Since the publication of The Mentalist’s Handbook, readers have written to us to share their accounts of aetheric experiences as well as to ask questions about mentalism and the aether. Some of these correspondences are presented here, with replies by Clint Marsh. Letters have been edited for clarity and brevity.
If you would like to contribute to the Aetheric Correspondence, please email us or send a letter via post to the address below, or via email. Letters have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Post Office Box 10146
Berkeley, Calif. 94709
For more information about The Mentalist’s Handbook, visit the book’s page.
8 September 2008
I stumbled upon your book whilst browsing through Barnes & Noble the other day and was struck by the gorgeous design and illustrations. It definitely stood out from the usual fare featuring guys in wizard’s robes and assorted faery folk on the covers. I’m reading it now, and am relishing the conversational, comradely tone of the writing. Almost reminds me of those wonderful mail-order courses in physical culture from the ’30s, where the student would be addressed as Dear Friend and would be regularly encouraged to put his faith in higher powers.
Anyhoo, that is what brought me to the website. This stuff is a breath of fresh air and I’m looking forward to the next installments.
But wizards and fairies are so fun! Thanks for the nice review. The Mentalist’s Handbook is certainly inspired by the pamphlets and books on the occult aspects of the mind that were published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I just picked up a new book that looks at the history of those publications and related groups, called The Secret Source. It talks about how the popular book The Secret is the latest incarnation in this tried and true literary genre.
Enjoy, and let me know if anything comes of your work with The Mentalist’s Handbook.
P.S.: If you do like fairies, take a look at Reginald Bakeley’s “found fairies” exhibit.
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31 August 2008
I bought The Mentalist’s Handbook and it really helped me out figure a lot of stuff out. The book mentions astral hounds—I would like to know more about them. Can you please tell me all you know?
Thank you for your email. I’m glad to hear that The Mentalist’s Handbook has been useful to you.
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I don’t know much more about astral hounds than what is in the book. A few years ago (following the publication of my aetheric bestiary in pamphlet form), I received a letter from a reader who had two encounters with astral hounds. The closest reference I’ve seen to them in literature would be Frank Belknap Long’s story “The Hounds of Tindalos,” although those creatures are monstrosities compared to the more dignified astral hounds.
Best of success to you in your aetheric endeavors,
25 August 2008
I was made aware of the Wonderella through your book. I emailed you a while back about how to order the rest of the series, but you had not updated the site yet. I actually had a copy of your book that I bought from Amazon, and you said you didn't even know it was out yet...it was a few months ago...
I found out about the Mentalist Handbook initially from the review in Mark Stavish’s Voxhermes newsletter.
Thanks so much for all your hard work with this material...so much junk out there, it’s nice to have such straightforward/well-written material available.
I’m really looking forward to the next issue. If you don’t mind me asking, what’s the next topic?
For what it’s worth, I think is a real void when it comes to a clear and in-depth discussion about the classical elements as they are used in mentalism/magick. With the exception of Franz Bardon’s Initiation Into Hermetics, and some of Ophiel’s work, an essential text on this subject(in modern language) seems to be lacking...maybe you're aware of one? You touched on it early on in your book with Exercise 8: “Elemental Vibration,” which was excellent. A thorough and clear investigation into the subject, with an extensive correspondence list, would most helpful (or maybe I'm making it harder than it needs to be).
Thank you for the email and the questions. The remaining issues of The Camelopard (7– 13) will have a two-part nature. They will be autobiographical, telling the story of my dealings with wonder and magic as a child and as an adult. They will also be historical, showing what I hope to be some parallels between my own story and that of mankind’s same grapplings with the unknown world.
Initially I meant to devote an entire pamphlet to the topic of mentalism and the four elements, but it’s not in the cards now. As far as a book, I just don’t know of one completely devoted to the subject. My thought for you would be to go to some works on alchemy and hermetics, perhaps look at Robert Fludd’s cosmology. A Crowlean friend of mine suggested you look at Aleister’s Thoth tarot deck, “especially the Small Cards.” He also sent me the following correspondences, which would make for good starting points with mentalism and aetheric exercises of your own devise:
Fire: will, determination, vitality
Water: emotion, love, compassion
Air: intellect, clarity, focus
Earth: the material world, the body, money, food
Best of luck to you. Do keep in touch as your studies continue, and let me know if you find the resources you’re looking for, either in published books or in your own work.
