Tag Archives: Self-empowerment

Traveling in Space, an Essay

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

Quote: “To travel in space you must leave the old verbal garbage behind: God talk, country talk, mother talk, love talk, party talk. You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence. Anyone who prays in space is not there.” — William S. Burroughs

Perhaps one of the hardest “lessons” for the Avatar to learn is to proceed as if one were utterly alone in space; in the universe; in the Cosmos. To cut off all ties with all the known, to refuse any thought of neediness. To realize and accept how absolutely necessary it is to never open one’s thoughts to, or ever utter a single word of, any sort of prayer.

That is what it means, primarily, for me to be self empowered. Of course the argument immediately turns to the fact that my life is circumscribed by all the things needed to make that life possible. Yes, those things are there indeed. But the Avatar knows that they are not there to make her life possible, but to surround her with chains and to eat her flesh, then her mind. That is what it means to live in a predatory system.

That does not invalidate the earlier claim that I must not allow a word or thought to express neediness. That is done by refusing to enter any debate, support for, or defense of, any system purporting to be “for” me. To believe that a religious, state or financial system is there for me is akin to the steer milling about in the loafing barn believing that the agri-business that owns it is there for its survival and long life. An Avatar must be a bit smarter than that. To know how the System operates and what it uses as fuel is certainly the beginning of wisdom.

I am free to discuss with anyone the state of the economy, or regime changes and resource wars; to commiserate over on-going genocides and people’s fears over their particular nation’s political trends or the death of a friend or happiness over a planned trip or wedding or birth of a child. In all of that I must remember that I am no longer a part of it; that whether it impacts large numbers or one individual it does not affect me in “that” way. I must remember to remain emotionally detached from these issues with the understanding that if it turn out to be a problem, when it approaches me; comes home to roost, I am expendable in the next step: providing what help I can muster for the losers, victims and survivors.

There is much (deliberately infused) misunderstanding about detachment. It is usually understood as a state of not caring. In fact it is the opposite: only a detached and self empowered individual can truly help another. When I approach someone in a detached state I am pure giving; the needy predator within is effectively shut-out. In a detached state I can see a need and know what has to happen to alleviate it. I know what my personal resources are and how best to apply them to the situation. Having learned not to express neediness, any other-than-myself “help” avenue is closed off. I take full responsibility for whatever I am about to commit myself to doing. For the Avatar that can translate as giving up everything, including one’s life. So be it because at that point it’s all about me, and I am in control of my own life.

Giving up one’s life in service of others: is that such a big deal? In a crisis where so many are losing out; where many poor are literally dying on the streets of the richest countries and richest cities, is it “extraordinary” for an individual to participate fully in becoming part of the downfall? The Avatar’s question is, why should my life be worth more, or be more precious to me, than his, hers, theirs’? People in general tend to talk up a good game about love. Everybody except me seems to be in love with love. But what does that translate as, when push comes to shove?

I’m sure if I lived in a theater of war and attendant atrocity I would see real examples of love expressed courageously by many. But as always, I would know that such examples, such efforts, are not usually motivated by a changed and permanent mindset but rather by circumstances. That’s the problem with love: it is dependent, weak, transient and exclusive.

The self empowered, detached, responsible Avatar eschews love as a too uncertain an emotion. To live as if one were already dead so as to function fearlessly the Avatar requires something much more reliable than an emotion. Enter compassion.

Again, as with detachment, there is much misunderstanding about the concept of compassion. Generally it is considered to be just one of a list of ‘virtues’ a person should exhibit, such as decency, love, caring, kindness, patience. Certainly nothing wrong with expressing such but honestly they have little holding power. A change of circumstance can drastically alter the response. This I have seen.

Compassion is never circumstance-dependent because it is entered into by self empowered personal choice. It is a personal commitment to a way of life and it is inclusive. It may well be what the Buddha had in mind before his teachings were hijacked into a religious enterprise, before it became “Buddhism” which, like any religious enterprise, possesses no power to change anyone’s mind. Compassion, before it can be claimed by anyone, must become the purpose of one’s entire life with the ultimate goal of the individual becoming pure compassion, however many aeons of time that may encompass.

