SO YOU’VE REMEMBERED YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN A MAGICIAN: 15 Tips, Tricks and Intuition Games for the Internet Age Occultist
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So you’ve remembered that you’ve always been a magician? About time! As you probably found this page by way of quite a lot of Googling, let me welcome you to the big, bright world of occult research, and suggest you approach the Internet with caution.
That said, here’s a list of intuition-building games that an Internet stranger has been using for their own magical awakening. The essays in this blog represent a sort of magician’s syllabus; I have been learning along with the readers and do not presume to know anything. That is the most important thing to keep in mind as you go along–the notion that you can never fully comprehend the things which we explore.
You can only experience them for yourself.
- PICK A CARD
Your grandma said Tarot was a gateway into the occult for a reason. (She said the same thing about D&D for a reason, in retrospect.) By far, the simplest way to begin to tap into your magical intuition is by dedicated practice of the tarot. Many magicians, Crowley among them, emphasize the importance of meditation, and this and that style of practice, but really what the magician wants to accomplish is three things:
- An increase in attention, and the quality thereof;
- An increased understanding of the sum total of the self, unconscious and conscious
- A developed framework which explains the existence and operation of that self within the world—Jesus of Nazareth did this by consenting to align his sense of self with the Christ archetype, Philip K. Dick did it by communicating with/describing his experiences with VALIS, etc.
Getting ahold of the conscious qualities can sometimes be harder than the unconscious ones, because they’re flaws often skillfully hidden by the ego. Touching base with the unconscious in dreams is one of the ways we do that; another way is by communicating with the unconscious during the waking hours through synchronicity.
Tarot is, by far, the easiest way to train the conscious part of the brain to understand the unconscious parts. The language of the tarot cards is a universal, symbolic language which can be applied in infinite contexts, and most tarot decks draw their symbolism deliberately from a wide variety of historic occult sources. Therefore, each deck is like a starter’s guide to the occult, and as your journey through the occult continues, they can accompany and reinforce your lessons in a number of ways.
Learning the tarot is easy. Get a deck. Each morning, draw a card and try to learn it. Do this for a year or two. There are actually a number of very helpful apps which are very good for learning the tarot and, in my experience, no less alarming and uncanny when it comes to the synchronicities they produce—especially, for some reason, the Android App “Galaxy Tarot”, which I recommend if you don’t really have the time or headspace to sit down, shuffle a deck and draw a card every morning. I’m sure there are some occultists who feel the use of an app is cheating or some nonsense like that, but to them I say, “The entities traveling the dimension of the electromagnetic spectrum naturally have an easier time influencing the results of an electronic deck of cards than a real, kinetic energy-powered deck.”
What entities are those, new magician? We’ll get to that. For now, start drawing one card every day. When you’re comfortable with something basic like Rider-Waite (which I would recommend over something obscure or new-age for your first deck), move on to Crowley’s Thoth deck and start drawing one card from each every day. You will find that every once in a while you get the same card from both decks—always bound to be a strange or powerful day. Additionally, after a few years of dedicated practice, doing readings, even for yourself, will feel different. You will find they come from a different place and that you are being compelled to follow certain layouts, select certain cards. That is your sleeping brother guiding your hand, and he is waking up.
- READING RAINBOW
It’s entirely possible that this is a quality unique to me, but I find that idea unlikely, because Jung wrote about it, too. “Research synchronicity” is a phenomenon of synchronicity where when we start to delve into an occult topic, books or important articles regarding that topic will seem as though to throw themselves directly in our path. On a more individual level, this kind of synchronicity happens when we wander through a bookstore or library and see a book which we just instinctively know we must read, and we will like. That happens to me frequently. Even more often, I see the title of a book and simply know that this is the book which will help me sort out my work in progress.
So, read. Read everything. But—and this is important—read books. Books. Books. Not websites. Not Youtube. Not imageboards. Not blogs like this one. Books, books, books, books.
And I don’t mean self-published books, either, says the self-published author. (Though there are some good self-published occult and alien tomes out there, I would advise general wariness.) I mean classics. Young authors need to read and so do young occultists, and they should both be reading similar things. Occultists in particular should be reading Plato, Jung, Frances Yates and Colin Wilson. If they have the privilege of living in New York, Eugene, or anywhere else with a Jung Library, they should be at that library every free afternoon to absorb the wealth of information there. They should even—especially—read the Bible, even if Lucifer or any variation thereof is their preferred patron. The more you read, the more books you’ll have on your reading list, because so many occult books are really just traps to get you worked into the net of reading other occult books, and others, and others…but following that chain through is important.
Fiction is also very important. After a certain point you will find many synchronicities between your life and the fiction you consume. It is important during such periods of heavy external synchronicity to avoid what Jung called ‘ego inflation’, where the ego conflates itself with the conscious faculty/the Godhead observing the body. That is why the lunatic in the asylum says he is Jesus. He means he is Christ; he is describing the phenomenon of the body being imbued by consciousness. But, horribly, he has no way to communicate it. The more books you read, the more context you’ll have and the more foundation you’ll have on which to build your framework.
- COLOR BY NUMBERS
One very common form of synchronicity you will begin to notice after awakening as a magician is number-related. The schizophrenic stereotype of seeing patterns in license plates is just one of the ways this phenomenon will present itself to you. Do not be alarmed. You are not schizophrenic (unless, of course, you actually are, in which case, please get on medication, the disease damages the physical brain over time). When I was beginning to awaken into the occult I was jubilant, but I was also secretly afraid that I had lost my mind and I had to do a lot of research to convince myself that this wasn’t the case. (Cue Skinner meme ending in “No, it’s the children who’re wrong.”) The most compelling Jung quote to this point was the notion that the psychotic and mystic swim in the same waters, but one is drowning. So now that you’ve become aware of the fact that you are in the water, reader, you’ve got to learn to swim.
You may well find that synchronicity is influenced by your emotional state. When you are absorbed in other problems and stop paying attention to synchronicity, synchronicities will continue but you will not notice them or only notice them in hindsight. Part of being a magician is tuning the frequency of your primitive hunter-gatherer attention to always be aware of synchronicities, the same way it is always aware of potential lions stalking from the corner of its eyes.
