Welcome to my Book of Mirrors
This is my spiritual journey. I am looking for the truth of who I am and who God is, unfettered by the traditions prescribed by my family, church and culture.
25 February 2008
'I found God in myself and I loved her fiercely.'
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I saw it, but did not think much of it. I thought it was silly- there's no hedges or anything, you can't get lost, what's the point in that?!
I did not know what the labyrinth was.
There is actually a vast difference between a maze and a labyrinth. A maze confuses, distresses, excites, and terrifies, whereas a labyrinth calms, heals, comforts and balances.
The labyrinth is an ancient tool of meditation, a symbol of spiritual journey. It was used in medieval cathedrals, such as Our Lady of Chartres in France. It was thought of as a symbolic form of pilgrimage, for people who could not afford to travel to holy sites.
In the States, labyrinths are being used in hospitals as a complementary therapy for inner healing.
Homer's Iliad records that Ariadne of Crete had a labyrinth dancing ground. The classical seven circuit labyrinth, sometimes called the 'Cretan labyrinth' is shown below.
Crete means 'stong, or ruling, goddess.' In this ancient civillization, the achievements in government and peaceful arts were more advanced than any other Mediterranean society. Women were powerful leaders in religion and society. And they worshipped a Goddess, whom many identify as Ariadne.
Her labyrinth has no dead ends. There are no wrong turns. It is not designed to be difficult, but to be danced with joy. Although meandering, it is unicursal, and leads you right to the centre.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Although I have been surrounded by people professing to believe in the God of Love and following his highest rule, 'Do for others what you would like them to do for you.' (Matthew 7:12 NLT) there is often a 'higher rule' that reigns.
This rule is: my belief is the only good and true belief.
If you believe in this rule, every other belief that varies from yours is wrong. This is why not even Christians can agree. There are lots of different denominations to prove this.
Not only do you disagree, but you will be undoubtably be led to actions that contradict Matthew 7:12.
I heard of a mother who once told her daughter 'If you ever live with your fiancee before you get married, I will not go to your wedding.'
Now how would that mother feel, if her own mother had told her: 'Unless you live with your fiancee before you get married, I am not going to your wedding.'
Is that love? Is being right higher than love?
If you don't receive love, it is impossible to give love.
That is why I cannot judge the mother's statement. Perhaps this is the way she sees her God, and how she receives 'love' from him. By being 'right.'
If she wasn't 'right' maybe she wouldn't be welcome in his house. Or maybe she would- up to a point. Maybe he would 'pity' her. Any way you put it, it's hardly unconditional love.
A Christian once e-mailed me a petition against the building of a mosque in England. I did not sign it. I thought, 'would Christians like Muslims to petition against the building of a church?' The thing is, I did not feel the same conviction that God was on the Christian's side.
When you feel that 'God is on your side' you start to become militant. I met a Muslim who told me once: 'the Islam you see on T.V? That's political. It's not Islam.'
When you feel God is on your side, others become enemies. You start to find out everything wrong about them. Everything you find only serves to justify the belief that God is on your side.
Wouldn't it be interesting to find out how Muslims view Christians? Particularly as America is still seen, to some extent, as a Christian country.
Recently, I have abandoned my fear about Satan and Hell. I renounced my belief in Satan. And Hell is quite close to here. So at least I know it.
This has enabled me to truly be able to embrace other beliefs. And guess what? I have discovered amazing things.
The number one thing is that Love is the foundation for everything. If you look into nearly every religion, the basis is unconditional love.
In fact, I have found more unconditional acceptance and love written into the rules of some other religions than is written into the Bible.
I know many Christians who do love unconditionally. But being a Christian doesn't automatically mean you will. It depends on how you interpret the Bible.
I don't think that Christianity is wrong. It works for a lot of people. For them, it is right.
I do think, however, that either God isn't big enough or our conception of him isn't.
However, I hesitate to sing the praises of this charity because they also bestowed 'the gift of shame.' (see The Simpsons episode Missionary: Impossible)
I was told the native women didn't always wear t-shirts. Who 'opened their eyes' and told them they were naked?
