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self-immolationWhen we are children our parents told us not to play with Fire or Guns or Cars.  They did this because we weren’t ready to face the consequences of misusing them.  We had to be taught to use them in the proper ways and at the proper times.

Our society has done this with Love, Violence, Anger, Suicide, Sex and lots of other things.  It has put them in a box and said: “Don’t do this.” Or “ONLY do this in X way.”

Guess what.  You are going to grow up today.  Today you are going to begin to change your perspective and learn how to drive a violence, how to shoot a love and how to light a suicide.

Violence
Peace wasn’t going to win the day in 1943.  German people, angry at the abuses of the Treaty of Versailles and the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic had allowed a populist leader to take over the government and begin a second World War.  America was gearing up for another fight.  Violence in this case WAS an answer.

Standing up to a bully is quite often necessary.   Additionally, sometimes people will use passive aggressive, legal, authoritative or other power to abuse others.  There is a quote which holds truth.  When peaceful protest becomes impossible, violent protest becomes inevitable.  Sometimes violence IS the answer, just be careful.  It can easily escalate.  Avoid it, recognize the consequences you face, own the situation and act.  You WILL face consequences, but if you were wise they are consequences you are willing to face because the violence was the proper action at the proper time.

Love
Modern cliché is that love always wins.  Guess what.  That’s not true.  Love is a wonderful and powerful emotion.  It is an opportunity to open-up and invites others with you to do so as well.  However REAL love requires authentic awareness of where others are.  It is powerful and useful to help elevate consciousness and bring cohesion when used at the right time, however there are a LOT of times when the other person is either not ready or willing so reach openness or love with you.  Openness is dangerous.  It’s not as dangerous as our fears think it is, but it IS dangerous.  We have to use discernment about when to bare our throat to our enemy.  When to show trust, when to be the first to offer peace.

Groups are some of the most dangerous here.  It is easy to discern when you can open-up to a person, but when dealing with a group you have to recognize who can and can’t be trusted and how they will respond to your openness.  You have to carefully navigate relationships, opening up to people who are ready and maintaining a strong position with people who aren’t in such a way that you don’t lose the ground you gained with one person or risk danger from the other.  This is why high level negotiations take so long.  Everyone is carefully measuring who and when they can be open with and standing strong with the people they can’t.  

Anger
Anger is an emotion which tells us that we are in a situation which is unhealthy for us.   The problem with anger is that we often don’t know whether the situation is unhealthy fundamentally or because of our beliefs/assumptions.

Anger arouses us to speak and act.  It brings out a willingness to express personal power.  In the right times and right ways, it is an incredibly healthy thing, but in the wrong times or ways it can make a situation worse.   Think of anger like fire.  When we control and harness it we can use it to do incredible things, but when we just let it loose…  Well, we can lose everything.

Anger is especially important to understand now.  A lot of well-meaning people try to tell others NOT to be angry.  They tell people to find other ways.  This is like telling someone to live a life without fire.  We need to stop doing this!  Anger is an important and necessary tool, but we need to help people use it in healthy ways.  When we see someone angry, we need to listen, we need to help the angry person find out whether or not they are seeing a situation effectively and we need to help them figure out how they can do the most good to change the situation with the least destruction.   With practice, anger changes from a dangerous emotion to a wonderful and powerful one.

Suicide
In 1963 a dictator named Diem ruled Vietnam and was persecuting Buddhists.  Peaceful protest was getting nothing done, and all of the power for violence was in the hands of the dictator.  Eastern culture has a history of dealing with these situations and they have a tool to loudly cry for change that our society is horrified by. 

A monk by the name of Thich Quang Duc doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire in the middle of a busy Saigon intersection.  Photographs of the incident spread around the world and touched people enough to pressure for change.  In November that year the military revolted and lead a coup to overthrow the dictator.

