Tag Archives: spirituality

Our hearts vs The neoliberal capitalist tech imperialist nightmare. Una Mullally on AEWCH 87!

23 Oct
AEWCH87 Title CardFriends,
In a nearly double-length and incredibly wide-ranging, I talk with journalist, editor, activist, and podcaster Una Mullally about the erosion of old structures and the possibility of new ones. Not just the government, but the environment, our relational structures, our spiritual structures, and more.
We talk at length on how neoliberalism and tech imperialism is eating the soul of Dublin, but our talk is by no means Ireland-specific. What we’re discussing at the core is how we fight against the consuming algorithms of neoliberalism and capitalism with our hearts and humanity. The reason we talk for so long isn’t merely because she’s Irish! It’s because we keep going deeper and deeper.
I was so excited to have this conversation with one of Ireland’s great minds.
Una is one of Ireland’s best known journalists, and one of the most incisive. She’s also the co-creator of the great podcast United Ireland, which chronicles the current landscape and history of Ireland, county by county. I can’t recommend a more accessible intro to this place I love so much.
On top of being an extremely prolific author, Una is also an activist, and much of that activism features in her work, including the book Repeal the 8th, which Una edited – an anthology work by women resisting misogynist abortion laws in Ireland (which features an essay by AEWCH 72 guest Sinead Gleeson!) Plus she’s written (briefly) about leprechauns, so how could I not be excited to speak with her?
Also on this episode:
  • When and why Una left the Catholic church
  • The tech gentrification of Dublin and everywhere
  • The cruelty of ugliness
  • Why Irish meter maids are the best
  • The ways neoliberals pretend to be the drivers of progress
  • Equality vs freedom
  • The uses and dangers of nationalism
  • The feeling of Ireland, and Irish people laughing at me for moving here
  • The mystic pulse of the Irish land
  • Why we need to fight oppression and heal trauma simultaneously
  • The zombification of party politics
  • Why relationship is the most important part of activism
  • Why facts no longer matter
  • How self indulgent emotional performativity holds back change
  • Giving conflict over to the angels
  • The problems with Extinction Rebellion

Want to go deeper? Look at the SHOW NOTES!

XO

CH

Does the left care about spirituality? Listen to me and Michael Brooks try to come up with an answer on the latest AEWCH!

13 Aug

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 80: MICHAEL BROOKS or THE SPIRITUAL VALUES OF THE LEFT

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud  • Youtube • Patreon

Like the show? Support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!

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Friends,

The day after Jeffrey Epstein “killed himself,” I sat down to talk* with leftist media figure Michael Brooks in a building in Belfast named after one of Epstein’s co-conspirators. Coincidence?

I’m happy to think this meeting was fated, actually; since I appeared on Michael’s great politics show – The Michael Brooks Show –  to talk about new age politics (as of this post, you have to be a patron to listen to it, but he will be unlocking it soon, I think!), we’ve been wanting to talk more. We’re both interested in the left and spirituality, we both have an interest in Marianne Williamson’s place on the stage, we both support Bernie Sanders with strong reservations, and we’ve both been formed by our time living in Western Massachusetts.  As you can hear, we ended way too abruptly and wanted to go on and on, but Michael was about to take a tour of Belfast, so you’ll have to wait for the next installment of our conversation, which I’m sure is coming sometime soon!

Before you think this is only a bromance show, I should tell you we, of course, go deep into the topics at hand. Including:

  • How spirituality shows us what messes we are
  • The attempt of the left to banish spirituality
  • Why attacking Marianne Williamson ends up being an attack on many working class people
  • The left’s failure  to distinguish between sincerely held beliefs and
  • How new atheism is connected to alt-right-ism.
  • Is universal healthcare a spiritual question?
  • Capitalism as a symptom of materialism
  • Socialism as a creator of mental space
  • economics, rights, and culture (and how each tries to dominate the other)

(* dear sound-oriented people sorry about Michael’s mic being a little blown out, I kept turning his up thinking I was turning mine up. Doh!)

XO
CH

Conner Habib + Pete Holmes: Seeing the spiritual adventure!

2 Jul

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud

Like the show? Support it on Patreon!

