Andrew, Fabeku, and Aidan (aka Stacking Skulls) get together to talk about living during this ongoing pandemic. They talk about astrology, racism, colonialism, magic, getting by, and so much more.
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Transcript is below.
Andrew: Hey, folks. Welcome to another episode of The Hermit’s Lamp Podcast. At the time of this recording, it is, basically, the end of August, and been on a hiatus since the earth of spring from podcasting. Just too busy with dealing with all of the chaos of COVID and all of that chaos and everything else. But, I was thinking that the last episode that I did with Stacking Skulls was called WTF, and I think that the title for this one is probably WTF Still? Because, here we are so many months out from what’s going on, and yet still life is chaotic and uncertain, and, really, especially for folks in America, way worse in some ways than it was back then. I don’t think that we are still cruising around the idea that it might be, “Yeah, three weeks of lockdown, maybe a little bit longer,” and now we’re in the phase of, “Is there an end? When’s the end? How does an end of this come together?” And, all that wear and tear that’s kicked around.
So, anyways, if you don’t know Stacking Skulls, well, number one, you’re in for a treat. There’s a whole bunch of episodes of us clowning around together. But, I’m here with Fabeku and Aidan, and we’re just going to check in as my fall relaunch of the podcast happens. So, yeah, who wants to go first, what’s going on? How’s the last five months been?
Aidan: The last five months have been ridiculous.
Aidan: It’s been crazy busy, partially. We were pointed at doing… When I say we in this context, that’s me and my wife… doing another class but with COVID and everybody being sent home, we realized that that didn’t make any sense to try and put anything out that was a larger money thing. Because, it seemed like it was quite possible we weren’t going to have much money and we didn’t really feel great about trying to get 300 bucks or something out of people at that moment in time, because, really, we couldn’t tell how things were going. So, we changed gears back to my second book, and so I’ve been rapidly finishing that and then learning InDesign to put it all together and get it printed. So, that’s launched as an e-book now and in 10 days, 9 days, something like that, the print books start landing on people’s doorsteps.
Aidan: It’s overall just been weird. We’re in one of the states that are… our governor has always taken this thing really seriously. So, we didn’t get hit nearly as hard as most other places with the exception of some places on the reservation got hit really bad. So, we’ve been in lockdown way before a lot of places that didn’t get hit as hard have been. We’re now at the place that it’s masks if you are outside of your home, period. So, I haven’t really been on the bike for a while, because it is not fun to go riding around on that. We’re super supportive of it. Because, it’s just not being one of the people that is necessarily at as much risk as other people are, though… obviously, everybody can get it and can get messed up by it. You certainly don’t want to be involved in spreading the shit.
Andrew: For sure.
Aidan: So, it’s been crazy on that sense, but at the same time, we’re homebodies anyway, and it’s us at home with the animals. So, we’ve shifted a few things, but they’ve not been great. Not been huge for us. Then yeah, just doing book promo stuff and then launched the first episode of my podcast. But other than that, it’s just been working on the book, working on getting the book out there, working on understanding InDesign.
Andrew: It’s not at all a small task to do a thing like that, right?
Aidan: Yeah, it’s interesting. I’m glad I know how to do it because it sets me up to do more. So, I’ll be doing the e-book of Six Ways next and then I’ve already got part of the third book going. So, it’s nice because it allows me to take the reins for that whole project now, but it is a lot of work. Keeping busy with that. Chickens, lots of chickens.
Andrew: Yum, yum. I mean, wonderful.
Aidan: I don’t eat them but I yum yum for their eggs.
Andrew: How about you Fabeku?
Fabeku: Yes, same. It’s been crazy, like everybody. I think the last time I left the house was end of February, maybe first couple days of March. Have not been out of the house since then. Like Aidan, I don’t go out of the house much anyway. But, this many months has been a strange thing. Yeah, I’ve been busy with a ton of stuff too. I just finished a book with some writing and art and some shit like that, that’s going to be published by Revelore in October. [inaudible], so that’s a cool thing. It was weird for a while. The first few months, I had a hell of a time doing art. I could do some stuff for clients or collectors or whatever but my own stuff is just, “What the fuck am I doing?” It was awhile that I didn’t do any art which is weird for me.
So, finally, back at that which is good. I feel like that was sanity preserving kind of things. Yeah, excited about the book, excited about the couple of books after that, that I’m finally back in motion after stalling out for a while and just busy with a ton of people stuff and trying to help people manage this fuckery that is 2020 at this point. Yeah, it’s been a pretty high bandwidth task moment. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s a strange time in so many ways. In so many ways.
Andrew: Yeah, I feel like this hit, probably around the time we were doing the last episode, things were slow-ish for me, and I was just trying to figure out what was going on and all that kind of stuff. Then, just things got super busy between the store and client work and suddenly having two kids that I’m solo parenting half the time. Not in school, all that kind of stuff. All of a sudden, it’s just, wow, I’m just working as a parent or working as my regular job continuously and all the time. That was just an intense run all the way through until, really, maybe two weeks ago or three weeks ago, when I… here in Toronto, things went pretty good. We had a lot of stuff going on, but we’re down to maybe 20 new cases a day, maybe less. We’ve had some single digits and restaurants are open and a lot of stuff. Gyms are open, with social distancing, of course, but it hasn’t brought about a big spike in anything.
So, cautiously optimistic about it. Have been, and then, of course, the next big question is, school starts next month, and it’s, what’s going to go on with that and so on. Right? So, it’s just trying to have a wrangle all that stuff with COVID. Then, I think, the other big thing that… this happened in this time since we last talked, right, was George Floyd’s death. Right?
Andrew: The resurgence of what, really, should be a continuous thing of, how do we fix these racial divides and inequities and all this stuff. It’s definitely a thing that’s taken up a chunk of my attention as well in terms of trying to stay attentive to it, right. To not just drift back into day-to-day life, and whatever. Because, that’s been the history of it, right? It erupts into the media and into our consciousness because there’s some horrible thing that happens. Then, from a broader perspective, it dissipates, right? It doesn’t build momentum.
So, yeah, I would say I’m hopeful that it’s going to change at this point. I have no idea, right. But, I think that there, definitely, felt like there’s a different quality to what’s been going on around that stuff, that I have some hope that it will make bigger changes. Yeah.
