How to Memorize Zodiac And Horoscope Info (For Entertainment Purposes Only)

How to Memorize Zodiac And Horoscope Info Magnetic Memory MethodEven if astrology is complete nonsense, it’s a neat memory exercise to know the Zodiac inside and out.

Plus, committing the star signs to memory lays the groundwork for memorizing the months of the year in any language – fast!

The memory skills needed to memorize Zodiac and horoscope info all begin with accepting one fundamental truth:

If you can imagine something, you can remember it.


The Undeniable Truth About Your Imagination


A lot of people attracted to memory techniques get hung up on the idea that mnemonics involve visualization.

Not true!

Memory techniques involve imagination, and…

If you’re reading and understanding these words now, you definitely have one.

Each letter and every word is an image…

Your brain is rapidly transforming these micro and macro images into sounds and meanings…

And delivering these meanings to the Understanding Nations in your brain.


Introducing VACKSOG…
The United Nations Of Your Brain


That’s right:

Your brain is a United Nations of Understanding.

Together, your internal “UN” understands a variety of images:


When we put all of these together, we make your memory “Magnetic.”

What does this idea of “Magnetic Memory” mean?


It means that the information you want to stay in the Understanding Nations of your brain remains.

Anything that distracts or detracts is “Magnetically” repelled away.

All you need are…

13 Simple Mental Images To Magnetize
The Star Signs Into Your Mind


Hold up now…


Aren’t there only… 12 star signs?

That’s right. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.

We need one Magnetic Image to guide them into our long term memory.

It’s called a Memory Palace.

This technique draws upon the spatial memory and spatial imagination of your brain.

Don’t know how to make a Memory Palace?

No problem. Just claim this free, complimentary Memory Palace training kit:


Memory Palace Memory Improvement Free Training Kit


Once you have a Memory Palace with 12 Magnetic Stations, it’s time to start associating each month with a simple Magnetic Image.


Annoying Janet Smashes The Jam Jar


Ever see Rocky Horror Picture Show?

If so, then it’s going to be easy to associate the abstract idea of January as a period of time with Janet from that movie.

This Janet could serve as a one off image before you move to February, or she could be the Bridging Figure you follow throughout your Memory Palace for the Zodiac and other horoscope related information.

Don’t know Rocky Horror Picture show?


No problem! Any Other Janet Or G.I. Jane Will Do!


Perhaps even a close match like Jane Fonda. Or Janie from that Aerosmith song…

The important point is to associate the Janet you pick with an object and an action.

Smashing a jar of jam on the ground works well. Especially if you can make the jam specific.

(Note: Some people in the memory training world call such a chain of associations PAO, and this is a rare case where I would use a small PAO set for a limited purpose. Here’s why I normally do not use a PAO system, however.)

Like the raspberry jam your babysitter used to make.

Or the BOB jam in Sweden you remember from camping near Östhammar back in 2013.

(Oh no, wait. That was me. Enjoyed BOB a lot that first while in Sweden. But the point remains the same: Specificity matters to your United Nations of Understanding.)

Mnemonic Example Image of BOB Swedish Jam Magnetic Memory Method


The Gangster Unicorn Pops A Cap


Let’s review:

At this point, you’ve got a Memory Palace.

You’ve got someone named Janet in mind.

She’s smashing some particular jam that means something to you on the ground.

Now you need to imagine something in your mind that you can associate with the weird-sounding word, “Capricorn.”

Like how about a gangster unicorn?

You know the kind, right?

They all wear a dark gangster hats, have a gold-capped teeth and swear they’re gonna pop a cap in yo’ you know what.

Oh, and that ain’t just any kind of gun he’s toting.

It’s a gun that shoots corn. These are the unicorn’s bullet caps.

How to Memorize Zodiac And Horoscope Info Magnetic Memory Method

At the first Magnetic Station, associate Jane smashing a jam jar on the ground with the gangster unicorn furious enough in response to start shooting his corn gun.


Rinse And Repeat A Bundle Of Associations


Once you’ve completed this step, move on to the next Magnetic Station in your Memory Palace.

Give each month a Magnetic Image and associate it with the star sign.

Use the Memory Palace to help you practice recalling each association you create until each is in long term memory. The Rule of Five should get you there.


Hold On There, Star Cowboy!
What About The Specific Date Crossovers?


Oh, right.

