Damien Echols Transcript

Damien Echols Interview

Rick: 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, most of you know that by now, I’ve done hundreds of these by now and if you are new to this, you’ve never seen one and you’d like to check out other ones, go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, 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 Eccles. Welcome Damien.

Damien: Thank you for having me.

Rick: You’re welcome. Damien is an artist and New York Times best-selling author of Life After Death, which we’ll explain in a minute. In 2018 he published his first book on ceremonial magick, that’s magick with a K on the end, entitled — I’ll show a picture of it here on the screen — High Magick, a Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row. And there are all kinds of interesting endorsements of the book on the back, Tony Robbins and Ozzy Osbourne and Peter Jackson and some more endorsements in the book, I think probably Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder. Eddie Vedder wrote the intro to it. Eddie Vedder is a singer for Pearl Jam. In any case, Damien has been a practitioner of ceremonial magick for over 20 years and leads classes on magick 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 — Peter Jackson was the guy who did the Lord of the Rings trilogy — 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, although at the moment we have a couple of dogs who often make appearances during these interviews. So Damien has quite a story, and as you can tell from that intro, if you haven’t heard of him, 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 get the full picture of what he has been through, I want to have him start by taking us back to the beginning, telling us about his childhood and so on. And I just want to mention the reason Damien is wearing sunglasses is that spending all that time in death row and basically not seeing the sun for what, 10 years or more?

Damien: 10 years, yeah.

Rick: Yeah, it kind of ruined his eyes and he needs to wear dark glasses.

Damien: You know, and not only that, but also 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. Out here, we don’t even realize how often and how constant our eyes changing focus is. 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.

Rick: Yeah, there are certain muscles that do that.

Damien: 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, for all intents and purposes, a concrete box, your eyes don’t constantly shift and they lose that ability over time. So there was the loss of the muscles in my eyes in addition to not being exposed to sunlight for almost a decade and it almost made me go completely blind.

Rick: 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: Oh, my family, you know, we grew up in a state of poverty that is beyond what most people in modern America can even conceive of. 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 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

Rick: Interesting, and as people will see in this interview and I’ve seen already, you’re a 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?

Damien: It was 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, well, two years later, had my sister. They weren’t capable of taking care of one child, much less two, so I was pretty much given to my grandmother to raise. My grandmother was my family growing up. She was my mother, my father. She was my sense of security and stability. She was the source of unconditional love that I knew. For me, she was the world and there was never any sort of abuse or anything like that in that regard. With my parents, I don’t think there was ever any sort of out-and-out abuse. I think it’s just whenever you’re dealing with 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: Okay, and 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 leading up to this trial for which you were convicted of murder?

Damien: 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 Baptist. 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 like that. You know, this was also during the early 90s when what they call satanic panic was still in full swing, where you had people all over the country being accused of things that were 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 picked this guy up and over a period of several hours did what amounts to torture a confession out of this guy.

Rick: I heard it was about 12 hours or so.

Damien: Yeah, it was.

Rick: Yeah, and without a break, without proper nourishment or anything else.

Damien: Exactly, no parents, no supervision.

Rick: Browbeat the guy.

Damien: Exactly. Browbeat a mentally handicapped guy, you know, who had 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 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 they got 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, too, you know, things like the Innocence Project and Southern Poverty Law Center, all of these sort of places, that something like 60% of the people who are eventually exonerated due to DNA testing gave false confessions.

Rick: Right, because they just wanted to end the torment that they were undergoing in that moment.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: They figured they’d get some relief.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: 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: We did, and I ended up spending 18 years and 76 days on death row before I 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. 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 had been countless newspaper articles and magazine articles. 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 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 it 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: Interesting. Yeah, it’s interesting in many cases how little people care about the truth, they just have some agenda that governs them.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: I mean, I’m kind of a climate change fanatic, I think that’s a really serious issue, and it’s like people are willing to sweep all the evidence under the rug because they get big donations from the oil companies or some other reason like that.

Damien: Exactly. And that same thing goes on. We tend to think for some reason, 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. They don’t realize that attorney generals, 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 far, far down on the total.

Rick: Yeah. Just to backtrack a little bit, you were accused of Satanism and all that. Were you actually ever interested in Satanism or was your interest in magick misrepresented as Satanism?

Damien: It was misrepresented and I think that’s usually the case. For some reason, anytime you bring up ceremonial magick, 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. Going back to the Satanism thing for a second, I don’t understand how you are going to expect to live a positive life if you are invoking negative forces into your life. To me, that’s the way I always looked at Satanism. It just didn’t add up to me.

Rick: Yeah.

Damien: Witchcraft, on the other hand, modern-day Wicca, is a religion. It involves worship of pre- Christian concepts and iconography, things of that nature. magick, on the other hand, 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. That’s the thing about magick. You’ll hear people sometimes say, “I don’t believe in magick.” What they actually mean is they’ve never practiced it, because magick works whether you practice it or whether you believe in it or not. It’s like electricity, you cannot believe in electricity completely, fork in a sock, it’s still going to bite.

Rick: Yeah. I’ve said that kind of thing a thousand times when I was teaching meditation, you don’t have to believe in this, just try it.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: It’s an experiential thing that you can be as skeptical as you like, and it doesn’t matter.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: It might even help to be skeptical, because then you’ll be pleasantly surprised or whatever.

Damien: Okay, so one of the tenets of magick is actually you’re supposed to try as much as possible when you’re doing these practices to not have a lust for results, 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, so don’t be expecting anything in other words. So a lot of times I think skepticism helps in that regard. 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: Yeah, and we can take what you’ve just been saying as kind of a teaser, because we haven’t really defined magick 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 you did say, which is one of my favorite themes, is just the notion of a kind of a scientific systematic approach to spiritual experience. In my opinion, spirituality shouldn’t have much to do with belief, it’s an experiential thing.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: 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.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: So unfortunately, modern religion is largely about belief without direct experience and so that’s a whole other issue, but I think what you’re doing is experiential.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: As you said.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: Yeah, good. Okay, so let’s loop back again. Just describe your life on death, sorry to drag you into this, but describe your life on death row a little bit. What was your cell like? What was your typical day like?

