Some on Sophia

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A week or two ago, I had another profound thought about religion, spirituality, and mysticism, which is this: while I can verify that certain maps of Theravada Buddhism matches my own experience, I’m also aware that various kinds of other doctrine within the Theravada tradition are outside of my interest or cultural background.

And the only Reality to which I can attest, the only “Deity” or whatnot that goes beyond conjecture, that I can state is consistent and clear in my mind and in my life for the past ten years is Our Lady Sophia.

The path became so incredibly simple when I decided to direct my full attention toward Sophia. She is not unknown in other Traditions; She is called Other Names, and that’s fine.

That Sophia is a Given to me, that I KNOW through direct experience (gnosis?) that She Is, begins the theological quest and framework for me.

I can therefore reason out that Christ, or the Logos, is the Masculine/Active Expression of Sophia, and that they’re BOTH expressions of a Yet Further Absolute Reality.

I’ve been praying lately, to Sophia, and blessing my home, in the Name of Sophia, and I feel better and more myself than I have in AGES.

So now I have to carry this to the end and unite with the Absolute.

Steve

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Dream of Fusion

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I had a weird dream the other night.

In the dream, I was Satan, and I had been cast out of Heaven, but I made it back. I recall climbing through a house, going up stairs, ignoring the warnings of angels. I may have even fought a few.

I confronted Jesus, and He wouldn’t let me see the Father, who was in a different chamber- the innermost chamber of Heaven, which was structured like a large house. There was a definite sense that my being cast of of Heaven had been more of an injustice, a political maneuver, than anything else.

Jesus told me that if I didn’t leave on my own accord, He cast me out of Heaven again.

And so I lost my temper and tried to gore Him, which resulted in our fusing together, and I (we?) fell to Earth, to the world of everyday life.

And every person I saw looked to me like my child, and nobody knew who I was, that I was Jesus and Satan fused together. I remember seeing my friend John and his family, and looking at him, at how perfect and true he was; the truth of humans being the children of God was so very apparent in the dream.

Then I woke up, but now that I remember that dream, I see that it was important marked something from a spiritual perspective. Wow.

Steve

Wicca, Christianity, Rituals, Thoughts

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Good grief, I know, I make a bad habit of constantly repeating myself on this blog, but right now, I have a few excuses, namely one: I’m sick, and I’ve been drinking Hot Toddies, so I’m in a position to not be completely in my head.

When I first left fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity and entered into the world of religious exploration, the religions to which I finally came after all was said and done were Wicca and Buddhism. For years, I held these two, and they stayed in conflict theologically. I could never make up my mind which I was, and I simply had to say that I was both Wiccan and Buddhist- a concept that not many people could grasp.

This same cycle repeated itself in recent years with Christianity and Sufism.

The content came down to this: one system would articulate the need for inner transformation and offer Nirvana, and the other system would offer a set of rituals and an external beauty; one religion focused on the inner world, and another the outer world.

More hurtful is the process of trying to explain to others that I don’t actually change my religion, I only change the “language” in which I speak that religion. It has been a long and difficult road, and it’s difficult for me to guess that someone could pick a religion, agree with everything in it, and then go on in life with, “Well, that’s that.”

Yet I do envy those people on one level.

Anyway, the more I reflect on it, the more I realize that perhaps it was not Wicca and Buddhism that were in conflict but rather my idea of what each represented to me: one represented power in this world, one represented liberation from everything.

In other words, one represented a catering to the ego, the other represented its destruction and dissolution.

Now, of course, we also have huge problems with Wicca for other reasons. The system is admirable, to be sure, in its most idealized form- it is, in my opinion, a stripping down of Western religion and an iteration of it through generalized symbols for the archetypes and the Divine. The original form of Wicca with which we are acquainted, from the mid-1900s, actually has several laws and by-laws and so on.

Modern day Wicca isn’t quite the same. Instead, it’s become a Pop Witchcraft phenomenon; there are infinite numbers of cheesy Wicca 101 books to be found in every bookstore, and though some of them have tons of information, they almost invariably miss the point or don’t go deep enough.

Some would say that about 99% of religion, but I’m not here to address that.

Some would also say that I could’ve simply taken the Buddhist deities and inserted them into the Wiccan pantheon and gone from there.

This brings us to one of the most irritating aspects of Wicca: when people, who don’t understand what it is, who haven’t studied it, who have no idea that there is something to be said for organization and tradition, say the damnable words, “It’s whatever you want it to be.”

