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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » SIBYL - Phedon Bilek - my first impressions after a week or so (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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IAIN
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You know when you are eating a really good meal and you're enjoying it, drinks, nice company, then someone sneaks out a fart or you eat a rank piece that's all chewy and gristle and suddenly you feel sick?

that's kind of how I feel about Sibyl by Phedon Bilek...here's why.

Firstly, thankfully, just like that gristly piece, you can spit it out and pretend it never happened, you can even order another steak and start again. Its just that taste left in your mouth...its faint, like a ghost's memory - but just like ghosts, if you're not careful, they can haunt you for a loooooooooong time.

That was dramatic wasn't it? And what's that you say?

WAIT A SECOND!

you're saying I wrote that with eloquence too, why thank you...how very kind.

So, what did I enjoy about this product?
Really loved what Phedon does with the participant and the big sheet of paper at the start. Great. Its a nod to Richard Webster in its gestation. For me, I've thought of some twists (pardon the pun) and changes I'll make. BUt that's not for this initial impressions review.

The paper thing, its a great little opener for any kind of reading, and its nice that it involves a 'thing'. A simple sheet of paper, though not mentioned, I felt it was a good 'in' to using paper very naturally within the context of...lets say psychic entertainment. I choose that term cos Phedon talks about wanting things to feel real and authentic as someone with a gift of some kind. Anyway, the paper thing, great, also used as a justification to get into some graphology. All good.

Now, there's scripting to most everything else which is a good thing. However, there's also some very specific things you need to say to enable the work to...work. This isn't f*rcing or anything. No guessing involved either. If you're familiar with some of Webster's work on Cold Reading for Magicians you'll know what I mean. Now, though you could work on developing other scripts to say what you need to say, but that isn't covered here.

There is a small bit within this that gives you a 'hit' for a gender confirmation of a person your sitter is thinking of. However, there's nothing to work with if the name is gender neutral like Sam, Micky, Francis and a few others. Not a criticism just something I've noticed.

The scripting works, feels authentic and is clearly explained. As I'm talking about clarity, I found my copy, some of the audio dip as Titanas and Phedon as speaking. Not a biggie, but thought I'd mention in case you think you're going deaf.

You will need some form of charisma and pressence for all of this to go smoothly. Phedon certainly has these things going for him. ANd its nice to see two men act so openly fond of each other on the dvd. Awww...

here comes the gristle...some people will say I am being overly fixated on this part, and we can just not use the line. They'd be half right. However, it is taught in the dvd and explained in the supplementary PDF. So, y'know...its there.

A woman having a miscarriage is used at one point in the experience if it goes down a certain route. Yup. You talk to the sitter about a person they know very well, and you talk about their miscarriage or maybe that they are barren.

Chew on that a second. See how it tastes.

Moving on, PRISM, is great. It harnesses a connection by telling a own personal story first. One that has an impact on the person with you and which allows you to then move into other routines/presentations. There's more to it than that obviously, but that's what I can fairly/safely say.

There are a lot of subtleties in PRISM that helps create that feeling of realness some performers crave.

Also, I feel everyone would benefit from reading Gail Sheehy's Passages book if this is your kinda thing. YOu'll definitely benefit from that, despite some of the data being a little out of date now. There's updated books out by her too if you look.

Anyway, Phedon finishes off the journey of PRISM with a little hug with the sitter. Depending on your area, set up and a myriad of other factors - as well as whether you've washed that week, its up to you to gauge that.

He also makes use of metaphorical stories within the construct of PRISM. Again, polish your vocabulary and see how your story can fit the structure that Phedon provides.

Study the PDF properly to learn more. I also feel that though Phedon explains the example mysterious journey/story you tell, he doesn't or rather probably can't spend endless pages giving you examples of clour meanings and so on. YOu'll need to educate yourself before changing the script he gives you. Otherwise, stick to what he teaches.

S.C.R.E.W.E.D. B*ll*t version
This is nice and simple, Phedon likes using psychometry as his explanation. I was going to type something very picky here, but I won't. I feel there's a mild logical hiccup here, but that's not particular to Phedon, its anyone who uses this explanation and uses paper in some way. So this is nice, its straightforward too. And his touch on A.N. with permission from Millard, is good too.

The ending of the routine feels a little like when Richard Osterlind does his C.T.

