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HELL’S SHOES AND GAY VIEWS

Image result for Lil Nas X. Size: 210 x 110. Source: www.cnn.com
Gay Satanist with occult shoe

ONE HELL OF A CONTROVERSY

In case you weren’t aware, rapper Lil Nas X recently triggered controversy over a raunchy video, Montero,  and sale of a batch of 666 Satan’s Shoes. These had suitable symbols on the outside and a drop of human blood encased in the soles and they sold within  a minute at $1000 a pop. The video includes embracing a huge Edenic snake and lap dancing with a suitably sinister and unpretty Satan in hell descended into via a stripper pole.

Theoretically the song is about self-acceptance, “Montero, call me by my name” is the rapper speaking to himself as his birth name, Montero. This person identifies with the Edenic snake as simply a form of himself, basically accepting the shadow in the Jungian sense, But more can be involved when one ventures down this particular path. Indeed it’s fundamental in psychology that the shadow cannot be fully integrated or we could end up criminals. So should anyone, especially gays, affirm the self as demonic simply because some regard that nature as demonic, or agree to hell because some believe that’s one’s destination. Is the self to be chiefly anchored in a bravado and rebellion akin to surrender?

It’s interesting that like France’s notable and for much of his life satanic poet, Charles Baudelaire, Lil was born on the 9th April. Like Baudelaire, who desired revenge on his unreasonable step-father, Lil is  happy to be revenged on Christians who reportedly made his life miserable with self and body hating feelings because of his gay orientation which he couldn’t pray away. Of that point presently. As to Baudelaire, he was not gay but he did sometimes let it be thought he was paedophile to lend himself a greater aura of evil. Satanism gay or straight can be quite theatrical.

See the source image
Satanist Poet Baudelaire looking evil or perhaps just sad

UNINTENDED CONNECTIONS

There is an expression “speak of the devil and he appears” and events like the Paris Bataclan massacre and  the deadly Ariana Grande Manchester concert could be said to lend weight to the idea. What may be launched for financial gain, as revenge  or even just a joke, can  still touch real powers. Victim though Lil may have been to a degree (but aren’t many people victims?) that doesn’t automatically justify what can now be almost counted upon to increase morbidity in young fans (he has even till now cultivated a child audience) and augment the ever growing number of persons seeking exorcisms or delivery ministries. There are other ways to register protest, sound complaint and claim liberation.

That Lil, whether for himself or others could be touching some negative energies is suggested by a few points in his birth pattern. In the oddest of coincidences. Lil’s Venus (his art, what he likes) at 26 Taurus is closely conjunct fixed star Algol, traditionally called “Head of Satan”, itself in easy/positive trine to the Hell asteroid (Hella) at 26 of Capricorn, traditional sign of the goat devil. This isn’t all.

Lil’s Uranus (the planet of anything gay  and ruler of things Aquarian) is minutes of a degree off conjunct the natal sun of “The Child from the East”, the Anti Messiah according to the vision of that person’s birth and career by the late seeress, Jeane Dixon. (It’s subject matter beyond present scope, but if Dixon saw right, a real case could be made for the idea this person will finally emerge this year; ….in which case Lil becomes like a herald or silly synchronicity for this person whom Dixon saw as promoted through especially America). The rapper’s chart also shows a triple conjunction of the asteroids, Malus (bad), Lucifer and Achristou (which last over time I have become convinced has various dark side and Antichrist associations) at 22, 24 and 26 Aries respectively. Lil’s sun like Baudelaire’s is at 19 Aries.

BAD NEWS FOR GAYS

Be all that as it may, practically, Lil is bad news for gays unless the more insistently exhibitionist. Lil is bringing back all the radical conservative Christian prejudices against gays and gives the false impression to the young and impressionable that there is no way to be gay and liberated short of selling the soul and pursuing addictive extremes. (it has been said by the straight founder of America’s new Temple of Satan, that 50% or more of its devotees are LGBT people who have felt religiously disenfranchised).

It’s disagreeable to hear yet again the tired, in essence untrue, claim that gays (“homosexuals” in evangelical parlance) do not truly exist but represent nothing but a sinful “lifestyle”. It IS however a sin the way and extent to which so many people have been taught by especially the more cultish evangelical churches, self-hatred and body hatred. In words which plainly don’t represent twenty first century conditions with society suffering a veritable plague of body hatred and abuse, St Paul suggested “no one ever hates his own body but nourishes and tenderly cares for it (Eph 5:29). But beyond the apostle’s rhetorical exaggeration lies the more important implied principle that as a matter of course people should love and care for the body. And that includes gays…..

A SERIOUS NEED FOR CHANGE

…….It also very much includes blacks whose experience, especially outside America, is a horror tale that almost summarizes the problem. Notoriously, in blind refusal or serious ignorance of anthropological fact and keen not to antagonize some Muslim groups hostile to Christians, leaders of some African churches like Uganda’s have made for complete erasure of identity and meaning They have claimed homosexuality never existed in Africa save as a colonial import, and have favoured the severest social treatment of gays if need be including the death penalty.

A small minority of gay persons may change or appear to change orientation for reasons I believe can be explained.  The vast majority of gays remain as they are in a state at least  somewhat intuited by them  since early youth when they felt in more than just sexual ways, “different”. Some churches still desperately need to be educated to accept this (troisieme sexe, third sex) reality and work with it. Even the most spiritually inclined and devoted gays like Wesley Hill, have never been able to pray the gay away, but neither have they been given any real help to integrate their orientation. https://gaythoughtsblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/fresh-towels-for-washed-and-waiting-wesley-hill/ (The relevant website for this article contains a variety of perspectives on gay theology, psychology and spirituality)

I don’t care to say a lot about the Lil controversy. Sometimes silence is better than generating what only makes for more argument and publicity. I simply believe it’s wrong to trendily praise Lil, or to unduly excuse him out of misplaced pity (recall he’s commercial and making a pile out of controversy), or for churches to use him to re-ignite old issues (and falsehoods) around gays, or to ignore the sign of our troubled times this rapper represents. Now is more a time to learn and understand. In Lil’s case wisdom might be to realize the last laugh may yet be on him, as he can be engaging more than his theatrics suppose.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2021 in astrology, gay, Mysteries, religion

 

SHANNONSIDE AND NOT A LIMERICK

[This poem has a connection of sorts with the previous article with its reference to modern Irish masculinities according to sociology. Great symbolism  should not be read into the below portrait pic. For readers outside the West  I wanted the image of a blue eyed, typically pale Irishman and I took what the Net offered. The individual most recalled  and for the shock of their unconscious style, not their long forgotten sporty interests,  had dark hair. He was also a bit older than the not Limerick born singer, Derek Ryan ]

Image result for limerick city images  Image result for Shannon Estuary

Light  spills upon the estuary and signs

Towards the ocean’s breezy emptiness.

One feels pure expectation without cause

Despite  the air I breathe draws

Memories along and speaks

Of projects that could be pursued

If time were kind and fancies not so

Wandering.  I rest back incomplete

In ways that pleasure only and surprise

Could rouse to clear impressions….

As of a sudden such may do.

The river’s surface with its darting glint

Strikes not so piercingly as does,

Towards me now, with something vernal

In the smile, one friendly stranger’s face,

Eyes truly blue, inquiring and observing me.

Intent, indifferent, amused, surprised

Words course their rapids as expressions flow.

I think, “speak on” and  give but little back

So little do I really hear.

Later perhaps I’ll throw some net

That  gathers to a full response.                    v

This moment now I chiefly see

The radiant paleness of the face

The firm bow of the Cupid lips

And sudden sense the pity of

The unconscious charms and beauty,

Too unsung, of men, their loves and partings

Never told by Limerick’s walls or anywhere

In Erin’s mornings of this kind.

See the source image

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2021 in Poetry

 

IRISH DANCE: MEANING IN MOVEMENT

IRELAND via AMERICA

New style Irish dancing, the Riverdance version, exploded onto the international scene back in 1994 when a troupe performed for the interval of the Eurovision Song Contest on April 30th   in Dublin. The event and subsequent trend owed more to Irish Americans than local Irish. (More recently the home grown Caird group of dancers has made advances but employing modern rather than Irish music)

Lead choreographer and performer Michael Flatley  hailed from Chicago. The other star performer, Jean Butler, was from New York (the hubs of Irish emigration have long been New York and Chicago, Boston and San Francisco). When she was very young, under five, JB hated and soon abandoned Irish dance because of the long spells of holding arms close to the side which the new style has thankfully modified. Returning to Irish dance, aged nine, Jean would proceed to become the new art’s star, presiding goddess of a community which has been noted for some eye candy performers besides.

