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HomeBeginning Wicca, Classes, Witch Lesson 1; Consequences


Lesson 1; Consequences

Erin

Consequences: You can’t escape them.


Author: Teacher – Daven Iceni

Date: Mar 26, 2000 17:46

Well, here we are, alive.  As such we have a price to pay.

Know this:  there is always a price for everything.  Nothing if free.  Or as some put it: TANSTAAFL (There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch).

This applies to Paganism more than most.  Power must be paid for, ability must be paid for, your actions must be paid for, and so on ad neausium.  Everything in the universe has a price.  Sometimes they are good, sometimes bad, and everything in between.

Example:  You are out on your own for the first time.  You have an apartment, a car, a job, and electricity.  You also have about $400 to last you till payday.  And payday is about 7 days away.  There is no food in the house, and rent is due on the 10th day from now.  But the electricity is due in 4 days.

What do you do?

Now, most responsible people will pay the electricity, and get groceries and save the rest until payday, to be able to put it toward the rent.  The price of this?  No movies, no computer, no phone, and no fun (well, mostly).

The irresponsible people will spend that money on restaurants, movies, music CDs, and other such things.  And when the power gets shut off, will go running to Mommy to fix it.  Then not be able to pay the rent.  The price?  Basics of life, such as food, and shelter will be stripped for the moment’s entertainment.

Which is better?  Ultimately, that is for you to decide.  You are the one who will be paying the price for this.  Is the consequences worth the choice you choose?  If it is, then go for it, but don’t complain when you get what you deserve.

This is one of the basic building blocks of Paganism.  Responsibility.  Responsibility for your own choice, and responsibility for your actions and inactions.

This is expressed in many forms in paganism, such as the Law of Three “Whatever you put out, will return to you threefold.”  And the Wiccan Rede “An it harm none, do as you will.”

These statements empower a person who lives them to take the price and the consequences for their actions.  To be responsible.  To grow.

If your power gets turned off because you blew your paycheck, that’s a pretty hefty incentive to keep from wasting all your funds, right?  Well, in life, these kinds of things happen all the time.  Just look around yourself and ask, “What choices will I be making today, and what consequences will come out of them?”  Do that for a week, and I bet you mature a lot.

But be aware that if you decide to do the action, and take the consequences, you have no one but yourself to blame when things go wrong.

Now, this does not mean that the only consequences are negative ones.  In the above example, the person who paid the bills, bought the food, and saved the money gets a consequence too.  As a result of doing that, they have a roof over their head, food on the table, and electricity to heat and cool their house.

Most people tend to live their life by default.  They let decisions slide and refuse to make choices, until they are in a situation where the only choices are ones that will hurt them for a long time.

As in the above example, choosing to not pay the bills, and not to get food, and to keep the money will result in “Mommy” taking care of the bills.  The default choices here become more and more complex, and worse and worse.  By doing this more and more, “mommy” gets annoyed.  She may eventually refuse to bail this person out, at which point, they loose their apartment.  The default here is to move back home.  From there, the default is to let things go until “mommy” gets angry and throws them out.  And the default from here is to sleep in the car.

Not too attractive, right?

Now, I am not running down the family’s involvement, only the lack of choice that this person exercised.  The universe tends toward chaos, and if let run free, the choices keep sliding downward until there is little that one can do to extract themselves from a given situation.

Stasis in life is not a good thing.  Refusing to make a choice is still a choice, it simply means that one re-acts instead of acting.

I know I would rather act.

This is lesson one, and the most basic one for Paganism.  Learning the lesson of responsibility.

You have the right to be responsible. -Mai Niall

I would like to see everyone become responsible.  When that happens, then this world will start correcting itself.  That is a dream for the future.

Now, on this thread itself.  It is a BY INVITATION ONLY.  Right now, there are two students here, Rona Cumhaill and Flurey CuChulainn.  Anyone else who is interested, please leave me a message at my domus.  I hope to get a pretty decent basis of students, so I will look forward to your messages.

If you have a comment that you wish me to post, leave it at my domus as well, and I will post it in it’s entirety here, along with who said it and my answer.

I won’t give an assignment yet, but there will be some coming, so pay attention.

