Of all the different things that I do, I get particular joy from leading weddings. Several years ago I became ordained through the Church of Universal Life. At the time it was mostly out of curiosity, and because I had been advised that having clerical credentials might afford some protections against more aggressive opponents to some of my arts. I had been ordained for many years before I was first asked to marry someone.
I’ve performed ceremonies in different conditions for people with different spiritual perspectives. My last ceremony was a vow renewal performed in a cemetery. (This held very special meaning for the couple and I was game.) We did not lack for witnesses, even if some of them were unseen!
I take these unions very seriously. I craft a ceremony using traditional elements that fits with the spiritual sensibilities of the people I am marrying. Since my spiritual view is pretty broad, it is easy for me to accommodate and blend perspectives and attitudes while keeping it comfortable for everyone involved.
A lot of what I find myself doing is providing an anchor for everyone. There are a lot of players in a wedding, sometimes with different ideas about what should happen. When someone asks me to lead their wedding I become their advocate, shaping the ceremony and enforcing their wishes. I also do my best to be a calm assurance that everything is going to be great.
The creation of the ceremony is probably my favorite task. I have had to research different elements and traditions to blend something especially meaningful into a ceremony. (I’ve blended Norse mysticism with mainstream Christianity in a way that didn’t upset grandma.) I make it clear to my couple that this is their sacred rite. They are the ones who live with this. It must be meaningful to them. If that takes a little creative merging, I’m fine with that.
I am happy to say that the couples I have joined so far are still doing OK. What more could I ask for?
The other day I created this meme in response to listening to people argue about Thanksgiving. I am grateful for pixabay.com for being a fantastic resource for public domain photos.
In the United States we have a holiday that is themed around the idea of being thankful. People can and do debate the lore and what lays behind this holiday. Everything is about intention, however. Thanksgiving is an incredible opportunity to focus on gratitude.
We live in a world driven by marketing and consumption. In order to get you to consume, it is important to drive into your head the ways in which you are needy. We are bombarded with messages about our own inadequacies and how far we are behind the curve, how we are the have-nots. We have so many wish lists available to us, constantly reminding us of what we still need to obtain.
Today is a day to set all of that aside. It is a day to not look at what we want, but what we have. When we really think about it, we have quite a lot.
My world has shifted quite a bit. I went from a comfortable corporate circumstance to a world of uncertainty. Don’t get me wrong. This has, overall, been very good for me, but there is a lot of contrast between the so-called guarantees of a few years ago and the spontaneity of today. I am not the only one having this experience.
And yet, there is so much in my world that I treasure. I have family and friends who stick with me, despite the twists and turns. The money manifests… enough… in time. I am in a mode where I am free to explore and express. I continue to have the necessities of food, shelter, cats. Many hardships that could be mine are not. Hope and opportunity are still with me. Life is really blessed in so many ways.
Part of magickal working is follow-through. We set the intention; we build the energy; we focus, aim and fire that energy. Then, we move forward with the assurance that what we sent forth will do what we asked. When we see evidence, we act with gratitude. We acknowledge how the universe has helped to manifest for us. (How our prayers have been answered, if you will.) Along with thanking the universe, we should also give love and thanks to the people around us who have been part of that journey, who have contributed to that manifestation.
Consider making your intention today to set the differences, the doubts, and what is lacking aside. Look at what you have. Look at who you have. Look at who you are. Look at what is already there. These are all proofs of what is possible. Acknowledging these things, even if they are things from your past, shows that they can be. As you have gratitude, you are adding to the foundation of assurance for what you can make happen.
“Fake it ’til you make it!” the wisdom goes. In other words: if you don’t feel like you are what you want to be, just act in the role and it will eventually become reality. Dress in the clothes. Talk the talk. Spend time with the people. Do the things. Pretend if you have to.
I’m a fan of this thinking, but I’ve decided that there is an even stronger idea. Cosplay yourself.
Cosplay is basically what we’ve all done on Halloween. You dress up as someone. But, for cosplayers, Halloween happens all year round. These people go to astounding lengths to bring their visions to life, which is much more in tune with what we are trying to accomplish with ourselves.
The problem with “faking it” is that you are fake. It has this aspect of being an imposter. The intention is to get you to be bold. As you are bold, you find that you actually were able to do the thing all along. Your powers come from within. But, sometimes we have problems getting over the fake part.
I find that cosplayers provide some excellent inspirations for becoming. Maybe they will resonate with you, too.
