How I made $130,000 in one week selling a $400 course to 3800 people

What if you dropped your blocks to getting big online while being fully yourself? Would that be like smoking jewels and tiny flowers? Yes, yes it would. 

What if you dropped your blocks to getting big online while being fully yourself? Would that be like smoking jewels and tiny flowers? Yes, yes it would. 

I'm guessing that you clicked this essay because you don't 1000% like whatever career situation you've currently got...

.... and that you have the wise and highly understandable wish to create a situation that includes earning $130,000 in a week while you sit on your sofa.

Congratulations, you are in the right place to hear all of my gritty details - I hope they give you a jolt of strength and inspiration for your next endeavor. 

And my sincere condolences on whatever is sucking presently in your work life.  These here are hard and strange times.  

You're showing amazing courage and daring just by reading this and being willing to consider another possibility for yourself.

So now: I'm going to go into the pointy brass tacks of my most recent launch of INFLUENCE: the life-altering course on mastering practical magic. 

It's an amazing 4 year tale of success!

I must admit, I'm not the most dramatic "over night success story" you can find in the internet business world.

Even though the orders for INFLUENCE totaling over $130,000 in value all rolled in in one short week, I assure you that plenty of effort over the last 4 years went into making this glorious recent week happen. 

I've taught INFLUENCE six times, I refined and expanded INFLUENCE with each iteration, and I've been working on building the email list and Facebook presence that I launched to for 4 years.

So this recent 6-figure launch ain't exactly what one could call "passive income." This has been an on-going labor of sheer love and strangeness. 

Here's what I did to create these results:

1) Maintain a win-win platform for myself and others in my field.

With the help of my very wise and gracious assistants Karolina and Rebecca, I maintain a platform called WITCH magazine (badwitch.es) where I create a win-win scenario for magically-inclined authors, coaches, diviners, astrologers, etc. who are seeking to grow their own businesses and audiences.  

You should probably go over to WITCH right now and join the email list using the forms on the site if you haven't already. 

The win-win is this: I publish other folks' excellent essays to my cultivated audience of over 30,000 - and when I do this, the authors of these essays gain clients, customers, and street cred (so: win for them!) and through the popularity of their essays spreading the WITCH mojo around, I gain more people who visit badwitch.es, see the offer to join the WITCH email list and take the plunge to join it (so: win for me!).

My assistant Karolina corresponds with authors, uploads the new essays to the site (badwitch.es) and publishes them on our Facebook page and then my assistant Rebecca publishes the essays to our Pinterest page.  I hope for us to get into Instagram and Youtube soon, and yes I do realize I'm like 10 years behind the cool kids on those. 

(And of course, back when I first started WITCH I did all this uploading and corresponding myself. It took awhile before I was profitable enough to hire assistants.)

Not all win-win platforms, of course, need to be magazines.  Lots of folks who are more disciplined and focused than me have great success doing interview podcasts or youtube shows which operate on the same win-win principles.

So this is my primary advice for someone starting out in the online world: create thyself a win-win situation wherein others in your field help you produce relevant content for your audience, and are rewarded for doing so. 

2) Ran "published post" Facebook ads to the most popular stuff

Just to be clear, I didn't start running Facebook ads until my business already had over $100,000 in yearly revenue.

Facebook ads aren't cheap, and if your business doesn't have the "legs" to get natural traction and attention without the boost of advertising, your advertising budget is likely to be stretched toooooooooo thin.

So before you go investing in Facebook ads, I suggest you work to create the most powerfully organically viral and helpful content that you can. That's what I teach people how to do in THRILL: the course on growing your online audience and getting paid. 

I tried fancier things with Facebook ads - videos, special landing pages, etc. but the method that seems to be most efficient for me is just to create ads that promote the most popular essays of WITCH magazine, and then people see the invite-to-join-the-email-list form that comes with every essay. 

I promote the essays to a specialized audience of people who resemble those who are already subscribed to my list (called a "look-a-like audience") people click the essay, they read it, they like it, they maybe go subscribe to the author's list, they see the offer to join the WITCH email list - and they join the WITCH email list. 

To find out how to create a look-a-like audience, you can follow these instructions here.

When I do ads this way, I tend to spend less than $5 per lead (lead means "someone who has joined my email list") - and considering the life-time monetary value of a lead on my list is about $20 - them there's pretty good numbers.

Note: the extra-monetary value of a lead on my list is the priceless joy of connection. I try to never forget that.

 I'm very honored to receive the attention of the approximately 4000 people a month from my list of 20,000 who as of right now actually open my emails. 

The other 16,000 of you, what the fuck are you doing? lolz, nevermind, carry on with your bad non-email reading selves. 

Thus, my objective of growing the email list with Facebook ads is met very simply and directly by running ads to my platform.

The magazine's most popular essay of all time happens to be one that I wrote three years ago - "10 Signs You're a Witch."

Yes, the title "10 Signs You're a Witch" is total, shameless, trashy clickbait worthy of BuzzFeed.  I am aware.

As it happens, myself and everyone else on the planet who has the capacity for self-honesty knows that deep, deep down we all freakin' love total, shameless, trashy clickbait.  

If the essay was titled "Character traits that contribute to others perceiving one as perhaps witchy" - I just don't think it would have done so well. 

I like to think that the actual content of "10 Signs You're a Witch" transcends mere trashy clickbait and rises up into being a useful, inspirational and affirming text for magical people. 

So that's my general advice for creating content that people love: make sure the title is complete trashy clickbait and the actual meat of the thing is genuinely well-written and helpful. 

Note: these kinds of published post ads that I'm talking about are not the same as "boosted posts."  They're more complex, and involve using the power editor.  And they're totally worth it. 

Why? As I learned from the Facebook genius Claire Pelletreau, "Boosted posts" tend to be shown to people most likely to share and "like" your content, but not most likely to actually click and read it.

It was really weird news to me to find that apparently tons of people share and "like" essays that they have never read, but apparently that's how the world goes. 

When you make ads for published posts in the power editor, you can specify "conversions" to your email list as the metric by which the ad measures it's success. 

This ensures that your ad money is actually going towards finding people to read your stuff and join your list - rather than just "boosting" the ad, which finds people to click "like" and to share the post without reading it, and without converting to your list. 

3. Write like a beast

This is the main bit of secret sauce in my online success.  

'Writing like a beast' entails several things:

1) writing from a sense of deep inner authority and trust in one's own voice 

2) never using the passive tense, always using gripping verbs like, instead of "I was amazed and disoriented by the art show" ---->  "The art show destroyed my sense of reality for a stunning 15-minute plunge into madness."

