Category Archives: Boat Paddlers Arsenal

Boat Paddling 101: The Two Response Rule

If there was something that I heard a lot when I was growing up, it was my elders telling me that I never knew when to stop. I always took things too far- jokes, ribbing, pushing boundaries- inevitably, I’d piss off whoever I was talking to, or get myself in a load of trouble. My grandfather used to warn me when I was pushing my luck with the phrase “The burro is coming out in you” (which I always read as a burrito, not a donkey, oops) as a means to try and get me to stop while I was still ahead, and in my adulthood, this has been replaced with the Two Response Rule, or TRR for short.

What is the Two Response Rule?

The Two Response Rule was made up by this guy right here. He came up with the idea as a means to help me learn when to stop while interacting with people on the Internet. We’ve all been a part of or bore witness to a “discussion” on the Internet that drags on and on and on and on- where its obvious that each party is set in their ways and isn’t going to budge in their opinion. The Two Response Rule effectively shuts those interactions down before they drag on forever or degrade into flame wars.

Like much of everything within the Boat Paddling arsenal, anyone can use the Two Response Rule, and it can be activated at any point within a discussion. As soon as you feel like the discussion is no longer being productive, or is slipping into a flame war, that’s when it’s time to engage the TRR.

How do I use the Two Response Rule?

The short version of the Two Response Rule is this:

  1. When you respond to someone on a forum, you have two interactions/responses with the other person to gauge whether this conversation will be productive or not.
  2. The first post is a means to convey your point. The second post is an attempt to clarify if necessary.
  3. If after two attempts to convey what you meant prove fruitless, you engage the Two Response Rule and no longer respond to that person, or to that thread in general.

This is particularly useful in very triggering topics and threads where the conversation can get out of hand easily. It also shuts down bullies and trolls before they can get their nails into you. And as the creator of the Two Response Rule says: If you can’t convince them, or get your message across in two responses, you likely aren’t going to get your message across in a hundred responses.

Additionally, you can use the Two Response Rule towards an entire thread, or just one particular person within the thread. The key is knowing your limits and putting a stop to engaging the person who isn’t promoting beneficial discussion.

But I have such a hard time walking away!

I have this problem too, honestly. There are times when I will have a hard time walking away. However, I always try to remember that my spoons are more important than flame wars, and that many times there is no lasting benefit to responding to people who are being inflammatory. If anything, it brings me down with them, and that is of no benefit to myself.

If you have a hard time walking away, I recommend getting up from the computer and doing something else for a while. Give the thread or response a few hours (or overnight) and see if you really feel the same about responding once some time has passed. Many times, you’ll find that setting fire to everything isn’t worth it anymore. And if you’re not busy setting fire to things, you’ll likely have more time to put your efforts into things that are more worthwhile and fulfilling.

Like watching cats on Youtube.

Other Posts in the Boat Paddlers Arsenal:


Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Boat Paddlers Arsenal, Kemeticism


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Boat Paddling 101: The Basics

Just a little over a year ago, I wrote a post that likened the Kemetic community to islands. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this post would end up opening a whole can of worms that would rocket my Kemetic “career” down a path that I was not expecting. This singular post would end up summing up a large portion of my Kemetic goals and ideals, and would end up being summed up in the catch phrase of “Boat Paddling”.

Eventually, this boat paddling thing would catch on, and I’ve found that others want to learn more about it and possibly get in on it. This is the first in a series of posts where I attempt to help others work on being boat paddlers and incorporate boat paddling concepts into their Kemetic practice.

boat paddling

What is boat paddling?

To go back to the post linked above, I see the Kemetic community as a series of islands in the middle of an ocean. Each island might be considered to be a certain type of Kemeticism (of which there are many). Those of us who are boat paddlers are the Kemetics who sit in their canoes (or other boat of choice) and paddle between the various Kemetic communities and try to establish “trade routes” and “cultural exchanges”. Boat paddlers are the people who don’t tend to sit on only one forum and they are the ones who tend to have resource lists for miles.

Boat paddling, at its core, is about walking the middle ground. The aim is to be balanced in what you say and what you do; you’re meant to talk straight (yet respectfully) and tell it like it is. You’re there to be a mediator and help people along their paths. You’re not there to sling mud or to create rifts where there needn’t be any, and in many cases the goal is to lessen or remove rifts if possible. Boat paddlers are supposed to be about the bigger picture: Community.

