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Friday, March 21st, 2003
11:09 am - Lilith
Lilith one of the most well known demons first appeared as a demon in Roman/early medieval Judaism scriptures (although other aspects of Lilith are much older than Judaism). In the Judaic creation myth she was the first wife of Adam (Although it does not mention her specifically in the scriptures, the idea that it was Lilith is prevalent). There are two stories about this still in debate till this day. One is that when Adam saw his first wife created of blood and fluids, he was disgusted so much that God re-created her. And then the more common story is that Lilith did not want to be all submissive and serve Adam like God wanted, because they were both created at the same time from the same source and she asserted her equality, and so Adam rejects her claim to equality and she escapes from Eden to live her own life or others say she was cast out by God. God then created a new wife for Adam named Eve who would submit to his every whim. This is where the Judaic related myths about Lilith get more interesting.

Later continuing with Judaic the creation myth, after Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden, Adam finds out that through his lustful thoughts and dreams that he has been responsible for the birth of evil offspring through demonic powers- This directly relates to the myths about Lilith and the Succubi. In one myth Lilith is the leader of the Succubi (The Succubi being the female counterparts of demons called Inccubi). There are just as many ideas about the Succubi as Lilith herself. In one story Lilith is the original Succubi and gave birth to many more Inccubi/Succubi. In another she was put in charge of the Succubi by Satan, whom she was having an affair with. The Succubi/Inccubi are demons which feed of the life force of human beings through sexual intercourse. Because of this Succubi/Inccubi are often associated with psychic vampires except that vampires may take the energy however they wish while the Inccubi/Succubi are characterized as only taking the energy generated by sexual intercourse. And here is where many stories of the Succubi/Inccubi come into place. Some see them as spirits who enter the minds of humans during sleep, particularly when they are having sexual thoughts and is impregnated or energized through those thoughts. Another is that they as spirits go to people while they are sleeping and rape them to drain their sexual energy. The victims often don’t know what’s going on and have the effects of forced sexual intercourse yet can see not what is doing it, and are also too much weighed down to move at all. Which suggests these spirits even though with no visible physical form still have a mass and weight and are probably very large and heavy. Another idea is that they prey on humans in very beautiful human forms themselves. These stories often turn out that the Succubus/Inccubus establishes a relationship with their victim and their victim amazed and enticed by their sexual power is drawn to them and very excited. These demons are very seductive and creates a trusting bond. Later the relationship commonly gets very rough and intense and eventually after abusing the person much, the Succubus/Inccubus often will kill them when they are finished with them. If this is simply precaution so they are not exposed or if they just like to kill is unknown to me. Other reports of these demons portrays the Succubi/Inccubi as fairies or trolls that come and rape humans in their sleep. There are many modern reports of all of these experiences and researchers are still not close to explaining this phenomena. Could these creatures be the children of Lilith or her army of sexual vampires still reeking havoc on humanity today? Or is it simply mass psychological hysteria and hallucinations? You decide.
Another of the well known and more older aspects of Lilith is Lilitu- a Babylonian demon, often considered an evil spirit of the night. Lilitu probably had an influence in the formation of the Hebrew legend of Lilith. Lilitu was seen as a hunter and murderer of new born humans as were many of her aspects in other cultures. Also seen as an evil yet beautiful winged women who preyed on men and children. Lilitu originating from the “desert” which is more evidence the Judaic “Lilith” myths were influenced by the “Lilitu” myths.

Well, because of suitable info this is all I can write. Though there is much more to the myths of Lilith. But this is the basics. In conclusion there is much debate and many stories portraying Lilith as an evil demon or a powerful and independent warrior goddess. Her stories are linked to many cultures and are very old. Is she an evil demon or powerful and caring goddess, or both? No one knows for sure. I guess this is one of those things that is for the individual to decide for themselves.

By Mentor Sethian

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11:08 am - The Ouija Board
The Ouija board is one of the more modern devices created to assist people in contacting spirits/entities. The earliest model of this modern marvel of spiritual communication was first built by a man named E.C. Reiche from Maryland slightly inspired by an invention of a French spiritualist named M. Planchette.

