A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘God’ Category

Magic ~

hocus-plate-small0003_edited-5I have been struggling over this post for some time. I believe in “Magic”, I just don’t necessarily believe that Incantational magic is something to be pursued by those wishing to grow in this lifetime. So much of the very essence of “Magic” as one sees it through the Harry Dresdens and the Harry Potters is an attempt to control the elements, or another human being. According to Harry Dresden’s take on that, an attempt to control another human is Black Magic, so I can respect the Dresden/Butcher perspective.  And since the two “heroes” I have spoken of are fictional, I could choose to leave it there and not be wrong.  BTW, for those who wish to explore the ability to control others, may I suggest that you read the Dresden Files, as you will not just see that attempting such control is wrong, but why.

There are, however, a growing number of folks who desire to learn the stormsways of magical control of the elements around them, and it is for these that the struggle presents itself.  Let us say, hypothetically speaking, that you are one of those rare birds that actually does have the “power” to turn aside storms and control floods. This would certainly be a handy skill in emergencies. I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t have liked to have that ability at some point in their lives.

But what about non-emergencies . . . . .what about the times when you are just disgusted with someone’s actions . . . . . .should you pull a storm or strong wind, or lightening, or some other elemental phenomenon down on their head? Can you see clearly enough all the circumstances surrounding an incident, so that you do not send the lightening in the wrong direction? Do you truly have a “God’s Eye” view of all of the particulars of a given situation so that you know exactly what is needed? Or would you, like Butcher’s hero, Dresden, make some mistakes along the way that would be painful to live with at the very least?

The thing that has slapped me around these past several years, and in fact, was a major reason for my disgust with at least the fundamentalist sect of the Christian church, is that attempts at controlling others, or circumstances themselves, even when approached with the highest of intentions, can move so quickly from the clear to the murky as to be the tiffanys-holy-spiritproverbial slippery slope. I have witnessed the prayers of those who were intent upon doing only “God’s Will”, praying that “Brother Joe” find himself in the midst of a storm, (whether of weather or circumstances), in order to find the need for “Jeeeesus in his heart!” If you listen to these folks with a clear heart of your own, you will recognize that it is not God’s will they are wanting to put forth, it is their own will, for it would not do for “Brother Joe” to be “saved” in a Presbyterian ministry, when they are “Full Gospel”! No matter what it is that “Brother Joe” really needs.

I know most pastors and ministers out there would argue with me on this regard, but I see such prayers as being akin to the controlling incantations spoken by some silly love sick child who wants some boy to fall in love with her. One is putting the same intent out into the Universe. It’s all about control. And that, dear readers is the crux of the matter. To attempt to control the hearts and minds of others, by whatever means, is wrong. As far as I am concerned it should rank in the first order of “Thou shalt Nots”.

The Parasol ~

The Parasol

A parasol is not an umbrella. An umbrella protects from the rain, while a parasol protects from the sun. The parasol also symbolically protects against “the heat of defilements.” Another way to look at it is that the parasol represents the sky and the handle represents a mountain that holds up the sky, or possibly the axis that holds up the whole world. The proximity of the person under the parasol to the “axis of the world” represents the importance of the person.

Still another way of looking at it is that the dome of the parasol represents wisdom, and the hanging part symbolized compassion. The parasol as a whole represents the fusion of both.

Guess who is usually shown sitting under a parasol? Two points if you guessed “The Buddha.” However, other important figures, such as the Dalai Lama and others are entitled to parasols as well.

parasolI have chuckled at the Traveler’s Insurance ads, as they use this concept quite effectively to show the protection of carrying their insurance. The concept revolves around the idea that a life lived in kindness is, in and of itself, a protection from much adversity. When you live mindful of the needs of others, and attempt at all times to be gentle and compassionate, life is easier for all concerned. In fact, this goes back to the idea that life on this plane of existence is full of suffering and sorrow, and it is among the Eight commendations by the Buddha on doing your part as an individual to relieve that suffering.

Though, in a world as paranoid as the 21st Century in the United States, this is not always the case, being kind will usually “oil” the squeaks and moans of the wheel of life as it turns. The Dalai Lama has even commented on the fact that if you are consistently kind,you will usually have few actual enemies. I have found it a point of extreme sadness that this teaching, which Y’shua repeatedly iterated, seems to have been skipped in the practice of modern fundamental Christianity. If you are busy mindfully conducting yourself in a manner that aims to sow compassion and gentleness, you learn to speak even harsh truths in a manner that will bring about thoughtful living, rather than condemnation.