Recently I chanced to see a few RD performances on youtube and was left asking a few questions as regards its meaning, direction and people’s responses to its performance  –  some people, non Irish, have been reduced to tears evidently sensing, especially given Irish  history, a kind of triumph of life in its sheer verve.

I’m not a practitioner of Irish dance nor expert in its history (which  from the first reels in distant times has passed through the influence of the eighteenth century French and British Quadrille, not to say strictures of village priests as regards touching). But even just taking it at face value today, I feel I have a few clues along with new questions about Irish cultural character more broadly in addition to ideas I expressed in articles like Real Irish” and Irish Today. https://wp.me/p2v96G-17D

The overall impression is certainly one  not just of visual beauty but vitality. And while there isn’t the same flying through the air, there is still some affinity with the dynamism of Georgian dance and the Russian zone generally. It’s conceivable there’s some ethnic connection because while the main genetic lines of inheritance for the Celts appears to have been through northern Spain, there is also a more eastern line from Russia and eastern Europe, indeed the Celts used to say they derived from  Scythian  regions.

SELF AFFIRMATION

See the source image

Amid  the verve (and there’s that aplenty compared with say even some Welsh dancers and cloggers), there can be a surprisingly  martial beat. This is possibly a compensation through  art for lost battles historically and/or reflects how victory has been perceived over time’.  The native  outlook in this area can  be  either spiritual/transcendent (there’s enough historical evidence for that feeling!) or more material yet spectacular with it.

I forget which French critic opined the Irish are introverts who project themselves and perform. I’d say this is substantially true and also that, as such, they prefer not to perform unless, including at war, memorably, dazzlingly. One thinks of how during the Elizabethan era for  a few short years Owen Roe O’Neill  held the British invasion at bay and was temporarily “the wonder of the world” across Europe for it. Centuries later the Easter Rising, “a revolution of poets” as some would call it, was spectacular in another way – very much a mind over matter, symbol-laden affair.

The tone and music of Irish dance as for much else in the culture, leaves one to wonder  As against western ballet or opera, in which a single dancer or singer can enter to alter the whole register of a performance as they introduce a specific idea or psychology, musical accompaniment for the eruption of  Irish performers onto the scene could seem impersonal/tribal by  comparison. It can be independent of myth (rich though that legacy otherwise is) and simply a  given. Poetry as of The Love Songs of Connaught has a touch of the operatic about it and western opera like Tristan and Isolde can draw upon Celtic myth, but the national musical tradition does not give much space to individual feeling before perhaps pre-nationalist Thomas Moore composed nationally sentimental songs for Georgian drawing rooms.

It’s the music itself, independent of story or persons, sets the scene danced to, excited and cheerful, serious or sad. The dancer can only express what’s most individual and vary the theme via the brilliant complications of the step dance. But that is perhaps why the steps can be so complex and virtuoso. It’s here the individual interacts with the predominant theme and makes variation upon it……if that is quite what is aesthetically and therapeutically desired.

OVER AND ABOVE

See the source image

Western opera needless to say inclines to the passionate/orgasmic. One senses plenty of passion in Irish music and dance and despite the limits long placed upon it by the priests; but where exactly is the passion directing? I am reminded of the lines in Yeats’ Among School Children.

Oh body swayed to music, O brightening glance.
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

In harmony with certain mystical/unitive tendencies of the Irish mind,  themselves perhaps genetic, the aim of the often single dancer is often to be simply at unity with him or herself  and in this condition as the music and/or Nature, (and with mythic Erin just possibly a secondary consideration for a few).

I think this element of quasi-Platonic abstraction is the reason that within Irish art realism and portraiture have never been especially prioritized. Instead, the elaborate knotwork, symbolic of nature and eternity, and reflected in the music, aims to take you elsewhere and   therapeutically  join with other energies. It seems to prefer this in lieu of resolving this worldly  human problems like the relationship woes of an Isolde. Again to cite Yeats, it’s more a case of

Come away oh human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand…

COLOUR AND REVERIE

Beyond the messages and function of music, colour also counts for something in the transcending equation, not least shades of  the highlighted green which is not just a national colour but according to occultists a magical/psychic ray in itself. Rather as Irish Americans have renewed and highlighted dance (and been praised for some of the colours and costumes used in doing so), so arguably the greatest, most psychologically representative “Irish”/ Celtic painter of modern times is the likewise alienated Irish Australian Justin O’ Brien (1917-1996). This artist who lived much of his life in Italy, skilfully revives and adapts especially medieval images but subordinating the whole to vivid,  thought, dream and mood triggering  colours. Centuries before him, the masters of Kells used the most precious substances available when it came to colouring the figures it was not necessarily important to them to achieve realistically.

Can you hear what I’m seeing?”

This sentence is from James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake and it involves just one pun in a book chock-a-block of puns and near or accidental secondary meanings. “Seeing” here is really “saying” which a type of Irish accent will displace. However, it belongs with the aims of Irish art which is to vary and impose realization of new meanings and possibilities to the point of epiphany and revelation. The bible, especially its Hebrew part, is full of puns translation often cannot convey. The secular and godless James Joyce was nonetheless right to be taken up with Jewish and Irish affinities and problems he reflected through the character of the Jew, Leopold Bloom, an unconscious prophet and deliverer of special messages.

Colour, like some musical notes can be precise to raise us above the material. It belongs with the sounds and perfumes Baudelaire would find in the poet’s temple of symbols supplying correspondences (I have myself found that for any poem not satirical and naturally prosy, focussing the colour of skies may be what captures a mood or  memory and shapes a poem). I surmise a lot of Irish/Celtic art in any sphere is sort of intoxicated reverie, and plainly Riverdance is all of intoxicating for many, But the notes of music, which unlike colours depend upon a time factor to register, may be more potent to carry us beyond time into the timeless. But a question arises how abstract can and should this eternal be to perception? At this point I must try and tie a few ends together and come to a provisional conclusion.

SORT OF QUEER….OR SOMETHING

Image result for book of kells images

A good few years ago and before the “queer” word became more associated with controversial woke and neo-Marxist ideologies, someone not into Celtic culture observed to me they found Irish culture “queer”. What they meant and with elements of gay camp in mind, was that it often  presented a train of  constant variations on a theme, the theme itself often only half stated before dissolved in a process sometimes  feminine, sometimes  gay  for sheer decoration and irony to the point almost of decadence.

In harmony with this I sense there is something Ireland may not have understood, or due to history not been allowed to realize and express, but which is evolving  amid new trends. Historically, some like Matthew Arnold have perceived Ireland as “feminine”; but it is not, or at least not only, a woman or the triple goddess archetypally.

Mental Images are of the feminine yin side  and the feminine – if one  surrenders to it as in the dance – presents nature’s whirling kaleidoscope of fleeting images and impressions it can be  hard to capture and make variation upon, unless to determined excess  and the point of incoherence. This may be fine up to a point – art can use excess – but on the broader psychological  plain of culture, any parallel process may swallow up desired revelation and cancel out the male function of Logos. James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake is a perfect example of overkill with loss of would-be revelation through the pun, the poem, the philosophy or whatever. Unsurprisingly, the book Joyce would have written had he lived, was to have been an altogether sparer, more precise work.

Finnegan’s Wake does not make progress in the implied task given it by  the previous Ulysses of reaching greater order and humanity through the coming together of  Bloom Father and Stephen Son and the Logos function over against the Great Mother  yin one of Molly and other females of the story. Although women are more disposed to talk than men, paradoxically, archetypally, Logos belongs to the male. It is Adam who names the beasts in the garden (Gen 2:19), not Eve. Ecriture Feminine  is tricky and represents a largely doomed, failed project. For focus above impression, Logos and/ or the yang/male function needs to help order and define. If it does not, a certain chaos takes over. Something of the kind is present in the troubling sociological study “We don’t really give a Fiddler’s about Anything” 1) where unclear, silly or absent young Irish male notions of the masculine help bolster a refusal to be serious about society and politics and almost anything that might concern responsible individuals in  control of their lives.