There are two explanations as to why Reiche named his talking board “Ouija” that are still debated until this day. One is that the word “Ouija” represents the French and German words for “yes”-Oui and Ja. The other is that Reiche named it that which he thought was Egyptian for “luck”. Though it is not really Egyptian for luck at all, but he was supposed to have been told by a spirit that it was so. Which is why one of the boards other nick names is “The Luck Board”. Reiche not wanting to make money from his invention but just invented it as a way to communicate with spirits, sold the rights to his invention to his friend who founded a company as a result and made much profit. It was this man Charles Kennard who sold and patent the first of the Ouija boards. Well before this people were commonly using many similar methods of spirit communication but when the Ouija board came out it started a new craze all over the United States. Why had the Ouija board became so popular with the general public? Because we all naturally have an urge to understand more and not everyone has the time or ability to do what’s necessary to follow the many complicated spiritual paths out there. The Ouija board gave the opportunity for even the general public with little or no mediumistic and or psychic experience to get in contact with the spiritual world and other things they never thought possible. The Ouija board started a modern spiritualist craze that swept the world. Whole communities getting together in groups to call upon dead relatives and other entities to ask about their lives and futures. While many experiences turned out to be messages in little meaningless gibberish or nothing at all, there have been few reports over the years that spirits have given good advice about things that have made people profit greatly. Even some of the people involved in the companies that sold the Ouija boards have supposedly gotten messages from spirits that have made their business more successful. And there have also been many reports linked to the Ouija board of demonic/spirit possession and crimes; of trickster spirits ruining people’s lives. Because of this negative side and it’s use of spirit communication in general, certain religious groups have fueled some very negative stereotypes about the device- for example it being linked to the devil and evil. While other spiritualists and occultists contend that it is simply a modern form of a long line of devices made to communicate with spirits and that it can have a bad side as well as good, but that is the risk of the practitioner to take.

Many people have taken advantage of this modern spiritualist craze and have come up with many artistic and practical design variations on Reiche’s invention and have gotten very successful. Eventually companies began marketing it as more of a novelty or child’s board game and it became less and less of a spiritual tool and more for entertainment. It began to become all the rage on college campuses, sprouting rumors such as demonic/spiritual possession and causing accidents but most of these reports are most likely to have been over-inflated and misunderstood by over-emotional individuals whose fantasies got out of control. Of course I am not saying that it could not have happened, as some instances most likely have some fact to them but you know how much people’s imaginations can run away with them.

Now we come to the practical uses of the board. The common Ouija board is a flat piece wood or cardboard with all the letters of the alphabet printed on it as well as some numbers, and the words “yes” and “no”. Also some have the words “thank you”, “hello” and “good bye” printed on them for common courtesy as it is common practice for many spiritualists to show the spirits some respect for obvious reasons. Usually two or more individuals are seated around the table with their hands placed lightly around a small tablet in the middle of the board. If the practitioners get some sort of sign like the tablet moving seemingly by itself around the board then that is a good indication of an entity being present. By this time one of the individuals will verbally communicate to the entity, or move the tablet around the board to the appropriate combination of letters and numbers asking questions or whatever and the entity will respond by moving the tablet around the board itself to the appropriate combination of letters and numbers. The session could go on like that for a while then the practitioners might end the session with a “thank you” and “good bye”.

I have read a few interesting theories about the Ouija board. One of the most prevalent being that with it you can contact spirits with it and even ask them questions about your life and future. Another theory is that with it, you are not actually speaking to spirits but are unconsciously using your own extra sensory perception abilities (ESP) such as precognition, telepathy, telekinesis etc. and to the individual users being unaware of their ESP abilities it may create the illusion of an unseen entity manipulating the board and giving them mysterious messages; that and the users active imagination. I am not sure of what the truth is but I do have a loose theory. It is possible that these 2 explanations both have some truth. I was thinking about it and I came up with this theory which I like: I think maybe that it is not the board itself that is the “gate to the other world” nor is it simply ESP abilities, but the 2 combined. I think that it is the mind that is the “gate to the other world” yet most human beings need the added fantasy of a magical spirit communicator or some other device to more easily focus our abilities and contact the spirit world. I thought of this based on the fact that many religionists use meditation or prayer to be in contact with the deity(ies) they worship/honor/identify with. And what is it that we have physically that is the most likely way to communicate with these entities/deities? Our minds. Our mind, theoretically being the source or simply a way to focus our ESP abilities-In this case possibly clairvoyance or clairaudience.
Those are my thoughts on the subject.

By Mentor Sethian

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11:03 am - The Goddess
Many modern Pagans (but not all) believe that all the goddess’s (the “goddess“ meaning the female side of the ONE) are all one and or worship/honor them as one. This comes from combining all the existing ideas of goddess’s-from the Greeks/Romans, Africans, some Eastern religions, European and Celtic, and any other cultures/religions that has goddess’s in it. All aspects of the one. The ancient/traditional Pagan or pre Judaic religions all had their own set of god/dess’s and it is not known to me any who perceived all god/dess’s as one in this way until this modern philosophy. This philosophy majority promoted by a modern Pagan religion called Wicca. Many Pagans disagree on this philosophy and there are many Pagan beliefs new and old that is similar to this philosophy or not the same at all.

