Lessons - Power Before Wisdom

  • About Awo Fa'gbemiro aka Scott Reimers (2016 update)

    author writing on paper

    I became a professional Web Developer, Computer and Network Technician in 1999.   By 2006 I had decided I wanted to start moving into a new field.  I started this website in the hopes of eventually making a living teaching magic. Most importantly I thought I'd be able to start gaining “deeper understandings”; because above all else, I had a desire to experience obvious and clear magic on a regular basis.

    I spent about 4 years writing whatever I felt like sharing as I learned and experimented. I was the arrogant fool, sharing experiences and jumping into stupid new ones (Making a Djinn ring being one of my dumber moments...) Little by little the posts started becoming more humble and more respectful as I started recognizing the mistakes of my impetuousness.

    There came a point in 2010 when it became obvious that I needed to either start monitizing this website or do something else. Long story short I tried a lot of things, but in the end, I decided that I had to move on. Some of the posts of that time period had a frustrated and annoyed tone. I mostly disappeared for a while as I shifted my focus.

    My main life goal at that time shifted from “experience cool magic” to “build wealth.”

    Well... good news: Magic works.

    My life changed incredibly. By 2012 I owned a semi-automated web business which paid my bills and allowed my wife to quit working. I started getting back into writing a bit, but I kept my focus on "building wealth." In 2013, my Wife, Covenmates and Roomate wanted to start a Magick Shop and Open a Pagan Temple, so I used my business experience to make that happen.  While doing that I explored some new magicks and alchemy which I will start detailing here.

    As of 2016 I own 3 online businesses.  I also run the Magick Store "Reno Magick" and the "Temple of Growth Advancement" with my Partner and another Priest in Reno NV.  Additionally I'm living many of my life goals.  I regularly experience awesome magic, support multiple local faith and magickal groups out of the temple, and have Magickal Students all over the world, not to mention an International Ifa Extended Family through my Ifa Parents.

    Ifa Parents?  On top of my business successes, I also initated into Ifa in 2012 through the lineages of Awo Falokun Fatunmbi and Yeye Omiadeofun Fa'kayode Oyeotunde and spent a couple years living with my Elder and studying with him.   I have received My Ifa Elders' blessing to perform Ifa Divination and Initiations.  

    It has been an awesome journey, and while it sometimes didn't seem that fun along the way, I'm really appreciative and joyful as to where it has gone.

    While I'll sometimes let this site sit for weeks or months, it is still near and dear to my heart. I want to teach because I love it. I like writing an article or recording a class and having lots and lots of people benefit from it.  I recently had a breakthrough and hope to release a new book every 3 months in 2017. They are going to be a series which teaches magick from the very basics up.

    At this point I have semi-retired at 35 years old, and I am looking to travel the world experiencing and teaching magick.  Every other week I am "free" to either travel or work on long term projects.  If you want training and/or Initiation and don't want to have to go somewhere else for it, this period of my life will be great for you.  If you work with my Schedule and cover my travel expenses (will be deducted from fees) I will discount the costs as long as either you have 3 or more people who need training OR at least 3 days are available for me to explore and do personal work in the region you live.

    Ase,
    Awo Fa'gbemiro Falokun (Scott Reimers)

  • Beyond Pride: A Pagan Man's Vision

    a focusing lens held in hand

    Beyond Pride: A Pagan Man’s Vision

    Gay Pride, Black Pride, Latino Pride, Sister Pride.  YAY!
         Straight Pride, White Pride, Man Pride.  BOO!
              Why?
                   It’s all about perspective.

     

    -All the Wrong Stuff-
    Growing up I wanted to be an inventor.  Freshman year there was a 3 month long “Young Scientist” camp.  As soon as I heard about it I RUSHED to sign up only to be told that the program relied on Equal Opportunity Act Funding.  If I had been a Woman, Gay, a Minority or practiced Hinduism or Islam there were seats waiting for me. Unfortunately, I was a Straight White Christian man. I didn’t get to go to Young Scientist Camp even though there were empty positions. Needless to say, I was hurt that I wasn’t able to do something I truly wanted because my Gender, Race, Sexual Identity and Faith weren’t the “right ones.”

     

    -The Cycle stops with us…-
    Sophomore Year in Highschool I saw a group of my classmates carrying a Freshman into a trash can.  I ran over to help him.  As I stopped my classmates they screamed, “but it’s haze week!

    “So what,” I asked “When you were a freshman did you get trash-canned?”

    “Yeah it sucked! But now it’s OUR TURN! They responded.

    “Wouldn’t it have been cool if you’d been welcomed without the hazing?” I asked.

    “Sure… whatever.” They responded.

    “So then, why don’t we improve things? Let’s skip the hazing.” I finished.

    As far as I hear, the tradition of hazing never made major a comeback @ Hug High School

     

     

    -Understanding the Problem-
    I believe in equality.  REAL equality.  The kind you hear about in story books. I listened to YEARS of being told that I didn’t understand the challenges of being a Woman or a Minority race/faith before I actually HEARD the truth.  I DIDN’T understand the challenges of being treated as a “Second Class Citizen.”

    Even in my freshman “young scientist camp” disappointment I didn’t feel like a Second Class Citizen.  Even in the Ifa house mostly run by Black Women, when I was told by my Spiritual Elders flat out, that I’d have to put up with hate and distrust because I was a white man, I didn’t feel like a Second Class Citizen.

    I grew up confident in my Race, my Gender and my Sexuality. (Well… at least confident that it was ok to be straight; sexuality is a matter for another article entirely.  ;-)

    Unfortunately what I thought was confidence in my Faith was actually pride, and as the quote goes: Pride Go-eth before a fall.I spent years seeking before I chose this unconventional spirituality where my peers tend to be Gay, Minorities, Women or all of the above.

    Suddenly I started understanding the consequences to being in the minority.  I lost jobs, friends and clients because of people who wouldn’t accept me as I was. Sure I could have hidden it, but I’m an Ares with SEVEN fire signs in my chart… it’s just not my way.

    On top of that change, now I consistently deal with peers who feel I’m one of the bad guys.  I commonly experience knock-you-down-to-feel-better-about-myself harassment at pagan events. Oddly, I’m ok with that.  Here’s why.

     

    The Ladder of Emotions: A Map toward Joy and beyond...- Climbing up to Pride –
    While we think of Fear, Anger and Pride as some of the stronger emotions, the picture to the left shows you that they are actually rather low.  However, perspective is everything.  To someone who has lived their life in Shame, Despair and fear, pride seems pretty sweet!

    Unfortunately pride tends to be divisive (I’m better than you) and that was where most Americans were. Since they have to be better than someone they lash out; and prideful people most commonly attack Minorities, Women, GBLT and “Weird Faiths.”

    Constantly being bullied pushes people into lower emotions. Sure we can be strong and overcome, but many don’t.  Unfortunately, we can't be lifted back up.  The ladder needs to be climbed step by step, and the easiest position to quickly climb and hold onto is PRIDE.

    THIS is the reason our country needs Gay Pride, Sister Pride, Black Pride, Latino Pride, and PAGAN PRIDE. These pride organizations offer people beacons to a place where they can begin building REAL CONFIDENCE. We see White Pride or Man Pride as a negative thing because most people are confident that it’s ok to be White and a Man.  Since we are confident, we’d have to drop DOWN the ladder to be in pride.

     

    - Courageous Change! -
    For decades our society held our neighbors and sisters downto maintain the same pride that gave my gender, national and sexual identities a HUGE jumpstart.  Thankfully, there a lot of evidence that as a nation we are stepping up into courage. Courage doesn’t need to push people down anymore.  Even better, the closer to real confidence that courage gets, the less it is bothered by the bullying of prideful people.

    So here is where we are.  My courage and confidence were built from a pride maintained by holding many of you down. I wasn’t one of the people who joined in this, and I don’t apologize for the actions of others.  However, when I am in a circle with someone and their anger or pride causes them to lash out at me, I intend to remember that my strength was built on their suffering…  and be supportive.

     

    - The Vision -
    I can see a day when I am part of a culture whose members have grown past the need to hurt each other. I can see us continuing this awesome journey toward truly understanding ourselves and each other.  

