What people influenced my spiritual practice?

Morgan Daimer asked on FB: Who are the three most influential people (dead or living) for your current spiritual practice? (She does this- collects information for her writing using social media. i think that’s cool.)
In one response she said she was looking for ‘interwoven influences’, and predictably I got longwinded. When done, I thought it might make a blog entry.

I am very inner and experience directed, mostly my pagan thinking has been influenced from authors- early ones being Mary Renault in King must Die, and Bach with Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
But the only people I interacted with face to face that I can clearly point to changing my spiritual practice are the ones who treated me rudely when I reached out to them, and thus turning me in other directions. I actively looked for contacts for witches and pagans in the 60s and 70s, even writing addresses from the backs of books and magazines. I subscribed to Green Egg, Circle, and a lot of xeroxed and even mimeographed newsletters. Before there was the internet, I corresponded with Leo Martello (Witches Against Religious Discrimination) and Olivia Robertson (Fellowship of Isis) because that’s the only way you could find people in those days. I still didn’t get very involved because they were too far away. I looked for locals, but they always seemed too self involved (like I wasn’t?). I found most Wiccan’s silly, and couldn’t bring myself to claim “perfect love and perfect trust’.  One example of what I considered rude was in 1975, my husband and I went to visit one woman from a public contact, and when I mentioned that it was the full moon (thinking we might join her in some activity), she excused her self, and left us sitting for an hour and a half (while she did some private devotion). Too many of the Heathens I’ve met have been reactionary (and misogynistic) which turned me off their traditions. I could go on, but I’ve never actually found a group where I didn’t like many or most of the individuals, but each group as a whole irritated me. At the same time, I’ve always wanted to join almost every organization I read about; ADF, CAW, the Troth, IONS, ARE, ASD, AMORC, etc.  because of the good things about them! Such ambivalence!

I think the biggest influence on my later life was one woman (one of Laurie Cabot’s “daughters”) who had a magic shop in Milford, NH briefly, and dismissively told me that it was impossible that Kate and Frank Dalton had assembled the guests they advertised for Craftwise (in I think 2000- on a Xeroxed sheet a witch friend shared with me). Contrarian that I am, that got my back up and I went to the con- discovering the whole world of pagan conferences. I met and chatted with Isaac Bonewits, Gavin & Yvonna Frost, Oberon & Morning Glory Zell, Janet & Stewart Ferrar & Gavin Bone, Lori Bruno, and the others. Luckily, I’ve never felt that “celebrities” were anything but people who happened to have had their reputation precede them, so I’ve always felt comfortable chatting with “big names”, when I encountered them. After years of conferences, I have comfortable acquaintance with many authors and speakers, and worry that I seem to be name dropping, but the big reason I’m comfortable approaching someone is that as a (small scale) writer I often wonder if what I sent out into the big world ever actually gets read, so when I meet another writer, I want to assure them that their words have reached someone, and thank them… and I often also want to discuss some point with them.

Can I name some individuals? I really admire “Auntie Shema” and what she’s doing at A Sacred Place, and what she’s doing, but it bothers me that she needs help I can’t give. I love and admire Raven Kaldera, who has taught me a lot about shamanism- and reassured me that I am not called to be one this lifetime. I enjoyed studying Huna with Serge Kahili King in Kuai’i, but I probably got more from reading all his books. I love the folk at Earth Spirit, but am not into ritual as they are. It was at Rites of Spring I met Kirk White, Orion Foxwood, and Margot Adler, who encouraged me to write the book (I have yet to finish doing the research on), which led me to spend years studying the development of the neo-pagan movement. Charles Butler who ran Ecumenicon, and Tom and Debby Sheeley who ran Etheracon became friends and taught me a lot about running cons as well as introducing me to lots of the other folks I know now.

I also think it’s worth mentioning something Elliot Shorter said back in the 80s, …that there were only 200 people in the world because you could go to the SCA, or a Science Fiction conference, or a pagan gathering and you’d run into the same people. So true! I’ve often known people through the SCA for years before I found out they were also pagans, or SF authors (Arwen/ Jane Sibley for example, Raven Kaldera, or Kami Landi who started ConVocation- I had no clue). If I hadn’t gone to Convocation, I wouldn’t have met Rod Cox and taught RúnValdr all over the East Coast.