1. You identify with what inspires you.
When cosplayers come out, they connect with what inspires them. They seem to delight in being recognized as their characters. People call them by that name and take pictures with them. It’s OK if there are other Spidermen or Wonder Women. It’s OK that the costumes may come from different eras of the character. It’s OK if some costumes are more party quality than film quality. It’s all about honoring that vision as best as one can.
We need to be true to the vision, and not worry about what others are doing, except to be inspired by them. It’s always about realizing the vision as well as you can. Even though the casual observer might see a group as all the same, the discerning observer will find the nuances that make us a special connection for them. Your variation, your uniqueness is an asset.
2. It’s not about perfection
People bring varying degrees of resourcefulness and artistic skill to their creations. Even those attempts that are considered “bad” are recognized. People still take pictures. Do they know they don’t look like the costume in the movie? Of course, they do! While some of them might be considered extra-optimistic, they came out of the house; they took it out on the street. They let the mask lend them a little extra courage to let go and have fun with it. It was likely a positive, memorable experience. If nothing else, it was a day out of the dreary treadmill of the ordinary.
We usually worry too much about perfection. We make the plan and want to execute the plan. Ultimately it is about whether or not the goals are achieved. Learn the lessons when things go astray, but don’t forget the actual goals. It’s OK if things get a little ridiculous from time to time. Strike the pose and be the thing. Your passion may transcend whatever you think of as imperfections.
3. You can mix it up
One of the things that cosplayers like to do is witty mashups. They combine ideas for puns, like Ash Wednesday, above. They gender bend. They play with time. They play with genres. Anything that can be imagined is fair game. Not everyone will get it. Some will need it explained. Even then, some will go “Meh.” But some subset will fully appreciate the creativity and cleverness that went into realizing that vision.
We are encouraged to be pure, to be one thing. There is a wonderful quote from science fiction writer, Robert Heinlein:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Marketing teaches that we need to be a box on the shelf with a single, recognizable thing. That may be true from a marketing perspective. However, humans are not made to be just one thing. Our curiosity, our multifaceted nature, our ability to try and do many different things make us naturally diverse. A laser focus might help you achieve a type of success, but what will you leave behind?
Consider that if it feels right to you to combine some things that may be uncommon that you should listen to those feelings. Again, your unique set of flavors will create something that no one else can be. Just because something’s never been done doesn’t mean that it can’t be. Allow your inspirations to come from several different directions and combine them in a way that no one else has considered. Once people experience your version, it may be that everyone wants one! You may inspire others with something they believed was impossible.
Manifesting our paths is an amazing act of creation. Some visions do require some precision and attention to detail. Some are more intuitive and flowing. In either case, it’s not about faking, it’s about realizing. Understand that you are always making it, no faking required. Let yourself be inspired by these cosplayers to bring your vision to life. If some days that works better in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outfit, then “Cowabunga!”
(This article was typed using voice dictation, as an experiment.)
The other night, I was at theMuseum of the Weird until midnight. It was a long night, with many tours, and large groups, and I was ready to change modes. The wizard needed food badly. I was walking back to my car, where I had been fortunate enough to get free street parking on a Sunday. Often it is not available, and I have to park in the garage, so I have to keep an eye on the time lest my parking rate jump to the next level. That means I normally leave 6th Street to get something to eat. Also, 6th Street becomes a sort of teenybopper haven at night and I end up feeling like the old guy in the club. Hell, I probably am the old guy in the club!
An Austin staple, and there are fewer and fewer of them left, isCasino El Camino. They are a pretty chilled out, grownup bar, with a kitchen that stays open until 1:30 a.m. A while back, they had a fire, and were closed for some months. I don’t go there as often as I should, and had not been for some time. I walked by, then thought “I should go in and check it out.” I turned around. Then I turned back toward the car. Then I turned back around, thinking “I don’t have to worry about parking. Why not?!”
I walked inside, and started looking for a place to be. As I’m wandering, someone calls my name, “Saul!”
I look, and there is a table of three gentlemen whom I had seen earlier in the museum. I remember that one of them acted as “The Guardian” for a game that we played. One of them explained to me, that they had just been thinking about me. In fact they had hoped to catch me at the museum, but arrived too late. They decided to go to Casino El Camino and get something to eat. Actually, with the timing that they said, they had probably left just a few minutes before I did. There’s always some break down, and other details to deal with at the end of the night. I rarely get to leave right at midnight.
