April 25, 2016

Left-hand Tarot #13) Painfully Awkward Questions

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Welcome to episode #13 of Left-hand Tarot, in which I'm going to discuss painfully awkward questions that every Tarot reader must answer. Whether you're a Tarot reader yourself, or you're shopping for a Tarot reader, this is your guide to deliberately asking the pointed questions that will produce remarkably uncomfortable answers for the respondent who's never considered them before. No movie theme for this episode, just me answering these questions. If you're a Tarot reader, you're welcome to join the conversation, although given the nature of these questions I wouldn't hold it against if you decided to keep the answers to yourself.

April 22, 2016

10 Questions Every Tarot Reader Must Answer

Some time ago, I ran across another blogger's "10 Tarot Tips for Beginners," and I decided that since I'm so opinionated on the matter, I ought to write my own list. But, me being who I am, I'm not approaching this in the form of direct advice. Instead, I'm approaching this in the form of questions. If you're a Tarot reader, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions, and if you're shopping for a Tarot reading, I encourage you to ask your reader these questions precisely because these questions are designed to be threatening to shallow egos and to force specific answers on frequently vague subjects. If in the process of answering these questions, the respondent (be it you or another person) starts to feel anxious and is looking for an escape, then congratulations: you just found either an area for self improvement, or a reason to not work with a reader who can't or won't answer these questions. These questions are mostly arranged by theme, and you'll see the connection as the questions progress. Also, perhaps the most important thing to this series of questions is that there isn't intended to be a right or wrong answer, because the quantity of the answer isn't important. Instead, it's the quality of the answer that's intended to reveal sensitive and challenging subjects about the respondent.  
  1. Were you mentored, or were you self-taught?
    1. This is the first question to ask yourself or another reader because it's an ego trap. There's nothing wrong with being mentored, and nothing wrong with being self-taught, but the respondent's answer will show whether he or she has a fragile ego and cares about impressing you, or whether this person is comfortable owning his or her Tarot lineage and simply doing the work which you've requested.
  2. Are you a psychic or a Tarot reader?
    1. Like the first question, this second question is an ego trap. Readers with fragile egos will feel the need to impress you with their inborn psychic abilities, or to impress upon you their special abilities. This isn't intended to be a criticism of people who claim to have these abilities, only to reveal those who care deeply about showing how powerful they are. Or is the respondent a Tarot card reader who literally just reads the cards? There's nothing wrong with either approach, or even a combination of the two, but this question is used to elicit a measurement of the respondent's self-confidence and whether he or she is secure in his or her practice. A lack of confidence or personal security is a sign that you should look elsewhere.
  3. Are your predictions accurate, and is accuracy important to you?
    1. While we're talking about innate psychic abilities, let's ask a very loaded question: Does the reader claim to offer accurate predictions? Does the reader him or herself care about accuracy? This is a dirty question to ask another reader! This question will put the respondent's character to the test, and the quality of the answer will reveal a great deal about his or her reading style and the degree to which he or she wants to impress you. Whether it's insecurity and anxiety, or bombast and over-confidence, a respondent who swings far to either end of the pole is hiding something.
  4. Is there anything you can't predict in a reading?
    1. And on the matter of dirty questions, you should ask if there's anything the reader can't predict. Lotto numbers? Natural disaster? Terrorist attacks? Missing children? Stock picks? On this question, a lack of confidence isn't nearly as telling as an excess of confidence. When asking this question, look for a mature, honest answer. Respondents who claim to be able to predict anything are either entertainers putting on a performance, or they're fools who're deceiving possibly themselves but definitely you.
  5. Do you use only Tarot, or are you multi-disciplinary?
    1. This isn't so much a dirty question, or even a trick question, so much as it's a question intended to reveal how the respondent produces the reading. Whether the respondent uses only Tarot cards, or whether the respondent branches into oracle cards, numerology, astrology, angel communication, spirit mediumship, tea leaves, and even bones, it's not important. What is important is that the respondent can explain how he or she does the job for which he or she was hired, and can do so confidently and without feeling the need to apologize for using just Tarot, or for using many different tools. There's nothing wrong with being a Tarot specialist or a broad multi-disciplinarian, but if the respondent feels the need to apologize for how he or she works, that's a red flag that should be investigated or avoided.
