Some on Sophia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve

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The Reluctant Christian and the Lone Wolf

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My husband and I attend a Unitarian Universalist Church. If you’re interested in which one, I’ll post their website.

I don’t plan on becoming a UU even in light of the recent developments in my renouncing mainstream Christianity for (hopefully) the last time. I haven’t made any movements to officially move my church member records from the Episcopal Church, but when I become a member of a Gnostic Church, that will happen, and there my records will go, and there my records will stay.

To become UU would not solve the problem; to be a sort of nominal UU solves the problem because, as one teacher one said, it’s a good idea to find a group of like-minded individuals, or you’re going to have a hard time.

No, I don’t have to agree with the secular humanists or pagans or anyone else who attends the UU; rather, I can love them and have them love me in return and experience a profound level of community among fellow seekers. However, to declare myself one of them might actually compromise my integrity- I like them, I sympathize with them, but I am not, at heart, one of them, and to declare myself so would be compromise in what I actually want, but more so, what I actually need.

I should point out that I will always, always, ALWAYS be fond of the time I spent at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Ozark, Alabama; I have nothing negative to say about my former priest or the parishioners there.

My issue is something I’ve highlighted before; where my spiritual quest, and where it’s going, is somewhere beyond the reach of where most people are currently. That isn’t to pat myself on the back, I’m just trying to explain that while I would recommend the Episcopal Church to anyone who is comfortable with mainstream Christianity as a sort of liberal alternative to Catholicism and so on, I can’t profess doctrines or uphold views that I have constantly qualify.

I’m more involved, along with my husband, at the UU Church than I’ve ever been in any other organization. But then, I realize, I’ve been attending there with him longer than I’ve been attending the Episcopal Church, at least at THIS point.

The other night at the Humanism Class, in context of the discussion, I referred to myself as a “Reluctant Christian.”

I’m reluctant for many reasons, not the least of which is the extremely ridiculous history of mainstream Christianity; I feel like I’m trying to salvage diamonds out of shit at times.

Yet the diamonds in question are often worth the battle.

My home state of Alabama recently had Marriage Equality push forward. Naturally, the bigots in the state have fought and fought and fought the Marriage Equality ruling, and the self-styled Real, True Christians are commenting profusely online.

The usual comments are people slinging Bible verses everywhere or saying God defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and I just have to roll my eyes…or troll the people, depending on how I feel.

Because seriously, I don’t know who decided that firing off Bible verses would convince anyone, but it doesn’t. Ever. If anything, people get tired of seeing Bible verses that are taken out of context and don’t hold any authority over them anyway- the Dead Letter of the Scriptures cannot save us and has never saved us.

And like, if this is the way Christians behave, who the hell wants to be a Christian? I’m thoroughly confused about what’s appealing in mainstream Christianity, and the promise that I won’t burn forever in some hypothetical and probably derived-from-bad-theological-readings Hell isn’t really enough of a motivation.

I finally gave up fighting the heresy label. I just don’t fucking care anymore- by God, I’m a heretic, and I’m proud of being a heretic if it means I don’t get lumped in with all those blithering idiots out that follow the American Bible Religion.

The question is, why even bother with Christianity at all? But yes. There are good things there, even if the good things are in the minority. I need the potency of the Holy Eucharist; I need my prayer beads and my crucifixes and my iconography; I need my Scriptures talking about Sophia’s repentances. Because then my spirit is quiet, and I can slowly fall in love with God again and again, each time the same and yet different, each time a stillness and a movement.

Since I’m probably effectively the only Gnostic Christian at the UU Fellowship, I like to think of myself as the “Lone Wolf.” Yeah. I like that title. Makes me feel special.

My heart does go out to Alabama and to the many, MANY couples there who now have the right to marry but are facing bigots who tell them they can’t, and moreover, the many bigots who seem to be under the erroneous impression that their own point of view is the dominant one.

Judge Roy Moore is an embarrassment. They kicked him out of one time for doing something similar, and people mocked me for being from Alabama and asked if Roy Moore thought he was the Second Coming of Jesus.

Not only is he an embarrassment, he unfortunately reinforces the stereotypes about Alabama AND mainstream Christianity. His attitude is exactly the sort of thing that holds society back and causes the anti-theists to have a field day mocking all religion. Good grief.

