Archive for the ‘Community Announcements’ Category

My Mother thinks She’s a Vampire

Posted: Tuesday, 17 February, 2015 by deacongray in Articles of Interest, Community Announcements, Uncategorized
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(A 19 Year old Girl talks about struggling with her mother’s unusual identity)

Mom Art
By Deacon Gray

2/10/2015 © Graveyard press

Everyone knows that kid you grew up with who had a weird parent. Jimmy’s mom might be a hippy tree hugger, or Donald’s dad makes everyone separate their trash for compost. But, what if it was your parent, and what if they were much more unusual? Insert Lizzy

Lizzy is a nineteen year old young lady, with bright green eyes, soft red hair, and the pale skin. She was her class vice president, and the leader of the pep club at school. She was in nearly every way the typical teenage girl. Typical with one exception “My mom thinks she is a vampire. Do you know how hard that is to explain to a guy after he picks you up for your first date?”

Lizzy (Elisabeth) laughs a little but the amusement doesn’t reach her eyes. Since she was a little girl her mother has been not only obsessed with vampires, she dressed like one, had fake teeth made, and has been known to drink cow blood. “Thankfully, not in front of guests.”

In time she even started to claim to be a real living vampire, something that not only caused her daughter a little embarrassment, but concern. I’ll let her tell you about in her own words. “I didn’t start out knowing there was anything different about my mother. When other kids talked about their mom, the basics all seemed to match up. She made me clean my room, she got on me about my music being too loud, and she had this weird insistence that leafy greens are important for me to eat, even if I hated them. It wasn’t until a family day at school when I was nine that I really started to notice how she was different.

The kids noticed that she always wore dark colors, they also noticed that she had a Ankh and Pentagram she wore around her neck.  It wasn’t unusual to for kids to ask me if I my mom was a Witch, or Goth. I settled for telling them she was a goth, it made more sense than saying she was a vampire, though given any time more than a few minutes and the subject of vampires was bound to come up. She really came off as mental to most other parents. Parents didn’t allow their kids to come over to my place for sleep over’s, and several told their kids not even play with me.

I honestly don’t think she knew what she was putting me through, though I have to admit it could have been worse. By the time I was in high school my crowd of friends was pretty well established. We were the freaks, the geeks and the rejects, you know… good people. Perhaps that was for the best. We didn’t have to worry all the time about falling out of favor with the cool kids, because to us they weren’t cool. My mom taught us to be ourselves, to understand that we have to allow others to be themselves as well, and I guess that’s a powerful lesson.

I won’t lie to you, it is hard nothing being popular. It’s difficult only having the cool guys pay attention to you because they think they can hook up with you. It’s hard to be seen as less than human, too stupid, ugly, poor, different or dorky to be included. It’s a hard lesson, but I learned it well. Tolerance isn’t about ignoring those you don’t understanding.

I learned My mom is an amazing person; someone who is indeed different, but not crazy. I learned there will always be those people out there who don’t understand, and never will. But, I think the lesson I learned that means the most to me was this one. People who love you for who you are, are the only ones who matter.

I don’t believe that my mother is a vampire, but I know she loves me, and I would rather live a life with a weird parent that loves me, rather than a picture perfect life with a parent who doesn’t take the time or make an effort.

BatGirl

 

 

1/25/2015 © graveyardpress

Bad people are everywhere.  You can find them in every community whether the focus is surfing, or videos games, there are always bad people around. In our community it is more than just a problem, it’s a stigma, one that is very hard to break away from. It’s harder if we try to  ignore those issues.

I suppose that’s why I wanted to talk to someone who is affected by those issues. Sadly it didn’t take long to find someone to talk to. Sandy is a mother whose teenage daughter has been digging into this community for some time.  She agreed to speak to me because she has an issue with her teenage daughter and the countless attempts by various people who claim to be community members to seduce her daughter.

“Hi my name is Sandy. If you were expecting some kind of exotic “Nightside” name you are barking up the wrong tree. I’m not a member of the Vampire Community. Rather I wouldn’t be if I didn’t have to deal with a teen age girl who has decided she is a vampire. I won’t debate that aspect, people believe what they believe. I didn’t agree to talk because of belief one way or another.

Ok, ok, let me get my head straight. Let me start by saying that I am 40 (something) years old. My daughter is a staggering fifteen years old. I say staggering because I can still remember her pouting about her princess pony and glitter. The whole vampire, fitness model, pagan witchy stuff is a little new for me. Seeing pervy middle aged men hitting on my daughter because they are “Vampire Sires” took things in a whole weird direction. (This is where I roll my eyes)

How do you deal with having a teenage daughter who, and it isn’t just a mothers love that says so, is beautiful and intelligent? How do you deal with a girl who thinks about things like the concepts and philosophies of Jung, while not sure if she should have the dramatic red nails, or the dark green ones with musical notes? And IQ of 156, and three separate modeling companies trying to draw your kid into an industry of evil? (I know what they do at fashion shows, and NO)

You just, deal with it. The Vampires, that is a whole new angle. Five times now my little angel of a daughter has drawn so called vampires who are willing to teach her, four of those times there have been requests for pictures, and even after informed that she is under age, they still ask for images that aren’t something any mother would be pleased with.