The boat paddling mantra can be summed up in one statement: Don’t be a dick.

Who can become a boat paddler?

Anyone, honestly. You can be a member of Kemetic Orthodoxy or a member of the Temple of Ra or a member of no temple at all and become a boat paddler. You can be recon oriented, recon-slanted, HIP, revivalist, Tamaran or something else entirely. Boat paddling is about diplomatic and respectful exchange and discussion. It’s about diversity and community. Therefore, there are no restrictions on temple affiliation or anything like that.

So long as you’re working towards the same/similar goals as the rest of us boat paddlers, you’re a boat paddler. It’s that simple.

Why should anyone care about boat paddling?

I believe that boat paddling helps the community as a whole- both boat paddlers and non-boat paddlers alike. Because boat paddlers are about information and idea exchange and discussion, it allows for more discourse to occur between Kemetics of all stripes. This allows all of us to learn from one another in a safe environment and promotes new ideas and thoughts about our religion and its deities. This type of discussion also clears up misunderstandings and rumors that exist within our community and I think that is definitely important. It helps to provide a more level playing ground for all Kemetics due to the exchange of resources and ideas, and it helps to establish a good foundation for future Kemetics to build upon.

What qualifies someone as a boat paddler?

I think that there are a few key points that make someone a boat paddler. The first is to follow the notion of “Don’t be a dick”. Mind you, I understand that everyone has their moments where they behave less than ideally, and it’s normal for people to lose their cool from time to time, but the idea is to attempt to embody the mantra as much as you can and as often as you can. With everything here, the goal is to aim for the ideal and slowly work your way towards becoming more in-line with that ideal. However, if you can’t even support the idea of “Don’t be a dick”, you will likely have problems with the boat paddling method of Kemeticism.

Additionally, I think another point that a boat paddler will embody would be the ability to discuss calmly. Since a lot of our exchanges occur online via text, it is important to understand that there will be miscommunications and misunderstandings from time to time. A boat paddler will want to try and be calm throughout these situations and will attempt to understand what others are trying to say. When it comes to online etiquette, the aim is to never degrade into a flame war or name calling. Such things would go against the “Don’t be a dick” mindset. I know that this can be a challenge- and this is why I want to discuss more tools and ideas for how we can all work towards better online interactions that reduce miscommunications and spoon loss.

And finally, boat paddlers must be open to new ideas and discussion. The whole point of the boat paddling idea is to have “cultural exchange”- that is, an exchange of ideas and events that occur in different branches of Kemeticism. In order to really learn about these things, you must first be open to discussing your practice and the practice of others. For example, if you are talking about daily rituals within a Kemetic context- you would need to be open to the idea that not everyone will do it your way. If you can’t move beyond the fact that others have different ways to do things, there will be hiccups in learning and discussing things as a community.

So now that I know about boat paddling- what now?

In the future I will be releasing a series of posts detailing some of the ways that boat paddlers handle online interactions and work towards bettering the Kemetic community. It is my hope that these posts will help others to embody some of the boat paddling concepts and methods in their own online interactions. By simply bringing these topics and ideas into your practice and online interactions, you are effectively becoming a boat paddler, it’s that simple ūüôā¬† Some topics that I intend on covering are:

If you have any other topics that you’d like to see covered, please let me know! All Boat Paddling entries can be found in the brand new “Boat Paddlers Arsenal” category (which you can access from the drop down menu on the right).


Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Boat Paddlers Arsenal, Kemeticism


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Building it Up

The last time I wrote about community, it was a bit of a disaster. And while I discussed our need for more community, I didn’t got into a lot of discussion about how to better the community around us. So I wanted to revisit the idea of community and how we can all work to make it stronger. How we can all build a boat and visit other islands.

