Tag Archives: occult

Talk with the dead. AEWCH 150.

4 May

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FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.

Buy all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH150 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends, No show notes here. This is the 150th episode. I’m so happy to share it with you.

Enjoy it.
Talk to the dead.
Love, CH

The metamorphosis of reality. I talk with anthropologist Stuart McLean on AEWCH 148!

13 Apr

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HI! Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.

The book we talk about most on this episode, Fictionalizing Anthropology, is currently out of stock at my favorite indie book distributor, Bookshop.org, but you can get it relatively quickly from Amazon by clicking here. Buy Stuart’s other amazing books and the books mentioned on and related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 148 via bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

The other day, world-renowned physicist Michio Kaku tweeted “For 2,000 years, philosophers and scientists have searched for a paradigm, a theme, an equation to describe the entire universe. This week, The God Equation goes on sale, describing the greatest quest in the history of science. Have we finally found the theory of everything?”

I think even posing this sort of question reveals – if I’m going to be nice about it – a profound misguidedness.

Everything?

When we talk about reality, we are, of course talking about the world of objects, of planets, of material and motion. Maybe of time, of the microscopic and macroscopic. But we know that isn’t everything. What about the theory of everything that includes myth, stories, fiction, thoughts, feelings, the imagined world, the spiritual intensities of our lives, narratives, characters these – are all part of the picture of realityI suppose you could say, even though Michio didn’t put a space between “every” and “thing” that he Is truly just referring to “things” – the measurable and quantifiable. But that also takes a lot for granted, including the myths of quantity and measure.

Will such a theory tell us about hungry grass – cursed spots in Ireland where to trod on them means to be struck with eternal and deep hunger? Will it tell us about spirits? About the huldulfolk and elves who wander out of snowstorms and into vision in Iceland? Will it tell us about centaurs and how they would be imagined in the first place?

Even if you hold that these are just stories, will it tell us about stories? And will it tell you about why you consider some things to be “stories” and other things as “real?” What gets included in “everything” what gets excluded?

I talk about all this and more with anthropologist and writer Stuart McLean, author, of Fictionalizing Anthropology: Encounters and Fabulations at the Edges of the Human as well as The Event and Its Terrors: Ireland, Famine, and Modernity . We talk about the need to ask fundamental questions about creativity – the creativity of the world itself, of the cosmos – and how symbiosis and metamorphosis become key principles in that. We discuss how, when we start asking questions of what’s real and what’s not real, and how we’d know the difference between the two, anyway, strange things start to happen. And we talk about anthropology’s role and opportunity in all of that.I am still reeling from this conversation – we jump right in and don’t let up for the whole episode.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The importance of combination and metamorphosis
  • The role of aberrant movement and emergence in creation
  • Can anything be “new?”
  • How we create the world by continuously adding to it
  • Magic as seizing the formative force of the cosmos
  • The two way street of cultural conflict and why seeing how the colonizer changes through their own oppression is vital
  • Do words evoke presences or are they powerful on their own
  • How narratives of national trauma assist the nation state
  • How do we walk away from scientistic ways completely
  • How to think about extinction if we don’t accept that death is the end
  • The time I saw a skeleton walking down the street

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Stuart, here’s his website. Here’s his essay, “Stories and Cosmogonies: Imagining Creativity Beyond “Nature” and “Culture” which we discuss on the show. Here’s his University of Minnesota faculty page. Here’s his short essay on the “bog people” discovered in Ireland and Scotland.

• For a view of combination and metamorphosis from a biological perspective, check out the amazing book Chimeras and Consciousness: Evolution of the Sensory Self co-edited by my mentor Lynn Margulis, whose last recorded conversation appears on AEWCH 91.

• For more on the Donald Williamson discovery/scandal, read the amazing book, The Mystery of Metamorphosis: A Scientific Detective Story by Frank Ryan.

• Here are some of Anarqáq’s drawings for Knud Rasmussen:

• I talk with Thomas Waters about witchcraft and ethics and academia on AEWCH 98.

Cold Iron: Aspects of the Occupational Lore of Irish Fishermen by Bairbre Ní Fhloinn is such an incredible book. It’s a little hard to get in the states from book distributors, so I’ve included here a link to the publisher’s page.