I think that when you read a book someone has written, you begin to feel as if you know them, possibly more than you really do. That may contribute to my ease in approaching authors. At the same time, the same confidence that I know what I’ve experienced that gave me the confidence to recognize the reality of psychic experience and other-world entities helps me approach what they’ve written as not infallible. Extensive reading (especially academic) includes watching a groundbreaking new theory become discounted- or built upon.

In all honesty, I still remember being told when I was five that the deja vu I’d just experienced yellow rose of texas dresswas not possible and I was imagining it. I remember noticing how often when I concentrated on something I wanted that it happened. I remember watching mental television on a blank wall (about the same age), and I don’t remember, but am told I shocked my aunt-to-be on her first date with my uncle with the announcement she was going to marry him. Perhaps this is why I remember having confidence that what I experienced was real. Later I remember reading in a SF book about people being able to control their body temperature, and practicing until I could do it. I remember reading about OOBs and when I managed it, being embarrassed that I could be caught “undressed” (without my body on) and slamming back into it (I also remember catching my mother’s double in the kitchen once, but being more worried about being caught out of bed than seeing through her). Did people influence me? Yes, but mostly by motivating me to go my own way, because I already trusted myself, and I was a contrary little kid.


Thoughts on Suicide

Another Celebrity has committed suicide, so people are talking about suicide again.

That’s a good thing. People should talk about it because not talking is how we avoid thinking about it. Mostly people don’t talk or think about death if they can help it. Personally, I’m thrilled to know that death is there when my body is no longer a good vehicle for getting around in! Remember the story about Eos (Dawn) and Tithonus (a prince of Troy). She loved the young hansom musician and asked Zeus to make him immortal and forgot to ask forgot eternal youth. Eventually he shriveled up and became a cricket- (the sound he makes is him asking for death). We don’t keep a car around once it no longer works, and everything else in the universe is recycled, why would we think we wouldn’t be? Body back to the earth, soul back to wherever it came from. Death is not a tragedy.

The problem with suicide is that often it can be ducking out of life before you are meant to. My understanding of how it works is that if you have a problem and commit suicide, in your next life, you’ll have the same problem, lifetime after lifetime, until you learn how to deal with it. Essentially by killing yourself, you’ve given up your “time served” and have to start over again. If there’s a problem, work through it this time if you can.

Since I’m currently studying vampire mythology, what leapt to my mind is that in folklore, Vampires are what happens to the spirits of suicides: they come back as vampires. I think this reflects the survivors guilt of the people whose loved ones commit suicide. They always feel as if there is something they could have, and should have done to prevent it.  Maybe they could, maybe they couldn’t, but it is in the nature of people to feel hurt, abandoned, angry at someone who kills himself. The Catholic Church made it a mortal sin, and wouldn’t bury the body in consecrated ground- essentially barring them from the possibility of redemption (creating vampires). (Like in the movie The Mummy, where because the priest was so bad, they cursed him with incredible power. I miss the logic.)  I can understand the survivors guilt. The people who are left behind figure if they’d tried harder, they could have made them less miserable. Possibly. Possibly not.

If they are sick, you can’t cure the disease, can you? If they are suffering from mental illness, you can’t make them not mentally ill. If they are in pain, you probably can’t make the pain go away. If they are homeless, it’s highly unlikely you can have them move in with you without making your problems too much for you to deal with. If they can’t pay their bills, you probably can’t pay them for them. Are there ANY of their problems that you really could have fixed? No one can make anyone else happy. Sometimes we are happy when around other people, but you can’t give it to someone as a present. That’s not how it works. You may love your spouse, your children, your parents, you friends, but you can’t make them happy. That’s true when they’re alive and when they die, and you probably knew that already, because there are very few of us who haven’t tried to make someone happy. People make themselves crazy trying to fix other people’s lives. (Think about how crazy people get at Christmas trying to make themselves and others happy because they’re “supposed to be happy at Christmas”) That’s the wrong path to go down.