To me, the definition of proselytizing is judging. To proselytize means to assume you are right, they are wrong. To do anything with this motive is the opposite of love.
Perhaps your truth is right for you, and their truth is right for them?
There is , however, one universally acknowledged truth; the Golden Rule. (Even those who break it want it applied to them!)
If everyone stuck to this, there would be no proselytizing. For I never heard of any missionary that enjoyed having his target audience try to convert him.
And if God needs his interests protected by humans, he is very small indeed.
I have to say my overwhelming feeling, being in one large Christian bookstore in Langley, B.C. was of being in the midst of the moneychangers at the temple.
I saw jewelry and trinkets, wall plaques and figurines. Posters, CDs and journals. Put together as if they were more sacred and spiritual than any other piece of jewelry, trinket, wall plaque, figurine, poster, CD or journal in the mall across the road.
Some books, of course, were marked 'Holy.'
Come again? A book that has been written, translated and interpreted by men?
Ah, but this book was 'inspired' by the Spirit.
Wonderful! I have shelves of books that I love because I believe they are 'inspired.'
But I wouldn't pay a premium to buy them bound in leather with my name engraved on the front. (Like I did once ten years ago). And I wouldn't worship them and defend them to the death.
I believe that the Spirit that speaks through books is holy, not the book itself.
Interestingly, a New Age bookstore is very similar. Ever been?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
I've learned this truth through hard experience. It wasn't something I got out of a Louise Hay book (but her books have helped me to be aware of how important what I choose to think is.)
When I stopped thinking 'he' was out to get me, that 'he' was mean, selfish and lazy, lo and behold, 'he' was loving, generous and hard working. Of course he says he always was, and I didn't recognise it...
My marriage is great. Now I have to work on the rest of my life....
Friday, February 15, 2008
Medicine as a science of disease has increased disease; religion as a science of sin has promoted sin, and economics as a study of poverty will fill the world with wretchedness and want.
Do not talk about poverty; do not investigate it, or concern yourself with it. Never mind what its causes are; you have nothing to do with them.
What concerns you is the cure.
Do not spend your time in charitable work, or charity movements; all charity tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate.
I do not say that you should be hard hearted or unkind, and refuse to hear the cry of need; but you must not try to eradicate poverty in any of the conventional ways. Put poverty behind you, and put all that pertains to it behind you, and "make good."
Get rich: that is the best way you can help the poor.'
-Wallace D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich (1910)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
If one wishes to believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, that's fine. But what a limiting belief to live with.
I attended a special presentation once, sponsored by a local church, with a visitor from a Christian organisation dedicated to proving that the Bible was to be taken literally, particularly the creation story.
They seemed to be afraid that disproving the creation story would disprove the very existence of God. Or at least, destroy the foundation for Christianity; the reliability of the Bible.
This same fear was the motivation behind the persecution of Galileo who claimed that the sun was the centre of the solar system. In the end, he was forced to recant this belief and spent the rest of his life under house arrest on the orders of the Inquisition.
We now know the truth thanks to other brave people that went to the source...nature itself. These people, known as scientists, found indisputable proof that the earth is not the centre of the universe. And yet, somehow, Christianity survived.
I believe that God speaks through the Bible. I believe God has spoken to me through the Bible. I also believe that God has spoken to me through many other 'secular' books, poems and lyrics. None of these are to be taken literally and venerated as holy in themselves, but they all contain spiritual truths.
Towards the end of his life, Albert Einstein attempted, unsuccesfully, to find a theory that would unite all the laws of physics. One of the reasons he failed was that he rejected the theory of quantum mechanics. Einstein said, “I can’t imagine God playing dice with the universe.” Ironically, it was his restrictive religious beliefs that got in the way of his science.
I am not afraid to have my beliefs challenged. Well yes I am, but I am more afraid of not knowing the truth.
The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
-James A. Garfield, twentieth president of the U.S.
Magic does not involve summoning demons, nor a pact with the devil.
Magic is not supernatural.
