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Category Archives: Mysteries

GREG SHERIDAN’S “GOD IS GOOD FOR YOU”. A MAJOR BOOK WITH AN ODD FLAW

Greg Sheridan’s God is Good for You: A Defence of Christianity in Troubled Times is for multiple reasons a timely, important book easily recommended to believer and sceptics alike. Critical acclaim has immediately attached to it. I will however dwell chiefly on what I consider to be a hidden flaw that threatens its edifice and entails an error of understanding that ironically contributes to the kind of spiritual impasse for Christianity and the West that Sheridan is exercised about.

The book is the work of a successful Australian political journalist and it’s perhaps only his being well known and highly regarded that apologetic work of his kind could get past publishing within the current climate of opinion.  This climate is well evoked at the book’s outset and in conclusion. Sheridan even goes so far as to characterize Australia as effectively atheist or soon to be so. He regards the media today as almost the enemy (tending to ignore or misrepresent religion) and I won’t enlarge on quite how much I know that scandal to be true.

It is tempting to classify Sheridan’s offering with last year’s more secular bestseller, Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe. Both authors push back against a crisis in western thought and direction, Sheridan being more concerned with the extent of the erosion in faith and the glib dismissals of Christianity by often intolerant elites whose dismissals additionally entail a contempt for western civilisation at a dangerous moment for it. Sheridan demonstrates that this civilisation and often the best in it too, is far more dependent upon the faith than the average reader is likely to have been aware. (Especially Christian readers may finish shocked at how much they haven’t been told, that their leaders haven’t defended and even religious schools haven’t taught).

For many, both with and without faith, God is Good for You could be an education in itself for its range. It’s readably about history, philosophy, theology (including how to enjoy and profit from reading the Old Testament and not just the New), along with  many facts about society and even science you may not know. And there are meetings and interviews with various leaders of Australian society vis- a-vis faith. (The author is Catholic but very fair and open around non Catholic Christianities).

PASSING ON A FAITH

…..But none of this is quite my concern here which is rather with one, almost hidden point. It’s nevertheless a crucial one that opens upon something that potentially undermines, or at least confuses, the apologetic thrust of the whole book and reaches into one the chief reasons Christianity is insufficiently defended or proclaimed, (or is wrongly proclaimed), and either way loses power and adherents after the manner Sheridan regrets and would redress.

St Paul asks “But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?” (Rom 10:14). Sheridan would reasonably enough answer that a lot of belief is derived from family and school but for various reasons these are not currently vital sources for communicating Christianity and this must be faced. (It’s true many church schools may as well not be such!)

But despite his  quasi-evangelistic call to teach more and better, Sheridan has a surprise for us. Not only is his spouse a Sikh (I don’t wish to be personal but St Paul counsel believers should not be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers, 2 Cor 6:14) but more significantly since mixed marriages do inevitably occur,  in consequence it seems his three sons are of the religion too (p.90). This strikes a note more obviously counter to St Paul’s concern with raising one’s children in the instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

Under elements of neo-Catholicism Sheridan somehow justifies his position, which includes attending Sikh services, by assuming that there can be great divine wisdom in non Christian religions  – theoretically Sikhism is monotheistic. So for Sheridan, while it’s perfectly true that Jesus is the saviour and even saves from hell (which he believes in since there must be “justice”), at the same time other systems can be true.

However reasonable this may sound, the position would for a start ignores that Sikhism, though monotheistic unlike the Hinduism it broke from, still teaches auto-salvation through multiple incarnations. In short, it denies grace, which is so original and radical in Christianity it distinguishes it from all other faiths as C.S. Lewis, one of Sheridan’s influences, affirmed when questioned on world religions. Christianity maintains evil is too engrained in life, nature and humans for anyone to reach perfection by their own efforts alone – and there’s anyway a limitation on the time even  for the best of would-be compensatory good works since we die once only and then is the judgment (Heb 9:27)!

A DISHARMONY OF FAITHS

It may be trendy or multiculturally convenient to maintain all the higher religions are essentially the same,  namely ways to God that make for love and peace. But it’s a far from obvious fact upon honest examination. Insisting upon it  ends in a fair deal of intellectual dishonesty, and that flight from any objective truth (or just the plain obvious) which is a part of the West’s sickness as Sheridan otherwise maintains.

Buddhism is theoretically atheistic and again allows no room for salvation as per Christianity; and the Buddhism of Burma, supposedly the religion’s purest, nearest-to-original form, when it comes to peace and toleration is clearly no paragon. Islam explicitly denies the divinity of Christ and the Koran enjoins execution and/or subjugation of infidels in stark contrast to the original Christian outlook like that of Tertullian, whom Sheridan cites, that though the gods of the pagans are demons, Christians are still to tolerate them in their beliefs. Polytheistic Hinduism is always hailed as a model of inclusiveness, but in its contemporary nationalist form under President Modi is anything but; it is currently turning a blind eye to the persecution of Christianity, the burning down of churches and beating even elderly worshippers senseless. (It belongs to the atheism and decadence of the West that the persecution of Christians outside the West is little reported or protested, concern with feminism enjoys more attention).

Even supposing claims are correct that God has supplied some vision to the higher religions, practically it doesn’t get through. At the grassroots in Asia people will say they are Buddhist or whatever, but they are really animists, devotees of local spirit or ancestral cults or gurus and shamans revered as though God (this somewhat happens among the Sikhs with their ten holy gurus).

FINDING THE PRIMORDIAL FAITH

It should be apparent from St Paul’s approach to Athenian paganism (Acts 17)  that he was not so much looking like some modern Christians to “dialogue” with existing faiths as guardians of  supplementary truths, as to uncover the world primordial faith, “the unknown god”, the creator who in world myth withdrew from human evil. In my The Great Circle: Asia, David and God Consciousness  https://goo.gl/ZHYQPw  I look into whether Asia, like Greece and the ancient West, ever had or has an unknown god, and the answer is yes. In some cases like the mostly Christian ethnic Karens of Burma (hated and persecuted by Burmese Buddhists),they had heroically waited centuries for the fulfilment of tribal visions that one day some stranger would arrive to bring them news of the true God.

