Even in absurdity, sacrament.     Even in hardship, holiness.     Even in doubt, faith.     Even in chaos, realization.    Even in paradox, blessedness


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"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage."    ~Anain Nin

{ Wednesday, 11 October, 2006 }

Muslims unfairly stigmatised, says the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, has warned against portraying Islam as a religion of violence, saying Muslims have been wrongly demonised in the West since the September 11 attacks.

Promoting religious tolerance, the world’s most influential Buddhist leader said on Sunday that talk of "a clash of civilisations between the West and Muslim world is wrong and dangerous."

Muslim terrorist attacks have distorted people’s views of Islam, making them believe it is an extremist faith rather than one based on compassion, the Dalai Lama told a press conference in the Indian capital.

Muslims are being unfairly stigmatised as a result of violence by "some mischievous people," said the Dalai Lama, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his work to bring democracy and freedom to his people.

All religions have extremists and "it is wrong to generalise (about Muslims)," the 71-year-old spiritual leader said.

"They (terrorists) cannot represent the whole system," he said.

jaybird found this for you @ 14:49 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

{ Thursday, 05 October, 2006 }

Viddy Thursday: Zikr

jaybird found this for you @ 20:43 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

Viddy Thursday: Rumi

jaybird found this for you @ 14:38 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

Viddy Thursday: Rumi

jaybird found this for you @ 08:35 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

{ Tuesday, 03 October, 2006 }

Hot for the end times: The End of the World As They Know It

T he week of September 11 (two weeks ago, not five years), I noticed a poster up at Frankies, my sweet neighborhood trattoria in Brooklyn: It advertised a talk on 9/11 by Daniel Pinchbeck—the former downtown literary impresario who has become a Gen-X Carlos Castaneda and New Age impresario. My breakfast pal nodded at the poster and said, “The guy is selling his apocalypse thing hard.”

“Apocalypse thing?” I knew of Pinchbeck’s psychedelic enthusiasms, but I’d somehow missed his new book about the imminent epochal meltdown. In 2012, he interprets ancient Mayan prophecies to mean “our current socioeconomic system will suffer a drastic and irrevocable collapse” the year after next, and that in 2012, life as we know it will pretty much end. “We have to fix this situation right fucking now,” he said recently, “or there’s going to be nuclear wars and mass death … There’s not going to be a United States in five years, okay?”

The same day at lunch in Times Square, another friend happened to mention that he was thinking of buying a second country house—in Nova Scotia, as “a climate-change end-days hedge.” He smirked, but he was not joking.

On the subway home, I read the essay in the new Vanity Fair by the historian Niall Ferguson arguing that Europe and America in 2006 look disconcertingly like the Roman Empire of about 406—that is, the beginning of the end. That night, I began The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s new novel set in a transcendently bleak, apparently post-nuclear-war-ravaged America of the near future. And a day or so later watched the online trailer for Mel Gibson’s December movie, Apocalypto, set in the fifteenth-century twilight of, yes, the Mayan civilization.

So: Five years after Islamic apocalyptists turned the World Trade Center to fire and dust, we chatter more than ever about the clash of civilizations, fight a war prompted by our panic over (nonexistent) nuclear and biological weapons, hear it coolly asserted this past summer that World War III has begun, and wonder if an avian-flu pandemic poses more of a personal risk than climate change. In other words, apocalypse is on our minds. Apocalypse is … hot.

Millions of people—Christian millenarians, jihadists, psychedelicized Burning Men—are straight-out wishful about The End. Of course, we have the loons with us always; their sulfurous scent if not the scale of the present fanaticism is familiar from the last third of the last century—the Weathermen and Jim Jones and the Branch Davidians. But there seem to be more of them now by orders of magnitude (60-odd million “Left Behind” novels have been sold), and they’re out of the closet, networked, reaffirming their fantasies, proselytizing. Some thousands of Muslims are working seriously to provoke the blessed Armageddon. And the Christian Rapturists’ support of a militant Israel isn’t driven mainly by principled devotion to an outpost of Western democracy but by their fervent wish to see crazy biblical fantasies realized ASAP—that is, the persecution of the Jews by the Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon.

When apocalypse preoccupations leach into less-fantastical thought and conversation, it becomes still more disconcerting. Even among people sincerely fearful of climate change or a nuclearized Iran enacting a “second Holocaust” by attacking Israel, one sometimes detects a frisson of smug or hysterical pleasure.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

{ Monday, 28 August, 2006 }

Jesus, people! Mixed race 12yo boy voted out of church.

Why the ban? Joe is biracial, and church members didn't want the black side of his family attending with him.

They were "afraid Joe might come with his people and have blacks in the church," church pastor John Stevens told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Y'see, this is what happens when you ask Jesus to live in your heart. All kinds of trouble. Ask Cthulhu to live in your heart, they'd hand you the keys to the church and run back to the whiskey still. Think twice about which ascended being you're willing to share coronary space with! Seriously, this is very disturbing, what with the recent school bus incident in which African Americans were asked to sit at the back. I guess we're not done yet, and it is especially upsetting that people who claim to be religious and righteous can't see the hypocrisy swinging from the end of their pearly white gleaming noses.

jaybird found this for you @ 14:28 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

{ Wednesday, 23 August, 2006 }

Indians rush to temples to feed "thirsty" idols

Thousands of people flocked to temples across India on Monday following reports that idols of Hindu gods were drinking milk given by devotees as sacred offerings, witnesses said.

Teenagers, adults and the aged stood in long lines with garlands and bowls of milk to feed the idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna and the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha, they said.

Hundreds chanted hymns in the northern city of Lucknow and the eastern city of Kolkata and went into hysterics when the milk held against the idols disappeared.

"It is amazing, Lord Ganesha drank milk from my hands. Now he will answer all my prayers," said Surama Dasgupta, a middle-aged woman in Kolkata.

The frenzy began late on Sunday in some northern cities and soon spread across the country, including the capital New Delhi, even as rationalists and non-believers called it mass hysteria.

A similar mania gripped the country in 1995 when thousands of Hindus fed milk in spoons to marble idols of Lord Ganesha.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:32 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

{ Monday, 21 August, 2006 }

Satan a victim of bad PR, professor says

Goodness, Christianity is certainly a confusing affair, and inventive. And utterly deranged.

Professor Henry Ansgar Kelly, a medievalist, says the Devil has had unfair press and has been the victim of groundless aspersions. Satan is no more evil than the head of MI5 or the prime minister, he says.

In his book Satan: A Biography, to be published by Cambridge University Press this month, the California university academic argues that interpretation of the Bible shows that the Devil suffered a "severe blackening of character" by the clergy, early church fathers, artists, philosophers and religious scholars. The "Devil is in the detail" - literally, he says.

The reassessment of Satan comes hot on the heels of attempts to recast Judas in saintly form. Professor Kelly does not go as far as that, but he does call on theologians to consider whether the Devil is as bad as traditionally depicted.

Instead of being the personification of evil, Satan is a "divine functionary" whose kingdom is the earth, he says.

"My advice is, forget about evil and worry about evil deeds and the people who commit them," he said.

His interpretation is accepted by many biblical scholars. The theory provides an explanation for the presence of evil and suffering, without denying the existence or omniscience of God.

Professor Kelly refers to traditional texts, such as the Lord's Prayer, where the line "Deliver us from evil" is written in some prayer books as "Deliver us from the Evil One".

Most Christians believe that Satan was an angel named Lucifer who rebelled against God at the beginning of Creation. After being thrown out of Heaven, he tempted Adam and Eve into sin, and since then has strived to win souls for his kingdom of Hell.

But Professor Kelly argues that none of this is in the Bible, and that it represents conclusions drawn by the early church fathers and read back into the Bible.

He argues from Revelation, at the end of the Christian Scriptures, that Satan remains in Heaven, as the "accuser of humankind", and will stay there until the Battle of Armageddon, when he will be imprisoned in the abyss. After a brief release, he will be imprisoned in the lake of fire for eternity.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:51 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

{ Friday, 18 August, 2006 }

Liveblogging Matthew Fox

He spoke on Thursday Aug. 17th at Jubilee Community, Asheville, NC.

  • All nature is theology. There is much more theology in nature than in a book that is 4500 years old.
  • Wisdom is feminine and mystically transferred.
  • Christianity has nothing to offer without its mystical tradition.
  • The reptillian brain is a lover of solitude, which is what a lot of mystical tradition is about. The mammal brain is all about compassion. Meditation calms the reptillian brain.
  • One out of every ten mammals is going extinct while churches are arguing over whether to ordain gays.
  • We are the first species to choose not to go extinct... and we're not choosing yet. We're going about as if business is normal. None of it can be normal, as all of it is leading us into extinction. The moral question is whetherour species is sustainable or not.
  • If we do not make a major shity if our species self-care in nine years, we'vepassed a point of no return.
  • The gulf between religion and spirituality is so stark and dangerous because we are on the brink; we are not living our lives in depth.
  • Our creativity is what sets us aside as a species.
  • The anthropologist's definition of a human is a biped who makes things.
  • In 100,000 years, we have taken over the planet... yet we are lousy stewards. If religion is in the way of our ability to become better stewards, it needs to get out of the way.
  • The quest for Wisdom shouldn't be a competition.
  • We need a return to gender balance; our historical ideas about God indicate what a very small box we all live in.
  • The Goddess is back and She's pissed, as well she should be.
  • We've got to stand up to our culture's distorted view of masculinity.
  • The Green Man is the archetype of Sacred Masculinity. In Native American tradition, the plants are the most intelligent of the creatures. The Green Man synthesizes the wisdom of nature with the wisdom of the creative male self, of warriorhood.
  • Real warriorship is the defense of the weak. If we are not doing that, we are leaches.
  • The Slavemaster was deeply wounded by slavery, but he was the last to know it.
  • If every car got 40 MPG, we'd no longer need a drop of foreign oil.
  • The Bible is no more qualified to tell us about homosexuality than it is about the Earth and the Sun.
  • 464 species of creatures have been identified with homosexual populations.
  • Any church that is homophobic is killing off an incredible spiritual resource.
  • The over-focus on homosexuality is a silly lightening rod of the ultra-conservatives to suck the energy out of the real moral arguments of our time.
  • Passive aggressive behavior is a sickening virus- we are not in touch with our anger. There is such a thing as prophetic outrage.
  • We should be praising our ancestors for their lust for our being here.
  • We need to spend much more time understanding our anger.
  • Until we get in touch with our lower chakras, we will not get in touch with the Earth.
  • Another sign of hope is the youth, the first post-modern generation. They are creating amazing artforms which synthesize all of the wisdom which has trickled up to this point. They bring the seeds of the new renaissance.

    jaybird found this for you @ 00:22 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 15 August, 2006 }

    Death and Rebirth in World Myth and Mythic Fiction

    To die is to sleep, the myth seems to be saying, to be entombed among flickering dreams until we wake again. Sleep and death, birth and awakening, are fused in tales from across the world, from throughout history. There's the Chinese legend of P'an–ku, for example, a primal deity who hatches from the cosmic egg only to die, his breath, his blood, his muscles and veins, all of him, becoming the substance of the world, the wind and the clouds, the strata of rock and earth, the rivers; his death is the birth of the world. There are the metamorphoses of Greek myths — Narcissus, Hyacinth, Daphne — where death is not an end but a transformation to a new life. There are folktales or fantasy stories which take the Hindu or Buddhist concept of reincarnation as a springboard. Anna Tambour's story "Strange Incidents in Foreign Parts," in Electric Velocipede #9 for instance, has a protagonist who dies and is reborn as an eggplant. Yes, an eggplant.

    There's an animistic theme which informs these tales, a suggestion that death is only a dissolution of the individual back into the collective soul from which they came, from which they'll re–emerge in a new form. We tend to think of the Phoenix as the archetypal symbol of death and resurrection, to talk of rising, Phoenix–like, from the ashes. But the Phoenix which hatches from an egg incubated in fire is not the same Phoenix which builds that pyre of a nest, which dies upon that fire. That Phoenix dies so a new Phoenix can be hatched. If there is a sense of reincarnation, it is not as a restoration of the individual but as what the Buddhists would call a rebecoming.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 26 July, 2006 }

    A man at the crossroads

    After giving us a basic overview of what would happen, the santero began the ritual. He started by sprinkling Florida Water (an old perfume which became popular as a tool in Santeria) on the mat, in order to “sweeten the reading.” He encouraged us to apply a little to ourselves as well. Then began a long prayer in the Yoruba language. One by one, he pulled the cowrie shells from the bowl, dowsing each one with water from the bowl, and calling down the blessings of the Orishas, of spirit guides, of our ancestors, of all those who have died, of priests both living and dead. The list went on and on rhythmically. I began to feel myself fall into the rhythm of it all, my head nodding slightly almost of its own accord. I felt the distinct sensation too of a heaviness pushing slightly but not uncomfortably down on the top of my head, perhaps the beginning of a trance.

    He then took the shells and touched them to my feet, my knees, legs, stomach, shoulders and head – connecting them to me and my particular destiny and energy. Also mixed in there somewhere (I forget where chronologically) were offerings to Eleggua of rum sprayed from his mouth, a cigar smoked backwards so that the orisha could in effect taste it himself, and the $121 that I had been instructed to bring. I folded the money three times over, which was a sign for it to come back to me threefold. The santero kissed it, crossed himself with it and left it in Eleggua’s little dish. Thus began the ritual. The prayers and actions which we took to begin had put me into a very calm and focused state of mind, with no trace of fear or apprehension. I had chosen my santero wisely, it seemed. I trusted him completely.

    The Dilogun consists of two main throws of the cowrie shells. Each of these is associated with a number, an odu, and a proverb. The first throw establishes the main theme and the second describes the variations of that theme. The first throw found a number of cowrie shells sitting face up, like little mouths smiling up from the mat. The name and number of that odu I am choosing to keep hidden from the public eye, as I understand that these things are intended to be private keys to the energy currently operating in my life. As much as I feel the desire to share my experiences fully with others, I also want to respect the tradition and the spirits invoked by it. In any event, after only the first throw, the reading was already making sense to me. The next throw brought another round of shells smiling up at us. Between the two throws, a compelling picture of my life was beginning to unfold. And I’ll share as much of it as I feel comfortable doing so here...

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:21 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 16 July, 2006 }

    Alan Watts on Time


    jaybird found this for you @ 23:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 03 July, 2006 }

    Ha Ha: True Origin of Christian "FISH" Symbol

    ...[C]ontemporary Jesus worshippers might be surprised, even outraged, to learn that one of their preeminent religious symbols antedated the Christian religion, and has its roots in pagan fertility awareness and sexuality. Barbara G. Walker writes in "The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects," that the acronym pertaining to Jesus Christ was a "rationale invented after the fact... Christians simply copied this pagan symbol along with many others." Ichthys was the offspring son of the ancient Sea goddess Atargatis, and was known in various mythic systems as Tirgata, Aphrodite, Pelagia or Delphine. The word also meant "womb" and "dolphin" in some tongues, and representations of this appeared in the depiction of mermaids. The fish also a central element in other stories, including the Goddess of Ephesus (who has a fish amulet covering her genital region), as well as the tale of the fish that swallowed the penis of Osiris, and was also considered a symbol of the vulva of Isis.

    Along with being a generative and reproductive spirit in mythology, the fish also has been identified in certain cultures with reincarnation and the life force. Sir James George Frazer noted in his work, "Adonis, Attis, Osiris: Studies in the History of Oriental Religion" (Part Four of his larger work, "The Golden Bough") that among one group in India, the fish was believed to house a deceased soul, and that as part of a fertility ritual specific fish is eaten in the belief that it will be reincarnated in a newborn child.

    Well before Christianity, the fish symbol was known as "the Great Mother," a pointed oval sign, the "vesica piscis" or Vessel of the Fish.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:05 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 15 May, 2006 }

    20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity

    4. Christianity is extremely egocentric. The deep egocentrism of Christianity is intimately tied to its reliance on fear. In addition to the fears of the devil and hell, Christianity plays on another of humankind’s most basic fears: death, the dissolution of the individual ego. Perhaps Christianity’s strongest appeal is its promise of eternal life. While there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim, most people are so terrified of death that they cling to this treacly promise insisting, like frightened children, that it must be true. Nietzsche put the matter well: "salvation of the soul—in plain words, the world revolves around me." It’s difficult to see anything spiritual in this desperate grasping at straws—this desperate grasping at the illusion of personal immortality.

    Another manifestation of the extreme egotism of Christianity is the belief that God is intimately concerned with picayune aspects of, and directly intervenes in, the lives of individuals. If God, the creator and controller of the universe, is vitally concerned with your sex life, you must be pretty damned important. Many Christians take this particular form of egotism much further and actually imagine that God has a plan for them, or that God directly talks to, directs, or even does favors for them.(1) If one ignored the frequent and glaring contradictions in this supposed divine guidance, and the dead bodies sometimes left in its wake, one could almost believe that the individuals making such claims are guided by God. But one can’t ignore the contradictions in and the oftentimes horrible results of following such "divine guidance." As "Agent Mulder" put it (perhaps paraphrasing Thomas Szasz) in a 1998 X-Files episode, "When you talk to God it’s prayer, but when God talks to you it’s schizophrenia. . . . God may have his reasons, but he sure seems to employ a lot of psychotics to carry out his job orders."

    In less extreme cases, the insistence that one is receiving divine guidance or special treatment from God is usually the attempt of those who feel worthless—or helpless, adrift in an uncaring universe—to feel important or cared for. This less sinister form of egotism is commonly found in the expressions of disaster survivors that "God must have had a reason for saving me" (in contrast to their less-worthy-of-life fellow disaster victims, whom God—who controls all things—killed). Again, it’s very difficult to see anything spiritual in such egocentricity. [via corpus mmothra]

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 01 May, 2006 }

    Good Beltane, friends.

    Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of Spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.

    Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend. Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair, and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty. Dress in bright colors. Dance the Maypole and feel yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within. On May Eve, bless your garden in the old way by making love with your lover in it. Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck. Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and dancing.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:59 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 25 April, 2006 }

    Growing popularity of Sufism in Iran

    The lights are dimmed in a home in northern Tehran. The men, women and teenagers gathered in the large living room close their eyes and rock back and forth to the beat of live music. As the tambourine and drums beat louder and faster, some members of the group climb to their feet. They begin to swirl slowly in circles and raise their hands to the ceiling. A few fall into trances.

    "You can somehow touch relaxation," says 22-year-old Mahsa, who believes that music and dance can provide a direct route to Allah.

    "It's a very good sensation, and you think your soul is flying, that somehow you're not in your body."

    These Iranians consider themselves Shia Muslims, as do most Iranians, and look to the first Shia Imam, Ali, as a spiritual guide.

    But they also call themselves Sufis.

    Sufis believe that at the core of all religions lies the same truth and that God is the only reality behind all forms of existence.

    They also believe that the individual, through his or her own efforts, can reach spiritual union with God.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Lost at sea on a flotilla of enlightenment

    I guess what we're on now is an island. A drifing island. The abbot says the drift was the closest they could get to sovereignty, so they accepted it and went back to their prayers. We have no rudders or giant sails, though sometimes a robe will flare up and catch a breeze, sometimes twenty robes at once, and the island drifts a little faster. This is what nostalgia feels like, like I have borrowed the ocean in a small squeeze bottle, squeezed the salt water up my nose twice a day so I can feel the tide, whoosh, back and forth, inside my head. Somewhere between the Pacific currents, I'd like to think the island has a purpose, that it wants to find its way back to its natural latitudes, but I know we can't control it.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:21 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 18 April, 2006 }

    Tzaddikim: The Thirty Six Unknown

    In later Kabbalistic (Kabbalah) folklore, the thirty six hidden ones have the potential to save the world, they appear when they are needed, and one of them might be the Messiah. They come at times of great peril, called out of their anonymity and humility by the necessity to save the world. Because they can, and because we need them.

    We Jews began to get familiar with them, referring to them in Yiddish as the "lamed vov-niks" (lamed vov is Hebrew for thirty six), and seeing them everywhere in the anonymous acts of good people who rise to great acts in difficult circumstances. And because one of the lamed vov-niks, one of the anonymous thirty six might be the Messiah, we tended to treat strangers with kindness and the possibility that he or she could be the one. It could be the person we least suspect, because the thirty six, like all the sustaining notions of the world in the Kabbalah, are hidden. They may appear, they may not appear. If they do appear, they may be known, they may be unknown. In each generation, we look for them everywhere.

    Who are your Tzaddikim? [via mygothlaundry]

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:47 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 07 April, 2006 }

    Judas Priestly: Lost Gospel Revealed

    After being lost for nearly 1,700 years, the Gospel of Judas was recently restored, authenticated, and translated. Some biblical scholars are calling the Gospel of Judas the most significant archaeological discovery in 60 years.

    The only known surviving copy of the gospel was found in a codex, or ancient book, that dates back to the third or fourth century A.D. The newly revealed gospel document, written in Coptic script, is believed to be a translation of the original, a Greek text written by an early Christian sect sometime before A.D. 180.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:38 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 05 April, 2006 }

    Wadjet: Serpent Goddess of Justice, Time, Heaven and Hell

    Wadjet is primarily a snake-headed protector of Lower Egypt - the delta region. However, the ancient people of northern area worshiped Wadjet as a vulture Goddess. Wadjet was revered as the goddess of childbirth, and protector of children, and in later years she became the protector of kings. Wadjet's role was often seen as a forceful defender, while her sister, Nekhebet, was seen as the motherly defender. This contrast provided the counterpoint seen in many of the Egyptian deities. The symbol of justice, time, heaven and hell, Wadjet is one of the oldest Egyptian goddesses.

    Often shown as a cobra, or as the head of the cobra, Wadjet can be seen rearing from the forehead of the rulers. Evidence of her protection is most notable upon the funerary mask of Tutankhamen. Occasionally, she has been shown in the guise of her "eye of divine vengeance" role, as a lioness. In later years, the royal crowns were often decorated with two or more depictions of cobras in deference to her role as protector.

    While Wadjet was sometimes depicted as the lioness-headed goddess, she was often seen in the image of a mongoose, represented on the funeral urns of ancient Egypt. The mongoose was revered as her sacred animal. Along with the shrew mouse, they were mummified and entombed in statuettes of the goddess. It is believed that the mongoose, and the shrew mouse were representative of the day and night cycle. The mongoose representing daylight, and the nocturnal shrew mouse representing night.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:01 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Brother Wayne Teasdale: Transforming the Seeds of Corruption

    "We have a universal responsibility to speak out when we see injustice, oppression, and the abuse of human rights, the rights of the earth, and other species," writes an impassioned Brother Wayne Teasdale in his book The Mystic Heart. "Personally, I find the silence [on the crisis in Tibet] disturbing and morally indefensible; it indicates a lack of courage and moral strength that hides behind considerations of prudence and discretion."

