This New Feeling

I’m not used to this new energy that courses through me in bolts and waves. I’ve never had this sort of pain linked to loss linked to love linked to my universe.

I’ve had pain before, but not the constant, grinding, nagging, persistent pain that I am feeling today.

How is it that so much can change so quickly? Over the weekend, I was in another world for a time. Now, I am back to the decay that is our relationship. It is so like the leaves… shedding from the trees at the slightest breeze. There is nothing that can stop them. They will fall, they will fall more rapidly as time goes on, until just a few remain. Those few stolen remnants that will not be forgotten; brown, dried, skeletons, not what they once were. Up in barren trees they flutter about in colder and grayer winds. It isn’t sometimes until the newness of spring’s NEW leaves, that the old, faded from months of bittered darkness, finally give way. Memories of the past finally letting go into whatever vast portal they go, to be reclaimed, taken back, and transformed.

My heart jumps and flutters, but it is the opposite of the jumping and fluttering of love found. It is pain linked to loss linked to love linked to my universe.

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The Control Illusion

Why I don’t want my daughter to go to a Black Eyed Peas concert.

I want to get honest. I admit my tendency to “control.” It’s about fear. I am scared that my innocent, precious little girl will actually grow up and learn about the pain in this world, the pain that has touched me, that has undoubtedly touched so many of us. Maybe its instinct gone awry. As her father, I want to protect her, shield her, never see that spark of wonder leave her brilliant eyes. But who am I to do that? If I am acting out of my own fears, I am doing it for completely selfish reasons. If I can stop her from learning about sex, or swear words, or violence, misogyny, terror, hate, racism, drugs, addiction, abuse, rape, suffering, and so much more, I can somehow save her. But it is really me I want to save.

I know I know I know… I have to let her go. I have to release her into this world and allow her to be herself. “But not yet” I scream inside. She’s too young, she’s only 11! She should know nothing of Sept 11, she shouldn’t know of war or suicide or genocide. Not until she’s 16. Or maybe 21. How about 30.

Every day I walk this unschooling path is another day of encountering myself. Facing what I hate about myself, facing the foundation of my fears. It comes up when I feel the resistance. Then I see my chance to right all the wrongs done to me, and I turn to my children. No, I can’t use them for that. They can not be my redeemers, and I can not be their savior.
But why does it hurt so much? To let go? My wife knows the “look” all too well. When something comes on the TV, I look at her with the “change the channel” look, or the “why are you letting her watch this are you crazy” look. I mean, isn’t my wife supposed to be with me on this?

We all like the main-stream Black Eyed Peas songs, but I don’t think any of us has heard much more of their stuff. They let the s**t and f**k words fly. Will my daughter start saying “f**k” every time she drops something, in the same self-punishing way that I sometimes do (I never swear around my kids, mostly at work). I don’t want her to hate herself for dropping something.

Listen to me! OMG the control! I have no control over whether she hates herself! What I can control is me (and even that has its limits). Control IS an illusion. It keeps me in a false world, one that *I* create. In that world, I know what’s coming next. In that world, I can keep the pain away.

I’m unlearning 40 years of doing it the way I’ve been doing it. Maybe during the next 40 years, I’ll have unlearned all of it, so I can start fresh. By then, my kids will have kids (or not), and I’ll have fully embraced the gift of letting go. Until then, I’ll keep taking the steps. Things like this concert might just end up being my unteachers. And who knows, maybe it won’t take 40 years to unlearn.

Thanks for letting me get this out.

Fear is never about what is, and always about what isn’t

-me

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The power behind sex!

The power is that it deeply involves ALL of the five sacred elements intertwined and intermingled:

  • Earth (north) – body, flesh, bone, structure, terra firma
  • Air (east) -breath, the space between, the atmosphere around, scent and sound
  • Fire (south) – passion, energy, heat, friction, force, movement
  • Water (west) – sweat, rushing blood, juices, fluid, slippery
  • Spirit (center) – soul sharing, intimacy, unity, vulnerability

And then I realized… that is the power of THIS LIFE. It isn’t just about sex, it’s about our very lives! And THAT must be why sex, in it’s purest, most beautiful and unadulterated form is so powerful. It mirrors this LIFE. And that’s why, when sex is messed up, it’s messed up BIG time. It reaches so deep into our very being, and is a significant part of us (or more accurately, a mirror of our LIFE).

