Mr. Gillette’s Revolution
About 100 years ago, a man named King Gillette patented a small invention that revolutionized the world. The invention, as you may have guessed, was just a slight improvement on the “safety razor,” a device that wouldn’t slice open a man’s throat if he slipped while shaving.
But the real revolution was not the device. Rather, it was in the way it was marketed. There were two aspect to this. First, although the razor itself was designed to be kept, the replacement blades were disposable. This virtually began what has been called, “the disposable society.” For example, if your grandparents’ families bought milk, they probably bought it in bottles that were returned, cleaned, and re-used by the milk company. Today, your milk probably comes in cardboard or plastic cartons that are disposed of after one use. It’s even cheaper to throw away a broken bread toaster and purchase a new one than to have the broken one fixed.
Second, he charged a relatively small amount for the device, but then kept on charging youâ€”week after week, month after monthâ€”for replacement blades. Cellular phones often seem inexpensive when you buy them, but with the monthly charges for service, they end up costing you thousands. Today, one of the most famous versions of this technique is the marketing of inkjet printers. Amazingly powerful and complex printers cost almost nothing; often far less than $100. But the manufacturers won’t even tell you how much the ink costs. Oh, they will tell you how many pages they supposedly will “cover,” but they won’t tell you the price per ounce or pint.
And You thought Gas Was Expensive
Right now, the price of gasoline where I live is around $3.00 per gallon. Most people I know think that’s a lot of money. But because the printer companies won’t tell you how much ink is in those little cartridges, other people have had to figure it out. This site determined that a gallon of black ink for your printer would cost you more than $2,700. This site claims the cost is “up to $8,000″ a gallon. And this site claims that the cost can be “over $20,000 per gallon!”
So what does the price of razor blades and printer ink have to do with magick?
I’m glad you asked!
One of the things I consider very valuable for magickal people of all traditions is attending festivals and conventions. For a relatively small sum (think of the cheap razors and printers) you get to meet with people of a like mind, make new friends, and attend lectures and workshops by some of the top writers and speakers in their fields.
I give workshops at festivals and conventions. I attend them, too. I’ve participated at festivals that cost people $100 or less to attend and others that cost people over $5,000.00 a week to attend. The difference in the workshops given at these events isâ€¦nothing. A workshop on meditation at an event that costs $100 for a week is basically identical to a workshop on meditation at an event that costs $5,000 for a week. I know because I’ve attended both types of events and seen such workshops. I’ve also given workshops at both types of events.
The investment in yourself to attend magickal-oriented events is almost always at the lowest end of the pricing spectrum. Someone isn’t making much from those events, and from experience I can tell you that, most often, it is the speakers. I’m not claiming that the promoters are making fortunes. Rather, due to the low prices to make sure the largest number of people can attend, nobody is making a fortune. Mostly, both the speakers and promoters are doing this as a service to help the attendees.
In short, when you see one of your favorite speakers at a convention or festival, they’re not getting rich from sharing their information with you. Some of them actually only break even or lose money by having to take time off from their regular work. Most do it to help the people who come to see them. You usually get to see them at no charge beyond entry to the event. The only way many of the speakers can break even or make a little money is with what’s called BOR.
BOR is a commonly used abbreviation for “Back Of the Room” sales. After giving a workshop, many speakers, including myself, sell their books in the back of the room. It’s where such speakers are actually able to make a little money for the workshop they just gave, and I would encourage you to purchase from them to support their work.
Some speakers are popular enough writers, however, that most attendees will already have their books. And due to the economy and the prices of books, some people, after paying for entry, can’t easily afford a speaker’s books.
Therefore, I’ve decided to write and print some inexpensive pamphlets that I will only sell at the back of the room of my workshops. They will deal with one subject and be brief (under 20 pages), filled with information, and inexpensive. The first one I created was on meditation.
There are lots of great books on meditation. I recommend Meditation for Beginners, Meditation, and Meditation as Spiritual Practice. I also like the unique Yoga Nidra Meditation audio CD. You’ll also find numerous books with sections on meditation such as my Modern Magick.
But what if you don’t want to buy an entire book? The technique of true meditation consists of three steps (lots of sources leave out the last part):
1) Relax the mind and body
2) Focus intently on something (most commonly a sound or visual object)
3) Eliminate from your mind what you’re focusing upon
The idea is that the intense focus takes the attention of your conscious mind. When you eliminate that focus, the supremacy of the conscious is temporarily bypassed, allowing direct communication with your higher self. In the pamphlet I wrote I describe how to do this and ways to use it in a mere 12 pages. It’s nowhere near as complete as any book, but it gives you all the basics as well as practical uses. In the future I’ll have them available at the back of the room when I give workshops.
Summary and Questions
To summarize, I strongly urge you to attend magick-oriented festivals and conventions. They tend to be incredibly valuable in many ways and are very inexpensive for what you receive. I would also urge you, if you are able to do so, to purchase books and products the workshop leaders have available at the back of the room.
I also have some questions:
1) Right now, my first pamphlet is on 12 full-size typing paper (8.5″ x 11″) pages. If the price and information is the same, would you prefer it in this full-size format or in a “chapbook” format (24 pages that are a half of the full-sized pages, just 5.5″ x 8.5″)?
2) Other topics I’m thinking of doing in this form include “How to Influence People and Win them Over,” “Wealth Secrets of the Rich,” and “What Your Dreams Mean.” As you can see, these are meant for the broadest areas of interest. What topics would you like to see me cover? Keep in mind that I want to keep them under 20 pages.