Eric and Andrew talk about their shared journey with the Orisha. The ways in magic and astrology have been seen differently over time. How the resurgence of old materials have changed modern assumptions. And Eric new translation of Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy.
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Andrew: Hey folks, welcome to the Hermit’s Lamp Podcast. I am having the pleasure today of hanging out with Eric Perdue. I know Eric predominantly through their work around magic and translating older texts and so on, which is some really exciting stuff that they’ve been up to lately. And I’ve just sort of been watching their point of view around the magical communities online and in person and thought that it might be a really lovely conversation to talk about, how do we know we’re on the right track? How do we know what we’re doing is solid and grounded? How do we apply logic to our practice? There’s a lot of different things that I’ve sort of run into around hanging around with Eric. And so they’re on the podcast this week. But for those who don’t know you Eric, why don’t you give us a quick introduction?
Eric Purdue: I was just thinking of gray beard magic here. Let’s see, is this a biography time?
Andrew: Yeah, give us a bit of biography. Give us your cover letter on your CV.
Eric Purdue: Oh, my cover letter. Oh my gosh. My resumes get smaller as I get older.
Andrew: I haven’t worked for anybody since 1998, so I don’t even have one anymore, that’s it.
Eric Purdue: Well, let’s see. I’ve been at this game since late ’80s I suppose. And I think I initially got started like most of us did with your average occult books, and yes, I read Star Hawk, but when I discovered Crowley and The Golden Dawn and Ceremonial Magic, I was hungry to learn something like that. It sounded spooky enough. And I met a musician friend and we got to talking and he gave me someone’s number. He said this person’s really serious of what they do, and they have a temple and all this kind of thing. It sounded really mysterious. And I love this story because it sounds like a movie, but they gave me the number and I said, “Okay, what do I say?” And he said, “Well, just tell him you want to make an appointment.” And I said, “For what?” And he said, “He’ll know what you mean. Just tell him you want to make an appointment.” I’m thinking this is a drug dealer or something.
Eric Purdue: So I called the number and guy answered the phone and I said, “is this Ordoon?” And he goes, “Speaking.” And I said, “My name is Eric, and I want to make an appointment.” And he said, “For what?” I said, “Look, I have no idea, this is what I was told to tell you, I’m just starting out, trying to learn this.” And he goes, “Okay, fine.”
And so I went over there a couple days later and we chatted for hours and hours. Not one word was spoken about Lucumi, or African this or African that, nothing. We just talked and based on what I saw of this man, I was hooked immediately. And I knew I wanted to have whatever he had. So he kind of, was pretty vague about the magic part of it for a while. And I went there about once a week, I would say, and we would just talk, and eventually he said, “Why don’t you come by this weekend, we’re doing a ceremony,” I’m thinking, okay, now I’m going to get to the meat of it.
It turned out it was a Lucumi ceremony. And so I got whisked around the back and I was plucking chickens, that was my introduction. [crosstalk 00:03:47] I had an inkling something was going on, I started getting some clues that it might have been Santeria. I heard the term a little bit, and I saw that movie, The Believers, which came out like in what? ’88, I think. I saw that, so I sort of had a clue, but it didn’t scare me off. I stuck with it because I was just fascinated about all the knowledge that he had. And I just wanted more and more and more. And he introduced me to Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, pretty early.
Andrew: So they were interested in a lot of stuff then?
Eric Purdue: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: They weren’t just walking the Arisha path and so on?
Eric Purdue: Right. Well, that’s not how he started. I mean he told everyone that he was from Spain, and originally he opened up a neo-pagan temple, it was in the ’60s. There was some holdovers from that. And according to his story, I don’t know if this is really true, but when his teacher died, he said that he brought in Lucumi, and I don’t know if that’s actually the impetus for it happening, but he brought it in and he was initiated in ’74.
And when he brought it into his practice, he basically went all the way with it. And it scared off a lot of the neo-pagans. He told me that the first Misa that he did, he stood at the table and he said, as soon as he put a big cross in the middle of the table, everybody flipped out and a lot of people left. And he kind of operated half and half, he did the Lucumi thing sort of on one side and he did this sort of neo-pagan thing on the other side. I came in at the tail end of that. So I saw a lot of the neo-pagan thing. And in my mind, I didn’t know what the difference was at first. And by, I would say the early to mid-nineties, it was pretty Lucumi by that point. But he introduced me to Agrippa and I didn’t really understand the book too much.
Andrew: It’s one of those books.
Eric Purdue: It’s one of those books. And he talked about Picatrix, which no one was talking about back then. And there were no English translations yet. And so he told me that, that book two of Three Books of Occult Philosophy was like what Picatrix was. He was partially correct, kind of not, but, anyway so-
Andrew: As is very common in magical stuff, especially-
Eric Purdue: Exactly.
Andrew: There’s a real, I mean, time will tell if it’s how accurate things are, but there’s so much more real scholarship and real work being done on these things now than versus what was out there back when I was getting into this stuff in the ’80s and ’90s for sure, right?
Eric Purdue: It was the wild west.
Andrew: It was the wild west. You want some Egyptian stuff? Go read, what was his name? Butler [crosstalk 00:07:08]?
Eric Purdue: Budge?
Andrew: Yeah, Budge.
