The Mystical Fruits Behind the Veil with Greg Kaminsky


The times we live in are very strange indeed. As the subject of this piece relates, we're living through a disturbance of the status quo that is sending shock-waves throughout all our lives we haven't witnessed in some time. We all feel a sense of dislocation and of the ground underneath changing at a rate we aren't accustomed to. The way in which we learn and communicate has radically shifted in our lifetimes and continues to. The nature of the way governments, economies and technologies operate being ever in-flux, forces our minds to constantly readjust and reprocess. 

In this dislocation, the Holy Grail of understanding is our social media God. The daily feed to satiate our hunger. The stream of data that never sleeps. If we can just keep up with the downloads, we won't feel quite so lost at sea. This strategy fails a lot of us, in that flashy content provides little context for meaning or value. We yearn for something deeper and more substantive. We've never had more avenues for distraction and self-medication and still the unsettling disturbance of the violations being perpetrated against us is unshakable. 

For those of us who no longer want to return to the source of the sickness expecting a solution, we must find alternate avenues for answers. For some it becomes a philosophical journey and for others it's a distinctly spiritual one. It's in an existential fall that we turn towards firm platforms of grounding that offer sturdy support. Ways of being and knowing that persist. 

For reasons both personal and societal, I can locate my own fall in the opening years of this century. Many people have preceded me on a similar journey. A few years ago I was fortunate to come upon a stream of knowledge that had been flowing for some time already. While plenty can be said about the damaging effects of technology and social media, there's also no question that the same outlets and channels for communicating ideas have also produced incredible and unprecedented access to enriching content. 

The way in which we chose to navigate these new technology platforms makes all the difference on whether we add value or confusion to our lives. Podcasts that capture conversations about highly nuanced subjects featuring individuals we would otherwise have no access to has changed the game. 

A podcast like Occult of Personality, that brings forth the foremost experts studying and practicing in the field of magic and mysticism provides a caliber of intellectual discussion one could only hope to find in an academic environment. I was so affected by them, I felt compelled to contact the show creator and host Greg Kaminsky privately, to ask for personal guidance. 

At my beginning stages of discovering the occult, I couldn't have reached out to a better or more generous representative to answer the questions I had.

It was only a matter of time before we had our first Skype consultation and I was off on my way with a solid foundation to enter upon a deeper path of research and discovery. There are a lot of so-called internet authorities of occultism, with larger-than-life personas. What has always appealed to me about Greg and his show is his down-to-earth realness. In my conversations with him, I have always found not only a profoundly knowledgeable resource on arcane matters of the spirit, but also a caring friend concerning matters of the ordinary.

It is now my pleasure to finally be able to share publicly some of the amazing insights he has provided me over the years in private.

LOOK PAST THE FLOWERS TO TASTE THE FRUIT. 

