Last Night and Personal Communion

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The past few nights have been awful. A good meditation is followed by a failed attempt to sleep, and then I awaken after only sleeping a few hours, which then leads me to a state of working on myself and accepting my Shadow and emotions, and then I can’t return to sleep for several hours. The whole process is horrific.

Twice last night, I asked my dreams to take me to the subconscious mind. The first time, I was met with darkness- just blankness, nothing really there. The second time, I saw light, and then when I demanded to be taken to the subconscious mind, something in my head seemed to crack open, and I heard a strange noise that I’ve never heard in waking life and saw an even brighter light. I realized the light couldn’t have been from my room, which is what caused me to continue to press towards it. The extremely bright light terrified me so much that it knocked me back into waking mind, and that was that.

Tonight I went in search of a self-communion ritual and found one, then Erik supplied me with another. Taking prayers from both of the rites, I created my own and put together as many elements of the Mass as I could. There are THREE DIFFERENT PARTS to the consecration, and after I said Mass, I checked the music and saw I had been doing the Mass for about 20 minutes or so. Amazing that it took that long but seemed more like five minutes. So many prayers to say, so many gestures to do!

Now, this of course would create a conflict in many people’s minds, as I am not a priest and have not received the sacrament of Holy Orders. But SOMETHING happened in the ritual, as I now feel very dizzy and have a good bit of anxiety. That’s not a terrible thing, and it’s decreasing, and no, I didn’t drink a great deal of the wine, either- only enough for me as I was the only one receiving the Blood, just a bit of a swallow, really. I can’t begin to imagine what I would’ve done to cause this to happen.

Anyway, at least I know the Personal Communion Ritual works and is fairly powerful from what I can tell.

More to come.

Beaux

 

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The Catholic Mass…Revealed!

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I love this video.

I may end up in the RCC after all.

Beaux


Terribly Funny but Terribly Terrible: Ramblings

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Kudos to the author of this picture!

The Episcopal Church had rapidly gained attention in the USA for being liberal. Sometimes we see extremely liberal and rationalistic theologians who take out all the major tenets of Christianity, and so the more conservative Christians tend to deride the Episcopal Church because of this.

Even though I’m not (officially) Episcopalian and identify more with the Anglo-Catholic elements thereof, I think a hallmark of the Anglicanism is that there is a variety of opinions that people have theologically, both public and private, and the major difference between people in the Episcopal Church and other denominations is that they’re encourage to vocalize those theological opinions.

Now, I think people in the Roman Catholic Church would be surprised to find out that there’s a huge difference between 1) what the hierarchy teaches and 2) what a lot of individual Catholics believe. Roman Catholics who “pick and choose” what to believe out of the Church’s teachings are accused of being “cafeteria Catholics,” something frequently levied against the Episcopal Church as well.

The Episcopal Church, and certainly the Anglo-Catholic movement if I understand anything about it, is much more geared towards the solidity of the Sacraments and the Liturgy; this is known as orthopraxy. That isn’t to deny that there is the role of both the Bible and human Reason (as per the three-legged stool model) to inform Anglicanism.

I think in many cases (including my own), people who are drawn to the Episcopal Church are those who don’t care for the fundamentalist conservatives trying to propose ignorance and outright stupidity as the One, Sole Truth but also don’t care to be burdened down with the equally cumbersome obsession with rules and regulations on theology that you find in the Roman Church. And yes, I just said “the Roman Church,” so those of you who may take offense can just get over yourselves.

Oddly enough, I’m extremely conservative liturgically. The more smells and bells at Mass, the more I like it. I even refer to the service as “Mass.” Typically the Episcopal Church lists the Mass as being called the “Holy Eucharist,” but that’s also because the ritual itself is referred to as such, and Mass is an equally acceptable term.

I cross myself. I cross myself at Mass, I cross myself at home, I cross myself before I go to sleep at night and when I wake up in the morning, and I kneel in prayer. Let me say that if you have never kneeled on a wooden floor to pray, then you don’t know the meaning of kneeling.

