Jason and Andrew talk about the lessons they’ve learned around practicing magic as a way of life. They also talk about what it is like to live in community with those who don’t practice. And of course Saint Cyprian gets talk about too.
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ANDREW: Welcome to another episode of the Hermit’s Lamp podcast. I have Jason Miller back with me today. And, you know, I’ve been continuing to watch what Jason’s been putting out into the world, and, you know, he’s been on my radar to have back and continue our conversations about magic and living a magical life and, you know, and, I kind of want to talk to him more about teaching and helping people discover how to live that kind of life today.
But, you know, Jason, in case people haven’t met you yet—and you should go back and listen to the previous episode with him—Who are you, Jason? What are you about?
JASON: Oh, man. I’m all about … I’m all about getting paid and laid! No, I’m kidding … [laughs] Yeah, no, so, I’m not against getting paid and laid, but that’s certainly not what I’m all about. I am about doing magic in a way that is impactful. So, I have noticed over the course of the last 30 some odd years that I’ve been doing magic, that a lot of people, they put a lot of effort into a ritual, and they’ll get a result, and it’ll be like, you know, I spent three hours summoning a goetic demon, and the next day I found a wallet in the street, isn’t that amazing? I — it had like 200 bucks in it! That’s incredible! And it’s like, great! Where are we going to go from there?
JASON: Like, you know, how is this really going to make a big difference in your life? I mean, if you’re in danger of getting tossed out of your house because you’re 200 bucks short on the rent, it makes a big difference. But still and all, whether it’s for pure spirituality, for love, money, etc., whatever, I’m about using magic, making it meaningful, making it have a big bump in your life…
JASON: And being able to look back and measure it and say yeah, that made a difference.
JASON: The man I am today …
ANDREW: The man I am today! You know, it’s funny, that piece about looking back is so important. I recently went through and cleaned up all my shrines and all my, like, bits and pieces of magical workings and stuff, you know, like, cause, especially as I’m running along through life and work and whatever, stuff accumulates in the corners, right? And I had done this piece of work that I was continuing to work at, to break through to the next financial level, right? And when I was cleaning it up and going through the whole thing, I forgot, that I had as part of that done one of those write a check to yourself from the universe thing, right?
JASON: Oh, yeah?
ANDREW: And I was like, huh, look at that! I’m currently making exactly that and I’m frustrated that I’m not getting past it!
ANDREW: So, I tripled that amount, and put a new one in and then fired it up again, and I was like … And immediately everything just started escalating like crazy, right?
JASON: It’s amazing, the little tweaks …
ANDREW: So easy to lose …
JASON: Yeah. The little tweaks that we can make. I remember, a few years back I was having difficulty. Same thing again, you know, I would make more money, but somehow more expenses would show up, and they’d just eat away at that. And it was so frustrating. And it’s a common enough problem, you know?
JASON: I would sit down and one day I would … just sat down, and I might have cleaned my altar just before that time too, because that’s my go to, like when things are stuck, clean up! [laughs] You know?
JASON: And not only do you get just a better view, but you … You do find those little bits and nuggets of the past that tie it all together. But I sat down in front of Saint Cyprian and I was just like, “I can’t seem to fix this, man! Like, I get more money, more money needs to go out.” And Saint Cyprian said, “Okay, well, you know, this month, do the same exact magic, but ask for the amount of money that you need leftover after everything is taken care of.”
JASON: And that’s exactly what happened. All of a sudden, there was this excess that I could then put towards, you know, savings, better use, house, investments, etc., etc.
ANDREW: Yeah, well and especially … We’re both family people, right?
ANDREW: And with a family, those unknown expenses, I mean, it’s so easy for them to creep up and whatever. We’re so lucky in Canada, you know. My daughter just had strep throat, but because of the new way things are done here, the trip to the doctor is covered, and prescriptions are covered. So. But you know? Previously, like last year, before that came in, it’d be easy to go, you know you could go drop 50 – 60 bucks for this, and a pile of money there, and you know, every time you turn around, it just adds up and adds up. Yeah, I think that the power of being clear about what the solution is, and the power of how do you pray or ask or craft your sigil or whatever you’re doing to solve the problem is such an important piece, right?
JASON: What …Yeah, and you know, because we’re not just praying, you know? We don’t describe ourselves as religious people necessarily. I mean we might be religious people, but we’re not religious in the sort of, you know, the old grandma, “I’m going to go pray and hope that this happens, and leave it up to God, and thy will be done” kind of thing.
