I haven’t talked much about Tower Time lately. I taught a class on Navigating Tower Time early last year, but since then the term seems to have fallen out of use. One reason is that we’re overwhelmed with troubles in the ordinary world and most of us don’t have much time left to acknowledge Otherworldly problems. Another reason is that much of the Tower Time talk was a prophecy – a warning that sudden, unpleasant, and irreversible change was coming.
Sadly, that prophecy has been fulfilled… though perhaps it’s better to say it’s being fulfilled. We’re in a Long Descent and we’re nowhere near the bottom yet.
Those of us of a magical and spiritual persuasion can, I think, be forgiven for losing sight of the magical and spiritual aspects of Tower Time. Or at least I hope we can. When you’re trying to stay alive in the worst pandemic in a century, deal with the worst inflation in 40 years, and fight to retain fundamental rights, it’s easy to forget there are magical elements to this trend.
And some of those magical elements are being used against us.
I hadn’t heard of Dave Troy until last week when Cat Heath shared a couple of pieces by him on Twitter. Troy calls himself a “Researcher, Technologist, and Investor” who does a podcast and a newsletter. He’s not a Pagan or a magician – he describes himself as “a lapsed Catholic, regular guy who just studies how things work.”
I encourage you to read his essay Going Dark: Why Nothing Makes Sense. It’s not easily summarized, but here’s a key quote:
The “normal” world that we’ve inhabited since the end of World War II — one filled with institutions, the rule of law, compromise, business reality, elections and politics, fragile though it is — has been gradually and then suddenly supplanted by a world governed by the exercise of raw power.
We need to understand why things no longer make sense. It’s because we’re explicitly and increasingly leaving the realm of the sensible and rational and delving into a darker realm of raw power.
Then go read this Twitter roll-up he wrote in response to some questions he received:
What we are really suffering is a deficit of imagination. The practices of esotericism tend to expand imagination, which create leverage over those with less of it. We need to invest here if we expect to fight back.
If a lapsed Catholic with no interest in magic and the occult can see what’s going on, it should be obvious to those of us with more experience in this area.
We ignore it at our peril – especially the “deficit of imagination.”
Some magic requires nothing Otherworldly
I adopted a three-fold theory of magic when I first got started and I’ve kept it ever since, because I haven’t found anything that does a better job of explaining how and why magic works. Magic is part intercession of Gods and spirits, part manipulation of unseen forces, and part psychological programming.
That third part – psychological programming – is entirely naturalistic. It requires no supernatural or Otherworldly influences in order to work. When I first realized this, a lot of things made sense – especially advertising. I’ve sometimes referred to “the evil sorcerers of Madison Avenue” – those who use the principles of psychology to manipulate people’s thoughts and feelings to persuade them to buy what they’re selling.
When I was very young (late elementary or early middle school) a cigarette ad in a magazine caught my attention. It showed a powerboat going across a beautiful lake, carrying four young, attractive people, who were all smiling and holding cigarettes. Something clicked in my mind: what the hell did anything in that ad have to do with cigarettes? Nothing. The purpose of the ad was to associate their brand of cigarettes with young, healthy, beautiful, rich people, sending the message “buy our cigarettes and you can be like this too!”
We just finished the primary runoffs in Texas. Numerous Republicans ran TV ads calling their opponents “liberals” – as though there are any liberals in the Republican party (there aren’t enough liberals in the Democratic party, but that’s another rant for another time). That the accusation is untrue isn’t important. Their goal is to associate their opponents with something Republican primary voters don’t like, so they’ll vote for the “true conservatives.”
You don’t have to brew potions or draw and charge sigils to work magic.
Thoughts and words can become reality
Sometimes psychological programming blends into the manipulation of unseen forces. The “power of positive thinking” of the last century is the “manifestation” of this century. And while I frequently complain about people who use The Law of Attraction to victim-blame others or to short-circuit their own magic, the process of visualization and the technique of hypersigils works.
A quote often attributed to Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels says that if you repeat a lie often enough and loudly enough, people begin to believe it’s true. And if you believe it’s true, then you start to act as though it’s true. And if enough people act as though it’s true, it becomes true – in effect if not in fact.
When people make blatantly false statements, whether about the 2020 election, or Replacement Theory, or anything else, they’re telling a story. They believe the theme of the story even if they know the facts of the story aren’t true. If enough people resonate with the theme, they act as though it was true, whether it is or it isn’t.
And before long you have people storming the Capitol.
The currents of magic are growing stronger
Another part of Tower Time I haven’t talked about much lately is an increase in what I call the currents of magic. Metaphorically, think of magic as a river. You can put a water wheel in the river and use the energy of the flow to turn a gristmill or generate electricity or do other work – you can tap the current. If the river is running low and slow, you can only do a little with it. But if it’s running high and fast, you can do a lot more.
