The busy network administrator Lusty Pagans Stonehenge, a ritual circle Ponders unfathomable culture

Magick, Pagan And Wicca Definitions

I consider myself candid, opinionated and well-meaning.

Please do NOT read this topic if you offend easily.

Copyright 2003-2016, 2018-2019 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.

This webpage is a 07/10/2019 update of the Internet newsgroup periodic messages titled "Definitions for Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/ Two/ Three/ Four/ Five of Five Parts)" and "A Reference List for Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/ Two/ Three of Three Parts)" that I provided until 01/2005. My The Pagan Sabbats And Their History webpage and my Pagan Books And Films webpage supplement this webpage.

IMO sexuality is an integral part of magick, Paganism and Wicca. My neo-Tantra Definitions webpage supplements this webpage.

I can visualize a person reading this webpage periodically wrinkling their nose and thinking This discussion is not politically correct! My goal is not to offend; instead my goal is to understand. IMO understanding is good.

I originally heard the word Wicca from an acquaintance's chance utterance. I started reading books, participating in Internet newsgroup discussions and reinterpreting events [both current and over fifty years past (my father's life)] occurring around me. In a blundering solitary manner I accumulated knowledge of magick, Paganism and Wicca. I found no definitive texts; I found no mentors; the solitary Wiccan path was slow, confusing and totally lacking candor. I began writing my magick-, Pagan- and Wicca-related Internet newsgroup periodic messages hoping other interested parties would find my experience and opinions enlightening. I stopped providing these magick-, Pagan- and Wicca-related messages after 01/2005 because AOL dropped their Internet newsgroup coverage. Nobody contacted me concerning their absence. Each reader must judge if this reflects No news is good news (apathy) or Good riddance.

Why do I provide this information? Before offering these definitions I must state that I am not a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist. Learning details about Paganism and Wicca has cost me (and continues to cost me) much time and trouble that not committed prospective Wiccan novices can avoid by reading my webpage. Another reason I provide these definitions is the flood of negativism I observe practically everywhere. It appears that everybody has a license to criticize and complain, but few make societal positive contributions.

Definitions:

A) Magick is goal-oriented use of Chaos, different than magic which refers to stage magic (prestidigitation). Not empowered people historically have employed magick to further their goals. 21st Century viewers enjoy superheroes and enjoy Harry Potter because viewers can suspend disbelief and can imagine themselves similarly empowered.

21st Century empowerment-seeking magick IMO usually is economic and motivational (psychological) instead of mystical. Economics controls resources (often somebody else's assets or time) and motivation seeks cooperation. Without usable resources there is no empowerment, there are no achievable goals and magick is not needed. 21st Century magickians' goals IMO often are managerial, and utilizing a politically correct motivational strategy often costs less than a forceful strategy. The 1975 Pagan classic film The Wicker Man starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland depicts the connection between magick and economics: the magick rituals are intended to reverse economic disaster (a crop failure). [BTW, all agrarian festivities are not Pagan festivities. I find similarities between the Pagan festivities depicted in The Wicker Man and the Dutch Christian festivities described in author Alistair MacLean's c1969 novel Puppet on a Chain.] And Aldous Huxley's Utopian classic novel Brave New World IMO is a flawed example of the necessary connection between psychology and economics. Huxley's affluent society apparently is psychologically adjusted perfectly but has no economic foundation: no entity manufactures their commodities. IMO widespread impoverishment would destroy Brave New World's psychologically perfect adjustment.

Pagan rituals attempt to reverse crop failure on a remote Scottish isle

Magick is based strongly in human sexuality. Human sexuality can be a magickal goal, but human sexuality often is employed chaotically to achieve different goals. Human fertility magick and agricultural fertility magick are religion for Wiccans, and some Wiccans believe that fertility (not human sexuality) is Wicca's goal. Wicca primarily is a Goddess-worshiping religion: Mother is one of the Wiccan Goddess's three personae, and women who treasure their fertility are common among Wiccans. In The Great Recession's Wake, many women former workers (and many women military veterans) IMO will seek their second career as mothers and as housewives. Later facing competition from younger women, many of these women never will return to the workplace.

Magick sometimes is described as being dark magick or light magick. Dark magick (sometimes called left-handed magick) tends to be obscuring, domineering and obstructing chaotic magick employed with little regard for ethics or morality. [Deliberately misleading pre-election political advertisements are a chaotic dark magick example.] Dark magick often is associated with satanism and recently has gained popularity. Light magick (sometimes called right-handed magick) tends to be illuminating, clarifying, non-interfering and empowering benign magick.

Magick sometimes is described as being Low Magick or High Magick. Low Magick typically denotes simple magick spells performed by individuals. High Magick typically denotes magick ceremonial rituals performed by groups. Complexity and the number of participants both distinguish Low Magick from High Magick. High Magick's ritual tools and complexity focus and strengthen magick, while High Magick's ritual group participation focuses individuals' magick powers into one coherent force. Back to definitions list

B) Chaos is a generic term that can describe global warfare, a tsunami or hurricane, a defiant union's labor strike or a squealing infant. Magickians utilize chaos and sometimes deliberately create chaos to achieve their own goals: e.g., the so-called Watergate plumbers incorporated IMpractical jokes into their operations. We make little things go wrong IMO always is a bad omen.

Bedeviling successful people is a social protest popular form; I call this process chaotic attack. In the 1997 film The Game financier Michael Douglas has a chaotic family history; and when his ne'er-do-well brother Sean Penn hires a commercial chaotic attack squad to bedevil his brother's workaholic life, Michael Douglas is driven towards ruination. In the 1983 film Trading Places, bored mentors bedevil rising star commodities trader Dan Ackroyd: the mentors' agent hires streetwalker Jamie Lee Curtis to mischievously break Ackroyd's engagement to his preppy fiance; and the mentors' agent plants evidence to get Ackroyd fired from his job and shunned by preppy society. And the 1994 film Disclosure starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore depicts a woman manager new arrival employing chaotic attack to displace her male rival.

Cinematic depictions of chaotic attack

Magickians often allude to physics, stating that magick is phenomena not yet understood by physicists. A. E. van Vogt's c1945 science fiction classic novel The World of Null-A depicts chaos from a physical sciences perspective. Gilbert Gosseyn undergoes two incarnations, gaining abilities and understanding at reincarnation. (Gosseyn's third incarnation is destroyed prematurely by others, leaving Gosseyn II to cope unprepared.) Adversaries burden Gosseyn II with an ever-present companion: a distracting robotic disrupter. (Alluding to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle from physics,) Gosseyn II can control the disrupter or he can concentrate on his surroundings, but Gosseyn II cannot do both simultaneously. And the uncontrolled disrupter chaotically changes Gosseyn II's surroundings and hinders Gosseyn II's return. The 21st Century robotic disrupter equivalent IMO is an interfering gossipy human tattletale whose constant annoyance prevents a person from concentrating on their own life goals, and whose gossiping and tattling ruin a person's good reputation. Similarly, author Lauren Stratford's c1988 confused autobiography Satan's Underground: The Extraordinary Story of One Women's Escape depicts the post-sex-cult impoverished relationship between Ms. Stratford and her ever-present controlling spirit guide.

Chaos Magick often exploits victims' inability to combat chaos. A person or a group making deliberate repeated insults (or making repeated threats) is another Chaos Magick example. Like a mob stoning an individual with pebbles, each insult's / threat's significance is minimal but the cumulative effect is tiring and demoralizing. I equate deliberate repeated insults and threats to Chaos Magick because no good response exists. IMO a civilized victim is somewhat powerless to respond, and walking away is the best response. Yet the resulting psychological intimidation causes personal uncertainty, mental distraction and confusion. Repeated episodes gradually ruin the victim's concentration, impair mental and (fatigued) physical performance, encourage apathy and potentially lead to unhealthy dysfunctional behavior; i.e., self-reinforcing chaos. The 1995 film The Net depicts such a chaotic attack upon Sandra Bullock; the goal is total erasure. Spoken flippantly, deliberate repeated insults and threats could drive a wo/man to drink (or worse).

Most people are familiar reactively with the so-called Murphy's Law: Whatever can go wrong, will! Chaos Magickians utilize Murphy's Law proactively: Let's make an emergency so we can control it! Chaos Magickians deliberately create problem-filled situations and chaotic environments. The Chaos Magickian's long-term goal is to force the (time, stamina and resource) exhausted victim to submit to the Chaos Magickian's purpose. War is goal-oriented deliberate physical chaos causing mayhem and destruction; so-called civil wars reflect and reinforce internal social chaos. And international economic boycotts are punishments that create societal impoverishment, infrastructure disrepair and environmental ugliness.

Mentally- and emotionally-taxing Chaos Magick is more subtle. Deliberately introduced chaos IMO is particularly effective in controlling scholarly environments. The Chaos Magickian's strategy is Conform, or punitive annoyances and deliberate interruptions will destroy your mental concentration and will end your scholarly achievement! My physician acquaintance muses about laboratory classes ruined because pre-med competitive students maliciously cough into each other's petri dishes.

Recognizing that stupidity and ignorance cause chaos IMO is healthy. Stupid (not capable of learning) and ignorant (poorly educated or naive) people often react chaotically. Therapy often teaches coping skills (non-inflammatory scripted responses for troubling situations), and most people solve troubling situations by discussion. Yet people encounter troubling situations that no amount of discussion seems to solve, and some people ignore troubling situations completely. Problem avoidance IMO seldom achieves problem solution. When faced with an apparently non-solvable social problem, IMO a person should question if the problem will move on, and should question if the underlying cause is deliberate chaotic intention or non-curable stupidity. (Never attribute to malice what can be explained by ignorance or greed.) The only cure I know for non-curable stupidity is Walk away! And seeking greener pastures (perhaps in your own backyard) IMO does not equate to retreat.

In Chapter XXI (OF BLACK MAGIC; OF THE MAIN TYPES OF THE OPERATIONS OF MAGICK ART; AND OF THE POWERS OF THE SPHINX, Part III) of MAGICK In Theory And Practice, Aleister Crowley describes chaos as an integral part of magick:

[Beginning of excerpt]
The operations of Magick art are difficult to classify, as they merge into each other, owing to the essential unity of their method and result. We may mention:

1. Operations such as evocation, in which a live spirit is brought from dead matter.

2. Consecrations of talismans in which a live spirit is bound into "dead" matter and vivifies the same.

3. Works of divination, in which a live spirit is made to control operations of the hand or brain of the Magician. Such works are accordingly most dangerous, to be used only by advanced magicians, and then with great care.

4. Works of fascination, such as operations of invisibility, and transformations of the apparent form of the person or thing concerned. This consists almost altogether in distracting the attention, or disturbing the judgment, of the person whom it is wished to deceive (e.g., so-called whirling, this comment and italics added). There are, however, "real" transformations of the adept himself which are very useful. See the Book of the Dead for methods. The assumption of God-Forms can be carried to the point of actual transformation.

5. Works of Love and Hate, which are also performed (as a rule) by a fascination. These works are too easy; and rarely useful. They have a nasty trick of recoiling on the magician.

6. Works of destruction, which may be done in many different ways. One may fascinate and bend to one's will a person who has of his own right the power to destroy. One may employ spirits or talismans. The more powerful magicians of the last few centuries have employed books.

...

7. Works of creation and dissolution, and the higher invocations. There are also hundreds of other operations; to bring wanted objects -- gold, books, women and the like; to open locked doors, to discover treasure; to swim under water; to have armed men at command (italics added) -- etc., etc. All these are really matters of detail; the Adeptus Major will easily understand how to perform them if necessary.
[End of excerpt]

Crowley's seven items IMO are chaotic attacks. Crowley's item 1 recalls daemons or departed spirits using magickal tools, talismans or necromancy; e.g., recalling an earlier victim with the incantation You got the prints but I kept the photographic negatives. Crowley's item 2 binds a daemon or departed spirit's magickal power into a magickal tool or talisman; e.g., preserving a wineglass bearing somebody else's fingerprints to plant deliberately at a crime scene. Crowley's somewhat melodramatic item 7 to have armed men at command often is accomplished by (nuisance) calls to the police; to the IRS (alleging tax fraud); and to social workers, health inspectors, building inspectors or even to the ASPCA. Nuisance calls to another's (local or distant) family members (e.g., your mom) is another chaotic attack. Most street gangs do not read Aleister Crowley, yet some single mothers motivate their fatherless sons to revenge: the Razor Boy (i.e., Raise Her Boy) lyrics on Steely Dan's 1973 album Countdown To Ecstasy illuminate this Momma's posse decades-old social problem. And Momma's posse younger members repeatedly can wreak havoc in school locker rooms and aboard school buses. Back to definitions list

C) The greeting Blessed Be IMO is a potentially chaotic mixed blessing. Blessed Be can denote the benign wish May your attempts at pregnancy be successful. Blessed Be(e) also can denote the pin used to poke holes in a sealed condom package seeking to force subsequent marriage, an act that either partner can initiate. (Seeking marital financial empowerment can motivate this action; sexually transmitted diseases can complicate this action.) A less common Blessed Be(e) interpretation is the tattoo needle used to mark initiates who complete their apprenticeship and who become Wiccan Coven or Pagan Family full members.