Damien: I was in a, really it was like a concrete vault. You’re sealed inside these things. It’s not like in the movies where 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. 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 cell and leave you standing there for an hour and then come get you and put you back in your cell.

Rick: The other cell wasn’t any better than your first cell, really.

Damien: No, it’s actually worse because at least in your cell where you sleep, there’s at least a toilet and a sink and 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. That’s it. That’s your whole life.

Rick: No window?

Damien: There’s a window but you can’t see anything through it because there’s a brick wall right behind it. It’s hard to describe the architecture of the prison. The window is like a small slit on the back wall. You have to stand and sort of pull yourself up a little bit to look out through it. Even then, you’re just looking straight into a brick wall. There’s no view or anything else.

Rick: Wow.

Damien: Really, in there, Christmas is the same as the 4th of July. Midnight is the same as noon. There’s no difference. When I got there, I noticed a lot of people would be there. They would come in and they would sit in these cells for 10, exact same person that they were whenever they first came in. There’s no sort of change. Out here, we’re acted upon by outside sources. We have stimulus that brings about changes in our behavior, changes in our thought patterns, things like that. In there, you don’t experience any of that. There’s no sort of growth, no sort of development. If anything, there’s just entropy, decay, decline in mental faculties. You see people go insane in there a lot. There was a guy one time that they had to come and get him out of his cell because he just snapped and started screaming that the devil was in his cell. He started punching the walls until both of his fists were just broken and bloody. They take him out, bandage his hands up and throw him back in the cell.

Rick: Wow.

Damien: 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 magick.

Rick: What percentage of inmates would you say do find something like that? It seems like you’re kind of rare.

Damien: Almost none, yes, I would say. And one of the reasons is, 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 still, for the most part, usually well below average IQ. So these are people who are going to know how to do stuff like that, how to push themselves in any regard.

Rick: Or would’nt even be interested in reading a book or something.

Damien: Exactly. You have a lot of guys in there who can barely read. People that can’t read at all, people who really never went to school, people who were children of horrendously abusive families. It’s like if you watch TV or if you watch movies, they usually try to portray people on death row as if… I have this one here and I have another one on my lap right now. They usually try to portray people on TV as if they’re Hannibal Lecter types, these insane geniuses. That is not the case at all. Usually 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 that one.

Rick: Have you ever had your IQ measured?

Damien: I did at one point. Actually I did twice. The second time I had it done it was somewhere around like a hundred and forty-five, something in that range.

Rick: Which is pretty high.

Damien: 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 extreme duress, extreme trauma, extreme stress, your IQ tends to… we think of it as fixed and it’s not necessarily fixed. 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 a hundred and forty-five 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 a hundred.

Rick: Yeah.

Damien: Which is average IQ for most people, but for me it was knocking off almost an entire one third of my intellectual capacity and I’m still having to function with like the most traumatic experiences of my life at one third of my capacity or two thirds of my capacity.

Rick: What is considered genius level with IQ?

Damien: Honestly, I have no idea.

Rick: 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 sadistic?

Damien: They’re pretty sadistic. You know, it’s one of those things where you never hear a little kid say, “When I grow up, I want to be a prison guard.” 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…

Rick: Oh yeah, Emoto or something.

Damien: 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: Yeah, Rupert Sheldrake talks about that too. You know Rupert?

Damien: Yes.

Rick: I interviewed him a couple of months ago.

Damien: 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 thousands of murderers, rapists, thieves. You know, people who have committed acts that defy the imagination. You know, I shared a cell block 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, energy draws to energy, like attracts like. We are going to move towards energy that we vibrate at the same frequency of. So, a Morphic Field like that is not going to draw like the highest moral level of people to begin with.

Rick: Yeah, let’s dwell on that a little bit. I think that’s worth delving into. 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 or 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 the beautiful temple does. And there are places in India where people have been going to certain temples for thousands of years and worshipping and doing all these devotional activities, and the field in those places is extremely profound. 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.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: It becomes a permanent sort of environment on a subtle level.

Damien: Yes, you know, for me, I try to tell people all the time to surround yourself with the kind of energy that you want to embody. If you want to be prosperous, surround yourself with a kind of prosperous energy. You know, surround yourself with people that are prosperous, people that are intelligent. 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 Egyptian temples that have been brought from Egypt and put back together in this place. You have the same thing happening from ancient Sumer. 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 lamas 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.

Rick: Yeah.

Damien: So that’s, you know, that’s where I spend the majority of my time.

Rick: Yeah. Another interesting consideration is that not only does a small place like a prison or a temple have a morphic field, but states have a morphic field, nations have a morphic field, the world has a morphic field.

Damien: Yes. Races have a morphic field, sexes have a morphic field. Yeah, you’re right.

Rick: Rhinoceros have a morphic field.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: 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: 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, you know, a lot of what I teach in ceremonial magick 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, 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 then have two complete photons. They send 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 interacted, 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’ve got 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. 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. I participated in experiments about that, on that principle. I spent three months in Iran, left a couple days before the Shah did, attempting to alter the collective consciousness of the nation by meditating in a group there, and stuff like that. There are a bunch of experiments done. One interesting thing about your quantum entanglement point is that the particles react to one another instantly,

Damien: Yes.

Rick: faster than the speed of light, so they could actually be separated by the width of the galaxy and they would still react instantly.

Damien: Yes.

Damien: So that implies that there’s something more fundamental than the speed of light or than the electromagnetic field through which light is propagated. Absolutely, yes. 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, which means everything.

Damien: Exactly, and that’s exactly what we’re doing whenever we’re practicing ceremonial magick. 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 there’s no time lapse between, you know, 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 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 ancient Egypt, whenever they were going through the mummification process, they paid so much attention to preserving the heart while they just chunked the brain. If we can bring those two things into alignment, you know, due to things now like, say, the secret or the law of attraction, things of this nature, people are really getting into visualization, 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 it. 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 they’re both putting out the signal that enhances the message you’re sending out into this quantum field.

Rick: Yeah, 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 reinforcing that.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: Alright, so you and I are obviously segueing into stuff we love talking about, but I want to drag you back to your prison cell just a little bit more.