3) writing short, easily read-able paragraphs - everyone hates an impenetrable wall of text on the internet

4) using varied sentence style to keep attention - a mix of simple, compound, and complex sentences

5) tell relevant stories

6) have a sense of humor

7) have empathy for others at exactly where they're at


4) Sell a product I believe in

As a kid, I was perhaps the world's absolute worst seller of Girl Scout cookies. I would knock on countless doors in my neighborhood, offer Girl Scout cookies, and get shot down.

Usually I would only end up selling about 20 boxes to my immediate family and my parents' friends who got co-erced into buying those packages of highly politically problematic "Samoas."

(("Hmmm, what should we call these delicious short bread cookies with caramel and chocolate and coconut? I know! I know! We should name them after an island people whom our country has colonized and oppressed! MMmmmmmmMmMMMMMmmmm sweet short bread flavored oppression and genocide!"))

Why did I fail so much at selling Girl Scout cookies? How could I fail so much? Almost everyone but the most woke people likes Girl Scout cookies!

But I just couldn't see how the cookies that people could order from me were actually superior to the cookies sold in the regular store.

And, in fact, they were not. There's nothing that makes a Girl Scout thin mint better than a Keebler grasshopper. Literally nothing. 

I had no confidence in my product, so I couldn't sell it with conviction.

But good news: these days I have massive conviction about INFLUENCE.  After teaching it and refining it 6 times and accumulating a stack of over 600 beautiful testimonials about its power....

....I know beyond a doubt that INFLUENCE works to dramatically transform (for the better!) the lives of the majority of I people who take it and apply its principles to their lives.

In short: INFLUENCE is way, way better than Girl Scout cookies.  There is no super-market equivalent to INFLUENCE. 

This means that I know that every time I sell INFLUENCE, I am actually doing a form of public service.

Even charging money for INFLUENCE is a public service - why? Because people (myself included) tend to not take any action on things that are given to them for free, unless it's a matter of life or death.

Meaning: people will follow the totally free advice of 12-step groups, if they fear their narcotics addiction or alcoholism is about to kill them (sometimes). 

People will (sometimes) follow the free advice of the Poison Control Center hotline and drink a bunch of activated charcoal if they think they're about to die from accidentally ingesting rat poison. 

People - generally speaking - will not follow totally free advice designed to increase their skill in a given area or just make their lives better.

I don't know why exactly this should be the case, but it seems to be a bit hard-wired into human behavior in this age of capitalist hegemony where we are very conditioned to believe that only what we pay for has value. 

So just trust: you are actually doing a service when you charge for your work.  The "charging for it" helps to motivate people to actually take it seriously and implement it.


5) Focusing 1000% on my email list

I've mentioned it elsewhere in this essay, but I figure it's worth repeating: the old internet marketing saw that "the money is in the list" is still fully, fully true. 

The money - and the deep heart-felt fulfillment that comes from helping others who are truly interested in the same important stuff you're interested in --- both that money and that fulfillment are in the email list.

Not the social media following - the old-fashioned email list.

It took me a long time to believe this.  For years I focused exclusively on building my social media following.  I thought that building an email list was something only helplessly passe, middle-aged people did.

I thought I was too hip and young and cool for building an email list. 

And then I noticed: I bought things offered to me in my email inbox by folks I had subscribed to way more than I bought anything offered to me on social media.

Why? I don't know. Something about the intimacy and exclusivity of the inbox. Something about wanting to feel my on-going, specific connection to the person I bought from. 

It's just astoundingly, completely true.

The email inbox is still the most intimate means of communication with your audience. 

This is a really deep, sacred thing.

I strive to craft communications to my list that entertain, enlighten, and empower.

I strive to give them information that's directly applicable to their lives right now.

That's not easy, especially in the world of the "occult" where there's so much random weirdness that I could easily ramble on about. 

Over the last month preceeding my launch, I aimed to email my list once-a-week with a sincere letter than they would actually enjoy, and which would serve to change their perspective on their lives, their magic, and the world.

And I guess I succeeded pretty well, because my own email inbox filled up with "thank you!" letters from my subscribers who felt very known and seen and understood by my messages.

That's the beauty of what I like to call "illuminative empathy" -- illuminative empathy is the art of being compassionate with someone in a way that expands their perspective on their situation and gives them new choices, a new way to see themselves, and new horizons to pursue. 


NOTE: I'm opening THRILL: the course on growing your online audience and getting paid -  for registration again in November 2018.  Enter your email address in the form below and I'll let you know when THRILL opens for registration. 
 

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Posted on October 9, 2017 .

"Should I talk about taboo, dark stuff when writing for my online business?"

me, writing while wicked in Ubud, Bali

me, writing while wicked in Ubud, Bali

I recently responded to a sincere person who asked a question about whether or not to go ahead and be honest / address taboo subjects in one's online writing to promote a business.


Here's my take:
The key is to own who you are with all your complications and darknesses, 100%.
If you decide to show up and confront yourself and others with all the truth and taboo that's in you, decide that fully and don't stress yourself with the worry that you should make yourself more palatable.


It's a polarising decision to make, and there's a lot of power in polarity.


It's basically a deep altruistic commitment. You're deciding to lay yourself bare for the sake of the liberation of yourself and others. That commitment has consequences, including lots of people hating you / judging you / whatever.


The hate and the judgment of course, are reflections of their own shame. At first it's hard to feel that and the haters might make you upset / get under your skin. After awhile though, it's pretty easy to see - they're projecting.


Of course, in order to see this, you need a penetrating and ecstatically loving, judgment-free examination of your own projections / righteousness / resentment / tendency to want to wallow in the sweet sweet waters of being the victim.


Showing up shamelessly is a big gift to everyone, whether they like it or not.


It can bring you wild success and a ton of energy, too. Because when you're just showing up and being very honest and direct, you don't have to constantly drain yourself and go through the cartwheel nonsense of trying to figure out what people will like, what they will approve of.
It's very fun, it's playing full out. And I don't think doing business for myself / being a public persona is worth doing if it's not fucking gigantically fun.


Otherwise I might as well go get a J-O-B.

Posted on June 3, 2016 .

On the Joys of Being a Charlatan

Madame Helena Blavatsky, inspiring charlatan and genius witch

Madame Helena Blavatsky, inspiring charlatan and genius witch

Recently, when I commented in reply to a friend's Facebook post, I was met with a jab by a guy in the local Pittsburgh magical community who wanted to drive home to me what a fraud he thinks I am because I've cultivated an online audience and I (horrors) have the audacity to teach courses on practical magic.

(horrors) for money.

(horrors) as a business.

(horror of horrors) as a very successful, location-independent business.

This guy presumes that since I don't do magic his way, I must not know what I'm talking about....

