Feedback from my Detractors



It may be hard to believe, but some people do not agree with all my ideas. Here are some *snippets from my detractors (whose names I am politely withholding). Words in italics are their words. Words in bold are mine. Spelling / grammar are left as they were in the original. 

One of the ways you can assure yourself that you are doing the right thing is by noting  your critics.  The more critics you have, the better job you are doing.

At first I thought this one was from my old “friend” Dred, posing as a woman (well, he has no balls after all!).  But I decided to use it here anyway, as it brings up some common misconceptions:

I am looking into paganism and druidry as a form of religion because I want to get back to what is natural. Polyamory or polyfidelity as the author serves it up is naive and self-serving (Mike thinks his features into being more masculine so he won’t get passes made by homosexual men? So men can love as many women as they want, and women can love women [in the presence of men of course] but men should not love men [Mike “groks” that is is wrongness.]) Gimme a break.

You’re addressing two different subjects here.  Yes, Heinlein was a homophobe.  He wrote the book in 1961 — even gay men were homophobic back then.  Our Order, and in fact the group we are subordinate to, does not feel that way.  Gays, lesbians, trans gendered, etc., are welcomed into the Reform without regard to their natural inclinations. Because you see, two of our basic tenets, (expressed as “nature is good”) call upon us to be accepting of  all that which is natural.  Some folks are naturally wired to be attracted to their own gender.  If therefore “nature is good” then all are good.  We add that all are God as well.

I just had to roll up my eyes. I’ve heard this all before. Polyfidelity will never catch on for the same reason communism is having a hard time of it. It denies natural human needs and emotions, like wanting to be special to one person, and hey! jealousy.

“Catch on?”  Polyamory, like homosexuality, is a natural inclination. Some people have the tendency, and some do not.  It’s not something that we expect to “catch on” any more than homosexuality is. It just is, that’s all.  Evidence suggests that as much as 35% of the total population may be so inclined, naturally.    You may not be able to imagine yourself as one, because you may well be naturally monogamous.   The divorce rate in this country is over 50%.  Statistics show that 76% of all divorces are the result of infidelity.  80% of infidelitous men, and 60% of women say that they “fell in love,” but that they still love their spouses.  If we are all “naturally monogamous, how can that be?  At best our species displays “serial monogamy” where  we fall in and out of love with several people over time, sometimes marrying them, then divorcing them, over and over again. However, in true monogamy, a couple mates for life. The attraction to another ends.  In true monogamy, there is also no jealousy — no one will stray, so it has no foundation.  I’ve known one truly monogamous couple.    They wed right out of high school. They had known each other since kindergarten. They had eyes only for each other.  After 75 years of marriage, he died from heart failure.  She died a few weeks later, of no known cause.  They say she just had lost the will to live. Jealousy is a learned behavior, and it has nothing to do with love, nor sexuality.  Jealousy is about ownership.  You get jealous when someone admires, or attempts to take away your property.  If there is jealousy in a relationship then one or the other or both parties feel they “own” the other.  When you love someone you want what’s best for that person. You want to make them happy. In fact, real love is a state wherein the happiness of the other is essential to your own.  Love and jealousy therefore are mutually exclusive emotions.  It’s always possible that the one you love will be happier with someone other than yourself.  If you really love them you will allow them the freedom to explore, since that is what will make them happy.  If your love is actually “ownership” though, then jealousy will come into it, and with it, control issues, and the one you say you love becomes a slave, to be beaten or murdered, or tortured.  Domestic abuse and violence records are full of this “natural emotion” called jealousy. Just like bigotry, homophobia, and patriotism, jealousy is a learned emotion.  Since it is learned, it can be unlearned.

It completely denies any value of an individual beyond the most superficial and in this case, bland sense. What usually happens anyway, is a group of individuals wind up serving the needs of one…..,

In reality, polyamorous groups tend to be multiple marriages, of several men and several women, in  an egalitarian relationship where all share equally in all things.  Anyone proposing to be “the leader” will end up out on the street.

….whether it be the politburo or some horny arch druid. And when I meet and fall in love with a man, I want to be a unique part of his world, not a part of his sexual secretarial pool. No thanks.

Apparently that “horny arch druid” remark was intended toward me.  Interesting. My term of office is up at Beltane.   Of those qualified to be  AD ( 3rd Order or above ) in the Mother Grove, only one is interested. I suppose she might be described as “horny”.  She’s my wife, and she’s bi-sexual.  Surely you don’t subscribe to that bigotry that says all bi-sexuals are “sex-maniacs” do you?