In this strange and silly system, Capricorn becomes Aquarius on January 20th.

No problem. I just see a giant nose sneeze so loudly it blows both Janet and the gangster unicorn out into space.

Why a giant nose?

Because I use the Major Method for numbers. That also happens to be my image for the 10 of Spades.

If you don’t have a way to memorize a deck of cards, here are 13 reasons you should have a system for remembering cards.

Since all transitions across the Zodiac star signs occur between the 19th and 23rd, each transition point is covered by a playing card if you use the Magnetic Memory Method approach to card memory.

Super-cool, or what?


The D.O.C. C.U.R.E. For Memorizing The Zodiac


Even though I’ve given only one example here, you can easily come up with your own for the rest of the year. And if you want, this precise same process will let you memorize the months of the year in any language.

With a bit of imagination, you can come up with dozens of applications for the simple memory technique you’ve just learned.

It all makes for great brain exercise, and you can give compelling cold readings if you’re a mentalist or magician. (Just be honest about the fact that your psychic powers are not real. Ian Rowland’s Full Facts Book of Cold Reading is highly recommended.)

If you need more help with creating mnemonic examples, join the Masterclass. You’ll be invited to an upcoming Implementation Bootcamp where we can practice creating the images you need together.

The point?


Doing is the Origin of Confidence

Doing is the Origin of Creativity

Doing is the origin of Consistency

And together that amounts to the C.U.R.E. for forgetfulness.

Create a Memory Palace for a targeted purpose

Use your Memory Palace

Review what you placed in your Memory Palace using Recall Rehearsal

Explain what you remembered and enjoy

That’s all there is to it, and when you need more help (or just want to join the fun), the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass remains the world’s premier resource for all things Memory Palace and beyond!

14 Responses

  1. Hi Anthony. I have always ascribed to what you teach in memory utilization recall. I do take however your statement about astrology being nonsense, a bit askew and really when you think about it, un-necessary in context to memorizing the 12 signs. In fact, why mention this at all. What does it have to do with memorizing the 12 signs. And in regards to the months they change, this is a fact as well. So please the next time you write an article about a given subject, say for instance, medicine, a subject that I think has some fallacies too, in the way those in the arena conduct it, it’s often time suspect as well. And as far as a cold reading, count on the fact, that many in the zodiac profession, do not take this approach at all when they look at a persons natal birth chart. And since we now mentioning this. there is far more to Astrology than just the Zodiac signs. You should look into this side of it too, and extend your memory training to learning these facets of it too. Thanks

    1. Thanks for this feedback, Bruce.

      I think it’s very important to mention this point about pseudoscience and have rational discussions about it. The art of memory is a great lens through which to engage such discussions. If I were to discuss memorizing other aspects of astrology, the same caveats would need to be in play.

      It is good that you mention ‘medicine’ here, something quite distinct from ‘medical science.’ Real scientists are well aware of the many fallacies in the various fields and rely on the scientific method and peer-review to steer the ship back into valid waters again and again through experimentation and testing.

      We have a similar distinction in the practice of memory. The mnemonist is the scientist in the lab of memory making experiments. The outcomes are 100% right, wrong or optimizable to get to 100% correctness in recall. That is a true science because of testability and falsifiability.

      Pseudosciences aren’t testable or falsifiable. That’s a real problem for ethics, integrity and the survival of the human species. The things we commit to memory from the pseudosciences and about them will ideally eventually lead to their dismantling and that is why I am willing to teach the memorization of these materials.

  2. Hello there Anthony!

    I was laughing a lot about your comment about the BOB jam (lingon sylt). In primary school, through 7th to 9th grade, the school was in north of the “BOB industrier” factory. They make the jam there.. This is in a small place called Kumla.

    Reading you comment about Östhammar and the jam , then seeing you picture…A mental scene occurred .. : You were there dressed viking style (walking around in the fields between the school and BOB). You carry a big warhammer (Östhammar) yelling at people where the jam is….I cant help laughing at the scenery 🙂

    Mentalism and mnemonics has lots of common history! Its fun to hear about it in your podcast. The trick to memorize 12 digits to calculate weekdays on given dates is a common mentalist mnemonic trick. And you have had that presented by a guest in an episode not so long ago!

    I love mentalism as entertaiment, its just a pity some people think this is supernatural stuff!

    Keep up the great work educating !