Aidan: Yeah, that’s been a huge thing too, obviously. And, it’s interesting because it’s even where you get stuff that’s… I have folks in my family that still don’t perceive what the issue is, you know? Which is weird to me on a personal level because I have, in my immediate, immediate-immediate family, people of color. So, you don’t even want to take their word for what they’re experiencing, even though they are technically your family, right? You’re so set in your belief structure here that you can’t see that or can’t see the difference or the shifts between it. There’s folks in my family that, again, have children that are children of color, that still don’t see it. It’s, really? How are you that unaware? How do you maintain that? That’s what, I guess, I don’t understand. I’ve never been able to maintain that. I didn’t start with it, I think, and that’s why. But, it’s been good to see the attention. So, the reasons behind why it needs to be there are horrible, but yeah, I don’t know.
Then, for us in the US, to me, there’s like an almost psychotic nature to the United States right now. Where the whole discourse is so stratified and so divisive and so peculiar in where people can and will go. It’s really, you don’t see that in yourself or you don’t see that in the people that you’re supporting? How do you pull that off? I just don’t get it.
Fabeku: Its been interesting for me, my mother is in her 80s and grew up in a little teeny tiny, literally, a shack in the hills of Kentucky. After George Floyd was killed, every single time I’ve talked to her, that’s almost all she’s talked about, and how she realizes, at this stage of the game, that she’s spent 80 something years oblivious to this shit, and not paying attention and not listening to people, and having the privilege to not pay attention to it because it didn’t affect her. And, she’s trying to have conversations with her sisters and her brothers, almost all of whom are completely oblivious to it and entirely entrenched in, what’s the big fucking deal, kind of thing. I
It’s interesting to me, the way it’s shaken things, loosened her in a way that I’ve never seen before, right? It’s not that we didn’t have conversations about it before but, I don’t know, I don’t think she got it. As opposed to her sisters and brothers, will actively push against it. It was never that so much, it was just, well, yeah, that’s really bad.
But now, I mean, we have hours and hours of conversations of just, how the fuck have I not paid attention to this? How the fuck if I lived my entire life not understanding how, and completely, fucked things are for people that aren’t white in this country? It’s been an interesting thing to see. I think she’s hopeful that her sisters and brothers will wake up and get it. I don’t think they will. They’re about as deeply entrenched in that kind of bullshit as it gets. But, yeah, it’s been interesting to listen to my mother, of all people, have long conversations about this. When John Lewis passed, she was talking about, how did I never really pay attention to who this man was? How did I not know his life and his legacy and his history? Yeah, it’s been an interesting come to Jesus moment, in some ways for her.
Andrew: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s funny, when I started this podcast many years ago, the first thing I did was a series of interviews on why some people change and why some people don’t, right. I talked to people [inaudible] they’re right there, the early episodes still existent. Should be on iTunes, and whatever I talk to. That time I was mostly tarot focused so I’ve talked to a bunch of tarot readers about it. It’s, nobody’s got an answer for that, right. I think that it’s such a significant question now, right. Can we understand how to make change in society? I think that we’re seeing a lot of stuff around that, that the answer is, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it can’t be polite, maybe it can’t be quiet, maybe it can’t be whatever, right? Because, I see the things that make change, and the quiet, polite route is predominantly a route of quiet and polite with money and power behind it, right? You know?
Aidan: Oh, yeah. You get to be very quiet and polite if you have lots of privilege.
Andrew: Right? But also, thinking about the people who follow Stalking Skulls. They’re our groupies, right? They are those people who are part of our magical communities, right? I think that it’s such a… number one, if we want to work magic, we have to try our best to see the world as it is, right? That means, from my point of view, seeing racism and sexism, and all the different things that are going on, right, and engaging with that, right. I think that it’s not that you can’t do magic without being aware of lots of things, but I think that the more aware we are, the more it gives us capacity to see and make change both in ourselves, and depending on what’s going on in the world too, or see where change might be able to happen.
Aidan: Yeah, I think that it’s very interesting on the magic side, because I agree with you totally. The more aware you are of how things are unfolding or how things can unfold or how things… for me, my own tendencies to, where will I not consider change? Because, there are places that I really don’t want to do that, like quitting coffee, which I did.
Aidan: Because, my wife finally said, I don’t think this is working well for you, even though you’ve been doing it for 40-something years so you should drop all of the caffeine. I, totally, entrenched for several hours and then went, Okay, I know that this is not good. I said, I need some space to go and think about this, and went, okay, let’s examine myself and go, oh, yeah, this is typical junkie behavior. It’s the same as any other addiction I’ve dealt with, so I’m not really down with that. So, something’s got to change. But, if I didn’t have the ability to go, okay, I’m being given information of everyone outside of me that I don’t like. I’ve been given a suggestion that I don’t like.
Yes, this is an entirely personal and minor one, but if I can’t actually go, okay, this is also from somebody that I believe is serious and has intelligence. So maybe, I should take some time and figure out why I don’t want to hear it, let alone consider it. It’s an interesting thing. I think that’s critical in magic. I think it’s critical in life, but we can get away with it without doing it. It’s just not necessarily the best way, I don’t think.
Andrew: Yeah, I don’t even know what else to say about this. I’m just, “Fuck!” I think that’s part of what’s tough about the racial issue. It’s like, “Man.” I think that there are plenty of places to go look up what you could do, right? You know I mean?
Andrew: It’s not that I [crosstalk] specific things or I’m not taking actions around it, right. But, I think that this moment where the scope of COVID, the scope of these issues is so big, so daunting, right? Yeah, it’s [inaudible] this space where it’s [inaudible], so big so much. It’s, yeah, staring at that abyss, right, and know that it’s staring back at you and then start walking into it, right. But, nonetheless, it’s interesting. It’s interesting times, for sure.
Fabeku: Yeah. I think, for me, a lot of the magic, personally, has been aimed at either expanding or maintaining that capacity, right? Because, I think that one of the things that’s easy to do when we’re looking at something daunting, whether it’s the racial issues or the virus stuff or personal, whatever it is, you just shut down, numb out, turn off. Obviously, I think, for the people that have the privilege to be able to do that, that’s the thing a lot of people do. The reality is, there’s a ton of people that never have that option, right? Because, they’re so fucked, they just can’t say, “Well, this is too big. I’m going to watch Netflix for a few hours and not give a fuck.”