JASON: Because otherwise why bother with magic at all, right?
JASON: So, we’re sort of getting actively involved. And even if we’re working with the same powers, the saints and gods and angels and buddhas etc., we’re as sorcerers saying, you know, I’m part of this, I’m part of this chain of events here, so I’m contributing, I’m inputting, at which point, yeah, the responsibility falls on you to ask for what you need skillfully, to recognize when you’ve, like in your case, been given exactly what you asked for, and then moved to the next level.
JASON: It’s, yeah, it’s, I don’t know, it’s our responsibility. But I see a lot of people turn their sovereignty over to the spirits when it comes down to stuff like that. It’s like, “Well, they know what I need.” And, why are you even bothering, then, man? [laughs]
ANDREW: Yeah. I think that it’s … you know … there’s this thing, I was reading through your new book, The Elements of Spellcrafting, and there’s this section where you were talking about caveats, right? You know? And, like, I think that for me, whether I approach the Orishas, or whether I approach the other spirits I work with, you know? Whatever element of “Thy will be done” exists in the universe, I just assume they’re doing that math for me as part of it, right?
ANDREW: There are things that are just never going to happen, there are things that, you know, maybe shouldn’t happen, and, you know, and there are things that are maybe part of other people’s will being done, and they’re going to not allow me to be interfering with that, right? In the same way that, you know, it’s not the monkey paw, right? Like, you know, they’re not going to kill somebody so I can get their inheritance. And then I’m going to turn around and forget to say, “Bring them back as they were, and you know, instead, live a zombie love life or something,” right?
ANDREW: You know, I think that there’s a degree of intelligence in these processes, right?
ANDREW: Unless you’re working with something belligerent, in which case, I tend to be like, well, why go there? What’s the value of that? And you know, there are values, but, if stuff doesn’t want to work with me, I don’t know that I want to work with it, you know?
JASON: I — see, I’m the same way. There are … I guess there are some borderline cases, where there are spirits that are happy to work once they’ve been … In the grimoire tradition, they’ve been constrained …
JASON: And then if made offerings to and a relationship is built, but to even get their attention requires that initial like, “Will the power that blah blah…” But in general, I’m the same way, there are so many ways to do something, especially now, with just the access we have to so many, so much information, traditions, and things like that … And also, it helps … You know, [ringing phone] these things don’t tend to happen when we are building relationships with powers … So, of course, now my phone … [Answering machine voice] Telemarketers, man!
JASON: Sorry about that!
ANDREW: They’re just trying to make their money, too. You know? It’s all part of …
JASON: I know, I know … [ringing phone]
ANDREW: Speaking of prolific elements, you know? [laughs]
JASON: Right. We’re talking about demons, the demons are like, “Hey…”
JASON: “Let me talk to you about your credit card balance …” [laughs]
ANDREW: Let me talk to you about a time share …”
JASON: [laughs] So, yeah, I forgot even what I was talking about now …
ANDREW: Well, we were just talking about …
JASON: The demons erased it.
ANDREW: When you’re having relationships with spirits, it’s something quite different.
JASON: Oh yeah! Yeah, it’s so different than looking up in a book and saying, “Well, what’s the spirit that handles this, and I’m going to contact them and make a deal…”
JASON: As opposed to “these are spirits that I make offerings to regularly, every day, all the time, I acknowledge special days,” and, you know, you build a relationship.
JASON: So then when it comes down to somebody in the Strategic Sorcery group the other day asked “Why are the spirits so literal about everything? I’m getting exactly what I ASK for, but just outside of what I intended.” And I said, “Well, you know, get better at asking for stuff, but the other thing is, build up a relationship, let spirits into your life, and you can … you … they’ll get a better window into what you need.” It’s not necessarily belligerent, the assumption there is that they’re all knowing, all powerful. You know? You gotta let ’em know.
ANDREW: They’re not stalkers, right?
JASON: Right. They’re not stalkers.
ANDREW: They’re not here 24/7, they’re not looking at everything, they’re not Santa Claus, right?
ANDREW: You know? Like, they don’t know everything, if you don’t sit down when you have their attention and tell them, right?
ANDREW: And here again, if you have a relationship with spirit, much of the time the solution to the problem is like, “Hey, my friend, I have this problem, I need to talk to you about it.”