They invited me to sit down, and we had a lovely conversation. They were an interesting bunch, in town for business, and do some pretty heady technical stuff. Essentially, they analyze power utilization in major data centers, really major data centers. They have been in the heart of iTunes. They’ve been in the heart of Netflix. They’ve been at the heart of places they couldn’t even tell me about. Their analysis allows someone running a data center to see where there might be impending hardware problems. It also provides a model to aid in projection of future needs. Fascinating!
As a bonus, the music that night was a wonderful blend of old-school offerings. We heard everything from classic rock to Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass! By the time it was all done, all of my stress of the day was gone. It was just what I needed!
What intrigues me is the way that all this came about. They sought me out. They were thinking about me. I walked right by where they were. Normally I would have kept on walking, but something kept drawing me back to that place. Did they manifest me? Did I go in there because somehow I connected with their thoughts of wanting to see me?
These are the sorts of little things that make my world so interesting. It’s easy enough to chalk it all up to coincidence and just get on with things. I find that these sorts of coincidences stack up as I continue to make my way down the rabbit hole. In one of my presentations, I note that “When we tune into things, it’s not like a big glowy thing. It feels like a coincidence, so we blow it off; we forget about it.” Noticing how these coincidences stack up is part of what takes you off the main, boring path and onto a manifesting path. On its face, my silly little incident doesn’t mean much. But, lumped in with all of the other similar events, it shows me that things are happening. More than that, it reminds me that I should expect things to happen. How fun is that?
On my constant search for unusual things I come across forgotten lore. From 1918 to 1929, cartoon pioneer, Max Fleischer, did a series of short films branded Out of the Inkwell. They grew from early rotoscoping experiments, a technique that translates live action to animation, and a forerunner of motion capture.
This one is titled Ouija Board, though we are really focused on the antics of Koko the Clown as he escapes the canvas. I really like the final gag on this one. The film is completely silent, so put on your favorite music as you enjoy.
I spend a good deal of time at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas. I’m also a regular participant in the Austin Horror Society, and have just begun hosting my own monthly horror film events, Ravencraft’s Vault of Horror. So, I appreciate the kind of passion that goes into creating something like the Munster Mansion in Waxahachie, Texas.
This incredible home belongs to Sandra and Charles McKee, and is the result of Sandra’s passion for the 1960’s TV show, The Munsters, and the utter devotion Charles has to his wife. The building is a realization of what 1313 Mockingbird Lane. I say realization, because there was not real model of this home. It existed as sets on the TV show. Sandra watched the shows again and again to design the blueprint. She used the paces of Lily Munster (Yvonne De Carlo) to determine the scale. What resulted is nothing short of incredible. You can see the painstaking detail in their gallery, but the pictures do no justice to what it’s like to actually be there.
On October 21-22, 2016, they had their open house. This is a big charity event where they give tours and have entertainment and activities. The rest of the year this is their private home and is not open to the public. I shared a stage with Merlin the Wise, who I work with at Sherwood Forest Faire. Merlin entertained with his family-friendly magic and I did… weirder stuff. 🙂
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. If you ever get the chance to visit in person I highly recommend it. Here are some glimpses of my view of it all.
Regardless of your political leanings you were likely surprised by various things in yesterday’s election. I was too. Then I looked back to the numbers that I did in January about the election and it was all there.
For January I wrote an article where I used numerology to project out various things about 2016. I ran numbers for Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
At that time it showed that Bernie Sanders had a good chance to win, but it required him to stick with his base in a mode of collaboration and not give into the machine. Sanders moved his energy from that base to supporting the party choice. Had he drawn on his support and continued his original path there is a good chance he would be president now.
Trump’s numbers showed him to be a likely winner, especially against Clinton. At the time I used the word “destiny,” which is a good description of how it played out. Paired with Sanders, Trump’s energy would have been very different. Paired with Clinton he had a clear advantage unless her supporters put in a tremendous amount of work and energy.
The numbers don’t write things in stone. They describe the energies that are needed to make things happen, how the work needs to be done. In this case, everything seemed to follow the path of least resistance.
I did not follow up on the numbers as the campaign continued. It wasn’t something that I was actively discussing with people and I had honestly forgotten that I’d even done this. In the past, I’ve not been big on doing public predictions. I use the numbers for more personal things rather than projecting out world events. You can bet that I’m going to be paying a lot more attention the the upcoming numbers and sharing what I can.
Now that this path is defined, we can still apply our own energies to how it will affect us and our personal goals. It’s an exercise in balance. If you want to know more about your own numbers reach out and we’ll see what energy is surrounding you.