• Stories of “hungry grass” have been collected by Irish Folklore Commission, here’s one of them.• Here’s an article on the road that was rerouted to accommodate a fairy bush in Ireland.

• I talk about the de-spiritualized nature of the un-mystery school of academia with • Here’s more on the performance artist Stuart mentions on the episode and in his writing, Kwok Mang Ho, or “The Frog King.”

• I think the song “Someone Has To Die” by the Maritime, with its jangling Friends-theme-song vibe captures the stuff Stuart was saying about extinction creating possibility quite well.

• I talk about how genuine in-community love can be a tool of hating the other on the first episode of the year, AEWCH 136.

• Stuart’s great question: “How to align an experimental understanding of knowledge production and an experimental writing practice with a no less experimental ontology of world making? What kind of anthropology would that be? What kind of world would that be?

Until next time, friends, create!
CH

Alienation & Alien Nation. Catholicism and UFO researcher Diana Walsh Pasulka on AEWCH 144!

16 Mar

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? To buy Diana’s books, and books related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 144 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

Everyone who listens to this show knows that I’m interested in the intersection of spirituality, politics, and philosophy. Not in some sort of parapolitics or conspiracy way, of course – which I generally find plays out a bit shallow, even when there is truth there – but in the way the aforementioned currents play out in our inner lives, in our spiritual understandings, in our desires and drives, in our ethics and morals and activism.

Of course, this means, more and more, that I find myself contending with technology and the scientistic worldview that accompanies it.

It’s why this episode’s guest – religion and UFO scholar Diana Walsh Pasulka – is a perfect person to talk to on the show. Diana Walsh Pasulka  is the author of American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology, Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture and co-editor (with Simone Natale) of Believing in Bits: Digital Media and the Supernatural . They’re all amazing books.

At the top of this episode, I also spend a bit of time pulling apart something that comes up, and that’s the topic of AI, and how it relates to political economy and UFOs (phew!).

I’m still reeling from this conversation with Diana. She’s warm and thoughtful, and she’s mediating a lot of the intensities of the world that we need mediated. Ethics, morals, spirituality, science, tech, religion, and more.

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

(PS: As a bonus, this is coming out just before St. Patrick’s Day and has some St. Patrick’s lore in it! So it’s a sort of holiday episode!)

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why do we not believe the things we don’t believe
  • Stopping ourselves from saying “that was weird” and “that was crazy”
  • The language of art as a way of knowing and learning
  • St. Patrick’s revelation
  • Diana’a UFO initiation process and academia as a site of false initiation
  • Academia’s resistance to supernatural and paranormal phenomena
  • Interacting with the dead in study and research
  • What’s the difference between Purgatory and limbo, and where is Purgatory (hint: Ireland)
  • When did physical evidence become a necessary aspect of making spiritual claims?
  • Are we all in Purgatory/limbo in quarantine?
  • My undergrad Geocities site as evidence of me speaking in tongues
  • When Diana’s social media was destroyed by bots
  • The burden and adventure of seeing what you see in the world

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Diana here’s her first and second appearance on Rune Soup. Here she is on a long (almost 3 hours!) podcast that often has… less interesting guests, the Lex Fridman show (I like Lex himself, no comment on him!). Here’s her CV on her university’s site.

• I talked about creating the new symbolic forms and language in the first episode of 2021, AEWCH 136. And here’s my discussion about metamodernism and theosophy with Jason Josephson Storm on AEWCH 141.

• The review of Diana’s book American Cosmic that was…not exactly positive, but still worthwhile in its critiques was from hermeticist Poke Runyon (who also identified the initiation event in Diana’s life).

• The shaman who said “you’ve graduated into a new danger” to me was Malidoma Some.

• I did a whole series on spirituality, politics, and tech – AEWCH 112 with Peter Berbergal an occult technology, AEWCH 113 with Duncan Laurie on the magical tech of radionics, AEWCH 114 on destroying Silicon Valley, and AEWCH 115 with Joanne McNeill on the inner experience of the internet.

• Here’s the trailer for Host, which, though flawed, is a really enjoyable horror film. Watch it on your laptop, for full effect!

• Here’s Somi Arian’s essay/“open letter” to tech about ethics/morals/free will.

