Why I’m Polyamorous: Probably the Most Honest I’m Able To Be With People I Don’t Know (Plus a Statement of Intent)

•December 6, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Hey folks.

This is the official post about polyamory and my own reasoning for why this is the life that I choose. Bear in mind that this is only my own expression of polyamory.

For those who haven’t been exposed to polyamory, it’s a form of ethical non-monogamy, where each relationship or group of relationships have their own understandings and rules. There are many great resources for understanding polyamory better, so it’s definitely worth Googling, if you’re curious.

But anyway, yes, I’m one of THOSE people.

I’m an admin for a Polyamorous group on Facebook, yet due to my demeanour and the fact that I tend to keep my private life out of other people’s faces unless I trust a person enough to share parts of it with them, I often get assumed to be monogamous by most folks because I “seem so normal” in a lot of ways. People can pick that I’m somewhat different, but are never sure what it is and I usually come across as within the acceptable parameters of weird. I know some of the reasons for this, but I’m not going into them here.

Part of this weirdness is that I can feel a lot of affection for people. Compassion as well.  These things come easily for me, but they don’t rely on any actual relationship beyond a simple recognition of similarity or circumstance. Despite these things, I don’t trust easily. I have an instinctive distrust of (most) people. This surprises a lot of my closest friends, because I’ve usually trusted them implicitly very quickly and it’s not until they see me around others and start to see how I tend to shut the hell up and just listen that they start to realise just how deep my distrust goes. If I somehow magically open up to a person and admit that I trust a person before knowing them for years, there’s often (not universally, but often,) a secret terror that I’m giving someone the weapons to destroy me emotionally. There’s a certain irony there, as this is one of the primary reasons why I’m polyamorous.

Confused?

Okay, I know for a fact that I’m not the only one that has these trust issues. Having these issues means I’m painfully aware of others and I want to be worthy of the trust that these people put in me for some inexplicable reason. That requires honesty.

For me, the beginning of this honesty is being able to say that I can’t be all things to anyone, and it seems like hypocrisy to try to demand that somebody else do that for me, especially since I know that it’s impossible. It also feels cruel to me to lie to someone and try to act like these things when I’m just naturally, well, not. If I’m diverting energy into trying to be something I’m not, I’m also stealing it away from the things that I CAN be to that person and frankly, that does everybody a disservice. I want to know that I’m with a person because we’ve both seen the other properly and made that choice to be with each other on levels that we both choose and without expectations that none of the parties involved signed up for.

Another big part of this honesty is being able to honestly say “Yes, I feel this way about this person or these people” and having the freedom to explore that. To be able to open myself up to those feelings and instincts, rather than pretend that they’re not there, is a form of freedom that I won’t give up, nor is it a freedom that I will deny anyone else. I’ve dedicated myself to exploration of myself and the human condition and this is a huge part of that exploration.

Another important aspect for me is the pack; the family of my choosing. That collection of relationships, whether these relationships are those of friends, partners, lovers or other connections. I need to be able explore these connections and relationships wholly and honestly, with others able to do the same with the people within their lives. This is what I’m trying to forge in my life and what I hope to help others forge in theirs. These connections, with these innate freedoms.

Honesty. Freedom. Exploration. Connection.

These are the things that I feel rule my life and are the ideals I uphold. I don’t believe for a second that I can claim to live these things within the confines of monogamy as I understand it. This post is not a judgement on monogamy, but a recognition that it is not for me. I’m going to sign out here, but in the spirit of honesty, I’m going to do so using my actual name instead of my handle.

Phillip St Clair Martin,
Signing Out.

Unintentional Brilliance in Hellraiser: Revelations

•June 30, 2016 • Leave a Comment

There are some movies that are just so close to unwatchable that even I have trouble with them. For me, the film that best exemplifies that is the ninth installment in the Hellraiser movie franchise, Hellraiser: Revelations.

