Book Club Post

The Ritual of High Magic: Chapter 8

With this post we continue a monthly chapter-by-chapter discussion of The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic by Eliphas Lévi, the book that launched the modern magical revival.  Here and in the months ahead we’re plunging into the white-hot fires of creation where modern magic was born. If you’re just joining us now, I recommend reading the earlier posts in this sequence first; you can find them here.  Either way, grab your tarot cards and hang on tight.

If you can read French, I strongly encourage you to get a copy of Lévi’s book in the original and follow along with that; it’s readily available for sale in Francophone countries, and can also be downloaded for free from If not, the English translation by me and Mark Mikituk is recommended; A.E. Waite’s translation, unhelpfully retitled Transcendental Magic, is second-rate at best—riddled with errors and burdened with Waite’s seething intellectual jealousy of Lévi—though you can use it after a fashion if it’s what you can get. Also recommended is a tarot deck using the French pattern:  the Knapp-Hall deck (unfortunately out of print at the moment), the Wirth deck (available in several versions), or any of the Marseilles decks are suitable.


“Chapter Eight:  A Warning to the Imprudent” (Greer & Mikituk, pp. 271-274).


Magic is not foolproof. Quite the contrary, foolishness is the one thing that can mess over the novice mage most efficiently.  This wouldn’t be as big of a problem as it is, except that people who are unusually well supplied with foolishness so often get in over their heads in magical practices, and proceed to make a steaming mess of their lives. That’s what our text discusses in this chapter, and it’s a subject well worth exploring before the further dimensions of magical practice come up in the chapters yet to come.

It’s impressive that Lévi, writing at the very dawn of the modern revival of magic, was able to pinpoint in advance some of the classic ways that would-be mages mess themselves over.  He details three of those ways.  First, those who aren’t prepared to weigh their occult experiences on the scales of reason run the risk of madness. Second, those who aren’t careful with their nervous systems can give themselves incurable diseases.  Third, those who let their fears run away with them can get into emotional states so overpowering that they cause cardiovascular problems—“cerebral congestion” is an old term for a stroke—with risks that can include sudden death.

Let’s take these dangers one at a time, and look at them with most of two centuries of further experience in the modern magical revival. We can begin with madness.  There are plenty of examples, but the one that comes first to mind just now is Christine Stoddart.

She enters our story in the early 1920s as a leading member of the Stella Matutina, one of the offshoots of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn that emerged after the GD blew itself to smithereens in political squabbles in 1900-1903. She leaves it about a decade later as a paranoiac conspiracy theorist writing lengthy screeds under the pen name “Inquire Within.” Light-Bearers of Darkness, her magnum opus, insisted that labor unions, the Theosophical Society, the Girl Scouts, and just about every other organization you care to name are all pawns in the grip of a vast Jewish-Bolshevik-Masonic conspiracy.

How did a Golden Dawn initiate land in so garbled a mental state?  Magic can do that quite easily unless, as Lévi points out, you approach it with a mind well grounded in reason. The visionary states that occur in some occult exercises, and the encounters with disembodied beings that occur in others, communicate information that may or may not be accurate in terms of ordinary everyday reality. So long as you remember to check the information you get against the yardstick of practical reasoning and the evidence of the senses, you can sort out what’s literally true, what’s symbolically true, and what’s the equivalent of static on an old-fashioned radio. If you neglect that necessary precaution, though, you can quite easily end up in La-La Land.

There are plenty of more harmless examples of the same thing. Many years ago, for example, I read a piece in a New Age magazine by some visionary or other who was convinced, on the basis of her visions, that Jesus of Nazareth went to Celtic Britain and married a Druid princess.  As history, this is drivel, and I’m sorry to say the visionary took it as history. She didn’t have to; if she’d recognized that many visions are best interpreted in a symbolic way, she might have been able to do something useful with it—for example, she might have realized that it represented the quest for common ground between the Neopagan scene and esoteric Christianity, and explored that direction in her own spiritual life. Instead, she made a fool of herself.

That’s the first serious danger that the magical practitioner faces:  zooming off into delusion through blind trust in information received from metaphysical sources. That’s a common enough problem that the occult teachers of an earlier day made it a hard and fast rule that no one with any sort of significant psychological trouble should practice magic.  Nowadays, when such diagnoses are handed out much more freely than they once were, the rule needn’t be quite so hard and fast, but if you have a history of psychological troubles you’ll want to monitor your condition closely, and have someone else do the same thing, to make sure your magical work doesn’t make things worse.

There are of course effective ways to prevent the flight into delusion just discussed.  The most important of these is to remember that communications from the inner world are no more reliable than gossip in your workplace or posts on the internet. It takes practice to sift out the signal from the noise in each case.  A willingness to suspend judgment and wait for further data is also valuable, and it’s crucial to give up the bad habit of looking for evidence that supports your beliefs—instead, look for evidence that contradicts them. If your beliefs can survive that treatment, they’re more likely to be true.

The second source of trouble Lévi discusses is strain on the nervous system leading to health problems. Here our text is on the cutting edge of today’s medical research. A specialty with the jawbreaking name of psychoneuroimmunology focuses on the way that psychological factors affect the nervous system, which modulates the immune system by way of the vagus nerve and its connections to the endocrine glands. That’s how the placebo effect works, and how its evil twin sister the nocebo effect works as well. Yes, this means that tolerably often you can think yourself sick, and you can also think yourself well.

The thing you need to watch for as a mage in training is any sign that you’re becoming too sensitive. That way lies trouble, as you can stress yourself into any number of illnesses.  If you become so sensitive that you can’t walk through a crowded area without feeling overwhelmed by the emotions of the people around you, for example, you’re at risk of picking up an illness due to nervous strain. People who can handle eating animal foods generally find that a diet well supplied with meat helps considerably with this sort of condition; so does sex; so does massage; so do relaxation and breathing exercises.

The best way to avoid nervous strain as a practitioner of magic, however, is one that Lévi discusses later in this chapter:  don’t overdo it.  Magic should be only one part of your life, and it should never occupy more than a modest share of your waking hours.  Most operative mages have to work for a living, and this is a good thing.  The hours you spend at work divert your attention from magic. Of course it’s important to find a way of making a living that gives you the amount of stress you like best.  Whether you thrive in high-stress situations or blossom in silence and solitude, make finding a job that meets that need a central goal. Hobbies, crafts, and interests unrelated to magic are also very helpful in this context.