    Finally, every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of the powerful, loving, bright souls that we truly are… and I dream of the day in which that vision is commonplace.

    Namaste,
    Power Before Wisdom

    Author of the blog Power Before Wisdom, Power Before Wisdom is also a founder of the group Reno Magick.  

  • How, Why and When to Curse People

    cursed skulls

    Your ethics are up to you. Here are mine. I chose to come here and experience everthing I experience. If I allow someone to "hurt me" it's because I chose to experience it. If you walked over to me pulled out a shotgun and successfully killed me, I plan on stepping out of my body (If for some stupid reason I'm still IN it), accepting I'm dead, Letting go of separation mentality enough to understand why I chose to experience that and then... I'll decide what to do. Who would I blame? ME...

    This mindset is why I don't mind "hurting others." Hey. You asked for it. If you didn't I didn't DO it. I've cursed some people and watched them drive off without a care, and I've cursed others and watched their car start belching out black smoke.

    Beware. I don't believe in dogmatic karma systems, but I do notice that there ARE consequences. If you curse anger and destruction than you are vibrating at anger and destruction... If you experience some it's your own damn fault and just as throwing a rock into a pond has consequences, everything you do has consequences. If you are smart, choose ways of making ripples that don't capsize your boat.

     

    Anger/Pain Curse one:

    I had an arrogant asshole of a driver, drive in such a way as to almost kill my newborn daughter, my wife and myself if she hadn't done some awesome driving to avoid him. The asshole then honked at us, flipped us off for HIS fuckup and squeeled his tires as he drove off. I was so freaked my heart started beating irregularly. I decided... "Give me half a heart attack and you can have a WHOLE one." I reached out with my aura, bound his heart to mine and then proceeded to make myself more and more irate, terrified, increase my heart irregularities and hyperventalating while going out of my way to channel more of it into his side than into mine. For "no reason," his car swerved to the side of the road before Misty finished driving away. I continued to have my "heart attack" for a couple more minutes before accepting Misty's requests to please stop doing what I was doing as I was freaking her out. Use your imagination or if you're advanced source what happened from there. (btw... I have stopped my heart by deciding to. Don't do it.. The moment where you suddenly realise you don't know how to get it going again isn't worth it. Ironically the fear releases adrenaline which would restart the heart except it can't reach the heart that isn't beating. I'm still not sure what I did to restart it. After a few moments of no heartbeat I stopped thinking, I remember coming back and being glad I was awake and had a heartbeat again. However, after my warning, if you're in the mood to try doing so merely relax on a bed, let everything go and then little by little slow your heart down with your will. While completely relaxed, make a mental rhythem equal to your heartbeat in your mind and then begin slowly slowing the mental dum-dum music and your heart will follow. Be patient. You are not used to controlling your heart and you have a LOT of biological signals telling it to keep operating regardless of what you think you want. When you lose sync, move your mental rhythem back to the hearts rhythm and continue. Please make sure to tell someone around you who knows this website what you're doing so that he can post a link to your obituary if you're less lucky than me. Extra points if you're young and "died in your sleep of natural causes.")

     

    Debt Curse:

    Persons fucked my family hard. Silly persons did so and left some of their hair in my house. Created a paper package with their hair in it, Spit bile into the doll, Bound the doll with string soaked in my blood as I declared the curse: Fear of Us, Fear of Each other, Discord, Sleeplessness, Terrifying Dreams, Sexual Impotence, Awareness of Terms. Declared that the curse could be undone by repaying the spiritual debt. After a couple hours I felt bad about the curse and tried to release it by burning it. Unfortunately amplified it. Beware... Do something like this and you have to unmake it by piece by piece removal. The person who had done the worst to us and to whom my prime angers was is currently insane living on the streets, the others we know little about and seem mostly unaffected. However they have access to some solid protections... so who knows... maybe a few years down the road they lose the protections and we'll see interesting things happen to them.. In truth at this point I'd rather they just repaid the spiritual debt.  --Update--- Thankfully they seem to be doing so...  Curses like this bind you to the target and usually it's just better to let the persons go quietly.

     

    While I admit to having my angry, binding and destructively limiting curses I like to have a higher energy while cursing. Higher energy? Yes. People who piss me off get "blessings" from me.

     

    • Someone makes me wait in line because they wanted the power trip? They are cursed to experience exactly what they give others.  They will notice that when they hurry lines they go fast the rest of the week, when they delay them they go slower the rest of the week.
    • Someone driving dangerously almost hits my car?  Cursed to have an accident soon that hurts nobody so they can learn without the guilt of hurting someone.
    • Someone insults others to feel more powerful?  Cursed to experience the pain they deal more and more strongly until they choose to stop dealing it.  Heck, If I'm in a sour mood I'll tear open their Shields, Heart Chakra and Third Eye and be a telepathic bridge between the person they just hurt and them...
    • Someone disrepects and damages property?  Cursed to learn to value their property by receiving something they value and having the same done to them.
     
    This is another area of ripples.   I am willing to experience "hard lessons."   If I need to grow I don't mind having the universe teach me instead of putting up with my stupidity.   My Blessing-Curses are usually amplifications of standard consequences to help a lesson happen more quickly.  I choose the consequences I am willing to receive by what I put out.  I have started being more careful in my choices of get lots of what you give type curses because sometimes it may actually just accelerate their destructive behaviors.   I've started working to be more careful that my "curses" are beneficial to everyone involved.   This way if the ripples return to me I get beneficial and positive.

    --- UPDATE 9/19/10 ---

    My mindset regarding curses has changed greatly.  I still don't really think they are WRONG, as much as I think they are stupid.  

    1. Why should I focus energy on things I dislike.  
    2. Why should I take my personal power and set it to attempting to effect the life of someone I don't like?   

    A recent FB post put it clearly... "I just stopped believing it was my job to "change other people's bad behavior." Heck, I've got enough of my own to deal with!" I have found more use and value in my life lately by focusing on what I like and manifesting more of it.  Rather than sit around flinging poo at the other dumb monkeys why don't I go and live a good life.  

    I understand the mindset one has to deal with when we are looking to curse though, so I intend to leave this article as a way to help people understand curses and perhaps climb the ladder of emotions:

    1. Despair to anger/hatred (when we curse)
    2. More positive emotions Like wanting goodness ("blessing-curses")
    3. The higher emotions (self-responsibility, positivity and focusing on what we like)
  • I'm back Bitches!

    Scott Visiting Kilauea (Major Magickal Goal)

    I wrote most of my articles on Power Before Wisdom before opening a metaphysical store.   I was at a stage of personal magickal development where I was doing a ton of experimenting and I wanted to share my explorations.

    PBW has never been a huge money maker for me.  I wanted it to be though, and I got angry that I wasn't in a place to profit from it.

    In the end I had this chaotic mix of trying to be too many things.

    I eventually took the site down because of a mix of:

    1. I didn't want to maintain it.  At one point I burned myself out 3 times in a row with 40-80 hours of redesign/editing work before taking a few months off and doing the same thing again.
    2. I wanted to take the content and sell it.  Having someone review my book to say that there was no point to it because everyone could just get everything free here was a kick in the balls.
    3. I was embarassed at the youth and ignorance in much of my old posting.  I wrote much of this when I was far more ignorant than I am now.

    Thankfully, at this point I'm in yet another life stage.

    In this stage I'm seeing that I made many good things in the past that I never published, presented or sold because they weren't perfect... completely ignoring that they were good and helpful.

    Also... I'm totally going to own that PBW has about 1000 people who've registered and participated over the years and while I sucked at connecting with them in the past, I think I'm finally ready.

    How will this time be different?  I'm going to challenge myself to spend at least 50% of my time writing and sharing new things.  While I'll go back and edit, update and re-organize old content, I have a LOT of classes and articles that I wrote or recorded but never published.  I also LOVE writing and recording.   So I'll likely link my Tik-Tok, Youtube, Personal Page, Store, Temple and more to PBW and I'd enjoy watching it come back to life.   I think I'll start a discord server for people to chat, discuss content and more as well.   I do have another long term project called "Dragon Tradition" where I've gone back to the drawing board to build a training program with the goal of taking complete newbies to magickal powerhouses.  It's a long journey though.

