EP117 Magic and How we Define Ourselves with Jason Miller

How we define ourselves matters. It creates a worldview and can both empower and limit what we do in life and with our magic. In this episode Jason and Andrew talk about some ways choosing the wrong label that might cause problems for people. Are you a magician or a mystic? A sorcerer or magician? Is magic or astrology your religion? All told through stories of their own journey, explorations, mishaps and successes.

Jason and Andrew also talk about personal experiences and visions – often called unsubstantiated personal gnosis. Exploring what to do with that world changing vision you has the feels like it should be changing the world right now!

Or download it directly here.

Think about how much you’ve enjoyed the podcast and how many episodes you have listened to and consider if it is time to support it. Money goes first to covering accessibility through transcripts and then to other costs associated with the podcast. You can support it through BuyMeACoffeeor directly via Paypalor in Canada through etransfer to the.hermits.lamp@gmail.com

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe in your favourite podcaster iTunesStitcherSpotify, or search The Hermit’s Lamp Podcast in the service you use.  Google music is being updated within a week of posting this episode. 
 
Jason’s previous interviews can be found here:
EP53 Magick, Meditation and Tibet with Jason Miller
EP78 Practicing Magic for Real Life with Jason Miller
EP85 Stacking Skulls with Jason Miller

You can find Jason here.
 
And Andrew is @thehermitslamp everywhere and his site is here.
 
Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 
Andrew

You can book time with Andrew through his site here

Transcription

Andrew: Hey folks. Welcome back to the podcast. This is episode two of the spring season of 2021. First of all, I want to thank the lovely humans who have been jumping in to support this podcast. Folks who are pitching in to support accessibility through transcriptions and beyond that, of course, to support me and my work doing these podcasts. I really appreciate it. You can support me through Buy Me a Coffee. You can support me through the direct PayPal link. Or you can support me if you’re in Canada through e-Transfer to help make sure that the podcast gets out to everybody and is accessible across the world through providing transcriptions of every single episode.

At the time of releasing this, we have funded almost two full episodes of transcriptions, which is fantastic. The goal is to fund all six episodes of the spring season through user support. So think about how much you’ve enjoyed the podcast. Think about how many episodes you’ve listened to and check out those links and pitch in a couple of bucks or a bunch of bucks, whatever feels good to you. This podcast has been running for 10 years now, and there are as of this one, 117 episodes for your listening pleasure. Imagine if you couldn’t get any of them. Imagine if you had not been able to partake in any of this process. That’s what making this accessible is about.

So once again, I appreciate you checking that out. Again, I’ll remind folks, if you are catching this via an email, specifically only of the episode itself, you’re probably going to lose that service soon, and you should switch over to a different method of receiving this podcast because Google is deprecating that feature. There’s nothing I can do to adjust that at this point in time. All right. But you can catch us on Podbean. You can catch us on Google Music. You can catch us on Spotify and all those other great places. All right. All right. Enough of me talking. On with the episode.

<Intro Music>

Andrew: Hey folks. Welcome back to the podcast. This is episode two of the spring season of 2021. First of all, I want to thank the lovely humans who have been jumping in to support this podcast. Folks who are pitching in to support accessibility through transcriptions and beyond that, of course, to support me and my work doing these podcasts. I really appreciate it. You can support me through Buy Me a Coffee. You can support me through the direct PayPal link. Or you can support me if you’re in Canada through e-Transfer to help make sure that the podcast gets out to everybody and is accessible across the world through providing transcriptions of every single episode.

At the time of releasing this, we have funded almost two full episodes of transcriptions, which is fantastic. The goal is to fund all six episodes of the spring season through user support. So think about how much you’ve enjoyed the podcast. Think about how many episodes you’ve listened to and check out those links and pitch in a couple of bucks or a bunch of bucks, whatever feels good to you. This podcast has been running for 10 years now, and there are as of this one, 117 episodes for your listening pleasure. Imagine if you couldn’t get any of them. Imagine if you had not been able to partake in any of this process. That’s what making this accessible is about.

So once again, I appreciate you checking that out. Again, I’ll remind folks, if you are catching this via an email, specifically only of the episode itself, you’re probably going to lose that service soon, and you should switch over to a different method of receiving this podcast because Google is deprecating that feature. There’s nothing I can do to adjust that at this point in time. All right. But you can catch us on Podbean. You can catch us on Google Music. You can catch us on Spotify and all those other great places. All right. All right. Enough of me talking. On with the episode.

<intro music>

Andrew: Hey, folks. Welcome to another episode of the Hermit’s Lamp podcast. I am here with Jason Miller. Jason’s been on the show a number of times before, including being a guest spot with the Stacking Skulls crew. And I really wanted to talk to him this time, because I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which people and the way in which they define themselves are important, and where those definitions or those ideas are out of sync, that that causes a lot of problems. Not that there’s anything wrong with being in one section or another of the spectrum of magic or religion or other kinds of things, but misunderstanding where you are and what you’re going about, I think is something really fascinating, and I think it’s really missing from a broader conversation in spiritual, magical, and occult communities. 