Honestly  I know my kid needs to learn. This is a path she is exploring, and perhaps something she will grab onto in her life. I want her to learn  what she is actually getting involved with. What she keeps finding instead is people who want to see if she looks as good in a g-string as she does in tight jeans.(insert annoyed seriously protective mom look here)

I guess I asked to be able to speak in this forum to ask a question. Is there a safe place for a kid in the community? How can a Mother feel secure in allowing her child to interact, when over and over again it comes down to people trying to exploit her?( She isn’t stupid either, she conned one older guy into sending her 250$ for a prom dress)

Deacon has said I shouldn’t allow my daughter to be involved in anything without me being present. My daughter is less than thrilled with that concept. What does a parent do?

Are we supposed to ignore the twilight dumb vampirette crap so many are putting out there? Should we shrug when our kid wants to wear a corsett, show a lot of leg and sport fake teeth as they act out hyper sexual cleches?

I don’t think some of you realize how much you affect kids who read the stuff you write. I don’t think many of you really see that the things you are saying and doing and pushing can have a negative affect.

Sandy, Mother of a Vampire

A Bubble Gum Vampires Speak

Posted: Sunday, 18 January, 2015 by deacongray in Community Announcements, Uncategorized

” But should we bother listening?”

amy14

 

1/18/2015 © Graveyard press

In 2009 voices from the east proclaimed the possession of donors and restrictions on their participation with in their segment of the VC. A few thousand facebook posts, bitter words, and open threats later, the dead horse had been turned into glue, and the left over hide used for alter pieces to the damned.

By 2011 the subject was in full swing again, news organizations lambasted the damn gall of those who again went on their anti-donor rights rampage, but the donors were not long in the shadows of that fight. From that debate we saw groups emerge, great documents presented, the time tested Donors Bill of Rights, by Zaar, and the Donor and Vampires guide to negotiations that I wrote. Still…this particular horse is pale, and even though the rider is death, the subject comes alive once more.

The bubble gum vampire wasn’t put off by the admonitions of people within the group in which she posted her article either.  To one who stated “You’re everywhere and you’re not at all nice”

Bubble Gum vampire ‘Amy Mah’ is quoted as saying “ Yes I am everywhere…’Walking packed Lunch’ was me being nice as I normally say  ‘walking Bags of Blood”

 

Of course this is coming from a fictional character of a girl that must be in her mid teens, whose articles focus on things such as “Base: When dating it is handy to know the code words of what you are doing with each other…believe it or not others have done it before, they even numbered it!”

Where she goes on to explain what getting from first base to fifth base ,means (I Know…I know.. Babe Ruth just died again), and ponders about the mystery of why boys like boobs. While at it she offers some amazing advice for young girl vampires like “Unlike Human Girls this is Doing all of the above when on heat, as this only happens every 20 years or so and starts with biting of furnature giving your perants time to lock you in yuour room.

it is also called getting pregnant and discovering that you have not just raised your tail and instantly got pregnant! as I said you are on heat But, due to a bonding contract signed years ago by your parents, you now have a lifetime mate!”

Suffice it to say, this is hardly the depth of knowledge, or the intellectual debates we saw before, but it is a long way from being really dangerous.  Regardless of the intention, either tongue in cheek, a game of meta-fiction, or the  playful intentions of a graphic novel writer, there are some misconceptions that sneak passed, and some that will fire people up. The idea that valued donors of the community are reasonably objectified as food, is likely to get many gnashing their teeth.

“It’s not that she is just some kid flapping her lips that’s a problem. At issue is that she is spreading a stereotype of a the dumb vampire woman. This kid is so busy trying to feel smart, sexy and powerful, that she misses the point. Your power is diminished when you act like a bubble headed ding bat. Using what you think are clever words to gain attention don’t just make her look dimwitted, but spread that stereotype that all goths and vampires are just wonton sluts who will jump the bones of any “boy” that will give them a little blood.”

Clearly there are some heated opinions about this subject. One of the issues though is that what was said, was said in a mundane vampire fandom site. If left there, I doubt it would have mattered, but as they things do, the conversation slips into other forums, and it doesn’t take long for people to get riled up.  Over time I have heard both sides use some pretty strong language when dealing with it, but is that really the answer?

Is it really for the best  overall to allow these confused individuals to provoke such an angry response that we lose our own cool? Often they are doing it just to get us to become upset.  When celebrity is the goal, attention either negative or positive is the means of achieving it. In this case the community’s outrage is being used as stepping stone.

My suggestion is this. Take what was said to provoke an intelligent intellectual discussion with everyone except the person who made the crappy comment. Don’t allow them to become the center of their own shit storm, instead objectify them as the provocateurs they are, and turn it into a reasonable discussion.