Most people do not wish to be unkind, in fact, when you get to the source of unkindness, it is usually pain of some form or another. Physical pain that burrows into a person’s ability to think and respond clearly, or emotional pain that is just as wicked in it’s injuries to the soul, leading to a need to always be on the defensive with others. It is only when one attempts to be mindful at all times, even when one suffers from these pains, that an easement is found in any given situation.stickers_thumbnail

Imagine what the world would be like if each of us did our best, every day, to be fair in our dealings with people and in the things we do!”

I found this website in my search for a “Golden ruler” to point out the wording of Y’shua’s teachings. What a lovely reminder for each of us to live the Golden Path as taught by Y’shua. I love this, and find it a healthy comment that perhaps more who follow Y’shua are finding that his path was the most important part of his ministry. I have long considered his teachings a path toward the light, and it has been a heart breaker when I have found preachers and teachers of his path teaching others things like, “You don’t have to forgive in order to be forgiven,” {See the Lord’s Prayer}, You only have to be kind and honest to those who are members of your own faith or congregation, EEEEEEEK! Why would you teach that? Even those who have no faith in any sort of Spiritual path are kind and honest their own!

P.S. I will soon be back to posting regularly, I have been occupied with a visit from loving friends from back home, and along with our electrical problems {now fixed} have been busy catching up, thank you for your patience.

Su

Meantime . . . .

158283722I am on a friend’s computer, and thought I would post from here. We are needing to replace the breaker box in order to have things back to normal, so it may be a while before I can post regularly again. In the interim, I have been reading for the pure fun of it. Some mind candy that may or may not be particularly “healthy” but is certainly a fun read. Right now I am going through the Dresden Files, Jim Butcher’s tales of a white wizard in modern Chicago. The stories are fun, and his portrayal of Harry as a wizard going against the main stream of thought in the “wizarding community” are actually, as with all good storytellers, character studies of a man whose life is nothing but test after test of his mettle, so to speak.

Harry is a wizard who got off to a poor start to begin with. His mother was aligned with the murky forces of dark magic, his father a stage magician. He attempts to live a life doing good amidst all manner of  temptations to turn to black magic in a modern world that doesn’t even believe magic is “real”. The struggles are set in a world of fantasy, the character development of the wizard, however, is the study of any human being caught in a continual loop of adversity. The things that make the read pure fun, and still a study of spiritual paths, per se, is Butcher’s continuous explanations of Harry’s perspectives.

He is dealing with being on the outer rim of everything. He cannot lead a so called normal life, after all he really is a wizard, yet, he stukeleys_druidis beginning to learn, slowly, that the mother who died giving him birth was aligned with the murkier side of things, and that he was apparently intended to practice that way as well, since he wishes to do good, he is caught in a crack. The “good guys” don’t trust him, he has already used magic to destroy his teacher who was trying to enthrall him. This is an infraction of the “First Law of Magic”. The “bad guys” want him, but he does not want them. The temptation is to either go dark, get out, or sit down and cover his eyes and ears. What a life!

Butcher addresses many things that seem to have filtered into our world as misconceptions through the misunderstanding of what is in the realm of Spirit. Things like demons. Most true demons don’t know and don’t care about humans. Much, indeed, that is harmful to humans in that realm really doesn’t bear humanity distinct malignant will. The forces and entities that reside in that realm are busy tearing, destroying, and just being, where they are. Even much that is beautiful and “Good” does not have a direct bearing on humans, and may, indeed, be too powerful or too “wild” to be part of the world of humanity. The clash most often comes when a human draws one of them into our world thinking they can control the demon and use it’s power to get what they want without having to earn it the hard way. When those forces are unleashed into a vulnerable world, things get a bit shaky. Seldom are they as dramatic as one sees in the Dresden Files, but that is usually what has happened, nevertheless.

sn1987a_nasaThe problem, unfortunately, that has plagued us for most of the time humankind has been on this planet is the egocentricity of our understanding of the world at large. It usually isn’t really all about us, we just think it is. Even our concept of G-d comes from that egocentric place. It is an afront to most people’s beliefs that G-d isn’t even all about us. There is much of G-d’s perspective that has absolutely nothing to do with the creation of those humans on the planet Earth. Are we important to G-d, oh, I think so, but then, I believe all life is important to G-d, and I think G-d is big enough to handle it all, it’s just that we often do not live up to our highest potential and attempt to blame that on G-d, mom, or the neighbor. Sorry, folks, we are responsible for who we are and what we do. Painful though that truth may be. I’d much rather be able to blame someone else for my faults, but I suspect they are mine, and I will have to answer for them in the end. Dang the bad luck!

