Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done. Oh, by the way, I’m Rick Archer. What’s the you know that by now, I’ve done hundreds of these by now. And if you are new to this, you never seen one and you’d like to check out other ones, go to batgap.com Bat gap, and check out the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there is a PayPal button on every page of the site. And there’s a page about donations which shows other ways to donate if you don’t like dealing with PayPal. My guest today is a fascinating fellow whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know in person for the last few minutes and getting to know remotely over the last week as I’ve been listening to many of his interviews and reading his entire book, Damien Echols. Welcome, Damien.
Damien Echols: Thank you for having me.
Rick Archer: You’re welcome. Damian is an artist and New York Times best seller, Best Selling Author of Life After Death, which we’ll explain in a minute. In 2018, he published his first book on ceremonial magic, that’s magic with the K on the end, entitled, show a picture here on the screen, high magic a guide to the spiritual practices that saved my life on death row. And the there are all kinds of interesting endorsements of the book on the back of Tony Robbins and Ozzy Osbourne and Peter Jackson and some more endorsements in the book, I think, probably Johnny Depp and Eddie Vetter, and Eddie Vetter, wrote the intro to it. Eddie Vetter was the singer for Pearl Jam. In any case, Damien Damian has been excuse me, interruption there. Damian has been a practitioner of ceremonial magic for over 20 years, and leads classes on magic across the country. He spent over 18 years on death row in Arkansas for a crime he didn’t commit, before gaining his freedom in 2011. Upon release, he along with Peter Jackson, producer, Peter Jackson was the guy who did the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and produced the documentary film west of Memphis, which chronicled his legal battle. Also, there’s an HBO documentary on Amazon Prime called Paradise Lost the Child Murders at Robin Hood hills. During his time in prison, Damien was ordained into the Rinzai Zen tradition of Japanese Buddhism. He lives in New York with his wife and three cats. And I’m a big fan of cats myself. About the moment we have a couple of dogs whom often make appearances during these interviews. So Danny has quite a story. And as you can tell from that intro, if you haven’t heard of him, and a lot of it, most of it, he probably doesn’t think about that often, because he’s on to better things. But in order for those watching this interview, to really sort of get the full picture of what he has been through. I want to I want to have him start by telling us take, it’s taking us back to the beginning, telling us about his childhood and so on. And I just want to mention, the reason Damian is wearing sunglasses, is that spending all that time in death row and not basically not seeing the sun for, what, 10 years or more 10 years? Yeah, yeah. kind of ruined his eyes. And he needs to wear dark glasses. You know,
Damien Echols: and go ahead. Not only that, but also, you know, the same thing happens to the human body that happens to like a horse, if you put a horse in a stall and never take it out. Your eyes never change focus, you know, out here, we don’t even realize how often and how constant, our eyes changing focus is, you know, we’re looking at stuff up really close. We’re looking at stuff far away, we look at people across the room or a computer screen, so your eyes are constantly moving. And whenever they do that, exactly, exactly. Well, if you’re in a space where your eyes are never really changing focus, which is what happens when you’re sealed inside. You know, for all intents and purposes of concrete box, your eyes don’t constantly shift and they lose that ability over time. So there was, you know, the loss of the muscles in my eyes in addition to that I’m not being exposed to sunlight for almost a decade, and it almost made me go completely blind.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And there’s issues with your teeth. And I’m sure all kinds of other things. In fact, you did some amazing things to keep yourself physically fit in prison. And we’re going to talk about that, as well as keeping yourself mentally fit, which is the main thing we’re going to talk about. So we’ll postpone all that for a little bit. But let’s start first with a bit of your childhood. What was your childhood like?
Damien Echols: Oh, my, my family, you know, we grew up in a state of poverty that is beyond what most people in modern America can’t even conceive of, you know, they would probably think it’s like third world country conditions. But it really was not that far out of the ordinary for a lot of families in Arkansas. You know, there were times when we grew up. without running water. Without electricity, I can remember my mother and grandmother when I was a child, picking up aluminum cans off the side of the road to be able to afford breakfast cereal for my sister and I, or having to go stand in, you know, government lines to get free welfare commodities, just to have something to eat, things like that. I have a ninth grade education. I dropped out of school when I was in ninth grade. And that is more than anyone else in my family has, you know, if you look back through my family tree, you’re not going to find a lot of high school diplomas, or certainly no college degrees, things of that nature.
Rick Archer: Interesting. And as people will see in this interview, and I’ve seen already, you’re very articulate guy and you became kind of a bookworm in prison. We’ll talk about that later, too. You’re reading a lot. And so were you mistreated as a child? Or was it a loving environment, or what it was
Damien Echols: kind of? Well, when I was born, my mother was 15 years old, and my father was 16 years old. So they were pretty much children themselves. They almost immediately will two years later had my sister, you know, they weren’t capable of taking care of one child much less to so I was pretty much given to my grandmother to raise. My grandmother was my family growing up, you know, she was my mother, my father, she was my sense of security and stability. She was the source of, you know, unconditional love that I knew. For me, she was the world and there was never any sort of, you know, abuse or anything like that, in that regard. With my parents, I don’t think there was ever any sort of out noun abuse, I think it’s just whenever you’re dealing with, you know, very young teenagers trying to raise a child. They don’t know how so I think there’s always going to be a certain amount of neglect and things of that nature in situations like that.
Rick Archer: Okay. So now I want to talk about the events leading up to the trial. And I also want to mention that there’s a movie called Devil’s knot with Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth that I watched that also gives you the whole story of what happened. People might want to check that out if it’s on Netflix. But what’s your nutshell version of what happened, you know, leading up to this trial for which you are convicted of murder,
Damien Echols: you know, to try to condense it down just to really dumb it down, make it as simple as possible. Three, eight year old boys come up murdered in a small hardcore, fundamentalist Bible Belt town, where pretty much everyone is bad, dissed. You know, like I said, my upbringing was not that much different from everyone else’s upbringing there. So you’re not talking about a lot of really, you know, worldly cosmopolitan people to begin with. So pretty much everything that happens in some way or another was blamed on satanic activity Satanism things, you know, this was also during the early 90s When what they call a Satanic Panic was still in full swing, where you had people all over the country being accused of things that were it’s in some cases absolutely impossible for them to have done. But there was like this big conspiracy going on that there was this you know, vast underground satanic network running through America. And a lot of people got caught up in that ended up being sent to prison. You know, in my case, I was almost murdered for it sent to death row. I me and two other guys one of the guys had an IQ of like between 70 and 72. You know, he’s a borderline mentally handicapped to begin with. The police essentially pick this guy up and over a period of several hours. Did what amounts to torture a confession out of this guy.
Rick Archer: I believe it was about 12 hours or so. Yeah, it was Yeah. Without without a break without problem. nourishment, right?
Damien Echols: They don’t say exactly. No parents no supervision, Robbie, you know, guy, exactly browbeat a mentally handicapped guy, you know, who had the brain the mental capacity of a child into confessing to these murders and implicating me and the other guy, you know, it didn’t matter that he couldn’t get any details of the the actual crime scene, right. And you know, he couldn’t do that, because he wasn’t actually there. The only thing they cared about was that they had gotten him to say, yes, everything else they swept under the rug covered up, as long as I get him to say, Yes, he did it. Most people believe that if you haven’t done something, you wouldn’t confess to something that you haven’t done. We now know to, you know, things like the Innocence Project and Southern Poverty Law Center, all of these sorts of places, that something like 60% of the people who are eventually exonerated due to DNA testing, gave false confessions.
Rick Archer: Right, because they just wanted to end the torment that they run. In that moment, they figured out they get some relief. Exactly. Yeah. Okay, so to make a long story. So again, these documentaries and movies that I mentioned, flesh this out in a lot of detail. But to make a long story short, you guys ended up being convicted,
Damien Echols: we did. And I ended up spending 18 years and 76 days on death row before it was eventually released. During that time, my attorneys would file appeal after appeal on my behalf, all of which were shot down by the same judge who sentenced me to death, you know, whenever they did DNA testing, and found that the DNA did not match me or the other two men that they had convicted. Not only that, but we had three eyewitnesses come forth, and say that they saw the person who the DNA did match with all three of the victims, within an hour of the time they were murdered, the judge still refused to overturn the case. He said, You got a fair trial, that’s all that mattered, you know, whether you’re guilty or innocent is irrelevant, as long as you get a fair trial. That’s all that matters within the American prison industrial complex. But by that time, you know, this is many years into our imprisonment, you had had the documentaries come out, you had had several books come out, there had been TV shows covering the case, there’d been countless newspaper articles and magazine articles, and people had started putting together websites to spread awareness about the case, you had people doing, you know, fundraisers, and anything from bake sales to benefit concerts to try to raise money to pay for legal fees and, and private investigators and things like that, to look into it. So the state of Arkansas realized, finally, that they were being watched by people outside the system. In the end, that is the only thing they cared about. They didn’t care about the fact that they were going to murder an innocent person, they didn’t care about the fact that they had allowed the person who actually killed these three children to walk free, none of that mattered in the slightest to them, the only thing they were concerned about is now they know that the outside world is watching them. So they have to do something to try to save face and save their political careers.
Rick Archer: Interesting. Yeah, it’s it’s the in many cases, how little people care about the truth. They just have some agenda that governs them. I mean, yes, I’m, I’m kind of a climate change fanatic. I think that’s a really serious issue. And, you know, it’s like, people are willing to sweep all the evidence under the rug, because they get big donations from the oil companies are some of the exact like that, you know,
Damien Echols: exactly. And that same thing goes on, you know, we tend to think for some reason, just I guess most people in America have received, what little education they have about the criminal justice system, based on things like television shows and movies and things like that, you know, they don’t realize that attorney general’s prosecutors, judges, all of these people, they don’t hold these positions, because they’re somehow moral upstanding individuals. They’re politicians, just like senators, just like congressmen, their number one priority is always winning the next election, saving face, things of that nature. Anything to do with Justice is going to be like far, far down on the totem. Yeah, yeah.
Rick Archer: Just to backtrack a little bit. You, you know, accused of Satanism and all that. Were you actually ever interested in Satanism? Or was your interest in magic misrepresented Satanism?
Damien Echols: It was misrepresented and I think that’s usually the case. You know, for some reason Anytime you bring up ceremonial magic people always equate the two. Or they’ll equate it with witchcraft, modern day Wicca, things of that nature, which is also an entirely different thing. You know, the, the more, you know, going back to the Satanism thing for a second, I don’t understand. You know how you are going to expect to live a positive life if you are invoking negative forces into your life. And to me, that’s the way I always looked at at Satanism. Like it just didn’t add up to me. Witchcraft. On the other hand, modern day Wicca is a religion, you know, it involves worship of pre Christian concepts and iconography, things of that nature, magic. On the other hand, the motto, the motto of the Golden Dawn was the aim of religion, the method of science, that means they wanted to look at all of these different traditions, all of these different practices within these traditions, strip away the dogma, strip away the belief, find what works, how it works, and how we can make it work better. You know, that’s the thing about magic, you’ll hear people sometimes say, I don’t believe in magic, what they actually mean is they’ve never practiced it, because magic works, whether you practice it, or whether you believe in it or not, you know, it’s like electricity, you can not believe in electricity, completely, 100% wholeheartedly, but if you stick a fork in a sucker, you’re gonna buy.
Rick Archer: I’ve said that kind of thing. 1000 times when I was teaching meditation is you don’t have to believe in this. Just try it exactly. It’s an experiential thing that you can be as skeptical as you like, and if you know, it doesn’t matter exactly, might even have to be skeptical, because then you’ll be exactly pleasantly surprised or whatever.
Damien Echols: Okay, so one of the tenants of magic is actually you’re supposed to try as much as possible when you’re doing these practices, to not have a lust for results, you know, not to expect anything to come of it, or be looking down the road for like, what you’re going to get out of this, but just sort of immerse yourself 100% in the present moment experience of carrying out exactly what you’re doing within the ritual. So a lot of times, you know, so don’t be expecting anything, in other words. So a lot of times I think skepticism helps in that regard. You know, if you’re a skeptic, you’re not really expecting anything when you go into this. So it really catches you off guard when you notice, oh, there is something going on here.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And we can take what you’ve just been saying as kind of a teaser, because we haven’t really defined magic yet. And I want to get into it very systematically and thoroughly. But it’ll give people a sense of where we’re going with this. There’s some more things I want to cover before we start to really unpack that. But one thing he did say, which is one of my favorite themes is just the notion of a kind of a scientific systematic approach to spirit, there’s a cat to nurture experience. In my opinion, spirituality shouldn’t have much to do with belief. It’s an experiential thing. And exactly, it’s like I always say you can sort of stand on a sidewalk looking at a restaurant menu, believing how good the food is and starve to death. You know, you have to actually go in and eat it. And yes, so unfortunately, modern religion is largely about belief without direct experience. And so that’s a whole nother issue. But I think what you’re what you’re doing is experiential. Exactly. As you said,
Damien Echols: Exactly. Yeah. Good.