Another Blessed Be interpretation IMO is Blessed One, submit to the Goddess's will (i.e., matrimony, or joining a Wiccan Coven or Pagan Family) or I hope that your partner / significant other submits to the Goddess's will. These interpretations are similar to Islamic tradition: the English language word Islam translates as Submit to the will of Allah. Wicca and Paganism are Goddess / fertility / motherhood religions and IMO men often do not comprehend women's strong feelings about motherhood. Yet most people know somebody who sought religious strength during difficult times and who ultimately left behind their nonreligious family and friends.

I discuss motherhood as a career because IMO recent attitudes about motherhood reflect post-WWII Western affluent society. As evidenced by Upton Sinclair's classic novel The Jungle and by John Steinbeck's classic novel The Grapes Of Wrath, less than 100 years ago there were no government-provided welfare benefits, no compulsory education for children and no child labor laws. IMO motherhood was not a full-time occupation in this Western impoverished earlier society. My own Saint Louis Missouri 1970s neighborhood included one family who expected all of their children [upon completing eighth grade (the statutory required minimum education)] to work a full-time job and to pay room and board. Career prospects are poor in The Great Recession's Wake while college graduates' educational loans (averaging over $35,000 for the graduating class of 2015) block obtaining additional individual credit: roughly half of all student loans currently in repayment are either past due, in default, in forbearance or being accommodated by one of the government's many relief programs. Many women consider pregnancy the path to financially-empowering marriage, but motherhood might not be enjoyable in a poor economy and women often prefer other women as cost-sharing social partners.

Scene from June 2010 Saint Louis Pagan Picnic; the individual with a cane is female.

IMO care of infirm senior citizens and care of foster children are related issues. A Foster Grandparents social services program is advertised heavily in my locale, usually featuring photographs of infirm senior citizens paired with energetic somber young foster children; and social groups actively promote foster child acceptance. This program encourages placing homeless children into seniors' residences and the program offers several benefits to low-income infirm foster grandparents: companionship; a foster parent's monthly allowance; and an energetic helper to augment the foster grandparent's age-weakened arms and legs. The Foster Grandparents social services program offers an alternative to expensive nursing home senior care, the child physically helps the foster grandparent to continue living independently, and these financial and physical issues respond to the objections I do that job myself! and / or I already have one of those! But becoming a foster grandparent remains the senior citizen's decision: senior citizens would not respond well to the societal attitude We want old grandparents to raise our children so that we are absolutely free to achieve our full potential!

Advocating foster children as willing helpers is not a new idea

Foster grandparents face discipline potential problems when adolescent foster children begin asserting personal independence. Author Henry Fielding's classic novel Tom Jones and director Tony Richardson's Oscar-winning 1963 Best Picture Tom Jones starring Albert Finney and Susannah York depict foster lifestyles in a charming unfettered manner, but truly bad situations (such as the situation depicted in the 2000 film Original Sin starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie) IMO remind a person why Dogs are man's best friend. Author Jennifer Toth's narrative Orphans of the Living: Stories of America's Children in Foster Care highlights problems within America's foster care system and discusses foster child psychology. Jennifer Toth's narratives are not as grim as Charles Dickens' economic deprivation novels (e.g., Oliver Twist, A Tale Of Two Cities, Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol) or as optimistic as the Great Expectations 1998 US film adaptation starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft and Robert De Niro. In any case, The Great Recession's Wake will not alleviate overcrowding in foster care underfunded institutions.

Literature and cinematic depictions of orphan amorality

Quartering dispossessed people IMO is a significant related issue. More than 6 million home mortgage foreclosures have completed since the US real estate bubble burst, while the number of cost-burdened and severely-cost-burdened renters (rent consumes 30+% and 50+% of household income, respectively) stands at 43 million and 11.4 million households, almost 55 million households total. Extended families are a military, rural and immigrant tradition: these families expect that aunts, uncles and grandparents will assist raising (and sometimes quartering) their children. Yet today the extended family expectation is becoming generic: dispossessed people often group into ersatz families (i.e., survival social teams) that live somewhat communally. And dispossessed people increasingly expect unrelated outsiders to join their ersatz families as ersatz grandparents; i.e., to provide a bed-and-board safety net to acquaintances experiencing financial difficulty. Simultaneously, families with many children increasingly look to outsiders for educational subsidy. These expectations IMO somewhat ignore personalities: people equipped to offer shelter or educational subsidy often are deliberately solo. Charity is not affordable when charity involves people whose unrelated life experience has made them troubled or bitter. And clever or coercive ploys designed to shame or to frighten IMO do not improve this situation.

Faced with coercive charity requests, people's initial reactions are benign neglect (minimum decency); if the coercive attempts become forceful, people's reactions degrade into avoidance. In The Great Recession's Wake there is less discretionary income and IMO donors increasingly will empower their preferred charities, while charities relying upon politically correct guilt or coercion will lose empowerment and their clients will suffer. FWIW, on several occasions my unwillingness to donate to street panhandlers has elicited the response That's riot!

Having children might not be affordable in a poor economy where dispossessed people increasingly look to outsiders for a social safety net and for educational subsidy. Blessed Be IMO does not encourage or reward personal high achievement. Motherhood might be a woman's chosen (second?) career, but child-raising does not create prosperity. Child-raising provides emotional rewards, but children are financial and sometimes physical burdens (e.g., on the bus). Back to definitions list

D) Historically the word craftsman (and its modern variant craftsperson) has referred to a perfectionist whose work is beyond reproach: chaos-free. Ironically those who practice chaos magick often are said to practice The Craft (witchcraft). Back to definitions list

E) According to Scott Cunningham's well-regarded text Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner (pg. 63), the eight seasonal sabbats are days of power. Four sabbats coincide with Solstices and Equinoxes (the beginnings of the four seasons), and the other four sabbats are based upon ancient folk festivals, including festivals from the ancient Middle East.

Within her text Inside A Witches' Coven Ms. Edain McCoy states (pg. 140) that the origin of the word sabbat is the Greek verb sabatu meaning rest. IMO the word sabbat also shares linguistic roots with the Hebrew word shabbath [to rest; (i.e., Sabbath, a period of rest)].

Some Covens perform no magick during sabbats, using sabbats as occasions for rest and rejoicing. Other Covens view sabbats as a time for powerful (often fertility) magick. Whether magick is performed during a sabbat celebration depends upon a Coven's Tradition.

Some Pagan modern traditions de-emphasize the eight seasonal sabbats, instead scheduling their ritual celebrations on full moon weekends. The Pagan High Priest/ess often specifies Pagan pairings in advance of each ritual celebration and the pairings continue between celebrations.

And this practice is spreading to non-Pagans. In The Great Recession's Wake increasingly I observe non-Pagan unmarried couples choosing to pair temporarily. These pairings continue from full moon to full moon, the couple is a social pair during this period, and the male partner underwrites the female partner's expenses (beyond dating expenses) during this period. When the next full moon approaches the couple can decide jointly to extend their pairing arrangement (including social and financial negotiated obligations), or the couple can decide to dissolve the pairing.

This pairing arrangement reflects financial stress during The Great Recession's Wake: some men cannot afford to get engaged or married; and some women need financial assistance. I have no direct experience with these month-long arrangements, but (shortly after my second divorce) my paid escort dating experience makes me leery of a month-long financial arrangement. Paid escort dates (and temporary partners) are chosen primarily for attractiveness; the couple might have little mutual interest and the pairing might be culturally not compatible. A person shrugs it off when a mismatch occurs on an evening's paid escort date, but a month-long mismatch (with financial accompanying obligation) IMO could be devastating. (An outbound partner has no motivation to economize.)

Also see my The Pagan Sabbats And Their History webpage. Back to definitions list

F) The Wiccan Rede is the best-known Wiccan tenet. Depending upon the Tradition that one follows, the Rede might be a binding rule, the Rede might be considered advice or the Rede might be ignored.

The most common statement of the Wiccan Rede is An ye harm none, do what ye will. I have observed several different (Wiccan Tradition-dependent) interpretations of this eight-word statement -- the words harm, none, do and will all are subject to interpretation. An obvious example: Does harm none refer to members of the given Wiccan Coven, to members of the given Wiccan Tradition, to all Wiccans or to humanity? Furthermore, I have observed statements of the Wiccan Rede (excerpted later) that ramble for pages like a legal contract. And I have observed Wiccan Traditions that completely ignore the Wiccan Rede. I am not comfortable with all Traditions' Wiccan Rede interpretations.

There are many valid Wiccan paths. Gardnerian Wicca was the first Wiccan Tradition but many other Wiccan Traditions exist. The Gardnerian Tradition reflects 1950s British socioeconomic culture. Gardnerian Wicca was initiated by upper-income British who were able to hire low- and middle-income servants. Servants led a much different life than their prosperous masters, a difference depicted in the BBC / PBS television series Upstairs, Downstairs (this title refers to the different lifestyles in the servants' upstairs quarters versus the masters' downstairs quarters) and a difference also depicted by British comedian Benny Hill. With income increased inequality and prosperity increased loss during The Great Recession's Wake, 21st Century US society IMO increasingly resembles 1950s British society.

Many prospective Wiccan novices IMO would find the traditional year-and-a-day apprenticeship not acceptable if that apprenticeship was mandatory and unbreakable servitude. (i.e., loss of freedom of choice; not being able to terminate the service period voluntarily and early). A Lot can happen during a year-and-a-day apprenticeship: IMO it is important to recognize that the master / domestic servant relationship is different from He's gonna love me.

If Prince Charming is marriage-adverse, what is beautiful Cinderella's future after Fairy Godmother exhausts her magic?

Most States' common laws IMO forbid mandatory and unbreakable servitude, and forbid harm during an apprenticeship. I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, but IMO at least one US state does allow Bills of Attainder, the equivalent of a mandatory and unbreakable indenture contract. This contract can be written to include monetary fines or to extend the contract without pay as a bad service penalty; i.e., perpetual servitude. Most people cannot read legalese, and many people sign contracts without reading the contracts. Imagine the following conversation: "Don't think of it as a legal contract; think of it as your own customized version of the Wiccan Rede, the first oathbound entry in your Book Of Shadows." [FWIW, I have lost (no longer affordable) friends when another revealed the contents of their personal Book Of Shadows. And 2015's Ashley Madison hacking scandal illustrates the potential risks when a Wiccan prospective novice reveals their Book Of Shadows' contents to Coven members or to other third-party facilitators.] Bills of Attainder IMO are not legally enforceable outside of two US states, but a potentially expensive legal mess (and other chaotic hatefulness) is possible. And in case of trouble, marooned poor apprentices might not have the resources to consult an attorney or to explore lifestyle better options.

Don't think of it as a legal contract; think of it as your own customized version of the Wiccan Rede, the first oathbound entry in your Book Of Shadows.

A similarly difficult (and universally applicable) loss of choice situation exists when Wiccan parents (or legal guardian/s) force their underage children (or wards) to become Wiccan Coven members, a situation that resembles being conscripted into Wicca. The issue here is underaged children making oathbound commitments (with potential penalties) prior to reaching the age when they can sign legal contracts. A particularly unfortunate situation results if the Wiccan Coven's Tradition penalizes the family when (upon reaching adulthood) the children decide to leave the Wiccan Coven (i.e., to go AWOL from Wicca). Wiccan oaths need not include penalties for walking away from a Wiccan Coven. Raymond Buckland's Seax-Wica Tradition is an example of a Wiccan Tradition that includes no penalty for leaving or re-entering a Coven.

The following excerpt uses the word Circle in the manner that most Wiccans use the word Coven; admittedly, some Covens form physical circles during their sabbat rituals.

"A New Wiccan Book of the Law
A Manual for the Guidance of Groves, Covens, & Individuals

Compiled and edited by Lady Galadriel
Copyright 1992 by Lady Galadriel
Moonstone Publications
PO Box 13384
Atlanta, GA 30324 USA

1. The Laws were created to give our lives form and order, that all might be balanced throughout all of the planes. In truth there are two sets of laws which govern us -- one setting forth the ways of the Wiccan, and the other the ways of the Universe. Both are important; each should be observed with respect and treated with honor. The Laws were shaped and molded to govern us, to teach us, to advise us, and to counsel us during our time of mortal life on earth.

...

66. Let each Circle of Light maintain and dedicate unto the Goddess and the God all things that are required for Their rituals, for what is blessed in the name of the Gods rightly belongs to Them, and the Priest or Priestess shall be the caretakers thereof.

67. Any of the Circle, who are of sufficient rank, and wish to form a new Circle, shall tell the High Priestess and the Elders of their intentions. Members of the old Circle may join the new Circle when it is formed, but if they do so they must leave the other Circle, unless otherwise instructed. For it is an old law that while each Wiccan may join the Circle of choice, no Wiccan's energy should be divided between two or more Temples.