Again, you address something that simply “dates” Heinlein (his attitudes on these and many other things changed drastically before his death in 1988).  His women (like the women in original Star Trek series) were actually quite advanced compared to their contemporary counterparts, yet way behind their future counterparts in the post feminist era.  Women in 1961 weren’t expected to go to college, and take up careers. Some did, but they were exceptions.  Jubal’s household happened to have three such women.  But outside their very high IQ’s, advanced degrees, and a sexual freedom that in 1961 would have been “shocking”, they were normal for 1961-ish women, which is to say they acted and expected to be treated like chattel. Needless to say, men and women with the “chattel” attitude are not candidates for the Order.

I think this letter will pretty much screen me out, and I prefer it that way. Good luck with your community.

Another assumption.  The course is not offered to recruit people for Imladris.  It is offered to recruit people for the Order, or if that’s not to their taste, then the RDNA. We expect to have around 1,000 members, and 25 active (and incidentally, wholly autonomous) groves by 2010.  Of that 1,000, we expect that half will be solitary practitioners, and the rest in groves.  We are only planning for about 25 – 30 to be residents of Imladris.  Of the households within Imladris, we expect that some will be poly, some will be gay and some will be monogamous. We also expect that there will be black, white, red, yellow,  and whatever else there is, members. IOW, and in total contrast to your assumptions, the inclination toward polyamory is NOT a requirement, nor is heterosexuality, nor is being white.  In fact, the only thing required to become for a first degree OMS Druid is to believe in the three tenets:  “Thou art God,” “Nature is good,” and, “Nature is good.”   If you don’t care for the first one, fine: the RDNA requires only the last two. One question? Why the references to Communism?  Heinlein uses the word (with a small “c”) only once in the book, in reference to the way Michael’s nest operates.  Well, that IS the way intentional communities tend to operate (I have lived on a Kibbutz in Israel).  It is the way Imladris will operate, but when attempts are made to try it on a national or international scale; yep it’s going to fail.  It only works in small groups (like tribal units – villages).  Now, Socialism seems to be working (the US is the ONLY 1st world nation on earth that is not socialistic), but Communism is the extreme, and really, has never been tried (no so-called Communist govt. on Earth has truly been so).  Oh, there is an exception:  The US military is wholly communistic. I don’t believe it is possible to judge OMS on the basis of our “holy writ” (if “Stranger…..” can be called that).  But, you will do as you will do.  We recognize that the call to  God-hood is not for everyone, and that OMS will not be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, we know that “many are called but few will choose.”  It’s all good.  We will not force a horse to drink from the OMS trough.   “If you don’t like it, you can’t have any.”  Go if ye must, stay if ye will. If all you are seeking is to be a Druid, then you need neither the OMS nor the RDNA. There is yet another way (yea, one among many)  to become a Druid (perhaps the best way): take a hike or camp (or better – both) in the forest, particularly the redwoods.  Spend a week at least if you can spare it. Talk to the trees. Touch them. Hug them.  Meditate with them.  Stay up all night with them.  View the stars through their canopy.  You’ll learn more that way then from all the online classes I could ever come up with. 🙂

This one is from a former member (and former high school classmate of mine). She posted this not to me, but on another public bbs:

First there was changing OMS from a pagan/Wiccan emphasis to a druid one. This happened over night, and the only reason I have ever been able to figure was that joining the RDNA offered the non-profit tax umbrella we (HE) needed.

RDNA is not incorporated, nor is it recognized by any government agency. You’ve really done your research here haven’t you? The OMS is not tax exempt, nor do we ever intend to be.

He just conveniently went through the D101 (then W101) documents and changed the word Wiccan to Druid wherever it came up. At my suggestion, he changed all the names of the holidays to druid ones. This last class, he arbitrarily changed the names of all the tools from things like athame and chalice to Welsh words I can’t pronounce or remember. He’s playing at druidry, and hasn’t the vaguest idea what it all means. Talk about making it up as you go! Anyone who has read even bad book on druids can tell this is as phony as it gets. He can call it druidry if he wants to, but a pile of shit in a garage ain’t a car. I’m honestly surprised that some of the old RDNA-ers haven’t gone to the OMS website and then called a spade a spade on the RDNA list.

Probably because OMS fullfills the spirit of RDNA exactly. They too, are making it up as they go just as we are.

