Strange Days call for Strong Magic

These are strange days indeed as, following a diversity of approaches, we all try to make our way through this time of pandemic. As with any complex multi-layered phenomena it can be comforting to look for simple, easy to perceive, patterns. I’ve written before how, when faced with complexity—especially complexity that could be threatening—it can feel good to take refuge in uncomplicated messages; ‘Lockdown harder!’ … ‘End the lockdown!’ … ‘Vitamin C will save us all!’ And on and on and on. While such straightforward responses make perfect sense in terms of human psychology, they are quite inadequate when it comes to dealing with the uncertainty we all face today. (We actually face uncertainty everyday, but the global pandemic has thrown this into stark relief, especially for people who don’t normally get to wrestle with potentially life-threatening, economy-crashing changes to their reality or inconvenient changes to their travel arrangements).

Rather than trying to make over-simplistic sense of things, a smarter approach is to ensure that we are in the best physical, psychological and spiritual place possible to address the innumerable micro-decisions that make up our lives.

At a metaphysical level I, and many others, have been doing this by working with the Hearty sigil. This isn’t one practice but many approaches, using the sigil as the anchor for our aspiration to put care at the heart of the pandemic process. To empower, and support the awareness of, the many examples of this heartfelt care. We could, as communities, chose to do nothing; simply let people suffer and die as this new illness races around the globe. But, however imperfectly, it seems the collective process of responding to the pandemic has, at its best, been driven by feelings of care for, and solidarity with, others.

Hearty sigil placed within a radionics chart, by a magician living in Italy

Meditation and magical work to support those caring for people sick with COVID-19 and its associated traumas is incredibly valuable. If nothing else such acts of magic offer much needed psychological support for those working at the sharp end of the current crisis, and on their behalf, I thank all those working with Hearty and other caring magics at this delicate time.

May care be held in our Hearts

Meanwhile, to help keep our spirits up and share some magical goodness, the My Magical Things series on the Deep Magic YouTube Channel is continuing its mission to frivolously entertain (and incidentally educate) the discerning viewer. One of the participants, occultist and academic Amy Hale, pointed out that it is turning into a fascinating ethnographic journey through contemporary occulture. Christina Oakley-Harrington, occultist, academic and founder of the iconic occult bookstore Treadwell’s, also made the wise observation of how My Magical Thing allows us to see deeply into people’s practice. Christina pointed out that if you ask an esoteric practitioner ‘so what is it that you do?’ you’re likely to get a rather stock answer. However by asking about an object we get to understand that individual’s process much better; by inference, from the type of thing they choose, the way they explain its story, and how they describe what it means to them.

Today’s new episode of the show is with Carl Abrahamsson sharing his super powerful magical thing… enjoy!

Write on magical things…

I’m going to keep this project running for a while and have been really delighted and honoured by people’s willingness to join in. Please like, share and subscribe, as they say 🙂 It has also been interesting to see, from my conversations before and after filming, that many occultists are dealing relatively well with phenomena such as lockdown, or working all hours in the caring services. Perhaps this is a result of their ability to see the bigger picture, rather than just their personal desires and circumstances. Maybe it’s engendered by a deep awareness that ‘everything flows, nothing is static’ and that ‘this too shall pass’. It could also be due to reticence to get swept up in those unasked for evocations of one’s ‘Inner Torquemada’ which, depending on circumstances, may be visited on others (generally through the medium of internet chatter) as lockdown vigilantism, ‘Bill Gates is the Devil’ memeplexitis, or any number of other narrow, debilitating reality tunnels.

Other recent work for me has included adding more techniques to the Imagination and Wellbeing resources on my new teaching site. I’m pleased to say that I’ve had lots of positive feedback from people who have used the material there. Some of these films were commissioned by the British National Health Service (NHS) mental health services. As a teacher it has been a great opportunity to bring methods I’ve learnt in occult contexts—to centre ourselves, to come into our power, and bring our attention to the good—to a much wider audience (who tend to be put off, or at least nonplussed, by all those barbaric words of invocation or visualizations of angelic beings).

Inevitably, all the direct magical teaching I’m doing these days is now online. I’m going to be opening the virtual temple with Treadwell’s starting next week with Advanced Elemental Magic for Beginners. This is going to be a journey through the classical four elemental system, designed to bring a new depth to the practice for those who are already using it, and to introduce people new to magic to a method which is ubiquitous across global spiritual traditions. Next up we will have a spot of Left-Hand Path Tantra (bring your own skull for the Chod ritual) and a workshop on Cleansing, Banishing & Centering that will present some of the material I’ve curated in a non-magical idiom for the NHS but here with the esoteric content reinstated; plus more specifically occult methods of clearing and making sacred space. Forthcoming classes will feature the Magical Qabalah and Psychedelic Magic. For these, and other services that Treadwell’s are providing, please check out their site.

