Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A meditation for Spring Time

The Gospel of Philip reads:

Those who sow in winter reap in summer. The winter is the world, the summer the other Aeon (eternal realm). Let us sow in the world that we may reap in the summer. Because of this, it is fitting for us not to pray in the winter. Summer follows winter. But if any man reap in winter he will not actually reap but only pluck out, since it will not provide a harvest for such a person.
This, too, is a hard teaching. Very often, especially in the United States, we do things when we will see a return, the Return on Investment. The calculation has permeated the religious world: Where will our efforts produce the most return? The most donations, the most converts, the most successful churches, the bestselling books and dvds.

Philip tells us that we should sow, and let us reap when we reach the other realm. Any who try to profit from their efforts in the world, they pluck out, they have no harvest, or they have no fruits.

As an agricultural metaphor, it works fairly well. Although some people enjoy eating sprouts, most people prefer to wait for the plant or fruit to mature, and reap when the produce reaches full growth.

In our lives, we are supposed to give without thought of return. Obviously, stuck in this world of matter and these systems of archonic control, we can't give ALL. Or can we? Some do, and we generally call those people saints. I'm not certain we're all called to be saints.

In the canonical gospel of Mark, there's the story of the widow and the two pennies.

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (Mark 12:41-44)
I don't think we're talking about money here. I mean, that's the metaphor, but there's something behind the metaphor. If we give, and we have to sacrifice to give, that's the kind of sowing talked about in the Gospel of Philip.

In the modern world, we are so materially rich we can hardly stand it.  We tend to think that to 'give' requires money. However, in our modern world there are shortages. Attention. Time. Connection. Love. Kindness. Compassion. All of these things are lacking. Humans are so disconnected, depressed, alone that they'd rather die than bother someone. Or their so disconnected they'd rather be rude and sure of their ideas than give another their time to see what they had to say. Modern humans are so afraid of depth, even as our breadth of knowledge increases and increases.

We forget that what is remembered are not the large dramatic donations and gestures of the wealthy, but the small acts of meaning. A shared cup of coffee when a friend has a bad day. Holding a hand, or a kind word when a loved one dies. A silly joke shared, or a deep discussion about the merits of two sports teams. On the right ground, in-depth all night explorations of scripture or discussions of politics may also form the connections.

This is the sowing in winter. These inconsequential seeds, this is the giving of what we have, the connecting with people where they are. Spirit is not about who has the most knowledge, but how well you can relate to your fellow humans, trapped here in the Black Iron Prison.  This is the solace in the Vale of Tears. These are the seeds sown in winter, that bloom in spring, ready to harvest in Summer.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Birth

It's spring, and we have goat kids!

They're cute little balls of fluff, and the last time I saw them they'd mastered backing up but going forward was a bit of a mystery.

I don't have a lot to write today. The boys are home from Hawaii, the goats have been born, I'm building a chicken coop, and Paddy will be working a lot this week so I made the menu.

I'm immersed in the day to day, so the astral, celestial, and divine has to be found in the farm, the kitchen, and the airport.

It's always there. It's always responding to the divine within me, reaching out, making connections. If I let it.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lenten Series

Two years ago, I wrote a series for Holy Week that I think was pretty good. I'm not going to try to out do it, just repost it for your reading pleasure.

Palm Sunday

And Easter

The detriment of dichotomies

We, as humans, like binary dichotomies. Black and white. Male and Female. Positive and Negative. This and that. Etcetera ad nauseum.

Reality, however, does not like absolutes. Grey, for instance. Intersex. Quantum Mechanics. 'Tother. Etcetera ad ridiculum.

So, we are faced with a world that we falsely like to lump into binary dichotomies. Us vs. them. Christian vs. Atheist. Straight vs. Gay. Science vs. Religion.

As if the extremes of these two poles are the only positions we can take.

We see this in simplistic depictions of Gnosticism. Us vs. Them. Matter vs. Spirit. Magician vs. Mystic. Demiurge vs. Christ. Gnostic vs. Christian.

However, we are exhorted against falling into the false dichotomy trap. "They said to Jesus, "Then shall we enter the (Father's) kingdom as babies?"

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower"

Gnostics should try to look beyond the dichotomies, to see what lies beneath.

There are many reasons to categorize simply. Fear is one: fear of the unknown, fear of the other, fear of the self. Ignorance is another: Ignorance of the systems we are in, ignorance of the people around us, ignorance of the effects of our actions. Energy conservation is a third: It takes energy to understand nuance, and not everyone has that energy, or puts that energy into other things.