Greg Kaminsky

Let’s start with your story about when you decided to make the huge change in your life to dedicate yourself fulltime to the podcast and let go of your corporate gig.
I had been working as a software development project manager at a major financial services company for almost 10 years when the housing bubble / recession hit in 2009 and was laid off with severance pay. I'd been spending at least half of each work day for 5 years or so just reading esoteric books and doing research, so I knew that going back to a normal job was not something I wanted to do. Fortunately, my wife (girlfriend at the time) agreed and we decided that we were going to follow our dreams, even though it meant struggling financially for awhile. 
 At some point during those 5 years, I came to understand that despite my wanting, the corporate job I had was preventing me from fully embracing all the teachings that I'd received. 
I was working at this job not because I enjoyed it or it was a calling, but because it provided financial security. That security came at a price however. I had to reconcile the fact that the entire financial services industry was like a giant casino and it was being sold as the exact opposite.   
My own very small role in that felt destabilizing. This taught me how important it is for thoughts, feelings, and actions to be in accord. It is not enough, at least for me, to believe wholeheartedly in the ancient philosophies of Western esotericism while simultaneously hedging my bets by working to seemingly undermine the very ideas I held dear (by serving greed and rapacious capitalism). I'm not a Marxist, but the things I saw while working in that environment made me appreciate ethics and the limits of human exploitation. So, really it was easy, and a blessing, to be able to walk away from that situation into one where I feel a sense of purpose, that my ideals are in alignment with the work I do each day. I don't believe you can put a price on that, but I think about it often as we try to come up with money to buy food or pay the mortgage.
What was the first occult experience you had that was like the light bulb going off? Did it happen as the result of a book or someone you met?
As I look back, there have been quite a few. It was a gradual progression until one day it was a full-blown lifetime study. If I had to pick one single thing, it was the experience I had using salvia divinorum in a ceremonial way. It caused a very strong reaction that led me to understand that the kundalini response, in its myriad forms, was the purpose of human life on this planet. I felt compelled to better comprehend what happened to me that night and this secret fire within all humans. 
I've spoken and written about this experience in greater detail previously, but what I'd like to emphasize is that you, reading these words, are not what you take yourself to be. Investigate who you really are and the answer may shock you. Esotericism and mysticism point the way, but this intelligence that dwells in and around the human body is ultimately determining the course. 
What three books have had the most effect on you? 

