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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On the Rosary

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An interesting thing to note is how sometimes the Anglican rosary is touted as being more “user-friendly” than the Dominican (or Catholic) rosary of Our Lady. The reasoning is kind of strange to me on a few levels.

Let’s consider first that the Dominican rosary revealed by Our Lady was revealed as a one and particular whole; the hypothesis about the development of the rosary prior to that is that the monks in Christendom would recite all 150 Psalms during the course of the day. 

The common people, then, who might not have memorized all 150 Psalms, somewhere substituted the saying of 150 Our Fathers or, in some cases, 150 Hail Marys. 

The rosary was revealed with a set of 15 mysteries (and now 20 if you count the Luminous mysteries given by Pope John Paul II), ten Hail Marys being attached to each mystery. The rosary also goes through many of the major events in the life of Christ. 

The problem in thinking, of course, is that the Dominican rosary, as in the rosary with the specific number of beads on it, can ONLY be used to pray in this way, and that the Anglican rosary, devoid of specific prayers attached to it, is therefore easier to use.

Well, one thing is true: the Anglican rosary is shorter than the Dominican rosary, whereby there are 4 sets of 7 beads (called weeks) and a larger bead that precedes those four. 

Now, I will hand it to the Anglican rosary and specifically this website in question for showing all the various levels of symbolism that exist in it: The Anglican Rosary. The symbolism that exists in the conscious design of the rosary actually reminds me of the Qabalah and the various connections that are made among numbers and symbolism. So, I can praise whoever developed the Anglican rosary based on that, especially when all the symbolism is present in the numbers.

At the same time, the prayers for the Dominican rosary can also be changed and altered as one wishes, so on level, I don’t see the need for a person to, say, own both kinds. But some people like their prayer beads and such, so I say whatever and to go FOR IT if needs be.

Stevo

Memoirs of My Religion IV

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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