The first idea of religion known to scientists that humans thought up was a belief commonly referred to as Animism. Ancient humans begun to perceive their environment with a more growing intelligence. And not so much living through their animal instincts. In a sense they had just been re-born and saw their world in a whole new light (Though still very undeveloped compared to modern humans). They noticed how females give birth to new life but were not aware of the male part in the process. So they saw females as the absolute source of all life and were amazed and awed by it. They begun to hold females as sacred. Females were thought of as above males. And this is the first form of goddess worship known to scientists today.

Later males realized their part in the birth process, and not knowing that females have eggs and it is an equal process, they started thinking of themselves as above women since they figured they held “the seed of life". So males generally started becoming more dominant and in many cultures women’s roles were reduced from rulers, thinkers and basically having a major part in building their society to simple care takers, cleaners etc. Slowly through the thousands of years that followed male and female images were made as gods with male gods as having more respect and higher status then female gods.

By Mentor Sethian

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Monday, January 27th, 2003
2:02 pm - Sex: Alchemy, Magic and Transformation
When asked thy there seemed to be a lot of sex as the focus of witchcraft, one witch (who asked to remain anonymous) replied, “…because there is a lot of sex in life.” Certainly, there is focus on sex in witchcraft and magic, in various forms.

If one were to look at the sexuality in the religion of Wicca, we can surely find striking parallels between it’s views and the sexual expressions of worship which have risen in the East, particularly in the Hindu beliefs. In fact, it is commonly well known expression that the Universe is made up of a union between Shiva and Shakti. This union is usually expressed by the Lingam (the male gonad) and the Yoni (the female gonad). In China, the yin and yang which is the basis of the divination system known as the I Ching, represent the male and female energies present in the universe.

Therefore, one can say that sexual union is an act of worship in which the creation of the universe is paralleled. Today, many witches and magicians believe that this basic belief which is expressed in the East is the same as the one adopted by the Western occultists. The chakrapuja which is a circle of worship is similar to the misunderstood concepts of orgies and sex in the witches’ Sabbat; an image most certainly inspired and supported by the stories of Krishna, the Hindu god, dancing in circles with the cow-girls of Brindaban. In the Middle East, a cult known as the Beni Udhra believed in a form of sex magic akin to that of Buddhist Tantras.

Common to many of these beliefs is the notion of “cool sex; the deliberate prolonging of sex and the sexual climax rather than a “one night stand” of fast-paced passion. In these teachings, the avoidance of climax and the indefinite prolonging of sex is the goal. The believ that the energy that is created and resides within the couple becomes a “higher” form of energy. In actuality, sex is sometimes known to bring about an “altered state of consciousness.” It’s also interesting to note that the French language has recognised this and their expression for orgasm is “le petite morte”, translating to, “the little death”.

To quote Doreen Valiente; “the techniques by which control is maintained are regarded as among the most important secrets of sexual magic.” Those techniques are akin to yoga. They include activities such as controlled breathing and meditative concentration, therefore the orgasm is averted by control and concentration without losing the erection but still maintaining unity.

There is also another interesting factor one should note in the notion of sex as transformational magic: alchemy. If one were to look at the Language o the Birds, which is the hidden, occult language that was used to impart knowledge to the initiated without revealing the same knowledge to those not worthy, you will see there are many interesting factors to not in alchemical texts. Many have came to the conclusion that the core of alchemy is sex magic and that the Language of the Birds is describing sexual union for magical purposes.

Let us turn to one the alchemical text in which there is a description of the Philospohers’ Stone: “It is a stone and it is not a stone, it exists everywhere in nature but is ignored or despised, it is unknown and yet known to everyone, it is made of fire and water, it is a fluid without weight, it comes from God but does not come from God.”

Ø “A stone and not a stone”: Could this be a reference to the egg within a women that if fertilised becomes an embryo and therefore, life?

Ø “It exists everywhere in nature, but is ignored or despised”: This could also be a reference to love and the act of sex. Earlier conservative views toward sex held it as a dark, private, act, perverted, and of sin.

Ø :It is unknown and yet known to everyone”: The fact that sex may or not be the central core of alchemy is unknown, but everyone surely understands what sex is!

