HERETIC ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, September 25, 2017

The Voice of the Serpent

You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
Genesis 3:4 & 5

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
Genesis 4:6 & 7

Especially in this Day & Age with the sometimes questionable wonders of Technology, it is difficult to prove beyond all shadow of a doubt to anybody, even oneself, that there IS no supernaturally evil spirit-being named Satan. Scripture DOES say, 'your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour' ( I Peter 5:8 ), but firstly ( lets make no bones about it ), Peter DID say, 'the devil', not 'Satan'. This may seem like small potatoes, nut I'm pretty sure if he had meant 'Satan', he would have said that. Secondly, Peter was accustomed to using metaphor & allegory to describe certain people or situations, for example, the only other place in the Greek Scriptures where we hear of someone ( or group of someones ) is when Jesus said ( to the Pharisees ), 'you devour widows’ houses' ( Matthew 23:14 ) Thirdly, while it is true that there is no doubt a certain spirit of wickedness behind all that is wrong in the world today, in fact, the same spirit of wickedness that the apostle warned against, it is by no means clear that this spirit is invested in one personification of evil, the mythical fallen angel we like to call Satan! 

Some may be led to wonder, 'if there's no 'Satan' to make us do bad things, maybe there's no 'God' to make us ( want to ) do good things'. In other words, if we can't say 'the devil made me do it', anymore, then maybe instead of looking to the heavens for assistance in doing good, we should just make the choice to do rightly, not wrongly, one thing rather than the other. This is not to say that our Heavenly Father does not hear our prayers or even that we shouldn't communicate with Him on a regular basis, just that we have the ability within us to choose one or the other, like Cain above. We can rule over our emotions, our Ego, or we can allow them to rule over us, in essence, to control our actions.

In the mythical & highly metaphorical Story of the Garden of Eden, the Fall of Adam & Eve  in particular, we read about a 'serpent', wiser than all the ( other ) animals, who tempted mankind with Divinity, or the ability to judge, or choose for themselves between right & wrong. As the Story goes, of course, A & E choose wrongly, to disobey the Creator God. The Story of Israel then follows this pattern, with good & bad decisions being made, thus revealing to us within the pages of Scripture a sort of comedy of errors.

Dante's 'Divine Comedy' is allegorical, as you can read in this Wikipedia article, of 'the soul's journey towards God', As you read  this poem, whether or not you agree with Dante's obvious Catholic leanings,  it is obvious that Dante' himself understood that it is through the choices we make that we wind up in  'Heaven' or 'Hell'. One can even understood this human existence as a sort of 'Purgatory', though rather than viewing as a preparation for 'Heaven' or 'Hell', we might rather see it as a purging experience, not in preparation for 'Heaven', but as 'Fit Vessels for the Master', or 'Heaven' itself!

Following the Story of his parent's Fall, or failure, Cain faced his own test, in which, because of his prevailing attitude, he, like his parents before him, failed miserably..His Story may be read as an allegory of the choices that we all face in life. When faced with whatever situation life may through at us, we can listen to our Ego, which says ( selfishly ), 'I'll do to him like he ( or she ) did to me', or we can listen to our Higher Self & treat others like we want to be treated, realizing that there is no other, that we are ALL the Image of God; thus by loving our neighbor as ourself, we are acknowledge that our neighbor IS ourself, that we are One!

Through the choices that we make, we show ourselves to be the masters of our own destiny, whether for good or evil, as the 'gods' ( Psalm 82:6 ( John 10:34 ) that Scripture itself says we are, or our own worst 'adversary'. By bowing to our Ego, by letting our emotions or feelings determine our actions ( reactions ), we become a 'devil' in the truest sense of the word. By seeking our Higher Self, though, not listening to The Voice of the Serpent, or the Ego & controlling our emotions rather than letting them control us, we show ourselves to be 'gods'!