My paranormal entertainment is a theatrical exploration of the weird stuff that they used to show on In Search Of. (Now that was a reality show! Unsolved Mysteries later went in a similar direction.) Ghosts, legends, monsters, powers of magick and of the mind, bizarre artifacts… These fascinating ideas are there, waiting to be explored and experienced. I realized that all of these things I had been exploring were interesting to people who weren’t necessarily ready to go down the rabbit hole themselves.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. People who dig into these things enjoy them. Many of the Victorians who participated in séances did them because the were enormously entertaining. That’s how my sincere interests evolved into this unusual style of interactive entertainment. We play. We try. I get to strengthen my own skills at connecting, but a number of others connect strongly as well. It’s all intended as a show, but stuff comes up.
Probably the most dramatic moments happen when we are doing thought experiments. I will have people think of a person and try to get impressions of that person. Sometimes I just get impressions. Sometimes I get all the way to a name. More often than I expect, someone will decide to think of someone they know who has passed on. Occasionally it will be someone who has passed quite recently. As the impressions come through this can be a very emotional moment for all of us. When it first happened it really alarmed me. They were crying. My heart was racing. Other people in the room weren’t sure what to think. Then they thanked me. Their love and concern for this person was so strong and they were happy that I was able to share it with them.
During some of the intuition games I play, where someone in the audience attempts to reach out, the person playing will sometimes make a very strong connection. Usually we are working with objects, trying to get them to tune into something specific. Most people do better than the expect because I create conditions for them to open up in spite of themselves. A few seem to have some strong natural abilities. Sometimes they don’t even know. I always hope that they become more curious and start to explore their intuition.
When exploring these idea, even when it’s just for fun, there is always the possibility (maybe even a probability) that we will connect with real things amongst the stories, the theater, and the games. That is why I always treat my entertainment with the same respect that I do any sincere probing into the magickal and spiritual world. I use the same techniques to ground and clear myself and the performance space. As a result, our connections are joyful and fun, and we don’t bring up anything that will follow you home!
Just a reminder that I am booking private events for October and beyond. If you want to take your friends down the rabbit hole we can make it happen. Contact me with your event and we’ll make something special for you.
While they are no longer at their peak, ghost investigation shows are still pretty popular on television. We follow haunted histories and tail investigators as they attempt to make contact with the departed. This is not a new thing. In fact, people have been enjoying spiritual entertainment for as far back as we can remember.
Places have had legends of strange goings-on, souls who met a tragic end or have unfinished business who seem to linger, creating confusion for the living. Clearly this idea was well established when Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. Hamlet’s confrontation with the ghost of his murdered father is what sets the whole story into motion.
Ghost stories around the campfire are an old tradition, and kids of all eras have dared each other to go into forbidden spaces on the chance they might encounter the ghost or monster reported there. In the 19th century, however, a different approach to encountering these spirits led to a whole new way of thinking. Like the ghost-hunting shows of today, some people took it very seriously, while others explored it as a fascinating and very diverting form of entertainment.
The history of the séance, which evolved into what we think of as ghost-hunting today, had its humble roots with the Fox sisters, some young girls who manifested mysterious raps and other signs of communication with the spirits. Perhaps others had done this before, but something that was new here was the rise of media. In a time where someone would go their whole lives in a radius smaller than some people’s daily commute, there were suddenly forms of communication that allowed astonishing stories to reach the population at large. When news got out about what the Fox sisters could do, people wanted to see. They wanted to experience it. Suddenly it seemed that others could do this too. People eagerly read these accounts and wanted to experience them as well.
While professional mediums roamed the country, giving demonstrations in lecture halls, many took to their own parlors to attempt spirit contact. There was no denying that some people seemed to have a stronger connection with the spirit world, but the possibility was that anyone could find themselves in contact. Tools like the Ouija board and other instruments for detecting and communicating with the dead were introduced. Anyone could play, and many did.
Although lot of the controversy surrounding spiritism revolves around whether or not these manifestations were real, a lot of people frankly didn’t care. They enjoyed the stories and experiences of spookiness and the idea that there was something mysterious that was more interesting than the dreary work and frustrating politics that was the center of everything else. (Sound familiar?)
Of course, as media became more widespread and technology evolved, the majority of people turned to television and movies for their spooky experiences. A handful of people have always stayed connected to these things and the faithful have continued to explore their ghostly connections in communities like Lilydale, NY. The rise of the ghost-hunting reality shows started a new interest and people are trading in their Ouija boards and ringing bells for infrared cameras and EMF meters.
