Tag Archives: Pagan

God in a Box, a Hundred Versions of It

falling-lightCHRISTOS is the Greek word from which the term Christ is derived. It is an archaic term that was applied to every Initiate of a certain degree within the Mystery Temples of old.

St. Paul, echoing the Gnostic belief in the saving grace of the indwelling spiritual essence in man, refers to “the Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

The Christos principle is never some thing or person outside or separate from us. Isis-Osiris is the symbolic image of spirit guarding the good and holy mind of humankind.

Every human being is a potential Christ, the unfolding of the Christ-life a major feature of the Gospels, esoterically understood. Christos is called “the WAY,” the glorified Spirit of Truth, and the reunion which makes the soul (the Son) One with the (Father) Spirit. But in truth, gender as we understand it plays no part in this drama of spiritual awakening.

“There is only one religion, though
there are a hundred versions of it.”

 – George Bernard Shaw

The Ankh

Christ is confirmed, by H. P. Blavatsky, as “the divine principle in every human being.” She also wrote in her article The Esoteric Character of the Gospels: “He who strives to resurrect the Spirit crucified in him by his own terrestrial passions, and buried deep in the ‘sepulchre’ of his sinful flesh; he who has the strength to roll back the stone of matter from the door of his own inner sanctuary, he has the risen Christ in him.”

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Kristas

As with the Christos, the Father Spirit, God, is never a separate being, but exists everywhere. “Our DEITY is neither in a paradise, nor in a particular tree, building, or mountain,” Blavatsky wrote, “it is everywhere, in every atom of the visible as of the invisible Cosmos — in, over, and around every invisible atom, and divisible molecule:

“…for IT is the mysterious power of evolution and involution, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and even omniscient creative potentiality.”

“The worship of the dead-letter in the Bible,” Mme. Blavatsky wrote in the Key to Theosophy, “is but one more form of idolatry, nothing better. Hence, the Bible is not the ‘Word of God,’ but contains at best the words of fallible men, and imperfect teachers. Yet read esoterically, it does contain, if not the whole truth, still, ‘nothing but the truth,’ under whatever allegorical garb. Only: Quot homines tot sententiœ.”

Continue reading

Murder for God 2

FEW honest and sincere believers have the faintest conception of the history surrounding the early beginnings of the Church.

Almost everyone is familiar with what is recorded in the New Testament concerning the differences of opinion that arose between Peter and Paul. But how many are aware of the fact that this split continued to grow?

For several centuries after the time of Jesus the best and most prominent of the Church Fathers were irreconcilably divided among themselves on issues of basic doctrine.

In order to retain power and authority, the dominant sectarians inaugurated a custom never before known in the recorded annals of religious history — the custom of anathema.

These Churchmen were too narrow and dogmatic in belief to allow room for natural divergences of opinion, which alone could have made of Christianity a vital and healthy organism. The result was a course of action diametrically opposed to the principle of tolerance reflected in the life of their declared inspiration, Jesus of Nazareth.

Having no faith in their capacity to win the adherence of thinking minds, the Church Fathers used anathema for the purpose of “persuading” those who could not be converted — and of silencing those not to be persuaded.

For the millennium “beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras at one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only focus left in History,” says Mme. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine — (see Holy Heretics) —

“… wherein converge for the last time the bright rays of light streaming from the æons of time gone by, unobscured by the hand of bigotry and fanaticism.” Continue reading

Murder for God 1

Rachel Weisz as Hypatia

THE fourth century was the turning point in the history of the Western world, the period in which Christianity took the form of a strong political organization.

Throttling the old religions, sciences and philosophies, “the Church” arose as a temporal power upon their remains.

At the same time, admiring crowds began gathering at the door of the academy where the learned and unfortunate Hypatia taught.

Hypatia, expounding the doctrines of the divine Plato and Plotinus, thereby impeded the progress of Christian proselytism.

She successfully dissipated the mists of the religious “mysteries” invented by the Christian Fathers, and was therefore considered dangerous.

