Tag Archives: AEWCH

Irish fairies in Irish culture, economics, and politics: It’s AEWCH 187 with anthropologist Dennis Gaffin!

17 May

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Friends,
Since 2019, I’ve lived in Ireland. It’s a country being pulled away from Catholic traditionalism and towards humanistic tech neoliberalism. But the spiritual Celtic landscape has never gone away, either. Here, the supernatural, paranormal, mystical, and occult still hold their strange and potent sway. But where they were once “contained” by religion or traditional belief structures, now they don’t reside in the same place in Irish experience or psyche. Where does magic “go” when it’s displaced? So here’s my series on the spiritual realm of Ireland, which will be looking at Ireland’s spiritual landscape specifically, and how that gives us a picture of the spirit and modernity in general. The first in the series was AEWCH 186 with Dr. Andrew Sneddon on Irish witchcraft and belief.

But let’s be honest, when we think of magic in Ireland, the first place our mind goes is faeries. So I asked anthropologist Dennis Gaffin to join me. Dennis is a researcher and  author of several books, including In Place: Spatial and Social Order in a Faeroe Islands Community, and his recent novel on theosophy, The Divinity Inquiry. But it’s his work Running with the Fairies: Towards a Transpersonal Anthropology of Religion that we focus on the most.

I’m so excited to share this episode with you, friends.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ?
With so few books of anthropological scholarship on fairies in Ireland – ones that don’t merely dismiss the phenomena out of hand – Dennis’s book is a standout. So your best bet is to go way back to anthropologist Walter Evans-Wentz’s kind of sort of classic book, The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. Evans-Wentz’s big book is a favorite of academics, lay scholars, and para researchers because of its rigor, and shows up in the strangest places.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO?
A great episode, I think, that pulls apart belief and disbelief, magic and where it hides in plain sight, is AEWCH 141 with religious scholar Jason Josephson-Storm. (BTW, I really, really love that episode!)

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER?
Here are three articles on fairies and fairy faith in Ireland to send you down this path. First, when a Teachta Dála (or TD, a member of Irish government) blamed fairies on poor road conditions. Second, a massive road project ro-routed to preserve a fairy bush. Third, a statue of a fairy banned from public display because it was considered offensive.

MORE ON DENNIS
To be honest, info on Dennis is pretty hard to find! But here’s a good long review of Running with the Fairies . And here’s an issue of The Irish Theosophist featuring some writings on fairies. I didn’t know about the publication (from the 19th century) until I read Dennis’s work.

Until next time, friends!
CH

Irish witches & Irish witch trials – The first AEWCH episode in a series on magic in Ireland!

3 May

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Friends,

Since 2019, I’ve lived in Ireland. It’s a country being pulled away from Catholic traditionalism and towards humanistic tech neoliberalism. But the spiritual Celtic landscape has never gone away, either. Here, the supernatural, paranormal, mystical, and occult still hold their strange and potent sway. But where they were once “contained” by religion or traditional belief structures, now they don’t reside in the same place in Irish experience or psyche. Where does magic “go” when it’s displaced? Welcome to my series on the spiritual realm of Ireland, which will be looking at Ireland’s spiritual landscape specifically, and how that gives us a picture of the spirit and modernity in general.

To kick the series off, I invited Irish witchcraft scholar, Andrew Sneddon onto the show. Andrew is the author of Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland, as well as Possessed by the Devil: The Real History of the Islandmagee Witches and Ireland’s Only Mass Witchcraft Trial, and Witchcraft and Whigs: The Life of Bishop Francis Hutchinson (1660-1739) . His new book, Representing Magic in Modern Ireland: Belief, History, and Culture (which is free online if you’re reading these show notes before May 10 2022) covers the Irish witch trials and how they appear in literature and other art. We talk about witches of course, but also cunningfolk and belief, ghosts and the political appropriation of magic.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ?
Two books on the conflation (and consequences) of withchcraft and fairies in Ireland are about Bridget Cleary – a woman burned to death by her husband in 1895 after he suspected her of being a changeling. First is The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke, and second is The Cooper’s Wife Is Missing by Joan Hoff and Marian Yates.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO?
The obvious choice in AEWCH 98 with Thomas Waters on the victims of witchcraft and the witchcraft of victims. Thomas is a scholar of witchcraft in the UK (and thankfully also examines the way beliefs in the UK permeated the places it colonized) and there are plenty of parallels here, especially in how magic “hides” by moving its use into new cultural corners and contours.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER?
Since we’re kicking off the series, it’s best to refer you first to the site of the The National Folklore Collection here in Ireland. It’s a huge site with tons of different directions and magical rabbit holes to go down.

