Magic, the British Museum, Harry Potter and Dean Radin

I visited the British Museum yesterday. They has an exhibition of the history of magic (with a Harry Potter theme – but keep reading…). A fascinating collection of books, mostly medieval, about alchemy, potions, herbology, divination – indeed the whole owl level sylabus from Harry Potter. It is worth a visit if you can stomach the £20 entrance fee.

Magic has always interested me so seeing such as collection of alchemical texts was great. It came just days after I finished reading Dean Radin’s Entangled Minds.

Entangled Minds looks at the scientific evidence for psi, i.e. telepathy and associated powers. There is clearly a lot of rigorously tested evidence! The book then links this to the latest advances in quantum theory which is linking the observers mind to the way quantum mechanics works.

Of particular interest was the discussion on premonition prior to 9/11. Radin discusses how he used data from an online experiment with millions of participants who were tested for precognition. Being online the tests were done over a number of years including September 11 2001.

Rather than an increase in premonition of the events of 9/11, the opposite happened. There was a severe drop in both correct guesses in the premonition tests and in premonitions of disasters involving planes immediately before 9/11. Both drops were statistically significant. He describes it as if people were actively avoiding the premonition and the graphs are quite striking.

The book covers telepathy between people in quite some depth, suggesting a small but eventually measurable effect. Transmission of a thought seems to have a small influence on some people, i.e. some people notice it, more than by random. Imagine how this is impacting our on culture when it is done at scale through advertising and media!

It also covers the impact on physical cell growth. Back in the day I studied Therapeutic Touch, a form of energy healing. Radin describes experiments on cell cultures that are statistically shown to grow faster when they are the focus of healing intention.

Intention is the key here, a concept I have discussed before and will return to again.

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2018 – more dodgy predictions

Well it would be rude not to! Last year’s attempt was OK and I wonder if I can improve on it. Who knows, we’ll find out in 12 months. So here goes, five predictions based on intuition, a bit of tarot and meditations:

  1. Business and the economy will dominate the global news. Increasing GDP will remain the the key goal of countries as they seek to have More Objects, Recognition and Energy, i.e. MORE ( I prefer JMG’s mnemonic LESS,  Less Energy, Stuff and Stimulation as a better model for a sustainable future…). This will lead to…
  2. Worsening environmental impacts, including an even worse year for extreme weather. As I type this we are being lashed by Storm Eleanor. The collapse of the environment and the systems that sustain life on Earth will continue. I drew the Tower when pondering this one.
  3. There will be increasing opposition to the drive for MORE. The green movement in the UK has took a bit of a hit in 2017 – I can see it bouncing back and strengthening in 2018. Global anger against Trump’s stance on the environment (and every other issue he has a stance on) will increase.
  4. I suspect we may become slightly more altruistic and compassionate. As we see the impacts of right wing economics, i.e. what MORE does to refugees, the poor and oppressed, the homeless etc. I think we will increasingly understand and try to help those in need.
  5. Finally, Trump’s excessively nasty rhetoric will continue. His global standing will take a number of dents during 2018 as he continues to alienate people and nations.

I’m not sure I’m looking forward to 2018 – it may be a bit of a rollercoaster. Hang on to your hats!


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Divination and prophesy

Ok, so I looked back at my post at the end of 2016 where I attempted to predict how 2017 would go… A mixed success! Let’s look at what I said and how close I was:

  1. I didn’t think the Queen would see out 2017 but she did. She seems to be slowing down considerably and Phillip has formally retired but we are not yet in the reign of Charles III.
  2. The climate chaos in 2017 was far worse than in 2016. Not a difficult prediction but the chaos has been severe. The hurricanes in the Carribean and wild fires in California were quite notable. Sea ice in the Arctic was at its second lowest level ever and 2017 is set to be the second warmest on record (globally).
  3. The backlash against Trump has continued with race relations taking a prominent role. His policy declarations make the US the biggest threat to the world IMHO. Pulling out of the Paris agreement has made him leader of a rogue nation.
  4. Brexit. I thought T May would delay Article 50 – she didn’t. I thought that the Lib Dems would bounce back in a general election – they did a bit but not much. I thought there was a low chance of a general election and was surprised when it was called. I completely missed Corbyn managing to reach out to the young in order to do OK at the GE. Not great predictions but I did say that it will continue to be a mess and by all accounts I think that was correct.
  5. Finally, oil prices did rise but not as much as I thought. They went down first and then up by the end of the year – opposite to what I said!

So two pretty much on the nose and three partially correct. I’m working on my thoughts for 2018 now!

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Reading the latest post by JMG, he has hit the nail on the head again by outlining one of my frustrations with things in the alternative scene of late. He describes how is has become “…all about soothing your nerves, boosting your health, managing your career and your love life, making your life bland and safe and predictable — with neat little crystal sparkles on it, sure, but still bland and safe and predictable”.

This exact problem has been exercising me for a while. Frankly the dog tinkling in a can music designed to heal you annoyed me 25 years ago, now that attitude seems to be utterly pervasive in the new age movement. I really don’t want to listen to another person talking about how to heal yourself – I want to hear discussion on how we ‘tear up the sky’ as JMG puts it. I also want to hear people talking about how we can wake others up, not just to personal spiritual goals but to the wider problems the Earth (and the societies that live on her) faces.