Across the other side of the great river from me (here in sunny Devon) is Soror Brigantia (in sunny Wales). Former Section Head of The Magical Pact of The Illuminates of Thanateros (IOT), she has started a YouTube series (must be something in the air…). She kicks off with an interview with the current Section Head of the British Isles (‘Sections’ are the autonomous regional groups within the IOT). Historically the IOT has refrained from publicly making statements simply because, while the group has a basic organizational structure, it has no centralized authority which can offer pronouncements (unlike say Ordo Templi Orientis or The Servants of The Light). However the rules of the IOT network are such that people can, of course, talk about their own practice quite openly if they want (I do this all the time). Soror Brigantia’s work is going to be a breath of fresh air, giving people a genuine insight into the ‘The Pact’ (as members often refer to it). This is a fascinating opportunity for people to learn about an international magical network that I value very highly, from people who know it from the inside. Stay tuned to her channel for updates.

In these times of turbulence and trouble let’s also recognize that out of disorientation and chaos can come marvellous things. ‘What disorientates us is good’ as Timothy Leary once observed. Paradigms can shift in innumerable ways and, while we should keep an eye on what the nefarious forces in our world are doing, it behoves us to invest in our own well-being and that of all those around us. Stay centred, breath, laugh when we can and banish often.

By all means listen to the concerns of 5G-causes-coronavirus conspiracy theorists; for their anxious state of mind is certainly genuine, if not perhaps the focus of their fears. By all means check out the latest ‘research’ on epidemiology by the bloke who (until recently) was the guy in the pub giving you financial advice about Bitcoin. By all means listen to the waffling of antipodean alcoholic armchair archonologists if you find that passes the time in an amusing way. We should listen, and care for, the fears that hide behind the swaggering certainty of the twitter ninja and the keyboard warrior. We must also take time nourish ourselves with good soul-food: To express our gratitude for what we have, to do practices to help us remain open to new possibilities (even on issues as apparently fundamental as to whether vaccine hesitancy is a good or bad thing), to cultivate a clear mind, and to attempt to be less panicked by the uncertainty that we all live with in every moment. Not easy, but no Great Work ever is.

And now, a quick list of other cool things coming up…

Magic, Witchcraft, Chaos and BeyondAN INTRODUCTION TO CHAOS MAGIC – 4th July 2020 at 14:00 BST
Dave Lee and Niki Hughes will provide a comprehensive introduction to Chaos Magic. There is possibly no better introduction as Dave wrote one of the most accessible and thorough books in the field of Chaos Magic—Chaotopia. Let the author himself to guide you in the discovery of all things Chaos Magic, aided by his one time student, and now accomplished practitioner and tutor in her own right, Niki Hughes.

Mermaid of Unconscious has broken out of Facebook and onto YouTube! Check out her interview with Soror Brigantia on the chaos magical tradition known only to elite initiates (and anyone with access to the internet) as Disco Voodoo. Enjoy!

The next chapter of The Rose of Paracelsus goes live very soon. If you’ve not heard the first one you can listen here. Chapter 2 is read by the esteemed Brother David and will also appear on Lorenzo Hagerty’s fabulous and long running podcast Psychedelic Salon. (Remembering our prisoners in this time; some now temporarily released but others still locked down in what can only be described as inhumane conditions (even when there is no pandemic), by cruel and pointless laws. May they be safe, may they be free! Aho!)

Finally my friend Daniel, of Tam Integration, and I will be on a thing called Instagram Live (apparently) this coming Friday 29th May at 7:30pm British Summer Time which is I think is 11:30am in California. Join us for conversation on magic, psychedelics, pandemics, transformation and more. Check out our respective Instagram feed thingies https://www.instagram.com/tamintegration/ and https://www.instagram.com/julian.vayne

Thanks for being there wonderful people!

Respect and Be Well

Julian

🙏❤️🌈

The Heart of the Matter: a Magical Response to COVID-19

As many of us are now showing our solidarity by being on retreat I’d like to make a suggestion for some shared magical work to address the coronavirus pandemic.

This working was initially suggested by a member of the Illuminates of Thanateros and I’d like to thank that Brother for starting the process.

Many people will be already be doing magical work in many different ways and what I’m suggesting here allows for that diversity. We needs lots of approaches to address this crisis, in multiplicity there is strength.

