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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

NeoNote — Not slur words

Before you can do one simple task, you have to do another task that gives you what you need to do the first. And before you can do the second, there is a third and fourth that you really should take care of.


NeoNote — For your own good

It means I watch for the exceptions where neither IS nor IS NOT applies. It means our understanding is limited by our perception and assumptions at the moment.


NeoNote — Mostly

It means I watch for the exceptions where neither IS nor IS NOT applies. It means our understanding is limited by our perception and assumptions at the moment.


NeoNote — the American compromise

Reopening my path to the world wide web


NeoNote — This tragedy does not reflect on Heathens.

“In which John compares and contrasts Greek civilization and the Persian Empire. Of course we're glad that Greek civilization spawned modern western civilization, right? Maybe not. From Socrates and Plato to Darius and Xerxes, John explains two of the great powers of the ancient world, all WITHOUT the use of footage from 300.”


NeoNote — Religion & morality

Well done is better than well said.
— Benjamin Franklin

NeoNote — Politicos want problems they can stage-manage


NeoNotes — Rape culture

Rape is a terrible thing. Pagans and heathens have had more than our share of bad apples. We tend to attract the outliers and nonconformists.

But, America is not a rape culture. I won't speak for Europe. Not anymore.

The #MeToo movement never could have happened in a rape culture. It would not have been allowed. There would not be news stories about rape. Men would not be willing to talk to women about consent and mutual pleasure from sex. Nor would women have the right to own property, to vote, and to accuse rapists.

I bet that for every one person in America that thinks rape is acceptable, I can find thousands who don't. In those thousands, I bet that I can find hundreds who might decide a very physical response was appropriate. Personally I think removing body parts might be a good start.

By all means, do as you will to raise awareness of consent. Do what you can so people can enjoy sex with someone they care about. Respect each other and each other's boundaries.

But America is not a rape culture.

Thinking about it, that may be what bothers me most.

I firmly believe that most people are decent. I think I resent the implication that most men and women (yes, I said women) can't be trusted to behave themselves. There are always going to be bad elements, but most people are basically good no matter what their "race," gender, sexuality, or taste in socks. I resent the implication that people basically can't be trusted.

I think one of my pass-alongs sums it up.

“The people who pay attention to the law aren't the ones you have to worry about.”

Pardon, but I think there is a difference between rapes occurring and rape culture.

Perhaps I am mistaken, but I think a rape culture actively and legally encourages rape. The examples that leap to mind are certain Islamic groups and nations.

We have thieves, but we do not live in a theft culture. We have murders, but we do not live in a murdering culture.

Rape is a terrible thing and absolutely should be punished. But not every person is a rapist, nor is every man. Today women are much more likely to be believed if they report a rape, that wasn't necessarily true twenty or thirty years ago. At the same time, I read about some of the things happening in Europe and Africa right now (even leaving out the Middle East) and I don't think American women have the slightest idea what a real rape culture is.

It's easy to toss the phrase around, but that doesn't mean it's accurate.

That isn't the case with most of American society and culture.

I will grant you that is glamorized and celebrated by certain very visible people. I also think that some if not most "feminist allies" call themselves that and say the "right" things so they can take advantage.

What I see is the assumptions and punitive measures taken against people (men & women) who don't rape or even think about it. And then I see abusive behavior excused if the person happens to have the right politics or connections, like what happened prior to #MeToo.

It's not even a matter of "all men are rapists." Almost all men aren't rapists and would be horrified if it happened to someone they know, much less care for. At the same time, men are castigated if they dare give an admiring look, or actually hold a door open for somebody.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNote — Protected

I love how the photographer lined up the aurora borealis with the tree


NeoNote — Taking a stand against politics in paganism

The armband caught my eye.


NeoNote — Where do pagans fit in?


NeoNote — Nature and the World are not cruel.

I'm not shy about heated debate or passionate discourse, but when people get crazy or rude, that's a buzz kill. There's got to be a better code of conduct, some basic etiquette.
— Mos Def

NeoNote — Nudes on Technopagan Yearnings

I love being naked. I do everything in the nude, even the gardening! We're Cuban, and it's a hot island. Why not go nude?
— Eva Mendes

NeoNote — Change the groups

Everything must go somewhere.
— Barry Commoner, second law of ecology

NeoNote — I don't think politics should be a part of paganism

But yes, this is between you and him.
I'd rather not deal with him at all.

I don't think politics should be a part of paganism.

I know that puts me in direct opposition to the "the personal is political" crowd. I know this isn't a political site. I'd rather not see politics here at all.

There are reasons I separated my political blogging from my pagan blogging. There are reasons why there is no "politics" category at my pagan/life blog and there is only a tag for "ugh-politics" there.

Politics corrupt, especially religion. We know that from the People of the Book. Why on Earth are we so damned determined to prove it again?

When you let your politics define your personhood, there's not much room left for your personhood outside of your politics. Without your personhood, you can lose empathy and humanity.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNote — People cherish their passions

I like the leaves and her expression.


NeoNote — He would deny it

Your desire does not control another's choice.
— NeoWayland, sexual beings

NeoNote — Political hexing

I love this planet!


NeoNote — Religion & responsiblity

If it was what you expected, why do you call it change?


NeoNote — Good and evil

Obviously I am not heathen, but I question that phrase "forces of darkness." Our World has both light and darkness, both are necessary for life, death, growth and renewal.

