Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Musings on Deity and Faith (Or Ramblings)

Today, I'm writing about some of my personal observations on deity and faith. These are simply my own musings and take them as you will, with a grain of salt. That's the way I attempt to take most things, especially concerning faith paths. No one has returned definitively to say what indeed happens once we cease life on this plane. Or if it is or isn't the only plane of existence. My own personal experiences tell me that it is not, but that may not be the case for all.

There is much debate about deity, some of us intellectualize it and some of us take it on blind faith. Is one better than the other? Is one correct and the others not? No.

Faith and belief in deity is a basic human drive. To the intellectual, it stems from man's fear of his own mortality and the need to believe there is a higher purpose or meaning to the randomness that seems to pervade our lives. I was raised very Roman Catholic, but the Catholic path raised more questions than answers to life for me and I found it very unsatisfying. All faith paths are going to leave holes, leave gaps and leave blanks that must be filled in by faith. That is where the "faith" comes in. I found the traditional Christian paths left holes and gaps for me that I could not traverse on faith alone. I went searching for my own path, my own concept and connection to the Divine. That path has led me to study many faiths, even practicing different faiths for a time. I was "born again" and decided I was born OK the first time. I was a Daishonin Buddhist, but had issues with the crassness and greed of the people in my community of Buddhists, chanting for cars and money. I was Wiccan but found the dogma and gynocentricity emerging on that path frustrating and just as imbalanced as the patriarchy of the Christian paths. People who were quoting people my parents knew as if their words were gospels of ancient writ. I found the pretense of Wicca as an "ancient" religion too large a pill to swallow for myself, that the cry of ‘balance’ it began with so beautifully was a long distant memory.

What is deity? Deity is the Divine, Spirit, God form that we worship. Deity is the personality of the God form to which we connect. Be that Yahweh, Buddha, a toaster oven or a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I had always intellectualized deity and viewed it as a larger construct. The concept that God is too big for any one religion and that all gods and deity were simply aspects of the personality of the larger One. Think of it as a photo mosaic. Each photo within the mosaic can stand alone and is complete unto it, yet when combined, create the larger picture. The basic concept being that all god forms were correct and a facet or aspect of the larger One that man has simply not grasped as yet.

A spinal surgery several years ago precipitated an epiphany I never expected. The pain medications were not working. It turned out that morphine does absolutely nothing for me and my surgeon would not grant larger doses of the alternate pain medication on which I had been placed. The day after my surgery, I simply lay in my hospital bed and sobbed with the pain. There was no relieving it and for once in my life, I cried out in earnest and dire need to Deity, to the God and Goddess for succor and assistance, an amelioration of my pain. That cry was answered.

Hecate appeared to me, and laid her hands on me. She was terrifying and beautiful, and one thing was certain...she was no facet of anything else, and certainly not a smaller part of a larger whole. She was whole unto herself, scary as all hell and the comfort of every primal maternal feeling rolled into one. And she allayed my pain. Yes, I still hurt, but I was no longer praying for death rather than for this to continue. I will always feel close and devoted to Hecate and offer her thanks and gratitude daily. She has since become one of my most precious Spirit teachers on my shamanic path.

So, what now? What do I believe, now that my intellectualism is shattered? I went back to some early versions of Genesis for some things to ponder. Originally, Genesis states that the Elohim created the earth and the peoples on it. It is not until chapter 2 that Yahweh goes off to create Eden and Adam, initially bringing in Lilith from the land of Nod. This seems to give me some answers, or at least something to ponder. Is it possible that this is the truth? That the Elohim who created the world and its peoples are the Gods of the areas and the peoples they created, that it is from Yahweh in chapter 2 that the Christian faith descends and that the other faith paths of different regions simply descend from the Elohim who created them?

I do not know. I do know that I do not claim lineage from David nor Adam, nor the violence and hatred I have seen in my lifetime from these lines that continues today. I cannot reconcile myself to the violence done throughout history in the name of this God. That is the gap I cannot breach through faith alone, that it is allowed to continue in this God’s name. I cannot reconcile the hatred and violence in the name of this God by Christians, Jews and Islamics. I cannot conceive of this as a loving God allowing this to continue in his name.

