Life Experience - 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)

  • Another Modern Voice in Polyphasic Sleep

    A man sleeping

    I've always had a love/hate relationship with sleep. Good sleep feels great. I like dreams and have for a long time been able to dream lucidly. I still think that the magic of going to bed unhappy, sad or sick and waking up better is awesome!

    On the other hand, I used to hate having to go to sleep. I never wanted to miss anything. Even as a young kid, putting me to bed was a nightmare for my parents. My Grandmother used to drive us around the country showing horses, and it became a family joke how I was always hanging with her at 2-3am while everyone else was sleeping.

    In Highschool I had this great plan (sarcasm). It involved staying up until 2am every night and then waking up at 6am. At the time it worked for me. I generally felt good on only 4 hours sleep even as I was on Swim Team. After High School my college life required less hours and I ran a computer business which was sporatic with work. My normal sleep schedule shifted to between 4-6 hours a day on average. At that time day was the key word. I would normally stay up until about 6am and sleep until 11.

    After college I ended up supplementing my computer business as a security guard. My security posts would come at different times of the day and night until they learned that they could trust me to stay awake. After that point I was constantly receiving night posts. From 3pm-9am was the range the job might cover. I'd often get off shift, go change clothes and go fix someone's computer. My sleep became more confusing. Some days I would get as little as 1-2 hours but if I had no obligations I would sleep 6+ hours.

    In 2003 I learned I was going to be a Dad and all of a sudden my free spirited “do whatever I wanted” behavior had to stop. I started taking my computer business more seriously and worked really hard to grow it. I decided I had to listen to my dad's advice: “The business world has all the money and like it or not real business happens from 8am-4pm. If you start work at 2pm you have missed out on 75% of the money you can earn.” I pushed myself to get up at 7am to start work and get business.

    Over the next 5 years I became more and more boring about my sleep. I'd go to bed around midnight and get up about 7am. Sure I missed my 3am walks or staying up until dawn with friends, but I had responsibilities.

    In 2008 I heard about polyphasic sleep from Steve Pavlina and got excited. I decided to try to do the Uberman schedule and during the peak of the banking crisis I was incoherently tired for about 3 weeks as I tried and failed to maintain the schedule. Without discipline the effort was doomed from the beginning, but it had a nifty side effect. I gained the ability to do the restorative 20 minute naps. I could dream, lose time and more during those 20 minutes. It wasn't universal, but it happened and stayed with me even after I quit.

    For the next few years I returned to my “normal” sleep schedule. My need to sleep kept increasing as I aged and gained weight. I could make do with 4 hours once in a while, but I needed at least 6 hours a night and preferred 7-8.

    Recently the issue came to a head for me though. I experienced the benefit of “The Miracle Morning” and I wanted that regularly! However, my wife is a night owl. For a couple years now I've been getting up as she goes to bed. It has been VERY hard on our relationship. If that weren't enough I own a store Reno Magick and we regularly do events at night. Lately I'd become more and more tired during these events.

    Which brings us to my “why.” I had already started needing naps before late events if I wanted to be semi-coherent and now I wanted to start getting up 2 hours earlier! I decided to schedule naps. I figured out the hardest ones... during my busy times. I ended up with a schedule of 4 hours apart.

    Immediately after I'd done that scheduling I noticed that it would be easy for me to schedule 2 naps around that 4 hours apart.... and the last two would be cake. However, I remembered the pain and the failure of the last time I had tried polyphasic sleep. I ended up chuckling at how nice it would be but dropped the issue. A day later I was going through my computer and I found an old e-book. I collect e-books like some women collect shoes; they're a nice idea, but almost never used.

    The book I found was called: Ubersleep by PureDoxyk. This book is EXCELLENT. While I very much enjoyed reading Steve Pavlina's stories, and because of him I tried polyphasic, I was only able to get a “how I did it” from his posts. PureDoxyk put together a how-to in her book and answered a ton of questions that I didn't even know to ask!

    In her book she introduced the idea of following an Everyman Schedule (core sleep + naps) in the first way that made sense to me. She had started doing Uberman (Six 20 minute naps only), but because of jobs she could never keep it. She joyfully explored Everyman which allows more space between naps and then shared what she'd learned about the process the whole way.

    Steve Pavlina correlated veganism, utter body purity and insane levels of discipline with his polyphasic experience. PureDoxyk brought the topic down to the realm of mere-mortals. In her book she noted that caffeine shouldn't be overused, but small amounts were ok. She noted that Veganism doesn't seem to matter (no matter what else others say) and she put together tools for helping people keep with it.

    One of the most important of these to me was an idea she had of assigning a “watcher with veto rights.” This is was to take the responsibility of quitting out of your hands... which I can promise is important because after sleeping 3 hours, second-guessing your decision to get up at 5 am is going to seem like a great idea. By assigning that trust to someone else I found that it was MUCH easier to commit.

    Remember how I said that I had kept the ability to take a 20? THAT has come in handy. When I started this I hadn't intended to really start yet. I assumed that I would need a week to cleanse my system, but 4 hours in I was 100% dedicated. I assigned my girlfriend to be my “watcher with veto rights” and set down the road to regular naps and scheduled core sleep.

    There are two common schedules: Uberman (only 20 minutes every 4 hours) and Everyman (variations of 1.5-6 hours of core sleep and scheduled 20 minute naps). Transitioning to a modified Everyman was surprisingly easy and went against most everything I've experienced with polyphasic sleep in the past. The day I decided to start I began taking sleeping in the following schedule:

    • 10am: 20 minute nap

    • 2pm: 20 minute nap

    • 6pm: 20 minute nap

    • 10pm: 20 minute nap

    • 2am: 3 hour core sleep

    • optional 6:30am 20 minute nap

    Initially the naps were hit and miss. About 50% of the time I would lay there wondering if I was going to sleep, but as I got more tired I easily transitioned to napping on the schedule.

    I experienced 2 days of moderate sleepiness during the day and extreme sleepiness from about 12am to 7am, but each day thereafter days became consistently high energy, and the duration and intensity of night exhaustion shrunk until a minimum of heavy sleepiness from about 1:30-5:30 (The time crawling by of extreme exhaustion went away).

    And then life stepped in...

    Future Polyphasic Sleep Articles:

    • The cough that wouldn't end

    • A 6 hour mistake

    • Finding a New Balance

    • Conscious Delta Sleep

    • Lucid Dreaming

    • Asking for my Dreams

    • A Darn Good Excuse and Getting back up

    • Flashback: The Initial Transition

  • Banishing Demons: What to do if you Summon a Demon into your life

    cloaked figure summoning a demon

    First off…  Let’s get rid of the mystique.  Unlike common beliefs of demons , God didn’t banish Demons from heaven. They did it to themselves. God/Source (Big G) is ALWAYS loving. Demons just aren’t accepting the love.  Thus Demons have decided to live the “hellish” existence of the illusion of separation.

    Most demons are basically spirits who have decided to try to act as if they don't need Source, or try to find a way to be without Source.  Demons often spend lifetimes working to find ways to be powerful without recognizing their connection to Source. Like people, some spend their time well and learn a lot… and others might as well have been watching “Married with Children” reruns for the whole time.

    There are two kinds of demons:

    Demon Type One: Don’t believe they are connected to Source
    Many lifetimes ago, these Demons got stuck believing that they are separate from Source.   These Demons tend to be quite stuck.   They have a game or a few and stick with it.   Maybe they find a host and hang out “guiding” them (often in unpleasant ways). Maybe they push people and events to experience what they want to experience.  Maybe they just try to hurt anything that is different than them.

    These Demons are often unsure that they are demons. They tend to be confused.   Don’t mistake confused to being impotent however.   They have lifetimes to learn and morals which allow them to hurt others; These Demons have often learned effective ways to hurt others to get what they want.

    Demon Type Two: Aware of the connection… and discontent
    Some Demons want to become their own Source. They often spend hundreds or thousands of lifetimes attempting to accomplish this.   They are well aware that they are connected to Source; They are aware that they are denying that loving connection and are living whatever existence they want.

    Multiple Faiths believe the universe began when suddenly Source/God decided some form of “I Am.”  Most of these Demons are looking to find a way to perform their own “I Am” declaration and become their own source.This is where the belief that God cast them out for trying to “take over” came from.   Again God/Source didn’t cast them out.  They are basically trying to leave him/her/it!

    The Connection
    I mentioned earlier that Demons are living a “hellish” existence due to their illusion of separation.   In the Ladder of Emotions you can’t really get past pride without love. You can’t really get past True Confidence without recognizing and opening up to your connection to Source. That means that hardcore demons tend to be stuck in the lower emotions. These understandings open us up to being able to deal with Demon encounters in one primary way.

    We are all connected to Source. Thus the most effective way I've found to be rid of a Demon is to lovingly feel your connection with Source.  I prefer to Sing Praise Songs.  One of two things happen:

    1. Many Demons just go "YUCK!" and go away.
    2. Some of them don't flee, but if you continue to feel the love you will eventually vibrate at a different level than them and they will be unable to interact with you.   Sure they can wait for you to “come back down,” but if you’re a smart person they don’t really have a reason to and will go find other play-toys.

    I've met a couple Demons who continued to be able to interact after raising my energy, but those ones tended to be relatively positive.   Sure they still wanted to be separate from source, but they weren't in the process of destruction and harm, or they couldn’t be interacting with the loving self.

