Occult Experiments in the Home
By Duncan Barford
OEITH #302 Ancestors
Exploring the relationship to our ancestors, and how it might affect our lives and spiritual practice, encountering along the way: Carl Jung and his relationship to the dead; ghosts, the dead, and the possibility of further transformations after death; conversation with ancestors; Jung’s Seven Sermons to the Dead; individuation and the dead; a disturbing personal encounter with the ancestors; the similarity to and difference from a demonic encounter; a fallow period in my magick; how magick “fails”; the importance of finding “our” dead; a recourse to art; some help from the Archangel Raziel; how identification with ancestors causes division among the living; the necessity of confronting and criticising the dead; what “criticism” of the dead really entails; the possible negative consequences of avoiding this; a ritual that lead to the composition of Liber Pisces; observations on the technique of active imagination; Liber Pisces as the answer to my questions about the dead; the appearance of Jung and Dante in the visions; Daniel Foor on “ancestral guides” and “happy ancestors”; family tree research; what I discovered about my ancestors and how I felt about them; the legacy of my ancestors in the way I reacted to them; the karmic significance of shame and snobbery; an encounter with a happy ancestor; my earliest named ancestor; the possible impact of ancestral trauma on our spiritual practice. Daniel Foor (2017). Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing. Rochester, VT: Bear. C.G. Jung (1967). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. London: Fontana. Peter Kingsley (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity, volume 1. London: Catafalque. Printed copies of Liber Pisces are available from: https://tinyurl.com/3y5ewpk6. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. OEITH is a content creator at Keikobad Radio. Tune in for 24/7 broadcasts on the occult, mysticism, esotericism, and the paranormal: https://radio.keikobad.com.
August 06, 2022
OEITH #301 The Fire Kasina Diaries (Part Two)
After a warning concerning the dark content of this episode, we explore (from personal experience) the shadow side of intense meditation practice: panic attacks on my first fire kasina retreat; the importance of reaching out for support from fellow retreatants; the usefulness of maps and models; fear, misery, and disgust; differences in approach between concentration and insight practice; the usefulness of distraction; the importance of sticking to the practice being undertaken; my second kasina retreat and how I made the same mistakes again; self-disgust; depression, unreality, suicidal ideation and intentions; the impact of life problems upon the practice; difficulties in reaching out for support; social alienation; projection of feelings of abandonment; the helpfulness of a group ritual and permission to freak out; the dangers of a highly focused mind; choosing the time and place for self-analysis; the importance of observing and offering support to fellow retreatants; my third kasina retreat, and some success at circumventing the same old difficulty; escaping the mind loop; the relationship and interactions between psychological issues and meditation practices; how psychological issues are resolved not by meditation but through other means; my own issues and how I have addressed them; the abject failure of the third retreat and how this came about; the need for processing and containment of overwhelming psychological issues; the difference between psychotic hallucination and beneficial insights; taking bizarreness as an insight versus living out the bizarreness in reality; the failure of processing and what helps re-integrate; the failure of processing and its possible relationship to trauma; the possible roles of trauma in spiritual practice; the usefulness of agreements to take a break from practice; the kind of experiences to look out for that might indicate a failure to process experiences; possible resistances to taking a break; the likely efficacy of some simple grounding interventions; circumstances leading to the failure of my third kasina retreat; the detriments of ending a retreat unexpectedly; summary of a simple model for keeping retreats safe; the real and significant impacts of spiritual practice and the difficulty of distinguishing psychosis from spiritual insight. If you are in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or feeling suicidal, then call Samaritans on 116 123 (UK) or the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (USA), or search for local suicide helpline services. There is someone there to listen and support you. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. OEITH is a content creator at Keikobad Radio. Tune in for 24/7 broadcasts on the occult, mysticism, esotericism, and the paranormal: https://radio.keikobad.com.
July 23, 2022
OEITH #219 Ouija
We confront this most terrifying item of magical equipment, to explore what makes it so volatile, considering: my first experience of Ouija; the tendency of Ouija to creep into more direct forms of manifestation; the lifelong impact of these experiences; an example of a very physical manifestation; the tendency with Ouija for things to get out of control; obsession and the possibility of harm; comparison of the Ouija with other magical systems; tarot, runes, and the I Ching versus the Ouija; the lack of any system or wisdom in the Ouija; a mixture of divination and evocation; the pendulum and the Forty Servants versus the Ouija; how the onus of safety falls upon the Ouija operator; William Benjamin Carpenter and the ideomotor reflex; the ideomotor reflex as a classic example of “explaining away”; the magical dimension of the ideomotor reflex; a recent (2018) experimental study of the Ouija using eye tracking equipment; the theory of Ouija messages as an “emergent property” of its operators; belief in the Ouija and lowered “sense of agency” (SOA); SOA as a potential but risky magical technique; effective Ouija usage as a balancing of SOA; Aleister Crowley on the Ouija board; using magickal protocols with the Ouija; an example of a working to communicate via Ouija with a djinni; some simple techniques for “locking down” Ouija communications; J. Edward Cornelius on the magical mindset required when using the Ouija; a consistent application of will, thought, and imagination, in order to create an ideal balance of SOA. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. Marc Andersen et al. (2018). Predictive minds in Ouija board sessions, https://tinyurl.com/ytxes9e3(springer.com). Accessed June, 2022. Duncan Barford (2010). Occult Experiments in the Home. London: Aeon. Duncan Barford (2020). Summoning the djinn. In: Even More Occult Experiments in the Home. Hurstpierpoint: Heptarchia. William Benjamin Carpenter (1852). On the influence of suggestion in modifying and directing muscular movement, independently of volition, https://tinyurl.com/3enfb5cf (wellcomecollection.org). Accessed June, 2022. J. Edward Cornelius (2005). Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board. Port Townsend, WA: Feral House. Aleister Crowley (1917). The Ouija board, https://tinyurl.com/2p9f3hnh (hermetic.com). Accessed June, 2022. Tommie Kelly (2022). The Forty Servants, https://tinyurl.com/2p87es2p (adventuresinwoowoo.com). Accessed June, 2022. Nuke’s Top 5 (2022). The Norwegian ghost, https://tinyurl.com/sb863ftz (youtube.com). Accessed June 2022.
June 11, 2022
OEITH #218 Conversation on Ethics and Magick
Joined by my good friend Paul, we discuss the ethics of magick and the integration of ethics into magical practice, exploring: a somewhat unethical hexing; retaliation, its justifications and alternatives; proportionality; the lack of an ethical framework in chaos magick; the impossibility of an absence of ethics; ethical integrationism versus technical eclecticism; the postmodernist suspicion of morality; accusations of morality; codes of ethics versus ethical frameworks; the discomfort of autonomous ethical reasoning; the problem of post-hoc justifications; the role of interpretation in understanding actions and intentions; abdication of judgement as a strategy for avoiding ethical responsibility; the inescapability of judgment; the principle of minimising harm; the identity of intention and action in magick; the perils of action at a distance; the example of the sunflower as a sigil for victory for Ukraine; distance and disproportionality; the occult community and the question of who should retaliate when retaliation is justified; the ethics of restraint and non-involvement; avoidance of harm versus taking risks to achieve benefits; the risks and potential benefits of magick; an example in mindfulness-based therapy; when things get worse before they get better; the inevitability of harm in magick; the Faustian bargain; the potential for cultivating compassion; how ethics has begun to shape our magical practice; the uncertainty in balancing gain against harm; the deficiencies of "an it harm none"; how ethical thinking beforehand can make magick more effective; an example of a working for a situation involving allegations of misconduct and racism; the problems of a binding ritual in this context; Mirkachank, our servitor for turning a perpetrator’s actions back against them; the surprising outcomes from using this servitor; the problems of intervening from outside a situation; how certain types of personalities are unlikely to benefit from confrontation with their own actions; ethical discomfort as an important signal; our conclusions and the outcome from the working; the principle of parsimony of intervention; Daoist non-action as ethical rather than mystical; the principle of not being an arsehole; the simpler the working the more effective it might be; the fundamental simplicity of ethics; a developmental arc towards simplicity; the simpler and more ethical our magical practice, the perhaps the more it integrates with daily life; the subtle and long-term effects of magical practice. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. Federico Campagna (2018). Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality. London: Bloomsbury.
May 28, 2022
OEITH #217 The Fire Kasina Diaries (Part One)
Blowing the dust off some old diaries, we reflect on how kasina meditation generates magical powers, exploring: kasina practice and its rejuvenation by Daniel Ingram; the corruption of the original texts; the need for fresh terminology; different types of kasina; how a kasina is used; the importance and use of the retinal after-image; the cultivation of siddhis or “psychic powers”, and what these include; the circumstances of my first fire kasina retreat; the daily schedule; stages of the practice: after-image, red dot, black dot, and the murk; scrying into the murk as a means of realising a magical intention; a vision of a deity and “parallax imagery”; the experience of images that act like perceptions; the differences between perceptions and images; a thought experiment from Jean-Paul Sartre; perceptions as that which is given; images as a manifestation of an intention or will; different types of images and their commonalities; perceptions as offering endless perspectives on reality, and images as offering endless possibilities for departing from it; the characteristics of external images or media; perceptions as analogue and images as digital; magick and the erosion of the difference between imagery and perception; fire kasina as a hacking of the physiology of eye and brain to disrupt this difference; “seeing” with the mind, not the eyes; timescales for building the degree of concentration required; experiences of “travels” to different places; an experience of “the low-resolution vision space”; “the high-resolution vision space” and encounters with discarnate, sentient beings; meeting the Thai Spider Buddha; the strange experience of entering the high-resolution vision space; reflections on the nature of kasina practice; concentration as a limited means of manifestation; a warning about the shadow sides of kasina practice. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. Bhadantácariya Buddhaghosa (2011). Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga), translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli, https://tinyurl.com/2p9aup6j(accesstoinsight.org). Accessed May, 2022. Daniel Ingram (2018). “Fire Kasina Practice” In: Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, second edition, https://tinyurl.com/2usvrcu5 (mctb.org). Accessed May, 2022. Jean-Paul Sartre (1972). The Psychology of Imagination. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel. Shannon Stein & Daniel Ingram (2017). The Fire Kasina: Questions and Answers on Retreat with Practice Notes and Commentary, https://tinyurl.com/3m8y58bv (firekasina.org). Accessed May, 2022. Arahant Upatissa (1961). The Path of Freedom (Vimuttimagga), translated by Rev. N.R.M. Ehara, Soma Thera, & Kheminda Thera, https://tinyurl.com/4crx5m55 (urbandharma.org). Accessed May, 2022.