.... and therefore I'm a charlatan, a fake, a greedy, fame-hungry fiend duping people left and right with my mad internet marketing skillz.

I know he meant to insult me and hurt my feelings - and yet - I felt thrilled.

Because here's the thing: a huge part of the way that I got to be in the fortunate place I am today had to do with embracing myself as a witchy charlatan con-woman.

Magic and transformation and worldly power and entrepreneurship are all just confidence games, after all.

They're games that require immense amounts of style and faith (confidence) to play.

So fuck yeah, I'm a charlatan witch.

Among my predecessors?
 

Queen Elizabeth I, thought by many of her contemporaries to be a pretender with a much weaker claim to the throne of England than her rival, Mary Queen of Scots.... and yet Elizabeth won the hearts and minds of England by using dress and pageantry and portraits to create a magical mythos around herself that identified her with the figure of the beloved Fairy Queen Titania and the Virgin Mother of Christ.  While doing so, Elizabeth also nurtured the greatest flourishing of creativity, art, and innovation that England ever witnessed. 

Madame Helena Blatavasky, founder of the Theosophical Society, who lavishly fictionalized her own biography, and scandalized and electrified the world with staged seances and channeled revelations. She may have rigged the lights and the spirit "voices" but she also opened up the minds of her generation to horizons that their stuffy bourgeouis minds would have never otherwise reached. 

Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, beloved and revered by many, notorious for augmenting her psychic intuition with secrets garnered from New Orleans' elite when they literally "let down their hair" and gossiped to her as she worked for them as a hair dresser.  From the site Strange History: "It has been said that the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans had the power to put a person into or out of City Hall. She nurtured the sick through multiple epidemics, stood on the gallows ministering to the condemned and was accused of causing the deaths, through voodoo, of both a lieutenant governor and a governor. Many condemned her as a witch while others praised her as a saint."

Charlatans. Con Women. Frauds. Pretenders. Fiends. Greedy, manipulative bitches. Fakes. Beloved. Revered. Brilliant. Heroines of their day.

Without the life and legacy of these women and the "marketing tactics" that they used to sell themselves and their magic, the world would be much poorer and dimmer.

In other words, thank you for the wonderful compliments, trolling Facebook dude.

I'll keep being the magnificent charlatan and witch I was born to be.

In Conclusion

Please never let the spectre of trolls or the fear of being an "impostor" or "not enough" keep you from holding your head high and putting your work forth in the world.

Do whatever you've got to do.

Spy while hair dressing. Mythologize your biography. Usurp the throne of England.

Give us a good show. Shock us.

Do whatever you've got to do - because you don't win and the world doesn't win if you commit yourself to playing by the rules of decency invented by well-fed, smug, self-righteous old men.  

If you do that, the world just gets more boring and more sad.

Cheers to your shamelessness, witch.



 

 

Posted on May 10, 2016 .

Why witchy magic and entrepreneurship go hand in hand

The other night, as the astute Kelli Richards of the All-Access group was interviewing me for her radio show, she asked me a fantastic question: what do I think magic and entrepreneurship have to do with each other?

The short answer: everything.

The long answer:

First off, kindly realize that every last shred of entrepreneurial mindset advice that you can find, even the glossiest, most mainstream stuff from Tony Robbins to Dale Carnegie to Marie Forleo is just occult wisdom, secularized and watered down so as not to offend the masses.

America, land of capitalism, where the entrepreneur is a vaulted, adored archetype, is a country whose atmosphere and ethos is so steeped in esotericism, it can make your head spin when you become aware of it.

If you doubt me on this point (and I'm not exactly sure why you would, as there's a pyramid with an glowing divine eye on it gazing at you from the back of every dollar bill), go ahead and read Catherine Albanese's excellent work, A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion.

Albanese does a great job of elaborating exactly how metaphysics ("meta" meaning "beyond" and "physics" meaning "the physical world" - in other words, the occult) has permeated every facet of American "secularism" since the beginning of the whole thing.

I read A Republic of Mind and Spirit when I was in grad school getting my PhD in English, studying Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson - both pioneers of the enterprising American spirit and both sophisticated occultists.

Whenever you say the word "occultist" people automatically think "Aleister Crowley" and yawn and call it a day.

But please allow me to remind you - "the occult" simply means the unseen, the unconscious, the underlying principles that shape reality - and both Emerson and Whitman were deep students of it, as are most prominent successful people today - Oprah and Beyonce immediately spring to mind.

Here's a classic - Oprah talking to Jim Carrey about the power of visualization - a long-used technique of magic which they both practice:
 

Successful entrepreneurship by definition involves taking dangerous forays into the unknown,  having visions, and cultivating a rabid, somewhat insane belief in oneself and one's ability to make that vision manifest: in other words - occultism. 

Whether you work your magic with the simple, folksy, Oprah-ian method of cutting out magazine images and pasting them onto a "vision board" or whether you go in for freaky stuff involving a lot of fire and nudity and mugwort and astrological calculations as I tend to do -- you're still working magic: communicating with your own personal creative unconscious, and with the collective creative unconscious. 

And please always remember: just because a person doesn't identify with the title of witch or occultist doesn't mean that they aren't one. A witch can be a Christian or Buddhist or any other darn thing. Some witches are even imaginative enough to fancy themselves dogmatic materialist scientists.

It takes all sorts. Witchery isn't a religion or a particular belief system: it's a pragmatic way of getting things done, and a state of having united one's will (both conscious and unconscious) towards an aim. 

This can be done with affirmations, honey jars, vision boards, company "team building" exercises, psychedelic drugs, hypersigils, bizarre ancient Greek invocations or by a thousand other means.

Point is: we human beings love magic, and any one who sets out to accomplish daunting feat (like starting a successful business) is going to work the best magic they know, whether they cop to it or not.

My idea is: if we're going to be witches, how about let's just be honest and deliberate and aware about it? How about let's give it some flair and oomph?

There's no need to put a veil of pseudo-scientific pop-pscyhology on magic. Really. The internet has been invented. All secrets are out. The jig is up. Let's get real now, my entrepreneurial friends. 

Also: while the history of American capitalism and esotericism is an intimately intwined one, American capitalism has grossly suffered from a masculinist, imperialist bent that involves denigrating feminine sexual and spiritual power, and the sexual and spiritual power of all "feminized" others: black people, indigenous people, queer people - on and on.

Hint: that's why the word "witch" is still a little bit taboo. Because it's associated with feminine magic and power. That's also why it's urgent that we reclaim witchery, both for ourselves and for the world: a major shift in the exploitation of resources and peoples can only happen when we start valuing and cherishing the feminine again.