Perhaps it is just me, but I have issues with assigning good to light and evil to darkness. I probably have issues with the dualistic ideas of good and evil too. Sometimes what is "evil" for one group is "good" for another. If they are anything like the ones I've argued with, your "extreme right ideologies" probably see inclusiveness as very evil and damaging. I disagree, but it is their "evil."

Ah, now that is an interesting bit.

Bonewits pointed out that dualism, especially religious dualism, quickly shifts things to IS and IS NOT. If something IS NOT on the approved list, it is evil because the definitions and underlying assumptions don't allow any other possibility.

Long story short, without monotheism, the meaning of good and evil aren't so clear cut. It tends to be more in the nature of "this HELPS my tribe/city/nation" and "this HURTS my tribe/city/nation." It becomes relative and based on cost/benefit. It depends more on individual judgement and less on an Official List of "THOU SHALT NOTS."

But, since Bonewits is on the Disapproved List, this is just academic, right? An accused sexual predator and pedophile couldn't possibly have had good ideas…

I disagree.

I agree that unrestrained greed and unrestrained tribalism are bad. But so is unrestrained sex, unrestrained pacifism, unrestrained sugar, unrestrained sunbathing, unrestrained hair dyeing, unrestrained television, and unrestrained concrete. A little goes a long way, or as the old saying goes, moderation in all things.

Competition keeps us honest and is one big reason why we try to make things better.

*grins* I may bring the philosophy bit out. I enjoy it, I practice it, and I encourage it.

I was thinking about the Greeks and some of the philosophy of the Golden Mean, although the Buddhist version applies too.

Specifically I was thinking about self-discipline and responsibility. The Ethic of Reciprocity is usually associated with Christianity but predates Christianity and exists independently in other cultures. One of my party tricks is showing how people can build an entire social, ethical, and legal system using the EoR and without depending on authority granted from an Official Religion. And that brings us to unrestrained.

If we are talking about ethical restraints, those restraints have to be self-imposed. It's not really ethical otherwise. If a choice is imposed by force, it's not really a choice, is it?

Self-restraint goes right back to the EoR. If I want to be treated right, it's in my best interest to treat others right. We expect others to act morally and honorably. That gets into defining the Other which is a long subject. I'm going to skip that for our discussion here.

Every morning I have a glass of citrus juice with my breakfast. But it's a water glass, not a juice glass. Is that excessive? Some might say so. But it's my breakfast and my choice. As long as I am not depriving or harming others, then how is it anyone else's business?

That brings us to greed. If I want to continue having OJ, somehow I have to do something that someone else wants and is willing to pay for. With the division of labor, that becomes the free market. Voluntary exchanges between mutually consenting adults. To get what I want, I have to provide something they want.

Competition brings the second keystone of the free market: I can do better than that! Most fail, but the successes change everything.

You're absolutely right pointing out that competition doesn't mean destroying the other (odd how that word keeps cropping up). But the free market means that a company or person has to offer at least as much value as those around them, or someone else will sell.

It's not just buying and selling. Most people reading this site chose paganism or an alternative religion because that religion offered something that they couldn't get elsewhere.

One of the things I recently added to my lexicon, the two most important phrases in human history (www DOT neowayland DOT com SLASH lexicon SLASH tt SLASH #two)

“Let me help.”

“I can do better than that!”

And yes, I gave credit to Star Trek for the first.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNote — #MeToo has hit modern neopaganism hard

Yes. it really looks that way.


NeoNote - White sage, Amerindians and virtue signalling

White sage is really not that hard to find. You need a little care when harvesting to avoid harming the plant. If you're in the right area and you don't overwater, it's fairly easy to keep in a container garden. Oh, and if you're harvesting your own, avoid polyester thread or yarn to tie the bundles, that smells terrible when burned.

I grew up next to the Diné and Hopi and near the Havasupai and a handful of other tribes. I promise that pretty much any sage ceremony from a book or a pamphlet or a website isn't anywhere near culturally appropriated, much less "authentic."

Okay, maybe I am not understanding because the stuff is all over New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.

Maybe I'm wrong, but if it was a native supplier who was selling, how is wrong for the company to resell?

I never really have understood the whole cultural appropriation bit. Syncretism happens.

Pardon, but it's some of the First Nation folks. Some of the Diné I know are far more concerned with the abuse of corn rituals than sage rituals.

I guess what I am saying is that this strikes me as politics, a way to control other's behaviors using little-understood religions. Look at this, we're talking Native, we're talking First Nations, but these groups are absolutely not the same as the various tribes.

This was acceptable and practiced behavior a couple of days ago. No one was hurt, no one was abused, no one was demeaned. From what you yourself have said, anyone who is not Native should Stop Now. This isn't about honoring the First Nations, it's about control through guilt.

Why does your enlightenment require that I sacrifice?

Granted I haven't been able to talk to more than a handful of people in the last day or so about this issue, but most of what I got was laughter.

This is not a "bubble," I was born on the res, the Diné and Hopi are some of my friends and neighbors.

This whole thing about honoring the First Nations seems very selective. A few months back during the Dakota protests I tried to point out how the state of Utah was using legal maneuvers to steal land and money from the Ute and Diné (Navajo). That didn't rate so much as a burp, but the discussion on the protests went on and on.