So, I've finished chewing. Here's my personal and biased thoughts.

There's two things I really want from readings. One, no reading is the same, and secondly, I don't want tears. As in boo-hoo. Phedon obviously doesn't laugh like a maniac and shout hahahaha you're crying! Of course not. However, there should be a duty of care in what we teach. And even more so in how we treat the people we read for. I feel the miscarriage stuff is in very poor taste. I wont go too deeply, however I will point out that as we are all pattern seeking animals, if you use this line, and its NOT about that 3rd person - but the sitter, the sitter wont keep on track and tell herself "ah well, he's talking about HER and not ME!" of course not. ITs a hugely impactful experience and not a good one. Both physically and mentally. Bring it up, and it backfires. Well, what are YOU going to do? Hug her? I'd like to see that happen...and then maybe an angry friend, husband, wife, whatever now there too? Read for enough people and these subjects do come up and that duty of care I said about, well, that's why I would never in a million years bring it up myself. But, its now taught as part of a possibility within a routine that many people on the Café are very excited over. I do not feel comfortable at all with that. It feels like its ego, to look authentic we trample over feelings. ITs not a risk I feel is worthy of any of us. We could talk about ambition, hopes, positive things, that will not bring about tears, but a smile, a wish, a "i hope so too!".

Save the tears for arguments over how much you've spent on magic tricks with the wife or husband.

I also feel that this release, though enjoyable in many parts and ways, Phedon is very gifted in his delivery. However, some of this invokes tears, and you dealing with someone's life here in a mundane way. But you are also unable to measure if you have caused them stress or any kind of longer term distress. You can, just purely by chance, happen upon a situation that backfires, blows up, and causes grief to that person. And are YOU seriously able and capable in handling that? Do you want to go there?

I can hear people scoffing and saying "it'll never happen." All I can say is, go give regular readings with just the major arcana, do it for three months, as often as you can, and sooner than later, people confess, whisper, admit to all kinds of things. So...i can just see some ne'er-do-well doing some walk-around mentalism and trying to shoe-horn this into a set and disaster strikes. Honestly, I can. Isn't that sad? Phedon doesn't say to do this by the way, I just...know the demographic.

In summing up, I really liked some of this, was really disheartened by other bits and some more gave me things to tinker with. But again, that chewy gristly bit...i need more mouthwash. Take care of people that you perform and work with. You wouldn't like your sister or daughter to have such things brought up and be upset by (unless you hate them I guess).

i would not use this at any kind of house-party setting, or in any environment where those you do this with get to talk - because certain similarities will crop up.

*turns back like Columbo* Oh and just one more thing - a guy that appears on it (sorry! can't remember your name) talks about how he's having to carry tissues with him when performing this like its a good thing. Its not.

That's it. Go for it. Come at me, bro!
NeilS
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Thank you Iain for such a thorough and excellent review. And although I do not have this, I too would be distinctly uneasy with mentioning or talking about miscarriages.
IAIN
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I don't want to make it sound like there's a miscarriages section in the dvd..

It's a line used in certain circumstances, you don't have to use it and you are free to come up with something else entirely...

I was genuinely a little taken aback that it was even mentioned. But it was so I had to address it.

There's lots of information to digest and work with. And it all works. And my main concern would also be repeatability in some ways too.

There is definitely some very good elements to this release.
John C
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I am glad I don't eat steak.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Mr. Dural
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Thank you for the review Ian.

• Would you recommend this as a starting point for a beginner ?

• Is the emotion evoked mainly through tragedy such as miscarriages ?

• Are the readings brought to a positive resolution ?



Thank you
IAIN
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Personally, for a starter, I'd recommend Richard Websters a-z and elliot bresslers switch craft...