No. No, the fuck it isn’t. It’s never been “whatever you want it to be” and it never will be. If you want a religion that’s “whatever you want it to be,” go call yourself an Eclecto-Religio-Practice-Person or something, don’t call yourself Wiccan.

Back to the Buddhist pantheon. First, I understood that, while there may be Buddhist deities who cater to the various spheres of life, Wicca, too, was a Western, not an Eastern, thing. Randomly inserting Eastern traditions into the Western mindset would upset some kind of balance I saw in the whole process, and besides, the Buddhists don’t necessarily work with the deities in the way that a Wiccan would, so the process is culturally and theoretically removed.

This, too, was the beginning of trying to make things all fit together, of trying to have the so-called elusive “seamless garment.”

Wicca, on the whole, has turned into a kind of Protestantism. Not Protestant Christianity, but Protestant OF Christianity. The few individuals who would dare take Christ entities and insert them into the Wicca system are immediately dubbed “Christo-Pagans” and ridiculed.

But in a way, that ridicule is understandable; somewhere, hidden in the depths of Wicca, IS the Protestantism FROM Christianity; it’s part of its heritage, its lifeblood, complete with the mythology of the “burning times” and blaming Christianity for everything bad that ever happened, not unlike the dimwitted Modern Atheists™.

A good example of this I read recently was on a series of articles I once praised on witchvox.com. The author did a good job (or so I had thought) in going through Wicca, doing research, and separating what can be traced to ancient religions and cultures and what was most likely an invention of Gardner.

Then I saw a statement about the Cakes and Ale. Now, recently, Michael and I had a conversation about how the Wiccan communion is related to the Holy Eucharist; indeed, this much is obvious, because it maintains a certain thematic integrity.

But the author of this article said that the Eucharist was based on the Celtic ritual of blessing grains and alcohol, and that the Roman Church “borrowed” the ritual, and then Gardner “borrowed” it back.

That’s an example of shitty scholarship, folks.

 

Now, I’m not going to try to convince anyone, including myself, that the Holy Eucharist is entirely something related to the Passover meal and Jesus’s words and so on, but let’s not forget that DID happen. Pagans and Jews alike pretty much ate bread and drank alcohol, so saying the Celts blessed grain and alcohol (AKA, prayed over food) and that somehow the Catholics stole this idea of blessing food and inserted Jesus into the mix just doesn’t make any sense.

But then, there are the Wiccans who say that the Christians stole all things ritual from them, and then there are the Christians who agree with the Wiccans that the Eucharistic traditions did just that; neither group checks into the rituals written of in the Hebrew Bible, apparently, where there are candles, incense, bread, wine, and prayers everywhere.

Oh, yeah, and there’s that part in Genesis about the High Priest Melchizedek offering bread and wine to God Most High.

So the idea of bread and wine being offered to the Divine is a pretty ancient idea, just saying.

And also, I should point out, I’m not here to defend Christianity or discuss the atrocities committed in Christ’s Name or anything along those lines; Christianity will have a great deal to answer for in the hereafter, even as it has a great deal to answer for in the here and now.

Nor am I here to blast sincere, seeking Wiccans. Wicca has a good theory underlying it, and it’s potentially empowering for the individual. The mysticism in it is underdeveloped, but as it stands, so is the mysticism in modern-day Christianity. We mystics must, in fact, dip rather deep to find it a good deal of the time.

Erik and I discussed these things, and I told him a very true point: after all is said and done, I would MUCH rather be a Pop Wiccan than a Pop Christian. What I mean to say by this is that the “Pop Christian” books by individuals such as Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen are just awful. The worldview through which they operate, the American Evangelical perspective, is just terrible. I would rather be a Pop Wiccan and do my little rituals and wave my little knife any day of the year.

A good thing about Wicca is that it made me feel like life has meaning; it made me feel as though Nature truly was holy, powerful, and a good thing. I could appreciate the changing of the seasons as part of the Great Happening of reality.
But then, I was always more focused on casting spells than I was on actually practicing a religion, so I mean, yeah.

Gnosticism did offer me a great deal of comfort, as it seems, in many respects, to be the meeting ground of Christianity, Wicca, and Buddhism. So three primary religions influencing me in my life ended up being rolled into one.

