Toward a Methodology for Reality Hacking

"Superstition is the tribute paid by ignorance to knowledge of which it recognises the value but does not understand the significance." Dion Fortune, Sane Occultism If you have read my previous post on magic as hacking , you may find yourself persuaded by the similarities between the two activities, but asking yourself where exactly that leaves you as far as putting the information into action.  A set of techniques or processes gets us only so far as the use cases they were developed for:  continuing to slavishly rely on them in circumstances they were not intended to address seems superstitious at best (using Dion Fortune's definition above), and potentially ineffectual or counterproductive at worst.  Nor does it help to understand what the tactics are unless you can also have some insight into where (and why) these can and should be applied.  With that in mind, I've been spending my time lately considering what a methodology would look like if we are to approach mag

On Magic and Hacking

We look hard We look through We look hard to see for real Sisters of Mercy, "Lucretia My Reflection" Inspired by my recent conversation with the delightful Erik Arneson , I decided to take some time and write up a more cohesive set of my thoughts on the interrelationship of magic and computer hacking. Prefatory note:  "Hacking" is a very broad term, which covers not only intrusion into computer systems, but also their defense, engineering, and an entirely vast array of non-computer-related tinkering, making, and puzzling.  Here, however, I'm talking specifically about the offensive side of hacking:  the approach to breaking into computers and networks. In my day job, I'm a professional computer hacker.  I work on an internal red team, which means that I'm paid by my employer to break into our own systems before criminal threat actors can do so, and serve as a sparring partner for our network defenders.  In recent years I've seen a great many parallel

Podcast Interviews, Part Three

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Erik Arneson , host of the outstanding Arnemancy podcast .  We had a delightful conversation on the relationship of magic and computer hacking, the esoteric uses of cryptography, and a great deal about the philosophical underpinnings of magic--including some of the big questions that arise when you begin to explore the nature of magic itself. Mercifully, we did not talk about the Kybalion. Big thanks to Erik for having me on the podcast! Listen now:  Anything but the Kybalion

Podcast Interviews, Part Two

 My friend Taylor Bell recently interviewed me for the Green Lion Podcast , in a two-part episode.  I always have great conversations with Taylor, and it was a lot of fun to record this one together.  We dig into the weeds of magic, Forteana, and all things weird and wonderful. Interview Part One Interview Part Two

Podcast Interviews, Part One

  Recently I had my first podcast interview, on Projeto Mayhem .  Watch as I get tag-teamed by Marcelo del Debbio and Andre Descrovi about the Kybalion, one of the most controversial texts in modern western occultism.  Thanks to both of them for having me on the show and for the thought-provoking questions!

All That's Wrong with the Golden Dawn

After two full years of deliberation, I recently resigned from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  I had been a member for more than a decade, almost half of it as an Adept.  I had been struggling with this decision for two years, after I had a falling out with my mother temple in early 2019.  At the time, I exercised my right as an Adept to unaffiliate with that temple and continue on my Path as a solitary practitioner.  But in doing so, I felt adrift.  I had effectively lost not only my chosen family of 10 years, but all of the people in my life I held dear who spoke my own native spiritual language.  I had already experienced the Golden Dawn tradition elsewhere, first initiating into a different Order back in 2005, and anyone can walk that Path alone if they so choose--so my resignation didn't mean that I couldn't pursue my own spiritual journey anymore.  But my chosen family was irreplaceable, as was the experience of doing lodge-style magic with that family and having

Walking Through the Fire

In my last post on this blog, I had reflected on the perspective voiced by the character of Henry Fogg in Lev Grossman's The Magicians  that the magician's inner pain is what makes them stronger: that they "burn it as fuel, for light and warmth," and in so doing have "learned to break the world that has tried to break [them]." I said at the time that I would leave an analysis of that question to my next post on the subject. It turns out there's no way to answer that question except through experience.  And if we hadn't already had enough inner pain as it was, the novel coronavirus has affected us all in our own disparate ways, giving us plenty more of it to deal with.  It's certainly left me with my own share of scars to bear. So, what deep truths have I learned about the nature of magic and pain?  Was Fogg right after all? Well, the jury's still out.  Do those of us who are called to the magical path experience pain more deeply than