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I want to wake up every day and think about spirituality. I want my daily conversations to deal with it. I want to go to work and do something magickal. I want to write rituals before I go to sleep so that I’m prepared for the next day. Instead…I wake up to thoughts of how to deal with problems I have faced at my job in the oilfield. I go through my day having conversations about bottom hole pressure. I go to sleep after finishing my timesheet and expenses describing the frac job I was on. Do I want this? No. Then I should take my own advice, right? If it doesn’t make you happy, leave it behind you. Well that’s just tough shit, as we would say in the oil patch.

I am a father to four children and those four little munchkins have to go to college soon. My wife would like to be able to wear at least a couple pieces of jewelry. I would like to be able to buy a new tire if I get a flat. It all boils down to that all-mighty dollar that seems to be completely absent within the metaphysical community. I refuse to let my family go without the things that they need, and I would like to be able to get away from the foods that will cause me cancer in 20 years. I am not willing to make these sacrifices for myself and my family so that I may go to work in the magickal world.

So I ask you, the reader, the question that has plagued me for going on 10 years now. How do you make a decent living in a magickal way? Is there anyone in the magickal community who makes a living compared to me, a common oilfield engineer? I’ve read that Jason from the Wild Hunt has to crowd-fund his trips to conventions, and he’s probably the most famous person within the Pagan community. To me, this is absolutely crazy. If you wanted someone famous in the oilfield to speak at a convention, you would pay them a minimum of $20,000 for a speech. Jason, Penczak, Starhawk, and all of those other famous Pagans should be paid to come to an event rather than have to pay for their own travel.

So even the most famous people in our community still have to budget for trips/work? That’s nuts. The problem I see is that there is no way that our community can get any inflow from non-magickally inclined people. Yet we all have flow out of our community to airfare, gas, rent, food, and every other normal industry. So we steadily are losing money as a community. I’ll always have to pay for gas, clothes, food, etc. unless I live in some kind of commune (which is a fun idea once the kiddos are out of the house), but there’s no way to pay for it through the magickal community unless we could someone have some kind of a cash funnel from the other industries into our community. So I guess that the real question is what service or good can the people in our communities provide your everyday person without moving outside of the magickal. Either that or we need a really really big trust fund account.

I don’t know the answer but I do think that this is this big question that we as a community have to answer.

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Alright, so Samhain is not October 31st.  It’s not Halloween.  It’s not All Hallow’s Eve.  It’s not the day before November starts.  It IS a cross-quarter day meaning it is the day exactly between the Fall Equinox (September 22nd in 2012) and the Winter Solstice (December 21st in 2012).  That means that Samhain in 2012 will be on the night of November 5th, 2012 by my back of the envelope calculations.

Now, why is this important?  Well, why do you celebrate Samhain?  I don’t think it’s because it’s someone’s birthday (e.g. the fake reason for Christmas), it’s not remembering an event (e.g. fake Easter), and it’s definitely not in memory of a person (e.g. MLK day).  It’s because it’s supposed to be the day of the year that the veil is thinnest.  Why in the world would you celebrate that on the wrong day?  It’s not going to be the same date every year for the same reason the solstices aren’t the same date every year.  Sigh.

Now, the only other day that I could consider being a good day to celebrate it is on the dark moon nearest the cross-quarter date because the dark moon helps to get through the veil to the other side, so it’s probably a pretty thin line as well.

 

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Questions About Magick


“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”   ~Ludwig Wittgenstein

Well hello again!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve been back to these old stomping grounds, but it seems that I can’t ever quite get away.  I guess that’s a good thing though.  So today I’m not here to answer questions or give you advice from Ye Olde Booke O Answers.  I’m just here to ask a few uncomfortable questions that have been bothering me.  This isn’t me doubting myself or needing reassurance.  It’s more of a set of questions for you to answer for yourself to see if you’re on the right path.

Why do you do magick?

Are you doing magick because it’s cool?  Are you doing magick because you’re searching for truth?  Are you just dabbling enough to cast a spell to help you get something you want?  I guess that there are more reasons than I could list, but before you leave the computer today, ask yourself that simple question and be dumbfounded by the answer (if you can get it) because it’s something that I asked myself for years before I figured it out myself (thanks Jen for helping with that!)

How has magick helped your life?