And then maybe pick an oracle and depending on how you present yourself, go with some Paul Voodini work or Enrique enriquez...
IAIN
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The emotions in play seem to be wanting to appear as a cathartic experience... I've got some issues with that but it's probably not suitable for this review... And it's probably not what most people want to hear either...
Robb
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Great review, Iain. You told me all I needed to know to know this isn’t for me,
aligator
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Not for me either. I also appeciate the good review though to be honest I was somewhat negatively disposed towards this from the beginning.
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Thank you for your comments on Sibyl. I had one other nitpicky moment... When Phedon was reading for George and stated something like, "does she have 2 or 3 children?" and George is like "well, she had 3" and Phedon interjects "...but one's dead" matter-of-factly. For me personally, it felt like it was in a bit of poor taste to prioritize that extra hit in that moment over comforting the sitter, but maybe that's just me.
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On Jan 24, 2019, clairvoyant wrote:
Thank you for your comments on Sibyl. I had one other nitpicky moment... When Phedon was reading for George and stated something like, "does she have 2 or 3 children?" and George is like "well, she had 3" and Phedon interjects "...but one's dead" matter-of-factly. For me personally, it felt like it was in a bit of poor taste to prioritize that extra hit in that moment over comforting the sitter, but maybe that's just me.


Hello Clairvoyant,

I’m sad that from all to be found in this project THAT is the only part worth mentioning for you.

Now, to address your point: Sibyl is about my way doing readings. I’m sorry they don’t match yours, and that they are not to your taste. But to me, a reading is not only sugar and spice. In Greece if you give a sugar-and-spice reading you’ll be discarded on the spot.

To me a reading is about life. And life is made of joy, laughter, sicknesses, and death. If you don’t like it, just keep it happy, avoid those, and do what any good performer should do: adapt the tool to fit you, your style, your audiences.

I’m very surprised by such comments. Finding one part in a performance, something that has nothing to do with the tools provided, to just discard the whole thing.

I realize now I had to check that my style fitted every single potential Sibyl viewer before performing and shooting, because they’d have to perform exactly like me, repeat the same sentences word for word......

........ something went wrong here......... Sorry.

Be well,

Phedon
...The only easy day is yesterday...
IAIN
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As you know, because we've spoken quite a bit... I think you know that it is about choice, and especially in teaching our work, we can decide what we teach and what we don't.
I'm not gonna quote uncle Ben and Peter Parker here but it is true...

Just because we can, doesn't mean that we should.

I think there's some great thinking in this, it's just not truly an open ended reading and some of the subject matter and lines should have not been taught. There's plenty of other things we could focus on.

And yes, in all honesty, you should have thought about the cultural implications too... And those that you shared this with before release should have spoken out as well...

It's like buying a new shirt, showing your girlfriend it only for her to say "hang on, why is there lipstick on the collar?!"
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On Jan 25, 2019, IAIN wrote:
As you know, because we've spoken quite a bit... I think you know that it is about choice, and especially in teaching our work, we can decide what we teach and what we don't.
I'm not gonna quote uncle Ben and Peter Parker here but it is true...

Just because we can, doesn't mean that we should.

I think there's some great thinking in this, it's just not truly an open ended reading and some of the subject matter and lines should have not been taught. There's plenty of other things we could focus on.

And yes, in all honesty, you should have thought about the cultural implications too... And those that you shared this with before release should have spoken out as well...

It's like buying a new shirt, showing your girlfriend it only for her to say "hang on, why is there lipstick on the collar?!"


Iain, if people watching can’t decide on what to do and not to do, then I rest my case... It’s good you’re here to educate them and show them the righteous way.

And regarding lines not to cross... I never played that game. I talk, perform, think the way I am, without the fear of being constantly judged. Since some here think the moral compass is set on their north, who am I to disagree...?

And regarding the collar, I’m afraid the comparison is not accurate. I delivered the shirt and the lipstick to you. Decide what you’ll do with both before facing your girlfriend.

Anyway. I’m happy the Holly Inquisition days are over. I’d be in deep ****.....

Phedon

P.S: thank you for the positive -the only one- line above about the great thinking. I’m forever in debt.
...The only easy day is yesterday...
IAIN
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Let's not forget sarcasm and ego too in that case... Shame..
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No sarcasm. I am serious. I’m surprised someone as sharp as you are fails to get the point and needs to be judgmental.

No worries. Point taken. That’s a fight I will not go into.

Have a great day

Phedon
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IAIN
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I'm not being judgemental, I'm keeping to the facts. Your previous post was drowning in sarcasm.

I'll leave you to it.imbsure you'll sell a lot and the 3% will do what's right.

If we can't have a decent conversation then that's the end of it from me.
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My question is where is the line between mentalism and doing psychic-style readings?