Another thing we often forget is that sometimes we (or they) don’t have any idea what makes us happy, or even if we ARE unhappy. Diseases are often things your body uses to give you a wake up call to tell you to change your life. In a study about what people who achieved remission from cancer had done to heal themselves, they had no treatment in common. However, they all had changed their lives- changed their job, gotten out of a marriage that wasn’t working, did something to make their lives different and more fulfilling. Often we don’t know just how unhappy we are because we have all the things we THINK we should have to make us happy. Ælfwine kept saying “My life was perfect, I just want my life back.” But after two years of cancer, chemo, hospitals, bone marrow transplant, Guillain-Barré, etc. he’d had lots of time to think and told me “I think I’d rather have gone through this than spend another day working back at Global.” Took him long enough (well, too long, apparently). Cancer is just slow suicide.
So I keep thinking about the people who decide to kill themselves. Maybe they don’t know why they feel that life isn’t worth living anymore. Sometimes they do know, but can’t think of a way to change the situation. Sometimes it’s an unbearable relationship that they don’t know how to get out of. Sometimes it’s debt that they don’t know how to deal with. This is where suicide lines can help. I remember hearing about a girl who had lost everything and called one, and was told about a food kitchen a few blocks away that she’d not known about. That’s the sort of thing where we CAN help. Sometimes we just don’t know what other people know that can help us. Often it’s only information that we are missing.

The tragic suicides are when there’s a fixable problem, a temporary one. Suicide numbers are going up recently, probably because problems seem harder to solve. Working hard can’t guarantee a living wage. Media concentrates on showing us the things that are going wrong in the world. From politics to the environment, it’s hard to feel that we have any control over our lives. So when the pain gets too great, being dead seems a much better option.

Is killing ourselves too available an option? Some of these “red flag” laws have shown results that when depressed people don’t have easy access to guns, gun suicides go down, and other suicides don’t go up. This indicates to me that some of the people who shoot themselves might well change their minds if they didn’t have access to the guns. (Perhaps they couldn’t figure out access to poisons.) One thing the Netherlands has seen when they provide suicide pills to terminal patients is that most of them are never taken. The people often express that just knowing that the option is in their control soothes their pain, so they can deal with it.

Another thing I heard during recent discussions is that when people are hospitalized and released, that’s the highest risk time for suicide. What to they expect? Suicide watch may prevent them from killing themselves while under watch, and it may remove them from the immediate stresses, but if you don’t fix what’s stressing them, why would you expect them to not have the same response when you put them back into it? If their life is going to hell, it’s probably not going to be better when they go back and whatever they’d been doing to keep it under control hasn’t been handled while they were gone. The mess is bigger, the people are more stressed, the bills are still accumulating, the deadlines are closer. This is not rocket science! If you want to help, FIX the things that are going wrong before dumping them back into the chaos (with an appointment to see someone next week to talk about how crappy their life is)! I wish they respect the people enough to accept that they’ve already tried to work on the problems, and what they’ve tried didn’t work. Look for things they HAVEN’t tried, give them resources they haven’t found. If you can’t think of anything they haven’t thought of, respect their despair.

Suffering is pain without hope. Hope isn’t a feeling you can tell someone to have, it’s what happens when a new possibility is given to you, whether a therapy or a source of income that you didn’t know about, or maybe just information showing that changing some of the bad things is possible. If they’ve exhausted all their options, and you can’t give them any, respect their choice to stop playing the game, fighting the fight, or whatever analogy you want to use. It’s not like they weren’t going to die at some point anyway. We all do. The tragedy is only when we die before we finish doing what we wanted to do with our lives.