• Steiner’s book, Friedrich Nietzsche: Fighter for Freedom, hasn’t been reprinted in the Collected Works series, but you can read it here.

Until next time friends,

CH

Tarot as poetry, anatomy, anxiety. Rachel True and I talk about the cards on AEWCH 142!

23 Feb

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? To buy Rachel’s book and deck, or other books mentioned on & related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 142 at bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
The state of anxiety is always running, isn’t it? Here in Ireland, just as this is going up, there’s another Covid regulations briefing, and for a week now – as with every week before a briefing – the entire country has been filled with anxious speculation. And beyond the announcement itself, what about AFTER this set of regulations? What about this summer? Holidays? Haircuts? When will I be able to go to a concert? Will this ever end? Are we going to be trapped in neoliberal locked-in hell forever?Anxiety is a relationship to the future. And it’s one that’s felt in our bodies.In other words, anxiety is a form of fortune telling.
That means in a time of high anxiety, most people are ALREADY trying to tell the future. Why not use a system to help?I asked my friend, author, tarot reader, and actress Rachel True onto the show to talk about all this and more.
Many people of course know Rachel from her appearance in the 1996 cult film The Craft, about a coven of teen witches. But now that her book and tarot deck are out — True Heart Intuitive Tarot and Guidebook — she’s become increasingly know for her intense tarot readings and her potent intuition.This episode really goes through tarot on multiple levels – so it’s a great for whatever your level of interest and knowledge is.
We start by talking about tarot in culture. Tarot in politics. Tarot in black communities.Then we discuss what tarot is – so there’s a philosophical level there. How does it work? Rachel has an idea of tarot as a story, and I talk about the deck as a being and the cards as aspects of its anatomy.
Then we move deeper into the specific about her deck and her book. The deck is colorful, beautiful, and filled with people who aren’t just white alabaster figures. I’ve included some pictures of the cards we talk about down below here. She also reads a story from the book that comes with the deck – a book which has a personal story from Rachel’s life relating to each of the major arcana in the deck. And finally, we give some thoughts and tips on reading

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why is tarot so visible now, again?
  • Tarot readers, psychics, astrologers as a class of workers
  • Anxiety as soothsaying
  • Rachel’s heritage and how that affected her spirituality
  • The folk and magic traditions in my house when I was a kid
  • Nietzsche’s role in Rachel’s tarot deck
  • Why neither Rachel not I use reversals when we read tarot
  • The story that unfolds in each tarot spread
  • Tarot as anatomy, tarot as poetry
  • That time Rachel became the Strength tarot card, complete with lion
  • What times to use which decks and other tips on reading
  • How does one choose images for their own decks at all? And how many symbols are too many?
  • The importance of (non-simplistic!) representation in tarot

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Rachel, support her patreon and get her live streamed readings! Here’s a short video of Rachel doing readings for Jezebel. And here’s a long interview with Rachel (in two parts!) with author Mat Auryn.

• Rachel fully designed her deck, and the illustrator she worked with was the incredible Stephanie Singleton.

• There’s a lot of overlap with the previous episode, AEWCH 141 with religion scholar Jason Josephson Storm on how we don’t need to “re-enchant” the world.

I remember Miss Cleo. Do you?

• Here’s more on Byron Katie and her life changing path, The Work.

• Do you know our friend Alec Mapa (maybe best known from his role on Ugly Betty)? Here’s his one-man show, Baby Daddy, about adopting a son with his partner. It’s very sweet and funny.

• Apparently the phrase, “I hate to write, but I love having written” is not a Dorothy Parker quote, but probably (so far as this author can find) a Frank Norris quote.

• Also, if your curiosity is piqued about the Juvenalia podcast featuring AEWCH 93 guest (and tarot reader!) Sarah Maria Griffin, please do listen and subscribe and also support their patreon!

Until next time, pals,
CH

We don’t need to “re-enchant” anything. Religion scholar Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm on Against Everyone With Conner Habib 141!

