Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm Not As Clever As I Thought, But There Is Good News

As for the update on the Victoria Sinclair interview, she is a very busy lady. Asides from being a news anchor, she has another side business, and tax time has proved to be more trouble than anticipated. We will have an interview up as soon as possible.

As for “X,” I thought I was really clever in making up a word. Honestly, I still think that it's clever, but nut as original as I'd thought. I also made up the word “Bibliophile” – book lover. I wasn't the first on that either.

The word I created for “X” was “Xenophile.” A xenophobe is one who fears outsiders, so “Xenophile” is meant to be a love of outsiders; I'd rather talk to someone from a different part of the world than hear yet another local bitch about the weather and the Maple Leafs. (the hockey team, not the foliage.) I find it fascinating how growing up in a different part of the world will flavor someone's perspective. I like talking to first-generation Canadians, because they have one foot on the Old World, but are familiar enough with my frame of reference to communicate the differences and similarities.

Then I was watching a Harry Potter “Extra” introducing the new characters. Remember Luna Lovegood, the quirky blonde with the dreamy voice? Guess what her dad's name is. Oh yeah, Xenophilious. Since I've read the books and seen the movie, the word must have taken root and re-emerged, making me think of how very clever I was.

On a more positive note, Andrea was home with Chickerdoodles last night, and the wee'un started playing with the front of her pants. The following conversation ensued:

A: Do you have to pee-pee?
C: Pee-pee.
A: Do you want to use the potty?
C: Yeah.

Note: she says “yeah” to anything you ask her, that's how I know that she's a Soundgarden fan. But, lo and behold, she has now left her first little puddle in the potty! A new day has dawned.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Frightfully Sorry

Hey Folks! I know that I promised you an interveiw today, but we seem to be having a hard time connecting. It will be up here as soon as I can get ahold of Victoria.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Read A Romance.

Harlequin has begun a new imprint that mixes Romance with Reality (have they exhausted their expansive repertoire?) Called “True Vous.” They take people's real-life romance and from an extensive questionnaire, they novelize it. So, if you're involved in a stellar romance relationship with an intriguing back-story, you may have an avenue to get your story told.

That's just what a friend of mine did. Her story of how she met her husband and their whirlwind romance spanning several years and half of Southern Ontario.

I read it, and honestly, it's a romance. The first I've ever read, so I have no frame of reference. After the first 50 pages or so, I was able to get into the story since it got past the trembling-caresses-and-voices-husky-with-desire part. Then there were the actual “love scenes.” I skimmed over those. They are friends of mine, and there are certain visuals that I just don't need. I got especially interested when Andrea & I were mentioned. That's right, your truly has a cameo in this book. Andrea has been friends with her for years, and she and her husband have become dear friends of mine as well.

I's called “Victoria's Got A Secret.” If I tell you what the secret is, it won't be much of a spoiler, since it's on the back-cover blurb. She is Victoria Sinclair, the first anchor of the Naked News. This isn't your average internet undressing affair; it's a classy, intelligent program. On Tuesday, as part of the A-Z Blogfest, I will be having an interveiw with Victoria Sinclair right here, so be sure to tune in!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The New Focus

Yesterday, I posted about how the Occultism of a hundred and twenty years ago reflected psychology. Modern books and documentaries reflect the new science of our day, and I'll bet that you know just what I'm talking about.

Have you seen “The Secret”? For those who haven't, it relies on the Hermetic “Law of Attraction” to make the point that we all attract our situations to ourselves through our thoughts and moods. Honestly, it doesn't serve as more than a conversation starter. It's a gateway to esoteric topics. A much better movie along those lines is “What The Bleep Do We Know?” staring Marley Matlin. There's a lot more focus on the science.

Quantum theories of the last 50 years have focused on the connectivity of all things, with experiments on split atoms and how one will react to the stimulus of the other, even over a significant distance. There is also the phenomenon how the smallest units of matter that are observable will be either a particle (matter) or a wave (energy). The crazy part is that it becomes matter when it's directly observed, making it merely an energy pattern when it isn't observed, like the tree falling in the forest that no one hears.

How this relates to Occultism is that we can alter reality with our focus. Therefore, by being aware and deliberate in our focus, we can be better able to influence our circumstances. But here's the rub: it takes a lot of work to be that aware. One method I've heard is to choose a daily activity and just be present. For example, when I'm shaving and brushing my teeth, I focus on the feel of the razor, the smell of the shave gel, how the temperature of my skin changes when I splash the water on my face, etc. After doing this for awhile, I'll notice throughout my day how random thoughts pop up, and spot patterns, both helpful and detrimental.

