Thoughts on the Real Christ, Continued

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First, one must always recall that Bernadette Roberts is one of the main reasons I returned to Christianity in any capacity. Specifically her Eucharistic theology is what causes me to hold fast to Christ- indeed, there is nothing like the Holy Eucharist the world over.

I will have to offer some points of thought from my point of view here as well, but then what else could I offer?

Bernadette defines Christ in a specific way; other people use the word differently. For instance, we Gnostics would tend to refer to the Eternal, pre-existent Logos as the Aeon Christ.

Curiously, the modern Gnostics tend to hold a view that’s virtually identical to Bernadette’s own regarding the man Jesus and the Logos, though the word “Christ” comes into play here as well. So, too, would the Gnostics be in line with Bernadette’s Eucharistic theology (the Holy Eucharist is the Glorified, Spiritual Body of the Risen Christ, not the literal flesh and blood of the man Jesus of Nazareth- an enormous difference, and a huge reason to use the full phrase “Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.”)

So, let’s establish some things here on my end.

First, I’m not overly concerned with attempting to maintain “strict monotheism” or to avoid “tri-theism” or “polytheism” or “anthropolatry.” To be perfectly honest, there are various theological ways of looking at things that make all of these perfectly valid and subsumed into one another.

Second, I tend to fall along the line of Monism. Bernadette mentions this briefly but doesn’t detail it the way she does tri-theism and anthropolatry.

In fact, mainstream Christianity would make more sense if it had simply admitted it was tri-theistic or that it was practicing anthropolatry instead of doing the bizarre song and dance of theology regarding the Holy Trinity.

I’m not here to deny the Holy Trinity, only here to say that, at least from the Gnostic point of view, it’s virtually unnecessary to conceive of God in this way.

Bernadette did, amazingly enough, really highlight the virtue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and my devotion to Our Lady has grown immense, but the reality here is that the Gnostics see the Virgin Mary as the icon of Sophia in the way that Jesus is the icon of the Logos!

So you see, it’s all coming together, full circle, in a way I never imagined. The Blessed Virgin Mary is easy for me to have devotion to; I’m eager to pray the rosary, I’m eager to say Litanies to her. Am I falling into Mariolatry? Perhaps, but I also don’t care about maintaining “party lines” as Bernadette calls them.

Yes, yes, I’m stumbling toward God as ever. I have half a mind to one day write a book entitled, “How I Fell Up the Stairs to Enlightenment: Memoirs of a Christian Mystic.”

The experience of the Silence has happened a few more times, notably on Labor Day, as I rode with my husband and my stepson to see my in-laws. The ego dissolved somewhat, and I had a great sense of peace and almost of floating.

More recently, I was riding to a wedding and praying a sort of “mini” version of the rosary, and my heart opened to the Blessed Mother and God and I felt very in tune with and very in line with Nature- I could sense the connection, the “vitality” of the world around me and myself.

Suffice it to say that it seems like I’m on the correct path! Glory be to God.

Steve

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On Our Inner Being, Sophia

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Christianity, as I’m always so wont to point out, has innumerous flaws, and at the end of the day, our mystical quest cannot be a constant struggle to follow rules or exist within the framework of what we might call “moralistic” Christianity; moralistic Christianity is the sort that has rules governing everything, oftentimes, silly, irrational rules that can’t possibly be something of the Law of God. 

At the end of the day, my experience is with what I must go, and my experience, most recently, has again turned me to the Aeon Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of Christ.

How shall I explain Sophia to you? How can I? I’m not sure. All I know is that whatever this experience I have of Sophia is, the experience seems to be what so many of the New Agers and other such mystics refer to as the Higher Self and the World Soul and so on.

Sophia is the feminine aspect of Christ, His feminine counterpart, “Christ Our Mother.” I think that what our Catholic faith has been trying to express about the Blessed Virgin Mary may indeed rightly apply to Sophia, though Father Troy did say that the early Gnostics saw the Blessed Virgin Mary as a symbol or sign of Sophia.

At the root of it all, though, Sophia appears to be core of our being. How strange it is to discover that “Stevo” is less and less something real and is more and more only some strange, external manifestation of an inner, deeper, and far more real SOPHIA.

