Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Birds Sage and Handcuffs

A bird-watcher Robin Brown is suing the Broward State Attonrney's Office for being arrested over a sage smudge stick. Actually, the lawsuit states "negligence and malicious prosecution" as well as "public humiliation, mental pain and suffering." Yes, she got arrested for possession of a smudge stick---sage.

Brown was bird-watching one day in March 2009, and used a smudge stick during the course of her outing that day for praying and giving thanks. On the way back to her vehicle, she met a couple of people; one from the Sheriff's department;  the other from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Explaining that she was bird-watching, she opened up her backpack to show them her binoculars and bird manual. That is when the sheriff's deputy spotted her smudge bowl and sage.

Ok, obviously this woman is not a criminal. If you are a criminal, you never open up your backpack in front of the cops...you don't give them an excuse to arrest you.

A field test gave a positive for marijuana. But she was not arrested that day. The smudge stick was sent to the lab for testing. Ninety days later, Brown was arrested at work, very publicly.

Her lawyer in the course of defending her learned that the smudge stick was never actually tested by the lab. When it was finally tested, the lab concluded that the sage was not marijuana. Charges were dropped. Gee, shouldn't this have been tested before she was arrested?

Honestly, I do not think that Robin Brown will win her case, which is currently in appeal.

But what I would like to point out is that something like this could happen to many of my readers. Most kitchen spices will give a false positive in a marijuana field test. And how many of us have walked around with a smudge stick in our backpack or purse? I am guessing many of us.

It is just another one of those sad events that make the cops look like complete morons when it comes to dealing with alternative religious practices.

You can read the original newsreport that I used as a reference on The Palm Beach Post News website.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Why is Crowley taboo

One of the comments to my previous post (about having read Crowley on occasion) brought up the question of why some Golden Dawn members and leaders loathe Aleister Crowley. (I am using the word "loathe" because I like the word, and I think their feelings go well beyond "dislike" and "hate.") Here are some of my current thoughts about the question.

One, Crowley is a hard act to follow. The man produced a lot of material. And he was producing material until the end of his life.

Two, Crowley was an occultist and seeker all his adult life. It was a lifestyle, not a temporary act with a definite goal on the end.

Three, Crowley published---a lot. He also stole material and published it as his own. Plus, he produced new things too.

Four, Crowley followers are not good followers. Thelemics are more goats than sheep. Some of them are slightly dark (possible understatement), and all of them are argumental.

Five, Crowley was anti-secrecy. At least when it comes to the teachings.

Six, Crowley was anti-guru and Order. The AA is built more like a resistance movement than a fraternal Order.

Seven, Crowley thought his system was better than the original Golden Dawn. And maybe, he was right...in a sense.

Eight, his followers tend to think that his way of doing things are the best way. And they loudly say so.

Nine, his system produces people who declare themselves prophets. They tend to declare new laws. Thelema and the Book of the Law was merely the beginning of heretics and radicals.

Ten, Crowley was truly running a non-profit organization. Crowley often had a real day-job.

Bottom-line, you do not want people who follow Crowley or use him as a good example in your organization. Especially if you are looking for sheep that need looking after. Thelemites are dangerous to anyone managing a "shut up and follow" Order.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I used to read Crowley

Every once in awhile, I have to admit that I used to read the works of Aleister Crowley. This tends to get me some black looks in Golden Dawn circles. The official word from on-high is that Crowley is a taboo subject---not that I have ever been much on obeying the edicts of the upper echelon, hence the occasional admission of past guilt.

Am I still guilty of reading Crowley? I am in Golden Dawn---what do you think?

Crowley has been placed in the biggest traitor category, thanks to his publishing of some of the early Golden Dawn rituals and teachings---but he also provides us with a baseline of what was actually being done at the time that he was in the Golden Dawn. In fact, he is the baseline that all students of the system can locate.

Crowley has been placed in the category of the biggest charlatan---but we actually have evidence that he was actually working the tradition, even after he officially left the system.

Crowley has been placed in the category of the biggest show-off that Golden Dawn ever produced---are we really sure that is true anymore?

Crowley has been placed in the category of one of the worst things to happen to occultism, but how many of us started off reading him?

There are some that believe that we should automatically reject the applications of anyone that admits to reading Crowley. I am not one of those people.

