Thoughts on the Real Christ, Continued

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First, one must always recall that Bernadette Roberts is one of the main reasons I returned to Christianity in any capacity. Specifically her Eucharistic theology is what causes me to hold fast to Christ- indeed, there is nothing like the Holy Eucharist the world over.

I will have to offer some points of thought from my point of view here as well, but then what else could I offer?

Bernadette defines Christ in a specific way; other people use the word differently. For instance, we Gnostics would tend to refer to the Eternal, pre-existent Logos as the Aeon Christ.

Curiously, the modern Gnostics tend to hold a view that’s virtually identical to Bernadette’s own regarding the man Jesus and the Logos, though the word “Christ” comes into play here as well. So, too, would the Gnostics be in line with Bernadette’s Eucharistic theology (the Holy Eucharist is the Glorified, Spiritual Body of the Risen Christ, not the literal flesh and blood of the man Jesus of Nazareth- an enormous difference, and a huge reason to use the full phrase “Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.”)

So, let’s establish some things here on my end.

First, I’m not overly concerned with attempting to maintain “strict monotheism” or to avoid “tri-theism” or “polytheism” or “anthropolatry.” To be perfectly honest, there are various theological ways of looking at things that make all of these perfectly valid and subsumed into one another.

Second, I tend to fall along the line of Monism. Bernadette mentions this briefly but doesn’t detail it the way she does tri-theism and anthropolatry.

In fact, mainstream Christianity would make more sense if it had simply admitted it was tri-theistic or that it was practicing anthropolatry instead of doing the bizarre song and dance of theology regarding the Holy Trinity.

I’m not here to deny the Holy Trinity, only here to say that, at least from the Gnostic point of view, it’s virtually unnecessary to conceive of God in this way.

Bernadette did, amazingly enough, really highlight the virtue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and my devotion to Our Lady has grown immense, but the reality here is that the Gnostics see the Virgin Mary as the icon of Sophia in the way that Jesus is the icon of the Logos!

So you see, it’s all coming together, full circle, in a way I never imagined. The Blessed Virgin Mary is easy for me to have devotion to; I’m eager to pray the rosary, I’m eager to say Litanies to her. Am I falling into Mariolatry? Perhaps, but I also don’t care about maintaining “party lines” as Bernadette calls them.

Yes, yes, I’m stumbling toward God as ever. I have half a mind to one day write a book entitled, “How I Fell Up the Stairs to Enlightenment: Memoirs of a Christian Mystic.”

The experience of the Silence has happened a few more times, notably on Labor Day, as I rode with my husband and my stepson to see my in-laws. The ego dissolved somewhat, and I had a great sense of peace and almost of floating.

More recently, I was riding to a wedding and praying a sort of “mini” version of the rosary, and my heart opened to the Blessed Mother and God and I felt very in tune with and very in line with Nature- I could sense the connection, the “vitality” of the world around me and myself.

Suffice it to say that it seems like I’m on the correct path! Glory be to God.

Steve

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12 Days Later and The Real Christ

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At some point in time, after I had the experience of God (the one mentioned in the previous entry), I found myself researching Bernadette Roberts yet again.

Turns out, her book The Real Christ was now available for purchase through an actual publishing house and was on Amazon.com!

The price is steep- close to $50, but it was a worthy purchase.

Well, I obtained the book after a few days, and let me tell you, this is the most hardcore thing Bernadette has written yet.

In some ways, I think it would take a stronger background in reading the Church Fathers to grasp what she’s saying.  But the most important thing to note is that Bernadette is speaking from her experience- her direct, mystical journey. EVERYTHING she says is in that context.

I found a forum where people were pretty keen on bashing her due to their clinging to old dogmas and doctrines and criticizing Bernadette for putting her authority of experience over the authority of the Church. Well, what do you expect? Do I go with what’s actually happening to me, or do I adhere to believing what a bunch of people who didn’t have the experience tried to formulate through sheer reasoning with virtually nothing to back it up?

