That Sense of God

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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

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Sophia

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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

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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

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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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beaux

A Personal Lament

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

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

So begins the lament:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My heart feels dead, in other words.

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

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

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

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

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

Beaux


Inconsistencies Noticed

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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


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