ANDREW: “Blah blah blah, here’s my problem, here’s what it looks like, here’s what I’ve been doing, you know, I don’t know what to do next, or I just feel like I’ve got no luck, or like whatever you feel, and be like, hey, please help me out with this. And sometimes that can be it too, right? Just a conversation, kind of like, you know, hey, help me out, my friend, not even like, “and I’ll give you this,” or whatever, right?
JASON: Absolutely. Absolutely. Cause that … that giving, that back and forth, it’s already present in the relationship. Just like with real people, you know? I use … I always talk about borrowing 50 bucks. You know, if you accost somebody on the street, they’re not giving you 50 bucks.
JASON: If you ask a coworker, maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But if you ask a friend, of course. They’re gonna be like, “Yeah, here, do you need any more? are you good? Pay me back when you can.” Because you have a lifetime of the back and forth and it makes all the difference.
ANDREW: So, every time I tell people that you’re going to be on the podcast, and some other people too, but they’re always like, “So tell me about Cyprian. What about Saint Cyprian?”
ANDREW: “What’s going on with Cyprian? What do I need to know about Saint Cyprian,” right? What … I mean, I feel like we talked about it last time, from what I remember, you know? But I’m curious. Especially because it’s been a little while. Saint Cyprian seems to be growing further and further into the world these days. What do you think is up with that? Why is that happening?
JASON: Oh. [sighs heavily] Well, I’m going to go ahead and say that one of the things that’s happening is that the focus is not so squarely on white European magic any more. And …
ANDREW: That’s really true.
JASON: And, you know, I can … I will thank the younger generation of millennials for some of this, that, you know, while there’s certainly a lot of crap I could give the millennial generation–I’m a Gen Xer and I’m sure you are too, but–One of the good things is there’s not quite as much focus on the white European magic, nor what white Europeans, especially Victorians, had to say about magic from elsewhere. So, Saint Cyprian was sort of, has been huge in Portuguese and Spanish-speaking world for many years.
JASON: You find tons of little, I have some Spanish, everything from actual books of Saint Cyprian, to little like pamphlets, trade magazines, in Spanish, that are, you know, about Saint Cyprian. And then of course you’ve got the Scandinavian books of Saint Cyprian in Norway. So, all this was sort of happening outside the German/English pipeline, you know?
JASON: And, so it was already this huge presence that just needed to poke its way into the English-speaking world. And then once it did, we do what we do with everything, it explodes. And he became immensely popular. I’m super proud of having written a really halfway not even very good article surveying the cult of Cyprian, but I wrote it back in 2007 so I can pat myself on the back, and you know, get the “before it was cool” cred. [laughs] But, you know, the amazing work has been done since then, with Humberto Maggi, and José Leitão, their translations of Cyprian books, and the commentary on them is just huge.
JASON: And he’s … just a great worker. You know? People are looking at Christianity and realizing that there’s a lot more to it than the evangelical anti-magical Protestant mindset. And maybe some of that is that we have a generation of people here who were not necessarily brought up in church, so they’re kind of looking at the church with magical eyes rather than “Uhhhh, this is such a drag!” eyes. Which is why you’re getting … More and more people are going to Latin mass. Like young people going to Latin mass wherever it’s available. So, you have this interest in Christianity, and people are looking at, “Well, where is witchcraft really preserved?” If we can let go of some of the Margaret Murray thesis of pagan cults that survived in secret, well, you know, a hell of a lot of it was that folk magic came into Christianity and the ceremonial magic, the whole grimoire tradition. So, once information about a saint of sorcerers became available, I think it was just, people wanted to take it and run, and have.
It’s a very accessible notion, right? I mean, it’s in our culture, you know, North American culture, the idea of saints and what we do with them. There’s a … whether you’re raised with it or not, it’s around enough that I think it’s not super foreign, you know?
JASON: Yeah. No. Absolutely. And it’s, you know, Cyprian himself had already existed in such varied forms. You know, the emphasis in Europe is … are on the books and spells that Cyprian himself was said to have penned, whether before or after death. And then in the New World traditions from Peru up to Mexico, the emphasis is on calling Cyprian himself as sort of a mediator between light and dark forces.
JASON: And you can see this in the mesa traditions where they have … The shamans have the two mesas laid out and Saint Cyprian right in the middle.
JASON: And so, Cyprian exists as this eternal between. He’s between everything. He’s between heaven and hell, he’s between Christian and non-Christian, he’s a … you know, he builds bridges.