    Dragon Tradition will probably become the structured goal oriented group working together to cast complex magicks, while Power Before Wisdom will likely stay the whimsical free-wheeling group of chaotic experimenters.

    I will probably mix adding a ton of free content with adding some new paid classes and services.

    So yeah... I'll probably turn this post into an actual "vision document" in the future, but in true PBW fashion I'm starting by just writing what I think and releasing it into the wild to come back and haunt me later.   I think I'll honor that dynamic by immediately posting a recent breakthrough I had about Astral and Etheric Magick.   Google take a while to crawl websites and I probably lost a f-ton of link juice by taking the site down for months, so by the time you're reading this you'll also likely be reading many many new articles I post.   Cross our fingers for this to be true.  ;-)

    {jcomments on}

  • On Hearing, Dealing with and Expressing Truth

    a cross on an open bible

    I was just reading Richard Bach's One and was at the story of the "Pages."   The fundamental gist of the story is a moment where someone receives understanding from God.  Incomprehensibly huge, amazing and deep understandings... and recognizes that to share those understandings is to risk forming a religion who wishes to share their understandings.  In horror the characters perceive how the truth they received will be twisted into another opportunity to experience fear and hatred and decide to burn the pages.

    When I was a child I believed what I was told to believe.   One of the things I was told to believe was that the Bible was the word of God.  I KNEW it was true.  I had some people tell me it was just a book or that it was wrong and I KNEW they were wrong.  It was years later when I finally started listening to peoples arguments showing me how the hand of man was deeply involved in the creation of the Bible that I started questioning the idea that it was the perfect word of God.  Ironically, when I lost faith in the Book I used as the core of my faith I began to learn to listen.  

    My family raised me to trust the Bible as the final truth, but they were open to the idea that God speaks to us.  In Song, Sign (Sometimes Literally) and even Voice.  Even before I stopped being an active practicing Christian, I had a very intense experience where an Angel came, pulled me out of my body and took me to experience battle lines being drawn.  Little details like: the Angel yanking you out of your body (didn't know that could be DONE!) without a thought, picking you up, examining you like an Ant,  and "thinking" out loud in less than an eyeblink: "I don't know why HE gives a shit about such pathetic things like you, but HE commanded to bring you to experience this... so sigh... I guess I will."  Those are the kinds of things that make these experiences really, really believable (if you were there of course...).  

    Little by little, as I experienced listening to God from outside the confines of the book and experiencing the direct clarity of communcation through 2-3 layers instead of 20+ I stopped considering the book as any more valuable than any others.  I came to believe that everything here is a work of God.  There was a long trip from Christianity to Paganism, but ironically a lot of the fundamentals didn't change.  I still believe that there is only one Source.  Source just received a promotion in my mental model as there are a lot of smaller G gods.  I also believe that everything works out for the Glory of the Lord... it's just that I see "The Lord" as the entire loving and thinking Omniverse.

    Re-reading "One" for this portion alone reminded me of how important it was to accept hearing truth in the way that works best for you clearly and directly.  When a preacher is reading from a book that tells you that God loves you there are a LOT of layers between Source and you.   Everything is perfect so you are going to receive exactly what you should...   Sigh.  That's the confusing part.   I like hearing it with all of the intense perfect love.  I like it when I get that special signed "Scott,  I just wanted to remind you how much I love you.  God."  I've always paid better attention to lovingly handwritten notes instead of broad memos.  So I suppose the point of this post is to help open up the idea of hearing and believing truth in the way that is right for you.   I don't think that reading the Bible, Koran, Torah or any other religious book is going to be my prime way of hearing God.  I like the personal touch.  I listen to it better.  However, I think I needed this article to be reminded that just because I like the personal touch doesn't mean that it's not okay for you to like the consistent corporate, published and edited feel.  Both of them are ways for truth to speak...

    I guess my next question is why we are so pressed to make sure others understand the truths we get.  Do we think that the universe shot it's payload on helping us get it?  Do we feel that somehow because we get it, our job it to help others understand?  You know, as I think about it, It seems that the big understandings make huge waves.  They shake us up and they are so awesome that we just want to help other people experience this awesomeness.  In fact, for the time when we get this and it's still outside us, we haven't yet completely incorporated everything we are trying to be this idea, what better way to be it then to try to express it to another.

    Perhaps teaching the idea is a sign that you haven't gotten it fully yet and that you are still "chewing it over."  Says a lot about this website eh?

    Power Before Wisdom

  • Open Your Life to Universe Coincidence of your Manifestations

    a manifestation in the universe

    For a long time now I've been able to manifest things amazingly quickly and responsively.  However, there were a couple areas of my life I didn't intentionally manifest.  One was General Finances, another was Relationships.  At first my challenge was that I didn't want to "cheat."  I got over that one with some counseling from other pagans.  A couple years back, I noticed that even though I was using Manifestation to bring in specific needs (eg.. $1000 to pay rent by next week), I hadn't manifested long term situational changes.  In other words rather than manifesting consistent plenty into my life, I was repetitively needing to manifest the "emergency money."    At the time I decided I wanted better consistency in my life.  My pattern had been a lot of ups and downs.   I decided I wanted to stabilize my situation.   So I made effort to do my work more regularly and earn.   I did so, yet I consistently earned about $2-300 less than I needed.   One month I earned $8,000, but I needed $8,400.   Finally things came to a head: I had another emergency... and I failed to come up with the money.   It was a downhill spiral from there as I cut costs and the universe cut my income.  A few months afterwards, I was earning 40/hour/wk minimum wage pay while actually working 60+ hours/wk.  Amazingly, I manifested cutting costs so much that I ended up with Free Rent.   At that point, I took a look at my situation and decided to manifest change.  However, in doing so I've learned a lot about the process of manifestation.

    First I've learned that you can successfully manifest lots of cool stuff... and then ignore it.  I've learned that the size of your manifestation has nothing to do with numbers, but with how much YOU have to change to accept it.   For example, I had a friend who manifested overnight Millionaire success.  As he opened himself up to this amazing opportunity some things that had been smoldering in his life were brought into the light.  He had a choice.  Accept his overnight millionaire success or take this side road...  he chose the side road and ended up in prison.  Amazingly time has passed, he got out of prison and now he has manifested another overnight wealth opportunity.   Clearly manifestation IS NOT the problem.  In fact, he has created multiple different millionaires in his life.   People who are near him tend to do very well while he hits the ground harder and harder each time.  The difference is that he hasn't chosen to accept his success.  He manifests repetitively and then declines it.  He makes choices to ignore it.

    In watching him, I've noticed how I did this myself.   I've had challenging times in relationships.  I've manifested opportunities for other relationships... some very interesting ones!  However, I pride myself in my faithfulness.  So while I was manifesting new, strong, loving and sexual relationships on one hand, on the other hand I was denying them.   Recently, I've realized how I was doing this financially as well.  This article is incomplete because I don't have the end to this story yet.   However, in one month of opening myself up to accept wealth and deciding to accept the opportunities that arise I have:

    1. Started building a relationship with a successful businessman who has connections and ties to resources I need for two of my projects.
    2. Started a project with the same businessman which will result in a lot of new persons and connections in my life.
    3. Seen Magewars move forward from 5 years of no profit to $20/wk and climbing.
    4. Started this website and set it up.
    5. Watched my Computer and Website Business Triple into numbers which will empower me to thrive.

    What I've learned the most so far is that to manifest you can't just expect the world to change around you.  You need to change as well.  Think of manifestations as storms which can enable you to follow a completely different flow in a different direction, however if you don't change your personal habits, beliefs and expectations you will return to your original flow... if you even accept the opportunity for the explosive initial change.

    Good Manifesting,
    Power Before Wisdom

  • Starting and Running a Business: Why you need to Make Peace with Failure.

    Starting and Running a Business: Why you need to Make Peace with Failure.

