Thursday, July 1, 2010

Status Update

Previous to this week I was engaged in something I was calling "The Great Motel Experiment." Last December and January, the duplex I was renting seriously took some damage from ravaging rain. The landlord of the place was rather lazy, but very easy to get along with - and equally forgiving of me at times as I was with him. But at a certain point, enough was enough. The lack of upkeep he provided began to cost me in extreme utility bills and I told him so. I gave him 14 days notice to make certain repairs or I was leaving. And I left.. to go stay in a motel hoping I could make enough money to save for moving into an apartment.

But as I'm sure you would guess, the cost of living in a motel was all I could bear.

So now I am living at a friends apartment. Problem is, neither he nor his roommate have jobs. Pete, my best friend, has been unemployed for several years and is no longer collecting benefits. Howard, his best and childhood friend, has probably only worked a total of three years cumulative in his 42 years of life (not counting the odd jobs he performs for a little cash now and then). As it turns out, this month they don't have money for rent and their phone was shut off (good thing I have my own methods). These are all things the costs of which I will be able to relieve for them over a two month period (a little less than that actually) in order to get the situation so that it is caught up and no more of their bills will have to be late even if I am the only one paying them.

But I should imagine that will change.

But anyway... the great motel experiment died.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Helluva Thing to Ask

A few days ago the war in Afghanistan being fought by American and NATO troops became the longest war that the United States has ever engaged in. That is, of course, since we don't count the war the two Koreas are in to be "engaged" technically since the cease fire many many decades ago, and we are simply over there policing the cease fire.

I'm not going to question if the war against the Taliban is justified or not - I'm not even today going to question if we should bring our troops home or not - but I read a disturbing report this morning that does raise some questions in me.

NATO Helicopter Shot Down in Afghanistan
Published: June 9, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents shot down a NATO helicopter in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing four soldiers on board, according to Afghan and NATO officials.

The helicopter was shot down while it was providing support to British ground troops during a clearing operation in Sangin District of Helmand Province, according to Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the governor’s office in Helmand.

NATO’s international force confirmed the downing in a news release but did not identify the nationality of the helicopter or the soldiers who were killed.

A day earlier in Sangin District, Taliban insurgents accused a 7-year-old boy of acting as an informant for the government and summarily executed him, Mr. Ahmadi said. It was unclear if the execution was related to the military activities in the district on Wednesday.

The United States has added thousands of additional troops to Helmand and Kandahar provinces as it seeks to blunt the influence of the Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan.

Sharifullah Sahak contributed reporting.


Now the thing that gets me isn't the news. I mean, war sucks. It's dirty, it's ugly, people die including at times the innocent (or at least that's the way it's been since we moved from man-to-man combat to projectiles). But the summary execution of a seven year old child is disturbing to say the least. And in case you didn't know (years ago, I didn't know, and so misunderstood often enough), a summary execution is one without trial - without appeal - and right then and there. In other words, I imagine that in a village square a boy was grabbed by his collar by some older Taliban priest/soldier, accused of being a tattle-tell (a "crime" he may or may not have actually committed) and then either shot instantly or... as the Internet has shown us in the past... ghastly.... beheaded. There in front of everyone, maybe even in front of his family.

This is the picture I very much assume that the story above wanted me to find in my mind. I remember the guy a few years ago who got beheaded, and how it was all over the internet, and so I know how this ghastly picture looks. And I'm most definitely sure that that's what the story wanted me to invoke. And that's the part that disturbs me the most - how well that story is a propaganda piece!

Let's analyze: The headline reports the news. In fact, it's all you as a citizen thousands of miles away from the front really need to know - a NATO craft was shot down and where it was shot down. We can assume accurately who did the shooting. Then we are told some information about the incident (including how the mission was an innocuous enough "clearing operation" really), and some "we don't have information or will not release to the press (poor families and all needing to be told first)" information as well. We have no real answers - and maybe even some of us wonder if we know someone who knows someone who knows someone that was killed. Then, when we just might be putting question to our involvement in the war, we are told the ghastly - basically unrelated - uncorroborated by my senses - story of a seven year old brutally meeting his end.

