Wicca, Christianity, Rituals, Thoughts

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Good grief, I know, I make a bad habit of constantly repeating myself on this blog, but right now, I have a few excuses, namely one: I’m sick, and I’ve been drinking Hot Toddies, so I’m in a position to not be completely in my head.

When I first left fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity and entered into the world of religious exploration, the religions to which I finally came after all was said and done were Wicca and Buddhism. For years, I held these two, and they stayed in conflict theologically. I could never make up my mind which I was, and I simply had to say that I was both Wiccan and Buddhist- a concept that not many people could grasp.

This same cycle repeated itself in recent years with Christianity and Sufism.

The content came down to this: one system would articulate the need for inner transformation and offer Nirvana, and the other system would offer a set of rituals and an external beauty; one religion focused on the inner world, and another the outer world.

More hurtful is the process of trying to explain to others that I don’t actually change my religion, I only change the “language” in which I speak that religion. It has been a long and difficult road, and it’s difficult for me to guess that someone could pick a religion, agree with everything in it, and then go on in life with, “Well, that’s that.”

Yet I do envy those people on one level.

Anyway, the more I reflect on it, the more I realize that perhaps it was not Wicca and Buddhism that were in conflict but rather my idea of what each represented to me: one represented power in this world, one represented liberation from everything.

In other words, one represented a catering to the ego, the other represented its destruction and dissolution.

Now, of course, we also have huge problems with Wicca for other reasons. The system is admirable, to be sure, in its most idealized form- it is, in my opinion, a stripping down of Western religion and an iteration of it through generalized symbols for the archetypes and the Divine. The original form of Wicca with which we are acquainted, from the mid-1900s, actually has several laws and by-laws and so on.

Modern day Wicca isn’t quite the same. Instead, it’s become a Pop Witchcraft phenomenon; there are infinite numbers of cheesy Wicca 101 books to be found in every bookstore, and though some of them have tons of information, they almost invariably miss the point or don’t go deep enough.

Some would say that about 99% of religion, but I’m not here to address that.

Some would also say that I could’ve simply taken the Buddhist deities and inserted them into the Wiccan pantheon and gone from there.

This brings us to one of the most irritating aspects of Wicca: when people, who don’t understand what it is, who haven’t studied it, who have no idea that there is something to be said for organization and tradition, say the damnable words, “It’s whatever you want it to be.”

No. No, the fuck it isn’t. It’s never been “whatever you want it to be” and it never will be. If you want a religion that’s “whatever you want it to be,” go call yourself an Eclecto-Religio-Practice-Person or something, don’t call yourself Wiccan.

Back to the Buddhist pantheon. First, I understood that, while there may be Buddhist deities who cater to the various spheres of life, Wicca, too, was a Western, not an Eastern, thing. Randomly inserting Eastern traditions into the Western mindset would upset some kind of balance I saw in the whole process, and besides, the Buddhists don’t necessarily work with the deities in the way that a Wiccan would, so the process is culturally and theoretically removed.

This, too, was the beginning of trying to make things all fit together, of trying to have the so-called elusive “seamless garment.”

Wicca, on the whole, has turned into a kind of Protestantism. Not Protestant Christianity, but Protestant OF Christianity. The few individuals who would dare take Christ entities and insert them into the Wicca system are immediately dubbed “Christo-Pagans” and ridiculed.

But in a way, that ridicule is understandable; somewhere, hidden in the depths of Wicca, IS the Protestantism FROM Christianity; it’s part of its heritage, its lifeblood, complete with the mythology of the “burning times” and blaming Christianity for everything bad that ever happened, not unlike the dimwitted Modern Atheists™.

A good example of this I read recently was on a series of articles I once praised on witchvox.com. The author did a good job (or so I had thought) in going through Wicca, doing research, and separating what can be traced to ancient religions and cultures and what was most likely an invention of Gardner.

Then I saw a statement about the Cakes and Ale. Now, recently, Michael and I had a conversation about how the Wiccan communion is related to the Holy Eucharist; indeed, this much is obvious, because it maintains a certain thematic integrity.

But the author of this article said that the Eucharist was based on the Celtic ritual of blessing grains and alcohol, and that the Roman Church “borrowed” the ritual, and then Gardner “borrowed” it back.

That’s an example of shitty scholarship, folks.