  6. Is the message in the cards, or in your head?
    1. This question is a follow-on to the previous question, and is useful for understanding the respondent's reading style. Is the respondent an image-based reader who looks at the cards and uses the imagery and symbolism to create a message? Or is the respondent somebody who uses the cards as an outer tool to express an inner philosophy? Cards-based readers frequently use a variety of decks with different pictures in order to change the philosophy expressed, but head-based readers are following a complex system of cartomantic divination and use their knowledge of this inner philosophy to interpret the outer ritual of the cards. Again, there's nothing wrong with either approach: whether the respondent simply allows the image of the card to inspire the message, or follows a specific system, the quantity of answer is less important than the quality of the answer: if the respondent can't or won't explain, or the answer leaves you feeling uncertain, this is a sign that you should look elsewhere.
  7. Are you a priest or a fortune-teller?
    1. Tarot can be everything from a cheap parlor trick to a religious relic, and it's up to each Tarot reader to choose for him or herself where on this spectrum it exists. Some Tarot readers care nothing for spiritual and metaphysical philosophies, and others do. For those who do, the Tarot is frequently wrapped up in their personal spirituality or religion, and these people often literally call themselves priests or priestesses, and if they don't, they frequently play the role of confessor or divine mediator. Is the respondent a priest, or a fortune teller? Again, the quantity of the answer is less important than the quality of the answer, because this will reveal the character and personality of the respondent in a way that will help you understand the kind of experience you'll have. 
  8. Are you a fixer or a looker?
    1. As a follow-on to the previous question, is the respondent somebody who's going to try and fix any problems that appear in your reading, or somebody who merely shows you that the problems exist? This is important because the role of a Tarot reader is filled with ego traps and the temptation to take responsibility for the client's decisions. If you're specifically looking for problem-solving, then a fixer is what you want, but if you don't want anybody to be telling you how to live your life, then you want a looker. So remember: whether the reader is a fixer or a looker isn't quite as important as whether or not the respondent can confidently explain his or her reading style.
  9. Do you read for free, or for fee?
    1. There are many scenarios in which reading for either free or fee would be either right or wrong, so as with all these questions, the goal isn't to say what should or shouldn't be, but to show how the questions elicit the character of the respondent. Respondents who know that they're unaccomplished or just not very good at Tarot will often feel guilty about charging for their service, whereas pretentious readers who consider themselves the God's gift to Tarot will emphasize their high prices and exclusivity. Look at the respondent's answer to discern anxiety and fear, or pretentiousness and over-confidence. If the respondent is far to either side of the spectrum, this is an indicator you should look elsewhere.
  10. Is there anything you won't predict in a reading?
    1. This question is important for both Tarot readers and Tarot clients alike because it defines the experience. If you're a Tarot reader, do you ever ask yourself, "Why do I always find myself doing (stupid, worthless, insulting, degrading) readings?" If you're a Tarot client, do you ever ask yourself, "Why do I always wind up with bad readers who can't show me what I'm trying to find?" In both cases, it's because nobody asked the reader, "Is there anything you won't predict?" Accomplished readers can confidently explain the things they will or won't predict, and if you don't understand, they can show you why. And it's also worth saying that there's nothing wrong with a reader who doesn't impose any limitations on him or herself, but such a reader should be able to confidently explain why this is so. 
So by this point, you should understand that the quantity of the answers you receive is of little importance, but the quality is of vast importance: if you ask yourself or another reader these questions and the answers are accompanied by a hard swing into either anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, or into pretentiousness, over-confidence, and showmanship, then you've found a cause for concern. If you're a Tarot reader, then you've found something you didn't know about yourself. If you're shopping for a Tarot reader, then you should proceed with caution.