In conclusion

All successful entrepreneurs are powerful-ass witches who've managed to bend consensus reality to their will through a process that involves intense initiation, dramatic self-transformation, and massive amounts of faith.

You know, magic.

Posted on May 10, 2016 .

27 things I'm weirdly committed to

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders. Big, big commitment there.

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders. Big, big commitment there.



1. Bringing about complete liberation from shame and suffering for all beings.

2. Creating mutual lucid dreams for oneiromantic purposes.

3. Knowing the phase and sign that the moon is in, always. 

4. Helping 1 million witches become fully empowered.

5. Appreciating the life, music, art, and writing of one Matthew Stull

6. Drinking Mugwort tea every night.

7. Becoming offensively rich and famous as fuq.

8. Pittsburgh.

9. Hanging out in cemeteries (turns out it wasn't a teenage goth phase after all, mom!)

10. Getting off on every painful part of life.

11. Running up hills.

12. Using a dry-brush for facial exfoliation. Yes, it kinda hurts. Yes, it makes skin glow. ;)

13. Getting the birth chart info of all my friends and watching their transits.

14. Throwing elaborate underground ritual parties.

15. Keeping a magical diary.

16. Thinking up the most esoterically provocative possible tricks to play on people I love.

17. Eating eggplant parmesan with ungodly frequency along with vats of cold-pressed green juice.

18. The memory of Lord Byron.

19. Peter O'Toole and Cillian Murphy. Really I'm a sucker for giant liquid blue eyes.

20. Finding the syncretic threads that weave between all forms and cultures of magic.

21. Men with a lot of Gemini in their charts and a fierce Pluto placement.

22. The god Thoth, to whom I was consecrated as a child vestal virgin in a storefront Rosicrucian temple in the run-down steel town of Carnegie. Yeah. Long story.

23. The Work of Byron Katie. It always shows me things.

24. Becoming fully clairvoyant.

25. The story of Yeshe Tsogyel turning her rapists into Buddhas.

26. The life and works of the queer witch Jesus Christ.

27. Winning at pinball. 

 

Posted on May 9, 2016 .

How to Make Your First $100 Online as an Occult Entrepreneur

Whenever I think of occult services entrepreneurship, I think of Liz Taylor as Cleopatra. Just do. It's probably the awesome eyeshadow that gets me.

Whenever I think of occult services entrepreneurship, I think of Liz Taylor as Cleopatra. Just do. It's probably the awesome eyeshadow that gets me.

 

Note: what follows pertains to the consultant / coach / teacher / mediapreneur / service-provider type of online occult business, as that's what I've got experience with: I've created a business centered around my practical magic coaching and teaching that brought in $100,000 in revenue in 2015, and is on pace to bring in at least twice that much in 2016.

If your business centers around selling physical products, that's a bit of a different beast, and you probably want to check out advice from someone who does that sort of thing, it ain't me.


Recently I've written about the attitudes and beliefs that go into creating a successful business online - but today I want to get super-pragmatic and specific about the situation for those of us who offer occult services (tarot-reading, astrology, psychic sessions, spiritual or magically-oriented coaching, spellwork, etc). 

I thought about writing a post today that was along the lines of "Behind the Scenes of a $27,000 Launch" - since that's what happened this month in my business with the launch of INFLUENCE: the life-altering course on mastering practical magic.

But I remember when I was first starting out in trying to get a foothold in the world of doing business online, trying to convince myself that working for myself via my laptop was something real that I could truly and actually do, which would actually pay the rent and buy groceries...

...well, back then, when I was just starting out, posts like "Behind the Scenes of a $27,000 Launch"  just sounded super-intimidating and overwhelming and unreal to me.

So while I do indeed want you to get to the point where you're having $27,000 months in your business -  I know that the path to getting you there lies in me helping you get really excited about making $100.

$100 is a significant chunk of cash.

It can buy you a fancy dinner with your sweetheart, more than a week's worth of groceries, a stylin' new outfit (or 10, if you're a thrift-shop addict like me), or pizza for you and your friends. 

$100 is pretty darn rad, and very doable. And it can absolutely change your life. I mean, how wonderful is it to learn that you can create real cash money apart from a J.O.B.? It's pretty much endlessly wonderful. I never tire of it. 

The Joy of Hiring Yourself

After I got out of graduate school for English literature and was flailing around taking shitty freelance resume writing assignments and applying for tons of other "better" jobs that all resoundingly refused to hire me, I had this rather miserable, frustrated thought over and over: "I'm unemployable."

And I was right. You see, employers hire people when they believe that the person they're hiring is going to improve their bottomline in some way.

Also I suck at taking instructions from someone else to fulfill a purpose that's not my own. But we'll talk about that another day when we're waxing philosophical about the entrepreneurial spirit. 

Anyway, point being: with my illustrious work history as a poetry teacher and graduate student behind me I had nothing to show that I could improve any company's bottomline at all, ever.

 

 

I mean, think about it: what were potential employers going to see in me? "Oh, this woman really understands Chaucer! Quick, get her on the team! Pay her $50,00 a year with benefits! We need someone who understands old English verb forms, stat!"

Yeah, except no.

I was completely screwed.

In fact, things got so dire, it turned out there was only one person on earth crazy enough to take a wild risk and hire my no-track-record self: me.

 

Yes, that's right: I hired me to go make me some money. 

Good news: if you're unemployed or stuck in some other kind of lousy work situation, you can hire yourself, too. 

Okay, back to talking about the glories of $100. 

If you get to the place where you're confident that you can make $100 through your online occult services business any ole time - that confidence can eventually grow (sooner than you think!) into the kind of boldness and effectiveness where you know you can make $27,000 in your online business any ole time.

Which, I have to admit, is a pretty freakin' great feeling. 

So, putting yourself on track to make that kind of money while living anywhere in the world you want to and doing work that fulfills you - does that sound appealing?  

 

View of rice paddies in Ubud, Bali - where I spent the winter of 2015-2016 hanging out, being cool and working.

View of rice paddies in Ubud, Bali - where I spent the winter of 2015-2016 hanging out, being cool and working.

 

It's okay if it both sounds appealing and also sounds really corny and douche-y, like some sort of Tim Ferris fantasy that involves cheating at Thai Kickboxing competitions and bragging about how you won by cheating.

You know what?

It is a little corny and douche-y to keep talking about location independence. It's the great Global Digital Nomad Dream, which maybe you're sick of hearing lauded everywhere. Sometimes I get sick of hearing about it.

I'm still talking about though, at the risk of great corniness and douche-y-ness - because - not gonna lie - even if it sounds a bit dumb and cliche to talk about, it's also kind of endlessly awesome to be actually living it, and I want you to have that endless awesomeness, too.