To be compassionate is traveling in one’s own space, living alone in the silence of one’s sacred self-awareness, able to filter out the shallow and ever present ocean of socially-induced noise.

Detachment to Life

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

“I’ve always felt that what we are taught of detachment at home is an illusion.  I think the ancients know this too, but let us discover it on our own.  They equip us to go with a story that makes sense only until it is tested.  A truly detached ISSA*, seems to me, at this point at least, is an oxymoron.”  (Antierra monologue speaking of her teachings on detachment while on her home world of Altaria – Antierra Manifesto)

Once the basics of one Earthian incarnation have been experienced – surviving, satisfying desires, experimenting with physical senses, what’s left but death, or entering upon a quest for the greater meaning of Life as a self aware being? 

If one chooses “death” which to me means going on repeating experiences pointlessly, then that’s that.  If one chooses the quest, there has to be a sure way to enter into that which guarantees one will not fall back into such silly behaviour as being a sports fan, chasing the opposite gender for sexual gratification, “making” money, hating, fighting, killing then dying to find out it was all a chimera.

Seems to me the way to freedom is opened through detachment.  What keeps us enslaved to the wheel of the System is an array of attachments each one justifying and strengthening the other. It behooves us therefore to relinquish all our attachments to the things this world offers more as bait than as satisfaction (since none ever completely satisfy, and that should be a very broad hint). 

OK, so I want to learn the meaning of Life, not just the meaning (if there be any) of one little incarnation on this little world but the meaning of Life as expressed through an infinite and timeless cosmos: that meaning! Only a free being can ever hope to enter into such a quest.  Attachments are all those things, big and small, that translate as chains, shackles, stanchions, locks, doors, walls, perimeters, limits that take one to termination.  In this situation, death becomes the final attachment. 

Before one tackles the difficult concept of death, one should consider the pattern of lesser attachments that enslave us to our body and its world and how we are connected to the pattern.  As long as a single attachment remains unexplored and connected, death remains the final enigma. Yet unless one can know all about death, even if the words to describe this certainty do not exist, the quest for Life remains closed.  Death was invented to create the impression that there is no such thing as “Life” as an infinite concept; that “Life” had been conquered. All attachments are lies and death is the final and greatest lie of all when living under attachments.

How then does one person achieve a place of total detachment?  As said above, it isn’t easy.  To my heroine (granted she is under extreme stress in that part of the story) it seems impossible.  But nothing is impossible! Impossible is just another attachment!

Detachment, once decided upon, comes through self empowerment.  All my choices are mine and I take full responsibility for the results.  Sure, there will remain many little itches of attachments, like cold sniffles or skin blemishes, but my immune system is self empowerment and that is how I heal myself, as much and as many times as it takes.  I learn not to repeat stupid or pointless moves. I learn to be satisfied with an experience that I know will not improve the more I do it. 

Prayers will not be answered with greater alacrity or better overall results.  Hockey games won’t improve. TV won’t demonstrate a higher level of intelligence. Cigarettes or booze won’t taste better. Crossing borders won’t become easier or safer and sex… well I think we all know the answer to that one.

I learn not to waste my time on the treadmill or the merry-go-round and I learn to use that salvaged time to better my understanding.  If I have any problem on how to direct this new understanding, I cradle it within compassion thus guaranteeing a successful continuation to the quest I am on.

Yes Antierra, it is possible to become totally detached.  You have to learn to take the broader view of the concept.    

*ISSA: acronym for intelligent, sentient, self aware

 

When I was Nineteen

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~ ]

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.
Everything seemed cut and dried.  Art and music were fine, but could they
explain anything?  Could they tell me why I was alive or what the world was
all about?  I didn’t think so.  And ever since, I’ve lived a compromise: I
wouldn’t try to kill myself, because there was always a chance something
would happen to explain everything.”  (Songs of Earth and Power – Greg Bear)

It is the end of another year, my seventy-second year, which isn’t bad considering I’d set my “best before” termination year at fifty. It seemed reasonable at the time, what could I possibly accomplish of anything worthwhile past fifty in a society that worships (fake) youth and gobbles its world as if it is a melting chocolate ice cream?

