Below you will find and interview with occultist, esoteric scholar and practitioner, Greg Kaminsky. Greg is the host of the hugely popular and supremely excellent “Occult of Personality” podcast. For over a decade, Greg has produced perhaps the absolute best occultism podcast on the internet, bringing on renowned guests from all over the globe to discuss western esoteric philosophy and practice in a way that digs deeper down than any other occult podcast to date.
Q: When did you first start researching the occult and how has the knowledge within said field of study effected your life?
A: I first began seriously researching the occult in 2003-04. This has been an everyday affair, usually at least a couple of hours a day since then. When I was laid off from my job in 2009, things only intensified. I think it would be accurate to say that my interest in esotericism has gradually taken over my life. I am on a path, practice daily, have a teacher, and view myself and world in a completely different way than I did before. I’m not sure how else to explain the extreme nature of the effect, except to say that it’s like a consuming fire. I put my attention, focus, concentration, and effort into the work and the results have been profound.
Q: What was the motivation behind starting the Occult of Personality podcast?
A: The motivation behind Occult of Personality podcast was a way to extend my learning and access directly to teachers and authors who are experts in their field. It became clear early on that just reading books on this subject was not going to be enough to satisfy my desire to know more. I realized that a podcast would be a perfect vehicle for an amateur like myself to gain access to the best and brightest. Sharing these interviews was also a way to give back to others, so this wasn’t a purely selfish act. It seemed like a natural fit. As I’ve learned, listeners have as well. If listeners have learned even 10% of what I have doing this podcast, then I feel grateful.
Q: Who are some of the authors and practitioners who have had the most impact on your own work and research?
A: Ultimately, David Chaim Smith has had the greatest impact on me personally. His work is basically a description of his practice, which should be described as contemplative mysticism. I have interviewed him multiple times for the podcast and edited his recent book Deep Principles of Kabbalistic Alchemy. David’s work is singularly exceptional in that it is almost exclusively concerned with the basis of all phenomena – En Sof. And the view that holds all appearance as the display of En Sof. This contemplative mysticism is also a practice that will be more fully revealed in the upcoming book, Bright Bath of Silence, due in early 2018. I would encourage people to listen to the most recent recording we did, if they haven’t already. http://occultofpersonality.net/deep-principles-of-kabbalistic-alchemy/
Q: What advice do you have for young occultists just getting started today?
A: If I were a young occultist, I would find a competent teacher or school to learn from in order that I don’t waste too much time. I would also not neglect the body while doing all the meditative, ritual, and ultimately intellectual exercises. It is crucial to build the body along with the mind. There are a variety of bodily exercise programs that can be incorporated into magical practice including yoga, tai chi, and running. Finally, I would pay attention to tradition and learn from it. The traditional may not be your chosen mode of expression, but find out why generations of practitioners devoted themselves to something other than their own thoughts and discover the value that lies in lineage.
Q: What, in your opinion are the best aspects of the occult community today?
A: I think the best aspects of the occult community today are (1) the manner in which people can exist openly in society as practitioners and feel, for the most part, safe, which historically has not always been the case, (2) the large network of occultists accessible via the internet is a bit astounding, and (3) the way in which people tend to help one another and support each other. That is huge. We all need support and to feel secure. We rely upon one another and that is truly a blessing.
Q: What, in your opinion are some of the negatives?
A: In my opinion, the negatives include the infighting, name-calling, jealously, bitterness, and resentment that is so prevalent online and in occult lodges. But even worse, I believe, is that, to my knowledge, there have been no true Western adepts in some time. By this I mean there are no enlightened beings teaching Western esotericism. There are several in Eastern lineages teaching Eastern systems, of course, but in my mind, this is a major deficiency with Western esotericism and occultism. I also understand that not everyone’s goal is gnosis in the sense that I mean it. Yet, it is the mark of the highest attainment and from my experience, realized beings capability for magic is infinitely beyond a typical human’s.
Q: Who is the number one guest you have yet to host on your show, but you would love to have on the podcast?
A: That’s a good question. I always have substantial level of interest in each guest we feature. If I had to pick one, it would be a gentleman I only know as John. I met him only once several years ago and he was in his 60’s or 70’s at that time. John knew more about occultism than almost anyone else I’ve spoken to before or since. He never gave a last name or any way I could contact him. Tony Silvia from the Gnostic Wisdom Network was there as the organizer of this meeting and he can verify my account. So, if the opportunity arose for me to speak with John again, I’d love to have him as a guest on the podcast.
Q: What is your favorite episode of your own podcasts to date?
A: I’m going to refer back the Deep Principles of Kabbalistic Alchemy talk from David Chaim Smith that I referenced earlier. I cannot provide a description that does it justice. http://occultofpersonality.net/deep-principles-of-kabbalistic-alchemy/
Q: Who can we expect to hear on the podcast in the next few episodes?
A: In the next few episodes, you’ll hear scholar Christian Giudice discussing occultism and Traditionalism in twentieth-century Italy, author Richard Gavin, and an interview with my co-host Rudolf. There will also be more interviews and lectures in the Chamber of Reflection (the Occult of Personality membership section at https://chamberofreflection.com) including another round-table discussion with experts on esotericism and Freemasonry.
Q: What effect if any, should occultism have on politics?
A: Another good question. I am going to answer this from a strictly personal perspective. I don’t have any advice on anyone’s political views. Personally, if I’m focused on politics, I try to re-focus on practice and holding the view (see question 3). The ultimate meaning I’m in search of cannot be resolved with any political solution, no matter how utopian I might imagine it to be. I am only interested in gnosis so the political is only more phenomenal appearance to be held accordingly. Mind resolves itself, nothing else can (or so I’ve been told). That said, the entire purpose of practice is to benefit beings – but not via politics. That said, I find the intersection of politics and occultism to be considerably fascinating (check out our recent interview with Peter Mark Adams – http://occultofpersonality.net/peter-mark-adams/.
Q: What are some of your current projects outside of your podcast?
A: Aside from Occult of Personality, I just finished my master’s thesis which deals with the angelology and Cabala of Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. I’ve done a couple of recordings already in the Chamber of Reflection concerning that. I’m also working on an essay dealing with initiation in the ancient world for an upcoming publication. In addition, I’m looking forward to several upcoming events at which I’ll be speaking, mostly at Masonic lodges.