 

Now, I’m not going to try to convince anyone, including myself, that the Holy Eucharist is entirely something related to the Passover meal and Jesus’s words and so on, but let’s not forget that DID happen. Pagans and Jews alike pretty much ate bread and drank alcohol, so saying the Celts blessed grain and alcohol (AKA, prayed over food) and that somehow the Catholics stole this idea of blessing food and inserted Jesus into the mix just doesn’t make any sense.

But then, there are the Wiccans who say that the Christians stole all things ritual from them, and then there are the Christians who agree with the Wiccans that the Eucharistic traditions did just that; neither group checks into the rituals written of in the Hebrew Bible, apparently, where there are candles, incense, bread, wine, and prayers everywhere.

Oh, yeah, and there’s that part in Genesis about the High Priest Melchizedek offering bread and wine to God Most High.

So the idea of bread and wine being offered to the Divine is a pretty ancient idea, just saying.

And also, I should point out, I’m not here to defend Christianity or discuss the atrocities committed in Christ’s Name or anything along those lines; Christianity will have a great deal to answer for in the hereafter, even as it has a great deal to answer for in the here and now.

Nor am I here to blast sincere, seeking Wiccans. Wicca has a good theory underlying it, and it’s potentially empowering for the individual. The mysticism in it is underdeveloped, but as it stands, so is the mysticism in modern-day Christianity. We mystics must, in fact, dip rather deep to find it a good deal of the time.

Erik and I discussed these things, and I told him a very true point: after all is said and done, I would MUCH rather be a Pop Wiccan than a Pop Christian. What I mean to say by this is that the “Pop Christian” books by individuals such as Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen are just awful. The worldview through which they operate, the American Evangelical perspective, is just terrible. I would rather be a Pop Wiccan and do my little rituals and wave my little knife any day of the year.

A good thing about Wicca is that it made me feel like life has meaning; it made me feel as though Nature truly was holy, powerful, and a good thing. I could appreciate the changing of the seasons as part of the Great Happening of reality.
But then, I was always more focused on casting spells than I was on actually practicing a religion, so I mean, yeah.

Gnosticism did offer me a great deal of comfort, as it seems, in many respects, to be the meeting ground of Christianity, Wicca, and Buddhism. So three primary religions influencing me in my life ended up being rolled into one.

Jordan Stratford jokingly says that Gnostics are Catholic on the outside and Buddhist on the inside, and I think this wouldn’t necessarily be far off; I would edit that to say that Gnostics are more like Buddhists wearing Christian vestments or something.

But that doesn’t devalue the more orthodox Christian mysticism, either- Christianity is replete with symbols that have a lot to offer us.
Then again, so is Wicca, and you see how often that devolves into crap.

I think Wicca does have a problem with not being defined enough. It’s the double-edged sword; one is free to do whatever, but one doesn’t necessarily know WHAT to do.

If Wicca had specific symbols associated with the Wheel of the Year, I think it would make it easier. Perhaps there ARE definite symbols, signs, and underlying meaning present in the Wheel, and I’ve just failed to recognize. It wouldn’t be the first time.

When more thoughts come, I’ll write more. I’ve been so into writing lately, all these thoughts pouring through me, even though I’m sick, I can’t help but continue to write down my concepts.
Also, I should point out that in Wicca, the God is associated with Day and the Goddess with Night. I actually encountered the Divine in the opposite way- Sky/Day Mother, Earth/Night Father. It’s very strange that my actual experience would be in contrast to what is constantly repeated in Wicca, and that seems to be a huge problem- people repeating beliefs, repeating ideas, with NO experience to back them up.

One person, in fact, told me when, I spoke about the Earth Father Archetype, that he thinks of the Earth as both masculine and feminine; he missed the entire point and threw some theoretical, all-inclusive bullshit at me. Then again, if he were to speak of experiencing the Earth as both, that would be a different story.

The point is, this was an experience, an encounter, a real-time happening, not a mental concept that someone wrote about that I said, “Oh, that sounds good.” This was actual.

I can understand the feminine associations with the Earth, but it’s strange that the Earth would appear to me as masculine- and as Christ, no less.

Oh, the games archetypes play with us!

Pax Vobiscum.

Beaux

 

 

 

Religion of the Stars

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Things have begun to deepen or lighten up. The threshold is giving way into an unknown territory, the unknown land that we’ve all been to before but have forgotten.

I am standing again the Presence of God, but this is a different facet of God, a dark facet that I have rarely encountered.

The religion of the stars has returned to me, the Meta-Religion of mankind, the religion of the soul of which each and every religion and tradition in the world expresses a part, an aspect, an image.

