Thursday, 19 November 2009

Post No. 084 - A dangerous sense of entitlement

I recently came across an article by Sydney based Miranda Devine in The Age (copied from the Sydney Morning Herald) which started from a cyclist who attacked a bus driver and progressed to criticising cyclists more generally for arrogance, violence, taking up too much road space (including criticising whoever came up with the slogan "Roads are to Share", etc.

Now, I happen to disagree with Miranda Devine, but there were some good things, in my opinion, to come out of that article. First, however, my disagreements:
  1. I think the violence, aggression and unreasonable use of road space shown by car drivers towards other road users (whether they are cars, bikes or pedestrians) is far higher, both as an absolute number and a relative fraction of drivers, the number and proportion of cyclists who are (and they do exist!) a problem.
  2. I DO think that roads are for sharing.
I don't extend that leniency to pedestrians: I think the proportion of pedestrians who are aggressive, or stupid, or careless, far exceeds the proportions of problem drivers and cyclists. However, unless they are drunk or under the influence of other mind altering drugs (yes, alcohol is a mind altering drug!), they have a right to be there. We've just grown up in a culture where cars were a status symbol, and some part of too many of us either cringes when a car is around (or a bigger, flasher car than ours), or acts as if one is royalty when in a car.

Having said that, however, the problem of aggressive, irresponsible cyclists does need to be addressed - particularly, in my opinion, the packs who will ride through red lights (one of whom killed an elderly pedestrian a few years ago).

That isn't what I wanted to write about. Still, it's a topic that has clearly generated quite a bit of discussion, going by Miranda Devine's follow up column and a response by a former Road Minister. (The threats and abuse to Miranda Devine don't count as discussion.)

No, what caught my attention was the phrase "sense of entitlement". I think we do have quite a few entitlements - the right to, as another nation's founders put it, life, liberty and freedom; ... the rights expressed in the United Nation's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" and other UN documents; ... love.

However, there are some things we don't necessarily have a "right" to: a "right" to an easy life without growth; ... a "right" to not be questioned in orders and directions we give to others; ... a "right" to behave with immaturity and not have consequences - whether that immaturity is spiritual, emotional, or other.

It made quite an impression on me, that phrase (incidentally, I thought I had read the phrase as "a dangerous sense of entitlement", or "an unjustified sense of entitlement", but I couldn't find that wording in the quick reread of the original article before I wrote this). I think I will use that phrase to check myself and my attitudes from time to time: it could be quite useful.

Love, light, hugs and blessings


Tags: expectations, unreasonableness, immaturity, aggression, violence, society, selfishness, change,

First published: Wednesday 18th November, 2009

Last edited: Wednesday 18th November, 2009

Post No. 083 - Occultists and the Parliament of World Religions

Since the World Fair in Chicago in 1897, at roughly 4 year intervals an interfaith event called "the Parliament of World Religions" has been held (the word "parliament" is used in an old sense, of a place where it is safe to engage in civil debate - see for the official website. This year it is being held in Melbourne, and I am going.

I would be happy to go for myself - I've got an interest in such conferences which began with presenting a paper on queer spirituality at a Health in Difference conference held in Adelaide (the best link I can find is for the 2010 conference in Sydney), was refined at the National Queer Spirituality Conference held in Adelaide in 2003 as part of the LGBTIQ Feast Festival, and peaked (so far!) at the Victorian Queer Spirituality Conference I helped organise in 2005. However, in addition to that, I have been asked to represent the Correllian Nativist Church International (CNCI), and will be going as the Australian representative of the Australian Chapter of CNCI order: the Order of Hermes-Australia, of which I am the Chief Coordinator and, currently, sole member :)

