Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money

I’m eager to read more on rogue magicians’ heretical processes that disrupt capital flows and subvert the systemic injustice of static patterns through collaborative networks of artistic finance.

On “building an extensive community of confident financial heretics capable of emerging…within a few years, ready to respond to the inevitable financial creses of the future…,” in “Life Without Money,” edited by Anitra Nelson (also published by Pluto), a line that sticks out to me was something to the effect of “where money flows to, resources flow from,” so that exorcising money from the economy would have a transformative effect, abolishing this medium of exchange as a holder of value to empower ecosystemic “liquidation.”

The crux of the book proposed the empowerment of bioregional networks by planning to ensure local abundance, to be sustained and shared through non-monetary economic systems. Money being now digital, supposedly indicating the value of energy over time, we experience this particular expression of electricity meaningfully, as when the poor are disallowed to eat by the absence of credit or debt, the means by which purchase power is achieved. They have no money, presumably for lack of income source, so an economy of disconnection and poverty exists.

Capital accumulation is essentially the transference of potential energy to private property, redistributed in transactional purchases. Resources are developed and depleted, turned into unreusable pollution and waste at the cost of deprivation and suffering. As Marx writes in his Communist Manifesto (part 1): “Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. 

To abolish money would thus dissolve the illusion of a depreciated exchange value and restore an inherent value unsullied by human abstraction. A more informed medium might emerge as the shared intention of the collective set of relations, of which all life is an integral part.

Would love to hear your thoughts here where hopefully we can expand on economic sabotage, magical warfare, empowered love, and restorative justice.


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4 Magical Elements

The four elements of nature
Water, Fire, Air, Earth
Four magical elements
Compassion, Joy, Equanimity, Loving-Kindness
Four magical elements
Water, wash away my ignorance
Fire, transform my suffering
Air, carry me along, free me from my attachments and teach me to let go
Earth, show me your ways
Allow me to receive all without aversion and discrimination, so my heart will become as big as you
Four magical elements
Teach me the meaning of true love


When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things


Consider the conscious life of the soul an occasion in which the phylogenetic tree becomes self-aware of the elemental convergence of conditions needed for its own enduring unity of experience. The archetypal process of nature is born in the creation of light, an emanation of  cosmic interactivity. Time is the distance traveled by (re)incarnational soul as it resonates in relation to what conditions its character.

“This basic world is brought into being through the vital pulse of life that sustains the existence of every organism. This world both exists as a seamless whole and is comprised of a multiplicity of differing dimensions and features (worlds). These dimensions, once enacted, always involve a blending or intertwining of their nature. In this sense, our identity as a living being and our relation to the generative force of that living cannot be easily discriminated. Thus in a fundamental sense, the continuous Enaction of this basic world acts as a fountain of generativity, embedded within the greater generative force of spirit, through which existence itself is brought into being…In this coemergence of self and world(s) any identity is creatively affected by the dynamics of the worlds in which they find themselves, while simultaneously affecting the very constitution of those worlds.[1]

[1], Malkemus, pg. 217  TOWARD A GENERAL THEORY OF ENACTION: BIOLOGICAL, TRANSPERSONAL, AND PHENOMENOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS In The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2012, Vol. 44, No. 2

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The Wilderness Effect, Embodied Situation Cognition, and the Enactive Process Model

Paradoxically perhaps, the wilderness effect does not require true wilderness to work its magic. Given that it works very powerfully on UK protest sites, it seems likely that it has the potential to catalyse profound transformation in the wider community. Greenway’s evocative phrase that “civilization is only four days deep” (Greenway, 1995: 129) comes back to me, and I suspect it is even more fragile than that: removing just some of the trappings of the 21st Century can profoundly shift our awareness. My PhD research found that urban Eco-Pagans – who do not live on protest sites – developed a way of relating to the essence of sacred nature which functioned in a similar way to the wilderness effect. Over time, Eco- Paganism enhanced the urban practitioner’s embodied awareness: urban Eco- Pagans learnt to become aware of how we think with and through the embodied situated self, and thus enhanced their embodied communion with places, flora, fauna. As well as being profoundly healing, these intimate local relationships patterned a sacred relationship to the world (Harris, 2008).