Rick Archer: Okay. So let’s look back again. Just just describe your life and death sorry to drag you into the strike describe your life on death row a little bit like what was your cell? Like? What was your typical day like,
Damien Echols: stuff I was in a really, it was like a concrete vault, you know, you’re sealed inside these things. It’s not like in the movies, you know, where you’re, you know, you have a bar door and you’re free to talk with other people or whatever, they seal you up inside a concrete vault with a solid steel door 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you know, they say, you know, if you look into the prison policies, they would say that you’re allowed out of your cell for an hour a day for recreational time. That doesn’t mean you’re actually going outside anywhere. What that means is they will take you out of your cell and put you in another sale and leave you standing there for an hour and then come get you and put you back in your cell
Rick Archer: so that it better than your first cell really,
Damien Echols: no, it’s actually worse because at least in your cell where you sleep you know there’s at least a toilet and a sink and you know, stuff like that in the cell where you stand for an hour there’s not even that you’re just standing inside an empty concrete room it’s that’s That’s it. You know, that’s that’s your whole life. You over in there’s a window but you can’t see anything. Think through it, because there’s a brick wall right behind it, you know, it’s hard to describe the architecture of the prison. But you know, there’s a, the window is like a small slit on the back wall. And you have to stand and sort of pull yourself up a little bit to look out through it. And even then you’re just looking straight into a brick wall, there’s no view or anything else. Well, you know, it’s really in there. Christmas is the same as the fourth of July, yeah, Midnight is the same as noon, there’s no difference. And when I got there, I noticed, you know, a lot of people would be there, they would come in, and they would sit in the sails for 1015 20 years, and they would be the exact same person that they were, whenever they first came in, there’s no sort of change, you know, out here, we’re acted upon by outside sources, we have stimulus that brings about changes in our behavior changes and our thought patterns, things like that. In there, you don’t experience any of that. So there’s no sort of growth, no sort of development. If anything, there’s just entropy, decay, you know, decline in mental faculties, you see people go insane in there are a lot, there was a guy one time that they had to come and get him out of a sale, because he just snapped and started screaming that the devil was in a sale. And he started punching the walls until both of his fists were just broken and bloody, they take him out bandages, hands up, going back in the sale, that’s it. If you don’t find something in there, to focus on to build yourself in some sort of way to make a life for yourself, you’re going to rot from the inside out slowly over the years. So for me, that was magic,
Rick Archer: what percentage of inmates would you say do fund something like that? Seems like you’re kind of rare?
Damien Echols: Almost none? Yes, I would say and one of the reasons is, you know, going back to IQ for a second, the average death row inmate has an IQ of about 85. So you’re talking about somebody who is still even though they’re not quite at the mentally handicapped level, you’re talking about someone that is steel, for the most part, usually, well below average IQ. So these are people who are going to know how to do stuff like that, you know, how to push themselves in any regard
Rick Archer: would even be interested in reading a book or something. Exactly.
Damien Echols: You have a lot of guys in there who can barely read, you know, people that can’t read at all people who really never went to school people who were you know, children of horrendously abusive families. You know, you’re not, it’s like if you watch TV, or if you watch movies, they usually try to portray people on death row as if she can today. I have this one here. And I have another one on my lap
Rick Archer: right now. Great,
Damien Echols: though usually try to portray people on TV as if they’re, you know, Hannibal Lecter types, you know, these insane geniuses? Yeah, that is not the case at all. You know, usually you’re you’re dealing with people who are well below average IQ in there. So they’re not going to do very well, in any environment, much less than one.
Rick Archer: Have you ever had your IQ measured?
Damien Echols: I did at one point? Well, I actually I did twice. It was the second time I had it done. It was somewhere around like 145, something in that range is pretty high. It is well, the reason they tested it was because they wanted to find out how I would have been functioning at the time of the trial. Because when you’re under you know, extreme duress, extreme trauma, extreme stress, your IQ tends to we think of it as fixed. And it’s not necessarily fixed. You know, when you’re suffering, like these extreme situations, you are not capable of using the entirety of your intellect. So for example, even though my IQ would come in at like 145 on a normal daily basis, at the time of the trial, whenever I’m going through all that, and when I’m experiencing the trauma, I would still be functioning at the level of about 100. Yeah, which is, which is, you know, average IQ for most people. But for me, it was knocking off almost an entire 1/3 of my intellectual capacity. And I’m still having to function with you know, like the most traumatic experiences of my life. At 1/3 of my capacity, or two thirds of my capacity
Rick Archer: was considered genius level with IQ. I honestly have no idea. I think it might be somewhere in that range. Anyway, so you said the guards were beating you a lot. Why were they beating you? Were you misbehaving or were they just said this thick?
Damien Echols: They’re pretty sadistic. You know, it’s one of those things where you never hear a little kid say when I grew up, I want to be a prison guard. You know, and if you’ve ever heard there was a Japanese scientist who did all these experiments with water. You may have heard of this guy where he would have Oh yeah. Emoto or something. That’s him. Yes. Well, another one of his concepts he called a morphic field where he was talking about when you get a bunch of people together, or whenever you have a lot of stuff happening in one place, it produces a combined energy that he called a morphic field.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Rupert Sheldrake talks about that. Do you know Rupert? Yes, I interviewed him a couple of months ago.
Damien Echols: Yes, you know, their work is pretty mind blowing. And I would suggest anyone who hasn’t looked into it, look into it. I mean, a lot of this stuff can be applied to normal life. But when you’re looking at a prison environment, you’re talking about a single building out in the middle of nowhere, that houses 1000s of murderers, rapists, thieves, you know, people who have committed acts that defy the imagination, you know, I shared a cellblock with a man who had taken a hatchet to two old ladies to get their social security check. So you’re talking about a horrendous morphic field being generated by the people in this place? Well, more energy drops to energy, like attracts like, we are going to move towards energy that we vibrate at the same frequency up. So a morphic field like that is not going to draw like the highest, you know, moral level of people to begin with? Yeah,
Rick Archer: let’s dwell on that a little bit. I think that’s worth delving into. It’s, it’s the idea of collective consciousness, and everyone has had the experience of sort of, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people have the experience of maybe going into a temple are some beautiful place and feeling a beautiful vibe there, you know, you just feel uplifted, or you could go into some really dark kind of scene, you know, I don’t know, some strip club or whatever you consider dark. And it definitely has a different vibe than than the beautiful temple does. And there are places in India where people have been going to certain temples for 1000s of years, and worshiping and doing all these devotional activities. And the the field in those places is extremely profound. So it’s, yeah, so there’s some kind of a subtle realm we could say. And we’re going to talk more about subtle realms in this interview, which is absorptive, it kind of picks up or absorbs the vibes of those who dwell in it and have put attention on it. And that lasts even when those people leave, it becomes a permanent sort of environment on a subtle level.
Damien Echols: Yes, you know, for me, you know, I try to tell people all the time, to surround yourself with the kind of energy that you want to embody, you know, if you want to be prosperous, surround yourself with a kind of prosperous energy, you know, surround yourself with people that have prosperous people that are intelligent, my, you know, at least twice a week I go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art here. That to me is my temple because what you just described, you know, all these temples in India and all these other places where people are accumulating all this energy. When you walk into the Met, you literally have reconstructed a Gyptian temples that have been brought from Egypt and put back together in this place. You have the same thing happening from ancient Sumur. You have like some of the oldest Hindu and Buddhist statues and artifacts in the world from, you know, things like crowns that were worn by llamas, while they were completing the process of building the rainbow body. You have, you know, stuff from ancient Greek temples, all brought into this one building. So you are talking about an incredibly powerful positive morphic field the exact opposite of the prison morphic field being generated by you know, sacred items, artifacts, belief and energy from every spiritual tradition in the world. Put in one place. Yeah, so that’s, you know, that’s where I spend the majority of my time.
Rick Archer: Yeah. No religion consideration is that not only does a small place like a prisoner or a temple have a morphic field, but states have a morphic field nations have a morphic field but has a morphic field. Yes. And so that’s the graces.
Damien Echols: Yeah. Have a morphic field sexes have a morphic field. Yeah, right. Yes.
Rick Archer: Rhinoceros versus heaven. Yes, seal. There’s, yes, there’s all these fields. And, you know, there’s a kind of an ambient collective consciousness in the world at large the morphic field of the world. And if there is some kind of spiritual awakening taking place in the world, as many people feel they are there is, then what that means is that the morphic field of the world is somehow rising or being purified
Damien Echols: it That’s absolutely right. And one thing that I also like to point out to people like whenever I’m doing classes and such is I’ve occasionally heard people say that, you know, if you move off to Tibet and choose to spend your life living in a cave and just meditating or what they call contemplating your navel, that it’s sort of a selfish lifestyle that you’re not helping anyone but yourself. That is not true at all. You know, we know now, um, you know, a lot of work What I teach in ceremonial magic is a combination of not only spiritual traditions, but I like to bring as much science into it as possible to explain why and how this stuff works. So when you’re talking about like, now we know due to quantum mechanics, when you’re talking about quantum entanglement, you know that they did this experiment where they took a photon and split it in half. And they’ve got three labs, one in the middle one, seven miles this way, one seven miles this way, they split a photon in half, you didn’t have to complete photons, they sent one seven miles to a lab this way and one seven miles to a lab this way, they found that if they interacted, if they did something to the photon over here, the photon that’s 14 miles away, still interact, it still behaved as if they were doing the same thing to it, we know that you can affect things at a distance if they were connected at one point. Well, the reason that’s important is because, you know, we think of this out here as being solid, you know, we think of our bodies, the buildings, we live in the cars we ride, we think of this as all solid structures, it’s not at all, we know now that almost everything is comprised of empty space. You know, even when you’re talking, when you get down to the level of atoms, you get protons, neutrons and electrons, yes, but the vast majority of an atom is still empty space. So they say, if you took all of the empty space out of the entire universe, until you had only the actual dense physical matter of it, that everything in the entire universe could be compressed to the size of a green pea. As a matter of fact, they say that at the moment of the Big Bang, that’s what everything was, it was about the size of a green pea, and it expands out everywhere. Everything in existence, therefore experiences quantum entanglement phenomena. You We also experience reality is made up of fractals, meaning that if you affect one aspect of reality, it is mirrored in all other it’s reflected in all other aspects of reality. That means even if you do nothing but move to Tibet, sit in a cave, and practice meditation for the next 10 years. By doing that, you are still profoundly changing all of reality, you are lifting all Consciousness in the Universe just by working on yourself.
Rick Archer: I participated in experiments about that, on that principle, I spent three months in Iran left a couple of days before the Shah did attempting to alter the collective consciousness of the nation by meditating in a group there, and stuff like that they’re a bunch of experiments done wonders thing thing about your quantum entanglement point is that it is the particles react to one another, instantly, yes, faster than the speed of light so that they could be separated by the width of the galaxy, and they would still react instantly. So that implies that there’s something more fundamental than the speed of light or the by the then the electromagnetic field through which light is propagated. So that that, absolutely, yes, yeah. I don’t know what the significance of that is. But it could be significant in that if we can somehow tickle that something that is more fundamental, if that’s our essential nature, ultimately, then by operating from there, we can influence everything that is more manifest than that, what exactly
Damien Echols: it means. Exactly. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. Whenever we’re practicing ceremonial magic, we are focusing intent, energy, you know, we know now that we are interacting with you know, you’re talking about there must be something there, if if there’s no time lapse between, you know, the this behavior, then we know that there is some medium that something is being transferred through, and if you want to call it just, you know, the the divine matrix, or you know, the quantum field, whatever it is, we now know that we are interacting with it at all times, we’re interacting with it, because we have electromagnetic fields that are generated by both our hearts and our brains, the one generated by the brain is not nearly as powerful as the one generated by the heart. This is why in, in, in ancient Egypt, whenever they were going through the modification process, they paid so much attention to preserving the heart while they just chunk the brain, considering if we can bring those two things into alignment, you know, we, you know, do two things now, like say the secret or the law of attraction, things of this nature, people are really getting individualization, which is really good. But if you look at things like say, The Gospel of Thomas, where Christ is talking about how to manifest things, he says, don’t just visualize it. He says, whenever you ask something in prayer, try to feel as if you have already gained and what you’re doing whenever you do that is you are bringing the magnetic fields generated by your brain and your heart into alignment so that there putting out the signal that enhances the message you’re sending out into this quantum field.
Rick Archer: Because I guess if you’re saying, I want it, I want it you’re implying I don’t have it. I don’t have it. So you’re kind of exactly. You’re reinforcing that. Exactly. Alright, so you and I are obviously segwaying into stuff we love talking about, but I want to drag you back to your prison cell just a little bit more course. Mosquitoes I heard you mentioned mosquitoes were the were they bad in there?
