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

🙏❤️🌈

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