    Your business is going to fail, fail again, fail again and fail again. This will continue over and over and over until suddenly, one day, you won't fail. If you're smart, you will figure out what you did that didn't fail. Then you will try to do that over and over in new and creative ways until you learn lots of different ways you can succeed.

    When talking about starting a business most people start with the last part about finding success. I chose to start with the first part because this is where most people quit.

    In business this process is repeated again and again. Every time you want to offer a different service, reach a different audience, use a different marketing campaign or any other expansion or growth you will be following this fail, fail, fail, succeed process.

    The biggest difference between an experienced entrepreneur and a novice is that we have learned how to study other people who are being similarly successful to how we want to be successful to help us figure out how to try. Our experience helps us go from failing dozens or hundreds of times to only a few or even a couple. Then once we find success we are better at guessing and testing the boundaries of that success. The problem with this experience is that we will sometimes write off a valuable opportunity because past evidence indicates it won't work. However circumstances change. Trying something which seems dumb sometimes yields incredible results. Here is where the painful frustration of being a beginner can bear the best fruit. Trying what nobody else will try will eventually make your name!

    Each new business will always feel like the hardest yet. You will almost assuredly spend months working absurd hours for far less than minimum wage. If you are smart you will surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who help you know when to hold, when to fold and when to bet everything.

    Your first income will be like a few drops of rain in a desert, but little by little you will find ways to earn more and more efficiently. Your hourly pay will start climbing and eventually you will be earning enough to hire someone else.

    Here is where you will have a huge decision to make: Do I keep this income source for myself? Do I hire help and expand? Do I sell to someone else who wants to hire?

    I have normally chosen to seek to automate more and more to minimize how much I need to hire help. I disliked training and felt frustrated at the pace most employees learn and work. However, I'm shifting that little by little. Over the last few years I've hired contractors for larger repetitive projects, and little by little I’m training consistent part-timers to help with the absurd number of tasks and projects on my plate. I will eventually be teaching them to be a “mini-me.”

    Your early successes will be strongly tied to you. YOUR customers. YOUR vendors. YOUR network. The reason I mentioned this question is that it will take time for you to learn how to adjust your business to not rely on YOU, but instead rely on your team and your business processes.

    I lost 50% or more of my customers nearly a half a dozen times trying to make this transition in my computer and website businesses. This is where people start seeing you as being a “sell out” or becoming a “soulless corporation.” Your new business will attract a different kind of customer. Sometimes its a good choice… sometimes not. There are a lot of people willing to trade “good enough” service/quality for the personal touch. If you remove some of the personal touch they value, your necessary quality and service will need to improve a LOT. Sometimes no matter what you do it won’t be enough. For some customers personal relationships are mandatory, and if you stop being as available as part of your growth, the customers will find the next new person who’s willing to be available.

     

    Back to failure. This is why you have to be willing to fail. You think I was warning you to be willing to fail at the beginning? The biggest warning is to be willing to fail AFTER you succeeded. Nothing forms a jail cell like success. When you find something that works for you its tempting to just keep doing it. Heck if you’re happy doing so then go for it!

    But then there are serial entrepreneurs like myself and others. We crave change, growth and adventure. After years of exhaustive struggle, success seems peaceful. We finally have what we were struggling for this entire time. We settle in for a while and bask in our rewards, but then the bug hits us. We see new opportunities. We feel the need to work for something new.

    If we are wise we will make plans and strike off, but this is where the fear of failure hits hardest. We know the hardships we are signing up for! We have success. Its peaceful waters allure us, offering simplicity and comfort.

    If you are hearing the call though don’t allow yourself to be distracted. What seems like a simple choice is anything but. Once we hear the call to growth and change our comfortable little world is already doomed. The more we avoid the call the more our lives will fall apart. What once seemed impressive and wonderful starts to feel small and confining. Money isn’t enough, prestige isn’t enough. When the development toward the next stage is the primary calling nothing other than heeding the call and moving forward will suffice.

     

    Make your peace with failure. Strike off and work for the change and growth with a passion. Accept that you may lose much or everything of what you’ve already found, but that along the way you have transformed. You have become someone who knows yet another way to succeed. If you fail mightily you will be able to use your old skills, knowledge and relationships to pick yourself up before you try again.

    By accepting failure we become someone dynamic. We allow new opportunities and lessons into our lives and understand our personal power in greater depth than most will ever understand. This advice is true for all of life. The most powerful person isn’t the one who found success and held onto it. It is a person who learns the lessons both failure and success offer and keeps moving forward.

     

    Be Powerful,

    Awo Fa’gbemiro

    {jcomments on}

  • Summoning, Blooding and Binding Spirits

    a red spirit in front of a silhouette

    Summoning, Blooding and Binding Spirits.  The idea brings up images of dark energies surrounding persons presenting blood sacrifices late at night, to beings in chalked circles ominously lit by black candles.  To be honest that aspect does exist; however, Binding Spirits is not all shadows and pain.   The spirit world operates on a different set of rules than we do here.

    Living on earth is considered to be kinda a high point of existence.  Spirits tend to think of us as Billionaires going to college, networking and taking a cruise all at the same time.  In the spirit world a purpose to exist and an opportunity to grow are good gifts.  In fact, when a spirit says gratefully that they owe you one, it means that they owe you a learning experience.   The EXACT opposite of what you mean.  Most Mages want help with a learning experience whereas most spirits want challenges and enough power to tackle them.  Notice I said spirits... not ghosts.  While I usually speak of ghosts as just another form of spirit (non-corporial living entity), in this case due to their recent experience (life), ghosts may have a bit more power than your average spirit, but they also tend to share our less "appreciative" value system.

    We all have spirits who stick around us and help us with our challenges.  They commonly go by the name of our "spiritual entourage" or "guardian spirits."  Think of them as loving Roadies to our life performance.  Sometimes we appreciatively (or not, unfortunately) let our roadies take care of a lot of stuff and sometimes we do most of it ourselves.  Just as performers will gain and lose fans over the course of their performance so to will our entourage change out to fit who we are now.  If we had an entourage who were fans of our doom-n-gloom life, but we've replaced our live with an appreciative and loving one,  a lot of our early entourage is going to drop off and be replaced with new ones.  There are infinite possibilities in this universe so don't worry about nobody liking your performance.  Everyone has a few "die hard fans."

    This brings us to the most simple conscious binding I've ever seen.  "Please, help me."  We've ALL done this.  Usually we were looking to the heavens hoping that Big Daddy in the sky would make it all right.   What most of us don't know is that those words are the equivalent of holding up a no bid, no requirement, college scholarship to the first available taker.  Just like in the real world we tend to get what we're aligned with.  I'm a pretty decent person and I tend to interact with decent people, so when I no bid a job I tend to get someone nice.  This isn't always true of course.   Our entourage isn't limited by silly things like time so if we're ready to make a life choice sometimes our entourage will change shifts beforehand.  Kind of like if Metallica announced a new CD... of Gregorian Chants.   Many fans would jump ship right there, but there would be people who would be intrigued and would line up to buy it before it came out.  So if your life is in a dark place and you are truely ready to change don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself with allies more like who you are trying to be rather than who you were.

    If you're a legal minded person you've already seen why "Please, help me" can be a bad binding.  You left everything up to the spirit completely.  Maybe the spirit decides that the best way to help you is to get in your way to help make the lesson more effective.  Maybe the spirit decides that the best way to help you is to kill that bastard who broke your heart, never mind that you might get together again...  THIS is why we bind.  Think of bindings literally like contracts.  I would like you to fix this problem, in this way, for this cost.  

    Cost?  What's that?   Most spirits don't have much ability to effect change in this world.  We can change it with our stray thoughts.  Our energy body allows us some impressive options they they don't have.   If you think of our body like an army focused towards whatever purpose we choose, then think of spirits doing work for us as contractors with security clearance to fly the F-14s.  The contractors aren't always easy with the equipment.  Hey we're rich, what will we care if they crash a few of the planes or sink a small boat right?

    This is why when you are binding a spirit it is a good idea to not only write a contract, but also to give them a body and "blood" it.  By giving it a separate body, giving it power and in the contract defining how it might (or might not) receive more power, you disconnect it from you.  Instead of giving it a blank check, you define what resources it has and what budget it needs to stay within.

