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Fraternal Affection and Respect

 

In Los Brujos Hablan, John Baines explains that a serious worker of Hermetic magick absolutely must have a mate, if any, possessing sufficient regard for his feelings and the importance of his work in order to restrain herself from struggling with him, and thus endangering both his mental health and the spiritual/supernatural work at hand.  Perhaps the best (or most memorably dear, to me) wife in literature for a Hermetic mage would be Morticia Addams.  Her courtesy, tact, grace, restraint, sensitivity, discretion, darkly inspired sense of timing, and gentleness make her an ideal materfamilias for a household of magick-users.  When I came to understand better the nature of the wife of Thoth, Nahemit Ahuai, whose name means, “rescuer of the robbed”, Morticia seemed a very good reflection of Her archetypal affinities and gifts.   A man’s home is his castle, but the home of a sorcerer or a priest of Hermes must be his temple.

 

Such divine creatures being in even more short supply than the wizards who need their love, an aspiring votary of Hermes, Vishnu, Thoth, or any of the gods whose priests must rely on clarity, honesty, and sensitivity for their power must understand the intellectual and emotional infrastructure of the True Man (who is honest, peace-loving, and modest about his advantages), as opposed to the Real Man (who lives in the rat race, enjoys it, and seeks victory over all others).   Thus, better knowing himself, he may come to understand his ideal companion.  Now, good-guys who wear the white hats are often underrated as being unexciting sissies.  They often experience bad luck in the quest for true love, and many end up without the good fortune of Gomez.  Perhaps this is what Ruthie Camden meant when she predicted that Simon (her brother, a boy in television literature who always tries to do what’s right) would “never marry and die alone.”

 

It is difficult for a guy to confess that he is a flop with the chicks.  Many, it seems, would prefer to be regarded as gay:  “I meant to be wicked!” in order to press forward with a credible picture of self-will.  I have not, at this writing, secured the loyalty and cooperation of a “good woman”, but had I all necessary magnetism and dexterity to succeed in this, I would.  Still, like many who find themselves in such a predicament, our plight is partly due to our mission and priorities in life and our devotion to our gods.  Thus, in approaching the topic of love, I seek to zoom in on a kind of androgynous or pre-sexual kind.  Perhaps, then, can some of the clutter be set aside in a search for virtues that are in some measure possessed by every kind of love.  In Erik the Viking, Odin, the king of the gods, was portrayed as a 12-year-old.  If you can see the veracity in this conception, then perhaps you may be able to read on without being offended.

 

I have a pair of friends who very much resemble Isis and Osiris.  They once were having a bit of a relationship problem, and so the lady dropped by for a chat with me.  The fellow had become rather emotionally taxed, and she seemed sincere and diligent about taking his best interests to heart.  I told her what I thought I’d perceived as troubling him, and she remarked that my observations seemed valuable.  I then said that my main focus of inquiry had been more how to address boys’ problems, since girls’ seemed rather inscrutable.   I said that my strategy was to try to learn how to make boys happier, with the understanding that they should then go and make their girls happier.  She seemed rather delighted with this theory that happy girls should become from happy boys (rather than talk-show-type issue-processing).

 

The male of the pair had recently paid a visit on his way out of town, and a close friend of mine had been there, at the time.  When I bid the latter (I guess I’d call him a spiritual brother) goodbye, I put my head on his shoulder, as an indication of my great value of his confidence.  The former, seeing this, seemed genuinely pleased, perhaps to the point of a small epiphany, and wasn’t shy, at parting, to claim a few good hugs for himself.  He had been orphaned at an early age, but is quite a bright fellow, and I believe that this may have contributed to his humility and willingness to exchange emotional support, once he saw that he was amongst pagan friends who aren’t as shy as most about such things.