So I thought Jason and I would talk about that today, but I guess let’s start with, for those who don’t know you, Jason, who are you? What are you up to these days, what do you do? 

Jason: Well, these days, I teach courses in magic, and I write books. I just finished my sixth book, it’s going to be called Consorting with Spirits, and it will be put out by Wiser some point in the future, I don’t know, we’re still … I literally just turned the manuscript in a couple weeks ago. But I teach the sorcery of Hecate course, the strategic sorcery course, and am an avid flaneur of occult social circles, and that’s that. 

Andrew: So I guess the thing that got me started, well, the thing that made me want to talk to you about this, specifically, because I’d already actually been looking around for somebody to have this conversation with, or deciding if I was going to write something and record it myself, or whatever, for a little while. But you had a post where you were talking about this tension between magical practice and like, grimoires, Golden Dawn, whatever your kind of school would be, like the structural stuff, and this sorcery piece, right? Which is that like, I’m going to grab this twig and this branch, and I’m going to rub them together and spit on them and say some words, I’m going to do a piece of magic that way, and how there’s this tension that you talked about between those two pieces, and how the reality is is that both are wonderful, and both have their place, but that there’s an apparent dichotomy between those. 

Jason: Yeah, I focus a lot on, I call it revelation versus research, right? People, they have these either revelations from spirit or even intuitions in the moment that don’t have to come from anyone other than their own very magical spirit that they are themselves, but then there’s of course matters of tradition and matters of research and so on, and unfortunately, for whatever reason, mostly the internet, people lately, they’re creating dichotomies that there don’t need to be. Like they’re running these, like you’re on team A or team B, never … And you have to pick a side. You have to be on one side or the other, to the point that if you’re talking about something in the middle, people literally don’t understand what you’re saying. They’ll think you’re on team B when you’re really on team C. It’s totally outside of the box. 

And so this thing with tradition versus intuition, or research versus revelation, the dreaded UPG that people talk about, with- 

Andrew: UPG being … 

Jason: Unverified personal gnosis, a very snide and usually condescending way to talk about people having spirits teach them things. And so it all just falls apart in practice, right? Because these things can ride with one another, if you let them. So you’ve got the UPG people that, it’s sort of like, “I don’t want to read a book.” And really, this was an issue recently, where a group was said, “Hey, let’s read a book,” and people were objecting to the idea, because what the spirits teach them is what matters, and nothing anyone could ever write in a book or say in the past should matter, just what the spirits say. 

And then on the other hand you’ve got people that hold something up as inviolate, as a primary source. “It is old, it is the Ars Goetia, Andrew, it’s in there, it’s in the Lesser Key of Solomon.” Never mind that that was copied word for word from Pseudomonarchia Daemonora, which was copied pretty much word from word from Livre des Esperitz, which has its own … And so- 

Andrew: It’s real authorities all the way down, right? 

Jason: Right, yeah, yeah. And the thing is, everything is UPG when it first hits the scene, you know what I mean? 

Andrew: Yeah. 

Jason: But this is not new either. I mean, they have these fights in Tibet, for instance, where the Nyingmapa like terma, which means a mind revelation or a mind treasure, right? Or sometimes a literal found, buried thing. But they like terma because it’s new, there’s no telephone game down the centuries to get it all screwed up. It’s from Padmasambhava’s spirit mouth to the lama’s ears to you. So boom, boom, boom, you’re set. 

Whereas the Gelugpa like to know that it was in Sanskrit first. If it wasn’t in Sanskrit, if it only exists in Tibetan, then it’s probably garbage, because … So we have these kinds of things play out for us, and it’s just sort of like, it needn’t be like that. You should engage research, and you should engage tradition. But if those, any real engagement of research and tradition should open the ways for living spirit to reveal itself, and have a little room in there. 

Andrew: Well, and I think it’s interesting for me because I spent a long time back in my earlier days doing super structured ceremonial stuff, like every step, every breath, every bit of it was like, we’re working this planet tonight, we’re doing everything, right? That’s it, every level, as much as I could possibly muster, and they were the most intricately conceived ceremonies. And they were wonderful, and they did lots of things. 

And from a magical point of view these days, I don’t do any of that stuff anymore. I couldn’t tell you the last time I did a banishing ritual. I’m just like, I’m like, me and my peeps, we’re enough. I don’t need to worry about anybody else anymore. I’m like, [inaudible] summon a goetic spirit and ask it to do some things, I’m like, “I’m not worried.” Me and the spirits that I spend time with regularly will make them leave if they’re a behavioral problem, but we’re not going to start with this formal call in the guard and so on. 

And certainly there was a time where I would have found that inconceivable. But I think that somewhere in this process, the other piece that I struggle with, which you bringing up the Tibetans reminds me of my Lucumí orisha tradition, right? Where there are variants between lineages, and do you follow closer to Ifa or follow to the Olochas? And there’s debates that happen, and so on. 