H. P. Blavatsky writes in Isis Unveiled:

“This alone would have been sufficient to imperil both herself and her followers.”

The city of Alexandria is interesting to the Theosophical student, for there, just fifteen hundred years ago, existed the last great Theosophical School in history — the School which was begun by Ammonius Saccas, (called theodidaktos, or “god-taught”), and ended with the death of Hypatia. Continue reading

A Right Christmas

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Dreaming Of A Right Christmas

“Children of Light, as ye go forth into the world,
seek to render gentle service to all that lives.”
– Egyptian Papyrus of Ani

I’m mostly a vegetarian, for ethical reasons, and have a growing passion for “the soul of things.” Reverence for life is something everyone understands, within reasonable limits.

I reluctantly “kill” a few carrots, tomatoes and salad greens every day. But I never was a Grinch about Christmas. Though I did oppose the roast turkey.

A friend reminds me that “Native Americans had reverence and gratitude as they sacrificed a deer for their food and clothing…it’s a matter of consciousness and attitude in what you do.”

“As long as we are imprisoned in this octave,” she says, “things will die to sustain us….look at the big picture.”

INTENTION

“It is the motive, and the motive alone,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote in Practical Occultism,which makes any exercise of power become black, malignant, or white, beneficent Magic.” Lynn McTaggart thinks our intentions can change the world.

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MINDFULNESS

Maybe I’m a little weird. After all, even Buddhist monks have a bowl of rice every day. And, yes, “Hitler was a vegetarian.” The justification for my oddity is, at the very least, I am thinking about what I do! (My friend said, “Buddhists call that ‘mindfulness.'”)

This is how, Blavatsky admits, she understood the teaching of her Masters: “every plant without an exception feels and has a consciousness of its own.”

And, it is a axiom of The Secret Doctrine, that:

Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. (1:274)

“When we try to pick out anything by itself,” wrote John Muir, America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist, “we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

Plastic didn’t seem very hitched. And I was increasingly uncomfortable with “factory farmed” Christmas trees. What then should I do?

WHEN IN ROME

Living in the country, I could decorate, like any good Pagan, some sacred evergreen growing nearby. Here in the city, one can buy a potted evergreen. We did once, a few years back.

But it was even more painful to watch a live tree, isolated from its forest companions, die a slow death inside a stuffy apartment. With nowhere to replant it outdoors, it just didn’t feel right.

Growing up with strong feelings for the sacredness of life, and with much of my early childhood spent out-of-doors, it was natural to be an advocate for Nature. Now, in desperation, two days before Christmas, I faced an agonizing decision.

EVERYTHING GOT WRONG

Bundled against the bitter New York City wind and icy sidewalks, at a corner where a recently bailed-out-bank ironically thrived, the deed was done. I killed a tree that day.

“It was just cut,” a woman representing a local Boy Scout Troop injected, as I admired one in particular. A six-foot spruce from nearby Pennsylvania. Indeed, the needles were firm and fragrant, its tapering trunk and welcoming branches a work of art.

Then, amidst the blare of car horns, the little tree lay unflinching as it received a swift and indifferent Coup de grâce from an eager 12-year old Scout. A “fresh cut” was sawed from the base of its sap-stained stump. I paid cash.

At that moment, Oppenheimer’s knee-jerk quote from the Bhagavad-Gita, uttered at the first atomic test in New Mexico in 1945, overtook my violated conscience: “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

RECONCILIATION

The Bhagavad-Gita is preeminently an ethical treatise. It inculcates teachings applicable to daily life, suited not only to the time in which it was written, but for all time. So it was consoling to recall a quite different passage from the Gita, where Krishna, the Higher Self, counsels his favorite disciple:

I accept and enjoy the offerings of the humble soul who in his worship with a pure heart offereth a leaf, a flower, or fruit, or water unto me. Whatever thou doest…whatever thou eatest, whatever thou sacrificest, whatever thou givest, whatever mortification thou performest, commit each unto me. Thus thou shalt be delivered from the good and evil experiences which are the bonds of action; and thy heart being joined to renunciation and to the practice of action, thou shalt come to me.

