- Created: 31 December 2016
- Written by Awo Fa'gbemiro (Scott Reimers)
This is the long version of an article I wrote in 2011
In 2011 there was a large conversation regarding people being turned away from rituals at Pantheacon due to gender. This was made more difficult because of a lack of clarity regarding requisites for attendance.
I intuited that one of the rituals which caused consternation only welcomed women; You rarely see AMAZONS hold a Skyclad (naked) "ecstatic, undulating, life-affirming ritual in honor of Lilith," and assume that men are welcome. On top of actual theological reasons, fears of lechery abound and whether or not those fears would manifest, the very worry about it by female participants could block their effective involvement. Thus exclusion is an intelligent choice.
Later that night there was a non-skyclad ritual to Hecate that in no way implied that Men were unwelcome, and I was turned away at the door. My complaint? Not that I was unwelcome, but that I DIDN'T KNOW that I was unwelcome. The poor lady at the door turning away man after frustrated man was pretty unhappy with the lack of communication as well. ;-)
Why wasn't I unhappy at being excluded? Because while inclusiveness and "An it Harm none" are great guideline, sometimes you have to weigh benefits against costs. Sometimes exclusion is necessary to help define ourselves and provide a safe space for work we need to accomplish. Most of us learn that not everybody can be on a sports team as children; some people will need to be turned away. If we are healthy, we learn to differentiate the denial of participation from a denial of personal value.
As long as exclusion is from love and with good purpose, those who are welcome receive full benefit while those who are not should theoretically support others from a distance without feeling "put down" due to a denial. Unfortunately... this isn't always what happens.
Surviving disagreements about who should and shouldn't be welcome
The women only ritual excluded men, and here's where a deep danger arose: the ritual defined a woman as having had been born with a uterus. If you were born with testicles you were not welcome. This poured salt into hopeful Transgendered attendees open wounds.
Can you see the battle lines forming in your mind's eye?
On one hand you have women facing the darkness of the abuse they survived, oftentimes from the hand of Men they should have been able to trust. These survivors need a safe space to heal away from anybody they consider to be a potential threat. This is a HUGE issue. My wife said the following between grief-stricken sobs with tears streaming down her face, “Men can't understand what it's like to grow up feeling like property, expected to sacrifice our identity and become 'our Husband's Wife.' Additionally anyone born a man really can't understand the 'Moon Mysteries.'” This are authentic needful arguments why “being born with a uterus” may be important to allow connection among a group of women trying to heal past abuse caused by our societies patriarchy.
On the other hand Transgendered persons face a constant battle to be recognized consciously and fairly. They do not fit into the simple boxes straight men and women occupy, and rather than attempt to openly discuss where they fit into a group or role, many communities simply ignore the issue and exclude by default. The emotional scars of this warrant raising the issue when excluded, especially in a space they considered safe and welcomed (the convention where this occurred).
This exclusion led two separate groups who both need opportunities for healing to face off as one group's self-protective exclusions triggered a desire to be recognized and honored in the second group.
Both sides expressed a righteous fury, and words became more and more hurtful until one elder expressed such vitriol that both sides reeled away from the debate in shock and horror. This Elders comment shared a deep loathing of men which objectified us and silenced transgendered women with statements like “you are just proving that all men only care about getting their way,” and other equally hateful declarations which prohibit further effective discussion.
Healing amid the Pain. Hate has its place.
It may surprise you to hear, but I still support this elder despite her horrifying remarks. There is a healthy need for this Anger and Hatred. Anger and Hatred are necessary and important emotional steps as one seeks to overcome Shame, Despair and Fear. The ladder of emotions needs to be climbed little by little, and while one can skip one step, they can't leap from the bottom to the top. People like this elder hold space for women in deep pain to journey through the anger, hatred and pride into the emotional places they need to go.
I deeply honor this Elder's soul for her choice to provide this space. Living in Anger and Hatred is an agonizing thought to someone who has experienced pride, courage or above. Some may be tempted to look down on her for choosing to stay there, but I honor her strength in holding space to guide women through those emotions on their way to additional healing and joyful lives.
