Thursday, March 8, 2012

If I am not me, then who the hell am I?

I feel that one of the sad facts about Internet forums is that many people believe whatever is repeated long enough.  I don't recall which Republican once made the following comment, but I think it's true.  He said that he could convince people that a square is really a triangle if he just said it often enough.  I see a parallel here that I believe applies to reputations as well.  When I read things on Internet forums about me, I am always at a loss to understand how people who don't know me and have not had first hand experience of me, have such strong opinions about my character.

One of the many odd things about being an author is to encounter statements about me that are wildly inventive.  I'm not sure why some people use their time to create false tales about me, but I suppose that's another blog to consider at some future time.  But I will add that a friend recently commented that detractors are people who want to limit.  They are opposed to expansion and to alternative views.  I suppose that living in a closed box that way is comforting and protective.  A threat to that causes anger, which is a fear-based emotion, and so the need to remove or diminish the threat becomes imperative.  So with key boards at the ready, off these people go into Internet forums to attack the threat to their version of reality.

Some recent nonsense on the Internet forums has caused me to muse about something:  are we who we are, or are we (to some degree) what people paint us to be?  Does a false image become a truth because it's fed?  It does seem to take on a life of its own.  So, from a magical perspective, what does this manifest in connection to the real person who is falsely depicted?  One occult principle states that thoughts are things, which means that manifestation can take place when enough concentration and effort is applied.  Interesting possibilities there....

One of my favorite false allegations is that I'm not even Italian.  This was a popular tale created by critics of my first book, which was on Italian Witchcraft.  The tale disappeared for awhile, but has recently popped up again. False allegations seem to reappear whenever I have a new book come out, which I do at this time.  But the fact is that my mother was born and raised in Italy.  My father was an American soldier (of German and Scott descent) who met her during WWII and married her at the close of the war.  I am first generation Italian-American.  Because my surname at birth is that of my father's name, it's not an Italian name.  A critic of mine uses that to declare that I'm not "even a drop" Italian. It's fascinating to me the lengths that people will go to distort things in order to fit their agenda.  So, does the energy of the lies that I am not of Italian descent result in a magical transformation of  my DNA and make me non-Italian?

Another allegation against me is one I really love, and recalling it is always good because it makes me laugh to this day.  It appeared on an Internet Forum in the Wicca section on AOL many years ago.  A critic wrote on the forum that "Raven Grimassi is a fraud and an oath-breaker" - which is a contradictory notion.  You see, I cannot be both because one negates the other.  If I am a fraud then I have no initiation background and therefore no oath to break.  If I am an oath bound initiate then I cannot be a fraud.  But people seem to love this type of nonsense, and they keep it alive.  I guess that's why people love reality shows - drama entertains even when its complete nonsense.  I assume they don't care about the impact of unsubstantiated allegations against a person's reputation and character, nor the harm it can do.  Or, perhaps they do realize it and that's what they want to do - harm the reputation.  It's really psychic attack if you think about it. What do you suppose inspires such dark hearts?

One really fascinating element is when I correct the misrepresentation (or outright lies) on the Internet.  It's regarded as being defensive, which is then transformed into being a lie on my part (in order to support my "phoney baloney" books).  Not responding is regarded as having something to hide.  So being who I am becomes irrelevant to how people choose to see me.  Sometimes I feel that I have slipped into an alternative universe where I am supposed to be that person they describe, but I'm stuck being who I really am (the guy from back in the universe that I originally came from!). The Grimassi described by my detractors got switched from here to my original dimension, and I can only wonder how the evil Grimassi is doing in my universe back home - lol

So, I must answer my own question and say that I am who I know myself to be, and therefore, logically speaking, the person other people choose to falsely shape me into has to be all about them.  From a magical perspective they have created an entity that attaches itself to them and then feeds off their negative energy.   The occult principle here is "like attracts like" and so negative people draw negative concepts to them through their thoughts and desires, and that forms into their reality ( a necessary illusion for their agenda).   I suppose there is some justice in the idea that as a result they have to live in their heads with the evil Grimassi they create while I continue on to live my authenticity and my writings flourish.  That's the ying and the yang of it all.

So, for my loyal readers, friends, colleagues, students and fellow initiates, I will continue to do the work of spirit that I am called to do.  I want to spend whatever time I have left on this planet dealing with matters of sacredness.  That is the best use of my energy.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Skim Reading: The art of knowing little of what you speak

An interesting phenomena keeps presenting itself.  It's the fact that a lot of people simply skim read a book and come to a determination of the entire book.  The deeper problem is that some book "reviewers" do the same thing.  If you are going to review a book, please actually read it.  That seems fair enough. 

I think that skim reading is fine if we're just looking at the author's writing style and poking around for tidbits.  But skim reading, by its very nature, means that we haven't actually read the book.  The only thing that can come of that is a weakly informed opinion, and quite likely a misunderstanding of the book and the author's actual position (as opposed to what we're asserting through our personal filters).  While skim reading may give us a personal sense of whether or not we like what we're finding, it really doesn't provide enough objective findings to merit evaluating it for others.

On Internet forums, many people argue that skim reading works very well and they appear to rely upon it for discernment, education, and direction.. But in reality, skim reading misses more than it catches, That's simple logic.  By analogy, skim reading is like passing by a restaurant, looking in the window, catching the aroma of what's cooking in the moment, and then going off to write a review about the restaurant.  We haven't actually had the full experience, and so our opinion is not truly an informed one.  But we tell friends whether not they should go there. Why do we offer our limited experience of something as an indicator for others to avoid the full experience that we ourselves haven't had?

There is much more to a book than a few pages or passages here and there.  A book is the presentation of something holistic.  I know that a lot of people don't read the Preface or Introduction in a book.  That's unfortunate because they provide the reader with an understanding of what the author is presenting, why, and how it is that the author came to believe in the material.  These are important things to know and to understand.  It can provide us with new perspectives, which in turn allow us to grow and expand.  Without understanding the author's preface, we can bring preconceived notions to the material that really get in the way of comprehending what we're reading.  Without reading the introduction, we miss the experience and insights that are foundational to understanding the material in the book.  Therefore our reactions to the material we skim read are more about the prevailing limitations of our personal experiences to date than they are about what the author is saying.  We end up robbing ourselves of that breakthrough moment of - Oh, I never looked at it that way before.

If you skim read this blog, please go back and read it through.  :-)