In the end there will always be  people who say stupid things to get a rise from you. There will always be bullies, brutes and bubble headed ding bats, but they can only affect you as much as you allow them too. After all, do you really want to be in a word battle with someone who says things like

 

“FIRST BASE

OK, this is the one we normally call making out, and unless you are on heat it stops at kissing, hugging and generally grabbing at each other. At this stage you can bite a boy but he is not allowed to bite you back.”

In the end, even if you win the debate, you have only won against a fictional character, or a writer who uses that character to slip out of accountability for her own words.

Henry Ford

1/18/2015 (c) GYP

by Deacon Gray

It’s foggy this morning. Outside it’s a wonderful 23 degrees outside, and inside my dog, a Staffordshire terrier mutt named Sarah, is lounging by the heater waiting for it to come on.

I am watching Helix, still bundled up in my sweater and trying to focus on making breakfast, and reading various articles from the community. In many cases it’s like reading the same radical opinions from the 90’s only now they are nearly codified by conventional population.

Back than the main topics of conversation were things like “How to develop your Vampiric power of presences” and “Who were you in your past life?” For days people discussed things like the struggles of being an empath, or how to deal with vampiric children, and yet there were radicals out there.

There are some basic concepts we look at today, that people would have come to fisticuffs over back then, and back then isn’t so far away.  Concepts like, we are just humans, not magical creatures, and we don’t have special powers.

Whether you believe that or not, those concepts are accepted today as a valid opinion. They are because some people were willing to be radical enough, and willing to take the heat, for sharing their beliefs despite the fall out to their personal reputation. Radicals.

In this community we need radicals in order to progress. We need people who are willing to step up and look at new thoughts and ideas, and present them without fear of the community going ape shit. Sadly we don’t have that luxury.

We deal with too many people who come into the community thinking they are radicals, when they are in fact simply ass holes. It can be hard to tell the difference, but if you are actually looking you can see it.

The community needs people who will inject new ideas, these are not the people who are simply defending their opinion of old concepts, but those looking forward. There will always be assholes out there. There will always be those who dig their feet in, but there will also be those who refuse to be silenced to pushed back into a corner.

People are doing it all over the world. Despite the arrogance of our US VC, and their belief that they are in some way superior because they have been around longer, places like South African, Manchester England, and Italy  we are seeing communities spring. They are radicals because they are doing it, even as so many are telling them that they are too new, too young, not well enough known to make such things happen, and yet they are happening.

It is only with Radicals from all walks of life and places in the world step up, and do those things that they see as needing done. People like those building new Houses and Courts, News organizations, and events, those who are DOING and not just complaining are the new radicals of our time, and while we complain and bitch, they are going to pass us by.

We need our radicals, but make no mistake. Simply being an ass isn’t enough. Being the smartest person in the room ( in your own opinion) isn’t enough to do that. What will do it? Challenge yourself, think about what project you could do, what part you can play, and never forget those radicals who came before you.

An Interview with the Iron Garden Court

Posted: Wednesday, 31 December, 2014 by deacongray in Community Announcements, Community Events

Iron Garden

 

A Safe Haven For New Jersey’s Nightkind Community

 

31 December 2014 © GYP all rights reserved

By Deacon Gray

Just down the street from City Café Bar and Restaurant on Mulberry street,  sits a brick building rimed in purple  the initials QXT are printed in yellow above what appears to be a portal to some unknown world.

 

QXT

Inside the  lights are low, the music thumps and black lights reflect off people in corsets wearing gothic colors and enticing make up. In one corner a sign reads “Custom Fangs by Sideshow Jack” and to your immediate right a pleasant bar tender mixes concoctions to sate those thirsts so easily built on the dance floor.

 

You have arrived at QXT’s and the Iron Garden Court is in full swing, the night is young and the vampires are out on the dance floor. I could write this whole article about the environment alone, and the gods know I could write twice as much about the beautiful people that inhabit this mystical place, but…that’s not why I am writing today. Instead I’m writing about the Iron Garden Court itself.

 

Where did it come from, who runs it, how is it any different than any other so called Court out there? Lucky for me Sir Traveler Asura-MacPhee, one of the founders of the feast,agreed to take some time and answer a few questions for me and the Graveyard Press readers.

GYP:  I know there is a lot involved in setting up these things. Is it something you are doing by yourself, or do you have others assisting?
Traveler MacPhee: There is a group ofsix that came together for this endeavor. Myself (Sir Traveler Asura-MacPhee), Madame X, Finna Beruthiel DeElf, Herr Wulfsunus, Asif Murad & Blueeyesoulfof Ra Horakhty

GYP: It seems like a lot or work went into developing this idea.  I was wondering if you would talk to us a little about where you got the idea to create the Iron Garden Court?

Traveler MacPhee: Building a Court for NJ was something that I had in the back of my head for a few years now. I’ve spoken with Madame X before about it but time ran away from me, and daily life took priority. That thought stuck in the back of my head started poking again, and this time I saw that I wasn’t the only one. I spoke with a couple people (one of which was Madame X again) and decided that I wanted to make this idea a reality. So along with the individuals I spoke of earlier, we set out to build what we have now.

