like to know who were some of the “influential writers before him who laid the foundation for his work”? The Freud fan club (FFC), still going strong, likes to pretend that The Master’s work was sui generis, uninfluenced by anything other than what the FFC is pleased to call scientific research.

  19. I’ve wondered about this a bit, when reading some of the Younger Dryas theorists– I think they have a lot of interesting, plausible, but probably un-proveable things to say. But one of the things they get into is trying to interpret almost the entire history of astrology in terms of some prior defunct advanced civilization trying to warn the future about where the meteor risk is coming from. There’s some that’s compelling in there, but also a lot that, like Barry Fell and Gavin Menzies, they have a cool theory,with at least a little bit of evidence to support it, but then they go hoover up every piece of evidence in existence (even where there’s a much more economical explanation for it) to try to bolster it.

    But it looks like they’re trying to reverse-engineer thousands of years of astrology to be a neutral, very calendar-specific single-use scientific tool– the way modern materialists would use it, in the absence of modern technology. It feels like a very mistaken way to look at anything from the more-than-500-years-ago past. Projecting modern sensibilities onto prehistory.

  20. Thank you for this! And now, geomancy, which I thought from the readings I’ve seen here,was complex, seems a lot more accessible. Though I’m using the Gypsy Witch cards for the same purpose.

    Because of the path I’ve been on for a long time, your dream had a lot of resonances with me – the Triple Goddess discussing The Craft and giving the Maiden – and you – hers and your marching orders. That’s how I saw that last – you getting your marching orders.

    And I thought from the title, the content was going to be “things are too messed up to be able to predict what’s happening from day to day. Which of course, in detail, it is. (Will there be a hurricane this week? Who knows. Will there be one before the summer’s over? You better believe it.)

    Thanks again, and blessed be. News bundle and check will be on their way today or tomorrow, the gods willing and the creek don’t rise.

  21. Somewhat mirroring what you talk about with Alen Leo, you had a radical change in Protestant eschatology (end-time thoughts if you will).

    A major Protestant believe in the 19th early 20th century was Postmillennialism. A belief that after a long period of Christian enlightened rule/society, Christ comes brings us all up to heaven. The movement tended to be very big on promoting reform within society/government as it was the logical progression toward the return of Christ. The Great Awakening of the 19th Century with the Battle Hymn of the Republic as its them song, was heavy with it. You can kind of see how William Jennings Bryan and the Progressives (The Fundamentalists) could heavily align with what we call The Left.

    But then things changed. Some would put it to WW1, but there were other things going on.

    Now the predominant (for those that worry about such things) Protestant belief pushed toward Premillennialism. In this view, everything goes to pot, and Christ steps in (often with a rapture moment) to save the believers and the world gets cleaned up in fire and brimstone fashion. Less need for reform, more concern with individual salvation with faith (versus works) being emphasized.

    As a side note, most Christian denominations are not millennialists of either stripe specifically.

  22. I wonder if the progressivist ideology will survive the long descent. Christians still believe that the second coming of Christ is truly imminent even after 2000 years.

    Perhaps in the year 2590 when there’s only 1.5 billion humans on earth and the land is littered with overgrown rubble, there will still be true believers who believe that space colonization is around the corner.

    The UFO community definitely seems to be in the process of metamorphosis into a progressivist cargo cult. They are railing against the big bad government for hiding alien technology which will surely change the world and bring about a spacefaring humanity with antigravity and infinite clean energy. They outright admit that technological progress is stalling and we’re in a crisis, but they believe that the Space Brothers have all the answers to our problems.

    I could easily see alien-worshipping UFO cargo cults in the year 2590.

  23. JMG,

    When you don’t feel like the waking world is going to reveal the path you ought to take, why not consult the wolrd of dreams? At least it puts the locus of control a bit closer to you.

    It could hardly be worse than the current crop of alienated voices shrieking at you through every screen and speaker.

  24. The few dreams I have had that were more than meaningless night time meanderings had an insistent listen to me authority of truth that resulted in me taking action on them without a second thought. One example decades ago was me dreaming of a grove of old elms being shaken in a storm. I woke and knew at once something had happened to my grand parents. They lived in Illinois and I was in California. I called my mother in Wisconsin and shared my concerns and she told me they had been in an auto accident the night before, surviving with injuries.

  25. Mary, Alfred Maury was doing serious dream research long before Freud, and Frederik van Eeden first wrote about lucid dreams in the very early 1880s. Those are the two big names; there were plenty of smaller fry.

    Methylethyl, yes, I’ve seen the same sort of thing. Among other things, they show next to no knowledge about the history of astrology, which is tolerably well documented back into quite early Mesopotamian times and isn’t fixated on any of the things they think it should be.

    Patricia M, thanks for this. I didn’t think of the dream as marching orders, so much as a helpful suggestion; nonetheless, I’ve finished preparing the presentation.

    Russell1200, that’s an excellent point, and of course you’re right — Dispensationalist premillennialism was a tiny fringe movement until early in the 20th century, though it did accidentally produced Aleister Crowley. (He was raised in the Plymouth Brethren.)

    Enjoyer, well, I put exactly such a UFO-centric cargo cult into my deindustrial SF novel Star’s Reach, so I think you’re probably right.

    GlassHammer, why not consult the world of dreams anyway? Adding another source of advice doesn’t strike me as any kind of drawback.

    BeardTree, that’s a fine example; thank you.

  26. I am terrified that “the long road down to the deindustrial dark ages” is on the verge of being greatly shortened, perhaps within weeks or days, by the current tragic idiocy in Ukraine. Biden has now authorized Ukraine to use US weapons against targets in Russia. The Russians are threatening a nuclear response. It’s a classic march of folly situation where the U.S., which horrendously miscalculated the capacity of Ukraine to prevail (or at least to hold out against superior numbers), can’t back down in an election year, and the Russians see NATO advanced weapons on territory on their border as an existential threat.
    What really drives this home for me is that months ago, before Biden decided to cross his own red line, I saw accounts on a couple of websites of people describing vivid dreams of nuclear war, all almost identical to one another in the imagery. I feel like I’m in a waking dream, a passenger on a bus racing toward a cliff.

  27. C.S. Lewis due to his deep classical education in the middle ages and renaissance was aware of the originally predictive use of astrology and put a bit of that as a detail in his Narnia books and science fiction trilogy. I think he had a more holistic and shall we say more magical and animistic Christian understanding of reality than is commonly realized as did Tolkien.

  28. One of the other things that is good about keeping a dream diary is a direct way to tap into our innate capacity for creativity. Stories, poems, songs, paintings from dreams are just the beginning. Inventors have also had revelations on how to solve a problem in their sleep. As we go deeper into the predicament, the problem solving ability for dreaming will be another tool to approach these issues with creativity.

    On another note, it seems to me that the change in direction from prediction based divination to personality based also coincides with the nadir point of the cycle of disenchantment. As we all get re-enchanted, the notion that gods and spirits can speak to us in our dreams, that we’ll be scouting the future to plan ahead, and bringing back gifts from the higher regions of the astral, won’t seem as strange now as it does to some still caught in the trance of progress.

  29. JMG,

    You might have to confront things ignored but maybe that okay so long as its done slowly. Plus maybe what your listening/watching while your awake isn’t good for you but that might only be apparent when looking at your dreams.

    Personally my dreams tend to be much more pleasant and discernable the more I unplug from the various screens around me. It’s unreal how often my subconscious tells me “get away from that font of anxiety you call information.”

  30. FWIW, I’ve recently ended a long phase of hardly ever having any dream recollection. Maybe a month ago, started remembering them again, reinstated the bedside notebook. Like others, I have found that “how to interpret your dreams” books are of very limited usefulness. But writing it down, seeing the recurring themes, and working out your own personal symbology is very rewarding so I’m happy to have it back.

    The Freud-style dreams-are-a-conversation-with-the-unconscious isn’t wrong, it’s just incomplete. Some dreams really are like that. But others aren’t. Because wherever it is you go when you dream, that space isn’t as concerned with time and place as the material world. So sometimes you can “remember” something there that hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes you get a visit from someone who’s died. Sometimes you get warnings and advice from outside sources. It’s all those things.

  31. And then (or was it before ? you tell us!), on the Dreamwidth Covid post, seemingly out of the blue there was this comment that was like “mumble-mumble Masonic idea mumble-mumble”. To which you said “Whut?”. That’s when I offered “Evilly-evil-evilness maybe?”.
    Does this count as a synchronicity of sorts ? Were you actually gonad-deep already in, yes, Masonic ideas (and history), working on your presentation, when this popped out of nowhere ? An intriguing thought.
    Liked the recounting of your dream, it’s a cute one.

  32. One more thing people can do if they need advice from a dream is the age old practice of dream incubation. One way to do it is to write a question down, put it under your pillow, and then go to sleep, taking whatever dreams you receive as guidance on the question you asked. There are other methods. (I think we really need to get a modern Asclepion up in this mug. )

    Another book recommendation: The Practice of Dream Healing: Bringing Ancient Greek Mysteries into Modern Medicine by Edward Tick

    “From his practice of treating severely traumatized Vietnam veterans in the late ’70s and ’80s, psychotherapist Edward Tick came to believe that traditional Western medicine could not adequately heal deeply wounded souls and he embarked on an exploration of healing practices worldwide. His search brought him to ancient Greece and what he claims are the roots of modern medicine. In The Practice of Dream Healing: Bringing Ancient Greek Mysteries into Modern Medicine, Tick (Sacred Mountain) introduces readers to the Greek mythological figure of Asklepios, who was believed to be the first spiritual healer or psychiatrist and to those today who practice his spiritual healing methodology, including a cardiologist turned psychiatrist and a Christian priest. Tick takes readers along on the healing journeys he has experienced and witnessed in others.”

  33. Good day to you Mr. Greer and to the rest of the people here.

    Very interesting read, you bringing up the story of Joseph made think about other dream stories from the Bible, like Jacob’s ladder, Zechariah’s visions in the night and, from one point of view, the book of Revelation, with John having possibly received those predictions about the future while in a dream-like state.

    My mind also went to the “three magi from the East”. What do you make of the story about three Babylonian astrologers being lead by a star to discover a new king? I get the feeling that a person from 60 AD would understand more from hearing about such a story, but for modern Christians, including me, the multitude of implications are lost.

  34. This may only be tangentially related to the topic, and if so i understand your need to delete!

    Coincidentally, just when I thought there was nothing interesting happening at the UW, I was introduced last week to the ideas of Gerald Pollack (thank you Temporary Reality!). He has some incredibly interesting ideas that are new to science, and therefore often rejected by publishers who don’t even want to consider his ideas, but he perseveres nonetheless.

    He has interesting interviews online that discuss his ideas about the significance a 4th phase of water to life. The first 3 phases are solid, liquid, gas; but in the 4th phase instead of water particles aligning chaotically forming a neutral charge like in a glass of water, in the body they line up, forming a charge like a mini battery.

    This phase of water is charged by infrared light and that force assists in driving the blood through our vessels with the heart providing direction and additional pressure to the system; as well as driving water up to the canopy of trees.

    This seems fascinating to me and makes me wonder if he is finding the biological basis to the idea that our spirituality is in our blood (Steiner, if I understand him correctly). And perhaps he is coming closer to viewing our physical life force.

  35. What astrologers and books would you recommend in terms of treating natal astrology from a predictive perspective instead of a psychological? Sounds like Leo went both ways. Were there older sources who were firmly predictive and are still available?

    Also, I wonder how you’d rate some of your other oracles in predictive value. How to Coelbren and the SGO compare to geomancy?

  36. Brian, for reasons I’ve discussed repeatedly, I don’t think a nuclear war is likely, even as an outcome of the current game of курка — yes, that’s “chicken” in Ukrainian. You’ll notice that the Russians are holding back, advancing in a slow and painstaking manner when they could probably smash their way through the remaining Ukrainian forces, and the US is also scaling things up a little at a time — for all the yammer about strikes on Russian territory, those have been going on for many months now. Both sides know the rules of the game, and the US in particular is looking for an exit as the situation in the eastern Mediterranean heats up. As for the dreams of nuclear war, I wonder if you have any idea how many times people have told me about those over the years. Dreams, remember, are symbolic in nature. What do you think a mushroom cloud might symbolize?

    BeardTree, Lewis was one of the last of the red-hot Christian Neoplatonist, and his space trilogy in particular is massively influenced by medieval philosophy, in which astrology played a central role. For that matter, the scene in That Hideous Strength when the planetary oyarses are called down is so exact a description of a planetary evocation that I have a hard time believing that Lewis didn’t dabble a bit in occultism himself.

    Justin, two excellent points.

    GlassHammer, I’d say your subconscious knows what it’s talking about!

    Methylethyl, nicely summarized; thanks for this.

    Thibault, well, as a 32° Freemason I do spend a lot of time studying Masonic history and tradition! But yes, it’s an interesting bit of synchronicity.

    Justin, and thanks very much for this also.

    Rafael, I read the Book of Revelations a little differently. John of Patmos was very familiar with the rich tradition of Jewish symbolic literature, which dates back at least as far as the Book of Daniel, and he used it to encode one of the world’s most impressive examples of historical prediction. Read his book in symbolic terms and it’s an account, in advance, of the fall of the Roman Empire. There he was, writing in 70 AD when Rome was master of the world, and he saw nearly all of it — the pandemics, the economic crises, the famines, the wars, the invasion of horsemen from the east, the fall of the famous city on seven hills, and the rise of a new Christian world thereafter. It still baffles me that so many Christians insist on applying it to the future, when it makes so solid an argument for the validity of their scriptures as an example of fulfilled prophecy.

    As for the three magi, why, that’s very straightforward. Persian astrological lore includes a set of methods that can be used to determine the birth date and approximate place of the founder of a new religion; you can find that included in some of the classic Arabic texts on astrology. I figure the magi were astrologers who did the math and decided it was worth checking out.

    Tamar, interesting. I’ll have a look when time permits.

    Kyle, there’s plenty of astrological material from the predictive era. Among the more useful are the writings of William Lilly, Raphael (Robert Cross Smith), and William Simmonite, all of whose works are readily available for free download from the usual archives.

  37. @Raphael #34 It says in Genesis that the stars, moon, Suns, planets are there to mark signs and seasons, the word for seasons could also be translated “appointed times”. I have read over the years about the coordination of the movement of planets through constellations being the asterism the Magi were paying attention to. One Bible chronologist I respect( now deceased)calculated that his date for the birth of Christ would result in that formation he thinks was the asterism being seen directly over Bethlehem by the Magi as they approached Bethlehem after leaving Jerusalem. Other people have the opinion that the Star of Bethlehem was more supernatural.
    I have no idea if the various systems of astrology accurately understand the God made system of signs and appointed times we see in the sky. I am quite ignorant of astrology.

  38. I remember that Nancy Reagan frequently consulted an astrologer . Though all of his policies were not my cup of tea Ronald Reagan had a much more successful presidency on both a global and national level than most of our recent commander in chiefs.
    I can’t help but think that Joe Biden would be better off getting all of his presidential advice from a competent astrologer than the cabal of knuckleheads pulling the levers now.

  39. @Rafael, JMG: that is the typical Orthodox take on Revelations: it’s largely about the fall of Rome (i.e. events that’ve already happened, looking at it from the present), much of it was events the early church had a front-row seat for. Those were pretty dark times for Christians, and the book is in some ways consolatory. Hey, this is what’s gonna happen. It’s gonna be really rough for a while, but we’ll come through it.

  40. I think there is a misunderstanding. When I said that Revelation contains predictions for the future, I meant the future of the Roman world that John was living in(which is our past), the disasters that you mentioned. I think it can be helpful to teach us about the world of today and tomorrow with it’s symbols, but the book is not even a book, it’s a letter to seven communities in Asia Minor speaking first to them and then to us. It would be wrong to divorce it from it’s context and I acknowledge that.

    Never knew that about the Magi, will have to look into it. Thank you for the response.

  41. My Ogham staves have gotten pretty good at whacking me upside the head with a well-tempered two-by-four when I ask reflective questions. Might you suggest any methods or reading for stepping up from reflection to prediction, particularly how to formulate good questions?

  42. @Tamar, #13
    Are you familiar with Robert Pirsig’s extensive discussion of anthropology in his book Lila? He discusses the rigidity of the field, and traces it back to a faulty metaphysical foundation. (In case you are unfamiliar with Pirsig at all, his earlier book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a little more accessible.

  43. To add to the mix, I’d say I have three types of dreams, although I’d also say I only remember dreams once or twice a week at most. The first are “anxiety dreams” – I’m late to class or missing my plane/train or can’t find something I need urgently. These don’t seem to have much real meaning but do correlate with actual anxiety levels. Since my anxiety has greatly lessened in the last six months following my own spiritual growth process these seem to have mostly stopped, for which I am grateful.

    The second are just little remembered vignettes which may have been part of a forgotten larger story. I’d like to explore the meaning of these more.

    The third are long and vivid dreams that are always some sort of quest, often with various people and in various modes of transportation. Those happen only once a year or so, and they seem to carry a deeper message about my life path and where I am heading. The last one said quite clearly: “you are going on a journey of discovery where your scientific mind is not welcome.” As in, my friend and I literally had to evade Neil deGrasse Tyson to get into a cave filled with secret knowledge.

    I haven’t had any clear predictive/promonition dreams so far, but I’ll keep paying attention.

    Not a dream but: this morning I was writing an email to a dear friend when a squirrel shorted out my neighbor’s transformer, blowing the local line fuse, and the power went off with a loud pop. When it returned an hour later the message was still there minus the last sentence inviting them to a particular event. I took that as a sign that I shouldn’t include that for some reason – I’ll see if the reason becomes clear as the event proceeds.

  44. @BeardTree
    Some scientists say that the Reed Sea splitting apart in Exodus was a very rare natural phenomenon. It’s not unbiblical to say that God works through and commands natural phenomenon. If the magi were lead by a naturally occurring event, it would not take away from God, so to speak, in my opinion.

    To the jews it would have looked like Moses was parting the sea when he kept his hands raised. To the science nerds it looks like rare natural phenomenon. This is how God works a lot of the times it seems.

    @methylethyl @JMG
    I have to apologize for being vague when I referenced Revelation. I’m not in the “REVELATIONS TALKS ABOUT THE END OFTHEWORLD WEREALLGOING TO DIE11!!!!” camp.

  45. Dates … The Interpretation of Dreams was published in 1899, Verne’s most famous works were published in the 1860s and 1870s, and the zenith of western empires is generally accepted to begin in 1919, if you count the mandate territories of the old Ottoman Empire. That seems a long period to define as a trend, especially since techno-optimism of the time coexisted with a whole series of gloomy, disaster-ridden prophecies, some of which you cite. Likewise, the period before 1914 was not the unproblematic golden age it was later presented as. As long ago as Barbara Tuchamn’s The Proud Tower (1966) which portrayed a fearful Europe haunted by a sense of weakness and decline, we have known the truth was far more complicated. The First World War, of course, dealt a massive blow to techno-optimists everywhere, and social and political histories of the inter-war period, in Europe at least, are full of gloomy, even nightmarish predictions of the end of civilisation in a devastating future war. (This is touched on in George Orwell’s Coming Up for Air (1939) for example.) And of course after that very war, and the use of the atom bomb, the cultural mood was pretty dystopian, sometimes explicitly about nuclear weapons, as in Neville Shute’s On The Beach, but also in the disaster novels of people like John Wyndham and John Christopher, and later JG Ballard. Which is not to say that I think you’re wrong, so much as that utopian and dystopian themes seem to coexist at pretty much all points over the last couple of centuries, and it’s very much a question of the prism you use to look at them.

    What’s undeniable, though, is that anyone born in your origin year of 1890, and who died in say, 1970, would have seen the world of everyday life improved in a way that their parents would scarcely have believed possible. Such things as indoor toilets, hot and cold running water, public sanitation, the conquest of many childhood diseases, improvements in basic diet, cleaned-up cities, reasonable working hours, full-time compulsory education and old-age pensions transformed society. Scientific fetishism aside, anyone born, like, me, in the years after WW2 grew up with the idea that the world was getting better because, well, it actually was.

  46. Well, Mr. Greer, given the financial rewards you’ve reaped from your negative astrological and geomantic forecasts, you seem to have developed quite a fine hedging strategy, even if that clearly wasn’t the original intent. Another way of looking at it is that honesty can pay in mysterious and unexpected ways, no further strategizing needed.

  47. Many thanks for all the ways you have helped my family and thousands of others prepare for the Long Descent, over the last 10+ years. Besides my herbalism, raising breeder meat rabbits, brewing beverages, foraging skills, natural dyeing, and growing herbs. I am going to now add geomancy to my toolkit. I just bought one of your books and will be reading it alongside my 11 and 13-year-olds. Sounds like a good skill to have, in the years to come. Deep bow of appreciation.

  48. @Clay Denis (#39):

    Nancy Reagan was Ronald’s second wife, and her father was regarded as a fairly hard-line Protestant Christian, who exercised some influence through his daughter on his new son-in-law..

    However, before Ronald married Nancy, he was well-known to be hip-deep in New Thought ideas and California pop-occultism. He read some of Manly Palmer Hall’s books. I don’t know much about his first wife (Jane Wyman), or whether Ronald’s New-Age interests came from her, from his own parents, or just from what was in the air in California at the time.

  49. I subscribe to your astrology posts and got so curious about my own country’s future that I started doing predictions for Germany (https://mundanastrologie.substack.com/) using the chapters of your future book that you posted. Astrology is interesting to me because it’s so different from the usual analytic process of breaking down everything into subparts. It’s rather building up a whole picture from many interconnected parts, a very qualitative process. I’m still planning to pick it up again, unfortunately my current life situation doesn’t leave much time for it.

    Another thing that happened to me, first with Geomancy, is that I got very uninterested in knowing about the future. Since I’m currently able to pay my bills, I don’t really know what to ask. Everything connected to inner work, be it occultism or simply personality tests such as the Myer-Briggs help me understand myself better and feel worthwhile.

    So the move away from prediction to personality aspects might just be a matter of wealth. As things go downhill, I’m sure more people will turn back to prediction as a matter of necessity.

  50. Have you ever come across this book, JMG? (I’m guessing you have):

    ‘An Experiment With Time’ J W Dunne (Faber, first published 1927)

    Links in with dreams and prediction off the back of a most interesting hypothesis that is similar in style and thinking to Ouspensky I think.

    From the Wikipedia entry, “Although never accepted by mainstream scientists or philosophers, it has influenced imaginative literature ever since.”
    …And that’s because, if his results are to be believed, tsw.

  51. Interesting. One of the common threads in J. B. Krebs’ (aka Kerning) books is that a key part of his Christian mysticism is about developing the power of prophecy – he talks a lot about the ancient Jewish schools of prophets and how Christianity connects with them in terms of approach. And in the book I am currently working on translating (Der Freimaurer = The Freemason), I just came across this line:
    “So listen then! — The actual final goal of freemasonry is the knowledge of a prophetic word which lies in all humans.”

  52. Will your Masonic history talk be at a LOI? As a recently raised MM, Celestial Lodge in Westwood, MA, I am interested in learning more, and would like to attend if possible.
    Thank you. Indemoveritas

  53. Another phenomenon at the turn of the last century was popular mediumship, or going to seances with rapping tables and the medium talking messages from the dead, etc.
    Then there was Theosophy, the Golden Dawn, etc. So there was lots of interest in various philosophical and spiritual and occult matters.

    It is very interesting to note, as you point out, how psychology supplanted prediction. Perhaps it was not a turning away from prediction but more just dropping it for the shiny new thing, like a toddler dropping one toy to reach for another.

    What I find fascinating in astrology is how it can be not either/or, but both/and: psychology and prediction go hand in hand, like two sides of the same coin.
    A simplistic example would be an afflicted Mars suggesting you are feeling angry, then you end up stubbing your toe or rushing around then falling over. But it is not as simple as mood determining fate – it more that the inner and outer mirror each other, so fate can also be said to determine mood. You are feeling fine, stub your toe at random, then get angry and swear.

    My experience is that there are several types of dream: the mind sorting out and filing events of the day; the mind mulling over a problem and coming up with an answer; the subconscious yelling at the conscious to pay attention to something the conscious has been trying very hard to ignore; the predictive dream that seems to come from outside yourself; and even the astral travel when you meet up with someone and they share the dream.
    I have had this last, astral travel, a couple of times in my life. There was a very different quality of dreaming, so that upon waking I just knew that the other person had shared exactly the same dream, that we had actually met up and shared an experience. I was able to corroborate this with one person afterwards.

    For me, symbolic interpretation comes quite easily, be it tarot or dreams or astrology or I Ching, but making concrete predictions is very hard. The symbols are too big and fluid for me to go from trends/ feelings/ moods/ tendencies/ qualities of the time, etc. into a clear and precise prediction of events. Like trying to nail down a cloud as it wraps around you.

    Many thanks for this post.

  54. Hi JMG: Thank you for, as usual, a very stimulating post. I wanted to share an experience that I had about 25 years ago,with dreams and their role in our lives. I was diagnosed at 52 years old, with a rare bone cancer and had surgery that removed a large part of my right leg and substituted a metal bone. Then I was in the hospital many times over a year for chemotherapy. During that awful time, I slept a lot, mainly to escape reality (and daytime TV) and from the effects of the chemo. And I had two very interesting dreams over and over again. I read a book on dreams and it said that if you have a recurring dream, you should pay attention to it.

    In the first one, I am looking at places to live, either houses or apartments, and they are all pretty shabby and broken, but in my head, I am saying “Well, I can fix this up, it’s not so bad.” It came in all different forms, and sometimes in a place I had already visited in dreaming. It occurred about 1-2 times a week and so I thought about it and what it meant. And years later, after many stupid books on dreaming, as you noted, I realized that I was coming to terms with a new body (the place where I live) and although it was broken and quite painful then, I felt that I could make it work in the future. It was a positive dream.

    The other one was more obvious. I was trying to follow a path, that was sometimes in the woods, sometimes in other surroundings. It was hard to follow or even see the path, but I kept going, and then would wake up. It’s a kind of Duh dream, since I obviously was on a journey through a serious illness and trying very hard to figure out how to get through it. Nonetheless, it was interesting. I haven’t had any interesting dreams that I remember since. Kathy
    P.S> I just wanted to tell you that I finally bought a copy of both volumes of Spengler’s Decline of the West, which I had been borrowing from our local library until they finally took it out. Now I can take my time to understand all his concepts and ideas. It’s thanks to you and your readers that I started this reading. It’s rough but it’s definitely worth it. Thanks for all you do .

  55. I think it’s important to look at your chart every day and see what is happening. Just like the tarot, you learn by studying. You can see what the houses, aspects and other elements could signify. The Internet has given us a treasure trove of competent astrologers to learn from, and I hear there’s even a guy who teaches mundane astrology, too!

  56. I just had an unpleasant dream before waking up to read this. Running it through the psychobabble filter only caused more confusion and frustration. Using your approach I can see the message is more about becoming an active participant in rather than a documentarian. Looks like it’s time to finish up that astrology course.

  57. On the subject of dreams and their garble which can sometimes means things and other times.. less so. When I was a teen I went through a stage of waking up out of body spontaneously, one time I was outside my bedroom just beginning to go somewhere. What I found weird (other than my home being perfectly lit at midnight and my capacity for flight) was that I knew I had to be somewhere, and was just about to leave to go there when I became conscious but my conscious self had no idea. I freaked out and went back to my body and normal sleep. I do wonder though how many weird dreams are a result of the brain subconsciously processing out of body experiences we have when asleep.

  58. Clay, I’m pretty sure that Biden would be better off getting his presidential advice from a Magic 9-Ball or randomly chosen fortune cookies than from the group you described so accurately.

    Methylethyl, I’m delighted to hear that.

    Rafael, thank you for clarifying. Most of the people I encounter who consider the Book of Revelations to be prophetic insist that all the events in it are going to happen in the most literal of ways sometime very soon. You’re right that I misunderstood your comment; that was why.

    Rhydlyd, that’s a matter of your personal relationship with the deck, so the two of you will have to work that out yourselves!

    Mark, fascinating. Mine don’t fall into straightforward classes like that, but I’ve had dreams of each of those types, among others.