As stated in my previous post, I do believe that we need to reach out to one another- not necessarily to sing kumbaya around a campfire together, but at the very least to reach a sort of understanding. Paganism (and Kemeticism in particular) spans thousands of years and millions of places – with each place having its own particular flavor of practice and belief. It’s complicated, it’s messy- and not everyone is going to completely agree with one another- they didn’t then, we can’t expect to now. However, each sector within the Pagan/Kemetic community has something to offer, something to teach or learn- even if it’s not for you. And each sector should be treated with respect- even if it’s in the respect of agreeing to disagree. If we don’t bother to establish ‘trade routes’ between the sects of Paganism, how can we expect anything lasting to ever be achieved? If all we do is bicker and fight amongst ourselves, we ultimately look no better than children. And that does us all a disservice.

Okay okay, I get it. You want community. So- what are the ideas?

I think the biggest thing holding us back is communication. We don’t communicate with one another. You stick to your circle of people and never branch beyond that circle. This circle can be online, or in real life- possibly both. In order to create a wider, more understood community, we need to expand who we communicate to (as well as how we communicate- this is just as important).

Don’t be afraid to get out there and make some friends or start some discussions!

  • You could visit forums (there is a list of Kemetic forums on the Kemeticism page). If you belong to a forum- perhaps try and look into a different set of forums to meet new people.
  • If you’re on Facebook, you could also look into Kemetic/Pagan flavored FB pages and join in the discussion there (also listed on the Kemeticism page).
  • Read blogs from different paths and different blogging sites. You’d be amazed at the little nuggets and ideas you can pick up from paths that aren’t your own.
  • Actually comment on some of those blogs you read.
  • Link to other blog posts, websites and useful resources to help spread word and ideas around.
  • If you get an idea from someone else, or someone else has written about something similar to your own topics, link to them! Spread some of the readership love.
  • Post content that is useful to new comers and seasoned practitioners. And when you do post stuff, make sure it’s labeled and tagged so that it can be found.
  • Join sites like Technorati, Delicious, Pinterest or Tumblr where more information can be spread around for others to view and where discussions can occur btwn people of differing paths.
  • Join discussions and network with local pagan shops, groups, UU churches and cons.
  • Look into local (or online) Pagan newsletters/publications- perhaps you can help with the content or messages being shown there.
  • Consider meeting up with online friends to bring that which is online into real life.

But why does any of this matter? Who cares?

My reasons for this are two-fold. First off, think back to when you first started on your path. You had an itch, an idea, a feeling that you needed to look into your particular path. How easy was it to find good information? How easy was it to find people that were worth talking to, who were willing to help you out? For most of us, it was an uphill battle to find anything worthwhile. And for those of us in the smaller segments- Kemeticism, for example- finding useful information is even harder. So instead of waiting for others to create useful information, or letting new comers flounder- why not help to spread stuff that’s useful and good? I’m not saying we need to proselytize or ‘spread the good word’ as though we are looking for converts- but at least have stuff in a place where it can be found via google or something similar. To me, this is a service to our paths and our deities to help lay foundations for new comers who genuinely want to know how to practice.

Or, as it was written in the Ka Theology 101:

We offer to the gods with the liturgy “May your ka be fed.” We present gifts with “For your ka.” It is in the nature of kau to give, and we give so that the ka is replenished, so that there is ever more to give. Every gift, every act of kindness, every investment, every meal, all of these are acts of sustaining the ka. Offerings are made so that the gods may continue to sustain their generosity; this theological principle is called “Do ut des”, “I give so that you may give.” As we give to each other, we sustain each other, we build our strength.

The second reason for many of this is heka. Communication is essentially heka- spoken words, putting forth ideas into the world. What we speak, becomes. And so we should want to speak well and discuss with others as to create a better world, a better place. For me, this blog, this work is also an offering to my gods, as a form of heka. Helping others to find footing within their own paths, or to find ways to bring their spiritual practice more into their life. Helping to dispel rumors and misinformation where I can- because it’s the right thing to do. As stated in the Heka is a Two Way Street post, we should aim to clear the air and create truth where we can. Because as MJ says: And Be Careful Of What You Do ‘Cause The Lie Becomes The Truth.

This whole reviving a dead religion thing is like a big block of stone that we’re all chipping at, trying to create something beautiful. Imagine how much faster we could create this work of art if we were to work together instead of fighting over it, or ignoring that anyone is carving except for yourself.

Relevant Posts:


Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Boat Paddlers Arsenal, Kemeticism, Rambles


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