You don’t get angry with the person who dies of cancer, don’t get angry with the person who dies of an overdose or other suicide because they can’t figure out how to fix their lives, to stop hurting. If there are problems you can help with, do it. As with allergies, maybe you will always be allergic, but sometimes you can keep the cumulative exposure down to a level where the symptoms don’t overwhelm you. Maybe if you can help with something, the world won’t seem so hopeless, and the misery won’t overwhelm them.  But remember, no one can make anyone else happy. But you may be able to help them not hurt as much, and that’s not bad.



“I don’t want to be any trouble!”

One of the unspoken “side-effects” of illness, whether physical or mental, is the added stress of worrying whether one is causing problems for friends and family.

I think the short answer is “yes”, and the more accurate answer is “yes, but we think it’s worth it.” We all have perfectly healthy friends who need help occasionally, who need us to forgive when mutual plans are messed up because of something they overlooked or didn’t anticipate. In theory the sick person could always anticipate something going wrong, in which case we’d probably be annoyed with them for depriving us unnecessarily of their company, and knowing that their behavior is making their own lives harder in order to reduce inconveniencing us.

On the one hand, while we admire people trying to take care of their own problems, it can get frustrating to try to have to deal with a problem that has gotten worse when help could have kept it a minor inconvenience. At the same time, it’s too easy to criticize those who ask for help frequently. It seems a no-win situation. But as parents know that while it’s easier to do almost anything for a child, that only by letting them do it themselves (even though it takes longer, and possibly more effort for the parents), this is the way kids learn and get better, and feel good about themselves. We have to let our friends choose their own comfort levels about when to ask for help. But we also need to reassure them that needing help isn’t going to drive us away, that in balance, the extra effort having them in our lives is worth it for us.

Since they have to spend so much time and effort focusing on dealing with their problems, those problems may be the only aspect of the relationship they notice. We need to help them see past that filter, and not feel that we are keeping them around out of sympathy.

This may be why many of us are happy to push for awareness and general societal supports, from ramps to interpreters for the deaf. If we recognize the rights of all to participate in society in a useful, meaningful, and satisfying way, our whole society is better off. We benefit from the things that they can do. On a personal level, friends each have some special something that enhances our lives that makes it worth while for us to make sure that the restaurants we go to have a reasonable selection of gluten-free or vegan offerings, or even that activities are enjoyable for everyone participating. This is normal social interaction for everyone (I’m not counting the occasional narcissist who assumes that just because sports is the center of his life that everyone must enjoy it). Yes, sometimes we may want to eat Mexican, even though our best friend thinks cilantro tastes like soap, or wish we could go see fireworks, although our friend has PTSD that is triggered by loud noises. It’s a matter of scale.

There are some people who seem to think that their special circumstances entitle them to have the world, including you, rearrange itself for them. Hey, a jerk is a jerk whether they have a handicap or not, I’m not talking about that. There are mothers who still do their adult son’s laundry, but most of us achieve a better balance. I haven’t yet found a perfect answer to how to decide when to ask for or to offer help when it might make a task go faster, but make the person feel more helpless, and I think it probably each situation needs to be looked at individually.

I am getting older, and this means I sometimes have to have jars opened for me, and get help carrying heavy loads. I don’t drive after dark anymore. I don’t hear as well, nor is my memory as annoyingly good (there may be an advantage to that). All of us, unless we die young, are going to need help. And, let’s face it, not only is an old person not as cute as a baby, we’re a lot heavier, so it’s not as easy to pick up an elder as it is to change a baby’s diaper.  We’d better make ourselves pleasant enough to make it worth it to those we need help from.

There’s no answer to this one, we can only think about it, and try to be kinder to each other.

Jason Nadeau Rituals for Transformation

5-31-2017 Jason Nadeau Rituals for Transformation

Please join Tchipakkan and her guest Jason Nadeau on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 8-9 p.m. edt.

Jason is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master/Teacher, Shamanic Practitioner, and Certified Firewalk Instructor. He’s been on a spiritual path for over 20 years and has been a full-time Massage Therapist/Bodyworker/Spiritworker for over 12 years.

Want to catch this interview, call in with questions or be part of the live chat happening during every show?