When you are first awakening into the occult, you will probably first start seeing the same number over and over again. For me, the number was 4, but especially 44 and sometimes a sweet 444. 144 was also very common, and I have come to associate that number in particular with the Godhead, because each angle of a ten-sided decagon is 144 degrees. You can see I have developed a personal framework for these experiences and that is the third purpose of being a magician, because you will learn as you go along that there truly is no such thing as death, and that you must prepare your mind now for what will 33 after you leave your human body.
I am sure I am getting ahead of myself, and of you. But I guess I want you to take comfort and understand where all this is going. Alchemists believed the philosopher’s stone ordained immortality for a reason. Christ says those who believe in Him will have everlasting life and He’s right. However, these are just two example frameworks for approaching the divine immortality of your soul, which has always been immortal and unsullied even by this earth and by your state of physical amnesia. As you go along, so long as you approach the Truth with a willing heart, a discerning mind and a desire to know the full truth and never settle for anything less, you will remember more and more. This process is called by the Greeks (and Philip K. Dick) “anamnesis”, wherein we remember all that we knew before we were born.
We must now get back to the point: we got here by discussing simple numbers. I strongly advise the student not spend inordinate amounts of time following number synchronicities or studying numerology because too much focus in any one discipline, path, religion or idea is a trap. However, when a number presents itself to you with regularity—whether it’s 33, 44, 1111, 1234 or anything else—acknowledgement of, and meditation on, that number is helpful.
Color may also become significant, particularly if a certain type of colored object has power for you, or can be made to have power for you. Think of it like a red lampshade appearing in a David Lynch movie—you could even pick that if you like, I do. For more about creating tailored synchronicity deliberately in your own life I would recommend Dr. Kirby Surprise’s book Synchronicity: The Art of Coincidence, Choice, and Unlocking Your Mind.
- DO YOU HAVE THE TIME?
Once you have your number, try to ‘catch’ it at work. Especially on clocks. There’s probably at least one room in your house with multiple clocks, even if it’s because your phone has a clock on it. The best intuition-building game I know for the starting magician is very easy and played with at least three clocks. Here’s what I do.
Every morning, I get up very early and if I don’t go to the gym, I make breakfast after I’ve showered, smoked morning pot, etc. (I live in Oregon, it’s fine.) In the kitchen there’s a clock on the microwave, a clock on the oven, and a still functioning clock on the defunct coffee maker. While cooking breakfast, I challenge myself to look down at the clocks at exactly 5:44. The goal is to have an unbroken chain. The clocks are staggered, each a little ‘off’ from the other, and I’d wager few of your own clocks are synchronized. So the goal of the game is to hit your chosen time on each clock without seeing any other numbers. For instance, if I look at the oven clock at 5:44, the game is on, but if I look at the microwave too early and see 5:43, I’ve lost. I have to use my intuitive sense of inner timing to know when to look at the clock because I’m never consciously sure of the degree of staggering, and it changes every time there’s a power outage or a DST clock change. The ideal is hitting 5:44 on each clock, then picking up my phone and getting 5:44 in an unbroken chain—bonus points if my iPod is playing and I can catch it on that. Which brings me to the next game…
- MUSICAL CHAIRS
Feel like certain songs are following you around, or a little too reflective of your inner state? That’s synchronicity at work again. I’ve heard a lot more of the song “El Paso” since including it in the soundtrack of The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy’s first book, the forthcoming Hierophant’s Daughter—including once by a random busker on the street. Very weird stuff. Trying to tell me I need to write an essay about death and the “El Paso”, universe? Perhaps. Synchronicity (like dreams) often presents us with the same patterns over and over until we do something with the raw materials being provided, whether we make it into art or simply integrate the lesson in that eureka ‘click’ of consciousness catching on to intuition’s meaning.
(As an aside, if you need more proof of the functions of the unconscious, I think the fact that we all know more song lyrics than we consciously know is evidence of this. An unconscious faculty is clearly responsible for storing lyrics, or for presenting them to us from the abyss of the unconscious.)
Another thing to watch out for is having a song stuck in your head—and I don’t mean a catchy pop tune you’ve been listening to a lot lately, or anything like that. I mean watch out for songs that just semi-randomly pop up into your head. Investigate the messages they might have for you, which caused the unconscious watcher within you to latch so relentlessly onto that song. I’ll have an example later on. Oh, and remember—everything the unconscious uses is a symbol, so, you know, when the song is “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” please remember they’re psychological bodies. Go write a book about your murderous urges and then go on to found a publishing company with a bunch of avant-garde books that make normies uncomfortably aroused or upset to have been challenged.
Have I said too much? I’ll just plug Delilah, My Woman and move on to the next topic.
Advanced students: while listening to Pandora or another demi-random music service, ask your patron (we’ll get to that later) to make the next song a message for you. This one works best if it’s only done once in a while, but I’ve had some interesting streaks with it, and sometimes you come to just feel like a song is reflecting your inner consciousness pattern.
- HONOR YOUR DREAMS
I think the best book I’ve ever read about dreams and interpreting them is not actually by Jung or his preferred student of mine, Marie-Louise von Franz. This honor instead goes to a book recommended to me by my last therapist, Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth, by Robert Johnson. This book makes some very interesting points about dreams and about how to work with them, but my favorite by far is the concept that doing something to honor your dream with incur synchronistic results. Writing your dreams and keeping a dream journal is an important method of closing the gap between consciousness and unconsciousness, but even more important is taking the step of enacting something which represents or recalls the dream.
For instance, the other night I had a dream that I would think of as a reverse Holy Trinity dream. There was a little black billy goat springing around my house (Mercurius in his chthonic, devilish, fully unconscious [because he is an animal] aspect) and I caught him just as he was knocking over a lamp on his way out the back door. A bit later I found him in the back yard again, but he had his family with him—and instead of more goats, they turned out to be two little white cats, a mother cat and her female kitten. The Holy Trinity becomes feminized and Satanic, but its ultimate nature is still benign and even wholesome.