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.” So did I, definitely, but my reasoning was much more pathetic: my lover dumped me. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but each one brought its own degree of particular inescapable hurt.  It would be many years later, having survived (dig the maudlin self pity!) the many losses, that I realized these experiences in an otherwise sated and bloated consumerist society was how I manipulated reality to grow a bigger heart.

I began to sense that my personal pain was but one of endless extensions of this world’s pain. I began to look at ways I could use that sorrowful “me” to become a part of the rest; to make sorrow my bed partner. I learned to cry in the night and though the tears were mine, gradually they were no longer for me.

Unlike Greg Bear’s heroine in “Songs of Earth and Power” however, I did not hang around for the chance that something would happen to explain everything. I used my awareness as a key to that explanation. Since I am my awareness, my own mind, I would be the key that would open the door and allow the “something that would explain everything” to come into my life and claim me as its lover. Once more, I fell in love, this time with a very dangerous character, an actual terrorist, someone for whom there would be no secrets, the ultimate WikiLeaks.

If I desired to know, all I needed was ask and he took me upon secret paths, through mined fields, under electrified fences of razor wire, into secure, severely guarded places where explanations were taking place.  He made me listen in and I discovered that official secrets were constantly being made up with all seriousness.

The first time I saw this, I wanted to laugh out loud. Only my dangerous lover’s hand over my mouth saved me. We would leave those places, return to city traffic, lights, pedestrians, noises, smells and facades of endless body accomodations, find our own and talk through nights that became ever shorter.

“There is nothing new under the sun” he’d quote from Eclesiastes.

“But I still don’t understand” I protested. “How can there be secrets, then? How do we not know everything?”

“I will not lie to you. The truth is, there are no secrets. You’re a victim of gross mis-direction, all of the time. That is the System, how it controls you, makes you fear; makes you hope. Then it dashes your hopes, deliberately, and starts the whole thing all over again. Each time you are left drained, like losing a lover, and while you are in this heart-mind weakened state you are taken by something else, on the rebound. You don’t want to let go of that last thread of hope and the next lie weaves itself into your dying hope and pulls more out of you. This goes on until you die. Nothing is ever explained because there is nothing to explain – that’s the realization that made you want to laugh when in the vault of secrets: there are no secrets, just manufactured lies.”

“So, if I choose knowledge, what should I do?”

“Use your key. Use you. You are your own source of all the knowledge that exists; all you need do is free your mind. Trust your imagination and go along for the ride.”

“How will I know where I am going?”

“You won’t; you can’t. If you did, that would be another false path, another lie. Where is the freedom in following an already existing path? Obviously it wouldn’t be yours and if you can see it, someone designed it as a trap for you, to seduce you once again upon a way that isn’t yours and will prove disempowering and end in loss, again.”

“Why do the great teachers ask us to follow them? Their teachings?”

“Because they are lovers, not great teachers and their teachings are powerless to change anything.  Because they want you for themselves and have no intention of ever giving you anything of themselves.  Because they are liars.”

“So, no great teachers, and I know everything?”

“Yes, potentially. You need to trust yourself; believe in yourself. You need to realize you were meant to walk this path alone. In fact, there is no path, just endless choices, the best ones seemingly impossible but remember this: nothing is impossible.”

“What happens now?”

“Now I will leave you because you no longer need me. You are equipped to live your life as a self-empowered being. You not only possess the key to all knowledge, you are that key. Much of that knowledge does not pertain to this, your reality, so you must learn to choose wisely, what you keep in your pockets, in your pack, and what you leave behind for the time being.”

“I am scared to be so alone!”