    Aurelien, I’d put the zenith of Western empires considerably before then — say, toward the conclusion of the scramble for Africa — and as I noted, Freud was far from the first person to redefine dreams in terms of personality instead of prediction. I appreciate your comments about apocalyptic fiction, because that’s also a fascinating reflection of our theme: decline was largely replaced by fantasies of sudden annihilation, which (as it turns out) were no more realistic than the fantasies of perpetual progress that played Tweedledee to their Tweedledoom. In both cases a realistic assessment of the future was replaced by emotionally charged fantasies phrased in absolute terms.

    As for your final point, though: I was born in 1962, and for nearly my entire life (62 years on Friday) I’ve witnessed decline, not improvement. Here in the US, at least, standards of living, access to basic benefits such as health care, and most other measures of social health for the majority have been on a downward arc since I was a boy. I think if you talk to people in the poorer parts of your country you’ll find that the same thing has been true there too. Did things improve before then? Of course, just as they had done at certain other points in history. There’s a difference, though, between the real but uneven improvements of the age of progress (say, 1900-1970) and the fantasies of soaring toward Utopia that gripped the collective imagination during that time.

    PBRR, yes, in a certain sense. I figured out a long time ago that the road less traveled is my route of choice; in an age dominated by mob psychology, go where the mob isn’t headed and you find many more opportunities and much less competition.

    Catoctin, you’re most welcome and thank you.

    Bendith Fawr, interesting. That hasn’t been true for me — I track my astrological transits daily and use other divinatory means to guide me, especially in career matters — but your mileage may vary, of course.

    Jay, thanks for the reminder! Yes, I’m familiar with it, and really should reread it.

    Kerry, fascinating. I wasn’t aware of that!

    Bro. Daniel, no, there’s a more informal get-together of brethren in Attleboro, MA; drop me a comment marked NOT FOR POSTING with your email address and I’ll get you the details.

    ChristineS, oh, granted, both are valid. Self-knowledge has its virtues! I simply find prediction interesting, as well as something I’m tolerably good at; it doubtless helps that I’ve studied a lot of materials that focus on it.

    Katherine, those are good solid examples, not so much of dreams predicting the future as dreams (in Paul Atreides’ words) showing the Now. That’s also an important function.

    Jon, good. I track transits across my natal chart daily, and use favorable transits to time such things as submitting book proposals and manuscripts. It was when I started doing this daily that my career really shifted into gear. Yes, there’s a book on that in preparation.

    KVD, glad to hear it.

    Rose, the old occult literature suggested that this happens fairly often, so I think you’re on to something.

  59. I got pulled away and imagined you were going to draw a parallel: That Jungian Freudian dreams of a culture can be likewise revealing about them or more practically, their collective future. That would make a lot of sense and I’ll have to think about it.
    …Because we’re very clearly dreaming. We think we can stop all industry, avoid collapse, and after running it on windmills take on China, Russia, and a side of Iran all at once, and in the second week, going to the stars. We are very clearly dreaming. But what does the dream mean or predict?

  60. I’d like to add another p to personality and prediction and that’s “process” which I guess can be rather frightening, too. I think many are trying very hard to suppress the fact that they themselves and everything around them is subject to change. A little insight into one’s personality might still be fine, as long as the personality isn’t subject to change. I clearly remember when, during a deep crisis many years ago, I looked at a Carl Barks comic and a wave of horror went through me because I realized that this always active, yet at same time completely static world, as it is depicted in many comic cosmoi, is not possible.

    Of course I can only speak about my own dreams and the few that others have told me – but there I clearly see a category of dreams which occur every now and then which could best be described as depicting a process – usually, but not always an inner process. Here both of the other p’s meet, since you perceive and act through the filter of your personality and the dream shows you that certain actions or attitudes will have specific consequences. There was a time when I had many of such dreams and some of them were rather frightening. But ultimately – and I am really, truly, deeply grateful for that insight – they chose the language they did to become a powerful call for action.

    Then about geomancy and personality – You might find it amusing that I just started using the geomantic figures for dream interpretation. I noticed that in many dreams elemental symbolism plays a prominent, symbolic role (like mist, tornadoes, earthquakes, the sea, a fire, etc.). For example I once had a dream where I entered a terribly hot and humid room in a rather dark, nightmarish setting – the active elements being fire and water, the setting giving the details, the scene was indeed indicative for a process of losing something (which I only realized much later). Another dream involved an earthquake and a few small tornadoes or dust devils at the same time, but in a sunny and positive setting – meditating for a while on the question what acquisitio might want to tell me was very insightful.

    And lastly I’d like to add another praise to geomancy – it’s a very powerful set of “basis vectors” which can give you the “coordinates” for a lot of things. A fascinating and very useful experience was “projecting” the runes on the geomantic figures to find out what they may mean. I guess there’s still so much work to be done, but this practice helped me to have a good start with the runes.

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  61. I’ve been having an odd series of dreams. Maybe every couple of months or so I get a dream that’s a “slice of life”; nothing earth-shattering, quite mundane. But not a slice of my life. Can dreams get a “wrong number”?
    For example, sitting around having a beer with my squadmates, grumbling about aches and pains, and talking about the benefits of various prescription pain-killers vs illegal drugs.
    Or sitting at an outdoor wood table, talking with my lawyer about my divorce.
    Or driving a large basket-crane truck through some narrow lanes, cursing the satnav. (That was last night.)
    Of note, I’m not, and have never been, in the military. I’m not, and have never been married. And I’ve never driven a truck, large or small, basket-crane or other!
    So, wrong number?

  62. Yes, JMG, I was 17 in 1970 and the seventies was when real “progress” crested, plateaued and decline began. I don’t regard having a phone in your pocket instead of on the wall that transformational compared to having no phone to having one on the wall in your home.

  63. DZanni, hmm! Yes, that’s a direction the discussion can certainly go.

    Nachtgurke, interesting. Yes, I can see that. I’ll want to see whether any of my dreams seem to fall into that category.

    Rufty, how odd. I don’t know; do you ever experience telepathy in a waking state?

    BeardTree, and I do consider it transformational, in a very negative sense, to go from a society in which one working class salary can cover food, clothing, housing, transportation, medical care, and even the occasional minor luxury, to a society in which one working class salary won’t keep you out of desperate poverty. You can starve to death in a ditch with a working cell phone in your pocket!

  64. JMG, Thanks for a most interesting essay. I’ve had some interesting dreams over the years. I still remember one, I had about 45 or 50 years ago that is probably the most vivid dream I’ve ever had (involved mushroom clouds, Lucille Ball Barbie dolls, and a steam train – I’ve never figured it out).
    Anyway, I was raised in an Evangelical Christian home, so tarot, divination, occult, etc. was considered the devil. However, once I got into college, I started exploring, but never go into personal divination until the last 10 years or so +-. I wish that I had gotten into it sooner as it might have saved me from some really, really, really stupid decisions I’ve made over the years (word to the wise).
    Regarding those people who were upset by your negative responses, Jeesh, I guess people (me included) gotta learn the hard way. After all these years (I’m 62), I’ve learned, as hard and bitter as it is to swallow, I’d rather have the cold hard feedback.
    Earth – The School of Hard Knocks.
    Time for another glass of wine.

  65. Thank you, I will get after it. I seem to be the only one who’s staves are twenty-five drinking buddies at the Edwardtown Irish American Friendship Society and Fight Club. They’ll enjoy arguing with me about The White Goddess as soon as I wrap up some other titles. Any theories as to why asocial, teetotaling me relates to the Ogham via a sod-roofed pub at the crossroads of Nowhere and Noplace are welcome.

  66. Yes, JMG, in my California Central Valley city I regularly see pop up stands offering free government cell phones to the poor and the homeless. We were a place with reasonable rents and house costs 20 years ago, no more.

  67. I remember a comment whose source I’ve forgotten, “How do you tell a true dream from just a dream?” “You don’t forget it when you wake up.”

  68. Will1000, I’ve been grateful for decades that I learned how to do divination as early as I did, as it saved me from many mistakes. As for the people who didn’t want the bad news, that’s something every diviner has to deal with: the entitled client who will only accept one answer. Catering to such people is always a mistake — if you humor them, they’ll blame you for not giving them the advice they wouldn’t have listened to anyway — but some diviners are good at putting weasel words into their divinations so they can keep the client convinced that success is but another few readings away. Me, I have to face myself in the mirror…

    Rhydlyd, beats me — the attraction of opposites, maybe?

    BeardTree, that’s just embarrassing.

    Gman, my two books on the subject, Earth Divination, Earth Magic and The Art and Practice of Geomancy, give full instructions. The short form is that you generate four figures using any of a variety of random means, then use them to generate eleven more figures by a prescribed method; each of the figures that result has its own distinctive meaning in the whole reading. Here’s what a reading looks like when it’s cast — the figures numbered 1-4 are the ones you generate randomly.

    Patricia M, certainly the ones that stick in memory are more likely to be important!

  69. Thanks JMG. I have found that you are tough and blunt, but fair, honest, straightforward, which are a few of the many reasons I keep coming back here (12 years and counting).

  70. Predictive power of dreams? Here’s something mundane and surreal at the same time. I dreamed that the garbage can outside was going to get knocked over and that it wasn’t just the wind that was pushing it over. It felt like about 10 seconds later (but how do you reckon time while you’re dreaming?) and a loud THUMP woke me up. I looked outside and the trash can was on its side.

    Not the weirdest dream thing that has ever happened to me but weird enough.

    I’ve had weirder dreams but they weren’t strictly about the future.

    And I make a habit of putting the trash can in the shed when it’s not getting picked up.

  71. I remember reading a book about predictive dreams in the seventies. They were collected by the authors after the allegedly many predictive dreams about Kennedy’s assassination.

    By far and away the largest number of dreams were about disappearing coastlines. Particularly US coastlines. Growing more accurate by the day.

  72. Phutatorius @ 12

    Its pretty hard to beat Gary Larson for cartoon wisdom! I got quite a kick out of the ‘Liver’cartoon.. complete with delivery truck, wheeling around the street corner.. with cowering youngins shown in hiding, behind some fence or whathaveyou… in mortal terror of their realization, of their implied parental units receiving the proceeds of paid organ food**…

    **full disclosure: I HATE the idea.. the look.. the texture.. the taste.. of said (in my case) beef liver (with which my parents consumed, with whole-hearted relish!)- cooked, or otherwise.
    For me, once was moarrr than enough! ‘:[

  73. At this link is the full list of all of the requests for prayer that have recently appeared at ecosophia.net and ecosophia.dreamwidth.org, as well as in the comments of the prayer list posts. Please feel free to add any or all of the requests to your own prayers.

    If I missed anybody, or if you would like to add a prayer request for yourself or anyone who has given you consent (or for whom a relevant person holds power of consent) to the list, please feel free to leave a comment below or at the first link above.

    * * *
    This week I would like to bring special attention to the following prayer requests.

    May Jennifer’s father Robert, who passed away on May 29th, be blessed and soothed, and may his soul be helped to its ultimate destiny and greatest good.

    Tyler A’s wife Monika’s pregnancy is high risk, and has now successfully entered the third trimester; may Monika and baby Isabelle both be blessed with good health and a smooth delivery.

    May Jennifer’s mother Nancy G. in SW Missouri is still recovering from various troubles including brain surgery for hydrocephaly; may she be healed, regain her mobility, and be encouraged with loving energy.

    May Erika, who recently lost her partner James and has been dealing with major knee problems (and who senses a connection between the two), be healed in both broken heart and broken knee, and be able to dance in the sun once more.

    May Doug Y of Geauga County, Ohio be supported and healed as he makes his way through the diagnosis and treatment process for prostate cancer.

    May Ms. Krieger’s hometown of Norwalk, Connecticut recover quickly and fully from the gasoline tanker fire that destroyed an overpass and shut down interstate 95 on May 2. May the anger and fire that has made driving in the area so fraught cool down in a way that benefits all beings. May all people, animals, and other beings around the highway, the adjacent river and the harbor be protected and blessed, and may the natural environment improve to the benefit of all. (update)

    May Christina, who passed away on 5/8, experience a peaceful repose; may the minor child she leaves behind be cared for, and the needs of all affected me met; and may her family be comforted in this difficult time.

    May Frank Rudolf Hartman of Altadena California (picture), who is receiving chemotherapy, be completely cured of the lymphoma that is afflicting him, and may he return to full health.

    May new mother Molly M recover quickly and completely from her recent stroke and the lingering loss of vision and slurred speech that ensued, and may newborn Lela and husband Austin be comforted and strengthened through this difficult time.

    May Just Another Green Rage Monster‘s father, who is dealing with Stage 4 Lymphoma, and mother, who is primary caregiver, be blessed, protected and healed.

    May Kyle’s friend Amanda, who though in her early thirties is undergoing various difficult treatments for brain cancer, make a full recovery; and may her body and spirit heal with grace.

    Lp9’s hometown, East Palestine, Ohio, for the safety and welfare of their people, animals and all living beings in and around East Palestine, and to improve the natural environment there to the benefit of all.

    * * *
    Guidelines for how long prayer requests stay on the list, how to word requests, how to be added to the weekly email list, how to improve the chances of your prayer being answered, and several other common questions and issues, are to be found at the Ecosophia Prayer List FAQ.

    If there are any among you who might wish to join me in a bit of astrological timing, I pray each week for the health of all those with health problems on the list on the astrological hour of the Sun on Sundays, bearing in mind the Sun’s rulerships of heart, brain, and vital energies. If this appeals to you, I invite you to join me.

  74. I agree with the general thrust of your argument, and there are a couple of points I want to comment on.

    Your dream – that doesn’t sound like a prediction to me; it sounds more like advice or a warning. Omen, warning and prediction aren’t synonyms. There is overlap, but an omen has a sense of information that needs to be acted on.

    It’s the same with Joseph’s dream in Genesis about the fat and lean cows – there was a predictive aspect, but it was given primarily as warning and advice.

    I used to practice astrology professionally – I quit for a couple of years and am considering picking it up again – and I’ve discussed this issue with other astrologers I admire. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Guido Bonatti’s Considerations before a reading. My experience is that the quality of a natal reading – which for me includes predictive tools like solar returns – how well the reading goes depends a lot on the focus of the question the client brings to it, and their need for guidance from the stars. Divination – consulting the Gods.

    You are absolutely right about the need to focus on the prediction/omen side of astrology – so much of the modern character analysis side is narcissistic empty fluff designed to make people puff up about how Evolved and Spiritual they are.

    Thank you for the article; it has me thinking.

  75. @Rufty
    I don’t know if that’s common, but my sibling sometimes has dreams like that– like just dipping into somebody else’s experience, more or less at random.

  76. Mr. Greer, l will give a hunch, not a prediction as such.. that the Corp., known currently as ” Disney”… will, in the not-so-distant future, will.. in your best Spock parlance, ‘cease to function’.

    I give you the one.. the only.. Acolyte! Blah!… what I might refer otherwise predictably, as supposed woke profit seaking .. .e.i. – the Corprolite’!

  77. Interesting post – I was under the impression that astrology these days was much more predictive than you’re indicating, but apparently not. And while I like predicting things, being a horseplayer and a recovering meteorologist, I rarely recall dreams that “came true” later on in my life.
    That being said, just this morning I had a dream remotely predicting the Belmont Stakes this Saturday. I looked over the race yesterday, and thought it was very tough to figure, with all ten horses having a shot – which is usually not the case. Then this morning I dreamed that two horses dead heated for the win, and my horse ran third, within a nose of three others. So, if there’s a close finish this Saturday, I guess I won’t be shocked.
    BTW – not sure what horse I’ll wager on, but am leaning towards # 2 Resilience, who I bet in the Derby….(he ran 6th)

  78. Will1000, thank you. That’s high praise.

    Other Owen, weird indeed.

    Nancy, interesting. I may try to find that book.

    Quin, thanks for this as always.

    Charlie, oh, granted. I was speaking in general terms, and in a longer and more detailed discussion would have broken out dreams that have a predictive component into their various classes.

    Polecat, it impresses me that they simply will not learn from their failures.

    Drhooves, duly noted! I don’t gamble — I find it uninteresting — but I know using dreams for gambling has been a habit since ancient times.

  79. ” I imagine a tarot deck for chickens in which the Death card has Colonel Sanders on it.”

    The Fast Food Tarot: Now there’s a concept!

  80. A tendency towards mundane prophecy runs in my extended family and for most of my life I fielded comments from many people about my startlingly good “intuition”, and for most of my life I experienced vivid, memorable dreams I could usually recall on waking. But these things didn’t really combine until after I spent nearly a decade suffering a debilitating, untreatable, and uncurable illness (one of those mosquito-borne understudied ones from tropical developing areas that I contracted on a “once in a lifetime” trip). The illness manifested as crippling pain that didn’t respond to any kind of medical treatment. The only thing that sort of helped was stretching and baths.

    Five or so years into this, around 2014, the casual predictive abilities I’d inherited shifted into a far more potent form and combined with the dreams. I made a series of off-the-cuff remarks to someone I thought I loved dearly during one of the last times I saw him – I was tipsy and we were talking about current events/politics – and I made a series of quips that were effectively predictions that went on to become true and have been playing out in the real world, most terrifyingly in the wars of the last couple of years. I never had much of a chance to gloat about my skills but years later I dreamed the person I told this to had volunteered to fight in Ukraine out of a sense of desperation and lack of meaning in his own life and found out afterwards that he had died there. I was disgusted and unsurprised.

    I thought about that for years afterward and ultimately the best way I could describe the prophecy ability is that events in the future that leave a deep emotional ‘track’ or impression on many people create something like a reflection that bounces back in time to others who have the right skill set or abilities to pick up on the reflection. And often sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking at when you see something in the waking world, so it can be difficult to understand what you’re seeing when it is being shown to you in visual metaphor.

    I ended up having a semi-miraculous and unexpected recovery from the illness a few years ago and the intensity and frequency of the dreams and casual predictions dropped back down to how it had been when I was younger but when I have the dreams now they are immensely easier to interpret.

  81. JMG comments, “I figured out a long time ago that the road less traveled is my route of choice; in an age dominated by mob psychology, go where the mob isn’t headed and you find many more opportunities and much less competition.”

    A gamer friend of mine does a daily livestream about roleplaying games, and I’m with him once a week. Today we had on Sandy Petersen; for those who don’t know, he’s the original authour of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. He said, “there wasn’t a horror game, so I wrote one.” And of course, there wasn’t a Cthulhu game written from the perspective of the eldritch horrors, so JMG wrote one…

    Incidentally, this is what I do in my professional life. When I started as a physical trainer I was explicitly told in school, “nobody will be interested in strength training, especially women.” And in the years since of course that’s been shown not to be so at all, in fact women have been a majority of the people I’ve trained (men know everything already). And then within the training itself, whenever someone is having some trouble, I find whatever exercise they’re not doing, and get them to do that.

    So this reinforces and generalises JMG’s point: find the empty cracks and put your wedge in there and open things up.

  82. This is one of the reasons why I studied Horary with Chris, and I’m studying Vedic astrology in a traditional lineage now. Prediction is part and parcel. There’s also the remedial aspect of the Vedic tradition, which is very helpful. Being able to see what’s coming down the pike that’s inevitable is great, being able to see what karma is less fixed and how to nudge it in the right direction even more so. I’m currently doing readings by donation (people can email me at plantcunning at gmail dot com if they’re interested) and I’ve noticed that a lot of people really do want to see what the future holds, whether bad or good, though there are also a lot who just want a good mirror to preen in (nothing wrong with that either.)

    In general though, with the resurgence of traditional astrology, I’m seeing the predictive aspect becoming more and more popular, which I think is a good thing.

  83. Hey JMG

    Another fascinating post! Oddly enough I also have been thinking about my dream life recently, or rather my lack of it.
    I used to dream, or rather remember dreaming, a fair bit when younger. But for years now dreaming has become a rare event. I don’t know if this is a bad thing or not, but I have wondered if doing a planetary charity to the Moon could cure me of my Dreamlessness.

  84. If I understand the Protestants correctly, the basic theology was that God chooses a small minority who will go to heaven and everybody else will go to hell. Oh yeah, and there’s nothing you can do in this world that will make a difference one way or the other. That’s pretty much the ultimate bad news and yet rather than break the spirit of believers it seems to have done the opposite as the Protestants set out to try and find ways to get to heaven, which led to the Protestant Work Ethic.

    Conversely, the myth of progress says everything is going to get better and it doesn’t matter what you do. This seems to have led to the opposite of the Protestant Work Ethic i.e. a culture of learned helplessness and a willingness to “trust the experts” even when what the experts say is absurd and even when the experts are repeatedly and consistently proven 100% wrong.

    So, yeah, bring on the “bad news” 🙂

  85. JMG,

    I know you didn’t ask, and unsolicited advice is rude, so sorry in advance. I’m not great at interpreting other people’s dreams, but I am really good at interpreting my own dreams.

    There are several types of dreams: predictive, which you seem to be good at recognizing for yourself, since this isn’t the only predictive dream you’ve mentioned, wish fulfillment (ever go to bed a bit hungry and then dream of eating the most amazing food?) symbolic messages from your subconscious mind to your conscious mind (hardest to interpret but very valuable when you do), memory processing (usually a random collage of things you encountered over the previous few days, will almost never yield anything useful when you try to interpret, you can recognize them by the fact that most everything in the dream is also a recent memory), there are probably others as well, these are the most common dreams I have.

    Second most important thing to know when interpreting dreams is emotions are not symbolic, they are always real, literal, and exact matches for emotions you have in daily life. So start with the emotions before you try to analyze the symbols. They are always your strongest clue.

    Third, you don’t have to rely on other people’s lists of symbolism. Feel free to check dream dictionaries if you want to, but if that doesn’t yield anything, you can do free association exercises to learn your own personal symbolism. For example, if you dream about a tiger, and can not for the life of you figure out what the tiger represents, make a list of random animsls, put tiger somewhere towards the middle, and start at the top of the list: wolf. What do I think of when I think of wolves? loyalty, pack animal vs lone wolf, wisdom, the moon, savagery. Do that for every animal on the list and keep the list handy so you can refer back to it if you dream about any other animals on there. Also throw a copy of it in your magical correspondences. (and vice versa, if you dream of something that can be found in your magical correspondences, consider the correspondences in your dream interpretation).

    I don’t know if this helps, you may very well be WAY PAST my advice and running into trouble beyond my ability to help, but just in case, this is what worked for me.

    And I know I’ve told you this before, once you can understand the symbolism in your dreams, you will also know how to read omens, they are just the same type of symbolism showing up in waking life.

    Best of Luck,
    Jessi
    Anotheramethyst

  86. JMG,

    Forgot to add, as an occultist, you’ll probably also have dreams about past lives, dreams where you astral project and leave your body, dreams where you go administer some type of spiritual help to other beings in need, and other activities more akin to shamanism than typical dreaming. Those aren’t really covered in your average dream book, either.

    anotheramethyst

  87. Hi JMG,

    1) Where do I go to sign up for your political astrology predictions?

    2) Stumbling upon “The Archdruid Report ” in 2012, via Herman Daly and then “The Oil Drum”, helped me to finally make some sense of the world I lived in. I’m still very grateful.

  88. Rufty–I have also had occasional dreams that feel like they belong to someone else. I think of them as having tuned in to the wrong channel. I suppose if we lived in a more tightly knit, smaller society we might recognize whose dream we had wandered into.
    I recently dreamed that I was talking with a friend–comparing notes on a new occult shop in our area. I came partly awake to roll over in bed and remembered that my friend had died several years ago. Drifted back to sleep before I could figure out what it meant.
    Several years ago, I dreamed that my cat had a bladder infection and that the vet bill was so high that my mother was upset with me for spending so much money. I was keeping a dream journal at the time, so when the cat actually became ill, I was able to confirm the details of the dream. I realize that a rationalist explanation would be that I subconsciously noticed that the cat was under par, and the dream was my mind’s way of getting me to pay attention.

    re anthropology–I majored in anthro (B.A. from UC Davis, 1970). I had initially planned on grad school and career in the field. However, I became disillusioned since it seemed that anthropologists did little to help the peoples they had built their careers on. For example, few would testify on behalf of US Indian tribes who were defending traditional lands from development. An anthropologist who was interested in political action, Jack Forbes, joined the UC staff but taught in the College of Applied Behavioral Science rather than in the Anthropology Dept. He was among those who helped start D-Q University. Years later I was amused by a PBS program of interviews with graduate students of anthropology from the U. of Papua New Guinea, whose grandparents had been studied by Margaret Mead, who were in The SF Bay Area studying us! What goes around comes around.

    Rita

  89. In addition to the J W Dunne book that has been mentioned by Jay, I can recommend ‘The Oneironauts – Using dreams to engineer our future’, by Paul Kalas, a renowned astronomer that details in his book how his dreams precognized a scientific discovery he would make many years later, plus many other mundane and day-to-day precognitions. Also, a book called ‘Precognitive Dreamwork and the Long Self’, by Eric Wargo, encouraged me to start again taking notes of my dreams (and out of the blue perceptions during daytyime) and start noticing what they might tell me, in some cases with astonishing results!

  90. I think there is hope.
    As Freud pointed out, there’s nothing worse for a neurotic than having his wishes fulfilled.

    Once that Nessus shirt demanding that one’s dreams conform to a collectively enforced futurism is lifted from their backs, Europeans especially will mostly just shrug their shoulders, mumble something about it not having been likely anyway and go on with their lives, once again free to complain about everyday things they have an actual grasp of.

    Then their dreams might disentangle themselves from the rigid rifle barrel you recently mentioned in a comment, and be about their own future again.

  91. Dear John Michael,

    I love this subject, as I’ve had vivid and memorable dreams all of my life.
    My first remembered dream, around age 3, had me dropped through a trap door in a doctor’s examining table to land in a basement cell with a tiny, high, barred window at ground level through which I watched my family enter my father’s car and drive away. Yes, very prophetic.

    I’ve long wondered why you did not interpret dreams, as I also practice geomancy and have found that, once I’d established the figures and correspondences in my imagination, nearly all my dreams (and sometimes other people’s) can be interpreted using the four elements. This method is predictive as I gain insight into my life so I can be more real about what will happen next.

    This morning I dreamed that the event was over and I needed to leave alone. But instead I returned to my campsite and found it built over. Then I joined a small group and entered a building where we became trapped. When I tried to escape, I ended up in a small room with many people outside and no way out.

    This dream is another of many I’m having now where I fail to walk away and instead become trapped. My loving husband is currently helping me resign from the overload of responsibility I’ve burdened myself with, but obviously I need to off-load more.

    Yes, happy birthday to you! I wish you long life, and I consider learning that your’s is the day before mine to be a gift 😀

    Live from Pelican Place,
    Christine Clifford

    PS. I’ve had a few numinous dreams with you and Clare over the years and they are like treasure to me.

  92. I only remember ever having had one prophetic dream, from when I was an undergraduate in the 1970s: the front page of the next day’s paper, with a suggestion of an obliqueness, a slanting line, in its main picture. Sure enough, the paper next day (The Times, I think) had a photo of a train crash, and the railway ran from one corner to another of the picture. Altogether a pretty faint and useless seepage from the future! But enough to convince me it can happen.

  93. Hi JMG,

    You always surprise me with how you write about things that I thought I had no interest, and when reading your articles I find myself very intrigued! Thanks for this excellent post which brings me to a point I always wondered about:

    I have noticed that when I feel anxious about a situation when I am awake, I usually see dreams relevant to this specific situation. But, I have never thought them as a prognosis, although I will pay attention from now on. I suppose you are saying that dreams are not only a reflection of our anxiousness in our awaken state, but they carry a prediction message as well, and this is a very interesting view.

    The other question is about a subscription to your mundane astrology predictions but please let me first explain my context:
    You answered to a previous comment, that you do not believe a nuclear confrontation is possible. But I believe you do not exclude a conventional military confrontation between Europe or combined West vs Russia or combined Others. As I read a lot of the following: Simplicius the Thinker, Larry Johnson, Andrei Martyanov and Pepe Escobar, and they all agree that the West vs Others confrontation is seriously escalating. You can read the latest Escobar’s article here: https://thecradle.co/articles/supporting-genocide-to-halt-multipolarity
    I am quoting a key text from an interview that he mentions:

    “Today, I listened to an extensive interview with an IDF ex-intelligence officer. His position was clear: ‘We are,’ he said, ‘aiming towards a world war’ (italics mine). Israel, therefore, shouldn’t stop itself from implementing some of the most radical measures because its actions will be measured retroactively in the context of the brutal world conflict to come.”