MORE ON ANDREW
Here’s Andrew’s site and CV at Ulster University, where he teaches. Here’s Andrew talking at the event “The Land Remembers: Place as a Keeper of Story.” And here’s a longer talk from Andrew on the Islandmagee witchcraft trials. Andrew is also a cofounder (with Victoria McCollum) of The Witches of Islandmagee Project which presents the story of the Islandmagee witches and witch trials in multiple formats (game, graphic novel, video, etc).

Until next time, friends,

CH

How esoteric christianity vitalizes culture, economics, and politics. AEWCH 185 with Seth Jordan!

21 Apr

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Friends,

In the midst of 2022, so many of us are seeking peace and meaning. So here’s my series on one meaning-rich tradition and religious stream: Christianity.

But this will be a different sort of Christianity: occult and esoteric Christianity. Some of it might look familiar. Some might seem absolutely bizarre. All of it, I hope will stir a feeling of warmth and depth of meaning for you, whether you feel any affinity with Christianity or the occult. The first episode in the series is AEWCH 181, featuring Rev. Patrick Kennedy from the Christian Community – a religious tradition informed by occultism. The second, AEWCH 182, was on with writer and spiritual teacher Lisa Romero. The third is AEWCH 183 on Christ and technology with tech worker-turned-spiritual-philosopher Andrew Linnell. And the fourth, AEWCH 184, is an examination of esoteric christianity and friendship in the Holocaust and now with historian Anne Weise.

Now we turn to the very practical fruits of esoteric christianity: how it can flow into cultural, political, and economic life in lasting and powerful ways. The name for this is social threefolding, a process articulated by Rudolf Steiner in the early 20th century based on principles in human life.

To discuss social threefolding I invited Seth Jordan onto the show; Seth is an educator and writer at The Whole Social. In the spirit of threefolding, I ask three times: Why do we have no idea of how to move forward?

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ? A great introduction to social threefolding can be found in Nicanor Perlas’s book, Shaping Globalization: Civil Society, Cultural Power, and Threefolding. Nicanor was a presidential hopeful in the Philippines and has received the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize), the Outstanding Filipino Award, and the UNEP Global 500 Award for his work. He was also Seth’s teacher and is a lucid writer.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO? Well, two of them: One of my favorite episodes of the show is AEWCH 76 with money historian Conor McCabe where we talk about the phenomenology of money. I had Conor back on the show a year or later to discuss how to reinvent money and economics with anthroposophical economist, John Bloom, on AEWCH 110.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER? Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is an initiative that came from biodynamic farming (an esoteric christian approach to agriculture) and social threefolding. It’s incorporated other traditions and thinkers along the way, as exemplified by this good article on CSAs. As Susan Witt, from the EF Schumacher Society says: “One of Steiner’s major concepts was the producer-consumer association, where consumer and producer are linked by their mutual interests,” she explained. “And one of Schumachers major concepts was to develop an economy where you produce locally what is consumed locally. We began to see CSA as a way to bring these key ideas together.”

And one of the farmers at a community farm elaborates the principles:

  • New forms of property ownership—The land is held in a common by a community through a legal trust. The trust then leases its property long-term to farmers who use the land to grow food for the community.
  • New forms of cooperation—A network of human relations replaces old systems of employers and employees as well as replacing the practice of pledging material security (land, buildings, etc.) to banks.
  • New forms of economy (associative economy)–The guiding question is not “how do we increase profits?” but rather “what are the actual needs of the land and of the people involved in this enterprise?

