Recognizing the Inner Other


There's a valuable notion in Jungian psychology that I resisted for a long time - it's the idea that within each of us there's a fully autonomous Other, with its own awareness and its own agenda (Jung variously called it the anima / animus / Shadow - but in practice they all blend together)...

.... an inner Other with its own agenda that can subtly take possession of our ego without us being fully aware of it, and stir up all kinds of trouble.

While I've worked with integrative processes for a long time, I was so resistant to this idea of relating to a fully autonomous, inner Other. 

Why? I guess because it was scary to admit that it's not just emotions and desires that my ego tries to repress, but a whole Other inner person

The most common way people tend to experience the possessing inner Other (especially the masculine animus in women and feminine people) is through an intrusive critical voice that has "sacred convictions" about "the way things should be."

This is so much the case that this inner Other often gets referred to in pop psychology just as "the inner Critic" or "the inner Tyrant." 

As in, we may have the best intentions of being kind to ourselves- but we notice our inner monologue gets downright mean at times, especially when we're extending ourselves creatively or in intimate relationship.

The inner Tyrant's voice is compelling because it always seems to be warning us that our survival or our success is on the line, and only it knows the way to keep us safe by reminding us how we should be in order to be loveable, enough, safe, etc., and how much we are dangerously falling short of being how we should be. 

The fascinating thing about this tyrannical inner Other though - is that it transforms into a helpful magical inner Companion (known as the Self by Jungians, and as the Agatho Daimon, or Holy Guardian Angel, in the Western Esoteric Tradition) when the way our ego relates to it dramatically changes.

So how to dramatically change the way our ego relates to the inner Other?

Through the basic process of alchemy of course - solve et coagula (dissolving and bringing together). 

The solve consists in doing exactly what I resisted doing for so long:

-- Recognizing the Other as a fully autonomous being, and speaking back to it.

So when your inner Tyrant crops up, try saying this to it: 

"Thank you, I know you're criticizing me to keep me safe - and also I would honestly much rather die, suffer, and fail tremendously than listen to this criticism any more, so you can shut it." 

The trick here is that you have to mean it - as in you have to get to a courageous, "not gonna take it anymore" place within yourself wherein calling for (invoking) the transformation of that inner Voice is way more important to you than even surviving or looking good to others or avoiding catastrophe.

Because anything less than that leaves room for the inner Other to continue to harass you with its "shoulds" - which are all about making sure you survive, get approval, and avoid catastrophe. 

The coagula part is quite a bit stranger. The opportunity for it only arises after you've made some genuine progress with the solve

The coagula entails allowing for the dawning realization that your ego itself and all its good intentions is also part of the inner Other - like the tyrannical voice, it's also something autonomous that you didn't personally create, but rather that you simply inherited from biology and culture.

As in - your sense of having free will - your ability to think, to decide, to pray, to be courageous, to take a stand - where does that come from? 

Did you wholly manufacture it in your own laboratory? Put it together with some scissors and crayons and airplane glue? Whip it up in your oven?

Of course not - our egos, our thoughts, our desires themselves are all spontaneous gifts given at every moment by the divine - the great Author, Artist, Inventor - the great Poet of us all, the Dreamer who dreams the dream that we are, the Anima Mundi, the soul of the world. 

With this recognition comes the hilarious insight that all along the inner Other only seemed tyrannical because it was mirroring our ego's tyrannical belief in its separation from the Whole. 

So, that's what I learned in eclipse season, and I hope it tickles you as much as it tickles me.

Posted on February 20, 2019 .

How to House-Witch Your Way to Evil Bliss


I know I talk a lot about high-falutin' psychological stuff.

So I figured today I'd just share with you some of my fundamental house-witching tips. 

The material, after all, is the spiritual. Nirvana is samsara, the jewel is in the lotus; the Morningstar is both Christ and Lucifer, so on, etc., paradox gloriously abounds. 

Many of these practices you may already do yourself, and maybe you could just use a little kick of an inspiring reminder in this tiring retrograde season.

1. Make tinctures and other herbal medicines from your environs.

I learned from my herbalist best friends (shout out to Annie Derek & Crystal Woodling) that lots of us have wild medicinal plants growing somewhere nearby - including precious "weeds" like dandelion and nettle and mugwort. 

A potent way to connect to the spirits of the land you live on is to harvest that medicine and make into into teas or tinctures.

I have an elder tree in my yard. 

I put my daily offering to the spirits at the base of the tree each morning.

This spring I harvested the elder flowers and made a tincture out of them, which I now take everyday.

I find it not only helps me with the medicinal property that elder flowers are good for (bronchial system clearing) but it also strengthens my gratitude for and connection to the land I live on.

Here's some good basic instructions on making tinctures. 

2. Hide sigils under your bed, behind the family photos on the mantle; and just everywhere, basically.

Material symbols, like sigils that you've charged with your intent (here's my fav Grant Morrison video explaining sigils in case you don't know of which I speak or you want a refresher), gain power when they are hidden...

...which is to say, when they are occulted.


Because things in the psyche gain power when occulted into the unconscious - and "As above, so below; as within, so without." 

When you hide a sigil under your bed, it's like hiding that symbol deep within your unconscious.

A hidden sigil acts more powerfully because it is unseen. When you think about it, all the most powerful forces are unseen - gravity, for example. You can see its effects but not the force itself.

So if you really want a sigil to act powerfully on your life, hide it like the divine hides gravity.

3. Burn cedar for clearing

Sage is usually the "go to" clearing herb in many New Age circles - but somewhere along the line I learned from a Lakota water-pourer that cedar is best for clearing out "yucky" energies, while sage is best for drawing good spirits in.

So that's what I do. 

At least weekly (I usually get around to it on Saturday or Sunday, while I'm tidying the house) I burn cedar in all the rooms (cedar smudge sticks are sold, but it works best to burn the cedar on hot coals) to clear.

Then I burn sage to invite in the good spirits.

4. Spray Agua de Florida

Agua de Florida is a strong citrus-y cologne traditionally used both by ayahuasca shamans in the Amazon and also by HooDoo practitioners and practitioners of African Diasporic Traditions of magic. 

It's also used for clearing and freshening spiritual energies.

I keep a little spray bottle that's mostly spring water inside with a dash of Agua de Florida (the stuff is STRONG), and spray it all around the house everyday to "clear the air."

It's quicker and easier than burning the cedar, and the scent is delightful.

5. Charge your crystals in the light of the full moon

The main reason to do this is so you can dodge unwanted evening conversations in a way that makes you sound like Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books:

"Oh I'm so sorry, but I just have to get home right away so I can charge my crystals in the moonlight!"

You may think it makes you sound weird, but really it makes you sound fascinating. It's the urgency, the urgency is the fascinating part. 

But seriously, charging crystals in the light of the full moon helps to sync them with the current astral energies, and it's just plain fun. 

I'm not gonna lie: it took me a long time to get really down with crystals - I always loved them, used them in spells, but felt uneasy about vague metaphysical claims made about rocks.

Until my husband bought me a rainbow quartz, and I felt it vibrate in my hand. 

That combined with some pithy lines in The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge about how quarts amplifies the same kind of electro-magnetic energy that our DNA emits - and, lo, my heart felt free to embrace the crystal woo. 

6. See cleaning as a magical act and not just a chore

Books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up have brought popular attention to the emotional and spiritual value of cleaning.

And just because it's popular doesn't mean it's any less esoterically true. ;)

Cleaning was always something I hated and avoided - until I began to see it as a means of simultaneously cleaning my inner landscape.

I like to set aside a day around the New Moon and get real deep into it - put on music, clean, and as I clean imagine that I'm opening space for receiving new surprises - and of course, do the cedar and sage and Agua de Florida. 

7. Talk and sing to your food while you're making it

Talking and singing to plants is something folks do - have you thought about talking and singing to your skillet of carmelizing onions or your pot of pasta?

You can tell it exactly how you want people to feel as they eat it, how much you love it (the food), and exactly how you want it to nourish you.

A pervasive sad thing in modern culture is the notion that only people or pets or deities are worth communicating with.

I think it's wonderful to give thanks to your deity for your food, and also delightful to talk directly to the food.

Food is people too :)

After all your charging and spraying and clearing and carmelizing and sigilizing, kick up your feet and wickedly revel in your plans for world domination, whilst enjoying the elevated domestic atmosphere. 

Posted on February 20, 2019 .

How to Dread the Wonderful for Fun and Profit


So pretty much any instructions on practical magic you'll find will encourage you to have "faith" or "trust" in the results of your efforts...

... but what if, like me, you suck at feeling joyful faith in positive outcomes? 

