You do not have to fight alone….

Over the weekend the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) opened up about his struggle with depression. It is a struggle a lot of people have. It’s a battle that seems to never go away (guess what it doesn’t). Indeed, many people lose it. Personally, I probably have had low level depression most of my life, or I’ve had some sort of coping mechanism I came up with that has let me manage it.

 

I’ve lost friends to this foe. A guy I went to school with killed himself after his girlfriend broke up with him. I was never told, and discovered about twenty years later, talking to an old friend from school. Another close friend killed herself in April 2012. She was in an abusive relationship (strangely I found out later, he had abused another dear friend of mine, so he was as serial fuckwit), her mother had terminal cancer, and well my friend decided to take control of it all, and felt it was the only way to “win”. She disappeared and took a toxic dose of some pharmaceutical or other (I know which, I’m not going to say which). Her body was found a day or two later.

 

I remember how I found out. I was doing my usual read over local news and saw a familiar name. I turned to my wife and exclaimed “Grace is missing”. She looked at me and was blank. I showed her the article, and the silence we had for ten minutes was massive. We contacted her ex-husband. His reply was “NO! Never! That’s not Grace!”. Half an hour later he called us and had talked to her mother. Yes, indeed it was Grace. Two days later, her body was discovered. We held a wake for her, as well we had been excluded from her life for a while and did not feel it was appropriate to be at her actual memorial.
During all that, I was thinking. How did “strong” Grace come to this? She was a strong woman. She had helped me at a low point (the end of my PhD). She helped others too. She was the matron of the local Goth Community (I was not a goth, but they accepted the strange pagan guy), she had become involved in the tribal belly dance community through my own involvement with a member. She was strong, she was stubborn, and inflexible. That was her problem! It is how she became estranged from myself, my wife, her husband. Her way or the highway. Sure it seems strong, but really it is weak!

 

A number of years later, early in the morning, it occurred to me. She fell into the trap of “no one can help me” and “no one cares”. She’d snubbed me trying to reconnect. She had laid an ultimatum down, knowing I don’t do those very well. Ultimatums tend to make me spiral into one of the warrior’s fallings. Indecision, bad decisions, or belligerence. To make me do something, under orders, it best be for the good of all, not the good of one. Grace had a history of abusive relationships (except her ex-husband), she also had suffered an eating disorder, and was a celiac (from birth). Grace was intelligent. She could be compassionate. But I return to the problem. It was her way or the highway.

 

Depression can’t be fought that way forever. You are going to be alone, and weak, and surrounded by your inner demons, and slip. The phrase in your head of “would it not be easy to end it all” will take route, like a virus. The mind does that, nasty little things will take hold. I’ve heard addicts say they constantly hear “just one hit/drink/puff/gamble/random sex act” take root, and they know they need to seek help.

 

So, trying to fight a battle by yourself, is not the best way to do things. You will fall. It might be a fall to some stupid behaviour, it might be suicidal thoughts, but it is not going to be for your best.

 

Similarly, I was evaluating my mental wellbeing over the weekend. Since 2010 I have been tested to the extreme. However, I have been blessed by a caring wife, a son, and family who care. I am not in this alone, I have people who will remember who I was, and I want those to be good memories! Am I free of demons? No. Far from it, they are stronger than ever.

 

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Twenty seventeen was a hard year

2017 wwas a tough year for my family death wise.

 

We lost (as detailed here) Jynx.

We lost my wife’s grandfather. He died from heart failure, and had to be taken off life support. We saw him in June, he met his great grandson. My fondest memory is him fighting off hornets with a knife….

We lost Moxie, our first dog, who we had to leave with family in the USA. She was my greatest regret moving back from the USA. I only got to see her once since 2010, June last year. That is my most painful memory, I just knew I’d not see her again, and that she had held on. I told her “its ok”…. she died December 30th with cancer that had spread far and wide. Sorry love, I wish I’d been able to keep you with us.

Moxie

 

She was a good girl!

Good boy

 

 

 

 

Death is the one foe we can not beat. Sure we can fight it, but in the end Death wins.

 

Is this the real life….

…or is this just fantasy?

 

Sadly when one decides they are going to follow the path of “warriorship” there is a very big chance that you are going to walk away from reality.

 

To be clear, unless you are a law enforcement official (LEO), Emergency response official (ERO) or an actual professional (I guess drafted?) Soldier or perhaps a security professional, and very very slightly possibly an athlete or marital artist who is none of the previous examples. Your warriorship is spiritual, not actual. You are doing this form a place of no legal authority. Quite seriously if you think otherwise, you are having fantasies.

