Dr. Stephen Skinner | The History Of Magic, Summoning Spirits, & John Dee

Show Notes


Join host, Greg Carlwood, of The Higherside Chats podcast as he talks the history of magic, summoning spirits, & John Dee -with Dr. Stephen Skinner.

While many of us are no stranger the the principals of Chaos Magic or astrology, thanks to appearances from former guests such as Gordon White, Chris Knowles and Austin Coppock, today’s guest, Dr. Stephen Skinner is a true champion for the re-enchantment of the world. Dr. Skinner has been a passionate and enthusiastic scholar who is considered to be one of the leading authorities on classical magic and the Grimoires.
As a man responsible for an impressive body of work, including over 36 published books, Dr. Skinner joins The Higherside to help us expand our knowledge base about the ancient magic of old. Thanks to his tireless dedication to restoring and translating ancient Grimoires and other Greek and Graeco-Egyptian magical writings, many rituals and texts are now available in English for the first time in history.
3:00 Kicking things off, Dr. Skinner begins by describing the technology of magic, detailing his research into the Grimoires, and explaining how learning classical Greek furthered his understanding of ancient Greek and Graeco-Egyptian magic. He details the similar techniques and parallels he discovered during his extensive research of Graeco- Egyptian magic, the Grimoires, and Taoist magicians.
12:42 Having gone through most magical texts, including all Grimoires of the western tradition, Greg and Dr. Skinner discuss the systems and techniques in magical books that could be considered most effective. As Dr. Skinner explains perhaps the best and most complete works are the direct line transmission of spells from the Greek magicians in the Hygromanteia.
21:30 With Dr. Skinner’s approach to magic being one of a scientific nature, he and Greg troubleshoot some common errors and small details that may be overlooked by amateur practitioners. Dr. Skinner explains the significance of protection from devious spirits, the power of of smell, the personal purification process prior to ceremonies, how certain scents are used to attract and dispel apparitions, and the importance of the environment, process and timing of magic rituals.
30:01 Dr. Skinner details how the technology of magic has helped him construct a  more perfect paradigm, and an elevated reality. He also elaborates on his stance that magic isn’t just for reading, but instead more of an applied science. He describes the best process for conjuring spirits, the necessary commitment involved and the ideal conditions for practicing magic.
42:51 Switching gears, Greg and Dr. Skinner discuss another like-minded man in his scientific approach to magic: mathematician, occultist, and magician to the Queen, John Dee. As Dr. Skinner details the Latin roots of the Grimoires, how that lead to it’s exclusivity, and how that has parlayed into today’s ritual ceremonies of the elite.
Become a Plus Member at to hear a second hour of all THC episodes. This week’s included:

– separating real dangers and concerns in magic, from religious propaganda

– John Dee and Edward Kelly’s alchemical work

– disentangling magic, religion, & the mystery tradition

– the connection between spirits and powerful art

– Ufology’s connection to magic, and inner Earth beings

– invisibility magic

– Feng Shui

– the Voynich Manuscript

A few valuable resources from the interview:

Dr. Skinner’s “Techniques of Graeco-Egyptian Magic”:

Peter J. Carroll, Chaos Magician:
“The Key of Solomon”:
The Egyptian “Book of The Dead”:
The Voynich Manuscript:
“The Goetia of Dr. Rudd” by Dr. Stephen Skinner and David Rankin: 
Want more Dr. Stephen Skinner?
Check out his website:
Or read any of his 36 books, such as “The Oracle of Geometry: Techniques of Earth Divination”, “The Techniques of Solomonic Magic”, or “The Complete Magicians Table”, which can be found on Amazon:
Want to hear more THC?
Become a plus member and gain access to the additional hour as well as the THC forums at:
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28 Responses

  1. I did a double take when I saw this as a new episode. Stephen Skinner is a living legend. For practicing magicians he is one of the most important and influential figures of the modern era. And you, Mr. Carlwood, are a legit badass for scoring an interview with him. Hitting the play button momentarily…this is sure to be a classic!

    1. Hell yeah! Glad you know him!

      He’s got such an impressive resume, I’m really excited about introducing him to a ton of new people since practical magic isn’t something we get into all that much. Hope you think I spent the time well!

    1. For real for real!

      Love that you and Gordon posted near same time!

      Magic is getting magickeyer all the time. Indeed the power stays the same but our access, interaction, and impact from seems to be getting more vibrant, more amped up.

      Could just be one way of experiencing ‘everything else’ that’s going on.

      I highly recommend Dr Skinner’s Talismans, Amulets, Charms and Fetish video. Does a great job breaking down what each is and their differences accurately.

  2. I dunno about you not having hard successes with your own practice Greg- look around man, with the calibre of guests you have on and the quaity of the show – you’re living the dream! Specatcular episode as always and I for one am dying for the June shows you teased us with! 😀

  3. So glad he spoke about protection. I think safety is primary and if it isn’t at the core of teaching I think the teacher is being negligent. There are a lot of people being called to magical practice these days that have little background. Setting the stage for success is so valuable.