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Friends,
Who better to go on a spiritual adventure with on the podcast than my pal Pete Holmes! There are lots of places you might know Pete from; his stand-up, his spirituality-meets-comedy podcast You Made It Weird, his HBO show Crashing, or his new book, Comedy Sex God. Pete and I have been wanting to record another show since our epic conversation on Petes podcast, and it’s a great and wide-ranging discussion but for me, the big news is that we do a short but totally accessible spiritual experiment to unravel the weirdness of the universe just through paying attention to our own experiences.
We also discuss
  • what toxic masculinity means if no one really has a definition of masculinity
  • identity and certainty
  • whether or not lucid dreaming is good for us
  • just how much free will do we have, anyway?
  • what Louis CK represents to people, especially in his “comeback” set, and why it’s important to think about those representations
  • contending with evil
  • what happens when we investigate our sight
  • death as a project we all engage in
  • the fear of God and how God unfolds through us

For extensive show notes, click here.

XO
CH

 

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Daskalos And The Mysteries Of Christian Occultism: AEWCH 67 with Daniel Joseph!

16 Apr
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
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Sign up for my Patreon today by clicking here. It’s quick, easy, and you get cool stuff in return.
PATRONS GET ACCESS TO THE FULL YOUTUBE VERSION HERE
AEWCH67 Title Card
Friends,
I’ve been longing to introduce you to Christian occultism more deeply, and particularly the work of Stylianos Atteshlis, also known as Daskalos. So I’ve invited one of my spiritual teachers, who was also a student of Daskalos’s. author Daniel Joseph, onto the show to explore why Christian occultism matters now more than ever.
If you’re turned off by the “Christian” part, but interested in the “occultism” part, listen through; you’ll find that there’s plenty there to think through. In fact, we don’t mention Christianity as such very much, but it runs through the work and practice. And if you’re turned off by both, Daniel and I break down all the seemingly hocus pocus terminology and make it intelligible for secular listeners.
Daniel runs workshops for The Researchers of Truth, who carry on Daskalos’s work, and I highly recommend you check them out.
Daskalos’s work, via Daniel and his spiritual partner, Aki Toshimutsu, has changed my life, and I know many people can benefit greatly from engaging with it.
Daniel and I discuss:
  • Who Daskalos is, how Daniel came to meet his teachings, and why his work matters so much.
  • What are the “Seven Ascended Masters”? (We really do get to it by the end of the ep)
  • How Westerners often reject Western esotericism
  • How religious Christianity has wounded people and how that Christianity is much different than Christian occultism and esotericism
  • Daskalos’s healing miracles, and how proximity to spiritual truth can itself be healing
  • What the human being is and what dreams are
  • Why dead people often don’t know they’re dead (and how you can tell if you’re dead or not)
  • The different esoteric bodies
  • Why some esoteric masters are public, some remain hidden, and one that was recently incarnated
  • The illusion of time
  • Where humanity will be in a million years and why nuclear war and climate change won’t be the end of us
  • The theory of understanding and practice of engaging with elementals
  • The skill of spiritual listening, versus secular hearing
  • Being frustrated when we don’t have spiritual encounters
  • Why Conner was all nervous about this episode, and how to deal with this nervousness when you’re about to speak with someone

Show Notes are here.

D

Let’s imagine utopia together! You, me, and Duncan Trussell commune on AEWCH 66!

9 Apr
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
PATRONS GET ACCESS TO THE FULL YOUTUBE VERSION HERE

CHDT

Friends,
So excited to welcome back Duncan Trussell! If you’re not acquainted with Duncan, he’s a comedian, mystic, and host of the wildly popular and eclectic podcast, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour! And it’s a great episode, as we strive to think through how to get to utopia!
But it’s not just a conversation around utopia; Duncan and I get very practical tips for it, including talking to the dead, forgiving debts, shifting world events with our thoughts, communing with color and geometry, and more.
We also discuss:
  • The pride and pitfalls of feeling unique.
  • Whether or not our creative efforts are ours.
  • When and when not to be possessed and whether or not Daniel Day Lewis was.
  • The death of everything but you and me.
  • The difference between supernature and subnature.
  • How we are addresses for spirits to meet at.
  • Why Duncan is a sock-swinging maniac.
  • Economy as the opposite of the Sun.
  • Collective entanglement.
  • RuPaul and guardian angels.
  • Duncan’s privilege and increasing awareness of it.
  • How to deal with the fact that you’re thriving when others are suffering.
  • Undoing the karma of the world.
Want to talk about utopia with me and a community of dynamic AEWCH listeners? Sign up for my patreon at the $10 level and join the Against Everyone Salon in May, where we’ll be talking about Utopia (click here for details)!
And for show notes, click here!

They saaaaaay…Scott Thompson is on Against Everyone with Conner Habib! (And they’re right!)