“Fear is the mind killer. I will not fear, I will face my fear… do you remember that? You learned it because you already knew you would need it. Now is the time. You walk alone, you never look back, you never doubt yourself.  Goodbye, lover.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Red Barn on the Hope River

Society, the Homeless and Bleach

[Thoughts from the Other Side – Erin WilloWitch and Sha’Tara]

(A necessary preamble: Erin Willowitch is another of my several alter-egos. As her name indicates, there is a fiery edge to her; to her words. She jumps in when I get to be too much of a softy-from her point of view. ‘I am a tall, slim red-head who does not abide fawning, foolishness and deliberate ignorance. I live in nature and avoid people as much as I can. I would make my diet of rocks before I ever accepted most of what passes for intelligent arguments among Earthians.’ (Erin WW)

(and a warning: it is possible I’ve blogged this before… I haven’t got either the time or inclination to delve into the archives. Doesn’t matter, what is said here can easily bear repeating.)

Yin-yang symb2

Quote: “Certainty precludes certainty.” [Synopsis of Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty]

Quote: “Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” [Robert Heinlein]

Quote: “The realm of the possible is infinity; the realm of the likely is confined to pre-existing conditions.” [Sha’Tara]

Quote: “Become a believer and you no longer have to be an achiever. Become an achiever and you no longer need to be a believer.” [Y-Lea of the WindWalkers]

Quote: “Love is a feeling. Like all feelings it is an effect requiring a cause; is short lived, easily perverted and burns itself out as emotion.” [Erin WilloWitch]

Corollary: If it is true that “God is love” we have the answer to the toughest question regarding God: The Great Silence. As “love,” God is an effect, not a cause. The effect was experienced when nature required its presence as creator, mover, judge and ruler. Man has arrogated divine prerogatives in all these areas thus annulling the God effect. Strictly speaking, “God” has become an icon for those who need to believe in something greater and external to themselves, external to human powers, external to nature and the human mind, external to everything they can conceive. Now ask yourself: Is it any wonder no one can agree on what “God” really is? Who could ever agree on what’s external to “me”?

I woke up angry this morning. Good angry. Dreams can do that. They can toss you around, flip you, leave you begging for mercy. Dreams can be terrible reflections in the mirror of the mind. What brought on the anger? The growing “problem” of homelessness in this burgeoning and mushrooming area. The growth boom is attracting many people to Canada’s concentrated, cooler, wetter, socially dysfunctional version of California. As always, a growing society also grows social “problems.” That’s how it is. Gradually, a population boom leads to overpopulation. But it’s a comfortable disease, one that kills the body in time but for the moment brings many benefits – or should I say gratification – at least for those who hope to profit by it.

Human society has always been a sick animal. A mindless predator that feeds on parts of itself for its own survival. It’s the nature of the beast and nothing any disempowered individual can do about it. Since it’s made up of individuals, individuals provide society’s fodder. Society is cannibalistic (it can also go ballistic, but that’s another topic.). So in a greedy and narcissistic aspect of society you end up with those elites who are served and those teeming numbers who serve them body and soul because they don’t know any better then to stand in front of the steam roller when it comes to town. They’ll even cheer it on.

Enter the homeless. Which are they? Interesting question. At first glance they appear to be victims of society. A deeper look says, “No, they are not victims. They are that ugly image of what a selfish and self-centered society portrays to itself in its mirror.” Metaphorically they represent a cancerous growth showing through society’s cheap make-up.

The real victims of society are those who are truly helpless, sucked dry to serve the higher needs. The sick who become the guinea pigs for the medical “profession” and legal drug lords. The part-time, less than minimum wage drones in the fields of dollar store commodities, shoes and clothes, fast foods, accommodation, travel and the vast network of the underpaid so-called service industry. The expendable and starving poor, those who happen to subsist on lands that contain resources the greedy desire. These are the real victims of society, the slaves and martyrs who make society “viable” for those on the higher rungs of the ladder. This is a real societal problem and for this there is a very simple solution available.

But homelessness, the kind we see in the affluent society, is different. It has no apparent solution because it’s not actually a problem per se. Homelessness results from society looking at itself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, the solution does not lie (!) in the mirror. Nothing you do with, or to, the mirror, will change that. The “solution” lies with you. If you cannot do anything about the way you look, then maybe it’s better not to look at the mirror. Turn it to the wall, break it, remove it. Whatever. What confronts you in the mirror is not a problem, it’s an image.