MORE ON SETH You can take Seth’s course on threefolding, Transforming Society: Seeds for a New Social Understanding via the EduCareDo initiative (co-founded by Lisa Romero). Since Seth mentioned “superstar economist” Thomas Piketty, here it is; it’s worth reading even if you’re not familiar with Piketty‘s work.

Until next time, friends, Love. CH

Esoteric Christianity and friendship in the Holocaust. AEWCH 184 with Anne Weise.

8 Apr

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

Against Everyone With Conner Habib is funded exclusively by listeners like you. Do you find value in this show? If so, support the podcast. SUPPORT THIS PODCAST via Patreon

Friends,

In the midst of 2022, so many of us are seeking peace and meaning. So here’s my series on one meaning-rich tradition and religious stream: Christianity.

But this will be a different sort of Christianity: occult and esoteric Christianity. Some of it might look familiar. Some might seem absolutely bizarre. All of it, I hope will stir a feeling of warmth and depth of meaning for you, whether you feel any affinity with Christianity or the occult. The first episode in the series is AEWCH 181, featuring Rev. Patrick Kennedy from the Christian Community – a religious tradition informed by occultism. The second, AEWCH 182, was on with writer and spiritual teacher Lisa Romero. And the third is AEWCH 183 on Christ and technology with tech worker-turned-spiritual-philosopher Andrew Linnell.

For this episode, I turn to the value of esoteric christianity and friendship and its opposite: Nazism.

I’m joined by scholar and author Anne Weise, using her absolutely stunning, heartbreaking, and inspiring book, Alfred Bergel: Sketches of a Forgotten Life—from Vienna to Auschwitz as the foundation for our talk.

Alfred Bergel was a painter murdered in Auschwitz – a wonderful artist, actually, whose work might be largely disappeared by his murders had Anne and a few others done the work of reconstructing his presence here.

Anne did this via research at the Karl König Institute since Bergel was close friends with König, the Jewish anthroposophist who started – through his guidance, encounters, and inspiration from Rudolf Steiner – Camphhill Communities, where people with what many of us would call “disabilities” live around the world. Camphill Communities are among esoteric christianity’s most beautiful offerings to the world. Follow links below for more information.

Through König’s archives and Anne’s work, Bergel’s life can be reconstructed and revitalized in part. Anne found mentions of him in Konig’s letters and family diaries, in poems and stories. She found other holocaust survivors and the notes of others who had died in the holocaust about Bergel. She also, on the journey (and in her book) in revealed instances of others in the camps comforted by esoteric christianity and anthroposophy (indeed some of the people in the camps were put they because they were anthroposophists).

This is an episode rooted in history, relevant for today, in both its picture of friendship and Christ, as well as its revelation of the inverse and how evil works.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ?
I was moved and disturbed by Peter Tradowsky’s short book, Christ and Antichrist: Understanding the Events of Our Time and Recognizing Our Tasks. It’s a portrait of the presence of evil in the second World War, as well as the challenges that face us in our moment. I only ask that you keep yourself in a feeling of protection and love before you read it; it’s intense. There are some points of contention between Tradowsky and what Anne says on this episode; I find them helpful to think about.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO?
I did an episode of the show with my best friend, Jeb Havens: AEWCH 161 and I’d say that’s the best outline of a spiritual friendship I can offer. 

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER?
Camphill Communities – developed by Alfred Bergel’s friend, Karl König, with guidance and inspiration from Rudolf Steiner – are among the most beautiful contributions of esoteric christianity to our world today. The idea of Camphill is that people with “disabilities” are whole people. To put it in the words of Rudolf Steiner in 1924: “The only possible grounds we can have for speaking of the normality or abnormality of the child’s life of soul, or indeed the life of soul of any human being, is that we have in mind something that is normal in the sense of being average. At present there is really no other criterion. That is why the conclusions people come to are so very confused. When they have in this way ascertained the existence of ‘abnormality,’ they begin to do – heaven knows what – believing they are thereby helping to get rid of the abnormality, while all the time they are driving out a fragment of genius.”