Eric Purdue: People are still talking about him though. They’re fun to read though.
Andrew: But it’s not good translations.
Eric Purdue: It’s not good at scholarship, no, at least not, I wouldn’t say it’s bad scholarship, but it’s Victorian scholarship.
Eric Purdue: So I don’t think it was bad for the time, but we’ve moved on in the world since then.
Eric Purdue: But he practiced astrology. I wasn’t terribly impressed by astrology back then. I remember he was trying to help out a couple of women that were astrologers and they were giving these readings and he started asking him questions. He would ask in D’Lagoon, he would say, okay, well, am I going to make money? And they couldn’t answer it, or something like that. He was asking very direct questions, and I thought to myself, okay, well, you can’t ask a direct question and get a direct answer, then what use is it? And I worked very closely with him. I was initiated eventually in Lucumi in 2000, Deshaungo. And I was basically very close with him until he passed. So that was in, basically 2005. And from that point on, it was just kind of like, okay, what do I do now? And mostly-
Andrew: It’s really tough, right?
Eric Purdue: It’s tough.
Andrew: And I think that people who are outside of these traditions, I mean, it’s obviously tough when a teacher passes, but the relationship between godparent and god Kidd is, at least in my experience, sort of a notch above kind of any other teacher relationship that I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a bunch of them-
Eric Purdue: Very different.
Andrew: … And some of them very long standing, right? And it’s such a different dynamic.
Eric Purdue: It is, and every godparent is a little different because some of them want to control everything and some want to teach you and some are both and … Go ahead.
Andrew: Well, I was just going to say, I mean, one of the things that like, when people come like, “Oh, will you be my godparent?” I’m like, “We just met.”
Eric Purdue: Do you want to get married?
Andrew: Exactly. I’m like, “Look, if we decide that this makes sense, then this is a relationship that should last until one of us dies,” and even then it doesn’t really end, it becomes something else. And when you start to put it in that context I’ve never had the expectation that my teacher in the AA, are they going to be my teacher for the rest of my life? Nope. Probably not. And history would say no. It’s just such a different sense, right? Of, you’re really settling into having a life with this person. So it’s so important to kind of think about that, look about that.
Eric Purdue: That’s the thing, those Arishas are connected to that godparent. And even after that godparent dies and there are ceremonies that they have I think to make that separation a little cleaner, but it’s still there and even now he’s still my godfather and he’s been passed for many years now. I didn’t know what to do. And I started thinking back and I started getting to bug to study astrology a little bit. And then I also bought Agrippa who had stuck out in my mind, I got the Tyson edition that everyone has. And I started realizing, A, that the text really clicked with me, but also it was describing an astrology I wasn’t familiar with because the astrology back then was so different and I was lucky in that the early two thousands, they were really starting to become, just like in the occult world, there was a resurgence in the study of older texts, translating them.
And so now it was possible to actually find out if a group is talking about X, Y, Z term, you can actually find it out. Although when Tyson worked on a group, he didn’t necessarily have access to that information himself, but by the time I found it, we did. And that just opened a whole can of worms. And initially I was thinking of leaving Lucumi forever because our house kind of disintegrated, and a lot of people left the religion, my Oubono left the religion and ironically I was one of the last initiates and I stuck with it. And eventually I met my current godmother and her husband and everything just sort of blossomed from there.
Andrew: I think it’s not uncommon, right? Especially for places with, we were talking a little bit before this, with smaller communities, if somebody’s kind of the head of a community or kind of really holding for people together and then they die, it’s not like in a place with a lot of interconnected houses and interconnected people, right?
Eric Purdue: Right.
Andrew: When my godmother died and I was sort of caught up in the grief of that and I had small children and I live in Toronto, and all these kinds of things, and I was just like, I don’t even know what I’m going to do from here, something will happen, but I don’t know what, and when, and how. And I took care of my obligations around her passing and so on, but beyond that, I really didn’t do anything for a while, because it was too difficult and too hard, and too grief felt in some ways too.
Eric Purdue: And you need ask yourself if you want to get involved in the potential drama in the community again.
Eric Purdue: That’s what I had to kind of deal with too, because I saw a lot of drama around his passing and a lot of ugliness, not just in my house, but people outside the house.
Eric Purdue: And I’m thinking like, “Okay,” at the time I was in my mid ’30s and I’m like, “Do I want to deal with this anymore?” And then after a few years passed, I realized that that drama exists everywhere.
Eric Purdue: And I definitely saw it in the astrology community, which is something which is funny, because astrology doesn’t have families and lineages and all these kinds of things.
Andrew: But it sure has personalities.
Eric Purdue: Sure has personalities, but no one’s behold into those personalities.
Eric Purdue: But despite that, you still get drawn in or you can get drawn into the drama. And after a while I realized that it’s possible to craft your own narrative and make a distinction of what you want to deal with, what you don’t want to deal with. And luckily the house I’m part of now, it doesn’t put up with a lot of Mullarkey.
Andrew: I went through plenty of Mullarkey when I was in the OTO and in some other related kind of groups and stuff like that. And now I see it coming, I’m like, “No, thanks, I’ll go do something else.”
Eric Purdue: It becomes like high school. And I don’t need that.
