Occult Experiments in the Home
By Duncan Barford
Magick, spirituality, and the paranormal -- in personal experience and practice. Exploring the mystical, psychological, and internal dimensions of contemporary occultism and magick.
OEITH #019 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 #018 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 #017 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 8, 2021
OEITH #016 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 #015 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 #014 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 #013 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 #012 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 3, 2021
OEITH #011 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 #010 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 #009 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 #008 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 5, 2021
OEITH #007 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 #006 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 #005 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 #004 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 8, 2021
OEITH #003 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 1, 2021
OEITH #002 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 #001 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