Magic as a precursor of science and the implications of mental illness

Scientists Find Truth in "Mad Scientist" Stereotype: There Is a Link between Genius and Insanity

Genius and insanity may actually go together, according to scientists who found that mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are often found in highly creative and intelligent people.

The link is being investigated by a group of scientists who had all suffered some form of mental disorder.

Bipolar sufferer Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that findings of some 20 or 30 scientific studies confirms the idea of the “tortured genius” or “mad scientist”.

Jamison said that creativity appears to be significantly linked to mood disorders, especially bipolar disorder.  For instance, one 2010 study that tested the intelligence of 700,000 Swedish 16-year-olds found that highly intelligent adolescents were more likely to develop bipolar disorder in a decade-long follow-up.

“They found that people who excelled when they were 16 years old were four times as likely to go on to develop bipolar disorder,” Jamison said Thursday night during a panel discussion at New York’s World Science Festival.

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people have dramatic mood swings between “mania” or extreme happiness and severe depression.

Panelist and researcher James Fallon, a neurobiologist at the University of California-Irvine said that research found that people who suffer bipolar disorder tend to be more creative when they’re coming out of deep depression.

Fallon suggested that when a bipolar patients’ mood improves, activity decreases in the lower part of a brain region called the frontal lobe and increases in a higher part of that lobe, a shift that is also seen when people have bouts of creativity.

“There [is] this nexus between these circuits that have to do with bipolar and creativity,” Fallon said at the panel.

Elyn Saks, a mental health law professor at the University of Southern California who also developed schizophrenia as a young adult, said that people with psychosis do not filter stimuli as well as others without the disorder, meaning that they’re able to ponder contradictory ideas simultaneously and gain insight into loose associations that the general unconscious brain wouldn’t even consider worthy of sending to consciousness.

Saks said that while the invasion of nonsense into conscious thought can be overwhelming and disruptive, “it can be quite creative, too.”

Studies on word associations that ask participants to list all the words that come to mind in relation to a stimulus word like “tulip” found that bipolar patients experiencing mild mania can generate three times as many word associations in the same amount of time as the general population.

The findings suggest that mania can lead to bouts of genius because the great amount of unsuppressed ideas means a greater probability of producing something original and profound.

Many prodigies like painter Van Gogh, author Jack Kerouac and mathematician John Nash had displayed self-destructive behaviors, and it is unclear as to why humans have evolved this trait.

“The notion of a ‘tortured genius’ or ‘mad scientist’ may be more than a romantic aberration,” says the World Science Fair. “Research shows that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia correlate with high creativity and intelligence, raising tantalizing questions: What role does environment play in the path to mental illness?”

Scientists wonder whether the mental disorders are being positively selected for in the gene pool, and if there is actually a line between gift and deficit.

Past studies have suggested that much of the link between genius and madness is produced by one particular gene called the DARPP-32, and that three out of four people inherit a version of the DARPP-32 gene, which enhances the brain’s ability to think by improving information processing in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

However panelists noted that while society benefits from the productivity of its “tortured geniuses,” people who are affected by mental disorders that often lead to bouts of creative energy don’t always consider their moment of brilliance to be worth their suffering.

“I think the creativity is just one part of something that is mostly bad,” Saks said.




About that Coven of Power

Power is intoxicating and addictive. Power can change our personality if we allow it to go to our heads. Where there was once humility, hubris can develop when our self-confidence and pride reach excessive levels. Why is this?

After all, power isn’t all bad. When controlled, power can fuel an appetite for risk, we become visionary, passionate, dynamic and we can even better handle stress.

However, when we behave in a narcissistic manner, and see ourselves as superior with exaggerated self-belief and overwhelming contempt for others, we are following a hubristic path. Our over-confidence often leads to disaster, as we become incompetent due to arrogance and self-delusion.

Power can obviously be rewarding. It activates the neurochemical dopamine which is part of the reward circuit in the brain. It makes us feel great and the more we are rewarded the more dopamine is stimulated. More power = more dopamine = more power. The feedback loop can be addictive to the point where the need for yet another shot of dopamine may be way off kilter with reality.

This spiral is tough enough to control in positions of power but it can be intensified even further by sycophancy. The last thing craft leaders need are coven members agreeing with everything we say. Listen out for those who constantly say to you “so and so says…” or “yes I agree” (when they don’t) or “brilliant, I couldn’t have put it better myself”. Sycophants are full of bunkum and quite frankly dangerous for all concerned and possibly disastrous for magic.