Message: Responsibility…
Author: just me… – Fleury CuChulainn
Date: Mar 26, 2000 22:12

Well, I’m a bit of both I suppose. I pay my bills first and foremost, since I’ve had a few problems with others who didn’t and had to bail them out or lose my own amenities… I’m often almost broke with more than a week left to pay day simply because I work for family and trust me, family doesn’t mind paying less… *sigh* But on the flip side, boss being father, I have free entertainment by stealing the office computer and having oodles of cyber fun over the weekend… Also on the flip side, the other boss being mother, I get frozen tid bits of her wonderful culinary talent sent in to the office. Therefore, even I’m reduced to fishsticks, I often get honey-mustard chicken interludes. *G*

I am the only one I’m responsible for (with the exception of two very furry, purring and cuddly room mates who don’t help with rent) and although I don’t rack in the salary of a public servant, I don’t starve or deprive myself of too much. There’s usually a bottle of wine in the fridge and yet another essay or exam to keep me busy, and with an A- average at uni while I work full time, I figure I manage to budget my time pretty well along with my money…

Message: But we are not always rewarded
Author: Devil’s Advocate – Rona Cumhaill
Date: Mar 27, 2000 10:07

for being responsible. Life just doesn’t work like that, which is the root of the saying “Life is not fair!” If the system of responsibility and rewards worked that simply and easily, we would be living in a Utopia where everyone behaved themselves and took care of everyone else. But in real life, we are not always rewarded for “doing the right thing.” In fact, often people are rewarded for being ruthless, selfish and rude. As a typical starving artist, I am faced with daily decisions between being “responsible”  – buying food – or ignoring my so-called responsibilities and buying, say, a book of Andy Warhol’s flower prints, instead of a box of BocaBurgers. I can’t eat the book of flower prints, and I will definitely suffer hunger pangs as punishment, but the book feeds my muse. Maybe my choice is not “responsible” in the ordinary sense of the word, but it is more satisfying to me. Perhaps this is not a very clear example, but what I’m trying to say is that these issues are not black and white, cut and dried, yes and no, or, if I daresay – heaven and hell. We are daily confronted with complicated and difficult choices in our lives, and the results of our choices are not always immediate, obvious, or what we might expect. That’s what makes life interesting! *S*

Message: I agree,
Author: – Fleury CuChulainn
Date: Mar 27, 2000 14:22

for every decision there is a consequence. The consequence can be positive or negative. But our own ability to rationalize our decisions and see beyond to that consequence, can help us make that decision. Knowing that someone is there to help in emergencies does affect people’s decisions. Knowing the end result could be only an irritation rather than disaster has a big influence. If you choose to buy a book on Andy Warhol over food, you probably have some food in the cupboards its just not all that appealing. *grin*  I do the same thing.  🙂  I could actually buy a picture that appeals to me, and will give me hours of enjoyment, and resign myself to eat something unappetizing instead but the food is still there. It is a compromise. If my cupboards and freezer were completely bare, I’d definitely think twice about buying something other than food.

As I mentioned earlier, knowing someone was there to bail you out is always a factor in one’s responsibility. I learned a long time ago that people who always know there’s someone else there are doomed to chronic irresponsibility until they are finally without that help. For example, one such person ran up a $500 phone bill on my phone. He did not mention it until the phone was about to be cut off. Would I have helped him when he got the initial phone bill? NOT! But to save my own phone and credit reputation, I had no choice but to help him out by giving him the money. Long after we parted company, he did the same to a room mate and then even later, hit rock bottom when he lived alone and no one was there to help. He was evicted because he did not pay his rent, his phone had been cut months before and he had been lying to everyone. Sadly, his brother came to the rescue and he’s back where he was, relying on someone else. I’ve had two run ins with him since and he has not changed. Chronic irresponsibility, but coupled with no desire to be responsible.

On the other hand, practically going bankrupt to help him (on more than one occasion *sigh*) did impress on me the need to be more responsible in order to never end up in that situation.  It also impressed upon me that I CAN rely on me, and to try to not to allow myself become a victim to someone else’s irresponsibility.

My apologies if I’m babbling, I just couldn’t stop once I got going! *LOL*  I think everything managed to stay on topic…

Message: And we are not truly talking about rewards
Author: – Daven Iceni
Date: Mar 27, 2000 15:11

because that implies something positive, just as the word “punishment” implies something negative.

It is consequences.  They are neither positive or negative.  They are, and they are seldom yes or no.  If I implied that, I apologies for the confusion.

The gray areas of day-to-day life are the things that make so many so crazy.  Balancing the good of something to feed your soul, when you need to get food on the table or go hungry is where maturity comes from.  Either can be good and positive, and either can be negative.

It is up to you to decide whether they are good or ill for you.  I can sit up here in my Olympian attitude and say “Rona, you should not have bought that book on Andy Warhall because now you will go hungry…” but I am not the one who will be having my stomach growl.

If the book is more important than the Spagettioos that you may have purchased instead, then I have no right to judge it.

(As I am not judging now, only citing example that has been brought forward.)

And it would be really hypocritical of me to do so, when I myself have spent my last $6 on a book for my wife when it was three days until payday.  We have all made decisions like that, and we have learned from those decisions.

The main point of this lesson is this:  You can blame no one but yourself for the problems and the rewards in your life, especially if your choices put you there.

There is no one who will “mystically” save you from all your follies, and who will redeem you.  You cannot put your guilt off onto someone else, and there is no afterlife where you are punished or rewarded.  You get all your punishments and rewards here and now.  It is not delayed until you are dead, but now.