I think that I’ve really been looking at that capacity thing. How do you expand the capacity enough to keep your eye on the abyss? To keep walking forward, to not tune out. To not say, well, somebody else will handle it, because, listen, we’ve done that shift for too long, and, obviously, it’s failed in every possible fucking way. Yeah. Yeah, capacity seems to be a big thing right now.
Andrew: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I think it’s huge, right. I think that it’s a piece that I learned mostly from you, right, actually. I had some very clumsy ideas around it, and your work clarified it. It gave me a real focus. It’s, yeah, that’s what I’ve been trying to get at, but I couldn’t quite see it, right? I think that working to increase capacity, in whatever way you want to work on it, magically and otherwise, I think is crucial, right? I mean, in my parenting, there are definitely times when it’s, all right, somebody, somewhere give me some more capacity right now because I am overwhelmed by this business. I think that working to call that in and expand that and stretch that and so on is super, super important, right?
Aidan: It’s interesting. I think, three days ago, we hit a place, my wife and I, where we went, Okay, we’re not actually doing things the way that we know work well for us. So, how do we get that space back? Because, we lived in a cabin with no power or anything for a couple years, and we were really looking at that time, and going, there’s a way that we were very well in that space. Anyway, as a result of this… this ties into your capacity thing for BQ, we decided that once we’re both awake in the morning and ready to go, we turn on our cell phones, and we turn on the wifi, and we do, maybe, an hour of stuff that needs to happen through those tools. Then, we turn them all the way off, we turn off the wifi, we unplug the router, we turn off our cell phones all the way. We might have some stuff stored on our computer that we downloaded that we need to work on or whatever, but that’s it for being connected.
Then, usually, we’ll do that again in the afternoon and try and be done with that by about six. This is sharing not… primarily, because it’s been incredible for us for just these last few days. So, it’s not as much as suggestion as something to think about if people are super overwhelmed, because the 24-hour cycle has become just crushing in a way right now. But, we had a weird day. The first day was really weird. Like, okay, well, what do you do if we’re not streaming Netflix for the last three hours of the day? Well, then I’m playing guitar for the last three hours of the day. One of these things is good for me, one of these things is at best neutral, right. The same thing during the day, that the amount of time that we’re actually spending talking and working on our plans and thinking about how we do stuff together, is huge. It’s probably an 80% increase in the last few days. Instead of the magical overt side of building capacity, which, I’m with you, I learned from Fabeku.
But, there’s also the really base level of just going, can you step out of all of the noise and then check in to get what you need. It causes you to weed your sources out, figure out what do you need to see, what do you need to know, and if your time is limited to that and you’re not going in and out of it all day, at least, for us, it’s been an immense change that I don’t see going back to that at all. It’s, no, two hours of fucking net and cell phone access is more than planning for us. Everybody’s going to be in a different situation.
Fabeku: Yeah, this summer, my partner and I have been doing more leisure, and more, just, super-leisure. I’ve been lucky to be able to take a bit of time off and so on. So, we went to this place and it’s a spa place and spent the second day there, literally, just either in the pool, on a lounger beside the pool or eating, having lunch or whatever. Yeah, no phone, no mess, no whatever. I didn’t look at my phone, I think I looked at once through the, almost, two days that I was away. What actually needed to be responded to during that time? Not very much, right? I’ve been working on trying to institute more of this space, right? And, noticing, I like my movies and my TV, but also, I’ve been reminding myself that if I’m looking at my phone while I’m watching TV, something is wrong, right, for me?
People do whatever makes you happy, right? But its, either the show’s not interesting enough, or I’m not looking at something that I need to address or, whatever, in order to be present with the thing that I’m doing. I think that if something’s not engrossing me enough that it’s holding my attention, well, then what’s going on with that, right? I think about, I’ve been doing a lot of rock climbing again, and when I go by myself and do boulder, I will, sometimes, keep my phone around and read things on my phone while I’m resting in between climbs because I’m just sitting there by myself. But, last night, I went with my friend who I go with every week, and I left my phone in my locker, which is not a thing I would have done, at some point. I would have brought it with me, I would have checked in every now and then and whatever. But, it’s, what am I doing, I’ve got a person to talk to, I’ve got an activity that I’m engrossed in. Yeah.
Aidan: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing. Yeah, I had a place, I guess, it was about a month and a half ago which is interesting because, again, my life isn’t that different, pandemic-wise than it is usually. But, I hit a place where I really couldn’t get into any of the movies, any of the TV shows, anything. Even stuff that I like, wasn’t happening. That moved me in that direction, and I shifted back towards reading more. Then, one of the weirdest things that we’ve had and I’m sure that there’s lots of people that have studied things like EMF and all of that is, we live in a really quiet house because we’re on a couple acres in a really quiet town. But, at the point that the phones are actually turned off and the computers are off and the wifi is off, it feels so quiet. In a way that even if the router is still on, it doesn’t. Which makes sense, we know that these things are radiating stuff.
But yeah, it’s a crazy difference to go, “That’s noticeable. That is really different”, and then balancing that out from, we’re all old enough to have not had these things. So you go, “How interesting is that? This is really the first big chunk of my life, probably, felt like this, and what did I do? I played music, I read books, I talked to the people who around me, I engaged in a very different way.” It’s not to say I want to throw all that stuff away, but, definitely, it’s opened my eyes to finding its place, rather than just letting it find its place in my life, I want to be the one that decides what its place is.
Andrew: Yeah, I think it’s a really good way to put it, right?
Aidan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Andrew: So, now we all need to do a group working to break the internet’s hold on us. It’s an exorcism of sorts.
Aidan: I don’t if we’re the ones who need it from what I see.
Andrew: Wow. Did you do any magic around quitting coffee or did you just stop?
Aidan: No, my wife is our house apothecarist and herbalist so she treated it as a situation that could be dealt with herbs and using them in a homeopathic way. Not really using homeopathic medicines, but using some tinctures that she’d made. So, she’s having me check-in with her every couple hours, “Tell me what’s going on? How’s your head? How’s your… How’s this, how’s that?” Because, my tonsils were going off a little bit. I definitely detoxed like a crazy person for the first five days. That’s always one of those signs. I had that same experience when we quit… when we went paleo, and we dropped all processed foods and all the grains and stuff. This is the total TMI, but you can absolutely tell how foul you are inside by how foul your poop is when you quit eating it. Your body goes, “Oh, you’re not going to put more in, okay, well have this because we don’t want it anymore.”
