10/07/15

The Dynamics of Spiritual Consults

We are offering two types of consults at the Sacred Alchemy Store, the Quimbanda consult and the dafá or Ifá consult and sometimes it can be difficult to choose what consult is better suited to one’s needs, hence this article detailing the content and purpose as well as  differences in these services.

The Quimbanda consult we offer is long distance, i.e. in the absence of the person we make the consult for, this means that we need something called volts. A volt is something ‘of the person’ and is commonly hair, blood, saliva, nail clippings a t-shirt containing the sweat of the person and so forth. Now we never ask for this, instead we ask for these volts in the form of signature and picture of the person that somehow stands in for the volts we are not asking for, simply because to the reservations many have with sending hair, blood and nails to strangers – and for the record, you should be careful in sending such items out to people – unless it is indeed necessary and trust is solid.

We also ask for a list of ancestry going back in three joints on both sides, from parents, grandparents and great-grandparents because we always feed the ancestors of the client prior to the consult. Sometimes this is difficult, it be about adoption or downright hatred of one’s ancestry. This is all fine, nameless ancestors will nevertheless be placated and fed in the initial phase of the consult.

Now, given what we have to work with in terms of volts presented to spirit in a Quimbanda consult, the outcome is never possible to predict. What we guarantee is that this will address the spirits working with the person submitting this for the consult and in knowing the spirits that walks with you. This knowledge will give you a chance to understand yourself better. This because the Exus and Pomba Giras that turn up in the consult will always be spirits close to the person and in understanding their spiritual make-up we also understand ourselves better.  A session in vivo with Exu or Pomba Gira is always a fun and challenging event, this because they are direct and rude oftentimes, but yet what we have found in long distance consults is that they also speak enigmatic, like they want to pass on a message to the client without the cambone (the assistant of the medium) being aware of the true nature of the message. We pass on everything spirit gives, but certainly all joking around these spirits often comes with is left out in favour of presenting a particular message, it be direct or cryptic.

So, this service is for those who primarily want to gain knowledge of what type of spirits that walks with them, because this knowledge is valuable for our self-understanding given that we all have an Exu and Pomba Gira that walks with us since birth.

Another benefit in this is that your spirits are also fed in the consult; it means we are buying cigars, cigarillos, candles, champagne, whiskey, cachaça etc. in your name to offer up to spirit, which always have a good tranquilizing effect on spirit and open a bond between spirit and client. This means that a large part of your investment goes directly to spirit.

Now, if your need is about specific issues and problems, this can of course be brought to Exu, but perhaps our Ifá consult is better advised. Ifá is a astro-geomantic oracle that looks to the past to predict the future. More specific we find that the corpus of Ifá contains 256 patterns or matrixes/vibrations and these patterns is combined using prayers and evocative words of power along with the opele or divining chain, that is then manipulated in order to establish the energetic pattern or vibration that is recurring in a specific situation, like the unique situation you are going through right now. Hence Ifá defines the vibration and energy at play and how this was solved in the past and keeps on being solved now with the same or similar methods and in this the oracle provides solutions by defining the precise pattern of the situation that you experience as complicated. In other words, Ifá is a problem solving tool that makes a perfect diagnostic of the situation and provides solution towards resolve.

So, basically, if you are on a spiritual quest and up for a challenge our Quimbanda consult is the way to go, but if you have a problem or are confused about what direction to take and how to resolve a specific situation our Ifá consult might be the better way we can assist you in getting to the root of the problem and find solutions.


And please, as always, feel free to write us prior to purchasing any services to clarify doubts at sacred.alchemy.store@gmail.com


03/07/15

Life-Coaching at Sacred Alchemy

At Sacred Alchemy Store we are now offering life-coaching long distance using Skype.

The format of coaching we offer is not confined to a single parameter of orientation and strategies, but draws on a multiplicity of techniques in its fundamentally cognitive-behavioural approach leading to what I have called awareness oriented coaching.

In simple terms this form of coaching which will address patterns of thought and behaviour that sabotage our efficiency as social actors and hinders us in reaching our goals with a distinct focus on the present aiming towards increased self-awareness and self-efficiency and in this the ultimate goal is a greater mastery of Fate through developing tools for coping with life and shape identity with greater precision.  