Fleury, you raise some good points in your post, and I am proud of you.  I have enabled people just like you describe in my time, and come out the worse for it.

Rona, you raise some points in your post, and good ones, but I think they have been responded to?  Or am I way off track here?  LOL

Your assignments:  (whether you choose to accept it or not) Get a notebook.  Spend a week writing down each decision you make (not all of them, but the bigger ones).  Put in there the consequences you can think of, and how it will affect you and others around you.  At the end of the week, go back and note next to them, what you were off target with, and what was unexpected.  Also if you can, note how you saw your decision affecting others around you.  And then tell me if the price was worth it.

At the end of two weeks, we will get together and discuss them.  We will do this publicly, but if there are embarrassing episodes in there, we can take it to my private chat room where it will only be the two of us or the three of us.  LOL

Have fun.

Message: About the decisions assignment..
Author: Raising her hand – Rona Cumhaill
Date: Mar 30, 2000 09:31

I’m trying but I’m really having trouble keeping track of my decisions this way. I can’t decide which ones are “big” enough to write down, and consequently I have nothing in my notes so far. I have made some observations so far, however, which I will share here:

All possible consequences of a decision are impossible to know in advance.

Especially for “big” decisions, the consequences definitely take longer than just a week to show up.

If I become too obsessed with pondering every possible consequence of my decisions (especially
“the price” and if it was ‘worth it”) I will end up a basket case, unable to make even the smallest of decisions without getting lost in a maze of “what ifs”.

Every decision has a “price” and it is always worth it because even if we make a decision that harms ourselves or someone else, we still learn from it. Often the worst decisions are the most valuable ones.

Just some thoughts to let you know that even though I haven’t written anything down, I’m still working on this.

Message: Rona,
Author: To be or not to be – Fleury CuChulainn
Date: Mar 30, 2000 12:50

If its any consolation, I’ve only been averaging about one decision per day that I’ve written down.  Even those don’t seem that big in the grand scheme of things, but they were the most significant decisions of the day.  In my humble opinion, any decision that you question would be somewhat significant…  Do I log onto AS?… well probably not a big decision since its something we do regularly anyways.  Do I log onto AS when I know that I really should be doing something else instead (work, studying, etc)? *LOL*  That was one of mine already! *sheepish grin*

All I’m saying is that it is now Thursday, I started on Monday and so far I have a big whopping three decisions written down.  *ooh, ahhhh* *chuckle*  Its almost disturbing just how few significant decisions I make daily…  But then again, during the week, my life is very much ritual. I sleep, I work, I rip and tear off to school, I go home, I sleep.  The same thing happens every week virtually without thought, its more of an automatic response than anything that requires more decision that should I bring mittens tonight. *sigh*  But who knows how many life altering decisions I’ll make over the weekend…. *yeah right!*

But for now I ponder the possible consequences that I can foresee, the actual consequences I’ll not know until later.  I ponder my options, if I choose to or not to do something.  I agree, that we’d go nuts if we started pondering every little decision, not to mention how thrilled Daven would be if we engaged him with two weeks worth of “Well I decided to brush my teeth…” *LMAO*  Sorry, I just had mental pictures… heheheh

Anyhoo, I didn’t mean to ramble so much but I thought it might be helpful if you knew my whereabouts in the assignment situation.  🙂

But before I post this, I do have a question for Daven.  If we are to be discussing this in two weeks, are we recording two weeks worth of decisions or just one week and another week to reap the consequences?

Message: Fleury and Rona
Author: Teacher – Daven Iceni
Date: Mar 30, 2000 13:09

Fleury, one weeks worth, and a week to see what (if any) consequences come out of them.

Rona, Very good.  I agree and you are on line completely correct.  What you posted, is right on.  Earth- shaking decisions are rare, and it IS impossible to think of every consequence that action A could produce.

Bravo.

Message: Oh, those of you
Author: Ooppppsssss – Daven Iceni
Date: Apr 2, 2000 21:48

who are working on the first assignment, Decisions, may now put your pens down.  This next week will be spent looking for some of the consequences of those decisions you made this past week.

If you have no decisions written down, you lead a boring life (LOL).  No really, it’s okay, but I will want to see instead a list of the observations you made during this assignment.

When you post this list of decisions and their consequences next Sunday, we will all talk about them and what is expected and unexpected.  In effect we will critique each other.

Have fun.

Message: Voting…
Author: – Fleury CuChulainn
Date: Apr 4, 2000 14:14

Well in my humble opinion, we might as well learn the history of paganism and its tenets and practices before we leap into them…  besides if we will be learning both anyways, its only a matter of time until we get to the energy stuff! *G*

Now that I think about it, I do have one more quick question about the decision assignment.  Should we be posting one freaky big post each, with every decision, option and consequences on one post?  That is what I’m assuming but I just thought I’d check…
Message: Well, that’s a good question
Author: Teacher – Daven Iceni
Date: Apr 4, 2000 14:20

and in my opinion, one freaky big post would be the best.  You can do the commentaries and insights on another post if you want, but the stuff in your notebooks, I would like to see in one post.