And that is why new LIFE is created by an act of sex!  And that is why sexual abuse in all it’s many forms is so rampant. Because to have the illusion of control over someone else’s sexuality, is to have power over their very soul. But it is just an illusion, because by nature, one can never have power over another’s essence.

And that is why sexual healing is so important and so incredibly powerful. Healing from abuse or trauma is like becoming a new person.

So, if you are recovering from sexual abuse or trauma, I encourage you to incorporate rituals which call upon and honor the five sacred elements. Bring balance back into your life.

May all be healed, may you find freedom and may you find what awaits you in this life.

Peace and blessings of the Elements be yours.

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No Abrahamic religion for me

I am not a believer in any of the major book religions. You know, the type where the entire belief system is from one undeniably convoluted, infallible, inerrant, word of god book? The kind where the god speaks, people (men) write it down, and it passes through hundreds or even thousands of years, through tens of thousands of transcribers, translators, and conquerors, unadulterated and pure? You know, the kind where the god sets lots of impossible to follow requirements, says some pretty ludicrous things, sets ultimatums, orders slaughters, offers his (in book religions, it’s always a ‘he’) favors IF and only IF you worship HIM and only HIM.

This is consistent throughout the Abrahamic religions. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with other book religions. The main three Abrahamic religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each one is based on a book, and each one has a common element found in just one single book (although none of them started with a book, it’s just that the books took over and became more important than the religion they represented). Why does it seem so obvious to me and so many others that the stories held within the pages are the stuff of myth? These books are so clearly based on human faults, suffering, etc. It is no god of which they write.

In those, the god character claims to be the only god, and is unusually jealous. The god requires certain behaviours and also has some pretty strange outrageous demands. Book religions require revelation from the top down. It is a rule book which self declares it’s inerrancy. It is an imposed spirituality, not requiring thought on the part of the partaker. Any one or anything that has the line: “then God said,” falls in this category.

But the problem with book religions does not end at them. Any religion can have a top down flow, requiring all subjects of the religion to follow it’s precepts. It almost seems that is what religion is for! It certainly has been used that way throughout the ages. But there is another type of belief, another way of revelation and that is personal revelation. Allowing yourself to be open to revelation… experiencing it first hand. This is bottom up spirituality. It is intensely personal, and in my view, far more authentic. It is open and unbounded. There are no rules imposed upon you, only the constraints of earth and sky. A person is left with their own moral fiber, not a rule guide dictating what is” right” and “wrong.” It can be more frightening, encountering Deity on your own, with no intermediary or instruction manual. But it can also be more authentic. Encountering the Mysteries on your own, with all of what you are, is what we were meant for.

You’d think fewer people would favor the book religion model, yet you can certainly understand why they do. Having something of such depth and meaning handed to you in an “infallible” manuscript means you no longer need to examine depth and meaning on your own! No questioning needed! Instead, those who adopt the book model, simply delve into the book, making it everything, and missing anything else. And that is probably the biggest error of the book religions. Not that they have a top-down approach per-se, but that they stop there. They don’t see the stories in the pages; they don’t honor the myths. Taking it all as the plain text it appears to be, so much is lost. So much is missed.

I think this is why I’m so drawn to Paganism*, where we speak not of  revelation from the top down, but inspiration from the bottom up. Most Paganism is Earth based, which means it is grounded in our experiences. Yet, just as a seed lay in the dark ground, it soon sprouts, grows and blossoms into pure beauty. But that is just the beginning. And a thorough description of Paganism would contain volumes (most likely because it has as many manifestations as there are people who have practiced it).

In this day and age, you’d think people would shun jihads and crusades and myopic ideas of the god concept. You’d think they’d be done with fundamentalist group-think, and open up to the freedom of self-discovery. But no. Sadly, that is not meant to be. I leave you with this:

… the modern world of international communications, trading, travels and migrations — which brings every religion and culture into contact with every other — can no longer afford to indulge the rabid myopia of monotheistic fundamentalism, with its attendant holy wars, crusades, missionaryism and inquisitions. As Thomas Paine said, “The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion;” and “No falsehood is so fatal as that which is made an article of faith.”

– Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, being interviewed on a local television station in Sydney Austrailia, during his first visit there in 1985

* by Paganism, I am referring to the modern interpretations of ageless beliefs. Sometimes known as Neo-Paganism, but drawn on countless ancient forms.

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ReverendDollar

I remember watching some time ago a TV evangelist whose main purpose in life was to beg for money. I saw this guy a few times. I don’t remember if his name was Tilden or Tilten or something like that, but I do remember that during his entire show, he was somehow able to make his message for “more money” into his sermon of the day.  That showed incredible talent, now that I come to think of it (and why am I coming to think of it now?).

He was able to masterfully blend your sending him money with his god’s sending you blessings. That’s right, the old cash for blessing program. With this incentivised program, his god was sure to move blessings out the door. No offer was too ridiculous . Come in and let us show you what we have!  We’ve got this beauty right here from 1 John 3:15, oh and here’s one from an actual gospel. All these blessings and they are ready to move.

OK, so I did a few searches and actually found the guy. But not what I thought I would find. This is the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a long time. I was in tears laughing at this. Watch it… you’ll see.

http://religiousfreaks.com

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What to believe. What to believe.

I have not been biking this year as much as in past years because I just can’t seem to find the time. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the kids getting older, but now is not the time to slack off! You know, getting older and stuff, it’s important to do whatever you can to stay alive.
So the other day I was going through YouTube looking at all kinds of atheist videos from George Carlin (funny), Richard Dawkins (smart), Chris Hutchins (odd), Bill Mahar (funny and smart), and others. An atheist friend of mine was having a huge discussion/argument with others on their Facebook page regarding this and several atheists had links to these videos. The atheist/freethinkers had a 20 to 1 advantage over the irrationalists. I hate to see people try to defend something that is not defensible. It’s hard enough trying to defend certain facts, let alone defending fiction.
Anyway, the videos really made people of faith seem like idiots, but especially fundamentalists. Not hard, I know. It seems beliefs can cause people to do almost anything, but their most favorite is killing others.
Problem is, humans by nature are compelled to make sense of what they do not understand. It has to make sense to us, it has to fit into our frame of reference, before we can even get to understanding. That is the basis of “faith”. Everyone has faith… whether they are Christian, Buddhist, or Atheist. There are things out there we just don’t know, and yet, they are in our mind. Even if you go purely on science, which is fine, there are still unanswered questions. We have to fit that into our world view in some way or life is threatening to us. Consider this: Say you saw a ghost or something like that. Something you had never seen before, something odd and maybe “spooky”. Immediately, the first thing you would try to do, is to make sense of what you just experienced. You could come up with anything, really. You might even make up some things — possibly quite irrational — to help you explain it. Or maybe you will start researching it, ask experts, visit libraries, whatever. But I think we’d all agree, your first reaction would be to figure out what it was. We just can’t let the unknown go unexplained.
So some people turn to myths, which is fine, I suppose, until the particular question is answered, then they need to turn away from the myths. And some people turn to myths and fully believe in them as fact. And still others never do turn away from the myths, even in light of full physical evidence.
Take lightening for example. At one time, most people thought that it was the anger of the gods (or something like that). But then, we studied it and figured it out. Now, most people don’t think it’s angry gods. It’s lightening. Those who still believe its from the angry gods are that last group I just mentioned (Note: Many fundamentalists still believe that storms, earthquakes, and tsunamis are caused by an angry god as a retribution against whatever makes the god angry).
Some people believe in their myths to such an extent that they are convinced theirs is the only way, and that is the biggest single danger to humanity (well, next to economic inequality). And religion is the single biggest purveyor of this form of danger. It’s group-think belief full of hierarchy, threat of punishment, retribution, false promises, force, etc. Organized mind control… the ultimate cult.

But people make myths of anything, whether it’s god, or things like getting AIDS from standing too close to a person with AIDS. It always comes down to the things we don’t understand.

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Cigarette Out the Window

You may have felt it before… maybe a small tinge or a depth of indignation. You’re stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. Then all of  the sudden, you see a white thing flicked out of the window from the car in front of you.

