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THOUGHTS AT SIRMIO: A POEM

      

Grottoes of Catullus  at Sirmio ( modern Sirmione) and bust of the poet

I visited Sirmio in late May 2016 so would seem to have had plenty of time to  gather my thoughts poetic or other on the subject of Catullus! It will be evident I consider him a pivotal figure for poetry and art generally.

Despite great gulfs in time and culture dividing us  (but not temperament completely – he was a self-declared  Celt), Catullus (c.84-54 BC) is nonetheless a figure haunting me since adolescence for anything poetic, not least the idea I might  write some poetry myself one day. I regard this poet, along with the  Petrarch so important for his rediscovery, as giving me Italy and the West itself, which having  lived so much outside Europe in Asia and Australia, presents itself as a distinct, precious entity in my mind that I can’t take wholly for granted.  (I am not a globalist who like Macron doesn’t understand what “French” art could mean.  I believe in the value of difference, and even consider the West under threat rather as per Douglas Murray).

This is the last poem I will publish on this blog for reasons given along with the notes below.

THOUGHTS AT SIRMIO

You hoped for a century’s fame but fate,
Sometimes kind and surprising and often
Ironic, gave more. It granted millennia
And your birthplace, Verona, city of lovers,
By the rarest of fortunes and under
One barrel only, preserved written word
Of your pleasures and sorrows and pain
Long endured in the service of Venus’
Adulterous muse. Yet It was through
And beyond her before a too early
Ending, you arrived at more than just
Wisdom – new freedom of being as
Poet and person – and though childless
Bequeathed so much that’s Europa’s alone.

11

Sirmio, first home to wake inspiration….
See there those absolutes of blue and blue
A lake and sky, joined in transcendent
Reverie that, island-like, an isthmus meets.                 1
They’ve breathed together as the centuries pass
And still do now an era changes sign
Imposing images and words that guide
The slow and mighty turns of history’s round…..         2
A change that daunts, by many also mourned,
Though we must hope that what serves truth
Remains with western consciousness of self
And will to stand a single voice alone
“Caesar I am not keen to please you”                         3

111

No homage to person or place were better
Than that Sirmio’s pilgrims laid praise for
Homer aside, disapproved the violent
Thrills that were play for the offspring of Zeus,
Gods by Plato condemned yet who in
Centuries after still taught ambition
To monarchs looked down on from high
Palace ceilings. Likewise dismiss all Pindaric
Praise for the human as athlete, the riders
And wrestlers, victors in base competition
Securing each loser shame and rejection
Their limbs often needlessly injured
Even sight itself dimmed before time.
Nostalgia for old Hellas’ ways is misplaced.
Recall but the weight of their darkness, how
Olympian favours extended through
Earthly life only, never challenging Hades
And death, no matter how unjust and lamented.
The bard’s fickle gods loved especially heroes,
Steered the likes of Odysseus homewards
Ignoring the others, companions and crew.

1V

Flowing from Helicon’s streams, or tuned
To deceptive notes of a lyre
The muse was not heard in her fullness.
Amid stock, high sounding phrases of epic,
Their images glinting like sun on too
Weighty armour, the branches and fruit of
Poesia’s tree, natural shelter and fare
For insight and vision could scarce put down root.
Love’s lure and excitement, soul’s motions
Not closely recorded before you,
The struggle to personal knowledge and mythos
With willing refusal of popular value,
Such needed to flourish elsewhere serenely.
It would thrive amid requisite leisure
And dawning awareness that words, syntax
And passion of themselves could make music
And from rhythms first practiced on tablets
Of wax towards a finished perfection
On polished papyrus, their destination
Home villa, the forum or library box.

V

By deep blue and glassy Barcarus                      4
Was almost an Eden for new language
And dreaming, for life without competition
Directed to pleasure, above all to
The friendship that was lifelong your passion.
The city by contrast gave fame though love failed,
And betrayed. The most adored woman proved
Faithless, the idolized youth vented scorn.
But beyond disappointment, heart and mind
Much divided, you divined woman’s being,
Not just as beloved, held meaning,
Deserved new, wider description. From poets
Not least since, like Ariadne abandoned
On Naxos, soul itself was a woman,
And to know it served justice and truth.

V!

Through you as lover and dreamer and
Satirist sometimes, the incoming era
And mind of Europa was forming,
Piecing together a varied mosaic
Composed of ever more self-aware persons.
Though by nature divided and doubting
And often protesting, Europa’s descendants,
(Vaunting uniqueness and aided by arts.
Where Eros and love would  be often supreme),
Could never quite live in social denial
Of what was  a woman and soul’s vital place.

V11

You did not wish but imagined endless
Slumber in Hades. Did you never consider
Your words, like sunlight through branches,
Might pierce the veil of any dark’s dreaming
Or force an occasion to answer the questions
Of those who  heard you, feeling  addressed
And as though independent of time?
If your spirit had listened and answered
What might then questioners say in departure
Or homage? Surely not “Hail and Farewell”                        5
But rather “Hail now, tomorrow and always”.

NOTES

1  The ruins of  the supposed villa home of Catullus stand  at the end of an isthmus that juts into the lake appearing to be almost an island

2 The turning of the ages is assumed. Catullus lived near to the onset of the Piscean era with its distinctive themes which are now giving way to those of Aquarius

3  Catullus XC111

4 Barcarus – ancient name of  Lake Garda

5 Famously Catullus writes Ave atque Vale  (Hail and Farewell)  to his deceased brother.  Here  I am suggesting Ave atque Ave is appropriate for the poet but whether in Latin or English the poem cannot sustain precisely that

The above is my last poetic entry to this blog There is no advantage to putting such material out only to be told, as I have been in UK and Ireland,  this means that legally it’s published which these days no broadcaster or publisher seems to want or even allow. The whole thing is, and for me always was, a Catch 22 situation. Years ago and after I had a poetic drama broadcast with the ABC, they couldn’t broadcast other examples of my work (such as in the belatedly indie published Puer Poems) that hadn’t been published first. Which they were even prepared to recommend but to no effect with some truly insulting Australian publishers. In more recent times the likes of the RTE in Ireland couldn’t broadcast my work for their author-showcasing Sunday Miscellany because it was out on the Net. They said I could offer them new poetry – the poem 1793 :Before the Guillotine (September 2017 of this blog) is that, but I couldn’t obtain an acknowledgment for sending it. It is a waste of time, truly a waste of time, to produce almost anything for the minds that deal in broadcasting, and publishing, above all poetry which these days must conform to certain post modern standards including that they contain nothing metaphysical or religious, another barrier. Truly Catullan satire would be needed to address the abuse and the mean, small minded nonsense that the various literary establishments can represent. My article Prince Charles and the Poets https://wp.me/p2v96G-ZR gives a little idea of some of my long standing problems which I don’t expect to be resolved in my lifetime and which are so severe it might take half a lifetime just to describe them anyway!

 

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Posted by on May 17, 2018 in creativity, Poetry

 

BEYOND EASTER DAWNING: A POEM

There is little enough celebration of Easter or any probing of its meaning today in specifically verse..In turn Australia, never the most poetic of nations, has become so  secular (or perhaps multicultural and fearful to offend those like Muslims who deny both the death and resurrection of Christ  occurred), that this year’s Good Friday TV contained not a single programme related  to the day. The following poem thus fills a poetic gap of sorts and is even a small act of  poetic justice in the face of blind secularism/multiculturalism.

Poems of mine can be found throughout this blog, but I have not written any poetry for a while – the last entry was for last September. This latest offering, composed very quickly by my usual standards, came to me (or at least the idea for it did) unexpectedly, while driving my car on the Tuesday of this Easter week. Because it was so quickly written and carries various implications, I may yet edit  the piece. It would nonetheless seem foolish to hold it back at this Easter season simply because I did not consider it as perfect as I could wish. But then, beyond poetry, I don’t think too much of art generally as regards the Resurrection theme (see comment below).

BEYOND EASTER DAWNING

A trembling of the earth alone gave sound
When Life revived. The pre–dawn air was still,
The sky dark amost as the Hades just traversed
And conquered too.

Though present and aware, no seeing angels sang
The moment that gave second birth to earth and soul
And most of all to bodily form, not owning which
Even lasting soul could live as homeless as the damned.

After the earth had moved and shouting soldiers,
Terrified, had fled their watch
The brooding silence had returned and
Lain across the hills of Zion’s troubled land
As though in wait for who at dawn
Might understand and celebrate
The range and heights of mystery.

Beneath the high serene of April sky
Within the second Eden of a garden’s place
What Nature’s Lord, the Morning Star, achieved
A passionate woman was the first to know.
And then the youthful bosom friend, the friend
Of soul. Both these while others talked in fear
Were able to believe if little more than
Joyful fact. Full forty days were needed to absorb
The larger truths and fifty till the Spirit sealed
With fire and tongues the new and growing
Powers now opened to belief on earth.

Though once revealed, the force of resurrection
Grows – the reason earth still travails to its liberty (1)
And still no heavenly choirs have sung the theme
Of life reborn and wholly changed.
Instead, towards the age’s end
And even as belief declines  (2)
They wait, like us, who now and here
See more a light of noon than dawn
A promise of the trumpet’s blast
That raises even those in dust. And thus
On Easter’s morn we feel us sealed
And called beyond as not before.

NOTES

1)  Rom 8:22 …..the whole creation groans and travails

2)  Luk 18::8  ….When he returns will the Son of Man find faith upon earth?

Until I started searching for pictures to accompany this poem, I had not quite taken in how curiously limiting and defective resurrection themed art is. You have little choice apart from archaic, misshapen mostly medieval images  and modern, kitschy, mainly American, emotion based ones, almost none of which suggest the mystery of spiritual, physical and natural power involved. Between ancient and modern Claude Lorrain captures something of the first Sunday mood in its dreamier mystical, peace/shalom aspect, but, though the artist can’t be blamed for it, there is no notable connection to historical detail and setting. Michelangelo’s Renaissance Risen Christ sculpture presents its own problems as discussed by Frank Salmon  ( https://goo.gl/7j36HP )  who points out how vastly more crucifixion than resurrection has engaged art and artists.  I feel faced with one big  artistic distortion, and for the first time have some sympathy for the aniconic position where religion is concerned. Better no image at all if the image can only be inadequate. However, all that is a subject in itself..

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2018 in Mysteries, Poetry, religion

 

IRELAND’S OLD/ NEW SPIRITUALITY PROBLEMS AND JOHN O’DONOHUE’S CONNEMARA MYSTICISM

A NATION AND PEOPLE CHANGED

Recently, one of Ireland’s few exorcists, Fr Pat Collins, has charged that the hierarchy of his church is out of touch with the reality of Irish conditions. Despite or because of the decline of faith (he calls it “apostasy”) there has been an exponential increase in troubled people seeking and not finding deliverance from states they rightly or wrongly believe to be demonic possession. Exorcists and their ministry are lacking. https://goo.gl/owAZN8

There is no question that the whole face of religion in Ireland has changed in the last two to three decades in the wake of the combined effect of disillusioning revelations of severe, often sexual, child abuse among the once revered clerical class and the Celtic Tiger years in which Ireland enjoyed levels of economic prosperity alien to long national experience. Multiculturalism which has brought in a variety of faiths has also added to what can sometimes seem like chaotic change. Who would ever have imagined the day would come that Ireland would be  debating the legality of such as female genital mutilation favoured by some Irish Muslims?

Though many do still attend mass, one in ten no longer adhere to any faith, but what has emerged is less pure secularism than a kind of new ageism or neo-paganism some of which may still be quasi-Catholic in its way. It is very evident in the case of bestselling Lorna Byrne (Angels in my Hair – she sees helping angels everywhere all the time and she forecasts that Christians will eventually worship at Mecca) and Joe Cassidy the much in demand diviner.

Celtic and especially Irish religion is a rare and special phenomenon that takes some understanding, but here I am going to try to diagnose its strange ills. Historically and positively there is no question about the service Ireland and the Celts gave to religion and western civilisation itself which they helped preserve during the early dark ages.

There is no question either that there is some kind of, mystical, psychic and imaginative talent that the Irish bring to religion, but there is also an underlying darkness and repression and now under western secularism a new malaise. Can we hope to explain, diagnose and cure this? In one essay obviously not, but I can offer a few pointers and I feel this should be done especially as there is something amid all this that takes us right back to origins, to the beginning of an era now ending and even the often overlooked contact of St Paul with one version of the Celtic mind and culture.

THE JOHN O’ DONOHUE INPUT

   

One of the classier and for its implications more significant expressions of the new outlook, is found in the bestselling works of onetime priest, philosopher and poet, John O’Donohue (1956-2008). He is most celebrated for Anam Cara (Soul Friend) which I wouldn’t consider his best work but which struck a chord in and out of Ireland, perhaps most for reassuring people there is nothing to fear in death and that much in modern life distracts from essentials.

Raised in the Gaeltacht and the austere landscape of Co Clare’s Burren region that he nevertheless loved, O’Donohue was a pleasing personality with a wonderful Irish voice that graced his poetry and statements with a sort of oracular profundity not always due them. His fluent prose can moreover be more poetic than his poetry.

O’Donohue was almost prototypically Irish, a one man guide to the Celtic mind itself, a reason to explore his work. Significantly too, belatedly he brings German figures, especially Hegel and Goethe, into the orbit of Irish thought where they long needed to be because German culture has a lot to say about development, nature and “culture”, themes with affinity for the Celtic legacy in a way the many Latin influences upon Ireland from Dante to Proust don’t necessarily support.

O’Donohue regards the Celts as a nature people. He himself perceives landscape as “full of soul” and animate which recalls assumptions of the theosophist poet seer of the Irish Renaissance, AE, and even the bible, especially Ezekiel 36, though he doesn’t seem familiar with either source on this. He nevertheless calls landscape “the first born of creation” which seems to be a misremembering of a biblical dictum “Christ is the first born] [or preeminent] of creation” (Col 1:15).