MORE ON ANNE
Anne works at the Karl König Institute, and their site is a great way to look into Karl’s efforts. She’s also written the book Marianne Brandt: Wegbereiterin des Produktdesigns A good article – pre-English Alfred Bergel… translation – by Anne on Bergel and the art forgery committed by the Nazis, “Alfred Bergel Opens a New Chapter on Holocaust Art: Spiritual Sustenance and Forced Forgery” is here.

Until next time, friends,
Love.
CH

Christ and the robots. I talk tech and occultism with MysTech founder Andrew Linnell on AEWCH 183!

30 Mar

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Against Everyone With Conner Habib is funded exclusively by listeners like you. Do you find value in this show? If so, support the podcast. SUPPORT THIS PODCAST via Patreon

Friends,
In the midst of 2022, so many of us are seeking peace and meaning. So here’s my series on one meaning-rich tradition and religious stream: Christianity.

But this will be a different sort of Christianity: occult and esoteric Christianity. Some of it might look familiar. Some might seem absolutely bizarre. All of it, I hope will stir a feeling of warmth and depth of meaning for you, whether you feel any affinity with Christianity or the occult. The first episode in the series was AEWCH 181, featuring Rev. Patrick Kennedy from the Christian Community – a religious tradition informed by occultism. The second, AEWCH 182, was on with writer and spiritual teacher Lisa Romero.

One of the main wellsprings of meaning in our time is also one of the main vampiric forces in our time, sucking meaning from each day at the same instant it offers it up: technology. How do we find our way into the spiritual aspects of technology? Does esoteric christianity have an indication?

I invited a spiritual educator with over four decades in tech – Andrew Linnell – on to the show to discuss all of this. In addition to teaching anthroposophy Andrew is the cofounder of the tech-and-spirituality study group, MysTech, and he’s also the author of multiple books, including The Uncomfortable History of Christianity and The Hidden Heretic of the Renaissance: Leonardo.

I’m so excited to share this episode with you. It goes deep into the challenges – and pathways through them – of our time.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ? Normally I wouldn’t throw you into the deep end with the reading, but let’s face it: with this episode, we’re already in the deep end! So, a great supplement is Rudolf Steiner’s lecture series, The Influences of Lucifer and Ahriman: Human Responsibility for the Earth. It’s a lot to take on if you’re new to esoteric Christianity, but as with most occult truths, you sometimes just have to not-know in the reading and contemplation until you find your way to knowing via experience. See how it goes for you!

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO? I did a whole series of episodes on tech back in 2020, and the one that stands out the most for me in relation to this episode is AEWCH 112 featuring writer Peter Bebergal. We discuss what occult technology but never quite get to the precipice of the rabbit hole Andrew and I go down into here. So I think the episodes compliment each other really well.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER? There’s an easy spiritual exercise offered by the esoteric Christian group, The Researchers of Truth called the Introspection exercise. It’s done a bit differently by anthroposophists, but I think the Researchers version is so simple that it’s a great place to start if you’ve never done meditation or spiritual exercise before.

MORE ON ANDREW The best way to engage with Andrew’s work is by enrolling in one of the MysTech study courses. But you can also read the MysTech journals which feature Andrew and other contributors, and you can subscribe to the monthly MysTech newsletter.

Until next time, friends,
Love.
CH

Esoteric Christianity as the path of freedom and non-materialism: AEWCH 182 featuring Lisa Romero

18 Mar

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Against Everyone With Conner Habib is funded exclusively by listeners like you. Do you find value in this show? If so, support the podcast. SUPPORT THIS PODCAST via Patreon

Friends, In the midst of 2022, so many of us are seeking peace and meaning. So here’s my series on one meaning-rich tradition and religious stream: Christianity.

But this will be a different sort of Christianity: occult and esoteric Christianity. Some of it might look familiar. Some might seem absolutely bizarre. All of it, I hope will stir a feeling of warmth and depth of meaning for you, whether you feel any affinity with Christianity or the occult. The first episode in the series was AEWCH 181, featuring Rev. Patrick Kennedy from the Christian Community – a religious tradition informed by occultism.

So… how is esoteric Christianity used? Or put differently, how does it work into and through our being and then act on the world? How can we form a new picture of reality out of it and proceed into thinking, feeling, and willing a new one into being?