    There are few souls as gentle as Brother Wayne Teasdale, "lay monk" and pioneer of the interfaith movement, who also speak as stridently and compellingly as he does about the necessity for all spiritual leaders to actively respond to the crises facing the world. But for Teasdale, the result of any true and deep mystical experience must be an active and engaged response to the cries of a suffering humanity and an embattled earth. Brother Wayne Teasdale has devoted much of his life to facilitating understanding, respect, and practical cooperation among spiritual leaders. Serving on the board for the Parliament of the World's Religions, he was instrumental in bringing almost eight thousand people of different faiths together for the 1993 Chicago Parliament, an event that led, among other things, to the pivotal signing by two hundred spiritual leaders of Guidelines for a Global Ethic. He also organized the Synthesis Dialogues, an interreligious, interdisciplinary forum moderated by H.H. the Dalai Lama, designed to bring key figures from diverse professions together to explore the value and implications of mystical experience. And, together with His Holiness, he helped to draft the influential Universal Declaration on Nonviolence.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:47 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 30 March, 2006 }

    Mayan Legend: How The King Of Birds Was Chosen

    Halach-Uinic, the Great Spirit guarded over all the Maya World.

    His will was law. One day be grew tired of the constant chatter and fighting among the birds. At a meeting in the center of the forest, he announced that the birds must choose a king to keep peace.

    Of course, each bird thought it possessed the best qualifications. Col-pol-che, the cardinal sang, "Look at me. No one else is bright red and so beautiful. All the birds admire me. I should he king." And he strutted in front of the impressed bird audience, fluttering his wings and raising his crest.

    X-col-col-chek, the tropical mockingbird, trilled out, "I'm the only bird with such a lovely voice. Everyone listens to me." Enlarging his throat, X-col gave a short performance of enchanting and complicated melodies. This was a tremendous sensation among the birds and went far in convincing them that the mockingbird should be king.

    Then the wild turkey, Cutz, strode into the circle and gobbled, "There's no doubt that I should be king because I'm the biggest and strongest bird. With my size and strength, I can stop fights and also defend any bird. You need a powerful king. I'm the one!"

    And so, throughout the day various birds displayed their qualities. The only one that kept quiet was Kukul, the quetzal. This bird was very ambitious and proud. He had elegant manners and a graceful body, but his plumage was shabby. Kukul thought it would be impossible to be chosen as king while he was dressed so poorly...

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:51 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 23 March, 2006 }

    The Mayas: How The Mockingbird Became The Best Singer

    When X-chol-col-chek, the mockingbird, was young, her family was very poor, and she could only dress in dingy feathers. Since she was hatched, however, X-col had displayed a magnificent voice. She wanted to take singing lessons but could not afford them.

    The mockingbird was fortunate to obtain work with a rich and noble family of cardinals. That winter, a famous singing professor, Dr. Xcau, the melodious blackbird, came to Maya Land. The father cardinal immediately imagined that his daughter, Col-pol-che, could become a fine singer. She was lazy vain and hated to study. But by promising her many fine gifts, the father convinced her to try singing lessons.

    When Col-pol-che went with Dr. Xcau to a quiet part of the woods to begin her music course, X-col followed and hid in the bushes to listen and learn. Then she raced back to finish her chores. For weeks, the professor tried to make the girl cardinal sing sweetly, but without success. He soon realized she had neither the voice nor the ambition. He was afraid to tell her wealthy father after such a long time, having accepted a lot of money. So, he finally flew far away an forgot the whole affair.

    Meanwhile, X-col had been practicing. One morning, Col-pol-che happened to hear her and was very surprised at her little maid's ability. That same day, the father cardinal decided his daughter should give a concert for their friends. The indolent girl was terrified, yet she dared not tell her parents that she couldn't sing. She thought of the mockingbird's lovely voice and decided to ask her for help.

    The two birds asked Colote, the woodpecker, to bore a hole into the tree trunk where Col-pol-che would perch. Then the mockingbird would hide inside. While Col-pol-che pretended to be singing, the real voice would come from X-col within...

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:14 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Shari'a Law in the United States

    First in Europe and now in the United States, Muslim groups have petitioned to establish enclaves in which they can uphold and enforce greater compliance to Islamic law. While the U.S. Constitution enshrines the right to religious freedom and the prohibition against a state religion, when it comes to the rights of religious enclaves to impose communal rules, the dividing line is more nebulous. Can U.S. enclaves, homeowner associations, and other groups enforce Islamic law?

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:07 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 20 March, 2006 }

    Welcome to Spring!

    While the Vernal Equinox was an important point of passage in the year, the actual method of marking the festival varied from village to village and people to people. Rituals and invocations for abundance in the new crops being planted would often be held during the new moon closest to the Equinox (traditionally a good time to plant). In some places this was also the time when promises were made between lovers for the Handfasting Ceremony that would come at Midsummer. In a very real sense the ceremony was an expression of hope and trust in the new lives that would blossom in the warmth of summer.

    Even the latter day celebration (comparatively speaking) of Easter acknowledged the significance of the Vernal Equinox. The Council of Nice decreed in 325 A.D. that "Easter was to fall upon the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox."

    This time of equality between day and night has been, and continues to be, a timekeeper, marking our passage from darkness and cold to warmth and light.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:19 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 08 March, 2006 }

    Alchemy for the Brain-Damaged: The Royal Art

    So are we talking technique, or are we talking visionary experience? Hopefully both. From the 'spiritual' perspective it behooves one to preference the latter, but part of the point of magick is that it empowers the personality to pursue the spiritual more effectively. My feeling is that done correctly, technique leads to vision, with the added benefit of also having a skill set to implement the vision afterword. In a nutshell, unless your natural inclination is towards renunciation and asceticism, or christlike devotion to others, you'll get something out of cultivating some skills in this area. so we'll start with technique... For our purposes here, we'll be treating magick as this: the cultivation of intent. Full stop. That's it. That covers everything you need to know for now.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:07 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 07 March, 2006 }

    The Integration of Religion in Multi-Dimensional Science

    Multi-Dimensional Science, or MDS is an attempt to fully integrate science with mysticism, and religion. Naturally enough, it includes parapsychology, or psychical resarch which is the evolving science into claimed "supernatural" phenomena.

    Before proceeding further, it must be made very clear that in NO way is MDS a religion, cult, or sect even though it may use terms associated with them. Admitedly, most of this new "science" consists of speculative metaphysical issues such as reincarnation, post mortem existence, pre-destination, other worlds, et al. Essentially, MDS hopes to largely indirectly prove, or alternatively disprove the the reality, or non-reality of such "revelations".

    The basic thesis, and methodology of Multi-Dimensional Science (MDS).
    Central to mysticism, and religion is the concept of an unseen non-physical psychic, or spiritual universe. It is undetectable by our by five limited senses, and by other means. In religion, and indeed, in western philosophy it can only be accepted on grounds of faith, or belief. In mysticism though such non-physical realms can be "proven" via direct experience by the awakening sixth sense of mind, and conciousness during some form of meditation, or spiritual technology. This whole process involves "going within" oneself, and entering the inner realms, or planes of higher conciousness.
    This normally invisible non-physical universe may well be a shared objective reality rather than the figment of the imagination...

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:56 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 02 March, 2006 }

    The Persian Sufis

    The Sufi phenomenon is not easy to sum up or define. The Sufis never set out to found a new religion, a mazhab or denomination. They were content to live and work within the framework of the Moslem religion, using texts from the Quran much as Christian mystics have used to Bible to illustrate their tenets. Their aim was to purify and spiritualize Islam from within, to give it a deeper, mystical interpretation, and infuse into it a spirit of love and liberty. In the broader sense, therefore, in which the word religion is used in our time, their movement could well be called a religious one, one which did not aim at tying men down with a new set of rules but rather at setting them free from external rules and open to the movement of the spirit.

    This religion was disseminated mainly by poetry, it breathed in an atmosphere of poetry and song. In it the place of great dogmatic treatises is taken by mystical romances, such as Yusuf and Zuleikha or Leila and Majnun. Its one dogma, and interpretation of the Moslem witness: 'There is no god by God', is that the human heart must turn always, unreservedly, to the one, divine Beloved.

    Who was the first Sufi? Who started this astonishing flowering of spiritual love in Lyrical poetry and dedicated lives? No one knows.

    Early in the history of Islam, Moslem ascetics appeared who from their habit of wearing coarse garments of wool (suf), became known as Sufis. But what we now know as Sufism dawned unheralded, mysteriously, in the ninth century of our ear and already in the tenth and eleventh had reached maturity. Among all its exponents there is no single one who could be claimed as the initiator or founder.

    Sufism is like that great oak-tree, standing in the middle of the meadow: no one witnessed its planting, no one beheld its beginning, but now the flourishing tree speaks for itself, is true to origins which it has forgotten, has taken for granted.

    [via plep]

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:30 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Inside Scientology

    The faded little downtown area of Clearwater, Florida, has a beauty salon, a pizza parlor and one or two run-down bars, as well as a bunch of withered bungalows and some old storefronts that look as if they haven't seen customers in years. There are few cars and almost no pedestrians. There are, however, buses -- a fleet of gleaming white and blue ones that slowly crawl through town, stopping at regular intervals to discharge a small army of tightly organized, young, almost exclusively white men and women, all clad in uniform preppy attire: khaki, black or navy-blue trousers and crisp white, blue or yellow dress shirts. Some wear pagers on their belts; others carry briefcases. The men have short hair, and the women keep theirs pulled back or tucked under headbands that match their outfits. No one crosses against the light, and everybody calls everybody else "sir" -- even when the "sir" is a woman. They move throughout the center of Clearwater in tight clusters, from corner to corner, building to building.

    This regimented mass represents the "Sea Organization," the most dedicated and elite members of the Church of Scientology. For the past thirty years, Scientology has made the city of Clearwater its worldwide spiritual headquarters -- its Mecca, or its Temple Square. There are 8,300 or so Scientologists living and working in Clearwater -- more than in any other city in the world outside of Los Angeles. Scientologists own more than 200 businesses in Clearwater. Members of the church run schools and private tutoring programs, day-care centers and a drug-rehab clinic. They sit on the boards of the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Boy Scouts.

    In July 2004, The St. Petersburg Times dubbed Clearwater, a community of 108,000 people, "Scientology's Town." On the newspaper's front page was a photograph of Scientology's newest building, a vast, white, Mediterranean Revival-style edifice known within Scientology circles as the "Super Power" building. Occupying a full square block of downtown, this structure, which has been under construction since 1998, is billed as the single largest Scientology church in the world. When it is finally completed -- presumably in late 2006, at an estimated final cost of $50 million -- it will have 889 rooms on six floors, an indoor sculpture garden and a large Scientology museum. The crowning touch will be a two-story, illuminated Scientology cross that, perched atop the building's highest tower, will shine over the city of Clearwater like a beacon.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:29 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 27 February, 2006 }

    Stunning, beautiful audio + photographs from a Jain festival

    It left me wonderstruck...

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:40 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 24 February, 2006 }

    Integrative Spirituality: Spiritualized Activism

    This is the time of developing new paradigms and structures to assist us in creating more satisfying and empowering realities for the human experience. The new paradigm of activity focused on all forms of social activism and transformation is Spiritual Activism. Spiritualized activism, like anything else that focuses on the integration of the world of spirit, grounds the activism in ultimate truths and the highest principles in other words, as Above so below. This evolved form of activism is an adjusted perspective in the art of creative global problem solving. It takes heart and soul, humanness, spirit and conviction to a new manifestation of personal and collective power.

    Our world is no longer perceived as a linear, predictable environment where we can plan for future outcomes with certainty. Chaos is abound, there is an overabundance of information, fragmentation and the planet appears plagued by serious problems that could bring it to the brink of destruction. But there is also a phoenix rising from this bleak picture and with it comes new understanding, new perspective and new ways of being - not just doing. This phoenix carries on its wings an improved form of activism --- spiritual activism.

    Co-creating with the divine intelligence (or what Tom Atlee the author of The Tao of Democracy refers to as co-intelligence) to increase our capacity of developing creative solutions to the world's rich challenges, taps into the power of the universe. Instead of pushing, driving and forcing with our will, we can let go and let the process of social change organically unfold. We can put our attention on the process itself and support the evolution of a better global and local society by going within and using this divine intelligence to guide us in our actions. This is where spiritual activism begins, with the transformation of each individual being.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    SubGenius Membership Allegedly Leads to Loss of Child Custody

    Deliver us from ourselves, Bob.

    On February 3, 2006, Judge Punch heard testimony in the case. Jeff entered into evidence 16 exhibits taken from the Internet, 12 of which are photographs of the SubGenius event, X-Day. Kohl has never attended X-Day and is not in any of the pictures. Rachel is depicted in many of these photos, often wearing skimpy costumes or completely nude, while participating in X-Day and Detroit Devival events.

    The judge, allegedly a very strict Catholic, became outraged at the photos of the X-Day parody of Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ — especially the photo where Jesus [Steve Bevilacqua] is wearing clown makeup and carrying a crucifix with a pool-noodle dollar sign on it while being beaten by a crowd of SubGenii, including a topless woman with a “dildo”.

    Judge Punch lost his temper completely, and began to shout abuse at Rachel, calling her a “pervert,” “mentally ill,” “lying,” and a participant in “sex orgies.” The judge ordered that Rachel is to have absolutely no contact with her son, not even in writing, because he felt the pictures of X-Day performance art were evidence enough to suspect “severe mental illness”

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 15 February, 2006 }

    Fantastic Planet: Images, Icons, Ikons, and Gnostic Speculi

    The problem, according to the Iconoclasts, was the prohibition against the worship of idols within the Ten Commandments. Familiarly, the Iconoclasts maintained that images of holy figures could induce idolatry, and that the veneration of ikons was tantamount to breaking said commandment. This idea was so ingrained that ikons were officially banned from 726 AD to 842 AD, when they were triumphantly returned to the churches on the first Sunday in Lent (still celebrated in Orthodox Churches).

    Think about that for a moment: they were *returned to the churches* in triumph. These images, these ikons of the holy figures were so important to people that they kept the tradition alive and underground in the face of persecution which ran from imprisonment to excommunication to death. Why were these ikons so important, and why are they still so important to so many to this day? And, what is the difference between the veneration of ikons and idolatry?

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Lvx23: magickal constructs

    What is the subtle and sublime mechanism that underlies magick? In whatever system or technique, by some process we manifest mind into reality. Internally we can call it self improvement yet we know there's so much more. By some arcane, digitally feral technologies our thoughts are often heard by the chaotic web of life, which responds in kind giving us that one sideways glance and cocked smile at just the right fucking moment to be beyond a doubt a sudden mind-blowing manifestation of magick. It's as if there is a great presence existing in some very real yet abstracted layer of reality that interpenetrates everything, leading from the backs of our minds right to the central servers of the Akashic Record.

    We humans so often consider ourselves alone and isolated. Possibly comforted by a loving other but inevitably, in those very very late hours of a sleepless night, we are, standing at the edge of a gaping black grave, alone. The centimeter or so of our bony skull is apparently enough to completely contain the raging torrents of a millions years or so of cognitive evolution. Undeniably we all have atomic furnaces burning inside our heads, incomprehensibly complex and capable, so powerful that incredibly complex tasks like linguistic communication and symbolic representation are basic sub-routines requiring very little actual effort on the part of the human operator.

    The simple fact that, by culture, we generally share the same language, the same core values, the same basic ontologies, and the same educational backgrounds is evidence that we are, in fact, very connected and far more similar than different from one another. In short, we all share the same basic cognitive scaffolding on which we hang our individuality. While this acculturation is certainly acquired through peers and seniors, there's a certain point during childhood when one learns things without ever being told. It's as if the child is able to tap into the cultural record resident in all minds yet simultaneously external and independent.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:32 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 14 February, 2006 }

    Nature of the Divine: get out into the world and play

    It seems when often when people talk of their belief or lack of belief in a divine figure many seem to fall into the trap of relating to God in their own image. They see the divine as essentially anthropomorphic and possessed of human qualities. So when bad things happen, be they natural disasters or human calamity, they invariably consider that God is either a mighty pissed malicious bastard to be feared or can't exist, because if he (generally it's a he) did he wouldn't allow these sort of things to happen.

    Some interpretations of spiritual systems hold the belief that this Earth is ultimately fallen, that the pain and misery in the world is a result of it's imperfection and that either the commonly worshiped God is in fact our main jailer, or we are deep down no good bastards who deserve all that's coming to us.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 07 February, 2006 }

    In Africa, Islam and Christianity are growing - and blending

    At first, it seems a surprising sight: inside a two-story mosque in sub-Saharan Africa's largest metropolis hangs a life-size portrait of Jesus Christ.

    Yet worshipers at "The True Message of God Mission" say it's entirely natural for Christianity and Islam to cexist, even overlap. They begin their worship by praying at the Jesus alcove and then "running their deliverance" - sprinting laps around the mosque's mosaic-tiled courtyard, praying to the one God for forgiveness and help. They say it's akin to Israelites circling the walls of Jericho - and Muslims swirling around the Ka'ba shrine in Mecca.

    This group - originally called "Chris-lam-herb" for its mix-and-match approach to Christianity, Islam, and traditional medicine - is a window on an ongoing religious ferment in Africa. It's still up for debate whether this group, and others like it, could become models for Muslim-Christian unity worldwide or whether they're uniquely African. But either way, they are "part of a trend," says Dana Robert, a Boston University religion professor.

    Amid intense sectarian violence in this half- Muslim, half-Christian country, these groups serve as tolerant peacemakers. Also, with widespread poverty and health concerns here, people are seeking practical, profitable religion more than rigid doctrine.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:03 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 02 February, 2006 }

    Imbolc: Emerging Into Light

    The Celtic festival of Imbolc celebrates the return of Spring from underground--and the Soul to renewed life.

    Once again, it is time to welcome in the early Spring and the festival of Bride, or Brigid, the Goddess who brings Light and Life to the land. The ancient Celts called it Imbolc, the time when the new lambs were born, the Earth is beginning to thaw, and new, impossibly fragile-looking green shoots start to emerge through the bare soil.

    This miraculous emergence into light is one of the major themes of the holiday. An old Scottish rhyme tells us that this is the time when Bride emerges from the Earth, just as in the Greek myth, enacted at this time of year as part of the Eleusinian mysteries, the goddess Persephone came out of the underworld and Spring returned once more.

    These myths are not only about the return of Spring to the land, but also the return of the Soul--traditionally depicted as feminine--from its dwelling in the obscurity of the subconscious mind. In the western world, we tend to get so caught up in material pursuits that the soul is forgotten most of the time - even though we never feel truly at home to ourselves without that connection. At the dawn of the modern age, a poet wrote that "affairs are now soul size." His words are even more true today: with the escalating crises in the world from wars to global warming, now is the time to fully awaken into what each of us has been called to do during our time on Earth, to emerge into a life that catches fire from the soul-flame within each of us.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:12 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 18 January, 2006 }

    Key 23: The Feral Magician

    ...In American culture insecurity is rampantly bred into us. So people limit themselves to safe bets. But there's also the fear of success. Fear that magic really DOES work, which requires having a responsibility of some sort associated with one's practice of it. People are afraid to take the reins of a power they deem godly; they fear becoming Icarus, of falling prey to hubris and being struck down.

    We're also kept down by modern Western thought, which dictates causality and Cartesian duality. Not content with disagreeing with more esoteric thought, the egregore of Western civilization has sown the seeds of fear into our heads--the fear that, if we embrace beliefs outside of a certain norm, we are insane. Not evil, which can be romanticized and thereby reclaimed, but insanity, which supposedly denotes a REAL danger. Few people fear demons; magicians and mundanes alike rarely tremble at the names of the Goetia, and rare is the person who even really believes in Satan any more as anything beyond a symbolic construct. But many fear the insane; even those who are harmless, who have something as relatively benign as bipolar disorder, are looked at with distrust by those who claim no ills to the public. And so that stigma is attached by mainstream society to anyone who practices magic, believes in spirits or otherwise plays in the ocult sandbox.

    Chaos magic lent some unique credibility to magic by boiling it down to its base components and explaining it with physics. Yet overexposure to Chaos magic can breed the misconception that magic is wholly psychological, that it can be captured within one's head, that the entities one works with are purely symbolic and have no life independent of human thought. This is just as draining to the spirit of magic as the idea that it doesn't exist.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:31 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 03 January, 2006 }

    Intro to Hermeticism

    Hermes was taken to be the inventor of writing. Texts that covered religion and philosophy were said to be due to him, as well as those on magic, alchemy and astrology. It is the former that make up Hermeticism, however; the latter have nothing more in common with them than their being credited to Hermes. Nevertheless, it was common practice to ascribe a text to Trismegistus in order to give it more credibility.

    It was thought by Renaissance translators that Hermeticism could be traced back to the Egyptian mystery schools, through the Neoplatonists and Kabbalists, but some of the texts have been shown to be contemporaneous with early Christianity.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:14 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 21 December, 2005 }

    The Icelandic Yule Cat

    The oldest written sources on the Yule Cat are from the Nineteenth Century. These refer to the fact that those who do not get a new item of clothing for Yule are destined to become offerings for the Yule Cat. It may sound strange that the deprived ones will also become the sacrifices, but this tradition is based on the fact that every effort was made to finish all work with the Autumn wool before Yule. The reward for those who took part in the work was a new piece of clothing. Those who were lazy received nothing. Thus the Yule Cat was used as an incentive to get people to work harder.

    A woman describes a scene from her youth in the last century thus: "We were lazy doing this chore. Then we were reminded of the Yule Cat. We thought that was some terrible beast and the last thing we wanted was to be one of his offers".

    One of Iceland's most beloved poets in this century, Jóhannes úr Kötlum, wrote a lay about the Yule Cat. It follows in the translation of Vignir Jónsson, who says: "You'll have to forgive me but I didn't make it rhyme - I'm not much of a poet."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:58 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The lore of Yule

    "I do not know how the forty years I have been away have dealt with Jule-nissen, the Christmas elf of my childhood....He was pretty old then, gray and bent, and there were signs that his time was nearly over. When I was a boy we never sat down to our Christmas Eve dinner until a bowl of rice and milk had been taken to the attic, where he lived with the martin and its young, and kept an eye upon the house--saw that everything ran smoothly. I never met him myself, but I know the house cat must have done so. No doubt they were well acquainted, for when in the morning I went in for the bowl, there it was, quite dry and licked clean, and the cat purring in the corner.....the Nisse, or the leprecawn--call him what you like--was a friend indeed to those who loved kindness and peace."