I wish I could be charitable; in reality, no matter the injustice, these are just the death cries. Come the summer, the Supreme Court of the USA will rule in favor of Marriage Equality, the idiocy will have to completely stop then, and that aspect of the battle will be done. Non-discrimination policies are a different thing, though.

The Rolling, Golden Cloud

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I get headaches quite a bit, a cycle that goes through every few days or weeks.

Sometimes, the headaches are obviously from stress- I stress out really easily, and my mind-body naturally overreacts. I’ve attempted to curve this nature, to mute it, to lull it, to bring peace instead of freak-outs, yet that seems to largely be an exercise in repression.

Yesterday, my husband I attended a funeral for the woman who was my grandmother-in-law; my mother-in-law’s mother, or more accurately, my stepmother-in-law’s mother.

I find it odd to be at a funeral for a person I had never met or known in life.

She sounded like a good woman, like she had lived a good life, and I’m glad for that. She was truly loved.

In the midst of it all, I didn’t maintain the kind of “awareness” that one should have at those times- I found it difficult to turn to Wisdom, and I mostly felt irritated and had a headache come on in the middle of the service.

Today, I’m at home, and I’ve had a good, long rest. I’m not sure what the mystics of yore would say- whether or not sleeping and dreaming have much to do with the spiritual life- but it is the processes of the dreams that I have found comfort and the ability to truly rest.

Today, even though I have a headache, I can slowly turn my awareness to the dazzling, golden cloud that’s bursting forth in my brain. It’s rolling and tumbling and full of all things. The Divine Spark.

I am surprised that it is there. I shouldn’t be, but the skeptical nature bred into in my teenaged years remains strong.

At long last, I’m beginning to understand what the Sufis mean by “remembering” and so on.

And it is true- the Lived Reality of God is nothing like what you might conceive. The Ladder of Being and Non-Being appears quite clearly- this magnificent golden cloud tossing and turning in my mind is only the bottom rung.

But by God, if people, if every man, woman, and child, could have this experience and live it constantly, the world would be healed, and the true purpose of mankind would unfold. The end of all our ills would happen, finally. We would be able to then cure all the physical ailments because our minds would seek out the answers fluidly and easily- the painstaking mental processes we go through now would be bolstered by Divine and Immediate intuition.

I have not made it here on my own. I have put forth effort, but the saints and the dead have prayed for me, my loved ones and friends in this world have prayed for me, and it is only through their prayers and my cooperation with the Grace God has offered me that I can even begin to have a tiny experience of the Good.

Now I pray, more fervently than ever, that I would be able to maintain this awareness- I pray for the infinite grace necessary to always remember the Christ-Sophia, in all moments, in every experience in life. The truth of pain and of luxury and of all the things we go through can only be known through this experience of perfect infinity.

My heart leaps gladly. May my temporal anger and fear be swallowed; may my appetites and passions that would hurt others be swallowed; may my life be surrendered to God Most High this day and always.

Amen.

Animus, Anima, Archetypes

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Gnosis tends to creep up on us. 

Lately, I’ve noticed the use of the word “gnosis” to be different for different people. This seems only natural as its unfortunate how often people have completely different definitions for the same word. Largely, I myself had conceived of “gnosis” to refer to direct or first-hand knowledge about God; in other words, “gnosis” is the “information” about God that’s apprehended in, say, a vision of God or an angel or some sort of spiritual being. That is “gnosis” as opposed to “epistemis,” which is instead a hypothetical knowledge that potentially derives from a specific line of reasoning but is not necessarily something that one has encountered for one’s self. 

So, this is the manner in which I use the word “gnosis.” I don’t use the word to refer to enlightenment or some kind of higher level of knowledge as other Gnostics do; instead, “gnosis” is used kind of like “grace.” One might be in a state of grace, one might be in a state of gnosis, but gnosis is not equivalent to something like Nirvana or theosis; on this point I agree, but I would also disagree with the Gnostics in the Apostolic Johannite Church who insist that the goal of Gnosticism and Christianity is not Nirvana or enlightenment but gnosis as gnosis seems something like the building blocks that lead to Nirvana.

Enough of this. To the point. 