68. The Elders of the old and new Circles shall meet in peace and with respect, to decide the level of interaction and connection between the Circles. Yet it is known that the splitting of a Circle often means strife. So only if it is truly in a spirit of peace and harmony should the Circles meet for the celebration of the Great Festivals.

69. None shall enter the Circle with a sickness or an ailment which may be passed on to the Lady's other children - for to do so causes harm to yourself, as well as to others of the Circle. Rather should the Elders go unto the sick one, that through the love of the Gods they shall be made well and whole once more.

[RB comment: Coven-presumed Right Of Eminent Domain; who determines "full price"?]

70. It has been judged that if any of the Craft need a house or land, and none will sell, it shall be lawful to incline someone's mind so as to be willing to sell, providing it harms none and the full price is paid without haggling.

71. The High Priest or High Priestess shall heed all complaints of all Pagans and Wiccans, and strive to settle any differences between them, with reason and with justice.

72. In the matter of quarrels or disputes between the members of the Circle, the High Priestess shall convene the Council, and inquire into the matter. The Council shall hear each person privately, and then both together. And they shall decide justly, not favoring one side nor the other.

[RB comment: Unhappy children flee the Circle.]

73. If an agreeable resolution cannot be reached, then the dissenting Wiccan must void the Circle, for a Circle of Light cannot be properly formed where there is disagreement and discord. And when a Circle is not properly formed, the energy within is either dissipated, or turns ugly, festering like a hidden sore. So let dissenters leave, but only with love in their hearts and yours, for even though your paths may diverge, you are still all children of the Wicca, and there must be no violence between us. Bear no grudges, hold no thoughts of vengeance, for this will rot away the foundation of your power.

[RB comment: Free thinkers flee the Circle.]

74. It has ever been recognized that there are some people who can never agree to work under any others. At the same time there are also people who cannot rule justly. To those who must ever be chief there is but one answer: "Void this Circle, and seek another one, or if ye be of sufficient rank, then form a Circle of your own." To those who cannot rule justly, the answer shall be: "Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you". For none may circle with whom they are at variance, because to do so angers the Gods, and hinders the Craft.

[RB comment: The Universal Rule of Three.]

75. Those that do wrong without knowledge shall be held innocent; those that do wrong through carelessness shall be judged lacking in wisdom, and dealt with according to the nature of the transgression. Those who do wrong with deliberation and forethought shall be thrice punished, and the Lords of Karma shall lay low their pride.

...

84. Any Priestess, Priest, or Elder who consents to a breach of the Laws regarding the use of the Craft to cause harm to others must immediately be relieved of office, for it is the lives of the children of the Goddess which they endanger, as well as the honor of the Craft.

[RB comment: Clever method to put The Maiden on ice for at least one year. I interpret this passage as saying the (competent) Maiden continues as Priestess if the original Priestess does not return. ]

85. The High Priestess may take a Sabbatical from her Circle, if her personal life and duties require it, for up to a year and a day. During that time, the Maiden shall act as High Priestess. If the High Priestess does not return at the end of a year and a day, then the Initiates of the Circle shall name a new Priestess. Unless there is good reason to the contrary, the person who has done the work of the Priestess should reap the reward. If someone else is named, then the Maiden should continue in that office.

86. Each Priestess and Priest shall choose their own consorts, yet let them select from those who are wise in the learning of our people, and thus others shall abide by the wisdom of their choice. Yet if the Circle feels the decision is ill-advised, or that they cannot abide and work in honor and trust with that consort, then they may request a gathering of all concerned to meet and to talk, and to resolve the balance with love and honor. For only those who are pure and strong, keen and wise, patient and loving, can effectively and properly carry out the duties of a Keeper of the Circle.

[RB comment: Consort (86) versus mates and children (87)?]

87. Those of the Priesthood shall not neglect their mates, or their children, or their house, nor anything which is in their possession; nor shall the sick and the needy be neglected for the sake of the Circle. Therefore let them adjust the one thing against the other, that neither should suffer, and that which is given by the Gods is treated with love and respect.

[RB comment: Priest (88) versus mates and children (87)?]

88. Long ago, at the time of Creation, it was deemed that the female should hold the power of life-giving. So mightily was the male force drawn to the love and beauty of the Creation of life, that he surrendered unto her keeping the force of his powers in the furtherance of life. Yet the Priestess must always remember that the flames which light the fires within her come from the Priest. Therefore she must use the force wisely, and only with love, and she must honor and respect him, who is the activator of the Life Force.

HERE ENDS A NEW WICCAN BOOK OF THE LAW."

IMO the excerpt's item 70 (written by another) speaks for Wiccan interest in controlling real estate by suggesting a Coven's self-proclaimed Right Of Eminent Domain, a right usually reserved sparingly and with limitations to elected government. Item 70's "incline someone's mind" is a vague phrase, IMO suggesting a goal of Wouldn't you be happier somewhere else? Early 1970s counterculture enthusiasts recall the mindflock games used to "incline someone's mind". Modern cults employ social disorientation and exploit personal insecurity to achieve the exact opposite goal: to tightly bind an initiate (and their resources) to a cult. I am writing this clearly so that the issue will not be confused or mistakenly dismissed. Back to definitions list

The greeting 'Blessed Be' has several possible interpretations | Ever mindful of The Rule Of Three, many Wiccans pledge to act 'In perfect love and perfect trust'

G) Many Wiccans also promote the Universal Rule Of Three (also termed the Law of Threefold Return), the idea that anything that someone does will be returned to them threefold. In other words, both good deeds and ill deeds are magnified back to the source.

Like the Wiccan Rede, The Universal Rule Of Three might be considered a binding rule, advice, or might be ignored by members of a particular Wiccan Tradition. Thus ill deeds depends upon Tradition-dependent interpretation of the Wiccan Rede: one Tradition's non-issue might be another Tradition's sin.

IMO some Wiccans believe The Universal Rule of Three justifies their acting as judge, jury and executioner; i.e., some Wiccans use The Universal Rule of Three to justify vigilante lessons against non-Wiccans. I have observed situations where Wiccan Coven members cooperate to teach (punishing) lessons to non-Wiccans. Also I have observed (and experienced) situations where Wiccan Coven members have hired non-Wiccan proxies (or motivated Momma's posses) to teach (violent, punishing) lessons to non-Wiccans. IMO this behavior is particularly troubling: many Wiccan initiation oaths include the promise to act in perfect love and perfect trust, yet Wiccans are hiring non-Wiccan proxies to violently punish non-Wiccans.

There is a Victorian English saying: Jack Tar never is invited to dinner. The name Jack Tar denotes the common sailor (who in Victorian times often had hands stained with the tar used to seal wooden ship's hulls, an analogy to bloody hands). The saying implies that a person can go down to the docks and safely hire a sailor to do their dirty work (e.g., cripple a rival, a common form of chaos magick) knowing that the sailor ships out after the dirty work is complete, but the sailor never should be introduced to your family (e.g., your daughters). Hiring (anti)social misfits to perform Wiccan dirty work is not acting in perfect love and perfect trust, but this is happening. Back to definitions list

H) The age of legal majority (the age when an individual becomes legally empowered to sign contracts) varies from state to state within the United States. The age of legal majority usually is 18 years of age (same as voting age, assuming the child has not been placed under Court-ordered guardianship due to delinquency or incompetence). Formerly (01/2005) I referenced a DoD Internet information source listing the age of legal majority in the United States and its Territories; that DoD source no longer is available on the Internet.

In some states the age of legal consent [the age at which an individual is legally empowered to consent to intercourse (i.e., not statutory rape)] is lower than the age of legal majority. (I am not qualified to provide legal opinions. Please consult a qualified attorney before making any legal decisions.) Back to definitions list

I) Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) IMO should avoid situations where underaged children (or wards) become bound Coven members. One purpose of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously hidden from the initiate: a new ball game. I recommend that prospective Wiccan novices caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).

A Coven's High Priest/ess has the right to squelch improper discussion (enforce magickal political correctness -- don't argue with your Coven mom). As individuals grow (and as different people assume the High Priest/ess's office), keeping oathbound obedience might pose unanticipated difficult problems. Liberal Coven members might chafe under a (future) conservative High Priest/ess's unbending authority, while conservative Coven members might chafe under a (future) liberal High Priest/ess's openness. Coven members might chafe under a (future) particularly strong and chauvinistic High Priest/ess's dominance. Financial understanding is increasingly important in The Great Recession's Wake, and Wiccan public literature totally omits Coven financing discussions. Prospective Wiccan novices IMO should understand if a Coven's High Priest/ess can levy Coven taxes or other obligatory duties. And some Coven oaths include exit penalties.

Before joining a Coven, prospective Wiccan novices IMO should learn the Coven's Wiccan Rede detailed interpretation. Prospective initiates are not Coven members and might be affected adversely by a Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation. The Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation should be freely discussible. Does the Wiccan Rede protect Coven prospective initiates during their apprenticeships? And are initiates free to terminate their apprenticeships and to exit the Coven without penalty? If this information is not freely available, what commitment is being asked?

Coven exit penalties (if any) vary by Coven, are vaguely defined, and seldom are discussed in Wiccan public literature. An obvious exit penalty is losing use of Coven property, but what about losing use of one's personal property? Lady Galadriel's (earlier) A New Wiccan Book Of The Law items 70 and 73 permit losing one's private residence to the Coven:

"70. It has been judged that if any of the Craft need a house or land, and none will sell, it shall be lawful to incline someone's mind so as to be willing to sell, providing it harms none and the full price is paid without haggling."

and

"73. If an agreeable resolution cannot be reached, then the dissenting Wiccan must void the Circle, for a Circle of Light cannot be properly formed where there is disagreement and discord. And when a Circle is not properly formed, the energy within is either dissipated, or turns ugly, festering like a hidden sore. So let dissenters leave, but only with love in their hearts and yours, for even though your paths may diverge, you are still all children of the Wicca, and there must be no violence between us. Bear no grudges, hold no thoughts of vengeance, for this will rot away the foundation of your power."

This personal property loss exit penalty is not unprecedented. In B. F. Skinner's classic utopian novel Walden Two, families joining the Walden Two commune donated all of their family property to the commune. Family members then became Walden Two members with rights to use Walden Two property: parents received separate adjacent bedrooms; children slept in a separate ward environment supervised primarily by older children; and all ate in Walden Two's cafeteria. But any family member choosing to exit Walden Two left with the clothes on their back and their few personal knickknacks; all of their family property had been donated to Walden Two. [Had the Walden Two commune gone bankrupt all members would have been pauperized.] As a similar precaution IMO Coven prospective initiates should ask if any personal property must irrevocably be surrendered upon Coven initiation.

In The Great Recession's Wake some people lose prosperity while other people become impoverished. Loss of prosperity brings loss of options, and poverty further reduces options. (E.g., unemployed workers cannot pay their children's college tuition, while a renter who loses their apartment and their cellular telephone effectively disappears socially.) Career opportunities are scarce during prolonged economic contractions as people compete for part-time and temporary employment. When jobs are scarce some opportunities are not pleasant. The 1970s common expression wage slaves (also expressed living hand to mouth, currently expressed you'll work for food) never was popular.

My apprentice / slave comments might appear fanciful, but history, myth, popular culture and literature reflect similar concerns. During US colonial times apprentices often were indentured; the indenture paid for the apprentice's training (education) and sometimes for the apprentice's passage to the New World. The fable Hansel and Gretel reflects German ancient fear about walking in the dark forest during the Midsummer sabbat:

Evil stepmother takes little Hansel and Gretel walking in the dark forest. Hansen and Gretel fear becoming lost; they drop breadcrumbs marking their path. Exhausted Hansel and Gretel rest and they fall asleep. When they awaken, wicked stepmother has deserted them and the little birds have eaten the breadcrumb trail. Hansel and Gretel are lost. They wander in the dark forest until they find the wicked witch's house. The wicked witch starts baking in her wood-fired oven; she says "Stick your head in the oven, little Hansel. Is it hot enough yet?" What are the wicked witch's plans for little Gretel?

And Rumpelstiltskin is German folklore depicting a deal where an anonymous dwarf agrees to spin a roomful of straw into gold (wealth) in exchange for a woman's (a-hem) firstborn child. The woman can keep her child only if she can correctly guess the dwarf's name. (Fat chance.)

While pondering Rumpelstiltskin consider the lyrics from Sympathy for the Devil:

" ... Pleased to meet you,
'hope you guess my name.
But what's puzzlin' you
is the nature of my game ..."

while David Lee Roth's (IMO excellent) music CD suggests A Little Ain't Enough for modern devils.

Modern devils apparently want it all

Gardnerian Wicca has been augmented by a number of other Traditions (including Cunningham and Buckland) that do not require initiation by a lineaged Coven and / or High Priest/ess. These liberal Wiccan Traditions place fewer restrictions upon Coven members and upon solitary worshipers. Yet in The Great Recession's Wake there is persistent unemployment. In this poor economy, college graduates accept high school graduate jobs and high school graduates have fewer opportunities, while many unemployed young people are burdened with credit-blocking educational loans and / or automobile loans. The Great Recession's Wake IMO shoves young people backward towards the 1950s British socioeconomic culture that motivated the Gardnerian Wiccan Tradition.