It hasn’t helped mine.  I didn’t strike it rich.  I didn’t get the girl because of it.  I certainly didn’t get the job that I wanted because of a spell I did.  I can’t/won’t help the sick and dying unless the issue isn’t right to begin with.  On the other hand, I end up staying up until 4 am when I have work at 6 am to deal with those things that go bump in the night (they’re really good at deciding to hang out at rather inconvenient times).  I’ve been sick to my stomach in fear and worry about my wife when I have to work nights on a regular basis.  How has magick helped my life?  It hasn’t.  And it more than likely won’t.  So tell me:  how has magick helped yours?

Do you enjoy magick?

That’d be a negative Ghost Rider.  Do you copy Ghost Rider?  That’s a negative on the enjoyment of magick.  I started out trying to get physical power through a medium that perfectly fitted me.  I wanted to control my dreams.  I wanted to understand the meaning of life.  I wanted to get what I wanted in life.  Has that happened?  Yes and no.  I have a good life and it’s perfect for where I should be in life.  I’m learning the lessons I’m meant to learn.  On the other hand, money doesn’t fall from the sky.  We have been so poor that I missed meals on a regular basis and when I had them it was corn tortillas and beans (with cheese when we were splurging).  I’ve had to work my ass off for everything that I’ve gotten and I’ve been so tired that I wanted to cry.  Did I do magick?  Yep.  Did it work?  That’s another negative Ghost Rider.  Why not?  Well because I had to learn the lessons before I could move on just like anybody else.  Well if magick isn’t helping me and I don’t enjoy it, then why do I do it?  Well that’s simple.  If I don’t do it, then I die a little on the inside.  And then I die a little more.  And then some more.  Eventually, I’d end up being the person that I work next to.  The one that lives vicariously through the Us Weekly articles about celebrities going to jail and having affairs.  I’d worry about things like whether my high school football team is on a winning streak or how the Cowboys are doing.  As it is, I worry about how to deal with choices that I’ve made and how to better prepare my family for whatever may come.  I worry about moving from this stage to the next in my life.  No, I do not enjoy magick but it gives my life meaning where I find very little in other people’s lives.  I am absolutely certain when I’m doing things right and when I’m doing things wrong.  I can feel it in my bones and smell it in the air.  So ask yourself whether you actually enjoy it.  And if you don’t, then why do you continue?

So after thinking about these questions, doubt yourself a little bit.  I know, I know–that’s not what you wanted to hear from my first post on here in over a year.  No one wants to doubt themselves and they definitely don’t want to hear it from someone who says that they don’t enjoy such a major part of their life.  What I’m saying is that you need to take those rose colored glasses off and put them in the dumpster.  Life’s hard and that’s good.  Magick doesn’t make it any better.  In fact it makes it harder.  I’ve posted about Paganism being the easy religion and it is these days.  On the other hand, magick’s not.  We’re here to learn, grow, and gain experiences.  Magick does make those easier, and it does it by forcing you to do those things often before you’re willing.  So toss the glasses, pull on your big boy underwear, and get ready to go kick some ass.

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There is a growing number of Pagans in the US and many of them want to incorporate this into their daily lives aka their source of income.  For some reason, almost no Pagan businesses are ever as profitable as their non-spiritual counterparts.  I’d like to go into a bit of depth on each of the types of businesses before coming to any major conclusions as to the why and how we can change this.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing business is a very common business for Pagans.  This represents all those that craft by hand as well as major manufacturing companies that create the commonly sold things such as bumper stickers.  The problem with this business is that nearly all of the things manufactured for Pagans are one-time-buys.  No one buys the same necklace twice or the same athame twice.  The only major items that people buy multiple times are candles, incense, herbs, soaps, oils, “spell kits”.  Yes, this is a very viable business, but the problem is that retailers are the ones that buy these products and they are having a hard time which in turn means that manufacturers are having a hard time as well.

Retail

This is the path that most end up going down and nearly everyone tries at some point.  Brick and mortar stores tend to have a lot of problems due to the lack of large concentrations of Pagans in any single area.  They also have far more expenses than online stores and therefore have to have higher prices.  They’ll never be able to compete with online drop-shippers or large chains on price simply because they cannot buy products in large enough quantities to get significant discounts.  The internet retail stores have trouble because most products are one time buys and there is A LOT of competition.  It also seems that the products do not differ enough to allow the consumer to be loyal to a single company because of their outstanding product lines.  This is one of the biggest and most profitable of the current Pagan businesses especially when coupled with a service regardless of the hardships that they have to deal with.