JASON: And it’s just brilliant. the only things that I think some people who maybe were raised with Cyprian in the non-English, you know, object to sort of, you know, white people taking it and running with it places that it never was historically. The only thing that I really see that I ever object to is when people attempt to completely deChristianize Cyprian utterly. And say, “oh, that was never really part of it,” I’m always like “well, we already have Merlin and other …
JASON: You know? It’s the very fact that he was a bishop that kind of makes it special.
ANDREW: Well and I think that that’s kind of leading up to what I was going to ask you as a question, being, what’s the thing people are getting wrong about this, right? Or, what’s the pitfall people fall into, you know? Because, you know, I have conversations with other, you know, olochas and priests in the Orisha tradition about what people are kind of misunderstanding as they approach traditions. Right? You know?
ANDREW: So, you know, I think that, you kind of already nailed it, right? You know, like, what is Cyprian without Christianity?
JASON: Yeah. yeah. And, you know, what is Cyprian without Justina? Justina, I think, gets downplayed quite a bit in favor of Cyprian, but it’s important to remember that it was her that turned back his demons with the sign of the cross. It was her that wielded the power that attracted him to Christianity in the first place.
JASON: And so, I think one of the other things, apart from the deChristianizing of Cyprian, and I get it, I mean, Christianity has, I mean, for every good thing about Christianity, there’s a horrible thing about Christianity.
ANDREW: Yeah. At least one.
JASON: At least one! And some people have been really just damaged to the point where this is not a useful thing in this life for them …
JASON: To even worry about Christianity one way or the other. They left it, and good, because, you know, it was causing them a lot of pain. So, I’m not one of those people that’s like, you know, “You have to be Christian.” But, you have to be, I think to work with Cyprian, you have to be comfortable, at least looking at Jesus, Christianity, and all the rest of it as a usable power, as a valid spiritual power, and it’s always weird to me how people who are so open that they can embrace, sometimes, dozens of traditions at the same time, and, you know, while “Hecate, Queen of Heaven, and …” yet, once it’s Christian, because of the baggage, it’s like, oh no. No. That is false, and I reject it ever.
ANDREW: Yeah. And I think, as you say, I think it’s part of all of our journeys; ideally to try and resolve and free ourselves of those baggages, you know? And I think about how when I started doing misas, and sort of espiritismo, and Alan Kardek style, you know, ceremonies and stuff like that, you know, and praying for my ancestors who were Catholic, or, you know, Anglican or whatever, with the prayers that they asked for, without any attachment to that, you know, came from, you know, a number of years of deconstructing less so explicit Church history, cause I don’t have much of that, but more so, negative cultural influences on that stuff that I was basically, you know what? Screw you and your son! You know? For about 19 years, right?
ANDREW: And, you know, but being free of that really allows for, has allowed me to meet spirits where they want to be met, where that feels appropriate to me, and therefore, when my grandmother was like, say the Lord’s Prayer, say the Apostle’s Creed, say the, you know, the Hail Marys, say this, say that, I’m like, “Cool, I’ll say those prayers for you, it’s fine.”
ANDREW: But it’s not straightforward, you know?
ANDREW: For many people. And definitely for me it wasn’t, in the beginning, so.
JASON: Yeah. yeah. And there … You know, my advice is always, if that is bringing trauma and discomfort, there are other powers. You don’t have to work with Cyprian. And I guess that’s the worry that everyone has that something becomes sort of insanely popular and people get involved only because of its popularity.
JASON: I don’t know how much of a danger that really is. I’ve always been one of those people that’s kind of … It’s like, “Is the band good or is the band not good?” How many other people like the band isn’t really relevant …
JASON: To my enjoyment of them. But for some people it is. They want to be in on the thing no one else was in on.
ANDREW: Well, and, you know, it’s funny, so, I spent time in the Aurum Solis, which is a not very popular not very well-known ceremonial order, right?
ANDREW: Yeah. And, you know, I mean, in some ways, my time there was one of the most liberating of things, because unlike many other systems, where they gave name and form to whatever dualities and core principle and so on, they just use generic terms, and generic terms that they had set up for themselves for people within the order to work with, and so, it was always open-ended, and then if you were working Enochian or goetic or this or whatever, you shifted and you melded it to where you wanted it to be, or where it made sense to put that together, unlike in other systems, you know, like when I was into Crowley stuff, and here’s your specific, you know, ordered organization and structure, and you know, in other places where it’s like, well this is always this person. It’s like, eh, they could be many things …
ANDREW: I want to know what would make sense here, you know?