Most of us agree that what was said isn't loving and caring, but what happened in response didn't help lift anybody up either. The largest response was to try to shame the elder and her community. If you look to the image of the ladder of emotions to the side, that's not exactly supportive of healing.
We can learn from what happened and change our decisions moving forward. How could we support both sides of this debate? How can we support the need for Women to have safe space to get angry and find pride on their way toward courage, while still honoring and supporting the equal needs of the LGBT Community.
Both sides are sometimes finding their way up from shame, guilt and despair. The powerful work that those women are doing is perfect for those Women and the methodology is probably a great fit for some Gay, Bi and Trans persons as well... but depending on the group, having a person who was born a man can interfere with the healing work the women are doing for their prime demographic: Women who were born a woman.
Potential Solutions to these and similar Issues
T. Thorne Coyle proposed that new rituals could be designed and shared which could include all. While I respect her intent I'm not sure I see a healthy place where everyone can be welcome and still receive effective healing together. That would take more wisdom and inspiration than I can imagine, but if anybody can do it I believe she would be on the list of people who can.
Until we find those rituals, I propose that case separation may be our healthiest option, but that it should be done in love (or at least respect). I propose that the greater community should support BOTH the right for the women to practice by themselves and a Transgendered community effort to create/recreate a mystery for their needs. They could even incorporate the aspects of practice which provide such a wonderful healing space for women who attend workshops and rituals by Z. Budapest and other similar healers of deep abuse.
While it’s fun to celebrate sharing things, there is a place in deep emotional and personal work where my problems are going to trigger your problems. We BOTH need healing and attempting to heal both in the same space at the same time is just going to make things worse. Thus, I propose that while sometimes it is powerful to come together; sometimes it is necessary and healthy to define boundaries.
Tolerance is not Universalism, tolerance is the ability to celebrate what we share AND what differentiates us... and sometimes tolerance requires permission to exclude.
- Created: 31 December 2016
- Written by Awo Fa'gbemiro (Scott Reimers)
Your business is going to fail, fail again, fail again and fail again. This will continue over and over and over until suddenly, one day, you won't fail. If you're smart, you will figure out what you did that didn't fail. Then you will try to do that over and over in new and creative ways until you learn lots of different ways you can succeed.
When talking about starting a business most people start with the last part about finding success. I chose to start with the first part because this is where most people quit.
In business this process is repeated again and again. Every time you want to offer a different service, reach a different audience, use a different marketing campaign or any other expansion or growth you will be following this fail, fail, fail, succeed process.
The biggest difference between an experienced entrepreneur and a novice is that we have learned how to study other people who are being similarly successful to how we want to be successful to help us figure out how to try. Our experience helps us go from failing dozens or hundreds of times to only a few or even a couple. Then once we find success we are better at guessing and testing the boundaries of that success. The problem with this experience is that we will sometimes write off a valuable opportunity because past evidence indicates it won't work. However circumstances change. Trying something which seems dumb sometimes yields incredible results. Here is where the painful frustration of being a beginner can bear the best fruit. Trying what nobody else will try will eventually make your name!
Each new business will always feel like the hardest yet. You will almost assuredly spend months working absurd hours for far less than minimum wage. If you are smart you will surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who help you know when to hold, when to fold and when to bet everything.
Your first income will be like a few drops of rain in a desert, but little by little you will find ways to earn more and more efficiently. Your hourly pay will start climbing and eventually you will be earning enough to hire someone else.
Here is where you will have a huge decision to make: Do I keep this income source for myself? Do I hire help and expand? Do I sell to someone else who wants to hire?
I have normally chosen to seek to automate more and more to minimize how much I need to hire help. I disliked training and felt frustrated at the pace most employees learn and work. However, I'm shifting that little by little. Over the last few years I've hired contractors for larger repetitive projects, and little by little I’m training consistent part-timers to help with the absurd number of tasks and projects on my plate. I will eventually be teaching them to be a “mini-me.”