Now, as then, people see this as an enormous amount of fun.
I have been interested in these phenomena for as long as I can remember. I do have a genuine interest in the paranormal and I continue to explore for my own answers. But I can’t deny how wonderful it is to gather together and enjoy some spirit theatre, ghostly entertainment. With October coming up a lot of people are thinking about the spooky (though many of us carry Halloween in our hearts all year round). Let me introduce you to the world of live, haunted entertainment with a variety of offerings that can be tailored or combined for your party, event, or outing. Contact me to arrange one of these spirited activities:
Private ghost tour — Austin has a number of fascinating haunted locations, several which are convenient to downtown. Let me lead you through the places and the stories, with a stop off here and there for a beverage or dinner. It won’t be like the herd-tours that you see in cities. This will be a personal event that engages everyone.
Séance — This is where it all began, a group of people gathered together, hoping to make contact. I have a variety of approaches to fit different moods and goals. I enjoy recreating the atmosphere of the Victorian experience, but I also have techniques that draw in more modern equipment. These can be performed in private homes or other venues.
Ghost exploring — If you really want to take your cameras, recorders and devices and go on a ghost hunt I can help you realize your dream.
Haunted artifacts — If you don’t want to go quite so deeply, I can give you a private exhibition of some of my haunted artifacts and even teach how to find and care for such things yourself.
Remember, these things are not just for Halloween. In fact, that is my peak season, so that’s when it’s hardest and most expensive to book things. If you enjoy spooky books and movies or know someone who does, consider booking these activities to enjoy ghostly fun any time of the year. The Victorians certainly did!
A new year has arrived. I, for one, am happy to say goodbye to 2015. It was a year which demanded a lot of hard work, which made it very difficult for me to stay connected to others. That’s not my favorite lifestyle and I’m looking forward to the adventure and variety that is promised to me by 2016.
People are always curious about what the year has in store. For the month of January I’ll offer a remote reading special. Get your lucky numbers for $10, a year projection for $20 or a year projection and a single question for $30. There’s a PayPal form at the bottom to get yours. You’ll get a report through email.
But, I’ll share a few general observations about 2016 right here.
First, there is a big change happening from 2015 to 2016. Last year was very much about people having to “go it alone.” Safety nets were pulled away. Trusted resources were withdrawn. Everyone had to be more willing to stand on their own feet because, frankly, some of the help just wasn’t there like it has been before. For some this has been a good thing. Everyone should appreciate their own gifts and be willing to be self-reliant. We are given the gifts we need and it helps when we learn to trust them. However, it has been a rough time for many and they have been left feeling a little helpless and overwhelmed.
In 2016 there will be a lot more collaboration and helping each other. It’s a year to look out for people who seem to struggle with things that come easily to you and for people who seem to do well with things that you find difficult. Reach out. Find ways to exchange, to partner, to help each other. Look for help and guidance from these people, but always offer something in return. Make it a two-way street. Your network and resources will grow and you’ll find that the skills you bring to the table increase in value as people better appreciate what you can do. You’ll also find that you have more respect for the people around you.
This will be a bigger trend, as the United States starts to move away from a “my way or the highway” mode and begins to enter into serious collaboration with other world powers. Part of this will be economic realities all over the world, but look for some real changes in global and domestic policies that look for win-win solutions for everyone. This will be followed by some real ingenuity that hasn’t been seen since the World War II era.
The presidential election is in many people’s minds. There is a lot that can happen between now and November 8, but based on what I can see today: Sanders will win if his supporters continue a collaborative approach. He is also in line with the vibration of the year, so he has a lot on his side. He will fail if he moves into a more traditional mode of meeting fire with fire. Hillary Clinton can only win with an extraordinary amount of hard work on the part of herself and her supporters. Donald Trump has a chance if voters can be motivated to calling for complete change. It’s not impossible and Trump has an aura of destiny about him that draws him to this path and cause him to relentlessly pursue his goals. Ted Cruz would win if there was a tremendous drive from religious support, but he will still be shrouded in mystery.
I’ll try to keep an eye on the signs as we move closer.
I wish you prosperity in the new year. Be open to help from people you know and trust, not from big entities like the government or major organizations. Be open to providing help to those you know personally who could benefit from your knowledge and skills. These collaborations will make enormous differences to you.
If you want to get more specific information for yourself take advantage of my 2016 New Year Remote Reading special. You’ll find other specials on that page. This is only available during the month of January, so don’t miss out!