Before I go any further, I would like to clear the air about what some would consider "dirty laundry". Some years ago, there was a split in the Correllian tradition, with the CNCI being formed as a more progressive (in my opinion) path after its leader was removed from what is now known as the Correllian Nativist Tradition. This split was basically over concerns that the CNT had over links to Left Hand Path (LHP) systems by the current leadership of the CNCI. Now, whilst I can understand the very human desire of many people in persecuted minorities to be "normalised", which can show as LGBTIQ people demonstrating their middle class suburban normalness or Wiccans demonstrating that they are not Satanists, I would like to make the following points:
  1. As far as I am concerned, Satan is a actually a Christian concept.
  2. Many of the extreme accusations of abuse, sacrifices etc currently levelled at Satanists were levelled at witches during the Burning Times (I can only find a link about a movie about this era, rather than a good link about this description: still, what I saw at that link suggests it will get the idea across to any who haven't come across this term before).Is the pain being shifted along, a bit like a tradie who was abused as an apprentice takes all his frustration, pain, anger and humiliation out on the next generation of apprentices ...
  3. One of the nicest people I have ever known (L) was (she passed away a few years ago) a Satanist, and one of the most actively caring people I know has several LHP connections
  4. L's description of LHP vs. RHP came down to: LHP is introspective, focused on developing the self, whereas RHP is is focused on outer life (helping others etc). That's a bit of a simplification, but I have read some excellent self development texts which were LHP texts - the sort of thing you see in some of the "nicey nice" emails that float around from time to time.
  5. It is worth having a look at Wikipedia's entry on this topic, at, before reading too much further
So, in short, I think the attitude of shock! horror! revulsion! was overdone, underjustified and, in main, simply showed the leadership of the tradition at that time to be in complete conflict with Australian cultural norms (i.e., there was no "fair go", as the person being accused didn't have a chance to have a say). In fact, some of our Temple members left in disgust at what they considered an unedifying spectacle of public squabbling. (I've also read some blog posts* about all this and other problems with the CNT and Witchschool, some of which appear to me to be normal business problems, some possibly attributable to questionable expectations, some to poor communication, and so on - although, as I mentioned, we decided to move from one side to the other, which wasn't done out of boredom!) Keep in mind that no-one, and probably no thing, on this planet are perfect: we ALL have flaws. It is up to each of us to decide when the "flaws" in a situation become too inconsistent with our personal values, and we should move on (as I decided a few months ago at my former place of employment).

There has been more water under the bridge since then, and the Temple I am in, which originally stayed with CNT, eventually shifted over to the CNCI. I should point out, though, that I have enormous respect for some of the people in the CNT, people I worked with who showed themselves to be caring, sensitive, capable individuals, people who I still stay in occasional touch with, but I think a number of issues were poorly handled.

In fact, as I alluded to in the above, at the time I thought the debate smelled of "internalised discrimination" - a term I have taken from the LGBTIQ world, which refers to the characteristic of some minority groups who are discriminated against discriminating against others, or seeking to "prove" their "normality", in the sense of being able to fit into white picket suburbia. In the case of the LGBTIQ world, I have seen lesbian and gay discrimination against bisexuals and trans people, trans discrimination against intersexed people, and all groups potentially having internalised homophobia/transphobia/etc. So ... going back to the Correllian split, the "debate" at the time of the split came across - to me - as relatively conservative Wiccans trying to avoid being embarassed or discriminated against because of association with a belief system (Satanism) which was subjected to the same form of widespread social disapproval and discrimination that they themselves had recently been subjected to.
It's all a little bit like the teenager saying "Muuummm! (or Daaaad!) ... you're EMBARASSIN' me!"
One thing I learned from Buddhism is that we ALL have dark sides, and we need to be able to look our (dark) side squarely in the eye and be as accepting and loving of that aspect of ourselves as we would of any other person. There are many spiritual paths in this world, and most - if not all - have some validity for someone, at some stage of their evolution. I've experienced (and integrated) quite a few different pathways - Qabbalah, shamanism, spiritualism, Buddhism, Wicca, to name a few - even Christianity was something I tried earlier in my life. They all had a role to play, even the ones I thought were so ridiculous that I couldn't possibly gain anything from them.
Maybe LHP can teach some of us something constructive ...

Now, having got that digression out of the way: there was a programme on the ABC a few nights ago, an episode of "Encounter", which was focused on the forthcoming Parliament. It was quite an interesting programme (there is a transcript at the first link), which obviously included major faiths such as Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, but also included smaller faiths such as Baha'i and even - shock! horror! - an occultist. (OcCULTist ... OCCultIST ... occultiste ... occultista ... hmmmm - just trying it out, to see how it rolls of the tongue and the keyboard :) ... maybe that is the term I have been looking for to describe myself :D )

There is clearly quite a bit of work happening behind the scenes, and the emails show quite a bit of activity now. If I wasn't so busy at work, I would be quite enjoying this build up to the Parliament ...

