Gods, Demons, Spirits, Words

As an esotericist, I end up inevitably contemplating or discussing gods, demons, and spirits.  This creates another inevitability – the question “are they real” which is a great way to spend an evening, end relationships, or both at the same time!

On this subject, I eventually came to a conclusion I’d like to discuss.

I don’t question if gods, demons and spirits are real because of the aforementioned lost evenings and lost relationship. I’ve decided question is better phrased “are the concepts of gods, demons, and spirits useful.”  I’m sure other people have come to the same conclusion, but I figured I’d give my take since it might spawn useful discussions.

The idea of gods, spirits, and demons is that there are great living Powers in the world or Powers that we might as well treat as lifelike.  By recognizing them we may understand them and interact with them more effectively and safely – be it in ritual magic or just navigating through life.

For instance, I realized Facebook is a god (or perhaps a demon) even in the most materialist sense..  It grows and changes, adapts and adjusts, it’s in our minds and influencing our behavior.  It’s very much like a living thing, though one I’m keeping a wary eye on.  We just happened to make it, though perhaps some of us may wonder if it’s a mask on something else.

Seeing a corporation as a god or spirit, a living being, helps me think about and interact with such organizations.  These are not simple organizational flowcharts and bank accounts – they are living (or lifelike) things that very much affect us.  It’s also a reminder to be careful making or calling forth these organizational egregores and golems made of money.

I can also look at our planet – where I stray reluctantly into the Gaia hypothesis, albeit the less convoluted take.    Our planet is as complicated as a living being.  We might not treat it as a conscious being (though as we thinking beings are part of it . . .) but it is complex and organic.  Realizing you’re in a big natural system – a god or spirit – is a way to survive and prosper, though I have to admit I’ll take survive these days.

Yes, I feel sort of naive and plastic-packaged-New-Agey saying this, but referring to Earth as a godlike being is a reminder that life here is a complex situation.  A bit more “this-is-a-big-system-we-can-see-as-alive” and less “well that summer was surprisingly rainy” would be good for us.

I can also slide into psychology and talk about archetypes, those great patterns and emotions and interpretations hardwired into our minds..  Our myths could be seen as dressing up those deep elements and experiences to better understand them.  The thing is they have very real effects.

Language is a real vital force in our life – and we have stories of language-gods like Thoth and Seshat.  Love is part of our lives and we have stories of Freya and Venus.  The archetype view reminds us stories aside, there are forces in all of us, driving us.  In short, gods, spirits, and demons – hardwired into us by evolution.

Finally, I can get supernatural  Many of us reading have had Those Experiences where things get wider and strange, where Someone Reached Back or Out.  Some of us have been there, and the hardest belief or most scalpel-like skepticism doesn’t change that.

I’ve had such experiences.   Somehow it never makes you feel special, does it?  But it does make you think “yes, there IS something to the idea of gods, spirits, and demons,” sometimes while you’re lying in bed trying to process whatever the hell just happened.

I walked through several “explanations” for gods, spirits, and demons to show that the concepts are useful for each.  Do I think any above are The Explanation?  I just used this to illustrate my thoughts. – and I haven’t touched on Neoplatonism, hauntings, etc.  In fact I think all of the above are true to an extent and then some.

No matter one or many explanations, we are in a world of great Powers.  The idea of gods, spirits, and demons give us tools to recognize this, deal with it, be part of it, or defend ourselves when necessary.  If nothing else we need to recognize something very big may fuck with us and kill us.  I take a more benevolent view, but I also want these terms just to keep an eye out if you know what I mean.

Perhaps terms like god, demon, or spirit are archaic and I would agree!.  These words are terms of old, heavy with baggage and carrying the additional burden of multiple interpretations people fight over.  I’d love some new, friendly, usable words.  But until we have better ones – and perhaps we do and just don’t use them – they’re what we have now.

Might as well use the tools we’ve got in this wild, mysterious, complex world we’re in.

A Proposal On Networking

“Where’s the community,” is a question I hear a lot, sometimes from me. As I write this in early 2023 we’ve been devastated by covid, are questioning social media, and are coping with late-stage Capitalism.  People want connection, but it’s a challenge, there are obstacles in the way, and the last few years have really been a pain in the ass.

Reaching out and connecting is a pain in the ass too.  I’ve been networking on my interests –  – occultism, meditation, creativity, and writing – and I find the same worries!  A complaint I see many times is how “Practitioner” communities (people who DO something, from magick to writing to art) end up being all about “buy my book/game/series.”  Capitalism overtaking even tiny, weird groups to be about “making the sale” and “building the brand.”

Since I’ve found community connecting frustrating, I brainstormed an idea to help build communities of specific practice.  As I’m a Project Manager, let’s follow good organization practice and ask what our problem statement is.  And yes, I belong to a PM community – anyway on to the statement:

It’s hard to build a community of communication.  People work at different paces, with different tools, and we’re dodging the pathologies of social media.  Many communities are “production oriented” and sometimes Capitalism takes priority over Community.

So with this problem statement, what goals would satisfy practitioners?

People want smart, respectful communication that builds community.  People want community that persists and evolves.  People are focused on these goals and directed to these goals, which protects from commercial interest taking over.

With those problem statements and goals, let’s get to my proposal.   If you wonder where this comes from it’s a mix of psychology, project management, my own publishing experience, and some readings on older Taoist communities (who networked via inns and passing on books).  I’ve had an interesting life.

