Magical Blend Magazine
Cover Design by Mathew Courtway
I was one of the founders, and for twenty-seven years, the publisher/managing Editor of Magical Blend. This magazine began in 1979 and ceased publication after one hundred issues in 2006. Time Magazine called it, “all the fringe you could fit between two covers every month.”
The story of Magical Blend began in my living room in San Francisco. I had just moved there on Halloween of 1978. My first year I met many amazing and unique spiritual teachers, students, writers, poets, visionary artists, and comic book artists. Many of them had submitted their teachings, writings or art to main stream media, and gotten nothing but rejections because their material was so unorthodox and original. A group of us came together and agreed to launch a magazine of our own, which would be different than anything being printed at that time. We figured that we could feature our own creative works along with the work of more famous people. This was before affordable desktop computers and printers, neither did we have access to faxes or internet (this may seem very alien to many of my readers, but I swear those days have existed in my lifetime). All of us volunteering with the magazine also worked day jobs. We pooled the money we could spare to pay for the printing cost and other expenses for the first eleven issues.
When the first issues came out many people told us, in no uncertain terms, that the occult and magical information we were printing, was either evil or not meant to be made available to the general public. At that time the New Age trends had not yet begun, and much of what we were printing was very unusual and unknown in the main stream media. Many people told us that they could not even understand what it was about or why it should exist. Today most of the material we printed has become mainstream. But at that point in time the occult, magic, witchcraft, shamanism, ancient mysteries, UFO’s, spiritual sexuality, astral traveling, exploring other dimensions, creative visualization, affirmations, and even alternative health were thought to be odd, weird, or even evil.
We printed 2,000 copies of the second issue and slowly built interest and distribution. From here on, 1,000 additional copies an issue were printed.
With the eleventh issue – this was in 1984 – the magazine caught fire. We had refined our presentation, the word had gotten out to the underground and alternative people, and the eleventh issue sold out of eleven thousand copies in three weeks. Subscriptions and requests to purchase advertising poured in. My then co-publisher Jerry Snider and I, resigned our jobs and began working full time on Magical Blend. Over the next year, we could hire many of the people who had volunteered for years.
Cover Design by Mathew Courtway
From the very first issue we had an interest and willingness of big name authors, musicians, actors, artists and a wide array of authorities in different fields, to participate in the magazine. We had astrologer Dane Rudhyar, science fiction writer Michael Morcock, underground artist Justin Green, the new age authors such as Shakti Gawain and Mark Allen. We had author and witch Starhawk, dolphin communicator Jon Lilly, LSD guru Timothy Leary, and mythologist Joseph Campbell. I take a special pride in the fact that we had difficult near-impossible-to-get-interviews-with lead singer of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia. And of course we had the western shaman magic writer of the time, Carlos Castaneda.
Long before Magical Blend I had developed a deep awe and addiction to Latin America and Latin American shamanism. I saved up money and visited, explored, studied and lived in Latin America, as long as, I could afford to (something I continued to do all my life). This turned out to greatly enrich how Magical Blend came about and developed. I adopted my two children, during the civil war in Peru, in the year 2000 (I wrote about this and much more in my two books: Secrets of the Ancient Incas, and The Secrets of the Amazon Shamans.) This certainly deepened certain areas of Magical Blend and made me more aware of areas such as the challenges of being a magic worker and a parent.
Magical Blend sales were helped by odd – you could even say – magical experiences. The very famous Oral Roberts held up copies of Magical Blend on his national TV show The Breakfast Club, and said we were the devils tool and urged his audience not to allow anyone they care about to read our magazine. Circulation skyrocketed in the Southern states. Then Woody Allen began his book, Mere Anarchy, by dedicating his entire first chapter to joking about and making fun of Magical Blend.
Also adding to circulation growth were facts such as that we had a Magical Blend TV show for two years which I hosted in San Francisco; that Swan Raven published an anthology, named A Magical Universe, of the best articles of our first fifty issue, featuring Robin Williams, John Cleaves, Joan Baez, Terrance McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson and many more; that Hampton Roads Publishing published Solstice Shift: Magical Blend’s Guide to the Coming Age with articles by twenty of our favorite writers. Hampton Roads followed that with my book, Spiritual Business:The Amazing True Story of Magical Blend Magazine. All these things and more kept circulation growing. Because we were ahead of the New Age interest wave and the witchcraft interest wave and the health food wave and many others as well, sales just kept growing. At its peak in the year 2000 Magical Blend was selling 130,000 copies monthly. It was sold in every state in the USA, in every province in Canada, as well as thirty other counties. We had an annual budget of over one million dollars. We had spun off two separate magazines, Natural Beauty and Health and Transitions. We had an in- office staff of twenty-five employees.
Cover Design by Rene Schmidt
Then in 2006 the shock waves of the coming economic downturn began hitting our small and edgy advertisers. They began pulling their ads and we were having impossible times finding new ones to replace them. After twenty-seven years of running a business, I saw the writing on the wall. I chose, after 100 issues of Magical Blend, to pull the plug and close down the operation.
I totally changed my career. I signed up with a California state program. If I promised to work three years for good pay for the State, they would pay me and my costs to earn my master’s degree in social work and therapy. What a great change of pace. I saved my money and when my children graduated college I lived in South America for six months. Then I worked with three Southern California New Age magazines for six months. In these turbulent times I also traveled and worked in Mexico for a year. Then I took a position as a freelance public relations manager for The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia for a year. At the end of that with my multi-talented new wife Sofia and I launched LangevinAxelssson Marketing: a social media and public relations company.
A year ago we took over the magazine The Echo World. It had been the alternative voice for Central Virginia for twenty-years. Next month, we will have published twelve great issues, featuring people like Shakti Gawain, Mark Allen, Lynn Andrews, Michael Haener, Michael Grosso, Frank DeMarco, Maureen St. Germain, Whitley Strieber, Alberto Villoldo and many others. I feel like I have been blessed to be able to help get so much great information out to the world in my life. It has all proved to me time and again that Magic is real and works!