What if your brain is tuned to cynicism and dread? Maybe you've just had a lot of hard-knocks in your life and it's tough to trust that everything will suddenly get all rosy for no reason? 

Well, there's a way to leverage that.

See, faith in an outcome is just a sensation of certainty. 

So you can take the very same well-developed brain muscles that you use to get a sensation of certainty about the negative stuff you dread, and turn that around into certainty about positive outcomes.

Here's how:

Dread the wonderful.

Let's say your magical aim is to have a delightful new romantic partner for the New Year. 

Now ordinarily most manifestation teachers would tell you to say stuff to yourself like: 

"I now affirm that I am receiving my soul's true partner for the highest good of all. I happily look forward to sharing love with this amazing person. I now allow myself to receive new love."

Mmm. Yeah, and has that worked?

I'm gonna go ahead and guess: probably not.

You see, as long as we have an inner conflict about / unconscious resistance to such positive affirmation (which you're pretty much guaranteed to have, or else you would have already manifested the precise result you're interested in)....

... we'll automatically unconsciously negate such happy stuff. We'll mark it as "nonsense" and not really believe it, even if we're visualizing and affirming it.

You see, faithful positivity as it's usually taught often has an element of weird denial in it.

I find that honesty is the always the best policy, and by Dreading the Wonderful, you bring in the honest previously-unconscious part of you that despises the happy result you claim to want. 

Here's how it works. Try leveraging your dread by saying this kind of thing to yourself:

"Oh no, if only there was something I could do to stop the inevitable arrival of this magnificent new partner in my life. This is so awful. Now I have someone sane and healthy and hot who adores me. It's utterly disgusting. I'm really grieving that my singlehood is coming to this tragic and decisive end. It's just that I'm powerless over this new romance thing, I just know it's unavoidably going to happen, - ugh. I really wish it was possible for me to escape this relentless, terrifying fate of being completely fulfilled in love."

Ahhhhh, can you feel the honesty there?

Refreshing, isn't it? 

Because there is some shadowy part of you that's disgusted and miserable at the idea of fresh new love, isn't there? Otherwise you'd be such a radiant beacon of romance that you'd get swept off the scene in a hot minute.

Well, you can become exactly that radiant beacon of romance by being willing to own and embrace all parts of yourself, including the part that fucking hates the idea of a new gooey looooooooooove :::shudder::::. 

Of course you can apply the Dreading the Wonderful principle to anything. You can start dreading the inevitable vast improvement of your health, blast-off in creativity, and surge in career & business power.

Posted on February 20, 2019 .

What Getting Secretly Dosed with LSD and Money Have in Common


Lately I’ve been enjoying teaching MONEY: the course on wealth magic as an initiatory path with my friend Dave Burns.

We’re exploring working with the Spirit of Money, as a poison-medicine. 

Today I wanted to take a moment to make explicit the kind of transformation that working wealth magic with the spirit of Money can induce. 

First of all, there's a paradigm shift - you move from being stuck in the dominant materialist & moralistic stories about money...

... into a vivid perception of the way that money acts on you as a consciousness-altering pharmakon (drug, medicine, poison - by the way, pharmakon was also the term that Plato's Socrates used to describe written language - this is something we'll be exploring during the MONEY course).

From inhabiting this awareness of money-as-pharmakon, you can gain quite a bit more control over how your financial "trip" goes.

Consider this: with all psychedelics, set and setting (short for "mindset and environmental setting") make a huge difference in how much you enjoy or benefit from your trip.

Money is a very powerful psychedelic substance (i.e. it amplifies the psyche, especially contents that are usually unconscious), and almost no one in our cultural acknowledges this or works seriously with this fact.

But acknowledging the psychedelic power of money and working deliberately with it can make a crucial difference in how much fulfillment and wealth you experience in your life. 

Imagine if you'd never before heard of LSD or anything like it, but one day the wicked barista at your local coffee shop drops 3 tabs into your mocha.

Suddenly you're tripping your face off, and you have no fucking idea what's happening, and what's more, you're in the middle of a busy downtown sidewalk. 

It's really understandable if at this point you would start to freak out, get really paranoid, and experience a tremendously terrifying trip as your "I don't know what's happening, am I going crazy?" fear would dramatically color your whole experience of the world for about 6 - 7 hours. 

You might get arrested, or end up in a psych ward. 

After such an awful experience, if you came to your normal sober senses and figured out what happened - you might consider LSD to be "evil" and you would probably never want to think about it again.

Of course - LSD isn't evil. It's a very powerful substance that with the right set & setting can be tremendously empowering, revelatory, fulfilling. 

Now think: the attitude of "I got secretly dosed with LSD and now I hate and fear the stuff" is very like most people's attitude towards money: they regard it as evil, suspect, dirty, burdensome, scary - and they don't really want to have to think about it, ever. 

Either folks want to get rich so they never have to think about money, or they just try to think of money as little as possible, so they don't bother with trying to get rich. 

This aversive attitude is very understandable, of course we feel generally yucky about money - and of course we don't really want to think about it - it's a very powerful psychedelic that we've been secretly dosed with throughout our lives!

We've all been stumbling around, tripping our faces off on the money-pharmakon, not even knowing that we've been dosed, with zero control over our set and setting, generally terrified. 

It's no wonder that most of us have been having bad, bad trips with money and that we would much rather be finished with having to deal with it altogether.

Now imagine: what if you knew exactly how to gorgeously manage the set & setting of your life-long money trip, with shaman-level skill? 

What if instead of cluelessly stumbling about, wracked with anxiety, you had a way of working beautifully and subtly with the money-pharmakon

That's what we're be learning to do in the MONEY course.

It's a massive transformation, and it makes whole new giant vistas of experience possible. Like these ones that my co-teacher Dave and his clients have experienced:

- going from money being a constant source of worry to being a constant source of delight, insight and power

- transitioning from selling coaching or service packages for $100 or $1000 to $1 million or more

- moving from feeling trapped in cycles of spending everything you make into living with a beautiful balance of spending, saving, and investing

- discovering your unique personal brilliance with money magic, and escaping the paralyzing half-truths of "abundance manifestation" principles

- a pervasive sense of unworthiness melting into a deep knowing of personal worth and value 

Posted on February 20, 2019 .

The Humiliation of Desire


I've been noticing something lately - which is that often we humans go numb to our deepest desires....

....and instead we settle for satisfying shallow wants.

This makes sense: our real desires are vulnerable, tender, electric. Just feeling them can be almost painful. Plus, going after the fulfillment of such desires usually involves stretching out of our arena of comfort, taking big risks, enjoying some brushes with failure and shame.

So it's much, much easier to ignore these big electric desires and to instead settle for substitutes, distractions, addictions. 

For example, in my relationship with my husband - it's fairly easy for me to go into "sibling" mode with him and get overly interested in brownies and Pinterest boards...

... because opening up my heart and my body to feel the razor-sharp burn of my actual desire for him is humiliating

It cuts into my ego's pride, it puts to death the walled-off notion "I don't need anything or anyone!" and it brings me into the present moment. 

Interestingly, the word "humiliate" means "to bring down to earth" - it comes from the Latin noun "hummus" - meaning soil. 

The force that brings us down to earth is gravity, and as my coven-mate Crystal Woodling reminded me recently - the force of gravity is an oft-used metaphor for the force of love, desire, Eros.

In our modern culture, we delight in resisting gravity, the Eros that connects us to the earth.

We sleep on beds in houses lifted up from the ground; we drive cars that let us move much faster than gravity would let our legs carry us; we travel on airplanes.

All of which is cool, but it can have the strange effect of making us settle for distractions and abstractions rather than the actual disturbing heat & magnetism of our raw desire.

So I'm curious - what gravitational pull are you resisting right now? 

What deep, electric, humiliating desires are you covering up with easier, ego-friendly substitutes like social media and sugary treats?

Posted on February 20, 2019 .

17 Bizarre Philosophies that Built a Thriving Online Coaching & Teaching Business



The genuinely bizarre things I believe all contribute to my current rags-to-riches success, wherein in 2015 I  ran enterprise based on teaching magic and writing from a tropical island, and made about $10,000 a month.... in 2016 I moved home and raised my income to over $20,000 a month. 

In 2017 I'm averaging $30,000 a month.  It's not by accident, of course.  It's the result of some far-out insights combined with writing and teaching.

Note: This business has been 100% boot strapped and involved a lot of eating from food banks and sleeping on friend's couches to get started. There's been no parental financing, no sugar daddy, no nothin' of the sort. 

I would call myself a "self-made woman" but I don't love that term - since the truth is I've been nurtured in my weirdness by a whole host of people, so I'm a community-made woman - specifically, a Pittsburgh-made woman.

