The Science of Magic w/ Dean Radin, PhD #404

By Aubrey Marcus March 08, 2023

The Science of Magic w/ Dean Radin, PhD #404
Have you ever experienced psychic phenomena?
How about an experience that could only be regarded as “magic”?

It’s more than likely you have, considering a survey conducted where over 90% of participants, all being scientific academics, reported to have had at least one of these experiences in their life.

Today’s podcast is with Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Dean has an impressively prestigious background- with a Masters degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology, he has spent decades engaged in research on the frontiers of consciousness, with over 100 peer-reviewed studies and author of numerous books. In our discussion, we discuss the gamut of magical experiences, including; telepathy, clairvoyance, levitation, manifestation, sigils, and more.

We dive into the scientific studies that validate these kinds of experiences, discuss the history of suppression, and posit the potential of our future if we begin to harness these abilities.

Get Dean Radin's book: Real Magic

Connect with Dean Radin:

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DEAN: As it turns out, and the reason why I wrote the book "Real Magic," that what we study within the scientific context, something like clairvoyance, in the magical tradition would be called divination. Because divination is all about perceiving through space and time. That is exactly what clairvoyance is all about, perceiving through space and time. And there're proper, validated scientific ways of testing whether that's actually a real thing. And the short story is, yeah, it is a real thing. We can test it. We have divination as a magical practice. We have something I call force of will, which is impressing your will onto the world and making it do things for an interior will. And the third category is theurgy, which is communicating with or dealing with spirits or invisible, sometimes, non-human entities of one type or another. In each of these three classes, divination, force of will, and theurgy. There are analogs in the scientific world which have been tested and have been shown to be true.

AUBREY: Dean Radin is someone who has dedicated his life to the study of magic. He comes from a scientific perspective and shows all of the actual, legitimate clinical research that demonstrates that psi phenomenon or magical principles are real. And in this podcast, we talk about not only the history, but also the practice and how to utilize these practices to live a more interesting and magical life. Enjoy this podcast with Dean Radin. Dean Radin, it's great to have you on the show, brother.

DEAN: Thank you. Glad to be here.

AUBREY: I've been steeped in a world where magic is real. The ontology, the realness of magic for me, is something that I've been aware of for many years, at least since my first encounter with a Quechua healer, Maestro Orlando Chujandama of the Ayahuasca traditions, and started learning about and experiencing these altered states of consciousness that had access to realms where magic is just the normal course of business in those realms. This has been many years where my own personal experience with magic has been really present. And learning from the great lineage traditions, mostly in the medicine traditions. Less so in the Western, Crowley, esoteric tradition, the Blavatsky and that crowd. It was really cool to read this book, which is approaching it from not the, it's not excluding, but approaching it from a lot of the Western magic kind of concepts and seeing how they apply to some of the understandings that I've had and experienced in my own ceremonial context and even outside of ceremony. I wanted to ask you, though, first, because not everybody's going to be like me and have had experience that allows them to know in their body with full Gnosis, to grok, if you will, that magic is real. How would you define magic?

DEAN: First of all, I'm looking at it from a scientific perspective. And I do that because, first of all, I'm a scientist. But secondly, science is a way of gathering objective data about the nature of the world. And if magic only persisted as a subjective experience, then it would not be surprising why a lot of people would say, that's good for fantasy, but it's not real because we equate real with objective, measurable events. My understanding then of magic is it, first of all, requires a different worldview than the worldview of science. Science starts with everything is matter and energy. It's reductive materialism. It's really, really good at understanding the nature of the external world, physical world. But it is not very good, in fact, it's not very good at all when trying to understand subjective experience or things having to do with mind or consciousness. From a scientific perspective, a lot of scientists would say magic, traditional, esoteric type magic cannot exist. Because from that perspective, you are literally your brain. You are your physical brain, and that's the end of the story. There's nothing else. From an esoteric perspective or a philosophical perspective called idealism, the entire universe is made up of consciousness, not from matter. That's the esoteric position that the world is ultimately made out of consciousness. From that perspective, now it becomes pretty easy to understand why magical practices would work. Because everything having to do with the mind is now primary over the physical world. When you start thinking about certain things, whether it's involving ritual or some other method that manifest into the world, that's taking a very different way of understanding reality. What is magic then? From a scientific perspective, it is exactly the same thing that scientists have been studying for over 140 years that we call psychic phenomena. And the reason why psychic phenomena are not part of the scientific mainstream is exactly the same reason why magic is not part of the mainstream. It's because it requires that there's something about the mind and consciousness that is able to do things in the physical world directly. That's rejected by science. The difference is that with psychic phenomena, we're talking about telepathy, clairvoyance, those kinds of phenomena, we can use scientific methods to study them, to study these kinds of things. And as it turns out, and the reason why I wrote the book "Real Magic," that what we study within a scientific context, something like clairvoyance, in the magical tradition will be called divination. Because divination is all about perceiving through space and time. That is exactly what clairvoyance is all about, perceiving through space and time. And there's proper, validated scientific ways of testing whether that's actually a real thing. And the short story is, yeah, it is a real thing, we can test it. We have divination as a magical practice. We have something called force of will, which is impressing your will onto the world and making it do things according to your will. And a third category is theurgy, which is communicating with or dealing with spirits or invisible, sometimes, non-human entities of one type or another. In each of these three classes, divination, force of will, and theurgy, there are analogs in the scientific world which have been tested and have been shown to be true. That's a little bit of a long-winded answer to your question.

AUBREY: No, it's perfect. And there's so many places that I want to expand the brackets and talk about. The first is the kind of general worldview that you're talking about. And I appreciated you referencing and drawing in Aldous Huxley's perennial philosophy. But fundamentally, what we're talking about is a different worldview in Hermetic principles. I think it's the very first principle. All is mind, the universe is mental. It's actually seeing the substrate of all existence as participating in the one mind. That we're all participating in a greater substrate of existence. And I think part of the problem with science accepting this, which you really elucidate well in this book is that it fundamentally requires, like you said, this other worldview to exist. Whether it's mind consciousness, or whether it's Shekhinah, in the work that I do with Rabbi Gafni, or whether it's the Dao in some Daoist practice. Some force that exists that we're all participating in that has influence, at the very least, if not actually fundamentally inextricable from every single thing that we see, feel exists.

DEAN: No, it's true. One of the ways of getting around what seems to be an incompatibility. We have reductive materialism, on the one hand, we have idealism on the other, or the esoteric traditions. They seem like they're completely far apart from each other, and how in the world are we going to connect them? First of all, the analogy I'll make here is the difference between classical physics and relativistic physics and quantum physics. Just because we developed relativistic physics and/or quantum physics, it doesn't mean that classical physics is wrong. What it does mean is that the Newtonian way of understanding reality is a special case. It works at certain speeds, at certain sizes, and it works really well there. We're able to go to the moon based on Newtonian physics. We didn't need quantum mechanics for that.

AUBREY: We propel a rocket all the way up through space with force, and the force is enough to carry the mass of the rocket through the resistance of the atmosphere. Fucking physics. Hurray.

DEAN: And it works so, we don't throw that away. But what we do do is the more that we begin to understand the nature of the physical world, Einstein developed relativity, which says, at very fast speeds, at very high degrees of gravity, weird things start to happen. Suddenly, there is no space and time. There is space time, and time is flexible, and all of the things that we know from relativity. And then the further we go into it, we find at the very microscopic scale quantum mechanics, which is again, very, very strange from an everyday point of view. What do we do with classical physics? The reason why these new developments are acceptable is because they encapsulate classical physics. If you start from relativity, you can figure out classical mechanics. If you start from quantum mechanics, you're still not quite sure how to develop classical mechanics out of it. But nevertheless, we see Newtonian physics as a special case. And this you see again and again in science. Somebody comes up with something, it works pretty good. Doesn't quite explain everything. And sort of like around the edges of the explanation, we have these anomalies that start popping up. Scientists are interested in anomalies because it tells us that there is something about our original idea that wasn't quite right. What do we do? We expand it. Now we still have the original core, but we have a more comprehensive understanding. If you think of that as a general trend that happens within science, reductive materialism works really, really well for lots of things. It doesn't explain everything. There are these weird anomalies at the edges; psychic phenomena, magical effects and so on. To say nothing of simply the act of conscious awareness itself, which is not explained by reductive materialism. Science as we currently see it today is a special case. Works for some things, doesn't work for everything. We expand it. How are we going to expand it? The direction that many scientists are beginning to entertain now is exactly what is talked about in the esoteric traditions. The base is not matter and energy, the base is something like consciousness, which is simply part of the fabric of reality. The question then is how do you get from pure awareness, essentially, into the physical world? Where does that come from? Look at the esoteric traditions. Like the Kabbalah is explicitly about this idea. And most of the esoteric traditions have a way of describing how do you get from what amounts to awareness, pure awareness, and turn that into the physical world as we experience it? All of the traditions have an explanation. Whether they're correct or not is another issue. But that's what, even very early on, all the way back into shamanism, that was a topic of study, of trying to figure out, we can kind of feel that the world consists of consciousness, it is one mind. And somehow that gets turned into stuff. How does that work? I think we're in the progress now of having a convergence between a scientific understanding of reality, which is beginning to expand. And I would claim that it's expanding directly into what we would otherwise call the esoteric traditions.