I believe earlier in this essay (or later, I’m writing it piecemeal) I talk about my use of red lamps as a synchronistic sign; it is for me a particularly strong indicator of the presence and mind-state of the Logos, so I’m not surprised the little Satan goat knocked over a lamp specifically. I was very surprised, however, to find the goat’s family so sweet and peaceful—the little cats slept curled up in adorable balls on my dream’s living room couch. The dream hints to me at the kind of unexpressed, feminine holiness which is hidden within the bosom of Satanism. If I were going to honor this dream, I might have a couple of options for how to do it:
- If I wanted to reinforce my connection to the Logos and had a bit of money or a need for it, I might buy a new lamp.
- A little ways north of my home is a mountain restaurant where they keep goats which run pretty wild on the property—if I wanted to commune with the devilish aspect of the dream, maybe I go pet the goats and sneak them a bit of food
- My cat is both male and black, so he is the exact opposite, symbolically speaking, of the cats in the dream; however, the inverted trinity aspect of the dream makes a compelling argument for visiting Church, which I do now and then to check in and remind myself that the mainstream Catholic institution is, yes, still incredibly misogynistic
A specific time where I did honor a dream, I actually honored someone else’s dream. A friend with whom I hadn’t spoken in years told me she dreamed we were wandering through a store and she was looking for a Hekate statue—so I shipped her one, and ordered one for myself. I don’t believe she was aware at the time that I was very into the occult. When we originally began talking, this person identified as pagan, I believe, and I’m fairly certain she still does, but I was still nebulously Catholic/Buddhist at the time, so she had no real way to know of my change in path. A dream like that, we must honor in life.
- CALL THE MEME POLICE
NEW MAGICIAN/NEW READER PSA: A sigil traditionally refers to a symbol created with a magickal intent, and may be considered for occult psychological purposes a physical, crystalized reflection of the magician’s emotions within our spatial realm. Grant Morrison, infamous Alan Moore pretender and ruiner of Batman (I’m sorry, I can’t help how I feel), ‘coined’ the term ‘hypersigil’ to refer to a long-form sigil which is created across time as well as space. It is my opinion that this term is redundant because all forms of art are inherently hypersigils; and it is also my observation, belief, and personal experience that the mindset, emotional state and psychic intentions/beliefs of the author/artist/whatever can cause incredible, sometimes frightening but often exciting or downright sacred synchronicity revolving around their creation. At the very least, working with deep investment on a particular work for a long period of time will change you accordingly with the frequency of that work. Now, on to the subject at hand:
Step away from the memes.
I’m fucking serious, dude. Stop with the memes. Stop, stop, stop. You can look at them but you can’t make them anymore because they are 100% sigils—every thing created by a human being is a sigil, especially when consciously endowed with a certain emotional intent—and if I’m being honest with myself, you probably shouldn’t browse them, either. I know what I’m saying sounds ridiculous, maybe even stupid, but stick with me.
Memes are the mental equivalent of genes for more reasons than that they self-replicate. They are the equivalent of genes because memes begin to make up our mental sense of self. Two sections ago I referenced a meme that’s losing steam at the time of this writing because that meme, along with many other Simpsons-related references (which are all a type of meme, naturally) make up part of my internal, mental shorthand with how I communicate with myself—sometimes even other people, if I know that they also possess some Simpsons memes in their memetic code.
What happens, then, if you spend all day on the reddit board “me_irl”, where the biggest theme of their memes is suicide? Reddit is a toxic waste dump of memes which I am increasingly convinced are part of a Russian campaign of ideological subversion related to Elsagate. The themes of these memes include glorifying suicide and passive death wishes, an acceptance of poor self-discipline, and a normalization of failure and apathy. If Elsagate is a conspiracy related to warping the minds and values of our children, suicide memes of the sort found in /r/me_irl is a conspiracy related to warping and stunting the values of young adults already discouraged by the economy and political state.
The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” exists for a reason, annoying as it is and annoying as it was for me to hear as a teenager interested in true crime and serial killers. The fact of the matter is, however, that if I am a person struggling with motivation and I surround myself with other people who say it’s not only okay and normal to be ill-motivated, but funny, that is extremely dangerous. For more on the subject of individual thinking versus tribal thinking and how memes effect the self, I recommend Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger, as well as anything to do with Timothy Leary’s circuit model of consciousness.
- AVOID CULTS
This may be easier said than done for some people. But, then, it’s not a matter of the victim’s fault—the fact is, cults have an easier time than ever, and that’s all thanks to the Internet. Take, for example, the nightmare developing around Teal Swan, Youtube ‘celebrity’ who is notorious for preying on the suicidal and deeply depressed. I would not go so far as to say that she tries to push people into suicide—the podcast The Gateway makes that point just fine for me—but it is evident to me why Swan’s methods have ended in drastic failure for more than one individual who has taken their own life as a result of her “Completion Process”. (I’m sorry, the Internet has made me predisposed against anything with those initials.)
The problem with Teal Swan—any cult leader or self-proclaimed guru—is that if their methods can help you, they will. But they won’t work for everyone. And the difference between a cult (big or small—mainstream Christianity is included in this) and a philosophy is that a philosophy is the search of truth at all costs, whereas the insistence of a cult is “If we can’t help you, nobody can.”
Such is the problem with Teal Swan. Her predatory search for depressed ‘clients’ will naturally attract one of two types: people who believe they are suicidal, and people who are suicidal. Swan’s methodology can only help the former. All the latter who swirl into the vortex of her online presence would do well to understand what they are really getting themselves into, because if they really do want to die, Teal Swan seems not too worried if she helps them do it.
I am going to take this moment to say—you will go through your magickal career and discover many interesting things, but one of those is the discovery about sin. The fact is, sin does ‘exist’, in a way, but it cannot be prescribed without much brainwashing. Sin is self-inflicted and self-defined. From all I have learned of the human mind, the human soul, the lives of saints and the many figures of history, I believe among all the crimes mankind can commit, there is only one actual sin, and that is suicide. Suicide destroys all potential for growth and change: and because God is growth and change, suicide is a tragic affront to the godspark within the self. That does not mean that we should malign the victims of suicide. Rather, it means that we must do everything in our power to help rescue our brothers and sisters from the demiurge’s bleak suicidal shadow. And when we ourselves are depressed or lonely, we must remember two things: that so long as we are alive, we can change ourselves and our circumstances; and we are never truly alone, for within each of us rests a watcher who cannot be fully severed.