Christianity is not a faith like Islam with a major conquest theme, but it is a religion of mission. Christ’s parting command, the so-called Great Commission is to go and preach the gospel and to teach (Matt 26:16-20). Teaching rather than just rite and ritual as in most religions, is crucial to the Judaeo-Christian tradition and its notion of spiritual health. Otherwise it’s a case of “My people are destroyed through lack of knowledge” (Hos 4:6).

I would certainly agree with Sheridan that Christian religion is hardly being taught today, but would go further and maintain it has compromised its “evangelical” teaching task. It has done so to the point of substituting “the example” of charitable work alone to justify its existence, to cause least offence in a PC world and even perhaps to cover over what some may privately regard as the stigma of what the gospel message actually is, by emphasizing “unconditional love” to the exclusion of all else.

Undeniably Christianity is and teaches many things, but one still needs to be aware how at its core its message is one of deliverance from especially death and by extension hell’s destruction. Sheridan believes in hell while admitting to the difficulty most would feel as regards a perdition that’s eternal and/or apparently escaped from by an act of faith alone, two problems that receive astonishingly little treatment today given their controversial status within the whole.

A CORE DIFFICULTY

Actually, there is a perfectly simple, if nothing else logical reason to think of hell as eternal and it’s not, as per the Puritans, because God is so severe in righteous wrath against sinners he can never be appeased of their offence. It’s because, like heaven, hell stands outside of time in an intense eternal present (1).  God authored time which is a function of the (fallen, imperfect) material realm, and there will be a point at which God abolishes time along with the evil it permits. Where you are spiritually at that point fixes your essence into a single direction of will towards or against God.

It can seem reasonable enough to propose, and reassuring to believe, that evil souls will simply be annihilated (the sometimes chaotic contradictions of Pope Francis’ beliefs now countenance this along with atheists in heaven),( 2) , but to the extent God is “Lord/Author of Life” (Acts 3:15), divinity cannot destroy any immortal soul. Otherwise God becomes like Satan who Jesus says was “a murderer from the first” (Joh 8:44). God can only prevent and finish evil  through its exile and quarantine. It would follow the soul must, if need be, remain fixed in its (unregenerate) nature within the “eternity” which is outside time. This state, a very intense now, can well be portrayed as a sub-existence in tormenting “fire”, because everything exists through God and God is (spiritual) fire – albeit a lot more besides. But if God is rejected and separated from, there is only the divine fire left to subsist through, not the other elements which would render the fire creative and liveable rather than consuming and destructive.

Despite everything, Sheridan believes belief matters. It is important because no belief is exclusively rational but involves the will. It follows that for Christians to stress the importance of belief in Jesus is to stress that the will is and must be God-directed. This however allows Sheridan to argue that any talk about the claims of God upon us, or of deity being “jealous” around us, means we must be loyal and devoted to the Good. And this is something non Christians can unconsciously be, like the sheep in the parable of the sheep and the goats of Matt 25 where  the sheep are surprised to learn they had been serving Jesus by their actions all along.

TRUTH AND NAMING

There is truth in this perspective on the biblical picture of our destinies, but if taken too far it potentially undermines Christianity’s leading idea of any specifically “saving” belief and the obligation to  proclaim it.

Sheridan’s  universalist assumption is meaningful to the extent that many across history will never have known anything about Jesus and can hardly be condemned, especially not to hell, for that. As the apostle indicates at Athens, “the times of ignorance God overlooked but now he calls all people to repent”. (Acts 17:30). The statement is harmonious with another of the apostle’s claims that in the Last Judgement the thoughts of those outside the Law may condemn or excuse them before God (Rom 2:15). (And long before Paul Hebrew scripture has God declare: “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy” (Ex 33:19)  – a statement incidentally counter to all post-Thomas Merton trendy Catholic notions that heaven and hell are things we simply choose, not what God chooses or predestines). So there isn’t and never should have been, as per some lunatic medieval teachings, notions of automatic damnation for all except those souls who are baptized and  consciously, deliberately Christian.

But Sheridan’s universalist take on doctrine is misleading to the extent being loyal to what you fancy as good (and which may not even be so) can never automatically amount to the same as being unconsciously devoted to the Christ self-described as “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Joh 14:6). The gospel position is that Truth and Goodness are ultimately a name, not ideas. If you have the opportunity to connect to Christ then you should do so, salvation being linked to specifically calling upon the Name and especially in self-critical “repentance” (it means “mind change”). The original teaching  was always “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13) and “there is no other name under heaven….by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

With this emphasis to its doctrines Christianity has always had an edge of urgency about it (which has perhaps affected the drive and engagement of western civilisation) where its “proclamation” is concerned. This is because there is understood to be a real struggle within the mortal time frame which is a theatre for our possible deception or injury by the forces of evil. These forces are seen as ruling this world, the main source of human suffering and even what principally Christ incarnated to confront (1 Joh 3:8)  So there is this dramatic undercurrent “… night is coming when no one can work” (Joh 9:4) and “today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2), not your next incarnation or when you agnostically shuffle this mortal coil and find out what’s what!

SUFFERING, EVIL AND HADES

Though the supposedly definitive Nicene creed states, “we believe in all things visible and invisible”, plainly most Christians inhabit modern scientism’s materialist swamp alien to all mystery and don’t so believe. Sheridan rightly says if you can’t accept angels and demons you could have a hard time with Christianity and I agree. Certainly you’ll have a harder time explaining evil in the world (and a few miracles too) and Sheridan himself is weak in this area going little further than rather conventionally  to proclaim suffering a mystery and blaming the necessary existence of free which can’t be cancelled at every moment.

