owen cyclops Profile picture
Sep 10, 2023 35 tweets 9 min read Read on X
sometimes it feels like there are like 100 people on earth that know the material reality of why the salem witch trials happened

so many myths. was not based on the testimony of children. many people confessed themselves to being witches. i have their letters in books upstairs
people write entire books about the salem witch trials without explaining why someone would point blank tell people they were a witch traveling to black sabbaths and hanging with demons

men confessed to being werewolves. they literally were like “i am actually a werewolf”.
reflection: many cultures have some form of what we call shamanism wherein people use psychoactive plants to interact with spirits and do what they call magic, and such things

question: what was this in western culture?

the answer when i return from reading a book to a tiny man
alright sorry to keep the crew waiting. it was requested that i read this text. fitting, as it also takes place in new england.

anyway […] Image
to keep it brief, consider that the conventional narrative of the salem witch trials fits very well into modern narratives: religion bad, people in the past are stupid, large groups of people are often prone to total hysteria - its very easy to accept and fits in perfectly.
to answer the above question, a missing piece of most people’s understanding of western cultural archetypes, in my opinion, is that western culture has an indigenous form of shamanism. its embodied in the witch. the witch is basically the shaman of europe, if you think about it.
if “witch” were a gender neutral term, this would be more obvious. but its not, so, in my opinion, this is rarely fully realized. theres a lot we could go into there but lets keep it moving

many parts of that archetype such as potions, charms, etc., have a real historical aspect
that real historical aspect, and this whole tale, dovetails with what psychoactive substances were available to people in europe, and later, colonial america.

last piece of hard info is between two classes of drugs: psychedelics and deliriants / dissociatives.
not looking up which D term im thinking of, sorry. those days are behind me.

the relevant distinction here is that on psychedelics you almost always know youre on drugs.

on deliriants, you do not. thats a big difference for ethnographic study purposes. example:
someone takes mushrooms. they see their blanket patterns moving. 99% of the time, they are aware that this is a hallucination.

on a deliriant, if you are in your closet hallucinating that you are at 7/11, you actually think you are at 7/11.

okay. so, whats the point.
the point is that deliriants, what i would call solanaceous plants like… datura, henbane, belladonna… etc., were available to there people (western culture) (wypipo) (and beyond but, we’re not talking about that)

so, thats the missing piece. people were using those plants

but
it goes beyond that, because apparently (how you explain that apparently is going to depend on your metaphysics), the experience isnt random. it has certain patterns and archetypes, such as: flying, shadow people, going to dark “events”, basically all the “witch stuff”.
so, people were making ointments out of these plants and using them and hallucinating that they were doing witch stuff (flying around, meeting demons, etc). however, the crucial distinction is that they were not aware that this was a drug experience. they didnt know that.
from their point of view, they’d put the ointment on in a barn, then fly out of the barn, and go on a journey.

in “real life” they would just pass out on the floor of the barn.

thats why they told people they were witches doing that stuff. they actually thought that they were.
this is documented in a book called ‘hallucinogens and shamanism’ by michael harner, which is mostly about ayahuasca, but has one chapter on… this (in the middle).

lets look at some primary sources Image
this was written in the late 1600s. here its described as an oil, not an ointment: Image
lady alice kyteler in 1324 also describes an ointment. we’ll get to some more solid examples, but you can see its at least very old

in case you cant understand, this is saying she sat on a staff - like you see witches sitting on a broom. they sat on objects like that: Image
sitting on a staff (or broom, or rod) with your feet off the ground confers a feeling of levity and weightlessness, which facilitates the (drug) experience (ie you feel like youre flying or riding something).

theres also another non PG-13 reason. ointment, absorbed quickly… k.
alright lets just cut to the chase. theres a lot of examples of the staff or them sitting in baskets or things like that.

this guy in the 1690s just lays it out.

lets note that this is a firsthand account that does not fit any conventional understanding of this phenomenon:
this woman tells the priest she is a witch and travels at night. she isnt tortured or falsely accused and sets out to prove it to the priest, who watches her attempt to do it:
Image
Image
if you only read one read this one.

in 1545, the physician to pope julius the third describes the ointment and its effects after a couple was arrested for witchcraft

(very notable ending) Image
okay this is already kind of long so i will extremely briefly explicate the material reality of lycanthropy, which is the proper term for werewolfism.

for a variety of reasons, you can speculate, the effects can be different for men and women and tend to cluster on either end.
although men had the “witch experience” (flying, black sabbath), more often men had the experience of transforming into animals like wolves

aside from humor thats part of why i selected a few with sex above. kind of makes sense men would have a more violent type of hallucination
1634

what is not explicated here is “the girdle”. as women would do things to heighten the sensation of flying, men would wear animal pelts in places where their limbs touched their torso (or places like that) so theyd feel the fur while moving and facilitate the hallucination: Image
as promised above here is an example (1602) of a man imprisoned who professes to actually have the ability to become a wolf but says he cant do it without the ointment: Image
last note, in 1521 a guy in france confessed to the church (like in a court) that he actually killed and ate people while he was a wolf (oops) Image
as you never know who is reading what you write online, i will say two things. a) obviously i would say it is very logical to assume that there is some metaphysical or spiritual aspect at play here, whether they are “pure hallucinations”, or not, or some middle ground.
b) i suppose its relevant, i have personally seen and handled ointments that are like these or that are recreations of these.