To help link our magical work together this is the suggested sigil which has been named ‘Hearty’ for all the obvious reasons:

The sigil can be used as a focal point for various types of magical action including:

Sending vibes of solidarity, care, admiration and positive power to all those in the caring professions, teachers, medical staff and the many others who are at the front line in this pandemic.

Conjuring for breakthroughs in medicine, treatment, the discovery of a vaccine and other technologies and approaches to reduce suffering and support healing.

Sending spells to directly affect the virus to reduce its rate of transmission and severity.

Doing some classic shamanistic or trance work to enter the imaginal world and battle the virus.

Calling into manifestation those timelines in which our species respond to this challenge in ways that support better ways of living together on the planet and with all our relations (both human and non-human).

There are many other ways you could choose to work with the sigil. Your practice could be as simple as creating your own image of Hearty or bringing it up on screen and making prayers of gratitude and asking whatever spirits you work with for their help.

You could try some Tonglen practice using Hearty as the gateway image, breathing in the suffering of those affected by the virus and breathing out the alleviation of suffering through the symbol. (Only recommended for experienced practitioners who are in a good mental state.)

You could also use Hearty as a visual focus while speaking aloud to yourself or a friend (including over audio/video channels) and together create a ‘future nostalgia’. “Do you remember how it was that COVID-19, for all the sadness it brought, finally helped us come together as one people to address climate change and wealth inequality? Do you remember how we found a really effective and simple antidote to the virus and how wonderful the celebrations were when we emerged from our retreats? etc”.

An additional resource that you might want to include in this work is this soundtrack generated from the genome of the virus.

Here’s an example of a practice with Hearty, developed by a magical friend who is working in an intensive care unit, nursing people with the coronavirus:

Breathing with Good Heart

A breathing exercise/ritual. Can be used alone as a meditation or prayer using the sigil, or as part of a larger piece of ritual work. At a time when we face a respiratory disease, this focuses on breath as a tool to share collective prayer and ritual. Use the sigil, either printed or drawn in front of you, or in your mind. Imagine the sigil as a compass and use four cardinal points for each breath. You could draw the sigil on the floor and stand in it as your magical circle, turning to each direction as you perform the ritual.

Come to a still, centred state of awareness.

Place one hand to my chest, the other outstretched

“For my kin, for my kind, I will offer 5 breaths.”

In the East, breathe in deeply and say

“Inspiration – the breath of life that is Air

A consciousness higher, let us meet there.”

Bring attention to the element of Air.

In the South, breathe deeply and say:

“A breath for the flames that bring action and light

For passion for love, rise after the night.”

Bring attention to the element of Fire.

In the West, breathe deeply and say:

“A breath for the Water that cleanses and flows

For the tears, for the dreams, for the depths unknown.”

Bring attention to the element of Water.

In the North, breathe deeply and say:

“Inhale now and root deeply into the Earth

For the here, for the now, for the death and rebirth.”

Bring attention to the element of Earth.

Facing upwards.

“A breath for the Spirit that binds us as one

For unity, for truth, now the circle is spun.”

Take a final moment to allow your intention to pass into all those people, situations and objects that will help us in this time. 

***

Obviously whatever magical work you do this needs to be combined with physical care for ourselves and others in our community.

We’re already seeing many heartening examples of community solidarity. A friend in Barcelona tells me that at 8pm each evening people come onto their balconies to clap and cheer in support of their medical staff. Let us, as Witches, Magicians, Shamans, Druids, Thelemites and others, create a global circle of power at this time of crisis and transformation. Let us be of good heart and breathe life into this magic!

Blessings on our Great Work and Happy Equinox!

Julian Vayne

Things to do on your COVID-19 Retreat…

In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus and buy valuable time for our medical services (see my previous article) people are doing ‘social distancing’. This means, for some of us, adopting the ‘namaste’ greeting of hands in prayer, rather than shaking hands. Even Donald Trump seems to have picked up the vibe. It’s lovely to see such behavioural flexibility and support for cultural diversity from the President of the USA. Well done.

Meanwhile there may be times when we are ‘self isolating’ or as I prefer to describe it ‘going on retreat’. Here are a few things for you do while on retreat to help ensure you have a magical time.

