Sunday, February 06, 2005

EOTM: The Goddess

The Goddess represents all that women are, might be, and hope to become: as the God represents the same things for men. When there were many gods and goddesses, each of them represented a separate face of what we have now come to call "the human condition". There was one for each of the best and worst, and the sometimes simply mundane, characteristics of women and men.

The many faces and incarnations of these beings, as well as the ease with which they could change shape or name, testified to a deep intuitive understanding of human nature which was passed from generation to generation by the oral tradition of myth and legend. Within each person lies the potential to be creative or destructive, as well as the potential to understand which of their acts contribute to creation and which to destruction. The process of social maturation is the gradual development of these abilities and the increasingly conscious choice applied to selecting one's own actions based on the probable consquences of that act.

For the past several hundred years the Goddess has been under siege. The empire that the Romans began and eventually spread to span the entire globe under the reign of their students, the British, set out to destroy her because she interfered with empire building. Now the the god, too, is under siege: for the same reasons and in the same manner.

In every woman dwells some of the goddess, as in every man dwells some of the god. As each child makes the torturous journey from helplessness and dependency to the responsibilities and freedoms of adulthood, the god and the goddess represent the collected wisdom gained by thousands of generations of observation of how people can and do act. In the stories called myth and legend are the lessons learned regarding how each action we choose affects the lives of others, what its consequences will likely be. Using these lessons we can apply the force of consciousness to creating the world we desire by selecting our acts based on what we wish to create.

Most religions of the common era have lost sight of this. As humanity has become more densely packed and often cannot tolerate the slow process of maturation, guidelines for action have become externalized in the form of rules or commandments. Over time, people stopped teaching the understanding of why one "should" or "should not" do a particular thing and substituted compliance for understanding. The goddess and the god were moved outside of each person. Without internalizing the divine, both the sacred and the profane aspects of it, humans remain eternal children: forever dependant on the understanding of others to inform their actions. Yet, when those they look to have not internalized it either, they place themselves in slavery to the power of other unmatured children who will pass along their own helplessness and dependency, but call it wisdom.

In the dark ages before the Renaissance, compliance was enforced by a reign of terror called "The Inquisition". Dark and angry children in grown-up bodies tortured and killed all who did not bow to their so-called "wisdom". Learning itself was considered dangerous and vigorous attempts were made to stamp it out. Heirs of an empire begun hundreds of years before sought to consolidate their power, all power, by destroying all who opposed it. Because their one and only god was male, they attempted to destroy and discredit the idea of the divine feminine. Millions died for refusing to accept the moral authority of these self-appointed masters.

Much of the world today still lives in the shadow of those murderous times. Colonialism spread across the globe, confiscating ancestral lands, destroying entire cultures, and wiping out entire peoples. By first separating themselves from the divine then claiming to understand and represent it exclusively, these empire builders have set themselves against life and become a cult which worships death. In their view there is no meaning in life except to prepare for death and what happens afterward. They worship death, not life.

The Goddess was gravely injured, but she did not die. Deep within millions of women she waited out the dark times until her wisdom was again needed to heal the world. The God, as well, came close to death because the divine was confiscated from all human beings to be placed in the hands of a parental figure. No human was allowed to look inside for answers. All answers were to come from outside ourselves: from the empire builders, the enslavers. Now those answers are failing completely, and women and men are turning back to the Goddess and God within themselves.

Marianne Williamson speaks of "glorious Queens" as opposed to "slave girls" in "A Woman's Worth" and Robert Bly speaks of the need to find and reclaim the "inner King" in "Iron John". The King and The Queen are the earthly manifestations of God and Goddess. They represent the highest level of spiritual achievement available to us mere mortals. Most people tend to think of kings and queens in terms of the power that they have over the "common folk". Those who think of it in those terms have it backwards. The only power a true king or queen has is the power of self-mastery and the realization that we all serve a power greater than ourselves. Whether this power be called by the name of some particular god or goddess, or simply by the name "life", only those who dedicate their lives to its service will be able to find meaning, and unity, and purpose in their lives. Those who master this find people compellingly drawn to them. Which is why those people make them into kings and queens.