 

GYP:  Why a new court at all? You are very close to the court of Lazarus and Gotham.
Traveler MacPhee:  I am indeed close to Gotham Halo; I even have close ties because my Family (House Sabretooth MacPhee) is a  Gotham based Household. But as a New Jersey resident, sometimes it is easier to attend something local and a  little closer to home. I know that with my dayside schedule being what it is, it is difficult for me to get out to NYC as much as I would like. This was a way to give that option to those who live in NJ.

GYP:  Is there a king and queen like in some courts, or is it set up with a Regent instead?
Traveler MacPhee:  There is no king or queen; we have tried to steer clear of titles that would give off the assumption of holding supreme “power” over others. We do however have a Host. And the name is self explanatory. The Host serves as the MC and sets up the proceedings of the event; promotes the event and ensures that the night runs according to schedule.

GYP:  Is your Master Fang Smith the Leader/ Host of the group like in other places?
Traveler MacPhee:  No, Horror Show Jack is a supporter of this endeavor and is sharing his talents with us as the resident fang smith.

GYP:  Your website says that in order to be a Citizen of the court, you have to be from, or work in New Jersey. Does this mean outsiders are not welcome at events?

Traveler MacPhee :  Not at all. You can be what are called an Honorary Citizen, which allows you all the rights and privileges that citizenship entails even if you do not live in or work in NJ.

GYP: A lot of courts in the past were fairly exclusive for vampires, is this one different and if so why?
Traveler MacPhee:  We are open to all night kind be it Vamp, Therian or Otherkin. We are also open to Black Swans, Witches and scholars alike. We do this because it is not our intention to exclude anyone. There is enough segregation going on, we do not wish to perpetuate this cycle. If you are of open mind and respectful to others and the paths they subscribe to, you are welcome here.

GYP: Your website says you have a strict no “negativity and hostility” statement, have there been issues with other courts?

Traveler MacPhee:   No there haven’t been “issues” with other Courts. There are individuals that have their own concerns, but to say whole Courts have issues with us is a stretch. The no negativity and hostility  environment means that this gathering is to be neutral ground; a haven of sorts. It would be foolish of me to say that we want everyone to love each other. You may not like a person, but we expect there to be some civility and respect within the walls of the court.

GYP: What is the Iron Garden code of good conduct?
Traveler MacPhee:  We have what is called The Seven Gates. This is a basic code of conduct that we ask our citizens to follow.  Haven, Law, Diversity, Unity, Respect, Accountability and Journey. In a nutshell it’s about respect. Respect the venue, respect laws of the state, respect yourself and one another. With a 21 and over code, everyone is an adult and we expect that everyone acts as such.

GYP:  In the past some courts have only allowed Houses. I see you are more inclusive in that regard. However, if a House leader is in the Court, does that mean the House members are as well?
Traveler MacPhee:  If a House leader wishes to bring in their house, clan, order or what have you; they can do so. Also, house members can become citizens, but full house participation is not mandatory.

GYP:  How often does the Court meet, and when is your first-time event?

Traveler MacPhee  We meet once a month, typically the third Friday at QXT’s in Newark. Our first event will be on January 30th, 2015

GYP: One last question, who designed your ‘Iron Garden’ symbol and is there history behind it? It is really well done.
Traveler MacPhee:  We went through a couple of ideas but we decided on the design done by Miss LaRue (member of HoTD) and finishing touches added by Asif Murad. The metallic (iron-like) look to the IG represents our “ironclad” commitment to provide a safe haven to all within the NJ nighkind community.

 

I was honored to be allowed to conduct this interview Sir Traveler Asura-MacPhee  and I want to thank him publicly for taking the time to answer my questions.
There are a lot of people who talk about doing things in this community, but not as many are willing to actually do it as opposed to simply talking about it, or complaining at those who are willing to step up. I congratulate the members of this Court for their effort and desire to bring this court to life, and provide the safe haven for the New Jersey vampire scene.

 

More information about the Iron Garden Court can be found at

http://www.irongarden.org/ or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Iron-Garden/327852540751407

 

By Deacon Gray

GYP © 2014 DecKid facepalm Black and White

It’s the holiday season and Christmas cheer is abound.  No better display of the Christian path can be displayed than the ones seen on Luciferians groups all over facebook.
“Satanic worshipers???? You shouldn’t be allowed to be on Facebook”.-FB post Charlene Kennedy
“You’ve Lost the battle. Jesus Wins. Read the book.”-FB Post Marilyn Covington

“Accepted Jesus into your heart and allow the darkness to be washed away by his light!”-FB Post Jason Hagans
“Let the angels of the Lord carry you from this abomination! Just like the beautiful angels bible says about.” –Rev Joan

Intrigued by such comments I decided to try to contact some of the people who had sent such wonderful season’s greetings.  Oddly enough, not many replied back for some reason. It seems making nasty posts to Facebook…I mean holiday greetings, weren’t something people wanted to share with a larger community.

