That Sense of God

Leave a comment

Being Gnostic has helped me in many ways to incorporate and understand things like Paganism and Unitarian Universalism and so on.

Recently, I became aware of GOD. GOD, as in the Absolute, Unknowable, Beyond-of-the-Beyond that I’ve experienced at various points in my life. And to be aware of GOD is difficult, as it requires focus under most circumstances.

To suggest in this case that God is not the Ultimate Satisfaction would be bonkers; God is Everything we could ever want and more, beyond even those things, beyond Peace, Fulfillment, and Happiness.

Why in this lifetime God has seen fit that I would be deprived of the Holy Eucharist is not something I yet understand. Attempting to say the Eucharist myself is met with some effect but not what I need.

But perhaps this, too, will find a true and final resolution, and I will be deprived of Christ’s Body and Blood no longer. I do have the sense of, “Just a little more; just a bit further.”

The difference now is that I sense God being IMPRESSED upon me. That’s new; that’s not been here before.

And so to God the Unknown Father, I say, “Thank You.”

Steve

Sophia

Leave a comment

What shall I speak of Sophia, she who is Holy Wisdom of God Himself?

Sophia…until recently, I never knew, and never realized, how often she had been there for me, with me, in all things.

Sophia specifically appears more frequently to me during the Christmas season, and now I realize that she is the one who endows life with meaning

Christmas, for instance, has a certain loveliness, a certain meaning, a certain kind of fun; a charm, as it were, that many of us lose as we get older. The piles of presents, the lights, the Christmas desserts and carols- and the meaningfulness behind them all is that which Sophia has enchanted into these things. Without her, even the glorious Midnight Mass falls short of its truth and beauty. Without Sophia, what could possibly be made meaningful?

The next time you have a moment of meaningfulness, realize that Sophia is behind it. Whether you gaze into the night sky or feel a distinct softness floating on the window or listening to the cooing of a baby, there Sophia is. 

I have prayed each night that I might be with Sophia in my dreams. The first night as I attempted to “program” myself for this, her presence entered me, and it felt as though my heart were breaking from the inside, and the longing coursing through me has been unknown to me for so long. Oh, to be one with Sophia! She loves us all so much…she is so far beyond this all.

But I don’t want to just abstractly be with Sophia; I want to see her, to touch her, to hear her voice, to look into her eyes. I don’t want to relegate her to some realm of “mere personification of an abstract concept.” I want the real, living presence of Sophia touching me, transforming me.

Christ, apparently, is feminine as well as masculine. 

Sophia…Sophia…Sophia…renew the face of the earth…

The Collect of the Assumption of Sophia from the Lectionary of the Ecclesia Gnostica:

We thus call upon the Holy Sophia, the supernal mother of our souls, and celestial bride of our spirits: Daughter of Infinite Light, born of enlightened love; merciful and compassionate, embodiment of perfect wisdom; begotten in Eternity, beyond time and space. With what words shall we praise Thee, or with what thought comprehend Thy majesty? Utterance must profane Thee; Silence itself can but bear witness to Thee. How shall we extol Thee? In what shall we shadow forth Thy great glory among us? And our Lady Sophia answers, saying: Ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise. For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, and mine also joy on earth. Let my worship be in the heart that rejoiceth. wherefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you, now and for evermore. 
Amen. 

Stevo

Further Understanding

1 Comment

Lately, I’ve written a few different blogs that are lurking on my iPad. I’ve yet to upload them for various reasons, but that’s okay; I’ll make sure that I note when I finally get around to putting them online that they come, chronologically, after this blog.

That being said, something happened recently. I’ve been in the process of integrating the Shadow for quite some time, and most recently, I fell ill. Each time I’ve been sick since last December, I’ve noticed that I was going through some kind of purgation.

 

I’m not sure if anyone else has had a parallel experience of a physical sickness manifesting in their body when they’ve come upon a deep psychological transformation or integration or not.

 

One thing I should note is that my dreams have for many years seen me back in high school. These always bothered me for various reasons, not the least of which that I’ve already graduated from college.

 

But now I’m having dreams about entering college, and not the colleges I’ve actually attended; the dreams are actually about larger colleges as opposed to the smaller ones I attended.

 

This isn’t a reference to my actual education so much as it is to my internal or spiritual education, I would guess. So, the moving on up to the college level makes me think I’ve made some kind of transition.