This has already gone on longer than I meant to, so I'll go post now. Tomorrow, I have an announcement about my first interview, and whether you know her or not, I have no doubt that many of you will be interested!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Early Psychology, or Much Older?

Like many religious/spiritual movements, Occultism manifested as a reflection of it's time.

The Occult movement of the late 1800's and early 1900's borrowed heavily from psychology. When they wrote of learning astrology, it was with the understanding that planetary associations were models of psychological traits and states. Indeed, everything that they studied – qaballa, alchemy, or tarot was understood through this filter.

One of the primary aspirations of the rituals was knowledge and conversation of your holy guardian angel. This was interpreted as coming into contact with one's inner genius, or higher self.

At the time of the Spiritualist trend, psychology was a new discipline, and like all things new, it was attractive to intellectuals. At the time, many of the British educated class found a lot charm in Occultism. It related to the Spiritualist trend, without the stigma of the mediums and palm-readers. The latter would have been seen as soothsayers to the superstitious, whereas occultism was seen as a self-driven act of psychic ascension.

Since the Occult sciences fit so well into the psychological models, it's easy to believe that earlier practitioners really had an understanding of the human mind, and the manipulation of it. But this is what I want to believe, so I'm inclined to be extra-critical, so as not to get emotionally swept away by facts that may or may not fit the beliefs. At the end of the day, Alistair Crowley said it best: “The truth of the myth is not so important as the affect the story has on the believer.”

Another Scary Word.

At the beginning of the A-Z Challenge, I wrote of a commonly misunderstood word, “cult.” (Special thanks to Dark Mother Goddess for the extra clarification) Even more misunderstood is the term “occult.”

It means “Hidden.” It really wasn't meant to be any more than that. In the late 1800's and the early 1900's, the “occult sciences” came into vogue with all kinds of “Spiritism.” These things included seances, near-death stories, and all kinds of related things. Most of the seances were faked with table-shaking and helpers that created effects. Oddly, the most famous whistle-blower on these charlatans was Harry Houdini. Really, who better to sniff-out such tricks?

The trend did allow for some great books to be published by the likes of Dion Fortune and Israel Regargie. Much of the Mystery School tradition was laid bare and the rituals became known, and their purposes. Much of the Masonic-based ritual that was exposed was shown to be solid methods of self-improvement. With the use of ritual, the conscience mind – the part that's always chattering away – is by-passed, and the goals of surpassing your base nature is ingrained into the deeper parts of the initiates mind.

This is the nature of Occultism. To condition your mind with what you choose, and not what's dictated by your native culture.

Occultism has been misused for mind control through isolation and sleep-deprivation by all kinds of dangerous cults. If anyone you know is in a group that encourages late nights, early mornings, and a lack of communication with family, STRANGER DANGER!!! There are bad guys that use occultism, but they also use electricity and toasters.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dark side of the coin

Yesterday, I was discussing with my wife and our friend Michelle how I had to do “N,” and I was a little tapped for ideas. In unison, they said “Narcissistic.” Time for some soul-searching, methinks.

But enough about me (See! They don't know what they're talking about). One of the most important things to get right in fiction is the nemesis. If the hero isn't sufficiently challenged, they aren't very heroic, are they.
Let's take the Joker. I've heard his motives described as chaos for chaos' sake – pretty two-dimensional, but he's such an eccentric and unpredictable character that we like to see him succeed from time to time.

One of my favorite's was Magnito from the X-Men. He was friendly with a protagonist, Xavier, and his motives were understandable. (having seen his parents hauled-off by Nazis, he was deeply suspicious of the government's treatment of Mutants, and fostered an uprising. The villains weren't bad for the sake of being bad, they were scared and defensive, and who can't relate to that?)

Of course, if I didn't mention Darth Vader, you may think that this was plagiarized or guest-hosted. In the first movie, he pretty-much got by with being a big, dark, raspy robot/monster. His motives of “retrieving those plans” served the episode, but not the character, but he mirrors the hero in his access to magic (there aren't many Force-users in their world) and magical weapons (there seems to be three people in existence with Light Sabers; two by the end of the movie).

Who are your favorite Nemesis', and why?

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Asides from the cold weather and bi-annual elections, this is something we Canadians need to put up with. I'm curious as to whether other cultures and countries find this as well.

