Friday, July 31, 2015

Spirit of Place: Altered Street Names

The Hedge is a pervading theme of this blog, & thus also of my witchcraft & life. By it I mean the particular setting of the witch - I suppose it needn't be a geographical location, it could be a time or group, for example - which both forms her & is worked on by her in a spirit of reciprocity.
These spirit of place posts tend to refer to a particular spirit of a particular place. In this case, while there are things which seem to be unique to the Birmingham spirit (for example elsewhere a suburb of a city will usually be homogeneous, while in Brum often one end reclines in the lap of luxury & the other rots in squalor) this one surely isn't unique.
It's just that these three examples tickle the Hound no end. I was delighted to pass along Fore St recently & discover the council have given up on the battle & replaced the sign with one where the words are closer together so that there isn't room to write 'skin' in between.
I've never seen the Rea St sign with additions, which indicates the battle of cleaning up after the vandals persists, as it does with Inge St. The only trouble is - you've guessed it - these three streets are now permanently their alternative names to my mind!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Charlatans Revisited

I have posted here before, in general terms, about fake magical practitioners, and the differences with real magical practitioners. I was delighted recently to find a perfect example of a fake magical practitioner's advertisement, which I shall comment on below. If you click on the source link, you will find it was actually posted in the form of a comment on someone else's blog. Please take note at this point that any such comments posted to this blog will only be published for the purpose of tearing apart any fraudulent claims made!

'My mouth is short of words, i am so so happy because Dr.Aluta has healed me from HIV ailment which i have been suffering from the past 8 years now, Well my main reason why i am writing this right now is to inform the whole world about the great deeds, i know that there are lot of scammers on the internet who claim to be who they never be, if you are reading this you will know that there is different between me giving this testimony from other testimony. I was diagnosed of this deadly disease HIV/AID VIRUS in the year 2008 ever since then i was taking my medications which cost me a lot , until i meet this great spell caster though i never believed in spell. I saw many testimonies on how a great spell caster cured their deadly diseases I contacted him through his email address He gave me a form to fill I filled it and send it back to him. He told me that his god's required some items in which he will use in casting a curing spell on me and also sending me some of the herbal medication he had prepared. I don't know where to find the items he required He told me that the only alternative is for of to send him the money then he can help me to purchase the items from the items sellers in his country. i never wanted to send money but i decided to give it a try if he surely help me I promised myself to do anything to get cured. I sent him the money He bought the items and caste a curing spell on me he even sent me some herbal medication to take for 1 week which i did and this really work out for me. other fake spell caster who give rubbish testimony will claim to cure aids for just two days which are all lies it never done so at least you also take herbal to make sure that it kill off the virus finally. Two weeks later he asked me to go for check-up when i did the check-up i was tested HIV Negative. If you passing through hardship and you need a way out kindly contact him this is real and i never stop sharing this to the entire world. via his email on [email removed because I will not give this dangerous idiot free advertising].' (Source)