The decline of US public education (and the rising cost of private education) IMO reinforces this backward step for young people. Home schooling allows curriculum customization without incurring private school tuition, but the flight to home schooling IMO does not remedy this backward step. Home schooling preserves family culture but limits students' exposure to social coping skills, home schooling provides no scholastic quality assurance measures, and home schooling completion rates are not recorded. [Reuters reports that in the 2009-2010 school year 21.8% of high school attendees did not graduate in four years, the nationwide lowest high school dropout rate recorded since 1974.] As in 1950s British culture, badly educated young people have fewer employment and lifestyle opportunities.

My earlier discussions warn potential Wiccan novices to understand the commitment asked before joining a Coven. Now I offer a warning for Pagan and for Wiccan potential teachers: In The Great Recession's Wake, young people's expectations might make them unsuitable to serve as magickal apprentices.

Apprentice Mickey was well-intentioned but prone to make messes.

A magickal apprenticeship is a working class education comparable to vocational home schooling; there is no tuition and there are no educational loans to be repaid. The magickian selects the apprentice, the magickal workplace is the classroom, and the apprentice learns magick while following the magickian's instructions. An apprenticeship opportunity is an independent offer that does not accommodate prior commitments, and does not compensate significant others or emotionally-detached other middlemen. The apprentice leaves the apprenticeship with magickal knowledge and skills, but without resourceful empowerment. Yet today's young people expect immediate resourceful empowerment, and disappointment can cause discontent (or worse).

LBJ's Great Society (including the War On Poverty) subsidized individual empowerment: we all expected to achieve our full potential. Two Clinton administration events IMO ended LBJ's War On Poverty: 1) former President Clinton signed a law limiting lifetime welfare benefits to five years (i.e., US society would not feed its hungry citizens); 2) the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) eliminated US import tariffs that discouraged US manufacturing low-skilled jobs from migrating to Mexico. The Great Society ended IMO with Hurricane Katrina: the Federal government encountered a problem it could not solve with domed stadia, Boeing 747 taxis and FEMA debit cards. With the 2005 bankruptcy law changes enacted during the GWB administration the government IMO conceded War On Poverty defeat: the law toughens eligibility standards (requires a means test that disqualifies many individuals and married couples) for Chapter 7 (comparatively straightforward) bankruptcy, the law increases the minimum interval between successive bankruptcy filings to eight years (i.e., two four-year military enlistments), the law raises credit card debt's repayment priority, and educational loan debt no longer is clearable through bankruptcy. Then in 2008 the real estate bubble burst and The Great Recession further drained the Federal treasury until the Federal government was borrowing forty cents of every dollar it spent.

IMO the individual empowerment era is over: employment is today's path to empowerment. [BTW, bankruptcy de facto blockage potentially reduces employment potential. Job placement firms report that ten percent of job qualified candidates are rejected (obliquely) after potential employers run a credit check: some potential employers equate a credit poor score with personal weak character.] But today's young people only know (and expect) individual empowerment. I explain this problem in a historical context because IMO additional economic poor years will lessen young people's expectations. Young people do not know the (un)employment gauntlet: i.e., employment is not a team sport; your former colleagues have short memories; and familial employment promises (e.g., We pay our bonuses in son dollars ...) usually evaporate upon dismissal following project completion. Many young people live in their parents' household or in a dormitory; young people do not understand the priority and cost of maintaining an independent household. Living through an impoverished era will provide perspective, but right now young people IMO have prosperity unrealistic expectations. These unrealistic expectations, combined with magick's inexplicable complexity, IMO make today's young people unsuitable to serve as magickal apprentices. The arrangement is consensual, but prospective apprentices conveniently forget that the magickian always chooses the apprentice ... and magick does not respond to We always win; we simply must push harder when there is a prospective apprentice surplus. Careful selection might minimize apprentice unsuitability, but during this lean and mean era IMO magickal familiars (e.g., cats; crows, ravens and predatory birds; and canines) are less demanding magickal companions. {BTW, if my magickal familiar comments seem unprecedented, perhaps you should read and critically ponder W. Somerset Maugham's c1908 Aleister-Crowley-inspired novel The Magician. Then you are free to critically ponder recent comments concerning how artificial intelligence potentially threatens humanity. [On a baser level, you've never watched the (primitive special effects; comfort issues) 1977 film Demon Seed starring Julie Christie and Fritz Weaver.]}

Why did United States past generations stress 'putting meat on the table' and 'bringing home the bacon'?

Is a High Priest/ess's authority limited to Coven-specific matters, or does that authority extend to mundane matters like member housing? In The Great Recession's Wake I stress retaining personal autonomy in housing. A Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience could be used to quarter Coven members, their families and their employees in another member's private residence, a right that Government does not have under the United States Constitution. (Exception: Under the Constitution as amended, Government may quarter troops in civilian homes during times of declared war but Government must compensate property owners. This provision IMO prohibits Government from using its Right Of Eminent Domain to secure military quarters during peacetime, and there is no Constitutional provision for quartering military families and military employees, increasingly significant in an era when the US military relies heavily upon contracted facilities and contracted services.) In cases of magickal dispute, a vengeful Priestess could burden Coven rebels with indigent socially-incompatible guests. (E.g., "Their room and board is your recurring sacrifice to the Goddess, and the Goddess knows that you'll make them welcome boarding in your home.")

This troubling strategy is not unique to Western culture: a November 2018 TIME Magazine video article reports that the Chinese government installs government employees into the households of its Uighur Muslim population. The program is touted as a friendly cultural exchange and is titled Pair Up And Become Family, but the program is designed to motivate Chinese cultural conformity within the Uighur household. The article does not discuss compensation, but a room-and-board unfunded burden would reduce a rebel household's social options.

Boarders can bring trouble to the table. I stress retaining personal autonomy in housing.

I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, but IMO recent United States Supreme Court decisions have weakened our Fourth Amendment privacy rights. In the case "Alabama v. White, 503 U.S. 953 (1990)" the United States Supreme Court decided that police can stop your car (or IMO request a warrant to search your private residence) based upon an anonymous tip completely lacking any indicia of reliability. Based upon that decision, IMO police no longer must establish probable cause before requesting a search warrant. And in the case "Illinois v. Rodriquez, 497 U.S. 177 (1990)" the United States Supreme Court decided that police can search your property without a warrant based upon the consent of someone who has absolutely no authority to give same. IMO this decision gives any guest to your private residence {or your minor children [recall Winston's neighbor's children in George Orwell's classic novel 1984]} the same empowerment as an apartment complex owner. IMO the warrantless search can include forcing open locked file cabinets, etc.; and IMO the warrantless search's results are admissible in a court of law under legal discovery rules.

Individuals should consider seriously the implications of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience, and perhaps quartering other Coven members. Making those commitments could affect adversely your privacy, your property and ultimately your mundane life. Back to definitions list

J) Circle membership (combined with solitary worship) is a free alternative to Wiccan Coven membership. A Circle is a social and discussion group that offers most of Wiccan Covens' benefits, but Circle members retain their autonomy and make no binding commitment of obedience. Covens are controlled and always orderly, but some issues and individuals are not permitted. Circles sometimes are chaotic, but they are uncensored and free. And anyone can walk away from a Circle without penalty.

Some Wiccan Coven Traditions include penalties for leaving the Coven. As new people join the Coven and as other people assume the Coven's High Priest/ess role, an individual might become less comfortable with the Coven and its exit penalty. [As in George Orwell's Animal Farm, all High Priest/esses are not equal.] Anybody considering joining a Coven IMO also should consider solitary worship plus joining a Circle, a combination that does not sacrifice personal freedom. Covens use Coven methods to solve Coven problems, and some Coven solutions are entrepreneurial. Anybody considering becoming a Wiccan IMO should learn what benefits a Coven offers beyond solitary worshiper who participates in a discussion Circle. And ask the Coven membership cost; life is full of mysteries and some mysteries are costly to explore.

CUUPS (the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) provides one example of a Pagan circle organization. The Unitarian Universalist Church is an extremely free-minded Protestant congregation, and some UU local churches host CUUPS chapters. CUUPS chapters are advertised as social groups that may hold festivals or rituals on the sabbats, and otherwise have ordinary club-type meetings, an opportunity to meet and get to know people and to discuss Pagan and Wiccan issues outside any type of committed relationship. But CUUPS' unsupervised nature implies that variation is possible within individual CUUPS chapters: caveat emptor in The Great Recession's Wake.

The Internet also offers Pagan / Wiccan circle discussion opportunities. Pagan Tonight Internet Radio offers Pagan-oriented talk radio evening broadcasts (sometimes with call-in commentary possibilities) over the Internet, and the website offers recordings of past broadcasts discussing a variety of Pagan topics. And the free (or premium subscription) social website VampireFreaks offers cults: subject-oriented liberally-moderated Internet discussion groups including Pagan- and Wiccan-oriented discussion groups. Back to definitions list

K) Prospective Wiccan novices IMO often find Gardnerian Wicca Tradition not relevant to their modern lifestyles. And Wiccan parents IMO often are uneasy about the pairing choices that the Gardnerian Wiccan High Priest/ess makes for the parents (and sometimes for their children) before ritual sabbats.

Most Wiccans acknowledge the Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccan Traditions, but discount other Wiccan recent Traditions as trivialized, popularized or fluffy bunny. IMO the issue is Wiccan conservative opinion versus Wiccan liberal opinion. I am not a Wiccan, but my liberal opinion is based upon Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham and upon The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft where Raymond Buckland discusses the Seax-Wica Tradition [IMO an English adaptation of the Teutonic (northern European) magickal tradition]. Because Wiccans acknowledge more than one Wiccan Tradition (Gardnerian and Alexanderian), further variation obviously is possible.

You need not be a Wiccan to have a Tradition. Many witches (e.g., Dianic witches) have Traditions. Most Pagans have Famtrads (i.e., family Traditions). And there are entrepreneurs who are not Wiccans, witches or Pagans yet who deal with Wiccans, witches and Pagans. These entrepreneurs gain knowledge of others' Traditions during their entrepreneurial activities.

As a Tradition example, it is widely accepted that if a Pagan wishes to acquire a magickal item, the Pagan should pay the item's cost without question or argument; questioning and arguing dishonors both the item (reducing its magickal value) and also dishonors the item's owner. Assume that a Magickian owns a silicon amulet of great power. A Pagan wishes to acquire the silicon amulet but believes the cost is not fair; the Pagan is not willing to pay the cost. How should the Magickian who owns the amulet respond to this implied insult? IMO Tradition dictates no negotiations: the amulet's owner either should walk away without argument and without subsequently employing nagging / cajoling proxies, or the amulet's owner should present the silicon amulet as a no cost gift. Presenting the silicon amulet as a no cost gift honors the amulet (increasing the amulet's magickal power) and honors both the amulet's owner and the amulet's recipient. IMO honor (and reputation) are powerful magick. And subsequent meaningful encounters IMO accumulate into a dishonorable ending. This example is consistent with Islamic practice: the harsh desert environment requires good faith relationships; contentious behavior is not worthwhile and is not rewarded (e.g., by ignoring a merchant who has treated you not fairly).

Traditions evolve as society changes, and in The Great Recession's Wake partnering new forms (civil unions and same sex marriage) are evolving. These partnering new forms IMO are mixed blessings: they offer both emotional fulfillment possibilities and also financial victimization possibilities. [E.g., the implications of same sex divorce have not yet been legally plumbed.] Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). Back to definitions list

L) Witch is a term that many interpret differently. I interpret witches as women and men who use Magick in a goal-oriented manner not constrained by morality or ethics. Witches are not bound to work in groups or to have common purpose; witches can be solitary practitioners. I do not consider witchcraft a religion, I do not equate witchcraft and Wicca, and I know no requirement for an initiation into witchcraft.

Apparently during The Burning Times Christian governments tested and tried accused female witches as brides of satan. [Male magick-users typically call themselves magickians. I rhetorically question if today's self-described male witches are satanists.] Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages, a 1929 silent film directed by Benjamin Christensen [and later narrated by William Burroughs, author of The Naked Lunch], depicts poor older women seeking men's favor, depicts poor older women marrying satan, and depicts local government's persecution of witches. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason discusses The Burning Times. And in The Salem Witchcraft Trials In American History author David K. Fremon examines unemotionally the politics and history of the Salem witch trials.