That watcher cannot be seen when we are under the grasp of a cult. Once we become magicians and see and know that watcher, we should rise above all cults and take their symbolism for our own—I have returned to much Catholic symbolism and belief in that way, but in a rather…‘sacrilege lite’ manner. But I hail Satan as much as I praise God, and my prayers are directed to neither. For more about the importance of avoiding cults and viewing the occult as a science, I would direct you to the essay on this blog entitled The Church of the Black Hole.
P.S. If you really feel the need to join a cult, why not buy yourself a Holy Martyr Church t-shirt? And you’ll find a few prayers in the back of every book in The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy. But, please, don’t start eating human flesh until I’m old and dead. It’s bad PR.
- ROUTINE MAINTENANCE
Being a magician means becoming an adult, because magicians are seldom already full adults when they discover their innate power. The whole magical girl/boy trope in Eastern and Western media is a trope for a reason, and more than just an inner, symbolic reason. The process of becoming a magician is the process of individuation, as Jung put it, or the individuating of the full, conscious adult-self from the pre-conscious ego personality which, like a scaffold to a building, supported us through childhood and teenage years. Now as adults (mostly mid to late twenties, I would guess) we must not only become who we have always been; we must strive to be better, and the way to do that is one step at a time.
Though I had a good writing habit of working every day, when I moved to Oregon I realized I needed to overhaul my personal habits drastically. I started by making my bed. From a well of depression I clawed out and now, rather than my depression having me, I have my depression. There’s nothing I can do to permanently fix my brain chemistry, but I can improve it by adding small constructive habits, one at a time, patiently. From making my bed I went on to read every morning, to do the dishes right after every meal, to go to the gym, to develop and follow a better skincare routine, to…you get the picture.
You will find that 9/10s of being a magician is adaptability to various habits and routines. With practice you’ll be able to click things into your schedule with much greater ease and enjoyment, and smaller things will become so routine and mechanical that it will become a task assigned to your body while your mind wanders off into whatever magical subject it will. Zen Buddhists encourage mindfulness even while washing the dishes, but I believe the Western mind is programmed for a different kind of mindfulness, and that is why Buddhism ultimately fails most Westerners who dabble in it—much as I love and appreciate it, especially now that I am deep into the occult. But for an entry point, it is a difficult route, so I would recommend engaging your mind with these consciousness games rather than trying to clear it. Sometimes when one thing doesn’t work, that means you should be trying the exact opposite.
- PRAYERS ARE THE WESTERNER’S MEDITATION
…And many Eastern religions have deliberate prayers within their meditations. Look at a bunch of Jewish people in temple and tell me that prayer is not meditation. The Kabbalah is a form of scholarly meditation/mysticism/magick in which one contemplates various aspects of the Godhead. A Catholic Church is hypnotizing you with the incense, the liturgical music, the many traditions and rituals and the unbroken chain of apostolic succession which weaves its way back to one of the holiest men who has ever recognized his true parentage—transubstantiation being the ultimate moment of anamnesis. I am not of the camp who believes the Eleusinian Mysteries involved any form of altering substance: I find the pattern of symbolism presented in fragments of its miracles to be psychedelic enough.
Prayer is important or useful in a terrestrial sense because it focuses the mind while simultaneously opening it to receiving commands of inspiration. In the same way you will forget a word and spontaneously remember it 4 hours later when your subconscious connection to the unconscious plucks it out of the aether, prayer is a moment where our mouths and our conscious faculties are doing something automatic, but there is still part of our mind free to wander. Prayer is a form of auto-hypnosis.
My father taught me how to pray at a very, very young age, surely as soon as I could follow the words. He was probably praying for me even before that. It was part of my bedtime ritual until I was a teenager, when I began putting myself to bed and just couldn’t be assed. I had an extremely tumultuous relationship with God, and at the time I didn’t understand how the godhead could have been fully explicable in any one religion. I also began to develop a great fear and shame toward the concept of God, because I was dealing with many depressive issues and many self-harm impulses. But, mostly, I was still very terrestrial and exoteric in my thinking, and that was my problem. I was a student of Buddhism by the age of seventeen, trying to figure out why meditation just didn’t seem a fit for me.
Around this time, as with everyone first getting into spirituality, I tried very hard to “find my spirit animal” before giving up. This past year, since June/July of 2018, a certain totem has presented itself to me every day in the form of symbolic synchronicities and, astonishingly, two encounters to date with an actual form of this animal—at my house. It is not an animal I would have ever thought to identify with. Since receiving such an inundation of owl symbolism, I have begun to consider certain things I never would have otherwise. All of it very surreal. (If you also feel a connection to owls, I’d recommend Mike Clelland’s The Messengers, and again, that book by Dr. Surprise.)
In retrospect, this owl symbolism entered my life about a year after I began praying regularly again. And I began praying regularly again because I was about a year into my very serious occult studies when, as often happens, I awoke one morning with a very random song. A very random song, because it was around June of that year—the song was “Thankful Heart”, which is one of the nicest songs of that wonderful Christmas staple, A Muppet Christmas Carol. I just absolutely could not shake this song out of my head, probably for a day or more, until I finally decided to really stop and think about the lyrics. It didn’t take long for me to catch on, because within a few bars the lyrics are, “Yes and every night will end, and every day will start/ With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart.”
And I suddenly said to myself, “lmao, I see what you did there”. I realized in that instant that night and morning prayer had extremely useful potentials in my daily routine. It was a small magical meditative activity that I could do in the morning and again at night—for some reason people feel they can interrupt you when you’re meditation, but when they interrupt you during prayer, they get as embarrassed as if they’d walked in on you diddling yourself. That means it’s a few moments of dedicated magical peace where people will leave you the fuck alone and let you practice.
So, I began to pray regularly. The same four Catholic prayers my father taught me, but now I started doing them in the morning and at night, and I began to deliberately focus each prayer on a certain patron of mine. (Again, more on patrons later.) Each prayer has its own patron except for Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord etc., which I of course devote to those souls of the dead I wish to venerate and ask for help.