Reading him on the suffering theme I incidentally baulked at finding yet again the common error which has Jesus on the cross voicing doubt and despair at divine goodness in a sort of terribly human identification with us and human woes. Will even educated Christians never learn that Jesus was piously reciting from Israel’s death Psalm 22 (though now often seen as prophetic for his death).  This  contains the forsaken cry, but any despair in Jesus’ case is part of the atonement sacrifice which involves temporary separation from the Father as he carries or becomes sin and  as such  undergoes what souls in hell must experience. This is destruction, living death, severance from every source of the Good. Even atheists experience God indirectly in this life through whatever is good within it. Hell by contrast is Dante’s “Abandon hope”, the gospel’s “outer darkness”, final separation from the light – hence the sun itself is seen as dimming at the crucifixion.

Today, those who believe in an afterlife have decided most people just go to whatever or wherever heaven is (Sheridan quotes Australia’s former Prime Minister, the Catholic Tony Abbot, to the effect perhaps only Hitler and Stalin go to hell). But in the world of the New Testament,  the ancient West and arguably some other places like China, belief was that the soul, and just about everyone and everything including Lesbia’s sparrow, went to the prison of Hades and remained there. The gods did not spare or cure death though they might spare a few heroes to Elysian fields. Homer’s view of the afterlife in the Odyssey is particularly ghastly.  Blood alone brings  mournful ancestors to the surface and let’s them speak. Christianity arrived to confront this pessimism but Hades/Hell, though considerably challenged in their power  (Christ is seen as now having the keys to death and Hades) remain in place  and  I think if we are honest with the gospel  record, Hades/Hell is  seen as being – by and large – still the default fate of an unregenerate humanity….unless.

It is possible that if they even think about it at all,  deep down humanity even half believes and expects this negative outcome unless other influences from lively faith intervene. The last poems of D. H. Lawrence, for example, are surprisingly  depressing in this connection. He imagines his soul and that of others embarking for Hades,  but though he hopes “the oblivion god” may lead him to some kind of new dawn (reincarnate him?) it is hardly a strongly felt hope.

RESURRECTION FAITH

My father died some weeks ago and before this he had suddenly informed me as I put him to bed one evening, that this was the end and Jesus had told him he would soon take him to himself. The next day I couldn’t get him up  up or communicate with him, so he was taken to the hospital and passed away, faster than expected, within twenty four hours. Some people do have intimations of an end and some devout Christians might report an angelic message, but by any standards this experience and its claim, which took me off guard, could be considered a bit exceptional. But plainly it seemed downright extreme to those to whom I happened to mention it. I was impressed how much people couldn’t really deal with the subject of death, Jesus or the afterlife. It became clearer to me how little Australians (and probably many others in the West) believe or have any religious feeling. It’s the sort of thing should ring alarm bells for the churches;  but it doesn’t and it won’t because as Sheridan puts it, Christians seem to lack adequate “situational awareness” – some even imagining their society is somehow still Christian – leading to poor strategies(3).

Reading Sheridan I was likewise impressed how little his Christians, even the devout, observant ones, seemed to have any clear notion of what form the afterlife might take and what mean and for whom such as their relatives – the Christian afterlife is supposed to begin as a spirit in “paradise” such as Jesus promised to the penitent thief, which is a waiting place distinct from heaven and preceding the resurrection of the dead which entails the assumption of a new spiritual body akin to that of Christ after the resurrection.

I am not an evangelical, one of whose qualifications to be such would be belief in an inerrant as opposed to an inspired bible. However, when it comes to the afterlife I do sense that evangelicals are nearer to truth than the kind of hazy, confused modern Catholic and Anglican thinking represented by some of Sheridan’s interviewees like Abbot. Beliefs like theirs neither quite help the self nor move the world, certainly represent no kind of gospel hope worth the proclaiming or like early Christians and  persecuted North Korean believers today, risking life and limb for. Abbot regrets that he doesn’t seem to hear from God. Again, I am not an evangelical to suggest such as Abbot should be hearing daily from Jesus (something surely reserved for the few, if any!),  but if he never has a few divine messages and intuitions there might be reasons. Belief should be clear, informed and committed to work for you. There is such a thing as spiritual efficiency.

St Paul suggests that if you don’t believe in the resurrection your faith is futile (1 Cor 15:17); you might as well eat, drink and be merry and tomorrow die. I don’t like, and don’t think it’s quite possible, to go too far in deciding who is a “real” Christian by such standards as they’re highly orthodox, terribly “born again” , very prayerful or whatever. But I am coming to the conclusion that to possess some deep conviction of “the sure and certain hope of resurrection” could well be a litmus test for the definition. Unquestionably it was almost the central, original formula for Christian belief and identity:  “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).

If nothing else Sheridan’s book can make you think about many things and essential ones. I will always wonder whether his book doesn’t arise from a kind of half unconscious penitential compensation towards society for what the author doesn’t seem to have been convincing his own offspring about in what could be deemed a dereliction of Christian duty. But  this doesn’t detract from the objective importance of the book’s information, statements and remarkable honesty.

NOTES

(1)  Conventional depictions of hell and some NDE accounts (of whatever validity), do seem to include a sense of time along with the possible anachronism  of free roaming, tormenting demons. Time in this case, along with any demonic freedom, would be a property of the pre/ temporal hell which is ultimately thrown into “the lake of fire” (Rev 20:14),at the end of time,  the true hell which is existence through God as “fire” alone.

(2)  I evoke Francis’  contradictions in two satirical poems, Heaven for All  https://wp.me/p2v96G-8y  and Ichabod or Papal Glory Departing, https://wp.me/p4kNWg-6c  (These poems incidentally allow the possibility that some of the issues Sheridan raises are in fact end of era, “end of days” type matters, a fulfilment of Christ’s anticipation of a loss of faith towards the end (Luk 18:8).  