 

The fairly new epidemic of low self-esteem and poor emotional being in American youth may not soon be dealt an extremely severe, effective blow by the spread of new, clearer expansions of the old religions, admittedly.  Still, those kids who go so far as to identify themselves as pagans, if they make their inquiries into the disciplines sufficiently diligent, may discover that the gods can help them in coping with the disadvantageous cards that missing or unskillful parenting might have dealt them.  Initiatic religions do not have a completely open membership, but independence of thought and originality of adaptation can certainly guide young people through a labyrinth of debilitating influences and predators that has grown larger in America since the country has had its good-guy purposes fuzzed by the relentless glut of postmodern “bread and circuses”.  What I seek to explain, here, is that the young pagan spirit often needs a bit of every kind of love, but equipped with more of the ancient knowledge, a kid need not succumb to the emotional deadness that narrower belief-systems insist upon when pitching their advantages via a guaranteed sense of belonging, and identity that relies more on group problems than group solutions.

 

Years ago, I had a dream-vision of Ra, sitting behind a large and serious-looking dark wooden office desk.  He had on his full hawk-headdress.  He said to me, “If you think that enjoyment of the son (sun?) is perfectly all right, then I’ll leave the door open and allow him to explode.”  This seemed to me a deeply significant koan-like utterance, with layers of possible interpretation.  I understood it to mean that the Sun God was calling my attention to the importance He places on respect for the sanctuary of the self.  It is now easier to trace how making girls and women to feel used or abused will warp their development or happiness, so much investigation and literature on the subject has made its way to the fore in recent years.  More elusive, perhaps, might be the subtlety of psychological impact upon a male that tampering via careless indoctrination to advanced coercion could have.  Only lately, as boys’ academic performance and mental health indicators dropped measurably below girls’, has any credible “save the males” impetus manifested itself in expert advice to American social and educational institutions.

 

In one conversation with my old priest of Horus, we were talking about heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.  He remarked that, with regard to bisexuality, there are “no rules”.  Since I now believe that true love has no real agenda but preparedness, the kinds of natural exploitiveness that are inherent in predictable modes of sexual conduct are insufficiently pure to shed much light on our topic.  Thus, I shall proceed on the assumption that, no matter whether one is straight, gay, asexual or bi, the only love worth studying for the purposes of enlightenment is the kind that is free of demands and even expectation.  I shall try to show what this love may be like, largely by showing what it is not.

 

In our “almost anything goes” society, some attempts have been made to exonerate modern experiments in trying to emulate the old sacred pederastic love, but they can scarcely be viewed as more than veiled attempts to justify some form of yet-encountered exploitation in the name of liberality, if only because natural modern cynicism insists that we expect that permissiveness has already reached its fullest productive limits.  The error of these writers, morally, is that they fail to observe the same reluctance to promote physically erotic affection unless the spiritual and emotional are complete in their own fullness, if then.  The old philosophers, artists, and poets frequently explored the benefits that love for boys might have, but there was a general agreement with Socrates’ opinion that “getting off” on your friends just because they’d let you was in some way inferior to maintaining an innocent, and thus basically ethically foolproof, way of expressing a rather heroic kind of love.

 

Now, in a modern pagan religious sense, what we probably need to do is to try to remove guilt and self-hate from victims of emotional abuse, without trying to judge, promote, or restrain people in their pursuit of loving attention according to the dictates of their consciences or even gross appetites.  A priest, shaman, or initiate needs to have a very conscious perspective if he or she is to try to assist in an area where few have achieved any measure of success that can be generally acknowledged as therapeutic and completely ethical.  Of course, the light he should shed is upon the consequences a course of action will have, rather than trying to impose an arbitrary group-custom without regard for the psychological health of the friend, kinsman, client, or patient.  Since it could take centuries to test our theories of how various treatments may eventually fail or succeed, we must do our best with compassion, courage, caution, creativity, and the information and insight presently at our disposal.  This will produce a bit of unprovable but self-evident truth that some will naturally insist on labeling as “preaching”. 

