October 22, 2014

Physics and the magic of the Ancients

This post is the first real mysteries post.  Obviously mysteries can't be fully explored in a blog post, but herein is an intense introduction to the mysteries of magic and religion.  Behold the doorway to understanding how Stonehenge and other great structures were built, how matter exists, and the nature of the most ancient magic in the Universe. 

Who are the Ancients?

"Ancients" can refer to a lot of different groups of people.  However, for the purpose of this article it does not refer to the antedeluvian civilization; rather, it refers to the people who were the post Ice Age remnants of that civilization, and to the otherworldly beings who helped guide the earliest forms of our post Ice Age world. 

These people are those who taught secrets to our ancestors, and who built or guided the building of history's greatest structures and monuments.

While there are certainly much more ancient civilizations on the Earth, the ideas our civilization has about magic originates with the people referred to in this article.

Subatomic Forces

You probably know that matter is made of molecules, which are comprised of atoms. You likely also know that atoms are constructed of protons and neutrons, inside of the nucleus, and electrons in orbit around the nucleus.  However, modern physics is still working on deciphering from what these ions, charged particles, are made.

I am not going to get into an argument as to which modern theory is correct.  Instead, I will give you the ancient understanding, from when science was more advanced. 

The Universe is a living thing comprised of various thoughts.  These thoughts comprise all of the forces of the Universe.  However, they are without mass, and have no form of their own.  They are empty space, which always grows.

At some point these forces were caused to organize together to create the illusion we call the physical Universe.  This illusion is the means through which the soul of the Universe grows more complex; that central force which some think of as the heart of God.

The song which began everything

Vibration was the first physical force. Romantically, and somewhat literally, it was a song sung by God and the, yet noncorporeal, angels. The vibration of this song, its resonance, ordered the forces of the Universe to create the lesser forces.

The song caused those lesser forces to spiral and to spin, which created different harmonies.   Each harmony created each of the subatomic particles we know of, along with those yet undiscovered. 

Thus, matter and what we call energy are the result of those harmonies.  It is not so much that they created matter and energy as much as it is that the harmonious resonances formed the intangible substance of the Universe into tangible forms. 

Modern physics already talks about some of these forces, because they have other effects in the physical plane aside from forming energy and shaping it into matter.  They may speak of the weak or strong forces, gravity and magnetism among them, but they are just beginning to unravel the beginning cause of these forces.  It is amazing what humanity has already accomplished again. 

Magnetic and gravitational magic

Modern science has already captured some of the magic of the ancients once again.  The funny thing about magic is that once it is understood, it becomes science.

Our computers, magnetic trains, electricity generation and control, and much of our modern technology is magic to most people.   They know that someone understands these things and makes them work, so they don't literally think of them as magic. However, the knowledge of how many of these things work is limited to a few, and to the rest they are but mystical devices. 

Magnetism has been used since antiquity, and today we understand electromagnetism and use the forces to levitate and move massive trains at astounding speeds.  Magnetism is the core of modern electricity generation, an ancient force, harnessed to power so much of our lives.

Modern science is beginning to see how massive objects warp space, using the spectrum of light to estimate the masses and determine composition of distant planets and stars, learning to compensate for the effects massive objects, such as the Earth, have on time, and otherwise harnessing and understanding the forces of nature in increasingly amazing ways. 

The basis of ancient magic was in science, and sometimes technology.Thus, our modern science and technology begin to demystify some of that magic.  Humanity is growing ever closer to reclaiming some of the greatest mysteries of the Universe. 

The Ancients used gravitational and magnetic magic as balancing forces.  They understood how the planets from Jupiter inward, including the moon, have an effect on the gravitational and magnetic waves of the Earth, as well as the Sun's similar effects and the much lesser effect of other stars and the planet Saturn.  This knowledge is part the origin of why most ritual magic has certain ties to lunar, solar or astrological patterns; the other obvious reasons are agriculture, hunting, migration and the seasons of subtropical regions. 

Sonic magic

Remember that it was the resonance of the vibration of a song which caused the forces of the Universe to spin and spiral; creating the physical plane.  Likewise, sound, and inaudible vibrations, can reorder the physical world by aligning the spins and spirals of the ions and the lesser forces of the Universe.  Sound alone can accomplish amazing transformations of stone; causing it to weigh far less, liquify it, shatter it, or even cause it to dance and move on its own!

Modern science has touched on how to weaponize sound, but it has also begun to explore how it can be used in other ways.  It is possible that they will once again discover these complex melodies.

Here's a hint for you: many of the ancient carved groupings of spirals found around the world are actually an early means of recording a melody.   Unfortunately, I do not know exactly how to read and interpret them, so it is up to musicians and mathematicians to work together to decipher them.

When you sing hymns, drum, chant mantras, or sing out your emotions, you are likely engaging in sonic magic (coupled with thought magic, discussed below.)  There is power in rhythm, melody and resonance.  Some kinds of dance are an extension of that magic, using the body to help shape the resonance, but dance is a complex topic worthy of its own future post.