And while we are talking, it has been pointed out to me that having you critique each other may not be the best of ideas, so you may make comments, but no criticisms.  I’ll do that. *S*

Message: First comments from the lurkers!
Author: Excited – Daven Iceni
Date: Apr 5, 2000 14:12

Thalada Parisii is a good friend and also an Ollamh Cainte here at AS.  He left these comments at my domus earlier today:

Daven, my friend, I have reviewed…
every post on your pagan thread and found it illuminating.  It moved me to thought and comment if you don’t mind. I can’t help it.  *S* The first post was brilliant and coincides exactly with one of the first things that moved me to druidism…the connection between responsibility and freedom.  I read a book of quotations a long time ago and many leapt out at me.  One went something like this….”In the end the only freedom we truly have is the freedom to discipline ourselves.”  Reading that quote, the author is lost to me now, was like a thunderclap of understanding to me.  I coupled it with all I knew of Celtic mythology and druidic philosophy to shape my own views of life.  It stands out to me today as a crystalline truth, although many have to reflect long on it and some don’t ever see it as I do.

Some posts spoke of consequences, positive, negative, good, bad etc.  I have come to the conclusion that there is no good and bad in the world.  They are truly fictions created by our cultures and by our training and socialization.  We are conditioned to believe in one thing as good and another as bad.  I think to move markedly beyond the realm of mundane action and reaction to life we must detach ourselves from this crutch.

I generally characterize decisions made, in what I refer to as the autonomic cycle, as decisions that are inherently not decisions at all.  The decision maker is primarily, if not completely, suborned by and subject to impulse and impulse therefore drives drives decision/non-decision and action/non-action.  An example of this is the desire to buy a book before buying food. Let me put it to you that those are but two points on a continuum of choice.  Why not leave the money in a box for the poor, or buy a Big Mac for a hungry street person.  Or invest it in stock and watch it grow with a bull market.  The choice is truly infinite and so the sorting mechanism becomes the driven impulse of ‘I want’ even more than ‘I need’.  The autonomic cycle, which is resilient and I think has its roots in the process of evolution, will operate until self awareness and a degree of self actualization breaches its defenses.  Suddenly one day for some reason a question is asked, a perception is made.  It is truly the knock of opportunity.  The person hears for the first time their own plea to change and transform themselves.   although it is very easy to see how rationalizations of’good’ and ‘bad’ can work to justify any perceived experience in the state embodied by the autonomic cycle…it is a mindless pursuit..

But once the wall is breached all things change.  Only then do people enter what i call the intellectual or deterministic cycle of decision making.  It is a cognitive phase where people are aware both of themselves and their place within the universe, metaphysically speaking.  Even if they have only an inkling it is all they need.  Their decisions become fraught with the context of that awareness and ultimately their decisions lead them further down that road.  Each decision becomes a lesson affirming or dis-affirming a position until suddenly we realize how little we truly know and, in the same instant, how hungry we are to learn.  When this happens we are fully in the intellectual cycle….the moment is characterized by a feeling of complete humility and exhilarating energy….so accept no substitutes *S*.

Once on this path, good and bad fade to nothing, positive and negative wither to inconsequence.  What is important and the ultimate essence of life is to experience, to share joy, to unleash compassion on the world….a consuming whirlwind of compassion.  In this way all bonds will be broken and we will be truly free….free to discipline ourselves and ourselves only.

Finally, I have found that when you are on this path, decisions become like additive vectors, always buidling towards something.  Paolo Coelho, in The Alchemist wrote that ‘when someone is on the right path the universe conspires to help them achieve their ends….’  I have so many examples of this in my life that I could spend a year writing about them all, as well as the path of drudgery that got me here, but I will save that for my next life I think.  Thank you for directing me to the thread…..

Slainte!
Thalada Parisii

Thank you Thalada for your inspired comments.
Message: Well….
Author: – Fleury CuChulainn
Date: Apr 7, 2000 16:11

Virtually all of my decisions have come full circle, only one didn’t yet and its not really far reaching in its consequences anyway, it was more of a momentary thing. I finished typing up my assignment this morning… its going to be a wee bit, um, how should I put it… freakishly huge.  I apologize profusely in advance. *sheepish grin* I just can’t seem to NOT give any background or details, otherwise the decisions are just completely lame. I’ll use a slightly smaller font when I post it so its not too long…
Message: Freakishly huge and incredibly puny
Author: Doing her best – Rona Cumhaill
Date: Apr 8, 2000 20:03