 

I’ve seen many examples of this, but here are three:

 

  • I’ve mentioned this group before. But in Milwaukee three young (late teen and very early 20s) males, were positive they were warriors in a battle with darkness. They horded shitty (and I mean SHITTY) weapons, what you might call wall hangers, bad crossbows, and I hope no guns. They claimed to have fought and won against Lilith in the Astral plane, and killed her. One of them went on to be a marine, who was never deployed and is now not part of the corps. One is probably in prison (he was heading that way) and one … might still be in his parent’s basement.
  • The insistence of alt-wrong uh alt-right males that they are Vikings. No really, they are, their heathen religion, of a Volkish type means they are Vikings. I mean they don’t Vike (raid, because yes that’s not allowed these days) they might be from a background that would make them at best farmers, at worst Thralls, but yes indeed they are Viking warriors. Men are so weak today, but not them.
  • Fake martial artists, who have not actually trained very much, but manage to convince groups of young (or not so young) Pagans, they are Grand Masters. They produce multitudes of certificates to prove their prowess, and they make grand statements, even issue challenges. But in the end, its not real. They don’t have the discipline, they have not put the time in, and no they do not have the stones (real or not, though this always appears to be males) to bleed for their art. An example can be seen in Lee Malice Maurer (hyperlink to a video). He is a convicted felon, who has no provable lineage or training. The video that links shows him flailing around blindly in a dance, that has no real warrior application, and is not really that impressive. There are numerous examples, he is just one.

So what would make warriorship not a fantasy?

  • I’d start with actually putting the time in. I’ve said before, getting actual martial arts or fighting training (boxing, or wrestling is not what many consider martial arts, nor is the Fairbairn-Sykes Combatives I’ve done).
  • Find a community to serve, and I mean this seriously, he idea of a warrior with no ties, no master/mistress (a Ronin if you have too) is not absent from warrior cultures, but its an aberration. That Ronin people hold up, is always someone who left or lost a master/mistress. They are in essence a nice fantasy. A warrior with no ties, is a danger to all.
  • Don’t be a danger. To yourself, to others. Don’t “train others” if you’ve not been properly trained. I know of one individual, who does this, he’s never done more than a couple of classes in any style, not even tried to grade, yet he teaches self-defence to his friends. When I saw what he taught, I saw a disaster waiting to happen. IT remains, be responsible to yourself. You serve your community and your gods, not yourself.

In the end that last point is the point of warriorshup. You serve. Our ancestors had their warriors there to serve, even if they were scared of them, and kept them separate, or made them do a cleansing of their sins when they returned, they served at the will of the community. What happened when this became the other way around, was Feudal Europe. The community fed the warriors (knights, Barrons, etc), oh it was claimed that they were there to “protect” their holdings and tenants. History seldom illustrates this.

 

So in the end if we are to meditate on the opening lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody …. We want this to be the real life, not just fantasy!

 

 

Battling Demons

Around the turn of the millennium I helped found the now defunct “Otago Universty Pagan Association” (OPSA). I first held the role of “Law Keeper” (wanky term for Libraian) and then held the role of Law Giver (pompous term for President, which is also a pompus term for somone who wrangles meetings). That group lasted till 2010(ish), though it really started dying in 2005 or so. That’s another story for another day.

 

In that original group of individuals, we were excited, and hopeful. That got stood on hard, when some of the student executive (the student “politicians” who were elected to run the Otago University Students Association (OUSA)) were derogatory in approving the new Club. One of those “politicians” is now a prominent New Zealand MP. That is also another story for another day.

 

In the OPSAs first members, there was another individual, who like myself identified as a warrior. Like myself he studied martial arts. Though his influences were eastern, where mine were western. We both studied western sword, and I thought at the time had our heads screwed on. Mind you I was finishing my PhD, and “screwed on” is not a phrase that should have applied to me.

 

This other individual was a wiccan (to my Druid) or so he claimed. I found out later, he was a seeker, who had never been initiated. No biggie there, many pagans lie sorry exaggerate their achievements. But he claimed to be a degreed Wiccan, as well as a Ceremonial Magician (I find this was also an “exaggeration”).