    1. Oh, also, about the elite having magical advisors…

      Couldn’t Choi Soon Sil fit that role as she was “controlling the mind” of Park Guen-Hye, the president of South Korea? She was part of a “South Korean Shamanistic cult”. (as was revealed late last year in her impeachment and apology)

      Who are the 8 goddesses? Why did this get minimal, if any coverage in the US, even by conspiracy researchers? Are they really just a tiny cult that happened to install a president in South Korea?

      No one knows who the members of the 8 Goddesses are, what they believe, or where they operate, though it is obvious they wield great power.

      1. Great point! Also going in this direction, as Dr. Skinner stated, nothing is free. This being the case, could pedophilia among the elites be a symptom of interaction with spirits dedicated to fame/money/power/etc…? Arguably given said abhorrent behavior, something intangible is certainly taken from the child, and goes where exactly? The thought popped into my mind during the episode, and I figured I would put it out there. As Dr. Skinner said, this is something you might be able to nail down given the right channels (a long and very dark shot for sure, I will not be participating).

        Total bummer subject aside, this episode was a complete home run!!! And since you and Gordon are obviously in cahoots I have run out of time to keep up on Skeptico! This was an outstanding addition to the Grimoires course, very well played.

  4. Well fuck me. I dont know how you pulled it off getting Dr. Skinner on but this has to be your most interesting and informative episode ever. The questions you put to him were absolutely spot on and just what was needed. It’s really refreshing to hear someone talk sensibly and measured about magic; very grounded and I really like his stance on the realities of practice and that it is actually hard work.
    Top man Greg and respect to Dr.S bringing a gale of fresh air to the subject of magic.

  5. Wow! Excellent interview, brilliant guest, I learned loads from it. I recommend Dr Skinner’s books btw, he writes as well as he speaks. Thanks for talking a little about feng shui, that is such a fascinating topic and one I’d like to find out more about. Although my front door doesn’t open out onto a broad open space so I’m probably screwed right from the get go.
    Congrats to you Greg! And good news about your upcoming wedding – maybe some of us Highersiders could club together to get one of your occult gifts. Anyone else up for that?

  6. Greg, I learned again today, for perhaps the 7,500 time (no hyperbole) to take the cotton outta my ears and put it in my mouth. I did and found some real grace in Dr. Skinner. Now, I’ve got some work to do. Peace all ;]]

  7. Thank you for this episode! I’ve been listening off and on to your free YouTube channel for awhile, but your interview with Dr. Skinner convinced me to pay up.

  8. Great interview! 🙂 more points to ponder.

    I find the differences between Skinner’s version ceremonial magic and Gordon’s version of chaos magic to be striking and intriguing.

    Skinner’s idea of magic is a rigid set of bureaucratic absolutes that 80% of the time work every time (he kept saying 4 out of 5). This is of course assuming you did everything precisely right… which leaves an awful lot of wiggle room to blame the practitioner if it doesn’t work out. Kind of reminds me of my days in church: “Believe and you shall receive. Works every time and doesn’t depend on your own merits! But if your prayers aren’t being answered, check yourself.”

    …not to say it never works… I believe it probably does… just that a skeptic and a true believer would probably differ wildly on that 80% figure as I suspect the true believer would have to place a lot of failed attempts in the “file drawer” to get that kind of reliability.

    But what do I know sitting here in my armchair?

    Skinner’s view agrees with Gordon that the spirits are a lot like wild animals and that there is a whole hierarchical spirit ecosystem out there. This is a conclusion I’ve come to on my own: that wherever there are conscious beings, a power hierarchy will form. This ultimately leads back to ideas of God.

    Also interesting: the point about “sharpness” leaving an astral imprint where cutting the circle with a sharp knife is necessary for protection. For spirits to perceive and fear sharpness they must have at some point had a body that could experience the effects of a sharp object? Are the disembodied spirits unaware that they cannot be hurt by sharpness? Or can the symbol of sharpness (disembodied sharpness so to speak) harm a disembodied spirit since everything seems to operate at a purely semantic level in that realm?

  9. I was thinking I’d try this until he started talking about how if you mess up you get possessed and end up in an insane asylum with a lobotomy. Too scurred now. I think I’ll pass.

  10. I appreciate almost all of your shows and really like many of them, but this one is my second fav after Dr. Judy Wood. They both remind me of a truth I stand by: ‘The best teachers show you where to look, not what to see.’ Opening new worlds for me at just the right time, thank you!

  11. When you first had Eric Dubay on, I was so angry. My knee-jerk reaction was hatred of it. But after 2 years I think it’s hottest topic out there. Very odd you never approach the subject. Very odd indeed. Hmmmmmmmm
    You rather push goofy aliens, communism, and black goo. zzz

  12. At 1:22:45 he brings up Franz Bardon, the author of Initiation into Hermetics, which I just started reading less than a week ago. Crazy. That said, apparently Franz Bardon was reported to have been kidnapped by Hitler to likely be weaponized. Neat stuff dude.

    Fantastic show btw, sincerely regretted it ending… Kudos infinite.

  13. Looking forward to the publication date for the full version of Clavis Inferni….
    Great interview as always, Dr Skinner really is one of the very best scholars!

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