To discuss this, I spent some time in rural Ireland with spiritual teacher and writer Lisa Romero. Lisa last appeared on the show three years ago on AEWCH 68 to discuss the occult picture of sex and sexuality. It was a profound conversation for me, but it barely approaches this one in terms of depth and breadth. We talk about Christianity at work in us, around us, and in the world. We discuss why esoteric symbols are used (why, for instance, is a star shape important and not just arbitrary?). And we discuss so much more.

Lisa the author of multiple books, all filled with spiritual exercises, including A Bridge to Spirit: Understanding Conscious Self-Development and Consciousness-Altering Substances and Spirit-led Community: Healing the Impact of Technology .

This is one of my very favorite episodes, I’m so happy to share it with you.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ? If you’d like to spend some time with one of the great Christian mystics, a good place to start is The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO? For another look at forgiveness and understanding, a great episode is AEWCH 162 with Dr. Gwen Adshead, who works with violent offenders and seeks to greet them with compassion. It’s a powerful episode and Gwen’s work is so utterly moving to me.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER? Lisa mentions St. John of the Cross, and there’s a great series of episodes about him on the podcast Turning To The Mystics. There’s so much there and so many episodes, so I suggest you start with this one.

MORE ON LISA Lisa co-runs the EduCareDo initiative, which offers anthroposophy-based distance learning, and she also offers her own courses and pathwork: The Inner Work Path , which stems from her own esoteric research. The book the exercise comes from is The Inner Work Path: A Foundation for Meditative Practice in the Light of Anthroposophy. And here’s a great interview with her on AEWCH 181 guest Patrick Kennedy’s podcast (in this case his co-host Jonah Evans is interviewer), The Light In Everything.

Until next time, friends, Love. CH

A new series of episodes on Against Everyone With Conner Habib: Occult Christianity. My first episode, AEWCH 181 featuring Rev. Patrick Kennedy from The Christian Community

8 Mar

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Against Everyone With Conner Habib is funded exclusively by listeners like you. Do you find value in this show? If so, support the podcast. SUPPORT THIS PODCAST via Patreon

Friends,

Now in the midst of 2022, so many of us are seeking peace and meaning. But one of the primary sources of meaning, religion, can feel outdated or even cruel and anti-peace if judged by its historical pathways of violence. Yet many of us find the longing to connect with religious traditions that fascinated us, comforted us, or even just interested us at other points in our lives.

So I’m going to spend the next few episodes connecting us with one religious stream: Christianity. But this will be a different sort of Christianity: occult and esoteric Christianity. Some of it might look familiar. Some might seem absolutely bizarre. All of it, I hope will stir a feeling of warmth and depth of meaning for you, whether you feel any affinity with Christianity or the occult.

The aim is to discuss how to revitalize the spirit of any endeavor or phenomenon – religion, the natural world, technology, social justice, history, and politics – with the profound mystery secrets of Christianity.

The main headquarters, so to speak, of this exploration, will be the approach to the world developed by late 18th/early 19th Century philosopher/spiritual teacher/scientist/artist Rudolf Steiner, called anthroposophy.

First up in the series is Reverend Patrick Kennedy, who along with Rev. Jonah Evans, hosts one of my favorite podcasts, The Light In Everything. Patrick is a reverend in The Christian Community, the gathering of Christians in service and ritual informed by Rudolf Steiner’s guidance and Rosicrucianism. He’s extremely thoughtful, warm, and his voice is a beautiful light in the world.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ? One of the best books on Christianity seen from an esoteric point of view is Wilt Thou Be Made Whole: Healings in the Gospels by Georg Kühlewind. It’s a beautiful book that will both lead you through all the instances of healing in the Bible, and also lead you into the experience of them through meditation and contemplation.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO? In this series, I’ll be focusing mostly on esoteric Christianity inspired by anthroposophy and the work of Rudolf Steiner. But there are other valuable and potent esoteric Christianity streams that deserve everyone’s attentiveness. One can be found in the work of Daskalos and the Researchers of Truth, which I go into in-depth on AEWCH 67 with one of Daskalos’s students, Daniel Joseph.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER? Well, the Christian Community, of course! One of the best ways to do that is to see if there’s a service near you and then attend one. Nothing will be expected of you, no one will try to get you “in” to the group. You’ll just encounter what all encounter: the baseline of the service is always the same; the Act of Consecration of Man. And then some talking afterward.

