Danger, Fear and Masks

The most dangerous killers in our world today are invisible to the naked eye… and the truth is that masks are really saving lives all over the world! 
 
Wearing a mask certainly transformed my life… but in a very different way! By creating my Mask & Magic act, I avoided the plague of becoming a run-of-the-mill magician.  

The “magic behind the mask” became my brand and signature effect, and a powerful symbol for me in the world of magic. In today’s pandemic world, the power and symbolism behind wearing a mask takes on new meaning.
 
Wearing a mask is now an everyday event. 
 
I have been reflecting on my relationship to the mask. This little video will give you a smile. It is my public service announcement.

Good Guys Wear Masks

MAGIC NEWS – Student Spotlight
 
The Mystery School was well represented at the recent Abbott’s convention. Daryl Rogers, James Ember, and Elliott Hunter all performed on the big stage.
 
Congratulations to Elliott Hunter for bringing back the first-place gold medal in stage magic!

We predict many good things ahead for you Elliot! Elliott will be in Las Vegas this week studying with me, one-on-one, here at the Magic and Mystery School.
 
We re-open our doors in September for live, in-person experiences here in Las Vegas with a special class on card magic for close-up and parlor. 
 
When you come to Vegas, plan to stop in and take a class, we can arrange a special one-on-one session for you here:
https://www.magicalwisdom.com/about/private_sessions.

WARNING!!
He is a dangerously clever man.
He is a master of the art of deception.
He is a trickster, an iconoclast and one of the most brilliant minds in magic! Now he is our very special guest at our Magic & Mystery School fall semester.

Dan Harlan is one of the great inventors of our time. He also happens to be one of the nicest people, and one of the most giving and sharing of any magicians I’ve ever met. Dan was with us at the very early Mystery Schools and brought a delightful dimension of mischievousness to our Mystery School community.
 
The tradition continues at The Magic & Meaning Conference and our Weekend of Wisdom.
 
Dan Harlan will attend both events and present two completely different programs! He will also be here with us live to share magic in small groups… Not only teaching his wonderful magic but helping you with yours.
 
Dan is just one of many super talented and brilliant performers that you will be working with at our fall events
 
Notice!! 
You want to attend these events!
GO HERE and Register now
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/…/magic-meaning-2021…
 
These are exceptional community events where we create a safe place for serious play. If you want to become a better magician, then you will want to join us.

Abigail and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this month! Thank you everyone for the kindnesses you have shown us over the many years.

We send you our blessings and magic from our cozy home in Vegas.

Final Words
If you are having a party, show, or special event this fall, I’m here to let you know that I am now performing again at both LIVE and VIRTUAL events. Just email me Jeff@mcbridemagic.com, or call Abigail at 702-450-0021.

See you onstage or in Las Vegas!

Jeff and Abigail McBride

Conferences vs. Conventions

From Dr. Larry Hass, Dean of the Mystery School
 
As I write this, July is turning to August and I’m looking ahead to the cooler days of September and October. I am also hungry to re-fill my tank after a busy several months.
 
As many of you know, Margie and I moved to Washington, D.C. in early June. And when I wasn’t working on both sides of that, I spent every spare minute finalizing Eugene Burger: Final Secrets, which has just gone off to the printer for release on Halloween 2021. That’s right, friends: the wait is nearly over! (It is available to pre-order right now at www.TheoryandArtofMagic.com.

This all has been exciting, but I am definitely ready to recharge. When I was a college professor, my favorite way to do so, was by attending conferences that focused on my areas of interest.
 
“Conferences” are different than “conventions,” which are built around serving members and membership. Instead of that, conferences focus on bringing diverse people together to talk, deliberate, and inspire solutions to problems or new ways of thinking. They are about each one bringing their gifts and laying down swords in the service of learning.
 
From the very beginning, the Mystery School has been informed by the spirit of Conferre—the medieval Latin word for this pilgrimage on behalf of learning. But in 2006 we made it official by founding the annual Magic and Meaning Conference—where we come together to listen and learn from each other, as we attempt to perform magic that matters and connects to life, rather than getting lost in the echo chamber of tricks and trickery.
 
And it is that time once again: the team is preparing for this year’s conference, which will be held online, September 24-26, 2021. (Last year’s online event was a smash hit—the school’s most fully attended program of the year.) As usual, the Magic and Meaning Conference will feature 18 of our famous PEP Talks (the Ted-style Talks of Magic). It will also include magic shows, magic teaching, and breakout groups for meaningful conversation. This year the conference will feature “The Festival of Coins,” in which we will celebrate this fourth archetypal tool of the magician. And I am delighted to announce here that this year’s Guest of Honor is Dan Harlan.

