Dream of Fusion

Leave a comment

I had a weird dream the other night.

In the dream, I was Satan, and I had been cast out of Heaven, but I made it back. I recall climbing through a house, going up stairs, ignoring the warnings of angels. I may have even fought a few.

I confronted Jesus, and He wouldn’t let me see the Father, who was in a different chamber- the innermost chamber of Heaven, which was structured like a large house. There was a definite sense that my being cast of of Heaven had been more of an injustice, a political maneuver, than anything else.

Jesus told me that if I didn’t leave on my own accord, He cast me out of Heaven again.

And so I lost my temper and tried to gore Him, which resulted in our fusing together, and I (we?) fell to Earth, to the world of everyday life.

And every person I saw looked to me like my child, and nobody knew who I was, that I was Jesus and Satan fused together. I remember seeing my friend John and his family, and looking at him, at how perfect and true he was; the truth of humans being the children of God was so very apparent in the dream.

Then I woke up, but now that I remember that dream, I see that it was important marked something from a spiritual perspective. Wow.

Steve

Memories of Sufi Love and Jesus

Leave a comment

Now I’m beginning to slowly remember some of the love I had for Jesus, back in my days of identifying somewhere between Sufism and Gnosticism.

The reality is that somewhere along the line, I got caught up in too many other things. The reality is that, as I listen to music from 2011 released during Lent (Lady Gaga’s album “Born This Way”), I can feel my heart’s memory pounding and pumping through me, the adoration I gave to the suffering Christ all the way through and because of His very Being, and not because of all the ridiculous politics surrounding His alleged followers.

My openly declaring myself a heretic has gone well, and I’m happy and feel free to seek God in all things, in all places now. Maybe “God” isn’t the best word to use; the Divine? Life? Ultimate Reality? I’m not sure.

Maybe my own ego complicated everything.

But something else also happened when I turned 29- I said that I would give everyone a year of fair warning and that once I turned 30, I was DONE with the bullshit- other people’s bullshit, my bullshit, all the bullshit. Age 30 is way too old to not be honest, authentic, and to the point. I’ve lived my life in a weird place of being afraid to speak out because I didn’t want to cause waves, but here’s the thing…

…maybe speaking out gives other people a sense of solidarity and hope- a sense of ability to relate to me- a sense of happiness, peace, and alleviation of suffering. My silence has been for the sake of the people who might be hurt that I disagreed with them, who might not like me, who might not accept what I had to say.

But the reality is that after 30, I simply won’t have the room to care; after I turn 30, it’s a matter of “this is the way it is, and I’m open to reflective thoughts and insight from different angles, but I’m not open to bullshit just because it makes you comfortable.”

To be a good human, life demands of us integrity, honesty, openness, consistency, consideration, and reflection, not silence that masquerades as holiness because we are, in fact, despondent and afraid.

And I fear that’s where I’ve been.

The “Satan” experience returned recently. I’m not sure what to make of it, or of my Shadow, or of what’s going on here. I can seem to hone in on him- but I can’t dialog or relate to him very well. The internet was no help because all the exercises in relating to the Shadow lacked any kind of ritual or specificity- they seemed vague and seemed more focused on the traits rather than the being itself.

One thing is for sure, the Shadow isn’t the same in everyone- I guess some people just lack things that other people have.

In other news, Alabama, my home state, moved forward in marriage equality. I only commented on forums a few times, and I didn’t attack anyone, but I did make my voice known in the midst of the bigotry.

In fact, part of the reason I openly declare myself and own the title “heretic” is because I’m not playing the “game” anymore of identifying with idiot “Christians” and lumping myself with them and trying to defend the like 5% of people who get it. And it’s not because they agree with me that they get it, it’s because those people actually end up touching some powerful and deeper Reality, and the rest of the people just waste everyone’s time including their own by quoting endless streams of Bible verses at people.

The thing is, I don’t see the appeal in it- those people, those self-styled “Christians” have nothing appealing about their religion. It looks boring, stuffy, hateful, and anti-intellectual. Why in the hell would anyone in their right mind want to be part of that?

I remember what Evangelical Christians were like when I was young- basically, anything cool, interesting, fun, or novel, or, God forbid, sexual, was considered EVIL and of the DEVIL.

And it was idiotic. And I get that now.

Also, the people who propose that particular world view are not really the sort of people I would WANT to spend eternity around if they aren’t going to be changed too terribly much. Yes, I would rather go to Hell and burn forever than be around the bigots in this life that turned me off Jesus’s people as a whole.