16 Feb

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker AnchorThis podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? To buy Jason’s books or books mentioned on & related to this episode, please go to my book list for AEWCH 141 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
I’ve always hated the term “re-enchantment” because it presupposes that the world lost its enchantment, or that somehow we just have to insert a fairy or into the landscape or talk to trees, or worse yet, see the world in terms of the Neil deGrasse Tyson “wonder of science”: the most banal way of seeing anything. Do that and then – voila! – we have a spiritual world again.But the world doesn’t need to be be re-enchanted or merely populated by astrological symbols in the night sky – instead we need to dissolve the kinds of knowing that obfuscate our understanding of the spiritual nature of existence. We encounter, each day, a tangle of bad notions of perception and concepts which get in the way of, more open, more honest experiences. Materialism is a form of bad enchantment; a kind of hex itself.

On the other hand, the idea that we need to purge spirituality from the left is even worse. Figures viewed as foundational to materialist leftist discourse like Hegel and Adorno are tangled up in hermetic traditions, not to mention even Marx’s works were published by initially by spiritualists.

To talk about all of this, I invited professor, religious studies author, and authorJason Ānanda Josephson Storm onto the show. Jason is the author of three books, including The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences, as well as the forthcoming book on how to theorize differently, Metamodernism: The Future of Theory.This is an intense episode – my favorite kind – because we don’t hold back at all, we just go as deep as we want into religion, occultism, academic dishonesty, and consciousness.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • How did the tarot, astrology, and more show up in the left
  • Why the occult is not fascism and why we shouldn’t condemn Lutherans
  • The new materialists and neither new nor materialists, discuss
  • The desperate need for dewitchers and new theorists
  • The problem with trying to intervene in language
  • The way academics will develop “a whole vast edifice about the enchant(ment of) nature and it ends with ‘You should buy a Prius’ basically, and ‘Recycle!’ We already know that, we don’t need English professors to tell us that.”
  • My Bugs Bunny politics
  • Dissolving materialism rather than “re-enchanting the world” (and not hiding in dialectical materialism)
  • Why slapping furniture and saying “see, this is the REAL world!” doesn’t work, and also why Quentin Meillassoux is…not good
  • The failure of academia to keep the humanities valid, and why the theosophists (maybe) did it better
  • Why we can live and develop ways of knowing from that, instead of merely developing knowledge to shape and describe how we live

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Jason, here’s his Williams College website (with lots of info). Here he is talking to Vanessa Sinclair on the excellent Rendering Unconscious podcast.

• Here’s me with anti-productivity philosopher Brian O’Connor on AEWCH 89, where we also talk quite a bit (and positively!) about Adorno. And I talked about a lot of these themes from a completely different angle on AEWCH 137 with Mitch Horowitz!

• I have to say I have some hesitations about Jason’s claim that occultism was not central to the Nazi project or Hitler’s mission! I think there’s a very strong link, although I agree that it’s “overplayed” in many ways. See Hitler: The Occult Messiah, by Gerald Suster for a counterpoint. Suster’s book also has some mistakes, but he at least takes the occult seriously as something other than just religious mind-control and stupidity. That said, it’s a very difficult book to get!

Paranormal America (Second Edition): Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture is an excellent study (with TONS of data) on paranormal beliefs in the US.

• Witchcraft never disappeared in the UK, and I talk about it with Thomas Waters on AEWCH 98. You should also check out his truly excellent book, Cursed Britain

• The mountain that is there and is not there comes from Zen teacher Qingyuan Weixin: “Before I had studied Chan / Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers when I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains and rivers once again as rivers.”

Until next time!
CH

“Do not trust those who analyze magic. They are usually magicians in search of revenge.” – Bruno Latour

Why self help matters in 2021. I talk with self help scholar and teacher Mitch Horowitz on AEWCH 137!

12 Jan

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? For Mitch’s books, and other books mentioned on or related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 137 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

As 2021 begins, we’re faced with a simple question which you might not have thought of, and it’s a simple question…what do you want? What do you want the world to look like?

While everyone else is stuck in the crazed call out of news items and resistance to what they’re afraid of, what do we actually want to aim for?

My friend Gordon White has observed that “optimism is a spell,” and I agree. 

And?

I think we need to extend that further — envisioning the world as you want draws optimism into the personal world. It gives you the impetus and even the tools and substances to build with. In that vein, it’s also important to think about how you want your year to go.