Damien: Sure.

Rick: Mosquitoes, I heard you mention mosquitoes. Were they bad in there?

Damien: Oh yeah, prisons in Arkansas are way out in the middle of nowhere. They put them out.

Rick: They don’t have screens on the windows or anything.

Damien: Oh no, well, they don’t even have windows, but they’ll have doors like the guards coming in or out or whatever. Mosquitoes get in and say, if you have empty cells in there where 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 can’t even sleep at night because they’re biting your eyelids, they’re biting your lips. It’s the little things like that that you don’t think of when you think of what’s hellish about being in prison.

Rick: They are so little though, I mean mosquitoes can be horrendous.

Damien: No, they’re not, but when you tell someone you’re going to prison, the first thing they think about is, 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 seem 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. There are tons of little things like that that all come together to destroy you physically, psychologically, emotionally when you’re in there. It’s one of those things, even now, when we keep going back and talking about prison, it’s like we keep finding our way off onto other stuff. For me, as hard as this is to describe to people, that’s how it was for me even when I was in prison.

Rick: Yeah.

Damien: In magick, we have a concept called will, and it’s similar to Dharma in Buddhism. It’s what you’re here to do, your path towards… When we think of spiritual practices, we usually think of doing something that is in some way going to make us one with divinity 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.

Rick: I heard you say that a number of times.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: I just want to take issue with that and see what you say, 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 one might ask, well, was Hitler one with God before he was born and then in some kind of divine pure condition and then he incarnated? Some would say that you have a load of karma and impurities and so on even before you reincarnate again and you’re born to work those things out.

Damien: Well, a lot of that sort of stuff is when you’re trying to describe it 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. When we think of ego, we think of, 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.

Rick: Good definition.

Damien: 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 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: You said a good thing, and actually there’s an interesting saying in Vedanta, you know what Vedanta is, right? The sort of philosophy of oneness in Vedic tradition. There’s a phrase called Leysha Vidya, and what it means is faint remains of ignorance, and they say that ordinarily people have a shitload of ignorance, and it’s very obscuring and blinding and so on, but when you become enlightened 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: 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. 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 form this film that you have to work on getting rid of again. I honestly think magick is one of the fastest ways to burn through that ego experience, that layer. In the Eastern traditions, what they call the process of enlightenment, in magick we call it crossing the abyss. The reason it’s called that is because there, 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 magick, 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 magick 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 magick. For example, 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 in Japanese Buddhism.

Rick: And this must have been when you weren’t in solitary because you wouldn’t have been able to see him otherwise.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: Why would it, just keep telling that story but also in the process, tell us why were you in solitary? Because again, you were misbehaving and they didn’t like you or whatever, why weren’t you in with the general population on death row?

Damien: The guys on death row are all in solitary confinement. In the beginning we weren’t because we were at a really old prison. They built a brand new prison with all of these solitary confinement cells.

Rick: They had to use it for something.

Damien: Exactly. So they moved us all in there and used 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 the solitary confinement cells instead of the people that you’re saying are worse behaved.

Rick: Okay, so I’m sorry I interrupted you. You’re going to tell a story about Zen and Zen Master coming.

Damien: You know, during the time that I was practicing Zen, in Rinzai Zen, there are two main forms of training. One is sitting Zazen meditation, the other is Koans, you know, what’s the sound of one hand clapping, things of that nature. I practice Zen for 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 something is going on?” When I decided, “Okay, I’m going to stop Zen altogether. I’m going to focus my attention, my time, my energy 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 it’s shattered, that was your back to conceptual thinking, but I had within three months ceremonial magick 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. That’s great.

Rick: So how did you even know magick existed? Did you know about it before you went into prison or did you somehow discover it when you’re in prison?

Damien: 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. I was so focused. My will has always been magick, to do magick, to practice magick, and I knew this from the time I was a child. When I was probably seven years old maybe, like I said, there are no college degrees in my family. The only real literature you found in our house, my grandmother used to read these horrendous tabloids, not the ones about 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 werewolf boy attacks police, stuff like this. And she would say–

Rick: Something to keep you entertained when you’re in the supermarket checkout line.

Damien: Yes, exactly, exactly, but she didn’t look at it like that. To her, this was like serious business. She didn’t just read them and throw them away. She kept them like a person who would keep a volume of encyclopedias. To her, it sounds crazy to say it and it’s kind of joking, but it’s kind of not at the same time. 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 along the lines of “Want to learn magick? 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 magick was. To me, it could have been Harry Potter, it could have been I Dream of Jeannie or Bewitched, or it could have been anything.

Rick: I mean most people think card tricks, they think Doug Henning, they think David Copperfield. That’s magick for most people.

Damien: I didn’t think that, but 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. If you can do this, then why would you pay attention to anything else? That’s really cool.

Rick: It’s like you came into this life with this purpose ordained for you and that was the first hint of it.

Damien: Exactly. I was doing an interview one time with Duncan Trussell and he asked me, 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 row?” 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 practices as I did. Just one example, going back to a while ago when we were talking about being abused by guards, when I first got there, they just decided they’re going to welcome me to the neighborhood. They do this to people all the time. They take me to the part of the prison they call the hole where you’re in complete, 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. They would come in at midnight or one o’clock in the morning, chain me to the bars of the cell, 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: Must have hurt your kidneys or something to do that maybe.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: Were they hitting you with their fists or with clubs or what?

Damien: Both. They didn’t hit you with clubs that much. Because they break ribs and things. Exactly. Yeah, most of the time it’s either punching or kicking, things like that. But if I would have been out here and I would have experienced something like that, I would have went to a doctor. Yeah. I would went to a dentist. I did not have that luxury in there. That was what pushed me so hard to, really for the first two to three years of the most intense part of my magickal practice, the thing that I was focusing on the most was healing techniques, healing rituals, and I was combining, like we were talking about earlier, I was combining Qigong and ceremonial magick to try to cope with not just heal myself but to cope with the pain that I was experiencing.

Rick: What you must have learned before you went in or you wouldn’t have known anything about it.