Hellraiser Revelations was slapped together so that Dimension Films could keep the film rights to the franchise, and sadly, it shows in so many different ways. The special effects were sub-par, the acting wasn’t fantastic and the story felt forced in a lot of ways. I think that it could have been a much better movie in a lot of respects if there had been more time and care put into it. It’s been argued that because it was originally written to be a Hellraiser film (rather than other recentish Hellraiser films), that it isn’t the weakest film in the franchise. In my own opinion, if a film is badly done and doesn’t have the structured story or production values to engage a viewer, then the “written as a Hellraiser film” argument falls flat.

For all its faults, there is an aspect of the story that I initially hated, but has created an idea in my head that I feel adds to the story.

Let me explain.

The lead cenobite, the Hell Priest, affectionately known by fans and outsiders alike as Pinhead, was immortalised by actor Doug Bradley in the original Hellraiser film and subsequent seven films that followed. In Hellraiser Revelations, Doug Bradley had declined to play the iconic character. Instead, we had Stephan Smith Collins. While Stephan Smith Collins did an admirable job trying to fill those leather shoes, the way that the dialogue was written felt like a hollow shell of the hell-priest that we all know and love, as well as looking more like a bad cosplay of Bradley’s Pinhead.

He wasn’t Doug Bradley, nor could he be the same Pinhead that Bradley played..

That, in my opinion, is where the unintentional brilliance comes into play. For those that haven’t watched the film, there are spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

Now, in the beginning of the film we’re shown some found footage of two young men and their trip to Mexico. They find the box and as a result are whisked off to Hell by you-know-who. One returns and we find out that the other has remained in Hell and is acting as a Cenobite-in-training, with similar pins to that of Pinhead he is following. So what we have here is evidence that the pins through the head aren’t unique to Pinhead.

We also note Cenobite-in-Training doesn’t look like “the finished product” that we’re used to seeing in the earlier Hellraiser films, nor does it gel with the creation of cenobites that we see in Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Rather than see this as a contradiction, I’m personally led to believe that there are multiple methodologies for creating a Cenobite. This is strengthened by the slapdash creation of Cenobites in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.

Now, we’ve seen in different Hellraiser films multiple iterations of the Cenobites. The Chatterer alone has undergone more than a few transformations. What I find fascinating is that all of the cenobites have undergone changes except for Pinhead. What I’m suggesting is that they may not have actually been the original Cenobites that we saw in the first film.

What I’m putting forward is the idea that each position in Hell’s priesthood is marked by unique piercings, markings or other kinds of wounding. This would explain why the Cenobites consistently change from film to film but retain some similarities. The Cenobites by their nature, are a religious order, with one particular example being the Order of the Gash. The use of scarification of flesh as markings of office works as an explanation as to why the Pinhead we saw had a follower with similar pins.

But now I want to focus on the character of Pinhead here. Stephan Smith Collins’ take on Pinhead had a lot of people saying “This isn’t the Pinhead I know and love.” I say that they’re right, but not in the way that they think. Pinhead is innately different in Hellraiser: Revelations. Stephan’s efforts are solid, but it isn’t the same Pinhead as the previous films.

While it’s assumed that this character is meant to be the same played by Doug, I personally can’t make that assumption with the same certainty. This has a few cosmetic similarities, but this just doesn’t feel like the same Cenobite. The character looks different to Doug’s Pinhead, moves differently to Doug’s Pinhead and even speaks differently.

Let’s focus on the speech for a moment. It is similar in some ways, with similar themes, but there are glaring differences. The phraseology is just inherently unfamiliar, with both wording and delivery being different from what we recognise from Pinhead. What would account for this would be a different personality having studied the same (un)holy books and receiving “instruction” within one of Hell’s Orders.

While some might think that I’m reaching, it strikes me that there is nothing that ties the original Pinhead (as seen in the first Hellraiser films) to the Pinhead portrayed in Hellraiser: Revelations, but a case CAN be argued against it.

Just a fan theory to help make sense of what happened there and maybe get some creative juices flowing.

Sometimes A Snake Is Just A Snake…

•March 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Hey folks.

It’s St Patrick’s Day in Australia and as is the more recent norm, there are an abundance of Pagan folk bringing up the fact that it was Pagans that were driven out of Ireland  (with the occasional kneejerk reference to an Irish Pagan Holocaust). The only problem is that this idea, while it sounds like it should be true, really isn’t.

