Orion: The Pleiades - Phedon Bilek
The Pleiades continues where The Hunter left off. And thus, this review will continue where the previous review left off. I highly encourage you to read the first review before reading this one. With that said, this book opens with a sentence you can add into your work to gain compliance from even the toughest spectator. You then learn a powerful ruse called Lost in Translation; in it, you cause a spectator to genuinely feel that you can sense her very emotional state from a single touch. This is powerful stuff that is almost as real as it seems. This builds into an essay on subtle ambiguity called The Limbo.This essay teaches a framework for developing your own strategies for utilizing The Limbo, and then Phedon explains how you can use this concept to make any anagram seem all the more impossible.
Kheiron is the next piece we are graced with and it is my favorite of all the pieces across both books. Phedon calls it a “super-routine.” To quote from the book, “It is prop-less, it relies on a surefire mechanical method, it deeply involves the sitter, packs huge, and leaves the sitter with something she can keep as a souvenir.” There’s something very special about this piece. After reading someone’s palm, you then read their mind in one of the purest ways with the optional kicker of a souvenir. It uses simple, reliable principles, some that you may even be aware of, but it uses them in a brand new way which makes complete sense, and allows you to do one of the cleanest prop-less mind reading performances imaginable.
Next we come to Kosmos which is a routine with intuition and two impossible predictions centered around a thought of country. Sibylline is the same effect as Kosmos but is done with names instead of countries. This introduces us to the Video Reveal and the Tale Reveal. The Video Reveal is perhaps one of the strongest reveals I’ve ever read. If you put yourself into the shoes of the spectator, you can viscerally feel how strongly this reveal would affect you. The Tale Reveal is a great companion to the Video Reveal and allows the spectator to be creative in a way which will guarantee they remember this encounter.
Asterion is a Q&A routine. It has a strong crescendo of revelations: you answer their question, tell them their star sign, and leave them with an important message that they will read at a later time. Phobos is the exact same mechanics as Asterion but rather than answer a question, you deduce a hidden fear, pick up on someone who is comforting to them, and leave them with a message. Don’t let the simplicity of these routines fool you. They are classic methods, but they are full of Phedon’s details which turn the routines into pieces that feel real.
Pheonix is an odd effect where a true stranger is able to see the name someone is thinking of in the flames of a piece of paper as it burns. Read that sentence again—yes that’s really what happens. When Phedon first shared this with me, I couldn’t help but laugh. It is such an out-of-the-box idea, and yet the stranger will really be able to do exactly what I’ve said above without any kind of stooging or DR of any kind. Marvelous. This is followed by an essay on Tunnel Vision and Self-Limitation which speaks on taking this concept even further. Xenos is our next endeavor. This is as real as it gets. A stranger solves your spectator’s most vexing problem without ever meeting them or knowing their concern. This is crazy—if you want to know what it would feel like to really do what you’re claiming to do, Xenos is for you. There’s an alternative, less scary method, but I encourage you to try the real method. You’ll be a better performer having done it.
Lexikon is Phedon’s addition and take on a Peter Turner routine; it is pure prop-less mind reading at its best. Phedon first showed me this soon after releasing Proteus, and in many ways, this allows you to perform a shortened and much easier to remember version of Proteus. The subtleties used here create something wonderful. The book goes on to explain how to use Lexikon for large audiences. Next is a lengthy essay on Casting a Wider Net which is full of nuggets of gold—especially if you give readings or want to give readings. It is full of powerful lines and thought processes to enhance any reading you give. This type of setting is where Phedon really shines, and in this essay, you’ll discover why. Over Space and Time gets your partner or friend involved by turning THEM into a mentalist who can accurately name what object someone has chosen when called over the phone.
The reader is now treated to several routines contributed by people other than the author. Personalized Phasma (Mitchell Kettlewell), Phasmosis (Taha Mansour), Fake Call (Christophe Ambre), and Phasception (Ross Bartels) all of which are great examples of how you can use the tools you’ve learned previously in Orion to create your own routines—routines which will inevitably feel more “you” because they come from within your own mind.
The ‘Back-to-the-Future’ Reading is a simple approach to a general reading that can be used as a “get to know you” type of reading to learn more about the depths of their personality. Following this, we get to S.C.R.E.W.D. Anagaram which is, as it sounds, an anagram for determining which category someone is thinking of generally in the context of a reading. The anagram is quick to learn and totally different than any other anagram I’ve encountered before; I imagine readers will be inspired by the format of this anagram. Hades is a card trick (insert gasps here) I know! A card trick from Phedon Bilek!? But as you would expect, this plays as more than a mere card trick. First they use a card to generate imagery, and you’re able to describe the exact scene they have in mind, and thus, deduce their card. Then they do the reverse using imagery to create a card—a card which is the only one revered in a deck. This routine is followed by Les Dames D’Abord which is a propless card divination inspired by Isolation by Michael Murray.
The book ends with a nice bonus effect Two-Person My-Cousin-Nick Reveal. For this you’ll need a partner or friend willing to play the part. When you’re out with said partner, he/she will be able to know what name someone else is thinking of. It is a unique system that is totally natural and requires no memory work—talk about creative.
This concludes the Orion review. I guarantee if you perform any of the routines in this book, you’ll experience reactions totally different than the typical reaction to magic/mind reading. People will look at you as if what you are doing is real. That is Phedon’s best asset—he creates material that feels REAL. And somehow, he does it using methods that are clean and so simple even a beginner could do it. The “hard work” with Phedon’s routines comes in finding the naturalness and cultivating your personal belief that what you’re doing is real. If you can do that, you can perform every routine in these books with ease. I hope you can see that what this set of books offers is not only great routines, but a plethora of tools which you can use to shape and create your own performances, and if you do that, you will truly become like Orion hunting your own Pleiades.