Damien Echols: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s, you know, prisons in Arkansas are way out in the middle of nowhere, they put them out on the windows or anything. Oh, no, you know, they’re, well, they don’t even have windows, but they’ll have doors like, you know, the guards coming in or out or whatever mosquitoes get in and say if you have empty cells in there, were no one’s flushing the toilets, the mosquitoes will lay eggs in the toilets. Exactly. And the next thing, you know, the whole place, you know, you can’t even sleep at night, because they’re they’re biting your eyelids or biting your lips. You know, it’s it’s the little things like that, that you don’t think of when you think of what’s hellish about being in prison, you know, most people little mosquitoes can be no, they’re not. But you know, when you tell someone, you know, you you’re going to prison, the first thing they think about is, you know, I’m not going to have contact with my family, I may be abused by sadistic prison guards, I’m going to lose all of my ability to choose how I want to live my life, those things like really huge things, they don’t think about all the tiny little things like you are about to suffer malnutrition, you are about to not be able to sleep for days at a time, because you’re going to be eaten alive by mosquitoes. You know, there are tons of little things like that, that all come together to destroy you physically, psychologically, emotionally, when you’re in there, you know, it’s one of those things even now, you know, when we keep going back and talking about prison, it’s like, we keep finding our way off on the other side and having, for me, as hard as this is to describe to people that’s how it was for me even when I was in prison. You know, in magic, we have a concept called wheel. And it’s it’s similar to dharma, in Buddhism, it’s sort of what you’re here to do your path right towards what you know, when we think of spiritual practices, we usually think of, you know, doing something that is in some way going to make us one with divinity or, or become one with God, things of that nature. If that was the only reason we are here, we would have never been born in the first place. Because you’re that before you’re born, I heard
Rick Archer: you say that a number of times, I just want to take issue with that and see what you say. And that because some would say that if you’re really one with God, you’re not going to be born you’ve already been liberated. And and one might ask, well was Hitler one with God would free before he was born and then in some kind of divine pure condition and then he incarnated? Some would say that, you know, you have a load of karma, and, you know, impurities and so on, even before you reincarnate again, and you’re born to work those things out?
Damien Echols: Well, a lot of that sort of stuff is when you’re trying to describe it in ink, or in any sort of language. That’s where the failure is going to be. Even right now, if you don’t realize it, you are still one with God. Sure, ultimately, you just can’t realize it, because you are viewing your life through the lens of ego. The when we think of ego we think of, you know, for example, people being full of themselves or what have you. That is not what we’re talking about when we’re talking about ego. Ego is anything that prevents you from experiencing yourself as infinite consciousness, but definitely karma. Karma ultimately, is the way I view it is the I’m trying to think of a word other than thickness, depth. It’s like the but that those are good words, I guess. It’s like the thickness or the depth of your ego. Some people when we’re talking about eliminating karma, working out karma, what we’re talking about is gradually thinning out ego, making the barrier between you experiencing yourself as infinite consciousness thinner and thinner and thinner over time until it eventually it just isn’t there anymore. So I forgot what we were talking about.
Rick Archer: You said a good thing. And actually, there’s an interesting, saying and Vedanta, you know, Vedanta is right, the sort of philosophy of oneness in Vedic tradition. There’s a phrase called Leisha Vidya and what it means is faint remains of ignorance. And they say that, you know, ordinarily people have a shitload of ignorance and it’s very obscuring and blinding and, and, and so on. But when you become enlightened, you’ve you’ve really thinned all that out to use your word to the point where it’s pretty much gone. But there’s just a faint remains which makes it possible to still function as a human being.
Damien Echols: Exactly. I always tell people your job is not to kill ego. You know, we always think you hear people talk about that all the time, like I want to destroy ego, or I want to kill ego, ego functions like hair or fingernails, or whatever, you don’t want to guess. It’s a biomechanical function that arises within you. You don’t want to destroy it, you just want to not be attached to it so that it can rise and dissipate and rise and dissipate, the moment you’re attached to it. That’s when it starts to accumulate and sort of firm form this film that you have to work on getting rid of again, I honestly think magic is one of the fastest ways to burn through that ego experience that layer in what in the Eastern traditions, what they call a, you know, the process of enlightenment in magic, we call it crossing the abyss. And the reason it’s called that is because there you know, you have the state of consciousness, which whatever you want to call it, your higher self, or what have you, the part of you that does experience itself as infinite consciousness, one with divinity, all of that, and then you have ego centered consciousness. There is a vast, vast leap to be made from one state to the other, that we say in magic, we can’t do it on our own, we have to have the assistance of divinity in some way, shape, or form. For some reason, working with magic for me, allowed me to get the results that would take me years in Zen Buddhism, I was able to achieve in months of ceremonial magic, you know, I could for example, you know, like you said earlier, when I was in prison, I had a Zen master that would come back and forth from Japan, to the prison. That was how I was eventually received ordination and Japanese Buddhism
Rick Archer: and this must have been when you weren’t in solitary, because he wouldn’t have been a rice em otherwise. Exactly. Why would they just keep telling that story? But also in the process? Tell us why were you in solitude? Because you again, we were misbehaving and they didn’t like your whatever? Why weren’t you in with the general population on death row?
Damien Echols: They never the guys on death row are all in solitary confinement. At in the beginning, we weren’t because we were at a really old prison, they built a brand new prison with all of the solitary confinement sale, they had to use it for something. Exactly. So they moved us all in there and use it like a storage facility. They used to brag, you know, they would bring politicians in to take tours of death row, and they would brag to them. Yeah, the guys on death row are actually the most well behaved guys in the entire prison system. But they never explained then why do you have them in a solitary confinement sales instead of the people that you’re saying, are our worst behaved?
Rick Archer: Okay, so I’m sorry, I interrupted you, you’re going to worry about Zen and Zen master coming.
Damien Echols: You know, during the time that I was practicing Zen in Rinzai, Zen, there are two main forms of training. One is sitting zozen meditation. The other is Cohen’s, you know, what’s the sound of one hand clapping? Things of that nature? I practices in four hours a day, for probably three years. And at the end of that three years, I was still questioning. Am I really getting any results here? Am I really experiencing any difference? You know, is it so subtle that I just can’t see it? You know, is it maybe going on and I’m just not aware of something is going on? When I decided, Okay, I’m gonna stop saying altogether, I’m going to focus my attention, my time my energy 100% on ceremonial magic. And by the time I walked out, I was up to doing it eight hours a day. I can remember one day, probably between two and three months into that process. I’m sitting on the edge of my bunk, and I leaned over to put my shoes on, and it was like an atomic bomb went off in my head, I realized, Oh, my God, for the first time in my entire existence. I am experiencing the present moment. You know, of course, the second you realize that its shadow, sensual thinking. But I had, within three months ceremonial magic had allowed me to experience what I had been struggling and straining and trying so hard to experience with Rinzai Zen and had not been able to attain,
Rick Archer: that’s great. So how did you even know magic existed? Do you know about it before you went into present? Or do you somehow discover it when you’re in prison?
Damien Echols: I knew about it from the time and this is one of those things going back to what we were talking about while ago about Will there were times when I was in prison when I did not even think of that prison for weeks at a time. You know, I was so focused my will has always been magic. To do magic to practice magic. I knew this from the time I was a child, you know, when I was probably seven years old, maybe, you know, like I said, there are no college degrees in my family, the only, like real literature you found in our house. My grandmother used to read these horrendous tabloids, you know, not the ones about, you know, celebrity divorces, and all this kind of stuff. I mean, the ones that have covers about like, half alligator half man found along the banks of the Mississippi, or, you know, Werewolf Boy attacks, police, you know, stuff like this. And, and she would someday
Rick Archer: be entertained when you’re in the supermarket checkout line. Yes,
Damien Echols: exactly, exactly. But she didn’t look at it like that, you know, to her, this was like, serious business. You know, she didn’t just read them and throw them away, she kept them, like a person who would keep a volume of encyclopedias. You know, to her, it sounds crazy to say it, and it’s kind of joking, but it’s kind of not at the same time, you know, she was in this mindset of you never know, when you’re gonna have to take up arms and defend the trailer park against an alien invasion. I can remember looking in the back of one of these tabloids and seeing an ad that said something, you know, it was something along the lines of, you know, want to learn magic, send 595 off to this address, and we’ll send you this book, and that’ll explain the secrets of the universe. Of course, at that age, I didn’t know what magic was, you know, to me, it could have been Harry Potter, it could have been I Dream of Jeannie or be wished or it could have been anything. I
Rick Archer: mean, most people think card tricks. They think Doug Henning, they you know, different. David Copperfield. That’s not That’s magic for most people.
Damien Echols: I didn’t think that. But I didn’t. I knew it was something else. But I didn’t know what it was. But I did know that the moment I saw that, it was like, for the first time in my life, I was really alive. At seven years old, I felt something like fire off inside me. And I knew this is what matters. This. If you can do this, then why does? Why would you pay attention to anything else? That’s really cool. It’s like you came into
Rick Archer: this life with this purpose or danger, you and that was the first hint of it.
Damien Echols: Exactly. You know, I was doing an interview one time with Duncan Trussell. And he asked me, he said, he said, I don’t mean any disrespect. But do you think maybe it was good karma that wound up with you being on death throw and without hesitation, I said, Absolutely 100%. Because if it wasn’t for everything I endured in there, and everything I experienced in there, I would not have progressed nearly as fast or nearly as far in my spiritual practice, as I did, you know, just one example, going back to a while ago, when we’re talking about being abused by guards. You know, when I first got there, they just decided they’re going to welcome me to the neighborhood. You know, they do this to people all the time. So they take me to the part of the prison, they call the hole where you’re in complete, you know, nobody can see what’s done to you. Nobody hears from you ever again. Back in the hole, they beat the living hell out of me for 18 straight days, you know, they would come in at midnight, or one o’clock in the morning, chain me to the bars of the sale, and sometimes multiple guards take turns beating, they beat me so badly. That at one point I started to piss blood, I thought I was going to die
Rick Archer: must have hurt your kidneys or something to do that. Maybe guess where they hit New with their fists or with clubs or what?
Damien Echols: Both? They didn’t hit you with clubs that much? Because they know. Exactly. Yeah, most of the time. It’s either punching or you know, kicking things like that. But, you know, if I would have been out here, and I would have experienced something like that, I would have went to a doctor. Yeah, you know, I went to a dentist, I did not have that luxury in there. That was what pushed me so hard to, you know, really, for the first two to three years of the most intense part of my magical practice. The thing that I was focusing on the most was healing techniques, healing rituals, and I was combining, you know, like we were talking about earlier, I was combining Qigong and ceremonial magic to try to cope with not just heal myself, but cope with the pain that I was experiencing. What you must
Rick Archer: have learned before you went in or you wouldn’t have known anything about it, you must have gotten some education in it.
Damien Echols: So skipping ahead from you know, when I was a child out and discovered that magic even existed, when I got to my teenage years, you had an explosion of what we now kind of jokingly referred to as twitches in the Magic community teenage witches. And you started seeing all this you know, books and literature appear in places like Barnes and Noble and Borders, you know, things that we now consider classics and like Neo paganism and witchcraft, things like Buckland’s Complete Book of which craft, or books by silver Raven Wolf. They’re like, ceremonial, ceremonial magic light, you know, like, exactly, exactly, but it still kind of didn’t scratch the itch that I was looking for, you know, most of it tended to focus on more of a religious aspect of things, you know, like the more worshipful aspect. And, you know, even though there was a little, you know, stuff in there about balance, you know, like, invoking both masculine and feminine aspects of divinity to maintain a balance, things of that nature, it still seemed like most of it was focused on either worship or manifesting, you know, and not that there’s anything wrong with, you know, manifesting the life you want to live, but it’s still a very, you know, it’s eventually going to start to feel shallow to you, yeah, whenever you realize, okay, I can manifest a better job, or I can lose weight, or whatever it is. But, you know, what does that really get me I’m still basically the same person. It was, but it was one thing leading to another, you know, sort of I exhausted, the Neo paganism, the witchcraft stuff. And then I realized this still, isn’t it. And that was what led me to hardcore ceremonial magic.
Rick Archer: So you must have practiced that somewhat assiduously somewhat diligently before this whole criminal thing came up with this whole murder trial and all, otherwise, you wouldn’t have learned enough to remember how to do it once you’re in prison, right?
Damien Echols: I think it was, it was like, I kind of approach things like that, then as most people out here, approach spirituality now, like, rely on it, when you need something, rely on it, when you’re in a hard situation when you’re experiencing difficulties. And then the second you’re out of difficulties, you’re like, okay, everything’s fine, and just go back to normal life. You know, I didn’t look at it as as a discipline that leads to growth and development and expansion of consciousness. I thought of it as like, a religion. It wasn’t until I got into prison, that essentially what I did was turned myself into a monastery and dedicated every waking moment to magic,
Rick Archer: which, of course, is something that monks have done voluntarily for a long, long time. But you know, you were there, and you made the best of a bad situation.
Damien Echols: Exactly. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I mean, do you think it’s hard to say, what would have happened if, if this or if that, but do you think that if you hadn’t gone to prison, that you would have just sort of lived a sort of a mediocre life in some way just sort of gotten distracted by all kinds of things? And never really probably? So you’re probably a lot better shape than you are today? Oh, now you would have been?
Damien Echols: Yeah, I you know, as hard as it was, you know, like I’m saying, it’s not, you’re not having a good time when when you’re being beat half to death, or, you know, when you’re starving or, you know, whenever family members die, and you can’t even go to their funeral. You know, it’s not fun. But at the same time, if I had to go through it all again, to get to where I am now, it’s not even a question for me, I would do
Rick Archer: it. That’s, that’s a powerful statement. Yeah. And okay, so we’ve referred to a magic dozens of times in the course of the last hour or so. But let’s have a really sort of a precise definition of it. Now, we’ve been alluding to it, I don’t think we’ve actually really defined it. And then after that, we should get into like, what, what were you doing for eight hours? If you were practicing ceremonial magic? What exactly were you practicing?