Now, I’m going to give you a little bit of history that tends to get ignored because it doesn’t fit with the Pagans Driven Out story.

What you need to understand is that St Patrick didn’t bring Christianity to Ireland. There were already Christians there. A whole bunch of them, due in no small part to travellers to other lands bringing the new religion to Ireland with them. The problem was that they weren’t nice Catholic folk like the church in Rome had wanted. They were part of the Arian Church which was seen as heretical due to not accepting the concept of the Holy Trinity. THIS was St Patrick’s target audience. The fact that many pagans converted peacefully was a bonus.

That’s right, I said peacefully. While he was no friend of the Pagans, he wasn’t one of the people that went around with the ultimatum of “convert or die”. He would have died with nary a word written about him if he’d tried. The Irish would have had exactly none of that bullshit.

Christianity had already made its mark and was already becoming popular. I’m not going to pretend that Patrick wasn’t part of that, but he didn’t start the process and there were still plenty of non-Catholics around after him. His effect on Ireland is overstated (at least), but the myths around him live on.

Now, getting back to the idea of the snakes being a reference to him driving out the Pagans, there are two gaping plot points that need to be addressed.

1, There were already stories of his efforts against the Pagans all over the place, so why change the story from Pagans to snakes? When every second story in his early biographies were about he openly smote the Pagans, why try to hide it?

2, It would have confused people no end, as there was still an abundance of Pagans to call bullshit on this in Ireland. I’m not talking about their religions going underground, either. Druids were still being talked about in the seventh century to try to figure out what part they played in law.

Folks, the idea that Pagans are the snakes in the tale is bunk. As of right now there are no snakes in Ireland except in zoos and pets. There were no snakes in Ireland loooooong before St Patrick got there, either. When later generations of settlers from lands outside of Ireland realised that there were no serpents to murder them in their sleep, the idea that they were driven out seems nice, especially if you can pin it on someone that was once considered local. It’s been suggested that the driving out of the snakes from an area came from another saint, but since I have none of the info on where it supposedly came from, I can’t say conclusively on that one way or another.

Morgan Daimler, a Celtic reconstructionist, went to work trying to find out where the idea that the snakes were Druids came from and came up with this:

The earliest reference I have found to anyone thinking the snakes meant Druids (and thanks to the friend who helped me find it) is in the Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries from 1911 where someone states that he believes based on a story that because a certain place was where the Druids last stronghold was and also the place Saint Patrick drove the snakes that the snakes must represent the Druids, but it’s just faulty logic (Evans Wentz, 1911).

It feels like it would be true, but there’s no genuine evidence for it, and surrounding stories (and actual history)don’t bear it out. St Patrick barely made a dent in the paganism of Ireland and he certainly had no effect on the snake population.

Southern Howler, signing out (with a few references for those who’re interested).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick

http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/was-st-patrick-a-slave-trading-roman-official-who-fled-to-ireland

Saint Patrick, Druids, Snakes, and Popular Myths

http://lairbhan.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/st-patricks-day-snakes-and-irish.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080313-snakes-ireland_2.html

http://intothemound.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/st-patricks-fakelore.html

Satanic Panic! Pt 2: The New Breed

•January 4, 2016 • 1 Comment

Hey folks.

Last time I wrote about the Satanic Panic that broke out during the eighties due to the sensationalisation of the nigh impossible. I wrote about it because it seems that the claims that were made by a few folks are making the rounds again with some fresh-faced folks about the place. The one in particular that got my attention was a lady by the name of Fiona Barnett. A dear friend posted a link to Fiona’s page on Facebook, where her story was being told. I’m not going to lie here folks, it is some pretty dark stuff.

Fiona has delivered a comprehensive story of experiences in regard to a high level paedophile ring operating in Australia and overseas. Within this ring, she has named a couple of previous prime ministers, television entertainers and mental health professionals, among others. She has talked about sexual abuse and torture as well as child trafficking. She has talked about the murder of children. All of this is what she herself has allegedly experienced.