It is not so easy to listen to someone who does not agree with us, but if we want to avoid hubris syndrome it is wise to do so.

Hubris is a vast topic and a syndrome that is best avoided by recognising and acknowledging free thinking and the contributions of others.

Interesting Review about Legend of the Witches directed by Malcolm Leigh

Back in 1970 this allegedly ‘serious’ documentary about witchcraft sneaked a lot of full frontal nudity past the British censor and was then screened in sex cinemas for the enjoyment of the dirty raincoat brigade. It acts as a kind of companion piece to Derek Ford’s Secret Rites, since both feature Alex Sanders (as, indeed, does Angeli bianchi, angeli neri AKA Witchcraft 70, but that’s an Italian mondo movie not an English ‘documentary’). As the self-styled King of the Swingers (oops, sorry, I mean witches), Sanders camps it up as much here as he does elsewhere; unfortunately there’s a lot less of his rib-ticklingly softly spoken voice than in Ford’s short.

If the late Alex Sanders actually had any ‘occult powers’ then I’m The Queen of Sheba (and no doubt there are plenty of Alexandrian Wiccans out there prepared to assert that I was indeed Sheba in a previous incarnation).  Nonetheless, Alex and his coven of nubile young wenches (there are an equal number of considerably less attractive men) dancing naked around fires and performing (simulated) sex magick, are a psychedelic groove sensation. The bad news is that this movie is 72 minutes long and way too much of its running time is devoted to other shit.

Before we get to the self-evidently fake stuff with Alex, there is a load of Margaret Murrayesque bollocks about the supposed survival of the ancient pagan religions of Europe right through the Christian era to the modern day, which is delivered as a voice-over to a few interesting and innumerable dull visual illustrations. Anyone who knows anything about the actual history of European witch trials, will appreciate that the claims of Murray and her followers are complete cobblers. Less informed viewers may take these claims at face value, since the voice-over sounds authoritative, but believe me (actually don’t, go and read up on it), it isn’t!

Anyway, back to Alex, he was obviously an obliging bloke who’d do whatever it took to get into a film. So here you have a witch initiation ceremony that mirrors aspects of Christian baptism (because the alleged survival of the ‘old religion’ is Malcolm Leigh’s obsession) and it looks rather different to the way the Sanders’ coven does supposedly the same thing for Derek Ford. That said, there is still plenty of nudity, bondage, whipping, and other borderline sexual thrills – so if you belong to the real army of the night (the dirty raincoat brigade) fear not, you’ll get your jollies! However, things get even groovier when we move onto scrying, where we have psychedelic hypnotic-patterns flashed across the screen – it’s a total trip, and wouldn’t have looked out of place in a hip 1960s horror flick like The Sorcerers.

Since director Malcolm Leigh is obsessed with the parallels between Christian and pagan rituals, Sanders also obliges him with a black mass; except, of course, this looks nothing like any black mass you’ve ever seen (such as the one in Ray Laurent’s Satanis, a 1970 documentary about Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan). Alex Sanders may be a showbiz sell-out but he’s both sweeter and considerably less of a flake than LaVey. While LaVey appears to have been no more than a huckster, these days so-called Satanism (in reality it is just Christianity in a mildly inverted form) seems to act as a magnet for kiddie-fiddlers and related low-life scum. Sanders, by way of contrast, is great entertainment. It’ s well worth grabbing a copy of Legend of the Witches just for the footage of Alex and his coven acting out their fantasies for the entertainment of dirty old men!

Link to the original article here.

Essential reading for the first-time occult explorer

Just as with your first time camping in unchartered wilderness, you wouldn’t even contemplate setting off without map and compass to guide you, approaching the occult requires a minimum of familiarisation with what’s out there.

The occult is a vast and diverse labyrinth in which those new to the Craft can easily get lost and confused. Best to start your trip well informed about who’s who, what they are about and what do they mean when they’re speaking to you.

Frequently, the first question a new aspirant to the Craft will ask has to do with getting direction about what to read. If they ask to an experienced occultist belonging to a specific tradition, it is very likely the information they will receive will be biased in favour of personal preferences and beliefs that might not be necessarily useful to take the enquirer where he needs to get to and might limit or send him round in circles or empty journeys towards unnecessary ordeals and dangers.