Damien Echols: Magic is one of those things that people have been trying to define since the beginning of time. You know, since since the dawn of human civilization, the actual techniques, practices, philosophies, and everything else associated with ceremonial magic go all the way back to Mesopotamia to ancient Sumur. Whatever they may have called it, they probably didn’t go exactly, exactly, they would have just called it their religion, you know, their, their techniques, whatever. You’ve had people try to define it as causing change in conformity with Will, which means basically willing change, whatever that change may be, whether that changes going through the process that in Eastern traditions they call enlightenment, or whether it’s, you know, manifesting something like losing weight or a new job or a relationship or whatever it is. For me, the way I define magic as a spiritual practice, not as a manifestation aspect, but as a spiritual practice, magic is the reintegration of polarities. We spend our entire lives pursuing one thing after another getting obsessed over one thing after another distracted by one thing after another thinking you know something is going To fulfill us in some way, this is at the, the root of karma. You know, karma results from desire. Desire is us being pulled in one way or another, either we’re wanting to move towards something or move away from something we do not cannot maintain balance, where you are completely and absolutely centered. The second you are completely an absolutely centered, which is what reintegrating polarities are, is, you are no longer moved by desire, therefore, you no longer go through the Incarnation process. Magic is very, very similar when you’re talking about the spiritual aspects of it. I mean, there are different you know, one thing I like to compare it to is like the practices that stem from the red Terra in Buddhism, you know, if you’ve ever really looked at these, you know that there are things associated with the practice of, you know, devotion to the red, Terra, that they say not only do you reach awakening, but there are benefits that come along with it, for example, people just like you better, people automatically want to do things to please you in some sort of way. That’s not the reason you do the Red Terror practices. But it’s like a side effect of the Red Terror. manifesting things is the same way in ceremonial magic. It’s not the reason for it, it’s just like a side effect of what you’re doing whenever you’re doing these practices is trying to do something very, very similar to zoek chin in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. You know, people think that zoek chin is part of Buddhism, but in actuality, it predates Buddhism by several 1000 years, it was part of, you know, the original bond tradition before Buddhism came in and mixed with it. highly secretive, just like magic. What you are doing when you’re doing magic, think of for example, if you have a glass of water, you leave a glass of water sitting long enough, it’s going to start to stagnate, you’re going to get a film over it, there’s going to be crud in it. Now, if you turn the faucet on in your sink, without cleaning the glass out, and just hold the water up under the faucet and let it overflow and overflow and overflow. Eventually, you’re going to be left with a clean glass of water again, this is what we’re doing when we’re doing magic. We are invoking elemental, planetary zoo dial forces into ourselves over and over and over fleshing out an energy that there’s a name for every single tradition in the world, except ours. You know, Chinese call it chi, Japanese call it key, he was called RUOK. And he has call it prana. We’re the only ones who don’t really have a name for it. Let’s call it energy, you’re bringing in balanced new energy or water to use the glass analogy, flushing the old stagnant energy out, you do that long enough. And it eventually saturates down into the deepest levels of your energetic and psychological anatomy and begins to break up and flush out what we think of as ego. When that starts to happen, you will experience the complete disintegration of self, everything you think you were. It can be it you know, when we think of things like this, like going through this process, what people think of as enlightenment, we think of it as being, you know, let’s everybody hold hands and be friends and singing Kumbaya and all this. It’s not, when you’re going through it at a really rapid rate. It can be absolutely horrifying, which is kind of what it’s like in ceremonial magic, you are experiencing yourself disintegrate. As if someone has thrown a handful of dust into the wind. You think you are going to die? You know, how can I cease to exist? How can I disintegrate like this and continue to live? What happens eventually as you realize, well, if I’m disintegrating, then who is it that’s witnessing this disintegration process? Whenever you reach that point, something happens you realize, okay, everything is okay. Something here is ending something here is dying. Something here is running out. But everything’s still fine. Everything’s okay. You know in religion, they say that if you can’t find heaven while you’re alive, you are not going to find it after you die. You have to die while you are still living in order to not undergo this process after the death of the physical body which is even worse,
Rick Archer: which is what I think that Christ meant by being born again.
Damien Echols: Exactly. That is exactly what he was talking about the old you dies and the new you the form you are going to take is reborn you are completely restricted. fractured. What happens at that point is you start to look at your life and realize all of the patterns you’ve been creating, that were creating, generating negative karma that were holding you back in some sort of way. And you will automatically without even realizing it start to reconfigure your entire life and psyche in a way that is more beneficial to your growth, development, expansion of consciousness, things of that nature, the ultimate goal, like in zoeken, the ultimate goal of all of this really is spiritual immortality to die while you are still alive, so that you don’t have to die with the physical body.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so, pick up a few of the points you made and have you embellish them. So, there was the thing about polarities and balancing polarities, I know that the Buddha talked about the Middle Way and in the Gita talks about you know, for balance of mind is called Yoga, you know, just sort of in fact, even Samadhi, the word samadhi means a sort of a balanced or steady state of mind or steady intellect. So, we know we think of polarities, as, let’s say, the polarities of a magnet or of a battery or polarities, like hot and cold, fast and slow, big and small, you know, near and far. What polarities are we balancing with magic?
Damien Echols: Well, you know, think for example of just one would be the difference between generosity, abundance, being a good beneficial person to your fellow man. But at the same time, we require severity as well, severity entails things like discipline, imposing boundaries on ourselves, other people, things of that nature, if you go to one extreme or the other, if you go towards the, the generosity, the beneficial aspect, polarity, then you are, you know, it’s like giving your children everything they want, to the point where they no longer have the discipline that they’re going to need to succeed in life. Whereas you go to the other end of the polarity the other extreme to the severity, extreme until you are all discipline, all patriarchal, all, you know, no fun, everything regimented, then once again, that’s not any good, you know, you’re gonna end up screwed up from that into so you have to find the middle ground. You know, it’s just like the Buddha was talking about the Middle Way. In magic, one of the practice, the techniques that we practice is called the middle pillar. When you’re looking at the tree of life, if you’re familiar with the Kabbalah, on on one side, you have, you know, the pillar of severity. And on the other side, you have the pillar of forget what it’s called, What is it benevolence, whatever it is, the point of doing the middle pillar is you are, you are firing up the energy centers that run through your body that correspond to the energy centers that run right through the center of the tree of life, so that you are balanced between both of these polarities, not going to one side or the other, able to use both of them, too. And once again, this uses alchemy metaphors, you know, you’re taking two things and combining them together to form a third. That’s what we’re doing with the middle middle pillar, the middle way, whatever you want to call it,
Rick Archer: okay? When you use the glass analogy, the glass of water and algae running it under the sink, to purify it as an example of imbibing positive energy or from somewhere. So yes, we elaborate a bit on what that energy actually is and where it’s coming from.
Damien Echols: Okay, whenever you go through the process of what we call crossing the Abyss sort of the awakening experience when you experience the disintegration of of self. The next stage that comes from that is you are you proclaim Your law, your word, you are given a word that encompasses the totality of your experiences, and your teaching, that you can then hand to someone else to help them sort of accomplish the same thing that you’ve done in the past. For me, whenever I had this experience, the word that I was given was lil li l. It is an ancient Sumerian word that means heaven. It’s my grandmother’s name. Really?
Rick Archer: Lillian, you know, every color like
Damien Echols: that? Yes, it’s a it’s a Sumerian word. That means heaven or the heavens. What I discovered through the process of in doing all of these rituals, all of these techniques when you’re working for me, angels was the thing that really set me on fire. The first major experience I had with detecting anything outside of our ordinary realm of reality or consciousness was for the first Time perceiving the into an intelligence that we refer to as an archangel, eventually, it I always say our Archangels are like a magician’s best friend, because they are close enough to our level of consciousness that we can gain access to them relatively easy, but far enough away so that whenever we do brush against one, it causes this tremendous explosion in you of knowing, not just believing, but knowing to the core of your being suddenly and all at once, that there is far more to reality than I have ever believed before ever experienced before. So for me, when I did experience that, when I perceived one of these intelligences for the first time, never again, did I have to go through this thing of wondering, is this really working? Is this really doing something for me? It was like from then on, I knew, and it made me redouble my efforts. Well, what these things are these intelligences, they are sort of the embodiment of particular kinds of energy. I don’t know why it took me so long to put all of this together, I guess it’s just, you know, there’s a difference in approaching something intellectually versus experiential, you know it or experiencing something. What I started to realize is that all of these different archangels, when I was working with the ones that were about elemental energies, you know, earth, air, fire and water, I had such profound results that I launched into researching everything I could possibly find on the subject of Archangels. And finding more and more and more of them, because I thought if working with these four, or these six provide this much result, then how much more results could I experience? If I start bringing in more? Yeah, so I start finding out that there are Archangels that represent planets, you know, all of the seven original planets of antiquity, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, such those, I start working with those. Again, I experienced such dramatic, amazing results, not just results, but a Tiffany’s realizations, growth of consciousness, that then I started looking into the dial angels, you know, there are Archangels that correspond to every single sign of the zodiac, there are 12 of those. So I started invoking all 12 Of those, then I’m working with, you know, the four elemental angels, I’m working with the seven planetary angels, I’m working with the 12, the dicho angels, then I start doing research and find that not only are there angels of the Zodiac, there are angels of the degrees of the zodiac. So then you start invoking those, and you know, you’re gradually working your way up through this work, it’s taking you more and more time to do it, you know, hours and hours at a time. But at the same time, it became what I was passionate about, you know, the the, it became the reason for my life. Well, what I realized was that there’s some things that I’m still a little hesitant to talk about, number one, because they’re deeply, deeply personal, in a, like, a really spiritual way. And also because I understand that they could sound kind of crazy sometimes,
Rick Archer: well, let me just say, I wouldn’t pressure you to say anything that’s too deeply personal. But don’t worry about saying anything crazy, it’s fine, then we can try to explain it if we think it’s gonna sound too crazy. We’ll try to like, you know, give a little bit of explanation to the audience.
Damien Echols: Okay, so what I experienced then whenever I worked up to being able to invoke all of these the dicho angels astrological angels at one time, that’s when I experienced that disintegration of self. It was horrifying, you know, I literally thought I was going to die. That’s how frightening going through that experience is. It had been happening for about a week consistently, a week straight when I’m trying to adjust and trying to go on with normal daily life while experiencing the disintegration of ego at the same time. normal daily
Rick Archer: life in a prison cell. Yeah, go on. Yeah.
Damien Echols: At one point, it was like being caught in a hurricane, like an emotional, psychological, spiritual hurricane. And then it stopped. It just stopped. And I saw when I say saw, I don’t mean with my physical eyes because that’s not what we’re perceiving with when we’re doing spiritual work. We are perceiving with the energetic the the part of our energetic anatomy that is like the counterpart of our eyes. That’s what we’re perceiving with. I perceived the nighttime sky. I saw just this huge nighttime sky of stars
Rick Archer: when you’re with your inner vision because you weren’t Yes, you didn’t have a way window.
Damien Echols: Exactly, yeah. And it’s as plain as day across this nighttime sky. I saw a word spelled out. Now and this was actually after I was out, oh, the word was in Lille II in L. I, O. And it looked almost like the wind moving across the nighttime sky is the only way that I can articulate it. I had never heard that word before. I had no idea what it was. Took me about three days before it even occurred to me. Well, why don’t you Google? It? Turns out when I did, it’s an ancient Sumerian deity and aspect of godhood. that represented the entire northern celestial hemisphere of stars, every constellation, every star, every is a dynamical power, everything in the northern celestial hemisphere, when you invoke the name of this particular deity, you are invoking all of them simultaneously. This set me off on this path of finding, you know, more and more information, more and more techniques, eventually, what I found,
Rick Archer: this is the process. So at this stage that you’re describing, have you been released from prison and you’re still doing stuff? Okay. Because I know that even when you’re in prison, you got on some kind of Amazon wishlist benefactors? Yes. But you’re on there. And you started getting a whole lot of books and studying exactly learning. Yes. But okay, so now you’re talking about post prison, we’re going to have some other questions and discussions about post prison. And I don’t want to interrupt your train of thoughts and finish what you’re saying. But then I have a couple of questions that spring from the things you were just saying.
Damien Echols: So I think what I was given the message for me, my own personal journey, was that I had been invoking all of these angels of astrological forces for so long, that for some reason, it caused my consciousness to brush up against some other consciousness that allowed me to see techniques that would work even better for me personally, what these were was, you know, we think of the Trinity when we think of the Trinity we think of Christianity, you know, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, in actuality, there has been always a trinity in every single culture throughout the world, going all the way back to ancient Sumur. In ancient Sumur, the Holy Trinity was in Lille, on New, an inky what they represented, yes, there are all these stories where they approach them as gods, you know, telling stories about these gods, but what you are doing when you invoke these three aspects of divinity is you are invoking the northern celestial hemisphere, the southern celestial hemisphere, and the equatorial hemisphere celestial hemisphere simultaneously. So I could accomplish the same amount of work in half an hour using these deities that would have taken me hours to accomplish using just the Archangels.
Rick Archer: Okay, so I think we need to backtrack a little bit and just address the whole concept of archangels, and angels and deities and all that. I don’t have a problem with it. But I encountered plenty of people think it’s just a lot of imagination. Oh, I
Damien Echols: would have to at one point, yeah.