April 21, 2016

Satanism & Racism, part 4: Pentagonal Revisionism

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PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4

So by this point in the "Satanism & Racism" series, what we've covered mostly relates to who a Satanist is; what a Satanist chooses to avoid; and how a Satanist chooses to live. In other words, everything we've discussed has to do with the Satanist him or herself. The only thing we haven't covered is the question of how the Satanist would change reality in accordance with his or her will. Now, this is a contentious question since, as we've already discussed, Satanism is going to look like a lot of different things to a lot of different people depending on their individual interests. Still, if Satanism were embodied by a political candidate, its platform would be called Pentagonal Revisionism and would be based on the following:

1) Stratification.
The point on which all the others ultimately rest. There can be no more myth of “equality” for all—it only translates to “mediocrity” and supports the weak at the expense of the strong. Water must be allowed to seek its own level without interference from apologists for incompetence. No one should be protected from the effects of his own stupidity.
2) Strict taxation of all churches.
If churches were taxed for all their income and property, they’d crumble overnight of their own obsolescence, and the National Debt would be wiped out as quickly. The productive, the creative, the resourceful should be subsidized. So long as the useless and incompetent are getting paid, they should be heavily taxed.
3) No tolerance for religious beliefs secularized and incorporated into law and order issues.
To re-establish “Lex Talionis” would require a complete overturning of the present in-justice system based on Judeo-Christian ideals, where the victim/defender has been made the criminal. Amnesty should be considered for anyone in prison because of his alleged “influence” upon the actual perpetrator of the crime. Everyone is influenced in what he or she does. Scapegoating has become a way of life, a means of survival for the unfit. As an extension of the Judeo-Christian cop-out of blaming the Devil for everything, criminals can gain leniency, even praise, by placing the blame on a convenient villain. Following the Satanic creed of “Responsibility to the responsible,” in a Satanic society, everyone must experience the consequences of his own actions—for good or ill.
4) Development and production of artificial human companions.
The forbidden industry. An economic “godsend” which will allow everyone “power” over someone else. Polite, sophisticated, technologically feasible slavery. And the most profitable industry since T.V. and the computer.
5) The opportunity for anyone to live within a total environment of his or her choice, with mandatory adherence to the aesthetic and behavioral standards of same.
Privately owned, operated and controlled environments as an alternative to homogenized and polyglot ones. The freedom to insularize oneself within a social milieu of personal well-being. An opportunity to feel, see, and hear that which is most aesthetically pleasing, without interference from those who would pollute or detract from that option.
But, in practice, what do these things really mean? Again, that's going to depend a lot on how the individual Satanist chooses to interpret Pentagonal Revisionism, but at the core these goals seek to elevate individuals according to their own success and productive value in society, dissolving involuntary bonds to others' beliefs, and promoting the individual's freedom to live as he or she sees fit. Most of this discussion is going to focus on the first point of Pentagonal Revisionism - stratification - but each will be examined in turn.

Stratification is arguably the most controversial part of Satanism, and its primacy is felt everywhere. Stratification is the truth that everybody is not equal. I've said before and I'll say again, but I think that one Justice Clarence Thomas is more valuable than a hundred David Dukes (and that's a generous estimation.) Likewise, there are "winners" whose effort raises them above the "losers," and the reward for their success isn't a first-place trophy, but the respect, admiration, confidence, and deference of their peers. It should also go without saying that the reward includes increased personal power and influence as well as personal satisfaction (and you're just fooling yourself if you think anybody does anything without any sense of personal reward or gratification.)

As it relates to racism, it's very easy to interpret stratification as saying that the losers (frequently people of color in North America) deserve everything they receive (which is frequently nothing) because they haven't exercised the proper initiative and self-mastery to make winners of themselves. Likewise, it's easy to say that white culture should be the dominant culture because the white colonists "won" and the native Americans "lost." So the argument goes, "If native Americans had a culture and way of life that was worth preserving, the market place of ideas would have made it valuable and given it all the power it required."

But me being who I am, I think that such an interpretation is short-sighted in the extreme and fails to account for myriad other factors. At any rate, this isn't meant to be a discussion about the worthiness or value of a people or culture, only an example to show how it has been applied by others. Me being who I am, I believe that the social contract is necessary for maintaining the level playing field and permitting a meritocracy to emerge. How many talented minds have been crushed under the weight of a racist system which preferred to elevate white idiots above colored geniuses? As before, history has shown that privilege, breeding, and culture having nothing to do with innate success. 

For these reasons, I interpret stratification not as a principle to solidify majority rule, but as a principle to remove artificial or contrived advantages. Whosoever has been raised above his or her potential should not be protected against the consequences of that cardinal Satanic sin, stupidity. In this moment, I'm not thinking of the stereotypical street thug, but of the very real corporate banker or investor who steals vast sums of money, breaks the financial system, contributes to an economic meltdown, and not only doesn't get punished, but is rewarded. To me, that is the height of idiotic irresponsibility, and were stratification enforced, such a criminal would suffer terribly. So the literature says, the weak shall not be supported at the expense of the strong. The way I see it, spectacularly weak financial criminals have been supported at the expense of strong taxpayers. 

