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Daimonic Reality

Posted in books, and magick

Notes on Patrick Harpur’s Daimonic Reality, jotted down here as I read.


The discussion of the Neoplatonic “personal daimon” — a spirit that is both part of a person and active in the outside world — reminds me a great deal of Crowley’s “Holy Guardian Angel”. Also, in some traditions there’s the notion that each of us contains part of “God” or some higher connection; would the personal daimon be the Godhead, or is that another facet of a human?


Harpur’s talked some about mental illness and relationships to the daimonic. All I can think about is my OCD; while I don’t suffer symptoms any more, when I’m unmedicated I (and everyone else with the illness) have “intrusive thoughts” — thoughts that feel like they’re not coming from our Self. It’s not hearing voices. It’s thinking things that “I” would definitely not think. For people with OCD, those thoughts are often socially inappropriate or even shameful, and we don’t want to talk about them for fear people will think we really believe those things. It’s a huge source of stress.

Most people think of OCD as the compulsions. The stereotype is germphobic, extreme handwashing or cleaning. I have some of those (when unmedicated), but by far the worst is the obsessions/intrusive thoughts. The compulsions are a symptom of the obsessions. “My baby will die if I don’t knock on the counter three times every time I enter the kitchen” kind of thing. (Not one of mine, I don’t have kids.) The obsession is about the baby’s death, and the intrusive thoughts might be mental images of the baby’s corpse, or worse, “alien” thoughts about killing the baby. The person would of course be horrified by this.

So, to bring Harpur back into it, would he see intrusive thoughts as coming from a broken connection between the Self and the personal daimon? Maybe he’ll bring it up as I read.


The idea of believing something is metaphorically real but not literally real is a hard concept to wrap my mind around. I need to sit down interrupted and meditate on it for a bit.


I find myself wanting to experience the shamanic initiation, or an external quest as described in the book. Yet I need to be careful what I wish for. I’m too prone to madness as it is. I’m not certain I could return to myself safely. But still, I crave it.


I am a very vivid dreamer, but I don’t have what Harpur refers to as “big dreams”. They usually don’t say anything very deep. I’d prefer quality to quantity… On the other hand, I recently started lucid dreaming, and that’s something I need to explore further…


Final notes: excellent book, definitely recommended. I realize this isn’t very coherent to anyone who hasn’t read the book. Maybe I’ll review it properly at some point…

Another step on the path

Posted in books, and magick

I had another mini-epiphany while reading John Higgs’ book on the KLF. Higgs talked a lot about what Alan Moore calls the Ideaspace. Ideas are as real as reality, the theory goes. I’m typing this on a laptop. The laptop exists because someone had an idea for it. The couch I sit on was also just an idea, once. Everything humans have ever created came from ideas. Ideas, therefore, must be real. Not in the same way this sofa is real, but if the idea had never existed then there would be no sofas.

Moore’s Ideaspace has a lot in common with Plato’s realm of forms. Which I always thought was bunk. I don’t think, as Plato did, that the physical world isn’t the real world. I think perhaps Ideaspace and Jung’s collective unconscious are facets of reality, just as the physical is a facet.

After all, science can’t measure a thought. It can watch my brain light up when I think the thought, but it can’t see the thought. But I can share that thought with others. I can manipulate the thought inside my own head, and think about the thought. The thought is real. And now I’ve written the word “thought” enough times that it no longer looks real. Gotta love semantic fatigue. (And love the fact that the phenomenon has a name!)

And I’m sure I sound so amateur and basic when I discuss these things, because I’m taking baby steps along a path many others have tread. I don’t know where the path will lead. I’m not sure Enlightenment is really a thing. But I do feel myself changing and growing as I read, and I adore it.

A month of change

Posted in getting shit done, and magick

In the last month, my life has changed drastically. Maybe not by looking at it from the outside; I still spend most of my time sitting in my apartment, on my computer or spinning or reading. But what I’m doing has changed. A month ago I was complaining that I had nothing productive to do. Now I have almost too much.

  1. Building/fixing web sites
  2. Spinning commissions
  3. Volunteer gig
  4. Learning to build phone apps
  5. Learning to build WordPress plugins
  6. Writing my own original material

That’s a lot, at least for me. Some of those things, like the volunteer gig, have been ongoing for a while. But the writing is new. In the last month I’ve written a few Discord bots that have gotten popular, at least with certain demographics. (One of them is on over 150 servers so far!) I’ve written a graphic novel. I’ve made some new online friends. It’s been a busy month by my standards.

