Falcon Books is presenting a series of discussions from Falcon Books authors exploring their work and discovering more about their writings.
Presenting today an interview with William R. Mistele, author of Stories of Magic and Enchantment.
Hello William, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions regarding your latest publication, Stories of Magic and Enchantment.
1. Falcon Books. As we begin, could you please explain the significance of stories and the part they play in discussing other realms?
William Mistele: I write about using stories as a contemplative tool for understanding one’s own life. My essay on this approach is in McKee Psychology—McKee Psychology .
Also, I briefly describe 12 Earthzone spirits who specialize in the art of writing as mentioned by Franz Bardon in his book, The Practice of Magical Evocation.
In a sense, a story is a transmission—what is in one person is shared with another person. In one story from my next book, Mermaid Tales, a professor at a magic university says to his writing class:
Story is about you and me. Go inside any individual and you will find the story of that person’s life. What love, trust, innocence, and oneness has he lost or does he seek? Where is he now and where are these things within his hopes and dreams?
Put simply, a story is a progress report on the extent you have overcome your conflicts. It is intensely personal. You are sharing your deepest motivations, innermost dreams, and the essence of your being.
Listen well. It is not just that there is a story hidden in each person. It is through listening to other’s stories and to our own that we turn our own life into a story worth telling.
Now then, we are going to break into groups of two for an hour. Ask each other this question: ‘What can you share with me that offers a new way of perceiving, thinking, and feeling?’
Stories are magical. They transmit the wisdom and experience of one generation to the next and the inspiration in one person’s heart is set afire in another’s.
In my story, On Becoming a Man, there is a negotiation between two generations. A man’s son is facing puberty. He wants the wisdom of his father’s generation passed down to him so he can make the transition into becoming a man.
The father has met many important people in different countries around the world. But, as the two talk, it becomes clear that the father has no such wisdom to give. The son persists. And so they negotiate a deal. The father will create a foundation for the son to oversee. It will bring together the wisest men from all traditions on earth and record their seminars and teachings.
In effect, in response to the son’s questions, the father endows a magic university. The task is to rewrite and update the curriculum for the Freemasons so that it conveys a set of practices that are available, universal, and user friendly. Anyone who wishes to be transformed will then have the means to do so.
This is not just a story. This is the essence of the lifelong conflict between my father and myself. He was a 32nd degree Mason and yet he did no spiritual practice of any kind to hand down. And so a story is a way of imaginatively finding solutions to problems that otherwise have no solution. Kind of like—“We did it this way. Now let’s try to imagine what would have happened if we did it another way that actually produced satisfying solutions.”
If you have a problem, help others solve that problem and you become so wise in the process your own problems vanish.
I collect stories about the lives of these incarnated mermaids. Some of the stories turn into novels and movie scripts. But, you see, in helping others understand the part they have to play in this world I can better understand my own role. By spending five years interviewing thirty-five women, I can finally answer for myself the question, “What is missing from life?” It was never about my life. It is about what the human race is missing in its soul and desperately needs if it is to attain harmony with itself.
How does story relate to other realms? For example, in regard to the mermaid realm, Franz Bardon warns his students that contact with the beauty of the mermaid queens may distract them from seeking any further spiritual development.
My response? Yes. Watch out. But it is just as easy to become distracted by any relationship with a woman and especially with incarnated mermaids. My stories about mermaids lay out the entire spectrum of the wonders of love, the power of emotional life, and dangers from obsession that come with contact with this magical realm hidden within nature.
2. Please explain your inspiration behind this title?
William Mistele: Stories of Magic and Enchantment: The word magic for me conjures up the image of Gandalf in Tolkien lighting up the tip of his staff to illuminate a dark cave. Franz Bardon has an exercise along those lines.
Magic is in ordinary life. It appears as synchronicity, luck, and good fortune. From time to time, miraculous events occur and we are also watched over—sometimes we are warned not to make things worse or take them the wrong way.
When you fall in love you enter a kind of magical space. There is a heightened awareness and an amplification of sensory perception. Empathy kicks in and you can see the other person as a part of yourself.