In this sense, then & only in this sense, 'Satan is Alive & Well on Planet Earth'! As the spirit of adversity, the Ego sometimes seems to reign supreme, especially if you watch the news. The Story of the Day, though, with the recent disasters in Houston, the Caribbean & even the Keys of Florida, we are hearing, bad news, yes, but good news as well, of people overcoming their own personal feelings & coming to the aid of their fellow man. This lends hope to the future, as people love their neighbor simply because they need it!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Calming the Storm

For the second time this month, a major hurricane has blown through the Caribbean Sea, devastating much of what we know as the Virgin Islands. First was Irma, with wind-speeds reaching almost Category Six ( 185+ mph ), then a bit later, Maria showed up, not quite as savagely, but still fairly destructive. Of course, the Virgin Islands were not the only islands affected by these storms, including Jose, but the Virgin Islands, in particular the island of St. Thomas, are perhaps closest to my heart & the hearts of certain of my readers, for you see, I have family down there. You may have heard that at least one of the British Virgin Isles was almost totally decimated. The Island of Puerto Rico suffered major damage to its power grid, leaving its 3.5 million inhabitants without power. Whether or not my readers have family down there, it is safe to say our heart goes out to all involved!

If one remembers Hurricane Katrina, which in 2005 made landfall, most notably, in what is called by some, 'Sin City', or New Orleans, Louisiana, one might also remember that, in certain circles, it was murmured, if not blatantly broadcasted, that it was the judgment of God! Whether it was the just judgment of a jealous God or not, Christians & non-Christians alike came together to aid in the relief effort, helping both to clean up & rebuild. Much the same is happening in the Caribbean, though maybe not quite to the same scale, at least not yet. Say what you will, then, about 'natural disasters, such as these, one thing about them, they seem to make barriers fade away, at least for the time being & by showing them what's truly important, bringing people together in a mutual cause.

At times like this, it's difficult to remain calm, especially if one's in the midst of the storm, but even if you're thousands of miles away from the epicenter. Of course. as Christians especially, we know that our God & Father holds each of us in the Palm of His Hand. However, we also know this doesn't mean that our body, not to mention, material possessions, won't be battered by the storm or suffer damage, to whatever extent. The prayers of the faithful, especially in times like this, seem to erupt, with fervent pleas to keep so & so safe from harm. When so & so remains safe, having weathered the storm, the prayers turn to joyous shouts of praise to a God that answers prayer. Such is not always the case, however, for in certain other storms of life, such as cancer or some other disease, those same fervent prayers seem to go unanswered!

'Why', one may well ask, 'does a just & loving God help some & allow others to be overcome by their own personal storm?' Does the one who succumbs to whatever malady afflicts him or her not deserve to live, or did the prayer simply not have the necessary faith behind it? Maybe it WAS the Will of God for that person to suffer harm! Maybe He allowed it to happen in order to bring people together in a relief effort, people who might not ordinarily give each other the time of day. On the other hand, though, maybe it's up to us to make sure the bodies we have been given stand the test of time & weather the storms of life. The Creator God imbued us with the wisdom, again, to whatever extent, to stay out of the path of danger or weather the storms of life. Sometimes, yes, it IS unavoidable, such as finding oneself & loved ones in the eye of the storm, as it were, but even then, with the means at our disposal, we can ensure a better chance of survival than if we simply did nothing but fall on our knees, wringing our hands & hearts as if we did not possess the wherewithal to protect ourselves!

This is not to say that prayer is useless! The Creator God is our Father & when His Children beseech Him, like any father, He hears our prayers. He has, however, endowed us with a certain power of our own, not separate from His Power, one must understand, but still one which enables us to choose our own destiny! 'Will we stand or fall; will we weather this storm, or will we be engulfed by it?' While much of the storms that pass our way are, as far as we can tell, unavoidable, others land squarely within the realm of personal choice. Certain decisions we make, as opposed to others, may place us more or less in the path of danger. Even in the path of the storm, certain choices we make might determine our relative safety in the midst of that storm. When faced with such gale-force winds & rains, the difference between living or dying might be as simple as taking the precaution of 'battening down the hatches'. On the other hand, though, it might not matter how tight we 'batten' them, the storm may prevail. After all, though the storms of life may kill this body, they can do nothing against our true selves!

Though my readers may agree, to some extent, that we have a soul, or spirit, some may have a difficult time in understanding that we are not our body! Much importance has been placed upon this biology & for good reason; however, we are more than this biology. The importance of our physicality, in the grand scheme of things especially, cannot be denied; though without the indomitable spirit, it will not survive. The Strength of our Spirit may determine whether our biology weathers the storms of life or not, but one thing is sure, even if this physicality fails the test, we will persevere!