Trust me, white sage is not endangered. Not even in the wild. The land is mostly desert and the plant life is not as plentiful, but it is all over the place. It's not the most common plant, but it's not rare.

That's something else we've been tiptoeing around, isn't it?

That also drags the FedGovs in. Truthfully there are some peyote users that aren't interested in the ritual.

The whole mess between the NAC and the Feds is one thing that convinced me that government and religion should be strictly separated from other. And that was when I was (briefly) a Young Teenage Republican Male. Twelve years old and I could see what a farce it was on both sides.

Well, the hunt is part of the ritual, but yeah.

==>Insert obligatory lengthy libertarian anti-drug law rant here<==

For the record, I don't even drink or otherwise imbibe. I even try to avoid aspirin.

So you can use the higher authority gambit to cite the Good Amerindians, but I am not allowed to question?

These are questions that should be asked.

Starting with the big one that almost everyone keeps tiptoeing around. Why should white sage be forbidden to anyone not of First Nations stock?

That in itself raises questions, very political questions in fact. Some tribes have taken a hard line on who is and is not a member.

Do you have to be Officially Recognized before you dare consider using white sage?

I do that when someone claims higher morality so they can control the choices and actions of others.

It's a first step.

You should see what I do with self-righteous Christians.

Pardon, but some Native Americans are upset. The (admittedly few) that I talked to just thought it was silly.

They still think the plant and the smudging ceremonies are sacred. They just think there are more important things in the World than this fuss.

Which, BTW, didn't exist a week ago.

I have a bit of a problem with lumping different tribes under one heading like First Nations or Native or Amerindian. Whenever possible, I prefer to refer to the tribe name and not the generic label. The cultures and ceremonies are different.

That being said, the handful of Diné I talked in the last couple of days thought this was silly and virtue signaling. I think they were more irritated by "whites" trying to "protect" Amerindian rituals and plants than "whites" using sage in purification rituals.

It was only a small number of people. It would be a mistake to claim their opinion is representative or that I have a greater understanding of their culture.

But that's parity again. It cuts both ways. If the people I talked to are not representative, then what about the Amerindians who complained? If my understanding is insufficient, then what about all the non-Natives who are making a fuss now?

That happens a lot.

Thomas Sowell said “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

Just because it is truth doesn't mean people will listen.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNote — Responding to another Bookworm rant



Worst experiences with paganism


NeoNote — Excuse for sex

WebTree fire festival & cross quarter day. Harvestpoint marks the beginning of fall and the return of the dark, staring at sunset the day before the midpoint between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox and ending at sunset on the day after (traditional three days).


NeoNote — “Not all …”

Near Doetinchem in the Netherlands.


NeoNotes - clergy claims

I'm seeing people using their victimhood to control what others in the group will do.


NeoNotes — Women's studies

Okay, seriously though, and this relates to one of my long standing criticisms of women's studies (and any number of gender studies, skin color studies, etc.)

If these various fields of study have any worth at all, they have to acknowledge that they are only part of the picture. Limiting your studies to one subgroup is going to limit your understanding. Especially if you dismiss without question other subgroups. It's the difference between rigorous study and fantasyland. It's why the theoretical has to cross over with the practical. It's not enough to say how things should work, you have to examine how things actually work together. You have to look outside your preconceptions and expectations for the things you can't explain. Otherwise you never leave the echo chamber.

Or, women's studies without human studies is sh*t.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNotes – Government should not be trusted

This actually started as a student work


NeoNotes — Diversity

Here is where the scandalous part comes in.


NeoNotes — Defending my faith (the long one)

I hadn't heard of the "well poisoner" bit, although obviously I heard about "poisoner." There are certain bits that I don't let folks get away with, like the "unbroken matriarchal tradition" or "Never again the Burning Times"

I try to give Christians the benefit of the doubt, mainly because I expect the same. Some make it harder than others (Bob Barr). Live and let live works mostly.

Anyway, I'll go back to my books now.


Satanists are not witches, usually.

One does not like being labeled as the other.

Sort of like comparing an intramural softball team to a volunteer soup kitchen. There are similarities but there are far more differences.

And I've seen extremely energetic discussions why they aren't the same thing. I even agree with most of it, Satanism is usually more self-focused.

As far as the "eternal destination," no one This Side knows.

Which is almost certainly the point of being This Side.

Actually you don't.

You know that I don't like labels and that I prefer to live and let live. You know I think humans are mostly good, given half a chance and a few kind words.

But part of my path means I don't casually share the Names of my gods. It's part of how I honor them.

It's not your place to judge, and it certainly isn't your place to allow me anything.

It's literally between me and the Divine. Your own book teaches that.

Parity. Simple parity. You don't want your stuff questioned by me, don't try to impose it on me. Live & let live. You're not a gatekeeper no matter how hard you try.

I'd like to make this World just a little better than I found it. Where is it "written" that is wrong?

It's not complicated. It doesn't require Divine evaluation.

There you go again, trying to assume authority that was never yours.

There's nothing in that special handbook that gives Christians power over other humans.

I won't bow before your belief, just as you won't bow before mine. You can't require that of me and I can't require that of you.


Pardon, but I didn't say anything about forcing. That's not why I'm objecting.

He's disputing my beliefs because he doesn't share them. Nothing wrong with that. But then he attempts to put his beliefs over mine without logic, but faith. He'd be screaming bloody murder if I tried the same thing.

