Addendum: Conversation With Hekate About Magic.

Hekate: What is it that you want to accomplish?

Thenea: I want my community to be strong. I want us to have money.

Hekate: Do you mean that you want money?

Thenea: No. I mean that I am looking out into a sea of people who are broke, like, had sleep for dinner kinda broke, like, getting sicker because they can’t afford a doctor broke, like one mishaps away from homelessness broke. I’m looking into a world where most jobs don’t cover basic survival requirements.

Hekate: No.

Thenea: What do you mean, no?

Hekate: What’s your stake in the game?

Thenea: Is it so hard to believe that I actually care about other people?

Hekate: No, but you’ll never work propper magic by thinking about how success impacts someone other than you. What is your stake in the game? Why does it matter to you?

Thenea: Because it’s what’s right. It’s what’s right for you, even.

Hekate: Thinking about it that way is no help, if you want to make change. You have your own five senses and no one else’s. What is your personal reason for wanting this?

Thenea: I’m an empath and-

Hekate: NO.

[Omitted: about fifteen minutes of Thenea screaming, swearing, and crying]

Thenea: I HATE MY JOB SO MUCH AND I AM SO LONELY. 80% of my friends are either working around the clock or so tired that they can hardly think! I am tired of watching them suffer from problems no one should ever have to suffer through in an industrialized nation. I am tired of people I want to spend time with being unable to spend time with me because they are isolated by their struggle to live a basic life. Is that the selfish, unreasonable reason you wanted? You should care! You should do something!

Hekate: That. I can work with that. Dearest, this isn’t about persuading me. It never has been. It’s about persuading your id. It’s about persuading your ego. If you try to work magic from a place of pure light and selflessness, you will accomplish nothing. You want to help your friends? Noble. But unless you are capable of working yourself up into a shaking, screaming, blubbering, tantruming mess over how much you want it, you won’t have the power to do a damn thing. Shoving down what is selfish within you has a place. That place is not the circle wherein you work my sort of magic. All of you needs to be there, with me, if we’re going to work together on something. Learn to be childish again, and learn to control those emotions not by supressing them or dimming your awareness of them, but by channeling your passion and fury –passion and fury under will– directly into reality itself. 

A Perspective on Tool Consecration — Presenting Devotional Art

Lately, in the pottery studio, I have been making devotional sets for deities. They generally consist of the following: a libation pot styled after a krater (which, colloquially, my local group calls a ‘bomos’), a kylix, a khernips bowl (which has a slot for an incense stick and a sprig from outside), a tiny pot for salt, and sometimes a mini-kylix for travel.

I made one for Pan first, because it was meant to be a “going away” present for a friend of mine who is his priest. Said priest didn’t wind up moving, so it was a priesthood anniversary present instead.

Then, Hephaistos wanted one. And, I mean, fair enough. He helps me a lot with my art. But I told him that I would have to make one for Hermes first (y’all know how THAT goes).

Yesterday, Hermes asked if he could crash my studio time. Usually, he leaves that time for me to just chill with Hephaistos, and that’s very fruitful, but he wanted to see what I was up to.

When I got in, the first thing I did was to check on a super-big krater-style pot I had made.

“That is very nice,” Hermes commented. “What’s it for?”

“It’s for you!” I said, “It even has your name written on the bottom. I’m going to do a wax resist and paint scenes of you getting up to hi-jinx on it… only I don’t know if I want to do the glazed portions in that awesome black glaze, or do it speckle green to match the other pieces I made for you.”

“You made me other pieces, too?”

“Yeah! I made the kylix that’s on your altar right now. And there’s a khernips cup, and a salt pot, and a teeny-tiny kylix for travel.”

He looked slightly embarrassed. “I didn’t realize you made those for me, in particular.”

“Well, fair. I never explicitly consecrated them to you, I guess… ”

It occurred to me at that moment that I’d been operating under an all-too common assumption: that the gods know what our intentions are, even if we never make an explicit effort to communicate with them. Or even that our creative inspirations come from them, and that they understand what we intend better than we do.

In order for them to understand us without us making an explicit effort to communicate, they’d really need to invade our mental space, leaving us essentially no autonomy or privacy. Hermes hovers. Hermes pokes. Hermes floats and fidgets and bandits away with knitting needles and occasionally a wallet (temporarily). Hermes does not actually invade my head, and I am 100% sure that I prefer it that way. Therefore, if I want him to know what I’m thinking, I have to tell him.