Information  

There are thousands of people trying to make money off of a Pagan blog, website, magazine, or newsletter.  A few make it, but most end up having to have another job.  There are very few people that make their living off of this, and the only real section of people in this industry that stand out are the authors of Pagan 101 books because they can profit off of the people who are not living off of the Pagan industries.  Though it sounds very pyramid scheme-ish, it’s the truth.  Booksellers like Barnes and Nobles sell very few books other than introductory books to Paganism, and these are the places that make authors the most money.

Education

There is only one currently utilized outlet for this business:  “magick schools”.  These are almost exclusively online businesses that offer the same type of information as a Pagan 101 book and again, they are profiting off of the new kids on the block.  They offer very little (from my very limited experience with them) other than an online teacher. This is not a bad idea but the truth is that there are many other paths that should at least be tested in this business.

Health Care

This revolves almost entirely on a combination of massage therapy, energetic healing (Reiki for example), acupuncture, and acupressure.  There are other styles of “New Age” healing that we’ll consider, but these are the main ones.  There is an extremely large number of people practicing these techniques both in the Pagan world and outside of it, and so the competition is rather stiff.  It is also a business that is not extremely expandable and so those that are not business minded tend to have a very difficult time because they have to be both good at their practice as well as running a business which for many people is a difficult thing to do.

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

There is a very large number of these ranging from tourist style entertainment (think Rennaisance Faire) to musical entertainment to general artisans.  The problem with these businesses is that they’re very limited to the number of people in their niche (Paganism) unless they can branch out into mainstream (Ren Faires).  There’s not much else to say other than they will have problems until the population of Pagans increases dramatically.

Accomodations, Food

There’s very few accommodations or food/drink locations that cater to specifically Pagans.  Yes, there are some but they are very few and far between and I have never actually been to one so I have very few things to note other than the fact that our sub-culture is far too spread out in most places for these places to be very profitable unless they can also reach the mainstream.

Professional Services

Professional services would be consultants, financial advisors, and the likes.  The problem with trying to start something like this that specializes in the Pagan business world would be that there are very few Pagan businesses that can afford them.  Its a business that we desperately need, but not something that we’ll likely find any time soon.

Conclusions

There are a lot of conclusions that we can draw from this analysis.  We can all see that an increase in Pagan population would without a doubt make Pagan businesses more profitable and the world is headed in that direction, but we are still a long way away from seeing a large increase in the profitability of brick and mortar stores and businesses. It seems as though more Pagan businesses need to adopt a larger service line in order to be profitable from the beginning.  Having a Pagan restaurant/bar that also sold massages in the back and had a “gift shop” (think cracker barrel) would probably have a better chance of profiting than a simple store because it would cause more impulse buying as well as combining the revenue from all of the possible options.  It would also create a much larger loyal customer base.  This would put more money into fewer hands allowing them to grow their business and in the future, make an impact in the non-Pagan community thus increasing the possible number of customers by increasing the number of Pagans.

Internet shops should push for more brand loyalty by increasing the number of unique items, increasing the number of consumable items, as well as increasing their ability to impact the Pagan community.

The key to everything involves the brick and mortar operations to increase impact on the non-Pagan community, making them more amiable to Pagans, and the internet operations to increase their impact on the Pagan community, making them more “Pagan only” whenever possible.  This would open up huge opportunities for everyone to profit from the increased spending into Pagan businesses.

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Eliphas Levi' Baphomet

What is reality to you?  Is it a bearded man sitting on a golden throne in heaven?  A group of drunk and disorderly gods and goddesses sitting on top of a mountain?  Is it the media and science’s portrayal of reality where we sit in cubicles until we’re too old to see the computer screen clearly and then we’re put into nursing homes until we die?

My reality is none of the above and though I’m sure my regular readers know, I hold to no reality for very long.  It is constantly shifting to fit my current understanding of the world.

“Knowledge is changeable.  Truth is eternal.  It is disastrous to confuse them.”   –Madeleine L’Engle

This quote is of the utmost importance to all that practice magick because although our society teaches rigidity in belief, magick teaches us fluidity.  It is impossible to fly when you cannot bend your own reality to accept that it is possible.  For anyone who has ever practiced magick knows that the reality that we are taught is flawed and therefore cannot be the truth.  It is the magician’s quest to constantly search for that truth, to follow meandering roads to their ends and to always search for the one that leads to that golden door of enlightenment.