I know a lot of you out there in internet land (especially the magically and artistically inclined amongst you) would be curious to know the attitudes and beliefs that have gone into creating my business success.

So I decided to write down all the bizarre stuff that I 100% believe here in this convenient list format, so hopefully people can read it and

1) learn from it and

2) know all about me up-front, so I don't have to constantly deal with personally shocking and disturbing them.

Psssssssssssst - if you like the far-out stuff I'm about to talk about here, you'll probably also enjoy and benefit from my live training.

 I'm a about to do present a free virtual event -  PAID: The Weird Writer's Training on Getting Rich in Online Business - it'll be live on January 10, 2018. 

I invite you to join me.  I'll be sharing more in depth about the exact strategies and tactics I've used to create this success. 

You can click here to register for it:



1. Having is evidence of wanting, but only always.

I'm not even going to explain this one much. Just think about it. Really think about it. What would it mean in your life if this were true? And would you be willing to gently open up to enjoying that fact about yourself without judging and shaming or hating yourself for it? 

Maybe? Okay? No? Well then, that's cool, you can stop reading. You don't have to waste your time with me and I promise you won't dig what I have to say at all.

Because most everything I ever say is some variant of "Having is evidence of wanting."

As for me, once upon a time, I thought I didn't want to be living trapped below the poverty level.  But having is evidence of wanting, and actually a large part of my soul did want exactly that.

I also thought I didn't want to be in shitty abusive relationships with insane, possessive men who treated me like I was some kind of drug instead of a person - but fascinatingly, a major part of my soul, once again - did want exactly that

It was only when I stopped judging and shaming the part of me that adored poverty and having men be addicted to me that I interrupted the pattern of shame and self-hatred that kept me wanting - and creating - those dark situations.

2. Magic is 10% intention, 90% liberating your attention from your attachments and aversions, your habitual unconscious patterns, and your shame and your resentment.

Vision Boards and the Law of Attraction and a century of New Ageism got lots of magically-inclined folks whipped up into thinking that all they needed to do was "intend" something and it would happen.

Yeah, like no.

I mean, intending stuff and having it happen does totally work, if you're very free from attachment and aversion and unconscious self-defeating patterns. Are you?

Are you like, Gautama Buddha-level free of your patterns?

If no, and you hope to be effective at practical magic, then I would spend way way way way way way more time on the work of liberating your attention from being trapped in those patterns and way way way way way less time on getting your precious "intentions" just right.

Liberated attention is power.  Liberated attention is joy.

Your intentions aren't worth much unless they've got tons of power behind them.

If you're at all like most of us humans, pretty much all of your attention and all of your power and all of your joy is currently trapped in bullshit self-defeating patterns that got embedded into you early in your life through trauma, abuse and coercion, whether familial or societal or both.

Cheers, enjoy, kiddo! - signed, the legacy of all humanity preceding you, especially the founders of modern Western society.


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3. In this world, wealth comes from getting okay with being a predator. 

Does that sound evil, being a predator?

Do you think lions are evil? Because.... they're predators.

I'll just say it again: especially if you're selling a spiritual and emotional service like teaching or coaching and you're a woman, you need to hear this: you're a predator. You're a lion.

If you're broke, it's probably because of systemic misogyny and also because you still see yourself as a helpless antelope (which, fyi, systemic misogyny conditioned all of us women to do!)

Now you may not be able to slay systemic misogyny in one fell swoop, but you can stop seeing yourself as an antelope.

Or not. I mean, that's totally cool, you can continue seeing yourself as an antelope if you want to.

Yet chances are that you're a delusional antelope, because if there's a part of your soul that's hungry to do business, then you're really a lion.

Your prey is your prospect's ego: the part of them that wants to resist deeply committing to change and admitting that they need help and mentorship and therefore surrendering to valuing your services and wisdom with money.

As a lion, you've got to kill that prey and eat it all up if you want to stay in business.

So, would you like to fess up to being a lion, or would you like to continue to pretend to be an antelope?

You get way more pity as a helpless, struggling, broke spiritual basic-ass antelope - also, you get approval from insecure men who remain non-threatened by you and continuous affirmation from your broke spiritual antelope friends! -- so maybe you'd like to keep doing that? 

4. Magic isn't "spiritual" - it's soulful.

Think of it this way: we've all got a body, a soul, and a spirit.

Our body is our body - flesh and bones and stuff. The part that will still be here on earth when you die. The bits people will have to bury or cremate. You know, those.

Our spirit is our consciousness, our mind. The part of us that comes up with all those great intentions!

Our soul is the part of us that mediates between our body and our spirit. We might also call it our shadow and anima / animus, our creative unconscious, our personal genius.

Mysticism works primarily with the spirit.

Magic works primarily with the soul, to create pragmatic effects in the body and in the world.

That's why magicians use physical objects: herbs and candles and oils and sculptures and paintings and mojo bags and offerings of food - slime and snails and puppy dog tails!

We use these because we're working at the symbolic, imaginal level, the level of the interface between spirit and body, the level of dream and metaphor and poetry and art

Mysticism (and its attendant dogma and self-righteousness) tends to be popular among people who are so rich or otherwise privileged that they hardly know what to do with themselves.

I'm sure you can easily conjure to your mind folks that you've met who've never had to worry a day in their lives about how they're going to pay rent or buy food, folks who have never had to defend themselves from attack of any kind - who will tell you that witchcraft and magic are shameful, unspiritual, low-minded pursuits. 

Spiritually-oriented, rareified mystics either get squeamish around and money and birth and death and fucking and hustling or they go into a kind of kitschy denial that there's anything truly fucked up or scary in the world. Hint: there's plenty that's fucked up and scary in the world. 

Magic and witchcraft, on the other hand, tend to be popular among people who need to hustle for their living, and who've seen the dark side of this earth.

In other words, it's popular among people who don't have the luxury of by-passing their souls in order to protect a sparkling imaginary purity of their spirits. 

5. Jesus Christ was a first-class witch.

I am like a giant Jesus fan and quote him all the time, which flips some people out, especially considering that I'm also always talking about how I'm a witch and magic and ritual, etc. etc.,  

Think about it, folks, Jesus was obviously a witch who loved to party.

"What? There's no more wine? Just pass me that water and stand back folks - bam! Now let's keep this rager raging!"

"That's right, my moms was like fourteen when she gave birth to me in this crazy old barn with goats all around, and then these Persian dudes rolled up on the scene..."

"Awwww man, we're out of food? Wait wait wait everybody, don't leave just yet! Hold on - hand me those loaves and fishes - allllllllllllllllright now! Fish sandwiches for everyone!"

"Cool, so where all the bad bitches and hustlers hanging out? Can you point me there?"

"Yeah, my folks brought me to the Temple a lot growing up, but when I was like 13 I was like, fuck these guys, you know? I'm already more down with the Lord than they are and I'm just a jack-ass kid!"

Anyways, it's obvious to me. Jesus wasn't a mystic. He was a sexy witch and a magician, a shaman, a sorcerer and a healer, and a damn well accomplished one who terrified the Roman empire so much they had to assassinate him.

In other words, they burned him as a witch. Well, crucified him, but you know, same thing pretty much. Both result in torturous death.


6. As without, so within. 

This is a variation on the classic hermetic truth, "as above, so below."

It's a premise that's the basis of all analogy. And without analogy, we can't access the unknown. Analogy is how we connect the known with the unknown.

So if you want to know your within, take a good look at your without.

The world around you corresponds precisely to your soul. So much so that the highest form of enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism is known as "mahamudra," which means "the great symbol." 

It means that this whole world is a symbol of itself, which is to say, a symbol of you. Does that not make sense?

Probably it doesn't make sense, because it's a deep nondualistic truth and I'm expressing it in dualistic terms. But all language is dualistic, it's part of it's fun.


7. The world needs more bad bitches - aka "Fuck you, pay me."

I am so, so over misogyny in every single last one of its guises, especially the one where women and feminine people are conditioned to believe they have to be "spiritual" and "good" and perform endless emotional labor for zero pay.

Fuck. That. Shit.

As long as we're living in a capitalist world, money is how we express valuation. Emotional labor like the kind that women and feminine people do constantly - coaching, nurturing, teaching, nursing, therapy-ing, etc. etc. etc. is highly valuable and deserves to be highly paid.

The main thing that prevents women from being highly paid and highly valued for their endless emotional labor is endemic, world-wide, brutal traumatic abuse of women and children and people who evidence femininity in non-normative ways (including gay, bisexual, queer, and trans people). 