Andrew: Get rid of all of it.
Aidan: Get rid of all of it, because oh, that’s nasty. So, I think that now that my liver and all of that have had some time to back off away from the caffeine, things feel good, but I didn’t have to do magic on this one.
Andrew: Mm-hmm (affirmative). [inaudible], Fabeku, is giving up coffee in your future?
Fabeku: You know, actually, yeah, I haven’t had any caffeine since early May, I think?
Fabeku: Yeah, for me, I reached a point to, between some body stuff and just the chaos and the anxiety of the moment, I’m, “What fuck am I doing? What the fuck am I doing?” Because, I really think up until then, I was drinking either coffee or yerba mate, then I’d throw in some caffeine pills. I’m, “What the fuck am I doing? This makes no sense.”
Andrew: What are you, 16?
Fabeku: Exactly. Acting like [inaudible] 7-Eleven to get [manodos] or whatever the fuck those things were. It was absurd. I think, for me… and this is what Aidan was talking about, about not doing things in a way that works. It was like, listen, if I’m structuring my life in a way that this makes sense, then something’s wrong because this doesn’t make any sense at all. If you’re recreationally enjoying coffee, one thing. Chugging caffeine all day and then throwing a fistful of caffeine pills on top of it, it’s, listen, something is sideways. So, yeah, for me, it’s been, yeah, late April, early March, or early May, since I’ve had any caffeine at all.
Aidan: Oh, very good.
Aidan: So, I could blame you, it was you, reaching out through the ethers, right?
Fabeku: I want decaffeinated company.
Andrew: Oh, boy. No, I feel so embarrassed about my coffee cup [inaudible].
Fabeku: [inaudible] on.
Andrew: I actually know that it’s not great for me. Well, it’s part of a bad cycle for me, right? For me, coffee and being too busy, just go hand in hand, right? When I stop being too busy, then I stop hitting the coffee. It’s just it rolls back. I remember when I moved into the last location where the fire was, I had quit coffee, I quit sugar, and I was just eating food, right? Making my own food most of the time, and I felt great. Then, I spent a month building a new shop. So, getting up as early as I could, doing construction, going to my old space, seeing clients, going to the new space, working until I felt like I might be a danger to myself, stopping, and I was just doing that. I did that every day for a month, right?
Somewhere in there, one of the people who was helping was, “I’ve got to take a coffee break and go to Tim Hortons and get something.” I was, “Yes, give me coffee.” Right? Then, probably, a few days later it was, “Yeah, get me a donut, too.” And, that it was that was it, right, because it was just an unreasonable time. Then, been sort of, on and off wrestling with it ever since, right? I think that this time actually… again, going into COVID, I was maybe drinking more coffee when I get up kind of thing, right? But now, I’m having three again and I’m, ah, it’s not ideal, but also, this is hangover of the massive pace that I’ve been running on, and trying to… my life is slower, but I have that velocitization like I’ve been on the highway, right, where I feel like I’ve go faster than I do. So, I’m sure everybody’s loving it right now, conversation about our caffeine habits.
All right, it’s official, Stacking Skills is anti-coffee. Stop it, it’s bad for you. Just kidding, do what you want. There’s a show called Beastmaster. You guys know that show? It’s a super obstacle course kind of thing, right? If you like watching people with ridiculous physical capacities, to ridiculous challenges and climbing over things and swing from stuff, go check it. But, either way, it doesn’t matter so much. But, I was noticing that all the people who were on it were working on themselves to get better, physically, and working on themselves as a person and working whatever. You see a lot of that in a lot of places, right. Certainly, if you’re on the socials, you’ll see that stuff a lot, right. I was, “Maybe, I’m done working to evolve. Maybe this idea of self-improvement is one that I should just jettison.” What happens if I don’t try and self-improve, but instead, just live and navigate? Right?
Does that mean that I’m going to stop learning new things? Of course, it doesn’t, right? Does it mean that I’m going to stop making changes in my life? No. But, if there’s this narrative of improvement, or evolution or whatever around these kind of things, I feel like there’s a real pitfall in that. I don’t buy into too much, but a little every now and then I do. I’m, “It’s okay to be done with that. Just be like, this is just my life. I’m just navigating my life now”. Is it going to change? Yeah. Is it going to change radically over the next 10 years? Maybe. But, does it have to do with evolution or, that kind of stuff? The perpetual cycle of self-improvement and so on. I don’t know that I want anything to do with that, in the way that I see it anyway.
Aidan: I go off about this somewhere, recently, I think. It’s probably in Weaving Fate, I don’t know. Which is about the whole thing about optimal now, right? I think this is totally tied in there. It’s optimal nutrition, optimal training, optimal study habits, optimal work habits. I think it doesn’t serve anything. It’s, well, that’s great if you’re already… if you’re already on Beastmaster and you’re trying to win, then yes, you need to be worried about optimization. But, if you’re climbing rocks or lifting weights, because you enjoy it, or you think it makes you healthier, then optimization is probably not actually all that relevant to you. It’s another marketed obsession.
Andrew: But I feel like I see it in magic, too, right?
Aidan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Andrew: A little while back, I posted something being, “Hey, everybody, don’t forget, astrology is completely optional, right? You actually don’t need to do anything with astrology to do magic.” This isn’t a criticism of this direction, right. But, the swing into grimoire magic and the resurgence of astrology as a prominent influence in spiritual and occult communities over the last five years, or whatever it’s been. It’s always been there, but it’s really been ramping up, right, to be a thing that you see on the internet all the time. I think that there’s this notion towards optimal and less around magic too, right. Well, I better make sure that this is the most astrologically auspicious moment that I have summoned the angels and the four governors, and the four kings and the [inaudible], and on and on and on, towards stuff.