I’m very curious to see what will become of our decisions & consequences assignment. Fleury says her post will be freakishly huge, and I must confess that mine will be incredibly puny. I only have about three decisions on my list and nothing yet on their consequences! Maybe I misunderstood this homework. Or maybe, as Daven suggested, I simply have “no life.” This would not surprise me. LOL Well, tomorrow is when we post, right? *biting her nails*

By the way, I already have an altar set up in my home. In fact, I have two. One is my private ritual altar, and the other is a rather informal set-up on a table in a corner of my living room, that is constantly changing – a kind of ongoing collage of my burgeoning spirituality, a collection of found objects, symbols, and other little do-dads that have personal meaning to me and remind me of my place on the path when I pass by in my daily activities. But I’m still looking forward to the altar lesson, and will gladly offer pictures of both my altars when we get to the next lesson.
Message: Decisions Assignment…
Author: I warned you… – Fleury CuChulainn
Date: Apr 9, 2000 01:50

Before we begin, I feel I should say something. When I embarked on this assignment I was blissfully unaware of just how few important decisions we make on a regular basis. Everything we do is a decision, but when I began to write down the most important decisions of the day I realized just how shallow and superficial many of these decisions really are… Much of life is routine (at least mine is) and we don’t make that many major decisions if we do the same thing every day or every week. As Rona mentioned earlier, earth-shattering decisions are rare, but I always thought we made more substantial daily decisions that this:

Day One, Monday March 27
My first decision was whether or not to buy a notebook, three days before pay day when my funds were low. My options were to spend the $2, after all its only $2, or to wait until Thursday and possibly lose some of the scraps of paper my decisions were written on (as often happens when I’m studying).
Anticipated consequences of waiting and possibly losing notes:
Not being able to provide a complete assignment to Daven or even to Rona for discussion.
Anticipated consequences of spending the money when I have very little: Its only $2, is that really going to make the difference between life and death in three days?
Decision: My decision was to spend the two dollars and include this decision as my first installment for the assignment. 🙂
The actual consequences: It didn’t bankrupt me and I didn’t lose a blessed thing!

Day Two, Tuesday March 28
My rather lame decision to remain on AS and have a relaxing afternoon or to read Roman history for a quiz Wednesday night. The review quiz is not worth anything (mark wise) but I’ve had the professor before and she knows that after answering quite a few questions I tend to shut up from time to time to let other students answer. If there’s ever a lull in answers, she often looks in my direction to see if this is one I know.
Anticipated consequences (far reaching): The actual final exam is not until April 18 and so one afternoon of study missed this far back won’t make much of an academic difference.
Anticipated consequences (more immediate): I may not be able to answer as many questions and prove my superiority in class. *LOL*
Decision: My final decision was to take Tuesday and make it a ‘me’ day and read my notes twice on Wednesday. My boss was out of the office and I’d finished up all the work waiting for me. I played on AS for the afternoon and tidied and did assorted things I needed to get done anyway.
Actual consequences: I still remembered a lot and answered many questions in class, even managed quite a few of the ones when she glanced over. 🙂

Day Three, Wednesday March 29
Starving after coming home from school (about 8pm), I put chicken fingers in the oven and began to assemble my recycling (pick up is Thursday). As I took it all outside, I met up with my neighbour who had been away for over a month. After a brief chat I realised that she wanted to talk more of the difficult nature of her absence. My decision was not whether or not I’d listen, that was a given, but whether or not I should at least run in and turn the oven off.
Anticipated consequence one: I will ruin my chicken fingers, possibly a pan and most likely remain hungry much longer.
Anticipated consequence two: She will feel better and I will eat eventually. I think I have enough body fat to sustain me another hour or so… *L* and if I ruin a pan, so be it, they are replaceable.
Decision: Had I interrupted her and ran in to turn the oven off, she might have felt that I didn’t want to listen. So I completely forgot about my stomach and the oven and listened until she felt better. I know that chicken fingers and a pan aren’t exactly sacrifices compared to the happiness of another person, but I was really hungry and knew that it would probably be another hour before I’d get a chance to eat and I hadn’t had anything since noon.
Actual consequences: I didn’t end up eating anything until about 9:45, the pan survived but the chicken fingers didn’t. *G* She seemed to feel a little better for having talked about her dilemma. I have not seen her since so anything more far reaching than that night have yet to be determined.

Day Four, Thursday March 30
My parents are leaving for a holiday on Friday and in the absence I look after their cat. I have a previous engagement every second Thursday and this week ‘winefest’ is at my home. I have been studying and when I study I purposely don’t tidy too much since its much preferable to studying and studying can be put off all too easily. My apartment is not dirty, just accumulated stuff (I like to call the clutter from h*ll) in the entranceway and on tables, etc. My parents live on the other side of town and I was asked if I could possibly pick up the cat on Thursday night instead of one of them dropping him off at my place on Friday before I drove them to the airport.
Anticipated consequence: I had hoped to tidy my apartment before my friend arrived but I also knew that if I picked up the cat I would not be back in enough time to do any tidying.
Decision: Knowing my parents would be stressed on Friday I decided to relieve them of one less stress factor and pick up the cat Thursday night.
Actual consequences: I did not get home until seven that evening with my visitor scheduled to arrive at 7:30. I barely had enough time to eat let alone tidy and I was a little embarrassed and apologised profusely. (I know she doesn’t care but I do) ‘Winefest’ went fine, mess or no mess. Either way, I knew I did the right thing because when I saw my parents on Friday afternoon, they were in fact very stressed. The consequence I foresaw for them was in fact true so it was a good thing I had eliminated one stress for them.