Magic does not break the laws of nature; when it appears to do so, that is because it is obeying laws that the observer has not yet understood.
-Janet and Stewart Ferrar
Magic is liberating. It is not elitist or patriarchal. It can be learned and practised by anyone.
Magic is about personal transformation.
This is the goal of all spiritual paths: to reconnect with the Source, to bridge the chasm of illusion which makes us feel separate and alone, to come Home.
Magick requires daring. It brings out the 'little death' which is part of rebirth. Not to change is to stagnate and die; but to willingly offer up the life we know is to find a greater Life.
-Amber K, True Magick: A Beginner's Guide
Magic does not depend on someone else's schedule or agenda. It is deeply personal and involves following your own heart, not someone else's wishes or rules. That is why so many witches are solitary and do not belong to a group or 'coven.'
Magic is fun! Many witches quote the charge of the Goddess which states 'All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.'
This means that picking blackberries on a hot August afternoon, making pies with my grandmother's rolling pin, and reading to my children in bed are all acts of worship. Being is worship.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
However, February 14, 1998 was our first Valentine's Day together. We each lived with friends, so to be alone together we had to go out. We had barely any money, and not a credit card between us. We wanted to make a reservation at the 'Notre Dame' restaurant in Muswell Hill, London. So we asked a friend who did own a credit card to call and make the reservation on our behalf.
It was an hour's bus ride down to London. I brought my best dress and he brought a shirt and tie. We went to his parent's house first to change, then took a taxi to the restaurant.
The Notre Dame isn't there anymore...it changed names many times before disappearing altogether. But it was a charming, intimate place. It had unfinished wood flooring and sculpted figures under the eaves... gargoyles, I think. He had salmon and I had an exotic fish dish sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. While sitting there we realised how overdressed we were, but then told each other, perhaps they will think we've just come from the West End?
We didn't take a taxi back to his parent's house. We had no cell phone to call, and probably no more money. But that was OK. We walked everywhere together. I remember I was chilly, I didn't have a coat. I'm sure if he had one he would have given it to me. But I didn't care. We walked in the dark, through the streets of North London, talking all the way.
It is the sweetest memory to me now, four kids, a house and two cars later. We were as poor as church mice then. I forget sometimes how little we had. Remembering helps to be grateful. But also, it makes me realise how little we really need.
Taken from the United Church of Religious Science website (NOT to be confused with Christian Science or Scientology).
'The original meaning of sin was simply to fall short of or "miss the mark" of spiritual perfection. A sin is not a thing, it is merely an activity that produces an undesirable effect in our lives. In other words, we are punished by our sins, not for them.'
On Faith and Affirmations:
'The term affirmation is normally associated with a verbal statement that is made about some goal that we are trying to achieve, or some experience we desire to have. However, the act of affirmation is really much more than that. It is an act of faith. It is the ability to put aside your doubt and fear in order to act as if your desired goal were already a reality. In this sense, an affirmation can be any statement, act, or symbolic gesture that affirms the reality of your intentions. Through the process of affirmation we "act as if" our highest aspirations were already a reality.'
"...All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well"
-Julian of Norwich 1342-1416
'All is well in my world.'
Monday, February 11, 2008
they are also praying for the soldier...if i know burmese monks well enough. they are giving their good karmas to them and in some way forgiving them for what they are doing / going to do. all burmese buddhist still believe everyone is good in some way. and the monks are better and kinder at showing their kindness - regardless of who they may be.
There are other graphic and disturbing images of what happened to these monks... but this photo stayed with me forever. I have never witnessed such courage, such beauty. I wish I had what they have. I would like to go ask them.
Our Minister and her husband will be glad to answer any questions you may have.
If you are a woman, you are welcome to apply for a position in the governing body of the church.
If you are a man, you are welcome to join the men's ministry... we have some exciting programs for our men. Only please do not open your mouth during the service, out of respect to Goddess. For men should submit to their wives, and if they have any questions, ask them privately at home.