But ultimately, for me, that process is one of clear and inherent inherited structure. And for me, because I practice within that structure, then that makes 100% sense, right? And I think that this is where we get into distinctions between, are you just doing sorcerous magic, are you a magician, or are you being religious, right? Which is another, I think, important distinction with these, and not just in regards to my practice, which is obviously explicitly religious, but also in relationship to what are you doing. 

Are you religious about astrology, right? Is astrology your faith? Do you believe in your heart of hearts that the movement of the stars impacts and shapes this, and that if you connect with it and commune with it, in my mind, worship it, in a way, that you can reveal and understand all these things. There’s nothing wrong with that. To me, none of this is criticism of any of these ways of working. But I think that it’s really interesting to just sort of think about those things, because I gave up astrology, about two, three years ago. Really two years ago, maybe. I was like, “I’m done with astrology. I’m not going to look at it, I’m not going to pay attention to it. People talk about it to me, I’m going to be like, ‘I’m not interested,’ and I’m going to extricate myself from it entirely.” 

Jason: Welcome to the club. 

Andrew: And- 

Jason: [crosstalk]. 

Andrew: Yeah, right? And if you’re interested in my story about that, the podcast I did with Jenn Zahrt a number of episodes back, we talked about it at length about exactly why. And when I talked about this stuff in a more public setting, the amount of people who came in and said, “Well, whether you believe it or not, you’re being influenced by it.” And I’m like, “That’s cool that you believe that, I get that, but also that is your personal religious belief, that is not a, necessarily, fact of the universe. That is one structural model.” So yeah. 

Jason: In fact, one of the things that you could say the other way is that in … The deeper you immerse yourself in a stream, the more it affects you, right? I mean, that’s how bodies of water work. If there’s a tsunami off the coast of Japan, I don’t get knocked over, because I’m not in the water. 

Andrew: And that’s why when I was having the ceremonial stuff, to receive one of the grades that I received, you have to memorize and write a test on 40 columns of correspondences to the tree of life from 777, which is Crowley’s book on that stuff. And the reason you had to do that, I mean, there’s probably a few reasons, but I think one of them is, it integrates that knowledge into your system, you step into that stream in a way that when you encounter a thing, your neurons will fire differently, or your intuition will fire differently. 

Jason: But then you get older and you ask yourself, “Do I want my neurons to fire in this way?” So the answer is sometimes no, I’m good. I think that your examples there are great, and they give this play off, too. For instance, everybody that I have known my whole life that is involved in really any ATR, and I’ve known people since I was 15 involved in ATRs. 

Andrew: Yeah. And ATR is African traditional religion, so any of the religions from West Africa and their diasporic permutations through the Caribbean and Americas and stuff, yeah. 

Jason: So there are traditions and there are protocols that they follow, but there are also huge amounts of open space for the spirits to say, “Do this, do this for this client, and this for this person,” might not be the same spell or same thing you want to do for this other person. And some of the differences can be really radical and border on seemingly, almost like, well, yeah, no, we’re not following this because you’re not in Brazil right now. So I think that when you look at these things in reality, you don’t have these teams that seem to pop up in the community now. It was natural for revelation and research to play off one another. 

And then of course there’s always fights, there’s always debates over is this valid, is this not valid, is this … But never this idea that people would just be like, “Well, I’m team follow the book no matter what,” and, “I’m team fuck books, books are just holding me back, I don’t even want to know what’s in the books, because” … And so I’m seeing this now, and I look around, and I’m just sort of like, “You guys are insane and you guys are insane,” and can’t you just take a step back and if you got into the practice, you would see how this can gel together. 

But yeah. Too much just doing your own thing leads to a mirror prison, where nothing is ever challenging, because you’re just exposing yourself to what you already believe. 

Andrew: Yeah. Well, and I also think that, kind of raises the question for me always of like, what are people connecting with, right? And so when we’re going to talk about, if we’re going to slide into talking about personal revelation, I think that personal revelation is interesting, and I think that in the ATRs and stuff we’ll talk about aché, when aché comes in and you say something and it’s deeply true because spirit moved you or something moved you or it was revealed in those moments, and certainly in divination and stuff, we see a lot of that, right? And I think that the thing is is that, but where is that coming from?

And within the orisha tradition, comes through initiation. There are formal structure, you’re initiated, so on and so on. It not only grants you the license to do certain things, but it grants you access to more of that. It becomes more shaped, and trained by the elders who guide you as well, right? And as part of this series of podcast releases, I’m going to be talking to my elder about some of this stuff as well, which hopefully be an interesting perspective as well, right? 

But I often think of like, that if we go back to like a ceremonial model, when you’re leaving [inaudible] and you’re heading up into the, wherever, and the first place you hit is these [inaudible], right, if you’re lucky, and you’re in the moon, and you’re in that hall of mirrors. And so often, I experience people, or experience stuff that people are talking about where I can’t understand what they’re connected to, I can’t understand where it came from, and I can’t understand how it connects to anything else. And possibly, that’s my failing, and please, if I’m ever having a conversation with you and I say to you, you’re listening to this and I say to you, “I don’t really understand what you’re talking about, I’m really curious,” this is not me attacking you, this is my curiosity, right? 

