A Quote from Stephan Hoeller

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some clarification re: gnosticism. “it is not the physical world with its earth and trees, but the system (in Greek kosmos) created by unconsciousness that is evil, or at least relatively so. it is not an ethereal heaven, but individuated consciousness that the pneumatic [i.e., filled with spirit, from the Greek pneuma] Gnostic attains to when the limitations of unconsciousness are overcome by Gnosis. it is not sexuality that is evil, but the psyche’s bondage to blind instinctuality with its accompanying unconsciousness. it is not life that is rejected, but a life of brutish unconsciousness, which is the cause of most of humanity’s afflictions. the Demiurge is none other than the human ego, alienated from its deeper psychic background (the Pleroma): arrogant, one-sided, and having rejected the wisdom of the Feminine.” —Stephan A. Hoeller, “How to Understand Gnosticism,” Gnosis Magazine 2

Writing on Here

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I really, really should be letting you guys know what exactly’s been happening to me lately.

Sophia happenings in dreams and a visit with the inner gay archetype. That’s what’s going on.

So that’s going to stay here for now so that we know what’s going on with it, and perhaps later on I’ll recall and check back at the blog so as to tell everyone what’s happening.


Morality and Rules

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Often, I complain to people about the moral issues we find in orthodox Christianity. While my own ethical points of view are highly influenced by the Christian culture in which we live, I also want to say that the Old Testament version of God, no matter how you dice him, turns out to be, well, a kind of evil bastard, for lack of better terms, if we take what’s written there at face-value and as a literal reading.

But of course, the more enlightened people of eras past as well as our own era point to the fact that much of the Bible, including the nicer parts, aren’t actual history. Instead, we’re dealing with legends, myths, poetry, and stories that are meant to illustrate a point.

Some people attack Christians who disregard the negative Jehovah of the Old Testament as simply cherry-picking, as they seem to think that it’s only the bad parts that people don’t take seriously or take as an allegory, but I don’t think that’s the case. Rather, I think even the good stories are told to convey something important that is beyond the immediate meaning of the words.

The morality still sucks, though. I mean even the Ten Commandments that people seem to revere so much aren’t really all that smart of a set- maybe like 7 out of the 10 actually make good sense when you think about it. A person in our modern era could much more easily come up with a set of commandments, I think, or at least a set of “really good advice for getting along with everyone.”

Naturally, you also have the Christians who argue that we are not held by the Old Testament whatsoever, that Jesus abolished it, and then you have the people who say that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it, saying He didn’t do away with any of it.


Typically, these are people who need Old Testament support for condemning gay people, specifically Leviticus and Genesis. Either they haven’t read Romans or Corinthians or they just prefer to ignore them in favor of Old Testament Law.

The point is, when Jesus says He comes to fulfill the Law, what exactly does that mean? This opens us up the wide world of interpretation, where fulfilling of the Law can mean several different things.

Moreover, what is the meaning of the phrase in Greek? Is there an underlying suggestion here?

Again, typically Christians don’t live by much of the Old Testament. We don’t have the crazy rules that exist there. Instead, we try to focus more on loving our neighbor as ourselves and loving God the most, helping the poor, the sick, and the afflicted- no matter who they may be. This is the essence of Christianity: love, love, and more love.

Then come the Harshness Christians who seem to think that it isn’t about love, that it’s about eternal damnation. My question still remains whether or not a lot of said Christians actually believe in the existence of an Eternal Hell or if they’re simply saying that because it keeps other people in line and because it worked in the past.

Now, I don’t dismiss the notion of their being Temporal Hells. I do think we must in some way atone for karma or sin that we have created in our lives, especially if we haven’t done a great deal of penance or worked for the sake of others in any way. However, I do not think for a second that our finite lives create eternal consequences, and I do not think that the notion of burning in Hell for all Eternity makes a great deal of sense, nor is it reflective of God’s Nature.

Jesus does sum up things rather nicely when He talks about Loving God and Loving One’s Neighbor. That seems to be easy enough- unfortunately, that’s not what typically happens in practice, and when it comes down to loving one’s enemies, that can be the most brutal sort of situation ever.

Christianity is not an easy religion, contrary to what the pastor of Ridgecrest Baptist Church of Dothan said a few weeks ago in his sermon. Rather, to love one’s enemies requires several things, such as not bad-mouthing them or attacking them in any way. Loving one’s enemies may truly be the most difficult thing Christ ever suggested that we do, and He wasn’t calling for a “well, I just won’t kill you” type attitude- remember, Christ looks at the intention, not the action.