In the two instances where The Simpsons portrayed Canada, they drew from the encyclopedia of cliches. (for the younger readers, and encyclopedia is a collection of books that served as an Internet version 0.5) But that's a cartoon, and it supposed to be ridiculous.

If you caught the last episode of Bones, you may have seen the Canadian forensic podiatrist. True to form, he was mild-mannered and non-confrontational. Now, I am much the same, until I can argue in an academic way among friends, but my wife was nearly crawling through the screen to set those producers straight. There are plenty of Canadians who will pick a fight, and I went to high school with way too many of them.

My least favorite, however would have to be Rodney McKay from Stargate Atlantis. Always sulking and complaining, all with a Canadian flag on his uniform. What really frosts me about this is that the show is produced in Canada.

How about you? Are there national stereotypes that piss you off?

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Legacy

This one will be a little easier, more of an opinion than research.

It's only natural to consider one's legacy. When I was younger, I wanted to inspire people to consider the big questions. What is the nature of belief and our Creator? What are our leaders really up to (I read a LOT of conspiracy books)? And my personal favorite, What happened before our recorded history? I figured that if I made people consider these things, that my presence mattered.

I'll bet that you can guess how that worked out. Some people may occasionally like to bounce these ideas around, maybe over a few beers, but most liked their comfort zones for their day-to-day lives. Even the “free thinking” crowd (those who pass on de left hand side) could talk in circles for hours, but wound up back at their video games before long.

That's one reason I turned to writing. I can address these things in a fictionalized context, and either people respond, or they just enjoy a story. Either way, I've enjoyed presenting the ideas, and if I've entertained some people, well, there's something of a legacy.

In my day to day life, I deal with hundreds of people a day. Most of those interactions are pleasant, and if I can make someone laugh, I've spread a little joy in the world, and what more could I ask for than that?

As a parent, I don't consider it my childrens' responsibility to live out my dreams. I expect that they will find what's important to them, and live out their ambitions. I may feel differently when they're older, but today, I fully expect them to grow up to be autonomous. That's how I was raised, and my generation, and a few that preceded us, think that way in the Western World.

What do you consider to be your legacy?


Now, here's a tricky one. There is so much to Kaballah that it's hard to sum it up.
Firstly, there are two main branches: the orthodox Jewish version focusing on their holy books (which is popular with the California crowd) and the more English version In 1888, some London Freemasons formed the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Much of their work was based on the French researcher from thirty years previous, Eliphas Levi. They associated the Sepherot (“Emanations.” the circles) with the classical planets and numbered cards of the Tarot, and the Pathe between them with the mystical meanings of the Hebrew alphabet, and the Trump Cards of the Tarot.

The top sphere is the primordial energy – everything before it's anything. The bottom sphere is the manifest world; all that is perceived with the five senses. The remaining eight are the steps it takes to get form and definition.

The right side is the active “Male” side, and the left, the passive “Female” side. I effect, this can be seen as a complicated Yin Yang. In practice, I see this as an idea going through the stages of testing that it takes to become a useful product. For example, when writing, the right side is the brainstorming and being inspired (Force), while the left is the actual writing (Form).

In Blogging, it would be the posts that are the active/productive side, and reading and commenting are the receptive part. The more I participate in the community, the more visits I get, and the more inspired I am.

It took me months to get my head around these ideas, and that was with a basic beginners book, but I hope that I got the general ideas out there

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jam Tart

I was stuck on “J,” but when it came to me, it was so obvious.

My dad introduced me to the phrase “Jam Tart.” While they aren't my favorite pastry, it's such an apt phrase for how I'm doing on this Challenge. It means to drop the ball, or not live up to commitments. I must apologize to you all for not visiting more often. I could go on about how busy my toddler keeps me (I swear, I say “On you bum” to the little monkey dozens of times a day) on top of working full time, and the usual domestic duties, but I've said it all before. Oddly, it's busier on my days off, when it's just the two of us, but in the coming years, I'll be so glad that I invested the time. On the flip side, plenty of people have started and maintained writing careers while raising children, so so that tells me what I can do with my excuses.

A theme that comes up in several of the Podcasts that I enjoy is to treat your writing like a job. Don't jam-tart because you're tired, or you have crap on your mind – stuff that you wouldn't pull on your day-job. I'm inspired by this, but the first step of applying-seat-of-pants-to-seat-of-chair is the tricky one. Well, tricky may not be the right word (I obviously need the practice), but once I park it, I can get on a roll pretty easily.