The third source of danger only affects those those who engage in intensive ritual work.  You can meditate, practice divination, develop your psychic capacities, and perform basic rituals such as Lévi’s Conjuration of the Four for a lifetime and not run any kind of risk of cardiovascular problems, but the more demanding end of magical ritual is physically and emotionally strenuous and it can put strain on your heart and your circulatory system generally.  The occult teachers of an older generation thus made a point of telling students that people with heart problems should stay away from ceremonial magic. It’s still good advice, though fortunately occult practice has expanded considerably since Lévi’s time and there are many occult teachings and schools that don’t include ceremonial magic and are perfectly safe even for people with heart trouble.

Lévi’s comment specifically focuses on sudden overwhelming fear in the midst of a magical working, and this can be a serious issue for beginners. I’ve seen a fair number of people who loudly insisted that they were interested in magic suddenly discover that it’s not all dress-up games and make-believe, and turn bone white in stark terror.  That’s one thing if it happens in some ordinary occult exercise, of the kind that I’ve learned to give to beginners for precisely that reason.  It’s quite another if it happens in the middle of a serious magical ceremony.  There were famous cases back in the day where people were found stone cold dead in the midst of their magical paraphernalia, and that kind of sudden overwhelming panic in an already intense and stressful situation is a likely reason why.

Fear isn’t the only potential risk, though. Sheer exaltation will do it. You know the story of Sir Galahad, who beheld the Holy Grail and dropped dead on the spot? Monkish chroniclers insisted that his soul was hauled straight up to Heaven by a gaggle of angels, and maybe it was, but the phenomenon is known to medicine. If you’re already in an intense emotional state and something happens to crank up the intensity even further, any preexisting weakness in your circulatory system can get triggered and leave you in deep trouble.  If you tend toward intense emotional states anyway, this can be especially problematic. The moral of the story?  If you’ve got a heart condition, high blood pressure, or a family history of strokes or heart disease, I don’t recommend ceremonial magic. (Again, other kinds of occult practice don’t have this problem, and you’ll be fine doing those.)

Alongside risks internal to the mage—madness, psychogenic disease, or cardiovascular trouble brought on by the intensities of ceremonial magic—there is another class of risks that comes from the mage’s relationship with other people. The fourth magical virtue, “to be silent,” is of crucial importance here. In particular, as our text points out, never talk about your magical activities to anyone who isn’t also a practitioner, and never, ever, no matter what the temptation, try to convince others that magic is real by demonstrating it to them. At best, they will insist that nothing happened and will mock you for it; at worst, they will freak out completely, with consequences that can very easily spin out of control in disastrous ways.

People do not deal well with having their basic assumptions about the world overturned. They have even more trouble dealing with the possibility that someone else can influence them or affect their lives in ways they don’t understand. Organized persecution is not a risk in most countries of the industrial world, but unofficial persecution is another matter; people who know you’re an occultist, and can’t comfort themselves by believing that you’re simply a harmless eccentric, very often respond instead with fear and hatred, and act accordingly. Letting them think you’re deluding yourself is much less perilous, and keeping your mouth shut about your magical practices is wiser still.

Lévi offers two additional rules for the aspiring mage.  The first is to make sure you have the necessary material conditions and resources for magical practice. This is much simpler just now than it was in Lévi’s time, since mages in the intervening time have had the chance to sort out which of the traditional requirements are necessary and which are not. Even so, Lévi’s basic rules apply. The aspiring mage needs to have a secure place for private practice, even if this amounts to a corner of a bedroom and a door that can be shut; enough of a budget to buy certain things, and the basic skills and tools needed to make certain others; and a life sufficiently stable that regular practice can be kept going without disruption.

The second rule is to lead a balanced, reasonable, healthy lifestyle. Moderate exercise, adequate sleep, a balanced and relatively natural diet, and the other requirements of good health are at least as important to the mage as they are to anyone else.  Magic is not a solution to all life’s problems; it is a rewarding but challenging art and science that requires the same sort of regimen you would expect to take up if you were studying a martial art or pursuing some other demanding athletic practice. Your success in magic must be founded on a daily life that works. All of which is to say, ultimately, that magic exists and functions in the real world, not in some imaginary otherworld where up is down and sideways is straight ahead.

Notes for Study and Practice:

It’s quite possible to get a great deal out of The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic by the simple expedient of reading each chapter several times and thinking at length about the ideas and imagery that Lévi presents. For those who want to push things a little further, however, meditation is a classic tool for doing so.

Along with the first half of our text, I introduced the standard method of meditation used in Western occultism:  discursive meditation, to give it its proper name, which involves training and directing the thinking mind rather than silencing it (as is the practice in so many other forms of meditation).  Readers who are just joining us can find detailed instructions in the earlier posts in this series. For those who have been following along, however, I suggest working with a somewhat more complex method, which Lévi himself mention in passing:  the combinatorial method introduced by Catalan mystic Ramon Lull in the Middle Ages, and adapted by Lévi and his successors for use with the tarot.

Take the first card of the deck, Trump 1, Le Bateleur (The Juggler or The Magician). While looking at it, review the three titles assigned to it:  Disciplina, Ain Soph, Kether, and look over your earlier meditations on this card to be sure you remember what each of these means. Now you are going to add each title of this card to Trump II, La Papesse (The High Priestess): Chokmah, Domus, Gnosis. Place Trump II next to Trump I and consider them. How does Disciplina, discipline, relate to Chokmah, wisdom?  How does Disciplina relate to Domus, house?  How does it relate to Gnosis?  These three relationships are fodder for one day’s meditation. For a second day, relate Ain Soph to the three titles of La Papesse. For a third day, relate Kether to each of these titles. Note down what you find in your journal.

Next, combine Le Bateleur with Trump III, L’Imperatrice (The Empress), in exactly the same way, setting the cards side by side. Meditate on the relationship of each of the Juggler’s titles to the three titles of the Empress,  three meditations in all.  Then combine the Juggler and the Emperor in exactly the same way. Then go on to the Juggler and the Pope, giving three days to each, and proceed from there. You’ll still be working through combinations of Le Bateleur when the next Lévi post goes up, but that’s fine; when you finish with Le Bateleur, you’ll be taking La Papesse and combining her with L’Imperatrice, L’Empereur, and so on, and thus moving through all 231 combinations the trumps make with one another.