Damien: You must have gotten some education in it. So skipping ahead from when I was a child and discovered that magick even existed, when I got to my teenage years you had an explosion of what we now kind of jokingly refer to as “twitches” in the magick community, teenage witches, and you started seeing all this books and literature appear in places like Barnes & Noble and Borders, things that we now consider classics and like neo-paganism and witchcraft, things like Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft or books by Silver Ravenwolf. They’re like ceremonial magick light.

Rick: So you’re reading all of that stuff.

Damien: Exactly, exactly, but it still kind of didn’t scratch the itch that I was looking for. Most of it tended to focus on more of a religious aspect of things, like the more worshipful aspect. Even though there was a little stuff in there about balance, 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. Not that there’s anything wrong with manifesting the life you want to live, but it’s still a very… It’s eventually going to start to feel shallow to you. Whenever you realize, “It’s okay, I can manifest a better job or I can lose weight or whatever it is, but what does that really get me? I’m still basically the same person.” But it was one thing leading to another. 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 magick.

Rick: So you must have practiced that somewhat assiduously, somewhat diligently before this whole criminal thing came up, 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: I think it was like I kind of approached 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, “Oh, okay, everything’s fine,” and just go back to normal life.

Rick: Right.

Damien: I didn’t look at it 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 my cell into a monastery and dedicated every waking moment to magick,

Rick: Which of course is something that monks have done voluntarily for a long, long time, but you were there and you made the best of a bad situation.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: Yeah, I mean do you think, it’s hard to say what would have happened 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…?

Damien: Probably.

Rick: Yeah, so you’re probably in a lot better shape than you are today, now than you would have been.

Damien: Yeah, as hard as it was, like I’m saying, it’s not… you’re not having a good time when you’re being beat half to death or when you’re starving or whenever family members die and you can’t even go to their funeral. 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 it.

Rick: That’s a powerful statement.

Damien: Yeah.

Rick: Okay, so we’ve referred to a magick 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 were you doing for eight hours if you were practicing ceremonial magick, what exactly were you practicing?

Damien: Magick is one of those things that people have been trying to define since the beginning of time, since the dawn of human civilization. The actual techniques, practices, philosophies and everything else associated with ceremonial magick go all the way back to Mesopotamia, to ancient Sumer. Whatever they may have called it, they probably didn’t call it. Exactly, they would have just called it their religion, 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 change is going through the process that in Eastern traditions they call enlightenment, or whether it’s manifesting something like losing weight or a new job or a relationship or whatever it is. For me, the way I define magick as a spiritual practice, not as a manifestation aspect, but as a spiritual practice, magick 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 something is going to fulfill us in some way. This is at the root of karma. 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 and 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. Magick 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 Tara 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 Tara 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 Tara practices, but it’s like a side effect of the Red Tara. Manifesting things is the same way in ceremonial magick. It’s not the reason for it, it’s just like a side effect of it. What you’re doing whenever you’re doing these practices is trying to do something very, very similar to Dzogchen in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. You know, people think that Dzogchen is part of Buddhism, but in actuality it predates Buddhism by several thousand years. It was part of, you know, the original Bon tradition before Buddhism came in and mixed with it. Highly secretive, just like magick. What you are doing when you’re doing magick, think of, for example, if you have a glass of water. If 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 magick. We are invoking elemental, planetary, zodiacal forces into ourselves over and over and over, flushing out an energy that there’s a name for in every single tradition in the world except ours. You know, Chinese call it Qi, Japanese call it Ki, Hebrews called it Ruach, Indians 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, 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, lets everybody hold hands and be friends and sing 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 magick. 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 is 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. Which is what I think that Christ meant by being born again. Exactly. That is exactly what he was talking about. The old you dies and the new you, the form you’re going to take, is reborn. You are completely restructured. 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 conscious, things of that nature. The ultimate goal, like in Dzogchen, 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: Yeah, so let’s pick up a few of the points you made and have you embellish them. So there was a thing about polarities and balancing polarities. I know that Buddha talked of the middle way and in the Gita it talks about, for balance of mind is called yoga, you know, just sort of a, in fact, even samadhi, the word samadhi means a sort of a balanced or steady state of mind or steady intellect. So 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 magick?

Damien: 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 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 disciplined, all patriarchal, all, you know, no fun, everything regimented, then once again that’s not any good, you know, you’re going to end up screwed up from that end too. So you have to find the middle ground, you know, it’s just like the Buddha was talking about the middle way in magick. One of 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 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 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 to, and you know, and once again this uses alchemy metaphors, you know, you are taking two things and combining them together to form a third. That’s what we’re doing with the middle pillar, the middle way, whatever you want to call it.

Rick: Okay, then you use the glass analogy, the glass of water analogy, running it under the sink to purify it as an example of imbibing positive energy or from somewhere.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: So elaborate a bit on what that energy actually is and where it’s coming from.

Damien: 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 self, the next stage that comes from that is 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, L-I-L. It is an ancient Sumerian word that means heaven.

Rick: It’s my grandmother’s name. Really? Lilian, you know, everybody called her Lilian.

Damien: I like that. Yes, it’s a Sumerian word that means heaven or the heavens.

Rick: Nice.

Damien: What I discovered through the process of 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 an intelligence that we refer to as an archangel. Eventually, I always say archangels are like a magickian’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, 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, not just results, but epiphanies, realizations, growth of consciousness, that then I started looking into zodiacal angels. You know, there are archangels that correspond to every single sign of the zodiac. There are the four elemental angels. I’m working with the seven planetary angels. I’m working with the 12 zodiacal 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, where 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, it became the reason for my life. Well, what I realized was that, you know, there are some things that I’m still a little hesitant to talk about. Number one, because they’re deeply, deeply personal, you know, like a really spiritual way. And also, because I understand that they could sound kind of crazy sometimes.

Rick: 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. 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: Okay, so what I experienced then, whenever I worked up to being able to invoke all of these zodiacal 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 life in a prison cell, yeah, go on. 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 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: With your inner vision, because you didn’t have a window.