In the mean time, if you're following and I haven't returned the courtesy, please leave me a comment. Sometimes, the link doesn't pop up when I click on the picture. See ya soon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Do You Avoid Stepping In This Mess?

There are a few taboos in fiction writing, but you hear a lot about how you should avoid the dreaded Info-Dump (and adjectives. I hate them so much!)

It's handled well, and it's handled pretty poorly. A popular method is the ignorant outsider. In the one Jim Butcher book I read, )Small Favor, from the Dresdon Files), I thought that the explain-it-to-the-outsider scene came off very well. However, when I read several Sherlock Holmes stories in a row, I got a little tired of Dr. Watson saying “Why Holmes, however did you figure it out?” It seemed to be his only function.

Another instance I enjoyed was (you guessed it) from The Empire Strikes Back. Early on, Han Solo mentions that he had to leave because of a bounty hunter he had run into. A colorful history is alluded to linking the first movie to the second, with a single line.

Another good example is in Tombstone, the Wyatt Earp movie with Kurt Russell. Arriving in a new town, the local law enforcement tries to recruit him (showing his well-regarded reputation) and he quickly and flatly declines, showing how tired he is of law enforcement.

How have you seen info dumps done well? How about not so well?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Thrice-Great

1.Tis true without lying, certain most true.
2.That which is below is like that which is above that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing.
3.And as all things have been arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
4.The Sun is its father, the moon its mother,
5.the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth its nurse.
6.The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
7.Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
8.It ascends from the earth to the heaven again it descends to the earth and receives the force of things superior and inferior.
9.By this means ye shall have the glory of the whole world thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
10.Its force is above all force. for it vanquishes every subtle thing and penetrates every solid thing.
So was the world created.
11.From this are and do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (Or process) is here in this.
12.Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world.
13.That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished and ended.

Here' another one that I didn't want to rush, but again, the days escape me pretty quickly.

Hermeticism stems from a document from the Middle Ages. It was attributed to an Egyptian priest, Hermes Trismegistus. The surname means “Thrice-Great,” implying that he was either the third incarnation of the god Thoth (or Tahuti), or because he was the greatest of all philosophers, the greatest of all priests, and the greatest of all kings. He is credited with teaching man the arts and sciences of medicine, chemistry, law, art, astrology, music, rhetoric, magic, philosophy, geography, mathematics and geometry, anatomy and oratory. Such tall claims make me think that one of two things happened; either they were referring to a composite character, giving one man credit for the accomplishments of many men, or that Hermes came from a more sophisticated civilization to share all of this with an undeveloped Egypt in antiquity.

Hermes Trisegistus is best known through a document that circulated in the 1100's that claimed to be translated from an Emerald Tablet that had been translated from it's original that was held by Persian Alchemists. It's alchemical instructions seized the imaginations of Europe's thinkers, and an early quote is still quoted by esoteric philosophers: “That which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is above.” The idea that Heaven and Earth reflected each other opened lines of reasoning that inspires mystical reflections from then until now, as well as the admonishment to “separate the subtle from the gross.” He is widely recognized as the prime forerunner by Magi and Freemasons, and all manner of esoteric thinkers.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What Do You Know About That

I'm a little late with this one. On Thursday, I worked until 10, then back at 9 on Friday (Thurs. before work, I had domestic duties. The home must go on...). I did not want to rush this too much.

Gnosis is a Greek word, meaning 'to know.' The Gnostic movement was named in early Christian history as a heresy, but it pre-dates the Church by many centuries. The basic premise is that God can be best known through direct mystical experience, and not through dogmas or institutions.

Allow me to present a parallel. Some of you may remember that I was going to audition for a metal band about a month ago. (they have since disbanded). I downloaded their album, and was familiar with their songs. (like a dogma). My friend – Kyle, the singer – provided the music for me to learn three of their songs. After I had learned them, I knew them; the notes, the structure, and the instrumental interactions that made the songs work. Knowing the music on this level was such a deeper understanding than merely listening and grooving- out. It was an intimacy.

In the Old Testament, “Know” was synonymous with sex, as in “Adam knew Eve, and they beget Cain and Abel.” I can't speak for everyone, but I've found that when I'm physically intimate, it deepens my understanding of a person. Even in my marriage, we have a more tangible comfort level when we're 'active.'