    I recently pissed off a few dark hearted people when I decided I wanted them out of my life.  After opening my 3rd eye and seeing my aura coated in "sludge" a couple days ago, I decided to go ahead and create a spirit to help defend me from any curses they might send.  Being the light and love person I am...  I decided I wanted the spirit to attack those who attacked me better and faster.  I designed a bindrune (I'll cover bindrune design later), wrote up a contract into my book of shadows (Yes I do have one) and then empowered it in a circle with with alchemy, blood and will.  After the ritual, I felt accomplished and like it was drawing out all kinds of negativity that I hadn't cleared away.  It was only this morning that I realized my mistake.  Let me read you the original contract and see if you figure out my error.

    "IVHATHI, spirit of curses redirected: Absorb those energies sent to harm or hinder me and use them to destroy those, other than myself (as defined by me), who choose through will and action to set their energies against me, my purposes and mine.  Do so effectively and without malice.  Maintain your purpose and your allegiance and be empowered to change and grow for your purpose."

    I woke up with a serious feeling of doom.  Luckily, I knew my mistake.   I had made a simple error.  My definitions and consequences were flawed.  I had mistakenly defined ANYONE who disagreed with me and opposed me in any way as someone to be destroyed!  0_0  :-0

    This brings us to the second reason you want to write a contract and give a body to a spirit.  If you have access to the contract and the body, you can change or destroy the whole situation.  I changed one word this morning and the whole situation improved immediately.  I changed the word "destroy", to "redirect":

    "IVHATHI, spirit of curses redirected: Absorb those energies sent to harm or hinder me and use them to REDIRECT those other than myself (as defined by me), who choose through will and action to set their energies against me, my purposes and mine.  Do so effectively and without malice.  Maintain your purpose and your allegiance and be empowered to change and grow for your purpose."

    This brings us to another reason to bind spirits.  I ignored the law of silence, I didn't keep this spell a secret from you.  Why?  Because IVHATHI is a smart, living and growing entity.  Your disbelief doesn't matter to it.  It can still do its job no matter what you believe.  Now silence is still a good idea in most cases; Sharing what you're doing can have people decide to oppose you because they disagree with what you're doing and/or how you're doing it.  Keeping your mouth shut prevents you from gathering anti-momentum.  Unfortunately it also prevents you from gathering allied momentum.  

    I am choosing to share IVHATHI because (especially in his new contract) he's a pretty cool and positive ally and THE MORE HE IS USED THE STRONGER HE GETS.  If all he does is learn and grow dealing with my stuff he will grow enough to do that.  If I get a lot of readers who learn how to access his aid, then he gets all of the learning experience they bring him as well.  Since I'm the person who fundamentally holds the contract and body then I'm the person who gets to redirect him if need be.  Now to be honest someone else can decide to form another body for him and change his purpose.  However, in doing so they will most likely disconnect from the energies we are building here. The further from my IVHATHI they take theirs, the less they get to tap into what we're doing here.

    I will soon post details of IVHATHI, the runes I used and the Bindrune involved.  I intentionally designed him to be able to be accessed through his Name and his Bindrune separately.  Doing this is what we call creating a focus.  I take a complex spell and create a simple way to access its energy in entirety.  While IVHATHI is more that just a spell, calling upon him and knowing what I'm calling IS a spell.  The focus allows me to do so quickly and without having to recreate the 2 hour long ritual I used in his original summoning, contract and binding.  Plus... now I don't have to prick my finger again... that shit hurts!  ;-)

    Power Before Wisdom

    Update: I just realized that I didn't teach you how to summon spirits in this article... So if you don't know how to summon read THIS ARTICLE!

    Click here to post questions, comments or input about Summoning, Binding and Blooding Spirits in the PBW forum.

  • The Harsh Realities of Leading a Pagan Group: Troubles with Followers

    a tired person with his face in his hand

    Imagine a military where the only ranks were Captain, Colonel and General.  Now imagine that a subordinate only follows polite requests whenever they feel like doing so and pushing them might cause them to quit and go find another Colonel or General.

    How much is this Army going to accomplish?  (next to nothing is a safe answer)

    Look at how many pagans act and you’ll notice this describes the vast majority of Pagan event planning and implementation.  As persons, most of us have found and started living this awesome concept of self-determination and feel we have the right to choose our every action.   We lead ourselves!

    ...which unfortunately makes us think we’re ready to lead others.   Most pagans eshew organized structures in which we can’t step into leadership quickly.  One of the most successful pagan structures is a 2 year leadership process composed of a year of initiate and a year of dedicant followed by a lifetime of “elder.”

    We want our cake, we want it now and many of us feel entitled to skip the work part of it.

     

    My Personal Story – Why I am qualified to speak on this
    I am guilty of this too.  It took me a 12 years of self-practice and “covens of equals” before I found a group that I felt deserved me bending a knee to learn from.  This group was the Ile Orunmila Oshun under Louisa Tiesh.  

    I spent 6 months as a guest, a year as a “friend of the house” and only 8 months as a member, learning to balance self-worth with humility (while practicing and studying Ifa).  This house expected and trained me to follow for potentially years before I might have the chance to step up and go through the VERY expensive and difficult year long initiation which would have included challenges like:

    • Not being allowed to touch people for a full year.
    • Getting home before the sun goes down.
    • Special foods
    • Special clothes (pure WHITE)
    • LOTS of homework and time alone to meditate.
    • Limited Media (Avoid most TV and such)
    • Hundreds/Thousands of Dollars

    I was ok with staying a follower since I didn’t want to make the huge sacrifice necessary to initiate.  Unfortunately, I ended up leaving because my spiritual father in the group expected me to sacrifice more of my free will and personal spirituality than I felt was healthy for me.

    At that point I returned to the “general pagan community.”

    I now had 8 years in the Christian Church (3 of that leadership/service), 4 years Self-Practicing Witchcraft, 3 years leading/service in covens and about 4 years in Orisha Trad Work. I had more hard-walking years of experience than many “elders” in some traditions and I didn’t want to start at ground zero again.

    However, I had no certifications and I didn’t feel ready to lead others. So for a couple years I focused on leading myself.  I began writing Power Before Wisdom and started seeing if people want to join in what I was doing.  I ended up forming a group with a couple other people and we continued doing what we felt like when we felt like it. Two years ago we decided to step up, schedule regular events and invite the “greater pagan community” to join us.

    For over a decade I’ve studied leadership, group dynamics, sales and marketing (for business dreams).  When we decided to “step up” I worked to implement what I was studying into the group and started taking classes from successful pagan leaders.  I built systems intended to scale into the Hundreds of people and yet the whole time I fell into the trap of expecting pagan “followers” to step forward to help carry the burden of making things happen.

    Unfortunately, as I noted before, there are VERY few pagan “followers.”  Most pagans consider themselves separate from needing to “follow” or serve a group in a non-leadership capacity... their attendance at events is compensation enough right?

    Couple this with “broke pagan” mentality and in most cases group leadership ends up footing the VAST majority of the labor and cost of organizing and running events.  After a couple years of this, most leaders become burned out and either quit, or pull back to providing so little that their group may as well not exist.  Even Reno Magick (the group I’m a leader of) has encountered this.  We still don’t communicate our plans far enough out to attract larger “crowds,” and we are still challenged by how unreliable people are to committing to even attend, let alone help make larger events happen.

    We are against a weird wall of balancing how much we are willing to do, with a lack of input and commitment from others.   Our group events average 6-20 people right now even though we have had dozens of guests and have about a dozen “friends.”  At our peak we had over 60 people at an event, but the cost and effort for attracting that many was un-sustainable.  From that event we ended up having about 5 friends join and 1 member so we followed normal numbers rather solidly.


    Where is all this going?
    This article started out as a rant, but is evolving into a “learn from my experience” article.   I still don’t have all of the answers and I can’t give you a formula that WILL work for you, but here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way to help shorten your learning curve.