Damien: Exactly, and as plain as day, across this nighttime sky, I saw a word spelled out. And this was actually after I was out. The word was “enlil,” E-N-L-I-L, and it looked almost like the wind moving across the nighttime sky. It’s the only way that I can articulate it. I had never heard that word before, 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, an aspect of godhood that represented the entire northern celestial hemisphere of stars. Every constellation, every star, every zodiacal 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 more and more information, more and more techniques. Eventually what I found is that…

Rick: Let’s pause for a second. So at this stage that you’re describing, have you been released from prison and you’re still doing stuff?

Damien: Yes.

Rick: Okay, because I know that even when you’re in prison, you got on some kind of Amazon wish list benefactors, put you on there and you started getting a whole lot of books and studying things, learning things. 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 thought, so finish what you’re saying, but then I have a couple questions that spring from the things you were just saying.

Damien: 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 Sumer. In ancient Sumer, the Holy Trinity was Enlil, Anu, and Enki. 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 it would have taken me hours to accomplish using just the archangels.

Rick: 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 encounter plenty of people who think it’s just a lot of imagination.

Damien: I would have too at one point.

Rick: Yeah, 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’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 and so many other things, but just because we can’t perceive them doesn’t mean they’re not there, and it’s sort of arrogant to think that that would be so. And 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 if you hang out in this world that you and I are hanging out in long enough, you begin to meet people that routinely experience these 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 and experienced as trees and no one would question whether or not it exists.

Damien: I think that’s what we’re moving towards. I honestly think that’s what humanity is supposed to be evolving towards. We’re doing it at a really slow rate, but I think for every individual who does experience the phenomena of awakening, disintegration of self, whatever you want to call it, for some reason, we were talking earlier about how not only do we have 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 species 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: Great point, and perhaps the reason it’s relatively easy today and so many people are having awakenings and 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, but now it’s a rather thin membrane and it’s easier to get through.

Damien: Yes. And I actually think these forces, these energies that we’re talking about have existed since there was such a thing as time. We think of angels, for example, as like being primarily Christian or even Christian and Judaic or Christian, Judaic and Islamic, like Abrahamic religion phenomena, and they’re not. They exist in every single tradition in the world all the way back to ancient Sumer. We have depictions now, they were called Lamasu in ancient Sumer, of these figures that look like they are made up of four different animals. They have a bull, a lion, an eagle, and a man. And some of them will have like the body of the bull and the feet of a lion and they’ll have wings on them and 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: That we have known about, but 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, and I mean, jeez, I mean they think that there might be some 40 trillion earth-like planets in our universe, something like that, and undoubtedly people are having conversations and experiences like this on many of those. It’s a universal thing.

Damien: Yes, and even when you’re talking about those four animals that the Lamasu 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 have a lot of people who come to magick because they are sort of fed up with Christianity. 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 magick,” and they don’t even know what that is, and then you tell them, “Okay, we’ll start with these angels,” and they’re like, “No, that’s not what I’m here for.” And I was kind of one of those people. 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. The last thing in the world I wanted was to work with anything that was connected to them or that group or anything in any way. What changed that for me was when I saw how incredibly powerful and effective these techniques were. From that point on, I didn’t care who else was talking about it. For me, it became all about the personal journey.

Rick: Another question just popped into mind, and I have like a half a dozen in my mind that lined up waiting, but did you ever consider 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 were doing, sort of a trial by fire kind of thing.

Damien: Yes, yes, absolutely. I think it was. We think of things like good karma and bad karma, and technically there’s no such thing. There is only karma. 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, because you’re looking at it as like, “Okay, I’m having the living hell beat out of me by this prison guard right now, so in 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 it.

Rick: Yeah, you probably weren’t thinking that well while the boot was there. Later on you thought that.

Damien: Exactly. Yeah, you know we were talking about morphic fields and how a prison has a very dense, low frequency morphic field. Do you feel like that morphic field had a dampening effect on your efforts to rise up spiritually? This is actually a question from Brad Peterson in 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: You know what, that is actually another one of the things that led to me doing magick 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.

Rick: Yeah.

Damien: I didn’t want that soaking into me. So one of the main techniques of magick, when you would first go, the form of magick that I practice is connected to a tradition called the Hermetic Order of 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 magick,” 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 a 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 of the Pentagram, what it does, not only does it purify you, you know, it sort of starts to use alchemical terms like separate 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.

Rick: So it purifies the environment.

Damien: 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 spillage doesn’t start to happen and all of that, you know, the crap around you starts to come back into the space whenever the barrier breaks down.

Rick: 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 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, 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.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: What percentage? How long you been out now?

Damien: Almost eight years. It’ll be eight years on August 19th.

Rick: Okay, and hey, when it’s 18 years I have to have a big party. Yeah, 18 years out, 18 years in.

Damien: Yeah, exactly. I was 18 when I went in, spent 18 years in.

Rick: 36 when you came out.

Damien: There you go.

Rick: Yeah, what was I going to ask you? Oh, let’s just keep going, it’ll come back to me. Something about practicing it and… oh, I know what I was going to ask.


Rick:You’ve been out for eight years and you’ve been talking about this, running around and teaching it and writing books and so on. How many people, what percentage would you say of people who’ve been exposed to your teaching have actually latched on to it and begun to do it diligently as you have?

Damien: Honestly, a very small percentage. I think we need different spiritual traditions. I don’t think there is any religion, any tradition, any anything in the world that can say everybody needs to be doing this.

Rick: Right.

Damien: 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 rate. 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 going to draw them to magick. I honestly think most people are probably going to be drawn more towards Buddhism or Taoism or Christianity or Judaism or a Qabbalah, whatever it is. The people who are drawn to magick, even then, you’re talking about practices that require a great deal of discipline, just like meditation. It’s not something where I can just say, “I’m a magician,” and suddenly reap benefits. Or it’s not like you can say, “I’m a Buddhist,” and you’re going to get years of meditation. You have to do this work. 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. They realize finally, “If I keep doing the same thing I’ve done my whole life, I’m going to keep getting the same thing I’ve always gotten. If I want something new, I got to do something new.”