    As I live in Europe, I am deeply concerned about these escalations and I feel trapped because I have a deep feeling that I need to abandon my country but my family status makes this very complicated as a family member has an illness (let’s say similar to your Sarah’s) and she needs many herbs (most of them Chinese) that we buy from European countries. They are expensive but my income and my few home expenses (I own a village house) allow us to live comfortably and raise our small kids without problems for now. I am at the utmost anxious time of my life because I am afraid that the situation will deteriorate quickly but strangely I see no dreams around this situation!

    Finally my question: Can astrology subscribers ask for a specific European country prediction that maybe contains a probability of a start of war? Well, if the prediction is about some doomy clouds of Mordor, I would be very happy (actually unhappy, but I would have my intuition confirmed, so I would act accordingly).

    I would also be very much obliged (as your other European readers) if you wrote an article about your insights about the war situation in Europe and the Middle East.

    Thanks.

  94. With regards to gambling (which I also don’t do… unless you count split the pot at club meetings) it’s interesting to note the books of numbers and such used for betting are called Dream Books.

  95. @Justin#33
    A herbalist friend who lived on Kos befriended the curator of the ruins of the Asclepion and was able to camp there overnight, and apparently it still works. There is another ruined Asclepion in England’s Forest of Dean where one can also pitch a tent.
    @Bridge
    Please sign me up for next year’s meeting at Glastonbury. Thank you.
    @JMG
    Archdruid, who were the Awenyddion? Off topic- thank you for pointing out the foundational role of the Western occult tradition in disseminating Oriental religions. I recently read Allan Bennett’s ‘Wisdom of the Aryas’. Beneath the outdated, flowery language is a unique and elevated vision of Buddhism, which has yet to be surpassed in the West.

  96. Hi John Michael,

    Years ago whilst reading one of the Lyonesse trilogy books written by Jack Vance. Hang on a second, threes are interesting numbers! Back to the book. Anyway, the sub plot involved one of the characters haggling with the faeries. The character wanted to stay with the faeries forever, and they advised against asking for this wish. To clarify matters, the faeries explained that in order to fulfil the agreement, the elder folks could simply killing the character and bury the body where the faeries lived. Proving, a person must be careful with their questions, for they may be granted wisdom. I believe asking such questions of the future can have that sort of effect.

    What characterises a person who can stare into a likely reality for the future, and be good with that? Is your essay not a play upon the working from long ago?

    To me, dreams are dreams and have myriad uses. Nobody got around to telling me otherwise.

    Cheers

    Chris

  97. Phutatorius, ten years ago you could have gotten a contract for it — the most absurd tarot concepts were being snapped up by publishers. Now things seem to be very much on the downward arc.

    Mona, fascinating. Did you have any intuitions of events that haven’t happened yet, and if so, would you be interested in sharing them?

    Warburton, delighted to hear it. I’ve come to think that expert opinions like the one you got in school have a very useful function: note them down and then do the exact opposite of what they suggest, and you’ll probably prosper.

    Isaac, I’m glad to hear this. There was also a lot of first-rate predictive astrology being done (and being taught) in the early 20th century, and some attention to remedies; most of this was on the order of “here’s how to surf the wave,” but Max Heindel taught the making of simple planetary talismans in one of his books. I have some astrological books planned that will get very deep into that tradition, drawing on electional astrology to show people how to use in constructive ways what the stars foretell.

    J.L.Mc12, it might, but it also helps to put a notepad and pen beside your bed and to use an affirmation such as “I remember my dreams.” The notepad and pen signal to your subconscious mind that you’re interested, and it will often respond accordingly.

    Simon, oh, it was a bit subtler and nastier than that. According to Calvinist theology, though you could never be sure that you’d been picked to go to heaven, there would be signs, and if you prospered in this world that was a sign that God was blessing you. So of course that drove believers to work frantically in order to prosper, since that showed that they were among the Elect and let them look down their noses at the poor, who were obviously damned. I can’t think offhand of a viler theology. The myth of progress, for its part, used to inspire the same kind of frantic efforts — “we’re going to the stars!” sent an enormous number of young men, and some young women, into scientific and technical fields. I suspect the learned helplessness we see these days is more a function of what happens when nobody really believes in a myth any more but few people can bear to let go of it.

    Jessi, thanks for this. I apparently don’t get wish fulfillment dreams — when I fast, I go to bed hungry but I don’t dream of food, for example — and I can’t remember ever having a dream that was a collage of recent events. I’ve had a modest number of dreams that were predictive in one sense or another, and some that are tolerably symbolic, but most of them are just odd. Here’s an example: I am walking down a road through a forest. I come to an urban neighborhood, where there is a man I am supposed to meet. I greet him in the ancient Egyptian style, saying “Life, prosperity, health!” and give him a message to pass on to the pharaoh. He gives me a package, we chat a bit, and then I start walking back the way I came, so I can take the package back to my apartment. Neither of us is in ancient Egyptian clothing, btw, there’s nothing else Egyptian in the dream, and there’s no Egyptian symbolism in any of the other thirty-odd dreams I’ve written down since I started this project a month ago. Free associating on the core images of the dream didn’t bring up anything noteworthy. I should probably add that the emotional tone of the dream was calm, with the kind of routine feeling I normally have when I run an errand.

    Russell, thank you for this. I post them on two venues; it’s the same material on each, take your pick:

    https://www.subscribestar.com/john-michael-greer
    https://www.patreon.com/johnmichaelgreer

    Eduardo, thank you for both book recommendations.

    Michaelz, here’s hoping!

    Christine, thanks for this! I haven’t yet noticed an elemental pattern in my dreams but I’ll look for it.

    Robert G, so often precognitive dreams are that way — weirdly irrelevant. It suggests to me that they’re the remnants of a function that was once well developed but has been allowed to go to seed, and requires training and attention to become useful again.

    Worried, the collapse of a global hegemon is always an extremely dangerous time. The fall of the British empire was the proximate cause of two world wars and many smaller conflicts, for example, and the fall of the Spanish empire was even more of a mess. The Russo-Ukrainian and Israeli-Palestinian wars are the first wave of wars in the dissolution of America’s empire, and there will be more. The great challenge faced by Europe and the United States at this point is that they’re completely unprepared for a major land war; the assumption was that those weren’t going to happen any more and that counterinsurgency, manufactured revolutions, and other forms of conflict short of massed land warfare were the shape of the future. That’s why European militaries have become so tiny and poorly equipped, and why the US military is heavy on expensive gadgets and low on old-fashioned firepower.

    At this point, if the United States goes to war with a conventionally armed peer opponent, it will lose. If Europe does the same thing, it will lose even more badly. That’s clear to anyone who assesses the events in Ukraine and the relative size and strength of the various militaries involved. So what’s going on now is an exceedingly complicated game of chicken. Western frontline client states — Ukraine and Israel at the moment, but there will be others — are trying to drag the West into war because otherwise they face national extinction. Some European leaders are eager to go there because they grasp that once the balance of power shifts decisively away from the Atlantic, Europe’s going to turn back into the desperately poor and rather backward region on the fringes of civilization it was before 1500. Others, including our government, are frantically backpedaling while still making threatening noises. Could it all go messily to bits? Sure. The problem is that in such times individual choices have immense impacts. One random neuron firing in what’s left of Joe Biden’s brain could send the world down an otherwise unpredictable path.

    In answer to your specific question, no, I don’t have time these days to do custom predictions for countries — one of the reasons I’ve posted lessons on mundane astrology in those venues is that I encourage people to learn the skills and do the work themselves. I’ll consider a post at some point, but we’re in a nexus of events where prediction is very difficult.

    Justin, very true. Back when lotteries were run by organized crime — before, that is, the government elbowed its way into that business — those dream books generally included numbers matched to dream symbols, so you could dream the numbers you played.

    Tengu, we know very little about them. They were a class of Welsh trance mediums in the Middle Ages, described in the Latin writings of Giraldus Cambrensis, who would do divination for people.

    Chris, shhh! You’ll give away too many of my secrets. 😉

  98. Been thinking about the other kinds of dreams I have had over the years. Energy healing for dogs and people, for example. Or helping wildlife transition in death after getting hit by a car.

    The ones like last night though really get my attention.. I woke up kind of yelling or screaming out loud, feeling something sitting on my legs and biting my outstretched hand. After I was fully awake I could still feel where I had been bitten for a few minutes.

    Now I am curious what a comprehensive occult course using dreams as a primary tool might entail. Hm.

    Thanks again,
    Eric

  99. I have always considered it prima facie evidence that dreams “mean something”, that almost everyone is intrigued by the topic and feels there “must” be something to it.

    (Except for the usual scoffers whose scoffing is frankly an inverse indicator, as far as I’m concerned).

    I’m always surprised that anyone doesn’t see this as obvious.

    As for me, I had one dream a long time ago that is deeply personal and I won’t go into it, except to say that the meaning of it came to fruition during COVID, and so clearly, these things can be years or decades in advance.

  100. “If you plan on making a career as a dumpster diver in the back alleys of Western culture, pulling abandoned traditions out of the trash and putting them back into circulation, knowing the history of ideas is essential if you want to have a clue about what you’re seeing.”

    Do you have a few books or a course of study to recommend to get a decent grasp of the history of ideas? I’m sure I’ve absorbed a fair bit, having read your essays and books for more than 15 years and also being a lifelong reader of old books, but it seems like a good time for something more systematic.

    On dream interpretation, there is a book I want to recommend but I can’t remember the title and my searches are not turning it up. But I’ll go ahead and describe it, and perhaps someone will recognize it

    The premise was that practitioners of all of the major psychological theories that include dream interpretation were each given the same dream, along with some background information about the dreamer. Each person interpreted it according to their tradition and the book is a compilation of what they wrote. There was definitely a Freudian, a Jungian and a practitioner of Gestalt theory, as well as others that I don’t remember. I think it may have been published in the 60s or 70s. Possibly earlier but not later.

    Anyway, it was fascinating to be able to compare the different approaches to dream interpretation. None of them treated them as predictive, as far as I recall, but it provided an entire toolbox of choices for understanding nonpredictive dreams.

  101. Simon S @ 86, Two things prompted by your ost:

    The Calvinist doctrine of there being a so-called Elect was an updated version of a Medieval Christian heresy, called by some historians the Perfecti. This most dangerous heresy held that some certain persons were Perfecti, perfected as it were, and could therefore commit whatever crimes and sins they wished. You thought was an original thinker? I doubt it.

    As for the Protestant Work Ethic, –speculation ahead–I think the Puritan sects in England were a low- middle and middle-class reaction to what many saw as sinful, disorderly lives of both court and the poor. Puritans soon found that, who would have thought, strict attention to morals, thrift, industry, economy, all the boring Protestant virtues, allowed hitherto just barely getting along people and families to prosper. They could have comfortable houses. Keep their children alive. The huge families of famous people like Paul Revere and J S Bach were not anomalies. Observers of Quaker life noticed that while clothing was unadorned, it was made from excellent cloth, of a kind previously unavailable to persons of their station.

  102. @Simon S: that’s not all protestants. Pretty much just Calvinists. It’s a weird belief that God’s already picked who’ll be saved, and as soon as the last one gets saved, Jesus can come back. Or something like that. It’s pretty much why I didn’t stick with my childhood church (Calvinist, naturally), but I’m pretty sure other protestant denominations are not down with that, and are rooting for *everybody* to be saved.

  103. @Tengu #97: Very very cool. I would love to be able to visit and sleep at one. I can imagine they still work. These temples and sites can stay very active over long periods of time (as I’m sure you know). I think the idea of Asklepions and this kind of dream healing would be good to revive for addicts, veterans, and the many others scarred by the hardships of life in our unraveling society.

    @JMG: I had always wondered why they were called Dream Books. At one of the restauraunts my wife worked at a lot of the kitchen staff still used them and played the lottery all the time… it reminds me of a story of when I went into a convenience store and someone was saying, “I only have a few more dollars left, but give me another one of those scratch off’s.” & I never seen a place as sad as when I walked through a casino to get to the buffet with a group from work (there is one casino downtown). All those sad faces at the slot machines… that was the only time I’ve been in there. But it is an ancient activity so I am sure will survive long long into the future…

    It’s got me wondering at what point gambling diverged off of divination.

  104. @JMG: re: dream about receiving a package: I’d pay attention to that one! Any time someone gives you something in a dream, particularly if you take it back home with you, that’s a thing that may exist on some level– a gift, a message, a *thing* you know? Sometimes you’re supposed to use those. I am forever losing prayer ropes. Sometimes I find them again in jacket pockets and things, but I’ve lost count of how many have simply vanished. Can rarely find them when I want them. But in a dream I visited a desert monastery, where a nun gave me a set of wooden prayer beads. So now I just use those, because I can’t misplace them 😉 Works fine. I just think about them, and I can feel them on my fingers. It was really nice of her.

  105. @Robert: re: useless prophecies
    It’s like that! My dreaming self sometimes reaches out there and nabs little details and bits of information I don’t have access to while awake. All of which are completely trivial and no use to me whatsoever. A computer password that doesn’t work because it’s one digit off. A weird detail of a house I don’t live in yet. A snippet of conversation between two people I know… it’s not the same as deja vu, where it’s just a feeling like you’ve been there before, it’s, I remember this from a dream, but in the dream it was slightly different: I was sitting on the other side of the room, or the screwdriver was a different color. It’s never exact, only weirdly close. A long series of partial hits on useless things. I feel like the world’s most banal clairvoyant. It’s enough that I 100% believe that sort of thing is real, but have serious doubts about its usefulness! Kind of like if you had a psychic sense for… magically finding all the pop tabs within 20 feet. Definitely not gonna save the world or anything.

  106. Thank you for that JMG.
    Not a question but a comment. Across the Islamic world, the idea that dreams are messages (including guidance) from the Unseen (God), that dreams may bring news of the future, as well as dream interpretation; remain quite popular. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said that a true dream is one-forty-sixth of prophethood; and that true dreams would remain a gift from God to his nation. In Islamic cosmology, the Soul which has been Breathed into a material body returns back to God (the Unseen realm) during sleep, and He then ‘sends’ it back as one awaken from the sleep state (Quran 39:42). As the soul traverses the Unseen realm in one’s dream state, all that is encountered in the spiritual realm (of the past, present or the future) is perceived by the dreamer in forms that he/she can understand; ie, in the form of symbols. And thus when my own mother supplicated to God for her to have 5 grandchildren, she subsequently dreamt that our Aunt Attiya (literal: the One who Gifts), handed her 5 boxes of sweets; and shortly thereafter, she did have 5 grandchildren. In Islamic mysticism, spiritual practices (ritual prayer; fasting, predawn prayer etc) may lead over time to one having more and more of such true dreams.
    (All of the above is said while keeping in mind Ali Ibn Taleb’s (Prophet Muhammad’s cousin and as some would say; his spiritual heir) famous saying: ‘we are all asleep. And when we die, we wake up’)

    Ibn Sirin was perhaps the most famous dream interpreter over the centuries in Islamic history. Here is his dictionary of dream symbols. The introductory chapter gives a brief synopsis of dreams and dream interpretation in Islamic thought.
    https://data.nur.nu/Kutub/English/IbnSirin_dictionary_of_dreams.pdf

    Regards,
    mobi.

  107. JMG
    Your dream sounds very much like what you do every day. You are passing along a message with an intention for life, prosperity and health. You pass the message, passing the message is the gift and you go back home without knowing if the message was delivered.

    Mark L, I have long had very similar dreams. In them I just can’t seem to get done what I need to do. I decided that this is not so much expressing anxiety even though it feels stressful, it’s more my body just letting me know that if I don’t wake up soon this is what will happen. It’s related to the toilet dream for me. I just can’t find a toilet. When I do, it’s in the middle of a large crowd and doesn’t seem to work properly. My body is just saying ‘better to wake up for this.’

    Hosea T, yes I know the author although I haven’t read anything by him, thank you, I’ll check it out.

  108. I just remembered that back in the day, I used to have three series of repeated dreams at various times. The first was being in a car speeding downhill on a mountain road, and I was trying to steer it from the passenger’s seat. When my marriage funally broke up (I up and left) the dreams stopped.

    The second series was when I discovered the existence of paganism -first, via hints in a science fiction fanzine, then at a local indoor Renfaire run by the local pagan community – and was feeling my way into what they had to offer. The dreams were of driving a car into blinding sunshine directly in my eyes, and yet I seemed able to avoid the usual obstacles and not crash it.

    The third, when I was confronting my shadow side, was of wandering through the attic or attics of a dusty, possible abandoned house, steering clear of whoever might be downstairs. What I was doing was writing down, in a pocket journal with a harshly discordant cover, every forbidden thought or impulse, every bad deed or carelessly destructive one, and so on and so on…. and when written out, I hid the journal away for some time, and when I brought it out, realized it was “A disgusting but harmless collection,” like having a boil lanced.
    I’ve had plenty of dreams since, but never the long series of vivid, unforgettable, repeated ones.
    For what that’s worth.

  109. “I am walking down a road through a forest. I come to an urban neighborhood, where there is a man I am supposed to meet. I greet him in the ancient Egyptian style, saying “Life, prosperity, health!” and give him a message to pass on to the pharaoh. He gives me a package, we chat a bit, and then I start walking back the way I came, so I can take the package back to my apartment.”

    This strikes me as a mental-plane analogue of cross-pollination or genetic recombination – perhaps a natural process of incorporating and reassorting ideas and lifeways and one that might operate in overdrive in someone like yourself who has chosen to dive deeply into the history of ideas and cultures. Like genetic recombination, I would imagine that the vast majority of these would be odd or of little impact but that some might lead to significant breakthroughs and discoveries. I also imagine that it would be useful process for a fiction writer in terms of generating potential worlds and plotlines.

  110. Rufty #62 –

    You are not alone in “dropping in” to other lives in dreams. Every now and then I will have a dream wherein I am walking around observing out of someone else’s eyes. Usually they are still in there too and I am like an unnoticed, passive observer. Even when the location is exotic, it’s almost always mundane activities. On a couple of occasions the person has noticed me in there with them. Once or twice that resulted in a panicky exit on my part and immediately waking up back in my own body. I definitely felt a sense of being a trespasser then. The other times, I simply withdrew with apologies to the host and the “dream” faded. I have always attributed these unusual experiences to astral projection and have never doubted it was an actual body in space and time with whom I temporarily shared perception. Once or twice I have had complete control of the body but usually it is just being a “ride-along”. On those occasions of full control, the bodies were not fully healthy and made me feel “foggy”; once in particular I felt like the body was addicted to drugs. That was a very weird feeling!

    I don’t seek these dreams and always have some ethical questions about the suitability or wisdom of participating in them, to the extent that I have any volition. Any thoughts or suggestions on the ethics of riding around as an observer behind another’s eyes?

    JMG – Excellent post this week; you are really on a roll lately. I feel a new energy and lightness coming through in your writing!

  111. America’s ruling class was once capable of producing prophets like that during it’s creative minority phase. Henry Adams, a descendant of the US presidents John and John Quincy, had his own unique method of divination. His study of history and why certain events happens led him to some grand unifying theory in his memoirs. Despite his unusual methodology he correctly viewed France and Britain as being in decline, proclaimed that Germany was a flash in the pan and wouldn’t be able to attain a dominant position in international affairs, and predicted that an alliance between Russia and China would forestall American hegemony.

    The latter sentiment echoed by, and credited, to Zbigniew Brzezinski. First time as tragedy, second as farce, as the bearded one might’ve said. I doubt that any modern prophet would find the same tolerance, much less acceptance, that Adams enjoyed in Washington’s ruling circles nowadays.

  112. SimonS #86
    My Christian theology is a little different from your take on it. I believe we are all predestined for salvation. However, C. S. Lewis once wrote that there has to be a Hell for those who really want nothing to do with God. They should not be made to go to Heaven. As I tell people, God has pretty low standards for entry to Heaven. He knows us too well.
    Re the Protestant Work Ethic, it is important not to put too much emphasis on it or it can become worship of work, in other words a false God. On the other hand, we should not be afraid of work as it is necessary for independence, and we should look after ourselves and those around us in so far as we can.

  113. Sure, I’m willing to share them with the group here as it seems everyone is a bit more aware than the average person regarding this stuff. I’ll also share a bit about the dreams associated with the bigger ones since the rest of the audience is discussing theirs. JMG, if you read this and decide it’s too long or personal or whatever to post for the group, that’s fine, this is your site. If you want to discuss the predictions in detail you can email me.

    One caveat/warning: it seems in a lot of the dreams/clairaudient warnings, at least in my case, are more like the mass emotions around these events rather than a deity or being providing an explicit statement about an event. I’ll explain this in more detail at the very end because it’s relevant to the biggest one that has yet to happen and others on this thread have also mentioned it.

    1. The original string of predictions in 2015
    The string of predictions happened in August of 2015 while I was on a trip to NYC to visit a former boyfriend. It was the last time I’d see him before he died. He had always had emotional problems and we had a terrible relationship, this was sort of the last hurrah, we didn’t do much but drink and have sex and talk. I was on a business trip/workation and he had a day job aside from this but it was sort of sleazy and something I’d grown out by that time. He was one of the only people I could interact with on things like chan culture, the burgeoning alt-right thing, the sort of stuff that online guys did. This is and was never ‘my world’ – at the time I was a minor executive at a company everyone has heard of – but he and I had always had an easy way of talking about stuff that made most normal people insane. I have always been a Russophile (I studied Russian seriously for several years prior to that point) and followed international politics/events more seriously than US politics; I knew more about the Maidan in Ukraine, for example, than I did about the Kek stuff on the chans, or Trump. That was his interest.

    We were drinking beer and watching The Running Man and laughing and I was like, what is this, a documentary? We live in this world now! (A hyper-neoliberalized society where people complete for their lives for an audience who find it entertaining that people live in terror and suffer – this movie was made in the early 80s and is dated in style but not in content. But in 2015 things weren’t as bad as they are now.) And from there I quipped the following:
    – Trump would be president
    – “Out by the following August or two terms” (because the US courtier class wouldn’t stand such a crass figure to sully their sinecures, they would marshall all forces to remove him one way or another)
    – “Who are the Democrats gonna run, Biden? Biden and Kamala Harris?”
    – the struggle would make Trump more powerful even if he was hated
    – the struggle would destroy both parties (“We’re about to see both parties go the way of the Whigs and get new parties”)
    – it would take seven years and be white-knuckle at points, but the US would probably get through the fight intact as a single country, and all the global war on terror apparatus would come home to be used on the locals
    – the Republicans were the only party who could benefit from the Democrats’ war on Trump, but they’d blow it by retaining the Evangelical wing’s billionaires’ social projects

    I think there were two major, major inflection points where things could have gone different ways and had massive impacts on later events: in 2016 the election could have gone to Hillary (see the next topic) and in 2020 Trump could have held on for another term.

    I made one final comment here not explicitly about Trump and US politics, but it deserves it’s own section.

    2. Russo-Ukraine War
    I mentioned I’m a Russophile, speak Russian, and had grappled with a terrible illness for a decade. I was still sick by the time the December 2021 security guarantee ultimatums were issues by Russia to the US, the real ‘last exit’ before the war started in February 2022. Around that time I caught Covid for the first time – I’d been terrified of catching it because I didn’t know what it would do to my chronic untreatable illness. I survived – world’s worst head cold – but there is that effect where post-Covid for a few months your immune system is weak, and right as the war broke out the acute form of my major illness reactivated and I spent 4 days in a terrible fever/headache with dimmed vision and I thought it was possible I might actually die. But the fever broke on the fifth day and I woke up to read about the Russian military crossing the border into Ukraine. I was terrified, the kind of real existential terror that one can only have if they understand fully how unlikely it was that Ukraine would win and how badly the US was bluffing and that Russians don’t bluff.

    A couple of weeks into the war – around the time of the Kiev feint – I had a dream about Putin. In the dream I was sitting beside him and we were in an audience at something like a fashion show, where models would walk down a runway. As each of them passed us, they’d stop, turn to him, and do a complex, showy, martial dance (like a cock-of-the-rock bird mating dance) at him before turning and walking away. Each time, Putin and I would look at each other and make “Oooh! Scary!” faces and laugh. Finally he leaned into my ear and said:
    – “Well, what do you expect. Let them try.” (later he would say this at a presser in response to a question about Western weapons being used by Ukraine)
    – “You know what they say – ‘Smoke em while you got em!'” and I tried to correct him to the actual phrase and he gave me one of those smirks and I woke up. (I interpreted this comment to be around the many comments later in the war that the Russians made about burning all the Western weapons no matter what was sent before they could be used against the RUAF)
    – I knew after this dream that Russia was going to win, period, full stop. There was zero doubt and the horror at how the Ukrainians refuse to stop allowing themselves to be used by the west has just mounted exponentially since.

    3. Israel-Iran War
    The final comment I made in 2015 semi-related to the Trump electoral prediction was about Israel and their control over US politics, specifically that it didn’t matter if they had control now because “Israel and Iran are going to nuke each other”. And I didn’t think it was going to happen up until a few months back when Gaza started getting really crazy. And further I didn’t think that even if it did happen it would “really” happen but then there was that insane rumor that went around from Pepe Escobar about a month ago about Israel attempting to nuke Iran after the missile bombardment.

    At the beginning I said there were some caveats around prediction events vs mass fears of events and here it is: I think this specific event is possible, very possible (and I hate that because in actual reality in a little over a week I am boarding a flight to Tel Aviv for work and I very much would not like to be terrified of this scenario) yet I am strangely serene about events. Why? I don’t have a good answer other than I feel like this prediction was more about the mass fear of millions around this event rather than the event actually occurring.

    4. 2024 election
    No dreams about this one but a strong intuition that the election is going to be a contested disaster. The specific scenario I think may be that one or both candidates die either before the election itself (but too late to redo ballots) or after the election but before inauguration.

  114. Realmscryer, I have no idea what such a course would look like — I’m just dipping my toes in the shallow end of the pool at this point — but it would be a very valuable resource.

    Bofur, that seems reasonable to me.

    Industrial, I wish I did. The course I took at the university didn’t really have any kind of textbook; they just threw together a lot of classes on different aspects of cultural and intellectual history and called it good. Everything along these lines I can think of is similar — for example, CS Lewis’s The Discarded Image is a great intro to medieval thought, and Ivan Morris’s The World of the Shining Prince is an equally good intro to the thought and culture of Heian-era Japan — but a more general overview? I wish I knew of one.

    Justin, oh, I know. I’ve been to Las Vegas twice, both times to speak at an alchemy conference. (No, the irony didn’t escape me.) The conference was held at a second-string casino hotel, and you had to walk through the casino to get from the hotel area to the conference rooms. It’s the only time in my life I ever saw something that made the Christian concept of Hell understandable to me: all these people caught up in a perpetual trance of frustrated greed and craving and misery. Any one of them could have walked away at any moment, but they went out of their way to go there.

    There were discount cards that gave you umpty percent off all the meals, but you had to activate them by playing one of the slot machines. I needed the discount, so I put a buck or so into a nickel slot machine. It paid off at a statistically unlikely rate at first — that is to say, I’m quite sure the machines are rigged — so I waited until my buck had mounted up to $2.35, cashed out, took my activated card, and never touched one of the monstrous things again.

    Methylethyl, I’ll keep an eye out.

    Mobi, this is good to hear. Maybe one of these days those of us over here in the Dar al-Ahd will get a clue.

    Tamar, maybe so. I’ll keep on exploring and see what the results are.