There are a number of points which spring to the eye in this collection of lies, from which may be extrapolated characteristics of many or even all fraudulent magical practitioners:
1. It pretends to be written by a grateful patient of the practitioner.
2. The fake magical practitioner calls himself 'Dr', a title calculated to inspire confidence in the public for the practitioner's knowledge and probity. I don't think for an instant that he will be a medical doctor or hold a PhD from any university which actually exists.
3. The commenter claims to be different from all the scammers out there on the internet: this alone may take in the desperate and gullible, since it is so easy to forget that on the internet it is very easy to appear to be something you are not.
4. The commenter identifies a perceived shortcoming in conventional medical treatment of HIV – medication is expensive, particularly to the poor and in so-called developing countries, that it is expensive. Of course it is expensive.
5. The commenter claims not to have believed in spells until she met this great spell caster. There are a couple of problems here, empirically speaking. One is that the 'doctor' plainly does not have sensible knowledge of how to treat HIV, nor is he a reputable member of the medical or scientific community, because in reality he would have published his research to enable peer review which would actually have strengthened his discovery. Secondly, the commenter makes the doctor the necessary focus of magical power. That is rubbish. Real magic never takes power away from one, it empowers one to make changes one needs.
6. The fake magical practitioner then resorts to the oldest trick of making out that certain things are necessary for this magic. Firstly you will note that they are not named here, which means that the only way to get this particular knowledge is to contact the fraudulent doctor. Secondly, even though the commenter was told what was needed, the ingredients were unobtainable except if purchased from the quack magician. No sum of money is mentioned, but it is contradictory to comment that conventional medication for HIV is expensive while you have to buy something from the mountebank sorcerer to get it cured. I'll bet it won't be cheap. I have a feeling that his gods have very expensive tastes.
These people are scum. I don't say that lightly, and regular readers will understand that if the Hound actually starts calling you scum publicly it's time to get worried, because they're pretend magicians and I'm the real thing. They are making money out of some of the most vulnerable people in the world, those worried because they have a life-threatening illness and that is worrying enough on its own without having the worry of whether you can afford medication for it.
Here's the thing. For a start HIV is a rogue virus, and there are cases medically documented of people who have repeatedly tested positive, suddenly testing negative for no apparent reason. That is a rogue aspect of this disease, and the hope that was engendered a few years ago by newspaper reports of one of these cases further demonstrates how people will do literally anything to be cured of it. So just for the record, here is this witch's recipe for treating HIV. Since the whole point of witchcraft is that we use all the available sources of information, there is no ground in ignoring the conventional medical approach. None. You will die. If your will is to live as long and healthy a life as possible with HIV, the first thing to do is to engage with conventional medicine to the best of your abilities or finances. Turn up for your appointments and blood tests, and take the medication. Let me say the last three words again. Take. The. Medication. That is the only thing that will optimise your chances of a long life. Secondly a full and frank inventory of your lifestyle is necessary, since any chronic disease is helped by a healthy lifestyle. Stop smoking. Drink in moderation. Eat sensibly. Exercise sensibly. Use a condom for sex. This is real witchcraft. How can this possibly be witchcraft? Because it puts the power and tools in your hands to make what you want of your life without making any unrealistic promises of extraordinary miracles. Once you do this, it makes it easier to continue to make changes, and all of a sudden funny things start happening in your life. And my advice is free. There isn't an alternative unfortunately to conventional medicine and I can't really shy away from the fact that it is expensive and not available to everyone. But you would probably seriously be better avoiding these quacks completely and taking the advice of a proper doctor, if you cannot afford ongoing consistent treatment, as to how best to proceed.
In tandem with this quack practitioner I am delighted to add an account of another fraud, who has fortunately got caught out by the law. How this MP's blog post give me joy (and incidentally is the source of the cartoon which illustrates this post):

'The Champagne corks were popping today at the Guardian.
An attempt to silence them and their ace journalist Ben Goldacre has collapsed. In his Bad Science column Ben exposed the claims of a Vitamin Aids 'cure' peddled in South Africa.
'Matthias Rath, the vitamin campaigner was accused of endangering thousands of lives in South Africa by promoting his pills while denouncing conventional medicines as toxic and dangerous. He has now dropped a year-long libel action against the Guardian and been ordered to pay costs.
I hope the costs are enormous. Rath is not the first to try to use his wealth to silence the truth. Rath's campaign almost certainly led to the deaths of those who abandoned retro-virals in exchange for his vitamin pills. While there is well-founded cynicism about the exaggerated claims of the Pharmaceutical industry, it does not mean that quack medicines are acceptable alternatives.
'I had a constituent who refused to take the conventional treatment for a potentially fatal illness. She sought alternative treatment. I urged her to use both. She refused. She died within six months. Another woman in my constituency who was in identical circumstances took the conventional therapies and is alive and well now, ten years later.
'Whether out of ignorance or cynical malice, many lesser newspapers than the Guardian encourage the use of alternative medicines at the expense of treatments that are scientifically tested. One of the worst cases was the MMR Daily Mail hoax that cut the take-up of the triple vaccine to dangerous levels.
'The Dr Rath Foundation focuses its promotional activities on eight countries - the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, France and Russia - claiming that his micronutrient products will cure not just Aids, but cancer, heart disease, strokes and other illnesses. The group is reputed to have made millions from their vitamin pills. He is now concentrating on Russia.
Congratulations Ben and the Guardian. This is journalism at its courageous best. Not only did they expose these dangerous falsehoods but they also risked crippling financial losses by standing up to richly endowed lawyers out to gag them. MPs face the same threats. Sadly we are not always well resourced enough to withstand the threat of bankruptcy.
'Quack medicines are sweeping Europe especially in the science free nutritional field. This may well be an issue that the Council of Europe should adopt on Europe wide scale.' (Source)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sources for Witchcraft: Miss Marple as an Unexpected Source

