The Devil: God’s Adversary?

A mystic’s journey requires that we study not just the aspects of the divine but also the aspects of what has come to be known in the western world as The Devil. So, like the good student I studied the history of this evil menace. The further I went back into history, I found that many ancient cultures portrayed evil in two very different ways. There was the goddess of wrath that represented an uncontrollable destructive force. Then there was the arrogant god who through egotism and cunning, usurped power for his own gains. So, where do such ideas come from? And how did they come up with such an unappealing vision of women?

When I dug deeper into the cultural beliefs, it seems that there were two entities that the ancients worshiped. The first was Mother Earth. She was responsible for bringing forth the harvests from her womb. Grain, and the bread that was made from that grain, was celebrated as the sustenance of life. The second was Father Sky. He was responsible for the beneficial showers that fell from the sky. It was due to his blessing, which came in the form of rain, that the crops would grow. It was a yin yang style of belief where balance is the key to a prosperous life.

Mother Earth and Father Sky were indelibly linked. It was impossible to have a prosperous life without both. You couldn’t have the bread without the rain and rain had no value without a fertile earth that brings forth grain that could be made into bread. Where did this wrathful goddess, who is part of just about every culture, come from? She is the symbol of imbalance in this binary system of belief. When the blessings of Father Sky were withheld, the power of Mother Earth moved from being a loving mother and became destructive. It was believed that the heat of her anger was the cause of destructive earthquakes and volcanoes that flow with red-hot lava.

The ancients were magnificent observers of nature’s rhythms. It can be assumed that the ancients observed lava as it flowed into the sea. The water instantly cools the molten lava and hardens it into rock when these two elements come into contact. So, the essence of the male deity, in the form of water, cools the lava and turns it back into docile earth.

Only when a divine essence is unbalanced does it cause negative results. The feminine essence is known for bringing compassion and caring. It softens the perspective and allows you to see the many possibilities within each situation. Banning this force allows the masculine essence to run rampant. The result is egoism, greed, and selfishness. We need both essences and we need them to be in balance, not at war.

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Spiritual Metaphor vs Historical Reality

I have been asked on a number of occasions how I can believe in any religion that uses texts that are not historically accurate. What most do not understand is that lack of historical accuracy does not tarnish the truth of mystical writing. Many years ago, I came to the realization that spiritual texts are all about explaining the feelings, sensations, and thought patterns that a spiritual student encounters during mystical transformation.

It was a Helen Keller style moment. This one realization opened the door to all future understanding. Just as Helen was able to connect the water pouring onto her hand with the signing that Anne Sullivan was using, in the blink of an eye, I was able to decipher the language of mysticism and understand what the spiritual texts were trying to teach. For me, it felt like an awakening. It was the moment when all the random information clicked together in an understandable way.

Once I understood that describing feelings and sensations was the goal of spiritual texts, it became clear that the ancient spiritual masters used multiple ways to explain mystical phenomena. They used the environment, human tendencies, as well as historical events to get the point across. The uprising of the Kundalini or Earth Mother’s energy, when the spiritual student first experiences it, can be described as “thundering of horses.” You have to imagine working in a field, minding your own business, when suddenly you hear or feel the thunder of oncoming horsemen. This is the sensation that the mystic is trying to describe. The text is using a commonly known experience so that the student can relate to the sensation that is now taking place within the body.

Few of us in the modern world would have direct experience of a band of galloping horses that bring complete devastation to our lives, homes, and lifestyle. So, the closest metaphor for a modern person would be feeling the vibrations of a train as it is coming into the station or the feeling of racecars approaching as they are coming around the track. The experience of the senses is what the story is about, not the historical timeline.

When archeologists found that the city of Jericho did not even exist during the time that Joshua supposedly knocked the walls down, I was not perturbed. Jericho did suffer the collapse of its walls but it happened at least one hundred years after Joshua died. Instead of using this as a historical reference, I use it as a spiritual metaphor. I asked myself, “What feeling, sensation, or intuition does the Battle of Jericho represent?” For me, it describes the feeling when the ego collapses and the forces of Light are now able to flood into the soul. Spiritual experience is personal and unfathomable. So, it is both truth and metaphorical.

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Unless we awaken

Unless we awaken

from our personal and collective dreams,

we will continue to live in a state of

unconsciousness on the surface

of a life of infinite potential.

