MENTAL DISCIPLINES OR HOW ESP MAGIC WAS HANDLED IN ANIETH
AND THE APPLICATIONS FOR PEOPLE ON EARTH
The large magic of Anieth that the players enjoyed was shape-shifting, but some of us enjoyed the more subtle magics which, on Earth, we would call extra sensory perceptions. Mind reading was common, precognition was also common and other strange powers that were associated with people of Anieth realizing that the world was not as it appeared to be.
Most people are fond of saying, "the interesting part comes from the male." This is a way of saying that the mental abilities of magic are inherited from the father and the shape from the mother. However, what it really means is that the variety of those talents is vast, whereas the shape is generally just what the mother had. A father may have one set of talents, but pass on to his children other talents that had lain dormant for many generations. Thus seers would not show up in every generation with regularity, but seem to skip around in a population of seers.
Rule One: the father of the changer can have very diluted powers and still sire a child who has full-on abilities. We've seen in families related to queens (an thus to shapeshifting men) that sometimes the other children of queens will inherit some magical abilities. It is not very common for anyone to have powerful skills, but it is not uncommon for whole families to share telepathic abilities of more or less or foretelling abilities of more or less, and etc. Please see our article on the queens for more elaboration.
Rule Two: the child will not have abilities that are not within the father's family. Seeing the future does not run across all the Clans. A list below will tell you which abilities run in which Clans.
Rule Three: if the child is a half-breed, especially of an Animal shaper, the child is usually insane. I do not know of a case in which this was not true outside of the royal lines. However, even among royalty, some of the relatives of queens have tried to bear half-breed children and have failed to have them reach maturity with any kind of sanity. This seems to be more often the case with men. Men seem much more vulnerable to inheriting a magical mind that is psychotic. We think that it is connected to the male genes, just as women seem to have much less control over shaping than men do. The only two half-breed Trees were both men. The rule seems to be like parent/like child vulnerability.
The Red labels indicate that the Clan has a powerful form of this kind of magic. Here is what we mean by the different abilities.
Foretelling: precognition, seeing the future, seeing someone else's future.
Telepathy: reading minds, putting thoughts into others' minds, altering another's mind with images and feelings, influencing with voices and feelings the minds of others.
Energy Transference: hurling energy as a form of fire/lightning/shock wave, moving energy through a person or through plants and the earth, water or wood or stone, heating things, cooling things, changing states of things and other energy, reading energy.
Healing Hands: affecting changes for good (or ill) in another through the movement of energy, or lymph or poisons, etc., in the body. Also used on plants and in herbalism to affect state changes to make some salves and etc. more powerful and effective.
Charm: a common magic used by most Animals and some Trees, involving the ability to attract or repel, to force other's to do one's bidding or to enspell people to do what they might not do normally.
Clairvoyance: reading auras, knowing things at a distance, sensing at a distance, knowing an outcome based, not on the future, but placement of elements of the present.
Some of the Clans have magic particular to them, like the Yew who have the ability to induce sleep or dreams or even to kill with a paralysis; or the Birch who have the ability to sense danger, or exaggerated sensory ability in animals like the Wolf People being able to do things that look like clairvoyance through smell. As Queen Morga, I found that I had many abilities of the lynx, a heightened sense of hearing, touch, and the ability to see in the dark. Susan says that, as Queen Cuadhe, she was able to sense things through animals like the identity of a person unseen through the smells and sounds of a herd of horses.
No on I knew on Earth had abilities developed to this degree. However, having said that, many I knew had deep intuitions that no one took seriously. Susan Standford, who played the character of Queen Cuadhe, could read people in a way that seemed like telepathy. I sometimes relied on her to back me up in my intuitions about people. Many of the men I knew, like Bob Gallnanis, had become very good at blocking himself, or schooling his face so that nothing showed of his thoughts and feelings unless he wanted. People develop this skill so that they can lie and bluff well. Much of what we perceive of as intuition or ESP is cultural. If people are supposed to be tough, they may not develop these skills to any degree.