 

Most people assume that, when they hear “preaching”, someone is trying to legitimize his own habits or prejudices at the expense of the freedom of those around him/her.  In traditions like Buddhism, Hermopolitanism, or any of those that value self-realization, however, preaching should be more like teaching and less like nagging.  In a pagan system, it may involve trying to move information from the oral tradition to the written one for the sake of a timely expansion of a timeless truth.  When the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) began his ministry, he found the Arabic language somewhat lacking in philosophical terms, so he had to take pre-existing words and give them new emphasis, clarifying them for use in the revelation of al-Islam.  So that we might be better able to import insights from other times and cultures into this English-language discussion, I am going to suggest a somewhat narrower definition of one or two contemporary terms for the sake of spiritual or philosophical clarity, as we go along.  That is, I shall accord more importance to the intent of a described aspiration, rather than statistical incidence of experience.  For example, if I say “fraternal-bisexual”, I mean someone who wants to fit that description, rather than someone who has proven himself on the meat rack, the dating circuit, or the popularity contests to be encountered in secondary education.

 

A myth is generally a non-factual statement that carries truth within it, by virtue of its poetic density.  In a less pure definition, it can today mean a false idea that has gained lamentably wide acceptance.  I have always heard people whose identity is inextricably and pathologically entangled in their sexuality proclaim that the existence of bisexuality is a myth.  They assert that, in the supposedly inevitable drift of a young adult psyche toward homosexuality, it clings to and cushions itself with ideas that make a socially alarming prospect more palatable to parents, friends and self in the case of one so destined.  While this idea may have some value to those who espouse it, my own observation has been that most young guys I have known who’ve  “fooled around” with members of both sexes overwhelmingly prefer looking at pictures of naked ladies to those of naked men.  Further, the romantic associations that they form are more often with females, and if there is a drift in lifestyle, it is much more often toward heterosexual marriage.

 

Now, an individual who makes gay bars the hub of his life at an early age is probably going to have a different point of view, but it will be one biased by the propaganda and other pressures of an adopted peer group.  It is one that sometimes seeks to console its members and promote its size and strength by nearly any means available under the weight of a multitude of obstacles.  Now, true bisexuals like David Bowie have never attacked the myth the eventual metamorphosis from bisexual to homosexual, except through personal example.  Why is this?  It is because most of them of note grew up in a time when venereal diseases were not so deadly, and the negative interest that some of the more militant gays exhibit in bisexuals could be managed largely through tact and “blending in”.  A bisexual who survived his parents could thus also survive and enjoy his gay friends by not vocalizing his opinions about theirs.

 

While it is true that some boys who date girls do end up becoming exclusively gay, I believe that I have detected a fundamental difference in affinity on the part of many who do not:  it is the existence of a non-competitive form of affection, one that refuses to fatalistically embrace the dog-eat-dog scenario of infamy-as-empowerment.  This affinity is noticeably more fraternal than the types of compulsions that lead to transvestitism, transsexuality, psychiatric disinformation, and compulsive promiscuity.  These unfortunate traits, owing to their visibility and objectionability, often tend to characterize gay life, at least in the perception of the outside world.  Since many gays seem to feel that “badness” is unavoidable for those in their condition, gay hostility toward bisexuals is often greater than that coming from the heterosexual community, perhaps because gay mythology insists that bisexuals are unduly deluded or hypocritical.

 

Now, how can someone like myself, who claims to value deep fraternal affection speak so generally or critically of the culture that has been such a champion of human rights?  At some point, we must acknowledge the value of those who take the avante garde or extreme path because, without them, self-honesty would have no staunch advocate, and the inevitable persecutions of the bigoted would fall even more quickly upon the innocent.  Yet, we must criticize the inert policies, positions, and mythmaking of the politically active GLB demagogues, in order to make distinctions that are truly accurate and thus less susceptible to attack from fundamentalist rhetoric, so that the possibility of honorable male-male love may exist in our society, as it has in those of Greece and Japan.   For this we must be objective in our evaluation, and not indolently concoct some new reason to look down our noses at people whose flamboyance arises from a brutally candid self-image.