    Rules I learned from “Ile Orunmila Oshun”:

    1. Recognize that EVERYONE has a certain relationship within the group that needs to be earned.  The position one holds in the group is based upon the responsibilities carried by that person.  If the person has no responsibilities they are guests who MUST be given limited access in order to ensure that membership has value.  Unless you don’t want members of course…
    2. Recognize that the leadership does the majority of the work and sacrifice. However in trade for all of this work it is fair and just to expect equal effort (In study and/or group event preparation) or compensation (Gifts or Money) from persons receiving special value.  HOWEVER… when you expect this know that you will have less than half as many people attend.  In trade, the people who DO attend will be MUCH less likely to mooch which will help you avoid burnout.
    3. Have clear, reasonable and achievable expectations and systems which people can follow to meet them.  When in doubt, break it down...  It’s hard to get help setting up an entire room, but it’s easy to get help moving a table.
    4. Consistency is your friend.  If you do something the same way again and again you will find you don’t have to teach it because someone else probably knows how to do it.  This is ESPECIALLY true for the “little things.”
    5. Recognize that not everyone deserves to be involved with your group.  Hold free and/or public events once in a while, but save the good stuff for the people who recognize and honor the value they are receiving.  The ratio you should probable expect will be 200 “guests” – 50 “friends” – 10 “”members” – 1 “Dedicant” where:
      1. Guests show up when they feel like it.  They don’t bring anything except maybe food or “Ashe Di” (Requested Donations) and whatever help they feel like in the moment.  Don’t trust any of their “commitments” regardless how earnest they may sound.  Never count on them.  “Lifespan”: Hours to Years.
      2. Friends have no defined commitments, but they have proven both their good will and that they will keep their word.  However, they will come and go. They will likely join for a couple events and then disappear for weeks/months before showing back up. If you are smart there should be some sort of ceremony to define the rules of the “friendship.”  However these rules MUST NOT require attendance beyond once per year or a few times per year.  “Lifespan”: 6 Months-2 years
      3. Members DO accept commitments.  Another ceremony should be held where they accept the mantle of the organization, accept their position within it, and commit to the rules, their duties and their attendance.  Lifespan “1-5 years”
      4. Dedicants are the persons who have accepted responsibilities for the group as a whole.  They are the ones who define a lot of themselves by their involvement and they sacrifice for the group even if it does not personally benefit them.  The purpose of the group becomes a major purpose of their life and it shows. Lifespan “1-14 years”
      5. If you don’t want people just disappearing, You MUST allow for people to “step down.”  Changes happen and if you don’t allow people to reduce their commitment then you will force them to leave.   It is a good idea however, to make such a change require some sort of process and ritual and that they know there is an “upgrade” cost if they choose to reaccept their current position at a later time.



    Rules I learned in Reno Magick:

    1. If you are leader, plan your efforts based on what you will take joy from doing.  ONLY make plans which require work you dislike if you already have people EAGER to do those parts.  This isn’t the army.  Shit rolls uphill and YOU will probably end up being the person doing the parts people don’t like.  It is better to join someone else or go without, than put yourself into a position where you are unhappy because you put a ton of effort into an event which didn’t provide the “return” you wanted either in money, people, help or Cred.
    2. You and/or your group will probably need to grow quite powerful and respected before someone will decide that you are worthy of “blind commitment.”  Until then, learn to position yourself to receive help people feel like providing because they like what you are doing. I originally learned to follow in the Christian Church with leadership which took advantage of the fears, obligations and feelings of inadequacy the beliefs of our church taught.  Those methods of leading and following DO NOT work among conscious persons who don't have a book telling them how to follow.
    3. People usually have a false image of themselves and people around them. Learn to recognize patterns enough that you can accept people as they truly are.  Being disappointed in someone means that you lied to yourself about who they were.  Make it a point to know people well enough so that when they show their “darker natures” (break their word/insult someone/go crazy) you knew they were going to do so and had already compensated for it.  People long for others to know their “darkness” and still accept them.  When they know they are accepted despite their failings, they often feel VERY appreciative.  However DO NOT mistake this acceptance as a form of commitment to help you.   A large share of people will assume this acceptance is permission to be at their worst.  YOU MUST DRAW LINES.   “I love you regardless, but I will not interact with you when you…”   Fill in the blank.
    4. Recognize that if you want people to “Follow” you need to respect following.  Too often I hear pagans imply that people who follow do so because they are not competent to lead.  As a culture pagans need to start honoring that intentional “following” is actually a higher skillset than individualism.
      1. Unconscious living – Letting other make your decisions for you.  Even if you aren’t part of a group, reacting to circumstances without conscious acceptance of self-empowerment is a form of letting “others” make your decisions.
      2. Conscious Individualism – Making your own decisions, keeping separate from others because your choose to focus on what separates vs what brings together.
      3. Conscious Interdependence – Whether you are a leader or a follower you are making conscious decisions.  A Conscious Follower chooses how to be involved and where to draw the lines.  A Conscious leader does the same, but in trade for being more intensely committed to the group’s success, he/she gets more responsibility and credit for both the successes and the failures.
    5. You don’t have a group until you have “followers.”  Followers are actually more important than the leader.  You can define a “follower” by the specificity of the responsibilities they accept.  A Leader has to do everything.   A Follower accepts specific duties and ensures they are completed.
    6. Raise the Bar.   If you spend 5 minutes talking about how much you appreciated a person joining you, you ARE training them to assume that their presence is enough.  Expect stuff from people.  Expect help.  Let them know how they can be involved and then praise and appreciate them when they do so.

     

    Additional Stuff that doesn't fit the list format
    In the end your organization must honor the people who will be involved.   If you have a group for teenage psychic vampires you will have a VERY different structure than a group for 60+ Nudist Ex-Hippies.

    Different “Demographics” will be willing to give different things and obviously will want different things too.  If you desire to create a group for a specific demographic learn to recognize what people really want, figure out a way to provide it and then figure out what will motivate people to become/stay involved and at what level of involvement.

    Pagans have a tendency to deride “Sunday Christians” (people who go to church on Sunday because that’s what is expected but whose lives seem spiritual empty).  However we can learn something from this phenomenon.  As I mentioned earlier: 200 “guests – 50 “friends” – 10 “members” – 1 “Dedicant” is the rule for a spiritual/religious group.  The numbers are different for other groups.

    If you organize your group to honor those numbers you will find that your group has more activity.  If you only want to target “members” or “Dedicants” make sure to be aware that you will have to sort through literally THOUSANDS of people before you get yourself 90 members and 10 Dedicants…   If your group doesn’t have a place for “Sunday Pagans” then a whole lot of people won’t even show up.  If you only hold “guest events” once a year then expect membership to grow VERY slowly.  Monthly “guest events” will attract people much more quickly.  Weekly even faster.   Having something like a store that guests can attend daily will ensure the fastest growth.

    Finally, if your community has 100,000 people and 1% are “pagan” then you are looking at 1000 pagans TOTAL.   By the 200-50-10-1 rule you can expect to have 10 members and 50 friends AT YOUR PEAK!  That assumes you’ve somehow reached everyone in your community!  While there is a higher percentage of “pagans” those numbers are still realistic due to “division” in the community.

    Thus, if you don’t advertise, have a store or some sort of partnership for outreach, then you are actually doing a pretty good job if you “only” have 10-20 people in your group who show up once in a while.

     


     

    In Closing
    The harsh realities of leading a pagan group is that you are looking at taking a LOT of crap, from a lot of people who don’t feel that they should be expected to do anything except attend while expecting you to “honor” their personal challenges.

    As a demographic you really can’t ask for a more challenging and unfulfilling group of people to lead.  Even in a Christian church people feel obliged to give their leader money and respect.

    However… the fact that you are reading this means you are probably a Pagan.  You see yourself in this story and despite my warnings you yearn for a community of people who don’t feel that you’re crazy when you talk about that spirit you spoke with yesterday.   So here is my advice.   Take my word about what a PAIN IN THE BUTT it is to lead a pagan group and join someone else’s.   Learn to be an alpha follower (you aren’t looking to lead, you just want to help their group be better).   Find a group with a leader who hasn’t burned out yet and help them.