Now… before you get all martyr-minded, governments have learned from this situation.  In certain areas where self-immolation is a danger, police are trained to have fire-extinguishers and to work to keep the protestor alive.  They have literally learned to overcome the power of the self-sacrifice by sacrificing to prevent the person from becoming a martyr.  I’ve watched a video of a monk who tried to protest, but the people in the area put the fire out and he was taken to a hospital.  Instead of being a powerful statement of protested it ended up being an example of a moron who couldn’t even successfully kill himself.

Tools
My point here is simple.  Emotions, actions, resources, words… they are all tools.  They are tools we can use to live the life we want and effect the world in the ways we want to.  NOTHING is off limits to an adult mind.  If you ever catch yourself thinking “X is wrong.” Challenge yourself to explore when and how it can become a tool for you.  Society is ALWAYS vulnerable to someone who does the unexpected.

Be Powerful,
Scott

letter-from-the-future-universal-incomeDear Jason Cule,

My name is also Jason.  In 2055 I’m middle aged, but in your time I was 22. I’m sending myself this message from my future.   Back in 2016 I was downright suicidal. If I hadn’t received this message I would have killed myself.   In 2016 I haven’t been able to get a decent job and my 2nd kid is on their way.  I wish I could tell you that I’m going to get a great job soon, but it’s going to take a while.   I can promise the struggle is going to be worth it though.   Let me tell you our future.

___________________

The first decent automated cars hit the economy in 2018.  From there everything changed incredibly fast.  By 2030, 29 of the 30 million professional drivers (bus, taxi, truck) were out of a job.

Automated restaurants took a bit longer.  It was 2025 when most restaurants could be automated, and then the same thing happened.  By 2035, 25 of the 27 million Food Service workers were out their jobs too.

Landscaping had started automating around 2020.  The job got to where 1 person would drive from client to client.  They’d unload the robots, get them working and then do the tasks that the robots weren’t ready for.    Around 2030 general purpose robots were finally skilled enough that we didn’t even need a human to unload the other robots anymore. 

Industry after industry did the same thing.  Better and better tools allowed one person to do more and more work, until we could have a whole company with multiple locations being run by one person and some service contractors.

Don’t get me wrong.  New jobs came along.  The problem was, for every 10 jobs destroyed, 5 jobs would be created… and then automated down to only 1 again.

The economy expanded incredibly.   US GDP quintupled in 3 decades!  That only happened because we got smart though.  Early on, we started having a problem with consumers.  People without jobs can’t buy stuff.  We had decades of “recession” where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

Luckily a couple northern European countries tried something called a “universal income.”  They gave every single citizen a survival income.   Some people were content with that, but most people decided they either wanted to try to get a job, start a business, follow their passion or at least earn a bit of spending money.  

It took the European counties a couple years, but they figured out how to make the universal income work.   Suddenly having to spend 30% of your GDP on a completely new expense is a pretty big shock for any country, but it sure helped that their economy doubled within 2 years!

After seeing it work in Europe we decided to try it here in the USA.   At first conservatives hated it.   We had riots of people chanting things like “by the sweat of our brow!”, but then business owners realized something… They could trade the minimum wage for the universal income!

The point of the minimum wage was to ensure that people could survive off of what they were earning, but if people were going to survive anyway, business owners could allow the free market to decide pay.  Once business owners figured this out Fox News, CNN and more pushed for a universal income tied to the end of minimum wage.   Most high paying businesses cut pay the exact same amount as the universal income the very day of the first UI payment.   But what was surprising was how many companies who paid minimum wage didn’t change their pay much.  Those jobs were already as low as people would work for.   Suddenly a lot of people didn’t need to work jobs they hated so they went looking for jobs they could enjoy.