-      1. I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargardatta Maharaj - This book is the most pure distillation of non-dual philosophy from talks with someone who had achieved stable realization. No book has had a more profound effect on me then this one. It's the most simple, clear, accessible, and direct path that I've ever encountered. It's profoundly mystical, and completely grounded in reality. It's appeal may be limited among those that prefer grimoires, intermediary intelligences, esoteric orders, ceremonial gear, etc. But if you're after learning who and what you truly are, there's nothing better in my opinion. 
-       2. The Tower of Alchemy by David Goddard - I did the practices from this book for over a year and they had a radically transformative effect. In addition to the theory of inner alchemy, Goddard relates it to Vajrayana Buddhism. The practice also stimulates the inner alchemical reactions and involves the art of memory in extensive visualizations.  
-       3. Morals & Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry by Albert Pike, - This dense tome contains a wealth of wisdom and reading it many years ago was the first time I was exposed to Gnostic, Neoplatonic, Hermetic, and Cabalistic ideas. Specifically the 28th Degree, Knight of the Sun, is the chapter that made a metaphorical light bulb go on in my mind. Pike was revealing a lot when he composed that book and it stands the test of time, though the modern annotated edition is clearly superior to the original. 
Since the occult covers a lot of ground, based on your experience, what can you say are the common denominators across all the various threads?
I'm going to limit my answer to Western esotericism. I think there are several qualities that characterize these traditions. 
1.  Secrecy, initiation, oath-taking - The need for secrecy is for many reasons including being seen as an apologist for magick, Judaism, or paganism was dangerous, the Qabalah promotes the idea that the secrets of nature are hidden and revealed only to the wise, this behavior creates a sealed container in which to do the work more effectively, and several others. 
2.  Qabalah as the foundational system of divine names, cosmology, and anthropogeny. This is often mixed with astrology, alchemy, and Tarot symbolism. Some traditions depart from Hebrew Qabalah and use English, Greek, geometric and astrological symbols, or even Runes. 
3.  Concordance - at some level, an appreciation that all religions, or at least all esoteric traditions, point to similar ideas even though they may come through a different cultural paradigm, language, and history. 
4.  Tradition - whether in support or denial, all esoteric groups have some position on lineage and authenticity of their teachings and initiatory transmissions. 
5.  Syncretism - despite any claims to the contrary, Western esotericism is, by its very nature, syncretic. By this I mean that it combines Qabalah, Hermetism, Neoplatonism, gnosticism, Hellenic magick / goetia, and Christianity (of various flavors) to produce many varieties of theory and practice. 
6.  Innovation under the guise of ancient tradition - from all those who signed the name of Hermes Trismegistus to their works, to the ancient Jewish Kabbalists, to Aleister Crowley this has been a hallmark of Western esotericism. 
7.  Mythology of the tradition - think of all the legends about famous occultists and occult orders - St. Germaine for one and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn's origin story for another. If you're in an occult order, chances are it does this too (especially Freemasonry!). 
8. The phenomenon of the outer school - any group that you can find information about    publicly and join is only an outer manifestation of the authentic esoteric tradition. The groups where the real work is occurring are hidden.
How has having access to your guests changed or influenced your life and spiritual practice?
I think it has made a world of difference. Once the podcast started gaining momentum after the first few months, the level of commitment to the material covered increased significantly, meaning that I felt compelled to read every book that I discussed on the show and delved deeply into the work of each guest. Over time, this process has exposed me to a lot of material of varying levels of efficacy. 
Gradually, over about 10 years, I’ve come to the specific path I follow and I can only credit my work on the podcast as instrumental to that revelation. Interacting directly with these teachers and experts has also forced me to be much more dedicated and serious as a practitioner. Primarily because these interviews / conversations gave me the insight that these people were once beginners and through a lot of hard work, they achieved some level of mastery. 
The formula of applying your attention and focus without desire for any specific outcome is true magic. I also believe very strongly that sharing these interviews has made this endeavor into an act of service instead of selfishly gaining knowledge and experience for my own benefit.