    Patricia M, that’s the kind of thing that a lot of Jung’s patients have. I had one sequence of hideously vivid nightmares in which I was in near-pitch blackness, fighting for my life against an opponent who wasn’t hurt at all by the punches or kicks I threw; that changed when, in the dream, I figured out that he could be hurt by the other objects in the dream, and — well, I won’t get into the details; they were graphic, anatomically correct, and involved a lot of blood and brains. I also, for years, had dreams in which I was returning to various levels of public school to make up classes that I’d missed; about twenty years ago I dreamed of a graduation ceremony, and that was the end of those. Other than that, just weirdness.

    Mark, maybe so. For what it’s worth, I pull imagery out of my dreams sometimes for my fiction.

    Watts, an excellent point. The problem we face now is that the ruling elite won’t accept anything but the most absurd flattery; have you seen Paul Krugman’s latest, insisting that everyone in the US is actually experiencing wonderful economic times, and they’re just confused by misinformation when they think they’re suffering due to sky-high inflation of rents and other expenses?

    Mona, thank you for these. Since I’m in the business of prediction, I appreciate it when other people say what they expect, especially when it comes in strange ways. Now we’ll see what happens!

  115. Hi John, I wonder if the decline of the West began in earnest after the early 70s, with the West being in more of a bumpy plateau phase from c.1890 to c.1970 (not unlike peak oil : ) ). The moral catastrophes that occurred during this 80-year period are all-too-familiar, but there was also amazing scientific and technological progress as well; for me, the Apollo missions were one of the best things about the 60s.

    Perhaps, like many teenagers, a culture can be technically clever but not necessarily wise. So in the “plateau” phase, a culture may mask its declining wisdom with advances that are still accessible to a reduced level of maturity. When a new culture arises, it seems that (unlike most humans) if must mature first spiritually before it advances along other lines. I suspect that the emerging culture will have more of a personal empowerment “mentat” quality that today’s “machine-as-prostethic” quality.

    Incidentally, as a Catholic Christian, may I remind you of Our Lady’s Fatima prophecies, which had a clear-eyed vision of WWII but at the same time made it clear that human beings could avert it if they reformed spiritually. And there’s always the rub.

  116. JMG wrote: “It impresses me that they simply will not learn from their failures.”

    Apart from present company, who out there is learning from their failures these days?

    It’s kind of eerie this came up, because just a few days ago I was thinking about how if one intended to wish someone ill, wishing for them to never learn from their mistakes would be particularly devastating. But then, example after example came to mind of people and groups essentially wishing that on themselves. by being so unjustifiably certain they’re right.

    “As you believe you cannot be wrong, you shall not learn from your mistakes.” That’s a literal curse, is it not? More than that; I suggest it’s fully at large and acting broadly upon nearly every industry, profession, nation, and endeavor. It’s alarming how well that explains so much that’s going on. I’m not even sure it’s a good idea to say it “out loud,” but maybe somebody has to.

  117. Interesting hypothesis, and dovetails well with your earlier writings on the flagging Religion of Progress. Like I said anonymously on a past Magic Monday, I’m finding myself increasingly intrigued with divination as an art. Being able to make a partial income that way sounds like a great gig in spite of the risk of entitled clients, but I’d have a very long way to go to build the skill for that.

    “for years, had dreams in which I was returning to various levels of public school to make up classes that I’d missed”

    Also interesting to hear this from someone else. Something akin to this has been a semi-recurring dream for me over the years too, but I always assumed that was because I had a lot of issues with attending school back in my teens. The dream usually involves me realizing I haven’t done the homework or reading for the class, don’t know what room I need to go to, etc. At some point I’ll stop and think, “wait a minute, I’m an adult! I finished with all this school stuff years ago. What on Earth am I doing here?” and then I’ll wake up.

    Coincidentally, these days so many kids around here feel such a deep aversion to school they’ve had to invent a term for it that gets occasional use in mainstream media, translating to something like “school-refusers”. This is distinct from simple truancy as seen in 20th century pop culture, but more of a deep-rooted psychological thing. Of course the perspective of these media pieces is always that school is good and natural and that the problem is how to get the kids to conform. (Cue the old Seymour Skinner/Simpsons “Am I out of touch? No, it’s the children who’re wrong” meme)

    And since people are sharing recurring dreams in general here, my most frequent one involves a reunion with someone I haven’t seen in more than twenty years. We were very close friends as children, but then drifted apart for various reasons, as these things go sometimes. I’ve never really experienced that kind of friendship as an adult, so maybe that’s why my subconscious tends to mythologize it a bit. And of course there’s no guarantee we’d have much in common as the people we’ve become now.

    In any case, the dreams tend to be about us meeting up in various ways, often with me visiting my friend at his parent’s house. This place invariably looks very different in the dreams than it did in reality. It’s gotten to the point that even in the dream, I’ll think “huh, it’s weird that it finally happened and we met again after all those dreams about it”, which honestly is a bit spooky, haha. If dreams can get meta, who’s to say we’re awake at all? 🙂

    One last one, which I happened to have the other night: in the dream, I’ve realized I can fly, at least at low altitudes, just by “swimming” in the air. The other details tend to differ, but I always marvel at how much fun this is, and think something like “this is so easy and obvious, why didn’t I think of doing this? Why doesn’t everyone?”

    Generally speaking, I’d describe my dreams as “complicated”. They don’t tend to be especially pleasant or unpleasant, and I’ve never rarely had actual nightmares. That I can remember, anyway. (I did have occasional sleep paralysis when I was younger, but thankfully that’s much rarer now.) Instead they tend to feel like these long, labyrinthine stories after I wake up.

    Oh, and I’ll sneak in one MM-style question at the end, since it’s actually on topic. Does it have any effect on your dreams if you do regular banishing rituals in the room you sleep in? For various reasons my bedroom is the most convenient for magic-related activities, so I do both banishings and other things like temple workings there.

  118. Foresight is a lost art, if people had it then they could read patterns, and if they could do that, then they would realize they are being stolen from. Revolution is far from coming when every new day is the first of our proud democracy.

    Much as I’d hate to admit it, a random prediction based on past events, a wheel of misfortune, is going to be far more accurate than any modern analysis. Because the selection pool, even under complete randomization, is still relevant. In today’s age the calculation pool is total GIGO, as often quoted by Andrei Martynov.

    -Speaking of GIGO…
    In terms of dreams, I can remember my dreamscape-background vividly for many of my dreams. And I have noticed that almost every one of my dreams is based on a Hollywood movie, of some sort or another. The subconscious carries narrative in terms of identified threats and potential reward into the dream world.

    -Nightmare dream time:
    I was facing down this guy who was possessed and speaking ‘this is not (person’s-name) who is here, that you are talking to’ sort of speech, I ended up tackling the man down a spiral flight of stairs, and afterwards I remember seeing my dream self wake up in a hospital, looking out a window, and seeing a 1960s like world outside.

    I was fighting this ‘supernatural’ (yes like Sam in the TV series) ghost-spirit-thing in some sort of psychic battle, where the evil spirit would levitate all these pointed objects into a semi circle in the air, and I would battle back and forth with it, and I could see the semi circle of object start twisting and pointing in different opposite directions as the tug-of-war progressed. Eventually I won and the evil spirit gobbled up the pointy shard-like objects. My dream self felt relieved at the victory. But also in the ‘Well f$% if I want to fight something like that again’ sort of dialogue.

    Begins where I was laying in my bed in the dream world, and the bed levitated up in the air and started rotating all over the place opposed to gravity, and my dream self in the bed was panicked at first, but then I got control of the levitation and started spinning the bed to my own will, even having the bed inverted so I was laying facing the floor. Then my bed went out a window into a neon light area, where my body felt weird, like I was entering another realm, then I woke up (as a teenager) and got the ‘WTFH’ out of my head to get ready for another day of high school, which may explain why I have so many vivid nightmares.

    Fighting in flying-mech suits trying to take down some sort of advanced evolving zombies within some decaying city like area. (I have to admit this dream of mech vs zombie combat was actually kind of thrilling, because there was every expectation in my dream self, that one miscalculation would end my life, similar to a war-adrenaline high.) The narrative follows that while we were winning our battles, but there was a reserve of zombies building up and hiding out in a crater, and it follows that the expectation was that we (humanity) would not win the war. For some reason I think this dream background is situated within some major city of Canada.

    I have other weird dream, such as doing live surgery on myself while laying on a operating table. Believe me, it gets weirder. Ever weirder.

    So as far as I can tell dreams are based on the narratives we absorb into the subconscious. And this is where Hollywood, anime, and the telly-propaganda is actually most effective: taking daily stress and redirecting it towards imaginary enemies. As I said, GIGO material makes the world spin.
    So I must wonder if people were smart and remade the process: Would the world would stop spinning?
    I think it would, considering I hear rumors that the american drug market is the only thing actually holding up the dollar-economy right now.

    Aside from the imaginary dream’s backgrounds/imagery, my awakened conscious mind can come up with way more creative potential in terms of narrative.

  119. “So of course that drove believers to work frantically in order to prosper, since that showed that they were among the Elect and let them look down their noses at the poor, who were obviously damned.”
    This kind of Calvinist theology is a key to the spread of US fundamentalist Protestantism in the global south. It provides the extra discipline that people need in order to claw their way out of poverty and into the middle class. The vileness shows up in things like such Christians burning many Candomble temples when Bolsonaro took power.
    Non-theologically, it must help the brand to be coming from the nation that has been seen as the core of that particular promised land. (Emphasis on “seen as”.)
    I suspect that certain brands of Islam function similarly, but I don’t know enough about the dynamics within Islam.

  120. Since we’re talking about dreams, for what it’s worth…

    I’ve been keeping a dream journal for the past five years – it’s now over 40,000 words long and leafing back through it, I notice that many of my dreams seem to have a common thread of “I need to go somewhere (the bathroom, home, a restaurant, etc.), but the destination is unexpectedly elusive or the route is somehow obstructed.” Also worth noting is that when it takes the form of “need a bathroom/can’t find it,” I don’t necessarily actually need the bathroom – at least not urgently – when I wake up.

    I don’t often dream about political topics, but in 2022-23 especially I had several dreams where I was in a school or college that had suddenly become a lot more militaristic – a lot more people in ROTC, the school transitioning to a full-blown military school, etc. – and I can’t help but think it’s at least semi-predictive and associated with the Saturn/Neptune ingress and conjunction in Aries coming up not all that far from now. Although it could also be a reflection of the then-present, which is also common in my dreams (they tend to feature books I’ve been reading, games I’ve been playing, people both real and fictional I’ve been around, and occasionally ongoing world events).

    I also find myself traveling downstairs far more often than upstairs in dreams – I’ll start on, say, the 68th floor of a skyscraper and conclude on the 65th – and I’m not sure what that symbolizes. Granted, I also live in a second-floor apartment, so pretty much every journey I take is going to begin with “I go downstairs,” but even so.

  121. Breaking the seal on the secret is a matter far beyond using existing materials. If there is no help from a divine key and the truth is hidden from you, searching for it is your punishment that you do not realize.

  122. @ JMG,
    Aha. That makes more sense. As Sun Tzu wrote, you should always allow the enemy (or the congregation in this case) an escape route. As for the myth of progress, isn’t Depression (learned helplessness) the second last stage of grief? Maybe we’re getting to the Acceptance stage.

    @ Mary Bennet
    Yes. So, the positive part of Protestantism was that it democratised the system so that anybody could become Elect and not just the obviously-decadent “spiritual” elites. From what I understand, a big part of the reason for the Reformation at the grassroots level was that not just that the church elites in Rome but local monasteries and churches had become decadent and, while there were no doubt some monks and priests were served their communities well, there were also a large number that were conspicuously living off the charity of the average person without providing anything in return. It’s the same problem in our time, of course, except that the mechanisms by which our elites grift off the general welfare are far more esoteric and difficult to identify for the average person.

    @ methylethyl
    Yes, that particular belief seems to show up quite regularly in human affairs. I recall the French historian, Boulainvilliers, who claimed that the French aristocracy were the holders of civilisation and if the French public overthrew them it would mean the end of civilisation. We see much the same idea today in the “trust the experts” mantra. Clearly, many people have a strong desire to believe that someone, somewhere has all the answers.

    @ JillN
    I agree about the work thing, but it’s clear that work has become a false god in our time. As former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard once said – “work is our religion”. She wasn’t being ironic either. I think that’s why a lot of people these days (men, mostly) have a very hard time in retirement because their lives have consisted almost solely of work and they find themselves at a complete loss once that is taken away.

  123. I’m beginning to wonder if that old quip about the future already being here, just not evenly distributed yet, is far truer in the opposite way to the way most people think about it – i.e. those who have the worst present circumstances are the harbingers of the present, not those with the best.

  124. Hi Simon,

    Oh my gawd! Please spare us all from the overlordship of the puritans. 🙂 Dude, they hated pies and ginger bread men. I mean what’s not to like about those two things? Of course back in those days you’d have to closely check upon the offal content of the pies, and maybe some dodgy materials may have gotten chucked into the flour mixes from time to time, but that was probably a sign of the times – in these enlightened days, such things as maximum offal content, are legislated. 😉

    As to the work ethic, well I don’t work hard from natural inclination, I do so because I smell trouble brewing on the horizon. Sometimes, I do worry if I haven’t worked hard enough.

    Cheers

    Chris

  125. I’ve found in my personal life that woman seem to have more precognitive dreams than men. My wife in particular has predicted a bunch of things through her dreams, whereas mine are less often predictive. I understand why women were more often oracles in the past.

  126. Hi John Michael,

    So I was listening to the youth news radio program earlier in the week and they were discussing the story that the Australian Defence Forces has a lack of warm bodies, and so they’ve opened the gates to recruits of UK, US, Canada and New Zealand origins. Otherwise known as: Our mates.

    Now the thing is, a listener sent in a message which kind of put the situation bluntly. I can’t remember word for word, but the gist was: why put your life on the line for a nation which floods the continent with immigrants, you can barely secure a rental property, and home ownership is almost unattainable? It’s a strong argument, and didn’t some long dead crazy dude pronounce that God is dead?

    Oh, and as to last week, I believe that Wagner is cursed.

    Cheers

    Chris

  127. Carl Jung as far as I can tell had a prophetic dream back in 1914 about our coming deindustrial dark age in the chapter The Three Prophecies of his Red Book. What makes me think it’s specifically about ecological overshoot is in the beginning of the chapter The Gift of Magic right after the aforementioned one on page 127 of the PDF edition of the book which has all his paintings included there are two on there of a tree cut down with an axe and a dead ox with a knife inserted into it. I don’t know what else he meant to say with that painting other than what he said in the previous chapter is due to humans exploiting resources.

    I’ve had many similar dreams about this very same thing and one just last night where food has completely ran out where I live and two people came up to me and forced me to come with them so they could kill and eat me for their own survival. The dream certainly startled me more than most others i’ve had about it.

  128. Dreams! The bedrock of my personal connection to the unseen, and my all-time favourite topic. What a treat 🙂

    Trying to cut down the endless number of things I want to say into a mere handful is going to be tough, but here we go:

    Allowing yourself to interpret your dreams as you implicitly understand them, rather than by what they explicitly show/say is a major hurdle right off the bat (and it’s a dozy!). But being able to understand the subtle interplay between the material and the immaterial worlds – or even just between words, and meaning – is a major boon, even if it makes you feel a bit loony at times. And keep in mind: any given symbol is not limited in the number of meanings it can have. ( The painting of a pipe IS a pipe, AND it’s not! And it’s a third and fourth thing! And it’s also nothing! wee! )

    I’ve experience a whole gamut of dream ‘types’, or modes, ranging from: Route memory processing (events from the day being processed into long term memory), Symbolism representing how I’ve been feeling recently, Messages given to me in the form of adventures/stories, and messages given to me VERY directly – as in someone showing up with a clipboard and a list of topics, directly. A dream and slide and shift between these modes, and it takes some practice to tell what source of information any part of a dream is pulling from.
    Unfortunately, I have yet to find a consistent means to produce dreams related to queries I have. Why my dreaming self pipes up on some topics but remains enigmatically silent on others is a continual source of frustration. I have the sneaking suspicion that asking the RIGHT questions has something to do with it…but what exactly that entails is a work in progress.

    I have much more I could go on about, but I’ll stop here and leave with one of my favourite dreams; it’s meaning will be easily gleaned, I’m sure 😉

    I’m on a large cruise-type ship when it’s smooth sailing is interrupted by the hull being violently torn open by some unexpected rocks. It begins to tilt as it quickly takes on tremendous amounts of water, panicking the other passengers. They’re running about, scattered and frantic, looking for a solution when someone speaks up with a brilliant plan; “We have to RECYCLE the CARDBOARD! Everyone start flattening boxes!!”
    And the box flattening frenzy begins.
    When I try to point out than neither flattened, nor ‘recycled’ cardboard is going to be much help for a ship that is quickly sinking into the ocean, I’m scathingly admonished for “Not caring about the problem”
    I wished them luck as I found a way off the boat.

  129. Greg, I put the beginning of the decline in 1970. It’s a nice round number, and it was in the 1970s that the offshoring of industry and the decline in living standards in the US really kicked into gear. For what it’s worth, I think most civilizations are clever but not wise — wise cultures don’t become civilizations.

    Walt, that’s a dreadful (and dreadfully effective) curse, not least because it fulfills all the classic requirements. That is to say, I think you’re right — and shudder at the thought.

    Kim, it’s not just in your country. Here in the US the public schools are frantic because more and more kids are simply refusing to go. There’s a billboard within easy walking distance of my apartment ranting about how going to school is so very important for a kid’s future! I suspect part of the problem is that everyone knows just how little truth that claim has any more. As for banishing, I haven’t slept in an unbanished room for years, so I have no idea!

    Eruption, you’ve just given me another good reason to avoid visual media. I want my own dreams, thank you very much!

    Jessica, fascinating. Thank you for this data point.

    Brendhelm, interesting. I have no idea what those mean.

    Ceritx, so noted. I make do with what I have.

    Simon, I hope so!

    KAN, good. Yes, that’s been my take for a good long time now.

    PumpkinScone, interesting. I wonder how consistent that is.

    Chris, I’m impressed that they let that message through. As for Wagner, maybe so, but I’m drawing up outlines at this point.

    Randomguy, that’s an interesting interpretation of Jung’s dreams; thank you.

    Rose, thank you for that dream! Why, yes, I think I can interpret it. 😉

  130. Patricia #110
    I have a few series of sequential dreams. Some deal with concerns; some feature a recurring house or semi-fictional geographical location and I used to have a whole series similar to JMG’s of being behind academically; sometimes high school, sometimes college/uni. So far behind that I didn’t know how I would continue.

    The academic series of dreams is easy to explain as in high school I didn’t know if I had graduated until I rolled into the office on the Monday after graduation with fingers crossed and asked if I had a diploma…

    @JMG #116 – you mentioned that many of Jung’s patients reported having the same type of sequential dreams.

    Do you think it had anything to do with the type of patients that were attracted to Jung or vice versa or was it that it is a common occurrence but Jung may have been one of the first to call attention to them?

  131. False Eruption: “Fighting in flying-mech suits trying to take down some sort of advanced evolving zombies within some decaying city like area. … For some reason I think this dream background is situated within some major city of Canada.”

    Sounds to me like the truck protests in symbols

  132. @Brendhelm
    I have a version of that one– endless, labyrinthine public restrooms have been a recurring theme since childhood. I think when I was preschool age, I simply found them fascinating. No matter what the venue, whether it was a restaurant or a movie theater, or a school or a church… somewhere there was always this door, entering into a mysterious secret realm of tile, glass, strange acoustics and running water, locking doors and unfamiliar fixtures. My subconscious latched onto that in a big way and hasn’t let it go in forty years. It has an idiosyncratic personal symbolism that goes usually one of two ways:

    1)It’s about frustration and not being able to get things to work the way they’re supposed to in my waking life– in this version, I go from stall to stall to stall and each one will not work, for an increasingly bizarre set of reasons– like the first one there’s no paper, the second the toilet’s broken, on the third, the door will not latch, then the door is mounted so high it offers no privacy, then the door is missing entirely, then the fixture in the stall is nothing I actually recognize, and finally at the end, there’s a chrome-plated, fully functional toilet with no stall at all on a dais at the top of twenty stainless-steel steps…. and I wake up going Really? Really?!? Come ON! This seems to be a dream stand-in for situations in life where there’s (I thought) an established procedure, and I’m (I thought) following it, and nothing is working out because the stated rules are not the actual rules (a frequent problem for those of us on the spectrum, I gather). Unsurprisingly, I had this one a lot when I was in college (“go to college, get a degree, any degree, then get a good job…” was proving unworkable).

    2) In the other version, it functions more like a secret-escape-door. Something sinister is chasing me, but I duck into a restroom, duck through the maintenance door at the opposite end, and find myself in a totally different restroom, and I realize “hey, this is the endless bathroom, I can lose my pursuer here!” and then I keep running, make a bunch of crazy turns through unlikely doorways, and sure enough: whatever it is can’t keep up! I know the rules of this maze, and they don’t. 🙂 Which is sort of the inverse version. I’m not looking for something that works the way I expect it– I’m on home turf and it works the way I want it to, and confounds *others*. It correlates to things working unexpectedly well IRL because I’ve stumbled on one of those odd things I’m quite good at.

    There are dream symbols that a lot of people have, but sometimes they don’t mean the same thing for everybody. It’s like a personal cipher. Maybe for most people it’s just your brain trying to wake you so you can go relieve yourself. Sometimes it’s something else. Anything recurring is worth contemplating, because it means something to you.

  133. Justin #105 / JMG #116

    Concerning the sad nature of casinos and the denizens of said casinos I can only reinforce your observations.

    Way, way back in the day, after work there was a Trump something or other casino nearby. I’d go there with $20, an amount that I didn’t want to lose but wouldn’t hurt if I did.
    I’d sit down at a low minimum bet table. At times, I’d lose my money but when things went well, I’d stop when I was $80 ahead. It wasn’t a really a bad experience, especially with the free drinks for the price of a tip to the waitress.

    Face forward a few decades and during a family trip to Arizona we stopped in Las Vegas to overnight and see a show. Kid’s were settled in for the night so I went down to the casino to try the same routine, play with a minimal stake I wouldn’t mind losing. I walk around the casino floor looking for a blackjack table and found myself in Dante’s first circle of Hell.

    Not one person on that casino floor, employee or gambler was enjoying themselves in any way. The general depression was palatable. Not even anger or any strong emotion. I was ready to have a little fun gambling but like my dude Legolas said after he tried to find where the fun went:

    “I have not brought Fun. She is walking in the comment section of ecosophia.net, and a little ennui on this cringe Vegas Casino floor troubles her not at all”.

    I gave up and went back to the room to watch some TV with the kids before bed (television programming being another, “not-Fun”, vampiric drain)

  134. Wow, that Joséphin Péladan was a real ‘Debbie Downer’, eh? Talk about a party pooper! 😊

    I understand what you mean when you say that you dropped doing personal geomancy readings as soon as you could afford to. I had a great-uncle who was a gifted reader of tea leaves. At one point he stopped cold as he could no longer bear seeing doom and gloom in peoples’ cups (this would have been in the late 1920s, on the eve of the annihilation of so many family fortunes).

    In my youth, on the rare occasion that I encountered Western astrology it was so filled with feely-goody psychobabble that I was repulsed by it. It was only when I encountered Vedic astrology – which is utterly deterministic (sometimes too intensely so, depending on how sadistic the astrologer is) that I said to myself, “ah, finally, a system of divination rather than gobbledy-gook”. I guess that’s why Vedic astrology and hard, cold, geomancy are still my preferred forms of divination.

    I do believe that one contributing factor behind the shift in interpretation within Western astrology (though it is tied in with the cult of progress) was the rise of the obsession with free will. The myth of the ‘self-made man’, the ‘American Dream’, and all that other dreary stuff that led a culture to abandon faith in divinity, prophecy, etc., in favour of “I can achieve anything if I will it so; there is no fate determining my fortune in life”, etc., ad nauseum. The impressive cloak of ‘free will’ is looking pretty moth-eaten these days as an increasingly large portion of the population faces stark realities of unemployment, hunger, homelessness, random violence, and other pretty ugly realities that are hard to just ‘free will’ away. High time for divination to return to the rough-and-tumble reality of life on Earth rather than endless airy-fairy hopium.

    Regarding the predictive power of dreams, I am always reminded of the dreams narrated by Black Elk (in Black Elk Speaks), several of which were predictive in nature. It was his experience that one can immediately tell the difference between an ‘ordinary’ dream and a dream of significance (either sacred or predictive). I share that experience and, like Black Elk, have managed to put some significant dreams into manifestation via sacred ceremonies/rituals, with impressive results. Because of this life-long experience, I have had no faith in the various modern ‘schools’ of dream interpretation (more gobbledy-gook, in my eyes; I can’t even bear to read the stuff).

    Lastly, the funniest predictive dream that happened in my family (to my knowledge) involved my stepfather who had a horribly vivid dream involving (then newly ruling) prime minister Brian Mulroney. My stepfather absolutely loathed Mulroney because he knew the scoundrel in the business world before he ventured into politics. Anyway, my stepfather dreamed that Brian Mulroney stole his shoes! Man, did he ever wake up spitting mad! My mother and I had a good laugh at the dream at the time – but in hindsight, given how much that crook inflated our fiscal debt and virtually burned down Canada’s business sector through the ‘free trade’ agreements (which created a five-year recession in my country), the dream now appears out to be downright prophetic!

  135. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the source for this statement (I just mean it was not my idea, I read it on some other site), but some of the weirdest dreams may be recollections from dreams that happened in the mental plane. These experiences are not fit for description using human languages (you commented on this recently), and the resulting weirdness is the best attempt of your mind to do so.
    Now my comment, don’t throw all of your dreams into this category so that you don’t try to make sense of any of them.

  136. @Greg #117 and JMG, yep, I think 1970 was the turning point. In the fall of 1970 I was a high school senior, there was a sad feeling of an era ending. I remember a friend saying they’re not doing good music anymore. The vibe had shifted. The energy crisis hit soon after and
    I remember E.F. Schumacher and his book Small is Beautiful being a thing, solar energy, conservation, re-design of how to stuff, wind energy, organic agriculture, alternative medicine coming more out in the open, stuff JMG calls green wizardry, the Whole Earth Catalog, but then they figured out how to bring oil prices down and the next stage turned out to be developing a new level of corporate capitalism/technocracy/plutocracy/globalism/ digital electronic gadgetry.

  137. Years ago I saw a TED Talk video where a woman bragged about how she turned every dream into a lucid dream where she went exactly where she wanted and lived out every fantasy she desired. She recommended that everyone commandeer their nightly dreams (as if this were possible) to refashion them into hedonistic playgrounds of wish fulfillment. Unfortunately I am not able to find this video via a search and I forgot her name. I half-wonder if she had the video taken down due to embarrassment.
    I was still atheist when I saw the video, so it must have been at least seven years ago. For some reason, even as an atheist, I found her suggestions about dream control rubbed my fur the wrong way. Even then, I felt it was utterly wrong to attempt to control the dream environment to such a degree. Does her approach to nightly dreams seem offensive to you, JMG, or to anyone else reading this?

  138. Krugman isn’t the only one in an insulated bubble, get a load of this;

    “I went to a local BBQ/Car Show this weekend, and I got dragged into a conversation about “how lousy the economy is.” Rather than inundating these folks with data — all that does is get people to double down — I elected instead to ask some questions:

    -Where did you guys go on your last vacation? (It ranged from Disney to the Greek islands to Bali)
    -How is your business? (uniformly Booming).
    -How many people have you hired since the pandemic ended? (5-50).
    -What car did you drive here? (Porsche, Ferrari, Vette, vintage 1950s, Viper, not a junker in the crowd).
    -What is your Daily Driver? (Benz, Lexus, BMW, Range Rover).
    -How much more is primary residence worth today than a decade ago? (anywhere from +$1m to + $5m)
    -How many homes do you own? (between 1 and 5). How many cars do you own? (2 to 400)
    -Tell me about your boat (28-foot sailboat local to a 75-footer in Palm Beach).”

    https://ritholtz.com/2024/05/actions-not-words/

    As for Simon’s observation, “Clearly, many people have a strong desire to believe that someone, somewhere has all the answers.”