Stories of Magic and Enchantment is about what happens when you take ordinary life and add additional dimensions of awareness to it. You are with another person but that person brings with her the perceptions and feelings of an entire kingdom outside of human awareness. Or you look into a mirror or through another person’s eyes and you suddenly see your own life from a totally different perspective. Or someone asks you a certain question or responds to you in a remarkable way and as a result you become a different person.
In mediation involving conflict resolution, there is a point where I as the mediator often say, “If this person were to do such and such for you, what would you be willing to do in return?” This same negotiation can be carried with the divine world. Either side can initiate the process—“If I do such and such for you, what would you be willing to do for me in return?”
Jacob to the angel: “If I wrestle successfully with you, what kind of blessing are you willing to give me?” Or Balaam to God: “If I enter your Presence from which all purposes and karmas arise, to what extent am I then permitted to change the fate of nations?”
Or in the stories about the ancient Order of women: “If I dream your innermost dreams and give all that I am to you fulfilling your deepest needs, would you be willing to do good rather than evil?” Now that is a great question and I continuously explore that kind of magic.
3. I think sometimes your work is not fully understood and missing the insights in them. Could you explain to reader some of the lessons they contain?
William Mistele: I think at the heart of the book is the beatitude I wrote:
Blessed are those who meet others in their darkest place and walk beside them back into the light, for there is no greater or more sacred celebration of life.
We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat the food offered to us by the earth, and benefit from the energy of the sun. And, without the astral plane, our souls would not exist. There would be nothing to support our inner life after we have died.
This book is about the power of empathy. Empathy is not passive. It is an expression of the authority underlying the universe. “To see” that the life within others is the life within ourselves is one of life’s greatest insights. To know yourself, to be yourself, is to cherish the life within everyone. But each person has to discover this in his own way and in his own time.
4. Falcon Books: I wonder if you could also elaborate on the value of your titles for those studying the Franz Bardon System and how they would benefit from reading these books. Since many principles pertaining to the steps are outlined within them.
William Mistele: Magical equilibrium—balancing the four elements within the soul—plays a strong role in the first two chapters of Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics. My first book, Undines, is a textbook on the psychological, spiritual, and magical properties of the water element.
My insight from studying incarnated mermaids is that if you master an element you have in effect joined yourself to that element as it operates in nature. Like the incarnated mermaids, once you attain astral immortality—being joined from within to nature—you never lose it. The life within you is self-renewing and joined to an inexhaustible source of energy.
You can develop the elements within yourself without focusing on nature, but I have not met anyone who has mastered an element who is not also joined to nature from within. In my book, Mermaids, Sylphs, Gnomes, and Salamanders, I explore each of the four elemental realms side by side.
And studying these four realms, I arrive at a rather startling conclusion. Each of the four elements on earth is amazingly dynamic and magical. But the four elemental realms are not aligned. The kings and queens within each elemental realm to not communicate with each other. It is then the task of magicians to speak with and make these beings his friends. In so doing, he also enables them to interact and understand the principles governing each other’s realms and the part they play in the greater biosphere.
The other conclusion I draw is that there are many advanced races that come to earth to incarnate. But usually their home worlds are very uniform and integrated. They share a strong identity with each other. But in their magical and spiritual training, no one asks them, as Bardon asks his students, to become like the kings and queens of the four elements.
On earth, we not only will one day have scientists who terraform the biosphere, controlling weather and volcanic eruptions. We will also have magicians who from within themselves can control hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. This is not just a possibility offered by Franz Bardon’s training system. The planet itself offers this level of magical power and wisdom to whatever race dwells here.
But we can also see the conflict between the four elemental realms in society. There is the air element of the scientists and artists, the fire element of the CEOs, generals, and political leaders, the earth element of those who find their greatest joy in working to make something of value that endures, and the water element of those who exist to love—these four “kinds” of human beings rarely communicate with each other.
So in meeting the kings and queens of the four elements we are in effect coming into contact with the archetypes, the primordial forms, of what is hidden within us. To know ourselves will involve to some extent knowing these great magical powers which exist in the natural world that surrounds us.
5. Falcon Books: There are a number of stories that that stand out for me. One being The Oracle, where the gangster, ‘Alessio’, seeks guidance from the Oracle regarding his path. How do you think this relates to the Hermetic practitioner and how we apply this wisdom in our own lives?
