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March 2017



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Joseph's Big Toe

There are one-way crossings in life - events that cannot be ignored that change perspective forever.  
I was in New York for a training course in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, circa 1989.  The course was called Reframing and it was a healing method that activated normally inaccessible parts of the psyche for positive change.  It was also the first time that I performed magic, but that's not the important part.

Read more After about a half a day, we were given a script (spell) and a partner and told to take turns being reframee. The object was to change a behavior that we would like to change and the script was set up in such a way that the script reader (healer) had no idea of the issue's content.

It began this way with Joseph.  
Me - "Now Joseph, imagine a behavior that you would like to change"
(Joseph nods)
Me - "Now Joseph, we are going to ask that part of you that manages this behavior whether it is willing to try some alternate activities.  A part of your body will signal assent by moving."
(Joseph looks at me as though this is the dumbest thing in the world)
A short time passes. . .
To Joseph's complete surprise (and mine too) , his big toe begins vibrating.
Me - "I can see that part of you that controls this behavior is willing to consider alternatives.  Imagine an alternative.  I will now ask that part of you which controls this behavior whether it is willing to try this alternative as a replacement behavior.
(Joseph's big toe twitches)
and so on through the script. 
At the end of this period, Joseph had this beatific look on his face and was positively glowing.  He read the same script to me, but I remember absolutely nothing about it except that it worked.

The important part of this was that I had a dialog with a part of someone that was not under that person's conscious control.  The implications of this were not only that there was something other than the conscious mind, but that something had a will of its own that expressed itself in its own way.  Once I knew that, I was compelled to try to understand the nature of this something.  Was he/she/it part of me or separate or a little of both?  Was this a lens into another world or a mirror of the psyche or somehow both?

The underlying story here is about respect.  The NLP script recognized and respected what the individual could not see or know.  It reframed a problem source into an ally.  In this way it was like the tale of Dame Ragnall, the Loathly Lady.  The secret of what women want (their own will) is found and King Arthur is saved, but the price is that Sir Gawain must marry the hideous Dame Ragnall who provided the secret.  As night falls, he enters the bed chamber only to find that Dame Ragnall has become as beautiful as she was hideous.  She tells him that she is under a spell and that he can have her fair by day and foul by night or foul by day and fair by night.  He gives her her own will (which is what women want after all) saying that it is up to her.  From thence forward the spell is broken and she is ever beautiful.

The mechanistic NLP script was about acknowledging, honoring and respecting that which seemed ugly and dangerous and turning it to a peaceful coexistence.  Perhaps that Other is the soul, or a part of the subconscious, or an ancestor or one of the Good People or who knows?  In any case honor and respect was the key to healing.

peace and health,


Joseph's Big Toe

Hey! Glad to see you've started a blog of your own--I really enjoy reading your comments in other places, so of course I'm happy to see this new project.

I've never really been a big fan of NLP--too much marketing for my taste, perhaps. But I love your use of the story of the Loathly Lady here. Genuine, basic respect is such a key element in all the forms of magic I know... maybe especially including day to day living.

Nice start to what I hope will be a regular forum for your ideas! Blessed be.

Re: Joseph's Big Toe

Thanks for the vote of confidence Cat. I am not really a fan of NLP either. I followed it to Ericksonian hypnosis which is much more organic and from there through twists and turns into druidry. Good to know your by-line in this space.

peace and health,

Good beginning...

I came here via QuakerPagan... looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

Hi Erik,
Thanks for looking in. I have the greatest respect for Cat's writings and was dazzled that she found a poem that I had written back in 2003, but never mentioned to her.

peace and health,