12 Jun
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PODCAST VERSION: iTunesStitcherSoundcloud
Friends,
This is a huge moment for dear Habib: I got to do an episode of Against Everyone with Conner Habib with someone who changed my life: Scott Thompson! Scott, in the event that somehow you don’t know this, is a member of the iconic comedy group Kids in the Hall, author, actor (from Hannibal),stand-up comedian, and creator of the lispy sexual rebel Buddy Cole.
Seeing Scott as Buddy on The Kids in the Hall blew my young still-becoming-gay mind. I was a lonely small town kid with no one to talk to about sex or sexuality, and then there was this crazy dangerous lisping whore on TV making jokes about everything. I was electrified.
Scott and I had a great conversation, and I couldn’t stop laughing. We talk about our alter egos being our better selves, how internalized homophobia follows you around even when you come out, AIDS-era intensities, how representation fails us, ghosts, the elimination of spirituality from the left, portals to other dimensions, raccoon spirit guides,
(Note: There’s a little jumping around in the video editing to deal with technical stuff, but it doesn’t affect the audio or the conversation.)
(Oh and one more note if you want more on the alt-right and new age stuff: here’s an article by Mitch Horowitz on Salon.com)
Thanks for listening and watching!
STSmile

What Is the Occult? WATCH THE TRAILER: – My new online course on 3/12!

21 Feb

My new online course is coming! What Is the Occult? is an exploration of all that weird shit from 80s movies and Buffy and the creepy section at the library your parents told you to stay away from. It’s a look at why the occult is more important than ever, even if you’re a total atheist. How can the occult amplify your understanding of politics, science, art, and more?

The course is on 3/12 and only $15.00 for a standard ticket (with other ticket levels available)! If you can’t attend the day of, don’t worry! Your ticket gets you exclusive 90-day access to a recording of the whole thing! Watch the trailer and sign up!

More on the course:

It’s easy enough to talk about the occult. You know: wands, cauldrons, tarot cards, naked women in the woods and robed men in English libraries. It’s also not hard to point out the occult in history and politics; whether it’s the infamous UK magus Aleister Crowley, Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s interest in psychics and astrology, or the Salem witch trials.

But what is the occult? Is it a philosophy? A practice? A reservoir of power? Mumbo jumbo anti-science and delusion?

And why should you care, anyway?

In this live interactive course and Q&A, writer, teacher, and activist Conner Habib will conjure up a definition that outlines just how radical, exciting, and useful the occult is, especially in our dynamic and intense moment in history.

– How the occult can and does figure into your everyday life, even if you’re not a practitioner (or a believer!).

– Why the occult is so stigmatized in our culture, and how to puruse it without shame anyway.

– Differing philosophies of the occult across disciplines and practitioners.

– How the occult relates to politics, economics, and science.

– Whether or not this is all just a bunch of hocus-pocus bunk.

and much more!

Conner will guide you through the complex, fascinating, and sometimes just plain weird world of the occult in this live, online course. It’s for the beginner and the adept alike.

Register here, you sexy warlocks.

Infinite Crisis/Infinite Opportunity: Me + Phil Jimenez on Reimagining Creativity and Power

27 Jan
me-phil

Your Friendly Neighborhood Goofballs

What would you do if you had superpowers? And why is the answer for comic book heroes always, “beat some asshole up and send him to jail!” Why do our imaginations seem to turn so often to just, sort of, tidying up all the bad stuff. Couldn’t we dream bigger?

I had to investigate this weird imaginative limit, so I called up one of the most imaginative people I’m friends with, comic book writer/artist/creator, Phil Jimenez. Phil is probably best known for his work on Wonder Woman, and for being one of the first mainstream comic creators to talk about being gay. He’s also worked with creative warlock Grant Morrison, has drawn Spider-Man, created Otherworldand he teaches illustration.

Phil and I go all over the place here, but we’re always circling the potential of creativity pjand trying to avoid the word “power.” Why is everything framed in terms of power, anyway? To that end, we talk about Tempest, a DC character he revamped, Chris Claremont’s X-Men (particularly the Siege Perilous story lines and the Asgardian Wars – but don’t worry, you don’t have to speak comic geek to get it, we lay it out), the difference between collections of comics and absorbing the content of comics, and more.

Of course, it all relates back to the world at hand: Where many people are just learning to be heroes now. We’ve got all this creativity available to us at all times. So now what?

There’s a little mismatch between the audio and the video; I’m working on upgrading all my stuff, so if you have any desire to help me get better equipment, hit me up. In the meantime, I’m working out the best way to turn these videos – including the one I just did with Caitlin Doughty, the poetry reading by Martin Pousson, and my discussion with Dr. Chris Donaghue – into downloadable MP3s. I HAVE an Mp3 for this one, but I’m working out the best way to offer it as a downloadable file. Does that mean I’ll be a podcaster? Ahhhhh!