The Invocation of Hygieia. It’s common practice before beginning any magical or devotional ceremony to clear the working space and prepare the temple. Your home is your temple so the first process for your retreat could be to undertake a banishing ritual. Tidy up! Double bag any things you don’t need and, mindful of contamination, give them away or set them aside to share with others later. Clean your space. Let the light and the fresh air in, put on some energizing music (like some of the tunes on my COVID-19 Pandemic Party Playlist) and get to work! If you’ve got a home altar space this is the time to cleanse that too. Once you’ve done the washing up go a stage deeper and do a spot of cleaning that you rarely get round to (that oven could do with some attention…). Really honour the goddesses Hygieia and Hestia in your work. Once that’s done perform your favourite cleaning/banishing/creating sacred space practice. By analogy, tidying our bedroom (as a species) is what we have to do now. We’ve made something of mess of the biosphere so perhaps, when this pandemic is over, we can seriously set out to address the issues of climate change and the sixth mass extinction.

Time to get out the ritual tools…

Do some meditation. Whatever style(s) you favour this is a time to go deeper into your practice. If you’ve never done meditation in a disciplined, regular way this is your opportunity to get serious. Start with some mindfulness meditation, maybe some object concentration. Explore the multiple resources online and give it a go. Doing meditation can also help you manage any fears you might have in this time of change. Meditation boosts our individual immune response and can enable us to be in a good cognitive state. This means we are more likely to make sound judgements (rather than decisions guided by fear) for the benefit of ourselves and those around us.

Do some bodywork. Tai Chi, Qi Gong, yoga, weights whatever. Keep your body moving and in shape. Again this is good for you and those around you. Try some freeform movement or dance such as Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms. If you have access to a green space get out and into the fresh air and sunlight. Do some breathing exercises. If you do contract the virus this is going to be where it hits. Stop smoking or change your method of delivery (use your vape).

Connect with others. Hopefully the internet will stay on; assuming it does, use it to reach out to your community. For the benefit of your own immune system and the sanity of others try to be kind and considered in your interactions. Don’t feed the fears or the trolls but use this opportunity to find the others. Encourage and support the real life humans on the other end of the keyboard. Phone your friends. Where possible see if you can interact directly with folk around you in safe and mutually beneficial ways, like those people holding block parties in Italy. If you’re following an online course of study this could be a great time to focus on your learning.

Make prayers of gratitude. Thank your gods, spirits or simply providence that you got sufficient food, water, community and shelter (if you are fortunate enough to have these things). Pray to the Great Spirit, however you conceive that to be. Even if you prefer to regard this process as a neat neuro-hack to improve your immune system give it a go. Verbalizing prayers aloud helps since we get neurological feedback, via our environment, when we speak to ourselves. That’s why repeating the name of the thing you’re searching for helps find it. Or how by explaining your problem to the dude on the IT helpdesk you can see what…oh yeah, OK I see what’s wrong…

Plant something. Think about the future. Invest time in growing a seed. A tree to set free when your retreat is over, flowers for the garden. Food plants, even just a little salad in a window box. Watch as the spring comes and new life returns to the world.

Read an inspirational book. Whether you choose get to grips with a new text, or one you’ve been putting off because of lack of time, retreat is the perfect time for reading. Read lots and catch up with that pile by your bed of half-glanced at texts (ahem… well perhaps that’s just me?). Here are two recommendations. The first is the captivating story of LSD chemists The Rose of Paracelsus by William Leonard Pickard. This exquisite book was written in cell where Pickard still dwells 20 years after being busted for allegedly making planetary scale batches of acid. Much of the book follows the work of clandestine chemists, themselves cloistered in remote laboratory sites. Same same but different as they say in the East, the second is Cave in the Snow. This is the tale of Tenzin Palmo, an Englishwoman who, following her Buddhist vocation, secluded herself in a remote cave 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas, where she stayed for 12 years between the ages of 33 and 45. Palmo became a spiritual leader and champion of the right of women to achieve spiritual enlightenment. A remarkable and beautifully written tale.

Make something. Create some art. Play with whatever resources you have to hand and allow yourself to explore without necessarily any predetermined goal in mind. Whether it is music, sculpture, baking or something else see what you can produce. If you’re able, learn a new skill (thanks internet). If you’ve always wanted to play guitar this could be your moment! Learn to knit. Consider what skills might be useful for you and your community and will impress your friends when you meet up again. You may be about to discover your aptitude for any any number of crafts and the joy in being a producer as well as a consumer.

Day dream. Spend some time, as the Romantic Poets John Keats would say, in diligent indolence. Now you’re out the thick of the capitalist rat-race take some time to loaf about. Just lie on the coach and stare out the window. Let your unconscious have time to unwind. Don’t mediate, listen to music or whatever. Just be in your own space and let the time drift by and allow your self to day-dream.