We’ll be talking about rituals for transformation – everything from the simple food and water offerings to firewalks. If you are out of your teens, you know that you aren’t as you used to be. But wouldn’t you like to direct the way you change so that you become more the person you want to be than just the result of whatever life throws at you? Some sorts of transformation are in small increments, developed as habits, as a vine climbs a trellis with the sun directing its growth, some transformations are dramatic, in response to dramatic influences- as a blade is tempered in fire and under the hammer of the smith. But always, there must be direction.

Want to call in with questions or be part of the live chat happening during every show? We’d love you to phone in with questions: 619-639-4606 (live only). If you know you’re going to listen later but have a question, look on the facebook events page and leave a question there. We’ll try to answer it during the show.

Listen live at www.Liveparanormal.com on your computer, click the “Listen Live and Chat” listing under the “radio-listen/chat room” heading, and click “LISTEN HERE” next to “the New Normal”.

If you can’t tune in 8-9, Live Paranormal.com archives its shows by date, and I archive them by date, guest, and topic on my website: https://tchipakkan.wordpress.com/the-new-normal/directory-of-podcasts/

Hope you can join Jason and me tomorrow night from 8-9 at the New Normal on liveparanormal.com



Holidays and Rituals

You may have noticed that I enjoy holidays. I like that they remind us of good things we may fail to appreciate in our daily lives, (or, in the case of awareness days, of the bad things others need to deal with), and that they bring us together. As I write, today is Firefly Day, (4-24) where fans of the short lived SF TV show share their fandom, or Douglas Adams Day, where people carry a towel, or Talk like a Pirate Day, or yesterday where Dr. Who fans made tally marks on their arms.

These actions being done by people who may not know each other, may help each other find other people who have something in common with them. Unlike sports fans, who can assume that those in the stadium with them are also fans, they are more like the early Christians who could identify each other with drawing two curving lines- representing the “Jesus fish”- that could be drawn in dust or spilled wine and then wiped away unnoticed by those not in on the symbolism. Masons have secret handshakes, and gangs have “colors”. We want to know that we are part of a special group.

Humans have a need for community, a need to show solidarity, to feel part of a group. We reinforce this with rituals, a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order” with the intent of creating a desired result, whether a shared goal or simply to know who the others who share your goals are.

Being part of the community was natural when most people stayed their whole lives in the same town. It used to be that people could assume that everyone they saw was like them, thought the same, did the same things. In the modern world we have lost that (perhaps false sense of) security. Currently 17.7% of Americans go to church weekly, which is still above the 5.5% of Americans who are regular football spectators (although much less than the 13-30% fandom numbers in other countries from Europe to Australia). On the other hand, over 21% of Americans got to baseball games, more than Church services. But that still leaves four out of five of us not having church or sports to provide a sense of being “inside a group”. So we show signals to our own groups- those who are in the same fandoms as we are, who love what we love, think what we think.

And to share a holiday, to do something together (even if with others scattered across the whole world) is to share a ritual. Whether you are pausing for a moment of silence to remember the victims of the Shoah, or the Armenian Genocide, or whether you are carrying a towel or wearing a lilac on May 25th, you are doing something that creates a connection between you and your community- even if it is a community in minds rather than proximity of bodies.

Our world is different, our friendships are maintained not by working elbow to elbow, but by being in contact often through modern technology. So it makes sense that our rituals and holidays would be done the same way.

The Wild Hunt on the New Normal

Listen to Tchipakkan on the New Normal Wednesday night (November 30th) from 8 to 9 pm edt. as she talks about Ghost Armies.

From earliest times, there have been reports of groups of specteral entities, often in the sky, often dangerous to encounter, although not always, commonly called the Wild Hunt, and associated with the dark time of the year. These reports have continued in every period, up to the modern song Ghostriders in the Sky. One might even include Santa Claus as a part of this tradition, especially when some of the earliest versions were also bringers of gifts and blessings.

Tchipakkan will talk about many of these traditions- please join us and call in with questions and stories: 619-639-4606

If you miss the show, we’ll post the link to the archive here for you to listen later.