 

So, I integrated some of the Shadow, in fact, probably a large part of it. I resisted it for far too long, and the scope of this blog as a whole couldn’t explain to others the kind of torment I endured during the integration process. I can’t give specifics because they wouldn’t make sense to other people. Suffice is to say that once you realize that the Shadow largely consists of irrational processes that control us and direct us to do things we may not consciously want to do or would find horrifying and repugnant, you have to also accept this reality and allow yourself to feel the darkest of the dark impulses- and accept them.

 

What I mean by “accept” is difficult to explain. “Acceptance” is not the same as merely making a conscious acknowledgment, nor is it a conscious acting out of the Shadow impulses, though in some cases one can act out the impulses without any kind of social repercussion. I wish I could explain.

 

But then, this process happened while I was sick and thereof in a slightly altered state of mind as well, so accepting was easier for me to do.

 

The immediate effect that happened is the blockages which I’ve so long lamented of in my heart began to disappear. When the particular Shadow problems appear now, as soon as I accept them, the block that appears in my heart goes away, and I can feel Longing and Love much, much more easily.

 

The other blockage is in my head; this was a more recent discovery. Whereas the energy moving through me used to catch at the heart and go no further, it now catches as the base of the skull and seems to only go into my head as a whole in very small amounts.

 

The condition as it stands reminds me slightly of the unitive condition or what tastes I’ve had of it before, though it’s still gradually building at the moment. In general, I feel more peaceful, I seem to enjoy myself and life more, and I have this sense that the next great movement is the integration of the anima/animus.

 

Though some would argue that as a male I lack the animus, I disagree; I have seen the animus time and time again during the course of my dreams, even since I was quite young, and my animus largely overlaps with the Self. I’m okay with that, too.

 

Anyway, the next step of integration that was revealed to me deals with realizing that the guy I’ve seen in other guys is actually a projection of me. I’m actually the guy I long for, for I am the Longing One, and the Longing One, in turn, is actually the Inner Christ.

 

This all sounds heavy and maybe too intellectualized but reflects actual experiences I’m having and not just ideas that are floating around me or that I’ve read in books. But then, for all the trash-talking I hear some mystics do about books, I also think books are good for finding the external method of integrating one’s experiences; as Andy of A Red State Mystic states, the Tradition gives us a language by which to express ourselves.

I can’t say whether or not my own Dark Night has finished, but I can say that there seems to be a Light at the end of the tunnel that I did not see before. So, in good cheer, I do tell you, Andy, that the Dark Night is worth the traverse, and I do tell you as well to KEEP GOING.

 

Also, a bit of a theological reflection here: I understand now what Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee means when he says that it is ultimately God’s grace that takes us home. To see this state that I’m currently in, I understand from the inside-out that *I* did not induce this state of being; *I* did not create this; *I* did not stumble upon this; this is something into which I was brought.

Yes, it may appear that one is brought in the state by actively participating, but the participation on our part, too, is Christ compelling us. Perhaps we are all called and only some answer His call; I cannot say.

 

One glimpse of how this may work that I’ve seen is that, since so much of my Shadow has to do with self-denial and self-hatred, the integration of the low self-esteem and self-hatred will be countered by the integration of the animus that I adore so much and which largely represents a high self-esteem. I could see this works possibly as a “thesis, antithesis” which then collapses into a synthesis- that is, the alchemy of the Shadow and the Animus thus mixed together cause a collapse in the Ego and a revelation of the Interior Christ’s true dominion.

 

That, however, IS speculation, though I was aware of these things in meditation.

Pax Vobiscum.

 

Beaux

 

 

I, Satan

2 Comments

How best to write this blog, I don’t know. This started last night as I was falling asleep, as a great deal of my psycho-spiritual work takes place in the dream world and especially on the borders between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.

Let us first go back to a few nights ago, during the weekend, when I had dreams. I dreamed of seeing my friends Pam, Michelle, and Brandi, and we were all going to Montgomery for some LGBT event. In the dream, it seemed we were awake early, and I remember being excessively tired and wanting to back to sleep. I remember stopping at a restaurant and needing to pee but being unable to find the bathroom or shut the door in the bathroom or something.

At another point, I recall being at my house, outside, in the sunlight, and reciting prayers. Then the Light came, the warmth, the Inner Light that I’ve seen more and more frequently.

Allow me to go back even further; the first experience with the Light happened when I was in high school or had just started college; I can’t remember exactly when it was. When I first began participating in Wicca and doing rituals, I ended up triggering some kind of kundalini energy, which was often apparent in a hypnogogic state of mind.

The experience was one of intense vibrations, of an inability to move, of an expanded psychic awareness; the vibrations felt like I would be shaken to pieces, and a few times, I felt like I would come out of my body (though I never had an experience of astral projection.)