"But Carolyn!" you might object. "We can't all be location-independent occult solopreneurs! What about all the other jobs that there are to do? Who's going to buy the services I sell online if everyone else is doing it?"

Well, first of all: robots are going to do all those jobs very soon. Cars will drive themselves, etc. etc.  And it's not just low-wage jobs that are on the line. IBM's Watson artificial intelligence program is already diagnosing cancer better than doctors can, and arguing cases better than lawyers.

So. Best create another option for yourself, pronto - one that's built around you and your deepest magical gifts, one that a robot can't duplicate, one where you and your human soul and its powers are indispensable to the operation. 

And, second of all: don't you worry. While if you hang around some Facebook groups it can seem like everyone and their mom is an aspiring occult entrepreneur, actually, it's just not true.

Even among the small percentage of people who have the innate talent,  many don't have the dedication, or stomach for it.

So, it may sound a bit cold but here it is: other magical people's commitment to living in denial about the ongoing robot job apocalypse is your opportunity. 

Plus, you don't have to live on Thai beaches and cheat at their kickboxing competitions in order to enjoy the location-independent online business life.

You can stay right where you are, living your life with your friends and family, and just basking in the pleasure of not having to go to any rotten robot job, ever. 

Okay, so now let's get our hands dirty. How are you gonna make your first $100?

Start with one-on-one work.

Why start with one-on-one work?

A lot of smart occultists interested in hiring themselves to go make them money online want to spring directly into teaching virtual courses or selling infoproduct-type-things.

That's understandable, because courses and infoproducts are readily scaleable (i.e., once you get the hang of it, you can bring in an ever-higher volume of customers and therefore more revenue for roughly the same amount of work) while one-on-one work is not scaleable at all.

There's only one of you and only so many hours in the day, so there's a very finite number of people that you can work with one-on-one. 

However, if you're just starting to wiggle your toes in the waters of online audience-building and business, it's much, much easier to create revenue by bringing in clients who pay for one-on-one work than it is to sell courses.

Why? Well, for starters:

a) Offering one-on-one coaching, consulting, mentoring or done-for-you services (like spellwork, energy healing, tarot readings) allows you to get paid to learn the ins and outs of exactly what your clients struggle with and how you can solve their problems.


Doing one-on-one work allows you to figure out what kind of people you most enjoy working with, and it also allows you to figure out who you are best suited to help.

Here's an example from my own life: when I first started out coaching, I thought I would enjoy working with anyone who was into magic.  Turns out that's not true. 

As it happens, I find I most enjoy working with people who are leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in magic.  Probably because I'm a Capricorn sun with Mars-Pluto conjunct in Scorpio: I've got this intense fascination with innovation and power. Go figure.

Still, I never would have fully understood that about myself if I didn't do a lot of one-on-one work in the beginning of my business. One-on-one work allows you to get paid as you figure out this giant existential business question of "who do I most want to serve?" 

b) Overtime, as you do your one-on-one work, you'll find yourself repeating the same things over and over again to various clients. The same suggestions, the same exercises, the same insights. 

You'll be repeating them because you'll find those are the gleaming hunks of wisdom that help your clients experience great results (i.e., great results in whatever arena of life they hired you to get them great results in: healing their intimacy issues, figuring out the best dates for their next business move, uncrossing their luck, improving their dating life, etc. etc. etc.).

And that's wonderful!

Because those things you hear yourself repeating: those are the key things that you have to teach to a larger audience. That's the kind of stuff you can create syllabi around and offer as a course.


Okay, cool, so now that we're in agreement that you're going to start with one-on-one work, you may find yourself wondering:

 

Q: How the heck am I going to get my first client?

Great question. Here's my answers:

 

1.  Purchase the service you're selling from at least two or three other people.

This is a crucial and often over-looked step. 

When you go through the buying process of purchasing someone else's coaching / spellwork / astrology / energy work  / (or whatever kind of service it is you're going to be selling), you learn how other people do it, how they sell, how they deliver, how they handle customer service. 

You learn what feels good to you, and what doesn't feel good.

Also: you practice valuing what you're selling.

If you hope to sell coaching services, for example, and you've never paid a coach, you're sending a strong message to  your own unconscious mind that coaching isn't worth investing in and coaches don't deserve to be paid. 

And that message to your unconscious mind will be a giant stumbling block to you as you go out and try to gain clients.

So, first things first: go find a coach you like and pay that coach well for her services. Start getting in the habit of holding and acting upon the belief "coaching is very valuable and worth paying for."

Take special note of what kind of wonderful results emerge in your own life as a result of you investing in coaching. For me personally, when I invested in being mentored by Christina Berkeley, I was able to make 5 times as much money in my business as I ever had before (I went from making around $20,000 a year to $100,000.)

Furthermore, within this process you learn how someone else goes about having a sales conversation with you. 

Which brings me to my second point....

 

2. Drop any aversion you may have to sales conversations

Some occultists imagine that  "online business" is synonymous with "not having to deal with real people" and they seem to want rather cozy activities like blogging and making fun social media images (marketing!) to spare them from ever having to have a sales conversation.

In my experience that's not a very tenable strategy. 

Yes, you can get people to buy your services via well-done email marketing and sales pages and whatnot - and by some interesting karmic law, I've found it's likely that you won't be able to get those to work for you....

 

.... until you've built up your presence and your confidence and your mojo by putting your real ass on the real line in real sales conversations with real human beings

 

Business involves sales. Period, end of story. No sales, no revenue, no profits, no business.

Since you've just hired yourself....  guess what?

You're now your own #1 salesperson! 

Welcome to the hustle. 

 

3. Have sales conversations. As many as it takes.

I know that the term "sales conversation" can sound a bit intimidating, or like you're trying to close deals on vacuum cleaners, but actually a "sales conversation" is just a conversation where you get to know your potential client and what they want, your potential client gets to know you and your services, and at the end of the talk you mutually decide whether or not to work together.

The only scary part really is the possibility that your potential client will say "no thanks."

I know rejection isn't pleasant, but as you've probably noticed, many things here on planet Earth are not pleasant. 

I suggest that you start getting excited about experiencing unpleasant rejection in sales conversations, because it's only through experiencing the sensational discomfort of hearing "no" that you eventually get to hear lots of "yes"es that build your business.

 

Don't know how to find potential clients to have sales conversations with? Don't know how to have sales conversations?

That's cool - most of us magical weirdoes don't when we're just starting out. So I made a quick-start guide to finding potential clients and having sales conversations for occult entrepreneurs.

You can grab it by entering your email in the form below.

Sales. Made less scary.

Enter your name and email to grab my Quick-start Guide to Sales Conversations for Occult Entrepreneurs.

...