So I'll say it again: Fuck. That. Shit.

In other words - give it to me, I'm worth it. 

And so are you.

8. People are hungry to be genuinely seen and felt more than anything else. If you have enough liberated attention, you're capable of giving this - so then you become cherished and influential.

Just think about it. If your attention is wrapped up in your obsessions and your fears, you're not able to be fully present with people, right?

I mean, we all know folks who compulsively play with their phones rather than experience actual intimacy with the flesh-and-blood humans who are face-to-face with them.

So in a world where it's easier than ever to have your attention obsessively sucked away, having the power to focus your attention and focus it deeply and beautifully on the person in front of you is a rare art.

The gift of exquisite attention has always been in high demand, and the demand for it will just continue to rise. So if you want to be a person of influence and wealth, cultivate your ability to be free from obsession, alive in the present moment, and exquisitely attentive to the person right in front of you.

9. There is no reason for you or for any other human to feel ashamed, ever.

Sometimes when I say this people are like "What! Don't you think rapists and child molesters and murderers should be ashamed?"

To which I'm like - "Uhh, hell no. If they weren't ridden with shame to begin with and all the dissociation and alienation that shame brings then they wouldn't be able to treat other humans like objects."

And then sometimes those people look at me and they're like "What about psychopaths and sociopaths and narcissists? They don't feel shame! They should feel shame, though!"

I don't know much what to say to that, other than it's totally obvious to me that actually the only thing psychopaths and sociopaths and narcissists feel is shame.  They feel shame so constantly and so profoundly that it prevents them from feeling compassion.

In other words, after many long hours of meditation on the subject, it became clear to me that shame is the fountain source of violence and trauma, not its preventative balm.

Therefore, whenever I notice shame or judgment springing up in myself, I do my utmost to immediately release it - because I know that it's completely pointless.

The primary value of shame is as an instrument of control. If you can get someone to feel ashamed of themselves, then you can get them to be miserably alienated from their own soul. And if you can get them miserably alienated from their own soul, then you can get them addicted to something.

And if you can get someone to be addicted to something, then it's super-simple to manipulate them by simply regulating their access to the object of their addiction.

Ta-da! Consumerist, oligarchist society for you in a nutshell. 


10. Potency comes from embracing parts of yourself that you would much rather delete.

When most people talk about the importance of "shadow work" I notice that they're talking about a rather lame and watered-down version of this.

Like, folks seem to imagine that "shadow work" is something you can complete one rainy Sunday afternoon and then check off your list.

In my experience, the integration of the shadow is the integration of your own creative unconscious, and it is a process that utterly rocks you to the core and dismantles everything you thought you were.

And if you survive that, then you're magically and practically potent and vital. The key is not to kill yourself or anyone else along the way.

The nitty-gritty details of how to accomplish this shadow integration work makes up the bulk of what I teach people to do when I teach practical magic - because when you've got an integrated shadow, then you've got liberated attention, which means.... power and joy.

11. All identity is empty, fluid, constantly subject to evolution. 

Most people are ineffective because more than anything else they want to grasp onto a solid identity for themselves. We all want to feel solid, secure, real.

And the punchline of this planet is that's the one thing you can't ever do! Why? Because it's not possible for anything to have any solid, secure identity, because in order for identity to exist that means there has to be two of something (i.e. "this" is identical to "that" - you have to have both a "this" and a "that" in order to have an identity), therefore identity implies a duality, and reality is non-dual.

In other words, I know that it seems like you're a subject and the rest of the world is the solid object of your subjective experience, but - alas, that's an illusion.

It's an illusion of solidity that's frequently punctured by nighttime dreams, but our current culture is really fantasmic at being in denial of the importance and reality of nighttime dreams.

It's hard to describe the actual situation we live in better than Bill Hicks did in his fanciful expression of what an anchor delivering a News Update that was actually real news (instead of the usual hum-drum recitation of wars and politics) would sound like:

“Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the Weather.”


12. We all think we want to feel fulfilled, but actually fulfillment is humiliating and excruciating because it kills our ego.

Your thoughts will tell you all day long that you want to be much more rich, loved, healthy, etc. etc. than you already are.

What you don't realize is that your thoughts are straight up lying to you, because actually opening up to receiving that cash and love and health and brilliance is a painful, humiliating process that destroys the ego you've built around the self-image you have of yourself as someone who's long-suffering, put-upon, oppressed, taken advantage of, misunderstood, deprived, etc.

The fulfillment of everything you think you want will entail the destruction of everything you currently think you are.

Almost no one wants the destruction of everything she currently thinks she is because (see above) we're all caught up in an impassioned, hopeless quest to grasp at a feeling of solid identity. 


13. "Addiction" is synonymous with demonic possession, and we're all afflicted by it.

Have you ever talked to a friend of yours who had gotten addicted to drugs when he was jonesing for a fix (or your mom when she was desperate for chocolate, or your dad when he was super-upset that his sports team lost, or your boyfriend while he was defending his right to use porn?) and it was 100% clear to you that you weren't really talking to your friend (or mom or dad or boyfriend), you were talking to the addiction itself?

Well, I have.

Sometimes it's not always so obvious, but it is always true: being possessed by a demon means that there's an intelligence that's hijacked your body and mind which isn't actually interested in the well-being of your body and mind.

And that's addiction - it's an imprisoning force, an intelligence, that operates you until it destroys you. It's currently operating our whole world and doing a smashingly grand job of destroying it.

I see my mission in life as freeing myself from addiction in all its guises and helping others to get free. 

An important thing to note is this: the use of drugs and shopping and porn and sugar and sports and gambling and whatever else - those are all just symptoms of addiction.

Addiction is way deeper than any of its symptoms. It's a fundamental orientation towards self, life, the world, others - one that's obsessive, compulsive, fearful and destructive. 


14. The end of suffering is the willingness to enjoy overwhelming sensation (i.e., pain) rather than trying to push it away. I call this existential kink, and it's the only thing that's ever worked to move me out of my stuck patterns of trauma that I got from being molested as a kid and raped as a young woman.

Pretty much every woman I have ever known has been molested or raped or otherwise assaulted, by the way.

There's nothing odd about being a woman or feminine who has been molested, abused, raped, beaten, coerced, assaulted -- that's actually super-ordinary in our world. 

I'll just say that again: there is absolutely nothing rare or strange or odd or uniquely shameful about being a woman who has been molested, abused, raped, beaten, coerced, assaulted - sadly, that is the normal condition of being a woman in this world. 

I emphasize the truth of the ordinariness of these profound violations because I honestly didn't realize the total ordinariness of it for a long time, and when I did realize the total pervasive ordinariness of this violence, that knowledge helped to free me.

For many years I thought I was uniquely fucked up. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sadly, I am not at all uniquely fucked up. I am very ordinarily fucked up. What's rare and exceptional on this planet is being a woman or feminine person who has not been molested, abused, beaten, coerced, assaulted, raped.


15. Money isn't "green energy." It's dirty filthy nasty cash money. 

While I'm all about "fuck you, pay me" (see above) and I love the hustle, I also fully acknowledge that money is a highly problematic construction.

Have you read Debt: The First 5000 Years? Or Sacred Economics? Or Capitalism in the 21st Century by Thomas Picketty? Or On the Genealogy of Morals?

Well, you probably should go do that, but in the meantime I'll just go ahead and bottomline it for you: the kind of currency we use today is based on debt. It's debt-based currency. And debt is fucked up.

You know what's a synonym for "debt"?

Resentment. Resentment is holding onto something that happened in the past and wanting it to be made up for, by whatever means necessary. That's what debt does, too.

Debt is "something held against you" - that "something" is an expectation, a forceful demand of repayment.

"And forgive us our debts, that we may forgive those who owe us debts." This was part of a magic spell that the great witch Jesus said all the time, because getting free from resentment is a very important part of liberating your attention so you can do magic. 

In a way, money is like calcified resentment!

In other words, our money is an abstraction that represents the past, and something owed. It's a violent demand in the form of slips of paper and coin and digital marks.

Money is not benevolent, it is not innocent. In any way. At all. Ever.

Money is fierce, it's brutal, it's unfair, it's obsessed with the past, and it deeply connects us to a system of brutality.

If the only way you can get okay with making money is by tricking yourself into believing that it's "just energy!' as if it were some innocent, totally non-problematic force handed to you by the Easter Bunny, then that attitude is a reflection of your woefully brittle denial and lack of capacity for understanding historical and economic fact.

Money is a tricksy form of limiting magic (created by sorcerers known as governments and banks) that perpetuates shame, scarcity, and alienation.

And there's no legitimate way around that.  There's no way to by-pass it. The only way is the filthy way through. 

