Saturday, June 10, 2017

Tolerance vs. Acceptance: Bill, Ted, and Being Excellent To Each Other

Hello everyone...just wanted to share a disappointing yet enlightening story that happened in my life recently.

Let me be clear on this at the outset: I try very hard to respect everyone's beliefs, even when I personally would not choose to practice them, and I don't lump every practitioner of a religion or spiritual path into the same category because of the actions of one individual. In short, to me, no one person represents an entire group of people. 

Anyway, this is a story of two friends of mine who I will call "Bill" and "Ted."

I used to hang with Bill a lot. We used to discuss many things openly, including religion, and even though he is a Christian and I am Wiccan, we respected each others' beliefs.

Later, I met Ted through Bill, and though we haven't hung out much, we've gotten to know each other recently. And the more Ted and I have talked, the more I've uncovered the true story of Bill and how he operates. 

Ted and I got together for the first time in a long time a while back, and he was brave enough to tell me Bill warned him about my negative influence. My ungodliness, it seems, warranted a two-paragraph email from Bill, ending with "Jesus is the only way." 

To be honest, Bill had pulled away some time ago, and while I had my suspicions, it's sad when you see someone's true colors. Hearing this revelation was not truly a shock because I had suspected it for a while, but I had hoped it wasn't true. The truth disappointed and saddened me.

Looking back, Bill spent a lot of time bad-mouthing Ted behind his back before I had even met Ted. So when I finally did meet Ted, I had a negative impression of him because I listened. I freely admit that I was wrong. 

Thankfully, both Ted and I found out what was really going on: That Bill was poisoning the well, so to speak.

So here's the $64,000 question: What makes me such a negative influence? 

That's the confusing part for me. I try very hard to be a good person and to help people whenever I can without regard to someone's race, sexual orientation/identity, spiritual path, or other stereotypes. I have a solid network of family and friends who I can trust to tell me if I'm out of line. I'm confident, but I strive to be humble and not let my ego drive the bus. I know that I am far from perfect and admit my mistakes and try to change. 

So to repeat, how come I've been labeled "ungodly"?

Well, I strongly suspect it's my life choices--specifically, my religion and other practices-- that have brought out Bill's bigotry. 

I suspect that I've been deemed a negative influence in Bill's eyes because:
  • I am a practicing Witch/Wiccan and lead a Wiccan community;
  • I am a professional tarot reader;
  • I am a professional astrologer;
  • I embrace concepts, beliefs, and ideas that many consider "alternative" or "outside of the mainstream," like crystal balls, gemstones, chakras, etc.; and/or
  • Ted and I share many of the aforementioned interests.

When it comes to any individual person, if you want to find things not to like, it's shooting fish in a barrel. And I know I'm an especially big target; many people do not approve of me on principle because of the bulleted list above without having ever met me. I've experienced this same situation a number of times with people in my life, and it's never easy. 

You know what? Let's take the idea of religion out of the equation because, in the end, it's not about that. We could substitute one religion with "Yankees fan" and one with "Red Sox fan." [And for the record, yes, Yankees fans, I love and respect you, too, and your tremendous passion for your team. How many Red Sox fans will say that? :) ] 

I realized the simple truth: Bill tolerated meWhen you tolerate something, you're judging it as less than acceptable. He has never truly accepted me for who I was and am. And that is what hurts the most. 

It would be very easy at this point in my narrative to make plenty of disparaging remarks about Bill's spiritual choices or about Bill himself and his behavior. But I don't need to waste my time and energy; Bill is already getting too much attention here as it is.

What Bill hasn't yet realized that as a human being, he's a failure. That's what happens when you label "nonbelievers" as a negative or unwholesome influence through their very existence. By choosing to lump people into some arbitrary category of stereotypes and assumptions, Bill is incapable of true acceptance of another person. For that, he doesn't deserve my vitriol, but my pity.

Ted and I are going to be friends for a long time. I know this because he's a very smart man who also had the courage to tell me a very hard truth about someone that I cared for and respected. While I didn't like the news, I needed to hear it, so he has my sincere gratitude.

The best I can hope for is that someday Bill will accept every person instead of judging and stereotyping them. And even knowing what I know today, I respect his beliefs and accept him for who he is. I can't say I like him anymore, and I doubt we'll ever be friends again, but I do accept him and where he is spiritually right now.