Don’t worry about where this is going. Unless you’ve already done this kind of practice, the goal won’t make any kind of sense to you. Just do the practice.  You’ll find, if you stick with it, that over time the relationships between the cards take on a curious quality I can only call conceptual three-dimensionality:  a depth is present that was not there before, a depth of meaning and ideation.  It can be very subtle or very loud, or anything in between. Don’t sense it?  Don’t worry.  Meditate on a combination every day anyway. Do the practice and see where it takes you.

We’ll be going on to Chapter 9, “The Ceremony of the Initiates,” on January 10, 2023. See you then!


  1. Yet another random entity told me to look into this question: How does turning inward lighten the load by bringing success? Of course I would love to hear yours and Ecosophian ventures at answers for this question.

    At face value, the question seems very New Age guru “manifest abundance”, but when I have gone deeper with it, it is anything but the superficial claptrap promoted by Prosperity Gospel Christianity Lite. As always I could be wrong, yet this question seems to beckon with the image of a cold yet beautiful McMansion of a rich person. The McMansion has the outward trappings of success but if you were to walk into that place, it would feel like some weird, desolate Twilight Zone of luxurious emotional constipation. The facade of delight is present without the actual feeling: it is a mirage. Plus it is a ton of work for someone (most likely quite a few “someones” if we count the price of McMansion goods that has been shunted off to cheap energy, slave laborers, the Third World, and the lower middle class) to maintain. Compare the mage who turns inward, pondering and occasionally solving the riddles of self and cultivating relationships of gratitude and appreciation, including relationships with the unseen spiritual ecosystem. No matter how poor or rich that person is, he is always going to start from a foundation of acknowledgement whereas McMansion Dude is trapped in a cycle of ignorance. Mr. Mage will be able to sustain himself for the long haul because he knows how to work within limits; McMansion Dude may do fine materially but will always be chasing more unearned wealth…unearned wealth is a Wendigo or voracious creature that cannibalizes itself while terrorizing others.

  2. Mr. Greer,

    When I read the part about the New Age magazine visionary that saw Jesus of Nazareth going to Celtic Britain and marrying a Druid princess and that it represented the quest for common ground between the Neopagan scene and esoteric Christianity a thought popped into my head. Namely that Joseph Smith’s visions of Jesus visiting North America after his Resurrection and the Native Americans being descendants of the Ancient Israelites could be viewed the same way as symbolically stating that Christianity’s future lay in the Americas and a fusion with Native American beliefs and traditions as opposed to something literal.

  3. Justin, I’ve spent enough time in California to chuckle at that. La-La Land is an understatement.

    Kimberly, interesting. My take here, founded on personal experience, is that most of the things that stop people from succeeding are internal, not external. Get your own internal barriers to success out of the way and you’ve done most of the work of achieving what you want to achieve. Of course, that also means that you’re no longer vulnerable to the sales pitches of McMansion salesflacks, so if you want a house you’ll choose one that meets your needs rather than one that’s packed with arbitrary social markers of faux-success.

    Karl, hmm! That makes a great deal of sense to me.

  4. Kenneth Anger had one thing right equating Hollywood with Babylon, and he wasn’t the only one…

    On a more Sirius note, how do you, as a public mage, maintain the balance between silence and openness? I imagine hiding in plain sight is part of it. I am sure there are a lot of people who you may encounter, at the grocery store, library, on the bus, etc. that being casual encounters, wouldn’t necessarily recognize you as a fringe occult author (I mean that as a compliment btw : ) Other people may know you better: members of your local Masonic lodge for instance. Some of them may well be aware of your work. Just curious how that works for you.

    I don’t make it a secret, exactly, if someone wanted to do some internet sleuthing on me, they’d find my interests and names in some fringe occult publications. At the same time, I no longer bring this topic up with coworkers, family, etc, like I did when I was in my 20s or early thirties, unless I “know” -and even then I’m careful, because I misjudged some things when was just learning to keep my mouth shut better.

    Some things I just had to learn the hard way. I wish I’d read something like your commentary on this when I was younger, but I’m not sure I would have listened back then.

    Another question: how do you think the magic in the latter half of the DMH would do as far as effects on the nervous system?

    Thanks for all the time you put into answering questions!

  5. A cautionary tale from personal experience regarding the second source of trouble:

    I was first initiated into a magical “order” in my mid-twenties. I put “order” in quotes because it was a circle of initiates organized around a single teacher who had tall tales of the lineage from whence he came, though no bodies or documents that might place said lineage in this plane. That said, he had plenty of power (whether personal, magical, or otherwise it’s hard to assess). I don’t think he trained us very well; I got pushed along hard and fast, without sufficient fundamental grounding, and after five years of intensive experience (including ceremony every full and new moon and on solar high days), I broke, abandoned teacher and community, exiled myself, and proceeded to drink heavily and lick my wounds for the next three years.

    Only days after my break, I began to experience a burning of the nerves which remains with me to this day, 25+ years later. Doctors have never known what to do with it and it’s something I’ve learned to live with as a reminder of the follies of my youth.

    It’s not an unhappy ending in that I eventually returned to regular practice, spending five years with a Buddhist teacher which provided some fine grounding in the fundamentals of meditation and other yogic stuff, and eventually finding the magical order in which I practice today, which actually provides a well-graded approach grounded in fundamentals and with all the requisite safety measures in place.

    But I still feel the burns on the nervous system. It may be that I am able to heal them in the course of the work, or it may be that they’ll be a mark to remind me. Either way, for those newer on the path, my counsel would be to heed the wise words of Mssrs. Lévi and Greer. They really aren’t joking around.

  6. Someone I know had a similar reaction to a Tarot reading I gave, so I can imagine someone actually dying from this kind of shock. I see now why active occultists seem so centered and balanced, it’s a necessity not a nice side effect.

    The subtle update to the site is nice, btw.

  7. JMG, “People do not deal well with having their basic assumptions about the world overturned.”


    “To be silent”

    This. I’ve learned A LOT by reading your blogs, I wonder if it ended up being and initiation of sorts, perhaps? Anyways, what I wanted to say is that these two were the most important advices I’ve received from you. For years now, I’ve simply stopped telling people whatever I’m about to do, and things have changed for the better noticeably since then. It’s simply not my job to inform others.