Ø “It is made of fire and water, it is a fluid without weight”: Valiente describes the vessels used in alchemy as representing the male and female organs, the athanor- the furnace, and the curcurbite-the gourd. The furnace is referred to as male, a reference to the “purest male element, fire,” the gourd representing the female gonad in which alchemical change takes place. It is in the female body that the alchemy that changes semen and egg into living matter takes place. The semen is also commonly known as “the blood of the red lion” from Leo, the sigh of fire, and the female lubricative fluids as “the gluten of the whit eagle,” the symbol of Scorpio representing the female element of water.

Ø “It comes from God but does not come from God.”: God is love and that many pray to God for His love demonstrates the belief that live of God-given to the world, but each act of love also comes from each person.

The fluids from two sexes, mingled during sexual union produce “first matter.” Combined with the power of mind which is heightened by enhanced altered states of consciousness, this produces the elixir- perhaps the alchemists “elixir of life”. In the Karpuradistotram Tantra, it is described that the male should drink the combined fluids directly from the female vagina.

Throughout the ages, there have been many movements toward the changing attitude towards sex. But all of this movement towards sexual experimentation brings us back to the variety of sex acts revered in witchcraft and Eastern philosophy. In reaching out for variety in sex, and in seeking deeper meaning to sex, modern day couples are, probably without realising it, have discovered the magical qualities that philosophies of centuries ago promoted. Sex combined with spirituality and the mind could be themagic alchemists concealed with their hidden language; the true magic of transformation of thespirit of human kind.

Article written by Mentor Nateo

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Saturday, January 25th, 2003
12:10 pm - Wicca Mini Course-Lesson 1:The Gods and Goddess's
Okay, it has been more than a week since the Intro Lesson, but hey, I'm busy. This week (ahem!) is dedicated to the Goddess and God, in all Their forms and countless names, and to help you become accustomed with Them, and indeed to heighten your relationship with Them.
I won't pretend I know Them inside out, because I don't, but then I don't know many who do (most likely none). But they are unknowable in Their rightful form. Thus, we avoid the androgynous Higher Being that has been here before Time, and in its place we give more human characteristics and archetypes so that we can identify with Them.
The Correllian Tradition, of which I belong to, has given the perfect metaphor for how we look upon Them - a diamond. Each of us looks at the diamond, but we see a different facet of it, and thus we perceive it to be different, but it is still the same diamond. That is essentially why some call the Goddess the Lady of Many Names. Because of this theory, we cannot preach that we are the One True Way, or that our Gods and Goddesses are real and others are not. We are all human, and thus we perceive things differently. One of the main animosities we have against Christianity is their claim that they are the One True Way, whereas all paths lead to the same centre, the same Universal Deity that we all aspire to join.
But then a new question arises. Why do some Wiccans have a Goddess and God and others have many Goddesses and Gods. The reason? Taste. Some prefer just two to which they can identify (maybe disliking the idea of naming Them). But others like many to which different characteristics can be defined. This personalises Them and gives the practitioner much more control over a healing spell if they pray to a healing God/dess. You will no doubt find that even if you believe in just one Lady and one Lord, that in certain rituals you will name Them, and in other rituals They will take on different names again. This diversity can create a really personal approach to divinity. Perceive Them as best you can, not some ethereal force in the Heavens to which only a vague idea of white light or an old man can be adjoined. And do not be forced to acknowledge the existence of things you know not to be true. The individuality of Wicca is one of its strong points, and it would not be Wicca without it.
So now that we have covered the main elements of how the God and Goddess are perceived, we should cover what they symbolise, symbols for them, and anything else of importance.
If you were to set up an altar (and this is advised early on, so that you can pray and make daily devotions to Them on a regular basis) the Left side would be purely feminine, Goddess-oriented, and the Right would be purely masculine, God-oriented. Place a candle or symbol for Them in their respective areas and you will find it easier to identify with Them or pray to Them, instead of praying to some unknowable force held aloft in the sky. But on the same note, do not pray to the symbols. They are just symbols, which can be done without.
This brings us onto the Moon and the Sun. The Sun is a symbol of the God, the bringer of life, the protector and hunter, and the Moon is a symbol of the Goddess, the mother, the caring and protective lady. Take time to pray to Them while watching the Sun or Moon (avoid staring directly at the Sun please!) but remember that They are just symbols to help us identify with Them.
It is common belief and practice now for the Goddess to be revered as the Triple Goddess (remember that it's not worship in the usual sense of the word, but respect and honour). The Triple Goddess came about from the tree distinct phases of the Moon, the Waxing Moon (a symbol of the Maiden Goddess, the young and fresh vitality, a virgin, a beautiful, carefree essence), the Full Moon (a symbol of the Mother Goddess, her belly full with Her child, the God, a protective and caring force, also symbolised by the Earth), and the Waning Moon (a symbol of the Crone Goddess, or the famed Halloween Witch, bent and crooked, yet bearer of wisdom beyond comprehension.) Sometimes you will hear of myths where the Maiden goes to the Crone for advice, a symbol that She is consulting Her own Higher Self.
The Sun does not have such distinct phases, but is commonly seen in Four Forms, the Hero, champion and overcomer of all obstacles, embodying creativity, vitality, and self-expression; the Lover, consort of the Goddess, the dying and reborn God who embodies all virtues (the Sun); the King, the embodiment of justice and order; and the Sorcerer, the ruler of magick, prophecy and the Otherworld, often seen as the Horned God.
These forms and phases are open to debate of course, so you should explore all possible avenues to see which one suits you.
Now, I'll give you a little daily devotion to help your relationship with the Goddess and God grow:

