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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Just Call Me Stevo…

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When I began blogging in the online world two years ago, I decided to adopt a pen name in an attempt to keep myself private in some capacity or another. Many writers use pen names, and I’m a blossoming writer in some capacity, as most of you may have guessed by now.

That being said, I’m going to take a very important stand at this point in time and put myself out there. Sometimes, the courage we gain and the right way to do something is out of sheer observation of another person who does the right thing. A new friend of mine has shown me that it’s more important to be one’s self and to be honest about one’s self than are a lot of things in this world.

So, while I’m going to keep the pen name “Beaux”  (pronounced just as “Bo”) for my food blog, The Yum Yum, I’m ditching it here.

My name is Stephen, and Stevo is a nickname. Or you can call me Steve. 

I’m gay, and I’m a gay mystic, and I’m a gay Christian mystic. I identify as Catholic, specifically, Anglo-Catholic, and I’m a member of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America. 

I have interest in all the world religions; I like Voodoo, I like Hoodoo, I like reading Tarot cads, and I like divination in general. 

Of course, the naysayer smay want to come along and say things like, “ZOMG how can u be Christian n be gay too its against gods word”

It’s too laborious to have that conversation, especially with the stupid, because basically what Christians mean when they say you can’t be gay and be Christian is that you’re spoiling their barrel of apples by being a bad apple identifying as one of them. Then the comparisons between allowing murderers and rapists to be counted among their number will begin. This is precisely the sort of attitude that makes me want to label myself simply as “Gnostic” in order to already declare to the mainstream Christians that I’m not one of them and thus don’t have to risk their attempt to expulse me from their shitty level of hillbilliy theology.

Of course, that last parapraph, filled with its snark, lends to the idea that I make a damned good Episcopalian. Now all I need is an Old Fashioned, and we’ll be sitting pretty. 

So, from now on, I’ll sign my blogs on Craving Aletheia simply as “Stevo.” There’s no point in hiding my name; there’s no point in hiding who or what I am if I’m interested in the truth and most especially, the Truth.

There you have it.
 
 Stevo

 

 

Manga, Musings, and the Mind…

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A Red State Mystic has written recently about the sort of crashing down of our 90s utopia. He also clarifies what he means by this, and he points out some very startling realities that we’re facing in this era.

The 90s did have some awesome music and styles. The 90s did see an era of good writing, great video games, and inventions such as the Tamagotchi. Sailor Moon was created and ended in the 1990s.

I sit here at age 27 and wonder if my life has really come to this point and stagnated. Given, I’m actually involved in the inner life, which is more involved than the outer life in many regards, but still. I sit here and ponder a very important question: am I being sincere with myself?

Life is meant to be lived. This much is true, and I’m not denying it. But at the same time, I also know that wherever I go, there I am.

I want to create peace in myself, here, in this small town. I want to create happiness and fulfillment in this small town, to find that unshakeable core of the God-man Jesus Christ at my own center, and then, and only then, do I want to go out into the world, to live life- because only then will life be worth living. Only then will my own ability to encounter anything and everything be real.

I’m holding on to something, and I can’t tell what it is. All I know is that my life is fleeting, my years are fleeting, and I can’t help but wonder why I’m not experiencing- and have never experienced- what society says I should.

Do people really have that much faith in society? Do people really follow cultural memes so well that they aren’t bothered by the world around us? There’s an increase in lack of authenticity among people in our society.

Or maybe I’m just becoming an adult, and this why so many people fight growing up- because being an adult means you die on the inside, walking around as a hollow husk of a human.

Damned alliteration.

I’m drawing again. My manga is up. I plan for it to be a kind of subtle evangelism, dispersing ideas Christian and mystical in a user-friendly form. You can visit the link below.

Super Yummy Angel Cake

Beaux

The Bridge

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Somehow, I understand even more the predicament in which Christ found Himself. Allow me to explain:

 

Point-blank, I’m too orthodox for the Gnostics. I’m too Gnostic for the orthodox. I’m too Catholic for the Protestants, and I’m too Protestant for the Catholics.

Invariably, I seem to fall somewhere between extremes in terms of my views. I can never take sides because my side is where I am, and that’s nowhere, or somewhere between two places that is said not to exist.

