Wednesday, December 23, 2009

*Ghosti

Some of you are probably looking at that title and wondering if my “world class spelling skills” are back. No that is a real word. *Ghosti is a reconstructed Proto Indo-European (PIE) word. The * denotes reconstruction. The word is where the terms host and guest both have evolved from. It deals with refers to the reciprocal relationships of hospitality.

This is an important concept. Many conflicts start where one half of this is ignored. People showing up expecting a gracious host, but forgetting that they themselves are expected to be good guests. Many Indo-European (IE) tales tell of misunderstandings that stem from this flaw. A host forgetting to make sure the guests are all well taken care of, and one of those guests is in fact a deity in disguise (D’OH). Or the “Heroes portion” being disputed.

If we take this to the real world. How often do we see people take umbrage that they were “ignored” by the host. Or that their guests were rude. I can personally admit I recently screwed up with*ghosti at an event. A guest decided to be less than good and bad mouthed the event. I in return publicly berated them. We both failed the *ghosti test.

So in this silly season (the holidays). Will you be a good guest and or a gracious host?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Myth of Power Scarcity

One of the things that becomes obvious the older or more mature (not always the same thing) you get is that there is no scarcity of power. You not having power, in this day and age, most often is a conscious decision. Be it you choosing not to educate yourself (and I am not talking about degrees here, some of the most educated people I know, have done it for themselves). You can choose not to let others have power over you most of the time. This of course discounts those wolves in society who would prey.

In the Neopagan community most arguments center around the “myth of power scarcity”. By this I mean they feel that there is only so much power to go around, and we need to horde it like dragons. How many of us have heard “So and so showed me no disrespect” or “Shop owner X lowered his/her prices just to screw me (Shop owner Y over”? I know I have. I’ve heard even more far-fetched ones.

The fact remains. Power scarcity is a myth. If there are only two Neopagans in an area. There is room for them both. If there is 100, there is room for all ideas, all views, more than one shop or coven or Grove etc.

But we return to the fact people fear loss of power. They see someone doing something they wish to do, meaning they can’t try. They see the success of others, as failure of their own dreams. I know that this has been a pattern I have followed for a long time. As I said the older I get, the less I care.

I recently started reading a rather interesting little book called “Meditations on Violence”. Now yes that is a rather macho title. It is in fact the opposite of Macho. It is a study in the myths of martial arts, and also the myths on self-defense. The author makes one very important observation early on. He is a corrections officer as well as a martial artist, and has a degree in Zoology. If you look at say a wolf pack. The adult male or female does not kill the Pups who get a little… over ambitious with their pl;ay fighting and bite the adult. Indeed they often romp with them. They seem to enjoy it. When adult wolves fight. They don’t fight to the death very often. He then goes onto describe the “monkey dance” which human males undergo.

Step one: What you lookin at?
Step two: I ain’t looking at nothing
Step three mutial self chest beating
Step for PUNCH
End

He said the best way to not playing in to this, (and by the Gods if I knew this years ago I would have had a less “interesting life” ) is to act bored.

Step one: What you lookin at?
Step Two: *Yawn* Nice day neighbor…looks away.
End (usually).

Power Struggles are like this. If you show boredom at the chest pounding. Show lack of concern for the situation (and by this I don’t mean for the other persons feelings, but that you don’t need their power) it will get diffused 9 times out of 10.

Now that tenth time? That is when the warrior needs to be awake, if appearing bored. I am often thinking to myself.

“Why are they doing this?” Understand where they are coming from
“What are their goals?” Are they really a threat, or are they socially inept, or perhaps just grumpy today?
“What can they do to me?” Seriously, will they physically, verbally, mentally, or spiritually attack me?
“If I back down, what do I loose?” Nothing usually. The wise warrior understands they should pick when, how, and how hard to fight. The last part is easy. Fight to win. You play fair in sparing, and competition. Real fights are to win. Second place is the looser. Know economy of force. If someone starts spreading a rumor to “take power” have evidence to combat this.

For example. “Hey Noinden likes to Tip Cows” is being spread. Responses that could be used “Cow tipping is a myth”, “Ahh so you were in the pasture with me?” “Yawn, sure is a nice day “. The first one leaves you open to the myth spreading. How do you know it’s a Myth? Trial and error? The middle one, is a funny come back, but is an escalation. Use it only if you have to fight, and follow it up with ten or so extra “strikes” do it to win, not for points, there is no gold medal. The last one? Well they will wonder what the hell happened?

Remember there is power for all.