May 14, 2022
OEITH #216 Near Enemies of Magick
Borrowing from Buddhism the concept of the “near enemy”, we consider how art, history, and psychology may look like magick but can harm our magical practice, exploring: the danger of the near enemy; pity as the near enemy of compassion; art, history, and psychology as near enemies of magick and their detrimental effects; the difference of this approach from Lionel Snell’s approach in SSOTBME; philosophy as a current near enemy that was once synonymous with magick; art as the most insidious near enemy of magick; the legitimate role of art in magick; beauty versus truth; Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn”; magicians who are artists: Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and Tommie Kelly; how art and magick can be synonymous; art as a disguise for magick; the different intentions and skill sets of art and magick; Phil Ford and J.F. Martel on M. John Harrison’s The Course of the Heart, and Harrison’s response to this; Philip K. Dick as a gnostic writer and Harrison as an imitator of Gnosticism; Socrates’s expulsion of the artists from Plato’s Republic; my view of history as irrelevant to magick; the roots of my view in chaos magick and Perennialism; defining Perennialism and distinguishing it from Traditionalism; the value of different and multiple paths to truth; the tendency of the historical perspective to situate truth in the tradition rather than in personal experience; the value of tradition as a path to personal experience; psychology as a near enemy and my personal vulnerability to it; the spirit paradigm versus the psychological paradigm; how the psychological paradigm is likely to produce only psychological results; the different dimensions of truth: subjective and objective; the psychological paradigm as possibly occluding the objective dimensions of truth; Jung and the objective dimensions of the psyche; the subjective and objective dimensions of the mind in meditation, and psychology’s pathologizing of the objective dimensions. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. Phil Ford & J.F. Martel (2020). Weird studies Ep. 81. Gnostic lit: on M. John Harrison's The Course of the Heart. https://tinyurl.com/2kjpywse (weirdstudies.com). Accessed April 2022. M. John Harrison (2005). The Course of the Heart. In: Anima. London: Gollancz. M. John Harrison (2020). The core of the heart. https://tinyurl.com/yeyr3h9y (wordpress.com). Accessed April 2022. M. John Harrison (2020). I can hear you. https://tinyurl.com/yckfj2wa (wordpress.com). Accessed April 2022. John Keats (1819). Ode on a Grecian urn. https://tinyurl.com/29z54pjh (owleyes.org). Accessed April 2022. Tommie Kelly (2021). Art is magick, magick is art! https://youtu.be/TcFVj9NBuJk (youtube.com). Accessed April 2022. Alan Moore (2016). Art and magic. https://youtu.be/WHxWE-S3nD8 (youtube.com). Accessed April 2022. Plato (2022). The Republic, 10: 598b. https://tinyurl.com/mt3vybc8 (tufts.edu). Accessed April 2022.
April 30, 2022
OEITH #215 Human Nature and the Middle Pillar
We approach the Middle Pillar on the Tree of Life as a possible guide to the dilemma of having a human identity, exploring: the contrast between identity and being; the advantages and drawbacks of emphasising one of these above the other; a parallel between the Pillar of Severity and identity, and the Pillar of Mercy and being; how these distinctions transcend politics; neurodiversity as a new and possibly radical category of human difference; neurodiversity as a possible recognition that the human being is not synonymous with the human mind; lack of mental imagery as a marker of neurodiversity; mental imagery in magick; Lionel Snell on seeing fairies; how the imagination does not depend upon mental imagery, because the imagination is universal; some ancient myths and other accounts of human nature; the changeability of human nature; David Abram on the separation of the human from nature; putting the blame on language and Plato; the primacy of forgetting in human nature; forgetting and remembering in Plato; remembering as resurrection; parallels between identity and remembering, being and forgetting, and the dilemmas of both; the Middle Pillar as an alternative to these; Kether as that which is beyond the human mind; Israel Regardie on the resolution of psychological conflict as a preliminary practice to magick; acceptance as the solution to conflict; Tiphereth as the model of acceptance and balance; the Middle Pillar as a combination of remembering and forgetting; Yesod as the unconscious and the storehouse of memory and images; the abyss and the enigma of Da’ath; the nature of Da’ath and a personal experience of it; Da’ath and the Holy Guardian Angel as useful fictions; the arrival at a useful fiction as a preliminary to the experience of Kether; the Middle Pillar as a pulsation of different kinds of remembering and forgetting. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. David Abram (1996). The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-human World. New York: Pantheon. Anonymous (2002). Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. New York: Tarcher. Ramsey Dukes (2011). How to See Fairies: Discover Your Psychic Powers in Six Weeks. London: Aeon. Israel Regardie (1945). The Middle Pillar. Chicago: Aries.
April 16, 2022
OEITH #214 A Contemporary Form of Chöd
How an ancient Tibetan meditation practice helped me through the night in a dark and haunted place, considering: the non-material existence of ghosts; the potential benefits of paranormal encounters; chöd: a meditation practice for dealing with paranormal experiences; Brighton Town Hall: its history and its ghosts; underground water and electromagnetic fields; the Old Police Cells Museum and a plan for spending the night there; paranormal investigation as a contemporary form of chöd; the aims and rationale of chöd; Machig Labdrön on demons, their nature, and how to deal with them; a paranormal investigation at the museum; the layout of the museum; the story of Henry Solomon; a strange experience of an out-of-place smell; possible interactions between imagination and place; the vigil begins; wrestling with the imagination; footsteps and strange sounds; recurrence of the sounds; what chöd revealed about the nature of fear; conflict between the meditator and the paranormal investigator; a big shock; compassion for a ghost; Kunkhyen Pema Karpo on gods and demons; seeing-through the paranormal as a source of supernormal powers; material explanations; the end of the vigil; reflections on the experience. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. Daniel P. Brown (2006). Pointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition. Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications. Kate Elms (2011). Henry Solomon (1794-1844), https://tinyurl.com/bdf3urre (brightonmuseums.org.uk). Accessed April 2022. Machig Labdrön (2013). Machik's Complete Explanation: Clarifying the Meaning of Chöd, translated by Sarah Harding. Boulder, CO: Shambhala. Old Police Cells Museum (2021). https://www.oldpolicecellsmuseum.com(accessed April 2022).
April 02, 2022
OEITH #213 Magick and the Estes Method
Presenting a magical working with colleagues Jason Mendel and Paul, we encounter the Estes method of spirit communication, and its potential use in magick, exploring: the background circumstances to this episode; requests for magical interventions and the criteria for deciding whether to get involved; ethical considerations around magical interventions; the ethical mismatch between magick and everyday life; the unusual nature of the entity involved in this case; second order magick; details of our preliminary working, using the Estes method; the Estes protocols; a recording of the session; the question of why spirit communication often is not direct; a couple of odd synchronicities; Alan Chapman’s caution against parasitic entities; Metatron, Sandalphon, and a dead-end; arrival at an interpretation that makes sense of the session; the archangel Poiel; our formulation for the second working; the roots of the Estes method in paranormal investigation and pseudoscience; Hellier as a journey from pseudoscience into conscious magick; technology versus trance mediumship; similarities and differences between the Estes method and the Ouija board; the contrast between verbal and written messages in spirit communication; how it is not meaning that is illusory but meaninglessness; the reality of meaning and the similarity of meaning with love. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. Tommie Kelly, Patrick Murphy & Jason Mendel (2022). TaSTA rituals 003 - the Estes method. https://tinyurl.com/2p87zfzs(youtube.com). Accessed March 2022. Jason Mendel (2022). The Estes method for magicians. https://tinyurl.com/2p9bbdhv (alampintheunderworld.com). Accessed March 2022. Jason Mendel (2021) Let’s talk about the Estes method. https://tinyurl.com/2p8jj44y (alampintheunderworld.com). Accessed March 2022. Greg Newkirk (2019). The Estes method: how the groundbreaking SB7 spirit box experiment is changing paranormal investigation. https://tinyurl.com/22nz82ue (weekinweird.com). Accessed March 2022.
March 19, 2022
OEITH #212 Confronting Cronos
Containing references to sexual abuse, far-right ideology, and the (literal) eating of babies, we face-off to evil, examining: two depictions of Cronos (Saturn) eating a child by Peter Paul Rubens and Francisco Goya; the contrast between their perspectives with regard to the question of evil; the myth of Cronos and the birth of Zeus (Jupiter); the archetype of Cronos and its contemporary influence; Cronos as autocrat and canceller of the future; Cronos as the shadow side of conservatism; the tyranny of the old over the young; sexual abuse of children as an aspect of the Cronos archetype; the case of Jeffrey Epstein; Cronos as the avoider of the law and of karma; how we are haunted by Cronos; gods and archetypes as hardcoded aspects of reality that cannot be changed but perhaps can be responded to; Rubens and Goya as offering two possible trajectories: embracing the real or transcending it; the ethical neutrality of either of these gestures; the Tree of Life as a map of reality; Chesed, The Hierophant, and Zeus, versus Binah and Saturn; the relationship between Cronos and Zeus as presented on the Tree of Life; Lon Milo DuQuette on The Wheel of Fortune and Zeus (Jupiter) as the restorer of karma; confronting evil versus taking responsibility for evil; the right-hand pillar (Mercy) and the left-hand pillar (Strength); the anatomy of each; Chokmah, Binah, and Geburah; The Chariot and The Hanged Man; both pillars as legitimate aspects of reality; my personal preference for the right-hand pillar and the sadness that is its consequence; Nick Land and accelerationism on capitalism as an aspect of reality; accelerationism, the left-hand pillar, and H.P. Lovecraft; both trauma and transcendence as routes to awakening and the divine. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. Anonymous (2022). Rubens & Goya – Saturn devouring his son, https://tinyurl.com/33xrec24 (classicalartsuniverse.com). Accessed March 2022. Zac Braciszewicz (2006). Dreaming Saturn, https://tinyurl.com/mrxb45zd (wordpress.com). Accessed March 2022. Lisa Bryant, director (2020). Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. Netflix. Lon Milo DuQuette (2017). Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, new edition. Newburyport, MA: Weiser. Phil Ford & J.F. Martel (2022). Weird Studies episode 114: on the wheel of fortune, https://tinyurl.com/2s43frc5 (weirdstudies.com). Accessed March 2022. Nick Land (2021). Critique of transcendental miserabilism. In: Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007. Cambridge, MA: Urbanomic / Sequence.
