Tag Archives: Gandalf

How to be a wizard – for 99c

Well after the quick dashing off came some picking up pieces and tidying –  some rewriting, a late-night uploading, and re-formatting and reloading.

‘How to be a Wizard – how life is magical and we are too’ is now OUT.  Scary! the short blurb:

This short book is not about ‘pointy hats‘. Instead, I outline the foundations of the True West, and list the ‘Wizard’s Desiderata’ – what is needed to live a life which is truly powerful, truly magical, truly mythical, and truly possible. It always has been possible to be a ‘wizard’ of one’s life, though never perhaps with as little danger of being burned at the stake! 

I made a short version of the book to give to customers as a free passport book if they spend $10 at Cafe Eutopia and leave their email address. The full (colour) printed version is $9.99, but only 99c as an ebook.  Now on Smashwords, http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/236770

and Kindlehttp://www.amazon.com/How-Wizard-life-magical-ebook/dp/B009C977K6/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348351169&sr=1-5&keywords=how+to+be+a+wizard

The cover:

How to be a wizard. The passport book.

It does raise the bar for oneself, writing a guide to something. Can I live up to it? Certainly one doesn’t always feel like whatever it is one is claiming to be (For example, right now I have a slight nausea – a symptom that can make anything feel like bleah. I wonder, did Gandalf have a stomach ache on the bridge of Khazad Dum? We’ll never know.)

But that isn’t any reason to back off declaring oneself. Or raising the flag of some ideal or idea. If we wait until we know we are perfect, or feel we are, no flags would ever be raised, or they’d be pulled down again at the first stomach ache or flu or migraine or domestic meltdown, and then where would we be?

Certainly those with something to share whether paid or not need to raise a flag. It’s called marketing. It’s a bit scary! Or for the sensitive Cancerian artist or contemplative, terrifying.  But part of being in the world. Which clearly, we are. We can’t be passive observers. At least now on the threshold of the digital age we can put out something like an ebook and people can sample it for free, and only spend 99c (Amazon’s minimum price) to have our best offerings on their ereaders forever, weightless and maintenance-free.  So the risk for book maker and book reader is way lower, and everyone benefits. And it is great news for the voluminous writer – it costs no more to produce my 2000 page epic as an ebook than to put up this little passport.

What condensed wisdom could you write up one inspired weekend and upload? The power is there for anyone to do it. (If you want help uploading, I do that too see my www.ebookuploader.com)

What about the shingle I put out at the front? Well, the wind kept blowing it over, the corrugated polycarb protecting the printout dims it down, I printed it too small…

So that also need tidying up. So many opportunities to back down and give up! But I will redesign and put it out again.  All part of the process. the dreaming, the Idea, the working out, the following through. Wonderful synchronicities and synergies do happen, bringing things together, but there’s no magic wand when it comes to actually building the things. That’s where the ‘law of attraction’ has to be balanced with a ‘law of Processing’. That’s in the How to be a Wizard guide too, of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Labyrinth and the Compass

English: AM 28 8vo, known as Codex runicus, a ...

English: AM 28 8vo, known as Codex runicus, a vellum manuscript from c. 1300 containing one of the oldest and best preserved texts of the Scanian law (Skånske lov), written entirely in runes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been carving a staff for Gary Cook for his upcoming opening night for the documentary on faery folk in New Zealand, ‘Voices from the Forest’. (See www.faeryrealms.com for news of this.) The task has been challenging, as not only is there the labyrinth of aesthetics to negotiate, and materials etc, but also the labyrinth of values, mythology and symbols. I have been learning a bit about the Norse runes,

Runes

Runes (Photo credit: spratmackrel)

and the mythology behind them. Odin was an heroic seeker of the runes, impaling himself on the World Tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights in order to get the runes. It struck me after reading the Women’s encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets that indeed he didn’t invent them, but ‘won’ them (by imitating the travail of women in childbirth, traditionally 9 days being the time of a mother’s seclusion, the article tells us). So, wheels within wheels… Did he supplant the goddess, wrongly? Or does every artist have to sacrifice ‘himself to himself’ as Odin says of himself on the Tree? In order to win for himself the runes of true art? Or should we emulate Bragi, who became the greatest bard of all by letting Idunn his wife carve the runes on his tongue?

An 1886 depiction of the indigenous Norse God ...

An 1886 depiction of the indigenous Norse God Odin by Georg von Rosen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, we can’t blindly trust any hero to tell us what to do, no matter if they are the ‘All-father’ Odin himself. We must bring our moral compass as well as an open mind, to all our encounters with gods and goddesses, no less than with ‘ordinary’ mortals. We are in a labyrinth – it is called Life on Earth. That’s an exciting adventure, the stuff of page-turning epics. We need that compass, though.

I think this is what makes a good Story: it has the twists and turns and blind alleys of a labyrinth, but also the author is showing the heroes and heroines using their moral compasses, trying to steer a straight course morally while dealing with the chaos of the unfolding multi-dimensional labyrinth of life.

I was up to here this morning in my (re)reading of Lord of the Rings. Gandalf at the last debate says:

“Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

So, we have it from the greatest wizard of all Middle Earth: the defense of the True West is a matter of weeding the fields set before us. And we need that moral compass, to tell what may be weed and what be wheat – or some other good plant!

 

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Filed under Ethics, How to be a Wizard, other wizards, The Defence of the (True) West

Calling all wizards: It is NOT too late to defend the True West!