That’s right. I used the word allegedly.

The issue here is that not only has she alleged these things. Were it these things alone, I would already be calling for blood. What is making me take a harder look is that she is also claiming to be a survivor of a training program to train children to become super-spies. She also alleges that she was taken to pagan rituals involving either Baal, Moloch or Dagon (at different times). She alleges that she was shipped to the United States to be part of their paedophilic activities. She claims that she was part of a situation where children were hunted for sport.

So yeah, there’s a reason why I’m less than 100% certain that everything happened as she has stated.

Pretty much all of the allegations that she delivers I’ve heard before in the Satanic Panic cases of the eighties and on the websites of conspiracy hypothesists (I refuse to use the word “theorists” to describe their claims, as “theory” is a scientific term that is based on observation and experimentation. I’m not going to pretend that conspiracy hypothesists have any basis in science.). While it seems too insane to be believed, Fiona DOES have other people backing her up and making similar claims. Primary among these people are Toos Nijenhuis (a therapist whom has claimed to have been molested by members of the Catholic Church), Jenny Hill (whom has a book written about her called 22 Faces). There is also the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State.

All of the names that I’ve provided so far look entirely legitimate on the surface and can even seem sincere, but there is a major issue here. None of these people named are what they claim to be.

Let’s start with Toos. Whether Toos was molested by members of the Catholic Church is one thing. The thing that stretches belief is that she is claiming that she saw, among many other things, Joseph Ratzinger raping and killing children. She has claimed to be a survivor of a Satanic organization with members from the world’s elites, who would hunt and rape children before murdering them. She has claimed that she was part of CIA mind control experiments and that those experimenting on her were part of the very same Satanic paedophile  ring. It should also be noted that she has claimed that her daughter has also witnessed some things. When Toos saw the interview, she became angry, telling the daughter to “learn her lines” because the story didn’t fit what Toos had claimed that her daughter had witnessed.

Next up, we have Jenny Hill, who is the subject of the book 22 Faces, by Judy Byington. Jenny claims that her alter egos have been journalling since childhood, yet also claims that she was unaware of her alter egos until adulthood when they emerged in therapy. It has been pointed out that people suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder don’t actually suffer from amnesia when an alter ego appears. Yet this is what Jenny claims. It has also been pointed out that if Jenny was keeping a diary where her alter egos were also using, then she HAD to be aware of other people writing in her diary.  Jenny has a history of drug use and mental illness, so it isn’t a leap of logic to assume that this also plays into the story.  Where it gets REALLY interesting is the situation involving the biographer, Judy Byington. Judy has claimed to be a consultant for the Utah Police in regard to Satanic Crimes. According to the Utah Police, they’ve never had a consultant of that nature. When confronted about this, Judy claimed that “Of course they’d say that. They’re trying to protect me.” Meanwhile, the claim of being a consultant was part of a press release from Judy herself. As far as Jenny goes, she strikes me as being mentally ill. That being said, the son that lives with her is not convinced that her mental illness is the result of Satanic abuse and believes that Byington is taking advantage of Jenny. Considering that Byington had the exclusive rights to Jenny’s story signed over to her while Jenny was unable to give informed consent. Byington also sent a Cease and Desist to Jenny’s son because he was making a film about living with Jenny and Byington felt that the film would harm Jenny’s credibility in regard to the book.

So we have Toos, and Jenny. A fraud and a mentally ill woman being strung along by a liar and manipulator.

But what about the International Tribunal Into Crimes of Church and State?

This is an even bigger fraud. It is all one man by the name of Kevin Annett. There is a long list of people that he has pissed off and defrauded for all kinds of things. He also claimed to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, which as you can probably guess, was an absolute farce. He was once a priest who has been defrocked and has since been making all kinds of claims about mass burials. While there has been some success in showing some of the sites, he has been actively defrauding people with Toos as an accomplice. He has made all kinds of claims against pretty much everyone in power that he can name. A simple Google of his name will provide all that you need to know about him.