Similarly, I had an encounter with Hekate about the acrostic names of power from her Orphic hymn.

She was delighted, of course, that I had created something for her. Like pottery, magick is an artform. It’s HER artform. But she asked me something very curious,

“How do you want me to respond to these, when they are used?”

“How do you mean?” I asked.

“Well,” she began to explain,”These derive their meaning and power from a hymn. The hymn… it’s meant to get my attention, I suppose. Or to please me, perhaps. Obviously, no specific words are particularly required to get my attention.”

She took a deep breath, “In honesty, once a connection has been forged, all one ever need do is to intend to invoke me, and follow that up with some physical action or other to confirm the intention.

“But, well… these. What are such words of power meant to do? Am I meant to convey some special blessing on initiates who know them? … that’s a classic. Although, you rather destroyed that prospect when you posted them on your blog.

“Or, perhaps they are meant to be inscribed somewhere, as a physical link. Or perchance utilizing them is permission for me to bring vivid dreams to a person. Or maybe they’re only to be used if you veritably wish to recieve a vision of me.

“Do you see? Like all art, magic is meant to communicate something. To me. To another deity. To your unconscious mind. Even perhaps to the universe, if you ever get it into your head that you should be talking to physical reality directly, rather than persistently asking deities to do it for you.

If I had revealed these words, I could tell you what they are for. But it is you who are giving them to me. The gift is incomplete if you don’t tell me how I ought to use them.”

And you know, I didn’t know what to tell her.

The kylix should have been presented to Hermes with a wee card that said, “For Hermes. Thought you might like your own cup to drink out of, when you visit. I made it green in homage to the pastures wherein your sheep and cattle are kept.” — The note could have been a ritual, or a physical card. It is the communication about the object with the deity that’s important when consecrating it. The communication is how you make it theirs.

Likewise, the words of power need a note from me. But at least now that I have talked to her about them, I have a clearer idea of what she wants. She wants them to do something forbidden and miraculous. And if I talk to physical reality, as she suggested, perhaps I can dig something up for her. And when I do, perhaps I will do a consecration ritual for them. Or maybe, I’ll pick up a card from CVS. Or both.

[Header image from: https://parodiesandvariations.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/ancient-greek-motorcycle-pottery/]

Acrostic Names of Power from the Orphic Hymn to Hekate

Let me give this a whirl, and see how I feel about it. In the interest of starting with something brief and close to my heart, let’s take a look at the Orphic Hymn to Hekate. I’ll be working from the Greek. Here is a good translation of this hymn.

Now, this is a Hebrew mysticism trick, and it’s going to need to be modified a bit to work with Greek language. With Hebrew, you could take an acrostic from any poem and the letters would be something you could easily say. With Greek, you would frequently get a useless mash of consonants.

To avoid this, I’m going to get a little help from Linear B.

fig-3-1-linear-b-syllabary

Linear B — Chart Courtesy of crewsproject.wordpress.com

Linear B is the earliest attested script for Greek. Linear A is well in the works, but is not yet completely decoded.

As you can see from the chart, it would be impossible to get a combination of these letters which was unpronounceable, as each character represents a syllable.

Mycenean Greek, however, has a few differences from, say, Attic. You will notice that there’s no option here to end anything in a consonant. There are also double consonants. Knossos becomes Ko-No-So.

And what do I do with all the Greek consonant sounds that aren’t represented here?

Linear-A-base_diagram

A nice chart showing some relationships between the available sounds and modern Greek consonants. From: minoablog.blogspot.com

Beta becomes Pi. Zdeta, I know from elsewhere, becomes Delta. Theta becomes Tau. There are no liquids sounds such as L or R available, and the closest thing available is the W sound. Phi becomes Pi and Chi is Q. Ksi and Psi will be broken up into two syllables.

If that’s all a bit much for you, I’ll show you the “take the first syllable of each line” version, too. I have an intuition that the older syllabary will yield more satisfying results.

So here is our hymn to Hekate:

Ἑκάτης.