Following seminary and studies at Maynooth, O’Donohue pursued philosophy (especially Hegel’s) at Tubingen perhaps most famous for its liberal theology, Bultmann and “demythologizing”. In some respects O’Donohue is himself a demythologizer of things Catholic but under the influence not of modern scholarship but medieval Meister Eckhart’s quirky, ultimately heretical mysticism beloved of new agers. Eckhart opines and O’ Donohue concurs, that nothing is so like God as silence, a denial of deity as the Creative Word/Logos that calls forth creation. O’Donohue has no real sense of the Creator. It’s worth noting that Ireland’s extensive mythic legacy lacks creation myths.

So…..while O’Donohue has described and expressed many elements of Irish character its social spontaneity and capacity for solitude, its “wildness and serenity” – what’s Irish if anything emerges as a set of seeming contradictions and paradoxes – one may still question the new age drift of his interpretations and the mystic balm he offers the Irish and many others who nowadays draw inspiration from Celtica.

Although O’Donohue had the right to believe and teach whatever he liked, I still baulk at quite how much from his quasi-Catholic position ( Anam Cara is itself a concept of Early Celtic Christianities) he misreads where religion is concerned. Trained and practicing as a priest for much of his life, he seems more biblically illiterate than laypersons (like Edna O’Brien’s Co Clare mother to gather from O’Brien’s autobiography) and scarcely to have grasped what Christianity was about short of sending out hopefully successful blessings.

He assumes God and Death are probably the same thing and that’s what contemplative mysticism has discovered (DB p, 225) Really?….Whatever happened to “I am the resurrection and the life”? But no; hearing people talk of heaven as a response to death, O’ Donohue thinks it only sounds unrealistic, though he allows souls slip off somewhere but their heaven is more state than place and maintains that eternal life is simply eternal memory (DBy p. 171). By contrast heaven and salvation were what Celtic Christianity, especially the early kind, were almost obsessively about.

Bordering on Christian atheism, O’Donohue’s God is the God of Eckhart “who has no why” and whose intention is simply to be. This gets justified by a misunderstanding of Yahweh’s declaration to Moses of “I am who I am” which was noticeably delivered from the fire which of the elements is the most distancing and unapproachable. A major biblical theme is that even though God fills everything (Jer 23:24) humanity is still separated from God, especially by iniquities (Is 59:2), making barriers hard for both humanity and deity to overcome. (Even in most world myth the Creator withdraws, but recall Irish myth has a significant gap re creation). Given the withdrawal, wisdom accordingly begins with a degree of fear or respect of the Lord who it is advised to fear as a being with power to commit to hell (Luk 12:5), a notion O’Donohue won’t even countenance..

For O’ Donohue there is no barrier between us and whatever constitutes deity. This is one reason why soul knows no fear including of death – he cites the ancient world atheist philosopher, Lucretius to lend support. Accordingly prayer is just sending out your light rather than communing with God, while holiness is hearing your own voice or even being at home. One could go on and on about with the quotes and self-reflective claims, but does any of this matter beyond to say O’Donohue was a trendy writer somewhat apostate from his role of priest? I will suggest a certain pattern emerges with deep roots in the history and complexes of Celtic faith we need to understand.

ST PAUL AND THE CELTS

O’Donohue represents two things. First and perhaps as long ago anticipated by St Paul, he belongs among those who especially in the last times (we’re necessarily in them if the St Malachy prophecy is to be believed!) will have “a form of godliness but denying the power of it” (2 Tim 3:5), an interesting idea I will return to in citing a few of the philosopher’s more controversial statements. But second and importantly, O’Donohue is an aspect and clue to the problem of Celtic psychology and religion over the centuries, one that harks right back to, once again, St Paul who appears to have clashed directly with tendencies of the Celtic mind in the realm of spirituality.

Two millennia ago the Celts were still quite strongly represented across Europe from Ireland to modern day Turkey where Galatia was in effect a province of the Gauls or Celts. The Roman poet Catullus identifies himself as one of the Cisalpine Celts of North Italy; and supportive of the ancient view that the Celtic character was uniformly distinctive, his poetry with its violent satire, its Maud Gonne type syndrome around his ill fated love for Lesbia, the rushing hysterical golliambics of Poem LX111, virtually unique in Latin poetry, betray the relevant character. So we may assume Celtic character and attitudes in Galatia and they seem to have been present.

On the positive side the apostle commends the at least originally enthusiastic spirituality he’d witnessed and in what sounds like its visionary nature (Gal 3:1). And it is to the Galatians that Paul declares the famous oneness in Christ that abolishes distinctions of Jew and Greek (Gentile), slave and free, male and female (Gal 3:28). To be realistic about this, in the extremely class ridden, hierarchal, patriarchal society of the Roman empire, it would be those of Celtic culture who would be more open than most to receiving this kind of radical message.

On the negative side Paul has two linked complaints. The Galatians have quickly become obsessed and enchanted with the Jewish Law in a manner that gets in the way of faith and grace itself (Gal 3:2). He also complains of something almost its opposite, a return or submission to elemental spirits (Gal 4:8) and through an obsessive ritualism and observance of festivals, a kind of paganising as opposed to a Judaizing tendency.

Again this is interesting because earliest Irish religion (and plenty existed before and after St Patrick fed by various influences from abroad as far away as Egypt), shows a distinct interest in Jewish law and/or a way of works. The Celtic monk Pelagius, from whence the Pelagian heresy, regarded Christ as the supreme example to follow, but essentially on a path which obtains salvation without his intervention, a way of works without a redeemer.

There is an affinity of sorts between Irish and Jews – James Joyce explored it and the association of Irish and Jews in America gives some evidence of it. Accordingly one might have imagined the liberating and poetic Hebrew prophetic tradition that supports so much in the gospels might have been of greater interest. I can only assume it was the importance of the brehons and the lawyer class that supported a more legalistic trend. There would thus develop St Paul’s two poles: Judaistic tendencies among the elite and paganish ones (holy wells and cults of the saints) among the hoi polloi! Or perhaps women. The Irish American but very Irish radical feminist Mary Daly whose occult voyage I consider in Temple Mysteries and Spiritual Efficiency, virtually curses St Paul in her Pure Lust riposte to Galatians and her quest for “The Elemental Powers of Be-ing”. What it seems everyone needs is those elementals.

But we also find something of this in the more rationalist and male O’Donohue who while he airily and academically speaks of “the notion of God”, “the concept of a God”, “the concept of resurrection” not only believes that all our inspirations come from “angels”, but is strangely tolerant of, even favourable to, stories of ghosts and house spirits in western Ireland and not upsetting them.

Perhaps they never got upset enough and are even returning with a vengeance to trouble the likes of Fr Collins. It’s not as though Irish myth and faery lore however dreamily beautiful was ever particularly benign and conducive to living “happily ever after” – even leprechauns can turn nasty. Neo-Pagan author Lora O’Brien admits that while her visualizations for god contacts are almost always safe, if you run into problems there’s always “therapy” can help. Or Fr Collins if he can collect enough experts?

A LEGALISM AND ELEMENTALS CURSE?

St Paul warns there is a curse upon both legalism and what he regards as the paganish “bewitchment” of his Celtic believers, basically because they subject the person to what he calls “the flesh”. As indicated in my last blog, “flesh” is not necessarily, certainly not always, what people imagine. It can mean soul as opposed to organizing spirit whether personal or divine, which last is supposed to be the foundation of true liberation. (O’Donohue is absolutely obsessed with soul but seems in a total muddle when it comes to human spirit and/or Holy Spirit).

I think in effect the apostle is suggesting that to work well or at all, there is a certain technique in accepting even the gospel…..We had better not ask the question whether he meant more and that people who mismanage the gospel destroy themselves and others, since with so many shadows and misfortunes across Irish history one could almost wonder if something like a curse was involved!

Be that as it may, the curse of Celtic legalism soon emerged in the early Irish penitentials. If they prove anything at all, it is that the Irish religious spirit (so busy as in St Patrick’s Breastplate in blessing and protecting itself against sundry ills) was never especially open to ideas and beliefs of the “Amazing Grace” variety such as Paul advocates in Galatians and writes to defend. Instead, believers were required to punish themselves and earn their way to divine forgiveness, favour and salvation. Some of the penances could last years or half a lifetime and highjack all normal existence. (One wonders how much they were actually practiced, but the attitude they express was intimidating and repressive).

It is commonly said Irish Puritanism or “Jansenism” entered with some French priests over two centuries ago. The fact is it was present long before with brutally unforgiving, salvation-earning Irish missionaries to Europe like the efficient but ill tempered St Columbanus who couldn’t bring himself to bless and baptize a child born out of wedlock even if it was royal. Much that has been most typical of western Catholicism in terms of so called priestly power (priestcraft) and penance is a consequence of Irish/ Celtic missions which, regrettably, as much imprisoned Europe as saved its civilisation. (Admittedly Italy’s Pope Gregory the Great has his share in what developed).

Above all the penitentials and their attitude were repressive of the image of deity itself. There were two ways of getting round this: either asking saints and angels to approach the unapproachable God on your behalf…..or subtly dissolving the image of God altogether.

The Irish were expert in and preserved Greek sources and so under the influence of neo-Platonism, perhaps especially Pseudo-Dionysius, the ninth century Irish philosopher John Scotus Erigena developed a whole “negative” philosophy which renders God ultimately unnameable and indescribable unless in precisely negatives. (God is not good because beyond good, not love because above and beyond love and so on). This sort of thing allows you, if you wish, to join Mary Daly in going “Beyond God the Father” if via less magical, occult means then Daly who finishes up with wicca. Erigena’s effort towards salvation got swallowed up in a doctrine of universalism.

A more literalist version of faith overtook Ireland and/or its intellectual class when in the twelfth century the reformist St Malachy of Armagh helped (along with English interventions ) to bring the island under the western Catholic rule to which it had never fully previously adhered. The Catholic change imposed images of a more definable, “masculine” form of deity while with Malachy as friend of the pioneeringly Marian St Bernard – Mary had fed him breast milk – over against God, Mary came increasingly to symbolize the principle of grace and mercy through Christ in a way the St Paul of Galatians would not have recognized.

Interesting, another medieval philosopher the Irish or Scotch, Duns Scotus, spilled much ink in the thirteenth century promoting the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which at the time was not believed or even thought heretical. However, Ireland’s absorption to western Catholicism gradually turned the country, for psychological as much as theological reasons, into a species of one large Legion of Mary that until the twenty first century it would considerably remain. Dia is Muire duit (“God and Mary to you” ) was a common Irish greeting. All this had and has consequences.

MARY AND THE GREAT MOTHER

Attitudes and beliefs as regards Mary have effect, spiritual and/or psychological in a variety of ways, which those like Fr Collins keen to augment Ireland’s exorcism services might need to absorb given that Catholic exorcism falls under Marian patronage. In Italy where exorcism has made a major comeback, rather noticeably as I point out in Temple Mysteries and Spiritual Efficiency,   goo.gl/se5qBn  the rite tends to be more like an ongoing therapy session (sometimes across years!) It rarely supplies the outright deliverance the early church was famous for and which find more duplication in some Protestant circles where there is no invocation of Mary, saints or angels but Christ only. (In early Christianity any believer was supposed to be able if necessary to exorcize. There was certainly no need to obtain prior permission from bishops).  There is unavoidably something aggressive in exorcism and even in some elements of Christian proclamation like the original opposition to paganism – as though St Patrick never challenged the druids, O’Donohue imagines Ireland knew no conflict between Christianity and Paganism! Anyway, I andt follows that when Christ is not centre of both grace and power, a measure of aggression falls to the image and role of Mary. The devouring Great Mother may emerge and even while superficially she may be presented as sweet to the point of plaster saint saccharine. There are even quaint Irish appeals to Mary to go box an enemy’s ears, though this oddity is nothing to the so-called wars of Christianity which are effectively wars of Mary. (Shock-jock queer theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid correctly enough defined the conquest of Latin America as something performed for Mary or at her visionary behest) [1]

The Great Mother, or Mary psychologically substituting for her, is a problematic figure for the Celts. The Celtic male risks being drowned or castrated by her and basically because, like O’Donohue, he is so full of “soul” and imagination she attracts and repels as the possibility of an organizing factor upon an artistic receptivity that borders on passivity. Catullus learned her power first by falling for the insatiable Lesbia, a woman apparently older than himself, then fearfully trying to banish her power and influence in his anti Great Mother as Cybele (Poem, LX111). It is a significant piece not notably duplicated elsewhere among the Celts.

CUCHULAINN AND THE PUER ARCHETYPE

  

Although like most ancient peoples Europe’s Celts were  theoretically patriarchal, they were less so than many others and not least in Ireland’s west. It’s from the West’s Connaught region that myth’s clearly matriarchal, Queen Maeve originates and from a place associated with entrance to the Celtic Otherworld. It is Maeve who precipitates the war recounted in the epic The Tain, a war in which Connaught is defeated   by Ulster but chiefly the Ulsterman, Cuchulainn.

The latter is a strange, one of a kind figure, violent, multi-talented, magical youth who can transform in ways recalling hindu gods (possibly reflecting Ireland marks the furthest west, and north India the furthest east, of an Indo-Aryan expansion whose extremities retained the most traditional elements of myth and law). To the extent Cuchulainn reflects human over otherworldly traits, he might today be compared to the explosive but intellectual Milo Yiannopoulos who is actually Milo Hanrahan born in Athens but with some Irish and Jewish blood and arguably more Irish impulse than anything. Regardless, to us today Cuchulainn in his violence will seem as unattractive as Maeve is in her selfish cruelty. That’s if we read the myth very literally and/or as some oblique guide to early Irish life.

