the big con ii: "she's surface all the way down"

A tapestry and a failed transmission. In the layers you will find fake nails, 3 fingers, and trees and flowers in a city that stays warm through winter but is slowly degrading in spite of lush appearances. History claims its victims slowly. a gate. Subtle too subtle...but one can never be too subtle.

"I only bet on my skills against the skills of other people"

- from Lucky You

the magician doesn't just pull a short con & walk away. or they do, but that's not the big picture. the big picture is that the magician lives whole 'lives' in character, for the con.

finesse it.

the magician defeats their opponent by giving them exactly what they want.

& that's how the cunning woman, the woman in disguise, became the first magician

"Nice and slowly...
Beauty is a destructive angel,
how could anything that looks so good be so bad?
But there is no angel as destructive as their greed,
in the end she gets them all
They think they can handle her,
but greed is the only snake that can not be charmed"

- from Revolver

magic? it happens all the time. it happens every day. &, like anything else that can be said to exist, there are ways of attracting it.

the path to power is nothing but sustained focus

“Everybody, everybody everywhere, has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad, only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by, their little script.”

-Tom Wolfe

everybody thinks they know the magician.

nobody knows the magician, man.

not even the magician knows the magician.

"Conquer your fear, and you'll conquer your opponent"

- from Redbelt

"Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. You know the escape. You know the escape. Breathe. Breathe. There's always an escape. There is no situation you cannot escape from, no situation you cannot turn to your advantage"

- from Redbelt

"you had your whole life to prepare for this moment. Why aren't you ready?"

- from Spartan

There is a certain type of magick trick that can only be taught by a Master, and it is directly from a Master that one must learn it. Indeed, it can be said that it is precisely by mastering this trick that one oneself becomes a Master.

What is this trick? We like to call it "how to win without even playing in the first place".

"In the mind. That's where the battle's won"

- from Spartan

"The story says that after knocking on the door of that man we've been talking about, and having no success with him, the spirit used the only means available: trickery. After all, the spirit had resolved previous impasses with trickery. It was obvious that if it wanted to make an impact on this man it had to cajole him. So the spirit began to instruct the man on the mysteries of sorcery. And the sorcery apprenticeship became what it is: a route of artifice and subterfuge. Don Juan told me that if we apply his story to a modern setting we had the case of the nagual, the living conduit of the spirit, repeating the structure of this abstract core and resorting to artifice and subterfuge in order to teach. The first thing a nagual does with his prospective apprentice is to trick him. That is, he gives him a jolt on his connecting link to the spirit."

- Carlos Castaneda, the Power of Silence

The confluence of having and being, as concepts, resonate in the child, who seeing other as a not self in their being wishes to bring that alien part of itself into harmony - and what better way to be at peace with a thing, than to be that thing.

This unfortunately brings upon untoward associations when taken in the extreme. Two of the polarities that resonate the most between the young child and the untold other are those represented in the psyche as animals, and as other people. Coming into association, mentally, via local proximity these self-active concepts become a part of us.

As not self, we ponder what it is like to be the self for another active creator. The skin or empty assemblage that embodies this delving into the other are all those perceptions which go to make up that experience as and being our true self. As the mind enrobes itself, however feebly, it dons some aspect of that other being that will remain with it - for a time.

As the soul enclothes itself in thought with the psychic bodies of both concept of being and an imagined sensory skin, it blazes a trail through pre-existence, prior to materialization. A trail once beaten becomes easier to tread - a well beaten one well trafficked. By writing lines of thought inside one's being one is making oneself, and a large part of who we become are the types that we imaginatively put on. Every thought is, at its base, a loop and series of loops. As mind passes through the realm of imaginable possibility, as it rests on a concept - it expands that concept, in a very real sense.

All the attendant images open up with it, and as it spins round in one's head - it lasts. It is easier to open a thought, a book, than to close one. One must deal with one's thoughts with violence and finesse. Associative complexes can only be broken via reassociation - and this is active work: watching and precognizing one's thoughts so that they can be redirected down the righteous path one so chooses. Thoughts as well as events are foreshadowed, you can feel them coming - they have their own feeling to them that begins to well up in waves and blankets you as it passes you by. Like surfing, they must be ridden, and as in tai chi they must be smoothly directed so that you might move in the direction you desire.