1. Εἰνοδίην Ἑκάτην κλῄιζω, τριοδῖτιν, ἐραννήν,
2. οὐρανίαν χθονίαν τε καὶ εἰναλίαν, κροκόπεπλον,
3. τυμβιδίαν, ψυχαῖς νεκύων μέτα βακχεύουσαν,
4. Περσείαν, φιλέρημον, ἀγαλλομένην ἐλάφοισι,
5. νυκτερίαν, σκυλακῖτιν, ἀμαιμάκετον βασίλειαν,
6. θηρόβρομον, ἄζωστον, ἀπρόσμαχον εἶδος ἔχουσαν,
7. ταυροπόλον, παντὸς κόσμου κληιδοῦχον ἄνασσαν,
8. ἡγεμόνην, νύμφην, κουροτρόφον, οὐρεσιφοῖτιν,
9. λισσόμενοις κούρην τελεταῖς ὁσίαισι παρεῖναι
10.βουκόλωι εὐμενέουσαν ἀεὶ κεχαρηότι θυμῶι.

And here it is again, transliterated, courtesy of the Hermetic Fellowship:

Einodian Hekatên, klêizô, Trihoditin Erannên,
Ouranian, Chthonian, te kai Einalian, Krokopeplos.
Tymbidian, Psychais Nekyôn meta bakcheuosan,
Perseian, Philerêmon, agallomenên elaphoisi.
Nykterian, Skylakitin, amaimaketon Basileian.
Thêrobromon, Azôston, aprosmachon Eidos echousan.
Tauropolon, Pantos Kosmou Klêidouchon, Anassan,
Hêgemonên, Nymphên, Kourotrophon, Ouresiphoitin.
Lissomenos, Kourên, teletais hosiaisi pareinai,
Boukolôi eumeneousan aei kecharêoti thymôi.

We’ve got ten lines to work with, and I have options. I could make one gigantic word of power by taking the first syllable from each line. I could break the poem into triplets and have three sets of three, ignoring the last line. I could break it into couplets and have five  words.

I’ll just do all of those things and see what I turn up.

The first syllables of each line are:  Εἰ, οὐ, τυ, Πε, νυ, θη, τα, ἡ, λι, βου

The ten syllable acrostic is: Eιουτυπενυθηταηλιβου (Ei’ou’tupenuthaeta’aelibou)

Then three sets of three: Eιουτυ, Πενυθη, Tαηλι (Ei’outu, Penuthae, Ta’aeli)

And lastly five sets of two: Eιου, Τυπε, Νυθη, Ταη, Λιβου (Ei’ou, Tupe, Nuthae, Ta’ae, Libou)

Using the Linear B syllabery This becomes:

  1. E’otupenudeta’ewipo
  2. E’otu, Penudeh, Ta’ewi
  3. E’o, Tupe, Nudeh, Ta’e, Wipo

Next steps: I’m going to work in conjunction with Hekate to see if any of this could be useful in ritual. The idea would be to chant them either to align oneself with Hekate (specifically the aspects described in the poem), or as a way to set space for her. Possibly, as a way to prepare a space before working any of her arts (Spells, magic, revelation through ecstasy, etc).

 

Book Review: Archangels of Magick

CRAPBOOKI want to talk about this book.

First of all, and this is directed to the entire occult community: you did not invent Judaism. You did not discover, or rediscover Judaism. You can’t take Jewish mysticism, make a few tweaks and changes, and pretend like it now belongs to you.  

This book 100% falls into the category of Columbusing Jewish tradition.

It is badly researched. It has no bibliography, despite the fact that there is no shortage of texts about Archangels which have been translated into English by reputable scholars. It is evident from reading it that the author has no grounding in certain foundational mystical texts which would have helped him to understand what he was writing about.

Also, unless you are an archeologist, don’t give me a line about how your system of magic is based upon “never before published secrets” related to Jewish tradition. Just own the fact that you made it up.

THAT SAID. This book contains a genius idea. I interpolate it loosely: if there is a new type of magical work you want to accomplish, you should first acquire words of power with which to prepare the space that are specific to that type of work and no other.

That is to say, rather that doing an opening which is recreating the universe in small, or establishing a set of forces which the magician can draw on (utilizing names of power which correspond to those forces), that one could have a set of power words for divination, a different one for invocation, a third one for evocation, another for spell work , one for necromancy, and one for journey work.

Hebrew is such a great language for generating words of power because there is no way that a combination of letters will be unpronounceable together, owing to the system of nikkudot. Basically, vowels are inferred from context, or notated above and/or below actual letters, rather than being letters in their own right. The “inferred from context”   allows one to do things like “I’m going to take the first 42 letters of this passage and make it a new word of power.” It’s a little harder to do that with the Latin or Greek alphabet.

Still, I might try taking an acrostic from some ancient Greek poetry, and see where that gets me.