AUBREY: I don't keep up with all of the latest quantum physics kind of research. But I saw something that came out recently that's questioning what I believe they were calling local realism, which is the idea that things can happen independently of somebody observing them, as far as I understand it, but you probably can explain it better. But it was challenging that long-held belief that things are just constantly happening in the absence of observation by anybody. It appears that what is emerging from these fields is a co-participatory universe in which our observation, imagination is actually generating a lot of what we see as part of our reality.

DEAN: And if you look in the history of physics, you find people like John Wheeler, famous physicist from Princeton. Came up with the idea of black holes and the big bang, those words. His notion was that we live in a participatory universe, in which case, that's not quite going as far as the esoteric idea that the mind creates reality, or creates the physical world, but that it is deeply and intimately related to it in some way. In that case, mind and matter are related or correlated in a way that they can't be extracted. The metaphor is, it's as though reality is a coin and you have a heads and you have a tails. The heads is mind and the tails is matter. And they are the faces of ways that you can look at reality. The head and the tails are very different from each other, but they're obviously part of the same thing and they're correlated. So, if you flip it, you know what's going to happen to the heads and tails because they're always going to be related to each other. Something like that is called dual aspect monism as a philosophy. That's gaining traction within certain domains of science today for people who are beginning to think about these topics. Large chunks of science could care less. Like if you're involved in biology typically or the neurosciences, you don't need to worry about these kinds of ideas because materialism works well enough. But if you're interested in bigger questions, it doesn't work so well.

AUBREY: Yes. And every single clinical trial accounts for the placebo effect. And I think this is something that Joe Dispenza, Dr. Joe Dispenza, has made a big, big push to help people realize, let's not discard this phenomenon in which the thoughts of the mind are treating every single known condition, from knee surgeries to cancer diagnoses, to whatever you could possibly imagine. The beliefs of the mind are affecting the matter of the body, the human biology in a fundamental way. And instead of just isolating and trying to create studies that remove the possibility of the placebo effect, what if you actually harness that for your own benefit? It's really almost crazy that most people out in the general mainstream public and in the narrative, still are following this Cartesian split between mind and body. And imagining that mind and body are somehow separate when we have thousands and thousands, probably tens of thousands. I don't know how many clinical studies have actually accounted for the placebo effect and shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that the placebo effect is incredibly real. You just can't deny it. So, what does that mean? It means that thoughts affect matter. Period. End of story?

DEAN: No, you're right that the paradigm, the scientific paradigm infects every area of science and medicine. And what's interesting also is that if you're a fledgling scientist, you're in college or graduate school learning your discipline, you're never exposed to the idea that there's a philosophy of science, or that science is not fixed. It's almost taught like a dogma. Sometimes you're taught about the history of how do we get from there to here. And it's usually a pretty compelling history. There's a lot of stuff about it that's real. It's pretty good. But it sidesteps what you just said. It sidesteps the idea that there's something about the mind, this internal sense of reality that we all have which is deeply related to the external world. The internal and the external. Which by the way, the place where I work is the Institute of Noetic Sciences. And we were founded by Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 astronaut, who was exploring outer space. That's his job. But on the way back to the earth, he had a mystical experience which has nothing to do with the external world. It's all about the internal world. When he returned to the earth, he became just as interested in inner space as he was in outer space.

AUBREY: From astronaut to psychonaut.

DEAN: That's exactly right. Yes.

AUBREY: We're always looking outside for the next great discovery and the next piece of technology that can influence the external world. I think we're all sleeping on the advancements in the technology of being able to utilize our inner world, the inner sciences, the interior sciences, of what our consciousness is capable of. And it feels like this is now, even though it's not getting potentially the mainstream attention that some of these other external scientific discoveries are, but it's still building in momentum. And what's curious to me is what's going to be possible as the general field of belief opens up to these kind of magical practices and principles? What's going to be possible as we start to train and harness and believe in these phenomenon?

DEAN: It's one of the topics I deal with in my book. Because one of the reasons, there are many reasons for why the magical traditions have been suppressed, almost from the very beginning. Up until maybe, the beginning of the enlightenment in the 16th and 17th century, everybody believed in magic. A lot of people used magic in various ways. But the beginning of science and also the beginning of organized religion began to squash it and squashed it real good. So that today, we see magic showing up on entertainment. But people consider it as fantasy. Except privately, they also think, maybe that's actually real. And there are plenty of people out there using magical methods, whether they know it or not, they might call it manifestation or affirmations. But that's, of course, part of the magical tradition. One of the reasons then that this topic is really interesting from a sociological perspective is we imagine, we move along from society and this is no longer a woo woo taboo. It's become mainstream in some way. That would cause a very dramatic shift in the way that civilization works. It would shift it in the sense that, first of all, within this tradition, magical tradition, or even just psychic traditions, there are no secrets. How can you maintain government, how can you maintain the way that the law works, the way the business works if there were no secrets. The only reason why people are at each other's throats all the time is because they think somebody else knows something that they don't know. And this is the reason why the legal system takes forever to figure things out, is because they don't actually know what's happening. If there are no secrets, and I'm talking about the effective use of telepathy and clairvoyance, among other things, that would change everything. Then why doesn't everything change? Because there's a gigantic status quo out there that is perfectly happy with the way things are and they don't want things to change. Without going into conspiratorial thought, you can imagine then why there would be a lot of pressure to keep these kinds of topics out on the fringe. And to not start infiltrating and manipulating or changing the way that the world actually works today.

AUBREY: And if people are imagining that this suppression is happening now with the US government, yes, yes. But we got to go way back to the early days, when actually, many of the churches were trying to monopolize power and monopolize the power of these practices. In the old Hebrew mysticism and lineage traditions, only the inner high rabbi was able to actually evoke the name of the divine, the true name of the divine, in the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Holy of Holies, they were able to hold these magical practices inside the temple itself. And it wasn't democratized. Nobody else could speak it. There was a certain rituals and rites that only the high rabbi could offer. And then same in the Catholic traditions, which I think you made a beautiful point there. Some estimates that I've seen is that 10 million witches were burned throughout the history of the suppression of these pagan traditions, and cultures, and magical practices. Some astronomical number. And I haven't fact-checked that number so, I'm not sure if it's accurate. But at the very least, a very large number. While at the same time, you made the point that there's 400,000 Catholic priests who are practicing magical rituals, through giving the Eucharist, the blood and the flesh of the Christ. Now, it's probably been hollowed out of the actual magic that's happening there because they don't even know really what they're doing. But nonetheless, it's a magical practice. The absolute hypocrisy of saying, no, no, we're going to practice magic. But if you do it, we're going to kill you.

DEAN: It's part of the Catholic Catechism. It's written there, right in black and white. You cannot practice any form of magic. It's demonic.

AUBREY: But we can. That's the ridiculous part.

