Gus diZerega financed his Ph.D. in Political Theory as an artist in Berkeley, California, joking he was a “starving academic who does art for a living.” His pen and inks appeared on envelopes, stationery and note cards, and for many years were widely sold in stores across the country. Finishing his Ph.D. in Political Theory at UC Berkeley in 1984, he anticipated a normal academic career would follow. But weeks after the dissertation was signed, he dared a customer of his art to show him “real magic,” for he had claimed to be a magician.
DiZerega thought he could not do so. DiZerega was wrong.
The resulting intellectual crisis – for diZerega’s entire academic work had been firmly within the mainstream, Western scientific tradition - precipitated years of divided study as he taught university courses in his fields, published in the scholarly press, and simultaneously worked closely with teachers in the Wiccan, Shamanic, Buddhist, and African Diasporic spiritual traditions. DiZerega found that work to be as challenging and demanding as obtaining a Ph.D. at one of the world’s pre-eminent institutions, UC Berkeley.
Today, he believes he can integrate the best of what he learned in both traditions of thought and practice. He is a Third Degree Elder in Gardnerian Wicca, and has trained and initiated others; he has studied six years under Brazilian shaman Antonio Costa e Silva; and has conducted healing circles and taught these methods widely, where they have been attended by medical doctors, nurses, and others in the healing field.
diZerega has also participated for many years in Interfaith work between the Pagan and other spiritual communities, including working in the United Religions Initiative and giving talks to the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council. diZerega is author of books and many articles, chapters and newspaper columns on political and environmental issues. He has helped organize international conferences on the role of emergent order phenomena on the social sciences and exploring the further reaches of thought opened up by Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek, and has been invited internationally to teach on these topics.