I think that there’s a direct or indirect pressure from things moving in that direction that I think doesn’t need to be a part of any of it, right. It’s all really deeply optional. Yet, isn’t presented as optional, right. There’s a drive behind it. Because, one of the things that was really interesting in the comments on that post, right, was people… it’s the internet, people want to share their opinions and stuff, which is great, and people jumping in and being, “Well, you’re being influenced whether you know it or not. Whether, you’re whatever.” I’m, “But, are we? Are we really?” I don’t know about that. I’m not sure that I believe that big, grand narrative behind all these different things, is universal. You know what I mean? Yeah. I’ve talked-
Aidan: Yeah, I’m with you on that. It’s an interesting one. Lonnie and I were talking about this a little bit. My take has been since I got what I thought was… I started getting respectable results from my magic, was to go really hard on those things. The things that are working, I want to get really good with. I think the term I used… it made Lonnie laugh because I said, “If sigils are your jam, be a savage sigil magician, right, and see if you need anything else. Because you may not.” I think this is where I totally agree with that is, there’s an amassing of classically, historically relevant information that is fabulous, if that’s what you’re into. But, there’s some dude out in the bush somewhere in some country who is whatever, he’s got the skull of some rodent, and a little fire made of twigs, and you don’t want to fuck with that guy. He’s never heard of any of this shit you’re talking about?
It is totally my take. I also think that if we look at it historically, that’s the history of magic, except for the last equivalent of 10 minutes. So, people want to go, “Well, this is the thing.” Yeah, for the last few hundred years, and that’s a blip. That’s, of course, my take. Take whatever you want.
Fabeku: I was talking to somebody. I made some planetary magic talismans and turned out remarkably potent and effective. They were saying, “Oh, but, when you made them, this planet was doing this thing in the sky. So, the talismans should have been fucked. How did you make them and they worked?” I said, “Because, I don’t give a fuck what the planets are doing in the sky. It doesn’t matter.” So, this idea that it’s always an influence whether you know it or not, I’m with you, I don’t know that that’s true. At least, I don’t know that it’s a prominent enough influence to matter.
I think a lot about currents, right? I think that for people immersed in a particular current, the effects or the shaping influence of that current is going to be stronger because you’re immersed in it. I’m not saying there’s no effect, but it seems to be less of a factor than somebody who is super centered in whatever current is, whether it’s astrology or anything else, I think it’s the same shit. I think there’s this idea that you have to be immersed in a billion different currents and have your eye on them and line them all up in some kind of perfect Venn diagram of magic. That doesn’t make any sense to me. One, I don’t know if it’s doable. Two, I don’t know that it is actually necessary for most people. I think it’s a weird thing.
Going back to the self-improvement stuff, a conversation I had with a client last week, they showed up with all of the shit that they wanted to sort out this magical strategy for. As they were talking, my body started to tighten up. There was just this feeling of grinding and grinding and grinding and it was, “I don’t know how to do this, and what to do about this.” I said, “Listen, we can circle back to this in a second but”… It was all like, doing more. More money, more this, more that, which is, again, fine, there’s nothing wrong with it. I’ve done a shitload of magic for more stuff, it’s fine. But I said, “Have you considered doing magic for more joy, for more flow, for more peace, for more ease, for more creativity?” There was this long silence, and then they started to cry because they never considered that. They came with this To-Do List of, “Okay, help me figure out how to do these 10 things to do more, to optimize, to improve.? I said, “Cool, do that. But, what if you also had more joy in your life, and that was the focus? Especially now as fucked as everything is.”
I agree, I think that’s this weird trap that we get into with the self-improvement stuff. It’s just another version of grinding. It’s just another version of never being enough. Never having enough, not pushing hard enough. Again, I think in this global moment of all moments, fuck. Let’s look at some shit that’s not that, let’s look at some shit that is ease and peace and coherence and whatever the fuck it is. Because again, I’m going back to the capacity stuff, at some point, you can’t expand capacity infinitely enough to just keep grinding on every possible fucking front. It’s just not doable. Yeah, I think it’s super easy to fall into that shit with magic and everything else. But yeah, it’s a mess.
Andrew: So I want to circle back to something you said, and then come back to this as well because I want to talk about both. But, I think that, I [inaudible] this way. There was this big push to go back to, is there a singular truth, right? We can’t deny that influence of Greek thought and other thought on our culture, right? You know what I mean? If we can go back to those philosophers and see the origin of stuff and see the origin of Western magic, going back to some of that stuff, in certain ways, right? That’s cool and dandy and all, right. I think that if we look at the astrologies or other systems, I think that they’re holistic models of everything, right, which is amazing. I think that having, and participating in, a holistic model of the universe, magically speaking, is a powerful thing to be engaged with. I think that the thing is that in Kumi, right, Orisha tradition, it’s a holistic model of the universe that has no relationship to planets at all.
So, if both are describing something, and they’re both describing it accurately within their holistic model, it doesn’t mean that anything crosses over from those, and whatever that actual experience of the universe or… whatever’s going on that we’re engaging through one of these models, it’s all accounted for in one way or another, right?
Aidan: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Andrew: And, it’s not necessarily to say that we could equate, well, Egon said you were having this problem right now, ancestors say you’re having this problem right now through divination, astrology says you’re having this problem because of whatever, this hard planetary placement in your family situation or whatever, but those things aren’t the same. Right? They don’t have the same meaning. They don’t have the same lived experience. They certainly have very different solutions and approaches, right. I think that this notion, which to some extent goes back to the Greeks and people who are smarter than me about philosophy might trace it further, that there’s this true universal core that we can participate in through our intellectual perception.
Then, you compound that with, basically, the Victorian era magicians, Golden Dawn, Crowley. All those people who are like, everything is interwoven. Right? Everything is the same and symbolically resonant with each other at some level. I think it’s an extension of colonialism and of that Victorian worldview to continue that process. Somebody sent me a list of [inaudible] and how they line up on the tree of life and they’re, “What do you think? I’m, “I think this is colonial crap. I think it’s not helpful. I think it’s completely meaningless and disrespectful to this other completely coherent and self-reliant worldview.”
It’s not to say that there aren’t philosophical things or similarities that we could talk about the crossover those things, but I think that the minute that we start to say that one is inherently true, or that those bridges are inherently true, I think that we start to get into very dicey waters, and probably we’re wrong. Does that make sense?
Aidan: Yeah, totally. This came up recently in the Six Ways group, that somebody was saying that their background is in Western magical Kabbalah.