So here’s the idea I’d love to try.

  1. Gather five to ten people with an interest in corresponding and communicating ideas and creating/doing something specific.  Try to keep it around seven.  This is the “Crew.”
  2. One of these people acts as the “Collector” – and the position may rotate.
  3. People send essays and works to the Collector.  In time the Crew can (and should) include respectful commentary on the work of others.  Note this work doesn’t have to be exclusive (see below).
  4. The Collector puts out these works as a zine on a regular schedule.  For sanity’s sake it shouldn’t be less than two weeks or more than a month.  “When I got enough” may be acceptable and reasonable in some cases.
  5. The zine SHOULD be in print.  Each member of the Crew gets two copies.  More may be printed to share elsewhere.  The print files should be available.
  6. An e-zine is also possible, but there should be a print copy to start.  The e-zine should be archived, easily available, and maybe even (freely) available on other sites if approved.  It’s 100% fine if the e-zine JUST being an ODT or PDF file of the print zine.
  7. After the Crew puts out a few zines, members are encouraged to join or start OTHER Crews to share and correspond.  Perhaps they also act as Collectors.  Eventually every person belongs to at least two other Crews, but runs maybe one or two at most.
  8. As other Crews are created, THEIR members create zines, ezines, etc.  Work may be shared among Crews – you can publish the same essay in multiple zines.
  9. Once this is running, different Crews and individuals can see what suits them.  Do several Crews do a compendium?  What about small press books shared among Crews?  Are there different arrangements they can try?  Public or private activism?  Who knows?

The idea is to have a project (zine) a small Crews rallies around.  That focus on publishing and correspondence encourages thoughtfulness, provides physical results, and builds communications.  The networking of people on multiple Crews shares ideas and spreads the idea of “zine teams.”.  Larger community can be enhanced or evolved among multiple teams, exchanges of information, and shared effort.

(A friend helped me realize this is a form of Amateur Press Association with a focus on networking and a specific community. I didn’t mention that in the first draft as I haven’t dealt with APAs in ages . . .)

Why add a physical zine?  I hope/think/expect it would slow things down, require people to think about communications and leaving records.  It also inspires new ways to think about creating lasting records (because as we know the internet isn’t as reliable as we’d like).  The idea comes from many sources, but A.J. Roach’s Small Things Manifesto solidified the ideas for me.

Will it work?  I have no idea – but it might be fun to try. Write me at Rev + My Name + @gmail.com if you want to chat. (I’ve got to set up that contact form and post the email easier)


Xenofact’s Job Hacks #5: The End . . . For Now!

And it’s the final post of my job hacks – for now! I plan to round these up in an orderly post and probably do them as a zine. “Bob” willing it might eventually turn into a book or something!

So here’s the final-for-now set of tips for you weirdoes, mutants, slackers, and people who want to survive and perhaps overthrow our job world. You can find more the rest in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


Line Up Success Stories – Do something good?  Get an email from them to your boss, get them to say thanks, get a LinkedIn testimonial.  Line up things that make you look good, so mistakes get forgotten and you have ammo to deal with any critique.  Plus you have references.

Line Up Certifications – Certifications look good on a resume, prove what you can do, and often your employer will pay for them.  You might even get time off to study or take tests!  Plus you might get some specialty skills that make you hard to fire and easy to get more pay.

Join Professional Organizations – Belonging to a professional organization looks good – but there’s more!  These may sound stodgy, but a lot of them provide all sort of benefits and let you network and make friends with other people as disillusioned as you are!  


Learn To Report – Organizations live and die by reporting, even if it’s a kind of talisman to pretend you know what’s going on.  Learn how to deal with reports, file them “properly,” and make them work for you.

Reports Are A Break – If your job includes reports, this is a grand excuse to goof off.  Get good at the reports (it’s easy if no one else wants to do it) then take more time than you need.  Also you can run podcasts, music, sports while filling crap out.

Overreport . . . – Some people with bother you for updates a lot.  Learn how to craft fast, insanely detailed reports, so they just go “uh, fine” and give up.  Be sure to use these updates to call for help, so they either do their job or get blamed when they ignore you.

. . . Underreport – Some people say they want updates but really don’t want a lot of detail.  Use this to give them quick updates, ask for help, and otherwise leave them alone.  A good way to quickly drop hot potatoes in their lap as “they want to know about it.”

Pay Attention – Doing reports tells you what’s going on at work.  From accurate data to seeing obviously “adjusted” data, you’ll get heads-ups or warnings of the future.  Take it from me, that might let you escape a layoff or reorg.


Learn The System – Your job is going to teach you A LOT about the world and what’s wrong with it.  Learn from this – don’t despair, get active.  It’s fine to get really cynical then apply it.

Get Politically Active – Your job taught you what’s good and bad about it.  Let that direct your politics, learn from this and get goddamn active.  You might make a change.

Some Employers Don’t Suck That Much – It’s true.  You might be able to actually make a difference!  But it doesn’t hurt to start assuming the worst.  If things really are great, then figure out how to stay and load the place with friends, allies, and minions.

Change From Within – Maybe, just maybe, you can change your employer from inside.  What kind of change depends on you and your own imagination.  If nothing else the hope to change can give you goals and a sense of mission.