If we think more in terms of ruling archetypes and symbols, we may find it unsatisfactory that Cuchulainn’s death is anticipated by the goddess Morrigan alighting on the warrior’s shoulder as in the famous sculpture in Dublin’s Post Office. She is after all, related to, or even part of,the triple goddess of Ireland. She or they (the myth is fluid ) hold its “sovereignty” as beings who meet and give the island to the founder druid Amergin. The latter chants his magical, pantheistic identity with the land in what O’Donohue, who I think misses the point, calls a poetry of presence. But then, though not neo-pagan per se, our philosopher reminds us Ireland was seen as the body of a goddess (AC p.116)…… in which case the goddess will represent nothing so much as what’s fixed and static which could be bad news if the principle involved is unhealthy. Almost everyone would agree that despite its many positives, some traditional Irish culture could be a bit too stuck in a bog traditional altogether.

Morrigan is a dark, death and war (but also land and fertility) associated figure whom at least early Irish monks identified with Lilith, Hebrew myth’s wife of Adam who became an ally of the Satan and queen of the demons. (Lilith retains potent mauvaise reputation to this day. Any continental astrologer will tell you that the Lilith point in the heavens that they  use, is regularly associated with misfortune and upset of all kinds).

WHO OWNS THE SOVEREIGNTY OF IRELAND?

     

What I see in  musing on Irish mythic/cultural themes, is that Cuchulainn and ancient patriarchal Ulster only nominally win the battle. The sovereignty remains with the goddess or goddesses. She is able besides to oversee the death of what or who, archetypally, is less a typical mythic hero or warrior figure than a less predictable, more independent puer type figure, whose sparking, explosive nature symbolizes something within Irish character more generally. There will be problems where this originality-serving aspect of psyche is only suppressed or ignored as I think it has been again and again.

I find some significance, and even an unintended addition to the current spiritual confusion, that Irish paganist Lory O’Brien ( A Practical Guide to Irish Spirituality)  seeks not only to reclaim Maeve who reigned from Cruachan in Roscommon, but the goddess Morrigan from the same region. O’Brien even regards herself as specially devoted to and a priestess of Morrigan whose dwelling was near Maeve’s at Rathcroghan in Roscommon, site of a, or the,  entrance to the Celtic Otherworld and called during medieval times “The Gate of Hell”  (see pic above) which plainly makes the Otherworld to be more an Underworld or Hades. Though O’Brien, who was long a tour guide at Rathcroghan, doesn’t come across like certain female occultists and/or radical feminists a la Daly (she has even described her gender as “plural”), it is still an essentially matriarchal side of the Celtic world she is reclaiming. And this belongs with a larger cultural complex and misreading of the past that any concerned psychologist or exorcist might wish to see banished as surely as (mythically) St Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland and Catullus refused Cybele.

I detect that it concerned even the radical Mary Daly that paganism’s triple goddess risked being insufficiently dynamic as a form of trinity. As maiden, mother and crone there is something passive, nature-subordinate and fate ridden about her – rather, one might say, like Ireland itself that too often seems to accept and/or invoke disaster!

Nature presents us with an oscillating Ying/Yang theoretically equal. However, no amount of feminist reform and egalitarian urges will ever quite abolish the fact that, though not an invariable rule, initiatory action is predominantly Yang while Ying is more action as reaction, a correction and modification of given situations. Problems, resentments and repressions arise where this datum is insufficiently recognized and spirituality encounters difficulty too.

Like it or not, I think it has to be accepted that there is an impulse to religion (and one may find it even in so passive a religion as Buddhism), that is in a broadest sense “phallic”/aspirational/initiatory and that the often negatively applied term “patriarchal” is insufficient to cover. This Yang force is certainly present in Judaism. (I try to suggest this and how in my poem Jeremiah’s Loincloth ) [2] The Yang input does not automatically cancel out the Yin – another prophet Isaiah has God speak as a Mother – but it refuses the Yin a certain primacy for reasons which become clearer as the tradition reveals itself. In short I suggest a lot of spirituality, not least in Judaeo-Christianity is simply not properly lived or understood where Yin leads the way.

ABSENT THE OLD TESTAMENT

One reason Catholicism, but especially its Celtic and Marian expression, can finish at once so saccharine but also violent (one can’t forget some of those remarkably bullying nuns exposed by modern inquiries!) is because it owns and appreciates the Old Testament legacy so little, especially its prophetic traditions, that aspect of the OT I mentioned the Celts seemed to have overlooked in favour of law and tradition from the time of St Paul’s Galatians onwards.

Superficially and sometimes actually, the OT is a violent work, but when that’s so it may need to be worked with and contextually understood. There’s often more than meets the eye and at least some of us would maintain the OT narrative anyway presents the face of God and divine “anger” through the lens of its era, the fiery one of Aries – Yahweh even manifests in a burning bush and a mountain volcano. The age was a militaristic, distinctly patriarchal one but many things begin with fire which is (spiritually and psychologically) the strongest element as O’Brien concedes but O’Donohue in his essays on the four elements doesn’t quite get. It is surely relevant that St Patrick’s conflict with the druids which opens a whole new chapter in the life of the nation, breaks the druid’s power spell over the island over the question of lighting of an Easter fire. Patrick wins and  Ulster subsequently grows to become the centre of an organized, rather political form of Christianity, but arguably Patrick has, like Ulster in the Tain, only partially or politically won. The actual dark sovereignty of Ireland has not been confronted and I would even suggest it never has been.

The New Testament, whose record emerges with the (watery) age of Pisces. is inadequately appreciated without like the first Christians dialoguing with the whole Hebrew legacy, especially prophetic which it varies upon and fulfils. Catholicism only tenuously belongs with the “Judaeo-Christian” tradition due to a one-sidedness, sometimes bordering anti-Semitism where the Hebrew legacy is concerned…… Writer and academic Denis MacEoin is one of those who has been drawing attention to certain recent anti-Semitic strains developing in Irish academic circles  [3] though this also chimes with any Catholicism that follows Pope Francis. This pontiff’s credo is so alien to any prophetic sense of Israel’s destiny and those of our times it even agrees over Jerusalem with Erdogan of Turkey while the latter goes about demolishing the last vestiges of democracy in his country! Churches interested in blessing and being blessed – persons like O’Donohue is obsessed with the subject and devotes a whole book to blessings – might need to be more aware of the rule (Gen 12:3)  that Israel is to be blessed and not cursed.

I find interesting, and it’s almost like some Jungian shadow principle at work, that “unbiblical” Erin should be so long challenged and in conflict with a dour, aggressive Presbyterianism almost a parody of all things Protestant and itself ancestor to some of the odder corners of American religion. Both parties to this struggle have perhaps always needed on the psychological plane some species of suitably symbolic, dreamlike working out of their problems along the lines of Spenser’s flawed, but still important and Irish influenced visioning in The Fairie Queen. (Elizabeth 1 was no good fairy for Erin and Spenser’s recommendation to ban Irish language was execrable, but he offers a masterpiece with insights all the same). 

ABSENT SOMETHING ELSE…FIRE AND PHALLOS?

Even without the complication of Ulster in recent centuries, as already intimated, I should say that what Ireland needs (though it might take many essays to convey the full meaning) is more fire and phallos.  By the latter I mean something more  psychological and spiritual rather than purely sexual. Elements of the current spiritual confusion, the outcome of longstanding untreated conditions, are linked to over-emphasis on, or misreading of, what O’Donohue offers as virtual panacea for Ireland and the world, namely realization and acceptance of a sweetness and light cure-all “soul” life that is still refusing fundamental life energies.

O’Donohue enlarges, lives and breathes within “soul”, spreading it over everything like a druid mist, identifying it with beauty, peace and virtually with God – about the closest he gets to describing God is as an artist, in short an image of O’Donoghue himself! He’s caught in Amergin’s bind. That druid as it were claims all the territory of Ireland mentally by his sense of pantheistic soul presence, but the fate and sovereignty of the land still reside elsewhere; he doesn’t own what he sympathetically imagines which is forever under threat. He and Ireland are left open to whatever death and destruction the gods without the slightest explanation care to send or allow.

If one puts aside for one moment the possible religious meaning of statements like “the soul (Heb Nephesh /animal soul) that sins will surely die (Ez 18:20), one may absorb the more purely psychological implications. It will mean soul as the state of pure being O’Dononue tends to make it, is not autonomous and supreme but rather manageable, even dispensable because life can emanate from elsewhere. Outside, above and beyond it is active organizing spirit. Whether or not specifically religion will mediate organization, fire and in the broadest sense “phallic” consciousness can promote action and place some direction upon existence.

SOUL AND FACE

The more whacky side of O’Donoghue’s message whether humanly or more theologically, is well represented by his claim the face always reveals the soul’; it is where “the divinity of the inner life finds an echo and an image” (A.C. p.53). Always? If at all? The claim will be news to many, while theologically it ignores Yahweh’s rebuke to the prophet Samuel: “Do not look at his appearance…..for the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).

Yet O’Donohue’s weird assertion is key to a whole dimension of his work. It betrays how his faith amounts to a divinization of soul in the anthropology of the self approximating to biblical Hebrew nephesh or animal soul. It is this which as opposed to spirit (ruach – that O’Donoghue seems to think is a regular OT name of God) is what we share with the animals and which links us to nature and which is creative and sexual. You can tell that esoteric and biblical anthropology’s soul factor is the real focus because O’Donohue even proposes relaxing into the body is a new prayer (A.C. p.74), that we should re-imagine God as Eros (A.C. p. 56) and that the senses are our guide to the soul (A.C. p.82).

Of course O’Donohue doesn’t realize the identification he is making. If he did he wouldn’t say other biblically illiterate things like animals knowing nothing of Jesus. (A.C.p.79). It happens that the early church and many theologians since have understood appearances of the OT’s mysterious “Angel of the Lord” to be appearances of the pre-existent Christ. In Numbers 22 this figure intervenes against the false prophet Balaam who abuses his ass. The ass, because animals have nephesh, is able to recognize the Angel though Balaam in his spiritual blindness can’t .

There is a Spirit of God and a Soul of God which last we may assume Jesus is., This status renders him among other things a sort of Lord of the Animals. But just as Christ as Soul and in some respects divine Yin – he is called the feminine Sophia/ Wisdom for a reason – will do nothing major until the Spirit falls upon him, so neither can or will human soul that O’Donohue and some mystics divinize at the expense of all else.

The soul without organizing human and/or divine Spirit will accordingly possess, as O’Donohue assumes, no fixed form which means there is no plan to our lives either (AC.p.82). The latter assumption can be questioned on various grounds and not just biblically though it is a decidedly unbiblical idea opposed to statements like “in your book were written all the days that were formed for me (Ps 139:16). Since however our existence still seems at once improbable yet potentially meaningful, O’Donohue is left to assure readers (in what is itself an implicit rejection of any Pauline notions of divine elect predestination), to be born is to be “chosen” ( AC p. 112) whatever that means.

In the end one is left with a soul of sublime or at least artistic potential that dwells in Beauty, whether visible or more invisible as per Pseudo-Dionysius, and this Beauty is then the nearest expression and definition of God. Yet paradoxically (but from hidden psychological necessity which abhors a vacuum and requires there will be an organizing factor) this beauty that we glimpse comes to us not from the spirit and realms above but if anything from below. Celtic myth according to O’Donohue understands that the underworld (where dwell the Irish gods who he believes describe the Celtic psyche) is the world of spirit (AC p. 124).

Since O’Donohue (in DB p.211) even cites the atheist poet Wallace Stevens to the effect death is the Mother of Beauty and associates the world of the spirit with what’s “below” rather than “above”, I feel one is indeed justified to identify O’Donohue’s soul and divinity image with the animal soul (nephesh) that the bible says must die and which belongs in effect and by default to Hades short of divine intervention, election or whatever. It may not be irrelevant that all of Lory O’Brien’s  visualizations in Irish Spirituality, take the practitioner through the blackness, surely an indication that the organization source of power is an underground, a realm of shadows, a species of Hades, which might mean she is seeing more clearly or honestly than O’Donohue for whom theoretically everything would make for light..

I don’t seek to decry the value and insights of Irish “soul” It’s a precious place and all can share in its inspirations and beauties to a degree, (though I agree with Lora O’Brien it’s something ultimately ethnic which you either have or don’t), but I dissent from what O’Donohue has made of it as philosophy of beauty. What this finishes up as is something surruptiously akin to the devotion to elementals among St Paul’s Galatians and still more to end of era “religion denying the power of it” as far as deity is concerned.

O’Donohue’s philosophical meditations are a version of the new age, interfaith vanishing trick in relation to the distinctive claims of many systems, especially Christianity’s today. These systems stand against just making up doctrines as you go along rather as one might compose a painting, at the same time as you call the exercise harmonious and identical with all other paintings (beliefs). It isn’t, but you can make it seem so by focussing on one aspect of being, namely the feeling, life or the imaginative soul as the whole item in an anthropology of the self and map of the psyche.

Despite all I’ve said, I agree with one of O’Donohue’s readers that reading him was like a trip to Ireland itself. He is representative in many respects but not enough and he ignores too many difficulties.

Ireland is a small country with a relatively newly established national independence. Given its comparatively small population now challenged by  high immigration and multicultural values favoured under secularist but Islam shadowed EU globalism, it is questionable whether it can hope to retain much that’s most distinctive about it. But whatever happens, it may still need some input from the likes of the concerned Fr Collins.