O gracious Goddess of the night
Of the Moon and starlight
Guide me through the darkened hour
Bless my dreams with your power
Grant me rest and blissful sleep
Safe for all of mine please keep!
- To be said at night

O gracious God of the morning
Of the Sun and sky soaring
Guide me through the warmth of day
Protect my path with your rays
Grant me health and happy deeds
Help me reap and plant the seeds!
- To be said in the morning

Try to do this daily, but not in a learnt-off manner where you are not putting any thought or effort into it. Make sure you know what you are doing, and not doing it in some silly manner to receive the blessings of the God and Goddess. Ask them with sincerity and they will grant it. Believe me, it works. Better still, make your own daily devotions, or use some found in Scott Cunningham's books Wicca, and Living Wicca.
That ends this written lesson, though the learning never ends. You will find the God and Goddess in unsuspecting areas, in ponds and parks, in your garden and bedroom; even in the bathroom watching you shower! Find them and you will need no help from me in identifying with Them.
Next week (or later, knowing me) will be the next Lesson, regarding Magic and how it works. See you then,
Blessed Be,
Celtic SoulFire, Mentor, and Manager of Faith of the Old Ones!

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Thursday, January 2nd, 2003
11:04 pm - Advice Page

We are starting a weekly advice page. If anyone needs advice on ritual, path, study etc. Then email Mentor Nateo at

Here is how it will work. You need advice, you email Nateo, he selects a few of the emails for advice to feature in the advice page and he answers the pleads for advice on the advice page.

You should know that depending on the volume of emails asking for advice are recieved, he may not be able to answer all.

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4:45 pm - Wicca Mini Course- Intro

Merry Meet! I’d like to welcome you to the newsletter and hope the best for the coming weeks as you take part in my “mini-course”, which should give you a basic grasp of the fundamentals of this growing, let us say, “phenomenon”, though I believe it has been a long time coming.

Wicca, is a nature religion, yes, a religion, not a quick fire way of getting what you want by practicing the “hip” and “new” witchcraft you see on The Craft, Sabrina, Charmed and other TV shows. Even Buffy got it wrong. There’s no special effects, no instant successes. Wicca is a religion. If you aren’t religiously inclined, read on. You may find it also has a scientific basis.

As for the religious areas, Wicca mainly follows a God and Goddess, though there are many of us who also follow “minor” gods and goddesses, ones more suited to individual needs. These gods can be from any pantheon or religion out there, including the Celtic gods (such as Cernunnos, Brighid, Danu, Lugh), the Norse gods (such as Thor, Odin, Freya), the Greek gods (such as Zeus, Athena) and even the Christian and Eastern Religion gods (though less frequent a choice).

Wicca is a changing religion that holds rules that change with the age and the people. It is not a Book Religion with ways set into the olden days when people and places were different. We think differently, and this requires a different religion. It’s these days with war, nuclear energy, the environmental issues and so fort, that we seek an older, nature-based, self-sustaining religion.

Religion also brings to mind the idea of going to church, eating sacred bread, telling your life to a priest, and letting that priest be a middleman between you and the Higher Being/s. In Wicca, none of this is true. You don’t go to a temple, though you can go to a Covenstead if you join a Coven (most of us don’t and remain solitaries – I advise all newcomers to remain solitary for at least two years). You don’t take part in anything you don’t wish. You don’t have a priest to do your biddings. You don’t have that middleman. You are your own priest/priestess. You can even become an ordained priest/priestess, or a High Priest/Priestess.