Light magic

Photons, light particles, are the earliest expression of the physical Universe.  They are pure energy, and, in a way, everything is constructed from them.  That is, they have the potential to be transformed into the subatomic particles which comprise matter.  Granted, they are not thought of as photons when they are in their earliest state inside of stars; wherein almost all physical matter is formed.  They are only photons when they are emitted as light.

People have been producing light for thousands of years, and today we can produce it in myriad ways, and even harness it to create electricity and movement.  We can even focus light with lenses, and intensify or "amplify" beams of light by lasing it through stimulated emissions of radiation. 

The Ancients used light to do many of the same things, though actual laser technology was no longer possible by that time period.  They did amplify and intensify beams of light in other ways, and Archimedes is among those who carried forth the legacy of their knowledge.  Parabolics is the key to most of what they accomplished with light.

Thought magic

Remember that when the primary forces of the Universe were first mentioned, they were referred to as thoughts.  They are an extension of the consciousness of the Universe.  So are we. 

Conscious living beings are physical embodiments of a part of the Universal consciousness; sparks of God.  Physical existence is a means for these sparks to become established souls on the prime dimension of the Universe; oneness with God, yet still individuals. 

Because we are sparks of God, we have thought. Though ou individual power of thought is miniscule compared to the Universal consciousness, collectively our ordered and focused thoughts can accomplish many great wonders. After all, thought is among the primary forces of the Universe.  Love, of course, is the most powerful of these thoughts.

Unfortunately, only science fiction and paranormal sciences have seriously considered the links between thought and the physical plane; with the exception of the increasingly rate experiments into psychic phenomenon by mainstream science.  It will probably be a while before science once again realizes the power of thought to be directed to change the makeup of the Universe.   It is said that thinking without acting is futile, but directed thought power can create action. 

Dimensions and layers

The Prime Dimension of the Universe is mostly immutable, and it is not subject to entropy.  In order to expand, the Universe had to create different layers, often referred to as planes or dimensions, with different properties. 

Each of these dimensions is unique, and the further out from the Prime Dimension, the more mutable the domension is.  The outer most dimensions are subject to entropy, and among those dimensions is what we know of as the physical Universe.

The inner dimensions, those which are somewhat mutable but not subject to entropy, is where the entities such as gods, devas, angels, great spirits, and by other such names dwell.  Between those dimensions is where the dark forces of entropy dwell, and where shaman are tested.  Some say that there are nine such dimensions, others say thirteen, while some believe that there are twenty-seven or more. 

The next dimensions out are where our spirits are, which are somewhat immortal; except that our thoughts and actions on these entropic planes can cause them to either grow and thrive, or to wither and suffer.

Shaman use thought magic, guided by higher spirits,  to walk the different spiritual planes, including those of gods and angels.  Witches, shaman and other magic users amplify their thought magic, often called "intention," through these same dimensions.   Even prayer is an amplification of intention being carried to the Divine and the Angels through the dimensions; to where thought has origin. Many good spirits echo our intentions, and resonate with our spells and our prayers.

The Ancients used dimensions for all of these things and more.  Some could even alter their form to use dimensions for swift transport in the physical dimensions. 

Through a combination of magics, people such as Solomon could even command demons in the physical world.  The Hindu vedas and Mahabharata have similar stories.

Ancient structures and monuments

Any of the above forms of ancient magic could be used by itself to create most of the greater Neolithic structures and monuments, if they happened to have the technology.  However, technology had all but disappeared by this time, so they had to use a combination of forces to accomplish the same tasks. That said, some few structures did have the benefit of the advanced technology brought by otherworldly beings (not aliens, per se.)

Stonehenge, for example, was a collaborative effort between humans, ancient humans, and otherworldly beings, but without too many technological devices available.  Humans provided raw labor, were recruited for chanting, drumming and singing, or added to the meditation (thought) circles which powered parts of the operation.  The Ancients provided the technical knowledge, and the most intelligent among them devised the chants and melodies or worked on tying the different forces together.  Astronomers from every group did the calculations to figure out gravitational and magnetic effects on the Earth, so that adjustments could be made by the geniuses. 

Many ancient structures around the world show keyhole shaped impressions cut out of them, some few with copper remnants.  While I don't know the exact mechanisms used, I do know that the copper was more than a staple to join blocks together.  Adding it to the stone allowed for electromagnetic forces to also play a role in moving massive stones.   Usually, there was a technological device involved, but sometimes it was simply an ancient people trying to imitate those who they thought of as gods.  Either way, the copper did also work as a staple to hold stones together. 

Through a combination of different technologies, even without technological devices, the Ancients were able to accomplish what seemed like magic. 