You recently completed work on a thesis, can you tell us what it was about?
Yes, I recently completed my thesis and earned a master’s degree in liberal arts concentrating in medieval studies. My thesis is entitled Celestial Intelligences: The Syncretic Angelology of Renaissance Philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. 
The focus is Pico’s Cabala and the manner in which he combined the traditional Jewish and Christian orders of angelic hierarchy to fit in with his program for spiritual ascension. 
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
I would also add that Pico was the originator of the Christian Cabala and his prescription for divine union mirrors almost identically those of Kabbalist masters like the Baal Shem Tov, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and Joseph Karo. Pico outlined this program in his Oration (posthumously entitled Oration on the Dignity of Man).  
I’ve also recorded two audio lectures (with more coming) about this topic and they’re available now in The Chamber of Reflection. 
For those how have never written a thesis, can you describe the process, it’s length and what the requirements are?
I would describe it as similar to writing a non-fiction book. I began by researching the transition of Kabbalah from Judaism to Christianity in the fifteenth century. This involved more than hundred scholarly sources and took me two years. I went over the recommended time due to illness; I think it should have probably taken one year. From there, I had to write a proposal of about 28 pages in length outlining my planned thesis. 
My research advisor approved this proposal, and we began to search for a thesis director—the professor I would consult with to complete the thesis who has some level of expertise in the subject matter. My advisor pitched the proposal to the professor we selected and she accepted conditionally. 
After meeting her, we decided that I had to narrow the focus of the thesis from Kabbalah’s transition from Judaism to Christianity and write about the originator of Christian Cabala—Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. It took me 15 months to complete the 128 page thesis, again longer than required due to illness. 
There are a multitude of requirements; so many that the school provides a book called the Thesis Writers’ Guide filled with everything from how to research, notations and citations, formatting, and more.
What did you walk away with that you didn’t already have after completing that work?
I believe I have a much more complete understanding of the history of Cabala and the major figures that developed it, why, and how. I also understand the vast differences even more than before, the differences between mysticism, natural magic, and theurgy versus sorcery and thaumaturgy according to Renaissance-era schools of thought. 
Interestingly, I ultimately learned how true wisdom is more of an un-learning process as opposed to an acquisition of more and more knowledge. If and when you read my thesis, I think this last statement will become clearer.  
Do you have a vision of what you’re working towards once you obtain this next degree?
My vision was to develop my intellect to the same extent as the most brilliant minds I’d spoken with about esotericism. After speaking with a Jesuit named Father John, it became obvious to me that I required a greater discipline of study in order to truly understand the historical and philosophical foundations of Western esotericism. I know that my studies in the academic area have allowed me to do that and I am grateful to have had the experience.
Without breaking any oaths, what has your participation in a Freemasonic order done to enhance your spiritual life or your esoteric understanding?
Becoming a Freemason has given me a great appreciation for tradition, ritual, the art of memorization and how learning from ritual and memorization of lectures allows for a different way of understanding than the strictly intellectual, patience, tolerance, compassion, and a feeling of goodwill towards humanity. How all of that happened during the course of my Masonic journey is not easy to describe, but it isn’t complex either.
What are you appreciating about Freemasonry right now in the present that is new or different than it might have been in the past?
I’m appreciating that Freemasonry as an institution doesn’t require any remedies or fixation, in my opinion. All of the work that is required is for the individual Mason to do internally. That isn’t to say that there are no problems within Masonic lodges or grand lodges, just that individual Masons seeking more light will find that light by working on their own deluded perceptions, not those of others.
I’m also appreciating very much that Freemasonry isn’t, nor was it designed to be, a fully-contained spiritual path. Rather, Freemasonry complements, and is complemented by, a self-described religion or spiritual tradition. Not having to rely on the Masonic tradition to answer all possible questions is a blessing, in my opinion.
