Saturday, September 28, 2013

What do Noel Streatfeild and Isaac Asimov have in common?

Many years ago, I read about two very similar incidents in the autobiographies of two very different people.

The first incident was recounted by Noel Streatfeild in her autobiographical work A Vicarage Family. It comes from her school days.

The glamorous, exotic Russian Ballet was visiting London in the summer of 1911; everyone was talking about them; everyone longed to see them. A teacher took those older girls who could afford it to London for three nights to see some performances. Noel (Victoria in the book) was not in the party, despite being obsessed with ballet. She was enthralled by what she heard about the company, and was desperate to learn, even if it was only at second hand, all she could about the dancers and the ballets. She listened eagerly when she heard some of the starry-eyed girls discussing the outing with the teacher on their return, trying to catch some of the magic from what they said.

Noel meant only to listen, but there was so much she wanted to know. She asked some questions that, she later realised, might well have sounded puerile to a teacher who had actually seen the Russians and who was probably tired after the exhausting trip. The teacher reacted strongly and negatively, telling her that if she had nothing more sensible to ask she should say nothing at all.

Noel felt snubbed and deeply hurt.  Tears came into her eyes. How could anyone be so mean after three lovely days seeing ballets in London as to refuse to describe them to someone who was too poor to go and see them for herself?

Noel decided that she was not going to forgive her teacher.

The second incident was recounted by Isaac Asimov in In Memory Yet Green. It comes from his college days in the late 1930s.

He describes seeing his first ever slide rule on his professor’s desk. He picked it up and asked what it was and what it did. The professor took it back from him and said with irritation “It would take too long to explain.”

Asimov thought that if the teacher had only started him off by showing him how to do a simple calculation, which would have taken only a few seconds, he could have worked out the rest for himself. Asimov felt that he had lost a lot of time because the professor wouldn’t help him.

Asimov wrote “I have never forgiven him for that.”

These relatively trivial but painful incidents obviously affected both people very strongly: they never forgot their grudges. It speaks for itself that they included the incidents in their autobiographies, which were written decades after the event: Noel Streatfeild was around 65 years old when she wrote her book and Asimov was 60. 

I didn’t forget these episodes either: they seemed significant to me at the time and they still do. There are some lessons to be learned here.

People who take an individual path through life may well feel things much more than collective-minded people do. People who sense a special path ahead of them may well react strongly when someone appears to be blocking their progress, or does not help them along their way when this could easily be done.

Noel Streatfield later enhanced the lives of huge numbers of girls with her inspiring children’s classic Ballet Shoes; generations benefitted from her obsessions. Isaac Asimov became a world class science populariser. He wrote An Easy Introduction to the Slide Rule.

Both people needed large amounts of food for the future in the form of useful information: perhaps they reacted so strongly when people wouldn’t help them because they sensed what was at stake.

On the other hand, someone targetted for help and information by such creative people may feel that they have been attacked in some way: their reaction may be automatic self-defence. Obsessive people who sense a chance to get some vital information may behave like a tiger that has scented its prey. They may appear overeager and come on much too strong, thus triggering a negative response: action and reaction are equal and opposite.

Creative people may have a bad effect on others because they bring the powers of the subconscious mind into their inter-actions with others. They are unaware of their own strength. This is a topic that needs further investigation.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Unseen influences: seasonal depression and the autumn equinox

Depression at this time of year is common. I think that there is more to it than the feeling that autumn is here, winter is on the horizon, and another year of our lives will soon be gone forever.

Dion Fortune said that one is on or off one’s contacts: they all break automatically at the equinoxes. That would explain a lot. I think of it in different terms - I would say that one’s personal firewall drops at this time of year and in the spring - but the symptoms are the same.

Charlotte Brontë had a lifelong sensibility to equinoctial changes. She wrote in a letter to Mrs Gaskell that the effects lasted approximately one month to six weeks around both equinoxes; sometimes she got severe headaches, sometimes she had to endure the feeling of being ground down to the dust with deep dejection of spirits.