Andrew: So how is astrology for you now? I’m always curious about this because, I walked away from astrology, right? I don’t know how long ago now, maybe four or five years ago. I had this moment where I had to make an offering, make a bow to [Elegwa 00:15:24], and there was all these other things, one of those astrological doomsday times, there’s periods every now where people are like, oh, and I was reading astrology and I was feeling some tension around some of these things and I was looking at [Elegwa 00:15:42], and I’m like, “You don’t care. Why do I care? I don’t actually care, I don’t need to care.” And I just kind of realized that in Lucumi we have no astrology, right? None to really speak of, and so I just kind of had this moment where I was like, I’d already walked away from ceremonial magic many, many years ago I kind of stopped in the early two thousands after a bunch of drama when I was in the [armsols 00:16:11], and I kind of got caught up in somebody else’s stuff and swept out of the group, and I was like, “I can’t deal with this. I don’t have time for this. I got too many busy things to do.”
And so I’d already sold all my books and given up on that practice. I mean, I still do stuff with clients sometimes, and then I walked away from, I kind of just sort of closed the door in astrology. Every now and then I’ll look at someone’s chart, there are some people that I enjoy talking to about it or enjoy their stuff a bit. But I always jokingly say like, “I don’t believe in astrology, doesn’t make any sense to me.” And it’s not really the case. The case is that astrology is interesting, but it’s not my thing. And I can’t get close with it, it exerts a bit of a pull, the way in which people talk about it and stuff like that.
Eric Purdue: Well, I think the issue-
Andrew: Go ahead please.
Eric Purdue: Oh, sorry to interrupt.
Andrew: No, no, no. I was just going to say, there’s something about the way in which it’s talked about and the ideas about it. And I remember the first time I said that I wasn’t going to do this, and people were like, not everybody, but a bunch of people like, “Well, you know it impacts you whether you believe in it or not.” And I was like, “That, that’s why I can’t be involved.” So [crosstalk 00:17:31].
Eric Purdue: I don’t like those responses. I don’t mix Lucumi and astrology at all. I don’t do any astrological elections. I’m less worried about what the planets are doing, I’m more worried about what the ancestors were doing when it comes to ceremonies. But, I mean, the issue with astrology is that we’re lacking a place for it today, actually it’s issues with magic as well. It isn’t just astrology. I think that any kind of poking that one’s going to do to astrology, you can equally do it to the occult.
Eric Purdue: I mean, the truth is that, all of us live today in a worldview, we all grew up in a worldview of scientific materialism.
Eric Purdue: Whether you like it or not, you may have some issues with it, whatever, but you still have that ingrained in the back of your mind because that’s how almost all of us were raised, at least in this part of the world. And so I think that the first thing is that when you’re doing magic and astrology, there’s always a part of your brain that tells you that it doesn’t work. And I’ve often said that magic and astrology are actually expressions of a philosophy or of philosophy, not a particular one. And we don’t really have that. I mean, for instance, in Lucumi, there’s a philosophy around it, and there’s a world view around Lucumi that does not supersede modern medicine and modern technology.
Andrew: Sure. It embraces it, right?
Eric Purdue: It embrace it.
Andrew: Part of the ever expanding nature of ODU that all of these things come into the world and find their place within it, right?
Eric Purdue: Exactly.
Andrew: The divination and so on.
Eric Purdue: And when you speak to some of these elders, there’s no contradiction whatsoever, there’s a place for it. And with astrology especially, I think astrology is a little bit more difficult for people because with astrology you’re dealing with planets that you can see or theoretically see if we had no white pollution, you can predict the movements with math, people and machine have touched many of these planets. We know what they’re made up of, we can measure magnetism, we can measure gravity, all these things we can do. And so when you talk about astrology, it’s hard for people to put their brain around it at all.
Then it becomes firmly just a belief structure, as you’re saying, you don’t believe in astrology. Well, that’s the only way it could work, I think in a lot of, the way things are today. And that was part of my impetus for working with Agrippa, because Agrippa has that philosophical, that’s all the book is, is the philosophical angle of it. Not that reading this book or any other book are going to give you all the answers, or maybe the right answers at all. But it helps with that inquiry and-
Eric Purdue: Oh, sorry.
Andrew: No, no, please go ahead.
Eric Purdue: No, I was going to say that a lot of people, I mean, again, I think that physical component of the planets really impedes on the validity of astrology for a lot of people, and it’s a big hurdle. And so when people tell you things like, “Okay, you’re going to give a bow to [Elegwa 00:21:29],” and then you have that thought in your head like, “Okay, well this is astrologically a horrible time,” well, that’s unfortunately the wrong way to think I think about astrology, because that’s not how astrology works.
Eric Purdue: It’s not supposed to work that way. I mean, it’s how popular astrology works for sure. Mercury goes retrograde, everybody freaks out about their planets and things like that, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work. Just because there’s some bad condition in the sky, it isn’t dooms day for everybody. It was never that way until recently.
Andrew: Well, and even if you have hard conditions in your chart, in your natal chart, that’s fine, I mean, back when I was … I did a lot of planetary magic, I was very, very into planetary magic for a while. And I went through my whole chart and looked at a bunch of things that I thought were less favorable, and then I just did ceremonies around them. And I did this, for a year, every time the moon changed signs, I did work around that, around integrating and connecting.
