On the Sacrifice of the Lord Christ

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Another issue that has come about more recently is the de-emphasis of the crucifixion and death of Christ on the cross. While the matter is open to interpretation, especially among Gnostics, I think an issue is of making the Incarnation itself the true sacrifice and disregarding the rest of the mystery of the life of Christ.

 

 

In fact, I think we can resolve rather easily the issues regarding the esteem of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God and Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix by focusing on the Incarnation, and so, too, we can uphold the power of the Crucifixion, all at once, if we look to the true Mystery of Christ.

And here the true Mystery is clear enough: it is not strictly the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, or the Resurrection that matter; rather, THE ENTIRE LIFE OF CHRIST IS THE ACT OF REDEMPTION ITSELF; CHRIST IS THE BEING OF REDEMPTION, THE PROOF AND ETERNAL EXISTENCE OF REDEMPTION.

What I mean to convey here is that the Mystery of Christ is not that He comes along and somehow “completes” the Hebrew tradition, as is the notion held by many modern Evangelicals; rather, Christ IS the Mystery of Salvation, of Sacrifice for the sake of Love, and so forth.

To address Mary’s role in this, I should say that God could have simply “appeared” somewhere without going through the process of human life, from beginning to end; instead, He chose a woman, a human being, through whom to manifest. Mary’s cooperation in the process of salvation seems, then, to take on a much larger role; indeed, she could not have been any ordinary woman.

The archetypal dimension of these things may speak of something quite different, where Mary is the potential of matter to give birth to Divinity that is both man and God. Perhaps this is the true mystery that happens all along; truly, the Eucharist is the revelation of the latent Christ within matter, and each Eucharist encompasses the celebration of Incarnation, Passion, Crucifixion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension.

I wish the Mystery were less obfuscated by the legalism and attempt of modernism of the various Churches. Maybe Christ will one day reunite all the Churches to Himself again. In the meantime, I will devote myself to His Most Sacred Heart and pray most fervently that the Unknown Father would reveal Himself to us in whatever ways He can.

Beaux

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Memoirs of My Religion IV

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After the terrible experiences with the Actual Freedom Trust and the struggle of my young mind to once again learn how to think for itself, I floated through the ether of world religions for a while. I knew I needed a spiritual path to walk, that I needed something that could give an expression to what I experienced within myself, but it was increasingly difficult to trust any system.

One thing I noticed is that for a long time, religious experience had, for me, been all about swallowing certain beliefs and never taking any kind of action. I came to dub this process “the measuring of spaghetti” and will blog on it later.

One of my former friends made a statement that I considered: it would be better to follow a path that is from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic world view than it would be to go with something foreign like Buddhism.

But the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions remained quite repugnant to me in many regards: it spoke of the idiocy and fundamentalism of my childhood, of the constant wars in the Middle East, of the atrocities committed by the leaders of these religions in the past.

Around the Autumn of 2007, I had a series of epiphanies. The first I remember happened while I was driving home one night.

While on Fortner Street, I remembered the love of Jesus in my heart. I remembered the depth of the love, and initially, I tried to fight the experience- then I realized I had to go through it, that I couldn’t just ignore what I was being told.

And it was true, a large part of my experience in being Christian when I was younger was simply in the desire to help other people- the overwhelming compassion that I felt for humanity due to Christ’s presence in my heart.

That night, or a night not long after, I had another epiphany as I was falling asleep. I realized that the Wiccan God was indicative of Nature and the Seasons, much in the same way as the Dying and Resurrecting Savior Jesus Christ indicated the Sun, Nature, and the Four Seasons (the Four Points of the Cross and the Sol Invictus, you see). They were one and the same Archetype within me- God truly was ONE!

That night, I had a dream that the Earth itself was Christ. I remember being in an airplane, and seeing a bright lava running over the face of the Earth- only to realize it wasn’t lava, it was blood, and upon landing, we saw these strange bubble-fruits that were like blood cells. This was the blood of Christ.

So I began looking into Christian Mysticism, starting with Bernadette Roberts, who was the first Catholic Mystic of whom I could think.

Needless to say, if you read anything by Bernadette Roberts, she’s REALLY a mystic- saying all kinds of things about Reality that are so far out of bounds from what Catholicism seems to normally teach that she would likely be declared a heretic if she ever reached a high level of popularity. But she has a strange balance between Orthodoxy and her Extreme Mysticism, which is very confusing.

Next, of course, came Gnosticism. This was before I realized that Gnosticism wasn’t a coherent, singular movement, and the first group I came upon was actually kind of, well, homophobic and seemed lumped in with the “sex is bad” Gnostics. Later on, I came to realize this group wasn’t related to Gnosticism as it relates to Christianity, and therefore I had no business messing with them in the first place.

Then I happened upon the Ecclesia Gnostica, which translates to Gnostic Church. I read an article by the +Bishop Stephan Hoeller called “The Gnosis of the Eucharist,” which can be found below.

The Gnosis of the Eucharist

I recalled in one of my history classes my teacher had been an Episcopalian, and she had explained that Roman Catholics and Episcopalians go to church to take Communion- that this is reason they attend church, as opposed to the Protestants going to “hear preaching.”

