Wednesday, 21 October 2009

It's a Sign, Stupid...

'What star sign are you?' 

I'm asked this most days by outwardly sensible-looking people, as if an insight can be gained by my answer. Answering 'penguin' is childish and silly so I stopped that. 
I usually groan and erm... in a noncommittal way and hang, twisting uncomfortably on a silence, not wishing to offend, before answering that I don't really believe in that sort of stuff. 
"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. Are you a Christian?'
And the can of worms' lid starts opening on its own. 

'When's your birthday then?'
And I begrudge them my answer, and then feel annoyed that it's such a normal question around Glastonbury and that I'm the wierd one.
But I say January the 24th in the end, not wishing to be rude.
'So... you're Aquarian! Omigod! Well that all makes sense! No wonder! Aquarians are so sceptical, you question everything. Of course you're not going to believe in astrology!'

So this is my very own astrological albatross around my neck. My disbelief actually helps to prove that the thing I disbelieve in, exists and so there's no way out for me. Save yourselves while you can. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Extras, Extras, Extras

This is a silly list I cribbed/lifted wholesale from my book, The Heretics Guide to Vegan Cookery. It's a piss-take of some of the worst things in the New Age 'paradigm' that can be found around Glastonbury, in the South West of England. 
Just out of interest, here's a view from the other side, so to speak!

Crystal skeleton workshops. Crystal skull workshops are now so common, it’s time to find the rest of the bits. Aren’t they special and energetic too? A New Age Olduvai Gorge is needed.

Descended Masters workshop and oracle cards. Explore your dark side in three weekend courses or privately see the black unfolding of your life through insights from your own pack. Moses is the only Master to feature in both the Ascended and Descended Masters packs due first to allegedly rescuing the Jews from Egypt (good), then happily murdering thousands of other Bronze-age people because a Voice in his head told him to. (Really not good.)

Silencing your Inner Child with Spiritual Smacking workshop.

Affirmation clock. This limited edition Grandfather clock harnesses the power of dowsing to tell you yes, yes, yes with every tick and tock of its regular, individually hand-balanced pendulum. Also includes an extra hourly cuckoo feature. Remember, the time is always now to be wonderful.

Trusting your Inner Voice survivors group.

Water has a memory. Now, new super-potentised water offers up to 2 gigabytes of optimised memory for the next generation of homeopathic solutions. A water world at your fingertips.

Games for gurus to play when drunk on spirit.
1)   The Measure of a Man.’ Each guru creates the biggest manifestation he can, then measures it. The biggest wins.
2)   The Only Way is Up.’ Who can get to the Godhead first? Last one’s a false Messiah.
3)   Guru Top Trumps. Sai Baba and Krishnamurti are even Stevens with ‘Best Hair’.
The Maitreya, World Teacher™ has only got one follower so you don’t want that one in your hand. He is the worst card in the deck.
If Jesus comes up against John de Ruiter, then on ‘Longevity’ and ‘Using Charisma to Get Girls’, John de Ruiter soundly trumps Jesus. Both tie on ‘Being God’, and ‘Having Long Hair and a Beard’, but Jesus trumps John on pretty much everything else. Overall, the Original Messiah is still the best card in the deck.

Once a hundred people learn to be brain surgeons, then through the power of morphic resonance, it becomes really easy and everyone can do it. This amazing force can be applied to anything new and potentially difficult.

One of the best kept secrets is out! Now you can create your very own orbs instantly with Orbro Magic Dust™. With just a pinch of Orbro Magic Dust™ and a flash-enabled digital camera*, you can surround yourself with spirits and fairies whenever you like. Amaze and impress your New Age friends. Hours of orbtastic fun for all. Only £27.99.
*Digital camera not included.

If your child plays with their food, and you’ve already carefully placed food in the correct auspicious places on the plate, consider using Arnold Wang Plate Dividers® to make sure it stays where you put it. Used by Feng Shui family experts the world over, these food-grade plastic dividers retail at only $30 each. (Handling, postage and/or shipping charges apply.)
No more negativity. Divide and conquer with Arnold Wang.