MTGN Trulhu the Thing on Trumps Head

Normally, I try to keep real-world politics confined to my rarely-updated political blog, Bag Full of Tricks (where you can see the bottom half of the artwork of this particular card). But this was 1---too good of an idea to toss into the "too late to do" waste-basket, and 2---I think that some of my readers here would get a laugh out of it. This card is another of my Magic the Gathering NOT series (note that it is the Elections 2012 Torture Set and not my yet-to-be-named mocking the Golden Dawn internet community set). The idea for the picture came when I realized that I would rather vote for the thing on Donald Trumpt's head than the man himself. Then I realized that the thing on his head reminded me of something out of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu fiction. Then Trump decided he would rather not run for President---as if that would stop me from using this idea. Trulhu is a Legend (because Trump thinks that he is a legend, and I hope that there is only one of him---I also hope that there is only one of those things that he wears on his head). Trulhu, the thing on Trump's head is a 7/7 creature that costs two black and two blue mana to summon. On every upkeep, the controller places a counter on Trulhi; these counters can be removed when Trulhu is tapped (I forgot to add the tap symbol---opps), and add one colorless mana to the player's manapool for each counter removed. The big drawback is that every time Trulhu is tapped, one damage is done to its controlling player. The quote is actually based on a real Donald Trump quote, except that I tossed in the part where souls are involved in the deal making. "Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making big deals, preferably involving people's souls." Here is to the long Presidential season that we are facing here in the States---I hope that we survive it with minimal damage. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some random thoughts on Tarot

It is World Tarot Day. Therefore, I thought I would give my readers some random thoughts about the Tarot.

The best way to color your own Tarot deck (whether BOTA, Golden Dawn, or other) that I have found is colored pencil. But the best way to study the color scales is using water-color paints. Unfortunately, water-color paints are not exactly user-friendly when it comes to actually using a Tarot deck to do readings.

The worst thing that has happened to one of my Tarot decks is a cup of tea---literally. It was during a reading that I was doing at a local coffee shop for someone. The second worst thing is either a cat attack or wax dripppings.

I was using Tarot cards for magic spells before any of the books came out on the subject. I have never been able to get any of the published Tarot spells to work for me---I have to design my own spell to get them to work.

Tarot reading for a living...well, it is like finding something slimy in your sock drawer. It is a gig that I would prefer not to do on a regular basis ever again. Most of the readings I did fell into the category of "I have already made up my mind, so justify my decision for me" which are hardly the type of people that you want to be reading for.

Tarot did not start out as a tool for spiritual development. Sorry. It was a game first. Then it got used for vulgar fortune-telling. Then a game again. Some use as literary  imagery. Some more game playing followed. Then it became a spiritual development tool.

I once saw a list of Magic the Gathering cards for a deck based on the concept of the Tarot. I do not think it would have worked well in actual game-play.

My ideal Tarot deck would be a Franken-deck, a Tarot deck using a card from this deck, a couple of cards from that deck. When I do readings, the cards you see on the table might not be the cards that I am seeing in the back of my head.

The Tarot and the diagrams of the Golden Dawn rituals and lectures are related. They are like two halves of the same coin. The Golden Dawn teachings about the Tarot are still in their infancy.

My favorite book about the Tarot is by Mouni Sadhi. It uses the French Levi order of the trumps. It also ties Tarot into everything else occult-ish that the author could think of.

I have a small suitcase of Tarot decks. And a shelf full of Tarot books. I worry about any occultist who doesn't have a small Tarot collection.

If you have a random thought about the Tarot, feel free to leave it in the comment section. Remember I do not approve of advertisements in my comment section (I had a few ads for plumbers dumped into a recent Quote of the Day post).

QoD VH Frater AM Reveals the Training of Ninja Kittens

Oh no, someone spotted my evil plan to train Ninja Kittens. VH Frater AM reveals the pounding of the war-drums as people take sides in the Garden Gnome and Troll-Doll War of 2011.

"But an even more disturbing turn of events was noted when Morgan Eckstein recruited some Neo-Pagans, Druids, and Witches to train Evil Troll-Doll defending Ninja Kittens to specifically counter Mr Farrell's attack puppies. Folks there is some very disturbing video footage here. These Colorado Golden Dawn Intoxicated Neo-Pagans are vicious. Beware of the hideous growling and vicious behavior of these Ninja Kittens and the severe trauma imposed upon the attack puppy."

But it does not matter that my activities have been revealed. Bwahahaha! I will still get Nick and his little pups too.