Chaos Magician + Renegade Anthroposophist = Podcast

5 Jan

IMG_4011Happy to announce I’m the first guest of 2017 on one of my favorite podcasts, Rune Soup, hosted by author and occultist, Gordon White. (If you want to skip past this stuff, just scroll down to the podcast.)

I found Gordon through a series of synchronicities: Last year, I spoke to an occulty friend of mine in San Francisco after three years of not communicating (nothing bad, we just sort of dropped out of each other’s lives). “Conner, you’ve got to read this book called The Chaos Protocols! It’s a completely new take on the economic climate and how to engage with money and the world we live in now,” he said. Or something to that effect.

I trust my friend’s taste, but to be honest, I did what I often do when people recommend stuff to me – I  thought, “Sure, sure. Another magick book. I’ll get to it in 2052.”

Later that day, I turned on a podcast that I love and am often happily frustrated by, Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris (you may remember my conversation about scientific knowledge with Alex from December 2014). The guest? None other than Gordon White. It was a great interview.

Okay, okay, I’ll look this guy up. When I checked twitter, I saw that we followed each other. Huh? I had no memory of following him, nor of him following me. He must have just tweeted something awesome and I instinctively hit the Follow button. A few months later, I’d read The Chaos Ptotocols (it’s excellent, as are his other books, Star.Ships and Pieces of Eight) appeared on Episode 24 of his podcast, Rune Soup (which is also the name of his excellent occult-meets-politics website), and was becoming fast friends with Gordon.

My second appearance is even better than the first, in my opinion. We talk about 2017, gwwhy you shouldn’t despair, what the state of the world can mean for us spiritually, why it’s important to decolonize our thoughts, the power of forgiveness, and more. It’s all part of my work this year to radiate empowerment to you, dear reader, dear viewer, dear friend. This includes my upcoming online course, Radical Undoing: Decolonize Your Mind with Sex, Science, the Occult, and Philosophy (sign up!); which I talk about on the podcast.

Let’s become the prisms through which inspiration, imagination, and creative engagement refract and illuminate.

Here’s the podcast! Enjoy!

The Question of Light: Tilda Swinton’s speech at the Rothko Chapel

27 Jan

tildaBelow is the only place to read Tilda Swinton’s moving and radiant speech at the Rothko Chapel in Texas.  

Why do I have it?  A brief explanation.

Last year, actress Tilda Swinton was presented with the Rothko Chapel Visionary Award at the The Rothko Chapel, which is home to fourteen of Mark Rothko’s paintings.  It’s also a spiritual and human rights center whose mission is “to inspire people to action through art and contemplation, to nurture reverence for the highest aspirations of humanity, and to provide a forum for global concerns.”

One of her friends (writer William Middleton, mentioned in the unabridged version of the speech) sent the speech along to me and my boyfriend.  We read it aloud to each other, we paused, we marveled at the wisdom: art and light and compassion.  Then we read it again, inspired by its unfolding grace.  

When I tried to locate a link to the speech online, it was nowhere to be found.  I found photos of the event, the celebrities there, the gowns and the expressions.  But Swinton’s words, like many of the most beautiful words, were spoken, alive in the world, and then invisible again.

Below is Tilda Swinton’s speech.  The original version begins with words of gratitude,

“I had a dream last night that my brother told my father why I am here tonight and my father misheard the name of your most generous prize and declared those who honour me highly perceptive to be recognising me with a Contrary Award. I am sincerely humbled by any honour you do me.”

For the purposes of offering it to an audience not in the Chapel that evening, I’ve edited it slightly, removing parts that are directly referential to the event. The integrity of the speech remains, and it is an illumination.

***

“Discovering the landscape of a world inhabited by artists has been one of the miracles of my life.

I was brought up in a world where art was something owned and insured – usually inherited: but seldom if ever made by anyone I knew.

I had an early inkling that there was fun to be had over the hill, like the feeling when faced with a sunset that someone’s throwing a mega awesome party just beyond the nearest cloud, and I set off to join the caravan. Let’s just say I was in search of company, headed towards the glow, and I found it.

I believe that all great art holds the power to dissolve things: time, distance, difference, injustice, alienation, despair. I believe that all great art holds the power to mend things: join, comfort, inspire hope in fellowship, reconcile us to our selves.

Art is good for my soul precisely because it reminds me that we have souls in the first place.

We stand before a work of art and our spirit is lifted by it: amazing that someone is like us! We stand before a work of art and our spirit resists: amazing that someone is different!

