Gavino's Massive Memory Palace System

Thanks Cupid, I think you raise some good points there that a lot of people might agree with. I think of it a bit differently though:

  1. The phillosophy of the method is the exact opposite of your paradigm. I do not regard my existing spaces as valuable, because I know I have thousands more available to me. I just need a way of using them.

  2. My method, which is in its infancy and is certainly there to be shot at, allows me to utilise all those houses and journies and movies that I know reasonably well, but without the method will never ever be used for memory purposes. I think that organising loci in this way a priori is something a little different and delivers some major benefits.

  3. And so it is not only a ‘movie method’ although movies are certainly a good source of loci. And you certainly don’t need to have put the effort in that you seem to have done ( and enjoyed!) in order to make it work. You can probably generate dozens of scenes and 100’s of loci from each movie, but I don’t need that here!

My goal was to create an easy path to a large memory palace and I think the method delivers that, whether you use movies, tv shows, paintings, friends houses, workplaces, restaurants or whatever. Having said that, not everyone will need huge palaces and so the method is not for them.

By the way I love your ideas about how to conjure and use extra doors, although I think for me it will compliment the order of a pre-existing structure rather than replace it.

Thanks again.


I disagree with you on this point. You just wait until there are 200 different journeys you need to remember in order. If you have an overlapping mindpalace you always know what comes next and you can get just as fluid with them as you would be with any other journey.
The most potential is in the fact that you always know where you have open space and where you left off. You have a system to memorize extremely large junks of information.

I do actually think that your space is valuable especially when you are working in a time frame of a few days (test week, just don’t ask). You shouldn’t be too careless with your space because some of them show high potential (I am sure you have noticed that there are fast and slow journeys, you don’t want to waste the fast ones, do you?)

And it’s quite good for that purpose but a lot of wasted effort if you don’t need extremely large palaces.

I have 2 things to say and 1 question to ask.

  1. I personally dislike using movies because I can’t really walk through them even though I’ve watched them 36 times and know every single line by heart. They are just not as real as buildings I’ve been into.
  2. Gavino, I mean no offence by this but please don’t refer to this as ‘your’ idea because it wasn’t. Things like this have existed in the past before. I am sure DH can quote directly from Moonwalking (which I have loaned out to someone at the moment) but both Ed Cooke and an old pope have mentioned and used this exact method.

My question. How far are you into building it? How much loci do you have already?

In my memory log I’ve posted some more about my own MMP and I won’t bore you with all of the details right now.

I assume that “200” is just a random number, one that you put forth simply in order to mean “a great number”. (Why would you assume I don’t already have 200?)

Anyway, there are many ways of dealing with the sequential order of palaces when you’re using more than one to recall one connected chunk, or interconnected chunks, of information. Let’s say you use more than one in order to memorize a 1000-line poem. In that case, there are an infinite number of ways to recall the proper sequence of palaces without any overlap. You can place the palaces along a street going in a specific direction, in which case you can see the order right away. Or, if you’re running away from the Adjustment Bureau, you can rush out the back door of each palace and enter the next one. Maybe there’s a giant neon sign over the door, flashing the announcement telling you which is next.

Let’s face it, “overlap” isn’t necessary in order to recall extremely large chunks of information. (I don’t recall Dominic O’Brien using overlap.) On the other hand, I can hardly say that it can’t be done that way. If Gavino can use overlap successfully, then I’m glad it works.

My criticism was only about using someplace (in this case the garden) and stocking it with images in order to bring you to a memory palace that you can easily get to without having recourse to the images in that garden. I mean, do you really need a garden (or room) to remind you who your friends are? You already know who they are, therefore the palaces of their homes are instantly available to you.

Personally, I’m not interested in the philosophy of any memory system, only in the nuts and bolts of it. That’s my objection to those books that include charts, graphs, excerpts from lab studies, analysis after analysis of how the brain “really” works.

My use of the word “valuable” was meant only to signify the loci that, in my opinion, should be used for storing/placing images that directly recall the information, not used for storing/placing images that merely send you to another palace, which you can create independently. A palace to send you to (or remind you of) other palaces? It seems to defeat the purpose, which to me means to simplify.

