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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.

A work in progress. Explaining words and phrases that I often use. Noting new and interesting ideas. Discussing certain verbal warning signs. There’s no social justice or political correctness here.

Underlined links will open the tag or category page. Offsite links will open a new window.


Today's secret word is
ace factor       acknowledge but not celebrate       active       active listening       Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame       agape       Age of Wonders       agora       air       Alban Eiler       Alban Elfed       allies       allies not servants       Ancestral Mystical Authority       animism       answer honestly       Antifa       anthropic principle       aphelion       apogee       Arbor Day       archaeoastronomy       Arizona time       as a rule, absolutes don’t       ascending node       Ash Wednesday       ASIN       Asperger syndrome       astronomical dawn       astronomical dusk       astronomical twilight       athamé - the ritual blade       atheopaganism       audere       aunts & grandmothers       aura       Authority Figure™       auto didacticism       autumnal equinox                  
Aa…   b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

ace factor

My name for the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule that dates back at least to the Roman Republic. Writers at the time knew that if you isolated the right 1 out of 5 prisoners from the others, the rest became nearly docile. In WWII, the U.S. Army Air Corps discovered that roughly 20% of the combat pilots delivered 80% of the kills. The Army Air Corps studied combat aces to identify the traits. All that work just showed that aces had a certain irreverence for authority, an incredible drive to get the job done, and a certain intuition that defied any kind of classification. The regular Army found that a similar ratio held for tank commanders. The really freaky bit is that without those “aces” well distributed and highly visible to the rest of the service, the service’s effectiveness could drop by nearly half. We need our heroes clearly in sight. Today in business the 80/20 rule usually means that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients, but versions of this rule exist all over. Just remember it’s not necessarily universal.


acknowledge but not celebrate - ABNC

This grew out of my birthday calendar. I don’t celebrate birthdays myself, but birthdays are important to the people around me. I should at least keep track. Then it spread to other holidays that I do not celebrate. Finally I realized it was an important idea in and of itself.

It works for sexuality, religion, and politics. You may be Catholic, but I don't have to celebrate Mass because it makes you feel good. I could accept the guy across the street was gay, but I didn’t have to celebrate his homosexuality. I could have a Mormon relative, but I do not have to practice his faith.



They do, they manifest.


active listening

When I use my version, I say approximately one thing for every three things that the other person say. This is a simplification, other methods may be worth your time.



“to assent tacitly; submit or comply silently or without protest; agree; consent”


Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame - ABCDEF

One of the best tools to evaluate groups or leaders, particularly those that seem a little off. I first ran across this marvel in Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon. Pre world wide web, I can’t tell you how many copies I made for minister and priest friends who were looking for a little help with awkward situations.


agape or agaph

A selfless love, a self-giving love, self sacrifice that requires no reciprocation. Call this the "just because" love. The appearance of agape is often used to cloak possessiveness. Christianity places a great deal of store by this love, although it can easily mask codependency and some really questionable behavior. One of the Greek ideals of love.

See also love


Age of Wonders

Today is the Age of Wonders, the most amazing time in human history, with marvels and miracles far beyond any other time.



  1. a popular political assembly.
  2. the place where such an assembly met, originally a marketplace or public square.
  3. the Agora, the chief marketplace of Athens, center of the city's civic life.

“Agorism is a political philosophy founded by Samuel Edward Konkin III and developed with contributions by J. Neil Schulman that holds as its ultimate goal bringing about a society in which all "relations between people are voluntary exchanges – a free market." The term comes from the Greek word "agora," referring to an open place for assembly and market in ancient Greek city-states. Ideologically, it is a term representing a revolutionary type of anarcho-capitalism or free-market anarchism. Schulman integrated the idea of counter-economics into Konkin's libertarian philosophy, which is the advocacy of untaxed black market activity, which agorists say will lead to development of private defense force sufficient to protect private property and liberty from the state to the point where such protection is strong enough to overthrow the state.”



One of the five traditional elements in Western occultism. Corresponds with one of the four known states of matter, gas.

See also noscere


Alban Eiler     See Ostara, vernal equinox

Alban Elfed     See Mabon, autumnal equinox

Alban Hefin     See Litha, summer solstice


I share part of their world, and they share part of mine. Sometimes more than I am comfortable with. I don’t converse with them as much anymore, but I can still feel them. Do they exist separately or are they my own subconscious creations?


allies not servants

My version of what Starhawk called “power with instead of power over.”


Ancestral Mystical Authority

Claims at least one unbroken line of magick workers with the strong implication that their juju is better than your juju because their ancestors did it better and longer and that True Magick is only passed through the ancestor’s blood. Often used as a distraction to keep other people from noticing that the claimant lacks 1) ability, 2) training, 3) common sense, 4) experience, 5) lineage, or 6) any or all of these things. Basically it’s a big “Shut the F*ck Up!!” to any one else present who might have another way. Used by certain pagan authors who want to become Big Name Pagans.