March 05, 2022
OEITH #211 Guides to the Underworld
We examine how Homer, Virgil, and Dante help us navigate the underworld and our relationship to the dead, exploring: the meaning of the hero's descent into the underworld and its personal significance; Odysseus's method of dealing with the dead; what Homer tells us about the underworld and how to work with it; Virgil's Aeneid and the descent of Aeneas; the difference of status among the dead in Virgil; the different impacts upon us of the dead, as explored in Dante's Divine Comedy; The Divine Comedy as an epic wholly about the underworld; the nature of the dead in Dante; the structure of Dante's cosmos; Virgil and Beatrice as Dante's guides; The Divine Comedy as an experiential text; the nature of the dead in Dante; hell, purgatory, and heaven as familiar states of being; hell as a recognisable state of suffering without end; purgatory as the possibility of a willed exit from suffering; the fractal or holographic nature of heaven's bliss; heaven and the non-dual experience; the life of Piccarda Donati and her supposed "sin"; "sin" versus "karma"; sin in the kabbalistic tradition: chatah, pesha, and avon; the application of these ideas to Dante's dead; how we might apply these descriptions of the underworld to our own practice. Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith. Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/oeith or https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dbarfordG. Or you could send me a lovely book from https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1IQ3BVWY3L5L5?ref_=wl_share. Clive James (2013). Dante: The Divine Comedy. London: Picador. Richmond Lattimore (2007). The Odyssey of Homer. New York: Harper Perennial. Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (2022). Three different kinds of sin, https://tinyurl.com/2p8u5y2w. (chabad.org). Accessed February 2022.
February 19, 2022
OEITH #210 To Keep Silence
To know, to dare, to will, and to keep silence. We explore the magical virtues (specifically, “to keep silence”), known also as “The Powers of the Sphinx”, encountering along the way: the gift of dreams; how keeping silence still protects magicians; how silence can also harm magicians; why I am not silent about my experiences; an oddly pertinent dream; musicians playing music in silence as an analogy for how magicians stand in relationship to each other; the silent recognition of a shared link to the ineffable; the audible as different for everyone, but silence as the same to all; Éliphas Lévi on the Powers of the Sphinx; correspondences of the powers; why I find these unconvincing; Crowley’s take on the powers and their correspondences; Crowley’s added power, “to go”, as an equivalent to the tao or dharma; how the concept of the powers might be useful; the nature of human will; human experience considered as a straddling of realms and bodies; the physical and emotional bodies as “objective”; the mental body as “subjective”; imagining the objective mental body; machines versus angels; an answer to the question free will; the choice between free will and true will; humiliation as the human condition; the powers as ideals, indicating directions of growth and evolution; a less-than-perfect world; keeping silence as cultivating inner silence, and the silence of the divine; Anonymous and Crowley on the primary significance of silence; true will and silence; dreaming as an underrated practice. Errata: What Nishida Kitaro actually wrote was this: “If we see God externally, it is merely magic” (p. 77). Support the podcast and access additional content at: https://patreon.com/oeith Anonymous (2002). Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. New York: Tarcher. Aleister Crowley (1943). Magick Without Tears. https://tinyurl.com/3yzx3644 (consciouslibrary.com). Accessed February 2022. Aleister Crowley (1991). Little Essays Towards Truth. Scottsdale, AZ: New Falcon. Éliphas Lévi (1896). Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual, translated by A.E. Waite. London: George Redway. Nishida Kitaro (1987). Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview, translated by David Dilworth. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii.
February 06, 2022
OEITH #209 The Hierophant
We discuss issues of power and spiritual authority as presented by the tarot card The Hierophant, encountering along the way: Mercury retrograde in the ninth house; a flurry of synchronicities; the question of spiritual authority; the least sexy card in the tarot; common interpretations of the card: dogma and patriarchy; similarities and contrasts between The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, and The Hierophant; Dion Fortune on passivity and activity on the material and the spiritual planes; The Hierophant as the passive masculine spiritual; personal burnout; a reminder of love; patriarchy, authority, and power; Paul Verhaeghe on the difference between power (a two-party relationship) and authority (three parties); authority as the representation of goodness and truth and the renunciation of personal power; the contemporary crisis of authority; spiritual power an impossibility; the question of where, in its absence, we should situate authority; deliberative democracy; the absence of authority as authoritarianism; The Hierophant as not a figure of authority, but a figure that knows where authority is to be found; how commentaries on The Hierophant provoke the question of where authority is found; "the nanny state", my personal ideal; the loving, caring father; Éliphas Lévi on The Hierophant as a loving father; Crowley's very contemporary Hierophant as an enigma and trickster; Mouni Sadhu's Hierophant as a powerful exponent of the will; Anonymous on the will as a vulnerability and a collection of "wounds", and on three types of magick; Anonymous’s types of magick reflected in the other commentators; the "pure" will as authority rather than power; Anonymous’s Hierophant as the embodiment of a process of "spiritual respiration"; prayer and benediction; Tom Hanks, Fred Rogers, and a cinematic manifestation of The Hierophant; authority as not about personal perfection but the embodiment of a spiritual process; the absurdity of neglecting human needs. Support the podcast and gain access to additional material at https://patreon.com/oeith Anonymous (2002). Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. New York: Tarcher. Aleister Crowley (1974). The Book of Thoth. York Beach, ME: Weiser. Dion Fortune (1987). The Mystical Qabalah. London: Aquarian. Marielle Heller, director (2019). A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Éliphas Lévi (1861). The Key of the Mysteries, translated by Aleister Crowley. https://tinyurl.com/2p8b74yt (archive.org). Accessed January 2022. Mouni Sadhu (2004). The Tarot: A Contemporary Course of the Quintessence of Hermetic Occultism. London: Aeon. Paul Verhaeghe (2017). Says Who? The Struggle for Authority in a Market-Based Society. London: Scribe.
January 29, 2022
OEITH #208 Personal Reflections on Awakening
Revisiting my experiences of awakening and reflecting on how things seem now, we ponder along the way: the culture of silence on awakening within Buddhism; the notion that enlightened people never claim enlightenment; my first ever experience of meditation; my failure at regular practice and a farewell to Buddhism; development of an interest in magick; returning to meditation as part of magical training; meeting Alan Chapman; effects of Alan's influence; embarking on the Knowledge and Communication of the Holy Guardian Angel; the 2012 prophecies and the Viking Youth Power Hour; encountering the teachings of Daniel Ingram; how to identify an authentic teacher; the advantages of “spiritual shopping”; using magick in order to experience awakening; replica hand grenades and black monoliths; my lack of faith in magick and my own experience; practical magick for mystical results; the danger of expectations; ego inflation versus lack of confidence; chaos magick as the tradition of not having a tradition; parallels between Crowley's Liber Samekh and Ingram's stages of insight; the realisation that the Dark Night of the Soul is progress; the basic and seemingly universal structure of awakening; discovering this structure all over the place; how the tradition and the practice do not seem to matter; intention and any suitable practice is all that is needed; my brash claims of attainment, and the reasons for this; how I used Ingram's teachings on the Buddhist four path model as my roadmap; descriptions and possible definitions of the four paths; a preliminary shift concerning distraction; my experience of first path: meeting Ultimate Truth; second path as the repetition of this; the major shift of a third path: a permanent awareness of something impossible and divine; God and death; the advice of Christopher Titmuss on dealing with a persistent duality; my experience of a seeming fourth path: nowhere from which to look; why I no longer regard myself as fully awakened; how the awareness has changed over time; a shift of interest towards trauma and karma; wondering about Christina Feldman's definition of enlightenment a “the implosion of all sankharas”. Support the podcast and access additional material at https://patreon.com/oeith Duncan Barford (2021). The Magick of A Dark Song: The Abramelin Ritual in Fiction and Reality. Hurstpierpoint: Heptarchia. Alan Chapman & Duncan Barford (2009). The Blood of the Saints. Brighton: Heptarchia. Alan Chapman & Duncan Barford (2009). The Urn. Brighton: Heptarchia. Alan Chapman & Duncan Barford (2010). A Desert of Roses. Brighton: Heptarchia. Aleister Crowley (1930). Liber Samekh, https://tinyurl.com/2p8a2ned (sacred-texts.com). Accessed January 2022. Daniel M. Ingram (2018). Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, revised and expanded edition. London: Aeon.
January 15, 2022
OEITH #207 Concentration in Meditation, Magick, and the Mainstream
Let's focus in on concentration, exploring: the arms of Baphomet; solve et coagula as "analysis and concentration"; how the mainstream lauds concentration; the prevalence of Attention Deficit Disorder; the union of dissolving and coalescing; Buddhist meditation; vipassana(insight) as solve, versus shamatha (concentration) as coagula; the nature and aims of shamatha practice; coagula and shamathapractice in relation to magick, sorcery, and ritual; belief-shifting and confirmation bias; the cultivation of psychic powers through concentration; solve, insight, and mysticism; undoing the duality between shamatha and vipassana; how insight requires concentration and concentration requires insight; some advice on how to approach shamatha practice; the importance of allowing some space for reflection in shamatha; Leigh Brasington on mindfulness of breathing; the psychological approach to concentration in contrast to concentration itself; the factors of concentration; rapture and happiness; concentration not a means to an end, but the connection with the object itself; the absurdity of the mainstream view; parallels with magick, ritual, and being in love; how there can only be concentration upon something that brings rapture and happiness; personal experience of difficulties during concentration retreats; panic attacks and depression; the mistake of trying to analyse one's way out of issues surfacing from concentration practice; the fruits of concentration practice as mental bodybuilding; concentration retreats as psychedelic voyages, calling for surrender and opening rather than analysis; the similarities of my mistake to the mainstream view of concentration; the role of my character in my mistake; concentration and "productivity"; manifestation as productivity or connection; action versus connection; obstacles to connection; how our relationship to our own mind might impede concentration; Winnicott on "primitive agony"; the mind's terror of itself; personal experiences of this; how retreats can provoke terrors, but perhaps also expose them to understanding; Dan Latner's account of his experiences; overcoming primitive agonies as a realisation of not what we cannot do, but perhaps what we are not doing; spirituality and occultism as discourses in which it is more possible to encounter concentration itself. Support the podcast and access extra material at: https://patreon.com/oeith Leigh Brasington (2017). Entering the jhanas, https://tinyurl.com/y63jfvtr (lionsroar.com). Accessed January 2022. Dan Latner (2021). 1. Episode Zero: The Dang Lantern Podcast, https://tinyurl.com/3h6ze2f2 (spotify.com). Accessed January 2022. Éliphas Lévi (1856). Baphomet, or the Sabbatic Goat, https://tinyurl.com/3mfpbya3 (wikimedia.org). Accessed January 2022. Donald Woods Winnicott (1974). Fear of breakdown. International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 1 (1-2): 103–107.