Recently you worked with writer and artist David Chaim Smith, editing his new book Deep Kabbalistic Principles. Was that the first book you edited? What was that process like?
Yes, this was the first book I’d worked on as an editor. I am eternally grateful to Dave for the opportunity to work with him on the production of a book that I find so important and radical in the context of Western esotericism. 
Basically, I read the book dozens of times in different ways, offered suggestions with regard to content and structure, and spent a lot of time chatting with Dave about the concepts and their expressions in his work. For me, it was perhaps the finest combination of esoteric and academic work I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of and I learned a great deal.
Smith’s approach feels like a radical departure from what might be considered a typical approach to the Kabbala mediated through ceremonial magic systems. Is that correct and if so how might his work challenge those who have built their experience around late 19th and 20th century conceptions and practices?
I think your assessment is correct. Smith’s work starts from what he terms a gnosemic view—En Sof is the foundational basis for all phenomenal appearance. He describes En Sof as the ground. This is not a ground as in support to erect a structure, but as in the grounds for an argument. The ground, or En Sof, is not a thing, but a continuum of no-thingness. He also posits that there was no fall, or tzim-tzum, shattering of the vessel producing emanations of spheres. 
He sees the Sephirot as the display functions of En Sof. Essentially all there is is En Sof gazing at itself through itself. Realization is the lived experience of that. 
Because full gnostic awakening, or enlightenment, is the only concern of the system, it is challenging to many who have not accepted that as their goal, or that such a thing is even possible. But it is the true promise of most esoteric traditions and as heirs to those traditions, we would be wise to not settle for anything less. 
For anyone that might be confused, what do you consider to be mysticism and how does it differ or correlate with magic?
I think the above answer goes toward this question. Mysticism is generally concerned with approaching deity or divinity in an apophatic, or post-apophatic sense. It could be seen as the sublimation of the conception of individuality for the non-conception of the No-Thing—divine union. 
 Magic is generally concerned with vectoring in the opposite direction. Instead of an upwards union into no-thingness and un-knowingness, it is concerned with knowledge and classification, correspondences and causes and effects. 
To better understand the world and oneself often requires a breaking down, into ever more subtle and refined pieces, the bits of information so that it may be better digested by the self-conscious mind. With that knowledge, the magus may then manipulate reality using language, symbols, and materials.
The two are in no way exclusive and those who are effective generally use both. 
Authors like Erik Davis, Mitch Horowitz and Gary Lachman are all deeply committed to esoteric studies and have their own personal spiritual practices but aren’t initiates of magic societies or practice that’s considered ‘ritual magic.’ Can one choose to be an esotericist but not necessarily be a ‘magician’ with an adherence to defined systems of ritual performance? 
I believe so. Certainly one is not required to become something in order to study it. The authors you cite are all accomplished and exemplary in their field. But they do maintain a certain distance from their subjects that some of us do not. There is no judgement there at all. For me personally, sacrificing some perceived objectivity for the intimacy of experience is a deal worth making over and over again.
I hear often that we are living through a revival of magic from many streams: from witchcraft, Hermetic, Chaos, Solomonic, etc. Do you feel there is a revival happening? What can you attribute that to?
Clearly the interest level in these subjects is greater than it was when I began my podcast more than 10 years ago. In my studies, it seems notable that these heterodox systems of thought and practice generally become more attractive during times of perceived political, social, and religious instability. The past 2 years have been the most unstable in my own living memory...
In what ways did Aleister Crowley reframe magic in practice and vocabulary that permeated throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st? How has his influence helped the magic culture flourish and how has it hindered it from your point of view?
In my opinion, the reframing occurred specifically through fully adopting a view that is individualistic. Crowley took the concept of the individual to new heights. Begun with Renaissance Humanism, we can perceive these ideas about the primacy of humans, the anthropocentric view, as a split from previous historical conceptions of the self. 