Have a psychedelic experience. If you lucky and have supplies then that’s all well and good but if not, there’s always connected breathwork. Connected or holotopic breathwork can be used to induce the psychedelic state in which novel connections are made in the brain and our content processing and connection finding systems get all fired up. Allowing for your skills in holding the psychedelic state it can be deployed for numerous purposes. To reboot the brain, potentially resolving blocks and trauma, and to give our minds a proper spring clean. I’ll take the liberty of recommending my book on psychedelic ceremony Getting Higher and David Lee’s definitive text on breathwork Life Force: Sensed energy in breathwork, psychedelia and chaos magic to get you started.

Do some ceremony. You could try adapting the six month retirement of the Abramelin grimoire to your situation or go for something quite different. A period of retreat is ideal for devotional work. You could perform daily puja to Ganesh to break down obstacles, to Shiva Lord of Creation and Destruction, or whatever spirits you groove with. This could be your chance to undertake a Chaos Monasticisms or follow the obligations of Resh. Alternatively, at the risk of annoying the neighbours, there could be plenty of time for a shamanic journey or nine… Your retreat would naturally be a perfect time for doing magic to aid the healing of our species, our relationships with each other, and with the biosphere as a whole.

Demonic healer

Remember, if we want to slow this virus down the best attitude is to assume you already have it and therefore behave in ways that are less likely to pass it on. Don’t think of this as cowering in your rooms like the Prince Prospero in Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of The Red Death (read here by William Burroughs). Rather, this is an opportunity for us to stand together to support people like this Italian doctor in the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. Respect.

Make your retreat be full of rest and joy, of well being and of wonders.

Julian Vayne

P.S. As many of us are now on retreat in our homes I’m doing extra online one-to-one sessions of mentoring, tarot reading and other services. If you’d like to arrange a video call please let me know contactdeepmagic@gmail.com

Riding the Pale Horse: Coronavirus and what we must do now

Many of us like to think things will, generally speaking, continue as they are. Most of the time we assume, within certain limits, tomorrow will be much the same as today, much the same as yesterday. Sometimes we can sleepwalk our way into problems precisely because of this cognitive bias. Big life events can cut across our sense of normality; some of these can be planned for, others may take us by surprise. As I write these words one such surprise is happening, the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

The shockwaves from the events that followed the emergence of the virus in Wuhan, China are rippling out across our world. In addition to the infection itself in our hyperconnected digital age, along with the very real consequences of this new disease, there is the diverse online conversation, the reporting and conjecture. Inevitably some folk think the whole thing is a false flag plot, or perhaps an illness unleashed by 5G (one example of that kind of bonkers idea here if you can be bothered). Other commentators, apparently ignorant of the death toll, have suggested that COVID-19 is more-or-less identical to season ‘flu outbreaks and that the mainstream media are piling on the fear because that’s what sells and serves some imagined shadowy Deep State agenda. Yet however self-sovereign we might imagine ourselves to be in terms of our own health the spread a new epidemic disease is about much more than us as isolated, potentially over-opinionated individuals. COVID-19 is clearly a highly communicable disease that harms some of the most vulnerable people in our community and in this way no matter how young, hale and hearty we might believe we are, this epidemic invites us to reach beyond our self-sovereign (or self-absorbed) beliefs about the world.

The incursion into our lives of  this virus isn’t convenient but such disruptions may help us come to terms with those disruptions yet to come; climate change and ecosystem collapse. They may teach us that individual and national sovereignty mean little in the face of collective and global challenges. The current last-ditch rallying of nationalism, of which Brexit and the elections of Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro are emblematic, is increasingly anachronistic. The emergence of a new global pandemic in a matter of weeks is enough to demonstrate this in stark terms.

For some people this new disease is the Pale horse of Revelation, pestilence unleashed because we are entering the apocalyptic Last Days. For others of a more pagan persuasion coronavirus, with its probably zoonotic origin, is a karmic consequence of the terrible treatment of the biosphere by our species. The commodification of non-human people manufactures a living hell for both wild and domesticated species. One example of this, though there are many others, is the trade in bile taken from live bears. (This is really horrible stuff so I’m not adding a direct link, look it up on Wikipedia if you want.)

The coronavirus is particularly notable in that it has impinged on the lives of some of the more affluent members of our community. Those enjoying their post-Christmas hols in northern Italy, those living their best retirement years aboard cruise ships, people who in all other respects are potentially somewhat insulated against the global crises of the sixth mass extinction and climate collapse. You may be a media-savvy international jet setter and networker but that actually makes you vulnerable. A fascinating phenomenon that has helped to rapidly raise the profile of this disease.