One time, this process continued, and then I suddenly saw a light. The light was so bright and so apparent that I thought someone had turned on a light in the room. I came out of the state and threw the covers off my head- nothing. No light. I was still in the dark.

I asked the only “mystic” I knew at the time what the light was. His response, in his pseudo-guruship idiocy was merely, “Shut up.”

Anyway, last year, I had a similar experience and posted about it on Facebook. When I would come into the light, everything would be still. No vibrations, no noise, just light- dead silence.

The terrifying part about this Light is that I’m the only person there. There is no God, no angel, no entity, nothing- just me.

Now, more recently, this has happened in a more gradual way. Back to last weekend’s dream. I was outside my house in the dream, I began praying, and the light gradually appeared. Now, I noted that it was warm, that it was real, that the more I prayed, the greater it became. There was no absolute silence; the vibrations came but were not strong. I think I prayed to not die, because the pressure on my chest grew so great I thought my heart might stop.

Now, to bring us up to speed: last night. I read an article yesterday that discussed how violence is addictive in the same way as food, drugs, and sex can be. That makes sense, and I would note that a good part of my own Shadow (in Jungian terms) is a repression of my sense of violence and aggression. I often lament the modern-day culture that seems to think that if we just all decide to be happy and not hate people that those things will go away. But the problem is, our inner evil is born with us. Men do not become evil. They only discover they are evil, then go from there.

Years ago, perhaps in the first hypnogogic experience ever, I was quite young. I had almost forgotten about the experience, but I recall that it involved a process where the “seed of Satan” was planted in me, and I remember being terrified and hearing people scream that it was too late, the “seed of Satan” had already been planted.

Last night, this all collapsed in on me, combined with my sense of shame and guilt that pervade so many aspects of my life, and I realized that Satan was inside of me.

This is not an easy realization. In fact, to accept that anything remotely related to the concept of “the Devil” exists, much less that it exists inside of me, is anathema to everything I’ve gone through since I left evangelical Christianity at age 15.

 

Then last night, I had strange dreams, but the dreams ultimately culminated in seeing the light again at one point while praying, and then in having a dream that involved a grey alien. Instead of running from the alien, instead of screaming, I reached out and touched its face as it began screaming at me.

Then I awoke with the dreaded epiphany, a realization that I did not want to face, a horrifying twist in the story of reality.

I realized that I am Satan.

Maybe it would be better to say that I am “a Satan.” But the core of me stood up, and I realized I was evil, out for myself and only myself, and that all good will was an attempt to steer myself away from what I truly and really wanted.

I could put this in Jungian terms and say that I’m facing my “Shadow,” but I want to express this as gravely as possible to make clear the reality of it.

The violence, the sex, the desire to destroy, the desire to cause mayhem, pain, destruction, and hurt other people simply because I want to revel in their hurt- indeed, the idea of destruction and more destruction makes me so giddy, so enthralled, that I can’t imagine that I would have ever presented to anyone in the world that I was a good person, that I had any sense of ethics or holiness.

It truly bewildering and somehow a great cosmic joke to have sought God and the Truth so fervently only to discover that the Truth is that I myself am Satan. All the the things I’ve read about our Higher Self, our Soul, some Divine aspect of ourselves; all of it rendered rubbish by one real experience.

I sought gnosis. Well, I got it. I got what I wanted- at least part of it- and even though I don’t like what I see, I accept it because that’s all I can do.

Naturally, during this process, there are moments when I see myself as Satan and then see myself as containing mostly Satan. This sense of absolute sinfulness, of not only being pure sinfulness, but being the actual cause of sin in the first place, and the notion that I will burn forever because of the mayhem, is ridiculously strong.

Yet to see that I don’t care about the eternal judgment, so long as I can bring down everything with me, is what ultimately is bewildering. I can’t care about tomorrow when today I can steal, kill, and destroy.

Is there forgiveness for me? I don’t know. I have never felt this evil before. I have never felt this level of “bad.”

The only good news is that, knowing that I am the worst thing that exists, I understand that I have reached the ontological threshold of “bad.” Nothing can be worse or more awful than this inner Satan phenomenon. This is it. This is THE worst thing, from which all bad things flow.

The kind of power that exists in Satan is amazing. It is truly amazing. I understand his words to Christ that if he bows down and worships him, he can give Him anything He desires. It’s true. Having this sense of evil inside makes me have confidence I didn’t know I could have. When you just don’t give a fuck about anyone else, well, you don’t have anything to lose.

So this is where I am. I wondered when I first broke with Christianity if perhaps I were the Antichrist- I loved all religions, I wanted to see peace in the world, and I’m a grade-A Sodomite. The perfect Antichrist cocktail.