Rick: Which is that Einstein quote about insanity, doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Damien: Exactly. I think a lot of people have to come to that between a rock and a hard place moment in life whenever they buckle down and say, “What do I have to lose here?” We live in a society where it is not conducive to spiritual practice. We are bombarded with outside forces and energies and things that are competing for our attention constantly. The second you walk out your door now, all you hear people talk about are “Trump, Trump, Trump.” Stuff like that is not going to do anything other than inflame and enrage your lower base instincts, what we call the “Nafesh.” 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, “If I vote the right politician in, then everything’s going to be okay.” You have to be sick of thinking, “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. It takes a while. I would say out of the people who have come to my… I’m trying to think of a number. In the time I’ve been out, all of the classes I’ve done on magick, I’ve been doing these all over the US, I would say I’ve probably had Out of those 2,000, 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 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 5 and 10 percent of that and a good explanation why. Nothing is for everybody and I don’t think you were saying that people who are attracted to magick are necessarily of a higher vibration.

Damien: No. It’s just a different vibration. Exactly.

Rick: It’s a good fit for them.

Damien: I think it’s weird actually, to be honest. I think it’s kind of a weird quirky vibration and 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 magick are people that for some reason or another feel kind of ostracized in some way from other branches of society or from mainstream society. Here’s the thing, I put myself in this category when I say this. I’m not saying this in a judgmental way.

Rick: No, no, you’re an outlier.

Damien: I think the people who do the best with magick are the people that we would call losers, myself included.

Rick: Interesting. It was interesting what you said about people reaching their wits end before turning to it.

Rick: I think that often happens with spirituality. I mean that’s one of the things in AA, people bottoming out 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 Arjuna finally says, “I can’t figure this out.” He just sits down in the chariot and says, “I take refuge in Thee, speaking of the Lord Krishna, you tell me what to do because 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 going to do it for you, then you can make a more radical shift.

Damien: Yep, exactly.

Rick: So the benefits you have derived from magick or that anyone derives from magick, would you say 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 so on and you’re just kind of, not supplicating, but attuning yourself to them so as to be able to receive their benefits or their blessings?

Damien: I would kind of say it’s probably a combination of the two, because number one, 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 ten 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 a 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 of 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 comes to meet you halfway.

Rick: God helps those who help themselves, as you say.

Damien: Yes, indeed, that’s it.

Rick: A question came in from Eric in Stockholm, Sweden. 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: When I first came out I suffered incredibly. When I walked out of prison I was doing magick eight hours a day. The day after I walked out I could not even do it for eight minutes. Something in me shattered. We didn’t realize the extent of the psychological trauma that I was going to experience after spending at it as getting me out, making sure that I’m not killed by the state. We looked at that as the finish line. Once we get there then everything’s going to be okay. We didn’t give any thought to what happens beyond that point. When I’m saying we, I’m talking about myself, my wife, my attorneys, people who had supported us for years. We did not know the toll that it was going to take on me. I can’t tell you exactly what happened. If I had to try, I would say it was probably what people referred to as a nervous breakdown just because of all the symptoms. For example, like you said earlier, I was a bookworm when I was in prison. 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: 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.

Damien: And voice recognition because I hadn’t been 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: Huge adjustment.

Damien: Yes.

Rick: I mean sensory overload alone. Here you are centrally deprived all this time and all of a sudden, boom, you know, everything that we’ve got going on out here in the world.

Damien: Yes, exactly. Yes, it was kind of hellish to be quite honest and you don’t see that coming.

Rick: Yeah, I’ve done long meditation courses where we’re six months and basically meditating all day long, and if you had to go into town in the middle of a course like that to buy a toothbrush, it was like too much. You’d come back to your room and take you a couple days to adjust from the impact of that little experience.

Damien: But who thinks that getting out of prison is going to plunge you into a hell realm?

Rick: Right.

Damien: That’s not something that you’re even grappling with. So I suffered an extreme amount of post-traumatic stress disorder whenever I got out.

Rick: Kind of like the Shawshank Redeption, remember? When they got out. Yes. People were killing themselves when they got out, trying to get back in or whatever.

Damien: And that’s real. You’ll have people that kill themselves, people who will turn around and go 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 horror they know inside than the unfamiliar horrors of life out here.

Rick: So now however, you obviously have adjusted quite well to a large extent and you’re back to practicing a lot of magick. So how did you sort of get back into the momentum of it and how did you accomplish the readjustment? And probably magick helped you accomplish it, right?

Damien: Yeah, it’s kind of an odd thing. We were talking to them all ago about how you’re sort of led from one thing to the other. When we’re talking about combining practices, like something sort of leads 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 Sounds True, the publishing company. And at the end of it, we were doing an interview about magick. We were talking about it. 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 magick?” 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 thought my writing days were over. But I said, “Yeah, sure. I’ll do that.” With no idea how I was going to accomplish it. Like I said, it was taking everything I could. I went from doing magick eight hours a day to not even being able to do it 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. 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, you know, like I said, I hadn’t been doing magick. 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. 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 invocations 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 invocations of angels of Mercury. I sat down. I started talking, and it was like it just vomited forth out. It just came out without any plans, any ideas, what was going to 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’d been out of prison. And all of a sudden, I was able to do magick again.

Rick: That’s great.

Damien: And I honestly think there’s also, going back to Morphic Fields for a moment, 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, Middle America. When I went there, I was not expecting anything.

Rick: It’s kind of a New Age center, like Sedona.

Damien: Yes, it did something to me. There is something about that environment that I really responded to on a very, 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: 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.

Damien: No, no.

Rick: You know, everyone’s heard of black magick and there’s movies about it, and in India there are people you can 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 magick for nefarious purposes?

Damien: Well, going back just a second to the term, the phrase “black magic,” 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. Well, the Egyptians did not call themselves Egyptians. They didn’t call their land Egypt. They call it Kemet. It’s a 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 magickal techniques, magickal 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: But do you think that there is, that some people have used magick or something related to it for nefarious purposes?

Damien: Oh, I’m sure people try it all the time, constantly. You know, like we’re talking about electricity earlier, magick is just energy. People can try to make it, but the thing is you are going to pay a very, very high cost, because going back to quantum entanglement, you cannot affect anyone or anything in the universe without affecting yourself first.