Goddess made woman and man in her image. Therefore, both are equal. We are all daughters of Goddess. However, as man sinned first (by not fulfilling his duty to protect his wife, Eve) we understand them to be the weaker sex.
Men are so easily led astray by their desires. They seem to be governed by their hormones, not their reason. This is why woman is the head of the family. Come on now, you wouldn't want a man, who can't even look at a woman without sinning, to be the head, would you? That just goes against nature! Men who question this clearly have within them a spirit of rebellion, just as Adam rebelled. That is why men are expected to toil.
Don't get me wrong- I love my son. I am bringing him up in the ways of the Lady, so that one day he will take his position in her Queendom here on earth. I want him to fulfill his role as husband and father, obeying Goddess and his wife. Or perhaps he will not marry. He may become a missionary, or a leader in the men's ministry. Who knows?
Join with us as our worship team leads us in 'She is the Queen of Queens,' followed by 'Mother Goddess' and 'Isn't She?'
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Although many messages I have heard came straight from the pulpit, I never saw anyone in the congregation, male or female, stand up and say it wasn't true.
I have a lot of love and respect for the Christians in my past... my old Sunday School teacher, all my pastors and 'their wives.'
But it is possible to believe someone in error and love them all the same.
I am angry, at injustice. But not at people. I sincerely believe that people do the best they can. If they knew any better, they would do it differently.
I hope that is how people think of me.
In response, our church would gather at the top of the 'high places' in the city, singing hymns and praying against the witches who thought these places sacred.
This is the equivalent to witches surrounding a church and chanting or praying against it.
It was basically tit for tat.
At no point did I ever hear of anyone befriending a witch (without the goal of converting them.) I was led to believe that witches were purely agents of evil, not to be approached except for when in the safety of a group, and then only while invoking the protection of the Most High.
I carried this fear and suspicion with me for the next twenty years of my life.
I knew nothing of what witches believed apart from what Christians told me.
You wouldn't go to a witch to discover what Christians believe, would you?
From now on, I resolve to go straight to the source to discover the truth.
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
- St Francis of Assisi
Let me be a Peacemaker. So mote it be!
Then when Christianity was embraced by western civillization, gaining power and control, they started burning the Pagans. (the Inquisition, etc.)
Neither of these atrocities were carried out by true witches or Christians. For both believe in The Golden Rule.
Many witches who are also Wiccans stick to the Wiccan Rede: 'An it harm none, do as ye will.' Meaning only do what will not cause harm. This has also been translated as 'love God, and do what you will.'
Witches may also quote the 'threefold rule' which means that whatever you give out, comes back to you threefold. This is a very strong deterrent against practising curses or so called 'love spells' with the intent of manipulating someone else's free will.
It is unfortunate that so many people do not believe in respecting a person's free will. It is one thing to share your truth, it is another to attack someone else for their beliefs. Or worse yet, what you think they believe.
Most witches have a very strong belief in karma, that what you do to others you do to yourself. Therefore even wishing harm on another person is harming yourself. It is a belief of many ancient religions, that we are all connected and part of the same whole.
So perhaps there are bad or wicked witches, but I have known plenty of wicked Christians too. Maybe I have been one myself? I think closer to the truth is that people are people. Not divine nor diabolical, but somewhere in between.
I even welcome comments on my writing.... positive ones, of course ;-)
Friday, February 8, 2008
But that's all I could think when I checked my blog account. I have had over 30 page impressions today (not sure what that means exactly but I think people are looking at my blog). Plus from my little ad space I earned 21 cents yesterday and 17 cents today, for a grand total of 38 cents!
I have to tell you that's the most exciting 38 cents I have ever earned. I like to think of it as being paid for writing. I am having the most fun ever, doing what I love, and spilling my guts too, and I get paid for it. I love this job!
'For me, it's about living life joyously. Embracing the earth, celebrating her changing seasons. Learning the magic of nature. Living with the monthly rythmn of the moon... and worshiping the Goddess who created it all.'
Ruth mused for a while. 'I can't see anything strange in that...except for saying Goddess, and not God.'