My recommendation for anyone new to the occult is to get as broad a basic knowledge of what’s out there as humanly possible and then follow up from their point of interest.

For this specific purpose, what follows is a comprehensive reading list aimed to help new aspirants to make their own informed decisions:

Traditional Witchcraft.

-A Grimoire for Modern Cunningfolk, by Peter Paddon.
– Ars Philtron, by Daniel Alvin Schulke.
– Azoetia: Grimoire of the Sabbatic Craft, by Andrew D. Chumbley.
– Call of the Horned Piper, by Nigel Aldcroft Jackson.
– Coven of the Scales, compiled by Melusine Draco.
– Hedge Rider, by Eric De Vries.
– Light from the Shadows, by Gwyn.
– Masks of Misrule, by Nigel Jackson.
– The Robert Cochrane Letters, by Robert Cochrane with Evan John Jones. Edited and Introduced by Michael Howard.
– Old Tradition Crafte, Translated by Robin Artisan.
– One: Grimoire of the Golden Toad, by Andrew D. Chumbley.
– Qutub: The Point, by Andrew D. Chumbley.
– Seasonal Magic – Diary of a Village Witch, by Paddy Slade.
– Tales Round the Cauldron, by Paddy Slade.
– The Forge of Tubal Cain, by Ann Finnin.
– The Roebuck in the Thicket, by Evan John Jones & Robert Cochrane, editor Mike Howard.
– The Satyr’s Sermon, by Andrew D. Chumbley.
– Treading the Mill, by Nigel G. Pearson.
– Walking the Tides, by Nigel G. Pearson.
– Tubelo’s Green Fire, by Shani Oates.
– The Star Crossed Serpent – Volume 1, by Shani Oates.
– The People of Goda, by Shani Oates.
– Viridarium Umbris: The Pleasure Garden of Shadows, by Daniel Alvin Schulke.
– Walking the Tides – Seasonal Rhythms and Traditional Lore in Natural Craft, by Nigel G. Pearson.
– Witchcraft A Tradition Renewed, by Evan John Jones with Doreen Valiente.

British Traditional Witchcraft.

– An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present, by Doreen Valiente.
– Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches, by Charles G. Leland.
– A Witch Alone – Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic, by Marian Green.
– Ecstasies – Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath, by Carlo Ginzburg.
– Handbook of Magic & Witchcraft, by Charles W. Olliver.
– HedgeWitch – A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft, by Rae Beth.
– Lamp of the Goddess – Lives and Teachings of a Priestess, by Rae Beth.
– In the Name of the Devil: Great Scottish Witchcraft Cases, by Ronald Seth.
– Male Witches in Early Modern Europe, by Lara Apps and Andrew Gow.
– Mastering Witchcraft, by Paul Huson.
– Malleus Maleficarum – The Classic Study of Witchcraft, by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger.
– Natural Magic, by Doreen Valiente.
– Night’s Black Agents – Witches, Wizards and the Dead in the Ancient World, by Daniel Ogden.
– Rowan Tree & Red Thread, by Thomas Davidson.
– Satanism and Witchcraft, by Jules Michelet.
– Scottish Witchcraft, by Raymond Lamont-Brown.
– Scottish Witches, by Charles W. Cameron.
– The Complete Art of Witchcraft, by Sybil Leek.
– The Dark World of Witches, by Eric Maple.
– The Devil’s Coven – Classic Stories of Scottish Witchcraft, Edited by Angus Black.
– The Elements of Natural Magic, by Marian Green.
– The Necromancers – The Best of Black Magic and Witchcraft, by Peter Haining.
– The Night Battles, by Carlo Ginzburg.
– The Pickingill Papers – The Origin of the Gardnerian Craft, by W.E. Liddell and Michael Howard.
– The Rebirth of Witchcraft, by Doreen Valiente.
– The Triumph of the Moon – A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, by Ronald Hutton.
– Welsh Witches and Wizards, by Michael Howard.
– Witchcraft European and African, by Geoffrey Parrinder.
– Witchcraft and Sorcery, Edited by Max Marwick.
– Witchcraft in Britain, by Christina Hole.
– Witchcraft for Tomorrow, by Doreen Valiente.
– Witches & Sorcerers, by Arkon Daraul.
– Witches & Warlocks, by Philip W. Sergeant.