It’s true, it’s easy to get lost in the practices, in the theology, in the images, but when reality intrudes, when God comes home, there’s no room for argument.

I’ve said “FUCK YOU” to God more times in the past year than I would’ve ever dared thinking of doing before. But I did it, and I have survived in whatever way, despite the momentary flashes of my survival instinct.

It is strange that only when I became absolutely hateful and irreverent towards God that God would dare reveal Itself. It counter-intuitive, it goes against everything that I ever believed or understand; it was only when I embraced Satan, when I embraced all the evil and hatred boiling inside of me as a paradox of my personality, as a contrast to the kind-hearted, generous, caring part of myself, that God began to crack through into my life in a more substantial way.

This process if far from over, but apparently, God wants me to be an asshole, at least part of the time. So I’m going to go with it.

In Forrest Gump, there’s a scene where Forrest and Lieutenant Dan are on a ship, and Dan constantly curses God, screaming and yelling at Him, challenging Him, going against Him, defying Him however he can…and I never put together the fact that the next scene is that Forrest and Dan’s ship is the ONLY ship that survives the storm.

So maybe the essence of it is courage. Maybe the essence of it is that God wants us to fight Him, to put a challenge, but not for His sake- for our sake, so that we can be shown how strong we truly are, so we can see our true colors, our true nature, whether that truth is good or bad.

But then, God is above and beyond taking offense, it would seem. God dances in the starlight He created, not caring about who would blaspheme Him or not.

It’s amazing. This Christmas has been a strange one so far, but the whole meaning of the Incarnation and so makes more and more sense. The Mystery of Christ is never exhausted. The Mystery of the Blessed Virgin is never exhausted.
I think that the darkness cannot comprehend the light, and I think that what we so often refer to as “Light” is actually only a prophet, testifying to the Light.

 

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2The same was in the beginning with God.

3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

Those few verses speak of all kinds of cosmology. This the unfolding of the universe: unbound light that shines into matter that cannot process and reproduce the true nature of the Light, and then the human mind seeing traces and patterns of the Light in the world, but not itself being the Light.

Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

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

On Meditation

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I have literally been meaning to write this blog for a while, as its contents may be one of the more important things that I’ve put forth. 

During meditation a few weeks ago I made a discovery of a kind of “mind-map,” if you will, that explains how the psyche works during meditation. 

Too much theory and too many models and too many maps CAN be problematic as they can quickly become overly complicated and will essentially tell us nothing; this will be simple.

Three parts of the mind include

1) The Participating Thinker

2) The Subconscious Thoughts

3) The Ego

Now, to explain what I mean:

The Participating Thinker is the part of our mind that consciously engages in thinking, that consciously weighs options, ideas, and goes through the whole process. Someone says something, we think on it, we engage it, it happens because we’re pushing the buttons and driving the motors.

The Participating Thinker is the easiest part of the mind to relax and get settled. Focusing on one’s breath or whatever object of meditation is what will cause the PT to slowly disappear.

The Subconscious Thoughts are more difficult to deal with, mainly because we’ve no conscious control over them. I consider this part of the mind to be a kind of threshold between the conscious and subconscious, as these thoughts are the ones that seem to intrude on meditation relentlessly; one moment, you’re quiet, then the next, you’re having an argument in your head over the price of eggs or wanting to explain something to someone. 

IF you can control the Subconscious Thoughts and get them to stop, good- that’s the hard part.

Then there’s the Ego- the actual awareness of all these things going on. The Ego has, so far, not disappeared for me during meditation. I suppose one might say I’m not very good at meditating, but I’ve almost always been aware of what was happening and maintained a self-reflection in knowing that I exist. 

Now, there may well be more parts to the mind that than these three; the subconscious itself, the unconscious, what have you, but I’m saying that for the purpose of meditation, THIS is what I’ve seen, and I thought it would be good to report it.

Beaux 

A Quote from Stephan Hoeller

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some clarification re: gnosticism. “it is not the physical world with its earth and trees, but the system (in Greek kosmos) created by unconsciousness that is evil, or at least relatively so. it is not an ethereal heaven, but individuated consciousness that the pneumatic [i.e., filled with spirit, from the Greek pneuma] Gnostic attains to when the limitations of unconsciousness are overcome by Gnosis. it is not sexuality that is evil, but the psyche’s bondage to blind instinctuality with its accompanying unconsciousness. it is not life that is rejected, but a life of brutish unconsciousness, which is the cause of most of humanity’s afflictions. the Demiurge is none other than the human ego, alienated from its deeper psychic background (the Pleroma): arrogant, one-sided, and having rejected the wisdom of the Feminine.” —Stephan A. Hoeller, “How to Understand Gnosticism,” Gnosis Magazine 2

Writing on Here

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I really, really should be letting you guys know what exactly’s been happening to me lately.