This post is not a simple post.  It isn’t about a simple topic such as athames or tarot cards or even the meaning of life.  This is about what lies beneath all of it.  The core answer of every question.  Truth.

“I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.”  Chris McCandless, Into the Wild

To the magician, everything is based on their current idea of truth.  If they believe that the truth allows them to fly, they will search for a way to do this.  They will always test, always make sure that something will work before they need this.  They gather tools and build their repertoires in this way, but in reality they are actually exploring the unknown and changing their reality to always get closer to the truth.

The end result is a culture of expanding minds, of modern day philosophers.  These expanding minds are the future of our society.  It is only so long before the rest of the world begins to see where these philosophers are headed.  Every day more and more government officials have ties to this culture from the small town officials to a Presidential hopeful, Gary Johnson.  The society that was dominated by science is slowly being influenced by the surrounding proof of flaws in our ideas of reality as well as the ever-encroaching mainstreaming of Pagan culture.  These modern day philosophers are not always authors or college graduates.  They are simply people who’s minds have been opened to the idea of other realities through trial and error.  We are the advisors, the councilors, the confidants of our society and we need to start acting like it.

The expansion of reality does not mean that we should live outside of the bounds of normal society.  We must still provide food for our families, must still keep clothes on our backs and should never become a burden for the ones we love.  We must somehow balance the knowledge that we have gained and the world that we have chosen with the world that we have been placed into.  Remember, we were placed in this time and society for a reason and it is our duty to fulfill our role.

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The Big Bang.  Quantum physics. Neutrinos.  The splitting of a proton.  Energy.  Massive Energy.  Fire.  Hurricanes.  Wind.  Waves.  A landslide.  Magick.

All of science has shown that magick doesn’t exist.  On the surface.  The science of the 1700′s, 1800′s, and 1900′s worked to understand the how’s and why’s of the world and to uncover the secret workings of what was considered “magick”.  They did an amazing job and the result is the world we live in.  Computers, cars, planes, and chemistry run our lives and give us the means to live our lives in comfort.  We discovered the atom (which actually is Latin for irreducible) and from there have manipulated them to nearly the maximum extent that they can be manipulated.

We discovered that an atom is not in fact irreducible.  There are two parts of an atom:  the nucleus and the electron cloud that surrounds it.  Imagine that an atom is the size of an orange.  The nucleus is smaller than one of the seeds.  The 1-160 electrons that make up the cloud are each the size of a speck of dust.  The rest is void space.  Okay, that’s kind of crazy but imaginable.  So an atom is 99% void space and 1% mass.

Now we get into the quantum physics part of it.  Through crazy testing that I’m not even going to begin to try to explain they’ve found that the nucleus’s parts (protons and neutrons) can be further broken apart into what are known as quarks.  Come to find out, they too make up only about 1% of the proton and neutron volume.  The rest is void space.  So within an atom, only 1% of 1% (that’d be .01% for the non math majors out there) is actual mass.  That is incredible.  So here’s an example of why that’s so incredible:  Think about an airplane.  It weighs hundreds of thousands of pounds and carries 150 people through the air, defying gravity.  Now think about it in terms of atoms.  For every square foot of metal, cut out all but a single piece of metal about 1/8th of an inch by 1/8th of an inch.  Oh yeah, and as thin as a hair.  That’s how much actual mass is there.  The rest is all just nothing.  It’s kind of mind blowing.

Now let’s look past that to what hasn’t been discovered and make an educated guess.  No one has ever broken apart a quark or atom (that I’ve ever heard of), but my guess is that there’s only about 1% of the quark that’s actually there and the rest is void space.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  Eventually you realize that there really isn’t anything out there.  Nothing takes up any space in actuality because there’s nothing really there.

Except energy.  There is motion and so there must be energy.  Even if an electron cloud is nearly all void space, it acts as an object.  It has force and it has volume.  Energy is the only thing that is real in the world.  Now my question to you is this:  how is the energy that is the world any different from the energy that is pulled through your body to create change in the world?  It isn’t.  It is all the same thing with different vibrational levels and different intention.

The next thing that needs to be thought about is the fact that our bodies are also made of atoms which means that truthfully we are made of nothing but energy.  And something else.   There has to be something else inside of us that allows us to be alive and different from one another.  This is the most logical and perfectly undeniable proof of the soul for lack of a better word.

So we are in essence, a soul that is somehow bound to energy.  This is pretty much exactly what the Eastern philosophies and religions have taught for thousands of years.  Now comes the true question of this blog:  what do we do with this information?