Much of the Gnostic literature speaks in parallels like the ones above. This is because until one has experienced a knowledge of the Divine through mystical experience, there is no way of communicating it. Likewise, once one has had a Gnostic experience, there is no word to describe it, only hints and inadequate parables. I have had some pretty vivid spiritual experiences, both within a religious institutional setting, and beyond it, but I don't claim to have achieved a Gnosis. To learn more, I can't help you, but it requires a lot of devotion and time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Force, Form, and the Sacred Feminine

The Sacred Feminine was all but lost for much of recorded history. It's a little embarrassing, as a man, how phallus-centric the world has been. As a friend said when we were speaking of cultural subjection of women, “if God made anything better (than women), He kept it for himself.”

Now, while I'm happy to say how wonderful women are, the point of the Divine Feminine has more to do with the abstract qualities. This can be easily understood from the agricultural perspective. The earth was represented by the Feminine, taking the seed (an obvious masculine element) and keeping it in the darkness to germinate until it's ready to face the world outside. There is an obvious parallel to an embryo when I say it like that.

I found this illustrated really well by the Chinese Yin Yang. Yin is the black, feminine half, and Yank is the white, masculine half (I remember this because “Yang” rhymes with “Wang.” Sometimes, it's helpful to be painfully juvenile.) I once knew someone who thought that this symbol originated with the American Civil Rights movement, but it has nothing to do with race. It also doesn't relate to the Western Black-Bad-White-Good that we see in cinema. White reflects the active like light. White isn't really a reflected colour, but the reflection of all colours. Likewise, Black isn't a colour, but the reflection of no light – absorbing it all.

This can be seen in how form is put to any desire. When I left High School, I had a desire for a career, so I went to college. I bet that many of you will relate that I was absorbed into the institution and groomed.

Likewise, when I want to write a story, it begins with a desire and a loose idea. Actually writing it develops it into a form that is recognizable as a story.

This is just how I'm wired, but I like to see things in this Force and Form perspective. It's more philosophic than religious, and it's an important element of the Mystery School tradition.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Essenes

I had a totally different plan for “E,” but when I went to look up it's literal definition in a Dictionary, I stumbled upon a better Idea.

Precious little was known about the Essenes until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947, and that was from the Jewish historian Josephus. They were a Judean sect that were disgruntled with how the their faith was being practiced by the majority of their contemporaries. About 200 years before Jesus, they left their society and eventually began a community in Qumran by (you guessed it) the Dead Sea. They were convinced that the Messiah would arrive soon and smite their enemies.

It is theorized that Jesus' missing years were spent among the Essenes, and that they were deliberately not mentioned in the Gospels to protect their privacy. It is also theorized that the Freemasons emerged from the Essenes. Both Jesus and the Freemasons draw heavily from the Old Testament, so these theorists are bound to see connections. This as important point, that where information is lacking, people will project their own pet-theories onto whatever will validate them, especially historic groups.

Among the many scrolls that were found were several copies of the Book of Isaiah. This supports the theory they were early Kabbalists concerned primarily with mystic visions of the Divine Chariot, four heads (a man, an eagle, a bull, and a lion), and a wheel within a wheel. However, the Book of Isaiah also features many prophesies of a coming age of righteousness, which could just as easily explain the multiple copies of the Book.

What we know for sure is that they were an ultra-conservative group, escaping the taint of society. It is possible that they influenced Jesus or the Freemason's, but we must not mistake a good story for history.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Death and Rebirth

This is where it begins and ends. With the primitive cultures, they saw death and rebirth in the seasons. For the cultures of the Agricultural age, it was all about the crops. The death of their plants produced the seeds, fruits and vegetables that sustained them for another season.

The Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife. A Pharaoh would spend his life making tombs and monuments to please the gods and ensure his posterity. A thirty foot tall statue would certainly make future generations remember them, until a succeeding Pharaoh disagreed with his policies and struck his name from all the official records.

In the Mystery School traditions, this is a very present principle. It's not about what may happen in an afterlife, or what could happen to the food supply. It's about what happens through the course of anybody's life. When a young person takes their first steps into a career or higher education, much of what that person was comes to an end. Much of the personality remains, but it has to mature, and grow into a state that's appropriate to an adults life.

When I became a parent, I had to lose a lot of my selfishness. Nothing obnoxious, but I would spend my days eating donuts and watching Next Generation and playing a computer game. Maybe throwing a little writing or guitar playing into the day. Now, I do diapers and pony-tails and play “Gonna-Get-You!” (it's really simple. She runs until I grab her up, then she giggles. I'm sure our games will get more sophisticated with time.)