Rick Archer: And I think, let me try to explain what I understand it to be and then you kind of play off of that. But as I understand it, there are, you know, there’s the gross world that we customarily see. But there are all sorts of subtler realms, and levels that are beyond the realm of our perception, just as radio waves are beyond the realm of our perception are so many other things. And but big just because we can’t perceive them doesn’t mean they’re not there. And it’s sort of arrogant to think that they that that would be so. And every pretty much every tradition in the world has accounts of these things. And there’s artwork of them and all that stuff, which again, is easily dismissed as mythology and just sort of fanciful thinking. But, you know, if you hang out in this world, that we’re that you and I are hanging out in long enough, you begin to meet people that routinely experience the subtler realms, or perhaps you have those experiences yourself. So it’s just kind of like a vertical dimension of creation, if you want to think of it that way. That is not commonly understood. Although there’s no reason why we couldn’t eventually have a world or society in which that stuff is as commonly understood, stood and experienced as trees and no one would question whether or not it exists. Anyway, that’s
Damien Echols: what we’re moving toward. Yeah, I honestly think that’s what humanity is supposed to be. be evolving towards, you know, we’re doing it at a really slow rate. But I think for every individual who does experience, you know, the phenomenon of awakening disintegration of self, whatever you want to call it. For some reason, you know, we were talking earlier about how not only do we have like an ego, but you also have an ego for different countries have a collective ego, or different races have a collective ego, or you know, the CC difference Exactly. Well, with every single person that experiences awakening, they thin the collective ego of everyone and everything out a tiny bit more so that we make the process a little easier for the next person who goes through it.
Rick Archer: Great point. And perhaps the reason it’s relatively easy today, and so many people are having awakenings on I’m able to have this show is that there were so many before like the Buddha and everybody else who in his time, it might have been like a very thick wall, he had to get through it now. It’s a rather thin membrane, and it’s easier. Yes, sir. Yes, yeah.
Damien Echols: And I actually think these these forces, these energies that we’re talking about have existed, you know, since there was such a thing as time you know, we think of angels for example, as like being a primarily Christian or even Christian and Judaic or Christian, Judaic and Islamic like, you know, Abraham Abrahamic religion phenomena, and they’re not, they exist in every single tradition in the world, all the way back to ancient Sumur. You know, we have depictions, now, they were called Lamassu, in ancient Sumur of these figures that look like they are made up of four different animals, you know, they have a bowl, a Lion, Eagle, and a man. And some of them will have like the body of the ball and the feet of a lion. And they’ll have wings on them in the head of a man, sort of like the Sphinx, those four animals eventually, I mean, you’re talking about, arguably, what some people say, could go back as far as 10,500 BC, that we have known about these things
Rick Archer: that we have known about. But you know, it’s if the history of the world is as ancient as some people think it is, perhaps millions of years of intelligent races and so on. That it just and I mean, geez, I mean, they think that there might be some 40 trillion earth like planets in our universe. Yes, something like that. And undoubtedly, people having conversations and experiences like this on many of those. Yes, thing.
Damien Echols: Yes. And even when you’re talking about those four animals that comprise that the Lamassu is comprised of these four animals eventually became the symbols for the books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Bible. So these things go throughout all cultures, all traditions, all time periods, maybe all worlds, you know, they, they are not, you know, you have a lot of people who come to magic, because they are sort of fed up with Christianity. You know, they’re like, I’ve had that stuff shoved down my throat since I was a child, I don’t want anything to do with it anymore. I’m here to practice magic, and they don’t even know what that is. And then you tell them, Okay, we’ll start with these angels. And like, Oh, that’s not what I you know, that’s not what I came here for. And I was kind of one of those people. You know, the way I was looking at it as the people who were calling themselves Christians when I was on death row, these are the people that I viewed as the group that was trying to murder me, right. The last thing in the world I wanted was to work with anything that was, you know, connected to them or that group or anything in any way. Yeah. What changed that for me was when I saw how incredibly powerful and effective these tech techniques were, from that point on, I didn’t care who else was talking about it, it for me, it became all about the personal journey.
Rick Archer: You know, another question that popped into my mind, and I have like, half a dozen in my mind that lined up waiting. But um, did you ever consider you not only that being in prison was a blessing for you. But even the bad parts of it getting beat up and all that stuff was sort of a huge working off of karma that you needed to work off in order to reap the rewards of what you’re doing? Sort of a trial by fire kind of thing?
Damien Echols: Yes, yes, absolutely. I think it was, you know, here’s this, we think of things like good karma and bad karma. And technically, there’s no such thing there is only karma. You know, karma is anything that prevents us from experiencing ourselves as divinity. So you reach a point when you get to a certain stage of understanding where it becomes almost impossible to create these distinctions anymore of good karma and bad karma. You know, because you’re looking at is like, Okay, I’m having to live in hell beat out of me by this prison guard right now. So on one way I could say this is really bad karma. but in another way, this is going to lead to the very activity that will trigger an awakening experience for me. So this is really you know, this guy’s boot in my guts right now is really good karma. And I just can’t see
Rick Archer: it. Yeah, you probably weren’t thinking that. Well, while the later on you thought that. Exactly. Yeah. You know we’re talking about morphic fields and and how a prison has a very dense low frequency morphic field. Do you feel like that morphic field was, had a dampening effect on your efforts to, you know, rise up spiritually, or? This is actually a question from Brad Peterson and Mountain View? California? I’ll just read it the way he wrote it, how could you counteract the lower levels of frequency from the inmates and influence change through higher frequencies?
Damien Echols: You know what that is actually another one of the things that led to me doing magic almost obsessively, because you know, like I said, You’re in this horrendous morphic field that you are going to be absorbing, you are going to be eating, you’re going to be consuming. That is horrifying. You know, when you think of, like, everything, that all these people around you, not only what they’ve done, but what they’re experiencing internally, now you’re talking about, you know, a kind of energy that is so far beyond nightmarish that there’s no way to articulate it. I didn’t want that soaking into me. So one of the main techniques of magic when you would first the, the form of magic that I practice, is connected to a tradition called the hermetic order, the Golden Dawn, when you would first go to the Golden Dawn in London, which is where they started and say, I want to learn magic, they would say, okay, take this, and they would give you one ritual that was called the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram, they would give you this one ritual and say, go do this for a year, and then come back and talk to us again. Well, most people weren’t going to come back in a year, the ones who did, they would say, Okay, how are you different now than you were a year ago? What did you experience in that time, that’s how they knew if you had actually done it or not, because going back to what we were saying while ago about how these things work, if you believe in them or not, if you had actually been doing these things, you would be able to describe to them how your consciousness had changed in the year that you had been doing it? Well, this technique, the lesser banishing ritual, the pentagram, what it does, not only does it purify you, you know, it sort of starts to, to use out chemical terms, like separate the, the different parts of your energetic anatomy, and weed out the impurities, until you’re just left with more pure aspects of yourself, it does the same thing to your environment, to environment. Yes, that, for me was the biggest draw to this technique, I would do this one technique, sometimes six times a day, what you’re essentially doing is pushing all of the energy out of the space in which you’re doing the technique. So you’re left with a sort of sterile environment, sort of like an operating room, you then start invoking angels to refill that space, you know, like that. They say, nature abhors a vacuum, if you just push that energy out, the second that those thought forms the second that that cheese starts to disintegrate and break down, then the energy you pushed out is just going to come right back in. So what you do the reason you’re invoking the angels first you push the energy out, and then you invoke those angels to refill that space with a pure form of energy, so that that spillage doesn’t start to happen and all that, you know, the crap around, you starts to come back into the space, whenever the barrier breaks down,
Rick Archer: nice. People are probably wondering, okay, well, what is this thing? How do you do it? And it’s rather complicated, I mean, in your book you go through is quite a few pages of explanation of the mechanics. So we can’t really do justice to that in the interview. And there’s also an interview you did with Tammy Simon for insights at the Edge series or that series, where you actually walk people through it. So people are going to have to either listen to that or get the book and read it if they want to try this. What percentage you’ve been how, how long have you been out now?
Damien Echols: Almost eight years, it’ll be eight years on August 19.
Rick Archer: Okay. And hey, when it’s 18 years, I have to have a big party. Yeah. 18 years old. 18 years.
Damien Echols: Yeah, exactly. I was 18 when I went in and spent 18 years in there. There you go. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. What was I going to ask you? Oh, keep let’s just keep going. Come back to me. Something about practicing it, and oh, I know what it’s gonna ask good. You’ve been out for eight years and you’ve been talking about this running around. Teaching it and writing books and so on. How many people? What percentage would you say people who’ve been exposed to your teaching have actually latched on to it and begun to do it diligently as you have?
Damien Echols: Honestly, a very small percentage, I don’t think. I think we need different spiritual traditions, I don’t think there is any religion in a tradition, any anything in the world that can say, everybody needs to be doing this. I think that’s the reason we have so many is because we all have different levels of karma. We have different energetic anatomies. When it comes to our psyche and our emotional states, different levels of maturity, things like that. Different things call to different people. Once again, it’s that morphic field, you are going to move towards whatever religion or whatever tradition has the morphic field that matches your vibrational, right? Yeah, for some reason, I don’t think a huge number of people, at least in our present day and time, have a vibratory rate that is, you know, going to draw them to magic, I honestly think most people are probably going to be drawn more towards Buddhism, or Taoism, or Christianity, or Judaism or Kabbalah, you know, whatever it is, the people who are drawn to magic, even then you’re talking about practices that require a great deal of discipline, just like meditation, you know, it’s not something where I can just say, I’m a magician, and suddenly read benefits, or it’s not like you can say, I’m a Buddhist, and you’re going to get, you know, years of meditate, you have to do this work. So I think a lot of times people have to come to a place in their lives, where they’re sick of what they’ve been getting, you know, they realize, finally, if I keep doing the same thing I’ve done my whole life, I’m gonna keep getting the same thing I’ve always got, if I want something new, I got to do something new,
Rick Archer: which is that quote about insanity? You know, doing the same thing over and over expecting a different?
Damien Echols: Exactly, exactly. I think a lot of people have to come to, you know, that between a rock and a hard place moment in life, whenever they buckle down and say, What do I have to lose here, you know, we live in a society where we are, it is not conducive to spiritual practice, we are bombarded with outside forces and energies and things that are competing for our attention. Constantly. You know, the second you walk out your door, now you hear people talk about our Trump, Trump, Trump, you know, stuff like that, is not going to do anything other than, you know, inflame and in rage, like your lower base instincts, what we call the nefesh. You have to be sick of that stuff, you have to be sick of going on Tinder and looking for random hookups, you have to be sick of thinking, you know, if I vote the right politician, and then everything’s gonna be okay, you have to be sick of thinking, you know, if I go to the right club, or listen to the right band, or buy the right clothes, or whatever, people have to exhaust all of that stuff, a lot of times before, they’re finally ready to buckle down and do this stuff. And it takes a while, I would say out of the people who have come to my house, I’m trying to think of a number. In the time I’ve been out, all of the classes I’ve done on magic, I’ve been doing these all over the US, I would say I’ve probably had 2000 People come to take these classes out of those 2000 I would say the number of people that I could tell whenever I came in contact with them on my next trip through their town, or you know, just the next time we brushed against each other the number of people that I could tell, oh, you’ve actually been doing this would be between five and 10% of that. 2000 Yeah,
Rick Archer: that’s a very honest answer. And, and a good explanation why, you know, it’s just it’s nothing is for everybody. And I don’t think you were saying that people who are attracted to magic are necessarily of a higher vibration. No, it’s just a different vibe. Right? Exactly. good fit for them.
Damien Echols: I think it’s weird, actually, to be honest, I think they’re it’s kind of a weird, quirky vibration. And I can’t I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. But it’s usually for some reason. The people that I find that are really diligent about practicing magic are people that for some reason or another, feel kind of ostracized in some way from other branches of society or from mainstream society. You know, that’s it. Here’s the thing I put myself in this category when I I say this, I’m not saying this in a judgmental way. I know you’re not you’re an outlier. I think the people who do the best with magic are the people that we would call losers, myself included.
Rick Archer: Interesting. And it was interesting what you said about people sort of reaching their wit’s end before turning to it. I think that often happens with spirituality. I mean, that’s one of the things in AI people bottoming out, you know, and then they finally are ready to seek help. It’s kind of what I did, I kind of hit bottom in my own way before learning to meditate and all there’s even a thing in the Gita where, where our Juna finally says, I can’t figure this out, you know, he just sits down in the chariot and says, you know, I take refuge in the speaking Lord Krishna, you tell me what to do, because I can’t, I can’t figure it out. So a lot of times it works. That way. You have to kind of try everything until you realize that the kind of things you’re trying aren’t gonna do it for you, then you can exactly make a more radical shift.
Damien Echols: Yep, exactly.