Different Pagan Traditions define the term witch differently. The following excerpt is from Chapter IV (THE FORMULA OF ALHIM, AND THAT OF ALIM) in MAGICK In Theory And Practice by Aleister Crowley:

[Begin excerpt]
It is only the romantic medieval perversion of science that represents young women as partaking in witchcraft, which is, properly speaking, restricted to the use of such women as are no longer women in the Magical sense of the word, because they are no longer capable of corresponding to the formula of the male, and are therefore neuter rather than feminine. It is for this reason that their method has always been referred to the moon, in that sense of the term in which she appears, not as the feminine correlative of the sun, but as the burnt-out, dead, airless satellite of earth. (emphasis added)
[End excerpt]

Crowley's witchcraft comments emphasize the Crone witch while dismissing the Wiccan Goddess's Mother and Maiden aspects. Back to definitions list

M) Wicca is a magick-users' religion that celebrates the Earth's agricultural fertility and human fertility. As religious individuals, IMO Wiccans are constrained by ethics and morality. And a religion that celebrates the Earth's agricultural fertility IMO must incorporate ecology into its religious beliefs. Similarly, a religion that celebrates human fertility must incorporate responsible child-bearing into its religious beliefs, including responsible loving care of the children that both parents choose to have and avoiding unwanted pregnancies. The not desirable alternative IMO is human animal husbandry.

Many Wiccan texts discuss ecology but few discuss responsible child-raising. The poor economy of The Great Recession's Wake IMO requires both parents' desire and cooperation for successful child-raising; i.e., better raising of fewer children. And some religious decisions are financial (e.g., skipping church to conserve food money).

My child-raising views motivate Pagan hostility: some Pagans (and some Christians) consider human fertility a religious issue. I do not tell others how to worship in their own homes or circles, but (a baptized Methodist) IMO human fertility is not a religious issue, and quartering or mentoring other peoples' children is not my burden.

That Wicca and witchcraft dismiss romantic love's value IMO reflects feminist perspective. Romantic love stabilizes and strengthens family relationships, and benefits all family members. Feminists might disregard the paternity issue, but IMO children benefit from a paternal enduring relationship because fathers discuss social experience that is best not learned empirically.

Wicca emphasizes the Goddess and fertility, but Wiccan tenets [ The Wiccan Rede: An ye harm none, do what ye will ...; and The Universal Rule Of Three: Any action will be returned to the source threefold] have little relationship to the Wiccan Goddess and to fertility. IMO the French noblesse oblige concept should apply to Wicca. Noblesse oblige is an ethical concept stating that individuals who know quality are obliged to perform quality actions; the discretion of prioritization is left to the individual. Noblesse oblige encourages responsible actions. Furthermore, noblesse oblige unambiguously solves the Wiccan issue whether performing ill actions ever can be justified: IMO ill actions never are justified under noblesse oblige.

IMO practical ethical systems are consistent and follow common sense. The physicians' Hippocratic Oath First do no harm is ethical common sense. And IMO no enduring ethics philosophy (or successful business philosophy) teaches We can cheat others deliberately and systematically, but when our turn comes we will be treated fairly and well. The prioritization discretion allowed under noblesse oblige reflects economic reality: most of us cannot afford everything that we want. Often the realistic alternative to unreasonable desire is to accept no thing (i.e., just say NO!). Noblesse oblige obliges individuals to make quality, realistic choices followed by quality, responsible actions. No one is harmed under noblesse oblige, yet no body might benefit if accepting no thing is the chosen alternative. (E.g., "You trouble me! I don't need you! Go home!") The statement I prefer no companions to bad or not reliable companions IMO reflects noblesse oblige.

Author Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner defines: "Tradition, Wiccan: An organized, structured, specific Wiccan subgroup, usually initiatory, with often unique ritual practices. Many Traditions have their own Book of Shadows and may or may not recognize members of other Traditions as Wiccans. Most Traditions are composed of a number of Covens as well as solitary practitioners."

I interpret Wiccan Tradition as the history and rituals of individual Wiccan Covens and individual Wiccan solitary worshipers. (This does not prevent multiple Wiccan Covens or solitary worshipers from having identical Traditions.) Covens occasionally split because of member differences (vocalist / guitarist Tom Rush's songs The Circle Game and No Regrets IMO relate here) and Traditions will differ after a split. My Tradition usage is consistent with Raymond Buckland's text The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft.

Scott Cunningham describes The Book of Shadows as "a Wiccan workbook containing invocations, ritual patterns, spells, runes, rules governing magic, and so on. Some Books of Shadows are passed from one Wiccan to another, usually upon initiation, but the vast majority of books today are composed by each individual Wiccan." And Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner's Section III contains The Standing Stones Book Of Shadows "for students who desired to practice Wicca but couldn't gain entrance to a coven."

Society has changed since Scott Cunningham wrote Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner in 1988: The Great Recession has come and gone; society today is visibly poorer than in 1988. And today's society knows that under the guise of facilitating personal understanding cults deliberately probe individual members' life histories seeking weakness or guilt (i.e., troubling shadows) that later might be used to influence and control a rebellious cult member. Some nontraditional religions (e.g., The Unification Church and The Church Of Scientology) apparently also probe individual members' life histories seeking troubling shadows. I do not seek to degrade Wiccan legitimate rituals, but in an enduring poor economy people cannot afford to build a coercive dossier. I expect the Wiccan Goddess to reinforce positive energy, and Wiccan novices IMO should omit documenting past troubling shadows within their personal Book of Shadows.

I am fascinated that lineaged Wiccans question the validity of Wiccan Traditions other than the Gardnerian Tradition and the Alexanderian Tradition, but nobody bats an eyelash when somebody equates Dianic witchcraft with Wicca. Dianic witchcraft has a Tradition in which the God and men at best play a weak supporting role. Is this straight bashing (i.e., the reverse of so-called gay bashing)? Back to definitions list

N) The term warlock has several interpretations; most people visualize a magick-using male warrior. Witch wars are discouraged in the Craft and in Wiccan Covens, however, and magick-users define warlock as someone ostracized from a Coven or a group of cooperating Covens for disobedience to Coven Tradition or to the Coven High Priest/ess's authority (e.g., for refusing a Coven High Priest/ess's pairing choices prior to sabbats). This ostracism can include social shunning, denial of any assistance from Coven members, and so-called chaotic attacks (e.g., floods of annoyances, insults and injuries). The conclusion of the film The Witches Of Eastwick starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Cher humorously portrays such a chaotic attack upon devilish Jack Nicholson.

The ostracism is designed to force the warlock to vacate the Coven's locale, preferably moving to another city or state. (In the 1950s people discussed running somebody out of town on a rail.) Ostracism usually occurs when a Pagan man divorces or deserts his partner, particularly if the couple has children. But in my locale non-Pagan divorced men also experience ostracism for setting a bad precedent within the community.

This webpage's The Wiccan Rede earlier discussion provides excerpts from A New Wiccan Book of the Law: A Manual for the Guidance of Groves, Covens, & Individuals authored by another. Among the excerpts are rules that a Wiccan Coven has the (self-presumed) Right Of Eminent Domain to seize a Coven malcontented member's real property (for "full price" determined by whom?) and that the malcontent should vacate the locale.

Is this a social crisis, the end of the party or a full case of One Man's Princess Is Another Man's Sacred Cow?

Shunning (nobody covers your back: e.g., Frank Serpico) has been used by (para)military groups and police; boys' boarding schools (which often have a military tradition); rough sports teams (e.g., football, rugby, ice hockey, even basketball); dangerous occupations (mining, construction and fire fighting) and in communal societies (e.g., the Mormons and the Oneida Community) to encourage conformity (i.e., so-called right thinking). Within communal societies situated in harsh environments, shunning can cause death from starvation, dehydration, or freezing (you can't come in out of the cold). Warlocks (accused oath breakers) routinely are shunned by the overall magickal community. The Roman Catholic religion (which has a European military long tradition and whose practices include excommunication) discourages divorce among its members. Excommunication encompasses both social shunning and denial of the Sacraments. In The Vampire author Montague Summers states that excommunication is one basis for the vampire / undead legend.

When military priorities create marriage-adverse situations, does a divorcing spouse or an engagement-breaking fiancee deserve to be shunned as an oath breaker? Wartime is stressful but we have an all volunteer military; nobody is conscripted and the military volunteers presumably are making their best deal. Returning soldiers (and recent divorcees) face culture shock (disorientation and poverty). Returning soldiers (and recent divorcees) often have outdated expectations because they have aged significantly while society's dating rules have changed significantly. One might say that returning soldiers (and recent divorcees) have been Time/Date stamped (an obscure reference to Microsoft Notepad's F5 function).

Returning soldiers face culture shock

Returning soldiers' spouses or fiancees also are changed greatly: wartime $hortages disrupt civilized society and careers. Wartime diverts financial resources from private sector job creation, disrupts the civilian economy and disrupts everybody's employment possibilities. And wartime $hortages reduce marriage possibilities by making older people marriage-adverse: the traditional wedding vow I bequeath to thee all my worldly goods has greater cost for an established homeowner than for a high school recent graduate, for a college recent graduate burdened with educational loans (averaging more than $35,000 for the graduating class of 2015), for a soldier newly separated from the military (who might also have educational loan debt) or for a divorcee raising children. (Somewhat ironically) IMO the ABC television culturally-diverse comedy Modern Family reinforces cross-generational marriage weakness: Modern Family emphasizes situation comedy instead of intimacy (including between spouses Ed O'Neill and Sofia Vergara). Ed O'Neill's earlier Al Bundy role in Married With Children included intimacy. Modern Family's cultural diversity foundation is prosperity and real estate: separate households in three separate residences. Prosperity and real estate IMO are the chief differences between the television show Modern Family and the earlier television show All In The Family. Stated emphatically, Get the hell out of my house! is one foundation for good manners.

After 'Married With Children', why did actor Ed O'Neill remarry? What are his expectations?

Some people ridicule cross-generational relationships, but homeless people might view cross-generational relationships as a path (preferable IMO to living on the low) to acquiring quarters. The instant rebate checks offered with new car purchases often finance transitional quarters for recently separated spouses. And middle-aged people returning to college can bundle living expenses into their educational loans; a cross-generational relationship providing quarters IMO achieves the same goal at lower cost.

Cross-generational relationships IMO are preferable to living on the low.

Civilians might consider soldiers returning from war zones (so-called devil dogs) to be not companionable. Not companionable people are compulsively domineering and / or are socially frigid. [Examples of social frigidity are inability to relax socially, and total lack of a friendly sense of humor due to (emotional and / or social) chronic discomfort. Impersonal team sports sometimes provide socially frigid peoples' only social emotional outlet.] Grim crusaders obsessed with a holy quest IMO are a historic example of not companionable people, while director Jerry Paris's 1972 film Evil Roy Slade starring John Astin and Pamela Austin comically POORtrays a not companionable hard case. Un(der)employed people can develop a desperate siege mentality as their credit card unpaid balances approach their credit limits. Pregnancy, automobile repossessions and mortgage foreclosures do not improve this situation.

A Lot can happen as a result of warfare. It is worthwhile to compare the Christian Old Testament's (humble) Book Of Ruth with the classic film Gone With The Wind starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, a film about women's lives during and after wartime which IMO should be required viewing in our 21st Century mediagenic society. [Two notable scenes: Scarlett O'Hara on her hands and knees in a muddy field grubbing for carats and exclaiming With God as my witness, I'll never be hungry again! Later (ruthless) Captain Rhett Butler declares to wife Scarlett Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!] IMO that film's message is preferable to another classic film's message: Spartacus starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier depicts men and politicians constantly at war. Back to definitions list

O) Readers interested in traditional shamanism should investigate the FAQ documents URL-linked at www.faqs.org. In my locale feminists often speak of shame man ism (a word play on the term shamanism) as intending to force a warlock (or any other nonsympathetic male) sheepishly back into the fold. Shame man ism is organized social shunning by feminists and their sympathetic(?) partners and family members. IMO shame man ism is chaotic intervention therapy and / or aversion therapy, techniques used by psychologists and by organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). [Readers seeking additional intervention therapy knowledge can view the (IMO worthwhile) R-rated Buena Vista 1999 film HolySmoke! starring Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel. The film depicts an Australian family's professionally-conducted intervention initiated when their adult daughter joins a Hindu sect.] One of our local ordinances summarizes shame man ism's goal: No dogs without leashes. A single childless homeowner is remarkably free, a status that troubles some burdened people.

In his book Speaking With The Devil: Exploring Senseless Acts Of Evil, psychiatrist and clinical psychologist Dr. Carl Goldberg discusses shame's role in creating not functional personalities. Dr. Goldberg defines shame as a depleted sense of personal identity accompanied by (festering unverbalized) inner hurt, making an individual feel not attractive and not worthy of human companionship. Dr. Goldberg believes not functional personalities often become shame-sensitized during their formative years when domineering, emotionally distant parents and relatives use ridicule, humiliation and shame (e.g., so-called tough love) instead of positive encouragement to produce adolescent correct behavior. Dr. Goldberg writes the resulting not functional personality often is oversensitized to shame and is nonadaptive in later shaming episodes. Dr. Goldberg calls the resulting nonadaptive behavior magical thinking: a suspension of critical self-assessment of individual personality or behavior (i.e., closed minded desperate survival).