Only the beginning

Great Neolithic structures are only the most tangible examples which remain of the magic of the ancients.  Some of the feats they accomplished regularly were equally or even more amazing, but the only evidence left of it is the watered down stories which come to us through the filter of countless generations which lacked the ability to remember and grok the mysteries behind those stories. 

Some mystery traditions have guarded many of these secrets through the ages, including that through which I learned these secrets. Some few shaman and other magic users still employ some of these secrets in our arts.  This article exists to open that understanding to more people. 

Though this is not a strictly Hindu post, I am not Hindu, I believe that it is appropriate to end this piece with:
Namaste.  Om shanti shanti shanti.

September 21, 2014

Why I believe in God

The purpose of this post isn't to convince anyone that God exists.   One either sees it and believes, or doesn't.   In addition, I'm not speaking specifically about the Abrahamic God in this post, though my beliefs are heavily influenced by the Abrahamic faiths.  

There are many levels of my belief, as I tend to be the kind of person who analyses everything, perhaps too much at times.   Each and every one of my beliefs has to sit well both with my heart, and my reasoning.   Thus, the specifics of my beliefs change over time;  they evolve to better understanding.   To me, that is the purpose of life.

There are times when my heart has been shattered, or my life thrown for a major loop, and part of me wanted to give up believing in God.  I am going through a particularly rough patch at the moment; however, I find that as time goes on, my ability to doubt the existence of God dwindles.  My intellectual side has considered the question too often, and even the pieces of my shattered heart still echo with love for God.
I'll admit to feeling a little abandoned right now, but overall I know that God is a force for love and life.  It is not God who has caused my issues, but God tries to motivate other people to help those who are in need.  Such is the design of our world; we grow most by helping one another succeed, so God leaves most of it to us.

Cogito ergo Deus est

Descartes famously said, "Cogito, ergo sum," which is, "I think therefore I am."  I agree, and I also say, "Cogito ergo Deus est," which is, in my middling grasp of Latin, "I think, therefore God is."

Consciousness is a sign of God.  It is almost believable that life, even complex life, could randomly evolve from the elements created in stars; given the currently understood size of the Universe, it's statistically probable that if it is at all possible to happen, it would happen somewhere.   However, consciousness is amazing, especially among humans.  We have the ability to think and reason, to drastically alter our environment, and even to leave it and go into space.   Unlike machines, we can wonder about existence and purpose.  Consciousness and sentience are signs of God, or at least some divine force, even if you think of it as a universal consciousness (see "Who is God" also on this blog.)  Consciousness and sentience are not things which I believe can occur by random chance evolution; it goes far beyond survival strategy, and often works against us because of our ignorance.

Related to those concepts are good and evil.  We don't see much sense of good and evil from animals, though pack, flock, pride, and other group animals they do have a concept of behavior which is or isn't socially acceptable.  We find this distinction most pronounced in carnivorous and omnivorous mammals, elephants (herbivores) and primates (some of whom are herbivores.)  Our dogs, and only some cats, will even express what looks to us like guilt when they piddle on the rug, or steal food when our backs are turned.   It's a survival response, and evolved so that weaker group members could survive. 

Humans have these same drives, but we also have the ability to think of right and wrong as individual and abstract concepts, beyond survival and what is socially acceptable.   Even some atheists are vegetarians because they believe it is morally wrong, while some deeply spiritual people are omnivores and see eating both plants and animals as part of their place in the cycle of life.  We have empathy, even genuine empathy, when others suffer, often even if they aren't a part of their own pack.  Though, some animals, such as the African painted dog, will care for older and injured pack members, and form relationships with other animals.  Sometimes even animal behavior can be seen as more than just for survival.  They too mourn their dead, and perhaps some plants do as well.   There's no evolutionary reasoning for morals, ethics,  sentience and consciousness in general to randomly happen.  It is evidence that there is something greater guiding evolution and life, even if you simply think of life as the Universe guiding its own evolution and trying to understand itself.

I believe in evolution

Evolution, as it has happened on Earth, is evidence of God.

Based on the evidence currently available to humanity, evolution seems like a probability.  It does appear that life began as simple organisms, and gradually became more complex.  My book, "An Angelic Journey Within," offers one theistic answer to why it happened in such a way. 

It is almost feasible, as I said, that life could evolve randomly, through the trial and error of random mutations,  and become more complex.  However, since most mutations are maladaptive, causing sterility and/or death before reproduction, it simply doesn't make statistical sense that enough adaptive mutations would occur to explain the billions of varieties of life on the Earth (think plants and insects, mold, fungi and bacteria, etc)  not to mention all those which came before and were wiped out without leaving genetic descendants; including some species of hominid (early human variations) and billions or trillions of species at the end of each zoological era, only a tiny fraction of which survived to leave descendants.  (If future science proves that last fact to be untrue, we still have trillions upon trillions of species which have evolved over the past lifespan of the Earth.)