    In fact, one of the Demons I know is in a person (co-dependent relationship to an extreme, the person wants him there) and is reviewing his perceptions of wanting disconnection.

    Magick-ally Banishing Demons
    The same rules apply for Demons as for other spirits.   Because you have a body, you have magickal leverage they don't.  Demons can usually be banished with will and basic magicks. However, keep in mind that that Demons tend to be rather competent due to lifetimes of experience trying to become their own source.

    They will often know tricks such as:

    • Rolling your Mind
    • Telekinesis
    • Rolling other people to become your opponents.
    • Summoning others to screw with you
    • Lying to you VERY subtly to get what they want
    • Possessing you or others near you (Demonic Possession)
    • And so on…

    Ironically the title to this section is a pun which reminds me of something I was potentially going to fail to mention.

    You chose to wipe your memories, come here and experience this life.  Think of yourself as a Soldier on Vacation.  You left your Body Armor and Guns at home.  However, you ALWAYS have your radio.  If something is messing with you, you CAN call for help.

    You may have forgotten their names and your relationship with them, but there are a lot of spirits and Gods who still remember you. If something really nasty is screwing with you, and you’re stuck in the illusion of separation (which is easy to do), get on the spirit horn and call for help (Prayer!). One of two things will happen.  Either someone/something will show up and take care of your problem for you, or you won’t receive help because you signed up for the experience and are ready to deal with it.

    The second one there sounds bad until you think about it.   You are in the ring with a big bad seeming opponent and you cry out… “HELP ME.”   You have spirits and Gods outside of the ring supporting you, but if they aren’t getting into the Ring to help you out they are sending goodwill and advice your way.   Use the Left Hook!   Mind Shield… trick him out!

    You aren’t being left along because nobody cares, but because they all care enough to let you learn and grow in the ways you asked to. If it ever gets to the point where you truly can’t handle it, they’ll be there for you. Just avoid the mistake of being tricked into not accepting the help. Remember, all you have to do is accept the help when you truly need it.

    Demonic Existence
    You may have noticed a correlation.  Many Demons are stuck in an illusion of separation.  Humans usually experience an Illusion of Separation.  Yes, the human experience can be very demonic. That’s part of why we interact so much.

    For the sake of learning and growing we chose to forget with the expectation that when we die we will remember. This is a large part of why we die by the way.   We come here to experience and change before we return to our timeless being-ness.   Those words totally misrepresent the process, but it’s hard to conceptualize timeless being-ness.  Meditate on the concept for a while and the process will start to make sense.

    To Summarize
    Demons are just spirits who strongly hold the belief of disconnection with source and remembering your connection to source is the most powerful thing you can do… especially regarding Demons.

    Good Spelling,
    Power Before Wisdom

  • 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.  

  • Conceptual Momentum (Subscribers Only) (2)

    Swimmer pouring water on his face.. in a pool

    Imagine you are floating in a huge ocean current going 95 miles an hour. We'll call this current the conceptual momentum for Gravity. Now imagine that you decide to swim against the current. The fastest swimmer in the world is able to swim 5 miles per hour. Realistically (without tools) you will never be able to swim against the current. (sorry, while I have theories, I have never learned to fly although I've learned some interesting tricks about falling)

    However... Even if you can't swim against the current for now, you have other options. You can splash. With some practice you might be able to splash a couple cups of water by adjusting their momentum by 30 miles per hour. Sure, you might not be able to cancel gravity for those cups of water, but you can effect their momentum. I would liken this to my knife throwing practice. I practiced Telekinesis by throwing knives at a target and trying to “bend them” away from their original direction (usually toward the target goal).

    If you ask anyone who knows me, I can't throw a Kleenix into a trashcan 5 feet away until I start using telekinesis. However once I start using TK, people have watched cool things like an object without spin lean left around a pole, lean right back on track and then suddenly drop at the end as it would have missed otherwise.

    Now, even though I am claiming that there are reasonable limits, I have mistakenly tossed a pot across a room without touching it during a temper-tantrum. Also, in moments of desperation I have avoided falling in ways that I can't align with the laws of physics as well. I liken this to the stories of grandmothers moving cars off of kids during emergencies. Emotional charge and desperate need seem to make it easier and more effective to “break the rules;” however, it's hard enough to study magic in calm and controlled conditions... it's downright impossible to try to study it in uncontrolled conditions of desperate need.

    Read More (Subscribers Only)

  • Divine Openings: Things are going great in my Absence - Update 4

    man sitting at the edge of a dock surrounded be mountains

    I've been posting less often lately.  It has been more and more apparent to me that this is due to continued consequences of the Divine Openings.   I'm still taking my time finishing the book.   Yes... I've had it for almost 6 months and I still haven't finished it.  I read a little at a time. My wife has not only finished the book multiple times, but she's started doing online follow-up courses that Lola Jones offers.  

    Ironically, the problem with my posting is that things are going well.  My birthday was mid-April and I have a yearly tradition of looking at my life and asking myself if I'm happy with its direction or if I need a course correction.  I can happily say that I'm happier with my life this year than I was last and the one before that and so on...   I have been aligning with my higher goals more clearly each time.   Financially the last two years were negative seeming as my income dropped a LOT, but my expenditures dropped even more.   I've been net positive going from a rat race leading deeper into debt where I was harming relationships, toward a healthier financial existence.   However, from the outside I still look broke.

    While I'm happier with myself and my life than I have been, I ended up asking myself if I'm someone people would want to come to for advice.  I weigh 300lbs, don't make much money and lack obvious successes that people can look at to say... "I want to do what this guy does, I want to be like him."  Additionally I started asking myself what my purposes for this blog are.   I was originally intending to follow in the footsteps of a blogger "Steve Pavlina" who turned his blog into a 6 digit a month income source.  I still would like to turn this blog into an income source, but I started realizing that the biggest value to me at the moment is a pressure to accountability.   I feel that writing this blog holds me accountable to become someone that people want to emulate.   It presses me to make losing weight a priority. It pressures me to ensure I'm fiscally powerful in the ways I claim to want to be.  Finally, it drives me to study and practice magic the way I practice technology.  I enjoy theoretical science, but I LOVE applied science and technology.  I have spent a lot of time with magick theory, but this blog presses me to turn my theory into obvious power.   Calling the blog "Power before Wisdom" denotes that I am teaching people how to use magick to empower their lives.  I kinda need to be able to show that I'm verifiably powerful in order to be an information source someone can trust.

    This recognition had me asking myself a lot about how I do things.  A lot of April and May were spent choosing where to focus my current metaphysical studies in order to show apparent magickal power that can improve ones day to day power.  Binding spirits doesn't do a hell of a lot of good if you only use the bound spirits to engage in some drama-fest with other mages.  Casting Spells with the results being your car only breaking down once a year instead of once a month doesn't do a hell of a lot of good if you still don't have the money to fix it that one time it does.

    My emotional state fluxuated a lot through this process... looking back it was like I was going through my emotional house and deep cleaning a couple areas to make space for a new work area.   Suddenly in late May something snapped and a couple simple choices and mindsets just dropped into place.   I just suddenly accepted it was time to open a new business focused on webdesign.  After my business failed 2 years ago I told myself I was only doing computer work and webdesign as a job until I could "make it" in a new industry.   My "new industry" varied between "sustainability" and metaphysics.   This blog was one of the attempts to step into the industry of Metaphysics.   

    In late May I made the commitment to do Webdesign full time with a focus on doing it fully committed.   In the past I had a difficult time getting myself on task and accomplishing work.  It was like I was always needing to beat myself with the "or else" stick.  "I gotta finish the site today or else I won't get paid."   "I gotta make this change in the next 2 hours or else I'll lose this customer."  The biggest change in late May was that my emotional baseline shifted from boredom up to acceptance.   I suddenly didn't need to beat myself with the "or else" stick.  I just do what needs doing.   I'm confident that the universe would have made this happen somehow eventually, but for me I strongly feel that the Divine Openings is how it happened here.   I didn't do a ton of work to make this happen.   I didn't take classes, build hardcore new habits or go on hardcore initiatory experiences.   I just opened up, recognized what I wanted, and felt my way through everything as is explained in the book.

    Two weeks after "the decision" I've picked up 4 new clients, completed 3 websites and have 3 pending clients.  One of the happy clients is waiting for me to put together a "how to successfully leverage a website for your business" class for business owners to teach alongside a course they do every couple months.  There is a very good likelihood that this will result in many new clients.  Additionally, my other projects have bounded forward.  

    • I have a better vision of how I'm going to move forward with this site
    • I have a part time project building sustainability related products that are too big to ship for local sales
    • My card game is moving forward in a way it hasn't since I realized how fundamentally flawed my original vision for it was.   My card game has been a multi-thousand hour project which could potentially be worth millions if it completes and gets to market, but I had an unrealistic vision for it before.  When I realized the flaws in the vision I stopped working on it, but part of this "end of May" transition was finding a new vision and restarting work to complete it and bring it to market.
    • I've been exercising at least 45 minutes almost daily, my diet has been improving and I'm losing weight.