So every, whatever it is, a little less than three days, right? I’m in the temple doing the new thing, doing the new thing, for a whole year, right? And I think that a lot of that stuff was very beneficial, but it’s also was really geared towards being, as you say, empowered around this stuff, right? It’s not, maybe you do want to do a thing in order to mitigate something, or maybe you want to look at those energies if you’re going to be involved in those systems, but that doom and gloom of it is certainly not so helpful, right?
Eric Purdue: Well, it’s also not, I mean, so lately I’ve been studying Arabic astrology more closely. Arabic astrology really is where … That’s a real link to the past in the West, sure, astrology was developed by the Greeks, or Greek speaking people, but it’s the Arabic material, is what really brought it back to the West. And astrologers like Abu Machar spoke about this. They spoke about the role of prediction in our lives. I mean, they actually had thoughts about this and the basic idea is that your natal chart, I mean, Abu Machar says this, that no one ever really lives their natal chart, because natal chart shows something that was there when you were born, it has events in your life all mixed up together in no particular order whatsoever.
And you use timing techniques to figure out when things are coming and what’s happening this year. And I think it was he who made a comment that, in reality, your natal chart is your chart for your life after you die, because everything’s already happened. And so what you’re actually experiencing is not your natal chart, you’re experiencing your solar return chart, or you’re experiencing something else of that nature, some planet that’s activated at a certain time.
Eric Purdue: And so, while your natal chart may say that your marriages are going to suck, that’s not true your entire life. And 365 days a year, seven days a week throughout your entire life, there’s really good periods, and there are really bad periods and periods of inactivity, and that’s what you’re really doing with astrology. So when people start freaking out about Mercury is retrograde right now, well, sure, it’s a thing, it may not affect you right now. I mean, it have nothing to do with anything in your life whatsoever, or it might that time, maybe this time it’s a big deal, next time it’s not.
Andrew: Sure. Well, I mean, there are moments, right? Uranus crossed my Midheaven into Taurus.
Eric Purdue: My what?
Andrew: My Uranus.
Eric Purdue: I’m just kidding, that was a pun.
Andrew: Anyway, and when that happened, my store burned to the ground, And it’s like, well, maybe there’s a very close correlation between some of those elements, but also, what are you going to do.
Eric Purdue: If you’re not wired to get into it, you’re not going to do it.
Andrew: For sure.
Eric Purdue: I’m not here to your astrology shame you.
Andrew: No, no. Nobody’s going to astrology shame me because I don’t care, but I mean, it’s fascinating. I also think that what’s really interesting and you kind of start talking about this with the Arabic stuff, right? Is this emergence of older material, right?
Eric Purdue: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andrew: You know what I mean? One of the things I love about Lucumi is, via oral tradition, it has a tremendous depth to it, right? Historically speaking, right? Depends on how you want to count it and whatever, but thousands of years, right? And it’s really interesting to sort of see some of this older material in the Western ceremonial stuff, is sort of founded on, or the inheritor of, but without having a living connection to it because that stuff got disrupted in so many different places and maybe on purpose, maybe not, whatever, but it’s really interesting, and you’re one of the people who’s doing some really interesting stuff with that, where you’re digging in and looking back at these older things like Agrippa and all that stuff.
And not just in a way of, I mean, I read Agrippa, but that’s not what you’re doing, you didn’t just read Agrippa and be like, “Oh this is kind of cool. Maybe I’ll try this thing,” right? You’re in the thick of it, right?
Eric Purdue: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andrew: So what’s that like?
Eric Purdue: Well, the main thing in my life is that I have to figure out why something works. And as I said earlier, it’s not about finding that objective answer, but I have to figure it out though, somehow, and I have to break it. And what I like in about the older material is that there’s a lot of time spent explaining why something is. Now, my main thing is astrology outside of Lucumi, and that’s where it’s valuable because, if you pick up a modern astrology book, it’s just a book of techniques. A lot of modern magical books are that way too, they’re just techniques and ceremonies.
Andrew: Sure. This equals this. When this happens, you do this then.
Eric Purdue: And there’s no depth to it and no foundation. And so now, it’s almost like people are copying cooking recipes with no thought about why you sauteing something as opposed to frying it, or what the difference is, and that kind of a thing. And the older books tell you those things, that you have to spend the time digging through it, but they’re easy to get. I mean, it’s all there for people to find, and it absolutely frustrates me. I mean, this sort of fetishizing of horrible scholarship in the Victorian era, we talked about that I think before we recorded.
Eric Purdue: I think it was before we recorded. We mentioned Budge. And they’re fun books to read, but sometimes, Budge is fine, I actually I like reading Budge, but it isn’t great, I mean, people are hanging on to things like, if they’re not doing Golden, I mean, Golden Don is fine, but if they’re not doing something like that, and they’re reading things like Manly P. Hall or things like that where it’s just objectively wrong history, then there’s no depth to it whatsoever. And so now people have this concept of the magical world being something that’s just all in your head and the visceral nature is missing.
Andrew: Or they bring this sort of Victorian colonial notion of every thing being the same somehow, right?
Eric Purdue: Or [inaudible 00:30:24] path.