    That is why conspiracy theories are so popular. People don’t deal well with randomness. Someone somewhere must be in control. Saying “shale happens” isn’t very satisfying. “Chance favors the prepared mind” to explain success implies effort required on your part to get prepared. It’s mentally much easier to blame conspiracies for your failure and the other guys success.

    Speaking of conspiracies, I’ve noticed an uptick in interest in preparing go-bags and bug out kits. Whether it’s due to the arrival of fire season and hurricane season or fear of plutonium powered noisemakers I don’t know.

  139. My most interesting dream experience was exceedingly minor and mundane. Before going to sleep, I desperately needed to find a certain document. I turned over my entire apartment several times over with no success, then went to sleep still thinking about where it might be. In my dream, there was a niche behind my computer containing the document. It was not there when I woke up, of course… but after I started searching again, I thought to check behind the drawers of my computer desk. If I ever knew that there was enough space there for sizeable objects to get lost, I forgot it entirely. Sure enough, the document had slipped there from the drawers. So I “predicted” its location, with only limited deviations in space and shape.

    I suppose it’s easy enough to say that, unconsciously, I must have been aware of the possibility and just needed the dream to communicate it to my conscious mind. Still, since then, I have been wondering whether and how I could induce such useful dreams. (Not just for finding lost objects; I could think of other things on which I could use such “hints”.) I’d appreciate any insights or recommendations on where to look.

  140. @ Chris

    I agree. You’re not working hard enough. To atone for your sins, you are required to come around to my place once a fortnight to mow the lawn and weed the garden. It’s only fair.

  141. >Coincidentally, these days so many kids around here feel such a deep aversion to school

    For most kids, school is a miserable experience. Most adults seem to have forgotten that. I think a lot of kids got a taste (during the craziness that Shall Not Be Named) of how nice life could be without having to go to school and it was so nice that they wanted more of it. So many unintended consequences to that particular campaign.

    That and the parents who would be pressuring them to go, saw exactly how little was being taught anyway, most primary teachers are screaming bluehairs that are frankly deranged and insane, and many parents concluded that it wasn’t worth pressuring their kids any longer. Or the task of making sure the kid was actually going to school, fell down the priority queue. Parents are busy after all. Someone else do it.

    So, a miserable place full of deranged ideologues that isn’t doing anything for the kids’ own good, what you should be asking isn’t that it’s being abandoned, but why anyone is still participating in it.

  142. @Chris at Fernglade

    I’ve found that the loyalty to the idea of a ‘nation’ is crumbling as many people see that the government is actively working against them, especially the younger brigade who would actually be involved in an armed forces.

    It sets the stage down the road for some potentially nasty conflict, and it’s probably for the best for people to circle the wagons locally going forward.

  143. Hey JMG

    Oh yes, I remember that practice from some books I read when I was a kid, its been so long since I thought about it.

    On the subject of Astrology, I think remember discussing the rather informative book, “A Scheme of Heaven”, by Alexander Boxer, a Statistician who studies, but does not believe in, astrology as a hobby. (Or maybe pretends to not believe it.)
    It is an engaging history of Astrology that also explains some of its technical aspects quite well, such as how astrolabes work. I vaguely remember the book discussing how relatively recently astrology was used to predict human personality, when for most of its history it was used for predicting the world at large. It was many years since I read it, so maybe I should revisit it and write another book review.

  144. What a very normal dream. You’re not weird anymore! =)

    What I find odd about dreams is how they will use puns, like your dream did with the word “craft.” If the subconscious wants to communicate a warning to the conscious mind, frankly, I would expect it to be more blunt. Why leave anything to interpretation? Why do it in riddle form?

    It points to the subconscious having its own distinct personality, and even a sense of humor, doesn’t it? Either that or some separate spiritual being is who’s sending the message. Either way that’s a huge strike against the ‘humans-as-meat-robots’ model of reality.

  145. Re #107 methylethyl on useless prophecies: yes, useless indeed – like listening in to random bits of context-less chat on a telephone exchange. Reminds me of another aspect of dreams, which is meeting vividly individual characters whom I have never met in waking life, and who don’t remind me of anyone in particular. I can’t be that creative – it must be real contact of some kind; as it were a jostling by other visitors to dream-space.

  146. @JMG
    Thanks so much for your (more detailed than expected!) answer to my comment about the situation in Europe and the world regarding the war scenarios.

    I have subscribed to your patreon mundane astrology page using the same email and nickname. I have started reading your lessons and I find them very interesting. Do I need any introductory books as well or are the lessons enough?

    Thanks again for offering us useful advice during hard times.

  147. @blue sun (#147):

    During the 1890s Charles Godfrey Leland elaborated a whole theory of multiple selves that live within each of us. He started with a separate dream-self:

    “What are our dreams but the action of our other mind, or a second Me in my brain ? Certainly it is with no will or effort, or act of mine, that I go through a diabolical torturing nightmare, or a dreadful dream, whose elaborate and subtle construction betrays very often more ingenuity than I in my waking hours possess. I have had philosophical and literary dreams, the outlines of which I have often remembered waking, which far transcended anything of the kind which I could ever hope to write. The maker of all this is not I or my will, and he is never about, or on hand, when I am self-conscious. But in the inadvertent moments of oblivion, while writing, or while performing any act, this other I, or I’s, (for there may be a multitude of them for aught I know) step in and tease — even as they do in dreams. ”

    This is from his Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune-Telling (1891), p. 14. And this is from p. 165 of the same book:

    “Now this Dream Artist is, to judge by his works, a very different kind of a person from Me. We are not sympathetic, and herein lies a great and serious subject of study. ” Dreams,” says a writer, ” are the novels which we read when we are fast asleep,” and, at the risk of receiving punishment, I declare that my writer belongs to a school of novelists with which I have no
    feelings in common. If, as everybody assumes, it is always /who dream — only using other material — how is it that I always invariably disagree with, thwart, contradict, vex, and mock myself? I had rather be hanged and be done with it, before I would wrong my worst enemy with such pitiful, silly, degrading dreams and long-forgotten follies, as I am called on to endure. If this alter-ego were a lunatic, he could not be a more thoroughly uncongenial inmate of my brain than he often is. Our characters are radically different. Why ‘has he a mind so utterly unlike mine? His tastes, his thoughts, dispositions, and petty peculiarities are all unlike mine. If we belonged to the same club, I should never talk with him.”

    The whole of chapters 11 and 12 are worth reading for the details of his theory of multiple selves, and for its place on his greater (and quitte insightful) theory of how magic actually works.

    Leland develops this multiple-selves theory of his further in his later books The Mystic Will (1905), chapter 10, and especially his The Alternate Self, or the Female Intellect in Man and the Masculine in Woman (1904). All these books of his can be downloaded from archive.org. I think tthey’re well worth the time it takes to read them.

  148. Scotty, when I go to Las Vegas — and I only do it for events where I’m supposed to speak! — I bring a couple of good dense books.

    Ron, nah, Péladan threw the best parties in Paris at his art shows!

    There’s a reason the word “decadent” isn’t a synonym for “ascetic.” 😉 As for feely-goody psychobabble, yes, the cult of personal entitlement was a major force driving the collapse of Western astrology into “well, what do you want it to mean?” handwaving. The sad thing is that in the forms of astrology I study most closely, free will has a place — but it’s always balanced against two additional forces, fate (that’s spelled “karma” in your tradition) and destiny (which I think is probably spelled “dharma”): the impact of your past choices and the constant pull of the divine aspect of the soul toward the work it’s supposed to do. The great tragedy of our time is driven by the hard fact that will exercised without attention to destiny inevitably cancels itself, by piling up a burden of fate that it ultimately cannot overcome.

    Oh, and “Mulroney Stole My Shoes” would make a great band name. 😉

    Anonymous, I suspect, rather, that my dreams simply have some language of their own that they haven’t gotten around to sharing with me. It’s not that they’re innately incomprehensible, just that they talk in Old High Martian.

    BeardTree, and of course I remember all of that painfully well, also.

    Kimberly, I don’t find it offensive as such — it takes a lot to offend me — but unwise and self-defeating? You bet. If dreams have a natural function, as they surely do, it’s best to let them exercise that function instead of stupidly interfering with it; what’s more, if dreams are a way that the subconscious mind offers insights to the conscious mind, isn’t it a lot smarter to listen to those insights, instead of refusing to let them get a word in edgewise because you’re too busy telling them what you want them to say!

    Siliconguy, and it never occurred to him to go ask some people who were making much, much less money how they were doing. If times are bad even for the vey rich…

    Daniil, nice! I don’t have any ideas on producing such dreams yet; we’ll see what a few years of obsessive reading and study will turn up. 😉

    Other Owen, hear, hear! My time in public school was far and away the most miserable experience in my life, and it’s not as though it doesn’t have competition.

    J.L.Mc12, hmm! I’ll have a look at it when time permits.

    Blue Sun, or possibly it thinks in ways so different from the conscious mind that that’s the clearest it can get — and here, too, the meat robot theory is in trouble.

    Worried, I hope the lessons will be sufficient! They’re the first draft of a book that will be published early next year. If you have any trouble making sense of the material, please let me know so I can look at the manuscript and see about edits.

  149. Turning point:
    I believe the West turned downwards in 1968. That was the year of the student riots in Paris, Danny Cohn-Bendit, the Baader-Meinhof gang etc. What was so different about it was it was as if a gentleman’s agreement had been broken. Students have always protested, but they never ripped up cobblestones and tossed them at the police. There’ve always been radical left-wing groups, but they never resorted to terrorism. It’s as if violence and terrorism had become acceptable. And we see the result today in Gaza. America, which likes to portray itself as the defender of human rights, supplying the bombs and ammunition to fuel an atrocity.

    Misery:
    I don’t know about casinos, which I stay out of, knowing how tempting they can be, but a relative offered me the job of managing a pool hall he had bought. I was unemployed at the time and could have used the income, so I went down one afternoon to take a look. At that time of day the clientele was mostly teenagers, male and female. I don’t think I have ever seen a more unhappy group of people. They were glum, morose, going through the motions but no spark or spirit to them. Acting alive but dead inside.

    Incidentally, twice a day I get high school pupils going past my apartment on their way to or from a nearby school. They are very noisy, laughing and chaffing each other, some skipping happily along, others walking more sedately, and all leaving a trail of snack wrappers in their wake. In other words, these are what typical healthy teenagers should behave like.

    Prophesy:
    I knew a guy who used to start his talks, “My name is Bill and I know on what day I’m going to die.” He explained he used to be in the navy, and one day in India he met a fortune teller who was uncannily accurate. So he asked if he could foretell the date of his death. The fortune teller said yes, but it would be very expensive and he advised Bill not to do it. But Bill wanted to know, raised the money, and learned the date.

    I hate to let anybody down, but I don’t know what happened. I lost contact with Bill 30 years ago. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he died on or about the due date, having had many years to prepare himself for it. The power of suggestion and all…

  150. Hi John Michael,

    Well, today they were discussing the super weird Japanese official dating phone app. A bit creepy really. Apparently birth rates have plunged there, and I think they’re about 1.6 here, which is far below replacement. So an open and frank discussion was had, and one person said something sort of along the lines of: I barely make enough money to cover my own expenses, let alone supporting one or two others. If the government wants people to have children, implement policies which make it affordable to do so.

    From my own experience, I will note that the generation above me all received inheritances, cheap or free education, cheap housing, secure employment. They blew the inheritances and I got nothing. I had to pay for a uni degree and post graduate (a professional requirement). Housing was once cheap, but no longer, and we had to build this house ourselves with our own sweat equity because like you know, couldn’t afford to get a builder to do the job. And I have zero income security. What does the government expect?

    It is also worth noting that long ago, my mother retired on decent benefits and she was only two years old than I am now. I’m facing another slightly less than twenty years work. And yet she still refused to help us with raising any kids, so stuff that idea for a joke.

    You know, people tell me with a straight face how much we’ve progressed. It stinks of lies to me.

    Dude, things don’t look pretty out there where politicians fear to tread.

    Cheers

    Chris

  151. Hi Simon,

    🙂 I don’t think so man! But as they say, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    On a serious note, what I really worry about is house insurance, for obvious reasons. That bill goes up around 30% year on year. It’s a brutal metric as to the underlying realities. You might say that I’m motivated.

    Hmm. If you ever need the work done, I’ll swap you a mower fix for a meal? 🙂

    Cheers

    Chris

  152. Hi Pumpkin,

    Well that’s the thing isn’t it? If the system doesn’t motivate you to work towards it’s ends, well that’s what I’d call failure.

    The other thing callers were pointing out was that the wages in the construction industry were a lot higher than the armed forces, and you got home by 4pm.

    Cheers

    Chris

  153. “The great tragedy of our time is driven by the hard fact that will exercised without attention to destiny inevitably cancels itself, by piling up a burden of fate that it ultimately cannot overcome.”

    I stumbled across a piece in Aeon this morning where the author argues that certain vices such as pride and envy are necessary, even performance-enhancing, when it comes to competitive sports. One of the qualities she suggests is a vice is intransigence, or as she puts it, the ‘never surrender’ mindset which refuses to abandon a particular course of action, as in her examples of climbers of Mount Everest or competitors playing on through injuries.

    She writes (emphasis hers): “The intransigent sportsperson may see more playing time, or persist in practising a drill until they get it right. But intransigence is a vice. It is at odds with a flourishing life because it means we are willing to overstep our limits – our physical limits but also our cultural limits, or the people in our lives to whom we are accountable – in order to accomplish a goal.”

    Of course, this is likely a vice at one end of a continuum which has an alternate vice at the other end and a virtue in between; but it strikes me how prevalent sports are in popular culture, with sports stars being cultural role models to many. Perhaps the intransigence the author writes about has become a cultural attitude, and that’s maybe one reason why there is so much doubling-down on the behavior that has led to our current state of affairs.

    But that was off-topic, sorry! I enjoyed this post, and it makes sense to me. I had a vivid dream a few weeks ago that was quite literally an answer to a deep problem I was facing, and occurred after I asked for some guidance before going to sleep. And in general, I have been remembering a lot more of my dreams in the last few months as compared to normal. I’m also learning to interpret them.

  154. As far as lucid dreams go, yeah, trying to force them to happen isn’t a good idea, but if they happen spontaneously, go with it… I’ve always found though, that for the most part, when I start dreaming lucidly it usually triggers me to wake up, however I can then sometimes go back to sleep and enter back into the dream with more waking awareness.

    Robert Moss recommends the practice of “dream reentry” a form of scrying and/or active imagination where a person goes back inside the dream while in awake to gain further guidance / information / or exploration of certain astral areas first seen in dreams. This theme is most fully developed in his book “Dream Gates” though I think it is also part of his core teaching developed in “Conscious Dreaming”.

  155. “I think most civilizations are clever but not wise — wise cultures don’t become civilizations.”

    Can you give some examples of wise cultures? And what does it mean that they don’t become civilizations? What’s the difference between culture and civilization?

  156. Martin, it used to be quite standard for people in the West to ask astrologers to tell them when they would die; the old books had detailed instructions for working that out. Nowadays it’s considered utterly unethical to make such a prediction. An interesting shift…

    Chris, I know. But don’t try telling that to the politicians or their tame media.

    Justin, thank you.

    Jbucks, you may be right that the fixation on sports is a source of cultural dysfunction. It’s an interesting point that such a fixation often shows up in societies in decline — Britain didn’t get all enthusiastic about “the playing fields of Eton” until the British empire was well past its peak, for example, and the Roman games were fairly modest until Rome started sinking into decadence.

    Justin, oh, if dream lucidity happens naturally then it’s appropriate. It’s trying to force it to happen that’s a potential source of trouble.

    Rafael, a civilization is a culture with cities. If you want to see a wise culture, look for one that’s been around in a stable form for several thousand years; they’re out there.

  157. I learnt that in statistics there are four kinds of statistical operations by which meaning is derived from numbers – Descriptive, Diagnostic, Predictive, and Prescriptive. In general, Descriptive Statistics uses tomes of numbers to (qualitatively) answer the question “What happened?”, Diagnostic Statistics tries to answer “How did it happen?”, Predictive Statistics answers the question “What will happen next?”, and Prescriptive Statistics answers the question “What should I do now?”.

    I wonder if divination is similar, in that it can accomplish all four of the objectives? Maybe there are likewise different modes of divination? In that case, Inner Psychology appears to be a combination of Diagnostic and Descriptive divination.

  158. To predict the future of a civilisation is not particularly difficult: history is cyclical, progress is not continuously linear, and what is gained can be lost. Empires rise, have their peak, and then they fall. Ancient Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and many others knew this. That the scientifically and technologically advanced West does not is bizzare. I guess this comes partly from the peculiar Christian vision of history as linear, and the fact that we are now very visibly in irreversible decline which, however, must not be acknowledged. I believe the essay is spot on in identifying the reason behind the unwillingness to look into the future by means rational or esoteric as the fact that the answers will not be according to our liking. It seems our elites prefer phantasmagorias about being replaced by AI (which does not even exist, and possibly never will) to rather more mundane reality of power centres moving back to where they used to be throughout much of the human history.

    When it comes to a change of focus in divination from prediction to personality, I can sort of see how this might make sense from an ethical standpoint. An ex-girlfriend of mine had been told at a young age that the love of her life would be someone she had set her eyes on already. I am quite sceptical about the truth of that statement, however, I see how it might unconsciously influence her to see all potential partners that she would meet past that moment as “not right”, with the prediction effectively acting as a curse. Personality readings might be less restrictive and therefore preferrable, although they too could be abused I guess. I admit I am quite ignorant about tarot and divination in general (which I plan to remedy), so if anyone has a comment I’d be interested to hear.

    Dreams are a fascinating topic and I hope it will be a recurrent one. I was surprised to learn that traditional Chinese medicine considers them pathological epihenomena due to energy imbalances rather than expressions of inner creativity and potentially wise guides. That seems wrong to me, and I believe that something occuring every night and is occasionally extraordinarily rich, complex and beautiful is unlikely to be a completely random and wasteful process. My understanding of Chinese medical theory is not very deep, so if anyone has more knowledge on how it sees the purpose of dreams, please share.

  159. Hi JMG,

    Just as a data point, I subscribe to the astrology posts as a method of compensating you for all the content across all your forums. The astrology is just a bonus at this point. Thanks for sharing so many of the things you’ve learned, and doing so in a digestible and thought provoking manner!

  160. Kimberly Steele #140 and JMG #151 on people who try to control the content of their dreams: JMG, I liked your response: “If dreams have a natural function, as they surely do, it’s best to let them exercise that function instead of stupidly interfering with it…”

    A data point to illustrate that: I’ve known two people who said that when they dream, they go into their dreams while they’re dreaming and change them. I asked a psychotherapist (a wise and competent one) about that and he said that a person who would do this is probably dangerously manipulative. That made perfect sense to me, especially knowing these two people: both were clever but nasty people, especially with regard to their own children.

  161. @Kimberly
    That does seem a bit like comandeering every conversation you have IRL, doesn’t it? You’d never learn anything from other people, and they’d probably stop wanting to hang out with you, too.

    Since my best dreams are ones where someone visits and tells me stuff, or gives me a gift… I’d like to avoid being a bad hostess!

  162. “There was also a lot of first-rate predictive astrology being done (and being taught) in the early 20th century, and some attention to remedies; most of this was on the order of “here’s how to surf the wave,” but Max Heindel taught the making of simple planetary talismans in one of his books. I have some astrological books planned that will get very deep into that tradition, drawing on electional astrology to show people how to use in constructive ways what the stars foretell.”

    Nice, and good to hear. I’ll have to look into the Heindel stuff more in depth one of these days. I’m looking forward to your books and would love to discuss it on the show whenever the time comes.

    Remedies do seem to be getting popular too, Cliff Low recently uploaded a lecture on his take of Medieval/Renaissance remedies, and Chris also just put an essay/video up about it. In the Jyotish lineage I’m studying in, it’s a very complicated matter, and while some remedies are easy, and there are a lot of “over the counter” ones, there’s a lot to take into account when finding a powerful remedy for serious situations (something I’m still just scratching the surface of.) It takes a long time to absorb the framework of a system, but I can already see a lot of the holes in the Rennaissance/Medieval reconstruction/resurgence happening, and I look forward to synthesizing based on a broader perspective in the future. The way I see it, these old textbooks were in many ways just notes, and many of the oral teachings about how to use specific techniques in specific ways weren’t handed down.

  163. @JMG #116

    In response to Partricia #110 – you mentioned that many of Jung’s patients reported having the same type of sequential dreams she described.

    Do you think it had anything to do with the type of patients that were attracted to Jung or vice versa or was it that it is a common occurrence but Jung may have been one of the first to call attention to them?

  164. @Robert
    I should add in the caveat, that they were useful in one way:
    In the protestant world I grew up in, *any* happening which didn’t fit within the tight strictures of either the scientifically-quantifiable physical world, or unmistakable God-and-angels capital-M Miracle, was by definition “of the devil”. There was no middle ground, no room for “well of course science doesn’t know everything: otherwise there’d be no point, because there are no new discoveries left to make”, no “well of course we all exist on multiple planes and stuff like that happens and it doesn’t have to mean anything”. Nope. If you start picking up bits of astral static, and it’s not a certifiable Miracle(tm), then it’s demons. Full stop.

    This was motivating, when it came to looking for a better church to be part of.

  165. The quest to control our dreams could be seen as one of the manifestations of the same quest to exert strict control over nature and over the course of the future itself, thus it does not seem out of place given these times, that lucid dreaming would become another locus of control.

  166. @Robert Mathiesen #150

    Interesting! I will have to check this out. It’s a topic I’ve always wondered about but never really investigated. I have heard terms such as soul, spirit, higher self, etc. thrown around, but I’ve never heard a satisfactory explanation for how they all fit together, let alone whether they represent different things in the first place. Does Leland’s theory shed light on any of that?

  167. Other Owen @144 nailed the school and children problem.

    I quizzed my daughter about the local school situation. During the lockdown, (and our governor really bought into the lockdown, frankly he went power mad) parents found out the useful part of school was about three hours a day, the rest was indoctrination or mindless feel-good drivel. Lots of kids never returned. Others did and the parents were contacted about their boy needing treatment for ADHD and said phooey, the kid was fine while home, so the school is the problem, and so the kid gets pulled out.

    Then there was the big gang fight at school, that won’t help retention either. A majority of the illegals that get this far north do want to work, so I can imagine what it’s like in other places. “Where ever you go there you are” applies to cultures too. Thomas Sowell has a YouTube clip on how little the move to Appalachia changed the Scotch-Irish culture.

    https://www.yoursourceone.com/columbia_basin/brawl-breaks-out-between-sureno-and-norteno-gangs-at-moses-lake-middle-school/article_15341a48-1eae-11ef-b390-6fac6ec8a46c.html

  168. Rajarshi, that taxonomy can certainly be applied to divination, but different kinds of divination are better at one or another. Geomancy, for example, answers descriptive and predictive questions; I never had much luck with the other two. Horary astrology will do all four.

    Soko, good. I’ve been pointing this out online since I started blogging back in 2006; it’s impressive, in a bleak sort of way, how many people can’t handle the idea that our civilization is following the same trajectory and will meet the same destiny as its predecessors. “But we’re special!” is what all the objections amount to — to which one of my ruder friends likes to respond, “Yeah, short-bus special.” Unfortunately our remedial education is likely to be rather painful. As for the ethics of divination, that’s a valid point but it goes from one extreme to another while missing the sane middle ground between. There’s a classic astrological saying, astra inclinant, sed non obligant: “The stars incline, they do not compel.” Astrology deals in tendencies and probabilities, not in certainties. In your example, while it may have been probable that your ex was going to marry someone she’d met at a young age, life is weird and there are always things that buck the pattern. One of them is the human capacity for insight: sapiens dominabitur astris, “the wise rule their stars,” is another astrological maxim.

    Mike, thank you!

    Yavanna, thanks for this. That doesn’t surprise me at all.

    Isaac, Cliff was one of the first people to pick up a copy of the translation of the Picatrix Chris and I did, and really run with it; he’s been promoting the use of Picatrix-style astrological magic for years, and getting some traction. It’s certainly going to be necessary to synthesize the material we’ve inherited, but it’s important to master that material first — premature syntheses based on an inadequate knowledge of traditions from an age that understood magic much more deeply than we do has been the bane of modern occultism since there first was modern occultism.

    Scotty, I have no idea. It’s an intriguing question, though.

    Justin, that seems like a reasonable analysis to me.

  169. Dear JMG

    About 20 years ago I went looking for the earliest personal horoscope I could find for inclusion in a Classics paper. It’s possible that an earlier horoscope may have been discovered/published in the 20 years since, I haven’t looked and so can’t say. Anywhere, here’s what I found then:

    “The first extant horoscope which can be construed as genethlialogical (personal) dates from approximately 409 B.C. , the same time period when the twelve signs of the current Zodiac seem to have become standardized. It concerns the son of one Shuma-uṣur, born at night on the 14th of Nisan, when ‘the Moon was below the Horn of the Scorpion, Jupiter in the Fish, Venus in the Bull, Saturn in the Crab, Mars in the Twins.’ [from A. J. Sachs, 1952**]”
    This would be Neo-Bablyonian script/language, in the Persian period of Babylonia.

    For some reason, probably for levity which I just can’t resist even in the most “serious” of endeavors, I also mentioned another relatively early personal horoscope. of a man born sometime in April 263 B.C. (Seleucid period), in which, “based on the disposition of the planets in the Zodiac at the time of this man’s birth, his astrologer predicted fluctuations in wealth during his lifetime, the nature of his wife (bad), and future travel.”

    Mozhay

    ** The two horoscopes were published by A. J. Sachs, 1952, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 6, pp. 49-75, which reference I came across in Jack Lindsay, 1971, The Origins of Astrology, London: Frederick Muller, p. 49.

  170. From when I was born to very recently—I am in my late thirties—I never dreamed at all, always slept completely unconsciously. In the last couple years I’ve made a very serious dedicated effort to remember and record my dreams, and I’ve started to have a few successes here and there, though it’s taken quite a lot of effort.

    One of the things that always struck me as curious is that books on dreams always say they are very convincingly like the waking world: so convincing, in fact, we never realize we’re dreaming while we are. I have not found this to be the case in the least: dreams are not at all like the waking world, since everything is conveyed conceptually rather than sensorially. (It is worth noting that I have aphantasia, though, and so it’s possible that dreams communicate via whatever mode my mind uses internally, which is not sensory.) Lucid dreamers always say that as soon as you recognize a dream as a dream, you become lucid, but this isn’t the case as far as I can tell: I always know that I’m dreaming—the lack of sensory input makes it very obvious—but I can never become an active participant in them, so I assume some other factor is at play. (It may simply be my relative inexperience at dreaming at all, or it may indicate a damaged astral body—I gained the ability to form opinions of my own quite late, and quite weakly, compared to most.)

    In addition to the types of dreams that others have mentioned, I would add the educational dream: it is not prophetic, but teaches you some miscellaneous fact that is new to you nonetheless. I have posted one of these on my Dreamwidth site which some may find amusing, in which I learned a Greek word which I hadn’t encountered before in my studies of the language.

  171. This essay came as a very welcome validation at this time in my life. I have been a student and practitioner of both astrology and Yijing (I Ching) for 30+ years, and an observer of people for even longer, and I have a pretty good track record when it comes to predictions. Yet most people I know routinely dismiss my takes as “too dark.” No one believed me when I said Trump would be elected in 2016 or that Brexit would pass, just to name a couple examples. (You can lead a horse to water…)

    I thought both outcomes were obvious to anyone even slightly observant – no occult technologies or magical insight needed. But I find myself surrounded by two groups who are both ardent evangelists for the myth of progress: On the one hand scientists, who are ready to attack anything except their own unquestioned metaphysical assumptions and ideologies; and on the other, crystal-shop pagans who seem to think their good intentions, preferred pronouns and land acknowledgements, and staunch support for the Democrats are just moments away from bringing world peace.

    Perhaps I’m destined to be another Cassandra, but your post was a nice reminder that there are lots of people out there who would prefer not to have smoke blown up their backsides. It makes me think that maybe I need to be a bit more of an “I told you so…”!