Day Five, Friday March 31
Before he left the office Friday afternoon, my father (I work for family) asked me to drop by early (4:30) before driving them to the airport. I knew they didn’t have to leave until about 5:30 or so and I also suspected that by the time I arrived, they would be getting on each other’s nerves. My dad was in a strange mood that day and without getting into *even more* detail (*LOL*), its sometimes easier to just go along with him. I was already feeling low since they were on their way to England, my birthplace. I have been there once in 12 years and I miss visiting terribly, especially since my best friend still lives there. I had been getting increasingly depressed in that respect as my parents talked about their trip every single day for months before they actually left.
Anticipated consequences: My dad would be getting on my mum’s nerves and for the hour I was there she would complain about him whenever he was out earshot. My dad in a strange mood ends up antagonizing my mum even further, finding it funny, and trying to get me ‘into the fun’. Already down, I also suspected that my mood would only worsen.
Decision: Against my better judgment, I went early and basically sat there for an hour with my father being annoying, my mother complaining and basically feeling more and more miserable as time marched on.
Actual consequences: My mum seemed relieved to have someone to complain to. My dad seemed happy to have a distraction from my mum’s increasing distress. By the time I dropped them off at the airport and got home, I was in one of the worst moods I’d been in for months. Absolutely nothing cheered me up (with the exception of 10 minutes of ‘Talking To Americans’ but as Daven might recognize that title, that’s a WHOLE other story!)

Day Six, Saturday April 1
Really not much to say for today. I was still quite down after the night before and the only thing that was mildly interesting was the prospect of meeting a friend I hadn’t seen for years that evening. I went all the way downtown to meet them, waited for an hour and they never showed up. Really helped my mood… 😛 Only major decision of the day was whether I should just go home after that or show up where I knew a couple of friends were, and have a beer. Beer won without any debate whatsoever. 🙂

Day Seven, Sunday April 2
On Sundays, I volunteer some of my time visiting an elderly native lady. She’s been trying to convince me for months that it would be fun if she taught me how to knit. I’ve often thought that perhaps her continued obsession with me knitting is that she has only sons and never had a daughter to teach this kind of stuff to.
Anticipated consequences: I’ll make her happy and learn a nifty skill even though I’ve never had any great desire to knit… *G*
Decision: On my way to visit her, I stopped at Zellers and picked up a ball of purple wool (if I’m going to learn, I’m learning with purple!).
Actual consequences: She was thrilled to bits when I produced the wool and began instructing me as to where to find her needles. She even insisted that I take the two needles home with me for the week to practice. I saw her again on Thursday at a special lunch at the Friendship Centre and when the volunteers were gathered together for a photo and they were trying to get us to smile, she yelled out “think of knitting”. I think that my decision was a good one. 🙂

Daven, I really hope this is what you’re looking for, I’ve got typist knuckles after this one! *LOL*

Message: Assignment 1
Author: – dolphina Aedui
Date: Apr 9, 2000 10:37

Day one Sun:
I could get my hair done, and spend the last of my money, with 4 weeks until pay day, or I could eat lunch, every day for 4 weeks. In the end I got my hair done. Now my stomach is grumbling, everyday at lunch, So, I am not doing as well in school, because I am hungry. Probably not my best decision.

Day 2 Mon:
I could log on to A.S. or study for a math test.  When I knew that the next day before the test I wouldn’t have time, and I would fail, if I didn’t study.  Well I logged on like the sucker that I am. In the end I stayed up all night the next night and got a b on the test.

Day 3 Tues:
I could go to the office and ask some one for the keys to get into the computer lab to do my work) or skip, and no one would know. You see my teacher was gone, and the class is independent. I am the only one in it) If I skipped, no one would know, but me, and I would feel bad the hole time, because I know that I am behind in that class all ready) If I went I wouldn’t get to see my boyfriend until next Monday. In the end I went to class. But the computers where broken, so I didn’t get to work any way.

