Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My Path of Late

Namaste and Xαίρε!

My path of late has led me back to esoteric Christianity, but I wanted to post here because I wanted to point something out, and I think everyone exploring some derivative of Gardnerian Wicca should take note.

Don’t just leave it at Gardner.  Read up on Hermes Trismegistos.  Read up on the Rosicrucians, the Golden Dawn, OTO, and Qabbalah.  You’ll see that so much of Gardner is really derived from Judeo-Christian and Hermetic sources.  Don’t be afraid of where the path takes you; always approach it with a pure intent of knowing and understanding and never with the intent of self-aggrandizement.  

Also, read some of the darker material, but be advised that what I have seen of those who use it as their primary source material has not been pretty.  Those who invoke demons seem to weaken themselves internally, from what I’ve seen.  Incidentally, if faced by a demon that someone else summoned, do not show it fear and remember that a lesser demon will often impersonate a more powerful one to awe you.  Please, do NOT ask how I came by this knowledge.

At any rate, my readings in the esoteric have taken me in a direction more parallel to Rosicrucianism or even Catharism of late, and I have become deeply interested in the Nag Hammadi codices in particular as fragments of an authentic Gnostic past before Christianity was Romanized into a state cult by the Emperor Constantine (you know, the ugly bastard who had a colossal statue of himself built inside a church).  

I don’t much care for Nicene Christianity, as I call it, because it’s politicized and sanitized for mass consumption and serves as a legitimating myth for our increasingly irrelevant, thoroughly-Romanized meritocratic power structure.  I had looked into Gnostic Christianity years ago when the problems of Western political power became painfully obvious to me, but only briefly and I never gave it a fair chance in hindsight.  I am now though, and there is so much here to explore.

Also, in my journey I have learned more names for myself other than Three or “The One Called Three.”  I have also been called “Algiz” by a friend who has taken an interest in my esoteric ideas, and a few other names have surfaced of late.  I keep a secret to me the name that was revealed as I read of the old Celtic ways.  Also, my journey has included a gender transition in which I inadvertently gave myself a name with Gnostic connotations, which in turn brought other names to light which I discovered by way of the Zohar.

I’m not asking anyone to convert to esoteric Christianity or Jewish Mysticism, as I’m still not totally sold on it myself.  I sense that this is just one stop of many along a path to greater understanding (much like my foray into Buddhism).  That being said, I hope that all young Pagans who are just starting out read this and take note: sometimes a spiritual journey will take you far afield from where you started.  Don’t fight it.  Follow the pure white light of Dharma wherever it leads and be blessed in all you do.  If fate finds me here again, then good; if not, my other blog at http://severedejavu.blogspot.com is updated regularly and includes the most regular updates on my current spiritual journey.  

Farewell

I will no longer be updating this blog.

I have peered into the abyss and found no rhyme or reason to any of it, no sign of any gods or goddesses at my side to lead me wherever it is I’m supposed to go.

You see, I discovered a past life a few months back.  I was a soldier in the First World War. But far from reinforcing my beliefs, it only challenged them; I never saw the “summerland” and there’s nothing to tell me that there was any will beyond my own involved in the conditions of my current life.  I never saw any clear evidence that the people I love in this life are the same people I loved back in 1915 reincarnated and reunited with me.  I’m the only one from my village, the only one from my regiment, the only one from my family to remember that past life.

More than that, I’m sick to death of people in general, and sick to death at their feeble attempts to understand and control things while letting their own ideas rule them and get so out of hand.

More than that, I saw no evidence that there is any sort of reward or punishment at work here.  I killed in my past life, I slept around in French brothels, I had affairs, I drank, I smoked… and I got reincarnated in a fairly bearable life.  But I died bravely for nothing because there was no reward there.  I suppose someone might argue that it was some kind of karmic equalization but really, you could split hairs all day; what about someone who did more right than wrong and was reborn as an untouchable in India?  Karma is a fool’s conceit.

I hardly get out any more.  I haven’t observed a sabbat since Samhain, nor do I particularly want to.  I see no point in it; we can pray to whatever gods we like, but people will still keep self-destructing all around us.

I’m done here.  I see no more point.  The universe is a swirling void of matter that only randomly becomes people and objects, and people who can’t distinguish between people and objects and think it’s perfectly fine to use living, breathing, thinking people as cannon fodder.

Until I see anything more than random chance influenced to minuscule degrees by free will at work in the universe, I’m no longer happy calling myself a Pagan.

Dissonance, Dependence, and Dolphins

When I was in first grade around 1990, once a week our guidance counselor would bring around a blue dolphin puppet named Duso.