(3) The remarkable blindness of churches  to the spiritual, and even just social situation, is reflected in the way over recent decades they have relentlessly targeted the gay issue, first just opposing the gay minority’s right to exist, then opposing gay marriage as a threat to family and society.  Ironically, if they wanted to criticize and reform society towards more Christian lifestyles, it is the vast un marriage of heterosexuals which should have been their primary concern. It is precisely amid the loosened  or non family friendly structures of a permissive society that children are not raised to any religious beliefs and just pleasure or the convenient become central life values. Yet how often did clergy seriously preach against the drifting, the unattached or the serially divorced? Almost never. It was only gay marriage was unnatural and unholy; and this targeting  of a minority only further alienated society from the churches seen as bastions of arbitrarily undemocratic views. This feature of modern social history is a good illustration of Christ’s words that the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light (Luk 16:8). (The previous article entered on this blog, Today’s Christian Image Problem is relevant to the question of lack of “situational awareness”).

 

 

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Posted by on August 14, 2018 in Mysteries, religion

 

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PEACE, JERUSALEM AND A 2018 TURNING POINT

PROPHETIC CONVERGENCE

The subject may be strange, but it’s no longer reasonable  to dismiss outright  all speculation on apocalyptic scenarios. Someone recently did so to me on the basis that “apocalyptic millenarianism” and talk of end times has been doing the rounds for centuries.  Yes,  but it has never been able to do so with anything approaching the striking convergence of relevant factors currently in play, up to and including even the increase in quakes and volcanoes and now the potential mysteries of Israel’s seventieth year.

As only one recent example, Turkey’s president Erdogan who is drawing ever closer into alliance with Russia and Iran and who threatens a war of Crescent with Cross, convened a conference last month (May) of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation). He called on members to take back Jerusalem for the Arabs.  The call embraced the Muslim world from Iran (biblical Persia) and Libya to North Sudan, but notably some Arab nations from the Gulf states were absent and apparently not on board with the policy – today they are closer to being allies of Israel against especially the  threat of Iran.

This situation appears to  correspond with remarkable exactitude to alliances envisaged for “the latter days” by  the prophet Ezekiel in especially Ezek 38. In it there is an alliance against Israel of the (now Muslim) regions of Gog and Magog (Turkey), Persia (Iran), Put (Libya) and Ethiopia (North Sudan) and then Rosh to Israel’s far north (Russia) while Sheba and Dedan  – Dedan corresponds to the Saudi/Gulf region –  stand apart from what takes place . They ask if those involved  are seeking spoils – which if modern relevance can be assumed could actually finish the case, since Russia and Turkey are now low on gas and oil and Israel is discovering these in its north and off its coastline.

THE JERUSALEM ISSUE

There is apocalyptic potential in just President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital….or rather the now astonishing levels of international resistance to it. Beyond inevitable Muslim opposition the reaction represents a new, eminently post, non, or anti Christian response since biblically there can be little question about Israel’s well-attested, very ancient claims as regards the city and biblical statements to the effect Jerusalem is where YHWH puts his Name (1 Kings 11:36). America and Trump have not resigned from the UN’s Council for Human RIghts for nothing. It really has become a mouthpiece for too many notoriously unjust regimes which hypocritically pursue Israel relentlessly for the slightest alleged errors.  And  it is now almost  embarrassing when “Christian” nations and even the Pope (who has been so improbably friendly with Erdogan) question or ignore that. Yet that such is the situation  is  nevertheless again redolent of claims for “the latter days’ from prophets Joel and Zechariah that Jerusalem will become a point of contention and obsession, even a cup of staggering for the nations who will be against it. If most Christians don’t  acknowledge this blatantly clear point, it is either because prophetic elements of the bible don’t cross their horizon, or they don’t wish to be “political” and take sides.

But stirrer Trump is keen not only to establish Jerusalem as Israel’s natural, eternal capital  but to link this to “the deal of the century”,  an all-embracing peace treaty for the Middle East. It would indeed be remarkable to achieve that goal, but what would likely follow on its heels would be still more remarkably prophetic….

Israelis are increasingly disposed to regard Trump as a (sort of) “messianic” figure like King Cyrus of Persia whose policies  undid Israel’s Babylonian exile and permitted the building of the second temple. There’s little question it is now hoped and expected that the building of a third temple will soon become possible as a result of the peace treaty. (There are even debates whether the station of a new rail line due to pass near the Temple Mount area should be called Trump Station!). And a new temple would indeed have apocalyptic relevance. Rabbis have even been suggesting Israel’s now disturbed, unusual weather patterns are themselves a signal to messianic imminence.  One prominent rabbi has declared PM Netanyahu will be handing the sceptre to the Messiah soon. Expectation is helped by an understanding that prophecy is not just linear but cyclical (“what has been, will be” as Ecclesiastes puts it) and thus since Jeremiah correctly forecast  that divine favour would return to Israel “after seventy years”, the principle applies.  For modern Israel and its returned exiles seventy years ran out on May 14th so anything is possible from now on, they believe, and 2018 could prove specially eventful and blessed.

Whether you like or loathe, approve or disapprove him, it’s not mere fantasy to regard Trump as a man of destiny.  At his birth the asteroid Cyrus conjuncted the  messianic planet Jupiter (the Bethlehem Star) and directly, fortunately trined a tenth house (career/destiny/ reputation)  Tempel (sic) asteroid, itself conjunct Uranus (the originality and difference planet). Asteroid Jerusalem looks rather less significant for him until one realizes that its 2 Scorpio position places it for him in dynamic, tension-creating opposition to modern Israel’s natal conjunction of precisely Cyrus with Jerusalem. If it weren’t true all this would seem between improbable and impossible, certainly impossible to make up.  But then too, what is happening arguably belongs to the end of the era.