Coaching will be done by me, Nicholaj, who have studied psychology at the University of Trondheim, Norway, specialised in social psychology and behaviourism.  In addition to this I have a decade of therapeutic experience from several hospitals and institutions of mental health, with a particular expertise of OCD, schizophrenia and schizoid sufferings, likewise a decade as a therapist in facilities that offer rehabilitation from addiction.

Naturally it is also proper to mention my own interest in traditional faiths that have led to a focus on developing good character and tranquility of the mind as a strategy in its own right to cope with life and its challenges, which invites in a more holistic perspective.
Finally I also want to mention that I find language private and unique to the one using it, hence the words and imageries we are using when we try to converse and communicate are factors of importance in how we narrate life and experiences and is an important aspect of how this form of coaching develops over the course of the sessions.

This means that the coaching we offer, being of a behaviourist and cognitive orientation will bring in factors that bring attention to our self-awareness, crucial to our self-efficiency. From this approach it is possible to offer a great variety of coaching’s it be about matters personal, spiritual, blockages or efficiency, all in this field of self, purpose and what lies ahead and how to get it.

Point being, a coaching session is about you and what you need to be a more efficient and self-aware actor in your life and it thus follows that we can offer coaching in fields as diverse as:

Addiction
Creativity
Motivation
Purpose
Identity
Life situations in general

We offer single sessions and also a pack of five sessions to a reduced cost. It is however important that you who wish to contract this service write me on beforehand on sacred.alchemy.store@gmail.com or nicholaj@gmail.com  This because the amount of clients I am able to take on will be limited in order to secure quality of this work. This because I am taking measure to give the needed attention to each and everyone, hence the amount of clients cannot override my capacity. Also, it is important to have the case presented to me prior to starting the coaching so a best possible direction can be worked out already from the beginning.

Everything done is naturally bound in any and every code of confidentiality and when need arises a contract to such end will be issued.

http://sacredalchemystore.com/products/life-coaching




  

01/07/15

A Gift of Trolls

A review of Johannes Gårdbäck’s Trolldom (YIPPIE. 2015)

This book is the product of an involved and dedicated practitioner of the Scandinavian folk magic, better known as Trolldom. It is truly a delight to see this rich tradition be so well documented in all its variety as in this book that is in essence a gathering of spells and workings. We find here workings for hunting and fishing, court cases, love, gain, protection and destruction. In this way we see from the arsenal of spells how the Scandinavian culture was and what needs magical solutions were applied for and in what ways. Heretical ecclesiastical procedures, appellation to Lucifer and the demonic realm is here presented side by side with the richness of natural sympathies from all kingdoms to give voice to this cultural and magical heritage in its richness and diversity.

In addition to this part of spells that constitutes the major part of the book, with enchantments and summoning given both in English and its original phoneme, we also find a great introduction to this art by analysing the varieties within Scandinavia itself and its spread as Scandinavians migrated to America and how these practitioners preserved these customs and also absorbed lore of resonance with the heritage they came with. Between this field of background and the art itself we also find a most interesting discourse on how to become trollkunnig, in other words, how to possess this ‘gift’. Gårdbäck is here commenting on how this gift usually is passed down in the Family and reveal itself in the form of ‘warm hands’, clairvoyance or that the practitioner simply have the gift to cure or curse.

On a personal note I would also like to comment on how these practitioners often held special skills, like some were good in stopping blood, others were apt in the use of breath, often called ‘those who breathes or blows’, where the gift of enchantment was prominent.

Anyway, Gårdbäck also details ways in how this gift can be taken directly from nature and in this is presenting the ways this gift or heritage is passed on as we find in any stream of witchcraft on the continent. He however emphasizes the importance of this gift being mediated by someone who is already trollkunnig, because in truth this gift is quickened by utesitta (sitting out), a practice that was outlawed in Scandinavia shortly after the advent of Christianity, given how it was ‘awakening trolls’. And in this he comments something crucial on page 37:”Learning from the trolls includes learning from all kinds of spirits. They may be spirits of the dead or ancestors, regardless of whether they are called alver (elves) or trolls, but they may also be the rå-spirits (guardians) of lakes, forests, or rivers”. We can in this also add the aesir and vanir, because, as Gårdbäck points out, until the early 18th Century, there were really not much distinction between these spirits and other types of spirits as everything was sort of contained in the idea of ‘troll’, a mysterious spirit. Beside this the possession of a svartebok (black book) was also considered to be a legitimate transmission in itself, insofar as the practitioner was actually doing the work and reaping the lessons and wisdom coming his way.
I wanted to highlight this dimension because this speaks of a living tradition where wisdom is constantly acquired from actively interacting with the spirits of nature as the fundamental way of gaining the ‘gift, it be about given the gift alone, perhaps accompanied by a svartebok or under the tutelage of a trollkunnig.  