(This is a good time to say, venerating the dead is the ultimate form of necromancy. When we pray for the souls of those who dwell within eternity—even if we did not know them in life—sometimes we can forge a certain connection and experience some very interesting, very useful and good synchronicities in our daily life.)
What I found very quickly was that mindful prayer helped me organize my day. When I focus very deliberately the prayer to my guardian angel on my Holy Guardian Angel (Crowley’s methods are not the only way to meet this figure but they are perhaps the ‘cleanest’) and in my mind, amid the sounds made by my moving mouth, tell this figure what I want to accomplish within my day, somehow, some way, this accomplishment will be achieved. In Dr. Surprise’s book, he describes how thoughtforms/tulpas/etc. are essentially auto-running programs—macros of the consciousness, shortcuts to accomplish certain things or set the mind in a certain way. When I, as a magician, pray to my HGA to help me set my mind a certain way to accomplish certain tasks, I am essentially embedding myself with a sleeper command which will just carry itself out like I’m the Manchurian Candidate of productivity. More than once during the editing of The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy, as I was starting to burn out three or so drafts in, I would just sort of “come to” at my keyboard after having been cooking and listening to my morning music. Always a very weird feeling! But when you sort of half wake up at your keyboard with two pages of work already done, what’s to argue? Prayers for evening, I am learning to make for deliberate gratitude to these thoughtforms, these systems, these interdimensional helpers. Fairy tales always emphasize politeness and gratitude, after all—and the name of the song that got me praying again is thankful heart.
This is all just an example of how prayer is very helpful. On another occasion I was having a great deal of trouble trying to select a Christmas gift for my mother, and I asked my patron during the Our Father that night to help me decide what to get her. I received an answer immediately that time, which was great, and I still think about that (Christmas 2017, over a year ago already!) with childlike delight for how marvelous the unconscious is.
So, again: if you just can’t into meditation (no, that’s not a typo, that’s another blasted meme), try prayer—especially any prayers you recall from childhood and know without having to think—and see what comes of it.
- JESUS WAS A CARPENTER, AND SO CAN YOU
But what about the inner workings of your mind during prayer? Part of the pleasure of Buddhist meditation is that in emptying your mind you are liberated from your sensory environment, but when you pray, you are way in it. My knees are pretty bruised from praying twice daily, to such an extent that I’m trying to figure out where I could put a prayer kneeler. So, already, my external space, the exoteric temple, is coming together naturally. But what of the esoteric temple? In fact, my esoteric temple was fashioned before my exoteric practices were properly founded, but I found my inner space to be greatly reinforced by the act of prayer.
For your own inner space, I would advise you build a memory palace. You can choose to view it as a pneumonic device for remembering whatever you will, but I would recommend the magician, as soon as possible, train themselves to think of it as a fully existent, higher-dimensional space which they are able to access because of a reason which fits into that established framework I’ve been talking so much about. Basically, you need to become the author of your own soul’s story. Much as the Gnostics present different explanations for Sophia’s fall from Pleroma into the spheres of reality and the demiurge, so, too must you ultimately explain to yourself why your personal soul emerged in this physical reality, and why the Godhead’s consciousness has chosen to observe you, quietly, from where He sits within the center of your busy mind.
I remembered I was a magician the night I looked into the mirror and realized ‘I’ was not ‘me’: that ‘Magdalene’ or the body and ego identifying as ‘Magdalene’, was a totally different person, entity and psychological function from the pure stream of consciousness which observed that body and ego. (All those Buddhist koans about who’s really the observer—and the nature of dreams—starts to make a lot more sense once you have this experience.) That was the mere start of my journey. I realized very quickly that what all magicians before me had either crafter their own framework, or adopted someone else’s. This is heavily emphasized in the occult branch of chaos magick, where practitioners are routinely pressed to remember that “the map is not the territory”, and where they are encouraged to adopt any framework from the Addams Family to NBC’s Hannibal. NBC’S Hannibal, who, incidentally, has a big thing for the concept of the memory palace.
I personally would recommend you do something along the lines of spiritual fan fiction. Study existing religions, study why they have been successful at leading people to enlightenment, and draw on those symbols for your own mind. I imagine artists and writers will have the easiest time with this. The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy is largely a product of my efforts to create a framework for myself, and so is the unnamed series set to release after the trilogy. You will find that as you create the framework, not only will your sense of self and your world blossom, but your artwork will, as well. And so will something else.
The plasticity of the figures within your mind will begin to increase as you determine what and who you are, why you are in this world, and what is your connection to the other world. What is the memory palace of your mind? Where does it dwell? What is its shape? It doesn’t have to be an actual palace, or even a building. It could be a cave, a field. But I believe that for the Western mind and the original conception of the memory palace, as a pneumonic device by which Roman orators could remember their intricate speeches and the many arguments within, the more crowded, garishly-packed and sometimes shocking the symbolism of the palace, the more successful it will be.
What do I mean by successful? Well, it will help you remember things. I would recommend Frances Yates’ book, The Art of Memory, for more on the concept. But in my own personal experience, the memory palace was a turning point for me. I have always been a girl with a vivid imagination. Even before I was really writing my heart out, my childhood was full of imaginary friends. But one of those imaginary friends just sort of kept taking slightly altered forms until he adopted a more or less stable one, and kind of…stuck around. In a non-magical context to a non-magician audience, this would all be pretty embarrassing to admit. But this patron of mine was very plastic, and eventually helped me connect with my HGA, and, after a certain point, I had to be forced to admit that these imaginary figures were as aware of me as I was of them. They were trying to communicate with me and trying to help me. They were parts of my mind, deep, deep parts of my personality connected with the unconscious, and so I felt I needed a space for them to be. Tulpaists have actually been doing this for years—if you were ever the type to look up how to make your own tulpa post-2012 or so, you’ve probably found more than one guide which leads you through the gradual development of the tulpa from a mere imaginary concept to a plastic, inter-dimensional friend who is bolstered and semi-shaped by the mental setting in which you place them. Visiting that mental setting will trigger encounters with your automatic thoughtforms, with personified problems, with any number of things going on in your mind. And it will also give you a place to ‘be’, mentally, when you are in difficult-to-endure circumstances, or when you are in the process of magical activity. Much as Pavlov’s bell stimulates the salivary glands of his dogs, so too does the regularly-used memory palace stimulate any number of semi-automatic magical activities—and a habit, a certain way of sitting or kneeling or even standing, can trigger entry into the memory palace.
