Microdosing is having a moment! I’ve been seeing mention of it everywhere lately, so I was excited to pick up Microdosing Magic: A Psychedelic Spellbook by Tom Hatsis. It’s about microdosing psychedelic mushrooms — my second Hatsis book of this winter. This is a little spellbook (as he describes it), and stylistically it’s radically different from the last book of his I reviewed, Psychedelic Mystery Traditions.1 When I read a book, I tend to dog ear pages that interest me. With Microdosing Magic, probably half the pages are folded.
Hatsis introduces this slim volume by explaining that as he toured and spoke to people about his most recent book, Psychedelic Mystery Traditions, detailing the history of psychedelics in magical traditions, he was consistently asked about the practical use of psychedelics. This makes sense; I think occultists are an experiential lot (perhaps more so than historians?).2 And this is a practical book above all.
I was surprised by the conciseness of it, given how much information Hatsis packs in. It’s a microdosing manual of sorts, and I really admire that Hatsis hits important points in positioning the use of psychedelics in a magical practice. To be clear, he’s not advocating psychedelic use, and provides some decision points to consider if a reader is wondering if mushrooms might be good for their magical practice.
Hatsis grounds the volume in magical tradition with a short section titled “Magic 101.” The principles he offers are “all magic is done to affect future outcomes,”3 “you are always making magic,”4 and “the more playful and curious (i.e.; childlike) you are the more magical you become.”5 He’s presenting simple principles here, but they’re also deep. I admire the way his writing offers a way into the work.
This small book has a specific focus, and one might think it would appeal to a very narrow segment of an occult audience. I think Hatsis does something remarkable here though, in creating a very accessible piece of work that would likely even interest occultists or witches with no particular interest in microdosing; whether their interest would shift in the reading is another question entirely.
The entire first chapter, which amounts to 19 pages total, covers the aforementioned “Magic 101,”in addition to intention setting, meditation and visualization. It touches on topics including emotional awareness, anxiety and detachment from addictive behaviours (using lenses of emotion, intellect and will respectively). This is pretty amazing information in such a short chapter! And he does a lovely job too.
Early in the book he explains the purpose of the various dosages the reader might consider: microdosing, threshold dosing, psychedelic dosing and the “hero dose” (he references Terence McKenna’s term for the dose that permits complete surrender to the psychedelic experience). For each of the doses, he explains the size in grams, and what the therapeutic or magical goal might be for that dose.
The technique he uses to set a microdosing schedule basically involves drawing a sigil or symbol on a calendar depicting a four to seven week spread. It’s not an exact science; or weirdly, it is rather exact but in a way that seems totally random. Then again, a lot of magick can feel that way sometimes. The technique resembles a chaos magick endeavour, although he doesn’t use that language. Essentially, the goal is to space out the doses in a way that resonates with the practitioner’s goal. Using a rune, symbol, or sigil to delineate days for the microdose is likely to be helpful if the technique has resonance for the practitioner.
He goes on to describe various examples of spells one might try: to “un-asshole” yourself, for creativity, a teamwork spell, and another describing his technique for quitting coffee. The examples make it apparent how you might tweak the technique to create your own unique spell using microdoses.
He incorporates lots of great ideas into this work, in a way that makes microdosing spell work seem like a bona fide self-help technique. After reading this book, I guess it is a self-help technique! He incorporates brief mention of lots of magick adjacent (my term) techniques for making your mind more receptive to and capable of creativity. These are things like writing with your non-dominant hand, forcing yourself to create stories in your head about the world around you, working to reduce your dependence on electronics for distraction and entertainment. Aside from being good for magick, this is all just good advice for life!
I wish I didn’t hear myself sounding like an uptight prude when I note that a couple of times Hatsis gets too playful for me. The Off Season spell crossed that line for me, ending as it did with a recommendation to get naked outdoors and crouch down to permit sunlight to enter your asshole. I feel like my mom here, but this just goes too far for me! A small quibble, and one that might seem pedantic given how much I enjoyed what Microdosing Magic has to offer. You can find out more about Tom Hatsis at his website psychedelicwitch.com.
Image Credit: Georgios Kaleadis