Wednesday, September 10, 2014

training scars

I'm going to tell a story that may or may not be true. A story with an important lesson for anyone who practices an art or a warrior system.

As the story goes an MMA fighter was mugged at knifepoint one night. The fighter quickly countered and put the mugger in a chokehold but didn't disarm the mugger. It looked bad for the mugger.

The mugger then does something odd: he "taps out" like an MMA match is finished, by tapping on the fighter's arm. He basically surrendered and in keeping with training, the fighter released the mugger. Immediately the mugger turned and stabbed the fighter seventeen times and fled.

The fighter survived.

The moral here is this: a street for is not a game with rules, and *watch for training scars*. In this case the fighter had trained himself to release at the tap out. The attacker knew this, knew of this reflex and used it to get away.

This idea of ingrained reflex is what mm makes kata work on Asian martial arts, but improper follow through or weaknesses can be as trained in as proper technique.

Monday, July 28, 2014

On the death of Margot Adler

Today I heard of the death of Margot Adler. It seems you can't go a month without a big named Pagan dying nowadays, and it reminds me that as a movement we are entering the end of our first generation. We as a movement have to start grappling with Age and Death now, and Adler's is for me, a bit more personal.

I don't often do the BNP fanboy thing. Most are unimpressive, but occasionally I find myself really liking some. Adler was the first I got the nerve to speak informally to. We were at a festival and around the bonfire, and I came up to her and realized I was much taller than she. They seem giants in my mind, until we meet and they are just humans.

Anyway, so there she is and she turns to me. I say “I just wanted to thank you for something you said”. She asks me what that was. I said “Well, you mentioned a particular kind of Pagan, the Heinleinian Libertarian Pagan. For a long time, I thought In was the only one”.

And she laughed at me. In my face, and I laughed too.

Because we both knew that so much of modern Paganism owed itself to the work for the Church of All Worlds. And she profiled them in Drawing Down the Moon. But I entered Paganism ignorant of CAW, until much later. And I had a steady diet of Heinlein since my late adolescence.

And I knew what I was saying was absurd much later, but I wanted her to know that despite her work, there were Pagans who blended ideas on their own, independently.

The second memory of Adler was from another festival. It was bitterly cold that day and most workshops got moved around, mine got moved to an indoor basketball court. The acoustics were horrible, but I worked through it. Later that morning, Adler held a chant workshop in that same hall. The idea was to chant a simple note and hold it, and keep it going as a group. We ran that for about 30 minutes nonstop, and the roof was ringing it was so loud and strong. I was old my voice carried very loudly, but I don't remember. It was electric and power.

Later she started doing the vampire stuff after her husband died, which held no appeal for me. I attended one workshop she gave, and didn't really find it appealing. Now it makes a kind of sense.

That which is remembered lives.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kim's game

I'm going to start introducing information I've gleaned from multiple sources, on becoming a better warrior. Not everybody is called to warriorship, but we can all learn from these techniques and apply them to other parts of life.

First, we must be mindful. Too many approach life casually, being only superficially interested in what goes on around them. I often try to play Kim's Game to improve my ability to recall and be observant about things around me.

Note the goal should not be to memorize everything about every event, this is simply not possible. What one needs to do is improve his attentiveness and awareness, and this can only be done through practice.

Pay attention to your daily commute, try to recall license plates, train numbers, the dress of commuters, what they carry, what people say. Try to recreate the scenes in your mind, and this will strengthen your visualization ability. This is the first way to hone your awareness, and oddly, will improve your magical ability. You needs must visualize anything before you can effect change.t dividends

Practice it, as childish as it seems. I will pay great dividends.

End of pseudonyms

Hi Wild Hunters, and any new folks to my blog page as well as old folks. A housekeeping announcement:

I realized when Jason Pitzl Waters linked through to the blog that I still had listed a pseudonym that I was using a while back: Corvus Black. And yes, in that name there's a slight nod to Sirus Black, a wonderful character played by Gary Oldman in the Harry Potter movies.

But time has come to retire that name. The whold FPG standoff a couple months ago forced me to reevaluate the wisdom of what I was protecting. Most of the family in my generation are aware of my Paganism and most of the public too. Only a few older folks whom I love I'd been “protecting” by not using my surname, but I realize it's time to step out in to my self for what I am, and what I do.

My name is Edward G. Rickey. Any and all work I will do from this point forward will be done, as I did with both the Joint Resolution committee and my workshop at Morrigan's Call, with my legal name. I am also the same Edward G. Rickey who is published in various physics journals on the subject of quantum optics and nonlinear optics.