It was part of a program intended to help children build problem solving skills through tapping into the better parts of their being- things like empathy, compassion, and a desire for friendship- without either invoking or excluding any additional moral codes.

As a troubled first-grader, I enjoyed it because it was a chance for Mrs. Snipe, the guidance counselor, to come in and for Mrs. Edwards, our teacher who loved singling out and humiliating students like me, to sit at the back of the class and shut up for once.

The modules even included a basic form of guided meditation.  They’d play a recording where someone would talk about going to a fantasy setting called Aquatron to interact with the characters in the Duso teaching module.

We were supposed to have this program on into second and third grades, but Berkeley County schools quietly phased out the Duso program without explaining to us why.

Today, while looking up this bit of nostalgia, I found out why this program basically vanished in the early 90s.

A number of parents were calling it “new age” and accusing the Duso program of promoting “eastern religion” and “fantasy over facts.”  One blogger even went as far as claiming that the Duso module and the kinds of things it taught were responsible for the Columbine High School shootings.

But the most consistent complaint?  That it encouraged children to find their own answers instead of depending on their parents or religious texts.

This is the kind of values dissonance we 90s kids grew up on.  We had our schools and our media telling us how infinite the possibilities were for our lives if we just believed in ourselves and trusted our own sense of right and wrong, and we had our parents and preachers looming over us saying that we were innately evil and that if we trusted ourselves to make the right decisions, it would all end badly.

A year or two later, the schools were afraid to promote anything in the way of trusting ourselves.  In fact, the guidance curriculum got so wishy-washy that it basically amounted to “just listen to your parents and teachers, sit down, and be quiet little boys and girls.”  Second grade came, and the former time slot for our guidance counselor to bring in the Duso module (which originally would have run through third grade) was replaced with “The Quiet Game,” in which the quietest student would stand at the head of the class and select the next quietest student in an endless, borning, and inane contest to be the most unquestioningly obedient.

That was also around the time my mother took my sister and I to see Carman’s “Raising the Standard” tour at the North Charleston Colosseum.  It was a lavish free concert paid for by “pro-family” groups with deep pockets that, in hindsight, had some very disturbing themes to it.  At the beginning a Jumbotron showed scenes of riots, crime, drug use, and (oh horror of horrors) homosexuality, while the crowd was encouraged to boo at the images while Carman whipped them into a frenzy about how America “needed Jesus.”  The show continued with less subtle images, including a number called “Satan, Bite the Dust” with a dramatized Western-style gunfight where a turbaned figure with a sitar was shot, while Carman casually says “You first, for false religion.”  

Looking back, that’s what it was all about.  Our parents, community “leaders,” and preachers were ready to (at least metaphorically) gun down anyone who would lead their children into “false religion,” and they seem convinced that the traps were being set for us everywhere.

The 90s may have been a period of optimism, but it was also a time when parent groups and religious media ramped up their one-sided culture war to crush anything that looked vaguely like competition to their worldview, including a harmless little dolphin puppet and his make-believe friends.  

By the late 90s, I had given up on visions of peace and on trusting my own abilities.  For a while I got caught up in the thrill of “spiritual warfare,” and I believed that the final culture war was about to unfold and that I would be on the winning side.

But maybe the lessons I learned when I was younger weren’t completely lost.  I still have the scars of learning to overcome the fear and distrust in my own judgement (and I still reckon with it even now), but I have walked away from the rigid, hateful, and distrustful tone I had beaten into me.

So maybe they were partly right.  Maybe Duso the Dolphin was taking me away from the religion of my parents.

Or maybe I would have figured it out on my own sooner or later anyway.

Whatever the case, I hope to live to see at least one generation who never has to live with such horribly mixed signals, where adults are no longer afraid of what a child’s imagination can do because a child’s imagination can conceive of something far greater than a God of cognitive dissonance.  I hope one day, children will be encouraged to dream and imagine instead of having their dreams crucified in the name of saving their souls.

A soul that cannot dream is not worth saving.  One cannot have heaven unless one can dream of it first.

The Recurrence of Wisdom

Hello again, for those who actually read this little corner of the Web.  It has been a difficult few months but I have also had some strange and wonderful blessings that rounded out the unpleasantness nicely.

Just thought I’d make a short post to share something.

Now, many are familiar with Gerald Gardner’s Rede, which states:

An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.

Some may even be familiar with an earlier, similar statement made by Aliester Crowley, with whose work Gardner was probably familiar:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

It is similar but not entirely the same in meaning; Crowley’s contention was that one who was truly in tune with themselves and with the universe at large would need no reminding not to do harm.  

The similarities between these two statements of morality have led many to conclude that Gardner copied Crowley wholesale.

But today I came across another fascinating quote that follows in very much the same vein as the other two:

Dilige, et quod vis fac.

Love, then do what you will.

The twist?  This was penned by St. Augustine back in the 6th century, more than a millennium before Crowley and Gardner.

So does this mean that Aliester Crowley and Gerald Gardner just stole all their ideas from dark-age theologians?

Perhaps.  But I don’t believe it does.  I believe this is yet another example of the recurrence of a good idea.  It has often been said that “great minds think alike,” and if those who are revered as wise are truly tapping into the same consciousness, they will re-state the same ideas century after century without ever being prompted by another soul.

Look again at the writings of the world’s sages.  What themes come up again and again?  You need only to ignore the differences between the philosophies, religions, and great thinkers and examine their similarities.  There lies the truth, in ten billion shimmering fragments, waiting to be gathered by the student of the highest ideas.

On the Subject of Satan (or How To Confuse a Fundie)

If you’ve ever talked to a devout Christian- especially those of the Evangelical type so common in the US- you’ve probably come across sternly-worded and dire warnings that witchcraft was “of Satan” and that you must repent.

Now, besides being condescending, ill-informed, and generally narrow-minded about the Craft, there is one more problem with this.  Can you guess what it is?

Oh, yes.  The fact that there is no scriptural basis for the existence of Satan as a fallen angel who rebels against God by ensnaring human souls.

I know those of you who grew up in Christian households are shaking your heads.  That was drilled into your head all the time, the compelling story about how Lucifer, a bright and powerful angel, led a revolt against God and was cast out of heaven.

Except it’s not in the Bible.  Lucifer is only mentioned once, and only obliquely; in fact the reference is more descriptive of Nebuchadnezzar (whose title was “The Morning Star”) than with any fallen angels on record.

If you want more info that will help you confuse fundies to no end on the subject of Satan, Heaven, Hell, and a few other things, there’s a YouTube channel started by a Christadelphian (a member of a Christian sect that does not believe in Hell or Satan) who makes some really in-depth points on the matter.  His screen name is SGOGBook.  I’ve linked to one video, but he has several more on his channel if you really want to tangle with some hardcore apologists:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNn-Vc-cCPo

So there you have it, and from a Christian no less.  Even in the Christian Bible, there’s no evidence for Satan.  And now you know where to start in arguing that point, much to the chagrin of many a self-righteous blowhard.

Attempted hacking?

Just got a message saying that someone had attempted to reset my password.

As a precaution, I have changed it but i’m a bit concerned that some random person would try this.

Some Thoughts on Life, Consciousness, and Divinity

Every apologist must eventually cover this topic, and I thought it might be good for me to discuss my beliefs on this issue.

Given the large number of Pagan belief systems and their numerous variations, do not assume that my personal beliefs are at all representative of the larger community; only that they reflect my personal observations and what has worked for me to believe in.

Consciousness is not merely an individual trait.  To a large degree, it is shared among all things that attain some degree of life.  Any living being, if properly focused, can sense the presence, emotions, and conscious intent of any other being.  Humans have a special gift in that the human brain is extremely well-adapted not only to sensing this information when the right state of mind is achieved, but to processing this information and making good use of it.

Consciousness, I think, is apart from individual beings.  The appearance of individual consciousness is at once an illusion, and yet very real.  It is a quality that is omnipresent, and tends to cluster in nodes.

You can think of consciousness like the mycelia of a species of fungus.  It is invisible, not readily apparent, and fairly well hidden from view if you aren’t looking for it.  And yet, it is there, and it manifests in the form of fruiting bodies.

Individual beings, then, are like those fruiting bodies, the mushrooms of a particular patch of mycelia.  Some are older and larger, and more developed.  These are the spirits of the earth and the Lord and Lady.  Some are younger and less developed; these are the humans, animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and the like.

Looking at the mushrooms in one particular patch, you could be forgiven for thinking that they were all distinct individuals with no connection to each other except a common lineage, or that the larger and more developed ones were somehow the superiors of the lesser, smaller ones.  And yet, if you dig beneath the surface, you find that they are all sprung from the very same source.

Matter is everywhere, and when matter became conscious, its first nodes were the nodes of divinity and spirit; nodes of flesh and blood came much later.  Not one is inferior or superior, not one is subservient to the other.  Each is part of the same common source, infinitely related, and capable of forming bonds beyond all reasonable expectations.

This is why we do not bow before our gods; they are not separate, superior beings to be appeased, but elder brothers and sisters to be honored and welcomed, from whom we may learn great things.  We are all sprung from the same source, the source of matter and consciousness called The All; and we will all some day return to that source when all possibilities of existence are exhausted.