Ceremonial Magic

– Cantus Circaeus – The Incantations of Circe/Together with The Judiciary Being the Art of Memory, by Giordano Bruno.
– Celestial Magic, by Nigel Jackson.
– Experiments in Aquarian Magic, by Marian Green.
– Geomancy – Ars Terra, by G. St. M. Nottingham.
– Ghayat Al-Hakim. Picatrix, The Goal of the Wise. Volume One/Two. (Translated from the Arabic) By Hashem Atallah. Edited by William Kiesel.
– Hermetica – the writtings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, Edited and Translated by Walter Scott.
– Heptameron, by Peter De Abano.
– Liber Lilith, by Donald Tyson.
– Liber Noctis – A Handbook of the Sorcerous Arte, by G. St. M. Nottingham.
– Mysteries and Secrets of Magic, by C.J.S. Thompson.
– Nightside of Eden, by Kenneth Grant.
– Planetary Magick – A Complete System for Knowledge and Attainment, by Melita Denning & Osborne Phillips.
– Sangreal Ceremonies and Rituals, by William G. Gray.
– Secrets of Planetary Magic, by Christopher Warnock.
– Secrets of Planetary Ritual, by Christopher Warnock.
– Stellar Magic – A Practical Guide to the Rites of the Moon, Planets, Stars and Constellations, by Payam Nabarz.
– The Black Art, by Rollo Ahmed.
– The Black Arts, by Richard Cavendish.
– The Book of Fallen Angels, by Michael Howard.
– The Magical Revival, by Kenneth Grant.
– The Pillars of Tubal Cain, by Nigel Jackson and Michael Howard.
– The Sangreal Sacrament, by William G. Gray.
– Turba Philosophorum, Translated by Arthur Edward Waite.

Introduction to Astrology

– Lunar Astrology, by Alexandre Volguine.
– The Mansions of the Moon – A Lunar Zodiac for Astrology & Magic, by Christopher Warnock.

General Occult

– Azoth or the Star in the East, by Arthur Edward Waite.
– Forbidden Rites – A Necormancer’s Manual of the Fifteenth Century, by Richard Kieckhefer.
– Handbook of the Black Arts, by J. W. Wickwar.
– Seasonal Occult Rituals, by William G. Gray.
– Secret Societies, by Arkon Daraul.
– The Book of Fallen Angels, by Michael Howard.
– The Chemical Choir – A History of Alchemy, by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart.
– The Pillars of Tubal-Cain, by Nigel Jackson and Michael Howard.
– The Place of Magic in the Intellectual History of Europe, by Lynn Thorndike.
– The Underworld Initiation, by R.J. Stewart.
– The Wordsworth Book of Spells, by Arthur Edward Waite.


– Horns of Power, Edited by Sorita d’Este.
– Sacred Mask, Sacred Dance, by Evan John Jones with Chas S. Clifton.
– The God of Socrates, by Apuleius.
– The God Year – Festival Days of the Sacred Male, by Nigel Pennick & Helen Field.
– The Golden Bough, by Sir James Frazer.
– The Inner Mysteries of the Goths, by Nigel Pennick.
– The Origins of Pagan and Christian Beliefs, by Edward Carpenter.
– The Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manly P. Hall.
– The Setian – The Mysteries of the Shadow, by Billie Walker John.
– The Silver Bough, by F. Marian McNeill.
– The Trials of Arthur – The Life and Times of a Modern-Day King, by Arthur Pendragon & Christopher James Stone.
– The Western Way – A Practical Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition, by Caitlin and John Matthews.
– The White Goddess, by Robert Graves.

Other (e.g. Folklore, Folk Tradition, Vampire Lore,

Herbalism, Tarot, etc)

– Calendars and Constellations of the Ancient World, by Emmeline Plunket.
– Celtic Mythology and Religion, by Alexander MacBain.
– Compleat Vampyre, by Nigel Jackson.
– Dragons of the West, by Nigel Pennick.
– Fallen Angels – Origins of Evil, by Elizabeth Clare prophet.
– Forest Paths – A Manual of Modern Tree Divination, by Brian Harrison.
– Fortuna’s Wheel – The Mysteries of Medieval Tarot, by Nigel Jackson.

– Grimoire Sympathia, by Charubel.
– Healing the Wounded King – Soul Work and the Quest for the Grail, by John Matthews.
– Herbs of the Northern Shaman, by Steve Andrews.
– In Search of Herne the Hunter, by Eric L. Fitch.
– Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain – An Exploration of the Mabinogion, by Caitlin Matthews.
– Puck of Pook’s Hill, by Rudyard Kippling.
– Secrets of the Lodge – Origins, Practices and Beliefs of Freemasonry, by Tubal Cain.