DEAN: This is the Catechism. This is the rules if you're going to be a Catholic. Anything outside the context of priests doing it in a certain way, in a certain time, is considered demonic. And some of us would look at that now and say, clearly, that's a matter of social control. A lot of people still follow that. The kind of research that I do, occasionally, somebody will be extremely interested in it. And then end their comment with, and by the way, this demonic. You're working with demons. And my response is, what? Where does that come from? It comes from people who are started as children, who memorize the Catechism again and again, and eventually get to the point where any form of magical practice is automatically demonic and needs to be shunned. That, you see also in the US government because there's a large chunk of the US government, which is quite religious and it blocks research in this area. I know people, for example, that are at the National Science Foundation. You'd figure, if this stuff is real, it would be extremely important to understand from a scientific perspective because maybe our adversaries are using it against us. Wouldn't it make sense for us to kind of understand it better? There is no federal funding at all. Zero. Why is that? Because Congress allocates money for things. And when it comes to this particular topic, including at the National Institutes of Health, there is zero funding because there are enough people who think it is demonic. In which case, I stand back then as a scientist, and I'm saying that, you're telling me that there are aspects of reality which you believe in which we cannot study because you have a certain belief about it? And the answer essentially, is yes. We can't study that. We're told not to study that because it's a bad thing. If Mary Curie had not started studying the bad thing of radioactivity, it would be a very different world today. But science is all about uncovering what is unknown. And some of them can be used for bad and some can be used for good. And the same is true for magic. Magic is a kind of a power or a force. And you use that for good or for bad.

AUBREY: Yes. For me, it makes sense that there's some kind of religious trappings and old momentum from these religious beliefs that are there. But it also seems to me that large parts of the US government have been captured by the capitalistic principles of big pharma, basically, in a way. And there's a certain sense of human sovereignty in our ability to actually manage our own lives. And actually, through our own intent and through our own belief, to be able to access our inner healing that's available, which is very bad for business in the number one contributing financial force that's donating the most to politicians' campaigns, is paying the most in advertising for the media. I think it's probably a combination of the old religious beliefs and then the new religion, which is the religion of money. If you actually are thinking what are people actually worshipping now? People are worshipping money more than they're worshipping God at mass. I think both of those forces are trying to suppress human sovereignty for different power and greed reasons.

DEAN: As you said, what I had mentioned before about the status quo. The status quo is political power, economic power, any kind of existing power. They're happy with the way things are. So, why would you want to change anything? That's where a lot of the pressure comes from.

AUBREY: We were mentioning the suppression and the burning of witches, which actually, I was deeply saddened to read that it's still existing in many different countries. In Tanzania, there was a massive witch burning that was fairly recent. These practices are still going on, maybe not here in the US. But in some ways, there's cancel culture and people are getting burned in their social identity, if not actually physically. Which is a much better situation. Let's not even try to conflate the two and compare them. Obviously, getting attacked on social media is not the same as pitchforks and hot fire.

DEAN: That would still drive some people to suicide.

AUBREY: It does. It does. And it's not to minimize the effects of that, but it's also to say, most of us are in a world where we can at least talk about this and not have to worry about an armed mob coming out in front of our house. But the one thing that was very interesting to me is, you hear stories about Giordano Bruno getting burned at the stake as a heretic for just basically talking about love. It wasn't even anything having to do with anything that I can see that was very magical, other than just being, he was just a really good guy. And I don't know his biography super well. But there were so many people who were burned at the stake for just challenging some of the oppressive top-down control strategies of the church. And then there's this story you write about someone who was given his sainthood. And I remember his St. Joseph. I forget his name before he was St. Joseph. But somehow, he didn't get burned and somehow, he got turned into a saint. And he was probably the most magical, you call them a Merlin class wizard in this book. Tell his story. I'm curious to know, how did they decide to make him a saint and not actually cast him out like is the typical strategy?

DEAN: Very good question. There’s always been people who have one form of psychic skill or another, either as an exceptional healer, or as a prophet, or something like that. If they're really lucky, they would have escaped the Inquisition. Because the inquisition's job was to find these people and basically squash them, get rid of them, if they were considered a threat. Joseph of Cupertino early on became a member of the Church, which was one reason why they decided, maybe it's okay, we can turn him into a saint because he's already inside the fold. But his special gift was that he was considered a kind of an odd boy. Today, we might consider him possibly autistic, perhaps. He would go into flights of reverie and ecstasy upon praying, typically to one or another saints. And he would start levitating and flying. The other reason why the inquisition probably didn't want to wipe him out was because he had done this in front of hundreds and hundreds of witnesses, including at the time, clergy, and royalty, and other prominent people in whatever the governments were at the time where he was. So many people had witnessed this. They, of course, considered it a miracle. And the church was taking advantage of this in a sense, not in a crass sense. Although you can make a case that it was kind of crass. They took advantage of the miracle to show, see, we're right. Our understanding of reality is correct. And here's an example. All you hundreds of people have seen this person levitate as a result of praying for something within our religion. He was interviewed, in quotes, interviewed by the Inquisition at least twice, and probably came close to being decided that he was demonic because levitation is not all that common.

AUBREY: And just for people to know. This is not some David Blaine levitating like a couple inches off the ground. There's reports that are documented where he's levitating like 20 feet and 30 feet in the air. This is not subtle.

DEAN: Not subtle at all. Flying through the air, hovering in the air for lengths of time. And witnessed by many, many people. This was way back before there were things like a crane that can lift you through the air with invisible wire. So, it wasn't a trick. And there were so many reports and so many that were systematically accurate in terms of what people were describing, many different people describing from different perspectives and so on, that it falls into the class today as a kind of a miracle. We don't see people today who are able to do that. The people today who claim that they're able to levitate or have seen someone levitate almost always involves hopping. They'll sit in a lotus position, and they'll become very contorted and their body will start hopping. The claim is that they are hopping, but they're hopping and staying in the air too long. That's a testable hypothesis. And I've always been interested in whether or not we could ever find somebody who could do that. And one time I was at the TM headquarters in Fairfield, Iowa, where I went to see a demonstration of the world's most accomplished yogic fliers. Because for years, TM was pushing the idea that if you take the TM Sidhis course, one of the things you could learn was yogic flying. They used to have competitions for yogic flyers. I know John Hagelin who's the head of the TM movement now. And I asked him after watching these four young men, who were quite athletic, who were hopping. They were at full lotus position and hopping up pretty good, like 1 to 2 feet up. If you go into a lotus position and try to hop up 2 feet, that's pretty good. But I asked him, have you done the test to see whether they're actually hovering at all. And the answer was no. Apparently, nobody can hover. We don't know whether St. Joseph was one in a billion who could do it. Whether there was something else going on that we really don't understand today at all. Because since then, I only report three cases of people who had Merlin class kinds of abilities. Only one of which is relatively contemporary. Most are a hundred to hundreds of years ago. If anybody out there can actually hover and levitate, let me know and we'll be very happy—

AUBREY: You're the guy to call. Here's something that I want to open up. I've become very close friends with a gentleman named Matias de Stefano. And Matias de Stefano remembers his past lives. And he remembers one of his past lives in ancient civilization of Kem, which is post-diluvian, after the flood. It's an Atlantean kind of, Atlantean spot. One of the cultures that was ceded from the Atlanteans, that actually left after the flood. And he remembers that he was part of a guild. They had guilds that were related to the elements. And he was part of the water guild. And the water guild was able to actually get into resonance with water and use water to cut these large megalithic stones. And some of the other people in the other elemental guilds were able to get into resonance with the actual stone itself, and then sing their own energy as in resonance with the stone higher to make the stones lighter. The big mystery of how did they move these stones. They were actually able to alter the weight of the stones through magic, through actually forming this sympathetic resonance with the stone itself, and then levitate it. His clan, his tribe, or his temple, I guess you'd say, was able to use water to actually cut the stones. To get those very straight lines that you can see. It was just a line of water and gravity. So, he talks about this. And I say, could this happen in our world now? And really, what he was saying is, it's unlikely at this point because there's a general field of belief that actually puts a cap on the ability for this to happen. Even though he believes, he believes because he remembers what he did, the field of belief around it, the collective unconscious, the morphic resonance field, as Sheldrake would say, is actually preventing these kind of large, big displays of magic from actually happening because the morphic resonance field just doesn't quite allow it. And now what it seems like, is we're seeing little pokes as we're making a little progress, pushing the ceiling up. But his idea is that we can't do that now yet. And maybe if actually the morphic resonance field, the collective field of belief shifts, then some of these ancient magical practices will become available again.