This resulted in a new economic powerhouse… Tiny Business.   Tiny Businesses were all of these cool business ideas which wouldn’t work with the old minimum wage that suddenly could hire people for low pay because the work was fun or satisfying.  Tons of these tiny businesses popped up overnight because people who know their bills are paid are often glad to do something they love for low pay.   There are MILLIONS of tiny businesses which make under $20,000 a year.  Most are 1-3 person businesses which express someone’s personal obsession like quality for common services that you can’t get Robots to do.  Other tiny businesses offer uncommon services or product rentals.   Last week the lady down the street hired a tiny business to host an Alice in Wonderland themed party for the whole neighborhood.   It was CRAZY, but I had I great time. I think there was something weird about that tea though…

Of course, urban gardening became a huge thing.  Gardening was always labor intensive, but with modern robots labor isn’t a problem.   Pretty much every square inch of the city is beautiful and/or grows food which robots grow and harvest for us.

Almost 25% of Americans run one or more tiny businesses.  Almost 40% work in one of them.   When you count the 15% who just sit on their ass and do nothing, that means 80% of Americans make less than $20,000/yr, but between that and the Universal Income for the first child per parent, the average low income household earns about $40,000/yr.  That’s downright comfortable with how low prices for just about everything are now.

As for the rich?  They are incredibly rich.  The USA has 35 TRILLIONARES! That’s not counting the $100+ corporations worth more than a Trillion Dollars, but it’s like the good old days again.  People can celebrate the rich and successful, because we all have enough.   If I want to work and earn I can, but if I want to relax and just enjoy the easy life I can do that too.  It doesn’t hurt anyone either way.

How much stuff do I own?   Not much.  I don’t need to.  Dozens of companies compete to offer me car rides at 8 cents per mile or less.  No point in owning tools when I can hire a company for $25/mo to send robots to maintain my yard and do my maintenance.  There are businesses offering just about everything for rent.   Name just about any toy or tool, and I can rent it cheap and have it delivered within the hour.  Usually within 15 minutes!   There are still people who own a ton of crap, but for most of us it’s just not worth having to take care of something that’s just going to sit around wasting space most of the time.

Global travel spiked as more and more countries copied the USA.  Low cost 2 week vacations in far off destinations cost a few hundred dollars.  There are Americans who don’t even come home for years at a time.  So many places are cheap enough to live that we can just use our Universal Income to live somewhere else.  I could live on a tiny berth on a cruise ship if I wanted to!

Robots made labor cheap.  Cost per “equivalent man hour” is down to about 60 cents per hour, and that number is still dropping.   Between the cheap labor and the new energy systems we are rolling out, scientists are estimating that the world will be carbon neutral in 5 years, and with all the terraforming and carbon capture projects people are running we’ll have atmospheric CO2 back to pre-industrial levels in 20 years.

In short? Young me, please don’t check out.   I like life now.  The hard times sucked, and you have a ton of suck ahead of you.   Your politicians are morons, and people think that if they just ignore change it won’t affect them.  Eventually though when being stupid hurts enough, more and more people will demand a minimum share of the insane wealth robots are creating.  They will find allies in the wealthy people who suddenly notice that their profits are shrinking because there are less and less people who can buy what they have to sell.

Good luck.   It makes me happy to know that after the hard times you’ll get to enjoy what I’ve enjoyed.  My first 3 businesses were horrible messes, but I had a ton of fun.   I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Sincerely,
Jason Cule

A belated thank you to Erin Lale for taking the time to review the Power Before Wisdom Primer.  PLease go read the review at Eternal Haunted Summer.

http://eternalhauntedsummer.com/issues/autumn-equinox-2014/power-before-wisdom-primer/

 

 

Group-Ritual

Our elder annointed and named our community "Ile Se Gede" which he explained meant "House of powerful medicine." That is our intended purpose. Our western name is Temple of Growth Advancement, and we've spent the last 3 years learning how to offer more effective support and tools for personal healing and growth. However, we're finally recognizing a dynamic we probably should have recognized a long time ago. We need to stop including everyone who wants to participate. Let me explain.