Dan Harlan is known and admired by magicians all over the world. He is the host of Penguin Magic: Live and Penguin Magic: Live Acts, and he is an extremely knowledgeable magician who has been innovating excellent magic for over 30 years, including “Starcle,” “Cardtoon,” and nothing less than the entire Tarbell Course on video! But you might not know that Dan was an early “Mystery Schooler,” and we are delighted to have him back. 
 
So that is our long-standing, well-known conference, but in just a few weeks the school is hosting a new one: the First Inclusivity and Diversity in Magic Conference (August 27-29, 2021.) A few months back, faculty member Paul Draper brought the idea for this conference to our “table,” and we empowered him to transform his vision into a reality.

Paul gathered a first-rate, star-studded leadership team to craft a three-day conference experience that would inspire new thinking about ways to make our art more inclusive. The conference program—panels, performances, lectures—will highlight historical and present-day magicians who are women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and individuals living with disabilities. The conference is open to anyone interested in learning.
 
Learn more about the leadership, presenters, schedule, and register, here:
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/the-first-annual-inclusivity-and-diversity-in-magic-conference-idm-con
 
This is going to be a tremendous event, and I can’t wait to experience what Paul and the Team have created for our community. Personally, I want to listen carefully and learn from each individual to expand my understanding of the issues, so I can be a better Dean for our School, and a better colleague for all our friends in magic.
 
So… the Fall Semester at the Magic & Mystery School is almost upon us! Please bring your gifts, set aside your swords, and SIGN UP NOW (https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/magic-meaning-2021-live-online) to join us at these upcoming events. If there is anything I can foresee it is this: you will be renewed for the season ahead!

McBride Magic Expands Your Mind

My friends, it is time to expand your mind and to expand your horizons!

Let’s start with asking this question:
How will you spend your summer vacation? Will you do the “same old” or will you be doing something new and exciting?

I have a few thoughts for you. People have been asking me if Vegas is “back to normal?” Has Vegas ever been normal? Vegas is exciting, invigorating, inspiring but never ever normal. But, things are “opening up” and we have some fun events for you to participate in, both online and in person.

You have one last chance–Our hit show Jeff McBride – MagicQuest is making one appearance only this summer and that will be July 28th.

MAGIC QUEST- the mind-expanding magic show, is now online. Be part of the ONLY show this summer season.

https://tinyurl.com/MagicQuestJeffMcBride

Just in case you missed it, here is a quick peek at the show:

Sisters of Mystery
Women have always played an important part in the world of magic, and now their ranks are growing like never before! More and more women are developing interest, and exploring the art of magic. Abigail has been hard at work all year lining up a super array of talented women for this extraordinary conference.

We are the Sisters of Mystery,
born from the deep beginnings of the Oracle at Delphi,
and the Tarot’s High Priestess. We, the Women of Magic,
announce and affirm our presence, our potential and our power.
In a circle of safety and sisterhood we will join together,
while the waning moon is high in the sky,
to share our stories and our secrets,
to help each other become wiser,
to build new webs of friendship and fun,
and to celebrate all that we have been,
all that we are, and all that we are becoming.

Registration is now open for our online gathering happening Thursday, August 26th, starting at 10am pacific time. All those who identify as women are welcome to attend.

Special guests include: Gay Blackstone, Suzanne the Magician, Meadow Perry, Joan DuKore, Connie Boyd, Lupe Nielsen, Sara Crasson and more!

Register here:
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/…/sisters-of-mystery…

Financial Aid is available here:
https://www.magicalwisdom.com/about/scholarship-program

Inclusivity and Diversity in Magic
Paul Draper will host the first annual Inclusivity and Diversity in Magic Conference on August 27-29, this year with a diversity in magic history theme.

Please join in the lively discussion! You can find more information here:
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/the-first-annual-inclusivity-and-diversity-in-magic-conference-idm-con

McBride – Live in Las Vegas
Michelangelo was famous for this saying, that captures the essence of what we do here at our Magic & Mystery School:

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
Let us help you reach your goals.

We are now hosting live classes again at our school here in Las Vegas and online. You can also give Abigail a call at (702)-450-0021 to set a time for your private session.

People are sooo hungry for our live, in-person events. Our friends have been asking when we are re-opening the Magic and Mystery School for in-person events. We have set the date! Our new Weekend of Wisdom: the Philosophers of Magic will be held live in Las Vegas. Only five seats are still available. We are already almost sold out.