St Patrick did light Easter fire at Slane and centring the spiritual battles of and for Ireland over specifically fire was correct in many ways –  so correct it was even possibly one of the reasons his version of Christianity gained traction over the other versions present in the background which might have suited the culture and people better. But even the saint’s win was not permanent because no victory until apocalypse and the end of time ever is, and in the case of Ireland there is something that St Patrick and Irish Christianity missed. Archetypally it is the great and oppressive ill luck and darkness represented by the so called “sovereignty” of Ireland and the black crow of Morrigan. The darkness is pervasive – even Dublin means Black Pool in Gaelic and modern Irish freedom was achieved there at the Post Office in which a statue commemorates the victory with an image of Cuchulainn but with the black crow on his shoulder. Never ignore the  guide of symbols to spirit and soul. I sense Fr Collins has more than even the out-of-touch attitudes of his Irish hierarchy to think about and more than a few distressed people to exorcise.

NOTES

[1] On the Virgin and violence in Indecent Theology, pp. 56-61

[2]  Jeremiah’s Loincloth: A Poem of Faith and Phallos.  Explores the prophet’s strange male business or homoerotic given sign  https://wp.me/p2v96G-Hm

[3]  Denis McEoin, Uncorked: Ireland’s Pseudo-Academic AntiIsrael Hate Fest     https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9701/ireland-conference-israel

 

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2018 in ethics, Mysteries, religion

 

ISSUES OF SEX, LOVE AND BIBLICAL “INCOHERENCE”

ESSENCE AND CENTRE: WHO HAS THEM AND WHERE ARE THEY?

Whether or not one is Catholic, there’s plenty for anyone to question in the ideas and policies Pope Francis;  but in some areas like private morality the drift of his thought is not so easily faulted. By contrast, some of his bishops, most notably those of Kazakhstan, are behaving like drama queens protesting that even to consider allowing the divorced to partake of communion, not to mention get remarried, amounts to blasphemy.

Blasphemy? The Pope can well retort as he has done to critics of his more liberalizing views in the Amoris Laetitia document, “Can one never be forgiven?” Can it be that marital mistakes of perhaps half a lifetime previous have one stuck in some permanent outsider, excommunicate status? But this touches on major questions usually avoided concerning the coherence or otherwise of biblical teachings on sex and relations. A Catholic theological student once put to this Protestant that the bible on sex is plain incoherent. Sounds extreme, but if you disagree you need a few answers.

I will be presenting and hopefully shedding light at the end of a tunnel of potentially depressing, faith shaking darkness; because in some respects – at least superficially and especially at the level of modern reception of texts as opposed to what may have been the writers’ original intentions – the case for “incoherence” is strong. I shall conclude with what I believe is the bible’s unstated, or only half stated, principle that is a key to many things and even some needed new vision.

PROBLEM ONE: MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

Consider that Jesus tells his disciples to forgive not to seven but to seven times seven (Matt 18:2) whereas by implication it sounds like a once divorced person could be a virtually unforgiveable outcast. A person can’t divorce and remarry (unless they can prove “impurity” Matt 5:31.32) and if one marries a divorced person that entails a state of adultery ….apparently lifelong…. Wherever would that place St Paul’s notoriously pragmatic, “better to marry than to burn” (1 Cor 7:9)? Why couldn’t or wouldn’t it apply to the divorced?

Marriage and divorce teaching can seem still more contradictory if we consider how no similar relational restrictions fall upon Jesus’ repentant Prodigal who wasted his substance with whores. And something of this one-sidedness is reproduced today in recent evangelical rejoicings over converted singer and former gigolo and singer of his conquests, Mambo no 5, Lou Baya. He now witnesses to the change Jesus brings and speaks in tongues to film to supposedly prove it.

By contrast, if you once have a ring on your finger, the least slip, however understandable (say forced or arranged marriage such as until modern times often applied, or marriage entered on as an obvious folly of youth) could reduce you to a sinner status worse than the most abandoned fornicator. Luther shocked associates by suggesting concubinage was appropriate enough (and could it be so wrong?) in the case of a spouse become wholly incapable (and thus reducing their partner to lifelong celibacy). The automatic austerity of response seems all the more irrational given Jesus’ forebear David, described despite all his failures as “a man after God’s heart”, was a polygamist with plainly strong bisexual tendencies. Another forebear, Solomon, popularly believed to have written outstanding erotic poetry had (admittedly not successfully) numerous wives.

Now suppose you lived in a Brazilian favela, and had been beaten and abused by your husband who may not even have been technically unfaithful or had been so in ways scarcely to be admitted like incest with your daughter (who the right-to-life Christians believe shouldn’t be allowed an abortion to free her of the trauma and impurity she feels she carries, because that’s “murder [1] ). From these impossible situations you seek release. But you either can’t be divorced or if you can be so by state if not church, you can’t be allowed to find love again because Jesus doesn’t want you to remarry. How great a loving, forgiving saviour would you consider this Jesus to be? He might become your ticket to depression and nightmare! As Pope Francis (who also favours a kindlier approach to cases of abortion) asks, “Can one never be forgiven?”

St Paul seems no help either. The apostle even backs up the potential horror picture in 1 Cor 7. “A wife is not to depart from her husband” (not even if he is beating and abusing her or the pair are wholly sexually incompatible?) but if she does depart she should not remarry. This is supposedly a direct command from Jesus too!  Thankfully the relevant seventh chapter on marriage relations finishes with the admission Paul thinks he has the Spirit of God here. (v 40) Arguably on this matter he didn’t quite and Jesus never said or not in Paul’s precise terms. One just wishes with so much ability to influence lives, that people like Paul wouldn’t speak when they are not one hundred per cent sure of their position!

PROBLEM TWO: GAYS OR WHOEVER PAUL MEANT

One certainly wonders how sure Paul felt when he wrote the first highly rhetorical chapter of Romans. Admittedly modern scholarship has raised legitimate, serious questions about just what he was saying about precisely whom in cultural and religious context (paedophiles, prostitutes?). My guess is he describes practitioners of a decadent recreational bisexuality, but from an ancient standpoint that no one is or could be born gay or bisexually inclined in the first place so that they wilfully exchange their nature). Whatever, it’s hard to read the text (as widely translated and understood) and not have an impression akin to “hate speech” – the ancients were no stranger to such like the pagan astrologer Ptolemy hoping “effeminates” would be bashed in the streets – and that those Paul targets are seen as virtual origin and symbol of all evil and idolatry. Which seems absurd. Did gays or bisexuals crucify Christ or eat the first apple or found the non-Christian religions?

And outside circles of extreme imperial decadence like those under Nero, did Roman gays really represent Sodom whose sin according to Ezekiel and early rabbinical commentary was not primarily sexual? Again we ask with Pope Francis, (who thinks it might be be OK for Catholics to be gay if they were devout and sincere), is there along with the divorced no meaningful forgiveness and acceptance?

It’s said that great men make great mistakes and I sense  that we are confronted with such a case with St Paul in Rom 1 which is by and large disinformation in affinity with his culture and times. What  could the apostle even mean with such ruminations as “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness…to dishonour their bodies among themselves”. I’m reminded of Ultra Orthodox in Jerusalem a few years back protesting against gay Jews but unable to state what it was gays do because they didn’t really know! We may guess that what the apostle hints at and makes seem worse by failing to define, probably wasn’t anything alien to heterosexuality!

Apart from the obvious target of sodomy (itself often enough practiced historically in southern Europe as a means of contraception) other possibilities are mutual masturbation and fellatio. In which case one might need to know, as I recall a prostitute interviewed for TV admit in warning to wives, that most men visit prostitutes for the fellatio their wives won’t perform.

So why target gays for this subject or indeed the masturbation common enough (though not mutually) within heterosexuality (57% of straight males regularly)  which last might have a bad name in the ancient world as effeminate or for the pre-scientific error it involved killing homunculi when in fact sperm is lost repeatedly in just the urine. So what is meant by “uncleanness” in Paul’s rhetoric?

PROBLEM THREE: SEX IS DIRTY?

Here’s another problem that the bible and not just St Paul, at least as read, presents: what does unclean or filthy as opposed to truly non kosher illicit mean? As Camille Paglia observes in Sexual Personae, almost by definition sex is fluid, messy and unclean. Lewd people and pornography can and will exaggerate that, but to make out, if only by hints, that somehow sex can be tidied up and sanitized and only be holy when it is, could invite confusion and distaste for all sex. Which you could claim is what Paul does. There were philosophical pagans of his time who as good as wished to do away with sex and there is some of this in the apostle, a man of his times, when he proposes ( if he does so – authorship of the relevant epistle is much contested) it may be better not to marry and unkindly proposes – can one call it anything else? – widows may remarry but they want to do so when they don’t love Christ enough ( 1 Tim 5:11). Please!

PROBLEM FOUR: VIRGINITY ISSUES

I conclude this recital of the incoherently dubious, discrepant and disturbing with something of topical relevance. It’s now scientifically proven that when it comes to virginity understood in terms of the hymen, this is a myth of many cultures and ages. There is no difference between the genuine virgin and the working prostitute, less than half of women bleed at first intercourse and those women who do are liable to do so for various reasons (such as irritation of the vagina) rather than the common assumption.

You can read the facts and the myths grown around them in a book by two Norwegian doctors, The Wonder Down Under. True facts apart, as in Deut 22 the bible goes along with widespread cultural ideas about virginity and takes a blooded cloth as one of the evidences of virginity in the case of an offended husband deciding his wife must have been playing the whore. (She would risk execution if proven guilty. Fortunately blood was not only or exclusively the evidence and as two or more witnesses were needed to prove guilt, it’s unlikely things would reach the point of execution (how much could even your neighbours know?).

However, all this raises questions and reminds us how to a great extent the Jewish laws were probably “utopian”. Like some other ancient laws, some of them truly impossible (like executing any doctor who failed a cure or any astrologer who forecast wrongly), they expressed ancient value judgements not necessarily meant to be literally applied. Under the law the adultery plus murder committed by King David in the Bathsheba affair should have had him executed, but when condemning him God and his prophet Nathan don’t require it. Only fanatical Pharisees and/or literalists would think in quite such terms.

Echoes of his heritage as a Pharisee are found in Paul and Romans 1:32 with its “and for this they [his perverts] deserve to die” (i.e. under the Law); and although in fairness he continues that not just these people but we all do the same (i.e fail under the Law and so are guilty under it) practically the damage was done. Those perceived as deviant would one day be sent to the stake, the inquisition and torture as even one of Italy’s leading saints, St Bernadino of Siena, actively recommended in Renaissance Florence. And there are still preachers today like American Baptist Steven Anderson who call for the execution of gays – basically on St Paul’s authority, however slight in real terms.

One feels that in memoriam of so much intolerance, martydom and even youth suicide, Romans 1, whatever its precise meanings, should be ignored for church readings or even censored from bibles. Luther wanted the whole epistle of James excluded as “an epistle of straw”. I am not nearly so radical, and feel James presents a meaningful counterpoint to the corpus of Pauline doctrine which was all the homophobic Luther (who loathed the bible translating Erasmus as an effeminate) wished to concentrate on. By contrast to Luther’s suggestion, mine is minor. One tricky page is little to exclude from a whole bible!

PART TWO

SOME SOLUTIONS AND TOWARDS COHERENCE

I reserve to Part Three what I believe is the likely, but unstated key to coherence. Before that I shall deal with a few points worth bearing in mind whether I am right or wrong as regards the major key.

I have painted a picture so grim and frustrating that some might consider dismissing the whole Judaeo-Christian tradition for it. But that’s a nihilistic reaction as overblown as dismissing the Greek philosophers because they accepted slavery and the innate inferiority of women. Times and people do change.

WOMEN OBJECTING TO THE LAW

Faced with apparent incoherence making for injustice, the thinking believer is in a position akin to that of the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27. They find unfair a Mosaic’ ruling resulting from a response to the rebellion of Korah and affecting family inheritance; but instead of rejecting the whole system, they seek its enlargement or modification to include them and greater justice. And this is permitted. The priests take the matter to God and it is changed in their favour although the norm in the ancient Middle East was that women would not inherit. The outcome tells us something about the biblical legacy we are dealing with, perhaps especially for those who would maintain revelation exists beyond discussion in total independence of cultural, historic and personal factors.

Torah means instruction. It is not wholly or only laws. It is information and even a conversation. The rabbis say “to love God is to argue with him” and to argue your way along is permitted. In any case…

No system, not even a revealed one, can include just everything. The last verse of John’s gospel observes that all the libraries in the world would not contain all that could be reported of Jesus. We have of course the drift of Jesus’ teachings especially “what is necessary for salvation”. That doesn’t mean we have everything Jesus might have said or might say on earth today. Such can sometimes be the subject of reasonable inference and/or direct spiritual guidance.

It is important to accept – many don’t – that the God of history works through history. Accordingly there must be elements of the revelation not completely transcendent of time and culture [2].  Moreover if the Spirit is to lead into all truth (Joh 16:3), there must be insights along the way and a few improvements in perception of truth and vision. The churches are told: “Hear what the Spirit says to the churches”(Rev 4:22), but it’s problematic when just this is blocked in a faith supposed to include teachers and prophets (1 Cor 12:28) to guide its knowledge.

The inflexibility that fosters injustice owes much to two tendencies both of which avoid what I call the more “rabbinical” approach to problems by a measure of dialogue. In both cases there is a reductionism that either

  1.  assumes the tradition can be expressed in fixed philosophical formulae, like the “natural law” derived from Aristotle and Aquinas which renders all gays and many others, nothing but guilty deviants or considers the right to life an absolute to the point capital punishment, though biblically sanctioned, is unacceptable even for the worst serial killing and torture. These rules can then be inserted to a catechism that if anything holds more authority than a bible.

  2.  the parallel evangelical tradition which holds the bible is so complete and inspired in itself everything can and must be judged by it and mostly as heresy. The word for this is bibliolatry (or Paper Popeism).

Both these systems finish so monolithic and watertight they easily give way to claims of a dominionist kind that then seek to impose their version of unmodifiable law on society, believing or otherwise, for its greater good and falsely assume that this imposition is living out the gospel, a substitute for preaching it.