It occurs to me on a regular basis that the cinema carries the potential to be perhaps the most humane of all gestures in art: the invitation to place ourselves, under the intimate cover of darkness, into another person’s shoes, behind another set of eyes, into another’s consciousness.  The ultimate compassion machine, the empathy engine.

Here is the darkness.

Here comes the light.

No8

– Rothko, Mark. No. 8. 1952. Private Collection.

When my children were ten, they came back from school elated one day to tell us they had started the supremely grown-up business of learning science.

When we asked them about their first lesson, they proudly announced they were addressing the study of light.

When we pressed them to describe how their teacher had approached the topic, with the bemusement of those genuinely unaware that there could ever be any other way, they told us that she had closed all the shutters and that they had sat in the dark for an hour.

Where I live in the far north of Scotland, the question of light is an axis central to every season, to every day.  In the topmost branches of June, the skies turn navy blue just before midnight and hover there until about 3:00 when the sun comes blooming up again.

At the turn of the year, on the other hand, a long lunch folds itself into the evening before you know it, and then into night-night blackness until way after the school bell in the morning.

A fisherman I know from a nearby village told me one day that he and his brothers had long ago pulled up a massive turtle, far from its tropical home, onto the deck of their boat in the North Sea off the east coast of Scotland.  He described how it lay there, unfathomably exotic and helpless amongst the mackerel, and that he would never forget their discussion about its fate.

‘What is it? No idea. Let’s kill it.’ Which they did. He said he had never regretted anything so much in his life, that he knew something failed in them at that moment.

We know what threatens our humanity the most; we shouldn’t need reminding.

The capacity to project our own shadow onto others, to edit our understanding of our own frailty, to hold it at bay, to play tag with our vulnerabilities.  You’re It, don’t touch me.  Our attachment to an idea of malevolent foreignness, of malign darkness: this is our Kryptonite… we know this well.

Swinton in Rothko Chapel (from W Magazine)

Swinton in Rothko Chapel (from W Magazine)

Over the weeks that my mother was dying, the year before last, I went out into the nights and trained my eyes to see in the dark.
It provided a particular kind of comfort undiscovered anywhere else at that time.  By then I had sat in the Chapel and the serene witness of Rothko’s velvet abyss accompanied me on those nightwalks. The truth is, it’s never been very far away, ever since.

The last feature film my friend Derek Jarman made before died of AIDS in 1994 was Blue.  For many, his masterpiece – an Yves Klein- blue screen and a soundtrack.. a work made just as his sight was leaving him as he became blind.

Maybe most of all great art encourages us, as does this film, as does Rothko, not to stop at opening our eyes, but to go on to close them, as well.  To go to what we know deepest, earliest and most clearly: that we humans are, in essence, humane, fair, kind.  Gracious. Light-filled. Wise.  And that our darkness is just what it is: an intrinsic and balancing ballast to all that loveliness.

…Perhaps the most radical suggestion we can make about ourselves is not that we are not different. Or even that we are. But that we are both.

I remember a very specific moment in my children’s development, around the age of seven, when the power of reason became the happening thing, as in, ‘ No I can’t climb up a tree with you now because this dinner needs cooking…etc?’’

Along with this magical property came the anthem that still rules in our household to this day, the mantra of it can be both.

‘Would I like the chocolate eclair or the fairy cake? Do I want to play with my Lego all night or, as it happens, go to sleep because I’m super tired?… Do I like my twin brother /sister or – could it be – that I really really hate him/her?”

…Light and Dark both at once.

Welcome to the age of reason, welcome to life.

…Wherever you are alone with yourself most will show in that magic mirror.  And bear your heart witness, and keep you company whenever you need to draw on it.

We come. We take it home with us. We never really leave.

The Rothko Chapel is a sacred space because of precisely this capacity it has to re-bind, to re-balance, to re-store, to re-inspire the spirit in its simple and essential gesture of darkness held in light. Of art held in spirit. Of spirit held in life and the living of life. It is a truly humane space for humans to find themselves in.

Glamour is a word derived from the Scots, meaning ‘dangerous magic.’

The Rothko Chapel is glamorous beyond any glamour known to any Highland witch. It is a light that never goes out.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness of your invitation.

And for the inspiration of your fellowship.”

– Tilda Swinton, 2014.

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photograph by Lucy Gray

(UPDATE 2/12/15 – Rothko Chapel got word of the enormous response to this post and has put the speech up on their website.  There’s also a beautiful photo of Swinton speaking.  I’m so happy the speech has found its way back to its original home!)