    P.S. Just wanted to note that much like astrology, among today’s Yijing users it’s very common to hear that it can’t be used for prediction – that it won’t work, and is only designed for self-exploration. This of course is perfectly ridiculous, since historically we know it was in fact built for predictions, and personal experience has shown it is extremely effective at it. The fact that it also works for self-exploration is gravy.

  172. I remember in the movie Waking Life, there’s a character who talks about how lucid dreaming allows your dreams to be more grounded, sensible and realistic. I love the movie, but my response has always been, “Why would I want that?”

    If I were to just follow my desires in dreams, I would never have games of Super Mario that turn into psychedelic extravaganzas; I would never get around to visiting alien planets that have been turned into Gothic art museums. Or what have you.

    Tolerably often, if I get into a bad spot in a dream, I can rewind it and get a do-over, but I’m always certain that this is an ability I have normally, in all conditions. I’ll also try to rewind and re-experience a good part, but it never works.

    Otherwise, usually when I realize I’m dreaming, the dream will start resisting me and I’ll wake up quickly.

  173. Here are two frequent dream motifs of mine. One, according to what I’ve read, is fairly common. That’s dreaming of discovering new rooms in my house. For me the discovery is never just opening a door , but something more elaborate, such as climbing through spaces between walls (which, in the dream, I already know my way around) and finding a new route. In one variation, the new rooms turn out to front on unfamiliar streets, which are sometimes decrepit or dangerous-looking. But even in those cases, finding the new connections and places is always exciting. In another more distinct variation, I’m trying to pack up my stuff for a move, but I keep discovering additional rooms full of valuable stuff that I’d forgotten I had. My feelings about that within the dreams have been more mixed.

    My second most frequent dream motif is seeing enormous waves above the surface of the ocean, so large and distant that their motion is almost too slow to see. I always see them from land, in a calm reflective mood. I’m never afraid of the waves, and they never come any closer to the shore while the dream is going on. Maybe one day I’ll start dreaming they’re getting closer and it’s time to run for the hills. (I’ll let you all know if that happens, though of course reassurances or warnings that apply to my own life might not apply to others.)

    For those who’ve written about school nightmares (as in literal nightmares, not actual school experiences that seemed like nightmares, which are also common), I’m reminded of a throwaway scene in a comedy-adventure movie (maybe one of the Bill and Ted movies?) where a young man has a nightmare about being in school about to take an unexpected exam he hasn’t studied for. When he wakes up from the nightmare and remembers where he actually is—chained in a dungeon awaiting execution—he’s quite relieved. I doubt the joke would be very funny to anyone who hadn’t had similar dreams. I certainly have, and the bit was a real laugh amidst an otherwise mediocre movie.

  174. Happy Birthday, JMG. It looks like your last circle around the sun was horrendously difficult. I wish you an easier one this time.
    As for the dreams… mine usually have a collage-like quality when familiar people and places combine in endless combinations. Last night, for example, in my dream I was talking to my child who was behind the door of my bedroom, but the bedroom was not the current one but my childhood room. While I was talking to my child the neighbor’s tuxedo cat was sitting on my chest ( while my real cat was meowing her lungs out behind the door). Once I had the same dream repeatedly for about 5 years. When I searched the internet was unanimous: mine was the most common anxiety dream. I also had 2 prophetic dreams in my lifetime. They were very different. The first one was like a detailed picture that I couldn’t interpret at the time. I saw my living room in a dim electric light. In the middle of it was my dad’s suitcase. It was open and his things were lying around as if he had started unpacking but hadn’t quite finished yet. Two weeks later I was coming home after a night class. I turned the key, opened the door, and here it was… the picture from the dream two weeks ago. The picture was EXACTLY the same. At that time my dad was supposed to be thousands of miles away, in Cape Town, working… I was stunned. It turned out that his psychopathic boss fired him out of the blue and bought him a one-way plane ticket from Cape Town. My dad was a materialist and an atheist and I never told him about that dream. My second prophetic dream was allegorical. I saw a very close person in my life as a devil with horns flying over me and trying to suffocate me. The dream alerted me to the shadow side of this person at the time when I was idolizing them. That was the most useful dream of my life.
    One more thing… When we do material things ( bake a cake, plant a tomato, knit a scarf) sometimes things don’t turn out as well as they usually do. People accept this fact with understanding. Nobody would say that just because this cake is a bit dry it proves that all the previous cakes were bad and future cakes will turn out bad. That’s not the case with divination and dreams. People use unsuccessful attempts as proof that this is a useless pursuit. Go figure…

  175. @ Ron M
    “The impressive cloak of ‘free will’ is looking pretty moth-eaten these days as an increasingly large portion of the population faces stark realities of unemployment, hunger, homelessness, random violence, and other pretty ugly realities that are hard to just ‘free will’ away.”

    See, the way I figure it, the main “problem” with free will, is that everyone else has it too.

    And what that means is that I cannot “will” an outcome, because outcomes are always the product of the acts of many, many free wills, some in concert, some at cross-purposes, and some utterly unrelated. So it is important to me to give close attention to what I CAN will freely, and that is in choosing and carrying out my own actions and choosing and speaking my own words.

    Outcomes? Well, unless *I* control ALL the variables (which can only happen in some fantasy taking place entirely inside my own head, and even then…) But, in the real world? Which is FULL of free-willed beings, none of whom are here to fulfill my goals or intentions or purposes? Not a hope of being guaranteed one, is there? 😉

    Which is to say, the fact that I cannot be certain of achieving any given outcome has never (IMHO) succeeded as an against the existence of free will. It only succeeds as an argument against me being the *only* possessor of a free will in the vicinity… 🙂

  176. Wer here
    Another interesting post. But If I have to honest I never myself bought into this whole space age progress thing..
    Maybe because we folks here in a small rular town like Ujście don’t have too much to go buy let alone daydream about hoose things. One thing that I had seen in the comments I can’t speak about other denominations or comunities but no one here ever bought into this Rapture thing about the end days. Maybe we had a great priest who was a down to earth person , who openly said that these speculations are pointless at best (for only the One knows and not even the angels in heaven…) or heretical at worst.
    What is bizzare about me the sheer screaming involving the space colonisation thingy. The story always begins at (ordinary day day then something happens: someone invents something or maybe hostile aliens show up and suddenly completely disregarding previous problems and context tada shiny future in space….I want to laugh when I hear the same thing being said over and over again)
    Like for example If America, India , China, Russia could not had made in into space before all thoose problems started (demografic collapse in almost every country, cheap energy gone, manufacturing stalling everywhere, misturst and warfare, mass migratins internal etc) Then what hope to these people see at this moment?
    when we are up to our noses in problems -everyone in every country of going out of nowhere to space (I will be polite and voice my personal thoughts on the “Elon Musk will get us to Mars next year people”)

  177. In the matter of dreams, I often remember them for a day or two at least, but have not kept a record. There are some that stand out in memory for very long times, because they are so strange.

    But one day recently, I was sitting quietly, by the side of the stream at the bottom of our farm, enjoying the gurgle of the water, and the rustle of the bushes, and not thinking about anything much, and not doing anything much, and it struck me that I *never* have quiet, contemplative dreams. While my waking life contains a fair number of these lazy, quiet moments, my dreams tend to be speedy, goal-oriented and action packed.

    I do often have the type of “pursuing a goal while being frustrated by a series of obstacles” dream mentioned by a few others here. One peculiarity is that my “goal” is tolerably often to convey a baby or very young child safely through a dangerous trek or a battleground, or similar. And, VERY often, I carelessly LOSE said baby or young child, and spend most of the dream trying to locate its whereabouts, so that I can assure myself about its safety. These are never “my” children, but other people’s entrustments.

    One other frequent theme is being in a familiar place and finding a new door I’ve never seen before, which opens up to somewhere different. One dream that I’ve never forgotten had me in hoots of laughter as soon as I woke up, because it was so bizarre. I had dreamt that there was a trapdoor in a mobile home (which I shared for a few years with my husband before we built the house we live in now) which I had never seen before, and when I lifted it there were steps leading down into a basement. So I ventured down the steps and what did I find? My husband was busy carpeting the floor with scrambled eggs. This was such a bizarre image that I woke laughing and still remember it after many years.

    I still have no idea what it meant, unless it was simply my wierdest ovulation dream ever. These mid-month dreams used to regularly supplied me with all kinds of adventures containing eggs, rabbits and other such obvious “motifs”.

  178. Soko #162
    “I was surprised to learn that traditional Chinese medicine considers them pathological epihenomena due to energy imbalances rather than expressions of inner creativity and potentially wise guides.”

    I am a TCM trained acupuncturist, and I too would be most surprised to learn that TCM considers dreams to be pathological epiphenomena.

    However, it is very true to say that when we enquire into a person’s SLEEP quality, we may ask questions like “do you frequently wake from vivid or disturbing dreams.” Which is to say, the pathology that would interest us here would lie in the disturbance of good and restful sleep, not in the occurrence of dreams per se.

    There are certainly passages in the classics that use recurring dream symbols for diagnostic purposes, and it is my personal experience that dreams may often do comment on what is going on in the body. Apart from the ovulation dreams I mentioned above, I personally remember (for example) dreaming of trying to escape a burning house, while suffering from a very high fever. Apart from this, I am not aware of any great philosophical consideration of the meaning or purpose of dreams in and of themselves given within the framework of TCM, but still, I cannot say I was ever taught that dreams themselves were definitively “pathological epiphenomena.”

    Here is an article on the subject that might interest you. https://acupuncturetwincities.com/2011/01/the-meaning-of-dreams-in-chinese-medicine/

    Here is a direct quote. The article also lists some of the dream themes with diagnostic significance given in the classics – which may also interest others. 🙂

    “So, how does Chinese medicine weigh in on the meaning of dreams? Well, the first and simplest answer is that issues with sleep and dreaming are related to your Chinese Heart. Your Heart in Chinese medicine houses something called the Shen, which embodies your conscious thought, memory, subconscious, and soul. When your Heart is strong, it is anchored at night, and it will be easy for you to fall asleep, stay asleep and have appropriate dreams. However, when your Heart is weak, it will “float” at night producing symptoms such as insomnia, early waking, and vivid or disturbing dreams.”

  179. I suppose the fascination of the technocratic elite with predictive AI is a sort of debased dreaming. AI dreaming is inferential , relying on colllected data sets from what is happened in the past, a type of memory. These past memories are then used to inform the present. Kind of sad reallly. This is a bad dream, or a bad corporate collective trip. Think Julian Jaynes & ‘Westworld’.

    Not all dreams are ‘big dreams’ as Jung said , some are also just memories or associations. Most I would say. Old school ancient world dream predictions may have had a strongly deductive element as accepted ye olde world principles were overlaid over the dream, which may have distorted the message , sometimes with tragic results.

    The ‘big dream’ jacks the dreamer into Quantum universe – B where time is not linear , while complementarity and entanglement rule the waves. These ‘big dreams’ are a direct experience of reality. An abductive interpretation might weigh these between some top down deductive first princiiples, and some bottom up inference that factors in memory. As in detective novels, this is a process of ‘abduction’ where some meaning may be apprehended.

    This is not an exact ‘science’ by any means, and your mileage may vary as JMG likes to say !

  180. >The other thing callers were pointing out was that the wages in the construction industry were a lot higher than the armed forces, and you got home by 4pm.

    When military service loses its glory and honor, then it’s just another blue collar job.

  181. Just a little relevant sample from Der Freimaurer (first published 1844) by Krebs (aka Kerning) which I was translating this morning (still very first draft):

    Dreams are the first step of a spiritual activity which breaks through the limits of the external world of the senses and creates phenomena for us which lie outside the circle of our usual observations. Indeed you could say dreams lead us to a truth, are of a chaotic nature and no results are to be drawn from them. It is true that they do not teach us anymore and teach us no more than that they are, but open up for the urge of inquiry a new field, as it were a new world where it can collect new experiences. May then these experiences also be yet so imperfect and rhapsodic, we must consider that it is not those, but we who bear the fault because we find ourselves in an extremely imperfect and bound state of sleep.

    The second step consists of the ability of dreaming in an awake state. Some indeed wanted to doubt such a capability; only daily experience delivers us proof of it. Those sick with fever do not sleep. Dispositions torn by an idea or a predominant feeling see and hear, according to their opinion with their external senses, the phenomena of the inner life. Whoever here still doubts, make the attempt themselves, endeavour to move the external activity of the senses and the imagination to such a rest that the inner life obtains predominance, and you will obtain the conviction that it never stands still and is always forming, shaping, and speaking. Indeed no consequences for the truth are to be drawn from this yet either, because we are abandoning ourselves still to the play of accident.

    The human is free, possesses willpower, and only where this expresses itself can order and truth win over accident. Hence the human should raise himself to the third step and set the task for the images and voices of the waking dream, and say: I want to have clues about this or that. Through such a process he puts himself in that category of his species which can give an account of everything which it sees, hears, and feels.

  182. >the kid was fine while home, so the school is the problem, and so the kid gets pulled out.

    I’m proud of today’s parents. That did not happen in the past.

  183. Soko #162 / JMG #172,

    At risk of going off topic I had a thought last night that one explanation for Western Civilization’s myopic focus on a lineal vice cyclical view of history, may be due to the discovery of the linear perspective in art.

    There’s a good essay somewhere here in Ecosophia that I cannot find that explains how ancient Greeks and Chinese would actually view the same vista differently than we do. Wonder if that perspective that began in art didn’t bake in the linear view of history for modern people?

  184. That’s interesting that you had the back-to-school type of dream, too. I run into a lot of peers who have those, and it’s one of he few recurring themes of my own. But after reading this essay, I had a dream this week that I was in the usual situation of pursuing some degree (over the years it has gone from high school, to bachelor’s, to master’s in this case) and realizing finals are coming up and that I’d forgotten once again to actually attend classes.

    But this time I decided in the dream that I already had a master’s degree in a similar field (in real life), and what did I need with another one? I had learned a lot and the paper to prove it was just a paper. When I woke, I ran it by the idea of a prediction, and realized it might refer to my impending Bardic grade initiation, and the fact that I’m afraid I might have to pause my CGD studies afterward because my wife and I plan to have kids in the next year or so, and that wouldn’t be compatible with Druid grade material. So it predicts a sensible withdrawal, and suggests maybe I’ve learned enough to get by anyway, at least for now, and can perhaps finish my studies later when my kids are older. I can’t say yet whether that will be the last of those dreams, but I did leave it with a sense of closure I never had before.

  185. Another great book that describes the Western tradition of incubation is Peter Kingsley’s Reality. He discusses Parmenides & Empedocles and their tradition in it.

  186. I’ve been a part of Sufi meditation group for many years and dreamwork plays a large part in it. Although there are trained Jungians in our group and his work is considered and respected, our method is to consider from where in the dreamer the dream comes. (Kind of like, the question behind the questions if that makes any sense). And to hold an empty space into which an answer may come. But of course, some dreams are obvious.

    I find for myself, some are psychological dreams, which I include ruminations from the day. Some are spiritual dreams and may include some fellow wayfarers or masters of the path, and some are experiences that you can’t interpret – they just are. And sometimes a psychological dream can lead to a spiritual dream or experience. The inner world is fascinating.

  187. JMG, are there astrologers left that are willing and able to answer when one’s going to die?
    I’ve had my natal chart cast by a very good astrologer some years ago, and it predicted good health in old age – but that’s if I get there, right?

  188. Mozhay, that’s correct. Personal horoscopes, as I indicated in my essay, were a late offshoot of the original form of astrology, which was political in nature and evolved very gradually out of the study of celestial omens.

    SDI, thank you for this.

    Alexandra, and thank you for this. I’m gobsmacked that the personality-not-prediction thing has gotten into I Ching studies as well; that’s just absurd, as of course you know.

    Cliff, interesting. Yeah, I can see that.

    Walt, so noted! Tolkien had wave dreams, too, but in his case they were definitely moving toward land. Those seem to have been common in his time; various people in Dion Fortune’s occult school had them.

    Kirsten, thank you.

    Wer, and thank you for a burst of plain common sense. I hope the people of Ujście continue to keep their wits about them and ignore the Musk-scented dreams of space travel.

    Scotlyn, that one really is funny.

    Towel, I hadn’t thought of the AI delusion that way, but you have a point.

    Kerry, thanks for this. I’ve seen similar comments in some Martinist literature — it’s quite possible that they got the idea from Krebs/Kerning.

    Kyle, interesting. Yeah, I had it at intervals over about a ten year period before I graduated and it stopped.

    Llewna, and thank you!

    Bruno, I have no idea. I don’t know the current astrology scene that well.

  189. Wow, that was fast. And I hadn’t even consciously asked for a prediction.
    I have been waiting for an important letter. It figures to either be thin and have a small check settling an important matter in my favor or to be thick and signal bad complications. The letter is overdue and I have been checking for it daily.
    Inspired by this week’s column and by a sense that I need some mechanism for hearing from my intuitive/subconscious and by a sense that something is in play around me that I don’t understand at all, I decided to resume recording my dreams.
    In the past, when I have recorded dreams, I wound up remembering so much dream material that recording it was taking up too much time, so the practice faded away.
    Yesterday, I put multiple tools for recording dreams on the table next to my bed. I figured it would take a few days to prime the pump.
    I woke up the first morning from a dream in which I receive a thin letter with a small check. (I wrote down the amount though I wouldn’t expect or need that level of accuracy.) The sense of joy I felt when I saw the contents of the letter was visceral. I could feel it in my body. That is quite unusual for me.
    I will, of course, continue to record my dreams.

  190. SDI,
    I’m sorry, but it weirds me out when you say you had never had a dream your whole life. I guess there are some people like that, then. Someone I knew about a decade ago seemed to think there’s no such thing as a dream and that people who talk about dreams are telling fairy tales to each other. I wondered whether he was joking. Maybe he never had a dream his whole life either, then.
    I definitely seem to have sensory input in dreams. Sight, sound, smell, and various tactile phenomena. When I write them down, though, I can tell that the sensory phenomena originated from something more conceptual, because the memories lack the level of accuracy and consistency of detail that waking memories have, and the memories appear to represent concepts that I wouldn’t perceive similar sensory input to represent while awake.

  191. ” it’s important to master that material first — premature syntheses based on an inadequate knowledge of traditions from an age that understood magic much more deeply than we do has been the bane of modern occultism since there first was modern occultism.”

    – Indeed. I have many years left at both systems to master them, but am on track. That premature synthesis seems to be the downside of the current hype about remediation – some folks haven’t mastered either Rennaissance/medieval or Vedic astrology and try to just use talismans to fix problems they’re not supposed to, but so it goes. Grateful that Zoller, Chris and Cliff (and you, and others) have already put a lot of work into the revival of astrological magic, so folks in my generation (and younger) can get something head start in that direction. With the Jyotish it’s almost the opposite problem – there’s already oceans and oceans of teachings to absorb.

  192. JMG, a thought.
    I have been thinking about your reply to Raphael: “wise cultures never develop cities” and immediately I thought, so what, is it tents and wagons. And then the seeming inconsistency hit in, how can an avid astrologer and scholar say that cities are a bad thing fora culture. Where does one put all the public libraries? That seems like a contradiction. I actually went to bed with this thought in mind. 🙂
    So here is my pillow mathematics:
    If I take the old Chinese computation that a population needs 8 people employed in farming for every soldier, lets extend that to non-farming specialist. And lets say we make a local school system because we want people to have literary, and mathematical skills.
    For the sake of the model I’ll make it 8 classes of children per year, 22 Children each. Lets have them do the primary school up until 14 years of age and then the 7/8 go to apprenticeships / farming and 1/8 go to a high school. And there is a monastery for the really specialized up on a hill.
    This gives me a calculation.
    8*22 = 176 children per year of 14 years of age. Lets take this as an average and lets put the median life expectancy at 74. That covers the overshoot on children that do not reach this age and the slow tapering of of the population pyramid.
    176*74 = 13024 in the community.
    That’s a town. (facepalm) I know, kind of hard to do when your head is resting sideways on a pillow with one arm under it and the other behind your back.
    Wise cultures stay at a community organizing level of a town. That gives you a small enough community, that anonymity is not a feature and you got enough specialists for all possible ventures.
    Shipbuilding, libraries, mining, artisans,…
    Just do not ever get greedy and start expanding over to metropolises.
    Binary resolved, point of balance found.

    Best regards,
    Marko

  193. I seldom remember my dreams these days, which is disappointing because I used to enjoy lying in bed reviewing my dreams and trying to figure out what they meant. Unless there were obvious connections with recent events, mostly they seemed to be pretty random. But maybe I am no good at interpreting dreams.

    One night I dreamed I was watching a game of 3-D cricket. It was an exciting and entertaining spectacle. When I woke up I wrote down everything I could remember about the game. I was a big cricket fan and thought I had discovered a way to take the game to the next level (quite literally in this case). But on sitting down later and figuring out the mechanics of the game I realized it was a physical impossibility. It seems that there are no obstacles in dreams unless there need to be.

    There is a darker side to dreams. I had a recurring nightmare as a young child which I won’t describe but it hints at molestation. For the record I have no memory of being molested. But it does raise the question of the function of dreams in dealing with trauma.

  194. @Scotlyn#183
    TCM is like a book with a large number of pages ripped out. Shen, spiritual energy or power, only starts to accumulate when Jing, vitality and sexual power, and Chi, general bodily energy, are maxed out. So, apart from the trace amounts that we all possess, only celibate practitioners have Shen.

  195. The Japanese have a tradition of seeing the first dream of the New Year as foretelling how the year will go. Since the New Year begins at dawn of January 1 traditionally, that means the dreams on the night of the first, remembered, or not, on the second. I have found them to be more predictive than not, sometimes profoundly predictive, sometimes trivially, and have often announced mine here, though I always do it right at the end of the commenting period, so JMG will have seen them but most others will not have.
    I seem to have slept through this year’s and last year’s, and I don’t recall where I wrote down the ones before that. The place I am living right now just does not seem to be very conducive to it somehow. I recall having some nice vivid ones a few years back when we spent New Year’s by Mt. Fuji, which incidentally is the most auspicious thing you can dream of, the other two being a hawk and an eggplant, in that order. Hawks soar, and eggplant–nasu–is homonymous with “to bring something into existence.”
    My dreamscapes seem to be based loosely on reality but with major differences that seem to recur in dream after dream, as if it was a completely different world.
    A while back, though, I had a New Year’s dream that I was on the eastern slope of Mt. Fuji. and it conformed to reality. I’m still not sure why the eastern slope, but I know that the western slope is quite remote and no one but loggers and really crazy pilgrims like me go there, whereas the east has a couple of roads and several trails and I was there with a group of people, and so was Vladimir Putin, but with another group nearby, and I was talking to my group about the importance of considering the biological effects of wireless radiation. Putin glanced over at me, so I knew he’d heard what I was saying.
    I know the man in reality is aware of this problem, but with politics being what it is, he has to balance a lot of different concerns.
    Someone above was talking about predictive “daydreams.” I sometimes have visions of gods, which are essentially daydreams, because I’m not hallucinating, but they come to me suddenly out of nowhere and present themselves in great detail. I might experience it once in five years, but I’ve cultivated the ability to catch an inkling of these–they start with a sense of familiarity. Then I know to pay attention.
    I had an interesting experience in Khabarovsk in January 2002. I was walking down a street, and there was a statue of Alexander Pushkin, the poet–heart and soul of Russia. Suddenly I saw the man in the flesh. He turned to me and said, “That’s where you went!” He seemed very put off with me. I said, “You are the great poet.” And then the dream vanished. Later, in Irkutsk, a girl gave me a picture of Pushkin, which I still have. I went poring through Pushkin’s works trying to figure out who I’d been and finally found myself, I think it was in Evgeny Onegin.
    I was a Moscow socialite, a good dancer (the Russians were still calling me that in 2002). I married an army officer and went off to Siberia, probably Ekaterinburg. I was terrified of the vastness of Nature and stayed very close to home.

  196. Riffing off of Walt’s curse, “As you believe you cannot be wrong, you shall not learn from your mistakes,” there’s a good reason why this is such a live issue right now. Learning from your mistakes is a form of change, and change is, unless it’s nothing more than the logical continuation of an already existing trend, unpredictable. Anyone who seeks to manipulate people will benefit from making change impossible; getting people trapped in the same pattern of behavior means, if you can predict or control this pattern, you can profit immensely off of it. Since the business model for the internet is based upon nudging human behavior, then it follows that the companies involved in this will do everything they can to make people predictable, which generates a second curse, with Walt’s curse being one example of how it works:

    “As you use machines made to make you predictable, you shall lose the ability to change.”

    This curse isn’t entirely new (this was the business model for television as well, for example), but the sheer amount of time which he internet is used, the sheer amount of what it gets used for, and the fact that thanks to cell phones these machines are now capable of interrupting anything and everything means this curse has gone into overdrive over the last thirty odd years.

    It explains a lot, including the loss of creativity, the odd way pop culture has taken to remaking things from the past, the loss of the ability to learn from mistakes, the odd rigidity politics has now, among a great many other things, if a lot of people and our society and culture as a whole started to get “stuck”, so to speak, on the course they were following in the late 1990s and the 2000s, when the internet took shape, and have lost the ability to change directions since no matter how catastrophic the results….

  197. @Walt, @JMG, about wave dreams: Interestingly, last night I had a quite vivid tsunami dream (which I remember quite clearly); and now as I have my morning coffee and read the latest comments on this post, I’ve come across your discussion about wave dreams. I’ll need to do some reflection on what it means.

    @JMG: That’s also interesting to know about the prominence of sport in the late stages of empires, I was unaware of that.

  198. @Scotlyn#183
    Sorry, I’ve not taken into account the fact that Chinese folk medicine and TCM have very different interpretations of the same subjects. They are different traditions, and so they are not directly comparable, even when the terminology is similar. My misunderstanding was perhaps due to the quoted author’s use of the term ‘Chinese medicine’ (when in fact they just meant TCM).

  199. Jessica, that was indeed fast!

    Isaac, I give it a couple of centuries before a really broadly applicable synthesis comes into being.

    Marko, I enjoy cities. I also know that once a culture develops cities its lifespan becomes much shorter. I don’t see any contradiction there! If there’s ever as society that manages what you’ve sketched out, though, that would be a good thing.

    Martin, for some reason just now I’m recalling a joke about six-dimensional Plutonian steam hockey…

    Patricia O, that’s interesting. I’ve also noted that some places are more conducive to recalling dreams than others.

    Taylor, that makes a great deal of sense. Thus anything that encourages people to change their own lives will help to destabilize the system. Hmm…

    Jbucks, the role of sports in the decline of civilizations is one I plan on researching further.

  200. @Kyle #189
    Concerning these behind academically themed dreams I have come to a similar conclusion as you.

    Many times I would wake up with relief when I realized that I was finished with the standard educational institutions. What I have come to realize is the lessons learned or not learned during my educational purgatory is applicable to my current career and situations. One conclusion is that there are different paths for different situations and sometimes it is OK to fail out of a course, e.g. leave a toxic environment or “collapse now and beat the rush”, etc.

  201. @Patricia A. Ormsby #201 ! I don’t suppose you have any particular memories of Yekaterinburg? Maybe some specific reason why it seemed like the likely place? It’s always interesting to me when my city comes up in unexpected places. 🙂

  202. A stimulating essay and discussion. I can’t contribute much since I rarely remember any dream – maybe once or twice a month.

    If permissible, I would like to call attention to another example of clear thinking in a very respectable medium: https://www.zeit.de/kultur/2024-06/anton-jaeger-protest-demonstrationen-politik (currently not paywalled and can of course be machine translated to English).

    A political scientist is asked why the mass demonstrations against the rise of the AfD in Germany have so little effect. First of all, he explains the (obvious) fact that demonstrations without organization are useless – what JMG has called (IIRC) “spending political capital”.

    Then he goes to say: “The anti-AfD protests have mobilized against the AfD without denouncing the circumstances that helped the party rise. ” Unfortunately, the interview (at least as printed) never gives him the opportunity to explain those circumstances. He does mention parties both on the left (the Austrian KPÖ and Belgian PTB) and on the right (Vlaams Belang) that actually listen to their voters and give them concrete returns, such as free health care consultations. “These parties fulfill the concrete wishes of their voters and make them concrete promises. They are their service providers, just as other parties are of course service providers to the rich.”