Now, as I mentioned, one of my roles in life is as the Chief Coordinator of the Order of Hermes-Australia. At the moment, I am still struggling with organisational stuff like writing a constitution (too much happening in life to get that finished; it will have to cover how to include non-CNCI members appropriately, and adjust terminology to what is used in Australia), but I am planning on taking my role as seriously as I can. I'm currently thinking about what things I should try to do on behalf of pagans generally, the CNCI more specifically, LGBTIQ pagans even more specifically, and LGBTIQ people generally. It's a bit of a head buzz at the moment ... One thing I have decided to do is post (here and on the Order of Hermes - Australia website) a bit of a blog about my experiences.

The following text is something I am working on to post on the Order of Hermes - Australia website in the near future.
The Australian Chapter of the Order of Hermes will be present at the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, in December, 2009, being represented by the Chief Coordinator. For more information on the Parliament of World Religions, refer to
A group is being organised (by others) which is understood to be for LGBTIQ attendees at the Parliament, which the Chief Coordinator has expressed interest in, and pre-Parliament events are underway in Melbourne now. Hopefully the Chief Coordinator's email on 1st August, 2009 (extract below) to the organisers of the Parliament helped get this off the ground, although others were clearly actively lobbying for this.
I have noted that it is permissible to make suggestions with regard to the programme. There is a topic I would like to make a suggestion about, although I am loathe to risk overcommitting myself and nominate myself to run anything.

The topic is people with different sexualities/gender identities - i.e., lesbians, gays and bisexuals, and transgender/transsexual people. As I hope you are aware, not all religions consider being other than heterosexual and cisgendered to be problematic - in fact, my training including comments that being bisexual would result in increased life experience, and hence could be considered advantageous. Unfortunately, however, the situation of people with different sexualities/gender identities (i.e., LGBT people) in some religions is debated or even condemned - a viewpoint which has severe repercussions for those people within those faiths, and others outside it.

With regard to the Parliament, my opinion is that this difference could cause problems with interfaith dialogue between some members of my faith and larger faiths that are intolerant of these sexualities and gender identities. I would therefore like to know if there has been any allowance made for considering ways of giving those faiths which DO value people with different sexualities/gender identities an adequate voice?

I look forward to your advice.
The following item was included in an email newsletter I received:
M_ (_ Movement) has put in a proposal to run a workshop at the World Parliament of Religions: "Voices of Wisdom and Challenge: gay and lesbian perspectives on faith, spirituality and embodied grace". He suggested a panel of several GLBTIQ folks from various religions and cultures, discussing their faith and spirituality etc - with general discussion afterwards. The proposal was accepted - so the workshop is on !! If anyone is interested in participating in the workshop please contact M_direct on
The Chief Coordinator has registered interest, but heard nothing further to date.
Another issue we emailed the organisers of the Parliament about was the list of attributes for which discrimination is prohibited. An extract from the email, and the promising response, are given below.
From the original email:
With respect to this request, I note that you have listed the following in your homestay documentation section regarding discrimination:
Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, marital status, religious belief or activity, industrial activity, political opinion or activity, national extraction, social origin, disability, parental status or status as a carer, pregnancy, lawful sexual activities, physical features or breastfeeding is unlawful.
I was wondering why have you chose not to also included "gender identity", and why have you included "lawful sexual activity" rather than "sexual orientation"? Whilst it is good that some acknowledgement of differing sexualities has been included, it would perhaps be worth noting the following list of attributes under which discrimination is prohibited in Victoria (from I assume you are using the Victorian legislation, as, as far as I am aware, breastfeeding is only covered under State legislation. (I have CC'd this to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission for the purpose of checking that point.)
I look forward to your reply.
From the response:
This was an oversight on our part and we definitely have every intention of honouring the Victorian legislation
More information will be posted when it is available.
Well, I'll see how it all goes, and I'll do my best to keep everyone updated :)

Love, light, hugs and blessings

* I have toyed with posting the link to the blog post (after all, they are pretty much in the public domain, but I'd rather get permission before doing that, and I don't have the time, energy or inclination to chase that up).