'I say tomato, you say 'tomaydo!' Linda imitated her Canadian accent, making them both laugh. 'Languages and religions- they separate us from each other and Goddess.'
'But why say Goddess at all?'
'Language is powerful... others may not question it, but for me, it means everything. I relate to things from my own perspective. My perspective is feminine.'
The Aeta are generally considered the first inhabitants of the Phillipines. Various Aeta groups in Northern Luzon are known in the Ilocano language as 'Pugut' or 'Pugot,' a colloquial term for people with darker skin. This word also means 'goblin' or 'forest spirit.'
During my visit I sat outside the chief's house, where they served me boiled green bananas with sugar and instant coffee. I ate this with great gusto, mostly because I wanted to show them how grateful I was for their generosity, as they clearly lived in poverty.
They pointed out the large tree we were sitting under, and explained (through the translator) that they took the leaves and sold them at the market, as a natural remedy for kidney problems. I have since learned that Aeta women are renowned for their knowledge of herbal medicines.
I can't begin to explain my feelings as I ate with them, walked around their 'village,' saw their rice paddies, mango trees and water buffaloes. In the nearby river, women were washing and children were bathing in the sparkling clear water. One young boy walked past us on his way to the river, handmade fishing rod (a long stick, string and bent metal hook) over his shoulder. It was Huck Finn!
They showed me a hand operated water pump which had recently been installed- they were quite proud. I wanted to drink the water- I almost started pumping- but I was convinced not to by my guides, who told me as a foreigner I would almost certainly get sick if I didn't stick to my bottled water. I really wasn't convinced, but let it go after sensing their alarm.
The image which most clearly stayed in my mind was that of small barefoot children, running in and out of the doorway of the chief's house. My soul cried, 'Oh God, please!' It was one of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever made.
It's all I could articulate but I'll try to explain what I meant.
These people had something I wanted, so badly, it almost makes me cry as I think about it now. I didn't even have children at the time, but I thought if I did, this is what I'd want for them. To run barefoot through the mango groves, eating fresh picked bananas, fishing, bathing and drinking from the same unpolluted river. Even without children, it's what I'd like for myself!
I don't want to romanticise their situation. Despite their seemingly idyllic life, the average life expectancy of the Aeta is 16.5 years. The particular tribe I visited had been recently displaced by the eruption of their volcanic mountain home- the god they worshiped- which had turned against them.
Nevertheless, I came away with the desire to learn to live closer to the earth, learn the 'magic' of these so-called 'goblins' or 'forest spirits.' Even in my wildest dreams I didn't dare to believe that such magic could be real. But it is- I saw it.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
We lived in a little brick house in an estate near a small wood. By the side of the road running past this wood, grew one solitary scraggly apple tree.
I'm pretty sure no-one else noticed this pathetic thing growing in a ditch. But I knew when I first saw it blossom in the spring that it was an apple tree, and I kept my eye on it over the summer, waiting for the apples to grow.
One day in late summer, after seeing the apples were ripe, I left the house with a bucket and went to harvest the wild fruit. I came home with enough apples to make a good sized crumble, which I lovingly prepared from scratch.
I proudly presented my finished dish to my husband, telling him that I had picked the apples myself.
'I'm not eating that!' He declared. 'You don't eat apples from a tree!'
'Really?' I replied, rather shocked. 'Where do you get apples from then?'
'From a shop.'
He stuck to his principles and never did try my crumble (which I had no difficulty eating all by myself). But since then it has been a favourite joke.
Now we live in rural B.C., where many people do eat produce that doesn't come from a shop. I'll never forget when my husband returned from a walk with friends, who had introduced him to wild Saskatoon berries. He told me that he had tasted them.
'What, you ate berries from a bush and not from a shop?' I cried in mock astonishment.
In our new backyard we have one small, lonely apple tree. Maybe next summer I'll try making a crumble again...
'I love being a mother. I am more aware. I feel things on a deeper level. I seem to have more of everything now: more love, more magic, more energy.'
'Every man for the sake of the great blessed Mother in Heaven, and for the love of his own little mother on earth, should handle all womankind gently, and hold them in all honour.'