As people we move not just in the external world which we 'know' exists apart from us but also in a world of ideas and stories very much an externally existing meta-entity which we run through with varying degrees of skill. They are both linked, but the operational methods that pertain to either are significantly different in their respective normal orientation.


the big con i: 3 card man

the set-up

the truth is that we have not properly understood power

everything you need to become a master magician is here now. so. what's holding you back. time? it's true that time is the only real opponent of the magician, that the magician's survival depends on achieving ever greater things in steadily diminishing periods of time. perhaps, but perhaps not. if it is not time that is holding you back, then maybe it's focus

the hook

"at the end of the day, this is a game of focus: attention is like a spotlight, and our job is to dance in the darkness"

- from Focus

the magician, to become a (better) magician, needs two things. time. and focus, or attention, an almost tangible form of energy (or so Rupert Sheldrake argues in The Sense of Being Stared At). the magician accumulates power by shifting their attention in a certain way, and moving their opponent's attention to specific things at certain points in the game, the goal being to obtain a set amount or a given kind of attention, which in this sense we will term power.

the basic mechanics of this game is much easier to describe in outline that it is either to actually undertake in practice or even apply to specific circumstances. certainly, when one is losing, it is against all natural impulses to stay in the game

"you wanna win the hand, you gotta stay in till the end"

- from House of Games

after all, it involves the magician investing energy and indeed seeming to lose it, at least at first, in order to grab their opponent's attention, then cause them to invest energy as well. this step can and should be repeated as often as needed to secure the magician's set amount or given kind of energy. it is only then that the magician takes what they need, by seemingly winning against all the odds.

"it's called a confidence game. Why, because you give me your confidence? No. Because I give you mine."

- from House of Games

just like in a game of three card monte.

& that's how the magician became the first three card man

the tale, or roping the mark

"as far as I could see, people were always conning each other to get what they wanted. We even con ourselves. Pay attention to that, 'cause we're all conning ourselves in one way or another, just to get through life."

- from American Hustle

"the trick to not feeling cheated is to learn how to cheat."

- from The Brothers Bloom

"it seems to me that in the end, the perfect con is where each one involved gets just the thing they wanted"

- from The Brothers Bloom

but some of these self-righteous, these who claim they care about people will find all this unappealing, even 'evil'.

very well, let me put it to you this way - what if, in some alternate universe/reality, you have already achieved all that you dreamed of, and even more besides?

and what if the only thing standing between that you and this one, is this one? what if you are your own worst enemy, in a very literal sense?

perhaps, then, life is a con game after all. it is the game of conning your present self to do what is necessary to become the self that has obtained all that you presently desire, and more.

"I wanna show you something. This Rembrandt here? People come from all over the world to see this. It's a fake. People believe what they want to believe. 'Cause the guy who made this was so good, that it's real to everybody. Now, who's the Master,  the painter, or the forger?"

- from American Hustle

where's the red queen?

the wire

Western technological science is said to begin with Newton's laws, which consider nature to be static. Eg. Bodies at rest, stay at rest. Etc.

New science would begin from a basis recognizing nature as a dynamic, upon which basis must be determined the method wherewith motion is able to simulate rest. (Apparently various forms of confined motion, ie. cyclic)

Nature is perpetual motion.
But for the last, this is for the most part recognized and known. The only question is as to what has been omitted or passed by, by building on a faulty foundation, and what could be built by beginning with a new, and yet old, corner stone.

The previous description of the choice of center for the local planetary-sun system is an illustration of the equivalency of the static and the dynamic that arises from the relativity of motion. This formal equivalency allows some freedom in choosing what we will consider to be static and unmoving or to be dynamic. This sort of choice can also be made in various aspects of the human condition and experience. 

"A wise man once told me... there's only one rule in this world, a small question that drives all success. The more a man invests in that question, the more powerful that man will become: What's in it for me?"
- from Revolver

the shut-out

the trick is not to win a hand or two while losing dozens. this is what is called luck. rather, the challenge is to this into a long-term strategy for winning overall. this is what is called success.

hey, listen to me. yeah, you, listen up. you're going to be miserable your whole life, and get even more so every day. you'll wish you could reconsider, that you could choose not survival, but mastery

either this statement or the next is not true.

it's better not to fool oneself. the magician is a master con. a confidence trickster. but the magician doesn't play for peanuts, or big bucks for that matter. not if they're very good. the magician plays for energy, for time, for power. and the master magician plays for their very soul.

there is something archetypal and sublime about all this, the feeling that the magician has, through their esoteric efforts, fallen into a game that is eternal, a grand battle between two sides, neither of which is wrong. or right

"One thing I've learned.....in every game and con there's always an opponent, and there's always a victim. The trick is to know when you're the latter, so you can become the former."
- from Revolver

the magician is the outsider, even to humanity itself. this is the magician's edge - and also why they are inherently a con 

"grifters got an irresistible urge to beat a guy who's wise"

 - from The Grifters

Rejoice, magicians & embrace your fate! For you will never be normal, no matter how hard you try. You are not of the fallen. Even if you'd like to be.