I'll make such changes as are needed to update the blog and such, but there were advantages to keeping my religious life separate from my professional. For one thing, there are scientists who would look sideways if I claimed to be practicing an ancient religion with all the trappings of magic and channeling the Gods and all that. Might even question my research.

But since 2004, I've been out of that field. I'm quite proud of the work, and those I worked alongside. But I really doubt I'd find myself back in a lab under grant and at university again, but if I did I would want to be able to live openly as a Pagan and a scientist, not having to keep an imaginary wall between them.

So now with my name public, it's time to begin anew.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My time at Temenos

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent an amazing weekend with other Morriganists at the Temenos Retreat Center in Western Massachusetts for a retreat called The Morrigan's Call.

To say western Mass is pretty is an understatement to a Southern flatlander like myself. I've travelled a bit around the US, but this area is truly beautiful. Old hills, formed from glaciers, covered with green trees. My Florida forests are poor soil and hardscrabble trees that fight amongst themselves, oaks vs. pines. There's competition for water, since it isn't scarce but the sandy soil means it doesn't last. This kind of natural strife shapes the land and the animals who inhabit it. Even the humans, tortured by heat and humidity, lashed by occasional hurricanes, are a different, harder breed.

The land around Temenos is quite the opposite. The people were friendly and kind, and there's an expectation that the world will just work somehow. The fauna are easy to be around, with a porcupine sighting at camp. As we were toured and oriented around camp, we saw salamanders on the trails, my first time seeing a “wild” salamander.

The rituals were intense: The Washer at the Ford, Macha of the Red Tresses, and Anu were all honored each. A temple space was dedicated to altars of the various names for the Queen as well as the Dagdha, and Nuada. Open the whole event, anytime one wanted he or she could hike up a narrow foot trail to the space and be alone with Them.

Temenos is truly off-grid. There was no cell reception for most, no electricity, water drawn from a well. The place used to have a hotel, a folks would come for the curative mineral water properties. The water tastes strongly of iron and sulfur and is said to contain quite a bit of magnesium. I drank it frequently, and it reminded me of well water from my grandparents house in South Florida when I was young.

The most important thing I can convey is the sense of being in a tribe. For three days we ate, sang, prayed, learned and laughed together. I knew few of them by reputation, some from Facebook, and only Stephanie personally. I can say now I have dozens of friends all of whom share my devotion to Her.

I also met people new to Paganism. Friends I could show the way I walked, and maybe they could see some things in a new way.

Nights at the lodge were magical. We had only a couple propane lanterns, a couple kerosene lanterns and many tea lights to scare away the deep dark woods, and I often thought of what my ancestors felt as they gathered around small lights to listen to the harp that one person brought, the guitar another brought. We told tales from our homes and of our travels, laughed and helped each other through tough personal stuff.

I guess the only annoyance were the mosquitoes. Three days of rain prior had brought them on, but I joked about them during my workshop. It became an experiment to see what combination of repellents worked best. Not unlike when I was a kid slogging through the Everglades in summer.

My body was challenged a bit like my soul. Western Mass is rocky, unlike our sandy wilds, and being on the side of the mountain, every trip was up or down, or both. It felt good to move through that space, oftentimes it was easy to forget that I came from a world of internet and cell service. I felt connected to the land as I walked through it, my feet learning to navigate and old path both figuratively and literally. I became stronger, and moved more easily with time.

It ended too quickly, the relentless clock demanding I hurry back to an airport to ride in a metal tube through near space with strangers. I spent every waking moment staring out a window or reading devotional words to her, afraid I'd lose the feeling. And then all kinds of folks started finding me on social media. My tribe may be scattered, but we all want very much to keep as close as our technology will allow.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Follow up information to the Warrior Mindset workshop

Greetings to the crows who joined me in Massachusetts at the Morrigan retreat put on by Morrigu's Daughters. I had a wonderful time with you all, and have great memories. We all did important work.

As I promised in the workshop these are sourcebooks I used and others I suggest.

Living the Martial Way - Forrest E. Morgan
The single best book I own on this subject. Heavily leaning towards practicing Asian martial artists, the information can and should be applied more broadly.

The Book of Five Rings - Miyamoto Musashi
The preeminent swordfighter of Japanese history, at age sixty he sat down to write his thoughts after winning 35 duels and establishing his own school of fencing. As with any Japanese/Chinese literature, read several translations, since a single character can have several meanings. Some writers imply all or some alternate meanings, and good translators will work to include the nuances. I have the Cleary translation from Shambala Press.

Jarhead - Anthony Swofford
This is the book I read the passage from.

On Killing - Dave Grossman
Source of the Sheepdog/Wolf analogy.