There is much more that could be said of this great gift of trolls, but I will limit myself to congratulate Johannes Gårdbäck on this achievement so marked by a willingness to share in giving such great testament to a tradition well and alive as he has done with this book.


You find Dr. Johannes at this site: http://www.therootdoctor.se/where this book can also be ordered.    

23/05/15

The Voice in the Path: The End

“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”
 - Charles Bukowski

Indeed, as we live on we repeatedly die and we die again, as we bring birth to a renewal of ourselves, our ideas, our identity and the meaning that lies spread out like pebbles on our path. In the resurrection we cast of our skin and we forge new bonds as the old is laid at rest in some chest or burned at the pyre of renewal.

But the living will always resent, hate and envy those who hold hand with death, because transformation - for specie, like ours, that seek to be still in permanence - is a threatening possibility. Death is everywhere, it be in the death of a conviction, a thought, dysfunction or the Batillian orgasm. Some of us just push this fact over to the pages yet to be read in our little book of life, truth and lies.  

Those of us who have found peace with Death also find that life is a journey of wonders and we open up to these wonders in a spirit of interest, peace and will to engagement (oh well, often a reluctant engagement I guess, yet…)

Castañeda wrote in Journey to Ixtlan the following: “Death is the only wise advisor that we have. Whenever you feel, as you always do, that everything is going wrong and you're about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you're wrong; that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you, 'I haven't touched you yet.”

In this little phrase there is so much to extract, but in the scope of this article series let us give attention to a particular form of dissonance, the one that occurs in relation to goals and milieu, Self and collective, station and expansion. This field is regulated by the Self questioning its essence, place and expansion and in doing so we are automatically brought to the crossroad of choice. You know that place where the Devil lives… As you choose death in the shape of another route this holds consequences and some of us blame the Devil, others scapegoat and yet a few of us do take responsibility for our choices. In each choice we find a death and in each death we find resurrection, and resurrection is only possible by the force of transmutation and transformation. We go from a given temporal form to become dirt and on this reorganized dirt we raise again, hopefully with less of the dross we held prior to the trial of the crossroad and leave behind what impairs our life… The grace of death works in such ways that we can salute the new in honouring what was once.

Your ‘self-transmutation’, to borrow a word from A.O. Spare involves all things or as the Kybalion phrases it:

 "Mind may be transmuted,
    from state to state; degree to degree; condition to condition;
    pole to pole; vibration to vibration.”

In other words, as you change, so does everything around you and in a world seeking permanence and ambition, your ‘self-transformation’ will also relocate and confuse the world around you. We are cause and effect, just as any other organism that holds motion works in the same simple reference of becoming, death and stillness.

The friends of Death are lovers of transformation and transmutation, they do not look favourably upon permanence, knowing it is just the stillness between breaths and if the pulse is not beating a death more sinister awaits, because to change your mind, to change your heart is as human as safeguarding still waters until it turns dirty and poisonous. Because if it is one thing the friends of Death do more than any other it is to refresh the waters of life. Doing this in a world like ours lead to the predominance of a given sentimental reaction, a state of being that the early Church father deemed a cardinal sin, namely invidia, or envy.

Envy can be understood to be a form of resentment that ends in hatred of another man’s good fortune. Schopenhauer took great interest in this sentiment related to his ideas of will and being as the two feet’s of our Self. In his discourse he ended on envy being termed Schadenfreude that is usually translated in taking pleasure in the misfortune of others, but particularly the misfortune of a friend. Sure envy is about desiring what your friend or neighbour has, feeling they are undeserving of their good fortune, but ultimately it is speaking of a lack you yourself have and in seeing your lack presented in blossoms in your friend you develop a form of wicked and weird instant hatred, a reaction and a projection that is nothing else than an escape from your own misery, Self-loathing and fear of Death.

