Here’s an excerpt from Jason Miller’s Magick Monday Newsletter:
If you’ve never heard the term “UPG” it means Unverified Personal Gnosis. Like most terms it is fine in and of itself. It was born of a need to separate serious topics from nonsense.
When someone would show up in a space claiming to be the incarnation of Innana and is upset that no one is now treating them like the divine avatar that they clearly are – you can say “Well that is just your UPG”. When someone claims that Kali and Helate are the same being, you can say “Well that’s your UPG”. When someone fills in their family tree with famous or fictional figures because that is what the Akashic Record said….. yeah, thats UPG.
You get the idea. It’s a way of saying “Hey we acknowledge that you believe this, but we don’t and its so far out from what we value that we aren’t interested in entertaining that here.”
It was meant as a tool for serious people to separate out serious discussion from radical woo woo. The problem is that like most terms these days, it got misused, and soon the misuse overshadowed the actual use.
Instead of separating out nincompoopery from serious discussion, it gets used to place all living magic into a killing jar of spirit.
I get accused of “teaching UPG” all the time. Of course with a few thousand students it stops being personal, and to the degree than anything in magic is verifiable it stops being unverified as well, but none of that matters because rather than a term to aid discussion and communication, it has become a tool to shut down discussion and communication.
HERE IS MY CHALLENGE: The next time someone dismisses something as UPG: Force the conversation one step deeper,
Is it really personal or has it been shared and accepted by others? Is there something to do that others have done?
Almost anything related to magic or spiirts is unverifiable using scientific instruments, so what Metrics are you judging it by? Age? Tradition? Wide Acceptance? Function? This touches on my concept of the four authenticities:
Using my Hekate course as an example one might say:
1. I dislike this because its not true to what we know of her cult ranging from the period of the Theogony to the Chaldean Oracles!
That would be both accurate and fair and reveals something about the course and the metric against which it is being measured. It also shows how “personal” the metrics are to the person making the judgement. Is “old” a good metric? I don’t think so.
2. I dislike Jasons course because it incorporates elements commonly found in Eastern traditions like Buddhism.
Also accurate and fair. Now measured against a cultural metric instead of historical one. This might be something some people care about, but not others.
3. I dislike Jasons course because I tried it and I didn’t find that it worked for me.
Again, totally fair and measured against a personal experience of functionality. That said, considering how many people have tried and seem to like the course, the criticism might be closer to UPG than the material, but I digress.
I have seen my work, and the work of most modern writers on magic dismissed as UPG at one point or another. Any living magical tradition is going to produce new information, protocols, and processes. Painting all that as silly or unhinged is neither accurate nor helpful.
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