    1. Thanks kindly for this, Pelle.

      Yes, it is a shame that some people fall for this – and it is our duty to call the fraudsters on their claims every time. I really appreciate you chiming in to help with the effort.

      And what better proof of the glory of natural imagination and memory than these cool mnemonic examples you’ve provided? I really love this and they demonstrate beyond all doubt just how easy, fast and fun coming up with this kind of material really is.

      After all, the raw material to play with is around us all the time, including on the Magnetic Memory Method blog and podcast itself!

      Thanks again for your great comment and support. Always appreciated! 🙂

  3. Hi Anthony,

    I’ve been listening to your podcasts for a while and I really enjoy them. Thanks! Unfortunately, you’re wrong about astrology. I’ve been studying it casually for over 20 years and can say there is certainly merit to it, even if its results are imperfect.

    Astrology is easy to prove. If you have an accurate birth time for yourself or someone you know (ideally down to the minute) then email it to an astrologer and ask for a reading. An experienced professional astrologer is best but even an astrologer from can give you a reasonably accurate reading about the person’s character, health, wealth, career, etc with nothing more than the birth time and location. Many professional astrologers receive birth details by email, make an audio recording of their interpretation and then send the audio file to the client – all anonymously. One of the best readings I’ve ever had was done this way.

    Alternatively, ask an astrologer to spend 30 minutes demonstrating how it works by explaining the charts of famous people. Most of my astrology consists of looking at the charts of famous people like Joe Rogan, Richard Dawkins, Donald Trump, to see what makes them tick. It can be very revealing.

    In my experience people who speak out against astrology have not spent any time studying it. I find this very unscientific. I find that many scientists dismiss the idea because they don’t like the sound of it, which is a betrayal of their own principles.

    Astrology works by applying a vast array of rules to the placement of the planets at the time of birth. For example, if Saturn is between 0-30 degrees above the eastern horizon at the time of birth then (prior to the consideration of the rest of the chart) the person will be tall. Or if Saturn is placed close to the Moon then the person will be serious – like in the cases of Sam Harris and Edward Snowden.

    I cannot explain why studies about astrology haven’t been published in peer-reviewed journals since it is objectively testable and falsifiable. I suspect that there is to just too much bias against such studies so people don’t even try.

    Also, it’s probably harder to prove than the mechanical sciences. I compare the difficulties of proving astrology to the difficulties of translating a language. Even Google Translate with all its engineers still struggles to translate one language into another language. This is to say that the simple application of rules is not the whole story – there is a subjective component that every native speaker understands but the scientific method struggles to quantify. That doesn’t make a language unscientific or pseudoscience.

    Same with astrology – it won’t pass tests with 100% but it does reliably get some right. A friend of mine once said that the first 50% of astrology is easy but the rest is very hard. For me, I just go for the low hanging fruit and a general picture rather than trying to get exact details, though there are some astrologers around who are extraordinarily capable with details.

    It is a mistake to think that astrologers are stupid or weak-minded. The astrologers I know are all intelligent and analytical and results-oriented – many with phenomenal memories. They’re also quick to denounce the pop-rubbish horoscopes found in newspapers.

    I’ve never met an astrologer who does cold reading or any other kind of trickery like that. I’m sure that there are many dishonest astrologers around – I’m just saying I’ve never met one.

    Philosophically astrology is a hard topic and it is very disruptive to modern paradigms. When you have some ability to read charts for yourself then you’re confronted by the fact that it works. That brings the realisation that many scientists are over-invested in their ideas of how the world works.

    There is a common attitude against astrology which I call “because science” which indicates to me that the person has reached the limit of their experience. But a lack of experience is easily fixed. However, the realisation that astrology works comes with high costs – it reveals the limitations of the modern scientific worldview and forces you to confront an unexplainable but demonstrable reality, and it puts you outside the comfort zone of popular thought.

    1. Thanks for this, Andrew.

      I’m not convinced by your arguments, but appreciate you sharing them. I would venture that science does not try to “prove” things, but rather demonstrate the validity of claims based on well-established principles that do not require anyone’s opinion or viewpoint during the validation process. It is certainly the case that some people involved in science color the process with their own views, though this fact doesn’t lend any credence whatsoever to your suggestion that astrology is “disruptive” to paradigms.