  8. Thank you very much for the modern life perspective on what seems at first to be some very old-fashioned, abstract and esoteric ideas. I honestly didn’t expect a post with “Ritual of High Magic” in the title would have practical advice involving endocrine glands, massage, and blood pressure!

    The site had a new pop-up today inviting an email subscription. Are some of your essays here hidden except to subscribers? Or is that just a convenience to announce new posts, while anyone can click around to see the whole archive here?

  9. I wish I could share the insights from your essay and from Levi with some of my TradCath (Traditional Catholic) friends. (I am Catholic myself, and spent most of a year in a TradCath Latin Mass parish. I am now in a more mainstream church that still has a solid liturgy and good music.)

    That Jewish-Bolshevik-Masonic conspiracy theory you mention is alive and well among TradCaths, and conservative Christians in general, and a lot of people take it very seriously and literally.

    Also, TradCaths have a habit, as you know, of taking visions literally, especially visions of the Blessed Virgin. There is a good sized movement of people today who are expecting an intervention by God some time very soon – what they call The Warning, which will involve three days of total darkness with what you could call an inner judgment and moral warning of everyone on earth – and of course this will cause millions of conversions to the one true Catholic Church. I’ve seen them talk of preparing to make sandwiches and coffee for the poor priests who will be in the confessionals for hours on end tending to the flood of penitents.

    View that Warning symbolically, as a metaphor for individual spiritual awakening, and there is some beauty to it. Even though I respect the sincerity and spirituality of the people having these visions, take them literally and it just sounds goofy. They have no context for viewing them as metaphor and symbol.

    Traditional Catholic ritual done right, as you know, is a powerful magic system, and viewed in that light it can make a lot of sense – and precious few people seem to be aware of that. I know there are some, and I keep my signals out for them. (I recall a priest at a men’s group I was at making mention of an event that coincided with a major planetary conjunction.)

    I have to work at the magical virtue of Silence – much as I’d love to share these insights I know they’re not welcome. I do not care to disturb anyone’s faith if it helps them, and I don’t care to be ostracized as a Satanic Bolshevik Occultist.

    Thank you for the ongoing series – I’m getting a lot out of it.

  10. I live in the Oklahoma/Texas part of California, the Bible Belt voting section which runs from Fresno to Bakersfield in the south half of the Central Valley, not a La La Land at all. Working class and poor folk, lots of Mexicans and Okies descended from the Grapes of Wrath era, Armenians, Dutch and Portuguese dairy farmers, descendants of white settlers of the 1800’s, some Native Americans, Laotians, some Japanese, Chinese, African Americans, a recent influx of Sikhs. Very different than the Bay Area, the coastal and Southern LA and San Diego parts of California. Liberal/Progressive types who live here get all irritated with the locals.

  11. Justin, I don’t bring up my occult involvements in social settings, of course. Those people who know about them are people who have some idea of occultism to start with. As for the DMH, it’s relatively mild — I don’t favor the sort of magic that involves wallowing in oceans of over-the top emotion, so most of what’s in my post-Golden Dawn books is toward the cerebral, calm, mellow end of things.

    David, I’d be curious if you’ve ever considered consulting a competent acupuncturist or TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) practitioner. They tend to be pretty good at treating the aftereffects of badly managed metaphysical practices.

    Augusto, exactly. As for the update, glad you like it.

    Bruno, yes, that’s part of what I’m doing — making the opportunity for certain very basic kinds of initiation open to those who are interested. I’m glad to hear that you’ve mastered the fourth virtue! That’s a very important step.

    Christopher, it’s purely a convenience. Everything I post on this site is open to everyone.

    Charlie, I’m sorry to hear that the paranoiac end of Catholicism still thrives. I think there’s an underlying connection between that and the blind faith in visionary experiences: in both cases it’s a matter of forcing the world to conform to your expectations (and sense of entitlement), rather than listening to what the world has to say. It would be a very good thing if the potent magical and spiritual disciplines of the Catholic tradition were to get out from so dysfunctional a milieu!

    Moose, so noted! My one encounter with anything close to that end of California was a couple of visits to Fresno, which once had a thriving Golden Dawn lodge, and I didn’t get a sense of the general flavor of the area.

  12. In my experience, it‘s not just ceremonial magic which can cause cardiovascular issues like an elevated heart rate etc, but also contact with potent higher forces in general, as e.g. through the MOE attunements.

    Is this a common occurrence? And if not, what could be the cause of it?

    For me, it seems that the issue is an overload of my etheric body from these powerful energies, which then causes my physical body to overreact. (I have no history of cardiovascular issues, and there are no related astral effects like strong emotions, anxiety or the like. But there are very strong etheric effects going on and preceding these physical effects.)

    Is there anything that could be done in particular to strengthen and balance the etheric body such that it can cope better with powerful higher energies?


  13. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks for sharing Mr Lévi’s sensible warnings. I presume that limiting oneself to using the working techniques upon themselves is a less risky path? Sadly, many practitioners attempt to seek power and control over others, when they may not be in control of themselves – it’s a very risky choice, with real world consequences.



  14. To Charlie’s point, I started exploring Catholicism about a year ago and at first the TradCaths were a huge turnoff (although I mostly encounter them online). They’re one reason I questioned whether I could actually go through with joining the the Church. However, I agree with your point that Catholicism is a powerful system of magic, with Christ (from a Christian esoteric perspective) being the greatest initiate who ever existed. And rather than seeing the ascetic disciplines as being imposed upon me by the Church (as many people do), I see them as preparatory exercises in the stages of initiation.

    I also realized that “to be silent” is a practice in humility as there are often egoic reasons behind our desire to share things. Jesus’ speaking in parables, washing the feet of his disciples, and waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit before revealing certain truths are examples of humility in action.

  15. “If you become so sensitive that you can’t walk through a crowded area without feeling overwhelmed by the emotions of the people around you”
    What if you are like this even though you have never practiced magic? I read all your posts and many of your books (and lots of other books) not because I want to practice magic but because I have been searching for an explanation for and a way to deal with this problem for many years.
    I eat meat regularly, do relaxation and breathing exercises, cannot afford massage. Is there some kind of anti-magic practice for odd people like this?