The currents of magic are running a lot faster these days. Beyond that, the Veil Between the Worlds is far thinner than it was a decade ago (I know some of you don’t like the concept of the Veil, but it’s not a literal veil. “The Veil” is a metaphor for the boundary between this world and the Otherworld). Otherworldly magic has an easier time getting through to this world.
I covered my thoughts on this in more detail in the Tower Time course, and while ultimately it’s all speculation, it’s informed speculation, and it matches the experience and the thinking of numerous other experienced magical practitioners.
The point is that this isn’t just a matter of the political pendulum swinging the wrong way or the rise of some skilled propagandists. In addition to all of that, the magical environment is considerably stronger, meaning that average magic users can get above-average results, and skilled magic users can get amazing results.
Whether the magic user is working magic for good or for ill.
Voting is necessary but not sufficient
This is the world we live in. This is the environment in which we work. You don’t have to like it. You just have to deal with it.
How are you going to deal with it?
Voting is necessary but not sufficient. If a handful of people hadn’t insisted on keeping their hands clean and voted for Hillary instead, then Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett wouldn’t be on the Supreme Court and reproductive rights would be safe. If people cared as much about who their State Representative is as they care about who the President is, we wouldn’t have so many oppressive laws coming out of the states.
We need better political stories. I love good policy, but policy is for wonks. The vast majority of people don’t vote based on who has the better policy – they vote for who has the better story.
Voting – particularly in any one election – only goes so far. We didn’t get into this political situation in a year – or in four years – and we won’t get out of it quickly either. Voting is necessary but not sufficient.
Use your magic!
If the other side is using magic, and the currents of magic are getting stronger, why wouldn’t we use magic too?
I hope people who accept the reality of magic are already working magic. But sometimes we get caught up in the mainstream world and we forget we have tools available to us that others don’t. If you don’t have a regular magical practice I suggest you start one now. I do something at every full moon – that helps keep my skills sharp for when I have a case that falls under “whenever you have need of anything.”
In particular, I encourage you to work magic to protect yourself, your family (however you define it), and your community. In addition to generic shielding and warding, work magic to put you and yours in a situation (geographic, financial, physical, political, spiritual) where you can be safe and where you can prosper.
I strongly endorse the method taught by Jason Miller: set a goal, create a plan that doesn’t require magic to work, then use magic to enhance the odds that it will work.
That begins with setting a target for your magic. Honestly, working magic is easy – figuring out what to work magic for is hard. This post may help.
Do we need large, coordinated magical workings? They can’t hurt, but magic works best when it’s very narrowly and specifically targeted, and that’s hard to do with large numbers of people with differing ideas and priorities. I’d rather see something like Operation Cone of Power, with small groups doing their own things toward common goals.
Just use your magic.
Tell better stories
Target setting is easier if you have a context for it – if you have a story.
What’s your story? What role do you play in it? Perhaps most importantly, who’s writing it?
It’s very easy to get caught up in other people’s stories and think we have no agency in our lives. The truth is that those with more money and power have an easier time controlling their own lives than those without it. But the rest of us are not powerless – particularly those of us who understand magic and how to use it.
Tell your own story. Don’t let others define you – insist on defining yourself, and your goals, and the methods you’ll use to reach them.
And then when you get to a better place, work to build a society that’s more fair and just for everyone. Don’t just tell your own personal story, tell better stories about society at large. Make good art.
Ronald Reagan talked about “morning in America” and made people feel good about themselves, and about him. That gave him the power to remake America in way that some liked but that was disastrous in the long term. Donald Trump said it was midnight in America and “only I can save you.” Enough people believed it to put him into power.
Tell better stories.
I’m a Druid and a priest, not a political consultant. I don’t know what stories we need to tell to help shift power to people who will support democracy and not fascist authoritarianism. I can only tell my story.
My story is the one that acknowledges that many different Gods call many different people to worship and work with Them in many different ways. And so we practice our own religion, respect other people’s religions, and never try to force ours on others.
My story is the one that acknowledges that humans were not placed on the Earth, we grew out of the Earth. And so the Earth is our mother, and we must treat her and all her creatures with respect and reverence.
My story is the one that emphasizes the virtues of hospitality and reciprocity. And so we care for those in need, and we give as we receive.
There are many different ways to do these things. This is a story, not a policy proposal. We have to elect people who can turn stories into policy. But we’ve tried selling policy and it doesn’t work. We’re getting beat by people who are selling stories about making America great again, and then trying to turn the clock back to 1950.
If you’re waiting on a savior, you’re going to be disappointed
The concept of a savior is not exclusive to Christianity. It’s a comforting thought. But most times, waiting on a savior is a recipe for disaster.
Those who want to take the country back a hundred years have been patient and persistent and they’re winning. They’re not just working the political process, they’re working magic as well.
We need to work our own magic: for ourselves, our community, and our common society.