ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
ParacelsusIt's almost midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus Paracelsus von Hohenheim -- a name that just begs to be declaimed aloud in a stentorian voice with melodramatic gestures. (Most people these days just call him Paracelsus; he was Theo von Hohenheim as a small boy, padding around in the wake of his father the doctor in a Swiss mine town.  The great reformer of 16th century European alchemy, he was a very heavy drinker even by the standards of his time, but the people who knew him insisted that he was more cogent when dead drunk than most people are when they're sober. 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 145,397th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

***Yes, I really do mean that this Magic Monday is closed. I just had someone try to post a new question at 12:03 am. Please save new questions for next week!***
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Oom the OmnipotentIt's midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Oom the Omnipotent aka Pierre Bernard: sex guru, successful businessman, genuine scholar of Sanskrit teachings, shameless con artist, and also the man who introduced yoga to the American public. It's a sign of how little most Americans know of their own country's occult history that he's forgotten and E.A. "Aleister" Crowley, who was very much a third-rate figure by comparison, is famous. 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 542,396th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Aleister CrowleyIt's almost midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture, appropriately enough given tomorrow's date, is of Edward A. ("Aleister") Crowley, who proclaimed himself the Wickedest Man in the World and published a lot of books on magic, some of which he even wrote himself. (No, I'm not a fan -- how did you guess? -- but since I've been posting photos of famous occultists, well, he was certainly famous.) 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 542,396th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar. 

With that said, have at it! 

**This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Magic FailIt's been a while since we've checked in on the efforts of the soi-disant "Magical Resistance" -- that is to say, the people who still haven't gotten over the fact that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election, and are expressing their rage and hatred by way of magical rituals rather than public tantrums of some other kind.  Partly, I'm glad to say, that's because they seem to have learned one of the basic lessons of magical practice, which is that being public about your workings is a great way to let other operative mages know how to mess with you. Since the spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to use magic to keep Brett Kavanaugh from being confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, the Magical Resistance has been much quieter about its intentions and ritual texts. I'm pleased to see this; any indication that the very low standard of magical competence in modern American society has risen a bit is worth celebrating. 

That said, the efforts of the Magical Resistance to hinder the Trump administration don't seem to have been favored with any greater level of success than before. The latest and most obvious example of this, of course, is the end of the Mueller investigation. For more than two years now, a great many of the people who hate Donald Trump have been insisting at the top of their lungs that Mueller would inevitably find some suitably gaudy collection of impeachable offenses in Trump's conduct in office. At least some of the people who were busy casting spells to bring Trump down, to judge from their comments on various online forums, loaded a great many of their hopes on Mueller -- and, to judge by the rituals they were using back when they were being public about it, an equally large share of their magical efforts. Those clearly didn't do much, and there's a useful lesson in operative magic to be drawn from their failure. 

The core of that failure comes from their choice of intention. Those of the Mueller-centric spells I encountered, back when such things were being made public, focused nearly all their rhetoric on the ideal of justice. That's a perfectly valid magical intention, but like most other perfectly valid magical intentions, it has a catch:  you really do need to be sure that justice is on your side. 

In a criminal investigation, justice includes such basic elements as fairness, impartiality, and a willingness to suspend judgment until all the facts have come to light. The goal of a just investigation is to punish those who are actually guilty of the charges made against them and to vindicate those who are innocent. If you say instead, "I hate the defendant, therefore he must be guilty of the accusations," that's unjust; if, more cynically, you say, "I hate the defendant, therefore I don't care what the facts say, I'm going to insist that he's guilty of the accusations," that's also unjust. The attitude of the Trump-haters toward the Mueller investigation was one of these two -- I'll let my readers make their own speculations as to which one -- and I can promise you that if you perform a magical working for justice motivated by one or the other of these deeply unjust attitudes, you are not going to like the results. 

And of course that's what happened. As far as I can tell, the outcome of the Mueller investigation was, technically speaking, a success for the Magical Resistance, in that justice did in fact happen. That is to say, an innocent man was cleared of false accusations made against him by his political enemies, and some of the people who helped to spread those accusations have suffered a great deal of public embarrassment. That's entirely just. If that wasn't what the Magical Resistance had in mind, why, that's what happens when you're insufficiently careful about the intentions you choose for your working. 

The moral to this story? Justice isn't whatever you want it to be, neither is magic -- and if you're not sufficiently careful with either one, you can very efficiently kick yourself in the backside. 
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
R.A. Schwaller de LubiczIt's almost midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, French alchemist and occultist, whose work on the temple geometries of ancient Egypt played a crucial role in launching the modern revival of sacred geometry.  