How can this be? Who in the world would do that, you think to your self as your car idles, waiting. It stews in you a little more. That really pisses me off, you mutter, as you see the still lit butt sitting on the side of the road, but still on the pavement. That guy’s an asshole.

It hasn’t yet crossed your mind that the pavement that both your car and the one in front of you sit, waiting, is made from a toxic mix of petro-goo poured liberally across every corner of the country, if not the world. Poured right beneath where you are. Right beneath where you’ll be, and conveniently enough poured generously everywhere in between.

If it had crossed your mind, you might have felt as I do sometimes. Sure I get pissed, but then I look around, at myself, sitting in a car, on a road, maybe a Chipotle cup in the trash with other assorted junk lying about. Maybe you’d realize the irony, or the fact that all the trash you create will all end up somewhere on the planet. Maybe not just right there on the side of the road, next to the car. It will end up in a huge man-made mountain somewhere. Hopefully somewhere you can’t see it or smell it.

But as for the man throwing his butt out the window (oh wait, it’s a woman) well, what do you expect? She obviously doesn’t care about herself! I mean, smoking? That is just so bad for you! Who even does that anymore? So typical of a woman driving rusty Plymouth Acclaim. Actually, I can’t tell… is that a guy or a girl?

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Appreciating your god

If only Christians could truly appreciate Jesus. I mean, it seems sometimes that they very much reduce this man to a formula to get into their heaven. I remember this group in college that spouted a simplistic, formulaic method for ensuring you claim a spot on the salvation express called the Four Spiritual Laws. In addition to saving your own, they had a plan for spreading this message virally throughout the collegiate biosphere. Limiting such an important figure to a means to save your eternal ass, is missing the point. It misses the whole target, falling well short of it.

I went to church for many, many years. Part was put upon me, part was my own choosing (late high school, early college as I went through a Christian youth revival period). But in all those years, I never learned as much about Christianity as I did from one source — a musical. That’s right, Andrew and Tim’s Jesus Christ Superstar. This one musical allowed me to see for the first time ever the world that Jesus found himself in at that time and place. His land was occupied by a foreign power, the Jews were looking for a way out, and even though his message was spiritual, it was taken as political and used ultimately to kill him.

My absolute favorite line from that musical is this one, spoken by the Jesus character: “Neither you Simon nor the fifty thousand, nor the Roman’s nor the Jews, nor Judas nor the Twelve nor the priests nor the scribes, nor doomed Jerusalem itself, understand what power is, understand what glory is, understand at all…”

That really says it all. And the tune behind it is riveting. Power is not what we think it is. It is not “power over.” It is “power within.”

It seems Christians ignore the very evident Jesus as mystic, enlightened master, self-aware, awakened, human. And they are the ones who should know. They study his words, spend time worshiping him, and supposedly try to be like him. It’s odd that this would be the case, but at the same time, I understand the bible is a very dangerous — if not inscrutable — book, in that it can be interpreted in as many ways as there are people who read it. And since some claim it is the inerrant word of God, well there’s your recipe for disaster (and a world of history to prove it). When a book is said to be written by god, in any belief system, it’s a sure fiasco waiting to happen. And it has happened. And is happening now.

Everyone has their own truth. And all those truths lead to the Ultimate Truth. No one person, no one belief system can claim ownership of Truth, only of truth. One question I have is, was Jesus really here to ensure people worshiped him endlessly? Or was he here to point to a better way, toward a truth which could ultimately lead people to The Truth. It just seems to me that simply worshiping him, or focusing solely on the “he is God” aspect completely blinds people to his message. That’s how you get things like “Baseball+Apple Pie+Jesus = American.” I mean, how else could such a concept come from what Jesus taught? It takes a lot of reduction to get there.

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I am this, I am that

I’ve seen in some writings, in some new age groups and even among Pagans, the idea that “I am God.” Although it is fun to say, I just want to be clear about where I stand. I don’t think I am “God.” As a matter of fact,  as gods go, I’m pretty much not one. But read on…

Then what do I think I am? According to Tolle, I am “the Universe becoming conscious of itself.” I am a point of consciousness, a point joined to all the other points, being the Universe to consciousness. My sentience is a reflection of All-That-Is. I’m finding the words to describe this relationship very difficult to come by.