And I don’t need to know everything or be right about everything, but when I see that none of those things connect, then I’m like, well, what I’m left with is assuming that you’re in that hall of mirrors. You’re in that space where the lower astral and your unconscious and your mind and your ego and stuff all dance around, and it’s more like your dreamscape than it is something else. 

Jason: Yeah. And see, that’s where discernment comes in. And of course, in most of the western magical tradition, we don’t have the established elders and initiations in place that exist in the eastern traditions and the ATRs, and even then, some of those have only exited for 100 years, 175 years, not thousands of years. 

Andrew: Sure. 

Jason: In their current forms. But, so people need to know that if we’re going to forge our own way, if we’re going to go into this thing, there is no initiation for this, for sorcery or for … They need to have some kind of discernment in place, some type, something there to deepen the experience and to analyze the experience, and that’s, I think one of the big things that’s lacking. So for me, when I have experiences that present themselves as like, “You should teach this,” I’m sort of like, “Why? What does it relate to?” Exactly, what you said, how does this relate to the past, and what does it do, and why is it good? Which is sometimes lost. Like, “Well, this is what it does,” and like, why would I want to do that? And then people are like, “Well, I don’t know.” Why is this a good thing? 

So things like that happen. So for instance, I’ll give you an example. Famously, I was in Nepal, and I had this vision of Hecate while I was meditating at Pashupatinath, which is where they burn bodies at the riverside. And she said, “You’re going back soon. When you do, offer me a supper, and I’ve got something to show you.” And so what I didn’t realize at the time is that I’m not just going back to the States because you can’t stay in Nepal for that long, but because I would in fact be turning back to a wider world of magic and not focusing on Tibetan Buddhism exclusively anymore. 

So I went back, and I offered her this supper, and she showed herself in this crazy form that everybody knows now from Sorcery of Hecate, and there were four guardians that I wrote about in Protection and Reversal Magick. Completely not related to her history, right? One had a bull’s head, one had a horse’s head, one had a serpent’s head, one had a dog’s head. But I saw this very clearly, and it was the type of vision where you can look away, right, and it doesn’t follow you, it’s not in your brain. It’s over there. You can look away from it, and then you look back, and it’s still there, I mean, in that quadrant. 

So there’s a reality to it that I couldn’t ignore. But still in all, I was sort of like, “Okay, this is interesting, make a note,” but my rules are, is it actionable, is it useful, is it good? So it was actionable that these were spirits, but what made me finally kind of go, “Yeah, we need to teach this,” is somebody had pointed out, they gave me a copy of Steve Ronan and pointed out that in the Chaldean Oracles, there is a form of Hecate that has these four heads, a tetradic form of Hecate that has these four heads. 

So even though these are four separate spirits, that was enough to be like, “Oh man, that’s an undeniable connection, revelation and research are in rhyme.” They’re not directly confirming. So there’s a channel there that’s real, and that doesn’t always happen. I am always telling people, I receive stuff that I toss out the door, because it doesn’t meet the, is this actionable, is this useful. And so, that’s why I published this post-gnosis checklist recently. When we talk about these things, use some of this terminology to examine it. 

I think when these things are happening, you want to roll with them while they’re happening. But then afterwards, you want to throw it under, and have some criticism and discernment, and- 

Andrew: Sure. I mean, I think that some of the things that were super helpful for me along the way was there used to be, back on some old listservs and stuff like that, I was involved in some Thelemic ones, and there’s this guy David Jones who was there. And I don’t know much about the guy, I never met him, but he understood logic and logical fallacies like nobody else. And watching him and engaging him, and I would ask him stuff, and I would talk to him, and we corresponded a bit and stuff like that. And having him say, “Well, that’s cool, but that looks like it’s this kind of logical fallacy,” or, “Now you’re creating a strawman,” or, “Now, da da da,” and on and on and on, right? That that structure really hammered in for me this idea that we can be super biased, we can have wrong thoughts, and we can have experiences that maybe aren’t universal. 

I did a lot of Enochian magic, I did a lot of Enochian scrying and vision work and other things, and I can tell you that none of those things, even though maybe there are things that I could think about wrangling from those to teach and share, they were deeply personal. They were actually, in my understanding of it, that collection of spirits working on me and my consciousness and my energy self and so on, but like, the real do that is, well, just do the Enochian ethers and keep going until you stop and can’t go any further, and then try them again later sometime, go do some other stuff, and then come back. That’s the work of it. I don’t need to make that into Andrew’s personal course about these things. 