Personally I find such things curious and annoying, because I truly believe that if my life gets better your life gets better, so your success becomes my curiosity and celebration. And of course in finding this strange I am reminded that the human race seeks permanence and affirmation of whatever they are.

I know it is more easy for us to affirm our low self-esteem than to deal with our appreciation of one another as it is equally hard for us to deal with the multiple deaths that brings on other version of what we once were.  It is truly a shame and we all know it should not be like this, but yet in the name of sentimentalism it is.

Hopefully there will be less dross in each resurrection, but nevertheless the souls of sentiments also seek to engrave and imprint... But when one man’s life is dross and your dross was its mirror, well there is no easy way out from that hall of left mirrors, but leave it true to yourself in the breath of nagging teeth’s of the others and see yourself free from that old hue.


But life must curl on, and so we do like a viper, hibernating just to shed its skin and see the word with new eyes each new awakening. If you don’t like the new form, leave it, if you hate it, retreat and if possible, shed your own skin because the dross you once loved is no longer there and if you still love the dross perhaps the time has come to accept Death and transform yourself in such ways that gives you yet again appetite on life?

09/05/15

The Voice in the Path: III

“Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.”

- Charles Darwin

And now, after some musings on cognitive dissonance and cognitive bias, complaining about the worth we give to opinions, said or heard, and its consequences, to where this lead us?

It should, at least to some extent, lead us to an open field of acceptance and as the field itself, openness. This, because who we are is so hard to fathom, reach and preserve and why is it so hard? Perhaps it is because who we say we are is a dynamic flexible idea resting on a balance between the silence of Self and our interaction with a given environment? A question that is resolved in a common advice for many decades, if you don’t know who you are, travel, read, explore, be and adventurer in your own life.

And so it happens that a lost soul travelling to Tibet finds itself as much as any struggling human going to the tavern with his misery and meets a prophet have both experienced the existence of anchors, solace and meaning in that very moment, no matter its duration.

The meeting with meaning happens all the time, if we just stay a little bit open and loose a bit our conviction of our opinions and approach it all with interest like fools, dancers, saints and adventurers in a life we make around a silent core that works on subtle resonance and dissonance.  

Philosophers over centuries have perceived the human being as a beast, an angel, a demon, corrupted and fallen, something fated by nature, a bridge between heaven and earth, a link crossing all kingdoms. So many opinions of what we are…

And perhaps the solution lies in this field of contrast and opinion, because the human being is as it is from birth flexible, curious and open – and then enters society with its conditioning. And what is conditioning? It is about how the organism is getting disposed to understand punishment and reward in a given way. Certainly, corporal punishment is unpleasant for any organism, but in this field we speak of a realm of experience and response that is not really touching Self, but Self as an social actor.

My point is; it is so easy to get lost in the world. We are saturated all the time with opinions, information, judgment and taste. So how can we understand who we are?

We are naked souls that during life is clad with various vestments that we at some point claim to be who we are, in the sense of representing who or what we are. I believe this naked soul holds imprints that are stimulated and challenged in the walk of life, and so friend and foe all works to make us all understand better who we are, by resonance and dissonance. 

In this something curious happens, many of us are still seduced by the foe, and this shows itself in ardent defense of Self, belongingness and opinions. If we were organisms living in conformity with the laws of physics a resonance would make us draw together with what pulls in as dissonance would make us pull back and avoid to engage. But apparently it is not like this; rather a field of contrast is established. In the far extreme of this we find any form of fundamentalism in how it gives purpose to the lost Self by bringing cause, and if the cause is greater than what we comprehend even greater is our collapse and acceptance.

When this happens we lose our humanity, our bestial instincts and become organisms, victims for any breath and force that might condition us in embracing cause and temporal identity in place of the soft whispers of Self, that quiet voice in the path.

A cause is quite simply something of a sentimental power that provokes emotions in relation to present itself as something altruistic. It can be anything from animal rights to boko haram, point being it is always about a sentimental seduction and as sentimental and emotional organisms this is also the avenue we use to know the world, and hence we can be convinced to be what we are not by the same route we realize who we are.

We are confusing resonance and dissonance, belonging and alienation by an overarching ideal that teaches us that we can be whatever we want to be, hence the dissonance turns into a negative gateway to a field of wasted time…

What happened to the Self in these instances?