January 08, 2022
OEITH #206 Telepathy and Projective Identification
Let's join our minds to explore together the nature of telepathy, taking in along the way: the usefulness of magick in understanding the paranormal; definitions of telepathy and their problems; crisis apparitions; Nick Totton's definition of telepathy as "the experience of transparency between subjects"; the strengths of this definition; how telepathy tends to creep into both magick and therapy; telepathy in psychotherapy; a personal example of apparent telepathy in therapy; its significance in terms of my relationship to my therapist; reasons why therapy might encourage telepathy; the fear of telepathy within therapeutic organisations; Mikita Brottman's take on this and on projective identification (PI); the definition of PI versus projection; a common and widely experienced example of PI; PI as communication through a spectrum of possible means, not necessarily all paranormal; Melanie Klein's original definition of PI and Wilfred Bion's development of it; PI as a fundamental activity of the mind, a primitive kind of thinking; the "middle way" of regarding PI, and why this could be evasive; telepathy and anxiety; a personal example of a crisis apparition; telepathy in the service of intimacy as well as in the service of trauma; telepathy in the case of discarnate beings; a personal example; telepathy versus paranoia; how conventional communication is to telepathy as speech is to touch; Totton's suggestion that the paranormal is bodily; the multiplicity of bodies in occult philosophy. Support the podcast and access extra material at: https://patreon.com/oeith Mikita Brottman (2011). Phantoms of the Clinic: From Thought-Transference to Projective Identification. London: Karnac Books. Melanie Klein (1946). Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms, International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 27: 99-110. Thomas Ogden (1979). On Projective Identification, International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 60: 357-373. Nick Totton (2007). Funny You Should Say That: Paranormality, at the Margins and the Centre of Psychotherapy, European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling, 9(4): 389–401.
January 01, 2022
OEITH #205 Reincarnation: Locating Past Lives
If reincarnation is real, then how does it impact on our lives here and now? We consider: the question of how reincarnation manifests in everyday experience; comparison of contact with the dead versus reincarnation; reasons for the relevance of reincarnation; spiritual attainment and insight into past lives; the AUTOTAR working; audio scrying with tinfoil; my supposed incarnation as Otto Berg; why the results failed to convince; the rejection of reincarnation in contemporary western Buddhism; Stephen Batchelor's agnostic viewpoint; Leigh Brasington on rebirth as “an immortality project” and on the Buddha's possible lack of belief in rebirth; the secular materialist style of Buddhism; reincarnation as a disposable doctrine, versus reincarnation as a springboard for productive contemplation; that what is reborn is karma rather than the self; karma as a tennis ball; the thrower and the catcher; contact with the dead as confrontation with the other, versus reincarnation as a continuation of the same; ways in which the dead physically return: incorruptibles; stigmatics; and organ transplant anomalies; incorruptibles as persisting physically not through rebirth but by being regarded as the living as not fully dead; Christ, the persistent returner; the stigmatic as carrying Christ's karma but having no identification with it; organ transplant anomalies as more like a haunting than an instance of rebirth; the experience of reincarnation as identification with something in another as a continuation of ourselves; why experience of a past life is not necessarily a memory; karma as not an experience but an impact upon experience; the EHNB working and its interesting results; tendencies, traits, and predispositions as possible manifestations of karma; my vision of a past life; its mixture of memory and imagination; its relevance to my current life; its recurrence in other workings and in therapy; reincarnation as a continuation of karmic issues; how that which reincarnates never manifests; Rudolf Steiner on the individual as a species; reincarnations and species; reincarnation and the living of similar lives; cases of reincarnation in rural China; individualism as an obscuration of how people are mostly alike; Steiner's previous incarnation as St Thomas Aquinas; the similar missions of Steiner and Aquinas; differences between Steiner's view of reincarnation and that of the Buddha; awakening as the end of rebirth and karma, versus rebirth as humanity’s fulfilment of a much larger project; karma as our manner of falling away from truth; the importance of self-compassion when working with karma. Support the podcast and access additional material at: https://patreon.com/oeith Stephen Batchelor (2021). Rebirth: a case for Buddhist agnosticism. https://tinyurl.com/mrxjp993(stephenbatchelor.org). Accessed December 2021. Steve James (2021). Guru Viking podcast ep122: mysteries of dependent origination – Leigh Brasington. https://tinyurl.com/2p96s8f2(youtube.com). Accessed December 2021. Steve James (2021). Guru Viking podcast ep120: meditation virtuoso – Delson Armstrong. https://tinyurl.com/2p8ed2wt (youtube.com). Accessed December 2021. Changzhen Li (2018). 100 Reincarnation Cases in Pingyang: Extraordinary True Stories of Kam People Who Recall Past Lives. Self-published. T.H. Meyer (2010). Rudolf Steiner’s Core Mission: The Birth and Development of Spiritual-Scientific Karma Research. Forest Row: Temple Lodge. Rudolf Steiner (1971). Theosophy: An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man. Forest Row: Anthroposophic Press.
December 20, 2021
OEITH #204 Depressive Hedonia
We confront some increasingly common dimensions of depression, how these can affect magical practice, and a magical antidote in the tarot, exploring along the way: the Buddha on distractions and addictions; Gabor Maté on addiction as a relationship; how anything can become addictive; torpor, ennui, apathy: words for an enemy to our practice; Mark Fisher's “depressive hedonia”; some examples; promised rather than actual fulfilment; magick itself as an impediment to practice; profit from distraction; community as a corrective; the example of education; how consumerism thrives on distraction; resistance of control as a refusal to discipline or motivate ourselves; depressive hedonia as an understandable reaction; depressive hedonism as endemic; pleasure we did not choose to seek; the ecological crisis and the COVID pandemic; "bouncing along the bottom"; magicians as possibly more prone than others; a personal example; depressive hedonia as a defence that bolsters the ego; pessimism as a form of addiction; respect for resistance; difficulty and struggle as signs of progress; results from daily tarot divination; XV The Devil as a depiction of depressive hedonia; XIV Temperance (reversed); the major arcana as an anatomy of change; a tarot sequence applied to history and COVID; XIV (reversed) as a depiction of what is needed; Meditations on the Tarot, by Anonymous; the angel and the flowing water; St Bernard on “the divine image” versus “the divine likeness”; the angel on XIV as the guardian angel; the guardian angel as ally of the divine image; why the angel does not shield us from suffering; depression as a signal that we need our angel; the angel as mother-figure; the angel as protector of the divine likeness; the contact between image and likeness as “inner weeping”; the “water” on XIV as tears; depressive hedonia as the inverse of XIV; emotional intensity as the antidote to depressive hedonia; Steiner’s spiritual faculties: imagination, inspiration, and intuition; XIV as inspiration; inspiration as paradoxical activity and passivity; the behaviour of children as a template: humility and presumption; magick as a combination of humility and hubris; “to dare, to will, and to know”; Adam Phillips on “the desire for a desire”; inspiration as “the desire of a desire”. Support the podcast and access additional material at https://patreon.com/oeith Anonymous (2002). Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. New York: TarcherPerigree. Mark Fisher (2009). Capitalism Realism: Is There No Alternative? Alresford: Zero. Gabor Maté (2018). In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. London: Vermillion. Adam Phillips (2017). On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored. London: Faber & Faber.
December 11, 2021
OEITH #203 Transformations
Borrowing concepts from psychotherapy we explore how magick produces its effects, considering along the way: how nothing in what we are about to discuss should be construed as causal; magick as acausal; the sense in which magick does not work; how magick is not therapy, but how therapy might be magick; how therapy has its effect; a personal example of a therapeutic effect; possible similarities with teaching; Freud's idea of "impossible" professions; the impossibility of predicting effects in certain fields; magick as an impossible profession; why some people might be better at contending with the impossible than others; a certain way of being; not "doing", but changes in being; why there cannot be a theory of magick; our current, primitive theories of magick: spirits, belief-shifting, and quantum physics; borrowing from theories on the efficacy of therapy; not what a therapist does but what they might become; the work of Wilfred Bion; its mystical dimension; transformations and invariants; communication as transformation; the transcendence of meaning by the invariant; Platonic resonances in Bion; transformations in magick; the essence of ritual; Chapman's definition of magick; the priest or priestess as not causing an experience but offering a transformation; understanding as the recognition of the invariant; Bion's idea of "The Grid"; beta elements and alpha elements; beta process as the acting out of an invariant; transformation of beta elements into alpha elements; alpha process as the cognition of an invariant; transformation as a means of bringing the invariant into focus; the therapist as not doing something but offering her alpha process; therapy offers the possibility of experiencing truth; the similarity of psychotherapeutic change to synchronicity; the feeling of synchronicity; therapy as a synchronicity in understanding rather than in external events; how the magician's therapist is reality; understanding as inherently synchronistic; understanding as transformation; a kabbalistic perspective on understanding; every act of understanding as a miniature crossing of the abyss; Bion's concepts of K and O; transformations in K contrasted with transformations in O; O as the absolute truth and reality; the possibility of connecting with O; the function of the therapist as becoming O; this assisted by the absence of preconceptions; Bion on achieving freedom from memory and desire; the role of interpretation in therapy; abuses and misuses of interpretation; Charles Rycroft's liberating take on interpretation; the function of interpretation as opening up rather than closing down meaning; the possible tyranny of interpretation in magical culture; connection with truth is becoming transformed by it; the experience of this as a synchronicity between past and present; becoming O in magick; the occult idea of the evolution of different bodies; a body as a function that has become objective; the physical, etheric, astral, and mental bodies; the mental body as only partially developed; the experience of the mental body in enlightened beings; Bion's transformations as transitions between different bodies; sorcery versus mysticism from this perspective; becoming O in magick as a transformation of self through understanding, in the process developing the mental body. Wilfred Ruprecht Bion (1965). Transformations: Change from Learning to Growth. London: Heinemann. Wilfred Ruprecht Bion (2004). Attention and Interpretation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Charles Rycroft (1991). Psychoanalysis and Beyond. London: Hogarth.
November 27, 2021
OEITH #202 Touched by a Ghost
Exploring an unsettling personal encounter with a “ghost” during a meditation retreat, we mull anxiously over: what "seeing a ghost" means to me; the ghost as a visitor; the messiness of ghostly experiences; why I have never “seen” a ghost, but have heard and felt one; feeling a ghost as perhaps more intimate that seeing one; tricks of memory when recalling ghostly experiences; going on retreat; re-visiting my original notes taken during the experiences, which suggest an altered state; waking inside a dream of someone trying to suffocate me; a malevolent female presence; banishing by pentagram; classic elements of sleep-paralysis; a dream of a nun haunting two children as the seed for what followed; the broken memorial and the nuns' burial ground; the history of the retreat centre; a fantasy of vengeful nuns; the blurring of boundaries between waking and dreams; the reaction of my teacher to the spooky experiences; the Buddha's teaching on how to deal with ghosts; attitudes of the retreat centre staff; a bedroom invader; getting intimate with a ghost; a dream without sleeping or waking; sending the ghost some metta; theories versus mess; effects of the meditation practice; blurring the boundaries between internal and external perception; a psychotic experience; psychosis as an intrusion of the real; sleeping with the lights on; meditating on the nature suffering; the effect of compassion on suffering; the mystery of suffering; the effects of this practice; an encounter with a beast; the effects of metta; beyond banishing; parallels between the ghostly experience and the meditation practice; an entity of many masks; holding experiences and theories lightly; the atmosphere of the retreat centre at night; night-time meditation as listening to night-time radio; last night at the retreat centre; something more than a ghost; apparently physical elements in the encounter; the sense of a farewell; a collision of multiple predisposing factors; ghosts more complicated than an object to be seen.