Errands are Work

Instead of working today, I decided to run errands with my wife for her jewelery business (I am sort-of a manager and advisor for it). It is not like I was actually going to work on any of the three projects on my desk (one which people are already worried about simply because of the working name of the project)---in fact, it I would have stayed home I would have probably decided to complain about something that boiling on the blogosphere (something I should leave alone until my own work in that area is done---no need to make enemies before I absolutely have to [the enemies are just natural outcome of the work---some people will agree; others will hold an impronto witch-burning]). So, first we went to Mile Hi Ceramics to pick up some porcelain (fifty pounds worth---I got to do the carrying), some small stilts, and a kiln brick. Then we went to Xpedx to pick up some card stock to make into jewelry cards; we also picked up some small boxes for packaging purposes. I have been to Mile Hi Ceramics before; on occasion, I have brought things there (they have small low fire goblets that just need glazing and firing). This was my first time visiting Xpedx---it was a zine publisher heaven (so many different types of paper). And because I did weigh in on a decision or three, the errand running did count as work (after all, I am sort-of the business manager for the jewelry business).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

QoD Rufus on Demonic Plumbing

Rufus just wrote a pro-home ownership post on his blog that included the following gem:

"Jesus, did you know that plumbers just basically go into a house and plumb it however the fuck they want? As long as the water goes down the right hole, it's pretty much legal. I'm pretty sure the people who plumbed this house over the last 60 years were dabblers in the Necronomicon. If I ran all the faucets and flushed all the toilets at the same time, Marduk would appear in the living room, no lie."

I thought that the plumber who did my house was bad (the man managed to get fool-proof parts in completely backwards)---and don't get me started about the other work he did (he was a plumber, supposely)---but I agree with Rufus that I would rahter own a house than be a renter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It is Hug a Secret Chief Day

It is Hug a Secret Chief Day! Yes, it is Hug a Cat Day. Or at least, one of them...there is as much doubt on the correct day to hug your cat as there is on which Golden Dawn Order is the most true and legitimate. Just to be safe, try hugging a Secret Chief everyday...provided that they do not claw your eyes out for violating their sacredness. "Your oath says that you will fed me, entertain me, and clean out my litter box; it says nothing about groping me."

Monday, May 23, 2011

QoD Ananael Qaa on the Value of Arguing over Survival of Pagan Systems

The following quote is from Ananael Qaa, who does the Augoeides blog (which I read regularly because he finds news items that I completely miss otherwise); Ananael was commenting on a re-route post by VVF-Otherwordly Sorcery pointing out the current blog posts by Caroline Tully and David Griffin regarding the work of Professor Ronald Hutton.

"Aside from its academic value [arguing over the survival of pagan traditions] is such a silly subject. It's worthwhile to try and work out what the real history is, but why this would have any effect on someone's magical or spiritual practices is completely beyond me.

"From a technical standpoint the modernity of a system is a feature, not a bug. Horsedrawn carriages have a noble and ancient history in our civilization, but if you own a modern car you're going to beat your Amish neighbor into town every time."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

And the worst that happened yesterday

So the day of the Rapture came and went, and I am still here. I guess that means that I am going to have to pay off my student loans someday. My current plan is to become a pirate. (Image is from "Twenty Rejected Books for Pirates"; several of which I found myself saying, "Hey, isn't that a Golden Dawn commentary just waiting to happen"; I know---I am strange.) Not being raptured and facing the eventual chore of repaying my student loans is the worst thing that happened yesterday. I guess my next big hope is December 2012. What? The end of the world is not supposed to happen just to erase my student loan debt? Oy vey. The other thing that happened yesterday was that my Advanced Adept Advisor looked at me and told me that I really need to take a six-month foundational course in a certain subject ("remedial" for those who are not of the politically-correct school of conversation). No, that was not a bad thing. Actually, that was a good thing. I have been saying for months to my fellow lodge members that I really needed to take some time and learn the basics in the topic that I am drowning in. It is partially the fault of a previous lack of personal interest in the topic (as evidenced by my slim library selection); partially the fault of the previous groups that I belonged to (Hathoor Temple thought I was going to set myself on fire; come to think of it, so does Bast Temple); and partially the fact that when I hit that stage of the Inner Order training, I was suffering from some of the heaviest college classes I ever took (this coming semester promises to be an even bigger joy---ahh, the joys of bening non-traditional college student). Yes, I am one of the retarded Adepts---as if you didn't already know. So what the worst that happened to you yesterday?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

