Date: Thu 17 Mar 88 10:57:28 From: Brad Hicks (on 1:100/523) I'll be 28 in July (born a li

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Date: Thu 17 Mar 88 10:57:28 From: Brad Hicks (on 1:100/523) I'll be 28 in July (born a little after midnight CST on 11 July 1960, at approximately 39`'N by 90`'W - more Cancer than you can shake a stick at, if you look at the charts. It was an appropriate beginning to a manic-depressive youth. I was raised by solidly middle-class parents (my father an electrical sign-hanger) in the far northern suburbs of St. Louis - tract house city, just the kind of place that the song 'Little Houses' was written about. My parents were quite old when I was adopted - I gather they'd finally accepted the fact that Mom is apparently sterile. Five years later, my only sister (Beth) was adopted. We had boringly standard middle-class Midwestern upbringing, with one difference - we were raised with books. Lots of books. My parents read to me as soon as my eyes would track their finger on the page, and I learned to read at an age that modern child development "experts" insist is impossible. (*Sigh*) I wasn't born cynical - I got cynical just before my fourth birthday. That was after my first - and maybe my only real - mystical experience. Because I was precocious (and could mostly be trusted to behave) my folks gave me a treat - they let me go to the Big People's Church, instead of Sunday School, one morning in the Spring of 1964. The sermon was on the Omnipresence of God - a word I'm sure I learned later. I found it quite baffling, because I had thought I'd figured out who this "God" guy was - he was wise, nice old man who lived in the old house behind the church. I wondered why only the big kids got to meet him. (There was an old house on the church property. It had been the rectory; at the time they were using it for Sunday School for the high- schoolers.) But here was this minister saying all these confusing things - and it wasn't that I didn't know the words, it was that they didn't make sense. How could that old guy fit inside a rock? If he was in the room with us, why couldn't I =see= him? I squirmed, and I tried to whisper questions, and my folks shushed me - I don't think they understood my questions. Then, just as I was giving up, I looked around one last time while just letting the minister's words wash over me. I looked at the colored light from the stained-glass windows reflecting off of dust motes in the air - and the brightly colored light spoke to me, as clearly as the minister or more so, and said, "I'M God. Now do you understand?" I gasped, and looked at all the stained glass windows, and they said to me, "We're ALL God, silly. Everything has God in it." I was astonished - but I didn't really know what they meant. When we got outside, my parents (I don't remember which) wanted to know what I was trying to ask them inside. I couldn't explain it any more - which angered them. (I can imagine, now, what they were thinking. "Damned kid won't shut up in church, but as soon as it's ok to talk, he won't say a word.") I looked down at my feet while I walked, and I thought about what I'd heard from humans and sunbeams. As kids do, I kicked a rock. The rock bounced, and on the first bounce a little voice said playfully, "Ouch! Why are you kicking God?" And the little pebble, I swear, WINKED at me. Then something off to my left was clammoring for my attention, and I looked up and a whole field of dandelions in bloom waved in the wind and said, "Hi-i-i-i-i, Brad! NOW do you understand?" And I did understand, and I was excited now, and I tried to explain it. As the disciple said to the Roshi hundreds of years before me, I exclaimed to my parents, "God is that pebble!" "Which one?" "One of the ones I kicked - it told me so! And so are ..." "Brad, just admit that you didn't understand it and shut up." Every time I tried to explain it to my parents, I got the same answer. I was obviously wrong; furniture doesn't talk and rocks don't talk and robins don't talk and dandelions don't talk and sunbeams don't talk. God is something else, something Other. Shut up and wait until you REALLY understand it. I don't remember now when the furniture and the rugs and the trees and the worms and the birds and the flowers and the rocks and the street stopped talking to me. It must have been at most a week or two. I'm sure my folks don't remember it at all, kids go through a lot of funny phases. But I miss those voices. I miss them now. I've missed them all my life. I let the Big People convince me I was wrong, and I've never recovered. I can talk about the next 19 years of my life in detail some other time. I switched beliefs several times, going from the stony materialism that was taught in the schools to mild skepticism and experiments in parapsychology (I was going to win a Nobel prize for it someday) to fear and Fundamentalist Christianity after my folks sent me to a Baptist high school. When I was a fundamentalist the voice came back, and sometimes it was almost even as friendly as that week so long ago. But after five years of Fundamentalism, five years of what non-Fundamentalists do NOT understand is a VERY, VERY mystical and personal form of Christianity (when they say "personal relationship with Christ, they're NOT kidding, or at least the best of them aren't), I woke up on a morning in May of 1983 and said, "Is that God, or is that just me?" Had I seen miracles, or exaggerated the importance of perfectly normal experiences? And was I talking to God, or talking to myself? You see, in five years, whether I "sinned" or lived for God, the voice of Jesus never disagreed with me. How could I =tell=? Well, I =do= have weird luck. During my Fundamentalist days, my old man was skeptical - but admitted that the weird luck I have, the fact that what I need always, always, always arrives just barely in time (and just barely enough), was all the proof he needed of the existence of God. Once I had wondered if God cared what people called him; I wondered if any of the Books or the Religions were from Him. I started wondering again in the spring of 1983, and I couldn't stop. Eventually, I decided to break with it all and see if my luck, and my sense of protection and my relationship with divinity went away. I broke with it, and I declared my allegience with a "faith" that more closely matched my own skepticism, and yes, my cynicism: Discordianism. But frankly, plain, raw Discordianism is a baren, skeleton tradition. I've never met a "plain" Discordian - I've met Discordian Anarchists, Discordian Libertarians, Zen Discordians, etc. But because I'd met a lot of Neopagan Witches who were also Eris-inspired, and I liked them, and I liked what they believed, that's what I now say I am. I am a Discordio- Pagan. I've come to terms with the "W" word - if the Inquisition could have gotten ahold of a reprobate heathen heretic like me, they'd've burned me, too. I'd've gone to the flames haughtily, and proudly, and angrily, and I'd've spat in their face, "I don't know, but you think you DO KNOW and you know so damned little - you're ignorant and you always will be!" Yes, I am a Witch. And yes, my Goddess is the revived Greco-Roman goddess of Chaos, Discord, Confusion, Bureaucracy, and Aftermath, no matter how her relationship to her worshippers has changed in the Twentieth Century of the Common Era. Yes, I am a NeoPagan. And yes, Eris speaks to me occasionally and yes I speak to her often. Io Eris! Ave Magna Discordia! I am a Discordian. Is it all in my head? Tell me how to find out and I'll try it. I've used strange herbs and strange chemicals, in years gone by, and then the trees and the rocks spoke to me again. Is that the kind of shock it takes to penetrate my armor, my hurt, and let the God shine in? I don't know. Maybe I'll never know. --- Sirius 0.50 * Origin: WeirdBase * St. Louis * 1-314-741-2231 * (Opus 1:100/523)

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