I don't allow it when the climate change crowd tries. I don't allow it when the RadFems try. And I don't allow it when certain Christians try. Not because I disagree, but because no one has the power to dictate faith.

I pointed out that no one This Side knew what the "eternal destination" was.

I pointed out that QM wants me to put his faith over mine.

"But that doesn't mean we have to stop trying to warn you."

"The only judgment he made was that God suffers you to live."

Both those were yours I think.

Pardon, but both those were taken from your replies.

"The key, however, is the eternal destination is the same…"

That was QM, above.

Absent proof, my belief is as valid as his. That was my point.

And NONE of that matters This Side, where it's up to us to Manifest the Divine in a way that hopefully makes the World a little better than we found it.

You and he are nitpicking about the afterlife when we should be focusing on the here and now.

Oh my, that is just too funny!

Just what do you think you're doing when you continually insist your beliefs apply to me when I disagree?

Oh, and while we're at it, note that I haven't said one blessed word about what I think will happen to you after This Side.

We weren't discussing invalidating, we were discussing calling something invalid.

We also had established that using your beliefs to control others is a Bad Thing™. Just in case you hadn't noticed, my criticism of Christianity is reactive and mostly directed against certain Christians.

Celebrate your beliefs and cherish your faith. All I ask is the same. Just don't demand that my beliefs and actions are bound by yours. Live and let live.

There is a difference.

You can call something invalid, but that does not invalidate it.

And yet you're still here trying to convince me.

Come down off your high horse.

This from someone who presumes that the default setting for humanity is Christianity, or at least that Christians are in the majority.

You know, one thing I haven't been able to figure out about you is why when you tell people that they should be Christian, the only reason you give is a vague threat about what "happens" to non-Christians after death.

Yes, yes, I know you're going to tell me it is not you that threatens and it is up to Christians to "warn" others.

I didn't say it was what you said, I said it was what you presumed.

Why are you so desperate for me to bow before your belief? If I didn't know better, I'd think you were threatened by my beliefs.

And of course, this discussion conveniently lets you ignore the here and now in favor of your "Christian duty."

Outside of religion, it's accepted practice to say "I disagree" and both parties move on.

However, some Christians act as if that's a full challenge.

For whatever reason, you feel you cannot allow dissent to your chosen creed. Now, the logical and respectable thing to do would be to accept that some believe differently and not "mark your territory." It would get you allies and a certain amount of leeway.

But that's not the way you're going to do it, is it?

You need to go back and read everything I've said.

No, I don't think so.

You beclown your by doing so, then whine that the other guy is doing bad things to you.

Actually what I do is show that when you can't handle the argument, you go after the person. It's amateurish and you can do better.

I'm not looking for allies.

You should be.

So you've gone from warning to leading me "around by the nose."

Except you haven't.

You still can't address the argument, you have to go after the person..

Having dealt with some incredibly silly propaganda over the years, I beg to differ.

The first step to invalidating something is to prove it wrong.

Words matter. Actions matter more. Intentions don't.

By the way, have you noticed you're focusing on my "unbelief" and the Christian reaction? Do you remember what I said a few posts back?

And NONE of that matters This Side, where it's up to us to Manifest the Divine in a way that hopefully makes the World a little better than we found it.

You and he are nitpicking about the afterlife when we should be focusing on the here and now.

Seek paradox for truth.

What you have is an either/or trap. You believe that the conditions of your faith are such that all other faiths and belief systems must be universally false. So when I say my faith tells me different, by your conditions I am declaring your faith to be Untruth.

But by the conditions of my faith. I'm just seeing things from another perspective.

What you need to ask yourself who imposed the either/or trap? Your god? Or people claiming to speak in His Name? Why should Diety be limited by a human logical construct?

It's paradox and illogic because some of the "universal" assumptions that you use aren't exactly universal.

You can mix metric and English parts, but something is probably going to come loose and fly apart.

Assume I am making a pie.

You tell me I need apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, cane sugar, apples that have been cored and peeled (preferably Granny Smith but others will work in a pinch)…

But I am making a key lime pie.

Then you tell me that's not a True Pie®. And it may not be from your perspective.

But from my point of view, it works just fine. It's round, it's dessert, and my guests will enjoy it.

There's not just one type of pie.

Your belief shouldn't control what I can and can not call a pie.

Who knows? Next month I may go with my grandmother's pecan pie. It's a pain to make but absolutely delicious.

My key lime pie and my pecan pie do not negate the existence of your apple pie. Your apple pie doesn't prevent me from making my key lime pie and my pecan pie. They aren't your pies so you may not wish to call them pies, but they exist for me.

You didn't state your motive, at least not all of it.

You stated your justification.

If it were really about "warning" people, you would give your warning a few times and that would be it.

You also wouldn't try to go after another's character when they disagree with you.

This is what you do.

When you can't dismiss the argument, you go after the person. When that doesn't work, you go after the person some more.

That doesn't work with me.

Simple questions.

Would you give up your faith and your beliefs for mine?

Why should I give mine up for yours?

Will it make you a better person?

Will it give you some Divine merit points?

Why should I care about some nebulous benefit that comes to you?

Live and let live.

The questions are central to this discussion. Particularly the first two.

Would you give up your faith and your beliefs for mine?

Why should I give mine up for yours?