Quite sadly, the more time we invest in something the harder it is for us to let it go, it be a conviction, religion or relationship, so time invested in dissonance can therefore be adopted as an active part of Self, whilst it was in truth only a cul-de- sac and detour for something else, a lesson and not meaning as it reveals itself in blessings on the path where we find resonance.

This bias is rooted in our saturated world and perhaps we should question if not a saturated world of ambition and struggle is something we need to be aware exists in order to become Self-aware. Perhaps we can only become Self-aware if we are given the necessary time to digest all this information and reassess our position and where we are – in this way living life is like any other journey – constant crossroads and the choices we make generates the field of resonance and dissonance that help us to the true to Self.     

This difficulty in finding Self, our attention to the voice on the Path, that will always be our own, is made complicated by our current preference of rulership and social organization that demands that your ‘true Self’ is also adequate, useful and beneficial to an enormous global community. We have today democracy as ideal, and what is this about? It is something very smart. It is about counting heads and allows the majority to have its voice heard. If the majority is educated, kind and loving, this is a good thing, but if these factors are absent and the community gets to numerous in amount of participants we are faced with a dance and battle of voices and opinions. At worst the democratic ideal becomes a joke, at best an agreeable frustration. No matter how much democracy is nice as an ideal it also calls upon our attention all the time, to make decisions in matters we are interested in or not, as participants of a society. Somehow, we get lost in commonality and community and the more we engage the less we hear of that voice that calls Self to reflect on its surroundings. It is only natural, the bigger the world gets, the greater the field we traverse becomes and thus to retract becomes an act of slow death.

It is in this field what we know as moral is developed, and contemporary moral is rooted in opinions and social efficiency, not Self.  Contemporary moral is about codes of behaviour and opinion that is allowed by society – and no matter how rebellious you think you are, this dissonance is invited into the common field of moral constitution, as a contrast to what is decided for you. And so, you are allowed to be angry and being hard and strong in your opinions, because the normative society has allowed it. This would suggest that our surroundings are important for us to address in order to start to give ear to the voice on the path, that voice rising from Self that establish you as Unique in relation to something and as within something. The true rebel, the true seeker will always step outside, to the outskirts of the world, or to a mountain, real or figuratively, where he will find perspective and in this stepping out, death of opinions and convictions in favour of solace and understanding is bound to happen. And so starts the resonance with Self.  

When Henry David Thoreau left the world in favour of the woods it was clearly about a search for Self in the absence of social voices and opinions he was searching and in this he found Nature as force of his conditioning and in this he found freedom in dreams and dreams in life meeting one another as he realized by the quiet predictable pace of Nature who he was.
Certainly I have found Thoreau’s remedy to be my own medicine, but this also questions the health of our world and if the engaged social participant is really who he or she believes itself to be…


So, perhaps to become aware of the voice in the path that calls upon Self starts with becoming aware of the forces that bind together the socio-political world we live in, not for the sake of agitation against its unjust ways, but to understand how a world like ours makes us obedient and weak, even in the fight against what suppresses, because force against force will always be an increase of what is and what we don’t want. There is always another way to escape the claws and fangs of a world that seeks to seduce us into slavery and that rests in ceasing giving power to the tyrants and instead search the voice in the path that gives power to Self. And sure, no man is an island by itself, but by realizing the nature of the island we are we can perhaps start to get an idea of who we are disconnected from the rulers of the world… and question if we are entertaining resonance or dissonance and in this if we are giving power to Self or to a fluctuating identity that at some point will cease to be, one way or the other…

04/05/15

The Voice in the Path: II

"The further one goes, the less one knows."
 Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)

Truth, Veritas is a strange thing. For the Romans it was a white clad virgin living in the bottom of a well, something that was not really tangible, just noticed, as a memory and flash of reason from some mysterious concord.

Truth being hidden, would also indicate that none of us can own the truth and anyone who jumps into the well to catch her is confronted with the mud of waters and some occult an veiled suffocation.