Many months ago, I turned to Sophia in prayer one night as I lay myself down to sleep, and I had the most certain experience of unconditional love. Nothing we can ever do, no matter the evil, no matter the sin, can ever cause Sophia to stop loving us. She loves us with all that she is; we cannot be made to be separated from her, no matter how hard we might struggle and try. No crime, no sin, no atrocity is so great that Sophia will not love you.

This assurance of unconditional love is something of a clue to the unraveling and dissolution of our own sinful nature. The promise of unconditional love, the promise of unconditonal acceptance and approval, at least at this moment, virtually dissolves the impulses I would otherwise have to do what we would call “evil.” The basic or instinctual passions dry up in their own way, or perhaps we might say, they are drowned in something far greater than their fire.

I had an impression earlier of a Sophia-themed Eucharist in which the Holy Communion consisted of a kind of cake. Maybe that was simply an explanation that there’s a component of consuming the Divine Feminine in the Holy Eucharist that we and the Church have carelessly overlooked for two millenia. I had the distinct impression that consuming the Body of Sophia is extremely integral and important to the Christian mystic.

It’s bizarre to explain how REAL Sophia is to me. She’s so incredibly REAL to me; it’s not that I don’t appreciate and give due reverence to the Blessed Virgin Mary (I do), but sometimes, I feel like the Blessed Mother’s reverence pales heavily in comparison to that afforded to Sophia.

Maybe, indeed, they have different roles, and those different roles should be respected and preserved and not overlapped. But this would smack, unfortunately, of the attitudes of Protestants who made failed attempt to distill and preserve the “true” teaching of Christ while effectively aborting the only components of the twisted religion we call Christianity.

In fact, perhaps, archetypally, that’s why the Catholic Church is so incredibly and forthrightly OBSESSED with abortion. (I turned on EWTN the other day, and naturally, the talk show was about abortion and the full-on war that was going on with the culture and so on, with the talk show being hosted by two more self-righteous Roman Catholics who defined “Catholicism” as liking the pope, being against gay marriage, and being against abortion.) The Church has, through its own fault, it’s own fault, it’s own grievous fault, often aborted the Eucharistic Christ and the Eucharistic SOPHIA from the Mass, from the theology, and flushed the poor infant down the toilet from the liturgy. Having committed the grave sins that take the Holy Spirit’s favoritism from the parishes, they are left to face, albeit in a largely unconscious way, their own evil that is projected onto the world.

And before any idiot fundamentalist of ANY religion comes at me, I should point out that the above is not a commentary on whether or not abortion is sinful, murder, or a free-for-all adventure in the reproductive rights for women; rather, the entire statement is to say that the Church’s OBSESSION stems from the fact that they’ve outright killed something inside their tradition (or if they haven’t, they’ve tried) that’s incredibly important and parallels the atrocity that they call abortion. 

A Ranting Mystic,

Stevo

The Holy Rosary and Praying Seven Times Daily

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A brief notion for Christians and mystics who wish to pray several times a day or have a kind of desire to conform to the several times to pray but are unable to pray the Divine Office or Daily Office is to instead substitute the praying of the Holy Rosary instead.

One can either pray the Holy Rosary by dividing it into 5 or 7 times, with 7 being the preferable number. The 5 times is self-explanatory; one prayers the opening prayers, plus the first decade, followed by a different period for each subsequent decade and then the closing prayers.

The 7 times would include the opening prayers and cease with the Glory Be and Fatima prayer prior to announcing the First Mystery. The First Mystery of the day would then be announced when praying for the second time, and so on. The 7th time of prayer would be the Salve Regina prayer.

Praying the Holy Rosary all at once is also a good idea, but the breaking up of the prayer helps to keep a cycle going, which is, in my opinion, an important aspect of prayer.

 

Beaux

Christ as Sacrifice and More Mystic Journeys

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As usual, I’m not sure where to begin this entry.

I spoke with my friend Drew last night, briefly. We discussed our differences in outlooks concerning sinfulness- he has a more Islamic/Buddhist (and, according to Michael, Jewish) view- that humans are essentially good and that we can do evil things, but that the evil things are not evidence of a particular state of being.

My perspective, at this point, is different; everyone may already understand that I think we do have a sinful nature, that we are essentially rotten to the core.

Perhaps I should edit this, and say that it’s more accurate to say that is my fear- my fear is that, in this darkness, there is no God, there is only a Devil, and that we live in a chaotic world where it is the Lord and nothing will stop it from causing us to create destruction and evil, that good is simply an attempt for us to struggle against what’s real- namely, evil.