Your early successes will be strongly tied to you. YOUR customers. YOUR vendors. YOUR network. The reason I mentioned this question is that it will take time for you to learn how to adjust your business to not rely on YOU, but instead rely on your team and your business processes.
I lost 50% or more of my customers nearly a half a dozen times trying to make this transition in my computer and website businesses. This is where people start seeing you as being a “sell out” or becoming a “soulless corporation.” Your new business will attract a different kind of customer. Sometimes its a good choice… sometimes not. There are a lot of people willing to trade “good enough” service/quality for the personal touch. If you remove some of the personal touch they value, your necessary quality and service will need to improve a LOT. Sometimes no matter what you do it won’t be enough. For some customers personal relationships are mandatory, and if you stop being as available as part of your growth, the customers will find the next new person who’s willing to be available.
Back to failure. This is why you have to be willing to fail. You think I was warning you to be willing to fail at the beginning? The biggest warning is to be willing to fail AFTER you succeeded. Nothing forms a jail cell like success. When you find something that works for you its tempting to just keep doing it. Heck if you’re happy doing so then go for it!
But then there are serial entrepreneurs like myself and others. We crave change, growth and adventure. After years of exhaustive struggle, success seems peaceful. We finally have what we were struggling for this entire time. We settle in for a while and bask in our rewards, but then the bug hits us. We see new opportunities. We feel the need to work for something new.
If we are wise we will make plans and strike off, but this is where the fear of failure hits hardest. We know the hardships we are signing up for! We have success. Its peaceful waters allure us, offering simplicity and comfort.
If you are hearing the call though don’t allow yourself to be distracted. What seems like a simple choice is anything but. Once we hear the call to growth and change our comfortable little world is already doomed. The more we avoid the call the more our lives will fall apart. What once seemed impressive and wonderful starts to feel small and confining. Money isn’t enough, prestige isn’t enough. When the development toward the next stage is the primary calling nothing other than heeding the call and moving forward will suffice.
Make your peace with failure. Strike off and work for the change and growth with a passion. Accept that you may lose much or everything of what you’ve already found, but that along the way you have transformed. You have become someone who knows yet another way to succeed. If you fail mightily you will be able to use your old skills, knowledge and relationships to pick yourself up before you try again.
By accepting failure we become someone dynamic. We allow new opportunities and lessons into our lives and understand our personal power in greater depth than most will ever understand. This advice is true for all of life. The most powerful person isn’t the one who found success and held onto it. It is a person who learns the lessons both failure and success offer and keeps moving forward.
- Created: 31 December 2016
- Written by Awo Fa'gbemiro (Scott Reimers)
Welcome to Power Before Wisdom. This site was originally started in 2006 as a blog of my search for spiritual/magickal power. I studied magick, and I experimented to see what worked and what didn't.
True magick however is about affecting your life, your community and your world. It isn't about just playing in the sandbox of theory. It's about drawing blessings and change into your world. If you are doing effective magick you will end up with the exact amount of good things that you are willing to live with. Health, Joy, Money, Love, Family, Friends, Opportunities, Home, Jobs/Businesses, Land/Wealth.
I used magick to have the business, relationship, health, family, home and more. In doing so I learned aspects of power beyond Magick and Spirituality.
Gods and Magick are powerful, and I recommend that people study them to empower their lives. Yet I also believe in the power of technology, politics, money, activism, history and non-spiritual self-growth. At this point in my life, I feel that I have something to add to the conversation on these topics as well through my perspective as an effective worldly mage-priest.
Therefore I am adjusting the Power Before Wisdom brand into expressing ALL of the Power and Wisdom I'm interested in, instead of just Magick and Spirituality.
I am slowly separating articles into: Magick/Witchcraft, Shaman/Priestwork and Life/Business, and will be writing more into each of these areas. Alternately you can just read the last 10 years of writings by going to The Blog.
Awo Fa'gbemiro aka Scott Reimers