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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                      Helpful Hints for a Nearly Extinct Species
                           Submitted satirically by Haragano
           Let's get down  to basics.  Being the  leader of a group is  more than
           just  the hard work of raising dust devils in the back yard or zapping
           a  friend's TV antenna so they can get  HBO.  Leading a group offers a
           lot of perks.  You get  a lot  of ego strokes,  you get  to divide  up
           babies just like Solomon and  you even get to keep the  leftovers from
           the potlucks at moon feasts.  After all you have put in a lot of long,
           hard hours and cashed in a lot of empties to win the coveted  title of
           "High Poop-di  Ha of the Infinite Invisibility".  And you want to keep
           it!  The bottom line, the final  word in keeping your position on  top
           of the  heap is spelled  P-O-W-E-R.   These hints  are concerned  with
           helping you keep it.
                 In the busy modern craft of  today there are many ways that your
           power base can be  erroded.  The two most  likely ways you can  end up
           preaching to an empty circle are through the insiduous inroads made by
           INFORMATION  and DISCUSSION.  These  twin curses have  upset more High
           Poop-di-Has than Carter has little liver pills.
               Information is the worst threat. The more a follower is acquainted
           with history, anthropology, psychology, socio-dynamics ... really, any
           area that requires an individual to exert himself mentally, you are in
           for questions  you don't really want  to answer. The very  best way to
           deal with  this sticky situation is to avoid it.  Recruit the immature
           and the fanatic.  They don't bring really tasty goodies to feasts, but
           they are  good ego boosters.   They are expendable and  feircely loyal
           for no particular reason.
               If  you find you are being pestered by an "intellect" (they should
           have never gotten through your screening) you have to quickly learn to
           manage  information   more  effectively.    Don't   worry.    Managing
           information is easier than  it seems.  Newscasters do it  every night.
           First, Adopt  an attitude of  "ask me  anything", then  make sure  you
           don't have  any answers and  don't know where  to get them.   Create a
           vacuum!  Yes,  nature abhors a vacuum but it  is your strongest weapon
           in the war for ignorance.  Second is the wild  goose chase, atried and
           true method of dealing  with anyone who persists in  asking questions.
           Send a troublesome individual  on a few of these.   Tire them out, and
           they will go away sooner or later.  When they leave,  the stage is set
           for you to shake your head solemnly and expound at length on how they
           were not  ready to  learn what you  had to  offer.   This act is  very
           impressive to newcomers.
             Reassure your followers that they don't have to keep up on current
           thoughts in  and  about the  craft.   After  all,  books and  magazine
           subscriptions are expensive.  Imply that they will learn all that they
           need from you by hinting at the "secrets of the craft" that yet  await
           them.  If they are adamant about reading, call their attention only to
           those items that reinforce your point of view (you need all the backup
           you can get).  The Xian  (as in Xmas)  fundamentalists have  developed
           this  sort of information management  into an art  form.  "Information
           Management  is next  to  Godilness". I'm  sure  Mr. Falwell  has  that
           embroidered on a  pillow slip somewhere.  You might  want to write him
           for a needlepoint kit.
           ON TO DISCUSSION...
               Discussion  with other groups must be limited. If they don't share
           your point of view, all contact with them should be eliminated.  After
           all,  your immature followers do mature and  fanatics mellow out.  The
           free exchange of  differing ideas has  a justifiablely bad  reputation
           for expanding an individuals craft  viewpoint.  And THAT is deadly  to
           the sacred position of High Poop-di Ha.
             There is an effective means of terminating troublesome contacts with
           other groups, while  at the same time confirming your  position as the
           center  of attention.    It  is  the  practice of  the  "Fine  Art  of
           Self-Righteous Indignation"!   The  premier example  of  this was  the
           medieval  Church.   When it  met with  a conflicting  view, such  as a
           scholar pointing out that the Church was rewriting history or physics,
           the Church  would denounce him  as a "minion  of Satan".   Usually the
           scholar was hauled off and put to the
           Question.   What's  the truth,  more  or less,  compared to  the  self
           Indignation of God's Chosen....right?
               Remember, you haveto slam the door tightly on any new ideas!  This
           takes  dramatic  measures.   You  don't  want conflicting  information
           coming  in, and  you certainly  don't want  your s/h/e/e/p/  followers
           wandering off.
               Pick a public occasion and  invade a circle or burst into  a study
           group.   Most importantly, make sure your  group is around you.  After
           all, the  coming performance  is really  for them.   Rant,  pound your
           breast, whatever you need to  do, to get across the idea of YOU as the
           poor, persecuted victim.   Make this  crystal clear to your  group and
           they will stick to you like you were dipped in crazy glue.   If anyone
           in your group  has ever had a course in group dynamics, send them on a
           wild  goose chase that evening.  They might  tumble to what you are up
           to, and besides they are probably asking too many questions anyway.
               When  facing the  m/i/n/i/o/n/s/o/f/S/a/t/a/n/ opposing  group, be
           personally  offensive  if  you  can.    Call  them  picky,  heretical,
           egotistical, perverse, etc.   Anything you can get away  with (wailing
           in  the background is a nice touch).   To keep your group successfully
           insulated  from  differing  ideas,  you  have  to  clearly  label  the
           opposition  in the  minds of  your followers.  People just  LOVE tags!
           Now, this next point is important, so listen up!  You must make it 
           clear that you  want no further contact with the  opposing group.  Try
           to  affect a tone  in your voice  that conveys "this  is a regrettable
           decision but it just  has to be", like the tone  Billy Graham takes on
           when he talks about sinners.  This gives you a twofold  bonus.  First,
           it gets the  word to "them" in no uncertain terms and, second, it gets
           the word to your people that it would not be wise for anyone who wants
           to remain a part  of your group to have  any contact with "those"  you
           have just judged unacceptable.  This sort of frontal assault generally
           alienates both groups as well as every individual  in them. There will
           be no information exchange, no open discussion and very little growth.
           But what do you care, you're safe.
             One warning though; If for any reason you think the other group will
           simply  laugh   at  your  overacting,  don't   chance  a  face-to-face
           confrontation.  Keep the  performance within your own  group.  If  you
           have been a good information manager that should be effective enough.
             Although you are one of the last "High Poop-di-Ha's of the Infinite 
           Invisibility"  in the craft, you belong to an ancient society that can
           be traced through  most of the world's major religions.  You exemplify
           rigidity, closed-mindedness  and religious  manipulation.  You  have a
           lot to  be self-righteous about!   In order to pervent  your kind from
           dying out completely, you have to remember to stringently restrict the
           information flow to your group and terminate all open discussions with
           outsiders  holding differing  views.  If  you take to  heart these few
           pointers  you won't  go the  way of  the Great  Auk and  the Passenger

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