I mention the priestess because Wicca is also an “equality of the sexes” religion, sometimes classed as part of the Goddess Movement. If you hold anything against the other sex, I don’t fell, though don’t accept this as proof of paper, that Wicca is for you. The Goddess seems to be more widely worshiped in some parts, but both sexes are needed, as are they needed for everything else in life. You didn’t think you’d be here reading this if you didn’t have a father or a mother, did you?

Wiccans, or the Wicca, as some call us, believe in magick. We use, though not all of us, the “k” in magick to show the difference between stage tricks and real spiritual things. Magic can be in the form as rituals, some of which can be advanced with many tools, or some can be natural magick, such as herbal remedies, using crystals and stones, or the power of nature (Naturals magick works just as good as advanced stuff, so don’t dismiss it. I had my first real successes with magick under the wing of nature). Candles, charms, mojo bags, crystals, tarot cards, runes, ogham sticks, wands, athames, chalices, incense and just about everything else can be used for magick. These will be explained in more depth in further issues.

People might ask what the rules are for Wicca. I tend to think that they aren’t anything new that you shouldn’t have already been doing. Number one would be the Wiccan Rede, put simply: An it harm none, do what do will. (If it doesn’t harm ANYONE, not even yourself, do it.) The second is the Threefold Rule, or Karma. What you send out comes back to you, good and bad. So do good and you get good, do bad and you get bad. It’s common sense after that.

One word of advice is, although I’m very open about my religion and beliefs, is to keep an eye on who you tell. There are people out there who are still in the Dark Age when it comes to open minds, and I’ve met some of them. Safety is above all first, so don’t get yourself in a right mess by telling the world at first. Keep it to yourself, and whatever you do, don’t brag about it or go showing off. There’s nothing the Wiccan Community don’t like better than show-offs. It’s not a piece of jewellery. You can’t put it on when you feel like it. The Goddess and the God are always there, and you don’t have to devote your life to them (that’s another thing… don’t beg for forgiveness or grovel at their feet. They don’t need attention and gifts).

The scientific basis is that the Goddess and God are your Higher Self, or that part of your brain you don’t use, and a ritual, using gestures and tools, is only an aid to accessing that inert power. So you don’t have to worship a Higher Being as such. You can’t change your beliefs, but you can expand upon them and open up new doors in your life.

Grow beyond your own expectations, and come back next week for a more in depth look at one of the most important parts of Wicca to me and many others, the Goddess and the God.

Blessed Be,
Celtic SoulFire, Mentor, and Manager of Faith of the Old Ones!

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4:18 pm - Psychology-Thought Distortions
1. Tunnel vision
Example: "I expect it'll be another boring party".
It is being stuck in a mental groove. In particular you look for that which confirms your fear or prejudice, remember it from the past and expect it in the future. You ignore other points of view or the possibility of alternative solutions.

2. Awfulising

Example: "I can't bear going on these awful buses".

This attitude is saying that it's unacceptable if things aren't as you would prefer them to be. You take the negative aspect of a situation and magnify it. To handle this, recognise when you use words like terrible, awful, disgusting, etc. and in particular the phrase "I can't stand it". Examine their rationality.

3. Black & White Thinking
Example: "You're either for me or against me".
Things are black or white, wonderful or terrible, a great success or a total failure, brilliantly clever or really stupid, a certainty or a complete mystery, friend or enemy, love or hate - there is no middle ground, no room for improvement, no room for mistakes. Judgements on self and others swing from one emotional extreme to another and are easily triggered. It is important to remember that human beings are just too complex to be reduced to dichotomous judgements, and that all qualities fall somewhere along a continuum, containing elements of either extreme.

4. Generalisation
Example: "I'll never be any good at tennis" after one poor game.
In this distortion you make a broad, generalised conclusion, often couched in the form of absolute statements, based on a single piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. If someone shows evidence of a negative trait, this is picked up on and exaggerated into a global judgement. This inevitably leads to a more and more restricted life and your view of the world becomes stereotyped. Cue words that indicate you may be over-generalising are: all, every, none, never, always, everybody and nobody. To become more flexible use words such as: may, sometimes and often, and be particularly sensitive to absolute statements about the future, such as "No one will ever love me", because they may become self-fulfilling prophecies.

5. Assumption
Example: "Nothing can change the way I feel".
Making an assumption, presupposes knowledge that you do not have. Assumptions are often popular beliefs that have been adopted without examining their basis in fact, such as "I'm over the hill now that I'm forty". Making decisions based on assumptions may lead to disaster, as when an executive assumes that a new product will sell well, having made no market research. Often, taking things for granted causes people to be blind to possible solutions - assuming no-one can help them, a couple's marriage may go on the rocks, when they could seek counselling. Question: What leads you to believe this? Why do it this way? Who says? What alternatives are there? What would happen if you did? What would happen if you didn't?