Another thing is that pretty much all the people who are slated to go to Hell according to the self-styled Real, True Christians are the people that are most worthwhile in my life.

But it’s their Hell, so I say, let them burn in it. Not a charitable or Christ-like attitude, but at least I’m fucking honest, HAH.

Stevo

Memoirs of My Religion IV

Leave a comment

After the terrible experiences with the Actual Freedom Trust and the struggle of my young mind to once again learn how to think for itself, I floated through the ether of world religions for a while. I knew I needed a spiritual path to walk, that I needed something that could give an expression to what I experienced within myself, but it was increasingly difficult to trust any system.

One thing I noticed is that for a long time, religious experience had, for me, been all about swallowing certain beliefs and never taking any kind of action. I came to dub this process “the measuring of spaghetti” and will blog on it later.

One of my former friends made a statement that I considered: it would be better to follow a path that is from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic world view than it would be to go with something foreign like Buddhism.

But the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions remained quite repugnant to me in many regards: it spoke of the idiocy and fundamentalism of my childhood, of the constant wars in the Middle East, of the atrocities committed by the leaders of these religions in the past.

Around the Autumn of 2007, I had a series of epiphanies. The first I remember happened while I was driving home one night.

While on Fortner Street, I remembered the love of Jesus in my heart. I remembered the depth of the love, and initially, I tried to fight the experience- then I realized I had to go through it, that I couldn’t just ignore what I was being told.

And it was true, a large part of my experience in being Christian when I was younger was simply in the desire to help other people- the overwhelming compassion that I felt for humanity due to Christ’s presence in my heart.

That night, or a night not long after, I had another epiphany as I was falling asleep. I realized that the Wiccan God was indicative of Nature and the Seasons, much in the same way as the Dying and Resurrecting Savior Jesus Christ indicated the Sun, Nature, and the Four Seasons (the Four Points of the Cross and the Sol Invictus, you see). They were one and the same Archetype within me- God truly was ONE!

That night, I had a dream that the Earth itself was Christ. I remember being in an airplane, and seeing a bright lava running over the face of the Earth- only to realize it wasn’t lava, it was blood, and upon landing, we saw these strange bubble-fruits that were like blood cells. This was the blood of Christ.

So I began looking into Christian Mysticism, starting with Bernadette Roberts, who was the first Catholic Mystic of whom I could think.

Needless to say, if you read anything by Bernadette Roberts, she’s REALLY a mystic- saying all kinds of things about Reality that are so far out of bounds from what Catholicism seems to normally teach that she would likely be declared a heretic if she ever reached a high level of popularity. But she has a strange balance between Orthodoxy and her Extreme Mysticism, which is very confusing.

Next, of course, came Gnosticism. This was before I realized that Gnosticism wasn’t a coherent, singular movement, and the first group I came upon was actually kind of, well, homophobic and seemed lumped in with the “sex is bad” Gnostics. Later on, I came to realize this group wasn’t related to Gnosticism as it relates to Christianity, and therefore I had no business messing with them in the first place.

Then I happened upon the Ecclesia Gnostica, which translates to Gnostic Church. I read an article by the +Bishop Stephan Hoeller called “The Gnosis of the Eucharist,” which can be found below.

The Gnosis of the Eucharist

I recalled in one of my history classes my teacher had been an Episcopalian, and she had explained that Roman Catholics and Episcopalians go to church to take Communion- that this is reason they attend church, as opposed to the Protestants going to “hear preaching.”

So, everything suddenly fit in my mind. Something snapped. The Holy Eucharist made sense to me- going to take God in the Eucharist was something that made sense on a level that my mind couldn’t fully reach (and still can’t.)

This was the active component that I had been searching for- I had all the theory of Christianity, or at least the gist of it, and now I knew what I had to do, what was going to be done.

I voraciously began to consume all material I could on Gnosticism, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and the Eastern Orthodox churches. I romanced Christianity and had many dreams about taking Communion. I searched for a rosary, I romanced the liturgical year, I watched Mass on EWTN.

Thus began the modern “era” or “chapter” of my religion and its experiences. There are, however, a few more bumpy aspects to it, as we shall see.

Beaux


Spiraling Path

2 Comments

The path to God is, oddly enough, not linear by any stretch of the imagination.

In the Western word, we have largely inherited a linear, rationalistic explanation of the world that is rooted in the philosophical traditions of Greece. For scientific purposes, this worldview is absolutely top-notch and has yielded many fruitful results; consider the miracle of the computer I’m using to write this, and you need to observe no further!