This whole process is exhausting, all this awful emotions, and the awful sense that I could get exactly what wanted by crushing anyone and anything that’s in my way while simultaneously standing horrified that it’s possible and that I’m somehow the cause of it.

If this is only the integration of the Shadow, well, by God, I pray for every bit of grace possible, but I dare not receive Christ in the Eucharist, unworthy as I am now, for it would surely kill me.

Pray for me, Holy Mother of God, that I may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Beaux

On the Sacrifice of the Lord Christ

1 Comment

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

A Personal Lament

1 Comment

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?”

Beaux


Inconsistencies Noticed

Leave a comment

Often when Gnostics argue against the Creation myth of orthodox Christianity, they do so by understanding the myth from a literalistic point of view. If this indeed the case, yes, the Genesis myth says some terrible things about God, and as God throughout the Old Testament is portrayed, he is often not fit for worship.

If and only if we take it 100% literally as factual history.

The issue here is that Gnostics take their own Scriptures most often as being symbolic, metaphorical, and having many layers of meaning to them- but rarely do modern Gnostics understand their own Scriptures as being 100% literal and historically accurate. So the question that I have is why this same principle and method of exploration is not applied to the Creation myth according to Genesis.

The Temptation and the Fall of Mankind have a completely different meaning when taken symbolically- it isn’t that God is cruel and that we’re horrible and disobedient; rather, it’s an Existential situation in which mankind makes a choice to leave the Divine and bears the consequences thereof. It all comes down to free-will and choice and reaction. God never abandoned us; we abandoned God, in other words. HUMANS created the rift between the spiritual and the material, between the Divine and the Mundane.

But in the same way, when Christ comes, it shows that God has not forgotten us. God still loves us. God still wants us. And God’s immersion and incarnation into the material realm, along with His life, death, and resurrection (the return to the spiritual, in other words) repaired the rift that we created. Man created the rift, and God, in the form of man, repaired it for us.

Naturally, that doesn’t explain why suffering exists and does not explain the problem of evil, which is probably the first thing someone would point out. But perhaps that’s what Genesis tells us- leaving the Divine abode creates evil inside of us. This is a Neo-Platonic idea that evil is the absence of good, not unlike how cold is the absence of heat.

We might also question mankind’s motives for leaving the Divine abode. Why would we do it and do so collectively? This is the important part of the story, the nagging question that arises in the mystical understanding of the orthodox myth.

The Gnostic account is much more helpful here, as the “fall” is no “fall” at all but the beginning of liberation from the false god. Christ’s eventual coming is a finishing of the liberation of mankind begun by Sophia and a redeeming of the material world that ultimately belongs to Sophia anyway.

I find it interesting to note that Sophia’s fall in Gnosticism is much more indicative of humanity’s fall or analogous to humanity’s fall in the orthodox account, and Christ redeems Her; and then, in turn, when mankind is created in an enslaved fashion, Sophia begins the process of redemption for mankind, and Christ again is the ultimate Redeemer.

Another humorous thought I have about why the Catholic traditions don’t take so much of the Scripture literally is because of the literal belief in transubstantiation. You don’t have to really believe too much of the Bible to be 100% accurate when your God shows up to every single Mass, do you?

Beaux


The Unitive State: An Experiential, First-Hand Account

Leave a comment

First, it would be ill-advised for us to go into the subtle metaphysical arguments of this matter, mostly with regards to how something like a no-ego state can even begin to have a “first-hand” account, as what is meant by the “no-ego” state is essentially a sudden lack or existence of subjectivity.

Otherwise, I would say to my readers, and especially to my brother-in-spiritual, a Red State Mystic, prepare yourself.

The second thing I want to establish is that, because of all the horrible things that has happened because of religion and because of religious authority’s abuse especially, I fully understand why so many people become skeptical and dismiss religion and most of all, I personally have understood and stated forthrightly in this blog my own dismissal of labeling myself as Christian- several self-identified Christians in the past have much to answer for, no matter their Church or denomination.

But this entry isn’t about defending or attacking Christianity, either. Rather, this is to comment further on what I’ve encountered and on what may well be the dawning of the Unitive State.

In the Autumn of 2007, I took it upon myself to become serious about my spiritual search. Everything that I have studied since then has almost exclusively fallen within the range of Gnosticism, Christianity, and Sufism. An underlying and connecting philosophy among these system is Neo-Platonism, though that’s again oversimplifying matters.