Of course we're all free to decide for ourselves, but to me "readings" in a mentalism context are best kept "light" and fun. Can we address emotional topics like death? I wouldn't myself. I like readings in a mentalism context that address the personality, facts or memories pertaining to the participant... Such info can flesh out the details of a reveal or Q&A type routine, make it seem you know more than just a single piece of information that they are focusing on or wrote down.

However, I feel that once you get too deep into dredging up deeply felt or even dark emotions in participants, you're now in psychic-medium territory, not mentalism per se. I think these are very different realms of performance. I personally don't have a problem with the psychic-medium performers in ethical terms... I don't care what they do or that people seem to enjoy what they do. I don't enjoy them myself and when I hear someone speak about a person's dearly departed or any personal experience in a way that provokes tears or other private emotions, I cringe... I hate it. But again, some like it, probably for the drama and voyeuristic aspect (assuming this is a performance for an audience...).

In the end, my feeling is that Sibyl and Phedon's work is more in the psychic-medium arena rather than mentalism. That's fine, but purchasers should realize this. I crack up when I see these very young performers with little life experience talking about how excited they are to create "an intimate connection" with "their mentalism"... Such a goal generally has pretty poor results and can easily backfire on even the most experienced performer, let alone someone under 30 who barely knows who THEY are, let alone anyone else.

But I trust Phedon DOES know what he's talking about, what his goal is and how to get there... It's just not anywhere I want to go.
Sudo Nimh
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Quote:
On Jan 20, 2019, IAIN wrote:
That's it. Go for it. Come at me, bro!


Seriously? This bit completely taints your review Iain and is uncalled for. That's not the wisest thing to say when you're addressing a Greek man with a military background who's about 6'4 and very powerfully built. Not sure if you noticed Phedon's physique, but strap some armor on the man and you've got yourself a textbook image of a Spartan.

Luckily for you, if Phedon "came at ya" - it would be with hugs because he is genuinely one of the most caring and decent people I've had the pleasure of meeting and I'm honored to call him a friend. I know your words weren't intended to be a literal physical provocation, but they are confrontational nonetheless, and in my opinion, unnecessary. I think your review and thoughts regarding Sibyl were fine otherwise because there's nothing wrong with expressing opinions, but that closing line...well, to use your own words: "Chew on that a second. See how it tastes."

The bottom line with Sibyl is that it is a contribution to the subject of cold reading. There are elements in it that can be incorporated into other effects within Mentalism too, with my personal favorite being PRISM. One only needs to observe the reactions of the participants that Phedon was working with to see that none of what he did had an adverse effect and that all of them were legitimately moved and impressed with his demonstration. Sure, it's possible that others could use this material inappropriately or without proper sensitivity and have the opposite result, but that's not on Phedon. The same is true of many things in Mentalism.

My introduction to cold readings was through Kenton's "Completely Cold" which cost me just over $100 - about 20 years ago. For half the price, Sibyl is a far better resource and more definitive and specific in nature than Kenton's release. I only wish that this had been available when I'd first delved into this area because I would have saved a significant amount of money and gotten far more mileage from the material. I strongly feel that Sibyl is highly under-priced.

I think that anyone who is interested in this subject would be foolish not to have this in their collection. The fact that it is also relatively inexpensive furthers this conviction. Another thing of value here, is that we get to actually see it in action on multiple participants which is something of a rarity as most works on this subject are confined to the written format and there's much to be learned from this aspect alone.
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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IAIN
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Come at me bro... Is a meme.. Is a joke thing to say...

So cool yer boots...

You've reacted in the exact way that I was joking about, but for real...

I think I know why... But don't like making assumptions... Whatever your motivations, I'm at peace with it...

Thanks for your comments.
IAIN
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While I'm here, Sudo wrote:

"One only needs to observe the reactions of the participants that Phedon was working with to see that none of what he did had an adverse effect and that all of them were legitimately moved and impressed with his demonstration"

How do we know this? How do we know that what we've said hasn't meant they've now had to deal with those thoughts again, or they told the 3rd person about it and they are now dealing with it too.

We can't. Not really. Once they leave us, unless they are a repeat client (don't get me started on that) then we have zero way to track the impact. I hope they weren't. But let's not say talking about any kind of trauma won't buzz about in the mind again because it does happen, for good and bad.
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