Andrew: Sure, sure. We’ll leave that alone. I don’t want an email from those people. I was just kidding. I love you all. No, but I remember somebody sent me a list of where the Arishas belong on the tree of life and I’m like, “This is just colonial bunk,” right?
Eric Purdue: Yep.
Andrew: When I created the Arisha Tara, I’m like, “There’s a philosophical overlap around some ideas. And this is not saying that this is this, but this particular story and this particular Tara card have a relationship, and we can look at that,” but I’m not smooshing it all together and being like, “Well, here everything is the same thing,” right? It’s more of a philosophical exploration.
Eric Purdue: You can make comparisons.
Andrew: Yeah, sure.
Eric Purdue: Sure.
Andrew: And so much of that Golden Don era stuff and Crowley and all that stuff, it’s like, every thing is here and everything I can know and everything I can draw these lines between, and it’s all the same thing at some level. And that’s just a really kind of damaging space to be in, it’s so limiting ultimately.
Eric Purdue: I know in the astrology world, one of the fascinating things is, we’re now getting to a point where we can explain nearly all of the main astrological concepts. There’s a couple mysteries, but for the most part we can explain it. And in some cases we can figure out where certain things literally came from, as in which astrologer first wrote about certain things. The detail that’s coming out is pretty amazing. And that’s one of the things I love about the time we’re living in now, because when you’re talking about sign rulerships, for instance, the assumption in modern astrology is that it all comes down to affinity. Mars is like Aries, or whatever, and that’s why the rulerships are there, but no, there’s a different rationale to that, there’s a rationale to exploitations, there’s a rationale to the role that signs play versus the role that the planets play and the roles that aspects play, all these things have specific definitions and specific rationales to them and these old books talk about it, because they felt like they had to. They don’t take it for granted.
Andrew: Well, it’s not just another column in 777, right? We’ll just memorize this one, we’ll memorize that one. And I say, please nobody feel whatever about this, I’ve done that, I did that stuff, that was a part of, I started out with Crowley, it was the first stuff I read and spent a long time exploring all those kinds of things. And then I kind of woke up to the bigger world and started looking at other things and I think that, that’s an important part of the time we’re living in now, right? So it’s time to sort of wake up and sort of look at that bigger world lens of things, and there’s so much more we can learn about things.
Eric Purdue: I think what a lot of people don’t know, maybe no, you probably know, but what a lot of people don’t realize is the sort of cultural schism that happened in the 1700, late 16, early ‘1700s around the enlightenment, because there’s a last gasp of esoterica in the 1600s in England, at least in England, I’m not sure about other parts of Europe.
And a lot of great material came not during that time, but by the beginning of the 18th century, most of that stopped. And that coincided with the advent of the scientific worldview and all that, which is fine. And it was obviously something that had to happen. I think it did have to happen, but people don’t realize the depth of that schism, because at least with astrology, for instance, there was still a few people left doing it, but by the time you started going into the ‘1800s, there wasn’t much left.
And the [Ausofus 00:34:39] revived it, but because the [Ausofus 00:34:42] wanted to make this pseudo scientific and they didn’t want to have any hint of fortune telling, they reinvented astrology. And that reinvention, the way that they reinvented astrology is now taken for granted as astrology. I mean, less so now, because more has been coming out, but for a long time, and just the notion that basic astrological concepts maybe meant something different at another time for the majority of its history, is unheard of.
And I think with magic, it’s a little bit murkier because, with magic you have the psychological versus spiritual world views there, but I think that there’s a cultural divide somewhere where it’s harder to place that in with your everyday life. Again, people are trying it now seriously, but for a long time, it was almost like a hobbyist sort of a thing.
Andrew: Well, you belonged to a club and every so often you got together and did some things and off you go, right?
Eric Purdue: And you could pair it with someone like Agrippa, magic wasn’t questioned by most people in society back then. The church didn’t question it, they didn’t like it, but they didn’t question it. And that makes a huge difference in your approach to the magic. If you and everyone around you believes that something exists, then you’re going to look at it differently, and I kind of imagine it in my Lucumi practice, I’ve sort of experienced that a little bit more, because now you have several generations of people who grew up and working with Lucumi, and they see what it can do, and it’s becomes something very different, you don’t have this, what I call diminished expectations happening.
You don’t go to a Lucumi ceremony and someone lights a candle, and they’re like, all the candle flicker, that means your reach is here, you don’t have that kind of a thing. Whereas in a lot of other magical practices, that’s all people are going to talk about, is that flickering candle, I’m being sort of facetious here, but you get my point.
Andrew: No, I do, I do.
Eric Purdue: There should be more to it, and same thing with prediction, people become very satisfied with very small results.
Andrew: I mean, I think that for me, maybe because I got into this stuff so young, maybe because I spent much time in the woods as a kid by myself, maybe because I almost died when I was 14 and just got super … After that, I was like, “I need to understand everything.” And I would find any spiritual person and I would corner them and ask them questions. And I read every book that I could get my hands on in the library and elsewhere. And so for whatever reasons, by the time I was in my ’20s and, I’d never really sort of stepped away from that magical thing that was easier to access when you were younger. And so for me, one of the things that was really fascinating, Tara was one of those places, right? Where starting in ’60s, fortune telling diminishes, especially in the West, right? The sort of hippie new age energy enters, and it’s like psychology and about what you think, it’s like self development tool and it’s all of those things, right?