It’s easy to look at a negative situation and label it a problem. Once that’s done, society can create another bureaucracy to look into the problem, and another to solve the problem. Enter a new government department. Enter the “benevolent” organization. Enter another curse upon society, another tax burden. And who notices that as the costs of government and benevolent societies mount, so does the so-called “problem” these were set-up to resolve?

Were I installed as dictator tomorrow and the problem of homelessness brought to my attention, I would, as absolute ruler of said society, dictate the immediate round-up of the homeless to be forced into shelters (using currently vacant buildings with proper heat and sanitary facilities.) I would dictate that they be fed properly and given necessary clothing, etc. Then I would dictate that since society is looking after them, their time belongs to society. They live by rules as applying to everyone else and they are put to work in areas now lacking workers due to lack of funds. Case closed. The problem is not solved since it wasn’t a problem, but the situation is resolved. And I don’t want to hear about this again. Next?

As an individual, which thankfully I am, and not as dictator, I have a solution to the situation of homelessness. Since it is a mirror image of a selfish and decadent society, let’s change what is being reflected, not the reflection. Let’s deal with the real problem, not the symptom. Let’s change “us” as individuals. Let’s turn from our narcissism and selfishness, our sickening greed, and teach ourselves to look at our neighbor with “love”. Let’s no longer accept that “God’s in his heaven, the CEO in his penthouse, the bankster on the phone with the CEO, the President robbing the poor to pay the rich, and all’s well with the world.” The self-centeredness creating that ugly image in the mirror has to go. We want beauty to reflect back to us, so let’s become beautiful, in our hearts and minds. The rest will take care of itself.

It only seems impossible because it hasn’t been done. Let’s move from the realm of the “likely” into the realm of the possible. By doing it. Now. If we become achievers, we won’t have to be believers. Another relief. Another burden removed from society as a whole.

Speaking of God, some churches’ staff still believe there is one. A downtown church’s billboard proudly announces that God is like bleach because he removes the toughest stains. Which tells us that God has a name: Javex. Makes sense, that being the Modern American translation for the old Biblical name of Jehovah. I have used a lot of God in my bathroom over the years. I never realized we were so close. A word of caution though, don’t take him internally.

Week Two of the Williams Lake MDS Caper

[Thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

How appropriate, I think, that baleful sobriquet, title, alternate “me” called ~burning woman~ at the end of week two in Williams Lake in process of rebuilding some of the homes lost in last Summer’s wild fires that swept through this small town of approximately 10,000 people.

The devastation left behind by the fires is still very much in evidence. The city proper was spared as it did not provide the kind of fuel such fires require to sweep ahead as they jump from tree top to tree top, race through dry grasses, jump across small lakes and even wide rivers pushed by high afternoon winds, some generated by the fires’ own heat.

Though many homes and animals, both domestic and wild, were lost in the fires, no human life was lost that I know of. The evacuation done by various government departments, backed up by some military presence (that mostly to prevent looting) made sure everybody was accounted for. Not all “survivors” who lost their homes are happy with the heavy-handed presence of law enforcement. Many know  had they been allowed to remain on their properties, using their Canadian farming and ranching common sense, they would have saved their homes and animals. Power may have failed but generators were available to pump the deep wells and roofs as well as grounds could have been watered. It never fails to amaze me how well totalitarianism works in a democracy!

What to say: am I happy to be here, doing this volunteering to help essentially homeless people get a home back they could not otherwise ever have again? Let’s say I’m satisfied. The work is hard and dirty – this is King of the Gumbo country and if there is as little as one rain shower, your feet are immediately clotted with a compound that would shame LePage’s Premium glue. Gumbo, i.e., the world’s most persistent mud can add 3 to 5 pounds of clumping mud to your foot in four steps.