    In magick we tend to look for the impressive shows of power, but sometimes the most powerful magick are the "small" changes with long term effects.  The most powerful change that I can report now is a confidence that my commitments mean something.  That I'll be able to come back in 2 months and say... these changes stuck and here is how my life is better.  This change was away from something that had me stuck in a grey area for a couple years now.  Thank you Universe.  Thank you Lola. Thank you Higher Self.

  • Everyday Magick: Stop being inconvenienced by stoplights. *Snap*, they’re green.

    a red traffic light

    This is probably the most common magick I’ve seen people do.  It’s so common I’ve seen non-mages do it.

    I’ve seen a good number of models for increasing one’s chances of encountering green lights.  Let me point out something here…  Correlation isn’t Causation.    In other words, just because you notice that you tend to have a green light when you cast your spell to get your green light doesn’t mean that you caused the light.   I can count on one hand the number of times/month I get stuck at a red… however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that lights are always turning green at my beck and call.  Let me share a few models I use to explain.

    A Blast of Power
    The first model I use in changing lights was the Blast of Power model.  In this model, I hold my purpose strongly (a green light) and then project this purpose and power (sometimes a WHOLE LOT) toward the stoplight.  What tends to happen is that within a second of my doing so I have a green.  I’ve driven down a street and turned 8 stoplights in a row using this method on a good night.  This method is amazingly powerful when I am emotionally high, or extremely angry with absolutely amazing reliability.  We’re talking 100% for a 30 minute drive through downtown, unfortunately if I notice myself doing it more than my focus on my purpose, my reliability decreases.    In day to day use I’ve created a bit of a Mudra in the form of a snap.  I tend to visualize the light turning green and then snap to release the power and my spell.

    Relating with the spirits of the light
    If you’ve read a lot of my site you will notice I tend to see spirits in everything, a very shamanistic method of perceiving the world.  Obviously I perceive stop lights as having spirits.  If something has a spirit it means you can have a relationship with it.    Wait… What do I have to offer a stoplight?  Energy!

    What gives a stoplight power?  Appreciating it, giving it energy, obeying it and recognizing it.  What removes its power?  Ignoring it, drawing energy from it and disregarding it.

    Imagine the following situation.  A driver is in a hurry and gets stopped at a red light.   The driver FUMES thinking, “Damn this light, it’s always stopping me, I’m so angry, I wish the city would fix this light…” and so on for 3 minutes at the red light.   What did the light get out of it?  3 minutes of recognition and energy.  The person gave their energy to the light… what are the odds that the next time they come to the light they get a red?

    Now imagine someone else.  This person comes to a red light and they zone out.  They are in no hurry,  when the light turns green they give a mild “thank you” with a small amount of energy for the green light.  When they are driving up and the light turns green before they arrive or even slow down, they project a large blast of appreciation with lots of yummy energy.   What are the odds they will tend to get a green as they are driving up?

    I use this exact model and have noticed a few patterns.  Some high traffic lights just don’t care.  What’s your energy compared to the other 10,000 car’s worth they get every day?  This is when I will whip out the big guns.   If a light ignored the basic training I will start drawing energy from it each time I sit at a red.   So not only am I not giving it energy, but I’m taking it as quickly as I give it for the entire red.  Tasty, satisfying and vindictive at the same time… Yummy!  Usually after a couple time of this I have noticed that I tend to get a green as kind of a “damn… it’s him.  Let him through” to which I project appreciative energy of course.

    Additional extreme training?  Run the red.  Stop, check for cops, make sure everyone around you will be safe because you risk endangering others by doing this, and then if the situation is clear, intentionally run the red projecting “You don’t care about me, than you have no purpose or power.”  I’ve had lights literally turn from red to green without cross traffic getting a yellow to avoid my doing this.  It’s a trip!

    Lights do seem to have personalities.  Some of them are friendly and happy to please and others, well they like a good fight.   I have one near my house that will play games.  You can literally watch it sit green for 10 minutes for the main road and turn red as soon as a car comes along it (no other traffic involved).  I ended up doing the full training through and through and as a rule of thumb I will tend to get greens or short reds which rarely require that I stop.  Interestingly, it seems to have learned that I respect cops.   Any time a police officer is around I will find myself with a 5 minute red light.  Unfortunately, I’m not exactly helping the training as I’m laughing the whole time!  Cool

    Hold the Door… er.. Yellow
    I’ve spent some time learning to reach out to yellow lights and try to hold them.  This has been AWESOME training for knowing the feeling of successful magick.  When I reach out with my energy and try to hold the yellow I either get this feeling of trying to grab air or a solid grab.  The nice part is if you’ve chosen your yellow well you’ll be able to test it by whether it holds long enough or if you end up experiencing an “I shoulda stopped” moment.

    It’s gotten to the point where I will end up reaching out and if I don’t get the “solid grab” feeling I will hit the brakes and notice that I chose correctly.   Here is when I start asking about causation/correlation?    Do I ever actually hold the light or am I just learning to tell when I will have the experience I am seeking or not.  Considering that I’ve held a yellow for almost 15 seconds one time I learn toward causation, but the question remains…

    In the end my correlation/causation question ends up becoming a relatively moot point to me.   I’m not trying to prove that magick works, I’m proving that it works for ME.   I perceive that in this area my life is more positive because of my practices.  I rarely have problems with red lights and often get that gratifying moment as I snap my fingers, a light I am coming toward turns green and the people in the car with me cry out, “COOL!”

    Good Spelling,
    Power Before Wisdom

    Click here to discuss other opinions, experiences and/or methods concerning experiencing a majority of green in the PBW forums.

  • How to Survive Being Rolled and Possessed

    a possessed woman staring at you

    If you’re open and playing with spirits any more powerful than deceased Aunt Edna, getting possessed is actually fairly likely.We’re going to assume that for some reason you are open.Perhaps you didn’t shield your house, perhaps you just woke up (I’ve been there)… whatever.You’ve been Rolled, now deal with it…Let’s cover this in three stages:

     

    1 Know Yourself:It’s actually easy to pressure someone to do something.Think of it as Telepathy 101.Unlike a lot of things, telepathy doesn’t get harder when one finds themselves without a body.Additionally few people in modern America are actually aware enough to recognize thoughts that they wouldn’t normally have.When people spend all their time only in their own heads they don’t learn to recognize different thought “voices.”

    For example: for 15 years Erika doesn’t remember hearing thoughts outside her own.Then all of a sudden a person (let’s say a spirit to simplify this) comes along and notices that Erika is the human equivalent of a computer connected to the internet without any protections.She has no ability to tell her thoughts from those that were put there by something else.So this person (er… spirit) decides to project (thinks intensely focused toward her), “I want to go to the store.”All Erica knows is that suddenly she thinks “I want to go to the store.”As long as she doesn’t have a reason to be focused on other things she’ll just accept that she wants to go to the store.Once she gets there this person projects “I want to buy pickles.”Erika thinks “I want to buy pickles.”But there is a problem.Erika HATES pickles.So the thought ends up looking like “I want to buy pickles… Why the HELL would I want pickles?I HATE Pickles.”

    Step one of dealing with getting rolled (having someone control your thoughts) is knowing yourself.Know what you want, Draw lines of what’s ok and what’s not.Most people don’t set lines.Decide what you like and want, decide what you won’t do, recognize your thought patterns.The more that you know yourself, the easier it is to recognize when you’re having thoughts that aren’t your own.

     

    2 Control Yourself:This is where knowing your boundries is important.If you’re up against something more nasty than someone getting a laugh from sending you to the bathroom 5 times in 10 minutes (heh heh), you might actually be in danger of having something trying to disable user access to your body or worse.Meditate to learn to control your thoughts.There comes a terrifying moment between being rolled and being possessed when you realize you’re in trouble.

    Think of being rolled as having someone hack your computer, and possession as something enter in your room who plans to do something to you. Sometimes they want the computer (body), sometimes they just want to hurt you or kill you.One of my early experiences was with an old lady who had just died, but believed that I was somehow evil and so she tried to kill me for not being a good Christian since I could see ghosts.(Rule 52… the recently dead are rarely sane… it’s just that many are not destructive in their confusion)

    So now they are in your room.Unfortunately, at this point you’re playing a different game. When you’re being hacked on the internet you can just disconnect.This would be akin to shielding your thoughts.Once you are possessed they are behind that level of shielding.You are dealing with spirit stuff.The rules of this world don’t quite apply anymore.You’re going to need to learn astral experiences to know how to deal here.The good news is that while most spirits base their experience in the astral, having a body allows us a concept of linear time and growth.This means that if you choose to spend some time practicing astral work you will be surprisingly good at it compared to many spirits.At its fundamental, astral is an existence without linear time where thoughts control your experience.Astral Combat is essentially convincing your opponent that truths which make them less powerful are true.If you’re up against someone skilled, you will find yourself needing to confuse them and avoid being confused as this leaves “the confused” vulnerable to accepting “truths” you wouldn’t otherwise.One time I was training with a guide on the astral and some of the old tricks weren’t a problem anymore.We were “sword fighting” and both of us were using tricks like just letting the sword go through us, phasing through the walls and floors, flying, jumping from place to place and time to time… all that rot.I said something to the tune of, “I can take you now” in a very cocky way.He reached out, grabbed me and then “yanked” me up and down different vibrations of the astral so quickly that I mentally couldn’t keep up.He then returned us to our original sparring location and stabbed me through the gut up into the heart.I was so confused I forgot to believe that I was fine and believed that he had killed me.I experienced death for a bit and then returned (DEFINITELY shortening this part of the story – will tell later).