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:47 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 19 December, 2005 }

    Link upon link: Deconstructing the great chain being

    Let me begin with a fact that has continued to surprise me for nearly twenty years. Many of the world’s great mystics, regardless of their cultural and intellectual traditions, have advocated versions of the Great Chain of Being. There are notable and important differences in the particular theories introduced, but the fact remains that the Great Chain provides the ontological foundation (or superstructure) for the great majority of mystics. Similarly, many theorists of the Great Chain of Being (if not all) explicitly articulate a commitment to the experiential reality and ontological significance of mystical experience. The connection between the Great Chain of Being and mysticism is indeed so pervasive and runs so deep that Huston Smith has suggested that these two positions are fundamentally identical.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:18 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 13 December, 2005 }

    It's on: The war on Winter Solstice

    For thousands of years humanity had celebrated the beginning of days getting longer in a peaceful and celebratory manner:

    The Romans honored Saturn, the ancient god of agriculture, each year beginning on December 17 in a festival called the Saturnalia. This festival lasted for seven days and included the winter solstice, which at that time fell on December 25 (today, following calendar reform, it falls on December 21). During Saturnalia the Romans feasted, postponed all business and warfare, exchanged gifts, and temporarily freed their slaves. With the lengthening of daylight, these and other winter festivities continued through January 1, the festival of Kalends, when Romans marked the day of the new moon and the first day of the month and religious year (the secular year began in March).

    By the 4th century another factor was also at work. Many Romans also celebrated the solstice on December 25 with festivities in honor of the rebirth of Sol Invictus, the "Invincible Sun God," or with rituals to glorify Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light...

    No longer. There is a war on. Historians generally agree that the Cult of Christ started the War on Solstice. They began by coopting the symbols of this most ancient of celebrations: holly, evergreen trees and the Yule log. Those cultists even moved the date of their god's birth from summer to winter! Moreover, they outright plagarized the story of how the greek god Dionysus was born in a cave in the presence of three shepherds.

    You might think humanity would be pissed, but you know what? Nobody really gave a damn. Oh, those silly christers would have you think otherwise, but Winter Solstice was a time of diverse celebration all over the planet. What did the rest of us care if one more faith was participating? A Roman might shout "Io, Saturnalia!" [io, pronounced "yo"] to another Roman, while all over Persia cheerful greetings of "Merry Mithras" rang out. Jewish peoples could wish each other a "Happy Hannaukah," and Christians could say, "Merry Christmas" to one another.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:12 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 12 December, 2005 }

    Matthew Fox: 95 Theses

    1. God is both Mother and Father.

    2. At this time in history, God is more Mother than Father because the feminine is most missing and it is important to bring gender balance back.

    3. God is always new, always young and always “in the beginning.”

    4. God the Punitive Father is not a God worth honoring but a false god and an idol that serves empire-builders. The notion of a punitive, all-male God, is contrary to the full nature of the Godhead who is as much female and motherly as it is masculine and fatherly.

    5. “All the names we give to God come from an understanding of ourselves.” (Eckhart) Thus people who worship a punitive father are themselves punitive.

    6. Theism (the idea that God is ‘out there’ or above and beyond the universe) is false. All things are in God and God is in all things (panentheism).

    7. Everyone is born a mystic and a lover who experiences the unity of things and all are called to keep this mystic or lover of life alive.

    And 88 more...

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:40 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 02 December, 2005 }

    It's Friday: Babies to be freed from limbo

    It is an odd place. The inhabitants include Plato, Moses, Abraham and lots of babies. Now after more than 700 years of shadowy existence, limbo faces closure. The world's 30 leading Roman Catholic theologians were meeting behind closed doors in the Vatican yesterday to discuss a document which would sweep the concept out of the church's teaching.

    Limbo was concocted in the 13th century as a solution to the theological conundrum of what happened to babies who died before they were christened. [via metachat]

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:57 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 29 November, 2005 }

    Squick: A Place in the Desert for New Mexico's Most Exclusive Circles

    From the state that gave us Roswell, the epicenter of UFO lore since 1947, comes a report from an Albuquerque TV station about its discovery of strange landscape markings in the remote desert. They're etched in New Mexico's barren northern reaches, resemble crop circles and are recognizable only from a high altitude.

    Also, they are directly connected to the Church of Scientology...

    The church tried to persuade station KRQE not to air its report last week about the aerial signposts marking a Scientology compound that includes a huge vault "built into a mountainside," the station said on its Web site. The tunnel was constructed to protect the works of L. Ron Hubbard, the late science-fiction writer who founded the church in the 1950s.

    The archiving project, which the church has acknowledged, includes engraving Hubbard's writings on stainless steel tablets and encasing them in titanium capsules. It is overseen by a Scientology corporation called the Church of Spiritual Technology. Based in Los Angeles, the corporation dispatched an official named Jane McNairn and an attorney to visit the TV station in an effort to squelch the story, KRQE news director Michelle Donaldson said.

    The church offered a tour of the underground facility if KRQE would kill the piece, the station said in its newscast. Scientology also called KRQE's owner, Emmis Communications, and "sought the help of a powerful New Mexican lawmaker" to lobby against airing the piece, the station reported on its Web site.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:35 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 28 November, 2005 }

    Pilgrims flock to see 'Buddha boy' said to have fasted six months

    Thousands of pilgrims are pouring into the dense jungle of southern Nepal to worship a 15-year-old boy who has been hailed as a new Buddha. Devotees claim that Ram Bomjon, who is silently meditating beneath a tree, has not eaten or drunk anything since he sat down at his chosen spot six months ago. Witnesses say they have seen light emanating from the teenager's forehead.

    "It looks a bit like when you shine a torch through your hand," said Tek Bahadur Lama, a member of the committee responsible for dealing with the growing number of visitors from India and elsewhere in Nepal.

    [more: watching a mythology develop]

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:05 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Is God an Accident?

    ...Perhaps, as Marx suggested, we have adopted religion as an opiate, to soothe the pain of existence. As the philosopher Susanne K. Langer has put it, man "cannot deal with Chaos"; supernatural beliefs solve the problem of this chaos by providing meaning. We are not mere things; we are lovingly crafted by God, and serve his purposes. Religion tells us that this is a just world, in which the good will be rewarded and the evil punished. Most of all, it addresses our fear of death. Freud summed it all up by describing a "three-fold task" for religious beliefs: "they must exorcise the terrors of nature, they must reconcile men to the cruelty of Fate, particularly as it is shown in death, and they must compensate them for the sufferings and privations which a civilized life in common has imposed on them."

    Religions can sometimes do all these things, and it would be unrealistic to deny that this partly explains their existence. Indeed, sometimes theologians use the foregoing arguments to make a case for why we should believe: if one wishes for purpose, meaning, and eternal life, there is nowhere to go but toward God.

    One problem with this view is that, as the cognitive scientist Steven Pinker reminds us, we don't typically get solace from propositions that we don't already believe to be true. Hungry people don't cheer themselves up by believing that they just had a large meal. Heaven is a reassuring notion only insofar as people believe such a place exists; it is this belief that an adequate theory of religion has to explain in the first place.

    Also, the religion-as-opiate theory fits best with the monotheistic religions most familiar to us. But what about those people (many of the religious people in the world) who do not believe in an all-wise and just God? Every society believes in spiritual beings, but they are often stupid or malevolent. Many religions simply don't deal with metaphysical or teleological questions; gods and ancestor spirits are called upon only to help cope with such mundane problems as how to prepare food and what to do with a corpse—not to elucidate the Meaning of It All. As for the reassurance of heaven, justice, or salvation, again, it exists in some religions but by no means all. (In fact, even those religions we are most familiar with are not always reassuring. I know some older Christians who were made miserable as children by worries about eternal damnation; the prospect of oblivion would have been far preferable.) So the opiate theory is ultimately an unsatisfying explanation for the existence of religion.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 16 November, 2005 }

    Steindl-Rast: The Mystical Core of Organized Religion

    Like every step forward in life... the discovery of mysticism as everyone's inalienable right brings with it a puzzling tension. Those who feel this tension most keenly are people who have long been members of an established religion, with its doctrines, ethical precepts, and rites. They may discover the mystical reality inside the religious establishment or outside of it: either in church or on a mountaintop, while listening to Bach's B-Minor Mass, or while watching a sunset. In any case, but especially out in nature, those who taste mystical ecstasy may begin to sense a discrepancy between this undeniably religious experience and the forms that normally pass as religious. If the religious pursuit is essentially the human quest for meaning, then these most meaningful moments of human existence must certainly be called "religious." They are, in fact, quickly recognized as the very heart of religion, especially by people who have the good fortune of feeling at home in a religious tradition. And yet, the body of religion doesn't always accept its heart. This can happen in any religious tradition, Eastern or Western. To the establishment, after all, mysticism is suspect. The established religion asks: Why is there a need for absorption in the Cloud of Unknowing when we have spelled out everything so clearly? And isn't that emphasis on personal experience a bit egocentric? Who can be sure that people standing on their own feet won't go their own way? These suspicions gave rise to the famous saying that "myst-i-cism begins with mist, puts the I in the center, and ends in schism."

    In every religion, there is this tension between the mystic and the religious establishment.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 15 November, 2005 }

    Words to Live By: How Spirituality Informs Writers' Works

    Writers are celebrated for the ways, both obvious and subtle, in which they reach and inspire their readers. Yet rarely do we consider the sources from which authors themselves draw inspiration. Earlier this year, Bill Moyers, Jim Wallis, Peter Matthiessen, and Doug TenNapel—four writers who have long energized diverse audiences with their words—came together for a writers symposium at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where they spoke about the ways in which spirituality informs their work. Despite their different backgrounds, experiences, and chosen mediums, these four authors share similar concerns at the heart of their creations— whether an essay on politics, a television series on life’s origins, a narrative reflection on our place in nature, or a comic book on dinosaurs.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:17 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 14 November, 2005 }

    The Buddha's daughter: A young Tibetan-Chinese woman has an unprecedented role to play

    I never met the tenth Panchen Lama, who died at his monastery in Tibet in 1989, but I was introduced to his family in Beijing in the mid-nineties, and recently I went to Washington to see his daughter, Yabshi Pan Rinzinwangmo, a twenty-year-old political-science student at American University who likes to be called Renji. She met me at Dulles airport, slightly flustered, thinking that she was going to be late. She had attended a conference on Tibetan medicine that morning, she explained, and had had to go home to change her clothes. Renji, whose mother is Chinese, uses the title "princess." It's on her calling card. The Chinese government-bizarrely for a country that still thinks of itself as Communist-not only permits the royal honorific but endorses it. Renji's role carries certain obligations, among them the self-imposed discipline of wearing Tibetan national dress on formal occasions. She had spent the morning in a traditional chuba, the long robe worn by both men and women in Tibet. Now she was wearing a white knitted top over a black shirt and black trousers. [via metafilter]

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:29 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 11 November, 2005 }

    The Secret School & The Temple of the Present Day

    Mystics and masters collect and store sacred knowledge and esoteric principles in much the same way as bees collect nectar, although they have the capacity to concentrate and change the nectars when they are gathered so that when the time comes and the containers are accessed, the knowledge that has been concealed will inform the deeply curious and be of value to seekers of truth. By bringing new meaning to old texts, or revising rituals and meditation techniques, great teachers create new bodies of work. Secrets of esoteric understanding are redesigned and couched in new forms. Methods are borrowed from one tradition and used to inform another. Legends are created and masterfully designed nuggets of wisdom are hidden within. As time passes, the truths that once were obvious become obscured. They are hidden, and they wait to be rediscovered.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:19 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 10 November, 2005 }

    Monbiot: Better off without Him?

    Are religious societies better than secular ones? It should be an easy question for athiests to answer. Most of those now seeking to blow people up – whether with tanks and missiles or rucksacks and passenger planes – do so in the name of God. In India, we see men whose religion forbids them to harm insects setting light to human beings. A 14th-century Pope with a 21st-century communications network sustains his church’s mission of persecuting gays and denying women ownership of their bodies. Bishops and rabbis in Britain have just united in the cause of prolonging human suffering, by opposing the legalisation of assisted suicide. We know that the most dangerous human trait is an absence of self-doubt, and that self-doubt is more likely to be absent from the mind of the believer than the infidel.

    But we also know that few religious governments have committed atrocities on the scale of Hitler’s, Mao’s or Stalin’s (though, given their more limited means, the Spanish and British in the Americas, the British, Germans and Belgians in Africa and the British in Australia and India could be said to have done their best). It is hard to dismiss Dostoyevsky’s suspicion that “if God does not exist, then everything is permissible.”(1) Nor can we wholly disagree with the new Pope when he warns that “we are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which … has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”(2) (We must trust, of course, that a man who has spent his life campaigning to become God’s go-between, and who now believes he is infallible, is immune to such impulses). The creationists in the United States might be as mad as a box of ferrets, but what they claim to fear is the question which troubles almost everyone who has stopped to think about it: if our lives have no purpose, why should we care about other people’s?

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:49 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    American Christianity has distorted the gospel and become spiritually bankrupt

    I remember a conference in New York City. The topic was social justice. Assembled for the meeting were theologians, pastors, priests, nuns, and lay church leaders. At one point a Native American stood up, looked out over the mostly white audience, and said, “Regardless of what the New Testament says, most Christians are materialists with no experience of the Spirit. Regardless of what the New Testament says, most Christians are individualists with no real experience of community.” He paused for a moment and then continued: “Let’s pretend that you were all Christians. If you were Christians, you would no longer accumulate. You would share everything you had. You would actually love one another. And you would treat each other as if you were family.” His eyes were piercing as he asked, “Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you live that way?”

    There was more sophisticated theological and political analysis per square foot in that room than most places. Yet no one could give an answer to the man’s questions. He had put his finger on the central problem we face in the churches today. Our Scriptures, confessions, and creeds are all very public, out in the open. Anyone can easily learn what it is supposed to mean to be a Christian. Our Bible is open to public examination; so is the church’s life. That is our prob¬lem. People can read what our Scriptures say, and they can see how Christians live. The gulf between the two has created an enormous credibility gap.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:46 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 09 November, 2005 }

    Watts: The World As Emptiness

    There is a wonderful meditation called 'The House that Jack Built Meditation,' at least that's what I call it, that the Southern Buddhists practice. He walks, and he says to himself, 'There is the lifting of the foot.' The next thing he says is 'There is a perception of the lifting of the foot.' And the next, he says 'There is a tendency towards the perception of the feeling of the lifting of the foot.' Then finally he says, 'There is a consciousness of the tendency of the perception of the feeling of the lifting of the foot.' And so, with everything that he does, he knows that he does it. He is self-aware. This is tricky. Of course, it's not easy to do. But as you practice this--I'm going to let the cat out of the bag, which I suppose I shouldn't do--but you will find that there are so many things to be aware of at any given moment in what you're doing, that at best you only ever pick out one or two of them. That's the first thing you'll find out. Ordinary conscious awareness is seeing the world with blinkers on. As we say, you can think of only one thing at a time. That's because ordinary consciousness is narrowed consciousness. It's being narrow-minded in the true sense of the word, looking at things that way. Then you find out in the course of going around being aware all of the time--what are you doing when you remember? Or when you think about the future? 'I am aware that I am remembering'? 'I am aware that I am thinking about the future'?

    But you see, what eventually happens is that you discover that there isn't any way of being absent-minded. All thoughts are in the present and of the present. And when you discover that, you approach samadhi. Samadhi is the complete state, the fulfilled state of mind. And you will find many, many different ideas among the sects of Buddhists and Hindus as to what samadhi is. Some people call it a trance, some people call it a state of consciousness without anything in it, knowing with no object of knowledge. All these are varying opinions. I had a friend who was a Zen master, and he used to talk about samadhi, and he said a very fine example of samadhi is a fine horserider. When you watch a good cowboy, he is one being with the horse. So an excellent driver in a car makes the car his own body, and he absolutely is with it. So also a fine pair of dancers. They don't have to shove each other to get one to do what the other wants him to do. They have a way of understanding each other, of moving together as if they were siamese twins. That's samadhi, on the physical, ordinary, everyday level. The samadhi of which buddha speaks is the state which, as it is, the gateway to nirvana, the state in which the illusion of the ego as a separate thing disintegrates.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:36 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 07 November, 2005 }

    Study: Religious use of peyote not harmful to American Indians

    For John Halpern to study the effects of peyote on American Indians who use the hallucinogenic cactus in religious ceremonies, observing from a distance was not an option. Halpern lived on the Navajo Nation reservation for months at a time and participated in prayer ceremonies. Earning their trust and cooperation would have been impossible if he refused to ingest peyote, he said.

    "It never would have happened if I hadn't done that. It's one of the ways they take the measure of a man," said Halpern, a psychiatrist at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital in Belmont, just outside of Boston. A 1994 federal law allows roughly 300,000 members of the Native American Church to use peyote as a religious sacrament, but Halpern set out to find scientific proof for the Navajos' belief that the substance is not hazardous to their health.

    After five years of research, Halpern and other McLean researchers did not find any evidence of brain damage or psychological problems in church members who frequently use peyote, which contains the hallucinogen mescaline. In fact, they found that members of the Native American Church performed better on some of the neuropsychological tests than other Navajos who do not regularly use peyote.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:58 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Rumi: What goes round...

    According to his most authoritative modern biographer, the Persian scholar Franklin D Lewis, "while Rumi seems slightly out of place in the company of Ginsberg, and seriously misunderstood as a poet of sexual love, it simply defies credulity to find Rumi in the realm of haute couture. But models draped in Donna Karan's new black, charcoal and platinum fall fashions actually flounced down the runway to health guru Deepak Chopra's recent musical versions of Rumi."

    There is an additional layer of paradox and absurdity here: although Rumi lived and wrote in central Turkey, he is almost unread in his homeland and there is no accessible modern edition of his work in contemporary Turkish. According to Talat Halman, the leading Turkish Rumi scholar, whom I went to see in Istanbul, "Rumi is certainly not the bestselling poet in Turkey - far from it. For one thing, his poems have not been translated as extensively as they should have been, and the translations that exist are not poetic enough. People here simply don't have the patience to read a huge book like [Rumi's masterpiece] The Masnavi."

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:57 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 31 October, 2005 }

    Happy Samhain: History ubiquitously directs us

    There's nothing like the onset of winter to get you thinking deep, important thoughts.

    The modern world has children dressed fancifully and being herded door-to-door, winsomely demanding a "trick or treat" to celebrate Halloween. The idea actually developed in ancient Ireland and was brought to the United States in the 1840s by Irish immigrants escaping English persecution and the potato famine.

    The idea is complex. For a reason not clear to me, Oct. 31 was considered unattached to the previous or coming year. It was Betwixt and Between, which had heavy meaning. All the Spirits of the Restless Dead (not a rock group) were freed from their wet graves. Nature spirits, benign and malevolent, were on holiday acting out their resentments. The veil between the material and immaterial was lifted and otherwise rare events became ordinary.

    ...How are you going to account in your good, rational, analytic mind for the existence of all this? Big Bang, but what lit the fuse? Where did the materials come from? How is it that humankind has always sensed there was more to us than meat, bones and good hair? Where did that idea come from?

    You think I know? That’s funny!

    I suggest there is merit in the comparative religions and mythology scholar, Joseph Campbell’s idea. The Transcendent, he suggests, is so complex, unimaginably creative and all the other attributes associated with gods and goddesses, that our puny minds will never comprehend. We’re like fleas trying to calculate the orbit of stars. Not possible.

    Unable or unwilling to live with unanswered questions, many make that fateful, faithful leap, put together rituals and rules for their own comfort while agreeing there is Something Else we don’t understand...Admitting defeat in trying to understand it all leaves us orphans in a forest of unnamed trees. Rather than torment ourselves and others with unanswerable questions and terrible accusations, let us do as our impulse drives us: toward appreciation of all the natural world’s beauty, intricate relationships and opportunity to be here, now. That is Ingenious Design.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:51 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 26 October, 2005 }

    The Conversations of Shams of Tabriz

    Now, O friend, you say, "Place the mirror into my hand so that I may look at it!" Yet I cannot find a pretext for this, nor can I deny your request; but i say in my own heart, "Let me find some pretext not to give you the mirror, because if I say that there is something wrong with your face, perhaps you will not accept it; and if you say that the mirror is defective, this will be worse for you." Yet love does not allow me to find a pretext. Now I say, "Let me give you the mirror, but if you see some fault on its face, do not blame the mirror, but something reflected onto the mirror. Know that it is your own image; find the fault in yourself! At least don't look into the mirror while you are near me. The only condition is that you do not find fault with the mirror. If you are unable to find the fault in yourself, at least find fault with me, as i am the owner of the mirror. Don't say the mirror is defective."

    "I accept the condition. I promise, I cannot wait any longer!" And yet his heart does not accept it.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:27 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 23 October, 2005 }


    My heart, sit only with those who know and understand you. Sit only under a tree that is full of blossoms. In the bazaar of herbs and potions don't wander aimlessly find the shop with a potion that is sweet If you don't have a measure people will rob you in no time. You will take counterfeit coins thinking they are real. Don't fill your bowl with food from every boiling pot you see. Not every joke is humorous, so don't search for meaning where there isn't one. Not every eye can see, not every sea is full of pearls. My hart, sing the song of longing like nightingale. The sound of your voice casts a spell on every stone, on every thorn. First, lay down your head then one by one let go of all distractions. Embrace the light and let it guide you beyond the winds of desire. There you will find a spring and nourished by its see waters like a tree you will bear fruit forever.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 20 October, 2005 }

    Ye of many faiths: Why do we believe in God?

    It is possible that strong levels of belief in God, gods, spirits or the supernatural might have given our ancestors considerable comforts and advantages. Many anthropologists and social theorists do indeed take the view that religion emerged out of a sense of uncertainty and bewilderment - explaining misfortune or illness, for example, as the consequences of an angry God, or reassuring us that we live on after death. Rituals would have given us a comforting, albeit illusory, sense that we can control what is in fact ultimately beyond our control - the weather, illness, attacks by predators or other human groups.

    However, it is equally plausible that the Divine Idea would have been of little use in our prehistoric rough-and-tumble existence. Life on the savannah may have been in the open air, but it was no picnic. Early humans would have been constantly on the lookout for predators to be avoided, such as wolves and sabre-tooth tigers; hunting or scavenging would be a continual necessity to ensure sufficient food; and the men were probably constantly fighting among each other to ensure that they could have sex with the best-looking girl (or boy) or choose the most tender piece of meat from the carcass. Why would it be necessary, in the daily scramble to stay alive, to make time for such an indulgent pursuit as religion?