So is this a propaganda piece or a newsworthy story? Doesn't it just play the emotions just right? Does it leave you saying... "Let's kill those bastards!"?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Furthermore... (The GME continues)

So maybe there's something to that vision of loading up a van from time to time and traveling from motel to motel - I just may not have been seeing it clearly.

This afternoon when I went to pay the bill and get my mail, Jessica asked me when I can get my license back. This was in response to me telling her that I'll be going downtown Saturday (walking)to pay child support and other things to do. You see, I don't have a driver's license because my support got behind - but that's all good now and I can get my license back any time I want, but I have to pay a $149 re-instatement fee to do so. So that's what I told her. To which she was happy, saying that yes once I'm in Omaha working for her husband and not paying rent, I can use the money I save to get that done. I said I need to use someone's vehicle - she said, yes, you will use our van. "And then some times we will need you to drive our employees places some times, and maybe if you want on some weekends I will send you to the motel in Freemont to mow the grass there." Some how I get the impression there will be other road trips too.

Oh, and about last night's worries. Yes. It came to naught really - although I can't be positive how far a test it could have been allowed to go to. I did manage to eek out one more night's payment, but then there's still the question of tomorrow - will someone call me tonight or tomorrow morning either via my website or BitWine and get readings? Because Keen doesn't pay immediately, work on that site isn't the what's needed now thing. But Jessica did not worry when I wasn't able to pay at "check out" time and had to wait a couple of hours. I's sure that as long as I am able to pay for the room she is happy to take my money, but I seriously doubt that if one or two days I had trouble accomplishing this she would throw away her plans to use me as a resource like she wishes.

I just wish the arrangement would happen sooner.

Staying up late and drinking coffee

It's one of those days. It's one of those weeks. Ups and downs, great highs and threatening lows. The Great Motel Experiment has to have a life of its own. I have to believe that - I'm not ready to imagine it has anything but a great result.

I wanted to make a vlog on YouTube about the GME, but since I used snippets of music as intro and outro on the video, YouTube cut the sound track out of the upload and so I had to delete it and will have to upload it again. I'm also busy uploading my client files to a new server because is changing location too. It's going to be a much richer site than ever before because I'm using DreamWeaver now. I used to use Intuit's as my website provider, but now I'm going to start using because I get so much more for so much less.

Yesterday and today haven't been very productive to the pocket book. These things happen. It was so much easier to handle back when I lived in an apartment and didn't have to worry daily or weekly if I had enough for rent. I just have to tell myself that the work I am accomplishing is for the future - and the future has a pretty good looking pattern carved into it already. Even if I walk up to the front desk tomorrow and tell her I can't pay her yet - and maybe not for a few days even - I highly doubt she'd suddenly change her stance about me and send me packing.

I've had a couple of tarot readings from other readers the past few days about the subject - the general overall subject of my life in the next couple of months that is. Even the readers who don't know me from Adam know I'm making major moves in this period. In a sense, I'm going to be starting things fresh. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I'll be living in a new city, a new neighborhood, and working towards getting a new permanent residence.

The facts of the matter are that I'm scheduled to be moved from on motel to another, from one city to another. That I'm being given a part-time job running the front desk and folding sheets and towels (if you have time to lean, you have time to clean). And this is in exchange for lodging. And that bottom line amounts to about $900 in savings from my tarot earnings.

My perceptions of the matter are a different story altogether. You have to take my word for it if we are to believe these things can be called facts. Many months ago I perceived I was going to make a move. I even imagined it could be to a motel, but I wanted to ignore that imagination because I wanted a new apartment instead. But circumstances beyond my control (other than years ago I knew I was moving into a building that was managed by the world's laziest landlord)lead to me having to decide to skip out on the landlord and occupy a motel.

Early while staying here I got an impression that I was bound to stay in motels much longer than originally anticipated. As I spoke with my friends, I even began to find myself liking the idea of moving to another motel in another town, maybe even more than just once or twice. Maybe even as a habit (but first this requires I buy transportation). I could see myself happy within motel life. Then I started having visions of Jessica telling me to not pay her rent. That there would be a way to work things off. I also saw myself in a larger motel than this one, more metropolitan where not only was I living happily, but I was meeting people and getting hired for readings. I also saw the website growing, and the online bookstore I'm trying to build up and running. I saw myself loading a van or some such and taking road trips hawking my wares and plying my trade.