NOT EXACTLY PROTESTANT BUT 

Image result for david geaney dancer, images   David Geaney    See the source image  Caird

It’s not quite true as historian R.F Foster has maintained that modern Ireland has, sort of , finally gone  Protestant. To be really true there would need to be a greater cultural/psychological emphasis upon the value and definition of the masculine or even discreetly the gay. But it cannot be denied some aspiration to the more emphatically masculine awaits in the wings and even seeks  to take wing through dance.

In astrology anything to do with dance is a sixth house matter and in the birth chart of the modern Republic, Venus rules Ireland’s sixth house. And this arts related Venus is suitably found in that most male and patriarchal of signs, Aries, at 27 degrees closely conjunct the national sun at 27 Aries. Small wonder there is a martial feel to much of the new dancing and the art quickly became internationally representative for Ireland to the whole world!

The actual day that shot Riverdance to international fame, not least through its strong emphasis on Scorpio, bespeaks an element of sexual liberation or transformation through the dance form. But that’s another story. Except that I think, despite the pioneering choreography of Flatley and the star turns of  Butler, possibly more symbolic of the unconscious drive to highlight a repressed or ignored yang,  the non-Riverdance performer but five times World Dance champion, David Geaney doing brilliant things solo, leaves a special mark on what is more broadly in process. Perhaps the (via TikTok) super popular Caird group by being an all male team further advances a trend towards a more yang art  The question is can what is developing in dance and elsewhere  be widely enough intuited  and protected.   A subtle “alchemical” process must not be supressed or dismissed as a national issue at variance with especially EU globalist dreams (uncritically accepted by the nation’s inept leadership) of a borderless world in which all cultures mix regardless of historic identity and their natural stage of growth.

NOTE

1)  Academia  “We don’t really give a Fiddler’s about Anything: The ambiguity, contradictions and fluidity of Irish Masculinities”    Clay Darcy, 2019  Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in aesthetics, culture, psychology

 

ECHOD: A POETIC FRAGMENT ON THE TRINITY AND CREATION

[Echod is Hebrew for Inclusive as opposed to single One. This poem was published last July at the end of my ’Muslim’ Goethe feature, but it seems original enough to own its independent space making it a bit easier of access for anyone who might wish to see and discuss it. Now a little bit edited from the original, the poem was first loosely conceived as a sort of bardic address or chant to the tribe concerning the new true teaching. Images here leave something to be desired. The Trinity simply is not well or at all illustrated in Christian art. Traditionally there is a dove fluttering above an older and  a younger seated man and it will be apparent I regard this as distorting of the belief ]    

Hard is and always was to tell
Eternal mystery and the purpose of this world.

Beginningless, and boundless too, was God
Whose fullness and deep consciousness as One
Was all supreme, though One as Three.

Not even outside the Union  was there –
Could such exist – a Nothing which might stand
As rival or as enemy against the còmplete
Whole of all that in themselves just were before
Space, time and this wide universe arose.      (1)

Light of itself, like love, would move between
And through the Three who were themselves those
Energies in which the blissful wholeness dwelt.

Within that union, was One who
Could contain and represent all Three,
In function most like Source and Active Will.
The Second was their Spiritual Mind,
The Third their feeling Soul responsive to
Each slightest motion of the other Two.
And know that this exalted Three were like to fire,
And air and water of a spiritual kind.                        (2)

And air with water are what chiefly formed
This earth when sudden change, unknown before,
Caused Three to labour at creating worlds.              (3)

No more the  Three once needed than themselves
Save that, as life itself, they always
In their closeness caused or shed
Some surplus of their energies
Like streams outpoured from mountainsides, or
Echoed song, or stars adrift within a galaxy:
Such were angelic beings arisen
With some awareness of God’s mind and will.      (4)

Amid perfection’s circle, who with certainty
Will tell how, uncreated, evil came about?
What force could shape it? None. Yet by
The motions of freewill, imagine that it was implied.
Pure love, perfection’s self, knows only how to love
And give and share in freedom of the open mind.

But always possible, though never thought,
Was love refused, a love not  shared  but turned
Instead within towards the self in vanity;
And from its self-regard could rise ambition,
And Jealousy with full desire to be
A worshipped One in power unshared.
And through love’s compromise once made
All boundary and limits came about.              (5)

No person can exist except through God
Yet no dark  soul  can with divinity reside
Alone Creation could be hoped to heal,
Through limits set by time and choice,
What was new conflict for the Whole.      (6)

Within the One, much like a womb, God made
From out Supernal Self and imaging Third
A space for world and time which then his Second
Breathed upon and organized. In this arena
Wholly new, a will especially to love in truth
Could be decided for eternity. And caught in time
Until time ends, angels of wrong choice
And souls at variance with God would be
Confined in Hades’ darkness from the light.
And since it cannot be that souls may die,
Nor live at all unless through God
Already some exist in fire that’s all
They can know of the God denied.                        (7)

The One had willed creation to resolve discord
Perfection of the Second could scarce forgive
While, nearer to a mother’s heart, the Third
Was more disposed to pardon. Divided thus     (8)
Began the pain of God and suffering worlds
Till Judgement Day resolves all fate.

NOTES

1)  The doctrine of an ex nihilo creation is irrational, arguably unbiblical and the result of some early Christian arguments with Gnostics who regarded matter as evil. Obviously, and as Jewish mysticism has speculated, the creation was made possible when God created a womb-like space within himself.   Biblically we are told that everything was created through and by Christ (Col 1:15) who, being divine, exists at some level throughout creation, not just in one place (a reason I suggest the sun dims at Christ’s death, and there are issues involved which I touch in the poem  The Hidden Deity https://wp.me/p2v96G-wZ).   Also we are told the world was not from nothing but “formed out of and by means of water” (2 Pet 3:5) which, esoterically at  very least (but I suggest there’s more), makes for a wonderful symbolic  fit with perennial ideas that the Lord/Messiah is somehow water-related whether like showers come down, (Joel 2:23, Hos 6:3)  or all that astrologers perceive as represented celestially and cosmically by Neptune.

2)  Given the semi-subordinationist statements of Jesus even in John’s gospel most devoted to the divinity theme, it is helpful to imagine the Trinity as akin to the Kabbalistic apex of the Supernals with God the Father being Keter (the Head), the Spirit/Mind that organizes at Hokhmah  and the Soul/body that feels and carries at Geburah these two both facing one another to form the base of triangle beneath Keter. While many Christians would dismiss much or all of Jewish mysticism which can exceed itself in speculation, a few of its basic principles are noteworthy. This is especially the case as there anyway looks to be some connection between Kabbalah and Essene thought and some connection of Jesus’ thought with the Essenes, the only Jewish sect we know of which entertained messianic ideas of a divinising kind.

3)  In Kabbalah there are only three elements, fire, air and water with earth being derivative from them. The Genesis creation story is begun by God assisted by the Spirit who like a bird broods over the waters  fecundating them – esoterically air is male and water female and we perhaps have here an implicit ying yang. It could be deemed problematic that Christ is male, but as the Sophia which even St Paul calls him, he represents the divine female principle.

4) I can be wrong about the origin of the angels. It is not clear when and why they are created (deliberately or more automatically?) but they possess a will and choice and  thus some rebel with the Satan.

5)  According to St Augustine the devil fell through pride; but within the context of the heavenly, the withdrawal inwards of self-love or vanity seems more feasible as the first step towards evil within a place of only mutual love and perfection. Also vanity is implicit in the Ezekiel’s vision of Tyre as a Satan who becomes proud because of his beauty (Ez 27:18) which seems indicative of vanity before pride.

6) Creation with the dimension of the material and time helps establish a measure of distance from imperfection for God while for creatures it allows a space to exercise a degree of free choice for or against God.

7)  The Eastern Orthodox view of hell regards the damned as living through the same light/fire that illuminates the redeemed. God is primarily and ultimately spiritual fire (See the vision of Ezekiel for example). A soul can’t die like a body, it must live forever, it cannot be annihilated otherwise God is not “Lord of Life”. The damned would appear to be those who  continue to exist through God as fire but without the benefits of the other elements. Thus like the rich man in the parable of Lazarus in Luk 16, this soul is tormented by thirst because spiritually or materially, the water element is absent.