All the information is here:
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/weekend-of-wisdom-the-philosophers-of-magic-live-in-las-vegas

For more magical wisdom please take a look here at all the life-enriching events we host. See you online or in Vegas!

Jeff and all your friends at Mystery School.
jeff@mcbridemagic.com

The Four Archetypes and the Four Stoic Virtues

Dear Friends:
 
Happy summer! Our guest columnist this month is the ever-thoughtful Santiago.

Tim “Santiago” Converse

The last time I wrote for The Museletter, I explored the idea that the overall character we think of as “The Magician,” could very likely be a Stoic as defined by the ancient philosophers such as Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. I have continued to deepen my understanding of the Stoics, and I have been thinking about the Four Stoic Virtues.
 
So what are the Four Stoic Virtues?  Justice, Courage, Temperance, and Wisdom.

Very quickly I began to think about the four archetypes of the magician with which we have all become so familiar: The Trickster, The Sorcerer, The Oracle, and The Sage. I began to look at both the differences and the similarities. I grant that some metaphors are better than others, but the more I thought about this one, the more I thought that there really seemed to be something to It—a lesson to be learned.

Let’s start with Justice.  For the stoics it wasn’t just about following “the law,” but rather more about the idea of doing what was right for the common good of all. It was about making sure that we were true to ourselves, and thus served as good examples to emulate.

This made me think of one of the ultimate “tricksters,” Coyote.  His job was to teach people lessons about themselves, to put a pin in their pomposity, and get them to realize that they were being arrogant, egotistical, or just plain wrong, and in so doing, get them to act better—to be more true to who they really were, or could be.

The greatest justice we ever experience is when we ourselves are just. The Trickster seems ideally suited to pushing us in the right direction, even if we have to take a few lumps along the way to get there.

Then there is Courage. Of all the Stoics, the one we may know best is Marcus Aurelius, and he faced some of the greatest challenges of all ruling an empire wracked by war, plague, and politics. But, he always faced these challenges first and foremost by reminding himself that he must never let the power he had corrupt him. He faced each day with courage, and used the power he had to master not only an empire, but more importantly, himself.

Sounds a heck of a lot like the Sorcerer to me; someone gathering the knowledge and power to rule the world around them, and to achieve whatever it is they want. But, having power is one thing. Having the courage to use it well is something else.

Where I felt that the metaphors started to become stronger is with the virtue of Temperance. After all, once the Sorcerer has the power to get everything they desire, the first thing they have to determine is what they desire!

Turning to the wisdom of Seneca we get these words.

“You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth? First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.”

The Sorcerer may have all the power and control, but they may not yet have direction. Turning inward and tempering that power is the job of the Oracle. 

With the Oracle, suddenly mysteries are revealed. We begin to understand ourselves and what we want.  We begin to see others around us, and understand them on an even deeper level. 

We then see that we have the power to create a better world, not just for ourselves, but for others. Recall Justice and The Trickster?  Maybe it’s time to take some of that Sorcerer’s power and teach some lessons. Add a dash of Oracular Temperance and you’ll soon learn enough about yourself to understand the kinds of lessons you not only want to teach, but are best suited to teach.

For those of us who are thinking about making our performances more meaningful, isn’t this exactly where we want to be—using all that knowledge, all those skills, and all that “power”, to connect, communicate, and ultimately teach with your magic?

And now here we are, teaching. We have crossed into the realm of the Sage who is best characterized by Wisdom. For The Stoics, the course of Wisdom was to recognize the things we can control, and understand the difference between them and the things that we cannot control. Once they knew that, choosing the right actions, the right lessons, and the right way to be, became easy.

Through the archetypes of The magician, and maybe with some help from The Four Stoic Virtues, we’ve found ourselves in a place where we have a deeper wisdom, not just about the magic, but about the journey.

What we also have found ourselves with is a certain responsibility—a responsibility to take all that we’ve learned from what came before, and share it with “the tribe”. Our community grows stronger by virtue of the Sages among us who take the time to do more than say “see, this is how this is done,” but also say “this is why this is done.”

The word ‘philosophy,’ derived from the Greek ‘philo’ (love) and ‘sophia’ (wisdom), is literally defined as “the love of wisdom.”  What makes philosophy fun, in my opinion, is to take disparate ideas and bring them together to see what happens. My ever-growing love of The Stoics brought me here to a place where I could bring their ideas and our school’s ideas of The Archetypes together, to see what happens.

For me, this is what happened, and I hope that it sparks some deeper ideas in you as well.

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