      The reality is that there isn’t enough common consensus in astrology to have a discussion of what exactly in it is supposed to work compared to science, which has a far stronger and mutually beneficial definition throughout history and across cultures. This shared definition is getting much stronger too, though it’s not yet clear to what extent false beliefs in woo-woo and the pseuodosciences are getting stronger or weaker over time. One can hope for the latter, but the evidence needs to be there first.

      By the way, what are some of the high costs that come with your conclusions about astrology? These would be interesting to hear more about, along with some more information about the astrologers you know and their memory skills. You’re also free to contribute anything you think might be valuable to the discussion about any reliable predictions or revelations that can be made astrologically about a person’s memory skills – with or without mnemonics.

      Like most skeptics worth their skin, I’m more than open to substantial evidence. Could you be the one to provide it? You say that astrology is objectively testable and falsifiable so the onus really is on you to demonstrate that it is so. If it’s as valuable as you think it is, why not fight the good fight and get it into the journals? You say that people of your opinion are already outside the comfort zone, so why not step into it a bit deeper like the greatest scientists have done before you and validate your claims?

      After all, if astrology can help people improve their memory, why aren’t astrologist jumping at every opportunity to do so? Instead, by your account, they are making assessments about height that, even if true, don’t seem to have any particular use value. But if there is a correlation between height and memory that astrology can use to reliably help people who struggle with learning, by all means, the floor is yours. It would be an incredible contribution to humanity if it works, so please don’t take my call to adventure lightly. I’ll make no prediction regarding your response, and await an abundance of convincing evidence. 🙂

      1. >I’m not convinced by your arguments, but appreciate you sharing them.

        I didn’t expect my arguments would convince you. Conviction comes with experience.

        >The reality is that there isn’t enough common consensus in astrology to have a discussion of what exactly in it is supposed to work compared to science, which has a far stronger and mutually beneficial definition throughout history and across cultures.

        The use and meaning of the planets and the 12 zodiac signs is uniform throughout history and across cultures. The Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, Europeans, Persians, pre-Columbian Mesoamericans and many others all used the same basic principles. Simply expressed, they all agree on the meanings of the planets as corresponding to the personalities in the royal court:

        Sun = king
        Moon = queen
        Mercury = prince
        Jupiter = priest
        Venus = courtesan
        Mars = general
        Saturn = servant

        > it’s not yet clear to what extent false beliefs in woo-woo and the pseuodosciences are getting stronger or weaker over time. One can hope for the latter, but the evidence needs to be there first.

        From my point of view balance is a governing principle in life, not just in the physical universe but also in social and mental realms. Fact and fiction, truth and folly, yin and yang are essential elements that will never go away but their quality can be improved.

        So if a society has high quality philosophy, reason, and science then it will have high quality art, music, and creativity to balance it. If a society has a problem with the fiction side of the equation then it will as have a problem with the fact side too. In other words, low quality irrational beliefs arise as an antidote to low quality rational beliefs. This is like evolutionary biology – things develop for a reason, to meet a need, to provide balance. Does this make any sense?

        >By the way, what are some of the high costs that come with your conclusions about astrology?

        Fatalism is the biggest cost. It can be crippling until the astrologer can integrate the paradox of fate versus free will.

        >These would be interesting to hear more about, along with some more information about the astrologers you know and their memory skills. You’re also free to contribute anything you think might be valuable to the discussion about any reliable predictions or revelations that can be made astrologically about a person’s memory skills – with or without mnemonics.

        The people who tend towards astrology are smart and already have good memories. It’s hard to study astrology if you don’t have a good memory because there is a lot to know. Astrologers get better memories through practice just as learning a language helps memory.

        The main ways that astrology helps memory is through principles and diagnosis. While there are many indicators of memory in the chart, the main one is the Moon. The chart can show what influences are affecting the Moon and what can be done to balance it. Also, by understanding the nature of the Moon then we can have a better understanding of the nature of the memory and how it is distinct to creativity (Venus) and intelligence (Mercury).

        I don’t have the charts of any mnemonists so I haven’t been able to study them to find common themes. However, I have looked at many mnemonists through the lens of astrological principles and tried to work them out. Mnemonics seem to be a combination of the Moon and Venus. ie the archetypes of the queen and the courtesan. If you can understand the characters of these two archetypes then you can go a long way to understanding the nature of memory and how to improve it.