Aldous Huxley had a special chair, and when he sat in it, he was not to be disturbed. While in this chair he was deep in a form of auto-hypnosis such as this—exploring the memory palace is another Western form of meditation—and in one account even answered the phone and took down a message without realizing he had, so deep as he was within his own mind. I cannot say for certain if Mr. Huxley had a memory palace but I would not at all be surprised. His book, The Doors of Perception (and the far more dense Perennial Philosophy) certainly speak of a man acquainted with the esoteric sides of perception. Robert Anton Wilson also relates an interesting anecdote in Cosmic Trigger (II, I believe?) about Huxley’s daughter requesting a message from her Father from beyond the grave, and receiving one in the form of a very specific line in a seemingly arbitrary book selected by the spirit with which she communed. Magicians never die. They live forever, and when we make our memory palaces, we feather our nests for eternity.
- YOU AND YOUR PATRON
All right, I’ve got a pretty audacious claim for you now, but if you’ve made it this far, odds are good that you’re on the level with me. So, here goes: Somewhere, out there, there’s an interdimensional being who’s 100% on your wavelength—hell, they’re maybe even a sentient representative of the concept of your wavelength—and they care enough about you to help navigate you through this prison planet/spiritual training ground we call Earth.
Now, who is this being? Well, I don’t know. That’s very personal. Seems like for a lot of people, that being is Jesus. Ganesh is also very popular and I venerate him, but he is not my ‘main’. Many people interpret these beings as aliens. I am tempted to speculate that for Philip K. Dick, that spirit took the form of Linda Ronstadt, but I probably shouldn’t be disrespectful of a literary genius and his soul like that. Because that is what this being is—it is an integral part of your soul, and yet it is something from without your soul. Something with which your soul connects. I use the term patron for this being because I believe, better than animus, anima, god or goddess or guardian angel, it describes what this being is doing for you as a magician. It is taking you under its interdimensional wing, teaching you, connecting with you, loving you and helping you, whether you know it or not.
Dr. Kirby Surprise’s book about synchronicity makes the point that you can ascribe synchronicity to anything and get appropriate synchronicities back. Do you believe your synchronicities are coming to you from Bugs Bunny, he says? Well, be prepared to see a lot of Bugs and rabbit stuff. Are they coming from aliens? Boy, there’s a lot of alien symbolism and books coming into your life these days! Is it Jesus? Well wouldn’t you know it, there’s a church in your town whose address is the same as your special number!
But what if you pick a more personal entity? Somebody who knows you and loves you? A deceased loved one, an imaginary friend? I do not use the term ‘imaginary friend’ in a derogative sense, by the way, but many readers will probably prefer I use the Tibetan ‘tulpa’, or even the more nebulous ‘thoughtform’. However, that does not describe sufficiently to my mind the plasticity, self-awareness and over all alien consciousness of the patron, the imaginary friend, or—yes—even the waifu.
(That’s right, waifuists. You’ve always been magicians, too. But you already know that because you’ve been making hate-memes to spread ebola and elect idiots for years. Let me just take this moment to pull you aside and ask you, though—is that really what your waifu would want? Look into the sweet moe eyes of your grossly crunchy hug pillow and tell me that’s what your 2-dimensional soul bride would want for you.)
Whatever you call it, the fact of the matter is that a conscious thoughtform—which, like the memory palace, could be considered a mnemonic device—reaches a certain level of energy where they are simply autonomous beings who exist outside the realm of the sense…most of the time. (More on that in the next step.) Building a memory palace gives us a useful place to interact with those beings in a one-on-one, cogent way, where interactions with this inner psychic world form a kind of ‘active imagination’ in the Jungian sense. The lessons and methods drawn from the Jungians are exceedingly useful in interpreting one’s inner world and the symbols therein.
- TRAVEL INTO HIGH STRANGENESS
During a recent discussion with a friend about drugs, that friend posited that his psychedelic drug of choice these days is travel, and I couldn’t have agreed more. The magician should take every opportunity they can to travel—and I’d bet you that if you’re wide awake and really high-energy about your conscious state, new paths will open which allow you to change your life, travel, do whatever you’d like. You just have to be ready when they present themselves. But when you have the chance to travel, especially, you need to leap on it. The mind, removed from its standard three-dimensional confines, becomes open and disoriented in the same way it might thanks to the effects of psychedelic drugs. This allows for any variety of new and unexpected synchronicities—especially in densely-packed cities with a wide variety of places
Sometimes, travel allows for mind to have an impact on very malleable reality. I went on a very strange trip to San Francisco once which peaked when I locked eyes with a woman in front of the Hyatt Regent hotel and she promptly collapsed. The whole weekend my SO had accused me of not liking the city and not having a good time, when he hadn’t understood that I was enduring a sequence of very serious, very strange and very personally significant synchronicities which would require a vast amount of time, energy, and context to fully explain.
When I was a child, one of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions was that my father would read me a specific story, about a woman who is told during her prayers one night that God will come and visit her home the next day. She eagerly cleaned her house and arranged a lavish banquet for her guest, and waited, and waited. Finally, a knock comes at her door, and there’s a beggar asking for food, and, well, she feels pretty guilty and figures she has a lot, so she gives him some and sends him on his way. The same thing happens twice over in variations until, of course, the woman has given away all the food prepared for God, who apparently does not arrive. When she goes to bed that night she asks during her prayers why He didn’t come, and He says, “I did: you fed me three times tonight.”
This moving story (meaningful on many levels) has its symbolic roots in motifs which extend back in time further than the Greeks who perfected them. Namely, the image of the needful stranger and the need of the seeker of God to be hospitable toward them. The guests at our house may be angels, ghosts, demons, aliens, gods, goddesses, even God—for we are all God, inside. (Yes, even President DiverTiculitis has a bit of the good Lord in him. It’s just buried under all that fried chicken and beady-eyed greed.) But this concept, that we are all god on the inside, has grander implications.