I implore you to accept every single person you meet as an individual with unique gifts and needs, whose choices may or may not match your own, for reasons you may never understand. Ted and I will thank you. Hopefully, one day, Bill will thank you, too.

As Bill and Ted famously said, "Be excellent to each other!"


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mercury vs. Mars: Mercurial Meanderings with a Touch of Martial Mashing

[Mercury knocks on the Sun's office door]

Sun: Come in!

[Mercury opens the door and sees the Sun behind his desk and Mars in front of it in his stretchy body suit]

Mercury: Oh, are you in a meeting, sir?

Sun: Yes, Mercury, but I know YOU never take a long time. [chuckles]. Is it something quick?

Mars: Yeah, because this can wait!

Mercury: I've got a report I'd like to share, sir, but it can wait...

Sun: [gestures] No, please come in and sit down. I'll have to explain this concept to Mars slowly again anyway and we may be here a while. What's on your mind?

Mercury: Well, I wanted to report that two of my peeps are heading to a writing conference this weekend: John's beloved Jen and his sister Amy. 

Sun: That sounds extremely mercurial indeed! I can understand your enthusiasm. Will they be gone long?

Mars: Dumb question! Mercury trips are lucky to last 10 minutes!

Sun: Mars, please let Mercury answer. At least I know he'll fully comprehend the question.

Mars: FINE! [crosses arms]

Mercury: Two Mercury-ruled ladies on a long weekend to write, write, write! And they've even done this before! It's an amazing story.

Mars: Yeah, and John gets to sit at home and do interesting shit like do two-hour workouts like a BOSS! I think HE got the better end of that deal...he won't have two Mercury bitches yammering all the time. 

Sun: [frowns] I don't recall asking for your input, Mars.

Mars: In English, please, sir?

Sun: [smiles] That's a nice way of saying, "Shut your cakehole!"

Mars: But that's not a nice way of sayin' it at all, sir! So I don't know why you said that!

Sun: [shakes head sadly] Is John prepared?

Mercury: Yes, sir. He is planning on purchasing another Steam game and playing [opens his Erin Condren planner] "until his eyeballs fall out," sir.

Sun: I'm happy for John, but please keep that information "limited distro". 

Mercury: Why would we do that, sir?

Sun: Because there are certain planets who would harangue John mercilessly for playing games instead of working. I'm sure you take my meaning. 

Mercury: Yes, sir. Of course. Limited distro it is.

Mars: Why are we talking about gasoline? What the fuck is that about?

Mercury: I...I didn't get that, sir. 

Sun: [sighs and covers face with his hands] It's not important, Merc. Please leave the report for me, and I'll peruse it in greater detail later. If you would be so kind as to close the door and let Lady Moon know to cancel the rest of my appointments this afternoon. My records need to be accurate for my weekly leadership activity inventory. Have her mark it on the calendar as "Mentoring". 

Mercury: Yes, sir. I'll take care of it immediately. 

[Merc closes door and walks to Lady Moon's desk]

Mercury: Lady Moon, the Sun told me to ask you to cancel his afternoon appointments and list it as "Mentoring."

Moon: [looks at computer screen] Oh shit. I'm going to have to bump Venus again. At least she understands. And I hope he doesn't lose it with our bully colleague...

Sun: [muffled sound through door] And if I ever, EVER, see you wearing that bodysuit again in my presence, I'll write you up! If you want to work out it in that's up to you, but I do NOT want to see your penis!

Mercury: How prescient of you, Lady Moon!

Moon: [sadly] I have my moments. 

Mars: [louder through the door]: I DON'T KNOW HOW ELSE TO TELL YOU, SIR! YOU CAN'T SEE MY DONG! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN?

Mercury: Everyone can see his dong in that suit. It's completely obvious!

Moon: [SIGH] You'd better run along, Merc. It's going to be a long afternoon. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Letters from Saturn: Bedlam, Pure Bedlam

Dear Sir, 

I hope you've received my previous dispatches from down here. I take a lot of time documenting my visitations and expect that my efforts are not going to waste.