I was beaten, I had given up hope on finding one of these holiday well wishers, when a Christmas Miracle took place I found someone who agreed to speak to me about her faith and why she feels that Luciferians deserve to be harassed by “Good Christian Women”

Not wishing to be harassed herself, she asked that her name be withheld from the article, so I decided to give her a anonymous name, she agree to. So starts my interview with Lady Lilitu,

GYP: Lady Lilitu, are you certain you are ok with this anonymous name?

LL “Yes, I always liked the name Lilith, it reminds me of that pretty dark haired bartender on “Cheers”

GYP:  Nice, would you tell us all a little about yourself?

LL: Certainly, I’m a life time member of my church, a home garden enthusiast and full time grandmother.”

GYP: Lady Lilitu, I found you because you posted on a few Luciferians groups, and I have to say those posts seemed pretty aggressive. “Spreading your satanic lies is a monstrosity! If you want to burn hell, that’s your choice, but don’t Sheppard the innocent with your filthy lies!”-Lady Lilitu

LL: There are a lot of young people who visit these sights out of curiosity. That’s pretty normal, but their hearts have not been hardened against the sweet lies of the damned. It is far too easy for young ones to hear these messages and have doubt creep into their hearts. They ears are plugged with the wax of  Satan’s own busy bees.
If they don’t have the chance to hear The Word, than it is all good Christians obligations to sing gods good graces.

GYP: Do you honestly feel that being mean on a facebook site will draw the innocent? Has it been successful for you?

LL:  I say hard things with love in my heart. Jesus said “god helps those who help themselves, but blessed are those who speak to my children”

GYP: could you tell me what line and verse that’s from? It seems like a mash up of a phrase from Shakespeare and a misquote from Luke.

LL: The Lord knows my heart, that’s all that matters.

GYP: wouldn’t he also know the hearts of the Luciferians and in knowing them have the sole place to judge them? “Judge not least you be judged, and so by your judgments shall you also be judged.”

LL: that is a urban legend, Jesus never said that. He spoke against the sinners, and told them not to sin anymore

GYP: Matthew 7:1-3 KJV Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

LL: If you want to misquote the bible to me, we can end this interview young man!

 

And sadly the interview did end right there. Lilitu, or Lilith mother of Demons, felt the interview was “a trap set by the Lord of The Flies”, and that she was fairly certain that I wasn’t a real Deacon.

I assured I was indeed Deacon Gray, and that the Lord of The Flies was a novel by William Golding, who I am certain wasn’t setting a trap for her. She declined to respond further.

Before you all start getting up in arms please remember a few things. This Lady Lilitu, yes I was mean in tricking her to use the name of a supposed demon, wasn’t at heart a Christian as much as she was a Christian at Ego.

Good people and bad can be found in any faith. Nasty people are in every community. I have friends who are Christians who have as much if not more understanding of the bible than most of those who you have heard of on TV or Radio and they abhor the direction some people take Jesus’ words and ideals. I also know some Luciferians who think the whole path is based on the idea of getting them laid.

In the end it is the holiday season, and no matter what faith you follow please try to remember kindness. Eat Drink and be Merry, for as Jesus said…”I’m totally hanging at Baccus` house on New Year’s Eve dude! He has kicken pad in Denver!”

 

 

Eric Bloodstorm

Posted: Monday, 3 December, 2012 by deacongray in Community Announcements

It is with a heavy heart that I post this. Merticus has created a beautiful page already, so I’ll just link you there. Please keep Eric’s friends and family in your thoughts.

http://merticus.com/vampirenews/2012/12/03/eric-bloodstorm-rip/

By Madame X @ 2006
 
Instruction is guidance and expansion, and it begins with a good mentor who is motivated to establish solid learning foundations. Good compatible mentors are not easy to find. Ultimately it falls on the seekers’ shoulders to find the right mentor for themselves, and be determined to learn and grow.

Foundations are paramount. Let’s say the seeker wants to learn sigil magic. The instructor may request the seeker to conduct some research on symbology, numerology, the history of a particular symbol or emblem, or even an essay comparing and contrasting ancient cultural symbols. The seeker may think that is irrelevant, but such periphery is important to establish a foundation upon which to build on. A mentorship association is as good as the effort that both parties (mentor and seeker) direct to it. It is essential that the mentor be motivated to cultivate learning, but the student “will get out of it as much as they put into it.” Laziness, reluctance to comply with guidelines, avoidance, unavailability, or failure to meet deadlines and desired goals is generally frowned upon behavior. Although this is not formal schooling, the student must continually exhibit interest, dedication, availability and the desire to excel. It is not uncommon that the instructor will simply wait for the completion of one ‘forgotten’ assignment before issuing another, or simply dismiss a lacking student

Assignments may include: demonstrations, research, reading, written or oral presentations, application of studied methods, ritual observation and participation, interaction with specific individuals, interviews, watching specific programs, guided meditations and personal meditative exercises, power exchange, community participation, attending specific events, executing a post or providing a direct service, developing an idea, streamlining a process, procuring specific tools or garb, any combination of the above or any other effective teaching method the instructor may have in mind. Some may utilize more edgy methods of instruction, like corporeal stimulation, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, isolation, restraints, humiliation, emotional catharsis, worship and other variations of sadomasochism toward a pointed end. It behooves the student to ask their potential mentor what methods they utilize, what will be expected of them, and to know their personal boundaries as to avoid any surprises and bad feelings.