More generally, you can see racism corrupting stratification in the news every day of the week. How many (usually) white police offers rob, beat, and kill innocent people? I don't even need to provide an example, the list is growing by the hour. If the social contract is worth preserving and you believe that meritocracy is more important than democracy, then I think it makes sense to combat the destabilizing influence of racism which shields the stupid from the consequences of their actions.

Strict taxation of all churches is on its face exactly what you think it is: churches should pay tax on the money they're collecting to support themselves. You might think this is silly since churches are so-called pillars of the community and exist only to render services to members of the congregation, but I think you're fooling yourself. The reality is that churches are businesses, and they're in business for themselves. Who's going to keep the preacher in fine, tailored suits? Who's going to maintain the comfortable lifestyle of the preacher's wife? Who's going to buy the luxury airplanes that the preacher needs to travel to exotic locales and spread the gospel? And don't even get me started on sexual abuse, because I find it tragically hilarious that the Satanic Panic of the 80's and 90's revolved almost entirely around a conspiracy theory that a vast, multi-national religious organization with vast wealth and ties to government and elected officials was consistently abusing young children and using its power to cover up the crimes. Because, you know... that's literally exactly what the Catholic Church did, and literally exactly what the Church of Satan (or any left-hand oriented organization) did not do.

But getting back to the actual discussion: This doesn't specifically have to do with racism, but it does have to do with a common element that we've talked about through this entire series: the social contract. Not paying taxes is the same as refusing to participate in society while still enjoying all the benefits of society. An example I've cited before is WalMart, who typically pays their rank-and-file workers at minimum wage and typically only provide part-time hours. As is their business strategy, WalMart typically refuses to open in any city where they won't be exempted from local taxes, and also lobby state and federal governments for subsidies and exemptions including permission to not pay taxes into SNAP (food stamps), which might strike you as odd since they encourage their low-paid employees to apply for food stamps and spend the money on food at WalMart. To me, this is an unconscionable rejection of the social contract, and WalMart deserves nothing while it's turning its employees into beggars and simultaneously clinging to the tit of government subsidies and hiding $76,000,000,000 in overseas tax havens. If the social contract is worth maintaining, then those who benefit from it should support it.

As for the third point of Pentagonal Revisionism, this is an obtuse reference to racism. It primarily addresses the importance of overturning legislation based on bronze-age norms and values, but it also means that all people should suffer the consequences of their actions. As it relates to this discussion, consider the frequency with which police officers rob, beat, and murder citizens in the line of duty? I'm not saying that police offers may never use violence in the line of duty - some people are mad dogs and deserve to be put down - but I am saying that police brutality is absolutely out of hand, and the people charged to "serve and protect" deserve swift punishment when they violate the public trust. If you think it's unreasonable for a police officer to spend nearly 20 seconds unloading his entire handgun in the body of a suspect, then it makes sense for you to support the abolition of laws and standards which shield mad dogs from the consequences of their actions. Who's watching the watchmen? Who will punish the punishers?

In answer to those questions - or maybe as a solution to them? - Satanists want to see the development of artificial human companions and the advancement of artificial intelligence. This is primarily intended to provide a slave for everybody who wants one. The presence of an android companion to be used and abused as the owner sees fit would give everybody license to purge their most depraved and violent fantasies without doing harm to any. Why not give people the means to express their hatred and contempt in a controlled way? Purge their wrath with a technologically convincing companion! Perhaps you think I'm a moral train wreck to say such a thing? You're welcome to your opinion, but both history and evidence are on my side

Still, this is an impractical solution because life-like artificial intelligence is still a very long way away, and this doesn't change the fact that there are plenty of rich, powerful, and racist individuals who want to change reality in accordance with their will. For that reason, many Satanists would agree that the social order should be protected against vigilantes and mad-dog criminals by a system of elite law enforcement, and in order for a law enforcement system to be perfect, humans must be removed from the process. Humans are as much animals as bears, wolves, and sharks, so why would you assume that a so-called "flawed" and "imperfect" human could be expected to live up to the high expectations of perfection and total confidence expected of law enforcement officers? This doesn't mean it can't be done, but it does mean that the human being itself is the weakest link. The development of an elite police force, not unlike the dystopian system embodied by Judge Dredd, would only hyper-inflate the problems of today's police force because the essential element remains the same: the human being. So until such a day comes that law enforcement officers are replaced by unerring androids, efforts must be made to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions, and to abolish all legislation born from racist ignorance.