Well, as far as magick is concerned, this logic tells us that if we can control the energy of our body then why would we not be able to control the energy outside of this body?  Also, why would we not be able to transform the energy of a chair into the energy of an ice cube?  And furthermore, why is it that we don’t already know how to do this?

I don’t know.  Possibly it has to do with the fact that we are here for a reason and that reason doesn’t include having everything we want without any effort.  That’s about as far as I can get at 4 am.  I’d love to hear other people’s ideas on this.

The more important question to ask is this:  if we are all made up of energy, and the world is made up of energy, and our souls are simply tied to the energy that we inhabit, then what inhabits everything else?  I’d have to say that the idea of a Mother Earth or a God or the Universe or whatever other name you’d like to give it sure does sound pretty plausible when you put it into those terms.   If you take the first point and put it with this point, then one of the most obvious conclusions for me is this:  there is a reason we are here and there is some sort of design to all of this chaos that is our lives.

Okay, that’s as far as I’m going to get on this topic for now since I’m ridiculously exhausted from a long night of work and I’ve got to get ready to go back for a few more hours.  Let me know what you think.

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“It is far better to learn to see in the dark than to shine a light and be blinded.”

The New Age movement has brought with it a flood of metaphysically inclined people that push for a love and light philosophy.  There are very few mentions of the darker side of magick within the basic magick 101 books, and though that may be a good thing for many reasons, it also limits many people’s view of the people that do darker magick.

Dark magick, by my personal definition, is acknowledging and accessing the entire spectrum of possibilities in magick, even the dangerous and scary aspects such as demon evocation, sex magick and blood magick.  This is probably not the most perfect of definitions, but it will work for my purposes.

Dark magick is not in opposition of the lighter sides of magick, and in fact works with them.  They cohabitate every part of the world and cannot exist without the other side.  The dark is the realm of difficulty, of temptation, and of possible failure.  This is the place where strength is derived.  Darkness is the natural state, and it is only through surviving and triumphing in darkness that light can be made.  Therefore, every light comes from darkness and the aspiring healer must first face the darkness before he can bring the light to others.

The shamans of old were not shamans until they had faced the darkness and triumphed.  They had to walk roads of shadows–deathly illnesses, “schizophrenia”, and physical trials–before they could ever do good for anyone else.  Our society understands that darkness is the realm of creativity.  It is more uncommon to have a true creative genius without any darkness in their life than one that is full of depression, hardship, and darkness.  Women must go through the darkness of pregnancy and child birth before their bundle of light is brought into the world.  The journey of bringing light to the world is always full of darkness.

The problem is not that darkness exists, or that people are unaware of it.  The problem is that rather than respecting the darkness as a way to personal strength, they fear it and those that walk the darker roads.  Not everyone chooses to embrace darkness, and it is understandable why people would not.  It is the place of unknown, and humans by nature are fearful of the unknown.  It is also the realm of danger, of destruction, of death, and of pain.  All of these are necessary parts of the road to strength.  It is not in comfort that we gain strength, just as the sword is not strengthened without the fires of the forge or the pounding of the hammer and anvil.

In closing this post, I must say that every magician must confront the darkness at some point.  Do not be reckless when doing this, but do not be afraid to do it.  It is a necessary road for all that wish to bring light to the world and to bring light to yourself.

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It’s 600 BC in a Native American village.  A child is born.  He grows into a young boy and is a bit different than the other children.  He sees things that aren’t there.  Spirits and animals are his friends more so than his own family.  He stays away from the village as much as possible and really never gets along with any of the other children.  His parents are worried, and they talk to the local medicine man.  The medicine man realizes that the boy is simply a natural medicine man.  The spirits have chosen him, and it is his destiny to become the next medicine man.  So he begins his training.

It’s 2010 in small town America.  A child is born.  He grows into a young boy and is a bit different than the other children.  He sees things that aren’t there.  His invisible friends are more his friends than his own family.  He plays in the woods as much as he can and rarely play with other children, regardless of how much his parents try to get him to.  His parents are worried.  There’s not much for them to do.  He grows into a teen and never really changes.  His parents finally take him to a psychiatrist and he is diagnosed with schizophrenia.  He is heavily medicated and lives the rest of his life in a haze.