Many current worshipers of the goddess have fallen into the same pattern as the old Inquisitors. Dark, angry, and twisted children; they hate the god and seek to elevate the goddess above him. Under the lie of "equality", they seek superiority, power, and mastery of everything except themselves. They have come to worship only one face of the goddess: the dark and destructive face of Kali: the destroying face of ”The Bitch”. Men, having lost the god within themselves, no longer understand how Shiva uses his own power to balance the power of Kali. Instead, they cave in and supplicate to her. As a result, all that is good in them gets burned away and they become empty of all goodness, all godness, within. Some come to worship the dark power as well, and resort to violence to save themselves.

These men, as well as the men who hate the god and seek to elevate the goddess above him, are fools: dangerous fools. As the goddess must remain strong to balance the destructive power of the dark faces of the god, so must the god remain strong to balance the dark and destructive faces of the goddess. When either grows too powerful, many die and are lost.

George Lucas gave us a modern day version of the myth about this eternal struggle. Luke-who-walks-the-sky battles Darth Vader: literally "Dark Father". Rage and hatred are very powerful forces. Women's claim that "women+rage = power" is the cry of wounded and angry children lost in the dark. Anything + rage = power: rage = power. But it is a destructive power, not a creative one. The hate-intoxicated zealots who worship the dark and destructive face of the goddess are as much to blame for her loss of respect as those who hate all her faces. Men and women alike need to reclaim the light faces of the goddess and the god as well as the dark: if we, their children are ever to be freed from the darkness to walk again in the light of love for each other.

The best all round site I know for the many aspects of the goddess is:


Further Reading:

The God

Male Sexuality

Saturday, February 05, 2005

EOTM: The God

The god is under siege in most cultures around the world, particularly western culture. Fundamentalism, mistaking the finger for the stars that the finger is pointing to, mistaking the messenger for the message, has impoverished most religions. Now they function more as social controls than as a way of providing spiritual meaning to the day to day lives of human beings.

Humanity has been divided against sacredness, and against itself. People see themselves as separate from any sort of divinity, anything sacred. They are also totally estranged from nature. They see themselves as un-natural beings and, to a large extent, have become unnatural.

The penalty for this is that the ecosystem is being depleted and destroyed. We have been playing like spoiled children on this paradise planet that the creator has provided for us. We have been so ego-centric in our view of the creator that we regarded ourselves as the ultimate creation and aspired to be as gods ourselves. We believed that we were destined to have dominion over this earth and eventually control the very forces that create matter from energy. We have done all this, yet the cockroach will certainly outlive us as a species.

Every religion believes that it understands and worships a power that is above all other powers. This "above" includes the petty distinctions of the name to use and the method of worship. Yet they so humble their gods that they believe such a powerful being could care about such a small thing.

The sad truth is that "worship" or "faith" are used like "love" to cover up and justify unspeakable acts. One tribe who slaughters another to fulfill the will of their god apparently thinks their god is so puny that an earthquake or storm or plague or simple starvation is beyond their god's power.

No, unfortunately the truth is that often religion is simply one more power group competing for market share of the faithful and their tithes. All the dire consequences of not following the vocal messiah's preferred path are to intimidate people into compliance.

Modern Wicca has done much to salvage the concept of the sacred feminine. We all owe a major debt of gratitude to all the witches who burned and died, as well as those who survived to keep the traditions from being exterminated.

Yet we are still lacking in a deep understanding of the sacred masculine.


Further Reading:

The Goddess

Male Sexuality

Friday, February 04, 2005

EOTM: The Goddess and The God of the Wicca

Each of the major religions of the world recognizes a duality in the divine. Dividing the darkness from the light of the judeo/christian bible, the yin & yang of eastern philosophies, many other examples. Because there is an inherent duality in humanity based on gender, it is easy and tempting to think of that divine duality as being male or female. Even more so, people tend to want to divide another duality, good vs evil, along gender lines. Thus we have seen created theologies in which the SACRED is either male or female, and the PROFANE is the other.

Wiccan theology recognizes that the sacred and the profane exist in everyone. There are dark and light sides to both male and female, just as there is to duct tape. How those dark and light sides get expressed is the work of the individual soul to decide. If you believe in Kharma, then you see that each soul gets to keep doing it wrong until it gets it right.