Earlier today, something registered with me. I initially had a suspicion that the dyadic nature of Christ/Sophia suggested in some way the Animus and Anima, and so, too, I think this is even more clearly represented and supported by the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary whereby Mary is understood to represent the functions of Sophia in a parallel way that Jesus represents the functions of the Christ. 

The problem, of course, is that in circles mystic, esoteric, New Age, and otherwise, the Christ Consciousness is almost always attributed to being the elusive Higher Self/Buddha Nature. This poses a problem, because if Christ represents the Higher Self, then how can He also represent the Animus?

The answer exists to some extent in the sphere of Gnosticism and those who would separate the Eternal Christ from the man Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth becomes the image of the Animus; hence the concept of the “Sacred Heart of JESUS.” I’ve never come across literature who refer to the Sacred Heart as the “Sacred Heart of Christ.” Not once. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the phrase always used. Thus, the notion is that the Eternal, Pre-existent Christ is the Self and cannot be given a specific form but the man Jesus DOES have a specific form or image- hence, the Animus, the Ideal Image of the Masculine. This is further supported by the Sacred Heart itself and the countless images of Jesus pointing to His Sacred Heart as if to say, “I AM Love; I AM the Passion; I AM the Animus.”

However, for heterosexual men, the parallel devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is necessary. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is necessary in order for the man to integrate the Anima into himself, I think. Her perpetual virginity is easily explained in the sense that the Anima can NEVER be truly touched or defiled; projected, yes, but ultimately, the Anima is a part of the person, and thus the Blessed Virgin Mary is a perpetual virgin who is the Queen of Heaven because she is assumed into the Divine Self once the person has fully (or mostly fully) integrated the Anima. 

This, too, explains why the notion is that she is conceived without sin, that she is immaculate, even as Jesus was sinless; both the Anima and the Animus are CONCEIVED IN THE PSYCHE WITHOUT STAIN OR FAULT. 

I have no idea how I know these things; archetypal relationships just seem to pop out at me, and that reinforces the notion that I must approach Christianity through a Jungian lens for it to make sense.

A while back, a friend said something to me along the lines of how he just can’t take most of Protestantism seriously, and I agree. Protestantism seems so geared toward decidedly making itself Not Catholic that the archetypal relationships are all but lost; it isn’t to say that the Catholic variety of Christianity doesn’t have its own issues, for it does, but for a different set of issues. 

More and more, it does seem that the Gnostics are about the only Christians in the history of the religion who actually knew what they were talking about. 

Stevo

Resonance

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Resonance is an important but apparently often over-looked aspect of the mystic’s quest. For me, resonance ties in heavily with gnosis; resonance is a guiding principle by which I walk the path.

Resonance cannot easily be put into words; it is more than something simply seemingly like a neat idea and is instead something that is incredibly real, incredibly close to something real, incredibly indicative of something else.

Resonance deals with a meta-cognition, a meta-experience of sorts.

Resonance is what happens when I sit in a Church full of statues and stained glass, and, despite my rejection of so much of self-styled “orthodoxy,” I know that they still know something, that the people who have developed these things are still in tune with me somewhere.

All is not lost.

God help us.

Don’t ever overlook resonance to guide you, to help you. You will see things and know them for what they are to God and not what they are to man.

Beaux

Religion of the Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

2The same was in the beginning with God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

Improvements

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Things have improved somewhat since yesterday. The experience is similar but not entirely the same; things seem to have mellowed out enough for the moment, and whatever this transformation may be, it seems to be continuing in its own way as it should be.

All I can do it cling to whatever symbols I’ve encountered in my journey and pray that things go deeper than this. Today, physically, I have felt under the weather; a bit of a sinus headache and generally a sense of being depleted energetically, though I did manage to get some studying and writing done.

There’s not been any true development at this point, other than a general lessening; I’m still painfully aware of the evil within myself, and I can accept that. I pray that whatever debauchery I fall into isn’t too consequential to make me suffer even more later on. Part of the issue into which I’m running is that I can never seem to just let go and rest, but that’s likely a by-product of being vigilant and stressed out from repression instead of expression. What is at the end of the road? I pray that this is worth it.

“He descended into Hell.”

 

Beaux

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