  203. @methylethyl re #168 – I share your attitude towards the brand of “Christianity” that imposes the either-or strictures you mention. I grew up influenced by the more “flexible” and inclusive C S Lewis outlook – see his chapter on the “Longaevi” in “The Discarded Image”, for instance, and his comments elsewhere on the Virgilian “penumbra” of revelation. Also his impatience with those who invent strictures such as the idea that drinking alcohol is un-Christian! (For that matter, I heard of somebody who maintained that going to baseball matches was un-Christian…) That’s not to say I rule out the existence of devils, but the temptation to misuse paranormal powers or perceptions could equally apply with “mundane” powers. e.g. someone with lots of muscle might be tempted to throw his weight around, which certainly doesn’t prove that muscles per se are the work of the devil.

  204. The desire for prediction seems to drive many of our endeavors. What is scientific inquiry but an attempt to identify the mechanisms behind observable, physical phenomena well enough to make useful predictions? Whether a dream book for gambling, stock market analysis or the periodic table for a chemist, we think we want to know what’s going to happen!

    I find this desire to know the future pervasive in Western Civilization. From the modicum I know of Chinese culture, they seem even more desirous of knowing the future and/or influencing that future with charms than we are. Perhaps the desire for knowledge of the future is based in a need for security?

    Interestingly, the Yogic notion of simply experiencing Life rather than trying to anticipate and/or direct it (which is not unique to Indian culture, of course) would seem to be in direct opposition to the Western and Chinese tendencies. Or perhaps it is only the overseer class that is obsessed with the future? Farmers want to know what the weather will be in order to plant the right crop at the right time for success but know that beyond a few wide trends like El Nino, weather forecasting is largely unpredictable more than a few days in advance. So, farmers don’t really need to know the future, whereas business people do? Maybe being an intermediary is a less secure niche and useful knowledge of the future would help with the lack of security? Parasitism is less secure than production and therefore comes with greater insecurity?

  205. Excellent article John! I never thought before of the parallels between dreaming interpretation and astrology, but it’s spot on! Studying Horary Astrology greatly helped me to understand the practical, prediction nature of astrology (my teacher is a student of John Frawley, himself a student of Olivia Barclay who is mainly responsible for bringing Lilly back from the dead, so to speak…) as opposed to the modern personality-based model, but I always though of dreams mainly as manifestations of the unconscious with the odd trip to the Astral/otherworlds. Will pay more attention to their potential predictive nature from now on!
    Many thanks!
    (By the way, talking of Horary Astrology and with your permission I would like to tell the commentariat that I’m currently offering free Horary readings to develop my practice after finishing my initial studies. If anyone wants a reading I can be contacted at horaryreadings at gmail dot com)

  206. This little meditation does in fact have something to do with dreams, though not much with prediction (which I’ve never been especially gifted at, although I have had moments when doing Tarot readings for _others_ that were keenly along those lines). Also when doing some astrological readings one sometimes feels oneself to be “in the zone” and predicting.

    At one point, when entertaining a conversation with an inner guide, or perhaps _the_ inner guide, I was told: “I give you freedom in (or of) the inner planes.” Something like that. I thought, “great, now I can do deliberate pathworking at a new level.” Instead, it seems to me, I instead gained an appreciation of the worlds of dream, that seem so much bigger, more vivid and portentous than anything that goes on in my outer life, which is by comparison filled with infinitely repeated (and somewhat tiresome) routine.

    Talking with spiritual beings of any kind, whether they be elves, or daimonic entities or even little or big “G” gods, as far as I can tell, is subject to the same laws as the dream world itself, it seems to me. Words mean much more and much less than they do in waking life, and must be considered from every angle. My only defense in such situations is to be as truthful as possible, speaking directly from the heart, which is (I believe) what’s recommended in some quarters.

    Mostly, the beings I communicate with (great or small) feel as though they find me vastly amusing, the way a parent enjoys watching their toddler aged child racing around the yard. It’s pretty doggoned humbling, I have to say. And many of the communications I receive are purely puzzling, truncated or unsettling. Once, when I asked why something had happened, I was told with an implacable air: “reasons.” One wonders, in such situations, where the demarcation between dreaming and waking takes place.

    Indeed (and not entirely to the point of that wondering), once, when I was on a long Buddhist retreat, I had exactly the sensation of the unity between the two states of dreaming and waking, and once it took hold it persisted for the rest of the retreat. It was not, to put it mildly, very restful. And it was no comfort whatever. But there was indeed a great clarity in the phenomenon.

  207. @blue sun (#170), about “soul,” “spirit, “higher self,” and quite a number of other such terms:

    There’s no universal agreement among esotericists and occultists on the meaning of these terms, anymore than there is among the world’s many religions. Use them in whatever way works for you, or works for the people with whom you’re conversing. Our host, if I have understood him rightly, talks about one’s many personalities over a series of many lifetimes and one’s unique individuality persisting through all those lifetimes and beyond incarnation.

    Leland’s theory posited that a person has multiple selves in any given point in his or her lifetime. As a rule, only one of these selves is awake at any point in time, but it may trade off with some other of these selves when circumstances permit or require it. Leland is not at all sure how many selves a person may have: a waking self, a dreaming self, a self of one’s outward sex, a self of the opposite sex, for sure, and quite likely many other selves as well.

    To use more recent terminology, every one of us (so Leland theorized) contains “multiple personalites” which smoothly switch from one to another in a useful and socially appropriate fashion according to circumstances without anyone really noticing the switch. (A few of us can’t manage to switch from one to another appropriately; more recent terminology speaks of “multiple personality disorder.,” or even “dissociative identity disorder,” in extreme cases of this sort.)

    Leland was not the only one developing such a theory at the time. Frederic W. H. Myers was doing much the same thing, and publishing on the subject in The Journal of the Associatioon for Psychical Research. And it probably underlies, to some extent, more recent theories of the subconscious and the collective unconscious. Jung, at least, had read Myers, and probably Freud had, too.

    I find it easy to observe such switches among the selves in my own person, and also to manage them appropriately, as well as suppress those selves that are never appropriate. But there is also at least one other thing I think I see within me which is not any self of mine, but an independent entity, wiser and more knowledgeable than any of my own selves, which occasionally offers me esoteric instruction beyond my own previous knowing. (I call it the Teacher Within, but of course others who have noticed similar entities in themselves have used other terms for them.)

    You can find a more detailed account of my own views on these multiple selves in a short work of mine, Microcosmographia magica, which I have made freely available on archive.org.

  208. Not quite prediction, but in keeping with the prevalent mental illness – from Pockets, but now replaced by others, so this is from memory: Discover Magazine traces the rise in mental problems to people not getting enough sleep these days. And, on a tangent but may tie in with adolescent behavior, a lesser journal – I think it may have been Newsweek – notes that “air pollution is causing earlier puberty in girls.”

  209. Tengu #200

    To “accumulate shen” would certainly be the aim of anyone aspiring to become a “sage” – as described in some of the Chinese classics. And I know that, for one, Daoism teaches practices and deep concepts to its adepts that can support accomplishment of that feat. 🙂

    Still, even when dealing with, and treating, ordinary people with no ambition to become sages, as is my current humble calling, it is possible to bring such “trace amounts of shen that we all possess” into a greater balance. Sufficient, for example, to promote a restful night’s sleep.

  210. I am a simple human. I only need some input. It is eery how this URL helped me to think about something for many important days.

    http://stoney.sb.org/eno/oblique.html

    You click on it. It says something vague. But how many times it hit the nail on its head! When I first read about these cards I thought what a load of… valuable soil enhancer. But I sensed it can’t be a coincidence so many artists used them successfully.

    Then it dawned on me. There are different prediction systems. Some are for comfort. Some are for real predictions. And some are for creation of one’s own reality. These cards are never meant as astrology or so, but to find a way. I use them to re-mind and re-set my being.

    I guess there are tiers or levels of usefulness. My acceptance level is in trivial reorganisation of thoughts. Maybe that is some kind of magic. My rational core does not accept it. But I collected many moments where that URL said do something extravagant and I did and the result was a very interesting experience. Or the opppsite, in that I was expecting and nothing happened. Or it made something become important which was never on the radar before.

  211. JMG,

    Yes, I did. Krugman’s vibes-based economic analysis of his immediate and self inferential social circle was truly something to behold. It is one of the factors that leads me to believe that abstract thinking is a defining characteristic of eras of decline. Widely known facts, like how a majority of Americans don’t have a few hundred bucks for an emergency, served no role is his analysis. I’d venture even further and state that is is indicative of his willingness to deceive himself, and his affluent readership, about the basic economic reality of Americans.

    Toynbee theorized that detachment from reality would be a common response to the decaying world people live in. The NY Times is just another indicator in a target rich environment of that fact.

  212. “What is scientific inquiry but an attempt to identify the mechanisms behind observable, physical phenomena well enough to make useful predictions? Whether a dream book for gambling, stock market analysis or the periodic table for a chemist, we think we want to know what’s going to happen!”

    Knowing whether the bridge will fall down at a given load or whether the boiler will explode at a given pressure is rather important. We definitely want to know these things. Even when events are random we want to contain the randomness, ideally to the point where we can depend on the event occurring or not occurring at least 19 of 20 times. That’s what the 95% confidence value often used in statistics means.

  213. Aldarion, oh my. It actually mentioned the fact that maybe, just maybe, the reason populist parties have emerged and gailed power is that, ahem, “circumstances” have helped that happen. You know, like government policies that make life miserable for millions of people…

    Ken, of course! Science can be seen, in fact, as a very interesting kind of divination, in which the diviner in his ritual white lab coat asks Nature questions, interprets the answers, and from those answers constructs a narrative that explains something about the world. Intuition and the nonrational play a much larger role in scientific divination than most scientists care to admit — as philosophers have been pointing out for a long time, for example, any given set of experimental data can be used to justify an infinite number of hypotheses, and so the choice of which hypothesis the data is used to uphold is generally made on covertly nonrational grounds. As for the yogic notion, that’s actually quite common among mystics in every culture, including China and the West. I can promise you that Indian businesspeople do in fact devote a lot of attention to what is going to happen!

    Manuel, delighted to hear it. I’ll want to look into Frawley’s horary work one of these days; I first learned how to do horary charts that worked from a fine book by Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson, and it will be interesting to see how her methods match up to his.

    Clarke, oh my. Yes, I’ve had the same reaction from inner plane beings; they generally find me amusing, the way that adult intellectuals find a clever and attentive five-year-old amusing.

    Patricia M, I’m tempted to think that the issue with sleep deficit is a real one. I’ve been sleeping much more than usual over the last few months, and it’s done my mental balance a great deal of good.

    Michael, good heavens. Yes, that one’s pretty good: a magic eight-ball with a sense of creative weirdness.

    Watts, oddly enough, I was thinking of Toynbee too. Krugman really does seem to be turning himself into the poster child for elite incompetence.

  214. @Michael: The Oblique Strategies are pretty fun creative oracle! These really helped many musicians think into different spaces when Eno worked with them in the studio. An oracle deck for creative art making is very valid!

    Todays advice: “Don’t stress one thing more than another.”

  215. Hi JMG

    A quick note to say a +1 from me regarding Mike T’s data point. I contacted you back in the ADR days to ask if there was a way to automate a periodic payment to you and you responded that your banking setup didn’t allow for that. Once you started the patreon/subscribestar soothsaying service, I saw that as a way to solve the problem.

    Thanks as always for all that you share and for hosting your two wonderful forums. My life has been, and continues to be, greatly enriched by your work and by the people that are drawn to it and join into the conversation.

    Jez

  216. @Clarke :
    “they find me vastly amusing”
    🙂
    I have no idea who those guys are, but the best metaphor I was able to come up with for them is that it feels like an indulgent uncle showing a child how to spin a top, or make a grass whistle. Look, here’s a fun thing. It’s a two-way thing: it’s not just that they seem to view us a children, it’s that we feel childlike there.

  217. Beardtree #28: Regarding CS Lewis & astrology, the 7 books of the Narniad correspond to the classical planets! That’s not to say each book is exclusively dedicated to a planet, just that each one is written around a dominant planetary influence, like so:

    the Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe…: Jupiter, kingship
    Prince Caspian…………………………………………………..: Mars, bringer of war
    the Voyage of the Dawn Treader………….: Sun, bringer of light
    the Silver Chair………………………………………………….: the Moon, lunacy & subconscious
    the Horse and his Boy…………………………………..: Mercury, the messenger
    the Magician’s Nephew……………………………….: Venus, bringer of life & fertility
    the Last Battle……………………………………………………: Saturn, limits & senescence

    If you’re familiar with the plot of each book, you should see how well it corresponds to each planet, too well to be coincidence.
    Btw, the list above is in publication order, which is the correct order. The Collier edition (which I own) has them numbered correctly, other versions have chronological numbering, which is completely wrong for reasons I won’t get into.
    Applying the numbers of the planets to publication order gives us: 4569873. Interesting…

    Dreams: I can confirm that there are different types of these — processing experiences, premonitions, and astral travel. The processing tends to flit away from my mind once I’m awake (you could say those dreams crumble when sunlight hits them), but the symbolic and astral types I tend to remember.
    Recently I had a dream that I was in a corridor with many doors, and had the sense that each door led to a different life. Was this a glimpse at reincarnation? Or was this symbolically telling me I have many choices ahead? I can’t be sure. Further back, there was another dream where I was trapped in an underground cavern, sort of like a giant prison, albeit one with greater freedom of movement; it felt like I was down there for weeks, only to wake up hours later.

    My dreams have always been vivid, as a kid I used to get intense nightmares, although that largely went away with puberty. Conversely, symbolic & astral dreams have become more common as I’ve gotten older.
    Astral traveling feels quite different, I can see things in detail, yet my surroundings are distorted, with a rather uncanny feeling throughout, and I float around in a sort-of human form. I’ve encountered entities occasionally, whose presence I can feel, like the “solid ghost” and the “little girl” I talked about on a Magic Monday. To reiterate, the solid ghost was a hostile entity that looked like it was made of white linen sheets with a knotted-up head, and it floated at the foot of my bed, staring at me. I stared back with difficulty, it was trying to force me to look away so it could attack, but I resisted, even though it felt like putting two like magnets together. I wasn’t afraid, but it radiated fear at me as a psychic attack, but this too I resisted. I’m proud to say I successfully held it off through willpower. As for the “little girl”, it took on the aspect of a very young girl, wandering around and babbling to herself, as kids that age are wont to do. But it wasn’t human and never was. I was too embarrassed to admit it that Monday, but I was actually afraid of her, even though she wasn’t hostile and didn’t interact with me — I remember zooming forward and keeping my bedroom door shut to prevent her from getting in. Ironic that I wasn’t afraid of the hostile entity, but was afraid of the seemingly harmless entity. Still not sure what to make of them.

    Another time, more recently, I got up from a nap on the sofa, and left my body behind! I floated around my house, which again took on that sort of astral distortion. For some reason, whenever this happens, I get a strong desire to return to my body (rather than go exploring). After going in and out of my body a few times, I did make an attempt to wander further, getting above my roof where it was very windy & stormy, then I finally woke up in the material. I checked outside, but the weather was calm — the storm winds were only in the astral.

    Politics & economics: I too have noticed that our ruling class (and its shills & toadies) are dangerously deluded and detached from reality. This, alongside lenocracy, may be a significant cause of collapse.

  218. Hey JMG

    I am sure you would find much of interest in that book, in particular the way that a somewhat unconventional materialist uses astrology to explore the nature of knowledge, prediction, models and certainty.

    On the subject of Divination, a while ago I mentioned that I investigated that odd form of Geomancy called “Napoleons book of fate”, which consists of generating a single figure, then through a matrix find the answer to a set of 16 pre-selected questions such as, funnily enough, “What does my dream signify?”
    I believe I have discovered the operating principle or theory behind how this system is supposed to work.
    Essentally, suppose that each figure symbolizes a general mental state that a human being could be in, as well as various states in the world at large. And suppose also that if someone as calmly and casually as possible generated a Geomantic figure, the figure made would most likely be the figure that symbolises the state you are in via a kind of resonance.
    One could easily create a list of the most likely consequence of the interaction of a state of a human being and a state of the world and create a series of pre-made answers that just describe that most likely consequence. For example, let’s use Rubeus to symbolise the mental state of irrational anger and passion, and Puella to symbolise a state involving a young woman that could be designate by a question such as “Will my date go well for me?” It is clear that a meeting between a angry easily irritated man and a woman will not go very well, so the answer that the list of premade statements should probably be “The date will not go well, the woman shall find you disagreeable.”
    So, this in a nutshell is how I think the “book of fate” works, I don’t know if my explanation is very clear, for some reason I find it awkward to explain my theory. But eventually I plain on writing a Substack essay on it in the future.

  219. Don’t know where to post this except here. Like “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” ot has been rumored the USS Carrier Eisenhower was hit and knocked back to drydock by the Houthis in the Red Sea. Russia may have provided some far better tool to insure the deed as NATO was looking to get aggressive in Ukraine.

    There is one thing you didn’t think of though: What if they just LIED? What if they just said the carrier wasn’t hit and didn’t sink? CNN, NBC, BBC just report it didn’t happen.

    And more, they lie about everything else, all the time, why wouldn’t they? This has actually happened already and in the Mediterranean in 1967. There’s almost no actual fact that is reported accurately today. So why wouldn’t they lie? And if they do, how does that story change? Yes, the carrier is still out, but the story and narrative depends on the rest of the world REALIZING it. Realizing the U.S. is powerless, like UK and the Suez 1957. What happens if no one tells them?

  220. Concerning Jung and recurring dreams I decided to see if there were indications of those seeking analysis by Jungian psychologists having a higher instance of recurring dreams.

    I do not think so and believe it is a widespread phenomenon, though Jung was probably amongst the first to explore the reasons behind it.

    I found this essay which provides an overview of Jungian ideas concerning dreams:

    https://jungiancenter.org/jung-on-dreams-part-i/

    I’m glad this topic came up as I should think more on my own recurring dreams.

  221. @Clarke and @Mythylethyl,
    re: spiritual beings viewing us as children
    A common interpretation of the Tarot Trumps and the images of Splendor Solis images is that the first half of the cards/images describe our descent into matter, and the second half describe our ascent to the Divine. Plate 20 of Splendor Solis is close to the end of the deck and is commonly referred to as “Child’s Play”. (If you want to read the text, it is available here http://stoney.sb.org/eno/oblique.html and if you want to view the plates, the best copy I can find is here https://www.mariesmolej.cz/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Splendor-Solis-A4-format-print.pdf, though she numbers them differently.)
    And, @MethylEthyl, your choice of toys to show the child is what compelled me to respond. A top was one of the toys the Titans gave Dionysus as a child, to distract him from the thunderbolts he was holding. A top spins and stops, representing motion and rest, creation and destruction. Technically, a whistle wasn’t one of the toys, but a ‘noisemaker’ was, and you chose one of Air and Earth, which fits quite well. (The top seems to correspond to Binah or Saturn, the noisemaker to Chesed or Jupiter.)
    Why your subconscious directed you to pick those toys, I do not know. But I felt like I was supposed to tell you…

  222. @dZanni re: #225 –

    I don’t think the intelligence communities of other countries aren’t relying on American/British news media to tell them what happened.

  223. How was Europe desperately poor and backwards before 1500? I can see that being true for a couple of centuries after the collapse of the Roman world, but not later.

  224. Hello,

    I’ve read some of your pieces from The Well of Galables. Particularly I am interested in discussing your views on meditation and your essay Foundation of Magical Practice: Meditation.

    I was trained in an occult school for many years. This was followed by several years studying Jung and pursuing the Individuation Process under a leading British Jungian psychologist. That was several decades ago now. Jung developed his own meditation system that was very similar to the one I learned in my occult school (albeit not Qabalistically centred), so the switch between the two was really quite seamless.

    Both of these method of meditation were (are) very different (if I understand wehat you state in your above essay) from what you describe. It may be that you prefer not to detail the actual techniques of meditation used by occult school for the reason that they were once “omerta” – for then understandable reasons. Yet times have changed and these practices are now in the public domain.

    Alternatively, it may be that we are discussing entirely different approaches to meditation? Yet, I am aware that, for example, that the Golden Dawn, Dion Fortune and those who followed in their footsteps, all followed the same fundamental approach to meditational techniques for widening consciousness and for the purpose of “know thyself (“Gnothi Seaton” as the governing ing maxim inscribed above the temple door of the ancient Greek mystery school at Delphi).

    All these schools begin their training of novices by teaching them to enter the Underworld.

    Might we possibly discuss this in greater depth please?

    Lastly, re your Masonic studies, do you have knowledge of the actual cloaked meaning of the Master Mason’s Tracing Board; namely the Acacia twig growing out of a coffin (in some cases, anyway)?

    Thanks for your consideration and regards,

    Dav

  225. @Scotlyn #215
    Nobody in my tradition can obtain a practice license (because it’s a TCM controlled racket) so you’re fortunate that you are able to dispense treatment. As for accumulating Shen, there are no special techniques as it builds naturally once you have sufficient Chi and Jing (which requires abstinence). Accumulating Chi can be accomplished with some types of chi-gung, but you can also build Chi through hillwalking (swing your arms a bit as you walk).

  226. Jez, duly noted and thank you!

    J.L.Mc12, an interesting theory. Do you happen to know of a way to test it?

    dZanni, in Twilight’s Last Gleaming, they did lie. In that novel the US government covered up the sinking of the USS Ronald Reagan and flatly denied that the US Navy had suffered a humiliating defeat until too many details got out and it became impossible to pretend any longer. In that case, it was foreign news media that broke the story, and the internet made it impossible to suppress. The same thing could well happen in real life, of course.

    Scotty, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Rafael, er, what? Please do some research into relative standards of living in Europe vs. those in the Muslim, Indian, and Chinese worlds in the Middle Ages.

    Dav Guy, as the text above the comment window says, I ask people to keep the conversation on topic. Since you’re new here, I put your comment through so we could have a quick conversation about that! I do an open post here on the 4th Wednesday of every month, and you could repost your questions then and I’ll answer them; alternatively, you can post them to my Magic Monday ask-me-(almost)-anything open post on my Dreamwidth journal at https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/ , which happens every week; the next one will be starting in a little under 12 hours, at midnight Eastern time, and running for 24 hours from there. Thank you for abiding by the house rules!

  227. Another highly vibrant discussion in this venue.

    @JMG and others, do you happen to have recommendations for either Yijing or Astrology classic introduction books, as we have another wave of surging inflation predicted at least from many sources, some esoteric but others strictily adhering to the material gold standard, and buying book sto study makes sense in this time.

    I mean along the way of firstly personal predictions (should I do X, will Y enter the scene?, is Z possible to do?), and further birth charts and astrological reading of personal inclinitation, and lastly maybe somethig in the way of reading world wide events and possiblities?

    My unwitting forays into the younger New Age scene of my city and beyond have meade me meet a few interesting and in some esoteric ways competent personalities, a few concepts I respect as a good reaction in our time, such as a dancing event in a rented hall, spiritual opening, then partly rave festival like music, with no drugs or alcohol allowed and a respectful atmosphere, and as many readers here would have predicted to me, a lot of hollow, shallow well to do kids, a few good traits and skills here and there but mostly life style pop spirituality of the middle class, trivial political activism, you know which direction, fake smiles and glad hands, hugs without cause and words with no meaning, and I’d say a lot of narcissism and a low-key competitive, tense, unfriendly vibe often.

    Since I have been a rather bookish person all my life, this may be something accessible to me, and since I scrape the nets with low satisfaction of much predictive stuff for our future, these things may be a better way.

    regards,
    Curt

  228. Something rather odd has struck me, that I think is very significant but which I’m still trying to parse: at the same time that there was the flight from prediction, there was also the rise of the Behaviorists. They sought to use various methods to control animal, and human, behavior, and played a massive role in the development of the mass media and by extension a lot of the modern world.

    So, on the one hand, you had a massive flight away from prediction; but on the other hand, an ideology that took shape and came to dominate much of the world based on the claim to be able to predict and control human behavior. Hmm….

  229. @ Tengu #231
    “Nobody in my tradition can obtain a practice license (because it’s a TCM controlled racket) so you’re fortunate that you are able to dispense treatment.”

    You are correct on both counts. TCM IS a controlled racket, and I AM fortunate that I am able to dispense treatment.

    As for the rest, if we ever meet face to face, I reckon the conversation we might potentially have promises to be a very interesting one. 🙂

    Meanwhile, may you be well, and may you stay free, and may all your goings and doings be blessed!

  230. JMG and Dzanni, that is probably the reason they shut down RT us at the beginning of the Ukraine war, and are now dropping the hammer on imperial truth tellers like Scott Ritter.

  231. @Robert Mathiesen #213
    In my twenties I experimented with psilocybin mushrooms, and after consuming a couple of kilos (not recommended!) my personality broke into separate pieces, as you describe, and then cycled through them one after the other. I’m aware that the ‘inner teacher’ personality seems almost omniscient, but my own conclusion was that this is actually the true self.

  232. I have a few thoughts spurred by the main article and the comments:

    1. For some time I had been toying around with the idea of offering divinations (either through geomancy or horary astrology) on TikTok. Among young people, there are already some interesting ways people are using tarot. There is a small but passionate community of financial astrologers on Twitter who apply astrology to trading. I think all these are signs that people on the ground are treating divination as predictions, not just personality tests. Maybe I can just do some small experiments offering free divinations to start with.

    2. On cultures that resisted becoming civilisations, my first thought was the book “The Art of Not Being Governed”, about how some highland cultures of Southeast Asia managed to maintain their own culture against a hegemonic state. Other than that, parts of pre-industrial Tibet and Mongolia, and Central Asia in general also come to my mind where a high level of culture were maintained without extensive urbanisation. There were what by modern standards would be large towns in East Tibet, all of which were unlikely to have exceeded 50,000 or so in population.

    3. Regarding the discussion on different “selves”: It seems to me that this is quite a common theme in Western thought, including both occult philosophy and psychology. The goal of many occult schools is the “Ipsissimus”, to be the most like oneself, and the techniques of meditation and magic are employed in service to that. In Jungian psychology, and at least some modern methods like Ideal Parent Protocol or Internal Family Systems, it seems to me that they also posit similar understandings of the self, that there is a core self, to which “masks” have been accrued and much of the process of therapy is recognising and letting go of these masks.

    I wonder if this is one of the ways the Faustian worldview expresses itself in spirituality and psychology. There are somewhat similar ideas in Indian thought, but as far as I know, in the Indian schools that talk about a “purusha” the ultimate goal is to merge one’s own purusha with an ultimate purusha, or to recognise that one’s own purusha has been the ultimate all along. There are some schools like Buddhism that deny an eternal purusha of course.

  233. I’m not exactly on topic but I saw change yesterday.

    Bill and I were book vendors yesterday at the 49th annual Middletown Arts & Crafts festival in Hoffer Park. Middletown, PA, is small, working-class town despite Penn State’s outpost campus. When Three Mile Island got shut down a few years ago, their electric bills zoomed and good, local jobs vanished.
    We were there once before in June 2022, two years ago.
    When we do shows, I’ve got plenty of time to people-watch.

    In 2021 and 2022, we saw plenty of in-your-face, look-at-me-aren’t-we-transgressive, don’t-say-anything-you-bigot couples and groups. Brilliantly died hair, super-goth clothing, piercings galore, men obviously dressed (badly) as women, etc., etc.
    This year? Very few. Everyone seems to have toned it down. Mega-goths really stood out as opposed to being ubiquitous.
    Shows last year were full of hair on numerous woman and many men in colors never seen in nature. Almost gone. Like the infinity scarves of a few years back, the fashion is on its way out.

    Middletown opens with the National Anthem being sung. Everyone and I mean everyone stood silently, many at attention and with hand over their heart until the singer finished. I can’t remember that from 2022 but this might have been a more … reverent response?

    Most interesting were two lengthy conversations about self-discipline and self-control.