Anyway, so the point of this blog was to begin coming up with a list of morals which we could use in our modern era, along with commentary- commentary that allows for clarification of what exactly the rules mean and what exactly they don’t. This will probably show up in a few blogs in the very near future.


Another Definition of Catholic

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The National Old Catholic Church gives this as the definition of Catholic:

Question: How can you be Catholic but not Roman?
“Catholic” means (1) the clergy have Apostolic Succession or have unbroken lineage back to Christ, (2) celebrate the sacramental ministry, (3) adhere to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as expressed through Apostolic Tradition.

By the above definition, the Anglicans most certainly are Catholic.


Ranting and Piskies

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A certain kind of joy dwells in me right now, a kind of celebration of the Anglican Communion and most especially the Episcopal Church.

The reason such a joy currently exists in me is because of a recognition that many in the Roman Church are not granting it at this very moment, an attitude and reality that I can see has blossomed in the Church and is something that is quite fair and definitely worthy of celebration.

What I mean to say is that we now see a return to ritual, a return to the Catholic liturgy of old, the return to the true nature and understanding of the Sacraments. It is unfortunate that in the Roman Church the mindset is extremely rigid among many members (of course, not all, but let us get to the point here) and things are either defined or not- that is, to a Roman Churchman, the fact that transubstantiation is rejected in the 39 Articles, and the fact that the 39 articles exist at all, is proof in the pudding enough for them to say that ALL ANGLICANS EVERYWHERE believe “only” that the Holy Eucharist changes in terms of consubstantiation.

Now I will say forthrightly as I have said before that I think the difference between transubstantiation and consubstantiation is not so vast as some would like to suggest, and what really happened was an attempt to explain why the Body and Blood of Christ still looked like Bread and Wine, and because of a cultural and mental shift at the time, the notion of what was going on became lost. More to the point, the fact that Aristotle and not Plato or the Neo-Platonists was used made transubstantiation even greater a target.

The human mind likes to be rationalistic about things, of course, so the deeper mystery is occluded by the clinging to the dogma without ever going any deeper into it.

But let us not get too far off track. The point I am making is that the Roman Churchmen’s mindset is that things are point-blank as they are- what is told to one is told to one, that’s that, there is no compromise, there is no debate, there is no personal opinion on the matter, so you might as well sit down, shut up, smile, and nod in agreement. What I mean to say is that the reality that people may have other opinions, ideas, or even insights into the Holy Eucharist, that there may be a spectrum of theological views, and that the spectrum may well end up supporting and refining one another is not something that crosses the person’s mind- Anglicans necessarily believe in consubstantiation, that’s the end of the story. Nevermind the Anglo-Catholics, declaring it is the very Body and Blood of our Lord, or the extremely Low Churchmen who would say it is merely a symbol, a meal of bread and wine alone- Anglicans only believe in consubstantiation.

Now let us consider Anglo-Catholicism, which is often mocked by the Roman Churchmen of the rigid mind. The attitude that they have is that Anglicanism is completely and utterly Protestant in nature, and that Anglo-Catholicism is a kind of hokey invention.

But the reality is that, even if Anglo-Catholicism is not necessarily what the Church of England came to look like after the death of Henry VIII, it is a sign of something much deeper and much more appreciable and something that the Roman Churchmen could take a hint from- Anglo-Catholicism is the great statement of Anglicanism that, when throwing out the so-called “Romanism” in the way that it happened, THEY GOT IT WRONG, and now they’re back-tracking (or have back-tracked.) What we see now is a revival of the great ancient rites because they are recognized as such.

Now, obviously, there are a great deal of Roman Catholics who are all too aware that the clergy are out of touch with the laity, and that their claims to be simply guarding the Truth are tired and that very few people buy such claims anymore. The issue I have is that the Church seems almost incapable of admitting that it can ever be wrong until, well, centuries later, and sometimes even that doesn’t work.

But ultimately, there’s a huge question of why Episcopalians seem to have a desire to call themselves Catholic in the first place, and this is where we should begin questioning things and delving into the matter.

To take a stab at it and guess, my own sentiments are that the Episcopalians want to distance themselves from the extremely low-church literalists and fundamentalists and Evangelicals. In other words, God’s Chosen Idiots, who largely are anti-Catholic and refer to the Roman Church as the Whore of Babylon and so on, and often fall into the category of “Protestant,” are NOT a group with whom the Episcopalians want to identify themselves, and rightly so.

That being said, I want to turn to a new subject. I looked into theosis today and saw several quotes given from the Church Fathers. What struck me as dumbfounding is that their statements seemed wholly and completely Gnostic in nature. I was shocked to see Ireneaus make a quote that any modern Gnostic would immediately point to and say, “This is what we’re doing,” especially since he was such an opponent of Gnosticism.