William Mistele: I sometimes meet extremely gifted young magicians who ask me for advice. And I tell them, “You will not believe how many difficulties life is going to place before you if you choose to practice magic.”
The hermetic path requires a great deal of self-reflection. It is like keeping a running balance sheet that tracks your strength and weaknesses and your vices and virtues. And this is because magic accelerates your learning process.
A “Saturn return” occurs every thirty years or so. It is a time when you face the question about whether your life is based on your deepest values. What is a distraction or non-essential seems to get stripped away. But this is what a magician is expected to do for himself—to take a hard, detached look at his own life, motivations, and actions.
The hermetic path is like seeing yourself with the detachment of a mirror. But this magical mirror of self-reflection has another side. It also shows you your “better self,” the person you will one day be when you have solved your problems, resolved your conflicts, and embody the highest and most dynamic inspiration that is right for you. And this is asking a very great deal that someone conjure up this degree of detachment and this degree of inspiration and join the two together.
Some of the incarnated mermaids actually “see” my future self as they talk to me. I asked myself, “Who is she talking to?” And then I realize part of her is in the future in the presence of the person I will one day be. For myself, akasha—the fifth element—provides this insight into one’s true self. Akasha is like quantum reality—all possibilities are present. Kind of like, “Here you are now as you know yourself; but there is also another you present—the perfect you who has mastered all of life’s lessons.”
In my story, The Oracle, a man enters this trancelike space of self-awareness where the voice of silence within him, the oracle, says that his better self has always been waiting to meet him. In practicing magic, you will meet your “better self.” And you must learn to do this because you can expect encounters with the very worst that you have been or could be.
6. Another wonderful tale is the story of Farmer Jack Allen who twice has an encounter with a Sylph. I wonder if you could explain a bit more about these two stories and the natures of both Jack Allen and the Sylph, and how understanding them will aid the magician in his practice.
William Mistele: These stories are quite personal. As I mentioned earlier, I just did a five-year project studying incarnated mermaids.
One of these women asked me when we first met, “Are you a merman?” “No,” I replied. “I am the fifth element.” I do not think any of the incarnated mermaids have the faintest clue as to who or what I am. It is because their empathy senses the astral body of the person before them, seeking to heal and make whole and alive that individual. But the water element seems to lack a normal level of curiosity.
The incarnated sylphs, by contrast, have an airy quality that picks up more on the other individual’s mind. With a mermaid, you feel the other’s love and aura flowing through you. With a sylph, she is more like a tuning fork. You hold two tuning forks next to each other and hit one and the second one will start resonating with the first one. The sylph uses a kind of mental telepathy.
I have met four incarnated sylphs. Each has had a tremendous influence me—extremely ecstatic because they blend and make themselves one with you; and painful because their freedom and independence is not negotiable. They are like a muse that enters your life purely to inspire (in powerful and dramatic ways) but never to be a friend.
The water element through its presence says, “Here is love, innocence, and feeling fully alive.” The air element through its presence says, “Here is freedom, harmony, and joy.”
In these stories about sylphs, I am sharing what it would look like if my experiences occurred to someone in the ordinary world. Farmer Jack Allen is a “sylph magnet.” He has that quality of mind that is open and clear as the sky. And so sylph women show up at his door. They come down from the sky, as some of the incarnated sylph women have done with me, to spend some time with him before they leave—departing to return to their realm of freedom.
7. Falcon Books: I wonder if you could share with us one of your favorite tales within Stories of Magic and Enchantment and explain to us why it is so special to you.
William Mistele: In The Ancient Order of Women, part III: Sa and Radea, a member of a secret Order of women confronts the kind of man who plays a role in bringing about the destruction of Atlantis. After five thousand years of entering the dreams of the most powerful men in Atlantis and inspiring them to do good, these magical women of enchantment, who can dissolve malice, finally meet their match.
There was an ancient order of women
Whose magical beauty was so great
They could dissolve all malice and hate.
