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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.
Isaac Bonewits

“If it works, it’s true.”

If a pattern of belief or behavior enables a being to survive and to accomplish chosen goals, than that belief or behavior is “true” or “real” or “sensible” on whatever levels of reality are involved.

“That which is sent, returns.”

The sun is making all the green gold.


“Everything contains its opposite.”

I used to think that this was a silly thing Christians used to hide their own insecurity. And if I had my druthers, I'd put this is a caution box with the red banner and be done with it.


“If anything can go wrong, it will.”

“Let It Be Flash Mob for United Girls of the World”


“Anything can be a person.”

I should warn you, reading the article that prompted this entry is depressing.


“You live in your cosmos and I’ll live in mine.”


“Opposites attract.”

Just people enjoying themselves


Elvis has left the building

Neo admits he's still a bit of a nerd, even after all these years


Absolutely mythical

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C1325529963/E20071009133622

Dualism and modern mythology

From some reason as I write this, I've got the tune to Robert Palmer's Simply Irresistible running through my head with new lyrics.

When it comes to modern Pagan philosophers, Isaac Bonewits was one of my earliest influences. His writings on the distortions created by dualistic assumptions were some of the best I had ever read. It was one of those "ton of brick" moments, I was struggling with my identity as a Pagan despite being raised Christian. And Bonewits is absolutely right.

Except when it comes to his own politics.

It's common. Those EITHER/OR blinders are a lot more widespread than we comfortably admit. Especially when it comes to ourselves.

My own blinders include prejudices against "fluffy bunnies" and until quite recently otherkin. Part of that was because I didn't make the effort to dig deeper, but mainly because the "noisiest" examples aren't necessarily the people you'd want around you. There are exceptions, but they are difficult to find.

I absolutely love Wren's Nest, I consider it one of the the best Pagan news sources around. But it doesn't take long before a commenter trots out the anti-Christian bit on almost any thread.

One of my hard won life lessons that I am willing to share is very simple. When you see two and only two alternatives, start looking for the third.

In most situations, either/or choices don't work.

A dualistic mind set is one of those REALLY BAD™ ideas.

It doesn't matter if it's Christian vs. Pagan, Democrat vs. Republican, or Freemasons vs. the Elks.

I made that last one up. And that is my point. The myths we choose to talk about and live are the memes that shape our lives, regardless of their "truth."

I want to talk about one of the best known myths of our time, and how it illustrates the Third Way that overcomes dualism. I'm talking about the Star Wars films.

Specifically, I want to concentrate on the differences between the pre-Empire Galactic Republic and the Galactic Empire on the large scale, and between Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker on the small scale.

From the original films, we know that the Galactic Empire is EVIL BAD in capital letters. They destroy entire planets. They make their stormtroopers wear dorky armor that doesn't seem to deflect much blaster fire. They squeeze the economies of their member planets. They send secret operatives to ferret out dissent.

From the prequel films, we know that the Republic are the good guys. They have a democratic tradition which prevents justice and can be manipulated behind the scenes. They make their cloned stormtroopers wear dorky armor that doesn't seem to prevent much blaster fire. They squeeze the economies of their member planets. And they send secret operatives to ferret out dissent.

The Empire has the Death Star, but the Republic is incapable of defending one of it's members from the advances of another. Is it evil to destroy life with the push of a button or with the procedural vote?

Be careful, that is one of those either/or choices I warned you about.

So let's look at how Anakin Skywalker fared under the Galactic Republic.

Time after time, he's told that he has to deny his passions, his connections to other people. It's not pure, it's not the Way of the Jedi. At first, he's even denied the Jedi training. The mighty Jedi Council sits on high, dispassionately evaluating everything and totally blind to the Sith.

The one Jedi Master who thinks outside the box well enough to help Anakin come to terms with his feelings is dead by the end of the first prequel film.

Despite promises of freedom and justice, Anakin's mother remains a slave and is killed without the protection of the Republic. Anakin's visions torment him with visions of his beloved dying in despair. The Jedi Council won't make him a Master, despite his obvious gifts and abilities.

To Anakin, the Republic betrayed him long before he took up the path of a Sith Lord.

Luke Skywalker fared even worse under the Galactic Empire. His guardians were killed by stormtroopers. He knew that Darth Vader had "killed" his father. He watched as Vader sliced his mentor in half. If anyone had a reason for revenge, it was Luke.

As Luke progressed in his training, his teachers stress that he must disassociate his feelings from his actions. Time after time, he is told that only a fully trained Jedi could hope to face Vader and the Emperor.

Yet there was an x-factor, something totally unexpected. Even before Luke knew Leia was his sister, there was a connection that grew only stronger the more time they spent together. Luke could feel how his sister felt about Han Solo, the charming rogue who only became a hero because his friends were in danger.

Anakin didn't have a Han Solo. Luke did.