Rick: Oh, sure. You know, we have Harry Potter, we have Lord of the Rings and all these stories about the good and bad, the Star Wars, you know, there’s always the dark side.

Damien: Yes, trying to do the safe guard.

Rick: What safeguards do you use to prevent either yourself or your students from…

Damien: You can’t, because that would be black magick, that would be trying to control someone else’s free will, which is the ultimate epitome of what black magick is, trying to interfere with another person’s free will 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 2,000 people and maybe only know, practice. If I were attached to these teachings, then I would get disheartened. I would say, “Why am I doing this? 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 magick and I’m telling people, “You don’t do magick on other people, you do magick on yourself.” You know, for example, 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 move 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 gonna do a love spell on this woman. I’m gonna 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, 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 magick 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, but it’s like 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. Right.

Rick: Although 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, ideally, to use greater safeguards when you’re selling guns than when you’re selling hammers. So I’m just curious whether there are any safeguards with teaching of magick to make sure that people aren’t going to misuse it in any way.

Damien: Well, if 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 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. They can misuse anything. You can pray that your neighbor dies. That’s misusing prayer. That’s doing black magick. The only thing you can do is say, 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. 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 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: But you know, getting back to your glass of water analogy, I imagine that if a person did have a lot of negative tendencies, if they were to somehow practice this, they would get purified. There’s a story in the Ramayana, the guy who wrote it was named Valmiki and he used to be a highway robber and he would rob and kill people, and 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 and checked with his family, said, “No way, you’re earning a living, that’s great, but we’re not going to take the karma.” So that was a real shock to him. So we went back to the rishis and said, “Holy mackerel, I realize the error of my ways, help me out.” So he was too impure 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 tangen.

Damien: But you’re right though, there’s even Aleister Crowley, probably one of the most infamous names in all of magick, he said at one point, if someone came to him and said, “I want to do magick 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 point.

Rick: Okay, so I’m going to show, 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 … did you actually invent the little script language that we see on this talisman?

Damien: 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 Thebn alphabet, T-H-E-B-N, nicknamed the Witch’s alphabet. It’s an old one that’s been used traditionally in magick for quite a while, but I do use another one that you’ll usually see as a background for my talismans, or you’ll see it all over my tattoos as well, that is of my own design. What talismans are, think of them as batteries. Say for example, you’ve got a friend who is sick, but doesn’t do magick. You can create a talisman for health. Do all of the magick that you would do to heal yourself, only do it on this talisman instead, and then give it to your friend and say, put this under your mattress and sleep on it, or 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 those 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 magick 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 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 magickian 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 hearing all these weird noises.

Rick: Interesting. So talismans and amulets, so in summary, they are things either two-dimensional, I guess in the case of a talisman, or three dimensional in the case of an amulet, which might be a crystal or something, which can be imbued with Shakti or with power or with energy, and they’re like little batteries that can then, that energy can serve some beneficial purpose.

Damien: Exactly, yeah, and the difference in talismans and amulets in magick, 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 double up on it, make it twice as strong. You could make a talisman to bring prosperity to you, and an amulet to banish poverty from you.

Rick: Okay, good. 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.

Damien: Pretty much from the neck down.

Rick: Yeah, and I heard you explain in your book that these tattoos themselves are some kind of talismans and amulets, and that you actually charge or imbue them with energy in order to help you in different ways. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Damien: Well, I have one right here on my forearm that is for the Archangel Michael, and it’s just for protection. Another thing that talismans can be useful for, 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 magickal 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 Eccles. My name was SK931. There were times when I was chained to a chair and had my head forcibly shaved. You were the same clothes as everyone else. 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 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: Incidentally, while we’re on the topic of talismans, everyone’s heard the old magic wand, you know, thing that magicians are supposed to have. You talk about those in your book as being implements that can be charged with energy, and there’s Moses and his staff, which I guess supposedly helped impart the Red Sea or something. And in India, you have Swamis that carry a staff, they’re called Dandi Swamis, and they’re never without their staff. So objects like that can…

Damien: 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 magick 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 magick 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 Stephen Mace. You can find all sorts of books on him on magick 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’s that powerful, why not use it? Why not accumulate that sort of energy to make your work 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: 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 thousands 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. 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 magick people keep on their shrine, there is a kind of oil that, you know, when you’re hearing about anointing oil in different traditions, in ceremonial magick we have an oil called a bromelain 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 magick, so that gradually over time it saturates this oil and you’re basically dealing with bottled magick.

Rick: Yeah, you’re charging it up.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: 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’ll cause us to jump around a little bit because they’re not necessarily all closely related, but I’ll just ask them and you 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: 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 magick 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: 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 of a sudden poof, her sense of personal self just vanished and 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 ten 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 Jean 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…

Damien: Yes, yeah.

Rick: Okay, here’s another question from Declan Cooley in Krakow, Poland. He asks, “It seems like magickal 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 kinds?”

Damien: Well, we use the phrase or the terminology in magick of high magick and low magick. High magick 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 magick is usually anything to bring about some sort of physical change in the world. That’s not to mean that one is better than the other in some way. It’s just an easy way to differentiate what you’re talking about whenever you’re talking about to someone about magick. The main ways that there’s a difference in how you would do this is if you’re doing high magick where you are trying to bring about changes in your consciousness, where you are aiming towards the disintegration of ego, the union with the source of everything, you would focus that more on yourself. You would focus on absorbing it directly into what people in the New Age circles call your aura. You’re eating it. 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, just 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. It’s really big right now, people talk about using things like, what do they call them, dream boards, where they’ll say pin pictures up of whatever it is you’re visioning.

Rick: Vision boards or something.

Damien: That’s a talisman, that’s all it is, it’s a talisman that you’re directing energy into, so maybe that’s what works best for you. Maybe doing what I do and creating these squiggly lines and doing magick on that is what’s going to work best for you. Maybe doing it on a rock is what’s going to work best for you. Experiment with them, see what brings you the best results and that’s what you stick to.