 

That being said, I can see the Anglican response: “Via Media!”

Yes, but, and here comes the sharpest thing I’ve had to say about Anglicanism in quite sometimes, calling Anglicanism a “via media” between Protestantism and Catholicism doesn’t depict what it looks (or feels) like in practice. Anglicanism, by and large, has left the flavor in my mouth of being a Catholic-coated Protestant treat. If they had been wiser back in the day and hadn’t gone all crazy with accepting thing from Luther and Calvin, then maybe “via media” would be true of it- Popeless Catholics, incorporating the theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and so on. But that’s simply not how it played it out or plays out from what I can tell. The Anglo-Catholics do a good job of this for the most part; they can out-Catholic Romans almost any day. But I still question what an “ordinary” Episcopalian would say about Eucharist adoration, veneration of the Blessed Virgin, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, praying the rosary, and how to identify with the word “Protestant.”

Anyway, tonight I watched a small part of a Latin Mass. The app on the iPad wasn’t working well, and it never does, but I did get to see about the first third of the Mass. The Latin Mass had a kind of simplicity to it, oddly enough- it was elegant, it was thoughtful, it was quiet, and the mystical dimension of it was visible- plainly visible. Even the quiet intoning of the Latin by the priest was enough to lead me to a deeper place within myself.

Once I arrived home, I came to the realization of why I don’t fit into this or that camp: it’s because I’m the bridge, the living bridge between different worlds. A mediator, as it were- the glue that’s holding it together.

Now I know how Jesus Christ felt. He had to hold together two worlds, the Divine and the Creation- He indeed is the bridge between the two worlds, and by His Holy Incarnation and Death and Resurrection, He forever closed the wounds in Reality. Nay, not only closed, but healed and restored them.

There is much work to be done. Pray for me, brethren.

And maybe I’m wrong about the Anglicans. I have at least one friend who knows what I mean when I speak about them. Maybe the idea that I, too, question the validity of the Holy Orders and so on attests to my unconscious already surrendering to the Roman Catholic Church as THE Church. The Anglo-Catholics, too, stand in contradistinction to the typical Protestant imagery, and saying “Anglo-Catholic Protestant” seems totally meaningless.

 

God be with us. Our help is in the Name of the Lord.

I’m probably again over-thinking things.

Beaux

Belated Updates

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So much to say, so little time. So many thoughts that I’ve not been sharing.

Several days ago, I made an “executive decision” to create a kind of religious retreat for myself. This retreat requires a few simple things, the main thing being to try to get me to meditate more each day. I will say for the past few days, I’ve chanted much earlier than usual, so that’s something.

For a month or so, I plan to simply keep to myself and not go out more than the few scheduled times I set up. Friday is typically going to be my outing. Around the end of September, I’ll lift the self-imposed cloister, and I’ll return to daily life in whatever way.

My main issue is having avoided meditation so much. It isn’t that I haven’t meditated; it’s that meditation has ended up coming at the very end of the day and only for a few minutes at that, and I can’t put myself in that position. Meditation, like prayer, affects one even if one isn’t meditating or praying.

I don’t know if I’ve spoken about “spiritual delay” yet, but spirituality is not like fast food. Mysticism is not McMysticism; you cannot meditate and expect things to just magically be okay 10 minutes later. That’s just NOT how it works. Yes, you will eventually see the results, but for whatever reason, they’re delayed, and it’s a difficult thing to explain how and why this happens.

Prayer today may result in a sudden descent of God’s Grace three days later, abruptly. Visualizing something intently today may result in its appearing two weeks later when I don’t care to have it anymore. Maybe that’s a method of God teaching us a lesson or something.

My organized prayers have fallen through again, too, but the good news is that all the problems I had trying to reconcile various religious traditions with one another have essentially fallen through as I’ve gone to a deeper level in understanding them. That’s how I end up using Hindu chants and praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus all at the same time; Gnostics are allowed to do this, you see, as these things facilitate gnosis and bring us closer to God. That’s what matters.