DEAN: That sounds plausible to me. At one point and in the TM world, the Maharishi was asked, how come nobody can levitate anymore, we can only hop? And his answer was quite similar to what you just said. That there's a collective sense of what is possible. If you're doing something which a lot of people would say, that's impossible, there's a certain degree of fear and anxiety underneath that, that could squash it. And I think this is one of the reasons why in the, especially in the sorcery traditions, that the sorcerer would never say what they're doing. They would never reveal their methods. They'd always do it in secret. And so, we've paid attention to that in the kind of work that I do. Whenever we do an experiment, we've done it in our laboratory. And some people know where the laboratory is. But generally, we don't advertise it. In addition, the reason why we try to isolate the kinds of experiments that we do from people's knowledge of exactly when and where it is, is for the reason you just said. We have a lot of people now saying, I don't think I want to believe in that. That becomes the equivalent of a dirty test tube in a biology lab. We're studying the role of intention. If we have a bunch of intentions coming at you that are saying, don't do that, it just becomes more difficult to do.

AUBREY: And going back to St. Joseph, it seems like one of the... We're talking about a different field of belief because this is 1600s, if I recall correctly from the book. 1600s. There's a field of belief, especially within the church, that miracles are real. That actually water was turned into wine. That actually, Yeshua walked on the water. The idea that miracles were real and possible, we don't live in that. We live in an age of scientism, not in the age of, even really, where most people believe in the possibility of even religious miracles. There was a different field of belief, for one. For two, it seems like potentially, his, what you could call a mental impairment, may have just actually knocked offline anything that prevented him from fully, 100%, believing that he could do that. That if he wanted to raise his vibration and actually go meet the saints where he felt them, which was above, that he could just do it. Because there was nothing in his entire being, nothing in his psyche, nothing in his consciousness whatsoever that had just a shred of doubt that that was possible. And the field of belief was like, wow, we believe that miracles are real. And this is an example.

DEAN: Even still, in that context, the people watching this happen were still astonished. Because it's still rare, even at that time with huge amounts of belief and with St. Joseph's beliefs and all the rest of it, it's very, very rare. We like those stories because it appeals to us that there are aspects of reality that we don't understand very well yet. And of course, we see that reflected in all of our superhero movies. The whole genre of entertainment where the mind is really powerful and able to do amazing things. Probably, because it is. It's like a truth that you can't suppress. You can suppress it in science and suppress it elsewhere. But it has to come out somewhere. Where's it allowed to come out? Comes out in entertainment. If what was being presented was not resonating with the audience, they wouldn't care about it. They wouldn't watch it anymore. But it has always been, it has permeated the entertainment world forever because it is something that people resonate with.

AUBREY: Now I want to get to the experiments that you mentioned, for people who are like, what are these guys talking about? Why are they saying magic is real? It hasn't been proven. I definitely want to get there. Just know that this is where we're heading, if anybody's listening. But I want to follow this thread. Do you watch and read a lot of the fantasy and the different stories and myths, modern myths, about magic? Everything from "Game of Thrones" to Patrick Rothfuss. I thought had a really cool explanation in his works. "A Wise Man's Fear" was the second version. What is it? "The Name of the Wind" was another one. I thought his was probably the best? If you're unfamiliar with it, I would say their description of how magic worked was actually, in my mind, really one of the coolest. And actually, you almost believe that this is maybe how it could be done. The way that they built up the science of it, if you will, of how it's accessed, I thought Patrick Rothfuss did a great job. Also, one of the best novelists I've ever read. And I read all the "Game of Thrones" series. I've read a lot of these different. Definitely recommend that. And I thought the series, "The Witcher" also did a pretty good job with actually explaining how magic might work. And those two I thought were the best, the best explanations. There were certain aspects of "Game of Thrones" where when dragons came into the world, which was this thing that was thought impossible, then it actually altered the field of belief. And everybody's magic got better and stronger. There's little hints about real magic in these things. And of course, it's taken to the fantastical, taken to a place where we can no longer really actually see this. Although I have to say that I've been witness to elemental magic, if you will, happening in an Ayahuasca ceremony in many occasions. I could tell those stories and I will, but I want to first ask the question. Where have you found in the modern mythmaking, in the stories that are being told, something, even in "Avatar," the connection to Eywa, which would be in the theurgy category. Calling on Eywa and then Eywa influencing the animals. In these different stories, wherever you found that there's some pretty cool descriptions that actually point towards a real magic?

DEAN: You mentioned "The Witcher." I've seen that. I guess I haven't paid that much attention to how magic is portrayed in fiction. I watch science fiction and all the movies that have these elements. And I'm not thinking of it with my critical hat on. I'm enjoying it. And the other thing is that because virtually all of my career has been studying psychic phenomena, I tend to think of these kinds of phenomena from that point of view. What do we know from the laboratory? What can we test in the laboratory? The things we see in the lab tend to be pretty weak and small, but they're real. And of course, what we see in entertainment—

AUBREY: Weak and small, but when you expand the subject size, and we'll get to this, when you expand the subject size, it becomes almost statistically impossible that it's not real.

DEAN: Yeah. There's a big difference between how big something is and whether it's real or not. And the electron is really tiny, but it's quite real. We can tell through the methods that we use and the statistics and so on, that we're dealing with real phenomena. They're, of course, never going to be the same as they're portrayed in fiction because otherwise, fiction wouldn't be very interesting. But you can project then. You can say, the average person will have this much psychic ability or this much magical ability. Everyone has some of it. Some people, just naturally, will have a pile of it. And a few people, through natural talent or whatever means, will have an enormous amount, a gigantic amount. So, what else is new? We see that in sports, we see that in every domain of human behavior and experience. Some people are world class and most of us are just average.

AUBREY: I'll tell these two stories that I've been firsthand witness to. The first most magical thing, the most magical thing I'd seen to date. I was sitting in an Ayahuasca ceremony with Maestro Alberto Davila, and long, long mestizo tradition that he's brought from... He was drinking Ayahuasca from like age seven and trained in the arts of the Ayahuascero. And he had a particular icaro that was to the bats, the bats in the jungle down in Peru. There's lots of bats. And when he would sing this icaro to the bats, the bats would start swirling, swirling the maloca. The maloca is the ceremonial place. And he would sing the icaro to the bats and you just hear them whipping, whipping around. And you'd look out, it's obviously low light, but you'd see bats just swirling, swirling around. And then he would just kind of laugh. It was one of the things that he would enjoy doing was just calling in the bats and creating this magic thing. But it was unbelievably profound that he could, night after night, when he sang the icaro to the bats, the bats would come and swirl around. It blows your worldview when you realize like, holy shit. This is possible. So, that was one. And then another was with my sister Blu in an Ayahuasca ceremony, and I've told this story. She steps outside, was feeling deeply connected to the wind. She started to form, again, just like I talked about in the story of Matias, this sympathetic resonance with the wind element. And out of nowhere, a perfectly still night, the wind kicks up, this massive, massive windstorm in the middle of the night. Probably past midnight, where wind doesn't just kick up at midnight in the jungle. It's always still and pregnant with energy, but not whipping wind out there. It never happens. From a climate perspective, it just doesn't happen like that, that it just comes out of nowhere and then stops. The wind picked up so intensely that it actually knocked down a giant tree. This tree just comes crashing down and she goes, whoa, like she was in a trance. And she's like, fuck, I got to stop this because she was dancing and swaying with the wind, and knocked this tree down. Now, of course, you could say this is all just coincidence. She was out there, and she was dancing. Happened to be during a windstorm. And it happened and knocked down this tree. But we could feel that something else was at play here and really witnessing that. And then hearing her firsthand account of it was in that moment, she had suspended her own belief about what was possible, merged her consciousness with the wind, and was actually able to influence it. And this is legitimate in the fantasy novel category of magic. And it's not like she could do it at will. It's not like, Blu, go out there and make the wind stop or make the wind start. It's not that kind of game. Somehow, the ayahuasca opened a possibility and her own consciousness opened a possibility that she was able to actually influence. Those two things that I've experienced, and I've experienced many different magical occurrences in 24 years of psychedelic ceremonial work, but those two really stand out. And it's shifted my own belief about, this may not be reproducible at will. So, it's very difficult to study from a scientific perspective, but I was there. I felt it, I saw it, I know what I felt, and I know what I saw. And yes, it is possible that coincidentally the bats started swirling when Maestro Alberto sang that icaro. And coincidentally, Blu merged with the wind in her own consciousness and the wind came. But it just becomes implausible at that point once you've experienced it.