You see, it’s never a big deal to create a palace with a thousand loci. We can all do that. But look: suppose you have a palace with 1000 rooms and each room has 1000 loci; you’ll end up with one million palaces. OK. But why not simply create one million palaces independently, without having to go through the intermediate step of making a palace to go to a palace or palaces? Don’t forget, all palaces have unique characteristics. No two are identical. Walk through enough houses, offices, buildings, churches, supermarkets, malls, etc., and you’ll end up accumulating all the palaces you could ever need, all without having to create one to get to them. Do the same for the journey method. Walk, observe, look around, see possibilities.

The only question you’ll have to ask yourself is: Would a palace or a journey be better for the memory task I’ve set for myself?

As far as movies are concerned, I have to admit that I don’t always walk inside the scene. Sometimes I imagine myself to be the only one in dark theater and, being able to see a particular scene very clearly (and therefore the loci), I can then populate that scene with my various images.

Hey Guys,

Excellent debate! A few points:


  1. Actually, as a reasonably detailed methodology to create a MMP, I think this may be something at least a little new…and I am pleased to see you are specifically using it as opposed to ‘one of the other guys’!

Does anyone else suggest creating a palace of mini-palaces, based around existing knowledge, and then describe how to do it?

Has anyone who uses movies or video games, actually set out in detail how they do it - and do they do it this way and with this rationale?

And I am not offended, quite the reverse. If you have seen something similar please point me at it so that I can compare and contrast and develop how I work a further notch or ten.

  1. Of course the methodology borrows from many different ideas (not least ‘the memory palace’ :slight_smile: ) and everyone I have read including O’Brien, Buzan, Lorayne, Aquinas, Foer, Cooke etc., not to mention hundreds of posts from the kind folks on this forum including Josh, Yan, Gary and Kinma to name just 4!

  2. One thing I have noticed as a kind of ‘constant craving’ on this forum is a method to create larger palaces and i think this delivers very well. It is not the only method, but at least it is now here in black and white detail to be used and refined.


P.S. I will continue to share progress using the method in detail on the other thread. (However it is not a competition - at least not for me!) am currently populating a 200 loci palace with Spanish words and I am close to having a 1,000 loci palace ready, which has 100 base loci that link to 10 scenes from my 10 of my favourite movies, each scene having 10 loci. These two palaces will double my number of loci to around 2,500 in total.


Lots of good points and you are obviously very experienced whereas my method is aimed at folks who have not already developed their own successful ways of working in this field.

In general, no, but in this context absolutely yes, because I have to remember a specific group of friends and in sequence. I can’t do that without some hooks!!!

You also mention simplification. I genuinely think this is an incredibly easy and time effective method to create a large palace. I have always found that my own palaces and journies just don’t have the scale for the big memory tasks like book recall or course memorisation, that have potentially lots of layers.

And lots of folks cry out for the next step after starting out with a 20 or 50 stage journey. I think this method does that job quite well by making use of all the mini journies that we already know but never use individually.



I’m using the same method, as I say upon, for two years. If you’re memorizing books, this method is powerful. I’m sure that you were confronted at this problem: You memorize information or a book. Then, you took and information from another and you think that you could make this information in the first palace you created between the 62 and the 63 pages. How to do that? It’s very easy. You created a door on an elevator in your palace that is going to a new palace. You place the new images and you created a door which is bringing you to the first memory palace. So, there is no limit to memorize new information. Notice that the new information that you link to an old is much memorized. It makes years and years that I practice, and I think that the memory palace, the new location isn’t a problem. Don’t see any offence. But, all of you know building, friend’s house, museum that can be used. And, in this way, Gavino’s post is very very great. I think that the real problem is to memorize the information for a very long time. And I have to say that I’m so admiring of Buzan or O’Brien when they are saying that they have only to repeat the information the first day afer, the week after, the month after… That is not my case…

Thanks Mutsu. I also think that the number of repetitions is understated if it is for materials you are not using on a regular basis. That said I have also noticed that as I get more experienced, my images are becoming increasingly memorable as I up my effort to use as many of the SMASHINSCOPE elements as I can. I can now see that some of the images I used a year ago were just not up to scratch. Increasingly I try to add a couple of extra elements (sound works well for me) if I have any difficulty in the early repetitions, because it will never get better!