Anyway, 2 classes back he started advertising the damned class all over the place. He didn’t care where, any newsgroup that was vaguely Pagan was a billboard for him. When I called him on this, asking if he was sure he wanted just any sort of people signing up, he was all enthusiastic, said he wanted to see the OMS grow by leaps and bounds, and also said that since the teaching of a class was a degree requirement, that big classes could be split up into several, so lots of people could earn their teaching points.

Two classes back? Sorry, but EVERY class that has ever been taught has been promoted the very same way.

It still pisses me off that, after much discussion by many of us who don’t have any money, and an understanding I THOUGHT has been reached, you can’t get a 6th degree without YEARLY pilgrimages to the damned redwoods.

You know, I did a search through all the archives of all the messages on our Yahoo CyberGrove, and not ONE WORD has ever been mentioned regarding the Redwood visit requirement. NOT even a whisper, yet you say there was a discussion; that an understanding had been reached.  Can’t find enough wrong with us outright? Now you have to resort to fiction? BTW, you only have to visit once in three years. Moron. Degrees — Now this person has forgotten that OMS is a “discordian” tradition.

In nearly every magickal system that employs degrees, even the loosely-organized RDNA, there are certain criteria of learning and experience that must be met in order to prove oneself worthy of a degree. Not so in OMS. Fill out a form. Poof. You have a 1st degree. (I had to study and work my ass off for a whole year to get my first Wiccan degree).

The RDNA requires NOTHING to get a degree, except a well placed hand at the proper time.  Our degrees are awarded to those who do things that advance the Order. The seventh is it’s own reward.

Initiate yourself (after taking a 12-lesson course.) Poof. Another degree. Send money to the MG. Poof. Another degree. (This one just floors me, always has.) Start a proto-grove. This can, apparently, be you and your cat, as Archie has declared that I had a proto-grove, and I was by myself. (Note that RDNA can’t have a grove of one, but OMS can, if the money has come in.) Poof. A FOURTH degree. Do you have any idea the work that goes into a 4th degree in most systems? Certainly not something you could do in the span of less than 4 months.

My biggest pet peeve is that people do not read. They skim. They skip. The requirements for a proto-grove are now and always have been that YOU be a first Degree Drud, and that  two warm blooded humans join you. They don’t have to be OMS members, they just have to have a temperature of 98.6. I you must crticise, at least get your facts straight..

Now that 7th degree, that’s the one that’s almost impossible to achieve. Go visit the MG, OR visit the redwoods every 3 years. Unless you live overseas, then you can just do it once. So if you’re broke and live in Florida, and can’t get to California, you’ll never get a 7th degree, no matter how hard you try or how wonderfully your grove makes its way in life. But if you’re from Japan and make it here just once, and see those Sequoias, you can get a 7th. Oh, and yes, if you are Oberon Zell, you get an honorary 7th just because Archie said so. What the hell did OZ ever do for any of the current OMS members? Have the members of the MG ever actually met him in person?

Ceridwen lived at Annwfn for a year or so, up until Gwyddion’s untimely death.  She shared many a hot tub, and water, with Oberon et al.

He doesn’t seem to recall it. And yet, (please tell me this isn’t kissing up of the highest order) he has a 7th degree.

Oberon has the advantage of living IN the redwoods. 🙂

If this degree system isn’t one huge ego fuck for the archdruid, what exactly is it? It sure hasn’t got anything to do with the degree system of any other group, anywhere! Even RDNA, which has admittedly little or no organizational structure, requires more of its members to achieve various degrees. OMS degrees? Might as well write them on toilet paper.

Oh yes, the RDNA system is MUCH harder. To get 1st Order, you must attend a meeting. The Preceptor must call for a show of hands, “Who wants to be Ordained 1st degree?”  You MUST raise your hand, then you and any other members who have done so may go up to the front, where you partake of the “Waters Of Life’ and are ordained.  Quite complicated I agree.  For third, the same procedure applies, but I believe only one candidate can be ordained per session (see it’s getting harder already) and once the candidate drinks his/her fill of the “waters of life” the rest of those present stand around and watch him/her fall on his/her face drunk out of his/her skull.  Very difficult you see.   All the stuff you are bitching about was told to you up front when you joined. Indeed, anyone bothering to explore the website can ascertain this information. So why did you join?  What part of the word “discordian” didn’t you grok?  I suggest you go find yourself a nice church. “If you don’t like it, you can’t have any.”