The Wild (or Infernal) Hunt, Herlaþing, Hounds of Annwn, Wilde Jagd, Noisy Riders, in folklore are tales of an army of spirits who could be heard passing on winter nights, and if directly encountered was dangerous to body and soul. From souls of sinners or unbaptized babes to pagan gods, these were objects of horror, pity and danger, or at least contact with the divine. I’ll try to cover as many versions as I can, from the Benadanti through the cursed huntsmen, to the Krampus connection.


To listen live: open a window on your computer to http://www.Liveparanormal.com, sign in, and click on Shows, and the New Normal to listen. To listen later at your convenience, shows are archived by date on LiveParanormal.com here, and they’re organized by date, topic and guest on Tchipakkan.com .

My thoughts on “scary looking guns”

A friend shared a quote by Ronald Regan: 51549bd932c087b912f126ded42467c0
I’m not sure I agree about that.
I think the concept is that the second amendment was aimed at making sure that people (like themselves) could resist when the government tried to enforce unacceptable laws by using armies. The amendment specifies militias- like the men who fought the British Army at Lexington and Concord. The American Revolution was an armed rebellion. Thus, the second amendment was not to protect your home from cat burglars, but from armies.
ferguson_police_riot_gear_812_ap_img3At that time, the armies were men with rifles and bayonets, and sometimes cannons. In honesty, since the army now fights wars with weapons that cost millions of dollars each, the army is not powered by the infantry and cannot be resisted with weapons you can keep in your home. No matter how much you have, the military will have more. And these days, when they buy a bigger, shinier toy, they sell off their old ones to the police, so THEY have bigger weapons than home-owners can have. Millions of Americans have the AR-15, a semi automatic (one shot per trigger pull), against true military weaponry we are smears on the pavement, if they don’t choose to use explosives. So the quote is not applicable. While it is legal to have an AK 47 in the USA, it must be modified so that it is, in fact, NOT a “machine gun”, it cannot be automatic, but semi-automatic. These laws have been in place for decades.
I do believe that it is reasonable to have background checks, proficiency checks, inspections, that firearms should be stored safely, pretty much what goes for automobiles. I don’t believe that these laws will keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, or people who get so upset or are so filled with hate that they misuse them. Won’t happen. I also don’t think that whatever the framers of the Bill of Rights intended, that we have a snowball’s chance in hell of resisting the government with firepower. The only chance we have to protect our rights are working together in great numbers and denying attempts by the government to change the laws in ways we don’t like.
Sadly, a LOT people are made very uncomfortable about some of the changes that are happening in the modern world. They would rather have Jim Crow Laws, and anti-Gay laws. They want the right to maximize their profits even if it means others starve or people or the environment is injured. That’s why we have government, to protect the rights of those without power.
I don’t think that an armed civilian force will scare the military industrial complex into rational behavior. Had the Jews shot back and not been willing to go into the Ghettos, could they have avoided the Holocaust? I doubt it. I think that they would have had the media convince most people that they were dangerous and would have been killed more quickly. This issue is a smoke screen. Like so many other political arguments we should look past it and look at what the real issues are.
People die when people are allowed- even encouraged to hate. If there were no bullets, they’d use machetes- like they did in Ruanda. Let’s work on the hate, not the style of guns.


Kirsten Houseknect

I’ve asked Kirsten Houseknect back for more talk about Tarot. Kirsten Houseknect

This time she’ll be pointing out how there are correspondences between cards in the major and minor arcanas, which allow the cards to mention the same thing more than once in a reading, which allows us to get more clairity.

Kirsten studied Tarot both Formally with teachers, and informally with self study for many years. After researching the symbols and number meanings used in the original Tarot images of the “Rider waite” deck, she finally moved past the difficulty of reading the minor arcana, AND found new ways to get overall answers from a spread.

Miss the show? the archive is here: http://tobtr.com/s/8966449

Please join Tchipakkan and Kirsten on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, 6-8-16, 8-9 p.m. edt.