    If you ABSOLUTELY can’t find a group that shares a major interest in your area, think long and hard about if others actually want the same as you.  I can promise you that there aren’t a lot of Fey-Kin who want to practice the Kabbalistic Magick in your area.  However, there may be a few people who want to practice Kabbalistic Magick who will TOLERATE that you identify as Fey-Kin as long as you don’t get “too weird.”

    If you choose to lead a Pagan group you will have a tight challenge between being so generic that nobody wants to join because they don’t personally identify and being so specific that only 3 people in your area share your interest.

    If your Local Universal Unitarian Church has a hard time getting 100 members then it is safe to assume you will NEVER reach that number if you only serve pagans.   Accept that 99.9% of the time your group will be lucky to have 5-10 members and set your goals to honor that.   You are probably NOT going to start a large church/community, but instead you will be honoring yourself and others like you by making a space where it is safe to express your interests.

    If you keep those goals, live your faith and listen to my advice you will have a MUCH more fulfilling experience as a pagan leader than most… and you’ll probably last longer than 3 years before burnout.   :-P

  • True Power, True Wisdom and True Magick

    Mountain path

    I think it's time for me to stop living in separate worlds.

    I desire Power and I desire Wisdom. In many of their wonderful flavors I desire to understand and experience them.

    I created a blog a long time back called “Power before Wisdom.” My first efforts to consciously seek power in my life was in metaphysics. I studied magick, and I experimented to see what worked and what didn't.

    I kind of painted myself into a corner though. I only wrote about and formed the whole brand around magick and spirituality. I love reading and writing about those topics, but I also love reading and writing about politics, money, environmentalism, technology, self-growth, history and all the other examples of Power. Up until now I kept a separation though. I didn't bring much of the other stuff to PBW.

    True magick is about affecting your life, your community and your world. It isn't about just playing in the sandbox of theory. It's about calling blessings to yourself. If you are doing good magick you will end up with the exact amount of good things that you are willing to live with. Health, Joy, Money, Love, Family, Friends, Opportunities, Home, Jobs/Businesses, Land/Wealth.

    You will quickly find that your great magickal works will fade into the past because you now get to live with the consequences of obtaining the blessings you desired. Every once in a while something will happen or you'll change your mind and a new working will adjust your course, but generally your need for powerful magicks fade. The only way you will continue regularly is if you either are a priest to living and noisy gods or if you practice magick for magick's sake... and I do both.

    I fully believe in the power of my Gods and my Magick. I also believe in the power of technology, politics, money, environmentalism, history and non-spiritual self-growth. Steve Pavlina is one of my favorite examples. Mike Hrostoski is another. I feel that I have something to add to the conversation of all of these topics with my faith and metaphysical perspectives.

    I think it's time for me to slowly adjust the Power Before Wisdom Brand into expressing ALL of the Power and Wisdom I'm interested in, rather than just Magick. Hopefully that will breath fresh air into this Blog. I've been rather trepidatious about the reception this will receive from old readers and new ones, but the more I think about it the more everything I write will start to make sense when I include the whole perspective.

    How many people will believe in magick more if they watch how my early posts evolved from a concern that I wouldn't be a recognizable authority because I couldn't show success, and now see posts of the evident success as well as my stories of how they manifested, and the lessons I've learned from them.

    My life is full. My blessings: plentiful. My magick: strong and effective. My Gods: faithful and noisy. My ancestors: powerful and wise. And my interests: varied and interconnected.

    Good Spelling,
    Scott

  • What’s Next for Power Before Wisdom?

    it's time to change

    When I started writing Power Before Wisdom I wanted to find/build a community of magically active persons delving toward greater skill and understanding of metaphysics.   I wanted to see if there was a Modern Western Way to find Siddhi.  As the “about” says, I wanted to help create a more magickal world.

    About 9 months ago I realized that I wanted Magick less than Power.  Power to accomplish my dreams, and I have a lot of dreams.  To achieve them I will need health, beauty, allies, wealth and influence.  My metaphysical practices give me tools and guidance on achieving these more effectively than many people do, however as long as my metaphysical practices are the priority I will be misspending my resources.

    Divination, dealing with spirits, practicing psychic skills and practicing magick are very time consuming.  The Return on Investment of confidence of what’s next, understanding ones purpose, and just having a really interesting perspective that allows you to understand life events more fully are VERY worthwhile…

    …At the same time it became clear that there were more effective ways to reach toward my dreams.

     

    Why Teaching Metaphysics doesn’t align with the Power I seek
    Magick is enough of a personal practice that while you can teach the same basics over and over again to wide eyed people who’ve never heard of invocation, the deeper understandings require a life sacrifice… not physical death, but a willingness to sacrifice the life you knew for a life you may obtain.

    Very few people will choose to make this sacrifice willingly.  Those few who do, usually find themselves regretting it (for a while).   I reference “The Dark Night of the Soul” to explain this period of mourning and regret for the sacrificed life while fearing the future.

    The result as a Metaphysical Teacher is that 90% of people will come to you, take a lot of time and energy to learn what they should do and then quit since they are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices.  Those 90% will usually dislike you and avoid you for years since you represent their weakness and unwillingness to change what they don’t like.

    The 10% that continue, usually make a few major changes and then disappear from your life as they come to terms with their new experiences (often blaming you).  About half of those people return to your life at some point, clearly happier with their current situation.  Sometimes they recognize and appreciate your efforts… and sometimes they seem to be trying to rub your face in their success as if you were some sort of foe that they defeated.

    Perhaps since you were the one to help them see the challenges you come to represent them.

    One way or another, when true growth happens, eventually the persons you were working with recognize that they don’t need the relationship with you as it was.  Sometimes they remain friends and sometimes they move on with their lives.

    -EDIT- I was just thinking about it and realizing how much that pattern is reminiscent of parenting.  Now I understand the cliché “my child” statement Spiritual “Elders” use throughout cultures. –EDIT-

    While this is an excellent path for someone who wants to touch a lot of persons lives deeply, this is NOT a good path for a person who wants to build Material and Social Power.  Most metaphysical teachers who obtain wealth do so through getting paid (sometimes absurd amounts of money) to teach the same basics over and over OR through helping that one excellent person who obtains Political and Social Wealth and shows appreciation by providing opportunities to their old teacher.


    So you’re quitting?
    Not quite.  I’m reprioritizing.   I have been working on my body, building 3 separate businesses to profit, building relationship with the movers and shakers in my area and generally living the political and business climber cliché.

    Moving forward the VAST majority of my efforts will be toward my goals and dreams... and PBW is a very low priority.   The tracking tool shows that thousands of people benefit from reading PBW every month so will keep the site up.  Every once in a while I will probably share something cool and interesting that I just HAVE to tell SOMEONE or even something that just says “write me”.  Maybe a few times per year.


    So, only a few posts per year?
    Actually… I’m pondering a fundamental shift for this Site.   While I kept everything very Metaphysical / Magickally focused in the past, I’m contemplating expanding the site toward a greater discussion of the process of obtaining power in its many different forms (both metaphysical and “mundane”).

    While this sounds interesting and could have some excellent material, I see two major challenges.  First, due to my new focus, much of the material I might want to go over may be too personal to share as I encounter it.  I may have to delay months or years to post thoughts and a discussion of a specific experience.  Secondly I am not sure if I am willing to put in the time/effort to make the format change let alone post much content.

    Regardless it will probably be uncommon for me to write more than a post or two per quarter.


    Why didn’t you respond to my emailed question?
    I’ve become cynical.  Your question may take me over an hour to respond to.  You aren’t paying me and as I just explained, 9 out of 10 times you will ignore my input.  That feels like wasted time to me.

    Now a forum post might get seen by thousands of people. If you posted your question on the Forum I might be willing to spend that hour responding because I believe that a couple percent of those thousands will benefit by reading my input.

    I will be glad to answer your emailed question IF:

    1. Your question isn’t answered somewhere else on this site
    2. A forum is the wrong venue
    3. Your question attracts my attention because the discussion may have some benefit to myself or my loved ones.

    Unfortunately even my “Altruism” has gotten results oriented.

    Of course… If you are willing to pay me $60 in consulting fees for 1 hour of time I’ll gladly go over your situation regardless (Although I'd recommend a phone call at that point). 