This is also when the experiences began starting- various kinds of insights about Christ, as it were, and of course, all kinds of experiences that way outside of any of the above mentioned systems.

Notwithstanding, eventually I came to identify what I call the Black Fire with my being Christian and with Christ. But more to the point, the Black Fire has two modes- one mode which is within, or immanent, and one mode which is without, or transcendent. The most intense moments are when this Black Fire is felt both within me and in the world around me, and this happens most especially at night when I’m driving alone but not exclusively so.

Even more recently, though, I came to realize the very real and tremendous reality of the Void that may be called Christ, something I’ve mentioned recently here. The Void seems to have been looming, moving closer and closer to me, and I’ve been forcing myself to do psychological work- facing various pains and confusions within myself, along with very real moral problems and conflicting impulses that make me a rather neurotic person on the whole.

Last night, something- and I’m not exactly sure what- happened. Something gave way within me.

Remember how I mentioned Christ as being the Earth Father Archetype? I felt the Void coming from both below and above me, moving into itself through me, uniting around my stomach area and moving even further than that- from Void to Void, from above to below and below to above.

What I came to see is exactly how deep the soul is, to put it poetically; I came to see the vast Nothingness that spreads out beyond our regular conscious mind, and it’s truly outstanding and amazing to see that absolute stillness within.

And from that point, I watched as various emotions would arise inside of me, and, as my friend Drew who is certainly in the unitive state said, be then reduced back into energy within the mystical sea.

This is identical to what Bernadette Roberts speaks of- the whole process of emotions arising and then going down the “drain” of God. Nothing sticks to one at this point- you still get angry, you still feel fear or jealousy or something from time to time, but it will fade just as quickly back into the Void.

So the realization also came to be something that has not been well-mentioned in Christianity. Christ doesn’t just live “in” our hearts. Christ is our heart. This is a mystery and difficult to explain. More to the point, I understand now what the Sufis mean about taking one step towards God, and he takes 10 steps towards us- this experience, this encounter, is more the process of God’s Grace, sheer and perfect and absolute, God’s Infinite Mercy, than my own efforts.

Lyrics from Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”

Just like a prayer, your voice can take me there
Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery

Just like a dream, you are not what you seem
Just like a prayer, no choice, your voice can take me there

I’ve listened to this song repeatedly recently. The lines in particular standing out to me are, “Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery.” This certainly describes Christ, but more importantly, this describes God’s view of us. And my favorite line of all, “Just like a dream, you are not what you seem.” This certainly rings true of my ultimate relationship to Christ or the Void.

Now, some might ask why I’m attempting to label the Void as “Christ” and not some other deity, or why I’m making this identification. I found quickly last night that if I didn’t use some kind of word to describe it, that I couldn’t process it mentally; and this must certainly be what the Sufis mean by the necessity of a “container” for the energy, because otherwise it’s helter-skelter. So, too, this is where the importance of the Holy Eucharist comes in for Christians, as the whole process of communion gives a substantial form by which we can understand and commune with Christ.

But further than that, from the union of the soul with Christ, I saw something even more important: “Just like a dream, you are not what you seem” refers also to humans. We are not what we seem and never have been so.

Red State Mystic, if you’re reading this- I can’t begin to explain the implications I have seen, but this must certainly have to do with the Fall of Mankind. The ultimate implication is that in the so-called Fall of Mankind, we began to see ourselves as we are not- this is the ultimate trick of Satan, as it were, though I have no idea how Satan fits into all this symbolically or mythologically, unless he represents our animal drives, and even then, I think that’s not quite correct.

So Christ’s coming then reveals not only the nature of the Divine but also the true nature of mankind. If one could see humanity from the standpoint of God, one would understand that as much as God is man’s mystery, MAN is GOD’S MYSTERY.

So, too, we must also see that while in the Holy Eucharist we apparently receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, in the same way, Christ receives our Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Here’s to the further mysteries and revelations about God.

For me to not be Christian, I sure am a good poster-child, don’t you think? Hah!

Last night also saw a few strange psychic events. I dreamt that my friend Rheana called me and talked to me. When I awoke, five minutes into being awake, I received a text message from her. Otherwise, I didn’t sleep well- this state continued heavily until about three in the afternoon or so and has tapered off a bit but hasn’t completely gone. The emotions don’t seem to be “going down the drain” as easily at this point, but there’s definitely some kind of huge dent in the ego, and it won’t be long before it’s swallowed up whole, I bet! YAY!

Beaux


As for the Doubts and a New Shift.

Leave a comment

While reading Wikipedia yesterday (a dangerous past-time for intellectuals, as we’re likely to get swept up in a dozen or so articles when we only meant to read one or two), I stumbled upon the entry on Neo-Platonism.