There are three practices for developing and enhancing any skill that humans have. The are intent, practice, and meditation. Although there are plenty of "wild" skills in Anieth, most of the adepts have gone through years of training. People talk about Mozart being a musical genius, but if you look at his childhood, he spent all of his time playing piano. My estimate for professional level skills: drawing, playing piano, playing tennis is about 10,000 hours. There are about 2100 hours of 40/week in a year, so say, roughly five years of doing nothing else. To be a master at a skill requires as many more years. If Mozart had spent 10,000 hours playing the piano by the time he was five, this alone explains his skill. But I must digress. He had the intent, or the desire, to play the piano. Often this is what is innate. Children, even little children show marked preferences for one activity or another. If parents are paying attention, and push on this desire, it often becomes a skill very fast. The parents can substitute their intention for a child's and make the child into a genius, but this is hard on the child and often will backfire. Although few people, having practiced for 20,000 hours who get attention for this skill will just abandon it.
One of magic bullets that human readily have access to is meditation. Often meditation has to come with practice. Playing scales on a violin for hours and hours develops into a kind of meditation. This is what you hear when someone says, "I have to go running so I can calm down." Meditation is usually sitting and not doing much, but a repetitive sport or physical act can help with this practice. I cannot say enough good things about meditation. It is rarely practiced any more. People think that they do not have enough time. However, studies have proven that children who meditate perform better in all aspects of school, socialize better, have fewer emotional and mental difficulties, and do much better at sports. Many of the martial arts have kinds of meditation. Yoga and t'ai chi are both physical meditations, but so is ballet. Most social sports are not, since you are learning to play as a team with the distractions of other people (including a coach) but developing the skills may qualify. Shooting hoops, for instance, as long as there are not a lot of distractions.
Anyone can begin to meditate, develop intent, and practice at any age. If you don't know what you want to do or you feel like an idiot who can't do anything, try this practice.
1. Find a quiet place in your house. It might be a closet!
2. Put a chair there, a cushion, or sit on the floor.
3. Try to sit still and let your thoughts go for ten minutes or more.
4. Try not to "hang onto" thoughts or dwell on things, but don't get obsessed with letting them go either. Try to relax.
5. Try to sit as straight as you can. If you get sore, stand, but try to walk in place.
6. Some close their eyes, this is not necessary, but don't watch something.
7. If you have a practice that you like, do it, but as long as a motions are repetitive, automatic and boring. The key is boring. If you're seeking entertainment, think again.
It will take five years of doing this to start gaining mental control. But great developments will happen after a short time of doing this practice. Try to do this every day, for as long as you can. You can also do it with your kids. You can do this in the morning or in the evening or multiple times. Some people do 40 minutes at a time. For others, this is physically too hard or a time constraint. Try to do ten minutes. The important aspects are: no talking, no interaction, no noise, no reading, minimal, repetitive movement.
Even those in Anieth, had to do this, some, like the Queens, for days on end. Cuadhe says that it took five months of solitude and meditation for her mind to calm down. With any meditation or meditation practice, you see results fairly quickly, then nothing for a long time, then strange and subtle changes, then another rush of change, then nothing for another long time, then all kinds of things begin to happen, but they are often things only you and others like you can see.
Physical - Eating and Sleeping
Most of what keeps people from developing are comforts. This is an awkward subject, but the habits and sloth of humans is an animal trait that must be overcome. Most disciplines introduce fasting, but this depends on your body type. Sleep is also a problem or an issue for many. It is all right to get little sleep as long as it is at the same time of day every day. Those on rotating shifts tend to have emotional and physical problems. What we found in Anieth was that certain peoples who valued their mental skills ate a very strict diet. Lugh, here, of the Rowan, only ate raw food, like the other Rowan. They did eat fish, but it was salted or dried, not cooked. Some warriors, like the Oak, thought that they needed to eat a lot of food, but the Holly, who were honed warriors practiced fasting and limitations in diet. Few of the Clans ate a lot of critter. For many, this was because of the nature of shape-shifting, for others it was a matter of discipline. Among those who did eat a lot of animals were the Willow and Rush and Oak who developed gout and a host of other problems in mid-life. The Alder, who drank blood, thought it was the cooking that created health problems.