     

    3 Cheat:Because we are alive, we have the ability to redefine ourselves in a way that most spirits can’t.Part of using this reality allows us the opportunity to let go of our limitations and ego while still staying “us.”One time I woke up from sleep rolled.I literally woke up to being convinced that a spirit was an ally, within a short time it had convinced me to let it move in.Mere seconds after I let it move in it had started disconnecting my access to the body,I remember losing sight, hearing, touch and feeling it redirect my energy channels through itself.I tried to pull energy to begin building a shield and remember it being blocked.Rather than finding myself kicked out of my body I found myself trapped and unable to experience anything.For a while I panicked.He kept squeezing me into a smaller and smaller box.My existence, memories and sense of self were disappearing.Suddenly I remembered a truth a teacher had drummed into my head for reasons I didn’t understand at the time.

    The Truth?Always remember that you are connected to source and nothing can take that away.So I remembered this truth and let go of my illusion of being separate from God/Source.Suddenly I was outside the situation…Suddenly I was bigger than it.Suddenly everything was clear.It was like I was looking down on the situation, looking through it.I was myself and I was more at the same time.I knew what happened and I knew I could choose whatever truth I want.So I chose that Scott was back in his body, with his resources and his memories.I chose that this thing which had tried to overcome Scott was removed.I chose something regarding it, but I can’t quite remember what that something was as of this writing.After setting things to the way I chose, I then re-accepted the illusion of separation and was myself, back in my body.

    Remember, You are a part of God/Source and nothing can remove that.It is yours to choose your experience.

     

  • I need proof! Where do I start?

    wooden squares that  spell out evidence

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard.   “I’ll believe in magick as soon as I see some.”

    To thinking skeptics’ great amusement, my response tends to be:

    "Nobody can prove magick to you...  You will begin to experience magick once you believe in it."

    I HATE the circular logic it presents, but unfortunately it's true.  Magick can be right in front of your face, but as I said in The Magick Primer Introduction, if you don't believe in magick you'll ignore it or explain it away.

    In truth, by necessity most Magick isn't really that hard.  Most of the techniques and ideas I present in here are fairly simple.  The FAITH can be difficult though. Most people have fairly obvious magick in their lives that they will recognize once they are ready to accept it. Hopefully while they are reading this site, they will have a moment where they think... I ALREADY DO THAT!

    Once they find magick which comes easily to them, it is easy to use that confidence and faith to stretch their experiences into new areas.

    But let’s imagine we’re pessimists and assume that a person doesn't feel a connection to anything yet.

    Energy Balls and other Astral Stuff
    The reason the 1st technique in the primer is Energy balls, is that I started with energy balls.   It took me 4 years of playing with energy balls and (to be honest) silly and immature astral illusion/creations/summons before I started realizing magick in other areas of my life.

    Somehow along the way I slowly opened up to the realization that my "being like other people around me" (doppleganging) was a form of extreme empathy and telepathy.  Once I realized that, I started playing with hearing thoughts/intent. Then I started with thought projection and emotional projection.  Little by little my practice realized other magicks at work in my life... sometimes by me and sometimes TO me.

    Books and movies prepare us for the idea of the "real world" overlaid by a "Magickal World" with limited ties to our reality based largely in belief/disbelief.  Thus it is easy to believe in astral magick. I have found that spending time in this “fantasy reality” gives people a chance to slowly come to accept the idea of this stuff being real.

    So when I meet that 17 year old self-titled "ShadowBlade" who shows off his/her "power" by creating/summoning astral entities, astral stories, energy balls, Astral Shields and messing with someone else's aura...  well, I try to be kind and support him/her by asking questions leading toward awareness that Astral workings are "Real Illusions" with some power, but there is more.

    Unfortunately it's really easy for mages to get stuck there…  The idea that their “great power” is usually barely a mild influence is hard to accept.  Astral Play is LOUD.  If you find people who have their 3rd eye open, EVERYONE gets to see special effects. After spending months/years with fast and easy illusion-magick with special effects, most will choose to believe that it was all a fantasy rather than face the reality of powerful Magick rarely having obvious special effects and being hard to believe even when you practice it.

    Wow, writing this helps me understand why older mages I knew were such dicks regarding astral magick.  It didn’t make sense to me before that they mocked it mightily; however, this was a hard awareness for me too and I’m starting to realize how bitter I became.   Even though my head knows the power of astral and illusions, my heart feels betrayed by them.  This is likely why I strove hard to replace the “magickal wonder” by finding real life intense magick.

    Hopefully this warning will help you avoid this trap.   I still believe that astral work is a great way to build faith.  It’s an easy magick and it has pretty good results when you’re realistic about your expectations.  You probably won’t scare someone off IMMEDIATELY by summoning an astral dragon, but if it sticks around LOOMING and projecting how much it wants to eat them they might get uncomfortable enough that they decide to leave.

    …and you’ll get your special effects too…

    Good Spelling,
    Power Before Wisdom

  • Magickal Truths & Truth Magick

    the truth
    Truth (no NLP or affirmation talk here… just skip down if you’re focused on that…)
    Any mage worth their salt recognizes the need to speak truth.  For one, most persons are amazingly good at detecting bullshit and being known as a liar screws up your ability to accomplish what you need.  Aside from the obvious however, is the power of truth.  Have you ever read a book and had the words just slam into you like the book punched you?   Have you ever heard a speaker or a quote that literally knocked you back?   There is truth in most everything.  However, there is also truth that aligns powerfully with a situation.  When spoken truths align with the truth of the moment, they have power.  Spoken truths are like sails catching a powerful wind which draw you toward your deepest values.
    Obviously this leads to the idea that speaking lies weakens you.   Your manifestations come less clearly, you confuse yourself in what you’ve told who and you disconnect with flow.  It’s like boating comfortably down a river and then deciding to jump out and start swimming.   You probably will survive, but you made yourself a WHOLE Lot more work than you had before.
    Jump into truth.  Taste it.  Study the world around you.  Understand it.  Grok it.  The more truths you know, the more that you can be empowered by them.  You can clearly ask for the experiences you want.  You can clearly organize your spells and communications.
    With ‘The Wizard of Earthsea’ series, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote an enchanting series of books where all magic was based on speaking “the Language of Creation.”, While I’ve never experienced spoken words having her storybook level of universal effect, I have experienced sounds which have so much power that merely intoning them causes effects.  I have one song in particular which my friends have “banned me” from singing if there are events happening as wind and rain Divas show up out of nowhere.  (I was taught this song by a thunderstorm about 6 years ago and it was one of the few things I thought to actually put into my book of shadows at the time)
    One year at our local Pagan Pride Day it was a wonderful, calm and warm day, but a couple people commented that it would be nice to have some rain.  Being the thoughtful and careful mage I am, I thought it would be fun to sing the song.  5 minutes into my singing the song the wind began kicking up.  If you’ve ever experienced the thrill of being in the magic; you find yourself wanting to keep at it and ignoring evidence that perhaps you shouldn’t.
    20 minutes and many blown away tents later some tiny clouds that had been on the horizon were overhead and pouring rain on us.  Celebrating the rain (and the fact that for some reason most pagans don’t think any of us have the power to do that kind of stuff) I enjoyed the gifts for a while.  PPD was ended once the wind got too much and everyone started packing up as the rain was going.  The wind completely died as soon as the rain started and 15 minutes after that the rain stopped and the sun came out.   Most everyone had already had enough and had either left or were mostly done prepping to leave.
    *Update*: I was looking at the weather a while ago and had the urge to sing.  I decided to not sing the rain song as we’d had a lot precipitation lately.  I felt the urge to sing a new much more simple song that had a power.  The next day we had an expected 2-4 inches of snow turn into 3 feet with 30 hours of constant snow.
    This brings up another aspect of truth magic.  Cause and effect are hard to tell.  I still don’t know if I only have the urge to sing the song when the weather is coming, or if the song has an effect.  My testing indicates a possible cause/effect relationship. A few times now I’ve sung the rain song during a completely dry time in the desert and had rain arrive and only hit my property and 1/4 mile nearby within hours/days.  This is in Reno, NV where we get 330+ days of sun/year… often we will have no precipitation whatsoever for 2-4 months at a time.
    A couple times I’ve heard weather Divas inform me that my order has received and will be fulfilled at the nearest available opportunity.  One friend even heard some Divas apologizing that a storm I was singing down was “planned for a nearby farming community, but that they could get us some rain tomorrow”…  We had no rain that night even though there was wind, thunder and lightning; True to the friends word, we did receive rain the next day.
     
    Finding Truth with Words
    I have various “Truth Detectors.”  You MIGHT have caught one of them at play a couple times in this article:  Puns.
    Puns are statements which hold truth in multiple layers of the realities we are experiencing.  I’m not talking the stupid “Watch Time, Spice Thyme” Puns.  I’m talking the kinds of puns where you realize that:
    - these words, in this moment of your life, are intersecting with multiple layers of your reality at the same time.
     