We have people we've been working with for a while, and they've advanced in understandings and practices to where we can start to do some pretty awesome stuff. Example: Last night we formed a group mind and astral traveled together to 2 different local areas, formed personal and group relationships with the areas and the spirits of the area. Afterwards we started trying to work with spirits around the temple. While doing so we encountered a spirit of the region who did some really solid work with us... "that was fucking awesome" kinds of work.

The reason this matters is that we have a wonderful young man who is facing some life difficulties. His pain caused him to flail around and hurt some of the other people in our community. Last night I had told him he was welcome to attend the full moon ritual, because our moons have always been open and inclusive.

Unfortunately when he arrived we learned that someone who had been hurt by his actions felt that they couldn't be safe sharing ritual space with him. They were choosing to leave rather than make an issue of it. Normally in the past this would have resulted us wishing the person who was leaving well, but Shauna Aura Knight​ has written some amazing posts lately about dealing with unhealthy persons in community.

I recognized that this wasn't about a small personal issue, but rather the consequences of unhealthy behavior. I knew that if we allowed the person who was hurting other people in our community to stay and it caused the persons who had been hurt by his actions to leave, we would be starting a cycle of empowering misbehavior... and that would be unhealthy for our community.

Seeking wisdom of the ancestors I performed divination. It told me that the best resolution would be to bring everything to light and remove any illusions; however, I had already asked if we could do a quick mediation. The person who had been hurt said they weren't comfortable doing so yet.

I then asked in a different way. Of the options available for me was the best choice to let the hurt person leave? The ancestors "screamed" no. Was my best choice to ask the misbehaving young man to leave? The ancestors spoke loudly and clearly "yes."

It wasn't easy. I tried to tell the young man: "I'm sorry this is a consequences of your actions, we can try again in the future and do other things to rebuild trust", but I think he heard "We are rejecting you as a person." He left in pain.

The rest of the ritual was incredibly blessed by that difficult choice though. With safety and trust restored, the group was strong and focused to do good work. The persons who were going to leave ended up massively blessing the work with their personal gifts; the work would have been far less clear and amazing without them there.

Last night made it clear to me that our goal of inclusion has often interfered with the majority of the group being able to take part in this quality of ritual. We've been trying to welcome people without the necessary skills to participate, and it interferes with the work. Even worse sometimes we're encountering awesome people coming to us for help and support we're glad to give in one context, but who would actively interfere or be triggered by the works we do in another context.

A large part of me wants a one size fits all solution, but I think I have to admit that we're going to have to change our "security model" into a very personalized one. We will probably have to pay attention to things like interpersonal difficulties, each person's triggers and each person's experience, skills and gifts to personally welcome or exclude each person to different events.

I think that means we're going to have to start teaching people that exclusion from some rituals or events is just going to happen. We're going to have to understand and teach that we may need to reject some behaviors or relationship dynamics, but we are still welcoming persons in whatever healthy ways we can.

I think that if we apply this understanding throughout our whole community we will become healthier. We have misbehavior we've been tolerating in a lot of different areas... and that action has formed a ceiling to what we could achieve as a community. It's time to remove this ceiling. It's time to learn both personally and as a community to say no at the right times in a firm, consistent and loving way.

When I first honestly answered my "why do I want to do magick" question, it was because I felt powerless and I wanted to feel powerful.  As the years have gone by I stopped being driven by the desire for power because I found self-confidence, however I still loved magick.  At this point in my life magick is both a celebration of creation and a tool I should use to improve my life and my environment (physically, mentally, emotionally, economically and socially).

This is a dream.  I don't remember much of what happened in the dream, but I remember the context of the dream very well.   The context is a very beautiful place to me.  If you want a great story with good dialog this won't be it.   If you would like to hear a perspective of an interesting potential future... please read on.  :-)

___________________________________________________

I'm with a young (Late 20s/Early 30s) African-American Woman who I recognize as a social peer. I laugh at something we've been talking about and say, “You know what we call 6 Archers right? (Mental image of a person receiving 6 sets of Osossi Elekes at the same time) Getting initiated to Osossi 6 times on 6 different occasions. The whole point is to align our self with our higher self in the initiation and...”