The problem with the orthodoxy is in the fact that it’s been reduced to a kind of political power puppetry, and the mystical core of Christianity becomes occluded. Time and again, I try to point out that what the early heresy-hunters argued against as “Gnosticism” is not what Gnosticism actually was or is; it’s a kind of straw-man they invented against which to argue. The radical, world-hating dualist carcicature is often cited, but it isn’t a dogma or necessary doctrinal position of Gnosticism on the whole, and the mystically flavored Christianity known as Gnosticism overlaps heavily with the orthodox mysticism, especially and specifically with regards to theosis.

Back to Anglicanism.

Certainly, I wouldn’t agree with a number of the 39 Articles, so I’m not too terribly worried about it. But it’s the idea that I would absolutely have to, or that anyone absolutely has to do things, that makes me really wonder.

In the words of a Red State Mystic, here endeth the rant.


The Trip to the Church


The doors of the Church are supposed to always be open. Apparently, this is not what many churches this day and age do, but I don’t blame them- valuables inside the church could be stolen, people could desecrate it, and so on.

The Episcopal Church’s doors, at least in this area, are always open, in a strange sort of way. That speaks volumes to me. Of course, most people probably think that the doors are locked or have no idea what an Episcopal Church is.

Anyway, I go to to the local Episcopal Church a lot to pray. I’ve never been to Mass there, not in all the years I’ve gone in to pray. Sometimes, I just sit with God. Sometimes, I do a bit of exploring. The acoustics in the church are absolutely amazing- just barely talking creates an almost thunderous roar. I can’t imagine how powerful the Mass is with all the voices chanting together.

I opened the Book of Common Prayer. Now, as an esotericist and in reading The Science of the Sacraments, I could find a lot to criticize about the Book of Common Prayer, but of course, this is all in the matter of the measuring of spaghetti- my phrase for extreme head knowledge that keeps us shut out of experience and can lead us down a garden path of destruction.

Reciting the Creed, as I said before, is much different when one is in the church, standing there, and kneeling at the mention of the Incarnation and such- the experience of this is much different than simply imagining it. While imagination can help prepare us for some things, something about the power of mysticism defies this.

The recitation of the Creed in the church wasn’t to proclaim that I necessarily believe what the Creed says- but it was to take the action of saying it to see what the deeper meaning is, to feel what it feels like to say such a Creed, and to know the underlying power.

As I was trying to find the Creed in the Book of Common Prayer, I came upon several other prayers, and they were beautiful, absolutely beautiful, even majestic. I could scarcely believe it as I read many of the prayers and prayed them aloud to God- something about the Book of Common Prayer began to captivate me, began to be realized. Here was Tradition- and here was an honoring of the Holy Catholic Church, which is mentioned many times in the book, asking for God to guide her.

The gem of the trip, though, was when I went into the sanctuary. For those of you who are unaware of the Catholic tradition, the part of the church in which people sit is called the nave, and the sanctuary is only where the altar is. Naturally, here I was around at the altar and wanted to be extremely respectful and reverent to it, as this is where Mass is said- and I looked at the Tabernacle, where the candle burned, and even though the Tabernacle is plain, wooden, and in the wall, it still has a lock on it that keeps any random person from coming and taking the Lord out of it. I walked closer to it and felt a definite sensation in my third-eye- a kind of presence or energy was indicated there, and I knew Our Lord was there.

The gem: I walked to one of the seats near the altar and found a beat-up old copy of St. Augustine’s Prayer Book- an extremely beautiful Anglo-Catholic book of devotional prayers. I sat and read through it, noting all the popular devotions (to the Sacred Heart, for instance) that I myself maintain. What a magnificent and strange synchronicity!

One day, I’ll wake up early enough to go to Mass, and I’ll be glad for it.


A Personal Lament

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As with all things, perhaps we can say that a blog has a particular feel or spice to it; this entry will have a definite ethos of honesty, as we’ll dive into some personal affairs and experiences of mine on a less religious sort of level, though indeed maybe it will all overlap.

The most recent development in my life isn’t exactly the best thing to happen to me, and perhaps I can give it up to God that something still deeper is happening in me, the depths of which I am unaware.

So begins the lament:

For years, since I first had the dreams of the beloved other, I have chased him in the waking world. I have been in love with that HIM for the longest time, and in so many lovers I have thought to have found him. Somewhere, I was promised that I was not indeed alone and isolated in the way I have felt for so long; this OTHER understood my plight, this OTHER would be my savior in this world, this OTHER would grant me strength and power where my strength and power had been taken from me from the people around me and the society into which I had been plunged.