Jason: I- 

Andrew: And then the other thing, sorry, the other thing that I think was really helpful too was, I spent a couple years doing Jungian analysis with somebody who was from South America and had studied shamanism down there and was very magically inclined, but totally a Jungian analyst. And the conversations that we would have, especially towards the beginning of our working together where I’d be like, “I had this magical dream,” and he’d be like, “Great, let’s look at it psychologically.” And we would go through it psychologically, and sure enough, on the psychological level, it revealed all sorts of things. Was there also a magical element? Yeah, sometimes there was, sometimes there wasn’t. Sometimes it’s just my narcissism and ego. And I think that learning how to sort of look at these things and see what remains, and what endures, I think that that’s so helpful. 

Jason: Your mention of the Enochian stuff, that was a big one for me that was like, it produced visions aplenty, and I literally had, at one point, a book that I had written down of essentially prophecies from one of the Enochian ethers. And I sat and I looked at this 3000, like 13,000 word thing, which at that point was probably more than I had ever written on any topic ever. And I looked at it and I thought, “Who’s this going to help if I publish it? Why is it good, even if it’s true, why is it good?” And I couldn’t answer that, so I tossed it. 

Andrew: Yeah. 

Jason: And I’m so glad I did, because absolutely nothing came to pass from that encounter, absolutely nothing passed the sniff test. And so, but yeah, there were other things that I got out of Enochian magic that I really got hit with. I bought an old copy … a truly mystical heart experience. 

Andrew: Sorry, you broke you broke up for a second there. 

Jason: What’s that? 

Andrew: You broke up for a second there. The last thing I heard from you was you bought a copy. 

Jason: Oh, I bought a copy of Enochian Magick during your used book sale, and I bought it because I had it when I was younger and I did one of the works that just opened up- 

Andrew: The yoga book, right? 

Jason: Yeah. 

Andrew: Yeah. 

Jason: Do I think it’s a good book on yoga? No. I don’t think it’s a good book on Enochian magic, I don’t think it’s a good book on yoga, I don’t think … But yet, this one exercise that I did with full faith and passion, it gave me a window into what mystics talk about when they talked about universal love and so on. So- 

Andrew: I think that that’s also another interesting point, right? So for me, the other thing that I’ve noticed, that’s sort of part of this constellation that we started this conversation on, is seeing people who are like, “I’m a magician, I’m a witch and I work my magic.” And lots of people are talking with this kind of language, and that’s great. There’s no problem with that. Everybody gets to call themselves whatever you would like, it’s no problem. But the thing that I would see is, what you’re doing when I say, “Okay, so let’s talk about this. We’re doing a reading, you have this problem, you want to talk about a magical solution, let’s talk about what your magic looks like.” 

And their magic looks like, “Well, I go and I find a tree and I sit there, and I meditate with the tree and I connect with it, and I dissolve into the tree, and then maybe I talk about what’s going on for me, and then I come back.” And then I’m like, “All right, so what we’re talking about now, something that’s being a mystic, communing with nature, losing our ego, communing with a bigger sense of self, transcendental meditation, whatever.” What we’re not talking about with what I mean by magic, and what I mean by magic is, through conscious, deliberate actions, seeking to make change in the world. And by the world I mean like, you should be able to knock on it. 

And I think that both are wonderful, and I think that people at different times experience both. It’s not an either/or, like a lot of this conversation. But I think that if you’re misconstruing that your experience of transcendental love is suddenly going to bring you the lover you’ve been yearning for, well, maybe if the obstacle was your lack of that experience, it’s possible. But probably not. Probably there are other factors that could be addressed magically, if one were more sorcerously or ceremonially inclined to solve them. 

Jason: Yeah. So people adopt these monikers and identities, and like you, I’m sort of like, let’s drop the terms and talk about what it is in plain language. Like just explain it like I’m five. And that’s when the identity collapses, right? That’s when it turns out there’s no there there. 

I mean, sometimes there’s something amazing there, but … And at times, people will, they’ll get advice or they’ll heed advice that is meant for one person and not another, and it’s not good for where they are. It might be poison for where they are. This is not only true for magic, it’s true for finances. If I talk to you about a piece of financial advice that might be good for you and I, if we gave that same piece of financial advice to somebody that’s broke, it might just make them more broke. 

So we had, there was somebody recently, they came onto a community and were like, “Well, my head spirit, da da da da da,” and I was like, “Put the breaks on. What do you mean when you say head spirit? Because this means something in a certain context.” And then they’ll be like, “Oh, well, if you don’t like that, then my HGA.” And I’m like, “No, I want you to stop running for terms and explain it without the lingo. Just explain what it is you mean, what it is you do, what’s happening.” And then they kind of got down to the nitty-gritty of it. But yeah, it’s that kind of, “I’m a witch, I’m a magician.” I mean, these all mean different things to different people. Even those terms, what it means to be a ceremonial magician to somebody who is in the Thelemic Golden Dawn mode is completely different than what it means to be somebody who’s in that Solomonic headspace. 

Andrew: No, for sure. And I really like the idea, though, of deconstructing what is it that you’re actually doing, what is it you’re actually connecting with? And I think that looking at that, and the question I always have, especially because as a priest in a traditional Lucumí tradition, my elders tell me that orisha does not speak to the uninitiated, except in ceremonies and through divination. 