Anyway, I read a number of articles and views on Catholicism and Anglicanism online- blogs, forums, what have you. I’m always irked to see the level of ignorance that exists on all sides of issues. Contrary to how many well-meaning individuals like to list the differences between the Eucharistic theology of the Catholics and Episcopalians, I think they’re incorrect- a good number of Episcopalians would defend the Holy Eucharist as being transubstantiation, and the 39 articles that so many like to refer to about the Holy Eucharist is more of a historical document than a guaranteed, everybody believes it, defining aspect of the Episcopal Church.

The problem with defining things such as “transubstantiation” and “consubstantiation” has do with the actual philosophical meaning of the change in substance and such- it’s a very subtle thing, but if you actually read through the Eucharistic philosophy, transubstantiation can appeal to the reasonable faculties as well.

The OFFICIAL position (and Lord knows there aren’t many of those) of Anglicanism is this: “The bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ- but how, and in what sense, is a Mystery.” This is known as the Mystery of the Real Presence, and making this as the official position is probably the wisest thing anyone has ever done with regards to Eucharistic theology.

There are Episcopalians who would say that the Eucharist is merely a symbol. They are few in number, I’m pretty sure.

But that isn’t to say that their opinion doesn’t matter or isn’t wrong- a number of Protestant denominations hold that the Holy Eucharist is, indeed, a mere symbol.

My feelings on the idea that the Holy Eucharist is a mere symbol is that it devalues it as a Sacrament and devalues the Sacramental system as a whole, and it also makes Christianity not make as much sense. What’s the point of going to a church just to listen to a man in a suit preach a sermon? There isn’t really any point in that, at least not for me.

In the Catholic Traditions, the sermon is a commentary, most often on the daily Scripture readings or on the particular Feast of that day. It relates somehow to the present moment, and it isn’t the main reason you’re there. You’re there to take the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of your living GOD.

That’s another odd thing. People freak out at the notion of being cannibalistic vampires who worship a zombie sorcerer as their God. They say things like that as though they’re disparaging- but tell a teenager that’s what your religion is, and see how fast they convert. It’s the making of a great novel and movie, and it’s exactly what Christianity is.

I naturally have far more reverence than that. I’m not pulling a “holier than thou” card here, but I am under the impression that I take my spirituality incredibly serious and have the utmost devotion to God. So when I talk about how interesting it sounds when someone makes disparaging comments like those mentioned above, I really am impressed with them.

At the time of this writing, I haven’t been to Mass in four Sundays or so. So much for my devotion, but the weather’s been just terrible, on top of my erratic sleeping habits.

Many people who worship liturgically have the same impressions that I do- the religion becomes something more. You use your whole body in the religion, not just one mental faculty of think this, think that, believe this, believe that. Christianity comes to life. The mytho-poetry of the Bible is something that we bring into every moment of our life. Crossing myself isn’t a superstition- it’s an act of devotion, an act infused with meaningfulness and holiness, an act which completes me as a person, reminds me of the Sacrifice and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, and reminds me to love as He loves, to seek to be One with Him even as He is One with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Wow, that sounded so nice, I think I’ll end my blog there.

Beaux

The Holy Eucharist

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Working Towards a Definition of “Catholic” and Some Observations

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Within certain traditions, notably that of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, there is huge debate on the meaning of the word “Catholic” and the means by which one can identify specifically as Catholic.

With no doubt, there are a number of people in the Anglican Communion which identify as “Anglo-Catholic,” and the official position of the Communion is that it is both “Catholic and Protestant,” or more appropriately, “Catholic and Reformed.”

But within the Anglican Communion, there is a wide spectrum of worship styles: the High Church, which is no less than a Mass and Catholic, and Low Church, which is rather evangelical and would identify with being Protestant, and the Broad Church, which incorporates elements of both.