It’s an impertinent question, almost, isn’t it? With some pagan-horned douchebag on the Capitol steps and the lockdowns and the conflicts, you might think: How dare you want to improve your life this year!

But how can you be effective if you don’t center your vision and center your desires? And how will you even know what you’re against and what you’re not against if you don’t put your desires first?

To flesh out all of this, I asked my friend Mitch Horowitz, new age/occult/self help scholar & writer, back onto the show. I talked to Mitch waaay back on AEWCH 30, and I was so nervous: he was one of the first guests I had on who I didn’t already know well. We had a great time, even if the episode is mostly just me talking. This conversation goes much deeper – and it’s because both Mitch and I have become more and more involved in the ideas we’re passionate about and the experiences we’ve had since then, and it’s really great.

We end up discussing why self help matters now more than ever; what Mitch’s cosmology is; and (at length) leftist attacks on new age, spirituality, and occultism: bad faith arguments that ultimately reveal a leftist desire to lose the battle.

So proud to share this, the first AEWCH guest episode of 2021, with you to set the tone for the year.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The need to be right as original sin.
  • “We say we want to be listened to, but actually we want to be obeyed.”
  • How can focus on improving our personal lives in such a crazy polarized time?
  • Developing new habits right the fuck now.
  • The spiritual value of cleaning.
  • Why pleasure and happiness matters in discovering your spiritual and social quest.
  • Is it okay to have personal desires in the face of spiritual necessity?
  • “Lord, make me chaste—but not yet.” – Augustine
  • Was the Buddha wrong?
  • Get away from cruel people. And don’t be one!
  • Deleting facebook (WHY HAVE YOU NOT DONE THIS).
  • That time Steve Bannon called Mitch.
  • Leftist hit jobs on occultism.
  • Asking yourself: I/We/Cosmos.
  • What’s Mitch’s cosmology, anyway?

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Mitch, support his patreon. He gets posts so much stuff for his patrons, including his 10 Day Miracle Challenge. And visit the bookshop.org list; he’s edited and introduced countless books, but I’ve included the ones that he’s authored and the ones in which his voice is most prominent. 

• I was so excited to talk with anti-work feminist Kathi Weeks on AEWCH 123. What an honor!

• Such a shame that Franz Bardon’s major works aren’t as readily available as they used to be. That said, you can learn about this important, lesser-known occultist here.

The New Life Foundation is dedicated to the work of Vernon Howard, and there’s plenty on their site about him.

• Byron Katie’s system, The Work, has been instrumental in making me a better person.

• “There can be no doubt that the follower of anthroposophy is by definition an opponent of National Socialism, or at the very least, must remain an outsider to National Socialism.” – Heinrich Himmler

• Here’s a little article on Annie Besant and Gandhi.

• And here’ s Hitler: The Occult Messiah, by Gerald Suster. Suster’s book has some mistakes, but he at least takes the occult seriously as something other than just religious mind-control and stupidity. That said, it’s a very difficult book to get! 

• ON THE OTHER HAND, here’s Shane Burley’s detailing of the opposite of all this…what happens when a rightwing movement hijacks new age/self help tropes.

Camphill communities are some of the most beautiful and loving organizations for people with disabilities and the elderly. If you don’t know much about them, check them out.

Until next time, friends: Do what you want!
CH

Navigating 2021: An occult Christian perspective on the year ahead.

5 Jan

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Friends,

What a year behind, but also: what a year ahead! I know a lot of you are anxous, so I’ve decided to help give a picture of what’s to come and how to deal with it.

In this solo episode, I talk about the hidden poison of “community,” vaccines, the proximity of the spiritual, hw we all create each other’s sins, and why blood matters.

Love,
CH

(PS: If you’d like to learn more about the painting for the title card of this episode, it’s Mano Poderosa (The All-Powerful Hand), or Las Cinco Personas (The Five Persons). Click here to  see its page at the Brooklyn Museum.)

A MASSIVE conversation with Paul Chek on his podcast, Living 4D with Paul Chek!

30 Dec

Friends,

While you’re waiting for the next episode of AEWCH, guess what, here’s a THREE HOUR LONG conversation with me and AEWCH 129 guest Paul Chek!