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 542,396th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
MesmerIt's midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Franz Anton Mesmer, Austrian physician, occultist and Rosicrucian initiate, who publicized "animal magnetism" in late 18th-century France -- yes, that's pronounced "ki" in Japanese and "nwyfre" in old-fashioned literary Welsh. After his death, his system of energy work was stripped of its occult dimensions and of every reference to the life force to produce the first draft of what we now call "hypnotism." 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 712,874th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it!

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***
 
 
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
John Winthrop Jr.It's getting on for midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of  John Winthrop Jr. (1606-1676), one of the first alchemists of colonial America, member of the Royal Society, and important figure in the founding of the Connecticut colony. The next time someone acts as though occultism consists solely of what was created in England between the founding of the Golden Dawn in 1887 and whenever Gerald Gardner finished penning his first Book of Shadows, I want you to think of this gentleman bending over an alchemical athanor and then checking a few lines in the writings of Hermes Trismegistus. 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 354,219th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar. 

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Geoffrey HodsonIt's a little past midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Geoffrey Hodson, one of the leading lights of the Theosophical Society in its post-Blavatsky era. Born in 1886 in England, he served in the First World War as a tank officer, and thereafter became a pacifist, vegetarian, mystic, and clairvoyant. He and his wife used to drive around the English countryside in a motorcycle and sidecar, taking notes on the local nature spirits. They later moved to Australia and then to New Zealand, where he finally died in 1983. 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 712,254th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it!

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Picatrix coverI had the chance a few days back to take a look at Dan Attrell and David Porreca's new translation of the Latin Picatrix, and was pleasantly surprised. Not, mind you, by the fact that it's a capable translation, well introduced and footnoted -- academic standards for such things are pleasantly high these days, and some of the absurd habits that used to pass unchallenged in the history of magic in previous decades have thankfully been put to rest for the time being. 

No, the surprise was that the translators were gracious enough to include the translation of the Picatrix Chris Warnock and I did in their acknowledgments, and also in a footnote, which I can't forbear quoting in full: 

"6. Though there already exists a good translation of Pingree's Latin Picatrix, translated and edited by the respectable duo John Michael Greer and Christopher Warnock, their edition appears to be directed toward practicing 'students of medieval and Renaissance magic' or 'students of the occult' rather than toward an audience of historians. See Greer and Warnock, Picatrix, 19." (Attrell and Porreca, Picatrix, 281)

Of course Attrell and Porreca are quite correct. The translation Chris and I did was specifically intended for people who want to practice the magic of the Picatrix; the introduction, notes, and even in some cases the choice of words in our translation were guided by that intention; and it's quite reasonable that historians, whose concerns are very different from those of magical practitioners, would want a translation of their own. 

For quite a long time, though, it was de rigueur in the end of the academic community that studies magic to pretend that the modern occult scene doesn't exist, or -- when that scene forced its attention on the academy in some way or another -- to look down their noses at those of us who have kept up the habit of practicing these things. I've sometimes thought of this as being akin to the legendary disdain of the physicist for the engineer, or more generally of those who study theory for those who roll their sleeves up and get into the messy realm of practice. That disdain wasn't helpful for either side, and it's good to see it giving way to something a little closer to mutual respect. 

I haven't had the chance to go through Attrell and Porreca's translation in detail yet, but it looks very capable, and I'd encourage anyone whose interest in the Picatrix focuses on history (rather than practice) to pick up a copy. Of course those who are more interested in practice already know where to find a good translation... ;-)

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
HermitixA lively hour of conversation about collapse and occultism. Have a listen here









ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Georgie Hyde-LeesIt's getting on for midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Georgie Hyde-Lees.  She's mostly remembered these days as William Butler Yeats' wife, which is unfair; she was an active member and high-ranking initiate of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in its prime, and a gifted visionary whose clairvoyant capacities were responsible for bringing through the material Yeats assembled into his book of occult philosophy, A Vision

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 712,254th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
BlavatskyIt's getting on for midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of the inimitable Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, co-founder and moving spirit of the Theosophical Society, who played a larger role than any other individual in kickstarting the modern revival of occultism in the English-speaking world, and who was also about half the reason you've heard of a place called Atlantis (and very nearly the entire reason you've heard of a place called Lemuria). 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 712,254th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***


ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Evangeline AdamsIt's getting on for midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Evangeline Adams, whose celebrated court case victory made it legal to practice astrology in the US. Among her clients was the immensely rich J. Pierpont Morgan, who is reputed to have said, "Millionaires don't use astrology, but billionaires do." 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 154,995th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it!

