(Last older post for today, a tribute to my friends. Yeah, OK, maybe I did talk more about me, but it's about THEM. This one was from back in November of '09.)
Integrity is, in my opinion, the foundation of all relationships, whether they are with your family, social groups, spirits, or God the First Father. As I discovered painfully from the establishment of my relationship with God, there can be no foundation for any relationship that isn't founded firmly in the truth. You have to know who or what a thing is first and foremost before you can decide if you like it, love it, or want it to be a part of your life.
In my life, I've had few friends. Part of that is because I moved around a lot as a child, and I quickly learned that when you move, your friends quickly forget you. You became "that guy that moved away in 1st grade," or fifth grade, or tenth grade. The people most important to me in my elementary school couldn't pick me out of a line-up two years later. I realized then that "friendship" wasn't what it was cracked up to be. It's nice, but you can always make new friends. Your old friends will forget about you, and if you pop up again, you'll both be strangers because so much shit has gone down. There may always be a core of shared experiences to fall back on, but life has a tendency to change people, and there's truth in the old proverb: you can never go home again.
But the things that make people really be your friends are all based on truth. If you have a relationship with someone where you have to limit what they know about you, you're limiting the depth of your friendship. I can't tell my boss about my occult studies, even if she understood it wasn't Satanism. But I can talk about what happened on Dexter. We can have a level of friendship, but it can never be complete because there are some things that neither of us would share with colleagues in the Government Service industry.
And that's ok with me. I don't really want to be friends with a lot of people. I don't mind being friendly with a lot of people, but my circle of close friends is small and will remain so. All these relationships are based on truth, integrity.
There are times that integrity demands discomfort. Everything that is true is not necessarily fun. It doesn't always mesh well with what we want to believe. Sometimes we think in certain programmed patterns that leave us blind to some piece of the programming that might cause problems, and when people point it out, we want to kill them, even when they're friends.
Since most of my friends are magicians, there's an added element of danger to pointing out uncomfortable truths. Some of my friends are megalomaniacs, though in a mostly harmless way. I find that personality trait appealing, for some reason. Can't imagine why.
But the problem with megalomaniacs is that we, er, they can be a little touchy. So there are times when I'm tempted to keep things to myself to be nice. I've learned that it doesn't help things at all. Eventually I get so annoyed it comes out anyway, and seldom as peacefully as it could have been had I said something earlier.
My problem is tact. I don't have a lot of it. I can, sometimes, but when it comes to magical things, I tend to be a bit of a dick. I'd blame usenet, or Golden Dawn Yahoo Groups, but the truth is, I was always like this when it comes to spiritual things. I've been a Crowned Child (code for Brat Prince) in spiritual matters since I first learned that Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins. I mean, if the earthly manifestation of the freakin' LOGOS that created all things by speaking the thoughts of his Father loved me personally enough to die like that so we could spend time together... .
And I've always heard the Voice of God. Not in a crazy way, but I've always had a good and close relationship with the Holy Spirit. I've been in tune with God's Spirit on Earth since I was a young child, and I knew a lot more than I understood, or understood a lot more than I knew. I learned to listen to the Still Small Voice in a Bible camp in Oklahoma, and I heard it n the winds, and heard it in the stones, and heard it in the whisper of fallen pine needles beneath my boots. Sure, I forgot, and spent hard times ignoring it or drowning it out with booze and other stupid choices, but I got better. I got a lot better.
So I feel pretty goddamned privileged, frankly.
When I speak on a subject, I do so when I have had experience in it, and tested it, and discovered something about it that is valuable. I speculate on things from time to time, but I don't offer a conclusive opinion, or present a conclusion until I've got some experience to back it up. As a result, I expect people to take what I have to say about some topics with a little more weight than some average guy in the street.
So I can be a bit touchy about things too. It's pride, not arrogance though, when I do it. I've earned the right to my pride. I deserve it. I've done a lot to be proud of. It's not hubris, and it's not vain glory either. I know the things I've done so far are good, but they aren't where I really want to be. I'm in constant danger of stagnating in the Peacock phase, and that's not what I want to do. It's fun here, but there's more at hand.
These are the same traits that I value in my closest friends. Confidence in their abilities, pride of workmanship, or craftsmanship, and dedication to getting better, seeing more, being more and more themselves in every way. My friends have traveled the world in pursuit of spiritual insight, or painstakingly delved into the Secrets of the Grimoires, or demonstrated their beliefs in active cultural ministry. My friends are leaders, and when they speak on a subject, I listen carefully.
Integrity is the foundation of these relationships. They demonstrate the integrity of their beliefs in the actions of their lives.
I've got some pretty awesome friends.