8) The mental and abstract, organizational perfections of the Second (akin to Hokhmah) and the understanding and feeling of the Third (akin to Geburah) create a tension between them and the One will of the Head. There are various symbolic grammars and archetypal motifs to evoke this. I like best as easiest to demonstrate in even everyday psychology, the will to exclude among perfectionist Uranian individuals and the will to include of pardoning Neptunian ones, but I realize this is a bit Jungian and not an acceptable comparison for many. But the main point is that until the final decisions of Judgement Day, there is a tension and conflict within God seen at its most extreme at the crucifixion where Jesus, “become” sacrifice and the sin alien to divine perfection, is or feels temporarily abandoned by God like the damned to Hades (hell). No Arian type doctrines that deny the Trinity fit the spiritual and psychological dynamics of the Passion story and one might as well say that Jesus never died on the cross or did so without much purpose. The maverick theologian Uta Ranke Heinemann dismisses the whole atonement doctrine as “theology for butchers”. I suggest this kind of thinking is an example of the German theological messing about on which the West is choking.

 

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in Mysteries, Poetry, religion

 

FAITH AND VIRUS

Image result for Faith and Fear

A PLAGUE OF SILENCE

If the churches wanted to make themselves seem irrelevant and redundant they couldn’t have done a better job than in response to the current health crisis. Bestselling author and editor of the Spectator Douglas Murray is one of those who has expressed surprise at what is mostly silence and lack of spiritual counsel. I don’t  myself have all the answers, social, scientific or spiritual but some points strike me.

Plagues and reaction to them have a long history.  Homer’s Iliad kicks off with the attempt to manage a death-bringing plague because the priest of Apollo has been insulted by King Agamemnon. Almost every aspect of late medieval Europe was spiritually and aesthetically touched by the massive toll of bubonic plague. Since then accounts of plague or just the literary evocations of  disasters from Dafoe’s Journal of  a Plague  Year or Camus’ La Peste have been   more inclined to the objective and “scientific” treatment; but  the chief  binding feature of the dark times is a feeling, along with fear, of helplessness, sometimes worsened by examples of selfishness and sometimes lightened by acts of heroic charity.

The bible has little to recount or comment regarding plagues save in three main instances

1) Psalm 91 which is the general all- protection Psalm with special reference to pestilence.

2 ) apocalypse – the times of the end are generally associated with pestilences.

3) the story of King David’s census  punished by a visitation of pestilence.

Taking these in order I note

ON BEING PROTECTED

1)  The protection Psalm declares:

“For he [the Almighty] will deliver you from the snare of the fowler/And from the deadly pestilence…( v.3 ) You will not fear….the arrow that flies by day or the pestilence that stalks in darkness”.( vs.5,6)

Given that obviously people do die in plagues, wars, quakes etc, this and more sounds extreme. But  amid the challenge of the psalm’s confidence, to note is the concession that there’s protection “Because you have made the Lord your refuge…no evil shall befall you…..”( vs 9,10) and “Those who love me I will deliver” (v.14). That one should use understanding here and not automatically assume safety even Jesus would insist. It’s from Psalm 91 the devil cites when he tempts Jesus to prove his identity by jumping unharmed off the temple pinnacle (Mt 4: 6).  The psalm and its faith don’t represent a magic  charm such as maybe  a few churches assume when they  maintain because  they have and use blessed bread, no virus can come near.

Even so, many today would still attest to the reality of “protection”  such as the psalm envisages. Stories abound of the kind that some message or instinct prevented an individual from going somewhere like the Twin Towers at 9/11. I have my own story of the kind. Years ago in Thailand I was bewildered to register a voice (my guardian angel’s I later assumed) assuring me that whatever happened I would be protected. I couldn’t imagine from what, but later that day I made a sudden irrational decision to refuse a coach seat I was offered which, had I taken it, would have been my death or serious injury.

Anyway, from Psalm 91 we have indications that individuals rather than whole societies (unless perhaps very religious ones)  might be protected from plague.

2) Apocalypse is associated with “great earthquakes and in various places famines and  plagues” (Luk 21:11). And once into the time frame of apocalypse proper, at the sixth seal, Death and Hades are permitted to kill “with sword and with famine and with pestilence” (Rev 6:7). The  OT prophet Habbakuk apocalyptically declares “Before him [the Lord] went pestilence, and plague followed close behind” (Hab 3:3-4). If this  sounds particularly bizarre, actually such  vision belongs with what apocalypse is most essentially about, namely the “wrath” of God. This word signifies the withdrawal of divine presence and protection so that already fallen nature has freer rein to wreak havoc in its path. At this point God may appear as though the devil who, until the apocalyptic struggle is ended, is effectively ruler of this world according to Jesus (Joh 14:30). This interplay of powers and images helps explain the mystery of the plague story  of  King David’s reign where between the two given versions (2 Sam 24.1-25 and 1 Chron 21:1-22), it is unclear whether God or Satan  is the tempter/trigger of what  happens. (Some “permissive” will of God as for Job’s temptation by  Satan  seems implied).

3) According to the Jewish Law any people census was hedged with conditions and even plague- associated (Ex 30:12). Without consulting God and because God or Devil had prompted him, David institutes a census – perhaps for reasons of security or glorification of national strength independent of God. David soon regrets the decision, a prophet is called in and the king is obliged to choose between the (apocalyptic-like) alternatives of famine, war and pestilence. He  chooses the latter as it will last three days as opposed to the other 3 month and 3 year options). In the event 70.000 die.

No need to argue like some over levels of historicity and numbers here – OT numbering is often problematic while the presence of numbers 7 and 3 in the picture could itself bespeak some sacred numerological meanings. Arguably the greater message is the recurrent, consistent biblical one that complete neutrality in matters of faith is not finally an option. Not to be for God, and often from pride and indifference, soon invokes the rule of some demonic apocalyptic opposite rather as in the prophecies of Revelation the peoples of the world no matter what their allegiances have to choose between taking the Mark and being for Christ or Antichrist (Rev 13: 15-17).

PLAGUE TODAY

How might any of this relate to the current situation about which church leaders have had so little to advise?

As in Japan’s leading classic The Tale of Genji (whose chapter 13 evokes not plague but wildly unnatural conditions responded to by sutra reading, prayers, vows, penances) disasters almost automatically impose a degree of interiority. It’s a time to examine things, an opportunity for persons and nations alike to change direction and values. This needn’t be morbid or revivalist hysterical, it could even be very rational, but either way repentance (metanoia) means mind change, re-evaluation. Many Christian rituals still begin with a call to  the repentance which almost more than anything for the religion is a state of mind open to constant re-direction. (It’s more than simply “sorry”, though it would mean that for the kind of Australian for whom “I never say sorry” is  a boasted principle !)  

Ideally the bible would have whole nations, not just individuals repent (2 Chron 7:14) for most effectiveness in the face of disasters. This move is scarcely possible today where commitments of a secularist or multicultural order (or even just the positive thought trends which fear any guilt trips!), all render it harder to call peoples to any highly directed thought moves in terms of belief. This does not mean that individuals can’t “repent” and even on behalf of others.

Repentance is characteristic of Christianity from the first  – “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15) is Jesus’ first reported public statement. It’s not love your neighbour  or the other worthy ideals that  count and that some churches put first though they are really secondary because they don’t transcend or command situations with sufficient – or any –  God consciousness. A huddle of talk therapy nowadays substitutes for the wider picture that  faith, prayer and meditation could supply.

 Faced with plague the contemporary response is often one of fear towards the death till then  unprepared for all hope being pinned upon science to save the day.  Although it would be reassuring if tests  and scientists could be more unanimous on some issues like even the efficacy of masks, this is not to say that science and doctors can’t and don’t help us. However, even they exist under God and their help will be limited or even a hindrance where they block more transcendent, overarching views. It’s through these it becomes possible to discern how times and seasons and human lifespans belong within divine orders of being. Current secular attitudes unconsciously incline to the “idolatry” mindset  into which those who are not for God fall.

PROPHETS MIGHT TELL US?

In conclusion, I will presume to imagine the sort of things a biblical prophet might say. It can at least be guessed at because as per the creed’s  “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible”, what happens embraces more than one level. There is the level of symbols, archetypes and signs too often ignored.