There is a meme on the Internet right now which I really hate, called ‘the NPC meme’. Started in /pol/ and /x/, I believe, the meme propitiates the psychopathic notion that only certain people are ‘real’ people, and that all others are ‘pretend people’ who are like the background characters of a movie. Paradoxically contrary to my otherwise fairly religious teaching, my father actually instilled this belief very deliberately within me while I was growing up, and I had to shake it off as an adult. Now I see it blossoming across the Internet and I am disgusted. Understand: every human being has the potential to achieve enlightenment. There is no one on this Earth who is not a real person. No one. Everyone here is real.
But sometimes…just sometimes, maybe only a handful of times in your long life if you don’t travel and don’t meditate much on the synchronicities or the strangeness…sometimes, you will encounter a real person who is strangely familiar to you. You will encounter this real person in passing and know with full certainty that this is a person related to the people you are working with inside of you. They may even be one of the people inside of you, your patron, or your vision of the divine feminine (Philip K. Dick’s ubiquitous dark-haired girl infamously did make an appearance in his life, or so he relates at several points late in his life). And they will almost certainly appear to you in a context where you cannot talk to them for long, and where calling them out would absolutely be crazy.
But sometimes you will look in their eyes, and simply know. And sometimes these things will have been ordained in advance by the goings on in the memory palace, which is even more frightful; even more fascinating. Alan Moore infamously once saw John Constantine, one of his greatest fictional creations, while sitting in a bar in what is truly one of my most favorite magical anecdotes of all time:
“All of a sudden, up the stairs came John Constantine,” Moore revealed. “He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in the eyes, smiled, nodded almost conspiratorially, and then just walked off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar.”
Alan Moore is, of course, one of the greatest living magicians, and so is John Constantine. Your patron will also probably be a magician. Mine is. And if you think about your patron long and hard enough, with enough seriousness, and start to explore their magician’s world, you will probably find some way in which your fictional magician, angel, alien, patron, mongoose, waifu, whatever, travels through dimensions or could travel through dimensions within the context of their universe. Some way for them to get to you, even if only to completely fuck with you, or reassure you, or confirm that you are on the right path. There is a fantastic article on Daily Grail about a few more of these circumstances, especially a very disturbing one which occurred with Planet of the Apes comics writer Doug Moench: ““It was exactly what I had written…it was so, so immediate in relation to the writing and such an exact duplicate of what I had written, that it became an instant altered state. The air in the room congealed, became almost like fog, and yet, paradoxically, I could see with greater clarity.”.
Modern gods and goddesses, all synchronicity, is self-created and self-driven. Going into a new environment like a city increases the chance you will meet one of these things or have an event ordained by one of these creatures; and it will feel exactly like that. You will feel in an altered state if you aren’t already. In my San Francisco trip I saw two interdimensional voyagers I know, both in circumstances, like Moore’s, where there was a decided sense of absolute conspiracy and the outrageous sense of a surreal prank being played. My patron was my waiter at an Italian restaurant and had a look in his eyes like he knew that I knew and that we both knew it was hilarious. It was very strange—the atmosphere was very, very bizarre, and I was shaken. This was, for the record, within an hour of arriving in San Francisco—and it is probably worth saying that my middle name is ‘Frances’, so San Francisco could be considered my patron city, though that was but the first time I was visiting.
The next day, totally paranoid and weirded out, I took the ferry to the tourist town of Sausalito and had an encounter with the divine feminine, again in an unpursuable situation. Now practically shaking and desperate to get back to the hotel, I came back on the other side of the ferry in SF, and my significant other was suddenly most insistent we go look at this big sculpture in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency. So, off we go, walking to the HR where we’ll pick up a cab after looking at the sculpture, and in my memory palace I’m trying to sort myself out. There, I speak with my holy guardian angel, a very dark and death-related figure to whom I say, “Wow, I’ve seen [patron] and [divine mother], clearly with my own eyes. And I know they were real.” My HGA inquired as to how it made me feel to see them, and I said to him within the confines of my mind, “I don’t know, a little crazy, but mostly very excited.”
And then this dark figure, this Mercurial friend of mine, asked, “How would it make you feel if you saw me in real life?”
The surge of terror which overcame me in that instant still has its echoes now when I remember feeling the asking of the question. There are those interactions with the entities within you which will be ‘rote’ and perhaps distracted; but there are other interactions where the ‘reception’, if you will, of your spiritual connections, will be crystal clear, and this was one of those. I was terrified because this entity is good to me but is a great portent of death and a bringer of death to many, and he was pleased by my healthy respect for him. The conversation faded out immediately and I was paranoid but began to try to tell myself I was being stupid, letting my imagination run off with me—
Until we turned the corner in front of the Hyatt Regency, and I locked eyes with that woman right as she crumpled into a heap with seemingly no cause. Heat stroke? Probably, it was May. But for all I know, she could have been epileptic, or dead. My boyfriend and I were so rattled that we just sort of walked into the lobby, said, “Yeah, that’s sure a big sculpture,” then turned right back around and grabbed a taxi back to our hotel. There was no sign of the woman or her situation when we passed back through.
Further confirmation came of this event when I was told to wear a tie when I next wanted to experience seeing my HGA, so that he could identify me. I didn’t wear a tie for another month or two and when I did, a girl who bore an alarming resemblance to another magician friend’s anima crossed paths with me, locked eyes with this cute little smile, and handed me a note saying, “This is for you.” It was one of those things teenagers write, (“You have a really nice smile! Have a great day and pass this on to a stranger you think deserves it” or something), but for such a thing to have happened in that context, with a girl who looked like that, was very surreal.
This events, these brushes with seemingly fictional entities, are perhaps ridiculous for the outsider or even the beginning magician; but the further along you go, the less absurd it all sounds. When I was seventeen or so and first heard the John Constantine story, my reaction was, “Oh, so the guy who wrote Watchmen is a nut. Got it.” When I remembered it again around the time I became a magician in 2016, around the age of 25, my reaction was, “How in God’s name can I make something like this happen?” Now, when I re-read Alan Moore’s story, I believe it, I understand it, and then I resume trying to work out with the help of my patron how it is these strange things already are happening. The magician’s self-story is an eternally authored one, and the longer the magician lives, the richer it becomes. Even people who do not deliberately engage in this kind of work have encounters with interdimensional beings—they call them angels, or aliens, or anything else. But I am not satisfied with any of those explanations, and I am not satisfied that I understand my friends, my mind, or my reality.