AN ERA’S END

Many would protest we are not in any “latter days” such as Ezekiel associates with the Gog/Magog war. But quite objectively we are at the end of one definition of an age, the Piscean. We are so even if Christians don’t care to acknowledge this and how it’s the same era whose inauguration was close to  Christ’s birth. The relevant symbolism undeniably fits and joins beliefs in end of era crises. The ruler of Pisces, Neptune, rules disappearances while the  ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, rules shocks and revolutions. Claims that the believing prepared will disappear (at the so-called Rapture, the hidden return of Christ) and that some years later the world will be shocked at the open manifestation of Christ in Jerusalem, could be said to agree with a Neptune/Uranus end and beginning of eras with the Aquarian era then identical with the biblical Millennium.

PEACE and  SECURITY

It was  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 changing 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 seeking new solutions or possibly even outright conflict (Iran is already vowing to destroy Israel on account of the Jerusalem claim) following which a new peace deal would be needed to resolve things more rapidly and radically than anything previously. Many American Christians assume their nation, long Israel’s chief ally, will be much involved in achieving the elusive peace and that Trump is now the vehicle for this.

Where fate is concerned, once again there’s an ignored, purely celestial reason supporting America’s belief. It is visible in the way that nation’s founding Venus (the peace factor in any chart), at 3 Cancer conjuncts Israel’s founding Venus at 4 Cancer giving affinities. Moreover America’s Venus conjuncts its own Jupiter at 5 Cancer.  This reflects  intrinsic optimism, good fortune, not to say  strong religious feeling attending such a venture.

However, reverting to the “peace and security” ideal which is already a mantra among  world leaders and bodies, this  is increasingly cited by prophecy buffs as signalling the end times and a  harbinger of the imminence of the so-called Rapture. This is said to occurs at a time when ‘sudden destruction” surprises “peace and security”. Undeniably the phrase is used by St Paul in Thessalonians (1 Thess 5:3), one of the places in which he refers to the global situation around the time of the sounding of “the Last Trump” (which almost sounds like a pun on the POTUS’ name!). If Trump now pulls off the hat trick of a measure of peace in the Far East with a peace treaty in the Middle East, people will be talking about peace and security.

NOW IN THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS: A DISAPPEARANCE

I won’t try to summarize with all its variations 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 that an Antichrist or false Messiah figure will subsequently confirm. There is also a broad consensus that the disappearance (itself now almost something in the collective unconscious in everything from New Age  anticipation of ‘The Event” to the mega popular Avengers 111 film with its mass disappearance engineered by an evil rather than a good God), cannot and will not occur unless the Rapture has occurred first. This was the scenario seen way back in 1980 in the alleged vision of the Tribulation period by Ken Peters, who to his visionary credit did see things relating to computers, flat screen TVs and army vehicles that were not relevant back then but are now.

One reason to give the crisis and deliverance expectation some benefit of the doubt is because this time around anticipation rather neatly corresponds to something which those calling themselves “watchmen on the wall” wouldn’t wish to consider.  It is nonetheless ironically one of the strangest and perhaps strongest cases for their expectation which will now either soon be proved true in 2018 or can be safely  put to rest for good.

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, the point of whatever gifts she had, 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.

AN ANTI MESSIAH

For the reported birth Dixon supplied an exact time but no exact place, only “in the Middle East”, This was odd because having been taught astrology by a Jesuit priest, Dixon would know that astrological birth data, distinctly 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 person 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 the infant Jesus, then later was brought by his parents to Italy settling in Rome where he would be influencing especially leaders in religion.

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  possible Obama and others could facilitate such a person’s advance – Dixon saw the US as her Child’s chief promoter when finally he would appear and increasingly subject to an undermining deep state – but if so that’s another matter).

Dixon’s “Child”, showed all the inner or so-called personal planets from moon to Saturn exceptionally gathered 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 but conjunct asteroid Lie . Altogether this could indicate the wholly human wisdom of 666 that never reaches the sacred and completion number 7 and perhaps too the premature 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 powerful conjunction with the fame and influence-favouring fixed star of kings, Regulus, in royal Leo. Regulus 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 Jesus. I have long claimed to possess this (it continues to work and register for Christ events to this day)  and it should be common knowledge to Christians but if this isn’t that it is much due to a Christian demonizing of astrology as so much forbidden “divination” and devilish occultism 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

TIME FRAME FOR APPEARANCE AND A TIME OF CRISIS

It is because they fail to study or understand astrology traditional or modern but promote instead an often wide-of-the-mark “Christian astronomy” the ancient Magi would never have recognized, that there have been so many false calls and errors directed recently upon events. Amyway…..Eclipse effect lasts six months (Lunar) to a year (Solar). And one of the signs of last August’s variously significant solar and lunar eclipses was precisely their relevance unnoticed or unstressed to the birth chart of Dixon’s Child.

Though it’s not only eclipses I would consider in this case, last August’s  solar eclipse with its relevance to the US and Israel and upon which many placed much emphasis for various reasons nevertheless functioned in a way that promised something major, possibly even “now or never” in the life of the promised one. If Dixon’s person existed, I felt he needed to appear as despite some previously helpful and suggestive patterns there had never been quite such a strong a call towards power and influence  and obviously too he would  not be getting younger.

I said  things to this effect in a youtube, Signs Rumours and Forecasts of Apocalypse,  ignoring an important timing point of which presently, and also conceding something to those speculations that insist any return of  Christ should be associated with a Jewish feast – the northern autumn’s  Feast of Trumpets  and the Spring/Summer Pentecost feast make  undeniably plausible claims, including that their precise  exact timing in any year carry some dating uncertainties. Biblical declarations about “not knowing the day nor the hour” might be covered by idioms and customs long insufficiently recognized and understood by gentile Christians.