    One woman told us about her 20-something son in Florida who’s choosing to buck the tide by saying “no” to anything that’s bad for him emotionally, financially, and so forth.
    The other young man was more interesting. Hispanic, covered with tats including what looked like Santa Muerte ones, was with his girlfriend. He’s an Amazon driver. We talked about self-discipline, self-control, saying “no” to the things that don’t matter so you can say “yes” to the things that do. That corporate America does not have your best interests at heart.

    At an Arts & Crafts show.
    It is true that craft shows are loaded with individual capitalists trying to earn some coin and they provide free entertainment to folks on a budget.

    Even so, it felt like a shift in the wind; a new idea of how to live being born. Neither of them bought my book on the subject of resilience but they found someone who agrees with them and went away happy.

  234. @RandomActsofKarma: Thanks! I was not familiar with that bit of mythology, but it made me smile 🙂 I simply grasped around for the first two classic low-tech toys I could think of– the sort of things my own IRL indulgent uncles would have loved to demonstrate to little kids. I love this thread, because I had just posted about one of those dreams a couple weeks ago, here:

    https://methylethyl.dreamwidth.org/37980.html

    It was not a top or a whistle, but the feel of the interaction was very similar and I still grin thinking of it. And you made a funny synchronicity too: I have just finished reading the Areopagitica, whose anonymous author is usually referred to as “pseudo-Dionysios”.

  235. @JMG: I haven’t noticed any telepathy while awake, but given my innate incapacity for subtle communication, that could just be me not noticing; I’ll be on the look out now, thanks!

    @methylethyl, @Rita Rippetoe, @Ken: Good to hear there’s others out there! Thanks.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve generally found such dreams relaxing, intriguing. Though with an emotional undertone. Haven’t felt I was anyone other than me. Only commonality seems to be outdoors, nice but not beautiful scenery???

  236. I sleep a lot, and dream a lot, every night. Most of them are way too crazy and intricate to try to figure out when awake. The only dreams I think of paying attention to are the dreams that keep happening.

    I went to school, and more school, and more school. Got my second Master’s at age 30. For many years I had the stress dream where it’s finals week, you haven’t been to class, you don’t even know where to go, but if you fail this class, you will not graduate and need to go another year. I’m happy to say, after 25 years my conscious brain has been able to get in there and say, “NO. You are done!”

    I guess my repetitive dreams are the most disturbing. Most of my dreams are pretty neutral on the emotion scale. The ones that keep coming back are: driving and the brake pedal doesn’t work, climbed up too high and can’t get down, far from home and trying to figure out how to get back, my car is gone.

    I still think all of these are based on real life anxiety I experienced, and just me getting over it. For sure, dreams are weird.

    I had a dream once that me an JMG were hanging out and having a pint. I love dreaming.

  237. Hi John, was wondering if you had any recommendations on where to start with natal astrology?

  238. Curt, I’ll have to leave that to people who have more experience in those systems.

    Taylor, that makes perfect sense if people were trying to flee from a future they didn’t want to think about. On the one hand, stop paying attention to the warning signs; on the other, insist that human nature is completely malleable and you can make the world conform to your fantasies.

    Clay, of course. No one must contradict the party line!

    Alvin, I’d say give it a shot. My mundane astrology project has turned out to be much more popular and lucrative than I had any reason to suspect.

    Teresa, fascinating. Ultimately, I’m not surprised — the wind is definitely changing — but it’s interesting to see it in that striking a form.

    Slink, I like that dream. 😉

    Astrophane, nope. You should ask a natal astrologer about that.

  239. Hey JMG

    It honestly never really occurred to me to try “Testing” my theory, I am not really sure how you could do that, but the idea that inspired me to create this theory was a chance occurrence
    Essentally, one day I absent-mindedly cast the dice I used to perform geomantic readings and found that the figure I generated exactly corresponded to the mood I was in at the moment I rolled the dice.
    Something else I want to share. I believe that whoever invented to book of fate either did not assign the same meaning to the figures that we do since the themes of the figures and the corresponding questions don’t always match if you use the interpretations used in standard Golden Dawn Geomancy. It may have been derived from a kind of folk-geomancy like the system described by Vito Quattrocchi in his manual of Italian folk-magic “Benedicaria”.

  240. @Tengu (#237):

    Interesting, and many thanks for your input!

    Myself, I’ve never tried any psychedelics; I’ve never felt any need to, not after a spontaneous many-hours-long time of mystical experience on two separate days when I was 13. That was in 1955. (Anyway, psychedelics were hardly available to young ‘teens, even in Berkeley, way back then.)

    For whatever it may be worth, my “teacher within” doesn’t happen to feel like it is any “true self” of mine, but no doubt I could be mistaken.

  241. It appears then, Archdruid, that your dream about the ladies discussing the craft project was a Prescriptive Divination, not a Prediction. I wonder, in such a case, who is doing the prescribing? Is it one of the Gods, having accepted prayers and offerings?

  242. Hi JMG

    Apologies for OT however I though you may appreciate awareness of this. “John Carter” from the ‘Postcards From Barsoom’ Substack had this to say today on Substack, “Kenaz and Ahnaf got a three-hour interview with John Michael Greer. I am very happy for them, and also very jealous. ”

    I’m sure you’ll be posting a Dreamwidth post with details at some point but for those that want to get in early, the interview can be found here:

    https://substack.com/home/post/p-145471297

    Cheers
    Jez

  243. A prescient read from 1900 – “But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine.” – E.M Forster: The Machine Stops (1909) The story even describes a type of internet.

  244. @Slink
    Brake pedal doesn’t work? Fly!
    Climbed to high on that tree? Fly! Yes, you can do it! My favorite one is when the road I am on goes up too steeply, and finally even upside down.
    Far away from home and they got your car? Fly! Always works. Except for the test in that course that you forgot to attend. Of course, then, you can just go fly.

  245. @Robert, @Methylethyl re: Useless Prophecies
    I think one of the problems with seeing the future in any way is being able to put the information into some sort of useful context: The information you get is often there, and often would be useful if you could understand in advance HOW it would be useful. It’s only after the future events unfold that you can put together the bits of information you got in advance.
    For example, here’s one from my dream journal, dreamed 04 Oct 2023, and on 05 Oct 2023. This is what I wrote, word for word:
    “04 Oct 2023 Mosque Visit
    It is hot, sunny and dusty outside. My wife and I have decided to visit the local Mosque, as there are rumors that a new mosque is being planned for the middle of town.
    It looks like a Presbyterian church inside. We sit on a pew next to a garrulous old woman who tells us all about the New Mosque, and shows us the plans.
    “Tariq wanted to put it next to the park, but Hafiz wants it at the center of town, next to the highway,” she tells us. “Oh! It was a long and bitter fight! In the end, they compromised and we bought both properties.”
    The plans are far more along than we realized, and have been conducted in secret. No one in the town has a clue of what they have been doing and we wonder what else they have been doing….”

    05 Oct 2023 A Marriage Breaks Apart
    I am watching a kitchen table with two men seated at it. A woman is bringing groceries in from the carport. The house has the same layout as the one I lived in until I was 7.
    The woman has discovered that her husband has had a secret boyfriend for years. This boyfriend has been a friend of the family, always around, but never suspected.
    She has apparently caught them being intimate. She is surprisingly calm (Children implied, but none seen).
    Bringing in another bag of groceries, she says, “I congratulate you both on dancing around me for this long. Really, I was completely blindsided. Where do we go from here?”
    Comment [On Oct 5th] — Last 2 dreams are about hidden, giant plans being discovered that will change everything. Are there machinations of some sort at work? Or perhaps at home, or with [Son]? Something I’d need to know, but don’t? Or something in global news about to break?”

    ====
    In hindsight, it seems apparent that these were clues to the war in Israel/Gaza that would break soon after the dreams. I had an inkling that it would be something global, perhaps, but without a context to fit the bits into, I was not able to assemble actionable information before the events. And even with context, what actions could I have taken if I had known in advance of the plans of Hamas?

    I know when my dreams are omen-ous, just don’t know how to make good use of them.
    I am very interested in any possible ways to assemble the bits together beforehand. How can we gain context before the events happen?

  246. @Daniil Adamov #207,
    I really don’t know why I hit upon Ekaterinburg, except that it just came to me when I realized who I had been. Just yesterday I began thinking, ya know, I don’t even know that the city had been founded at that time! It had, and was a thriving industrial center making use of Siberia’s resources during Pushkin’s lifetime (1799-1837). It seems like the most likely destination for an army officer going to Siberia at that time.
    In this life, I have not been that far west, with my travels taking me to Novosibirsk, so I cannot say if Ekaterinburg would evoke feelings of familiarity. Given what I recall of that life, I probably had my eyes tight shut the whole journey over. I was the stark raving opposite of what I became in this life–flying a hang glider in the Altai from above Ongudai, between mountains and thunderstorms and landing by the Katun’ River. Visiting Baikal in January, seeing tracks of a lone wolf and feeling affinity.
    In my last life I was a guy, so that probably helped, but I spent most of my time in libraries. I guess I decided it was time to come out and see the real world for once.

  247. @JMG: I appreciate you putting through that long post. I didn’t want to overdo it, but since everyone else was relating experiences, I wanted to contribute as much as I could within reason.

    Middle Ages: Medieval Europe was a center of civilization, but one on the periphery. To better understand the West’s relation to the major power centers, I’d recommend reading up on Marco Polo, and his fantastic stories of the East which were hardly believed in Europe, even though they were historically accurate.

    Michael #216: Funnily enough, I tried your link, and got “use an unacceptable color”. I thought, okay, this must be gibberish. But then the next day, I got into a discussion on my main discord server about assigning user roles, which give different colors to names, and it tied right into the banter at the time. What are the chances of that?

    dZanni #225: The MSM is already denying it, claiming it was a Russian ship instead, which essentially confirms the story as true (that the Eisenhower carrier was struck by Houthis and needed repairs). I expect the lies to accelerate into the election, and further if Trump gets elected. Luckily, there’s Russian media to keep you sane (not that its perfect, but its bias is minor in comparison).

    Spiritual entities: I don’t think I’ve interacted with interacted with such higher-order beings, at least, I haven’t interacted with any entities that seemed like such, or were amused by me. Then again, I only fully accepted magic fairly recently, so that might play a role in it.

  248. I quite often remember my dreams; often they are about things which are important to me. But there were in my lifetime only two or three dreams which could have been prophetic, and yet, the subject, about which they were, didn’t (yet) materialize. The most recent of them was a dream in which I rode a train; this train tried to run as fast as possible through an area with collapsing buildings; ultimately, the train was unsuccessful and was brought to a halt through rubble. Later in that dream, a radioactive cat played a role. It seems too early to me to assess if it meant anything, and if so, what, because the big current crisis of the Westen world has only begun since ca 2020 with Covid and the Russio-Ukrainian war.

  249. Hi John Michael,

    My best guess was also around 1970 being about the time decline began to seep into the system. I watched in horror back in 1997 when the pimping, err, sorry, I meant to say pumping of the house price thing kicked off. 27 years later and far out, I never thought that policy would stay entrenched for so long. I’d say we are well into diminishing returns now.

    Just out of curiosity, and you sort of talked about this in the comments above, I get a vague sense that there is a balance between exercising ones free will, and that of having the wisdom to stay ones hand. What’s your thoughts about that?

    Glad to hear that you are catching up upon your sleep deficit. Man, that happened to me in the late 1990’s. Turns out working full time at serious jobs, studying uni at night part time, having friends, fixing up old houses, being married etc. was probably maybe one thing too many. I took some time out after completing the degree, and we chucked a tent into the back of the small hatchback and headed off to the island state of Tasmania for a month during winter. I do enjoy the cold weather, and we slept for 10 to 12 hours a day, and slowly caught up. Does your brain the world of good man, and you can get your head together. 🙂 After that experience, I’ve never allowed the personal batteries to get so drained. But you know, I came from a difficult background and that’s what needed doing.

    Due to the stupidity with house prices, the path I took has now closed. If I were a young bloke now faced with that set of circumstances, I’d forget about the study, head bush and look for a run down out of the way house with some good sized land, and try and work local, fix up the house on the cheap, whilst making the land productive.

    Cheers

    Chris

  250. Last night, I went to bed thinking, “I will dream a dream of the future.” The next morning, I woke up earlier than usual to draw an image that seemed important– A man standing in an upside-down probability curve, facing left, with a caption in Russian, “Otstavil” [Отставил ], which is masculine, past-tense for ‘put aside’ or ‘left.’ Here’s a link to the image:
    https://emmanuelg.dreamwidth.org/file/59864.png
    and a dreamwidth post;
    https://emmanuelg.dreamwidth.org/13432.html
    It may be something to do with the Russia/Ukraine war, but I really don’t have the context to understand it at this point.

  251. @siliconguy #246: Not to derail this week’s comments, but:

    Yes, the 11th to 13th centuries saw strong population growth and urbanization over most of Europe, so you could say they were pretty good compared to what came before (though in some places, commoners lost rights and became more constrained by feudal lords than they had been in the “Dark Ages”). And the 14th century saw a whole lot of population loss (though again, in some places, the surviving commoners had it better than during the population growth).

    However, JMG’s point was not to compare the High Middle Ages in Europe with what came before and after, but to compare Europe with other parts of the Old World.

    The Crusades took off as they did, and the Crusader kingdoms held on as tenaciously as they did, not only for reasons of faith, but also because the Levant and Andalusia were so much richer than (Christian) Western Europe! Even the reduced Eastern Roman Empire of 1204 was too tempting a prize for the Westerners in the 4th Crusade to resist. All through the 12 and 13th centuries, a considerable part of the intellectual activity in Western Europe was to translate works from Arabic into Latin and then assimilate them. When Marco Polo wrote down his travel memoirs around 1300, most readers considered him a liar because the empire and the court of Kublai Khan could not possibly be as rich and advanced as he had described it. Even after 1498, when Western Europe had already advanced quite a lot in some areas like navigation and firearms, all the Portuguese needed to be happy was to siphon off a little bit of the immense riches of Arabia, India, Malacca and China. And don’t forget that Tenochtitlán was bigger than any European city of the time.

    So yes, all the time from 400 AD to at least 1600 AD, Western Christian Europe was poor and backwards compared to the major civilizations of the day.

  252. @everyone,

    Anyone have recurring dreams dealing with traffic; commuting and / or perils & frustrations of driving?

    I ask as I don’t and this is from someone that intenesly dislikes commuting by car. One would think reccuring dreams on this theme would be similar to the widely reported education dreams.

    I have a couple of ideas why but would like to solict everyone first. Maybe driving themed dreams are common. I see in the comments 3 mentions of dreams involving driving a vehicle. Anyone else?

  253. JMG,

    Thank you for the book recommendations. I’ve added them to my list and will also keep an eye out for any others that would shed similar light on other cultures.

  254. Thanks to SIliconGuy for the article on the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages. It’s one of the periods that fascinates me, as is ancient Rome’s Dying Republic Century. In both cases, historians have seen them as a major transition to a newer and more – complicated? Civilized? ‘modern’? form. My private take on both: the Middle Ages were very conclusively over when Henry VIII dismantled the last remnants of the Medieval social safety net, and the Republic was definitively over when Tiberius took the imperial throne. In both cases, that’s when the door slammed shut and was locked for all to see. The parallels to our own times have not escaped me: the Principiate still wears its Republican (in the classical sense) fig leaf, and the monasteries have not yet been dissolved, but both are coming, oh, yes , indeed.

    As for clueless, incompetent, and decadent leaders, we’re still not up to, or down to, the likes of Caligula and Nero!

    Re: dreams and health: In an old pocket journal, I found notes on a diet which, if I’d followed it then, I’d have been healthier now, because I can trace the effects of, frex, not getting off the sugar when I got off the caffeine; back on it as much as what’s available here will let me, my dreams have lightened up as well.

  255. @Patricia A. Ormsby #253 Fascinating all the same, thank you! It has changed a lot since then, although the basic layout in the centre might be familiar. For me the first association with an officer going to Siberia (or the Urals; we do tend to distinguish the two here) in Pushkin’s lifetime would be with the Decembrists: the participants of the legendary 1825 coup attempt, most of whom were exiled to remote corners of the empire after its failure. Many of them were followed into exile by their wives or brides. One of the city’s main streets is still named after the Decembrists, and happens to be quite close to where I live. Of course, it’s not like the only officers in the Urals or Siberia were exiles.

  256. @Taylor Burgess #202, that all makes sense to me. I did consider writing about such a curse being a root for a family of related curses, with instances past and present. I’m not so certain of that but it does seem to fit.

    Contemporary popular fiction, the all-important “plot arc,” still usually depicts the direct opposite, where a protagonist does learn from their mistakes. Usually in the third act following the failure/defeat/nadir reached at the end of the second act. That’s often the biggest difference between the hero and the villain (which might be why the latter are constantly saying “We’re not so different, you and I”). If what the protagonist learns doesn’t save them from the consequences of their mistakes, that’s classic tragedy instead. Not all tragic characters learn at all, though. (Think Ahab as compared with, say, Oedipus.) Splitting the difference results in the contemporary “redemption arc.”

    Becoming unable to change due to overuse of machines seems closely related to the tradeoff between efficiency and resilience, much discussed in the Archdruid Report back in the day. Regarding the effect as a curse has the benefit of emphasizing the tradeoff being a choice made by many, rather than just an inherent property of one particular system relative to another. And, as our host pointed out, that also brings into play the escape clause inherent in the curse. If only there were some formula or spell conveying how, why, and when to make such changes in their lives. Perhaps of the form, “[Do something] now, and avoid [something]…”

  257. Dear JMG,

    I have read most all comments, but I know nothing about the subject, so have stayed silent.

    I *was* going to post this on the 4th Wednesday, but it is timely and driving me nuts. If you would rather not let this commend through, I understand.

    My orientation is: I am “for the old.” I am not the least bit interested in ”the new.” I have spent the last forty years watching the new come in, which the vast majority of time meant my favorite softwares became obsolete and were not reverentially replaced, and products got crappier (doing less). All in the name of ‘new and improved.’ How about ‘new and💩-ier’?

    I want nothing new to learn unless it is knowledge and skills from more than fifty years ago and, frankly, a lot older. New News is out, whereas Old News is in.

    So, it is Monday, 10 June 2024, 12 noon to 1pm. The Appa Hype Conference (ADC) started at noon, and my husband is watching the live conference’s first “rah-rah pep-rally.” I am in the next room eavesdropping. Hubster has been a fan since early 1980s. Everything “the guy” (Tim Cook, CEO) says on the TV is, of course, about eye-oh-ess devices. I am saying to myself, “This guy just doesn’t get it. People are wanting to GET AWAY from devices, not invest several more multiple thousands of dollars in marginally-different handheld-metal-drivel,” making Appa’s shareholders even richer.

    Argh!

    I have to relocate to the basement so I don’t have to overhear this garbage.

    💨Northwind Grandma💨😨
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  258. The alleged mainstream seems to always find ways to gainsay “declinism”. For instance, they could say: What’s the big deal, Spengler or Peladan were wrong because look at the 20th century. Look at the boom that occurred in the postwar era and the wonderful global civilization we built in that time. Everything’s fine! At which point the ghost of Oswald or Josephin might smile and say, yes but — how much of European civilization that was extant in my life still exists now? And how about the power of Europe that’s now a distant memory? The world of today is so different than that of 100 years ago that grassroots sorts of people have started coming up with bizarre theories like Tartaria and mud floods to explain the discrepancy…

    The cultural era of the postwar, and the fact that there was an economic wonder, seems to have swept aside all criticisms — even with repeated booms and busts and instability in that time. Every time a new boom happened, the eternal optimists would forget the insights of the previous cycle. Not only from Peladan or Spengler’s days either. Similar fates befell the publishers of the Limits to Growth in the 1970s or the Peakosphere of the 2000s. And yet… The prosperity of the fossil fuels age, the extraction of which mostly happened after the era of the Great War 1914-45 will prove to have been a temporary thing. America’s fracking boom won’t change that, it will just move the Seneca Cliff to a nearer date than would otherwise have been the case. Not to mention that the world order built in the postwar era, and the economic growth and population booms that it enabled, all show signs now of very advanced decay. In official circles, denial reigns supreme.

    I think that’s what I find most dissatisfying about the cultural age we’ve entered into. There’s a shrill, emotionally intemperate denunciation of anyone pointing out the obvious. Jacob Lund Fisker of Early Retirement Extreme, who is well-acquainted with Peakosphere ideas, wrote in 2019 that he had terminated his blogging and social media career because he found the atmosphere “too obstructionist”. In other words, instead of enlightening, he found himself in counterproductive arguments about our predicament that went nowhere. I find myself in the same situation increasingly. Apart from Ecosophia and its ring of sites, there aren’t too many places where you can talk honestly about energy descent or cultural decline and its related issues, without interjections of enforced optimism or just being stonewalled.

    There is a bit of spiritual awakening going on in these trying times, though. Actually, it might be the case that prediction is coming back into vogue outside of the enforced monoculture. I’ve never seen so much interest in esoteric topics in all my life, and the study of divination is gaining steam once again. I think it reflects the common people becoming badly disillusioned with the official explanations for everything, and turning to old and time-tested tools for answers outside of the proper channels.

  259. While lying in bed and reviewing a dream I’d just woken up from, I had an awkward thought — did I really dream this, or am I making it up as I go along, now, in real time, and imagining that I dreamed it? Is there any way to tell? Does it matter?

  260. My wife and I are of an age where our financial planning horizon is, thinking optimistically, about 30 years. We have a financial advisor who reviewed our assets about three months ago, with end-of-year figures from 2023, and wants to see a 3-month update before we discuss making changes. Financial planning involves a lot of assumptions, er, predictions about the future value of investments and the future needs for income. And so I am wondering why he needs a 3-month update to make a 30 year plan? Imagine that we were doing this exercise 100 years ago.

    Imagine that it’s 1924. The Great War is over. The flu pandemic has receded. America is feeling prosperous. Radio technology is pulling the world together more than ever before. How do we plan for the next 30 years? A major hurricane will disrupt a massive real-estate bubble in Florida swampland. The Crash of 1929 will erase 90% of the value of the major, safe, stock indices. The Great Depression will slash wages and pension benefits. Banks will fail. War will return to Europe and Asia with a particular vengeance. And by 1954 (the 30 year horizon), our great-grandchildren, if we have any, will be doing duck-and-cover drills in elementary school. McCarthy will warn us about Communist infiltration of our national government, and Jim Crow will still rule the South.

    A quarterly review of our financial assets would not be of much value in preparing for THAT future, methinks. What about 30 years from now?

  261. For quite a few years now, I dont usually have dreams, or if I do, I dont remember them. I had one last month, and then I had one last night. I did not write it down upon awakening this morning, but it was a nice one, it involved abundance, food, from the garden and or canning. It felt nice and positve, all about abundance. I should look for some paper to put by my bed to give intention of wanting to know them. A focus of my time is on the whole food front, I have a large garden, and this morning before the sun was past the trees, was out hand watering it. The electrician picked today to call me back and sent out his guy, no notice, and he put in the outlet for my refrigerator in the kitchen, and he pulled a new wire thru the conduit from the regular breaker box to the backed-up small breaker box, that refrigerator outlet is now directly connected to the battery backup system.

    When I was younger, I had a couple recuring dreams, and of course to the adult mind, some sense be made, but the first one started when I was 6 or so. Ended sometime in my 20s I think, so of course when I was young I did not get it, now when I think about it I can see it was meaningful or a warning, but I was too young. In it there was a large probably dinosaur, like a trex or some large threatening one, a few blocks from where I lived when I was young on the playground at the school I attended. Instead of being scared, or moving even farther away, I left the house and went to where it was at the school, found some adult present to put me on their shoulders so I could get closer, and then was pointing out all the interesting things about this creature for a few minutes until it killed me. ( as an aside, some people think you can die in dreams, or that you would die in real life if you did, of course that isnt true). This one could have been predictive, but I was too young, having to do with the dangers to my health with pursuing a high stress intellectual career, or maybe how running towards things I didnt cause and trying to explain or solve them would be detrimental, or various possibilities.

    The next one started when I was a bit older, high school ? Not sure and went on well into adulthood now and then. I clued into what it meant alot sooner. In it my location varies, often I am at my grandparents house, where I spent alot of time and lived full time for a year or so, it has in the dream a couple secret passages that werent realy there in real life, a connection between the 2 back to back closets in 2 of the bedrooms. Other times it is some other place, but in the dream I know it as my house or place. I am hiding bodies, I know I am not responsible for them, but somehow have taken on as my responsibilty to hide them and keep it from coming to light. This one is a more obvious one of “skeletons in closets” not wanting the family secrets to get out, even though its not my fault. So not predictive, but a message to my conscious mid about the situation

  262. I asked here and on Magic Monday but seems recurring dreams dealing with driving or traffic are rare compared to the widely reported being behind academically dreams. No one reported any. Only two earlier posts in this thread mentioned driving.

    I understand why education themed dreams are important as schools; colleges and universities have been a big part of modern civilization and a lot of stress comes with worry about a future career. I wonder why driving doesn’t generate the same levels of recurring dreams (at least to my scientific sample of ecosophia.org / dreadwidth commenters)? Anxiety, anger, stress and depending on where one lives, very important to maintain one’s lifestyle.

    Another thought and maybe related to the thoughts above is maybe recurring dreams occur due to major and unresolved issues from a past life or lives. Vehicles being relatively recent.

  263. @Scotty

    Hi

    I had a recurring dream for years in my 20s involving driving a car. They stand out to me as they are really the only dreams I can recall that made me feel uncomfortable or anxious. The were always some variation of me being the driver, or in the car but not in the driver’s seat, but still being responsible for controlling the car, and there was some problem where the brakes or steering wheel did not respond and the car was out of control no matter what i tried and there was going to be some immanent crash.

    My conclusion has always been about them was that they were some reflection of the ongoing existential and other issues I had at the time and was ignoring via alcoholism and other behaviours. They stopped when I committed to making the most important thing in my life, taking action and addressing why I was so unhappy and lost.

    Cheers
    Jez

  264. @Scot: Been busy, so no time to comment until now…

    I’ve had lots of recurring dreams about driving, but they don’t seem to relate to driving per se. In one I am going up a very steep road, and as I reach the top I fear the car is going to flip back down over itself. I have had this dozens of times. It seems to appear when I have uphill challenges…

    Another recurring car dream is where I am driving around the city, and there is a huge interchange that goes over the river with large steep on and off ramps, at almost roller coaster angles. I’ve not been able to figure this one out, though I have had it from time to time, in combination with other things going on in my dreams.

    There is an entire psychogeography to my city in my dreams. A night version of the waking version. I love to explore both. The interchange over the river is a feature of the latter.

    One more book recommendation for everyone: Charles De Lint’s Dreams Underfoot, Memory and Dream, The Ivory and the Horn, all great urban fantasy with lots of dream stuff.

  265. @jez #270 & @jpm #271

    Thank you. What I get from your input that the dreams are not about driving per se but driving is a theme the subconscious can use to get your attention. Driving themed dreams are probably widespread but in my case, the subconscious has a bunch of other topics closer at hand…

    JPM thanks for the book recommendations. I’m able to download as audio books and will check them out.

  266. Dear JMG,
    surely enough you already noticed the news about the non renewal of the petrodollar agreement between US and Saudi Arabia. This means, plain and simple, that dollar is no more a reserve currency.
    Call it another call sign of decline.

    Have a nice day
    Pierluigi

  267. Deneb #265: Tartaria is fiction, but its a fiction that conceals genuine political/cultural criticism. Essentially, its the fact that Western arts & architecture pre-WWII were humane and attractive, while post-WWII they’ve become hideously ugly. This is something you’re not allowed to point out publicly, even as its publicly imposes itself on you. Thus, they created the workaround of a vast fictional empire that created all the things that the West used to be capable of, before decline & decay set in.
    Also, keep in mind that there are shills with agendas out there, who simply cannot be reasoned with. Our decadent elites are lying to themselves and everyone else, hoping to retain their power, even as it gradually slips away.

    Chris #256: Regarding the excesses of debt/inflation/lenocracy, and other forms of malaise, this site has a very useful collection of infographics:
    https://wtfhappenedin1971.com/
    Bewarned, while its revealing, it’s also a rather bitter pill to swallow.

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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