If you’ve ever seen the maddening, tragic documentary series Paradise Lost, or the truncated 2012 follow up (watch the doco series though), you’ll be aware of the plight of the West Memphis Three — Damien Echols Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. — who were railroaded and wrongly sentenced for the murders of three young boys in Arkansas, all because they dressed in dark, listening to metal and indulged an interest in the occult. Normal teenage shit.
The three were sentenced to life, but later freed in 2011 after entering a controversial plea that allowed them to publicly assert freedom despite still being legally guilty.
Damien Echols has announced he will be releasing a survival guide, High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row. It marks Echols’ fourth book.
“I used magick—the practice of reshaping reality through our intention and will—to stave off incredible pain, despair, and isolation,” Echols says of his ordeal.
“But the most amazing feat of all that practice and study was to manifest my freedom. Magick is an incredibly deep, meaningful, spiritual tradition that equals the Eastern practices of Buddhism and Taoism in beauty. It’s an ancient discipline that lets you literally change reality by working with the divine energies of creation.
“I consider this book to be the culmination of my life’s work. When I finished it I was in a hotel room in Boulder, Colorado, the most beautiful blizzard I’d ever seen in my life was happening outside my window. I felt as if I’d accomplished perhaps the biggest chunk of my life’s purpose.
“Wave after wave of contentment and profound happiness rolled through me for weeks afterwards. This is the fulfillment of a dream I have held since childhood – to contribute in some way to the history and preservation of the practices of ceremonial magick.”
It’s pleasing to see Echols at such peace, considering what the world has so far thrown at him. High Magick will be out on October 30.