Please call in with any stories or questions: 619-639-4606

If you want to listen to the earlier show with Kirsten, it’s archived here:  http://tobtr.com/s/8869809  To listen live: open a window on your computer to http://www.Liveparanormal.com, sign in, and click on Shows, and the New Normal to listen. To listen later at your convenience, shows are archived by date on LiveParanormal.com here, and they’re organized by date, topic and guest on Tchipakkan.com .


Maryalyce Merrit how to Manifest Abundance

If you missed the live show, it’s archived here: http://tobtr.com/s/8803761

Please join Tchipakkan and Maryalyce on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, May 4th, 8-9 p.m. est. as we talk about how to get what we want (not what we fear).
Everything in the world has an energy or vibration, and by using the inherant properties of everything from crystals to herbs to times of day or season, we can work with the flow, not against it.Akasha's Journey shelves
Let’s discuss abundance! For some of us, this is the beginning of vending season, we’ll talk about how to tap into the energy of abundance and not get stuck in the scarcity mindset out of fear. We will discuss essential oils, deities, stones, herbs, and runes that you can work with to bless your cash box, cash, and vending set up. How to use “self talk” to avoid sabotaging ourselves. Do you have your own business? For those in less seasonal, or more “mundane” jobs, we can cover things we can do to make check books, atm cards, & pay stubs into magickal charms to power your move toward positive goals.
Do you need help with your techniques? Do you have experiences to share, something that’s worked for you?
Please call in with any stories or questions: 619-639-4606

“She changes everything she touches and everything she touches changes”

Cody-and-MaryAlyce_face0Maryalyce (aka Akasha’s Heart) has been practicing witchcraft and the magickal arts since 1994. She is an ordained minister, priestess, ritualist, writer, teacher, and healer. She is a member of the Hands On Trade Association, is a Reiki Master Instructor and Practitioner, Advanced Level IET Practitioner, Run Valdr Instructor and Practitioner, and teacher of such things like reading Tarot and Medicine Cards, Introduction to Wicca, Introduction to Witchcraft, Witch-Crafting (making magickal tools), How to Organize/Construct/Lead Rituals, and others. With her passion for just about all things esoteric, metaphysical, astrological, and deeply spiritual, she decided to follow her soul’s journey to feed, educate, and empower the world community. This may be in the form of oracle readings for seekers, healing sessions, healing circles, or Reiki instruction among others. As a dog lover, she extends this healing to not only dogs, but other animals and familiars as well. Maryalyce is an ABCDT Certified Dog Trainer, and she and her rescued dog, Cody, are a registered Delta Society Pet Partner therapy team. Akasha’s Journey has evolved from the same passion for magickal living and crafting tools and items for people and their pets to assist them on their own journeys. Part of Maryalyce’s dream is to make healing & learning how to heal accessible to the community and the people who truly desire it, and of course, the beautiful animals who cannot ask for it themselves.
Come visit me and begin your transformation. The joy is in the journey. www.akashasjourney.com

To listen live: open a window on your computer to www.Liveparanormal.com, sign in, and click on Shows, and the New Normal to listen. To listen later at your convenience, shows are archived by date on LiveParanormal.com here, and they’re organized by date, topic and guest on Tchipakkan.com .

Presumption and the Golden Rule

There are words we don’t use these days: Condole, Condescend, Presume. Perhaps we should not be so ready to give them up. Condole is a great word meaning to try to help someone who is grieving. Condescend is to be nice to someone when you don’t have to be. I think we should do more of both of these things. Presume is something I think we should do less, and by not using the word we attempt to deny that the behavior is a problem. I think it is.

There’s a difference between Presume and Assume. We have all heard the “witticism” that “Assume makes an Ass of You and Me”, but to assume something is to simply take limited information and extend it to make a decision based on the facts you’ve got seen through the filter of your experience. This is not a bad thing. The phrase is as odious as “there is no I in T-E-A-M”, but it is a good idea to remember that an assumption is only a working hypothesis, and you need to collect more information before you can be sure of your course of action.