Because you know what perpetuates shame, scarcity, and alienation even more than having and making dirty dirty cash money?

I'll tell you: it's being broke while self-righteously justifying your not venturing out of your comfort zone because to do so would be "unspiritual." That hiding perpetuates shame and scarcity and alienation even more.

Why? Think of it this way: when you do this, you refuse to make that dirty, dirty cash money rain like gushing blood from an antelope's bitten neck in springtime because you prefer to be "pure."

In other words, you're addicted to an ideal of yourself as someone who's free from sin. You're a Pharisee.

My favorite witch Jesus didn't have much respect for Pharisees. Why? Because they're way more about looking good than doing the actual nasty work of effecting good results

So the refusal to deal with money because it's nasty and violent - this is a denial of your soul and it's more harmful than money, even with all the debt and violence and brutality that money is factually, historically associated with.

Money is corrosive and dangerous and related to debt and resentment and obsessed with the past, yes.

And guess what? You've got corrosive, dangerous, brutal, past-obsessed elements in your own soul, too. So many of them, in fact! Would you like to be in aversive denial of those elements forever?

Because if you deny and reject the corrosion and brutality and obsession with the past that's in your very own soul by refusing to get up and go soil your hands with the stinky violent dirty world of money and sales, then you're just denying elements in your own soul. 

Mmmmm, good luck with that.

16. Connection and intimacy are the antidotes to addiction.

Part of why I'm so interested in connection and superconnection is that addiction (attachment, aversion, obsession, fear) thrives on alienation and shame.

Meanwhile, addiction dies in the warmth of real connection and intimacy.

We don't grow up learning how to do real connection and intimacy - and indeed, all of our present society is engineered against it.

So we're living within this intense paradox - we have to hustle and compete for cash, and we have to connect deeply and intimately in order to free ourselves from the demon of addiction and have the free attention and energy that actual success and leadership calls for.

It's not easy, but it's what we've got to do at this particular odd moment in history.

This brings me to the final bizarre thing I believe....


17. Your capacity to live in paradox is your capacity for real success, power, influence, joy.


It's very clear to me that this world isn't going to be liberated from the clutches of the demon addiction by goody-goody heroes.

It's going to be saved by people who are a bit wicked, a bit dangerous, rather unpredictable and chaotic. People with sullied pasts and dirty hands. Shifty magic people. The kind of bodhisattvas who might just kill you in order to liberate you.

In the midst of this late capitalist, dogmatically materialist world, a magician doesn't get to truly free herself and others by staying squeaky clean.

The game right now involves taking the poison in order to purge and heal.

Remember, the witch Jesus hung out with whores and shady mafia type guys (i.e. tax collectors) but only all the time.

If you can't sincerely get off on the pain and tragedy and madness of this world, if you can't walk unflinchingly within it and be both cunning as a serpent and innocent as a dove, then you probably won't enjoy your time here and you probably won't help the rest of us that much.

And it's knowing all this and being willing to live it that made me $300,000 last year from my pillow.

If this is resonating with you -  I'm revving up to present a free virtual event -  PAID: The Weird Writer's Training on Getting Rich in Online Business - it'll be live on January 10, 2018.  I know that may seem like a long way off, but I promise you it's worth the wait.  

I invite you to join me.  I'll be sharing more in depth about the exact strategies and tactics I've used to create this success. 

You can click here to register for it:




Posted on October 30, 2015 .



What I feel to be missing from most discussions of magic (particularly the magic of practical manifestation, which concerns me most) is a down-to-earth acknowledgement of the actual hardcore madness that you need in order to execute it fully and well.

For example - when I'm feeling a bit down and in need of inspiration (as often happens in the midst of a dreary Pittsburgh winter [note to self - really must move to New Orleans before it gets cold here in Pittsburgh again!]) - I scour the interweb and bookstores and find that most popular discussions of the Law of Attraction and creative visualization and even ceremonial magick simply fail to inspire me.

Why? Because most just don't give full enough recognition and permission to how far off the deep-end of consensus reality I actually have to go (in my own previous experience) to actually make them work.

So I'm here today to affirm for you, dear readers, that in order to perform magic you really do have to let yourself go rather mad (by societal standards) and jump.

Because you're reading this on the internet, and the internet loves lists, I have organized what I know to be true about the insanity required for magical effectiveness and how to attain it into 7 easily consumable keys, which I now proudly present:

1. Magic is the art of unveiling your true self, which means you have to be willing to become immensely intimate with what's already present - so much so that you forget to judge against it. 

So here you are. You're a being full of intense passions and ideals, goals and aspirations, with gorgeous visions of how things could be - and you find yourself in the midst of this mortal, decaying, messy world.



(The Magician card from the Light Visions tarot by James R. Eads, my personal favorite)

You notice that you and the people close to you are rife with tremendous beauty and also with wounds, fears, neuroses, blocks, limitations, illness - physical and mental disturbances of all flavors.

You notice that the landscape of your world includes lovely sunsets and adorable babies and tender tree limbs bursting forth in spring - and it also includes brutally ugly Big Box retail stores, suicides of great artists, used heroin needles and crack pipes on the sidewalk, children abused by their own families, tired elderly bag ladies shuffling around with their shopping carts, and perpetual news of war and disaster and broadcast everywhere.

So what's your subjective response to the ugliness and rot in your world and in yourself? Do you feel offended, insulted, disgusted by it? Do you want to make it go away as fast as possible so your shining vision can be unsullied?

Well, pretty much all of us do. But that very attitude of taking offense maintains you in a position of practical magic weakness.

Not to alarm you - but thinking in biblical terms, it's actually a Luciferian position. The proud Light-Bringer, accustomed to the unending effulgence of heaven, refused to humble himself and honor the fleshy mortality of God's creation, of humankind. In that refusal to bow to the stinky mess that is humanity and the material world, the bright angel Lucifer took himself straight to Hell. And that's actually what most of us do, all the time.

According to Milton's classic version of the tale in Paradise Lost, Lucifer got bored in his shimmering infernal palace and so he snuck up into the Garden of Eden, took the form of the serpent, and tricked our primordial parents Eve and Adam into eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

As soon as they did that, they became aware of their nakedness and became ashamed and hid from God. Their shame arose because they ingested Lucifer's idealistic point of view - and with it came negative judgment, a taking offense, at their own nakedness, weakness, material sensuality - which they now saw as "evil" - lacking.


(Eve Tempted by the Serpent by William Blake, who knew his stuff when it came to magic and imagination)

And then just as Lucifer banished himself from heaven, Eve and Adam banished themselves from the Garden of Eden (the experience of being alive in a lush, abundant and friendly world) and into the living Hell of having to work for a living, with all the attendant toil and stress that you're probably very familiar with.

To explain a bit more: this created world of flesh and blood and dirt and shit and death and birth is a dream, exactly the same as our nighttime dreams, but a bit more solid and slower moving. Lucifer's outraged insistence is that the dream be full of pure light, but it's not.

This means: as long as you are taking offense and wishing to distance yourself from the scary and sick and perverse and weak things in the dream (including the woundedness and sickness and nakedness and weakness in you) then you are negatively judging the dream from the position of what's favorable or unfavorable for the dream character that you appear to be.

Your very negative judgment and taking offense is what makes the dream seem wildly beyond your control, and causes you to feel like you're a victim of it, because it identifies you as a powerless character and positions you in what Kierkegaard liked to call demonic despair. Your very resistance to the ugliness in the dream holds it in place, energizes it, makes it more dramatic and big. Because that's the nature of your magical power. Sorry.

The answer to this magical conundrum is not to ignore, deny, or overlook the pain and ugliness of the world as the rather uninspiring, pop-magic Law of Attraction answer would have it. That's not a recipe for being a powerful magician. That's a recipe for being an asshole.

Instead - the paradoxical and intensely challenging answer is to recognize that you, the larger you, the dreamer of the dream, loves and desires the nasty, bloody, aging world and your messed-up self and all the messed-up people around you exactly AS IS, with all its wounds and used needles and war and belly fat and unsightly wrinkles. The answer is to become intensely intimate with the woundedness and sickness, so much so that you forget to take offense in it - you surrender to it, you honor it, you celebrate it. You dive into your aversion to creation and have a party. You do exactly what Lucifer refused to do.


(Gustave Dore's classic depiction of Lucifer / Satan from his illustration of Milton's Paradise Lost)

Let's think about it a second: what other famous biblical character was totally willing to get down and dirty, up close and very personal with the sick, the weak, the poor, and the generally unwholesome and fucked-up? What weirdo was always up for a party?