Demonization ~

gandalf_largeOne of the most frustrating factors in research regarding belief systems and that which was before the current “regime”, is that whatever religion now “reigns supreme” takes it unto themselves to demonize all that came before. That is, perhaps, a large part of the fascination for me with the LOTR cast of characters. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis were quite good friends, and part of a group of literatti that met to encourage and critique each other’s works. Hence we have some excellent tales winding ancient lore into fantasy landscapes that satisfy as much because of the depth of understanding held by the author of the character types of which he was writing.

The Gandalf character is, of course, one of the most fascinating. He is an “Istari”, meaning he comes from the first circle of creation and is quite literally a “star” in the making. Was this how Tolkein saw the Christ? I am not sure, he most certainly never said, when asked such questions he would lower his pipe, like Gandalf above and smile, saying it is fantasy, enjoy it for what it is.

Yet, when you look most closely at the Carpenter from Nazareth, you find a gentle spoken man whose understanding of the principles on which the Universe was built, and the core of 1_robewhat humans are supposed to be to one another, are so immense that one has no difficulty twisting his teachings, and tweaking them in such a way as to make an entirely new religion out of them. That wasn’t his goal, you know. He had no intention of making Jews into Gentiles. His intent was to create an awareness of the very meaning behind every one of the more than 600 mitzvot. He wanted his own to be practicing their faith as loving and being loved by a most caring and present G-d.

I often wonder just which words were “judiciously” added by the bishops of Constantine. Which others were twisted? And why was it necessary in their eyes to make him hate the Jews, his own people? That is the perspective I dislike most about the Gospels that came from that meeting. How could you twist a man’s love for his own people into something so insidiously destructive? But they did. So it became acceptable to harrass those of Judaic descent. That is not acceptable in my book. Nor should it be in any one else’s.

But then, those of Jewish descent were not to mix with those who worshipped pagan gods, being told that Hashem was a jealous G-d. I accept that that is what Moshe understood from 2355950068_e149513456what he was shown, I simply have difficulty with that emotive expression belonging to the Most High. And yes, I suspect that much of the revelation Moshe received was visual. The words were most likely his own. He simply did not understand that jealousy stems from insecurity, and Hashem was not insecure, simply trying to show him that these that were being worshipped as high and “in charge” were lesser spirits.

But . . . . . . therein lies the rub, so to speak. A lesser spirit is not necessarily an evil spirit. I will put a caution here, generally the Most High’s servants and companions will point to the Most High and tell you that is where you center your worship, so if you find that they accept actual worship, they are not “good”. There are many spirits in the universe that are in what could loosely be called the “neutral zone”, being neither wholly evil, nor being totally dedicated to that which is high and holy. Their world is gray, and if you choose to deal with them, you must be very sure of where you are going and what you are doing.

During my search for a pic of Pan, I found a website that was entitled tvisnotforChristians. Oh dear, I suspect that this is authored by a group of ascetics, I did not check it out thoroughly enough to say that with any authority, but please be careful. Condemnation is something no true follower of either the Buddha or the Christ can afford. We are to walk our own path, measuring our strides not by the strides of others, but by our own faltering steps of yesterday. If we are doing better at following the teachings, then we are making progress. If we are not, we need to get back on track. Do not ever measure your progress by others. And do not call that which is good, evil, you will be committing a sin that cannot be forgiven.

Balance and Blessings,

Su

Blood Sacrifice ~

blood_spatter1

The practice of shedding blood for the appeasement of a god or gods is part of our communal history since long before any human is capable of remembering. We do not have records that go back that far. I watched Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, and the intensity was shocking, and has had me thinking for quite a while about the idea of Y’shua taking on my sins in such a fashion. It broke my heart. I cannot feel that it is just in any way for someone else to suffer for anything I have done. The very violence of the beating, the blood spatter, the pain. I cannot feel that I would allow that, if I must suffer, then I must suffer, but not an innocent. No!

Then I found out that Hashem would not have allowed it anyway. That it was indeed not possible for Hashem to take another’s blood for my shortcomings.

The Bible is clear, and it is consistent. One person cannot die for the sins of another. This means that the guilt from the sins committed by one person cannot be wiped out by the punishment given to another person. First, in Exodus 32:30-35, Moses asks God to punish him for the sin of the Golden Calf, committed by the people. God tells Moses that the person who committed the sin is the person who must receive the punishment. Then, in Deuteronomy 24:16, God simply states this as a basic principle, “Every man shall be put to death for his own sins.” This concept is repeated in the Prophets, in Ezekiel 18 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die… the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

In fact, in further investigating that sight, I was reminded that one is allowed to bring a half ephah colonial_wheat_flourof flour if one is unable to afford even a pigeon for the absolution of one’s sins. It is the act of contrition then, that satisfies Hashem, not the act of spilling the blood of one who is not guilty.I must admit to having been greatly relieved that Hashem is more appalled than I at the idea of Y’shua’s having been a sacrifice for my imperfections. Please go to the website above, and investigate further, for if you feel as I do, that no one should have to take on your burdens in such a way, you will be relieved that the just God of the Ivrit does not do this, and it is not part of even the “thinking” of that G-d. In fact you will find that, if you simply stop doing that which is bad in the sight of G-d, and start doing that which G-d considers good, you will be doing all that is required by Hashem. I am most grateful.