So, evolution itself becomes a proof that some force greater than us, which I think of as God,  is guiding the development of life upon the Earth.   It has happened successfully too many times on one planet to be random chance, and I personally think that the way nature and different species balance one another, like wolves culling herds, deer eating and then fertilizing plants, happens almost too perfectly to be random chance.   Only humans violate those principles, and our ability to do so, as mentioned in the previous section, with choice is even further evidence for something greater than us. 

I believe in God

The reasons which shape my personal beliefs about the nature and being of the aforementioned greater force; ie, God, are complex and, well, personal.   I believe that there is historical and cultural evidence of the Divine around the world.  There is evidence that the overall teaching of the Divine is that we are to learn real love and compassion for one another, and to seek knowledge and wisdom.  I believe that Yeshua, the one many call "Jesus," and his ministry are one important reflection of that message, and that there have been many others around the world throughout history and prehistory.  It is a nearly universal theme.  However, the specifics of belief are topics for other blog posts. 

The spirit of God be strong with us all. 

July 10, 2014

Are you a Shaman?

Read this blog post if you want to know more about shaman, whether or not you are one.  If you know that you are a shaman, enjoy this perspective, and I hope that you will leave a comment with your wisdom.  If you don't know whether or not you are a shaman, this article will give you a framework to find your answer.

The term, "shaman" invokes different images for different people.  Likewise, people have different thoughts about how the term is used, who may apply the title, and who may be a shaman.

The reason for the confusion is the layman's limited understanding of a term used in cultural anthropology and archaeology.  The term comes from the tribal cultures of Siberia and the surrounding regions. However, anthropologists use the term "shamanic" to refer to spiritual leaders from primal cultures across the world who have certain traits in common. 

"Shaman" come from different cultures with often radically different beliefs from one another.  These cultural differences are the heart of most disagreements on the modern use of the title,  "shaman."  What is absolutely true about shaman from one culture or group of cultures, may not be true for those from other cultures.   In our global, often culturally blended modern world, a conclusive definition becomes even more elusive.  So, here is a cross-cultural view to help you understand the heart of what a shaman is, the common thread which connects all. 

Cultural Context

Unless you are living among a culture with a primal religion, you probably do not think that you have much of a cultural context from which to draw. However, you do.  While it is good to learn from shaman, past and present, from other cultures, you are not them. They drew from their culture, though they were unique among their people.  In our multicultural world that means probably drawing your beliefs and practices from a variety of cultures.   However, ultimately shaman are unique people, and don't often fit into any cultural boxes.

Can you name yourself a shaman?

This question is, perhaps, the most contentious question in modern shamanism.   The simplest answer is yes, depending on circumstances.
Many cultures which have shamanic like traditions have strict rules for the passing down of their spiritual leader roles, and often only another shaman can name one as such within the context of that culture.  Thus, many modern shaman believe that one cannot name oneself a shaman.  They see it as a spiritual leadership title similar to "priest." (Though, even priests are often such in spirit and calling long before they are titled and gain a flock.)

However, if you return to what the core of being a shaman is, the common thread, it becomes free from the restrictions of those titles, and becomes descriptive of a person with a certain kind of life calling on a certain kind of path which crosses both primal and modern spiritual paths. 

In fact, in some of the cultures from which the term "shaman" originates use it more as a descriptive term than a title.  Sometimes there is one, sometimes there are many, sometimes even most or all of the tribe.  Sometimes they are regarded as sacred spiritual leaders, and sometimes they are reclusive and do work mostly for themselves or for the spirits.  They are often feared. 

Shaman must always recognize for themselves that they are a shaman before any other recognition has any meaning.  Some shaman are lucky enough to have another shaman recognize and guide them, and some have to walk their road alone.  The latter are becoming more common in this disbelieving, strife-filled modern world.   Even a shaman who is self (and spirit) raised and trained is wise to seek out other shaman, and to be careful in so doing.

How do you become a shaman?

A person who will become a shaman is chosen before birth.  You cannot choose to become a shaman unless it is who you are, and not everyone who is called will become a shaman.
The Divine knows that humans, on their free will, make life full of strife for one another.  Those souls who are selected to be shaman ate placed into lives which will experience that strife to a great extent.  A traumatic event is most often the means of shamanic awakening.  Sometimes it is a childhood illness, or epilepsy.  Other times it is a loss of a parent, sibling or someone else close to them at an early age.  Still other times they are abused. In some cases a shaman is awakened purely through an experience with the Divine, whether or not it is aided by natural hallucinogens.  (Use of hallucinogenic substances is not necessary, and is not usually recommended by modern shaman, outside of a cultural context.)

Regardless of how they get there, the next step is the same for most, if not all, shaman, and is reported by shaman from around the world.  It is the shattering.   The soul of the shaman is shattered, left in pieces,  sometimes ground to dust and scattered to the winds.  The shaman is broken, lost, often quite insane, during that period of time.  In some cultures, one who is recognized as a shaman is exiled for that phase, which can take months or even years.