November 20, 2021
OEITH #201 Narcissism, Shame, and Self-Love
Back for a second season, we consider how and why the concept of narcissism has become little more than a term of abuse, considering along the way: what the concept of narcissism originally offered; the assumption that narcissism is necessarily bad and harmful; the usefulness of the concept of narcissism and a questioning the mainstream; Austin Osman Spare and "self-love"; a re-visitation of the myth of Narcissus; the lovers of Narcissus: Echo and Armeinius; the suicide of Armeinius and his avengement by Artemis; the myth of Narcissus as a revenge narrative; how the downfall of Narcissus is not due to self-love but to grief; Narcissus dies not because he loves himself, but because he doesn't love others; narcissism in psychology; Sigmund Freud's adoption of the term from sexology; narcissism for Freud as invisible and silent; Freudian libido as directed either towards outward objects or inwardly to the self; narcissism as not about behaviours but a form of desire; narcissism as a way out of a theoretical problem; Freud's model of the mind as a struggle between ego-instincts and sexual instincts; the challenge to this model from psychosis (and from Carl Jung); Freud's new model as a struggle between object instincts and narcissistic instincts; the problem of human destructivity; Eros and the death drive; the myth of Narcissus as an illustration of the deathly implications of refusing to love; the lack of an empirical basis for these theories; their usefulness in therapy; contemporary psychology as the study of behaviour rather than the mind; how self-love does not need to self-aggrandise; how the mind is not apparent in behaviour; how we are obliged to talk of invisible things if we talk of the mind; what "real" means in relation to mind; paraphrasing Crowley; psychology and magick; narcissism as an incantation; the mind of the so-called narcissist and of our culture at the moment; social media, celebrity culture, and reality television; their impact on younger people; Jon Ronson on the “great renaissance of public shaming”; the history of public punishments; the return of public punishment in the online world; the effects of constantly comparing one’s life to others; shame and the need to remain comparable; shame as the evil twin of narcissism; Phil Mollon on shame as self-preservation; narcissistic behaviour as an avoidance of shame; the constructive aspect of shame; the neoliberalist exploitation of shame; “becoming the best version of oneself”; self-division as the precondition of shame; Austin Osman Spare on transcending shame through self-unity; Spare on self-love; sigil magick and how it operates; Freud’s influence on Spare; narcissism as a feedback loop of desire; Spare’s transcendence of the loop through non-dual experience; the distinction between Freudian narcissism and Spare’s self-love. Sigmund Freud (1914). On Narcissism: An Introduction. In: A. Williams (ed.) On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984. Robert Graves (1992). The Greek Myths. London: Penguin. Phil Mollon (1993). The Fragile Self. London: Whurr. Jon Ronson (2015). So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. London: Picador. Austin Osman Spare (1913). The Book of Pleasure (Self-Love): The Psychology of Ecstasy. Thame: I-H-O, 2005.
November 13, 2021
OEITH #119 A Once and Future King
In this, our final episode, we issue a very loud SPOILER ALERT as we unearth an ancient English national treasure, the film Penda's Fen (directed by Alan Clarke, 1974), exploring: the current relevance of Penda's Fen; the film as an initiation; its provenance; the problem of its Englishness; Pinvin and the Malvern Hills; William Langland and Edward Elgar; The Dream of Gerontius; Stephen's ignorance of his own sexuality; his notions of good and bad; the character of Arne and his counter-cultural views; Stephen's dream of demons and angels; the role of Manicheanism in the film; a possibly similar incident in the life of Carl Jung; good and evil as the products of personal participation rather than binary absolutes; the ceaseless battle between darkness and light; Stephen's visitation from a demon as an indication of deeper levels to his personality; impacts of Stephen's insights into himself; the beginnings of a new persona; "Pinvin" versus "Pinfin"; an encounter with an angel as the realisation of the possibility of Grace; "Pendefen"; the resurgence of the demon; a vision of the celebration of atrocity; Stephen realises he is not alone: insights into his father and Arne; messages in the landscape and the discovery of "Penda's Fen"; descent into the underworld: Stephen's meeting with Elgar; the humanity of genius and the longing of the dead for manifestation; the revelation of Stephen's origins; his acceptance of who he really is; Joan of Arc as a pagan worshipping an ancient god of death and resurrection; the sacrifice of humanity in the modern age; Stephen's father: "a self and a non-self"; Penda, the last pagan King in England; the demonization of Penda versus the more likely reality of his kingdom; Martin Wall on the magical potential of history; the implicit rather than explicit depiction of magick in the film; Stephen's rendition of Gerontius as a magical evocation; its magical result: a message and a vocation; the final scene as a temptation and a magical attack; the manifestation of King Penda and his mission for Stephen; the question of where we should direct our magick; a valediction. Matthew Harle & James Machin, eds. (2019). Of Mud & Flame: The Penda's Fen Sourcebook. London: Strange Attractor. C.G. Jung (1967). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. London: Fontana. Martin Wall (2019). The Magical History of Britain. Stroud: Amberley.
August 28, 2021
OEITH #118 Social Class, Identity, and Plato's Cave
In this episode we examine the pride, the pain, and the double-edged nature of identification, exploring along the way: a difference in attitudes towards work; the influence of a working-class upbringing; a working-class perspective on work, and its conflicts with a middle-class perspective; the struggle to identify with professional roles; Aidan Wachter on identification as a magical technique; the liberating potential of identification and identification as a trap; my continuing identification with being working class; the imposition of identification; against the (classist) argument that education changes social class; working-class alienation from power and privilege; professional identity as a means of exploitation of the middle class; middle-class discontent; varieties of identification; identification as the mother of all defence mechanisms; Jacques Lacan on identification and "the mirror stage"; identification and the birth of the ego as captivation in an image; identification and ignorance; Kazuo Ishiguro's novel, Never Let Me Go, about some unusual students; Ishiguro's genius for depicting the limited understanding of his characters; the horror of the students' surrender to their fate; Ishiguro's novel as an analogy for the creation of social class; education as a means of ensuring docility; the film The Island (2005) as a Hollywood variation on the same theme; the fantasy of breaking out of an oppressive reality into another one; an annoying feature of The Matrix (1999); the impossibility of self-transformation; Plato's allegory of the cave; how the prisoners are conditioned to imprison themselves; Russell Brand on the décor of power; the social sense of "belonging" for the working and middle class; the ruling class at home in and beyond the law; shame and guilt as instruments of social control; the shift into identity politics and away from social class; identity politics in "heroic" and "tragic" modes; enduring shame and guilt; the escape from Plato's cave and what this might signify; a hope for a spiritual, anti-materialism as a future, defining philosophy for the Left. Michael Bay, director (2005). The Island. DreamWorks Pictures. BBC Newsnight (2013). Paxman vs Russell Brand - full interview, https://tinyurl.com/yr36avaj (youtube.com). Mark Fisher (2014). For now, our desire is nameless, https://tinyurl.com/ezxx5k66 (theeuropean.de). Kazuo Ishiguro (2005). Never Let Me Go. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Jacques Lacan (1949). The mirror stage as formative of the “I” function as revealed in psychoanalytic experience. In: Écrits, translated by Bruce Fink, New York: Norton, 2006. Plato (1997). Republic, translated by G.M.A. Grube and C.D.C. Reeve, 514-517. In: Plato: Complete Works, edited by J.M. Cooper, Indianapolis, IN: Hackett. Luxa Strata (2021). Lux Occult Podcast #29: Visualization demystified and imagination magick re-imagined with Aidan Wachter, https://tinyurl.com/yj4nawzk (apple.com). Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, directors (1999). The Matrix. Warner Bros.
August 15, 2021
OEITH #117 Magical Formulations on Gender and Sex
We explore how gender identity and sex might free or constrict us, and what magick can bring to this, noting along the way: fire kasina meditation and "travels"; a transsexual travel and the experience of self as a different gender; gender and sex in relation to magick; the reality of dreams and visions; the biological and the cultural in mainstream discourse on sex and gender; biological destiny versus cultural fluidity; the common factor of manifestation; the mainstream discourse in the light of dependent co-arising; the Buddhist concepts of "name and form" and "body"; the apparent correspondence of these with the socio-cultural perspective and the biological; the concept of "soul" as the level of manifestation giving rise to both of these; soul as a personalised instance of universal consciousness; soul as the level immediately beyond gender or sex; the possibility of a uniquely magickal perspective on gender and sex; the myth of Tiresias; his seven years lived as a woman; the liminality of Tiresias, his relationship to duality, and the dimension of soul; the myth of Psyche and Eros; the mortal and the divine aspects of soul; the relationship between soul and desire; soul as the realm of transcendence; freedom versus manifestation; how capitalism hijacks feminism; Gloria Steinem and the CIA; manifestation as conflict; liberation versus assimilation in the struggle for LGBT rights; marriage as equality or as a lure; privilege and power as freedom from and ignorance of suffering; soul as a dimension of transcendence and liberty; biological perspectives on what it means to be male; the minimal participation of males in the biological act of reproduction; Charles Darwin's study of barnacles; the origins of the male in a quasi-parasitic relationship to the female; the function of the male as the diversification of DNA; the scarcity of egg cells and the cheapness of sperm; the impact of testosterone on the male mind; the social dominance of men as a reaction formation to asymmetries on the biological level; the features of toxic masculinity; the current crisis of being male; questions around masculinity; David Bowie as a master of masculinity; the negative impacts of the ubiquity of pornography on young men; the externalisation of sexual experience among men; the mistaking of porn for reality; how this might lead to rape; how real sex includes an internal dimension that men might be conditioned to disregard; the tendency of men to want to discharge sexual feelings; a vision of the goddess Kali; the practice of non-ejaculation; the distinction between orgasm and ejaculation; turning the attention towards sexual sensations; postponement of ejaculation by relaxation and oxygenation; how breathing heightens physical sensations; recognition of "the point of no return"; the "body orgasm" and its features; non-ejaculation as a meditative practice incorporating both vipassana and concentration; why ejaculation is not all that great anyway; afterglow in spite of hard-on; benefits of non-ejaculation; ejaculation as a possible lure into "hedonistic depression"; the incel mindset and non-ejaculation as a possible antidote; transcendence versus escapism. Cory Morningstar (2021). Gloria Steinem discussing her time in the CIA, https://tinyurl.com/fwh2p48t(youtube.com). Marsha Richmond (2007). Darwin's study of the cirripedia, https://tinyurl.com/388br9t5 (darwin-online.org.uk/). Mantak Chia & Douglas Abrams Arava (1996). The Multi-Orgasmic Man. London: Thorsons.