Everything happens for a reason; as the saying goes, 'when God closes a window, He opens a door'. We hate to think of our time on this planet being cut short, but, whether due to personal carelessness or  to the nature of the storm, though our physical body may not weather the storm, our Spirit, of the same Essence as the Spirit of Life, will go on. What happens after, what dreams may come, so to speak, may be up in the air. but one thing is sure, life will go on!

Having friends or family in the path of these storms, whether it be a hurricane or a fire, as is one of the dangers in Montana, where my biology currently resides, it is difficult to hear of their troubles & not share their concerns, even their worries. However, we know that, in whatever form, the storms of life will come to test our mettle & not just the mettle of this biology; the Strength of our Spirit will be tested as well, for without the Spirit, there IS no biological life!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Meaning of Life, Continued

'Life begins at conception!'

Or does it?

First, one might question, 'what is life?' The pro-life mantra quoted above seems to be predicated on the assumption that life is biological existence. If life is more than biological existence, though, which most would probably admit to, however grudgingly, does this life begin when the spirit enters the body, or does it exist before the spirit enters the body? When does the spirit come to be? On the other end of the spectrum, what happens to the spirit when biological life ceases? Does life cease, or does the spirit persevere? Many questions could doubtless be asked when it comes to the nature of life itself, but maybe the most nagging one, staring us all in the face, is, 'if we are more than this body, why do we focus so much on this physical existence; why do we cling to this biology so fervently?'

A long time ago, I was asked what the meaning of life was. Being steeped in religiosity as I was at the time, I responded simply with, 'Jesus is the meaning of life!' Looking back on that statement, some twenty or twenty-five years ago, I can still say that, though I have come to realize that there is more to it than I thought at the time! Jesus, as the Son of God, was raised to the Life of the Spirit, which we all can now share, through the realization of the Christ, or Chrism Within.

'Life goes on!' Most times, when this, or a similar statement is uttered, the speaker is most likely thinking that though it has ceased for one individual, it perseveres for another, or others. While this is true in a sense, that ones biological life, or existence in the body they inhabited up until that time is over, whether one believes in reincarnation or not, life continues on for that one, either in the Spirit, or in a new body. By 'a new body', I simply mean another ( biological ) manifestation of the Spirit Within, that Divine Spark that moves us all.

It is without question that we are more than this biology! Whether one goes to Scripture to prove this or not ( which I have previously done ), it cannot be denied that there is a Spirit that controls our every movement. This Spirit Within enables us to choose. Depending on our choice, we may observe which nature has control, if only for the moment. If we choose rightly, according to the Spirit Within, then we may know that we are acting from our True Nature, which is from Above, our Higher Self & if we choose wrongly, which we often do, we perceive that we are acting from our base, or animal nature, that which is from Below, our lower self. For instance, most often when we instinctively react to what we perceive as wrong-doing ( usually against our self ), we end up perpetuating the wrong-doing. However, when we act out of love, rather than waiting for the other to act, it is evident that we have, through whatever means & to whatever extent, realized our True Nature & are acting from it!

Our True Nature, like the True Nature of Life itself, is Spiritual! Any motion of this biological machine, however involuntary we may perceive it as being, must begin in our Spirit, or it will not happen, for it is the Spirit that gives Life.  Some may choose to disagree over the veracity of the former statement, but none, Scripturally speaking, can disagree with the latter! One must choose, whether consciously or unconsciously, with the Higher or lower mind, to do this or that, one thing or the other, before any action can be manifested by the physical body.

Put simply, Love is the meaning of Life! Our actions, when motivated by Love, come from our True Nature, which, like the Creator God's, IS Love. One may act in kind, for good or evil, but this is simply a reaction; when one acts in love, no matter the action of the other, this is truly our Higher Nature shining through! This biology is the manifestation of the Spirit Within; if we allow our lower, animal nature, to control our actions, then our biology will be subjected to many forms of dis-ease, but ( this is a hard pill to swallow ) when our Higher Nature, our True Self, dictates what we do or say, then we will find that our physical bodies will be relieved of much if not all that seems to plague them! As is said a lot in this world, 'easier said than done', but when we do act from our Higher Consciousness, we do find ourselves feeling a lot better; this wellness then manifests in our physical bodies.