The shaman spends that time analyzing themselves as they gather all of their pieces of their soul to put it back together.  The fact that shaman must go through that process is why shaman are skilled at helping other people with soul retrieval.  Each shaman has their own walk, their own process, and it is private and sacred.  It is not shared, except with another shaman whom they trust.  The one common thread which can be shared is that it involves an extended series of journeys into the spirit world, introduction to guides, and a lot of hard work and deep analysis. The shaman experiences more in that time than most people experience in a dozen long lifetimes. (S)he comes away with great knowledge, great wisdom and a very different outlook on life. 

Many who are called to be shaman don't make it through that process.  Some go permanently insane, others die.  All shaman are scarred by the process and may seem incredibly odd, or act randomly unpredictably from time to time. 

Do the spirits make bad things happen to shaman so that they will awaken?

No.  Shaman are placed into lives where awakening is likely to be triggered.  People have free will, and sometimes a shaman doesn't awaken until later in life.

The spirits did not cause the heinous event which triggered my awakening when I was a child, but they did cradle me, comfort me, teach me, encourage me and guide me back to wholeness.  In other words, they used the effects that horrible offense had on me to trigger my awakening.

As I noted earlier, some few shaman awaken purely through visions, without a traumatic trigger.

Is everyone who was once broken or who experienced trauma a shaman?

No.  Just as not every shaman has trauma, so is it that not all who have trauma are called to be shaman. Sometimes humans are just horrible to one another, and sometimes awful things just happen.  Many people are shattered, and there are many ways to become whole again.  Those people who are not shaman often need the help of a shaman to be whole again, and sometimes there are other ways to be whole again. 

What differentiates the shaman is that the shaman comes back together through the help of spirits, angels and the Divine.  A shaman takes a special path to wellness, which only those who are called to be shaman can take.  Through that road, the shaman is prepared to help others and/or to do other important spiritual work for the world which only another shaman would recognize is being done.

The shaman spends most of his/her time in spiritual work and learning, either in the physical world or the spiritual world; often both at the same time.  They are prepared and trained for their work, most or all of that training is often by God and the spirits and angels.

Are shaman better than everyone else?

Shaman are better at some things than anyone but another shaman. If you need to heal your soul, a shaman can help.  If you need spiritual cleansing of your home, yourself, etc, then a shaman can help.  If you need spiritual guidance or wisdom,  a shaman is a great source for that kind of service.

However, shaman is just a description.  It describes something about a person, and doesn't necessarily define them.  It likewise doesn't make them more important than other people.  That said, they are sometimes the most important people in their community, only because they end up filling many different important roles.

It is not a title used to boast nor to gain status.  One is a shaman because that path is the path which one walked and continues to walk.  The best shaman do their work humbly and only see themselves as one small part of the machine of humanity, which is part of the machine of the Universe.  Each part of the machine is as important as the others.

Should you call yourself a shaman?

That answer is almost entirely up to you.  No matter what term you use, if you are a shaman you are a shaman.  Just don't go using the earned, inherited or passed down titles of other cultures, unless that culture formally recogizes you in that role. While I like the term shaman, I use it only selectively when referring to myself, mostly only among other shaman to whom the spirits guide me. 

It is a unique descriptive term, and there isn't much to replace it.  Priests and other spiritual leaders are sometimes also shaman, but not all shaman hold official titles.  If you do decide to call yourself a shaman, be prepared to fend off nastiness.

Most modern shaman I know are fantastic people, but some few are jealous, judgmental,  and back-biting.  Some treat shaman as a title of prestige, an elite club rather than a humble, deep calling.   Some are just, understandably,  wary of other shaman because of the insane number of scam artists and just plain nuts who use the title to sound mystical.   So, use it if it fits you, but I wouldn't recommend putting it on your business cards unless you are recognized as such by a community, or you just don't mind putting up with the derision from people who think that they know better than you. You'll run into people like that anyway, in anything you do. 

June 4, 2014

My second novella

Many of you know about the recent publishing of my first novella, "An Angelic Journey Within."  I know that you will enjoy reading it, and you may learn a lot from it.  It is a fiction story containing many spiritual truths,  some deep and some more surface.  The message contained within it is multicultural and Interfaith,  and accepting of everyone.  It discusses subjects from science, creation and evolution mysteries,  history of the Universe, history of the Earth, philosophy, daily living and the potential of humanity both now and in the future. 

The second novella is a sequel, and from a different perspective.  The main character in the first book is a man who is a Messianic Jew, and it takes a Judeo-Christian viewpoint (though it is specifically inclusive of other viewpoints.)  The main character in the first sequel is a woman who is half Lakota and half Norwegian, and who follows a form of Wicca.  