        Both of these archetypes are feminine and have the qualities of being receptive, creative, fun, holistic, dramatic, personal, relational, emotional, and sensory. By knowing this we can know that memory is improved by things that enhance these characteristics – ie mnemonics. And mnemonics can be improved by more closely embodying these characteristics. If you’d never heard of mnemonics but knew astrology then you’d know what variables to look at to improve memory.

        We can also presume that memory is enhanced by other feminine traits like cleanliness, purity, love, commitment, trust, faith, flowers, appreciation, nourishment, dancing, music, art, and subtlety.

        Many of the things I see in the mnemonic world make perfect sense to me in the light of feminine characteristics. Like how your method is called “magnetic” which is a feminine trait. Or how memory palaces work – home decoration is another feminine trait and a memory palace is kind of like that. Or PAO which works on the principle that people and relationships are more memorable than things – another predictable insight.

        We also know that the Moon waxes and wanes so I’d expect some natural variance in a person’s ability to recall – some days will be better than others – and it is better to expect that and accept it rather than think it is fault that needs to remedied. The feminine also works in cycles which to me corresponds to spaced repetition. Night is ruled by the Moon so I’d expect sleep to be an important aspect of memory.

        The feminine also responds extremely well to high quality masculine traits. Thus I’d imagine that memory can be improved a lot by having clear goals, purpose, determination, muscles, logic, numeracy, right aggression, and confidence. IMO a serious mnemonists should cultivate these qualities.

        The chart also reveals afflictions. If someone’s Moon is afflicted by Saturn then it can make the mind very serious with limited emotional expression. Learning to express their emotions, release old charges, and connect to people can reduce a lot of stress and thereby improve memory.

        Someone’s Moon may be very volatile and learning to meditate and detach from their emotional excesses may improve their memory a lot. Or the Moon may be malnourished and the key that unlocks big memory gains may be found in eating the right nutrients. Or the Moon may be afflicted by trauma which can be healed by body-based exercises like yoga or Somatic Experiencing. The point is that if you can see the particular influence that is affecting your Moon then you can save a lot of time and experimentation by going directly to the antidote.

        The Moon also likes high quality things that develop the heart and love. This tells us that artificial things and low quality ways of relating to people are going to harm memory. For example, movies, social media, and the internet in general are poor substitutes for theatre, meeting people in person, and physical books. Favour the latter to improve memory. The Moon suggests to us to aim for high quality beauty and love and meaningful connections to improve memory.

        The Moon also symbolises purity. So toxic food, environments, people, ideas, impressions, behaviours are bad for memory.

        I wonder about the long-term effect of mnemonics. In the beginning they may provide balance for the psyche – like if a person is very serious then they may be attracted to the silliness of mnemonics. Mnemonics are light-hearted, fun, interesting and exciting and that may give great relief to a psyche burdened with the opposite. So in the short to medium term there may be many benefits but they may cause problems in the long term.

        The Moon is sensitive and receptive and fertile ground. So if we constantly expose the mind to mnemonics that are highly sexual, violent, crude, fantastical, silly, then we can expect those seeds to sprout in our psyche at some stage and they may become features of our mind and personality. This is the main reason that I limit my use of mnemonics – a little is fun and balancing but a lot is disturbing – at least for me.

        The Moon also represents dependency. I think mnemonics can result in dependency. Harry Lorraine said that his memory is 100% better than others with mnemonics but 100% worse without. I think it is also wise to cultivate non-mnemonic memory too – ie using flash cards and direct recall as taught by Marilu Henner.

        I practise Vedic astrology which recommends mantras to improve one’s chart or to achieve a particular outcome like improving one’s memory. It has been thoroughly proven by Western science that generic non-faith mantra meditation has a powerfully effect on many indicators of health and well-being including memory. Transcendental Meditation has lots of data on that.

        Essentially, mantras are a form of singing. If someone has a defect in their chart – for example it indicates that sadness is blocking their memory (ie unpleasant memories are corrupting their ability to remember) – then a mantra is selected specifically for that affliction. Then the person sings to the sadness with love, appreciation, faith, gentleness, and over time those seeds sprout in the form of an enlivened mind and heart. ie the person sings to the sadness and over time it is welcomed into the psyche and integrated.

        I think this kind of wholesome approach is essential of a clear mind, good memory, and a happy life. I think that the role of beauty, love, kindness, appreciation and gratitude hasn’t been valued enough in the memory world. These qualities don’t yield instant results but I’m sure they contribute a lot to harmonious brain functioning in the long run.