 

As a group, we were an odd pagan group. The majority of us were not “wiccans” (be that actual initiated Wiccanas, or eclectic wiccans). We had a Shaman from Siberia (I am pretty sure he was neoshaman, but ok, I can’t tell if we would have known), 4 or so Asatruar, many “I don’t know”, and myself, who used the term Druid then (I slowly moved away from that phrase). But only two Wiccans. One was an actual Alexandrian, and the other was the gentleman I am talking about. After a year he moved elsewhere, and vanished from our notice. To be fair, social media was pretty much non-existent then.

 

I moved to the USA in September 2004, and stepped down from leading OPSA. I then got quite involved with ADF.

 

In June 2010 I returned to New Zealand (still invested in ADF) and sought out local Pagans. I discovered the Pagans of New Zealand (PANZ) forum (now a FB group). The person I am talking about, was there. I reached out, because we’d been friendly.

 

In communicating, I mentioned I was part of an organized “Pagan Church” (which is what ADF is). I was quite literally not to be trusted, by a single sentence. He went on the offensive against me. Any who know me, understand what happened next. I was not easy going about it, and neither was he. It was an actual war of sorts. It still is, despite me not really giving a flying monkeys cuss.

 

Talking to others, I learned what had happened. This individual, had since I last saw him (late 2000) had a number of mental breakdowns, failed relationships, and problems with the authorities. He’d also been offered entry to an Alexadrian Coven. Which he’d declined. Despite travelling extensively to go to classes, he’d run a mile. Since that time I’ve been stalked all over the net (including here, its why I moderate all comments).

 

Individuals often fight their own demons, more than any other type of battle, we fight our own demons. A warrior however will manage to contain these demons, and only inflict them on themselves. A warrior does not blame others. A Warrior does not persecute their own paranoia on others either. That is not the way of the warrior. That is the way of the coward.

When Heroes are actually Zeros

 

 

Many of you will have read the news that accusations have been made against Isaac Bonewits (I will shorten too IB (founder of ADF, and well known, and quite well liked leader in the community)). If not, Moira Greyland (MG(, daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradly (MZB) released a book, which detailed her abuse by her parents, and apparently IB.

 

Such an accusation, while shocking (and it is, reading that book is horrifying, and to see a name of a person I held in deep regard, accused in such a manner …. Hurts) is not without precedent. My wife and I bought the book, read the book, passed our own judgement (wee believe Moira). What was shocking to me, was it seems the vast majority of ADF refused to even slightly consider Isaacs possible guilt. Some (who I will call the Truhter Brigade), went after the character of Moira Greyland (in typical Ad hominin manner). Because she (MG) is right wing, and apparently staunchly Christian in her stance, and that the publisher of her book is a known Alt-Right individual, she must be suspect, and making up.

 

This is what sickened and shocked me. Established leaders in the ADF, and Pagan community attacked a survivor of abuse (her father was a known paedophile and pederast), because their hero was besmirched.

 

ADF released an insipid statement, which many of us considered insufficient to address what was happening. Their excuse? That the Wild Hunt had given them a deadline to respond, and they had only seen parts of the accusations, not read the book, even the small chapter Isaac is mentioned in.

 

ADF statement 1

 

Being the individual I am, I knew a bit more, and I also dug around a LOT more. Moira’s sister inlaw posted a comment to the Wildhunt article, which I include, in all its horrid glory (along with subsequent replies, mine as well).

 

Emeralds thread

 

Moira made a reply, which a friend of hers relayed to the community. Where she claimed to have further knowledge of other victims, and that MZB had been approached by IB several years later, and that she (MG) had a witness to that event.

 

Moria responds

 

There are a great many of nasty things that come from this. For me the most nasty, was the rotten core of ADF members who would willingly attack a survivor of abuse, because they did not like her politics, or her accuastions against their dead god. Yep if I were to apply this situation to Isaacs famous Cult Danger evaluation frame what do you think I will get? Note I shall not link to Isaac’s personal page. Screw that.

 

ADF made Isaac the official first Ancestor (honoured dead) of the Church upon his death. So as founder, first ancestor (essentially a deification), that is no a good place to have a person who has consent issues, and liked sex with minors.

What comes from all this?

 

  • Your Heroes probably should never be put on a pedestal, chances are if you do, they will fall off and break, revealing something rotten in the core.
  • Don’t assume because you like someone, or their perceived actions ,that they are blameless! (footnote 2, 3)
  • Organizations who are slow to respond, suffer (footnote 4)

 

 

Footnotes:

 

  • I interacted with Isaac, since the 1990s. All of this was online. MOSTLY in alt.relgion.wicca, Alt.Druid, and alt.pagan. Isaac posted there, till he made a total cluster fuck of his interactions. As did I. the alt. part of usenet was a cesspit. A fun one, but a smelly smelly cesspit.