Unlike the arid theologies of the single male god at the top of a hierarchy, generated in the deserts of the middle east and carried worldwide by the european empire builders, pantheistic earth-based religions have always cast their deities in both genders. Mark Twain said it: "God created man in his own image and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor." Since we cannot really imagine the infinite, we turn to what we know for an understanding. We turn to humans. All myths, all legends, have their roots in fact. The personalities these gods and near-gods (heros) exhibit are based on real people who at some point in history exhibited this personality. Humans still do today.

What Wicca offers is sacredness for both genders. There is a sacred masculine and a sacred feminine. Because they are both sacred, sexuality between them cannot be anything but sacred. It is the joining of these two energies which creates life. That's what we all worship: the creative force.

Of course, both genders also have a profane side, a destructive side. In myth and legend we have the stories of how this side has been expressed. When one gender demonizes the other they provide the perfect smokescreen for evil. Since they are good and the other bad, all their acts are "good" or justified. Thus real evil comes to be called by the name of good. A perfect example is the incredibly destructive things done by parents to children and lovers to each other in the name of love. As Luke Skywalker had to struggle with the dark side of the force, so must we all.

Inherent in the spiritual foundation of wicca is an equality between the genders. This is what has made it so attractive to feminists and those influenced by them. Unfortunately, there has been a tendency to follow the trends set by worshippers of dead jews and elevate the sacred feminine above the sacred masculine or forget about the sacred masculine altogether.

Wicca is also known as the way of the wise. It is in this sense that I use it here. In that light there is no difference from the way of zen, which you will find elsewhere on these pages.

There is an old zen koan about the teacher who points to the stars and the student fixes on the finger. The teacher slaps him.

Often ritual, which is designed as grand theatre for the subconscious and intended to facilitate a spiritual experience, becomes bogged down in details and loses its meaning in the trappings. The colors of the altar candles become more important than the acts of the particpants before or after.

Let us focus back on the stars. Let us change our sense of time so that we begin thinking in terms of "deadlines" of a year and a day. Let us see the year as we now see 2 weeks and see that it certainly looks like "magic".

Let us all reclaim the sacredness of ourselves and all others.

Blessed be.
Further Reading:

Thursday, February 03, 2005

EOTM: Science & Technology: The New Gods

In their quest for power, humans have come to love technology and worship the god science. Science has given us the microwave, the micro-chip, and the micro-computer, courtesy of which you are now reading this.

However there are those of us who must ask whether all this worship of science and technology has enriched the lives of humanity or done anything to move us in the direction that the old gods created us to follow. We have stolen much power from the gods, and they are much the poorer and weaker for it. As humanity sought to become as gods through the application of technology, it forgot the most important power of the god: the power to create.

The major question for people to face themselves with today is whether they are willing to invest technology completely with godlike powers and let it dictate to them what they must do and be like. At its greatest extent of power technology cannot create life, the best it can do is copy it. And copy is what "society" seems determined to do. Change everyone into copies of everyone else.

Technology makes as bad a master as it does good a servant. The challenge of the 3rd millenium ce will be whether humanity surrenders and submits to the dominion of technology, thus creating the dead end for humanity and the thing we all cherish so much, our "intelligence", which is used to mean our consciousness and self-awareness.

We claim to be "intelligent" life, yet we let machines and their rigid inflexible needs dictate the leading of our lives. We have even "split" the nucleus of the nuclear family by destroying the male/female pair bond and the mechanics of attraction which bring them together.

Bad idea.


Further Reading:

Philosophy & Theology: The Old Gods


Back to “The Eye of the Mind” Main Page

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

EOTM: Philosophy & Theology: The Old Gods

Philosophy was the original science, art, and theology. The word comes from the ancient greek and means "love of wisdom". There is good reason that the highest level of academic accomplishment is called "Ph.D.". Doctor originally meant "teacher", thus a doctor of philosophy is someone who teaches the love of the wisdom of a discipline. Love is the force which also drives the healer, the minister, the scientist and the Artist. Love of life.

This amazing gift and ability of consciousness and self-awareness which man has been so proud of because it distinguishes humanity from the "lower" animals also put on us a terrible burden: the ability to ask and the need to know "Why?". Humanity needs a "because". The history of humanity is the story of searching for "becauses", and the ultimate "because". The ultimate "because" has always been called god.