Noticeably the virus has come upon the world from implacably godless but symbolically dragon-related communist China (the devil is the  dragon  throughout Revelation).  Though compared with some western nations Australia has minimally suffered from specifically Covid, it is nonetheless suffering from economic  discrimination out of the dragon’s home. Australia has invited this  on itself  to the extent it has repeatedly set economic advantage above human rights concerns which include (beyond the Uighurs it is right but also almost trendy to protest for) the serious ill treatment of Christians and Christianity in China (to the point parents should not even use the God word in front of children).  Australia has shown no real loyalty to its traditionally Christian identity. Since there is no vacuum in matters of faith, pragmatic materialism becomes virtual idolatry of Mammon “You cannot serve God and Mammon [the god  of wealth]” (Matt 6:24). Overall the situation renders the nation victims of an oppressor and God does not and likely will not interfere with a choice so strongly made and  little repented over time.

Whether one agrees or not with that piece of speculation, more certain is that willingness to embrace  the  level of the unseen as opposed to clinging to the one dimension of the material helps reach into a broader, calmer, more  confident  approach to events. As Ps 46 has it, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble….though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam…”. Possibly leading religious voices have been censored out by secular media, but it is more likely that religious leaders just didn’t say things like they are is in the face of crisis, and I would have to agree with critics that this is controversial.  

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2021 in culture, religion

 

THE EVANGELICAL PAPER POPE PROBLEM

Image result for paper pope images

Only belatedly  after  years of putting out  sometimes theologically related WordPress articles and noting responses has it become clear to me why there can be such levels of dismissal, hypocrisy and often  unpleasantness in the evangelical branch of religion, especially America’s. Ironically, the answer is, very largely, the bible…..How come? Since I have no desire to undermine faith or diss the bible, whatever can I mean?

Calvinistic legacy

The problem begins with Calvin and Presbytery, the true parents of American Protestant faith. In commentary on certain words of the Apostle Paul (2 Tim 3:16), Calvin introduces a radical idea. I shall give first in traditional KJV and the Revised English Bible version the words of Paul on which Calvin enlarges.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof ….

All inspired Scripture has its use for teaching truth and refuting errors…

From this basis Calvin, the most Catholic and not to say inquisitorial of the Reformers (his behaviour in Geneva anticipates American cultishness)  jumps into  commentary  with…

we owe to the Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God; because it has proceeded from him alone, and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it.

Nothing and not ever?!……

The “Word of God” means..?

Not even Luther would have agreed. (We know he had doubts about the Epistle of James) and even Methodist John Wesley’s strongly bibliocentric position implies through his Quadrilateral system of assessing truth that inspiration could have degrees. It’s an idea explicitly or implicitly assumed within much western Protestantism.

But with Calvin is birthed bibliolatry, the infallible, inerrant Paper Pope bible of a type of fundamentalist Protestantism. It favours an inflexibility that has got in the way of “what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 3:22), and spawned a host of unedifying disputes when not shut down needed conversations because anyone with a different opinion on literal “plain sense” reading of a text must by definition be a false teacher to dismiss, or a heretic to be condemned. What’s literal counts; poetry, like the music suspect to Calvinism, does not come into consideration.

Under this Calvinistic influence the bible would become everywhere deified by evangelicals as “The Word of God”. I don’t suggest in many respects it isn’t that. But not fully and not even on Jesus’ authority. It is Jesus himself who is supposed  to be reverenced as the Logos or “Word of God”. He even indicates the scriptures are principally significant as a pointer to himself (Jn 5:39), an affirmation that itself indicates the real subject of the bible is God and salvation, not some of those issues of lesser weight and relevance such as the book of Proverbs contains as mentioned presently. In his answer to the tempting Satan who cites to him the all-protection declarations of of Psalm 91, Jesus implicitly refuses any automatic and literalizing application of poetic scriptural generalizations.(Luk 4:10).

Whereas in the early church to be Christian was to believe the creed, for the evangelical the true believer is one who believes every word of the bible, (a book which exists in its present familiar form through the fiats of various traditions and church councils attempting and claiming divine guidance). Distributing, and if possible reading the bible cover to cover, genealogies and all, is almost a sacrament and ascetical practice for devoted evangelicals. I forget which person claimed on youtube that in vision Jesus had told them he wished people to read John’s gospel as central but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was genuine vision. People can’t be expected to read and absorb the whole bible without commentaries and help and very good translations. When I lived in Hong Kong I would hear many locals preferred to read the Bible in English as the Chinese translations weren’t clear enough. A truly evangelical impulse would probably do better to arrange for shortened, bibles which cut out the hard bits like Leviticus and Chronicles with their rituals and lists as opposed to pouring money into poorly translated versions people imperfectly understand.

Simple questions and proofs

Since the Enlightenment people who doubt and dislike the bible have often attempted  to undermine it by introducing questions of dating, true authorship, archaeology etc. Over time these problems usually find their reasonable answers and even to the bible’s advantage because it is a basically authentic reliable work. Frankly however, if you want to undermine the bible at any rate as regards arguments for paper pope infallibility and inerrancy, all you need do is read its text and ask and answer some questions that shouldn’t confuse even a schoolchild. If you then refuse and dismiss the obvious you risk finishing as many evangelicals and fundamentalists do, namely dishonest as you strive to defend the indefensible. Consider the following (happily exceptional) cases below which I am quite prepared to believe are even meant to be there as a check to bibliolatry and an invitation to wrestle with textual meanings and messages like Jacob with the angel.

A lot of OT imagery we rightly overlook and dismiss as only in cultural harmony with its violent and militaristic age of origins (age of Aries for astrologers) but should we dismiss the occasional gratuitous violence? If the Holy Spirit inspired the entire bible, did the Holy Spirit  inspire  

                     “When your enemies come cringing to you/ you will trample [stomp ] their backs underfoot” (Deut 33:29) ?   

Or against the Babylonian oppressors and their offspring

“Happy is he who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock”  (Ps 137:9).

The book of Proverbs contains real wisdom but also occasional dated prejudice which if believed would cancel out whole areas of religious and cultural life.

“A man who isolates himself [ lives alone ]seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment”.  (Pro 18:1)

Proverbs is usually right about the dangers of alcohol but hardly speaks from God in every instance as in …

Give wine…to those who are bitter [sad] of heart/Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember his misery no more”  (Pro 317:8). This is like a prescription for alcoholism!

Inspiration is something that ebbs and flows. An author is not necessarily under the influence at every moment and also speaks as and for themselves. If the bible is every word dictated and perfect from God, did the Spirit cause Paul to write

“Come to me at Nicopolis for I have decided to spend the winter there” (Titus 3:12)?

A high level of inspiration attaches to the Corinthian epistles, especially the often cited 2nd, but that inspiration is not necessarily absolute and continuous is certified by a simple factual error at one point. 1 Cor 5:1 suggests that incest such as has happened in the congregation is of a kind not known among pagans. Hardly! Incest is far from unmentioned in ancient literature. Centuries after Paul St Jerome mentions that Rome turned out for the funeral of the poet Catullus (d. 54 BC). This poet famous among Romans, (and many Romans lived in Corinth and would have known of the poet) had mocked the bad morals including incest “Mother lying impiously with ignorant son” among Roman high society. Obviously pagans did know and mention the kind of things Paul says they didn’t.

Levels of Inspiration

It would be simpler and more helpful if, Lutheran style, evangelicals were prepared  in cases of doubt to rate the words of Christ above those of Paul; that they don’t do so this has complicated numbers of issues past and present, especially present. The apostle is not entirely reliable and without all self-contradiction on the sensitive issue of sex – authorship of the relevant epistle is disputed, but if he authored the statement and believed it at the time, namely that widows who seek to marry are wanton against Christ (KJV 1 Tim 5:11) that would only be to contradict much else he taught about marriage.

I wrote in this article   https://wp.me/p6Zhz7-2M  the status and value of  the problematic, supposedly anti-gay passage of 1 Romans is put in question by the accuracy of certain statements that precede and support it. This sort of thing, never mentioned, should be discussed but is liable not to be so as the legacy of Calvinistic bibliolatry has ruled that out for many in advance while the prejudices in relation to the gay subject remains often quite breath-taking. 

From the evangelical standpoint contemporary American society is in a bad place having rejected God. This can actually be true up to a point – the secularism, materialism and indifference is marked in some areas – but sometimes the  nightmare of unbelief is one that has been virtually courted. Rejection of faith is a direct product of brittle, inflexible views that invoke rejection from incredulity and despair in whole sections of society. This happens as when gays are automatically the enemy, the black sheep, destroyers of society pursuing nothing but a chosen “lifestyle” (in many cases curing gay orientation is as daft as insisting introverts become extraverts) , or every woman who has an abortion never has a good reason but is a guilty of murder or even sacrificing to Moloch.