That's why Luke knew his father could be redeemed. He had already seen Han redeemed.

I'd like to say that the clues were there. Red Flight became Rogue Flight. Han's military and practical experience showed up on Hoth and in the deference that the Rebels gave Han and Chewie. More than anything else, more than the pronouncements of Yoda or the promises of Ben Kenobi, Luke knew that he could count on Han to pull him out of a disaster.

"That's two you owe me, junior."

It was the connection to Leia that let Luke survive his first encounter with Vader. It was Han's willing sacrifice that let Leia, Chewie, Lando, and the droids escape.

Because, you see, even though the good guys won and the Emperor was destroyed, it wasn't done by the way of the Jedi.

It was a man who had mastered the way of the Jedi but chose a path of compassion.

Luke Skywalker looked for the third way beyond either/or. That's what let him win.

That's the real myth of Star Wars. Not good versus evil.

The Sith could only exist because the Jedi were incomplete. And the Sith were doomed because they were the flip side and just as incomplete.

The only lasting solution was to find another way not in the assumptions of either "side." And the man who made it possible wasn't a Jedi, but a good man who chose to be better out of friendship and love.

So how does this relate to us?

Maybe it doesn't. Maybe it is enough to know that there are usually more than two answers. Maybe it is enough to know that sometimes our expectations shape our answers more than any truth.

And maybe it is enough knowing that only two answers mirror each other.

Posted: Tue - October 9, 2007 at 01:36 PM


❝What’s in a name? — Everything!❞

The trouble with dancing naked is that not everything stops when the music does.
— The Minnions

❝Knowledge is power.❞


❝Beings within…❞

Be so good they can't ignore you.
— Steve Martin

❝Beings within…❞

It is possible to establish internal communication with entities from either inside or outside of oneself, said entities seeming to be inside of oneself during the communication process.

❝All things are possible, though some are more probable than others.❞

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There’s always something new”

The age of innocent faith in science and technology may be over.
— Barry Commoner

❝You can become another.❞

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
— John Muir

❝Just cause it’s invisible don’t mean it ain’t there.❞


❝Beings without❞

It is possible to establish external communication with entities from either inside or outside of oneself, said entities seeming to be outside of oneself during the communication process.


❝Dance to the music.❞

I'm gonna put a curse on you and all your kids will be born completely naked.
— Jimi Hendrix

❝Magic is contagious.❞

Everything worthwhile is dangerous.
— Victor Anderson

❝Control every variable and you control every change — lotsa luck!❞

If exactly the same actions are done under exactly the same conditions, they will usually be associated with exactly the same “results;” similar strings of events produce similar outcomes.

❝Commonality controls.❞

Keep what works. Fix what’s broke. Ditch the rest.

Spells for Democracy?

The knocker sells this one.


The pedestal problem

I am Pagan because I was born that way, and because I made that choice long before I was born.
— NeoWayland, Why are you Pagan?

Monday - October 1, 2018

Library stuff - feel free to skip


Lost Wonderers

“When you think of “driftwood” you usually don’t imagine a hollow log big enough to stand up inside.”


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.


Condemnation of memory

Someone is pulling your strings. You'd be a fool to accept that.


Study guide - Bonewits' Laws of Magic

Added to lexicon.


Not enough evidence

Here's the quick take for those of you who don't want to dig through the whole internet.


Summing up the circus

Our own heart, and not other men's opinions, forms our true honor.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In defense of Bonewits' work

Since the reddit comments on my blog entry saying that I don't think Isaac Bonewits abused Moria Greyland, this site has been labeled as "supporting abusers."

Over the years I've developed a small reputation for straight talk and honest answers about sex, particularly sex in a pagan context. My two personal carved-in-stone sex rules are consenting adults and you're off limits if you promised to be someone else's "one and only." I believe that those two rules cover most of the sexual issues in American society. I've recently added two more. "Regret does not equal rape." "Acknowledge but not celebrate." These are personal rules, they affect me. I can't impose them on anyone else. But honestly, the first two cover so much of what is wrong with American sexuality that I often use them in discussions to show how messes could have been avoided. If it's not consent, it's not right. Now I could go into the why and wherefore, but that is not really relevant here. I will say that my sex category on this blog doesn't include porn. There are essays on ethical pagan sex and how responsible sex can fit into paganism. I also point out frequently that sex is not love, nudity is not sex, and love isn't nudity.

The site gallery does include nudes. With a couple of exceptions it does not include sexual nudes. And you will not find photos of nude children anywhere on the site. Many of my vintage nudes are classical pieces of art where I point out things that the artist was trying to convey.

I discourage sexual abuse and sexual misunderstanding. I condone truth, I do not condone abuse. Before the accusations against Bonewits, no one questioned that.

I have this habit of pointing out truths, even when they are uncomfortable. Look at the motto of this site. I firmly believe that I am called for veritas.