THE LIMITS OF PLAUSIBILITY

However, I have never  been completely convinced about the feasts as necessarily marking the historically one-off, unprecedented, surprise event of anything like a Rapture and/or Anti Messiah advent.  That the surprise might even be reserved for the (northern) summer outside of any festival, might even be hinted at by Jesus’s apocalypse-relevant parable of the budding fig tree in Matt 24 (the tree being Israel). It is the generation that witnesses the budding  that sees the apocalypse, but those seeing the budding  know  that summer is nigh. This possibly  hints  any surprise Rapture event is located in summer outside of any feasts. Fig trees bear fruit before their leaves bud and there are two fig harvests, around May/June and then Aug/September. If  there is any significance for timing intended in the mention “summer is nigh”, I gather the Aug/Sept period is likely intended.

As regards those who argue annually for a Pentecost season rapture, strong though their  claims are at the symbolic level (including that this is the most gentile embracing festival and St Paul speaks not just of a last trump but “the Trumpet of God” at Rapture, an expression only ever once used for the first Pentecost  when Moses received the Law), the fact remains that in  2018, and in many years, Pentecost  will never  turn up the necessary celestial signs.  These work with a hierarchy of significance. Neptune, the Christ planet, only goes into its apparent retrograde (a necessary sign of returning) in the second half of the year (mid June onwards). As said, there’s a hierarchy of weight  where signs are concerned, and so despite some oddly suggestive celestial signs, Pentecost 2018’s absent Neptune factor  would by itself cancel out much else.

More to the point for the present article is that when I stated last year that – if he exists – Dixon’s “Child” must appear late 2017 or early this year, I failed to stress how much the eclipses of January (lunar) and February (solar) of 2018 and then even the eclipses of July and August should also count and answer to those of last August and complete any call, thus allowing any full advent to be further delayed.

All one really needs to know and see is whether within  2018 Trump, America and Israel have the chance to reach the stage of some degree of treaty or covenant that a messianic figure could confirm. I consider the chances of this quite strong  – the process could  even start as early as the lunar month beginning June 13th which interestingly conjuncts Trump’s sun and Israel’s Uranus. The Times of Israel has declared details of the treaty to be nearly ready and to be released “this summer” (at the time of writing, the solstice which marks the beginning of summer has just begun). One imagines too that Trump will want to have made his mark in this area before the mid-term elections later this year might render further radical plans impossible. Leaks are suggesting the Treaty could be a subject for August or September – a possible clue to confirm this being the way that Israel’s and America’s peace factor (Venus) are under stress at the July blood eclipse and the August solar eclipse (see next section). One imagines negotiation will be tough and not please everyone no matter what happens.

THE SEVENTIETH YEAR AND TO PREDICT JUST A LITTLE

2018  is a good year for crises and challenges of all kinds in the world generally, and we know that at May14th Israel passed a major milestone, the 70 years or “generation” of its existence. As  already said, Biblical prophecy (like good astrology!)  is not just linear but cyclical. It is for this reason many Jews set store by Jeremiah’s exile, Cyrus and temple relevant prophecy (Jer  29:10,11)  “after seventy years are completed…. I will visit  you and perform my word towards you……to give you a future and a hope”. In short, theoretically now anything dramatic can happen to Israel and/or the Church. Last February’s solar eclipse (valid up to a year)  and itself so potent to the false Messiah’s chart, also hit almost to the minute of a degree on the Moon/Church conjunction for the Pentecost birth of Christianity.

In terms of celestial signs the 70th year does stand out. On July 19th precisely, but somewhat throughout the month, in a fairly rare astronomical event, all the planets  fall on one side of the sun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3x7hPWKB2c ) – as this could place stress on the earth,  unsurprisingly this has in the past corresponded to an increase in volcanic activity (as though there wasn’t enough in evidence already!….if there is much more volcanic eruption it could begin to darken the sun’s light, another sign of apocalypse).

In the same month on the 27th,  a blue blood moon eclipse, the longest of the century above Jerusalem but visible in most parts of the world,  falls on a minor Jewish festival, Tu B/Av (a sort of Valentine’s day and favoured for marriages) which is the beginning of the grape harvest. It gains in significance in falling at the midpoint of the January 2018 and Jan 2019 Jewish Festival of Trees, rendering it rather more closely a 70th year phenomenon  that could be associated with the apocalyptic associated fig tree. This unusual blood moon eclipse is still further highlighted by rather exceptionally falling midpoint two partial solar eclipses in July and August – normally a lunar eclipse simply precedes or succeeds by a fortnight a single solar eclipse. Interestingly too, Mars like the moon itself which will be a supermoon, is closest to the earth at the time which by tradition would point to tensions and violence but because it is also in its apparent retrograde motion, the symbolism is rather of violence unusual, unexpected  or checked in some fashion; hence something like the peace deal to restrain tensions or some deception regarding war could be in the picture here.

Undeniably the bible does speak of the moon turning to blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord (Acts 2:20). Since however the moon turned to blood in Hebrew and Talmudic tradition can signify no more than a blood moon eclipse, and lunar eclipses with blood moons are not so rare, it is understandable that  some would dub the July lunar “the apocalypse eclipse” simply because so much attaches to it to make it stand out from the usual run of them.

( In addition to what some already see, some things that only I am aware of and that might be relevant are these. The July 27th eclipse falls degree exact on the Mars of Dixon’s false prophet, if he exists, and within a degree of the Antichrist asteroid in the chart of Pentecost/Christianity. This degree and asteroid are opposite the first Pentecost’s conjunction of Uranus, symbol of the Spirit and revolution with Coelum meaning Heaven, Aeternitas meaning Eternity, Semper meaning Always. The opposition could be said to make a sort of agreement with claims based on Paul to the Thessalonians (2 Thess 2:7)  that apocalypse/Rapture is a withdrawal of “the Restrainer”, the Spirit, which is what permits the Antichrist to emerge. And although it is not the identical phenomenon, I must admit that the gathering of the planets on one side of the sun in July recalls the gathering of all the inner planets in Aquarius in the chart of Dixon’s “Child from the East”. As  noted Mars is at its closest point to earth during the July blood eclipse, the sort of thing that normally betokens war or earth movement is in the wings).