I don’t wish  to end on a sour note or naming names, but it has been not just disappointing but troubling to register the degree of dismissal or silence I associate with American evangelicals if and when one answers them sensibly or invites them to read opinions expressed in this or that article. For example, though I say it myself, an article hardly unbiblical but original like Lot’s Wife and the Meanings of Sodom(y) merits consideration https://wp.me/p6Zhz7-fL  but is regularly overlooked if suggested for consideration. The assumption is doubtless there couldn’t be anything new to learn, plain sense literal reading covers for everything.

In the final analysis, Christianity is the religion of the Word. This also means the religion of discussion and free speech as even St Paul implies when he concedes there must be divisions and factions “for only so will it become clear who among you is genuine (1 Cor 11:19). But little will be clear where there is no open expression of views which differ from the narrowest sense of obvious. The Geneva of the soul that is evangelicalism American style is ultimately not healthy and  not to be approved as any way for the future.         

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2021 in religion

 

THE POISONS OF SUCCESS: STARS OF THE BILLIE EILISH PHENOMENON

THE POISONS OF SUCCESS: STARS OF THE BILLIE EILISH PHENOMENON

                                               

If as I proposed in an article of October 2016 that there’s no such thing          as Aleister Crowley “lite” (Crowley was supposedly “the wickedest man alive” and a pioneering Satanist), plainly there isn’t anything terribly “lite” about  award winning singer and songwriter Billie Eilish. I don’t much follow pop culture so am not well versed in the runaway Eilish phenomenon, but I’ve seen and heard enough to appreciate how there can be the controversy there is  around  the singer’s ideas and influence, and I’m interested to trace this and the truth in the birth pattern.

Letting the facts of the pattern speak for themselves,  I won’t say much    from a personal standpoint beyond registering that I can’t admire someone who sings to images of multiple (drug?) needle shots to the back which transform the person into a sort of winged dark angel. And telling impressionable, often nowadays goth depressive adolescents and while simulating drunkenness, that she’s going to hell when she dies and good girls go to hell (title of an album song), is less amusing than irresponsible.

 Overall B.E’s birth chart marks out a suitably strange pattern for someone who by her late teens has already achieved great success  through a very alternative stardom. It’s arguably a sign of the times that this should be and that quite so many are entranced by the B.E phenomenon and reward it . Some feel no surprise with the success; they would maintain if you sell your soul you’ll enjoy a run of luck. I have no idea whether rites of a soul selling kind have ever been engaged, but the natal pattern almost favours it with its 7 degree Mars in sacrificing Pisces opposite a 7 degree asteroid Alma (soul) in the sixth house of self-sacrifice.

Overall, B.E’s birth chart fits for someone who by her late teens has already achieved great success. The birth date is 18th December 2001 at (from family memory) 11.30 am in Los Angeles.  The time seems probable because one would need both the sun, itself conjunct the fated nodes, and Venus conjunct the Midheaven of career and reputation to get so far, so easily, so soon.  Moreover, the sun at 26 Sagittarius is conjunct the Galactic Centre (issues and events in religion), the sun itself being in religious/philosophical Sagittarius so that religious themes, however negatively, can be centre stage. They can also finish treated with the optimism and humour of the sign – God is unlikely to disapprove or if God does so and hell looms it’s anyway  not a bad place to be, it might even be the better place to be!

The other, more musical, victim, introverted and “possessed” side of BI,  who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome and sometimes depression, is represented by impressionable, often suffering Pisces rising at birth.

The seventeen Pisces rising degree makes easy and, if you like, fortunate trine to Malus (bad)  at 18 Scorpio (sometimes seen as a hellish sign) in the eighth house of the secretive and occult.

Behind the ascendant degree in the hiddenness of the twelfth house at 13 Pisces, that  difficult, often malefic factor, Lilith (in some Jewish myths, Adam’s  first  wife) makes trine to “religious”, messianic Jupiter in the fourth of home and origins in the sign of Cancer, the Great Mother. B.E. has referred to God as “her”.

The seventh house of unions and partnerships contains a conjunction of the asteroid Lucifer, with the hell asteroid, Hella at 27 and 28 of Libra respectively. Crowley was a Libran and Lucifer is the prince of the powers of air (Libra is an air sign) and Lucifer as light retains some of  his original beauty. Dark and hidden Satan is Malin (French for devil).  

In the twelfth house of the unconscious and hidden enemies,                            Malin is part of an odd conjunction with Uranus and  Isa (Jesus), these three at 21, 23 and 25 of rebel and eccentric Aquarius respectively. Conjunctions, depending on the factors involved, are very pro or con something, while Uranus is not just shocks and surprises and eccentricity but separation. Obviously there is an element of conflict and/or separation from anything of Christ nature.

While the twelfth sector is any hidden enemies, the seventh on a Taming of the Shrew basis is, when not partnerships, open enemies and/or the audience, those  people one needs to come to terms with. Theotes (godhead) at 3 Virgo in this house stands in a tension, potentially blocking square (90 degree) aspect to Mercury (ruler of the partnership house) in the goat/devil sign of Capricorn in the career house. B.E can have an audience and make a career being contra God and pro devil. I don’t know whether Eilish is pointing to Irish, but B.E’s father, Patrick O’Connell, is Irish and her mother Scottish, so the tension square of Ireland to Mercury and opposition to Theotes, forming a T square, looks like a measure of alienation from the Celtic heritage and its beliefs.

Audience potential for B.E’s “vision” at this time, on the border of the eras of Pisces and Aquarius and in which many anticipate a coming antichrist figure, is increased by the way in which from 21 Aries asteroid Achristou favourably trines both Venus and the reputation Midheaven at 20 and 22 Sagittarius respectively.  Over the years I have found Achristou to fit with dark side themes, and of course if is significant within Crowley’s chart.

Though more could be said,  I think the point has been made that this chart is   descriptive for its subject’s interests and career . Although as for Crowley these  are considerably art and performance directed, they are not for that reason harmless and lacking a potency better avoided than celebrated.

 

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2020 in astrology, culture, psychology

 

THE YOGIC MISTAKE AND DEVELOPING ONENESS RELIGION

THE YOGIC MISTAKE AND DEVELOPING ONENESS RELIGION

Contrarian thinkers can exasperate,  but they can also keep us on our toes  prompting us to a few unexpected insights. America’s anti- feminist feminist, Camille Paglia, has shone light in dark places and raises important questions. British writer, cult figure and former broadcaster and journalist, David Icke, when not letting fancy roam too far, has defended free speech,  been fearless and sometimes censored, for lambasting corruption and  madness in high places like the BBC that covered for Jimmy Saville. Despite conspiracy theory charges against his ideas he takes some credit for forecasting in the early nineties the outlines of today’s developments and  globalist trends which, like some Christians who favour prophetic perspectives, he regards as dangerous.

Some of us curious about from where and how Icke derives his standalone chutzpah  in the face of dismissal, ridicule and sometimes censorship, have been answered – somewhat – in his youtube statement “It’s Coming ” and he makes it all seem very simple.

It basically entails a  yogic power of a demythologized or labels-free kind.  What supposedly everyone needs to do is open to the energy field of the heart chakra and the heart’s (Intuitive) intelligence. This can be superior to that of intellect or head. From this (rather Buddhist/Tantric position) you will wish the best for everyone and realize your root connection to all that is, has been and ever will be of which you are just a point of attention within the totality.

LOVE AND FEAR

Once you realize this situation you will know that there is nothing to fear. You will  be assured that love is the absence of fear and fear is the absence of love.  Death itself is not to be feared; it scarcely exists and  is merely like the “changing of a headset”.  Once you are properly aligned with the totality, you will automatically know what is right and can do it without fear of consequences or  care for people’s opinions.

It is not explained how people would get in touch with the heart chakra (a centre of energy, one of seven, that are only psychically visible and exist parallel along the body with the body’s endocrine glandular system). Usually the breath and breathing would be involved with concentration on the relevant zone. In Christianity where there is no overt yogic system (though Greek Orthodox mysticism approaches it), the breath is nonetheless important. The resurrected Jesus breathes on his disciples (Joh 20:22) and the Spirit, who will soon descend at Pentecost, is very much  breath and air associated and at that with both heart and the solar plexus region, the Spirit’s usual residence.