– Secret Signs Symbols and Sigils, by Nigel Pennick.
– Secret Societies – Their Mysteries Revealed, by John Lawrence Reynolds.
– Seidways – Shaking, Swaying and Serpent Mysteries, by Jan Fries.
– The Arthurian Tradition, by John Matthews.
– The Celtic Shaman – A Handbook, by John Matthews.
– The Cult of Kumari – Virgin Worship in Nepal, by Michael R. Allen.
– The Cult of the Black Virgin, by Ean Begg.
– The Hymns of Orpheus, Mutations by R.C. Hogart.
– The Language of Birds – Some Notes on Chance and Divination, by Dale Pendell.
– The Legend of the Sons of God, by T. C. Lethbridge.
– The Lore of the Forest (Myths and Legends), by Alexander Porteous.
– The Nigel Jackson Tarot, by Nigel Jackson.
– The Oracle of Geomancy, by Nigel Pennick.
– The Pattern Under the Plough, by George Ewart Evans. 

– The Rumi Tarot, by Nigel Jackson.
– The Secrets of East Anglian Magic, by Nigel Pennick.
– The Shamanic Way of the Bee, by Simon Buxton.
– The 7 Keys to Power, by Lewis de Claremont.
– The Virtue of Stones (De Virtutibus Lapidum), Attributed to Damigeron (translated by Patricia P. Tahil).
– Visual Magick – A Manual of Freestyle Shamanism, by Jan Fries.


The many faces of the ZODIAC

In his book, The Ultimate Evil, investigator-author Maury Terry writes
that between 1966 and 1967, the Satanic cult, the Process Church,
“sought to recruit the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.” During this
period, Terry reports that a photo of Rolling Stones leader Mick
Jagger’s longtime girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, appeared in an issue
of The Process Magazine. The picture shows her supine, as if dead,
clutching a rose. Terry’s book goes on to implicate the Process Church
cult in the Charles Manson and Son of Sam multiple murders. It was the
former lawyer for the Process Church, John Markham, who recently ran
the frameup trial against Lyndon LaRouche.

Charles Manson was a “Light-bearer” with the Church of Satan.

KENNETH ANGER High Level Magus with the Church Of Satan

A key link between the Rolling Stones and the Process Church is
Kenneth Anger, a follower of the “founding father” of modern Satanism,
Aleister Crowley. Anger, born in 1930, and…

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The Scourge in ritual – two opposing views

Here I present two opposing views about the use of the scourge within British Traditional Witchcraft ritual. Please follow the links in the text below.

The first advocates the traditional interpretation put forward by Gardner whereby the scourge serves to purify and makes plenty of references to the ancient Lupercalia. Interestingly, you will also notice the blog is overtly BDSM orientated.

The latter roots its argument in veiled inferences to the presentation of the weapons as described in the 2nd degree initiatory rituals that see the scourge as a weapon of dominion then unfolds into insights about vampirism and life draining practices of abusive cult leaders dressed up as lambs.

An interesting contrast providing lots of food for thought.

Driving voices underground: Watchers of the Dawn

Who are the Watchers of the Dawn?

In order to maintain the occult scene free of corruption it is indispensable to safeguard everyone’s freedom to speak their own truth.

You’d think liberalism – the ideology to which the majority of today’s occultists proudly identify themselves with – would have guaranteed this basic freedom.

Far from it, we are seeing a return to the suppression of contrary opinion and mind imprisonment, simply because it might rock someone’s boat.

What is a truth loving occultist to do but to unbind and set these voices free? Yes, even the inconvenient ones.


Sexual Predators and the Wiccan Community


Lately the modern Pagan community has been rocked by two instances of sexual predators and it both cases the community has responded very differently. Why? Well, lets look at this issue and see why there are differences in how things are handled because they do matter for so many follow on reasons.

Kenny Klein

The first case I heard about concerned Kenny Klein. For those, who like myself, were unfamiliar with Klein and his work he is an elder within the Blue Star Wicca tradition, an offshoot of both Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions. According to media sources online, Klein was arrested on “25 counts of child pornography, involving images found on his computer of children under the age of 13 engaging in explicit sexual activity, according to this news story from the Times-Picayune”.

Over on the Wild Hunt Jason goes a little more into the detail of the…

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