MTGN Rapture

Yes, it is time for another installment of Magic the Gathering NOT!? the game that is fun for all spiritual grades of attainment. And today, we are allowing the doomsayers to play by introducing one of their favorite cards---the Rapture, an enchantment with a two white mana casting cost. Rapture goes into your graveyard during your upkeep if you control no white creatures; at the end of your turn, you gain one life. But wait! There is an added benefit. For seven mana, all white creatures are removed from the game, no matter whether they are in play, in a hand, in a library, or in a graveyard. No pure thing can hide from the Rapture. Unpure beings, such as those who have additional colored casting costs, upkeep costs, or activation costs are exempt from being raptured; this includes those pesky enchant creature spells. Don't want the unpure from enjoying heaven, now do we? And the real joy of this card is that anyone can activate this creature removal ability; all they need to do is pray and play the activation cost. Inconvenient? Doesn't match your math and announcements? You can prevent the effect by paying just two mana. And so can any other player, which allows you to claim that the timing was not right and it wasn't your fault that the math was wrong. Yes, the Rapture is a card sure to pick up the game for all those true believers. Plus, it is great for cult based decks---just add kool-aid. [Artist's note: the flavor quote, "I would rather ask for forgiveness than premission" is not by the Crowley most occultists know and have been loved by; it is actually the Mark Shepard version of Crowley (a crossroad demon, who became king of hell) from the Supernatural television series. I might be a geek.]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two days until the Rapture

We are a mere 48 hours away from the scheduled Rapture. More or less.

Now, for those of you who are not raptured, let me just state upfront that I will be here on Sunday to serve you up another serving of blogicous goodness. I am not a Christian, so I am extempt from rapturing---unless God decides to punish me for the comment about his son, Jesus, being a ceremonial magician...in which case, one of my cats will take over my blogging duties.

If the rapture happens, and you are left behind, remember that Rapture Looting Day starts promptly at seven. Pagan standard time will not be honored. It is first come, first grab---the standard rule for all looting events. I am looking forward to the looting; I haven't looted anything since me and Hagar looted Rome ages ago. Medium Large, in their handy Guide to Preparing for the Rapture, says that one should wait 72 hours before one starts to loot; they also mention the fact that you need a rapture wristband. The wristband is for the rapturing, not the looting.

Not everyone believes that the rapture is going to happen like the more dedicated Christians think it is going to happen. Alex Sumner puts forth a theory that instead of being taken up into heaven, that those who are raptured will have Christ possess them. *blank look* Does this mean that Jesus will control the zombie hoarde?

Of course, one must keep an eye out on Facebook for photos that prove the rapture is starting. Because the news of the disappearances will break on Twitter and Facebook first---where else would it happen? For those who would like to follow my reporting of events, you can follow me on Twitter---because we all know that I am going to spend an hour there Saturday tweeting and retweeting the unfolding of events...unless my wife decides that I have better things to do, like laundry and dishes.

Now, like most comedians, I have made a list of the people that I would like to see raptured the most. The person at the top of my list: Sarah Palin. The second person on my list: Ann Coulter. I am still debating my third slot---I am leaning towards Trump's hairpiece.

For those parents, who will have kids who are not raptured and chose to remain here with them, there is a new parenting forum for unconvential (pagan, wiccan and occult involved) parents: Parentes Nefarii. Ok, maybe deciding that you will or will not be raptured is not an option; but given how unclear the rules are, I think that one can give it a try.

Anyway, remember to have fun on Saturday night. Loot safe, party hard, and remember to take pictures of the piles of empty clothes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Starting the countdown to the June OFM

The countdown to the Hearthstone Community Church's June Open Full Moon Ritual started on Friday. Or at least, for me it started on Friday. Of course, I might be the only one counting down to it---for I am the person that gets to take the blame for it if all goes horribly wrong.

Yes, that is right---I am leading another OFM.

This will be the fifth year in a row that I have done an OFM on the behalf of Bast Temple. And the sixth OFM ritual that I have written (not that anyone ever associates me with the first one---everyone always presumes that I was merely a player in that ritual).

Exactly how much I need to accomplish before the ritual day, June 10th, is still fuzzy. I know that I need to produce a new flyer for the lodge, a blurb and a column for the newsletter.

Unfortunately, a couple of the things I want to get done before the big day are beginning to look like they are not going to happen. Which may or may not be ok---advertising and me are always a hit and miss operation.

