Subverting Obsolete Paradigms

There is no basis in the scientific description of nature for believing in the radical Cartesian division between mind and world sanctioned by classical physics. This radical separation between mind and world is a macrolevel illusion fostered by limited awareness of the actual character of physical reality, that perpetuates the idea that the self is separate from an encompassing nature, so that, in the interest of self-gratification, nature is exploited and transformed into material prosperity, raising the standard of living insofar as it infers the monopolization and exclusive control of the material in question.

Resolving this crisis of alienation necessitates the empathetic and compassionate “overthrow” of the assumption that one is separate from the natural forces s/he emerges from. We are in fact in perpetual relation with all that exists. The only thing that separates us from anything else is time–before which we shared a common origin. To exploit any relationship is to construct a form of hierarchy, in which the self is aggrandized and placed at the top, while that which remains at the bottom is systematically marginalized and repressed with violence.

Ultimately, a process of renewal must occur so that our symbolic consciousness can heal the fractured relationship we are struggling to sustain. In “The Blood of the Earth: an essay on Magic and Peak Oil,” Archdruid John Michael Greer writes,

“the first full fledged peak oil revitalization movement raises its banners and begins attracting a mass following with strident denunciations of the existing order of things and the promise of a bright future reached by what amounts to a sustained exercise in magic” (74).

Dualism, while enchanting, inevitably blinds us from the modus operandi of the cosmos, the law of nature, initiating a crisis in which limits, laws, and principles are concealed. Capitalism, and the privatization of productive capabilities (i.e. the earth system via property), is itself an ideology or illusion that separates a theater of appearances from an objective and truthful reality: industrial society, as sustained by a dwindling fossil fuel reserve, will inevitably collapse. Casting spells that bind the populace to such notions that such a process can continue, will ultimately dissolve.

In a review of Capitalist Sorcery: Breaking the Spell  Nikolay Karkov explains,

“Capitalist sorcery operates by “capture,” through a culture of “spells” that immobilise thinking and paralyse collective action. What anti-capitalist politics needs then is not so much demystification or dis-alienation, but a counter-magic capable of protecting its practitioners and breaking the spell.”

To this extent direct action is conceived of as an important form of earth-based ritual– a resistance or revitalization to build connection with the trees and earthly energies so that collective PERCEPTION can shift to accommodate this intimate connection.

“Sometimes activists experience the earth’s sacred energies, or life force, during direct action resistance to deforestation or other environmental defilement. They may also do so during what might be called ‘magical direct actions’, where the goal is to seek, explore and direct the sacred energy of the forest (itself an expression of the earth’s energy) towards specific ends. In a way similar to some of the earthen ritualising discussed earlier, direct action might be directed towards personal healing (e.g., helping persons to transcend their anger and manifest the loving energy of the universe) or towards planetary healing. This action may help activists reach out to their most bitter adversaries through a kind of prayer-as-energy-manipulation that seeks to focus the loving energy of the universe in an ecologically salutary way.”

The felt sense of ‘connection’, kinship and loyalty to earth and all her life forms and living systems is critical for any magician as s/he seeks to draw power from the living world in order to cocreate and enact the world emerging from consciousness. The magician’s actions then is the permeable membrane between the inner and outer worlds, the glue that provides for transcendent unity beyond binaries.


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