As I read about Neo-Platonism, I was shocked, in many ways, to see how the cosmology aligned largely with what Bernadette Roberts’s take on Catholicism and her own mystical Christian journey.

Also, I was amazed to see Neo-Platonism accounted for a few intellectual hurdles that I’d encountered with both Catholicism and Gnosticism. We’ll come back to this.

First, allow me to say that Neo-Platonism has heavily influenced the interpretation of Christianity, specifically within the Catholic traditions (again here referring to Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Eastern Orthodoxy.) The modern evangelical Christianity adopts a more immediate and literalist view of things, which, I think, is the wrong idea.

Second, allow me to break Christianity down into two major varieties that we may call Messiah-ism and Christ-ism to give respect to the Jewish and Greek names for the Logos. First, the official doctrine of Jesus Christ is that he is both FULLY God and FULLY Man. There are two natures united in one person; there is not one nature, there are not two people with two natures. There is ONE person with TWO natures.

Messiah-ism is the kind of Christianity that has more of an emphasis on the human nature, or shall we say, on “Jesus.” Messiah-ism is largely focused on the Jewish origins of Christianity, on the historical nature of Judaism and how it relates to Christianity, and so on. This goes back to what I said about Jesus being the final puzzle piece to the Jewish mystery and how we get this feeling from Protestantism much more often than not. Messiah-ism becomes suspicious of any kind of ritual that is not specifically and outwardly Jewish, as Jesus was specifically and outwardly Jewish. Thus Messiah-ism is much more literalistic and interprets that religion from that standpoint- the superficial standpoint, supplemented with historical and cultural understanding. This standpoint definitely seems to the be the choice among evangelical Christians of our era.

Christ-ism is the kind of Christianity that has more of an emphasis on the divine nature or shall we say, on “Christ.” Specifically, Christ-ism focuses on Christ as the Logos, as the Eternal Principle that creates the universe and binds the universe together. As Christ is cosmic and pre-existent to his specific Jewish incarnation as Jesus, Christ-ism is universal- or catholic as we might say- and doesn’t have to take on a specific formula of the rituals and imagery. That is to say, the symbolism of the Christ extends above and beyond a Jewish historical and cultural setting, as do the rituals. Certainly the Catholic traditions resemble, in abstract terms, the Jewish traditions of the temple without specifically wearing and using only Jewish symbolism. Christ, then, can also be understand in virtually an infinite number of modes.

Messiah-ism and Christ-ism parallel a phenomenon in the Hebrew Bible, which is the contrast between Jehovah and Elohim. Jehovah is the nasty god, the one that’s highly anthropomorphized and turns off both Christians and Jews and anyone else who reads about him. By contrast, Elohim is a magnificent, transcendent being, the ground of the universe, worthy of our praise and adoration.

Keeping on track: Messiah-ists become suspicious of sources of interpretation outside of the Bible and selected writings throughout Christian history. They believe that the Bible represents a form of “pure Christianity” (of which there is no such thing!), and that to interpret through a lens other than the Bible and Jewish world is to make a huge mistake about Christ.

But Christ-ists would insist that Christ is bigger than that- bigger than one culture, bigger than the Bible, that there is more to the Christian mystery and the universe, and besides, if we limit ourselves to the Bible and the world view of those people, we isolate ourselves from the modern world and therefore cannot experience and more importantly share the Eternal Mystery of the Logos with others as easily, whereby said Mystery of Christ appears to each person differently and uniquely.

So Messiah-ists are more likely to be the sort of people who need to nail things down and to have things set in stone. Christ-ists are more likely to see a wider picture and draw parallels among religions while pushing the bar and trying to penetrate more deeply into the Mystery of Christ- or more importantly, allowing the Mystery of Christ to penetrate them more deeply. These are two different approaches, and each has its own merits. In other words, Messiah-ists are more literal-thinking and Christ-ists are more abstract-thinking.

This does not mean that the Messiah-ist denies the Divinity of Jesus, nor does it mean that the Christ-ist denies the humanity of Christ. What matters is where the emphasis lays, what matters is the approach.

Now, a word on Anglicanism (Andy, you knew it was coming). The Episcopal Church, while fantastic for many reasons, oddly enough has a number of people who are shifting towards the “fully human” view of Jesus. I think what happens is that the Christ-ist view gets left out somewhere along the lines, and therefore many Episcopalians are left with Messiah-ism, and a watered-down Messiah-ism at that. I’m not really sure why that is. Bu at the same time, I have heard the saying that Anglicanism is “defined by the Incarnation,” so the notion of the Eternal Christ (that is, the eternal and pre-existent principle that allowed for and created the universe and its laws) limiting Itself in the form and appearance of a human being is something that certainly appeals to the Anglicans.