So it seems that the company that Fiona is thrust into is less than stellar. Now I’m not going to call Fiona a liar. It is more than possible that she was a victim of some pretty shady  shit in regards to testing. It is also more than possible that she had been abused as a child. But when you tell me that you were being experimented on by a Jewish Nazi Satanist who was using you as a child sex slave for the world’s elite, who would ship you overseas, where you witnessed the world’s elite performing rituals to various pagan gods and were for some reason allowed to live, then I am going to be a little dubious. So should everybody else, because whether the claims are false or not, people both living and dead, were named as perpetrators. What this means is that their reputations have a black mark on them that people are unlikely to forget. This mark is not from having done something, but an allegation made by folks that are usually either fraudsters or mentally ill.

What we have is a story about a worldwide government conspiracy with not a whit of evidence. Folks, despite what a lot of people think, the larger a conspiracy is, the more certain to fail it is. So, a global conspiracy involving thousands functioning well enough to not collapse, performing the worst kinds of abominations and yet somehow still leaving people alive? I’m sorry but I’m not convinced.

 

Southern Howler, Signing Out.

Satanic Panic! Pt 1: Historical Context.

•December 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Folks, I’d like to talk to you about the eighties.

It was a time when nobody sniggered at a character called Fisto appearing in a children’s cartoon. It was a time when sex had just become frightening again due to the discovery of AIDS. It was a time when a school teacher could chide you with “You need to learn how to work it out because you won’t have a calculator with you everywhere you go” and still be telling the truth.

It was also the time when what’s now called the “Satanic Panic” had well and truly taken hold. A few different factors had come together. Among them, children that were raised during the second Red Scare were now adults and had children, raising them in a climate where “Moral Majority” had become a strong political force. Along with that, groups such as the Church of Satan had started to become more public and there was less stigma attached to having “New Age” or occult interests. Along with “occult renaissance” came the rise of the “Countercult” movement, also referred to as the “Anti-Cult movement,” who opposed all New Religious Groups. Ironically, social work and child protection as government agencies were also becoming more prominent, which also provided more fuel for this eventual fire.

Books such as “Michelle Remembers,” an apparent memoir of a woman who had spent time in a Satanic Cult and had suffered all kinds of horrors, made the first connection between the “Satanic Cult” and child abuse. It had made the bestseller lists, providing a match that was eventually lit by one of the authors, Lawrence Pazder, who made a name for himself as an expert on the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” that was apparently supposed to be happening. Michelle Remembers became the training manual for finding and recognising these Satanists. This book had been discredited, yet ended up being used as a teaching tool into the nineties. It should also be noted that the Michelle named in the story, Michelle Smith ended up marrying Pazder. Until his death, he maintained that “whether the events occurred was less important than whether or not Michelle believes it to be true.” Michelle’s father and two siblings disagree wholeheartedly as they were able to point out the inconsistencies and outright falsehoods in the book.  Michelle and Lawrence went on to become “experts in ritual abuse” based on nothing more than Michelle’s “recollections.” They were kept in business by such “reputable” groups as BADD (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons, a group that buys into the idea that tabletop roleplaying games are an initiatory tool for Satanism) and the Cult Crime Impact Network (A anti-occult Christian group masquerading as a law enforcement resource). As well as that, they appeared in the 20/20 episode “The Devil Worshippers”. Their work, along with Satan entering pop culture, began to spark all kinds of allegations, such as the McMartin Daycare case, which ended up being one of the most expensive cases in US history.

In 1983, the mother of a child who attended McMartin Daycare alleged that her son had been sodomized by his father, one of the teachers at the Daycare. Her reasoning? Her son was having painful bowel movements. As well as this accusation, there were accusations of sex with animals, the murder of a horse, sexual acts performed on, and by the children, satanic rituals and the apparent levitation of  teachers. It was also alleged that these things and more took place in tunnels underneath the Daycare. Many children were questioned, initially denying any kind of mistreatment, but due to being led by questioning, pressured into giving accounts of abuse that they had allegedly suffered, as well as intimating that the other children had already told them “yucky secrets”(for those playing at home, this is similar to the “everyone else is doing it” defense). All of these claims were investigated by the police.