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:18 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Regardie: Magic In East And West

    For myself, I can only say that experience demonstrates that Theurgy makes no confusion in its statement of ideals. It introduces no superstitious chaos concerning the fear of demons, etc., which is only too apparent in the Tibetan scheme, judging from Waddell's book. Every magical effort of the Lamas is described as being due to fear or hatred of evil spirits, though I do not doubt but that many lamas have a finer understanding of their system than this. Theurgy nurtures the ideal that its technique is a means of furthering one's spiritual development so that thereby one may consummate the true objects of incarnation. Not selfishly, but that one may be the better able thereafter to help and participate in the ordered progress of mankind to that perfect day when the glory of this world passes, and the Sun of Wisdom shall have arisen to shine over the splendid sea. [via corpus mmothra]

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:07 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 13 October, 2005 }

    Still waiting: Will the real Jesus please stand up?

    Facts can often seem harsh, and it's always a little tough to see widely held beliefs scatter into the shadows to avoid an intellectual spotlight. Even though Crossan does it with a gentle voice and the slightest trace of his native Irish brogue, it's still uncomfortable listening as he strips Jesus of superstar status and shows him as a real man, with real problems, and using an inspired way of coping with the world and its problems.

    One of the more controversial ideas that Crossan tackles is the lack of evidence for the crucifixion described in the Gospels. He says there is not a shred of historical evidence it even took place - no witnesses, no written accounts.

    Instead, Crossan suggests it is just as likely that Jesus was arrested, spent some time in prison and that Roman soldiers eventually took care of the minor rabble rouser by tossing him over a wall or into a ditch.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:06 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 03 October, 2005 }

    Two Sciences of Mind

    In Buddhism, emotions such as the “three poisons”—aggression, clinging, and delusion—are generally talked about as something to counteract or transcend. Ekman talks about emotions in Darwinian terms, as adaptations to the environment. They allow us to operate automatically, pre-thought. Ekman says, for example, that what he would call “fear” is required to be able to maintain the state necessary to react when driving at high speeds on a freeway. You could spend a long time talking about whether fear is good or not, but Ekman feels “it is not very helpful to just use words, because we may be using them in very different ways. We need to rely on examples. That’s what I try to do in the dialogues.” [via mefi]

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 28 September, 2005 }

    Don't shoot the mesenger: Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

    It compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution. Many conservative evangelicals in the US consider Darwinism to be a social evil, believing that it inspires atheism and amorality.

    Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its “spiritual capital”. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills.

    My take? It really depends on the society in question and the dominant religious values at the time. That could certainly be applied to this country in a way that supports the article. It's all a part of the paradigm that spirituality is necessery for the emerging human but religion should be entered into with great care and personally... not as a society.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 27 September, 2005 }

    Hopscotch or hula-hoops: Esoteric planes of existence

    The idea of a vertical world-axis, a cosmic mountain or tree or pole, is in fact a common archetype, and the theosophical planes are just one particular version or interpretation of that. Another is the Tantric theme of chakras, which are asosciated with an ascending series of states of consciousness, culminating in the Absolute Reality located either at or above the Crown. From this perspective then, the Cosmos can be divided "vertically" into a number of worlds or states or gradations of being.

    Unless, of course, you dig holistic cosmology.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:08 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 26 September, 2005 }

    The Goddess of the Israelites

    The discovery that the deities of ancient Palestine were female ought to be good news for all of humanity, not just women. Even the increasingly beleaguered monotheistic religions might find reason to be pleased, for it gives them opportunity to reinvent a deity that will represent the yin and the yang, the yoni as well as the lingam, the mother as well as the father, the wife as well as the husband. [via orlin grabbe]

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:22 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 22 September, 2005 }

    Yoism: an open source religion

    in coming to understand The Way of Yo, it is important that folks who are uncomfortable with religion do not assume that the word "Yo" refers to what most of us have been taught to think of when we hear the word "God." The standard, local, divisive illusions structured around the word-concept "God"—which is what most people think of as religion—have (in addition to whatever good they may have brought into the world) proven to be dangerous and, at times, terribly destructive. Note that this danger is acknowledged by virtually all religious believers; they just claim that it is the religious ideas held by (or religiously motivated actions of) others that cause such problems.

    If you are one of those made uncomfortable by religion and want to learn about Yoism, it appears necessary that you suspend judgment until you understand what we mean by "Yo." You will then see that there is no contradiction between enlightened, rational thought and Yoism. If then, you still find yourself feeling that Yoism would be more interesting to you without Yo, keep in mind that you are not alone; there are more than a few Yoans for whom Yo is irrelevant. For those Yoans who have a mystical sense of Yo, it is not a problem that others do not believe. The "God" we believe in would rather have you not believe in Yo, if you are happier that way, and—like those Yoans for whom Yo is irrelevant—you choose to join us and follow The Way of Yo without being a "believer." (See "How can Yo be irrelevant?") Indeed, some folks just refer to "The Way of Yo" as "The Way," or "The Heaven on Earth Movement."

    In another contrast to religions that are familiar to most of us—religions that are built on truths received from special, long-dead authorities who witnessed or participated in miracles—The Way of Yo teaches us that our knowledge, our Truths, must be based on what people everywhere can directly experience for themselves, today. Despite the repeated claims that there is "overwhelming evidence" for traditional beliefs, the poor, contradictory quality of such evidence inevitably results in appeals to blind faith, i.e., belief that must be accepted without evidence. Indeed, such faith is often taken to indicate piety. So in a major contrast with the standard religions, the existence of Yo, not only can be proven, it has been proven by modern science!

    The "Face of Yo," so to speak, is our experience of the Infinite Unknowable Essence that is "turned toward us," that manifests as our experience. Yo "manifests" Yoself to us as the universe and everything within the universe: the trees and bugs and animals, the rocks and rivers, the stars and galaxies. This is similar to some mystical versions of the more traditional religions. Yo, Itself, is the Divine Mystery that lies behind (is the source of, generates, manifests as) the paradoxical, mind-boggling facts of existence.

    You can know that Yo exists through your feelings, thoughts, and direct experience. For many Yoans, a feeling of reverence toward (or spiritual union with) this Divine Mystery—or an immediate, awe-inspiring awareness of The Infinity that manifests as the Universe—can be a profound source of comfort, strength, and meaning.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:58 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 16 September, 2005 }

    The Ghost Dances

    The Ghost Dance has recurred frequently in human history, but the term has its origins close to California. By the late 1800s, a decades-long assault of European values and technology, not to mention forced relocation, poverty, and disease had taken their toll on Native Americans across the west. Many tribes were at or near collapse when on New Year’s Day 1889, a Walker River Paiute mystic named Wovoka had a vision. Wovoka foresaw a new age in which the white interlopers would vanish and the natives would reclaim a rejuvenated world and be rejoined by their ancestors. Wovoka preached that this new world would arrive sooner if believers would engage in moral conduct, peaceful behavior, and practice a ritual round-dance that came to be called the Ghost Dance.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:40 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 15 September, 2005 }

    Mysterious Temple Mount artifact evokes 'Da Vinci Code'

    Zweig decided to examine the pendant thoroughly. He supposed that it dated from the 19th century, since Christians had been barred from visiting the Temple Mount from the end of the Crusades until 1840. Based on the symbols, and particularly the work tools, he assumed the pendant was related to the Freemasons, a semi-secret fraternity that was founded in 18th-century England and established branches, or lodges, in nearly all Western countries.

    Zweig could not locate an expert on Masonic symbols in Israel, so he contacted Prof. Andrew Prescott, director of the new Centre for Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield. Prescott studied the photographs of the pendant and replied to Zweig at the beginning of this week that the symbols do, indeed, appear to be connected to the Freemasons, but are not the symbols of Britain's Masonic Lodge.

    Prescott noted, however, that members of the fraternity had visited the Temple Mount area during the 19th century. The mysterious pendant might have belonged to famed archaeologist Charles Warren, who made a documented visit to the Temple Mount in 1867, he said.

    If the pendant is Masonic, then there is an indirect connection between it and "The Da Vinci Code" - Brown claims in his book that the Freemasons are the successors of the Knights Templar.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:17 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 14 September, 2005 }

    The Fugara of Jordan

    "Fugara" are initiated when they are young, sometimes as young as 14 years old. After the initiation, nothing is hidden from them any longer; not only can they see things far, far away, but can also discover souls, stolen souls, stolen objects, hidden treasures, hidden remedies and other intelligence gathering. The Fugara makes a journey during which he is spoken to by the spirits, or they may appear to him in the form of visions or even in physical form. He knows the mystery of the breakthrough in plane. This communication among the cosmic zones is made possible through his training on the techniques, names and functions of spirits, mythology and genealogy of the clan, and secret language.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:33 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 25 August, 2005 }

    Way of the Sufi: Pakistan's mystical Islam thrives

    The mystical form of Islam espoused by Sufi saints for hundreds of years continues to thrive in Pakistan despite opposition from religious hardliners and the authorities.

    As the sun sets on a Thursday evening, hundreds of working class people descend on a shrine to the eighth-century mystic, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, in Karachi. The shrine is located on a hill in the upmarket Clifton district of Pakistan's financial capital, flanked by swanky shopping malls and the posh residential area of Defence. In the grounds below the shrine gather electricians, plumbers, construction workers, vagabonds, transvestites, prostitutes. Encircled by a cheering crowd, men take turns in a weightlifting competition. Another circle dances to the drumbeat of the shrine's dhol players. Devotional singing, or "qawali", emanates from an enclosure adjacent to the open grounds, yet another crowd swaying under its spell...

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:32 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 24 August, 2005 }

    God and Purpose in Universe

    Remember entropy is the trend towards disorder that dominates the simpler processes of light, particles, atoms, and simple molecules. Reductionistic science is insensitive to ‘wholes’, synergy and syntropy. Syntropy is the trend towards order that dominates the more complex processes of complex molecules, plants, animals, and humans. Remember further that while entropy dominates simpler processes syntropy is found at every level of process. And while syntropy dominates complex processes, entropy is found at every level of process. Reductionistic science focuses on ‘parts’ and not on ‘wholes’. Purpose is found in the ‘wholes’ and not in the ‘parts’. Reductionistic science is blind to purpose.

    Evolution is a synergic phenomenon, however it was discovered and first described by Darwin, Wallace, Spencer, and Huxley. These classical scientists were of course time-binders and also bound in time. They lived and thought in the 19th century when reductionistic science ruled. The belief that purpose cannot be found in universe is a reductionistic error that persists even today...

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:08 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 23 August, 2005 }

    From Pagan resurgence to Pagan global culture

    I think that contemporary Paganism has been influenced by the counter-culture's worldviews of celebrating and enjoying life, communing with Nature, exploring consciousness and life's mysteries. That has been one significant influence. The idea of having a form of spirituality where male and female dimensions of the Divine are in balance, which you might call feminist or some may call gender equity, is another important influence. The environmental preservation relevance is another very important influence. Many people come to Paganism because they are hungry for a religion, a spiritual home, that encourages them to pray and practice their religion outdoors, allows them to honor the Divine not just as some transcendent being but something that immanent, that is within us, that connects us with the greater Circle of Life, also known the web of life or as the sacred hoop as some native people call it.

    [via corpus mmothra]

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:12 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 16 August, 2005 }

    Andrew Harvey: Sun at Midnight

    This first dark night purifies all of the senses so that they can become the vehicle of the inner divine self. This first dark night is extreme, but it's not as extreme as the second dark night. It's a purification that enables the ordinary senses to start registering the divine world. Through devotion, through meditation, through intense mystical practice, you start to see the divine light. At first it just flashes, and then when the process is complete, you have an overwhelming experience in which you see the entire creation as a manifestation of the light, and your consciousness is one with that. This is not enlightenment. This begins what is called the state of illumination. Although the senses are purified, and although they're able now to register the divinity of the world, the ego is still subtly present. So there has to be a second death on the path, which is the death of the personal identity.

    One example I use... is a rose bush. If you imagine the growth of divine consciousness as being like the growth of a rose, then a cutting from the original rose would have to be placed in the earth. It has to be watered by prayer and by devotion and by meditation. It comes up out of the ground, it has to be protected. Then it grows thorns -- the thorns of discrimination and wisdom. Then it flings out branches and all the created powers come through -- mystical listening. Then, on those branches, buds appear, and those buds contain the potential of the rose because they're juicy with all kinds of recognition. But something else has to happen for the open rose to be created. The bud has to be broken. Jesus said if the grain does not die, then the corn will not spring up. If the bud isn't broken, the full rose will not open. That breaking of the bud is annihilation and crucifixion of the false self.

    The entire world is now going through a massive crucifixion on all levels. It's going through an environmental crucifixion -- hundreds of species are vanishing every month. It's going through a personal crucifixion. There are two billion people living on less than a dollar a day. It's going through a crucifixion of all the patriarchal systems -- look at Enron and what it has shown us about Corporate America. Look at the Catholic Churches' scandals of pedophilia and what it shows us about authority. Look at the growing disillusionment of politicians of all kinds. All of the systems are being exposed as illusory and as fantasy ridden -- as deeply corrupt and exploitative. There's another kind of crucifixion going on -- crucifixion of purpose and hope. Everybody is totally bewildered. They know that the world is potentially on the brink of total apocalypse. There's a tremendous danger that as people wake up to the horror of what is going on, they will run into political extremism or into fundamentalism of one kind or another. So it's extremely important that the wisdom of the dark night gets across because if people understand the necessity for this crucifixion, and understand that it's preparing the resurrection and the birth and an empowerment, then they will be prepared to go through it without fear -- or without too much fear -- trusting in the logic of the divine transformation.

    [my hero]

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:30 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 15 August, 2005 }

    The Heart Sutra in Tibetan and English [audio]

    The Buddha's Heart of Wisdom Gone Beyond. At one time I heard this speech: The Victorious Conqueror [Buddha] was at the King's castle on Vulture Hill in India, together with a great congregation of monks and a great congregation of bodhisattvas. And at that time the great bodhisattva, exhalted Chenrezig the mighty, himself completely accomplished in the deep wisdom gone to the other side [prajnaparamita], saw the five earthly heaps, and saw that they were, by their very nature, completly empty. Thereupon, by the power of Buddha, honorable Sariputra spoke thus to the great bodhisatva, the exalted Chenrezig the mighty: "Noble son, how should a person be taught who will succeed in accomplishing the deep knowledge gone to the other shore?"

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:46 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 08 August, 2005 }

    mcgod to go

    Stadium crowds, thousands of rabid devotees, all chugging Jesus like Kool-Aid. Should you be afraid?

    Maybe the appeal is self-explanatory. Maybe you walk into one of these stadium-sized God-huts and everyone is forcibly blissed out and everyone is just numbly patriotic and everyone is throwing hand-rolled tubes of nickels (most megachurch parishioners have very low median incomes and little more than a high school education, and the vast majority are as white as bleached teeth) into the giant golden donation vats and snatching up freshly published copies of "He Died for Your Crappy Little Sins so Put Down the Porn and Listen Up, Sicko," and the vibe is so amped and the Jesus mania is so potent you'd think it's a Michael Jackson concert circa 1991 and you're Macaulay Culkin and everyone is made of glitter and cocaine and disquieting apprehension.

    Is this the appeal? The narcotic of delirious crowds? The intoxicating caught-up-in-it-ness? The drug of mass self-righteousness, sterilized and homogenized for easy suppository-like karmic insertion?

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 29 July, 2005 }

    smiting the pure ones

    The Brief Ascension of the Cathars

    The Cathars believed that the world was split along lines of matter and spirit, good and evil. They believed in purifying themselves, clean living, chastity, poverty and equality of the sexes.

    If you're thinking to yourself, "danger, danger, must exterminate," you would have made a good Pope Innocent III.

    The Cathars were a gnostic Christian sect that arose in the 11th century, an offshoot of a small surviving European gnostic community that emigrated to the Albigensian region in the south of France. The name "Cathar" comes from a Greek work meaning "Pure Ones," a noble enough sentiment but one that would get them into a lot of trouble.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:39 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 28 July, 2005 }

    The Christian Paradox

    How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong [via Mefi]
    Three quarters of Americans believe the Bible teaches that “God helps those who help themselves.” That is, three out of four Americans believe that this uber-American idea, a notion at the core of our current individualist politics and culture, which was in fact uttered by Ben Franklin, actually appears in Holy Scripture. The thing is, not only is Franklin’s wisdom not biblical; it’s counter-biblical. Few ideas could be further from the gospel message, with its radical summons to love of neighbor. On this essential matter, most Americans—most American Christians—are simply wrong, as if 75 percent of American scientists believed that Newton proved gravity causes apples to fly up.


    jaybird found this for you @ 16:08 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 21 July, 2005 }

    teatime with omnipresence

    Sect where blessings pour from a teapot [more]

    The commune would not seem out of place in a Disney theme park. It contains an umbrella-shaped building about two storeys high, an ornamental fishing boat, strategically located faux Greco-Roman pillars, and the centrepiece - a pink teapot.

    Ayah Pin and his followers - he claims to have several thousand in Malaysia, Singapore, Bali and beyond - say the two-storey-high teapot was inspired by the dreams of one of the cult's followers, and reflects a similar vessel in the sky which God uses to shower his blessings on mankind.

    Followers who come to the village for the first time have to drink "holy water" pouring from a giant vase that is perpetually filled by the teapot.

    The cult does not have any moral or religious strictures of its own. Instead, Ayah Pin, whose real name is Ariffin Mohamad, says members can follow any religion they like. He claims that all prayers will be answered by none other than himself, because he is God.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:43 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 20 July, 2005 }

    daily om

    The Blessing Way
    A Mother Blessing is a ritual adapted from the traditional Navajo ceremony known as a Blessing Way. Mother Blessings fill a gap in western celebrations surrounding birth. Whereas a baby shower celebrates the coming of the child, a Mother Blessing celebrates the woman's passage into motherhood. Friends-generally all women, but not always-gather to give their support to the mother as she approaches one of the most intense experiences of her life. A Father Blessing is also a wonderful idea especially during a time when fathers can be feeling a little left out.

    A Blessing Way ceremony can be given in honor of anyone going through a major life transition. From graduating high school to turning 50, significant life changes deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated. Many of our traditional ways of recognizing these transitions have become hollow, often dominated by consumerism. A Blessing Way is less about giving gifts and more about communicating from the heart, offering words of encouragement and inspiration to buoy the guest of honor in the face of major change.

    Often at Mother Blessings, each participant brings a bead to give to the mother, and a necklace or bracelet is made for her. Each person presents their bead to the mother and says something of what they wish for her journey-strength, courage, or a sense of humor, for example. They can also give their bead in honor of a quality she already has that they believe will make her a good mother. This way she leaves the ritual with a magical talisman imbued with the loving energy of her community. She can carry this into labor or hang it over her baby's crib as a reminder of the strength she carries within and the love surrounding her. The same idea can be adapted to fit Blessing Ways in honor of retirement, a new job, a major move, or even a divorce.

    If someone you know is approaching a momentous rite of passage, organize a Blessing Way in their honor. Or, if you need one, ask for one. It could become a beautiful new tradition in your community of friends and family.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 12 July, 2005 }

    Shamanism, Alchemy and Yoga

    Traditional Technologies of Tranformation

    Modern schools of psychotherapy, especially those based on psychodynamic depth psychology and the newer so-called "experiential therapies", employ many of the methods and techniques of consciousness change that were known in the ancient systems of shamanism, alchemy and yoga. In some instances, for example in both Freud's and Jung's borrowing of alchemical ideas, the derivation is quite conscious and deliberate; in other cases, for example the use of inner journeys or imagery sequences, psychologists are re-discovering or re-inventing methods that have been known and practised for centuries in these older traditions.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:03 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 30 June, 2005 }

    a rebellious vision of the thing

    Emerson’s Gnostic Democracy

    Spiritual rebellion grows from attention to a particular presence. Corporeal attack relies on faith in abstract ideology. These apparent contradictions can be resolved in a vision of the thing. If things are not temporal copies of eternal forms or hunks of matter pushed around by mechanical force but numinous events proffering heterogeneous possibilities, then attention to these sites releases one from stale heavens and iron laws and throws one into unrealized horizons, invisible abysses. Likewise, if ideological positions are not meditations on evanescent currents or excursions into abysmal voids but ciphers of impalpable systems, then faith in such political views divorces one from the hums of ungraspable particulars and marries one to predictable forms—the same ideas, the same bodies, the same ruts.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 27 June, 2005 }


    When geometric diagrams and digits
    Are no longer the keys to living things,
    When people who go about singing or kissing
    Know deeper things than the great scholars,
    When society is returned once more
    To unimprisoned life, and to the universe,
    And when light and darkness mate
    Once more and make something entirely transparent,
    And people see in poems and fairy tales
    The true history of the world,
    Then our entire twisted nature will turn
    And run when a single secret word is spoken.

    Translated by Robery Bly

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:56 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 22 June, 2005 }

    but is it art?

    Turin Shroud confirmed as fake

    Drawing on a method previously used by sceptics to attack authenticity claims about the Shroud, the magazine got an artist to do a bas-relief - a sculpture that stands out from the surrounding background - of a Christ-like face. A scientist then laid out a damp linen sheet over the bas-relief and let it dry, so that the thin cloth was moulded onto the face.

    Using cotton wool, he then carefully dabbed ferric oxide, mixed with gelatine, onto the cloth to make blood-like marks. When the cloth was turned inside-out, the reversed marks resulted in the famous image of the crucified Christ.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 21 June, 2005 }


    Summer Soltice

    People around the world have observed spiritual and religious seasonal days of celebration during the month of June. Most have been religious holy days which are linked in some way to the summer solstice. On this day, typically JUN-21, the daytime hours are at a maximum in the Northern hemisphere, and night time is at a minimum. It is officially the first day of summer. It is also referred to as Midsummer because it is roughly the middle of the growing season throughout much of Europe.

    "Solstice" is derived from two Latin words: "sol" meaning sun, and "sistere," to cause to stand still. This is because, as the summer solstice approaches, the noonday sun rises higher and higher in the sky on each successive day. On the day of the solstice, it rises an imperceptible amount, compared to the day before. In this sense, it "stands still."

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:30 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 14 June, 2005 }

    nothing pisses me off more than a missionary

    India to deport US missionaries

    Police told the BBC that the men entered India on tourist visas, but were found preaching religion. They say two of them have already left Mumbai, and the other two are waiting to catch the next available flight... Christians are often accused of forcibly converting the poor in India by bribing them with money and jobs.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 04 June, 2005 }


    The Sacred Hymns of Pachacutec

    Lord Wiracocha,
    Who says
    "Let there be day, let there be night!"
    Who says,
    "Let there be dawn, let it grow light!"
    Who makes the Sun, your son,
    move happy and blessed each day,
    so that man whom you have made has light:
    My Wiracocha,
    shine on your Inca people,
    illuminate your servants,
    whom you have shepherded,
    let them live
    happy and blessed
    preserve them
    in peace,
    free of sickness, free of pain.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:14 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 19 May, 2005 }

    three inca prayers

    To Viracocha and Pachachamac

    Viracocha, Lord of the Universe!
    Whether male or female,
    at any rate commander of heat and reproduction,
    being one who,
    even with His spittle, can work sorcery,
    Where art Thou?