It’s strange how similar these stories are, and how different they turn out.  The boy would have been considered a highly regarded and highly functional member of society 3000 years ago, but now he is forced to either live his life in a haze or to be completely non-functioning in society.  Yes, I could rant and rave about how wrong this is.  I could complain about the backward nature of a society that seeks to limit and expansion of the consciousness, but I will refrain and simply seek an answer as to how we can instead learn to help these children and adults.  So let’s take this scientifically so we don’t just sounds like a bunch of crazies who also need to be medicated.  I’m writing this as I would in a scientific journal, so I apologize for complicating things that are simple.

Purpose

The purpose of the post is to explore the methods for dealing with any “delusions” that would be handled by a shaman or other historical spiritual advisor in both children and adults.  It is not the purpose of this essay to provide solutions, simply possibilities.

Assumptions

Let’s make a simple assumption.  Schizophrenia is caused by some sort of expansion of consciousness to include beings of other planes of existence.  This could be the expansion into either the realm of spirits as well as the astral (dream) world.  There may be other expansions possible, but these are the primary that come to mind.  Thus, the two expansions must be treated differently.  One (astral) should be dealt with as though everything is symbolic, much like a dream, while the other (spiritual) should be dealt with literally.  In this essay I will be dealing with the spiritual side rather than the astral.

It is also necessary to assume that all hallucinatory experiences fall into these categories as well due to their regular use in historical shamanic and magickal workings in order to induce communication with the other planes of existence.  These hallucinatory experiences include drug use, dehydration, exhaustion, starvation, torture, chemical deficiencies within the body, and other easily dealt with delusions.

It is also necessary to assume that if these experiences are caused by an expansion of consciousness, that they are as real as the realm of consciousness that we all live in.  Though it may seem difficult to do, we must not consider these to be delusions in the commonly used sense.  Drugs, sweat lodges, and ritual torturing have been used for millenia to interact with these other realms for real world changes and knowledge.  If they had not been worthwhile experiences or had given false information, they would have been abandoned far before Christianity came into existence.

Effects of the Shamanic Calling

It is important to put into perspective the effects that an untreated person who’s consciousness has naturally expanded will endure.  The experiences can range from simply hearing voices to seeing faeries to talking with spirits and demons.  Sometimes they are friendly, sometimes they are terrifying.  Whispers in the dark, your deepest fears appearing before you while you’re showering.  These are the making of the most fear-inducing horror movie, and there are children world-wide being plagued by them.  Yet, these are the same effects that people have striven to achieve with years and years of effort.  They are not able to be ignored, but medication may not be the best way of coping.

Necessities of Treatment

In order to find ways of coping and controlling this expansion, it is necessary to ascertain the needs which must be fulfilled with any kind of treatment or counseling.

Acceptance

The most important part of any kind of treatment is the explanation that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the person, that there are others out there like them.  It is important to also establish that there are hundreds and thousands of people who work their entire lives to earn the gifts that they were born with.  It is absolutely necessary for the child or adult to understand that there is help out there, and they do not have to simply ignore or try to hide from this gift because that is exactly what it is, a gift from the universe.  It isolates them, scares them, and makes their life more difficult, but that is because they do not have any control of it and have no understanding of it.

Family and Loved Ones

For the person who has these difficult experiences, isolation is most likely their most difficult obstacle to overcome.  Therefore, it is imperative that those who are still in their life need to be counseled as well.  They must learn to accept the experiences as a real experience and not the delusions of a madman.  They must be counseled as much as the patient does because it is not a simple thing to remove the society-imposed idea that only their reality exists and all others are delusions.

Coping Skills

In the immediate, it is necessary to find the coping mechanisms which the patient has created for themselves.  These can range in many directions, and most of them will be effective for as long as the patient has faith in them.  They are very likely similar to OCD behaviors due to the complete fear that befalls them when they do not keep the behaviors, and at some later date they may need to be dealt with separately.

It is also necessary to create coping skills if there are not any.  This may entail lying to the patient in order to create faith in the skills because trust is absolutely necessary for most simplistic skills to work.  This must be considered on a case by case basis due to the need for trust in such a difficult counseling/treatment situation.

Building Skills

Coping mechanisms are not enough to deal with this lifelong issue.  It is necessary to teach the patient how to control their experiences with these other realms of existence.  The best way of doing this is by looking through the more occult teaching from history.  Much will be useless due to the majority being about how to open these same realms of consciousness.  Techniques such as meditation, calming exercises, and basic understanding of the spirit world are important.