As humanity's curiousity and need to know yielded results of understanding some of the "why"s, the sciences were born. Astronomy allowed the learned to watch and predict the succession of the seasons, which was essential to the survival of early man. Botany allowed people to predict which foods would taste good and nourish them, and which would kill them. The more that thought took over from instinct in controlling human behavior, the more important science became. And, because the average person was too preoccupied with survival, and had neither the time nor the inclination to delve into the nature of things, those who did understand were recognized for the importance of their knowledge.

Yet as every parent knows, even when the "becauses" are understood (which they often are not, since each "why?" is really at the end of a chain of "why?"s and knowing the answers to all the "why?"s which came before is essential to understanding the answer to the current one), each "because" simply leads to another "why?". Beyond the limits of human knowledge has always existed the unknown and perhaps unknowable, and all the unanswered "why?"s have belonged to god. Theology is therefore the Philosophy of the unknowable.

Everything which has been within man's ability to understand "why", has been developed into a scientific discipline of study. Every 4 years we double the number of "becauses" that we have. The average college prep student knows more science than all the scientists in the world did as recently as 100 years ago. As we have learned to understand what previously only god understood, science and its bastard stepchild, technology have become our new gods. Gradually the question changed. People began to ask "why?" when what they really meant was "How?".

When people began to learn "how" to harness the understanding of "because" to bring about what they wanted, the will to power was born. Thus did humanity attempt to steal the power of god, by saying "MY will be done". Down to the very heart of the atom did we find ways to exert that power. Yet it is always the power of destruction. We "split" the atom, and unleash that awesome power, yet no scientist has ever taken a bunch of parts and "put together" an atom.

And then there are those groups of people whose questions are only "when?" and "why not?". The first aspire to godlike powers over others, the second group is so isolated from reality and the outside world that the only thing they can dwell on is how they want reality to be and how disappointed, angry, and hurt they are that it isn't that way. Their lives are consumed with bitter disappointment over finding out that they are NOT god.

But the "why?" we started out to find has been lost. And it was the second question to be asked anyway. "What?" is the beginning. Without an understanding of what it is, why does not matter. We have turned around begun looking the wrong direction, studying "how" things have been put together, rather than studying the purpose of putting them together. We know how to tear them apart and often when we will be done.

What and Why are still dealt with by philosophy and theology. What is the nature of god, and for what purpose were we created? Just to destroy and consume? Strange notion of god.


Further Reading:

Science & Technology - The New Gods

The Goddess and The God of the Wicca

The God Under Siege

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

EOTM: This is Zen

This is zen.

Like listening for the sound of one hand clapping, looking at this picture for a while will tell you all the essence of zen. It cannot be described, tho much good writing about it exists. Each of us leaves footprints in the sand as we travel through this adventure called life. If we pause for a moment and look back at those footprints, we are struck with their smallness and temporary nature when set against the backdrop of the immense elemental forces of the seashore. The yin & yang of the waves within the larger yin/yang of the tides will wash them away within hours, if the wind does not blow them away within minutes.

I call myself a zen priest, yet that is purely self-appointed. When I was young and full of myself, I wanted to be a zen master and teacher. One day it occurred to me that the road to mastery was to live it every moment. There are far more rewards from living it than from the public recognition of my "mastery". It is a remarkably fulfilling and serene way to view life. I promote it as an answer to the increasingly chaotic world in which we live.

In the best (perhaps only true) zen movie ever made, "Circle of Iron," the protagonist, Cord (that which binds), finds that all answers are found in the mirror. Today, in western culture particularly, all answers seem to lie outside ourselves. We are a culture of reacters, blamers, and victims. There are always buts, whys, and becauses which explain our destructive behavior. None of them make it non-destructive. The destruction and violence will continue until each person begins to stay one's own hand and take complete responsibility for one's own acts.

There are other cosmologies which include this, one in particular called Wicca, and I hope to be able to provide the means to explore them as well on these pages.
Philosophy and Theology: The Old Gods
Science and Technology: The New Gods
The Goddess and The God of the Wicca
The God
The Goddess