Maybe we can conceive truth as that light that shoots from the whiteness hidden in obscurity that you can never, ever possess, just recognize and realize is there because of the atmosphere of the veiled becoming naked in sighs and acceptance? Because Veritas is not about facts, what is commonly confused with Truth as principle and ideal – and so, whoever states to possess the Truth will always be an Ignotus – and some even become liars in this sad bolero of defeat, because as Lao Tzu wrote:

"The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth."

In the first part of this article the Dunning-Kruger effect was addressed, a cognitive bias, that explains why individuals lacking skill tend to overrate their capacity for achieving their desires.
This cognitive bias is tied in to what psychologist Leo Festinger in 1957 coined as cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance comes into play when our natural desire to be consistent is challenged and generates a discrepancy or an alternate route as sound and valid as in the conviction held prior to this new information being introduced. Cognitive dissonance is an unpleasant emotional state and as pleasure seeking creatures we seek to get rid of this unpleasant cognitive tension as fast as possible.

This is a socio-human phenomenon and we experience this tension quite frequently ranging from simple exchange of opinions on a given field where opposing opinions shake our belief. For some of us this naturally lead to agreement and acceptance, if be about being convinced or about realizing that paradox is possible. Some of us even celebrate paradox, diversity and heterodoxy, which is a rare and positive avenue towards dealing with cognitive dissonance, because it opens landscapes. Philosophy is all about keeping contrary opinions simultaneously in your mind without judging, an exercise in the frustration of meaning.
But let us take this matter onward and see how this bias is playing itself out in the world to the nuance of many.

And in this I will quote from the first part of this article speaking of the Dunning-Kruger effect:

“The conclusion they gave was that the less competent you are the more credit you give yourself, while the opposite were true for those possessing actual skills, they tended to devaluate their achievement. So, back to opinion, the stronger your opinion is the more reason you have to invite in other perspectives – and if possible to make a true self-assessment, which is simply measuring skill in relation to task, talk, experience and knowledge.
But apparently the less you know the louder you speak; the more ignorant you are the more irrevocable is your opinions. And I must add to this that if this is in check the more extreme will be your conclusions. And conclusions made from a sense of victory and convictions will always breed tyranny, inferiority and lizards of the brain.”

I want to address here a couple of ideological fractions I find interesting in this regard, both of them solving cognitive dissonance in two different radical ways.

As the first case, let us look at the Neo-Pentecostal movement. The cognitive dissonance at play is one concerning the entire spectre of guilt. We all can relate to this concept, because we all did something that led to this emotional state that led to some degree of mindfuck we needed to bring to agreement or resolution. So, if we agree in the premise stated let us move on. If guilt is keyword for a movement or an organization it generates internal psychological bias, an intense tension that seeks resolve. The first crossroad is to internalize or externalise, or in other words, take responsibility or to scapegoat. If you take responsibility, fine, no cult will be built around you, but if you scapegoat in reference to a common presence of guilt you will find the following approaching you in talks about ‘us sinners’ – because aren’t we all – let us blame Satan – hallelujah!

It is truly a sinister model for solving cognitive dissonance, because it is not solved, only barely accepted and then projected before you understand anything of this guilt. And to some degree, all of us who were raised in a Christian culture do hold nerves that lead to this bias, but there are ways and there are ways of solving this tension…

Anyway, if you confront a pastor from any of these Satanic Churches of Guilt you will be met with the same guilt speak that they set into motion. You question because you haven’t received ‘Jebus’ in your heart, you are impure, you are filthy, the God of Love will kill you and so forth. If we have more than three brain cells we will see through the charade, but many with more than three brain cells don’t, because they are full of guilt and self-hatred and hence, a collective that is effective in scapegoating gives a release to your dissonance and you find agreement.
Truth has nothing to do with this, nothing at all…

It is all about being coherent and true to yourself, no matter the lies and illusions supporting your convictions, you just want peace with yourself – and if you can’t accept that you are a sinner full of lascivious desires, you might go radical as this.

All this is fine really, each to their own, but proselytizing your dysfunction, conviction and bias is another thing entirely, and I will not speak of that, rather I want to address the other example I wanted to present.