Churches both of the fixed liturgical or ultra-evangelical biblical  variety are never going to help our abused woman in the favela, or many today who come into churches from diverse, often chaotic moral backgrounds. These churches have no room for exceptions, and in especially the liturgical churches where familiarity with biblical sources is not at a premium, they will not set biblical statement and precedent against statement and precedent to arrive at any nuanced, dialectical position; if they cite the bible at all, it will only be the single verse they feel most directly, literally applies.

THE TENOR AND SOURCE OF SCRIPTURAL RULES

Especially established churches, (which under old national laws may marry the non or half believing citizen), don’t even engage the personal situations against which one must appreciate those scriptural teachings on sex and marriage one might question today.

But in just this area we must also remember that, originally, Jesus and also Paul mostly address disciples and converts. Among these, higher levels of conduct are automatically expected. It’s assumed they are not prodigal sons, not having affairs and deserting spouses. St Paul is representative here in being shocked at the behaviour of the Corinthians one of whose members is guilty of the incest he says is not mentioned among Gentiles – it was, but only whispered or condemned as a major disgrace as in the poems of Catullus.  The idea domestic violence might overshadow marital life wouldn’t normally be considered (though alas at least in modern times it has too often featured – consider the bizarre case of Iranian born converts  Saaed and Naghmeh Abedini’s marriage). Certainly it’s not something special doctrines as opposed to something more ad hoc would address.

Paul’s family ideal expressed in Ephesians 5 may seem a bit ancient world patriarchal today, but essentially it’s a pattern of relations based on mutual love and respect. If unacceptable situations arose they would presumably require separate treatment, rather as some reformers like Calvin commonsensically assumed desertion was a ground for divorce/remarriage. I imagine too that in the time of Jesus and the apostles most lives were so short this in itself would itself have influenced some attitudes to sex and celibate living.

FLEXIBILITY DOESN’T EQUAL OR FOSTER JUST PERMISSIVENESS

Many religious conservatives take the “slippery slope” position against reform of anything. But one should not assume that by being flexible just anything is permitted and spreads by infection. (If anything it’s a don’t surrender an inch mentality has blown the modern gay rights and marriage equality issue out of all proportion, raising a whole secularist movement against churches who could hardly claim all innocence in this area historically). Not only are divorce and separation too strongly disapproved from the start to make extreme change difficult, but paradoxically too, once freer like the daughters of Zelophehad to enlarge or modify the system, one may actually be more open to finding meaning in the stumbling blocks that prompted the original protest. One may admit a guiding insight where one rejects the ironcast rule. For example…..I retain my doubts Paul correctly conveyed Jesus’ teaching re wives and divorce in Corinthians. But supposing, amid questionable ancient world generalizing, he was broadly right correct about something to beware of?

In our modern feminist world figures show women are a good deal more likely to initiate divorce than men, (and in my experience more likely to do so with just career and convenience in mind). However wrongly, most men tend not to take their infidelities too seriously and not as any special insult to their spouse. So should women be more patient rather than packing up bags at the first infidelity or for career purposes? Convenience divorces followed by quick remarriage could indeed be considered not just adulterous but something that undermines family and renders offspring psychologically vulnerable.

In the same way, though we may feel revulsion at Paul’s rant against whoever are targeted in Romans 1, might the condemnation in some cases still be meaningful and understandable? One thinks of the late Fr Risdale whose case featured in Australia’s Royal Commission on Child Sex Abuse. Here we find such destruction of persons and lives by this vicious paedophile, would he not justifiably be almost a symbol of human depravity itself? The failure of St Paul’s rhetoric lies less in its detail than its over-generalization which we need to handle carefully.

MARRIAGE, DIVORCE AND ALL THAT….

For reasons of space and as I’ve written on these themes elsewhere, I won’t enlarge on the more liberal possible approaches to marriage, divorce and also homosexuality. Churches are anyway not fully agreed on these. Even the traditionalist Greek church allows divorce for just breakdown of marriage; and since “impurity” rather than “adultery’ is a ground for divorce in Matthew (the gospel which concedes to divorce), is not by extension a psychologically impossible marriage an impurity to be dissolved?

Whatever the truth, Jesus’ rulings were originally made in the context of Jewish arrangements for divorce proceedings which men could instigate and women only ask a husband for. This means that translated in more modern terms, it’s at least arguable the sin which remarriage involves is specifically males divorcing in order to have another female, perhaps married, they have taken a fancy to. This is different from divorcing following infidelity and/or marriage breakdown, then finding and marrying someone perhaps even years later.

If something like the latter situation wasn’t understood as allowable, then a lot of sincerely devout persons have been deceived about what God has supposedly told or shown them. As only one example, one thinks of ex-atheist Howard Storm who was divorced by his wife because she couldn’t stand his new interest in religion. Later Storm, who became a pastor, believed God had brought him together with another woman, his true wife. Catholic traditionalists and evangelical literalists would say he and others had no right to find love. The much revered religion writer C.S.Lewis lost many of his more conservative friends when he felt he was right to marry a divorced convert to Christianity.

PART THREE

THE KEY THAT RESOLVES THE INCOHERENCE?

I am sufficiently convinced (say 90 per cent) that the following is basically correct and the key that makes for more coherence and in the most time and culture transcendent way too. If acknowledged it would give room to a new degree of both rigour and flexibility and be applicable to both straight and gay. It’s good news and bad news depending and ironically it was from a gay source grappling with whether gays could ever hope to have any kind of union in the Christian sense that the pattern became clearer in my mind.(Those who feel there is nothing scriptural or original to say on this subject may refer to my Jesus and Sexuality  youtube  https://goo.gl/r6EW5j ).

It’s all a matter of “soul”. Many today don’t believe in soul literally or metaphorically but it’s core biblical teaching. The soul surrounds the body which lives in it (it’s what medieval astrologers would call the “form of the body) and it’s what separates from the body at death as assumed in Christ’s parable of the rich fool whose soul is required of him (Luk 12:16-21). The soul is eternal and is what can be “lost” in eternity….“what shall it profit a person is they lose their own soul”…. (Mk 8:36).

Much in biblical sex teaching becomes more explicable if the workings of soul are everywhere assumed, for example Ezekiel’s bilocality, his visit to Jerusalem while physically in Babylon, but also outside the bible in the case of NDE’s today where the patient sees themselves above the bed and observes the operating theatre or even goes up a tunnel (probably the biblical “valley of the shadow of death”). Kirlian photography may or may not have captured the body’s aura. As regards the bible, it does not define or describe the soul as would esoteric traditions calling it the aura or body electric or as in Hinduism, jivatman.

LIMITS OF BODY, RANGE OF SOUL

It follows that if any of this is true, it is not bodies or not just bodies, that make love but souls. “What God has put together…..’ (Mk 10:9) doesn’t refer to what priest and ceremony do, but describes rather the effect of souls interpenetrating which is possible whenever full penetrative orgasm has occurred (and the same applies to gays where  the act does not serve, as it can, to join two persons – which it can because more than the body is always involved. [ 3 ]

A protest familiar from cohabitating couples is that they don’t need signatures or ceremonies to certify their union. They are quite right…..except they haven’t realized that their union is as good as actual marriage already. The reason a formal marriage ceremony developed relatively late in Judaism and is not found among the patriarchs is why St Paul is appalled at believers visiting prostitutes. The full and complete sexual act in and by itself is biblically deemed enough to constitute a marriage. You musn’t join the Spirit to a prostitute( 1 Cor 6:15). There is no such thing, biblically, as people “living together”, they are married and whatever follows are then as good as extra-marital affairs.

Short of two situations I shall mention, the pair can’t not belong to one another if they tried. This is not entirely good news, but those understandably sceptical of the idea must explain why, for example, child abuse and rape (and even just many divorces) can prove so extraordinarily painful and destructive and perhaps too why despite divorce and other loves first loves prove ineradicable and are improbably returned to.

Rationally this should not be, but arguably it is so because something of the rapist and abuser and their evil is lodged inside a body/soul, especially a young one, unable to carry that. We are looking at what to esoteric traditions or Hinduism would be a muddied, dirty soul/aura. According to those psychic enough to see it, the aura of the promiscuous person is of a dull, clouded kind and this dulling of the soul needless to say reflects hindrance to spiritual development and even problems in relation to what and just who is carried out of life into eternity beyond.

That this really is a consideration is suggested by St Paul’s idea the believer should not separate from the unbeliever because the latter is now sanctified by the believing spouse (1 Cor 7:14). But how so if not through the aura? The glorification of a wholly, liberated, promiscuous sex is a product of modern materialism and rationalism which assumes only bodies are involved in sex.

CURING THE ATTACHMENT

Assuming the truth of these ideas, there seem to be only two main cures. The first is time and abstention across it. From years ago I recall reading even some gay pagan theorists advising gays seeking relationship not to rush into new connection because the aura will need release and cleansing in order for the new relation to work. I should say that many successful Christian divorce and remarriage scenarios worked, seemed and were legitimate  because time had intervened and divorce had not been launched solely in order to obtain a new partner ….. The limits of cure by time and abstention however are suggested by the seemingly lifelong damage afflicted upon some victims of rape and sex abuse.

The other cure is more spiritual, involving something of a more charismatic/ supernatural order in which the soul can be directly healed and cleansed by operation of the Spirit. Again, one can only put two and two together here because there is no clearly defined doctrine, only indications about both the church and individual members being cleansed by the water (of the Holy Spirit understood as per various references in John’s gospel and statements like those of Eph 5:26 and 2 Cor 7:1) and perhaps especially the soul being rightly understood and treated.

The epistle to Hebrews (Heb 4:12) interestingly speaks of a division of soul and spirit (which as I wrote this it clicked with me is very likely the division envisaged in Hinduism between jivatman (soul) and Atman (spirit) albeit Christianity would regard spirit both human and divine as more active than the as good as passive Being of Atman).

When Paul famously speaks (harps on some say!) about the division of “spirit” and “flesh”, this almost certainly indicates more broadly a conflict of spirit with body-supporting soul. The soul is what is overshadowed by, is medium to and marked by eros and much else in life. It is what dies and “the soul that sins it shall surely die” (Ez 18:20). In Hebrew soul is nephesh or animal soul – in short it is what we share with the animals as opposed to our spirit (ruach) which animals don’t possess. I think we now have a solution to Problem Three. It’s not that physical sex is dirty, but that the associated spiritual effects upon the soul aura can be.

Does what I am aiming at make for complete coherence? One weak point would be OT polygamy, but even here there need not be complete contradiction. If one man is simultaneously joined with several women, however unideal that may be, it is not against what is quite common in nature and something is retained that is not the case if it were vice versa. (The nature of yang inclines to action and as initiation, whereas the nature of yin has more by way of action as reaction). The greater problem for the theory is what does one make of what is the general state of humanity inside and outside the churches in a state of spiritual impurity through their often impulsive, chaotic multiplication of unions?

FINDING THE RIGHT BELIEF AND ATTITUDE

On the basis that, as the saying goes, one can’t unscramble eggs, the esoteric position, which in effect amounts to suggesting many present day unions involve ritual impurity, cannot be over applied. Pragmatically what we find has more or less to be accepted and worked with, though in the case of believers hopefully with the cleansing flame of an attitude of repentance. Remarriage in the Orthodox churches are not celebrated like first marriages joyfully; they are more like rituals of repentance, an acceptance of what shouldn’t be but which is and strives to be better.

Repentance, literally a change of mind and heart, is the  starting and centre point to any specifically Christian spiritual path…provided its value doesn’t get lost amid concentration on single deeds or in the case of failed relationships who and what should take the blame for whatever went wrong. Such only sets up internal arguments and ongoing guilt trips. The real problem is always sin in general rather than sins and one must always work at suitably leaving the past behind while aiming to improve.

But to to start again and efficiently with assumptions of an alternative, more spiritual, esoteric approach to unions and sex, there would need to be a whole more broadly “tantric” approach to sex. This doesn’t mean one thing; it can apply to everything from attitudes to techniques, but if this sounds merely fanciful and exotic and outside Judaeo-Christian tradition, I would point out that some rabbis like Schmuly Boteach (The Kosher Sutra) have already seen the point and speak in those terms. It is even to discover what the biblical tradition is about. My Solomon’s Tantric Song, [4] considers aspects of this theme. It’s none of it something to be summarized in a sound byte or  tweet, but if that were possible the nearest might be to the effect: you don’t just make love to bodies, but souls.

1]  Right to Life may sound idealistic enough and I am not saying abortion is a good thing,  but quite apart from the dangers to women’s lives from backstreet abortions when abortion is completely illegal as stressed by feminists, another problem is the fanatical suspicion and even  persecution that pursues women who suffer stillbirths. See goo.gl/g19Rf6  Why does the Catholic church not protest and condemn the monstrous injustices of especially El Salvador in this area? As mentioned in my last article, elements in at least the OT like the Law of Jealousy or Hosea’s prayer for stillbirths upon the wicked, can’t support ideas of the absolute, invariably precious nature of the foetus.

[2 ] It’s one disadvantage of those Christians who dismiss the wisdom of the Magi and astrology, that they can’t even perceive the clear shifts of symbolism and values between eras – the Law of Moses is instinct of the fire, war and law Aries-Libra era that the mercy and service of the Piscean/Virgoan era, initiated by a lake/sea as opposed to a burning bush that Jesus swerves from).

[3] Consider various facts and arguments in essay,   Beyond Marriage Equality https://goo.gl/gnevLG

[4] Rollan McCleary, Solomon’s Tantric Song, CreateSpace, 2012 amzn.to/N6EK1I

A COUPLE OF RELEVANT POEMS

Jeremiah’s Loincloth: https://wp.me/p2v96G-Hm

A Saint’s Mistake: A Poem of St Paul https://wp.me/p2v96G-yS

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2018 in ethics, religion

 

ANOTHER SIDE TO THE CREATION/EVOLUTION DEBATE

 

 WHEN THE ARGUMENT GETS EMBARRASSING

For more than one reason, the much viewed Evolution vs God Movie is worth watching on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ It’s truly an experience and it does raise questions but by no means always the questions its originator, the NZ born, American resident Ray Comfort might wish and intend.