Jordan Stratford jokingly says that Gnostics are Catholic on the outside and Buddhist on the inside, and I think this wouldn’t necessarily be far off; I would edit that to say that Gnostics are more like Buddhists wearing Christian vestments or something.

But that doesn’t devalue the more orthodox Christian mysticism, either- Christianity is replete with symbols that have a lot to offer us.
Then again, so is Wicca, and you see how often that devolves into crap.

I think Wicca does have a problem with not being defined enough. It’s the double-edged sword; one is free to do whatever, but one doesn’t necessarily know WHAT to do.

If Wicca had specific symbols associated with the Wheel of the Year, I think it would make it easier. Perhaps there ARE definite symbols, signs, and underlying meaning present in the Wheel, and I’ve just failed to recognize. It wouldn’t be the first time.

When more thoughts come, I’ll write more. I’ve been so into writing lately, all these thoughts pouring through me, even though I’m sick, I can’t help but continue to write down my concepts.
Also, I should point out that in Wicca, the God is associated with Day and the Goddess with Night. I actually encountered the Divine in the opposite way- Sky/Day Mother, Earth/Night Father. It’s very strange that my actual experience would be in contrast to what is constantly repeated in Wicca, and that seems to be a huge problem- people repeating beliefs, repeating ideas, with NO experience to back them up.

One person, in fact, told me when, I spoke about the Earth Father Archetype, that he thinks of the Earth as both masculine and feminine; he missed the entire point and threw some theoretical, all-inclusive bullshit at me. Then again, if he were to speak of experiencing the Earth as both, that would be a different story.

The point is, this was an experience, an encounter, a real-time happening, not a mental concept that someone wrote about that I said, “Oh, that sounds good.” This was actual.

I can understand the feminine associations with the Earth, but it’s strange that the Earth would appear to me as masculine- and as Christ, no less.

Oh, the games archetypes play with us!

Pax Vobiscum.

Beaux

 

 

 

Religion of the Stars

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Things have begun to deepen or lighten up. The threshold is giving way into an unknown territory, the unknown land that we’ve all been to before but have forgotten.

I am standing again the Presence of God, but this is a different facet of God, a dark facet that I have rarely encountered.

The religion of the stars has returned to me, the Meta-Religion of mankind, the religion of the soul of which each and every religion and tradition in the world expresses a part, an aspect, an image.

It’s true, it’s easy to get lost in the practices, in the theology, in the images, but when reality intrudes, when God comes home, there’s no room for argument.

I’ve said “FUCK YOU” to God more times in the past year than I would’ve ever dared thinking of doing before. But I did it, and I have survived in whatever way, despite the momentary flashes of my survival instinct.

It is strange that only when I became absolutely hateful and irreverent towards God that God would dare reveal Itself. It counter-intuitive, it goes against everything that I ever believed or understand; it was only when I embraced Satan, when I embraced all the evil and hatred boiling inside of me as a paradox of my personality, as a contrast to the kind-hearted, generous, caring part of myself, that God began to crack through into my life in a more substantial way.

This process if far from over, but apparently, God wants me to be an asshole, at least part of the time. So I’m going to go with it.

In Forrest Gump, there’s a scene where Forrest and Lieutenant Dan are on a ship, and Dan constantly curses God, screaming and yelling at Him, challenging Him, going against Him, defying Him however he can…and I never put together the fact that the next scene is that Forrest and Dan’s ship is the ONLY ship that survives the storm.

So maybe the essence of it is courage. Maybe the essence of it is that God wants us to fight Him, to put a challenge, but not for His sake- for our sake, so that we can be shown how strong we truly are, so we can see our true colors, our true nature, whether that truth is good or bad.

But then, God is above and beyond taking offense, it would seem. God dances in the starlight He created, not caring about who would blaspheme Him or not.

It’s amazing. This Christmas has been a strange one so far, but the whole meaning of the Incarnation and so makes more and more sense. The Mystery of Christ is never exhausted. The Mystery of the Blessed Virgin is never exhausted.
I think that the darkness cannot comprehend the light, and I think that what we so often refer to as “Light” is actually only a prophet, testifying to the Light.

 

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2The same was in the beginning with God.

3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

Those few verses speak of all kinds of cosmology. This the unfolding of the universe: unbound light that shines into matter that cannot process and reproduce the true nature of the Light, and then the human mind seeing traces and patterns of the Light in the world, but not itself being the Light.

Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

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

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.