Sin ~

adam-and-eveSin has been a thoroughly contended concept since long before I was born, and, since the major theologians cannot agree, I may be treading where even the angels will not go. Since the genome project assures us that Eve was of darker skin tone, there are no depictions of her that can even come close to accuracy, but hey, I want to discuss the inaccuracy of our perception of sin, anyway.

Calvinism provides a definition of sin as being that of total depravity, a twisting of what is right into something altogether wrong. That kind of nastiness is present in our world, but is not what was meant by the teachings of old. It would seem that the intent was to understand that humans were incomplete, and imature, in the sense that mistakes are more easily made than correct moves in the dance of life. Hence, humans are born with intelligence, the ability to learn how to “dance”.

When one looks at the average individual in our world, this, indeed fits far better than the

Dance of Life

Dance of Life

idea of depravity. The issue then, in the Tanakh was that G-d was perfect, complete, and therefore man needed a buffer between himself and G-d in order to participate in a relationship with G-d. I believe that the reason that modern Christianity, Calvinistic Christianity needs Y’shua to be a G-dman is that, for them, nothing less than that could untwist the twistedness of the soul. Yet, if Hashem did not see man, per se as twisted, there remains a question of degrees.

I was contemplating David’s words in the psalm, “cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean”. If the ancients sensed that, that something like hyssop, an essential oil from plants, would cleanse one both physically and spiritually, where did the need to place one’s sins on the back of an innocent lamb and slaughter the poor thing come from? I have wondered if there were a larger lesson even in this command from Hashem. What if the desire of the Holiest were that we see just how wrong it is to put our shortcomings on the backs of the innocent?

Look at Buddhist practice for a moment, here. The ceremonies and rituals, as well as the bloodpractice of mindfulness in order to get one’s mind out of the gutter and thinking on higher thoughts is rather effective, as well as accepting the issue of taking responsibility for one’s own thought processes. I like that. If I take responsibility for thinking what I think, then there is no “power” that can coerce me into doing something I do not feel is right. If I lay the blame on the “devil”, then the devil can make me kill or mame others, not acceptable behavior before any court of law. If the voices in my head tell me it’s time to kill the neighbor, then I can tell the voices to do it themselves, I have other things I prefer to do rather than shed the blood of a human.

The Magi ~

xmas-magi2In St. Luke’s retelling of the legendary beginnings of the rabbi Y’shua, there is an oft repeated tale of a visit by three “wise men” of the time whose astral calculations told them of the birth of a specially anointed child. Their path to get to him is not recorded among our literature, though one could wish it had been. Hollywood has speculated on that journey,  the story carries all the romance and intrigue one would desire in a good tale. What they embody for us is an allegorical journey toward the light.

I have said before that I do not see Y’shua as G-d incarnate. Yet, neither do I see him as an ordinary man. I see him as a type of Buddha, a mentor in Spirit upon whom we can call for enlightenment, and even assistance when needed. I have never doubted the strength and possibilities of faith. Y’shua often said to those he ministered to that their own faith had made them whole. That is pretty incredible, for it implies that we live well below our full potential. Many times he said to those who listened to him that they could become like him. He wasn’t wanting followers to bow to his “glory”, he was wanting brothers to walk at his side, doing the deeds he did, from that time unto the present. If I understand that correctly, we have certainly missed the boat.

I had wondered about his mission’s failure to bring about the kind of living among the common man that he intended, and what he planned on doing about it until I read about a wonderful Jewish teacher called the Baal Shem Tov. I suspect, if that’s him, that he has things well in hand, and will keep coming back and teaching us silly folk until we get it right, for which I am most grateful. Until we understand that the walk along the path is as important as getting there;  that how we live each day of our lives, giving, loving, laughing and being true to Spirit is what we are supposed to do, not beat each other over the head or kill for the sake of religion; he will just have to keep coming back to teach each new generation, hoping that someday we get it right.

In the meanwhile, the best thing that we can do is celebrate the greatest gift, the gift of Love. As Spirit teaches us, through Y’shua, through the Baal Shem Tov, through Shakyamuni Buddha, through Ptesin Win, through Mother Theresa, how to love, we can learn each step of the way, to be kind, to be helpful, to be faithful to our teachers. Many blessings to you this season, no matter which Holy Days you observe!

swags2

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