And so when people have visions, somebody came to me once, they’re like, “Andrew, I had this vision and I looked it up and I realized it was Olokun.” And I’m like, “Cool. Number one, I’m not saying it’s not true, I have no idea. I will tell you that my elders will say it doesn’t mean what you think it means. But number two, the question is why? Why would you have a connection to that spirit that you’ve never had any connection with whatsoever?” And the same goes for, I’ve had random angels pop up, I’m like, “Huh, I can’t even remember ever seeing that name before,” and I’ll look it up, and they’ll be an angel, or I’ll look it up and I’ll find nothing. And at that point I’m like, “Huh, why? Why is this particular being going through all of that work to come and talk to me at this point? What is the reason for that?”

And I’ll talk only about myself, but a chunk of that time I’m like, “I have no idea and it doesn’t make any sense.” And so I’m going to put that over in the column of stuff that I’m probably not going to pay that much attention to. If it persists and it gets deeper, and then suddenly I have something that shows up, like your Hecate vision with the four things, and you find some verification, then I’ll pay more attention to it. But I’m always like, “That’s cool, time will tell what that means.” 

Jason: And in 30 years, that vision of Hecate appearing in Nepal is the only time that something completely untriggered was like, “Hey, magician, I have something that you need to do.” And sense wasn’t made of it until later as to why, and then there got to be, I understood why later, why me later. But that is literally the only time that that has ever occurred. 

There are times where I wonder, it’s kind of like, I don’t know, it’s kind of like people who look alike, or personality types, right? Somebody can have a, let’s say somebody has a dream of a voluptuous, naked, red-skinned goddess, who is doing all this sexy stuff. 

Andrew: Lucky them. 

Jason: Lucky them, right? So then they wake up, and then they call their friend or they look online. You’ve got like, okay, did they call their Thelemic friend? Because if so, then their Thelemic friend is going to tell them that Babylon has appeared to them, and now they’re interpreting everything through that lens of Babylon, “Why does Babylon want me?” But if they called up their Buddhist friend, their Buddhist friend would be like, “That sounds like Kurukulla.” So now they’re like, “Kurukulla, who is Kurukulla, why does she come for me?” And if they call up their Umbanda friend, the Umbanda friend is going to be like, “Sounds like a Pomba Gira kind of experience.” And they’re be like, “So I need to go to Brazil.” 

And it’s sort of like, yeah, are all three of these sort of red, scarlet sex goddesses? Sure enough, there’s probably a dozen others. Are they all the same being? No. Might there be some underlying truth that bubbles up within them, sure? But- 

Andrew: And is there a spirit that they’re connecting with, that has some of that quality, but isn’t any of those things? And- 

Jason: Then it gets really complicated, as Jesse Hathaway pointed out to me one day, he’s like, “Yes, but if Pomba Gira decided to manifest as a Kurukulla Pomba Gira, she could,” and was like, “Because that’s how we got Maria Padilla and all these others,” and I’m like, “Yeah, and then that gets even more complicated, for sure.” But it’s not … The people that it happens to habitually, that’s the other thing where it’s sort of like … 

Andrew: Yeah. And I think that there’s also this question in those regards too, right, of like … Whatever, I don’t even need to put caveats in front of it. There’s always this question of, at what point, why are you so open that everything’s coming and talking to you? 

Jason: Yeah. 

Andrew: And for me it’s like, “Listen. I don’t want to hear about you after I’ve gone to bed, I don’t want to hear about you when I’m not in temple, or meditating, or at my shrine. And even then I don’t necessarily want to hear about you. It better be important if you’re coming into my dream. Better not just be like a ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ Better be something very specific.” 

And why? Why all these other things? Because I also think that there’s this element which, whether it’s because of people’s energetic states, or maybe their practice of not having boundaries as much energetically. I remember me and a friend of mine, just working on like, all right, let’s see how we can strengthen our auras, let’s see what we can feel and what we can do, and we started playing with this idea of like, how hard can you make your aura be to keep stuff away from you? 

And I think that there are a lot of things about this, but why be open, why welcome it, why always be looking? Why always be curious, what’s motivating you there, and what is, perhaps most importantly, the unconscious motivation there? 

Jason: That kind of discernment that you and your friend had is, it’s yet another one of these things where people are running to one pill or another. So you’ve got people that are in the, “I must be open, all the spirits love me, the spirits are always wonderful, the spirits never lie, you shouldn’t even question what they tell you,” and then you’ve got the other lane, which is, “I must banish the moment I wake up, I must banish everything bad with pentagrams, and I must banish everything good with hexagrams, and I must banish” … So you’ve got this kind of like, there are different modes. There’s a regular mode of like, you want to be a person who holds spiritual authority, can control, to some degree, access to yourself, but still be open, and then there are levels where shit’s going down, so now the armor’s on. 

People that are obsessed with banishing I always call it, I said, “You’ve got the Excalibur problem.” Like the 1984 movie Excalibur where they wear their heavy armor for dinner and [inaudible] and everything else, and I’m like, “At some point that’s getting in the way.” 