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:32 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    the blinding light of awareness

    Beyond The ‘Blank Nothingness’ Of Spiritual Attainment
    Crashing through to what lies outside and above the microcosmic envelope of one’s waking consciousness almost always results in a temporary obliteration of one’s habitual pattern identity. The world becomes suffused with a blinding radiance, a Light almost suffocating in its intensity, rendering one’s usual conception of selfhood null and void.

    It is perfectly understandable that many find themselves easily lost in this seemingly boundless, somehow affectionate glow. One has spent long hours diligently skating the ice that customarily limits our world of fluid matter from pushing up into the world of windy Spirit. Etching ever more intricate fractal outlines into the seemingly impenetrable periphery, searching for a fault into the Unknowable, a rupture into the Ineffable.

    And then at last the glassy veneer gives way, the ice splintering into a dizzy maze of incandescent explosions. Heaven itself has been breached -- the once impermeable permafrost of the Beyond collapsing into a sun-drenched shower of millions of dazzling fireflies.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 18 May, 2005 }

    Shamanic Healing

    Why it Works

    What we blandly refer to as "ritual rules," are actually quantum mechanics rules. That is, native ceremonial behavior is exactly what is needed to change reality via the observer effect. For example, shamanic rituals are extremely repetitive over long periods of time. This is because they are trying to effect the probability waves that bring reality into time and space in the first place. Waves are repetitive, and so are the waves of consciousness generated in a shamanic ritual.

    Once you understand these new findings of physics, what shamans do in ceremony appears rational. This means that healing ceremonies are basically wish-fulfillment exercises, whereby the "wish" is expressed as prayer. A prayer constitutes an intensely focused, strong human will. It is the observer effect of quantum mechanics at its best. It is the patient who sets this process into motion by first making a request and "sacrifice", usually in the form of a payment, to the healer. The notion of sacrifice accompanying prayer is an ancient tradition in all religions, such as the early animal sacrifices of ancient Judaism. It is this sacrifice that sets the aim of the prayer such that it will hit its target. You give before you receive.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:09 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 16 May, 2005 }

    a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

    Archeological Evidence that the Early Christians used Trippy Mushies

    The presence of mosaic illustrations in the basilica of Aquileia representing mushrooms with psychotropic properties indicates that some religious rites of early Christianity, which were probably linked to mysterial cults meant to be kept secret, were related to the ingestion of hallucinogenic substances facilitating mystic ecstasy. It still remains to be seen, however, whether these ecstatic techniques were a common heritage of all early Christian churches or whether they were known and practiced only within some heretic groups of Christians.

    Yea heretics!

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:12 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 01 May, 2005 }

    good beltane

    From the Carmina Gaedelica

    Bless, O Threefold Goddess,
    Myself, my Coven, and my family,
    My pets, my plants, and all children of the Great Mother.
    On the fragrant plain, on the gay mountain sheiling,

    On the fragrant plain, on the gay mountain sheiling.

    Everything within my dwelling or in my possession,
    From Beltane Eve to Samhain Eve,
    From Samhain Eve to Beltane Eve,
    With goodly progress and gentle blessing,
    From sea to sea, and every river mouth,

    From wave to wave, and base of waterfall.

    Be thy Three Faces taking possession of all to me belonging,
    Be the Watchtowers four protecting me in truth;
    Oh! satisfy my spirit with the warmth of Belinos,
    And shield my loved ones between the Beltane fires,

    Shield my loved ones between the Beltane fires.

    Bless everything and every one,
    Of this little household by my side;
    Place the pentagram of the Lady upon us
    Till we see the Land of Promise.

    Till we see the Land of Promise.

    What time the kine shall forsake the stalls,
    What time the sheep shall forsake the folds,
    What time the goats shall ascend the mount of mist,
    May the tending of the Triad follow them,

    May the tending of the Triad follow them.

    Thou being who didst give me birth,
    Listen and attend to me as I bow my head,
    Evening and morning as is becoming in me,
    In thine own Circle, O Goddess of Love.

    In thine own Circle, O Goddess of Love.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:39 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 26 April, 2005 }

    left-wing angels

    Religious liberals

    Secular liberal. Religious conservative. According to the mainstream media, these are the two sides of every major sociopolitical debate in the country. In its attempt to balance all things with a "two sides to every story" formula, the media has perpetuated a view of American life that is simplistic at best, horribly inaccurate at worst. Removed from the story are the minor but still important characters that offer third and even fourth sides to the discourse. These minor characters reflect the complexity of the great debates. For the moment, I too must ignore some of the minor characters to shed light upon another. The focus on this one forgotten voice will, I hope, make sense in the end. For now, please be patient.

    Religious liberal. Have I lost my mind or do I simply enjoy oxymorons? (Well, both are true to some extent, but that's beside the point.) In this case, neither. Religious liberals have often been an integral part of American politics. Much of the social and political progress we so revere was brought about in no small way by religious liberals. From the abolition of slavery to the civil rights movement, from women's suffrage to gay liberation, these living, breathing "oxymorons" have been at the vanguard of the fight for justice.

    Go to any Gay Pride rally or parade and you'll find the religious denominations/ organizations that have offered invaluable support to this cause. Find a pro-choice protest and surely amidst the crowds, you'll also find religious liberals. Religious liberals have somehow become the unheard, forgotten voice in our country despite the tremendous role they've played in our history and their continuing participation in the modern struggles against the forces of oppression.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:56 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 18 April, 2005 }

    Chichen Itza

    Through the Eyes of a Magician [thanks, orlin grabbe]

    We began to ascend the great stone steps. A feeling of pride and excitement filled every fiber of my body. As we continued upward, a strong current of magical energy flowed over the stone steps. It seeped from the crevices and cracks. I could touch it with my soul. My entire body of light was energized with it. I was back in time when this shrine was active. I was so alive that I felt I might explode. We had reached the top.

    From the mouth of the shrine emerged a dark presence...

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:01 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 16 April, 2005 }


    I cease not from desire till my desire
    Is satisfied; or let my mouth attain
    My love's red mouth, or let my soul expire,
    Sighed from those lips that sought her lips in vain.
    Others may find another love as fair;
    Upon her threshold I have laid my head,
    The dust shall cover me, still lying there,
    When from my body life and love have fled.

    My soul is on my lips ready to fly,
    But grief beats in my heart and will not cease,
    Because not once, not once before I die,
    Will her sweet lips give all my longing peace.
    My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh
    For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire;
    When will that mouth draw near and make reply
    To one whose life is straitened with desire?

    When I am dead, open my grave and see
    The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:
    In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;
    Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!
    Ah, come, Beloved! for the meadows wait
    Thy coming, and the thorn bears flowers instead
    Of thorns, the cypress fruit, and desolate
    Bare winter from before thy steps has fled.

    Hoping within some garden ground to find
    A red rose soft and sweet as thy soft cheek,
    Through every meadow blows the western wind,
    Through every garden he is fain to seek.
    Reveal thy face! that the whole world may be
    Bewildered by thy radiant loveliness;
    The cry of man and woman comes to thee,
    Open thy lips and comfort their distress!

    Each curling lock of thy luxuriant hair
    Breaks into barbèd hooks to catch my heart,
    My broken heart is wounded everywhere
    With countless wounds from which the red drops start.
    Yet when sad lovers meet and tell their sighs,
    Not without praise shall Hafiz' name be said,
    Not without tears, in those pale companies
    Where joy has been forgot and hope has fled.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 12 April, 2005 }

    Scanning the Monk

    Is the religion of tomorrow hidden in our brains?

    As evidence grows that what we habitually think and feel actually resculpts our neural tissue, scientists have begun to study others who seem able to literally change their minds -- Buddhist monks who chant mantras and do visualization practices to develop what appears to be an indelible sense of compassion. With the day nearly arrived that a handful of angry people could blow up not just a restaurant but a city, we could use effective ways to defuse intolerance. Religion does not have completely clean hands in the matter. As we slowly emerge from millennia of holy know-it-alls trying to enforce competing copyrights on Ultimate Truth, a melding of Eastern and Western mind science might point the way toward the original spiritual goal of learning to get along.

    If so, the key will be compassion, the x-factor that every faith (or its founders, at least) exalts as a supreme virtue. When the Dalai Lama says "My only religion is kindness," when the Pope calls for a "civilization of love," that can't be just mealy-mouthed piety. Kindness and love are actual forces to be reckoned with, able to transform the most relentless enmity. South Africa's Nelson Mandela once remarked that he befriended his jailers, those grim, khaki-clad overseers of his decades of hard labor in a limestone quarry, by "exploiting their good qualities." Asked if he believed all people were kind at their core, he responded, "There is no doubt whatsoever, provided you are able to arouse their inherent goodness."

    How do we awaken the kindness that, along with aggression, is so clearly a part of our basic nature? Contemplatives of all traditions have long claimed that meditation can prime the pump of compassion. Now researchers are starting to wonder if some religious disciplines are not just articles of faith, but ancient methods of neural transformation.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:43 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 11 April, 2005 }

    it's about balancing the worlds

    Shattering shaman myths

    Shamanism, humankind's oldest spiritual and healing tradition, is in many cultures dominated by men, and Western skeptics often debunk its effectiveness. ...A groundbreaking new book published last month... challenges the historical hegemony of the male shamanic tradition, restores women to their essential place in the history of spirituality and celebrates their continuing role in the worldwide resurgence of shamanism...

    Probing the practices that distinguish female shamanism from the much-better-known male traditions... the key role of "body wisdom" and women's eroticism in shamanic trance and ecstasy.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:11 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 07 April, 2005 }

    say what?

    Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

    While the data presented... are at once too sweeping and too specific to consider here -- as with a review of any in-depth sociological study -- the above generalizations may suffice as a summary of what Smith and Denton believe to be the most surprising findings of the NSYR. Least surprising, perhaps, is the fact that the United States is predominantly Christian, and the authors are unapologetic (and perfectly justified) in making Christianity their chief focus. More than thirty Protestant denominations are broken down into three categories -- Conservative, Mainline, and Black -- representing more than half of American teens. Catholics represent nearly another quarter. Alongside these majority Christian affiliations, the authors present Judaism and Mormonism as the two largest minority religions, representing 1.5% and 2.5% of the U.S. teen population, respectively. Given these numbers, the authors dismiss as simply false ("as a matter of empirical religiodemographic proportions") recent claims that the United States has become the most religiously diverse nation in the world. And Christian congregation leaders should rest assured: you are losing hardly any teens at all to Wicca, Buddhism, or anything at all New Agey.

    This is not to say, however, that Christian leaders have nothing to worry about. All those Christians who feel under siege may not, in fact, be wrong. Yet, their teenage children are almost all conventional believers who follow their parents in matters of faith. According to the data, something far more insidious than Wicca is stealing them away... In religious terms, according to teenagers, God cares that each teenager is happy and that each teenager has high self-esteem. Morality has nothing to do with authority, mutual obligations, or sacrifice. In a sense, God wants little more for us than to be good, happy capitalists.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:48 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 04 April, 2005 }

    joslin on joslin

    Holy Jokes & Sacred Clowns: Honoring the Trickster [via me]

    Good times. A sermon I wrote years ago is being used as an article in the periodical Pagan Net News. Also, the new White Crane Journal is out and I've got an article featured. A friend said he read it this weekend, which was great, but I haven't seen a copy yet. So, it's a cool triple play for April: a successful (if emotionally draining) book signing, two magazine articles, one which I actually wrote for publication.

    I'm deeply honored...

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:53 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    another side now

    Gospel of Judas back in spotlight after 20 centuries

    About 2,000 years after the Gospel according to Judas sowed discord among early Christians, a Swiss foundation says it is translating for the first time the controversial text named after the apostle said to have betrayed Jesus Christ. The 62-page papyrus manuscript of the text was uncovered in Egypt during the 1950s or 1960s, but its owners did not fully comprehend its significance until recently, according to the Maecenas Foundation in Basel. The manuscript written in the ancient dialect of Egypt's Coptic Christian community will be translated into English, French and German...

    "We have just received the results of carbon dating: the text is older than we thought and dates back to a period between the beginning of the third and fourth centuries... "We do not want to reveal the exceptional side of what we have..."

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:38 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 31 March, 2005 }

    The Method of Science, The Aim of Religion

    A Systematic Model for the Academic Study of Modern Western Occultism
    [via orlin grabbe]

    Western occultism is rarely approached by scholars of Religious Studies except when it is anecdotally placed within the rubric of the New Age Movement, New Religious Movements, or Esoteric Studies. Depending upon the researcher, it is also synonymously attached to other, sometimes loaded labels like Satanism and Neo-Paganism. Available scholarship tends towards three basic approaches. The first is to ignore any notion of “modern” Western occultism and instead consider all “occultism” as a monolithic entity that has remained essentially the same and de-emphasizes the input from historical, social, economic or aesthetic factors. And where these factors are considered at all, Western occultism is reduced to a historically marginal reaction to a Christian hegemony. The second direction of academic study comes from the more emic perspective of the practitioners of modern Western occultism itself. A characteristic of this tradition is its text-driven, literature-intensive program. Despite this, the drawback to such an emic perspective is that there is little room for objectivity and when there is, criticism of the work will still fall back to the emic/etic argument that has become such a thorn in the side of Religious studies.

    An alternative approach is one that is not taken by Esotericists or by Occultists. In this perspective, we distinguish a “modern” Western occultism, acknowledged as different from other occultisms, and not based on the emic self-proclamations of occultists or on the etic perspectives of theologians. This is a perspective that works precisely because it steps outside the emic/etic boundaries and sees a system; a text-based tradition, with abundant articulations of its own meaning and interpretation, and a systematic program to manage religious or esoteric information gleaned through an ever increasing corpus of primary texts. It is in these primary texts that we can meet on the bridge between the practitioner and the academic; these texts provide what could be seen as a momentary zone of negotiation. Because modern Western occultism is explicitly didactic and expository, information-oriented approaches are not only possible, but also quite germane.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:27 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 26 March, 2005 }

    delivered right to your soul's doorstep

    The Daily Om [via Easy Bake Coven]

    Today's entry: The spirituality of wind...

    Wind is air in motion. Many ancient cultures believed that the wind was a form of divine spirit. Like spirit, the wind is invisible, but it is what animates. The magnifence of the wind resides within each of us.

    Wind isn't tangible yet it brings change with its breath. Sometimes these changes are barely perceivable. However, if you look carefully, you can see the wind - it is the swirl in a plume of smoke, it is the ripple across a lake, it is the lackadaisical sway in the branches. Recognize the small developments in yourself. You are growing all the time even when it seems like the wind is still.

    A breeze can quickly become a gale, and a storm can swiftly be diffused. So too are you affected by your environment, who you interact with, what you expose yourself to, what you choose to put in your body and your mind. You can choose experiences that will either fuel your spirit or move you off course.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:21 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 25 March, 2005 }

    redemption song?

    What about Judas?

    "What's been with me for a while is that confusion about God's justice versus God's mercy," says Guirgis, the author of acclaimed Off-Broadway plays such as "Our Lady of 121st Street" and "Jesus Hopped the A Train." "As a kid I just didn't understand: if I could forgive someone, why couldn't God? As I got older, I just came to believe, or hope, that God's mercy and forgiveness should extend to everyone."

    Guirgis sets his play in a Purgatory courtroom presided over by a disgraced Civil War veteran. The case is argued by an obsequious prosecutor and an agnostic defense attorney who has won writs from both St. Peter and God himself to continue the appeal. At stake is the soul of the Bible's Benedict Arnold, who has been reduced to a catatonic state, unable or unwilling to communicate.

    "Judas" marshals a parade of witnesses, from Satan (played by Eric Bogosian) to Mary Magdalene, Mother Teresa, and Pontius Pilate, many of whom speak in the contemporary parlance of the urban street. The strongest defense of Judas (played by Sam Rockwell) comes from fellow disciple Simon the Zealot, who proffers the theory that Judas handed Jesus over to the chief priests in order "to throw Jesus into the deep end of the pool." By forcing Jesus' hand, the theory goes, he "would have to act," thus sparking a revolution against the cruel Roman occupation of the Jewish homeland.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 24 March, 2005 }

    restoring balance

    Introduction to Tibetan Medicine [thanks, plep]

    Tibetan medicine is one of the five major sciences, and it is called gSoba Rig-pa, the science of healing. It uses different kinds of ingredients such as herbs, trees, rocks, resins, soils, precious metals, saps etc. However, 95% of Tibetan medicine is based on herbs, and precious metals are used for the seven kinds of precious pill known as Rinchen rilpo. If the physician is able to make the right diagnosis and administer the right medicine, then Tibetan medicine is good for all kinds of illness. However, it has been particularly successful in its treatment of chronic diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis, ulcers, chronic digestive problems, asthma, hepatitis, eczema, liver problems, sinus problems, anxiety and problems connected with the nervous system.

    The basic theory of Tibetan medicine is to keep in balance the Nyipa sum - they are rLung (pronounced loong), mKhris-pa and Bad-kan. The long-term causative factors of Nyipa sum are the three poisons of desire, hatred and delusion which show how closely connected Tibetan medicine is with Buddhist philosophy.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:54 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink


    The foundation stone of the Antiquities of the Illuminati.

    The Timeline of the Authentic Tradition chronicles 4000+ years of Esoteric History. From circa 2050 b.c.e. to circa 2050 c.e., we cover the development of the Mystery Schools, Esoteric Groups, Priesthoods, Brotherhoods (and Sisterhoods, for that matter, too), Religions, Schools, Sects, Schisms, individual teachers, Saints, Prophets... as well as political, secular, and cultural movements that can be seen to have been triggered by the Esoteric Tradition.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:29 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 22 March, 2005 }

    simple words, simple actions

    Mindfulness In Plain English [via MoFi]

    Meditation is a living activity, an inherently experiential activity. It cannot be taught as a purely scholastic subject. The living heart of the process must come from the teacher's own personal experience. Nevertheless, there is a vast fund of codified material on the subject which is the product of some of the most intelligent and deeply illumined human beings ever to walk the earth. This literature is worthy of attention. Most of the points given in this book are drawn from the Tipitaka, which is the three-section collected work in which the Buddah's original teachings have been preserved. The Tipitaka is comprised of the Vinaya, the code of discipline for monks, nuns, and lay people; the Suttas, public discourses attributed to the Buddha; and the Abhidhamma, a set of deep psycho-philosophical teachings.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:09 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 18 March, 2005 }

    The Kybalion

    The Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece

    From old Egypt have come the fundamental esoteric and occult teachings which have so strongly influenced the philosophies of all races, nations and peoples, for several thousand years. Egypt, the home of the Pyramids and the Sphinx, was the birthplace of the Hidden Wisdom and Mystic Teachings. From her Secret Doctrine all nations have borrowed. India, Persia, Chaldea, Medea, China, Japan, Assyria, ancient Greece and Rome, and other ancient countries partook liberally at the feast of knowledge which the Hierophants and Masters of the Land of Isis so freely provided for those who came prepared to partake of the great store of Mystic and Occult Lore which the masterminds of that ancient land had gathered together...

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:52 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 17 March, 2005 }

    Trickster at the Crossroads

    West Africa's God of Messages, Sex and Deceit [via Orlin Grabbe]

    The very nature of the orisha is to be alive in the most fundamental sense we know — though our own human lives. Though they possess godlike powers, the orisha are not transcendent beings, but are immanent in this life, bound up with ritual, practice, and human community. They are accessible to people, combining elements of both mythological characters and ancestral ghosts. Like both of these groups of entities, the orisha are composed of immaterial but idiosyncratic personalities that eat, drink, lie, and sleep with each other's mates. Though West African tradition does posit a central creator god, he/she is generally quite distant, and the orisha are, like us, left in a world they did not create, a world of nature and culture, of sex, war, rivers, thunder, magic, and divination. The orisha are regularly "fed" with animal blood, food, and gifts, and during rituals the gods frequently possess the bodies of the faithful. Their behavior draws from the full range of human experience, including sexuality, mockery, and intoxication.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:37 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 11 March, 2005 }

    How the Mother-Goddess Became the Mother of God

    It all began in Syncretic Provence...

    The Neolithic Ligurians, from the scanty evidence of the Camonica valley pictoglyphs, seem to have worshipped a mysterious Mother-Goddess of the kind described by anthropologists such as Marija Gambustas. Part of this larger complex of beliefs was the tradition of the Mother-Goddess as the animating spirit of grottoes and sacred wells or springs. Our Lady Underground, a common label given to the Black Madonnas so popular in the 12th and 13th centuries CE, derives from these ancient Mother-Goddess traditions.

    The Ligurians of Provence also worshipped a version of Our Lady Underground. This was first Hellenized then Romanized into a local cult of Diana as patroness of the springs, or the nympheum. Remains of these temples can be found in the temple of Diana at Nimes and at the very ancient nympheum of Glanum, but the traditions associated with the worship of Our Lady Underground all but disappeared as she merged during the early Christian era into the Virgin Mary.

    Curiously enough, it is the name, Mary, which provides us with the broader connection. The last of the ancient Neolithic people to be overwhelmed by the eastern cultures, in this case Rome in the late third century, were the Basques of the southwestern coast of France and northern Spain. In Basque folklore there survived prominent traces of the Neolithic goddess religion. The pagan Basques worshiped the natural world; they thought of the sky as a kind of thunder god, Ortzia, and the earth was a mother goddess known as Mari.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:14 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 10 March, 2005 }

    101 Zen Stories

    Here is the way

    Subhuti was Buddha's disciple. He was able to understand the potency of emptiness, the viewpoint that nothing exists except in its relationship of subjectivity and objectivity. One day Subhuti, in a mood of sublime emptiness, was sitting under a tree. Flowers began to fall about him. "We are praising you for your discourse on emptiness," the gods whispered to him. "But I have not spoken of emptiness," said Subhuti. "You have not spoken of emptiness, we have not heard emptiness," responded the gods. "This is true emptiness." And blossoms showered upon Subhuto as rain.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:43 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 06 March, 2005 }

    teachings of the great way

    Turn the Pages of the Diamond Sutra

    Thus have I heard. Upon a time Buddha sojourned in Anathapindika's Park by Shravasti with a great company of bhikshus, even twelve hundred and fifty. One day, at the time for breaking fast, the World-honored One enrobed, and carrying His bowl made His way into the great city of Shravasti to beg for His food. In the midst of the city He begged from door to door according to rule. This done, He returned to His retreat and took His meal. When He had finished He put away His robe and begging bowl, washed His feet, arranged His seat, and sat down... [text]

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:37 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 02 March, 2005 }

    variations on communion

    Entheogens and the Origins of Religion

    Evolutionary science has amassed much evidence that the ancestors of man were primate cousins living in the forests and grasslands of Africa. Religious origins certainly grew out of primitive man’s struggle to define and control his surroundings. Prehistoric man would have respected and hailed the elements such as lighting, thunder and fire for their frightening and destructive power; and he would also have had respect for power mind altering substances found in nature, the most powerful being grassland mushrooms containing psilocybin.