DEAN: This is a great segue into why I'm interested in these things from a scientific perspective. Because it is all about the two things you mentioned. First of all, you need to be able to demonstrate it on demand because we're doing an experiment. And second, we need to know, could this be coincidence or not, if we see something happen. And those are the elements that you then put into a protocol in a scientific experiment, to see did something actually occurred here? Where we can exclude coincidence and we could exclude lapses in memory, and all kinds of biases and motivations, and whatever. That's the point of doing experiments. Because, again, I'm interested in this from a point of view of, what is it that we can believe about the anecdotes that people tell? Because everyone has anecdotes about something psychic or magical? They're everywhere. Let's say we wanted to study. Is it possible for intention to actually influence some aspect of the world, not just within your body, but outside somewhere? I'll give one example of an experiment that we did. Most of our experiments start from somebody telling an experience. And then we say, how can we take that, what you describe with your sisters, and aerokinetic effect, changing the air kinetically with your mind? We haven't done that. But it's an example of how we would take an experience, give it a label, and then figure out how do we test this in the lab? I once heard a story from professional chefs, who said that if in the kitchen, everybody's happy, and there's a lot of intention being put into the food as they're making it to be positive and have a good experience for people, that they will respond to that. And they don't know what's going on in the kitchen. But from the chef's experience, they find that if people in the kitchen are angry that day and they're not feeling so good, then somehow the response of the customers is not so good, either. You say, what's the mundane explanation for that? Maybe if they're not feeling so good, they're just not being very careful in the way that they prepare the food. That could be one explanation. Maybe really is something to do with intention. We did an experiment. The first one of this type that we did was, what if we had people who were expert in tenders, and I'm talking about, in one case, a Mongolian shaman that we knew and another case, a Buddhist monk, who has spent a lot of time in that kind of space. We asked them to take little pieces of dark gourmet chocolate, little pastilles and then separate it into two batches. One batch, they would imprint with their intention. That anybody who ate this would have an improvement in their mood. And then we had the identical pastilles that were not intended. Then we did a double-blind experiment. The double-blind means that we recruited a whole bunch of people, we gave some of them the treated chocolate or the blessed chocolate, and some got the control chocolate. By virtue of the way the experiment is designed, you tell people that you might be getting treated chocolate, and you might get control. We don't know because the person who's giving it to you was blind to which kind of chocolate there was and so were the subjects, they were blind to. Normal biases are taken care of in that way. You give them the chocolate, you tell them over the course of the next week, two days of the week, and we told them which days, at 10 o'clock in the morning and 3 o'clock in the afternoon, you must eat a certain number of these pastilles. And then at the end of the day, you record your mood using a standardized mood reportings questionnaire. This was over the course—

AUBREY: High conformity to a study where your main job is to eat chocolate. Not a lot of people dropping out of that study. DEAN: Not only that, but normally, we would do a clinical trial. It is really hard to get people to sign up for it. We had people breaking down the door. Just give me chocolate

AUBREY: They're like, wait, wait, wait, wait, I get to either eat blessed chocolate or just eat chocolate, that's what you're asking me to do? I'm in.

DEAN: Gourmet brand dark chocolate, for free. Except that you had to fill out your mood scale every day over the course of a week. The three middle days of the week is when you would have to eat the chocolate. Both conditions are as similar as we can possibly make it. We even recorded, we had them take a personality test to record their degree of neuroticism, using the so called Big Five scale. Neuroticism is important because mood fluctuates more in people who tend to be more neurotic. We wanted to control for that as well. We also did all of this in the San Francisco Bay area so that during that one week, the weather would be the same for everybody. Because weather is also a factor that will push mood around. We tried to control so that the controls and the treated people were under the same conditions. We did that experiment. And the end results showed that there was a statistically significant difference for the people getting the treated chocolate in the direction that we predicted. They had better mood under double blind conditions. We published that. A colleague of mine in Taiwan said, can we try to replicate that with a much larger group of people? And I said, sure. Do people in Taiwan eat chocolate? Some of them do. But more often, they would drink tea. We said, let's make a gigantic batch of oolong tea, separate it into two bins, put them in little tiny bottles and recruit a hundred people in each of the two conditions. Three Buddhist monks at a temple imprinted the blessed tea so that it's improve their mood. And they did the same kind of experimental design and got the same results. Statistically significant results of improved mood in the people getting the blessed tea under double blind conditions. Now, in that case, we also asked people afterwards, before we told them what kind of tea they got, what do you think you got? Do you think you got the blessed tea, or do you think you got the other tea? Just to gauge their expectation. And we found something interesting. We found that if they got the blessed tea, and they believe that they got the blessed tea, they got a monstrously big positive change in their mood. You can say, it's combination of placebo, maybe plus something else. But then we asked the people who got the blesses tea, but did not believe that they got the blessed tea, they showed no effect at all. As you were mentioning before, your belief strongly modulates what amounts to a magical effect. And there are many other experiments in the domain of parapsychology that have looked at how belief on an individual basis modulates whether or not you see these effects. You also had mentioned that if you're in a context where you have complete and absolute belief in something, which is kind of unusual, especially for something exotic, the effects can be monstrous. But it's very, very difficult for us in the modern world to gain that level of belief in something. You always have a little doubt saying, I don't know if this is real. That doesn't necessarily squash the effect, but it does lower it quite a bit.

AUBREY: There's something else you talked about in the book, which I thought was great. It's bringing back this concept of saying grace. If you did this from a magical principle where you're actually legitimately blessing the food, and in this, you don't have to be a Buddhist monk or a Mongolian shaman to do this. Just understanding that in this idea that we all have the capability to offer blessings, we all have the capability of practicing certain forms of magic. And the act of blessing your food will actually change what actually happens internally as you ingest the food. And there's been studies on this done. I wrote about one of these studies in my book "Own the Day." They had two milkshakes, and they told a group that... They have one milkshake, sorry. They have one milkshake, double blind study with one milkshake. They told one group that the milkshake was actually super healthy for them and didn't have a lot of sugar, didn't have a lot of this. And then they told the other group that this is packed with sugar. It's a really indulgent, decadent milkshake. It turns out that it was the same indulgent, decadent milkshake that they gave to both people. But the people who believed that this was a very health, metabolically supportive milkshake had a measurable difference in their insulin response, in a variety of measurable biological conditions based upon their belief about the milkshake they were having. And I think we see this phenomenon played out. As soon as you think that gluten is going to be the internal devil that's going to wreak havoc all over your whole body, sure as hell, gluten is going to do it. Where you find somebody in Italy that's like, give me the pizza, give me the pasta. Let's go. This is part of our culture, we love it. And it doesn't have the same effect. And I think people are overlooking, it's not that gluten isn't a real thing. And gluten can affect things like inflammation, of course it can. But the belief about gluten can actually really start to fundamentally shift what you're thinking. This idea of blessing even the pizza or blessing even the bread. And then instead of thinking of it as poison, but thinking of it as this is nourishment from the land, and imagining the sun that's caused the crops to grow, and the water that's come through. All of that really does make a difference. The invitation is to bring these practices back in ourself.

DEAN: To continue the story then. The two experiments I just mentioned were similar to what you're saying here. It's about your internal belief changing the way that you end up feeling, even under double blind conditions. The next step, though, is there actually a physical change? Did the chocolate chemistry change? Or did the tea change somehow molecularly? We did another experiment where the target was, again, the Buddhist monks blessing water, which was used to grow plants and to see whether the plants had changed. Again, double blind conditions were the technician who was going the plants had no idea what kind of water they were using. Monstrously strong results there, with better growth with the blessed water than with the not blessed water. And then we replicated that again using stem cells as the target. And we used the water to make the growth medium of the stem cells. It's not only that you internally change, because the mind-body connection is so strong, but it goes beyond the body into objectively measurable effects outside, which now starts to look a little bit more interesting. Now we're moving slowly towards an aerokinetic effect, or St. Joseph levitating. The effects that we see in terms of the magnitude, again, I want to emphasize this. That when you do an experiment on demand, under highly controlled conditions, you get statistically very strong effects sometimes. And so, the effect is real. It's a real thing. But it's small in magnitude. We're not levitating pieces of chocolate. It's nothing like that. But we're seeing real effects that happen. The plants really are different in size. But that gives us very high confidence that the kinds of effects that we hear, like the story of your sister, that could happen under the right conditions, under the right context, the set and setting, all of the motivation, whatever. All of that. It says, in principle, that kind of effect can be real.