 

In ancient, sophisticated, overpopulated countries, necessity’s impact upon human behavior has usually given birth to a philosophical evaluation of bisexuality, and produced a set of respectable terms of behavior for its practitioners under which it may be permitted to exist by the nation’s society.  Sometimes the code is generally known; sometimes it involves a high degree of discretion on the part of bisexuals in order to gain the passive acceptance of the heterosexual majority.  No recognizable set of honorable fraternal-bisexual behavioral codes yet exist in American society but, with general evolution and especially the propagation of alternative religious entities, it is simply a matter of time until the human population adapts itself to the new conditions, as it always has in the past.  The Third Noble Truth of the Buddha may be restated that calamity ceases to blight human life once one understands what it is that one is actually doing.

 

First, fraternal-bisexuals must sufficiently sort out the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical imperatives at work in their lives; then, they may be able to come to terms with desires that so often bewilder, depress, confuse, and overwhelm them.  I once asked my spirit guide what it was that drove River Phoenix to ingest all of those drugs, some Halloweens ago.  He responded, “He caught the B.I.R.D., man!”  I asked what that meant.  The explanation:  Bisexual Identity-Related Depression.  In this young man’s case, poor parenting has been cited as a root cause of emotional turmoil, but good-natured young people who have not been taught proper caution in the choice of their friends and recreational partners can still adapt better to their emotional lives with adequate spiritual training in young adulthood, even if something went wrong at home.

 

Because it is so often a great source of weariness to listen to philosophers voice their preferences on how others (whose real problems are unfamiliar to them) should behave; I point to the value of real spiritual practices as superior to weak modern ideas like the one that every opinion should be treated with equal respect when every observation is not of equal value.  People would do better to ask themselves what it is that they deeply and truly want, and then proceed in a willful and skillful manner, rather than credulously adopting reckless patterns of interaction and experimentation because of low expectations.  Such patterns run the spectrum from inane “religious” fanaticism to the self-abandonment of “bare backing” clubs.  The friend that I mentioned, earlier, had seemed in a depressed (maybe even a bit desperate) condition, but upon seeing that the kind of healing affection that his heart needed might actually be existent and available seemed to perk him up quite a bit:  that is, the kind that seeks to add something to without subtracting anything from his life, as conformist paradigms constantly threaten to do.

 

Now, some of what has been said may seem to be painful generalizations drawn from hasty observations, and out of line with what we normally expect to be “spiritual” philosophy.  Certainly, well-intentioned pagans do not wish to spread unnecessary division and new hostility in the name of wise instruction, because they know better.  Still, we who are concerned with the new threats to the well-being and even lives of more sensitive boys should be aware of the existence of the entity knowable as the karmic vampire.  What I have had to begin telling young pagan bisexual guys is to be on guard with their chi around “flamers”, or the especially decadent and immoral type of predator.  As AIDS claims the morals and morale of more and more of them, the levels of envy, spite, bitterness and resentment grows broader and deeper.  Now, most of them never set out to be evil, but sordid habits can eventually produce dangerous people.  Eventually, degraded individuals turn to a virtually systematic abuse of their fellow humans.  The bishonen or “cuteboy”, the creator’s most perfect representation on the earth becomes, of course, the default target of the demonically inclined.

 

Most youths who fit the deva (often pronounced like “Dave”:  angel, saintly person, or demigod) description have exceptionally affectionate, creative, sensitive natures, as well as considerable diplomatic and people-skills, and this is a great protection.  With time, interaction, and wear, however, some of them fall prey to false programming by those who are in the habit of using and sometimes ultimately despoiling them.  Those who are initiated into the physical or mental martial arts in order to fortify themselves have a better chance of survival and prosperity than those who find their way into chemical dependency and circles of untrustworthy companions, of course.