    Religious scriptures from several traditions mention mind-altering substances directly, and some scholars believe many other passages contain metaphors for psychedelics. If this is true for the existing scriptures, and churches historically have condemned the practices, one can only imagine what the heavily edited and suppressed scriptures may have contained on this subject. I hope to illustrate a few examples of modern scholarship and anecdotes that point to mind-altering substances that may have shaped early religious visions, religious scripture, and even our own minds.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:28 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 01 March, 2005 }

    alchemical poetry

    Simon Forman: Of the Division of Chaos, circa 16th Century

    Then out of this Chaos, the four elements were made:
    Heat and cold, moist and dry, in like wise,
    Which are the beginning of all creatures wide,
    That under the globe of Luna do abide.
    The quintessence (that some men it call)
    Was taken out of the Chaos before the four elements all:
    Which is the first being, as we may descry,
    And uncorruptible, whereof was made the sky,
    And celestial bodies all, which do never die.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:50 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 27 February, 2005 }

    13-Moon Calendar

    Today is Blue Resonant Eagle

    I Channel in order to Create
    Inspiring Mind
    I seal the Output of Vision
    With the Resonant tone of Attunement
    I am guided by the power of Accomplishment

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:47 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 26 February, 2005 }


    Sacred Poetry from around the world

    A chaikhana is a teahouse along the legendary Silk Road pilgrimage and trading route linking China to the Middle East and Europe. It is a place of rest along the journey, a place to shake off the dust of the road, to sip tea, and to gather together to sing songs of the Divine...


    Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves, and within it is the Creator:
    Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars.
    The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
    And within this vessel the Eternal soundeth, and the spring wells up...

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:56 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 24 February, 2005 }

    hope springs eternal

    The Shape of the Next Religion [via chapel perilous]

    Modern America, like Rome at the time of Christ, is in a period of rising secularism and religious chaos. Christianity has lost the power to shape our culture, and no rival religion or philosophy seems able to take its place. I argue that this period of tension will end as the Roman one did--with the advent of a new religion that will synthesize the best features of our current religions into a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:15 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 23 February, 2005 }

    real tantra

    Shiva Shakti Mandalam [via Plep]

    Tantra, or more properly tantrika, is a diverse and rich spiritual tradition of the Indian sub-continent. Although in recent years, in the Western world, it has become almost exclusively associated with sex, in reality this is one aspect of what is a way of life. In India itself, tantra is now, nearly always, associated with spells and black deeds.

    Neither of these views is correct, and each wildly underestimates the wide-ranging nature of the different traditions. Further, there remains an ocean of tantrik and agamic literature still to be discovered and translated, spanning a period of time which at least reaches back to the 10th century of the common era (c.e.). The tradition, or perhaps better, the traditions, underwent many phases and schools over this period of time, ranging from an extremely heterodox viewpoint to, in some cases, a very orthodox standpoint...

    Although some tantras appear at first glance to be straightforward, most, if not all of them, employ a type of language which can be taken on many levels. According to the tradition, everything has a gross, a subtle and a supreme meaning and as the Devi is the goddess of letters, she can bewilder with her Maya as well as enlighten.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:00 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 14 February, 2005 }

    Yup, love you too.

    Religious Origins and Background of Valentine's Day
    There is a lot of debate and disagreement among scholars about the exact origins of Valentine's Day, and this is the sort of thing where we'll probably never be able to disentangle all of the cultural and religious threads in order to reconstruct a complete and coherent story. The origins of Valentine's Day simply lie too far in the past to be sure about everything. Despite this, there are a number of speculations we can make which are reasonably sound.

    For one thing, we know that the Romans celebrated a holiday on February 14th to honor Juno Fructifier, Queen of the Roman gods and goddesses, and that on February 15th they celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia in honor of Lupercus, the Roman god who watched over shepherds and their flocks.

    Neither of these appear initially to have much to do with love or romance, but there seem to have been a number of customs focused on fertility which were associated with one feast or the other. Although attributions vary depending on the source, they are consistent in their description of the rituals.

    In one ritual, men would go to a grotto dedicated to Lupercal, the wolf god, which was located at the foot of Palatine Hill. It was here the Romans believed that the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were suckled by a she-wolf. It was also here that the men would sacrifice a goat, don its skin, and then proceed to run around, hitting women with small whips. These actions were taken in imitation of the god Pan, and supposedly a women struck in this way would be guaranteed fertility during the next year.

    Oh, and in honor of we lonely hearts, here's some Flash self-deprecation and angst with bunnies on this day of days.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 13 February, 2005 }

    the wisdom of a crazed monk

    The Enlightened Passion of Ikkyu

    Ikkyu celebrated the joy in human love, and within sexuality there lies a profound sacred practice, similar to Tantric Buddhism. He infused Zen for the first time with a feminine element that had long been missing. When Ikkyu was about 80 years old that he was asked to be the abbot of Daitokoji, which is one the great temples in Japan. At that time it was completely in ruin from a civil war, so it was an extraordinary thing to do at 80 years old, to rebuild Daitokoji: which he did. He had an extraordinary enlightened mind.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 02 February, 2005 }

    The Anatomy of a Magickal Human

    When you look in the mirror, how many people do you see?

    If you stop and think about it for just a moment, and at some point most of us have, you will readily recognize that the old adage, "me, myself and I" really does apply. However, for most of us, we know and understand the individual aspects of our being about as well as we know our neighbors across the fence next door.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 01 February, 2005 }

    The Center for Tactical Magic engages in extensive research, development, and deployment of the pragmatic system known as Tactical Magic. A fusion force summoned from the ways of the artist, the magician, the ninja, and the private investigator, Tactical Magic is an amalgam of disparate arts invoked for the purpose of actively addressing Power on individual, communal, and transnational fronts. At the CTM we are committed to achieving the Great Work of Tactical Magic through community-based projects, daily interdiction, and the activation of latent energies toward positive social transformation.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:13 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 30 January, 2005 }

    The multimodalities of reality

    A multimodal magician is a magician that realizes that identity is at best a temporary phenomenon. The labels we use to identify ourselves as this type of magician or that kind of worker are labels of convenience. We can take back the power behind these labels and use them interchangeably, switching from role to role, acquiring the abilities behind such roles through study of the available material on the role, as well as practice employing the various social and in some cases magical practices that allow us to become and do the role. This is not to say that this is easy to do. A person needs to be dedicated, spending some time learning and experimenting with the skills of a given mode. But when such skills have been acquired it is entirely possible to move from one mode to another or to create a new mode which is a synthesis of other modes that have been explored.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:09 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 28 January, 2005 }

    Civilization of the Divine Forest, an explanation of Shinto [via Plep]

    There was a rock cave surrounded by tall trees, and we could hear only birds, monkeys and the sound of a beautiful cascading waterfall. It was a wonderful place. A short, brown skinned hunter who guided us to that place was wearing only a piece if waistcloth, holding a bow and poionous arrows. He plucked off a flower and put it in his hair. Somebody asked, "How do you know that God is here? Can you see the figure of God?" I thought it was nonsense to raise such a question, but the hunter answered with a smile. "I cannot see the fingure of God. But I know God is here."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 27 January, 2005 }

    Carl Jung and the Alchemical Renewal [via Orlin Grabbe]

    When Jung published his first major work on alchemy at the end of World War II, most reference books described this discipline as nothing more than a fraudulent and inefficient forerunner of modern chemistry. Today, more than twenty-five years after Jung's death, alchemy is once again a respected subject of both academic and popular interest, and alchemical terminology is used with great frequency in textbooks of depth-psychology and other disciplines. It may be said without exaggeration that the contemporary status of alchemy owes its very existence to the psychological wizard of Küsnacht. Take away the monumental contribution of C.G. Jung, and most modern research concerning this fascinating subject falls like a house of cards; to speak of alchemy in our age and not mention him could be likened to discoursing on Occultism without noting the importance of Helena P. Blavatsky, or discussing religious studies in contemporary American universities without paying homage to Mircea Eliade.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Afghan Jew Becomes Country's One and Only

    When Zablon Simintov found Ishaq Levin sprawled on the cement synagogue floor last week, he immediately realized two things: His housemate and archnemesis of nearly seven years was dead, and he was now in all likelihood the last Afghan Jew still living in the country.

    "I'm not sad about that," Simintov said with a frown Wednesday. He acknowledged dryly that he would not miss Levin, an octogenarian who apparently died of natural causes. Simintov, 44, had feuded bitterly with him for as long as the two men occupied separate rooms in the ruins of the only remaining synagogue in Kabul.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:15 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The Mysterious Opus Dei

    Society is fascinated by secretive religious organisations because they allow us to imagine the worst about what murky deeds happen behind their barred doors. The abusive activities of some cults have proved worse than anyone feared, but other times the reality is disappointingly banal. One "cult" in ancient Rome was "widely known" to practice child-sacrifice, cannibalism and incestuous orgies during its initiates-only Love Feasts. That's the cult we know today as the Christian church. There can be smoke without a fire. So what is the reality behind the rumours about Opus Dei, the Catholic movement that has been awarded its first British parish; that Education Secretary Ruth Kelly says she gets spiritual support from, and that was unflatteringly depicted in The Da Vinci Code?

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:12 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 26 January, 2005 }

    Creativity, Healing and Shamanism:

    It seems increasingly certain that healing and creativity are different pieces of a single picture...Creativity in terms of physiological processes means then physical healing, physical regeneration. Creativity in emotional terms consists then of establishing, or creating, attitude changes....Creativity in the mental domain involves the emergence of a new and valid synthesis of ideas, not by deduction, but springing by "intuition" from unconscious sources. The entrance, or key, to all these inner processes we are beginning to believe, is a particular state of consciousness...[called] reverie....

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 25 January, 2005 }

    Riding The Snake – An Introduction to Kundalini

    Kundalini, a word derived from the root word Kunda which means a ‘pit’ or ‘cavity’ (though I’ve also read it translated as ‘She who is coiled’), is commonly described as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine in the physical body or the mooladhara chakra in the pranic equivalent. Kundalini is seen as an aspect of Shakti, the supreme female creative principle in the Hindu pantheon and consort to Shiva the Lord of Yoga. When she is wakened she travels up the spinal column along the Sushumna to the top of the head where she unites with Shiva the male principle in one hell of a psychic explosion.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 23 January, 2005 }

    Hajj pilgrims welcome rain in Saudi desert

    As rains lashed the Saudi desert, tens of thousands of drenched Muslim pilgrims welcomed the deluge Saturday as an act of God while they circled the cubic Kaaba shrine in this holy city's Grand Mosque, the final rite in the annual hajj pilgrimage... "Rain is always a blessing and for it to fall so hard at the end of our hajj rituals means our sins are washed away and God has accepted our prayers," said a soaked Mohamed Jamal Khan, from the Pakistani city of Peshawar, before a gust of wind blew away the plastic bag the 42-year-old had tied to his head.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:04 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 21 January, 2005 }

    Nature as Mirror

    Each song that emerges from Miguel’s flute reflects a unique facet of his soul that comes alive in the particular wild place he visits. It is an interaction, a conversation between Miguel and the wild. An award-winning documentary filmmaker who captures the eloquent gestures of the human heart and soul, Miguel is himself such a gesture. His elegant quena songs are a mirror of nature, both within and without; they are a communion, an exchange of essences.

    Our relationship to the wild unfolds through several developmental stages. In a healthy childhood, nature holds great fascination and wonder, the wide arena in which we discover and explore the world of our inheritance. By imitating the animals, birds, and trees, we acquire a vocabulary of gestures that we assemble into our own way of being human.

    Then, in adolescence, our relationship with nature changes. The natural world becomes a mirror of our developing adolescent personality, a screen upon which we project our fears and hopes for belonging. But we don’t yet know we are projecting. We experience our emotions as if they are qualities of nature rather than our own. We enter the wilderness as a place of danger, self-testing, and self-discovery.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 19 January, 2005 }

    Cunning-folk, who were also known as wise-women, wise-men, conjurors and wizards, were an integral part of English society right up until the early twentieth century. Over the centuries hundreds of thousands of people must have consulted them regarding a wide range of problems, but particularly those concerning affairs of the heart, theft, sickness and most important of all witchcraft. They were multi-skilled, or at least professed to be so. They practised herbalism, treasure-seeking and love magic. They revealed the identity of thieves and divined the whereabouts of lost and stolen property. The more learned cunning-folk also practised astrology, while the less learned pretended to be masters of the art. The most lucrative aspect of their business was the curing of those people and animals who were thought to be bewitched, and also the trade in charms to ward off witches and evil spirits. [via MoFi]

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 15 January, 2005 }

    Collection of Zen Koans.

    One monk said to the other, "The fish has flopped out of the net! How will it live?" The other said, "When you have gotten out of the net, I'll tell you."

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 25 December, 2004 }

    Santa Claus and Mushroom Shamanism

    Santa Claus and Christmas have a hidden secret: namely the powerful entheogenic mushroom, Amanita muscaria. Though perhaps challenging and difficult to accept, a close examination of this strange relationship offers deep insight into the nature of the human soul. This long forgotten key to the hidden meaning of Christmas helps to explain the very nature of the classic religious experience. And as we probe deeper into this mystery, it may even shed light on the widespread religious and political oppression that still dominates much of the world.

    The most obvious connection between Santa and the fly agaric mushroom is their appearance; both are rather portly, bright and jolly looking. Moreover, both are red, white and black, three colors that resound throughout time with symbolic meaning. Santa, as we all know, wears a bright red suit with white trim and sports a long white beard. He is all covered in "ashes and soot" from sliding down the chimney to deliver his gifts on Christmas Eve, hence the black or dark color in the trio. Likewise, the fly agaric is bright red and white. The famous polka dots are actually the remainder of what is called the universal veil, a white shell-like membrane that protects the mushroom as it breaks through the ground. This fierce and sudden eruption through the earth also accounts for the additional black color, in this case bits of soil that cling to the mushroom as it emerges.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 23 December, 2004 }

    Top Ten Intelligent Designs (or Creation Myths): a list of those Creation Myths that helped define civilizations both past and present.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 22 December, 2004 }

    Buddhism on the brain (via FutureHi)

    One of the first things people discover when they meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama is that the head of Tibetan Buddhism likes a good laugh. "He jokes all the time," says Fred Gage, a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, who met the spiritual leader for the first time in October. "He has a great sense of humour."

    This is probably a good thing. The occasion for this meeting — a research conference held at the Dalai Lama's headquarters in Dharamsala, India — included a presentation of evidence that people in good spirits are better able to control their blood sugar levels. Other talks suggested that meditation can transform emotions and that daily experiences can alter the expression of genes. Gage presented his research into how the brain can remake itself throughout life.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:33 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The Circadian Zodiac... did you know there was a 13th sign (Ophiuchus)? Did you know that our current zodiac has been radically sanitized through the ages due to lax math? While not adamant about astrology, I found this to be very interesting...

    Only a knowledge of precession can accurately pinpoint a moment in time, no matter how evenly you divide the skies with arbitrary measure. In other words, the zodiac itself is not precessional, but time can only be measured accurately with the sun's precession through it. Where and when each sign is -- something the ancient Egyptians and Druids, among others, appear to have fully understood and venerated -- thus becomes of paramount importance.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:47 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 21 December, 2004 }

    "The charismatic teacher and miracle worker Apollonius lived in the first century AD. He was born in Tyana... and may have belonged to a branch of ancient philosophy called neo-Pythagoreanism. He received divine honors in the third century."

    Meet Apollonius of Tyana. The coincidences surrounding his history with that of a certain Yeshua are a bit more than uncanny. More here, via MeFi.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:16 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 20 December, 2004 }

    Finding the holy in an unlikely place: Baba, Baba, Everywhere!

    “Is there a Wiccan community around here?”


    “You’re it?”


    A few minutes later a red-bearded, red-eyed giant appeared behind us. He sized us up, looking us over with eyes as big as our heads.

    “You the guys asking folks about religion?” he demanded.

    We both nodded, starting to rise and puff out our chests -- it’s an instinct, you know -- even as we eyed the door.

    “My name’s Barry and I live on up near Bolivia, North Carolina. We got some Buddhist fellers up there now and they’re just the nicest bunch a guys you’ll ever meet. They got a crew that go out weekends, clean up litter and road kill on the roadsides.”

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 17 December, 2004 }

    Being Naked

    Being naked is recognizing that the personality that you have arrived in this moment with, to a greater or lesser degree (depending on your inner work thus far) is not what you are, but who you are. The who that we are is based on reactions and expectations to our surroundings. The what we are is what is at the heart of the onion. The spiritual journey is the peeling away of the layers of fiction, lies, misunderstandings, lack of communication, inability to touch, or be touched by someone, deeply, limitations and separations (unconsciously created mind you). If we know that this rough stone contains a gem at it's center, or that our life has been a lie, then why fear exposing the lie to an audience of equally false existing dreamers?

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:18 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 15 December, 2004 }

    The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words. They're not the Way. The Way is wordless. Words are illusions... Don't cling to appearances, and you'll break through all barriers...


    jaybird found this for you @ 22:21 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 14 December, 2004 }

    The Wisdom of Super Sadhu (blogged revelations from an Indian sadhu, via MeFi)

    There is nothing so perfect in the world as to be quite above objection and criticism. The very sun which gives us light and warmth is not free from spots, yet notwithstanding these defects it does not desist from its regular duty. It behooves us in like manner to carry on to the best of our ability what has been entrusted to us, and strive constantly to make our lives fruitful.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:01 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 12 December, 2004 }

    The Religion of the Samurai, A Study of Zen Philosophy and Discipline in China and Japan, circa 1913. (via plep)

    According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less real than evil, and evil is no more unreal than good. Therefore man must be double-natured-that is, partly good and partly bad. This is the reason why the history of man is full of fiendish crimes, and, at the same time, it abounds with godly deeds. This is the reason why mankind comprises, on the one hand, a Socrates, a Confucius, a Jesus, and, on the other, a Nero and a Kieh. This is the reason why we find to-day a honest fellow in him whom we find a betrayer to-morrow. This view of man's nature might explain our present moral state, yet it calls forth many questions bard to answer. If this assertion be true, is it not a useless task to educate man with the purpose of making him better and nobler? How could one extirpate man's bad nature implanted within him at his origin?

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:38 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 10 December, 2004 }

    One of the world's leading atheists now believes in God, more or less

    A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God -- more or less -- based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday. At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature... Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people's lives.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 08 December, 2004 }

    Zen koan:

    Who is the magician who makes the grass green?

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:07 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 05 December, 2004 }

    Dharma Talk: Subject Object Projections

    I remember that the teaching which had made the most impression on me in years gone by was that experience was a continuity, rather like a rubber band, and that due to delusion, we put a twist in the rubber band, and that therefore one side of the twist is viewed as subject, and the other viewed as object. It made perfect sense of what this delusory way of seeing was, but it wasn't a seen reality.

    It's interesting reflecting on this metaphor now, a number of years later. When I look at experience, what do I see? I see all manner of arisings, seemingly there ... appearances of different flavours - thoughts, sights, feelings, concepts etc etc. And looking at those appearances, I see nothing substantial there at all. Whichever the appearance, whether of a thought, a feeling, a moment of peacefulness or mindfulness, whatever it is, it evaporates in awareness.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:46 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 28 November, 2004 }

    Witness to a Tibetan Sky Burial

    After the chanting is over, we walk up a well-trodden path to a high ridge, keeping a respectful distance behind the funeral party, which has come all the way from Lhasa to discharge this final duty to their departed friend. The charnel ground, or durtro, consists of a large fenced meadow with a couple of temples and a large stone circle of stones at one end where the ceremony takes place. Prayer flags hang from numerous chortens, and scent of smoldering juniper purifies the air. Vultures circle overhead, and many more are clustered on the grass, a few meters from the funeral bier.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:46 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 22 November, 2004 }

    Peter Carroll: Chaoism & Chaos Magic

    Since the eighteenth century European enlightenment, a belief has grown to the point where it is now so all-pervasive, and so fundamental a part of the Western world view, that one is generally considered mad if one questions it. This is a belief that has proved so powerful and useful that virtually everyone in the Western world accept it without question. Even those who try to maintain a belief in "God" tend to place more actual faith in this new belief for most practical purposes. I am about to reveal what this fundamental contemporary belief is. Most of you will think it is so obvious a fact that it can, hardly be called a belief. That, however, is a measure of its extraordinary power over us. Most of you will think me a madman or a fool to even question it. Few of you will be able to imagine what it would be like not to believe it, or that it would be possible to replace it with something else. Here it is: the dominant belief in all Western Cultures is that this universe runs on material causality and is thus comprehensible to reason. Virtually everyone also maintains a secondary belief that contradicts this - the belief that they have something called free will, although they are unable to specify what this is...

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:47 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 16 November, 2004 }

    Encyclopedia Mythica: a massive compendium of mythology, folklore, and religion. "It currently contains over 6,100 entries on gods and goddesses, heroes, legendary creatures and beings from all over the world."

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:18 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 12 November, 2004 }

    The festival of Diwali starts today:

    It is the gayest of the festivals; an occasion of great excitement and rejoicing. The original form of Diwali comes from the word "DEEPAWALI" which means "row of lights"... Diwali celebrations are especially a time for telling stories about Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi, and about Krishna, Rama and his wife Sita.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 10 November, 2004 }

    Supping At The Angel & Feathers , via Key23

    We are drawn from these shadows: not as monads, self-existent and eternally enduring; but as transient ripples of consciousness which flow outwards, melding and coalescing with other ripples. In this incessant weaving amidst the continuum of consciousness, self and not-self mingle and fuse, slipping back and forth, trespassing want only across apparent boundaries which have always been fluid.

    To become alive to this transience seems an extraordinary thing; yet it is the most natural state in the world. It is a measure of how we have cut ourselves off from reality - drawn the covers over our heads and huddled in our ghettos. Initiation is a vitriol, dissolving the illusion of separateness. Only in recognising individuality as illusion, and ceasing to cling to it, can we see past what we are not, to the fecund infinity of that which we really are.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:25 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 31 October, 2004 }

    Blessed Samhain, y'all!

