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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Buddha Nature

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Since sometime last week, I’ve had the burgeoning sense of what I’ve called the “True Self” or the “Buddha-Nature” appearing.

The sensations are located in the stomach area, around where I might have referred to the “Black Fire” being, but this seems like it’s more than that.

The essential fact that I see about the Buddha Nature (the term I’m using currently) is that it underlies everything in reality; in all my moments of my lifetime, I can see that somewhere, I was aware of it, and it connects everything I’ve ever done.

The most fascinating thing is that it’s untouchable- no horrible thing in this world, no amount of suffering, can touch the purity of the Buddha Nature.

This random discovery and appearance of consistenly experiencing the Buddha Nature led me to start reading Daniel Ingram’s books Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. I’d started it a while back but didn’t get far and decided to give it another go. I’ve started meditating again, though the “Insight” aspect is new to me (but probably not nearly as new I think as it; I have a hunch that I know what is meant by the Insight meditation but haven’t properly identified it in my own experience), and well…things seem to be going forward.

All the things that I’ve found meaningful in life, for instance, the experience around Christmas and such, go back to these things become vehicles, reflections, and manifestations of the Buddha Nature. To wit, so much suddenly makes sense.

This is not something I could’ve claimed before.

Whether or not this will continue, I don’t know; it is interesting to see how Buddhist cosmology and Gnostic cosmology do indeed overlap, down to a mentioning of the Demiurge in one of the books I was reading (though by a different name).

I’m excited and inspired and ready to clear some meditations hurdles.

Steve

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

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

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