So, everything suddenly fit in my mind. Something snapped. The Holy Eucharist made sense to me- going to take God in the Eucharist was something that made sense on a level that my mind couldn’t fully reach (and still can’t.)

This was the active component that I had been searching for- I had all the theory of Christianity, or at least the gist of it, and now I knew what I had to do, what was going to be done.

I voraciously began to consume all material I could on Gnosticism, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and the Eastern Orthodox churches. I romanced Christianity and had many dreams about taking Communion. I searched for a rosary, I romanced the liturgical year, I watched Mass on EWTN.

Thus began the modern “era” or “chapter” of my religion and its experiences. There are, however, a few more bumpy aspects to it, as we shall see.

Beaux


Debbie Ford and Shadow Work

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with her, Debbie Ford is the author of a series of books that deal with working with one’s Shadow, the part of our psyche that we have neglected, repressed, or forgotten. To my understanding, she’s in league with The Omega Institute, and she might be labeled under “New Age” to some degree.

Her books are, on the one hand, a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the “happy thoughts thinking” fluff that exists in the New Age community. Though I tend to be rather idealist and think that most religious movements begin as a heartfelt reform or as a matter of Truth Seekers, I’m also realistic in pointing out how quickly movements can devolve into drivel that benefits few people, if any.

Debbie’s premise is largely that the Shadow can usurp you, and that thinking only about positive things ignoring the dark side of life can lead to devastating consequences. This, in accordance with Jungian psychology and my own observation about the world, seems to be fairly accurate.

Yet I still feel that something about her method is incorrect. Something strikes me, intuitively, as being wrong about certain aspects of what she says.

I’ll first consider that it’s quite possible I’ve misunderstood what she’s saying. Ford seems to be under the impression that if you see a trait in another person that you do not like, that ultimately it is merely your own projection of your Shadow onto that person. This seems to almost be THE rule of thumb in reading The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. Now, it is always reducible to traits- so, for instance, it isn’t about whether you’re a cold-blooded murderer, it’s about the characteristics of a cold-blooded murderer- someone who is callous, uncaring, hateful, unable receive or give love, and that there is such an aspect of this in ourselves.

But something about this doesn’t mesh well with me; the first response people will give is that I’m just now owning that dark part of myself.

At this point, I would like to defend myself and express that yes, I’m constantly working with my Shadow and am aware of the Darkness that exists inside of me. I’m, to the best of my ability, making friends with it, as it were- learning its depths, its power, its secrets. So to say that I am not owning my Shadow would be incorrect.

I think that on a reasonable level, I can’t buy that every single time we have a problem or dislike something about another person, that it’s merely and only something about ourselves that we don’t like. Now, I’m not denying that this is sometimes the case. But…it makes more sense to say that sometimes, if not most often, other people actually embody traits that have negative effects on us, and we don’t like them because it makes sense to stay away from people who might hurt us.

These are just some thoughts for the moment.

Allow me to also say that despite my criticism, I would still recommend reading Debbie Ford’s works. She has exercises and meditations written to do with Shadow work, and, in my own experience, they can be enlightening and informative.

She does offer some good explanations, too, about the Shadow- one’s flaws are actually one’s greatest strengths whose “volume” is just turned up too high. (I’m pretty sure Neale Donald Walsch says this in the forward of the book.) That can make sense to a degree…but sometimes some people’s flaw-volume is so loud, turning it down still might not repair our character-eardrums.

Just sayin’.

Beaux


The Visions During Reiki Treatment

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Oftentimes, my friends Kelly and Michael get together with small groups of people to have dialogue and exchange about life and love, to tackle things in a very modern sort of mystical way by “bringing God into the marketplace,” as they say.

Kelly, Michael, and my friend Rheana encouraged me to let Kelly do a Reiki treatment on me. For a while, my schedule conflicted, but finally we were able to do the treatment, and am I glad that I did.

For those of you who are unaware, Reiki is something of an energy massage. The actual explanation is that the energy from the Absolute is diluted into the forms of Gods, Angels, Messengers, what have you, and that the Reiki master further dilutes this energy into a form that the person receiving Reiki can receive.

The only problem is that I felt the old skeptical part of myself rise up several times, wanting to condemn Reiki. But the result of the treatment was rather interesting.

First, I relaxed. I mean, I actually relaxed. That’s rare for me, for sure. The relaxation was so great that I actually made myself slightly sick by moving too quickly when I turned to lie face-down. My body hasn’t been that still in a long, long time.

Second, I had what one might call visions, two of which, in particular, stand out to me and that I will mention here.

The first such “vision” was of a female version of myself. She was naked and looked almost identical to me. She only said one thing to me, in a very kind way: “We are One and the Same.” She felt in many ways like my long-lost sister, and I had the feeling of being her brother and related to her in a brotherly way. It was very peaceful to see her.

The second vision was of being in a Garden and seeing a snake-woman. The woman was naked, her breasts had no nipples, she was green all over, but a pale sort of green, and her snake part began around the hips. Also, her hair was green as well, pulled back in a pony-tail.