It's not about what's occurred in history, it's about what's happened in our own lives every few years. We have to end former versions of ourselves, and begin anew. Grasping this philosophy can make the “death” phases easier to bear, knowing that a job loss or empty nest (or just a deep funk that doesn't seem to have any real cause) is a necessary part of the cycle.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Where Do You Belong?

Does anyone else get irritated with speeches or articles that begin with a Dictionary definition? It seems lazy and predictable; and I hate predictable. However, I believe that this word is in dire need of some clarification.
Cult: (from Latin 'cultus,' care)1. A system of religious worship. 2. devoted attachment to a person, principle, etc. 3. a sect.

Now, when the media mentions a cult leader, what comes to mind? Exactly what I'd think, I'll bet; polygamy and spiked Kool-Aid. But I'll bet that you're the member of a cult.

Do you believe in Democracy? Would you even say that you have a devoted attachment to the ideal? Busted.
How about the Yankees or the Raiders? Consider that, and compare it to someone painting their face and hollering in devotion to Krishna. Ring a bell?
Ever lost time in a hypnotic state on the Xbox?

And what are my cults of choice? The first one that comes to mind is George Lucas – he is a master of re-telling the classics, and he turned a raging success into an overhaul of the industry. If you've ever sat through the credits of a movie, or TV show, you're likely to see “Industrial Light & Magic” or “Skywalker Sound.” I would say that I admire his ideals, severely.

I also have a devotional belief in philosophical alchemy, metaphorically turning lead into gold. I fail miserably more than I care to admit, but I try.
Now, could Blogging be considered a cult? We're certainly devoted.

On a house-keeping note, there are a few new Followers here who A can't find through the link on my page (as in, I click on your picture, and there's no link). So if I haven't re-followed or even visited, please leave a link in my Comments, and I'll stop by shortly!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Here is yet another new idea that many are sick of hearing about. I first heard about Branding as a marketing term a couple years ago.

Here's how I understand it: It's how you want to be seen by the buying public, what you have to offer, and the style in which you're offering it.

It's not phoney, but more of a catered portrayal. One Podcast I listened to likened a writer's online Brand to how we would present ourselves at a cocktail party. We would be putting our best foot forward, and not whine about our bosses and hemorrhoids.

A few years ago, I was reading a book on Yoga philosophy. (stay with me here, there's a point to this)Coming from a Hindu perspective, it spoke of transmigration, or the soul's journey from one life to another. The point was something that all spiritual traditions agree on; that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. The person that we think we are is merely a vessel that we use to interact with this time-space reality. It's like we're playing a character for a lifetime. That's what Branding reminds me of, playing a character for our public interactions.

A less esoteric example would be a rock star. Off-stage, Alice Cooper likes to play golf, and just be normal, but when performing, he's sincerely expressing and aspect of himself. How about a less extreme example would be no less appropriate. I'm not sure what The Edge from U2 does with his time, but it probably isn't typical Rock Star behavior. And Marilyn Manson? Well, he's a bit of a question...

How do you understand Branding? If a writer wants to write in different genres, should they adopt another pen-name like Nora Roberts/JD Robb?

Friday, April 1, 2011


Like last year, I'm going to use the opportunity of the A-Z challenge to write about some things dear to me, but don't fit into my parenting-and-writing motif. Many of these things are firmly in the category of Alternative Spirituality (Alternative to the mainstream beliefs, that is).

A prominent feature of the Mystery School Traditions is alchemy. What the classic alchemists endeavored to was the changing of lead into gold – this is the part that's familiar to most people. This was done by heating lead in special stoves that may have functioned like pressure cookers. Records of their success is spotty, and since the alchemists were sponsored by nobility, we can't be certain if they propagated for the reputations of the mobility in mind.

More importantly, it's been commonly interpreted that this is to be meant as a metaphor. The lead is said to represent our base nature, and gold illustrates our spiritual potential. Through the furnace (trials and hardship), we are able to turn our self-centerdness into something loftier.

Another function of the alchemists was tinctures. Loosely defined, a tincture is a solution developed by taking a plant and distilling it to it's essential elements. This was the birth of pharmacy. In this way, the alchemists also developed chemistry.

They are often remembered as crack-pots, but lets not forget their contribution to the world. Either way, the spiritual nature of alchemy is worth keeping in mind. I try to keep this in mind (with varying degrees of success) when things get tough.