An instructor may become your buddy and best friend, but it should not be the expected outcome of such a relationship. Some instructors like to keep their personal feelings and their dayside lives private; students should not expect instructors to become their best friends. If feelings deepen between parties, there is nothing more important than communication. Instruction and learning can work equally well in a formal teacher-student relationship, in a friendship, or in a loving relationship, provided that both parties are in agreement as to what the relationship parameters are, and that adequate focus is still maintained on the guidance-learning dimension; although many mentors and seekers alike prefer formal teacher student relationships where the lines are not crossed.

Any responsible instructor will not just simply handover their writings/books to the student, but will encourage the seeker to write his or her own. Rank and promotions do not come easy with any conscientious mentor or organization. A seeker should wish not only for the merit and recognition of ascension, but for the personal growth and development that comes with it. Neither because they had sex with the mentor, nor because they have ascertained a certain level of intimacy with them, not even if they read, stole, or possess the mentor’s book(s). This is not TV-land; knowledge cannot be stolen. Knowledge, Wisdom and Acumen are gained by personal effort, research, communication, application and experience. We can learn without mentors and without teachers; we can simply rely on our own inspiration, motivation and desire to do so, the information is out there. A good instructor however, guides the seekers efforts, expands their horizons, and establishes solid foundations upon which the seeker can build a firm future and one day become a responsible mentor themselves.

Below are some guidelines that help establish good student-teacher relationships. These guidelines may be particularly helpful to seekers who being new in the community may not know what to do, look for, or expect.

Good Seekers/Students:
• Do research on their desired mentor(s) to determine if they are recognized by the community, if they are established and well regarded.
• Have an open discussion about past experiences and future desires with their prospective mentor(s) to determine if there is a solid compatibility of ethics, interests and teaching methods.
• Are skeptics by nature and not easily impressed, particularly when it comes to unwarranted flattery, self-congratulatory story telling, and dubious tall-tales, even if told by their (potential) mentor.
• Learn to identify manipulation, probing and lies from community members and similarly learn to identify goodwill, honesty, and responsible behavior.
• Are open with their mentor about their boundaries, shortcomings, phobias, expectations and desires.
• Reserve and are available for periodic scheduled sessions to discuss nightside issues, assignments, personal development, and to expand their learning, by asking questions and providing service.
• Regard sessions and discussions with mentor as private and exert extreme discretion when relaying any part of such interactions. Knowledge and information has been passed on to you as seekers, and you are not qualified to pass on this information to anyone until you are considered an adult of the community or Calmae. Realize that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
• Realize that instruction comes in steps, and that foundations must be established before moving on to the next level.
• Are patient and maintain a positive outlook.
• Complete assignments in a timely responsible fashion and accept constructive criticism as an expansion of their learning curve.
• Seek to obtain knowledge and information from a variety of sources by using some creative and critical thinking.
• Utilize personal time to engage in reading, interaction and introspection that will expand learning and personal nightside development.
• Demonstrate initiative by taking on personal projects and participating in community projects.
• Know their boundaries and time constraints, and abstain from overburdening their schedule by prioritizing and eliminating unnecessary ventures.
• Become an extension of their mentor offering when needed assistance, protection, representation, and becoming the mentor’s eyes and ears in the community.
• Regard their mentor highly with loyalty and respect, and foment the same attitude in those around them.
• Realize that there is little to gain and much to lose by disrespecting, exasperating, frustrating or otherwise needlessly waste the mentor’s time and patience.
• Take credit for and are accountable for their work as students and their decisions as adults.
• Do not solicit nor demand personal, private or dayside information from their mentor.
• Balance their dayside and nightside duties and responsibilities and will take recess when needed to resolve pertinent issues.
• Respect the experience of their mentor, and avoid those individuals that their mentor has cautioned them against.
• Uphold their reputation and the reputation of their mentor and to ensure both will refrain from engaging in illegal, criminal, or destructive behavior.

