It’s Always the Beginning of the World

Dear Friends:

This is Tobias, writing to wish you all a very happy New Year, and bring some interesting news. But first:

This month’s Museletter is from Larry Hass, Associate Dean:

Larry Hass in London
Photo credit: Arto Airaksinen

“Its Always the Beginning of the World”

Dear Friends in Magic and Mystery,

Happy New Year! This edition of the Museletter should arrive in your mailbox on the first day of 2012. This is a big deal and a beautiful thing: turning the page, a fresh start, the beginning of a new year.

If you are like me, the past few weeks have been extremely busy with a slate of holiday parties, shopping and planning, then perhaps traveling, or hosting friends and family. All of this is a pleasure, but over the years I have come to find an even deeper pleasure in making some good time during New Year’s week to think about renewal.

You see, I have never been one for New Year’s “resolutions.” That practice always seems tinged by regret, self-scolding, and stern promises that can be hard to maintain—which thus leads to further regret and scolding. Instead, I prefer to use these days to carefully meditate on my forward path in life and in magic. What would I like to experience on this journey? How can I reconnect with things that really matter to me? How can I transform a goal or a dream into something real?

In the spirit of my meditation, I would like to share some of my own practices for renewal in life and magic. I hope you find them helpful as you start 2012.

1. “What do I really need right now?” Over the years, I have found the “What do I really need” question to be very healing and helpful. It is easy to get lost in others and their needs, in duties and responsibilities. It can be restorative to ask what you really need, and what your exploration of magic really needs. Perhaps it is more time to practice, perhaps it is a script for one of your new pieces, perhaps it is time with a director or a teacher. . . . The beautiful thing about asking yourself this question, and listening to the answer, is that it usually becomes obvious how to get what you need.

2. Re-arrange and restore. I always take time around New Years to put away all the props from my December shows, to go through the piles of papers and magazines that have built up, to weed through my bookshelves and trick drawers, to put books and DVDs back on the shelves, to throw things out or give them away. For me, this just feels good. I am making room for new things and liberating myself from old ones. For me, this isn’t a “chore” or a labor. It is an opportunity to make way for my fresh start.

3. Read a great magic book; study a great DVD. Nothing is more inspirational than reading a great magic book or sinking into a worthwhile DVD set. Perhaps there are one or two you have been meaning to explore, but haven’t yet had the time to do so. Well, now is a good time! For me, I always make it a classic work—something that will be good for my soul and also good for my knowledge base.

4. How am I going to learn and grow? Education, and the growth that comes from learning, is one of the great goods in human life. Like health, learning is both “good in itself” and “good for all the consequences it brings.” (That makes it one of the highest goods according to Plato.) I have discovered that it is important to make a concrete plan for my own growth and learning in the year ahead, either through experiences, classes, or working with teachers and directors. What will you do to learn and grow in 2012?

I hope you already feel how different this renewal approach is from stern resolutions and failed promises. It is about touching base with yourself and taking stock. It is about making the time to engage in reflections and practices that will feel good and help you get what you need. It brings peace and pleasure, and it is a great thing to share and discuss with your loved ones.

One of the most dispiriting things in magic (and in modern life) is the incessant grind of information overload, the battery of our psyches at the hands of constant selling and advertising, and all the messages you are failing and lacking because you don’t own, can’t perform, or haven’t achieved this or that. This New Year season can be a special time to reconnect with yourself and your gifts, to remember, in the spirit of Gautauma, that “you are already a magic Buddha.” And to remember the deep truth articulated by Rob Brezsny (in his book Pronoia) that “it is always the beginning of the world.”

As always, Larry brings us interesting and useful thought on improving our magic. If you haven’t yet had a chance to attend one of our master classes when he is in residence, you’re certainly in for a treat!

And, speaking of classes: We have one coming up mid-January that is still has slots available. It will be the rare class taught by Jeff McBride alone, with the rest of us coming in for Q&A via Skype. But, since there ARE a few slots left, this is a great opportunity for a few students to get more intense, one-on-one attention from Jeff personally, in the context of a master class. I really can’t think of a better way to quickly “up your game” for the new year.

We’ve recently seen a spurt of growth in viewership and participation in our “Mystery School Monday” streamed broadcasts (also available 24/7 as archived material at Watch this space in the coming weeks as we prepare something brand new for that fast developing branch of the Magic & Mystery School.

Finally: We’re looking for a few strong magic organizations with leaders not afraid to take on sponsorship of the “McBride Magic Experience.” As a result of Jeff’s working with George Parker recently in Amsterdam, we are currently re-thinking this event in order to make it easier for our sponsors to present, and to get students maximum exposure to Jeff’s work – as performer, lecturer and teacher. The “McBride Experience” has become one of our favorite ways to get Jeff’s work seen, and it usually takes less risk, with a far larger potential for gain, than having in a lecturer alone. Visit our page at to learn more.

That’s all for now: All of us at the McBride Magic & Mystery School send you best wishes for a very happy and successful 2012!


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