Scripture tells us that when our biological body dies, it returns to the substance of which it was formed & 'the spirit will return to God who gave it' ( Ecclesiastes 12:7 ). Whether one believes this or not, it is unclear what happens after this. Does the Spirit remain in a disembodied state, in 'the Glory Cloud', so to speak, or are we given a second chance to right the wrongs we have done in the past? Is it possible that, as spirit beings having a physical experience, we are allowed ( to infinity? ) more than one chance to live in this biology, to learn to act according to the Love that we ARE, rather than reacting according to our animal nature, instinctively doing what our base human nature tells us is right?

Religion, at least the prominent Western ones ( even some Near Eastern ones ) tells us that we have but one life to live, then it's off to one or the other 'place', Heaven or Hell, for all of Eternity. Though there are many who persevere in this belief, we know that this is not so, that both Heaven & Hell, at least as classically described, are but states of existence. One chooses, whether consciously or unconsciously, to live in either state of existence, for both are here & now!

In conclusion then, to act from the Higher Mind, the Spirit Within, is simply to BE; reacting to the other ( person ) is to be controlled by our lower mind, our base ( animal ) nature. Realizing that we are of the same Essence as our neighbor, we know that, despite our differences in physiology & psychology, we are ultimately One & the Same. In this sense then, we might well be observed to act in Love towards ourselves when we cease reacting toward others! Is this not what Jesus had in mind when He said, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' ( Matthew 19:19 ( Leviticus 19:18 )?

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, September 08, 2017

Spiritual Detox

For the longest time, the Catholic Church taught that the Earth was flat, then Galileo came along & turned the world on its edge, so to speak! Now, thanks to Science & Technology, it's widely accepted that the earth is a globe, moving in a rotation around a central Sun. It was also accepted as fact that the Earth was at the center of the universe & that everything revolved around it.

Where did these crazy ideas come from & why would the Church ( Catholic ) teach them as dogma? Strangely enough, even today, some people read the Bible & perceive these outlandish notions as well! As to why this was taught so dogmatically for centuries, my readers may judge for themselves, but one might wonder if it had to do with controlling the masses. If the Earth is flat, as was largely thought in Columbus' day, fear of falling off the edge of the Earth might keep explorers from going too far. If everything revolved around us, or the Earth, then that might, again, instill fear of outside influence, fear that we might not be as important in the grand scheme of things as we'd like to think!

The very idea that the universal destruction language of Scripture, especially from the Revelation, might not be speaking of the destruction of the universe is ridiculous to many, but to some others, it is beyond clear that those Scriptures were speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple in AD70. The end of the reign of terror, or, 'ministry of death', as the apostle Paul called it ( II Corinthians 3:7 ), was, according to a relatively 'new' paradigm, what is in view in the Scriptures. If the Scriptures were written merely about the Beginning & End of an era, then what have we to fear? Falling into the hands of an Angry God doesn't quite have the same effect, now does it?!

The Plan of Salvation, as laid out most notably in the apostle's Letter to the Romans, is another doctrine that has been weakened by this paradigm-shift! Since 'preterism' ( the belief that all prophecy in Scripture was fulfilled in the 1st century ) has been gaining in popularity over the past few decades, many adherents have noted that this 'Plan' also referred to the redemption of that certain priesthood, not to humanity as a whole. Paradigm-shifts like this have been going on for centuries , but disturbing the well-established 'Plan of Salvation', veering off 'the Romans Road', so to to speak, may be the most severe!

The Salvation of individuals has been the most active mission of the Church ( Catholic ) for centuries. It has spurred world-wide evangelism & has been much of the impetus behind denominationalism, because, well, 'those guys just don't have it right!' The idea that people are headed for either 'Heaven' or 'Hell' has influenced many, out of fear instilled by sermons such as Jonathan Edwards' 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God', to join the Church & fill their coffers so they could go to the right 'place' when their physical bodies ceased to function.