Radea was beyond the reach of their love. Now here is the fun part. You see, this is not just writing, literature, and a story. I am in the middle of a battlefield where opposing sides are fighting for the soul of the human race and for who gets to shape human destiny. This is an actual practice. I work with women who are adept at lucid dreaming. They literally enter the dreams of dictators and presidents seeking to free them from their false attachments and to inspire them to do good rather than to do evil.
Whatever motivated Plato to share his stories about Atlantis, it is also true that Plato wanted to unite the Greek city states into a Republic, something ancient Greece never accomplished. Plato uses the story of Atlantis to say, “See. Political unity has been established before. So it is possible in the present as well.”
In a similar way, I am saying through my stories, “See. The human spirit is so great in the past, in the present, and in the future that there will appear human beings whose very nature is to resolve conflicts, to end wars, and to establish peace and justice.”
My stories are an invitation to those who would like to use magic to establish justice on earth. As is the task of air element, my stories get into the details of what that might feel and look like in practice.”
8. What psychological “space” do you enter when you write?
William Mistele: Obviously, writing is hard work. As my copy editor once said, “Write so that the reader understands what you are saying without having to think about it.” To publish a book I have to reread the final manuscript at least seven or eight times. That is the craft part of writing.
But most of the time I write in a semi-trance or from an alternate state of awareness. Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher, liked to point out that if you cannot find a way to share with others what you experience, then that experience is lost to the world.
Consequently, when I meditate, I will experience an insight, realization, or kind of contemplative ecstasy. For example, in the story, The Temple of Saturn, I may be visiting what Bardon calls the sphere of Saturn. And from within that planetary vibration, I am looking back at my life here on earth with a different kind of feeling and understanding that is not part of ordinary awareness.
There is that clarity of a mirror which is purely reflective without any personal attachment. And at the same time there is a voice that speaks from that detachment. It says, “Experience life to whatever extent you can. Discover what makes your happy and gives you satisfaction. Find some things worth doing that are right for you and totally captivating. But also discover your deepest lessons and then take the time and make the effort to learn them.”
It is like you walk into a graveyard and then look back at your life as if it is over. But actually you are in a dream and a voice says to you, “Now that I have your full attention, let’s talk about the deeper meaning of your life, what you were meant to and can still accomplish.”
That perspective I often run into when I meditate. Saturn is so involved with me it is like I have become an agent of Saturn on earth. So how does a writer communicate his encounter with the aura of Saturn and the presence of is 49 Judges?
A story comes to me. In ancient Rome, there were temples that celebrated the mysteries. And one of these was the temple of Saturn. Here is my experience in the present placed in a historical context so that it is shaped in a way that others can follow and experience with me. That is one side of writing—taking an inner, subjective experience and finding a way to share it so that what the writer feels and perceives the reader feels and perceives as well.
The other side of writing is pure inspiration. One of the earthzone spirits, Zagriona, said to me, “Oh. You want to succeed in writing? You were once a bard. Here—I give you that ancient voice so that you can use it again in this world.” And from that moment I spontaneously started writing a lot of poetry. You can sense that in my story and poem, “I Shall Never Taste” that moves from one sensual image to another with the intent to evoke a hypnotic sense of wonder and awe.
And a third aspect of writing involves the air element. If you imagine you are weightless, suspended, or floating in the air—as light as a soft breeze gently moving through the leaves of a tree as if those leaves are a wind chime and you a musician turning touch into music. Again, it is being totally detached and yet in the same moment fully engaged with the nuances of each sensory impression.
That “spirit” of the air element allows you to look at the world with a sense of wonder as if it is happening in a new and original way right now that has never occurred before. It is that sense of touching life with tenderness. It is “There is no greater pleasure than the thrill of discovering the way the world is new in each moment.”
This is a purely astral experience and sensory mode of perception. The great sylph Cargoste, who holds the entire atmosphere of the earth within his consciousness, puts it this way: “The universe is on the verge of exploding because of the joy it contains.” But also the mermaid queens have this sense of being in the moment—“The universe is on fire with wonder, beauty, and ecstasy.”
This is the space which I often enter when I meditate. And from this sense of the wonder of being alive experiences come to me which I fashion into stories and poems so that they can be shared and not lost to the world.
To find out more about William please visit his Author page where you can find many links to his work.
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