I visited Paul at his amazing house (and met his amazing family) earlier this month. We drummed, we ate together, we stacked stones around Paul’s water orgone accumulator, we vaped some crazy herbs, we talked for hours and hours, and more. 

What an incredible day. This conversation wanders all over – into sex and sexuality, Rudolf Steiner and God, materialism and the occult. It’s just…a lot.

Listen above or on any podcast platform (and subscribe! it’s a GREAT and challenging podcast!).

And here’s the CHEK Institute page with show notes.

Love to you.
See you soon with a new episode of AEWCH (and my live conversation with Gordon White!)
CH

How do we believe in things without killing each other? I talk to Peter Rollins & Elliott Morgan of The Fundamentalists podcast on AEWCH 135!

16 Dec

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? For Peter’s books, and other books mentioned on or related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 135 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
As the year comes to an end, we find ourselves surrounded by people holding seemingly incommensurable sets of beliefs and ideas – and those sets of beliefs and ideas are being held onto more tightly, not less, as the ship seems to be aimless. While some of you might be finding a sense of relief in the changing of the guard in the US, and the presence of a vaccine, many others feel agitated by both.
2020 was the year that one community, one group of people trying to dominate and humiliate the other, seemed to rule.At the same time, we’ve seen these amazing outpourings of mutual aid, of togetherness, of new demands for the structures that are supposed to be serving us. I wanted to understand all of this, I wanted to have a conversation about belief and politics, and the unknown.
So I invited my friends Peter Rollins and Elliott Morgan to the show. You might know Elliott as part of the YouTube comedy group The Valleyfolk, or from his standup; and Peter from his work as a psychoanalytic theologian, or his previous appearances on AEWCH 14, AEWCH 55, and AEWCH 70 (with Todd McGowan); but I was interested in having them on together because they’re cohosts of the philosophy and psychoanalysis chat show, The Fundamentalists. On each episode, Elliott brings his everyday but perceptive concerns about the world, and Peter pulls them apart with psychoanalysis.
This is, I think a special conversation because of that belief piece, that ideology piece – because we all have different pathways through belief in our lives, from Peter’s sport of strange revelation upon seeing an exorcism take place after leaving the theater – he’d just seen Gremlins 2 – with his friend, to Elliott’s church experiences with something called the Holy Laughter Revival, to mine growing up without much religion and then finding my life infused with occult philosophy.We also each have different psychological structures, which we discuss on this show.And we each have different intellectual mentors and perspectives. Lately, Elliott has taken up Jungian psychology, which stands in some opposition to Peter’s Lacanian/Hegelian view, and both in some opposition to my occult view deeply informed by Rudolf Steiner.
So we spend a lot of this episode fleshing out some of those differences and nuances – how current events, how thinking, how the unconscious, and more, can be seen from each perspective.Gradually, throughout the episode, you get a sense of a sort of peace process. Not because Peter and Elliott and I were i some sort of deep conflict to begin with, but because the ideas and ways of living and structures of psyche meet each other and rest with each other without violent disagreement. The show presents three people, not trying to resolve contradictions and certainly not trying to win out, but rather simply taking an interest in one another.

In some ways, it offers an antidote to clinging to belief on the mast of the sinking ship of our politics, economy, and culture.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Our journeys through belief
  • Different sorts of exorcisms and possessions
  • The interpretations of the concept of the lack in psychoanalysis
  • Why didn’t going to school for science make Elliott an atheist?
  • What the unconscious looks like for Freud, Jung, and Steiner
  • How each of – Peter, Elliott, and I – us fall into a psychoanalytic structure, and what those structures are
  • How to avoid turning anxiety into violence
  • How communism and liberalism have dovetailed with each other into a big mess
  • Comedy creating stability
  • The way love and knowledge meet to become violence in our time

SHOW NOTES

• For more on The Fundamentalists, my recommended episodes are “Success,” “Socialism,” “Fascism,” and “New Normal.” But you can really just start anywhere.

• Right off the bat we get Gremlins 2 and Alabama Snake references, which I feel like is a call to watch both.

• John E.L. Tenney went to a Catholic exorcism and we talked about it on AEWCH 133.

• Here’s a short video on the Holy Laughter Revival, and it is…well…funny!