    (The sentence above was a pun and NLP at the same time btw…)
    The same friend who I had the Diva Experience with was also the person who originally introduced me to magic.  He was a huge fan of puns… unfortunately he liked the stinky ones as well as the truth bombs.  Once in a while though we would get going!
    At one point I was freshly into the idea that our thoughts control our reality.  I also was intrigued by the argument that this is all an illusion and that the very nature of matter argued that there is a whole lot of nothing in having everything around us.   These two thoughts, at that time of my life, led to a 11th order pun (aka we found 11 different truthful meanings to the statement).. “Nothing Matters.”  A forced 2nd order (2 meanings) pun stinks.  A 4th order pun hits you hard and you spend a few moments trying to figure out what it all means.  An 11th order pun has you spending the afternoon astounded and celebrating the coolness you just experienced.
    In awe of how hard this pun hit me at the time, I ended up trying to share it with another friend.  He wasn’t all that impressed at first, so I took it on myself to explain all 11 meanings of the pun so he could see how funny/impressive/powerful it was.   About meaning number four I said.  “I believe everything is an illusion.”  To which he quipped “I don’t believe in illusions.”  Hearing the truth in the statement I experienced Satori as for me the illusion disappeared completely for a bit …
    Any words that can effect you this strongly?  Definitely powerful!
    I’ve heard stories from a rather dark practicing aquaintenance, of a way to have a similiarly powerful experience:   spend time questioning literally every experience, every thought.  Question the validity of the truths we consider commonplace.  “Am I breathing air?” … “Am I breathing?”  … “Am I?”  … “Is there an I?”
    It is a search for new truths by questioning all truths we consider self-evident.  It was recommended that one avoid doing so for more than a few hours at a time lest they find themselves questioning whether the white jacket and white room they end up being placed in really exists.
     

    Any mage worth their salt recognizes the need to speak truth.  For one, most persons are amazingly good at detecting bullshit and being known as a liar screws up your ability to accomplish what you need.  

    Aside from the obvious however, is the deep power of truth.  Have you ever read a book and had the words just slam into you like the book punched you?   Have you ever heard a speaker or a quote that literally knocked you back?   There is truth in most everything.  However, there are also truths that align powerfully with a situation.  When spoken truths align with the truth of the moment, they have power.  Spoken truths are like sails catching a powerful wind drawing you toward your deepest values.

    Obviously this leads to the idea that speaking lies weakens you.   Your manifestations come less clearly, you confuse yourself in what you’ve told who and you disconnect with flow.  It’s like boating comfortably down a river and then deciding to jump out and start swimming.   You probably will survive, but you made yourself a WHOLE lot more work than you had before.

    Rather, jump into truth.  Taste it.  Study the world around you.  Understand it.  Grok it.  The more truths you know, the more that you can be empowered by them.  You can clearly ask for the experiences you want.  You can clearly organize your spells and communications.   

    With ‘The Wizard of Earthsea’ series, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote an enchanting series of books where all magic was based on speaking “the Language of Creation.” While I’ve never experienced spoken words having her storybook level of universal effect, I have experienced sounds which have so much power that merely intoning them causes effects.  

    I have one song in particular which my friends have “banned me” from singing if there are events happening, because wind and rain Divas show up out of nowhere when I sing it.  I was taught this song by a thunderstorm about 6 years ago and it was one of the few things I thought to actually put into my book of shadows at the time. 

    One year at our local Pagan Pride Day it was a wonderful, calm and warm day, but a couple people commented that it would be nice to have some rain.  Being the thoughtful and careful mage I am, I thought it would be fun to sing the song.  

    5 minutes into my singing the song the wind began kicking up.  If you’ve ever experienced the thrill of being in the magic; you find yourself wanting to keep at it and ignore evidence that perhaps you shouldn’t...  20 minutes and many blown away tents later some tiny clouds that had been on the horizon were overhead and pouring rain on us.  

    Unfortunately, once the wind got started, everyone started packing up and PPD ended prematurely.  The wind completely died as soon as the rain started and 15 minutes after that the rain stopped and the sun came out.   By then though most everyone had already either left or were mostly done prepping to leave.  I was left celebrating the rain and the fact that for some reason most pagans don’t think any of us have the power to do that kind of stuff... silly silly pagans.    It's like Christians thinking their God won't directly answer prayer.

    *Update*: I was looking at the weather a while ago and had the urge to sing.  I decided to not sing the rain song as we’d had a lot precipitation lately.  I felt the urge to sing a new much more simple song that had a power.  The next day we had an expected 2-4 inches of snow turn into 3 feet with 30 hours of constant snow.

    This brings up another aspect of truth magic.  Cause and effect are hard to tell.  I still don’t know if I only have the urge to sing the song when the weather is coming, or if the song has an effect.  

    My testing indicates a possible cause/effect relationship. A few times now I’ve sung the rain song during a completely dry time in the desert and had rain arrive and only hit my property and 1/4 mile nearby within hours/days.  This is in Reno, NV where we get 330+ days of sun/year… often we will have no precipitation whatsoever for 2-4 months at a time.

    Additionally a couple of times I’ve heard weather Divas inform me that my order has received and will be fulfilled at the nearest available opportunity.  One friend even heard some Divas apologizing that a storm I was singing down was “planned for a nearby farming community, but that they could get us some rain tomorrow.”  True to the friend's word, we had no rain that night even though there was wind, thunder and lightning.  And of course, we did receive rain the next day.


    Finding Truth with Words
    I have various “Truth Detectors.”  You MIGHT have caught one of them at play a couple times in this article:  Puns. Puns are statements which hold truth in multiple layers of the realities we are experiencing.  I’m not talking the stupid “Watch Time, Spice Thyme” Puns.  I’m talking the kinds of puns where you realize that:   

    • These words, in this moment of your life, are intersecting with multiple layers of your reality at the same time.   

    (The sentence above was a pun and NLP at the same time btw…)

    The same friend who I had the Diva Experience with was also the person who originally introduced me to magic.  He was a huge fan of puns… unfortunately he liked the stinky ones as well as the truth bombs.  Once in a while though we would get going!  

    At one point I was freshly into the idea that our thoughts control our reality.  I also was intrigued by the argument that this is all an illusion and that the very nature of matter argued that there is a whole lot of nothing in having everything around us.   These two thoughts, at that time of my life, led to a 11th order pun (aka we found 11 different truthful meanings to the statement).. “Nothing Matters.”  

    A forced 2nd order (2 meanings) pun stinks.  A 4th order pun hits you hard and you spend a few moments trying to figure out what it all means.  An 11th order pun has you spending the afternoon astounded and celebrating the coolness you just experienced.

    In awe of how hard this pun hit me at the time, I ended up trying to share it with another friend.  He wasn’t all that impressed at first, so I took it on myself to explain all 11 meanings of the pun so he could see how funny/impressive/powerful it was.  

    About meaning number four I said.  “I believe reality is an illusion.”  To which he quipped “I don’t believe in illusions.”  Hearing the truth in the statements together, I experienced Satori as the illusion disappeared completely for a bit …   

    Any truth that can effect you this strongly?  Definitely powerful!

    I’ve heard of a way to have a similarly powerful experience from a rather darkly practicing acquaintance:   Spend time questioning literally every experience, every thought.  Question the validity of the truths we consider commonplace.  “Am I breathing air?” … “Am I breathing?”  … “Am I?”  … “Is there an I?”   

    The exercise is a search for new truths by questioning all truths we consider self-evident.  However, it was recommended that one avoid doing so for more than a few hours at a time lest they find themselves questioning whether the white jacket and white room they end up being placed in really exists.

    Truth is anything which empowers you to think, experience or act; so make a habit of consistently letting go of old truths for new ones which empower you more. You will be amazed at how wonderfully your entire life shifts.  

    Keep in mind this isn't a one way trip.  If you let go of a truth for a new one you are free to pick up your old one later.   However, you may be surprised at how often you will clearly see the benefit of the new truth to the old one after you've changed it.

  • 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

  • Pathwork to Mastery: Mastery's place in Western Magick & Spirituality Part 2

    boy walking through a library

    At an early age I saw the incredible focus needed for mastery of mature skillsets and out of laziness I consistently learned enough to access my natural talents in an area and then rested on my laurels.

    I did this again and again on topic after topic. I learned a little about a lot and as time went by, a general pattern emerged from this broad range of knowledge. I started noticing consistencies between incredibly diverse fields of study and practice. Little by little, I was able to use these patterns to learn new things faster and faster. It got to where I started looking like a natural when I picked up study after study. I also learned that rare skills are very easy to train to the point of seeming mastery (when in truth they were apprentice/journeyman level skills). I started thinking I was hot shit.

    Unfortunately, this thinking was based on a delusion that I was learning everything I needed to learn to Master something. Luckily, I met a teacher who effectively communicated that I was lying to myself.

    Over a period of 7 years, I decided to focus on mastering something. During that time I went from assuming talented apprentice skills meant mastery, to journeyman skills meant mastery, to mastery = peer acceptance by persons you consider masters (the subject of my last mastery post.)

    Since then I've met and learned from persons I consider Grand Masters and heard them describe the skills of persons I perceive as Adepts, and because of this I routinely question if I've ever reached past skilled journeyman stage in any of my endeavors.

    An honest looks shows that I mastered website design and marketing. I have a masterpiece in that realm. Additionally by modern American Standards I am a master of magic (masterpiece there too), but by spiritually mature cultural standards I am merely a rather dull apprentice. Thinking about this brings up three concepts to me...