        Long story short: astrology gives a personalised map of the archetypes in your life and it can provide useful information about how to improve your memory. From my point of view astrology explains a lot. I’m not sure how much of it I’ve conveyed here. Hopefully a little!

          1. Yes, this is fascinating, especially since I started experimenting with Kirtan Kriya for Stress, Comprehension and Memory. So many kind thanks.

            I’m cautious to reify any special value into Sanskrit itself, and that’s one of the first points Gary Weber makes in the video I’ve just linked to Happiness Beyond Thought, which I am, coincidentally, currently re-reading.

            That said, I have been looking at Sanskrit the last while and become quite attracted to it. In an n=1 world, it will be difficult to draw claims for others. And the benefits of dedicated study, it seems to me, come not so much from the study itself, but from one’s teaching and sharing of the knowledge – with discretion, of course.

            How about you? Are you currently studying Sanskrit?

          2. Yes, I’ve studied Sanskrit. I can read the Devanagari script and have been chanting mantras daily for the last 25 years.

            Sanskrit is called the language of nature because its sounds are said to align with the things it describes. For example, we say, “shhh” to quieten a crying baby because that sound creates peace. The Sanskrit word for peace is “shanti” so just by saying the word you are in some small way creating the thing itself. That’s partly how mantras work.

            Each sound has a corresponding action and in English the word “peace” starts with “pa” which is kind of explosive. To make that sound you have to purse your lips, restrain the breath and then let it pop. Likewise when a drop of water hits the ground and explodes what sound does it make? Pa! So the English word for peace is at odds with peace itself. Make sense? Notice how this is a matter of listening not belief?

            Once I learned the actions of the sounds (and I’m still learning) then I hear it everywhere. So to learn the value of the sound Ra in Sanskrit you just need to listen to the rumbling, roaring, revving sound of a car engine and you’ll get a clue. And then when I hear a name like Roger Rumbold then I know something about that person. I know this is extreme woo-woo but this phonetic approach is how I understand Sanskrit to work and how it relates to the world.

            Also, you may be interested to know that Vedic texts were maintained as an oral tradition – memorised generation after generation for thousands of years. To maintain the integrity of the texts the pundits had to learn about 12 or more versions of each text. They would learn the original text and then a variety of nonsensical versions in which the syllables were mixed up according to a variety of formulas. ie the 1st and 4th syllable were swapped and 2nd and 5th etc. This prevented anyone from editing the text or forgetting it because it could be decoded from the other versions. Consequently there are no errors in the Vedic texts. It’s also said that this kind of chanting powerfully affected the pundits’ brains. They’d chant them with mudras just like the Kirtan Kriya.

            Have you read “I Am That” by Nisargadatta Maharaj? It is the same topic as Happiness Beyond Thought and is a classic in the field of Advaita. It is so high on logic and low on woo that even Sam Harris endorses it.

            Yes, I agree that the value of this knowledge is not just academic. In my mind it is best taught by embodying it and demonstrating its practical value to others.

          3. Thanks for these extended notes, Andrew. Much appreciated.

            You make clearer a point that Weber seems to be making about why particular words might matter more than others. I suppose it relates to the suggestions around the origins of the Major Method choices of “d” and “t” for 1 as opposed to other options.

            Overall, it does sound like a worthy learn for etymology and philology, as even a brief tour through Latin and Ancient Greek will similarly attune the eyes and ears to perceive the languages differently.

            I have not read “I Am That,” but I have cued it up for after I finish Atma Bodah. I might finish the Tattva Bodha as well first. But if even Sam Harris endorses Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, then I imagine it’s going to be good. (That link on his name is for the benefit of people who want to hear it from the man himself now that I’ve looked it up for confirmation.)

            Have you ever come across James Swartz? I quite like listening to and reading him, but his strong calls to have faith and comments on the limits of science strike me as unhelpful – especially given that so much of what appears in the text versions of his talk contradict these rhetorical measures.

            I also can’t quite grasp the need for a guru apart from it being a low keys means of keeping the teacher alive and funded. Swartz alludes to having been rooked in his past and since so many of the texts basically say that there is no teacher outside of the self the text is hoping to expose, it all seems a bit circular and self-defeating.