Feeling tearful and empty and pessimistic about the future is to be expected. The best way to deal with it is to be prepared and ride it out.  Autumn especially is a time for staying in and reading or watching DVDs: children’s fantasy fiction and films are very suitable for this purpose. This is what I do, and it does help.

We may not feel like going out, but I have found that going on expeditions to see the beautiful autumn leaves helps to improve my mood. Sitting quietly near trees and water raises my spirits too.


The painful feelings will recede – until another equinox comes round again.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Defence Against the Dark Arts Part V: Conspiracy Theory Humour

I have mentioned how junk food, many TV programmes and junk advertisements on the radio made me feel ill: I just can’t tolerate them. I feel the same way about much of the information and discussions to be found online: bad English, unpleasant language, crass juvenile humour, meaningless drivel and incomprehensible posts that add nothing of value to a discussion all have a bad effect on me. It is too time-consuming and too demoralising to be worth trawling through the dross in the hope of finding an occasional gem. These do exist though, and some are very witty or hysterically funny.

I once found a website called Godlike Productions that can provide some amusement in the form of very long threads with titles such as I am a former member of the Illuminati: ask me a question.

Or, even better, I am God: ask me anything.

The David Icke website sometimes has some amusing posts too. For example, a recent thread entitled Reptile sub-species ‘The Companions’ starts:

 “I am a member of this race. There are just under 3,000 of us on Earth; mostly in locations with advanced human technology and culture. We are a neutral race… I am concerned that I may be attacked for revealing this information but it is needed... I will be answering questions, as long as the intent is not hostile. We do not deal with hostility as it conflicts with our final goal of true peace through neutrality.”

One of the best responses addressed to the reptilian 'Kersh' was:

Did you obtain a work visa when you came to this planet? We have rules on immigration you know. How long have you been here? Did you enter the atmosphere illegally?”

I was searching for information about ‘Pindar’, as David Icke had mentioned him in the context of reptilians and this reminded me that, by coincidence, I once worked in a building that was very close to a Pindar Street. Pindar is variously reported to be a dragon king, white skinned reptilian royalty, a high level Satanist, a Rothschild and Prince Charles’s real father.

I found a question and answer thread on Godlike Productions called All questions on Reptilians are welcome here. Although the anonymous poster seems to think that Pindar is a lizard as opposed to a dragon, I think that his question is absolutely brilliant and very funny:

“If I were to pull on Pindar’s tail, would it come off?”



Friday, September 13, 2013

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - MBTI

I lived most of my life without ever hearing of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is a form of personality assessment. I had always assumed that personality tests were superficial, general and irrelevant and had never taken any interest in them. Someone mentioned the MBTI to me a few years ago: she asked me what my MB type was. I was interested, and decided to give it a go after finding some free tests online.

In all cases, I came out very strongly as INTJ: introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment.  I read some good quality material describing the characteristics of this type and listing possible career options:  it all seemed spot on. It explained a hell of a lot.  It confirmed some things I had always known or suspected. I have always said “does it work?” and expected things to make sense, and this is exactly what the descriptions say INTJs do!

Long before I took the test, I had come to realise that certain missed opportunities that I had regretted very much, both at the time and for many years afterwards, would not after all have been right for me.  Some of the material I read provided an objective confirmation of my insights: these cases could now be closed for good. 

The material also confirmed my theory that the life I was forced to lead in my formative years might have been deliberately designed to ruin my prospects and cause maximum suffering. It was not just that my education was grossly deficient and that the work I had been forced to do could not have been more unsuitable; it was not just that my abilities, aptitudes, interests and personality had been completely ignored; it was as if someone had read the details of INTJ people and created the worst possible life for someone of this type. The life chosen for me was the exact opposite of what was best for me: it made huge demands in areas where I had little or nothing to give, and no demands in areas where I was very strong. It is the same old upside down crucifixion, the same old dancing anti-clockwise, the same old evil being the reversal of good.