Now, I want to point out something to everyone else after I’ve written all this: the above categories are something that I invented. If others who have encountered Christianity have made the exact same sort of apprehension and been able to divide the theology about Jesus Christ into said categories, I am not personally aware of this. Others may have categorized this much better than I, so don’t take my views as the golden and solid ones.

Tying this back into Gnosticism: the cosmology of Gnosticism makes far more sense to me than the cosmology of orthodox Christianity. The mystical nature of Gnosticism, along with its sacramental nature and liturgy, appealed to me greatly.

To give a brief and crude summary, in Gnosticism, the Eternal Father, who is the ONE existence, pours forth from his own perfection attributes of himself that reflect himself: this process is called emanation. To understand what this means: God is Eternally Full and Complete in and of himself (that is, Perfect), and the Fullness and Completeness forced into existence reflections of itself. So God’s own Perfection created reflections of itself that are known as the Aeons.

The Aeons appear in masculine-feminine pairs. Different stories exist, but the final pair of Aeons are Christ (Logos) and Sophia. Logos and Sophia respectively would mean, “logic” and “wisdom.”

Different stories exist at this point, too, but the essence is that Sophia tried to emanate from herself without Christ’s help. In another story, she “falls” from her station. In another story, she is essentially raped. She gave birth a kind of lesser god that thought it was THE only god in existence, and with its afterbirth, it created the material universe, even lower gods, and Adam as a kind of helpless slave.

Some Gnostics do view the material universe as evil; they’re often accused of “radical dualism,” which is just not true for the majority of them and certainly not true for the modern Gnostics. Father Jordan Stratford of the Apostolic Johannite Church deals with the attacks on Gnosticism concerning “dualism” rather well in his own blog; I suggest you look him up if you’re interested. His main point is that matter is not the issue: the issue of the material world comes down to being the systems that are imposed on us, the laws and rules and regulations and so on.

Even so: there’s still the view that the material universe is a kind of prison for us, that it is essentially flawed but not evil. And this is where Gnosticism and I part ways: I see the material world as good. I see creation as being a good thing.

The Gnostic would argue that world was created flawed, so flaws are bound to pop up.

The Christian would argue that the world was created perfect, including mankind being created perfect, but that we collectively chose to leave that perfection (which is illustrated in the myth of the Garden of Eden.)

Enter Neo-Platonism. Neo-Platonism has the same system of emanations of the Aeons from God. who is called “The Good.” The difference is that the Creator, which is called Nous, is a being that is a perfect reflection of God (or the Good) and creates the universe. Thus, we can conclude that the Neo-Platonic Nous is one and the same as the Christian Logos, which all adds up to and refers to being Christ. Then comes the World Soul, which essentially splits into various Souls, and here we all are. Again, this is a very, very rough draft of this, and with more research, it can become more refined.

But I think the major issue with me is that I would be properly categorized as a Neo-Platonist who uses Christian imagery to reach the Good as opposed to a Christian who interprets Christianity through a Neo-Platonist lens.

For the moment, Neo-Platonism has resolved the issues I have with both Gnosticism and orthodox Christianity, at least on the intellectual level of trying to sort out the cosmology.

More importantly, Neo-Platonism unmasked the Reality behind Jesus Christ as a cultural phenomenon and revealed Christ as one-to-one universal reality that I have personally encountered; now I understand that this Reality is something quite real, something that I can accept, because I know I’ve encountered it personally.

I want to point out this entry has not been a matter of attacking orthodox-minded Christians or Gnostics; I’ve only wanted to point out my intellectual objections to both of them and how Neo-Platonism has offered a potential bridge between the two and likely among other world religions for the time being.

Moreover, I would say that the Gnostic understanding of their cosmology and scriptures has more to do with the human mind and our psychology than it does with the cosmology of the universe, thus setting them apart and saving them from their opponents attacks. So conflating the ideas of Gnosticism with literal understandings found in other denominations and religions would be a mistake.

I would also like to point out that Neo-Platonism apparently views evil as an absence of good. I can grasp this. I can totally grasp this. Evil is not the presence of something; it is the absence of something, like cold being the absence of heat. So in reality, there is no such thing as “cold,” there is only “absence of heat.”

I like it.

Beaux

P.S. Dear Gnostic Priests, if you happen across this blog and see any number of errors with regards to philosophy and Gnosticism, please forgive me and don’t burn my biscuits too much if you so choose to correct me.

