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.

Gardnerian Craft

#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 the song:
you can check out any time you like
but you can never leave

This may 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.