So we lump. We choose 'our side' for various reasons, whether or not we actually chose 'our side'. Sometimes, we're just born into it. I, for instance, am a Packer fan simply because of an accident of my birth. Nonetheless, all the rest of ya'll are wrong.

Gnosticism is a tradition, but it's not one into which you're (for the most part) born. It's a difficult one to stay in if you're not actively engaged.  There aren't very many gnostics, so herd instinct is constantly pulling us away. It's intellectually difficult, leading to some of that energy conservation we mentioned earlier.

Gnosticism must be chosen. You have to engage it. You have to sift and winnow these dichotomies to arrive at an often muddled middle. Once you see the false dichotomies, you're always on the lookout for them. When 'your' side engages in them, you're just as likely to argue with them as you are with those whom you disagree. You look beyond the simple explanation, the pat story, the too-perfect narrative.

You go beyond black and white, and into the uncreated light of the Pleorma. You touch the place where these dualist distinctions mean nothing. You make the two into one.

Friday, March 27, 2015

And the darkness comprehended it not.

From the Red Book:

Ammonius: "Guard against being a slave to words. Here is the gospel:
read from that passage where it says: In him was the life. "What
does John say there?"
I [Jung]: "'And life was the light of men and the light shines in the
darkness and the darkness has not understood it. But it became
a person sent from God, by the name of John, who came as a
witness and to be a witness of the light. The genuine light, which
illuminates each person, came into the world: He was in the
world, and the world became through him, and the world did not
recognize him.' -That is what I read here. But what do you make
of this?"
A: "I ask you, was this ΛΟΓΟΣ [Logos] a concept, a word? It
was a light, indeed a man, and lived among men. You see, Philo
only lent John the word so that John would have at his disposal
the word ΛΟΓΟΣ' alongside the word 'light' to describe the son
of man. John gave to living men the meaning of the ΛΟΓΟΣ, but
Philo gave ΛΟΓΟΣ as the dead concept that usurped life, even the
divine life. Through this the dead does not gain life, and the
living is killed. And this was also my atrocious error."
Guard against being a slave to words. All you people of the book, you have been warned. Words are arbitrary, their meanings slippery and changeable (look at what's happening to 'literally').

Life is the light of human kind, life and light. Our patron John the Baptist calls the Pharisees, those legalistic and nitpicky religious leaders of his era, a 'brood of vipers'. The brood of vipers never goes away. It is those who follow the letter of the law, and do not understand its meaning, do not grasp its spirit. Those who use the law to oppress the light, to change the words from salvation to damnation.

The law, the logos, the word is also the Light, but it shineth in the darkness, and in our ignorance it is not comprehended. REPENT!

Turn from your books, and look at the light that shines out of each face of the suffering, the marginalized, the poor, the downtrodden, those who are excluded, those who's path is different than yours. As you do unto the least of these, you do unto the ΛΟΓΟΣ. REPENT!

John the Baptist says: "And the ΛΟΓΟΣ was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." The Word is made flesh. God becomes human, so that humans might become Gods. REPENT!
In him[the ΛΟΓΟΣ] was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
You are the darkness. The light shines within you, but you do not comprehend it. I am the darkness. The light shines in me, but I do not comprehend it. But there is one, upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rests, who is the light that shines. It is through Him, the way, the truth, and the light, that our ignorance can be dispelled, our darkness filled with light.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

The systems we live in

I am applying for a home loan.

I have never seen a more archonic system than that of applying for an FHA loan. 50+ pages of paperwork that repeats itself incessantly. Immense burden of debt. The irony of the 'Paperwork Reduction Act.'  It's hilarious and terrifying all at the same time.

So why am I doing it, you ask? I have a family, and our Landlord has decreed we must move out on June 15th. He is well within his rights to do so under the system we live in, so my family gets uprooted at the whim of the owner of the property.

So, I wish to become the owner of my own property, so my whims can be considered once in a while. Like, my whim to live in one place. My whim to make improvements, change colors, raise animals.

However, to actually own property, one must take part in the system which decrees there are owners and there is that which is owned. And that system is not built to make the process easy. The cost of land and houses where I live is ridiculous, ranging from $729,000 down to $201,000. Obviously, the more you spend, the more house you get. And I know some other places are much more ridiculous.