Rick Archer: So when you’re when the benefits you have derived from magic, or that anyone derives from magic? Would you say that, that they have something to do with your own efforts? Or is it more like you’re receiving the grace from these angels and deities, and, and so on, and you’re just kind of not supplicating. But attuning yourself to them, so as to be able to receive their benefits are there,
Damien Echols: I would, I would kind of say it’s probably a combination of the two. Because number one, you have, like we were talking about the discipline involved, you have to make the effort. But at the same time, I think the more effort you make, I think if you take a step towards divinity, Divinity will take 10 towards you. So I really do think there is an element of grace involved to it, you know, going back to what we were saying while ago about crossing the abyss, and how there’s this vast expanse between higher self consciousness and ego frame of mind consciousness, we can’t make that leap alone, that we require some sort of divine intervention for lack of another word. However, if we don’t put in the effort, if we don’t have the discipline, that divine intervention usually is not going to happen. It can, you know, you hear people who spontaneously for no reason whatsoever, experience some sort of Epiphany, some sort of awakening experience. But that is the rarity. For the most part, you have to make an effort. And it is by making that effort that something else
Rick Archer: comes to meet you halfway. God helps those who help themselves as the saying, yes,
Damien Echols: Cindy, that’s
Rick Archer: it. And a question came in from Eric, in Stockholm, Sweden. He asked what he asked what it’s like on death row, you already covered that. But then he said, Do you suffer from PTSD? or similar? And how do you deal with it? Or we could say, Did you suffer when you first came out? Or do you still,
Damien Echols: I, when I first came out, I suffered incredibly, you know, keep when I walked out of prison, I was doing magic eight hours a day, the day after I walked out, I could not even do it for eight minutes, something in me shattered, you know, we didn’t realize the extent of the psychological trauma that I was going to experience after spending 20 years in prison. You know, we just looked at it as getting me out, making sure that I’m not killed by the state. We looked at that as the finish line, you know, once we get there, then everything’s gonna be okay. We didn’t give any thought to what happens beyond that point. So we did not, you know, and when I’m saying we, I’m talking about myself, my wife, my attorneys, you know, people who had supported us for years, we did not know, the toll that it was going to take on me. You know, and I don’t and I can’t tell you exactly what happened. If I had to try. I would say it was probably what people refer to as a nervous breakdown, just because of all the symptoms. You know, for example, like you said, earlier, I was a bookworm. When I was in prison, I would, I would read up to like five books a week. When I got out, I could no longer read. I would read the same page of a book over and over and over and could not retain what I had read when I got to the bottom of the page. I couldn’t follow the plot in television shows or movies, I would reintroduce myself to the same person over and over and over because I could not have I couldn’t even remember having met them before.
Rick Archer: So I heard you explain that you had sort of lost the ability for facial recognition because you hadn’t been seeing faces for 18 years. And voice recognition because
Damien Echols: I mean, hearing voices. Yeah. You know, I didn’t know any of that stuff until after I got out. For the first two years that I got out of prison. It was as hard as the first two years I went into prison, trying to adapt and adjust to life out here.
Rick Archer: Just Yes, I mean, sadly overload alone, you know, here Yes, centrally deprived all this time and all the boom, you know, everything that we got going on out here in the world.
Damien Echols: Yes, exactly. Yes, it was it was kind of hellish to be quite honest. And you don’t you don’t see that coming.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve done long meditation courses where we are, you know, six months and basically basically meditating all day long. And if you had to go into town in the middle, of course, like that, to buy a toothbrush, it was like too much, you’d come back to your room and take a couple days to, to adjust from this from the impact of that experience.
Damien Echols: But who thinks that getting out of prison is going to plunge you into a hell realm? Right? You know, that’s, that’s not something that you’re even, you know, grappling with. So I suffered an extreme amount of post traumatic stress disorder whenever I got out. I was Shawshank
Rick Archer: Redemption. Remember when
Damien Echols: they go? Yeah, when? Yes, yeah, kill themselves, when they got out. They were trying to get back in or whatever. And that’s, that’s real, you know, you’ll have people that kill themselves, people who will turn around and go back right back to prison, because they’ll say it is too hard out here. I can’t do this. And they’ll turn around and they would rather face the familiar heart they know inside than the unfamiliar horrors of life out here.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So. So now, however, you obviously have adjusted quite well, to a large extent, and you’re back to practicing a lot of magic. So how did you sort of get back into the momentum of it? And and how did you accomplish the readjustment? And probably magic helped you accomplish it? Right?
Damien Echols: Yeah, it was, you know, it’s kind of a odd thing. Um, you know, we were talking a while ago about how you’re sort of led from one thing to the other, you know, when we’re talking about combining practices, like something sort of lead you step by step through this process, the same thing eventually began to happen to me, whenever I got out, I did an interview at one point, with Tammy Simon, the owner of Sound through the publishing company. And at the end of the interview, we were doing an interview about magic, we were talking about it and at the end of it, she kept me on the line, and she says, How would you like to do a book with us about magic? Keep in mind, I couldn’t read anymore. Not only could I not read, I could not write? You know, when I was in prison, I wrote constantly. Once I was out, I could No, I thought my writing days were over. But I said, Yeah, sure, I’ll do that, with no idea how I was gonna accomplish it. You know, like I said, it was taking everything I could, I went from doing magic eight hours a day, to nothing being able to do for eight minutes. What happened was, this sort of forced me into a situation. When I explained this to her about not being able to write she said, Well, why don’t you come to Boulder, Colorado, come into the recording booth, she said, you can talk. So go into the recording booth, and speak what you know. And then we will make a transcript of that and give it to you. And you can go back and rearrange that and organize it into a book and sort of, you know, make the audio book before you ever make the book kind of thing. So I went in, I went in with no notes, I went in with no plans of what I was going to say nothing. Every morning, before we would start, the only thing I could think to do was it you know, like I said, I hadn’t been doing magic. It felt like I couldn’t do it. But I was kind of put in the same situation you’re in if you’re almost in a car wreck, and you see yourself almost in slow motion coming towards the other car, and all of a sudden you start praying with everything you have. Please don’t let this happen. That was the sort of urgency that I felt when I walked into that recording booth and knew these people are expecting me to speak. So I started with that same amount of fervent emergency doing in vocations to angels and archangels associated with the planetary energy of mercury, because mercury is all about communication, eloquence, being able to convey your ideas to other people in a way that they can understand. With everything I had I started doing in vocations of angels of mercury. I sat down, I started talking and it was like it just vomited fourth out, it just came out without any plans, any ideas what was gonna happen anything else and before I knew it, an entire week had passed. And I had spoken this book into existence. Not only did it do that, but for some reason. It was like it fixed whatever had been wrong with me since I’ve been out of prison. And all of a sudden I was able to do magic again. That’s great. And I honestly think there’s also going back to morphic fields for a moment. There. Boulder Colorado is not a place I had ever given two seconds worth of thought to in my entire life. Just another place to me, you know, mentally America. When I went there, I was not expecting anything. It’s kind of a
Rick Archer: new age center. You know, like Sedona? Yes, it did
Damien Echols: something to me, there is something about that environment that I really responded to, on a very deep level. Every single time I go there, I experience more and more healing. Like even when I think I’m perfectly 100%, back to normal, I will go there for a week and realize, oh, I wasn’t completely normal. But I’m a little closer to it now because of the morphic field of this place and how I interact with it in some way.
Rick Archer: That’s great. I did my TM teacher training course up in Estes Park, which is up above boulder. And by the way, nobody is 100% Normal. No. You know, everyone’s heard of black magic, and there’s movies about it. And in India, there are people you could pay to put a curse on your neighbor or whatever. And there’s stuff like that. So do you take that seriously at all? And what safeguards do you take to prevent students from using magic for nefarious purposes?
Damien Echols: Well, you know, going back just a second to the term, the phrase black magic, you know, just to let you know where that even originated from. A lot of these practices go back to the ancient Middle East to the part of the world that was Mesopotamia, and Egypt. The Egyptians did not call themselves Egyptians. They didn’t call their land Egypt, they call it Kemet, to word that in Egyptian means black, what they were referring to was how fertile the land was around the Nile region. So whenever you’re talking about the Black Arts, you were talking about magical techniques, magical practices that came from what the Egyptians called the Black land. That did not take on negative connotations until much later down the line whenever you started, you know, having the birth of Christianity and like the whole competition, Christianity trying to stomp out other competitive ideologies and practices, things of that nature.
Rick Archer: But do you think that there is that some people have used magic or something related to it for nefarious purposes?
Damien Echols: Oh, I’m sure people try it all the time. Constantly, you know, like we were talking about electricity earlier, magic is just energy. People can try to, but the thing is, you are going to pay a very, very high cost. Because going back to quantum entanglement, you can not affect anyone or anything in the universe without affecting yourself first. Oh, sure. You know, like we have, you know, a
Rick Archer: potter we have Lord of the Rings and all these stories about the good, the bad, the Star Wars, you know, there’s always the dark, the dark side. Yes.
Damien Echols: Trying to, you know,
Rick Archer: what safeguards do you use to prevent an either yourself or your students from
Damien Echols: you can’t because that would be black magic, that would be trying to control someone else’s freewill, which is the ultimate epitome of what black magic is trying to interfere with another person’s freewill or Karma. That is not our job. Our job is to not be attached to what anyone does with these teachings, once you give them if that were the case, you know, for example, we talked about me doing these classes for 2000 people, and maybe only 5% of the people putting them into a, you know, practice. If I were attached to these teachings, and I would get disheartened. I would say, Why am I doing this? Yeah, you know, here it is, I’m giving my all and only 5% of the people are actually doing it. You are not attached to what other people that’s not your job. Your job is just to provide teachings for people so that they can use them to better themselves their lives in some sort of way. But one of the analogies I give whenever I am doing classes on magic, and I’m telling people you don’t do magic on other people, you do magic on yourself, you know, for example, there there are two ways you could go about a situation say you’re lonely, and you want to be in a loving relationship. Now say you have a guy that sees a woman moves into the house across the street from him, and he thinks she’s just the finest greatest thing he’s ever seen. So he says I’m going to do a love spell on this woman. I’m going to make her fall in love with me. And he goes in his house and for the next eight hours, he focuses on putting everything he has into making this woman fall in love with him. He goes out the next day he gets hit by a car and both his arms and legs get amputated. Because what he doesn’t realize is that she has a secret amputee fetish. And now when she sees him, she’s gonna think he’s pretty great. Interesting. That’s the sort of thing the sort of situations you get into when you try to use magic to interfere with other people’s free will in some sort of way. What you would do instead is focus on putting your effort, your attention, your energy into being in a relationship that is going to be fulfilling and beneficial and make you happy in some sort of way you’re trying to draw the sort of person that you are going to resonate with to you? Yeah, but it’s like, you know, at a hardware store at a hardware store, they sell hammers, there’s nothing they can do at that hardware store to make sure that whoever comes in and buys one of those hammers isn’t going to go out and use it to do damage to another person, or themselves even
Rick Archer: right. Although, you know, to take that example, there are gun stores that sell guns, but guns are specifically designed to kill people or animals. And so you have to perhaps use or ideally, to use greater safeguards when you’re selling guns than when you’re selling hammers. So I’m just curious whether there any safeguards with teaching a magic to make sure that people aren’t going to misuse it in any way? Well, if
Damien Echols: you see someone, I mean, it’s kind of really there is nothing in the entire realm of spirituality that you can’t misuse, if you really set your mind to it, it doesn’t matter if it’s, you know, Buddhism, or Christianity, or the things we think of as the most positive of positive religions, if a person is determined to do so they can misuse this, okay, they can misuse anything. Sure, you know, you can pray that your neighbor dies. Yeah, you know, that’s, that’s misusing prayer. That’s, that’s doing black magic, the only thing you can do is say, you know, first off, if someone is really that determined to do harm, they’re probably not going to put in the time and energy and effort to work with archangels, to master these techniques to be able to do something like that, you know, it’s like, if they’re really that determined to do something negative, they’re probably not going to want to have anything to do with Archangels to begin with. So all you can do in a hypothetical situation like that is look at someone that you think of as either being emotionally imbalanced or mentally imbalanced in some way and say, you know, what, I don’t think this is really for you. Maybe you would benefit more from going to this therapist, I know, look, I went and saw this guy years ago, and he did wonders for me, maybe you would want to go talk to this guy, and, you know, figure out a way to get out some of your anger so that you’re not wanting to throw death curses at people anymore.
Rick Archer: But you know, getting back to your glass of water analogy, imagine that if a person did have a lot of negative tendencies, and if they were to somehow practice this, they would get purified. There’s a story in the well, you probably heard of the Ramayana, the guy who wrote it was named Valmiki. And he used to be a highway robber. And he would, you know, rob and kill people. And that so these seven Rishis came along, and he was threatening to kill and rob them. And they said, Okay, fine, but just go back and check with your family first, and see if they’re willing to share the karma of this or not. So we went back to check those families that no ways you’re yearning, right, but we’re not going to take the karma. So that was a real shock to him. So he went back to the ratio and said, Holy mackerel, I realized the error of my ways helped me out so that he was too impure to, to use the name of Rama as a mantra. So they gave it to him backwards, ma Ra. And he sat down and went into meditation for seven years, according to the story, and an anthill, built up around him and covered him up. And somehow I think the word Valmiki has to do with ants. So in any case, I don’t know why I went off on that tangent. But
Damien Echols: you’re right, though. There’s even a you know, Alistair Crowley, probably one of the most infamous names and all the magic. He said, at one point, if someone came to him and said, I want to do magic, so that I can do exactly this so that I can do a death curse on my neighbor, would you still teach him? He said, Yes. Because by the time he got to a point where he would be proficient enough to be able to do that, he wouldn’t want to do that anymore. Good. Okay.