            But then again, I can only assume that I “get” it from where I’m at with an Jodorowskian sense of irony, having been deeply touched by the final two moments of The Holy Mountain many years ago. Many stories have been trying to tell us this simple truth, but I suppose without the soft pillow of experience earned through consistent meditation, all the stories in the world won’t sell anyone on them being the One (as such).

          4. Yes, I’ve read Swartz’ book How To Attain Enlightenment. I liked it. You’re right about faith – it is not required for self-inquiry. In fact, self-inquiry requires a ruthlessly discriminative mind that quickly discards nonsense – and there is a lot of nonsense around even among teachers of self-inquiry. Though I must say it is helpful to hang around with people who are both clear-eyed about the philosophy and have the experience of self-realisation.

            If you’re keen on rational teachers who say you don’t need a guru then perhaps you could check out the work of J. Krishnamurti or Ramana Maharshi (

            > all the stories in the world won’t sell anyone on them being the One

            From my point of view self-inquiry is Yang – logical, objective, scientific. But the Yin approach – stories, myth, relationships, faith, love, emotions, gurus, devotion, surrender, etc – is also valid. It is a form of “other-inquiry” that ultimately results in self-knowledge. This approach doesn’t make much sense to the Yang mind and for a long time I put it in the useless/don’t understand box.


          5. Yes, I feel that being around others of clear mind is key. I was enthused to hold this YouTube Livestream with Ben Fishel of Project Monkey Mind recently on meditation and journaling, for example. I wish we’d switched on the stream at least an hour earlier, but it was a great time and I learned a lot from his take on things.

            In any case, before we started the stream we talked a lot about stories versus logic and the quest for balance. One of his challenges to me was to test what happens if I simply allow a bit of belief, or at least soften the reactions to the less objective responses to the world.

            Ultimately, as I suggested after a moment’s pause, I think the road of acceptance leads one to unethical places.

            In fact, many stories we relate to one another in various ways (conversation, literature, cinema, rhetoric, etc.) tell us in straightforward and less straightforward ways that the unconscious mind finds both blind faith and faith as a gambit deeply troubling. Robert Langs has several books on decoding dreams that are instructive in this sense in helping us see how our stories reveal the predator, prey and existential anxieties governing us. I don’t have a clean sentence for it, but ultimately I would venture that logic reveals the stories sooner than stories reveal the value of logic, so random encounters with better ideas and their competition in the marketplace ultimately rules.

            In this marketplace, we have at least three levels of luck:

            1) The luck of finding better ideas

            2) The luck of being able to perceive them and their value

            3) The luck of being ready for them in the sense of being ready and willing to implement

            I suspect these kinds of luck are the hidden structure behind the ideas of karma and reincarnation. If those ideas are true, then we are doomed to repeat life until luck grants us access to opportunity. Or, there is just luck as such and if we’re the lucky ones, then Plato’s Cave (even if we haven’t read it) strongly suggests the sun will drive us back down into the pit to cheerfully do what we can to rescue others (or start a blog, podcast and YouTube channel).

            Or something like that…

            Thanks for mentioning Krishnamurti. I’ve come across the name many times, but not yet read anything. I’ve read a fair amount of Maharshi and still dip in from time to time. I feel very fortunate to have found my way to these things more recently in life than earlier and am grateful for the recommendations at a moment when I can dutifully follow up with them. I don’t think my younger self ever put them in the “useless/don’t understand box,” but it was certainly unprepared to be sympathetic for those needing woo woo and fluff… not to mention the acknowledgment of my own need for these things and the relief that comes from being able to acknowledge the need even while subverting it.

            Exciting times! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy


Enter your email below to get instant access to my FREE course that gives you a proven step-by-step process for remembering anything you want. You'll discover how to:

  • Speak any language fluently
  • Recall complicated formulas, math equations, or numbers.
  • Master the technical terms for your field of work or study.
  • Recite poetry, jokes, and even long speeches word-for-word
  • Quickly absorb the most important ideas from books, textbooks, or lectures...

Unlock your natural ability to learn and remember anything 3x faster now!


Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

His most popular books include, The Victorious Mind and… Read More

Anthony Metivier taught as a professor at:

Lifelong learning feature image with Anthony Metivier in a library with books

This Is the Secret to Remembering EVERYTHING Better

Enter your email below to get instant access to my exclusive course that will show you how to use memory palaces to MASSIVELY improve your memory so you can learn new skills, retain information, and stay sharp.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.