The two can go together- Father Troy Pierce once said that our gnosis can be verified through epistemis. And that seems largely to be what Bernadette has done- she’s made her journey, and she’s verified it through research into the Church’s teachings and writings.

The most bizarre thing about that forum is how so many of them hadn’t read the book, and how Bernadette had answered almost all their complaints.

The experience I’ve had as a Gnostic is this: most people are more willing to cling to the superficial narrative and imagery rather to understand those as symbolic of something deeper and more profound.

Moreover, Bernadette has a central point of saying that Christianity is about the Living God, the Living Experience of God (my phrasing, not hers), and it isn’t about the Dead Letter of the Bible. She speaks of how Catholics derive their authority from the Holy Eucharist, and how Protestants (generally speaking) do not- they’ve clung only to the Bible.

So, too, (most) Gnostics would claim that our authority and power is derived from and celebrated in the Holy Eucharist- that the Holy Eucharist is the experience of gnosis, albeit perhaps more like a glimpse rather than a complete and radical change.

Bernadette says so many amazing things that overlap with the Gnostic worldview that it’s almost shocking but definitely feels like it jusifies my own path in some way.

That’s all for now.

S.

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

Adam

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In the background of my consciousness, for some time now, I’ve been aware of a connection to other people, or at least the sense that someone is watching and aware of me. The challenge has been to then figure out who it is watching me, and why- and often, I feel this falls into the realm of “Who is my friend?” or some other such question.

But I realized that the observation wasn’t of a personal friend or even of someone else, though it appeared that way to my mind- rather, it is the common human nature, the Ideal of Humanity, the Form of Mankind, that which I have termed “Adam.”

I’ve tried in more recent years to escape Christianity in some sense, but I am drawn back into it. One thing that I must convey is that my understanding and experience of Christianity is through the lens of Western esotericism and what is often termed the Western Mystery  Tradition; I’ve likened this to modern-day Pagans and devotional polytheists and their approach to religion being applied to Catholicism, and that’s a fair beginning description of me.

Of interest in my reading recently is that Western esotericism is defined as a third way between the materialism of the Enlightenment and the fundamentalism of mainstream Christianity, and I think that explains a good deal about me and my inability to simply collapse into the worldview of so many of my friends and family who are atheists and skeptics and such. I simply cannot do it.

Back to Adam- no doubt my discovery of the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life in adolescence led to the development of various sensitivities, and as of late, I’ve taken upon the meditations provided in Stephan Hoeller’s The Fool’s Pilgrimage, my own attempt to raise consciousness and unlock inner mysteries of the universe.

So the idea of Adam as the Form of Mankind or Human Nature Itself, as an Ideal in the Platonic sense, is something I experience first-hand. It’s always in the background, it’s always there, connected to higher realms and to more things than just me.

There are likely implications in the Gnostic mythos and the mysticism I’ve learned from Bernadette Roberts; it’s likely that Christ unites with Adam to save us all, but this hits a level so esoteric and mysterious that I cannot comprehend it intellectually, and even my intuition grows foggy at this point.

I have another worthy entry, but that shall be for tomorrow.

Steve

Holy Eucharist at Home and Some on Bernadette Roberts

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Recently, I decided to join my husband’s Unitarian Universalist church. Several reasons contribute to my decision, but I’m not going to bother with them here.

I’ve decided to start doing the Holy Eucharist at home. No, I’m not an ordained priest, and so perhaps it isn’t “valid,” but here’s the thing: I’m tired of doing this idiotic dance of ordination. I’m tired of hoping, waiting, wishing for a Gnostic church to appear here.

It’s probably not going to happen.

In practice, I’ve gone to the UU for four years now, more than I ever did to the Episcopal Church- I still have fond memories of Saint Michael’s, of course.

At the end of the day, it’s just easier for us to go the UU and the come home and have Holy Communion.

