Today’s numerology – Lots of eights, meaning worldly involvement; though it’s really a 7, a ruler of chaos.
Certain maxims sum up what we as “alternatives” often face : fanaticism and anger and an irrational drive to convert us to one or another conventional religion. Let us suggest a couple of such maxims that deserve to be executed in needlepoint and mounted prominently on a wall.
Anger masks fear.
Fanaticism masks doubt.
So someone approaches you spouting anger and fanaticism? When they pause for breath, jump in — using a calm voice — with some ideas they might not have thought of.
1. Let’s meet somewhere for coffee and exchange ideas (note : not a ranting monologue on either part, but an objective discussion of the beliefs of each participant). Here’s my promise: I’ll be calm if you’ll be calm. If either of us loses our cool, the discussion is closed for now.
2. If the ranter talks in an angry manner, that’s a prtty strong sign that underneath, s/he’s afraid you might just be right and s/he has wasted a lifetime believing a lie.
3. If s/he can only convince you that s/he has a case stronger than yours, then s/he can more confidently believe in the case s/he presents.
Often in these exchanges you will need to state in words of one syllable that we of the Craft do not recruit. If the ranter doesn’t like our path, by all means he should espouse his own path the more strongly. We don’t give a — well, a snap of the fingers. This is known as a libertarian mindset. But, just as you have no right to lean on him, he has no right to lean on you. He should go his way, confident of his own claim to the moral high ground. And tell it to Jesus. (No, you probably shouldn’t say that.) If he believes you’re nailing little piglets to crosses, or sewing shut the lips of corpses, he’s relying on false sources. Such ideas are based on allegations presented by Disney and his ilk; and we all know how true to life Disney films are. Anyway, here’s his chance to get genuine facts from one in a position to share them. (Make sure you are in such a position before you start uttering. Don’t run your mouth before you engage your mind.)
And again : We do not recruit. We strive to live a life of decency, in the vain hope that other people will just get out of our face and let us do it unmolested.
What else do cowans assume about us and our path? Ask your ranter what he believes and why he believes it. Insist he be definitive. Do what you can to point out the difference between
(a) hearsay and (b) evidence. This may be a challenge.