We were in a clearing in a lush, verdant forest, and the snake-woman began to play a violin, of all things. The music she played was beautiful and entrancing.

The treatment left me worried to drive, thinking that I might be ungrounded. Luckily several things went wrong at once, so the irritation brought me back down to Earth.

Later, I was reading Carl Jung’s The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious when I came upon mentioning of a Gnostic book called the Book of Baruch. Lo and behold, he began to talk about a character name Edem, who was, in fact, a snake-woman in the Garden of Eden! I kid you not, this happened a week or so after I had that very sort of vision during my Reiki treatment.

I haven’t especially looked into the meaning of Edem, but I do happen to have a copy of the Book of Baruch in my book called The Gnostic Bible, and I’ll definitely be reading that particular scripture to see what all I can make of it. I’ll blog about all my findings.

Beaux


The Experience of Identity Loss

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Under everyday circumstances, we talk about the loss of one’s identity. Often this is tied to something such as the loss of one’s career or a partner, something that definitely put you in the realm of social affairs and distinguished you in relation to other people.

However, the week before last, while journeying with Tyler and my friends somewhere, I had a more frightening version of losing my identity.

Without warning, suddenly I was quite confused as to who I was and how it was that I came to be who I am. No doubt, I could identify things such as my name, age, all the usual things; instead, there was something more crucial that suddenly seemed odd and strange and completely out of place in the scheme of reality.

This is certainly an “awareness of being aware,” a strange state of affairs where one’s own awareness stands in contradistinction to one’s personality and identity, a separation of Mind and Name might be a way to explain it better.

The first time I recall ever having such an experience as this was when I was a child, sitting in the bathtub. Suddenly the same oddness and out-of-placeness of myself hit me, of who I was, of my distinction as a person as opposed to other people in terms of individuality.

I do not mean to state that I was unaware that others exist; of course I was aware of that, and of course I am now aware that others are aware. This is a wholly different experience, one that is confusing at best and likely anxiety-provoking at worse.

Perhaps one might call it an awareness of being who one is. Perhaps it is the remnant of a child-like impression of who I was, an outside imposed notion of who I was as opposed to who I really am on the inside.

I realize that stating all these things is quite subtle, and only those who have been through the experience can begin to fathom and relate on what I mean.

The truth is that experiences that others have not had, perceptions and differing degrees of awareness, are ultimately the very “business” I’m in, for want of better terms. Mysticism revolves around this sort of ineffability.

I do want to make it clear that what happened was not the same as the disappearance of the Ego, which is the sudden and blatant absence of the “I” that normally resounds most loudly in the mind. That, too, is an experience that mystics all the time mention, and yet until one encounters it for one’s self, it sounds like pure rubbish.

Perhaps someone out there can give insight into what exactly this experience means or refer me to others who have had it.

Beaux


The Grace of God

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No worries, everyone, I’ll continue writing on the Memoirs of my religion in due time.

In the meantime, I should like to turn to an experience that I’ve had recently, meaning yesterday, in fact.

Different faiths would likely call this experience different things, and coming from the Western world, the most apt explanation is to say that it is the perceptible descent of God’s Grace.

While I stood with my friends in a circle, as we were getting ready to go out to eat for my friend’s birthday, suddenly I felt that familiar, warm, golden glow filling me. Nothing less than the Grace of God had descended upon us.

The experience continued for maybe an hour, and I was filled with a sense of deep love and gratitude, the likes of which only the most fortunate among us are ever able to experience. Even for that short time, that experience was extremely powerful and left a definite impression upon me.

Now, to understand theologically what Grace is, ultimately we must turn to the Christian tradition and see that Grace is some kind of mercy or outpouring of blessings from God that are either wholly or partially unmerited.

According to the Gnostic catechism,

“Grace is the effective manifestation of the supernal Life of God, appearing to us as a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through Gnosis and also other means.”

Gnosis is here defined.

“Gnosis is the revelatory and salvific knowledge of who we were, of what we have become, of where we were, of wherein we have been thrown, of whereto we are hastening, of what we are being freed, of what birth really is, and of what rebirth really is. This is an ancient definition which is still accurate.”

Notwithstanding, the experience of Grace this past Sunday was by no means merited, for I had done nothing to call upon God or to merit the outpouring on the energy, and yet there it was.

Grace certainly gives me the impression that things are as they are meant to be- feeling God’s presence shower upon us in the moment, knowing that we are all doing exactly what God means for us to do in that moment. This is both a humbling and hallowing encounter with the Ultimate Reality.

Unnerving is the fact that the Ultimate Reality does seem to indeed intervene in daily life, right in the middle of human affairs, and the intervention was absolutely astonishing at a moment that was otherwise so simple and innocent.

I would also like to point out that in my own experience, God’s Grace also dscends at certain times of the year, especially around the High Holy Days and the changing of the seasons. I knew the moment the Grace came during the Autumn Equinox, and it is a most peaceful, blissful experience.

I’ve written enough for the moment. Likely, I’ll write more later.

Beaux