Things down here, to not put too fine a point on it, are bedlam, pure bedlam. Let me assure you that I'm doing my level best, but in addition to being in retrograde right now, I'm also stuck in Sagittarius. I hate belonging to that outgoing, expansive bastard Jupiter; he's just not like me at all. I will, of course, continue to do my duty, but when I'm in this state it seems like it's two steps forward and three steps back. And efficiency and effectiveness are totally foreign concepts as I struggle to be in this sign that can never say no and always wants more. I don't have any idea how he can LIVE like this!

As I sit back and think about it, maybe it's best that I'm in Sagittarius for a while longer, because I don't honestly think I could get much work done at all with all of the chaos. You just can't count on a damn thing these days. 

You asked me about how the world governments are doing, and frankly, on closer inspection, the damage is even worse than I anticipated. There will need to be a long, slow period of improvement so everyone is playing on the same sheet of music. And make sure to tell Lady Venus to continue to work her magic, because people down here don't feel so much with the unity right now...unless you count unity of one group against another. 

I did happen to drop in on John, and it won't surprise you to hear that he's woolgathering again. He was supposed to already have his second tarot book out, and my sources tell me he's not even halfway done. He should plan for a September release at this rate. I may have to ask Mercury to help with another internet outage. That will stop him from playing that stupid Cities: Skylines game during his "free time." And he had to go and get the mass transit expansion pack! Maybe if he used a timer...

And don't even get me started about how few blogs he puts out. Two a month? Sol, you need to talk to him! No one is going to take him seriously. 

Anyway, I think that's about all from here. I should be back in the office around August 25 or so.

Yours Truly,

Saturn

Saturday, May 13, 2017

First-Time Attendee Discount for the State of the Art (SOTA) Conference in October!

Jupiter: Hello everyone! John's asked us to come do his dirty work again. At least this time they paired me with the King of Misinformation himself, Mercury! We're here to talk about the State of the Art Astrology Conference, October 19-23, 2017, in Buffalo, NY. 

Mercury: Jove, don't think I didn't notice that mistake you made. 

Jupiter: Which was...?

Mercury: King of "Mis-Information"? I think what you meant was "Chief Information Officer of the Zodiac."

Jupiter: Dude, you just got back from retrograde, which was a total cluster fuck, and you want to get all high and mighty? And Saturn is supposed to be the title king. What do you care?

Mercury: As we've stated many times, Jupiter, I don't "care." I just don't want the public to be misinformed.

Jupiter: Whatever. John sent us out here to let people know about SOTA. 

Mercury: Yes, so let me give the people information before you tell them how much they can learn. Sound good?

Jupiter: [SIGH] Sure, Doctor Propaganda. Go for it!

Mercury: You should talk. [PAUSE] Anyway, good people, if you haven't come to the SOTA Astrology Conference, it's a fantastic way to get lots of information in a short time on many astrological and other metaphysical topics. All aspects of astrology, as well as mediumship, tarot, and other divination topics have all made their appearance in years past.

Jupiter: That's right, Mr. Just-The-Facts-Ma'am! Lots and lots of higher learning going on. And our favorite blogger...[to Mercury] do we have to say that? I mean, IS he our favorite blogger? What does that even mean?

Mercury: What my philosophical pillock of a partner is trying particularly poorly to profess is that our favorite blogger, John, has been presenting for the past few years at this conference, and the 2017 meeting is no exception!  He'll be speaking on learning the tarot through pop culture. 

Jupiter: I'm still not convinced he's my favorite blogger, but let's put that aside for now. 

Mercury: If you've never attended SOTA before, ladies and gentlemen, this is the year to give it a shot. We've been authorized to offer first-time attendees a discount! 

Jupiter: That's a great philosophy for bringing new folks into what's already a fantastic event, Merc. 

Mercury: The details about this offer are that if you are a first-time SOTA attendee and register by May 31, by check, your full conference registration will cost only $100. 

Jupiter: Damn, that's cheap! 

Mercury: It is less than the standard conference registration, Jupiter, and while it doesn't include any extras like lunches, it does include all of the general sessions of the three-day event.

Jupiter: [frowns] You're taking all the joy out of this for me, man. Haven't you ever heard of "marketing," Merc? 