Lately to some people I've been describing the circumstances of the past six months as if I were a camel being pulled through the eye of the needle. Things are manifesting in alignment with my True Will on this Earth, I'm finding myself able to satisfy the choices I've been dreaming of, but it is happening to me in such a fashion that it is as if I no longer have any choice about it. "You want to move? Well then, it's time to move! You want to live rent free? You're running out of money and someone is making you go to work! You want to live in Omaha? You're wearing out your welcome here, so you are being hauled off."

Every new beginning has its terrors of uncertainty. Every initiation should make you question your sanity both before and after. The ordeals that come and trials that follow are not meant to just be unexpected turning points, they are expected to be informative as to the real causes of things and the real direction meant to be followed. And they are not just real results, they are singularly symbolic and can only be fully appreciated in the Atzilutic and Briahtic senses.

Synchronicity, serendipity, opportunity and availability. Blue and green candles are burning, the blue is in the highest.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Great Things Are Afoot (The Great Motel Experiment)

I was just giving an end of the night visit to my motel's manager and in light of the following story I'm about to tell you, her words will make much sense. She said, as I said good night to her after our conversational, "you will see. In a little time you will be like one of the family!"

I some times feel it is a mistake that I don't journal every little thought that pops into my head. I wish could some how make sure to jot down every image or vision that pops up, but things happen so frequently and quickly that I often don't understand their import at the time. But I'm very positive that a few months back before I started the current life as a motel resident that I was telling myself I wanted to move to the city of Omaha. In fact, I can probably identify that it was as far back as maybe a few years ago when I download a particular gaming system for the gambling game of Roulette that I said to myself, "Self, it would be ideal if you lived in Omaha or Council Bluffs and could actually take advantage of this." But even more recent than that, I felt as if Omaha was in my future.

Yet more recent than that, while here at the motel, I picked up an Omaha paper just to be curious about the types of apartments that could be available to me there compared to those that are here in Lincoln for when I get myself to that stage in this current "game" I'm playing where I am finally ready and able to take up an apartment. And what I discovered was that apartments in Omaha are cheaper! Who knew?

Then one day I was talking to the motel manager/owner and she is telling me how many motels her and her husband own. And she tells me how her favorite one is the one in Omaha. So we are talking about Omaha and she tells me that everything is cheaper there (groceries and all that) and that's one of the reasons she likes it better. She tells me, "you should move to Omaha when you are ready to move, that's what you should do. You will have more fun there."

Jessica, that's her name, is a nice Hindu lady and she seems to enjoy acting like my mother at times, calling me on the motel phone and telling me to come get some dinner she cooked or letting me know that there are storm warnings and that if I have things to get down in town I should be sure to get home quickly.

One day, a little over a month ago she tells me that her motel has been sold but that they are just waiting for the buyer to get the loan. She says, "and you can move to Omaha with me!" I tell her congratulations but I was only half concerned with the news. I've seen buyers of places this large back out before. But then a few weeks later she tells me that the deal went through and there will be a new owner soon, so I say, "Oh I hope the new owner is as nice as you are to me." She says, "You can move to Omaha and stay with us there." But I happen to know that there are more amenities in her Omaha hotel and it is more expensive, and I tell her I can't afford that. She says, "no, we'll work it out. Don't worry." So I say, "You would give me the same rate as here?" She says, "Sure. Don't worry, we'll work something out."

I'm someone who doesn't usually accept promises. Especially when I feel things look too good to be true. I mean the motel in Omaha not only has the same benefits as here, but a swimming pool and a full gym as well. And living in Omaha itself would be amazing compared to the years I've spent here in dinky Lincoln.