However, somewhere along the way, we largely have forgotten that life is not always linear, logical, neat, and organized. This is an aspect of reality, yes; it is not the same as reality overall.

Earlier in the year, I read an incredible book called The Celestine Prophecy. The book gave a brief synopsis of the condition in which we live, which is to say the historical context in which our modern-day American worldview has evolved, going back to the Middle Ages and then proceeding through the Reformation, the Renaissance, and so forth.

The explanation was essentially what I’ve already set forth above, in case you’re wondering.

To my point: when it comes to dealing with God, or if you will, the Truth, the Ultimate Reality, things start getting…weird. Things are not easily packaged or constrained. God cannot be put in a box, so to speak. There is no progress from point A, to point B, to point C, and then BOOM, you arrive. There is no magical formula of 2 + 2 = 4 when it comes to God.

Rather, the path, as I have experienced it, is very much a spiral.

Perhaps this is the inner meaning of why churches build labyrinths for people to walk.

To exemplify what I mean: one day, or perhaps for a few weeks at a time, there is a huge sense of separation from God. I feel irascible at best and outright hateful at worst. No matter what I do, somehow, I see to largely be unable to make any kind of progress spiritually or otherwise. Things for which I should have the utmost gratitude are taken for granted, and my heart is largely closed off to others.

Then, for no apparent reason, days later suddenly I will feel the presence of God in my heart. I will perceive God in the world around me, in the people around me. Life will have a meaning, a purpose, suddenly endowed in it again, and none of it is by my own effort. In this moments, I have gratitude, I have peace, and I want to share the bounty of my joy with others.

And so it is for those insane enough to make the journey to God. Ms. Tweedie, the Sufi mystic, says in a video that in their group the spiral path is called the “yo-yo syndrome,” because you are up and down, up and down.

Spiritual practices are the same way. Some days, prayer and meditation are extremely enlightening, and I feel the love of Christ pouring into me. Other days, God seems to not care, to not be listening, to not exist.

Perhaps the most annoying feature of the spiral path is when I get hurled between two or three different religions. The essence of Sufism burns deep within me, but the beauty of Catholicism and Gnosticism allures me. Then I see the Hindu deities and think, ah! They’re so brilliant and creative, so vivid!

Either way, making a formal commitment to an organized religion is difficult when you’re suddenly tossed in a different direction.

That is the essence of the path, though. You cannot escape it, not really. Or perhaps you can; perhaps there are indeed people who do not go through so much as trouble as I. Ms. Tweedie certainly went through far more trouble, as you can read in her diary, Daughter of Fire. Her trouble was of a different sort, not nearly as intellectual in nature.

To my knowledge, I have never met my so-called “Guru” or “Teacher” in this life, not in a physical sense. Energetically, I seem to have been connected to a Teacher at some point in time, who is perhaps actually my own inner Guru teaching me. Of these things, I cannot be sure at this moment, and with that, I am fine. I have faith that later on, things will be explained and revealed, and I’ll be able to see what was going on in retrospect.

And the path spirals onward.

Beaux


Memoirs of My Religion I

7 Comments

For the first five years of my life, I was raised Southern Baptist. The peculiarities of Baptist theology were not necessarily present at this time in my young mind; that is, the differences between Baptist theology and older Christian philosophies and positions did not stand out.

The theological view on things that I had was rather infantile. The basic idea is that if you were good, you would go to heaven, and if you were bad, you would go to hell. God, Jesus, and the Devil all existed, along with some mentioning of angels and less often, demons. Jesus was the Son of God, and that was about the extent of it.

The order of events at church wasn’t too intense. We went to the children’s Sunday school, then we went to Children’s Church, where we did some kind of craft and had juice and cookies.

At around age 5, we stopped going to church. That was actually quite fine with me- I had a Nintendo, and that meant more free time for me to play it.

Around age 6, the so-called Bible Story Ladies started coming to my Elementary School. This is where we were told stories about God and then we were compelled to ask Jesus into our heart, if we hadn’t already done so.

Think about that: at the age of 6, I was asking Jesus into my heart to save me from the eternal damnation that these women were telling me about.

I felt that believing in God was enough at this point, and that was what we were taught. I certainly didn’t believe that one had to attend church; that was inconsequential.

Around age 10, I started going to another church with some family members. This was an Assembly of God, a highly Pentecostal, fire-and-brimstone, fundamentalist, literalistic Christian church. The worship service was highly informal, and I never really cared for it.

My interests lay in studying the Bible and learning about theology. Always inquisitive (like my grandfather), always wanting to learn the abstractions of things, I asked questions, some of them a lot more challenging than the people at the church seemed to be used to. Thus, I often received answers, though many times they were not fulfilling and didn’t actually answer my question.