However, this book won't contain a strictly Wiccan viewpoint.  Rather, it will contain the myths, legends and stories of many different cultures, much more so than in the first novella.  The point of the second book is to demonstrate that God didn't abandon other cultures, and taught the same basic message through many cultural filters. 

Though I consider myself to be a Christian minister, my training and study is cross cultural, and I have experienced many diverse religious and spiritual traditions.  I see the same spirit within all of those who most purely follow almost any path.  I see the same spirit in the Dalai Lama as I do in Pope Francis,  and in many other compassionate, loving, deeply spiritual people of many paths, including also some of my Wiccan friends. 

The main character in the second book is Sarah.  She is not named after anyone I know, even though I do know a few good people with that name.   Parts of her personality will likely end up being inspired by some of my friends who follow Wicca.

Before you start screaming about witches and the devil, give these books a chance.  The devil has nothing to do with people who live the philosophy of love and compassion.  He would only wish to see division between different groups who do, because if we unite, he is defeated.  We are stronger when we work together in love.

The overall message of this book will also point to the universality of the message and story of Yeshua (Jesus.) There are similar stories in many cultures, and many of those stories informed parts of the eventual myth which surrounds the life and ministry of Yeshua.  However, rather than disproving Yeshua, these other stories only demonstrate that Yeshua followed an ancient Divine pattern. 

Anyway, those are the plans for this book, but it isn't written yet (about two thirds done writing chapter one) so only spirit knows how it will ultimately turn out.

Love to all of you, even those who disagree with what I have said here.

May 25, 2014

Who is God?

There is no one right answer to that question.  God is so complex that many answers can be right.  This blog post only intends to cover God from one angle, though it is a broad, somewhat all-encompassing angle.  That said, this is a blog post, and cannot be comprehensive for any angle or view.

First, some definitions. Keep in mind that people don't always fall firmly into one category or another, and often beliefs contain elements of a few of these viewpoints. Also, these systems of belief are far more varied and complex than can be covered here.


Animism;  The belief that nature is full of spirit, even the rocks, and that these spirits can be angered or appeased. Sometimes the spirits can manifest apart from the objects of which they are a part, and some are godlike in power.  Many of the earliest known human religions are animistic.  It is related to pantheism.

Pantheism;  God is in everything.  It differs from animism only in that God is the same force in everything.  It does not involve separate spirits, necessarily.  However, many people consider animism to also be pantheistic. 

Polytheism; Polytheism simply means believing in many gods and goddesses.  It can be an extension of animism, where the spirits of natural forces are considered gods. It can be a creationist belief system. It is most often a combination of both, and other ideas.

Monotheism;  Belief in only one God.  Most often it is a male deity, but not always.  Most Christians, Jews (religious,) and Muslims are monotheists, as was the ancient Egyptian Aten cult.  Hinduism is sometimes called polytheism and sometimes monotheism. In reality, it is both, and it is also panentheism.

Panentheism;  The belief that God is in everything, and everything collectively is God.  It also contains the belief that the Universe has a collective consciousness.  It can be somewhat monotheistic,  polytheistic, or both.  It is pantheism also, but it specifically recognizes the collective consciousness of the Universe. 

Monistic panentheism;  Panentheism which believes that the Universal Consciousness takes the form of an overarching Divine being. That form is called God, though everything still is God.  The God form exists to direct creation, evolution and growth, to provide balance,  and as another way for the Universe to experience itself. Many followers of Jewish and Christian mystery traditions are monistic panentheists.

My beliefs are closer to monistic panentheism than to any of the other listed views.  I believe that God can manifest as one God or Goddess, or as many gods and goddesses, but that there is one eternal form which is the creator, God.

I call that overarching eternal form by the Hebrew name, "El Elyon," God Most High.  Yahweh is one form of that God, but God extends beyond gender and includes all genders.

God loves creation, and only wants what is best for us.  God rarely interferes directly, so that we may grow by learning to help one another as we face the trials of life.  God has equipped us with everything we need, including some bright minds, and these gifts are only valuable if we work together in the spirit of love and community.  

God doesn't punish sin, per se, rather,  sin creates its own consequences for the soul.  God does not torture people, especially not for eternity.

Though God rarely directly intervenes, God does hear our prayers.  In response, God grants us wisdom, guides us to knowledge,  and will even send angels to guide and guard us. However,  God's most frequent method of answering prayers is to guide us to others who can help, or to guide others to us. 

So, stay alert! You may not realize it when God is making you the answer to someone's prayer!

May 17, 2014

Winos take over park and shut down library

O.k., this blog is off topic. It just is.

  Also,  I want to make it clear that I do not generally call people, "winos," and the term is used tongue in cheek for those, like me, who enjoy good wine. 

I went into town today, hoping to finish editing the file for the print version of my book, intending to send it to the publisher today.  I just have a little more formatting to do, and then it is ready to have them send me a proof copy. After I approve a proof copy, it becomes for sale.

