Damien Echols was wrongfully convicted of murder in the infamous “West Memphis Three” case and spent more than 18 years on death row before his exoneration and release. Now he teaches Western ceremonial magick—the same practice he credits with saving his life in prison. With Sounds True, Damien has published the book High Magick and a practice-oriented audio companion, A Course in High Magick. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Damien about magick and how it is meant to “constantly ingest more of divinity.” Damien describes two of the central practices of magick—the Middle Pillar and the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram—and details why they are so foundational to the modality. Damien explains how he first discovered magick while in solitary confinement and details the concept of “will” in relationship to the Buddhist concept of dharma. Finally, Damien and Tami talk about what it means to manifest a “light body” and the overall goal of spiritual liberation through magick. (83 minutes)
Damien Echols is a “current-bearer”—someone who is able to pass to others an experience of boundless light. When I met with Damien in November of 2018 at a launch event for his new book, High Magick, I could tell that something had recently happened to him that had dramatically increased the intensity of this current. In this conversation, he describes how the practices of magick, which he calls “a Western path of enlightenment,” brought him to an experience of ego dissolution, which he describes as “experiencing myself as a small handful of sand that someone threw into a tornado.” The takeaway: an invitation to let go of any feeling of separateness, enter the abyss, and discover the interconnected light that awaits us.