 

In ancient Greece, it was basically the practice of all educated men to spiritually reinforce the younger generation with encouragement and training in the arts, sciences, and sports.  Honorable affection was the power plant of this custom, and boys were only discouraged from intimate contacts with people of inferior status or low standards of personal behavior.  Today in Japan, the genre of gay male teenage romantic literature is basically monopolized by women, and completely subject to ladies’ criteria of good taste.  Like the Greeks, the Japanese have long recognized that intimacy among young guys can be tender, honorable, beneficial, and something that they usually outgrow in favor of a heterosexual way of life if they are loved and tolerated instead of being rejected, misled, and condemned.

 

Of course, every human being is a blend of spiritual, mental, emotional, and material needs, and even the most saintly people need to “cut loose” from time to time.  Likewise, even those deeply involved in endeavors like organized crime and corrupt politics find ways to be of benefit to many of those around them.  The most unfortunate likely possibility of wide acceptance for a concept of honorable, fraternal bisexuality is that the more harmless realms of the forbidden will shrink as young people feel that adults are finding new ways to influence their attitudes and regulate their behavior, squeezing them to reject morality’s intrusion into a domain where they believed that they would be free of it.  Unskillful parents have often avoided confronting such issues altogether.  Perhaps they will press their ignorance in new ways upon the young.  I am not trying to dictate values or standards of behavior to young people so much as attempting to make them more aware of some of the avoidable dangers of failing to intelligently examine the consequences of their habits.    I am insisting that arbitrary or uninformed prejudice on the part of adults produces far more difficulties than it solves.

 

Because of its greater cloak of secrecy, fraternal bisexuality has so far avoided the spoilage suffered by homosexuality due to the encroachment of pathetic notions of charity and the inevitable clash with community standards of morality.  You aren’t quite a hypocrite if no one hostile suspects what it may be that you do in your spare time.  PtahHotep said, “Do not have sex with a “queen”, for what he loves is what good people find disgusting.”  The Book of the Dead says, “I did not (or do not) have sex with a rent-boy.”  Now, Egypt is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” society when it comes to such matters.  Responsibility for managing the consequences of indiscretion rests with the individual, whose rights are ordinarily respected as long as his handling of social obligations is proficient.  When Set importuned Horus to permit him the pleasure of pedicating him, the younger god inquired of Isis as to the advisability of this.  She told her son only to permit his uncle to copulate with him between his thighs, and not to allow penetration.  “He’ll get off on that just fine!”  she assured.

 

Thus, we can see a bit of the realistic, life-affirmative, Egyptian pagan approach to what boys should beware of when thinking about hooking up with friends in a more-than-friendly way.  There is a love poem written by one young man for another (a popular soldier) that explains his reluctance to display his affection:  the other already has so many admirers that the poet expects that his heart would merely be stolen and thrown upon the heap with those of all the others.  The preservation of personal dignity wisely wins out over temptation to give in to love.  It is a question of moderation.  The sages advise the Egyptian against the disreputable plight of becoming too drunk at a party, or trying ones luck with a woman from another town or clan.  Self control, poise, respect, and credibility are needful for a healthy, happy life in his society.  Likewise, allowing oneself to become jaded by the terrible ups and downs typical of an undisciplined romantic life is deemed unacceptable because of the most likely consequences.

 

With so many challenges facing pagan youth as the traditions are reborn and expand, there are new options in life that have less to do with entertainment and more to do with the proud and sophisticated cultivation of personal and group abilities.  Ultimately, it is not shame, guilt, or fear that should lead us to behave intelligently with regard to Eros, but caution and farsightedness, especially if we are valued by ourselves and others as keepers of sacred pagan traditions.  Abstinence from acts that would result in ritual impurity were forbidden to priests while in service to the temples.  Exactly what those might be were at the discretion of the deities of each cult, but there are esoteric principles at work, as well.  I once asked a Fijian friend if he had ever known a firewalker to get burned.  He said that he had known only one, who had gone ahead and had relations with his wife inside of the prescribed time before the ceremony, thus compromising his mana and power to endure the ritual without being burned by the hot stones.