The final point of Pentagonal Revisionism is the individual's choice to live within a controlled environment of his or her own selection according to his or her own aesthetics. This concept was enacted by Anton LaVey himself when he created inside his Victorian home, the Black House, a room unto itself. This room was covered with sickly, peeling wall-paper, and had a false window which at all times showed night and had a device to cause rain to fall against it. From the bed to the lamp, and the radio to the magazines, everything in this room was chosen for the time in which it was manufactured. Even the closet in this room contained clothes made in the fashion of the time. The intended effect was that when LaVey entered this room and dressed in the appropriate attire, he became a time-traveler. Or at least, he became a time-slower. He removed himself from the merciless flow of time, and for a while, this room in his house became a chamber of ever-lasting life.

As it relates to racism, this actually tends to reinforce the view that people of different races and cultures should live in racially or culturally homogeneous communities, and as an extension of that, would also tend to support forced segregation. Whites live with the whites, blacks live with the blacks, and so on. As it happens, this is a point of Pentagonal Revisionism that has already been observed, and can still be observed, in the world today. And how has that worked out? Whether it's religious segregation as observed in Israel, racial segregation as still observed in America, or caste segregation in India, the results are highly undesirable.

But that's why it's important to remember that Satanists embrace individualism. So, as it relates to Pentagonal Revisionism, this would not only be a voluntary process of creating one's preferred environment, but also decided by the individual and enacted according to the individual's wealth and means. Those who choose to self-segregate may do so, but they don't have the right to force others to self-segregate. After all, an all-white enclave may be appealing to some, but utterly disruptive and unattractive to others who prefer the vibrant, vital diversity of the figurative concrete jungle. At any rate, diversity has proven to be a strength both in the natural world and in the business world. Satanists think that every individual should have a choice regarding diversity of one's own environment, and if people choose personally pleasing, but less successful, environments, well - that frees up space for somebody else to climb the hierarchy and achieve a higher level of stratification.

The last argument I'll make before I close out this series regarding Satanism is racism is on the matter of rights, and more specifically, civil rights. So the argument goes among some Satanists, there's no such thing as rights: either you're strong enough to do what you will no matter what anybody else says, or else you're living under the sufferance of somebody willing to let you do what you will. So the argument goes, might does make right. And you know, I don't disagree with that argument: history is filled with examples of the strong taking what they will.

However, history is also full of examples of frequently fascist governments who suppress freedom of speech and often times violently crush dissenting opinions. Those Satanists who find value in the alternative right, the New Right, proto-fascism, and others would do well to remember that they only have the "right" to express these views because the nations in which they live have typically upheld freedom of speech as a value worth preserving in the social contract. Those Satanists who embrace the "might makes right" argument would do well to observe how well their ideology plays out in real life. Have they even looked at the state of a few parts of Africa and the Middle East? Or at authoritarian governments anywhere in the world? The scenario they say would produce the best results for the human species is already happening, and it looks like tribal war, starvation, high mortality rates, religious fanaticism, and brutal oppression of dissenting opinions. If they really, genuinely believe that's what's necessary for the improvement of the species, why are they still living in (usually) North America or western Europe and not taking action to move to some unstable part of the world where their mettle will be tested? These kinds of Satanists are only free to make these arguments because they don't live in a country like Bangladesh where atheists are routinely murdered by vigilantes, or Saudi Arabia where atheists are considered to be terrorists.

