Continuing the mission begun in his Arthur Magazine column, Anthony Alvarado asks "What is magic?" It is the fine and subtle art of driving yourself insane! No really, it is just that. It is a con game you play on your own brain. It is the trick of letting yourself go crazy, and when it’s done right, the magus treads the same sacred and profane ground where walks the madman…
We can read descriptions of myths, of the practices of shamans, but the descriptions we might read by a Pentecostal believer, or a voodoo practitioner ridden by the loa, will be meaningless to us unless we have already been in the state they describe. These are wholly subjective experiences.
If you take these many practices, from across countless fields, cultures, religions, modes of being and systems of ritual (hypnosis, song and dance, duende, speaking in tongues, enchantment, faith healing, divination, out of body experience, sweat lodges, drumming, yoga, drugs, fever and on and on), we find that we are really talking about the same thing: a state where the mind lets go of the normal way of being and is opened up to an experience of existence as a whole that is bigger and without time. These states are all really different forms of the same thing, or if not the precisely the same thing, then near and adjacent territories in a realm that lies parallel to this one, reachable by many means.
In short, rather than advertise this as a book of magick, it could just as well have been labeled a book of psychology hacking. Or a cookbook. Think of it as jail-breaking the iPhone of your mind. Teaching it to do things that its basic programming was never set up for. Advanced self-psychology.
Featuring over 40 b&w illustrations by: Lala Albert, Farel Dalrymple, Ines Estrada, Maureen Gubia, Kevin Hooyman, Dunja Jankovic, Aidan Koch, Jesse Moynihan, Luke Ramsey, Ron Rege Jr. & more!
“What makes this book vastly different from many other books on magic is that there’s no doubt in my mind that the author has actually done the things that he says he has. What’s more is that he has derived a great deal of pleasure and meaningful experience from the doing. And, so will you.” – Aaron Gach, Center For Tactical Magic
“Anthony Alvarado has concocted a cookbook for vivid living: poetry that’s lived rather than written. His “spells” are actually practical suggestions by which the reader may coax the extraordinary from the everyday—and from themselves.” – Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy, author of The Affected Provincial’s Companion
“Few books are as immediately useful as this delightful, inspirational tips ‘n’ tricks tome. I’m having a backyard betel nut party in five minutes and everyone’s invited!” -Jay Babcock, editor of Arthur Magazine
264 pages, 5″ x 8″ paperback book
40 b&w illustrations, cover design by Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy
2nd expanded edition Perigee/Penguin, 2015