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The Scare-Off Speeches
A scare-off speech is a phrase I inherited
from some folks that I used to study with. It describes the practice of
weeding out students that will not be good for this path (or perhaps this
particular group) by describing some true, but potentially uncomfortable
things up front. There is a fine line of tact between telling someone ‘this
may be unnerving’ and saying ‘this will be horrible’. I don’t
have a lot of tact. Or any, really. There is also a line of just plain
rudeness; it can be hard to tell what might really freak someone out – and
important point here just because they are freaked, does NOT
mean they will be wrong for the path. A scare-off speech used properly is
meant to spur serious thinking.
Now, this is a website. Not only can I not see your expression
or read your body language – odds are that I will never know you have read
these words. So I cannot chose a ‘comfortable’ way to phrase any of this. And
being that I already said that tact and I are not buddies,
I’ll just go ahead with things.
#1 This is a Priesthood and our Gods are real
Getting initiated gets you noticed. Well, obviously it introduces you to our
Gods, they kind of have to know who their priesthood is, don’t they? However,
that’s the beginning. On a spiritual level, you will have just volunteered for
something, and sometimes it’s not really clear at first just what it is they
will need you to do. You have just put a big fat target on yourself, and it
doesn’t come off. Ever.
#2 Initiation doesn't expire
You can’t leave. Just like in “Hotel California” (the song by the Eagles) on
some level, you always stay. To quote from
you can check out any time you like
but you can never leave
manifest in a sense of greater joy and happiness and connectedness with the
world. This may manifest as a sense of things reaching for you, both in the
waking world, and in your dreams. You see, like much of life, it’s the
attitude that you take that determines what you experience, and it’s rarely
neutral. If you aren’t very well able to control your attitude and your
reactions; well, hopefully you will learn. It might not be a very fun lesson,
but it will be an inevitable one. Every student is called for a reason.
Initiation is not the reason – it just puts you in a better position to hear
what is being asked of you.
Unfortunately, the above two warnings will not really make any sense until you
know what I’m talking about, and by then it will be
too late. But, anyway, we tried to warn you.
There are other scare off speeches that people give. Some of them are worth
listening to; those ones pretty much boil down to ‘we do it this way here,
if you don’t like that style, you would be better off somewhere else’. Hint:
pay attention to those.
Some of them are, well … hmm… there really is no
polite way to say this. Some of them are red flags. Pay even more attention
to those. Go read my cult page, or see Isaac
Bonewitz’ article on things
to be wary of. If some of this duplicates the scare-off speeches you hear,
it’s worth thinking about.
The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are
for what we could become.
Charles Du Bos
That being said, there are jerky teachers that will use the fact that
Gardnerian is an oathbound path to say things like ‘I know something
you don’t know’ and allude to all kinds of spooky shit. These people
are *ssholes. Find better teachers. They are out there.