As a practical matter, all of us must proceed with the business of living by relying on "maps" of the world which we have taken on trust and which we have not tested and often cannot test. To supplement personal experience, we absorb a constant stream of reports, descriptions, judgements, inferences and assumptions coming from a multitude of sources. From this abundance of stored information, you piece together a mental "model" of the world and its workings that literally becomes your world view. However, people do vary considerably in the extent of their misinformation and in the degree to which they actively seek out new information, take opportunities to correct or update their mental models, and expose themselves to new experiences.

6. Projection
Example: "I know he doesn't like me".
Making false assumptions about what other people think depends on a process called projection. It is like mind-reading - putting words into peoples' mouths. You imagine that people feel the same way you do and react to things the same way. If you get angry when someone is late, you assume that another will feel the same way about you or others, in that situation. If you don't like yourself, you assume others also think that way. The answer is not to jump to conclusions about what other people think and feel.

7. Negative thinking
Example: "We haven't seen each other for two days - I think the relationship is falling apart".
You read a newspaper article about some misfortune and wonder if that could happen to you. Predicting negative consequences is a defense, to protect oneself from disappointment by expecting the worst. Consider, what are the realistic odds of that happening?

8. Self-consciousness
Example: "Quite a few people here seem smarter than I am".
This is the introverted tendency to relate everything around you to yourself, to think people must be judging you, or to think that everything they do or say is a reaction to something about you. It is the habit of continually comparing yourself to other people, based on the underlying assumption is that your worth is questionable. You are therefore continually forced to test your value as a person by measuring yourself against others. If you come out better you have a moment's relief; if you come up short, you feel diminished. Your worth doesn't depend on being better than others, so why start the comparison gamble?

9. Blame
Example: "It's your fault we're in debt".
If you see yourself as externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate or "the system". You don't believe you can really affect the basic shape of your life, let alone make any difference in the world, so you try and manipulate others to take care of your interests. Someone else is to blame and is responsible for your pain, your loss, your failure. The truth is that we are constantly making decisions and every decision affects and steers our lives. It is your responsibility to assert your needs, to say no or go elsewhere for what you want. In some way we are responsible for nearly everything that happens to us, including our distress and unhappiness. Taking responsibility means accepting the consequences of your own choices. Ask yourself: What choices have I made that resulted in this situation? What decisions can I now make to change it?

The opposite distortion is also very common - the fallacy that makes you responsible for the pain or happiness of everyone around you. You carry the world on your shoulders. You have to right all wrongs, fill every need and balm each hurt; if you don't you feel guilty and turn the blame on yourself. Blaming yourself means labelling yourself inadequate if things go wrong. With this viewpoint you are very easily manipulated. The key to overcoming this fallacy is to recognise that each person is responsible for himself - taking responsibility doesn't imply that you are also responsible for what happens to others. Remember, part of respecting others includes respecting their ability to overcome or accept their own pains, make their own decisions and be in control of their own lives.

10. Unfairness
Example: "It's not fair, he should take me out more often".
The consideration of unfairness results from resentment that the other person does not want or prefer the same as you, or that events do not turn out in your favour. The person gets locked into his or her own point of view, with a feeling of ever-growing resentment. Be honest with yourself and the other person. Say what you want or prefer, without getting involved in the fallacy of unfairness: that people and situations shouldn't be the way they are.

11. Emotional reasoning
Example: "I feel depressed, life must be pointless".
You believe that what you feel must be true - automatically. If you feel stupid then you must lack intelligence. If you feel guilty then you must have done something wrong. If you feel angry, someone must have taken advantage of you. However, there is nothing automatically true about what you feel - your feelings can lie to you, they can be based on misconceptions. If your feelings are based on distorted thoughts, then they won't have any validity. So be sceptical about your feelings and examine them as you would a used car.

12. Manipulation
Example: "If we had sex more often, I'd be more affectionate".
The only person you can really control or have much hope of changing is yourself. When you pressure people to change, you are forcing them to be different for your own benefit. Strategies for manipulating others include blaming, demanding, withholding and trading - in order to make the other feel obliged. The usual result is that the other person feels attacked or pushed around and resists changing at all, or feels resentful if they do. The underlying fallacy of this thinking style is that your happiness depends on controlling the behaviour of others. In fact your happiness depends on the many thousands of large and small decisions you make during your life.