Plus, it is both, stifling hot and freezing cold in turn, on the same day. Three days ago we arrived at our work site in 3 inches of sleet deposited during the night. It didn’t melt until late in the afternoon.  Good thing was, it severely slowed down the swarms of mosquitoes ever on the prowl for blood. 

Nevertheless, our house, which was footing and Styrofoam forms when I arrived is now standing proud, awaiting the delivery of the roofing trusses. Not bad for on average 2 to 4 volunteers a day. And no: it wasn’t prefab!

As I said before, these volunteers are Christian people, mostly Mennonites. As for me, well, let’s say I’m acceptable because of skills, providing my own truck (GMC 3/4 ton van) and a LOT of tools. Plus I was baptized in a Mennonite church many decades past. As I said jokingly, “I don’t know what happened, folks, but it didn’t take.” I guess you have to be born in it, not just born again.

Anyway, yes, they mostly support Donald Trump and believe he’s doing a wonderful job- to be expected. They wish Canada would become part of the States – to be expected. They hate our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau – to be expected. And they hate labour unions, also to be expected. In other words, they are right-winged to the core and it isn’t a matter of thought but a matter of faith cum brain washing. Except for Justin Trudeau, of whom I have no opinion, he being a liberal means it’s pointless to have an opinion of him, I’m basically opposed to everything these people stand for or believe in… yet here we are, drawn to this part of the map to do the same thing, with the same purpose in mind. What does that say but that as human beings we are united in the only thing that matters?

Imagine a world in which people (all the people!), though they disagree on every aspect of religion, politics, economics, and social norms see a desperate need and come together, working their asses off responding, rebuilding, restoring and in the process bringing hope where there is either none or it is badly shattered.

Next week is next week,  the show must go on!

 

Looking for, Searching, Seeking, Questing

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

When we go looking for something, either it’s something we want, need, or it could be something we misplaced, or lost. Either we find it, or we find a replacement and life goes on. Soon enough we forget we ever even went looking.

When we engage a search, whatever it is we may be searching for, there is the certainty that we will find something. Sometimes, that something will so surprise us it will eclipse whatever caused us to begin our search in the first place. Such a serendipitous happening we will tend to remember as some kind of magical intervention in our life.

Seeking is a deeper engagement, with the staunch and upholding hope, and faith, that whatever we are seeking for, we will find if we are diligent and do not get sidetracked to the point where we lose interest in the dream, for seeking must involve dreaming.

Questing is entirely different. Unlike looking for, searching, or seeking, questing does not entail fulfilment. A quest, by its very nature, can never be attained for it is a path; a way of life, not a goal to be reached. If it is completed; if the object of the quest is found, or reached, it wasn’t a quest but a seeking.

Deep down inside me, no matter where I’ve stood in my long years of turmoil trying to put “closed” to determining whether life is terminal or eternal, I worked out a philosophy that allowed me to know the answer to that vexing problem. It was quite simple, actually. All I had to do was find a life purpose that required eternity in order to make sense of it. To engage this purpose I had to completely switch my thinking regarding life. I needed to find that elusive “something” that even death could not put an end to. I didn’t want to cheat death, or conquer it, or end it, as in the John Donne’s cry, “Death, thou shalt die!”

I stopped asking “What is life?” and began asking, “What is my purpose within that which I call life?” I knew the first question could not be answered honestly though any number of guesses would fit the bill yet remain non-answers. But the second question brought it home to me. I made myself “life” and from that awareness I could but ask, “What is my purpose here?” I didn’t have to ask “Who am I” anymore because from here on I would be a different person moment after moment. What I believed today I might very well laugh at tomorrow. It no longer mattered “who” I was; it mattered what I was and what I would become as I travelled the omniverse and the cosmos.

I had passed the religious stage where some saviour divinity would determine my worth, or check my credentials at death’s door and give me a fail or pass. Childish and definitely superstitious. I had also passed the stage I describe as “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” – a common enough belief in today’s post-Christian world that would never keep my questing mind satisfied.