On the positive side, if we can assume the interviews with the atheistic evolutionists are not rigged but authentic and they probably are, or mostly are, then they seriously – but also sometimes to the point of the hilarious – demonstrate the careless and shallow attitudes of the scientifically minded. Some clearly take the explanations of science to be true fact beyond discussion. They don’t recognize or admit the problems of their position. It’s a rare evolutionary scientist today who like Gerd Miller (not on film) freely admits there are problems with evolution because it can’t explain “complexity”. Scientists are not necessarily thinkers; but whereas thinkers are normally willing to listen to scientists, vice-versa doesn’t automatically apply, though it should.

Blinkered scientific dogmatism (scientism) is a subject in itself and I have said a few things about it in an unusual way in my Raphael and Lucifer mini epic and attached essay http://goo.gl/C32i3H\ …..Before the reader dismisses this as “just” poetry and probably not pertinent, I could mention that one of the few publishers who considers religious/metaphysical poetry today, refused it not because it was poor material – they admitted it was poetry to the highest standard – but because promotion in my case was a near impossibility for someone not already known as a performance poet and living where I did outside Europe. In the matter of poetry I seem to be something of perpetual poete maudit loser….but back to Comfort’s video and how he and it, make themselves losers despite having scored a few points in the first half.

NEEDLING FOR AND EXAGGERATING SIN

Having shown up scientific ignorance, Comfort wants to drive the point evangelically home that all these unbelievers are not  just deluded but going to hell and he does this as some American evangelicals are wont to do in the worst, intrusive and plain embarrassing of ways. (Culturally I believe the  remote origins of the style can be traced back to pugnacious Scottish and Ulster Calvinist emigrants to early America).
At the very least Comfort might have considered his interviewees had given him their time and honest opinions. Instead he seeks to exploit this for their greater good and by proving they have broken all the Ten Commandments in some way  hence need salvation right now to escape hell. They need only have told one lie and they are bound for the eternal flames. They need only have had a lustful thought and they are adulterers awaiting God’s judgement and so on.
We may well cringe or recoil in disbelief at this kind of narrow treatment including because, although the Bible and Jesus undoubtedly do preach hell, ironically what Comfort and those like him are maintaining is exaggerated, unbiblical nonsense…..

TAKING BIBLICAL LIBERTIES

For example, not only do the Ten Commandments forbid “false witness” (disrupting the course of justice by falsehood in effect) rather than simply lies, but the Bible at least implies what most people believe, namely that at least sometimes lies may be appropriate. For example, in Ex 1:19 the midwives deceive Pharaoh but are commended for it. The world of Comfort appears to be the Kantian one of the Categorical Imperative which knows no exceptions. If no one must ever lie, under a repressive regime they could finish up sending people to torture and death in the service of truth!
Likewise people become damnable adulterers if they allow themsleves erotic thoughts. This charge is based on ‘words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount which interiorize the Law. “Whoever looks upon a woman to lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart ” (Matt 5:28) . Probably few verses in the bible have been less well commented, understood  and privately alienated more people from Jesus than this. Forgotten amid its shock value is that one can only commit adultery with a married woman and the meaning (which in the original is almost more to look to do something than to look upon someone) is that if you have imagined and intend to have the person then there’s really no difference from your doing it which sooner or later you may well.
If the true meaning is radically otherwise and to the effect that every man should be blind to thought and feelings for women until they undress them on the marriage night anything else being hell bound fornication, then we might have to dismiss Jesus as the father of repression, the enemy of all classic art, friend to those cultures which seek to cover and banish women from sight, and a cause of homosexuality (especially if you controversially believe, evangelical style, that the orientation is not inborn but acquired by attitudes!). Jesus’ subject is the declared one, adultery’, itself an aspect of the theft and coveting, themselves subjects of other linked commandments. (Jesus is of course dealing in the ideal and we need not explore the possibility that in cases of severe repression and frustration a few lustful thoughts could be plain righteous in comparison with the likes of having women by calculated rape!)
Along the same literalist lines, bad tempered people become murderers. If you want to assert this you can justify it also from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:22) where apparently calling your brother raca and fool risks the hell fire. As observed in my video Jesus and Sexuality, ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG0odoWqINQ )  this makes almost no sense as people call others fool all the time and it means little. However, it means rather more if we understand raca was a serious Aramaic abuse term suggesting perversion and gross effeminacy. So, that whatever precise form homophobia took in Jesus’ time when homosexuality was not a word, it was cognate with and symbolic for a whole range of racist style hatred for minorities of a kind known to foster violence and sometimes occasion death.

PREACHING HELL TODAY

Damnation is a big subject with a long history not easily summarized. But if you intend like Comfort to preach it today, what might you fairly, logically and honestly claim that’s in some harmony with scripture without making yourself an idiot, fundamentalist style? Or even Jouhandou style? Atheist Existentialist philosopher, Sartre, once mocked Catholic writer Jouhandou and a Christian view of God over his admitted fears that some adolescent masturbation related to homosexual curiosity would send him to eternal flames. What sort of God…..?!
The greater problem is not so much individual sins about which it is often enough wise not to judge (“Judge not that you be not judged”)   as sin – in – itself.  Many early Christians would have also said the curse that Christ came to undo and ransom from. (1 Joh 3:8). It was understood, and there’s enough scriptural basis for it, that all humanity is born into a world and race that until the apocalypse ”belongs” under Satanic rule and which vis a vis God can be considered guilty by association.
If one can limit the obsession with individual deeds, the fact remains, and ”existentially” enough too, that we are all in effect under a death sentence, dying towards our end daily. Whether sinners in a big or small way, rather plainly people are alienated from others, from themselves, from nature and from God, “fallen”and to all intents and purposes victims of “original sin”, no matter precisely how you describe that condition or think about Adam and Eve. Scripture indicates what seems probable and obvious, namely that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 15:50) and nor will sin – after all if God is perfection, Perfection can’t let heaven be wrecked while imperfect people sort themselves out within realms of the spirit they are not in harmony with or while they maybe refuse to be perfected in necessary ways. And the Asian religions which affirm reincarnation as a means to self rather than saviour overseen perfection, require so long for its achievement the time involved almost equals eternity itself!
It may be conceded that eternal “wrath” (it most essentially indicates separation from God) for the evil of  temporal deeds is hard to take on board. Annihilation would seem more just; but on reflection and logically, there are  problems with this seemingly more “generous” position towards which the present Pope has been said to be inclining. If God can annihilate us (our spirits or root of being in effect), God is not Lord of Life, but rather is partnered with death and this cannot be. God can only quarantine, hold in detention, limit and imprison evil – fallen angels are said to be precisely the spirits “in prison”(1 Pet 3:19) – not fully destroy  because everything exists through God.
Because everything exists through God who is above all light and (spiritual) fire, those who reject God will exist not just in “outer” darkness, i.e. at the furthest point from light, but exist through the core element, fire, without the other elements that make existence pleasant and bearable.

HADES AS DEFAULT DESTINY

Moreover, in the times the gospel was first proclaimed, it was almost universal western belief that with a few exceptions – favoured warriors or the most remarkable darlings of the gods – everyone went at death to the prison darkness of Hades, a version of hell, where they lived as suffering, bodiless spirits. Everyone from Homer and Sappho in Greece to Virgil and Catullus in Rome believed it, though Catullus decides it’s an endless sleep. Hades as the near universal destination  is more or less what the Bible teaches. Everyone has a soul that inhabits the body and leaves it at death (a point that can’t be fully proved or disproved either way though some evidence is emerging), but obviously this soul needs to be joined  with a body to exist meaningfully. The promise of (bodily) resurrection was a novel boon set against a general pessimism which only the democratized, popularized Christianity of recent centuries has gradually modified. The latter now allows most people to RIP although the Bible gives little or no ground for the idea but if anything appears to forecast a body of damnation in hell to parallel that of resurrection in heaven. Why this situation and its distinct pessimism?….

THE LOVE DILEMMA

….Among other things and paradoxically because God is Love. Love depends upon trust and faith and it is said that without faith it’s impossible to please God ( Heb 11:16 ) – which is perhaps another way of saying without love/trust you cannot please or even exist with God. The fallen angels having known God and thus wilfully sinning cannot be redeemed. Humans who haven’t known and seen God and who exist within time rather than eternity, have the opportunity within time to demonstrate a will to love, trust and volunteer (via repentance and the belief which engages will and intellect beyond the heart) to be perfected. Once outside time and into eternity, the same opportunity is not open. Some of the gospel’s urgency, it’s sense of a need to work before night comes, is involved with the limitations and risks of the human situation which is not all “happily ever after”.
It is in this context it always makes sense to preach, as Jesus according to Matthew and Mark begins by doing, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven –  heaven being Matthew’s circumlocution for God – is at hand ” ( Matt 4:17)  “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mk: 1:15).
The literal earthly kingdom was not at hand, any political fulfilment was for another era and a second advent, but the kingdom was and is automatically at hand if and whenever God (represented by Jesus) is specially present. There is an obligation to “repent” (change mind and intention) if you want to escape your likely fate.
I say “likely” because while general principles must be established in order to proclaim anything at all, where God is concerned exceptions may always intervene. Practically speaking, the fate of the unbelieving and unrepentant is “Hades/Hell”, but even the sins and sinner-listing St Paul allows that among those who don’t know the gospel, conscience is their judge and it may or may not excuse them on Judgement Day (Rom 2:15).
Though inevitably some cranks and fanatics have taught it, obviously too God was never going to send unbaptised infants to hell (limbo got invented to get round that embarrassment of extreme teachings), nor various kinds of ignorant and abused people scarcely accountable for themselves. Even so it is not inappropriate to have the image of Hades in mind as representing, as it did for the ancients, the default fate for many, the place too easily fallen into by the careless. Jesus refers to lost souls and hell’s torments too many times for the idea to be just ignored and rationalized away.
The fine details of judgement and afterlife need cannot be worked out by us. But the general principle should be honestly admitted and recalled. Today too many die without a thought given to faith or ultimate destination; they are like the rich fool of the parable whose soul is required of him but who has made no preparation (Luk 12:16-21). Christian atheist, Iris Murdoch, decided she did not wish to think of her own or anyone’s death in “Wagnerian” terms. But can one never quite do so? If it’s not oblivion, death is entry to “eternity”, a rather important occasion worth a few cautions and trumpets!

A POST-CHRISTIAN PENDULUM SWING

No matter how little one favours hell fire sermons of which the classic extreme is supplied in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, it is striking just how much a swing of the pendulum since his time means fundamental declarations about the gospel, about this life and the next are simply not being made today. By way of fodder and appeasement to media and the masses, popes and archbishops will address crowds to appeal for world peace, for harmonious social and religious relations, respect for each others’ traditions and names of God, for the value of recalling “the good news of Jesus”.
This “news”, far from being as in its original form about repentance and reconcilement with God leading to resurrection but  if need be leaving mere family and cultural traditions behind  – leaving “the dead to bury their dead” as Jesus would have it – is instead to the effect we can be loved and included. Love and included, that is, by a church community which if possible would still like to influence society through its laws and according to philosophical formulae from Aristotle and Aquinas like natural law, all an easier option than to actually preach and persuade!
To become a faithful Christian today too often means enlisting to fight not for “lost” souls and for salvation enlightenment like the saints and apostles (that’s much too religious!) but campaigning for a variety of causes, for refugees or  “issues” like “right to life”. The latter (though overall abortion cannot usually be approved) cannot either be biblically defined as murder and  a form of  evil on any exceptionless basis. That the foetus is not infinitely precious and could ve regarded as impure is implied by the way God is quite prepared to kill in the womb ( Hos. 9:16) and such would anyway occur under the law of Jealousy outlined in Numbers 5, and indeed under quite a few capital offences if the relevant laws are taken literally (as opposed to examples that they sometimes are if one takes a more Utopian reading).

FORMULA FAITH

That such contradictions and problems are ignored certifies that, paradoxically enough, Christianity today remains as traditional as possible without being especially biblical. The Catholics for whom the OT is often a closed book, reduce a great deal of the faith to traditions and philosophical formulae that a catechism will represent, while the most biblical Protestants (the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists) read selectively and make no kind of philosophical generalizations in the way  at least sometimes to be practical one must  sometimes do, even if not under the auspices of the pagan Aristotle.
Instead, rather like Ray Comfort, conservative Christians try to corner and close every argument by stressing “the Word of God” says – it might be better to say “scripture says”- and all as though every word were dictated from God. Which it should be obvious can’t be the case. Indeed, if especially the words of Moses were perfect to the last detail under divine inspiration  it would not be possible or licit for the daughters of Zelophehad (Num 27) to have questioned the inheritance laws and had them changed. Fundamentalists never see the wood for the trees, can never hold two often complementary views together. Today they cheerfully declare against “global warming” and “climate change” as some kind of devilish doctrine, untrue because of record cold winters as though the greater heat and greater cold could never be two sides of the same phenomenon. It’s behind the reasoning that fuels the idea that because there were Adam and Eve there could never be any Adam and Steve, God being unable to permit any variation upon any theme, (a situation which could even cancel out the possibility of real music)..
People highly literal with “God’s Word” fail to acknowledge, or just realize, how suggestive and flexible a language Hebrew is, well on the way to the cloudiness of Chinese with its pictograms. Accordingly there  isn’t and shouldn’t ever have been any final dogmatic issues around seven days of creation “Day”and  “hour” have all sorts of different meanings in Hebrew……

THE GENESIS FILM

This brings me back to my starting point in the Creation/Evolution debate from which I have rather strayed. In conclusion I would point out that – possibly and hopefully – a new page is turned with release of the film Genesis:Paradise Lost. The video of this apparently stylish film premiered   last November, is available from February. https://genesismovie.com/ The arguments (including it seems from well qualified scientists) and the evidence for what gets claimed, have been found unexpectedly meaningful and the presentation is generally professional. I have ordered a copy and may get round to a review later.
I just hope after the near comic horror of treatments like Comfort’s, that any facts will be allowed to speak for themselves rather than be exploited to argue for a range of questionable but supposedly biblical beliefs beyond them. If nothing else I find myself in agreement with the makers of the Genesis film that failure to recognize any Creator and the blindness to all things spiritual this can entail is a, perhaps the, major issue for religion today, one cannot lightly and easily give down to popular and common scientific views of reality.Truth is often stranger and more surprising than we can imagine and it is right to keep an open mind.