13. Shoulds
Example: "You should never ask people personal questions".
In this distortion, you operate from a list of inflexible rules about how you and other people should act. The rules are right and indisputable. Any particular deviation from your particular values or standards is bad. As a result you are often in the position of judging and finding fault. People irritate you, they don't act properly or think correctly. They have unacceptable traits, habits and opinions that make them hard to tolerate. They should know the rules and they should follow them. Of course, the answer is to focus on each person's uniqueness: his or her particular needs, limitations, fears and pleasures, and consequently different values. Personal values are just that - personal.

You are also making yourself suffer with shoulds, oughts and musts (or their negatives). You feel compelled to do something or be a certain way and feel guilty if you don't, but you never bother to ask objectively if it really makes sense. Some people beat themselves up constantly for being incompetent, insensitive, stupid, too emotional, etc. They are always ready to be wrong. The psychiatrist Karen Horney called this the "tyranny of the shoulds".

14. Got to be right
Example: "I've been doing this longer than you, so I know what I'm talking about".
In this very common distortion you are usually on the defensive, needing to prove to yourself and others that your views, assumptions and actions are all correct. You never make mistakes! If you've got to be right, you don't listen. You can't afford to - listening might reveal that you are wrong sometimes. Your opinions rarely change because if the facts don't fit what you already believe you ignore them. This makes you lonely, because being right seems more important than an honest, caring relationship.

The key to overcoming being right, is active listening - making sure you really understand what's been said to you, to appreciate the other's point of view and what you can learn from it, which is effort better spent than in devising rebuttals and attacks. Remember that other people believe what they are saying as strongly as you do, and there is not always just the one right answer.

15. Heaven's reward
Example: "I worked and raised these kids and look what thanks I get".
This distorted thinking style accepts pain and unhappiness because "those who do good are rewarded in the end". You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if there was someone keeping score. You feel hostile and bitter when the reward doesn't come. In reality the reward is now. Your relationship, your progress toward your goals, and the care you give to those you love, should be intrinsically rewarding. If not, you need to rearrange your activities to provide some here-and-now reward, dropping or sharing the activities that chronically drain you - Heaven is a long way off and you can get very tired waiting.

NOTES: In order to overcome Thought Distortions or to study them in greater depths, I advise you to spend a day on each one, noticing when you or others use that tought distortion and how it can be avoided.

This article was written by Mentor Celtic SoulFire.

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Wednesday, January 1st, 2003
7:45 pm - Mission Statement
Mission Statement:

The Mentor’s Circle Newsletter is written by the group known as “The Mentor’s Circle”. The Mentor’s Circle is a select group of people, who are experienced in the occult, esoteric and other related subjects. Each Mentor may have a specific specialty, or may be knowledgeable in a range of things. There is a mild screening process for Mentors at the moment. We may or may not arrange a better system. For the moment, we are just setting everything up and we have five permanent Mentors so far. Our Mentors are a whole range of ages from 15 years and up, because we do not discriminate- if we have confidence that you know your stuff then we will treat you equally and fair, just like everyone else.

Our mission is to help educate beginners in the occult, esoteric and related subjects.

We want to accomplish this mission a few ways:

Firstly, this newsletter where our mentors will be writing articles on various things- information, personal experiences, and different things on a whole range of topics including Paganism, Satanism, witchcraft, magic(k), divination, philosophy, psychology, Eastern religions, Mysticism, spirituality and whatever else we can think of to help you along your search for knowledge! Our range of topics however, if we can help it, are not limited to only those but encompass any subject that may be considered under the term of occult or esoteric. Also, on our home web site, there is a free, public discussion forum for anyone to post an inquiry about any occult, esoteric or related subjects to be responded to by our Mentors (ideally) within 3 days of the post. And, if you are looking for someone online to study with you in these subjects, then there is a classified add section to post your inquiry about your desire for a study partner and anyone looking for a study partner can check out the adds and hopefully find and contact a study partner! And on our home page we provide many online research tools and resources that we believe will help you on your search for knowledge! Another way we can help you is if you want more one on one attention, some of our Mentors (but this is not guaranteed) may personally mentor through email, reg. mail, messenger etc. but we leave this up to each Mentor to work out.

Because we are just starting out we will not be officially offering any personal Mentoring as of yet.

Finally, remember we are just building up our websites and organisation so we may not be much now, but we will be. So everyone, save the link to our website so you can keep track of our updates! And whenever you have an inquiry in any subjects related to the occult and esoteric then please feel free to ask us on the free, public discussion board located on the front page of our site!

Sincerely, The Mentor's Circle Manager, Mentor Sethian.

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