I'm pretty sure if you think about those questions, you'll discover what "live and let live" means.

I've told you before that my faith and beliefs are at least as important to me as yours are to you.

You wouldn't stand for someone like me telling you what and how to worship.


Live and let live.

No, you are insisting that your beliefs trump mine.

I'm telling you they don't.

I never take anyone's word alone for their motives. I always include their actions.

Guess which I place more importance on.

Guess which tells me more.

He is the only reality.

You believe that, but you have no proof other than faith.

I do not believe as you do.

I have my own beliefs, they are at least as real to me as yours are to you.

I've no proof other than faith.

Live and let live.


You do in deed have "faith" but it is not faith based on a firm foundation.

As opposed to you?

Who are you to judge what is a "firm foundation?"

Why do you assume you have that power?

Go back and digest what I said earlier.

Why? Would you do that if I demanded that you do it with what I wrote?

I don't "assume" to have any power.

Again, your own words prove my point better than I could. You're here now, trying to disprove what I wrote, unleashing your "big guns." That's an awful lot of trouble to take against one man who is seriously outnumbered and hasn't really done anything except write "I disagree."

The main point I make is that there are different faiths and it's wrong to act as if Christianity controls the others.

You wouldn't stand for it if someone tried to do that to Christianity.


Live and let live.

Very simple.

Again, it's live and let live.

Not the strange rewrite that you keep pushing, but the simple idea.

I have my belief, you have yours. As long as you don't keep insisting that your belief governs mine, there's no problem.

It's your insecurity that makes this happen.

Through each of our every discussions, I've never criticized Christianity. It's always been specific followers.

Except you have.

Every single time you trotted out your afterlife threat. Every single time you've insisted that people with other faiths are bound by Christian rules. Every time you've insisted on deference for Christianity while dismissing other faiths.

Can you show how your "firm foundation" is better than mine?

In fact, let's take it one step further.

Can you give me ANYTHING except a vague threat about the afterlife to tell me what a good thing Christianity is and how it is better than my faith?

I've never seen you do that, you know. You recite plenty of afterlife threats, but never any benefits This Side.

I've never seen you do it for anyone you disagree with.

Always with the threats.

Never with the wonders.

Certainly something to think about.

You still haven't established how your "firm foundation" is better than mine.

So now we've come back to where it all began.

Your problem is that you want me to put your faith first and I tell you "no" because I have something else.

No other reason.

You can't tell me the wonders of Christianity, you can only claim that my faith is lacking because it is not Christian.

That is just sad.

ETA: Okay, that was awkwardly worded. Let's try again.

But you still can't bring yourself to say what the wonders are.


I'm not telling you how, or what, to worship. I've simply pointed out the warnings of the consequences of rejecting Christ.

Behold the contradiction.

Or the paradox if you prefer.

As I told RHW above, if there's a paradox, chances are pretty good at least one of your core assumptions is wrong.

He can claim Biblical justification all he wants, but he needs something other than "the Bible told me so." If that's all he got, then his faith is no different than mine, is it?

He may believe that it's more, but he can't control my belief. That's why he trots out "my God suffers you to live."

Instead of looking at the World and how we might make a difference, he presumes his faith gives him the power to give judgement, even as he denies the judgement is his.

And if anyone disputes it, well, it's Holy Writ, isn't it?

It certainly has very little to do with the message of the Bible.

Unfortunately this is not my first or thirteenth dance with QM, we have a history. He has in fact at different times done everything you said he hasn't done on this specific thread.

I'd still prefer live and let live. Which means not publicly insisting that the tenants of your faith control the actions of others. It also means finding a common morality without putting one religion over all others.

Is it more important that I acknowledge that "the Bible is Holy Writ," or is it more important that I agree that government mandated and funded abortion is A Really Bad Thing™?

Which is more practical?

That's the thing. You and others believe that the Bible is "Holy Writ," but that doesn't make it so.

I happen to think there are some good ideas there, but I don't think it's particularly holy.

Now we can get hung up on my "unbelief" and Christian reaction to it, or we can find things we do agree on and work from there.

Again, which is more practical?

And why do you feel compelled to speak for your God? Did he call you on the phone? Was there a registered letter?

More importantly, how does that get us closer to agreeing?

My faith and beliefs are at least as important to me as yours are to you.

"The Almighty, however, probably has a different perspective on what you believe."

Beats the usual. Most Christians just cite chapter and verse.

Nothing wrong with that PROVIDED you don't use it to try to control others.

And yes, I know Christians are supposed to spread the news. However, Christians don't appreciate it when others do it to them.

Parity. Or the Golden Rule, if you prefer.

*shrugs* Which is why I don't usually make it except under very specific circumstances.

Some Christians insist that the rules defined by their religion are universal and everyone must comply or else.

I disagree. That's usually when I'm accused of attacking Christianity.

"Neither of us have accused you of attacking anyone."

Give QM time.

"Listen to us or don't, that's your choice."

Stars above, if only it were that simple.

"But that doesn't mean we have to stop trying to warn you."

And if you only did it once each or once each per thread, that would be great.

But I didn't lie.

As for the afterlife, you have your belief and I have mine. No one This Side knows.

You were the one who took exception to that statement.

"You are your source of authority."

No, I'm not.

Perhaps what frustrates you most is that you can't denounce my faith without undermining your own. At the end of the day, we don't have anything but our faith. Mine is just as valid as yours by every "objective" measure you trot out.