I am not surprised that feminists utilize the shame man ism strategy when pursuing their agendas. Most people can visualize an angry mother waving an extended finger and scolding Shame! Shame! Shame! Dependent children cannot say Thanks a Lot! and walk away; a dependent child's only practical response is silent cringing. (Self-preservation and survival have similar goals, but self-preservation employs less aggressive strategies.) The phrase Mother's Little Helper has several interpretations and most people can understand how feminists might view nonsympathetic men as little boys who never grew up. (Recall the eternally happy character Peter Pan.) But Shame! Shame! Shame! is not a constructive social solution.

Emotional vampires and other nattering nabobs (pronounced 'neigh bobs') of negativity love 'Shame! Shame! Shame!'

Recent popular literature includes several books offering advice to the ethical vampire. After deliberate long avoidance finally I did read c2002 Psychic Vampires: Protection from Energy Predators & Parasites where Joe H. Slate, Ph.D. explains psychic vampires in terms of Kirlian auras, describes methods to visualize and reinforce one's own Kirlian aura, and describes how to recognize psychic vampires by their flawed Kirlian auras' abnormal appearance. But I was not successful implementing any of the Kirlian aura recommended visualization methods.

Joe Slate indicates that psychic vampires draw upon other peoples' Kirlian aura energy to reinforce their own authority and sociability (similar to one party guest mocking another guest's fashion or mannerisms - avoid the abuser). IMO leveraging politically correct arguments (e.g., so-called liberal guilt) to obtain quarters in another's private residence is social vampirism. Social vampirism is not new to the 21st Century: the late 20th Century films Down And Out In Beverly Hills and What About Bob? both depict outsiders dogmatically attempting to join actor Richard Dreyfuss' prosperous family.

Social vampires dogmatically attempt to join another's residential family

FWIW, shame man ism always is not blatantly in your face. Without intention a person occasionally offends and respondents want to teach the offender a lesson. A deal inexplicably goes sour; there's no issue you can put your finger on, but clues litter the landscape: a clever intervention. The problem with clever interventions IMO is that respondents often overestimate the offender's understanding: Oh, he'll think about it. Recently I finally understood a clever intervention concerning satirist Tom Lehrer's early 1960s vinyl LP That Was The Year That Was: the album lyrics offended the respondents but IMO Tom Lehrer was highlighting social hypocrisy. Fifty years later the respondents no longer are with us, no dialogue is possible and the problem cannot be resolved.

Shame man ism is one area where magick and science overlap according to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle from physics. Shame man ism motivates changes, but respondents often do not understand the changes they motivate. Once a victim is shunned the social contract is broken and the victim has little reason not to speak openly and candidly about insults and injuries. (Damned if I do and damned if I don't? Then I'll do what I damned well please!)

The 1950s (post Korean War) fable The Scorpion And The Turtle IMO addresses a similar social vampirism issue:

A scorpion and a turtle were on an island in the middle of a river. The river flooded, the water rose and the island shrank. The turtle said "I'm going to swim to shore." The scorpion begged "Take me with you, Turtle; carry me on your back." "No!" the turtle replied, "You will surely sting me with your poisonous tail!" "Turtle, why would I sting somebody who saved me? I will not sting you, Turtle; I will be grateful and I will sing your praises." The turtle, a good-natured fellow, pondered the scorpion's logic; the logic sounded all right. The turtle motioned for the scorpion to climb onto his back, and the turtle then waded into the river's swift current. Soon the turtle was swimming as hard as he could, and the scorpion was holding on for dear life. Finally the turtle's feet touched solid ground and he began climbing out of the river when "Aieee!" the turtle felt the scorpion's sting on the back of his neck. The exhausted turtle collapsed on the riverbank and wailed "Scorpion, I saved you and then you stung me; now surely I will die! Why did you sting me, Scorpion?" The scorpion hopped off the turtle's back, shrugged and said "I no longer need you and I am a scorpion; that is my nature."

Wikipedia and other Internet sources equate The Scorpion And The Turtle fable to flawed cooperation in athletics and in business. The above 1950s (post Korean War) fable version IMO reflects one of life's predictable emergencies: an older man (the turtle) invites a destitute couple to share his residence, and then develops an awkward physical relationship with the destitute woman. The destitute man (the scorpion) cannot object, but when the financial emergency passes expect trouble, not gratitude. 21st Century younger men juggling women that they cannot afford IMO prefer negotiating a CoSt-sharing arrangement with older men; some body will be unhappy when this arrangement ends regardless of the outcome. And in the 21st Century The devil made me do it! IMO is a more likely outcome than That is my nature.

The Scorpion And The Turtle fable IMO reflects one of life's predictable emergencies

Mockery and heckling are other shame-inducing cleverisms. Mockery and heckling are particularly easy when performed by family or (former) close friends who know a person's personal history and who can blow trivialities entirely out of proportion (i.e., make mountains out of molehills). Controlling other people using mockery and heckling IMO is not new to the 21st Century. 1950s television featured those mischievous cartoon magpies Heckle and Jeckle: magpies make messes while squawking loudly about nothing. (IMO the Jeckle magpie character got his name from Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 story of a London society maven physician with an evil alter ego: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.) And recent television's The Muppet Show features hecklers Statler and Waldorf (Waldorf has the mustache and the whiter hair) sitting in the balcony overlooking the show.

Heckle and Jeckle: magpies make messes while squawking loudly about nothing Statler and Waldorf contribute nothing except disruptive heckling

Director/actor Danny DeVito's comedic 1987 film Throw Momma from the Train (also starring Billy Crystal and Anne Ramsey, 1988 Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee) IMO illustrates heckling and mockery taken to extremes. Owen (Danny DeVito) is a timid son living with his bad-tempered mother. Momma uses continuous loud verbal abuse to dominate and to steer Owen's life; Momma has no other companions. Owen wants to escape Momma's harassment, but Owen has nowhere to run and timid Owen cannot rebut Momma's abuse. IMO this film's Momma characterization is well-played but is not original. Anne Ramsey plays a female banshee (Ban she?); a banshee is a mythical creature whose loud shrill voice freezes witches in their tracks. [BTW, a less comedic plot variation has Owen owing crushing debts and desperately needing Momma's life insurance settlement: Your credit is good, sir. We know you; you live in our neighborhood ...]

Most adults have sufficient experience and self-respect to discount baseless shame. Nagging is valueless and objective priorities override mockery and heckling. Sophisticated adults (typically the smaller partner) instead often employ passive aggressive behavior: nonphysical nonverbal behavior that avoids resolving a problem, behavior that suggests you are inflicting not reasonable punishment on a long suffering victim, and behavior that avoids verbal repetitions of Shut up you bitch / fool! Four passive aggressive behavior examples include: a close friend never is available and repeated telephone messages never are returned; night after night one partner silently sits in the corner armchair (deliberately backed into a corner) intently reading garbage novels while compulsively chain-smoking cigarettes (bad smell) and ignoring conversation attempts; night after night one partner sits in the corner armchair with an emotionally-pained facial expression listening silently to the verbal partner's opinions; and night after night of silent suppers (there are no food or service problems but the companionship is cold). These examples all predictably escalate to one-sided shouting as the verbal partner's aggravation grows.

One POORtential passive aggressive goal is fatigue-induced erosion of will: If I do not argue and worsen the situation, my partner will tire and will do it my way! Another POORtential passive aggressive goal might be predestined partnership dissolution (e.g., enforced separation followed by divorce) without incurring any legal liability upon oneself and POORtentially forcing the aggravated verbal partner into an exploitable legal error: Let's make an emergency so we can control it! I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, but IMO the presence of children (leading to social service agency intervention) or pregnancy increases the POORtential for creating exploitable legal errors. IMO children and pregnancy increase the divorce settlement cost. And jointly owed back taxes complicate and increase the divorce settlement cost.

Passive aggressive behavior is not physically threatening, but this deliberately stubborn strategy resolves no problems and can escalate into physical confrontation if the verbal partner feels trapped. After repeated persuasive monologues degenerate into exasperated one-sided shouting, IMO the verbal partner should recognize that the partnership is ended and should disengage, should leave the room and should consider the possibility of being locked out of the residence. Then it is decision time. Unwarranted apologies [preferable to warranted apologies] constitute a bitter capitulation. Unwarranted apologies also set a bitter precedent for future problem resolutions: You've done this before! We're only negotiating the cost! IMO adults live with their decisions: No affection? No respect? No thank you! Adults sometimes walk away and live someplace else; but IMO survivors verify their next destination before they walk away. My private aviation pilot acquaintance says this best: Takeoffs are optional; landings are mandatory.

In cases where the verbal partner individually owns or individually leases the residence (somewhat guaranteeing re-entry), IMO the verbal partner should visit the gymnasium with a sympathetic friend / witness and should blow off physical steam. Upon return the verbal partner might suggest I believe that you deliberately are ignoring my viewpoint. I think that you need other peoples' opinions and that you need time to think. I think you need to pack your suitcase and to visit your family. And take your time; I think you should visit with your family until you are certain that you do not want to live with your family. During the separation both partners can ponder the partnership's value and can ponder whether the partnership is salvageable. Both partners also should consider how family members and mutual friends might react to a dissolution. [Family members and mutual friends often will not want to mediate a not pleasant social situation. The top priority of not happy mediators often is to end the current mediation episode (instead of finding a lasting acceptable solution). And when partnerships end, partners inevitably learn that our friends divide into your friends and my friends with your friends shunning me.] Telephone discussion and decision time precede return (if any). If the situation is not salvageable there is no reason to argue further and there might be POORtential legal disadvantage from further argument; probably it is time to change the residence locks. Dissolving the partnership might not be constructive, but it does not worsen an already bad situation. (BTW, judge for yourself if the foregoing passive aggressive behavior discussion resembles a struggle for personal autonomy in housing.)

I'm not marooned; every body on this island is family and we're all in the same boat!

[FWIW, I do not advocate provocative confrontation because of its high cost. When one partner is displaced from a residence they have an immediate lodging problem and often they feel marooned. A displaced partner short on cash and credit sometimes is forced to make unwise costly commitments. Volunteering to move into the guest room until domestic difficulties are resolved IMO is wiser than provocative confrontation.]

Workers can become preoccupied with domestic problems, their workplace performance suffers, and supervisors employ passive aggressive disapproval to motivate better performance. After a troubled workday the beleaguered worker arrives home, calls out Honey, I'm home! and is greeted by additional passive aggressive brooding. Idleness due to layoffs or retirement does not improve this situation: frustration and resentment build.

Men, don't let the cat toss YOU out at bedtime. Yabba-dabba-doo!

I stress retaining personal autonomy in housing; IMO individuals should understand their control over housing. Renters and leasers should understand their contractual rights and their landlord's contractual rights, and homeowners should understand their legal rights. Please consult a qualified attorney before making any legal decisions.

In cases of domestic threats or violence by either partner, police response usually favors women and children while men often are legally locked out of the residence or are arrested. IMO both partners should remember that legal separation and / or legal divorce degrades both partners' lifestyles and housing because maintaining two residences costs more than sharing one residence. [The 01/2016 US apartment average monthly rent is $1,180 (plus utility monthly payments), up 4.6% in the past twelve months. And casual friends might be reluctant to offer their guest bedroom to a distraught, recently separated acquaintance for how long?] In case of legal separation, who will pay the utilities and property taxes, and who will provide house maintenance? In case of divorce, will either partner retain the house or must the house be sold (including repaying the mortgage holder and paying realtors' commissions) in order to implement the legal divorce property settlement? (So-called underwater mortgages complicate this issue.) And post-divorce child support decrees might include college tuition, dorm and transportation expenses, a court-ordered burden that married parents need not bear. IMO partners often neglect these issues until after their relationship has crumbled irreparably.

Domestic problems create major embarrassment when both partners work in the same off ice. IMO both partners should consider the other partner's probable actions during a trial separation: one partner deliberately can ruin the other partner's reputation. A short e-mail message to select friends Going on a family visit ... back on such-and-such a date can eliminate many potential embarrassments.

Being the victim of organized shunning permanently changes the victim's perception of his community's current and future value: not reliable. Accepting others' disadvantageous demands encourages future shunning attacks: You've done this before! We're only negotiating the cost! And walking away from chaotic attacks within your own home is difficult; you've reached an emotional and financial dead end.

An ethical person's stoicism must be tempered by the accumulated harm. IMO infinite stoicism is self-destructive and is not acceptable. A victim might react stoically to impersonal (e.g., a stranger's) rejection by realizing that salespeople daily face rejection; dismissing impersonal rejection is easy to learn and the world is full of potential new friends. Personal rejection is harder to dismiss: a family member or friend (or their spouse) has discarded you. Recipients can deflate these episodes by remembering that collaborators are not reliable and seldom prosper. In cases of family / friend rejection, IMO a victim should ask Is the shunning individual's friendship still affordable?

21st Century society is awash with motivational psychology designed to make people think about it. In cases of psychological suspected manipulation IMO the victim's priority question should be What do I want, and did the motivational episode alter my decision? This priority question allows the victim to override motivational psychology. Being shunned gets old fast. Humans have limited strength, and others' burdens and priorities can be heavy. Adults learn to walk away. Back to definitions list

P) Some people wonder why I associate satanism with Paganism instead of with Christianity (or with Judaism). Pagan and Wiccan Traditions often are feminist-oriented and feminist-controlled. In response, dissenting Pagan men IMO increasingly turn to satanism.