     

    Thank you for being part of my Journey toward realizing healthy motivations and priorities in my life.

    Sincerely,
    Power Before Wisdom 

  • Why Witches use their Athame, Wand, Staff and Sword in Magic

    picture of athames

    I’ve talked about creating magical tools in “How to Make Rings, Amulets, Staffs and other Magical Items”, but now I’m going to cover a couple traditional magic Tools for Witches and Mages: The Wand, Athame, Staff and Sword.   This article skims the surface of each magic tool, covering the basics of how to use them and more importantly WHY...

    Sticks (Fire) vs. Blades (Air)
    Most Witches tend to use their Sticks or their Blades to alternating magical purposes.  I use my sticks (Wand and Staff) to gather, redirect and guide energy. I use my Blades (Athame / Ritual Knife and Sword) to focus my will and power to its purpose. However, some Witches reverse these roles. You can often tell by which Element they connect with the tool.   To me a wand is Fire, thus I see it as a tool for dealing with the expression of primal energy, and my Athame is a tool of air which deals with helping focus and express thoughts and will.  Phoenix sees his Athame as Fire and his Wand as Air… and uses them accordingly.  (Who is Phoenix?  You’ll know soon enough… *insert evil laughter*)

    The Sword and Athame are basically the same magic tool at different scales. The smaller tool has more finesse, which the larger one sacrifices for more raw power (same with the Wand and Staff of course).

    In the European 4 element magic system of Witches there are two more traditional Elements: Water which is almost always represented by a Cup or a Bowl, and Earth which Tends to be Represented by a Flat Piece of Stone/Crystal or a Clay/Metal Pentacle. I must admit I’ve done little Water and Earth Magic and the tools aren’t really ones I use heavily. *Makes a mental note to change this*

    When used for general ritual, these magic tools are ALL foci. I have noticed that these Elemental magic Tools tend to have spirits within. You CAN have a very purpose focused tool: An Athame meant only for cutting out disease for example.  However, witches will tend to have a “general ritual” one as well.

    Now WHY would they have these magic tools?
    I have a 150lb stone I want you to move.  Are you going to walk over, pick it up and carry it or are you going to probably want a wheelbarrow?   Sure you have to figure out how to get the stone into the Wheelbarrow, but once you do your work is MUCH easier.   Yes the process is very different to move the stone when you use the wheelbarrow.  Using it doesn’t really prepare you for moving stones without it; however we have a situation in magic. Most witches want to see results NOW.

    Magic has a LOT of foundation work before you are going to be able to reliably shape spells with consistent results using your mind, will and power without tools and careful ritual.  The tools and systems of ritual magic impart a nice amount of conceptual momentum into your spells.   I’ve literally seen witches walk around a circle gossiping with someone while their Athame cut the circle, even though they weren’t putting any effort into the task. Sure it was a crappy circle, but it was a circle.  The power of the ritual existed even without any focus or will added to it.

    Wasting a Good Thing due to Laziness
    THAT story is where stories of using a tool as a crutch come from by the way.  I know some New Age groups that focus on finding and developing more and more powerful tools and techniques, but they have a problem; they put all of the power into the technique and none in their training…

    Look, a computer is an INSANELY POWERFUL tool.  However, you will NEVER experience the awesome heights that the tool empowers you to potentially reach, if you won’t study why it does certain things in certain ways or how you can mix your mind, ideas and experiences with it. You are either going to choose between high cost, easy, fast and moderate results in a specific area, or do a lot of study and training to achieve the more impressive results that most people couldn’t even dream of. Sometimes the right answer is using a specialized tool with little training.  I do this sometimes.  However there are times when mastering a tool is very useful…

    Side Effects of Mastering a Tool
    I am a violinist. While I don’t play much lately, I am probably 6 months of focused practice away from being ready to play in small city philharmonics.  That means I’m pretty good.

    I can use the abilities I’ve learned about music while playing violin with completely new instruments.  I regularly pick up a new instrument that people have no clue how to play and start making music. Now I’m NOWHERE near as good with these new instruments as people who practice and play with it a lot, however I’m often better with it than people who’ve been playing it for a couple weeks; plus my learning curve is a LOT faster.  Within hours of practice I’m making very nice music.

    YOU can do the same with Magical Tools.  By focusing on learning to use your Athame in your magics you will learn a LOT about magic and Athame type tools. These concepts will help you to pick up and learn other issues. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had an AH-HA moment in one area change my practices in another.

    A Story: Finding Ley Lines
    Early in my magical studies, I was using my staff to channel energy into a friend to heal him. I reached out to gather energy and drew it in from the street in front of my apartment, reached over to a nearby park and drew some more, moved to a different part of the park and…

    all of a sudden it was like I plugged into a wall socket. Whereas before I was gathering power in droplets, suddenly it was like I had access to a huge river of power. I channeled the energy I needed through to him and we were VERY quickly finished.   Later I did something “looking,” learned that Ley Lines are not just a storybook concept and began studying them. If I hadn’t been using a staff I likely wouldn’t have been able to transfer energy fast enough to recognize the Ley Line; I might not have even noticed it!

    These Tools aren’t Temporary or “Training Wheels”
    Believing the “magical crutch” theory, I literally gave up my staff at one point. It was my main tool and I felt I was too reliant on it.   So I “let it go.” I freed the Spirit in the staff and soon afterwards the staff had split up the middle. It was dead and gone.

    For years afterwards I worked to build my ability to recreate the level of power I experienced with it. I’d mastered a trick where I could “thump” the staff against the ground and a burst of power that even “mundanes” (people who don’t believe in magic)  would stop and turn to recognize.   I’d tested; it wasn’t even that loud, it was literally the blast of energy.   I spent those years working to build toward these and similar goals using my body, energy and will.

    In the course of writing this article I learned something.    In a ritual over a year ago, the original spirit of my first staff returned into a new body after doing some learning of his own. However, I hadn’t been using it.   I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with some of my readers in Real Life and BaconBitz in particular has been pushing me to “practice what I preach…”   So for the sake of the article I picked up the staff and started doing some comparison work.

    In the almost 7 years since giving up my first staff I’ve worked HARD to become stronger and I definitely have. However, in testing, from 6 feet away, if I projected energy from to BaconBitz by myself, he had to open up to notice anything happening. When I used my staff for the same thing he was literally pushed back.

    Back to the Wheelbarrow
    If I’d spent 7 years eschewing use of a wheel barrow because I wanted to learn to move rocks faster without it I might have gained some pretty impressive skills. However, it would be fair to argue that I will still be much faster moving rocks if I use the damn thing.

    So take heed and learn.  It is AWESOME if you choose to learn and grow.  It’s cool being able to do without tools, but as I’ve learned, you are downright silly if you think the “path to true power” declines to use tools. A Wheelbarrow is not a crutch.  Neither are your magical tools. These are the core tools of the trade.

    A Carpenter wouldn’t try to ply his trade without a hammer or a saw, and you’re silly to regularly practice magic without your Athame, Sword, Wand, Staff, Tarot Deck, Herbs, Book of Shadows, Incenses, Cauldron, Salt, Crystals, Pendulum, Mirror, Runes, Bones, Altar, Statues, Candles, Oils and all of the other things people have used for magic for centuries.

    The work writing this article is changing things for me.  My tools have been kept rather haphazardly over the years, but that is going to change. Many of my tools will be going into a centralized Location with a backpack prepared nearby.   My tools will be available quickly and easily. If I did carpentry my toolbelt would be prepared and quickly available. I do magic… My tool kit should be similarly prepared and available.

    I will work on other articles to go into greater details aiding your learning of each of these tools; however, for now pick one up. Start with the concepts that you should use your wand whenever you want to move energy, and use your Athame whenever you want to magickally cut or guide (It’s amazing how often magical cutting is valuable).

    Practice doing these basics.  As you grow, be creative as to other ways to use these features. Magic is VERY undocumented.  There is a LOT that you can re-invent fast. Heck, be generous, come back here and post your findings in the forums, so others can learn from your mistakes and successes!

    Good Spelling,
    Power Before Wisdom