I credit all this to getting back into magick. The timing is interesting; a lot of this started when I began a 40-day sigil challenge 35 days ago. So I’m doing something spooky on a daily basis, which seems good for me. I’ll have to find a way to keep it up after the challenge is done!

The Infinite Self and the sacred

Posted in books, and magick

I finished Stuart Wilde’s’s Infinite Self today. And I had a wonderful experience this afternoon while reading. Wilde was talking about making life sacred, and I started thinking, well, nothing is sacred. No object, no person, no idea.

Suddenly I was overwhelmed by the realization that everything is sacred. Existence itself is sacred. Not that I think Hitler is sacred, but the fact that we’re born and can choose to be Hitler or Mister Rogers or anyone in between? That’s sacred.

Obviously this is a realization many people have had over the millennia. I’m not the first to feel this. But the emotional awareness was so deep, so intense, that I had to put my book down and close my eyes and just sit with the feeling for a long time.

Eventually my cat interrupted, because he is Eris and he’s very good at being an Eris. I just smiled at him. He’s a brat, but he’s sacred too.

I’m still feeling echoes of this a couple of hours later. I hope it lasts. Feeling it feels good, and there’s a particular joy in being humbled before the universe.

Thanks, Mr. Wilde.

Echo chambers and critical thinking

Posted in books, and magick

Lately I’ve been reading a ton of new-to-me authors. Books about philosophy and spirituality. I read a lot anyway, but my current selections have required a lot of deep thinking and critical thought.

I love it. Normally I read history or science, books where I am taking in facts written by an expert (or someone who has interviewed experts for the book). I don’t analyze them too much, just enjoy them. So flexing my mental muscles so much is delightful. I can almost feel my neurons lighting up with connections as I read and think. It’s glorious.

(And I’m thinking about doing a book blog. I used to, ages ago. Might resurrect that.)

I was talking to someone this morning about Jordan Peterson. I asked why he listened to the man, when he’s against trans rights. My acquaintance said he tries to listen to people whom he doesn’t agree with, and often finds value in some of their work even if he doesn’t like the person. And it got me thinking.

On the internet, it’s really easy to get trapped in an echo chamber. It’s also easy to write off someone’s work completely if they say one problematic thing. I think my acquaintance is right; it’s more nuanced than that. Someone can be both great and terrible, and you can learn from the good parts even while acknowledging the bad.

For example, I’m currently reading Stuart Wilde’s Infinite Self. It’s a roller coaster of reactions. About 70% of what he says is worth listening to, and he makes some good points about ways to approach spirituality. But he also believes we shouldn’t help those worse off than us, because it would be interrupting their spiritual journey. And that there is no such thing as a truly innocent victim. It’s repugnant.

But I am reading every sentence with more awareness than I normally have, because I want to take in the good ideas and make use of them. I can separate the wheat from the chaff as I go, and appreciate a great idea when I see one. I’m also not getting angry about the things I don’t like. I’m analyzing, not getting overly emotional about it.

That said, I have no desire to financially support someone who is, like Peterson, transphobic. I will not buy his books (if he has any; I’ve only heard of him making YouTube videos, but I imagine there are books somewhere), I will get them through the library or borrow from friends. I suspect it’s a fine line to walk.

I’m going through a period of great personal growth right now, I think. Taking in new ideas, tasting them to see if they’re congruous with my personality and worldview, and incorporating the ones that pass muster. I’m also learning to speak up for myself more. I attempted to read Alan Chapman’s Baptist Head trilogy last week, and when it wasn’t to my tastes I bluntly said so to the people who suggested I read it. I was polite, but explained my reasoning. It was accepted and we all moved on. Even last year, I would have made some bland but positive comment about the book and then quickly changed the subject because I was afraid of making people angry when I dissented. So that’s growth, too.

This journey I unwittingly started on a month ago is taking me to new and wonderful places. Stay tuned.

What the hell am I doing?

Posted in books, magick, programming, random updates, School, and spinning

I never updated the site about it, but I had to drop my fall 2020 classes because of mental health fun. I’m trying again in summer. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to apply for a full-time job, and did. Didn’t get it because I wasn’t willing to move, but I looked at jobs on LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Talked to my therapist and realized I’d be happier freelancing. So I set myself up an account on Fiverr — contact me if you want the link — for doing WordPress stuff. I’m thinking about adding some automation stuff, as I’ve been writing Python scripts lately to manipulate images and PDF files. So I could offer file processing. I might do that.