 

 

 

 

Greater Ritual of the Double Pentagram

The ominously named GROD ritual is a recent innovation based on a cosmology I extrapolated from the Mithras Liturgy (which is not really a liturgy, nor is it strictly speaking about Mithras). It is also based upon earlier work I have done with integrating the sublime and mythic realities.

This ritual, however, isn’t about working with a deity at all. It’s about your relationship with yourself.

As mystics, we spend a lot of time reaching up into the higher worlds. As human beings, we experience a lot of things we wish we hadn’t. Either of these things can cause parts of our spiritual nature to retreat back into the higher worlds. This ritual is designed as a framing ritual for any work you might do to help get those parts of yourself back.

As with everything I have up on my blog: the version here isn’t necesarily the final version. If you can get hold of me, I’m happy to update you on whatever discoveries I may have made in the interim about anything you find here.

Set Up

You will need a wand. It need not be fancy. A well chosen stick will do, or may I recommend a nice wooden chop stick? I do not recommend using a wand that you typically use for other work with this ritual until you know how the energies of it resonate with you.

Because we are dealing with seven directions, it is useful to mark out seven points around you in some way. The first time I tried this ritual, I just had sticky notes on the walls. Placing small stones around you in a circle is another good trick in a limited space.

The directions are: East, South East, South, West, North West, North, North East. You can also just evenly space your seven altars, stones, or post it notes around the room, starting in the East.

Ritual Opening

In The Center

“What is created below can also exist above, and what is created above can also exist below.”

In each of 7 directions, and then over the central altar:

GROD

Connect (1) to (2), say:

“Ethereal Substance to Physical Substance”

Pointing to (2), say:

“Earth”

Draw to (3). Pointing to (3), say:

“Air”

Draw to (4). Pointing to (4), say:

“Fire”

Draw to (5). Pointing to (5), say:

“Water”

Draw to the point where the two pentagrams touch. Say:

“Spirit”

Mentally prepare yourself to begin drawing the pentagram above. Say:

“And Physical substance to Ethereal substance”

“Spirit”

Draw to (6). Pointing to (6), say:

“Water”

Draw to (7). Pointing to (7), say:

“Fire”

Draw to (8). Pointing to (8), say:

“Air”

Draw to (9). Pointing to (9), say:

“Aether”

In each of 7 directions, chant the sound of each of the Greek vowels.

1. East: Ω

2. S. East: Y

3. South: O

4. West: I

5. N. West: H

6. North: E

7. N. East: A

In the Center.

“To complete the mystery of the One Thing.”

The work at hand

This is where you do any work you have planned for the session. If you are just looking to test this out, maybe try doing an energy raising of your choice, some meditation, or even a little exercise.

Ritual Closing

In The Center

“What is created below can also exist above, and what is created above can also exist below.”

In each of 7 directions, chant the sound of each of the Greek vowels.

1. East: A

2. S. East: E

3. South: H

4. West: I

5. N. West: O

6. North: Y

7. N. East: Ω

In each of 7 directions, and then over the central altar:

GROD

Connect (1) to (2), say:

“Ethereal Substance to Physical Substance”

Pointing to (2), say:

“Earth”

Draw to (3). Pointing to (3), say:

“Air”

Draw to (4). Pointing to (4), say:

“Fire”

Draw to (5). Pointing to (5), say:

“Water”

Draw to the point where the two pentagrams touch. Say:

“Spirit”

Mentally prepare yourself to begin drawing the pentagram above. Say:

“And Physical substance to Ethereal substance”

“Spirit”

Draw to (6). Pointing to (6), say:

“Water”

Draw to (7). Pointing to (7), say:

“Fire”

Draw to (8). Pointing to (8), say:

“Air”

Draw to (9). Pointing to (9), say:

“Aether”

 

In the Center.

“To complete the mystery of the One Thing.”

Know Your Meme: Puritan Theology

Recently, a Facebook friend suggested, in a discussion of strange Polytheist ideas, the possibility that we might be re-treading, or being impacted by, Puritan theology. It made sense. Religion is an appendage of culture, and United States culture has been deeply influenced by Puritans who came to this continent and colonized it.

I decided to read some Puritan writings to see if it was true. Were some of the popular ideas in the Polytheist community related to Puritan thinking? Indeed, yes.

Here, I have a brief overview of some Puritan theological ideas that have gotten a lot of traction in the Pan-Polytheist movement, and have impacted a small number of vocal Polytheist writers and thinkers, almost certainly without anyone intending for this to be the case.

Election, or “Being Chosen.”