And I’ve taken the liberty of creating a UU-esque Holy Communion as well. It has definite inspirations: the Liberal Catholic Church’s liturgy, the Book of Common Prayer, and a few Unitarian Universalist Holy Communions I found.

When I mentioned Holy Communion on Facebook, several UUs expressed interest in having this house Eucharist. I’m down for that while explaining to them a definite belief in the Priesthood of All Believers- I am no more or less a priest than anyone else around me.

I’m excited but have to do a few “test-runs” to make sure things will go smoothly. It’ll be nice to celebrate the liturgical  year with the people who are interested in it.

Shifting gears, I read a new article by Bernadette Roberts. I’m not sure how I missed it, but…let me say that whatever’s happened to me recently has also allowed me to see that I think she’s ridiculously aggressive in her approach and sometimes misrepresents other people’s positions. Some of her latest article sounded like word salad.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how the Incarnation being God creating Its own Human Nature and uniting It to Itself has anything specifically to do with Jesus of Nazareth if the Incarnation is not also God the Son appearing in the flesh as Jesus Christ. I mean, why bother calling oneself a Christian?

But then I haven’t journeyed as far as Bernadette has.

The most bizarre aspect of my dear Bernadette to whom I’ve turned for so long is that she’s fairly unhelpful as far as what to actually do goes- are we to sit and still the mind? Receive Holy Communion frequently? A combination? Seek to help others? All these things and more? From everything I’ve gathered, she began having mystical experiences pretty early in life and proceeded from there. I’m not sure we’ve all had those kinds of experiences from the beginning.

My own experiences have shown me that the Green Man for sure exists, but there’s not much evidence I’ve had for other Gods, at least not anything that’s totally conclusive.

I just wanted to note that her unnecessary aggression will likely push people away.

Steve

Ecstasy and the Green Man

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As I stated previously, so far, the only god that I TRULY know exists beyond any shadow of any doubt is the God of Nature, the God who appeared to me as the Green Man in my mind’s eye.

Imagine, if you will, that you have blood vessels connected throughout the world, and that’s essentially what the experience is like.

While listening to Celtic-inspired music the other night, I had an ecstasy of the Green Man- it felt as though he were inside of me, the ecstasy rising and rising again such that my eyes rolled back in my head for several minutes as I was swept away to the rhythms and the sheer LIFE FORCE pulsing through my body.

I have had to re-think Hard Polytheism, and it’s true, I’ve experienced other entities/deities to some extent, but none to THIS extent. Other situations may be deemed as “wishful thinking” or “projections of my unconscious mind” and whatnot, but the god of nature TRULY EXISTS.

Lately, my practice has taken a new route- I stand before one of my altars and draw the pentagram of the day’s corresponding element, and then I empower it with the planet that rules that day, and most recently, I’ve begun adding the associated deity. Then I banish it all, and repeat, several times again.

I fell ill this morning, awakening with a terrible headache and an upset stomach such that I vomited profusely. Could this be related to the spiritual practice? It’s certainly possible.

The important thing here is that I’m practicing something. As opposed to my teenaged years when I searched for some kind of ideal system, I’m learning through the process.

Rereading Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, I certainly am more discerning that I was at age 16. I simply throw out what I find to be bullshit and move on with my life and my studies.

During ritual itself, I know where things must be worked on- I have trouble raising and directing energy. This is now apparent to me, though the actual casting of the circle and calling the corners is fairly effective from what I can tell.

I think some of my Hoodoo had effect because of the energy raised while doing so- things like the Litany of the Saints and so on.

Speaking of which, I understand now that my affinity for things ceremonial in Christianity comes down to it all being a form of High Magic. That’s all there is to it. I couldn’t care less about the exoteric bullshit that masquerades as anything of substance. To see the energy raised, to see people connected to the Divine through Christ and to unite with Christ- that’s an amazing feat. Long, boring sermons on how everything’s a sin and you’d better behave or you’ll burn forever has little relevance to people in this life OR the next.