 

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2018 in ethics, Mysteries, religion

 

“PEACE AND SECURITY” and THE ANTICHRIST MAYBE

MANTRA WORDS AND A MYSTERY

It was noticeable, perhaps coincidental but potentially significant, that President Trump’s Dec 6th speech on the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, included the phrase “peace and security”.Such of course belongs with the new policy’s aim. Trump aspires to fixing “the ultimate deal” for the Middle East and strives to change the whole fraught picture for that region. He may well succeed. He has already troubled the waters in such a way that the result may now be a degree of confusion or possibly even outright war (Iran is already vowing to destroy Israel on account of the Jerusalem claim) which a new peace deal will be obliged to resolve more rapidly and radically than anything perviously.

However, the “peace and security” phrase, already a mantra among some world leaders and bodies, is often cited now by prophecy buffs as signaling the end times and a warning of the imminence of the so-called Rapture. Undeniably it is used by St Paul in Thessalonians (1 Thess 5:3), one of the places in which he refers to the situation around the sounding of “the Last Trump” (which now almost sounds like a pun upon the POTUS’ name!).

I will not try to summarize the whole doctrine and interpretive variations on a theme as regards Christian end times teaching. Sufficient to say that among those who pursue this line (many Christians discount it) there is a sufficiently large consensus that the Rapture, Transformation or Disappearance of the believing prepared occurs just before or after, but anyway around the time of, an historic peace accord for Israel. A treaty must be made [as   of April ’18  such is already said to be privately agreed by various Arab nations including Saudi and Egypt but not the Palestinians) that an Antichrist, or false Messiah figure, will subsequently confirm. It would be an accord that at least temporarily resolves the Temple Mount issue and even permits a third temple to arise. This is something to which despite common impressions, Muslims are not universally opposed – some in Turkey, for example, have openly supported it in service of a more global religion.

Many students of prophecy assume the false Messiah cannot be fully revealed before the crisis of Rapture and/or some kind of destruction (massive quaking?) occurs. “when they shall say peace and security, sudden destruction comes”. American Christians assume their nation, long Israel’s chief ally, will be much involved in achieving the elusive peace. (An ignored purely astrological reason for the belief, is the way that America’s founding Venus, the peace factor in any chart, is at 3 Cancer conjunct Israel’s founding Venus at 4. Moreover America’s Venus conjuncts its own Jupiter at 5 which reflects optimism, good fortune, not to say religious feeling attending the whole venture).

ENTER A MESSIAH

At whatever pre or post Rapture moment in the narrative of the Church the false Messiah appears, there is no question that recent times and Trump’s Jerusalem decision have brought forth a crop of speculations about the imminent advent of the Antichrist.   However, expectation did begin well before the Trump declaration so that this fairly new and original insistence/intuition from within the prophecy fold can be attributed to everything from some shift in the collective unconscious seeing it’s not wholly from Christians either [1], to something more authentically prophetic.

I give the trend some benefit of the doubt because this time round anticipation also neatly and clearly corresponds to something which those involved wouldn’t wish to consider, yet which ironically is almost the strangest and strongest case for expectation which will now either soon be proved true in 2018 or can be safely  put to rest for good.

THE LEGACY OF A STRONG VISION

Back in 1962 the late Catholic seeress, Jeane Dixon (most apocalyptic interest tends to be Protestant) claimed to have received the most important vision of her life, namely of the birth of ”The Child from the East”. Dixon was however alone in insisting this figure was the biblical Antichrist when  elsewhere in the world many were declaring the unique celestial signs of that time (5.2.1962) augured if not the end of the world, the birth of someone very special, likely a world teacher or avatar.

For the reported birth Dixon supplied an exact time but no exact place, only “in the Middle East”, which was odd because having been taught astrology by a Jesuit priest, Dixon would know that astrological birth data, rather relevant in this instance, require a place. Most likely, as one non-Catholic prophet years later independently had it, again from alleged  vision, the birth was in Syria. If so, that would suitably make the subject like the original Antichrist ante-type, the Syrian Antiochus Epiphanes, defiler of the Jewish temple in 167 BC. It is in any case a fact that until recent times, descendants of the Davidic line, with which possibly the False Messiah would wish to identify, have lived around Damascus. Dixon subsequently reported her “Child” was early taken to and spent time in Egypt as though in imitation of Jesus,then later was brought by his parents to Italy settling in Rome where he would be influencing especially persons in religion.

DISTINGUISHING MARKS

Even without the exact pattern supplied by a place of nativity, there are things that distinguish the birth pattern in a way that sends out warning signals for prophecy and which are far more persuasive than anything attributed to the likes of Obama which America-centric obsessions have somehow managed to make out is the Bible’s own dark figure. (It is of course just possible Obama could facilitate such a person’s advance – Dixon saw the US as her Child’s chief promoter and increasingly subject to an undermining deep state – but if so that’s another matter).   For Dixon’s “Child”, all the inner or so-called personal planets from moon to Saturn were exceptionally in Aquarius, sign of the human, while the outer spiritual, trinitarian planets, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto were not in the sign. Neptune (often today called the Christ planet) was however negatively placed relative to the identity-giving sun and conjunct asteroid Lie besides. Altogether this could indicate the wholly human wisdom of 666 that never reaches the sacred 7 and perhaps the appearance of a seemingly futuristic wisdom since the age of Aquarius must soon dawn.

Suggestive too was the way that the “ruler” of the Aquarian sun, Uranus, was highlighted and primed for fame by its conjunction with the fame and influence-favouring fixed star of kings, Regulus, in royal Leo. This also conjuncted an asteroid Achristou which over the years I have found to function as an Antichrist symbol, prominent for those like Aleister Crowley into the dark side.

Other technicalities feature such as a negative relation to the pattern for Christ. I have long claimed to possess this (it continues to work and register for Jesus events)  and it should be known by all Christians. It isn’t, partly due to the demonizing and total misunderstanding of astrology by Christians as so much forbidden “divination” as opposed to the study of cycles and symbols that the rabbis would see it as being. (See Testament of the Magi   https://goo.gl/x8KASy  and explanatory blog The Magi at Era’s End https://wp.me/p2v96G-ip

It is because they fail to study or understand astrology traditional or modern but promote instead a wide-of-the-mark “Christian astronomy”, that there have been so many false calls and errors directed recently upon events. One of the signs of last August’s significant solar and lunar eclipses was precisely their relevance nobody noticed or stressed to the birth chart of Dixon’s Child. Though it’s not only eclipses I would consider in this case, last August’s nevertheless functioned in a way that promised something “now or never” in the life of the promised one. If Dixon’s person existed, I knew they simply had to appear as despite some previously helpful and suggestive patterns there had never been, nor will there ever be, quite so strong a call and impulse towards power and influence  for as long as the person would live; and obviously too they will not be getting younger.

I said  this in a youtube Signs, Rumours and Forecasts of Apocalypse suggesting that the end of this year or early next could witness the person’s advent. What I failed to stress was how much the eclipses of January (lunar) and February (solar) of 2018 answer to those of last August and complete any call but allow it to be a little further delayed. All one would need to see is whether within the first half of 2018 Israel would reach the stage of some treaty that a messianic figure could confirm. I consider the chances of this quite strong to the point of being all but conclusive – say 90% likely – and here are some of the reasons.

THE JANUARY LUNAR ECLIPSE

Lunar eclipses as opposed to solar highlight already existing problems and situations that must be resolved and can be within six months. Solar eclipses deal in new issues that may work out across the year from the time they hit.

At the end of January the lunar eclipse at 11 Leo falls conjunct Israel’s destiny and leadership house, Pluto (i.e. ruler of its chart because Scorpio rises). This contact could entail profound changes for Israel and its leadership [as of Feb 2018 Netanyahu’s leadership is under threat ]  and perhaps too Donald Trump whose natal Pluto is at 10 Leo. At the time of the eclipse, Venus is degree exact conjunct Dixon’s Child’s Venus, itself general ruler of any treaty-making and socio-political amity. His natal sun is also challengingly opposed by the eclipse to generate action. Significantly, the fated nodes at the time of the eclipse fall on a world point, 15 Leo. This is deemed the most difficult of the six such worldpoints and it’s the degree both of the Christ asteroid for Christianity according to the Pentecost chart for Christianity,  and the degree of the solar eclipse just preceding the Child’s birth. It is even also within conjunction of Jerusalem at 16 Leo, the point of contention in Jesus’ birth chart, and then modern  Israel’s destiny house Saturn (serious decisions) at 16 Leo; and just by this a lot is signified……

The world in 2018 could, however awkwardly, be taken up with Israel’s and Jerusalem’s fate and Israel, however reluctantly, accept the world’s involvement in what is decided. And what’s decided might be surprising. Uranus, a factor always involved with novelties and the unexpected. At the time of eclipse Uranus is in exact fortunate opportunity aspect to Israel’s natal Uranus indicating that original outcomes could indeed be on the way within months.

THE FEBRUARY SOLAR ECLIPSE

This falls at 27 Aquarius which is to say challengingly opposite the mentioned natal Uranus, Regulus, Achristou combination in the chart of Dixon’s “Child from the East”. But there’s a good deal more than that. 27 Aquarius makes exact opportunity aspect to Israel’s natal Jupiter, strong in its natural sign Sagittarius. Israel will have fortunate opportunity to make progress during the months from the eclipse – quite likely and as hoped by Trump, by mid May when the 70th year of modern Israel’s foundation is celebrated. But what is striking is that at the time of the eclipse and in harmony with the kind of signs one must observe in eclipse patterns, Mercury conjuncts 25 Aquarius (natal degree of Israel’s sensitive Tempel asteroid) while surprising Uranus at 25 Aries is exactly in opportunity sextile to it. And outside of Israel’s chart, Pluto is even conjuncting Tempel in the Child’s natus. Issues of the temple truly look to be highlighted.

Also worth noting, although not exactly touched at the time of eclipse, is that natally Israel has exact connections between its Achristou asteroid at 23 Aries and Constantia (which has a lot to do with treaties and agreements) at 23 Aquarius   and  Constantia in turn is trine Uranus at 24 Gemini. The prophetic picture regarding a very special treaty seems like it was a potential from the first. But we also have to ask if Trump has a chance, despite all the opposition, of bringing off his “ultimate deal”. As said, I think it’s quite likely, even probable, because by May 1st 2018 shortly before Israel’s seventieth anniversary, by what is called planetary progression, Israel’s natal Venus (any peace treaties) stands at 25.31 Gemini from where it is in the meetings, semi-sextile aspect to Trump’s natal Venus at 24.44, real deal stuff.

TRUMP THE DIVISIVE GEMINI

But what about Trump himself? Here I don’t wish to jump the gun, to pre-judge and dogmatize too much, but in line with comments in the previous blog, I do see an almost theological problem arises for Trump’s Christian fans for whom he can do little wrong and for whom his recent declaration for Jerusalem was God’s will and nothing but.

The fact is, however, that the same celestial factors which hint at Trump’s ability to progress further and make the treaty he so desires, also hint the same deal could be questionable, as indeed is his understanding even of what he has declared for Jerusalem. As a noted Jewish journalist for UK’s Times, Melanie Phillips, immediately pointed out and even while hailing Trump’s Jerusalem decision, it is not quite true that Jerusalem is “at the heart” of three major faiths when the city is not mentioned once in the Koran as opposed to hundreds of times in the Bible. Muslim veneration of Jerusalem is real but something that has grown over time and in conflict with the Jews. In my opinion, Trump almost makes his religion up as he goes along or, with asteroid Israel in his religion sector, defending Israel almost is his religion to the detriment of other considerations. He recently claimed that Christ’s birth made everyone God’s child whereas Christian belief is that nobody is this unless by adoption and grace (Eph 1:5). Lack of clarity like this could make Trump susceptible to a variety of deceptions.

The fact is that Trump who was born under a divisive Gemini conjunct shocking Uranus, has a chart which shows the Achristou asteroid at 24 Gemini in his destiny house within conjunction his sun to permit some influence. The asteroid is moreover in a meetings aspect to his natal Saturn/Venus conjunction at 23 and 25 Cancer. As Venus is at once natural significator of agreements and “ruler” of Trump’s career and destiny Midheaven, plus as mentioned Trump’s Venus progression around next May is suggestive, could POTUS’ master deal ultimately play into the hands of Dixon’s Child from the East?

Israel or Zion is God’s land with the Jews a kind of favoured tenant rather than its complete owner, a reason according to the Law the land is not to be sold or divided up (Lev 25:23). One end times prophecy even accuses the nations of the world of dividing up the land ((Joel 3:2). Certainly the Trump deal is not opposed to, even some say envisages a divided land, a two state solution which is what pragmatically most nations of the world generally favour (even N Korea’s Kim Jong Un supports it which is not exactly a recommendation!) though previous concessions of the kind as in Gaza haven’t bought peace or settled anything. So if Trump’s deal goes along with a principle of division, can it be considered completely valid and desirable? He and many will doubtless think it is, especially if it can gain major concessions such as regarding the Temple Mount. But then what?