When Merleau-Ponty articulated the phenomenology of the embodied mind he concluded that in knowing the world we become part of it, and thus the conventional subject-object distinction was illusionary. Abram applies Merleau- Ponty’s work to develop an embodied environmental philosophy which understands the body as “a sort of open circuit that completes itself only in things, in others, in the encompassing earth” (Abram, 1996: 62). Thus the immediate environment that meshes with our thinking and perception is participatory in that it always involves “the experience of an active interplay, or coupling, between the perceiving body and that which it perceives” (Abram, 1996: 57).

Certain circumstances and techniques allow our normally shallow conscious to deepen, enabling us to become more aware of the blurred boundary between self and world. This process can be illustrated using the cognitive iceberg diagram. Most of the time we are unaware of the deeper processes of ESC: as shown in figure 1, our consciousness is focused at the narrow tip of the iceberg. But at other times our normally shallow awareness begins to slide down the cognitive iceberg into the deep body, sometimes bringing a sense of expansion and a blurring of the boundaries between self and world.

It is this slide down the cognitive iceberg that – at least partly – explains the power of the wilderness effect. As Greenway and others have noted, the wilderness effect brings “a shift from culturally reinforced, dualism-producing reality processing to a more nondualistic mode” (Greenway 1995: 131). Although “consciousness remains”, it is no longer dominated by “the need-crazed egoic process (especially the making of distinctions)”. What remains is “a simpler, ‘nonegoic’ awareness” which can “open consciousness … to the more natural flows of information from nature” (Greenway 1995: 132). This is exactly what we see on the enactive process model: when our awareness slides down into the deep body, consciousness remains but we can sense that the “organism and environment enfold into each other and unfold from one another in the fundamental circularity that is life itself” (Varela et al., 1991: 150).

The enactive process model model helps explain how spending time in the organic environment can lead to a profound awareness of the fundamental connection between what we conventionally perceive as self and world. This shift in awareness underpins many aspects of the wilderness effect, notably the “shift from culturally reinforced, dualism-producing reality processing to a more nondualistic mode.” (Greenway 1995: 131).

The implications of this research for ecopsychology are two-fold: first, the influence of the wilderness effect is far more widespread than previously thought; second, my enactive process model contributes to the theoretical underpinning for this evolving discipline. Given that the wilderness effect has a powerful and largely beneficial affect, we would do well to encourage its influence; by applying the insights offered in this article we can do just that.


(Taken from Adrian Harris’ The Power of Place: Protest Site Pagans; European Journal of Ecopsychology 2: 1-27 (2011))

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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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A Brief Outline of Ecomagic

Ecomagic can be described as the principles and practice of magical and spiritual action for the environment that seek to maintain a symbolic connection to nature and the earth while effecting changes in consciousness and honoring the animate world. Often manifesting as a series of rituals and direct action motivated by a particular belief system that confronts rigid patterns, Ecomagic can be performed as a kind of “magical activism.”

The Dongas for instance fought off a construction project that would have destroyed a rare ecosystem by empowering themselves and sustaining their connection to the land. Believing the targeted plot of land to be a Gaian powerpoint, a sacred place intimately bound up in sacred nature, their magic ultimately led to the resignation of security guards so that the intended project could not proceed. This can be attributed to the power of a lateral, sensory experience of reality, not directed by a hierarchy.

Immersed in a field of perception, the participatory nature of experiential being provides a relational field of active agencies: an intelligent creative life process via reciprocal relationships, i.e. development. Discourse in this context can be regarded in a sense as communication with the “other,” or “Self.”

This communication then provides the specific foundational beliefs of non-industrial communities:

1) there exists a sacred, underlying, unifying, and universal force

2) this sacred force manifests as physical nature, where each soul has sacred intelligence (logos)

3) souls communicate

4) humans are the offspring of this natural process and ancestors will help them if only they ask

5) we learn though communion and communication with nature

6) by cultivating an attentive mind, we can know reality more fully through the earth’s expressions

7) nature is the ecological balance of biodiversity

In this regard, harmonious relationships with the natural world empowers one’s self and an other, so that we are called to nourish our relationship to nature. This spiritual connection is traditionally fulfilled by the shaman, whose responsibility includes the shifting of states of awareness in order to better know the multiform cosmic intelligences. The shaman is a medium of expression, acting like a porous membrane while taking “journeys” to other planes of consciousness in order to engage these ‘others’ for reciprocal balance, thus maintaining an equilibrium. David Abram explains this reciprocity:

“Our bodies have formed themselves in delicate reciprocity with the manifold textures, sounds, and shapes of an animate earth—To shut ourselves off from these other voices, to continue by our lifestyles to condemn these other sensibilities to the oblivion of extinction, is to rob our own senses of their integrity, and to rob our minds of their coherence. We re human only in contact, and conviviality, with what is not human.” 22 Spell of Sensuous

In this light, diseases are considered disruptions of energy so that healers work with the participatory power of perception in order to know the hidden acting forces and cure the afflicted. Mental healing is thus achieved through symbolic action, allowing us to recognize the sympathetic nature of all of reality and the conclusion Sir James Frazer came to regarding imitative and contagious magic.

If we analyze the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion. From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not.[1]

Frazer’s book, The Golden Bough attempts to define the shared elements of religious belief. Its thesis is that old religions were fertility cults that revolved around the worship of, and periodic sacrifice of, a sacred king. The germ for Frazer’s thesis was the pre-Roman priest-king at the fane of Nemi, who was murdered ritually by his successor:

This king was the incarnation of a dying and reviving god, a solar deity who underwent a mystic marriage to a goddess of the Earth, who died at the harvest, and was reincarnated in the spring. Frazer claims that this legend is central to almost all of the world’s mythologies.

The Golden Bough is thought to be Mistletoe, the plant needed to pass into underworld, while the king who guarded the tree had to be ritually killed every year. The Life of the Oak (world tree) is found in Mistletoe, so that the king of the wood personated the Oak spirit and perished in the fire.

Fertility cults developed this myth of a sacred marriage–the Solar Deity with Earth Goddess– so that the magical art and evolution (succession) of kings, taboos and the perils of the soul, the dying gods (Adonis, Attis, Osiris…), the spirits of the corn of the wild, the scapegoat were all born out of these worldviews.

Additionally, the figure of Christ is thought to similarly represent the annual killing of a God, whose counterparts were well known all over western asia, helping to explain the early deification and rapid spread of his worship. Moreover, John M. Allegro writes that Jesus Christ was the personification of a fertility cult based on the use of the psychedelic mushroom amanita muscaria. In his book, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, he relates the development of language on Eurasia to the development of myths, religions and cultic practices in many cultures. Allegro believed he could prove through etymology that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults; and that cultic practices, such as ingesting hallucinogenic drugs to perceive the mind of god, persisted into Christian times. The biological origins of mankind therefore provided the basis for worshiping nature, so that the Tree of Life, a metaphor for all life on earth, became the central symbol in religious mythology whereby ceremonies and festivals would ensure the fertility of the soil so that crops could grow and the cycle of seasons would continue.

The correspondence between microcosm (man) and macrocosm (universe) is thus seen in fertility cults, where the continuation of life is dependent on the power of the spirit world, so that what is done in one is evident in the other–each sympathetically attuned to the other. The spiritual principle central to such outlooks stimulate the desire for direct mystical union with this soul for influence over things through it by means of a systematic understanding of the cosmos. Universal energy fields are thought to have instantaneous effects, in that beliefs ultimately create the reality in which the human soul is nurtured by the greater, universal one…

In the Magic of Findhorn (and other intentional communities), Paul Hawken points to a thriving community that directly communicates with spirits, positing that the resultant energy fields create such prosperous growth and reciprocity. Findhorn is a power center where a new consciousness represents an emergent aspect of the evolution of consciousness on the planet, co-created with vision to act accordingly with the emergent organism (Earth) to bring it to life and fruition.

Hawken writes —

“the new sense of sublimation to the greater whole and of being ‘attuned’ to people who in fact one hardly knew at all…the Magic of Findhorn is the actual, palpable experience of one’s own consciousness merging with a group consciousness…the vibrant and powerful energy field that exists within Findhorn changes any individual who comes into it. When this energy flows into people, they find things coming out besides this energy…At Findhorn that presence [defying analysis] is strong and powerful, and anyone can notice it. It seems to be a place where divine energy is anchored, an energy which flows through everything…The etheric web [of powerpoints] is analogous to the vital energy of the human body which is called Ch’I in the Orient and is manipulated in acupunctiure. This etheric energy is the matrix from which forms emerge into denser planes of existence…At these points, the etheric energy can be used and transformed by human beings into vital energies of growth and development. These centers correspond to various manifestations of etheric energy with different functions…if the energies of a power point are properly anchored and stabilized, then they can be used to influence life on the planet, particularly in the surrounding area.”

From mystery cults and the search for wisdom and truth in nature, hermetic religious writings and the underground esoteric disciplines of magic, astrology, alchemy, and spiritualism, claim to utilize the same unifying principles assumed in science and in the astral theology of philosophy. Initiates seek to connect to a hidden power in order to communicate with multiple intelligences in order to reduce stress and anxiety in social spheres.

Drumming, ceremonies, chanting, dancing, and storytelling are all utilized to send one’s soul into the spiritual realm, bringing to bear mythic initiation and ritual. The mediator (magician or shaman) performs certain rites to purify the soul, using spiritual techniques to exercise communication and transform states, and shifting into various consciousnesses beyond normal perceptual boundaries in order to effect the world we wish to see and live in. Whereas the occult refers to those hidden forces that lay beyond the knowledge of the uninitiated, magic is the ability to compel the cooperation of these forces.

Changing the energy field involves the alteration of environmental signals, thus changing the structure of the organism which then alters specific movement/work to accommodate new behavior. In this way, environment creates the self! As children of our ancestors, the embedded beliefs and repetitive thoughts that have become our focus have a potential to manifest reality since material reality is affected by electrical and magnetic energies, thereby effecting biological responses. This then gives support to Starhawk’s notions regarding the Rule of Three:

“Pagans speak of the Rule of Three–that what we send out, especially magically but also in how we live our lives–returns to us three times over. If we focus our being twoard love, healing, and compassion, we attract those forces to us, because energy attracts energies like itself. That does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us or that we will become immune to grief or loss. It DOES mean that we will have the inner resources and the outer support to deal with the inevitable sorrows of life.” 102 The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: practical rituals, prayers, blessings, and meditations on crossing over

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The Nature of Revelation: when perception is reconstituted by reality

By limiting one’s perception of reality to a specific, manageable event that is completely controlled, the lack of experience results in a complete denial of existence–this is the only reality. This initial preconception is an illusion perpetuated by those forces controlling the event that, when altered, shifts the understanding of by allowing potentialities to come into existence.

Thus archetypes, universal representations after which similar things are patterned, structure the conscious belief systems of individuals, altering the molecular and chemical processes that control behavior and ultimately, identity. As TRUE NATURE is revealed over the course of living in a given reality, perception is made more and more aware, so that illusions are understood to be merely limited realities, implying a certain degree of perceptual ignorance.

When perception approaches awareness, illusions fall away leaving only the true nature of reality.


Illness is characterized by disease, so that Health is maintained by maintaining a beneficial connection with the inherent power of the other, with whose relationship remains a singularity. Nature’s intelligence says only one thing: connection is life! Isolation is death.

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The Role of Magic in the Modern World Systemic Crisis

The nature of a crisis is that it cannot be resolved in the original framework of a given system. Capitalism, for example, promotes the perpetual accumulation of capital, by which demand is ensured by income, thereby establishing a wage-economy. Yet because our environment–the earth–is finite, growth of human population and industrialization cannot continue indefinitely, so that trade-offs will undoubtedly occur simply because in a limited world “everything” cannot be maximized for “everyone.” Indeed, as capital business attempts to stifle rising costs, the depletion of natural resources and the exhaustion of dumping space affects the geoculture of the capitalist world-economy so that remuneration, cost of inputs, and taxes levied on companies squeeze potential earnings. The effect is to set up a dichotomy between the syndical power of employees and the financial motivations of runaway firms struggling to maximize profits, who try to externalize costs.

Anti-systemic movements thus challenge state power and economic structures in their uprising against the status quo so that wild fluctuations contribute to major changes in chaotic transition periods. Freedom and Egalitarianism balance the rights of the Majority with the emerging assertions of the Minority, whereby  polarization, exacerbated by prejudice and discrimination, is either addressed and rectified or institutionalized and enforced systematically. This implies a bifurcation point, where members of a chaotic world economic/social system CHOOSE whether to create a state that fulfills collective possibilities or defer their agency and ultimately ignore the crisis itself. (See World Systems Analysis, Wallerstein)

To this end, Magic tends to be extremely relevant as spells are often used to influence someone or something, where an individual asserts control to cause an intended outcome. Arthur C. Clark states that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, as they are both beyond common understanding. Therefore the consequences effected by the control and intention of techno-priests establishes a correlating theocracy in which knowledge as it relates to man’s relation to the earth is utilized to address  specific, concrete and practical problems.

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