This episode of the podcast is a solo show about practical spirituality. This category is one that I just made up, and covers spiritual, esoteric, or mystical practices that impact your external world by either making you a measurably better person, or by providing you with helpful life skills that positively impact your life and the lives of others around you. I touched on this topic in the future-proofing episode with Andrew Watt and with my interview with Greg Marcus on Mussar. But I believe there’s a lot more to explore in this area.
Here are the various topics I briefly discuss and some links to other things I’ve written about them:
In part 2 of our two-part forecasting series, Andrew B. Watt and I use astrology and Tarot to try to predict what 2020 will be like. We go through every month and produce both cards and an astrological chart. This second part covers July through December of 2020.
In part 1 of our two-part forecasting series, Andrew B. Watt and I use astrology and Tarot to try to predict what 2020 will be like. We go through every month and produce both cards and an astrological chart. This first part covers January through June of 2020.
Alexx Bollen of The Alexxcast and John and Alexx Hate Stuff joins me to test out my new recording equipment. I recently created a sort of recording studio with some new equipment that promises to change the way I’m doing podcasting. This new setup centers around the RØDECaster Pro, and that means I had to learn some new tricks. This is kind of a practice episode, and y’all are learning with me!
Alexx brought over some Dune trading cards from the 1980s, and we use those as a jumping off point to discuss esoteric and occult themes in Frank Herbert’s Dune books. Our conversation gets pretty deep in spite of neither of us having read the Dune books in a number of years. We discuss many topics, from clairvoyance to genetic memory to prophecy. Also I probably threw in some sound effects because the RØDECaster Pro can do that and apparently that’s a thing now. Sorry!
After listening to my conversation with Greg Marcus on Mussar, you might be curious about giving it a try. Mussar is an excellent and effective technique for improving your ethical and moral values through the development of soul traits. It is easy to get started.
The simplest way to begin a Mussar practice is to incorporate its basic techniques into your daily ritual or devotional practice. Mussar requires a brief period of reflection in the morning and evening, along with some reading and journaling. Here’s how we get started.
Making a Plan
Mussar practice works with one virtue or “soul trait” every week. You cycle through your chosen list of thirteen virtues on repeat, completing four cycles per year. Many Mussar practices involve methods for selecting a list of thirteen virtues, but since we’re keeping this easy, we will use the list that Benjamin Franklin used in his autobiography.
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i. e., waste nothing.
Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Avoid extreams; avoid resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
In the morning, you should read the brief statement for this week’s virtue out loud several times. Try to memorize the phrase and repeat it to yourself throughout the day. It can help to do research on the virtue as you’re working on it, and to build up a collection of readings and thoughts from philosophers and Mussar practitioners about each.
Contemplate the virtue during your morning meditation. Remember that many virtues are abstract, beyond straightforward definition, and allow yourself to be surprised by nuances and meanings you discover. Record these thoughts.
In the Evening
Before bed, look back on your day and think about times you were successful in practicing this week’s virtue, or faltered in your practice. Record these briefly. This simple act of mindfulness will, over time, result in an increase of both your awareness of virtue and the integration of the virtues into your life.
For more on Mussar practice, I recommend reading the following books. They are straightforward and easy to tackle and will get you going on the next steps in increasing your virtue.
Mussar is the practice of increasing ethics and morality, and joining me to discuss this topic is Greg Marcus. Mussar is a thousand year-old Jewish spiritual practice. Greg is a recovering workaholic and the creator of American Mussar. He offers guidance on living a life of mindful harmony and spiritual integrity, drawing upon Jewish teachings and contemporary wisdom alike. Today he is a writer, speaker, coach, workshop facilitator, stay at home father, and full-time rabbi in training. He’s the author of The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions: Finding Balance Through the Soul Traits of Mussar
Join me as I sit down for coffee with Greg Traw, a local Portland artist and musician who has created an incredible Tarot deck: the Dracxiodos Tarot. We talk about Greg’s history with the Western esoteric tradition, Eastern religions, artwork, Tarot, and how it all comes together in his work. We also dive into the connections between Tarot and Kabbalah.
Andrew B. Watt joins me on this podcast episode to discuss various visions of the future and how we as magicians, occultists, and wizards can prepare for the future — any future! In particular, we discuss the competing ideas of John Michael Greer and Gordon White, futures both pessimistic and optimistic. We also take a look at the 200 and 800 year Jupiter-Saturn cycles proposed by noted astrologer Austin Coppock. How valid are any of these future predictions and what can we do to get ready?
This conversation was a blast. Andrew is a great thinker and we really dive into some current topics in a way I’m not sure this podcast has ever explored before. Let us know what you think in the comments — and in the meantime, here are some links!
Recommended reading before diving into this episode is book 4, chapter 5 of the Picatrix — yes, ultimate nerds that we are, our entire discussion about your future does end up rooted in an ancient book on pagan Arabian astrological wizard junk. Enjoy!