Sophia happenings in dreams and a visit with the inner gay archetype. That’s what’s going on.

So that’s going to stay here for now so that we know what’s going on with it, and perhaps later on I’ll recall and check back at the blog so as to tell everyone what’s happening.

Beaux


A Personal Lament

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As with all things, perhaps we can say that a blog has a particular feel or spice to it; this entry will have a definite ethos of honesty, as we’ll dive into some personal affairs and experiences of mine on a less religious sort of level, though indeed maybe it will all overlap.

The most recent development in my life isn’t exactly the best thing to happen to me, and perhaps I can give it up to God that something still deeper is happening in me, the depths of which I am unaware.

So begins the lament:

For years, since I first had the dreams of the beloved other, I have chased him in the waking world. I have been in love with that HIM for the longest time, and in so many lovers I have thought to have found him. Somewhere, I was promised that I was not indeed alone and isolated in the way I have felt for so long; this OTHER understood my plight, this OTHER would be my savior in this world, this OTHER would grant me strength and power where my strength and power had been taken from me from the people around me and the society into which I had been plunged.

I did not regard this OTHER male as being in any way my “completion” in the sense of my being purely and objectively a half and he my other half- but there was definitely a sense of “completion” that together, we had a mission, that together, we were something of a force in this world that would transform and change things in the overall story. In other words, there was a very deep and real sense inside of me that I would work in tandem with another man to transform the world, and I found that this archetypal pattern was told to me over and over again in stories I read and TV I watched- but it was somehow hidden beneath the surface, and only in recent years have I found the underlying psychological symbols dealt with in a direct way. For those of you who are interested in this, I suggest you check out the Archetype of Gay-Centeredness and specifically the archetype called the Double.

Yet I have continued to dream of him, again and again, and to feel the deepest and fieriest love burn within my soul in my dreams, a deep and powerful glow in the heart that warms all my flesh and makes me feel protected and empowered.

To have thought so many times again and again that I have found this person in the waking world, or that I and my companion somehow manifested this archetype, and then for things to have broken down for the very real reason that the person in question was always quite human and not some kind of eternal, internal archetype, has led me to being in a position of a somewhat jaded soul. This is through no fault of their own.

The realization earlier this year is that in all my relationships, I have essentially been the companion that was stronger- a strength that had depth, in other words, a strength that others may see but of which I am mostly unaware for whatever reason. The uneasy realization hit me that the original story of which I was told in my dreams- the other coming to me to help me, empower me, save me- has almost always been reversed in the waking world. My presence has been there to strengthen and sustain others, and when my energy is gone, when I can no longer cope, when I am pushed to my own threshold, often times the companion has been done with me.

The increasing reality that’s dawned on me is that relationships and marriage, while something I have wanted for as long as I can remember, are incredibly fickle in our modern culture. Coupled with my sensitivity and the past wounds, either I’ve succumb to the collective mind or I’ve simply become too exhausted to invest myself into the idea anymore, and the driving fire to find someone, the longing and passion and even reasonable notion that somehow I and another guy can mutually benefit each other in a relationship has all collapsed in on itself.

My heart feels dead, in other words.

Thus, the only remaining repose I have is in meditating or contemplative prayer. The strange nothingness of God is the only thing I have to drive me in life beyond bare survival- I could just heap myself up into a pile somewhere and rot for all the fire I have in me.

Of course, maybe this is temporary, and perhaps things will shift once again. Maybe my soul will erupt into flames of love tomorrow. Or in an hour. That would be lovely. (Hint, hint, Christ.)

But this is precisely the situation into which I’ve been thrown- here, I thought I would have deep experiences of soul-burning love or illuminating moments of God’s glory, and though they’ve happened, they’ve been few and far in between. Mostly what seems to have happened is that my contemplative prayer has simply eroded portions of me away slowly. In other words, meditating every night has slowly been changing me and taking things away from me and eventually, there won’t be any more of me to be taken away.

I lament that some kind of cynicism has taken hold inside of me. I lament that the lover I’ve wanted for so long may indeed not exist- and it isn’t that there isn’t a guy I like or aren’t guys I’ve liked, even recently, it’s just that the story I’ve lived is still true.

The only question now is, “How long, O Lord?”

Beaux


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