Holding these words daily in our heart, we are reborn every moment. Like the Teacher, we can become a Master of all seasons. Another of Blavatsky’s Masters in a similar vein, as quoted by her (see- Altruism in The Secret Doctrine):

He who does not practice altruism; he who is not prepared to share his last morsel with a weaker or poorer than himself; he who neglects to help his brother man, of whatever race, nation, or creed, whenever and wherever he meets suffering, and who turns a deaf ear to the cry of human misery; he who hears an innocent person slandered, whether a brother Theosophist or not, and does not undertake his defense as he would undertake his own — is no Theosophist.

FRAGRANCE OF THE GOOD

A question posed to a disciple in The Voice of the Silence: “Hast thou attuned thy being to Humanity’s great pain, 0 candidate for light?,” reminded me of a New York Times Op-Ed piece (N. Y. Times (12/22/08), “Hard Times, a Helping hand.”)

Writing about the Great Depression’s mysterious benefactor “B. Virdot,” contributor Ted Gup says: “He sought no credit for acts of conscience. He saw them as the debt we owe one another and ourselves.”

The Times article is a must read, worthy of The Laws of Manu (Manava-Dharma-Sastra), and a modern lesson which could have been taken straight out of the 2500 year old injunctions of The Buddha, embodied in “The Dhammapada,” (Ch. 4, 11-16.):

“[T]he fragrance of the good wafts even against the wind. The fragrance of the good man pervades all his ways. … From a heap of rubbish on the roadside, a lily blooms, fragrant and pleasing; from a mass of blinded mortals arises the disciple of the truly Wise One…”

NON-SEPARATENESS

“[S]piritual perfection and spiritual knowledge can only be reached on the spiritual plane,” Blavatsky writes in Theosophy Queries: Answer to a Letter. Achieved, she adds, “…only in that state in which all sense of separateness, all selfishness, all feeling of personal interest and desire, has been merged in the wider consciousness of the unity of Mankind.”

Universal ethics were pointed to by her at every opportunity, against whatever the odds or snickering of her critics. We quote in full:

Now it is a fundamental doctrine of Theosophy that the “separateness” which we feel between ourselves and the world of living beings around us is an illusion, not a reality. In very deed and truth, all men are one, not in a feeling of sentimental gush and hysterical enthusiasm, but in sober earnest. As all Eastern philosophy teaches, there is but ONE SELF in all the infinite Universe, and what we men call “self” is but the illusionary reflection of the ONE SELF in the heaving waters of earth.

True Occultism is the destruction of the false idea of Self, and therefore true spiritual perfection and knowledge are nothing else but the complete identification of our finite “selves” with the Great All. It follows, therefore, that no spiritual progress at all is possible except by and through the bulk of Humanity. It is only when the whole of Humanity has attained happiness that the individual can hope to become permanently happy — for the individual is an inseparable part of the Whole.

SPIRITUAL PERFECTION

Hence there is no contradiction whatever between the altruistic maxims of Theosophy and its injunction to kill out all desire for material things, to strive after spiritual perfection. For spiritual perfection and spiritual knowledge can only be reached on the spiritual plane; in other words, only in that state in which all sense of separateness, all selfishness, all feeling of personal interest and desire, has been merged in the wider consciousness of the unity of Mankind.

This shows also that no blind submission to the commands of another can be demanded, or would be of any use. Each individual must learn for himself, through trial and suffering, to discriminate what is beneficial to Humanity; and in proportion as he develops spiritually, i.e., conquers all selfishness, his mind will open to receive the guidance of the Divine Monad within him, his Higher Self, for which there is neither Past nor Future, but only an eternal NOW.

(From Blavatsky Collected Writings 11:104-6)

Purchase on Amazon:  H.P.B. Collected Writings, 15: Cumulative Index (H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings)