Certainly a girl doesn’t need to be nothing more than an accessory to someone who sees her as a sign of success, not as a person. When you are in a real relationship, both parties do begin to need each other, if not for survival, for quality of life. Someone who makes you feel your best self, and brings out your best qualities is a keeper!
As we think about needs, we recognize that some of our needs are emotional and spiritual, not just simply what we need to survive. I look at it like the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of vitamins. This is amounts of each of the nutrients they knew about during WWII that were required to keep soldiers (male, young, fairly healthy) from showing symptoms of deficiency diseases. (More recently they’ve been checking to see where these requirements may differ for women or other groups.) But note that this is the level where if the subject didn’t get that daily amount, they began to manifest symptoms of disease. So this is NOT what you need to be healthy, if that’s what you are getting, you are walking on the fine line above showing symptoms of disease. They’ve never been able to figure out what we need to be optimally healthy, probably because it varies from person to person and what they are doing at the time.
When you think about your emotional needs, do you think about the need to be needed? They have discovered that older people in “homes” are much healthier when they have pets. Not only do the pets show them affection, having someone to care for gives the person who has had almost all agency removed a reason to look outward. An infant naturally needs someone to care for it for several years, and gives parents or caregivers an awareness that they are keeping the baby alive and (we hope) happy.
Some people have a distrust of “needs” that may come from having seen the interaction between a dependent and whoever is taking care of them abused. The parent-child relationship is a beautiful thing, so is a loving couple making each other’s lives better. “Paying it forward” is the natural way to keeping the species alive.
What we want to avoid is any relationship where the balance of power is off not naturally, as in the case of an infant, but unnaturally- such as in a culture where men and women (or other groups within the population) are given different levels of self determination. In the musical Oliver (source of this picture and quote), Nancy was both dependent because women didn’t have the options for financially supporting themselves, and also because her boyfriend, Bill, used violence to keep her with him.
In this case, Nancy, and those like her, convince themselves that their abusers need them because otherwise awareness that she’s contributing to her own abuse would hurt her more. We do have a need to be needed. We need to feel that there is something we are accomplishing in the world more than just eating, sleeping, and breathing. When Oliver’s needs from Nancy exceeded Bill’s imagined needs, Nancy was able to break away from her unhealthy fantasy. When a parent gradually leads his child to become more independent until he no longer physically needs his parent, but maintains the relationship for the emotional and spiritual benefits, that’s good parenting.
The theme this year is need, so as we examine that, let’s also let’s look at our relationship with the “Weird”. While I’m comfortable asserting that we should look at supernatural phenomena more closely, open to the possibility it’s real, that doesn’t mean that we should ditch our critical thinking skills. It’s exciting to learn new things, we mustn’t get dependent on these activities. Dowsing is a wonderful tool, but you shouldn’t use it to make all your decisions for you.* Keeping a dream journal can help you remember and understand your dreams, but if you are spending over an hour a day on it, you can probably cut back to an hour. If you’re a medium, unless you have some people who’ll pay to watch you do it, you probably shouldn’t be spending so much time talking to spirits that you are missing work. As with any activity, don’t go overboard. Don’t let it interfere with relationships between you and your family and friends. Don’t let it interfere with work, or adversely impact your health. Don’t let any system or group make decisions for you. Somethings we need to do regularly- like breathing. Doing anything successfully is going to make you feel good. But don’t become dependent upon any single source of satisfaction. You haven’t always done it, you won’t always be doing it, it’s just one of many good things in your life, but only one. Do what you need to do for you.
*Don’t ask “Should I take this vitamin?” ask “Will I be significantly healthier if I take this vitamin”. Taking it is your decision, dowsing can tell you if it’s going to have a subtle effect you can’t predict.
Have you read the book American Gods? If not, it’s a great summer read!
The “American Gods Affect” is how belief influences reality, or creates and maintains entities, as in the Tibetan tulpa tradition. Are the gods eternal as well as immortal, or do the change as they move through time. Does our belief change what gods, or fae, or other beings are?
Panelists will discuss how the power of belief influences reality, how made-up things become real, for example: the Tooth Faerie, or Santa Claus. They’ll also explore whether anything can become a “god” (how we’d define that in this context), given the time, space, and control over our lives.
Another fun exploration of the idea was seen in the Hell House episode of Supernatural, in which it was community belief- driven by social media- that created the entity. (Another, even sillier is in the episode of the Librarians where Bruce Campbell plays Santa Claus, discussing the trials of one’s persona being at the mercy of public conception.) When considering what’s real, what makes it real is a good follow up question. Fiction is a great non-threatening way to introduce a new concept to people unfamiliar with it. How do you feel about participating in creation? Creation of entities?
Here’s the thing I love best about the Harry Potter books: they make it really, really clear that using magick is like almost everything else. Some people have talent for it, and some don’t, but EVERYONE needs to be taught how to do it right, and everyone needs to practice! (You did know the answer to the title question, didn’t you?) Having good working tools helps, as Ron would point out.
When I was in high school I read the book Johnathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (if you haven’t read it- do, and his other books are also great), and while the rest of the world was getting excited about the metaphysics, I was struck by the physics of the book. Johnathan learned that you didn’t need to believe you could fly to fly, you needed to learn HOW to fly. This struck me as the most important point in the book.
The sixties were the Occult Explosion, and folks were exploring all the amazing things people can do from ESP to dowsing to energy healing. I was out there with the rest of them, talking to plants, and trying to have OOB (out of body) experiences. At the same time I was also diving into Science Fiction, and when they talked about people doing telekinesis or controlling their body temperature mentally I had to try it. The more I discovered that all these “crazy” things worked, the more excited I was to try the next thing.
My generation, as so many before, thought that we had discovered these phenomena. Although I discovered that while books on the “supernatural” were sometimes hard to find in the local library, I could find them in stores. I read Hans Holzer and Sybil Leek, and subscribed to Fate Magazine, checked out AMORC, read W. E. Butler, looked into folk magick (the Long-Lost Friend) and voudoo, Spiritualists, and Theosophists, everything I could find by Edgar Cayce and the A.R.E., the Society for Psychical Research, got Richard Cavendish’s Man, Myth and Magick, read Rossell Hope Robbins, Robert Anton Wilson, W. E. Butler, Israel Regardie, Jane Roberts, Dion Fortune, Max Freedom Long’s The Secret Science behind Miracles, Carlos Castaneda (of course), and Issac Bonewitts, Montague Summers, Murray and Gardner. I learned to accept that books on developing psychic abilities were grouped with tales of UFOs, Vampires, Bigfoot and witchcraft. (This rather lengthy list is to show that there were plenty of books on magick out there, although some say there weren’t.) I watched the occult sections of bookstores expand, and have watched them shrink again. I’ve watched the New Age explore The Secret and try to use the Law of Attraction because it’s so much less threatening than (cue spooky music) magick and witchcraft. I’ve also watched the media portray witches from old movies like I married a Witch and Bell Book and Candle, through Bewitched, Charmed, Sabrina, and Practical Magick and on to Harry Potter. They still seem to think that witches are a different race than humans. Go fig.
Still, no matter which direction you approach from, you are going to come down to the important bottom line. Wanting and Believing isn’t enough. You have to actually put in the hours and practice. You may well have to do an exhaustive search to find someone who can teach you HOW to do it right. (I have never found that when the student is ready the master appears.)
Some people have perfect pitch, and some are tone deaf. Some people are clumsy and some coordinated. They have finally admitted that there isn’t just one, but there are many types of IQ: musical, spatial, bodily, interpersonal, and others. The traditional IQ tests, in an attempt to get away from cultural information ended up testing for the ability to spot patterns. We all know that simply being good at math doesn’t make you good with words. I personally know that being good at one type of art doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good with other types. I can catch a likeness, but can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. I’ve also learned from my artistic endeavors (as well as my psychic ones) what any athlete or musician can tell you. You have to learn the technique, and you have to practice.
This is why I love Harry Potter and the other fictional depictions of magick that show people learning the how-to of magick. I haven’t seen the new Sabrina, but the old one ran almost every episode on the trope: “using magick to try to fix your problems will only make them worse”. This trope exists because what non-magick users think of as “magic” is getting something without working for it. (“flick and swish”) Magick users know that you have to work to do it, and that’s how it works. It may be able to accomplish things you couldn’t do with other means, but it’s not “something for nothing”.
So like Itzhak Perlman practicing scales every day, if you want to do magick, there will be daily exercises, and always something new to learn.
“A crack lets in the light” is an expression reminding us that when we create a solid barrier in our manner of thinking, it becomes difficult to introduce new concepts into our world view. What we, the CTCW community, are doing, is opening our minds to the possibilities. This is required in order to change.
For centuries the paranormal and supernatural have been called “Occult” which means hidden. Why hidden? Because despite the awareness when we are children that this is perfectly normal and natural, as we grow we are told to not talk about it. If it is natural and normal for us to see ghosts, to speak to animals, to find things, to heal others, to perceive the feelings and thoughts of others, and influence the world around us by our inner abilities, we are told to hide it, and to pretend that like “everyone else” we don’t believe in it. Some people buy into the story, for others, who use these abilities, we are taught that we need to hide our abilities and perceptions and not let others know about them. If our family or community practice, we are taught to preserve a “normal” appearance to everyone else. This preserves the illusion that our abilities don’t exist.
Why do we do this? There is history of persecution, certainly. If it became accepted that telepathy exists, many would worry that their secrets would be discovered. If energy healing works most of the time, it raises the question that when it doesn’t work, it could be a fault of the practitioner who didn’t do it correctly, or who withheld their healing? These are problems for doctors, but they defend themselves from charges of malpractice by working within established norms. We couldn’t do that with supernatural techniques as long as we don’t understand the mechanisms for how these things work. We see even now the issue of empowerment being twisted into victim-blaming. If everyone “can” manifest whatever they want, it can be seen that any problems they have are their own choice. Their own fault. Sadly, awareness of our abilities should come hand in hand with compassion and awareness of larger forces in the universe, and that seems to lag behind.
The truth will out, of course. Sooner or later, the modern world will figure out that these abilities are real, and may develop technologies to measure them, or even enhance them. Perhaps, like the GBLT community, we have to start by “coming out of the closet” and letting those who worry about us know that we’ve been among them in our millions without doing and evil things to them, and the only thing we want to do to “subvert the dominant paradigm” is too be accepted.
We mediums, telepaths, magickians, dowsers and others often have little problem with this. Sometimes we need reminding not to have “a mind so open that your brain falls out”. It’s sometimes easy, once you discover that the “normal” world has gotten so many things wrong, to run around trying every new thing, and telling everyone about the new things you’ve learned. This enthusiasm is natural, everyone does it, although they may be enthusing about a new diet, or recipe for chocolate cake, or gadget, but that won’t get them “burned at the stake” or prosecuted as a con artist.
As we change the world to a better place, we on the leading edge of the opening must remember to protect ourselves from the push-back of those who we are making uncomfortable. We must not deny what we know to be real, but at the same time, we need to maintain our credibility with those who haven’t had the direct experience we have had, and have been trained by the the modern world to be hyper skeptical. We need to do it, and I believe we can.
You may have wondered about the rather unwieldy name for our conference. When we were designing the conference, we were trying to figure out what we wanted to accomplish. What we hope to do is to change our parent culture in which the reality of many energy fields, many beings and many effective practices that can enhance our lives are rejected out of hand. We were thinking how great it would be if our children’s generation lived in a world where it was accepted that people are psychic and you wouldn’t have to hint about it, talk around it, or pretend that it wasn’t real so that you wouldn’t be considered foolish. That’s backwards! How foolish is it to deny evidence‽
We feel that if we can get the world to accept these realities and both benign and useful (yes, some people still feel that anything “occult” must be dangerous!) that they will be available to enhance daily life. How much better off we are when we know the benefits of using herbs for medicinal as well as culinary purposes. Yet there are still people out there who figure that if a remedy doesn’t come in a box, it “can’t work”.
There are people who scoff at “water witching”, yet many people quietly have a dowser locate their well. The American Dowsing Society has groups that provide this service in third world countries, and their experiences show how well it works.
I know that I use dowsing nearly daily to find lost objects around the house. Our family uses crystals for healing, as well as homeopathy, acupressure and aromatherapy. All of these things are said by critics to be useless, and even harmful if they prevent people from going to “established” practitioners. If they weren’t working, of course we’d go to someone who could help.
But we need to change the story- the dialogue- how people talk about the unknown. At this point anything paranormal in film is still lumped into the Horror genre. As you may have noticed in the last paragraph, much of what I use these ‘supernatural’ techniques for is practical, finding lost objects or healing faster. The world would simply be easier to navigate if we didn’t deny an entire section of available human abilities. So when thinking about the future, think about a world where there is no resistance, no denial, no pretense that magick isn’t real. The world is changing, we just want to make it better.