P.P.S. I realize that in writing this blog, I apparently have included even more of an issue of so-called “measuring the spaghetti” instead of eating it, but I would like to point out to all my readers that I meditate/contemplate daily, along with doing a few other non-essential mystical practices, and thus I have action that I take in addition to simply thinking about these things.


On Celebration and Paganism and More

Leave a comment

I sat down to write an entirely different blog than what’s about to come out.

Mainly, I think that celebration is a specific aspect of religion that has attracted me for quite some time without my being able to put my finger on it. The holidays in Catholicism, the Feast Days and such, made me especially proud.

So, too, my flirtations with Paganism and specifically Wicca largely dealt with the High Holy Days, at least in recent years. The Wheel of the Year, the High Holidays, the Formalized Rituals- this all appeals to me at my current age and since I was 22 or 23.

My blog is not the place to debate the origins of modern Paganism or Wicca or how one can identify one’s self and so on; others will rage with the battle of self-identification until the cows come home, and I’m not here to deal with that.

Naturally, it’s quite likely that most teenagers are attracted to Paganism for the aspect of self-empowerment. Contrary to what many would have you believe, the dark aspect of Wicca is something that attracts them. The image that one is a “witch” and that one can “cast spells” on one’s enemies is definitely one of power, of intimidation- and thus it frightens people, even those who boldly proclaim that they aren’t fearful, because even they have a subconscious fear that the Wiccans may actually have some power.

Paganism as a whole stands in a kind of limbo with itself. Pagans will argue amongst themselves almost as much as Christians; it’s truly amazing that a religion that should be encouraging freedom and life becomes so quickly absorbed in debates within itself.

Different than Christianity, Paganism has no centralized authority external to itself. I used to refer to this as a double-edged sword, meaning that Paganism lacks the kind of structure that we see in Christianity. However, as per the often chaotic state of Christianity, despite the sources of authority being the Pope, the Bible, Tradition, Reason, and sometimes experience, apparently external authority matters less than I think.

But the trick here is that there’s still some kind of recognizability; walk into a Catholic or Anglican parish, and you’ll notice the overarching similarities.

One Pagan’s altar can vary from another’s in the craziest way- and that’s okay. That’s truly okay. Pagans often have to make do with what they have, so it’s not a criticism.

But back to the point. Previously, I was interested only in casting spells; later on, my interest was in the use of psychological symbols and rituals that were structured and analogous to the Christian rituals.

This makes me think of the days that I flirted with Gnosticism. No, I didn’t flirt with Gnosticism- I would have been a prime example of a Gnostic were there a Gnostic parish around me. Modern Gnosticism unites Christianity, Paganism, and Buddhism- three religions that have been most influential on me- into a system that is beautiful and coherent.

How do I break this down?

Gnosticism, as I have known it, uses the rituals, imagery, and symbolism of Catholicism. Thus, it is intuitive to me and familiar.

Gnosticism emphasizes the Divine Feminine– an aspect that is sorely missing in Christianity as a whole and tends to be reflected in the Virgin Mary- but she is emphatically stated to be not God. This distinction is clearly made, despite the greatest howling of Evangelicals.

Gnosticism has an understanding of the psychological nature of the human being. Our psyches are broken down and explained, then taken and put into the context of a transformative ritual. (This reflects what we established before about the ability of the liturgy to transform the individual.)

I say that, but how does Sufism fit in? Sufism is arguably Gnosticism in an Islamic context. The Sufism I follow is mostly Sufism from a Hindu context, using both Arabic and Sanskrit words; moreover, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says one can be a Sufi in any religion. But saying Gnostic Sufi sounds awfully redundant.

Ultimately, these are all means to an end, not an end in themselves. I cannot mistake the finger for the Moon, but sometimes intellectuals become too big for the britches and get caught up in the concepts.

So why the turn to a more orthodox Christianity? I searched and searched for the mysticism present in it. Again, no Gnostic parishes are nearby. The mysticism is there- specifically in the Holy Eucharist- but it is difficult to extract and appears to come with a package deal. The Episcopal Church offers the best deal- the liturgy and so on being the most traditional. But I easily find myself getting lost in the attempt to extract the mysticism.

I find myself agreeing with the Gnostics about almost everything. Almost.

Now why can’t they open a church here?

Interestingly, Bernadette Roberts has many conclusions and explanations of the Holy Eucharist that overlap with Gnostic perspectives. I would say “theology,” but there is no “orthodoxy” of philosophy in Gnosticism.

Beaux


Older Entries