August 08, 2021
OEITH #116 Transcendence - The Nidanas, Final Part
Seizing the Buddhist teachings on the transcendental nidanas, this time we haul ourselves along the path of awakening, from suffering to liberation, pausing to consider: an outline of the process of manifestation; the human tendency to make something out of nothing; how once something is born or it becomes then it is subject to death; the transcendental nidanas and how these proceed from suffering to liberation; how they present positive qualities that can be cultivated; the vulnerabilities of manifestation in magick; the magick of non-manifestation; the implications of proceeding from cause to effect, rather than vice versa; the nidana of suffering; two common means of avoiding a confrontation with suffering; suffering not as pain, but the impossible longing to be free from it; how faith offers a helpful response to suffering; faith as a means to remain steadfast; gladness as a means of turning towards suffering; gladness as gratitude and optimism; gladness as a self-perpetuating resource; rapture as a deep entrancement with experience; the magical dimensions of rapture; the dangers of rapture and how these should be navigated; rapture as sensitivity and positivity; tranquillity is to rapture as faith and gladness are to suffering; the path of liberation as the focus on the nature of experience itself, rather than on its contents; tranquillity as work; tranquillity as a calm and sky-like mind; happiness as the mind's "natural" state; happiness as being beyond positive or negative feelings; happiness versus luckiness; magick and the cultivation of happiness; concentration and its unusual features; the relationship between concentration and happiness; what concentration entails in terms of the nidanas and liberation; the knowledge and vision of things as they really are (TKAVOTATRA); that which is glimpsed in TKAVOTATRA; potentially negative effects of TKAVOTATRA; the desperation and disgust inherent in disenchantment; the necessity of this; equanimity as the recognition of all experiences as experiences; equanimity compared to tranquillity; the sense of self at liberation; liberation as the reconciliation of the previous stages; how there is no experiencer of our experiences; the end of suffering, death, and ignorance; the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers (TKOTDOTC); TKOTDOTC as the recognition of our destination; TKOTDOTC as the recognition that liberation is not a mental state; recapping the transcendental nidanas; suffering as the cause of liberation; the nidanas as two ladders: "up" and "down"; comparison of the nidanas with the Tree of Life; possible correspondences between the nidanas and the paths of the Tree of Life; connecting the 26 nidanas with the western esoteric tradition and the 22 arcana of the Tarot; Death and The Fool (ignorance); The Hanged Man (suffering); The Chariot (body). Diagrams illustrating correspondences between the nidanas, the Tree of Life, and the Tarot can be viewed on the OEITH website at: https://tinyurl.com/4h6aj4jp Aleister Crowley (2004). The Book of Thoth. Boston, MA: Weiser. Israel Regardie (2003). The Golden Dawn, sixth edition. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, trans. (1997). "Upanisa Sutta: Prerequisites", https://tinyurl.com/3uccuuy7 (accesstoinsight.org).
July 31, 2021
OEITH #115 Manifestation - The Nidanas, Part One
Hijacking the Buddha's teachings on dependent co-arising as a detailed model of manifestation, we consider its magical applications: the Maha-nidana Sutta and its relevance to magick; its contrasts with Kabbalah; differences between religion, science, and magick; the centrality of dependent co-arising in Buddhism; religions as models of reality; the nidanas as steps in the process of manifestation; a personal perspective on Buddhism; hacking dependent co-arising; death, birth, and becoming; death and life as interwoven; birth not as creation, but as parts becoming perceivable as wholes; the constant flux of becoming; death and life as different perspectives on becoming; grasping as a lust for existence and a means of existing; craving as a prior judgment call that can sometimes be resisted; the validity of positing psychological causes for material phenomena; how to hack grasping and craving; feeling-tone or vedana and its relationship to craving; regular spiritual practice and psychological work; the effects of an exercise concerning vedana set by Rob Burbea; how states fade, but knowledge remains; how interrupting the process of manifestation allows something besides the ordinary to appear; sensory contact, and why the tree that falls in the forest without anyone to hear it definitely does not make a sound; the sense of an external world; psychedelics as a hack at this level; six senses, and the mind as a sense organ in Buddhist psychology; a personal experience illustrating how this is the case; the tendency to regard mind as a "thing"; name and form; the myth of the conquistadors' galleons; Platonic forms and Jungian archetypes, not as ideal objects but as universal predispositions; the importance of name and form in magick and in therapy; the impact of the human body on human experience; the body as agent rather than object; how some of these phases are more hackable than others; mind, psyche, and soul; soul as an individual instance of human experience; how the body is in the soul; soul as awareness of individual experience versus consciousness as pure awareness; an exercise for exposing the unfindability of awareness; consciousness as the qualityless provider of qualities; consciousness as discernment or discrimination; formations as karmic imprints or tendencies; the possible relevance of formations to scientific experiments concerning free will; how formations may be encountered in meditative states; at the very fringes of manifestation; ignorance as the impulse to make something out of nothing; reviewing the process from ignorance all the way to death; manifestation as a process proceeding from ignorance to samsara; the possibility of transcendence. Peter G.H. Clarke (2013). The Libet experiment and its implications for conscious will, https://tinyurl.com/s2xshu84 (bethinking.org). Thanissaro Bhikkhu, trans. (1997). Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse (DN 15), https://tinyurl.com/zf5f2m27 (accesstoinsight.org).
July 24, 2021
OEITH #114 Liber Somnia (The Book of Dreams)
In this episode we take a wide-angle view on dreams and dreaming, and consider the significance of dreams that just keep coming back: the importance of personal notebooks; Mervyn Peake and the awakening of my imagination; the creation of reality from imagination; sharing the vision; the Gormenghast books: their possible roots in biographical influences, and the paradoxical realism of Peake's fantasy; Peake's impact on my dream-life; spontaneous recall of dreams during meditation; how dreams are experienced largely through memory; not "remembering" but "coming back"; an experience of a recurrence of dreams about demons; the puzzling nature of these experiences; the tendency to view dreams as individual, isolated events; the timelessness of dreams; the fallacy of "the present moment"; the idea that some dreams might return because we are always dreaming them; the element of déjà vu in these experiences as a possible indication of an encounter with the timeless; "the present moment" as unfindable; embracing the eternal "then"; recurring dreams as a possible compensation for an exclusive focus on the "now"; the various uses of dreams in magick; the tendency here also to regard dreams as isolated events; the possibility of taking a wider view; going beyond the "now"; an example: a dream of the two cemeteries; how the dream varies, but the underlying structure is the same; distinguishing these dreams from recurring dreams in trauma: "cannot understand" versus "needing to understand"; an outline of the structure of the dream of the two cemeteries; the horrors and dangers of the old and semi-buried; possible biographical elements in the dream; the failure to find a specific interpretation of the dream; the cessation of the dream as a possible clue to its nature; dreams of this type as long-term processes; fallow periods on the magical path and some advice on this; the concept in Buddhism of "near-enemies"; art as the "near-enemy" of magick; distinguishing between magick and art; the status of the artefact; the creation of Liber Somnia and its methodology; arrival at a list of the dreams I am always dreaming; the dreams as a possible map of the soul's long-term processes; two categories of themes, and the themes therein; "Baltimore in the early morning": Lacan's metaphor for the unconscious; dreams that keep coming back as a recurrence of thoughts that have no thinker; the "double whammy" when a gifted artist performs magick; how a "hypersigil" is not the result of a working. Joe Hunt (2013). "The Dark Side of Positive Emotions Is Hidden in Plain Sight", https://tinyurl.com/y8fbhhmu (medium.com). Jacques Lacan (1966). "Of Structure as an Inmixing of an Otherness Prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever", https://tinyurl.com/sw66tdk5 (blogspot.com). Mervyn Peake (1999). The Gormenghast Trilogy. London: Vintage.
July 17, 2021
OEITH #113 Group Magick, Perversity, and Transgression
Navigating the twisted path between abuse and self-transformation, we consider: the current tendency to distrust magickal groups; the importance of human connection; the benefits of group magick; power and control in human relationships; the vulnerability of magick to evil; the challenges of transgression; progression versus regression; regressive social structures in magickal groups; transgression of social norms and the dynamics of the perverse; the examples of John Dee and Aleister Crowley and their significance; Edgar Allen Poe on the perverse: the principle of no principle; Freud on the perverse: a "natural" disposition; Lacan on the perverse: a structure of desire; Kirsten Hyldgaard on perversity as transforming desire into the law; distinguishing perversity from Thelema; perversity versus transgression within magickal organisations; the sexual politics of chimpanzees and its manifestations in magickal organisations; the confusion of transgression and perversity; sex and power, desire and the law; why the pervert is no revolutionary; transgression and desire; when the desire of non-human entities becomes the law; the sharing of wives between Dee and Kelly; its effects and consequences; the struggle of the magician with the imposition of laws by spirits; possible parallels with the documentary series, Hellier; the story of the Cross Correspondences; the life of Henry Coombe-Tennant; parallels with the life of Jiddhu Krishnamurthi; parallels between the Cross Correspondences and Dee and Kelly; judging success or failure; Jason Louv on the intentions of angels; distinguishing perversity and transgression; transgression as the realisation of formless desire; Mark Fisher on the reality of unnameable desire; magical transgression: its risks and benefits. Mark Fisher (2014). For now, our desire is nameless, https://tinyurl.com/ezxx5k66 (theeuropean.de). Kirsten Hyldgaard (2004). The conformity of perversion, The Symptom 5, https://tinyurl.com/7yu88ah (lacan.com). Greg Kaminsky (2018). Occult of personality: episode 191 – Jason Louv and John Dee’s empire of angels. https://tinyurl.com/y6qcamo4 (occultofpersonality.net). Jason Louv (2018). John Dee and the Empire of Angels: Enochian Magick and the Occult Roots of the Modern World. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. Edgar Allan Poe (1845). The imp of the perverse, https://tinyurl.com/vvzwj8pt (wikisource.org). Archie E. Roy (2008). The Eager Dead: A Study in Haunting. Brighton: Book Guild Publishing.