Aidan: They were, “I’m having trouble mapping this kind of elements, middle world, world above, world below to that map.” It’s, because they’re not talking about same thing. You can find somebody, I’m sure, who can give you something that says that this is, but if we look at it, the model that I’m using is rooted on, what would now be considered, very primitive people’s viewpoints of the world. This was not folks who were trying to work out mathematics of language in the written word, this is a totally different thing. They were just looking at, what do we see and what do we interact with, and what is that thing?
It’s not a map of something that you fit everything into? It’s not a tool to categorize. It’s, these are places you can interact with, or beings you can interact with that dwell in those places. In that sense, it’s, yes, it’s a metaphorical model, but it’s not trying to be a universal model. It’s, if you want to know what the underworld is, go there and learn that thing. You’re not going to be able to map enough information on top of that lack of experience to make up for that experience, right?
It’s, again, it’s nothing against any of the systems, it’s just realizing that they are not all the same. Like you said, with the Orisha tradition and the tree of life, they’re not the same thing. They’re not intended to do the same things. They’re not experiential tellings of the same event, however you want to view it. I think it’s a very interesting thing. I wanted to also tap into what Fabeku said because I’m also a total current guy. So, I’m going to do the work when I need to do the work, and when the allies are on board with it. That may be related to what’s going on in the heavens, I don’t know, but I’m certainly not going to start work based on what I think that is according to what somebody tells me is going on astrologically if the allies aren’t going, “This is a good time to do that.”
But, if they’ll say, hey, it’s a go, and everybody else is, it’s total shit city, it’s, I don’t care what you’re seeing because my people say, it’s a go and maybe we need to do this thing in total shit city. Again, what does that have to do with optimal. Sometimes it’s shit city and you’ve still got to work.
Fabeku: It’s the title of your third book, Shit City.
Aidan: Shit City. No, at least the subtitle.
Fabeku: I totally get what you’re talking about, Andrew, with the colonialism kind of thing, right? Because, I remember having a conversation with somebody, I was talking about was Oshun, the Orisha, and they were saying, “Oh, yeah, I totally get it because I’ve worked with Venus for however long. I’m, “What the fuck does that have to do with what I just said? I’m not talking about Venus, I’m talking about Oshun.” They said, “It’s the same thing.” I said, “It’s not the same fucking thing. It’s not the same thing. They’re entirely different.” Are there places that, like you said, might crossover or ping a little bit? Sure, But, it’s not the same thing. It’s weird to me that we apply it with shit like this, but we don’t say, well, this river is the same as that river or that ocean is the same as that creek, or a rose is the same as an orchid. It’s not the fucking same.
Sure, they both have roots, they grow in soil, they’re flowers, so they’re similar in that way. But beyond that, it’s not the same shit, right. I think, at best, it’s sloppy thinking, at worst, it’s all sorts of other shit, when we start pretending that this is that, is that, is that, and it’s all different names for the same shit. I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s it’s lazy thinking, right, because it’s convenient to say, Oh, well, no, I know Oshun because I know Venus, so I know Aphrodite. So, but that’s not real. I think then when we do that, we miss the nuance, we miss the capacity to build a relationship that’s coherent with whatever we’re building a relationship with. Because, that would be like me saying, well, Andrew and Aidan are the same. No, you’re not.
Andrew: [inaudible] start with A. [crosstalk]-
Fabeku: Exactly, right.
Aidan: We wear glasses and we have tattoos. All the evidence is there.
Fabeku: For sure. We don’t do that in this way, but we do it with magic. I think it’s a total failure of perception, and logic and relationship and understanding and nuance, and I’m just unconvinced that it works.
Andrew: Well, I think, as animism has resurfaced as a world model in certain pockets of the occult communities, I think that people are starting to understand that all of these plants are people, right. All of these stones and places, that they are their own things. I think that we haven’t extended that to spirits, right? To say that, does Oshun have their own concrete specific existence, right? Sure. Beyond that, even, Fabeku’s Oshun has its own concrete, specific, singular, individual manifestation that’s different than my Oshun. Right? Not just because, maybe, our paths are different, or maybe this or that or who it came from, no, it’s own distinct, separate living entity that is not the same as all the rest of them and there are relationships and, within religion, there are those, well, they’re all Oshuns. But you know, Eleggua versus [inaudible] versus whatever, they’re all different. The priests who have those Orisha’s, each of those Oshuns has their own character, right, because they’re their own people. Right.
I think it’s a place where the magical community… I’m going to be curious to see if there is a point at which people stop doing this and start really holding that devotion to Kali or to whoever without any sense of crossover, and, so on. I think it’ll be very interesting to see what comes of it, if anything.
Fabeku: I think even beyond spirits… spirits in the usual sense, if we go to plants as people, you and I can talk about our experiences with rose or with sunflower or with gardenia or with mandrake. I’m willing to bet that your experience with rose is different than mine. Maybe they overlap in places, but there’s nuances, there’s differences, right? Just like two different people that know you are going to experience you in different ways. It’s the same thing, which is where I think the common logic of, okay, well, what does rose do, what does rose quartz do, what is amethyst? I don’t know, what the fuck does it do for you? I can talk about what it does for me and that might have nothing at all to do with your relationship with it. that might have nothing to do with whether that stone person or plant person will work magic with you, the type of magic that it works, how well you get on with that particular spirit.
That’s the thing. I was just talking about this yesterday when I was teaching, there’s a worldview problem, right, because we think that what does rose do, is a real question. It’s not really a real question. But, we keep answering it, and so we’re perpetuating the idea that it’s a real question, but I don’t think in practice it is.
Andrew: Yeah, I think it’s true, plants, in the same way it’s true of Orisha, within the traditional context, within traditional context of their religion, we don’t say, “Oh, you’ve got a problem with work, who’s the Orisha of work who’s going to fix this thing for you, right?” We say, “You have a problem with work, will anybody come forward to fix this for you?” Maybe, it’s an Orisha that we associate with work, like Ogun. Or maybe, Obatala is, “I’ve got you, brother, don’t worry. You’re covered. Give me this and we’ll be good.” The answer’s to those are super nuanced by divination, by Odu, by story, by knowledge of Ebo, like, offerings, and so many things that are impossible from the outside. Those kinds of ways of working, only, can exist within the traditional context, I think.