The intensity of the evil has sense faded but remains with me in a kind of ghostly manner- the smoke after the fire, if you will.

If we humans truly exist in a state where our innate nature is to hurt God (if indeed there is a God that is not Satan), then I am at a loss of what to say about reality, about life, about what the hell’s going on.

On the practical level, when arrested by these situations, the best thing to do is continue spiritual practice. So I’ve continued the dhikr/Hesychasm to the best of my ability, continued the Devotion to the Sacred Heart, and so on.

Then, yesterday, I took a daring turn. I said Mass again, the private Mass that I’ve been saying. I took the risk, knowing that it could potentially kill me, as I would be receiving in unworthily.

Yet, isn’t that part of the nature of Mass? We receive the Eucharist unworthily; we cannot make ourselves worthy. We rely on God’s grace.

And after the Mass, I felt alright, and I obviously did not die.

Later, when I readied myself for meditation, I was praying on my chotki. My chotki is actually a Tibetan Buddhist mala to which I’ve affixed a glitzy cross. It reminds me of Erik’s tree ornament and Jordan’s reference to how crosses of the ancient world were huge, jewel encrusted things. Very gorgeous, very ethereal in its own way.

So there I was, walking around, repeating the name of Christ, naked. I stared at the crucifix, asking all kinds of questions, wondering how these things fit together, what’s really going on. I’m at a loss at this point, because there’s never been anything in the mystical literature that explained what’s been happening to me.

I have looked into Jung’s explanations; he’s my first reference point to the Shadow. Jung posited two equally disturbing ideas that oddly make more sense than I would like for them to: in Jungian terms, the Trinity is, in a manner of speaking, incomplete. The Trinity seeks a Fourth, from the perspective of Masculinity that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and from the perspective of the Good that of Evil, namely Satan.

Now, this is a terrifying concept; the idea of deifying Satan or that the Devil could in any way complete the Trinity is totally foreign to theology, but at the same time, there is an intuitive appeal to this notion. We see the idea of Good and Evil complementing one another and the destruction that they cause in such cases as The Dark Crystal.

 

But likewise, we see the opposite notion presented in the film Legend, in which the Devil-like entity is eventually destroyed and thrown into a vortex and whatnot.

The Blessed Virgin Mary has, in many cases, all but been lifted into the Trinity; theologically, the Church may officially not recognize her as Divine, but it’s still a reality- Mary is often regarded as being almost as important as Jesus, and, for the Christians that maintain God is exclusively in the masculine, she adds the important missing feminine element.

Personally, I have no problem with Mary’s deification; in fact, I encourage it.

Gnostics have a bit of a different route with this: the Holy Spirit is regarded as God the Mother, and God the Father is entirely beyond anything we can imagine, so “Father” especially becomes a relative term.

 

Anyway, the basic idea here is that somehow, the opposing forces have to have an alchemical fusion.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, the Sufi teacher I’ve followed for so long, has said that we must accept our Shadow. He also says that our darkness becomes our own inner divinity.

That’s terrifying. So terrifying. The notion that somehow there is salvation for the Devil, who then becomes our own personal God.

At the same time, another idea I’ve kicked around is that perhaps the purification of the darkness IS the point- perhaps we are not all sent here to express the Light; perhaps we are sent here with darkness inside of us which we must purify and turn into Light, to redeem it. In other words, the Gnostic myth of Sophia’s fall is precisely what happens to us- except we are both Christ and Sophia, falling and being sent, to capture the darkness in ourselves and redeem it.

Thus, we participate in the act of salvation, being saviors of the universe, even as Christ is often said to be our savior.

Feeling alone doesn’t begin to describe what was going on last night. I just can’t figure out what’s happening, and I avoid thinking excessively about it- instead, I try to ask the important questions, the difficult ones, to face the things that others won’t, can’t, and aren’t.

I began trying to meditate and found it almost impossible to stop any thoughts; my mind was simply too far oriented towards figuring out this puzzle. Again, I’ve not seen anything in the literature I’ve read that explains WHAT TO DO at this point.

 

While trying to meditate, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to help me to pray; She is, after all, the means by which we learn to pray, are taught to pray. I heard a voice call my name, and part of the block in my heart chakra was removed.