My introduction to Isaac Bonewits was in Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon. For a seminary dropout with magickal experience but very little formal training, it was eye-opening. His ABCDEF talked about how people were treated. Bonewits didn't focus on the "correct" Deity or if the priesthood/leadership had special "rights" beyond the membership.

Of course Bonewits wasn't the first to focus on how people were treated. But it was the first that I have ever seen that didn't start with a religion-specific context. I wore out my first copy of DDTM because I used to copy that chapter for minister friends when they asked for help. There was no web addy to hand out in those days.

Real Magic wasn't my next purchase, but I did buy it within a year or two. Rural location, a lot of road trips, no real bookstore, no internet, yeah, it took a couple of years. When I started studying, I was hooked. Here were explanations that actually fit in the real world. Bonewits credits Sir James Frazer with isolating the laws, but points out that anthropologists don't acknowledge him. Still, here was a framework where I could hang my own studies. Even when I goofed up and had to backtrack, I never had to throw out Bonewits. His stuff was just too damn useful.

That should be a law. Oh wait, it is. Bonewits calls it the Law of Pragmatism.

Were the Laws of Magic as defined by Bonewits absolute? No. But he allows for that too.

To this day, I've a poster of the laws hanging near the altar in my sanctum.

So here's the question. Now that P.E.I. Bonewits has been "shown" to have questionable character, should his work be forgotten? Should his name never again be mentioned in polite pagan company? Should we conduct a cultural scrubbing and remove any influence that Bonewits might have had?

No. I don't think so.

He was a flawed man. How flawed is still open to discussion. But his contribution to neopaganism and anthropology can't be denied. We can accept the work without accepting his sexual activities. And if his work can't stand on it's own, people will find something else.

I think removing him and his work is very close to what a fundamentalist Christian would do. I don't think the world is either/or, and neither did he. I tell people that if they tell you the choice is black or white, you should go for the fuzzy. Or maybe the minty. Reducing the choice to all or nothing means you probably overlooked some things.

For ourselves, for our understanding, we should keep Bonewits' work.


“Why are we facing a conundrum?”

Why are we facing a conundrum? The works from Bonewits have proven themselves as functional and relevant to their fields. Just because there is a glaring flaw in the man means we have to toss away his legacy? The idea is nonsense.


Bonewits' works form the backbone of my own work and beliefs. However, those works have that place in no way do to the character of the man who created them but instead on the usefulness of those works instead. I am a strong proponent against 'the cult of personality' so to idealize a man and accept his works solely do to that idealization is repugnant. I think Bonewits would understand and agree. At least that is the sense I get from the works I have from him.

Honour our Pagan Elders

Why can we not choose to honour our Pagan Elders and past with humility and honesty? What prevents us from including a shameful past while holding on to what good treasures they contributed?

Those who did no wrong

If we were to look back and see all our Elders as those who did no wrong, do we not fail ourselves first by setting our own selves up to fail? We learn so much from example. Even from the bad examples, we learn what not to do.

Unrealistic standard

If anything is clearer to me now with this information coming out about Bonewits, there is far more work to be done with dealing with our shadow sides. Our Elders are not saints. I never expected them to be and I refuse to hold them to that unrealistic standard.

Every brilliant man or woman

I have found it seems to be a universal rule, every brilliant man or woman have inside an equally breathtaking flaw. We humans are simply not all good or all bad but a mix of differentiating proportions of both.

Journal 12Jan2018

I don't approve of older men having sex with young teens, but it has been happening from the beginning.


“As if withholding belief was a moral crime…”

But every October, I remember. It's my own werewolf story, with me cast as Henry Jekyll. Dr. Jekyll chose to be Mr. Hyde you see. That's my shame.
— NeoWayland, The TPY blog entry that shouldn't have been

Bonewits accused

🌙 waning crescent moon
light rain early AM


Bonewits update

A pagan take on another holiday classic.


Good Journey Isaac

It's Monument Valley! It's amazing clouds!


☥ ✰ ❝Sincerity does not equal competence.❞

If you're sure I love you, you can raise your hand to me & I'll roll over for petting. But if not, expect that hand to be bitten off.

Absolutely maybe sort of - updated

Now, should I reject Bonewits and all he stood for because he and I didn't agree?


Special harvest

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.
— George Carlin

Really real pagan

I have this mythical construct in my head of a bonfire with people I would like to hang out with, and maybe discuss matters large and small.

❝A real man…❞

My pendants change depending on the moon phase


Comments on "Teach Me, My Way"

More than you really wanted to know


Progressively regressive

I may be needing these in a bit.


On Christians and Pagan tolerance

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


How to be Pagan for a day

Bone, Heart, Thought, Deed, and Spirit, I choose to honor these people this season


Before the Deepest Night - updated

Bone, Heart, Thought, Deed, and Spirit, I choose to honor these people this season


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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