How the COVID-19 story plays out in the next few months remains to be seen. If it reaches the levels of the 1918 influenza epidemic (which I’m pretty sure was not a media fake, false-flag op or mobile phone induced cataclysm) we could be talking about many millions of people dead with all the trauma and sorrow that would follow such an event. It’s instructive to look at examples from history, including that of the Black Death, not out of some kind of ghoulish schadenfreude, but to realize the truth that such dramatic changes in the fortunes of our species can and do happen.

Hey now, hey now now, sing this corona to me.

What can we do to help? Well there are many decisions to be taken and we would do well not to consider these not from the ‘how do I protect myself’ perspective but in terms of a wider sense of social concern and our intimate interconnection with each other. Don’t think ‘how can I avoid the virus?’ but rather ‘how can I avoid passing it on to others?’

There have been some great examples of this already in the form of autonomous groups springing up to support people at a local level. A family member spoke today about the youth of a Spanish community self-organizing to provide shopping for less able people in their village. (Picture a group of punks on bikes with face masks, learning how to arrange food deliveries to the elderly without risking contamination.)

I’m relieved that most of my family live in Britain where, for all its faults, our healthcare system is shared and collective. I’m worried for my friends in places with poor healthcare provision, notably the USA where the idea of universal healthcare seems to be imagined by some as tantamount to Stalinist repression. (Trump, with his extensive knowledge of epidemiology, imagines COVID-19 will go away in the summer. Those who know about the history of the 1918 pandemic may be less certain.)

While people are tapping away on their laptops about archonic forces, curtailment of civil liberties and the supposedly fake photographs of Chinese hospital wards, some real world stuff is going down. But if you still want a Deep State plot in your noosphere check out how governments that privilege the health of their populations are behaving in-comparison to more rapacious capitalist countries. Those are the states that are not restricting movement or conducing mass testing. Of course the conspiratorially minded see such things as fear-mongering state grabs for social control. Personally I see this in a more holistic way. A governmental system is made out of people, with all the banes and blessings that this brings. Those nations that have been capable of concerted collective action (like China and South Korea) are beginning to contain the virus. Meanwhile the intensely capitalist ‘liberal democracies’ are setting themselves up for some shocking events. Both the USA and UK look like they are intending to simply push on through, to get the epidemic over fast with all the causalities that will entail.

To speak in esoteric terms: The necessity to take collective action rubs up against the childlike ire of Horus. Crowley writes of the Aeon of Horus:

“Everywhere his government is taking root. Observe for yourselves the decay of the sense of sin, the growth of innocence and irresponsibility, the strange modifications of the reproductive instinct with a tendency to become bi-sexual or epicene, the childlike confidence in progress combined with a nightmare fear of catastrophe, against which we are yet half unwilling to take precautions. Consider the outcrop of dictatorships, only possible when moral growth is in its earliest stages, and the prevalence of infantile cults like Communism, Fascism, Pacifism, health crazes, occultism in nearly all its forms, religions sentimentalized to a point of practical extinction. Consider the popularity of the cinema, the wireless, the football pools and guessing competitions, all devices for soothing fractious infants, no seed of purpose in them. Consider sport, the babyish enthusiasms and rages which it excites, whole nations disturbed by disputes between boys. Consider war, the atrocities which occur daily and leave us unmoved and hardly worried. We are children.”

Perhaps COVID-19 is a lesson from the Maat current, with her symbol of the bee, and the need for community cohesion in order to survive as a compassionate community. The COVID-19 crisis invites us to imagine a magic in the Anthropocene where we step beyond the idea of doing our Will and into an approach which is for the benefit of All.

In terms of result magical work. Rather than conjuring that I and my friends don’t get sick it makes more sense, and in my experience is much more beneficial, to work magic to inspire successful medical research, and to attack other variables of probability concerning the progression and management of disease.

One approach to healing magic, which can be used globally as well as personally, is through the spirit Kawa Pohr developed by the Illuminates of Thanateros. Details of this occult tech were recently released by arch-mage Dave Lee and can be found on the IOT British Isles blog. As well as directing Kawa Pohr at specific individuals it can be installed in a location (as in the nightclub example given in the article) and also into a timeline or egregore in order to heal. This an intelligent spirit that works on individuals not simply by making them well but by creating the conditions in which wellness happens. This could include the discovery and availability of medicines, the identification of supportive complimentary therapies, a setting of a caring and supportive community and so on. Long term collective enchantments, such as the ones that the IOT led against HIV with Kawa Pohr may, in time, enable what previously would have been thought impossible, to come true.