Reading the INTJ description material brought back all the hurt and anger I had felt when I first realised all this, but again it provided confirmation of my insights.

It is too late for me to do much with this information, but others may find that getting an assessment adds an extra dimension to their understanding of themselves. I would not base any life-changing decisions on the results of the test, but I would certainly take them into account.

The personality type distribution estimates gave me a greater understanding of why it is not easy to find people on my wavelength. Being in one of the rarer categories might be influencing our lives in subtle ways: we may feel like persecuted minorities.  MBTI helps to explain why INTJ types cannot expect to fit in, and why there is no need to even try.

The MBTI test undoubtedly has some weaknesses. People are very complex and cannot be summarised in and reduced to four letters, any more than they can be defined only by their Sun Sign.

I particularly dislike seeing the lists of ‘famous INTJs’ that appear on some websites: this is just speculation based on limited information. It is even more grating when fictional characters are included. It is up to the subjects to take the test themselves and pass on the classification only if they want to. I don’t think that Jane Austen and Isaac Newton took the online tests. These lists make no sense to me.

Despite all that, I feel that the INTJ characterisation has given me something comprehensible and acceptable to explain myself with. It shows why I am much more interested in ideas, issues and information than I am in people.

My MBTI classification has given me permission to be myself.


Unseen influences: are we sometimes our own worst enemies?

A very recent, very positive experience has inspired me to write an article about transforming our lives by transforming ourselves. In other words, we can change our lives for the better on the outside by changing ourselves for the better on the inside.

Circumstances over which I had no control brought me into contact with a random selection of ordinary members of the public, complete strangers with whom I needed to work closely for several days.

Everyone in the group I was assigned to was healthy, stable, civilised, intelligent, articulate and very pleasant to work with.

Everyone took the project seriously and made a useful contribution. They all made good points, sensible suggestions and insightful remarks. They all had open minds and balanced viewpoints.

There were no energy vampires and no negative people. There was no one who was out of touch with reality; there was no one who was irrational, obsessed with something, uncooperative, obnoxious or inflexible;  no one  lowered the tone of the discussions; no one dragged everyone down.

These people had not been assessed or pre-selected in any way: it was just ‘chance’ that brought us all together, and made an experience that I had been dreading into one that I actually enjoyed and benefitted from.

I have heard very different reports from people who have been involved in similar exercises. Is it really just chance and the luck of the draw that determine whether we have good or bad experiences, or are other factors involved? Are unseen influences at work?

When reporting their experiences of life and the colleagues, neighbours, tradespeople, shop staff etc. they interact with, people often seem to be describing two different worlds: it is roses all the way for some and one long nightmare for others.

Some people are always being cheated while others find that helpful people everywhere look after their interests. For example, I have on a few occasions picked up one item in a shop without realising that the price covers two or even three. The person on the till has always told me that I am entitled to some more.

Some people say that there are no more bargains to be found in charity shops, while many others, including me, find a string of low-priced treasures there.

Some people report continually experiencing bad service and ill-mannered staff in shops, while others find the exact opposite.

Some people experience incompetence, indifference, exploitation and negligence everywhere - from dentists and tradesmen for example - while others get first class treatment and are very satisfied with the work done. I suspect a delightful dentist, who cost me nothing, of giving me special treatment that is normally given only to private patients; the work done for me by handymen and tradesmen has always been excellent.

I remember reading a post on a consumer forum by someone who said that people who buy reduced items of food in supermarkets are treated with contempt by the staff: they are considered to be second class customers. The poster had obviously felt unhappy enough to tell the world about their experiences.  I usually avoid supermarkets, but when I was unemployed used to go and see what end-of-day reductions the local one had. I have no bad experiences to report: I was congratulated a few times by the person on the till for finding some amazing bargains.

On one occasion, I watched a man putting reduced price labels on some items of interest. He asked me if I wanted one, and I said “Yes, if the price is right”. He replied “The price will be right”, and clicked out a new label from his gun-like device. He reduced the item for the second time just for me!