It is also necessary to teach the patient to learn from their experiences in these other worlds.  Historically, guides are available to all travelers in other realms and it is only the patient who can interact with and gain help from these guides.  They will be the primary teachers of the patient, and it is simply the counselor’s job to help the patient understand the teachings.  Especially for children, the teachings are not always simple, and it is the extremely difficult job of the counselor of holding all of the knowledge needed for these journeys and feeding it to the patient as needed.  The counselor must become the shaman of old who is training his apprentice, even though the counselor may not have any experience of these other worlds.

Necessities for Success

It’s important to understand that on a basic level, many of the issues associated with this theory are difficult to implement due to societal issues.  It is very possible for a parent to implement if they are understanding and are qualified enough (not with pieces of paper or resumes, simply in how much they understand these other worlds).  They control their environment and how much other people know about their therapy sessions.  On the other hand, society has a very strong distrust of anything outside of normal psychiatric treatment, which we’ve seen through many of the struggles of Scientology.  It would be even more difficult to promote this type of treatment due to the differences in mentality of the patients as well as age issues.

The other primary issue would be that for the immediate, the patients would need be held in the same place they are being treated so that they do not have to feel alone anymore.  The other issue is that all people working their would have to treat the patients as apprentice medicine men rather than as patients.  There couldn’t be any drugs used to tranquilize patients as they do in mental wards when there are schizophrenic episodes because the episodes are necessary for their understanding of this other realm of consciousness.

It would also be important for the area to be conducive to exploring the spiritual realms.  Areas of natural beauty where the patients could be alone would be helpful.  Because many of the journeys necessary to understanding and controlling their gifts require solidarity, there would have to be ways for the children to spend large amounts of time away from the protective eyes of the adults and caretakers.  This would mean that it would have to be protected from intruders and dangerous animals.

All of these issues would require large amounts of understanding and informed employees as well as a large amount of land and funding.  At the same time, there would be little to no government assistance because of the lack of sanctions from government agencies.  This is not even considering the issues with current laws and licensing.  All of these point to a very limited possibility for this type of institution to exist.  I have no idea how something of this type could come together, but regardless, I believe that there is a need for it.

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/start sarcasm

My exaggerated view of a Barnes and Nobles metaphysical bookshelf

Hmmm… this is a pretty big Barnes and Nobles, maybe they’ve got something different than the one from my small town in South Texas. Oh yeah, there’s some Silver RavenWolf, that’s what I’ve been looking for. Sweet! I’ve been needing a sixth book on Magick 101! This one’s got a pretty picture of a flower on the cover and it’s all sparkly! Oh yeah, and there’s the section on Cunningham, definitely haven’t seen those before. I hear they’re good especially if you’ve never heard of primary sources. Oh and here’s the section on meditation. Probably much different from the meditation that’s taught in Asian philosophy and everywhere else. Oh yeah, and there’s the 270 page fairy book that has absolutely no information that can’t be found in a child picture book. Definitely my choice purchase. Oh wait, it costs $31.99? I’m sure it’s worth it. Oh yeah, here’s what I was looking for, the section on altars. So there’s Altars for Different Seasons, Basic Altars, How to Make Your Own Altar, and the ever popular Different Crap You Can Buy to Decor…I Mean Honor Stuff With Your Altar.

/end sarcasm

I wonder why the average Pagan creates an altar. I also wonder why there is such a market for books on the subject. I know that some people need ideas for their first altar, and most books are marketed to the novice in their practice, but the idea of an altar is fairly simple and doesn’t really require buying anything–even books on the subject. An altar’s three-fold purpose is to create a sacred space in a home that is normally filled with non-sacred emotions and actions, to honor spirits, and to use as a magickal tool for filling something with energy and power.

When taking the purpose into account, can you really tell me that you need to buy a bunch of overpriced stuff for an altar? And how can you make an altar out of a book? I know that my altar has a few things that a book would suggest, but I wouldn’t ever go buy the items just to build an altar (which the books seems to suggest that you do). I’ve got a chalice that I used long before I ever had an altar. Yes, I’ve got a few crystals that I had before I was Pagan and was using them for meditation practices. Yes, I’ve also got an incense burner that is actually a mortar filled with salt. I’ve got a few feathers…that I got as a gift my spiritual teacher.