AUBREY: It's just an outlier of in the same phenomenological field, which has been reified. The phenomenological field has been made real and this is just an outlier of this particular case and this particular day was far beyond what you would ever expect.

DEAN: And not just an outlier, because sometimes, it is taken, at least within statistics, as a mistake. It's a fluke. It's an error. In this case, it's not an error. It is not even an outlier in that sense. It actually is a real phenomenon, it's just much, much bigger than we generally will see. Because to do that kind of a thing on demand is very rare.

AUBREY: To speak to this. You did a meta-analysis on Rupert Sheldrake's famous experiment about whether someone could detect whether someone was looking at them, someone was observing them, what it would show, and I'll let you talk about the statistical significance of it. But you're saying that basically, 54%, if I remember roughly, of the people could actually detect when someone was looking at them or when someone was not. But with the actual size, when you did the meta-analysis, it was like 34,000 different people who'd been through this, if I recall the numbers correctly, then all of a sudden, that 54%, which is very small. You would expect 50%, 50-50. You either would or you wouldn't, if it was pure chance. But that extra 4% is actually meaningful when you have a size that big and actually goes beyond statistical significance.

DEAN: In the business, we say that the result of a 4% shift above chance, when you have tens of thousands of subjects, is a gazillion to one odds against chance. It's such a large number that it's basically meaningless at that point. You say, yes, we have extremely high confidence that this is a real effect. I think I also talked about in “Real Magic,” in our laboratory, we took the next step. What Rupert had done was generally working with students. And generally in the same room, or sometimes through a window somewhere else. We did experiments where we very strictly isolate people in two different locations and use a one-way video system for the person being stared at. You're sitting in a room and we wire you up to look at your physiology. And we just say, for the next 30 minutes, somebody might or might not be looking at you through that camera. And otherwise, you just sit there. There's nothing else to do because you don't have any monitors or anything. And then the other side of the system is the person assigned to be staring. A computer will occasionally show your live video on a monitor in front of the person who's assigned staring. And when your face pops up, they stare at you. And oftentimes, internally also, you try to mentally grab the other person and shake them. And then, the image goes away, and you withdraw your mind from the task. The underlying hypothesis then is that when you look at the person being stared at, you look at their physiology, like their heart rate or their skin conductance or pupil dilation, that that will change when they're being stared at. Because that would be the physiological equivalent of somebody in the real world saying, I feel creepy. And then you turn around and see somebody staring at them. There are 36 formal experiments in multiple labs doing that kind of experiment. We had something like over a thousand different pairs of people involved. When you do a meta-analysis, it's very clear that people's physiology does change, usually in the direction of sympathetic arousal, when they're being stared at as compared to when they're not being stared at. Once again, very rigorous conditions, do this on demand, we get real effects. They're not as strong as what you'd see in the real world, outside of the laboratory. But they're real. Again, we say, in principle, we know that that kind of effect is actually real.

AUBREY: In another one of the studies that you talked about was using mediums and then flashing different pictures of people. And then they tried to decide whether that person was alive or dead based on the photo. And this was part of their practice. And again, what you saw was that some were actually highly effective. Individually statistically significant in their ability to detect whether someone was alive or dead, just based on a photo. Nobody that they would know. And some were, obviously, it seems like not as skilled, or they had an off day or something like that. But overall, again, as a conglomerate, in the aggregate, you, once again, showed statistical significance in that phenomenon as well.

DEAN: And once again, that was driven by what mediums tell us about their experience. Some of them can look at a picture and just like in a snap, they get it. This person's alive or this person's dead. They feel a difference. We made this experiment to test that report. And not too surprisingly, some people are really, really good at that and some are not so good. The other thing that we do and given that it's an experiment is, we selected photographs of people, all of which were taken kind of the same way. In that particular experiment, we've done it several times now. But as one example, we used pictures of police who had died in various ways. And this was a memorial site online. It's a public site. We took each picture and then we had to adjust the picture so that the faces were, we knew direction of the face, we knew whether they were looking to the left or the right, something about where their eyes were looking, whether they're smiling or not. All of these things were all balanced across the domain of... We knew that half of the pictures of people were alive and half of them were no longer alive. And even under those conditions, which again, we're blinding the medium as to whether this person is alive or dead, they're still able to do that task.

AUBREY: With all of this evidence and there's other evidence with a kind of mass random number generation, and we can get into that, but across so many fields, there's so much support for these, again, the Hermetic principle, all is mind, the universe is mental, the idealism, as you call it, or this perennial philosophy. All of this is pointing to actually a different fundamental system. However, people seems like refuse to accept even this evidence, It must be a very strange position for you to be in, to be sitting on all of this massive amount of evidence and being denied publication in journals. You can tell that story as well, which you tell in the book. It's got to be a little bit frustrating to have been dedicating your life work to this and say, we got the goods here, everybody. Here it is. And still everybody's like, no, no, no, we don't want to hear it.

DEAN: The curious thing is that there is a public taboo, but there's also a private response. Publicly, I hate to use the word mainstream, but there is kind of a mainstream way that science is presented, that news, everything is presented by the big guns in the media business, including within science. The taboo is there very clearly. The taboo says that this stuff is woo woo and don't need to pay attention to it because it's fantasy. But privately, there's a very different response. And this is true across the board in the academic world, among scientists, among engineers, among people who are highly trained within the materialistic tradition. As an example, we did a survey among scientists and engineers at mainstream academia, like top tier universities around the United States. And we asked them, not what do you believe about psychic phenomena? Because that's already a bias in terms of how you ask the question. Instead, we asked a series of 25 questions about experiences that you may have had. Have you ever had the experience where you hear the phone ring, and you instantly know who's calling, even without ringtones or anything else. You just somehow know. And even stranger, that you were thinking about somebody you haven't thought about in 20 years, and the phone rings and there they are. We asked these kinds of questions among academics, scientists, and engineers. And 90%, plus actually, over 90% said that they had at least one of those kinds of experiences personally. We weren't asking about what you believe or saying what did you experience? Over 90% have these things. And if you ask people who are into new-agey stuff, above 99% have had these experiences. But even among people who you would expect to be fully immersed within materialism, we're human, we have the same experiences. If you then ask them to publicly say whether or not they believe in it, you get a completely different result. You get the result which is reflected by the mainstream. This stuff is nonsense. It's not real. Or the people said, yes, they had this experience. They would explain it away as a fluke, in their own experience. They'd say, that happened once, but who knows if that's real? They could know that it was real if they read the literature, because the literature has tested those things. And we know that it's real from a scientific perspective. But they're not within the domain where they can spend time looking at that literature. Because unfortunately, the way the internet is now, if you start typing in something about psychic whatever, you'll get a flood of information. And it's very difficult for somebody to then discriminate. Where do I get credible information? If you know where to look, you can find it. But if you don't know where to look, you're going to end up with a lot of stuff which is probably not very credible. The public-private split is very similar to what you'd find in any kind of taboo. It's like in some of the original legal cases having to do with pornography, where the judge basically just says, I don't need a definition of it, I'll know it when I see it. This is not science, but everyone knows what it is. But if you come down to brass tacks and you say, is it real or not? It takes a certain degree of motivation and looking to write literature and maybe understanding something about the way science is done to appreciate why it's real. The experience is there. Underlying number of people who are paying close attention to it is private, not public. And that's not only in the academic world. It's also true in the military, and the government, and everywhere else in the world that I've gone. It's societal. If I go to India, I've been invited to go to India many times to talk about this stuff, it is absolutely top tier, both government, and science, and academia, that's where I give those talks. The same is true in Southeast Asia, the same is true even in Australia. You go to the United States, you never are invited to top tier places to talk about this stuff unless it's in private. In private, I've talked to top brass in the navy, top brass in the army, people in the intelligence world, lots of places, but only in private.