I spoke with Erik the other night about Gnostic views of the Holy Eucharist, and of course, the Gnostic views of the change in the bread and wine parallel those of the Anglicans in some ways- the acknowledgement of a spiritual change, though the spiritual change is a complete and utter change; the bread and wine DO completely change, but naturally, it is ultimately a mystery we cannot explain.

We also pointed out something very interesting as well- Lutherans don’t seem to often acknowledge any kind of change in the bread and wine. Communion is simply a blessing of bread and wine, not the actual sacramental union or whatever Lutheran terminology is supposed to be. The technicality may be consubstantiation, but this often seems to be unknown to Lutherans.

By contrast, Episcopalians will not be happy if you tell them the bread and wine aren’t really the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. You’re not going to sell Anglo-Catholics and your garden variety High Church Episcopalians on the “Hey, it’s just a symbol, folks!” ilk; it’s just not going to happen.

While I’m sure there are Episcopalians who don’t acknowledge the Real Presence, they’re most likely in the minority.

And at this point, I understand this entry isn’t helping anyone, so I’m just going to stop here.

Anyway, I’m having to incorporate a HUGE amount of what I know about mysticism and spirituality and really jump in and start using it. I find a lot of times that whatever I do or say or practice seems to work for a while, then it begins to stop working or seems less effective; maybe I’m just craving novelty? I’m not totally sure what the issue is here. But lately, I’ve really begun to understand how things work, and I’m going from that level.

More later. I’ll try to update more frequently, especially now that I’ll have more free time.

Beaux

Gnosticism: A Few Points Considered with Regards to Where I Stand

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Maybe this is more of the intellectual masturbation that I despise so much, but while listening to Troy Pierce speak earlier, I learned something important: one must always know or at least have some idea of where one is spiritually. The Golden Sufis insist that you cannot know where you are, at least in one sense, and maybe this is true, but at the same time, on a more conscious level, we can have some sense of the framework in which we operate.

Troy also made the point that one’s understanding and conceptions may be proved wrong and that these constantly evolve and change, at least in some respect, and on this point, I would heavily agree with him and think it could account for why it appears that I “switch” religions so often. Elsewhere, I’ve commented that a core of what I hold to be true and have encountered has remained the same, while the specifics and aesthetics have fluctuated. Overall, I may need to take into account that my own understanding at this point in time could be wrong and that what I’m writing about isn’t anything that the Gnostics don’t know.

To date, I have found no system that expresses what I know and experience 100% accurately, which means that either I’m misunderstanding my experiences, what the system teaches, or that the traditions simply don’t account for my experiences, or that every system is ultimately going to have gaps in it, as I mentioned before concerning paradigms.

The follow points are major features that Bishop Stephan Hoeller of the Ecclesia Gnostica has made, which I will address accordingly.

  • The Gnostics posited an original spiritual unity that came to be split into a plurality.

Sure, I can buy this. The original spiritual unity is God. This would even mesh with orthodoxy in many ways- except that orthodoxy wouldn’t see God as splitting necessarily, but that’s not the point. Some of the Neo-Platonic explanations of God that influenced the orthodoxy would say the same thing, so I’m generally in agreement here.

  • As a result of the precosmic division, the universe was created. This was done by a leader possessing inferior spiritual powers and who often resembled the Old Testament Jehovah.
  • A female emanation of God was involved in the cosmic creation (albeit in a much more positive role than the leader).

While I do think that the division of God led to the origin of the universe, I do not think that the universe was created by the demiurge. My own experiences have indicated that Christ/Logos is the universe, the physicality and materiality, the Divine Manifest, as it were. This is exemplified in many places, including the Holy Eucharist and my own experiences with Christ as the Earth Father Archetype. To say that Christ is matter may not be exactly correct, though, but I haven’t worked through this mystery entirely. We’ll see what happens.

So my view is that the Creation is basically good and part of the Good, and that the demiurge somehow corrupted it and created a sort of veil over it. This may psychologically analogous to the creation of the ego. Matter does not have an ego in and of itself, and the body is not evil in and of itself- it is the ignorance that is created and overlaid by the ego that causes us to lose sight of any kind of profound Truth in the world.