The Gnostics, who taught that, put simply, we are spirit beings having a physical experience, were condemned as heretics & their teachings were largely down-played by the Catholic Church.One example that I noted in the Wikipedia article ( see 'Historical Jesus' ) on Gnosticism was that the Gnostic Gospels tended to focus on the Kingdom of Heaven, here & now, while the canonical Gospels focused on the end times. What better way to instill fear & assert control than by telling the ignorant masses that the world was going to end soon & they had better join the Catholic Church or end up in fiery torments for Eternity?

Much unnecessary pain & suffering has been caused over the past number of centuries, even millenia, because of dogma like this! Fear is a great instigator & through it, the huddled masses were kept under control for many years, although, as we have noted previously, in the past few decades, this chain of iron has begun to unravel, allowing its former captives to break free, further exploring the Creation & most importantly, the Relationship between Creator & Creation. Fear of what may happen has caused many to go to war over differences of doctrine, or belief. The Inquisition & the Crusades may be the most famous ( or is that 'infamous'? ) examples of what may result from the propagation of this fear.

In much of the Church today, we may note that this impetus is in full force, though, thank God, it is ever weakening! The latest exodus from the Church is an indication of this. With the fear of going to 'Hell' when you die taken out of the way, one is freed to focus on living in the Kingdom ( here & now ), rather than preparing souls for the after-life. In like manner, with no fear of falling off the edge of the world, Columbus opened the channel for us to inhabit the land where we now live. Although Galileo was persecuted for his daring explorations, it is now a matter of fact that he was right. All these advances saw their greatest manifestation in the natural world, but they began, as all paradigm shifts must, with a sort of spiritual detoxification, wherein one begins to see that all is not as was previously thought, but that much, if not all that the Catholic Church dogmatically taught, can & must be re-examined, if not completely discarded!

As we continue this spiritual detoxification process today, it is manifestly clear that, due largely to the fact that we have been so indoctrinated, much pain & suffering is to come. This pain & suffering,. though, is necessary. As it is written, 'No pain, no gain'!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sarah's Destiny

After half a century, she should've been used to it! Still, though, this time when it happened, Sarah felt the same thing she had when it first occurred to her. She'd felt a sense of destiny when she became aware & even though she'd felt it many times before, when the celebration of her twenty-fifth year in this incarnation came around, the same feeling came over her, a feeling of complete & utter peace, with just the slightest bit of apprehension.

Jim & Sharon were still her housemates, because, unlike some parents, Sarah's were not the sort that would push their child out the door on or before their 18th birthday. Plus, as we all know, Sarah was special. No, not 'special ed'! From day one, Sarah had proved to the world that she was special, first, by how alert & aware she was, then soon after, manifesting an unusually fast adaption to this brave new world, vocalizing with an impressively large vocabulary, well before she learned to walk ( that followed soon thereafter )! For all that most people knew, Sarah was a Weatherbey, but for those who had known her mother, she was Destiny all over again!

The Weatherbeys were pretty used to having Sarah around now, with her 'special' abilities. The fact that she had never been a 'normal' child had followed Sarah into the normally rebellious teens & then, into adulthood. Of course, most observers would probably note that she was a functioning adult way before she even hit puberty! Then again, Jim & Sharon weren't your 'normal' parents, either; they believed that, rather than acting out, Sarah was just voicing her frustration, so instead of cracking the whip; laying down the law, so to speak, they treated her, not as a petulant child that needed strict discipline, but as a fellow human being who just wanted to be heard. And listen they did!

When, on the 18th celebration of her current life, Sarah had decided to get a tattoo, instead of blowing up at her because she didn't get their permission, Jim & Sharon simply accepted the fact that Sarah was expressing herself in an artistic manner. When she told them that she made sure the inks were all natural & that no chemicals had been used, they were all the more accepting, relieved & proud of this niece who had become their precious daughter. Asked why she didn't say anything to them before taking the leap, Sarah simply replied, 'I knew you'd be okay with it!'

Another time that Sarah's sometimes precocious bent had surfaced was a bit earlier when she had decided to try to find her father's parents. Christopher's parents had barely known about their granddaughter before she disappeared from their lives, so when Sarah voiced her intention to travel across the country to find them, even though she was barely in the 8th year of this life, Jim & Sharon listened to their young daughter. Plans immediately began to manifest, plans which involved Sharon taking a short vacation, during which she & Sarah would endeavor to locate Christopher's parents.