 

Though some may regard it a lack of bravery to avoid the stigma of unrespectable behavior in order to optimize the comfort and meaning in their lives, it is usually a purer practice than the grim and unnaturally permissive alternative.  What we find in the distinction that I draw between those whom I shall call “fraternal-bisexuals” and those who have not made an honest effort to root out the (often unconsciously acquired) destructive behavior patterns of socially armored libertines is that the former group can exhibit a genuine empathy while sometimes having to conceal facts about its behavior, while the latter obfuscates a deficiency in humane regard by advertising its so-called tolerance while quietly toting a snake-basket of unpleasant surprises for the young, inexperienced, and slow-to-learn.

 

Still, seeing these sociopathic undercurrents in a clearer light is safer than simply sensing them, and may lead to a response more creative than the aversion to and proscription of homosexuals, which has usually done more harm than good.  Once, in the TV show, 7th Heaven, the mom exhorted her children to be “my honest little weirdoes”.  Interestingly, the actress who plays the mom was born on August 6, the chief festival of Thoth.  It is said of Thoth, “Thou seest not evil.”  So, it isn’t necessary to be jaded in order to be wise, and it isn’t necessary to be rudely austere in order to be well-organized, and circumspect.  My priest of Ptah, traditionally the most heterosexual of all Egyptian deities, has a male mate.  This, of course, has raised a few eyebrows, but I soon understood that Lord Ptah, as the creator of man’s form, has caused this to be so because he values truthfulness over custom, as the ancient Hermopolitan saying goes, that “there is no religion higher than the Truth.”

 

The pagan approach to problem-solving should be sufficiently sophisticated so as to avoid the predicament that many young men encounter when they find that, in view of their inclinations, choices, and life circumstances, they are left with little alternative but to adopt an evil self-definition in order to exercise a reasonable degree of responsibility for their actions.  It is simply a big disclaimer, “Warning:  goof-up is inevitable, due to inadequate resources, poor cooperation, and faulty programming!”  American culture is lorded over by a satanic system that was originally designed to help polarize beliefs in foreign tribes in Egypt and later ideologically reduce nations in the Roman Empire into more manageable components, subjecting them to a central authority.  The Lord of Strength is a great master to have when one is involved in the male mysteries on Egyptian soil, but the original intent has been forgotten, and the result is a schizophrenia produced by a cult that, under more proper use and conditions, is capable of much more enlightened results. 

 

So, what is the remedy?  It is a return to the tailoring of reliable information for those who have good use for it, rather than homogenizing and promoting concepts that promise a lot more gain for the professional community than for those in need of better understandings in order to control their lives.  This essentially involves refraining from releasing some kinds of information to those who have no actual need for it.  Many hazards can be avoided simply by not telling people what they do not want to know.  When we can distinguish between those who need to know and those who don’t when it comes to insights into the human condition, we are in a state of progress along the path of mystical initiation.  The myths of especially Egypt are rich in encrypted insights into the psychological infrastructure of humanity as a whole.  Medical students are required to become knowledgeable in facts of physiology, anatomy, and pathology that more ordinary and less trust-invested individuals might not handle as responsibly.  Thus, a shaman is entrusted with deep secrets about the mind and soul, and in order to treat afflicted persons, he has to understand obscure things.