If I could find and define a purpose for myself that required an eternity to make sense of then I would have found the key to eternal life through self empowerment. That, however, had to remain securely beyond any fit accusation of hubris. Thus I had to reject the New Agey belief that “I am God” or that we are all gods. This is so obviously false, it’s laughable. Can I produce a miracle on demand? By miracle, I mean something that clearly defies all the laws and rules of nature as we understand them. Could I give an amputee a new arm, or leg? Could I bring someone who’d been in a coma for years back into the land of the normal living? Could I raise the dead? Make a blind person see? No. But neither can those who believe in Christ, for example, even though they have a scriptural promise that they would be able to do such things. I had to know that it was not a matter of being divine, or having faith in some divinity. It would have to be more!

This quest, or purpose as I call it, had to be totally reasonable, totally doable by absolutely anyone. It would have to be seen as relatively normal in an everyday kind of world. It would be a way of life that could be observed, even experienced by those “others” it touched yet would never call for hero worship, desire to be followed (as a guru or teacher for example) or freak anybody out by outlandish words or performance. It would remain non-threatening; it’s effectiveness hidden in simple self-effacing outworking. It wouldn’t ask, wouldn’t preach, wouldn’t proselytize and if some impressionable person became attracted to the one living this purpose, they would be told to seek their own way.

This purpose would not be the making of a path for others to follow upon. If, for some it had a way-shower quality, they would be reminded that it was based on self empowerment, never on believing or following. ‘If it seems good to you, emulate certainly, but do it of your own desires; of your own power; for your own reasons.’

No one could ever follow, buy or believe their way here. There is no path given to anyone that requires abdicating one’s own selfhood. Anything that makes such a claim is a deadly error, hence, in conclusion, all organized religions and their imitators, are deadly impositions upon this mind-darkened world.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou thinkst thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow
And soonest our best men with thee do go
Rest of their bones and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppies or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke. Why swellst thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die!
(John Donne)

THE SWORD OF ALTARÏE

[thoughts of chivalry by Airin WilloWitch]

From the bowels of the Universe I was brought forth;
from the abode of those who carved the living stone
was I extracted from my ten billion year old bed.

Long before the story ever knew of sun or moon,
I travelled under the everlasting stars.
To the realms of the Great Elves I was taken;
there wrought, shaped and tempered.
There the blue flame of Altarïe was blended in my steel;
my hilt moulded of the purest gold.
No metal nor stone nor bone my edge could dull,
the hardest substances I absorbed unto myself.

Only the strongest grip could hold my hilt;
only the strongest shoulder could hold my weight;
only the strongest arm could wield my blade.

Where the great sword of Altarïe flashed,
the tide of battle swung and victory was gained:
did it matter to me who won? Who lost?
Many a nation has bowed to the conqueror
proudly holding his gauntleted hand upon my hilt;
raising my flashing blade before the charge.

Many a good man dead;
many a widow made;
many an innocent never saw the light of day
where my blade shimmered at the centre of the fray.

Many a city defended; many an attacker killed;
many an orphan protected and a virgin saved:
’tis not of me came evil or justice,
but of he who wielded my substance aloft.

Great cycles of years passed, kingdoms crushed
since sun and moon came to rule the earthen skies.
He casting his fiery light upon the high mountains,
filling the evening skies as with blood upon the seas.
She shyly staring at fields as covered with snow,
forever unsure of her place,
forever hiding only to return,
blushing pale under his fiery gaze.

I’ve known all the names
of man’s heroic sword wielders,
of Mesopotamia, of Greece,
Of Rome and the Kashmir;
of Arthur, of Roland, of Joan,
all came under my spell.

The last hero has fallen;
my light is extinguished.
I lie among rotting bones and crumbling mortar
yet always must I find my way out into the world

Though the great light of Altarïe may no longer shine,
for such hands as could strike fire in the likes of me
have long left this decaying and dying world,
here I do I remain.
More than a mere memory; potently waiting
for the heart that fills with desire;
the eyes that are sharp and far-seeing;
the self-empowered hands that grasp;
for the believer in chivalry
willing to challenge fate and change her world.

Hear me calling: I could be yours today.