But for me, coming out of sort of living deeply in a magical world and being very, very committed to my magical practice and all those kinds of things, pre-internet, and then coming into card reading and reading for predominately Caribbean folks for a long, long time, I would just show up and they’d be like, “All right, tell me everything about my future.” I’d be like, “”Okay, let’s do it.” And so I sidetracked a lot of that stuff that you’re talking about, and I think it’s why when I’m teaching stuff now and I’m teaching magic or I’m teaching card reading, I’ve been doing these magic of place walks with people, right? Where it’s like, “All right, let’s go be in nature and I’m going to go introduce you to the people that I talk to right here, and let’s see what happens.”
And we’ll go and spend three, four hours. And a large part of that is kind of working towards what you’re getting at, right? I want to teach people how to think. I want to show people things that are real and different, and I got derailed on the Tara for a second there, but what happened was, so 2014 maybe, I was in Dallas at this conference and Len Norman was starting to make a resurgence and there’s this person there teaching it, and everybody was on fire about it because it would let you predict the future. And I was like, “This is really interesting, but this is exactly how I read Tara to [Marsai 00:40:12] already.
Eric Purdue: You do with playing cards.
Andrew: Sure. Right? But because I wasn’t part of those communities, I wasn’t in that sort of other mindset, I learned to read the cards by reading the book of Tath, hundreds and hundreds of times over and over and over again, and just working with it, right? And so when I came to these things, they’re great, don’t get me wrong, I’m not badmouthing Len Norman or these other things, right? But for me, there were just curiosities of an alternate way to get towards a thing that I was already doing. And I’m like, “Well, when am I going to learn a new thing, I’m just going to learn more about what I’m doing.” But I think that, that lived magical experience and that real imminent magical presence in the world, I think that it’s hard to come by, right? And people struggle with it.
Eric Purdue: You have to trust yourself, I mean, the early readings I had by my godfather, it said that was going to be evicted. And I didn’t understand that because I was paying my rent and I wasn’t losing my job, I didn’t lose my job.
Eric Purdue: And about a day later, or could have been same day even, but I went home and these two guys were walking around outside and I went to go into the door and they said, “Are you Eric?” And I said, “Yes,” and they said, “Okay, we just bought the building, when can you leave?” And I’m thinking, okay, there’s a lot you could do with this. So I wasn’t evicted, I guess, in the legal sense, but I was sure unexpectedly ejected.
So, I mean, I think that when you grow up just reading books, and I think that, I don’t like to put a lot of blame on social media because I think social media, I think that the things people complain about on social media have always been there.
Eric Purdue: In some form, it’s more far reaching today than it used to be, but I don’t think anything’s inherently changed, but people don’t have teachers, people are just reading books, they’re listening to non experts. People have always done that. I’m sure people did it in the ancient world too sure, but I think the core of it is, again, that disconnect from living in a magical world, as I mentioned earlier, because if magic isn’t real or astrology isn’t real, then you should not get a major result from it, so you’re not going to expect one. And I guess I’ve been trying to hammer in the idea that more can happen, especially with Lucumi, I’ve seen so much, so many things.
Andrew: Sure. Well, and I think kind of also to what you’re talking about a little bit too, there’s a saying which I really love, which is, spending 10 minutes with a wise person is better than reading a hundred books, right? And I think that further to what you’re saying, from a truly magical point of view, when you hang out with people who are deeply magical, there are, I don’t know, my friend Fubake who would call it a transmission, there are things that are happening on many levels, right? That go well beyond just the words that are being said. And I think that, that’s why when you have the opportunity to be present with somebody, like I think about when I got to meet Dalai Lama, right? I was very sensitive, the energy, and I watched, not only did I have my own experience of it, but I watched everybody’s entire body language change at a certain point about 10 feet or 15 feet from him, right?
Eric Purdue: And that becomes electric.
Eric Purdue: When it happens.
Andrew: And we were all lined up to meet him and so on, and you just see that change happen. And I think that, that’s the thing that is hard to understand. And even when people come to me for card readings, there are levels in which I am engaging people’s energy consciously and deliberately, I’m like, “Oh, they’re crying,” and that’s fine, everybody’s feelings are welcome at my reading, that’s not the problem, but if they’re stuck in their tears and we can’t get to anything that’s moving them forward, then I’ll just be like, “All right, I’m just going to adjust your energy a little bit here, I’ll give you a little reprieve from that for the time that you’re here, and now let’s talk.”
And these things are things that people don’t ever talk about, certainly not in books, right? I didn’t learn that in a book. I learned that from a little bit from talking to other people and a little bit from experimentation, And I think that, that’s some of that magical stuff that we’re talking about, right? There are vistas of possibility that aren’t even really making the radar in conversations unfortunately.
Eric Purdue: I mean, I know elders who’ve gotten people out of jail with magic or gotten people off their deathbed. And the person on their death bed has no knowledge that anything is happening. And that’s a whole different, I don’t know, realm, than what you typically see online. And that’s, not that I want to do that every day, but that’s the place that I’m sort of … That approach is kind of what I have always attained to when I do astrology, I can’t really say that I’m perfect at it and that I’m going to see everything, but my expectations with astrology come from what I’ve experienced in Lucumi D’Lagoon readings, because I know that that’s possible.