Oh yeah. That immensely queer, ridiculously insane, highly-laughable, very very BAD WITCH, the tantric-magician-poet, Jesus of Nazareth.

(wonderful Ted Neeley as sexy angsty hippie lord of hosts in Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973)

2. Your self-concept truly does determines everything.

As long as you take yourself to be the put-upon, insulted, offended dream character, as long as you're solidly identified in your aversions and attachments, you can't work real practical magic. You can't turn water into wine and you can't walk on water. You can't make the lame walk, raise the dead, or multiply loaves and fishes.

Fuck, about all you can do is sometimes manifest what's on your magazine-picture cut-and-paste Vision Board. Or maybe your Pinterest. And even if you do, if you're honest with yourself, you find that your manifestations are somehow rather remarkably unsatisfying once they appear.

You can't do all that cool miracle stuff, because all that cool miracle stuff is only what you get to do if you're fully lucid in the dream, fully identified as the dreamer instead of the dream character.

That was the immense trick that Jesus, our great queer bad-ass wizard, managed to do. He saw himself and everyone else and everything else as the dreamer instead of the dreamed. He didn't use his own puny human will to change stuff. He identified so thoroughly with the Great Will, "the will of God," the desire that creates all things, including the shit and the wounds and the horror and the ugliness and the nose hairs and the cellulite - that that Will had no problem moving through him and shifting the dream in his presence.

Just like when you become lucid in a nighttime dream - you realize you're the dreamer, asleep in your bed, and you can fly if you want to.

The bad news for us is that the key to this immense trick of shifting our identification from knowing ourselves as the dream character to knowing ourselves as one-with-the-Dreamer-of-Everything is that we have to assume the attitude of the Dreamer.

And if you think about it, the Dreamer's attitude to everything is that it's orgasmically deliciously perfect, it's flawless, it's loveable and it's whole in all its apparent twistedness.

3. You need to let yourself believe you're having a pre-cognition, a revelation that what you want is already done.

Okay, so that's the first big trick to magic. Profound intimacy and attention and surrender, non-judgment and non-rejection of what's already showing up. Got that down? Great. Check. Next step.

Mmmm... okay, slightly bad news again.

The next step is just as difficult and demanding on your heart and imagination!


(The Millionaire from Nazareth - a classic New Thought book by Catherine Ponder, I recommend it)

The next step is that even as you're totally loving and present with the twistedness that's already apparent, not judging it, not shaming it - you go ahead and just wildly, insanely, nonsensically, irrationally assume that your preference for how it could be different.... is already accomplished!

You see it as a done deal and express your gratitude for the doneness of the deal.

You allow yourself to experience your preference as a revelation, a prophecy, a pre-cognition of something which is inevitably already happening.

Weird magical facts about me: this is essentially how I got my book published, how I got my PhD, and how I fully healed my immensely-painful-ripped-cornea-which-was-so-damaged-that-the-best-cornea-doctor-in-the-world-told-me-my-only-hope-to-be-pain-free-was-to-have-my-eye-removed.

Wait wait now - what about hard work? What about taking massive action? Improving my productivity? Mastering my craft? Getting good medicine?

Well, you can certainly do all that stuff as a way of keeping yourself busy while the slow-ish dream moves. I did. But I'm really clear that the intuitively-received information that directed me to take the precise action steps that actually worked to bring forth these goals (in very weird, synchronistic ways) only came to me after I made the insane, irrational, internal decision that the goals were already accomplished.

But the real work is the inner energy it takes to allow yourself to experience your subjective decision as truth, to allow yourself to know that your choice of who you are and how your prefer the world to be is to be more valid, more true, more solidly done and factual than what's "objectively real."

My book is already published by a major publisher.

(except no one knows that and it isn't written yet)

I have my PhD.

(yet according to my thesis committee everything I've ever written is trash)

My eye is healed, perfectly functioning, and painless.

(except it hurts like a motherfucker, I have to wear a pirate eye patch, and the World's Foremost Cornea Specialist says I should get it plucked out of my head)

Still, whatever. My book is published by a major publisher. I have my PhD. My eye is healed. That's my irrationally chosen subjective crazy-town truth, and I'm sticking to it and basking in the glow of it. Yay, me! I'm a published PhD with healthy eyes! YAY!

And then it became objective truth. Very fast. That wasn't the Law of Attraction. That was the Law of Insane Assumption.

Sound like madness? Well, it is. The authorities of the world don't much care for that kind of imaginative madness. They're prone to burning people at stakes and hanging them up on crosses for it. So. Proceed if you're cool with that.

4. You can have everything you want - only after you stop attaching importance to it.

Here's something big: your subjective decision, your inner choice that your preference is already a done deal ("Hmmmm, I would prefer this water to be wine right now so the party can keep raging") - it will become manifest. Sometimes with stunning rapidity. The quickness of it is really only a question of how thoroughly you're identified with yourself as the dreamer. And it will only manifest if you're choosing it for the hell of it, if it's no-big-deal to you.

In other words, you can't be out to prove anything with your magic. If you're counting on the external manifestation to prove that you're rich, you're powerful, you're awesome, you're healed and healing - well, you've just kind of missed the point.

(beautiful Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdelene and Ted Neeley again as the Holy Lamb in Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973)

The point is that there is no point. There's no point because there actually is nothing to prove. Your power and wholeness and perfection can't be proved because they're already true. You already are the dreamer of the dream. And if you're really letting yourself know that, you won't be attaching any importance at all to the manifestation of your preferences, because the dream is already orgasmically, deliciously, insanely perfect.

If you're still attached to proving something, all it means is that you're still attached to seeing yourself as the dream character, and you're anxious for the dream to prove to you that you're the dreamer. Well, it won't. It can't. Because you're dreaming the dream, and it can only prove to you what you deeply assume to be true.

And if your boring, mundane assumption is that you're a separate, anxious individual with something to prove - well, that's what it will continue to show you. Anxiety, separation, and stubborn mundane boringness.

5. Your imagination is not fluffy pointless stuff - it's the shaper of realms.

Since the truth is that you are the dreamer, your imagination - that much-derided power - is not an idle force. It's what actively shapes all that you see.

So is the greatest thing you can imagine for yourself a 4-hour work week, naps in some tropical sunshine, six-pack abs and free time spent cheating at kick-boxing competitions? (Sorry dear Tim Ferris - you're a loveable dude but it's a Luciferian gospel of linear self-improvement that you're preaching.)

If your wildest dreams center primarily on the fulfillment of stuff that would prove that you're awesome, you're okay, you're a winner - that would tend to suggest that the most you dare to hope for is to be a really kick-butt dream character.

Which is cool and everything, but I invite you to take the imagination that you have for yourself and get way bigger with it, because...

6. You can imagine yourself all the way to enlightenment.

This is what Jesus did. He just had a way, way, way bigger imagination than us and Tim Ferris.

And this is pretty much the whole point of all the tantric and dzogchen Buddhist teachings (which are considered by many to be the highest teachings in Buddhism): you imagine yourself, you emanate yourself, as an already-fully-awake-and-fully-empowered Buddha. You do this instead of imagining yourself as what Lama Thubten Yeshe calls "your ordinary self-pity emanation." Damn, Lama Yeshe, do you know me or what?

Emanate, imagine, rinse, repeat.


(Tantric Buddhist thodgal tigle - it's a particle of sparkly light that the dream of the universe is made of)

Obviously this sort of imagination-towards-total-awakening takes some high-octane focus. It's not something you day dream about once and you're done. It's something that you practice again and again, deeply, maybe for years, and along the way you encounter absolutely everything in you that's ashamed, that's demonic, that's despairing, that argues against your total awakeness and perfection and power and oneness-with-the-Dreamer.

You might, for example, hang out for 40 days in a desert meeting all these protesting parts of yourself, or you might meet them in one night while you sit under a Bodhi tree. Either way, they'll show up and you'll have to meet them, maintaining your knowing (your imagination, your pre-cognition) of the truth all the while.

That sounds way more hardcore than six-pack abs to me.

7. You have to be willing to let the objective world fall by the wayside - and walk a thin line.

I'm repeating this last point because I need to get to a full 7 list items (7 has a sexy magic allure that 6 just doesn't, wouldn't you agree?) and also because it's an important bit of this insane dimension of magic that I'm trying to emphasize to you.

It's not really possible to be both a powerful magician and to also be completely committed to objective, verifiable, consensus reality. To do magic, you have to be willing to give giant amounts of energy and attention to your subjectively-felt truth, the truth that you're huge, you're awake, you're rich, you're whole, you're healthy, you're the Dreamer of the dream.