ANDREW: Cause there’s more of this idea of there being an archetypal or source that was putting on source as we danced with it, called it, rather than having predefined form that we were required to meld ourselves to. and in that process, I actually became very malleable, and very free from a lot of other stuff, which was pretty handy, so.
JASON: Yeah, that is. Now Aurum Solis, they went like full Christian at one point, didn’t they, awhile back?
ANDREW: I left the order around 2000, 2001. I think that as far as I know they were going more in like a sort of witchcraft, European witchcraft direction when I was leaving.
ANDREW: Which wasn’t really my particular thing, yeah. But it’s been a long time and I’m no longer involved so I couldn’t actually say.
JASON: Okay. Yeah, I seem to remember something about Denning taking the order into like a, you know, reforming it as a Christian-only order, and then un-reforming it as a Christian order, just only a few years after that, when people were like, naaah, that’s …
ANDREW: Yeah, it’s hard to say. I don’t know that part of the history. It certainly wasn’t a part of my time. But, I mean, like many of those experiences, my work was mostly about my local person rather than the bigger picture of things too, right? Which is…
ANDREW: Both a pro and a con, right? Cause it’s great when everybody’s on the same page, but when your local person and your international person or head of the order is doing something else, then you know, that’s kind of, becomes disruptive, so.
JASON: We, in, you know, I was in the OTO for a while, and we had formed a camp, still around today in Philadelphia, Thelesis. It’s now, I think, an oasis. It’s … the OTO has small camps, and then they have oases, and then they have lodges, and so on. And when we started it out, it was like a bunch of people that were disgruntled from the New York scene, and then we made all these connections in Philadelphia, which had an OTO group, and then everybody left. So, we just gathered the people that were sort of abandoned.
JASON: And we were the weirdest OTO group in the order at the time, because none of us wanted to do the gnostic mass, like none of us wanted to do it.
JASON: None of us wanted to do Resh, the four times a day, you know, he is the Sun God, he is the Fun God, rah rah rah kind of thing every day. And so, we were just, we were essentially just a magical group, and we were using the OTO as sort of this unstructural umbrella and, that we would report to. And for years, like we had Behutet Magazine, which is still running, but we wouldn’t allow any Crowley reprints, or poetry, and all the other magazines at the time were, you know, like “Here’s a reprint of Crowley …”
JASON: “And my poems!” And so, we were like, “nope, none of that,” and it was all about the local people and what they wanted to do and it was great. It was great. It has changed now. I think they’re much more in line with the overall order than it used to be. But, it’s the way things go.
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Yeah, I think that there are certainly in my experience, there are the times and places where a group of people coalesce for one reason or another, you know, and those moments and times are wonderful, and you know, when I was younger I used to think they would last forever, and now I find myself …
JASON: [laughs] Yeah.
ANDREW: … in, you know, in those moments, I just savor them, knowing that likely they’ll pass at some point. You know? And may even be far and few between, so, you know, just revel in them, like, oh, how wonderful to have all these connections in this thing right now, you know?
JASON: It is, it is. And, you know, I don’t know how involved you are in your local community. I live in the sticks, I live in New Jersey, but, you know, down in the pine barrens, and I do miss having a big local community, and the time, too, because between business and kids, that eats most of it up.
ANDREW: Yeah, I mean, local magical community, we have, we sometimes, maybe three or four times a year I have just a, call it a magically-minded social night at the shop, and just open, show up, make some tea, hang out, whatever. So those are always great. Everybody’s invited, so if you’re hearing this and you want to come, get in touch. And for me, it’s like, because my primary work is Orisha work, right? So, it’s ceremonies and stuff like that that happens, so, you know.
ANDREW: Early in the year I was down in the States helping at a birth of a priest, and, those are great, you know. But they’re not so much local and they’re not really ongoing, they’re more periodic when they’re required, so.
JASON: Right. You know, the shops are wonderful, and the community that … I mean … Back when I was starting out, the shop was your only link to the community, really,
JASON: If you didn’t know it already, if you were just interested in magic, it was like putting in time at the shop. You would just like hang out, talk with the shop owner, and …
JASON: They, you guys facilitated all the introductions, so …
JASON: It was really just through getting friendly with shop owners in the area that I got to know who was doing what where.