  16. Something similar to the way people go overboard with visions comes up when people receive inspired texts. This happened to Crowley, and of course many New Ager’s who have dabbled in automatic writing.

    It seems some avoided the trap of becoming messiahs or making new religious movements based on their texts. Dion Fortune and the Cosmic Doc. come to mind.

    Others in the “Typhonian” strain of Thelema seem to have learned a bit from Crowley’s mistakes, and while they still use these received texts for their own magical work and in the different orders, it seems like they aren’t as big on pushing it the way Crowley did on the rest of the magical and occult world, proclaiming themselves the Magus of the next 2,000 years and such.

    @A Nony Moose: Thanks for the words on your state… I haven’t been back to California in 33 years when I was 11, unless you count a stopover in LAX. (That said I’m hardly in the jet setter class btw, in case anyone is trying to calculate my carbon footprint, which of course, could still be better than it is… I have flown… but it’s not a regular thing at all.) My aunt and cousins lived out there in a suburb of LA for awhile, and I went twice growing up. I still have fond memories of Yosemite and Big Sur.

    As an Ohioan, being part of what is often despised as flyover country, I suppose I just wanted to pick on the west coast a bit. Nothing personal! I know it is more diverse than just Hollywood moguls. tech bros and influencers drinking kale & tofu smoothies. And I really do appreciate some of the culture from out in the Bay Area. The musical underground/counterculture in California gets a lot of attention in a book I have drafted that has DIY electronics as one of its themes. But so does Ann Arbor, which is a bit more neglected in the history.

    & I guess I have some residual resentments about the “Brain drain” of people I know from here who moved to California or Portland, Oregon. Many have come back now though. The living here is cheaper in Cincinnati.

    I also appreciate some of the essays from Erik Davis about Caifornia which he calls “the visionary state” -all that occultism and growth of distinctively west coast way of thinking has influenced America in incredible ways.

    One more thing that I like about your state: The “Three Californias” or “Orange County” trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Those are some of my favorite books by him and I loved the way he wrote a thematic trilogy where he looked at three different possible futures for one area, and wrote the same characters in, each affected by the different ways things had played out. So I do appreciate lots of stuff from California!

    That said, here is a song to share, from the band Low. It’s their song California. A great bit of indie rock pop with strong harmonies and hooks.

    I would like to visit California again, if the timing and opportunities are correct.

  17. The subject of the risks which magical practice includes reminds me of a comparison of the Golden Dawn system and the Druic Magic Handbook system which JMG mentioned quite a while ago: The Golden Dawn system can be a heady brew; this is somewhat less the case with the Celtic Golden Dawn, whereas the Druid Magic Handbook system tends to be less stressful and to be less prone to astral static. But on the other hand, it seems to me that the risks of ceremonial magic are much higher for perople who are already in a somewhat psychotic state of mind, because presumably people, who are sane and not easily brought out of their balance are better able to deal with the things which happen at magical ceremonies and the following coincidences thereof.

  18. There is something else relevant coming to my mind just now: In one of her books, Dion Fortune wrote that there are differences in the results of different cultural traditions of occult practice; her point was that Western practices leave the practitioner able to function in a normal everyday setting, whereas traditional Indian occult practices, according to her, results in a kind of sensivity which would make it difficult for the practitioner to function in something other than traditional Indian societies with its custom to retreat into an ashram at a certain age.

  19. I have spent almost four years with drawing my own version of the major Arcana. What pulled me into that very practical meditation is what you describe as three-dimensional conceptuality, which I very early recognised in the Tarot. The visual, nonlinear, layered, symbolic lateral structure is so close to how I think that it felt like coming home.

    It took me a long time to reconcile my natural inclination with the ways of the world. And walked that slow path alone. Very early I learned to be silent. And I do think it is good advice. On the other hand I had to find ways to express that part of myself or else go insane.

    Love the advice on keeping magic the smaller part of a well grounded life. I can see how difficult that must be for people with a modern lifestyle that mistake this practice for a grounding activity.
    Start from balance.

    Great advice too, for the hypersensitive. The ones unable to be in a crowd without overwhelm. I can hardly look someone in the eye (and I also notice when I do look at someone with my ‘normal’ level I overwhelm them and get jerk responses, very unpleasant) but the list you provide is sure true for me. Eating meat, strong flavours, doing physical stuff that is loud and intense, like drumming, and yes sex, building things with weighty materials that resist.

    Writing turns out to be very grounding and helpful with making sense of the incoming. I read and write to keep in check with reality. I tend to lean toward emphasising the symbolic, metaphoric nature of the inner feed. The tendency to try and make the implicit into something explicit is characteristic of people unfamiliar with the sensations, images and emotions of the wider reality.
    Divination is such a good tool to become more literate at interpreting the non specific guidance constantly offered.
    The ability to translate that slight feeling of unease about a situation into a balanced response, can keep you from serious harm. For me the practice of magic lies on that level at the moment. The resulting flow can be deeply joyful and radiates out to what and who surrounds me.

    Thank you John Michael

  20. Social services work – the front line kind – gives good daily exposure to dangerous mental states and provides a callous against mental and emotional stress that is handy enough I guess. There is also a understanding of when to be gentle and use softer modalities and when to be firm and use more behavioral approaches that could also play into planning workings. On the other hand I could see that someone burned out from filtering the emotional and mental problems of a community might be wise to stay out of ceremonial magic until recovery.
    Lifting weights seems to tie into earth and the concept of healing the body in making it denser so I guess this is a good grounding practice. Lévi offering safety protocols is comforting in light of the dangers spoken about here about other works like the picatrix.
    Often the space for working natural or Druidic magic is outside and I assume that some people might do this at night when it is quiet and safe from interruption. If this ties into all that imagery of magic being practiced at night under moonlight etc. it would make sense there being a practical dimension to it.

  21. Hello JMG, what do we need to do for the revival of Catholic magic and the sacraments in general? I am asking as someone who is just starting to learn about Orthodoxy and Catholic traditions and who is just starting to learn Christianity. Could you please answer and enlighten me (by the way, my grandfather has heart disease and diabetes, so will ritual magic pose a danger to my health)?

  22. Anonymous, regular massage is the best thing I know to deal with this — it helps unblock the channels through which etheric energy flows in and around the material body. You might also do some Essene healing on yourself, or have someone else do some for you, with the intention of clearing the etheric channels.