Live and let live. Why is that so hard for you to accept?

My posts "reveal" that I answer to an authority different than yours.

I never claimed an "objective" standard. Truths are incredibly subjective.

How many times have I told you that a man is measured in the lives he touches?

That's not exactly about the self, is it?

Of course it is not you that threaten, it is your God. He just sits down at your keyboard and types away.

That tells me is that you don't know your God very well.

Yep, too many people are into religion for the politics.

No, you believe that the Bible is God-inspired. So do a lot of other people. That doesn't make it "objectively true." Especially since it is the most heavily edited, redacted, and revised book in history. Remarkably well preserved, but still.

What I "fessed up to" was that I didn't remember the Hebrew that I studied briefly for a few months about three decades ago. Since I don't use Hebrew regularly, that's hardly surprising.

Again, if you don't like what I have to say about the Bible, stop insisting that I am bound by it. Even Christians are extremely selective when it comes to the portions they use.

ETA: I don't think the Christian message was ever intended to be confined to dusty writings.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNotes — IQ is culture dependent

If the winter solstice is the middle of winter and the summer solstice is the middle of summer, the vernal equinox is the middle of spring and the autumnal equinox is the middle of fall.


NeoNotes — the middle

Thinking by blogging

Rain in my desert always makes me think.


NeoNotes — multiple intelligences

It's important to understand that The Bell Curve deals with intelligence, not potential ability. As a rough definition, measurable intelligence is the practical knowledge and skills necessary for a given set of problem solving. There are probably multiple intelligences, each with it's own scope and limitations. The upshot of which is that English literature doesn't grant the ability to tune up a motorcycle. "Street smarts" won't help you balance a checkbook.

I did say probably. The theory does have it's detractors, but it is effective. Much of the problem lies in the definition of "intelligence."

Look at it this way. Leg presses build up your torso and leg muscles, but don't do much for your arms or hands. Different muscle groups are used for different things and they aren't all useful for everything. Likewise, different intelligences work for you in different situations.

I've got three problems with Gardner's original model. He didn't allow for as yet undefined intelligences (he fixed that when he added to the original group). And he left out two obvious (to me anyway) intelligences. First, he didn't distinguish between gross motor coordination (a baseball pitcher) and fine motor coordination (a jeweler). Second, he didn't allow for awareness and interaction with the Divine. Historically and across many cultures, there have been examples of this particular intelligence, even if we ourselves don't understand it well. I call it gnostic intelligence, the identifying and labeling is my own small contribution to Gardner's theory.

Jordan Peterson would be the first to tell you not to treat anyone as the absolute authority on everything, including himself. While I admire Peterson's work, my studies and experiences have shown that Gardner's theory does produce practical results. Too many results to dismiss the theory out of hand.

Peterson didn't say IQ, he said intelligence.

I still think much of the problem is in the definition of that word "intelligence." It's not a general problem solving ability. As you pointed out, Gardner used examples who were extremely gifted in one area but deficient in others. That alone means that "intelligence" as it's usually defined is inaccurate.

I just wrote a short piece at my pagan slice-of-life blog going into further detail. I understand if people here don't want to go there, so I'll sum up. An intelligence is a set of mental tools that can solve a problem. What works with one challenge won't work with another, anymore than you could exchange a pipe wrench with a smartphone and expect the same results.

I understand your concerns, but I still think the problem here is in the definition of that word "intelligence."

For example, you might be able to recite Shakespeare, but I'm pretty sure you can't speak Navajo. While those skills are probably related (sort of - the Navajo use different assumptions about time & distance), neither gives you the skill to bake a cake from scratch or help you deal with the loss of a loved one.

We develop patterns of behavior that we use to deal with life. Sometimes we have the patterns we need, sometimes not. But there are patterns that just don't help with other things.

The problem isn't with multiple intelligences, the problem is with a badly defined word that doesn't really do what we are asking.

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

Okay, this is a terrible oversimplification, but I have to explain if I expect people to understand.

I said above that much of the problem is in that word "intelligence." Understand, the word is not the thing. Just because you have a symbol for something doesn't mean you have the thing itself. Manipulating the symbol doesn't let you manipulate the thing unless unless you've built the framework and links. Your cell phone is the front end of a very complex network, pressing 7 on the phone does nothing unless you are connected to the network.

And yes, magick works the same way. The symbol is not the thing.

Intelligence in it's strictest sense is not something easily measured. We know it's an approximation. We use chronological age to calculate the intelligence quotient. We know it's not linear. We know that gaining intelligence has to do with the plasticity of the brain. That slows down after the age of 25 or so. We know that older people find it difficult to gain new intelligence and adjust behavior patterns, especially if those behavior patterns have generated passion in the past.

Not success, but passion. Your brain doesn't care if it's "bad" or "good," "successful" or "failure." The feedback mechanism isn't designed to distinguish between positive or negative, only the amount of passion.

And yes, obviously that means that the more you focus on how bad you failed, the less likely you are to achieve your result.

Gods, I could write pages on the passion feedback loop, but it really does boil down to three words. Amount, not polarity.

With that in mind, let's refine the definition from my NeoNote above. Measurable intelligence is the practical knowledge and skills necessary for a given set of problem solving AND the ability to change the knowledge and skills as needed.