Mercury: Not at the expense of facts, Jove. So let me finish, and then you can wax rhapsodic about it. [PAUSE] Anyway, if you're at all interested, here's how to proceed: Send your check for $100 by May 31 to:

Full Circle Seminars
35 Brock St., Suite #1405
Hamilton, ON, L8L 4L7

Mercury: Also, please make sure to tell them John sent you. That's a fact, whether or not he's your favorite blogger. But I'm sure HE hopes that he is. 

Jupiter: Damn straight. Even though I don't know any other bloggers...

Mercury: Jove, wait for the fine print. There are only 20 of these things. And when they're gone, this offer will end. 

Jupiter: It's time to get your learn on! Haul ass to Buffalo this October 19-23 for the SOTA Astrology Conference. Click the link for more details. 

Mercury: I think that's it, Jove. I'm off to another appointment. [leaves]

Jupiter: That little motherfucker has no soul whatsoever! He didn't even talk about all the astrologers that you can meet in such a small setting. That's the best part and Mr. Clinical didn't say a word about it! I'm going to have to talk with John about who he partners me up with...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mercury Retrograde and Shameless Marketing

Hello, everyone! Hope you're having a fantastic Mercury retrograde. Actually, I take that back...I hope you're surviving Mercury retrograde. This one has been a real bitch kitty for me and it's not over yet. 

I think the icing on the cake for me was the 12 fucking hour internet outage on Friday night and Saturday morning, thanks to my service provider. And in true Mercury form, the resolution did not come at the promised time, but four hours later. Good thing I didn't sit up waiting for it!


Anyway, I have some shameless marketing to do here, so let's get right to it because obviously, I can't count on Mercury to do it for me!

My astrology practice is evolving, folks. I've given up written reports in favor of 90-minute consultations for $100. These are done over your favorite video conferencing tool (Skype, Google, FaceTime, etc.). There's a lot of information in these consults, so I'm recording them and sending them to you once the session is over. That should help you focus on the reading instead of having to scribble tons of notes. 

Anyway, I'm interested in getting some more charts on my calendar, so please let me know if you're interested. To do a chart, I need your date, time and place of birth. If you're not sure on the time, check with your mom or your birth certificate. I can do a chart without a birth time, however; I'll try to narrow that time down for you.


Also, since I'm now recording charts, I'm going to extend that policy to phone and internet tarot readings as well. I record the reading on my end and send you a recording of it; I send a link to the MP3 when it's over. If you have a distance reading with me, and you'd like to take advantage of that service, it's $10 more, and that's the price no matter how long your reading is. It's optional, however. 

While I can't offer the recording service for readings at 13 Magickal Moons, you can record your own reading on your cell phone for no extra charge at the shop! Many have you have asked if you can, and my response is "Certainly!" provided it's for private use and isn't posted online anywhere.

Next, I've been asked for many years why I don't participate in local Pagan Pride events as a reader. I've never had a good answer, folks, so I decided that now is the time for me to step up. I'm happy to report that I'll be reading tarot at NoVA Pagan Pride on September 30, 2017, at George Mason University. I don't have a confirmed reservation yet, but I'll let you know once the paperwork has been processed. I look forward to seeing many of you there!

One other interesting tidbit: At Pagan Pride, I'll be offering astrology mini-readings for the first time. A mini-reading is a quick look at the essentials of your astrology chart in 20 minutes. All you do is walk up to the booth with your birth information and I take it from there. This is a great option if you don't have the time or money for a full chart reading but want a small taste of what's going on.

Finally, by popular demand, I'm offering the Intermediate and Advanced Tarot classes back to back this summer at 13 Magickal Moons on Friday nights, beginning on July 7! The classes will occur on most Friday nights through the end of September. All of you folks who said you were interested, now's the time; I need at least five students registered to run them, so don't miss out! Watch for the 13MM schedule to announce them, and then sign up. You've got a few months to get your calendars in order.

The intermediate course is an in-depth look at the major arcana, all four suits, and reading practice, especially toward the end. The advanced course is really a class that I gear toward whoever is in the room. In other words, if there's a topic in tarot you want me to teach, it's on the table--delivery, spreads, ethics, etc.

Anyway, I think that's it. 

Wait a minute...I guess not. I'm getting questions about the next installment of In Their Own Words, and I will say that the Wands book is in progress. If you want more information than that, maybe Jupiter will spill, but I won't. 

Thanks as always for your patronage and your attention. An early blessed Beltane to all, and I look forward to seeing you across my table soon.