Bear in mind: this was before the days of the internet as we know it today. The kind of information on theology, etymology, liturgy, mysticism, and so forth that we have today was largely inaccessible in those days unless you had access to a good library, and being in a small town, that wasn’t going to happen.

One of the earliest and biggest intellectual hurdles I had when with Christianity was the doctrine (dogma?) of the Holy Trinity: for those of you who are not familiar with this particular central tenet of Christianity, the Holy Trinity entails that God exists as ONE GOD in THREE PERSONS: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all ONE GOD but exist in THREE PERSONS. They are each consubstantial with one another but are not the same person.

I wrestled with this idea for years, because it was introduced to me later on, probably after I started going to church.

The image that had been presented to me as a child was much closer to the Jehovah’s Witness theology, believe it or not, and I’ve had other people say the same thing: God was our heavenly Father, Jesus was the Son of God (but not God Himself), and the Holy Spirit was the active presence of God’s Spirit on Earth. Not difficult.

Oh, but no. Suddenly that was not the case.

So one day when I innocently asked the question of why Jesus prayed to Himself in the Garden of Gethsamene, I was told, “He didn’t…He prayed to the Father.” I challenged this at some point because I was told that He and the Father were the same Person.

This is when a new bit of theology was thrown at me: I had already become comfortable with the illogical doctrine of the Trinity, only to suddenly be told that God the Father is still GOD, and that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are like Gods, but not God Himself because of how in tune with the Father they are.

Good…grief.

Also around this time, the local school took a trip to Washington, D.C., where one of our stops was the National Cathedral. I remember being completely in awe of the blue window with the rock from the moon in it, as well as seeing the nuns and the entire High Church set up. I swore for a long time that this was a Catholic church but came to realize it later on that it was an Episcopal/Anglican church.

The mistake came because I thought when we inquired about the pillows on the back of the pews that the nun told us that there was a lot of kneeling in Catholicism, but she had actually said, “There’s a lot of kneeling in Anglicanism.” Now I get it.

But most of all, I was curious about the altar- why was it behind railing? What was the altar used for? Was it merely a symbol? I don’t recall anyone ever answering the question at that time. I do remember I bought something called the Comic Book Bible from the store. I also remember going into the side chapels and how rude the nuns were- except our tour guide nun, who was quite friendly and helpful.

At age 12, I started attending Emmanuel Christian School, a highly evangelical private school in the local area. It was here that I learned huge chunks of evangelical theology and essentially became a fanatical, brain-washed, fundamentalist Christian myself.

I managed to drive most of the people around me crazy with my insane rantings and fanatical positions on Christianity. What few people realized was that my own compassion drove me to be crazy- I was deathly afraid that my family members and friends would not accept Jesus and consequently would burn in Hell. It wasn’t about me being right- it was about me making sure people that I loved didn’t go to Hell for all eternity.

Catholics, of course, were frowned upon. The only thing I can remember really hearing of them was that they “Pray to Mary,” and that we’re only supposedly to actually pray to God. These words had some kind of strange, Puritanical influence that I sensed even at an early age.

My mother also defended Catholics as much as she made the above statement; she said that she couldn’t believe that someone who was faithful and went to Mass everyday would end up in Hell, that it just didn’t make any sense, and I agreed.

One of my friends at church had a Catholic friend who said that they didn’t pray to Mary, and we told my Sunday school teacher that. She simply, “Well, all of them but your friend do.”

I think I misunderstood what they were implying when they said these things: I understood them to mean that there were prayers addressed to Mary, but never did I understand it to mean they exclusively addressed Mary, which is what they were actually saying.

In 7th Grade or so, I learned about the Catholic Sacraments in my Christian school. Naturally, we were taught how the Good and Noble Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli liberated the Holy Bible from those nasty Catholics and freed the Gospel for all people from their clutches. But at the same time, the Sacraments caught my attention.

Specifically, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist- that the Bread and Wine become the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, caught my attention. Something snapped in my head at that age, and something pushed inside of me to want to become Catholic.

At my podunk, backwoods church, I was ridiculed for saying this. I remember one person saying that the Catholics let you do anything- “You can get drunk, whatever. You saved!”

Ignorance is not pretty.

My mom’s advice? “You can’t just go become Catholic- you have to go to confirmation classes and such.”

I really wish I had pushed the issue at the time, but I didn’t.

Things changed heavily for me around age 14-15, and we’ll get into that in the next entry: there’s a lot of ground to cover.

Beaux