This post's photo is yet to be posted

Tags: Parliament of World Religions, Correllian, Left Hand Path, Right Hand Path, Wicca, Satanism, discrimination, labels,

First published: Wednesday 18th November, 2009

Last edited: Wednesday 18th November, 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Post No. 082 - Control, family and living in the 'burbs: A Rant

One of the topics I have posted on several times is what I have called "control" - which, in the context I use it, refers to people attempting to force others to do things the controller wants, for the controller's comfort or reward.
This can be done in a whole range of ways, including psychic means (which I have talked about), social conditioning (I find the change of attitudes towards "cheer leading", which used to be seen as "obviously" a manly thing and is now seen as "obviously" a feminine thing, to be both hilarious and a good illustration of the effects of this*), and so forth.
One of the ways this control is exerted is through social pressures. Those social pressures come about through a range of means - gossip is one (stopping gossip, including not tolerating others doing that, is a "Personal Change Assignment" in an off-shoot from the Grove of Gyhldeptis called the Rangers of Gyhldeptis - both of which I work with), another is the expectations around houses (I won't call them homes) in the suburbs: lawns will be mowed, lawn grass is expected with vegetation all neatly contained in pots or high-maintenance garden beds, and colourful weeds are to be frowned upon. Now there are some valid issues here - long dry grass is a fire hazard, and piles of rubbish can create problems with vermin, but a lot of it is people getting annoyed at something looking different ... maybe there is even an element of "I spent my lifetime doing all that weeding and sweeping, so they darn well should too" (which suggests being upset because someone else has shown that there was a choice, another option, rather than just following like sheep).
Having a richer, more verdant garden (provided it is done in a water wise and environmentally responsible way!) has a few benefits:
  • it attracts and sustains birds
  • it attracts and sustains faeries
  • it creates a bit of a carbon sink, where we can start reclaiming some of the carbon we have been putting back into the atmosphere.
Of course, that last point won't result in any carbon credits or payment for same to you, but surely one can justify not being paid on the basis of keeping the planet livable? It's not as if we're talking about a major expense!
I mentioned having a garden in a way that is environmentally responsible. Mowing the lawn, taking the clippings away, and then buying lots of artificial fertilisers to keep the grass alive is NOT environmentally responsible!
Consider this. One of the ways to find out what a healthy plant needs is to analyse what is in a healthy specimen. That means, if your grass is healthy, the clippings will actually have what is exactly needed. Don't cart your lawn clippings away! Mulch them back onto the lawn! That, after all, is pretty much how nature operates - have a look at some information on Permaculture for more.
One of that things that people are skirting round with respect to managing climate change is that we WILL have to change the way we live, and this WILL cause some pain. One of the ways that some people will feel that pain is in changing the types of gardens they have - they will have to get used to a different look, one that they probably consider "messy".
This is an issue of contention between me and one of my neighbours at the moment: she doesn't like the flowers that are shed by one of our trees. (We're renting, by the way, so we inherited the choice of plants from others; they're not brilliant.) This woman has been extremely aggressive about this issue, which hasn't gone down well when the owner has had the garden excessively cut back - to an extent that removed our shade and privacy, resulting in the house being considerably hotter, which has exacerbated some health issues - seriously, in my opinion.
And it is basically all about control ... in this case, her wanting to control me, to force me into living the way she wants me to, the way she feels comfortable with.
Actually, that whole (still ongoing) episode is a good illustration of why I don't want to live in the suburbs. Menzies once made a comment to the effect that the control over people's lifestyles, and enforcement of conformity, effected in loungerooms was far more severe than anything he could do in government.
(This was obviously pre 9/11 - and for an excellent commentary on the responses to 9/11, if you can, read Bruce Sneier's article "Beyond Security Theater", originally published in "New Internationalist", ed. no. 427, Nov. 2009, pp. 10-13. For partial copies see:
I don't want to be living in other people's pockets. I don't particularly want to be forced into interacting with strangers who may well be different types of people to me. I want to have a sense of psychic space around me, and be able to relax and focus on interacting with those I chose to be friends.
(Incidentally, life was easier for me in the rougher suburb I came from, Frankston North, than here in the inner northern Melbourne suburbs - at least back in Frankston North people would generally leave me alone. Also, odly enough, it was easier to get contents insurance in Frankston North.)