INTERLOCKING PIECES OF THE PUZZLE

I think it would be improper to start speculating on anything like the super crisis of a Rapture event and its timing, but in the interests of consistency I must at least answer the question, does the likelihood of a treaty in 2018 additionally allow at least the possibility of any major crisis or mystery within its time frame? I note at least this much. The same Aquarian February eclipse that falls opposite the Antichrist’s Uranus, Regulus/Achristou conjunction, does also challengingly oppose, and almost to the minute of a degree, the Church/moon conjunction of the Pentecost chart for the birth of Christianity. In this pattern the moon rules affairs of the twelfth house which can include disappearance, the hidden or mysterious.

I also find the following data of interest as being at least suggestive, even while I can’t make full sense of it all or the possible sequence – for example why is the celebration of Israel’s seventy years of nationhood and possibly of a peace treaty too, occur on the (“unfortunate”) dark of the moon on the 14th before the new lunation hits conjunct its sun on the 15th? At least no one can call my observations date-setting for any hour or day, even if it happened to point to a relevant season.

SOME SUGGESTIVE PATTERNS of APRIL/MAY

April 16th, new moon at 26 Aries, conjunct Venus which is in Pentecost’s destiny house but “rules” the 4th of endings as per my youtube talk that includes re the Pentecost chart.

May 15th the new moon at 24 Taurus conjuncts Israel’s 23 degree natal sun. It’s the same day that shocking Uranus, perhaps explosively, enters into the peace and security sign, Taurus. It does so for around seven years (itself length of the Tribulation) and on Christianity’s degree of Ganymede (mythic symbol of seizure and flight to heaven – there is no Enoch asteroid to substitute for it). The same Uranus also hits Israel’s 0 degree descendant angle affecting its relations, its enemies, its treaties etc. (Uranus in on the relevant degree from 15th May to 5th June. Taurus is also the earth. Uranus into Taurus could herald increased instability in the earth, in short quakes and volcanos unlikely to be in short supply if any period of Chaos, the Tribulation, were to begin and even with no Tribulation even scientists have been forecasting that 2018 could be the year of megaquakes.

May 29th full moon at on 8 Sagittarius, degree exact conjunct Jesus’ natal marriage and legal affairs cusp angle while transiting Venus conjuncts Jesus’ natal Part of Marriage..

New moon June   13th at 22 Gemini is degree exact conjunct Donald Trump’s natal sun.

Again, I’m not sure what exactly all this means and how it fits together, but I don’t doubt it adds up to something, namely around six weeks of time that could well prove dramatic and game-changing for affairs of this world. Some will object that if the onset of the Tribulation period was signalled, none of this ties in neatly with a Jewish festival. And because Jesus’ life fulfilled the spring festivals, some assume any end times scenarios must be associated with an unfulfilled autumn ones, especially Trumpets, especially so as Jesus’ words about none knowing the day nor the hour save the Father, belong with idioms associated with the Feast of Trumpets. But I am not fully persuaded the feasts entail some rule, though I gave it some benefit of the doubt in my youtube assessment of apocalyptic claims, but even so….

SOMETHING, ANYTHING ABOUT PENTECOST?

The period I am emphasizing here does in fact include Pentecost (20th May the standard Christian and Jewish festival this year though some calendars would set it a day or two later or a week later – the original Pentecost on 28th May  JC/26th  May GC, AD 30). This might just be symbolically meaningful and in ways almost never considered. Pentecost stands alone amid the spring feasts on one side and those of autumn on the other. The church, a community born in AD30 at Pentecost – a celebration of the giving of the Law – birthed a Jewish and a Gentile-Jewish community, and as though anticipating the church’s  internationalism, traditional Jewish readings for the feast were and are from the book of Ruth, a story about two women, Jewish and Gentile who join together.

Arguably, then, if the first Trump was the one that summoned Moses to the Mount, St Paul’s “Last Trump” could be not the last blast at the Feast of Trumpets but the one that finishes the era of the revised, Gentile-including Law. Quite strongly favouring this notion is that the day of Pentecost was originally supposed to be anticipated by remaining awake for the whole night prior. Is this not the rather improbable situation of the ten bridesmaids of the apocalyptic parable, who slumber on the job at  the midnight hour? Interestingly too, the only figure of the Jewish bible who was understood to be raptured/transformed (unless one counts Elijah), was Enoch. His name meant Teachings which is what the Law is supposed to be beyond regular law. But according to rabbinic tradition, Enoch is associated with Pentecost – mythically he is supposed to have been born on it, but evidently in anticipation since he belongs in Genesis!.

Yet before anyone gets too carried away by suggestive signs or starts accusing me of setting times and dates (at most I could be said to have indicated a season) it does look as though the world will seem sufficiently in normal gear to be celebrating a royal event – Prince Harry’s wedding which has now been set for the 19th May. The lunation prior to this on the 15th May at 24 Taurus and as it relates to Harry’s chart could hardly be stronger to emphasize that something and distinctly marital could and should occur, so it probably will.

So just how ordinary or dramatic the whole mid April to early June season could be is an open question. But whatever the outcome, Christians who imagine they can ignore and dismiss astrology are ill-advised. It’s like thinking the Magi should never have come to Jesus’ birth – which a dubious figure of the Eastern churches, Bishop St John Chrysostom did actually believe. Sadly some have been agreeing with him ever since and the loss has been enormous.

NOTE

1) Rather as in wicca and occult systems what is anticipated or desired is symbolically enacted, recently there has been a degree of enaction of a False Messiah’s advent. For example, on my other McCleary’s Additions blog and its most recent article The Star: A Film Joking the way to Bethlehem for Christmas, https://wp.me/p4kNWg-d9   I cite the strange case of Greg’s bakery in UK and its calendar which, to considerable protest, issued a depiction of the traditional manger filled by a pork roll instead of a Christ child. It does so happen that the original Antichrist ante-type, Antiochus Epiphanes, completed his defilement of the second temple and its rituals by sacrificing a pig upon its altar.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2017 in astrology, current affairs, Mysteries, religion

 

JERUSALEM AND “APOCALYPTIC” TRUMP

A PERSONAL FATE BEYOND EMBARRASSING FACTS?

President Trump has stated that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and declared for a move, though not immediate, of America’s embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. No nation currently has an embassy in Jerusalem and Trump has made his announcement a few days after the UN (which seventy years ago in 1947 voted for Israel’s statehood) ironically  enough ruled that Israel, despite all the historic claims and associations, has no jurisdiction over or ownership of the city. There is something momentous going on here, and some would even say apocalyptic at this time for reasons of which presently.

Yet whatever the possible truth in broad historical and religious terms, it remains understandably embarrassing to many Christians and others to be told (by mainly Christian conservatives) that a president apparently against the environment, who favours a  person as dubious as Roy Moore, opposes reasonable gun control and even protection for endangered wildlife (perhaps because his son shoots elephants), is God’s own chosen, raised up to do God’s will. Nor are conservative Christians alone in ignoring the problems of their enthusiasm. When Trump was elected, rabbis in Israel were  proposing he was Cyrus, name of a Persian king considered a – not the – Messiah for his decree that  Babylon’s exiled Jews could return to Zion and build the second temple (which to complicate matters today, many Muslims, especially Palestinians, deny ever existed)..

Sometimes truth is paradoxical and ambiguous as in a statement of the Psalms, “surely the wrath of man will praise you” (Ps 76:10). I suggest it is just this in the case of Trump. Neither God nor Christians need approve all Trump does or believes. The point is that he can still be “fated” to bring about certain necessary changes  And to the extent those changes can’t and won’t be attempted by others and within a certain time frame, almost by default Trump is “chosen”.

In terms of religion no minor issue is involved in acknowledging Jerusalem’s special status for what it is – practically it has long functioned as Israel’s capital anyway, its parliament is there – but biblically it is the place God has chosen to put his “Name” or Mark for all generations and where Yahweh will come to dwell  even though, as in Zechariah 3:2, the Satan challenges that and in the end times  all the nations of the world may be against Jerusalem (Zech 12:3)  This is what in many respects even now is the current situation with  the Trump decision  being roundly condemned.  Especially as regards the UN,  doctrines of worldly expediency or appeasement take precedence over any possible issues of divine will or revelation in the matter while the nations of supposed Judaeo-Christian tradition aren’t that in anything like authentic biblical terms if they can be so alienated over a fundamental issue like Jerusalem’s status.

So…. declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel was arguably something Trump’s “in your face” attitude had to do and alone could do at this time, one generation after modern Israel was first voted into existence. Trump’s  action  is arguably part of a sequence of events which can’t now be put on hold and that have something to do with the building before long of the much anticipated and prophetically forecast third temple in Jerusalem.

It would be hard to exaggerate quite how much Trump is “fated” and that the heavens declare it. Both would-be “progressive” liberal Christians who discount biblical prophecy and conservative Christians who deny the self-same astrology that was involved with Christ’s birth, fail to know and recognize the signs of the times with which Trump’s birth pattern has much to do.

TRUMP AS CYRUS?

At birth Trump had his natal Jupiter (anything to do with religion and vocation and the Bethlehem Star itself) conjunct asteroid CYRUS. This same CYRUS was in direct fortunate, opportunity-making trine aspect to TEMPEL (Ger Temple) itself conjunct shocking, novelty-invoking Uranus in Trump’s house of destiny and reputation. POTUS’ great feeling for and belief in Israel is, moreover, indicated by his ISRAEL asteroid in his house of beliefs and religion. Its position for Trump is having some stimulation at present from current transits of both Saturn and Uranus to it, call-of-duty Saturn itself having been conjunct the Galactic Centre, associated with events in religion.

That Trump would always be challenged by and/or make a challenge of Jerusalem itself is clearly indicated by the way that his natal JERUSALEM asteroid at 2 Scorpio falls in modern Israel’s first house opposite the nation\s own JERUSALEM at 3 Taurus in its house of treaties and relation with other peoples. It is of course a divisive decision (though it merely enacts what the American Congress passed twenty two years ago but feared to act upon but which Trump made a campaign promise of). The policy change was virtually guaranteed to occur at this time because of the pattern of the last lunation challenging to Israel’s sector of treaties and embassies and then last weekend’s super moon full moon occurring under difficult aspects but conjunct Israel’s natal Mercury (anything that divides).

Whether peace or war is the aftermath of what has been declared  – and given last August’s eclipse some conflict for Israel seemed likely in the months following – a countdown is now on towards a peace treaty involving Israel and probably some important agreement concerning the Temple Mount. Trump is particularly dedicated to making this which he regards as this deal of deals. A case could be made for the deal and even some arrangement for the temple area falling within the first half of 2018  and following the February solar eclipse.

As many have pointed out and without any astrology prompting them, Israel’s affairs seem to unfold along a peculiar timeline. Starting from 1897 and the foundation of Zionism, 2017 received various year counts 120, 100 70, 50 amounting to a generation, a jubilee and so on that mark turning points in the history of the revived nation. (Seventy years is always biblically significant – the Jews were seventy years in Babylonian exile before their return to Zion).  And as regards the church, at least according to some interpretations, Christ’s parable of the budding fig tree (Matt 24: 32-34) seems to indicate that the generation of the end times, the generation that will witness the apocalypse, is the one that witnesses the historic rebirth of Israel.  But that generation has its time run out either in 2017 one generation after the UN declaration for Israel, or by May 2018 seventy years after Israel was  fully self-declared as a nation in May 1948. This of course raises all sorts of questions, especially if like many one holds that the Antichrist should soon appear (and/or  even  that he cannot appear unless and until the so-called Rapture of the believing prepared part of the church is taken away).

“WITH THE FALL OF DUSK”

What can astrology comment and forecast here…something, anything? In some respects astrology is like philosophy applied to life according to Hegel. He decided philosophia comes “too late to instruct us”. It can only reveal the underlying patterns of history to us after they have occurred so that it is “only with the fall of dusk that the owl of Minerva spreads her wings” to supply wisdom. Actually I believe astrology can do a bit better than that and can forecast some things including because there are cycles and “what has been will be” (Ecc 1:9) so there is repetition or at least theme and variation; but forecasts often don’t hit right because as I stated in a recent youtube (Signs, Rumours and Forecasts of Apocalypse  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBvx_XMAAyU ) often the astrologer can’t even imagine (or only imagine as one of several possibilities) the sort of things the subsequently clear enough signs pointed to and certified  needed to occur. (I cite how the fated nodes exactly conjuncted Israel’s TEMPEL asteroid when earlier this year Jews prayed for the first time in a Jubilee on the Temple Mount. It was exact but I couldn’t have predicted just that).

So, can one see the likes of the advent of an Antichrist, the building of a temple, WW 111, the occurrence of a Rapture? I am not going to embark upon the prospects for such in this article though I’ve offered an educated guess about a treaty and the temple above and touched on these  areas of concern in the mentioned youtube….where I somehow managed to omit just how vital the eclipses of January and Feb of 2018 are in reply and complement to the super significant ones of last August that I emphasized.

What I will say is that even if 2018 produces nothing so extreme as the Rapture or appearance of the Antichrist (which for certain technical reasons in relation to the patterns I must allow to be possible), with the economy quite likely to collapse (economic depression has some association with years when Saturn is in Capricorn as begins soon) and with even scientists now proposing the year will be one of mega-quakes, I suggest 2018 may well anyway seem like the Tribulation itself and that the first seals of judgement have been opened.

ROLLAN MCCLEARY: TESTAMENT OF THE MAGI : Mysteries of the Birth and Life of Christ  (book and kindle).  All the astrology and astro-theology that should be common knowledge but isn’t.  https://goo.gl/x8KASy    

THE MAGI AT ERA’S END:  A POEM  (followed by a feature indicating how its information is true and still works vividly today)                           https://wp.me/p2v96G-ip

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2017 in astrology, Mysteries, religion

 

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