Almost all spiritual people who seem to have "powers" on Earth, practice diet restrictions. The Buddhists are vegetarian and only eat once a day. The Hindus eat according to body type, but are vegetarians. Muslims and Jews only eat animals that have been killed and prepared a certain way. In the West, monks used to be restricted, Catholics are encouraged to eat no meat on Friday (they eat fish instead) but the rest of the population seems to think a diet of bacon and doughnuts is just fine. If you are going to develop skills, physical or mental, you have to change diet. You can avoid this, but only with serious consequences. For skills that take twenty years to develop, this is an end to that development.
- Do I eat at least one meal a day that is free of all animal products?
- Do I avoid known food allergens (wheat, corn, dairy, soy, and citrus)?
- Do I know if I have food allergies? Do I know if I have mood problems with food?
- Have I ever fasted? For how long?
- Have I ever done a cleanse? Do I know what this is?
- Do I find the idea of a raw or vegetarian diet to be ridiculous?
- What would I sacrifice (food-wise) to feel better, be stronger, be pain-free, and less emotional?
- Do I have one food I cannot give up?
The journey of food restriction is long and complex and something maybe only ten percent of people will even try. If you are at all interested in personal development, there is no way to avoid the food thing. What we noticed in Anieth is that body odor changed radically with diet. The people we knew on raw diets could run most of the day without suffering fatigue. Anyone with amazing powers practiced diet restriction and meditation.
Honing Skills and the Mind
The mind is pliant. It is extremely easy to change the mind so that you begin to believe in certain abilities and skills. Where a physical skill is rather obvious with results everyone can see, often mental skills are not obvious. We all live in our own minds. If you want to get out of the trap of thoughts and emotional storms, you can do this, like dieting, one step at a time. To receive or channel, you have to open up the mind and body. To summon or concentrate, you have to open and then direct forces. To radiate and transform, you have to open up, direct, and then let go. All of these skills make for amazing people. You can achieve this, for this kind of thing is universal. Just as a trained singer needs to learn to open the chest and sinuses, or a trained archer needs to "know" that the arrow is in the target, you can develop from anywhere you are. It takes time and the development of habit.
Try this exercise. Whenever you want to speak, don't. Just don't say what you would have said. Breathe, relax, and focus on the other. Did they want to hear what you would have said? Would it have hurt or been detrimental to the interaction? Was it human to human or you to a sub-creature? Is there a person there that you are speaking to, or is it your own head?
Try this exercise. Whenever you crave a food, wait before you eat it. It may take five minutes, but the craving will go away unless you activate it further. Even hormonal foods like chocolate can have a sharp fall off on the craving. Whenever you crave anything, food, buying something, an emotional charge, a person, try to not jump, but back away, breathe and wait a bit. You will be surprised! Habits can only be broken in this way. So much of what we do is automatic, created from habit.
And another. Try walking around, shopping or etc. (Doesn't work well in cars.) Try smiling at everyone and thinking at them that they are human and have their own lives. If you are an attractive female, use this skill on women and kids and old people. Nod to the person you pass, even if they are bum or repellant. Do not engage them, just acknowledge them. Think about them as being human like you are. Do this with animals. Don't try to make eye contact, but be quiet, gentle, aware of their presence. With dogs, you may have to speak in a soothing, positive voice. Same with kids. With cats, you have to just be quiet in your movements. Notice how jerky your movements are, or how much you are in your head, or how much depends on your mood.
The list of practice is very long. You will find more on the Water, Fire etc. pages, and more if you read books on spirituality. Be wary of jumping to some practice for short term effects, like staring at marbles to make them move, or doing meditation to get a girl, or doing anything with hope of a rush. This is called spiritual materialism and most people in the West fall victim to it in our result driven society.