That sounds really good. Some stories of firsthand experiences could be very valuable. I look forward to reading them. Any idea when the next one will go out?
Thanks for the help with this, Clint, and thank your Crowlean friend for me as well. I took out my Thoth deck and re-examined the small cards, and they were definitely helpful. I think what I was most unclear on, though, were techniques on using these elements (a la Franz Bardon) in meditation for creating change. I’ll have to continue looking into that.
Thanks Clint, and thanks again for taking the time to help me out.
Sadly, there’s no estimated date for the next issue of The Camelopard. I’ve only written a few of the essays for it, so I’m still in the early stages. If you would like some previews of what to expect, though, I’m publishing some of the articles early in my series The Pamphleteer, available through the Wonderella website. There’s not really a lot about the occult in The Pamphleteer, but you might also enjoy the reviews of other publishers’ works.
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16 August 2008
Hello! I first saw an advertisement for your book last year, and I wanted to buy it right away, so I attempted to get it and was not able to until last month at the end of July, and the order was placed June or so, well when I finally got it, and read it, it sucked big time! Just playing, I love it Mr. Marsh. You got a classic on your hands—congratulations!
Ever since I happened to see David Blaine do what he does, and Criss Angel, and then with your book, I have wanted to start mentalism, but with a hip-hop twist, like do cool stuff like have a person write a song, and have them hold a CD in their hand and have their recording on there with their voice, for starters, just real crazy things like that.
I have studied voodoo/mystic Christianity for quite some time and have seen results, but mentalism is an art that I believe that our past forefathers from—how should I say this—several past civilizations ago, past Atlantis, mastered when we had what we or some call our “Edenic State” or “Garden of Eden’s Veil.” That’s my theory, at least. However, this powerful art has endured because man has the sages, seers, and magis, and I would like to request some good advice and help with becoming a skilled novice.
Say, have you ever been to Smokehouse Burger Shack? It’s on Shattuck in downtown Berkeley. Well, they have the best shakes. I’m sure you have. Oh yes, I myself am from Northern California—Sacramento. I go to the Bay Area a lot to Richmond and El Cerrito because my friends have a recording studio on El Cerrito Avenue. It’s called PLP and I also go to San Francisco a lot. I love the City. Anyway, you are located in the perfect place to do mentalism, or should I say to live the life as a mentalist, due to the cool Bay Area weather to aid while in meditation.
I would like to know if you’ve ever heard of another mentalist by the name of Dr. Gerald Saheed? He looks to be Middle Eastern, but he is very good. I happened to see him on Ellen’s show.
I really want to be the first known African-American mentalist. I would like to use this very unfortunate place in my life for some good—more good. Being that I am really one of the many people who is currently locked up in prison. But I am very grateful that I only have to be in here for a little time, but a little is too long for a person who is taking up space for a person who should be here! Sorry…
But I would like to be put on your mailing list to receive Wonderella pamphlets and other info. Please feel free to send all. There is a book titled M that I read about in a book called Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall—a very good work—and I get the vibe that this very hard-to-find/unknown book is about mentalism, so I would like to know if you heard of or know anything about this book? Also, any occult shops that might have any rare books or beads and other items that might send orders to prisons? But I really would like pointers on how to master the art of telekinesis or ESP. I’m about 50/50 to up to 70% at times, even more, depends on the moon and if I eat good with sleep.
Well, I thank you very much, I truly do, for accepting this letter. I do.
Take care and I hope to hear from you soon!
Thank you for your letter and for reading The Mentalist’s Handbook. In answer to your questions, no I haven’t been to Smokehouse Burger Shack but will seek it out. Nor have I heard of Dr. Gerald Saheed. If you are looking for occult books and a shop that can do mail order, you might try Ancient Ways, 4075 Telegraph, Oakland, Calif. 94609. As for the book M, you might begin by reading the works of Paracelsus. I don’t know much more about M myself.
Best of luck to you in your studies, and thanks again for being in touch.
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14 August 2008
I picked up your book at the Bodhi Tree bookstore in Los Angeles, and find myself very drawn to learning mentalism. Are there workshops, or courses available in these studies here in LA, that you would recommend? I feel that I would learn faster if I had personal instruction. Any suggestions are appreciated, thank you.