So…., “Peace and Security then sudden destruction”? It could be.  The meeting of Trump with Kim showed opportunity aspects and suitably there was opportunity; but the fact that the moon was at the dark before a new lunation by all traditional rules would indicate the end result would likely be disappointment, deception or failure. Sudden destruction could actually be the last word on the matter.

Since Dixon’s false Messiah is the man of the lie and Jupiter conjuncts his Lie asteroid all July, that would be one good time for such a person to make progress in some circles  or even appear  more widely, especially as mid July’s lunation with its sun/moon opposite Pluto at 20 Capricorn could well be promising a month from then that spreads chaos and alarm.(Alternatively or additionally since his birth was on 20 Capricorn, the heat is on Jared Kushner and so, quite likely, the peace accord he has been so involved in preparing for). The full moon eclipse of the 27th July, accidentally or otherwise, falls on the Antichrist’s action orientated Mars and on the Antichrist asteroid in the chart for Christianity. Note that the first seal of Revelation (Rev 6:2) is a white horse rider with a bow who goes out “conquering and to conquer”.

However, not to be dogmatic and recalling lunar eclipses though they may disturb the earth temporarily as in quaking more generally have six month relevance, the Feast of Trumpets in early September could just deliver something too.  I feel confident only to say that if by the end of October no one like Dixon’s orgre has begun to appear on the world  stage, then he very likely cannot exist and her vision would seem to have been been false. But if he is for real and will appear then, unless majority modern interpretations of the end times are  quite  mistaken, the anti Messiah will not appear unless and until the Rapture has occurred, which is to say that event would need to occur within months possibly even weeks. The idea might seem improbable, but finally here’s one odd possible hint in  its direction…

AND  FINALLY, TO FACTOR IN HAWAII

Last September and following the time that some Christians were all worked up about the significance of August’s total eclipse, a devout person I know, a former missionary, while visiting Israel believed they were given the peculiar message from God that “the waters have broken” (The times of  the apocalypse are often depicted as a woman in birth travail and birth pangs increase in frequency and intensity).  The message nonetheless seemed so odd  and unexpected the person was happy and relieved  to discover that in October a group of self-declared prophets had agreed upon being given the same word. It should of course mean the delivery is soon. But it hasn’t yet happened. However it’s important to note that contrary to much belief, births don’t automatically begin with the breaking of the waters but at differing times later and only certainly with the onset of contractions.

So let’s conclude with some symbolism and ask should Hawaii  be factored  into the timetable?  Quakes and volcanic activity  (“blood, pillars of fire and drifting smoke”) are also a harbinger of apocalypse. Starting early May, Hawaii’s Big Island began to erupt and it shows no sign of abating now in June. The island lies approximately at the centre of the Pacific Ring of Fire. In modern medical terminology, especially American, the “Ring of Fire” is the name given to the condition after the waters have broken and just before contractions and the head of the foetus begins to emerge.

Is it possible the Hawaiian flow won’t now stop (or stop only for other volcanoes to take over)  until greater crisis ensues? Is it possible the world itself is telling us the world is indeed close to maximum and apocalyptic crisis? All this is speculation, not prophecy and  date setting, but it is not unreasonable speculation in the circumstances.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2018 in current affairs, Mysteries, religion

 

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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 the change 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 emerges if anything 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 of 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 (i.e. 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 that 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

 

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

 

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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SELLING LEONARDO’S SALVATOR MUNDI AND PURSUING AN ELUSIVE IMAGE

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There is a time for everything under the sun. That includes the sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting (now finally certified to be his and not a disciple’s) in New York’s Christie’s on November 15th.

Astrology has a bad name because it claims to be able to predict issues and like meteorology often fails at the job. When it does appear to have correctly predicted things it is then dismissed as a system of irreligious fatalism or unscientific divination that must have worked due to everything from intervention of fallen angels (St Augustine) to just chance. Neither judgement is correct.

The fact is that though astrology can foreshadow events that astrologers would often need to be outright prophets to be able even to imagine ahead of time, what it really does is certify events as they happen. This it does with great clarity as in the case of the Leonardo sale.

Leonardo whose birth data we know approximately from Vasari ( 9.40 pm,  23 April, greg, 1452 at Vinci),  was born with Saturn at 14 degrees of the arts and luxuries sign of Libra. Saturn is about antiques and property. On the 15th November, action-generating and competitive Mars is transiting conjunct Leonardo’s Saturn at 14 Libra. This is an indication both of the involvement of competitive auction and, rather importantly, that the picture really is Leonardo’s or this kind of  degree exact agreement wouldn’t be occurring.

Mercury, the news and communications factor, is at nearly 13 of Sagittarius for the auction date meaning it’s suitably in the artist’s first house (his image, his body) loosely conjunct his ascendant degree –  6 Sagittarius was rising over the horizon at the birth as given. Since however  Leonardo wasn’t born in the era of digital timing, it’s very likely the position of Mercury at auction is telling us he was born some time a bit later than assumed with Sagittarius at or nearer 13 degrees at birth. Undeniably the more important events of a life are liable to engage the angles of a nativity and an individual’s ascendant angle is sensitive.

THE SALVATOR MUNDI THEME

Events in religion, which in its way the sale and widespread discussion of Leonardo’s painting is, enjoy some association with the Galactic Centre presently in late Sagittarius at 26 degrees. On the day of the auction, transiting Saturn (antiques, tradition, the historical) enters this degree.