I did not regard this OTHER male as being in any way my “completion” in the sense of my being purely and objectively a half and he my other half- but there was definitely a sense of “completion” that together, we had a mission, that together, we were something of a force in this world that would transform and change things in the overall story. In other words, there was a very deep and real sense inside of me that I would work in tandem with another man to transform the world, and I found that this archetypal pattern was told to me over and over again in stories I read and TV I watched- but it was somehow hidden beneath the surface, and only in recent years have I found the underlying psychological symbols dealt with in a direct way. For those of you who are interested in this, I suggest you check out the Archetype of Gay-Centeredness and specifically the archetype called the Double.

Yet I have continued to dream of him, again and again, and to feel the deepest and fieriest love burn within my soul in my dreams, a deep and powerful glow in the heart that warms all my flesh and makes me feel protected and empowered.

To have thought so many times again and again that I have found this person in the waking world, or that I and my companion somehow manifested this archetype, and then for things to have broken down for the very real reason that the person in question was always quite human and not some kind of eternal, internal archetype, has led me to being in a position of a somewhat jaded soul. This is through no fault of their own.

The realization earlier this year is that in all my relationships, I have essentially been the companion that was stronger- a strength that had depth, in other words, a strength that others may see but of which I am mostly unaware for whatever reason. The uneasy realization hit me that the original story of which I was told in my dreams- the other coming to me to help me, empower me, save me- has almost always been reversed in the waking world. My presence has been there to strengthen and sustain others, and when my energy is gone, when I can no longer cope, when I am pushed to my own threshold, often times the companion has been done with me.

The increasing reality that’s dawned on me is that relationships and marriage, while something I have wanted for as long as I can remember, are incredibly fickle in our modern culture. Coupled with my sensitivity and the past wounds, either I’ve succumb to the collective mind or I’ve simply become too exhausted to invest myself into the idea anymore, and the driving fire to find someone, the longing and passion and even reasonable notion that somehow I and another guy can mutually benefit each other in a relationship has all collapsed in on itself.

My heart feels dead, in other words.

Thus, the only remaining repose I have is in meditating or contemplative prayer. The strange nothingness of God is the only thing I have to drive me in life beyond bare survival- I could just heap myself up into a pile somewhere and rot for all the fire I have in me.

Of course, maybe this is temporary, and perhaps things will shift once again. Maybe my soul will erupt into flames of love tomorrow. Or in an hour. That would be lovely. (Hint, hint, Christ.)

But this is precisely the situation into which I’ve been thrown- here, I thought I would have deep experiences of soul-burning love or illuminating moments of God’s glory, and though they’ve happened, they’ve been few and far in between. Mostly what seems to have happened is that my contemplative prayer has simply eroded portions of me away slowly. In other words, meditating every night has slowly been changing me and taking things away from me and eventually, there won’t be any more of me to be taken away.

I lament that some kind of cynicism has taken hold inside of me. I lament that the lover I’ve wanted for so long may indeed not exist- and it isn’t that there isn’t a guy I like or aren’t guys I’ve liked, even recently, it’s just that the story I’ve lived is still true.

The only question now is, “How long, O Lord?”


Another Rant about Gay Marriage and the Church


One thing that seriously turns me off about the Roman Catholic Church is how many Catholics are just blind followers and seem to have their brain turned to mush. A tradition stretching back 2000 years should have a least a little more solid intellectual basis for statements that are made.

Obviously, not ALL Catholics are this way- and many are pro-gay and pro-women priests. I happen to know many good Catholic people who would call into question many teachings of the Church; I digress.

One commenter on a recent entry stated that it’s perfectly acceptable for an infertile couple to have sex because they didn’t render the condition of infertility upon themselves.

Excuse me? So as long as nature doles out the condition, it’s okay?

Well, by that line of reasoning, since gay people are born gay and are gay through no fault of their own, they should be able to get married- whether or not the sexual act is closed to the gift of life.

But let’s also get real. The reality underlying the situation is that you have Catholics who, like so many other people, just want to feel that they’re right and that they’re better than other people, and it’s much, much easier to condemn gay people if you yourself aren’t gay.

While some readers suggested that sexuality has to do with self-mastery, it’s also easy for a straight male who’s married and having sex to talk about that sort of thing.

It is entirely one thing if one decides, completely of one’s own free will, to abstain from sexuality as a sacrifice or devotion to God. I have no problem with that, seriously. That’s a personal decision. But when an organization begins trying to tell us something that just isn’t in line with reality that I’ve experienced personally and that’s been supported by the experience of many other people and as well as that horrible thing called science, I begin to get a little fussy when they continue harping on it.