Life now mostly consists of good experiences with people, with the occasional unpleasant incident. I remember a time when things were very different. I feel as though I have moved from one world to the other, from the wrong side of the tracks to the good side. This does not just happen: it is the result of a lot of inner work, including the study of unseen influences. It involves accepting many painful home truths.

I remember reading that a quality cannot manifest in our lives unless and until it has manifested in our energy fields. In other words, people who want helpful colleagues in their lives must first put out helpful energy themselves. Someone once told me that the attitude and behaviour towards him of the people he worked with had improved enormously; I told him that this was because he had first improved his attitude towards them.

A well-known axiom is that we create the reality around us. We are the cause of any bad experiences that we may have; we are the conductors of our own orchestra; we get back what we put out, as karmic retribution. Like attracts like; we attract what we are; we meet ourselves in other people; our vibe attracts our tribe; everyone who comes into our lives is a mirror or a messenger.

I don’t think that such popular New Age style sayings are necessarily always true: distress signals coming from good people do attract predators, and negative people often try to destroy positivity. Sometimes our only crime is to be in someone’s way or have something they want. It is best to ask ourselves whether or not these ideas apply in our case.

However, if we constantly attract and are surrounded by or involved with the wrong people, we may need to ask why and look inside. Is this just chance, or is it something about us? Are we surrounded by bad energy? Are we as far from being a healthy, decent individual in our way as they are in theirs?

We need to think about the effect we have on people, and remember that our inner state and the level of development we have reached determine the sort of people we get involved with and the quality of our relationships. For example, someone who is in a psychotic state is likely to attract people in a similar state.

We may need to give out rather than try to pull in. We need to remember that it is best to use normal methods to deal with people, not try to use mind power.

It seems to me that such ideas apply primarily to people who can understand them and are capable of applying them to improve the quality of their lives.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dion Fortune on energy vampires

The occultist Dion Fortune made some interesting statements about energy vampires that are worth discussing.  I can’t remember which of her books they came from; I have paraphrased her words from memory and some scribbled notes.

She likened an energy vampire and victim to a bullfrog and sucked-out orange.

This is a very memorable image. I think it must apply mainly to powerful, driven and glamorous energy vampires, those who need and obtain excessive amounts of extra energy. Many energy vampires are being vampirised themselves - possibly by other people, possibly by some internal parasitic obsession or idea - so they appear shrivelled, diminished and sucked out too.

I am reminded of Petra Kelly, one of the founders of the German Green Party, who is reported to have got through seventeen secretaries in eight years:

“I loved her dearly,” said Heinz Suhr, a Green Party spokesman, “but some hated her. They called her a vampire, sucking the energy out of those around her. She was too big a star.”

Dion Fortune mentioned a ‘swift downward swoop’ made by an energy vampire, which resulted in a loss of vitality in the victim.
This reminds me of an incident that happened before I had even heard of the expression ‘energy vampire’. I was walking in a busy street, and someone altered her course so it converged on mine. I felt a strange sensation: ‘swift downward swoop’ describes it very well.

I was immediately reminded of this incident when I first read Dion Fortune’s words. It was as if someone had put something over me, then pulled it downwards and away. I felt as though I had been trawled. There was something else: I also felt as though someone had scraped downwards on my heart, my central core, with a sharp finger nail.

I think it is more common for the victims of energy vampires to feel pulled at and drained. I have often felt this way, but have only once experienced the downward swoop.

Dion Fortune said that you can’t break the vampire-victim link and cure the victim simply by cutting them off from someone: break the circuit and you destroy the victim. She thought that it was necessary to substitute a decent person for the energy vampire, and to replace the unhealthy magnetism with wholesome energy.

Perhaps she was referring to a special type of energy vampirism, one involving ritual and magical binding. I have found that breaking contact has very positive effects on the victim. Perhaps there are dependent victims and those who are independent, given a chance.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Joan Aiken’s witch: Mrs Lubbage

Mrs Lubbage is a character in one of the books from Joan Aiken’s wonderful alternate history series for children, the first of which is The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Mrs Lubbage appears in The Cuckoo Tree. She is not exactly a modern-day witch, but she has some interesting characteristics in common with other fictional witches I have discussed.