What about the moon and the theme setting sun?. I can’t tell at what time a price will be agreed, but whenever it is the event-timing moon will be in Libra and we have seen the relevance to both the event and the cost value of the picture of Libra due to Leonardo’s natal Saturn in the sign.  (Leonardo incidentally also had visionary Neptune in Libra on O degrees at birth. This degree being a world point and within conjunction of Leonardo’s Midheaven (career, reputation and destiny), Neptune is a factor in the artist’s becoming world famous not least for the mysterious sfumato and chiraroscuro effects which “dreamy” Neptune naturally favours. Also on a world point and thus making for fame was Mars at 15 Aquarius, futuristic sign of inventions for which Leonardo was in demand and very notable).

The sun is at 22 Scorpio on 15th November and this is interesting at the more religious level.

In the correct and still working birth data which in enlargement of the D’Ochieppo and Hughes (astronomers) thesis for the birth of Christ I claim to possess, the asteroid Leonardo is at 14 Virgo. This means it is in what’s called semi-sextile aspect to the mentioned transiting Mars and the natal Saturn which are conjunct on the 15th November. This might not seem important because a semi-sextile is a minor 30 degree aspect – except for one vital point in this instance. Semi-sextiles are deemed to be financial and the 15th is going to produce major issues around finances. What is the painting worth? Will it produce record breaking bids? (It is set for one hundred million). The fact that Jupiter and Venus are conjunct in the heavens (they were exact on the 13th) bespeaks a time of big money deals, this pair in aspect is typically about wealth and any lifestyles of the rich and famous.

But what is the painting about? On the 15th November the sun is at 22/23 of Scorpio. In the natus of Jesus the asteroid Salavat (Salvation) is at 21.59 Scorpio, i.e. one minute of a degree off 22 Scorpio. There is no Salvator (Saviour) asteroid, so Salavat  ( Salvation) is the nearest we can get to it, but I have found after years of working with them that the asteroids have a way of signifying facts through many languages and neat variations on a theme rather in the style of Joyce’ Finnegan’s Wake. There  is also no World/Mundus asteroid or none in aspect unless one cared to allow Universitas (world) in very wide conjunction at 28 Scorpio.

THE JESUS IMAGE IN ART AND LIFE,

Given the prestige of Leonardo and the sheer ambition of the painting, we may legitimately ask how successful (beyond purely aesthetic  considerations) it actually is in conveying an image of Jesus whether as person or saviour. In terms of mystery it is obviously reasonably successful, an effect arrived at by supplying, and not for the first time in a Leonardo painting, an androgynous edge to its subject. This however is not per se inappropriate for someone even biblically described as both incarnate Logos and feminine Sophia (masculine Word and Feminine Wisdom). For these issues see my recent Jesus and Sexuality you tube  https://goo.gl/L7KR2C                     ,

Even so, did the Jesus who worked as a carpenter (more likely a builder or stone mason) and went fishing with his disciples, look quite like this or even anything like this? Actually if, as I seriously maintain, it is possible to arrive at accurate, working data for Jesus’ birth, then we can more or less know what he looked like. I have discussed this at some length and worked towards an image based on the most characteristic features and  interactions  of the natal sun sign and rising sign, the chief factors governing an individual’s appearance. To my surprise and sometimes frustration, the relevant article, Colton Burpo’s “Real” Heaven, Akiane’s Jesus and New Christ Images  at https://wp.me/p2v96G-lH  published in Feb 2014, easily remains after years the most visited of my blog offerings  despite what I consider more substantial writings on religion and some major poetry for the exploring. Plainly people really are interested in just what Jesus looked like!. In a way the emphasis belongs with the almost endless ironies that attend the whole Jesus theme…..

EXPENSIVE IMAGES AND PRICELESS INFORMATION

The auction of a Jesus image involving huge sums of money is ironic both in relation to the relative poverty of its subject historically and the fact that, such are the vagaries of fortune,  it is not so long ago in 1958 that the picture had been sold in auction for a mere 45 GB pounds! …..

Art is of course art and religion is religion and they only sometimes meet, but I could be allowed some disgust at the fact that while almost obscene amounts of wealth, plus plentiful media coverage, get directed  upon a beautiful but imperfect Christ image, it is next to impossible for me to present as author, as doctor of religious studies and astrologer what in its way is as good as priceless information, gold of the Magi itself, the clearest demonstrable solution to millennia old mystery surrounding the birth of Christ. Where others speculate I can prove. But this is ignored (as is that the theory I enlarge upon is one that has long enjoyed considerable academic support and was declared by the scholarly Pope Benedict as distinctly plausible as theories of the birth go).

Forget the too often whorish world of Anglo-American publishing about which I could tell some tales.  I am ashamed of the places of my two nationalities (Australia and Ireland)  that have not had the least room for indications of my information. For example, before last Christmas six leading papers of Australia failed so much as to respond to a proposed author’s op-ed on proof of an historic discovery. I have not got anything into Irish media either, whether the Irish Times, the Irish Independent or, despite my direct appeal while in Ireland this year, the national broadcaster’s Sunday Miscellany which is supposed to specialize in original material from authors. This isn’t good enough.

Because it’s wrong to cast pearls and would demean the subject to go around with a begging bowl insisting to be heard, there are limits to how much, how often I ever deal with this subject which I have carried and represented for years. But where our leaders of opinion secular and religious in their dismissive arrogance are concerned, it is sometimes hard not to hear and think words along the lines of “Depart from me you workers of iniquity” (Matt 7:23).

 [ ALSO RELEVANT

 A recent youtube of mine Signs, Rumours and Forecasts of Apocalypse, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBvx_XMAAyU , answers a few objections to linking religion and astrology and stresses the value and even necessity to get the data of Christ’s birth right to avoid some of the wilder errors that would-be forecasting without it can lead some people into. ]

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2017 in aesthetics, astrology, Mysteries, religion

 
 
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