    One: The ability to learn quickly is based on applying the patterns of previous study to things you are currently learning. Learning a little bit about a lot is not a substitute for mastery. A broad range of general learning does not empower you to master things quickly. The skillset necessary to become a journeyman only empowers you to learn to be a journeyman more quickly. If you ever seek to become a master you must do the work and learn to master something. THEN you will be able to apply those skills toward mastering something else.

    Two: The consistent focus, learning and training into true mastery of a field will empower you to perform incredible (to your culture) feats. The ability to leverage a broad range of skills often CAN be a poor substitute to mastering something, but the difference in quality is like the difference between a modern motorhome and a cargo van with a mattress inside.

    Three: The skillsets required of a Master depend heavily on your culture. The phrase for something everyone can do is either “common knowledge” or “common sense.” Mastery is the process of studying a topic until your skill set with it is:

    1. Uncommon to your culture

    2. Not easily learned in a short period of time with the resources available to most of your culture.

    3. Sufficient to perform services that your culture requires of the trade with consistent excellence.

    In America someone who can do basic computer repair is an apprentice. In some villages of Africa that skill set might make you a local Computer Master.

    But how exactly do we apply this in Western Magick/Spiritual Practices?


    Learn More in Part 3

  • Role Playing Games: A Gateway Drug

    a set of d 20 dice

    Fundamentalists have been screaming for years about how Role Playing Games like Dungeons and Dragons are a gateway drug which are "corrupting our youth!"

    Gamers are just as quick to scream back, "That's RIDICULOUS!"

    Today I pose the question... Is it?

    Aside from being fun (and in some circles quite kinky), Role Playing Games can be a wonderful training tool.

    The process of placing oneself into a scenario to prepare a response for situations is used in fields like Medicine, Law and Technology.  Heck, even the military uses Role Playing Games for Training.

    Role Playing Games provide an opportunity to safely explore options from different points of view than one currently holds, and HERE is where the corruptive influence/gateway drug nature of gaming emerges.  Most fundamentalists hold the perception that theirs is the one true way.  Reality needs to fit into a box and anything that doesn't, tends to be "evil."

    Now it IS possible to create gaming scenarios which fit in the box (lookup Christian role playing games for an example).  However, it is also possible to design the scenario far outside what someone might realistically encounter.  Enter Dungeons and Dragons.

    It should be safe to have a completely fictional world right?  Elves, Orcs, Monsters and Magic make it clear that this is entirely a fantasy.  Except for one thing.  We all experience reality through a model.  The models common games present may be clearly fictitious; however, once in a while, a person who has played these games runs across something that their normal life model doesn't fit.  And sometimes their fantasy gaming model DOES fit.

    Suddenly they are saying things like "I rolled a one" when they screw up, or "5 pound TK" when asking someone to pass the salt.

    Additionally, Role Playing Games give participants an opportunity to challenge their beliefs and ideas without breaking their personal rules.  In my case, when I started playing I made sure my character followed the same rules I believed in.  I wasn't willing to "sin," even in thought.

    But a weird thing happened.  My faith wasn't challenged.  My model of reality was.  I believed that people should respond a certain way to things... and they didn't.  Not just the fantasy characters, but the players.  In these players, I started spending a lot of time with people who weren't the enemy, but didn't agree with my faith.   Slowly and gently I was asked questions and given points to ponder.

    My convictions held strong for a long time.  Ironically it was not gaming, but evidence of family "gifts" that I hadn't believed in before which led me to question my religious beliefs.  However, gaming gave me a chance to open my mind and explore different possibilities.   It trained me to ask certain questions and to wonder about things I hadn't allowed myself to wonder about before.  Without this ability to ask questions, I may have continued being under the influence of these family "gifts" never allowing myself to believe in them.

    Listen carefully to how I said that.   Magick was in my life long before I gamed, long before I walked away from Christianity.  In fact, I can look back and see clear examples of how Aura's, Empathy, Telepathy and even Spirits affected me.  The only difference was that my model of reality wouldn't accept them. Unfortunately, disbelieving something with solid conceptual momentum doesn't make it disappear.   Sure it may lessen the effect… or it might allow it to affect you far more than if you were actively dealing with it.

    To me gaming WAS a gateway drug into a world where my will changed things; where God and Spirit weren’t two Dimensional and black & white.   Sure D&D was fun.  But the model had its serious limits.  It was hard to use its model in Real Life.  So after a few years of it I created my own system.

    My system has become a model to empower people to understand themselves and Magick as I’ve experienced it in Real Life (of course, the in-game Magick is a WHOLE lot more powerful) while having a ton of fun.

    So now I’m using it intentionally. Not to convert people’s spirituality, but to empower them with a new way to experience life.  Hopefully, to those people, the gateway they walk through won’t be into an empty fantasy, but instead into a more powerful understanding of a VERY powerful and magickal world…

    The real world

    Power Before Wisdom

  • Separate but Equal is a Lie; Yet Sometimes we should Exclude

    a game piece separated from a group of similar pieces

    There was recently a large conversation regarding people being turned away from rituals at Pantheacon due to gender.  As a man who was ineligible for 3 different women only rituals, my only complaint was the lack of clarity regarding requisites for attendance.

    I intuited that the specific ritual Thorn mentioned in Duality and Diversity: Gender at Pantheacon was women only.   You rarely see AMAZONS hold a Skyclad, "ecstatic, undulating, life-affirming ritual in honor of Lilith"... and assume that men are invited.  On top of actual theological reasons, there's an assumption that some men will distract focus from the ritual's primal purpose through excessively intense appreciation of our female ritual partners.  Ironically, whether that assumption would hold true or not, the very worry about it by female participants could have the same effect.  Thus exclusion is an intelligent choice.

    However, later that night there was a non-skyclad ritual to Hecate that in no way implied that Men were unwelcome... and I was turned away at the door.  My complaint?  Not that I was unwelcome, but that I DIDN'T KNOW that I was unwelcome.

    Inclusiveness and "An it Harm none" are great guideline, but sometimes you have to weight benefits against costs.  Sometimes exclusion is necessary to help define ourselves and provide a safe space for work we need to accomplish.

    As children most of us learn that not everybody can be on a sports team.  Some people will need to be turned away.  If we are healthy, we learn to differentiate the denial of participation from a denial of personal value.

    For that reason, I support exclusive rituals and works which focus on excluding from love rather than loathing.  As long as exclusion is from love and with good purpose, those who can take part receive full benefit while those who can't, can support others from a distance without feeling "put down" due to a denial.

    I sympathize that some Gay and Transexual persons had this pour salt into currently open wounds regarding a definition of self, but if you were personally hurt, perhaps this is a reminder to stop using externalities to define yourself and look within.

    You are not in the "simple," well defined boxes straight men and women find ourselves.  Many social structures don't have the ability to define where you fit in.  Sometimes you won't agree with how the person in charge defines you... and that is THEIR problem.  Sure their problem inconveniences you, thus you can and should fight to be recognized consciously and fairly, but please separate the hurt of others not recognizing you in the manner you wish, from the drive to challenge and help restructure our understandings of sexuality and gender.

    You are a powerful and whole person who fits into our society exactly as you should.  Unfortunately, sometimes that fit puts stress on yourself and others.  Congratulations and respect for choosing to manifest into a position where you will teach so much, to so many, by your very existence...

    ...

    As for the rest of us?  We need to remember that while it’s fun to celebrate sharing things, part of why it’s fun is because we have so many differences.   Sometimes it is powerful to come together, and sometimes it is powerful to define boundaries.  Neither is functionally superior and both have their place.   Tolerance is not universalism, it is the ability to celebrate what we share AND what differentiates us.  

    Sometimes that celebration requires exclusion.

     

     

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

     

  • 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

  • The Ugly Truth of Dim Mak (Martial Techniques Based on Chi & Pressure Points)

    man practicing marital arts

    The Legend of the Death Touch
    Dim Mak has this Awesome Legend status.  The idea that you could knock out or kill an opponent while barely touching them is just SWEET!   Of course, a detailed Google Search results in LOTS of people offering to sell you the “amazing secrets” of this “forbidden martial art” and very thin evidence that it’s more than smoke and mirrors.

    Keep looking and you’ll find some promising looking evidence:

     

    Now, considering that I’ve spent a fair amount of time practicing martial arts and I also practice magic, if someone is going to spend time screwing around with Dim Mak (or other techniques of fighting using magic) it’s going to be me.  Luckily for me, my sensei was interested in this stuff too.   So we did our research and came together for some “off topic” training.   I brought my magical experience to the table and he brought his martial arts experience along with some REALLY interesting books.

    Some of the books had some interesting preparation techniques to build chi and learn to project it.   Others had details of the Chi Meridians as well as where and how blockages and “overloads” could cause problems.   One of the books was written like an Armed Forces training manual and hurried to teach how to most effectively use different forms (including some Dim Mak techniques) quickly.

    There were a couple techniques which promised anything from "The Death Touch" (instant death) to a lingering death which might take over a month.  For personal survival reasons we decided to avoid those ones and start with techniques which promised things like a spasming diaphragm or a simple KO.

    Our initial tests were resounding successes!  We’d practice a technique and have it work beautifully!

