Orion: The Hunter - Phedon Bilek
This will be the hardest review I’ve ever had to write. Not because the book is long or complex, but because I have had the unique pleasure of seeing this book come together little by little over the past 2 years. I have had the honor of reading and working these routines long before they were ever proofread, formatted, and bound in the exquisite style that they are now in. And I must admit while there is immense excitement for this release to finally be available in all its glory, there is also a tinge of sadness that I will no longer be one of the lucky few who know these powerful pieces of art. I don’t think it does this book and its material justice to review it in my typical fashion. So today, you’ll be reading a review with a slightly different format. Enjoy.
Orion the Hunter kicks off with Phasma which was originally released as notes from Phedon’s phenomenal, standing-ovation generating lecture at MIND6 in 2019 where he read the minds of everyone in the room using this technique. Phasma is a tool which opens up a world of possibilities in propless mentalism. It is a simple technique deeply rooted in cold reading techniques which practically guarantees success. This technique is a backbone for the majority of the routines discussed in The Hunter. You first learn what the technique is and then see several examples of how it can be used to reveal colors, animals, landmarks, cities, and then you learn the first routine with this principle: Restricted Imagery.
Restricted Imagery begins with the original routine, and moves into the evolved version of the routine which introduces the reader to the Scenery Principle, the Wait-a-Second Ploy, and Eurydice which adds a transcendent element to the routine. These tools will continue to surface throughout the rest of the works in Orion. In Restricted Imagery, someone thinks of anything in the world, and you take a piece of their imagination and bring it into reality. The next evolution of Restricted Imagery comes in the form of Indexed Imagery. In this, you predict their chosen item, but more importantly, this routine introduces you to the Order Force and the Distraction Ruse. These two techniques go hand in hand and work powerfully together to disarm the spectator.
Now we move to Phasmatic Names which is one of Phedon’s most prized creations, and it will quickly become a staple of any reader’s repertoire. This applies the Phasma principle to names allowing you to reveal a name merely thought of by a spectator. As with all of his routines, you’ll find that this concept grows and grows and evolves throughout. When it is first introduced, you also learn the My-Cousin-Nick Reveal which is a poignant way to reveal the thought-of name with a physical photo. You’re then introduces to a simplified version called the Eric Force. One version isn’t necessarily better than the other, but knowing both will provide flexibility for your reveals. After learning this, you are introduced to Phasmatic Names 2.0 which expands upon the original by increasing the amount of options. This introduces the reader to the Lettercount Force, the Can-You-Draw-It Ploy, the Familiarity Ploy, and the Lettercount Force 2.0 all of these are valuable tools for all propless mentalism.
Now that the reader has learned several techniques, Phedon pieces many of them together to create the routine Sponsored Imagery. In this routine a spectator creates a huge imaginary event and you are able to tell him/her the gender of a child they are thinking of, an activity that child is doing, a brand name, and the name of the imagined child all without them uttering a word. This is the routine which caused the standing ovation at MIND6. After an essay and some wonderful thoughts on how to justify performing in English if you’re in a country that doesn’t speak English as a first language, you learn Phasmatic Stones. This uses the Order Force, The Distraction Ruse, and Eurydice from earlier in the book and also introduces us to Thought-Shaping. This is a simple routine that starts as a reading and turns into something much much more as you bring an item from their imagination into the real world. This is a beautiful routine, and the impact it leaves is staggering.
From there we meet the PHI Force. This is another building block of a tool. This is essentially a universal forcing technique which allows you to force just about anything you want with ease. Armed with this new technique, we are then introduced to Desmic Imagery. The spectator imagines a thought-of person dressed however they want in whatever color clothes they want in any environment they want, and all of these things are decided purely within the spectator’s mind nothing is ever written down or said aloud. The performer then describes in extradorinaiy detail all of these things which has only been created in his/her head. This pieces teaches us the Divide-and-Rule, the OUZO Subterfuge, and the Saturation Ruse.
Finally, we come to the Oneironaut. In this routine, a spectator choses a word at random from their own book and creates an environment in their mind. The performer leads the spectator through a visual exercise, and at the end of the exercise, the performer tells the spectator their word. When the spectator opens the book they’ve been holding the whole time, they find that a small piece from their imaginary environment has made its way into reality. This uses the PHI Force, Phasma, Eurydice, Can-You-Draw-It Ploy, the Familiarity Ploy, and a new concept: Time Anchoring.
Peppered throughout the book are essays rich with value, so don’t skip over them. You’ll learn about why you shouldn’t use a disclaimer, how belief, attitude, and mindset can dramatically enhance your performance, and justifications for your actions. You’ll also read a list of “Multipliers” which are techniques Phedon uses in his own work to increase the power of any routine you do.
Many have said it, but I’ll repeat it here. This will become a classic for good reason. The content is amazingly powerful, potent, and hard-hitting, yet it’s all very easy to do and requires almost no memory work. To top it off, the quality of the book itself is stunning—you can literally feel the elegance when you hold it. What’s more… this is only half of Orion. There’s more goodness to come! The review for the other half of Orion: The Pleiades will be coming soon.