Finding them was no easy task, for, as far as that went, he & Destiny had borne similar stories. Sarah & Sharon eventually found them on their last day before they were to fly back. Although the reunion went well, Chris' parents were unsure quite what to think of this little adult in a child's body, although they couldn't help but love her at first sight. After they had gotten to know her, however, they felt like they had been given a second chance to get to know their son's wife. Bill & Donna had never been very happy about their son marrying this tattooed 'wild-child' from back East & when Chris had announced his intentions to them, they were very quick to voice that unhappiness. One might say indeed that they forced Chris & Destiny to elope!

Sarah was not what might be called 'the perfect child'; she did her own thing, even when it flew in the face of convention & tradition! She was precocious & honestly, how could you say 'no' to that sweet face with the ever-smiling eyes? Jim sure had his hands full when Sarah hit puberty! No, not in trying to protect his daughter from the proposed ravages of every young boy or man she might encounter; he found himself in almost full-time employment protecting them from her! Although Sarah knew how to protect her physical body well enough, it was her astounding mental capacity & ability that flummoxed any erstwhile suitor.

So when Bill & Donna showed up on their doorstep on the eve of Sarah's 25th celebration, Jim & Sharon were pleasantly surprised & extremely happy for their daughter. Sarah's grandparents were actually quite nice, having recovered quite nicely from the shock of meeting their 'special' granddaughter all those years ago. Sarah was ecstatic to greet them, they being the only grandparents she had ever known, so though they hiccuped for a split second when they saw this 'wild-child' with her tattoos ( you can't stop at just one! ), they embraced heartily & gladly.

Being the kind of parents they were, Jim & Sharon offered up their spare bedroom to Bill & Donna, who though they had already set themselves up in a motel, gladly accepted the opportunity to get to know their precious granddaughter better. Sarah ended up doing most of the talking, which was fine with her, because she had plenty to say. For much of their late-night sessions, which often spilled into the wee hours of the morning, Bill & Donna were content to sit back, listening & watching in pure astonishment at the exploits of their amazing granddaughter.

Sarah had never felt more sure of anything in her life! When Bill & Donna finally made ready for their departure, they, as well as Jim & Sharon were floored as Sarah announced her plans to join them on their journey. 'You knew this day was coming!' Sarah told them through her own tears. 'Yes', her parents said, almost in unison, 'but not so soon, or so far away!' 'It'll be a new vacation spot', she laughingly threw behind her as she bounded up the stairs to gather her own, already-prepared luggage.


Do we have but one life to live, or might we have numerous chances? Some might say that this is it & when this biology perishes, we'll spend Eternity in some far off Bliss, but what if we can have that Bliss right now? We all make choices & while it may often seem that those choices are irrevocable, there's always a second chance, if only we're willing to take it. Second chances are always there for the taking, as long as others are willing to give them, but even when it seems there's not a ghost of a chance, one seems to come shining through!

Destiny's Saga will go on, as does all life, though it will most certainly be a different path than 'normal'!

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, August 27, 2017

'O My Goddess!' : The Divine Feminine

Azna-Mother Goddess

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. 
The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, 
“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”[c]
Luke 1:26-29

According to the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 127:3, 'children [ are ] a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb [ is ] a reward
'. While this is abundantly clear, the glaring fact of the matter is that, without women, there would be no children! For that matter, the same could be said of men, as well, but this blogpost is about 'the divine feminine', not 'the divine masculine'. As important as are the roles of both in the formation of children in the womb, the Mother bears the greater glory, perhaps, for though without the Seed there would be no conception & thus no birth, the woman alone has a Womb to carry the Child, which is essential in its formation.

Before we progress any further, we should clarify that this biology only serves to house humanity! This is not to say, as some have accused, that, as the Gnostics said, 'the body is a prison for the soul'., for though we know that the Divine Spark, which is present in each one of the Creator's 'children', is our true nature, this biology serves as the Creator's Hands & Feet, so to speak. When children, male or female, are born into this world, therefore, it should be clear that those physical bodies are only the manifestation of the Spirit Within.