Jodorowsky’s Dune is one of my favorite movies about magic and art. (Below are character sketches for the film by Moebius.)

• I love AEWCH 116 with Are Thoresen about nothingness and Christ.

• Here’s a brisk intro to Franz Mesmer.

• Here’s the episode of The Fundamentalists about hot takes and the global pandemic.

• The Duncan Trussell Family Hour I talk about re: my prediction of the occluding force is here. And the other episode I mention is here.

• Slavoj Žižek comes up a bit, and if you’re looking for a good book to start with that relates to the topics here, I would say The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity is as good as any.

Until next time, friends,
XO
CH

The paranormal is real. Reality is paranormal. Paranormal investigator John E.L. Tenney on AEWCH!

1 Dec

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Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? For the books mentioned and some related to what we discuss, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 133 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

How to start this episode with paranormal researcher and author John E.L. Tenney?
He’s been working in the field of unexplained phenomenon for decades now, he’s the author of multiple books, has appeared on just about every paranormal/ghosthunting show, and gives lectures around the world on high and low strangeness. Well, I detail our crazy first meeting at the top of the episode, so you’ll hear it there.But also, I just want to say here, that something we learn from John, and why he is the perfect guest for this show is: When you see an “abnormal” thing that betrays the paranormal reality we live in, instead of trying to compartmentalize, think about what that aberration might mean for reality. And at the same time, work to make your personality ready for interpreting it.
The thing about John is that through him, you experience a different quality of life, a different way of living. His example reminds you how strange the normal world is. How if we just take life on its own terms, we find ourselves surrounded by a whirl of intensity – bizarre, alive, exciting, and frightening in the best way possible.So excited to share this with you, friends.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The usefulness of a failed paranormal investigation
  • Why documentaries about me and John would be boring
  • Why are people afraid of ghosts, and should they be?
  • Are ghosts erotic? Do we see them with the Svadhishthana or Muladhara chakras?
  • The way people talk about paranormal stuff at conventions now vs how they used to decades ago.
  • Does tech capture images/sounds of ghosts? If so, are they more powerful than our sense? Than physics?
  • Why making yourself ready to see ghosts matters.
  • Trump as an atheist President.
  • Why Flat-Earthers are right, and why Richard Dawkins is wrong about…well, most stuff.
  • Breaking away from myths and cycles + why I hate Star Wars and Lord of the Rings (no I am not sorry).
  • Why Moses had to turn his head from God.
  • The tension between being a trusted shaman at the end of the lane and witch who gets burned by villagers.

SHOW NOTES

• For more on John, visit his great website, Weird Lectures. John’s got a lot of books out (and you can find most of them on the bookshop.org page above), but the best look into his way of seeing paranormal investigation is Theoretical Weirdo. Here’s John talking to literally the most normal person in the world on Fox News.

• The paranormal investigators who introduced me to Tenney were the brilliant Dana & Greg Newkirk, who I talked with about haunted objects on AEWCH 46.

• I mentioned the occult technology radionics – and I did a whole episode about it back on AEWCH 113, featuring an old conversation I had with radionics pioneer Duncan Laurie. I’ve included the image below so you see some radionics devices.

• Would you like to mess yourself up considering space and time (and how it may or may not relate to ghosts, for that matter)? Well, read quasi-fascist (dang) occultist Massimo Scaligero’s The Secrets of Space and Time.

• Here’s John’s short essay on doomsday and desire.

Take Shelter is an incredible film, and if you haven’t seen it, you really should.

Norman Davidson‘s quote is:

“If you want to have any idea about the connection between astronomy, that is, the heavenly body themselves, and astrology, that is the influences on the human being, then you must understand that, in reality, the earth is still and flat, and the sun and the heavens circle the earth…”

• I’m trying to find some good collections of Isaac Asimov essays, but can’t! If you know a widely-available one, please post in comments below!

• I talk a bit more about the connection between The Great God Pan and our moment of “pan demons/pandemic” on the latest Duncan Trussell Family Hour. And I had a great time talking about the guy who coined fractalnoia, Doug Rushkoff, on AEWCH 125. And there’s so much about the value of dewitchers in our culture on AEWCH 98 with Thomas Waters.

Until next time, friends, keep your world happily haunted.
XO
CH