    Summer is at its end and the last harvest is taken in. The cold season returns, all of nature seems to die and the nights become long. It is the beginning of Samon, the dark half of the year. The veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead becomes thinnest, and their souls walk amongst us on this Spirit Night. Just as the Sun God dies at this time to be reborn at Yule, Samhain reaffirms the belief that everything that dies contains new life.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:18 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 10 October, 2004 }

    Speaking Shamanic

    We have to look at the ways that we use language and classifications to create avoidance mechanisms and barriers around the reality of individual experience. To say that psychedelics are a dusty "1960s" thing is to ignore the fact that when you take them it is your consciousness that is transformed, radically, in the present moment. There are different levels of value in undergoing this type of ontological shock. First of all, one may get a radical deconditioning from one¹s social programming ­ a sudden awareness of how society is a fictive construct of language games, power trips, and manipulative strategies. Secondly, one can - not in one trip perhaps, but over time - discover that there is something profound and true about the shamanic vision of a multidimensional cosmos. Taken seriously, the psychedelic experience still does exactly what it did in the 1960s: It calls into question the entire structure and validity of our current "suicide system." It gives the perspective of an "Other," whether botanical mind or alien consciousness or "Higher Self", on our current sad situation.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:47 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 04 October, 2004 }

    A Journey Into Shamanism Psychologist

    A Journey Into Shamanism

    Psychologist Alberto Villoldo traveled to Peru to research the effects of the jungle plant Ayahuasca. Known by natives as "the Vine of Death," the plant was used by shamans to lead them to a place of power and ancient knowledge. Through ritual, ceremony, and the use of mind-wrenching potions, a renowned Incan shaman known to the Indians as Don Jicaram ushered the psychologist into a dangerous and fantastic realm of mind and body.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:51 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 28 September, 2004 }

    Living goddess makes rare

    Living goddess makes rare outing

    A seven-year-old girl revered by Hindus and Buddhists as a living goddess has had a rare festive excursion from the house where she is usually confined in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu. Crowds roar and young men yell as they tug an ancient wooden chariot through the lanes of the old city...

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:30 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 27 September, 2004 }

    The young put their faith

    The young put their faith in mysticism

    Young people have more faith in mysticism than in the Church and the Bible, according to research which suggests a revival of the "Age of Aquarius" Nearly two thirds of 18- to 24-year-olds believe in the power of horoscopes, compared to just over a third who swear by the Bible, a survey of 3,000 people has found.


    jaybird found this for you @ 07:01 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 21 September, 2004 }

    Spirituality and Technology In this

    Spirituality and Technology

    In this essay, I will first look at some of the social and cultural changes associated with the notion of a Digital Revolution. Then I will examine some basic spiritual attitudes and how various debates within and between different schools of thought are changing attitudes about technology. In this context, I will describe how technology is seen both as a degenerate practice and as a means to bring mankind to a higher level of consciousness or to a more well-developed civilization.

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:05 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 20 September, 2004 }

    An Ancient Gaelic Blessing

    For my dear friend Judi as she begins her two year journey of peace in the Ukraine...

    power of raven be thine,
    power of eagle be thine,
    power of storm be thine,
    power of moon be thine.
    goodness of sea be thine,
    goodness of land be thine,
    goodness of air be thine,
    goodness of earth be thine.
    each day be joyous to thee,
    no day be grievous to thee,
    life of joy be thine,
    death on pillow be thine.
    power of sea be thine,
    power of land be thine,
    power of raven be thine,
    power of eagle be thine.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:16 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 19 September, 2004 }

    William James: Does 'Consciousness' Exist?

    William James: Does 'Consciousness' Exist?

    I believe that 'consciousness,' when once it has evaporated to this estate of pure diaphaneity, is on the point of disappearing altogether. It is the name of a nonentity, and has no right to a place among first principles. Those who still cling to it are clinging to a mere echo, the faint rumor left behind by the disappearing 'soul' upon the air of philosophy. During the past year, I have read a number of articles whose authors seemed just on the point of abandoning the notion of consciousness,[] and substituting for it that of an absolute experience not due to two factors. But they were not quite radical enough, not quite daring enough in their negations. For twenty years past I have mistrusted 'consciousness' as an entity; for seven or eight years past I have suggested its non-existence to my students, and tried to give them its pragmatic equivalent in realities of experience. It seems to me that the hour is ripe for it to be openly and universally discarded.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:52 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 16 September, 2004 }

    L'shanah tova! Happy Rosh Hashanah

    L'shanah tova! Happy Rosh Hashanah

    Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:36 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 11 September, 2004 }

    Naga Panchami: the Ancient Practice

    Naga Panchami: the Ancient Practice of Snake Worship

    In ancient India, there was a clan called Nagas whose culture was highly developed. The Indus Valley civilisation of 3000 B.C. gives evidence of the popularity of snake-worship amongst he Nagas. This was in pre-Aryan times. The Naga culture was later drawn into Hinduism. In Jainism and Buddhism too, the snake is considered sacred. It is believed that a cobra saved the life of Buddha and another protected the Jain Muni Parshwanath.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:52 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 06 September, 2004 }

    Bliss Roundup

    Because it's all about the balance...

  • The Erotic Body Alchemy of the Chakras: When he reached the heart - I distinctly remember it - and communed with the lotus there, touching it with his tongue, the twelve-petalled lotus which was hanging head down, stood erect and opened its petals. Then he came to the sixteen-petalled lotus in the throat and the two-petalled lotus in the forehead. And last of all, the thousand-petalled lotus in the head blossomed. Since then I have been in this state.

  • Rumi's Poems of Passion:
    Love is the One who masters all things;
    I am mastered totally by Love.
    By my passion of love for Love
    I have ground sweet as sugar.
    O furious Wind, I am only a straw before you;
    How could I know where I will be blown next?

  • Courtship rituals of birds

  • Modern Ecstatic Dance: As individual self-consciousness and its ego-barriers dissolve on the dance floor, there is only one organism. A mass of bodies in movement - a collective mind. In more evolved times and places this could lead to full telepathic unification. Evolving to this level, we must find mental clarity and identity in the whole; it is not possible if we are lost in the drama and confusion of the illusive reality -the mind of separation and duality. Additionally, there is much to be gained by individual practice such as yoga and meditation. To go beyond psychoactive drugs is to learn how to integrate the experience into daily life. It is futile if we all love each other on Saturday night and then go back to the mundane world, only to be driven by fear and loathing. This is the third rite, and it is not easy -to integrate the experience into daily life.

  • Anywhere in the world, from space, right now. (for the joy of actually being alive on a planet).

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:44 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 04 September, 2004 }

    Quantum Physics and Spirituality What

    Quantum Physics and Spirituality

    What is most essential to a spiritual life is what each of us can embody of love and truth, for that is what shapes our lives, our goals, and our relationship with God and each other. What we think about things, what we intend, and the concepts we hold, are not necessarily what we can be right here, right now. Yet these concepts are useful in creating a path of aspiration - a path that we can hope to walk upon one day. It is with this in mind that we can venture into a discussion of particle physics and its relation to spirituality, not because we are interested in information at this level per se, but because analogies taken from the physical world can sometimes help us understand the spiritual world. This is because the principle "as above, so below" reigns true whether we perceive it or not.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:01 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 02 September, 2004 }

    Lectures from The Gnostic Society:

    Lectures from The Gnostic Society: including titles such as The Gospel of Mary Magdalen, The Sorrow of Sophia: Feminine Divine Image of Suffering, and Hermes: Thrice Great Hierophant of Gnosis.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:03 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 30 August, 2004 }

    Inside the Spiritual Jacuzzi: What

    Inside the Spiritual Jacuzzi: What JewBus, Unitarian Pagans, and the Hot Tub Mystery Religion tell us about traditional faiths

    There is a group in the Dallas area called the Hot Tub Mystery Religion. Its adherents hold to no particular spiritual dogma, borrowing freely from such sources as Jewish mysticism, Roman paganism, Islamic heresy, and experimental art. One of its founders has compiled a recommended reading list for the faithful; it includes a collection of Tantric exercises, a text on Sufism, one of Philip K. Dick’s Gnostic science fiction stories, and a novel by the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton. The group has been known to treat nitrous oxide as a sacrament and to throw Jacuzzi parties -- hence the name.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:57 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 29 August, 2004 }

    Charity, compassion and gay spirituality

    Charity, compassion and gay spirituality

    We passed through something of a golden age of compassion and caring in the decade from the late 80’s to early 90’s. The outpouring of compassion for people living with AIDS was widespread and pretty much universal: buddies, food and housing assistance, care for pets…you name it. The way we loved and cared for one another made us proud to be queer. But what about now?

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 25 August, 2004 }

    Godchecker.com: We have more Gods

    Godchecker.com: We have more Gods than you can shake a stick at. Browse the pantheons of the world, explore ancient myths, and discover Gods of everything from Fertility to Fluff with the fully searchable Holy Database Of All Known Gods.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:47 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 24 August, 2004 }

    Interviews with mystic scholar/activist Andrew Harvey

    Since he spoke Sunday night, I've been transfixed by his passionate, unapologetically urgent message.

  • On the dark night of the soul: "There's a tremendous danger that as people wake up to the horror of what is going on, they will run into political extremism or into fundamentalism of one kind or another. So it's extremely important that the wisdom of the dark night gets across because if people understand the necessity for this crucifixion, and understand that it's preparing the resurrection and the birth and an empowerment, then they will be prepared to go through it without fear -- or without too much fear -- trusting in the logic of the divine transformation."
  • On the Sufi practice of 'adab': "Adab is the concentrated essence, the perfume of all of the virtues combined. It's their emanation in beautiful, courteous, refined conduct. And this conduct is not simply external; it is internal."
  • On the weakness of modern systems and the deep need to rescue ancient wisdom: "The New Age does not deal in really transformative paths. To be a successful New Age guru, what you do first of all is sell “mysticism lite”—that’s L-I-T-E. Without suffering, without the need for ego to go through a death. All you have to do to be a successful New Age guru is to give people a vague sense that, just as they are, they are divine and wonderful and glorious. They don’t need to do anything. That is a total travesty of the authentic spiritual path. It trivializes it. It’s craziness to imagine that the highest spiritual achievements will immediately be accessible to you just because you want them to be. Such achievements require, as they have always required, the authentically mystical systems, that is, an immense amount of passionate, rigorous, sustained, and at times very painful work."
  • Mystical activism, sacred sexuality, and warriorship of love: "I think that hunger for true communion with someone else is part of the deepest human hunger. I think that the culture at large is the culture devoted to pornography and sensual excess really out of despair. That is particularly clear in the gay culture, where an addiction to youth and an addiction to physical beauty and an addiction to sex mask a very great self-loathing and self-despair. It’s that self-loathing and self-despair that has to be healed—which can only be healed really by the mystical journey. When you do meet the divine in this way, you begin the great process of healing oneself of one’s inherited homophobia, body shame, body hatred, or the fear of love itself. And that slowly starts to transform you into a warrior of love."
  • Social Activism in a World Saturated With Divinity: "EVERYTHING that divides one human being from another or from Nature must now be revealed as the convenient social, cultural or religious fiction it is. EVERYTHING that in any way disempowers or depresses the divine power and consciousness innate in every human being must be unmasked as a lie of power. EVERYTHING that provides authentic help and truth and wisdom from whatever area of human experience or pursuit must be embraced and fused with every other source of awareness and empowerment to provide the human race in this, its hour of danger and need, with the resources of an integral wisdom, a wisdom that unites the highest mystical understanding of the transcendent with the highest scientific, political, economic, technological, social and psychological knowledge of how to shape the immanent to mirror the ideals of equality, justice, and compassion on every level."

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:28 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 19 August, 2004 }

    The Universal Constructive Attitude The

    The Universal Constructive Attitude

    The Universal Constructive Attitude (UCA) is a fundamental view on cosmos, existence and life, which develops spontaneously in people who, by study and/or intuition, become conscious of the deepest features of universal existence. It is a view that expresses itself in a particular way of thinking, feeling and acting, with the most fundamental characteristic that it enables the development, within the individual and her/his environment, of latent "qualities" and potential "positive" realizations. (The quoted terms are explained immediately).

    This definition explicitly avoids concrete characteristics. It is a "definition by outcome". Consequently, every kind of attitude that comes up to this expectation, this purpose ("enabling development... " etc.) matches this definition. So it is always possible that divergent concrete aspects are at the same time good translations of the same eternal principles.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:38 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 18 August, 2004 }

    The Sacred World of Shinto

    The Sacred World of Shinto Art in Kyoto, via Plep.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 13 August, 2004 }

    Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees

    Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees

    This is an ethnographic description of Cherokee shamanistic practice. Based on several manuscripts written by Cherokee shamans of the 19th Century, this includes the actual text of the rituals to treat various diseases, information on herbs used, love spells, hunting rituals, weather spells, as well as a spell for victory in the Ball game.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:04 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 03 August, 2004 }

    New York Region >

    Two Sikhs Win Back Jobs Lost by Wearing Turbans

    "It's a tremendous moment for the Sikh community, one of our first big civil rights victories in this country," said Prabhjot Singh, a director of the Sikh Coalition, a civil and human rights organization.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 24 July, 2004 }

    Just what is this?

    Just what is this?

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:33 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 20 July, 2004 }

    The Tao of Love, Passion,

    The Tao of Love, Passion, and Sex

    "From the world of passions returning to the world of passions:
    There is a moments pause.
    If it rains, let it rain; if the wind blows, let it blow."

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:03 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 19 July, 2004 }

    Everything you see has its

    Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same. Every wonderful sight will vanish, every sweet word will fade, But do not be disheartened, The source they come from is eternal, growing, Branching out, giving new life and new joy. Why do you weep? The source is within you And this whole world is springing up from it.

    ~Melvana Jelaluddin Rumi

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:14 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 10 July, 2004 }

    Humanity's Team is a prject

    Humanity's Team is a prject of Neale Donald Walsh to "to renew and restore our connection with God and with each other, by freeing humanity from the oppression of its beliefs about God, about life, and about each other in order to create a different world."

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:20 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 08 July, 2004 }

    Sadhus, The Great Renouncers

    Sadhus, The Great Renouncers [via Plep]

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:01 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 05 July, 2004 }

    Autopoiesis and Spirituality "When we

    Autopoiesis and Spirituality

    "When we speak of living beings, we presuppose something in common between them... Our proposition is that living beings are characterised in that, literally, they are continually self-producing. We indicate this process when we call the organization that defines them an autopoietic system... The most striking feature of an autopoietic system is that it pulls itself up by its own bootstraps and becomes distinct from its environment through its own dynamics, in such a way that both things are inseparable."

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:29 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 04 July, 2004 }

    Nepalis bare all to call

    Nepalis bare all to call for rain

    Women in Nepal are reportedly ploughing fields in the nude to please the rain god during a dry spell. The Himalayan Times said about a dozen Tharu women in south-west Baijapur bared all as concern grows over lack of rain during the rice planting season. "My mother-in-law said the God would be pleased and make rain fall if women till the land naked..."

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 28 June, 2004 }

    Cultivating sacred sexuality Our North

    Cultivating sacred sexuality

    Our North American culture is goofy when it comes to sexuality. On the one hand, sexuality and sexual information is suppressed; perhaps because we confuse ignorance with innocence. On the other hand, sex is everywhere - used to sell toothpaste, brain-dead television sitcoms, soft drinks and cigarettes.

    Our culture is also goofy when it comes to spirituality. The scientific age in which we live has us satisfied only when we have broken everything down into the smallest parts possible. “Mystery” has come to mean failure a to understand or research thoroughly enough. Mainstream religion - meaningful for many, but a compromised resource for lesbians and gay men - seems equally uncomfortable with the puzzles of life’s meaning at the end of this millennium. Despite all our knowledge, we find ourselves adrift.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:25 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 27 June, 2004 }

    Jay: What does the trickster

    Jay: What does the trickster do for society?

    Tom Robbins: The trickster heals through wonder and humor... [1.2mb mp3]

    Yes, 'Tom Robbinsfest' continues here as Jay just won't come down from the high of meeting such a warm and amazingly 'vivid' person.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:28 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 21 June, 2004 }

    In pictures: Summer solstice

    In pictures: Summer solstice at Stonehenge

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:42 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 16 June, 2004 }

    Taking Life's Final Exit Bedridden

    Taking Life's Final Exit

    Bedridden after being rushed to the hospital for what would be the final eight days of his life, Kenny casually mentioned that he was visiting Detroit. It was a rather odd place for him to be traveling — even if only in his imagination — because the hospital was near home in suburban Philadelphia and he didn't have any ties to the Motor City.

    At first, our family dismissed these journeys as confusion; we would laugh through our tears about the various places and modes of transport he had been taking. It must be the painkillers, we thought. Or maybe hypoxia, the oxygen deprivation in the blood that often contributes to delirium in sick people. Or that the cancer now was destroying his mind, just as it had racked his body.

    But then our cousin Lynne mentioned that her parents had done a lot of similar traveling in the last days of their cancer battles. Uncle Larry (Lynne's father) had insisted that his passport and fanny pack be kept by his bedside; he was intent on keeping an imaginary 3 p.m. appointment with the emperor of Japan, where I was living then and where he had hoped to visit. He too had asked for a map — of Japan. Aunt Lois, who had died four years before, had talked about needing to catch a train, asking Lynne to buy her a ticket.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:08 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 13 June, 2004 }

    His other job is chief

    His other job is chief lama in Russian republic

    This pleasant young man from Colorado has been identified by the Dalai Lama of Tibet as the latest of many reincarnations of a Buddhist saint who lived in northern India 400 or 500 years ago. On and off for about half of every year, Ombadykow spends time at what might be called his day job, as chief lama here in the republic of Kalmykia, on the Caspian Sea. It is his ancestral homeland -- a piece of Russia that is the only predominantly Buddhist region in Europe.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:49 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 11 June, 2004 }

    All the Myriad Things Are

    All the Myriad Things Are Speaking the Dharma

    The sounds of the streams and creeks are just like the vast, long tongue of the Buddha, proclaiming the wonderful Dharma. The hues of the green mountains are all the pure Dharma-body, delighting those who see them. If you understand this principle, the absolutely everything in the world is speaking the Dharma.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 09 June, 2004 }

    Scientology link to public schools

    Scientology link to public schools

    A popular anti-drug program provided free to schools in San Francisco and elsewhere teaches concepts straight out of the Church of Scientology, including medical theories that some addiction experts described as "irresponsible" and "pseudoscience."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:57 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 07 June, 2004 }

    An aikido master explains how

    An aikido master explains how to kick ass and find inner peace: Spiritual Exercises

    You wrote about the battle to maintain attention in spiritual practice in Boredom and the Religious Imagination. How and when did you find the theme of maintaining attention in aikido and other martial arts?

    It has become gradually more and more clear to me that this is what all of these martial disciplines are about. This is in fact the battle. In any kind of battle, it is all about attention and what we choose to pay attention to, and the quality of attention, and how we invest that attention. In aikido, it is essential, because if you pay attention to the wrong things, it could be literally life or death.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:01 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 02 June, 2004 }

    Nah, she's not sick, she's

    Nah, she's not sick, she's just having a 'boil-off:' Scientologists settle death suit

    Church records show McPherson received doses of chloral hydrate, a prescription sedative, and was given magnesium injections. The records also say McPherson was cared for by a medical doctor who is not licensed in Florida but worked for the church.

    I can't help but be skeptical of Scientology, even in lieu of my strong commitment to interfaith dialogue. My best friend has studied Scientology, and has the good sense and keen mind to separate the good teachings (there are many that seem quite advanced and wise) from the total bunk and mind-jamming rubbish of on-the-spot-theology, not to mention their 'affinity' for cold-hard cash. Every, and I do mean every, spiritual path has great value, and I believe Scientology started off in that direction, but it's now a snake-oil business that must be regarded with caution.

    For a safer, non-corporate version of Scientology teachings, I highly recommend Free Zone (practicing the basic ideas of the early days, but completely separate from the modern 'church').

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:25 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 19 May, 2004 }

    This is insane: Unitarian Universalists

    This is insane:

    Unitarian Universalists have for decades presided over births, marriages and memorials. The church operates in every state, with more than 5,000 members in Texas alone. But according to the office of Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a Denison Unitarian church isn't really a religious organization -- at least for tax purposes. Its reasoning: the organization "does not have one system of belief." Never before -- not in this state or any other -- has a government agency denied Unitarians tax-exempt status because of the group's religious philosophy, church officials say. Strayhorn's ruling clearly infringes upon religious liberties, said Dan Althoff, board president for the Denison congregation that was rejected for tax exemption by the comptroller's office.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 08 May, 2004 }

    The world's oldest dated book

    The world's oldest dated book is the diamond sutra. Using Flash, you can unroll the scroll for yourself, courtesy of the British Library.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:22 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 01 May, 2004 }

    Celtic religions, Beltane, Mad Cow,

    Celtic religions, Beltane, Mad Cow, and factory dairy farms

    Beltane was once a time when cattle were honored in rituals of protection, purification, and fertility. Just as they were driven to their winter pastures at the beginning of the Celtic year at Samhain (Halloween), so were they driven to their summer pastures six months later at Beltane. It was a sacred time, for one’s status and wealth were measured by one’s herds--and any threat to their lives and health impacted their owners. Protecting one’s animals, as scholar Miranda Green writes, “is closely associated with the supernatural world, and not simply a profane, secular activity.”

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:33 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    A post-modern bestiary of quasi-traditional

    A post-modern bestiary of quasi-traditional May Day characters from Edinburgh's Beltane Fire Society.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:21 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 28 April, 2004 }

    Quantum Spirit: Being, Consciousness, and

    Quantum Spirit: Being, Consciousness, and Everything

    Idealists and realists alike long to discover a theory that is profound, simple, elegant, and free of counterintuitive insult and dualistic paradox. Is there something that when represented in phase with our scientific knowledge, theologies, and philosophies can resolve them into a unified theory of everything? Is there some common denominator, some underlying condition that is the basis and support for all that exists?

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    I'm not sure what to

    I'm not sure what to think of this, but the BBC sure loves glamorizing mobile phones to the nth degree: Asia puts faith in mobiles

    Mobiles phones are not usually seen in the West as a way of keeping in touch with God.
    But the growing popularity of communication technologies is providing a way for people in Asia to express their faith, say researchers.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:06 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 27 April, 2004 }

    Books > Sunday Book

    'The Spiral Staircase': Goodbye to God. Also Hello.