Normally a good deal of practice and exercise is involved in yogas, but it emerges in another Icke statement (“My Awakening”) that he himself gained clarity, strength, indifference and heart feeling after he began to feel an inexplicable presence. It kept returning until he was eventually pointed to a book authored by a psychic whom he subsequently met and who promised him a unique and influential future guided by “they” – whoever they were. Over a period of several months in which Icke might feel he had like a spider’s web mask across his face, he reports deep changes took place within him.

Most people with aspirations to heart knowing and who practice yoga might question access to major “enlightenment” arriving quite so quickly and so much as a gift and  they might not care to travel on or endorse this path. It lends support to Christian objections to yogas, namely that they can open body and soul up to the influence of spirits (“ministers of darkness” masquerading as light like their leader Lucifer) rather than God. Some critics claim that yoga positions are in fact ritual ones with specific connection to worship of hindu deities. Anyway, it follows that what gets described by Icke as doing what comes naturally when you’re  rightly wired to the all-that-is, may in fact be closer to doing what “they” suggest and reveal. (As  per 1 Joh 4 1-6, Christians are supposed to test any spirit that might manifest and testing would involve asking the spirit if Jesus is Lord which if they deny, avoid or respond to in some too roundabout way, would be a reason to reject them).

THE ONENESS PROBLEM 

The possible role of “spirit” and spirits is however a subject in itself. What I want to emphasize here is a point which it strikes me gets ignored amid the talk of “oneness” from Icke, various mystics and religious ecumenists more generally. It could nonetheless finish paramount in support of the one world religion, not to say  globalist and totalitarian agendas, that Icke  himself is hostile to.

This mystical “oneness” must be suspect and even rejected as too simple but also all too real in the wrong way. For a start, are we and everything really all ONE if only we could see  and connect to the totality? If everyone and everything is “one”, then we are at some level at one with every  murderer, torturer, tyrant and paedophile on the planet. Also, is it really true as Icke holds, even while we and the bible may agree that love is the absence of fear (1 Joh 4:18) and similarly fear the absence of love, that there is nothing at all to fear as regards death?  Biblically it is advised some fear in this area is appropriate: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear him who can kill body and soul in hell (Matt 10:28). (Understood in that statement is that just as there is a spiritual or resurrection body, so there is a body of death that can reside in Hades).

For Christianity, there is a  level at which we are indeed one. Speaking of Christ we are told, “For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible….He himself is before all things and in him all things hold together (Col 1: 15, 17). This would indicate there is  a kind of all-inclusive, Christ “layer” of existence, a sort of anima mundi (world soul) underlying and holding things together. And theoretically anyone could touch and feel it through a variety of means, even sexual as in some tantra. It is one of the reasons, possibly the main reason, that non-Christian gurus and yogis can make statements, policies and feelings of a broadly Christian kind like world service, Motherpeace, unconditional love, and the refusal of all prejudice  and distinctions. (See my poem The Hidden Deity  https://wp.me/p2v96G-wZ )

The reality is however that the level touched is itself imperfect or impurified, even in its way “accursed” like Christ on the cross who becomes sin for the world (2 Cor 5:21)   and is temporarily cut off from his relation with the transcendent  Father/ Creator in his perfection. This sacrificial separation, which even affects nature (the sun dims at the crucifixion)  given faith,  acts like a door for fallen mortals to proceed further, to claim some righteousness and connection with the Father.

INTERPRETING AND CORRECTING “SOUL”

For as long as we live, what is really needed and which is broadly understood within  ideas of “second birth”, is a relation to both soul and spirit. The level of spirit needs to be activated to interpret and dominate the soul level and link it to the will of the Creator. It needs to do so  if soul, (which in some respects is Paul  “flesh” or more broadly and accurately lower nature generally) is not to dominate and misguide soul, sometimes with  regard to apparent love and truth itself.

A very simple example would be  this. Soul’s oneness feelings, however arrived at, might suggest we go onto the street and in unconditional love  for humanity give all our money away to just anyone when God’s will might rather be to donate it to a deserving, worthy immediately needed cause. In short, the para-intellectual force of Spirit, is activated to provide discernment in the face of feel-good thoughts and look good policies of emotion linked soul  which might still be as “fallen” as sin itself for the misdirection involved. Hence the strange statement, “The word of God… is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow” (Heb 4:23).

There are all sorts of implications. I think this theme touches on implied “esoteric” dimensions of the self and even  the nature and effects of sex as I indicate in some articles such as the review of Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Shameless  https://wp.me/p4kNWg-nD   Soul and spirit should be regarded as actual light “bodies” which our  beliefs and practices in the body can variously affect.

Be that as it may, I would say that  presently the most vital relevance of yogic oneness claims  is almost a political one driving policies. In these, as even the controversial Pope Francis has suggested for religions more generally, we are merely calling the same God by different names, (a notion which if true would deny the Jewish belief in the covenant given name of God and then  the entire Christian mission to the world and the related insistent claim to difference of the first Christians). Obviously however this new  credo can be made to serve various one world ideals. But these can still be unspiritual, a kind of human wisdom masquerading as ultimate Truth. It’s the sort of thing understood by the number of the Beast and in the false and last human kingdom of prophecy and Revelation, an earthly, Babylonian system whose number does not express or  reach the spiritual 7 but is just a glorified humanism or human pragmatism.

It is a real and ironic  possibility that Icke’s version of spirituality  may be contributing to the very sort of things he seeks to warn followers against and encourages them to oppose.

 

LESS PASTORS MORE TEACHERS NEEDED.

EQUALITY AND LEISURE

In teachings like the priesthood of all believers and that in Christ there is neither male nor female, the bible can be cited in support of equality. But heaven itself with its ranks of angels and degrees of reward  is not about equality pure and simple. And it could be that some of especially American Christianity’s, problems and its abnormally partisan and aggressive modes of dealing is involved with an equality problem and even  the partly related one of an absence of real leisure among often incredibly busy church leaders, a point which can be mentioned briefly first. 

By “leisure”  I don’t necessarily signify the same thing as time  in religious circles routinely set apart for  prayer or meditation but scope for some purely personal introversion,  doing little and renewing vision alone or with sympathetic others. Even the Psalms don’t all arise from anguished questioning  but rather rest and contemplation in nature.

Like it or not, a great deal of what passes for wisdom and culture has been the product of privileged leisure – many  bright ideas hit unpredictably while time is being apparently wasted. Most notoriously the culture of ancient Greece, so foundational for the West, owed something, even a lot, to a leisured elite dependent upon slavery.  At the best of times philosophy, music, poetry etc have traditionally required the freedom and security bestowed  by inheritance or patronage; and even today the state often has to intervene in the patron  role of to keep quality entertainment and the humanities afloat. This is nonetheless hard to do because governments impose the themes and conditions which may  work against the element of chance and free play that oversees the path of  the talented.

PROPHETS, RABBIS AND ELITISM, SORT OF

Ancient Israel though permitting slavery never established it in the style of the Greeks, and a system of tithes supported the priesthood  in their ritual duties which were more numerous at the festivals. Since the priests were not 24/7 occupied with their role, arguably the situation was near to paying for an elite, a proto rabbinic class of thinkers and counsellors.

Though a minor prophet, Amos was a self-declared herdsman and the prophets are normally named from a father only, we at least know that a major prophet/ poet, Jeremiah, was born to a priestly family. With such a background, any claims to divine vocation apart, he would have had time and encouragement to brood over the state of his nation and people. Whatever the precise situation, we know that a very scholarly rabbinate would eventually emerge and characterize Jewish life and worldwide it has been customary for the laity to support an elite hopefully in service of a world transcendent function.

If that arrangement has its problems, so too does the situation where no kind of elite is supported. It’s behind quite a few quirks and abuses of American, especially American Protestant and Evangelical religion which has followed a mixture of the ideals of Calvin and the egalitarianism of the American Declaration of Independence.

THE EQUALITY DIFFICULTY

Absolute equality is never quite possible – people are born with different talents. Also levels of health and strength differ. This means that in the struggle to keep up and survive,  the thoroughly equal American citizen could trip up and be ruined for life  simply by the costs of a major operation or longstanding health problems. (Faith healers and salesmen for natural remedies have thrived in the set-up!). For centuries in the Christian west, the infirmary of monasteries was the hospital of the people, the kind of safety net many equality minded American Christians would too easily disapprove as “socialism”.