Rick: 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. When you got back out of prison and 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 Lori who was saying that you had had this incredible love story while you’re in prison, but then when you got into the nitty-gritty of actually living together after a while things got kind of tense and you treated each other badly and eventually got into marriage counseling and stuff. So did you find that your ego kind of reassembled or did you cross some threshold which you retreated from?

Damien: No, when I was in 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, like that suddenly experiencing life in the present moment for the first time. Or suddenly… Lori 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 magick 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 for eight years. What happened whenever I got out and had that breakdown 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. Lori was experiencing really hard times too. She’s living with someone who doesn’t know how to function in the world. 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, it 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. 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.

Rick: Yeah, and if you really, I mean obviously there’s some relationships that should end, but there can be relationships that are very difficult but they are really a blessing because if you hang in there and work through stuff, you undergo, just like your prison internment was a blessing because it really forced you to make changes you otherwise would not have made, relationships can be like that where it really pounds the crap out of you and you end up a much better person as a result of going through that and hanging in there.

Damien: 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. 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: Yeah, and while we’re on this topic, I just want to say that Lori seems like a real unsung hero to me. I mean, there’s a beautiful article which can be found, a link to that can be found on your website, but 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 commend her.

Damien: She did more work, just getting away from all the spiritual stuff for just a second and getting to the hardcore nuts and bolts of reality and life in prison. She did more work on my case than 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: Wow, that’s amazing. Beautiful, and they still haven’t caught the guy.

Damien: Nope, not yet.

Rick: Okay, some more questions. I’m having fun here, you can go a little longer, not too much longer.

Damien: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: 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.

Damien: 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 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 unconscious, and it’s the equivalent of, 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 Mark Antony.” 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… 4; Also, people don’t want to just say they were a plumber in Egypt, they want to be Cleopatra.

Damien: Exactly, 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. Try to feel what it would be like if you went through the process backwards. 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 of and that’s one of them. Interesting. Yeah, as you said, I mean it’s of dubious value to do that. T

Rick: here’s a reason why we don’t remember them 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, Declan Cooley. He wants to know, “Can you say something about synchronicity and its connection to magick?” There’s two questions here, so first answer that one.

Damien: Well, synchronicity, what it comes down to is it’s a very, very, very light form of the phenomena that we call attaining knowledge and conversation of your holy guardian angel. In magick, when 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 it. I tell people the only difference in a magic]ian 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: Okay, and here’s his second question, “Is working with archangels your most recommended way to do magick?”

Damien: Absolutely, it is. I think 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 magick, 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 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. This is one of the ways, going back to the people in the class as 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. There was a girl in the class, she had been to every class I had done for years. She wasn’t saying this in any way to bring attention to herself or anything. She 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.”

Rick: Yeah, interesting. Here’s a weird question and then I’ll explain why I’m asking it. Have you managed to stop smoking cigarettes?

Damien: Yeah, I haven’t had a cigarette in at least 20 years.

Rick: Wow, way to go. Well, the reason I asked was I wondered if magick 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: No, I actually stopped on my own. I decided one time when Lori 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 experience 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 those things. 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: Good, keep you alive a lot longer too that you’ve stopped.

Damien: Yeah.

Rick: 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 no intent to reform? Right, because they’re just going to kill you, so they don’t try to reform you. So how would you restructure the prison system?

Damien: 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. 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… I’ll give you one example. They know that the more connections you have, there have been all sorts of psychological studies that show 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. That’s the main thing they use for punishment. If they decide we’re going to punish you for something, you’re no longer allowed access to your family. That’s the number one thing. They are doing things to deliberately 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. 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. They’ll be in our churches, they’ll be in our schools, they’ll be in our grocery stores, wherever. So it’s probably not the best idea to drive them insane with torture before bringing them back out into that.

Rick: And as we know, the US has one of the highest per capita prison rates in the world.

Damien: Exactly.

Rick: I don’t know if there’s not very many other countries who have it as bad. The first time I ever met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 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 become healthier in every dimension. And one of Michael Moore’s documentaries not long ago, he went to Sweden I believe it was, and he was showing the prison there. Did you see that? Yeah, it’s a really nice setup. You’ve got these guys who committed fairly serious crimes but they’re in the kitchen cooking with sharp knives and they have internet and they have exercise and they have all kinds of good things, and I believe their recidivism rate is a heck of a lot lower than ours.

Damien: Yes, I haven’t seen the documentary but that’s what I was going to bring up. The Scandinavian prisons are set up more like college campuses than prisons. People actually receive a living wage. 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, 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 own nothing, like in 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.

Rick: Yeah, and God, it’s 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 in the Birdman of Alcatraz, if you ever saw that movie, he became one of the world’s experts on birds through his own motivation. And the same with the educational system in general. I mean anything that shortchanges 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 educated as possible. Yes, yep. Okay, we’re getting on our soapboxes here, aren’t we? Well, we’ve gone on for quite a while, Damien. 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 in the context of a relatively short interview like this that you’d like to mention that you haven’t?

Damien: Just that if people want to find me on social media, I do have accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and I just use my name like @DamienEchols, they can find me there.

Rick: I’ll have a page on that and I’ll link to all that stuff.

Damien: Very good, and the only other thing I could think of is just saying thank you to everyone for listening to this, for being interested in this, and especially thank you to the people who have supported me the entire time I was in prison, all the way up until now, years after my release, just thank you everyone so much.

Rick: Yeah, well thank you. I find you inspiring.

Damien: Thank you.

Rick: I think I’ve really enjoyed getting to meet you like this and I hope we get to meet in person one of these days.

Damien: Me too.

Rick: Maybe I’ll get you out to the Science and Non-Duality Conference, you ever hear that?

Damien: Yeah, no I haven’t.

Rick: I’ll send you some information, you could speak at it. Very good. Yeah, cool. Alright, well thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. Next week I’ll be speaking with a woman from South Africa named Anna Breitenbach and she’s an animal communicator, which 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 look her up and see some documentaries, you might even want to do that 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’ll find some useful things such as being able to sign up for the audio podcast, being able to 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 thanks, thanks for listening, thanks for your time, thanks again Damien.

Damien: Thank you.