Is this what you wanted?????
Message: Truth and consequences
Author: – Rona Cumhaill
Date: Apr 9, 2000 11:11

Here are my Big Three Decisions and accompanying notes. I didn’t include my ordinary everyday decisions, like what to have for lunch, or whether or not to log onto Ancient Sites because I didn’t think it would be that interesting, and the results are probably not that important in the long run. So here goes:

1) I decided to buy a new computer. I’ve been without my own computer since the old one crashed awhile ago, and have had to either use the public terminal at the library or else borrow some time on a friend’s computer. The inconvenience of not having my own computer was the main reason I made this decision, and the most positive possible outcome would be the luxury of being online and doing other computer work once again in the comfort of my own home. The most negative possible outcome would be a bad financial situation for awhile until I can pay it  off. I did save up as much as I could to make a large down payment and keep the monthly installments as low as possible. At this point, the real consequences of this decision are as yet unknown, having to balance out the convenience and luxury against the financial strain – but I think it was worth it. *S*

2) I decided to move to a new apartment. My current home is by a river and recently flooded out. I will be starting a new job in May and have been looking for someplace closer to live. My new apartment is not as spacious or cheap as the old one, does not allow pets, and is in the university section which means all the disadvantages of an urban setting – noise, garbage, crime, etc. But I will be within walking distance of work and near several friends. The consequences are yet to be seen, but I feel good about this decision.

3) Last but not least (bored to tears yet?) I caught a very bad cold and had to decide whether to use herbs & natural medicines or over the counter cold cures. I opted for massive doses of Echinacea, orange juice, berry tea with honey and herbal cough drops, since I had these already from my last cold and didn’t want to spend more money on Nyquil and Advil Cold & Sinus pills. Consequences? I got better, of course – but I don’t know if I would have got better quicker with the over the counter drugs or not. I felt better about myself, taking herbal remedies that didn’t make me drowsy or cranky or keep me awake. I still managed to function, although I was slogging with my massive fluid intake. LOL

So there it is! Ta-da!

Message: After reading through your …
Author: Ollamh Cainte – Thalada Parisii
Date: Apr 10, 2000 03:37

posts and finding them quite meaningful I was still bothered by the concept that seemed to be oft repeated that, and I will paraphrase, there are so many banal decisions  that occur everyday and that they are somewhat irrelevant and meaningless.  What bothers me is that this judgment is made without the benefit of truly knowing.  The only true way of determining if a decision carries meaning or not is to play out that decision to the end.  And often the decision takes on many layers of meaning the further one progresses along a path.  In other words as a result of the first ‘irrelevant’ decision you are confronted with several other decisions that you, in all likelihood, would never have faced at all.

My own experience has been that every decision is ‘potentially’ important…every decision has the latent ability to change everything…such is the theory of quantum mechanics and the result of my own empirical testing anyway.  I can add that in my life, the most important decision I ever made was about which way to walk home one day.  If I had not made that conscious choice long ago I know that my life would have been completely different as a result.  The message is, I suppose, that we should never lose our ‘wonder’ about the universe, even in the mundane decisions of life there is the spark, the stuff of the Gods.

Message: Okay, I read the submissions, and the comments
Author: Headmaster – Daven Iceni
Date: Apr 10, 2000 16:05

and I must agree with Thalada.  NO decision exists in a vacuum.

Lets take an example:

Fleury wrote: So I completely forgot about my stomach and the oven and listened until she felt better. I know that chicken fingers and a pan aren’t exactly sacrifices compared to the happiness of another person, but I was really hungry and knew that it would probably be another hour before I’d get a chance to eat and I hadn’t had anything since noon.

Using this, I would say that the consequences of this were I went hungry for a while, but I made someone else feel better.  She now knows that I do care about her, and if I need help from her in the future, she may be more inclined to give it because I am a “good caring girl”

It is not that Fleury did something catastrophic, or life changing, but it was the effect her decision had on another.  THAT is the goal here.  Nothing, especially the future, is set in stone.  We alter it everyday, by a multitude of little decisions.

Here’s an example from my life.

Once upon a time I was in the Army.  I decided to go into the AG Corps to be a newspaper reporter, except I can’t write.  I flunked the course.  My ASVAB was good enough to let me go into just about anything I wanted to, but I chose to go into being a Personnel Administration Specialist.

As a consequence of that, I got out of the Military pretty quickly.

But through my own investigations through AP, I found that at the time when I chose to go in to Personnel, that if I had chosen to go to the Infantry, my entire life would have changed.  I would have eventually gone to Ranger school, met my wife in the Military, while I was at a convention, been paralyzed in the Gulf War and many other things. (It’s a REALLY long story).

In short, one decision created another future for me.  One that did not exist at that time.

Choosing to buy a computer may not seem that important if you have the money, and even if you don’t, but think about it for a bit…

This is your money.  Not money that your parents gave you, not a computer that you were given, but yours, out of your own sweat and blood and hard work.  You will probably treat it well, and take care of it.  In an attempt to save money on repairs, you may learn how to maintain it and even upgrade the computer.  At which point you may even be interested enough to decide you like computers, and get a job doing what I now do, repair computers for a company for a living.

Just a projection, but it could happen.