“God did not choose us because we were worthy, but by choosing us He makes us worthy.” — A Puritan Golden Treasury, Thomas, I.D.E. (c. 1620 – 1686)

I once saw a Polytheist write: “We do not need to be qualified to be chosen. The gods will make those whom they choose qualified.” I’m nearly certain that it wasn’t an intentional paraphrase.

What does it mean? The Puritan emphasis was not on striving to connect with the divine. It was on trying to determine whether or not one was chosen.

Election is the first link of the golden chain of salvation, calling is the second. He who has the second link of the chain is sure of the first. As by the stream we are led to the fountain, so by calling we ascend to election. Calling is an earnest and pledge of glory. “God has chosen you to salvation, through sanctification” (II Thess. 2:13). “A Body of Divinity” pg. 224

The process was not one of refining one’s spirituality or behavior, but of constantly examining oneself for signs that one might be ordained as one of those who would escape punishment and attain reward. Without being elected, or chosen, no amount of piety or good deeds could profit a person.

This, too, we see reflected in the Polytheist dialogue. I saw one very adamant woman insist, in every thread she was on that, “as with all deities, Hekate must choose you.” IE, there is no sense in praying to or venerating a deity unless one is elected and called. The first link in that chain has not yet been formed, and there is no sense in even trying to forge a second link if one does not have the first.

Suffice to say, this isn’t how ancient Polytheisms worked. If you suspected that a deity might be in some way applicable to your existence, either because of where you lived, or beause of your ancestors, or because you needed their help, you venerated that deity. Sick people did not avoid the temple of Asklepios because he hadn’t chosen them. No such concept applied.

In Polytheist circles, it leads to certain people who believe that they have been “chosen” thinking that they are better than those who have not been. It also leads to a type of theological bullying where “clergy” who are mystically inclined decide that other people have been “chosen” by their deity in particular, whether they want that or not.

I’ve actually been personally told to “stop fighting” the supposed calling of a deity I already worked with extensively, and that the fact that I did not hear, or feel, or percieve that additional calling was just more evidence that I was fighting them. An alternative interpretation was that said individual wanted me to doubt myself, and wanted to play savior and priest so that I’d be more in their orbit.

Sanctification Through Suffering

It is hard to prescribe a just measure of humiliation. It is the same in the new birth as in the natural. Some give birth with more pangs, and some with fewer. But would you like to know when you are bruised enough? When your spirit is so troubled that you are willing to let go those lusts which brought in the greatest income of pleasure and delight. When not only is sin discarded but you are disgusted with it, then you have been bruised enough. The medicine is strong enough when it has purged out the disease. The soul is bruised enough when the love of sin is purged out.

— “The Godly Man’s Picture” pg. 227

The idea that suffering, by itself, is spiritual purification, and that it exists for the purpose of refining the soul, is a Puritan idea. Essentially, God was believed to help people attain greater holiness by crushing their will and/or ability to resist him.

If that sounds overstated, consider this: The aim of Puritan child-rearing was to break the spirit of children.

Train them up in exact obedience to yourselves, and break them of their own wills. To that end, suffer them not carry themselves unreverently or contemptuously towards you; but to keep their distance. For too much familiarity breedeth contempt, and imboldeneth disobedience.

— Baxter, “Christian Economics”, Practical Works, Vol.1, p.450

For beating, and keeping down of this stubbornness parents must provide carefully for two things: first that children’s wills and wilfulness be restrained and repressed, and that, in time; lest sooner than they imagine, the tender sprigs grow to that stiffness, that they would rather break than bow. Children should not know, if it could be kept from them, that they have a will in their own, but in their parents’ keeping: neither should these words be heard from them, save by way of consent, “I will” or “I will not.”

— John Robinson, Works, Vol.1, p.247.

The will, Puritans reasoned, was purely sinful. The less of it, the better. Moreover, there was a parallel between the home and the church. As Christ was to the church, the head of the household was to his wife and children. Moreover, being too affectioinate with your children, or suffering their love for you, was considered a bad thing, because it degraded their respect, and therefore emboldened them to sin.

So, very likely, Puritans thought of the horrors of life as parallel to the beating of children. They conceived of right practice as being rightly painful

The temple had a fire burning on the altar; take heed of strange fire. But keep the fire of zeal and devotion flaming upon the altar of your heart; do temple work and offer up the sacrifice of a broken heart. When the heart is a consecrated place, a holy of holies, then God will walk there.