There were no animal bones found where the animals were allegedly buried. There was no forensic evidence of any of the crimes committed, nor for that matter, of the locations where these crimes were meant to have occurred. The underground tunnels weren’t there. Long story short, a lot of allegations and accusations were made and not a single shred of evidence was found. The mother that made the initial accusation was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and died from complications stemming from alcoholism. In later years, many of the children that gave some sort of story in regard to the goings-on at the McMartin Daycare recanted their stories and admitted that they only said what they said to make their parents and the people questioning them happy. Meanwhile, the chap accused spent five years in jail due to the inability to raise bail and the Daycare was taken the elderly folks who owned it.

So we have a bestselling “manual” that is absolutely false (yet still made the authors “experts” who had by 1990 been speakers in over 1000 cases since the publication of Michelle Remembers) and a allegations of abuse brought to trial because of a woman found to have schizophrenia. The McMartin case is one of the longest in Manhattan history due to the scale of it, despite there being no evidence of a conspiracy and ample evidence of a mob trying to get the details on something that never existed. Despite the fact that these allegations were false, they stayed in the public consciousness as many more cases came forward with similar details. While common sense dictates that with so many people coming forward with similar stories must mean that there is some truth to it, it’s about here that I’d like to point out the difference between “common sense” and “good sense” in regard to these stories. Firstly, with all of the stories thoroughly investigated, there are a few common threads that occurred.

Almost all of the stories of Satanic Ritual Abuse have come from folks who have been treated for some sort of mental illness. It is during this treatment where the claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse first come to light.

Most of them were well aware of both Michelle Remembers and of the McMartin trial.

Films filled with Satanic conspiracies or occult imagery were becoming more common, such as The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby.

Most of the memories were recovered through long-discredited methodologies, or by extremely dubious methods such as leading questions that could only go in one particular direction.

Many, if not most, who initially gave their testimonies in have either since recanted their stories (due in no small part to guilty consciences)or gone the Jack Chick route, marketing their stories to a Christian-specific audience.

Despite all of these details, more than 10,000 stories have appeared in the US alone, along with the panic spreading to other English-speaking countries. Part of the reason for this is that many Christian groups used the Satanic Panic as a way to gain members for whichever churches they might represent. While there were never any actual cases of Satanic Ritual Abuse, there was an abundance of information provided which people simply accepted as true because the information was being passed on by churches (and they’d never lie, right?).

 

Earlier, I mentioned the rise of social workers and child protection services. Since the 1960’s and the sexual revolution that began there, people began talking more openly about sexuality. What this meant is that family secrets that some would have preferred buried also came out. People were able to talk about child abuse for the first time in an environment where they might be listened to without the judgement faced in previous decades. Enter the perfect scapegoats for this: Social Workers. They had access to children and were able to remove children from homes (with sufficient evidence, but why let that get in the way of a good story?) in a time when there was a moral panic about people taking children from their homes and place these children God only knows where. So we had a situation where people were afraid that their children might be abused (if they weren’t being abused already), people with the ability to remove children from homes, murmurs of a Satanic conspiracy and there you have it: the perfect situation for the Satanic Panic to root itself into the public consciousness.

While this moral panic largely died down in the nineties, it never fully went away and it still created distrust of people that were either openly non-Christian or even folks that were seen as outsiders of one sort or another. The perfect example of this is the West Memphis Three. In 1994, three young men (Damien Echols Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin) were accused of the murder of three children (Stevie Branch, Michael J. Moore and Christopher Byers). In miscarriage of justice after miscarriage of justice, the three were “tried” (I use the word very loosely) and convicted. This is despite coerced “witness reports” of the young men with the children, a false confession brought to the court as the result of unlawful interrogation and the complete lack of evidence. The fact that Damien Echols was interested in the occult was used as”evidence” that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual. As with the Satanic Ritual Abuse claims of the 80’s, there was not a single shred of evidence that the murders were committed in a ritualistic way. It took nineteen years for the West Memphis Three to be released.