Seeing local Pagan and new age communities putting on healing days for local interested people while my Christian and Muslim friends roll up the sleeves to help at soup kitchens and homeless shelters doesn’t fill me with hope for new-agers or Pagans.

I would dearly love to see 2018 give up the bland and predictable and for us to start getting down and dirty with the difficult stuff.

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Forget ‘the environment’: Monbiot’s call for magic

George Monbiot challenges us in his article that we need new words to convey life’s wonders: “If we called protected areas “places of natural wonder”, we would not only speak to people’s love of nature, but also establish an aspiration that conveys what they ought to be. Let’s stop using the word environment, and use terms such as “living planet” and “natural world” instead, as they allow us to form a picture of what we are describing. Let’s abandon the term climate change and start saying “climate breakdown”. Instead of extinction, let’s adopt the word promoted by the lawyer Polly Higgins: ecocide.

“We are blessed with a wealth of nature and a wealth of language. Let us bring them together and use one to defend the other.”

His article goes to the heart of magical thinking, the type of magic that the corporate and political worlds have been using with such great effect against us by changing our consciousness to conform to their desires. It fits perfectly with Dion Fortune’s definition: “Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the Will”, the Will in this case being the will of the corporations and politicians.

Estranging people from sacred nature of the living world took some serious magic. Calling places “Sites of Special Scientific Interest” insulates people from them, it objectifies their sacred nature. It allows people to become complicit in the ecocide, the climate breakdown and the murder of the living planet without them understanding at a conscious level what they are doing.

I want to write more about the need for a new religion soon, one that embraces the land, sea and sky as sacred, one that encompasses both Druidry and wider Pagan understanding. I want to explore that “change in consciousness” that the new age-ers have been talking about for the past 50 years.

The change in consciousness won’t happen by itself. You can’t expect 7 billion people to wake up one morning and realise that the Earth rather than their iPhone is sacred. It will require disasters such as the climate breakdown and the economic turbulence that peak oil brings plus it will need a heavy dose of thaumaturgic magick.

It is therefore not just a great challenge to come up with these new ‘frames’ but an essential one.

Let’s move from Sites of Special Scientific Interest to Sacred Sites of Spiritual Inspiration and subtly reframe corporate and political magic into enchantments that foster the right relationship between humans and the rest of the living world.

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Lughnassadh – reaping what we sow

Lughnassadh or Lammas. The time of first harvest, reaping what we sow. The cutting down of John Barleycorn to make bread. Loaf mass becomes Lammas. A time to store grain for next year too, making sure the cycle can continue.

As a tribe we reap what we sow. Last year we voted for Brexit only to find our European brothers and sisters start to leave the UK increasing shortfalls in professions such as nursing. Just as we leave the EU, so the EU will leave us.

Our actions have consequences. Just as planting the grain, harvesting and storing it ensure there will be a harvest in future years as well as food for this, so we must consider how maintain our vital services into the future.

We cannot simply buy in all our grain, food, computers, energy, etc. from other countries, especially if we have nothing to trade in return.

We need to produce, make and grow our own, be it grain or nurses. And we have to make sure we grow enough for our immediate needs but store some for future years too – both nurses and grain.

But we cannot isolate ourselves from our neighbours. They have always been part of our tribe too. I laugh at the racists who claim they are English with no idea about who the English are – descendants of the Danes but mixed with the tribes that were here before, the British, and the tribes that have arrived since, from just about every race and culture.

We must work with our neighbours, trade with them where there is mutual benefit to do so and always share understanding and support.

We may be an island with an island mentality that is bringing us the harvest called Brexit but we must salvage what we can from the ensuing storm and work out a way of ensuring that we can keep our vital services and businesses going into the future.


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Speaking out

Should Druids speak out on current affairs more often? I regularly listen to Though for the Day where Christians give 3 minutes of theology relating to a topical subject yet commentary from OBOD, BDO and TDN is quite rare despite the onset of the sixth mass extinction, climate change, etc. etc. – issues that should cut to the centre of our Druidic hearts.

Leadership and worship of the land, sea and sky are central to my practice of Druidry. For me worship is not simply about beating a drum and calling to the spirits, but it is also integral to every day actions. Action as ritual, ritual as action is the mantra from The Warrior’s Call who lead the Pagan fight against fracking.

I often get criticised for bringing politics into religion. I’m told it has no place there. Yet I look around and see Nature being decimated, the Earth being raped and people and animals suffering because of political decisions. How can we not speak out? How can we not discuss what should be done? How can we sit by and only talk about niceties?

Perhaps it is too painful to contemplate, the Earth taking her revenge on the species that has plundered her? Perhaps it is too easy to dream of wealth and fun, dreams that corporations enchant us with to maximise their profits? Perhaps it is a feeling of helplessness? Perhaps it is fear of the future? Perhaps it is a lack of a compelling future narrative?

If our religion is based on the worship of our Earth, a Nature spirituality, then we surely cannot sit by and let her be harmed? We surely must join The Warrior’s Call in her defence, join the voices of the Christian scholars who seem happy to speak out on social issues, and join the activists that are facing the corporate and political armies.

It is long past the time when we should speak out and we must speak now and we must speak loudly.


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