The system is slowly being stacked against the vast majority of people. There was a time when the elites realized that having a healthy middle class, who took part in property ownership and were able to take part in the process that built and maintained the system, was a good thing. The middle class took care of the poor, maintained the systems, and basically made everyone wealthier. Now, the rich have devolved into the super rich, while the middle class is devolving into the poor. As the gap widens, a system built on everyone doing their part is falling apart.

It won't last. It will crumble under a mass of paperwork no one reads and requirements no one can meet. As all systems do. Hopefully, we can work to replace it with something better.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My aversion to Cremation

Gordon, over at the ever erudite Rune Soup, has an article about what he'd like done with his remains when he passes from this life. I've had some thoughts on this very topic myself, which I'd like to share.

Do not cremate me.

I did a meditation the other day from Jason Miller's Strategic Sorcery Course called "Dissolving into Fire".  That was the single most disturbing magical ritual I've ever done. It was incredibly valuable, but in that sort of way that hitting your finger with a hammer teaches you to be more careful where you're putting your hand and the hammer at speed.

In the exercise, you're supposed to imagine your body being burned away, starting at the skin, ending with the bones carbonizing into ash and only pure flame remaining. I was able to visualize the process clearly, and it made me realize that cremation is not for me. Neither is dying in a fire. Just not the way I want to go, nor have my remains handled.

I did the 'Dissolving into Earth' exercise, and that was fine. I slowly settled into the ground, my body decaying and the bones calcifying until nothing remained but the elements. It was peaceful and wonderful and exactly what you'd figure earth to be, sort of a welcome home. The idea that there would be some of 'you' left, even though the 'you' would go on to do other things.

The fire, though. That was active and powerful and disturbing. There was no welcome, no rest. There was no you, and all that effort, all that energy that went into making the physical vessel for the spiritual form was...wasted.

So, no cremation for me.

I would like a burial in a Masonic Cemetery, with Masonic Honors and a Johannite funeral. I'd like my body preserved, preferably Mummified. And maybe a pyramid stone. Nothing gigantic, something like the picture, or even smaller.

Talking about death is kind of weird. It feels far off, not something that is coming to me any time soon. Yet, it could affect any of us at any time. What about you, do you have any plans on how you'd like your remains handled?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Angels and You

Don't forget, we have some wonderful books about angel summoning for sale:

First, the books by Joseph Wolf, il miglior fabbro:

Angels at your doorstep: exploring summoning elemental angels in a simple and effective ritual. I have had wonderful results with this book, and recommend it to anyone as a gateway into angelic summoning.

The Illuminated Circle: Volume 1: Leo, Volume 2: Virgo, Volume 3: Libra: For the more experienced summoner: methods of talisman consecration, summoning, and group ritual working with the angels of the Shem ha-Mephoresh (angels of the 5 degrees of each sign). The books are amazing, the rituals are effective and deep.

Second, my own short work:

The Hall of Nanael: My own experiences with the Shem Ha Mephoresh angel Nanael, in Kindle and Print formats.

Thank you all for reading!

The Family Tree

Verse 137 of Hávamál reads:
I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

My people come from Northern European stock. I have always considered myself Austrian/German, and figured we were fairly unimportant farmers throughout history, as such things go. My Great-Great Grandfather, Jeremiah Rassbach, moved to Wisconsin from Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. Rumor has it he was Pennsylvania Dutch (Lutherans, Mennonites or Amish). Rumor has it he married a Native American, and that's why he moved from the relatively settled East to the wild Midwest. Rumors abound. There are a number named Roßbach in Germany and Austria, and spellings vary. However, chances are my people are from somewhere in that area.

My mother's side is a mix: Norwegian and English. My Grandmother was from the Pope family, and all I know is that John C. Pope came from the UK somewhere. My Grandfather is something of a mystery, but I believe he's Norwegian by way of North Dakota.

So: English, Norwegian, German, and a smattering of other ancestors in there. I am large, I contain multitudes.

It's not surprising that, in addition to Gnosticism, Protestantism, and Catholicism, I'm fascinated by Norse religion and Mythology. The dour old gods of the Norse, Saxons, Angles, and others hold an appeal not matched by the Gods of other cultures.

I'm not heathen. I don't worship the old gods in the sense of "I dedicate myself to Thor! Bring on the beer and the fighting!" That being said, though, I do pay them a bit of reverence as ancestors. Their influence is written through my families. I use the runes as my primary source of divination, and often as the magic of this world. I am fascinated by those stories of the old world, the travelers, the raiders, the conquerors who spanned the globe, from the New World to the rivers of Russia and the halls of Constantinople.

I am sure that, as time goes on, I'll delve more into this subject.