    Through her years at both convent and college, Armstrong was plagued by fainting spells. Sometimes she got lightheaded, and sometimes she smelled scents that weren't really there. The nuns had dismissed these faints as, alternately, spiritual failure and weak nerves. But the fainting only got worse as Armstrong proceeded through graduate school. She began a sort of sleepwalking -- she'd look down at her desk and find a cup of coffee that she couldn't remember making; or she'd realize that she was in the library and have no idea how she got there.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 24 April, 2004 }

    A nice way to start

    A nice way to start your day, if hungover from the cast party: a meditation on right now

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:49 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 18 April, 2004 }

    Sufism and Quantum Physics There

    Sufism and Quantum Physics

    There are parallels in Sufism and in quantum theory. A view of the world is very similar to the views, held by Sufis and modern physicists. In contrast to the mechanistic world view of the Westerners, for the Sufis all things and events perceived by the senses are interrelated, connected, and are but different aspects or manifestations of the same ultimate reality. For Sufis “Enlightenment” is an experience to become aware of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things, to transcend the notion of an isolated individual self, and to identify themselves with the ultimate reality.

    More here...

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:07 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 15 April, 2004 }

    Jesus Christ: Choose your own

    Jesus Christ: Choose your own savior.

    When Mel Gibson responded to critics of his blockbuster The Passion of the Christ by saying they had a "problem with the four Gospels," not with his film, he was staking a claim to authenticity: My Jesus is the real one, not yours. But it's not just Mel. Everyone claims their Jesus is the "real" one, the only authentic Christ unperverted by secular society or religious institutions. The best-selling fiction book The Da Vinci Code, which posits among other things that Jesus fathered a child by Mary Magdalene, styles itself as a fact-based account of the "real" Jesus, who has been covered up by a Vatican conspiracy. Academics who seek evidence for the Jesus of history attempt to peel away layers of the Gospel narratives until the genuine Jewish prophet is revealed. Nowadays, even nonbelievers assert a superior understanding of who the actual Jesus really was and what he stood for.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 07 April, 2004 }

    A very interesting interpretation of

    A very interesting interpretation of the Tao Te Ching [via MeFi]

    "If you can talk about it, it ain't Tao.
    If it has a name, it's just another thing.

    Tao doesn't have a name.
    Names are for ordinary things.

    Stop wanting stuff. It keeps you from seeing what's real.
    When you want stuff, all you see are things.

    These two statements have the same meaning.
    Figure them out, and you've got it made."
    --chapter 1

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:17 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 05 April, 2004 }

    Happy Passover for those feasting

    Happy Passover for those feasting tonight. In honor of the holiday, here's some tacky Passover Humor.

    Just in time for this year, a group of leading medical people has published data indicating that seder participants should NOT partake of both chopped liver and charoses. It is indicated that this combination can lead to Charoses of the Liver.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:08 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 04 April, 2004 }

    Meditative Buddhist Art [via Plep]

    Meditative Buddhist Art [via Plep]

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:42 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Photoblogging a sand mandala made

    Photoblogging a sand mandala made by traveling Tibetan monks. [via MeFi]

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:05 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 01 April, 2004 }

    Native American Trickster Tales In

    Native American Trickster Tales

    In the Native American oral tradition, the vulgar but sacred Trickster assumes many forms. He can be Old-Man Coyote among the Crow tribes, Raven in northwestern Indian lore, or, more generically, "The Tricky One" (such as Wakdjunkaga among the Winnebago or Manabozho among the Menomini), to mention just a few of his manifestations.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:33 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 31 March, 2004 }

    The Do-It-Yourself Deity You are

    The Do-It-Yourself Deity

    You are invited to select from the list below the attributes which you believe God must have (or the attributes that a being deserving of the name God must have). Metaphysical engineers will then model this conception of God to check out its plausibility.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:52 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 17 March, 2004 }

    Booze flash! Tests confirm that

    Booze flash! Tests confirm that beer bubbles do fall

    It wasn't exactly one of the great mysteries of the universe, but it was a source of countless bar bets: When beer is poured into a glass, do the bubbles rise or fall? Barflies know all too well that the bubbles fall, seemingly defying the laws of physics.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:43 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 14 March, 2004 }

    Nag Hammadi Library The Nag

    Nag Hammadi Library

    The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient codices containing over fifty texts, was discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. This immensely important discovery includes a large number of primary Gnostic scriptures -- texts once thought to have been entirely destroyed during the early Christian struggle to define "orthodoxy" -- scriptures such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Truth.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:39 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 11 March, 2004 }

    Odds on that God exists,

    Odds on that God exists, says scientist

    Dr Stephen Unwin has used a 200-year-old formula to calculate the probability of the existence of an omnipotent being. Bayes' Theory is usually used to work out the likelihood of events, such as nuclear power failure, by balancing the various factors that could affect a situation.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:18 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 08 March, 2004 }

    Spiritual neurology In the first

    Spiritual neurology

    In the first of what he hopes will be a series of experiments, Dr Beauregard and his doctoral student Vincent Paquette are recording electrical activity in the brains of seven Carmelite nuns through electrodes attached to their scalps. Their aim is to identify the brain processes underlying the Unio Mystica—the Christian notion of mystical union with God. The nuns (the researchers hope to recruit 15 in all) will also have their brains scanned using positron-emission tomography and functional magnetic-resonance imaging, the most powerful brain-imaging tools available.

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:03 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 06 March, 2004 }

    The lives of the Sadhus

    The lives of the Sadhus of India, an interview with a boy ascetic, and the passionate feats which express their devotion. [pictures 1, 2]

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:21 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 26 February, 2004 }

    Can religion be blamed for

    Can religion be blamed for war?

    Are religion and religious differences to blame for war and conflict? Many war leaders have claimed to have God on their side, but should religion get the blame? A "War Audit"... investigates the links between war and religion through the ages.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:03 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 22 February, 2004 }

    Our eternal self, whatever it

    Our eternal self, whatever it is

    This history of the soul begins by reminding us what a let-down our bodies are: they fall apart sooner than they should, they only live once and they're wracked by a series of unhealthy passions and desires. It's as a way of compensating for many of our frailties - Rosalie Osmond suggests - that people have throughout time been so drawn to the concept of a soul.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:37 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 18 February, 2004 }

    A wonderful guided meditation on

    A wonderful guided meditation on the Labyrinth, via MFi [flash]

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:50 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The Festival of Shivaratri

    The Festival of Shivaratri

    Just across the Bagmati river, in a wood, other devotees calmly adopt their yogic postures. Popularly known as the Naga Babas, these mystics are naked. They say being naked is a form of yoga.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 11 February, 2004 }

    Beautiful ceremony: Trees 'married' to

    Beautiful ceremony: Trees 'married' to appease rain god.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:00 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 10 February, 2004 }

    The Critical Mass of Enlightenment

    The Critical Mass of Enlightenment

    Out of thousands of seeds only one tree is born. Out of millions of sperm only one flips the ovarian switch to turn on an infant's life. Though the potentials for life are abundant, the critical mass of fulfillment of those potentials is atomically small. The mystics believe the same law works in the evolution of human consciousness. Billions of humans have been born, each carrying within the shell of their personality the potential flower of Christ-consciousness. They are Gaia's near-countless seeds falling upon her earthly cradle. Billions live and die considering themselves blessed if the wings of existence scatter them upon barren, rocky fields of orthodox behavior. Only a tiny proportion of humankind ever reaches a full flowering.

    [via philosophistry]

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Tree shrines of India, via

    Tree shrines of India, via plep.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:18 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Three Wise Men may have

    Three Wise Men may have been women

    The traditional infant Nativity play scene could be in for a drastic rewrite after the Church of England indulged in some academic gender-swapping over the three Magi at its General Synod in London this week. A committee revising the latest prayer book said the term "Magi" was a transliteration of the name used by officials at the Persian court, and that they could well have been women.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 03 February, 2004 }

    World's oldest pilgrim (125 or

    World's oldest pilgrim (125 or 132) makes the journey of Hajj.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:56 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The Glass Bead Game [via

    The Glass Bead Game [via sTaRe]

    Herman Hesse's Nobel Prize Winning Novel, The Glass Bead Game lays the foundations for an Artistic/Conceptual Game, which integrates all fields of Human and Cosmic Knowledge through forms of Organic Universal Symbolism, expressed by its players with the Dynamic Fluidity of Music. The Glass Bead Game is, in Reality, an Age Old metaphor for what has been called, the "Divine Lila" (Play or Game of Life). This metaphor has been expressed by every great Wisdom Tradition known to man, and its players, the Magister Ludi (Masters of the Game), use as their instruments Ancient and Modern modes of Symbolic Wisdom traditionally presented through Sacred Art, Philosophy, Magick and Cosmology.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:30 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 01 February, 2004 }

    Following the lead of Mossy,

    Following the lead of Mossy, I took the Belief-o-matic quiz, which I haven't done in years. Mahayana Buddhism has outpaced Unitarian- Uinversalism and Liberal Quakers, with Neo-Pagan and Taoism edging up New Thought and Hinduism.

    1.  Mahayana Buddhism (100%)
    2.  Unitarian Universalism (98%)
    3.  Liberal Quakers (98%)
    4.  Neo-Pagan (93%)
    5.  New Age (88%)
    6.  Taoism (79%)
    7.  Hinduism (77%)
    8.  Theravada Buddhism (76%)
    9.  Jainism (75%)
    10.  Reform Judaism (75%)
    11.  Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (74%)
    12.  Bahá'í Faith (69%)
    13.  New Thought (68%)
    14.  Scientology (67%)
    15.  Sikhism (64%)
    16.  Orthodox Quaker (60%)
    17.  Secular Humanism (60%)
    18.  Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (59%)
    19.  Orthodox Judaism (54%)
    20.  Islam (49%)

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:42 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 31 January, 2004 }

    My God Is Your God

    My God Is Your God

    Sunday is one of the most important holidays in Islam: Id al-Adha, the feast celebrating Abraham's faith and willingness to sacrifice his son to God. It would also be a good occasion for the American news media to dispense with Allah and commit themselves to God. Here's what I mean: Abraham, the ur-monotheist, represents the shared history, and shared God, of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Many Christians and Jews are aware of this common past, but seem to have a tough time internalizing it.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Recent photos from the Hajj.

    Recent photos from the Hajj. More about the Hajj: 1, 2. 3.

    jaybird found this for you @ 00:25 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 27 January, 2004 }

    Sisters are doin' it for

    Sisters are doin' it for themselves: Storm over Indian women's mosque

    The audience listens to her impassioned plea for women to build their own place of worship and be involved in community rulings on marriage, divorce, domestic abuse and child custody. "Would having a place of worship of your own help? Would a jamat [community elders at mosques who adjudicate on family matters] of women be more sympathetic to your cause?"

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 25 January, 2004 }

    "Any ecstasy is a sign

    "Any ecstasy is a sign that you are headed in the right direction. Do not let some prude tell you otherwise."

    ~St. Teresa of Avila

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 19 January, 2004 }

    Interactive Vodoun. Click a picture

    Interactive Vodoun. Click a picture on the altar for an extensive history.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:20 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 11 January, 2004 }

    The legend of The Cathars

    The legend of The Cathars and what makes the Cathar faith
    so appealing and enduring

    Their name Cathari, means "pure" in Greek. Branded heretics by the Roman Catholic Church, little remains to speak of them today, other than Inquisition records. Their writings were destroyed along with their earthly bodies. Yet, in their time their influence was enormous...


    In some ways the Cathars were well ahead of their time. For instance, they were pacifists totally dedicated to non-violence. When nobles and garrisons took their part they frequently defended them out of pure devotion. Sometimes the defenders even preferred to die with their Cathar brethren rather than deny them by accepting their proffered freedom. Cathars too were rigid vegetarians. On occasion their Inquisitors would give them chickens to kill and some went to the stake rather than kill the bird and compromise their beliefs. They also respected, even reverenced women, many of whom achieved high places in the Cathar organisation. But, above all else they were tolerant of other creeds and this was probably our greatest loss of all. There was no tolerance at all in the Church of the day. In fact the western world is still paying in blood for the merciless intolerance shown by its Crusader assassins during that time.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The Revealer; a daily review

    The Revealer; a daily review of religion and the press, via the Coffee Sutras.

    Here and there in the discussion of religion "in" the news, there arises a trickier matter, which is the religion of the newsroom, and of the priesthood in the press.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:05 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 07 January, 2004 }

    Soothsaying, Tokyo Style "There's

    Soothsaying, Tokyo Style

    "There's no defining religion in Japan, but there are lots of people who want to believe in the mysterious. Fortunetelling offers that.'' The more exotic, he adds, the better.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:08 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 02 January, 2004 }

    Sacred arts of Haitian Vodou

    Sacred arts of Haitian Vodou

    Vodou is Haiti's mirror. Its arts and rituals reflect the difficult, brilliant history of seven million people, whose ancestors were brought from Africa to the Caribbean in bondage.

    [thanks to plep and MeFi]

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 27 December, 2003 }

    The cave temples of Mustang...

    The cave temples of Mustang... [courtesy of MeFi]

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:49 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 23 December, 2003 }

    A Myth by Alan Watts.

    A Myth by Alan Watts.

    There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins.

    Found on one of the best blogs I've stumbled into in a while... queervisions.com.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:26 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 11 December, 2003 }

    Kamat's Potpourri: How I Sent

    Kamat's Potpourri: How I Sent My Father to Heaven

    On the ninth day (nine days symbolizing the nine months of gestation before human birth), I tonsured my head in sacrifice, and began my duty (known as kriya) to send father's soul to heaven. I bathed in a waterfall, and performed the worship of the sun facing to the East.

    via MeFi

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:03 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 25 October, 2003 }

    Diwali has begun. This BBC

    Diwali has begun. This BBC article point to celebrations in the UK.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:16 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 20 October, 2003 }

    The Songs of Hafiz -

    The Songs of Hafiz - The love poetry of Sufi poet Hafiz of Shiraz

    "I have estimated the influence of Reason upon Love and found that it is like that of a raindrop upon the ocean, which makes one little mark upon the water's face and disappears."

    Thanks, languagehat!

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:28 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 19 October, 2003 }

    Native Americans have gathered in

    Native Americans have gathered in Terre Haute, Indiana... in what was called a "Gathering of the People." Its purpose: to celebrate the connection of all the tribes, some from as far away as Montana, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and their connection to the earth and to God.

    Excellently written piece.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 12 October, 2003 }

    Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj In

    Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj

    In al-Hallaj's case the Secret of the Love seized and intoxicated his
    entire being. His longing and yearning for Allah was such that only in his
    total destruction by Him could he find the Union which was the sole purpose
    and goal of his life. This was the Beauty (al-jamal) and the Majesty
    (al-jalal) of his bondsmanship to Allah, and like a great river flowing
    from its source to the ocean, nothing could hinder or stop its course.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:16 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 08 October, 2003 }

    Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica via Mysterium

    Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica via Mysterium

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:05 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Ancient pilgrim prepares for Hajj

    Ancient pilgrim prepares for Hajj

    Habib Miyan has been drawing his pension since his retirement in 1938 - his pension papers document his age as 125, although he claims to be older... [He] is able to make the journey thanks to a UK-based businessman, who is funding his trip after reading about him on BBC News Online.

    jaybird found this for you @ 06:52 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 04 October, 2003 }

    Folks like Dr. John Dee,

    Folks like Dr. John Dee, Paracelsus, and Comte de St. Germain merged mysticism with science way back when. One could say that the same thing is happening today.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:00 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 27 September, 2003 }

    L'shana tova, happy Rosh Hashanah!

    L'shana tova, happy Rosh Hashanah!

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:11 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 26 September, 2003 }

    Gimme some sugar: Embraced

    Gimme some sugar: Embraced by India's hugging saint India's most famous woman guru, Mata Amritanandamayi, whose name means "mother of absolute bliss", is renowned for many things.
    But by far the best known fact about her is that she hugs people as a blessing and therapy.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:29 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 21 September, 2003 }

    The Real Sufism Islamic mysticism

    The Real Sufism Islamic mysticism may be gaining a hip following in the West but that’s a bowdlerized version. To see it today in Iraq, where it’s freely practiced again, is more ambiguous

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:17 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 15 September, 2003 }

    Viva Ayahuasceros! Hallucinogenic tea likely

    Viva Ayahuasceros! Hallucinogenic tea likely to gain religious exemption A federal appeals court has ruled that a New Mexico church’s use of a hallucinogenic tea was likely to be protected under freedom of religion laws.

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:30 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 09 September, 2003 }

    Tensions build in Cancun The

    Tensions build in Cancun The town is in a state of high security, after clashes at a number of international summits in recent years, and given the tensions surrounding this week's negotiations.

    jaybird found this for you @ 06:48 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 21 August, 2003 }

    The Hopi prophecy of Pahana

    The Hopi prophecy of Pahana "My people await Pahana, the lost White Brother, [from the stars] as do all our brothers in the land. He will not be like the white men we know now, who are cruel and greedy. we were told of their coming long ago. But still we await Pahana."

    More here...

    "We feel that the world is good. We are grateful to be alive. We are conscious that all men are brothers. We sense that we are related to other living creatures. When you go out of the house in the morning and see the rising sun, pause a moment to think about it. The sun brings warmth to the things that grow in the fields. If there’s a cloud in the sky, look at it and remember that it brings rain to a dry land. When you take water from a spring, be aware that it is a gift of nature."

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:35 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 16 August, 2003 }

    A Bioethicist's Take on Genesis

    A Bioethicist's Take on Genesis The snake is, he writes, ''an embodiment of the separated and beguiling world of autonomous human reason,'' a voice of ''rationalist mischief.''

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:38 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 30 July, 2003 }

    Web version of the classic

    Web version of the classic Black Elk Speaks "Behold them yonder where the sun goes down, the thunder beings! You shall see, and have from them my power; and they shall take you to the high and lonely center of the earth that you may see; even to the place where the sun continually shines, they shall take you there to understand."
    And as he spoke of understanding, I looked up and saw the rainbow leap with flames of many colors over me.
    Now there was a wooden cup in his hand and it was full of water and in the water was the sky.
    "Take this," he said. "It is the power to make live, and it is yours."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:36 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Challenging the Quran discusses the

    Challenging the Quran discusses the possibility that the Muslim holy book was first written in Aramaic, and subsequently mistranslated. Much like the Bible, but more on that later, I'm late for work.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:39 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 14 July, 2003 }

    A defining chant of Buddhism:

    A defining chant of Buddhism: Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:03 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The Art of the Tibetan

    The Art of the Tibetan Healing Mandala

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 06 July, 2003 }

    Visit this little cathedral from

    Visit this little cathedral from which radiates endless tendrils of speculation and mystical mystery: Rennes Le Chateau Gallery

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:06 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 04 July, 2003 }

    Meet the People of the

    Meet the People of the Peacock Angel, the Yezidi. Theirs is a religion and culture centered near Mosul, Iraq, as well as Syria, the Caucasus, the via the diaspora in Germany. Seclusive and secretive, the Yezidi have often been maligned by outsiders due to misinterpretations of the nature of their primary Deity, Malak Taus (once a rebel angel who recreated the world and doused the fires of hell with his tears). Gurdjieff (pt. I, pt. II) may have been heavily influenced by them. Unlike other middle-eastern religions, the Yezidi have rejected dualism and, therefore, the ideas of sin and evil. Various versions float around of the Black Book of the Yezidi and other works that form their sacred literature. Wars, political pogroms and proselytizing have placed this beautiful, complex and misunderstood tradition in jeopardy.

    "I have allowed the creation of four substances, four times, and four corners, because they are necessary things for creatures."

    MeFi thread

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:59 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 01 July, 2003 }

    My friend Tabetha just sent

    My friend Tabetha just sent me this nice Zen quote after visiting the site: "View the world not as the eye sees, but rather what the mind knows." If she's reading, I would reply with the Taoist edict; "Do nothing and there is nothing you cannot do."

    As an aside, we both work at a summer camp, but nothing quite like this.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:22 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 26 June, 2003 }

    Space impact 'saved Christianity' "A

    Space impact 'saved Christianity' "A team of geologists believes it has found the incoming space rock's impact crater, and dating suggests its formation coincided with the celestial vision said to have converted a future Roman emperor to Christianity. "

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:40 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 22 June, 2003 }

    Ram Dass is still here

    Ram Dass is still here now, and reflecting on the human condition, suffering, and the transcendance of life. "Today, Ram Dass's message is one of awareness and acceptance -- especially of suffering. Referring to his own physical condition, he says that it's okay that he "was stroked." Suffering should be embraced, he says, since it brings us closer to God." via technoshamanic

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:51 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Monday, 09 June, 2003 }

    Buddhist Art and Architecture

    Buddhist Art and Architecture

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:17 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Sunday, 08 June, 2003 }

    Game: Battleground God "Can your

    Game: Battleground God "Can your beliefs about religion make it across our intellectual battleground?"

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:31 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Friday, 06 June, 2003 }

    Shalom: Today begins the festival

    Shalom: Today begins the festival of Shauvot

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:19 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Saturday, 24 May, 2003 }

    Joseph Campbell - Mythic Reflections

    Joseph Campbell - Mythic Reflections "I'm calling a symbol a sign that points past itself to a ground of meaning and being that is one with the consciousness of the beholder. What you're learning in myth is about yourself as part of the being of the world."

    jaybird found this for you @ 01:15 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Thursday, 22 May, 2003 }

    Buddhists 'really are happier' "Tests

    Buddhists 'really are happier' "Tests carried out in the United States reveal that areas of their brain associated with good mood and positive feelings are more active."

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:57 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Web bird on the moon




    All material contained within this website, excluding external links and items listed otherwise,
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    are Copyright 2005 by theodore "jay" joslin and joyous jostling studios. Thank you, Wanderer, for All. 


  • i am jay joslin: a spirit-fed mountain hopping lover of everything, an ordained lefty-veggie-homo, and bon-vivant go-go dancing with all the messenger mockingbirds of morning. 



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    Letter Excerpt:


    Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe


    0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor.

    1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being of service to your becoming Whole.

    2. You will be called upon to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to share .

    3. The rewards of being true to yourself  are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met with nothing.

    4. You’ll also see that  knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but yours is the power to choose it.

    5. You’ll find that some of your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I tried it on.

    6. Your growth will be a mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing minutes. Don’t count on second chances.

    7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that there’s a little of each one hidden in both.

    8. Respond as best as you can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any situation and  being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF, leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in.

    9. Whatever you’re doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got when you’re done. Magic lives in the action.

    9 ½ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came. Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore, why be bored?

    9 3/4 . Choosing to live in the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences.

    10. The Universe itself it not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered , butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So, whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.