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
'In the sheltered simplicity of the first days after a baby is born, one sees again the magical closed circle, the miraculous sense of two people existing only for each other.'
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001)
'The everlasting sadness of any mother is that there comes a time when she can no longer bring magic to your life, nor cure to your troubles.'
-Meg Cox, The Book of New Family Traditions
I read this quote in the December issue of Today's Parent magazine. The last sentence gave me a revelation into understanding why I love Anglican church services, full of ritual, so much. I have not been to many services like that, but coming from a completely different church background, I find it refreshing, a totally different experience of the sacred. I love the way the Eucharist is celebrated.
I have never been to a Catholic service, but I have been told they use incense, and I am sure I would love this too.
Currently, I satisfy myself with the occasional 'bathing' ritual- fill the tub with water just as hot as I can stand it, filled with scented bubbles, and light pure beeswax candles. And imagine that I can't hear the kids getting out of bed...
If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy Hyacinths to feed thy soul.
-Sheikh Saadi, thirteenth century Persian poet
Hyacinth sitting on my kitchen windowsill. Glade plug-ins, eat your heart out!
-Parmenides quoting the 'unknown Goddess' (5th Century B.C.)
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
So who do I ask to speak to?
I have recently discovered that Jesus called the Holy Spirit 'Ruach HaKodesh,' another feminine gender term.
In the Christian godhead we have the Father, and the Son. So could this be the Divine Mother?
Or did God model for us a single parent family?
I was always taught that God intended families to have both a mother and a father.
Does his own existence contradict this? Or do I have a heavenly Mother?
Suddenly my respect for my own mother improves..... as well as my own motherhood.
I'd like to speak to my Mother, please.
Despite being assured by Christians that God is not purely masculine, male pronouns are consistently used to describe every member of the trinity. The Creator is referred to as the Father, and the Holy Spirit, despite being given the feminine name 'Shekinah' in Hebrew, is always 'he' or 'it.'
Calling the Shekinah 'he' or 'it' is like calling Jesus 'she.' At best, it doesn't make sense. At worst, it is a desecration.
Consider the words used to describe the Christian god:
God, not Goddess. Father, not Mother. Lord, not Lady. King, not Queen. He, not She.
I was led to believe that my being unable to accept referring to God as anything but 'he' was due to a streak of feminist rebellion. (The Eve in me, I suppose). But I believe being unable to refer to God as 'she' is due to male chauvanism. It gratifies men, not God.
I asked myself; why does it repulse you so much to consider God as a She? What does this say about your opinion of the feminine aspect of God? What does this say about your opinion of God's female creation?
If God is not Mother, Lady, or Queen, then women are not a reflection of God. How can I love myself, my mother, my sisters or my daughters?
I refuse to call myself a Son of God. (I was told this applies to men and women equally, because under God we are all 'sons and rightful heirs.' As if this reference to the historical disinheritance of women makes it more palatable!) I will not compromise or diminish my Divine Femininity.
I am looking for my Goddess. The One in whose image I was created.
Green adjective 1. not fully developed in growth or perfection.
2. characterized by the presence of greenness, esp. of fresh, flourishing vegetation.
Witch noun 1. a woman who professes to practice magic.
After discovering that witches do not even believe in Satan (who belongs to Christianity) let alone follow him, I decided I liked it so much, that's what I would call myself.
My understanding is that 'witches' were midwives, healers, wise women or mystics. The patriarchal church just about stamped them out but they are coming back. Midwifery has been practiced in British Columbia for the past two years. It's OK now; we don't have the church telling us that because of Eve women are supposed to suffer in childbirth. Women are allowed to help other women again.
I have always practiced magic- in my garden, in the wild, wherever the sky was my roof and the earth my floor. I have prayed, sang, made affirmations and performed rituals. But it always came from my heart, not a book. I did not call it magic.
I acknowledge that I am an amateur. Therefore, 'Green' will suit me both now, and in the future. It is possible I could become a professional magic practitioner, but I will always belong to the Earth.