Very few people will give you support and permission in fully inhabiting this subjective truth. The world in general is way more down with "objectivity" and "verification" and "proof." So that leaves you to take your encouragement from crazy people on the internet like me.

So, with the full force of my not-inconsiderable-craziness  - I say, do it. Inhabit your gigantic, subjective, unreasonable, irrational, nutty, beautiful truth. Allow yourself to know it as true, no matter if appearances and everyone else disagrees. And please don't forget to remain in huge, intimate, bloody, celebratory intimacy with the whole of mucky reality as you do so.


(the stunning Peter O'Toole as a mad man who believes he's a love god Jesus in The Ruling Class, 1972)

Let go. Love it all. Trust it all. Let yourself assume and know and remember that your most gorgeous dreams are already true. Feel the mad exhiliration and fulfillment of that.

Don't settle for mere Luciferian manipulation and self-improvement, please, darling soul.

A caveat: this whole bit of investing primarily in your subjective realization of your lucid magician Dreamer-ness is still a funny balancing act. Even our queer hero Jesus (who overcame death on multiple occasions, let's remember) still argued in favor of at least one part of the "you just can't avoid death and taxes" truism. He was really clear on the bit that you can definitely cheat death, and yet he also said "Render unto Cesar what is Cesar's" - meaning- well, you still gotta pay your taxes. And bills. Shucks.

If being a fully enlightened magician doesn't get me out of paying taxes and bills, what good is it anyway?

Not much, it proves nothing. And gloriously so. And with my whole-heart I want it for you. Go claim it.

Posted on July 1, 2015 .

The Nonduality of Magic

I've figured out something that not a whole lot of magic folks love to hear about. Well, the first part everyone does love to hear about. It's this: when you open your heart and mind and turn on your joy and gratitude, the universe will offer you beautiful synchronicities that fulfill your deepest desires for romance, beauty, and fun.

Excellent, right?

Yeah, except you follow the nudgings of those magical synchronicities, receive their boons, and you discover that you're not actually being lead onto Easy Peachy Street where everything is always gorgeous and your relationships are lovely and your sense of social respectability is fully unchallenged and you get a pile of diamond necklaces dumped on your doorstep ala The Secret.

diamond necklace

diamond necklace

 (The diamond necklaces you as a magic person are not about to receive at your address on Easy Peachy Street)

Instead, it's been my experience and the experience of many of the magic people I know (and friends, through the wonders of the interwebs I know them of all ages, genders, and from all locales on the planet) that those synchronous sirens of wondrousness very often perplexingly lead you not to unending Peachiness but rather into the dissolution of all your good reputation, the ending of long-held friendships, the dismantlement of your personal property, and occasionally the mad house.

Well, fuck.

Magical synchronistic fulfillment of your desires isn't sounding so rad anymore, is it?

I didn't think so.

Except, here's the thing: it is still really, really super rad.

How magic is still rad

It's super rad because even though magic doesn't lead you to Peachiness, it does lead you to the experiential awareness of truth. And that's actually the only thing we really want. I know it doesn't seem like the experiential awareness of ultimate truth is all that you really want on days when you're walking around thinking "I really want to make out with so-and-so but he / she / it doesn't like me the way I like he / she / it and all I want is some hotness in my life that so much to ask?!" but... trust me it is.


What this experiential truth is - well, that's hard to put into words. It's all gooey and truth-y, and you really need to taste it for yourself to get the gist. We can call it "nondual awakening" for short, though, since that's the current fashionable term and it's pretty handy.

Basically, it's this: "you" exist only as a feature of an undulating oneness that constantly manifests as all phenomenon, and "you" are totally not in control of anything. Not even "your" own thoughts or actions. They never were "yours" - just the ceaseless play of emptiness dancing as form.

Hey hey hey hey wait wait wait now - isn't practicing magic all about being in control? Taking hold of the reigns of one's Destiny? Digging the speeding silver spurs into the Steed of Good Fortune and riding that bucking stallion off into the Sunset of Getting What I Goddamn Want? Doesn't the end-game of this put me on an all-expense paid Carnival Alaska Cruise Ship voyage with Esther Hicks and many other nice, clean, people with money?

Not exactly.

Here's the thing: when you first start to practice magicking up synchronicity, it does feel like "you" are in more control. But that's pretty much just the universe's way of getting way massive LOLZ.



(This kitteh is an official representative of the universe and thinks you're cute)

The Tricksy Way Magic Works:

As far as I can presently tell, this is how magic works to wake us up:

1. When we (often by accident) find the astounding, synchronous, beautiful, magical fulfillment of our desires happening, we are confronted with the realization that there's an intimate relationship between our "internal" landscape of thought, imagination, and emotion and the "external" world.  We start to intuit that this world is a lot more dream-like than solid.

2. As we are confronted with this wonderful and eerie realization, we usually start trying a lot harder to decide precisely what manifests in the dream. (If you're anything like me - this means primarily: Prince Charming.)  We double-down on spells, Vision Boards, healings, visualizations, mantras, affirmations, and just about anything else we can think up that might give us a little bit more leverage over controlling what appears in the dream we're dreaming.



(Through all this Vision Board stuff I actually did succeed once in marrying a guy who - no joke - looked exactly like Prince Charming  right down to the red cape, awesome blond head of hair and sexy, sexxxy tights. Our Rustic Country Wedding in October was like a dream that Pinterest wakes up from all hot, wet, and slippery. And... our relationship produced a vortex of pain that nearly killed me. All of that lead me to take bodhisattva vows. My Prince Charming ex is now one of my dear friends -  turns out he's pretty great as a pal and listens with immense patience to my nondual ramblings - so it's all cool. And that's magic, folks!)

3. We succeed in manifesting precisely what we have asked for (whoah baby! epic winning!), and gradually discover that it creates a maddening Vortex of Pain (see above parenthetical lengthy caption regarding The Prince Charming Experiment executed by yours, truly).

4. Within this Vortex of Pain we become desperate for divine help and willing to contemplate the notion that perhaps we have absolutely no control, that maybe the universe is magicking us and not the other way around. Hmmmmmmmm.

5. Rinse, repeat - indefinitely.

6. Wake up to the reality of our nonvolitional, nondual existence. "Deeds are done but there is no do-er." - Buddha aka Dude Who Knew What Was UP.

7. Realize that you still (nonvolitionally) have a personality and want to write blog posts (throw punk shows, make video art, raise children, write songs, cook dinners, protest fascism, etc. fill in the blank). Do so. TA DA!

So, in short: yes, magic works.

Yes, conjuring your desires and following amazing synchronicities is a great idea and will ultimately lead you to just where you need to be.

And no, your ego probably will not like much of it.  At all. Yay!

Posted on February 7, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

TheDelight of Non-Volition

Do you think you have free will? Most of us do. It's a rather pervasive belief amongst humans, I've noticed. Well - what if you didn't? And what if that was like, super great? In my last essay I talked about sacred outlook, which is a magical practice that's reputed to very efficiently lead to enlightenment and at the very least, in my own personal experience makes life way more fun.

Sacred outlook is actually just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from straight-up nondual perception. In Tibetan Buddhism, sacred outlook is part of the tantric path, which is one rung below the "pathless path" of nondual contemplation known as Dzogchen ("The Great Perfection").  Nondual contemplation is considered the highest, quickest, and most difficult route to awakening.

The past few weeks I've been spending a lot of time reading about Dzogchen, because - Capricorn that I am - if something is the fastest, best, and most difficult I absolutely must know all about it and do it!

Well, bummer for me - turns out traditional Dzogchen practice requires the reception of an official transmission from an enlightened guru which are in slightly short supply on the Southside of Pittsburgh where I reside.  Of course the amazing Buddha Brats folks are happy to tell you how to do naughty, naughty guru-less Dzogchen if you're into it. And I am.  Also, if you'd like to read a scholarly discussion of Dzogchen (and who wouldn't?), you should definitely check out Secret of the Vajra World by Reginald Ray.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nondual contemplation in the Dzogchen tradition is slippery business, and I was finding it hard to get into.

The Union of Compassion and Emptiness

But while googling "the union of compassion and emptiness" (like you do) I came across this really neat, thoughtful and exhaustive site on nondual thought, A Course in Consciousness, by Stanley Sobottka, who is a bald and rather serious-looking fellow who happens to be an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia (i.e., not a no-good slacker hippie slouch like me and my friends who sit around giving each other half-assed explanations of quantum mechanics primarily in order to help us justify to ourselves our obscene over-use of Nag Champa and negligible interest in wage-earning).