Andrew: Well, the thing, I remember we were discussions banishings and we we were discussing John Dee and Edward Kelley and their Enochian work, and those guys didn’t do banishings. They prayed, they prayed a bunch. And I remember, I can’t remember which of the people I was hanging out with, or maybe it was me, somebody in the group said, “Well, wait a second. So if we’re doing the LBRP,” lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram, for people who don’t know, it’s a common practice, “And we’re using the archangels to enforce our circle, do I even bother banishing? Like if I’m going to call Michael, do I even banish at the end? What’s the value of banishing if I” … So we started playing with, well, what if we just do this as our opening, call Michael into the center of the circle, and then say, “Thanks for the good time, guys, see you later.” What happens then, right? Why are we doing these things? And what has power over what? 

And I think it becomes interesting at that point to sort of see those things. And it’s kind of like, I had a conversation with a client a little while ago where I was like, “I really feel like you should talk to this demon, I think this demon’s going to sort you out.” And they’re like, “Cool, where can I go read some stuff about what you’re telling me to do with this demon?” And I’m like, “I couldn’t tell you, probably nowhere. Because what I’m telling you is, say some prayers, call this demon, ask it what it wants for you to solve this problem. Have a conversation. Don’t be overly generous in what you offer as compensation, and then thank it, and tell it when you want it done by, and then move forward.” 

And in a sense, that’s standard practice, but in the sort of like, not structured, “We’re going to banish you and control you and whatever you,” it’s something else, but it’s also not like, “I’m going to trust you and be fully open to you,” it’s like, we’re haggling here. We’re going to negotiate, we’re going to come to an agreement. And I think that that’s part of that middle ground that we’re possibly looking for. 

Jason: As I wrote this book about spirits, there’s a running joke with myself, was you could entitle, every chapter could be subtitled, “Just like you do with people.” 

Andrew: Yes. 

Jason: Because once it gets into magic, people lose all their goddamn common sense for things that they already do with people. We have a certain level of openness with people, we have a certain level of how we close access to people. We have a certain level of discernment of, those are people I don’t want to hang out with, and these are people I do. We have a certain level of, these are people that I will hang out with or appeal to in certain circumstances: police, organized crime, whatever it is. But they are- 

Andrew: Yep. My [crosstalk] uncle. 

Jason: Right. But they are not the people that I want to spend every day with, unless I want to get dragged into that world. And so all of these things that we learned with people, just common lessons of, walk softly and carry a big stick. What does that mean? It means you don’t have to beat the crap out of the spirit and approach it all kinds of aggro, and assume it’s lying to you. One of the biggest questions I got from people was like, “How do I know it’s telling the truth? What names can I use to force it to tell me the truth, and if I have its name, is it true that it can’t mislead me?” 

And I’m always just sort of like, if somebody came up to me at an occult festival and said, “Hey Jason,” and I turned around and I said, “Yeah,” and then they threw a triangular cage around me, and said, “Are you really Jason?” And I said, “Yes,” and they’re like, “Are you really?” “Yes,” “Are you really, really?” “Yes.” “By the name of Adonai, I demand you tell me your true” … And I went through all this stuff, I’m just going to be like, “Okay, well now I’m fucking annoyed,” and you’re going to say, “You can’t lie to me if I use the name, blah, blah, blah.” And I’m going to be like, “Yeah, okay, yeah, sure, sure, we’ll go with that. Yes, I really am Jason.” They’ll be, “Okay, now, could you help me out with something?” Be like, “Fuck you.” So- 

Andrew: Yeah. I think that this thing, and I think it’s … So I’ve [inaudible] picked this up from being in the orisha tradition, and kind of stretched it into some of the other spirits I work with, right? Because people are always like, “Well, which orisha do I talk to if I want money? Which orisha do I talk to if I want love? Who’s the orisha who’s responsible for love?” And of course inevitably Oshun’s name comes up in that conversation. But the truth is, from a traditional point of view, whatever orisha’s willing to help you with the problem is the one who’s going to help you with that problem. And while they may have tendencies and this and that and whatever, I will tell you that Oshun shows up to help me with all sorts of things that don’t fall in the purview of their normal thing. 

And some of the orishas who are maybe associated with this or that or whatever, they’re not the ones jumping in. Be like, “Yeah, I got this,” they’re like, “No, no, Oshun’s got it,” or, “Elegua’s got it,” or, “I’ll help you with this other thing.” And that comes from that relationship. Who’s going to help you move? Most people don’t have professional movers in their network, but they’ve got friends who’d probably help them move, right? It’s like that. 

Jason: That’s it. It’s, the relationship is much more important than what column they’re in. 

Andrew: Yeah. And I think the other place where this sort of real-world example, versus like magical whatever gets really kind of wonky, is when it comes to doing magic, or specifically for me, I had a lot of conversations around when I started doing magic for people for money. I’m like, “What’s the boundaries of that? What are the moral implications, what are whatever?” And one of my teachers basically goes, “It’s really simple, Andrew. Would you do that for this person in the real world in exchange for money? Then great, there’s no problem. You know, Andrew, that you’re not a person who’s going to take money from somebody and then take a baseball bat and go beat somebody. That’s not your thing. So don’t do it magically.” 