The most famous & glorified Mother, Scripturally speaking, which is accepted by most, if not all Christians, is Mary the Mother of Jesus. As the Story goes ( read the first chapters of Matthew & Luke here ), Mary conceived as a virgin, without being intimate with a man. The Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary, as the Story goes & She conceived within Her Womb the Christ-Child. Having written on this subject before, we will go no further here than to say that it is entirely possible for a Spirit being to impregnate a human female. That being said; Mary is henceforth venerated for Her role in bringing to bear Jesus, whom we acknowledge was the God-man, the Word made flesh.

Since ancient times & even in some cultures today, Goddesses are worshiped in their various roles 
( anything from the Goddess of Fertility to the Goddess of War ): every ancient culture, even Western ( Pagan ) ones, had their varied Gods & Goddesses. These Deities, while based in fact, were simply different aspects of what these cultures perceived. We may liken it to the story of four blind ( East ) Indians describing an elephant. Each felt a different part of the animal, so thus, each one had a different perception of what an elephant is. This Story resonates with ours, for though our perceptions may differ, yet there is One Creator God & it is Him ( or Her ) that we worship with our bodies.

It was said by Jesus Himself, quoting the Psalmist ( Psalm 82:6 ), 'You [ are ] gods,[b] and all of you [ are ] children of the Most High': this has been a matter of some contention, with most Christians simply saying things like, 'well, we may be gods, but we are not Gods ( like the capitol letter is reserved for the Creator God alone ), but for some reason, the Hebrew word transliterated ''elohiym' is used in both cases, for mere men & for the Creator God.  In context, these men that the Psalmist declared 'gods' were the judges of Israel, but are we not all judges? Do we not all judge for ourselves, whether we lean upon some book or not, what is right & what is wrong? As Jesus said next, in response to the Pharisees' charge, 'If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?' ( John 10:35 & 36 ) In much the same way, we, as Spirit beings, of One Essence with the Creator God, are sent into this world to inhabit this biology, to be His Hands & Feet!

The Gnostics, whatever may be said for or against them, were not all right, but neither were they all wrong! That we are Spirit Beings, of One Essence with the Spirit who is the Creator God, they had right, but that those Spirits, or that Spirit, maybe more correctly, is trapped, against its will, in this biology does not resonate very well with what we know, or at least, think we know. One aspect of Gnosticism that resonates well is the old maxim, 'know thyself'. It is in knowing ourselves that we are able to evolve, or adapt to pretty much any given situation!

The many different aspects of the Creator God were well-observed by the ancient Pagans, though they were attributed, for the most part, to individual Gods & Goddesses. In the Ancient Near East, as well as in the Far East, the case was pretty much the same, with tribal gods ruling the day. The Creator God, according to the History of Israel, which we read in our modern Bibles, was revealed to His Creation through the unfolding of said history, yet there are Stories told & written more ancient then Israel. All these Stories, though they differ in the telling because of the various cultures, yet venerate the women, usually one woman in particular, as the Goddess who brought the Savior into the world of men!

The Sacred Womb, though not the only necessity in child-bearing, is perhaps the most basic. Not being a scientist by any means, I cannot say with any real authority what all transpires in a woman's body as she bears the child for those 9 months, but safe to say that with the Womb, or the Divine Feminine, the Seed would not get very far!

Children surely are a blessing from the Lord of Heaven! It is through them our name is perpetuated; they carry on the work that we've begun, much as we ourselves carry on the work that Jesus the Christ began. Through the same Spirit that enabled Him, along with the Divine Feminine, these mortal bodies are enabled to greater works than He did!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dis-Ease & the Breakdown of Society

Right now, in this nation of ours, arguably the biggest news story is one coming from my home-state of Virginia. Very near to the heart of Virginia, Charlottesville has been rocked of late by the proposed removal of a statue or statures commemorating the venerable but horrifying history of these United States, but the South in particular. I will freely acknowledge that I have not done my research. I do not know the extent of the damage that has been done ( maybe still going on ), nor do I know any particulars. Nor do I really care to know! This is not to say that the deaths ( on either side ) does not concern me, or that the wanton violence does not disturb me in the least. As far as I'm concerned & I will say no more ( about Charlottesville ), it only goes to prove that violence, no matter how 'righteous' the cause, only breeds more violence!