Andrew: Well, that’s one of the most … The things that I love about it is its specificity. All right, in this ODU, you have a female friend who has three kids and they’re betraying you in this way, it’s like, “Wow, that’s a really specific statement. And as a matter of fact, indeed I do have a single female friend who has three kids, and now that you mentioned it, deem.” That’s the part of it, right?
And I think that in some ways, I haven’t said it in a while, but I used to say it a lot, because mostly I don’t say it now because I don’t have to like talk about it doing Tara readings so much anymore because people know where I am and I’ve been doing it for a very long time. But I used to say, I kind of read Tara more like a shell reader, right? Like a Dalai one reader because I have those expectations, and studying and being exposed to that system has brought the impetus for that level of specificity and complexity and so on to my card reading practice. And I think that it’s astounding, and that’s where like, again, that older astrology way, opens our eyes to other possibilities.
Eric Purdue: And that’s the thing is, also just in the books, they have instructions for, okay, is this thing going to be permanent, or is this thing going to be temporary, or is it going to be delayed, or is it going to be immediate, or is something going to block it, or is something going to help it, they have very specific instructions for finding things like that out. And I love that. And then, I mean, I think that’s becoming more well known now. I mean, I think it’s interesting, right? I’m a pretty much a purist with astrology, I do the old stuff and that’s it, but what’s interesting-
Andrew: Do you mean Golden Don, right?
Eric Purdue: Oh yeah. So I go by the Aleister Crowley astrology book. And I don’t use that or planets. So your Uranus you’re talking about, I don’t know that one. But I’ve seen a lot of younger people who don’t have these hangups, they do a pretty good job integrating both, a lot of the modern things and some of the traditional things. And that actually is pretty interesting to me and I think that’s going to be the future because when traditional astrology was first rediscovered, there’s a lot of pushback from the modern or from the mainstream astrology crowd.
Eric Purdue: They thought of it as being primitive or I don’t know what they were saying. And then you had a lot of purists like me, except I’m not being an edge Lord about it, but you had a lot of purists who are like, “Okay, well modern astrology sucks and you guys are idiots for doing it and that kind of a thing.” But now it’s a much more symbiotic thing, especially younger people, the gray beards out there might be a little different.
Andrew: Well, I mean I think that it always sort of behooves us to listen, I mean, I think that I’m always curious about what other people, and certainly younger people are up to when it comes to different things, because it’s easy to become ossified in something.
Eric Purdue: And we all do it a little bit.
Andrew: Right. And it’s part of nature, right? We fall into what’s more comfortable, but I think that sort of sliding out of that whenever we can and sort of exploring those things and seeing what’s going on, we don’t have to take them on, we can pick them up or leave them, there are many things I look at and I’m like, “I don’t really understand this on any level,” and then I just leave it. I don’t know that, it may not be wrong at all, maybe like absolute genius, and then somebody will explain it to me someday in a different way, and I’ll be like, “Oh, I get that now.” BuT I’m also like, “That’s fine.”
Eric Purdue: One of the things that Lucumi has taught me is learning how to compartmentalize things, which is why I said earlier, I don’t mix astrology and Lucumi ever.
Andrew: I don’t mix anything with it. I don’t even mix my spiritismo with it.
Eric Purdue: No.
Andrew: It’s like nothing else [crosstalk 00:51:10].
Eric Purdue: But that’s become very valuable in sort of seeing what’s going on in the esoteric world because people wanting to mix [shocks 00:51:24] with everything, for instance, I’m like it’s [shokers 00:51:28] really don’t mix with everything, there’s a place for that, there’s a place for karma, there’s a place for the tree of life, but it’s not with everything. And so I’ve become very sensitive to, when I see someone talking about Cabala. Cabala, that’s a whole rabbit hole on its own, it doesn’t need help from anybody else to be complex, So we don’t need to like just cherry pick things that we think are really cool and put that into other kinds of magic, because it doesn’t need it. So I tried to approach everything that way.
Andrew: And I think partially because of my nature and partially because of the time I came into magic, there was no internet, I lived in small town, Ontario. So twice a year, if I was lucky, I got to go to the psychic fair and look for books. So I just had the same stuff. And so it became this matter of, okay, what else can I squeeze from this? What else can I squeeze from this? Okay, what else can I do with this lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram? Crowley says, it’s the key to everything. And if you only have this ceremony, you can accomplish everything. What does that mean? What can I do with it? And it’s same material, I only had a tough deck for a very long time, and as I said, I think earlier, I only had Crowley’s book on it, because it was the only thing I could find written anywhere about it.
So I just peruse it again and again and again and again. And I think that those, for better and for worse that the Tath and Crowley’s magic, it’s a total worldview and you can just immerse yourself in it and you don’t really need anything extraneous to it. It’s not missing any pieces as such, has it smushed things together in weird ways? Sure. But I think that, that value of really digging into something and truly, truly getting to know it and really like being able to sort of go through it inside and out, I think that, that’s just something quite profound and potent.
Eric Purdue: There’s something to be said of being an expert on one or two things, versus, I mean master, was it master of none Jack of-
Andrew: Jack of all trades, master of none.