Well, plans are plans, but sometimes they change unexpectedly.   When we got to the Paso Robles library, all the streets were blocked off, as well as the library parking lot.   The gentleman who was working the barricade said that the library is closed today for the wine festival.

Now, I like wine. I enjoy going to tasting rooms now and then, and on a rare occasion I'll go to an event at a winery.  However, for as long as I've lived in this area, well over a decade,  I've never been fond of the way the big wine festivals are handled.

The city's main public park is shut down, along with streets around it.  There is no admittance to the public park, unless you have a wine festival ticket.  They erect iron barricades all around the park to keep the common folk out.  

Now, most festivals in the park are open to the public, no admission fee. I can understand that the wine festivals in Paso Robles and other local cities need to be different.  Alcohol is a big part of the central product.   I just hate that so much public space is shut down to most of the public. It doesn't help that it's expensive to attend.  

Wine is an important part of the economy in this region, and there are some excellent wineries around here.  We'll always have wine festivals.  Since I don't live in Paso Robles, I don't have a say in how they run their parks.  It is a minor inconvenience for me, and maybe I should have known that the wine festival was this weekend. I would never wish for the wine festivals to stop, so long as this region remains a prime wine region.  (It won't be a wine region for too many more years if this insane drought doesn't let up.)

It would have been nice if the library at least had a sign saying that they would be closed for the festival today.  They had signs about being closed for Memorial Day, but nothing about being closed today. 

Oh well, at least I got some new shoes while I was in town. I've needed to replace my shoes for quite a while now.  Found some good steaks on sale at Vons too.  So, it wasn't a wasted day.  Hopefully I'll be able to get back into town to finish the book early next week sometime.

May 11, 2014

Mystery of the Divine Mother

When most people these days think of a Divine Mother,  there are a few different views.  The neo-pagan view is often a dualistic or polytheistic view of either a god and a goddess, or even many gods and goddesses.  The Hindu view is somewhat polytheistic,  except that it is believed that all of the gods and goddesses are emanations from,  aspects of or one with God, whom they call Brahman.  To the Native Americans she is often the corn maiden or corn mother, or another benevolent mother figure.  To the Navajo, for example, she was White Pearl Woman, who lead them to their home and gave them the two-spirit children (often misunderstood as "hermaphrodite children") to guide them.   However, even some Jewish and Christian faithful also have a view of the Divine Mother.

Most people know of the Catholic (Eastern and Western) reverence for Mary, the mother of Yeshua.  She is Theotokos, the "God-bearer."  She appears in apparitions and gives messages to humanity from time to time, and in various places.

She echoes the ancient "pagan" goddesses in many ways.  She is given titles such as, "Queen of Heaven, " similar to Inana, Isis, Ashera and other goddess figures. The early paintings of her with baby Yeshua appear to be based on the Egyptian paintings of Isis with the baby Horus.  Her apparitions often echo appearances of the goddess.  Many people believe that her apparition at Guadalupe particularly echoed local corn maiden and/or corn mother legends. 

However, Mary isn't present at all in Judaism, and is not the only appearance of the Divine Mother in Christianity either.

In the Hebrew language, most names for God are masculine.  However, the name for the Divine Presence, which was with the Ark of the Covenant and in the Temple, was "Shekhina," which some scholars and mystics interpret as a feminine name.  It is pointed out that we were created male and female, in the image of God.  It is a view shared in some forms of Qaballa, and even in some forms of Christian Gnosticism and other Christian mystery traditions.

God is above creation, and within it, and all creation emanates from God. Therefore, God represents all possible genders. God can appear as male, female, both or neither.  We see God as the Holy Parent, capable of being Father, Mother and much more.  
I'm not advocating a return to the corrupted practices of Ashera worship, nor to any goddess tradition for Christians.   I do believe, however,  that we should take time to honor God as both Father and Mother, and to recognize the ways God speaks to us through the feminine aspect, and through both male and female spiritual leaders.  Take time, especially on Mother's Day, to honor female spiritual leaders in your life, and the feminine qualities of God. 