Crowley extended it further. I am in no way judging this direction, but you can perceive the vector towards greater separation in asserting individuality instead of universality. Now this may be conceptually dealt with by philosophically denying the existence of any will greater than man’s. I think this has allowed magic culture to flourish and be hindered, both.  
To me, the primary hindrance is that Crowley’s Thelema is based on revelation, not realization. Again, it goes to the issue of not holding enlightenment, or self-realization as the highest standard of esoteric attainment.
To engage with classical ceremonial magic takes time, some money and a level of education. Do you think “high” magic brings with it a certain elitism or academic complexity that excludes the common folk who have more mundane and immediate needs?
To put it simply and succinctly, yes. And one could argue that is partially the point.
Folk magic is generally regarded as the magic of the common people, villagers, farmers, etc who didn’t run in high society circles or have access to old Grimoires. Which form of magic do you think goes back the furthest and has the deepest historical roots? Do the two approaches feed into each other today?
While not being able to know for certain, I imagine that if you could go far enough back historically, there would not have been this separation between high and low or ceremonial magic and folk magic. 
Think of tribal societies and their shamans. Civilization, larger societies, and hierarchy are the factors which bring about these divisions. I don’t have enough experience with folk magic traditions to really answer this question further.
Throughout history we can point to movements that sought to decentralize religion and faith, taking away power and control from elite hierarchies and allowing the everyday person to be self-empowered and have a direct line of communication with the ‘Source.’ With the development of secret magic societies, there comes a form of hierarchy and authority claims being made having to do with such and such linage. Is magic a heretical rebellion against authority, a tradition that genuinely needs authority figures or a little bit of both?
In the West, it started as both. During the middle ages and Renaissance, the most learned and those with access to the texts and traditions were clergy. Yet their magical activities had to be hidden from most. Hierarchy and authority are not just features of magic, but of nature and world, so of course, magical structures will resemble natural ones. 
Just as there are hierarchies of angelic orders, there exist hierarchies throughout the natural world. Hierarchy itself is the Jacob’s ladder that allows human consciousness to ascend to union with the divine. 
Bound up in the previous question is this notion that people tend to be ‘profane’ and ‘unclean’ and therefor unsuitable for receiving secret spiritual truth. In contrast, a movement like the Quakers argues that God’s truth, voice and spark exists inside of every person, not just special classes of ‘chosen’ Masters. Both concepts have a certain plausibility and grounding, yet they seem to create a tension. Which assertion do you think has greater weight or do you see a way both ideas can co-exist?
These ideas are not exclusive. Yes, the spark of the divine is there, but it is human delusion that prevents it from shining forth constantly. The “uncleanliness” is really the stain of an unskillful view and the effect of actions born out of that view. 
Correct view will lead to correct actions which can lead to purification and redemption. But I would argue that usually requires a true teacher that can guide one out of delusion. Mind itself cannot think its way out of delusion, unfortunately.
In reading Mitch Horowitz’s book Occult America, he traces a history of ordinary people grabbing onto various elements of occultism, breaking them apart, reshaping them, creating new approaches, etc. This breaking from old traditions of European structures feels a bit in keeping with our modern spirit of DIY attitudes that have shaped a broader American ethos. Was that a positive development to have occult tools, ‘democratized’ if you will?
I think the answer depends upon your view. If your view is anthropocentric, then yes, I think it could be perceived as positive.
 If your view is gnosemicthen the answer is maybe. The shattering of tradition, the idea that one can do it themselves with a book and no teacher are negative outcomes that ultimately create a break from which Western esotericists seem unwilling to address in any meaningful way (aside from studying and practicing Eastern traditions, which is what many who are accomplished end up doing). 
However, if there is some alleviation of suffering through these approaches, then that would probably be good. If the alleviation of suffering were permanent, then it would definitely be good.