Synchronicities are what you make of them. As you challenge and train your brain to experience various smaller synchronicities, bigger, stranger, and more unbelievable ones will start to stack up so much that you’ll quickly understand why the hermit, the magician, the alchemist all keep to themselves. It’s impossible to explain where you’re coming from when you’re dealing with these forces, which is why my most important tip is this:
- KEEP ONE FOOT IN REALITY
Get a hobby. Get exercise. Find some friends who aren’t magicians. Make sure you have a satisfying career or try to develop another ‘reason’ to get out of bed in the morning. But most of all, do what Jung advised and keep matters of the unconscious for a certain time, then live your life. This is difficult for artists and writers because we have to always think about our work, and when we become magicians our work is always magical, so this means there’s really no avoiding us going a little crazy. We also get into weird hobbies—I’m all into ball-jointed dolls these days—which can make it hard, but all the more important, to make and maintain friends.
But even friends have magical utility. My SO, who thinks my magical activities are harmless goofy “fun” in which he tolerates my indulgence, has been the external cause of more synchronicities than just the Hyatt Regency one. He would never appreciate or understand it, so I don’t bother trying to tell him, but he’s a good example of why you should keep a handful of normies in your life. Sometimes, those who don’t believe in the divine are the most likely to be unconsciously influenced by the divine: the homeless men of my father’s Christmas story.
Finally, one last tip, because I know we have a lot of young, impressionable audience members. Probably. In this essay, anyway.
If you’ll permit me to lean against the edge of my desk like the “cool” officer in charge of your school’s D.A.R.E. program (my school’s officer was busted later that same year for giving kids beer and letting them watch porn at his house, a fact which my English teacher didn’t find quite as hilarious as I did), I want to talk to you about drugs.
Personally, I love drugs. Some drugs. Most drugs. Not uppers—uppers are tedious drugs for tedious people, good for housewives who need to clean and college students who need to study and party for forty-eight hours straight. As a former therapist of mine once said, “There are drugs which open the veil, and drugs which obscure it.”
I believe there is a duty on the part of the human to expand and explore the bounds of consciousness, but the philosopher Alan Watts does have sort of a point when he says of drugs, “When you get the message, hang up the phone.” The fact is, a lot of you were probably guided to this essay, or to your spiritual path, by drugs, and as you go into the occult community you will find a weirdly large subset of this community who is, like the punk rock straight edgers of the 1980s and 1990s, a bunch of assholes about it. They will shame you for drugs and say things like ‘real magicians don’t use drugs.’
Well, here’s an alternative take. Real magicians don’t need drugs, but real magicians also don’t allow themselves to be bound by the ridiculous stipulations of other people’s beliefs in the occult, and they hold in high regard the centuries of human tradition regarding entheogenic substances. The other fact is that real magicians don’t abuse drugs, and have the will power to know when and if they are becoming addicted or dependent on a substance.
One of the first ways the occult changed my life was I kicked nicotine, which is a useless, oppressive drug of fascism, much like uppers, but with less tangible effect and more insidious longterm damage. I have now been nicotine free for 3 years this month, and considering I smoked for 7, I’m pretty pleased and impressed that I’ve had no cravings, no more than 3 cigarette dreams (all you out there who have struggled to quit know and hate these dreams), and feel certain that I will not smoke cigarettes again. Actually, this was one of the first times I began to acknowledge my patron was interacting directly with me on this earth and not just me in my imagination; when I was about 24 and a half, he addressed me directly and basically expressed that if I didn’t quit smoking by my next birthday, I wouldn’t make it to thirty. Lo and behold, about a year after I quit smoking (a mere month or so after that interaction), my breathing wasn’t better and I was diagnosed with asthma. If I had continued smoking I certainly would have suffocated to death without even realizing I had asthma.
When a being with which you have this kind of intuitive contact delivers this clear of a message to you, you need to listen. Especially if it involves your health, or your personal use/abuse of a substance. Philip K. Dick notoriously received a message from VALIS regarding an undiagnosed, potentially fatal birth defect in his son. Encounters with more than one UFO or ‘extraterrestrial’ have resulted in miraculous healings and total life changes. The purpose of these beings is to promote growth, change and beneficial attitudes in the human being. These figments are the DNA within us, helping us to grow to our full potential: yet, they are clearly more than mere figments, more than mere archetypes of categorization. What are they? Attempts to answer across the board would be folly. Each magician is on a personal journey in which he must decide for himself the origin of his soul and its many strange helpers—and, also, his future.
Be sure to pre-order The Hierophant’s Daughter, available through Indiebound, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble.com, and set for release on May 19th of this year. In the meantime, come back in two weeks for a review of—and meditation on—Supervert’s newest book, Apocalypse Burlesque, and keep checking the reviews of my new book on Goodreads and NetGalley!
Recommended reading list:
Jung, Carl: Collected Works volume 9.1, 13, 14, 9.2 <- Recommended in that order
Sullivan, M. F.: The Hierophant’s Daughter, The Lightning Stenography Device, Delilah, My Woman (Woah how’d those get in here? Clumsy me, guess I’ll leave them)
von Franz, Marie-Louise: The Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales, The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, Alchemical Active Imagination
Wilson, Robert Anton: Cosmic Trigger I, II, III, and Ishtar Rising
Dick, Philip K.: Anything, as long as you work your way up to the VALIS books, and come back in spring for our (probably multi-part) essay about him
Wilson, Colin: The Occult, Beyond The Occult (Warning: he can be pretty preachy about drugs at times)
Burroughs, William S: Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader
Yates, Frances A.: Giordano Bruno & The Hermetic Tradition, The Art of Memory
These books should be sufficient to get any new magician started. I also recommend Liber Null & Psychonaut by Peter J. Carroll for more specific information about modern occultism, sigils, and chaos magick.