 

I missed the chance to meet him in person, he travelled in 2005 (or 6) to Milwaukee, to give a talk. I was at work that night, and did not want to risk pissing off the CEO by having a life. Only 14 people showed up. That is an comment on Milwaukee, not Isaac.

 

I also talked with Isaac in his last year, over a number of things, mostly people making claims about his legacy. I’ll not name the fairly well known pagan who claimed to have taught Isaac, Isaac refuted it, that was co-oberated by others.

 

So did I know Isaac? Not even close. I did however know his ego, and style. If he was right in his mind, any who disagreed, were wrong.

  • When I was still at university, I played Magic the Gathering (I still do on occasion, just to scare young folks with my Legacy Goblin deck, that will get you in 3 to 5 turns). After a tornament, the judge was missing some very rare (expensive) cards from his folder. A guy we played with at lunchtimes suddenly had the cards the next week. I was told “he’s my friend and he’d never do that” …. CTV footage proved otherwise.
  • To this day, people still think Scott Holbrook was set up by the police. He was just streaming a movie, not looking at pictures of naked preteen girls, honest. Even though streaming would not have downloaded 400 plus images. Even though he pleaded no contest to “having used them for personal reasons”, allowing him a plea deal to not be registered a sex offender. Moral of story, people are not who you think they are.
  • As of this writing, ADF is apparently working on perhaps removing Isaac as the first ancestor, and drafting a new Vision statement (which is actually still the one Isaac had decades back). Good for them. Can they step on the deniers? At least make them do their dirty work off of official pages?

Leadership

Recently I posted about people pretending to be what they are not. Well the story moves onto another thing I’ve posted about in my old blog: Leadership not dealing well with criticism.

 

The Pagan Alliance New Zealand (or more accurately the current incarnation, as their have been many, they all disintegrate) took exception to their “elder” one Gohdi Odsinsclan, having his credentials being questioned. As per my last post.

 

The upshot of the last post, is when I reached out to a local pagan, who I’ve known for around 20 years, it was made abundantly clear, the meat and onion packages are not the work of any known local pagans, and they resent some outsider (one Godhi Odinsclan) speaking for them. They don’t know him.

 

However Godhi when questioned as to his ability to speak to the event, was very defensive I am told, and went on the attack, by banning anyone who questioned him from PANZ.

 

The behaviour this blog entry is about, is the behaviour of a leader (or leaders) who will not allow themselves to be questioned. Now this is not just associated with PANZ, ADF exhibits this, as does Circle Sanctuary. This is behaviour, of a kind that should raise flags, big vivid red flags!

 

Your leadership, should be open to having their behaviour questioned. After all they represent you, and make decisions that apply to you. If they wish to run a dictatorship, then they should be willing to suffer the fate of dictators. Being overthrown, when their behaviour is such that it is intolerable by the masses.

My membership in ADF has run out. :D

 

 

So my membership to Ár nDraíocht Féin expired about a day ago, and I’m feeling much happier spiritually. I’m no longer beholden to an organization run by people that is dead set against change. I have found a new “home” though I am not revealing that quite yet.

 

However I’ve had some suspicions about people reinforced:

 

  • When an organization asks for feedback as to why you are leaving, that don’t mean it. They want to either encourage you back, or they want you not to mention it. If you take the opportunity you are “scathing”. I’m not the first to discover this about the current Mother Grove, nor will I be the last.
  • Loyalty is really not what it used to be. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of people whom I consider good friends who are still in ADF (Looking at you Robert Lewis), but for the majority, if you are leaving, you are no longer important.
  • Isaacs Dream ® is like the American Dream ™, it is amorphous and can be defined to suit the person who wants to use it for their own purposes.

I actually feel that I am now freed from obligations to the organization. This is not a threat, I’m not on a vendetta against them. I am not however “sworn to secrecy” anymore either over a number of things. So if asked specific questions, I might answer.

 

Where does this leave me?
(1) As I said, I have a new spiritual home (many may even guess where I am now encamped).

(2) I will not tolerate being “dragged into” drama associated with my old spiritual home.

(3) I will also not be used as a weapon against them.

 

Anyway that is where I am today. Free of an organization, which could do with a visit to the doctor.