May 7, 2014

Religion, Spirituality and Spiritual Leaders

Religion is often defined today as being based in fear and control.  Spirituality is defined as ones path being free from that control.   However, it is a great over simplification, and it does a disservice to the heart of religion.
I am both religious and deeply spiritual.   I am not controlled by fear, I am lead through love.    I have freedom of choice and thought.  I don't believe in Hell, it's not even biblical, and I do good because of the love inside of me, not out of fear that God is gonna smite me.
Being religious doesn't mean being lead by fear.  It means studying God in depth, through one of the many world religions.  It is for some to follow one religion deeply, and to teach and guide others who study that path at all.  It is for others to follow a few religions, usually favoring one while being flavored by the others.   Still others are not dedicated to any one religion, and take a little from everywhere.  The latter call themselves spiritual or interfaith, and can be just as dedicated to their spiritual walk as one who is deeply religious.  Then there are folk like me.
I firmly believe in the teachings of Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit.  I believe that he had an important message for this stage of human development, and taught that we may become like him if we strive for our potential in love and wisdom.  
I also believe in White Buffalo Calf Woman and Wakan Tanka.  I believe in White Pearl Woman.  I believe in the Blue Star Kachina.  I believe in Ganesh and Krishna and others.  I believe in one God, one Divine consciousness which is more complex than all of the concepts of God and Goddess throughout all human existence.   It permeates everything, and creation is one expression of the Divine.  I am a monistic panentheist.  I consider myself Christian and deeply religious.
I am a priest and minister. Those are my job description, and they don't make me better than anyone else.  They simply say that the vast majority of my time is spent studying religious philosophy, learning spiritual truths, and developing spiritual gifts and learned skills.  It means that if you need a blessing, spiritual guidance, a cleansing, a marriage, a spiritual reading or many other services, you may come to me, and I may be able to help.  If you need a doctor, a baker, an automechanic, or a lawyer, the best I can do is pray that you find a good one.  
Priestess, priests, shaman, and other such religious and spiritual leaders are still needed.  Someone who dedicates themselves full time to spiritual service can help in a lot of ways.  Some use these titles to control and manipulate others, often through fear; however,  there are good spiritual leaders out there.
How to spot a good spiritual/religious leader:
1. They will lead you to knowledge and to finding your own understanding, rather than telling you what you have to believe.
2. Even if they believe in ideas such as Hell, it is not the focus of their teaching.  Instead, they teach you about the love of God and the love inside of you. 
3. While they may have their own rigid dogma they follow, they don't try to impose their dogma on you.  They may share about it, but they don't tell you that you have to follow it.
4. They do not gossip, nor badmouth others.
5. They are kind and generous with time and materials.  *
6. They are not jealous if you talk to another spiritual leader.   The best spiritual leaders encourage you to seek wisdom from a few sources outside of themselves.
7. They learn from you as well.  Each person has a unique perspective, and we can all learn from one another.
8. They admit when they don't know something and may even refer you to other sources of knowledge, including other teachers and students. 
9. They admit when they are wrong, and do whatever they can to make things right.
10.  They are humble and not boastful.  If they talk at all about the things they can do,  it is to make others aware in case their services are needed.  They do not boast, lord their skills and experience over others, nor do they engage in one-upmanship.  Because of this humility, others respect them naturally.  
This list is just a beginning.  Follow your gut instinct, and ask others who have used their services or who know them.   You will get unfavorable reports of some good ministers, and some favorable reports on bad ministers, but asking others is a good starting place.
* Good spiritual leaders may be generous with time and materials, but they are not usually wealthy.  While they will help for free wherever they can, especially donating time and/or materials to charity when they can,  but it is important that you compensate them for their time, effort and materials whenever you can. Your generosity allows full time service and for us to help others who do not have the means to make a donation.  It is our joy, our calling, our soul our life and also our job.

May 2, 2014

Fasting: Why and how

Fasting is the act of temporarily giving up something from your normal routine, such as food, sleep, sex, or speaking and communicating, as an act of dedication and sacrifice to God.

There are a few reasons one might fast. Some religious groups encourage a regular fast, monthly or annually, to help one renew one's dedication to God and keep one focused on one's path. Some people fast to show their dedication when making a deep heartfelt request of God in prayer. It is not magic to guarantee an affirmative answer, rather it is a pure act of heart and spirit.

Sometimes one feels cut off from God, or finds oneself wandering from one's path. Sometimes one has trouble finding one's path. These situations can often be helped with a fast.

Guidelines for fasting

1. Fasts are private. Other than discussing it with a physician before a long fast, and discussing it with others who are joining you in your fast, you should not discuss it. It is not to be a point of bragging. Of course, you may discuss things you learn during your fast.

2. Pray first! Before you begin your fast,and during difficult times in your fast. Ask for strength to fast and that your fast be worthy, worthwhile and accepted.

 3. Fast only as long as you need to, and don't over stress your body. You may wish to consult with a physician before beginning an extended fast from necessities such as food and sleep. Monitor your health carefully.

4. Pray, study, meditate and pray some more. Every waking moment during your fast should be dedicated to God. You should be praying, studying holy books and respected religious leaders and teachers, meditating and reflecting on God and the reason for your fast,singing hymns, praising God, and otherwise dedicating every moment to God.

5. Break your fast gently. Don't feast after a food fast, have a sensible healthy meal. Don't oversleep after a sleep fast, maybe add an hour or two to your normal sleep schedule for a couple days, or take a short nap to supplement your sleep.

Please use caution with extended fasts from food and/or sleep. Fasting from water is not recommended, as it can be extremely dangerous. Fasting is about showing dedication and growing in spirit with a loving God, and it is not intended to be harmful to your body. It should not be an extreme sport. It is also an act of humility, and one should remain always humble.