Thank you for your nice email. I'm glad you’re enjoying the book. I did some of my research at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles. While I didn't take any classes there, judging by the bookstore and incredible library, I'd say that you'd probably be in good hands there. You can read more about them at http://www.prs.org/
Let me know if you end up checking it out, and best of luck in your studies!
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17 July 2008
I found your book, The Mentalist’s Handbook, very interesting. Have you ever read Journey of a Soul by Peter Richlieu? He also took astral trips and details the structure of the higher planes. Also, have you ever visited the “Hellish planes”? I understand those are pretty nasty! I heard about these place while studying the Vedaspeti. Arda Viraf wrote a book after his OOBE—if you have read the Arda Viraf Nemeh, what is your opinion of what he reports? It can be found at aresta archives, etc. on line.
Thank you for your letter and your questions. I haven’t had the opportunity to read the read the books you mention, but I would be interested in Richlieu’s work if it talks about the structure of higher planes.
Regarding the “hellish planes,” I’ve never been except during moments of grief and agony while here on earth. The jury may always be out as to whether we create our own heavens and hells or whether they await us.
Thanks for reading The Mentalist’s Handbook and for being in touch.
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25 June 2008
I am an 18-year-old boy who has recently begun exploration into eastern studies, meditation, and the Occult. My dear friend R.Mc. has long been my partner, sometimes teacher, in this search for knowledge. It is through our journey that we discovered your book, The Mentalist’s Handbook. Though we are young, we feel we are weathered learners, and therefore very skeptical of any practice or ideal until we gain sufficient knowledge of the said concepts. My friend and I wished to contact you to let you know that as we progress through our journeys in mentalism we will be keeping logs and sharing them with you, as requested in the book. We also wish to pose a few inquiries.
How long have you been practicing mentalism?
Could you share any anecdotal information towards your experience with aetheric beings?
Are there certain foods, natural stimulants (ex.caffeine) or the like that should be avoided during the practice of meditation and the exploration of the aetheric plane?
Could we periodically contact you for information and aid?
And most importantly, would you be able to share a thorough reading list that will aid us in our progressive mastery of reality as well as any words of advice for us young explorers?
Thank you very much for your email. I am glad that you and your friend are making a conscious effort to explore the unseen world, and I hope that The Mentalist’s Handbook can help you along the way.
My interest in the occult was sparked when I was six years old and discovered a set of richly illustrated books on witchcraft, alchemy, and astrology. Throughout the years, I experimented in each of these fields, and others. I’ve always been fascinated by the magical outlook on life that these practices can give us. Today, at 33 years of age, I can say that study into esoteric topics remains one of my most cherished activities.
You could say that I’ve been a casual practitioner of mentalism for about nine years, because in 1999 I began attempting the exercises and writing the essays that would be collected as The Mentalist’s Handbook. These essays were printed as individual pamphlets (which were in turn edited and republished as the chapters or “lessons” in the book). The pamphlets were my attempt at codifying a system that would bring together many esoteric topics under a single system.
The chapter on aetheric beings presents a bestiary of creatures that are found universally in esoteric studies. I have by no means had contact with all of the types listed in the book. Generally speaking, my experiences have involved nature spirits from the elemental plane. These creatures are incredibly reclusive, but will present themselves to people who have the right state of mind. I attribute my encounters to the fact that I naturally tend toward a “lower” aetheric vibration, one closer to the elemental world.
As far as dietary concerns, rather than putting restrictions on what one eats or drinks, it is better merely to know how certain foods and drinks affect us. Too much heavy food, such as a large quantity of meat, tends to “ground” us in a way that makes it difficult to attain consciousness of the non-material world. A varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables can bring us closer to aetheric experience. Caffeine can heighten our ability to let our imagination flow forth into creative works—which is very much an aetheric practice—and alcohol can hinder this same process even if it doesn’t seem so in the moment. A mind clear of the effects of either substance and tuned into the world around itself (perhaps through your taking a walk around your own neighborhood) may give you the best results in your work.
The inspiration for The Mentalist’s Handbook came through a variety of sources. I am a fan of Aleister Crowley’s work, especially his periodical The Equinox. Material on spirits was primarily inspired by Allan Kardec’s The Book on Mediums. Other sources come from the Theosophical and Anthroposophical traditions, as well as exercises I experienced in traditional art classes. A comprehensive reading list would be too large of a task for me this summer, sadly, and perhaps beside the point, as mentalism is different for each practitioner. Everything in life can inspire you, from books to conversations to glimpses of beauty and wonder as you pass through your day.