 

Rinse, repeat.

... Do this enough times (probably won't take more than 5 at the most).... and you'll have made your first $100 online!

 

In Conclusion

So today we learned that one-on-one work is the fastest route to revenue for your online occult business, and that you'll probably have to get comfy with doing consultations / sales conversations to make that revenue happen.

What I want you to do next is go out and put this into practice.

That $100 ain't gonna fall from the sky, honey. Go earn it. 
 

And again, if you want a bit of help in learning how to have sales conversations, I invite you to enter your email in the form above  to receive my quick start guide on the subject.

 

 



 

 

 



 

Posted on March 7, 2016 .

Why teaching involves selling

starmap1.jpg

Weird thing about learning: we humans don’t do it unless we want to.

If, like me, you’re someone who makes a living (or aspires to do so) by teaching things online (an “infopreneur” or a “mediapreneur” or whatever you want to call it), you might be subject to a common delusion.

It’s one I harbored for a long while. 

The delusion is this: that if you give people information and solutions, they’ll be grateful to you and see you as an expert. 

I mean, that’s “providing value,” right?

Yeah, not really though.

I mean, it would be providing value if the folks you were addressing happened to be actively, deeply hungry for exactly the information that you’re providing.

There’s a bit of a problem, though: information is overabundant nowadays. The sheer delivery of information is not what we want from teachers.

What do we want then?

We want someone to stimulate our appetite to learn. Attention is the rarest commodity on earth right now. Our attention is hugely fragmented. 

An excellent teacher is someone who gives us the motivation to concentrate our attention, who shows us why we should learn a concept. 

In other words, to teach something well, you’ve got to sell it to your students.

The best teaching creates a vivid experience for your students that shows them why the subject at hand matters hugely to them, why it's relevant to their already-existing desires and goals.

If you can create this kind of vivid experience of the realization of relevance for someone, that means you've successfully lit a fire under their ass that will drive them to go out and absorb the necessary information.

Until you've lit that fire under someone's ass though, all your piles of information are very, very easily ignorable.  They're actually a burden and a nuisance.

So, before you lay on your info, take the time to lead your audience through an experience that will stamp the consequence of your material onto the very fabric of their souls forever. Sell it to them. They'll thank you for it. 

Here's to you setting asses aflame in everything you do ;)

 

 

Posted on February 15, 2016 .

7 shocking truths that made me $18,000 this month via the internet

Happily, this month I took on enough client contracts to add up to eighteen thousand fat filthy good American dollars. 

I’m booked solid. It feels great.

I’m not announcing this just to brag (only partially to brag!)

I’m letting you know this because for a long time I really, really was not successful with money or career stuff at all. And I was miserably baffled as to how anyone could figure it out, ever. 

I used to read fatuous self-congratulatory articles like this one where people talked about making serious cash whilst working from their laptop in Bali and I would think things like:

 “Yeah, but you’re only able to do that because you’re an asshole and somehow all the other assholes in this godforsaken assholic world want to buy things from you.”

Turns out that’s what’s known in the entrepreneurial world as “not a winning mindset,” folks. 

So to help you avoid staying stuck in such a confused state of mind like I did for a long time, I want to share with you some shocking truths I’ve learned about what it actually takes to make the transition from broke to balling.

And by the way — just so you know, I am indeed an asshole often in my life.

I strive to always make amends and do better, but I’ve fallen short plenty of times. So if you’re looking for an asshole working from hot, exotic places to hate on, congrats! You just found me. 

Hi! I’m Carolyn Elliott!

This is an "I just made $18,000 from my bed!" face.

This is an "I just made $18,000 from my bed!" face.

But first — just how unsuccessful was I?

Well, in 2013, I spent a year sleeping on friends’ couches and eating food from food banks to survive. 

Yup, I was homeless, and earning about $500 a month doing various freelance writing gigs. Not. Fun. 

And that was just the low point of a whole decade spent living below the poverty level as a writer and teacher. 

One December I nearly died of a stupid tooth infection because I didn’t have health insurance or the money to pay a dentist. 

Okay, enough bummer facts about how damn poor I was — onto the shocking truths I had to gradually accept which led to me being able to make $18,000 in one month as a solo entrepreneur. 

1. The internet does not give a fuck what your credentials are

I happen to have a lot of credentials. I’ve got a doctorate in Critical and Cultural studies, and a Master’s Degree in English, and a Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing. 

And exactly no one gives two fucks about this when I’m selling products and services on the internet.

It’s the Wild West out here, folks. 

I'll be your guide.

I'll be your guide.

The only thing that matters before someone hands you their money is whether or not they personally trust you to get the job done the way they want it done.

Whether that “job” is helping them sort out their love lives, reading their tarot cards, designing their book cover  — or — in my case — teaching them how to write for the social web, grow their audience, and get paid…. 

…. what it is just doesn’t matter. All that matters is: do they trust you?

And credentials are just not the key to earning that trust.

I emphasize this because sometimes when I’m talking to friends in my hometown and telling about how not-all-that-hard it is to build a presence and sell stuff online and how I could show them how to do it too and OMG then they could come hang out with me in Bali and it would be so fun! they say nutty things to me like:

“Oh, I could never do that! I don’t have a doctorate like you!”

And I’m like, “What? Probably only 10% of the people who become my clients or customers even know that I have a doctorate. They don’t care.”

Saying “Oh, I could never do that! I don’t have a doctorate like you!” is like saying “Oh, I could never do that! I don’t have an obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch like you!”

Because while it’s true I have both a doctorate and a hardcore obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch, neither of these are actually at all relevant to my success in getting people to trust me online. 

A fan video of the BBC's Sherlock (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Moriarty set to "SAIL" - this is the kind of greatness the internet produces.

 

So what is relevant?

Showing up. Letting people see and hear and feel you in various ways: writing, photos, videos, podcasts. 

Sharing what you know and what you believe and how you’ve messed up.

Reliably and excellently delivering what you offer to the first people who take a chance on you, so then you have glowing testimonials to share.

That’s how you build trust. And it takes time, but it’s very do-able.

The Wild West of the internet is rather amazing because it actually helps the process of business become more similar to how it used to be in villages and small towns:

You serve a community; as you serve them well that community learns to trust you and they gladly vouch for you, and then new people who come into “town” readily decide to trust you because they can see there’s already whole community of people trusting you, so you must be alright. 

It’s a virtuous cycle. 

2. Most solo entrepreneurs under-charge because they have a codependent relationship with the world


I’ve been in recovery from heroin addiction for 12 years, so I know a few things about addiction and codependent relationships.