ANDREW: And for me it was because I lived in sort of small town Ontario growing up, it was, twice a year there was a psychic fair, and I would go and find stuff there, which is where I bought like, Magic in Theory and Practice when I was 12, and stuff like that.
ANDREW: And then there’d be like six months of like, trying to understand what the hell is being said in those books …
ANDREW: What do I do with my hands? What am I supposed to say? What’s going on? You know? But, that was it, because, you know, I was too young to drive, too young to get anywhere, there were no buses to the city, you know, back in the 80s and stuff like that, it was just like, that was it. You take your books, you go home, you read em a bunch, try and figure it out, realize you don’t know what you’re doing, and then try again, you know? So.
JASON: No YouTube videos, to …
ANDREW: No YouTube videos.
JASON: To set you right.
ANDREW: Yeah. For sure.
So, one of the other questions people … somebody posted … was, and I feel like I already know the answer to this, but I’m going to ask you anyway, so: Do you ever run into people who are disapproving of your practices? I mean we were talking about people who didn’t like your books and stuff like that before we got on the call, but like, you ever just like face to face in your community, or you know that kind of stuff, run into anything, or … ? Is that … ?
JASON: Rarely. I benefit from having not only a common name but several other famous Jason Millers.
ANDREW: Uh huh.
JASON: So when I have a day job, it was, it would be an odd thing for them to find out about me, even after I started publishing books, because you’ve got Jason Miller the playwright, Jason Miller the MMA fighter, and now you’ve got Jason Miller the, you know, Trump campaign dude, who I was … Someone wrote, like, bitching about Trump to me, and it was clear they thought that I worked for his campaign. Like, “How can you, an occultist, work for Donald Trump?” I was like, “Two different people!” [laughing]
JASON: Like, I don’t know, I don’t even look like that guy. But, you know, so, it didn’t happen too often, that people would find out. When they did, I have a way of explaining it or presenting it, so … It’s amazing if you just drop certain words out of your vocabulary.
ANDREW: Like demon?
JASON: Like demon, sure!
You know … So, for instance. All right. I can go to a Buddhist ceremony and we can take a phurba and make a ritual doll, essentially a voodoo doll, a linga, and stab the shit out of it and release, liberate it, quote, and you know, essentially, hard core black magic, but if you tell somebody you’re going to a Buddhist event, “Oh, the Dalai Lama is so holy, oh, that’s wonderful that you’re interested in Buddhism and meditation and …” You can say, when I introduce myself to other parents at the playground, and they ask what I do, I say, “I’m a writer, so I work from home, and that’s why we spend summers elsewhere,” and things like that. I can say, “Well, you know, I write on mysticism or, and meditation,” that’s easy for most people. Like, they don’t think too much about it. You can … If they press you can say, “Well, you know, I write about shamanism or fringe religion,” right? The moment you say magic, then it’s sort of like, “Ohhhhh, I don’t know,” and then if you say witchcraft, now you’re introducing the language of the diabolical, of what society has called, you know, it relates, you know, I mean, and modern witchcraft willfully and knowingly took on the constellation of terms around the witch hunts, and coopted those and used those terms, and to good effect, I think. But that’s why witches get hassled by Christians and Druids tend not to.
JASON: Because people don’t know what a Druid is. So, you’re just some crunchy hippie dude.
JASON: Or, you know, witches, pagans, have trouble, but somebody who is Asatru, describes themselves that way, might not. Somebody might think they’re a racist, but [laughs].
JASON: You know. They’re not going to get that “Do you worship Satan?” kind of thing.
ANDREW: I think that, it really is very much about … For me, it’s very much about how you frame it, and for me, it’s such a clear given about my life and I can explain it in simple terms, you know, I explain it to my kids as they were growing up in simple terms, they get to know more and more as time goes on about my religious Orisha practices, you know, and there’s so many ways in which you can sort of just frame it, and I find that for me almost without exception, when I approach the conversation where people are like, “Wait, wait, you kill chickens.” I’m like, “Yeah dude. Do you eat chicken? I see you’re wearing leather shoes.”
ANDREW: Right, like? Or whatever. And if you’re grounded in it, I find that it is rarely an issue.