In other words, it's not enough to succeed. You need to adjust your thinking and skills as needed for new situations.

Intelligence IS NOT general problem solving. The ability to compose a song does not translate to the ability to weave a rug. A sledge hammer doesn't work as a screwdriver. A pry bar won't start a fire.

So let's refine the definition again. Remember, this is still only an approximation. An intelligence is a set of mental tools that can solve a problem.

With that definition, it's easier to accept that you use one mental toolkit for English literature and another for algebra. Hence, different intelligences.

One last thing, the picture above is not complete. I already wrote about the differences between gross motor coordination and fine motor coordination. And of course there's gnostic intelligence. There are almost certainly intelligences that haven't been identified yet.

An intelligence is a set of mental tools that can solve a problem.

NeoNotes — Fluffies and Crusaders

The pagan loves the earth in order to enjoy it and confine himself within it; the Christian in order to make it purer and draw from it the strength to escape from it.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

NeoNotes — Define magick

Neither bound by tradition nor decree, but my own actions and deeds.
— anonymous

NeoNotes — Perception and symbols

Why it was removed is unclear.


NeoNotes — Shift happens

1 pint Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream dumped into a sixty-four oz thermal mug (yes they exist). Fill up the rest with double-strength Circle K coffee at 2 a.m.

It didn't keep me alert, but it did keep me awake. Sometimes for a couple of days.
— NeoWayland

NeoNotes — A long hard look

Sending kids to "get religion" instead of practicing it with them is one of the surest setups for failure I know.
— NeoWayland

NeoNotes — Man separate from Nature

When we are hurting, we pull back. We shut things out. We shut our loved ones out. We wrap ourselves deep in our strongest passions. We keep the world at bay.
— NeoWayland, Feeling

NeoNotes — Real religion

Pardon, I don't think anyone is capable of judging what is and is not a "real" religion. I can't tell you how many times certain Christians have told me that my faith isn't real.

Pauline Christianity is something completely different that what Yeshua Ben Yosef preached. Gnostic Christianity is something completely different yet again. Which is true? Who knows? Who am I to judge what happens between someone else and the Divine?

I think these are the wrong questions. Christians are much nicer when they aren't the only game around. From what little I've seen, the same applies to Muslims.

I think what matters is how we treat others, especially others who do not share our faith and culture. Ramming it down other's throat by force will cause resentment. That's where some monotheists go wrong. It's not that they have the True Faith™, its that no other faith can be allowed. Because of their Greater Understanding and enlightenment, they can break society's rule for the Greater Good. Thou shalt not dissent.

Climate change alarmists stole the game lock, stock, and barrel. It's common for some of the radical feminists too. If anything, I think it indicates a weakness in the argument. Their faith isn't strong enough, they can't convince others, so it must be forced.

Getting back to Christianity, how much would history have changed if Constantine hadn't made it the state faith? How would it have developed if it had stayed one faith among many? How much of the Official® was really about politics and controlling the populace?

Could it be that control is really the issue?

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNotes - style and a niche market

For all of the evidence of Christian bigotry, there's tolerance and pluralism right there beside it.


NeoNotes — Somebody finally said the C word

Thinking by blogging

It's hard to find energy so I can do things.


NeoNotes — Roy Moore and the Decalogue monument - updated

Thinking by blogging

Still, I missed some things.


NeoNotes — Satanic sacrifice

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.
— Dale Carnegie

NeoNotes — Judaism

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.
— Roald Dahl

NeoNotes — Ecology vs environmentalism

Morality in sexual relations, when it is free from superstition, consists essentially in respect for the other person, and unwillingness to use that person solely as a means of personal gratification, without regard to his or her desires.
— Bertrand Russell

NeoNotes — 10th anniversary of “Pentacle Quest”

If you don't like gambling or shows, there's not much that sets Las Vegas apart.


NeoNotes — Help

It's the last bright moon before Summergate, the Lady Moon is entering the Court of Stars and I am ready.

For what I am not sure.


NeoNotes — “J'accuse ...!” - updated

I make it a practice to never call it history until a year and a day after the event.
— NeoWayland

NeoNotes — A strong woman

Our nation in particular calls back to the classical Greeks and the Roman Republic.


NeoNotes — Which god?

Most importantly, my faith is not political.


NeoNotes — Witchcraft as rebellion

Ravens are amazing birds aren't they?


NeoNotes — Ravens today

Um, how big are your cats?

Ravens in Northern AZ can get very big. I've seen them face down large cats and even coyotes.

ETA: More information here. And What's the difference between a crow and a raven?

I'd change the law so I could legally pick up feathers that ravens shed.

Ravens are amazing birds aren't they?

There's a lot of them in Northern Arizona, especially in the small towns and around the canyons. Visitors call them big crows but they are definitely ravens. It's not unusual to see feathers on the ground, although they disappear quickly. It is rare though, I hardly ever see it more than two or three times a year.

I tell you this merely as a point of information. I'm sure you're a law abiding citizen.

In the summer I sometimes share my breakfast with a local raven. The rest of the year (like today) I'll go outside around sunrise with a hot drink and something to nibble. That's usually for him.
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


NeoNotes — SRW

Sex without the emotional connection is masturbation. And just as fulfilling.

NeoNotes — The name thing


Because this post discusses child sexuality, the entry text has been removed from the front page and the category pages. Click the post title above or the link below to load.