    Chris, a very good point! Yes, exactly — not least because the work on yourself helps build the capacity to work with the more intensive forces.

    MJ, I’m glad to hear this. Did you know that Dion Fortune used to refer to Jesus in exactly those terms, as the greatest of initiates?

    JustMe, you would be very well advised to avoid intensive ceremonial magic, then. I wish I knew of something that would help, but the only options that come to mind — acupuncture or homeopathy — would cost you as much as massage.

    Justin, yeah, that’s another good example. I haven’t read extensively in the Typhonian current — just a few of Kenneth Grant’s books, which convinced me that he missed his true calling and would have been a world-class author of Lovecraftian fiction — but it’s good to hear that they have a more realistic view.

    Booklover, both of those are valid points. Druid magic in general tends to be very mellow, even when mixed with the higher-intensity Golden Dawn work — and yes, the saner you are, the safer magic is. As for Fortune’s distinction, it’s a relevant one: in the West we don’t have the kind of social support structure that would take care of mages whose intensive practices left them gaga to one extent or another, while India has traditionally had such structures.

    Bertus, you’re welcome and thank you. Glad to hear all of this.

    Ian, I know a fair number of occultists who use lifting weights and similar high-intensity exercise methods precisely to ground themselves, so it’s likely to be a good general approach. As for doing rituals outdoors in the moonlight, in rural areas that’s still an option — not so much in cities, of course.

    Yiğit, you need to ask a Catholic occultist about that — I don’t have the necessary knowledge or training to give you a meaningful answer. The field of occultism is vast enough that no one person can know more than a fraction of it! As for your health, get yourself checked out by a physician; as long as you don’t have serious heart issues you should be fine. (Diabetes doesn’t interfere with magic; I’ve known several first-rate mages who were diabetic.)

  23. From the post: “There were famous cases back in the day where people were found stone cold dead in the midst of their magical paraphernalia, and that kind of sudden overwhelming panic in an already intense and stressful situation is a likely reason why.”

    I’m not familiar with any such cases, but this makes me wonder what his or her next incarnation was like; did he or she resume more or less where they had left off? That might not be too bad a fate. I am reminded of the place in “Hamlet” were Hamlet comes upon his uncle praying and could have killed him then, but reflects, what kind of revenge would that be — to kill him while he was praying and send him straight to Heaven? Some revenge!

  24. I’ve got high-functioning Asperger’s, but I would imagine that’s not going to effect my practice very much. It is a sad reality that some occultists see their metaphysical insights as totally infallible and end up looking like fools, even when they had valid insight in other areas. The stuff about disease and even sudden death as a result of magical practice was surprising to me, I had no idea that could be a problem.

    I’ve got a personal question about magical safety. I started practicing a year ago. Over the past few months, I have been awoken with a dark presence in my room. Sometimes I literally see it standing there. I don’t know whether it’s sleep paralysis or something else, I’ve never had this problem before. I haven’t been doing anything crazy, I’ve just been following your *Learning Ritual Magic* book and have been doing basic things like meditation and studying the Qabala, taking it slow. Perhaps I’ve neglected some aspect of spiritual hygiene?

  25. @Justme
    I’m in general not that sensitive but do sometimes (in stressful periods) pick up too much thoughts and emotions from other people.
    My method is the Spere of protection. This seems to really insulate me from outside pressure and influence.

    I do no other rituals btw so I’m not a mage.

  26. I have just been contemplating the virtue of Silence and, in general, how it is necessary to be mindful of what you say for your well-being and longevity.

    Giordano Bruno could’ve lived much longer had he not been a jerk; instead, he got invited to an Inquisition barbeque party.

    Paracelsus was quite a cranky person, and he also most probably died a violent death at 47, clubbed over the head and/or shoved down a flight of stairs.

    I have gotten in trouble for my jokes more than once, so I probably should keep a lid on it.

  27. Speaking of “sudden overwhelming panic” I used to invoke the god Pan, quite often in my early bumblings around with ritual magic. Then I would get stoned and wonder why in the heck I was having PANic attacks. It wasn’t until a number of years later I connected the dots. I have respect for Pan, but neither of these are something I do any more.

  28. @Ecosohy Enjoyer #25
    Got a bit of on the spectrum myself. Years ago I had a dark presence experience myself. One night as I went to bed I sensed/saw a dark presence at the other end of the room in front of the door, I told it to go away, it refused to budge. I decided not to worry about it., telling myself that according to the Book of Revelation there was two good angels to every bad one and went to sleep. As I was asleep I sensed it rushing across the room like a bolt of lightning, it went all over me and I couldn’t move I struggled and gasped out “Jesus” and it was gone like a popped soap bubble, and back to sleep I went. All sorts of critters out there.

  29. This post was so relevant to some of my concerns, even though I don’t practice magic as such. For one thing, the lesson in the Handbook that day was the description of the Inner Mind and its functions. Lately I find myself going through the days on intuition and gut feelings relevant to the planet of the day, and doing quite well. More or less; it’s hard to tell, with my physical guts at war with the rest of me so often. Anyway, thanks for this week’s blog post lesson.

    Oh, and YES on the virtue of Silence. As one of my old literary mentors used to say “Put it in the story, not the letter.” Not to mention there are times when behind the broom closet door, closed and locked, is the smartest place to be. And – a high meat diet seems to be very good for my bowels, as well as grounding.

    More later as I read the comments.

    The Grey Badger

  30. @JustMe – I strongly believe there is such a thing as being an unshielded empath, and if this were a casual conversation – since I’m speaking from ignorance – I’d suggest you work on shielding and strengthening your shields.

  31. Phutatorius, it depends on what kind of ritual was involved. Death while in the middle of a demon-summoning ritual — that’s what was going on in the couple of cases I’ve read about — is not a good thing; the demons will be glad to help you along to the realms where they hang out, and while you’ll get out of there eventually, it won’t be pleasant. Then, of course, you come back into incarnation with links to the demonic planes, which means that nasty entities will have an easy time finding you…

    Enjoyer, nope. This kind of thing happens quite often in the early phases of magical training. One of my teachers used to call it “astral static,” and it means no more than the static on an old radio. Keep up with your daily banishings and you’ll get clear of it.