The Intestine Prophesy. Discover the nine secret steps the ancients knew and maybe one day you too will be empowered and achieve the perfect stool.

The Hundred Year point was discovered accidentally by Princess Aurora in 1536, when she pricked her finger while spinning wool. This anaesthetising acupuncture point is one of the most potent of all points and so must be used with caution.

Self help books. How to steal from people without being caught.

Attract druids into your garden with a Metheglin Druid Feeder®. Spot common druids like the red ovate, the hooded bard and the merlin, or rare migrant druids such as the Gaulish veledas or the mistle-toed Delphi pythia. If you’re very lucky, they might even form a Grove in your garden.  

As you speed towards enlightenment, make any necessary changes smoothly with The Paradigm Automatic Gear Shift™. 
Spring hopes eternal

A few years ago, a curiously marshy area appeared, half way up one of the fields where I live. It hadn't been there very long before some of my more alternative friends started becoming aware of its energy. Surely this was more than just a curiously marshy area, they said, knowledgeably. After much dowsing and meditation, it was decided that it was in fact a sacred spring, a gift from the Goddess and was dutifully cleared out. According to all and sundry, the water tasted amazing. Above the spring, in the next field, our two horses looked up occasionally from drinking at their horse trough, but said nothing.

Blessings then occurred, plentifully and with much ceremony. A priestess, arms wide to the heavens, sanctified the site by calling down four of the available one hundred and sixteen elements, before doing lots of chanting.
After scattering flower petals across its shallow puddle of muddy water, the spring was deemed fully anointed and ready for whatever springs do. So far, so New Age.

When the marshy area had so curiously appeared, a few weeks before, I'd remarked casually... "Yeah right, I bet it's just from a leaky water pipe."
After being scorned out of the field, after blessings and sippings and holding hands and life settling back into routine, a leaky pipe was discovered, feeding the horse trough, turned off and Lo! No more spring.


Sunday, 18 October 2009


" you believe in unicorns then?"

This started as a joke question I asked someone a few years ago, not expecting her to say that she did. But she did, and not only that, but she saw them quite often. In the fourth dimension. We argued about it for a little while, but my incredulous voice finally got too high to be of any use. It was so crazy to believe in unicorns and yet she believed it to be true with every one of her twenty two activated strands of DNA.

I live, by the way, very near Glastonbury, where I work at an alternative centre. The irony is rich and absolute.

I'm a sceptical, questioning unbeliever, a godless Loki-hearted joker in a pack of earnestly serious Tarot cards. When it comes to belief, it often feels like I'm in a group of one, a lone sore thumb. I could move, it's true, find more like-minded people elsewhere, where the grass is greener, but where's the fun in that? So I choose to stay on, feeling slightly over-spleened, a little under-vented, a trifle under-understood and probably in need of a long, earnestly meaningful hug. And I ask people occasionally, when I'm feeling investigative, the unicorn question.

All of the people I've asked* since that first time have likewise replied ... (and I quote, embarrassingly and abashedly, hence the smallness...) "yes!", and it's actually getting more unbelievable than actual unicorns. But it's truly true, really really real. A section of the population honestly believe that uni-horned horses exist, either in this world, all whiffling ears and offered dreams on a whim and a spike, or happily adrift in the fourth dimension where they merrily cavort with virgins and stuff. And that's the thing.
In the twenty first century, for some, proof/TRUTH/reality can only really exist in the eye and faith-filled mind of the beholder. So whatever can be believed, will be believed by someone. You can bet your bottom dollar. It's just another acceptable paradigm amidst a multiverse of equally valid ways of perceiving the world. Except, strangely, and specifically, when it comes to mainstream truths, like science and doctors and physics and chemistry and astronomy and biology, going about all know-it-all with their proofs and falsifiable hypotheses. Seriously, who'd be stupid enough to believe all that when THE TRUTH is so obviously true.

And people say that I'm stubborn.

*(My eyebrows express incredulity far too well, so I frown when I say it, thus ensuring they stay at an even, reasonable level. Poker eyebrows.)