This is perhaps a matter more close to the heart of any journeyman in the worlds of spirit, and this is about personal preferences and the doctrine of the cult we admitted ourselves to be a part of and the dissonance generated in this field. I got aware today of an article circulating concerning a vegan Mambo Asogwe that is not giving blood to lwa because of personal convictions.  And this is not the example I wanted to present, rather it was two others. The first was my encounter with a Mãe de Santo some years back who told me that it was barbarous to give life force offerings to the Orixas and supported this with slaughter being primitive and belonging to a phase of the world we should move away from. Naturally I noticed the drops of New Age ideology in her talk, but I was honestly surprised to learn that because of her personal ideology she also denied life force offerings to Orixas. So I asked her, so what you do then when a working demands a goat or a chicken? She told that they bought the animals and released into the wilderness for Orixa to take themselves or gave the money worthy a goat or a chicken to beggars. I find somehow the solution in this to be admirable, because this woman still insisted on giving and keep some cycle going, but this leads me to the second example. I never witnessed this myself, but it was a great drama around this in Brazil, when in an Umbanda terreiro last year Exu came down telling that they (the Exus and Pomba Giras) would from now on not have alcohol or tobacco. In the matter of weeks they had no possessions of spirits and well, it was not good how it all developed.

Anyway, these last two stories demonstrate how respect can solve cognitive dissonance. In the first issue we have the issue of respect and understanding in an attempt of mediating your convictions and the need of spirit. Personally I find it foolish, but I don’t own the truth… I still think that when you seek to alter tradition you also need to realize that you appoint yourself as a prophet and in doing this, do you speak as bridge or do you speak from yourself? Problems arise when you impose anything in the glory of Truth… as we see when people impose their convictions and insist that you need to bend down and accept so the dissonance held by the imposing one is solved by not entering in the field of wounds, shame and guilt, but in scapegoating. It be cult, church or politics I would say truth looks up from her well to the blind and triple eyed alike…

It is the same thing with opinions. What do you bring to the table? Who do you think you are? Are you bringing Truth to the table or something we can laugh of and grow upon? I don’t know about you, but for me it is quite simple, the more I walk the world the more open I get and the more I realize that only patience can settle the mud I stir in the dance of opinions. And I for one hold no strong opinions, just loose anchors in this mud we are, as I search what is Good, knowing that it is not the truth we cannot hold for to long…

The world works on basis of interest and love and if you can’t comprehend these two forces, and yet keep on insisting on your ignorant an often guilt-ridden opinion being victorious, maybe you are an Ignotus… or worse, you don’t understand courtesy, hospitality or respect.

Every time when we are confronted with opinion that aims to victory we go through this entire dribble and rarely do we realize that such talk and thought is about tyranny and rarely do we realize that we are never in any need of being convinced or convince. In fact exercising opinions should make us understand Self and Other more – and if our engagement is not aiming to this goal it will only breed irritation and hunchback monsters of constant poking.

I question; at the end of the day, what is the purpose of life in relation to society? Is it to conform to the victory of majority, is it about finding that Truth that dominates or is it about finding tribe and kin?     

For me at least I would say that this our journey is about finding our tribe and kin, not our church or government, c’mon, let us get real on this, if you want someone to lead you; fine, if you are someone who want to lead others, at least to some level you are an idiot, no one with the heart and mind in the right place will ever want such burden.

This because every voice on the path is unique to you, there is no tyranny in Nature and Friendships, just the violence of cycles and consequences; everything matters if it is anticipated by the one who don’t seek victory, but increase and understanding.  There is no battle there, just the many of interest.


02/05/15

The Voice in the Path: I

"They dispute not in order to find or even to seek Truth, but for victory, and to appear the more learned and strenuous upholders of a contrary opinion. Such persons should be avoided by all who have not a good breastplate of patience."

- Giordano Bruno

The world is a funny thing and life is an interesting condition if we approach it as such, but yet nuances and irritations makes part of life as much as bliss, love and joy – and if we try to take life a little bit less serious than what we tend to do we will also see that what we deem positive have an increase. Because life is deadly serious, and because of this we should try to relax and not take the journey that serious, but rather as explorers and adventurers, heroines and heroes making a journey someone will remember.

Still, everyone is someone’s asshole, and we all complain about complainers, trolls and idiots. Sometimes it is like to being a nitwit appears to be the crown of human accomplishment and thus the more of an idiot you are the more human you are.  And speaking of idiots, both in linguistic succession and meaning it hails upon the ignorant – and what is an Ignotus? A person lacking skill, understanding and perceptions or more detailed someone who is ignoring what is and thus mistake, misperceive and don’t pay attention to what is.