America is the land where the individual can follow their dream and the equality principle allows and encourages it. Practically however, this renders whole tracts of the social scene a survival of the fittest fight club. Success, especially material certifies status within the society and traditionally  also with God according to the doctrines of Calvin which, turning some Christian principles upside down, considered financial success a sign of divine favour and the all-important divine predestination. The seeds of religion as business, gospel as prosperity gospel, the pastor/preacher as salesman including in some cases of food packages, Jim Bakker style, against apocalyptic disaster times, all look back to this.

In the equal society the necessarily more than equal leader needs to be super energetic and hard driven. Many will finish like prize fighters  or more likely boxers punching above their weight. With the individual standing alone, especially once a separation of church and state was agreed upon, the preacher/pastor would increasingly become a standalone busy all-rounder where religion was concerned.  Theoretically his sole guide and authority was the bible and he would teach and preach from it (as could almost anyone else who had a supposed insight). But the effects would be exhausting for the preacher and divisive for church and society.

FIVE ROLES

This situation of busy, standalone  often aggressively outgoing  leadership is alien to  the original model of church organization. As indicated by St Paul in Eph 4:10-12, at the summit of the organization as general governor would be the Apostle. (This  has no longer any exact parallel as apostles were those who had seen and personally  known Christ so the role was gradually overtaken by the Bishop) followed by the Prophet. Prophecy was a spiritual gift, the one most to be desired and prayed for, so by implication it was the leading gift of a leader. The point is rather important as regards equality and the role of women in the church because women were permitted to be prophets which implies they could lead.

Next was the evangelist for the faith (perhaps the nearest to today’s preacher, though outside strictly would-be “evangelical” circles, little preaching today is evangelistic but more like homilies ). It is worth noting that serious evangelism was deemed a gift and vocation in itself. American evangelical notions that everyone should be always evangelized does not belong to the original picture which rather saw the need of the believer to speak for their faith if asked about it. (1 Pet 3:15). Then there was the pastor (in effect the adviser and counsellor to the flock), and then  there was the Teacher.

The Teacher, the nearest thing to a rabbi,  represented a wisdom function. Jesus himself was called Teacher by his disciples. Though it is not spelled out, necessarily this person would teach and expound scriptures. The role of such a figure was especially vital in times when few if any believers would possess bibles and needed to know the creed and main outlines of the faith.

Even today churches could use such a figure rather more. In the world of the all-rounder pastor/preacher, new believers old and new are told to read their bibles, often enough without the assistance of appropriate summaries and commentaries of its diverse material. (There may be bible study meetings but likely under the direction of the pastor/preacher or some acolyte directly representing him and his views).

In the long term the situation is an invitation to ignorance, arguments and quiet, or not so quiet, heresies as misunderstandings flourish unchecked and resentments build up.  An energetic, ambitious cultish kind of  preacher figure or his critical opponent can create a virtual new denomination over interpretation of a single verse or just word like the meaning of repentance. The mind boggles at the hair splitting and denials of the most  obvious general sense of scriptures behind a  trend like OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved) and its no “repentance” needed doctrine, at the same times as regards   complex, sensitive issues like the gay one can have KJV literalism,  ignorance of modern scholarship, ancient terminology and values  all dismissively thrown at it.

SCRIPTURE AND POWER STATUS

An extraverted and aggressive egalitarianism has shaped at any rate conservative treatment of scripture. It is convenient for the all-rounder preacher to claim the authority of a totally inspired, inerrant scripture that can be cited much like a Catholic citing some maxim of Augustine or Aquinas. The inspired, inerrant scripture boosts the status of the preacher. To question the bible is to question him as its representative.

Practically however it should be obvious that levels of biblical inspiration do vary as at any rate Lutheranism has always held. It should be obvious that at least a few statements of scripture can be trite or silly like Prov 18.1 This declares “The one who lives alone is self-indulgent showing contempt for those with sound judgement” – a serious insult to especially the elderly poor who often have to live alone”!  And now and again scripture is outright  wrong like Ps 137’s “happy shall they be who take your little ones and dashes them against the rock” .

The Bible is not by itself for its whole length “The Word of God”. The latter is rather the Jesus as Logos (Word) who interprets and fulfils it as he himself indicates (Joh 5:49). (I feel it’s actually possible one would-be you tube visionary told truth when they said Jesus told them believers should make a special point among scriptures of reading and knowing John’s gospel). Be that as it may, people who consider the entire bible perfect in every word either haven’t read it or have read it without understanding of its complexity. There are contradictions in the bible which invite the argument that is even welcomed by it “Come let us argue together says the Lord” (Is 1:18) and Jews descend from the Jacob who did argue and wrestle with God and have long been thinkers accordingly.

NAVIGATING GREY AREAS

The greater the knowledge of scripture, the more unavoidable  grey areas emerge that are best navigated by unhurried meditation and shared discussion including with both experts and ordinary believers And the latter  should be allowed to know that there is not invariably one precedent for or one answer to questions their situations or readings might raise for them.

No need here to venture into the difficult and over-politicized issue of abortion, but it should be mentioned in service of honesty that  is unacceptable to claim the bible offers a clear defence of  “right to life” just because God tells Jeremiah he knew him in the womb.  Another prophet, Hosea, even wishes the miscarrying womb upon the unrighteous (Hos 9:14) and of the wicked God promises to kill the  cherished offspring of the womb (Hos 9:16). The problem with the American division over abortion is that it has Christians wholly against and secularists wholly for it when the matter should be more conditional both as an ethical and as a democratic issue.

Obviously Christians must defend  the defenceless and certain root values, but not impose them wholesale on unbelievers (or those of other denominations) and they should consider obviously special cases like women traumatized by rape who are not in the same category as those who merely seek termination to suit a career move.  To insist abortion is always either a “right” or always a “murder” as opposed to something that could be agreed to on a basis of meaningful consultancy is controversial. Moreover, single issue crusades too insistently pursued distort common perception of  what the gospel more broadly is about.

But where will  enlarged understanding and wider perspectives derive from? If anywhere it needs to come from the teachers less world-involved  than the preachers and functioning for research and dialogue at some  midpoint  between preacher and congregation and acting like the introversion of the community.

And with this one returns to the earlier point about leisure. The bible, especially the OT which contains a lot poetry in it, like poetry and high art must be almost savoured, compared and contrasted, meditated as it certainly is among the rabbis of Judaism. But it’s the kind of activity that requires time.  In the modern context it may be that the pastor will always be busy, (though the reported frequency of breakdowns, depression even suicide suggest they simply must slow down); but if  they will keep on going, there should at least be persons such as the teachers doing some of the slower work of understanding on their behalf. It’s the way that modernization, adjustments and reforms can be made – gradually and with least disruption.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2020 in culture, religion

 

GUESS WHAT, WHERE, WHO: A POEM

No ornamental fountains  bear
A play of waters from adjacent hills.
What history and  symbol’s here?
See there ahead two towers mismatched,
(their turrets likewise, so I feel).

One tower  rears up  too weighty large

And granite  grey against the whole. 
Then too  it’s  set  high  up above  neat rows
Of windows ranged in squatted,  half
Apologetic line. These border  and protect
The draughty corridors and rooms
Not even  summer breezes  heat. 

French pepper pots and witches  hats
If once desired for fantasy or foreign tone
Lack  power and any pretty grace
Beneath the mournful canopy
Of  usual cloud.  And   certain  is that
Acres by the thousand and massed chilly woods
Hide nothing of the fairy kind, disclose alone
The all too real of mud and showers
Which may refresh but not renew  
Where some might even  mourn for life. 

Death lurks on every side from  many a shot
To deer and grouse.  And yet it’s death
For only sport  disturbs the air
With sounds of praise and merriment.
If relative or friend has breathed their last
You’d scarcely know; report and comfort
For the same turns  mute. Mind does not hunt
Out words. Instead, it’s feet and body work upon
An inconvenient puzzle whose therapy is 
To trudge, ride, fish and gaze upon
The empty  grounds until it’s time
Yet once again to eat and sleep
The waves of silenced grief away. 
If soul exists, survives, goes up
Or down or anywhere  at all
Marks thought too all-transcendent of
The stale bare  isness of the sombre place 
Whose heart and measure are outside
With loam  traversed by booted stride.

Inspiration is bought dear and needs
Right settings for bright flourishing. 
Today decay and mould are at the walls
Rise up, I think you scarcely can
Go forward but it would be hard. 
Some sites can’t speak to truth and time.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2020 in culture, Poetry

 
 
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