In the same way, burdock is a really close friend of mine. Me and burdock, we’re tight. And, the things that burdock and I have had conversations and done, have nothing to do with traditional associations, but it is also a source of power that can be applied in many directions, if the spirit of the plant is amenable, right? It’s, yeah, maybe spearmint would be better at getting you some luck right now. It’s a more traditional association, right? “But, you know what, I’m going to work a little extra hard, because it’s not my area of expertise, but I’m still going to make it happen for you.” Problem solved, right.
Fabeku: Well, I think the other super relevant point of what you said is that, not only is that the way to do it, but it’s an individual thing. So, all three of us could have problems with work, all three of us could sit in Divine and get entirely different solutions to how to fix the work shit, even if the works shit looks the same. Right? So, one of the things that happens a lot when I’ll do some divination in a private space of mine, when I post them, I get the question… It’s not a criticism of anybody that asked the question, but I’ll answer somebody’s question… usually I’ll include some magical stuff to do, and, inevitably, people will say, “Oh”… Well, let’s say somebody’s asking about a relationship thing and then we talk about whatever the solution is, inevitably, somebody will come along and say, “Oh, is this a thing that anybody can do for relationship stuff?” No, it’s not. Listen, I don’t know, maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t. But, this was a specific solution given to a specific person with a specific problem based on these cards that were pulled. It’s not, here’s the cure-all for everybody with a relationship problem. It’s one conversation, one relationship in this moment.
Again, to me, that’s the way that this shit really works. But, if we try to turn that into, oh, well, this thing will do the same shit for everybody having a relationship thing. I don’t think that’s real. I think if it does work, I think we’ve gotten lucky. But, I don’t think that’s an indicator that it’s some universal solution. I get it-
Andrew: [crosstalk], you can be the same solution for the same person down the road-
Andrew: On the same spot, right?
Fabeku: Right. It is a very specific solution to that person, with this thing, with me, in this conversation, in this moment.
Aidan: Absolutely. Yeah. That’s, I think, the thing that I hit on a lot with people, and even with people with Six Ways that have got that, we’ll be trying to figure out, “I’m now working on this, but I haven’t got here yet, and I feel bad that I haven’t got here yet.” I’m, “Don’t do that. Just find a way in. That’s the whole idea here, is find a way into anything that works for you, and see where you can go with it.” Because, that’s where you get that depth. Then, you go, “Oh, yeah.” I’ve got people saying I need to talk to the goats or I need to talk to some deity and or I need to get right with… to do some stuff to remediate some astrological influences, but maybe you can do all of the things that you need to do with your allies that you don’t even know their names, that you just make offerings to and that’s your only relationship, and all that you might have to do, is to go in and go, “This is hard, I need help with this or I would like to more capacity for joy in this because I feel really just fucked up by what’s going on”, right.
For everybody that I know that figures this piece out, they’re really good magicians, with the work that they do works for them, and that doesn’t have anything to do. Some of them know everything about everything, and some of them know nothing, essentially, from that other person’s point of view. So, it is, it’s about current, it’s about relationship, it’s about that reality of context. So, that, yeah, you and I could both be having trouble getting our point of view across to our partners, and it could have, on the surface, in the way we describe it, in the way we describe that it feels, it can all seem exactly the same, and it could be totally not the same.
I think this is going on constantly. It has to, right? But, magic tends to go, here’s the formula to fix this. I’ve not really ever seen that to be true. It was, realizing, oh, if I’m just playing within the structure of, what Jason called zone rights… So this was, for me, LBR star ruby-based stuff, just as the shape of the operation, not using those words forever, but I figured out I could do all of the various operations that I read about in the magical books using these, even without learning all the different pentagrams. I wasn’t doing that, I was doing incredibly basic versions of it. It’s, no, I can connect to the powers and the quarters and the above and below and then put forward that I want help healing this or help this person out in their relationship, right, because I was building relationship with my allies and with that current.
So, yeah, great. So, Hermanubis is the one who does that. I don’t know that guy, why would I go there? I’ve people saying, “Yeah, we got it.” It’s, I don’t know if they are the ones who do that. They say they are and I have faith in them, so I’ll go that route.
Fabeku: Yeah, maybe it’s time for faith to make a comeback. How about that? [crosstalk]. What would that look like in the magical world, right?
Aidan: Man. What is faith if you don’t have religion?
Fabeku: Good question.
Aidan: What is your faith in?
Fabeku: Uh-huh (affirmative)-
Aidan: Or rather, what is your faith for, which might be the better question.
Andrew: Really, the only answer to that should be, everybody’s face should be in Stacking Skulls. In Stacking Skulls we trust. Stack them 23 high, and you’re good. Everything [crosstalk]. The world will unlock, [crosstalk] will open.
Aidan: Once the stack gets taller than you, while you’re standing up, things get better.
Andrew: Right. Back to my mind, we went on this lovely detour into things and I’m still, all right, but, what the hell? What the hell, universe? What the hell, 2020? What the hell is going to go on? Does anybody find feel like they’re doing stuff or needing to do stuff? Maybe this is just a reiteration of the capacity conversation, but to just manage themselves through this time. You know?
Aidan: I definitely have some of that. Again, we talked about that earlier for me, backing off of the internet and connectivity and just going, Oh, yeah, I really like fooling around on the guitar for hours. I like talking to my wife for hours. Then, being really aware. In our house, we have this saying that, that the end of the world is happening all the time. But, sometimes it’s very obvious for the people that it’s happening in because it’s clearly catastrophic, right. But, it’s happening. It’s ending, it’s reforming, it’s changing. I think, right now, is a really interesting moment because it’s so clear that it’s changing in a really huge way for a lot of people.
I don’t think, we, in America… using the US term of America, which is totally wrong, but I’m going to do it here, because that’s the language that’s most appropriate here in America… I don’t think all of this stuff has piled in on each other simultaneously in such an obvious and unrelenting way. So, it is. It seems clear to me that we’re in a really major crisis point, at least in North America, which is what I can see in the United States primarily. It is an interesting thing, because if I look forward or in backwards, I can see the roots of the moment we’re in, I can see logical outcomes, I can see outcomes that I would prefer, I can see the potential backlashes to the outcomes that I would prefer, right.
That’s, I think, what’s really interesting to me, is, I see, because we’re in this election cycle and because things have been so insane politically here… I hope that people aren’t assuming that if we have a change in the presidency, that that will fix what’s going on. Because, we’ve had a whole lot of changes in the presidencies and they have not fixed what’s going on.