Anyways, I will probably be blogging about this some more over the course of the next month---ye have been warned.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Laughing at Kirk

As most of my readers know, David Griffin of the HOGD/A&O has recently associated himself with Captain James T. Kirk, and his friend, Tomas (SR) with Spock. The association of the Federation with Golden Dawn puzzles me a little because there are moments that I am not sure if it is just his Order that he is connecting it with, or if the association refers to all honest magical branches of the tradition. This association has led to some strange mental moments on my end---now I cannot help but think about Griffin whenever I run across a picture of William Shatner's version of Captain Kirk. Sometimes it leads to me laughing out loud at a picture because it now has a completely new subcontext to me. And this picture is an example of one of those moments. I have no idea whether Griffin would approve of this statement or not ("Diplomacy---Words don't always solve problems. Sometimes you just have to punch an alien in the face."), but I could hear Griffin saying it because of this association. Now I do know that Griffin will see the humor value of it---I must admit that Griffin goes out on a limb occasionally to be able to use a good line or poke some fun at a situation (look to what he was willing to do to be able to use the line, "I am the real McCoy"---that was an association that I wouldn't have touched with a ten-foot pole; both sides of that conflict were out to lunch). I may not agree with Griffin about some things, but I do admire his willingness to go for a laugh.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When chickens flame

Here is a cartoon that I discovered though Confessions of a Modern Witch, who found it at Savage Chickens (Doug Savage). I know that I am not alone in wishing this would happen to the worst of the flamers on the internet, especially in my own circle of the internet. Why are we not funding research in this much needed defense against flame wars? Oh yeah, because we all have our moments, don't we?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bad Student I am

Yesterday, while sitting on the Light Rail, coming back from a final, I found myself thinking about how I am just a bad student compared to other people I know. Talking to my classmates, I realized that I spent much less time studying for the final exam than many of my classmates did. I also did not finish the final as quickly as some of them did either.

Not that I am worried about passing the class---if I get a decent grade on the final, then I will pass the class. The final exam I am most worried about is not until Thursday night. And I am not too terribly worried about that one either.

I guess part of the reason for my bad study habits is the simple fact that I believe that being able to get some sleep is more important than cramming more facts into my head.

Awhile back, I ran across someone blogging about how they were cramming for a Grade exam in one of the branches of the Golden Dawn. And honestly, I could not imagine being allowed to cram for an advancement exam.

Ok, for the record, I have never belonged to a branch that places a whole lot of emphasis on the material of the Knowledge Lectures. Why? Did I mention that I am a bad student? And yes, if you are a bad student with a distinct lack of willpower to memorize every comma in the Knowledge Lectures, there is a Order for you. If I can find them, so can you.

After all, not all of us are Harvard material...or Yale...or whatever is the punchline. See, I can't even learn a joke properly. Which is why I am community college material.

Don't ask me how I got into the University of Colorado at Denver. I still haven't figured that one out. Nor can I explain how I convinced my current advanced Adept advisor to help me. Maybe, my personality is a lot more pleasant than I think it is.

I am wary of cramming for any exam. But especially Golden Dawn exams. Hasn't research proven that information crammed leaks out of your brain as soon as the exam book is closed? I think I might want to know a few facts in case I wander off into the astral and met something that I don't like.

And my sponsor never gave me a chance to cram. Exams were spur of the moment affairs. It was felt that you either could pass the test on a two-second notice or you didn't pass. Not that they ever tested for the full set...but then again, you had to be able to do the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram from memory without people rolling in the aisles. (And other rituals in later exams.)

I would like to think that ritual skill is more important than being able to score 90% or more on the Knowledge Lectures. But what do I know---I gone to a community college, both academically and symbolically. I am a bad student and correspondence schools have always bored me. At least, I am aware of this---I know many people who do not have a clue that they are bad students. Yay for me and my slim supply of self-knowledge.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mother

*warning personal issues* So today is Mother's Day, one of the dozen days every year that I wonder if I was too harsh on my mother. Then I remind myself of her opinions of me, and I attempt to get back to doing whatever it is that I am supposed to be accomplishing.

Let me state for the record that it is all my fault that her and me do not get along. Quite simply, I chose to be a witch (Wiccan), and then decided to add the additional insults of joining a quasi-secret society (Golden Dawn) and deciding to be very public about my religion. My choice of profession did not help any either.

But let's be clear---it is my attitude problem and religion that are the cause of the problems. My Order membership and profession were just part of the bonus round.

And at a certain point in time, I decided to completely walk away. Somedays, I wonder if I did the right thing. Of course, it does not really matter if I did or not.