MORE ON PATRICK Aside from listening to Patrick’s podcast, you can support his endeavors on The Light in Everything’s patreon.

Love.
C

2022 Relationships are vital and… confusing. That’s why I asked Dr. Chris Donaghue onto AEWCH 180 to talk about how to navigate them!

23 Feb

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Friends,

Happy New Year! Here’s the fifth episode in my series on How To Live in 2022. The first, AEWCH 175, was with occult scholar Mitch Horowitz; the second, AEWCH 176, is on why reincarnation matters for us now; the third is AEWCH 177 with philosopher Zena Hitz on how and why to be an intellectual; the fourth is AEWCH 178 on using mysticism and the tarot in 2022 with Jessica Dore; and AEWCH 179, the fifth in the series is about living in community and organizations with Dean Spade.

But at the foundation of all our lives is sex – even if we are not inclined to identify with this or that sexuality, it is our origin story – and relationship – whatever kind of relationship I might be in. While world events seem to take up so much of our attention, in some ways the real action is at the level of fantasy, relationship, desire, lust, gratification, doubt, dear, confusion, and pleasure.

So I asked my friend, sex therapist and relational philosopher Dr. Chris Donaghue back onto the show. Chris is the author of Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture and Rebel Love: Break the Rules, Destroy Toxic Habits, and Have the Best Sex of Your Life. Chris has been on the show twice before. Waaaay back on AEWCH 10 and then again on AEWCH 56.

Chris and I have a wide-ranging discussion as per usual on the show. But we both bring our own psychological (in my case psychoanalytic) and spiritual perspectives to bear. I hope this episode is helpful and illuminating.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ? I don’t like many pop-psych relationship books, but one I still think about – even though I read it over ten years ago – is David Richo’s How to Be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration. It’s not a perfect blueprint for sex and relationships, but there are so many bits of wisdom and seeds of contemplation in that book that I think it can be helpful for everyone.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO? The obvious pairing for this episode is AEWCH 159 with my friend Duncan Trussell. There’s not much to say about it other than it was recorded in the middle of one of the hardest relationship moments of my life. I don’t think it’s “brave” to have recorded it. But I do think, based on the feedback that I received, that it might be helpful for others or at least help diminish loneliness.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER? One of the greatest tools I pull on when I’m having a relational emergency, I turn to The Work of Byron Katie. It’s a simple but profound tool for slowing down, and encountering the other through your own thinking. Watch some videos of Katie’s work in action, and then take it on yourself in your own life.

MORE ON CHRIS Chris is extremely prolific, so aside from his books (linked above), it might be a bit difficult to know where to start. Thankfully, his website gives tons of links. He also has a great Instagram which offers up thoughts and prompts for you to reflect on each day.

Until next time, be kind and horny with each other.
X
C

Spiritual organizing and solidarity with spirits on AEWCH 179 featuring Dean Spade

9 Feb

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Friends,
Happy New Year! Here’s the fifth and final in the series of episodes on How To Live in 2022. The first, AEWCH 175, was with occult scholar Mitch Horowitz, the second, AEWCH 176, is on why reincarnation matters for us now, the third is AEWCH 177 with philosopher Zena Hitz on how and why to be an intellectual, and the fourth is AEWCH 178 on using mysticism and the tarot in 2022 with Jessica Dore.

All those episodes, though, were geared towards being an individual navigating the world. But what about, uh, other people? Especially since according to Sartre’s much-misinterpreted line, “hell is other people”? How do we enter into much-needed organizing when groups can be so intolerable? And what about when the spiritual is excluded and groups feel cold and even like they have the wrong idea of how the world works?