Has anyone read this? It’s a really good read, and used in combination with this technique, you could honestly hold every single memory you ever had, ever, in this room(s). I’m definitely going to start using this, since I’m struggling right now (and in general) with science (biology) and social studies (history, american gov’t, economics).

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Thank you ickathu and gavino,after i read all the post on the cube memory palace and let go my mind imagining lots of stuff, i immediately remember two specific documentaries i watched a long time ago, it doesnt matter you dont like mathematics, this can help in the develop of imagination for everybody… Dimensions - A walk through mathematics and Benoit Mandelbrot - Hunting the Hidden Dimension (fractals).

There are some very interesting articles at that link, but I would just caution that it makes it all sound very easy and straightforward to create something like that, which, in my experience it isn’t! I am also not at all sure about the concept of having virtual books on shelves that you can mentally ‘read’ in the way described.


Yeah, it’s definitely not as easy as he makes it seem. I’m incorporating images in the books too, since if it’s all text then I can’t remember it. I’m going to keep working with it for a while to see how well it works; you probably can’t tell after just a day or two. But it does seem like it might be able to work, not sure though.
I’ll keep working with it for a few weeks and give you guys some updates every few days.

YAY!!! I finally reached my first goal.

I now have one thousand (1000) loci in my MMP and I almost filled them up already. I need to keep thinking of new buildings but I just wanted to say this, it’s quite a milestone for me.

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Hey Wessells,

That is a fantastic effort - well done!! When you get a moment please post an outline of your MMP, because I am sure it will inspire others.


Well, I started with my home and I have 52 base loci on the first floor.

Then I have:
3 sport centres (in total they store 150 loci)
20 stores near my house (200)
3 restaurants (100)
10 bedrooms of friends (100)
10 concerthalls or cinemas (210)
7 parks or gardens (300 planned (I don’t have it finished yet))
10 living rooms of friends (200 planned)

And I’ve filled it all up with the Greek texts of Medea.

That’s what you wanted?

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That´s a great accomplishment wessells, i know it takes a lot of time, i just have a little below 200 now, although i’m still thinking how to make the full system, with lots of insights from gavino and others.


I am new to this site, and have been reading your postings, thank you for the insight.
I want to ask specifically about memorizing a checklist of steps required to recall in an oral exam. The steps in the exam are dry and not really abstract, so I think visualizing and assigning a memorable image is really important. My concern is, I am a visual right-brain learner, and I tend to synthesize the details out. Need to be able to explain these scenarios in about 5 minutes each, but I am still in the early stages of organizing my memory.

Question; when first beginning to, “build” my memory palace should I expand each room, or stick with standard loci within each room and have more rooms? I need an anchor to keep me on track, I feel that I lose my way within my own palace? Any input would be appreciated.


Hello all.

I kept getting hits from this discussion, and the link to my website embedded a few notes ago, so I figured I’d come back and let you know how my system works with my students.

And the answer is, better than expected, but not as well as I’d like.

When I was a kid, I had an English teacher one year who made his classes memorize poetry. So I have lots of fragments of stuff — some John Keats poems, some Chaucer, some Beowulf, some Shakespeare, and so on. I also memorized some of my own things, much later.

Then I encountered the Palace of Memory technique about three years ago, and I started ‘organizing’ what I already knew. That made it easier FOR ME to call it to mind, and find my place in it, and recite it. It’s a great trick to use in front of students and audiences, actually… and I can find my place in time and space by means of a “hallway” with maps on one side, and timelines on another. So, I began trying to teach these methods to my students, with great excitement.

But I, unlike my students, have been looking at maps and images of art and architecture for years with an eye toward memorizing information about them and recognizing them… and I teach this material DAILY, as I have for fifteen years. I’m expected to know it; it’s part of my daily labor, all the year round. And this is where it breaks down. I was already training my memory… they haven’t started on that, and they don’t believe in spending six to eight weeks developing a regimen of memorization, because they’re 12 or 13, and the Internet is right over there, on that computer. :slight_smile:

So, in truth, I’ve had to rely much more on traditional rote methods. It seems to take imagination, will, and desire to build a palace of memory, and frequent encounters with the mind-space of it, before it takes form and becomes memorable to the students. For example, this year, instead of working with my imaginary palace, I tried having kids work with their memorization of Latin vocabulary using their own houses rather than my imaginary library. And that worked MUCH better than the imaginary space.