Rick Archer: So I’m going to show him that you won’t be able to see it. But I’m showing on the screen here, one of the talismans from your book, I think it’s the one related to fire. And I want you to talk about talismans and amulets for a bit, but first, I want to ask, what is the do you actually invent the little script language that we see on this talisman?
Damien Echols: No. There are two different kinds that I usually use whenever I’m doing this work. One of them is mine. One of them is called the Theban alphabet th e bn nicknamed the witches alphabet and old one that’s been used traditionally in magic for quite a while but I have I do use another one that you’ll usually see as a background for my talismans that or you’ll see it all over my tattoos as well. That is of my own design. Okay. What talismans are, think of them as batteries. You know, say for example, you’ve got a friend who is sick, but doesn’t do magic. You can create a talisman for health. Do all of the magic that you would do to heal yourself only do it on this talisman instead and then give it to your friend and say you know put this under your mattress and sleep on it or you know put it in your desk at work. So that you’re near it, whatever. So that this thing is emitting a morphic field made up of the energy that you put into it. All it is, is a conduit, something to hold a charge of energy. The reason they look so odd, the design is mine, you know, just the round circle with the squiggly lines in the middle of it, all of this. The reason for those, what they are designed to do is bypass the conscious mind. You know, when you start thinking about like you said earlier, when you start thinking about doing magic for something like say, I want prosperity, I want prosperity, what you’re doing to some part of your mind is saying, Well, I don’t have it at present. So you’re not making yourself feel it. When you work with talismans. You can sort of circumvent or get get around some of that what you’re doing is taking a concept or a desired result or anything else and reducing it to an abstract symbol so that your conscious mind doesn’t interact with what you’re doing and you can fire it directly into your subconscious mind it bypasses all of the other stuff. One of my favorite stories about talismans you know, they say the more you can forget what they are even for, the more effective they are because that allows them to even to a greater extent bypass the conscious mind. There is a story about a magician named Austin Osman Spare who at one point decided he was going to see if talismans actually worked. So he made a talisman I don’t know why he would do this. He made a talisman to make his house seem haunted, stuck it somewhere and forgot about it and then couldn’t figure out why he was wearing hearing all these weird noises.
Rick Archer: Interesting. So, talismans and amulets. So, so in summary, they are things either two dimensional I guess in the case of a talisman or three dimensional in case in the case of an omelet which might be a crystal or something which can be imbued with Shakti or with with power or with energy and that they they’re like little batteries that that can then that energy can serve some beneficial purpose. What exactly yeah,
Damien Echols: exactly and the difference in talismans and amulets in magic when we use the word talisman the easiest way to remember is by the first letter of the word. When you’re talking about a talisman you are talking about bringing something toward you. So for example, you would make a talisman for prosperity because you want to bring prosperity to you. When you’re talking about an amulet you have usually done the opposite and charged it to keep something away from you. So amulet and away starts with a so for example you could make you could double up on it make it twice as strong, you could make a talisman to bring prosperity to you. And then amulet to banish poverty from you. Okay, good.
Rick Archer: So roll up your sleeves for a second. Okay, so you have a lot of tattoos. And I’ll show your book cover here also, and it has pictures of all your tattoos. It’s really quite impressive. All kinds of bats and pretty much from the neck down. Yeah. And I heard you explained in your book, that the purpose that these tattoos themselves are some kinds of talismans and amulets and that you actually charge or imbue them with with energy in order to help you in different ways. Can Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Damien Echols: Um, well, like I have one right here on my forearm that is for the Archangel Michael. And it’s just for protection. You know, another thing that talismans can be useful for, you know, say, for example, I live in New York City. So say you’re walking around one night and all of a sudden you feel like someone’s following you like you may be in some sort of danger. You don’t necessarily have the opportunity to stop right there in the middle of the street at midnight or one o’clock in the morning and start doing a whole magical ritual for protection. So you do it beforehand, and have it in the form of a talisman and you don’t even have to think about it. Well, for me the tattoos one of the main reasons that I started doing it this way was because when I was in prison, they took everything from me. I didn’t even have a name in there. My name was not Damien Echols. My name was SK 931. There were times when I was chained to a chair and had my head forcibly shaved. You wear the same clothes as everyone else you are you no longer have any sort of personal identity, you’re just a number in the system. They take everything from you the only thing they could not take is your skin, your body. So you know, for now my talismans are on me in a way where even if everything else in the world is taken from me, they still can’t take this
Rick Archer: good. Incidentally while we’re on the topic of talismans, everyone’s you know heard of the old magic wand you know, thing that magicians are supposed to have you talk about those in your book as well. Being implements that can be charged with energy. And there’s Moses and his staff which I guess supposedly helped him part the Red Sea or something. And in India, you have Swamis that carry a stuff that called dandy Swamis. And they’re never without their stuff. So objects like that can,
Damien Echols: that if you look at, I use a wand, you don’t have to, you don’t have to use any sort of material thing. Everything you need to do magic is inside you. But I use a wand. If you look at the very first, the very first depictions of Christ in the history of the world, you will see him using a magic wand. There are images of him tapping a wand on Lazarus tomb, whenever he’s raising Lazarus from the dead. I think the reason for using material items is they build up a charge over time, you know, once again, going back to that morphic field, if you are using a wand, while you are invoking Angels, archangels, divine intelligences every day, they are going to gradually accumulate a charge around this thing, so that the more you use it, the stronger it gets. One of my teachers when I was in prison, was a guy named Steven mace, you can find all sorts of books on him on magic, too. He what made me start using a wand was he said anytime he does a banishing ritual, he had a dagger that he would use when he’s doing, you know, the ritual we talked about earlier to push energy out of an area. He said it eventually built up such a charge that you could hold it to your temple and feel a tingling sensation in the side of your head. So I thought, well, if something can develop a charge that that’s, that’s that powerful, why not use it, you know, why not accumulate that sort of energy to make your work, you know, even stronger, even better, and that you could also, you know, potentially one day, you’re on your deathbed, you pass it on to one of your students.
Rick Archer: And again, in India, there are not only temples, but then there are things like Shiva Lingas, and stuff that have been, you know, had all this attention on them for hundreds and 1000s of years. And, you know, I have friends who’ve gone to some of these temples and they say that the energy in these places is really palpable. It’s like the stone, just a stone, but it kind of has come alive as it were just radiates this tremendous energy.
Damien Echols: We do that. I mean, right now, the computer that I’m talking to you on is sitting on my shrine. And one of the things that traditionally in ceremonial magic people keep on their shrine, there’s a kind of oil, that you know, when you’re hearing about anointing oil in different traditions. In ceremonial magic, we have an oil called a Brahma olive oil, and it contains ingredients that make it correspond to the entire tree of life. So when you are anointing someone with this oil, you’re anointing them with correspondences from not only all the spheres on the tree of life, but you keep it on your altar at all times, every time you’re doing magic. So that gradually over time, it saturates this oil, and you’re basically dealing with bottled magic. Yeah, you’re
Rick Archer: charging enough. Yeah, exactly. Interesting. I have no problem with that concept. Okay, some questions have come in from people around the world, I want to ask some of them and it will cause us to jump around a little bit, because they’re not necessarily all closely related. But I’ll just ask them and answer them. This one is from Jay in Victoria, British Columbia. Jay asks, What are your thoughts on surrender? Some teachers say that we need to surrender all concepts. Do we need to surrender all our beliefs and concepts at some time in our lives?
Damien Echols: That’s a tricky thing to ask. Because once again, you’re dealing with language. And you know, there’s a famous saying in Buddhism, that there are no enlightened people, there are only enlightened actions. What this means is that once you reach a certain point in the awakening process, there is no more you. So there is no one to surrender things anymore. However, you do have to surrender that sense of self. You know, when I was talking earlier about going through that process, where I was experiencing the disintegration of ego, the disintegration of everything I thought I was, the harder I tried to hold on to that. The more horrifying and traumatic the experience was, the more I let go of it, the easier it becomes we have a saying in magic that whatever you don’t let go of the gods will break your hands and take from you. So yes. The more you can consciously choose to not be attached to the easier it is going to make your progress.
Rick Archer: Interesting. There’s a book called collision with the infinite which you might enjoy. The woman’s name is escaping me at the moment, but she had had a history of intensive meditation practice and one day she was just getting on a bus and after swimming and she’s pregnant with her daughter all sudden poof her sense of personal self just vanished. She was terrified. And she started searching for it and trying to find it gripping and fighting. And this gripping and fighting business went on for about 10 years in a state of terror. Meanwhile, she raised a daughter and got a master’s degree or something, but she was always in this state of fear. And finally, she met a spiritual teacher named John Klein, who somehow said the right thing and she just relaxed and kind of like surrendered into it. And then she was fine. And she was in a very nice, yes, yeah. Yeah. Okay, here’s another question from Declan Cooley in Krakow, Poland. He asks, it seems like magical practices can be used to facilitate both metaphysical changes and more manifest material changes. Can you talk about how the practices are different for each of these, and how we can harmoniously work with both times?
Damien Echols: Well, you know, it’s, we use the phrase or the terminology and magic of high magic and low magic, high magic is anything that is geared towards experiencing yourself or bringing about the experience of being one with divinity of returning to the source from which we come. Low magic is usually anything to bring out some sort of physical change in the world. That’s not to mean that, you know, one is better than the other in some way. It’s just a easy way to, you know, differentiate what you’re talking about, whenever you’re talking about to someone about magic, the main ways that there’s a difference in how you would do this is if you are doing high magic, where you are trying to bring about changes in your consciousness, you know, where you are aiming towards the disintegration of ego, the union with the source of everything, you would focus that more on yourself, you know, you would focus on absorbing it directly into what people in the New Age circles, call your aura, your eating, you are doing what Catholics are doing symbolically, when they take communion, you’re doing it really, you are absorbing all of that energy directly into your aura, which will then cause profound changes in you. If you’re trying to affect something outside yourself. Like, say, for example, you need a better job, you know, just the the job you’re at, it’s just not working for you for whatever reason, instead of absorbing that energy directly into your aura, you could, you’re going to use it in an external way. Now that external way could be either a talisman or an amulet. Or it could be putting it into a visualization of some sort. Different things work better for different people, you have to find the one that works the best for you. You know, it’s really big right now people talk about using things like what they call dream boards, where they’ll say pin pictures up of whatever it is your vision boards are something that that’s a talisman, yeah, it is a talisman that you’re directing energy into. So maybe that’s what works best for you. Maybe doing what I do, and creating the squiggly lines and doing magic on that is what’s gonna work best for you. Maybe doing it on a rock is what’s gonna work best for you. Experiment with them, see what brings you the best results. And that’s what you stick to.
Rick Archer: Okay, you talked about that experience of when your ego kind of was like dust in the wind just kind of shattered. And it was scary. And you know, when you got back out of prison, and you started, and you know, the, the world hit you like a ton of bricks? Did your ego kind of reassemble. And just one more bit to this question. I read an article recently by your wife, Laurie, who was saying, like, you know, you had this incredible love story while you’re in prison. But then when you got into the nitty gritty of actually living together at a certain you know, after a while, things got kind of tense, and you were treated each other badly and eventually got into marriage counseling and stuff. So did you find that your ego kind of reassembled or? Or was did you cross some threshold which
Damien Echols: you know, retreated from I when I was in? I did not, I didn’t experience the complete dissolution of ego until after I was out. When I was in I experienced things that were leading up to it, but that I didn’t know were leading up to it. You know, like, that’s that suddenly experiencing life in the present moment for the first time. Or, you know, suddenly, Laurie used to say that when I was in prison, she said, I owned my world. She said I was in this horrendous environment, but that it was like nothing seemed to shake me. That was like the precursor leading up to the disintegration of ego. But once I got out, I could no longer do magic. So the process stopped. I didn’t experience the complete dissolution until between a year and two years ago, maybe, and I’ve been out and I’ve been out for eight years. Um, What happened whenever I got out and had that break down, and was trying to learn how to live in the world again, it was like, and when I’m talking about this, it wasn’t just me that’s experiencing this. Laurie was experiencing really hard times, too. She’s living with someone who doesn’t know how to function in the world. Yeah, she’s living with someone who’s having a nervous breakdown. So we both went into pure survival mode, we were both doing everything we could just to sort of make it through another day in the world. And when you’re doing that, when you’re living that way, you don’t have a lot of energy left over for kindness or compassion or anything else. And it leads to neglect. And it leads to not paying attention to the other person’s needs, all this sort of stuff. Honestly, I think one of the main things I learned about this process, whenever I did start experiencing the dissolution of ego, was how every relationship brought this home to me in a really profound way. Every relationship we have, I don’t care if it’s a romantic relationship, if it’s a family relationship, if it’s a friendship, whatever it is, the entire reason for us to have relationships is for them to serve as a vehicle for us to help one another, achieve the awakening process. Yeah, that is all they are for everything else is secondary. It was going through that process that finally allowed me to once you see what a relationship really is supposed to be for, and how you’re supposed to be handling it, then everything else starts to fall into place. Yeah.