All things possess a Divine nature because the universe is the Divine made manifest. But there are individual spirits. Granted, these spirits may be little more than human projections, but I choose to perceive and honor them as if they were separate.


answer honestly

When asked answer honestly, but don’t volunteer information. Don’t correct anyone else when they are talking about their beliefs, but don’t be afraid when they are spreading misinformation about yours.

Don’t call another out unless it’s to prevent greater harm.



“Antifa, which stands for “anti-fascist action,” is a network of loosely affiliated far-left anarchist and communist groups that orchestrate violent protests and attacks on populists, conservatives, and anyone else its members deem to be “fascists” or “Nazis.”

Antifa was formed originally in Germany in the 1980s, its members taking the name of the communist paramilitary groups that engaged the Nazis in street-fighting in the 1930s. It now has active cells across the world, including in Germany, the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Czechia, and France.”


anthropic principle

My version is lifted shamelessly from Babylon 5, “We are the Universe trying to understand itself.” In cosmology, any of several similar explanations for the nature of the universe, and for the values of its fundamental constants, that states either that the universe is as it is because otherwise we wouldn't be here to observe it, or that the very presence of intelligent life constrains the universe to be as it is.
  • weak anthropic principle - conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist
  • strong anthropic principle - the universe must have properties that make inevitable the existence of intelligent life



“the instant when a planet is furthest from the Sun”



“the instant when the Moon is furthest from Earth”


Arbor Day

“Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. As a formal holiday, it was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska, but tree planting festivals are as old as civilization. The tree has appeared throughout history and literature as the symbol of life.

The idea for Arbor Day in the United States originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Among the pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was Julius Sterling Morton from Detroit. He and his wife, Caroline, were lovers of nature, and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly planted with trees, shrubs, and owers.

Morton was a journalist and soon be- came editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper. Given that forum, he spread agricultural information and his enthusiasm for trees to a receptive audience. His fellow pio- neers missed their trees and needed them for windbreaks, fuel, building materials and shade from the hot prairie sun. A visit to Nebraska today wouldn’t disclose the state was once a treeless plain, yet it was the lack of trees there that led to the founding of Arbor Day in the 1800s.

Morton wrote and spoke about environmental stewardship and the interrelated- ness of life. He encouraged everyone to set aside a specific day to plant trees.”

New Mexico Arbor Day - second Friday in March - state tree is piñon

Arkansas Arbor Day - third Monday in March - state tree is pine

National Arbor Day - last Friday in April

Arizona Arbor Day - last Friday in April - state tree is palo verde

Nevada Arbor Day - last Friday in April
state trees are single leaf piñon and bristlecone pine

Utah Arbor Day - last Friday in April - state tree is aspen

Colorado Arbor Day - last Friday in April - state tree is blue spruce



“The modern scientific study and theorization of memorialized constructions, prior to telescopes, by worldwide students of the sky, including writings and symbols engraved in stone, related to their observations of the Sun, stars and constellations with the placement or carving of paired gnomon and target alignments,comets, rhythms of the 5 visible planets, lunar eclipses, phases and standstills,or an anomaly such as a localized total solar eclipse, a planetary occlusion by the Moon,a planetary conjunction, a supernova, an asteroid, a meteor or an unidentifiable object.”


Arizona time

Time in northern Arizona is complicated. Technically Arizona does not do Daylight Savings Time. But the Navajo Reservation does, mainly because it spans four states. The Hopi Reservation does not do Daylight Savings Time, but it's surrounded by the Navajo Reservation.

Now to make things even more interesting, the Arizona Strip in northwestern Arizona is cut off from the rest of the state. The only way to reach it is to drive into Utah (which does do Daylight Savings Time) and drop back into Arizona. Across the western border of the Arizona Strip is Nevada, which also does Daylight Savings Time.



as a rule, absolutes don’t - AARAD

My quick and dirty answer to people who give a “moral absolute” to life or the practice of magick. The long answer is that while there are some absolutes we accept in the physical sciences, there are other things that we used to call absolute which later proved anything but (i.e. exceeding the speed of sound). Usually these absolutes are highly dependent on local conditions (speed of light in a vacuum). Every moral absolute I’ve ever encountered depends on cultural or religious assumptions that probably aren’t shared by all people present.


ascending node

“the point where a planet crosses from the southern to northern portion of its orbit”


Ash Wednesday      See also Selected Christian Observances


“The Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is a 10-snwc alphanumeric unique identifier assigned by Amazon.com and its partners for product identification within the Amazon.com organization.

ASINs are implemented in multiple local region editions of Amazon, including the United Kingdom, French, German, Italian, Canadian and Japanese storefronts. Although ASINs used to be unique worldwide, global expansion has changed so that ASINs are only guaranteed unique within a marketplace. The same product may be referred to by several ASINs though, and different national sites may use a different ASIN for the same product. In general, ASINs are likely to be different between the country sites unless they are for a class of product where the ASIN is based on an externally defined and internationally consistent identifier, such as ISBN for books. (Where the ASIN is the same across sites, it is likely to be because the 3rd party creator of the product information was careful to quote an existing ASIN when creating the product in second and subsequent countries, or the subsequent product creation offered exact duplicate information and long enough after the initial creation to allow indexes to have been updated. Also, ISBNs can vary between countries for the same book if a separate print run or edition was published for the country.)