    Ecosophian, it’s a valuable principle! I made a deliberate choice to be public about some aspects of my occult work, but I try not to be a jerk about it…

    Justin, hey, think of it this way — you invoked him, and he manifested. 😉

    Patricia M, you’re welcome. It really does help.

  32. @Justin Patrick Moore, are you able to elaborate on what the connection might be between Pan, and pan-ic as you say? A quick google confirms the etymological link, but what is the interest of Pan in unreasoned fear in your interpretation?


  33. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks! I’ve been wondering for a while whether the quest for power and control is a form of escape from oneself? Along those lines, it is interesting what you wrote about the amplification of the emotional states accompanied with the associated health risks, and I guess that can happen in any number of journeys. The whole mindlessness thing just seems weird to me, it’s like trying to pretend that you’re not human, or something like that. Much better to accept the emotional states as part of life, acknowledge their purpose, and don’t let them then run you. Being possessed by your emotions probably has a lot of parallels to other forms of possession don’t you reckon?

    Your writing is always thought provoking.



  34. Chris at Fernglade, your comment about “the emotional states” reminded me of a paper my Bible study buddy pointed me to:

    The main topic of the paper is the word ‘yr’, which is translated ‘fear’ in most English Bible translations. It turns out to mean something more like ‘awe, respect, and obedience’. You ‘yr’ a beloved king or lord (Jesus being the biggest of these); you ‘fear’ a predator or an enemy who wants to destroy you. Thus telling someone to ‘fear God’ is actually teaching them that God is their enemy. Not helpful.

    But the biggest revelation I found in this paper was the “side note” about ’emotions’ on pages 3 and 4. The authors revealed that our concept of “emotions” as “powerful cthonic urges rising up from our limbic lizard brains, barely controllable by our ‘separate’ reasoning brain at best”– this concept is actually only a couple of centuries old. Per the paper’s authors, earlier philosophy was that these were ‘passions’, thoroughly integrated with the rest of us, and are as prone to our control by an act of will as our hands and feet.

    In short order I realized that this concept of “emotions” becomes a control mechanism. In this culture we are taught from infancy that our “emotions” are woven into the foundation of our being, that they are powerful, and not controllable by our reason. We are then taught a panoply of events that “trigger emotions”– i.e., ‘this event will make you sad,’ ‘this event will make you angry’, and so on. Finally, we are presented with these taught stimuli, and thanks to this “emotional indoctrination”, caused to dance about like puppets on strings. Mass media, ‘click bait’, and the marketing industries, I’m looking at you.

    I feel like Neo, for heaven’s sake. I thought it was a cherry, didn’t realize it was a red pill. Very liberating.

  35. Thank you, Ola. May I ask what you use for the six directions?

    Thank you, Pat. I found some info on empath sheilding and I will be putting some crystals in my pockets next time I leave the house. And since it’s winter, I’ll wear something with a hood.

  36. @Boy: at the time I didnt equate the panic attacks with Pan. My family line is prone to anxiety and such on the maternal side. Or maybe its just living in industrial society. Looking back on it now I think the relationship of Pan to Panic is his connection to the ALL of nature. That sense of overwhelm commonly talked about today gets magnified by this deity who is so old and ancient. That’s my take at the moment.

  37. A brief off topic note — the blog software informs me that I’ve put through 99,999 comments on this blog, and so this comment of mine is the 100,000th. I’d just like to thank everyone for making this blog such an interesting and lively community. Thank you, all of you, for being the best commentariat on the internet!

  38. Hi JMG,
    Following your answer to Kimberly, would you be able to tell us more about the internal barriers that one encounters on the path toward success?
    Thank you,

  39. Here are all of the requests for prayer that have recently appeared at and, as well as in the comments of the prayer list posts. A printable version of the entire prayer list current as of 12/11 may be downloaded here. 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.
    ***HEAR YE HEAR YE***At the end of this year I will pruning all prayer requests which were made before July 1st, 2023 from the list entirely, with the exception of any that my own intuition tells me ought to be kept on the list. I make no claims to the infallibility of my intuition, so if your entry is older than that, and you would definitely like it to remain on the prayer list, please send a note updating your request.

    (Also, if you think you might be interested in having anyone pray in support of your own self-improvement, please have a look at the Ecosophia Prayer List Autumn Special.)* * *
    This week I would like to bring special attention to the following prayer requests. div style=”margin-left: 40px;”>May tamanous2020’s mother and stepfather, who have both been diagnosed with Stage 1 melanoma, be completely healed and cured of their ailments.

    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 the mass which upon which Yuccaglauca’s mother Monica is having a biopsy performed turn out to be entirely benign and safe; may she experience healing and improvement in her situation and overall health.

    May the lawsuit for partition of the family land in which Jennifer, her husband Josiah, and her father Robert are involved be resolved justly and for the greatest good of all involved, including the land and its spirits.

    May the brain surgery that Erika’s partner James underwent for his cancer on October 16th have gone successfully; and may he be blessed, healed and protected, and successfully treated for all of his cancer.

    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.

    May Jeff Huggin’s friends Dale and Tracy be blessed and healed; may Dale’s blood and spinal fluid infection clear up sufficiently to receive a heart valve replacement; may his medical procedures go smoothly and with success; and may Dale and Tracy successfully surmount these difficulties.

    In the case of Princess Cutekitten and the large bank who is suing her may justice be done, with harm to none.

    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 now 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.

  40. Chris, technically speaking that’s obsession rather than possession, but yeah, basically.

    Jeffrey, thanks for this. It amuses me that talking heads on Aeon are finally getting around to noticing this!

    Foxhands, the details vary from person to person, but I’ve found consistently that most of what keeps most people from achieving their goals is internal to them. One person may have a habit of internal negative self-talk they use to convince themselves not to try, or to try in a halfhearted way that guarantees failure; another may project unresolved childhood emotions into interpersonal situations and thus reliably mess those up; a third may have learned self-sabotaging behaviors from an equally unsuccessful parent, and the list goes on. Journaling and reflection are helpful tools for sorting all this out.

    Quin, thanks for this as always.

  41. Hi John Michael,

    Congrats on the impressive number of comments.

    Obsession? Hmm, I’m going to have to ponder that aspect of the story. I’ve observed that a person’s core internal state and emotional energy can be reflected back upon them. It’s an odd mechanism that.