The actual word “Catholic” means “universal” and refers to the Christian Church as a whole. In the common language, people use it to mean “a member of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Initially, during the 1500s and the Protestant Reformation, the term “Protestant” referred to someone who was anti-papal; this came because of the continued abuses of the papacy in the Roman Catholic Church in those days. These days, however, “Protestant” has come to mean more so “anti-Catholic.”

If we should suggest that the Episcopal Church is anti-papal, in the sense that Anglicans as a whole do not recognize the Bishop of Rome/Pope as the absolute pontiff or having authority over their church but rather as a Bishop of special honor and recognition among other equal bishops, we might rightly use the term “Protestant.”

However, if we should suggest that the Episcopal Church retains the historical episcopate, that is, the Apostolic Succession, that the Church retains the Sacraments of old, that the Church celebrates the Holy Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Christian Faith, that the Church relies on the councils of the Church in the past and on the writings of the Church Fathers as well as on the Nicene and Apostle’s Creed as the sufficient summary of the Faith, then we might rightly deem them, unabashedly, to be Catholic.

The Episcopal Church under this situation cannot be deemed “Roman Catholic,” but certainly “Anglo-Catholic” or “English Catholic” may suffice.

On another note, it is oft-quoted that Henry the VIII “founded” the Church of England.

The Church of England was founded, strangely enough, in the 600s. Henry the VIII, in his political debacle with the Pope, declared that he, not the Pope, was the head of the Church of England. Thereto in addition, we must also consider that the concept of the Pope having primacy above and beyond other Bishops was a doctrine defined later in Christianity, around the year 1000 or so. It is, in fact, this very doctrine that contributed to the Eastern Orthodox Church breaking with the Roman Catholic Church. As I understand it, the concept of the Pope never did completely become accepted in England.

Many Anglicans also subscribe to what is known as the “Branch Theory.” The Branch Theory entails that the Original Church is comprised of three denominations- the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics, and the Eastern Orthodox.

When religious debates begin on online forums, many snide Roman Catholics will claim that the Anglican Holy Orders are simply invalid. The Anglican Holy Orders are, however, recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Anglicans issued a statement back as to why their Orders are valid.

One thing to also consider is that there are, believe it or not, Independent Catholic Churches. That’s right, Catholic Churches that are not Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Orthodox. This is part of a movement known as the Independent Sacramental Movement. The Ecclesia Gnostica and other Gnostic Churches recognize the validity of the Holy Orders of the Church of England, and therefore it is the Roman Catholic Church’s ancient prejudice and political agenda that is invalid, not the Anglican Holy Orders.

Just some more thoughts.

Beaux


Heirs to the Tradition that is Christianity I

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Many people do not necessarily understand why I even bother with Christianity, in any form, at this point in my life or in the progression of humanity. I established this blog in part for the sake of explaining, in as much length and grandeur and detail as I might deem appropriate, precisely why I would continue to bother with Christianity.

The problem is that the projection of Christianity is often one of conservatism and fanaticism. Christianity is claimed most loudly and boldly by, for want of better terms, the stupid and the hateful.

The people who attempt to deal with these things by holding varying theological opinions or, God forbid, actually doing research and inner spiritual work are quickly labeled as “progressive” and “liberal” and demonized as attempting to destroy the Gospel and as Satan’s henchmen.

Another form of Christianity we often see is a watered-down, semi-therpeutic variety that screams about the transformative power of Jesus but offers none of said transformation; people so often give the spiel about how Jesus Christ can heal you and offer it and offer it and offer it, and so rarely does it ever happen.

Salvation, too, has been watered down from an actual ontological alteration of the human being on all levels (body, soul, and spirit) into a new creature, a process which is lengthy and devastating in many regards, to simply being a mental event in which you shift gears and start using the secret password of “Jesus is Lord.”

I, for one, do not buy into the notion of the so-called “getting saved” or “salvation experience” that is marketed by evangelical Protestantism; it’s the equivalent of putting a band-aid on cancer and saying someone has been truly transformed. This is, however, a blog for another day.