As someone once said to me, “I like Christianity for its mystical aspects. Other than that, it can go to hell.”

Certainly, I’m not entirely sure about Christ and the like. I understand why the Christian Church’s…well, EVERYTHING is questionable. Certainly the track record is bad. But a majority in nearly any religion or group consists of blithering idiots who stumble blindly, and I’m lucky enough to find people in various groups who are outside that majority. Praise be to God!

Steve

 

 

On Solutions and Levels

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Lately, as I’ve come more in contact with the Hard Polytheist community, I’ve become more sympathetic to that view.

Moreover, I’m inclined in my current practice to be a Hard Polytheist when addressing the Gods.

That being said, I’ve also been re-reading Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, and I’ve brought the knowledge of the last 16 years of my life to the game this go-around.

I cannot deny that there’s something intuitively appealing about the idea of the Gods being Faces of some kind of Divine Nature.

Moreover, when it comes to a matter of magical operations, it’s not a matter of what is true or false in terms of theory; what matters is the result. Does the method work? That is the question.

However, many people find the idea that all the gods and goddesses of history are really just names for one great big God and one great big Goddess is superficial, ridiculous, or incongruent with what they’ve actually experienced.

Where I would counter is that it’s certainly not Wiccans who invented the idea of syncreticsm or that different deities were, in fact, the same deity mentioned by many names- it seems this was a popular thing to do with the goddess Isis in the ancient Hellenic world, whereby various Greek goddesses were identified as truly being Isis.

So that really poses a problem- how can we discern which gods and goddesses are established and exist as opposed to which ones are, in fact, different names for the same deities?

Certainly the Roman deities generally seem to be the Greek deities renamed, or at the very least, the Romans syncretized heavily their deities with the Greek gods and their mythology.

I digress.

Generally speaking, I think that all things are ultimately manifestations of the same kind of energy or Being or Potential Being or what have you that some would refer to simply as “God,” and so I think that the references to “God” and “Goddess” theologically could well be representative of some sort of “Meta-Deity.”

In other words, there’s a truth that all the goddesses and gods of history are the same- at a deeper level, they originate from the same Energy or Principle- but they, in and of themselves, are individuals in the way that we humans are individuals but are still human and made out of the same “human-ness.”

Years ago, I ran into a similar situation where I saw a competition between the idea of Nirvana and the use of Low Magic- whereby one seemed only to bolster the Ego while the other was the Ultimate Goal, and one would always be compromised for the other.

The solution came as I aged out of my teenaged years and realized that we exist on several levels simultaneously. We simultaneously have concerns about deep spirituality as well as how to pay bills and whether or not we’ll find enough friends and someone to love. So the goals are, in fact, not at odds.

Either way, with the Divine, I now walk a path of greater humility- who am I to tell the Divine what and how to do anything? That doesn’t mean I take things lying down, though; my words are heard, my thoughts expressed, my spiritual practice a consistent aspect of my life.

So far, the deities who have expressly worked with me that I can verify are Hera and Aphrodite. I did call Hecate one night along with Dionysus and asked for their blessings, but I cannot say that they manifested in the same way as Hera and Aphrodite.

Also, I seem to largely be geared toward honoring one deity at a time, which is to say that in a Circle cast, honoring ONE deity and not two or more is the best way to approach things.

Anyway, yes. The solution is that we have to throw away our systems of extreme dichotomy, of the either-or- EITHER the gods are real in terms of being external, OR they’re a part of our mind manifesting. Perhaps it’s “both, and.”

It isn’t that Archetypes are strictly part of the mind- perhaps they’re part of the cosmos itself, and the Gods are part of that.

One thing I do know that- the Gods I’ve called do NOT appreciate being referred to as “just” archetypes or “Just” parts of the unconscious mind or treated as such- they will refuse to answer when that kind of hubris comes from me.

Next blog, I’ll talk about how this relates to Christianity and the conception of the Divine there.

Steve

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