You might, between close friends, have a conversation with those two people about their relationship. But between random strangers, you’re not going to try and make somebody come and be with somebody else, although you might choose to introduce them, or play wingperson, or something. But once you take it out of magic and put it into real world and say, “Oh, what am I actually trying to accomplish here?” It becomes really clear, it becomes really obvious in a way that gets obfuscated by the language. 

Jason: And isn’t it funny, but it’s obvious, but it also becomes a scary insight into people when they are willing to … I mean, I’ll never forget the person that called me up for a consult, they’re up for a big promotion at work, and there were two other people up for the same promotion, and I’m thinking, “Okay, so now he wants to know how to shine, he wants to know how to get this position, how to win over the others,” which is fine. Personal interest, sure. 

No. What they wanted was how to take out the other two people. And I was like, “I can’t help you. That’s not at all how I would even approach this situation.” I came into this all the time, I remember one person, they wanted have the glyph from financial sorcery for dominating relations. They were like, “I want to get this tattooed on my throat so that everyone I talk to is dominated.” And I’m like, “Wow, what a shithole way to go through life.” Not to be judgey, but Jesus, is that really what you want? But it’s clear it is what some people want. So it’s funny how … I mean, I’m sure you’ve seen it, communities, they get all, they start talking about cursing like it’s just nothing, when in reality, anyone that’s really laid a curse or two … 

Andrew: It’s not nothing. 

Jason: I’ve got curses I wish that I didn’t do, and people that decades down the line suffer, that I can look back and I’m like, “Yeah, this is the part that their life went wrong,” and, “Oh yeah, that was right at the time that I interjected.” And so … 

Andrew: Yeah. Hm. So, language matters, definitions matter. Get yourself some training in logic, cognitive biases, and some of the lovely stuff that’s going on with neuro stuff these days, brain learning and the ways in which our brains actually function, and yeah. And if you have … Go ahead. 

Jason: And explain everything to somebody who doesn’t know the lingo. I’m a firm believer. Find people to explain your practice to that don’t know any of the lingo or buzzwords, and if you can’t, there’s a good chance you don’t know what you’re talking about. 

Andrew: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Well, thanks for making time for me today, Jason. I appreciate it. 

Jason: Oh, thanks for having me. Any time. I can’t wait to get up there. 

Andrew: Tell me where people should look for you. Where are you hanging out these days? 

Jason: Strategicsorcery.net is still probably the best place to get me. You find the blog there, and so if I’ve got anything  major going on, it’s there. I hang out on Facebook a lot, far too much. I still haven’t gotten the hang of Twitter, and so therefore you won’t find me on TikTok or anything. Who knows, in this ever-changing game of platforms, where I’ll be next- 

Andrew: Right? For sure. 

Jason: … but if you go to strategicsorcery.net, you’ll find the thread there to where I am. 

Andrew: Wherever you are, it’ll come from there. 

Jason: Yeah. 

Andrew: Perfect. All right folks, well, and I’m, as always, at thehermitslamp.com, and on Twitter and Facebook as the same. Come hang out, let us know what you think. Yeah, check out what’s going on. Thanks for listening. 

<outro music>

Andrew: All right, folks. That is the second episode of The Spring Season of the podcasts. There are four more coming your way. Coming up is also going to be Susie Chang and Mel Meleen talking about esotericism and why you might be interested in that. Also, my band mates, Stacking Skull, from our fake occult rock band, that is Fabeku and Aidan Wachter, are going to be joining me.

Andrew: I’m also going to be interviewing Maria Minnis to talk about anti-racism and the tarot, and their fascinating work in that area, as well as, I’m going to be speaking with my Lucumi elder, Willie Ramos, about orisha stuff.

Andrew: All right, thank you so much. There’ll be a new episode next Friday. And please do consider checking out the links in the podcast, and pitching in to support the podcast in general, and accessibility, specifically, so that we can make sure everybody gets equal access to this great stuff. All right, see you soon.

<Outro Music>

Andrew: All right, folks. That is the second episode of The Spring Season of the podcasts. There are four more coming your way. Coming up is also going to be Susie Chang and Mel Meleen talking about esotericism and why you might be interested in that. Also, my band mates, Stacking Skull, from our fake occult rock band, that is Fabeku and Aidan Wachter, are going to be joining me.

I’m also going to be interviewing Maria Minnis to talk about anti-racism and the tarot, and their fascinating work in that area, as well as, I’m going to be speaking with my Lucumi elder, Willie Ramos, about orisha stuff.

All right, thank you so much. There’ll be a new episode next Friday. And please do consider checking out the links in the podcast, and pitching in to support the podcast in general, and accessibility, specifically, so that we can make sure everybody gets equal access to this great stuff. All right, see you soon.

Spread the word. Share this post!