Rick Archer: And if you really, I mean, obviously, there’s some relationships that should end but but there can be relationships that are very difficult, but they’re really a blessing. Because if you hang in there and work through stuff, you undergo just like your prison tournament was a blessing because it really forced you to make changes you otherwise would not have made, relationships can be like that, where you that really pounds the crap out of you. And you ended up a much better person as a result of going through that and hanging in there.
Damien Echols: Yep. And a lot of times, I think if it’s a relationship that you really need to get out of something will happen where you will eventually get out of it. You know, like we’re talking about morphic fields and energy resonance and things like that, if you have reached a point where a relationship is no longer beneficial to your continued growth and development, then you are no longer going to vibrate at the same rate as that relationship. And somehow, someway, it will eventually fall out of your life. It may not be quick, it may not be painless. It may not be easy, but it will eventually happen.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and while we’re on this topic, I just want to say that Laurie seems like a real unsung hero. To me. I mean, there’s a beautiful article, which can be found that a link to that can be found on your website. But you know, the way she stuck with you all those years while you were in prison and became an advocate for your release, and all the things she did and went through. It’s really a beautiful story. I yeah, I commend her.
Damien Echols: She did more work, you know, not, you know, just getting away from all the spiritual stuff for just a second get into the hardcore nuts and bolts of reality, and life in prison. She did more work on my case, then all the attorneys, private investigators and everyone else combined. When they did finally do the DNA testing and found that it didn’t match me or the other two guys. And they’re trying to figure out, well, who does it match? She was the one out digging through people’s garbage for cigarette butts to match the DNA to
Rick Archer: wow, that’s amazing. Beautiful, and they still haven’t caught the guy.
Damien Echols: No, not yet. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Okay, so more questions. So I’m having fun here. You can go there longer. Not too much longer. Yeah, good. Yeah. Okay. This is one from my wife, Irene. She wondered if you had any insights from if you ever had any past life, flashbacks or experiences that might shed light on what you’ve gone through in this one. I’m
Damien Echols: not really. But there is a technique, if you’re interested in it that will help you remember past lives. Now the thing about past lives, I don’t, I don’t really pay much attention to them, to be honest. That’s why I don’t because I don’t pursue them. And a lot of times when people are doing experiences that cause them to have flashes of these sorts of things. They’re not really experiencing past lives, what they’re doing is tapping into what Jung called the collective unconscious or the collective conscious and it’s the equivalent of you know, that’s why you’ll have so many people who say, Oh, well, I saw my past life and I was Cleopatra, or I saw my past life and I was Marc Anthony. Well, that’s because when they tap into this unconscious, this collective unconscious of humanity, it’s the equivalent of watching television and getting themselves confused. For the characters in the TV show, it’s there for everybody to see. The way
Rick Archer: we also people don’t want to just say they were a plumber in Egypt, they want to be Cleopatra.
Damien Echols: Yes, exactly. That’s true. But there is a technique you can use to remember past lives if you want to, I don’t think it’s really beneficial. I think a lot of people get hung up on it. At the end of the night, when you’re getting ready to go to bed, when you lay down. Try to remember every single step that you carried out through that day in reverse, and don’t just see it in your head, tried to feel what it would be like if you went through the process backwards, like, like you’re laying in bed, remember, okay, before I got in bed, I walked into my room. Previously, I’d been in the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth. Before that I was in the kitchen where I got a drink of water. Before that I was having dinner, see yourself step by step and feel it, experience it again, as you’re going back throughout the day. Once you can do that, it’s harder than it sounds like it would be when you try to remember. I mean, people think why can’t I remember my past lives, you can’t remember what you had for lunch four days ago. If you get proficient at that much of it, then you can start doing it for two days. And then you can start doing it for a week. And then you can start doing it for a month. And then for a year, eventually you reach a threshold where it triggers something in your psyche or in your consciousness. And you will start to get pictures of things that you were doing in past lives. I don’t know why that works. There are things that I know that works that I can’t tell you the mechanics on and that’s one of them. Interesting.
Rick Archer: Yeah, as you said, I mean, it’s a dubious value to do that. There’s a reason why we don’t remember him. And we don’t necessarily need to try to crack that code. It’s probably not in our best interest. Okay, here’s another question from that fellow in Krakow decline Cooley. He wants to know, can you say something about synchronicity and its connection to magic? There’s two questions here. So first answer that one.
Damien Echols: Well, synchronicity, what it comes down to is it’s a very, very, very light form of the phenomenon that we call attaining knowledge and conversation of your holy guardian angel. In magical we’re talking about this process, knowledge and conversation, we call it the Hga ritual for short. What you’re doing is triggering the process that happens, where you’ll start to be led from one step to the next in your life, you will start to see what you’re supposed to do next, that’s going to trigger your next conscious expansion, your next period of growth. When you are seeing synchronicities, keep in mind, you’re not just manifesting the things that you want to manifest in your life. Like if you sit down today, and you say I’m going to manifest losing weight. Yeah, you’re deliberately consciously doing that. However, you are also unconsciously manifesting huge portions of the life you’re already experiencing, without realizing you’re doing. I tell people, the only difference in a magician and the average person is that a magician is going through this process consciously. The average person most of the time is going through it unconsciously. When you’re seeing synchronicities, like that. You are manifesting those synchronicities your unconscious mind your Higher Self is Trying to get your conscious mind or your ego centered self, to see something for some reason that it considers to be important.
Rick Archer: Okay. And here’s your second question. Is working with Archangels your most recommended way to do magic?
Damien Echols: Absolutely, it is, I think, you know, they are close enough to our level of reality, to make interaction with them easier than like more pure forms of divinity. But they are high enough from our level of reality to give us spectacular results and experiences, epiphanies realizations. I tell whenever I’m teaching magic, the number one thing I go over, over and over and over again, is even if you have some sort of hesitancy in using angels, like for me what I said about I didn’t want anything to do with Christianity. Give this a try. See how effective this is? For some reason, it also triggers and I don’t like this word, because I think it leads to a preconceived ideas of what it means and it doesn’t usually mean what people think it means. It triggers the expansion of what we call what we think of as our psychic perception. For some reason, working with angels makes us better able to perceive those other levels of reality. And this is one of the ways you know, going back to the people that in the classes, the ones that I can tell are actually doing this. I was trying to explain to someone what it looks like or how you perceive this when it happens one time, and there was a girl in the class she had been to every class I’d done for years. She wasn’t saying this in any, like, you know, way to bring attention to herself or anything, she was actually actually said it. Like she was looking off in the distance kind of introspectively. And she goes, to me, they almost look like someone shining a flashlight through a colored sheet. And whenever she said that, it was like, I know you’ve actually been doing this, because I can see exactly why you would say that. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Interesting. Here’s a weird question, and then I’ll explain why I’m asking. Have you managed to stop smoking cigarettes?
Damien Echols: Yeah, I haven’t had a cigarette in at least 20 years. Wow, way to
Rick Archer: go? Well, the reason I asked was, I wondered if magic was instrumental in your overcoming that addiction or any addiction a person might have. Or maybe you were just deprived of them in prison. So you managed to stop?
Damien Echols: No, I actually stopped on my own. Um, I decided one time when Laurie and I first met, we experienced a kind of really profound connection on a lot of different levels. And I decided, I wanted to fully and completely experienced that connection, to every degree that I was capable of doing, which meant I didn’t want foreign substances, going through my blood that was going to cloud my ability to perceive or sense things, or anything else. And cigarettes was one of the things, you know, if I was dependent upon it, then it was having an effect on my consciousness. And I didn’t want that in my life anymore.
Rick Archer: Good. To keep you alive a lot longer to that you’ve stopped? Yeah. Here’s a practical question. Knowing what you know, now, this is from Brad Peterson in Mountain View, California, knowing what you know, now, how would you restructure the prison system in death row? Is there? Is there no intent to reform? Right? Because they’re just gonna kill you. So they don’t try to reframe it. So how would you restructure the prison system? You know, it’s,
Damien Echols: it’s honestly, it’s not only on death row, that there’s no real sense of reform, it’s pretty much the entire prison industrial complex as a whole. You know, they give a lot of lip service to things like reducing rates of recidivism, things like that. But in all actuality, they want people to come back to prison. Because the more people they have in prison, the more money they make off of it, you would have to, you know, I’ll give you one example, they know that the more connections you have, there had been all sorts of psychological studies, they shown this, the more connections you have to people outside the prison, who provide a positive sense of connection to you, the less chance there is that you’re going to come back to prison. So they do everything they can to limit things like visitation, phone calls, connections you have to those people, you know, that’s the main thing they use for punishment, like if they decide we’re going to punish you for something, you’re no longer allowed access to your family. Yeah, that’s the number one thing, they are doing things to deliberately bring about a bring about higher rates of recidivism, in the people that are in prison, you would have to cut out the lip service aspect of this, get over this me versus them mentality that so many people in public have about people in prison, and actually focus on structuring the prison in a way. That is for people’s benefit instead of to punish them. You know, I always tell people, the number of people who are going to never get out of prison is infinitesimal. It’s tiny, the number of people who are going to be executed, the number of people who are going to spend life in prison without parole is a tiny fraction of the prison population. Almost everyone who is in there will one day be back out on the streets. There’ll be in our churches, there’ll be in our schools, there’ll be in our grocery stores, wherever. So it’s probably not the best idea to drive them insane with torture for bringing them back out into.
Rick Archer: And as we know, the US has one of the highest per capita prison rates in the world. Exactly. I don’t know if there’s not very many other countries who have it as bad. But the first time I ever met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on I was on a course with him, I remember him saying that prisons should be a place where prisoners are made as comfortable as possible. They should have good food, they should have everything that sort of de stresses them and enables them to sort of, you know, become healthier in every every dimension. And Michael, one of Michael Morris documentaries not long ago, he went to Sweden, I believe it was and he was showing a prison there where you see that we’re we’re Yeah, everybody’s it’s a really nice setup, you know, that they’re the Got these guys who committed fairly serious crimes but they’re in the kitchen cooking with sharp knives and, and they have internet and they have, you know, exercise they have all kinds of good things. And I believe their recidivism rate is a heck of a lot lower than ours.
Damien Echols: Yes, that’s I haven’t seen the documentary, but that’s what I was gonna bring up. The Scandinavian prisons are set up more like college campuses than prisons, people actually receive like, a living wage, you know, you you do one of two things when you’re in prison in Scandinavian countries, either you go to school and earn a college degree, which they provide you or you have a job that pays you a real wage in the US if you’re in prison, like it varies from state to state. In Arkansas, you get paid nothing, they use you for slave labor from the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night. They contract you out to companies like at&t, and Kmart and all these people to use prisoners for free labor that the prison benefits from, but the prisoners themselves Oh, nothing like an Arkansas make nothing other states may provide you like five cents an hour. Five cents, a nickel an hour is what you get paid for working. Yeah,
Rick Archer: I got it. So short sighted, I mean, we’re kind of getting off on a little bit of a tangent here. But it makes so much sense to just use prison as a time to just become the best person you can be, you know, the most educated the most, you know, like, Burt Lancaster and the Birdman of Alcatraz. If you ever saw that movie, he became one of the world’s experts on birds through his own meta motivation. And the same with the educational system in general. I mean, anything that that short changes or dumbs down the educational system has long term consequences if we want to make America great again, then let’s have free college for everybody. Let’s get everybody exactly that’s possible. Yes. Yep. Okay, we’re getting on our soapbox is here, aren’t we? Well, we’ve gone on for quite a while David, I’ve really enjoyed talking to you and getting to know you prior to this, as well, through all the stuff I’ve been reading and listening to, is there anything important that you feel we’ve left out? I mean, there’s a lot of important stuff. But anything that in the context of a relatively short interview like this, that you’d like to mention that you haven’t
Damien Echols: just add, if people want to find me on social media, I do have accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and I just use my name, like at Damien Echols, they can find me there.
Rick Archer: I’ll have a page on that. But I’ll link to all that stuff. Very good.
Damien Echols: And the only other thing I could think of is just saying thank you, for everyone, to everyone for listening to this for being interested in this. And you know, especially thank you to the people who have supported me the entire time I was in prison, all the way up until now. You know, years after my release, just thank you everyone so much. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Well, thank you. I’ve I find you inspiring, and really enjoyed getting to meet you like this. And I hope we get to meet in person one of these days. Me too. Maybe you’ll get out to the science and non duality conference ever hear that? Yeah, no, I haven’t. I’ll send you some information. You could speak at it. Very good. Yeah. Cool. All right. Well, thanks to those who are listening or watching. Next week, I’ll be speaking with a woman from South Africa and then Anna breytenbach. And she’s an animal communicator, which I, you know, I think fits into the theme of BatGap, which is spiritual awakening. She has a particular ability, but it seems to spring from a deep level of realization. And if you if you look her up, and see some documentaries, you might even want to do that before the excuse me before the interview, you’ll find what she does very impressive. So anyway, hope you can watch. And in the meanwhile, if you go to batgap.com and poke around through the menus, you find some useful things such as being able to sign up for the audio podcast, being able to be, you know, sign up to be notified by email each time there’s a new interview and a bunch of other things. So just search around there. And and thanks. Thanks for listening. Thanks for your time. Thanks again, Damien. Thank you