However, presumption goes beyond assumption; it implies that not only are you making an assumption, you are making the assumption to your own benefit, taking up responsibilities and privileges that you have not been officially granted.  In the Victorian world one could say “You presume, sir.” and it would be understood that the offender was assuming a level of intimacy, or a class to which the speaker did not accept he was entitled. (The very word “entitled” encompasses a set of rights and obligations that are bundled with a title, and the obligations cannot be ignored any more tha the rights.) In modern America we attempt to leave class-ism behind us, and grant that each person has intrinsic worth, not defined by their birth or “station in life”. However a great deal of sexism, racism, and other prejudice continues to be based upon our assumptions that WE are better than some set of THEY. Our manners our better, our education is better, our ethics are better.

Because we are all “equal”, and we “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”, we are making the assumption that we all want the same things. The most cursory observation of humans will show that this is not true. Because a man finds a woman attractive and would like to have sex with her does not in any way suggest that she would reciprocate that sentiment. To make that assumption is presumptuous. Because the idea of being waited on by eager servitors is appealing to some, does not mean that those who we assume are there to help us would take the enjoyment in it that we would take in being helped (likewise, some are very uncomfortable being helped, so we cannot use our preferences to predict those of the rest of the world). In embracing the presumption of “equality” and “fraternity”, we find ourselves with salespeople who have been trained to use our first names. They are taught that by stepping into the role of a close friend, we will treat them as one and extend the trust that we would extend a friend, so that they may then sell us whatever it is that they are pedaling. I fear that this alteration in the definition of friendship has led to devaluation of what a friend is. The use of the term BFF (Best Friends Forever) acknowledges that a normal “friend” is not the same as the true friend (who will help you move, or, as the joke goes, move bodies).

Just as I would require a close relationship before I would have sex with someone else, I require some significant interaction to build trust before I am willing to bestow the title “friend” upon another person. The assumption is that most people in modern American culture are willing to extend that term to anyone with whom they are acquainted (and not actually feuding). Trust is based on knowledge, and modern friendship “assumes” that everyone out there will treat you as a friend. I think that most of us don’t actually make that assumption about “everyone”. There are privileges one extends to friends beyond what one grants a stranger or acquaintance. You don’t accept a stranger walking into your house, even if you have friends you know well enough that you’d rather not bother go open the door for them. There are people with whom you’ll share food, others you’ll even share a fork or glass. Different levels of friendship will distinguish with whom you exchange gifts, or how much money or what kinds of tools you’ll loan them. There are people you’ll hug, and others with whom you shake hands. You share different levels of personal information with people at different levels of intimacy, and that is based on trust. Trust is based on a larger amount of information. Casual friends you can be confident that they won’t embarrass you if you go someplace public with them, close friends you can tell your problems and know that they won’t use your weaknesses to hurt you later.

The French have a term “tutoi” that means to speak with someone in a familiar way. In French there are formal and informal pronouns, and one only uses the informal “tu” with close friends, and the more formal “vous” for others. We used to have that in English as well, the term thee or thou was only used with those with whom one was intimate- hence it’s continued use when speaking to God, because one was as intimate with God as one was with a lover. However, one also used it when speaking to children or servants, because they had no social standing, and so needed no honorific. Quakers adopted using Thee for everyone to indicate that everyone was equal in the eyes of God. The rest of us simply started using the more respectful “you” for everyone, granting them the honorific formal pronoun. We no longer use that distinction in English, which may be a good thing. Considering how prickly we can be, someone who used the “intimate” form of address to suggest closeness might easily be assumed to be suggesting that the one he spoke to was being demeaned. (As I do when a saleswoman calls me “dearie” or uses my first name.)

Anyone who claims the “familiarity” of being my friend, anyone who enters my home, and helps himself to my stuff Presumes. He (or she) is helping himself to something to which he has no right, which she has not earned. We have attempted to create a world in which humans can expect certain things simply by “right of being human”. However, all rights come bundled with duties. Your entitlement to respect and courtesy requires that you behave in a respectful way to others. If you abrogate that responsibility you presume upon my good will, and frankly, it doesn’t extend that far.