A visiting teacher in our shop, Phil Jones, said something that his teacher had said to him and that has stuck with me. “God is like a mountain of sugar, but sugar cannot taste itself. So it created the ants to taste the sweetness and dance with joy across its surface.” I have spent weeks pondering this one so far, and it strikes beauty on almost every possible level for me.

Truthfully, I'm not sure and that uncertainty is something I will probably muse, ponder and feel my entire life. I continue on my shamanic path, which I have come to love, the gaps in which I can breach with faith. The shamanic allows me direct communion with Spirit and Deity, for the healing of myself and my community, my tribe. For me, this is what faith and religion is all about. Community and healing. For me, and to me, as long as a faith path teaches growth, healing, learning and improvement of self and others through non violence...it is good. And provides the comfort and solace we mere mortals need on those cold dark nights.

As one of my favorite bumper stickers stated, "God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts." Find your path, find your peace.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Past lives, healings and the whims of Spirit

I just finished a shamanic healing for a client. Spirit just makes me laugh sometimes with the way It loves to throw my preconceptions and ideas in my face. I suppose I deserve it at times!

I have been one who always rolled his eyes at "past life" issues. Everyone I meet in the shop who claims to remember a past life, or has had past life readings done for themselves always seems to have been someone famous or important. Everyone was Cleopatra, or a Lord or Lady. I have never met anyone who was a scullery maid or stable boy. I viewed much of peoples "past life" issues much the same as the self proclaimed "Ascended Masters". I had always viewed the majority of it as a means of self aggrandizement, of boosting self esteem in "this" life by "knowing" they were important in another.

Today's client...Spirit just completely threw that in my face. The client has had issues with anger, balance, acceptance, body comfort, body image, so many things that just didn't make sense for them in this life, no real issues or traumas that would cause such things for them.

I opened the circle with drumming and singing in the directions as usual, North for air, East for water, South for fire, West for earth, Lower world and my allies, middle world and my ancestors, upper world for my teachers and guides. Once sacred space was created, my client and I just sat and talked for a few moments, what was bothering them, what they desired. Everything they said, the anger for no reason, the desire to just rise above it all, the disconnection and dissatisfaction. Spirit just kept flicking my on the back of the head saying, "they've lost the joy".

So, I had my client get comfortable and embarked on the first journey of the process. No sooner had I gone to the lower worlds and connected with my animal allies, Cicada came and said we weren't staying there. We flew up into the middle world, the realm of our ancestors, this reality, the "river of blood". I met briefly with my ancestress and she told me this was all going to be middle world and past life work for this client. Of course, I rolled my eyes. She just laughed and pointed off into a gray cloudy sky, and Cicada and I took off.

I found myself in a gray, sooty, industrial England of old. And found my client there, a widowed woman working 7 days a week in a textiles factory trying to support herself and her 3 children. She was miserable, angry, unhappy. She hated being a woman and not able to support herself and her children as she would if she had been a man, she hated working her fingers to the bone 7 days a week, 12 or more hours a day, for not enough to survive. She hated not only her life, but life in general. One of her children had run away, just to get away from her bitterness. She had been beaten down, worn down and eventually lost her life in carelessness with the machines she hated so much.

This was the life and the part of the client I was meant to heal, the anger and dissatisfaction that had carried over into this life. How? I returned to the lower worlds and asked my animal allies and closest connections what we needed to do. Once again, they laughed at me and said there was a reason I was instructed to put Poseidon on the altar for this one...and off to the upper worlds I went.

Poseidon gave me specific instructions as to healing the past life, severing some of the connections of that life to this one, extraction work on the negative intrusions in the clients heart from this past life and specific instructions to bring the part of the soul that was this past life to Him for cleansing and healing.

Three journeys later, extraction work, it was done. Interestingly, during the disentanglement process of the past life and this one, the client became queasy and had to go to the bathroom several times during the session. After the journey to disentangle the past life, the client asked me what I had been doing, they felt pressure and pulling on their heart as I worked. (I had not told them of the extraction details at this point, that I needed to remove intrusions from the heart. Only that there was extraction work required.)

As we were finishing, another past client came into the shop. The current client hugged me and left. I asked the past client about how they had been doing since their healing and received, "its peaceful inside. Its wonderful seeing in color again, nothing is gray anymore for me".

Just Spirit confirming that I need to stop being so cynical and giving me a great big, "SEE?!"

You just have to smile.