Then an epiphany came.

I recalled last year when I was reading Pagan and Christian Creeds the parts about sacrifice and the evolution of sacrifice. I then remembered being at my friend’s birthday party in October of 2010 and standing near the campfire that was outside; I chanted, silently, the Hindu mantra “HUM” which is used for sacrifices, offering the burning fire as a ritual to God.

The feeling, the desire, to offer a sacrifice to a God is extremely primal, and then I realized something else: offering the Sacrifice of the Mass is synonymous with this. I realized that part of the ritual that is so important is that we’re programmed to sacrifice, to give up, to atone.

The longing returned to my heart. I realized that Christ is the Sacrifice, the Sacrifice to continually and eternally be offered to God. The importance of this realization is that Christ can at any time and any place be offered in our hearts to God.

So in all my beliefs about my wretchedness, in all my self-hatred, I came to a similar conclusion of Luther, in that I had to also accept God’s grace. That doesn’t mean that my penance has been for nothing; that doesn’t mean that my actions have not led me to where I am. Rather, it means that I affirm that the Mystery of Salvation takes place by the cooperation of Man and God, through Man’s Free Will and God’s Grace.

This, too, is exemplified in Christ- Christ is both God and Man, together, joining the natures. How perfect a Sacrifice!

God became man that man might become God.

I can’t begin to emphasize the importance of the Sacrificial nature of the Mass. This whole “let’s just remember Jesus” bullshit isn’t going to get us anywhere.

The epiphany had a greater character last night and has left and impression on me, though I’m waiting to see what happens next, because no one knows.

The oddness is how I’m still convinced that Christ can be offered to anything; it’s so strange to go from fearing that there is only an evil god ruling the world to somehow knowing that Christ can be given to God Most High.

Incidentally, that name is “El Elyon,” which can be easily read as “Alien.” If God turns out to be a grey alien, well, He can go ahead and delete me.

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


To Pray or Not to Pray: The Mother of God and Saints

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Having an evangelical Protestant upbringing and living in a largely evangelical area, the notion of prayers addressing anyone but God the Father (no, seriously) are often regarded with distrust, suspicion, and outright condemnation.

I honestly was confused when I first found myself inside of the evangelical world about the Holy Trinity, and eventually the formula presented was, “Pray IN the Spirit, THROUGH the Son, TO the Father.” Okay, that was nice and all, but I don’t think it’s necessarily THE ONLY way to pray.

Someone asked me recently about what I thought concerning prayers addressing the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I think here I can express my thoughts completely.

My ultimate feelings are that, with regards to spirituality in general, any kind of prayer, practice, or devotion that draws one closer to God is a good thing. However, this must be done within reason. Allow me to try to explain.

If, for instance, a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary were to completely eclipse devotion to God, then the devotion would be defeating the original purpose. The point of being devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary is by virtue of her being the Mother of God.

Prayers to the Saints are a little more foreign to me but nonetheless have an archetypal resonance.

Also, the experience of addressing the Saints is a bit different as well- one naturally doesn’t regard them as being God Himself, and yet in a way, because of Theosis, they are somehow related to God. It’s all very subtle and complicated on the psychological level but makes sense according to the intuition.

Some day, I’ll start creating charts and put them on here to explain things when I can conceived of suitable chart.

Beaux


Holy Sophia and the Blessed Virgin Mary

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An interesting observation made itself known to me earlier yesterday concerning Holy Sophia and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This observation is somewhat abstract, so please attempt to bear with me as I try to express it.

The basic pattern is this: Holy Sophia, who is an Aeon, an emanation or aspect of God and therefore Spirit, gives birth to the Demiurge and to Matter. The Demiurge causes the “Fall” of reality.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, who is human, gives birth to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God and Man; He redeems the Matter that is the universe and triumphs over the Demiurge and Archons; Christ redeems reality and Creation from the Fall.

In this, the Blessed Virgin Mary reflects and corrects in the earthly realms what happened in the pleroma.

So, what we see is that SPIRIT gives birth to MATTER; MATTER gives birth to a fusion of SPIRIT and MATTER, whereby MATTER is REDEEMED (and returned) to the SPIRIT.

This is by no means an in-depth explanation, but it is something worth noting and has several implications psychologically and spiritually. More than anything, the connection struck me as an interesting one.

Beaux