Thanks for reading as this newsletter as it gets off the ground. After a wildly successful week gaining four new subscribers, I've decided to launch a brand new section! Between the five weekly stories and the notable quote, I'll be writing a quick profile of a person or project (websites, publishers, podcasts?) that I find interesting. And now, here are the stories:
Astrologers and tarot readers may not predict the election.
India's Election Commission has added divination to the list, along with exit polls and other more mundane forms of forecasting, during the period in which all such activities are banned from being aired or published. “Predictions by astrologers, tarot readers, political analysts or by any person during the prohibited period is violation of the spirit of Section 126A,” which, the statement said, "aims to prevent the electors of constituencies still going to polls from being influenced in their voting." Despite the inclusion of diviners, it appears most of the violating media organizations are using more convention methods like polling.
Anyone who wants to be a witch is a witch. Period.
So writes solitary practitioner Jan Erickson in a Huffington Post blog post called "Defining A Witch." She laments reading endless screeds about how that definition is validated, often using exclusion. "Instead of seeing all as other expressions of self, witches included, we see only the other, finding reasons to define them as less than," Erickson writes. "In this time of ascension, the awareness of witches can help guide others to awakening so it makes no sense to be at odds with each other.Instead of defining another witch as real or not, why not express an interest in how witches define themselves?" People come to the craft in various ways, some with ancestry and some without. But so what? Now is a time to stick together as the world faces a time of crisis and challenge. "Witches need to remain focused," Erickson writes.
Elon Musk will soon be injecting computers into brains.
This follows from his statement last month at the World Government Summit in Dubai that people need to become cyborgs to compete in a future dominated by artificial intelligence. A "merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence" is needed in order for humans to stay economically competitive, Musk said. Now, he's following through with the semi-official announcement of a company called Neuralink which will explore implanting electrodes into the brain. The proposed technology has been dubbed "neural lace" and would give people direct computing capabilities. "If somebody doesn’t do it," Musk said, "then I think I should do it.” Musk plans on funding the company, which was registered in California under "medical research" last July, mostly by himself.
SPIRITS AND SAUCERS
The Kinks' guitarist Dave Davies has flying saucer stories.
In a Vulture interview coinciding with the March 31st release of his new album Open Road, recorded along with his son Russ, Davies described a number of UFO encounters involving lights and zigzags. When he dug deeper into the UFO experience, it revealed a number of psychic impressions. "There are all sorts of phenomena about consciousness that we can’t quite explain but that give us wisdom and guidance," he said. A spectacular out-of-body-experience in 1982 and breakdowns from too much drugs and drinking propelled Davies to delve more deeply into spirituality through yoga and astrology. Now it's inspiring a screenplay about a woman mystic on another planet who falls in love with a drunken cop in crime-ridden future New York because they knew each other in a past life. He hopes to turn it into a theatrical production as well. Davies also outlined some of his spiritual views. "Everything is energy, we’re all magicians," he told Vulture. "It’s all about balance: left and right, dark and light."
Solve all your problems while you sleep.
According to a study from Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Deirdre Barrett, two-thirds of participants who focused on a pressing life problem before going to sleep each night for a week had a dream about the issue and one-third found a solution in their dream. This technique has been helpfully dubbed "dream incubation." Berlin-based psychotherapist Joseph Dillard offers a handy guide for how to get busy dreaming your best life. Step one, pick a topic. Step two, write it down. Step three... Well just read the article.
John Michael Greer (b. 1962) is an eclectic and wide-ranging scholar, a maestro of contemporary druidism and a prolific writer on the decline of industrial civilization. Originally from Bremerton, Washington, a small-town across the Puget Sound from Seattle, Greer now resides in the Appalachian town of Cumberland, Maryland. He became a Druid in 1993 and from 2003 to to 2015, was the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America. In 2013, he founded his own order, the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn.
Author of over thirty books, he is widely known for The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth (Weiser, 2006) which offers a practical way to explore the living tradition rooted in Celtic antiquity. Other well known works include The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age (New Society, 2008) which examines the repercussions of peak oil and postulates a slow transformation away from a fossil-fuel addicted world to one driven by local communities and gardening.
The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered (New Society, 2011) is a critique of current economic models which discount environmental costs and a proposal for a new vision of economics based on ecology. Inspired in part by E.F. Schumacher's revolutionary Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (Harper & Row, 1975), Greer suggests public policy initiatives and personal choices that can enable a smooth transition into a planet-sustaining future.
His most recent book, Dark Age America: Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, and the Hard Future Ahead (2016) takes a more pessimistic turn with Greer predicting population die off in the coming centuries from starvation, pandemics and war. Much of America will turn to desert, failing nuclear power plants will create massive "dead zones" and modern technology will be destroyed. Rev. Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution (Plume, 2009), calls Greer "a modern-day prophet speaking on behalf of Reality."
Greer blogs at The Archdruid Report with recent articles examining the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer.
THE QUOTE BOX
"Any ability to access information or truth – the very essence of dowsing – can prove threatening to those who seek power and control and who prefer to keep the populace in ignorance. And disappointingly, there are those today who have closed minds and feel similarly threatened due to myriad alternative agendas."
That's all for this week. Look out next Monday morning!