In any society where human beings are involved, 'we're gonna have a problem'; it's inescapable! this one wants that & the other wants this. Recent events bare ample witness to this fact, but it's not only in recent history that we have noted this. Ever since the inception of our beloved nation, there have been battles waged, whether actually or metaphorically, in the bedrooms, boardrooms & on the battlefields of this great country. Some will say that all this fighting & warring was necessary, 'for the greater good', one might say, but was it really? If, rather than armed rebellion against England, the men & women who birthed this nation had decided to peacefully protest, even though they lost their livelihoods, even their lives, in the process, maybe we would not be experiencing the levels of violence we are currently bearing witness to & have witnessed in the past 200+ years!

Fear Factor is the biggest business in this nation of ours! Whether it's politics or religion, it just makes sense; if you want to control a populace, Fear is your greatest weapon. How do you think Hitler was able to trample all over those touted six million Jews with only a ( relatively ) few soldiers? Fear is the root cause of much hatred, anxiety & indecision. In our minds, we might, when faced with a decision, a judgment call, in other words, immediately rehearse all the possible scenarios our decision might engender & so we may end up doing the wrong thing or nothing at all, simply out of fear of the unknown.

Fear controls the masses! Medically speaking, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the biggest in the world. Much dis-ease is caused by this industry; for example, when the doctor says that one has a certain disease/problem, most people, especially when the so-called 'cure' costs more than they have or can afford, will immediately begin stressing about their situation, which only makes it worse ( 'stress is a killer') & their dis-ease actually becomes worse than it was before.

Along with this problem is the food that we eat. It's almost impossible to truly eat healthy anymore, or at least that's what 'they' want you to think! Either ( again ) there's not enough money to eat healthy all the time, or because 'we just don't have the time or resources'. Because many people don't eat as healthily as they should, this problem intermingles with that of the medical industry, which ultimately rests in the lap of the federal government. The federal government, which is in bed with the pharmaceutical industry, through the USDA & related agencies has, by law ( 'fear', again ) dictated what foods are & aren't healthy, or safe, for the general population to consume.

The government of this nation, which is supposed to be 'of the people, by the people, for the people', seems to have become 'of the weak ( poor ), by the strong ( rich ), for the few ( elite )'! Fear of what might happen if we don't follow the letter of the law has caused much dis-ease as well, among the general populace. This dis-ease, on top of what has already been mentioned, makes this a truly dis-ease-ridden society!

One might wonder at this point, whether there is any way out from under this burden: well, as they say, 'there is a balm in Gilead'! Depending on ones background, maybe, this iconic statement might be taken literally, as in the golden oil produced by the pineal & pituatary glands, or metaphorically, as speaking of the help that comes from Above, from the Christian God, from Enlightenment through Buddha or some other Spiritual Guide.

'Know thyself', a Delphic maxim from ancient times, speaks well to this situation. If more people truly knew themselves, we would not be in the predicament in which we find ourselves! However, because people are taught to fear ( death, taxes, 'fear itself' ) from birth, most have not come to the realization of who they truly are. Our dis-eases largely result, first, from the fact that most are ignorant of what is & is not good for their biological body. The second reason there is so much dis-ease in the world is that many have not yet awakened to the fact that we are not our biology, but merely residents of it. Dis-ease ultimately comes from, is manifested by, our innermost being, our True Self, our Spirit. It is almost incomprehensible to think that simply by healing our innermost being, we could manifest a perfectly healthy biological body, but did not Jesus tell many of His patients, 'your faith has made you well' & 'whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive'?

Fear of the unknown ( ourselves ) causes much unnecessary distress. If more men & women truly knew themselves & thus others, there would be much less war & oppression throughout the world! We can only complete this process within ourselves, for, as another well-known maxim states, 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him ( or her ) drink'. Self-awareness is something we can only do for ourselves; as Morpheus said in the late 90s movie 'The Matrix', 'I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it'. All we can do is be ourselves, educate as we can & BE the Change we wish to see in this world!

Charles Haddon Shank