Mrs Lubbage is the local nurse and wise woman; she has the gift of healing and knows about herbs. The doctor says that many of his patients would not have recovered without her intervention – and adds under his breath that many of them would not have fallen ill.

Mrs Lubbage is in many ways a stereotype. She is a large lady and wears grubby clothes. Her manner is hostile, threatening, surly and unpleasant. Her home is filthy and squalid; the chickens she keeps are in bad condition. She has a huge rat living with her who helps her cast spells. She also has a child living with her whom she treats very badly.

She is feared: some people call her a witch and are reluctant to go near her in case she puts a curse on them. She also has powerful allies: she is lending her powers to various plotters.

She will not tolerate criticism or interference in her affairs, no matter how justified this may be. She puts a hoodoo on the lock on her front door so that no one can break in while she is away from home. It gives strange prickling sensations when touched, like those given by stinging nettles. Something similar to this happens in Diana Wynne Jones’s Wilkins’ Tooth, when two boys attempt to get into Biddy Iremonger’s hut without her knowledge. When they touch the lock, they receive an agonisingly painful sensation, like a huge electric shock.

This is an interesting coincidence: it could be some kind of metaphor for the repercussions people feel when they threaten, interfere in the affairs of or try to get too close to someone with a witch-like personality in real life.

Another character in The Cuckoo Tree – who appears in several other books in the series - is Dido Twite. She has many enviable qualities: she is very tough, bold, cheerful and resourceful; she is not easily intimidated by threats; she can stand up for herself and her rights; she rises to the occasion when faced with the unexpected, and has a lot of spirit and inner strength. All this helps her considerably in her dealings with Mrs Lubbage.

For example, the latter casts a spell to make a group of farm animals appear to be a dragon in the moonlight, but Dido throws a stone and their true forms appear. Unfortunately, you are in a double bind with people like this: you suffer if you do resist and confront them and suffer if you don’t. This defiance makes Mrs Lubbage even more malevolent, and she aims a curse by directing a long, angry stare at Dido. The curse ‘takes’ because Dido has not worn her protective charm. The effects are very interesting, and not unfamiliar: Dido has a run of bad luck: she keeps dropping and breaking things, which is not normal for her; she hits her thumb with a hammer and drops a heavy bucket on her toe, and no matter how many times she washes her hands they feel unclean.

I have often felt blighted, hurt myself and had accidents after having a blast of anger aimed at me by negative, energy vampire type people. Traditionally, when done deliberately it is known as ‘overlooking’: it is known to be dangerous to cross a witch.

Mrs Lubbage threatens to put a freezing spell on the child who lives with her; this too is familiar as some people do have a very chilling effect. This child becomes pale and speechless when threatened by Mrs Lubbage: she has none of Dido’s spirit or coping ability and is terrified of the witch.

One characteristic of witches is feeling entitled to something - from a particular person or life in general - and taking revenge when it isn’t forthcoming. Revenge is witches’ business. Fictional witches do this deliberately; real life people usually do it unconsciously. Biddy Iremonger in Wilkins’ Tooth does this when she decides to marry someone and he chooses another woman. Mrs Lubbage feels outraged and entitled to revenge because Dido removed a basket of food Mrs Lubbage had decided to keep for herself, even though it was just left in her care for her to pass on to Dido and her friend.

She puts this friend of Dido’s into a coma in revenge for Dido’s sabotaging her plot to obtain money under false pretences.

Mrs Lubbage is accused by a young man of poisoning his mother in the past; she died. The reason isn’t given, but it could well be jealousy: perhaps, just like Biddy Iremonger, she had hoped to marry a man who chose someone else.

Mrs Lubbage like many witches has a goal, something to work for: she wants to move with a fellow witch to a warm and green tropical island where they will live well and be treated with respect. They cheat their patrons, double-dealing and making false scryings in order to get money out of them to pay for the passage on a ship.