While some satanists view satanism as a philosophy and / or a self-betterment program, many avowed satanists say that satanism is a religion. The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of The Church of Satan (CoS), clearly supports that viewpoint. IMO satanism has rejected Christianity's (and Judaism's) tenets and has chosen its own left-handed domineering path, seeking to deify itself instead of worshipping and serving a deity. IMO satanism acknowledges Christianity (and Judaism) by rejecting Christianity (and Judaism). IMO Christianity does not emphasize satan or hell, and Christianity ignores satanism: satan is seldom discussed in church or in Sunday school. Yet Never make a deal with the devil is a common maxim implying that the devil will satisfy your deal, but you'll get more than you requested. (I.e., longevity discussions are warranted if the devil offers you the opportunity of a lifetime.)

Discuss longevity before accepting the opportunity of a lifetime

In The Great Recession's Wake I envisioned the devil as a reluctant businessman: Some poor soul wants to make a deal and summons the devil. The devil frowns, saying "You don't want my deal; you want employment. Go investigate your opportunities." The poor soul hits the streets but there are no jobs. Again the poor soul summons the devil and again the devil frowns, saying "You are unemployed but you are not yet destitute. Who among your friends would quarter you if you were living on the street?" The poor soul canvasses all of his friends; some friends would house him overnight or over a weekend, but no friend offers long-term quarters. (Men prioritize domestic tranquility with their spouse over male bonding.) When the desperate soul again summons the devil, the devil says "Now we can do business. But lose the arrogance; and if you try symbolic protest or whining I'll remind you where you're coming from." The devil knows his deal's conclusion; the devil does not care if, in the mean time, the poor soul's life is a success or a failure.

Recent history has modified my perspective. While rural employment has not improved since The Great Recession and now is hindered by international tariffs on US agricultural products, the United States is enjoying the longest economic boom in recent history and unemployment statistics are impressively low; apparently most people desiring employment can find jobs. The devil must evolve and work harder in this low-unemployment environment, offering career pride and prosperity instead of mere survival. As automation increasingly eliminates careers while workers struggling with educational debt compete for better-paying jobs, an independent small business seems an idyllic route to career pride and prosperity. Successful small businesses are built upon three pillars: a novel idea, a receptive marketplace, and venture capital.

During periods of low unemployment, I view the devil as a hard-dealing venture capitalist, selectively offering start-up credit to qualified overly-optimistic souls. The devil fulfills his part of the deal, though you might get more than you requested (e.g., devilish nepotism). Yet after his hard deal binds your future solvency into the small business's success, the devil can afford to play it straight because the marketplace is tough and is very unforgiving. Many entrepreneurs have a genuinely good idea but they fail because they overspend while overestimating their marketplace's sales potential volume. And intellectual erosion (the rate at which individuals' marketplace knowledge becomes obsolete) can complicate this process. [FWIW, ninety-nine percent of small businesses fail during their first year. If a well-funded small business survives but never makes a profit, after seven years the IRS declares the small business a hobby and retroactively disallows seven years of business-related income tax deductions. Selling your marginal small business to a larger competitor before seven years expire can avoid this IRS trap (your losses get cancelled by your larger competitor's profits) but you are selling under duress and at what cost?] The venture capitalist devil hints about bankruptcy and about concluding your devilish deal when the small business (and your future solvency) fails. The devil then offers a ray of hope, saying "You know that I'm a businessman and I hate to waste. I've got this other project where I could use you. I'm not going to fool you; the job is crummy and the pay is lousy, but we could delay concluding your current deal. Why don't you think about it?" Thus begins a long and burdening relationship.

And if the current economic boom finally collapses, the devil always can resume his impoverished ways ...

YouTube Video: Deals with the Devil: A Brief Musical History (7:52 length)

Satanism presents many faces. I have read the satanism multiple FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions messages) formerly appearing periodically in Internet newsgroup alt.magick.tyagi (a low message volume newsgroup) and now URL link-archived at www.faqs.org. These satanism multiple FAQs have authors with varying satanic backgrounds. The FAQs usually are skillfully and clearly written, and the FAQs present a laissez faire (i.e., let the people do as they please, without governmental interference or control) philosophy sympathetic to libertarianism and to self-betterment. These FAQs' authorship quality IMO demonstrates that some satanists are extremely intelligent.

Anton LaVey promotes an aggressive domineering style of satanism. I have read the Anton LaVey's five popular press books. IMO the best example of Anton LaVey's philosophy is the essay Nonconformity -- Satanism's Secret Weapon in The Devil's Notebook (pp. 63-65), an essay that discusses the satanist as master in a throng of weak-willed slaves. Everybody has their own perspective about nonconformity. During genuinely difficult times, IMO pleasant smiles and good senses of humor are intelligent nonconformity.

YouTube Video Links:
Anton LaVey on The Joe Pyne Show (21:12 length; circa 1967)
Anton LaVey - Occult San Francisco Interview (7:47 length; circa 1975)

Big smiles are no cost, but the Cheshire Cat comes and goes

Most people recognize Hades as satan's domain. Nobody discusses why an ethical person (i.e., somebody who has not committed mortal sins or crimes against humanity) would assume that satan's domain is their destination, but Hades raises questions about satanic leadership's intended destination. Suicidal discussions are not new to the 21st Century: the 1950s song (Counting) Flowers On The Wall alludes to playing Russian roulette ( ... Playin' solitaire 'til dawn; with a deck of fifty-one ...) while the Hombres 1967 original song Let It All Hang Out depicts a hari-kari ritual suicide. Steven William Rimmer's novel Coven alludes to the satanic faithful as Those who shall be taken into the rapture of Hades but shall suffer not the torment. [BTW, Coven's satanic character later lethally martyrs himself according to satan's will in order to atone for his sins. Such martyrdom IMO need not be lethal (e.g., enthrallment).] Rimmer's novel Coven IMO suggests that the satanic faithful expect privileged positions among Hades' sadistic tormentors (i.e., daemons; hellish angels), an interpretation consistent with Anton LaVey discussing satanists as masters in a throng of weak-willed slaves. I am not a Biblical scholar, but IMO logic dictates that satanic privileged position expectations are based upon satan's (Biblical evil's) assumed ascendancy unto Heaven when God's death unleashes the Apocalypse foretold in the Christian New Testament's book of Revelations. And in Necronomicon, editor Simon relates Sumerian mythos both to Aleister Crowley's Book Of The Law and also to Revelations: Necronomicon's earthly cults and little devils expect benefit by opening The Gate and loosing The Ancient Ones (including the sleeping Leviathan TIAMAT) upon human earthly civilization.

Satanists' privileged position expectations IMO are not insurable, and in this potentially catastrophic environment a person must respond thoughtfully when a suspected satanist offers them a ride. The ride ended badly in the films Dr. Strangelove and Thelma and Louise.

The ride ended badly for actor Slim Pickens, and for Thelma and Louise

Satanism affects 21st Century society IMO primarily as a dominance response against increasing poverty. (Satan often is depicted as a prosperous sophisticate, but satan's disciples are uniformly impoverished.) Satanists believe that other people submit naturally to domineering satanists' perceived authority. Judicious legitimate authority IMO is not necessarily bad, but satanic philosophy implements To thine own self be true, not fair equal treatment. All generations do not prosper equally during economic change, and not equal treatment is a catalyst for social friction and chaos. Some people deliberately use chaos to advance their own selfish personal agendas.

Anton LaVey's popular press texts reflect the CoS doctrine. Earlier I mentioned satanism's left-handed dominant path. The following quotation from Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible (pg. 52) illustrates this association:

"The Satanic religion has not merely lifted the coin -- it has flipped it over completely. Therefore, why should it support the very principles to which it is completely opposed by calling itself anything other than a name which is totally in keeping with the reversed doctrines which make up the Satanic philosophy? Satanism is not a white light religion; it is a religion of the flesh, the mundane, the carnal -- all of which is ruled by Satan, the personification of the Left Hand Path."

The Temple of Set (ToS) is a 1975 offshoot of the CoS. The "alt.satanism Frequently Asked Questions" message periodically issued by boboroshi@satanservice.org (tyaginator) [sometimes satanservice.org@boboroshi (tyaginator)] on Internet newsgroup alt.magick.tyagi (and now link archived at www.faqs.org) presents the TEMPLE OF SET FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS -- Satanism (FAQ) apparently written by Michael A. Aquino (founder of the ToS) and updated by Roger Whitaker. That message states:

"[This was the case of the Temple of Set as a whole, which from 1966 to 1975 - as the Church of Satan - was exploring the Left-Hand Path from within J/C terminology.]"

But the referenced document does not define Left-Hand Path either in terms of Judaic/Christian terminology or as used by the ToS.

Balanone apparently is a recognized ToS member and periodically issued Balanone's Temple of Set FAQ on Internet newsgroup alt.magick.tyagi (now link archived at www.faqs.org). The September 9, 2003 issuance of that message states:

'"Left Hand Path" indicates that the path followed by Setians is one of concentration and refinement of the self, leading toward more and more individuality and more and more individualism, as opposed to the Right Hand Path goals of growing toward some outwardly determined standard.'

and (italics added)

"The Left Hand Path is the tradition of spiritual dissent. It is a process of using the ideas and actions of the Seeker to create or realize an immortal, individual, potent, and powerful essence that will survive death. The Left Hand Path is the quest for personal immortality, won by hard effort without grace of gods, even of our role model, Set."

The first quotation illustrates that ToS does not give high priority to team play. The second quotation IMO uses the term immortality vaguely. Immortality might be considered one's recognized contribution to human knowledge, arts and / or philosophy; or immortality might be considered one's biological children.

Uncle Setnakt's Essential Guide To The Left Hand Path by author Don Webb, the ToS's High Priest, briefly discusses the ToS. But this extremely well-written text's main theme is the (sometimes solitary) Setian self-development Quest for Sovereignty. Uncle Setnakt's message is not unique: during his travels Gulliver got tied down by the Lilliputians; Don Juan criticized Carlos Castaneda for seeking magickal knowledge while living a crappy life; and the United States Army urged potential recruits to become An Army of One by Be(ing) All That You Can Be. Furthermore, some Christian television evangelists preach self-development goals similar to Uncle Setnakt's self-development goals. I find no fault with ToS's self-development program. Self-development is like any other tool: the ethical issue is how a person employs the tool.

Human beings are not disposable commodities

Viewing satanism from a baptized Methodist's perspective, IMO satan values capable tools but satan does not love individual tools: satan's (and ToS's) individual tools are disposable commodities. Consequently, satan would have no misgivings concerning anabolic steroid use in athletic competition, believing extreme musculature to be a worthwhile trade for shortened longevity. (Taking oral steroids weakens a person's immune system.)

Aleister Crowley's writings precede modern satanism. However, in Chapter XXI (OF BLACK MAGIC; OF THE MAIN TYPES OF THE OPERATIONS OF MAGICK ART; AND OF THE POWERS OF THE SPHINX), Part I of MAGICK In Theory And Practice Aleister Crowley writes:

[Beginning of excerpt]
Below these in one sense, yet far above them in another, are the Brothers of the Left Hand Path (emphasis added). These are they who "shut themselves up", who refuse their blood to the Cup (italics added), who have trampled Love in the Race for self-aggrandizement.

As far as the grade of Exempt Adept, they are on the same path as the White Brotherhood; for until that grade is attained, the goal is not disclosed. Then only are the goats, the lonely leaping mountain-masters, separated from the gregarious huddling valley-bound sheep. Then those who have well learned the lessons of the Path are ready to be torn asunder, to give up their own life to the Babe of the Abyss which is -- and is not -- they.
[End of excerpt]

FWIW, I observe that people who work in high places often display satanic fatalism.

And in Chapter XXI, Part II of MAGICK In Theory And Practice Aleister Crowley writes:

[Beginning of excerpt]
Before leaving the subject of Black Magic, one may touch lightly on the question of Pacts with the Devil.

The Devil does not exist. It is a false name invented by the Black Brothers to imply a Unity in their ignorant muddle of dispersions. A devil who had unity would be a God.
[End of excerpt]

YouTube video: Aleister Crowley - The Great Beast 666 (17:14 length)

Aleister Crowley's description of the Brothers of the Left Hand Path IMO is consistent with Uncle Setnakt's (sometimes solitary) Setian self-development Quest for Sovereignty discussed earlier.

A binding commitment to satan (like legal marriage) IMO is severable (like legal divorce). In 21st Century society the strongest bonds (particularly during persistent unemployment) are financial bonds. A binding commitment to satan can be broken at some cost. Typical costs IMO include career advancement disappointment or workplace layoff disappointment, unanticipated difficulty financing your education or repaying your educational loans, and losing a leased vehicle's use. (Satanists driving pickup trucks sometimes play an intimidation game that I call T'anks A Lot!)