ANDREW: I mean, it’s always possible to be an issue, but almost never, you know? I’ve had one person give me a hard time at the shop since I opened the store five, almost six years ago. And he’s some older local dude who stood in front of my door one day blocking it, and I went to talk to him, and he was waiting for the bus, and he basically just got really mad and started swearing at me and telling me I was going to hell and whatever, and, you know, and then some woman who was waiting with her kids at the bus stop started yelling at him to stop swearing …
ANDREW: Very quickly became the end of the conversation, and then, I see him walk past now, cause I’m still in the neighborhood, but he’s just, eyes forward and ignores me completely now, you know? And one other person who no longer does this but for a long time used to leave little inspirational God pamphlets in my mailbox all the time. But that was it. Like, easily if I saw him, he’d be like “How are you today, you know, I’m going to work, here have this, here, take one of these.” I’m always like, “Sure man, whatever,” but never, nothing ever escalated, cause I never escalated it. You know?
JASON: Yeah. I mean, I love the little pamphlets. I mean, I always thank people for them, and I just hold in my head that obviously I don’t agree with them, but this person feels like they have the spiritual equivalent of the cure for cancer. So, if they think that that’s true, then the moral thing to do is to spread that far and wide, right? Like, not to be like, “Shh, don’t tell anyone, we have the secret keys to enlightenment and heaven.” So, I always look at, like if somebody’s just sharing or they knock on the door or something like that, I always kind of assume the best …
JASON: Because it’s done, even though I think they’re deluded in what they believe, I think their moral intention to share it is good most of the time. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s just masking their desire to persecute others. And that becomes apparent pretty quick. And, you know, thankfully, you live in Canada, and I live in the relatively for America more enlightened northeastern United States.
JASON: There are some areas of my country where I gotta believe I’d probably get a lot more hassle than I do here. One of the reasons I don’t live in some areas of the country.
ANDREW: For sure, yeah.
JASON: You know, in that my kids would be going to school, some parent would Google me, and now my kids would be having a hard time, and …
ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Well, you would just go to your Buddhist meditation and solve it, right? [laughing]
JASON: Yes, yeah. I can just, “It’s just Buddhism,” “Noooo, I saw the books, it’s not just Buddhism!”
ANDREW: It’s so many things. That’s funny. Yeah, it’s funny, you know, I think, probably because I spent so long in a Mohawk, and being all punked out and stuff, I just, people don’t tend to argue with me too much about stuff, and I don’t really tend to engage people. The minute stuff comes up I’m always like, “You know what, I think I’m gonna go now, see you later …”
ANDREW: You know and just opt out of those conversations too, right? So.
JASON: Yeah, you know, the times that it comes up are … they’re just few and far between, because ultimately, people aren’t all that interested. If they’re not interested, then they’re not particularly interested, you know? It’s a weird thing, but if you are able to talk about other things and hold a real conversation with people about something other than that …
JASON: Which is a talent that sadly not everyone in our community has, but …
JASON: It goes a long way. It’s like, look, you know, if you invite me over for dinner, no, I’m not going to start prattling on about religion and weirdness unless you ask.
ANDREW: Yeah. No, for sure. Yeah, back when I used to work in advertising, I discovered that there were certain places that I would end up, and there were certain kinds of conversations that went better, so like when I was going down to the print shop to talk to the guy who’s running the big printing presses and do color proofs, you know, a lot of those guys really dug sports, and so I would check the paper, see what was going on, and just prep myself to have a good conversation with them, and it didn’t hurt me at all, they loved it, you know, and it made for a better relationship, you know? Showing an interest in what people are interested in gets us a long way a lot of the time, right?
JASON: Oh yeah.
ANDREW: And avoids a lot of problems, right? Because then you have that personal connection where they’re like, “Well, Jason’s not really that bad, I mean he takes his kids to the park all the time, how can you, he can’t be evil, he’s gotta be good, so whatever, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.” Right?
JASON: That’s it!
ANDREW: Yup. So, first of all, thank you for making time today.
JASON: Thank you for having me, man!
What have you got going on? I know that you’ve got this book that just came out this year, The Elements of Spellcrafting, which is great, and people should definitely check that out. What else is going on? Where should people find you? What have you got coming down the line?
JASON: Well, people can find me at StrategicSorcery.net. And the big thing coming down the line is, the next cycle of Sorcery of Hecate opens up in May for a June start. This is a class that — it got so much bigger than I ever expected it to, because it, you know, it’s a hard … it’s the hardest class that I do, like as far as like, people want, you want something to do that, you know, requires a commitment and will get you results but is going to ask something more from you.