AUBREY: it's almost like UFO sightings, which is now becoming more acceptable. But lots of different pilots, they don't go on record talking about it, because think, crazy, crazy person. But then in private, they'd be like, I was flying this F-16 this one day and we were chasing this thing. And it was moving in a way that you could never possibly imagine. And it seems like people are getting more courage coming out talking about these things, but there is a massive taboo. People have been attacked and slandered for claiming sightings of UFOs. But it's kind of in the similar vein that we're talking about. You have to have the courage to be attacked for challenging this belief that we're the only sentient life forms in the universe. DEAN: And of course, in my field, it's a little bit different because we are doing repeatable experiments. And we are increasingly publishing in mainstream journals too. We're seeing, I would say, over the past 40 years or so, where I've been doing this kind of work, we can see that initially back in the '80s, you could get this kind of work published in specialty journals that maybe a hundred people would look at. And this is slowly changing. And the change has accelerated vastly within the last 10 years as a result of legalization of psychedelics and showing that they're actually really useful for some purposes. And simultaneously, the mainstreaming of meditation. Just as it was in the 1960s, you have more and more people beginning to come to personally recognize that what's going on inside your head makes very significant changes in your body and also outside. That's why the field now is slowly opening it up. And what we're seeing is that you see in every controversial field, people who are older and were more attached to the status quo, they don't like this stuff, they don't feel comfortable with it. But as younger people come along, especially younger people who are learning about quantum mechanics, and the strangeness of that, they're more and more open. I am pretty confident that this taboo will eventually dissolve. It'll take a while. Might take another generation or two, but it is dissolving as we speak.

AUBREY: And you look at trends in younger demographics and it seems like, like if you feel the vibe of what's happening on like the TikTok demographic, for example, it seems like people are a lot more open to these phenomenon than older generations that have had this kind of entrainment into these other belief systems. And it's really interesting. And I thought one of the beautiful parts about the book was not only is it talking about this from a historic perspective and a scientific perspective, but there's also practicum in here, with ample caveats. These are intense realms that you could be getting into, especially the realms of theurgy, like calling on spirits and all of these things. Proceed with absolute caution. And there's good reasons to avoid any of these kind of black magic, sorcery, brujeria practices. You have some nice caveats, but also some gentle nudges. If you really want to do this, here are the steps to take. If somebody's listening and they're like, I want to cultivate my own magical practices. We talked about blessing our food as one of them. But what are some other practical ways that people can access their own internal magical abilities?

DEAN: Number one, of course, is to meditate. You need to get your surface mind out of the way. You want to silence your mind. If you're not used to meditating, it's not that easy to silence your mind. About the closest we'll get to it in the spontaneous way is daydreaming, where you suddenly realize, I wasn't thinking about anything for the last 10 minutes. That's kind of it. But you do it in a disciplined way. For the magical traditions, we call that the state of Gnosis. You're dropping down deeper and deeper into realms of the mind that seem like they begin to overlap with the realm of the physical. So, the mental and physical are no longer quite so separate the farther down, and of course, it's metaphorically down that you're going into these spaces. That's where magic starts to become very powerful. If you don't want to meditate, you don't care about that stuff, then you take a method like drawing a sigil. A sigil is a symbol. It's a way of instantiating an intention. You make very, very clear what your intention is, it could be anything, but you have an intention. You draw a symbol. And I describe ways of making a symbol out of your intention. And then once you have it, you've taken what is otherwise only a purely mental abstract thing in your head and you've put it into the physical world. It is now a symbol on a piece of paper that you have. There's various ways of then pushing. You can charge, so-called, the sigil. You push it through high emotion, through sexual energy, you can burn it, you can do rituals around it. And you essentially take your intention and not only have it physical, but you unleash it into the world, with the assumption that it's going to go out there and it's going to do something. That's falls within the category of spell casting. But in the vernacular, it will be like affirmations or manifestation. And in my own life, I have many, many examples. Not so much using sigils, but for me, mostly just doing it mentally, like a mental sigil of things that have happened, which, if you look at the a priori probability of such a thing happening, especially as fast as the intention unfolded, you would say, that's ridiculous. It can't happen that way. Except that it does. And it happens again and again. For somebody starting out with this, you don't want to have as your very first thing, I want to have a gold plated Mercedes show up for me, that's an actual car I can drive in my driveway. That's an intention, you have that. It could happen. Pretty low probability. It's not that great to start with something which starts out with an extremely small probability of success. That said, where's my gold-plated Mercedes? I have it over here somewhere. I actually do have one. I don't see it now.

AUBREY: It's because somebody else manifested it and they have it now. That's what happened to your gold Mercedes. They teleported it to themselves because that was their intention.

DEAN: I hope not. No, it's my special little toy. What did I do with it?

AUBREY: That's what I said. Someone teleported it, sorry. That's what happens when you write books about magic and you have a gold plated Mercedes, someone might come and take your shit.

DEAN: I told this story once and somebody was asking about affirmations. I said it's difficult to manifest really big things, especially in the case where something like a car shows up because a whole bunch of other people have to be involved in order for that to happen. Now we're talking about influencing other people, which among other—

AUBREY: It's a co-participatory reality. It's not just you and your own reality. You can manifest that in your own mind, but not in the physical.

DEAN: Especially influencing other people because they could have their own intentions. Maybe somebody at a car dealer says, you know what, I'm going to just give this to Dean. And then they're going to think about it and say, why in the world would I ever do that? I'm not going to do that. And they can override my intention. I told this story and somebody listening was a witch. She sent me this little toy, it's a gold-plated Mercedes. It's this big. It's like a little toy. And it is a Mercedes. It's a Mercedes toy and it's gold. And so, I got it. And her message to me then was, when you do these kinds of intentions, you have to be extremely clear about exactly what it is that you want, because I didn't specify I was going to get in and ride it. I just said I would get one. I did get one. I don't see it on my desk at the moment, but I know it's here somewhere. That's another message that comes along with any form of magical practice. Especially if it's one involving spell casting, where you're trying to manipulate reality in some way. You have to be extremely clear about what it is that you think you want. And recognize that sometimes you don't really want that. Be careful what you wish for.

AUBREY: There's two things that I want to talk about. One is my own practice using sigil magic. I was taught how to use sigil magic by my brother Everett. And it was really very similar to what you were describing, where you either take a word and you remove the vowels, or you take a sentence, and you just use the first consonant at each of those. So you have a string of consonants basically, either from one word or either from a sentence. And then dropping into the deeper parasympathetic mind, the subconscious mind, you start to put some of the letters, the shapes of the consonants into a symbol. And then iterate, iterate, iterate, and allow, in my practice at least, allow my imagination to... It's not like fitting a puzzle together, which is very mechanical. It's just free association with how these symbols evolve until you get to a symbol. And then there's this feeling where you get the sigil and you have this symbol, and you're like, this is it, this is it. I just kind of feel it I feel like, uh huh, I've arrived at this sigil. And then that sigil then is a symbol for whatever it was that I was trying to either remember, or affirm, or draw power from and connect to, whatever it might be. And then, again, like you said, the more intention and the more you keep that sigil, and you meditate om, and you feel what the meaning of that is, the more powerful it becomes. I have some carved into, I got a beautiful magical staff made by a woodcarver named Chris Isner with an opal on the top, just for my own Gandalf fantasies. But I put a series of sigils that I created, that he carved into the staff. And it's my magical staff. And then I bring it into ceremony with me. And I've actually named my staff. I bring it into ceremony. And then in my ceremonial space, when I see myself, I can see myself with the staff and the staff has magical properties in the astral realm. This is exposing my own... Whether anything's actually happening or not, either way, this is incredibly fun for me because I get to go into the astral world with a magical staff that has magical powers that I believe have magical powers in that world and that substrate, and I love it. Even if I'm a kook, I'm having the fucking best time. All you skeptics, fine. Are you having fun? Because I'm having fun. I'm enjoying this practice. And it's been something that I see too, another practical guide. If you understand sigils and you understand that the symbol can mean something, like all of these people writing so many words on their body with tattoos, maybe just think about it. Think about condensing all of those words, paragraphs, whatever you want, condense it into a symbol that will mean the words, that you'll know the words, charge that up and you'll have something probably be a lot more beautiful on your body than a bunch of letters that you're trying to write. And again, it's just a gentle suggestion about a different way to do it. Because it would have been really kind of lame if I had on my staff, carved a bunch of words in English that were written on the whole thing. This now has been something that's been really not only enjoyable, but really meaningful in my own practice.