I still haven’t hung out my ‘shingle’ at the front of the Story Ark where I reside and create and plan unrandom acts of creativity, but something has come up, calling me to action.
My son Daniel sent me links to a certain noble but pessimistic thinker and prolific blogger, who has written a major paper critiquing what he calls  the  current Western secular ‘religion’ – ‘PC’ (political correctness). In that paper:
Thought Prison: the fundamental nature of Political Correctness
Bruce G Charlton
University of Buckingham Press, Buckingham, MK18 1EG, UK, 2011
ISBN: 798 0 9563953 45
which he posted here: http://thoughtprison-pc.blogspot.co.nz/ he quite rightly attacks PC as being anti-rational and destructive of the West –  but he goes on to say its errors are intrinsic to Westernness itself. I strongly disagree! PC  is a sickness of the reason, a reason turned (irrationally) against itself. But to me the true foundation of the West – what makes it so strong in spite of all its parasites and viruses – is  acknowledgement of the transcendental reality of Truth – and Ethics. And dammit, Beauty. And yes, of course, Love.
But there were false steps in the course of its pursuit of Truth, and ugly ideas took root, bad arguments were believed,  that were undermining of this acknowledgement. Perverse philosophers did deviously use the tools of the reason to undermine reason. Scepticism and relativism did become entrenched, and became the dominant paradigm. And the social forces, still all too powerful in the universities and other bastions of intellectual culture, entrenched this scepticism and relativism. They became the fashion, no less! The Spirit of the Age.
We are at a time of tidal change where we are reaping the results of this undermining of Reason – but does this mean the tide cannot be turned? NO! Why? because it is not inevitable like the brute forces of physics. It is a tide of human minds all tuned to certain false ideas – ideas which were created by us and can be just as easily revised by us, or refuted. The human tide of ideas that could destroy the West is definitely flowing; but WE CAN turn it  back. We are part of it, and our ideas can spread, if they are worthy and carry the power of truth.
But I was about to quote Bruce Charlton’s paper, lest I be accused of misrepresenting him:
“By secularizing knowledge, by creating The University – by making philosophy autonomous of the Church (instead of having learning institutionally focused in monasteries) the West eventually made political correctness – which is now everywhere and inescapable.
And PC is the West’s Nemesis, because the West cannot decisively overturn PC without overturning that which made it The West.
The West cannot overcome PC without ceasing to be The West.
Yet, if this overturning of PC does not happen, then the West will itself be subverted by PC.
In other words, The West is built upon error: its strength is also its weakness; its power is also that which is self-destroying; even as The West built its great structures it was simultaneously gnawing at their foundations.
*
Here is the double-bind:
To be antiPC is to be anti-The West (always in tendency, albeit not by intention)
Yet at the same time, to be proPC is to be anti-The West (always in tendency, and also by intention)
And/ So/ But The West never was sustainable.
*
Looking back, The West was a blip on the graph of history – albeit a thousand year ‘blip’! –with a hundreds year long, gradual up-tick and the rapid decades long collapse looming ever-closer.
Just so soon as The West began to implement its assumptions towards completion (which is political correctness), just so soon The West began actively (as well as passively) to destroy itself.”
What? ‘The West cannot overcome PC without ceasing to be The West‘?  No! By BEING TRUE to our heritage of clear and fearless RATIONAL INQUIRY we can overcome the sickness, which is at root a sickness of ideas. Who said the arguments of relativism and physicalism are irrefutable? When were they truly proved? How could they have been, when they are inherently, logically, self-contradictory? ‘Dear me, what do they teach them in these schools?’ (Professor Kirk, Chronicles of Narnia).
‘How shall a man judge what to do in such times?’
‘As he ever has judged,’ said Aragorn. ‘Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among elves and Dwarves and another among men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his won house.’
So, calling all wizards in the tradition of Gandalf the Grey: become what you are, servants of the True West and ‘Numenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and ever will be.’ (- Faramir, in the wonderful chapter ‘The Window on the West’ in The Two Towers.)
Cast off the grey rainments of doubt, throw down the Balrog of fear, and become what you are,  white riders of the True West!
Which all leads me to think, we need those Schools which teach the true foundations. If they can be founded physically, all to the good, but even if virtual – they are needed! My Schoolofwisdomandwizardry.com is, in intention at least,  such a place.
PS: I haven’t addressed a major, major issue in all this: the vexed question of whether we need a religious underpinning in order to be the True West, or be good – many would say we do, including Bruce Charlton, who is I gather a Christian. Or he would presumably say that the good things the West has enjoyed have come from its association with the tradition and beliefs of Christianity. I can’t agree. I think an acknowledgement of the transcendental Truth and Ethics and the Good, IS enough: all else falls into place if we honour these. We can benefit from open-minded study of any sacred texts, or any secular ones too, but the evidence for any one religion having the monopoly on the Truth does not seem at all convincing to me.  This doesn’t make me a relativist, of course: They take the irrational step of saying all religions and teachings are EQUAL – ie equally meaningless, at bottom – they say there is NO truth of the matter. I say all religions, like all scientific theories, are better or worse – more (or less!) valuable GUESSES at the truth of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
 This doesn’t make me a sceptic, because although the complete theories are guesses, some truths ARE self-evident. The ones about logic and ethics. We cannot build a complete irrefutable theory of everything on these truths, I guess, but we can build a glorious and wise civilisation on them.
That possible civilisation is what I call the True West.

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Filed under How to be a Wizard, other wizards, philosophical reasonings, School of Philosophy, School of wisdom and wizardry, The Defence of the (True) West, the existence of God or at least a Transcendental Order