But, for the kids who deliberately look at images with me in class, and then consciously store them away with relevant facts and figures… especially the kids who DRAW the relevant memory images … they perform much better on memory-based assessments.

So the short and the long of it is, the use of small loci on a bookshelf seems to work better for things you’ve already memorized. If you can imagine a shelf with a book of shakespeare’s poems next to a book of Beowulf, next to a Bible, next to a Great English Poetry, you can index things you’ve already memorized by rote from those sources. But it’s harder to recall information from a book on a shelf than from an archway or a door in an imaginary house. I think it’s Cicero (or rather pseudo-Cicero in Ad Herennium) who recommends that Loci be placed 10-20 paces apart… and judging by the hippocampus research, there’s some benefits to long-term and short-term memory along those lines. Cramming everything into a book is more information stored in too coarse a grain. Spreading stuff out is better.

That said, my students in sixth and seventh grade tend to do much, much better at memory tasks after a few weeks of at least pretending to play with memory skills; than doing nothing at all to cultivate memory skills.

THanks for reading occasionally.

Andrew Watt

Andrew,Take this from someone who recently started with memory techniques,I’ve read books and post in the forum and with that advice i have found that it is easier-at least for me- to use tv shows specifically im using the X Files(im getting 20 really good ones per episode) and some comedy movies, i started with this because i needed something fast; so why dont you try asking your students to choose their favorite movies, shows,videos while you just explain to them how to best pick the most memorable scenes, its not that hard and quick to get journeys.

Hi all,

As mentioned elsewhere I am back in the mnemotechnics community again :slight_smile:

Has anyone else managed to build any MMPs in my absence that they could share details of?


Gavino, I have used your method to create MMPs around my cottage. Actually I managed to compress 2 higher math courses into my 30*30 m2 garden and the only orientation objects I had were 8 apple trees and one greenhouse.

About math MMP:
First I created table of contents of my two courses. Then I devised a general plan showing where the subdivision topics should be placed, so the entire garden could be filled and not leaving much empty space. After that I needed several movies to enrich my garden with movie scenes. I watched through “Thor 1”, “Thor 2”, “Escape plan”, “X-Men 1” and “Kung Fu Panda”. Using each movie, I created 5 MMP-s which floated atop my garden so I could pick any scene I wanted from them and then merge it to a location in my garden.

Finally it was time to start studying. For example, one topic was “definite integral”. Because it’s basically same as summation, it had to be positioned close to “summation series” topic and also “indefinite integral”. When concentrating on one specific theorem I estimated, how many base objects it will need to memorize (usually 2-8). Then I rapidly scanned through my 5 movie MMP-s and searched for the best scene to accomodate the theorem. Having accomodated the theorem (using the characters or objects of that scene and letting them change into mathematical symbols) I merged the scene with specific location in my garden. It’s quite easy, because apple trees gave me good orientation. And later the merged movie scenes in the garden gave me extra orientation points.

At least half of the scenes I found unsuitable (or were just left over) and now they stay waiting for their usage in another MMPs. But about 100 scenes I used to accomodate 100 different definitions, theorems and symbols. And thanks to this gardenMMP it is much easier to study math further, because all the methods learned in these two courses I have made myself understandable and they stay fresh in my memory. For example, when I studied multivariable functions: partial derivation then I could rapidly recall everything about singlevariable functions: derivation, and see how the partial derivation was just a special case of derivation, instead of making no connections between these two topics.

So, my math MMP grows only larger and larger. I wonder if it will finally become too dense to distinguish different objects in it without effort.

P.S. When memorizing a statement of therem/definition, I used sticky comments in my pdf textbook. Into the comment I wrote which specific scene I used to accomodate the theorem and how exactly I did it (i.e which person represented which mathematical symbol/word). So when revising I just had to read through my sticky notes again.

P.S.S If you are interested in my techniques for studying higher maths/physics read my bit advanced comment here.