Each product sold on Amazon.com is given a unique ASIN. For books with 10-digit International Standard Book Number (ISBN), the ASIN and the ISBN are the same. The Kindle edition of a book will not use its ISBN as the ASIN.”


astronomical dawn

“Astronomical dawn is the time when the geometric center of the Sun is at 18 degrees below the horizon. Before this time, the sky is absolutely dark.”


astronomical dusk

“Astronomical dusk is the instant when the geographical center of the Sun is at 18 degrees below the horizon. After this point, the sky is no longer illuminated.

In the morning, the sky is completely dark before the onset of astronomical twilight, and in the evening, the sky becomes completely dark at the end of astronomical twilight. Any celestial bodies that can be viewed by the naked eye can be observed in the sky after the end of this phase.”


astronomical twilight

“Astronomical twilight occurs when the Sun is between 12 degrees and 18 degrees below the horizon.”


Asperger syndrome

“Asperger syndrome is one of several previously separate subtypes of autism that were folded into the single diagnosis autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with the publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual in 2013.

Asperger syndrome was generally considered to be on the 'high functioning' end of the spectrum. Affected children and adults have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Motor development may be delayed, leading to clumsiness or uncoordinated motor movements. Compared with those affected by other forms of ASD, however, those with Asperger syndrome do not have significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development. Some even demonstrate precocious vocabulary – often in a highly specialized field of interest.”


athamé - the ritual blade

“The black-handled knife that is the traditional witches’ weapon. It is used for drawing the magic circle and for controlling and banishing spirits.

The use by witches of a magical weapon of this kind is very ancient. A picture upon a Greek vase of circa 200 B.C. shows two naked witches engaged in ‘drawing down the moon’, that is, invoking the powers of the moon to aid in their magic. One holds a wand and the other a short sword. Evidently the magical knife could have evolved from this sword.”

“Often referred to as the athame (pronounced a-tha-may) in Wiccan traditions, the magic knife is not used for cutting but for the directing of energy and manipulation of power. In some branches of Paganism, a sword is used in place of the athame. The traditional athame is double-edged and although the tip is usually pointed, the edges of the blade are often dull. After all, it's a ceremonial knife rather than a practical one. Commonly linked with the element Fire, the athame is a phallic symbol and is often used to represent the God. The athame is used for casting a circle or for the direction of energy.”

“One of the common altar tools. Traditionally, it's a double bladed knife with a black handle. Sometimes they can be difficult to find, so many modern Wiccans will use any kind of knife or blade as their athame. The athame represents the element fire (or air, in some traditions) and is often used to cast the circle. Athames are not used for cutting or other mundane tasks, though they can be used to cut the cake at a Handfasting. Pronunciation: a-THAW-may or athem-AY.”

“It is a dagger used in rituals, primarily to focus and concentrate power. It is a phallic symbol and as a cutting tool a divider, and thus represents The God. Magic swords are another version of the Atheme and are popular in fantasy novels and myth. One example is Excaliber, which King Arthur uses via "divine right". Another is Stormbringer, as used by Elric in the stories written by Micheal Moorcock. Note the dual imagery. Excalibre was used as a force for order, Stormbringer drank souls and was a force for Chaos. Tools are only as good as their user.”
After study and experimentation, I'm pretty sure that the athamé owes more to high ceremonial magick than any pre-Gardnerian witchcraft tradition and probably is closer to a ritual sword than anything else. But sometimes the best symbol for a thing is the thing itself. I've experimented with something based on a Roman gladius, but really don't like the feel.

Still, for most purposes, a blessed pocket knife will do as well.
See also boline





To dare. Act with courage. Question everything. Traditionally associated with water, change, and courage.


aunts & grandmothers

“The men may sit in council but the aunts and the grandmothers shape lives.” Measure a culture by the attention it pays to those not a part of the official leadership structure. Especially the women.



“One or more energy fields supposedly generated by and surrounding all beings and many objects; those persons blessed with clairvoyance or other psychic talents can “read” the patterns of energy and determine information about the person or object.”
Isaac Bonewits, “glossary - Aura”, Real Magic

Another one of those really, really misunderstood concepts that has caused more problems than it has solved. It's not seeing, it's perceiving.

More accurately, it's translating “resonances”  into sensory analogues. Sort of like “hearing” by seeing the waveform on an oscilloscope at a distance through a telescopic lens with filters that randomly change. It's imperfect, imprecise, highly subjective, and varies according to location, experience, mood, and expectations.

As for Kirlian photography, it has nothing to do with the aura. There's no overlap, and someone's insistence that Kirlian photography “proves” that the aura exists just complicates things.


Authority Figure™

If you don't question what a book or Authority Figure™ tells you, you aren't doing your part. Ask questions. Question the answers. Question your questions.


auto didacticism

The process or practice of learning a subject without a teacher or formal education; self-education.


autumnal equinox      See equinox

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