    Hey, off topic, but important, I’m coming around to the idea that the deliberate slow down being orchestrated in western countries, is a cushioning for the impending oil supply cuts coming into play in a fortnights time. It surprises me that this news is not being loudly ballyhooed, and the articles I read were rather dismissive of the realities. I only chanced upon the news of the cuts. But it starts to put a lot of strangeness into some context. I did remark to you many months ago that our leaders were going to mess up the economics of the present conditions. A strong case could be made that this had already happened, we were all just waiting on the bill.

    I’ve observed a tendency over the years for bad news to be delivered during the festive holiday season. It’s weird isn’t it?



  42. My omnivorous autodidactic self has a question. What is “chaos magic” and how does it differ from ritual high magic.

  43. Way back in one of the earlier chapters, we had a fun discussion about the Golden Ratio. I have been reading and meditating, to see if there is a way to connect the Golden Ratio to the Spheres in some way. I have found a roundabout way (from the Tetractys to the Golden Ratio, via Pascal’s Triangle), described here:

    @MJ, thank you for your comment re: humility. One of the things I have been working on is why the Prudence card is called Prudence. (Why not just Wisdom?) The Emerald Tablet (translation by Beato) has the phrase “prudently, with modesty and wisdom”. Seeing modesty as humility (and “to be silent”) makes the card’s name much more clear.

    To everyone, since this is the last book club post before the end of the year, I hope everyone has a Merry Solstice!

  44. Off topic, but seemed too good not to post here: a petition to rename Portland, Oregon to Innsmouth, Oregon.

    “The city of Portland has always been known for its vibrant culture and unique character. However, in recent times, the city has taken on a different aura. Its denizens seem to be transforming into entities that echo the eldritch horrors from the deepest realms. Their features are becoming unmistakably accursed and their behavior is reflecting a singular madness reminiscent of those loathsome denizens of Innsmouth.

    This transformation is not only disturbing but also deeply personal to me and many others who have witnessed this change firsthand. We believe that this shift in our beloved city’s identity warrants an official name change from Portland to Innsmouth.”

  45. @JustMe
    I use Jehova, Elohim, El, Adonai, Eiehe, Agela and Jesus for spirit within.
    I close with Our father in Latin.

  46. Dear JMG,
    What an enjoyable and insightful place this is to congregate. And with recognition as to the hard work and enthusiasm required to moderate and curate. Thank you..

    Dear Justin Patrick Moore,

    Thank you for your answer. You wrote, “I think the relationship of Pan to Panic is his connection to the ALL of nature”. I understand this, through the lens of my own quasi-panentheistic belief, as related to the unity of all. I notice Pan’s representation everywhere in art and culture at the moment, possibly a manifestation of my own present mindset, but conscious of the literal demonization of Pan, I wonder if suppression of the spirit of Pan induces a state of anxiety. I wonder also whether a recent awareness of Pan is symbolic of an unresolved anxiety in either my own or wiser consciousness.

    @JMG, I’d welcome your views too if what I say is intelligible.

  47. David Lake wrote, ” I don’t think he trained us very well; I got pushed along hard and fast, without sufficient fundamental grounding, and after five years of intensive experience (including ceremony every full and new moon and on solar high days), I broke, abandoned teacher and community, exiled myself, and proceeded to drink heavily and lick my wounds for the next three years. Only days after my break, I began to experience a burning of the nerves which remains with me to this day, 25+ years later. ”

    Perhaps you have already looked into and ruled out the possibility that your former teacher put a hex on anyone who dared to escape his clutches. If not, I highly recommend considering that potential cause, because that is precisely what your description sounds like. Fortunately, after your years of training under him, you would have come away with a pretty good idea what techniques he preferred and tended to rely on. Though he may have purposefully kept specific details about what his retributive curse practices entailed a secret, they’re very likely closely related to the techniques he used to ensorcell his followers in the first place, keep you all ungrounded, and push you too hard, too fast. For clues about what whammies he may have stuck you with, think back on the controlling techniques he practiced most regularly and then imagine how he might have amplified those in his rage and insecurity at your newfound autonomy. As always, ask whichever divinites you’re close to for their guidance and assistance in clearing his malign energies off of you. If you can get a sense of where in your various bodies those energies got attached and are dwelling, ask bodyworkers in appropriate modalities to help you with your clearing work.

    You can also ask the various parts of your soul for guidance and assistance in getting free from any harms your former teacher may have caused. Meditating on those requests while you (the conscious mind) are falling asleep and getting out of your soul’s way, so that it can do its extraordinary healing and reintegrating work uninterrupted, can result in miracles. Our souls love to partner with our conscious minds, whenever we can actually figure out how to do our jobs and become conscious enough to pay attention to our wise and gifted souls.

    Providing your soul with a clearly articulated goal/request/affirmation, especially as you fall asleep, is making a request to partner with the vastly more powerful parts of your larger Self. So long as your request aligns with your soul’s purpose and is rebalancing for the relationships between the various parts of your Self, your soul will happily pour its energies and talents into clearing away curses and other energy blockages. If there is something you have yet to learn from those malign energies (so that clearing them away would in fact be imbalancing to your larger Self), then ask your soul to reveal to you what those needed lessons are, and write down whatever synchronicities or dreams then stand out to you.

    We can all cure and dispell so many more of the curses and parasites afflicting us than we imagine we can, if we’re just willing to put in the extraordinary effort to learn the lessons our souls are trying to teach us. Well… that irritating little homily certainly came out much more flip and pithy than I had hoped it would — my apologies! For something that takes us each so very many lifetimes to accomplish, reducing it down to the mere following of one hackneyed bromide is embarrassingly insufficient to encapsulate its true complexity. Mastering that complexity and mending the ruptures in our Selves is exceedingly difficult, yet perfectly natural, both our birthright and our nemesis. Hopefully, after 25+ years of enduring your nerve burning, the only lessons it will have remaining to teach you will be how adeptly you can clear it away, along with every other malignity your former teacher may have tried to burden you with. You have plenty of your own burdens to carry through this incarnation, so why be weighted down by his as well?

  48. Hi John Michael,

    I get the impression that you are now in deep thought land. Intriguing! Or you’re simply just busy. Just like life, it happens.

    I presume that the import from the latest in shipping news has not been lost on you? One of the sad things about the Liar’s Paradox, is that they tend to escalate behaviours. All I see in that entire story is very weak leadership. Far out, dude!



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