I know this goes against what many spiritual people favour (by which I am referring to the "lets bring back the village", or "lets have street parties and get to know our neighbours"), but I prefer to choose freedom over sociability. I am not so desperate for human interaction that I need to interact with my neighbours; I do wish to have some freedom to live my life the way I choose to do so, including my choice of garden. In fact, if there was a pagan version of the monasteries of various religious paths, I could see myself fairly happily living there - provided it was one of those versions where the inhabitants are in relationships, and my partner genuinely and of her own free will wished to do the same (which I suspect may not be the case :) ).
I know there are elements of forced interaction to deal with karmic issues: the keys ones of those, however, are usually experienced through families. And on the topic of families, here is an edited extract from an email I recently sent a friend regarding families:
I have found my "family of choice" (my friends) to be a far better indicator of what is or isn't good for me than some of my other families. I also have an interesting range of choices of family: I have an adoptive family, who probably fit the definition most people use of "family", and my birth family. I laugh when people comment on the family resemblance between my father and I, but we get on quite well. That relationship improved - also with my mother - when I moved 2,00km south. Maybe doing that was a way of marking myself as an independent adult.
That didn't apply so much to my adoptive sister: she and I didn't get on very well (some strong karmic influences there - my fault, obviously) and still don't always. My birth sister, on the other hand, and I get on quite well.
There is one birth family uncle I will never formally meet. That birth family uncle, however, I think I met at the sailing club in the country Queensland town I spent my teenage years in, but he had such an unpleasant aura that I wouldn't even admit to being adopted. On the other hand, one of my adoptive family uncles, a gentle man who wouldn't tease too far and had been one of the choco's in PNG during the Second World War, I adored.
Being family, in my opinion, doesn't mean one will or even should get on, and doesn't give one any sort of "right" to impose on others. In fact, I think if rellies do try to impose on one, they are actually harming their own spiritual development, and I will generally stand up to them and remind myself that this if for their benefit as much as mine.

So, in terms of something positive from this rant (which it is - my apologies, and normal service will hopefully resume now), perhaps consider how you may be expecting others to conform to pervasive norms, or how you may have been conforming to pervasive norms without realising that was what you were doing. If you consider tit and then decide to conform, that is quite OK: it is the unaware agreement that is a problem.
* There may be some universal constants underlying all this - have a look at "The Green Cardigan Wearer and the Professor: a Story of Hope"for a somewhat sad illustration of this - the story suggests that people have a strong tendency to want to be prejudiced against something or someone, so as we deal successively with sexism, racism, slavery, homophobia, transphobia, etc, etc, etc, there always seems to be just one more thing to deal with ...
Love, light, hugs and blessings


This post's photo is yet to be posted

Tags: attitudes, bullying, control, daily life, family, interactions, interpersonal interactions, judging others, lifestyles, personal characteristics, personal responsibility, respect, society,

First published: Wednesday 18th November, 2009

Last edited:
Wednesday 18th November, 2009

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Post No. 081 - Assemblage point

There is a technique I have found EXTREMELY useful for myself to help shift consciousness/change moods/etc: moving the "assemblage point". I wrote a description of this for a book I started work on a couple of decades ago on regression-rescue techniques, and am confident I will finish sometime in the next decade :) As an introduction, here is what I wrote a while ago:

In Castenada's books [Ref.45 and others], there is a description given of a place in the energy body of people that serves as a focal point. To put the concept in my words, people are considered to be strands of energy or awareness that meet: the point of meeting is the assemblage point, and where the assemblage point is governs the state of being of that person, including literally what physical reality the person is in. There are some interesting descriptions in Castenada's books on what happens when the assemblage point moves, and how to achieve that.

Now, I do not claim to be a shaman - I only say that I do some shamanic work, as I haven't had the full training required to be a shaman. One of the things that I have adapted from my shamanic work for spiritualist circle work is the assemblage point.

I have done this by describing a point in the aura that governs the focus of a person's state of being. This point can be moved by an effort of will, if sufficient energy is available, and so change the sitter's mood and capacity for work. So, if we are to have a trance session, I often get sitters to check where the assemblage point is, and then move it to wherever the guides say it should be. This is not the true movement of the assemblage point that Castenada describes, but it works. The performance of the sitters does improve, and they have a useful tool for changing their mood and frame of mind fairly quickly. (If they don't have enough energy, I get them to borrow energy from the earth, more or less as described in "The Fire From Within" [Ref.45]).

I am not sure whether or not this is somehow affecting the assemblage point, or (perhaps more likely) it is simply a convenient visualisation for altering one's basic frequency. Whatever it is, it has worked for me and my sitters, and I recommend it as something to try.

What I would add to the above is that using focused, intentional breathing can also provide energy to help move the assemblage point.

Love, light, hugs and blessings


This post's photo is yet to be posted

Tags: shamanism, assemblage point, Castenada,

First published: Wednesday 11th October, 2009

Last edited: Wednesday 11th October, 2009