~Adyashanti

 

 

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Method to the Madness

February 2016

When I began my mystical quest, I read every spiritual book I could get my hands on. I read everything from the deep philosophical works of the Hindu Upanishads to the popular New Age best sellers. I didn’t limit myself to just one religion. I devoured everything. Over time, I began to notice many similarities in the symbols presented in the myths and parables. For example, I noticed that the symbol of the serpent was a fundamental part of many religious traditions. However, in one religion the serpent was a loving and benevolent character. While in another religion, the serpent was the Devil. I became very confused! There had to be a method to the madness!

So, I categorized each belief system. I separated them by the way the common symbols were interpreted. As I began to track the patterns of belief, it became clear that the ancients were trying to explain the basic structure of the cosmos. It looked very much like physics or chemistry presented in story form. The various myths and parables described a dynamic interaction between two cosmic forces that were disguised as deities. The most surprising part was that the ancients considered balance to be the key to a well-lived life. Neither force was considered bad until the overall balance of the world was affected and it overwhelmed the opposite force. This lead to creating practices and rituals that would activate the opposite force and bring the cosmos back into balance.

I found that the ancient cultures had a tendency to believe in a supreme God and his wife, the supreme Goddess. The supreme God, commonly referred to as God the Father or Father Sky, ruled the heavens. The power that emanated down from Father Sky was symbolized as: bread that falls from heaven; rain; lighting; or Grace. The power of Father Sky was universally described as being the color white or iridescent. The supreme Goddess, on the other hand, was most commonly referred to as Mother Earth and ruled the environment. The power that rose up from Mother Earth was symbolized as: wine; blood; serpent; fire; lava; or Kundalini. The power of Mother Earth was associated with the color red or black.

My discoveries endorsed the findings of today’s scholars who acknowledge that belief evolves through the ages. What was believed in an earlier time was not discarded. The main points were kept, while the minor points were tweaked to fit that society’s current scientific knowledge and social beliefs. For the most part, modern religion has stopped believing in the marriage between Father Sky and Mother Earth. However, the two divine energies that these deities represented in the ancient times live today in the Taoist Yin and Yang, the Hindu Shiva and Shakti, and the Christian Bread and Wine.

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Why so Many Religions?

January 2016

 

There is nothing more exciting to me than digging into the architecture of spirituality. Spiritual philosophy goes past the stories and past the symbols to the energies of inner transformation. I was not brought up in a religious home. So, when I was first exposed to religion as an adult, I had a lot of catching up to do. When the priest told everyone to open their Bibles to John 1:1-3, I asked, “What page is that on?” Like many who begin the mystical journey, my first question was “If there is only one God, then why are there so many religions?” I held this question in the back of my mind for many years. As I wandered through the belief systems of the world, this question remained unanswered.

Several years later, I was digging through the lock box. Amongst the birth certificates, passports and property deeds were the silver coins I had bought during the year each child was born. My first child was born in 1986, which was the 100th anniversary of The Statue of Liberty. Handling the coin gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling for the time when my son had just come into the world. The pressure of time made me reel my mind back to the subject at hand. So, I grabbed the document I needed and shut the lock box.

But, for some reason my mind became fixated on The Statue of Liberty. For the next few weeks, I kept seeing emblems, ads, and pictures of the statue itself in a synchronistic fashion. I knew that the universe was guiding me, but to what? By this time, I was deep into exploring mystical philosophy. The Statue of Liberty is not mystical, or was it? It was then that I realized that all mystical philosophy used symbolism to convey its message. The Statue of Liberty is an iconic symbol of the United States. So, I took out my books and started to analyze the statue just as I would analyze a spiritual symbol.

I was amazed to find that The Statue of Liberty is actually a convergence of many symbols. She incorporates a torch, a book, and a 13 point arrayed crown. She stands on a star and has an elevator that lifts you up to a windowed viewing deck in her forehead. The Statue of Liberty resonates with each person because she embodies a multiple number of ideologies instead of designating one exclusive truth.

She contains many ideals but is only one statue. She is a singularity and a multiplicity rolled together. We are able to appreciate the diversity she represents because we can see the whole. When we can view spirituality in its wholeness, then we will comprehend why there is such diversity in the ways of veneration and worship.

 

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Religions are Colleges in the University of Life

When we realize that each religion

is a college in the university of life,

then all belief systems will be honored

for their insights into the nature of the Divine.

~ Mischa V Alyea

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Rituals Shift Energy

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Rituals Shift Energy

Rituals shift energy

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Listening to the Divine Within

 

Meditation is
listening to the Divine within.

-Edgar Cayce

Listening to the Divine Within

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