So what is it that I’m trying to say? An altar is supposed to bring you closer to “God” as the Christians say. It’s supposed to open you up and allow you feel safe and calm. It’s no different from the sacred temples of the ancient Greeks or groves of the Druids. Do you really think that the priests of old went to their local Magick-Mart for a bunch of stuff made in China or Korea in sweatshops to put in their brand new temple? We don’t have to hand-make everything like they did, but please remember that the energy in these cheap foreign-made products is likely to be less that awesome. I would rather have an incomplete altar than one filled with items that will bring negative energy into my workings. Magick is a subtle art that is heavily influenced by the nuances of the practice rather than the basics, and so in this case, yes you should sweat the small stuff.

The other thing to think about is that an altar is not so much a tool like a rake or steak knife. It isn’t just something to use in order to get results. It becomes a living extension of yourself. That is one of the primary reasons that taking care of it is such an important task. It needs the love and attention that you give in order to put you into that place of spiritual openness.

How is it so necessary to own 7 books on a subject that is simple. Put pieces of yourself into the altar above all else. Put spiritual pieces that mean something to you next. Yes, it’d be nice to honor the elements and certain gods, but remember that the altar is your gateway to the infinite, and so it should be a part of you rather than some altar template that you found in a book.

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In reaction to the unusually high number of high profile sexual abuse cases involving Pagans, Jason from the Wild Hunt and Brendan Myers have pushed a movement for all Pagans to help draft and sign a universal ethics statement in regards to sexual abuse.

I’m not usually one to copy and past from another blog, but in this instance, I feel it is necessary for the good of the Pagan world that this be spread as quickly and completely as possible. So here’s the original post from the Wild Hunt:

An Ethics Statement: How to Start

I’m going to stray a bit from my normal routine, and propose an actual initiative for our community to undertake. Considering recent cases within our community concerning the sexual abuse of children, and the larger context of news-making abuse cases within non-Pagan faith intuitions, I feel that a voluntary statement of ethics put forward and enforced by Pagan leaders, groups, event organizers, media outlets, and organizations could go a long way towards fostering an atmosphere that would support victims, discourage would-be abusers, and potentially avert some cases of abuse. I understand that any undertaking that attempts to gain the support of any sizable percentage of the larger Pagan community can be fraught with drama, dissent, and backlash, but I feel this is something worth the effort, and the process will have The Wild Hunt’s support at every stage.

Every stage of this process, so long as I am a part of it, will be opt-in and voluntary. No group, individual, or legal entity will be strong-armed into participating, or demonized if they feel they can’t sign on to the finished product. Coalitions that bring lasting change aren’t built by guilt or coercion, but by bridge-building and compromise. We will gladly stand by and partner with those who opt to develop alternate faith or group-specific ethics platforms, so long as they are created in the same spirit of protecting the innocent. Further, the finished statement will exist as its own entity beholding to no single faith, group or individual, and anyone will be able to “sign” or “opt-in” to it at any time so long as they support its tenets.

Stage One: Crafting a draft statement. We will start with a relatively small group working together, with ongoing input from the larger community, to create a first draft of the ethics statement. Pagan author and professor of philosophy Brendan Myers has volunteered to host and help guide this stage of the process. If you are interested in being a part of this process, please join his message board, and take part. I urge folks from various faiths, traditions, professions, and walks of life, to participate. I thank Brendan for stepping forward to shepherd this initial step.

Stage Two: Feedback on draft. Once a rough draft of the statement is complete, it will be posted here, and at other Pagan media outlets, for feedback. All constructive input will be listened to, and responsive changes and revisions will be made accordingly.

Stage Three: Posting of draft, and creation of ethics statement web site. Once complete, the final ethics statement will be posted at its own web site, and all who wish may then sign on to the statement. All participating organizations and events will be prominently listed, web badges and printable materials will be made available, and an outreach committee will be formed to encourage wide adoption of the statement. The site will remain politically neutral, and will not advocate for or against any tradition, group, or individual in a conflict.

That is my suggestion for moving forward. If you want to discuss this, and get on board with this process, please visit Brendan Myers’ site to get things started. I hope this will be the start of a productive and proactive step to address this issue within our interlocking communities.

Though it is only in its planning stages, this seems like a key issue at the moment. We as Pagans need to step up and take responsibility for protecting the children of the world, and especially those at our own events. We need to make it one of the core Pagan values, and as such, making it simple to make such a public pledge should help to strengthen organization leaders’ efforts in making Paganism child-friendly, and more importantly, child-safe.

While any attempt at unity in the Pagan world seems futile due to the huge divisions inherent to our beliefs, this is something that all respectful and responsible Pagans can unify under and uphold.

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