So, all of that is to say, everybody is free to say how they think the world should be. If you're reading this and you're among those who sees a very hard-right interpretation and application of Satanism, then you do what you think is right. You may disagree with me and think that I'm doing it wrong, but in these matters I invoke the words of current High Priest of the Church of Satan, Magus Peter Gilmore, who wrote,
The Church of Satan is not a NAZI organization. As has been said many times before, one’s politics are up to each individual member, and most of our members are political pragmatists. They support political candidates and movements whose goals reflect their own practical needs and desires. Our members span an amazing political spectrum, which includes but is not limited to: Libertarians, Liberals, Conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, Reform Party members, Independents, Capitalists, Socialists, Communists, Stalinists, Leninists, Trotskyites, Maoists, Zionists, Monarchists, Fascists, Anarchists, and just about anything else you could possibly imagine. It is up to each member to apply Satanism and determine what political means will reach his/her ends, and they are each solely responsible for this decision. Freedom and responsibility—must be a novel concept for those who aren’t Satanists. We take it in stride. Members who demand conformity from other members to their particular political fetish are welcomed to depart. Magus Peter H. Gilmore, Copyright © 1999—2006, c.e.
I demand that others conform neither to my "particular fetish," nor to my interpretation and application of Satanism, but I will passionately argue for my position. If you are a Satanist, perhaps you feel very strongly about position? If so, then perhaps you can see why I feel strongly about my position and why I passionately argue in favor of it. In agreement with the balance factor, I choose to embrace the possible. I value practicality and those choices which have proven to lead to increased personal freedom and financial success, as opposed to choices which lead to the opposite. In that sense, racism is a terrifically stupid and fantastically expensive type of ignorance that I believe should be opposed wherever it appears.

April 18, 2016

30-question Tarot Challenge

This is a great list of 30 questions that are useful for more than just "getting to know you (getting to know all about you)." What I like about these questions is that most of them open the door to even more questions, and that's a recipe for delightfully stimulating discussion. I'm going to be answering these questions on my YouTube channel, so you're welcome to tune in there, but you're also welcome to copy/paste these questions and do with them what you will. Kudos to Asali at Asali Earthwork for posting these questions - add her blog to your feed reader and follow her for this and more.
  1. What Introduced me/ got myself involved in Tarot?
  2. What was my first deck and why/how did I get it?
  3. Do I have more than one deck that I use, and if so, do I have a favorite? If not, why do I like the deck I’ve chosen?
  4. How long have I been reading the Tarot?
  5. When and where did I give my first reading?
  6. What was the first spread I learned?
  7. What is my favorite card (both in terms of the decks artwork and divination meaning)
  8. Which card do I dread pulling the most?
  9. What card do I pull the most often? Why do I think that is the case?
  10. What card best represents me/my personality (or is most often pulled to represent myself in a spread)?
  11. What spread do I use most often, why?
  12. Have I ever created my own spread? If so, how effective is it? (Feel free to show the spread)
  13. Is there a card that continuously stumps me when it is drawn? Why do I believe this to be so?
  14. For what purposes do I usually use the Tarot (self-reflection, guidance, advice, recreation, communing with spirits/dead, communication with deity, other)?
  15. How much emphasis do I put on the text-book meanings for the cards, and how much stress do you place on the “feeling” you get from the cards through their artwork, symbolism/etc. AKA reading intuitively? Do I use both, or one or the other?
  16. Do I ever use the Major Arcana without the Minor Arcana, or vice versa?
  17. Do I do reading using reversals? Why or why not?
  18. Do I feel a “connection” to my cards?
  19. Do I feel/think the cards “think” or have their own consciousness? What do I believe make the cards “tick”? (Is it magic/outside influences or all in the mind?)
  20. Do I read for myself and/or for others? Why or why not?
  21. How do I feel when I do readings?
  22. Do I charge money (or other ways of compensation) for my readings/services?
  23. What question do I ask most often to the deck? (Or, ask on the behalf of another?)
  24. How accurate do I believe my readings are (or, do they accurately convey messages from spirits/deity)?
  25. What is the most dramatic/meaningful reading I’ve ever read? (Not necessarily the most accurate)
  26. Have I ever regretted a particular reading, either for yourself or another?
  27. Do I have a special time and/or place that I use my Tarot? If so, do you reserve the deck specifically for that purpose?
  28. Does anyone I know not agree with my Tarot practices?
  29. Do I have a Tarot mentor? Who are they (in relation to me) and how do they inspire me?
  30. Do I practice any other forms of divination? If so, what is it, and do you use them alongside the Tarot as to gain more information and insight, or as something separate entirely?

April 14, 2016

Satanic justification for infanticide

(AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File. Read more here.)
The current conversation around Zika virus and related birth defects is provocative. Me being who I am, I think life is preferable to death and I'm not sure I'm comfortable drawing a line when it comes to killing children. Still, I force myself to take the long view and accept that my personal norms and attitudes (especially toward infanticide) are shaped by contemporary values. If you go back a few thousand years to ancient Greece, you'll find that it was common practice to expose deformed or unwanted infants, which is polite language for, "abandon the child immediately after birth at the local trash dump." 

