Fame in the occult community

Posted on May 7, 2009
Filed Under book review, Culture, occult culture, Taylor Ellwood | 8 Comments

There’s a really interesting post about fame in the pagan community, in which the author discusses the desire to be famous and how it is part of the Pagan identity, and that at the same time fame in such a context is associated with depth and wisdom, yet also speaks to a rather teenage fantasy of being respected because of being famous (which is not necessarily true at all…if anything fame leads to envy). It’s an interesting post to read, and I see certain parallels in the occult community, which is not necessarily the pagan community, but isn’t all that removed from the pagan community either.

The question though is whether fame is all it’s cracked up to be, and in my own response to her post, I mentioned that it isn’t all its cracked up to be. Fame is a glamour…a kind of illusion, if you will. It shows off the persona of someone, but doesn’t necessarily let anyone in underneath that persona.

At the same time, fame is a poison as well, at least for the really famous people who can never get away from the cameras or people wanting to know the sordid details of every single moment of the famous person’s life.

I’ve never experienced the level of fame that say a movie star has experienced, but being an author, I’ve experienced some level of fame when I’ve presented at festivals and events. And more recently, because I’ve been getting more involved as a coach and public speaker outside of strictly occult topics, I’ve been experiencing some fame there. And I have to admit, I like my little taste of fame. It is nice to be recognized for your expertise and knowledge. But, it’s equally important to recognize that why people recognize is because of that expertise and knowledge…its not because of some inherent specialness about you. And when you can remember that, then any sense of fame is grounded by a humble realization that for you to get to that point, you had to rely on what other people did in the past, as well as your own work. You realize that any sense of fame is also transitory. Fame only lasts as long as you are willing to put yourself out there. Even in Crowley’s case, the main reason he’s still famous has a lot more to do with his followers continuing to publish his books and also organize a belief system centered around his teachings. If they weren’t there, would he still be famous…perhaps, but likely not nearly as famous as he still is.

The real question though is what the seeking of fame really brings someone. I think of fame seekers sometimes as people trying to build a sense of self-esteem based off what other people think of them…and that actually isn’t much different from many a person…I don’t know many people who don’t, on some level, genuinely care about what at least one person thinks of them. And to be honest, it can be good for the self-esteem to know that someone genuinely thinks you are awesome. It only goes sour when we let it go to our heads, and when we forget to that self-esteem ultimately has to come from the self. You’ve got to possess your self, in order to really become yourself.

I like being an author and a publisher, and part of what makes it rewarding is the fame…but I think of the fame as icing on the cake…and the cake itself is really about the opportunity to share information, ideas, and also help others do the same (which is one reason why I love publishing). And in the end, all that aside, what really matters is the continuing journey through live…the living, learning, loving, experiencing of each moment as an a gift from the universe and also offering of yourself back to the universe.

Book Review: The Brain-Shaped Mind by Naomi Goldblum

This is an excellent beginner’s book into neuroscience, and one I’d recommend for anyone who wants to understand how the brain works and how the mind is connected to the brain. The author presents the connectionist model and does a good job of also explaining how the neurons and synaptic processes of the brain work. The examples she uses are also very helpful. This is a short book, and an easy read. It’s definitely the first book I recommend to someone new to neuroscience, because the author concisely introduces and explains the concepts, while keeping the reader grounded.

5 out 5 neurons