Christianity does not belong exclusively to people who are ultra-conservative, hateful, dogmatic, and rigid; it is a system, a religion, a faith, a revelation of God to mankind as a whole. There is a nucleus to it, an essence, a core of Love, yes; there are sustaining aspects, manifestations and references back to the essence that is the Love of Christ, which take many forms; there are traditions and scriptures that refer to the essence that is the Love of Christ and through which Christ speaks to all mankind.

Christianity is not solely understood through a literalistic, immediate reading of the Scriptures, which is a point that, incidentally, both fundamentalists and atheists alike often miss.

Fundamentalists and those who believe in Biblical inerrancy on all matters scientific, social, and otherwise, will insist that if God wanted us to know something, He would spell it out, and that is that, never considering that maybe what God has told us is something that is quite powerful, perhaps too powerful for an ordinary and easily corruptible person to be given, as they could cause harm.

Likewise, fundamentalists are often people who want things spelled out for them, like dogmatists. Dogmatists differ from fundamentalists in that they may not accept Biblical inerrancy, but they accept Church Authoritarianism and Pronouncement as the absolute authority on all matters. Either way, both groups are likely to argue and throw around the word “liberal” as though it were a slur. These are the sort of people who, in reality, are so very confused and doubtful of their own faith and understanding of religion that they scream with fury at anyone who dares question it.

Provided, it is far more comfortable in reality to have something spelled out for you, so you know where the boundaries are, you know what rules to follow, and you don’t get in trouble. However, that’s not really how God and His Reality work, so…be wary.

Atheists, (and by atheists, I mean more the Modern Evangelical Atheists, not your garden-variety doesn’t-really-care type atheist) also ask stupid questions, such as, “What else could it mean but the surface meaning?” These are the sort of people who look around, and not seeing a man on a throne, declare there is no God, no meaning to life, that they can do whatever they want, that we live in an irrational universe but use rational means to understand the universe, think that if you are at all interested in religion that you’re a complete, ignorant nitwit…you get the picture.

But getting back to my blog: we are all the heirs of the Tradition of Christianity; it does not belong solely to one denomination or another or one theological persuasion or another.

It is the duty of people of any culture to carry on the customs of that culture, and the religious rites of a culture, in so far as they are not hurting anyone, by practicing those religious rites.

One thing we must remember is that the Tradition of Christianity has produced immensely valuable tools for spiritual journey. Somehow, whether by intuition or by other means, I can perceive these so-called “tools” in Christianity very well. Having been raised in a Christian context and having had a familiarity with the symbolism from an early age, I can easily relate to them in a way that I cannot with other religions. That doesn’t mean I find the traditions of other religions any less alluring, but they are less immediately connected to me, my culture, and my own psychic heritage, if you will.

In many cases, it is difficult to separate the spiritual current running through a religion and the cultural context in which the religion evolved. There are many, many cultural artifacts which are written into the Bible, into Tradition, hold-overs from a different era that are not Divine Mandates but rather world views as those people understood the universe according to their science and culture at the time.

Yet these are the very things that so many people become so nit-picky over! The leftover garbage that happens to be the incidentals and not the meaning of the story suddenly become deified and elevated to the level of Holiness, and frankly, if you will forgive my harshness, enough of us have smelled the bullshit long enough.

On track again: I cannot know if any of my ancestors were ever Buddhists or Hindus. I can know with some certainty that many of my ancestors in the last 2000 years were Roman Catholic, and with greater certainty that some of my ancestors within the last 500 years were Anglican.

Thus I can reason that my own ancestors at some point worshiped in a soaring church buildings and knelt at the altar to take the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and somehow, feeling that connection with them and with Europe is important to me.

As I write this blog, it is late, and I’m tired, so I’ll have to return to the theme at a later time.

Beaux


The Seven Sacraments and the Seven Chakras

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While in bed one night, I suddenly had the realization that the Seven Sacraments of the Christian Church line up rather well with the Seven Chakras in the human body.