This one is part of a letter I wrote to a troll on the OMS Cybernest. I wanted to figure out just what his problem was, so I just came right out and asked him:

If you have so much trouble with the way the Order and this group are governed, and with our basic ideals, why do even want to be here?

Now that I’ve learned more about the REAL personalities behind the fantasy personas, I don’t, really. It’s my fault for not looking hard enough. For wanting to believe the pipeweed. Your dreams are unworkable, your Imladris business plan is laughable, and your ideals, in the long run, are tired and sad, though they sound good until you really think hard on them and try to apply them to real humans with hearts and minds.

Well, if that’s the way you feel about it, then that’s the way you feel about. You probably should go then. That would be the honorable thing to do. You DO have some honor right? If you don’t like it, you can’t have any. But don’t let the door slam on your ass.

The following is a Usenet reply to a message asking “what’s in it for them” referring to the fact that the Druidcraft 101 course is offered “free of charge.”

I took this course.  Two hours per week max (if you’re really anal). The teacher uploads a “lesson” each Sunday, and the class spends the rest of the week discussing it. There is some homework, and a couple of quizzes. The teachers get new members for the order. Thats the real purpose for the class. It’s a recruitment scheme. Basically, the authors of the lessons have put together a whole lot of information they know a lot of dissatisfied pagans will agree with (the thing about it being for “beginners” is a ruse really – they know that saying that will bring in a lot old timers too). The plan is to gather groups of polyamorous Pagans into pseudo-Druidic Groves all over the country, and to eventually form a network of intentional communities.  The OMS promotes poly-amory, Socialism, nudism, and ritual use of marijuana and lsd.  IOW, this is a bunch of old hippies trying to reclaim their lifestyle. Don’t believe me? See their own documentation: The Reformed Druids of North America is the parent group. They pretty much fit the above description as well.

And all that is “bad” because??????

This is from a Pagan in Northern California. What is interesting is he took  the OMS RDNA Druidcraft 101 class  (he didn’t finish however, despite two tries. We always ask those who drop out why they did so. He never responded to that query). Now we tell folks right up front that the OMS is based on Stranger In A Strange Land, but this guy has issues with polyamory, with nudity, and with, well, most of what constitutes Pagan lifestyle in these United States. He apparently wants Xtianity with a Pagan veneer. :

I would much rather elrond just go away than to rile him and have to read and/or hear about more of his idiotic rambling. I offer only this: this is exactly what the life-style he totes leads to… no good comes from it… it digs it’s own hole and eventually buries itself, stinking like so much refuse. All-in-all, him and his kind do nothing more than damage the pagan community as a whole, attempting to assembly congregations of “polys” forming some assumed rebellion against the christian norm, in truth it’s just easier on the conscience to do what’s wrong when it’s not done alone. The more accomplices, the easier to commit the crime.

Well, the folks he wrote this to are also “Poly” and have no problem with either being nude around other Pagans or being around other nude Pagans……

“Crime?” Well come and arrest me damn it……..let the burning times begin anew!  Poppycock……..!.

Yes, I sound fundy… and I AM! It’s the only way to change anything for the better and to advance pagan beliefs in society. I AM FUNDAMENTALIST PAGAN! and VERY proud of it.

To be fair, this excerpt was from a letter  in response to a query I had made of him regarding a person I considered to be an employee of mine. I was head of “The Jefferson Index” a Pagan networking group that spanned the area from Roseburg OR to Redding CA. In Redding we had a volunteer who acted as our “southern Ambassador.” It was hirms job to promote the Index and make alliances with other Pagan groups in the area. However, something was dreadfully wrong, and we (the Board of Directors of the Index) suspected that the problem was our ambassador. My letter to the above person was intended to dredge up what was going on, and it was sent as a personal, private thing. I had no reason to not trust the guy (I generally will trust ANY Pagan)– he had taken my Order’s Druidcraft 101 class. He had never intimated that he disliked either me or the Order .  My trust was misplaced, and the excerpt you are reading comes from a letter (with my letter attached) to the subject southern ambassador. This of course led to a total breakdown of the southern branch of our group, which is now just called “Southern Oregon Pagan Network.”

Now, I disagree with A LOT of Pagans, but I would never do anything to harm an entire organization just because I disliked one individual in it, which is what this guy did. This person, in the words of Mr. Worf “…has NO honor.”  I trust however, that eventually Karma will make things right.