This case serves as the perfect example of the potential harm that can be done when we allow the batshit insanity to invade our better judgement. Unfortunately, the Satanic Ritual Abuse charges have recently appeared again in a story that spans decades and apparently involves everyone from Nicole Kidman’s dad to Richard Nixon. I’ve looked at the information given and I’m not only unconvinced, but also slightly angry at the media for even touching this.

I will explain further in my next post.

Southern Howler, Signing out for a nap.

 

An example of privilege that you might not have thought about.

•September 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Hey folks.

As someone that openly identifies as polyamorous, I’ve been pondering the nature of privilege in regards to relationships. I’ve been wondering about how the privilege of a pre-existent couple plays out in relationships where others are accepted into it later. I’ve also been wondering about to what extent this privilege is played out in societies that push monogamy as the norm. With the “happy couple” as the ideal, there seems to be this idea within the mainstream that anyone that comes along later is “less legitimate” than the original couple. Part of this is (usually) due to the initial couple’s shared history. That said, another part of this is that the couple is idealised, with whoever else showing up being a threat to the ideal. There is often the accusation that a third person entering a relationship is purposefully trying to break the couple up and that the couple are just too naive to see it. The idea of the monogamous couple is pushed as an ideal, which in turn allows it privileges that non-monogamous couples are not privy to.

Within any social construct, there are examples of privilege. Often, these build on each other. Within current society, the idea of the nuclear family is pushed. One mother, one father and whatever kids they might have. As this model serves the larger community by producing more workers, it is given a privileged position. I think that this highly influences the fact that monogamy, even serial monogamy, is also a privileged ideal. Now, if you’re not convinced that monogamy is a privileged construct, go and explain polyamory to some people that’ve never heard of it. Explain that polyamory is being in, or open to, multiple relationships. Trust me, there are an ample number of people out there.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Waiting’s boring. I’m getting a book.

You’re back? Cool.

Now, the fact that you know people that have never heard of polyamory is a big sign of privilege right there. When people aren’t even aware of its existence because monogamy is the assumed default, then it becomes increasingly difficult to argue that monogamy isn’t a privileged form of relationship style.

When you introduce the idea of polyamory to people, the responses can be mixed. Some minds will be blown because “Holy Shit! That’s an option?!!” Others will be less enthusiastic. There will be one thing that comes up more than a few times. There’ll be a few people that say “Well that’s just justified cheating.” There’s a huge problem with that logic though. When two people enter into a monogamous relationship, they are both individually agreeing to see nobody else. They are both making that choice, whether they recognise it or not. That decision is a contract between those two people. When a relationship is entered into, but the individuals agree that the relationship is not monogamous, then they are not entering into the same contract as a monogamous couple, so the terms of the contract are going to be entirely different.

Long story short: defining other people’s relationships by the rules of your own doesn’t work.

Here’s another question for folks, but this one is more directed at those that identify as polyamorous:

If you describe to people what polyamory was,  how often do you use descriptions where words and phrases, such as “with everyone fully understanding,” “ethical,” or “consensual” are involved?

Now, another question for folks if they are not fully convinced by the above argument. If monogamy is not a privileged social structure, then why is it necessary to point out that polyamorous relationships are “ethical” and “consensual” when describing them? While it’s certainly true that monogamous relationships are more prevalent, this does not mean that non-monogamous relationships are somehow lacking those morals. Folks, these morals are less about relationships specifically, and more about basic individual integrity.

When people assume non-monogamy, they often assume the worst because it is not the norm. This isn’t usually based on any actual experience of a polyamorous relationship, but the understanding that monogamy is the ideal.

This has a habit of playing out by amplifying any perceived ill within the polyamorous relationship and automatically blaming it upon the relationship structure itself, rather than the people involved. It’s the assumption that the relationship structure is somehow inferior to a monogamous structure, even though the majority of issues that might play out are the exact same issues that monogamous couples deal with.

Folks, if you’re in a monogamous relationship, you have a position of power and it would be nice if you acknowledged it.

I think that I’ve ranted enough about this for now.

Southern Howler, Signing out,

Never Mind THAT Rule Of Three….

•April 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The Rule of Three, or Threefold Law, as people tend to accept it, is bunk.