You are always free to contact me with any questions you may have about these topics. I can’t promise to be swift in my response, nor do I claim to have the answers, but I welcome the correspondence.
I will be writing about my early experiences with the occult in upcoming publications from Wonderella Printed. Please feel free to send me your postal address if you'd like to be included on the mailing list, or just keep an eye on the Wonderella website for information about new works.
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19 June 2008
I just bought The Mentalist’s Handbook at Barnes & Noble. I am really enjoying it. I have Jeff Hoke’s book as well. I know you’re not a popular press but I was surprised to see the chapters on the Dweller on the Threshold. Not a pop spiritual topic. In fact I have only seen it in Theosophical and Anthroposophical books. But these authors are often not practicing mentalists. I also like Franz Bardon’s works.
I hope it sells well. It deserves wide attention.
Thank you very much for your email. The Dweller on the Threshold is an important concept in mentalism because it reminds us that we bring so much of our own useless “baggage” with us into the aether. I had read Theosophical writings on the Dweller before writing the chapter, and more recently read some of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophical thoughts on the subject. I haven’t read any Bardon, but will investigate it.
I appreciate your kind words. Best wishes to you in your work.
22 June 2008
I think you would really like Franz Bardon. His books are all practices for working in the aether (to use your old-fashioned spelling). I think his path may be slower than what you are presenting. He spends a lot of time on developing a working relationship to the four elements and their relationship to the senses. He places a lot of emphasis on emptiness of mind and it is the only exercise he has you do in all ten steps of his first book’s training. That book is called Initiation Into Hermetics. Bardon doesn’t name the Dweller as such but it does come up. Many people—I think the ones who are not practitioners—criticize his book for having his students control their minds and thoughts too much but I think it is a translation issue. I think the German word kontrolieren can be understood less as “control” and more like “check,” like at a border checkpoint. I think also that the secret of focus in the mind is letting go instead of a tightening up gesture in the attention.
Thanks again for your book, and email.
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17 May 2008
Just today I came upon The Mentalist’s Handbook. I have only read a few pages, I haven't even looked at all of the pictures yet. But I recognize it as a doppelganger or precipitate of certain books in the Library of my own Aetheric geography.
I have often thought that I should attempt what you have clearly accomplished in bringing to manifestation a work of this sort. In that direction, I've been drawn to learn a little about letterpress printing (a class in pamphlet making and a class in poster making). But I tend to think it more likely that I will find expression in forums and blogs.
Your invitation to pack up pages from my secret diaries and send them to you seems a bit forward, after all, we've only just met. But perhaps I can tell you a little about myself.
When I was 14 my Grandfather gave me a small mail-order book (about 3"x4") titled “The Nine-Degree Course—a complete course in Hypnotism and all Kindred subjects.” It was printed about 100 years ago by The Rural Printing Company in Speed, Kansas. As a teen, my grandfather learned many of the skills in the book. I was already fascinated by these kinds of things, but this gift revealed to me that it ran in the family. That was over 40 years ago. Now I practice meditation, shamanic journeying, and remote viewing.
I am currently on the volunteer staff of Ten Thousand Roads Remote Viewing Project. I contribute to the forum and to the practice galleries as DanN. One of the starting points of the website is www.dojopsi.info/tenthousandroads. The forum is where members talk about remote viewing and other things. The Hands-On area is for practicing remote viewing skills with the best available online tools. No fees, nothing for sale, just a fairly open community—although there is a preponderance of nick names over street names, I guess folks are shy that way. The hands-on area is also great to see the amazing work that is being done there—many people join just to look around.
I’m looking forward to reading your book.
Thank you so much for your email. I’m glad you’ve found The Mentalist’s Handbook, and I’m surprised you found it so soon—it’s not due in stores for another two weeks! All the same, welcome. It always interests me to hear how people came to be interested in mentalism and other esoteric studies. My own story is similar to yours, in that I found some Victorian and early 20th century books and pamphlets on various occult topics when I was quite young. That era of exploration has intrigued me to this day. I look forward to reading any experiences or reactions you’d like to share regarding the book.
Learn about The Camelopard,
the ongoing series of pamphlets
inspired The Mentalist’s Handbook