By consciousness, I don’t mean thought, I mean existence. Or more so, awareness. Enlightenment is the awareness of Awareness.

But back to “I am [not] God.” What are these “I am’s” that we humans describe ourselves with? I am a lot of things. People use “I am” to describe themselves, yet not a single one of the I am’s is what we really are. We are only describing a facet of ourselves, a property, if you will, or an attribute. But who wants to say, “Hi, one of my properties is lesbian (I’m not, but…), or one of my properties  is millionaire (again, not).” What if I told you “I am a Witch, I am a barefooter, I am a bicyclist, I am a bi-sexual, I am a father, I am employed, I am a carnivore, I am a US citizen.”

Truth is, I am none of those things. They are merely some of my properties. How about, I am a human. Surely I must be human. No… again, merely a property. What I am, can not entirely be fathomed, until I become enlightened.

But am I not saying, in some way, indirectly, that I am God? No, that isn’t what I’m saying. Because God to me isn’t what a statement like that could refer to. In other words, you (I) can’t be God. God is All-That-Is, and I am not all that is, I am a part of what is. A part of All-That-Is, and inseparable from it. It is me, and I am it. One. But saying I am One with All-That-Is is not like saying I am God. And at the same time, it’s not as easy as saying I am a part of God — even though God being all that is. Words can not describe, they can only point.

Ok, pretty heady. Let’s take a break:

<Play the song 1-1-1 by the Elvendrums here.> Wish I could. See track 7 in the link.

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Strong pull of the Goddess

My whole being is drawn in, pulled toward the light of the Silver Wheel. Her presence is felt. But more than that, it’s a part of my being. Where did this come from? Why so intense? And why now?
Summer is strong, the heat is at a climax. I feel her inside and out. Inside in my soul, and outside in the warmth that surrounds me.

Every night for the past week or so, I have been called outside to just be there with Her, with the elements and myself. I go to my little garden (which isn’t really a garden this year) and do a small ritual. I honor each of the four sacred directions, calling to each of their attributes with gratitude. Sometimes I am skyclad, and it feels so good to just be there alone, covered only in darkness with the warm summer breeze caressing every part of my skin gently, softly. How it increases my appreciation and energizes my ritual.

Of course, being in my backyard, in a neighborhood with other houses around, skyclad, even in darkness, is a bit risky. I think I may have been spotted on an occasion or two. One night I was headed back to the house, and there were people out, and it appeared they were looking at me. And at that point, I was slightly more illuminated. But so what, I just get so much out of it. I mean, it’s not as if my neighbors don’t already think I, and my unschooled family, are pretty weird. Just the other day, I was having a photo-shoot out in the backyard with my wife. I was in my witchy robe, in a tree, with my wand, as my wife took some pictures of me in different poses. They were for my profile in my The Witches Voice page — turned out pretty good too! My next door neighbor looked out his window and I can only imagine what he was thinking.

But I love my nightly greetings. If I could do it right through to winter I would, but naked at 0 degrees is not for the faint of heart! Plus, the way light scatters so easily off the snow, makes the darkness of a steamy summer night less possible. The other night, just as I ended my ritual in which I dedicated myself the the Goddess and God, I spotted a tiny but bright light on the ground just outside my pebble-outlined circle. I stared. I couldn’t believe it. In a way, it looked like the stars above me, but it was at my feet. I looked closer. It glowed. Was it a pixie? Could it be a firefly? And this late in the year? After I had seen none for quite some time, and at a time of the year when I had NEVER seen any before? I’m not superstitious, but I truly feel this was a gift, just a little sign from All-That-Is to me, to let me know that I’m being heard, watched over, loved. I remember the first night I did my ritual, I saw a shooting star just as I finished. And this was several nights after not seeing any during the height of the Perseid meteor shower.

Blessing to all, and peace of the beloved Goddess to you. May you find your own sacred space, and may you experience divinity in your lives daily.

Here I am on the edge, between Earth and Sky. I am the conduit; may the energy flow through me.

Peace.

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