Some of you who are unaware of the older traditions in Christianity may be wondering what a sacrament is. Here, I’ll provide a few definitions that I think are suitable.

According to question 152 of the Gnostic Catechism,

A sacrament is a sacred rite; the visible and outward sign of an invisible, inward grace of God. Anciently, a sacrament was called a mystery.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the second half of Paragraph 1084 reads,

The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that the signify.

Paragraph 1116 reads,

Sacraments are “powers that come forth” from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant.

The first problem we run into deals largely with the number of sacraments. Arguments among denominations arise at this point.

Officially, the Catholic Church declares there are seven sacraments. While the Anglican Communion states that there are two great sacraments, namely Baptism and Communion, largely within Anglicanism there are seven recognized.

The exoteric church’s sacraments are

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Holy Matrimony
  • Penance
  • Holy Orders
  • Extreme Unction

Now, according to the Gnostic Church and furthermore, explicitly according to the Gospel of Philip, there are five initiatory sacraments, two sustaining sacraments, and two substitutional sacraments. Two of the five initiatory sacraments have been long forgotten in the exoteric churches.

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Redemption
  • Bride-Chamber

The sustaining sacraments:

  • Holy Orders
  • Extreme Unction

And lastly, the substitutional sacraments:

  • Penance
  • Holy Matrimony

This adds up to nine sacraments for the Gnostic Church.

Whew, that’s a lot of info packed in such a short time, isn’t it?

Now, let’s see how these line up with the seven chakras.

Baptism would correspond to the first chakra, at the base of the spine. We are washed at birth, and being baptized is a form of washing us, purifying us from original sin and suchlike. The first chakra deals with early childhood and infancy.

Confirmation typically happens, as I understand it, just prior to or during adolescence. Since during Confirmation we receive the Holy Spirit, and since religious devotion awakens often simultaneously with the awakening of sexual energy in the body, this is corresponds great to the second chakra, which deals with emotions and sexuality.

The Holy Eucharist, which is the source and summit of the Christian faith, corresponds to the stomach chakra- which deals with things like identity, will, and power. It is interesting that the food corresponds to part of us that digests it. The Holy Eucharist is the effective means by which Christ is made manifest on Earth- His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. In taking the Holy Eucharist, we effectively “commune” with Christ.

Holy Matrimony, which deals with love and marriage, corresponds to the heart chakra. Are you beginning to the pattern yet? The heart chakra also deals with emotions, primarily such things as love, compassion, and affection.

Penance, which requires going to a Priest to confess one’s sins, corresponds to the throat chakra, and often the penance imposed deals with prayer. The throat chakra deals with expression and artistic vision, and so you can see well how this overlaps with things such as confession and penance.

Holy Orders corresponds to the third-eye chakra, which deals with being a seer, having intellectual functions, psychic powers, and so on. A Priest has an indelible mark placed on his soul in being ordained. To become a Priest, he must study and go through initiation such that his own self-knowledge is expanded and so that he can properly instruct the faithful in the religion.

Extreme Unction, the anointing of the sick, would correspond to the crown chakra. The crown chakra deals with God, a connection to the absolute and divine. Extreme Unction is given to people who are ill and especially to people who are on their deathbed- people who are about to met God.

This is a rough sort of sketch of how the chakras and sacraments correspond, but likely you get the idea.

What of the Sacrament of Redemption and the Sacrament of the Bride-Chamber?

First, since Redemption has been replaced by Penance, it would likely correspond to the throat chakra. Bride-Chamber would likely correspond to the heart chakra in the same way, but both are probably understood to correspond to deeper levels of these respective chakras.

The Sacrament of Redemption is understood in a specifically Gnostic way, dealing with the Archons and freeing one’s Spirit from them and so on. The Bride-Chamber, too, has a similar and more advanced purpose, but as I am no authority on these matters, I cannot speak about them in great detail.

These were just some more thoughts that were rumbling around in my head late one night.

Beaux