 

A young star was once (somewhat offensively) queried by a curious fan with regard to a rumor of bisexuality.  The actor responded with an expression of doubt as to any real validity of the fan’s interest in his love life; however exonerating or embarrassing the facts might prove.  Then, he proceeded to affirm his taste for females.  In other words, if one isn’t involved in another person’s affairs, why would one presume that it’s necessary or even okay to invade his/her privacy, since there wouldn’t be any consequence the questioner?  Ric Ocasek once responded to a similarly rude question with a bit more humor:  an interviewer asked him how he had managed, with his unremarkable looks, to secure the hand of such a lovely creature as his wife.  The musician replied that he didn’t think that any of those who “live their lives through other people” might be likely to understand an accurate answer to such a question, even if he were to offer one.

 

Both of these ripostes show an ibis-like cogency as to the role of the sanctity of the individual conscience when it comes to learning to manage ones affairs skillfully.  Ironically, I later saw some guys peeking over a wall into an accommodation in which the Ocaseks were staying.  Evidently, some photography of a rather private nature was being conducted, and had attracted the attention of the naturally curious.  The couple may have seen them, but didn’t react in any harsh manner.  Often, seeing harmless things for what they can be is enough for the wise.

 

Being one of those who believes what goes on in Egypt today can often be a reflection of the gods’ ongoing revelation, I must say something about recent developments, there.  At the time of this writing, it isn’t explicitly against Egyptian law for friends to discreetly engage in contacts generally associated with forbidden love.  The recent crackdown in Egypt involved men and boys charged with “contempt for religion”, that is, exhibiting behavior that so conspicuously ignores scriptural admonitions as to bring these fellows into a public light.  In past decades (and centuries), enforcement of these “family values” laws has sometimes been far more lax.  The contemporary escalation in the world community of tolerance for “indecent” lifestyles, being an apparent affront to Egyptian sensibilities, seems to have exacerbated the government’s attitude, precipitating a dramatic rise in enforcement.  Not too surprisingly, any institution of the (normally liberal) American academic community that relies directly upon cooperation from the Egyptian national authorities sanely refrains from adding its voice to the outcry from human rights advocates over the tighter regulation of “cruising”.

 

Now, when attempting to shed a clarifying light on what an authentic henotheistic perspective might be able to do for some people (or even mankind), we do not necessarily assess swings in policy as reflections of timeless religious truth, but it is always good to acquaint ourselves with facts that are relevant to the conduct of a safe, humane existence.  This, of course, means respect for whatever values are regarded as protecting a culture from disruptive or chaotic influences.  We can understand the principled forthrightness of a Galileo or Thomas More, but wisdom should prevent us from ignoring the value of the decorum of a civilization with such a subtle and sophisticated outlook as that of the Egyptians.  There are important things to be said for a people who, though quite open-minded, keenly resist the corrosion of those gentle feelings that often permit human intelligence to achieve true altitude. 

 

Thus, it is on the strength of a time-honored mentality that still rather innocently values an honest yet very private approach to intimacy that I suggest that the modern liberal American sense of propriety may need to recognize some flaws, without bowing to the narrow, extreme, and politically polarizing demands of fundamentalism.  The wisdom of the old ways suggests that too casual a mode of interaction leads to personal and even national downfall, whereas a sagacious way of relating to others, even if it be salacious, can come under the protection of the Divine.  I have seen the gods (or at least, their agents) facilitate the miracle of love at surprisingly varied levels, but the strategies and ethics in which they instruct mankind have an integrity that makes the dogmatic religions appear overly simple.

 

As a worker in a home for wayward youth, I was once challenged to take a stand on the value of this or that orientation, but I was silent.  Gradually, in the absence of positive or negative reinforcement, the fellows began (around me) to really enjoy a kind of satyr-like teasing, which seemed, in the absence of access to sex (of dubious value, in their circumstances, anyway), a real means of ameliorating the pressure created by their restriction.  Though some may imagine this discussion to use open-mindedness to sanction permissiveness or (conversely) fear as an excuse for righteousness, remember that the basic effort is to suggest that self-honesty is the basic step in maintaining the awareness that a skillful life requires to guide an imagination-charged mind along a safe path; not to deny the sanctity of Pan’s instincts.