The same thing goes for women in the priesthood. There are all kinds of pseudo-intellectual gymnastics that the Church uses to say why women shouldn’t be in the priesthood, and the idea that it could have been a cultural bias and artifact from the past, which is a relatively quick and simple conclusion, is not one of the considerations that’s made. Instead, the whole “Men and women are different and each have their roles” idea is taken and tossed around, and even if there are women who don’t feel that it’s an affront to them for only men to be priests, it doesn’t take a radical feminist to see that there’s some severe patriarchal abuse going on here.

Holy Mother Church, I suggest that instead of getting involved in gay marriage and continuing to bar women from the priesthood, you should align yourself with the Holy Spirit, get over your pride, reinstate the Tridentine Mass, and get back to being the Vehicle of the Sacraments instead of the Hypocritical, Pseudo-Intellectual Moral Authority Du Jour complete with Guitars and Drums at Mass. Your track record is not very good as it is, and you’re rapidly becoming the laughing stock of the world.

Your friendly neighborhood ranter,


The Not-So Consistent Path of a Seeker

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It is unfortunate that among seekers, we often find that we cannot stick with one particular path or that it seems that one particular path comes constricting or that we see something that we encounter articulated better by another path. Often we lose sight of what we’re attempting to accomplish. Reminding one’s self to not get caught in artificial categories and identifications is incredibly difficult when the very ego that’s destined for annihilation needs those identifications in order to walk into its own grave, as it were.

But that’s the way it goes. Some people, namely those who don’t really get religion, never have to convert, never have to question, never have to bother with the meaning of it all. They want to say a little prayer and follow their little rules and hopefully, when they die, they will get a reward for being good. And those naught ne’er-do-wells? They get punishment. Eternally.

Some people may attempt to attack me for that oversimplified version of what a lot of evangelical Christians believe- but that actually sums it up pretty well, at least for this area, and from what I’ve seen in the Christian book market and online Christian forums and hear from the mouths of such Christians, I pretty much think that the summary isn’t too far off base. The reality is that this would even characterize a lot of Catholic Christianity as well, which pains me to say and greatly saddens me all at once.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t about getting to Heaven. It’s never been about getting to some eternal paradise in the sky. That isn’t the point of Christianity. The unfortunate aspect is that this precisely how Christianity is marketed to so many- it appeals to both Greed, as in Greed for Heaven, and Fear, as in Fear of Hell.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me in my saying that- I don’t dismiss that possibility of other realms and that we may be reunited with kith and kin in the great hereafter, it’s just that I don’t think it works like this world in the slightest sense, and that we’re fooling ourselves if we think when we pass from this life into the next that we’ll simply enter into a very earth-like place, except with more light and clouds and mist. Or I could be totally wrong about this, but then, if so, I’ll take it.

Anyway, the point is, for the seeker, things are going to have to change at one point or another. One will end up in different traditions at some point, one will practice something that isn’t totally kosher with some other system at one point, and it all comes back to the fact that we’re actively seeking after something. The problem is that the something is so occluded that it takes years and years to find it, and then in discovering it, well, we happen upon the Ineffable that Christians like to call God and realize the real implications of using words like “Lord” and “King of Kings” and “Alpha and Omega” do little justice to the sheer tremendous Ground of Being of which we’re speaking. You can’t begin to contain God. You can’t begin to fathom Him (or Her or It.) It just doesn’t work that way. We use such words because of the Awe-Inspiring One, we use such words to adorn Him, but He is always, always, MORE.

The Eucharistic Reality of Christ is highly important. We are always in the Presence of Eternity, and the Holy Eucharist is the founding Reality made present to us. What we think happens is that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, and all kinds of ridiculous rationalistic tendencies have moved against the Mystery of the Real Presence because they miss the deeper philosophical point of the ritual. We think somehow that the Holy Eucharist is Christ coming into the world, but the reality, the Holy Eucharist is Christ also drawing us into Eternity- the reason the Eucharist is placed in a monstrance and adored is precisely because the Holy Eucharist is the Reality around which everything else centers. We are taken from the basic, everyday reality, into the Underlying Reality, the REAL REALITY, as it were.

It’s late, I’m tired, I should be meditating, and I pray a Gnostic Church would open just down the road from me. Ramblings, as usual, but great ramblings at that.


To Drive My Point Home

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This is the Nicene Creed, sung in Latin. Much different than simply reading it on Wikipedia, especially if you were in a Church, singing it with the congregation.

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