NeoNotes — Sex positive

That's when I squirm out of bed and go find a place to read or skim the internet. At least one of us should sleep.


NeoNotes — Nothing supernatural exists

I am recoding the Lexicon.


NeoNotes — Origin of Wicca

”And The Rhythm Of Life is a powerful beat…”



Let's talk about how your mind works.


NeoNotes — What witch?

I don't think animals should be killed for ritual use. I have issues with animals being killed for food. It's why I still pray before meals. I'm honoring their sacrifice even though I know they don't understand.


No dissent, or The content of his character

A real man loves strong women, whether as lovers or just as friends, because weak ones are boring, often parasitical, and make the worst exes.
— Isaac Bonewits

Why do I do it? Internet debates, emails, and online Pagan groups

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C65989237/E20100218113503

I am what I am - updated

Let's face it, getting involved in these prolonged internet debates isn't exactly the healthiest behavior out there. When it comes to relieving frustration, not only to I have perfectly reasonable poly-resin skull to talk to, I have bed companions who are more than willing to let me indulge my odd tastes. Perhaps not as much as I would like, but certainly more than occasionally.

I wrote about it some in Almost the last advocate at Pagan Vigil.

Live and let live works mostly. When that doesn't work, KYFHO comes through. But usually there is no one else willing to make a stand. Unpopular religions? I'll defend them to the end until they impose on someone else. Same with political groups. Or rights groups.

The one thing I insist on is that free choice is a cornerstone. Including the rights of the members to walk away if they choose. As long as they do that and don't force themselves on any others, I believe that they are free to do what they want.

ARE, not should be.

Because that is the right I expect for myself, and it's not a right unless everyone else has it too. Otherwise it's a privilege taken at someone else's expense.

Even though it means that I end up defending ideas and practices that I find questionable at best, I can't do anything else and stay true to myself.

I won't kid you, there's a part of me that grooves on taking someone down a notch or two using nothing more than logic and their own arguments. I've also been known to go searching, well, not exactly for fights but for places where someone is likely to trip over their own words and pretensions and fights will break out. It's sick, unhealthy, and I try to find other ways to handle frustrations these days.

I also know that it's unhealthy to use kinky sex as a substitute, but them's the breaks.

But when it comes to Pagans and small "L" libertarians, I take it personally. Particularly if I care about the group. If anyone should know about the dangers of scapegoating, it's Pagans. We know that Pagans aren't crouching naked in the bushes, waiting to rape your kids or sacrifice your cat under the next full moon. Or maybe it is the other way around.

But we also know that there are more than enough people who believe that Pagans are there to do exactly that. And it doesn't help that some of us are casual about nudity and sex to begin with.

I don't believe that modern Pagans can let ourselves become that which we might fear. Just because someone calling themselves a Christian did something horrible 1739 years ago doesn't mean we can afford to label someone else a monster today.

The thing is, if we insist that someone is innocent until proven guilty, that's a sword that cuts both ways. It means that we can't allow ourselves the luxury of scapegoats, even in the secret places where they will never know we did it. We'll know, and that will be enough to undo our goals.

I've given up internet debates these days unless it is in a REALLY Good Cause. It's not that I don't want to, the gods know that I want it bad. And I am very very good. My own weird sense of ethics and responsibility insists that I tell my opponents I am good. Or maybe it is just my Coyote-warped sense of humor. Let me share something I wrote in a private email.

By insisting that everyone be judged by their actions, I'm also invoking civilized behavior. If I show fair play and they don't play nice, I'm under no obligation to respect their rules as I deal with them. Civilized means that no one can threaten force or try to intimidate someone. Depending on how mischievous I'm feeling, I might even insist on no insults. If they can't compete under those conditions, that doesn't say much for their opinions or their cause.

I just stacked the odds heavily in my favor. I already know I can probably argue most people under the table and three times on Sunday, and that is at even odds.

If someone doesn't "play nice," they just ceded moral authority and I am justified in my actions. No one watching could say otherwise. After all, I dealt with them fairly at first.

Even then, I probably wouldn't "defeat" them or "destroy" them. I wouldn't want to create martyrs. Instead I would defuse them, defang them, render them harmless.

It's hard to scare someone if they are busy chuckling

I know, it doesn't say much for my character and desires that I indulge in these confrontations, even if it's only occasionally.

But wouldn't you rather me do it in support of honor than wily-nily? It's a tradeoff.

I am what I am
And the man that I am
Demands what I dream
I am what I am

Yes, that is one of mine. Great for last stands or True Beliefs. For maximum effect, plant your feet, flex your knees, and face things head on. Say it out loud.

When all your choices are bad, sometimes the only choice is to listen to your heart and embrace your dream.
Update - Yes, the Otherkin thing is an example of how I didn't follow these principles. It's also a mild example of what happens when things go wrong. Lesson learned.

Posted: Thu - February 18, 2010 at 11:35 AM


On Christians and Pagan tolerance

Bet you thought I wasn't going to get one up today. I almost didn't.


NeoNote — When the universe has it's way with you

Feeling the energy


NeoNote — Skyclad

"all of that sunshine,
all of that sweet golden sunshine,
that thrills me and fills me and…"



Popping up. Will be back in a couple of days.


Sunfell Tech Mage Rede Nine Words Serve The Tech Mage Best Keep What Works Fix What’s Broke Ditch The Rest

A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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