As far as Sophia’s role in this goes, it would make sense to say that she makes an attempt to participate in the Creation process, albeit without Christ/Logos, and in doing so begets the demiurge. But because Sophia IS the Divine Syzygy of Christ/Logos, this causes a corruption in the Form.

  • In the cosmos, space and time have a malevolent character and may be personified as demonic beings separating man from God.

Sure. Essentially our perceptions of space and time are projections of the human mind and not necessarily something that exists objectively; they’re convenient notions to explain our experiences.

  • For man, the universe is a vast prison. He is enslaved both by the physical laws of nature and by such moral laws as the Mosaic code.

We aren’t separate from the universe, and the universe is essentially not separate from God. Our minds are what trap us, not the universe- our particular psychological configuration and misunderstanding, as it were. Moral laws such as the Mosaic code are well-meaning but often ridiculous in the face of better, clearer, and simpler codes that are much more effective and cause far less damage, so I would agree here.

  • Mankind may be personified as Adam, who lies in the deep sleep of ignorance, his powers of spiritual self-awareness stupefied by materiality.

Again, the materiality is not the problem, unless this refers to a preoccupation with the so-called “things of this world,” whereby we mean people who have no sense of a deeper ontological experience than seeking sex, money, and fame or the routine of getting up, going to work, and going home again, or having a wife and 2.5 kids. So depending on the understanding here, I may indeed be in agreement.

  • Within each natural man is an “inner man,” a fallen spark of the divine substance. Since this exists in each man, we have the possibility of awakening from our stupefaction.

Yes, I agree here, except that I think we actually ontologically consist of the divine substance itself, which is ultimately Christ, and that our minds or egos (and perhaps even Selves) occlude this as a reality, because it’s essentially unbelievable and counter-intuitive.

  • What effects the awakening is not obedience, faith, or good works, but knowledge.

Here, of course, “knowledge” is a reference to gnosis, and I agree. Obedience counts for very little; faith is helpful, as it is essentially a way of knowing if understood outside the paradigm of mere blind belief (that is, because someone just told you so), and good works are beneficial but do not necessarily contribute to salvation.

  • Before the awakening, men undergo troubled dreams.

Boy, do they ever. I agree 100%. Troubled dreams is an understatement.

  • Man does not attain the knowledge that awakens him from these dreams by cognition but through revelatory experience, and this knowledge is not information but a modification of the sensate being.

Indeed, and this point may be the absolute pinnacle of every point made in the list; that is, salvation is not a matter of just randomly having a new paradigm or learning something new, it is an actual, real, and definite modification of the organism and being on the fundamental level of reality, at the ground of being.

  • The awakening (i.e., the salvation) of any individual is a cosmic event.

Agreed.

  • Since the effort is to restore the wholeness and unity of the Godhead, active rebellion against the moral law of the Old Testament is enjoined upon every man.1

I would agree and extend this to say the general structures of any non-sensical moral code should be thrown out. It’s one thing to live by standards or principles that are well-reasoned and can be tested in practical reality with little damage to one’s self or others, while it’s another thing to simply swallow rules that have no substance to them other than someone screaming “BECAUSE GOD SAID SO.” At the same time, I would argue, for instance, that lying isn’t good, that murder isn’t good, that adultery isn’t good- you see what I mean. But stoning people to death equally isn’t good- so there you have it.

But more than this, Christ Himself, as per the Gospels, creates a summary of the Law that essentially stands superior to it while simultaneously being more challenging: Love God with All You Are, and Love Every Human with All You Are.

I cannot accept that the Creation is ontologically flawed. This is a point where I’m in sharp contradistinction to the Gnostic mythos. In the Catechism of the Ecclesia Gnostica, of course, there’s a point made that the matter which the demiurge uses to create the world according to the Gnostic myth still comes from Sophia and is therefore not entirely bad or disconnected from God.

The Gnostic mythos, of course, is not clear, cut, and dry, and it’s open to interpretation. While I don’t necessarily see the said characters above as literal entities with their own personalities and whatnot, I do see principles working in the universe, and of course the reality is that God and the Aeons may categorically be beyond anything of which we can conceive.

An interesting implication to point out is that while the Gnostics essentially say the demiurge created the universe, it’s also out of Sophia that he creates the universe- we might think of it as being the afterbirth, and thus the Sophia is intimately connected to matter.