Or even spending the money for your notebook.  $2 is not a lot, and it will not kill you financially, but you will remember buying that notebook for the rest of your life.  It will remain with you, after all the others are gone, and you will remember exactly why you chose to write all those decisions in it.  You will remember these lessons, and if you read it at a later time, you may even decide to investigate some of the consequences of this action closer.

As one writer put it, moving this pebble a fraction of an inch would lever a planet out of it’s orbit across the universe.

So, there are no small decisions.  You never know when choosing to brush your teeth in the morning will lead to saving hundreds of thousands of dollars on dental bills in the future.

All that said, I am proud of all of you.  You did well in this exercise.  Now, can you figure out just what the point of this exercise was?

Message: That was going to be my next question
Author: Puzzled – Rona Cumhaill
Date: Apr 10, 2000 20:34

Namely, what was the point of this exercise? How can we possibly know what the outcome of any decision will be? I realize that every single choice is important even if it seems trivial at the time. For example, a woman recently was getting out of her van pool vehicle downtown, as she did every morning of the week for years and years, and for some reason she lingered for a moment to chat with a friend. Then as she stepped over the door of her office building, there was a weird popping noise and the carcass of a huge wild turkey crashed to the ground two paces in front of her. It had apparently been flying around and crashed into the office building’s windows, confused by the reflections of the sky in the glass. If she had been thirty seconds ahead and on her usual schedule, the turkey would have no doubt fallen from forty floors above, plummeting right down on her head. What a disaster! Might have killed her or at least seriously injured her. Was it fate? Luck? Or just a strange random happening?

What does this exercise have to do with Paganism? Everyone makes choices, no matter what their beliefs. Do our choices really matter? How do we know we wouldn’t end up in the same place, no matter which way we choose to walk? We all try to do the best we can for ourselves, and sometimes for others. When its our turn for a turkey to crash on us out of a clear blue sky, is there really anything we can do to avoid it? I’m looking forward to knowing the point of this exercise.

Message: As god is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly
Author: – Fleury CuChulainn,
Date: Apr 10, 2000 20:56

Sorry, I grew up watching WKRP in Cincinnati and it just popped into my head…  I swear, I’m not mocking anyone or the situation in general!  In all honesty, a freakishly huge bird plummeting out of the sky would be deadly.  Okay, I’ll just move on now…

Ummm, lets see…  The point of this exercise.  I wondered about that myself.

I wondered if perhaps by consciously thinking of the consequences of our decisions, we might be more aware of our situation in life.

I wondered if by chronicling our decisions, we could more consciously learn from our mistakes.

I wondered if perhaps we might learn that there are no little decisions (but that would come of being politely reprimanded for calling them so. *G*).

I wondered if by pondering the effects and outcomes, we might realize that even the littlest decisions can affect others.

I wondered if Daven were killing time until a guest speaker was available… no, I didn’t.  *EG*  I just thought of that now…

Anyhoo, that is pretty much all I wondered as I wrote down my decisions.  I eagerly await the actual reason. 🙂  And once again, sorry about that turkey thing but I just HAD to…
Message: Okay, the point
Author: Without waiting – Daven Iceni
Date: Apr 10, 2000 22:59

of this exercise was this: Observation and getting in the habit of thinking. This kind of stuff you are working with is POWERFUL. If you don’t think, you could really get in trouble.

As one lurker said, “If I cast a love spell on someone, I could be preventing them from finding their true love”. Which is completely correct.

We have one basic belief, and all Wiccans, Neo-pagans, and other new-agers have this too: “An it harm none, do as you Will.” Which, simply put is translated to, “So long as the outcome you want is worth price you pay, do it. But you are the only one you can blame when it blows up.”

I wanted all of you to learn to think, not just act. Action without thought is anarchy. Thought without action is stasis. Thought and action results in change.

So, now that you are in the habit of thinking, what do you think?

Not all of the lessons here will be cut-and-dried. Just like in life. Life does not give us black and white lessons, but it is up to us to extract the learning from them.

You have to consider your actions before you take them, and you won’t misstep to often. When manipulating energy, you are changing the fabric of reality, so you better have an extremely clear view of what you want, and be prepared to face and deal with things you may not expect.

Message: Thinking about decisions
Author: thoughtful… ha ha ha – Fleury CuChulainn
Date: Apr 11, 2000 22:31

has never been a problem for me. I often think too much about a particular decision or action. Perhaps one of the reasons I think some decisions are trivial is because I convince myself they are to avoid obsessing on them. *G*

Now if I could only learn to think before I speak. That is one art I’d love to learn, but sadly I haven’t yet. I blurt.  Not in posts but just in daily life.  In posts I have a chance to think as I type, but in real life I talk way quicker than my head will think… *LOL*  Will this by any chance be a lesson?
*hanging my head and standing up* “My name is Fleury CuChulainn, and… I blurt. Thank you for your time.” *sitting down*

Stars light your path.

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