There are lots of stories of secret orders gone wrong, devolving into cults that are abusive or facilitating a megalomaniac personality to reign supreme over the rest. Why do you think this happens? Is this something to do with the occult or is this to do with human behavior in groups? What would be the way to check and balance that while still maintaining a communal experience?
Yes, this can and does happen. I think it has to do with human personalities and their dynamics. Some want to lead, others want to follow. It is not exclusive to the occult, but combined with occultism, human relationships can take on a more meaningful appearance. I don’t think there is a way to check and balance this. 
Over time, group dynamics can become unbalanced. It may be best to rely on our own good judgement and common sense, but usually the realm of the esoteric involves following more non-rational faculties. I don’t want to say there is no satisfactory answer to your question, it’s just that I don’t know it if there is.
There are some involved in occult that are vocal that tangible results based magic or the ability to change material conditions being the only magic that matters. Money, sex, material needs, jobs, etc. Someone of that position may then consider goals like ‘spiritual development’ to be nebulous and New-Age. Has there always been this split of mindsets on what magic is and what it is meant for? 
I don’t believe that this split of mindsets has always been since time immemorial. I believe that a materialist mindset, or modernist perspective which we may be able to trace to the late-middle ages or early Renaissance in western Europe having to do with the anthropocentric perspective I mentioned earlier. 
So it becomes a bit hard to separate—there was probably a split between high and low magic (since it was described as an existing situation by Pico in 1486), but it was not over materialist versus spiritual goals. Rather it was between magic whose purpose was divine union and all other magic (divination, sorcery, spirit contact and communication, creation of talismans, geomancy, etc.) with the exception of alchemy, whose goal was to better understand the natural world.
 Ultimately, the true magus can and does use both types of magic, but in support of divine union, if that makes sense.
You have discussed previously the differences between the traditions of East and West and even the deficits of the West in comparison. That being said, how does this passage from the Tao strike you?
"Occult abilities are just flowers of the TaoAnd the beginning of foolishness.
Therefore the Master dwells in the substantial And not the superficial.Rests in the fruit and not in the flower.
So let go of that and grasp this."- Tao Te Ching, Ch. 38
With regard to the comparison of Eastern and Western traditions, I want to be clear. The deficit, if you will, in Western traditions (with the exception of Jewish Kabbalism) is stark--the lack of living realized beings that teach students. Eastern esoteric traditions are, for the most part, predicated upon the concept of a living enlightened teacher that transmits the wisdom to their disciples. 
For a variety of historical reasons that are too lengthy to approach here, that is not the case for Western traditions and as a result, we have no realization in that sense. 
This is crucial because the magic or transformations of consciousness that a realized being can enact dwarf what a typical being is capable of on scales of magnitude that are difficult to imagine.  
I believe that this is what the quote from the Tao Te Ching is referring to. The substantial, or unchanging, is the co-emergence of awareness and appearance, which never changes, was never born, and is eternal. The Master, or realized being, dwells in this Reality, whereas typical beings like myself reside in delusion, AKA the superficial. And like the flower, occult powers usually appear to a practitioner prior to the fruit of self-realization. If one grasps the flower, the fruit will not ripen . . . or so I've been told. 
How do you feel about the Internet disseminating occult teachings, practices and online communities? I’m sure there’s not a binary answer, maybe what are the pros and cons?
I feel good about it considering my podcast is one of those websites. I think the best part is that people are able to learn about traditions and teachers that they may otherwise never have been able to. But this is a double-edged sword. 
Having access to so much quality material is costly in the sense that for every moment that one is unable to choose a single teacher, tradition, or text to work with at a time, their attention risks being fractured by additional work that is equally attractive and draws their focus and energy away from any single point. Do you see how this is both a blessing and a curse simultaneously? In my opinion, the solution is to remain interested in the diversity of available material, but ultimately, to be a practitioner, one has to have a regular practice, a teacher, and a tradition that provides a path to follow. Not everyone desires this, but those who do tend to make more progress.
We still see a great deal of conspiratorial Internet gossip rooted in the belief that the puppet masters at the top of the international pyramid have a deep understanding of occult symbolism and are motivated to use the world stage to revive and pay homage to these cosmologies to gain favor and power. Given how intricate and demanding occultism is, do you think world leaders are committed to manipulating events and staging rituals in this way?
I obviously cannot know the answer to the question you’re asking. It seems as though some may be manipulating events and staging rituals. If not the figureheads, perhaps it’s those behind the scenes. 
 Rather than discussing specific evidence, or why you or I might even ask this question, I think it is more productive to ask why do so many in the mainstream and alternative media want people to be so angry and afraid all of the time? Is it because angry and afraid people click more? 
There is no coincidence that the perceived rise of authoritarianism, conspiracies, corruption, and decadence occur at the same time that the Internet connects us all to a greater or lesser extent. 
 This question deserves more exploration than I can provide here. 
Back to the podcast, can you discuss the addition of co-host Rudolf to the podcast and how that is enhancing the quality of the show?
I was sick for several months and was having difficulty with all of the tasks involved in producing the podcast, so I asked Rudolf to assist me and be the co-host. He’s been great! I love the way we interact during the interviews and it takes some pressure off of me because we can share the workload of preparation, scheduling, communication, post-production, and more. 
I think Rudolf’s perspective, being Austrian and a long-time Freemason in Austria, France, and London, adds a lot to the show. I’m very grateful for Rudolf’s willingness to step in and help out. He very likely saved the podcast.
If someone has not heard your show, which episode would you direct them to immediately?
That’s a difficult question because if it were up to me, I would direct them to different episodes based on their interests. But if I had to pick a single episode, it would be one where I hardly said anything—the recent interview with David Chaim Smith about Deep Principles of Kabbalistic Alchemy. To me, this material is the most inspiring and deeply esoteric. I understand contemplative mysticism is not a path that will appeal to most, but to me it is sublime.
What plans do you have for the podcast in the coming year?
Thank you for asking! I am focusing heavily on the membership section at the Chamber of Reflection. We have a new members’ forum Facebook group that’s been very active with Q&A’s with recent guests. It’s great because members are able to directly ask guests questions and it provides a level of engagement and intimacy that you cannot get elsewhere. 
I’m also focusing on bringing forth more personal material from my thesis and Pico’s system of spiritual ascent using Jacob’s Ladder / Tree of Life. The Chamber of Reflection is also going to feature a lot of additional interviews designed to allow for deeper consideration of the questions that can ultimately be defining for those seeking fruitful spiritual paths. 
I’ve spent more than a decade exploring a myriad of esoteric traditions and occult paths. After 15 years of work, I finally have real, practical evidence of approaches that are authentic and effective based on history and my own experience. That is just part of what the coming year will bring.
 _______________________________________________________________________

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  3. Wonderful interview. What a considered thinker. I know what I'm going to be listening to tomorrow. I also just read your post about analog culture. That struck a deep chord with me, identification with the generation of the 1970s (highschool class of '91 here, yo!) the lament for the vanished uunderground, and your mention of finding almost no one in ones everyday work-a-day life toward whom one can display ones true self/interests/etcetera.

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