Then Sunday Jessica invites me to go shopping with her. I don't have any money for shopping but told her I'd enjoy going for the ride. The fact is, I've had a slow couple of weeks at work and was afraid that on Tuesday I'd have to tell her I don't have any money to pay for my lodging and would need to ask her the favor of "working something out" much sooner. So what I'm actually planning to do at this time, the reason I want to "go along for the ride," is to make myself useful on her errand trip and discuss with her this eventuality of me "working something out." I'm starting to fee, you see, that my ability to maintain my budget at this rate is tenuous at best. So I'm doing everything on this trip to myself useful. Pushing the big giant push cart for her, picking up the items she's purchasing, caring things to her SUV, loading the SUV, unloading....etc... when she then says, "when we go to Omaha I want you to work in the office 3 or 4 hours a day. That way you won't have to pay for your room. So you can save your money, you will still be able to do the work you do. We will work the hours for you." I ask her when she thinks we will do this, and I think I heard her say "in a month."

Come to realize this morning, she probably said "end of month."

Because this morning her husband knocks on my door and says he wants to talk to me. He gives me a job interview real quickly and then tells me he wants me to work for him 3 or 4 hours a day doing the office and folding laundry (that's the job Jessica does, which other than maintenance and house keeping is the only job there is). He tells me he will have me wear a branded white shirt and I will have to remove my earrings. None of this is a problem! And he says he will return in a few days to pick me up and take me to Omaha!


I almost feel like a kid the night before going to Disney World!

Will I sleep tonight???

"you will see. In a little time you will be like one of the family!"

I kinda think I accidentally got myself adopted.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Do The Right Thing!

I saw something rather disgusting tonight. I was on Twitter (using TweetDeck, I almost never go to the Twitter site itself) when a friend of mine posted a retweet from a "trend" (hashtag) #thingsblackpeopledo. Since she got a laugh out of it (and she's a black American woman by the way), I thought I'd look at what was going on. What I found was a garbage filled river of racist slanders against black people! And worse, it was being perpetrated by blacks.

So for a moment I figured maybe it's one of two things - just self defacing humor that we can excuse, or maybe it's sarcasm spouting out the antagonistic stereotyping they often face themselves. But in any case, I felt it was disgusting and dangerous.

Then I did an experiment. At first I thought, "hmm... all these people in this trend are black or appear to be... I wonder what would happen if a white person posted #thingsblackpeopledo?" Well, of course I didn't want to do it myself. I don't know if I can actually call myself colorblind, but I'm sure not about to be labeled a racist. So I got another thought... is there a #thingswhitepeopledo hashtag out there?

Sure enough, there was!!!! But to my dismay - it was also being perpetrated by blacks (at least 99 percent of the postings where blacks and some where even simultaneously posting in both tags). I was foolishly actually hoping I'd find a bunch of disenfranchised white people stereotyping themselves... but nope, the same racist tone as the other topic was coming through my Internet feed.

Now don't get me wrong. I didn't get offended (per se), I wasn't disgusted. In fact, tonight's observations are in no way surprising to me. I guess I did once have some hope, hope that maybe change was coming now that we are global peoples in virtual space... but i won't say I was at all surprised.

So I asked my lovely and colorful friend what her opinion of the trend was, and I also asked another person (a stranger who I saw tweeting in the trend that he was disgusted). I asked them if they noticed anything about both of the hashtags (meaning, I had to point out to them that the #thingswhitepeopledo was also in the air though not as popular) that seemed striking. Neither of them noticed until I pointed out the demographics of both tags where blacks. Then I became involved in several very healthy discussions about Twitter, trending, and racism and other ignorant behavior on the net.

The thing is... racism, stereotyping, and other disrespectful biases aren't just going away because America caught up with the outside world and hired a black man to do the top job (Many nations have long been doing this, so it really isn't a "historic event" as far as I'm concerned). Even when America catches up to England, India, and other nations and hires a woman for the job, that still isn't going to change things. What is going to change this is individual. We each have to stop slandering each other and slandering ourselves. That's the way this issue might go away.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Holy Order

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Because I am frequently asked "What is a good order to read Aleister Crowley's writings in?" and "How did you get started in Thelema," I'm going to write my best answer here. I'm going to go from memory because I'm being a bit lazy (I do still have all the invoices and correspondences and papers, so I could easily look up the facts, but…) because I want to enjoy the nostalgia of doing so.