Beaux


The Increase in Marian Devotion

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One of the titles given to the Blessed Virgin Mary is “the Seat of Wisdom.” Now, perhaps I misunderstand what this means, and I wouldn’t be the first Gnostic accused of “reading into” something, but the underlying meaning of “image of Sophia” jumps out at me immediately. Troy commented many blogs ago about Mary being an image of Sophia in the early Church, and I would be inclined to agree that this is why Marian Devotions simply refuse to die down.

A deeper reasoning is that one cannot stop the Divine Feminine. There appears to be a deeper necessity within the human psyche to honor the Divine in terms of the Feminine, and for whatever reason, the viral version of patriarchal consciousness has attempted to destroy the reverence for the Divine Feminine. Is it a matter of power and control? Perhaps- I’m not totally sure what the deal is and may never know.

In the modern era, the Divine Feminine has been such a major issue that many evangelicals end up leaving their tradition and heading on over to Wicca and various forms of Paganism- and who could blame them? Sadly, the opposite problem then arises in many cases where the Divine Masculine is ignored and underplayed and given a secondary role to the Divine Feminine.

There is no point in attempting to inwardly conform to the expectations of other people when it comes to religion. The issue I’ve had is attempting to justify why I pray to the Blessed Mother, and for a long time, I was even suspicious about the Marian devotion in the Catholic traditions.

Those days have come to an end. The reality of the matter is that the Blessed Mother is the major articulation of the Divine Feminine inherited in my own religious culture, and thus I will honor the Divine Feminine in the Blessed Mother, who also is the Seat of Sophia. Marian Devotion is synonymous in my mind to Sophian Devotion.

For me and a few others, there’s been a recent increase in Marian Devotion for reasons we don’t quite understand. I definitely am enjoying the new scapulars that I have, as they’re a form of “Worn Remembrance.” The scapular also hangs in such a way as to touch the back and front Heart Chakra, so I think that, too, points to translating Remembrance into a tactile mode that’s more efficient than the mental chanting of the dhikr. The dhikr hasn’t been disposed of, though- I’m not stupid, as I know what happened the last time I just stopped saying it. However, I do find that the Remembrance of God seems to be more direct now and less about reference, if that makes sense.

I remember writing a blog earlier this year where I gave up on Christianity again, only to be brought back into in some manner a fourth time. Boy, I’m just asking for it, am I not? I will say that the gumption I have now includes that fact that while I may not able to call myself “Christian” and while Christians may not claim me as one of their own, what I can say is that I identify with Gnosticism, and I will call myself “Gnostic” with no need for approval from ANYONE or ANY group. That doesn’t mean I’m not part of the Church; what that means is that I’m dealing with some pretty heavy esotericism that the Church Exoteric doesn’t handle very well, praise be to excessive legalism and pedantry.

The point is this: you will step on someone’s toes no matter what you do, no matter what you say, no matter where you go, no matter how you attempt to approach Nirvana, because most people are just too caught up in themselves to care, and most people honestly have better things to do (at least in their minds), and of course, THAT’S FINE. It’s fine if they want to go to Mass to get enough energy and grace to find a good career or be more creative, or if they meditate to build up self-esteem. That’s all fine and dandy and okay- no one should be judging people who do that, and it’s all too often that it happens.

But yes, someone is going to be silly and use only theoretical/book-knowledge to attack you for what you do, and some people can’t conceive of things otherwise.

What I mean to say is that for all the criticism that one can do of, say, the Nicene Creed, there’s a huge difference between reading the Nicene Creed on your computer on Wikipedia and saying, “It says, this, this, that, and means X,” and actually standing in a traditional Catholic church, reciting the Creed in Latin with the congregation. The Creed means more than is immediately apparent, than is immediately stated, but boy, you try to suggest that to a lot of Catholics and atheists and everyone in between that something may be implied that isn’t immediately stated aloud or read in the Creed, and everyone gets their panties in a wad and begins screaming “reading into thing” and generally have no idea why you would suggest that maybe things go a little deeper than the surface reading, and no, I don’t mean that you can just take the Creed and elaborate on it and give a general historical/rational commentary. I mean that the Creed actually says things in it, conveys things, that take some deciphering, that have mystical meanings, that will tell us about REALITY.

But the nay-sayers shall come, and it’s hard when BOTH SIDES are ready to come at you. Or maybe someone will wake up and see what I mean, and let’s hope that’s the case.

Beaux


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