Meanwhile, I did a huge spinning commission, almost three pounds of yarn. I just finished it Tuesday, and shipped it off today.

So: freelance coding, spinning, and a trigonometry class. Should be enough to keep me busy.

While I spin, I read books. I have a Bluetooth foot pedal that turns pages in ebooks. It was designed for musicians, but it’s wonderful for hands-free reading. I do spinning purely by muscle memory in my hands; watching myself spin makes me screw up. So I have one foot on my treadle and the other turns the pages on my tablet.

I should start blogging about what I’m reading. During this last commission, I read:

  • Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult — Richard Metzger, editor. A really mixed bag. I didn’t enjoy most of the pieces in it, and there were few ideas that intrigued me. I enjoyed the biographies of women occultists, though.
  • Life After Death — Damien Echols. Echols was one of the West Memphis Three, innocent men who were railroaded into prison for being “Satanists” in 1993. He was in jail for 18 years. His story is depressing but ends with him being freed. Good biography.
  • The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry — Rupert Sheldrake. This book blew my mind. That said, I didn’t agree with everything in it. But some of the problems he has with traditional materialist thinking raised a lot of questions for me. I’ll write more about that a future post.
  • The Elements of Spellcrafting: 21 Keys to Successful Sorcery — Jason Miller. Interesting thoughts about the nuts and bolts of magick. I liked it, and plan to read it again.
  • Don’t Be a Jerk: And Other Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master — Brad Warner. I don’t have a lot of experience with Buddhism of any type, despite my dad and sister both following it. This book blew my mind a little too. I plan to write about it in future as well.

What can I say, it was a big commission.

I got all of those books except the DisInfo one as recommendations from the Adventures in WooWoo Discord server. I’ve been talking to AIWW’s creator, Tommie Kelly, quite a bit lately. I built him a Discord bot for his Forty Servants divination deck. (I then modified it into a tarot bot, if you’re interested in such things.) He’s pretty cool. I haven’t actually read much of his blog (I should fix that) but I’ve been binge-listening to his podcast. I like people who freely admit they don’t know everything. (Especially occultists. There’s a lot of big egos out there.) I need to read his comics, too….

Speaking of occult podcasts, my other favorites are Anti-Fragile Tarot and SassafrasCast. I’ve been talking to the hosts of those as well; they’re friends (of each other; I barely know them yet), and Rorie Kelly (the Sassafras host) is a fantastic musician. I’m a goth and normally don’t listen to singer/songwriters. She’s different though.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. Life’s been strange but I like it.

In the beginning…

Posted in magick

Once upon a time, I was heavily into the occult. I got out of it for several years, but recently got interested again. Since I was twenty or so my magick of choice has been the chaotic sort. Even when I stopped practicing, the basic principles of chaos magick influenced my life.

For this first post on the subject, I’m going to tell the story of how I got seriously into the occult.

By the time I was 13 I already a witchy-minded atheist who owned a tarot deck and read paranormal books from the library. But the life-changer was when my mom’s co-worker, the cop who was the city’s specialist in occult matters, hired me as his infant’s babysitter.

Understand that this was 1989, the height of the Satanic Panic here in America. Police departments had “occult specialists”. And Mark, my boss, had the most amazing work-related library ever. In the months I babysat his kid, I read all of LaVey’s works, several by Crowley, Buckland’s “Book of Witchcraft”… all kinds of books that were mind-blowing for a 13 year old who read fast and was hungry for knowledge.

So yeah. I can thank the Satanic Panic for the beginnings of my occult education.

I flirted with Wicca and Thelema, but then discovered chaos magick through Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles in 1996. It stuck.

About a year ago, just before the pandemic, I started feeling disconnected from any sort of spirituality. I hadn’t practiced magick in a few years, hadn’t meditated or anything… In the past two months I’ve started finding myself again. I hate that term, finding myself, but I really did feel rather lost.

I’m glad that’s changing. I can’t wait to see where this goes…

A moment to remember

Posted in books, and magick

I had a Moment. One of those where you get a taste of an idea and have to just sit there and process it because it’s too much to take all at once.. From this line, and what led up to it, in Brad Warner’s Don’t Be a Jerk (a book about Buddhism): “The universe and the self are one and the same. Time is another name for this thing. So is the “present moment.” You are not a person living in a time and a place. You are the person and the time and the place all rolled into one.” I’m just… wow. Yeah. Not becoming a Buddhist but it was a powerful moment.