This is why debating and discussing with idiots never lead anywhere, because they simply don’t pay attention to what is discussed about, rather it is about being victorious in the situation. Whenever we see such shadow forms taking shape on the walls of the tavern, it is better to realize what is going on than insist on dialogue or discourse, because it is never going to happen… And of course the one pointing fingers and call the other an idiot is full of himself or of hubris or whatever, but the truth is, that we are all idiots in given fields and situations, no matter how clever we might thing ourselves to be or be perceives as.

Any idiot would naturally defy such conclusion, but let us leave this aside for now and move on further into the vein of ignorance, namely to opinion. An opinion is a judgment. It is a particular form of judgment because it rests upon what is probable and what we know.
And certainly the more you know the more you will also know that you don’t know much, because each new landscape opens for another one in a hermeneutic drama where we are left breathless confronted with the annihilation of what we don’t know. But those we call idiots don’t feel or see things in this way – and this being said there is a difference between moments of idiocy and perpetually being an idiot – and the difference in this lies in how solid you perceive your opinion to be…

…this because when we lose sight of our communality and what happens when we meet and instead insist on convincing the one trying to convince is always left as the idiot, but for some reason idiots never realizes this and push for victory in the debate or discourse.

We all had these encounters and we leave the battlefield of opinions wondering what the f$%#@ happened – and the answer is cognitive bias in how we assess and understand our self. And in this particularly the psychological effect known as Dunning-Kruger effect, which is named so because of two Cornell University professors who set out to discover why people who know less always presenting themselves as knowing more. Hence they were measuring skill in relation to competence and incompetence. Wikipedia gives a good summary of their findings which are:

Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will

fail to recognize their own lack of skill
fail to recognize genuine skill in others
fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy
recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill

The conclusion they gave was that the less competent you are the more credit you give yourself, while the opposite were true for those possessing actual skills, they tended to devaluate their achievement. So, back to opinion, the stronger your opinion is the more reason you have to invite in other perspectives – and if possible to make a true self-assessment, which is simply measuring skill in relation to task, talk, experience and knowledge.

But apparently the less you know the louder you speak; the more ignorant you are the more irrevocable is your opinions. And I must add to this that if this is in check the more extreme will be your conclusions. And conclusions made from a sense of victory and convictions will always breed tyranny, inferiority and lizards of the brain.

As Bruno observed such people are not interested in truth, which I would interpret as wisdom in this context, but rather they seek appearance and the illusion of victory. And honestly, victory is not to tear down the chessboard seeing that you are losing, but making the check mate. In other words it is a matter of skill and admitting to possessing or lacking this skill that generates understanding. To say that you have what you don’t have is idiocy – or ignorance perhaps – yet at the root of much of our nuances and irritations we find this simple cognitive bias. And knowing this or not we still challenge the Ignotus, to what ends?

So, this being established allows me to take this cognitive drama out to the world and to the realm of spiritual seekers, occultists and what not, because this world is not free from simple psychological mechanisms moving our actions and opinions. We are still humans, no matter the opinion of our stature, it be sage or idiot as perceived or given. And let us also keep in mind that any learned person can be an idiot at heart as any person learned by heart can be irrational and confusing.
If you have followed me this far I will say that any discussion or discourse, any writ or social interaction that aims towards victory is wrong. You might ask, why is it wrong when I know it is right – or even more boisterous, the truth?

We can speak and debate this matter for pages upon pages, and we will do so for the weeks to come, so let us just leave it to Giordano Bruno to summarize for now:

 "Unless you make yourself equal to God, you cannot understand God: for the like is not intelligible save to the like. Make yourself grow to a greatness beyond measure, by a bound free yourself from the body; raise yourself above all time, become Eternity; then you will understand God. Believe that nothing is impossible for you, think yourself immortal and capable of understanding all, all arts, all sciences, the nature of every living being. Mount higher than the highest height; descend lower than the lowest depth. Draw into yourself all sensations of everything created, fire and water, dry and moist, imagining that you are everywhere, on earth, in the sea, in the sky, that you are not yet born, in the maternal womb, adolescent, old, dead, beyond death. If you embrace in your thought all things at once, times, places, substances, qualities, quantities, you may understand God."