Good mentors/instructors:
• Should be recognized as community Elders or at least as Calmae. Seekers, fledglings, or newbie’s cannot be considered teachers of any sort.
• Have the endorsement of other community individuals and at least One Elder if Calmae and 3 Elders if of Elder status. So seekers do your advance research.
• Study potential students over a period of time before welcoming them into the fold. Some mentors even expect seekers to prove their merit before accepting them as students.
• Demonstrate patience, positivism and flexibility.
• Evaluate the level of aptitude, understanding and readiness of the student before proceeding to teach or assign any projects.
• Provide challenging projects that meet the seekers interests, build foundations, and cultivate learning.
• When assignment is complete, provide recognition of student’s achievement, constructive criticism, and topic expansion guidance.
• Are periodically available to privately discuss pertinent topics real time, i.e.: in-person, on the phone, or via on-line chat.
• Are available to be a sounding board for ideas and to give solid council when needed on nightside and dayside issues, offering the student not only tutelage but also protection when needed.
• Encourage seekers to think abstractly, out of the box and research alternate forms of information.
• Encourage seekers to demonstrate initiative by taking on personal projects and community involvement.
• Solicit their student’s assistance with research or development for specific projects, always recognizing and accrediting individual helpers.
• Share personal stories when they may aid current situations and as a way to better identify with the seeker.
• Share past-life recollections or divinatory visions only when the seeker is ready, open, and when the sharing is purposeful to the seeker’s path.
• Consider their interaction with students/wards to be sacred and private, exerting extreme discretion when disclosing any part of it to other community members.
• Turn away seekers when their own plate is full, when the seeker is an incompatible match, when the seeker has serious unresolved dayside issues, when the seeker is unavailable or disinterested, or when the seeker engages in dangerous, illegal, or destructive behavior. Often mentors will direct seekers to other potential instructors.
• Discourage seekers from associating with dangerous, destructive, or criminal individuals by relaying valuable information and personal experience.
• May keep their dayside matters private and separate from mentorship interaction but they value and balance they dayside issues responsibly and will encourage seekers to do the same.

Poor mentors:
• Sit seekers on their proverbial lap and tell self-congratulatory stories of their past deeds adnosium… instead of being awestruck, try to confirm and validate their stories.
• Openly, casually, or publicly tell tales of their past lives or yours. Such sharing should be in private confidence at appropriate times and places. These are lame tools devised to impress the impressionable.
• Openly, casually or publicly recount study sessions, criticize student behavior or demonstrate a lack of secrecy when it comes to student/ward interaction.
• Say ‘learn only from my writings’… instead learn from many points of view and form your own perspectives.
• Have no old friends and surround themselves with a plethora of newbies. There are big warning flags in this ‘cycling people’ behavior; so get ready to be recycled.
• Constantly burn bridges with other community members. We all have issues but true Elders seek to resolve them with responsible accountability.
• Befriend seekers too quickly and make lofty promises of quick ascensions, this is a bad form of flattery.
• Negotiate knowledge, information, ascensions, or recognition for physical or emotional intimacy. Never accept such bargains.
• After so many years in the community, decide that a mere seeker with limited awareness is suddenly their right-hand-person; this is another bad form of flattery. Such close relationships are developed over time.
• Bestow empty inflated titles, even if just for affect. Such effects are ‘lies’ and far from honorable distinctions. Do not implicate yourself with titles that you have not earned nor with those that concede to bear those empty titles.
• Lie or manipulate. You may not be the recipient of the lie or manipulation this time, but I assure you, it’s coming your way. Don’t be an accomplice in these devises.
• Struggle to keep their dayside afloat on a consistent basis. This is not a worthy teacher; he/she should take a sabbatical and get their dayside together first.
• Accept students with and without potential alike. Here students are seen as a personal validation. A good mentor is discriminating and does not waste their time with those who lack the beacon.
• Embrace a multitude of students, wards or chylder. Mentoring someone is a great responsibility and it should not be taken lightly. Expect little results out of this association.
• Embrace or associate with minors. This is illegal and has so many legal ramifications that it is best to avoid this person all together.
• Encourage illegal behavior like substance abuse, intoxication and irresponsible sexual conduct. Great parties, maybe, but you are putting yourself and your reputation in danger.
• Encourage seekers to turn away from dayside family or obligations, instead of encouraging better understanding of the needs of dayside family and directing attention to the importance of dayside duties. Although you may want these dreaded responsibilities to go away, only bad mentors will discourage you from facing your adult duties.
• Forbid students from associating with past associates or other community individuals. Although seekers should be discouraged from pursuing associations with questionable or dangerous individuals, as adults they are entitled to follow their path…wherever it might lead them.
• Utilize their students to research and write articles anonymously or as they unpaid shadow writers. Always insist on credit for what you research and create.

 

  

By Deacon Gray

Graveyard Press Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 24, 2012

 

Facing pressure from Wiccan groups, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Arlington County Court relented yesterday and allowed Literata Hurley to gain the right to perform Wiccan/ Pagan based wedding ceremonies.

 “The Arlington County Court refused to grant me the right to perform marriages in Virginia, apparently on the grounds that my “congregation” does not own a building. I presented my certificate of ordination and documentation of the 501c3 status of the Order of the White Moon, which ordained me. Since my Order is incorporated in California, the secretary asked me if I had a congregation in Virginia; I said yes. She asked me to list the address of the congregation, and I said that we don’t have a building. She asked, “So, what, you just meet in each other’s homes?” I said yes, we meet in each other’s homes, or out of doors.