I think it’s clearly time we should all be ‘social distancing’ and where possible ‘self-isolating’, or to put rather more positively, ‘going on retreat’. This is a retreat, not in some exotic setting or wilderness, but in our own domestic spaces. Going on retreat will help us, as a community, to flatten the curve, to prevent a situation like that unfolding in Italy and elsewhere where there are simply not enough medical staff and critical care beds to go round. If two or more weeks of retreat are an over-reaction to this situation then the worse that will have happened is that you’ll have had some time to mediate, catch up on your reading, do a spot of DIY, binge watch Netflix etc etc. You’ll emerge feeling rested and perhaps somewhat embarrassed. However if the projections from folk like the WHO and others are even vaguely correct then you’ll have helped reduce the spread of this potentially deadly disease.

Let’s consider some simple numbers to help us make our decisions, allow me to give you an example from my own setting. I live in a town of around 20,000 people in Devon, England. Let’s assume that 50%  of people in my town get the virus (which is a conservative estimate) within a few weeks of each other. We’re lucky in that locally we have a hospital, however this is only for out-patients. Anyone needing admission must to go to the nearby larger town which has a hospital of 423 beds. However if 50% of people in my town get sick that means at the very least 6% will need hospitalization. That’s 600 people, and that’s just from my town. The population of the whole region served by this hospital is 164,253. As they say in America ‘do the math’. And of course people may need to be in hospital for other reasons than coronavirus. (A good analysis of the situation here, and see here for data on the global picture.) These numbers mean that, unless we, as individuals and governments, reduce the spread of the virus, there will need to be very extreme triaging. Older people, people with health issues, even just those of whatever age that are severely ill may be discounted from receiving limited and massively overstretched medical help.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

For my part I’ve cancelled my forthcoming appearance at a conference abroad and potentially at other events next month too. Instead I’m going to be ‘social distancing’ and ‘going on retreat’ predominantly in my own house and garden. A domestic vision quest for meaning and collective healing in the space which I inhabit. I’ll have a chance to reflect on our situation and how it might enable us all to appreciate our intimate interconnection with each other and with the biosphere.  Ironically if we all go on retreat for the next 2 to 4 weeks, by sticking apart we can demonstrate our global solidarity with each other in the face of this pandemic.

For the benefit of ourselves and all other beings.

Be Well.

Julian Vayne

High Speech – from ‘illegal drugs’ to psychedelic sacraments

As summer slips away from the northern hemisphere and we head towards the equinox, we can gather up the sunshine of the bright part of the year and use it to nourish us as we descend into the darkness.

One of the high points this summer for me was Breaking Convention. This year 1,500 people gathered at The University of Greenwich for a three day conference consisting of over 300 different talks and events. Cutting edge virtual reality installations, cinema, stalls, art exhibitions, workshops, five parallel tracks of lectures and much more! As is traditional some of the finest moments unfolded on the lawns beside the Greenwich meridian line in the form of scintillating conversations between leading scientists, shaman, medics, ethnographers and many others. A new university building provided the setting for three amazing nights of entertainment, the high point of which for me was a set by the magnificent Henge.

 

As we move towards the mainstreaming of psychedelic medicine we can see the discourse around these substances changing in a big way. As this happens it can be helpful to begin to unpick some of the erroneous language foisted on the psychedelic community as a result of Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs. The words we use play an important role in how we think and act, so it’s worth remembering the simple fact that illegal drugs do not exist. While it’s a common figure of speech to talk about, for example, LSD being ‘illegal’, the law can only apply to human actions. One can be permitted in law to manufacture, distribute and possess LSD (for example if you are a research scientist) but if you’re not permitted to do so by the State then it’s the act that’s criminal not the molecule.

The insidious illusion of ‘illegal drugs’ is very powerful, even for professionals in the field. When I asked the therapists at Kings College, during my recent participation as a research subject, which of them had taken psilocybin one researcher suggested that they couldn’t answer that question without effectively admitting to have broken the law. However, as I explained at the time, this isn’t the case as psilocybin isn’t illegal in itself. Rather people can be permitted—or not—by law to handle, possess, supply etc a ‘controlled substance’. In Kings College we weren’t breaking the law, as the mushroom medicine was being used in a licensed setting. While this issue may seem like something of legal nicety it has major impacts for the way we think about psychedelic and psychoactive substances. If nothing else in a recent governmental form I was asked: “Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?” to which I was cheerfully and categorically able to answer ‘no’.

All the presentations from Breaking Convention 2019 are being uploaded to our YouTube channel; stay tuned and subscribed so you can catch the 140 plus talks from the cutting edge of psychedelic culture as they go online. Here’s my presentation, the text of which you can read on this blog.