33 Strategies of War - Robert Greene
Amazing sourcebook from all across classical literature. He uses all kinds of sources to illustrate the systems that win wars. Two of his other books, 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction are ones I highly recommend.

Leaders Eat Last - Simon Sinek
While specifically focusing on team or corporate leadership, Sinek's work is good for understanding the relationships in organizations and the source of the hormones of emotion that I mentioned.

King Warrior Magician Lover - Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette
A so-so book about warriorship, but a good discussion on male archetypes and how they work or fail.

The Tao of Jeet Kun Do - Bruce Lee
Any practicing martial artist needs to read this book.

Guerilla Warfare - Che Guevarra
Focuses on the relationship between a warfighter and the people he fights for. If you can set aside the politics, an excellent book. If this is your speed, follow it up with Mao Tse Tung's book On Guerrilla Warfare.

Secrets of the Samurai - Oscar Ratti and Adelle Westbrook
Kooky title but a very good overview of Budo, or the Way of the Warrior in Japan.

Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere - Oscar Ratti and Adelle Westbrook
Probably the best book ever written on the subject.

The Last Article (short story) - Harry Turtledove
A short story in sort of an alternate history. The Nazis defeat the British and invade India, and then have to deal with Ghandi. There's a powerful lesson here, and an easy read.

The Sword and the Mind - tr. and ed. Hirosaki Sato
This book is a translation of two of the main manuals for swordfighting in the Yagyu-ryu school, known as family-books.


In addition I'd like to suggest three other sources. They all have Youtube channels and you might learn something from them.

First in Travis Haley, owner of Haley Strategic. He coined the phrase "higher standard of care" that I used.
Haley Strategic

Second is Chris Costa, owner of Costa Ludis training.
Costa Ludis

Third is James Yeager, owner of Tactical Response. He is the source of the comment "I don't kill people, I protect people. In protecting people, sometimes bad guys die".
James Yeager

I wish you good learning.

If you want to email me, send it to, or search for me on Facebook

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Follw up email to the FPG board

Readers of this blog may or may not find this subject tiresome, but I feel that what we are seeing is an example of a changing of the guard. The old way of doing business in the Pagan community doesn't work anymore. Holding one's leaders accountable is always an important thing.

to: Ann Marie Augustino,;“Medea",

from: Edward G Rickey,

Re: Future FPG changes


I hope this email finds you well. Upon reflection on the events of Beltaine 2014, it has occurred to me that in all the discussions, the future path of FPG was never made clear to anyone either in announcements, in social media or at the infamous Round Table discussion. I believe there are a few very important questions that never got answered. If you will indulge me, I'd like to ask them.

1. Has the Board made a decision on the future of the Frosts being granted headline status, given workshop space and/or being allowed to vend at future FPG's?

2. If the answer to question #1 is Yes, then what is the decision?

3. If the answer to question #1 is No, then when can the community expect such a decision?

4. Given the insistence that the First Amendment is a guiding principle at FPG, how does the Board explain its multiple removals of posts to it's Facebook page and further discouragement of public discussion on social media, instead requesting private emails?

5. Is the Board prepared to make any substantive changes to the existing policy on harassment?

6. Is the Board prepared to make substantive changes to how it ensures the safety of children in Kid's Realm, or in The Forge?

7. What training and policies has the Board put in place screening facilitators of Kid's Realm and the Forge?

8. Does the Board keep a log of any persons who have violated the No Means No rules? Has the Board reached out to any other festivals to compare notes and ferret out serial offenders?

9. Do the Board members exercise their own individual discretion regarding ejection and/or banning, or are other members consulted? Is there an objective standard for determining punishment?

10. Does the Board have any policies on false accusations?

11. There was a statement made by a board member at the Round Table, claiming every attendee was screened for sexual offender status/predator status prior to the event. That was either mistaken or misleading – I registered on-site and no background was done or could have been done on me. Is there a policy of background checks on day-of-event attendees?

12. What other background checks does the board do on attendees? What sort of background would disqualify a person from attending?

I appreciate your consideration of this list, I know it is long, but I think these are important questions.

Further, I'd like to add that since I have failed to get a reply in the past to my emails, I'll be posting this email to my blog site: Not to put you on the spot, but it has been my experience that emails “disappear”. If you are agreeable to it, I can post an unedited reply to the blog as well.

It is my hope that a healthy dialogue, in keeping with the spirit of the First Amendment, can help us to make a better FPG in the future. As I said a the Round Table, we are co-creators of this event. It is my hope that we can remain co-creators through an informative discussion.


Edward G Rickey