"- what do you sell, anyway?
- self-confidence"

 - from The Grifters

the three card man only excels at one thing, but this he does exceptionally, and I mean exceptionally, well.

In near unanimity the ancients proposed that reality is composed of the four fundamental elements of fire, air, water and earth. The intermediate two were thought to originate from the interaction of the two primaries and to allow for the interaction of the diametrically opposed warm and dry, and cold and wet, by the appropriate permutation of qualities.

That air and earth were considered consequents of the interaction between fire and water is indicated by literal descriptions in texts, as well as suggested by the fact that the signs for air and earth are constructed from those for fire and water by the addition of a horizontal mid-line in their respective triangles.

Solomon's seal is a symbolic representation of the four elements with the opposition of fire and water most evident, yet joined by the more hidden consequents of air and earth. Depictions of Solomon's seal can be found where the symbol of Sol, of gold, accompanies the standard depiction by being placed in the central hexagon. The meaning of the alchemical symbol for the sun, as with all alchemical symbols and indeed all things, depends on the context. In the current case this symbol is found to exist in, between, and because of the creative polarity of fire and water and, as these two elements are considered to be the creators of all things, it may be said that the symbol for Sol in this case, and certainly in others, represent the sum of all created things: the One, the transcendental Unity, Perfection.

In a more mundane sense the symbol of Sol represents light, the relation between the sun and light being obvious. It is not surprising then that this quivering, active fluid of the ancients found similar expression in the old conception of the aether as the substrate for both light and all other things.

relate the fall to cumming such that the fall occurs if a man ejaculates

he moves by cumming. not in space or time, per se. but energetically and relative to the lines of others, their habits, energy levels, rising and falling with the seasons. 

Considering both fire and water more directly, we are told they are of two qualities each; respectively warm and dry, cold and wet. Fire is considered to be the agens or activity, water the patiens or matter. Taking their physical counter parts and the interactions between those two we can develop some idea of how the two fundamentals might work upon each other. 

Forgetting for now that light accompanies what we usually consider to be fire we find the most basic contingent of this element to be heat. Indeed this is shown by one of the qualities ascribed by the ancients to fire, which is in no way surprising. As a superlative heat sink, water may thus rightly be called cold. 

The action of heat and cold on water cause rarefaction and crystallization, states of varying solidity as the units of water individualize or collectivize. The boiling over may be said to cause the appearance of air, the freezing the appearance of earth. 

Here we now have some idea as to the two other qualities ascribed to fire and water. When the ancients thought of dryness it was the deserts and their sands that most prominently presented themselves. The primary quality of sand is its composition by distinct particles, and thus that distinction seems to be what the quality dry would refer to. Wetness would then be a corresponding lack of individuality.

(in other words:)

in exchanging energy with the spirits, the magician must seek to strike a strategic balance between personal power and mediumship, by which the magician receives useful information from the spirits. however, in order to obtain this, the magician parts with a portion of power, offering it to the spirits in exchange for seeing things that no human can otherwise see, knowing what cannot be conventionally known.

the balance is important, for what does it benefit a person to know everything that will happen all day long before it does, if they can't really do anything about it?

the sting

con koan: if fire is a card, and water is a card, where is the third card? *

(*: answer at the end:)


bodymind complexi ties ii: toward an esoterico-energetic Vitruvian man

i:        implanting my platonic solid in your vesica piscis

"For a long time in the West we've managed to forget the original meaning of the word 'philosophy': love of wisdom, not the love of endlessly talking and arguing about the love of wisdom. And what's even sadder is the way we've managed to persuade ourselves that we haven't forgotten anything"

- Peter Kingsley

collective id


golden section

divine proportion


platonic solids



you're alive

& even death is a fibonacci golden spiral breath

ii:        a black magickal interlewd1, or: how I learned to stop hurrying & enjoy mercury retrograde

& then you enter my sphere
sift & stir &
fall away dirt

who am I, really? is what you should be asking


q: how can we understand the wei wu wei, the acting without acting of the Taoists today?

a: there is a way to know the future, and it is to align with the future.The future is not, after all, a place, but a trajectory that is actualized, being the resultant of other vectors. the magician's task, then, which is demanding but far from impossible, is to clear the rubble, the flak so that they can see these vectors in action, and can follow them into the future.

q: how can one improve in life without compromising the advancement of others, or how can one move up in life without actively causing others to move down?