I asked the amazing author and anarchist activist Dean Spade back to the show to discuss all the above. Dean was last on the show on AEWCH 131, discussing mutual aid, and his book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next), in the midst of the early pandemic. It remains one of my favorite conversations on the show, ever. On this episode, we talk about what happens in groups and the when politicization leads to dehumanization. We also talk about organizing with the dead and the evolution of consciousness as the origin of hierarchies. It’s good, weird, and deep.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ?
Since the origins of inequality keep coming up on the episode, I recommend the book of (AEWCH 169 & AEWCH 99) guests, David Wengrow and David Graeber, The Dawn of Everything. It’s a great book and now it’s a bestseller. Not saying I had anything to do with that, exactly; just happy to see the success of such a thoughtful book about the stupidity of takes like “we’re hard wired to be hierarchical” and “society is too complex to be egalitarian.” Get it. Read it.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO?
A great look at how we all draw from commonwealths – of knowledge, of tactics, strategies, struggles, creative impulses, and sexuality – is on AEWCH 120 with one of my favorite philosophers, Michael Hardt. Michael is the co-author (with Antonio Negri) of some of the most influential political and global theory books of all time, most recently, Assembly. It’s really, really good stuff; a systems thinking approach to leftist politics. Don’t miss it.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER?
The evolution of consciousness and its many culturally specific iterations is one direction I point to for the origins of inequality. By evolution of consciousness, I don’t just mean the evolution in what we think, but the structures of consciousness – including perception – itself. One philosopher of the evolution of consciousness is Jean Gebser, whose book The Ever-Present Origin remains a potent and detailed mapping of the phenomenon. Here’s the Jean Gebser Society’s site to learn more.

MORE ON DEAN
Firstly, here’s Dean’s website, which has tons of his efforts lined, including his excellent video workshop series, Building Capacity for Mutual Aid Groups. Dean is the founder of the founder of Sylvia Rivera Law Project which works to help create conditions to help people thrive while self-determining their gender identity and expression. Dean is also the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law, which identifies the many ways in which struggles that look to permission from the state for human rights fall short. You can also watch his documentary about the ways Israel tires to cover up some of its crimes against Palestinians by exploiting LGBT rights: Pinkwashing Exposed.

Until next time, friends – live well, and together!
XO
CH

Seeing into 2022 with the tarot and mystic philosophy: Jessica Dore on AEWCH 178.

26 Jan

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Friends,

Happy New Year! Here’s the fourth in the series of episodes on How To Live in 2022. The first, AEWCH 175, was with occult scholar Mitch Horowitz, the second, AEWCH 176, is on why reincarnation matters for us now, and the third is AEWCH 177 with philosopher Zena Hitz on how and why to be an intellectual. Now, back to the magic.

Divination may not give us “answers” exactly, but it does give us direction. It triggers feeling. It sends us off on adventures. it guards us from taking certain paths and opens others. It’s an important tool for navigating 2022, so I invited Jessica Dore, onto the show. Jessica is a tarot reader, philosopher, and author of Tarot for Change: Using the Cards for Self-Care, Acceptance, and Growth. I was introduced to Jessica’s work through another AEWCH 93 guest, tarot reader/zinemaker/YA author Sara Maria Griffin.

I’m so excited to share this episode with you.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ?
With some hesitation, I recommend Meditations on the Tarot by an anonymous author. Why do I offer my hesitation? It is one of the most profound books ever written, and it changes you as you read it. I understand that for some, my caveat will make the book more appealing. But go into it, if you do, with a gesture of love and care.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO?
The most obvious choice is also the best: AEWCH 142 with Rachel True. Rachel (whose fame still touches on her role in the cult classic The Craft) created her own tarot deck and tarot reading book. If you’re wondering why Jessica and I aren’t doing the “what is tarot, anyway?” that’s because I spent a good part of the episode with Rachel discussing just that.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER?
If you’d like to learn more about Valentin Tomberg (the anthroposophist, Catholic esotericist, and author of Meditations on the Tarot), here’s a website about his life and efforts.

MORE ON JESSICA
Aside from buying Tarot for Change, you can keep up with Jessica via her recordings on substack (including the January 2022 offering we discuss on the episode), or via her website. There’s a lot on all her platforms (including twitter).

Until next time, friends!
CH