the plants described here are actually super dangerous - like, if you cut yourself while on them, you wont know you cut yourself. its at “that level” so, there is no safe way to use them in any way. they kill people. just thought id mention that.
real religion history hours

thanks for reading my thread Image
threads like this often leave my usual orbit (thanks), so if we have not met, i often deal with atypical american / christian religion topics. here is: my dog and calvinism, or another new england file (thread below)

im also releasing a book late november / early december

📕

Image
Image
im going to tether one more new england esoterica thread here. this ones way shorter:

being God in massachusetts:
@DanielSWise someone robs a bank. if you explain why they did that, its interpreted as you defending them. people have careers - and people that dedicate their lives to studying things like witchcraft or psychedelics academically are already predisposed to being sympathetic to those things.
@DanielSWise theres nothing wrong with that in and of itself, i guess, but flip it onto yourself. discard all the accounts i posted as pure fabrications. why the consistent specific details combined with specific plants that actually induce these types of hallucinations?
@DanielSWise because people actually were using the plants in that way. thats the only explanation.

so then youd have to say that the existence of all that played no role in the historical situation. also implausible. thats all im asserting: theres a material reality people are ignorant of.

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More from @owenbroadcast

Jun 5
heres some genuine esoteric psychology advice (for entertainment purposes only):

you have a job. we say “have” so, you think its “just there”. its something you got, and now you possess it. thats wrong. if you “have” something like a job, you are creating that job.

things dont just exist eternally in a static state in this sphere: so, every day, you are creating that job. you don’t realize it, but you are. if you weren’t, it would just decay or go away or be destroyed. so, youre creating your job every day without realizing it.

next:
now, you get to a point where you dont like your job anymore. so, you think: now, i have to fix this. i have to create a solution. i have to create something to counter this problem in my job.

but, thats wrong: because youre still creating the job, every day. so, what happens?
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May 22
van dusen (psychologist who worked with schizophrenics and read swedenborg) eventually adopted an energy vampire model of the voices his patients were hearing, he claimed explaining this to the patients consistently resulted in the voices telling patients to physically attack him
he basically claimed that he could sit (at least a significant percent of his) patients down in a room and go through a script, like “i am going to start explaining something to you - here’s what the voices are going to tell you to do”: first they would tell patients to leave.
(might mix up the order here) - then, they would tell patients to not listen to him, then finally when none of that was possible, and he was explaining what was happening as a phenomenon, they would tell patients to attack him. like a predictable pattern, one, two, three.
Read 5 tweets
Apr 21
tech interfaces used to be much more actively customizable. you could just poke in and make everything green, pink, anything. this is much less of a thing today. this probably stems from a kind of allergy to sincerity - someone might see your interface and see how much you cared
jordan peterson really got his whole thing locked into a single meme: "clean up your room". whats lesser known is what the second step was: make it beautiful. the idea was that by trying to make something look nice, you would then be forced to be open to harsh personal criticism
regardless of what you think about him or his work, this is true. if you hang a painting up in your room, people are going to come over, and they might say, "...thats the painting you chose?" - and you have nowhere to go. you can only say, well, yeah. you're total unguarded.
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Apr 20
'medical mundi' is a term i started to use, internally, at a time in my life when i was often in and out of hospitals.

the 'medical world' really is 'a world'. it is a realm. it has its own way of being, its own paradigm, and its self-contained.

thats medical mundi.

... Image
you dont really notice when you enter medical mundi. something happens, and you go to the hospital. thats just what you do. you're just there.

but, you notice when you leave. you're back in the parking lot - hours, days, weeks later. like a stone, you hit the earth. you're back Image
i have lots of memories like that. suddenly, you realize you were just in a whole separate universe. thats usually when it all hits you. things dont really hit you in medical mundi. people talk to you, you're doing stuff, but you're kind of just there. its just happening to you. Image
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Apr 15
[esoteric baby semiotics]

it is difficult to imagine something more wholesome than a baby. children are, in a way, the benchmark for what wholesome is. likewise, if you were asked to think of content that was unwholesome one subject that would immediately come to mind is sex

Image
it seems noteworthy then for those interested in symbolism, cosmology, religion, or sociology (life in general) to observe that these are only oppositional concepts when it comes to practical day to day terrestrial life. on deeper level, they are more than directly related. Image
the way hot and cold are apparent opposites but are in reality extensions of one thing (temperature), our first instinct for most wholesome thing and least wholesome thing are actually part of the same process. the baby is the completion of the sexual act. children come from sex.
Read 39 tweets
Apr 11
one way to conceptualize mormonism historically is that it re-orients the christian system around the family unit, as we might say that at other times (possibly now, i cant say) it was organized around groups of monastics. this allows them to make statements like this one:
most american christians intuit that there is something essential about the family and marriage - but they lack the theological basis to say its essential. in my opinion they really feel that its “the whole point” and talk this way, but its hard to square in their big picture
catholicism has this nicely squared up (imo, which means nothing). its kind of “the whole point” if youre a layperson, but if you’re a monk or priest obviously there are other reasons and factors for your lifestyle differences. they have a different track built right in.
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