Eric Purdue: I couldn’t think of the other part of that. And that’s where I kind of got with astrology, it’s like, I can be really good at astrology, I can be good at Lucumi, I’m good. I might get into Lucumi eventually, because that’s kind of related, but I’m not really out there trying to gain a bunch of titles and whatever. It’s just, even with astrology, I had to compartmentalize it, I’m not going to learn mundane astrology, which is the astrology of world events, things like that. It’s just, that’s just a whole other thing, which I just don’t have time to mess with.
Andrew: Well, I remember studying astrology and getting to a point where I can’t remember what it was, there was some angle that I was entertaining learning, adding to my repertoire. And I was just like, “Man, this feels like an exponential level now, I’m just going to add this other thing that’s, as much as I already know to add one more piece to it,” I’m like, “No I’m done.” It was when I stopped doing charts for people too, I was like, “Ah, I think I’m going to focus on cards.”
Eric Purdue: But also if you have fun doing it, I mean, once it becomes not fun, you should stop it.
Andrew: Same for me with my Western Cabala and stuff, right? All those kinds of things, I’m like, “I’m at this point where I’m either going to learn Hebrew or I’m not, and if I’m not going to learn it, then I might as well stop, because there’s nowhere else to go with this.”
Eric Purdue: It’s why I never started.
Andrew: Right? I guess discovering at such a young age, I didn’t think of it, never starting, I’d already started and spent a long time in it, but for sure.
Eric Purdue: Latin’s bad enough.
Andrew: So I have a question about the translation of the book that you did, right? So I’m really curious what stands out as being sort of the most difference when you went back to the actual source versus the other additions that had been done over time and stuff like that?
Eric Purdue: Well, I mean, first, it’s important to realize that there was only one other English translation prior to now. There was another translation which came out just a couple months before mine. Although I was finished first, I think. So I guess now we have three English translations, but really before this last year, there was only one. And so Tyson did not translate it. He edited it, annotated it. And I think the biggest thing that stood out was Tyson made a lot of corrections to the texts. And with annotation saying, okay, Agrippa is wrong here, this is incorrect here or whatever. And what was surprising was how little Agrippa made error, I mean, he basically was a pretty faithful transcriber of what he had. So he made very, very few mistakes.
There’s a couple, but I was able to see the sources. The other thing was, the original English translation got a lot of the astrology wrong, and Agrippa didn’t. And those incorrect translations affected the way Tyson annotated it, because it was gobbledygook. One of the ones I bring up a lot is, he mentions that there are five terms or bounds, now terms are a fivefold division of each sign, unequal divisions and the Latin is termini, so term termini, some people call him bounds now, but the original English translation translated it as marks.
And then Tyson looked at it and he thought that it meant degree, which I don’t know how you say that the sign has five degrees. So things like that. There’s a predictive tool called a profection and-
Andrew: It’s gotten very popular as of late.
Eric Purdue: It’s gotten very popular. So those who don’t know, a profection is a very basic predictive tool where each sign in the chart represents a year of your life. And it starts with the first house or first sign, that’s your birth. So with your first birthday, which is your second year is the second house. And then you keep circulating around the chart over and over again. So you have 12 year cycles. And so when you’re 12 years old, it’s the first house again. And anyway, so the original English translation translated that as perfection, Tyson would not have noticed that problem, because he was just reading that translation. So he assumed that it meant a new or full moon. So it’s just completely different meaning. So I found a lot of things like that. And the other, I think surprise was how seldom Agrippa used his own words in the book. It’s almost completely quotes from other books.
Andrew: It was super common back then, right?
Eric Purdue: Super common, cut and pasted, William BurrowS style. Maybe not mixed up. So Agrippa did this intentionally because he had a very specific thesis in mind, theory in mind for magic. And he wanted to show that this crazy idea that he had was not his own. He wanted to show that the ancients and church fathers even shared that opinion that he has and that basically wanted to show the proof of that.
Andrew: Fascinating. Well, I have not looked forward to a book on magic in quite some years, to be honest, just because I’ve mostly moved away from it, but I’m really looking forward to checking at your edition, which is now out and around. Although I’m still waiting for my distributor, so a little bit.
Eric Purdue: It isn’t released to retailers yet. That’ll be on the 20th or 21st, I can’t remember.
Andrew: So soon.
Eric Purdue: Is soon. The publisher has it.
Andrew: If you’re listening to this in the future, it’s November of 2021, when we’re talking. Cool. Well, I guess maybe that’s a good spot to wrap it up. I feel like we could keep chatting all night.
Eric Purdue: I can ramble.
Andrew: Well, it’s also been fun. But for people who want to hang out with you Eric, where should they come check out your stuff, where do you hang out on the internet these days?
Eric Purdue: I’m mostly on Facebook, I’m on Twitter and Instagram. I don’t like Twitter and Instagram. I don’t like any of them really, but Facebook’s easier for you to post my cat pictures.
Andrew: It’s important to have cat pictures.
Eric Purdue: It’s important. But I’m on all of those. My website is ericperdue.com and I have my readings and my book is on there too.
Eric Purdue: And if you want to give the author more money, not naming any names.
Andrew: Perfect. Great. Well, go follow Eric and bask in his wisdom and cats. I Love cats. Thanks for making time to record with me Eric.
Eric Purdue: All right. Thank you.