 

I was also really pleased to be on stage with collector Mark McCloud and Monkey aka Paul Guest the leading producer of blotter art. Mark took us on an erudite exploration of LSD packaging and acid counter-culture, while Monkey, ably assisted by BC Director Aimée Tollanran an auction of rare blotter art in aid of Breaking Convention. In addition to publishing and organizing the conference Breaking Convention also provides grants to support students and researchers.

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Blotter and Badges

 

As the northern hemisphere mushroom season arrives a new edition of the Psychedelic Press Journal is about to come to fruition. Readers will be treated to an essay on the magical use of solanaceous suffumigations  (much easier to evoke those Goetic spirits with a little datura in the censer), 19th century hashish eating in the USA, and an excerpt from the story of Michael Hollingshead, the subject of a new book Divine Rascal by leading psychedelic historian Andy Roberts. Meanwhile I’m taking part in the an online international Psilocybin Summit. If you’d like to join me for my talk ‘A User’s Guide to Psychedelic Ceremony’ please follow the link to sign up. On the Deep Magic events page you can also find details of the Trans-States conference at which Nikki and I will be speaking, my appearance across the pond in Seattle for the Three Hands Press Texts and Traditions Colloquium, and in October my psychedelic magic workshop at Treadwell’s in London.

Wishing you fabulous Fall and mushrooming success!

Julian Vayne

Announcing Scales – psychedelic prisoner support network

Regular readers of this blog will know my interest in psychedelics and the anti-prohibitionist movement and today I’m pleased to announce another development in that story. Scalesofjustice.org is the online presence of a developing network intended to support people in jail because of their involvement with psychedelic substances.

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While the grotesque imprisonment of William Leonard Pickard and many others continues there is a change in the air. Last year in the USA presidential pardons led to the release of Timothy Tyler who had served 26 years for selling LSD. In May of this year Antonio Bascaro was released after serving 39 years for cannabis related offenses. Globally convictions are being quashed, prisoners of the Drug War are being released, and the cultural conversation is moving away from prohibition towards decriminalization and regulation.

As we move forward in the psychedelic renaissance it’s important that we remember the prisoners of the Drug War, especially those under censure for using substances that we increasingly recognize as valuable, even sacred medicines. When Timothy Leary was imprisoned in 1970, The Brotherhood of Eternal Love audaciously organised his liberation, but during these days of the psychedelic renaissance we need to go one better. Let’s begin our work to liberate all the psychedelic prisoners, in whatever way we can.

Please like, share and subscribe to Scales. If you’re able to offer your skills and time please do get in touch via the contact form. At the moment we’re particularly looking for people with skills in infographic production, journalism and fund raising. If you have a story to share, or are in contact with a psychedelic prisoner please make contact with us.

Thank you.

Stay high, stay free!

Julian

 

The Rose Garden with Leonard Pickard

At this summer solstice I’m very pleased to let you know that our first podcast of The Rose Garden is in bloom!

Podcast 609 – “The Rose Garden – Introduction”

Visit The Psychedelic Salon

Guest speakers: 
William Leonard Pickard
Kat & Alexa Lakey, discussing The Rose from Santa Cruz, and Cusco, Peru

Julian Vayne & Nikki Wyrd, reading from Devon, England
Brother David Steindl-Rast, reading from Gut Aich Priory in Salzburg, Austria
Ben Sessa MD, reading from London, England
Ralf Jeutter, reading from Germany
Julie Holland MD, discussing The Rose from New York City
Ryan Place, reading from Detroit, Michigan
Mark Schunemann. reading from the University of Oxford
Estia from University of Durham (UK), reading from Paris
Jo from University of Durham, reading at Durham, England
Nese Devenot PhD, reading from Case Western University School of Medicine
Bruce Van Dyke, reading from Reno, Nevada
Greg Sams, reading from London, England

PROGRAM NOTES:

Today’s podcast features an introduction to The Rose Of Paracelsus: On Secrets & Sacraments by Leonard Pickard. Rolling Stone once called Pickard “The Acid King”, and his book is being called a modern masterpiece. It tells the story of an international clan of secret LSD chemists. And who better to tell this story than Leonard Pickard, who is now serving two life sentences in a maximum security prison in the United States, having been accused of manufacturing large quantities of acid, billions according to one ex-DEA agent. Over the next two years we will present a reading of this book, along with commentary, by friends of Leonard’s. Today we feature an introduction of The Rose of Paracelsus with a series of readings from various chapters, followed by some commentary on the readings. In the months and years to come, we will be podcasting a reading of this entire book, chapter-by-chapter.

The podcast is also available on Soundcloud

and Youtube

leonard

May a thousand flowers bloom!

Julian Vayne