July 10, 2021
OEITH #112 A Voyage Down the Chakras
With an odd tingling sensation emanating from somewhere, in this episode we explore: an outline of the traditional concept of the chakras; the chakras, kundalini energy, and blockages; alleged functions of the chakras; why I was at first a chakra skeptic; sensations and white light at the crown of the head; why I disregarded these; random energetic experiences around the body; phenomena on the boundary between mind and body; why what we know the least about is matter; direct and indirect forms of knowing; William Blake's portrait of Newton and the scientist's struggle; why "energy" is a bad word; an academic study of how emotions are expressed bodily; how "energy" is always sensations and emotions; the feelings associated with the crown chakra; the opening of the brow chakra and how it felt; the seductions of overwhelming bliss; chakra sensations in the background of awareness; the contrast between chakra sensations and physical sensations; chakra sensations as more like emotions rather than physical sensations; the opening of the throat chakra; throat chakra activation in the presence of enlightened teachers; how the throat chakra feels; the chakras opening in a downward sequence; Rudolf Steiner on the chakras; Florin Lowndes on Steiner's writings on the chakras; Steiner's theory of human evolution beyond the physical plane, and why the traditional model does not apply to modern-day humans; the etheric body; Steiner on the importance of the heart chakra as a future "etheric brain"; the heart chakra as remarkable for only sometimes being under conscious control; how this seems dependent on general mood; what the heart chakra feels like; Bernini's statue of St. Theresa; the activation of the solar plexus chakra and how it feels; the question of blockages and imbalances; Tara Springett on the nature of blocks; why there might be no such thing as a block; materialist misconceptions of blockages; the sex chakra and what it feels like; the root chakra as a realm of outer darkness; differences in levels of connection to the lower or upper chakras; trusting personal experience; chakra activation as dependent upon a certain level of awareness; sensations leading to awareness, versus awareness leading to sensations; chakra experiences as sensations and emotions without a cause; transpersonal emotions; why chakras do not "give" us anything, but show us something already in action; an investigation of the heart chakra on retreat. Florin Lowndes (1998). Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart: The Fundamental Spiritual Exercises of Rudolf Steiner. Forest Row: Rudolf Steiner Press. Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari & Jari K. Hietanen (2014). Bodily maps of emotions, PNAS 111: 2, pp. 646-651, https://tinyurl.com/uxcnxune (pnas.org). Tara Springett (2014). Enlightenment Through the Path of Kundalini: A Guide to a Positive Spiritual Awakening and Overcoming Kundalini Syndrome, https://tinyurl.com/3cep3wcx (taraspringett.com). Rudolf Steiner (1947). Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, translated by George Metaxa, https://tinyurl.com/xdfw3ejx (rsarchive.org).
July 03, 2021
OEITH #111 Haunters and the Haunted
We drape ourselves in an old, white sheet and consider the nature of ghosts and hauntings: how no one knows what a ghost is; crisis apparitions; poltergeists; the changing criteria for manifestations of ghosts; technological manifestations; the lack of any knowledge about ghosts; Barrie Colvin's poltergeist hypothesis; occultism and the non-existence of ghosts; paranormal investigation as a form of magical ritual rather than science; Hellier as a example; why we should care about ghosts; the persistence of ghosts; Martin Wall and a ghost of his childhood; the intrusiveness of ghosts; a semblance of being; "to haunt" as neither an action nor a way of being; the persistence of nothingness and the failure of being; the ghost as a desire in search of being; when living humans haunt; the difference between ghosts and the dead; finding our relationship to the dead inside ourselves; the ghost as coming from outside ourselves; our lack of a relationship to the ghost; ghosts in search of relationships; when a ghost joins the dead; the potential deceptiveness of ghosts; not all ghosts are the dead; why we should be wary of external manifestations of the dead; motivations for externalising the dead; a recap on the ghostly; the possibility of many different forms of haunting; hauntology and the ghosts of lost futures; the postponement of the future promised to us in the 1970s; Mark Fisher on haunting as failed mourning; the difficulty of mourning what we never had; the future imperfect tense and interruption as aspects of the ghostly; how, when haunted, we become like ghosts; the Zeigarnik effect and how it manifests in experience; haunting as the persistence of interrupted desire; some possible responses for when we find ourselves haunted; Mark Fisher on becoming outcasts from our own time. Barrie G. Colvin (2010) "The Acoustic Properties of Unexplained Rapping Sounds", Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 74: 899, pp.65-93. Mark Fisher (2014). Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology, and Lost Futures. Alresford: Zero Books. Edmund Gurney, Frederic Myers & Frank Podmore (1886). Phantasms of the Living. London: Society for Psychical Research. Martin Wall (2019). The Magical History of Britain. Stroud: Amberley.
June 26, 2021
OEITH #110 Evil, Be Thou My Good
We plummet deep into the fundamental nature of reality in this episode, examining the necessary association of magick with evil: the premise of John Milton's Paradise Lost; Satan and the possible origin of evil; Satan as the archetype of the rebel; our relationship as magicians to this archetype; the absence of a moral framework from magick; the suggestion that magick needs to be kept "evil"; understanding evil in contrast to the good; Neoplatonist approaches to the good; the good as the aspiration of all beings; the misidentification of the good; the Platonic ideals as a guide to goodness; beauty, truth, goodness, and the One (wholeness); Proclus on the separation of being and goodness; wholeness as better than goodness; wholeness as the mystical state, as union with goodness; evil as a consequence of the separation of being from the good; evil as a characteristic of wholeness; evil as a consequence of the actions of beings versus evil as transcendent; Satan as the origin of evil versus Satan as a participant in evil; evil as an attribute of the Divine; the relationship of the Divine to goodness; a Divine wholly good as necessarily imperfect; evil as a bug versus evil as a feature; Nishida Kitaro on the self-negation of the Divine; how the Divine by its nature contradicts itself; Satan as the pawn of God; how Milton glosses over the evil in God; the perfect as perfect only if it includes the imperfect; Nishida's ideas as observations, not theories; the experience of emptiness as the experience of the self-negation of the Divine; how emptiness gives rise to form by standing in a relationship of self-negation to itself; how we have no relationship to the Divine; Creation proceeding not from any relationship to the Divine but by the Divine negating itself; the Heart Sutra and the nature of the Divine; (summary and an emergence from the metaphysical deep-end); Lionel Snell on art, science, religion and magick, and their corresponding principles of beauty, truth, goodness, and wholeness; magick as the aspiration to wholeness rather than to goodness; how magick rejects only the principle of rejection itself; how and why magick rejects neither untruth nor evil; how magick necessarily has a relationship to evil, yet not necessarily an answer to it; the mystery and elusiveness of evil; evil as unfixable, as the universe operating as designed; Jung on Job: humanity as morally superior to the Divine; Christ (God in human form) as the epitome of morality; accepting our moral superiority to God as a magician's response to evil; how there is no escape from evil or morality. Ramsey Dukes (2000). SSOTBME Revised: An Essay on Magic. El-Cheapo. Carl Gustav Jung (2002). Answer to Job. New York: Routledge. Nishida Kitaro (1987). Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview. Honolulu: University of Hawaii. John Milton (2008). Paradise Lost. New York: Modern Library. Proclus (2017). The Elements of Theology, translated by Juan and Maria Balboa, https://tinyurl.com/73bxtxsd (archive.org).
June 19, 2021
OEITH #109 What Possessed Me?
In this episode we open up to theories and techniques of channelling and possession: hearing voices; the experience of a part of awareness not being "ours"; the risk of over-engagement; a devious yellow blob and the danger of psychosis; the importance of holding the experience lightly and maintaining intentionality; Freud on the splitting of the ego; splitting in fetishism, BDSM, irony, the tacky and the camp, and in humour; splitting versus repression; the downside of splitting: that a part might assume dominance over the whole; the function of parts in PTSD and complex trauma; the importance of intentionality in a magickal context; possession as intentional splitting of the mental field; psychological trauma as a predisposing factor in splitting and a possible risk; the empty-handed approach to possession and channelling in chaos magick; the bag of art; acknowledgement of traditions that approach possession differently; the role of embarrassment and shame in possession workings and their potential uses; template for a group possession working; my personal method for getting possessed; breath of fire; bodily tension and release; an analogy of the post-coital state as a means of creating an opening for an entity; the sense that nothing is happening; accepting the experience we are having as the result; possession by the Archangel Uriel; that archangelic vibe; the differences between channelling and possession; channelling entities as a means of accessing clairvoyance; the Tempe workings: channelling a representative of the Great White Brotherhood; an indirect and interpretative means of communication; some striking results; the Aion working; an unfortunate prelude to the working; a more direct manifestation; encounters with persons presenting with Dissociative Identity Disorder; changes of personality and sense of presence; becoming sensitive to sub-personalities; my personal system of sub-personalities; every personality as a collective; we are always channelling someone. Alan Chapman & Duncan Barford (2009). The Urn. Brighton: Heptarchia. Coil (2000). Batwings (A Liminal Hymn), https://youtu.be/u8oal_1_YUk (youtube.com). Sigmund Freud (1938). Splitting of the Ego in the Process of Defence, in: On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis, Pelican Freud Library, vol. 11. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984. 60 Minutes Australia (2019). Woman with Seven Different Personalities, https://youtu.be/pLvJDsojrC8 (youtube.com). Arthur Edward Waite (1995). The Wordsworth Book of Spells [The Book of Ceremonial Magic]. Ware: Wordsworth Editions.
June 12, 2021
OEITH #108 The Limits of Magick
In this episode we brace ourselves, take a deep breath, and consider magick and spirituality as an antidote to suffering, but not without their risks and limits; a bullshit exercise from Robert Anton Wilson; the limits of belief-shifting; dubious "exercises" in books on magick; the belief in belief-shifting; reality and belief-shifting; results from a recent sigil; possibilities for their causation; magick as adaptation to reality; the limitation of reality; the inescapability of feelings; the influence of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) on the contemporary understanding of suffering; Aaron Beck on depression as faulty cognition; the locus of responsibility for suffering; belief-shifting as a form of CBT; how work with spirits can also fall into this dynamic; how CBT and belief-shifting chime nicely with capitalism and neoliberalism; Byung-Chul Han on self-exploitation under neoliberalism; Mark Fisher on the dirty secrets of capitalism; how neoliberalism distracts us from these; magick and the lure of pseudo-freedom; Federico Campagna on the paradigms of technic and magick: instrumentality versus meaning; psychogeography as the practice of transitioning from technic to magick; Gareth Rees on car parks and the ubiquity of sliced ham; the limits of technic and capitalism; the insatiability of desire and the inevitability of suffering; a means to an end versus the endlessly meaningful; bringing meaning to suffering; magick as a means of encountering reality; Campagna on magick and technic as two contrasting ethical frameworks; avoiding harm versus maximising salvation; magicians as always caught between these two ethical outlooks; magickal crises and the pains of magick; the magick of the oppressed; Trump's presidency and its end as a magickal result; anti-magick as the elimination of the Other; depression as the absence of the Other, and magick as a reaching out for the Other; Han on the Other as a metaphysical anti-depressant; meaning as connection with the Other; mysticism as recognition of the self as Other; magick as a spectrum, including forms of magick that tend towards technic. Federico Campagna (2018). Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality. London: Bloomsbury. Mark Fisher (2009). Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Alresford: Zero Books. Byung-Chul Han (2017). Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power, translated by Erik Butler. London: Verso. Byung-Chul Han (2018). The Expulsion of the Other: Society, Perception and Communication Today, translated by Wieland Hoban. Cambridge: Polity Press. Catherine Jackson & Rosemary Rizq, eds. (2019). The Industrialisation of Care: Counselling, Psychotherapy and the Impact of IAPT. Monmouth: PCCS Books. Gary Lachman (2018). Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump. New York: TarcherPerigree. Gareth E. Rees (2019). Car Park Life. London: Influx Press.