Bernadette Roberts says the bit about our being made out of Christ as a kind of Eternal Form (but not in the Platonic sense, or at least as she understands it) without quite going to the point of saying, “Christ is matter.” So it’s interesting to see the connection that they have in their respective positions despite her not including Sophia and being more orthodox minded.

I do sharply disagree with Bernadette when she suggests that Gnosticism has never been representative of authentic Christian mysticism. While her ultimate insights into Christianity are indeed beautiful and make the religion make sense and essentially redeem it from the 2000 years worth of bullshit that it’s included, she DOES go so far outside of actual Christian orthodoxy that it’s strange she would even dare suggest that the Gnostics are somehow inauthentic Christian mystics when her own path overlaps with the Gnostics so many times that she could well be placed in the same category as them.

But then, she is human, and humans have flaws, and she’s not even sure of everything that goes on with her, so I’m not attacking her or blaming her, only pointing out that it’s strange that she goes outside the line and it’s okay for her to do so and challenge the Church but not okay for people who have been doing that for nearly 2000 years to do the same thing- in other words, many Christians wouldn’t consider Bernadette Christian by virtue that she’s Catholic, and secondly, many Catholics who read her mystical account wouldn’t consider her Catholic by virtue of the number of Catholic teachings she disavows.

Just some thoughts.

Beaux


Mundaneness and the Spiritual Life: The Great Intersection and Potentially Most Difficult Part

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In ancient times, the spiritual people were of a different caste, a different breed, set apart, and often left the life that would be considered normal.

Some spiritual paths still allow for this, and many have the option of staying in the world as well.

The mystics I know by and large live in this world, the so-called “mundane” world, and thus we are meant to put up with the stresses and hassles of everyday life, from human relationships to scrubbing the toilet to traffic jams.

This path, by the way, is much more difficult, because one must juggle the attachments one has, one must be living in both the real world and the ideal world- a foot in each world, drowning in the ocean of love, and who is nearer the other shore, and at that, which shore? So goes the Sufi sayings.

Dealing with people who have little to no spirituality can seem difficult. People who have a low view of reality, people who don’t have even a rudimentary spiritual understanding or a lick of self-awareness or who are full of ignorance, can grate on one’s nerves.

This is the opportunity, then, for those of us who are awake or more awake or self-aware to become even more self-aware. What I mean to convey is that we must engage actively with people about things that we may otherwise have no interest in, things that are commonplace and unimportant, for the sake of being able to relate to those people, for the sake of being able to show compassion and understanding for them.

After all, few of us are born into enlightenment or the unitive state or whatever you may want to call it. Most of us struggle and fight our way to enlightenment, and frankly, some people, even if they’re aware such a thing exists, aren’t interested in it, period. But most us mystics have some degree of development beyond a “typical” person, even if we’re not completely to the goal. Thus, we must understand that we were not always where we are, and as appalling as it may be to see others who are asleep, they, too, have the potential to come out of their sleeping state onto the path towards enlightenment.

The balance between the mundane world and the spiritual world can be straining, and is in fact straining, but it is meant to be so, for under said strain is where we surrender our ego to the Divine. We, alone, cannot bridge the gap between Heaven and Earth. Perhaps this is one of the meanings of Christ coming as a Redeemer of mankind- that it is ultimately the Divine, not Man, that intervenes and closes the separation between the two forever. In Christ, the God-Man forever unites the Divine and Human natures.

The opposite problem can also arise. There is a potential hazard of the mystic “spiritualizing” things that aren’t, in fact, spiritual. Without falling into an absolutist position on things, it is safe to say, with reliance on reasoning and common sense, that one’s Higher Self and even God alike do not care if you eat pepperoni pizza or sausage pizza; this does not make any difference. That is not what the spiritual life is about.

In closing, I would like to extend my commendation for those who stay faithful through trying times in the mundane world and encourage them to embrace it. We cannot help that some people have not awakened as much as we have, but we can help our own awakening by progressing forward and showing compassion for those who have not yet arrived where we are, as many of us have not yet arrived to our ultimate destiny.

Beaux


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