Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #359 - 25APR20

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Zoketsu Norman Fischer about his 2019 book The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path. More prescient than Fischer could have known when he wrote it, the book offers an imaginative approach to spiritual practice in difficult times, through the Buddhist teaching of the six pāramitās or "perfections"--qualities that lead to kindness, wisdom, and an awakened life. Fischer points out that in frightening times, we wish the world could be otherwise. With a touch of imagination, it can be. Imagination helps us see what’s hidden, and it shape-shifts reality’s roiling twisting waves. In this inspiring reframe of a classic Buddhist teaching, Zen teacher Norman Fischer writes that the pāramitās, or “six perfections”—generosity, ethical conduct, patience, joyful effort, meditation, and understanding—can help us reconfigure the world we live in. Ranging from our everyday concerns about relationships, ethics, and consumption to our artistic inspirations and broadest human yearnings, Fischer depicts imaginative spiritual practice as a necessary resource for our troubled times.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer is an American poet, writer, and Soto Zen priest, teaching and practicing in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. He is a Dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman, from whom he received Dharma transmission in 1988. Fischer served as co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995–2000, after which he founded the Everyday Zen Foundation in 2000, a network of Buddhist practice group and related projects in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Fischer has published more than twenty-five books of poetry and non-fiction, as well as numerous poems, essays and articles in Buddhist magazines and poetry journals. We spoke with Fischer previously on The Mystical Positivist about an earlier book: Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong.

More information about Norman Fischer's work can be found at:

Norman Fischer's website:,

Everyday Zen Foundation website:,

Norman Fischer on Wikipedia:,

Norman Fischer on The Mystical Positivist:

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #358 - 18APR20

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we speak by telephone with Sam Webster, PhD, M.Div., Mage. Sam hails from the Bay Area and has taught magick publicly since 1984. He graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley in 1993 and earned his doctorate at the University of Bristol, UK, studying Pagan history under Prof. Ronald Hutton. His thesis was published as The History of Theurgy from Iamblichus to the Golden Dawn.

Sam is an Adept of the Golden Dawn, a cofounder of the Chthonic-Ouranian Templar order, and an initiate of Wiccan, Druidic, Buddhist, Hindu and Masonic traditions. His work has been published in journals such as Green Egg and Gnosis, and 2010 saw his first book Tantric Thelema, establishing the publishing house Concrescent Press. In 2001 he founded the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn, and in 2013 founded the Pantheon Foundation. Sam serves the Pagan community as a priest of Hermes.

In this wide ranging conversation, we discuss the nature of ritual and Adeptship. In addition we discuss a Pagan/Magickal perspective on the current pandemic including the nature of the liminal moment facing humankind.

More information about Sam Webster's work can be found at:

The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn website:,

Pagan Currents website:,

Pantheon Foundation website:,

Sam Webster's Blog:

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #357 - 11APR20

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we speak by telephone with Red Hawk about his latest book from HOHM Press called, The Way of the Wise Woman – Poems by Red Hawk. Red Hawk was the Hodder Fellow at Princeton University (1992-93) and currently a tenured professor of English at U. of Arkansas, Monticello. He is the author of 10 previous books. His book Self Observation has been published in 11 languages. His poetry has been published in The Atlantic, Poetry, and Kenyon Review, and other journals. He has been a member of a Gurdjieff group for 36 years, a student of Mister Lee Lozowick for 22 years, a disciple of Master Osho Rajneesh for 16 years prior, and always a devotee of the great spiritual master Yogi Ramsuratkumar.

In this compilation of 58 short (10-line) poems, Red Hawk skillfully describes those qualities of heart, mind, and action that characterize the awakening of “the Feminine” within the human person. As the Feminine is awakened in both man and woman, the “Mother Spirit” emerges in each one, highlighted by a display of nurturing, kindness, gentleness, generosity, cooperation, and forgiveness of self and others. The Way of the Wise Woman is a catalog of such “Feminine” virtues and behaviors and a series of contemplations to be studied, prayed and enjoyed for their poetic beauty.

As a training-manual of sorts, the poems are far from sweet whisperings, however. The Feminine, as the poet proclaims, is also fierce, strong, ruthlessly honest, and confrontive as well as supportive. This collection may well serve to guide the seeker in self-examination as the poems encourage a refined vision of “what is,” of “what is possible,” and a growing sense of the presence and attention needed to enter the halls of wisdom.

Red Hawk writes from long personal study and experience. His years of discipleship within religious schools of esoteric knowledge, allows him to share what has been gained and lost from following a Path. The inner struggles of this type of work on self are rendered with raw precision, while being beautifully delineated in these poems. Any reader will benefit from the fruits of understanding the poet has gained from these struggles.

More information about Red Hawk's work can be found at:

Red Hawk at HOHM Press:,

The Way of the Wise Women at HOHM Press: The Way of the Wise Woman,

Self-Observation at HOHM Press: Self-Observation,

Self-Remembering at HOHM Press: Self-Remembering.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #356 - 04APR20

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with two of our favorite guests, Ken McLeod and Jim Wilson. Speaking from our respective bunkers of the California Shelter-In-Place order, we will touch upon the relevance of spiritual practice in an age of social distancing, as well as the possibility and freedom inherent in moving discourse beyond mere critique and contradiction.

After learning Tibetan, Ken McLeod translated for his principal teacher, Kalu Rinpoche, and helped to develop Rinpoche’s centers in North America and Europe. In 1985, Kalu Rinpoche authorized Ken to teach and placed him in charge of his Los Angeles center. Faced with the challenges of teaching in a major metropolis, he began exploring different methods and formats for working with students. He moved away from both the teacher-center model and the minister-church model and developed a consultant-client model. Ken is the founder and director of He is the author of Wake Up to Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention, The Great Path of Awakening, An Arrow to the Heart, Reflections on Silver River, and his most recent book, A Trackless Path.

Jim Wilson was a monk and abbot under the direction of his teacher Seung Sahn, a Korean Chogye sect Zen master. He served as a Buddhist Prison Chaplain, studied western philosophy, co-founded Many Rivers Books & Tea in Sebastopol, conducts a website devoted to syllabic form Haiku, and has penned and published many books of poetry. In recent years his spiritual practice has centered on the Quaker Christian tradition. In addition to his many poetry volumes, he has published several books on spiritual matters, including On Trusting the Heart, a commentary on a famous poem by the third Zen patriarch, and An Annotated Edition of a Guide to True Peace.

More information about Ken McLeod and Jim Wilson's work can be found at:

Unfettered Mind website:,

On Trusting the Heart - A Commentary on the Xin Xin Ming: On Trusting the Heart,

An Annotated Edition of a Guide to True Peace 2nd Edition: Guide to True Peace,

Shaping Words Poetry Website: