ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
emerald ringThese days people in most Western countries assume as a matter of course that engagement and wedding rings have to have diamonds on them. That didn't become the universal custom until after the Second World War, though; it was in 1947 that the DeBeers diamond syndicate launched the first of a series of massive ad campaigns under the slogan "Diamonds Are Forever." Well, maybe they are, but...

In the lore of natural magic, every kind of gemstone has a different effect on consciousness; these are normally categorized by the old scheme of the seven planets. Diamonds correspond to the planet Mars. Their magical virtue is that they give strength and victory in battle, but they are also traditionally unlucky, and make their wearers unhappy. 

Maybe it's just pure coincidence, but I find myself noticing that it was right after a stone of war and unhappiness became standard wear for married women that the divorce rate began to soar, and many branches of the feminist movement took on a distinctly angry and bitter tone. 

If you want a better-omened stone for an engagement or a wedding ring, the magical lore suggests going for an emerald. Emeralds correspond to Venus, and are fortunate for love; they were held to strengthen the eyes and the memory; and they make the wearer truthful and difficult to fool by trickery, all of which would be helpful in marriage. I'm sure the diamond merchants won't approve, but it might be worth trying to reverse the trend...
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
encyclopedia of natural magicA few weeks back, during a discussion of practical magic on this journal, one of my readers commented enthusiastically that I really ought to write a book on natural magic. I ended up in the somewhat embarrassing situation of having to explain that, well, actually, I'd already published one: The Encyclopedia of Natural Magic, which first saw print back in 2000. 

I got the point, which is that I've been lackadaisical in letting my readers know about my backlist, and went to the ever-obliging marketing department at Llewellyn, where much of my backlist has its home. They promptly arranged to put one of my books each month on a 20%-off sale. This month, not by accident, it's The Encyclopedia of Natural Magic. 

Here's the deal. If you don't have a copy of this book, and want one, you can go to the Llewellyn website, order a copy, and enter the discount code JMG0618 at checkout. That's all it takes. It's only good until June 30, though, after which a different book of mine gets the discount. 

Questions about The Encyclopedia of Natural Magic -- or, for that matter, any of my books? Ask away. 
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
turn off tv, turn on lifeEarlier this month I posted a few words here about a curious effect I'd discovered -- that sharp points of iron or steel seem to have the same power to dispel addiction to television, the internet, and cell phones that they traditionally had on faery glamour.  I wasn't expecting anything like the passionate response I got -- that entry got more comments than anything else I've posted here, including the very lengthy debate over the inept attempt at anti-Trump sorcery I critiqued a month ago, and a great many people agreed to give it a try. 

At this point some of the results are in, and I've been able to draw some tentative conclusions and draft a hypothesis on which further experimentation can be based: 

1) The effect seems to be real, and not just a matter of the placebo effect. Quite a few readers have reported immediate effects, not only on themselves, but on people who had no idea that the experiment was being tried, and who suddenly lost interest in television. 

2) The effect isn't guaranteed. Not everyone noted effects. In particular, when someone else in the household was using television, the internet, or their phone as a drug to avoid dealing with personal problems, that person's addiction was pretty reliably not affected by the presence of sharp iron. 

3) The effect can generate opposition. In a significant minority of cases, people who weren't in on the experiment found the sharp iron objects and removed them, even when there was no obvious reason to do so. 

My hypothesis is as follows: we're dealing with a genuine effect here, but the glamour it appears to counter is only one of the factors in the phenomenon of television addiction. Some people watch television or use other electronic media obsessively for personal reasons unrelated to the glamour. There may also be other variables that influence whether a sharp iron point will decrease the hold electronic media has on people.

At this point, I'm going to propose a few changes to the experimental protocol. First, if you have housemates who aren't in on the experiment, use an X-acto knife blade or a steel pin taped to the underside of the television, internet router, or other object, rather than a knife -- the knives are too visible, and can get noticed and removed. Second, try to assess whether your housemates' addiction to electronic media may be a way they use to avoid major issues, and keep that in mind when assessing your options. Other than that, if you feel inspired to join the experiment, give it a shot and see what results you get. 
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
pocket knifeI have a favor to ask of you, dear readers... 

Several years ago, in a conversation with friends, one of them mentioned the way that their family members spent hours at a time in what amounts to a trance, staring blankly at a television screen, as though the jerky little colored shapes on the glass screen actually mattered. It occurred to me that there was a curious bit of folklore that paralleled this. 

In the folklore of the Celtic countries, glamour -- the ability to push illusions on people, which faeries are said to have -- can be combated in several ways, but the most important involves a knife or some other piece of sharp iron or steel. There are traditional reasons for this in occult philosophy, which we don't have to get into here. It struck me, though, that it was worth experimenting to see if the same thing would help counter the glamour of the television. 

The short form is that it worked. My friend put a small pocketknife, open, under the television, and the other members of his family basically lost interest in it. 

I've advised the same thing several more times, with equally good results. In one case, the television just up and quit working; in the others, though, having a sharp knife under the television seems to lead to a steady loss of interest in those jerky little colored shapes on the glass screen. It also seems to have a similar effect on obsessive interest in the internet. 

So here's what I'd like to ask. Those of you who are still unfortunate enough to live someplace with a television -- give it a try. See if you can hide a small pocketknife with the blade open under the television. Those of you who have home internet access, try hiding one under your router. Do this, and see what happens. 

If anyone wants an incantation to go with this little bit of natural magic, it's hard to beat Kipling's poem: 

"Gold for the mistress, silver for the maid,
Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade;
'Good!' said the baron, sitting in his hall,
'But iron, cold iron, is the master of them all.'"

Give it a try and let me know what results you get...

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ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)John Michael Greer

February 2019

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