As I read his very rich site, I discovered that Professor Sobottka (or just "Professor Stanley" as I like to affectionately think of him) is a big fan of Ramesh Balsekar, a former President of the Bank of India who became enlightened after studying a book called The Open Secret by an Irish aristocrat who went by the somewhat silly-sounding (for an old white dude) nom de plume of Wei Wu Wei.

I swear, you can't make this stuff up. It's too funny. Divine consciousness has a really goofy sense of humor.

But right now I'm just about gushing with enthusiasm for the perceptive reading of The Heart Sutra (my favorite!) that Mr. Wei Wu Wei offered in The Open Secret.



 ("Therefore Prajnaparamita is the Great Magic Spell, the Spell of Illumination, the Supreme Spell, Which Can Truly Protect One from All Suffering Without Fail")

What I find really compelling about The Open Secret, and what Mr. Ramesh Balsekar and subsequently our pal Professor Stanley must have found really compelling - is the doorway to nondual contemplation that's opened with the very simple and radical idea that we actually have no free will, and thus no responsibility or control over our thoughts and actions.

I know that I've heard this idea expressed before - but for some reason this week it's hit me at a great depth and I just about can't think of anything else. Or rather, I'm not thinking about it. I'm being thought.

Now the notion that we have no responsibility, control, volition or free will may at first glance just sound scary, creepy, or like another hippie excuse for not working and burning a lot of Nag Champa.

The thing is - the more I reflect on it, the more I find that my own personal sense of volition and responsibility doesn't really bring me anything other than guilt, pride, and anxiety - i.e., suffering.

And of course - when I'm suffering, I'm way more likely to shirk work, act bitchy to self and others, and generally be a jerk.

So weirdly, the more I relax into the notion that I'm not an independent, separate volitional individual but rather just  a choiceless wave in the ocean of the universe whose thoughts, decisions, actions, and perception occurs without any will of my own - the more I notice myself becoming cheerful, kind, and productive.

I know this sounds paradoxical.

I was a teenage junkie

It's a paradox that I'm familiar with from my years in 12 step recovery groups.  You see, at one point in my tender young life I spent a lot of time shooting heroin.

These days I'm mostly so goody-two shoes and wholesome that no one would suspect it of me, but yes, friends - I was teenage junkie. And no, it was not as fun or glamorous as it sounds.

The thing about my shooting heroin was this:  as long as I told myself that I had any choice in the matter - that I could stop when I wanted to - that I could use less - that "I" was in anyway in charge of my substance use - well, the less capable of stopping I was. It was almost as if my thought that I had choice in the matter kept me hideously stuck.



The first step in 12 Step Recovery programs is "We admitted we were powerless over [fill in the blank - alcohol, addiction, over-eating, emotions, codependence, sexual acting out, gambling, debting, etc. etc. etc.] and that our lives had become unmanageable."

So finally when I was beat-up enough by my addiction to be willing to accept spiritual instruction from chain-smoking yinzers in church basements, I accepted that I actually had no choice about my addiction, and no control. I couldn't stop, I couldn't use less, I was not in charge, I had no way to halt myself and would just keep using until it killed me.



 (This is an illustrative sample image of a chain-smoking yinzer, in case you do not have the great good fortune to be from Pittsburgh and have not encountered this phenomenon)

Basically, I admitted that I was really and truly fucked.

My only hope was that something a lot more powerful and benevolent than my own will and choice (something known as a "Higher Power," or, more generally, "God") would be so kind as to cosmically intervene and stop me from doping myself to death.

As it turned out, this Higher Power did indeed intervene - and I stopped getting high. But it was immensely evident to me that it was not "me" who got myself clean. "Me" was an idiot who relentlessly and compulsively sought drugs every day of her life even when she knew she wanted to stop and hated herself and what she had done to her life. "Me" was not capable through her own will of going two hours without a hit, let alone going through withdrawal, attending meetings, and talking to a sponsor.

However, when I admitted the totally screwed uselessness of the "me" - i.e., that I had no choice in the matter of my using - that admission was enough to open the way for a Higher Power to come in and take over and make my life much, much better than I was making it.

I'm pretty happy that I don't exist

With the help of this Higher Power thing, I've been clean for almost 10 years now.

So having had this rather dramatic experience of how admitting my powerlessness and volitionless-ness actually made my life way way way way better, it's not too hard for me to understand that the more I'm willing to generalize this state of non-control, probably the better my life can get.

I begin to detect that the sense that I have any control or volition AT ALL is itself the core of the disease of addiction - because as long as I imagine I have control, I usually am constantly "proving" to myself how very in charge of my experience I am by seeking to maximize my pleasure and minimize my pain in life.

And, clever dove that I am, I can find ways to maximize my pleasure with career success, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, cookies, men, money, accomplishment, shopping, self-righteousness and just about anything else that can ring my neurochemical bell. None of which are bad in themselves - but all of which get to be pretty whack when I attack them with my self-will.

This compulsive seeking to maximize pleasure and minimize pain is what the Buddha called "attachment" or "clinging" and told us was the source of all suffering.

Meanwhile, when I let go of the illusion that "I" am in charge of my thoughts or actions, this compulsive pleasure-seeking and all its accompanying guilt and anxiety falls away. Hence, it becomes a lot more easy to accept the simple joys and pains of the present moment. As a bonus, all the jerk stuff I do to get my own way and all the damage I do to my health falls away, too.

So, ironically - the less I believe myself to be in charge of my own thoughts, decisions, and actions, the more kindly and "responsibly" I behave.

Perhaps this is because to be "responsible" is to be "able to respond" - and when I'm not in the delusion that I'm a separate ego, this bodymind that I am is able to respond a lot more efficiently to the unfolding happenings of the world.

Posted on February 6, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Sacred Outlook - a key magical practice



So lately (and throughout my life) I'm pretty well obsessed with sacred outlook, also known as pure perception or true perception. I've begun to believe that it's the cornerstone of magic and living an awesome life. Sacred outlook can sound rather saccharine or silly at first. It's the practice of "pretending" that every circumstance and every person you meet with is wholly divine, wise, pure, loving, and worthy of  huge gratitude and receptive reverence.  Of course most of the time we don't automatically perceive the vast majority of situations and people in our lives this way.

(image from The Dalai Lama's Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet. Tibetan tantra emphasizes Sacred Outlook as a means of spiritual evolution)

For example, my automatic perception setting is to look around and see circumstances ranging from the numbingly mundane to the excruciatingly tragic, and people ranging from the fairly cool to the totally annoying.

Yet the weird joke is that after you practice celebrating everyone you meet as a profoundly wise divinity whose every word is precious and encountering every situation as a joyous boon for a few weeks, you start to discover something very alarming: you're not really pretending anymore that everything is way wonderful.

You're actually directly, effortlessly perceiving that everything is way wonderful.

And this, friends, is very, very trippy.

Let me be clear: just because you're practicing sacred outlook doesn't mean that all the shitty things that go on in the world halt.  There's still war and rape and abuse and economic inequity and environmental devastation.  That all still exists.  What changes is that you start to perceive the fundamental goodness in everyone's heart and in your own heart - and that goodness becomes WAY BRIGHTER than all the awful stuff.

And soon you start to see that all the awful stuff (war, rape, abuse, economic inequity, environmental devastation, on and on) is just what people do when they're allowing their own confusion to keep them from seeing the fundamental, astoundingly gorgeous and wise goodness in their own heart and in everyone else's.

So everywhere you look, in every situation you see - you no longer see boring, wretched people and situations that merit your rejection or indifference. Instead, you see loving, amazing people and situations (sometimes caught up in sad confusion) that merit your admiration and engaged compassion.

So you're seeing the actual wonderfulness that was present all along, but which had previously been obscured by your judging and resisting ego-mind.

It even begins to dawn on you that your very willingness to perceive the marvels in every person and every situation is actively helping to draw those marvels out.  In other words, your showing up with an open heart and open mind is an actively positive choice that lets people feel comfortable enough to drop their defenses and be more rad with you.

The three traditions I'm aware of which give the most emphasis to the practice of sacred outlook as a path of spiritual advancement are Vajrayana (aka tantric) Buddhism, Sufism, and nondual Christianity ala A Course in Miracles.  You can find out more about all of these on the tantric resources page.

All of these traditions propose that sacred outlook is a rapid path to realization.  As I've experimented with it over the years, I've found that to be true. The times I've put the most energy into cultivating sacred outlook, I've actually felt my center of felt perception shift from my brain to my heart.  Scientifically speaking, it seems that I begin to experience the world with a lot more mellow and cuddly oxytocin kind of feelings and a lot less demanding, addictive dopamine-seeking kind of feelings.

A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott

coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity.  I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House).  I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.

Posted on February 4, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.