In a classic relationship pattern between a using addict and their codependent partner, the addict will go out, use drugs (or gamble, or max out credit cards, or go to prostitutes, or whatever), create scary consequences (DUIs, STDs, the whole alphabet soup of life’s horrors), lie about it, and refuse to accept real responsibility for their actions.

Meanwhile, the addict’s codependent partner will hustle hard to try to cover over the addict’s transgressions, and will try to manipulate the addict into behaving better.

The dynamic in such a relationship isn’t intimacy. 

It’s more like something really messed-up that might happen in a duet between Rihanna and Eminem.

Both partners in such a pattern are avoiding intimacy with themselves (the addict avoids self-intimacy through her obsession with the drug, the codependent avoids self-intimacy through his obsession with the addict), with each other, and with the world. 

The relationship is based on control and violence (emotional, verbal, financial - if not physical.)

In lieu of real intimacy, both partners accept the drama of chasing the fleeting high of feeling in control. They’re co-dependent because they’re collaborating in their dependency on seeking something to help them avoid themselves. 

Most of us good-hearted, spiritually-inclined people interested in building a business online tend to become the world’s codependent bitch.

All of society is the addict in this relationship. The addict does what the addict will always do: take.

As codependents, we’ll let the addict take and take and take from us endlessly because we’re afraid of the addict leaving us. We don’t want to be alone, because then we would have no one to distract us from ourselves.

So we manipulate the addict into staying with us. We take responsibility for things that aren’t actually ours to be responsible for.

We’ll do anything for her. We want her approval, we want her love, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the semblance of that.

This means: we devalue ourselves and exhaust ourselves in hopes of making her like us.

We ask for much less than would leave us feeling well-compensated, and sometimes we feel guilty about charging anything at all.

We try to make ourselves responsible for protecting the world (our audience and potential customers) from feeling the intense sensation of real intimacy with us and who we are and what we’re worth. 

So I challenge you: end your codependent, dysfunctional relationship with the world.

Stop trying to manipulate the world into liking you and staying with you by devaluing yourself and working too hard.

3. A spine is the most attractive thing in the universe.

Decide in your heart that you deserve to be well paid for what you do, and that you don’t care whether or not society (the addict) likes you.  

When you do this, a funny thing happens: you become radically more attractive (having a spine is wildly attractive) and people start to be happy to pay you what you ask…

…. because you’re no longer projecting a weird graspy energy of “Do you like me? Is it okay that I’m charging this much? Do you approve of me? Do you love me? Do you think you could love me?”

Once I realized that by charging cheap prices for my services I was actually participating in this yucky codependent approval-seeking dynamic with the whole damn world, I was able to stop, and start fearlessly charging prices for my services that actually nourish me.

Doing this is scary, because it means being intimate with myself: I have to become intimately, fully aware of who I am and what I actually need in order to do my best work. 

Then, rather painfully (it goes against all my addict and codependent instincts) I have to stand solid in the truth of that self-intimacy and self-worth.

Standing solid in the truth of this self-intimacy and self-worth is exactly the scary thing that most of us spend our whole lives avoiding. 

So when you find the courage to master it, you become a radiant beacon, and you’ll never lack for clients or customers or networking opportunities. 

If you have a sense you might need to learn this lesson, definitely watch the Legend of Old Gregg.

While Old Gregg’s sea-dwelling trans identity and love of Bailey’s Irish Cream is wonderful, his codependent-style neediness and kidnapping is an ineffective strategy for getting the love he wants. 

Do you love me? Do you think you could love me?

 

Learning how to step out of the cycle of avoiding intimacy with ourselves is something I cover in INFLUENCE: the life-altering course on mastering practical magic. 

Click here to visit my magazine, WITCH, which has opt-in forms where you can enter your email and get a sneak preview of what INFLUENCE is like while getting on the waiting list to be alerted when it next opens. 


4. You’re just pretending like you don’t know exactly how to make a fuck ton of money.

I hear this all the time: “I would love to work online for myself, I just don’t know what I would sell or who I would sell it to.”

Bullshit.

Yeah, you do. You know.

You know precisely what you would sell and who you would sell it to. Deep down, you even know just how to rapidly win the attention of all those people who would be your best clients and customers.

And as you’re reading these words from me right now, you’re feeling the stirrings of that. Of that part of you that knows.

What’s that you say? “Oh, but Carolyn, no, I really don’t, I’m confused.”

Well, I don’t believe you.

I believe you do know, but you just aren’t willing at this moment to fully let yourself know that you know.

That may sound a bit like crazy talk, but think about it for a second.

There’s a part of you who already knows all the answers to this sticky, fiddly, mess of growing an online audience and launching a business. 

You just habitually don’t listen to that part of you, because you’ve got better things to do, like maintain your codependent relationship with the world, win people’s approval (quick reminder: approval never paid anyone’s bills in a way that wasn’t soul-sucking) and worry about your lack of credentials. 

So I suggest you get busy on the project of allowing yourself to know that you know. 

Start listening to that part of you who you usually silence because she’s full of inconvenient truths. 

5. You have to get acquainted with your own golden secrets.

Your “golden secrets” are the inconvenient truths that you’ve locked away in your unconscious mind because they scare you.

These secrets are part of what Jung called “the golden shadow” — the amazing qualities and knowledges in our own being that we repress and project onto others because we feel we don’t deserve to fully own them ourselves. 

How to get in touch with your golden secrets? Here’s one quick exercise that has helped me:

Open up your journal. Fill in the blank at the end of these statements:

“This is what I secretly know about exactly how to create a fun, very profitable business online that I absolutely do not want to let myself know that I know __________________________________” 

“This is what I secretly know about exactly what audience I would serve that I absolutely do not want to let myself know that I know_______________________________________________________”

“This is what I secretly know about exactly what I would sell that I absolutely do not want to let myself know that I know_____________________________________________________.”

Letting ourselves know that we know exactly how to wildly succeed is something we humans rigorously avoid because the act of consciously owning that kind of knowledge brings with it a painful disruption to our current identities as people who don’t know and who aren’t wildly successful.

Identity is the most precious thing to human beings. 

Above all else we hate to have our identities fundamentally challenged. We fight wars over our identities all the time, that’s how important they are to us. More important than life itself. 

We would rather die than profoundly change who we believe ourselves to be.

And yet, alas, that fundamental, disorienting, painful change in identity is exactly what needs to happen to morph into someone who experiences wild, consistent, fulfilling success. 

You know who wasn’t afraid of making profound, dramatic, public changes to his identity? Saint David Bowie. That’s who. 

 

6. Yes, you have to dirty yourself with learning to have sales conversations.

I belong to a lot of entrepreneurship groups on Facebook, and I see folks in there all the time whose plan is to “attract clients” with marketing alone.