June 05, 2021
OEITH #107 Surrender to the Goddess
In this episode we begin by reading Rumi's poem "Love Dogs", then we discuss how to connect with spiritual entities and the link with desire; the case for mysticism as magick; defining desire as distinct from needs and wants; the characteristics of desire: persistence and authenticity; working with desire as the daily grind of the magician; desire versus will and intention; desire and identity; magickal development as a continual engagement with desire; a dream of a woman who was both mother and lover; dying in dreams; the relationship to the woman in the dream; a ritual to communicate with her and the message received; a defiling dream; mystical union with a goddess; looking and being seen as having become the same; fruition through the door of no-self; the dream as a shadow of the subsequent experience of union; the dream as a defilement that had to be recognised as such; the specific nature of the relationship to the divine; the contrast between this and the relationship to demonic spirits; demonic spirits as the object of desire; divine spirits as offering cessation of desire and experiences beyond the human; control versus surrender; a possible way of failing to recognise the divine; an overwhelming and substance-induced kundalini awakening; the work of Tara Springett and her perspective on the psychotherapeutic treatment of kundalini awakening; compassion practice and how it helps; surrender to Kali and a manifestation of the goddess; mystical union following kundalini awakening, and its aftermath; desire as the bridge to union with the divine; the erotic component of images of the divine; becoming a love dog. Daniel M. Ingram (2018). Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. Revised and expanded edition. London: Aeon. Jeffrey Kripal (2001). Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago. Rumi (2021). "Love Dogs", translated and performed by Coleman Barks, https://youtu.be/UF4_KZfIfVI (youtube.com). Tara Springett (2014). Enlightenment Through the Path of Kundalini: A Guide to a Positive Spiritual Awakening and Overcoming Kundalini Syndrome, https://tinyurl.com/3cep3wcx (taraspringett.com). Tara Springett (2020). Healing Kundalini Symptoms: Proven Techniques That Really Work. ISBN 9781689344975.
May 29, 2021
OEITH #106 Tales of the Goetia
Digging out some dusty old magickal journals, I relate how I first discovered the Goetia; the appeal of a catalogue of spirits; the Goetic spirits as troublesome demons; why I became interested in magick; my first ever working; my first ever Goetic ritual; the result; the mechanics of the ritual; the real result; a sense of manipulation; a disastrous confrontation with the spirit; the "nuclear option" in Goetia; that peculiar Goetic vibe; an evocation of the spirit Bune; saying "hi" to Bune; a distressing incident; one of our group goes rogue; a failure of protection and ethics; angelic intervention; an evocation of the spirit Shax; a horrible spectacle; "reverse Quaker Goetia"; Shax steals money from the houses of kings; my goodbye to the Goetia; odd attitudes among the demonically possessed; Crowley on the Goetia; a non-dual perspective on spirits; spirit as that which does not exist yet which is real; relationships as differentiations of non-existence; spirits as different kinds of relationships to the non-existent; the demonic as a particular form of relationship; demonic possession as the appropriation of human desire; the Goetic spirits as old gods demanding attention. Samuel Liddell MacGregor-Mathers (1995). The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis Regis), edited by Aleister Crowley. Boston, MA: Red Wheel Weiser.
May 22, 2021
OEITH #105 The Word of the Magus
We listen to Grant Morrison on individuality and Rob Burbea on divinity before venturing into: "soul-making dharma"; what all magicians share; Aleister Crowley's "Liber B Vel Magi"; definition of a magus; Crowley's notion of the word of the magus; the Gospel of St John and the word made flesh; the meaning of logos; the impossibility of meaninglessness; the dilemma of the magus; the silence of the ipsissimus; the curse of having always to speak falsely; how there is no escape from meaning; enslavement by one's own magick or someone else's; Lacan's symbolic order; everyday and magickal relationships to meaning; Darian Leader on the manic-depressive relationship to meaning; "depressive" and "manic" styles of magickal practice; the calling for "closed practices" as a depressive approach to magick; Morrison and Burbea as the manic style versus the depressive; these styles as strategies, rather than as ethical or non-ethical in themselves; magick as the relationship to truth and ethics as the relationship to the good; how practice and ethics can be separated; an encounter with a dodgy guru; how our ethics reflects who we are, not our practice; "cancel culture" as the confusion of goodness and truth; the case of Julius Evola; why the word of a magician cannot make us ethically either better or worse; words of some magi; my personal word as a magus: ελεφαιρο / elephairo ("to deceive"); the appearance of this word in Homer's Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid; Borges on the gate of ivory; the significance of this word for my personal magickal practice. Jorge Luis Borges (1985). Nightmares. In: Seven Nights, trans. E. Weinberger. New York: Norton. Rob Burbea (2016). Sensing Divinity, https://tinyurl.com/vx9nt8jd (dharmaseed.org). Alan Chapman & Duncan Barford (2010). A Desert of Roses. Brighton: Heptarchia. Aleister Crowley (1988). Liber I: Liber B Vel Magi Sub Figurâ I. In: The Holy Books of Thelema. York Beach, ME: Red Wheel / Weiser. Darian Leader (2013). Strictly Bipolar. London: Penguin. Grant Morrison (2000). Disinfo Conference Lecture, https://tinyurl.com/e2wvj6fb (youtube.com).
May 15, 2021
OEITH #104 Healing Dreams from the Temple of Asklepios
We start with an account of a dream that helped to lift a depression, and then go on to consider how dreams might heal; dreaming as a magickal practice; the possible meaning of the dream and the role of interpretation; the dream as a process; the diversity of mental phenomena; intrusive thoughts and the differences between thoughts and feelings; the difference between imagining and thinking; the infallibility of thinking; different schools of dream interpretation as reflective of different mental processes and levels of consciousness; the differences between Jungian and Freudian dreams; a personal example of a Freudian dream; the wide variety of dream states; the healing potential of dreams in therapy; Guy Dargert on the origins of psychotherapy; Asklepios, Apollo, and Chiron; Asklepios as an influence upon the iconography of Christ; the staff of Asklepios and the symbolism of snakes; the temples of Asklepios as places of healing; the abaton, the ritual sleep, and the healing dream; types of healing dreams and how they were understood; healing through the mind rather than through the body; finding healing dreams in the present day. Guy Dargert (2016). The Snake in the Clinic: Psychotherapy's Role in Medicine and Healing. London: Karnac. Rumi (2021). Out beyond ideas. https://tinyurl.com/utr725bu. [Excerpt from a longer poem, entitled "The Great Wagon".]
May 08, 2021
OEITH #103 The Terrors of Awakening
We venture into the destabilizing aspects of awakening; the notion of "positive" trauma; Jung's encounter with God; the ego as a filter; Russell Razzaque on awakening and psychosis; varieties of ego disintegration: psychosis, psychedelics, and meditation; Whitley Strieber and MK-Ultra; traumatic memories as both symptom and cause of psychosis; Walter Bosley on MK-Ultra; recurring images and narratives in psychosis and trauma; spirituality as an antidote; Hellier as a narrative of initiation; defences against awakening; Alex Tsakiris on science and conspiracy; the parallelism of materialism and non-duality; the underground goddess; Parmenides. Walter Bosley (2016). Shimmering Light: Lost In An MKULTRA House of Anu. Corvos / LCL. C.G. Jung (2009). The Red Book: A Reader's Edition, ed. Sonu Shamdasani. New York: W.W. Norton. Laura London (2021). Speaking of Jung Ep. Q16: Walter Bosley, https://tinyurl.com/s5w7j3kp. Russell Razzaque (2014). Breaking Down is Waking Up. Oxford: Watkins. Whitley Strieber (1987). Communion. New York: Avon. Alex Tsakiris (2021). Skeptiko Ep. 480: Whitley Strieber MKUltra Flypaper, https://tinyurl.com/546rnz.
May 01, 2021
OEITH #102 Relating with the Dead
We consider Alan Chapman's definition of magick; the ubiquity of truth; everyday awareness as the experience of no-self; the sacred whore and the virgin goddess; ordinary experience as the arena of magick; everyday connections with the dead; the work of bereavement; psychoanalysis as a magickal venture; Freud on grief and depression; the ego as everything we have lost; the dead inside us; theories of bereavement; acceptance of loss versus maintaining contacts the dead; a synchronicity on my father's death; meeting my father after his death in lucid dreams; delineating the boundaries and the relationship between the living and the dead; a two-way relationship; Marie-Louise von Franz and a dream of her dead father; when dreams of the dead are actually more than dreams. Marie Louise von Franz (1987). On Dreams and Death. Boston & London: Shambhala. Sigmund Freud (1917). "Mourning and Melancholia", in: The Pelican Freud Library, Volume 11: On Metapsychology, Harmondsworth: Penguin . Dennis Klass, et al. (1996). Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief. London: Taylor & Francis.
April 22, 2021
OEITH #101 Meditation and Trauma
We explore the possible negative effects of meditation; awakening versus personal psychological issues; panic attacks; traces of trauma; vipassana meditation; approaches from the western magickal tradition; Jungian analysis; impacts on personal relationships; attachment theory; the Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM) and its approach to healing trauma; intergenerational trauma; relationships to the dead; collective and cultural trauma; the work of Thomas Hübl; processing trauma as a form of awakening; trauma and karma; recognising and responding to cultural and collective trauma. Marie-Louise von Franz (1979). Alchemical Active Imagination. Irving, TX: Spring Publications. Frater Geur (2020). Liber Pisces. Brighton: Heptarchia. https://tinyurl.com/rwvdshw6 Thomas Hübl (2020). Healing Collective Trauma: A Process for Integrating Our Intergenerational and Cultural Wounds. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. Lisa Schwarz, Frank Corrigan, Alastair Hull, and Rajiv Raju (2018). The Comprehensive Resource Model: Effective Therapeutic Techniques for the Healing of Complex Trauma. Abingdon: Routledge. Michael Taft (2021). Deconstructing Yourself: Meditation and Healing Trauma with Thomas Hübl, https://tinyurl.com/27uppkdk.
April 17, 2021