I am re-reading Agatha Christie's The Thirteen Problems. I last read this book in 1995. I am not in the habit of keeping records of what I read – although I do note passages or quotes I want to be able to come back to – and the reason I remember this twentieth anniversary so precisely is of course that I was in a rather difficult time of my life. 
The precise circumstances were that I was a Benedictine novice. I was the last remaining of three novices in my noviciate – it was very apparent to me that not only was the community incredibly dysfunctional, despite there being some men there, now dead, who were the closest I have ever come to meeting real Christian saints, but it was also dominated by someone who in retrospect I can see as being very personality disordered. If at this point you have had a strong emotional reaction to those rather emotive words, I would just say to you that personality disorders are actually very common. Many executives of big corporations have symptoms of personality disorder, and in fact it is their disordered personalities which make them able to get to the top of organisations, which subsequently was exactly the case with the person I am talking about. The problem with these people, of course, is that because they identify the issue with their own safety, and also do not believe that other people's emotions are real, because they don't have any themselves, they can do a great deal of damage. I am not going to go into details – that is not the purpose of the post – but suffice to say that I have experienced the psychological abuse of which Catholic clergy are capable, at first hand. When this man's dramatic downfall comes, I will happily post here about how the authorities of his order know full well what he's about. My only sorrow is that that there is no point going to the police about him – the things I know for a fact about him can all be demolished by his facile tongue as my imagination or by means of attributing his own 'interests' to me. Needless to say I have not failed to resort to magical means to mimimise his damage to others and isolate him into his own little world: since he is personality disordered he will ultimately always self-sabotage until he accepts he is his problem, and so magically it is easiest to let him screw himself up.
In tandem with experiencing this abuse I have experienced how ones loved ones do not believe the fact that one is being abused. Over and again in the literature on child abuse (obviously I was an adult at the time), the tale is told of the target of abuse trying to tell someone and not being believed. Certainly in my situation, where I was capable of resisting the psychological intimidation and abuse to which I was suspect, and he would dearly have loved to have sex with me but could see that trying it on would give me the material to finish him, the most useful thing that I could have had would have simply to be believed by my mother. She did not. The only effect of this is to add to the abuse the person is suffering.
Into this situation came Miss Marple. I read this book in the evenings in bed. I found a woman of completely independent thought, who had the clarity of vision to stick by her own guns and this saw to the heart of the problem, and thirteen times, had the correct idea of what was happening. This is surely close to the heart of the witch figure, as somebody who stands apart, gets information in all sorts of ways, mostly unrecognised by everyone else, and is prepared to stick to their conclusion until it is proved right, which it will be.
One of my companions in the novitiate commented to me one day that he couldn't understand why I had seen through this person before he had. I told him at the time that I felt the monk of whom I speak had carefully put a front on what he was about, which my fellow-novice would see as being legitimate. For example, he decided he would try to give me a hard time, but told my fellow novice that the motivation for this was to test my vocation. He believed this at the time, although I told him it was a complete lie – it is not for nothing that nowadays I can recognise a good old-fashioned bully from a mile off – and it was not until the monk in question managed to get my fellow-novice alone in a car, put his hand on his genitals and said, 'What about it?', that he began to suspect he wasn't that interested in living his monastic commitment.
I think the reason I found Miss Marple's clarity of vision and refusal to be taken in by the way other people thought about things, was that, even though my Myers-Briggs personality test came out INFP at the time, I was actually already feeling my way towards the fact of being an INFJ. In fact the sentence I write above about Miss Marple's character being close to the archetypal witch figure, could also go for the INFJ personality. I had to mature into it, clearly, but definitely had the many traits already. This fact also indicates the basic cracks in my relationship with my mother, which inevitably led to it blowing apart when it was stressed by both of us getting older, with all the health problems that that involved. There are some of those lists on the internet along the lines of 'things never to say to an INFJ'. In fact, reading those lists, all of them are things that my mother routinely said to me over and over again: a friend asked me whether she winds me up on purpose. I can only answer that she does a fair imitation of it, not least because if you keep on saying things to someone that you know drives them up the wall, well, what can I say. The key one here, of course, is not being believed. This was often dressed up as 'you do exaggerate,' 'you make it up as you go along,' and so on, but the key thought being expressed here was always that the younger Hound was a liar. Touchy, and over-serious, as well. All of them guaranteed to have an INFJ foaming at the mouth; in fact I'm surprised it took me as long as 38 years to do an INFJ door slam on her.
I can see in the incidents of which I write here, and the inspiration I took from Miss Marple, the younger me feeling my way towards being the mature me. Miss Marple's example actually helped me, not only in a traumatic time of life when disbelieved and thus isolated by my own mother, but also towards becoming truly me, and arriving as a witch.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Blessed John Henry Newman “irrefutably heterosexual” says Fr Ian Ker (source), using as evidence Newman's adolescent diary entries that dances would lead him into sin. This irrefutable evidence is confirmed by the picture illustrating this post. Another manly figure of a completely hetero Catholic priest.