    After celebrating, we decided to try to block the techniques.  I grounded and clamped down on my energy. The next time he hit the chakras in a technique, I held my energy in control and was mostly unaffected.  I showed him how to do the same.  Thinking we’d found something awesome we went to share it with others.

    The first person we showed it to dropped like a rock.  Same with the second.  The third person however, well… nothing…

    We tested it on about 4 other people.  We ended up with about a 70% success rate with willing participants… for the first application.  If someone knew what was coming and tried to block it, we only experienced about a 20% success rate.  Over the years I’ve tested it further.   My success rate is up to about 95% (The 1st Time) with people open to experience something cool.  Unfortunately, with people who aren’t open to the experience I still get effects, but they are much smaller than the “drop like a rock.”    My favorite two hit “spasming diaphragm” technique tends to be about 90% effective, but that’s considering a clench that slightly bends the target over and forces them to shift their focus away from me a success.  Sure I’ve had experiences gently showing the technique where suddenly the recipient is on the floor gasping, but they are NOT the majority.

    But surely with mastery you’d get more effective?  You could become awesome and do stuff like in this video right?

    Well…  yes and no.

    As I’ve practiced I’ve become a lot more proficient.  I’ve increased how effective a maneuver is.  I’ve gotten more skilled at accomplishing a maneuver.   Originally I had difficulties trying to control my chi while hitting JUST the right place in JUST the right way.  Now, I can pretty much tap the general area while directing my opponent’s chi to affect the correct point.   (Yes, I said my opponent’s Chi.  I’ve stopped trying to use my chi to hit them and instead I use the touch to “ground into them” and redirect their Chi.)

    However, the issue of leverage keeps coming back up.  I’ve explained before that the closer to your center something is, the more control you have Magically, and the same is true in Martial Arts.   In Aikido the winner tends to be the person who maintains their center while leveraging the opponents failure to do so.  AKA… I hold my center, trick my opponent into losing his and then guide his momentum further and further from center into certain doom (MWAHAHAHAAHA!).

    In magic, my center is me.  Your center is you.   If you aren’t controlling your center, I’m able to “trick you” into doing what I direct.   Thus, I can tap the top of your inner fore-arm directing you to block your own energy along a certain meridian before tapping your solar plexus to pulse your own energy.  In most people this causes an energy spasm that manifests as a spasming diaphragm.  (YES, punching someone hard in the solar plexus does similar, but when I say tap I mean less than 10 lbs pressure.)

    HOWEVER, if you decide to control your energy, it is MUCH more difficult for me to affect you.  Additionally you can dampen, ground out and negate the chain reactions that most Dim Mak techniques rely on.   Thus, while cool, Dim Mak is EXTROADINARILY unreliable and the circumstances when you need it most are the circumstances in which it is most likely to fail.

    Most people who practice this find others who think it’s really neat and want to study it too.  It is a really cool feeling having your body do something without you directing it.  Thus begins the saga of teacher and students who showcase amazingly cool seeming stuff.

    Over time of training with someone you can build a serious trust.  It can get to the point where I can manipulate your energy from a distance because you have given me permission to.  We can even build this cult energy where we have a room full of people who believe that we can do this and thus a newcomer will do the same…  Do you get where I’m going here?

    It can get to the point where your class is amazing.  People can perform amazing Dim Mak on each other and it really does work.   This isn’t just a case of “Mass Hypnosis.”  Chi and Dim Mak are real; however the “Mass Hypnosis” does get people to open up to it and even play along “Amplifying the effects.”

    THIS is where moments like the following video come from.

    Of course... I do want to meet this Lama and verify my argument by asking to experience his Chi while grounding, mind-shielding and energy shielding.
     

     


    Unfortunately some of the Masters of these techniques end up getting a big head and start thinking that these techniques are always effective.  Perhaps the Masters are practiced and impressive enough that with 99% of the population they can successfully perform Dim Mak.  But then they do something silly like assuming that it’s a 100% thing.  They forget that all things being equal, the person with better leverage will win.  They forget that the target has better leverage over their own body… and they forget that there are other masters out there.

    99% of the population doesn’t have good power over their own energy and body. However, Martial Artists are PROBABLY members of the other 1%, and of course, the martial artists most focused on winning a battle in the ring tend to be MMA martial artists (Yes, I'm aware that statement is redundant since MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts).

    These Mixed Martial Artists are most likely to ACTIVELY believe that some guy who is trying to screw with their energy is full of shit and/or not going to overcome them.  Both active beliefs are essentially the kryptonite of Dim Mak. 

    Add all of the above together, and you start seeing sad and embarrassing videos like this.

    So in conclusion, Dim Mak is cool.  Dim Mak is fun.  Dim Mak can teach you some really cool energy tricks, and help your magic.  Heck, IN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES Dim Mak is pretty powerful.  However, if you want a Martial Art you can count on to in a fight, CHOOSE SOMETHING ELSE.  When you are in a life and death situation you REALLY SHOULDN’T rely on a technique which your opponent can counter with a simple decision.

    Yes… I have chosen to add it to my repertoire and I have used it successfully in combat situations, but I know better than to rely on it and I DAMN SURE know better than to boast about it to a potential opponent.

    Good Luck and Have Fun,
    Power Before Wisdom

  • Things are Going great in my Absence Update 1

    a man reading a book

    When I started reading the book I was rather un-impressed.   There were a lot of promises, A lot of talk about how the book was only the first step and how steps 2 and 3 were hands on (which was one of the best ways to do this), warnings to not mix modalities and to stop all energy work to avoid slowdown (!WHAT I'm a MAGE teaching magic!  I can't stop?!!), Warnings to not take everything too fast and then she started talking about her divine experience.  I won't repost because it was one of those experiences that seems stupid unless spirit is involved... and clearly it was.  She repeatedly went over the method she learned to open up... it took me a while to realize she was drilling it into her readers head.  While skeptical I was open minded and fully involved in the reading.  Soon I came to a point with a warning that this was the first Divine Opening Initiation.  My first thought was again skepticism, but I had an open mind and followed instructions.  Look at the picture, absorb it and then go rest for 15+ minutes.

    I followed instructions.  The picture didn't seem amazing in any way shape or form, but I opened up and attempted to Grok it.  After 2 minutes of looking at it I went and laid down to nap/rest.  

    Though my reading I had been worrying about the implications of spending time focusing on Manifestation when I am still getting my MAGIC focused blog off the ground.  I was worrying about whether I was willing to risk putting a lot of effort into something (this blog) only to grow away from it.  As I laid down, it suddenly clarified that It would be OK to do magic outside me and that I could Blog about THIS experience too.  Then I started floating on thoughts of what I want, because I could have anything.  I started thinking about the wishlist and one of the things that occurred was that I wanted a fulfilling sex life and suddenly the idea just shattered.  I don't yearn for a fulfilling sex life; sure sex is fun, but I want fulfillment period.  I know there were a lot of ideas and thoughts I went over as well... Unfortunately she warned that most of your "old" life becomes very quickly forgotten and while I was working to mentally record for better details she told the truth.  I know there were things that I considered very important, but I forget them now.  Eventually I drifted off when all of a sudden it was like from my heart Chakra a white supernova went off.  A HUGE explosion of calm white light of such intensity that whether is was physical or not I was blinded for a bit.  When I became more used to it, I perceived my Etheric body as being intensely bright and white.  It was like my heart Chakra was pulsing white light to the rest of me and as I merely looked around my body, it pulsed with intensity wherever I was looking succh that that every little bit of my Etheric Body was filled with intense bright white light.  I took extra care to avoid actually moving anything with purpose deciding I would DEFINITELY follow the rules.

    I remember thinking it would be a shame to lose this after the moment passed when I realized I didn't have to end.  Over the next few minutes it was like I became used to the light.  Rather than feeling like the light dimmed, I became aware of the idea that I had accepted and become used to the light.

    I came out of the room and dealt with a few things that needed dealing with (dog, daughter, work) it was interesting to me how emotions were flying around.  One second I'd be joyful, another nostalgic or depressed.   I decided to read on.  During this part she actually spoke of this exact process and how we need to be fully in our emotions in order to allow them to release into higher vibration.  Considering I was still on the "light high" I found myself very intimitely following the words.  

    I've lived my life promising that I would avoid regrets.   I only have a couple and one that I'm really ashamed of.  In the process of this, I experienced the shame of that experience and literally felt it climbing up from my stomach, to my heart, throat and into my head and the emotions went from shame, to accepting that I liked doing what I did, to accepting my shame of liking it... and so on.   It is a complex subject and the emotions were equally complex.

    At this point I am highly impressed with this book.  I fully intend to finish the process and my wife is currently sleeping off her first "Divine Energy shot".

  • Thriving while overcoming organized harassment and protests

    a game of chess

    We've all had harassment in our lives.  Most of us learned how to deal with it from people or small groups as we grew up.

    The basic rule to dealing with harassment is to keep as much or more power than you had when it started.  Men's instinct is to fight and win.  Winning a fight seems like a good way to win one of these battles, and rarely it can be effective.  One time, I fought 7 people at the same time and kicked their asses! What a win right?

    No, I LOST because I went berserk when they uncovered and abused a core issue I had.  They fled terrified of me, told stories of how messed up I was and destroyed my image through the school.  Since I let them see and effect me through this weakness, I was the one who lost power.