Mrs Lubbage loses her mind when all the plots are foiled: she has nothing to fall back on once her dream has collapsed.  Her fellow witch dies, possibly from lost hope. It is strange how some people invest everything in an outcome that may never happen. She wanted to move to a much better place where she would be treated with respect: she would have done better to behave in such a way as to deserve respect where she already lived, and make the most of what she already had.

These people are an object lesson, just as Dido is a very good role model for people who must deal with energy vampires and manipulative people - although we can’t all be as strong as she is.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Defence Against the Dark Arts Part IV: Colin Turner’s Born to Succeed

Some years ago, I noticed an old paperback book while poking around in a charity shop. Something made me pick it up and I saw one or two things inside that made me decide to buy it, despite the fact that it was a book about succeeding in business and was not very clean: it had obviously been read many times.

The book was Born to Succeed: Releasing Your Business Potential by Colin Turner.

I am not interested in building a business, and am very doubtful about the worth of much of the material available on the subject. However, my radar was quite right: the book did contain some useful information; it also confirmed some of my ideas about unseen influences. The advice given may sometimes be obvious and not always original; I found the book neither illuminating nor life-changing, but well worth reading.

One of the previous readers had highlighted some paragraphs and made comments – in Turkish! Most of the highlighted parts were of no particular interest to me as they were business-related, but I made notes of some of the material that resonated the most.

Reading more than anything else stimulates the mind: use it or lose it.”

This is telling me exactly what I want to hear! Reading stimulates the imagination too, whereas watching television short circuits the imaginative process.

Books/others are teachers not masters, agencies not sources.

I agree with this: “call no man master” and do not treat any book as a bible.

Your attitude towards life determines life’s attitude to you: you can determine the quality of your life. A person with a poor attitude is a magnet for unpleasant experiences.

I have seen this for myself: it is sad to see how many people are their own worst enemies and bring trouble on themselves with their negative attitudes.

Happy heart, light spirit, expectant attitude are signs of the right decision.

Follow gut feelings: try decisions on for size. We will be able to tell from good sensations deep down inside which decisions are right for us.

 “Blame looks backward, responsibility looks forward.”

This may be ‘fortune cookie wisdom’, but it an important lesson to learn. It is essential not to get stuck in the past: others may be responsible for creating our problems but we are responsible for solving or coming to terms with them.

People cannot get onto your path, they can only try to tempt you off it and distract you onto theirs.”

This is definitely worth thinking about. Presumably people can get onto our paths if we distract them onto them!

 “Failure is often the precursor to success. Most people’s success seems to come after their greatest failure. Success is the continuous accomplishment of planned objectives that are worthwhile to the individual.”

This sounds like a good definition of success, as opposed to the usual limited definition in worldly terms. My greatest failure has happened; I am certainly achieving a string of small successes.

Advertise in the universal newspaper – vibrations will be involved.”

I sometimes think that I must have advertised on the universal radio – or sent a postcard to the universe! If you want something, let the universe know then get on with something else. We must forget it to get it.

 “The universe will pay you to be yourself and do what you really love.”

When? I have advertised in the universal media; I am currently doing what I like best but the money hasn’t come yet!

Finally:

The environment will never condition us again. We will condition the environment by the force we exude: it will affect and change matters so we can create new conditions in the old environment. Negative influences will weaken and disappear with a rapidity directly in proportion to the realisation of how we control/affect the environment and create our own reality. We will never need to leave a particular environment.

The book is worth getting for these statements alone; they deserve an article to themselves. The idea that there is no need to move or leave, that things will fall into place around us to reflect changes on the inside takes some getting used to, but in my experience it is sometimes - but not always – perfectly correct. We really can change our lives for the better on the outside by changing ourselves for the better on the inside.

This book is still being sold – for £19.99 in some places. I paid £0.50p for my copy! I took it back to the charity shop where I bought it so that more people could benefit from Colin Turner’s wisdom.

More about Colin Turner .