Aidan: So, yes, I would think that that would be a step in the right direction, for sure, but then you got to step on the gas at that point, if you want to see a lasting and real change. That’s step one.
Andrew: Yeah, for sure, right. Because, if there’s a change in the presidency, that’s great. But, that doesn’t automatically change the system, and that systemic piece of stuff. The piece that is [inaudible]. Yeah. I’ve been going back to an old mantra of mine, which I’ve adapted slightly for this situation. It goes like this, other people’s urgency doesn’t need to be my urgency. I think that because there’s so much going on right now, there are a lot of people who have a lot of urgency around stuff, right.
I remember, when my first godfather always used to say… because he ran a store and was a really well-known psychic in the Detroit area, and he used to say, “Look, if it’s an emergency, you call 911. Otherwise, you can make an appointment and come see me whenever you can come and see.” I’ve been working to not act with urgency, because I think that when stuff is as wonky and strange as it is, consideration and pacing and time and respecting capacity, and all those kinds of things, is super helpful, super important, I think. So, it’s really, well, that’s cool and all, but I’m not going to run around for this, I’m not going to run around for whatever. With my kids too, it’s, is there an actual emergency, or is there some discomfort that maybe I’ma let you sit with for a bit so you can learn how to sit with discomfort instead of jumping into things, right?
It’s an imperfect science, for sure. Right? It’s just a general approach. But, I think that, yeah, that, I can’t run around on this. I can’t make myself do whatever. I can just do what I can do and I’m going to own my own directive around that, right. Sometimes I might be looking at something like, yeah, that is really urgent, I should jump on that. I should push myself to do that, even though I know there’ll be a falling for it someway. But, yeah, that’s been my thing.
Fabeku: I think, for me, it’s been, because the clients stuff has been super busy, I’ve had to figure out a way beyond what I did previous to this, too, to not absorb that high-level, constant anxiety, angst, panic, fear, whatever it is, because, after a few weeks of that shit when all this stuff really ramped up, I just felt like I’d been through the blender. It’s, okay, well, this is not ending anytime soon, and I’m happy to support people, and this can’t be the way it goes. This can’t be the way it goes. I think that’s probably been the biggest piece, for me, was figuring out how to keep how to keep that capacity, but also how to not end up, at the end of the day or the end of the week, feeling like I’ve just been taken apart with this stuff.
So, part of that has been magical practice, part of that has been mundane stuff, part of it has just been, okay, realistically, given this intensity, this is how many times a week I can have conversations with people that are really difficult and adjusting accordingly. Like you said, in some ways, not giving in to that, okay, but there’s more people. There’s 10 spots and 30 people, so let me figure out how to get 30 spots. That’s not the answer, because then we end up back with coffee all day, caffeine pills, nonsense shit, right.
So, it really is like, this is what I can do and do it well, do it effectively, and also not be dismantled at the end of this, and it is what it is. That’s it. There’s no more space, there’s no more bandwidth. There’s no more room to fuck around with a calendar.
Andrew: Hmm, yeah.
Aidan: I think that that thing too, which is what you brought on, the realizing where you’ve got to back down, or ramp things down, is really important, because there is so much out there, just saying, no, just go harder. Grind. There’s times for that, but all of them all of them are not that time.
Andrew: For sure. By where I go climbing… it’s probably not surprising, it’s an industrial building and there’s some CrossFit type stuff in there, right? One of them has something painted on their garage door to their space. I think it says, “Somebody with less time than you is working out right now.” I’m, that’s cool. Good, for fuckin’ [inaudible].
You know what I mean? A couple years ago, I shifted my climbing goals to be, still be climbing at the end of the year. That’s my climbing goal, right. I have some very loose… I’d like to be able to consistently climb 5.8, 5.9. I’d like to be able to cycle 40 kilometers, 50 kilometers anytime. There’s some very loose things that are indicators to me that I’m spending enough time being active to be able to continue being active, and that I believe that those things are good for me. Not in and of themselves, because they’re indicators of a broader attention to my health, right.
Am I ever going to climb super higher levels than I’m climbing right now, I have no idea. Maybe, probably not. Does it matter? It doesn’t matter. Am I always going to be able to cycle as far as I can cycle today? I’m doing a lot of distance cycling. Nah, probably not. There’ll be times where I’m, I can’t cycle that far right now. It doesn’t matter. You know? Just keep showing up. Keep showing up. Keep doing the stuff to rest and recharge to show up.
Aidan: Yep, absolutely. I’ve definitely had to make adaptations on all of that stuff just because I’m getting smart enough to go, oh, this isn’t really doing what I want it to do. So, instead of more, what does less do? I’m working out about half as much as I used to, and it’s working better because my body can recover from that better. Interesting, okay.
Andrew: It makes sense, right? It makes sense. Well, maybe, we’ll wrap it up here. I assume everybody knows where everybody is, but just in case, Aidan, where do people find you?
Aidan: You can find me at aidanwachter.com and as Aidan Wachter on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, whatever that other one is.
Andrew: What’s the name of your podcast, that people search?
Aidan: My podcast is called Aidan Wachter Six Ways. It’s up on Google, Stitcher, Apple, and someone else… I can’t think who the other one is right now, but it’s generally out there in the main places.
Andrew: I hear it gets heavy rotation in the underworld, so you can just go there and listen to it.
Aidan: Exactly, you can find it down there. Yeah, you can get my books at all the major retailers.
Fabeku: Fabeku.com, Facebook, and, yeah, the book will be out in October with Revelore.
Andrew: It’s exciting.
Aidan: I’m stoked about that.
Fabeku: Hmm, me too.
Andrew: Yeah, and, obviously, I’m the Hermit’s Lamp everywhere. Podcast is the Hermit’s Lamp Podcast everywhere. I didn’t talk about it, really, in this, but I’ll throw it out here at the end. I’m going to be launching a Kickstarter for my next Oracle deck, which has the title of the Bacon Wizard Breakfast Oracle. So, if you like food and you like divination, I can certainly… I was going to launch it, actually, back in March. My original timeline was end of March, Kickstarter, but obviously didn’t do that. But, it’s going to be end of September, early October, Kickstarter for that, and you can check it out on my website and other places as I’m building up to that. So, all right. Thanks, folks. Have a great rest of your day.
Aidan: Thanks for having us.
Andrew: Oh, my pleasure.