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***
 
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Florence FarrIt's getting on for midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Florence Farr, a famous actress of the late 19th century British stage and a leading initiate of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The instrument is a psaltery tuned in quarter tones, built by musicologist Arnold Dolmetsch, with which she used to accompany poetry readings by fellow GD adept William Butler Yeats. (Yeats' essay on the subject can be read online here.)

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 128,715th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
PapusIt's midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Gerard Encausse aka Papus, one of the most influential French occultists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the author of numerous books. (One of his major works, Elementary Treatise of Occult Science, has just been published in a fine new English translation by my friend and sometime coauthor Mark Mikituk, and can be obtained here. For some reason the publisher slapped my name all over the publicity, even though all I wrote was the foreword.) 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all. If you're in a hurry, or suspect you may be the 225,854th person to ask a question, please check out the very rough version 1.0 of The Magic Monday FAQ here.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar. 

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

 
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Christine Campbell ThompsonIt's midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Christine Hartley, aka Christine Campbell Thompson, Dion Fortune's literary agent (and a significant writer and editor in her own right), and a leading member of Fortune's Fraternity (later Society) of the Inner Light, the most influential magical order in mid-20th century Britain. 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar. 

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
 I'm delighted to report that two new anthologies are about to hit the bookshelves -- one of them with a contribution by me, the other entirely my work. 

Ascendant 1Ascendant is the first of a projected series of anthologies on the subject of polytheist theology and philosophy of religion, published by Neos Alexandria, one of the liveliest of the current polytheist religious organizations. It's got essays by some of the leading lights of today's polytheist revival, wrestling with an assortment of Big Questions from the standpoint of belief in many gods. My essay, "The One and the Many: An Essay on Pagan Neoplatonism," takes issue with the common but mistaken confusion that sees Neoplatonism as monotheist, on the one hand, or monist on the other. I think it came out well, but it's far from the best piece in the book. If you're interested in the philosophical and theological dimensions of polytheism, this is not a book you'll want to miss. 

A Magical EducationA Magical Education is the first of three anthologies of my talks and essays, published by Aeon Books. This volume includes nine of the talks I gave at a variety of Pagan and occult conferences  between 2001 and 2010 -- specifically, the nine most popular talks, the one I was asked to give again and again. As a taster, here are the titles of the talks: 

1 - A Magical Education
2 - Magical Ecology
3 - The Secret History of Neopaganism
4 - Victorian Sex Magic
5 - Understanding Renaissance Magic
6 - Magic, Metapolitics, and Reality
7 - Alchemical Initiation
8 - Healing Through the Elements
9 - Paganism and the Future

The two remaining volumes, The City of Hermes and Beyond the Narratives, include between them nearly all of the short pieces I published between 1993, when my first article saw print, and 2015. 

Ascendant will be in print within a matter of days, and I'll post something here as soon as it sees print. A Magical Education will be out in March, but is currently available for preorder here, with free shipping worldwide. 
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Iolo MorganwgIt's midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Edward Williams aka Iolo Morganwg, poet, ritualist, opium addict, and one of the brightest stars in the glittering firmament of 19th-century literary forgery, who was responsible for more of the traditions of the Druid Revival than any other person. Did he make most of it up? Of course. Does that make it somehow inadequately Celtic? Well, Iolo was a Welshman, born and raised in a Welsh-speaking village in rural Glamorganshire, and trained in the exacting disciplines of traditional Welsh poetry -- that is to say, any one of his fingernails was more Celtic than the entire American Celtic Reconstructionist scene.

But I digress.

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar. 

With that said, have at it!

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Walter B. GibsonIt's midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Walter B. Gibson, one of the few professional stage magicians who was also a genuine occultist -- his 1966 book The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences, written with his wife Litzka, is a good summary of the state of popular occultism on the eve of the 1970s occult revival -- and also, of course, the pulp writer responsible for that iconic figure, The Shadow. ("Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows...")

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Any question received by midnight Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar. 

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. See you next week!***

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Josephin PeladanIt's getting on for midnight, so here we go with a new Magic Monday. The picture is of Joséphin Péladan (1858-1918), the extraordinary Rosicrucian art critic and magus of the Decadent movement, whose masterwork How to Become a Mage will be out next year in a new English translation. 

Ask me anything about occultism and I'll do my best to answer it. Please note that this Magic Monday will be closing early because I want to celebrate New Year's Eve without having to hover over this journal. Any question received by 10 pm Monday Eastern time will get an answer, though it may be Tuesday sometime before I get to them all.

I've had several people ask about tipping me for answers here, and though I certainly don't require that I won't turn it down. You can use the button below to access my online tip jar.

With that said, have at it! 

***This Magic Monday is now closed to new questions. Have a happy New Year celebration, and see you next week!***


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

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