— Sermon, The Spiritual Watch, Thomas Watson

If you hear a Polytheist going on about how a deity has had to break their will, or how one has to “give in” to the gods to bring about a cessation of suffering, they are expressing a Puritan theological concept, adapted to Polytheism.

If you have ever heard someone bragging about how the gods have harmed them, and that this is a sign of Their Love, and wondered what the hell was wrong with them, you now know.

You might also hear people re-framing a nearly identical concept as “Shaman Sickness.” In the traditional variants of this concept, the person is ill because of spiritual imbalance, undergoes a spiritual process, and the illness ceases. It is not the continual pummeling of a human which brings them to their knees and forces them into holy submission. Don’t confuse the two concepts. They are not the same thing.

Modern psychological research has determined that beatings do not, in fact, improve behavior. What they do, actually, is increase rates of anxiety and depression, and reinforce negative self-concept. Trauma doesn’t make adults better people. Breaking someone’s will doesn’t make them a better person.

Demonology

demon_communion

This one isn’t speifically Puritan, but I’m including it, since it seems to come up a lot.

If you have ever heard a Polytheist claim that it was possible to approach a deity with an earnest heart and be connected to a demon impersonating that deity, that is a Christian notion.

Particularly, if a person holds the belief that anyone claiming to worship their deity or deities is insteads worshipping an evil or non-divine entity because said person does not agree with their beliefs of practices, this resonates to a lot of the Evangelical, Catholic, and yes, Puritan theology.

The anxiety of reaching “the wrong Poseidon” or whoever, flies in the face of every myth where the Theoi have rained fury and terror upon anyone claiming divinity when they did not have it.

Predestination

The idea that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent deity would control all of future history makes some degree of sense in a monotheistic world view. The idea that everything, from our “vocation” or profession, to the final fate of our eternal soul, is decided by God in advance, is a Puritan idea.

The idea that our gods decide everything is problematic to the development of moral philosophy. An interesting article discussing the ideas of Charles Hartshorne summed up what I want to say next very succintly:

Hartshorne pointed out that if God is omnipotent, then God has “all” or “100%” of the power. If this is so, then human beings and all other beings have “zero” power.  But if we have zero power, then do we even exist?  It is hard to imagine what “existence” means if it is a quality attributed to beings with zero power to affect the world. In fact, if God has 100% of the power, then no being other than the divine being can be said to exist.

[…]

If beings other than God have some power, then God does not have all the power. From this it follows that everything that happens in the world—whether it be the life or death of a child or the beginning or ending of a war—should not be attributed to God or to Goddess.  If beings other than God or Goddess have some of the power, then many of the events that happen in the world must be attributed to the choices and failures to make choices of beings other than God.

Again, it’s a theological concept which allows us to absolve ourselves of moral responsibility. And in my opinion, it’s one that is better avoided by thinking people who want to change the world for the better.

 

 

Ok, maybe this IS a drama blog.

Let’s talk about societal responses to sexual predators.

Let’s talk about a Heathen group re-evaluating the presence of a stalker on a “year to year basis.”

Let’s talk about so-called “feminists” in the Wiccan community who “just don’t know what to do” about sexual harassment. Because “people just don’t know what the boundaries are.”

Let’s talk about “HIS side of the story is…”

And I’m sure I’d have my own stories about the Hellenic community, if one existed in my area. Because this isn’t a Heathen problem, or a Wiccan problem, or a Polytheist problem, or a Pagan problem, it’s a United States problem.

The US has a rape culture problem. It has consent problems. It has a “wouldn’t want to ruin a young man’s life over a mistake” problem. It has a “he just didn’t know” problem. It has a “she was in the wrong place at the wrong time” problem.

The actions and the words aren’t the problem. They are symptoms. The real problem starts in the belief system of people in this country, who believe that being handsome, or cool, or powerful entitles them to take what they want from those who are weaker. It is a belief system that venerates power and not compassion, aggression and not kindness.

If you find yourself in deep water, remain vigilant against drowning. If you find yourself in an environment where the media you watch, the ads you read, the dominant theology of mainstream culture, pushes rape culture and a “might makes right” mentality, the default is that you will absorb it, and it will become a part of what feels “normal” and “reasonable” to you.

I don’t want to hear “his side.” I don’t want another goddamn excuse. I don’t want to hear about how, by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a person’s consent becomes irrelevant. I don’t want to hear about “mediation” between an aggressor and his victims.

Fuck off. Fuck right the hell off.