a: there is only one martial art, but it is not physical in nature; indeed, its adherents hold that to enter into open conflict is already to lose. this method2 is really rather simple. In the spring and summer, sow, and in fall and winter reap. by allowing others into their sphere, the black magicians3 obtain a 'lock' on their psychosomatic coordinates. the magician's servitors or allied spirits are then released into these coordinates and they work to, as Bertiaux might put it, 'take over all their magical computers'4. this approach is also fractal, relating to the beginning of the week and its end as well as spring and fall respectively.


ah, the encounter with Death. now we're getting somewhere! Death is powerful and omnipresent, and thinks of mortals as flies.

but the magician is different. Death must seduce, entice the magician.

& those who know know that Death does not like to discriminate, but likes to be on top.


1: ah, yes, the so-called 'black magickal interlewd'. well, for one thing, there's nothing black about it: poking fun at that old strategy of labeling powerful (i.e. potentially 'dangerous') esoteric methods with warnings and whatnot. I think we're way past that culturally.

2: the other irony here is that its not really a technique at all; it just tends to do itself. if one is more disciplined and what Castaneda calls 'tight' energetically, streamlined with what is superfluous cleared away, they just tend to move 'faster' than others energetically. I'm sure you've encountered this too: you start learning a new 'game' and soon enough, you're further ahead at it than someone else (it might be useful here to refer to the movie Revolver and the previous legbalodge post that discussed it). now, my own experience is that this experience/technique moves cyclically and is modular; i.e., the beginning of the week is always uphill, slower, you have less of a sense that you know what's going on, as it were. same with the summer and perhaps especially spring, when there's high novelty.

3: a black magician is one who is not employed by a 'higher power', but rather a free agent, if you will

4: the 'esoteric' aspect of the technique: it seems to me that once this energetic clearing/tightening is done, there is a sort of 'infusion', from what the vuduists, spiritists call the spirits and what someone like Castaneda might call the nagual - there is an energetic vector that enters the equation, so to speak, from 'outside'..it is this that is really the guarantor of success in the technique

iii:        on time, and the radiant heavenly city

The night is still long and the watchmen are few. Will
the magnum opus be carried forward to a new stage toward its
completion? Who will be the alchemists, the Gnostics of the

-Stephan A. Hoeller, the gnostic jung

Follow your gut. Following the advice of Alice Bailey, I have begun listening to, talking with really, my abdominal cavity. It truly is a reservoir of great energy - the great store house of the lower human, where feelings still reign supreme. The center of reception, the solar plexus. Listen - I’m really not ready to be swept up in that current of humanly emotion. Listening, right now, just isn’t my thing - maybe one day. In any case this cycle of expression seems to be the dominant one on this planet, at this time - whereas I am, it would seem, predominantly cerebral to the point of having excluded, to a great degree, the other centers of embodied activity: crown and brow, brow and throat, throat and gut, gut and star, star and heart. The major centers are what I seem to be working on at the moment. A little bit of swimming in Aesch Majim - pushing around the waters, but not much; I really miss the times when I’ve had the chance to dive right in and swirl around.

So, the gut broadcasts and the plexus receives. So I’m thinking maybe I can set up a feedback loop between my diaphragm and my bowels leading directly to a return to awesomeness (in my own perceptions, that is). That is yet to be seen...

Long time no throwbacks

We are all, at all times, continuously broadcasting outwards and receiving inwards from the various centers - from entire body really, but the organs and regions each have their own peculiarities. Even if we don't know it this is all going on to one degree or another. Others, assumed to be less in tune with such things, seem to notice what and when I have sent out some feeling or series of word embodied thoughts. They seem to, perhaps mainly unconsciously, respond in kind with a thought, look, or slipped near silent utterance. It is indeed possible to pick up on these quiet or silent responses - more direct access, for me, seems limited to vague generalities about state and character; I've yet to find the keys for attuning to another's internal dialogue, which, however, does appear to occasion itself yet rarely. Success in these things then, for me, seems to arise in the combination of a calm receptivity and a known transmission.

I believe I've said this before, but it has begun to impress itself on me once again as I return to the more hidden things. When one's state is changed, one encounters what more pertains to that state. In my experience, this is predominantly a consideration of the environment of humans I come into contact with. Working in a large city, differences in the 'random' collection of agents whom I pass on the street are apparent. It wouldn't be clear at all that anything was different if always the same set of characters made up these interludes in my routine, though even living in relatively small towns I have found the milieu of different moments sympathetic with my state (more hostile/annoying elements included).