    This leads to the core answer:  The best way to remove a harasser's power is to be unaffected by the harassment.  

    Love and Laughter are definitely the most powerful ways to do this.  My favorites include:

    • Start an insult war as a game that YOU are having fun playing.  Grade their insults, theatrically think about and then return other ones... (extra points if they start playing the game too and you all have a laugh together)
    • Find something funny and laugh at it.  It's easy to find something, people are silly.  If you have a hard time ask them to wait a moment as you go obtain something funny; then return and enjoy it in their presence.
    • Stand there watching them silently (extra points if you find a way to see the situation in an amusing light).
    • Stand there and feel love for them... then express it.  Compliment them, celebrate them, pray for them... It's funny how much that bothers angry people.

    While fun and simple, the above techniques work best with single persons or smaller groups concerning topics where people are unwilling to raise the stakes.  There is power in numbers.  Mob mentality is powerful and can be scary.   Additionally, there are fanatics who are perfectly willing to raise the stakes and apply pressure to get what they want... As pagans become more mainstream we are seeing more organized harassment from fundamentalist groups (http://wildhunt.org/blog/2010/03/first-they-came-for-the-swingers.html).  I am going to use this article as a way to open thinking about how to respond to organized harassment in any form.

    Remember, the core rule is to have equal or greater power at the end of these interactions.  It's very hard to maintain your power when faced with a large number of people intent to remove it.  Below are some common tactics used in organized harassment and ways to respond which empower you and your purpose.

    • Constant Pressure - A good harasser knows that even the strongest persons get tired.  If they can organize consistent enough harassment they will eventually find you on a bad day.  The most powerful portion of this is that they don't even need to outnumber you, out argue you, or even out stubborn you.  They just have to follow the plan and hand it off to someone else when they get tired.  Some abortion clinics have dealt with constant harassment for years on end... Literally 24/7/365.

    From the start of an attrition decide if you actually care enough to deal with this.   It sucks backing down, but if the only thing keeping you from backing down is not wanting to back down, then eventually you will.  Once you figure out WHY you want to stand your ground, find allies.  Begin building your support network while you're still strong and positive.  You're going to get tired and having a plan for when you do will help immensely.  

    If you can't find a support network you need to back down.  Find a way to bow out gracefully while you're strong enough to do so.  Be a little creative here.  Make your point as you go out, not because you'll win (you won't), but because you'll feel better about getting in a good blow and perhaps your response will galvanize the people who wouldn't support you to do something the next time this group uses the same tactic in the future.  

    The leads to the annoying weed tactic.   It is a LOT of work to organize a good protest.  Smile at the harassers and inform them that they win and you'll be going away/out-of-business/whatever.  Then leave.   Once the harassers leave return/reopen and announce to the world that their win was empty.   Victories which have little meaning are dis-empowering.   Do this enough times and the organizer will have a difficult time gathering the level of support they started with.  Let them win the battle in ways which weaken their support and ultimately cause you to win the "war".

    • Large Numbers - Few things are scarier than a mob.  Facing the simmering power of 50-100 people's shared emotions is be downright terrifying.  Even if the mob is peaceful, you can NOT deal with this on your own.  Depending on your strength of will, one person can stand up to between 1 and 15 people.  Past that point you'd have to be one of the greats to do it once let alone over the course of time.  

    Closeness matters.  If all you have to do is complete a single task like passing through the crowd, three willful people can handle hundreds for a short time.  For longer sit-outs, find 1 ally for every 10 of your opponents to stay with you and you'll probably be okay.  Again bring humor or entertainment.  It takes a lot of the power out of a large crowd to see the targets of their Ire sitting comfortably in lawn chairs watching a movie laughing and acting as if they don't exist.  Extra points if you have signs saying something like "We know you hate us for being Pagan, but it's ok... we love you anyway."

    • Shout-outs - Being numerous, loud and obnoxious is a great way to interrupt normal activities and get attention.  If you make enough noise you can make it so that the other side can't have their say.  Shout-outs can even lead to the next header "peer pressure."

    Stop assuming that you need to be heard, or that they win if you change what you're doing.  It is okay for them to shout themselves hoarse while you stand there silently or even continue your activities if possible.  If you were trying to do something and they have successfully forced a change, help your allies recognize that it's okay to change plans then practice the annoying weed tactic. Move the activity to another location where you will be able to deal with the protesters.  You may even want to perform a scatter and regather to fake locations a couple times to lead the protesters on a merry chase.  Eventually you'll wear them down.  If nobody wants to work this hard and your plans are just borked, find a way to have fun now and try again some other time.  It's key to help your group feel strong about this.  Rather than being angry that your activity was interrupted, help your group feel good that they were strong in the face of adversity.

    • Peer Pressure - One of the side effects of this pressure can be to incidentally target your neighbors or other people in the area who will eventually want to get rid of you to end the harassment.  It's one thing to stand up to harassment when it's targeting you, it's another to be an innocent bystander who has to put up with it because their neighbor has enemies.

    Carefully think about the "innocent bystanders."  If you're being harassed, people who help you will be harassed too.  Deal with this problem head on by giving people an out.  Let them know that you understand if they don't want to deal with this challenge and that you'll still love them later no matter what they do.  You will probably still have a lot of people back away, but this way they'll express their emotional support before they go.  Now, rather than feeling rejected from their leaving, you'll feel like a strong warrior carrying on with the emotional support of loved ones. Be aware of the consequences before you attempt to contact someone.  An old friendly acquaintance might turn into someone who strongly dislikes you if you bring a hailstorm of property damage with you when you come.

    Remember your why.  Live your choice and understand that you are living it alone.  Allies will come and go as time goes by.  Peer pressure can be powerful. If the peer pressure is successful then stay in love and go with the flow.  

    Remember this isn't just about you and the protesters, it is about all of the people who are watching this whole thing unfold.  Consistently step back and look at the situation from an outsiders point of view.  It's amazing how often a losing battle will look like a winning war from this perspective: If the harassers are screaming and being horrible, and you are being loving, then you are building an undercurrent of support.  People may not be willing to stand up for you, but minor changes in people's perspective will eventually erode the support that the harassers started with.

    • Property Damage - This is a hard one for me.  If someone damages my stuff I REALLY want to hurt them.  I'd say to bring them to justice, but in truth I usually want to punish them.  Unfortunately, this is EXACTLY the response they are aiming for.  If they can bring you down to their level, then the smear game works and whoever whines into more ears afterwards wins.   

    You have to let go of your stuff the moment you start dealing with harassers.  Decide to disallow harassers from using it from bringing you down to anger.

    To prevent property damage, remember the power of accountability.  If you are dealing with a larger crowd that has any chance of getting nasty, work to get media there and/or begin conspicuously taking pictures and video of the whole event.  Now if there is property damage you can use the evidence to ensure that government or at least the court of public opinion is against those who damaged your property.  In America property damage is pretty universally frowned upon even by those who disagree with your position.  Even if the person who did this is never punished by doing so they have strengthened your support and deserve gratitude for that at least.

    • Basic Stupid Violence - There are two level of violence.  The first is physical harassment.  Throwing stuff, slapping at you or pushing you.   

    This can usually be dealt with by conspicuously recording the events as above.  People rarely want their position to be remembered as the "aggressors."  Remember... You give only peace.

    • Dangerous Violence - The second form of violence is the nasty one.  Someone pulls a gun, a group of people come forth to attack or the crowd riots.  

    If the rule of law still exists the best thing you can do here is run away.   If you are strong and capable, help those who aren't get away.  Violent "heroism" will turn you into someone who can be smeared.  Avoid that position by retreating.  The ONLY time you should fight is to save someone else and if you can find another way to do it then do so.  

    Always leave dangerous or deadly weapons at home.  Just a glimpse of one could cause the crowd to riot, and it will be your fault on the 6:00 news and in the courtroom!  Tasers or pepper spray are potent, and less likely to cause riots.  It is reasonable to carry these if you are dealing with violent harassers, but keep them out of site lest someone claim you started violence by brandishing them.   Only use them if lives are in danger.  Make sure everyone knows that if you have to use violence (even pepper spray or taser), you've lost the war.  However, I would rather lose the protest war than a loved ones life.  Again, cameras will be your heroes here.  If violence happens and you run (or are forced to defend someone) cameras will help the truth of the situation get out.

     

     

    The court of public opinion:  
    We're in a position where most people will disagree with us.  Luckily, we're not trying to get them to agree with us; we're trying to gain their respect and maybe even like us.  People support harassing monsters, but they think poorly of harassing nice people.  If the protesting is gentle and loving we will honor the people doing it and it will likely fade. If they are using tactics like in this article, their own actions will garner the public's dislike.  This is why we don't need to be heard.  Our kindness, gentleness and love will be apparent through any medium.

    When giving media statements remember the goal is to be likable.  Avoid arguing your position.  Sympathize with people's (including the protester's) rights to believe as they do.  In fact, celebrate the protesters effectiveness in using the very freedoms we appreciate!  Express appreciation that, in this wonderful country, we are free to live our lives as we wish as long as we don't hurt others.

    ............

    Consider the conversation opened.  This article is optimized for search and aggregators.  In a few weeks, this will be what pagans dealing with harassment will study.  Comment below and help me make sure it is the most powerful tool possible so they can handle the challenges they are dealing with!

  • 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