DEAN: Especially, you will occasionally see somebody with quite angry words that they've now tattooed on their body or even their neck. What in the world are you doing? Apropos, there is just starting an organization called the Research Network for the Study of Esoteric Practices. And it's starting in the UK. And part of the funding for that will be to actually test to see if magical practices work using scientific methods. One of the things I've proposed, and they haven't decided yet if they want to do it, is to make sigils and experiments that have actual physical targets where you're trying to mentally interact with those targets. We'll use real sigils that people make and then we'll use some fake ones. We'll just use a symbol that doesn't mean anything to anybody. And then other conditions, maybe where there's no sigil. And see, does it matter if you take an internal intention and you instantiate it in the physical world in the way that you just described? Does it make a difference? I think it will make a difference. If for no other reason than that your belief is very strongly pushed in the direction where this is now, not just something I'm thinking about, but it's out there in the world itself. We're such kinesthetic creatures. We interact with the world through touch and through things out there. I think it will actually work. But we can do an experiment and we'll find out. Does it matter how you do the sigil? Or what it looks like, or any of those kinds of questions. Those are questions that are studiable, which is what excites me.

AUBREY: The next one is the practice of manifestation. And this practice of calling forth, through force of will, some intent with reality. A lot of people are familiar with the sex magic practices, which is basically the idea that you put yourself in an energetic state of ecstasy, which is a very high energetic state. And from that energetic state, you have a greater ability to influence reality from that state. And I think that's one of the very popular practices that exists now. But again, in conversation with my brother Matias de Stefano, he said there's another way to do it. And the other is manifestation from laughter. You bring yourself to those super high states of ecstatic consciousness. Laughter is just an orgasm with a different spasm in a way. You bring yourself to that. And then whatever you're trying to manifest, you have to actually think of at least three people, was his guidance and the guidance that he remembers from the old ways in the old magical practices. Think of at least three people that this manifestation would benefit. And the more people that this would benefit, the more likely the universe is going to help respond and collaborate with your efforts. And that's always stuck with me as something that just feels like, that makes sense. I can get down with that. And we've practiced that in different ways and had some pretty cool results where things have happened. And again, could have been chance. Could have been that there was an influence based upon getting a group together, bringing them into a state of laughter. And then from that state of laughter, dropping into the deep, subconscious prayer, seeing it as it's already been done. Which again, was Yeshua's teaching, pray as if it has already been done. And then allowing that belief to suffuse our body entirely in that state of joy and rapture. It's been pretty phenomenal to just experience the results that have happened. And it's not foolproof. It's not like every time that happens, or every bit of guidance or divination that comes in is spot on. I can't help but bring a little bit of skepticism with me in it, but also a healthy amount of belief. And I think there's a nice tension between both of those. We don't get so lost in it that you think that you can just do anything and understand everything about the universe. You have some flexibility that I'm just incrementally influencing things by this, and I fully believe that. But I also understand we're in a co-participatory universe and the universe has to... And the universe, as represented by the many different people in the universe, and other many different beings, the entirety of the cosmos has to be in resonance with this desire. And if so, some pretty astounding things can happen.

DEAN: And as you mentioned, it's also important to not fall down too far down the rabbit hole. Because you can start seeing omens in everything and start seeing coincidences that really are a coincidence and that just synchronicity. So, remaining grounded while doing magical practice. This is one of the reasons why I liked the approach that Crowley had used. Which was, think of this like a science experiment. It's not using all the paraphernalia of science, but at least, journaling. I tried this, we did this, and then this happened, or this didn't happen. You do that repeatedly, you eventually build up a repertoire that works for you. Because the methods will work differently for different people. And it probably will make a difference of what's the environment outside like. What's the weather? Where's the moon? There are lots and lots of things which interact with these kinds of abilities. And not just in magical practice, but in any kind of human performance. And we've done studies, for example, where we correlate the state of the earth's geomagnetic field as compared to how accurate psychic perception is. And we know that during days of quiet geomagnetic activity, it's much better than it is in days of stormy geomagnetic activity. There's a relationship between the earth's magnetic field, the solar wind, all kinds of things that the ancients probably knew pretty well. That's why there's lots of lore about the phase of the moon, which also makes a difference. They're relatively subtle effects, but we're talking about subtle effects too. Subtle effects in the mind that could have a big effect in the physical world. But if you don't get to that right place in the mind, you may end up with nothing.

AUBREY: I think that's the right way to look at it, is to just be really curious and to start practicing how to wield belief as part of your life. But also, not, again, get lost in the sauce, so to speak, and lose your grounding on reality. Because in those cases, if something happens that really doesn't go in accord with what your belief field, what you've been manifesting, it can be really devastating, in a way. If you don't actually open yourself to the possibility that this may not happen. And it doesn't mean that you've failed, it doesn't mean that you throw away the whole practice. It just means this experiment, for whatever reason, didn't work out. Try again.

DEAN: To discipline. It's similar to, like I meditate. And the degree and depth of the meditation changes day by day. And I don't think I have that much control over it. I think I'm doing about the same thing every day. But clearly, I'm influenced by what I ate the night before and what the weather is today. And there's all kinds of things that when you, again, as you get into these subtle states of mental awareness, we are participating in the rest of the universe. And even more so, the rest of our local universe, including what's going on in the body. You just look at this, you look at trends over long periods of time and then you can see significant effects happening. And it takes a while. And the other thing I want to mention is, a small percentage of people when they start meditating, will have a psychotic break. We're talking about 1%, 2%, something like that. And all meditation teachers know that. That some people should enter into these kinds of practices very slowly. And typically, with a good teacher to kind of watch what's happening along the way. It's pretty rare for someone to actually end up going crazy, essentially, but it can happen. And most of this is unconscious. So, we can't tell always personally in advance what's going to happen. That's one of the reasons why I put it in my book, if you're going to this domain, do it cautiously.

AUBREY: And especially the case with psychedelic medicines. I've seen psychotic breaks happen multiple times in different ceremonies. And it's something to be very mindful of. I'm definitely an advocate for the responsible use of psychedelic medicine, but you have to include the caveat that this is not for everybody and proceed with extreme caution. This is meditation on another level. When you're meditating, you can typically pull yourself out in most cases and be like, I'm going to stop. That's too much. Same with breath work. I'm slowing my breathing down. Let's chill for a second. But if you're taking LSD for example, which has led to a disproportionately high number of psychotic breaks, I think out of the other ones, you're in there for an eight-hour journey.

DEAN: You are blasted. You're blasted into this inner space and you can't get out.

AUBREY: It's definitely an important caveat in all of these fields and realms. This has been really exciting to interact with your work and to know you exist and to make this connection. Maybe there's a timeline out there where I bring a couple of modern Merlin class wizards and priestesses over and we'll run some experiments together and see if we can find some interesting scientific effects as I explore looking, and searching, and gathering the wizards that I can find in this beautiful world.

DEAN: I look forward to it.

AUBREY: For sure. Thank you for your work. You've really dedicated your life to this and it's an honor to talk to you. And I really just appreciate your approach and everything you've done, and the dedication that you've given to this field. And like you said, at the end of the book, I think this is one of the important pieces of the puzzle as we build the new story that is going to bring us from these potential dystopian and existential risk realities into another reality. That is as Charles Eisenstein says, the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. I think this plays a significant role.

DEAN: I agree. It's been my pleasure.

AUBREY: Thank you. Appreciate you and thanks to everybody for tuning in. Thanks for tuning into this video. Make sure you hit subscribe, follow me at AubreyMarcus, check out the Aubrey Marcus Podcast available everywhere, and leave a comment. Let me know if this video resonated or what else you would like to hear from me in the future. Thank you so much.