By today's standards, is it a grotesque and revolting practice? You bet. But I don't agree with today's egalitarian standards that all life is equal. For example, when you go out to the shopping mall, do you ever see that 40-something parent pushing an elaborate wheelchair carrying a 20-something, massively-disabled and often mentally retarded adult child? And when you see that scenario, do you ever immediately think, "Holy shit, I'm glad I'm not that parent?" 

I think kids are precious and I don't want to force a decision on any parent that I wouldn't want forced on myself, but if I'm honest with myself, I have to say that I resent my tax dollars being used to subsidize medical services and equipment for severely disabled and profoundly retarded children who will never, ever provide a return on that money and who are also a drain on the potential future success and contributions of their parents or caretakers.

Possibly the parent of such a child is in that position because he or she knew of the health risks to the child but chose not to abort (or was not permitted to abort if the pregnancy was unwanted.) And then, possibly, the parent is in that position because the child's deformities weren't known until after birth and today's laws insisted that the parent be chained to the child for rest of its natural life.

If egalitarian values regarding both the sanctity and equality of all life were re-evaluated, we wouldn't see parents in the position of being chained to their massively disabled or severely retarded children. Forced-lifers have shaped a lot of public opinion regarding not just birth control and abortion, and not just euthanasia and end-of-life decisions, but also created a culture where parents are forced to sacrifice their future happiness, success, and potential for the sake of caring for an immobile meat-sack who will probably accomplish nothing, ever.

Perhaps as a result of Biblical teachings that man is superior and separate from animals, people do a lot of things in the name of "humanity," but if we start from the premise that humans are not separate from animals, then we can also take a page from the animal kingdom where naturalists have long documented that mothers will abandon or kill (and sometimes even eat) deformed offspring. In that sense, infanticide is a natural phenomenon, and the legislation of laws and imposition of artificial morality goes against the natural biological order, as well as against long-standing historical precedent in the cradle of Western civilization.

April 12, 2016

Left-hand Tarot #12: International Man of Mystery

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Holy smokes! Has it been a whole month since I recorded the last episode? Sheesh, I've been lazy. Well, I've also been hurt, sick, or busy: I got a vasectomy on the 21st of last month (the timing with the Spring equinox is entirely coincidence), and it didn't go well. This resulted in a longer-than-expected recovery period, and since I couldn't pick up anything much heavier than 25 lbs., this also meant that the laundry piled up and the rest of the house generally turned to shit. And if you're a parent of two or more young children, you'll understand how quickly this happens. And just when I was starting to really feel okay again after the vasectomy, we ordered pizza and the whole family got sick with norovirus because somebody on the pizza prep line didn't wash his or her hands after taking a dump. Incidentally, if you're ever in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, don't ever buy pizza from RJ's Market.

Where was I? Yes! This episode I'm taking inspiration for the three segments from the Austin Powers trilogy because I thought it would be a fun way to dismantle silly myths about magical man-parts and how they're supposedly responsible for a man's strength and power. I'm also going to poke fun at myths that a man's seminal discharge is responsible for his strength, and in these (usually) Chinese myths, it's okay for men to masturbate, but not okay for them to ejaculate. At any rate, there's a difference between a vasectomy which severs the vas deferens and castration which severs the entire scrotum. If you don't understand the difference between these two things (and why a vasectomy doesn't interfere with the male sex hormones produced in the testes), then don't bother tuning in because you're a special kind of stupid that I can't fix.

International Man of Mystery
The Spy Who Shagged Me
  • Do you feel like you just got schlonged by a really shitty reader? It happens. But does this mean that your bad reading is useless?
  • More on the theme of pathetically vague readings, as well as my opinion on readers who stuff their readings full of spirit-world, past-life, and utterly woo-woo nonsense.
  • On the subject of nonsense, let's talk about the habit that some readers have of steering the content of their readings toward an exclusive emphasis on the positive.
  • And on the subject of "good news only" readings and the readers who give them, let's talk about Christian psychics, so-called "angelic wisdom," and what I happen to believe is the inherent hypocrisy of people who believe they communicate with literal (not metaphorical) entities that exist only within the framework of Christian mythology.
  • What happens when the Satanic sins of forgetfulness of past orthodoxies and herd mentality combine?
    • This is an unscripted segment