There. I’ve said it.

While it’s an idea that’s been around for a long time, the idea that what you do comes back to bite you three times as badly is in my opinion, utter bullshit and should be called out as such.

There IS a Rule of Three in Wicca, but it has nothing to do with the universe deciding that you’re a special snowflake that needs to be reprimanded three times as badly as anyone else. Now, I’ve made the statement and it’s only right that I make the effort to convince you to shed an idea that has done nobody any favours

Like a fair chunk of Gerald Gardner’s Wicca, the Threefold Law can be traced to High Magic’s Aid, which is a work of fiction that Gardner wrote before “outing” the witches in Witchcraft Today. Now, in High Magic’s Aid, the Law is given as (and I’m paraphrasing here,) “whatever is done to you, you must return threefold.” That being said, while Gardner may have used this book as a first introduction to witchcraft for people with no previous experience, it’s still a work of fiction. So now, we turn to the Gardnerian Book of Shadows for answers. Specifically, the Second Degree Initiation Rite. Here, we find the Magus/High Priest saying this:

“Learn, in witchcraft, thou must ever return triple. As I scourged thee, thou must scourge me, but triple. So where you were scourged three, return nine; where you received seven, return twenty one; where you received nine, return twenty seven; where you received twenty one, return sixty three”

After a good  one hundred and twenty whacks, the Magus or High Priestess says this:

“Thou hast obeyed the Law.But markwell, when thou receivest good, thou equally art bound to return good threefold.”

Now you’ll note that “return threefold what you received, bad or good” is worlds different from “whatever you do, the universe will give back to you three times as bad.” The first reference of the threefold law being treated as karma that I can track down seems to come from Raymond Buckland in “Witchcraft Ancient And Modern.” I don’t know whether he decided that the threefold return was meant to be representative of a higher truth or what was going on there, but this is an idea that can be traced back to him. While it’s true that Gardner had a belief in karma,  there is nothing to suggest that the Threefold Law as given above was ever meant to represent anything except a code of conduct for witches that were practicing Gardnerian witchcraft.

Now, here’s where I get to something that may piss folks off.  The problem is that for many of the people that I’ve seen promoting the Threefold Law as “karma times three,” there’ve been some things that contributed to their examples that they refuse to acknowledge. These can be:

1, A lack of foresight.  Unintended side effects or outcomes of magical workings aren’t exactly uncommon, but they’re also not divine retribution.

2, Leaving a trail. If you’re levelling some “less than kosher” sorcery on someone’s ass and they find out, there’s a better than fair chance that they’re going to stomp you into the magical curb. Or the literal one, for that matter.

3, Pissing off other magical practitioners. This is something that is less likely to happen but is still a possibility. You annoy someone enough that they decide to bind or curse you so that whatever you throw out slaps you in the face.

4, Your life is just in a shitty place right now and there is a lot of negative stuff happening. Sometimes it’s not karma. Sometimes it’s just a shitty situation. Other times, where you’re at is the direct result of past mistakes. It happens.

5, Some people just blow their own shit out of proportion. I’ve seen it happen often enough to know this to be true in non-magical matters, so why would magical matters be any different?

6, You put it into your head that magical workings return threefold and charge your magic(k)s with that idea. I’ve found that for all the magical workers I know, the ones hit hardest with the “karma times three” tend to be the ones that are loudest about this being an actual thing.The ones that just go about getting shit done, do just that with no fuss and no issues about shit coming back to bite them.

All of these are more probable than a “law” that seems to be pretty damned selective with how it manifests, if at all. I’ve heard some people state that this is something that carries into the next life. I’m sorry but I’m calling bullshit on that one. It seems pretty convenient that this gets trotted out when people can’t actually prove that the “threefold law” doesn’t work as advertised. Folks, whether karma exists or not, I’m not making a call one way or another. What I WILL say is that people missed the point of what karma was in the first place and are now tacking even more unnecessary claptrap onto it. This idea that there’s some sort of cosmic enforcer that has prescribed results for magical actions needs to stop. It serves nobody.

Southern Howler, signing out.