She laughs, “I don't really 'drink the juice.' To me it's just a game.”

I friendly seriousness I respond. “I hear you; do you realize that the game stole a religion from Africa whole cloth? We have records in America that are around 500 years old, but it is much, much older in Africa.”

She seemed to be listening with interest/intent as if this was giving her permission to touch into the depth of something she had felt connected with, but couldn't dive into because it was “just a game.”

The game seemed to be a game/real life crossover with the majority of play involving real-life challenges. The repetitive elements of play became less and less rewarding the more they were performed. It was a mixture of multiple pure games for fun and players getting rewards for real-life behaviors. Unlike most similar games, the rewarded behaviors were not commercial, but were primarily social. Environmental service/cleanup, Social Donation/Volunteering, Serving the Common Good. These elements attracted a more introspective player base and the game was affecting the worldwide popularity of Social Service Consciousness. Suddenly it was cool to care about the common good from a “I'm going to do the most good I can here and now” mindset. The best transition I can liken it to is when the song “Thrift Shop” came out: people who had been embarrassed to say they shopped at Thrift Shops suddenly went from being losers to being cool almost overnight.

The game caused a similar sea shift of behavior in the realm of personally providing time/money to community events. It was suddenly cool to pickup trash, build community gardens, take care of the homeless. It was cool to focus on your community more than your expressions of wealth. It wasn't bad to be rich, but in the game that didn't make you better than other people and that was a HUGE shift. Players with wealth didn't feel left out because they could use their money to support enough social good that they advanced more quickly, but it didn't feel to any players like this was unfair as the cost of “buying levels” was so high that the other players generally saw persons who did that as deserving the rewards because of how much good the money was doing in the community and economy.

The entire economy was shifting due to the game. The service economy was becoming less and less profit oriented and more and more about promoting and serving the social good. Persons had plenty of opportunity to earn a basic living in their service position and because of how the game induced re-gifting, sharing and a shift from consumerism toward self-individualization through Social Service, people could live more fulfilling lives with less money. The young lady I was talking to probably earned $500-$800/mo with a part-time job, but was living a joyful and comfortable life.

This ability changed the dating dynamic to where Women's preference for a partner with wealth was becoming smaller and smaller, even in popular culture. As more and more people felt secure that the community was taking care of each individual, the fear of being poor was shrinking. The desperate need for wealth was starting to be recognized as a sickness and any company/industry with high profit margins was being targeted by Social Good non-profit corporations who would enter the market and undercut the prices of the high profit company/industry until there was a minimum margin. This is part of what had driven both prices and wages down, but there was a peacefulness to life that replaced the desperate need to earn to survive.

Somewhere along the line elements of Ifa/Orisha (seemed like mostly Orisha pots and community Rites of Passage) were incorporated into the game rewards. Players didn't need to practice “Ssha” to play the game. There were other faith adaptions which were acceptable and welcomed too. In a weird way the adaptions were an effort to weed out the worst of the worst fundamentalists and remove their ability to claim authority to alter/affect the practices of game players. Most priests who played got that on a deep level.

I had generally seen the adaption for “Ssha” as a good thing because Ifa had pretty much entirely disappeared from the Cultural Source and I was glad to see it start to form new roots with a large community who was using it for personal connection with spirit and personal growth rather than trying to use it to make other people wrong (Which was where I saw most discussions of Ifa). There were enough changes to be minimizing cultural appropriation but not so many changes that the benefits of Orisha initiation disappeared completely. Because of my being a “cool” priest I was a popular player because I brought a depth of meaning to “the game” that other players recognized was sometimes missed without my background.

 

© Scott Reimers 2014