 

This begins with meditation.  I would describe Zen as that stillness of mind that heralds or beckons the peace of the divine, shows us the truth, and leads us to a better understanding of what is to be done.  If guys and gals of artistic temperament fortify themselves with spiritual and mental discipline, they can better conserve their own potential and make their sweeties and other close associates happy.  The only ethically perfect love is one that nurtures without enticing the unprepared into a world of sex with and/or psychological enslavement by those who regard themselves as overlords.  I know that boys will be boys, so I am not asking them to refrain from being naughty, dramatic, or even outrageous: just careful.  The immense variety of predilections supported by systems sometimes described as “pagan” are certainly not necessarily evil if one has outgrown the restrictions of unproductively arbitrary thinking.  Besides, few still demand unfashionable blood sacrifice, hedonism, or animal worship, their modern role being to teach the kinds of sacred sciences that people actually want to learn.

 

Sri Rajneesh once said that, if one really knew how to love, then meditation wouldn’t be necessary.  Since almost nobody alive does know, however, he recommended ancient, proven techniques for pursuing a deeper understanding of the self.  Human consciousness can access obscure understandings through extra-rational means.  One time, at a party at his house, I had a transcendental impulse to give my elder priest of Set a really (there’s no word for it in English) hug.  I felt like something quite mystical was happening, as if I were receiving some kind of gnosis.  Years later, my younger priest of Set was going through some blue moods, so I gave him the most transfusive hug that I could.  Afterward, his eyes got big and his mouth drew into a somewhat sinister smile, and he said, “You’re a good hugger!”  I have noticed that well-articulated innocence seems refreshing to the keener Satanists.  His tone sounded like one guitarist who was complimenting another on an especially good riff.

 

I believe that goodwill power is the key to keeping feelings “in their place”, as a non-practicing bisexual friend once put it.  Some years ago, a Thoth-avatar of mine came to see me for a few minutes where I worked, at an outdoorsy nature museum.  The god separated from him, and manifested as a dark, long-haired, handsome, athletic 11-year-old.  When my friend saw the boy, he said, “He’s going to be cute, one day!”  I said that I found him perfectly beautiful, unmodified.  My friend then made a comment that confused my admiration with a selfish agenda (he’s brilliant, but...).  I assured him that I didn’t feel the need for a smokescreen of political correctness, because I had no dishonorable designs to hide.  I do my best to love people for what I might do for them, not just what they could do for me.  If I truly bear the mysterious opulence of my god, I can afford to be generous, when He wills it.

 

Being a typical Aquarian who values the opinions of young people because their natural keenness hasn’t been slabbed over with indoctrination, I marvel at their clarity even more than their kitten-cuddliness.  I believe that when we give others credit for having higher love, we are not so tempted to try to swindle them.  Perverts, hypocrites, and other doers of hidden harm; with their lack of a proper sense of awe; allow envy to churn into resentment toward the young (who are always diverting attention away from them and their unfulfilled needs).  “Bid the children come unto me”, said the Nazarene.  I want to live in the paradise of right intention and right action, myself, because I believe the spiritual masters who claim that it exists.  Is it so difficult to be worthy of trust, and keep ones hands off of others’ private areas without proper clearance?  Should I lie in wait to ravish someone I could love, purely, today?

 

I am a life-affirmative pagan, so it’s okay for me to make out in any way I can that doesn’t harm.  A dear (and truly hot) spiritual brother once cheekily remarked, “If you like the ladies; or the gentlemen...”  I replied that I didn’t chase men.  I told him that I had let a few boys over 21 catch up with me, though.  I believe that it comes down to respect.  As well-known a dude-liker as Sir Ian McKellen is, all kinds of guys seem to find him, his company, and attention very cool.  I suspect this is because he gives them the quality of attention they deserve or require.