In my experience, clients aren’t attracted. Leads are attracted. Clients are made.

And clients are only made in sales conversations, which it seems to me that not a lot of aspiring solo entrepreneurs know how to have. 

When I was a kid, my dad sold long-term-care health insurance from an office in the attic of our house. He had stacks of books with lurid titles like Instant Hypnotic Sales and Sell to Win!

Because I chronically read everything in sight, I read my dad’s books, and a part of me was fascinated (it’s possible to influence people! with words! to get money!) — while another part of me was disgusted. 

Alec Baldwin getting all scary-intense about sales in Glengarry Glen Ross, set to a funky beat 

I hated the idea of selling. Hated it. Mostly because it was so vulnerable — asking someone to buy something from you! As if you were a K-Mart! The horror!

My hatred and fear of selling was evident, too: at 11 years old, I was a dedicated Girl Scout and I also sucked at selling Girl Scout cookies.

You know what? It’s hard to suck at selling Girl Scout cookies. People love cookies, and they love to buy them from Girl Scouts, because the goodness of the cause off-sets the guilt of gobbling up the cookies. It’s a win-win.

And still, I sucked at selling Girl Scout cookies.

 I just hated the exposed feeling of asking to someone to buy something from me. Every time I did it I felt like I was putting my worth as a human being up for judgment.

At twenty years old, when I signed up to go get a PhD in English it was part of a campaign I was on to avoid soiling myself with the filth of commerce and the vulnerability of sales and business.

I wanted to live far, far above the fray of the market-oriented world, aloof and safe and clean in an ivory tower of pure gleaming ideas.

I gradually realized that the world of academia was just as filthy and market-driven as any other corner of the world. Not only that, but it dawned on me that my intellect was the chief resource that the gleaming ivory tower was designed to ruthlessly exploit.

And I refuse to live my life as someone’s exploited resource.

So I decided that if I was going to get filthy no matter what, I might as well go get filthy and rich at the same time. 

"Gettin' paid is her forte." - not at all true of me until quite recently. ;)

Which meant I had to humble myself and learn how to have sales conversations.

 And I did. I paid thousands of dollars to have people who were great at it teach me how to do it.

Now it’s weird: these days I have a 90% conversion rate in sales conversations. That means that 90% of the people I have exploratory sales conversations with end up buying my services.

Of course that very high conversion rate is a combination of a few things: 

  1. What I’m selling is amazing and I believe fully in its effectiveness 
  2. I do market (mostly writing essays) which draws in leads.
  3. I’ve won the trust of a community (mostly by writing essays, and a little bit with videos and podcasts) so people in my community are willing to apply to be considered for conversations with me.
  4. I’m very selective about who I talk to — my criteria is I only talk to people whose applications genuinely energize me. 
  5. I genuinely do not care whether I make the sale or not — I show up for the joy of the process — and it took a lot of inner work for me to get to that place.
  6. I treat every sales conversation as an opportunity to give the person I’m talking to the full experience of what having my liberated, non-attached attention on them is like. 

And my attention is exquisite.

Exquisite attention is the rarest commodity in the world today — and if you doubt that, think back to when was the last time someone put their total concentration on you with no agenda at all but to see you fully, playfully, and compassionately?

So, point being: sales conversations. You have to learn how to have them. 

And exactly how to have them excellently well is something I’ll be covering in the next round of THRILL: the masterclass on writing for the social web, building your business, and getting paid. 

You can sign up using the email opt-in forms on this here website to be notified when THRILL next opens for registration.

In the meantime, here’s a tip: the fastest way to get excited about doing sales when you’re naturally scared of it is to make believe you’re a gangster.

7. It’s really and truly okay to hire a mentor.

I always thought that only pathetic people would have to hire a mentor.

Like, isn’t a mentor supposed to be someone who just appears to guide you, Obi Wan-style, drawn by your obvious and fated amazingness?

And if you haven’t attracted a powerful mentor already, probably that means you’re not destined for great adventure and you’re not all that amazing and actually you should just sit the fuck down and go back to focusing on your lousy day job, right?

Well, no. Not at all. 

Like a lot of mean and useless things my brain likes to tell me, this line of thinking is not in any way true or helpful.

To start with, traditionally mentors were always paid. The very word, “mentor” comes from a character named Mentor in Homer’s Odyssey, who was a friend of King Odysseus, and the paid tutor of his son, Telemachus. 

Basically, if you were the King’s son, a mentor was given to you. And if you weren’t the King’s son?

Well, in Ancient Greece, if you were a hot teenage boy without royal connections you could still find a wise, helpful mentor — who expected to have sex with you in return for his time and excellent advice.

Which if you think about it, really is just another form of “payment,” although of a more intimate sort, is it not?

So.

Point being, successful and busy people in the world of online business who aren’t already on your family’s payroll are unlikely to take time to tutor you unless you pay them (or maybe you can find one to have sex with, if that’s your thing?), and that’s actually great.

It means you don’t have to sit around waiting for some Obi Wan to hologram himself into your life. 

Instead, you can look around, decide who you want to learn from, reach out to that person, and hire them.

I did this when I hired my coach and mentor Christina Berkeley early in 2015 — and I ended up making five times more money in 2015 than I had ever made in any previous year in my life. That’s right — it was a leap from making $20,000 a year to $100,000. 

So that’s why I’m happy to offer the service of coaching and mentoring today myself — I know first hand just how incredibly valuable it is.

In Conclusion

If you’re currently plotting an escape from whatever treadmill you’re on (corporate, academic, or just the hard grind of unemployment), I wish you the very best of luck.

I want you to know that it’s possible to make a wonderful living working for yourself online.

The process of growing into being the kind of person who has an audience of thousands is a giant adventure that can beautifully, painfully stretch and grow every facet of your being — emotional, physical, spiritual. 

Because I’m so grateful for the life I have today and I want lots of other people to be able to learn exactly how to make a similar leap, I offer THRILL: a masterclass on writing for the social web, building your business, and getting paid.

You can click here to get on the waiting list for the course, which only opens for registration a few times a year. 

 

featured image: from aforestfrolic.com, found on Flickr Creative Commons.

Posted on February 4, 2016 .

17 Bizarre Philosophies that Made me $220,000 last year

White-Taras-Hand-B-detail-18.jpg

 

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 May 10, 2017. 

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:

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/paid-the-weird-writers

 

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.

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 $220,000 last year from my pillow.

If this is resonating with you -  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 May 10, 2017. 

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:

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/paid-the-weird-writers

 

 

 

Posted on October 30, 2015 .

7 INSANE KEYS TO PRACTICAL MAGIC

 

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.

 

themagicianlightvisionstarot

(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 .