JASON: And is going to challenge you, like the first month or two, you’re going to come to me and say, “Oh, I had this vision …” and I’m going to be like, “That’s great, keep doing the ritual, please.” You know? Like, the vision is great, but just, it doesn’t mean anything. Let’s get deeper. Let’s go deep. Let’s not settle for “I did a ritual, I had a vision,” like, is it important? Is it telling you something you didn’t know? If not, make a note, celebrate, have a cupcake, then get back to work.
JASON: So, I never expected a program that required like that amount of effort and work and, you know, I can be challenging, and just tell people, like, “That’s not important right now,” [laughs]
JASON: I never expected it to take off, but my god, it has.
ANDREW: Well, she’s a real powerhouse, right? I mean, she’s another one of those ones whose presence in the world is on the rise. So, I’m going to share my vision; you can tell me it’s not important afterwards.
ANDREW: So, I haven’t done your course, but years ago, when I first started reading at somebody else’s store in Toronto, the person who owned the store, Hecate was their thing, they were all about that, and most of the people who worked there were about her, and sort of like, it was the anchor of that store, right? And I’d been working there for a little bit, and they were doing a big ceremony for her. And I didn’t go, cause I was like, “nah, it’s not my thing,” right? So, I had this dream, where she showed up, you know, infinitely dark and infinitely expansive at the same time, and she just looked at me, up and down, said, “You’re not one of mine, but you’re all right, you can keep working here.” And that was the whole dream, and I was just like, “Perfect!” It’s done!
JASON: And that’s, you know, that is an example of, it’s got meaning, you know, it’s a seal of approval, it’s got an essential message …
JASON: But it’s not something you want to sit and like, fuss over.
ANDREW: No, exactly.
JASON: You can keep working there. Which is …
ANDREW: I got my approval to continue to be employed there, and that’s great, cause I’m sure that if she didn’t like me I would have been gone …
ANDREW: And then that’s it, and I’m like, all right! And then, the other piece which was, you don’t need to get more involved in this stuff, cause it’s not yours, I’m not for you.
JASON: And I’ve had that happen as well. Before I became involved in Buddhism, I was getting very interested in Haitian voodoo, I was trading correspondence with Max Beauvoir, I was studying anything I could get my hands on and putting together completely half-assed ceremonies of my own.
JASON: To connect with the Orishas, as everyone did in the 90s, and I would read anything, god, I lived practically on the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, from Louis Martinié.
JASON: And I … there was this point where I was getting ready to go to Haiti, and Legba was kind of like, “Maybe not.”
JASON: Maybe, like, “You and I are cool, but maybe you don’t want to get involved in all this stuff.”
JASON: And I …You know, looking back later there are … I really don’t react well with tobacco, for instance.
JASON: And I just both with my lungs, my senses, I get … I don’t know, maybe something happened when I was a child with cigarettes or something, you know, it just sets me off, and that would have been a big stumbling block for me, a few other commitments and taboos probably would have been a big stumbling block for me in the long run, and so it was really solid advice, and I was like, well where should I go? And it was right after I asked that, I was in upstate New York and I was talk … did a lave tet with Louis Martinié that day, and then that evening Michelin Linden, his wife, was like, let me tell you about my experience with the Kalachakra.
JASON: And it was really–it hit me hard. Partly because I was on three different psychedelics at the time, but it hit me hard anyway. [laughs] And, you know, I went back, and I called John Reynolds, who I had known for years already, and he was the first Westerner to be ordained as a Ngakpa, Tibetan sorcerer. I was like, “I’m in! What do I do?”
JASON: You know. Legba sent me to you! [laughing]
ANDREW: Well, I mean that is a tremendous piece of wisdom, right?
ANDREW: You know and like, in reading the shells for people, it’s something that people don’t expect at all, and it’s like, look, you know who’s got the answer? Those people. This group. Your psychiatrist has the answer. But we don’t have the answer for you. You know? And that — listening to that voice, and going and like giving up the sense of definition that we start to formulate around these things, in light of a bigger deeper truth or a more complete truth, I think is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself, to really honor that when it emerges, you know?
JASON: Amen to that.
JASON: Amen to that.
ANDREW: Cool. Well, so people should check out your Hecate course. It’s going to be deep and challenging. And people should head over to your website.
ANDREW: Awesome. Perfect. Well, thanks again for making time, Jason. Lovely to chat with you as always.
JASON: Thank you for having me!