She left and came back with the Clerk of Court, Paul Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson said that they were not going to approve me. I asked if it was because we don’t have a building. He said, “Yes, you don’t have a building, and there were a few other things.” I asked him if he would give me a written list of the reasons I was being denied. He refused; he offered to show me the relevant section (Sec 20-23) of the Virginia Code. I assured him that I had read the Code, and asked again if he would give me more specific reasons I was being denied. He said that approving these applications was at his “discretion” and that he didn’t “feel” I met the qualifications, but he wouldn’t tell me how. He told me that I could apply to another court in another county but that he thought they would probably give me the same answer.”

In 2006 Arlington faced another such incident when they made international news for not allowing one of our fallen soldiers the right to a grave marker with a Wiccan symbol. This ended in a prolonged battle with the President Bush’s administration.  Eventually with court cases looming, and a large outcry from the soldiers and citizens of this country, the Bush Administration gave ground and allowed the headstones to be allowed in that famous cemetery.

For Literata Hurley the process took nearly as long.  She set about at once to seek help and advice from the ACLU, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the Lady Liberty League. Then she made a call out to the whole Virginia based pagan community stating “get the word out. The more Pagans pull together, the better our chances of being recognized as “legitimate” in these kinds of situations.”

The response was everything she could have hoped for. “Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to the Arlington County Court in support of my application to perform weddings. They are very clear about the situation:

“Your denial of Priestess Hurley’s application violated the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. We ask that you grant the application, as well as any similar applications that you may receive in the future.” – Americans United for Separation of Church and State

“The letter went into great detail about the relevant legal precedents, including details of interpreting and applying the First Amendment and other Constitutional protections. It cites many instances of legal recognition of Wicca as a religion entitled to First Amendment protections, including applications of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and landmark cases for minority religious rights such as Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc v. City of Hialeah. They specifically state:

Your failure to recognize Priestess Hurley as a valid minister constitutes discrimination against the Wiccan faith and its adherents, in violation of three separate provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

The letter also addresses the only reason that the Clerk gave me for denying my application, pointing out that denying my application on the basis of not having a fixed address for my ministry is unsupportable based on the relevant sections of the Virginia code and would also discriminate against many other religious groups that meet at members’ homes or otherwise do not have a fixed address.”

Tuesday, Oct 21, she decided to make a go of it again after the court replied to the Americans United letter apologizing for an apparent “miscommunication”. “She { the clerk} had to go get approval from someone else; she said that the person who wrote the reply to Americans United for Separation of Church and State had to review my new application and paperwork. That took a little while, but she came back and said that it was approved, and then it was a matter of paying the fee, taking an oath to uphold the Constitution and the Constitution of Virginia and to do my duty fairly and impartially, and then I got the official authorization!”

The future outlook still isn’t as rosy as it might be, but this is certainly another step forward for the Wiccan faith, and pagans all over the country. With the fall of the Bush administration moratorium on Wiccan head stones and religious expression with in the armed forces, and now another step with the battle won over who can conduct your marriage, there is a lot yet to hope for.

We cannot win every battle, there are times when we just want to hang our heads, but keep in mind that you are not the only one, and just like Priestess Hurley, we do win some times.

“I am also deeply and sincerely grateful to everyone who supported me, especially Selena Fox, Ivo Dominguez, and my sisters in the Order of the White Moon; my thanks also go out to everyone who put energy into resolving this issue and making a positive difference for Pagan civil rights. The personal and magical support I got was amazing, and it made all the difference in the world. Thank you all.

I would like to particularly thank Americans United for Separation of Church and State, especially Ben Hazelwood, who worked with me directly. They sent the letters that showed the Arlington County Court in no uncertain terms that their actions were legally indefensible and got the court to clarify its requirements so that I could make this reapplication successful.

This is not the first time they have gone to bat for Pagan rights, either, as they were intimately involved with Selena Fox and the Lady Liberty League in bringing the Pentacle Quest to a successful conclusion. I strongly encourage all Pagans to support these organizations that are doing the hard work of defending our rights when we need it most.”

copyright 2012 Deacon Gray and the Graveyard press

Nearly a month ago this file was sent to me by some one whom I will not name, though I would encourage him to step forward if he is willing so people know exactly who did all the work involved. At that time I was dismayed by what I read. Yet, with contacts, family and friends all over the place I figured…hey lets give the man a chance to speak to the issue quietly before making a scene.

Several people I know, whom I also will  not name, who live within a few hours of Russell Mercado sent off inquires, and offers to talk on the phone or meet somewhere. It was answered with…well, it wasn’t answered at all. Much to my surprise I was informed late last night, that Russell Mercado has passed away.

I would like to say for the record that I personally really liked Russell. I didn’t know him well, but his posts where always respectful, in chat he was intelligent and well spoken. I have never heard of any drama from Russell or his house at any point. And yet…the file I was sent is pretty…well I will let you read it, and judge for your self.

Russell Mercado