Director Roman Polanski's 1968 film Rosemary's Baby starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes similarly depicts satanic financial bonds: Rosemary's artist husband obtains unexpected financial backing after the couple embrace a satanic coven, but the financial backing crumbles when distraught Rosemary convinces her husband to withdraw from the coven; the couple then return to the coven seeking empathy and social comfort. [BTW, the film Rosemary's Baby also is noteworthy because CoS founder Anton LaVey both served as the film's satanic consultant and also appears in the film as satan's personification.] The Great Expectations 1998 US film adaptation starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft and Robert De Niro has a satanic empowerment similar theme: young artist Finn (i.e., Charles Dickens' Pip character) enjoys financial support and success until Finn's benefactor, a disenfranchised convict who Finn met as a youth, returns to share Finn's success. The nasty habits acquired during a satanic episode (and in the impoverished aftermath) IMO might endure permanently, a caveat worth remembering when some body else (happily) offers Have a nice weakened! or (sadly) comments You'll get a good one.

After observing behavior in my locale, I (simplistically?) view satanism as a culture that assumes Most people automatically submit to authority; i.e., most people take the easy (submissive) right-hand path. Satanists use dominance to assert their authority and to coerce other people to submit. Satanic psychology somewhat resembles military psychology: We always win; we simply must push harder! And military service IMO includes elements of satanic ambiguity:

Boot is confused. Boot questions Sarge after drill, saying
I heard what you said, Sarge, but I'm confused. Are we fighting for our lives, or are we fighting to the death?
Sarge frowns, and in his command voice barks
Boot! Where is your helmet, Boot? You're gonna need your helmet, Boot; find your helmet!
[I do not want to belabor this point, but most Old Testament violence was perpetrated by angry Jehovah, not by humans. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) contain no military exemptions or amendments. Abel's jealous brother Cain was cursed to wander (i.e., perpetual unemployment and homelessness; Genesis 4); the 23rd Psalm invokes Jehovah's protection; and warrior King David's household is plagued with intrigue after David breaks several commandments during his seduction of Uriah's wife Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). Jesus is depicted as a loving God; I know no New Testament basis for (Onward) Christian soldiers.]

Satanists caught on slippery ground are not above seeking politically correct charity (as in The Scorpion And The Turtle earlier discussion). My observations of diverse cultures on three continents convince me that all cultures are not equal: some cultures have greater depth, integrity and value than other cultures. Cultural depth, integrity and value all contribute to a culture's durability and longevity. The deliberately dominant satanic culture IMO lacks depth: the fight or flight confrontations that satanists (e.g., so-called devil dogs) repeatedly employ reflect mammalian basic psychology. And the satanic play ends when the satanist exhausts their perceived authority [been there done that (yawn)] or runs out of resourceful victims.

Aggressor males in my locale often seek to she it, an emasculation slang term signifying force another male to submit like a sissy. Domineering females in my locale (often with shaky relationships themselves) use repeated nuisance calls to the police and to social service agencies in efforts to emasculate their single / divorced male neighbors. Financially-desperate women initiate embarrassing social incidents [or years later dredge up (or sometimes invent) embarrassing social history] in order to extort financial benefit. And domineering individuals sometimes make nuisance calls to the IRS triggering time wasting, unwarranted income tax audits.

CoS's ritual use of the symbolic trapezoid IMO reflects winning through domination. Both Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible (in the section The Satanic Ritual; C. Devices Used In The Satanic Ritual; Altar) and also Anton LaVey's The Satanic Rituals (pp. 106-111, THE LAW OF THE TRAPEZOID -- DIE ELEKTRISCHEN VORSPIELE) describe trapezoid components included in the CoS's Black Mass altar. I know no CoS explanation for the trapezoid symbol. CoS's trapezoid IMO symbolizes the triumph of the working class (a sentiment echoing Karl Marx's dictatorship of the proletariat). CoS IMO views society as a triangular pyramid with a working class strong broad base, and with an executive / managerial weak elite at the pyramid's apex. CoS IMO views the executive / managerial weak elite as parasites to be dominated and vanquished: at footfall (upon martial law imposition) crush or decapitate the triangular pyramid's weak elite apex and a stronger trapezoidal structure results. [Footfall IMO alludes to crushing rebellious civilians upon martial law implementation. The government's post-9/11 rescinding of the Posse Comitatus Act IMO has encouraged the footfall attitude among military personnel, among military veterans, and also among domestic law enforcement personnel.] Trojan horse Jezebels redistributing (as discussed in Anton LaVey's The Satanic Witch) the elites' resources and authority to themselves and to their family members is a related mundane means to decapitate the pyramid's weak elite apex.

My trapezoid explanation is consistent with CoS written doctrine, but I do not equate dominance-seeking solely with Marxism or with satanism. Jericho is a common theme within the budget-constrained downsizing military and among marginally-employed military veterans. Jericho alludes to civilian society crumbling (the proverbial walls come tumbling down) and after martial law imposition Now we're the bosses! Jericho equates to That's riot! among the marginally-employed homeless. [A post-separation military veteran's family house being no longer shielded from delinquent mortgage foreclosure often motivates Jericho thoughts. It is difficult IMO to claim victimization in response to Your volunteer service is complete. Thank you for your time. Losing touch during military service (often deliberately) with former friends and with other local social contacts does not improve the situation. Post-separation noncommissioned military veteran poverty IMO is not accidental or a societal oversight: civilian society does not want military veteran affluent mercenaries (e.g., The A Team).]

[Trapezoids are common ritual items within human culture. The Mayan Indians of the Yucatan Peninsula located their ritual lodges atop truncated pyramids (trapezoids). The Aztec Indians of North/Central Mexico often held their religious rituals atop extinct volcanoes (trapezoids). The sun-worshiping Mississippian Indians built the trapezoidal Cahokia Mounds in southwestern Illinois, today a favorite Pagan site. Chapter III of Aleister Crowley's MAGICK In Theory And Practice is titled The Formula of Tetragrammaton: Tetragrammaton refers to the four consonants of the ancient Hebrew name for Jehovah, while a tetragon (like a trapezoid) is a four-sided geometric figure. And 21st Century managers somewhat worship trapezoids: i.e., most projects' funding profiles include a ramp up, then a period of constant funding, then a ramp down.]

Two examples of my locale's deliberately chaotic antisocial episodes are: While walking in public areas, strangers walking up and whispering You'll fear (us)! (My typical response is That's not gonna work!) And repeated cases of people rudely taking social advantage while grinning and saying We're poor! (My typical response is That's right!) I encounter these admonitions repeatedly, including from affluent acquaintances in known good health. These admonitions' popularity puzzles me; I know no place (including churches) where people benefit socially by threatening or by advertising poverty. And you can not force people to care.

Individuals learn how to deal with these chaotic episodes: ignore the episode and walk away, but cross streets and parking lots carefully. (Vehicles with heavily tinted windows, and instant start electric silent vehicles do not improve this situation.) Experience teaches the difference between deliberately chaotic (anti)social episodes and normal social behavior. With further experience, victims learn to gauge desperation by noting the level of effort (e.g., similarity to earlier episodes plus the episodic labor hour$ expended.) A shrinking regional economy complicates this determination as impoverished people increasingly accept questionable tasks on a low wage or on a commission basis.

The United States cultural melting pot era ended in the late 1970s; earlier immigrant generations were expected to join the United States homogeneous strong society. One 1960s / 1970s United States counterculture issue was that subcultural groups had the right to define and maintain their own subculture. (Both African-Americans and feminists stressed this social issue.) But 21st Century subcultural groups do not seek equality: 21st Century subcultural groups IMO seek resourceful empowerment.

Most self-image upward paths IMO include anger (and sometimes include disgust); apathy and / or oblivion are downward paths. I question how male soldiers returning from overseas long duty tours in paternalistic culture countries react to politically correct pressure. Had Sailor and Lula repeatedly quarreled about money and about unemployment, director David Lynch's R-rated film Wild At Heart (Best Picture winner, 1990 Cannes Film Festival) starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern would have ended in desertion.

I find satanism's dominant subculture personally not appropriate. Defining one's own culture includes the right to exclude other peoples' unpleasantness: nobody has guaranteed popularity or guaranteed acceptance. Satanists dogmatically dominate in order to control other people and their resources. This proselytism is an infringement of other peoples' liberty.

In my neighborhood, proselytism sometimes is expressed as crossing the street: i.e., You will cross over from your light side of the street to our dark side of the street, and you (and your resources) will empower our culture. Dr. Carl Goldberg's magical thinking (discussed earlier) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can motivate extreme proselytism; while Islamic jihad (holy war) is extreme proselytism.

Domineering concepts and attitudes increasingly permeate 21st Century United States society. Dealing with domineering attitudes forces individuals to assert greater dominance themselves; this attitude shift IMO will endure for several generations. A prolonged economic contraction resembles a friendship going sour: it is difficult to identify exactly when the process began but the sourness is increasingly evident. IMO most people will walk away from the prolonged economic contraction feeling cheated, and they will carry the powerfully motivating attitude You will not cheat me again, an attitude that motivates separation instead of accommodation.

Separation neglects an ethical question: Shouldn't non-satanists (including Christians) interact with satanists and attempt to improve the situation? The situation resembles joining somebody else's poker game and then realizing that the card deck is marked. What response is practical: attempting to illuminate and to correct an unfair corrupt game; attempting to cleverly beat the corrupt host's advantage; or folding your cards and walking away? Most people would fold their cards and walk away, and IMO they would walk away solo, not encouraging other players to accompany them. My ethical response recognizes that domineering satanists often expect other people to sacrifice for satanists' benefit. Satanists themselves should willingly make the same sacrifice: anything less is not fair and not equal hypocrisy. And What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose IMO is a statement of equality. I never inquire about life insurance policies lurking in the background, but I am not compelled to intercede in the consequences of satanic poor or bad decisions, or to intercede in satanic self-inflicted other folly. My response sometimes leads to verbal exchanges like:

Pay!
I did not make that deal.
We pay!
Pay yourself; go home.
FWIW, Pay yourself; go home (the underlying thought is I want you to take your opportunistic warmth back home to your family and to your friends) is a kinder response than You did not pay me! or Pay! is a dead end path. When is your final payment? There are historic precedents: Niccolo Machiavelli was exiled to home after the Florentine court changed hands in 1512; while after the Soviet Union's fall, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Soviet author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (both Nobel Prize winners) lived for a time in the United States, but both ultimately returned home to Russia. Of course, throughout recorded history satan has impoverished humanity: e.g., Adam, Eve and their descendants were cursed with poverty after being tossed out of the Garden Of Eden; while devilish goats girdled and killed the trees of sub-Sahara Africa, creating the desert that impoverishes the people. And the response Pay yourself; go home leaves homeless and truly bankrupt satanists in poverty (or worse).

At this point IMO it is worthwhile to step back and to examine the satanic big picture. Money always is useful and some satanists (i.e., satan's daemons) are impoverished, but satan does not want to pick your pocket: satan collects souls, usually following episodes of cruel torment. Visualize a poor soul who made a deal with the devil; later the devil says I'm going to torment you until you surrender, I'm going to torment you until you pay. The poor soul resists but satan's cruelty erodes the poor soul's will. The poor soul finally surrenders and gives all of his money to satan and to satan's daemons. The devil says Thank you for the money; you are quite generous. But money won't stop your torment. The now impoverished poor soul wails in anguish Well what do you want?

The Game | The Exorcist | The Omen | Rosemary's Baby

From a social perspective satanists IMO are terrible companions. Many people would find Christian priests or ministers to be burdensome daily companions because their Christian authority sometimes conflicts with life's mundane events, but Christian priests and ministers have a comforting humility because they serve God and humanity. Satanists pretentiously assert quasi-religious leadership but satanists totally lack humility: satanists serve only satan and themselves.

And it is remarkable IMO that satanic daemons usually are impoverished. The devil often is depicted as a wealthy powerful man, and a resourceful satan could financially empower his daemons, but throughout history satanic daemons have been impoverished. Why does satan always impoverish his daemons? Does satan fear mutinous financial free will among his daemons?

IMO non-satanists have no responsibility for the consequences of satanic folly. Thus I regard satanists as I regard any offensive group or offensive individuals who demand healing from their intended victims: with benign neglect I avoid satanists as much as is possible. Back to definitions list

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Some people question the appropriateness of my providing any comments concerning Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism or satanism. IMO detachment is valuable and having no vested interests can bring objectivity. I offer information; my information can be ignored with little effort. I do not tell people how to worship or practice magick in their circles or in their own homes. And my magick-, Pagan- and Wicca-related webpage IMO threatens no one.

This webpage includes a recurring theme: Walk away! Walking away sometimes is difficult, especially in attractive situations where compromise temptation is strong and ever-present: Be flexible; do it my way! Attractive tempting situations conflict with good faith: a person follows some moral code throughout their life and the attractive tempting situation conflicts with that moral code. Conflict forces a person to ask Will this compromise trivialize all of my earlier struggles? This burdening question grows heavier as a person ages.

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