The first book I read by Crowley was The Book of Thoth: an Essay on the Egyptian Tarot. But to use the vernacular of today's youth, I didn't grok. Maybe because the book was on loan I had difficulty with it (otherwise, I write notes and cross references in my books, which helps me learn) - but the most reasonable explanation I had at the time was that I didn't fully comprehend the "worldview of The Book of the Law, which Crowley designed his tarot on." So I borrowed The Book of the Law and 777 & Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley from the same friend. The truth of the matter was that this didn’t help at all (remember, I’m not able to write my references and notes in these books).

At the time, I was well versed in the writings on Wicca and other new age concepts. I had even read Dianetics. European mythologies, Gnosticism, and neo-pagan magickal works were my thing – and I knew my tarot very well. I owned The Rider-Waite Deck, The Mythic Tarot, and numerous books on all these subjects – but Crowley and his mythologies where brand new to me. I even knew my Tree of Life, the Aleph-Beth, and astrological and tarot correspondences. I had recently begun to study the Golden Dawn and was an initiate of The Free and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. But I just wasn’t “getting” Crowley.

I became more interested in Freemasonry and The Golden Dawn. I was studying the liberal arts in college at the time (encouraged by the Master of my lodge to do so) and the languages where basically the same all around. Human Relations, Philosophy, Psychology, Comparative Religion…. Things started to really add up for me. So I signed up and became a member of the Golden Dawn.
As seemed the thing to do at the time, I studied the writings of Israel Regardie and Robert Wang (I also bought The Golden Dawn Tarot). At the time this was very suitable to me, even though “the rituals of the old time are black. Let the evil ones be cast away; let the good ones be purged by the prophet,” the Path to the Vault of the Adepti (5=6 Golden Dawn) granted me extraordinary powers with the Tarot and both the Golden Dawn Tarot and The Book of Thoth (tarot deck) became perfectly clear to me and the Rider-Waite Tarot seemed suddenly stiff. At about this same time I had acquired my own copies of Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law), 777, and The Book of Thoth: An Essay on the Egyptian Tarot and felt compelled to write a letter to Chic Cicero (who I had already had a long correspondence with) babbling I remember not what after I bought and read The Law is for All. A little over a week later I received a reply stating that he felt I had gone about as far in the Order as I was going to go at this point and that he had given my name and address to Lon Milo DuQuette regarding my interest in Crowley and the OTO. Shortly after, I received a short letter from Lon telling me that it was recommend I buy his book from Samuel Weiser Publications, The Magick of Aleister Crowley (now re-titled The Magick of Thelema) and a business card with his name and OTO Lodge contact information. So I ordered the book.
At this point in the narrative I have to admit that I don’t know that book recommendations are going to be enough. In fact, this entire narrative is nothing if I do not mention that other than a few new age books about crystals and herbs and shamanism, and the usual antique books in public libraries such as The Witches Hammer and The Black Arts, I never succeeded in finding books on the occult until after my very first initiation as a witch on the beach bordering Newport Beach and Huntington Beach in 1987. So if those men and women I knew then where really linked to a magickal current and that initiation was true, I’ve never entered into reading the words without the initiations behind me. And one thing I discovered with my work through Freemasonry and The Golden Dawn up to this point in my story, initiation makes things make sense that otherwise didn’t.

But don’t let me get all silly about it. It’s not just the initiations themselves that do the trick – initiation is just the marker of having accomplished something up to that path – so it was most certainly all the other work and training that illuminated the Being in me to see what I couldn’t before see. So yes, study is definitely a must.

After a few short correspondences, I think I frustrated Lon. He bluntly told me that his hands were full, he didn’t have time for a student, and introduced me to William Heidrick and Phyllis Seckler (Frater AMTH and Sorror Meral respectively).
It’s here that I end this tale. My story doesn’t finish at this point – this is all still many years ago in the past – but to be honest, the works and books and information came in such a fashion that I think I thought I was at a smorgasbord. Perhaps it will be the same for someone who follows in my steps. There are rituals, practices, and markers along the way that no book can fully express – but if this history opened doors for me, maybe it can open doors for you too (If thou wilt).

Love is the law, love under will.