Now, none of this really matters...unless you deal with me on a regular basis.

I am one of those examples of a screwed-up human being (not talking to my mother is just the tip of the iceberg), who unfortunately finds himself in a position of public representative of his religion and Order (BIOGD/BIORC). My only comfort is that I can point at a couple of other public figures, who seem to be a few more cards short of a full deck than I am.

Don't get me wrong. I would not be where I am at today if it wasn't for my mother. I am reminded of this every time a witch war or a flame war threatens to flares up. Instead of handing the people, who are tossing around the gasoline, a nice glass of water, I tend to encourage them to light a match. The politics and conflicts between the various factions of Golden Dawn and Wicca/paganism look downright tame compared to the stuff I saw growing up.

For instance, one of the big threats always is that flamers will go after one's reputation. My response is to smile---can you really spread any worse rumors about me than my mother did? And given the fact that I had to conceal my life for ages and ages (I still not sure how the truth was worse than what she was claiming), today I tend to wear my flaws in bold letters on my shirt.

Anyways, just wanted to note that I did think of my mother today. I still love her, but it is probably best that we no longer talk to one another anymore. And so it goes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Blogger Reading List Bug

As I noted on my writing blog yesterday, there currently seems to be a bug involving the Blogger Reading List. I can read some of the blogs that I follow (150 plus and not all openly) in Google Reader, but not all of them are showing up there. So if you wrote something brilliant and are upset because I did not comment about it...well, there is a chance I just have not seen it yet, and have no idea that you have updated your blog. And if it is a bug, then odds are that you haven't read this update on my blog either.

Monday, May 2, 2011

International Pagan Coming Out Day

I did not realize that today was International Pagan Coming Out Day. That makes me a bad pagan blogger, right?

I came out of the broom closet back in junior high...in front of my mom...and she promptly put me back into the broom closet. Not that anyone in the town that we were living in (a small town) believed for a second that I was a good Christian like my mom made me pretend to be.

Spending high school in the broom closet made me militant when I came out the second time. For my mom's sake, I did chose to go by my pen-name for many years in the wiccan and pagan community---without allowing my pen-name to be connected with my real name. But that is about the only thing I did to make anyone comfortable.

I have mellowed out over the years. I am not sure when it happened. It might be due to my wife's influence. I am less in one's face about it nowadays. The level of my bluntness tends to be my standard joke in the religous study classes (which are actually literature classes) that I am the obligatory tree hugging pagan that all university classes are required to have. A joke I also use in Golden Dawn circles.

Happy International Pagan Coming Out Day!

Pet Peeve Oral Tradition as Documentary Proof

One of my big pet peeves is people who say that we cannot judge the history of the occult and the esoteric traditions by the paper trail alone. You know the people---those who insist that unless we know what the oral traditions were, we cannot know what was actually going on.

And always, they know what the oral tradition was, therefore their pet theory is right despite the fact that the paper trail tells a completely different story.

Now, I am not saying that the oral tradition does not exist. I am saying that the concept of the oral tradition is being abused nine ways to Sunday. There is a difference.

Take for instance, the oral history of my own family. This semester I got to work on a project that dealt with the oral history of my family. I got assigned to interview three family members about my family history, then write a small paper about it (I recieved a low A).

What did I learn? That when all four of us had heard a story or explaination for something, none of the four stories would agree with one another. I also learned that the stories being told to the younger members of the family were not the same stories that the older generation recieved.

Conclusion---you cannot trust the oral tradition.

Now, I would love some parts of the oral tradition of the Western Mystery Tradition to be true. Unfortunately, the very parts I would most like to see proven correct are the very parts that I suspect are the most false. And so it goes.

The reason I am thinking about all this is the fact that the Open Full Moon ritual that I am going to be conducting in June is going to be based on the telling of stories. And some of the stories are going to be changed to suit the purposes of the ritual that I am doing. I am currently at the stage where I am fine-tuning certain elements of the stories, much like my father used to tell the same jokes over and over while changing certain parts to heighten the effects of the joke.

Think about it. If I know that I change parts of stories to suit my own purposes (and what is the oral tradition if not a collection of stories and some rather strange ideas), then what prevented the previous tellers of the stories and traditions from doing the same?

Oh, I know there were all much more noble souls than I was. And if you believe that, please leave your email address in the comment section because there are some people who would like to sell you a nice bridge to nowhere---after all, they know the true oral tradition of the mysteries---they would never lie to you.